Talking With the Spirits, 11



Spirit-Media in Hong Kong and the United States

Charles F. Emmons


pp. 308, 317 the author's books

p. 308

"my research on spirit mediumship in Hong Kong was embedded within ... Emmons 1982 ... . ...

I had become involved in Hong Kong with the help of my former wife ... and her family".

{Evidently, the couple had become separated because he wished to go to the U.S. of A. in an effort to convert the nation to spirit-mediumship, whereas she wished to remain in southern China, where spirit-mediumship is already generally accepted.}

p. 317

"My wife Penelope and I

{This other wife of his was as devoted to spirit-mediumship as his praevious (Chinese) wife had been.}

used multiple research methodologies (another sound strategy)

{mainly useful ("sound") for converting souls to involve themselves with spirit-mediumship}

for Guided by the Spirit (2003). In addition to the usual review of the literature, we interviewed 40 spirit mediums and collected biographies of 80 more (from the past century and a half), mostly from the two archives in the Spiritualist community of Lily Dale, New York. ...

Penelope is ... ordained Spiritualist minister and medium."

Emmons, 1982 = Charles F. Emmons : Chinese Ghosts and ESP : a Study of Paranormal ... Experiences. Metuchen (NJ) : Scarecrow Pr.

Emmons & Emmons, 2003 = Charles F. Emmons & Penelope Emmons : Guided by the Spirit : ... the Mind of the Medium. NY : Writers Club Pr.

p. 304 communicating, via mediumship, with ghosts of the dead

""of spirit mediums in Hong Kong Chinese culture (Emmons, 1982, p. 187) ... the most relevant to ancestor worship is the mun mai poh ("ask-rice woman"). Traditionally one was supposed to bring some rice from the family kitchen to help the spirits {of the defunct ancestors, and especially of the defunct ancestresses} recognize the client of the spirit medium. ... Some mediums also ask for birth and death dates of the spirit, and for the location of the deceased's grave to help with identification. ...

Another potential obstacle to making contact with ancestral spirit, according to Chinese religious culture ..., is the possibility that the ancestors may have reincarnated already ... (Emmons, 1982, pp. 214-216).

Some mediums don't want to try to contact spirits of people who have died more tha two years ago".

{Yet another form of mediumship pertaining to those who have died, however, in China, is the practice of communicating with the new parents of a soul which, having died, hath redincarnated elsewhere.}

{An advantage in waiting to communicate with the defunct until redincarnation shall have occurred, is that during the disincarnate period, p>o and hun are mutually disconnected (similarly as the psukhe and noos are mutually disconnected during the time-interval betwixt incarnations according to the Neo-Platonic doctrine); and disconnection of this sort could be countre-productive to communicatory connection between the dead and the living.}

p. 305 Would allegedly-offended ancestors sicken their own beloved descendants?!

"Chinese have been afraid of their ancestors (Emmons, 1982, pp. 21-23). Francis Hsu ([1949]), claimed that they were not,

at least in the part of southwest China that he came from. {There, little heed is paid to the government's efforts to scare the people with its false-accusation (of the dead) campaign.}

{Governments wish the populace to dread even their own ancestors, so as to distract the populace considering the misdeeds of the government and of the ploutokrats who may control it.}

However, ... {according to the "official" dogma promulgated by the government} members of the family would get sick if they neglected to take care of their ancestors' tablets and graves."

Hsu 1949 = Francis Lang Kuang Hsu : Under the Ancestor's Shadow. London : Routledge & Kegan Paul. (2nd edn. 1964) (new edn. with additional chapter Stanford Univ Pr, 1971)

{The author (Ch.E.) was so little trusted by his Chinese "friends" and neighbors that not a one of them would take the risk of explaining to him that the government was (and hath been ever since the Han dynasty) using scare-tactics to divide family-members against each other. This is a Chinese governmental tactic of similar function to the Freudism promulgated by European governments to divide family-members against each other by false accusations (mutual recriminations) of their harboring malicious intents "subconsciously" toward each other.}

pp. 306-7 spirit-mediumship in Europe & in the United States

p. 306

"Spiritualism was much more visible in the nineteenth century than it is today ..., ... because Spiritualists were both religiously and politically radical ... (Emmons, 2003, pp. 59-61; Emmons and Emmons, 2003, pp. 269-271)."

{Spiritists are as radical as ever, but governments in the United States and in Europe have privately instructed the newspapers, radio, television, etc. not to publicize spirit-mediumship performances. Information about flying saucers hath likewise been suppressed by such governments during recent decades.}

p. 307

"Just as the United States is very pluralistic culturally, so are the meanings and uses of spiritual mediumship {in them, these United States}, even those connected primarily to Spiritualism (Emmons and Emmons, 2003, pp. 141-177)."

Emmons, 2003 = Charles F. Emmons : "The Spiritualist Movement : Bringing the Dead Back". In :- Clifton D. Bryan (ed.) : Handbook of Death and Dying. Thousand Oaks (CA) : Sage. Vol. I (The Presence of Death), pp. 57-64.

pp. 309-10 religious beliefs : "survey of ... people on Hong Kong Island"

p. 309

"Chinese ... traditionally ... have been very eclectic and tolerant,

{making for good will and for favorable social relationships}

in contrast to Americans who use belief more as a test of ... loyalty."

{loyalty to some particular sect among numerous mutually hostile sects, making for intense mutual social hostilities among rival opposing groups}

"it is odd that only 50% said they believed in ghosts ..., because 72% on the survey said that they practiced ancestor worship, which almost requires a belief in ghosts.

{Evidently, respondents took the term "ghosts" to include only hostile ones : the respondents may have all believed in praesence of souls of the dead in the material world, but generally believed that virtually all such souls were benevolent, almost none malevolent.}

p. 310

"why is it that only 24% reported believing in "life after death"? ... . ... why practice ancestor worship (72%) and worry about ghosts (50%) if there is no life after death?

{Evidently, respondents took the term "life after death" to refer to existence in some remote Heaven, where communication with the living would not be feasible. They believed in survival after death, but almost none in the deads' being discommunicated from the living.}

And finally, only 18% saying they believed in spirit mediums is odd, because 72% practiced ancestor worship, in which spirit mediumship plays an imprtant part. ... It appeared that people generally believed that spirit mediumship was possible ... . What they doubted in Hong Kong was not whether it could be done, but whether a particular spirit medium was good at it, or getting a particular case right

(which is important if you want to give your ancestors what they're asking for)."

[p. 306 supra : "Chinese don't come to chit chat" with their ancestors; they have serious business {viz., finding from dead ancestors praecisely what rituals they would like to have conducted on their behalf by their living descendants}."]

pp. 310-2 conduct of a Chinese spirit-mediumship se'ance (in Hong Kong)

p. 310

"the Taoist automatic-writing medium I visited (Emmons, 1982, pp. 217-224) and ... a mental medium (mun mai poh) ... I observed on ... different occasions, in addition to interviewing someone who observed her ... (Emmons, 1982, pp. 197-212). ...

p. 311

"After hearing a brief identification of the spirit I was trying to contact ..., Sam Gu ["meaning "Third Aunt," a name commonly taken by {female} mediums"] rested her head on a little pillow on a table decorated with a red bulb {substitute for a red candle}, framed sacred writings, a statue of Sau ("Long Life"), incense, and offerings of fruit. ...

After raising her head, Sam Gu said ... the identification ..., aided by a genie (what parapsychologists would call a "control," and what Spiritualists would call a spirit guide), ... she would ask the spirit to come up (Emmons, 1982, pp. 198-201). ... A great deal of fairly specific information followed, a high percentage of it correct (actually looking at the 1982 book now I think I may

p. 312

have been wrong about some of the parts that I had declared to be incorrect.) ...

{I.e., the female spirit-medium had been correct about those parts also.}

I remember being very curious about how she could seemingly know about things that had happened {in the U. S. of A}

on the other side of the world that had been communicated in a language {viz., English} she didn't understand."

{Divinities are easily capable of accessing such sorts of information, and imparting such information to their spokesperson the divinity-medium.}

pp. 314-7 the author (Ch.E.)'s own spirit-communications

p. 314

"After my mother died ... I started to get the impression that she was communicating with me (Emmons and Emmons, 2003, pp. 101-107). ...

p. 315

Throughout the years ..., I have had many evidential experiences involving mediumship performed by others, and even in my own mediumship. Keep in mind that ... I find it highly evidential of some kind of paranormal communication."

p. 316

"I got an image ... . In my mind I saw a gang of his spirit relatives cheering him, waving placards ... . ...

I also received another message for "the youngest girl ...," ... I was supposed to tell her mother ... . ...

Before I was called on to give messages ..., another medium came to the same man and gave him quite precisely the message I had ready for him (about the crowd of relatives ...). ...

A little later a different medium went to the mother of the child and delivered the same message I was prepared to give her, except that she replaced "music" with "dance.""

p. 317

"I was engaging in participatory science by putting myself in the role of spirit medium (like the mad scientist ...)."

pp. 317-8 publications by other authors favoring spirit-mediumship

p. 317

"For other examples of phenomenological research on spirit mediums see the Gary Schwartz research team (Rock, Beischel and Schwartz, 2008)".

p. 318

"scientific ... Spiritualism ... provides evidence for the continuity of life {after death of the material body, or between incarnations into material bodies}" ... (Garroutte, [1992])."

Rock, Beischel & Schwartz, 2008 = Adam J. Rock; Julie Beischel; Gary E. Schwartz : "Thematic ... Mediums' Experiences of Discarnate Communication". J OF SCIENTIFIC EXPLORATION 22.2:179-92.

Garroutte, 1992 = E. M. Garroutte : "When Scientists Saw Ghosts and Why They Stopped". In :- Robert Wuthnow (ed.) : Vocabularies of Public Life. London : Routledge. pp. 57-74.

p. 318 temporally shifting gendre-ratio in spirit-mediumship within region sampled

(In the region known to the author, most mortal spirit-media have been females, but most of their immortal spirit-guides have been males.)

{Praesumably, in countries wherein most mortal spirit-media are males, their immortal spirit-guides are mostly females.}

"I have never never heard a single Spiritualist medium of either gender (not counting myself), talk about this issue of gender of spirit guides".

{In much of Siberia, and also in some other regions of the world, a spirit-medium is expected to have a spirit-guide of opposite gendre as divine spouse. ("S-SOD")}

"S-SOD" =,_other_than_in_dreams.htm

p. 319 socialization into spirit-mediumship

"becoming a spirit medium in the U.S. is rather like being socialized to a deviant identity, that one usually achieves in spite of general lack of support from the wider community ... (Emmons and Emmons, 2003, pp. 171-209). By a process of differential association, some people have early childhood experiences (spirit guides, apparitions, near-death experiences, spontaneous mediumship), that propell them in the direction of this role, and they get enough support, especially in adult years, from kindred spirits and organized spiritual groups to take on the role of spirit medium."

"Eighty percent of our contemporary mediums considered "confirmations" (from clients or sitters that their readings were correct) to be important (51%) or very important (29%)."

p. 320 praeternatural perception

"there is also quite a lot of variation in how mediums work (Emmons and Emmons, 2003, pp. 225-259).

About 70% of our mediums reported being clairvoyant (getting visual imagery {"seeing things"}, usually only an internal image),

61% clairaudient {"hearing things"} (usually an internal rather than external sense of hearing something), and

40% clairsentient ... (that is, getting "feelings," ... for any ... other ...)."

{N.B. The term "internal" would proprely signify "internal to a transcendent universe". In like manner, however, perceptions of events in the material universe are also "internal" -- internal to the material universe.}

pp. 320-1 forgetfulness on the part of spirit-media

p. 320

"Some mediums have difficulty explaining how they get the information, or just start talking, sometimes forgetting what they

p. 321

have said afterwards. Mediums who go into full trance, which is rare in the U.S. these days, typically do not remember what they have said. Some go into semi-trance,

observing themselves talk as if they are not in control.

{actually, observing a deity speaking through the mouth of their material body}

It also appears that the longer someone has done mediumship, the less they focus {he or she focuseth} on how they do {he or she doth} it."


Jack Hunter & David Luke (edd.) : Talking With the Spirits : Ethnographies from Between the Worlds. Daily Grail Publ, Brisbane, 2014.