Talking With the Spirits, 2-3



Spirit-Medium Experience in Great Britain

Hannah Gilbert


pp. 57-8 tested

p. 57

"mediums have been tried and tested time and time again; in the field, as well as in the controlled settings of a laboratory (see Cerullo, 1982; Gauld,

p. 58

1982; Oppenheim, 1988)."

"Recent studies ... have identified ... that maintaining a connection with the dead can offer enrichment for the living (Klass, Silverman & Nickman, 1996), ... post-mortem relationships negotiated and supported through spirit communication."

Cerullo, 1982 = John J . Cerullo : The Secularization of the Soul : Psychical Research in Modern Britain. Philadelphia : Institute for the Study of Human Issues.

Gauld, 1982 = Alan Gauld : Mediumship and Survival : a Century of Investigations. London : Heinemann. (reprinted 1983 London : Paladin)

Oppenheim, 1988 = Janet Oppenheim : The Other World : Spiritualism and Psychical Research in England, 1850-1914. Cambridge Univ Pr.

Klass, Silverman & Nickman, 1996 = Dennis Klass; Phyllis R. Silverman; Steven L. Nickman (edd.) : Continuing Bonds. Philadelphia : Taylor & Francis.

pp. 60-1 extraordinary experiences

"Edited collections {collectanea} such as those offered by Goulet & Miller (2007) and Young & Goulet (1994) have brought together a collection {collectaneum} of papers by researchers who have acknowledged their own extraordinary experiences, and considered the repercussions of such in regards to their own meaning making".

Goulet & Miller 2007 = Jean-Guy Goulet; Bruce Granville Miller (edd.) : Extraordinary Anthropology : Transformations in the Field. Lincoln : Univ of NE Pr.

Young & Goulet 1994 = David E. Young; Jean-Guy Goulet (edd.) : Being Changed by Cross-Cultural Encounters : the Anthropology of Extraordinary Experiences. Peterborough (ON); Orchard Park (NY) : Broadview Pr.

pp. 63-4 experiential mediumship's impact on worldview

p. 63

"Particularly for mediums, an affiliation with specific religious or spiritual networks reflects a distinct process of meaning making and experience : rarely, it seems, do mediums enter in to such affiliations without a succession of meaningful experiences that encourage them to question, and then perhaps adjust, their notions of reality."

p. 64

"the ways in which mediums actually experience their spirit contacts differs from medium to medium, though the most common means are seeing, hearing and/or sensing spirit, and via thought transmission (... receiving ... images from spirit ... for their recipients {clients})."

pp. 65-8 acceptance & development of mediumistic abilities by practitioners

p. 65

"While some of my informants stated that their mediumship had been facilitated by a spontaneous spiritual experience later in life, the majority told me that they had first experienced spirit at an early age, often as young as four or five. These experiences generally occurred unexpectedly ... .

{My own earliest encounter with a preternatural personage in the waking world, apparently occurred in my early teens.}

Early spiritual experiences often occur when the experient is alone, a feature that remains consistent throughout their lives.}

{This feature hath likewise tended to remain true throughout my life.}

Experiences of spirit did not usually involve communication, rather, the experient ... simply ... had seen, heard or sensed something unusual {something quite unearthly, not merely "ususual"}."

{My own praeternatural experiences in the waking world likewise did not include verbal communications for many years, the first verbal events being only praeternatural echoes of my own voice (coming, e.g., from the sky).}

p. 66

"development periods orient toward socialisation of mediumship as performance, where fledgling mediums learn how to perform mediumship publically, and gain social approval and acceptance as to their abilities. ... The majority of mediums that I spoke to cited the relevance of an already established medium who recognized their as[-]yet untapped potential. Typically, this acknowledgement came during Spiritualist meetings or public demonstrations of mediumship, during which time an established medium would tell them that

p. 67

they had mediumistic abilities that they should develop. ... Most of the mediums I interviewed ... {in} their accounts stressed that they maintained a distinct level of criticism about mediumship and ... paranormal expereinces, and that it was the presistence of experiences that could not be explained as anything other than evidence of spirit that led them to accept that they had mediumistic abilities (... see Wooffitt, 1992). ... The significance of legitimating others {significance of others who legitimize} seems extremely important for contemporary mediums. ...

p. 68

This is emphasized by the significance they give to others' experiences : the experience of others is just as important as the the mediums' own, particularly during the developmental period".

"As Meintel (2007[, p. 155]) states "clairvoyance is a social experience. ... several people may perceive the same invisible phenomenon at the same time ... .""

Wooffitt, 1992 = Robin Wooffitt : Telling Tales of the Unexpected. Hemel Hempstead : Harvester Wheatsheaf.

Meintel 2007 = Deidre Meintel : "When the Extraordinary Hits Home : Experiencing Spiritualism". In :- Jean-Guy Goulet & Bruce Granville Miller (edd.) : Extraordinary Anthropology : Transformations in the Field. Lincoln : Univ of NE Pr. pp. 124-57.

pp. 69-70 valid topic for study

p. 69

"when I started my PhD ..., there was very little material {about spirit-mediumship} that was not concerned with testing mediums, or recounting the historical development of Spiritualism ... . Thankfully this has changed, with the increase in researchers taking mediums and mediumship seriously, and recognizing that it is a

p. 70

valid subject of study with much to yield in our understanding not only of mediumship itself, but of spiritual experience, ... contemporary Spiritualism, and more."



Spirits in ... Montre'al

Deidre Meintel


pp. 74-5 quiet revolution

p. 74

"Spiritualism ... took root in Que[']bec following the 'Quiet Revolution' (la Re'volution tranquille), a time of dramatic social change in the province (1960-1966) ... . ... Meanwhile the religious practice of the Catholic faithful was declining rapidly ..., and the ranks of the {Roman Catholic} clergy and other religious devotees {viz., Roman Catholic monks and Roman Catholic nuns} were depleted. ...

p. 75

Religious diversity among native-born Que'be'cois has also grown a great deal in recent years. While some have converted to ... Buddhism ..., others have discovered forms of spirituality ... that present themselves as contemporary versions of ancient traditions such as Druidism, Native {e.g., AmerIndian} inspired shamanism, Wicca and so on. ... Many of these spiritual currents involve ... spirits and spirit contact."

pp. 79-80 contacting the spirits

p. 79

"Spiritualists ... believe {perceive} that we all have spirit guides who help us in daily life and that we all ... have {via these spirit-guides} received spiritual gifts, be they for different types of healing (by the laying on of hands, at a distance ...) or clairvoyance. The latter takes various forms :

via objects in psychometry,

through 'feeling' (le sentir),

visions, and

clairaudience (hearing sounds and words from the spirit world).

Other gifts include astral projection ...,

spirit-inspired speech and art,

automatic writing ..., and so on. ...

The most important of the Spirit guides is the 'Gatekeeper,'

{better designated /Innkeeper/, for "this material man is ... like unto an inn, or the dwelling-place, ... of the soul and demons" (H:Ph, p. 32 (37); cf. RG, p. 135).}

one who allows other spirits to come through or prevents {hindreth} them from doing so in cases where mediums go into 'deep trance,' also known as channelling . Typically, in the SCH, the Gatekeeper is the spirit of a Native {AmerIndian, when in the Americas}. It is interesting to note that the British Spiritualist {and also the U.S. Shaking Quaker} authors of earlier generations often make mention of 'Red Indian spirit guides' (for example, Marryat, [1892]), something that Nelson (1969, pp. 55-58; 75-76) notes as well."

p. 80

"Besides representations of ... Native spirits on the walls of the main hall of the church, one notes the shamanic drumming ... . Individuals bring dreamcatchers ... and other shamanic artefacts ... for the union between the owner of the object and the spirits that govern it."

H:Ph = Hippolutos : Philosophoumena.

RG = Michael Allen Williams : Rethinking "Gnosticism". Princeton Univ Pr, 1996.

Marryat, 1892 = Florence  Marryat : There Is No Death : My Eyewitness Experiences With the Great Mediums. London : Griffith, Farran & Co., 1892. (reprinted 1920 London : William Rider & Son)

Nelson, 1969 = Geoffrey K. Nelson : Spiritualism and Society. London : Routledge & Kegan Paul; NY : Schocken Bks.

p. 81 spirit-guides, angels, animals

"Many exercises that are done in closed groups are oriented toward helping participants develop contact with their spirit guides. Angels are mentioned in the seven principles, and several of my informants report seeing them.

Animals are are believed {perceived} to have spirits and a life after death, and

[p. 94, n. 4 : "The belief that pets share in the afterlife seems to have been long widespread in Spiritualism (e.g., Barbanell, 1940)."]

at church services mediums often give messages to those present concerning their pets, living and deceased."

Barbanell, 1940 = Sylvia Barbanell : When Your Animal Dies. London : Spiritualist Pr. (reprinted 1955 Psychic Bk Club)

pp. 82-4 spirit-guides

p. 82

"All my informants have received healing and clairvoyant messages. Most also act as healers themselves; some have given messages to othersin the ... healing service, and all have done so in the context of the closed group. For these activities, participants invoke their spirit guides ... as a matter of course; guides are seen as partners in the process of transmitting healing or clairvoyance".

p. 83

"When my guides of Light and angels work with me, ... I'm seeing ... a {projection-}screen that's in front of me ... {on it} there are images, there are symbols".

p. 84

"Most have felt the physical presence of the spirit of a deceased loved one or pet, and most felt the presence of spirit guides."

pp. 85-6 [quoted statements by local Spiritist informants :] projection of the aitheric double; praeternatural erotic encountre with divine entity

p. 85

[said by a man :] "At the {Spiritist} church back then, we had some people that were ... going into someone's house (in spirit form)."

p. 86

[said by a woman, concerning "the astral presence of ... a {male Spiritist} healer she had met at the SCH" :] "he projected himself into my place ... and he would wake me up in a sexual way".

[said by another man, describing the advent of a divine succuba-goddess :] "it was as if I was {were} dreaming but it wasn't a dream. ... And this energy {non-material entity-being (who may control divine energies)} comes out {of the divine Otherworld} on me. It was like an extremely beautiful woman, a naked woman, and she got on me and she started making love to me. ... I didn't want to stop ... and it went all the way."

"From a Spiritualist point of view, ... encounter with a seductive spirit was an attempt to derail ... spiritual

{To the very contrary : sexual encountres with divinities are the principal means of forging alliances with families of divinities, and therewith of accomplishing the objective of the spiritual practice , which would otherwise remain futile. In denying this basic truth, the Spiritualists are extremely deceitful and misguiding.}

practice. [The Spiritualist alleged authority] ... counsels ... to avoid 'esoteric' environments".

pp. 88-9 direct contact with spirits : Umbanda & neo-Shamanry

p. 88

"Montre[']al ... has ... an Umbanda group that functions as an integral part of a 'temple' in Brazil.

p. 89

... its rituals (in Brazilian Portuguese), centre on incorporation of the same types of spirits as in Brazil (Hernandez, 2009).

We also find a number of Neo-Shamanic groups, including Reclaiming Witchcraft, Core Shamanism, and a Native {AmerIndian : Huron?} spirituality group. ...

In Neo-Shamanic groups, regular participants learn to do shamanic travel {via officially-illegal entheogenic drugs?} in order to contact their personal spirits, be they ancestors, power animal spirit, or spirit guides (Normandin, 2010; Corneillier, forthcoming).

Drumming (live or recorded) and dancing may help induce shamanic travel."

{Though "shamanic travel" be restricted to dreams, drumming heard during waking-plane caerimonies may be able to assist dream-deities to transport mortals into other dream-worlds, afterwards during dreaming. [written Jan 16 2015]}

Hernandez, 2009 = Annick Hernandez : "Un groupe umbanda a` Montre'al". WPGRDUM. published in translation as :- Meintel, Deirdre et Annick Hernandez, 2013, "Transnational Authenticity : an Umbanda Temple in Montreal" : 223-248 in Cristina Rocha et Manuel Velasquez (éd.) : The Diaspora of Brazilian Religions. Australie, Brill.

Normandin, 2010 = Ame'lie Normandin : "La cercle de tambours montre'alais de la fondation des e'tudes chamaniques". WPGRDUM.

Corneillier = Fre'de'rique Corneillier : "Le groupe spirituel Shamanika". WPGRDUM.

WPGRDUM = Working Paper, Groupe de Recherche Diversite' Urbaine, Montre'al.

p. 90 secretiveness of occult covens

"Most of those in the groups mentioned herein, including the Spiritualists, do not discuss their religious beliefs with colleaugues, friends or family members, unless they sense receptiveness. Older practitioners of Wicca and Druidry are often secretive, sometimes out of religious conviction that

rituals and magical practices must be kept secret to retain their power,

{If profane unbelievers (such as Christians) were to become aware of our secret rites, those unbelievers would contaminate our holy mysteries with the evil spells of their accursed imps (accursed male imp Jesus the Christ, accursed female imp Mary the ever-virgin Mother of God, etc.).}

but also due to the fact that some have suffered harassment or even been fired from jobs for religious reasons in decades past. According to Roberts (2010), French-speaking covens are especially secretive".

Roberts 2010 = Rosemary Roberts : "La communaute' "Reclaiming" de Montre'al" WPGRDUM. translated as :- "The Reclaiming Community of Montreal".

p. 91 exorcism

"the only medium at the SCH who performs exorcisms ... receives hundreds of calls every year for help in exorcizing homes of troublesome spirits. More rarely he exorcizes individuals, often those who have frequented esoteric milieus ... . Quite a number of such requests come from persons of Mediterranean background (Italian, Greek,


{Portugal certainly is not at all "Mediterranean"; whereas much of France (Langue d'Oc/Provenzal provinces -- the Cathar-and-Huguenot region, a large sector of France including, of course, much of source-region of the population of Montre'al) definitely is.}

p. 93 transcendentalism

"most Que'be'cois are believers in a transcendental reality. At the same time, affirming religious {viz., mainline Christian} convictions is somehow associated with the 'great darkness' (la Grande noirceur) {"Dark Ages", when Europe was dominated by Christianity} of the years of clerical {viz., Christian hierarchical} domination."

{"Transcendentalism" in 19th United States of America was (and still is, since the late 19th century largely embodied in the Theosophical Society) an anti-Christian, pro-Hindu movement, which is very much confirmative of particular religious (i.e., metaphysical) convictions.}


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