User talk:Ben Steigmann

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Hello and Welcome to Wikiversity Ben Steigmann! You can contact us with questions at the colloquium or me personally when you need help. Please remember to sign and date your finished comments when participating in discussions. The signature icon Insert-signature.png above the edit window makes it simple. All users are expected to abide by our Privacy, Civility, and the Terms of Use policies while at Wikiversity.

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You do not need to be an educator to edit. You only need to be bold to contribute and to experiment with the sandbox or your userpage. See you around Wikiversity! --Abd (discusscontribs) 00:21, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Parapsychology[edit source]

This edit restored content that had been moved to a subpage for resource organization, and also undid content changes I'd made on the top-level page. Please be careful about that. I think you did not see the subpage link, it is the section header for "Sources." Your content is still in history and we can review and integrate it, but most of it would belong on one or the other subpage. We will also create study seminars.

I reverted this, which also undoes the edits of Craig Weiler. This is the material before my reversion. We will review that to merge as appropriate.

One of your edit summaries, [1] (notable studies section redundant, in conflict with message of list that solid results existed from the inception of field, including with individuals). A list is only a list, if it has a message, i.e., some intention, it may have been cherry-picked. I don't see Dean Radin's list as having a message, other than the existence of peer-reviewed publications in the field. We may look at evidence and derive meaning, but *especially* if some other take on the subject is "in conflict with the message," removing that other take is warping the discussion. You will be able to write polemic essays on this topic, if you like, but they will be distinguished as such.

The list doesn't establish, at all, "solid results from the inception of the field." That would require study of the papers and reviews of them, and it would be a conclusion, an interpretation, not a fact. You may have made that conclusion. Great. Educate us, one step at a time. However, I know that there are some very smart people on more than one side of the controversy over parapsychology. So my goal, here, is to examine the field and the controversy, to make it accessible, to understand the facts and arguments. Judgment is way down the road. Maybe never. --Abd (discusscontribs) 16:06, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

I include many of the most skeptical sources, so the list is not tendentious. Weiler's item is however redundant, and his wording provides support for the criticism that meta-analysis is meaningless and a waste of time in searching for phenomena not evident in in individual experiments. The wording of Weiler is in conflict with what is shown, where individual experiments, and also individual subjects, produce strong results. Also, in general, there is a weak effect, but still an effect in experiments, that is shown through meta-analysis.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 16:18, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Well, Weiler said, "Typically, no single experiment provides sufficient proof and therefore meta analyses, (groupings of studies that are unified into a single, large sample) are required to demonstrate and effect.", so this wasn't the what I thought, still, I feel that his section was redundant, and breaks the flow, and as it stands, the material is better organized.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 16:28, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Have you handled the material I reverted?[edit source]

As you know, I reverted your reversion of my move of material to subpages of Parapsychology. This resulted in a loss of material added by you as part of that reversion, as well as material by Craig Weiler. I see that you added a great deal of material to the Peer reviewed sources page. While I am concerned that some of this material might not be appropriate there, I'll leave that to Dean Radin. What I'm asking is whether or not you are satisfied that what you added has been handled. It can be tedious to verify this. This is why we generally want to avoid content forks, where they repeat material.

We do not want to delete material you add, the question will always been where to put it, unless it is totally inappropriate, off-topic. Even then we may try to find a way to keep it.

You created lists of sources in the Notable research section. That's okay, but it is too much for the top-level page, so I have moved all that to the named subpages, where those sources can be analyzed and categorized and discussed in detail. These sources, I understand, may duplicate what is in the other Source and Peer reviewed pages, but this is appropriate, for specific study.

Thanks. --Abd (discusscontribs) 19:07, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

yes - look at the specific sources subpages.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 22:07, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Home's accordion feat[edit source]

You might be interested in PsyPioneer Journal Vol. 10 No. 5 - May 2014 which reprints the chapter "The Accordion Playing of D. D. Home" by Herbert Thurston This chapter was originally published by Herbert Thurston in his book "Church and Spiritualism" 1933. The chapter criticizes Frank Podmore's claim that the accordion feat was a concealed music-box. It also criticizes Carlos María de Heredia's claim that a secret accomplice was playing another accordion.

Heredia's book can be found online here [2], note that although he opposed the majority of spiritist phenomena as fraudulent he endorsed some psychical claims as genuine. This fact is usually overlooked by modern skeptics who erroneously seem to claim he was a full on debunker. Heredia's also had a chapter discrediting the medium Eva C [3]. His arguments were used by Joseph Jastrow in his book Wish and Wisdom: Episodes in the Vagaries of Belief 1935, which in turn were cited by other skeptics. However Heredia/Jastrow's comments are criticized in Edwin Bowers "Spiritualism's Challenge: Submitting to Modern Thinkers Conclusive Evidence of Survival" [4] pp. 263-274. Also note in the book by Edwin Bowers there is a chapter that defends the medium Frank Decker from a scientist see pp. 84-112, this is in opposition to the skeptical remarks on Decker's Wikipedia entry. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 15:42, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

As for the list you are compiling you may be interested in some of the books found by Carlos Alvarado on Hathi Trust which are all online for free. This saves money from buying the books. Note that on his list is Joseph Dunninger's "Inside the Medium's Cabinet" which is a book that documents various tricks of mediums, but what modern skeptics ignore is that Dunniger was an advocate of telepathy see George P. Hansen's article for some of this information Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 15:52, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

As for the Leonora Piper Wikipedia entry only the negative stuff is cited, there is no way to insert anything positive without getting blocked or reverted. But here is some positive stuff [5] from page 73 in the book "Can Telepathy Explain?: Results of Psychical Research" 1902, Minot Judson Savage describes visiting Piper in a séance before she was investigated by the SPR and she described his father in accurate detail, cold reading would not explain this, also see the following chapter which has information about his daughter from a sitting with Piper where three locks of hair were taken and the names were given accurately. Some other rare books that have rarely been consulted are "Mrs. Piper & the Society for Psychical Research" with a preface by Oliver Lodge 1904 [6] and "Spiritism, hypnotism and telepathy as involved in the case of Mrs. Leonora E. Piper and the Society of Psychical Research" 1902 [7] Another book that contains positive remarks about Piper's mediumship is "Challenge Of Psychical Research" 1961, Gardner Murphy describes séances with Piper, though skeptics have cherry picked some of his negative comments. The book also contains some useful information about clairvoyance and telepathy experiments [8] Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 16:34, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

Thank you very much for all of this.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 17:48, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

You have done some good work in collecting all those materials. As far as I can see you are the only person doing this on the web. Regarding the Crookes experiments with D. D. Home here's some rare sources you may of not read:

"Mysterious Psychic Forces", 1909 by Camille Flammarion [9] pp. 306-351 This chapter is also useful as it contains diagrams that are not printed in most of the other books.

"Spiritualism and allied causes and conditions of nervous derangement", 1876 by Dr. William Hammond [10], see pages 98-99 he suggests for one of Home’s feats home used a small "reservoir of hydrogen" and probably applied sulphuric acid to the skin on his hand to resist the heat of burning coal. Now if you read on from page 100-110 he suggests the balance tests that Home performed were not the result of fraud but had a natural explanation from electricity, he later goes on to describe his own experiments at replicating the Crookes-Home experiment (this is important, as far as I know Hammond is the only skeptic who tried to replicate that experiment). Hammond was a skeptic even describing spiritualism as a mental illness but no other sceptics apart from one I have found have referred to his suggestions about Home, probably out of embarrassment. His suggestions while possible were quite implausible if you look at the conditions of the séance. In her book “The Shadow and the Light: A Defence of Daniel Dunglas Home, the Medium” , 1982 Elizabeth Jenkins criticises these suggestions.

Note that similar suggestions to Hammond were also advocated over twenty years later by Henry Ridgely Evans in his book Hours with the Ghosts, 1897. Skeptics usually cite Evans as some sort of debunker of all psychic claims but this isn’t quite true. Read the intro to his book he is a critic of both materialism and spiritualism, he believed some psychic phenomena like psychokinesis was genuine. On page 105 of the book [11] he describes an exposure of Home’s mediumship of using a bottle of phosporated oil by Celia Logan but no reference is given. I have not been able to find any primary source for this. Apparently Gordon Stein has also cited this “exposure”, but it is apparently third hand. On page 106 it says "upon examination the next day it was found to contain phosporated olive oil or some similar preparation".

On page 107 is the suggestion for Home’s other feat that he used a reservoir of hydrogen with a tube hidden in his sleeve with some sort of activation switch. As described above Jenkins criticized this suggestion in her book as implausible. By the way you will need to read up to page 132 of Evan’s book because although early in the chapter he claims Home was a fraud he concludes that the balance experiments were genuine and Home used a psychic force. On pages 133-135 there is also discussion of Hammond’s replication attempts of that experiment.

Also see "The Outline of Parapsychology" By Jesse Hong Xiong p. 171 (online on Google books) where it says regarding Evans hydrogen suggestion: "As Carrington pointed out in his Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism (1907), apart from the improbability of such a device fooling Crookes, the leading chemist/ physicist of the era, the smell would immediately have given it away to everybody present. In any case, it could not account for the occasions when Home had handed the coal around (or, for that matter, when he had put it on Hall's head". I noticed you have already cited Carrington's book so you have already probably read this. I think Carrington did well there in pointing that out. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 22:17, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

Your contributions have been immensely appreciated. If you could, please, in a reply on this talk page, list all further sources that you believe to be relevant to what I am doing that I have not covered so far.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 00:43, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

I will get round to giving you some more stuff but there's probably not much that you don't already know, as you have cited on your list Walter Franklin Prince found various errors in early skeptical works but I have found something that nobody else seems to have found. Regarding Walter Mann's book The Follies and Frauds of Spiritualism I did find something interesting on page 173 it says "Mrs. Piper has made no revelations in science; her efforts in astronomy were utterly childish. Her attempts at prophecy have turned out to be ridiculously wide of the mark. She has never revealed a scrap of useful knowledge in all the years of her mediumship". [12]

Now on the Wikipedia page for Leonora Piper it reads "In all the years of Mrs. Piper's mediumship, she made no revelation to science, her efforts in astronomy were utterly childish, her prophecy untrue. She never has revealed one scrap of useful knowledge. She never could reveal the contents of a test letter left by Dr. Hodgson." This quote is alleged to be from William Romaine Newbold however this seems unlikely. Newbold was one of the original investigators with Professor William James, F. W. H. Myers, Sir Oliver Lodge, Dr. Walter Leaf who investigated Piper in 26 sittings I believe and he remarks were mostly positive. The above quote that he is supposed to have written is sourced to Martin Gardner's book On the Wild Side in the Chapter William James and Mrs. Piper page 229, yet if you look no reference is given.

I did some further research on this, it appears the Newbold quote originally comes from Joseph Rinn's book "Sixty Years of Psychical Research: Houdini and I Among the Spiritualists" on page 183. Again no source is given. Rinn's book appears in Gardner's bibliography so Gardner read Rinn's book but did not read the primary literature. If you want Newbold's actual thoughts on Piper, they appear in "A Further Record of Observations of Certain Phenomena of Trance" Part II , 1898, Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, pp. 6-49. This is heavy reading and I doubt this is online but Henry Holt in his book "On Cosmic Relations" has re-printed the majority of Newbold's report (do a search for Newbold in this link) it is easier to read the full text as there is a lot of pages from his report [13]. The negative quote from Gardner does not appear anywhere and Newbold's actual comments were mostly positive about Piper. What Gardner and Rinn have written makes no sense at all. I can only guess here that Rinn read Walter Mann's book and somehow attributed that similar quote to Newbold? Does that make sense? It doesn't but that is all I can guess unless of course Newbold really did write it? But it seems unlikely and no source is given. Whatever the case this was quite a bad error that was not corrected by Gardner or other skeptics.

Greg Taylor has written a rebuttal to Martin Gardner though not even Taylor picked up on the Newbold quote error. Unfortunately Taylor does not mention Rinn at all. Despite's Rinn's errors his book was a serious attack against spiritualism and does contain some valuable content and I might properly go through this book at some point. I noticed you already posted a review of it that found other errors. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 20:53, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

Regarding Martin Gardner's book it is online here [14] I recommend you download or save it because it will probably disappear soon, it is rare to find it online. Gardner seems to be influenced by Ruth Brandon and Frank Podmore he didn't do much original research himself. Also note Gardner has a chapter titled "The Smith-Blackburn ESP Hoax" there may be errors with what he has written I haven't checked but there is some contradictory information out there about this case. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 21:08, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

Do you have anything on Kathleen Goligher?Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 05:09, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Kathleen Goligher[edit source]

The Wikipedia page only cites negative material about Goligher, though there are some errors. Skeptics such as Edward Clodd, Joseph Jastrow etc wrote there were little to no controls in Goligher's séances but this isn't really true if you read the conditions of those experiments. This is what Horace Leaf in his book "What Is This Spiritualism" (1919) pp. 35-36 wrote on the controls:

"The experiments were conducted in a light strong enough to enable all present to see the objects in the room; whilst the tables used for levitations were so situated as to make it quite impossible for any of the mediums to lift them, even if they could have done so without being detected. The greatest freedom was afforded Dr. Crawford, who spent many hours within the circle and in all places around it. He continually worked under the levitated table and between the levitated table and the medium. Complicated instruments were introduced, and placed below the table, whilst Dr. Crawford often placed his arm and hand in the space between the medium and the table. As a result of these and other precautions and tests, eliminating all possibility of fraud, Dr. Crawford was enabled to confirm the reality of psychic force and discover two of the ways in which it is used by spirit communicators when producing physical phenomena." [15]

Note that Leaf attended some séances with Goligher and his remarks were positive.

On page 48 in "A debate on spiritualism / between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Joseph McCabe" (1920) [16] the skeptic Joseph McCabe wrote Goligher was a fraud who used her hands and legs to perform physical phenomena in the séance room but see the following page for criticism of this from Arthur Conan Doyle.

As far as I know Edmund Edward Fournier d'Albe is the only researcher who claimed to have detected Goligher in fraud. He was not a skeptic, he believed some psychical phenomena was genuine but was critical of Goligher. He writes about it in his book "The Goligher Circle" but this is rare to locate. Eric Dingwall gave the booklet a mixed to negative review in the SPR journal.

Further information here on the Goligher case with criticism of the Wikipedia entry in the chapter "Five Experiments with Miss Kate Goligher" by Mr. S. G. Donaldson which lists Brian Inglis "Science and Parascience" (1984) as defending the Goligher case whilst "Six Feet Over: Adventures in the Afterlife" (2008) by Mary Roach as dismissing it. The pdf also contains rare photographs and positive comments about Goligher's physical phenomena. Some photographs were taken in infra-red I believe.

In the same pdf see the chapter "The Confession of Dr Crawford". According to Susan Blackmore who met Eric Dingwall, she claimed Crawford confessed the whole Goligher case was fraud to Dingwall:

“He gave me a penetrating look “Before he died – committed suicide, you know,” he added, rather conspiratorially,” he said “Ding, I have to tell you something. It was all faked, all of it.”

This is printed in Susan Blackmore's book "The Adventures of a Parapsychologist" (1988). However it is contradicted by statements Dingwall wrote at the time. For example in 1932 Dingwall in the SPR reviewed d'Albe booklet concluding:

"Whether we may think it just or not, the fact remains that Dr. Fournier's book will be generally taken as a complete exposure of the circle and as a refutation of all Dr. Crawford's findings. Such a conclusion is warranted neither by the book itself nor by common sense."

As the author in the PDF writes - the confession seems unlikely. Not sure if Blackmore can be trusted about it. It may well be an error. Another defense of the Goligher séances here "The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism" (1930) by Stanley De Brath [17] pp. 24-25

Also look at the weight measurements for Goligher. The skeptic Joseph McCabe wrote "Dr. Crawford has said that the medium when put on the scale showed a loss of weight of twenty pounds during the performance. I suggest that she lifted the table with her foot. That table weighed twenty pounds, and that will explain why the scale went up twenty pounds". [18]

Though Edwin Bowers gives different weight figures and wrote "On one occasion the loss of fifty-two pounds was recorded on the auto-registering scales" [19] Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 19:36, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

d'Albe's book "The Goligher Circle" is available online via the State Library of Victoria: [20] Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 20:34, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Leonora Piper[edit source]

If you have any other information on Goligher, that would be appreciated, but I think it would be a good idea to delve in depth into Piper, and the criticism of her, as she is the high profile case. A particular item that interested me was the Andrew Lang criticism - if you have any knowledge of the background on that, I'd love to have a dialogue on it (and other objections to her).Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 06:08, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

Regarding Andrew Lang I have not looked into his criticism of Piper I will look into it but make sure to add this to your list "The Strange Case of Daniel Dunglas Home" from Andrew Lang's book "Historical Mysteries" [21], this is a refutation of some of the allegations of fraud that have been cited by skeptics and appear on the Wikipedia entry for Home. For example there is contradictory information about the "exposure" from Robert Browning himself, he changed what he claimed to have observed a number of times.
Simeon Edmunds has been cited on Piper's Wikipedia article with a negative comment about Piper, but he also wrote positive things about Piper that have been ignored by skeptics. See page 116 in his book "Hypnotism and the Supernormal" [22] regarding the George Pelham communications from Piper, Edmunds notes that apart from one doubtful case in all the other cases the names "were given correctly and the right degree of intimacy was indicated" and "the sitters were all introduced anonymously or pseudonymously."
The skeptic Edward Clodd in his booklet "Occultism" in the appendix pp. 76-77 compiled a list of séance sitters who wrote negative things about Piper but some of them may be cherry picked i.e. not even a sentence from Andrew Lang "would cheat when she could" which is taken out of context. [23]. On page 77 Clodd mentions a letter from George Pelham's brother regarding a Piper séance with John Fiske. I noticed you have already posted a rebuttal to this. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 18:30, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
On the Wikipedia page for Piper it suggests that Piper read an obituary notice in the local newspaper to obtain information about Mr and Mrs. Sutton daughter Katherine, this is sourced to the believer turned skeptic John Taylor. But this suggestion is not plausible if you read the original report of those séances which is cited in Stephen E. Braude's "Immortal Remains: The Evidence for Life After Death" pp. 62-66 which gives the information Piper gave from those séances which accurately described many details about Katherine including her favorite toys, I don't see why this sort of information would be in an obituary. Note that most skeptics have not discussed the Sutton séances with Piper. They choose to ignore this evidence. Alan Gauld in his book "Mediumship and Survival: A Century of Investigations" and writes that it is not plausible to be explain this case by super-psi [24]. A good overview is the chapter "The Piper Case" pp. 291-311 in the book "Are the Dead Alive? The Problem of Physical Research" [25] Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 20:09, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
I am currently reading the book "One Hundred Cases for Survival After Death" by A. T. Baird, it a collection of the best cases for survival [26]. If you read from page 150 it has positive information about "book tests" from the medium Gladys Osborne Leonard. Harry Price though supportive of some mental mediums was skeptical of these tests of Leonard. His book "Fifty Years of Psychical Research" covers this in a chapter "Unconvincing Newspaper Tests" but Price concludes "Fortunately, Mrs. Leonard's reputation does not rest on her successes in these unconvincing tests. That this medium is able to acquire information through channels other than normal is undeniable, and she has been called the 'British Mrs. Piper' with considerable truth". The Wikipedia entry on Leonard says "skeptics" believe autosuggestion explains Leonard's mediumship, now it's possible that skeptics do believe this but Price's book only references Charles Richet for this claim. Autosuggestion is indeed mentioned in Price's book but only in reference to Charles Richet's comments about Raymond being a secondary personality of Leonard. Richet was not a skeptic, he didn't believe in spirits but in the ESP hypothesis. As Robert McLuhan noted in his book "Randi's Prize" there is not much skeptical material on Leonard though McLuhan criticizes C. E. M. Hansel's negative comments about Leonard which he took from Joseph Jastrow. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 23:17, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

I'd love to discuss Piper with you later - I'll add other evidence I have accumulated, and, together, we can make a point by point rebuttal to the wikipedia entry. For now, though, I have questions regarding the other most notable medium, DD Home. I have obtained materials on him adequate enough to counter almost all of the skepticism, except with regards to the alleged Ashley House levitation. Do you have anything on that?Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 03:11, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

There is contradictory witness statements about Home's famous levitation, even about the location and details which floor or room it took place in. As Stephen E. Braude pointed out the levitation was one of Home's weakest documented feats it's why skeptics have written about it in detail whilst ignoring Home's genuine phenomena. Eric Dingwall and Trevor Hall debunked the levitation in their book "Four Modern Ghosts". I have ordered all of Hall's books so I will let you know what it says. None of his books are online. The skeptical material on the levitation goes back to the 19th century. I will document some books on here. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 17:27, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

I have a review of "four modern ghosts" that discusses his points against the levitation. IIt would seem that the most positive points on this would be from the Jenkins book, though the evidece for this is inadequate. Let's resume discussing Piper.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 17:55, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

I think there is strong evidence suggesting Home could levitate, for example there are cases where he wrote a mark or the initials of his name on the ceiling with a piece of chalk or pencil. I find it hard to believe he was using a secret ladder. How else would he be able to do this? Arthur Conan Doyle in his book "The Edge of the Unknown" writes "In 1866 Mr. and Mrs. Hall, Lady Dunsany, and Mrs. Senior, in Mr. Hall's house saw Home, his face transfigured and shining, twice rise to the ceiling, leaving a cross upon the second occasion, so as to assure the witnesses that they were not victims of imagination." [27] There are many other cases like this. I just remain unconvinced about his "famous" levitation as it is contradicted by the original witnesses who were there. The primary reports contradict each other and unfortunately this has played into the hands of the skeptics. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 18:21, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

I'll begin with Piper. An unexpected strong item of defense for her comes from Frank Podmore: "On the hypothesis that Mrs Piper has obtained all this information fraudulently, we can but view with amazement the artistic restraint in the use of proper names; her masterly reticence on dates and descriptions of houses and such concrete matters, which form the stock-in-trade of the common clairvoyante, the consummate skill which has enabled her to portray hundreds of different characters without ever confusing the role, to utilize the stores of information so laboriously acquired without ever betraying the secret of their origin." Frank Podmore also noted of Piper's sittings that "the sittings which have to be written down as failures now number barely 10 per cent.": [28] He concluded: "If Mrs Piper’s trance-utterances are entirely founded on knowledge acquired by normal means, Mrs Piper must be admitted to have inaugurated a new departure in fraud. Nothing to approach this has ever been done before. On the assumption that all so-called clairvoyance is fraudulent, we have seen the utmost which fraud has been able to accomplish in the past, and at its best it falls immeasurably short of Mrs Piper’s achievements. Now, that in itself requires explanation.": [29]

In his mostly ultra-skeptical book “The Newer Spiritualism”, written in 1910, p. 222, Podmore conceded that "Taken as a whole, the correspondences are so numerous and precise, and the possibility of leakage to Mrs. Piper through normal channels in many cases so effectually excluded, that it is impossible to doubt that we have here proof of a supernormal agency of some kind - either telepathy by the trance intelligence from the sitter or some kind of communication with the dead.": [30] Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 18:34, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

It's strange because even though Podmore had positive things to say about Piper - he was one of the sources used by skeptics to attack Piper's mediumship or claim she was not in communication with spirits. Joseph McCabe wrote regarding the George Pellew communications "Mr. Podmore, who, in spite of his high critical faculty, was taken in by this episode, thinks that telepathy alone can explain the wonderful things done. He does not believe in ghosts. Mrs. Piper's "subconcious self," he thinks, creates and impersonates these spirit beings, and draws the information telepathically from the sitters." But on the following page McCabe writes that Podmore's conclusions are invalidated because Pellew's family were shown the communications and denied they were from Pellew. [31], what McCabe did not mention is that in the Pellew communications Piper's control identified the correct names and details about many séance sitters, these séance sitters were anonymous, Piper did not know anything about them. Podmore's suggestion of telepathy would actually be accurate for the information that was given. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 18:57, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

Do you have good sources on the Pellew control, and rebutting criticism of the Hodgson control?Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 19:24, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

Well the source for that would probably be Holt's "cosmic relations", but that would take quite some time to look through, and I'm trying to cover so much now. But the Piper case is important, hence this dialogue.

In Alan Gauld's The Founders of Psychical Research, p. 255, he states, "Mrs. Piper stayed twice in Liverpool with Lodge, twice in Cambridge with Myers and the Sidgwicks, and twice in London in lodgings chosen by the committee. Careful precautions were taken to prevent her from obtaining information about her hosts and possible sitters. Almost all her sitters were introduced anonymously. Lodge's house contained (by chance) completely new servents, who could have known little about his concerns. He locked up the family Bible and photograph albums." - in a footnote, he states, "None the less, C. A. Mercier, Spiritualism and Sir Oliver Lodge, London, 1917, p. 116, triumphantly demands to know if Lodge had not a family photograph album and a family Bible from which Mrs. Piper might have obtained her information." - Gauld continues the main passage: "Mrs. Piper allowed him to examine her mail and to search her baggage, though the payment which she received - 30 shillings a day -would hardly have enabled her to employ agents. Myers obtained for Mrs. Piper and her children a servant who could have known nothing of himself and his Cambridge friends; he chose sitters, he tells us 'in great measure by chance', sometimes introducing hem only after the trance had begun. Of some sittings stenographic records were kept, of the majority full contemporary notes were were taken; those made of the most successful sittings, the twenty-one held under Lodge's auspices, being in fact the fullest."

The wikipedia article on Piper says "In 1889 George Darwin attended two séance sittings with Piper anonymously. The control of Piper mentioned names, but according to Darwin "not a single name or person was given correctly, although perhaps nine of ten were named." At the end of the first séance Darwin and Frederic Myers were talking on the stairs outside of the séance room whilst Piper was left alone inside. Myers mentioned Darwin's name in a clear voice whilst the séance room door was open. In the second séance Piper mentioned the name Darwin."

Do you know anything about this?Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 19:59, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

How about this - post everything you have so far arguing against the wikipedia article on Piper, and then, through further research and dialogue, we can cover the rest. I will contribute some items on Rinn and Tuckett in a short while, but I await your reply.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 18:53, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

The reason for the request is that I am very busy attempting to cover so much ground in a short period of time, and could use some assistance.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 16:31, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

Regarding the George Darwin quote, it is sourced to Edward Clodd [32] who took it from Ivor Lloyd Tuckett. According to Clodd the information about Darwin and Myers talking outside of the séance room originally came from a personal letter from Darwin to Tuckett, there is no way the check this original source. Darwin's comments about Piper were published in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research (1890), I have not read this and I doubt it is online. In his book Tuckett quotes some of these comments on pp. 365-366 [33]. They were indeed negative comments about Piper i.e. her control getting things wrong about Darwin. I don't think there's any rebuttal to this. Piper had her off days. Michael E. Tymn who has written a biography of Piper has written about this. You can read his blog post as he writes "Mediums are a lot like baseball players – and every other type of skilled person, athletic or not – in that they get "hits" and "misses." Like Tymn I believe it is incorrect to expect mediums to provide 100% true information in every sitting, if spirits really are trying to communicate through the medium there could be all kinds of interference problems, mediums or spirits are not Gods, there will be mistakes but in most cases I believe the medium is using some from of ESP. I am not expecting the dogmatic skeptics to understand this. As for Dr. Tuckett have a read of page 106 [34] in Walter Franklin Prince's book which describes one of Tuckett's suggestions about Piper employing a conjurer trick in broad daylight whilst in front of Oliver Lodge as completely improbable. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 20:54, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
I will try and get some of my information on Piper to you in the next few days. I have some other books that you might be interested in. Right now I am looking into William Hope and Francis Ward Monck. Despite what you might have read by skeptics they both produced genuine phenomena in conditions where fraud was ruled out. Monck was exposed a few times I consider him a mixed medium. If you read this he produced genuine psychic photographs Professor George Henslow "The Proofs of the Truths of Spiritualism" [35]. As for William Hope he was not caught in fraud, there are many witnesses who testified his photographs were genuine. The alleged "exposures" were deliberate attacks against Hope and in some cases have been misrepresented. I will cover this at some point in detail. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 21:14, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

check hathitrust for the early issues of the pspr and jspr and paspr and jaspr: pspr:, (this is missing volume II, which is given in the earlier link)

jspr: (missing volume 1)


jaspr: Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 21:57, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

And, the mediums you are studying are important, but I wonder if you have any information on Florence Cook, who at present is my other concern, though secondary to Piper.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 22:59, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

And also, in some way, I am grateful to the wikipedia editors, because they force us to deal with their literature, and this might have the effect of changing public perception on the issue once this project is complete.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 17:06, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

So, onto Piper, here's an interesting item [36], regarding "Bessie Beals", there are these two items [37][38].Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 21:54, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

And also, you give mixed views of Rinn, it would seem more appropriate to change that towards the negative in light of Salter's review of him. Elanor Sidgwick, in a review of Tuckett, notes that he focuses on weaknesses in the proceedings VI report that were known to the investigators, and therefore add nothing to our knowledge, Salter, in the review of Rinn, noted (p. 434n1), that such "muscle reading" could not have occurred in the latter experimental sittings with her. Oliver Lodge, on p. 451 of Proceedings VI, refuted the muscle reading hypothesis, and Walter Leaf noted that these arguments are "far from covering the whole of the facts." He was quite right, Oliver Lodge, after introductory remarks on p. 647, made a list of Piper's accurate portrayal of incidents unknown to, or forgotten by, or unknowable to persons present. Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 00:09, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

Now you have the floor.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 00:13, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

On the Wikipedia talkpage for Leonora Piper a skeptic has written

"Leonore Piper lived in the United States around the turn of the century. Through her, a number of "spirits" related stories of persons and events concerning which Leonora Piper denied any knowledge. However, a number of incidents cast doubt on her ability to contact the dead. For example, she gained some degree of fame with a "spirit" revelation about the circumstances of the death of a man called Dean Connor. However, when the revelation was finally checked out, it turned out to be grossly unreliable. In another incident, the family of George Pellew-whose departed spirit supposedly conveyed much of the news of the "other world" to Leonore- was shown the information furnished by "Pellew" about himself; they judged it to be highly inaccurate. On another occasion, Leonore claimed to have contacted the spirit of Bessie Beals, who was a fictitious person invented on the spur of the moment by the psychologist G. Stanley Hall. Later in her life, Leonore Piper made the following statement: I cannot see but that it must have been an unconscious expression of my subliminal self... it seems to me that there is no evidence of sufficient scientific value to warrant acceptance of the spiritualist hypothesis." Andrew Neher. (2011). Paranormal and Transcendental Experience: A Psychological Examination. Dover Publications. pp. 217-218

There are some errors with this statement. Bessie Beals as you pointed out was not entirely fictitious as there was a person with that name. This is actually mentioned by Hall himself in Tanner's book but modern skeptics ignore it. Regarding the alleged "confession" from Piper "there is no evidence of sufficient scientific value to warrant acceptance of the spiritualist hypothesis" this has also been refuted. Piper claimed she never wrote this, it was indeed a fabrication. The newspaper interviewer misquoted her, probably deliberately. See "Mrs. Piper & the Society for Psychical Research" pp. 128-129 [39] for the truth about Piper's comments. The Dean Connor case was indeed a failure but there may be information ignored here by skeptics, see the full book "The Quest for Dean Bridgman Conner" [40]. This is heavy reading and I don't plan to go through it but Michael Prescott has an overview on his blog [41].

Regarding the skeptic Andrew Neher he misrepresented Daniel Dunglas Home by claiming he has been caught in fraud, if you look at his sources he has been mislead by the Browning "exposure" which was taken from Harry Houdini. I posted a link above where Andrew Lang refuted this exposure. Neher also has negative things to say about practically every medium and psychic he discusses. According to the list of book reviews cited by Robert McLuhan the psychical researcher Brian Inglis has given Neher's book a negative review, Neher, Andrew. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TRANSCENDENCE, reviewed by Brian Inglis, Journal 51, 1981, pp. 108-9. Can you put this book review online? The skeptics seem to be citing the Neher book all over Wikipedia but it is probably filled with other errors. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 19:50, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

The only substantial attack on Neher that Inglis launches in his review relates to Neher relying on Horace Wyndham for his overview of Home (Wyndham was refuted by Jenkins in her biography of Home). I will add some information on Piper's trance, but I wondered first if you have anything else.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 20:57, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

You are probably correct about Joseph Rinn, he isn't reliable when it comes to some mediums and some of his suggestions are implausible but his book I found interesting. The skeptic Daniel Loxton has a defense of Rinn here [42]. Rinn was a former SPR member. In one of the reviews you cited for Rinn's book it seems to have concluded Rinn may have lied about attending a séance with Leonora Piper. I will need to look into this if this is true then this is a serious case of dishonesty. As Robert McLuhan has pointed out many skeptics have relied on the Rinn book so we should take with caution any comments from Rinn.

Regarding Brian Inglis on Wikipedia it cites the psychical researcher D. Scott Rogo with a claim that Inglis suppressed cases of fraud. According to the list by Robert McLuhan "Inglis, Brian. THE PARANORMAL, reviewed by D. Scott Rogo, Journal 53, 1985, pp. 180-83. Wide ranging overview of paranormal topics, criticised by the reviewer for its relative neglect of experimental research and leniency to mediums accused of fraud." Do you have any further information on this?

I can't comment on the Florence Cook case right now, this is a very confusing case. I am currently researching it. I have Trevor Hall's skeptical book on Cook and William Crookes and I am going through it chapter by chapter. I will let you know my views on this at some point later. Note that a defense of Cook and Crookes is "Crookes and the Spirit World: The Important Investigations by Sir William Crookes in the Field of Psychical Research" by M. R. Barrington but this is a rare book to locate as it is out of print. Eric Dingwall also has some comments on Cook in his book "The critics' dilemma: Further comments on some nineteenth century investigations". I don't have this book though. The skeptic Barry Wiley also has comments in his book "The Thought Reader Craze" about Cook in relation to galvanometer or electric tests. These were different than the one's with Anna Eva Fay. Even though Wiley is a skeptic he has criticized other skeptics on their claims about Cook and Fay. He claims a secret accomplice was involved and not the medium cheating alone. Whatever the exact details Fay was a conjurer not a medium there is enough evidence that suggests this, I will touch on this later. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 23:29, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

On the Wikipedia page for Estelle Roberts a skeptic book by Melvin Harris claims a photograph of Roberts looked like she had dressed up as her spirit guide, but this is not a plausible suggestion if you look at the details of the photograph. It was not a photograph taken at a séance with Roberts. It was a psychic photograph taken by the psychic photographer Madge Donohoe. I don't know all the details but you can read about this on page 28 in Maurice Barbanell's book Some Discern Spirits: The Mediumship Of Estelle Roberts. The photograph does indeed look like Roberts but the suggestion she dressed up is not plausible because it wasn't a photograph taken at her séance or with Roberts. There are also two books that defend Roberts mediumship from witnesses who experienced her phenomena Barbanell's "The Trumpet Shall Sound" and the book "Why I Believe in Red Cloud" edited by Ivy Estelle Boutcher (both of these are out of print and rare). Roberts has sadly been ignored by most psychical researchers as she was never tested. The photograph and some further information about Roberts can be found here [43] Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 23:45, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

Thank you - you have said nothing about Cook that I do not already know, but your information about Roberts is appreciated. I look forward to your information on Fay (and also the Davenport brothers). As for these types of mediums, I have insufficient information on Ethel Post-Parrish (who I think was probably fraudulent), George Valiantine, and Mina Crandon (specifically regarding claims against the psychical researcher Bird), and I wonder if you could add information on them before returning to Piper. But then I would like to keep the focus on Piper.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 00:30, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

There is no evidence Ethel Post-Parrish was fraudulent only an accusation, but the Wikipedia page seems to present the accusation as factual. Regarding Parrish one of her family members was involved in the Camp Chesterfield spiritualist camp which was indeed exposed as hosting fraudulent materialization séances. Skeptics like to claim that skeptics exposed this fraud but it was actually the psychical researcher Andrija Puharich in 1960 who first exposed the fraud and published his findings in a psychic magazine. As for Parrish the only accusation of fraud comes from M. Lamar Keene in his book "Psychic Mafia", he says they faked the photograph by a double exposure and a cardboard figure or super imposing some smoke in. At first this sounds possible but none of this makes any sense if you read into the actual séance conditions. There were witnesses present when the figure materialized, many actually. Roy Stemman in his book "The Supernatural" page 82 writes the "manifestation, Silver Belle was reportedly witnessed by 81 people. Some of them apparently walked arm-in-arm with her."

As for George Valiantine he was a dead cause for spiritualism. I don't believe any of his phenomena was genuine. Herbert Dennis Bradley wrote two books endorsing his feats but later came out against him in a book titled And After. I think the Wikipedia page on Valiantine is mostly accurate. His big downfall was the fraudulent fingerprints. As for Minda Crandon she also used fake finger prints and was exposed in the SPR journal and J. B. Rhine also suspected she was a fraud and wrote a paper on it but this fraud was never confirmed it was only suggestion about her apparently kicking an object. I will get some further details on this when I track down that original paper. Walter Franklin Prince concluded Crandon was a complete fraud in another paper. Try and get access to this "A Review of the Margery Case" The American Journal of Psychology Vol. 37, No. 3 (Jul., 1926), pp. 431-441. You can find this on JSTOR. It covers the entire case but note that Brian Inglis in his book "The Hidden Power" has written Prince was biased against physical phenomena. It seems Prince in her earlier years was mostly skeptical. I don't know enough about Malcolm Bird's relationship with Crandon but there have been suggestions various psychical researchers slept with Crandon, this was actually confirmed by Carrington himself. I don't think Bird was a secret accomplice like the Wikipedia page seems to suggest, he was actually a competent researcher, not credulous. He wrote a very useful book, I will get the link here it is [44]. I will dig up some sources on that it's been a long time since I read this case. Also be aware Harry Houdini may have attempted to deliberately discredit Crandon, if you look up the ruler incident you will known what I am talking about, it is only briefly mentioned on the Wikipedia page but it is much more complicated that what has been written there. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 01:01, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

Nandor Fodor has a positive overview of Valiantine in light of what you discuss:

see also: and:

As for Mina Crandon, the Gale Encyclopedia of Occultism and parapsychology has a useful overview, though I am accumulating JASPR volumes from the 1930s to dee if some of it can be countered:

Now let's return to Piper.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 06:01, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

Other sources[edit source]

You have most of the main publications but you might want to include this book on your list "Consciousness and the Physical World" by Douglas Stokes [45] which has the chapters "The Evidence for Psi: Spontaneous Phenomena" [46] and "The Evidence for Psi: Experimental Studies" [47], this will take about two nights to properly go through as it covers many cases but all the references can be found in the bibliography. Also see the website which has the section "Parapsychology and Paraphysics" for free online articles by parapsychologists like John Beloff [48]

You may also be interested in this article "What Psychical Research Has Accomplished" by Frank Podmore

Sorry for the randomness here but this is just stuff on my computer that I have collected over the years. You might want to add this book review [49] by Charles Davey of the skeptic's book "The Truth about Spiritualism" by C.E. Bechhofer Roberts. If you have problems viewing this, you can download it. As Davey points out there are problems with Roberts comments where he attempted to discredit direct-voice mediumship. Roberts book has been cited by skeptics as it contains negative information about Helen Duncan but in the book Roberts claims Gladys Osborne Leonard had genuine ESP ability. On the same pdf document is also a favorable/mixed review of two other books including Geraldine Cummins "The Road to Immortality". Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 18:30, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

Very cool. I have added articles. Now, let's return to Piper.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 10:07, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

Do you have anything to add on Piper?Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 18:37, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

Yes this book "The Enigma of Survival: The Case For and Against an Afterlife" by Hornell Hart [50], see page 75 "Four years later, a month after his death, communications alleged to come from Pelham began to be received through Mrs. Piper. During the next six years, at least 150 sitters were present when 'Pelham' communicated. From among these, he recognized 30 whom he had known when living, and he never claimed acquaintance with a sitter whom he had not known." Skeptics do not mention this. Then on page 76 is the case of Miss Warner another case the skeptics have ignored. This is evidence for the spirit hypothesis in opposition to psi because correct information not known to the sitters was given about Miss Warner's relatives. No skeptic book from Clodd or Tuckett mentions this information. This is good evidence in favor for Piper's mediumship. The Hart book is also crammed with other useful information on the cross-correspondences and other mental mediums,, it's one of the best written on the subject. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 22:26, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

The skeptics have put a load of skeptical sources on Gladys Osborne Leonard's Wikipedia page but if you look at the book tests they are actually conclusive evidence for ESP at the minimum, there was a test done in 1923 by an SPR member after Sidgwick and it revealed figures beyond chance. You can read positive evidence about Leonard's book tests here with various investigators such as Drayton Thomas in this extremely rare book "The Earthen Vessel: a volume dealing with spirit-communication received in the form of book-tests by Pamela Glenconner ; with a pref. by Oliver Lodge" [51]. It amazes me how skeptics ignore this evidence. Whately Carington's tests on Leonard are criticized in Susy Smith's book "The Mediumship of Mrs. Leonard" they were also criticized by C. D. Broad in his book "Lectures on Psychical Research" on statistical grounds. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 22:41, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

Make sure to read this it is an analysis of E. R. Dodds a very early proponent of the psi hypothesis versus the spiritualist hypothesis of Drayton Thomas, it discusses the Piper case. Note that Hart cites Carington's tests as conclusive evidence that Feda was a secondary personality of Leonard. I think Hart has been mislead although Susy Smith's book had not yet been published so perhaps he had not seen he evidence against those tests. Mrs Sidgwick has sometimes been cited by skeptics due to her critical comments about some mediums but as Hart reveals she was a believer in telepathy and did not reject survival. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 22:48, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

Your contributions have been very helpful, and I would like now to focus exclusively on Piper and Leonard, rebutting point by point the Wikipedia attack on them. Information on Mina Crandon, Eileen Garrett only as far as it rebuts skepticism on the R-101 case, and William Hope would also be useful, though I don't want to focus on others. After we deal with Piper and Leonard, if you are interested in doing so, I would like for us, together, to engage in a point by point rebuttal of Walter Mann's "The Follies and Frauds of Spiritualism". I have evidence against some of the skepticism on the book "Raymond", I wonder if you have other evidence. Regarding Piper, William James, as cited in "Abnormal Hypnotic Phenomena IV" (I have not yet obtained the primary source, but as cited it is James, William. "Report of the Committee on Mediumistic Phenomena." (Proceedings of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1885-89, i, pp. 102-106, on pp. 104-105) has useful information on Piper's trance. Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 03:06, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

References regarding "Raymond" are not needed, everything else is appreciated.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 07:17, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

Regarding Leonard, Susy Smith also wrote another book "She Speaks to the Dead: The Life of Gladys Osborne Leonard" which is a biography of Leonard. Both of Susy Smith's books rebut all the criticisms, you wouldn't need anything else apart from perhaps the "The Earthen Vessel" book I listed above which gives conclusive proof of her book tests, it is online. I am running out of sources for Piper I think you know most of them. Most of the skeptics rely on Frank Podmore book The Newer Spiritualism. There is a biography of Richard Hodgson but I do not have it. Skeptics have cited this book in attempt to discredit Hodgson as in his later years he claimed to communicate with spirits himself. This will need to be confirmed by getting the book. I don't have it unfortunately. This is unrelated to the Piper case but Hodgson's suggestions about Madame Blavatsky were wrong.

Have a look at this you should get some of your links forwarded to this encyclopedia if it comes out. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 15:08, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

If you don't have any more Piper sources, would you mind helping with a refutation of the Walter Mann book? I don't need help with the chapters on Florence Cook and DD Home, but if you have anything else it would be appreciated.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 03:34, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

So - any suggestions?

I will help you with the Walter Mann book on some of the chapters but not all of it, there are no book reviews for this one but it does contain errors. Mann seems to take influence from other skeptics like Podmore, McCabe and Clodd. He did not do much original research himself. Typical but the book should not be underestimated. He seems to focus on physical mediumship mainly which is a case of the good the bad and the ugly. Some of the early physical mediums were caught in fraud and I have no problem admitting this when it happens but unfortunately the skeptic dismisses the whole bunch as fraudulent, this is what Mann seems to do, even accepting allegations of fraud as factual, he doesn't cover many mental mediums. Some of these early physical mediums like Slade were mixed mediums, they produced some genuine phenomena but resorted to fraud on some occasions.

I have had a look at Mann's take on Henry Slade. There was a professional conjuror who attended some of Slade's séances and was impressed by his phenomena, this is discussed by George P. Hansen somewhere. Modern skeptics like Martin Gardner liked to claim there was no controls in these early séances and no magician was present but as you know he was completely wrong. I can think of at least six or seven cases of magicians being impressed by some of these early mediums. I noted you have already seen the case of William Hope a professional conjurer was present and could find no sign of trickery. I will try and provide some sources on this soon. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 18:24, 10 July 2014 (UTC)

I've gone through some of the Mann book and found answers to some of the questions - e.g. - the last chapter (though there are issues about Lodge and telepathy that concern me -I could also refute the first chapter). For me the Mann book is most important because it concentrates all of the skeptical attacks of the time period. To me, the most important chapters where your help could be useful concern the Fox sisters, the Davenport brothers, Robert Owen and his son, and the naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 05:31, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

Wallace has important info on the Fox sisters in his review of arpenter's book - refuting the alleged exposure of Culver:

I am curious about info on Kate fox's confession. Do you know of a counter-argument against this similar to Wallace's argument against Culver?

And do you have any other info?Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 22:05, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

I am a bit busy at the moment so sorry for lack of information but the Davenport brothers were fraudulent, Podmore coves it in "Modern Spiritualism: A History and a Criticism". If you look at the Davenport no spiritualist defends them today they were magicians, in fact they never claimed to be producing genuine phenomena, it is only skeptics who focus on this case. I don't have much of a problem with what Mann writes about Davenport, Arthur Conan Doyle originally believed they were genuine but later retracted this claim. Robert McLuhan in his book Randi's Prize covers the Fox sisters case in detail and the confessions you might be able to find this on Google books. Like you point out an impressive physical medium is Rudi Schneider but this was after Mann's book so he did not write about him. I will help you on the Slade chapter and Alfred Wallace, I will try and get some information to you by the end of next week. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 17:23, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Alright - do you know where Doyle retracted his claim about the Davenports? Your assistance has been very much appreciated - the chapters you promised to cover are the major ones of importance currently. You also said you had info about William Hope - those items are the important ones for my research at this time.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 01:58, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

This is just a reminder, in case you are watching this page.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 19:35, 26 July 2014 (UTC)

Anyway, I'm sort of interested in seeing how much every historical medium can be defended. There are non-evidential cases, e.g., Jack Webber. The magician Julien Proskauer claimed the floating trumpet of Webber was a trick - that Webber would hold a telescopic reaching rod attached to the trumpet, and sitters in his séances only believed it to have levitated because the room was so dark they could not see the rod. He claimed further that Webber would cover the rod with crepe paper as ectoplasm to disguise its real construction. Just from photographic analysis, this statement seems premature - especially when you consider the following:

The source "The Mediumship of Jack Webber" stands in conflict with this claim - p. 30 states, "To those who still may consider that the medium may possess a technique to permit his exit and entry from the fastenings normally, there is a final aspect that forbids that supposition. At the commencement of a séance, immediately after the tying, the light is put out. Within a fraction of a second one or two trumpets are in levitation encircling the sitters. As the levitation ends and the trumpets come to the floor, there is an immediate request for light. The trumpets may have moved several feet away from the medium and have come to rest well away from his chair. Frequently in most séances the trumpets are lying on the floor, in positions where it is absolutely impossible for the medium to touch them without getting out of the fastenings and reaching down to pick them up.

The almost instantaneous switching-on of the light before and after this, and other phenomena, illustrates beyond any possible doubt whatever that supernormal means must have been employed. The Guides have so perfected this rapidity of action that trumpets are often seen moving as the light goes on-and still more amazing, continuing in motion for a period while the light is on. (See the description by Colin Evans of a séance, further on in this volume.)"

and p. 44, "Every time the light was in this way flashed on suddenly, the medium was seen to be still securely roped and tied with the knots and the exact angle of the crossing loops of rope so undisturbed as to prove that he had not even been twitching restlessly as a medium in trance often does, and this within a small fraction of a second of movements of the trumpets at a distance from his body that could not have been normally manipulated unless he had been free from the ropes. His hands were empty and there was no possibility of his having concealed any mechanical device for moving the trumpets at a distance.":

Looking at my page, the only remaining ones not covered seem to be the Eddy brothers, of importance due to their influence on theosophy. Wikipedia had an article arguing that their phenomena were tricks:

To evaluate that article, it is necessary to consult AC Doyle's History of Spiritualism:, and Olcott's People From the Other World: - apparently from Olcott we find that skeptics paid the Holmses for false confessions:

The phenomena described by Katherine Bates in Holms' book, pp. 428-429, seem to supersede the objections of the skeptics.

In defending Theosophy though, one would have to defend some of their claims about science and history, which is much more difficult. There is a book called Scientific Corroborations of Theosophy: Or, H.P.B.'s Secret Doctrine Vindicated by the Progress of Science, but this seems inadequate.

Some enthusiasts believe that the following provides "evidence" for their views on Atlantis: [52][53][54][55][56][57][58] Jurgen Spanuth is likely the most serious source on this, but his views have been criticized, though he attempted to respond to them in a 1955 text:

Iguess Michael Cremo is a similar character - his "Human Devolution" text uses as its basis the arguments in his "Forbidden Archaeology" which resulted in criticism and attempted rejoinders.

Another item that might be worth pursuing is Julius Evola's Revolt Against The Modern World, to see how this corresponds with Theosophical arguments.

My understanding of Evola is that he attempts to derive his perspective by arguing that there are correspondences between eastern and western sacred traditions, and he attempts to derive historical information from this.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 08:55, 2 December 2016 (UTC)

William Hope[edit source]

This is all quite confusing, I will just type out what I have found and maybe you can try and make sense of it. There appears to be evidences William Hope was a fraud, but at the same time some contradictory information about some of these exposures. I am not sure what to make of it. There seems to be an exposure by Edward Bush and by Oliver Lodge. Here's some of the sources I have dug up.

Simeon Edmunds "Spiritualism: A Critical Survey" pages 115-116 reads:

"Hope was first exposed in 1920, when he was caught out by Edward Bush, by means of a simple trap. Bush wrote to Hope for a sitting, giving his name as "Wood", and enclosing with his letter a photograph of a living person which he said was his deceased son. Hope replied, making an appointment and returning the photograph. The "extra" on the picture taken at the sitting was an exact copy of the portrait Bush had sent to Hope, and a 'psychograph' (photographically produced 'spirit' writing) made at the time began, 'Dear friend Wood'. The researcher Whately Carington commented: ' Any reasonable person will say that Mr Bush has proved his case, that he laid a trap for Hope and that Hope fell into it as completely as possible. But an apology will doubtless be forthcoming from those to whom Hope's integrity is a cardinal article of faith". And of course, it was.

Two years later Hope was exposed again, this time by the investigator Harry Price, who proved that Hope 'switched' some specially marked plates for others, showing 'extras', which were of quite a different type.

Hope was finally and completely discredited in 1933 in a famous paper in the Proceedings of the SPR by Fred Barlow and W. Rampling Rose. Both photographic experts, they not only proved conclusively that Hope was fraudulent, but illustrated methods by which he had faked his spirit picture. Added weight was given to this exposure by the fact that Barlow was a former believer in spirit photography."

Janet Oppenheim "The Other World: Spiritualism and Psychical Research in England, 1850-1914" page 351 reads:

"In his eighties, Crookes no longer had the tough-mindedness to resist the tempting promises of human immortality and communication across the abyss of death. He became convinced that the "spirit photographer" William Hope had captured his wife's spirit on film. Lodge, who had had some experience with Hope's chicanery in the past knew that he was not above tampering with photographic plates, was extremely surprised to receive endorsement of the "spirit photographer".

William Hodson Brock "William Crookes (1832-1919) and the Commercialization of Science" page 474 reads:

"The Crewe medium and spirit photographer William Hope (1863-1933) so easily took in Crookes on 10 December 1916 when he gave him proof and absolute conviction that he craved by producing a likeness of Lady Crookes on a photograph of Sir William. Previously Crookes had always doubted the evidence for spirit photography, though in 1906 he had endorsed the view that it was not intrinsically impossible given that X-ray photography revealed the invisible. In the case of Hope's photograph, Lodge saw that there were obvious signs of double exposure, the picture of Lady Crookes being copied from a photograph taken at the time of the Crookes' golden wedding anniversary in 1906. The distraught Crookes was, however convinced that it was a genuine spirit photograph."

Regarding Lodge and Hope, some of the above information if contradicted by what Paul Tabori has written.

Paul Tabori "The Art of Folly" page 173 reads:

In 1922 Harry Price had a séance with William Hope, the famous "psychic photographer", the star of the close knit Crewe Circle to which many ardent spiritualists belonged. Lodge had also consulted him and endorsed Hope's "wonderful abilities" most enthusiastically.

By using plates which had been X-rayed with a photographic company's trade-mark, Price made sure that his plates could not be switched without having full proof of trickery. Hope did switch the plates and produced a picture of Harry Price which showed "a beautiful female 'extra', swathed in cheesecloth." There was no trace of the X-rayed trade-mark on the plate; Price clearly established that the celebrated "psychic photographer" had cheated.

When Price published his report in the Journal of the London Society for Psychical Research and called it "Cold Light on Spiritualistic Phenomena," a storm broke over his head. Sir Oliver Lodge, however, was honest and great-hearted enough to admit: "I don't see how your proofs of Hope's duplicity could be more complete" Yet for many years the great physicist had supported and defended the same man."

So Lodge came to accept Hope was a fraud, but sources contradict each other on Lodge's original beliefs about Hope. I supposed that's all quite irrelevant but still interesting. More to follow. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 21:54, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

I can't find any rebuttal to the Edward Bush exposure of Hope. Here is some more information on it from a newspaper article:

San Francisco Chronicle edition 11/19/1922 The House That Is To Be Dedicated To Ghosts

"The Scientific American, October issue, contains an “exposure” of spirit photographing. James Black, the writer, is unsparing in his criticism of Sir Arthur Conon Doyle, who has espoused the research movement into “spirit” photography. He cites how William Hope, the “leading psychic photographer of Great Britain,” whom Sir Arthur sponsored and vouched for was “exposed” A Mr. Marriott, a London photographic expert, challenged Hope to attest sitting, but never got it. But another investigator did, however, arrange for a fake picture. This is how Black describes what happened:

Mr. Edward Bush, a member of the S.P.R. (British), arranged a séance with Hope and sent him a photograph of a man Hope presumed to be dead. At the first sitting a spirit message came through, the second produced a spirit picture of the subject of this photograph. This is doubly remarkable; the subject was the son-in-law of Mr. Bush, who was alive and well! The message received was in the same handwriting as that of numerous other messages received through the same agency, and carried the same error in spelling, too. This message has been admitted to be a forgery; but Hope and his adherents will insist that the picture is quite genuine."

The above James Black article in the Scientific American is titled "The spirit-photograph fraud: The evidence of trickery, and a demonstration of the tricks employed". You might be able to find this online.

Some more information here about Edward Bush.

Peter Aykroyd "A History of Ghosts: The True Story of Séances, Mediums, Ghosts, and Ghostbusters" page 144 reads

"In 1920, skeptic pamphleteer Edward Bush fooled Hope into producing a "spirit photograph" of a man who was still very much alive. That embarrassing exposure was followed by another in 1922, in which investigator Harry Price, and his colleague, SPR research officer Eric J. Dingwall, inconspicuously marked a photographic plate before giving it to Hope to process. When the plates were exposed with a spirit "extra" in full view, Price and Dingwall found that the plate was not the marked one they had given him. They accused Hope of substituting their plate with one that had been doctored beforehand. Hope maintained that it was a setup during which someone switched his photographic plates."

Edward Bush was a skeptical SPR member, he published the booklet "Spirit Photography Exposed". This is out of print and I have not been able to locate it. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 22:13, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

Richard Morris, a biographer of Price, stated (p. 108 of this: "Dear Paul

In Leslie Price’s even-handed review of my biography about Harry Price he said that in the book I don’t always draw the obvious conclusion and cites the cases of William Hope and Rudi Schneider.

First off, I concluded that Price faked evidence against Rudi because of the strong evidence in favour of it. I’m not so sure whether he faked evidence in the Hope case but it seems likely. I wrote that although Harry stated that he passed the supposedly faked plate to an independent photographer to develop they were in fact developed by one of Harry’s close friends, Charles Reginald Haines. Haines was also implicated in Price’s attempt at passing off fake antiquities and a staged robbery at a village church in the 1920s.

My statements regarding Stella Cranshaw having had an abortion followed on from careful analysis of her letters, Price’s replies, her medical condition and her sudden switches of behaviour – which 3 independent psychologists said were symptomatic of some type of deep trauma. The pregnancy and abortion are supposition, but my duty, as Price’s biographer, was to work out why Stella may have acted in the way she did. My conclusions were based on her close relationship with Price and his subsequent relationship with other women.

Yours faithfully

Richard Morris"

Randall has argued that the Morris biography is spurious [59], so appraisal of the case obviously depends on finding the primary sources - hopefully, a yet to be published biography that does not suffer from the defects Randall argued exists in the Morris book will clarify matters.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 02:15, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

Fully agree, there is something dodgy with the Price exposure. I will touch on this more in future posts. I want to make it clear there is evidence in favour for Hope, I just wanted to cite the negative sources first. By the way I may have found a rebuttal to Edward Bush, I will let you know more about this soon with positive sources for Hope. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 17:06, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

Sorry for the slow reply Ben. I am at a bit of a stumbling block on Hope, I will show you some of the stuff I have but I need access to the original paper to look at the conditions of the experiment that Hope performed with Dingwall and Price. This is in the SPR journal.

A CASE OF FRAUD WITH THE CREWE CIRCLE, Journal 20, 1921-22, pp. 271-83 (illus). The independent psychical researcher Harry Price describes a test with the ‘spirit' photographer William Hope in which a sitter’s plates seem clearly to have been switched. See also Journal 21, pp. 4-10, 190-200.

AN EXPERIMENT WITH THE CREWE CIRCLE, Journal 20, 1921-22, pp. 335-8 (illus). Positive results apparently achieved with William Hope.

Is it possible to get either of these papers online? Especially the second as it contains positive results? If you could get these and upload them somewhere it would be very useful. How do you get these papers by the way? If I sign up on the SPR website can they be downloaded for free? Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 18:23, 23 August 2014 (UTC)

Positive evidence

See spirit photograph Hope had taken with William Barrett in 1924. The photograph was taken in scientific conditions and certified as "indubitable evidence" by William Barrett. [60] From A general survey of psychical phenomena by Helen C. Lambert. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 18:31, 23 August 2014 (UTC)

The JSPR vol. 20, that has the 2 articles you need, is available online:;view=2up;seq=6;skin=mobileBen Steigmann (discusscontribs) 18:33, 23 August 2014 (UTC)

Brilliant! I will take a look asap. And after coming across this I don't think Dingwall can be trusted. He says "Although it was strongly suspected that Hope never produced any genuine psychic effects. Mr. McKenzie defended him vehemently, and, when looking into Hope's bag, found apparatus for producing these frauds, published nothing about it, and the facts only emerged long afterwards." [61] from the book James Hewat McKenzie, pioneer of psychical research. BUT how would Dingwall know this?? There is no mention of this anywhere else. It seems to me Dingwall may have made things up like the Kathleen Goligher confession. Also James Hewat McKenzie was possibility the first psychical researcher to utilize scientific methods (before Harry Price) in his investigation of mediums so Dingwalls comment that McKenzie had a "disregard of scientific evidence" is also wrong in my opinion. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 18:47, 23 August 2014 (UTC)

See pages 91-94 for positive comments on the spirit photographer David Duguid from a photograph expert, also see the next 3 pages for a discussion of Mckenzie's experiments with Hope [62]. There was no conclusive evidence of fraud. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 18:50, 23 August 2014 (UTC)

Where is the info on Mckenzie being the first to utilize scientific methods?Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 18:57, 23 August 2014 (UTC)

Simeon Edmunds is a researcher that skeptics usually cite but this is problematic for them as he believed in ESP and telepathy, he was not a full on materialist. He was a humanist according to this also he was accused of being biased against spiritualism. He defended Trevor Hall's accusations that William Crookes had affairs with mediums and his survey on spiritualism only reported mostly fraud and did not report any of the positive information. His survey does not even mention Rudi Schneider and disposes of Leonora Piper in a few lines. Edmunds books received negative reviews from other SPR members and spiritualists according to the above link in the PsyPioneer Journal. Edmunds also wrote a critical book on spirit photography I have not read it but apparently the entire book is biased against the topic. And Yes McKenzie I consider the first researcher to use scientific methods (or one of the first) in the séance room, psychical researchers like Dingwall who described him as some sort of credulous spiritualist are wrong, I will dig that information out now, I do have it somewhere. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 19:04, 23 August 2014 (UTC)

For Edmunds, skeptics can avoid cognitive dissonance by also referencing CEM Hansel (who as we have discovered is problematic). Berger and Berger reference the text by Muriel Hanley, James Hewat McKenzie: A Personal Memoir (1963), which may contain useful information - they note the author's perspective contra dingwall's. According to Berger and Berger, McKenzie worked with Carrington in studying Hope in 1922, while McKenzie endorsed Hope, Carrington avoided coming to a conclusion.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 19:12, 23 August 2014 (UTC)

Regarding Mckenzie I think I got it slightly wrong, he was not the first "scientific" psychical researcher I guess this title could go to someone else but it was Harry Price who invented all the scientific equipment but Mckenzie did test Eileen Garrett etc. information about him there Founder of the British College of Psychic Science. I guess his downfall was claiming Houdini had genuine psychic powers and this is why skeptics call him credulous but I wouldn't go as far as calling him anti-science. I did read his book though and it wasn't that good.

Michael Tymn thinks Adin Ballou was the first psychical researcher he is wrong as well because you can trace back psychical researchers even before this. An early one was The History of the Supernatural in All Ages and Nations and in all Churches, Christian and Pagan, demonstrating a Universal Faith (1863) by William Howitt. I think Frank Podmore referred to this book. An early book that has chapters on psychical research. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 12:29, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

It is in two volumes

You might want to add it to your list, it's real old though lol

Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 12:33, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

My research has led me to believe that Glanvill's "Sadducismus Triumphatus" was the first psychical research text.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 02:32, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

New relevant source - "The Case for Spirit Photography" by A.C. Doyle: Steigmann (discusscontribs) 01:54, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

Slade, Wallace, etc.[edit source]

Alright - Sudre, Medhurst and Goldney have information that would seem to be more favorable about hope. But you said you had info on Slade, Monck (and Guppy), the Wallace chapter in general, etc., as pertains to the Walter Mann book, and this - particularly with regards to Slade, is of special interest to me (though the Wallace info as it pertains to the Mann book is also important), because I am going to be conducting an in depth research project into Henry Slade. This was particularly reinvogorated by the following text which, from the Spiritualist's perspective, is probably the best promotional material regarding the phenomena:;view=1up;seq=7Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 02:02, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

I'm assuming you're tracking this page, so I await a reply.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 17:46, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

Still awaiting your reply.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 03:31, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

The best source on this issue, aside from Wallace'sown writings, is probably Akasoff's periodical "Psychische Studien" - given that I don't know German, this is normally inaccessible for me, but luckily there is google translate: [63]Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 16:29, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

Zusne and Jones[edit source]

This is not for the person who has been helping me above, but for others who may help me refute "Anomalistic Psychology: A Study of Magical Thinking" (2nd edition, 1989) by Leonard Zusne and Warren Jones. In addition to the Walter Mann book, this is the other text I intend to refute.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 06:17, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

Here is an error Leonard Zusne and Warren Jones made, which Alcock also failed to detect

"The simple fact, which anyone can easily verify, is that the account Zusne and Jones gave of the experiment is grossly inaccurate. What Zusne and Jones have done is to describe (for one specific night of the experiment) some of the stimuli provided to the dreamer the next morning, after his dreams had been recorded and his night’s sleep was over. Zusne and Jones erroneously stated that these stimuli were provided before the night’s sleep, to prime the subject to have or falsely report having the desired kind of dream. The correct sequence of events was quite clearly stated in the brief reference Zusne and Jones cited (Ullman & Krippner, 1978), as well as in the original report (Krippner, Honorton & Ullman, 1972).

I can understand and sympathize with Zusne and Jones’s error. The experiment they cited is one in which the nocturnal dreamer was seeking to dream in response to a set of stimuli to be created and presented to him the next morning. As may be seen in Table 1, results from such precognitive sessions (all done with a single subject) were especially strong. This apparent transcendence of time as well as space makes precognitive findings seem at least doubly impossible to most of us. An easy misreading, therefore, on initially scanning the research report, would be to suppose the stimuli to have been presented partly in advance (because some parts obviously involved a waking subject) and partly during sleep.

This erroneous reading on which Zusne and Jones based their account could easily have been corrected by a more careful rereading. In dealing with other topics, they might have realized the improbability that researchers could have been so grossly incompetent and could have checked the accuracy of their statements before publishing them. Zusne and Jones are not alone in this tendency to quick misperception of parapsychological research through preconception and prejudice; we have already seen it in Alcock’s book. Alcock (1983) wrote the review of Zusne and Jone’s book for Contemporary Psychology, the book-review journal of the American Psychological Association, and he did not mention this egregious error, even though very slight acquaintance with the Malmonides research should suffice to detect it."

From Irvin Child "Psychology and Anomalous Observations" page 176 in "Basic Research in Parapsychology" 2nd Edition edited by K. Ramakrishna Rao. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 13:17, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

Dean Radin also mentions the Zusne and Jones error here

In her book "Parapsychology: New Sources of Information, 1973-1989" Rhea A. White on page 498 wrote "Zusne and Jones do not even deal with the ESP research of the last 20 years, such as the important work with computers and the Ganzfeld experiments. In other words, they deal almost exclusively with what can be explained away, and they shy away from the research results that cannot be dismissed easily."

George P. Hansen uses Zusne and Jones as a reference for debunking a levitation trick but this can be traced back to older skeptic books "An amusing example is Rogo’s (1982, pp. 33–34) account of the well-known photos of the “levitating” yogi (Plunkett, 1936; see also “Levitation Photographed,” 1936). Rogo reports that the yogi “right before the eyes of the startled onlookers—rose laterally up into the air” (p. 33). It was not clear from Rogo’s account that the yogi was under a tent that shielded the audience’s view while he was rising. (It is surprising that Rogo presented this as though it might plausibly be considered a genuine miracle. The trick has been explained many times [e.g., Brandon, 1983, pp. 207 (facing), 273; Proskauer, 1936; Rawcliffe, 1952/1959, pp. 209 (facing), 281; Zusne & Jones, 1982, pp. 84–85].) Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 13:39, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

Doyle rebutted McCabe in Spiritualism and Rationalism: With a Drastic Examination of Mr.Joseph McCabe. I will get this in a month and put it online if you do not. It would be very much appreciated if you could do this though.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 08:15, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Skeptics on dream telepathy debunked[edit source]

I will post a reply to the Hope and Slade stuff in the next few days, just thought you might be interested in the errors Hansel has made on dream telepathy. This has not been widely reported.

Basic Research in Parapsychology, 2d ed. edited by K. Ramakrishna Rao chapter "Representation of the Maimonides Research in Books by Psychologists" from page 169 mentions Hansel's errors and misrepresentation on the dream telepathy experiments at Maimonides. Also mentions Andrew Neher and criticism of David Marks. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 17:41, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

Hansel had claimed that the agent had communicated with the experimenter during the dream telepathy experiments, but this was false. Kripper writes that during the experiment the agent did not at any time communicate with the experimenter and this was reported in the original monograph. He concludes about Hansel "This behavior does not represent the collegiality that marks mature and considerate scientists. Even though Hansel's error had been pointed out by Akers, Child, and others, it was repeated in a 1985 paper."

You can read about this in New Frontiers of Human Science: A Festschrift for K. Ramakrishna Rao edited by K. Ramakrishna Rao, V. Gowri Rammohan in a chapter by Stanley Krippner titled "Criticisms". This chapter is important because it first discusses James Alcock's errors. See page 135 for Hansel. This is serious misrepresentation from skeptics. Make sure to add this to your list if you can. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 17:58, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

I was aware of the first reference, but thank you very much for the second.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 05:06, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

further commentary?[edit source]

To mental mad mike machine - if you are tracking this, your comments in response to the remaining questions would be more than appreciated.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 22:57, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Sorry about this I was on holiday for a few days. I will get back to you tomorrow (or later today) with detailed information on Hope and others. On a random note there is a rare paper here I was emailed the other day, you may want to add this. [64] Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 13:05, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

A skeptic book that has been regularly cited by skeptics on the psychokinesis article and elsewhere on Wikipedia is soul searching by the psychologist Nicholas Humphrey. There is a negative review of it here by (the skeptic?) Susan Blackmore [65] "By ignoring the best of parapsychology, he will have added himself to that sorry list of parapsychology’s critics who are uninformed and unfair." Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 00:02, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Thanks. I purchased a copy of the New Frontiers of Human Science book. Today all the supportive external links from near-near-death experiences article, including that to the University of Virginia, were removed. These people are on a religious crusade very similar to the inquisition.

It could be that this attitude develops because the skeptical literature seems so powerful, but as you have noted with the KR Rao book, and as I noted by excepting Rao's comments regarding the Pearce-Pratt experiment, much of the leading skeptical literature is fraudulent. Andreas Sommer has brought attention to the biased rendition of sources by debunkers:

I just combed recently over the Eusapia Palladino page and found so many errors, including misrepresentation of cited sources! Many of the leading ideologues of the movement distort their opponent's material. An email from a long time age between myself and Basil Hiley (a physicist colleague of Bohm who has not expressed support for psi, though Bohm has) showed how Victor Stenger egregiously misrepresents source material:

Stenger has engaged in egregious misrepresentation of so many others as well [66], [67], but here are citations of sources that refute his underlying premise:, David Chalmers, in "Consciousness and the Collapse of the Wave Function", takes things from there:

Anyway, you said you had info on Hope, Slade, and Wallace. That would be very helpful. If you agree with me about the problematic nature of the organized skepticism movement, I have a suggestion - I am working on my project till the end of December, but, during that time, after providing the information about those three, you could write up a Word document refuting as much of this as possible, using citations I have provided and elsewhere, as it forms a core of the modern organized skepticism movement:

Then you could provide it here, and I would attribute it to you, or your username, or whatever.

That project could make a real impact.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 03:16, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

I hope I didn't scare you off.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 05:51, 23 August 2014 (UTC)

Unfortunately Victor Stenger has died, but yes he did get things wrong, he knew about physics but did not know much about psychical research for example he dismisses Leonora Piper in one of his books in a single sentence. If you want rebuttal to the skepticism on the NDE article then have a look here asap, make sure to add this to your list Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 16:50, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

Joseph McCabe was a former Catholic, Trevor H. Hall was an orthodox Christian, Ivor Lloyd Tuckett was a Quaker. Paul Tabori sums up Harry Price's position in his biography "he rejected spiritualism as a religion just because it was contrary to the tenets of the Church of England" from "Harry Price: Biography of a Ghost Hunter". So yes some of the most famous skeptics of spiritualism were either Christian or former Christians. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 16:57, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

I noticed you already discussed the above NDE paper in detail, I had missed that. Here is another Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 19:03, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

Hopefully you've made sense of the William Hope material by now.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 23:58, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

Congratulations on continuing your research[edit source]

This is just the beginning of what is possible. Parapsychology/Sources/Steigmann is large, I consider it unapproachable, though someone with high motivation might go for it. That is not a criticism, it is just pointing out that there is more to do.

(This is a common problem with controversial fields that are not simply some stupid mistake, where there is some possible substance, and research continues and accumulates, becoming an enormous corpus, which, then, is unapproachable! It's largely true with Cold fusion, as my Favorite Example.)

When you have collected what you think reasonably complete, you can then create a student's guide. To start you thinking about that, if I were to agree to read one source available to me, or a very short list, what would you recommend? I could then read it and comment on it, creating more study resources and hopefully useful conversations. Remember, I am (1) skeptical, and (2) know that we don't know bleep. That is, what we don't know is much larger than what we know, pebbles on the beach, etc. Nevertheless, I'm not willing to devote massive time to a topic where I'm seriously skeptical; just enough to have fun and keep the doors open. I suspect a bit like w:Marcello Truzzi, who definitely had fun, and helped others to have fun, too.

I'm really interested in that issue of a subject in an experiment being possibly able to anticipate the output of a standard pseudorandom code generator. If one doesn't know the algorithm, that could be difficult with a powerful computer. This is an example of what we don't know, and why knee-jerk rejection of a field can prevent learning and expanding our understanding. What if the brain can predict the outcome of life? And, pretty clearly, it can, enough to produce increased success over random choice. So what are the actual limits? --Abd (discusscontribs) 13:59, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

Reading list:
The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism by Herbert Thurston. "The Limits of Influence" by Stephen Braude.
Everything ever written by Alan Gauld, some of that material is on my source list.
Parapsychology, The Controversial Science, by Richard Broughton. The 3 books of Dean Radin. The papers of Jessica Utts. Parker & Brusewitz (2003). A compendium of the evidence for psi is good, though this paper commits a glib error in claiming that Wiseman defended the Bill Delmore tests against George Hansen when he merely rejected one of Hansen's hypotheses, otherwise it is useful. Wiseman's article is here, and though he does not specifically state that Hansen's other criticisms are valid in the paper, neither does he reject them, so Parker errs in extending refutation of one item to refutation of all items. Appraisal of the Delmore case requires first reading Hansen's criticism of it, and then the counter-arguments of proponents (1,2,3,4), and not stopping with the Wiseman article which only rebuts one criticism and doesn't comment on the others, and pretending that it is a defense. Wiseman is not in any way a psi proponent, he has made concessions (1), however, even though he has been rebutted in various exchanges with others, he could never be described as having made explicitly positive claims. In his book The Heretics: Adventures with the Enemies of Science (2011), (p. 325), Will Storr after interviewing Wiseman noted that "Wiseman's career as a celebrity Skeptic is predicated on there being no such thing as paranormal phenomena. He admits to never having had 'any interest in investigating if it's true because I've always thought it isn't.'"
Baptista & Derakhshani (2014). Beyond the Coin Toss: Examining Wiseman's Criticisms of Parapsychology is an important work.
The Trickster and the Paranormal by Hansen is available on scribd.
2 important papers, available on the page are - Psychology and Anomalous Obserbvations: The Question of ESP in Dreams by Child, and The Anomaly Called Psi: Recent Research and Criticism by Palmer and Rao. Basic Research in Parapsychology, 2d ed. edited by K. Ramakrishna Rao, is an important work.
An upcoming book is coming out by Edwin May in Janurary 2015. Then, some tributes like New Frontiers of Human Science: A Festschrift for K.Ramakrishna Rao, Charles Honorton and the Impoverished State of Skepticism: Essays on a Parapsychological Pioneer by KR Rao, J.B. Rhine: On the Frontiers of Science by KR Rao, Irreducible Mind by Kelley & Kelley, and Science, The Self, and Survival After Death: The Selected Writings of Ian Stevenson by Kelley.
Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near Death Experience, by Pim van Lommel is a work than answered some of my questions on these issues.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 20:15, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
Okay, thanks, but that is far too much. First of all, don't expect me to buy anything. I come to Wikiversity to find -- or create -- free educational resources. I'm interested, enough to spend some time reading something that you recommend. Please, one reading, accessible. Some of what is above is accessible, but which one to start with? Then we can discuss it and move on to more, perhaps. (The same problem exists with cold fusion. Someone asks, "what should I read" and someone tells them to read Yeah, right. Over 3000 papers. It seems to be the idea that, hey, if there are 3000 papers, this must be great stuff! In fact, it is great stuff, but nobody is going to find that out by being overwhelmed at, which is a library of papers of all kinds and levels of probity and depth, some is validated and reproduced research, much is not, etc.) In the U.S. Department of Energy review in 2004, the expert panel was given a huge pile of papers, and how long did they have to digest that? I doubt that anyone read it all beyond the cold fusion researchers themselves, who were already familiar with the body of work, mostly. Setup for failure, or, more accurately, for seriously incomplete understanding.
Okay, I looked at Baptista and Derakhshani. This is heavy on critique of Wiseman, but there are points on which I could comment. Basically, one problem: that skeptics are pseudoskeptics, as many are, doesn't make them wrong. It just makes them irritating (and frequently means that they have not made a solid case). Do you think I should start there? I'd write a commentary subpage on it. Or something else? --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:08, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

That's good. If you look at the source list, you might also like the debate Rao & Palmer (1987). The anomaly called psi: Recent research and criticism, and Utts (1991). Replication and Meta-Analysis in Parapsychology.

These sources are also useful, covering an earlier period, and ostensible non-statistical evidence for psi:

Dingwall (1922). An Experiment With the Polish Medium Stephan Ossowiecki.

Feilding, Baggally, & Carrington (1909). Report on a Series of Sittings With Eusapia Palladino.

Crookes (1874 & 1889-1890), Medhurst, Goldney, & Barrington (1972). Crookes and the Spirit World.

Zorab (1970). Test sittings with D. D. Home in Amsterdam (1858). Steigmann (discusscontribs) 02:02, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

Other stuff here

skeptics like to think they came up with all the objections against psi research but it was actually proponents who came up with a lot of it first, take for example from that list

Ransom, C. (1971). Recent critiques of parapsychology: A review. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 65, 289-307. Bauer, E. (1984). Criticism and controversies in parapsychology. European Journal of Parapsychology, 5, 141-165. Child, I. L. (1987). Criticism in experimental parapsychology, 1975-1985. In S. Krippner (Ed.), Advances in Parapsychological Research 6 (pp. 190-224). Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 12:36, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

very good bibliography of books on parapsychology!! Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 12:38, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

SPR papers[edit source]

Some of these should be uploaded and made online, I need to see what they are saying, they may interest you. Yes there is a lot here but the content needs to be made public at some point (bolded papers may interest you the most)

Pearsall, Ronald. THE TABLE RAPPERS, reviewed by G. W. Lambert, Journal 46, 1972, pp. 212-3. Sceptical review of Victorian spiritualism.

Dingwall, Eric J. THE CRITICS’ DILEMMA, reviewed by Alan Gauld, Journal 44, 1968, pp. 250-5. Supports Trevor Hall’s sceptical claims regarding Crookes’s investigation of Florence Cook. The review criticises Dingwall’s judgment and impartiality, but acknowledges the ‘good deal of miscellaneous information about the Spiritualist scene of the 1870s’ that he provides.

Wyndham, Horace. MR SLUDGE, THE MEDIUM. BEING THE LIFE AND ADVENTURE OF DANIEL DUNGLAS HOME. Reviewed by Perovsky-Petrovo-Solovovo, Journal 30, 1937, pp. 42-5. Sceptical study of Home and other mediums, with some mistakes but much useful material, according to the review.

Besterman, Theodore. SOME MODERN MEDIUMS, reviewed by W.Whately Smith, Journal 26, 1930, pp. 122-5. Critical study of five mediums: Piper, Silbert, Eva C., Kahl-Toukholka (a Parisian professional clairvoyante), and ‘Margery’, largely aimed at demolishing their claims to paranormality.

Salter, W.H. REVIEW: THE SPIRITUALISTS BY TREVOR HALL, Journal 41, 1961-62, pp. 372-7. Critique of a book by a sceptical member in which an endorsement of a famous nineteenth century materialising medium by an equally famous scientist is considered to be a front for an adulterous love affair. The thesis is based on a claim that the medium had herself admitted this.

Hall, Trevor H. THE SPIRITUALISTS: THE STORY OF FLORENCE COOK AND WILLIAM CROOKES, reviewed by W. H. Salter, Journal 41, 1962, pp. 372-7. Controversial study of the investigation by a leading nineteenth century scientist of a young materialising medium. The author uses statements made in 1922 by a former lover of Cook to argue that the investigation was a cover for an affair between the two principals.

Podmore, Frank. MEDIUMS OF THE 19TH CENTURY. Reviewed by Simeon Edmunds, Journal 44, 1967, pp. 201-6. Sceptical survey of spirit mediums by a leading early member of the Society. The review gives a useful summary of Podmore’s career and thought.

Scott-Rogo, D. & Edmunds, Simeon. SPIRIT-PHOTOGRAPHY, Journal 44, 1967-68, pp. Criticism and rejoinders over Edmund’s scepticism of spirit-photography. See also Journal 45, pp. 28-31.

Dingwall, E.J. CORRESPONDENCE: D.D.HOME AND THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY, Journal 45, 1969-70, p. 311. Corrects an insinuation about Home’s sexuality, now discovered to be misleading.

Lambert, G.W. D.D.HOME AND THE PHYSICAL WORLD, Journal 48, 1975-6, pp. 298-313. A ‘geophysical’ theory used to account for poltergeists is here extended to the nineteenth century medium, suggesting that he was a faker who became adept at concentrating on houses where disturbances caused by such things as underground streams or railways were common.

CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 53, 1985, pp. 123-6. M. Coleman defends Trevor Hall's 'The Enigma of Daniel Home' against criticisms made in a review by Stephen Braude.

Coleman, M.H. ‘WILLIAM CROOKES TO CHARLES BLACKBURN’: ANOTHER LETTER, Journal 47, 1973-4, pp. 306-14. Argues that Trevor Hall’s case against Crookes as a party to the deceptions of Florence Cook is based on ‘a very selective assembly of the evidence’ (313). The author proposes instead that she deceived Crookes equally with everyone else. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 20:47, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

Jastrow, Joseph. FACT AND FABLE IN PSYCHOLOGY, reviewed by F.N. Hales, Proceedings 17, 1901, pp. 252-63. Collected magazine articles by the American psychologist and sceptic. This extended review rebuts criticisms of psychical research and attacks on mediums.

Tuckett, Ivor. THE EVIDENCE FOR THE SUPERNATURAL, Journal 15, 1912, pp. 256. Superficial debunking, focusing on weaknesses in the evidential material provided by Leonora Piper which the reviewer argues have been fully acknowledged by psychical researchers.

Palmer, E. Clephan. THE RIDDLE OF SPIRITUALISM, Journal 24, 1928, p. 240. A Journalist decides in favour of sceptics of psychical research, but without consulting experts.

Dingwall, E.J. THE EVIDENTIAL VALUE OF CERTAIN MEDIUMISTIC PHENOMENA, reviewed by Eleanor Sidgwick, Journal 25, 1929, pp. 69-72. Attack on the conclusions drawn by SPR researchers of the cross-correspondences. The reviewer makes a detailed rebuttal.

Joad. C.E.M. ADVENTURES IN PSYCHICAL RESEARCH, reviewed by W.H Salter, Proceedings 45, 1939, pp. 217-22. Articles describing the author's experiences at sittings by the mediums Helen Duncan, Eva C., Rudi Schneider and others are criticised by the reviewer for discrepancies with other records which suggest that he was not actually present.

Brown, Slater. THE HEYDAY OF SPIRITUALISM, reviewed by Alan Gauld, Journal 46, 1971, pp. 68-9. ‘…probably the best account of early American Spiritualism since the first volume of Podmore’s classic work.’

Russell, Eric. GHOSTS, reviewed by Alan Gauld, Journal 46, 1971, pp. 140-1. Discussion of apparitions blending a mildly critical approach with entertainment.

Gregory, Anita. ANATOMY OF A FRAUD, reviewed by Alan Gauld, Journal 49, 1978, pp. 828-35. Detailed examination of investigations of an Austrian medium, Rudi Schneider, focusing on a claim by one of the most committed, Harry Price, that his subject practiced a fraud on him. The author argues that Price’s claim was itself a fabrication: the reviewer takes issue with her statements.

Hansel, C. E. M. ESP AND PARAPSYCHOLOGY: A CRITICAL RE-EVALUATION, reviewed by D. J. West, Journal 51, 1981, pp. 27-8. Sceptical study: ‘Provided his wilder pronouncements and sweeping denunciations can be ignored, Professor Hansel can be credited with giving us good cause to reflect on our standards for evaluating evidence.’ CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 51, 1981, pp. 191-2.

Marks, David and Kammann, Richard. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE PSYCHIC, reviewed by Eric Farge, Journal 51, 1981, pp. 174-6. Debunking of psychism that omits much of the best evidence.

That is enough for now, I will try and help make some of these online perhaps you can help as well. I will briefly join the SPR I only just found out you can download stuff from their online library.Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 22:19, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

Thank you very much. I have most of these reviews, and I will be posting them next month. If you wanted to obtain a document and make it public, the best thing you could do is get:

PROCEEDINGS 33, 1922-3


You would have to split the document into 60 page excerpts, but then, you would be able to combine all the excerpts at Steigmann (discusscontribs) 19:42, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

williamhope, etc.[edit source]

To Mental Mad Mike machine

could you please post all your info on william hope?

Also, there is, to get, PROCEEDINGS 33, 1922-3


Sorry I am busy right now but I will get this to you by next Friday... this will probably be the last week I will be on here I understand this project is tiresome you should get some other people to help you, I will drop you my email though if you ever want to get in contact, I may be able to email you the stuff in pdf format or word etc, could be easier. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 12:22, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

If you have anything else on William Hope, it would be very much appreciated.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 04:04, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

It would appear, "Mental Mad Mike Machine", that this edit was from you on William Hope (some of the sources are similar to those you used):

I would have cited different sources from what you did in your edits, but you seem conversant with the literature. My defense of Hope would have employed sources like that specified here:

As for your edits on Crookes, William Crookes said, refuting the idea that he had bad eyesight in this period, "Home always had a great objection to darkness, and we generally had plenty of light. I tried several experiments on lighting the room. Once I illuminated it with Geissler vacuum tubes electrically excited, but the result was not satisfactory; the nickering of the light distracted one's attention. Another time I lighted the room with an alcohol flame coloured yellow with soda. This gave everyone a ghastly look, but the phenomena that took place were very strong, and I was told it was a good light for the purpose. One of the best seances I ever had was. when the full moon was shining into the room. The blinds and curtains were drawn back and there was light enough to enable one to-read small print." - JSPR 6, p. 342

That is superior to the source that (presumably) you used.

But overall good work.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 05:03, 4 December 2014 (UTC)

Disruption from possible Guerrilla Skeptic?[edit source]

You should know that there is a filing on the Wikiversity Request Custodian Action page that attacks you on the basis of Wikipedia history.

Permanent link to filing. Current link.

I recommend that you not respond unless requested by a Wikiversity custodian. The most you might do is to state an intention to comply with all Wikiversity policies and to cooperate fully with Wikiversity administration. Don't touch this single-purpose account filing against you with a ten-foot-pole, let Wikiversity administration handle this. If you find yourself being harassed, let me know, or a Wikiversity custodian.

As you can tell from Dave's response, there is no danger to you here, unless you were to create danger for yourself by attacking Wikipedians. We would still warn you first! You have done nothing that's been pointed out worth warning you over.

I didn't expect a sock/meat puppet would show up, and I doubt that this user will make any constructive contributions. But maybe he will, and then we can build deeper resources. Mostly, though, the kind of skeptics you have seen are not interested in depth. Too much work. --Abd (discusscontribs) 22:43, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

This is the same person who was making attacks against me here, my commentary and response to him there should suffice here regarding the content of his attacks: (images of his attacks are archived here and here) - this person subsequently complained to the Guerilla Skeptics themselves: (an image of this is archived here)
Going further with this could cause bad publicity for them - and purely from the perspective of what they seem to be - an ideological organization - I would consider the fact that this work on Wikiversity will as of this writing receive very few views in comparison to their Wikipedia articles, and hence it is a complete waste of time for them to attempt to engage this any further. The only way that would change is if I happen to convince the scientific mainstream and thus become famous - given the skeptics' confidence in their position, they are sure this won't happen, and thus they really have nothing to worry about. If they are genuinely scientific skeptics, and I actually refute them, then they would have nothing to worry about either, as science would advance. I hope some of these people are busy enough in the real world that they don't need to fret about research projects like mine.
Please realize also that the statement "We now have long experience with Wikipedia's cadre of dedicated skeptical editors. It is not possible in general to introduce corrections because they will be reverted by individuals who have a clear agenda to trash any articles related to parapsychology, anomalies research, etc., as well as articles about individual researchers." - was from an excerpt of an email of a correspondent that he allowed me to put on here - this is from a parapsychologist who, like many parapsychologists, is not happy about Wikipedia's current articles - many parapsychologists I have corresponded with consider them libelous, in light of the fact that counters to attacks that have been written are not on there, and people who have tried to put counters to attacks on articles have been prevented from doing so.
I used to attack individual Wikipedia editors, however, I removed those attacks, and I also just recently removed hostile discussion of individual editors from my talk page. The very last time I was on Wikipedia, I had a discussion with one that was as cordial as possible under the circumstances who did fix errors in citation [68] - a reason I went on there was to bring this to his attention and, though he is very different from me in his views, as an editor acting in good faith he fixed this - some of these errors that I thought were from him may have been from others anyway. I will probably inevitably find other errors as I critique articles, but if this is the case I will just generically refer to articles, and I see no need to attack editors, who are, at any rate, anonymous, and who I have never personally met. I actually think that the Wikipedia editor with whom I was in dialogue is to be commended for making us aware of the criticisms, and that brings me to my purpose here.
I am disputing the claims of hostile sources cited on Wikipedia and hence I am attacking Wikipedia articles (though mostly the sources used on Wikipedia), however, that is anyone's right - and ultimately, if the real facts as gleaned from the primary sources can be revealed, and what is revealed is different from the "mainstream" perspective, such an effort contributes to an advancement of human knowledge. I think this is something everybody would want to see, and shudder at the kind of authoritarianism and thought-police style behavior that would try to prevent it.
I have the intention to cooperate fully with Wikiversity administration, and really appreciate the opportunity I have been given here.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 09:43, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, Ben. Yes, once we understand that education is deepened through discussion and debate, we can see "skepticism" as essential to the process. Those of us who are scientists -- and we need not all be scientists -- come to understand that the most important skepticism is that of self and our own ideas and beliefs, which can be difficult to identify, we may think of them as "just the truth" or "just the way things are."
I consider it very important for the future of the WMF that Wikiversity exist and allow full expression, without making that into something ridiculous and dangerous. Hence we maintain what is necessary for civility and cordiality and cooperation with the other wikis. We will normally, in resources, link to the Wikipedia page. If we express fringe opinion, we will not pretend that it is "mainstream," or if the "fringe status" of a field is itself debatable, we will at least acknowledge the controversy.
Because of how we are structured, we need only maintain "due weight" as to overall presentation (particularly at the top level in mainspace), and we are not obligated, individually, to present all views. We are demonstrating, here, the power of academic freedom. Thanks for understanding that. I am assuming,from some substantial history with these issues, that you will be unmolested here, but, also, that if there are problems, you will demonstrate patience and a desire to collaborate. These are qualities that could, developed and practiced, someday, take you back to Wikipedia, if that's what you desire, though I somewhat wonder why you would want the headaches, once you realize what you can accomplish here!
Wikipedia structure may change in the future. It's obvious that, as-is, it is highly inefficient, not valuing editor labor, not conserving it, and that, in addition, it is vulnerable to factional editing. But that's not our problem. We may study Wikipedia articles, with due caution.
One more point. Searching for information that might relate to the incident here, I came across a project to create an encyclopedia of parapsychology. Wikiversity was mentioned there, with some doubt as to the stability of the parapsychology work here. I'd suggest you assure those people that it's stable; in addition, it's easy to keep off-wiki dumps of page data, including history, just in case. Encourage them to register accounts here, disclosing affiliations. We are not Wikipedia. Sometimes Wikipedia users prefer to remain anonymous, so a separate account may be registered here. They should be aware that account linkages will be visible to stewards, but unless an account is globally disruptive, that will not be revealed. I highly recommend not being globally disruptive!
There can be interaction and collaboration between Wikiversity and any independent encyclopedia project, and independent pages and sites can be linked from here (and even if a site is globally blacklisted, which sometimes a faction manages to accomplish, or the users of the site overlink to it or link in the presence of a conflict of interest). We simply make sure that any link is useful and is neutrally presented, or you can link without neutrality from a declared opinion page, as your Sources page is. --Abd (discusscontribs) 15:45, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
I looked at your links above to Facebook. If these activities ever come to the formal attention of the Arbitration Committee on Wikipedia, any user who can be well-connected with what is said there is dead meat, as far as their Wikipedia account. I quote, From the GSoW response to the anonymous "James Turner," who is reasonably possible as the person who came here (though we will not proceed to act on this here, it would be uselessly disruptive at this time):
Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia - GSoW James, I gave the info to my team leaders, don't know if anyone will have the time, but maybe. We are just over run with things that need to be done.</quote>
Many users have been topic banned or site banned for much less. This is clearly a system for off-wiki coordinated editing, which the Arbitration Committee has tended to react very strongly to. "Team leaders"? What are they leading?
Once upon a time, I'd have been looking at the entire history of that GSoW Facebook account, and correlating it with "skeptical" activity on Wikipedia, wasting countless hours with trying to protect a project that might as well have been designed to be vulnerable to this kind of influence. So the AC mostly looks the other way, unless someone seriously rubs their noses in it. A few times, editors with gravitas and reputation have done so, and the AC acted minimally, with only the most obvious scapegoats, expressing great outrage. And then they continue to avoid the real problem, the structure, since none of them are paid, etc., etc. --Abd (discusscontribs) 16:57, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
What follows isn't an attack, but a disclosure of a problem along the lines you have discussed. An affiliated skeptic wrote that he had many friends on Wikipedia, but that with Wikipedia, "it is not just folk from Susan Gerbic's group, it goes much deeper." - bragging essentially, implying that skeptic control permeates it.[69]
As I have said, I don't at all have problems with the extreme skeptic sources being cited on Wikipedia, but sometimes even semi-coherent challenges to them are deleted or obfuscated - e.g. [70], see also: [71], and [72], and particularly [73] (user with which there was a dispute there highlighted some irrelevant poorly-thought out commentary I once made elsewhere that I have since modified/removed - I also denied most alleged socks except for Blastikus and Pottinger's cats - I had overlooked disclosing that "Joel Slovo" was a sock, because it had already been disclosed that Joel Slovo was a sock of Blastikus - similarly, the other sock with a name was already, by virtue of looking at the public profile, noted as being a sock of Blastikus - this was a user "Theworldinstrument", whose edit demonstrated styling quite different from other Wikipedia articles, but who wrote on the controversial author Douglas Reed[74], an author I was very influenced by at the time and subsequently corroborated with primary sources, e.g.[75]), etc.
Anyway, enough about that, I don't really want to spend my time complaining about something I cannot fix. Basically my problem with Wikipedia articles is that they are a public pillory of unconventional theorists which does not allow counter-commentary from them or fellow proponents. These articles are thus like a form of bullying - and so, I am attempting to stand up to the bullies (not necessarily the editors of articles, but the sources informing their position, who have achieved success by shouting very loud in the public arena) where that is possible, and show people that there is a counter-argument out there, and that the standard narrative may be quite faulty.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 18:47, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I know what your problem was. Part of your problem was believing the Wikipedia propaganda. "The encyclopedia that anyone can edit." Yes, anyone can. Unless they .... and then you discover that the requirements for editing Wikipedia became, over the years, increasingly arcane, convoluted, parochial, and, as well, vulnerable to factional manipulation. Factions that can present themselves as "scientific" can get a leg up if they represent popular opinion among enough Wikipedia editors. There was theory about NPOV developed early on, and policies written, and I often have said they are not worth the paper they are not written on. They are *excellent*. And useless, because there is no reliable mechanism for enforcing them. But you believed this image of a Wikipedia, and were outraged when the reality was different. Join the club! There are many who have left Wikipedia in disgust, old-timers, former arbitrators, etc. It's a social phenomenon, an experiment, and someone forgot to set up controls and an evaluation process. It's a wiki problem, and we can have similar problems here, if we are not careful. There is an old project of mine to set up structure that could actually realize some of the wiki vision, but mostly people don't get it, don't see the need. Why can't we just agree?
Good question. Why can't we. I say that we *can*, but it takes structure, it is *obvious* that it does not just happen by itself.
Wikipedia is excellent in many ways, *and* it is unreliable, in many ways. The theory that articles would steadily improve was accurate enough, when starting from practically nothing. But whenever there are factions in human society, there will be factions on Wikipedia. There are editors with journalistic skills and a dedication to reasonably objective neutrality, like academic neutrality and the same in journalism. But those editors have no particular advantage over the POV-pushers, and are often overwhelmed. A sane structure would identify these skilled editors and enable them to serve as arbiters, routinely. (Not as the Arbitration Committee, which is really a court and not designed to handle content at all, and ... who is elected to ArbCom and what is the election method? As with the election of administrators, the method may as well have been designed to provide warped representation, it's usually approval-at-large with a serious supermajority requirement. Combined with election for life, and no pay but the only reward being more work, it's guaranteed to produce the Wikipedia we have. Sane administrators get a life and move on. What's left? Anyway, Ben, you are right. It's not our problem. Whenever I look back, whenever I research Wikipedia issues, I'm reminded of how much work it was to get one link to a convenience copy of Martin Fleischmann's paper on why he did his work with cold fusion, something that should have taken about 30 seconds. When it was obvious that an admin was willing to revert war, over completely bankrupt points, never accepted when discussed adequately, it took weeks of presenting evidence, collating arguments, and finally collecting enough attention that the fringe POV-pushing administrator finally gave up. On that point. He then focused his energy much more on Ban Abd. Much more efficient way of "winning arguments." Basically, Ben, I don't need Wikipedia. And I think you don't either.
Yeah, there is the thing about responsibility to humanity, etc. Well, we have a project here, and this project could, long-term, change the way Wikipedia operates. We are much more like academia. We can examine and develop educational resources in depth. Part of the plan is to encourage those who want to truly explore topics, to discuss them, etc., to come here and help build resources. Sister wiki links can be placed on Wikipedia.
There is also Quora, by the way, an excellent site for what it does. These resources can work together. We don't need to fight Wikipedia, we only need to occasionally defend Wikiversity from Wikipedians who come here attempting to impose Wikipedia standards on Wikiversity. It would be like encyclopedists telling a university what can be studied. The concept of academic freedom on Wikiversity, as well as "learning by doing," which allows "student projects," they do not have to be academically polished, peer-reviewed, etc., is firmly established. --Abd (discusscontribs) 02:40, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

This is just something I feel would be appropriate to put up here, since all of my Internet Archive items have been removed - its from writing on one of them: Sheldrake is attacked for questioning conservation of energy. But few people actually read what he wrote, so I will provide a summary of it for the benefit of other readers.

The relevant excerpt comes from his book "Science Set Free", p. 71:

"In the late 1990s, the Big Crunch theory was replaced by a new version of continued cosmic expansion powered by dark energy. In the current consensus, dark energy provides the motive force for the expansion of the universe, counteracting the gravitational pull that would otherwise cause it to contract. In most theoretical models, the density of dark energy in the universe is assumed to be constant ; in other words, the amount of dark energy in a fixed physical volume remains the same. But the universe is expanding; its volume is increasing. Hence the total amount of dark energy in the universe is increasing. The total amount of energy is not always the same. Far from running out of steam, the universe is now like a perpetual-motion machine, expanding because of dark energy, and creating more dark energy by expanding.

In the model currently favored by most cosmologists, dark energy is uniform throughout the cosmos, but some models of dark energy propose that it arises from a "quintessence" field that varies from place to place and time to time. The term "quintessence," meaning "fifth element," was borrowed from the ancient Greek term for ether, which was thought to fill the universe. Quintessence interacts with matter and changes as the universe grows. It can also transform itself into new forms of hot matter or radiation, giving rise to new matter or energy. Although the details differ, the creation of new matter and energy from the quintessence field recalls Hoyle's theory of the continuous creation of new matter and energy from a "creation field."

In this context, the laws of conservation of matter and energy seem less like ultimate cosmic principles and more like rules of accountancy that work reasonably well for most practical purposes in the realms of terrestrial physics and chemistry, where exotic possibilities like quintessence and the creation of dark energy can be ignored. In biology, the principle of conservation of energy is also a useful working assumption, but it may turn out to have papered over some fundamental cracks, as discussed below."

He then cites arguments showing discrepancies in early calorimeter studies, and the findings of Paul Webb that more energy was being used than could be accounted for via traditional measures.

He then looks into inedia, citing "The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism", and the article "DIPAS concludes observational study on 'Mataji'" (, and the "debunker" James Randi has explicitly refused to carry on tests looking into this, attacking the person who wanted to be tested with immense vitriol (, when carrying on these tests would be very easy to do.

He then states: "The idea of matter as passive, and energy or force as the active principle of nature, is fundamental to science. It is also an ancient conception in religious traditions. The active principle is breath or spirit. Maybe there really is a free, creative spirit flowing through all nature, including the dark energy or quintessence through which the cosmos is growing. Our breath is part of this universal flow. We have mechanized the flow of energy through windmills, waterwheels, steam engines, motors and electric circuits, but outside man-made machines the flow is freer. Maybe the energy balances in galaxies, stars, planets, animals, and plants are not always exact. Energy may not always be exactly conserved. And new matter and energy may arise from quintessence, more at some times and in some places than others.

The flow of energy through living organisms may not depend only on the caloric content of food and the physiology of digestion and respiration. It may also depend on the way the organism is linked to a larger flow of energy in nature. Terms like spirit, prana, and chi may refer to a kind of energy that science has missed out, but would show up quantitatively through discrepancies in calorimeter studies. If such a form of energy exists, how is it related to the principles of physics, including the zero point field? Physiology may be seriously incomplete, and may have a lot to learn from non-mechanistic systems of healing, such as those of shamans, healers and practitioners of yoga, ayruveda, and acupuncture.

Meanwhile, modern physics reveals incredible vast reservoirs of dark matter and dark energy, and the quantum-vacuum field is full of energy, interacting with everything that happens. Maybe some of this energy can be tapped by new energy technologies, with huge economic and social consequences."

Regarding the quantum vacuum - I found the following scientific american article on DARPA's interest in tapping it for energy:

The only thing connecting it to over-unity proposals is the following from Tom Bearden, who has been attacked by skeptics. Still, the article is interesting, and the sources he cites look like they are of high quality. He states - "Here is an update on the rigorous Klimov work, proving conclusively that one can find a process that will extract and use excess free energy from the vacuum (EFTV). The work has also been independently replicated, and they are moving to the amplification of lasers with this type of prototype EFTV technology. Notice the clear statement that the initially excited electron (after being hit by the incident solar radiation photon) first dives momentarily into the seething virtual state vacuum, popping back up with a great deal of additional energy (having been taken on from its submergence in the virtual state vacuum flux). The superexcited electron then abruptly decays into up to seven normally-excited electrons. So here we have the very clear and rigorous scientific proof that one can indeed extract free and usable EM energy from the vacuum, accomplished in a great national laboratory. It has also been replicated independently in a second great laboratory. It is now proceeding forward for potential use in amplifying laser emission, using the excess energy acquired and used from the seething virtual state vacuum.

Note that it only takes one single white crow to prove that not all crows are black.":

Even if he is wrong, the truth of that last statement has already been shown here. What Sheldrake argues elsewhere (@13:40 of the following: seems to be that rather than confine this to internet arguments, we should make a prize paralleling the James Randi Prize for these machines, but much more legitimate and open.

As for the quantum vacuum, I don't care about that so much, because I was able to connect cold fusion to over-unity via the following source - I looked at Josephson's review of the book "Voodoo Science":

He states, "It is interesting to look both at Park's account of the history of cold fusion and at that of the protagonists, presented in a video documentary Cold Fusion: fire from water (available from"

On that website Josephson links to is an article connecting Cold Fusion to over-unity:

As for corroborating Cold fusion itself, Josephson links to the following article:

The abstract of it states: "Many people still believe that cold fusion is the result of bad science. In contrast, numerous laboratories in at least 10 countries have now claimed production of anomalous energy using a variety of methods, many of which are now reproducible. This energy is proposed to result from nuclear reactions initiated within a special periodic array of atoms at modest temperatures (energy). Evidence for nuclear reactions involving fusion of deuterium, transmutation involving both light and heavy hydrogen, and nuclear interaction between heavy nuclei has been published. The claims, if true, reveal a new method to release nuclear energy without harmful radiation and without the radioactivity associated with conventional methods. This paper examines published evidence describing this new phenomenon in order to test its reality and to extend an understanding of the process."

The following source quotes Huizenga, a skeptic who expresses the belief that when laboratories report they have demonstrated a phenomenon, they might all be wrong, and the only way to be sure a finding is correct is to show that it conforms to established theory:

He could be called an apostle of the "skeptics" - those who put their theoretical conceptions (or misconceptions) before the data. He is rebutted in the above article with a quote from the Noble Laureate Julian Schwinger.

Also, the Energy Catalyzer has been independently verified:

Brian Josephson of course had significant difficulty correcting the Energy Catalyzer wikipedia page:

Considering his involvement, I emailed him, and asked his opinion about a criticism of the energy catalyzer that states that for it to work, "you’ve got to overcome the tremendous Coulomb barrier (the electrical repulsion between nickel and hydrogen nuclei), which — according to our knowledge of nuclear physics — requires temperatures and pressures not found naturally anywhere in the Universe. Not in the Sun, not in the cores of the most massive stars, and (to the best of our knowledge) not even in supernova explosions!"

He gave me permission to post his reply in debates, as follows. I asked if this was a valid criticism, and he stated (Sat, Nov 23, 2013 at 4:42 AM): "Not necessarily. That assumes isolated particles, but there could be collective effects (cf. e.g. the Mössbauer effect, where the lattice recoils as a whole). See for some comments in this regard."

Also, as Josephson notes on his site - "Extensive testing [76] supports Andrea Rossi's controversial claims [77]: considerable excess energy, inexplicable on conventional grounds, is observed in his 'E-cat' reactor by independent investigators."

Brian Josephson noted in a comment on a 2014-10-08 Nature blog: "The most important news of the year, perhaps, not just the last seven days? The results of a new investigation into the Rossi reactor (allegedly a high-power cold fusion reactor), involving running the reactor over a 32-day period, are now out. The report not only confirms output power far in excess of anything possible by chemical reaction, but also gives a clear indication that a nuclear reaction is occurring, on the basis of a substantial change in the isotopic proportions of Li and Ni over the period of the run. The report, entitled Observation of abundant heat production from a reactor device and of isotopic changes in the fuel may be seen at As before, I predict that pigs will fly before Nature makes any mention of the report, which has also been put on hold by the physics preprint archive (with an earlier report, a leaked email disclosed that the moderators were trying hard to find a reason to block the report but eventually gave in). Brian Josephson"

Brian Josephson has commented on Wikipedia regarding the reception of this issue: "I've no idea what this is all about, but you certainly do not have my agreement to the proposition that CF is considered to be pathological science by the mainstream scientific community. The fact that papers on the subject have been published by regular peer-reviewed journals disproves the proposition. I find this whole process extremely offensive, no different from the coups that take place in certain countries on occasion.":

A pre-print of an example of the type of peer-reviewed paper mentioned, showing the extent to which this subject is obfuscated, is provided here:

Regarding the obfuscation of this paper, see the following:

In his presentation "Pathological Disbelief", Josephson recommends the book "Excess Heat: Why Cold Fusion Research Prevailed" by Charles G. Beaudette, for those interested in researching this field: Steigmann (discusscontribs)

Why make one edit when you can make a dozen?[edit source]

Since Wikiversity is for education, here is a piece of advice about being a wiki user. I violate it myself sometimes, but only inadvertently. When you make many edits to a page, where you could make one or a very few, it fills up Recent Changes and irritates those who are watching it for spam and vandalism. On Wikipedia, it creates an appearance of tendentious editing, of dominating the page. As an IP sock there, you made *many* edits, where one or two could have been done the job. And then an admin semiprotected the page (which our friend called "perm blocked," one sign among many that this user is not an experienced Wikipedia editor, but someone with an outside agenda). So ... use Preview routinely and be satisfied with your edit before saving it. One of the causes of your Wikipedia problems was not understanding and practicing this. It's a mark of an inexperienced editor to make dozens of edits when one will do. And then, sure, sometimes you will think of something else. You can mark minor changes as minor, if all they are is a spelling correction or the like. But they are still to be avoided if possible. --Abd (discusscontribs) 16:23, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

  • One more point: get into the habit of describing all your edits in the Edit summary. It is also a mark of an experience editor, and a courtesy to the community. The default section header is not enough, unless it's the edit starting that section. Set your preferences to warn you when you do not enter a summary. (Preferences/Editing) "Prompt me... " --Abd (discusscontribs) 16:30, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

Edward Bush[edit source]

Edward Bush was a skeptic who wrote a very rare pamphlet "Spirit Photography Exposed" in 1920. The apparent trap that he used on Hope whilst not direct evidence of fraud is suggestive of it. Most researchers accept that Hope did commit fraud, the more important question is were all of his photographs fraudulent? There is no direct evidence for this only in some cases. As for the Bush trap it is cited by Harry Houdini, Whately Carington in the "The Psychic Research Quarterly" and by Simeon Edmunds who talks about it on his survey on spiritualism. We have already discussed Simeon Edmunds he was very critical against physical mediumship and so was Whatley Carington, though Carington towards the end of his life embraced Kathleen Goligher as genuine and became interested in Theosophy. I believe his book on the fourth dimension is on archive somewhere.

I recommend you check out Cyril Permutt's "Beyond the Spectrum: Survey of Supernormal Photography" which is a defense of William Hope. He writes on page 141 "When evaluating supernormal photography people will often suggest that fraud or trickery of one sort or another is involved but to suggest that, for instance, William Hope practiced such fraud continuously whilst producing supernormal photographs under strict conditions for nearly 30 years really shows the absurdity of the suggestion." This is very important because the skeptics are not discussing any of the positive evidence for Hope just the minor exposures or cases suggestive of fraud. If you want evidence in his favor you need to get hold of Permutt's book which even discusses experiments he did with the psychic photographer Tomokichi Fukurai famous for researching something which Ted Serios later became famous for. Permutt he was an SPR member and his collection of photographs is in the SPR collection. The other major defense of Hope is found here in "Experiments in Psychics: Practical Studies in Direct Writing, Supernormal Photography and Other Phenomena, Mainly with Mrs. Ada Emma Deane";view=1up;seq=1 by F. W. Warrick. This is a major work and not something that can be digested right away. It will take a few months to go over it. I am currently doing this. However Fred Barlow negatively reviewed it in the SPR journal. So everything needs to be taken into account. As for sources cited by skeptics the scholarly volume "Faces of the Living Dead: The Belief in Spirit Photography" by Martyn Jolly cites negative evidence against Hope. A previous book by Fred Gettings "Ghosts in Photographs" is more neutral. All these books needs to be purchased to weigh up the Hope case. Would you want to help with this? Perhaps you and me can submit an article to be published in the SPR. A review of the William Hope case. It has never been done before in depth. It would take about a year of course though I am busy for while and can't do this until next year. Make sure to port any of your information to the new SPR Wikipedia that comes out next year. I can't help you with anything else on here and it is important to remain anonymous for me because skeptics will attack you as you have shown above, but the William Hope interests me and I would like to get involved in this research at some point but not right now as busy with Christmas and work etc. I will not be further contributing here as this place is watched by the big brother guerilla skeptic team but I will email you next year. I believe 2015 will be a good year for this sort of research. Regards. Also see the latest four editions of the PsyPioneer Journal, one has a neutral overview of Colin Evans not found anywhere else. Mental Mad Mike Machine (discusscontribs) 09:26, 20 December 2014 (UTC)

William Hope was undoubtedly a fraud. He was caught in fraud by Bush, Dingwall/Price and exposed by an SPR member and former spirit photographer believer Fred Barlow. I won't post here but I will attempt to post a rebuttal to Steigmann's comments about Henry Slade shortly on the talk-page of his casepage. These mediums were not mixed, nothing at all genuine about their phenomena, they were undoubtedly charlatans deceiving people with conjuring tricks. WaterPlanet (discusscontribs) 09:27, 13 June 2015 (UTC)

Alright thanks. I agree. Comprehensive overviews of many of these people have yet to be written. I look forward to further collaboration in other venues. Also, this place is not a priority for GS - as I wrote, "Going further with this could cause bad publicity for them - and purely from the perspective of what they seem to be - an ideological organization - I would consider the fact that this work on Wikiversity will as of this writing receive very few views in comparison to their Wikipedia articles, and hence it is a complete waste of time for them to attempt to engage this any further. The only way that would change is if I happen to convince the scientific mainstream and thus become famous - given the skeptics' confidence in their position, they are sure this won't happen, and thus they really have nothing to worry about. If they are genuinely scientific skeptics, and I actually refute them, then they would have nothing to worry about either, as science would advance. I hope some of these people are busy enough in the real world that they don't need to fret about research projects like mine." - after I wrote that, I received no more harassment.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 22:53, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

Long term plan, Ben: Wikipedia articles contain "sister wiki links" to Wikiversity educational resources. (Those exist and are generally allowed by policy, but the pseudoskeptical factions have always opposed them, claiming that Wikiversity is "unreliable," or "self-publiished", as if Wikipedia were magically more reliable, and as if Wikipedia articles were not self-published.) Eventually, as this catches on, serious warping of Wikipedia articles will become untenable, it will become entirely too obvious. That will require more process here, so ... help get Wikiversity ready for this! Watch what happens in areas other than your own field. There is a body of users ready to defend Wikiversity against assaults on academic freedom, but it is also a wiki and can be overwhelmed by enough of an influx of users. If everyone is watching only on their own personal project, what happens is the same as on Wikipedia: a focused group can overwhelm the system. We have it easier here, because we can fork resources, allowing us to avoid most immediate conflict, but these claims of "fringe" and "pseudoscience" have afflicted us from time to time here as well. --Abd (discusscontribs) 00:49, 25 December 2014 (UTC)

As indicated, any attempt by them to destroy my work would be fatal to themselves. Sure I expose falsehoods by some so-called skeptics, however, the correct response would be - either I am wrong and my points can be easily refuted, in which case I encourage others to write a page rebutting my work in the sources subsection (note however that what is up there is in no way anything like that the final version will be), or I am clearing away the muck preventing a genuine skepticism by exposing extremists in the movement, an action which should be applauded by moderates who want to distance themselves from ideologues and propagandists who give them (the moderates) a bad name.

In that vein, I have a proposition. You have noted your sympathy to parapsychologists, but skepticism of most paranormal claims. Could you please write an essay in the sources subsection on responsible skepticism? I know another informed and sympathetic skeptic who doesn't have a will to disbelieve, but who is unconvinced of psychic phenomena (though he is open to telepathy) who may be able to help you in this essay.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 21:23, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

An interesting read for you[edit source]

You might be interested in this "50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology" [78], has a small chapter on ESP but the other chapters are more interesting. WaterPlanet (discusscontribs) 18:18, 6 June 2015 (UTC)

Thank you very much. Also interesting is Hans J. Eysenck's Sense and nonsense in psychology. Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 04:48, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

Guy Lyon Playfair not reliable according to Joe Nickell[edit source]

Enfield Haunting: Guy Playfair not a Fair-playing Guy WaterPlanet (discusscontribs) 09:29, 13 June 2015 (UTC)

Thanks. Playfair himself is critical of Nickell, but I'll see if he is willing to respond to this.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 15:12, 9 July 2015 (UTC)

I am just passing through but I did notice one unreliable reference on your list. The Elizabeth Jenkins book that defends Daniel Dunglas Home book is not reliable at all. It was negatively reviewed here by a respectable parapsychologist see from page 91, Jenkins would have us believe even famous conjurers like the Davenport Brothers communicated with spirits! Yawn.

And here is a negative review for Irreducible Mind by a professional neurologist who dismisses it as pseudoscience crackpottery. Magician Kid (discusscontribs) 21:55, 3 October 2015 (UTC)

Regarding the Davenport Brothers, the relevant sources seem to be as follows, given in case students of the topic stumble upon this page:

begin on p. 160:

regarding houding, see p. 563 of this:

see p. 8 - last page:

see p. 517:

see p. 552:

p. 143:;view=1up;seq=157

p. 72:

Spirit Mediums and Conjurors: Defense of Modern Spiritualism: magicians on paranormal: the unmasking of Robert Houdin: Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 10:41, 28 November 2016 (UTC)

Regarding the latter item, David Presti is an academic neurologist with the opposite opinion.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 21:20, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

Also, the neurologist Oliver Sacks rejected FWH Myers' belief in ghosts, but thought that his work on disintegrations of personality and sleep and genius was ingenious, and contributed to the "part masterpiece" character of his work. (The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales. Simon and Schuster, 1998. p. 242) [79]

I will incorporate the article you gave on Home, as well as other material on him, at a later time.

I would like to add that it is possible to be excessively hostile in issues like this with people who may be ideologically poles apart. I myself am very guilty of this. At a later time, I will edit my posts so as to change the tone of them and remove the hostility, and I would appreciate it if you, and other commenters, would do the same from this point forward.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 21:41, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

I rewrote some of my page, incorporating the items you gave here. Next year I'll have the time to get more in depth in general. Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 08:13, 29 November 2015 (UTC)

Regarding some of the other disputes you put forth - some validation of "subliminal self" ideas can be found by looking at the following items - [80] [81]. Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 20:41, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

"3. – When someone attempts to undermine rather than refute you, they’re the enemy.

4. – Undermining is personal, refutation isn’t. Refutation communicates “I believe you’re wrong due to the findings of the available evidence”. Undermining communicates “I’m going to humiliate you because your opinions invoke my disdain.” Refutations are logical retorts, undermining is interrelational violence. Learn to distinguish between the two, for they oft appear similar.": Steigmann (discusscontribs) 06:40, 13 March 2016 (UTC)

Essay vs Steigmann and colleagues[edit source]

I messaged this to Steve Hume on Facebook but thought I would give you a heads up, I am writing a rebuttal or commentary piece to yourself, Tom Ruffles, Michael Prescott, Michael E. Tymn, Steve Hume, Andreas Sommer, Robert McLuhan, Stephen E. Braude, Michael Grosso, George P. Hansen. I limit myself to these names only because these people including yourself seem to be the most knowledgably on the subject of psychical research in the world and have defended a pro-paranormal viewpoint or at least sympathetic defensive of historical psi research from older psychical researchers such as Barrett, Myers, Crookes, Hare, Lodge, Richet, Lombroso, Wallace, Zollner etc .

It is a piece that will go into why all the 'greats' of psychical research from the past were easily duped according to the skeptic viewpoint, source only to skeptical publications, comment why I believe this skeptical literature has been ignored and an extensive list of these skeptical references will be listed. The main point of doing this is to express why the field of psychical research is futile and why the above list of names in my opinion have been mislead by older researchers in the field. This will be hosted on an online wordpress or blogspot, but will submitted to wikiversity in userspace for possible commentary. I will email or contact the above authors about this. The reception will most likely be negative, but this is my last and final attempt to write on this field of research and why I believe everyone has been fooled by fraud. It could be expected to be completed by the end of May or June. Take care. Northern Cold Black Metal (discusscontribs) 11:31, 10 May 2016 (UTC)

Good luck. If we can overcome your arguments, then we should be able to make a case for the field.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 07:12, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

I have changed what I set out to do, my only beef is with spiritualism - I have no intention on attacking anything else (I am open minded on the topic of Survival and NDE research). I am not going to attack psychic research as such, but I will highlight while many of the psychical researchers have been duped by mediums. Don't worry about buying old skeptic works up until around 1940, they will all be put online for free. This may help you. See for example The Reality or Unreality of Spiritualistic Phenomena: Being a Criticism of Dr. W.J. Crawford's Investigation into Levitations and Raps.[82]. If you want anything let me know, il get it for you online. Also see my recent thread here, [83], its likely that Harry Houdini believed in reincarnation. His beef like myself was only with spirit mediums. If more psychical researchers from the past actually came out against these fraudulent mediums instead of endorsing them I would actually be very much on the side of psychical research. I noticed you are working on your project until December so you have plenty of time, I really want to get this done by June or July. I see what I can do. Northern Cold Black Metal (discusscontribs) 15:22, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

I have enquired here about Joseph Rinn [84], unfortunately most modern day skeptics are not very well read so don't have a clue what I am talking about. I have sent Daniel Loxton some emails with the criticism of Rinn but he does not reply. I have no dispute with you by the way about most of the modern day skeptics, they are pseudo-skeptics, not well read and they do not acknowledge the criticisms of skepticism. But this charge also rings bells with the paranormal community (more in my opinion), many believers do not acknowledge the skeptical literature, or if they do discover it they ignore it. So the whole thing is actually rather depressive, yet I will try and get the bottom of some of these cases. Northern Cold Black Metal (discusscontribs) 14:50, 29 May 2016 (UTC)

Rinn's work could still be important even if it has errors. If you could somehow make that, the work of Rawcliffe, and Gordon Stein's "Encyclopedia of the Paranormal" into pdfs, it would be very beneficial.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 11:38, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

W. W. Baggally was not an extreme skeptic, he was a believer in psychic phenomena. There is an obituary here [85], I am in the process of writing an article about this person, I will let you guys know when it is done. Spiritualist researcher (discusscontribs) 22:02, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

From Eric Dingwall, Very Peculiar People (University Books, 1962), p. 201, we find reference to "Mr. W. W. Baggally (+1928), himself a member of the Council, who had already sat with Eusapia and who, for many years, had studied trick methods, performed them himself, and who was almost totally sceptical as to the reality of any supernormal physical phenomena whatsoever."Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 03:07, 31 January 2017 (UTC)

Psi[edit source]

I was greatly looking forward to the new psi website by the SPR, I thought this website would attempt to debunk the skeptical literature on psi but it doesn't. For example Stephen E. Braude's entry on Henry Slade does not mention any of the skeptical literature written by skeptics or magicians, for example John Mulholland, Samri Baldwin, David Abbott, Chung Ling Soo, Joseph McCabe etc are not even mentioned? Neither are the exposures by Krebs or John W. Truesdell etc or criticism from fellow psychical researchers Hereward Carrington, Mrs Sidgwick etc. Over-all your own research on Slade is far better than Braude's because it acknowledges some of the criticisms. He has failed to look at all the literature on the topic and only goes for anything positive. Stanley LeFevre Krebs was a member of the ASPR, why ignore his comments? This is supposed to be an Encyclopedia for the SPR.

Likewise the D. D. Home page [86] offers no refutation of the all the skeptical commentary found on the Wikipedia article for D. D. Home. Perovsky-Petrovo-Solovovo an SPR member who thought Home was a fraud is not even mentioned on the SPR article for D. D. Home, neither are his two articles: (1912). On the Alleged Exposure of D. D. Home in France. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 15: 274-288, (1922). Concerning D. D. Home Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research 32: 18. Neither are any of the alleged exposes Frederick Merrifield etc.

This is intellectual dishonesty, Solovovo was an SPR member, yet he is ignored because he was a skeptic. I thought they would have hundreds of article written even for skeptics or individual psychical researchers on this new website but they have very little [87]. Wikipedia is much more reliable. All this psi Encyclopedia is doing is just claiming all these old cases were genuine, they have failed to take on the critics and skeptics cited on Wikipedia. This Psi Encyclopedia will never be the top of a Google search and it is not written from an academic perspective it reads as it were written by a group of die-hard believers, but that's exactly what it is - Stephen E. Braude and Michael E. Tymn have written many of the articles. Over-all a great disappoint. Skeptics are just going to laugh at this project, but this is another interesting piece of evidence of how paranormal believers ignore any evidence against their belief system. NS 1488 (discusscontribs) 11:15, 4 September 2016 (UTC)

If William Stainton Moses is so reliable and in contact with spirits like Tymn says on the new psi enyclopedia then why are there embaressing fraudulent spirit photographs that he was featured in? (Check is Wikipedia entry) yet Michael E. Tymn does not mention this. Moses defended the fraudulent spirit photographer Édouard Isidore Buguet yet Tymn chooses not to mention this either. I could go on and on but you get the idea. [88] NS 1488 (discusscontribs) 11:28, 4 September 2016 (UTC)

Your article on Eva C [89] is quite good because it goes into the criticisms unlike many of the other articles but Schrenck-Notzing was easily duped. Ladislas Lasslo a fraudulent medium hid fake cloth ectoplasm in Notzing's own pocket during his séances. Notzing had no idea about trickery, he was an elderly man. Just run a Google search on Eva C all her ectoplasm pictures look bogus, how can you honestly look at this stuff and think it is genuine Ben?

Just use relax, think about it, use critical thinking and Occam's razor. Is that gauze, cut-out heads from magazines etc you can see in the Eva C pictures? or is it really a mysterious energy of thoughts like Notzing thought that materialized to look like magazines and cut-out heads? It's the former, the real world doesn't work the other way, such an idea is stupid. There is no magic or psi. Everything has an entirely rationalist natural explanation. People lie, cheat, utilize fraud that is all parapsychology is, deception and wishful thinking. Just think deeply, don't fall a victim to wishful thinking. How is the Helen Duncan article going to go? I guess you guys have written it yet but you are working on it. Are you going to claim she was genuine as well? Even though you can see that her ectoplasm was nothing but cheesecloth or silly props on Google images. This is why I lost my faith in humanity a long time ago, its getting stupid the amount of nonsense humans believe in, it is true believer syndrome and delusion. Humanity is a disease, there is no psi. If you honestly enjoy black metal or extreme forms of underground music that embrace darkness and realism then you would see what this world is about dismal, depression, pain, lies, disease, death etc there is no God or magical psi powers to save human beings. We deserve nothing, we are worhtless there is only nature. Nothing above it or outside of it. There is nothing more - why would there be? We are nothing more than atoms in a void. The entire field of parapsychology is nothing but deception and wishful thinking. Since the beginning of man, man has had is erroneous superstitions, but you can wake up and shatter the delusion of wishful thinking and just become a realist and embrace nature. There is no supernatural. You may see that one day. Take care. NS 1488 (discusscontribs) 11:49, 4 September 2016 (UTC)

Stephen Braude [90] claims that parapsychologists in favor of Home can find the Barthez exposure countered in "D. D. Home the Medium: A Biography and a Vindication". Unpublished in English; published in Italian as "D. D. Home, il Medium" (Milano: Armenia Editore, 1976); revised and published in Dutch as "D. D Home, het krachtigste medium alter tijden ..." (Den Haag: Uitgeverij Leopold, 1980).

I will attempt to get the relevant excerpt and find somebody to translate it later.

Note - I cannot read Italian, but if somebody could summarize relevant content and/or extract source literature on other issues from that book and put it up here in comments to this subsection, that would be very much appreciated.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 03:18, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

The Lasslo issue is dealt with in an article by Schrenck-Notzing in Psychische Studien, Feb. 1924, p. 97: I will learn German, but for now, Google translate translates item 3: "3. Trotz der an sich guten Kontrollmaßregeln mehrten sich fürmich in den vier Sitzungen die Verdachtsmomente derart, daß ich nach meiner Rückkehr von Budapest im Herbst 1923 an den Versuchsleitcr Herrn Tordai einen am 2. Januar 1924 in dem Pester Lloyd abgedruckten Brief schrieb, in welchem ich dringend vor einer Veröffentlichung dieser Versuche warnte, dieselben vom objektiv wissenschaftlichen Standpunkte für gänzlich unzureichend erklärte und eine Wegnahme der Materialisationsprodukte, d. h. eine Entlarvung des Mediums empfahl, wie sie tatsächlich am 27. Dezember 1923 erfolgt ist. Von einer Täuschung meiner Person kann also keine Rede sein, wie der vorliegende Brief zeigt, wenn auch das Medium selbst von meinem Verdacht nichts gemerkt hat."

crudely as follows "3. In spite of the good control measures, the suspicious moments in the four sessions increased so much that, Of my return from Budapest in the autumn of 1923, wrote to M. Tordai, the chief of the trial, a letter printed in the Pester Lloyd on January 2, 1924, in which I urgently requested a publication Of these attempts, from the objectivistic point of view Viewpoints for completely unsatisfactory and one Removal of the materialization products, that is, an unmasking of the medium, as it actually took place on 27 December 1923. There can be no question of a deception of my person, As the present letter shows, although the medium itself has not noticed anything of my suspicion.": [91] Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 04:58, 5 November 2016 (UTC)

Henry Slade was a fraudulent medium[edit source]

It is pointless in defending Slade, you would have to accept he cheated.

  • "Slade succeeded only on tests that allowed easy trickery, such as producing knots in cords that had their ends tied together and the knot sealed, putting wooden rings on a table leg, and removing coins from sealed boxes. He failed utterly on tests that did not permit deception. He was unable to reverse the spirals of snail shells. He could not link two wooden rings, one of oak, the other of alder. He could not knot an endless ring cut from a bladder, or put a piece of candle inside a closed glass bulb. He failed to change the optical handedness of tartaric dex-tro to levo. These tests would have been easy to pass if Slade 's spirit controls had been able to take an object into the fourth dimension, then return it after making the required manipulations. Such successes would have created marvelous PPOs (permanent paranormal objects), difficult for skeptics to explain. Zöllner wrote an entire book in praise of Slade. Titled Transcendental Physics (1878), it was partly translated into English in 1880 by spiritualist Charles Carleton Massey. The book is a classic of childlike gullibility by a scientist incapable of devising adequate controls for testing paranormal powers." Stein, Gordon. (1996). The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal. Prometheus Books. p. 703.
  • "Zöllner's experiments, however, rest under the gravest suspicion, since we know that Slade was a notorious trickster, and it is highly probable that Zöllner was duped. I have devoted a lengthy chapter in my Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism to a detailed analysis of these tests, and therein showed how they might have been due to fraud, and how they could be duplicated by such means." Carrington, Hereward. (1931). The Story of Psychic Science. Ives Washburn Publisher. p. 342.
  • "In the case of Zöllner's investigations of Slade, not only do we know that Slade was exposed before and after his sessions with Zöllner, but also there is ample reason to raise questions about the adequacy of the investigation. Carrington (1907), Podmore (1963), and Mrs. Sidgwick (1886-87) are among a number of critics who have uncovered flaws and loopholes in Zöllner's sittings with Slade." Hyman, Ray. (1989). The Elusive Quarry: A Scientific Appraisal of Psychical Research. Prometheus Books. p. 209

Jonno the Donis Skeptic (discusscontribs) 20:41, 11 October 2016 (UTC)

I am aware of Slade's fraud. I am merely trying to argue that the critics haven't explained away everything, and that there is sociological significance (the commentary concerning Slade's appeal to Lankester is of interest, as are other items). I haven't put it in the evidence section. Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 04:48, 5 November 2016 (UTC)

If you're interested in Slade, see the following report by Dr. George King, concerning a seance in full light with slates obtained by the sitter himself with the slates above the table not leaving the sitter's hands: Steigmann (discusscontribs) 21:34, 29 November 2016 (UTC)

JonDonnis is a well known skeptic and owner of the badpsychics website. Whilst he has done some good work in exposing false mediums like Colin Fry, he is not entirely reliable.

Joseph F. Snipes, Fifty Years in Psychic Research: A Remarkable Record of Phenomenal Facts, 1927 is long out of print, but it has a supportive section on Slade. PsychicResearcher (discusscontribs) 14:19, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

on Zollner-Slade, Andreas Sommer noted in "Crossing the boundaries of mind and body: Psychical research and the origins of modern psychology" ((Ph.D. thesis) London University College (2013)), pp. 215-216, "Inspired by his friend William Crookes, in 1877 and 1878 Zöllner conducted a series of experiments with the American Henry Slade, who specialized in so-called slate-writing (i.e., direct ‘spirit writing’ in sometimes sealed slates).275 Slade, who had just escaped from England after a lawsuit for fraud instigated by the physiologist and tireless popularizer of political materialism E. Ray Lankester, was brought to Germany by Aksakov.276 After the Russian had failed to interest Helmholtz, Virchow and von Hartmann to investigate the medium, Zöllner agreed to test Slade with the support of Wundt’s old mentor Fechner, the physicist Wilhelm Weber (1804-1891, the co-inventor of the first electromagnetic telegraph) and the mathematician Wilhelm Scheibner (1826-1908).277 The famous physiologist and member of du Bois-Reymond’s and Helmholtz’s circle of anti-vitalist friends, Carl Ludwig, the surgeon Carl Thiersch, and Wilhelm Wundt, together attended a séance with Slade in November 1877, but left after only half an hour.2

In his detailed report, Zöllner stated that in order to control for possible fraud the experiments were conducted in bright daylight or gaslight in his flat, and he purchased a new table as well as freshly manufactured slates, which he secretly marked in order to rule out manipulations by Slade. Still, apart from slate writings in different handwritings and languages allegedly unknown to the medium, Zöllner reported phenomena such as the deflection of a compass needle, prints in flour and carbon-black from human hands and feet differing in shape and size from Slade’s, the lasting magnetization of knitting needles, and effects suggesting the interpenetration of matter, such as knots in loops of thread and leather, and ‘teleportations’ of marked coins from sealed containers and of wooden rings around the legs of a table, which Zöllner viewed as an empirical corroboration of his famous theory of a fourth dimension of space.279

Zöllner claimed that Slade had been closely observed and he described how he and Weber, to limit possibilities of fraud without inhibiting the medium psychologically, would often spontaneously request effects not in Slade’s known repertoire and make impromptu modifications in the course of experiments. Also, Zöllner argued that certain phenomena could have been faked only if Slade, who was never left in Zöllner’s flat unobserved, had installed intricate devices prior to the sittings. Among these were the disappearance of a small table which was later reported to descend from the ceiling, unexpected movements of heavy furniture, and the spontaneous destruction of a heavy wooden frame accompanied by a cracking noise while Slade was busy producing requested effects.280"

Sommer recommends a reading of the primary source prior to making judgement: Steigmann (discusscontribs)

Recall also that from Zöllner's text, we find the following: Zollner noted, in Transcendental Physics, pp. 219-233: Chapter Thirteenth PHENOMENA DESCRIBED BY OTHERS.:

"The foregoing comprises in essentials all the phenomena which I have myself observed in Slade's presence during a series of more than thirty sittings and other meetings. The precautionary measures which I had taken on these occasions were such, that for my understanding every possibility of deception or subjective illusion was excluded. I do not, how- ever, assert that these measures will be regarded as sufficient by the understanding of other men. I am therefore quite ready and willing to receive instruction and enlightenment as to better precautions than those adopted by me; provide that my advisers have given other proofs of intellectual competence superior to my own, to induce me to defer to them and to recognise them as judges of facts of observation, which they have not seen, but have learned for the first time from my description.

Before Mr. Slade left Germany, he visited Annathal in Bohemia, by special invitation from Herr J.E. Schmid, the owner of a factory there. In the family of this gentleman lie found the most friendly reception, and remained a week. Herr Schmid has already published a short account in a letter to Psychische Studien (July 187S). For the following detailed description I am indebted to Herr Heinrich Gossmann, Herr Schmid's bookkeeper, who witnessed all the phenomena during Slade's residence with Herr Schmid, and gave me a verbal account of them when on a visit to Leipsic. In accordance with my request, and by permission of Herr Schmid, he afterwards furnished me the following written account.*

"Mr. Slade arrived here on the 14th May, last year (1878), but was too tired by his journey to give us a sitting on that day. Notwithstanding which, to the surprise of us all, on his entering the room, we heard thundering blows on the sofa, for which Mr. Slade could certainly have made no preparations, as lie had never been in the room before. To the question whether this was a manifestation, Mr. Slade replied in the affirmative, remarking that the spirits could not wait till the next day to announce themselves, and that he had often found this to be the case where harmony prevailed. We took our seats at the table, without intending; a regular sitting, and had scarcely done so when all at once a seat at some distance, near the piano, put itself in motion, and came up to the table of its own accord. Continually as our astonishment increased, we did not neglect to watch Mr. Slade closely and attentively. I was sitting next him, and after some time was swiftly and unexpectedly swung round in a half circle, with the chair on which I sat, so that I nearly fell off it. Others at the table were now touched, sometimes softly, sometimes powerfully, and to me this happened often.

"One manifestation now followed another, chairs moved up to the table, touches on our knees were constantly felt, a knife and fork were put across each other on a cloth at the lower end of the table, as if they were cutting meat, then from another side of the table a fork flew off on to the floor in a slight curve.

"On the next and two following days seances were held in another room at a table appropriated to them. Many persons, sceptics and the like, to whom Spiritualism was as yet unknown, took part in them. A chain was formed, and we gave Mr. Slade a slate which he had never had in his hands before. He laid on it a small bit of pencil, and asked the spirit of his deceased wife to tell them, by direct writing, if it was possible for any of the departed relatives of the family to communicate in the same way; to which an affirmative answer was returned. Mr. Slade now put the pencil on the table, showed us that the slate was quite clean and without writing, and then laid it on the table over the pencil. Writing under the slate was at once heard; we could distinctly follow the scribbling and taking off of the pencil. This sitting, as all the rest, was in bright daylight; the slate lay there free, before all our eyes, when we formed the chain, and Slade laid one hand on the slate. The conclusion of the spirit-writing was denoted by three sharp raps; and the slate being lifted up, we found the whole under side of it written over, first by an address from Slade's wife in English, and next by a message in German from a spirit-relative. A communication from the deceased father of the lady of the house was especially striking, as his characteristics and habitual expressions when on earth were quite distinctly recognisable in it. Besides the great resemblance of the writing on the slate to that of the deceased, his identity was apparent from a certain manner of speech, and such phrases as 'We must all die,' which came upon the slate. And in many of these communications the like resemblances were observable. Among others, the brother of the lady of the house communicated, and in verse a custom he had when on earth, especially in writing to his sister, whom he generally addressed in rhymes. She recognised her brother very clearly in this, and on comparing the writing with that of his letters, just the same strokes were found in them.

This communication was obtained in the following manner : —

" A young lady (a relative of the family) who sat at the lower end of the table, opposite Mr. Slade, took in her left hand, by his direction, two slates connected by hinges ; a small pencil was laid between them, and she joined her right hand to the chain of hands on the table. Mr. Slade sat quite away from the slates, and his hands were likewise joined in the chain ; and under these conditions, to our great astonishment, writings began between the slates. The young lady, according to Mr, Slade, was mediumistic, therefore it was that she could obtain writing while holding the slate herself alone, which was not the case with the others ; she also perceived the pressure upon the under side of the slate while it was being written upon. . . .

" Such direct writings covered at least twelve slates, which were bought here, and came to Mr. Slade's hands for the first time, before all eyes, without his having any possible opportunity for "preparing" them, or for writing upon them without continual observation. Mr. Slade often held the slate quite sloping, at an oblique angle, and yet the pencil upon it did not slip to the edge, but wrote quietly on. The supposition one so often hears that the slates are "prepared" by Mr. Slade will not stand examination, because he washes out the answers, given to his questions by the spirits, on the slate, which (the same one) is again written upon; this also, as always, happening under observation. Wlien once during a seance at which writing was going on under a slate, one of the circle raised his hand quietly and without being observed, from that of his neighbour, the writing suddenly ceased, the connection being thus disturbed. Mr. Slade looked up, and seeing what had happened, requested the gentleman referred to, to try the experiment frequently, and each time the writing; ceased, and began again as soon as the chain was re-closed. There were many other manifestations. For instance, a bell under the table came out of its own accord, ringing, rose high up in the air, and let itself gently down, still ringing, on the table. A slate placed under the table was shivered into small a pieces, as by lightning, and the fragments flew in curve over our heads and so on to the floor. During a seance, another heavy table which stood at some distance from the one at which we sat, came with a rush of extraordinary speed and force to the side of a gentleman among us, whom we thought must have been hurt ; but it only touched him quite gently. The spirits gave to a hydropathic doctor, who was present, a token of esteem for his practice by wetting him with a jet of water, which came from a corner of the ceiling opposite him. Just afterwards my knee was tightly grasped by a wet hand, so that I felt the wet fingers sharply, and on examination I found the moisture on ray trouser. (Mr. Slade, during this, had his hands linked in the chain formed by those of all present.)

" Another interesting fact is, that when my Principal (Herr Schmid), Mr. Slade, and I, were holding our hands lightly on the table, the latter went up, hoveing in the air, and turned itself over above our heads, so that its legs were turned upwards.

" What an enormous force Mr. Slade must have applied to evoke these manifestations deceptively, is shown by the following case. When I was sitting, a little distance from him, he likewise sitting, he stretched out his arm, and laid his hand on the back of my chair. All at once I was raised, with the chair, swaying in the air about a foot high, as if drawn up by a pulley, without any exertion whatever by Slade, who simply raised his hand, the chair following it as if it were a magnet. This experiment was often repeated with others.

'Mr. Slade held an accordion under the table, grasping it by the strap at the side ; his other hand lay on the table. Immediately we heard the falling- boards move, and a fine melody was played.

" The experiment with two compasses was also tried; these were placed close together, and when Mr. Slade held his hand over them, the magnetic needle in one of the compasses began quickly swinging round in complete rotations, while tho needle in the other compass remained at rest, and so also conversely. According to the laws of physics known hitherto, if Mr. Slade had been secretly applying a magnet, as is so frequently alleged by opponents, both needles must have been set in motion, as they were quite close together, yet this was not the case.

" One of the most wonderful manifestations was the following: — Mr. Slade stood in the middle of the room, I on his right, on my right my Principal, and behind us, at the window, stood a young lady. While in this position we were conversing, and my Principal was about to go into the next room to fetch some- thing, a heavy stone, as if originating in the air, fell before all our eyes with a very heavy blow upon the floor, so that a regular hole was made in the latter ; the stone fell quite close to my Principal's feet. Immediately afterwards there fell a second stone, the fall of which, as of the first, we saw very distinctly. This did not happen close to Slade, for I and my Principal were both between him and the place.

" Occasionally at a sitting we saw a materialised hand; it would tear the slate forcibly out of Slade's hand under the table; it appeared suddenly at the side of the table, and quickly vanished again; it was a strong hand, quite like one of flesh and blood.

"A slate was regularly wrenched out of my Principal's hand ; it then made the round of the table, hovering free in the air before all eyes. ...Slade came here alone without any companion."

Professor Zollner next refers to the manifestations obtained through Slade at Berlin, of which he had received information from visitors and correspondents. Among the slates which were brought or forwarded to him, was one written upon in six different languages, and which Professor Zollner ascertained, upon examination, to be free from the "preparation" by artificial means, so often suggested as the probable explanation of the long sentences coming upon apparently clean slates during Blade's seances. In this case, moreover, as will be seen, the slate was brought by the investigators, and was never in Slade's custody at all ; nor was there the smallest opportunity afforded for effecting an exchange. The correspondent from whom the author received the account was a " Herr Director Liebing," of Berlin, who obtained the details from the owner of the slate, in whose presence it was written upon, with full authority to transmit them to Professor Zollner for publication, with the slate. Although it would have been preferable to have had the account direct from this gentleman, it appears from the correspondence in the text (which it is not thought necessary to reproduce literally and at length in this translation), that the statement was submitted to him for correction, was in fact corrected by him, and is thus, as here given, in fact his own. He was a Herr Kleeberg, residing at No. 5 Schmied Street, Berlin, and "of a very respectable firm" in that city. He and a friend of his, a "thorough sceptic," took two slates to Slade. One slate was covered by the other, and beyond putting a piece of slate-pencil between them, Slade never touched them at all.Herr Kleeberg and his friend then held the two slates, so joined together by their hands, above the table, suspended over it, in full daylight, and writing at once began. When it was over, and the slates were separated, the lower one was found covered with writing, as shown in Plate IX. One long passage was in English, five short sentences in French, German, Dutch, Greek, and Chinese (the latter according to the judgment of a student of Oriental languages), respectively. They were as follows : —

1. Look about over the great mass of human intelligence and see for what these endowments are given to man. Is it not to unfold (in) the great truths God has embodied in him? Is it not mind that frames your mighty fabrics - the soul that is endowed with powers. Shall he not go on unfolding these powers as God has sent His angels to do? Must man pass his judgments on God's laws that he does not understand ? We say no.

2. [German in text] (I am proud to be able to serve you.)

3. [French in text] (The grace of God be with you all who are in Jesus Christ. Amen.)

4. [Greek in text] (Bad men look only to their own advantage.)

5. [Dutch in text] (Who to the seed-corn increase gives, nourishes all that therein lives.)

The last sentence, supposed to be Chinese, was not understood."Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 21:36, 8 December 2016 (UTC)

Recall also that Zöllner's Transcendental Physics needs to be reevaluated in light of the following: Steigmann (discusscontribs) 21:38, 8 December 2016 (UTC)

Great stuff thank you, I need to read over all of this in serious detail. There is both negative and positive evidence for Slade. Have you read the skeptical comments from Henry Evans on Slade? [92], he talks about a magic dealer Carl Willmann who suggested Slade had used a wire to open a slate. Does that seem likely to you? This means that Slade would have to have concealed apparatus on himself. PsychicResearcher (discusscontribs) 10:31, 9 December 2016 (UTC)

I am leaving for quite a long time, so I won't be responding further. Willmann is discussed in the paper given above.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 15:12, 11 December 2016 (UTC)

Debunking Melvin Harris[edit source]

Do you have Steve Hume's paper in Light that apparently debunks Melvin Harris. Do you know of any other mistakes Harris has made?

I'm wondering do you have this SPR review:

"Harris, Melvin. SORRY – YOU'VE BEEN DUPED: THE TRUTH BEHIND CLASSIC MYSTERIES OF THE PARANORMAL, by D.J. West, Journal 54, 1987, pp. 221-5. Debunking book exposing the deceptions and self-deceptions behind well-known episodes alleged to be paranormal. One of interest to parapsychology is the Gordon Davis affair cited by S.G.Soal in Proceedings 45, p. 471, which the reviewer discusses at length."

Melvin Harris states that Soal had committed fraud in the Blanche Cooper/Gordon Davis case. Ersby covers that here on his blog [93], do you have any info against Harris or references challenging him on Soal? PsychicResearcher (discusscontribs) 14:04, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

The Hume article is in Light, Vol. 136 No. 1, Spring 2015, pp. 5-18. Reference to this is given on my sources sub-page.

On Soal, I searched wikipedia and found this pro-parapsychology edit:

Soal's book Modern Experiments in Telepathy is good at describing experiments other than his own, and aside from what is in my sources subpage, offers, when read, useful preliminary understanding.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 23:09, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

Soal's experiment is one of the most famous in parapsychology, at one time it was hailed as among the most rigorous, no it is believed to be a high grade fraud. The physicist Wolfgang Pauli became convinced of ESP because of it [94], and Cyril Burt gave praise: [95]

As for Burt, he allegedly committed fraud in IQ related twin studies, though we now know that his results were retroactively vindicated by meta-analysis. Not only that, but as for the attacks on Burt, we can see Tredoux, G. (2015). Defrauding Cyril Burt: A reanalysis of the social mobility data. Intelligence, 49, 32-43.:

...from that, we know that those accusations no longer seem to have much merit.

The Marckwick attack is partially controverted with the above JSE article cited in Wikipedia. If the attacks can be controverted, then we will no longer be in a position to declare for or against the results, but rather, Soal's results will be nebulous, and neither be definitively confirmed or definitively refuted.

The way to resolve this issue is via meta-analysis of independently observed precognitive telepathy studies (subject to extreme controls just like the Schmidt-Morris-Rudolph study and its replications) testing for similar things - parapsychologists could replicate old designs to confirm or refute them (as suggested by CEM Hansel regarding the Coover work in his problematic book "The Search for Psychic Power" - the final antagonistic offering he wrote, published in 1989), but incorporate the all the criticisms of the critics for more formidable studies. If they, on the whole give similar results to Soal, then Soal is retroactively vindicated. The following document is a good introduction to the proposition that telepathy meta-analyses are actually serious:

This summarizes the articles on Soal, and it would seem that Ian Stevenson refuted one of the other main accusations of fraud:

"Scott, Christopher, and Haskell, Philip. THE SOAL-GOLDNEY EXPERIMENTS WITH BASIL SHACKLETON: A DISCUSSION. I. FRESH LIGHT ON THE SHACKLETON EXPERIMENTS? Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 56, 1974, pp. 43-72. Discusses a claim by Gretl Albert, a sitter in the Soal-Goldney precognition experiments with Basil , she had seen Soal altering his record sheets, changing 1s into 4s and 5s. Since this claim was made in 1941 the scoring patterns and random sequence of the targets had been frequently re-examined. Soal, having lost the original score sheets, had given a detailed description of how he had derived the targets. The available copies were submitted to a computer search carried out by G. Medhurst in 1971 which however failed to identify the target sequences as described by Soal. A new computer analysis finds definite evidence in support of the claim for the sittings specified. But there is clear evidence that this specific manipulation did not take place in the great majority of sittings. Scott and Haskell looked for data support of the manipulation hypothesis in terms of four predictions: (1) an overall deficit of target 1; (2) an overall excess of targets 4 and 5; (3) a deficit of target 1 in those trials in which the guess was 4 or 5; and (4) an excess of hits on 4 and 5. The first two predictions were not upheld; the second two gave a significance level that virtually rules out chance as an explanation. To accommodate these seemingly conflicting results, Scott and Haskell modified their hypothesis, suggesting that the targets were 'stacked' in advance with an excess of 1s and a deficit of 4s and 5s. This modified hypothesis accounts for the ESP score in Sitting 16, as well as Sittings 8 and 17, but not for any of the rest of the 40 sittings. An alternative hypothesis is that the observed effects were due to ESP operating in an eccentric manner. Since so much about ESP is not known, this hypothesis cannot be rigorously tested or refuted. But Scott and Haskell feel that such a hypothesis appears uncomfortably complex and the coincidence with the alteration claim still has to be swallowed. They conclude there is a strong case for accepting the essential truth of the claim, arguing that it would then seem unlikely that any significant proportion of the results in the Shackleton series was obtained by extrasensory perception. PsiLine Roberts, F. Somerville, et al. THREE COMMENTS ON THE SOAL-GOLDNEY EXPERIMENTS WITH BASIC SHACKLETON, Journal 48, 1975, pp. 87-94. Somerville Roberts indicates vulnerabilities in the Scott-Haskell fraud theory. G.D. Wasserman and K.M. Goldney discuss Soal's honesty with personal reflections. CORRESPONDENCE, pp. 245-67 Scott, Christopher & Haskell, Philip. FRAUD IN THE SHACKLETON EXPERIMENT: A REPLY TO CRITICS, pp. 220-26. Rebuts criticisms of the argument that Soal cheated. CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 49, 1978, pp. 965-8. Goldney, K.M. II. THE SOAL GOLDNEY EXPERIMENTS WITH BASIL SHACKLETON (BS): A PERSONAL ACCOUNT, Proceedings 56, 1974, pp. 73-84. Soal's co-experimenter denies that Soal cheated and looks for another explanation for the Scott-Haskell statistical data. She points to all of the experimental work Soal did in which he did not find evidence of ESP and his later successful ESP work with Mrs. Stewart, which was never questioned. PsiLine Mundle, C.W.K. III. THE SOAL-GOLDNEY EXPERIMENTS, Proceedings 56, 1974, pp. 85-7. Argues that Scott and Haskell miss some important points. Mundle doubts the reliability of Albert's testimony and questions the assumption that Soal cheated on other sittings also. He concludes that 'there are difficulties in making psychological sense of the hypothesis adopted by Scott and Haskell. Such considerations are not, of course, conclusive, but they ought to be weighed before concluding that a scientist made a habit of cheating in his own experiment.' PsiLine Thouless, Robert H. IV. SOME COMMENTS ON 'FRESH LIGHT ON THE SHACKLETON EXPERIMENTS' Proceedings 56, 1974, pp. 88-92 Questions a reliance on the unsupported testimony of a single witness. Argues that the peculiarities of the guess/target matrices brought out by Scott and Haskell not alone prove manipulation nor warrant the conclusion that none of the results in the Shackleton experiments were obtained by ESP. Suggests a moral in the ability of a simple experimental design to exclude all possibility of cheating than the complex formula adopted by Soal. PsiLine Beloff, John. V. WHY I BELIEVE THAT SOAL IS INNOCENT, Proceedings 56, 1974, pp. 93-6. Points out two errors by Soal: his failure to let other experimenters confirm Shackleton's ability independently, or to leave precise explanations of how the target sequence was determined. But believes Soal to be innocent of the charge of manipulation, explaining Shackleton's pattern of scoring in terms of positional biases, which he argues are by no means unknown in ESP research. PsiLine Pratt, J.G. VI. FRESH LIGHT ON THE SCOTT AND HASKELL CASE AGAINST SOAL Proceedings 56, 1974, 97-111. Points to errors in Scott and Haskell's appendix and disputes many of their points. Suggests that Scott and Haskell have inadvertently shown the need for a new analysis of all of Shackleton's significant results in order to check for 'consistent missing', a category which the author describes elsewhere, in which 'the subject, because of some undefined psychological factor...tended to avoid calling 4 or 5 when the target was 1, but that he fairly consistently overcalled 3's when 1's were presented.' PsiLine Barrington, M.R. VII. MRS. ALBERT'S TESTIMONY, Proceedings 56, 1974, pp. 112-6. Argues that there are too many inconsistencies and loose ends in Albert's testimony to place much weight on her accusations. PsiLine Stevenson, Ian. VIII. THE CREDIBILITY OF MRS. GRETL ALBERT'S TESTIMONY, Proceedings 56, 1974, pp. 117-29. Attacks Albert's credibility as an observer and argues her statements are not to be taken seriously. Smythies, J.R. IX. ESP FACT OR FICTION: A SIDELIGHT ON SOAL, Proceedings 56, 1974 pp. 130-31. Refers to a 1951 experiment with hospital patients that produced unexpectedly significant results, with relevance to the Soal controversy. For a description of the conclusive computer analysis that uncovered irregularities in the data see below: Markwick, Betty. THE SOAL-GOLDNEY EXPERIMENTS WITH BASIL SHACKLETON: NEW EVIDENCE OF DATA MANIPULATION, Proceedings 56, 1978, pp. 250-77. PSI-X/bs/esp/fraud

Markwick, Betty. THE SOAL-GOLDNEY EXPERIMENTS WITH BASIL SHACKLETON: NEW EVIDENCE OF DATA MANIPULATION, Proceedings 56, 1978, pp. 250-77. Presents computer results and detailed target sequence analysis of the data gathered by S.G. Soal in the years 1941-43 using B. Shackleton as percipient in a series of cardguessing experiments. Many target sequences proved to be near duplicates with interruptions in the sequences, suggesting the insertion of single extra digits. Three in four of these insertions corresponded to hits. Removing these trials from the data eliminated the significance of the ESP effect. This does not mean that Soal consciously cheated, since he was known to often write automatically in a state of dissociation when distracted by a task. The evidence, however, does establish data manipulation and discredits the results. PsiLine Goldney, K.M. STATEMENT, Proceedings 56, 1978, p . 278. Goldney praises Markwick for noting the repeated sequences of target lists not picked up either by Hansel or by Scott and Haskell. She concedes that if the new findings are valid she and other defenders of Soal would be wrong, but would have been justified in their views by the available evidence. PsiLine Pratt, J.G. STATEMENT Proceedings 56, 1978, pp. 279-81. Pratt praises Markwick's achievement of problem-solving through data analysis. He agrees with Markwick that, since some of the data are seriously deficient, all of the records must be considered invalid as evidence of ESP, but advises against making judgements of Soal's behaviour, motives, and character. PsiLine CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 49, 1978, pp. 968-70; Journal 50, 1979, p. 126, 191-2. Reactions to Marwick's discovery of fraud by Soal, including retractions by Beloff and Stevenson of their previous insistence, against Scott and Haskell, that he was innocent. Sargent, Carl. THE PARSONS EXPERIMENT WITH BASIL SHACKLETON: SOME NEGLECTED DATA, pp. 174-9. CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 51, 1981, pp. 123-4. Takes issue with Marwick's automatic rejection of a survivalist interpretation of a psi dream, although this might seem a logical one. PSI-X/bs/esp/fraud/comput":

notes prior to leaving for a while[edit source]

These are some notes I sent to myself prior to my decision to leave this project for a while. they are unorganized:

Remove all polemicism - merely describe if secondary sources conflict with primary sources, with use of .gif files if necessary.

purchase rinn's book:, cite him on palladino, compare with Carrington's notes on the american seances

summarize telepathy experiments in phantasms of the living and appendix 1 of Guald's book,defend phantams of the living, see also excerpt fro "Trance" by Brian Inglis,

cite correspondence regarding hall and borely rectory

Look at Eysenck controversies.

Get Pratt's "Insider's View of ESP," re-obtain Wolan's "Handbook of Parapsychology" and Kurtz's "Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology" and get all copies of Krippner's "Advances in Parapsychological Research."

extract from some of these points:

cite inglis "Science and Parascience" on Goligher and d'Albe, also: - from Inglis text (p. 82), compares Gholigher's more suspicious materializations to those witnessed by S-N, mentions pseudopods and how d'Albe never satisfied himself that she was really using her foot, appendix contributed by Gow challenged conclusions of d'Albe, Barrett referring to table "I could not pull it down for the life of me", other suprised "to find so much happening at so bright a light", table "remained in space, well over the heads of the sitters", etc. quote from appendix, pp. 57ff, regarding controls:

p. 80 of Inglis text "Kathleen's feet were sometimes tied to her chair, sometimes actually enclosed in a box: it made no difference. He could see that they were not responsible for the impressions in the clay: he could even walk between her and the clay without interrupting the 'rods' at their work."

Palladino, Carrington (1931), pp. 207-208, "The medium enters the seance room, and readily submits to being searched. The seance may be held in any room, anywhere - a private home, a hotel room, a laboratory, etc. Across one corner of the room a wire is fastened, from which two black curtains are suspended, enclosing a small triangular space. This constitutes the 'cabinet.' Inside are placed a small table, and upon it various small instruments. The medium is seated on a chair outside the cabinet, and in front of her is placed the seance table. One investigator sits to her left, carefully holding the left hand, foot, and knee. Another sits to her right, carefully taking charge of the members on that side of the body. The remainder of the sitters are seated about the table, or stand about the room, close to the cabinet and medium. The sitting begins in bright white light, and many of the initial phenomena occur at that time. Then red light is substituted; the medium passes into semi-trance, and the more striking manifestations take place. Raps and lights are noted The curtains of the cabinet are blown out, as though by a strong wind inside. Movements of the objects in the cabinet are heard. The seance table is completely levitated a number of times (this in full light, giving the investigators ample opportunity to verify the fact that there is no material connection between medium and table). The small objects in the cabinet are brought out and placed upon the seance table, or thrown into the room, sometimes by visible hands. Touches are felt by by the sitters on both sides of the medium. Musical instruments float about, playing. Hands, heads, and bits of bodies finally materialize, and are seen and felt by the sitters. At the conclusion of the seance, a cold breeze is frequently felt, issuing from an old scar in the medium's head", or from her finger tips or her left knee. The lights are gradually turned up, and the seance ends."

For strong criticism of Richard Hodgson's views on Palladino, see Alan Gauld, "The Founders of Psychical Research", pp. 233-241

C.e. Wood. pp. 229-

An overview of the phenomena is in this includes a materialization being built up and later a progressive dematerialization in front of a large circle p. 73 - C.E. Wood Exposed: - Wood counters this.

Paul J. Gaunt said "It is without doubt that Catherine (Kate) Elizabeth Wood submitted to some of the most difficult and stringent tests ever made on a physical medium; most of these she accomplished under the given conditions—for that we must applaud her achievements."

for further research, see:

Einer Nielsen- see History of Parapsychology in Iceland by Erlendur Haraldsson:

also, " Although the sittings were unsatisfactory it is difficult to accept the committee's findings as to fraud on the part of the medium."

For "Piet Botha" - William T. Stead visited a spirit photographer who had produced a photograph of him with deceased soldier known as "Piet Botha". Stead claimed that the photographer could not have come across any information about Piet Botha, however, Tuckett claimed that an article in 1899 had been published on Pietrus Botha in a weekly magazine with a portrait and personal details. (Ivor Lloyd Tuckett. (1911). The Evidence for the Supernatural: A Critical Study Made with "Uncommon Sense". Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Company. pp. 52-53:

This is a problematic rendition of the evidence by Tuckett, since in the footnote, pp. 269-270, of Estelle Wilson Stead's My Father: Personal & Spiritual Reminiscences (George H. Doran Company, 1913), we find that "As if to render all explanation of fraud or contrivance still more incredible, it may be mentioned that the Daily Graphic of October, 1889, which announced that a Commandant Botha had debeen killed in the siege of Kimberley, published a portrait alleged to be that of the dead commandant, which not only does not bear the remotest resemblance to the Piet Botha of my photograph, but which was described as Commandant Hans Botha!":

Home's "Earthquake Effect" described by Zorab in Research in Parapsychology 1976 (The Scarecrow Press, Inc. Metuchen, N.J. & London, 1977), pp. 9-11.

Regarding Ted Serios, Braude's commentary is, in "The Limits of Influence" (1997), p. 30, that "A different sort of contemporary example is a double-barreled offense: (a) magician James Randi's dishonesty and evasive dialectic concerning the psychic photography of Ted Serios, and (b) the support of Randi's position by scientists and others who have made no direct study of the evidence. For instance, in an inexcusable act of misrepresentation and abuse of his position of influence, Martin Gardner claimed [...] that Randi "regularly" duplicates the Serios photographic phenomena. It may be that Gardner simply an unwisely took Randi's word on this, but the claim, nevertheless, is patently false. Although Randi confidently and flamboyantly accepted a wager from Eisenbud on national television to duplicate the Serios photographic phenomena, in fact he has never even attempted to duplicate those phenomena under the most stringent - and most relevant - conditions in which Serios succeeded. The story is too complicated to be presented here, and Randi has (sagely) not granted permission to publish his revealing correspondence with Eisenbud, in which he attempts, transparently, to back down from Eisenbud's wager. The reason, of course, is that for Randi's purposes, confident posturing before the public is all he needs. I refer the interested reader to Eisenbud, 1989 (pp. 226-227) and Fuller, 1974, for partial (and unfortunately the only accessible) accounts of the matter."

Project Alpha - Relevant overview is on p. 89 of Marcello Truzzi's critique of Project Alpha 'Reflections on Project Alpha....', which begins on p. 73 of the skeptical text "Zetetic Scholar", Nos. 12/13: -

"Not all psi researchers were put on the defensive by Alpha. Dennis Stillings, director of a Minneapolis groupcalled the Archaeus Project, which puts out a newsletter by that name, was outraged and initiated a retaliatory hoax which started as a small joke but escalated into something more significant. Stillings felt that Randi was trying to reap advantage from lies told to the psi researchers and was, in effect, blaming the victims. Stillings believed that any person could be deceived by lies and that Randi was just as susceptible to such human error as anyone. So, Stillings (1983a) issued a phony,one page, special issue of his group's newsletter (of which only two copies were mailed out and these to Edwards and Shaw with the expectation that they would show it to Randi). The ersatz issue contained a short, two paragraph, fraudulent announcement that the Archaeus Project had just been given "a fund of $217, seed money for a program in PK research and education" It said the funds were for "grant money to PK investigators, especially those interested in 'metal bending"' and for "developing a program of educating children in the range and nature of parapsychological phenomena." Finally, it said that "Those applying for grants, as well as those gifted with paranormal abilities" should write to Stillings. Stillings also separately wrote a letter to Shaw telling him that since shaw was a fraud, he should not apply for any of the money.To stretch the joke even further, Stillings also published a warning "Advisory Notice (Krueger, 1983)--to parallel Randi's similar advisory notes--in a previous real issue of his group's newsletter.

Though Stillings' original prank struck me as being a bit silly (after all, Randi never claimed to be immune to trickery, and conjurors fool one another all the time), what happened next went far beyond Stillings' expectations and turned the matter into a significant episode. upon seeing the phony announcement, and apparently without properly checking things out, Randi decided to give one of his annual psi-mocking "Uri Awards" to this receipt of a phony grant. Thus, on April 1, 1983, Randi's Discover news release gave a "Uri" in the funding category: "To the Medtronics Corporation of Minneapolis, who gave $250,000 to a Mr.Stillings of that city to fund the Archaeus Project, devoted to observing people who bend spoons at parties. Mr.Stillings then offered financial assistance to a prominent young spoon-bender who turned out to be one of the masquerading magicians of Project Alpha--a confessed fake." In this incredible award statement, Randi managed to falsely identify a major corporation as the funding source (when no source was ever mentioned in the original announcement), escalated the award from $217,000 to $250,000, misdescribed the purpose of the phony award, and falsely claimed one of his associates had been offered funds!

Stillings and other foes of Randi, particularly Walter Uphoff, had a field day with Randi's big blunder. With headlines in psi publications like "'Non-Magician Fools Conjuror" (New Frontiers Center Newsletter) and "Researcher Fools Randi Into Making Fictional Award" (Psychic News), the "Amazing" Randi was portrayed as merely "Amusing." Randi, however, was apparently not amused. He has thus far not publicly acknowledged his mistake, although he did write an apology to Medtronics and admitted his mistake in private correspondence (including a letter sent to Stillings which Stillings managed to get Randi to write him by posing as a third party). In fact, when his Uri Award list was reproduced in The Skeptical Inquirer, Randi's award to Medtronics was simply omitted without comment. Although Stillings had only intended his prank to demonstrate that Randi, too, could be fooled, it actually ended up displaying the fact that Randi is capable of gross distortion of facts and in this case, at least, shot from the hip (and here managed to hit his own foot). This naturally might lead some to question Randi's reporting accuracy in the past and should caution us to look more carefully at the past cries of "foul" that opponents have hurled at him."

The claim that project alpha "discredited" testers relies on omission of relevant facts, see "Science Versus Showmanship: A History of the Randi Hoax":

According to Hyman, the scenarios envisioned by Price and Hansel for how Soal committed fraud did not reflect the actual means by which he did so: (though see above regarding possible rehabilitation of Soal)

see this, and Inglis commentary in "The Hidden Power", on how ESP has been discovered incidentally in the course of experimentation:;view=1up;seq=170

see items from ESP-60, particularly this:;view=1up;seq=227 (mention others, for instance, compare this to false statements made in Wynn, Charles; Wiggins, Arthur. (2001). Quantum Leaps in the Wrong Direction: Where Real Science Ends...and Pseudoscience Begins. Joseph Henry Press. p. 156. ISBN 978-0-309-07309-7 "In 1940, Rhine coauthored a book, Extrasensory Perception After Sixty Years in which he suggested that something more than mere guess work was involved in his experiments. He was right! It is now known that the experiments conducted in his laboratory contained serious methodological flaws. Tests often took place with minimal or no screening between the subject and the person administering the test. Subjects could see the backs of cards that were later discovered to be so cheaply printed that a faint outline of the symbol could be seen. Furthermore, in face-to-face tests, subjects could see card faces reflected in the tester’s eyeglasses or cornea. They were even able to (consciously or unconsciously) pick up clues from the tester’s facial expression and voice inflection. In addition, an observant subject could identify the cards by certain irregularities like warped edges, spots on the backs, or design imperfections." false in light of this:;view=1up;seq=215, and r.e. auditory cues in light of this:;view=1up;seq=160 (see also Hansen review))

experiments meeting counter-hypotheses are Pratt-Woodruff:;view=1up;seq=175 (see also this note on that:;view=1up;seq=177 (paragraph 3)) Warner report (somehow people have overlooked this:;view=1up;seq=178)

(compare to Hansel, C. E. M. (1989). The Search for Psychic Power: ESP and Parapsychology Revisited. Prometheus Books. p. 46. ISBN 0-87975-516-4)

cites conditions of distance:;view=1up;seq=187,

also believes Reiss report meets counter-hypotheses, critics don't mention Reiss report:;view=1up;seq=189 Murphy and Taves:;view=1up;seq=191

believes that most other experiments are of high quality, suffering from minor defects not present in the six cited:;view=1up;seq=197 (possible defect involving one hypothesis or two, but nothing to vitiate the experiments:;view=1up;seq=201)

regarding replications:;view=1up;seq=379

the view that Rhine failed to replicate his positive results refuted by the following items from appendix 17:;view=1up;seq=427, see this:;view=1up;seq=432

Book "Best Evidence" gives important information on this text.

note on coover:;view=1up;seq=167

In other words, read all of Rhine's ESP, ESP-60, and Soal's "Modern Experiments in Telepathy" (the last is useful in describing experiments other than his own) then refute:

Cite A Possibly unique case of psychic detection with reference to Terence Heines' comments on mediums.

Elaborate on Joe Nickell's misrepresentation of Matthew Manning.:

Describe all relevant experiments up to 1934 using texts of Rhine, Pratt et al, Carington, and Soal.

theosophy is somewhat derivative of Spiritualism, adding other motifs. In the article "Spiritualism in Its Relation to Theosophy by Emily Kislingbury, F.T.S. A paper read before the Blavatsky Lodge of the Theosophical Society in 1892 Reprinted from "Theosophical Siftings" Volume 5", we find that "For it is matter of history that the Theosophical Society drew the chief of its first adherents from the ranks of Spiritualism.", however, Spiritualists dissociated from her because she believed that the spirits manifesting in seances were "Kama-rupic dregs, or cast-off lower principles, of former men and women, helped by certain elementals to utilize the vital forces of the medium,":

Summarize Whately Carington's 1938 JSPR paper about positive good quality early telepathy results.

Summarize Soal, "Modern Exxperiments in Telepathy", on Coover, ch. 2 & 3 on Rhine, & p. 77, note that Soal is very good at describing experiments other than his own, and was recognized (i.e. - not challenged) as an authority on that issue, aside from his own experiments, his writing on the subject presents early parapsychology as much better than "skeptic" caricatures. Compare to ESP-60.

From Soal, op. cit., pp. 77-79:

"Dr. Rhine's Experiments Rhine began his experiments in prediction by asking Hubert Pearce to write down a list of 25 Zener card symbols. Pearce was then asked to shuffle a pack of Zener cards for (in one series) 15 seconds in the presence of Dr. Rhine. The order of the cards in the pack was then checked against Pearce's list of guesses. In 16 runs of 25 he obtained an average of 7-7 hits per run, with corresponding odds against chance of about ten million to one. Of course, the obvious objection to this sort of experiment is that the guesser himself shuffled the cards. But these were only preliminary explorations. Rhine5 next carried out a series of 113,075 prediction trials with 49 guessers and 11 experimenters taking part. In these tests the guesser wrote down or dictated a list of 25 Zener symbols. An experimenter then shuffled and cut a pack of cards, holding them face downwards all the time. The experimenter himself—who had up to this stage not seen the list of guesses—checked off the order of the cards in the shuffled pack from top to bottom against the subject's list. The guesser witnessed the checking and counting of hits. Of the total of 113,075 guesses there was an excess over chance expec- tation of 614 hits, which corresponds to nearly 4-5 standard deviations, with odds of over 100,000 to 1 against chance. The rate of scoring (514 hits per 25) is very low indeed, and the bulk of the successful guessing was done by George Zirkle, one of Rhine's best subjects, and a group of 32 school children who had been selected on account of their good performances in previous ESP tests. ESP Shuffle Experiments It occurred to Dr. Rhine that the significant scoring in the previous experiments might be explained otherwise than by the supposition that the guessers were anticipating the future order of a shuffled pack. It might be that the experimenter had become subconsciously aware by clairvoyance or telepathy both of the subject's list of guesses and of the order of the cards in the pack which he was holding. His fingers might then be guided by ESP to place a card here and there in a position so as to agree with the symbol in the corresponding place in the guess-list. If this happened, the crucial point in the proceedings would be the last cut, which determines the final order. He would only have to manoeuvre a card into the right position once in five or six runs to obtain the observed rate of scoring. The alternative hypothesis to prediction by the guesser, then, was that the experimenter used ESP to match his pack with the subject's list. In order to test this theory, Dr. Rhine6 and his assistants carried out one of the biggest card-guessing projects ever undertaken. In all, 211,525 card matchings were made by 203 guessers. We shall here, however, confine ourselves to 51,525 trials in which the conditions appear to have been satisfactory. The experimenter shuffled a pack of Zener cards behind a screen, and laid it on the table out of sight of the guesser. The subject then shuffled a second pack, holding it face downwards with the intent of making it agree with the concealed pack. He was allowed to make as many shuffles as he desired. A second experimenter was present, who watched all operations, and witnessed the checking of the order of the cards in the guesser's pack against that in the concealed pack. These 51,525 trials with concealed target packs and double witnessing yielded an excess of 424 hits over chance expectation. This corresponds to a critical ratio of 4-57, with odds of about 180,000 to 1 against chance. The average num- ber of hits per 25 trials, however, was only 5-2. In 41,775 of these trials the checking was done independently by two persons, and this batch gave a positive deviation of 348, with correspond- ing odds of about 30,000 to 1. If the experimenter made no methodological errors in this work (such as letting a number of persons match simultaneously the same pack of Zener cards)—in which case the ordinary formulae for expectation and standard deviation would not strictly apply—it would appear that the guessers possessed a significant, though slight, ability to use ESP in shuffling a pack of cards so as to make it match a given concealed pack. Since the success obtained in the contemporaneous shuffling experi- ments at least equalled that of the prediction tests, it would seem that hand-shuffling is inadequate for the demonstration of precognition. Mechanical Methods Dr. Rhine7 next decided to fix the future order of the cards in the pack by mechanical means. Two methods were adopted. The subject and experimenters were in different rooms. In the first method the sub- ject, having recorded his list of 25 predictions, pressed a buzzer. This was a signal for an experimenter in the next room to stop turning the handle of a shuffling machine which contained 50 Zener cards. The shuffled pack was removed from the machine and laid face downward on the table. The experimenter then compared the order of the first 25 cards, counting from top to bottom, with the subject's list of guesses intended for them. A second experimenter watched the checking. This was known as the PDT (prediction-down-through the pack) technique, and up to 1st October 1940, various experimenters had carried out 235,875 trials by means of this method or a slight modifica- tion of it. These yielded an excess of 425 over expectation, and the not very significant critical ratio of 214 (odds of about 30 to 1 against chance). In his report Dr. Rhine seems to have included 2,250 trials done by Mr. G. N. M. Tyrrell* in England using his electrical machine. As Mr. Tyrrell's work involves a totally different technique we have not included these trials in the PDT group. In the second method the subject sat before a row of five blank cards on which were to be placed later five key-cards bearing the five Zener symbols in some order. The subject was asked to match a pack of shuffled Zener cards against what he imagined would be the five future key cards. In the meantime an electrically driven cage containing six ordinary dice was being rotated in another room. When the subject had laid down his 25 cards in five piles opposite the imagined key cards, he pressed a buzzer, which was a signal for one of the experimenters in the next room to stop the dice cage. A large number of envelopes had been prepared, each containing five key-cards in random order. The envelopes were numbered serially, and the sum of the digits turned up by the six dice indicated the particular envelope to be opened. The five key-cards were removed and placed in their proper order, one on each blank card, in the subject's room. The number of correct hits was then counted and checked by the two experimenters present, each keeping an independent record. This, in essence, was one procedure. In a variation the order of the key-cards was determined by the stop- ping of the card-shuffling machine immediately the subject had finished his matching against the imaginary key-cards. The order of the first five different symbols in the shuffled pack was taken as the order of the key- symbols. Seven series7 totalling in all 154,675 trials were carried out by various experimenters, using one or other of these matching methods up to 1st October 1940. In two series by Rhine and Gibson 27,700 guesses were made by a group of adults, and another 12,500 by a group of children. It is reported that the adults yielded a negative (below chance) deviation of 239 hits, which corresponds to a critical ratio of —3-5 while the child group produced a positive (above chance) deviation of 123 and a critical ratio of +2-7. ♦ Cf. Chapter VI, p. 87."

Summarize comments about Stella C from Price's article

Summarize Braude's SPR article on the Schneider-Osty experiments, note also that the major attacks against Rudi Schneider are refuted with the following summary points from Anita Gregory's "The Strange Case of Rudi Schneider", which I will post excerpts from at a later time, to attempt to really defend the validity of this case, and show that it is a positive proof of the paranormal: For now, although the text "Anatomy of a Fraud" makes an argument about Harry Price discrediting Schneider via illicit actions, and Harrison comes to a conclusion, ... Cite Hereward Carrington's "The Story of Psychic Science" for important comments about electrical control, I will attempt to use Gregory's text, a defense of the phenomena in light of the documentation of the subject, to make an argument dealing with minutiae. Meanwhile cite "anatomy of a fraud", p. 456: "Phenomena systematically reported over a substantial number of Rudi's seances can be divided into four categories: (1) the movement of objects at some distance from the medium; (2) the appearance of a visible substance or matter, frequently in the form of a body or part of a body, a so-called ' pseudopod ', or a thin mist, named ' materialisation '; (3) the experience of persons present at a session that they were being touched by an invisible hand usually on the head; and (4) the levitation of the entire body of the medium without visible moans of support. In addition, there were frequent reports from participants of experiences of extreme localised cold, such as might be felt at the mouth of a flask of liquid air. Interestingly enough, reports of being touched by an unseen hand were the least frequently reported phenomena." cite "anatomy of a fraud", p. 456: "Initially, levitations of the medium's whole body wore reported at virtually every seance, and these were described and reasonably well attested in Schrenck-Notzing's laboratory in Munich. However, this phenomenon was not observed in the French and English experiments, and was the first type of occurrence to disappear altogether. ' Materialisations ', at first as frequently reported as movements of objects, became gradually less intensive and less frequent. The reported movement of objects, however, persisted to the end of the mediumship (though in a much attenuated state), as did the ' cold air ' manifestation. It is certainly the case that the alleged phenomena were far more spectacular, vigorous and abundant in the early days of the mediumship: bells and a cardboard figure named 'August' would sail through the air, a broken-down musical box would play, a typewriter would type by itself, invisible hands would trim a bonnet, a boot would be torn off a foot with some violence, windows would be shattered, and a 'hand' visible or otherwise might be described as playing tug-of-war with an object such as a wastepaper basket, or a handkerchief, which might be torn in half by the struggle." p. 487: "The phenomena observed during the Third Series were similar to those that had taken place in previous investigations. Objects were moved, the wastepaper basket was wrenched from people's hands, the curtains billowed, the handkerchief was knotted and tugged and displaced, people felt themselves touched, and experienced the curious feeling of extreme cold that is so characteristic of physical sittings, ' materialised ' partial forms were seen, and the infra-red apparatus worked and recorded occultations similar to those obtained by Dr. Osty. Harry Price obtained a number of photographs of the phenomena. These purported to demonstrate the displacement of objects taken by the same flash that shows sitters and medium in place whilst the movements were taking place (see, for example, figures 12-15). The plates are still in existence at the Harry Price Library, at Senate House, University of London." cite "anatomy of a Fraud", pp. 478-479: "Mr. Will Goldston, Founder and President of the Magicians' Club, 'the premier British conjuring society', attended a seance, was thoroughly satisfied with what he found, and duly wrote up his experiences for the Sunday Graphic of 22 December 1929, under the title 'A night with the ghosts '" Because I am an illusionist and a conjuror I made a special point of being the first sitter to arrive for the seance . . . . That gave me time to have a good look at the seance room. When I said 'a good look' I mean a conjuror's inspection which is severe and detailed. No objection was made against my examining the room and its fittings, so I tapped the walls, looked carefully at the floor for trapdoors and felt every inch of the two curtains which hung in the corner of the room forming the cabinet . . . . But more than that, I tested the electrical c o n t r o l . . , ingenious system . . . I could find no fault in this system of control or in the way it works. I examined also the cabinet as well as the stool and the waste-paper basket which was placed in front of the cabinet. The four ribbons attached to the curtains were just ordinary luminous ribbons . . . I kept my eyes wide open and my sense alert . . . I understand German and followed everything said. It was suggested that an interval of 10 minutes should take place to allow the control to gather force and we adjourned to the next room for a smoke, Rudi having come out of his trance. I was the last to leave the room and I was the first to return to it. Rudi was the third person to walk from the room. He seemed tired. We saw the stool on which stood the basket illuminated by phosphorous paint move towards us. It moved in a peculiar way and then suddenly toppled over. Curtains flew apart. We felt a fearful icy draught blowing. It was uncanny. I watched keenly for signs of trickery, but saw none. Raps. One of the students (Mr. Oliver Gatty) suggested nine . . . I am convinced that what I saw was not trickery. No group of my fellow magicians could have produced those effects under those conditions."

On Ganzfeld, my sources subpage, in its history, the following sources are extracted, somehow make sense of them: Honorton et al (1990). Psi Communication in the Ganzfeld: Experiments With an Automated Testing System and A Comparison With A Meta-Analysis of Earlier Studies. (Blackmore stated, though she cites no source: - "I would not refer to this depressing incident again but for one fact. The Cambridge data are all there in the Bem and Honorton review but unacknowledged. Out of twenty-eight studies included, nine came from the Cambridge lab, more than any other single laboratory, and they had the second highest effect size after Honorton's own studies. Bem and Honorton do point out that one of the laboratories contributed nine of the studies but they do not say which one. Not a word of doubt is expressed, no references to my investigation are given, and no casual reader could guess there was such controversy over a third of the studies in the database."

The fact about removal of the Sargant studies not effecting the database is elucidated in the reply to the NRC.

It appears, based on further reading (Carter), that the 28 figure applies to the 1985 meta-analysis, not the autoganzfeld meta-analysis.

This paper, however, dealt with 11 autoganzfeld studies, and so does the subsequent paper)

Bem & Honorton (1994). Does psi exist?

Hyman (1994). Anomaly or artifact? Comments on Bem and Honorton

Bem (1994). Response to Hyman. (Hyman, in 2007, regurgitated his criticism of the Bem and Honorton results that had already been refuted in this paper. He wrote, "The most suspicious pattern was the fact that the hit rate for a given target increased with the frequency of occurrence of that target in the experiment. The hit rate for the targets that occurred only once was right at the chance expectation of 25%. For targets that appeared twice the hit rate crept up to 28%. For those that occurred three times it was 38%, and for those targets that occurred six or more times, the hit rate was 52%. Each time a videotape is played its quality can degrade. It is plausible then, that when a frequently used clip is the target for a given session, it may be physically distinguishable from the other three decoy clips that are presented to the subject for judging. Surprisingly, the parapsychological community has not taken this finding seriously. They still include the autoganzfeld series in their meta-analyses and treat it as convincing evidence for the reality of psi." (Ray Hyman. Evaluating Parapsychological Claims in Robert J. Sternberg, Henry L. Roediger, Diane F. Halpern. (2007). Critical Thinking in Psychology. Cambridge University Press. pp. 216-231.)

But this concern had already been dealt with in this paper - as follows (p. 27): "Higher repetitions of a target necessarily occur later in the sequence than lower repetitions. In turn, the chronological sequence of sessions is confounded with several other variables, including more experienced experimenters, more “talented” receivers (e.g., Juilliard students and receivers being retested because of earlier successes), and methodological refinements introduced in the course of the program in an effort to enhance psi performance (e.g., experimenter “prompting”). Again, Hyman’s major concern is that this pattern might reflect an interaction between inadequate target randomization and possible response biases on the part of those receivers or experimenters who encounter the same judging set more than once. This seems highly unlikely. In the entire database, only 8 subjects saw the same judging set twice, and none of them performed better on the repetition than on the initial session. Similar arithmetic applies to experimenters: On average, each of the eight experimenters encountered a given judging set only 1.03 times. The worst case is an experimenter who encountered the same judging set 6 times over the 6 1/2 years of the program. These six sessions yielded three hits, two of them in the first two sessions.")

Dalton et al (1996). Security Measures In An Automated Ganzfeld System.

Bierman (1999). The PRL Autoganzfeld Revisited: Refuting the Sound-Leakage Hypothesis.

Milton & Wiseman (1999). Does Psi Exist? Lack of Replication of an Anomalous Process of Information Transfer

Milton (1999). Should Ganzfeld Research Continue to be Crucial in the Search for a Replicable Psi Effect? Part I. Discussion Paper and Introduction to an Electronic-Mail Discussion.

Schmeidler & Edge (1999). Should Ganzfeld Research Continue to be Crucial in the Search for a Replicable Psi Effect? Part II. Edited Ganzfeld Debate.

Storm & Ertel (2001). Does Psi Exist? Comments on Milton and Wiseman's (1999) Meta-Analysis of Ganzfeld Research.

Milton & Wiseman (2001). Does Psi Exist? Reply to Storm and Ertel (2001).

Dalkvist (2001). The Ganzfeld Method: It's Current Status.

Parker (2001). The Ganzfeld: Suggested Improvements of an Apparently Successful Method for Psi Research.

Bem, Palmer, & Broughton (2001). Updating the Ganzfeld Database: A Victim of its own Success?

Storm & Ertel (2002). The Ganzfeld Debate Continued: Response to Milton and Wiseman

Palmer (2003). ESP in the Ganzfeld: Analysis of a Debate.

Delgado-Romero & Howard (2005). Finding and Correcting Flawed Research Literatures

Hastings (2007). Comment on Delgado-Romero and Howard

Radin (2007). Finding Or Imagining Flawed Research?

Tressoldi, Storm, & Radin (2010). Extrasensory Perception and Quantum Models of Cognition

Storm et al (2010). Meta-Analysis of Free-Response Studies, 1992–2008: Assessing the Noise Reduction Model in Parapsychology

Storm et al (2010). A Meta-Analysis With Nothing to Hide: Reply to Hyman (2010)

Tressoldi (2011). Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence: the case of non-local perception, a classical and Bayesian review of evidences

Tressoldi et al (2011). Mental Connection at Distance: Useful for Solving Difficult Tasks?

Williams (2011). Revisiting the Ganzfeld ESP Debate: A Basic Review and Assessment

Rouder et al (2013). A Bayes Factor Meta-Analysis of Recent Extrasensory Perception Experiments: Comment on Storm, Tressoldi, and Di Risio (2010)

Storm et al (2013). Testing the Storm et al. (2010) Meta-Analysis Using Bayesian and Frequentist Approaches: Reply to Rouder et al. (2013)


Hyman's main argument is that more rigorous autoganzfeld studies failed to demonstrate a robust effect. He claims in "Debating Psychic Experience" (2010) p.49 "Consider the parapsychological claims that the autoganzfeld experiments replicated the original ganzfeld database (Bem & Honorton, 1994). At least two parapsychologists now agree with my assertion that the autoganzfeld experiments failed to replicate the original ganzfeld data base (Bierman, 2001; Hyman, 1994, Kennedy, 2001). In the original database the average effect size was derived from studies that all used static targets. The autoganzfeld experiments used both static and dynamic (action video clips) targets. Only the dynamic targets produced a significant effect. The results on the static targets were consistent with chance and differed significantly from the results on the static targets in the original database."

Hyman's argument is refuted in a reply by Bem and Honorton:

The way Hyman uses Bierman to attack psi in other arguments of his is countered in the reply regarding the 2010 paper:

The argument Hyman presents is refuted on p. 158 of "Debating Psychic Experience", as follows: "The truth of the matter seems closer to the opposite of what Hyman tells us. The original ganzfeld experiments used quasi-dynamic targets (View Master "slide" reels) in addition to completely static targets. Studies using the View Master reels produced significantly higher hit rates than did studies using single-image targets (50% versus 34%). Meta-analysis of the original data led to the prediction that dynamic targets would show greater results than static targets. This prediction was in fact strongly corroborated, as Bem and Honorton (1994) reported: 'Dynamic versus static targets. The success of [these studies] raises the question of whether dynamic targets are, in general, more effective than static targets. This possibility was also suggested by earlier meta-analysis, which revealed that studies using multiple-image targets(View master stereoscopic slide reels) obtained significantly higher hit rates than did studies using single image targets. By adding motion and sound, the video clips might be thought of as high-tech versions of the view master reels. The 10 autoganzfeld studies that randomly sampled from both dynamic and static target pools yielded 164 sessions with dynamic targets and 165 sessions with static targets. As predicted, sessions using dynamic targets yielded significantly more hits than did sessions using static targets (37 percent vs. 27 percent, p < .04). (p. 12)

As Hyman observed, "replicability implies the ability to predict successfully from the results of a meta-analysis to a new set of independent data." And because of these results, virtually all ganzfeld studies have ever since only used dynamic targets. Bem an Honorton (1994) reported several other successful predictions, but the most striking was the relationship between psi performance and artistic ability. In a session with 20 undergraduates from the Julliard School of Performing Arts, the students achieved a hit rate of 50 percent, one of the highest hit rates ever reported for a single sample (Schlitz & Honorton, 1992)."

After this, a table of strong autoganzfeld experiment replications is presented in chronological order, showing continual robust effects. On p. 160 of "Debating Psychic Experience", we find that "An example of a replication study, Hyman could have just as easily mentioned Kathy Dalton's (1997) study using creative individuals, which achieved a hit rate of 47 percent. The odds against chance of this result is over 140 million to one. This closely replicated the autoganzfeld results mentioned before (Schlitz and Honorton, 1992), which found a 50 percent hit rate for students from the Juliard School. It also closely matched results from a study using primarily musicians (Morris, Cunningham, McAlpine, & Taylor, 1993), which found a 41 percent hit rate."

Additionally, Hyman has been criticized by parapsychologists - regarding Hyman's statement that there was "no scientific justification from research conducted over a period of 130 years for the existence of parapsychological phenomena", in his NRC report, during the time when he was appointed to the National Research Council committee on enhancing human performance for the U.S. Army, when he served as chair of the parapsychology subcommittee", search "Rosenthal":

Maaneli Derakhshani's defense of Ganzfeld picks up where that ends, and is a convincing proof of the robust nature of these experiments.

I mentioned Rosenthal, who worked in the National Research Council. He argued contrary to Hyman's initial critique of the ganzfeld database. He believed that these experiments were of sound design and exceptional among parapsychology research and that they showed an important effect. He, along with Monica Harris, stated that "The situation for the Ganzfeld domain seems reasonably clear. We feel it would be implausible to entertain the null (that is, comclude the results are due to chance) given the combined p (probability) from these 28 studies. ... When the accuracy rate expected under the null is 1/4, we estimate the obtained accuracy rate to be about 1/3." (Harris, M. & Rosenthal, R. (1988). Human performance research: An overview.Washington, DC: National Academy Press. p. 58 - cited by Chris Carter, a defender of this field, on p. 87 of his article "Persistent Denial: A Century of Denying the Evidence" in the book "Debating Psychic Experience" (2010))

Carter continues on p. 87,

    "In other words, Harris and Rosenthal concluded that the ganzfeld results were not simply due to chance, and that the accuracy rate was about 33 percent, when 25 percent would be expected if chance were responsible.
     Incredibly, the committee chair John Swets phoned Rosenthal and asked him to withdraw the section of his report that was favorable to parapsychology! Rosenthal refused. In the final NRC report the Harris-Rosenthal paper is cited only in the several sections dealing with the non-psrapsychology topics. There is no mention of it in the section dealing with parapsychology."

The earlier critique I gave above mentioning Rosenthal also notes, "in his Ganzfeld critique, Hyman conducted a factor analysis in order to study the effect of flaws. Saunders (1985) discovered important errors in Hyman’s analysis and demonstrated that Hyman’s findings were meaningless."

Obtain Bierman, D.J. "On the nature of anomalous phenomena: Another reality between the world of subjective consciousness and the objective world of physics?" In P. van Locke (Ed.), The physical nature of consciousness (pp. 269-292). New York: Benjamins

In the first two paragraphs of "A Meta-analysis with nothing to hide: Reply to Hyman (2010)", the authors give three citations (including of Bierman) showing how Hyman is misciting their position. The other important citation, which is not available online, but which should be obtained, is Lucadou (2001). Hans in luck: the currency of evidence in parapsychology. It seems that this should be read in the context of the rebuttal to Hyman:

It would also be a good idea to mention "Kathy Dalton's (1997) study": Dalton, K. (1997). Exploring the links: Creativity and psi in the ganzfeld. Proceedings of the 40th Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association (pp. 119-134). Schlitz and Honorton, 1992: Morris, Cunningham, McAlpine, & Taylor, 1993:

The Saunders (1985) and especially the Rosenthal (1988) texts seem like they are crucial to the Ganzfeld debate.

Also, Chris Carter, in the beginning of his article in "Debating Psychic Experience", cites Col. John Alexander's article, "Enhancing Human Performance: A challenge to the report." New Realities, 9(4), 10-15, 52-53., as follows, on p. 77 of "Debating Psychic Experience": "It seems clear that Hyman and James Alcock proceeded on an intentional path to discredit the work in parapsychology. ... What, may we ask, are they so afraid of? Is prevailing scientific orthodoxy so vital that they must deny evidence and suppress contrary opinion?"

As Radin wrote in Entangled Minds:

Consider the case of Stanley Jeffers, a skeptical physicist from York University. In 1992, Jeffers tried to repeat PK experiments similar to those reported by the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) Laboratory. He wasn’t successful. His skepticism was fueled by another PK study he reported in 1998, which also failed. Then, in 2003 Jeffers coauthored a third study in which he finally reported a repeatable, significant PK effect. So, can skeptics produce successful experiments? Yes, they can.

Or as Radin wrote in Supernormal:

Two psychologists who explicitly disavowed belief in what they called “psychic powers,” Edward Delgado-Romero from the University of Georgia and George Howard from the University of Notre Dame, attempted to replicate the ganzfeld telepathy experiment using the method described [in the book]. They published their results in the journal Humanistic Psychologist. They wrote: "After eight studies, we had an overall hit rate of 32% (which agrees with the positive meta- analyses) and, in fact, our hit rate was also statistically significant ...."

As for the other arguments not addressed - The problem of sensory leakage in ganzfeld experiments is addressed by Bem and Honorton in their 1994 article, p. 7: (see also recent history of my sources subpage, the most recent being the one I stand behind)

As I note here:

"Bem (1994). Response to Hyman. (Hyman, in 2007, regurgitated his criticism of the Bem and Honorton results that had already been refuted in this paper. He wrote, "The most suspicious pattern was the fact that the hit rate for a given target increased with the frequency of occurrence of that target in the experiment. The hit rate for the targets that occurred only once was right at the chance expectation of 25%. For targets that appeared twice the hit rate crept up to 28%. For those that occurred three times it was 38%, and for those targets that occurred six or more times, the hit rate was 52%. Each time a videotape is played its quality can degrade. It is plausible then, that when a frequently used clip is the target for a given session, it may be physically distinguishable from the other three decoy clips that are presented to the subject for judging. Surprisingly, the parapsychological community has not taken this finding seriously. They still include the autoganzfeld series in their meta-analyses and treat it as convincing evidence for the reality of psi." (Ray Hyman. Evaluating Parapsychological Claims in Robert J. Sternberg, Henry L. Roediger, Diane F. Halpern. (2007). Critical Thinking in Psychology. Cambridge University Press. pp. 216-231.)

But this concern had already been dealt with in this paper - as follows (p. 27): "Higher repetitions of a target necessarily occur later in the sequence than lower repetitions. In turn, the chronological sequence of sessions is confounded with several other variables, including more experienced experimenters, more “talented” receivers (e.g., Juilliard students and receivers being retested because of earlier successes), and methodological refinements introduced in the course of the program in an effort to enhance psi performance (e.g., experimenter “prompting”). Again, Hyman’s major concern is that this pattern might reflect an interaction between inadequate target randomization and possible response biases on the part of those receivers or experimenters who encounter the same judging set more than once. This seems highly unlikely. In the entire database, only 8 subjects saw the same judging set twice, and none of them performed better on the repetition than on the initial session. Similar arithmetic applies to experimenters: On average, each of the eight experimenters encountered a given judging set only 1.03 times. The worst case is an experimenter who encountered the same judging set 6 times over the 6 1/2 years of the program. These six sessions yielded three hits, two of them in the first two sessions.")":

See the following as regards Ganzfed:

He interestingly described the "1999 meta-analysis by Julie Milton and Richard Wiseman, which was shown by statistician Jessica Utts and acknowledged by Wiseman (personal correspondence, July 2011) to have used a flawed estimate of the overall effect size and p-value of the combined results"

I'm posting this in order to alert people to more evidence on Ganzfeld:

Bem notes in his article "Does Psi Exist", "Unfortunately, there have been no ratings of flaws by independent raters who were unaware of the studies’ outcomes (Morris, 1991). Nevertheless, none of the contributors to the subsequent debate concurred with Hyman’s conclusion, whereas four nonparapsychologists—two statisticans and two psychologists—explicitly concurred with Honorton’s conclusion (Harris & Rosenthal, 1988b; Saunders, 1985; Utts, 1991a). For example, Harris and Rosenthal (one of the pioneers in the use of meta-analysis in psychology) used Hyman’s own flaw ratings and failed to find any significant relationships between flaws and study outcomes in each of two separate analyses: “Our analysis of the effects of flaws on study outcome lends no support to the hypothesis that Ganzfeld research results are a significant function of the set of flaw variables” (1988b, p. 3; for a more recent exchange regarding Hyman’s analysis, see Hyman, 1991; Utts, 1991a, 1991b). [...]

In 1988, the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences released a widely publicized report commissioned by the U.S. Army that assessed several controversial technologies for enhancing human performance, including accelerated learning, neurolinguistic programming, mental practice, biofeedback, and parapsychology (Druckman & Swets, 1988; summarized in Swets & Bjork, 1990). The report’s conclusion concerning parapsychology was quite negative: “The Committee finds no scientific justification from research conducted over a period of 130 years for the existence of parapsychological phenomena” (Druckman & Swets, 1988, p. 22).

An extended refutation strongly protesting the committee’s treatment of parapsychology has been published elsewhere (Palmer et al., 1989). The pertinent point here is simply that the NRC’s evaluation of the ganzfeld studies does not reflect an additional, independent examination of the ganzfeld database but is based on the same meta-analysis conducted by Hyman that we have discussed in this article.

Hyman chaired the NRC’s Subcommittee on Parapsychology, and, although he had concurred with Honorton 2 years earlier in their joint communiqué that “there is an overall significant effect in this data base that cannot reasonably be explained by selective reporting or multiple analysis” (p. 351) and that “significant outcomes have been produced by a number of different investigators” (p. 352), neither of these points is acknowledged in the committee’s report.

The NRC also solicited a background report from Harris and Rosenthal (1988a), which provided the committee with a comparative methodological analysis of the five controversial areas just listed. Harris and Rosenthal noted that, of these areas, “only the Ganzfeld ESP studies [the only psi studies they evaluated] regularly meet the basic requirements of sound experimental design” (p. 53), and they concluded that it would be implausible to entertain the null given the combined p from these 28 studies. Given the various problems or flaws pointed out by Hyman and Honorton...we might estimate the obtained accuracy rate to be about 1/3...when the accuracy rate expected under the null is 1/4.(p.51) [ 3 ] "

Jessica Utts also argued that the NRC engaged in data suppression:, Hyman argued against this charge:, and Utts reaffirmed her position:

Charges of sensory leakage have been met by counter charges:

The statement by Hyman - The most suspicious pattern was the fact that the hit rate for a given target increased with the frequency of occurrence of that target in the experiment. The hit rate for the targets that occurred only once was right at the chance expectation of 25%. For targets that appeared twice the hit rate crept up to 28%. For those that occurred three times it was 38%, and for those targets that occurred six or more times, the hit rate was 52%. Each time a videotape is played its quality can degrade. It is plausible then, that when a frequently used clip is the target for a given session, it may be physically distinguishable from the other three decoy clips that are presented to the subject for judging. Surprisingly, the parapsychological community has not taken this finding seriously. They still include the autoganzfeld series in their meta-analyses and treat it as convincing evidence for the reality of psi."

was countered on p. 27 pf this paper: - "Higher repetitions of a target necessarily occur later in the sequence than lower repetitions. In turn, the chronological sequence of sessions is confounded with several other variables, including more experienced experimenters, more “talented” receivers (e.g., Juilliard students and receivers being retested because of earlier successes), and methodological refinements introduced in the course of the program in an effort to enhance psi performance (e.g., experimenter “prompting”). Again, Hyman’s major concern is that this pattern might reflect an interaction between inadequate target randomization and possible response biases on the part of those receivers or experimenters who encounter the same judging set more than once. This seems highly unlikely. In the entire database, only 8 subjects saw the same judging set twice, and none of them performed better on the repetition than on the initial session. Similar arithmetic applies to experimenters: On average, each of the eight experimenters encountered a given judging set only 1.03 times. The worst case is an experimenter who encountered the same judging set 6 times over the 6 1/2 years of the program. These six sessions yielded three hits, two of them in the first two sessions."

The claim that Wiseman failed to replicate Ganzfeld results is misleading when you consider the paper Bem, Palmer, & Broughton (2001). Updating the Ganzfeld Database: A Victim of its own Success?:

The article Tressoldi, Storm, & Radin (2010). Extrasensory Perception and Quantum Models of Cognition:

argues about the Ganzfeld results: "The overall results now provide unambiguous evidence for an independently repeatable ESP effect":

Rouder et al (2013). A Bayes Factor Meta-Analysis of Recent Extrasensory Perception Experiments: Comment on Storm, Tressoldi, and Di Risio (2010)

was answered by

Storm et al (2013). Testing the Storm et al. (2010) Meta-Analysis Using Bayesian and Frequentist Approaches: Reply to Rouder et al. (2013)

ressoldi (2011). Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence: the case of non-local perception, a classical and Bayesian review of evidences is particularly interesting to read in considering the evidential value of the Ganzfeld experiments.

Wiseman in 2010 argued that parapsychologists nullify null results:

Carter in 2010 argued that Wiseman nullified positive results:

Baptista and Derakshani in 2014 argued that Wiseman created a caricature of parapsychology:

for parapsychology and cognitive function reference Dean Radin's Entangled Minds reference Parapsychology, a Handbook for the 21st Century

get articles from jaspr 1922-1938 on broken hard-drive that I need to repair.

Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 00:08, 8 December 2016 (UTC)

Sock putting on the main Wikipedia[edit source]

GPel, psychicbias, Myerslover, Joe Heato are four I have countered of yours already, as well as two IPs and that is probably not even half of what you have created recently. I wonder, what do you plan to achieve by doing this? It is not possible to hide on Wikipedia with different accounts. The admins find everyone eventually. Skeptic Watcher (discusscontribs) 12:57, 2 January 2017 (UTC)

There is nothing wrong with creating sock-puppets if he is not vandalizing the wiki. I have been over his edits, they are in line with Wikipedia Policies and I have no problem with them. (The preceding unsigned comment was added by Gaverns (talkcontribs) ) 23:05, 19 January 2017
  • GPel The account was not reported in the SPI. Basis for sock idea not confirmed. Enemies of blocked or banned users often suspect socking from inferred sock POV.
  • Psychicbias is an admitted (not checkuser identified) sock of Steigmann. (If Steigmann had not admitted it, this might not have been clearly established. The later merge with Blastikus SPIs was based fake accounts pretending to be Steigmann/Blastikus, apparently.) The account shows 11 edits, all to one article or Talk (mostly to Talk) of which two were an edit/self-reversion to create discussion of an edit that might be controversial. The edits were on December 30, 2016, 11 March, 2017, and 15 June, 2017. Two other edits were to the article, with invitation to review on Talk.. These edits were not controversial, it is no wonder that they were not detected except by someone closely scrutinizing the Wikiversity resource. It used to be that there would be no sock enforcement unless there were disruptive edits, checkusers would refuse to accept requests without that -- knowing that such are often themselves disruptive.
  • Myerslover, admitted as an alternate account by Psychicbias, made a total of four minor edits to the Myers article, December 16-17, 2016.
  • Joe Heato I see no evidence that Heato was Steigmann, and admins rejected the claim.
So the real situation was not zero disruption (all socking, even with clearly good edits, may be considered disruptive in some way), but low disruption, at least as far as what I've seen so far. (And there was more disruption, in terms of wasted user time, from Michael skater, than from any Steigmann accounts named.) Steigmann denied being any other accounts in both SPIs. Other accounts included in the SPI request were:
  • Steigmann acknowledged this IP to me. Single edit. Two edits, 16 and 18 June, 2017, both self-reverted for discussion. Very much not disruptive.
  • A111112a. No evidence that this is Steigmann. Edits appear good, accepted, with the only dissent being from Michael skater, in the only edits he made, Michael having admitted to not being a Wikipedian. This is someone, on the fact, with an outside POV, and possibly coordinating with a well-known off-wiki faction. Admins rejected this account as probably not Steigmann.
  • Ben Steigmann This one is really funny. Ben claimed this was not him, but he was thinking of sock puppet accounts, registered to evade the block. I corrected him. This was an account automatically created when he registered the name on Wikiversity. All accounts are global now, and were by then. So, one day, he was looking at Wikipedia, my guess, and discovered that he was not blocked. And he wasn't. So this was not a block evading edit by an account created for the purpose. It was a farewell edit, though. 1 December, 2014. Ben Steigmann was investigated in December, 2014, for that one edit, along with a bunch of IPs, and was blocked. There was no reason to include this in the SPI more than two years later.
  • Gggtt is very unlikely to be Steigman, or checkuser would likely have identified the account (not stale, active in the same period as Psychicbias). Instead, it was blocked later based on the creation of Gggtt Steigmann in the next report. That was crazy naive. There was no checkuser connection.
None of these accounts were notified of the checkuser filings. That is not necessary with blatantly disruptive accounts, but Gggtt was not that, and did not edit like Steigmann. So there is damage from Michael skater -- and whoever named all those impersonation accounts named in the next SPI request. None of those fit the patterns of Steigmann behavior, and Steigmann has, for years, admitted actual socking, through accounts known to be him (and I've had email contact with him since May 2014 when I was asked by scientists for support in creating a neutral Wikiversity resource on parapsychology. He is not a scientist, he's a lay person with an interest, and willing to do work. And he did. He appears to have almost entirely abandoned socking (and that's been my experience with Wikiversity: give a user something useful to do, within their interests, and they will often abandon disruption, which can be largely a product of frustration.

Olof Jonsson[edit source]

Have you ever look at the Olof Jonsson? I am interested to know your thoughts [96] Gaverns (discusscontribs) 23:05, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

Nope. I have a few things to finish up here, and then will wait to see whatever is not covered sufficiently by the SPR encyclopedia when I come back to this in a few years.
This excerpt suggests he is not worth looking into:
"According to Jönsson (Steiger, 1971), Rhine considered him one of the most talented psychics he had ever tested. His results were so significant that Rhine even asked some research assistants to "adjust" the best ones because they were too good. And Jönsson told his fan club back in Sweden that he was performing well in controlled experiments (SM, 1998). The "tests" he bragged about were those conducted at night, during a stop with the car on a road, or in someone's home (Steiger, 1971) - conditions very far from those prescribed by Rhine as necessary when verifying parapsychological hypotheses (Rhine & Pratt, 1974)."
"Rhine, on the other hand, had a slightly different version. The testing of Jönsson was terminated because he never managed to produce anything convincing. In fact, Rhine noted that Jönsson's performances diminished as controls increased. At an important presentation for a group of scientists, Rhine even caught Jönsson red-handed, when he was about to cheat. Rhine whispered to him:
- Ollie, stop that at once!
Jönsson blushed, embarrased, and failed miserably with the test. Rhine had also figured out how Jönsson did some of his other "telepathy" card feats.(Semitjov, 1979)"
Regarding ""remote viewed" the content of boxes by simply peeking into them when no one was looking", I was unable to verify this via the source cited, however, and is in conflict with the following.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 03:35, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
Diaconis, a source you cite, is countered by Edward Kelley's commentary here: Steigmann (discusscontribs) 16:34, 20 April 2017 (UTC)

Notes on Joe Nickell[edit source]

These were given by a correspondent, so I will have to verify this prior to discussing it on the main page. It refers to Nickell's article on Manning. This is being archived here as backup:

"Nickell doesn't give any examples of 'proper investigation' that has revealed poltergeist 'effects' are 'typically' '...due to the mischief of clever children'; does not mention careful attempts to investigate Manning by Dr George Owen of the Cambridge SPR at the time the phenomena were occurring – information available in Manning’s books, especially ‘The Link’ (TL) (see Owen’s report into Manning in TL – pp.161-174. ) and many other sources about Manning. This is the first indication that Nickell has little or no background knowledge of the case.

The phenomena did not begin in Queen's House in 1967, but in 'a recently built detached house' (TL p.15). The Manning's did not move to Queen's till about 18 months later. Nickell seems to have picked up this minor error from John Beloff's Editor's Preface to Harrison's paper; but it's evidence that Nickell did not consult any other source in relation to the Manning case.’

The phenomena did not start again at Easter 1971, but July 1970 (TL p.27). Again this slight error (Harrison is naturally only concerned with the wall writings) shows that Nickell is consulting Harrison's account.

'These writings were never seen being done' (Manning claims that they were, I’m sure – but I don’t have the time to reread TL in whole).  Moreover, Nickell does not mention that Harrison, although admitting that he cannot vouch for the claims that Mathew was often under observation when the writings appeared does, nevertheless, provide the reader with references to witness evidence (Harrison p.14).  Nickell had an academic moral obligation to mention this, he does not. If Nickell suspected someone else of doing the wall writings one would assume he would have told us.

Nickell mentions Harrison in the following, rather patronising terms 'Dr. Vernon Harrison—described as a handwriting expert and professional photographer...'

Nickell claims to be a handwriting and forgeries expert himself. His use of the word 'described' suggests an air of contempt for Harrison's alleged expertise.

In fact, Harrison was one of the foremost experts in handwriting and forgeries in the UK, a sought after expert witness in criminal and civil cases, who had advised the Bank of England. ( If Nickell knew this, (biographical information on Harrison can be obtained with ease, online), he seems to have chosen not to mention it. As for ‘professional photographer’, Harrison was President of the Royal Photographic Society from 1974 till 1976 ( It does seem astonishing that Nickell, a man who describes himself as an expert on paranormal fraud would be ignorant of the fact that Harrison' s expertise was responsible for calling into question the validity of the SPR's 1885 'Hodgson Report' into the claims of Helena Blavatsky, co-founder of the Theosophical Movement (one of the most famous ostensible exposures of paranormal fraud ever) which alleged that she was the author of the infamous 'Mahatma Letters'. Even if Nickell had not been familiar with Harrison's reputation, it beggars belief that he did not make some effort to find out, given the importance of Harrison's competence as an expert to the subject in question: whether or not Matthew Manning was, in fact, the author of the wall writings, and whether his automatic writings and artwork showed any signs of authenticity, or otherwise.

Nickell then cherry picks his way through Harrison's paper, presenting only those observations by Harrison which bolster his own case i.e. that the hundreds of signatures (of all sizes from feet across, to miniscule, and some upside down six feet from the floor), were the work of ‘clever children’.

Nickell claims that the wall writings exhibit certain characteristics that are indicative of fraud e.g. ' Unnatural.evenness in pressure'; 'blunt beginning and ending strokes' etc. That may be the case, but he gives no specific examples. This is an extraordinary omission, given that Harrison does provide close up shots of some of the writings.

Indeed, Nickell claims 'These are traits associated with imitative writings, such as forgeries, yet these are not the most serious faults'. Yet he then fails to tell the reader what these 'most serious faults' are, unless he means his following contention that, because none of the signatures counted as such, (genuine examples not being available for comparison), Manning would simply have had to: -

‘…merely write in a variety of amateurishly created styles—rather like a mimic speaking different made-up voices’.

This is the first of Nickell’s serious misrepresentations of Harrison’s paper. He neglects to mention that Harrison remarks (H pp.14-15) : -

‘None of the scripts shows any sign of Matthew’s handiwork. In particular, Matthew’s characteristic a is found neither in the signatures and poetic aphorisms on the walls, nor in the automatic scripts received through his hand.

All of the writing is carefully made with no sign of haste or interruption. If interruption there were at any time, the work was completed later with no sign of hiatus.

Many of the signatures are elaborately ornamented and would take some little time to execute. Not a few of them are little works of art.’ (emphasis in original).

In addition to this, with reference to the wall writings, Harrison remarks that 85% of the signatures show signs of being written by Thomas Webbe - whoever, or whatever, Thomas Webbe was – but not Manning.

The foregoing only scratches the surface of Harrison’s analysis.

The fact that an expert of Harrison’s calibre and reputation could not detect the hand of Manning once in the 603 wall writing signatures, or in the automatic writing examples, one would think, would deserve at least cursory mention on the part of another expert – most would expect as detailed an analysis as possible even if space were limited. This is especially so as Harrison provides illustrative, detailed examples.

Yet Nickell provides nothing other than the inadequate example already mentioned above – at least in relation to the wall writings. One would be perfectly justified in concluding that either a) Nickell had not read Harrison’s paper with sufficient care; b) was worried that he could not bolster his objections to Harrison’s analysis in a sufficiently convincing way if he used tried to provide any more detail, or c) simply did not have enough space. Even, if c) was a major consideration, I find it difficult to believe that Nickell could have not gone to more effort to convey the detail and weight of Harrison’s one hundred page-plus analysis. Given that Nickell’s piece amounts to a tacit accusation of fraud on the part of Manning, and incompetence on the part of Harrison (now deceased), some might conclude that this attitude is unforgivable.

However, strong evidence that Nickell has deliberately misrepresented Harrison with regard to the wall signatures and automatic writings emerges in his ‘Overall " [...]"Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 18:55, 22 January 2017 (UTC)

excerpts from book on Telepathy by Samuel Soal and from Whately Carington, later to include Rhine and Pratt[edit source]

As mentioned, I have found Soal useful for summarizing experiments other than his own (also cite Whately Carington JSPR paper and book) - will then cite Rhine and Pratt (supplement with work of Tyrell, Murphy and Broad). Use Soal for basic commentary and others for supplementary commentary:

Coover (pp. 12-14):;view=1up;page=root;size=100;seq=34;num=12;orient=0

"Coover's Results1 In a telepathy experiment two persons are essential—the 'sender' or 'agent' who looks at the cards one by one, and the 'receiver' or 'per- cipient' who records his guesses. The sender and cards are usually in one room and the guesser in another. The purpose of this is (i) to ensure that it is absolutely impossible for the guesser to catch any glimpse of the cards, and (ii) to prevent him from receiving any signal intentional or unintentional from the sender or from anyone else that would enable him to identify the card by normal means.

Coover1 used altogether 105 guessers and 97 senders. He sat with his sender in one room while the student being tested sat in an adjoining room. Each student who acted as guesser was made to do about 100 guesses, and altogether 10,000 guesses were recorded. Having shuffled and cut the pack of 40 cards, Coover threw a die for 'odds' or 'evens' in order to decide whether or not the sender should look at the face of the card drawn. He then turned up the card, and the sender concentrated on it or simply put it aside without looking at the face, according to whether the die had registered an even or an odd number. After having exposed the card or laid it aside face downwards, Coover tapped with his pencil on the table as a signal for the guesser in the next room to write down his guess. After replacing the card, Coover reshuffled and cut his pack, and threw the die again.

Of the 10,000 guesses recorded by the 105 students just 5,135 corresponded to trials in which the agent had looked at the cards, while the remainder corresponded to trials in which the cards had not been looked at but whose order had been preserved. The guesser did not know whether or not the agent looked at the card. To-day we should think of the trials in which no one saw the cards until the checking as clairvoyance tests, but Coover merely intended them to serve as an em- pirical 'control' on the trials in which the agent concentrated on the cards.

Coover reported that neither the 5,000 odd telepathy trials nor the 'control' series showed any significant deviations, when considered separately, from mean chance expectation. He concluded that there was no evidence for telepathy, and this finding was greeted with a chorus of satisfaction from American psychologists who were hostile to the para- normal.

Later, however, it was pointed out by both Professor Cyril Burt and Dr. R. H. Thouless* that in the grand total of 10,000 guesses no fewer than 294 were correct as compared with an expectation of 250. Now Coover had used packs of playing-cards from which the twelve picture cards had been removed, so that each pack contained 40 cards, i.e. the cards 1-10 of the four suits.

The reader can verify that with N - 10,000, p = 1/40, the standard deviation is 15-61 and the critical ratio 44/15-61, i.e. 2-8 which, accord- ing to the normal probability tables, gives odds against the result being due to chance of about 200 to 1. It is known, however, that the normal distribution is a good approximation to the binomial distribution only when {q — p) D3j6dl is small, where D is the observed deviation from the mean score, d is the standard deviation, and q — 1 — p. In our example D = 44, d = 15-61 and owing to the small value of /» = 1/40 the above expression is equal to 0-227 which is not small. It follows from this that the above odds of 200 to 1 are somewhat exag- gerated and 160 to 1 would be a closer approximation to the true odds. A possibility, of course, is that clairvoyance may have been operating during the 'control' series, and as the deviations in the 'telepathy' and 'control' series are of about the same order, it is also possible that clair- voyance was at work throughout the 10,000 trials.

On the other hand, it is possible that Coover's method of obtaining a series that was approximately random by hand-shuffling a solitary pack of cards was inefficient. A pack of cards tends to cut at certain places more easily than at others, and if the card situated in such a place happened to be a popular symbol such as the Ace of Spades, this card would turn up more frequently than the other cards and also be guessed more often. This would tend to increase the number of correct guesses. So far as we are aware, however, no one has produced any evidence from Coover's original lists of cards and guesses that factors of this sort were present. It is hard to believe that he overlooked the significant excess of correct hits on the 10,000 trials, and if he was aware of it, why did he not continue with the experiments or try to discover what was responsible for the abnormal deviation?

At the outset of the investigation Coover declared that nothing less than odds of 50,000 to one against the operation of chance would con- vince him of the reality of telepathy. Had he gone on scoring positively at the same rate for another 18,000 trials, he would more than have achieved his self-imposed odds. Coover's 10,000 trials with playing- cards constitute only a small fraction of the successful experiments that have been carried out since his day, and even had they given completely negative results, all they would have demonstrated is that, if one works with about a hundred guessers chosen at random, one cannot be sure of discovering a good telepathic percipient. S.G.S. did thirteen times as many trials as Coover before he found two good percipients. We have dwelt at some length on Coover's unimportant experiments because even today they are cited by psychologists who are ignorant of the extensive literature of card-guessing as furnishing a disproof of tele- pathy. Thus, writing in the autumn (1950) number of the Modern Quarterly, John McLeish,3 who is Staff Tutor in Psychology at Leeds University writes: 'Coover, the Stanford University investigator, came to a negative conclusion after a long investigation under laboratory conditions (1917) and until his death resisted all attempts by others to "cook" his results.' But he carefully omits all mention of the odds of 160 to 1 against the hypothesis that Coover's results were due to chance. If there was any 'cooking', it was done by Coover, who suppressed the fact, and not by those who pointed it out.

Another psychologist, Professor Chester E. Kellogg,4 writing in The Scientific Monthly (October 1937), eulogizes Coover's work as 'a notable example of painstaking, thorough research and exact treatment of numerical data'. But a man who disregards odds of 160 to 1 can hardly be considered either 'painstaking' or 'thorough'. And Coover's method of obtaining a random sequence of cards by shuffling and cutting a single pack would scarcely pass muster nowadays."

See Carington's remarks on Troland:, and specifically his 1938 paper.

Brugmans (pp. 15-16 - but see also Carington's argument, and subsequent arguments):;view=1up;seq=37

"In the best of these the subject, i.e. the guesser, a young man called van Dam, sat blindfolded by himself in a room in front of a sort of large chess-board which contained 48 squares instead of the usual 64, there being 6 rows numbered along the edge 1 to 6 and 8 columns lettered A to H, so that any one of the 48 squares was fixed by a letter and a number, e.g. C4. The experimenters were in a room immediately above van Dam's room, and they watched him through a thick pane of glass let into the floor. The watching psychologists selected one of the 48 squares by drawing a card from each of two shuffled packs, one con- taining numbers 1-6 and the other letters A-H. They then willed van Dam to point to the chess square on his board, and observed him make his choice through the glass pane. In 187 trials he was right 60 times, whereas by chance alone his expectation would be about 4 successes. There is therefore no doubt whatever that some factor other than chance was operating. About a half of the 187 trials were carried out, however, with van Dam and the psychologists in the same room. The subject succeeded better under the more rigorous conditions in which the experimenters were in the room above.

As Whately Carington15 points out, the experimenters had to record the subject's choice from a distance of several feet and through a thick pane of glass, and they may have made mistakes. This possible source of error could have been obviated if a separate recorder had sat beside van Dam. It was altogether unfortunate that the experimenters who knew the chosen square watched him while he was groping over the board. Quite possibly they became excited when his hand was in the region of the right square, and they may have made some slight movement which afforded an auditory cue. Whately Carington did not think this pos- sible, but we cannot share his optimism, even though he had visited the scene while we have not. It is well established that vaudeville 'tele- pathists' such as Fred Marion7 can succeed in finding hidden objects by observing small movements or changes in breathing on the part of the audience when the searcher approaches or recedes from the hiding place. It has been shown that 'telepathic' horses which tap out answers to sums with their hooves often obey a signal given, perhaps unconsciously, by their trainer, and cease tapping at the correct number.

Nor are we impressed by the argument that van Dam did significantly better when he had been dosed with alcohol or bromide, for the effect of the drug might be to sharpen his sensitivity to small sounds for a time.

We would suggest that this subject may have been a sensitive of Marion's type, and that telepathy may have played no part in the per- formance. It is only fair, however, to point out that the experimenters were highly competent psychologists, and would naturally be on their guard against the possibility of auditory cues."

Carington's commentary vitiates some criticism:

Estabrooks (pp. 18-19):;view=1up;seq=40

"Dr. Estabrooks's11 Experiments

In 1926, Dr. G. H. Estabrooks, a psychologist of Harvard University, carried out three short series of telepathy experiments with a number of college students, using an ordinary full pack of playing-cards. Dr. Esta- brooks himself acted as agent or sender, assisted by one or two other persons. In the main series the agent and guesser were in the two halves of a relatively sound-proofroom separated by a partition in which were double doors, closed during the experiments. An electric device clicked every 20 seconds as a signal for the subject to record his guess, and each card was exposed to the agent's gaze for 20 seconds. Each time a 'red' playing-card was turned up, Estabrooks switched on a red light to en- hance the effect. About 80 guessers were individually tested, and, with a few exceptions, each was allowed to do about 20 guesses. Dr. Estabrooks rejected the trials of subjects who were of a critical or analytic turn of mind—the rejection taking place, of course, before the subject's guesses were checked with the 'target' cards. He declared that the best subjects he found were those who regarded both the experiment and the experi- menter as a nuisance to be got rid of as soon as possible, and not those who took a minute interest in the details.

Estabrooks1' analysed his results for colour and suit only. Out of a total of 1,660 trials in the three main series the guess was right for colour 938 times, as compared with an expectation of 830. The reader will easily verify that, with p = 1/2, the critical ratio is 5-3, and the corresponding odds over eight millions to one. The suit was right 473 times, whereas chance would predict only 415 hits. The odds against chance here ex- ceed 900 to 1.

Estabrooks also noted that the first half of a set of 20 trials gave a significantly higher score than the remaining half. This sort of decline characterizes much of the later work including that of Mrs. Stewart and of David Kahn.

On one occasion after a batch of subjects had completed their guesses, they were removed to a room 60 feet distant from the agent's room and retested individually with another 20 guesses. Of the 640 trials recorded, 307 were right as regards colour and 130 as regards suit, as compared with chance expectations of 320 and 160 respectively. Both these results are somewhat below the chance values, and the odds against the nega- tive deviation of 30 for suit amount to more than 150 to 1. This ten- dency for subjects who have been scoring high above the chance level to change suddenly to scoring below chance has been frequently noticed. Here it may have been due to the guessers losing their confidence in being able to cognize the cards at an increased distance. They may have felt isolated and cut off from the agent. In the light of later work it seems improbable that the increased distance had any physical effect on the results, and it is possible that the subjects could have been conditioned to work effectively from the more remote room.

Dr. Estabrooks, however, seems to have become discouraged, for he did not continue the experiments. Possibly he felt that the critics would attribute the original high scores to unconscious whispering or some other form of auditory leakage of information."

Whately Carington note :

Usher and Burt (pp. 19-20):;view=1up;seq=41

"The earliest records we can find of attempts to transmit thought over considerable distances are the experiments of Usher and Burt13'14 in 1907. An agent in Bristol attempted to transmit drawings and playing-cards telepathically to a receiver in London at pre-arranged times. In a second series by the same authors, the agent was in Prague and the receiver in London. So far as the drawings are concerned, Usher and Burt claimed resemblances between those made by the receiver and agent but they did not attempt any numerical evaluation.

Later on Whately Carington15 applied to this series what is known as a matching method. Code numbers were affixed to the drawings and originals. Pairs of originals (i.e. the agent's drawings) were selected in haphazard fashion, and to each pair were added the two drawings of the receiver or percipient which were supposed to correspond to the two originals. The four sketches were then submitted to a judge, who knew nothing of Usher and Burt's work, and he was asked to indicate which 'reproduction' he thought most resembled each original. This would often be something in the nature of a Hobson's choice, but he was asked to do his best. Eleven judges tried their hand at the job. If there existed only fortuitous resemblances between the originals and the drawings intended for them, we should expect about 50 per cent of the pairs to be correctly matched. Actually out of a total of 249 pairs, 144 were correctly matched, i.e. 57-8 per cent, and this gives odds of more than 60 to 1 in favour of the resemblances being genuine. The result is suggestive though, of course, far from conclusive.

Thirty attempts14 were made to transmit the image of a playing-card. These led to only 2 complete hits but there were some partial successes such as 6D for 6S, etc. In some cases two guesses were recorded for a single card, and so S.G.S. was able to score only the first 25 trials by Fisher's method. The observed mean score was 16. 11 as compared with the theoretical mean of 11-18. This gives a critical ratio of 2-46 and corresponding odds of more than 70 to 1—a result which is again suggestive, especially as certain guesses could not be scored."

Carington provides very supportive commentary:

Early Rhine work (pp. 26-27):;view=1up;seq=48 "Rhine, we think, was the first experimenter who tried to isolate tele- pathy from clairvoyance. Hitherto the majority of successful experi- ments in thought-transference could be equally well interpreted as being due to some unknown power of the human mind which extracted infor- mation from the material objects themselves. That is, when an agent looked at a playing-card, the guesser in the other room might be getting either the mental image in the agent's mind or information derived from the card itself. The experiment did not allow us to discriminate between the two alternatives. But Rhine arranged tests in telepathy which apparently excluded clairvoyance, and vice versa.

In many of the early 'pure clairvoyance' experiments, Dr. Rhine and the guesser would sit on opposite sides of a small table. Rhine would shuffle and cut a pack of 25 Zener cards inscribed with five types of sym- bols. He would lay the pack on the table face downwards, and the sub- ject would lift off the cards one by one, and, holding each card face downwards, guess the symbol on its face. Rhine recorded the guess on a scoring sheet, and the guesser without seeing the face value placed the card face downwards in a separate pile. When all 25 cards had been guessed, the experimenter would compare the subject's guesses with the actual cards in the new pile, and the guesser watched the checking. Sometimes, however, the guesses were checked against the 'targets' after every five trials, and in this case it would be possible, since the pack contained equal numbers (five) of each symbol, for the guesser to be guided in his guessing by noting the numbers of circles, stars, etc., which had already turned up. If, for instance, four of the first five happened to be circles, the guesser would be well advised to cease calling circles for the rest of the pack. His total score would then on an average be about 6 instead of 5.

There was also obviously the possibility that, in the case where the subject saw the backs of the cards as he guessed them, he might notice (perhaps subconsciously) small specks and irregularities on the backs of certain of them, and, through watching the checking, associate these specks with the designs on the faces. When the same pack was run through several times, the knowledge so obtained might enable him to recognize consciously or subconsciously the marked cards. Even if only one or two cards could be thus identified, the guesser's average would soon rise significantly above chance expectation. At this time of day, however, we need not unduly emphasize such defects. To do so, indeed, would be to misunderstand Rhine's plan of attack. His general practice was to begin with fairly loose conditions of control, and only after his subjects had gained confidence would he tighten them up. As he expressed it in a letter he wrote to S.G.S. in 1936: 'We work here on the principle that you must first catch your butterfly before you can pin it down.'

Our view is that the above-mentioned sources of error probably did produce a spurious increase in the scores of even the major subjects while these were working under the less rigid conditions, and it is possible that the smaller extra-chance scores of some of the minor subjects may have been wholly due to the presence of sensory cues.

Nevertheless, there are quite enough experiments described in Extra- Sensory Perception in which guessers and cards were separated by opaque screens, or in which the experimenter and the guesser were in different buildings, to justify Dr. Rhine's claims to have demonstrated clairvoyance (as then understood)."

Soal continues (pp. 28-29):

"An experiment was now done with 25 packs of freshly printed cards which the subject had never seen before. Each pack was run through only two or three times, and the results were not checked until the end of each set of 25 guesses. There was thus little opportunity for Pearce to learn the cards from their backs. We shall be on the safe side if we con- sider only the first runs through the 25 different packs. On these 625 trials 235 hits were scored, which shows an average of 9-4 hits per 25, with astronomical odds against chance. Everything depends here, of course, on whether Pearce had any opportunity to mark or study these newly printed cards before the experiment started. Dr. Rhine assures us that Pearce had no such opportunity. We are told that the cards used were opaque to light from a 100-watt light-bulb, and were cut from heavy white cardboard.

Pearce then did 300 trials with the cards concealed behind a screen, and scored 99 successes—an average of 8-3 per 25. Here the sceptic might ask: 'Did Pearce himself shuffle the pack and if so did Dr. Rhine give it a cut behind the screen? He mentions cutting the pack in the previous test.'"

"Pearce himself at this stage suggested an innovation. He thoroughly shuffled the pack, watched by Dr. Rhine. This shuffling, Rhine notes, was prolonged and thorough, and Pearce habitually turned away his eyes from the cards. Moreover, after the shuffling, the pack was always cut by Rhine himself. Under these conditions it does not seem possible that Pearce could have arranged the cards in a special order to any useful purpose. The pack was left lying face downwards on the table, and the subject guessed the cards through the pack from top to bottom without disturbing the pile. Twelve different packs were used in this experiment, and 1,625 trials recorded. These gave a total score of 482, with odds of the order of 1030 to 1 against chance.

It was noted that Pearce scored best on the last five cards at the bottom of the pack, and next best on the top five, while the central fifteen showed a lower average. This is a typical decline effect.

It might be suggested by the critic that, since the total scoring rate was only 7-4 hits per 25, as against an expectation of 5, Pearce achieved his results normally by catching a glimpse of the bottom card as the pack was being cut, and frequently identifying the top card by means of specks on its back. But it would be absurd to imagine that Rhine should have overlooked such an obvious possibility. If the sig- nificance were due entirely to successes on the top and bottom cards, he would surely have discovered this during the counting which he men- tions.

Unless we assume that throughout the experimenter was incurably negligent it is difficult to believe that Pearce could have made high scores under such varied conditions by fraud alone.

But later on clairvoyance was fully confirmed by the experiments of Martin and Stribic,4'5 who caused their best subject, Mr. C.J., to run through 91,475 trials by this DT method, with the additional precaution that the pack of cards was always placed behind a screen. This subject maintained an average of nearly seven hits per 25, with astronomical odds against chance."

Carington describes early "Down Through" technique of Rhine, which involved subject guessing a pack of cards from top to bottom before any are removed for scoring hits. He also discusses screens:

note: look at ESP book for exact conditions

pp. 32-33:;view=1up;seq=54 "Hubert Pearce1 made pure telepathy (PT) tests with four different agents. There was usually a 'transition' period when Pearce changed from one technique to another, and he did not score well on the first 175 PT trials. Pearce and the agent were in the same room, and the former sat with closed eyes waiting for the regular tap of a telegraph key by which he was informed that the agent was visualizing a Zener symbol but had no actual card in front of him. Pearce called out his guess, and then the sender recorded both the guess and the imagined symbol.

In 1,225 PT trials Pearce achieved an average of 7-2 per 25, with odds against chance of more than 10" to one.

It is interesting to note that during the same period in which these PT trials took place, Pearce also carried out 1,775 pure clairvoyance trials with an average of 71 hits per 25.

It is not clear whether the clairvoyance and telepathy tests were rigidly alternated with each other, or randomly interspersed in equal batches, but, so far as can be gathered, Pearce scored about equally well with pure telepathy and pure clairvoyance.

On the occasions when a stranger was introduced to watch Pearce at work, his scoring, which had been quite high before the entry of the fresh observer, invariably declined for a few runs to about chance level, and then rose again to its original level, or even above it, as the subject became adjusted to the presence of the newcomer. Among the witnesses was Wallace Lee, the magician, who confessed himself baffled by Pearce's performance, which he was quite unable to imitate. Pearce, however, was ill on this occasion, and his actual score (37/125) was not very remarkable."

Early Ownbey-Zirkle work:

su,,arize pp. 37-95

Carington notes the importance of the work of GNM Tyrell:

Eric Dingwall[edit source]

He was apparently a believer in some psychic phenomena

Do you accept that conclusion? So Dingwall was not a total skeptic. His skepticism seems to have been limited.

He dismissed Pasquale Erto as a fraud here [97], what do you think about Erto? Do you think the new SPR project will cover all these mediums? The project seems to be very slow. Researcher guy (discusscontribs) 05:10, 30 January 2017 (UTC)

That post rips off of my research. with that said, Dingwall probably has similarity to Harry Price in his support of a minority of Paranormal claims. However, his support for such claims was much more reserved than most parapsychologists.

He wrote supportive commentary on DD Home until the end of his life (see for instance his writing in Truzzi's Zetetic Scholar). He also, alongside many other people, was persuaded by the work of Samuel Soal (see "New Light on Telepathic Phenomena" on pp. 298-299 of a March. 11 1944 article in the journal Nature, and his commentary in "The Unknown"), though we now know the difficulties with this, and Dingwall himself noted that notions of alleged telepathic processes within parapsychology would have to be "thrown out" on account of Soal's work, thus noting its idiosyncratic nature.

As for my conclusions, I lack the qualifications to make definitive statements. All I am trying to do in this overview is to argue that there exists a mass of data that skeptics have not accounted for, and to create a database of positive material, and to attempt to rehabilitate those researchers who I felt have been caricatured by describing the totality of positive (but also negative) claims - e.g.- [98]. But as for making my own statements, note that Dingwall himself said: "Too many scientific men have already shown that without long experience they soon fall victims to the most transparent imposture. It is only in psychical research that these people imagine that they can become experts without any preliminary training. The geologist does not attempt to conduct experiments in bio-chemistry, neither does the entomologist engage in astronomical research. Yet in inquiries relating to the reality and possible significance of these obscure human activities many scientific men think that not only do their opinions carry weight but that they are capable of conducting investigations on their own account. Were psychical research to become a recognized branch of scientific study, as may well happen in the future, then the assistance of men working in other branches of science will be invaluable in helping to elucidate some of those problems connected with their own subjects. But to put them in charge of the actual investigation is to invite disaster. To see the scientific man in the stance room is often to realize how little his scientific training has done to help him to make objective studies and come to balanced judgments. He often reveals himself as a mere technician, skilled in one particular branch of inquiry. In psychical research much more is needed than an expert acquaintance with only one subject. In this field the investigator must be something of an anthropologist, psychologist and statistician combined. But above all he must know human beings, and try to understand as far as he is able why and how they behave as they do. He must have infinite patience and learn to suffer fools gladly, and at the same time have a thorough acquaintance with the principles underlying conjuring, fraud generally and the psychology of misdirection. Since there is no training to be obtained in psychical research it follows that there are hardly any reliable psychical researchers, although there are many who style themselves such. No young man or woman without substantial private means is likely to embark on so hazardous, so hard and so unpopular a course of study. The result is that from century to century we go floundering on in a morass of doubt, fraud, imbecility and incompetence. Yet it is probable that some of the problems could be settled in five years at the cost of a few thousand pounds. The lack of money is one of the fundamental difficulties in psychical research." (Very Peculiar People, pp. 207-208)

I sort of began this as a believer engaging in caustic polemicism but became more dispassionate. The objective of this, however, remains specifically to attempt to let the underdog parapsychologist side be represented. This and other such effort may be combined with the skeptic side later into an overall synthesis.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 02:52, 31 January 2017 (UTC)

Possible fraud from Joseph Rinn[edit source]

Joseph Rinn stated that with Harry Houdini on May 30, 1926 he tested the Indian fakir Rahman Bey. Rinn discusses all this in his 1950 book. But in 1966 it was alleged that Rinn was never actually there. This newspaper report from 1966 reports a possible court case for plagiarism but I can not find any follow up. [99] Researcher guy (discusscontribs) 14:03, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

The first 64 pages of Rinn's book can be found here [100] Researcher guy (discusscontribs) 14:22, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

On the opposite end of the extreme to a skeptic like Rinn was spiritualist Arthur Conan Doyle. He was not reliable, he would believe in almost anything, even if evidence was going the other way. There is a good review of his History of Spiritualism here [101], it is a terrible book I have discovered over the years. Podmore's history was more reliable as the reviewer says. Researcher guy (discusscontribs) 00:26, 10 March 2017 (UTC)

CEM Joad was a fraud[edit source]

Joad claimed to have attended séances that he was not present at, he was basically a liar as reported in this SPR review [102]. But the new PSI Encyclopedia does not mention this [103] Researcher guy (discusscontribs) 01:40, 10 March 2017 (UTC)

Thank you. The new psi encyclopedia, disappointingly, seems to be written with the intent to provide a general overview and avoid controversies. With that said, I find this to be of interest: Steigmann (discusscontribs) 08:53, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

Enfield poltergeist[edit source]

This is an open letter to all of you who have been following this thread. Re: The Enfield Poltergeist.

I have decided, after much consideration, to bring to an end my contribution to this topic.
In fact, I have decided to leave this web-site altogether.
My deepest apologies go out to you who genuinely wished to know more.
My reasons are plain. Anyone who has been following the recent exchanges, will see what I am up against.
Shouting, Impatience, Mockery, taken together add up to Harassment.
So much for reasoned debate. Where exactly, is it?
I come here, in good faith, yet I am subjected to vitriol. Well, no more.
I firmly believe that those of you who would wish to comment or make reasoned observations, are intimidated by the antics of a few, such as Andy X. Putting ones head above the parapet, when a barrage of flak is raining down, is not an easy thing to do.
And yet, for all that; I do understand what is actually happening here.
It is all to do with the forces of 'Enchantment'(FoE); which will not be denied. All of the participants in the Enfield case, including myself and the 'ghost-chasers' were within a dimensional 'bubble' (D.B) which formed as a result of a fissure upon the fabric of our dimension.
Within that (D.B) which formed over Green Street and its environs, those (FoE) worked their magic; in their effort to repair. I shall not tell you what event caused that fissure; which is no loss to yourselves, as I would not reveal that anyway. Neither shall I repeat here how those forces operate, (I believe I spoke of such on another topic)
Needless to say, (but I say it anyway) those forces are satisfied with the healing process and do not take kindly to one who seeks (in their estimation) to reopen that fissure. Therefore, they direct forces of Disenchantment against the perpetrator. It is doubtful if those Avatars who attack me, are actually aware of how they are being used, as such. Yet those of you who have genuine Psychic abilities may have some idea of what is occurring.
Who am I to deny those Elemental Forces? For me to proceed, would lead to greater repercussions for myself.
That is, if I survived? For they take no prisoners. Alas, I am, therefore; unable to tell you of the real magic that occurred.
I take with me several topics which I hoped to bring forward. These being; my confrontation, as a child, with the spirit of Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace. (Unsettling to me; that one.) My being mystically piped-aboard the HMS Victory, again as a child (witnessed by a teacher - the only other to hear it.) Attacked by ball-lightning in the 1970's (again I think I mentioned that one, somewhere?) Ghostly occurrence at Chingford Mount Cemetery - nope, I've done that! Lets see. My help and guidance to Thomas Tallis, (I think he spelled it Tallys) who became lost in this dimension. (nearly came to blows, that one!) A lucid dream of mine, which showed me the location of the Ark of the Covenant, (maybe moved by now?) And last but not least, my knowledge of the Holy Grail - what 'it' actually is, and where precisely it is located. And its still there! Oh yes; there's my calculation as to the end of days. (Don't worry, its just the end of this dimension!) And my belief in how this end can be foreshortened via a relatively simple alteration to the interior of an 'important' Church. Yes, I know; they are all important! There may be more. Can't think right now?
Anyway, if I do return, I hope we are entertained. Goodbye for now. Adios, Stuart Certain.
Hi-Ho Silver!
Sound of horses hooves - galloping into the distance - and disappears within a cloud of dust.

Notes on FWH Myers[edit source]

I made some notes on FWH Myers in a saved wiki draft that I later reverted:

Most of the people who come here are skeptics. The skeptic viewpoint is well represented in that doc. At the same time, that doc favors the proponent viewpoint. It would be appreciated if proponents could come forward with other information. I might also obtain the Wolman and recent Handbook of Parapsychology, re-obtain A Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology and Stein's Encyclopedia of the Paranormal (this I haven't read sufficiently yet), and obtain all copies of Advances in Parapsychological Research, in order to extract relevant information.

I made some notes on Blackburn and Smith in that document, and also as follows: 1) CEM Hansel overviews the negative information in "The Search for Psychic Power" (all parapsychologists should read this book, his last argument, if only to refute it - I cite Irvin Child, etc., elsewhere, but he seems to be in the minority who really focused on these issues and his offering was incomplete. Other skeptic books are comparatively irrelevant IMHO - though I attempt to indirectly refute some of the negative perspective in multiple arguments in my project. I particularly believe that parapsychologists should replicate the Coover and Soal experiments in large scale studies with extra safeguards - some ideas are in that book. I do believe that Hansel is bigoted, but point by point counter-argument or qualification could produce a good history of parapsychology. If a proponent wants to attempt this in another comment using primary sources, that would be a worthwhile endeavor)

2) Eric Dingwall in a relevant volume of "Abnormal Hypnotic Phenomena" references an article by Frank Podmore (Podmore, F. "Psychical Research" (Westminster Gazette, Feb. 3, 1908, p. 3)) in the Westminster Gazette that I will attempt to get in full and maybe upload later.

3) While I have just pursued this superficially, the exchange between Nicol and Trevor Hall, more than Hall's book (which a skeptic would probably reference) seems to be of secondary importance to that exchange. If I can recall correctly, the first item by Nicol vitiates one of the arguments given by Hansel - but somebody with the time and resources to obtain the full exchange and flesh out this issue in detail (perhaps even uploading these items) would be doing a service. The exchange is as follows: Nicol, F. (1966). The silences of Mr Trevor Hall. International Journal of Parapsychology 8: 5-59; Hall, T. H. (1968). The Strange Case of Edmund Gurney. Some comments on Mr. Fraser Nicol’s review. International Journal of Parapsychology 10: 149-164. Nicol, F. (1968 unpublished). A Rejoinder ... and Some New Facts. Papers, SPR Archive, Cambridge University Library; Nicol, F. letters to Broad, 31/5/1968, 16/2/1970, D1/17/38-51, in Broad, C.D. Papers, Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge

4) A psychical researcher provided me with info (an extract from his thesis) that I provide as follows: "The first hint of a problem was a letter by Donkin in The Westminster Gazette on 26 November 1907. He said that two friends had on separate occasions attended experiments during the winter of 1882-3, and they had told him at the time that they had guarded against auditory and visual communications, whereupon phenomena had ceased. Donkin pointed out that neither was mentioned in the SPR’s reports. Mrs Sidgwick, the SPR’s Hon Secretary, replied in the issue of 29 November 1907. She dissected Donkin’s letter, noting that he was not present himself; he had not named the alleged participants, nor the experimenters or subjects; and was recalling events of twenty-five years before. Donkin responded with a further letter published on 18 December. He now gave details: the experiments had occurred in December 1882, January 1883 and April 1883. The witnesses were the alienist Sir James Crichton-Browne and Dr A Hughes Bennett. The experiments were carried out by Smith and Blackburn. He added that the reports did not mention either of these individuals, nor the effects of their presence.[1]

Crichton-Browne then weighed in with a letter to the Gazette, published on 29 January 1908. [2] He confessed that he was writing from memory, but recalled that also present were G J Romanes, Francis Galton, Henry Sidgwick and Frederic Myers. [3] He and Romanes suspected that Smith and Blackburn were using a code which could convey a verbal description of the picture target so they introduced squiggles that could not be described verbally. Smith was unable to reproduce these. They also improved Smith’s sensory isolation with cotton-wool, ear plugs and a head cover. All experiments conducted under these conditions failed, according to Crichton-Browne. There was a lady present whom he believed to be Mrs Blackburn. This lady has been the subject of rather pointless controversy. She was not Mrs Blackburn as he never married. Hall believed her to be Smith’s sister Alice. Broad thought this ‘flimsy’, based as it was on the ancient recollection of Smith’s niece, Mrs Ford, that Blackburn was “walking out” with Alice, but he considered it unimportant. [4] Hall was probably right as one of Smith’s sisters is mentioned in the ‘First Report of the Committee on Mesmerism’ as having mesmerised Mr Wolferstan. Either way, Crichton-Browne thought that she might have participated in the transmission of codes between Blackburn and Smith. Broad believed that the lack (as he thought it) of any such individual either meant that the SPR report was “culpably defective” by omission, or Crichton-Browne’s 25-year old memories were in error, his money clearly being on the latter while Hall’s was on the former. However, while each was wrong, this point which Broad thought unimportant actually gives credibility to Crichton-Browne’s account. Yet Nicol skewers Crichton-Browne by pointing out that none of the witnesses present detected any signals, and no cheating was found. The experiment with the coverings was actually a success, contrary to Crichton-Browne’s claim. An outside possibility regarding the identity of the mystery lady is that she was Mrs Fanny Parsons, the auctioneer’s wife with whom Blackburn had an affair. She had stayed in hotels with him, presumably calling herself Mrs Blackburn, in August and September 1883 and February 1884, and Blackburn was cited as co-respondent in the subsequent divorce action.

[1] The absence of these names may seem surprising, and it is clearly a weakness, but as Nicol, 1968, p.3, points out, this occurred frequently; William James’s attendance at a Brighton session, for example, was not included in the report. Nicol makes the valid point (p.4) that if the report had misrepresented the facts, then given the numbers present at the experiments they would surely have requested a correction, but nobody did.

[2] A long extract is given by Hall, The Strange Case of Edmund Gurney, 1964, pp.111-15; a shortened version is given by Ivor Tuckett, ‘Psychical Researchers and the Will to Believe’, Bedrock, July 1912, pp197-8. See also Oppenheim, The Other World, 1985, pp.285-6. Crichton-Browne returned to the experiments in his much later The Doctor’s Second Thoughts, 1931, pp.58-64. The title did not relate to this particular subject.

[3] Romanes (who died in May 1894) was a member of the Committee on Mesmerism (he was joint secretary with Podmore - Circular No 1, February 1883), so may well have been present. Francis Galton (who died in January 1911) does not seem – as far as the published accounts indicate – to have participated in the SPR’s experimental work, and was not a member, but he may have been present as a guest. He and Romanes certainly knew each other: they had both been members of an ad hoc committee which had investigated Washington Irving Bishop and reported in Nature (Romanes, ‘Thought-Reading’, 23 June 1881; Oppenheim, The Other World, 1985, p.295). This committee was referred to in the SPR’s ‘First Report on Thought-Reading’, Proc.SPR Vol. 1, p.14 and it is possible that Crichton-Browne was confusing the two events. Luckhurst probably was as well when he said that Galton attended SPR sessions, giving Proc.SPR Vol. 1 as his source (‘Passages in the Invention of the Psyche: Mind-reading in London, 1881-84. In Luckhurst, Roger and Josephine McDonagh (eds.), Transactions and Encounters: Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century, 2002b, p.127). Crichton-Browne, perhaps surprisingly, had joined the SPR in 1904. Andrew Lang recounted an incident when they were testing dowsing (Longman’s Magazine, November 1897). Crichton-Browne insisted that cotton wool be used on the dowser, who objected, and when the dowser asked, “Don’t you believe my word?”, Crichton-Browne replied, “I believe nothing but what I see” which Lang dismissed with “not a very scientific posture, I fear” (reported by Barrett in ‘On the So-called Divining Rod’, Proc.SPR, Vol. 15, p.282, published in 1900). Crichton-Browne was clearly a firm believer in the efficacy of cotton wool, and may have nursed a sense of grievance in 1908. Lang was SPR President in 1911.

[4] Hall, The Strange Case of Edmund Gurney, 1964, p.95, fn1.pp.186-7. Nicol points out that Hall does not say how Mrs Ford came by this information, which occurred before she was born. (Nicol, ‘The Silences of Mr Trevor Hall’, 1966, p.30. Nicol is scathing about the quality of “Browne’s” memory (the hyphen was an affectation linking his middle and surnames)."

If an open-minded skeptic or a cautious believer could help me in perfecting my Myers overview by adding insights in comments to this section, this would be very much appreciated. I do not expect to be able to contribute to this project for quite some time due to other concerns.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 04:21, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

Ian Stevenson[edit source]

I am also interested in doing for Ian Stevenson what I am doing for Myers in the comment right above this one. But I have no google doc on Stevenson, so I am requesting the help of others.

Interested parties might consult the work cited by the University of Virginia Division of Perceptual Studies [104], as well as the sources cited by Andreas Sommer [105], and some of the preliminary research cited on my sources subpage. They can then compare this to the critical research cited by the critic in the comments to the Sommers article - I personally like comparing primary sources to hostile representations to note differences in the information being presented. A full vindication of Ian Stevenson's work could likely only be done by somebody like Emily Williams Kelly - I have tried emailing her, but with no success - others may be more successful - they could then refer her to this subsection of my discussion page. This could then be incorporated into a google doc, possibly with wiki format markup for easy referencing, and possibly be the basis of an extremely long SPR encyclopedia article, like my Myers article, as opposed to their current lazy, inadequate practice of "general overviews"

I made some notes on Xenoglossy, since this seems to be an important related item - again the above approach might be useful in really fleshing out the issues. Some partial excerpts from emails to othersfollow:

There's one case reported by the JSPR here:, there are probably others reported by Richet, possibly Myers, etc., however, wikipedia is of course antagonistic. I found some sources criticizing the antagonism from which it might be possibly to extract primary sources and construct a more formal article:

There are many cases on record of adults and children speaking and writing languages which they have never learned. They involve modern and ancient languages from all over the world.

Dr Ian Stevenson was one of the most respected scientists in the United States and it was his careful research and documentation that paved the way. He wrote from a very academic point of view – which is difficult for some people to get past.

In his book “Xenoglossy” he documented a study he made of a 37 year old American woman. Under hypnosis she experienced a complete change of voice and personality into that of a male. She spoke fluently in the Swedish language—a language she did not speak or understand when in the normal state of consciousness.

Dr Stevenson's direct involvement with this case lasted more than eight years. The study involved linguists and other experts and scientists who meticulously investigated every alternative explanation.

Others have followed in Dr. Stevenson's footsteps and offered up impressive cases for research. Here are a few examples:

Quote: Dr Morris Netherton reports one case of a blond, blue-eyed eleven year old boy who under hypnosis was taped for eleven minutes as he spoke in an ancient Chinese dialect. When the tape was taken to a professor at the Department of Oriental Studies at the University of California it turned out to be a recitation from a forbidden religion of Ancient China. (Fisher 1986:202).

Author Lyall Watson describes a case of a ten year old child, an Igarot Indian living in the remote Cagayon Valley in the Philippines. The child had never had any contact with any language or culture other than his own. Yet under trance conditions the child communicated freely in Zulu, a language he could not have even heard. Watson only recognized it because he had spent his early life in Africa (cited by Lazarus 1993: 84).

Peter Ramster; an Australian psychotherapist, has documented several thoroughly investigated cases. In his book The Search for Lives Past (Ramster 1990 : 227) he cites the case of Cynthia Henderson whose only contact with the French language had been a few months of very basic instruction in Year 7 of high school. Yet under hypnosis she was able to carry on a long and detailed conversation in French with a native speaker who commented that she spoke without any English accent and in the manner of the eighteenth century.

Dr Joel Whitton cites the case of Harold Jaworski who under hypnosis wrote down twenty-two words and phrases which he 'heard' himself speaking in a past Viking life. Working independently, linguists identified and translated ten of these words as Old Norse and several of the others as Russian, Serbian or Slavic. All were words associated with the sea ( Whitton and Fisher 1987: 210).

In some cases subjects under trance have communicated in languages no longer in use or known only to a handful of experts.

In 1931 a young English girl from Blackpool, known as Rosemary in the files of the Society for Psychical Research, began to speak in an ancient Egyptian dialect under the influence of the personality of Telika-Ventiu who had lived in approximately 1400 BC. In front of Egyptologist Howard Hume she wrote down 66 accurate phrases in the lost language of hieroglyphs and spoke in a tongue unheard outside academic circles for thousands of years (Lazarus 1993: 85).

~ Victor Zammit

As far as people not remembering fully their past life language, and only being able to recall a few words or sentences....I think that in itself is pretty amazing when it is validated. I also don't think that only being able to recall a few words -- disproves anything at all.

Consider a good friend of mine who grew up in Poland until she was ten. Once she moved to Canada, both she and her sister only spoke English. When she went back for a visit at the age of 20 -- she fumbled and stumbled her way through conversations and could hardly remember a thing. If she can't remember her mother tongue after only ten years -- how can someone expect perfect sentences from a language perhaps spoken over 500 years ago?

regarding Alfred Hulme case discussed here: - "Ian Wilson notes that Wood, although eventually disillusioned by Hulme's claims to be an egyptology expert, went on to learn ancient Egyptian herself and remained convinced that some of Nora's messages were authentic. But a gramophone recording made of some of Rosemary's/Vola's utterances suggests that they are similar to the "speaking in tounges"of various Pentecostal and Charismatic sects - that is, they are meaningless babble." - p. 144 (scroll down to next page):

Other source "discrediting" early xenoglosy as glossolalia:

some more resources may be available here:

here is the result of online preliminary investigation into attacks on Xenoglossy claims. Alan Guald wrote about Xenoglossy in his article in "The Handbook of Parapsychology".

Sarah Thomason attacked Xenoglossy in Gordon Stein's "Encyclopedia of the Paranormal". There is more information available on the Wikipedia attack on Xenoglossy:

The wikipedia editor doing this is to be commended for making us aware of the criticisms, and I used to be hostile to him because of some miscitations, be he corrected these so there isn't much to be said about him - the only problem is that on wikipedia, most material countering the anti-paranormal perspective is "fringe" and thus prohibited. However, much of the attack on Stevenson has not been addressed - e.g. - some of the above material suggests that the answer to Stevenson's critics might lie in the primary sources, but this has yet to be fully fleshed out. With the exception of the book "Death & Personal Survival" and "A Critique of Arguments Offered Against Reincarnation" by Robert Almeder, which is only partial defense, nobody has really gone through with a full defense of Ian Stevenson, and as you said, only insider sources could really do this. The wikipedia article with the attacks is here:

some of these things are obscure and require the detailed knowledge of experts to address.

Emily Williams Kelley is one such "insider", and I hope you forward this message to her with an explanatory introduction.

the complete, updated attack on Xenoglossy is here:, on Stevenson is here:

As regards Xenoglossy related cases, an important book to deconstruct is Karen Stollznow. (2014). Language Myths, Mysteries and Magic.

It may be fruitful, in an article on the subject, to make a direct comparison between Sarah Thomason's criticisms:, and original sources:

some original sources:,

xenoglossy was an aspect of ian stevenson's investigations, though if you have input into other investigations after investigation of your own (beginning with some of the materials cited), that would be appreciated. Steigmann (discusscontribs) 16:13, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

Lady Wonder[edit source]

In this paper J. B. Rhine claimed the horse Lady Wonder was telepathic [106], in the newspaper article you cite it says he later considered the possibility of sensory cues. Problem is I can't find his own writings where he says this. In the paper he wrote on the horse he says "By the use of screens so that the horse and its owner could not see each other, and by the prevention of voice directions, the conscious signal and unconscious guidance theories were disposed of. This left only the telepathic explanation, the transference of mental influence by an unknown process. Nothing was discovered that failed to accord with it, and no other hypothesis proposed seems tenable in view of the results." If there was a screen how could the horse have seen the owner? Psychicals (discusscontribs) 00:58, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

This is a good point, and I think that in this as with everything we need to compare what is said in primary sources to what is said in secondary sources. I do not have the source in question, but might obtain it later. The only other item I have on Lady Wonder is this [107] - from extremely superficialreading without purchasing the book, it may be objective, as the notes section seems useful - for some of its material (not on Lady Wonder) it cites skeptic sources like Terence Hines, for other material it cites sources like Brian Inglis and Nandor Fodor, on Lady Wonder, it cites a follow-up report from Rhine that might be useful for further investigation, and it cites other sources for other incidents in the life of this horse. Please read from "In 1929, Professor J.B. Rhine published..." onward for 2 pages.
I do not expect to be back until Fall - much of what I have left here is source literature that interested researchers can parse through in subsections, possibly they can put in a google doc or if short in comments to subsections.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 03:13, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for your comment, I will probably buy that book. I know you won't be on here for a while. If I see anything I will just leave it on your talk-page. I will probably expand the Lady Wonder article on Wikipedia and cite Rhine's original article and other sources. The article has been basically a stub for years, it is about time it could be improved. Psychicals (discusscontribs) 20:41, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

D. H. Rawcliffe[edit source]

Regarding skeptic D. H. Rawcliffe, his book was reviewed in the SPR journal negatively by Robert H. Thouless[108]. Eric Dingwall gave it mostly a positive review in the Nature journal in a review titled "psychical research dissected", you can download it here for free [109] Psychicals (discusscontribs) 20:41, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

Account Blocked[edit source]

This account is blocked for cross-wiki abuse of multiple accounts and behaviors that have a net negative effect per community consensus. Wikiversity may not be used to attack Wikipedia and Wikiversity may not be used for solicitation. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 23:27, 28 August 2017 (UTC)

We now have confirmation that Steigmann was impersonated, that, while there was minor socking, only actually known to be Steigmann by off-wiki confirmation from him to me plus a mild inference, the major and highly disruptive and offensive socking claimed to be him was actually by a sock farm that included Sci-fi- and Michael skater (the filer of the earlier sock puppet investigation on Wikipedia). I know he has not requested unblock, and the affair may have soured him on the possibility of contributing further to Wikiversity, but he should have the option, he did nothing wrong here, so please unblock.
While some are offended by his GoFundMe Campaign, it is not actually contrary to policy, and I've seen no actual consensus on it. What he did with his GoFundMe campaign was not actually contrary to policy and did no harm, but if an admin thinks it improper, an admin can warn and block if the warning is ignored. Blocking without warning is offensive, unless there is urgency to prevent harm, which did not exist in this case.
Thanks. --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:09, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

According to steward Checkuser requests, the cross-wiki abuse claimed to be associated with this account is unsupported. As such, the block has been removed. I apologize for the inconvenience. Please be aware that promotional links are not accepted. I encourage you to see Wikiversity:Requests for Deletion#Parapsychology/Sources/Steigmann and contribute to the discussion, or not, as you see fit. Let me know if you have any questions. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 22:20, 24 September 2017 (UTC)

Checkuser request filed on meta about your alleged disruptive edits[edit source]


Reviewing the events of the last month, it is my opinion that Wikiversity, you, and your Sources resource were skillfully attacked by creating disruption on Wikipedia by sock puppets pretending to be you. I believe that, if you wish it, you can be unblocked here. I know that discovering that all your work disappeared, when you were involved elsewhere, must be distressing, and I apologize on behalf of Wikiversity and myself that you and your work were not protected.

I will be asking for the resource to be undeleted, and any problems with it can be addressed.

Thank you for being open with me about what you had actually done on Wikipedia, and regardless of your decision to continue with Wikiversity or not, I wish you all the best for your future.

Procedurally, an unblock request may be required, so if you choose this, place {{unblock|reason=YOUR REASON HERE}} on this page. I suggest keeping it very simple. You do not need to argue. If a reviewing administrator has questions, they can ask. --Abd (discusscontribs) 00:03, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

Ben, if you see this, you should be the first to know. The checkuser came back confirming that all those abusive accounts that were supposed to be you, were, instead, "likely" the same person as the user who filed the sock puppet request on Wikipedia, and who participated here so abusively. You were impersonated. You already knew that, of course, but it's quite another thing for it to be shown with strong evidence. I will be notifying relevant administrators. Again, I apologize for what may have been distressing. Fortunately, speaking from experience, I would much rather be blocked than have nails driven through my wrists, or a host of other sufferings. In fact, block me! It's fun! Whee!!!! I have, in the past, decided that if I'm blocked the covenant of cooperative behavior has been cancelled.... but it's still more, ah, mature to consider collective welfare.... --Abd (discusscontribs) 20:51, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

Welcome back[edit source]

Creating resources on Wikiversity should be fun, not stressful. You were attacked by a highly disruptive sock master, who has also worked, at times, in alliance with more established Wikipedia editors, and some of your original Wikipedia troubles were connected with that. That entire mess is difficult to resolve, but Wikiversity was normally safe, because of a lack of competition for mainspace "balance." Here, you may research and document without being required to prove anything, as long as the work is not presented outside of a neutral context, and Parapsychology should be rigorously neutral. Attributed subpages may give opinions. This is far more like academia than like an encyclopedia.

If someone thinks your resource is biased, they may make suggestions on Talk, or they may create their own "section" and say whatever they like, within general policy and some respect for interwiki politics. If they think the top-level resource is biased, there is normal editorial process, but it's easy to retreat. There is no need to push any controversial ideas on the top-level page.

You may work on your resource as little or as much as you like, and you may create more specific studies. One of the important learnings attainable on Wikiversity is how to powerfully and clearly present material academically. Academic tone is generally neutral. It is called "NPOV" on Wikipedia, in fact, though many Wikipedians don't understand that.

I highly recommend enabling email. There is no risk to it. You may then have an email sent to you with any changes to any page on your Watchlist, you would not have to check Wikiversity for this, as long as you look at the links you are sent. It's most important that you be notified of activity on your User talk page. Someone using the "email this user" link will not know your email address unless you respond. If you want to respond to possibly risky users, possible trolls, you may use an anonymous email address, that's easy. Your IP address might be revealed if you respond. I don't care, because I'm not hiding. At least not usually!

One piece of advice about Wikipedia. Enable email there. You might cut down your WP watchlist to essentials, and watching the WP:SPI page for that old account of yours would be important. If you had realized what was happening, and acted -- and there are things you could have done -- that whole mess might have been avoided, or more favorably resolved, and quickly. (Ask me if anything comes up.) I do not recommend watching Wikipedia much. When I research Wikipedia activity, it is sometimes like documenting a sewer. There are vast regions of Wikipedia that work reasonably well, but .... the research generally looks at the Noticeboards and conflict, where the worst behavior comes out. --Abd (discusscontribs) 16:25, 28 November 2017 (UTC)

Harassment[edit source]

title placed here by Abd (discusscontribs) 00:21, 2 December 2017 (UTC). Ben may remove it if he wishes.

Abd you are misinformed.

Ben Steigmann has just been blocked on four sock-puppets on Wikipedia. See the SPI here. He was blocked on four socks - areyoumoral, Rhine Revival, Com18 and eeyoreqs. He even turned up and admitted to why he is doing it. None of these were 'impersonations'. He has been disrupting Wikipedia but you seem to endorse his edits. Odd. This is serious cross-wiki abuse and I have reported it. The admins over at Wikipedia are getting tired of Ben's socking. (discuss) 23:28, 30 November 2017 (UTC)

You seem unaware that much of the content in these edits was from mainstream sources, but that aside, I was not being confrontational - I was merely archiving marginalized information that had some actual defense in mainstream sources (this was when I was not using primary sources). I was not attempting to edit war or act disruptively - rather, I was attempting to make use of a useful means of information archiving that has been denied to me. You on the other hand appear to be engaged in a Witch-hunt, asking that I get "banned." [110]
I have removed the charge "censored" and replaced it with "removed by others" for those archived articles that I did not attempt to stay on Wikipedia. However, your enthusiasm in attempting to get me banned reeks of the desire to censor.
I will create nested resources on wikiversity instead of Wikipedia, realizing the bias of the Wikipedia resource in even allowing fringe content to exist in article history.
Have fun engaging in information control.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 23:45, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
I enjoy finding your socks and getting you banned. You put a lot of wasted effort into endorsing absolute nonsense and pseudoscience. Shame you are not on the skeptic side which is the actual truth, none of this woo exists. Listen, we all know you will be back on Wikipedia again on new accounts in the future. I will look out for you. See you next time :) (discuss) 23:53, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
The skeptic side shouldn't have to obfuscate in order to establish itself.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 00:36, 1 December 2017 (UTC)
Ben, two items. First of all, do not edit Wikipedia at all unless you know what you are doing. I do not recommend trying it without support, i.e., on your own. Every edit you make there postpones the day when you might be allowed to edit again, if you want that. Use your freedom here. It is possible -- though politically difficult at this time -- that sister wiki links could be made to Wikiversity from Wikipedia articles of interest. (It is theoretically and by policy allowed, but the faction you are dealing with ignores policy and can, under some common conditions, get away with it.
The other item is that I strongly advise not engaging at all with the Anglo Pyramidologist socks. They do not care about rational argument at all. You may delete their comments on your talk page without giving any reason. This is actually standard w:WP:RBI. If they insist, you may ask for custodian help at WV:RCA. Custodians will not tolerate harassment. I will look at the new claims on Wikipedia and add to documentation as needed. However, you feed them by socking on Wikipedia. Socking while you have been blocked is against Wikipedia policy, period. Block evasion. It can get you banned, which is much harder to undo. A word to the wise. --Abd (discusscontribs) 00:21, 2 December 2017 (UTC)
I have archived my page in case of any further attacks on it: 17:56, 30 December 2017 (UTC)
Prudent. The IP that commented here was blocked as an open proxy. Identification is clear, but not to be mentioned here, I am under a mysterious sanction. Wikiversity is going to hell in a handbasket, the academic freedom that was established here for so long is under heavy attack, and there are few defenders, and they, as well, are being attacked. I will be documenting what is happening elsewhere. All the best. --Abd (discusscontribs) 18:18, 30 December 2017 (UTC)

Blocked[edit source]

Please elaborate on your unblock reasons. Such a short justification is unlikely to be given much consideration given multiple long term policy violations. What advertising did you remove? I still see a gofundme site showing that you are trying to profit from your contributions at Wikiversity. This sort of activity should be conducted on a website that allows commercial terms of use. Please also address "Research that threatens or compromises the reputation or public image of the Wikimedia Foundation or its various projects" and "At times, it may be useful to amend the Wikiversity research guidelines so as to explicitly exclude some types of fringe research if they disrupt Wikiversity or distract the community from its educational mission." In any case, the Parapsychology pages are now queued for deletion. What kinds of learning projects would you then work on? --mikeu talk 20:17, 1 January 2018 (UTC)

If allowed back, I will remove the gofundme page. Also, I was informed that in nested pages we are at liberty to create the kind of content we want. Regardless, if the place of the page is objected to, I will put it on a user subpage and edit that.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 21:13, 1 January 2018 (UTC)
There's a bit more to it than that. There's a list of exceptions and caveats at Wikiversity:Research_guidelines/En which I quoted above and in the WV:RFD. You've been profiting from our site for two years and using the results here to question the good faith efforts of our peers. This has drawn unwanted disruptive activity to our community. There are larger issues that need to be addressed. --mikeu talk 21:49, 1 January 2018 (UTC)
Parapsychology and all subpages have been deleted per the reasons given at WV:RFD.[112] Any future work on this topic, broadly construed, is subject to pre-approval per Wikiversity:Community Review/Fringe research --mikeu talk 22:56, 2 January 2018 (UTC)