So far, we have covered a few of the basic properties of the different forms of mediumship that are practiced today (mental and physical) amongst the spiritual and psychic research communities. Now we need to look at and explain a little more about the different types of physical phenomena that can happen under controlled conditions when an experimental group or physical circle sit specifically to witness or demonstate phenomena
To begin with, I need to properly examine the the different ways of producing physical phenomena.
Not everybody is aware that Physical Mediumship now takes place in two totally different ways. The traditional view within the Spiritualist Movement is that physical phenomena can only be presented by spirit helpers using the controversial substance known as 'ectoplasm'. This method has been used by Physical Mediums and their guides and helpers since 1848. Generally, it involves just one physical medium, who is usually in deep trance throughout the proceedings. The medium usually sits in a 'cabinet' throughout to concentrate the power (this is a small enclosure of approximately of the same (or slightly larger) dimensions as a Punch and Judy man's tent by the seaside). Most physical mediums operate in total darkness, or with just the use of a dim red light for illumination, although one of our scientifically-minded members is currently experimenting with a green light.
The 'ectoplasm' is exuded from the physical medium's body (from any or all of the body's natural orifices) and can be moulded by the spirit guides and helpers to form a solid 'materialisation' of a spirit person, which can often be positively identified by friends and relatives of the spirit person. For the manipulaion and levitation of objects such as a trumpet (a megaphone like object used for amplification of direct-voice communication from spirit) in the seance room, an ectoplasmic rod with a pseudopod for gripping is used by the spirit people. In every case, the ectoplasm remains connected by an umbilical cord-like structure to the medium whilst phenomena takes place. It is this ectoplasmic connection which makes the whole proceedings physically dangerous for the medium. If a sitter does something silly, like switching on an electric light in the middle of a seance, the ectoplasm shoots back into the body of the medium at an alarmingly fast rate; causing (at the best) burns to the medium's body and (at the worst) occasionally internal damage that has, on occasion, led directly to the death or serious injury of the medium. Such was the case with Helen Duncan and Alec Harris, both famous materialisation mediums. Consequently, in all sittings where physical mediumship is conducted through an ectoplasmic-based system, careful precautions have to be observed for the safety of the medium. The ectoplasmic-based physical medium often takes many years to develop their mediumship fully.
The second, and more modern method of producing physical phenomena is by way of an energy-based procedure. This form of physical phenomena was largely pioneered by the Spirit Team working with the Scole Experimental Group in the 1990's. There may indeed be one or more mediums in a group where this method is being used. They may, or may not necessarily be used in deep trance; sometimes, the group are not even aware of who the medium or mediums might be! The spiritual energies of all the group members are blended and involved in the energy-based process. Whilst groups of this sort should start out in total darkness, the spirit team working with a particular group often bring their own spirit-lighting fairly soon in the development of the phenomena to provide adequate illumination.
The energy that is used by the spirit team is a blend of three different types of energy which, when mixed together, provides one creative energy, which can then be used by the spirit team or individual spirit persons in a physical way to demonstrate the phenomena which is produced.
These 3 forms of energy are:
1) Spiritual energy taken from all the sitters in the group.
2) Spirit energy brought by the spirit team from the spirit world, especially for the purposes of their producing the 'creative energy' needed at a particular sitting.
3) Colums or 'pillars' of natural earth energy which exists in certain geographical locations around the world. By their work, groups sitting for physical phenomena can attract one of these columns of energy to them for the work, or even create a new column in the place where the sit.
There are a number of advantages to working in this new way with energy, although I should point out that neither method of working is better than, or superior to the other. These advantages include:
a) Phenomena can develop quicker in the energy way. Sometimes in months rather than in years.
b) There is absolutely no danger whatsoever to mediums or sitters if somebody does something stupid
during an energy-based sitting. The phenomena will simply stop,
c) The energy-based method is more versatile in that more types of phenomena can be developed in this way. At Scole, we counted around 180 different types of phenomena that were developed during the 5-year history of the Scole Experimental Group.
These are the basic facts of the two methods for producing physical phenomena. Next, we will be looking at the actual types of physical phenomena that can be produced by the spirit helpers using these two methods.