These outbursts were prompted by controversy surrounding the various “dial-a-psychic” services, which have nothing to do with genuine psychic ability.
There are dishonest operators in all spheres of life and in all lines of work, but to condemn every man, woman and child who appears to have an extrasensory gift or ability is unfair and irresponsible.
Throughout history there have been people who could see and communicate with the spirits of the so-called dead, who could describe them and relay messages from them which, in many cases, contained information that could not have been fabricated by the psychics themselves or procured from other sources.
Psychics have been tested in controlled or laboratory conditions in a number of countries.
The British-based Society for Psychical Research has sponsored many such experiments over the past century, and the late British medium Leslie Flint, possibly the most tested psychic ever, passed all his rigorous scientific tests with flying colours.
Flint was what is known as a “direct voice medium”. This form of mediumship provides some of the best evidence for survival of death as it is not the medium’s voice you hear, but that of the “deceased person” who is communicating.
When Flint went into a trance, the voices of various people could be heard around him. Independent researchers subjected him to every conceivable restriction to eliminate the possibility of fraud.
For example, in some experiments his mouth would be filled with water and taped, to ensure he wasn’t using any form of ventriloquism.
Details of the exhaustive range of controlled experiments involving this acclaimed psychic can be found on scores of internet websites detailing his life and work.
He was never proven a fraud, and tape recordings of the many discarnate voices that manifested in his presence are available to anyone who wishes to study or analyse these further.
When you add to the evidence provided by mediumship the thousands of compelling cases of near death experiences (NDEs) from across the world, I suggest that at the very least there are good reasons for not writing off the possibility that life, in some form, continues after death.
People from a variety of nations and cultures who have been revived after being pronounced clinically dead have described in very similar terms how they were greeted by deceased relatives and angelic beings and told their earthly lives were not yet over.
Upon awakening, they were convinced they had experienced a brush with the supernatural, with a world beyond this one. Sceptics argue that such people have merely suffered from delusions, since the brain would still have been functioning though the heart had stopped.
But patients who had been declared brain dead during their NDEs had similar experiences. Police forces in the US regularly call in psychics to help solve serious crimes. I cannot imagine that such level-headed men and women would waste their time on “frauds, liars and charlatans”.
It is because they know that psychics CAN see and hear things that are inaudible or invisible to the rest of us that law enforcers avail of their services.
Genuine psychic healers — as distinct from frauds who falsely claim to have healing ability — can likewise be helpful to people who have been let down by conventional medicine.
I hold no brief for fanatical religious fundamentalism that seeks to impede scientific progress and ram its ideas or beliefs down people’s throats. But blind hostility to any consideration of, or research into, paranormal phenomena is the opposite extreme.
Surely it makes sense to approach these issues with an open mind and not a scathing, dismissive attitude?
What we refer to as psychic powers may well seem to flout all the known laws of science. But that may be because science has not yet reached the point where it can claim to have solved all the mysteries and apparent anomalies of the universe.
Lr Coyne Street