Thursday, August 28, 2008

Michael Prescott's Blog

I've run across Michael Prescott's Blog, which he subtitles "Occasional thoughts on matters of life and death." It includes a number of intelligent postings about psychical research.

His writing on that subject is like what I originally envisioned I would be doing in Reflecting Light. It hasn't turned out that way. Although you will find some postings from this blog under the heading "Paranormal," they have been relatively few. I regret the neglect. It does not represent any diminished interest on my part, just practical necessity.


Since resigning from the Society for Psychical Research, for reasons I won't go into here, I no longer receive the Society's Journal or annual Proceedings. That's too bad, because they were a useful source of knowledge about interesting experiments and knowledge in the field. Nor have I been to London, where the Society is based, in several years and so have been unable to go to any of its excellent sponsored lectures.

The SPR isn't the only source of information, but I've found precious few sites on the Web with regularly updated content — those linked to on the blogroll, fine as they are, are basically static. Meanwhile, the mainstream media with very few exceptions remain proud in their ignorance of serious psychical research. They only carry rare stories on paranormal phenomena when there is a sensationalist aspect or they can make fun of the subject. Our respectable journalists won't lower themselves to write about research into the inner nature of our life on earth and what follows our brief visit.

In short, I'm out of the circuit these days. Now and then I encounter something worth commenting on, but I don't have the leisure to do a lot of ferreting about.


So I welcome Michael Prescott's blog. I've read a few of his postings (by no means all) and like his attitude. He takes the paranormal seriously, has clearly read extensively in the field, and seems to have more time than I do for scouring the media to come up with material. He has a healthy skepticism, which anyone who aspires to write about psychical phenomena needs, but it's not the obstinate refusal to deal with facts that have been demonstrated countless times that is the standard position of scientific materialists.

Prescott also writes clearly. His bio says that he is the author of suspense novels and "thrillers." (I have not read any.) He doesn't say if he is psychic.

I was especially interested to read his posting about the late Montague Keen and his purported after-death communications through his widow, Veronica, and other mediums.

Monty was the lead author of the Scole Report, an account of perhaps the most remarkable physical mediumship circle in modern times. (Physical mediumship involves spirits who produce tangible phenomena.) I met him at the first SPR conference I attended, where he took the initiative in making my acquaintance — a remarkable thing for an Englishman to do — which I appreciated, since at that point I knew no one in the Society. I got to know him over the course of several other SPR conferences and when he visited the United States a couple of times for other conferences related to mediumship.


I'm afraid I have to agree with Prescott about the site Veronica has created around Monty and the alleged messages from his astral self. They simply do not ring true based on what I remember of Monty's personality. Obviously, Veronica knew him much better than I did, and it was evident that she was deeply devoted to him. On the other hand, she can't view the claimed communications with objectivity or independence of judgment.

Monty was an SPR member for more than half a century. If he were communicating from the Other Side — and, for all I know, he may be doing just that through another medium or mediums — he would be giving us very specific information and evidence about postmortem survival. There is nothing of the sort in Veronica's collection. The messages read like notes from a lovelorn teenager. Monty loved Veronica, and I'm sure still does. But while any communications from him would include words of affection for his wife, the psychical researcher in Monty wouldn't limit himself to billets-doux if he found himself in a position to open the door between worlds.


It's also a dubious sign in alleged after-death messages when they predict earth changing events, Great Work taking shape, and all that, which "Monty's" transmissions include in abundance. That sort of grandiosity just doesn't fit with the man I remember.

I'm sorry to have to say this, because Veronica was gracious to me both before and after Monty passed over, even inviting my wife and me to dine with her at Monty's club in London after he'd gone. Frankly, I hope she doesn't read this, but if she (or Monty) does, it's no reflection on the good I wish them both.

Monty: I'm not psychic, as you know, but I'll be listening. If you feel like trying to get through to me, please give it a go.


1 comment:

johnrudkin said...

This is a brief observation from another Englishman who took the initiative - and was delighted - to make your acquaintance (at your first SPR meeting). I fully concur with your views, and those of Michael Prescott, about Monty Keen, whom I knew, admired, liked and respected. That was also the case with now-deceased fellow SPR members Maurice Grosse and Arthur Ellison. Bearing in mind their integrity, enthusiasm, motivation, knowledge, experience and aims (and those of the late Ian Stevenson) it is notable that there have yet to be convincing objective demonstrations of the survival of consciousness.

As you may be aware, Joe Fisher's book "Hungry Ghosts" is very relevant to the subject of "channeling" of insubstantial and/or mischievous information.