Mrs. Piper & The Society For Psychical Research

Mrs. Piper & The Society For Psychical Research

Author: Noralie Robertson, Varla Ventura
Paranormal Parlor – A Weiser Books Collection
Weiser Books
eISBN # 978-1-61940-006-1

Weiser Books currently has two paranormal digital book collections – “Magical Creatures” and “Paranormal Parlor”. I just found out about this, and find them to be incredible offerings! “Mrs. Piper & The Society For Psychical Research” , by Noralie Robertson, was originally published by Scott-Thaw Company in 1904, in New York.

To this day we see both people and organizations who’s sole purpose in life is to “debunk”, or prove false or fraudulent, those who serve as mediums or channels. The story that unfolds in this book concerns a Victorian medium by the name of Mrs. Piper, and a fifteen year study of her sittings conducted by the Society For Psychical Research. In the editor’s notes it is remarked that the paper being presented, by French critic M. Sage has been “slightly abridged” by the translator, in order to reduce vagueness and remove material that was superfluous to the understanding of Mrs. Piper.

The introduction is by the President of the Society, Oliver Lodge. He notes that the investigation of Mrs. Piper, which began in 1887, was the most thorough made under the auspices of the society. Already know tot he Professor of Psychology at Harvard, she was brought tot he attention of the British Society by Dr. Richard Hodgson. The material contained in this book came from a book written by a French writer, M. Sage. Lodge states that he had some misgivings about an English translation before it began, and felt that those misgivings were warranted after he saw the translation. As they were intended in the original version, there was harmony in the work. In the English translation, they appear less appropriate.

The objectives of the Society are stated, which are (and I paraphrase here): (1) an examination of the nature and extent of any influence of one mind upon another, other than through recognized sensory channels, (2) the study of hypnotism and mesmerism, and the alleged phenomenon of clairvoyance, (3) a careful investigation of an apparitions coinciding with some external event (if strong evidence warrants), (4) investigation into alleged phenomenon such as extra-human intelligence, (5) collection and collation of existing materials bearing on the history of these subjects. The aim at all times was to do so without prejudice. It is also noted that women were accepted into this society with full status!

Mrs. Piper was an American medium who hosted,amongst others, the entities of a French doctor (Dr. Phinuit), a young man by the name of George Pelham, and Rector. She lead a normal life until she developed a tumor, at which time her husband’s family encouraged her to visit a spiritualist medium who gave medical consultations (J. R. Cocke). It was he who detected her ability to become a medium, and encouraged her to do so.

There are stories within stories in this book. On the surface, it is a gathering together of the accounts of various people from the Society that arranged sittings for Mrs. Piper, and recorded the proceedings: who was asking the questions (I.e who the sitting was for), the control (entity) that presented themselves, how Mrs. Piper went into her trance, what entities from the other side wanted to be heard, and how Mrs. Piper came out of the trance. The controls are commented on, as well as the accuracy of the information that was brought through.
It seems that one of the issues was getting names correct – there might be several names that ‘sounded alike” before the control came up with the correct name. The questions themselves were phrased in such a manner as to not provide a hint of the answer that was being looked for.

One very interesting thing was commented on that I was not aware of, and that was that two entities could enter the host at the same time. One spoke verbally, the other wrote through the host’s hand. There were operating on completely separate levels.

Other interesting information came out of this study, including the fact that the entities that come through the host have specific views about those of us on this side of the veil. We see them in a certain way, and they see us in a certain way!

I liked what was presented here. It helps that this material covers a fifteen year study, so we have some clues tot he character of the medium (Mrs. Piper), as well as to the entities that came through. If you are at all interested in mediums, mediumship, and the method by which they are studied, then this is a good book to add to your library.

© October 2011 Bonnie Cehovet

Haunts of Western Oregon

Haunts of Western Oregon

Author: Kent Goodman
Schiffer Books
ISBN #978-0-7643-3224-1

There is a great deal of history that is really not in the history books. The past remains with us in many different ways – the stories we tell, the symbols surrounding us, even the buildings that we live in. Interwoven into all of this is our energetic past – energies that were created by decisions made and actions taken. Here we enter into the world of the paranormal – ghosts, unexplained activity, and hauntings.

There are people and organizations out there that make it their business to “debunk” the stories, the ghostly energy, and the alleged haunting. And then there are people who simply report on the same, leaving it to the reader to decide for themselves. Kent Goodman, in “Haunts of Western Oregon”, is an individual who has had paranormal experiences, but who also takes the position of impartial reporter.

The “wild west” can indeed be wild! Goodman takes us on a tour of Western Oregon, location by location, talking about things like skeletons sitting at the dinner table, the ghost of a young man, dressed in a leather jacket, walking his dog late at night on a dark Eugene street, and a civil war era seen in the mirror of a local house. Schools, hospital, private homes … they all have their own stories to tell!

In his introduction, Goodman talks about the Willamette Valley as being the destination of choice for many pioneers in the 1840’s. He also made the astute observation that most people in western Oregon simply consider themselves “Oregonians”, as opposed to being tied to one specific locale. This is a theme that he carried over into this book (although specific areas are talked about, many of the happenings are seen (in some version) in more than one place.

Goodman defines the spirit world as existing in the same timeline as the physical world, yet separate from it. He indicates that ghosts are most often seen at night, and likens connecting with them as a form of telepathic communication. They certainly make themselves known in physical ways – sometimes by the movement of physical objects when here is no one around, sometimes by sound (again, when no physical presence can be noted), and sometimes by literal cold areas in a building or specific outdoor area. Bottom line – there is another world, and we need to honor its presence.

Goodman talks about many things – bats turning themselves into vampires, a man dressed as a janitor who visits a college dorm, the actor Charles Laughton seen walking around in Ashland’s renowned Shakespeare Theater, a séance done in Southern Oregon University’s Plunkett Center, rock features that act to protect mountains, and much, much more!

This is an entertaining book, but also one that can be readily used for reference, as Goodman has arranged the stories alphabetically by city/town/area. The mists of the Willamette valley to the coastal waters – they all have their own stories to tell.

There are some very scary “footsteps in the night” in this book! A great read, and a valuable history of this part of our country.

© September 2009

Workplace Spells

Workplace Spells –
Everyday Magick on the Job

Author: Marla Brooks
Schiffer Books
ISBN #978-0-7643-3136-7

There have certainly been times in my life when I wish that I had known how to do spell work in connection with my workplace/career. Not to wreak havoc, but to take control (even in a small way) of what was going on around me. Marla Brooks has written just such a book – 51 ready made spells, a “How To” section on creating your own spells, along with sections on herbs, amulets, divination, gemstones, and incense (all of which can be used as tools in performing spells).

Brooks is a practicing Wiccan who also works as a paranormal investigator and ghost writer. In her introduction she gives a short history of Wicca, along with an explanation of the Wiccan Rede “An Ye Harm None”. She also emphasizes the concept of the Law of Three, which states that any energy that we send out (positive or negative) will return to us threefold (in the same manner that it was sent). If we send out negative energy, that is what we will get back. If we send out positive energy, that is what we will get back. I want to note here that the spells in this book are tools of empowerment for the individual using them, and they are positive in nature.

Emphasis is placed on the fact that we all have the power within us to perform spells. Anyone from any culture, from any religious background can use this book to their benefit. The performing of spells is a tool, to be used wisely.

In the beginning of the book Brooks talks about creating your own spells. The first thing that needs to be done is to set the intent, and then gather items that represent the goal of the spell. These could be candles of a certain colors, herbs, oils, amulets gemstones, or whatever you wish to work with. (Note: There are sections at the end of the book, where associations are given for Candle Magick, Magickal Herbs, Magickal Amulets, Animals and Insects, Birds, Nature, Magickal Divination, Magickal Gemstones, Magickal Properties of Incense and Oil, Pagan Deities, and Spirit Guides.)

There is a section showing how to perform the Lesser Banishing Ritual (although this ritual is not necessary to successfully cast a spell), the purpose of the ritual tools, and how to raise energy.

Specific spells are included for things like anxiety, attracting customers, banishing obstacles, getting a raise, productivity, clarity, communication, computers, confidence, difficult tasks, getting to work on time, gossip, harmony, inspiration, job interviews, promotion, releasing stress, finding the job of your dreams and more.

Each spell includes why you are performing the spell, the tools that you will need, instructions on performing the ritual, a short, specific chant, and actions to be taken after the ritual has been performed. The writing is very down to earth, lucid, and easy to follow. The spells are all performed in the individual’s own home, and not at work (which could prove to be problematic).

Did I mention that there are beautiful, full color photo’s throughout? This is a gorgeous book!

I found this to be a valuable resource, and I think that others will too!

© September 2009