A Look at Physical Manifestations
This feature article comes, in part, as
a response to many requests that we offer a more comprehensive look at
physical mediumship and some of its implications to the Spirit.
Let us begin by reiterating
what we said in the final article of our series, Why Seek Spirit
Communication? You may wish to read or review this article:
"Physical mediumship is
the process whereby someone, in Spirit, usually known as a spirit operator
(as compared to a spirit communicator), works or operates through the
mental AND physical energies of the medium and causes something physical to
happen on the Earth plane. Physical mediumship is objective in nature; that
is, when the phenomena occur, everyone is able to see and/or hear
The implications, here, are
really quite staggering: Mind is capable of affecting matter. Perhaps this
is the most pertinent implication lying at the foundation of physical
So, let us look at some of the
elements of physical mediumship. We shall do this, in part, through a
What makes a
Mediumship is an inherent
element of the Spirit. Therefore, to some degree, everyone can develop the
ability to link with Spirit and, thus, be receptive to the influences
coming from those in Spirit. But, not everyone can become a physical
medium. Unlike evidential mediumship, which can, to some degree, be
developed within most people, physical mediumship requires certain elements
to be present within the physical organism of the medium. Either you have
those elements or you do not.
First, there must be an
abundance of what is known as etheric matter within the etheric vehicle.
The etheric vehicle is a subtle counterpart of the physical body which
performs two basic functions:
It acts as a battery, or storehouse, for certain types of vital energies
which come from the sun (prana) and from the earth (kundalini). This energy
vitalizes the dense physical body, in a way which compliments the energy
which we receive from the various foods we eat.
It acts as a bridge of consciousness between the spirit and the body.
Specifically, it acts as a bridge of energy and consciousness between the
astral body and the physical body. We will not discuss the astral body in
The etheric vehicle is
comprised of matter which is far more refined and subtle than the rarest of
physical matter (hydrogen). To the clairvoyant, the etheric vehicle appears
as a thin, luminous band of light and energy surrounding the physical body
by approximately one inch. It tends to have a silvery-blue-grey color and
varies in intensity and brilliance, depending upon the general health and
energy disposition of the individual.
Illness and physical
exhaustion tend to weaken the etheric vehicle, as do long periods of cloudy
weather. On the other hand, good health and vigor cause the etheric vehicle
to appear more brilliant and energized.
Anton Mesmer, the father of
modern-day hypnosis, conducted a great deal of research on etheric
energy-matter. He called it "animal magnetism." In his
researches, he ascertained that certain people had an abundance of this
vital energy-matter. Furthermore, this energy could be transferred from those
who had an abundance of it to those who seemed lacking in it. They could do
this through mentally directing this energy as they moved their hands over
the individual's aura. He called this type of activity "magnetic
passes." It forms the basis for the laying-on-of-hands.
Finally, he discovered that
certain people could be put into a state of sleep, or trance, through these
magnetic passes; and, in that condition, they exhibited paranormal
abilities, such as clairvoyance, etc. This was called Mesmerism and, later,
became the foundation for modern-day hypnosis.
A person who has an abundance
of this vital energy-matter has the potential of becoming a physical
How does Spirit
work with a physical medium?
In physical mediumship, the
Spirit operators use this abundance of etheric energy and matter in order
to produce the various manifestations. They do this exactly as Anton Mesmer
discovered: through the directed use of mind, they release this
energy-matter from the physical medium's body and use it.
Most often, although not
always, the medium must be in a state of rather deep trance.
This helps place the medium's mind on the sideline, so to speak, thus
allowing the intelligence of the spirit operator to work with and manipulate
the etheric energy-matter. Spirit tells us that they assist the medium in
attaining this trance state through a process not unlike that of Mesmer's
During the manifestations, the
physical medium usually sits within an enclosed area, called a cabinet.
This helps focus the energies and creates a type of battery from which the
phenomena can be built and energized. There is usually a curtain in front
of the cabinet which can be spread apart in order for people to see what is
going on within the cabinet.
Another condition which seems
to prevail in physical mediumship is that of darkness. Most physical
phenomena take place in darkened quarters, with a dim red light providing the
only light source. Spirit tells us that white light tends to inhibit the
phenomena, while dim red light energizes it. Unfortunately, this condition
has, over the years, tended to foster an amazing barrage of cheating and
fraud within the realm of physical mediumship. These conditions do not
allow people to see very well and can create a psychological effect which
fosters the seeds for figment of imagination.
Having said this, I should add
that darkness is not a requisite for good phenomena to occur. Our founder,
Marcellus Ayer, insisted that all demonstrations of physical mediumship,
taking place within our Church, be performed in fully lit quarters. And
some amazing phenomena occurred in his day.
When the spirit operators
withdraw the etheric energy-matter from the medium's body, it is known as
ectoplasm. It is through the use and manipulation of ectoplasm that the
physical phenomena occur. Ectoplasm can be created in many different forms
-- both visible and invisible; white and colored -- all depending upon what
the Spirit people wish to do with this amazing substance.
Once created, the ectoplasm
generally emerges from the medium through some bodily orifice (nose or
mouth) or through a psychic center, located near the navel, known as the
This article is continued in Part Two.
Photographs of Physical Phenomenon
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