Sitting with Hoyt Robinette
by Tom and Lisa Butler
Published in the Fall 2010 AA-EVP NewsJournal
Precipitation medium Hoyt Robinette was invited by the Spiritualist church in Reno to speak and demonstrate his mediumship. We attended the Sunday service and what he refers to as "card" and "silk" sittings.
A precipitation medium is one who is able to work with etheric helpers to produce physical objects. The result is often pictures as shown in this article. Psychometry is the sensing of information from the subtle energy associated with objects. Hoyt uses psychometry to sense what is written on folded pieces of paper, which is referred to as blindfold billet reading.
As we entered the church, we were each handed a piece of paper and told to write down the first and last name of anyone, now on the other side, that we wanted to hear from and to also ask one question. After a brief introduction about his work, Hoyt put tape over his eyes and then put on a blindfold. He then picked up the stack of papers containing the names and questions, and for each person, spoke the names on the paper. After a brief pause, he also spoke the answer to the question as provided by his guides.
Members of the congregation were generally pleased with the resulting answers and impressed at Hoyt’s ability to recite the names. He blindfolds himself, however, and it was difficult for us to be sure that he could not see through the small space between his nose and the blindfold. A brief search of the Internet will show that it is this concern that is most often expressed by others who have sat with him.
I had written Konstantin Raudive’s name on my paper and Tom had written his father’s name and the names of transitioned ATransC members Erland Babcock and Debbie Caruso. These names were read back to us when Hoyt held our pieces of paper. Because he was giving us the names as they were written and the answers to our questions were pretty general, we felt unsure about his being able to see and did not feel the demonstration of psychometry was evidential. However, there was a little thing that happened regarding the name Babcock. Hoyt had given the name of Tom’s father as written on the paper, and then he said he was confused after saying Erland Babcock. He said something about being confused with fathers. Tom’s stepfather was Max Babcock but he had not written his name on the paper. It appeared Hoyt sensed Max in association with Tom and was apparently uncertain how Erland Babcock and Max Babcock related to Tom. That did seem evidential.
The next evening we attended the card sitting. Let me first say that Tom and I helped prepared the room for the sitting and that Hoyt had not seen the room prior to that evening. The room was the basement of the Buddhist church.
Before the sitting, Hoyt handed a new, still sealed pack of plain white, three-by-five inch cards to someone in the front row of seats. The seal was broken and we were all shown that the cards were blank before they were handed back to Hoyt. Hoyt had brought a roughly ten-inch diameter and eight-inch high straw basket with a tight-fitting straw lid. It was full of all sorts of colored pens, many quite nice as used for artwork, crayons and ordinary pencils. He dumped the contents on the table and showed everyone the empty basket. Next, he proceeded to fill the basket with alternate layers of cards and various pens before putting on the lid. The lights were on and we were able to see all of his movements.
We had written names and a question on paper at the beginning of the event, and once again, Hoyt proceeded with blindfold billet reading. The basket was on the table by him but he did not touch it for about an hour and until finishing the billets. He then removed the lid and began pulling out cards with unique pictures on one side and names written on the other. The writing and artwork on each card was formed from the pen, pencils and crayons that were in the basket.
My card had the name Konstantin Raudive (misspelled with "iva") and other names that I did not recognize. Tom’s card had the names of his father, Debbie Caruso and Erland Babcock, all of which were on his Sunday billet. Konstantin’s name had also been on my Sunday billet.
Our cards are shown here. We do not recognize the little girl on my card or the man on Tom’s, although there is a family resemblance with Tom’s card.
Hoyt reads billets for each of the events and we suspect that doing so may help him "entrain" himself to facilitate the influence of his etheric helpers. In effect, he may be entrancing himself by the process of billet reading. Both the cards and the silks "develop" while he is reading.
The rest of it is just a mystery. Hoyt wore a short-sleeved shirt and there was no place to hide already developed cards. The light was good and we had full visibility of the basket at all times. The basket was examined, is small, flexible, and did not have a fake bottom or sides.
The "silk" sitting was the next night and we made a point of sitting next to Hoyt and as close to the table holding his paraphernalia as possible. Clearly visible was a stack of "silks" which appeared to be six-inch squares of white cotton cloth previously hemmed by Hoyt himself. He forgot his inks, and had to return to the nearby hotel to get them. While he was away, we were all free to inspect everything. Tom has worked with photography in past jobs, and after smelling, examining in good light and looking for textural differences in the cloth, decided that he knew of no way that Hoyt could have previously exposed the cloth to pictures. Hoyt had also given us pieces of colored paper. These were just normal paper of various colors.
Hoyt returned with a dozen or so small bottles of colored ink as one might use for ink pads. He removed the lids and left them on the table near the stack of silks. These, he announced, were the source of ink that would be used for the images on the silks just as the pens and crayons in the basket were used as the source of color for the cards.
We sat in a circle of about twenty-four sitters with the table as part of the circle, and once again, Hoyt read blindfold billets for about an hour. He then asked all of us to hold a piece of colored paper on our knees with our fingertips. The lights were turned off and Hoyt approached the table with the silks, using a red flashlight. We were within inches of the silks and watched as he picked them up. The silks that we had examined were the ones that he handed out. There was no possibility that he could have switched them with another set. He went to each person and gave them a silk to be placed on top of the colored paper, after which he sat down in the dark and gave brief mediumistic messages to some of the sitters.
After about fifteen minutes, Hoyt came to each of us with a red light so that we could see what was on our silk. We noted the faces on our silks were already fully developed as he approached with his flashlight, and did not require the light to form. We also noted that he was probably more excited than we were to see what was there. We were asked to roll up the silk in the colored paper and keep it rolled up for at least twelve hours while it continued to develop.
Each silk had several faces that looked very much as if they had been printed using a copy stand to project colored pictures from magazines and newspapers. There were several people we felt that we recognized but I will highlight the main ones here. On Tom’s piece of cloth is a picture that we feel is Klaus Schreiber! What a shock, especially since his name had not been given to Hoyt. A much younger Rev. Barbara Thurman was also on his silk. She was/is one of our mentors. In fact she proofread our book, There is No Death and There are No Dead, and asked for changes that made the book better. We are forever grateful for her work. Again her name had not been mentioned at any time.
We were surprised to see the face of Dennis Hopper on my silk. He transitioned May 29. Hoyt was traveling to Reno at the time and the silk sitting took place June 1. Neither of us have a special connection with Hopper that we know of. Another face appears on both silks and we were surprised to find a possible match when looking for a picture of Klaus. It was received by the Harsch-Fischbach couple, we think in 1988. It is captioned "Ill. 4: ‘Marie at the equipment’" and is said to show the scientist Mme. Marie Curie (rejuvenated) in her laboratory in the "Beyond." We have included some faces that we did not recognize and wondered if they might be recognized by members.
Understanding Our Experience
As I noted above, a search of the Internet will show many negative comments about Hoyt Robinette’s work. In fact, we were advised not to invite him by friends who should know. At the same time, other friends reported enjoying his sessions. As it turns out, he provided an entertaining fundraiser for the church, and everyone had something to take home that was interesting and caused us to think.
Tom and I have been involved with the study of various forms of phenomena most of our lives and we have recently begun an in-depth study of physical mediumship. Hoyt is one of the most open, likable people we have encountered in this study. He was truly excited to see what appeared on the cards and silks, and showed absolutely none of the sort of protectiveness of the things he used for his phenomena one would expect from someone who had something to hide. We took every opportunity to examine his work, and while these were by no means controlled experiments, there was little opportunity for him to use trickery. Yes, he may have seen the billets under the cover over his eyes, but the billets had very little to do with the precipitation phenomena.
Another criticism that we have heard is that he keeps the billets, and has on file, the names that sitters write down. Again, even if this is the case, we do not see how it is relevant to the precipitation phenomena on the silks as none of the names of people that we recognize on our silks were given to him.
We do not know how the pictures were formed. After quite a lot of subsequent research, we are unable to find a physical mechanism. While the silk pictures look very photographic, they are also pictures that would be difficult to find. Even if he knew who was going to be in his sessions, there was simply no way for him to find appropriate pictures, somehow imprint them with some unknown slow-developing chemicals on the cloth and have them in the correct order for distribution to the right person in the circle. We should note that we sat in a random way in the circle and Tom pretty much shuffled the stack of silks while Hoyt was fetching the ink. Hoyt had no time to do anything but make sure he could find them in the dark.
In transcommunication, the common factors for both visual and audio ITC are a source of physical energy which is subjected to a chaotic process that can be influenced by the etheric communicator to produce an intended form. We have learned that more or less random regions of order naturally emerge in chaotic processes. In ITC, that emergent order becomes the voice of EVP or the image of visual ITC. One of the characteristics of that intended order is the presence of secondary features.
The cards had at least one primary feature but some exhibited the characteristic secondary features of ITC. Formation of the features on Hoyt’s cards and silks appeared to be consistent with ITC in that he provided the physical energy (ink and crayons) and the resulting canvas on which to express the intended order. What remains for us is to study his phenomena to possibly understand the nature of what we would predict to be a chaotic process that lends itself to psi influence. Is Hoyt producing a subtle energy field in the room while he is engrossed with billet reading? Could we use instruments to detect this?
Most of the doubt about the billets would go away if Hoyt would let someone inspect the blindfold; at least put the mask on and maybe even if he used a better mask. It would also be a good idea to have someone randomly picked from the sitters during his session to inspect the basket, silks and such.
We continue to look for photographic processes that could be used for the silks, but rather than rejecting Hoyt’s phenomena as impossible, it may be important to study his work more carefully.
The Reverend Hoyt Z. Robinette is an ordained Spiritualist minister. His abilities include trumpet mediumship, clairvoyance, blindfold billets, spirit cards, spirit pictures on silk and direct voice. His dedication to demonstrating these phenomena has introduced many people to the realization that life continues after "so called death."
George Wynne with Martha Copeland
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