by Lisa Butler
A Report on the September 25, 2009 Séance, Winter 2010 ATransC NewsJournal
Over the years, we have heard about a materialization medium named David Thompson. He was conducting demonstration séances in the UK and seemed to be the real deal. Montague Keen, member of the Council of the Society for Psychical Research for fifty-five years and secretary of its Survival Research Committee, investigated a David Thompson séance prior to his own passing in 2004. Keen’s professional report was positive, indicating that he felt the phenomena experienced during the séance were genuine. You may remember that Montague Keen also investigated the Scole Group with positive results.
Experiencing a séance like this was on the top of our wish list but always seemed out of reach. Often, by the time we looked up from our work and learned that Thompson would be giving demonstrations, the seats were already booked. This is what happened for several events in the UK in 2007, and the same thing happened when we learned that David had moved to Australia and was demonstrating in Queensland.
In the summer of 2009 a dear friend put us in contact with David’s circle leader, and through emails, we were told that there might be an event in Perth that October which we could attend. We readily agreed that we would go anywhere in order to experience a materialization séance. A few weeks later, another email came, inviting us to attend a David Thompson guest séance in Sydney. Chris, the circle leader and his wife, Rosheen, David’s manager, were very kind and wrote that they try to accommodate people who are willing to travel. To say that we were thrilled is an understatement. Of course it was quite a shock when we found that our travel time would include fourteen hours in the air from San Francisco to Sydney!
Our first two days in Sydney were spent getting over jet lag and seeing a few of the sights. One of the sights we got to experience was what we thought at first was a beautiful red sunrise in fog at Circular Quay. That was until we read the note slipped under our door, warning us not to open any windows or doors because we were experiencing an unheard of dust storm!
Chris and Rosheen asked us to have dinner with some of the members of the Circle of the Silver Cord Thursday evening. That was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Chris, Rosheen, David Thompson and his partner, Christine Morgan, who is one of Australia’s top mental mediums. We learned that they are all educated, hard working people—an important point since they did not attempt to make money for the guest séance.
Friday night was the big night. Everyone gathered at six that evening and Chris began with a short talk on materialization séances using ectoplasm and the risks to the medium. If ectoplasm is exposed to light, or in some way interfered with by a sitter, it will rapidly retract back into the medium, causing internal and external injuries that could cause death or greatly shorten the life of the medium. David has scars to prove this very real hazard. We needed no further explanation as to why the séance would be conducted in a totally dark room.
We had been told to leave jewelry at home. Nothing was to be allowed into the séance room. Shoes were removed, then everyone was searched by David and Rosheen and a metal detector was used to assure there were no forgotten or hidden articles amongst the sitters.
The séance room contained a small cabinet made with black cloth over a wood frame. The seventeen sitters were seated in a horseshoe with the cabinet where David sat at the open end of the horseshoe. A piece of plywood was placed in the middle of the floor so that we might be able to hear the sound of feet. This was raised so that everyone was certain that there was nothing hidden under it.
Two people were picked to inspect everything in the room and to observe David being bound to his chair. Tom was one of the people picked to do this. Chris, Rosheen, Christine, Silvana, Sarah and David Thomson (all Circle of the Silver Cord members) were independently searched and scanned with the metal detector. The room was thoroughly searched and then the medium’s arms and legs were bound to the chair with nylon straps, which were in turn, secured with the kind of cable wraps sometimes used by the police as temporary handcuffs. David was gagged and the gag was secured with a cable wrap. David’s cardigan sweater was secured with cable wraps in each button hole. The only way to release the wraps was to cut them off—a noisy process.
The lights were turned off and a red light was turned on. The door was secured and chairs added with sitters in front of the door. The red light was turned off and we were asked to sing with the music—loud and with enthusiasm. Singing is a way of building the energy, and more enthusiasm means more energy.
We had only finished three songs when we heard the sound of the Velcro holding the curtains in the front of the cabinet being ripped away. Chris switched the music off and asked for everyone to hold hands. David’s friend and guide, William, had come into the room. He asked who was there and was introduced all around. He had previously met most of the attendees who are Australians, and exchanged little pleasantries with many of them.
William then turned his attention to me and asked my name. “Lisa,” I answered, and he asked if he could touch me. He touched my toe first and said, “There you can feel my feet” and then touched my face and asked me what I felt. I responded that I felt his hand. “Is it not real as real can be?” he asked. I told him that it was very warm and very real, to which he responded, “As you can see there is no death.” (At the time I wondered if he knew it was the title of our book.)
Next he asked to touch Tom, and after he had done this he said to Tom, “As you can see, there was no fumbling to find your face, was there?” Tom agreed. William then asked him if he felt he was brought this distance merely to observe and Tom replied that he hoped not. William then said that there was someone from the Spirit realm who wanted to speak to Tom and his “dear lady.”
William asked if there were any questions and a sitter asked if the people on his side kept up with our technology. William responded, “My dear friend, I do not,” and everyone laughed. The person then asked if their technology was above ours and William explained that technology was not a necessity within their dimension. “Why do you need electricity with perpetual light? Why would you need conveyances to get from one place to another when you can do that with your mind and your thoughts?”
Next he was asked how many spirit people had come to witness the séance. William replied that, in his understanding, it would be in the range of one thousand individuals. “Séances such as this between the two dimensions attract a lot of attention within our world, as you can imagine.”
William then took his leave, telling us that he needed to go so that others could come through. It is difficult to explain but there is a noise that is heard when the ectoplasm is used for materialization, the circle leader knows this, and when the sound is heard asks for everyone to hold hands and welcomes whoever is trying to come through. We could tell the next individual was having difficulty talking but Tom said he knew immediately that it was Konstantin Raudive. We were both in shock and we understood why people who receive phone calls from their deceased loved ones say that the enormity of the moment does not sink in until after it is over. Please see the article “Konstantin Raudive Speaks” in this issue for a transcript of this historic conversation. Raudive spoke to us for seven minutes! It is a comfort to know that our pioneers are still interested in we who are learning to communicate via technology.
After Raudive left, a doctor came through and experienced members of the circle welcomed him as an old friend. He crossed the room and proceeded to put his hands on a woman to administer spiritual healing. The woman had been fighting a serious illness.
We were again told that we could stop holding hands and the music, It’s a Wonderful World, was played. To me it sounded like there was another, very distinctive voice singing with us. When the music stopped, Chris asked us to hold hands and we heard the distinctive voice of Louie Armstrong. He is a frequent visitor to the Circle of the Silver Cord séances. He asked Chris to get a harmonica they keep in a container and he played a song for us and we could hear him dancing with the music.
After Louie Armstrong withdrew, a child-like voice announced Timmy’s presence. This boisterous personality is a frequent visitor to the circle and manipulates the ectoplasm that enables many of the strong physical effects. He asked for a trumpet and there followed a rousing Irish jig while we were treated to seeing the trumpet fly around the room, often coming within inches of our faces. The trumpet was a light-weight cone of heavy paper about a foot long with a luminous band on the wide end so that its motion was easily visible. Sitters were shouting with excitement through the entire experience and the energy level was very high. There would have been many collisions had a physical person attempt such a demonstration.
Timmy is very funny and spent time joking with the sitters, making everyone laugh. He asked Chris for his luminous plaque, and with his fingers on it, he circled the room showing his small fingers silhouetted in the light from the plaque.
The next visitor told us his name was Russel Flexer and Tom Newman, the American who came from Florida, spoke with him. It turned out that Dr. Flexer is the founder of the church Tom now leads.
After the group sang along with Abba’s The Dancing Queen, Quentin Crisp joined the circle with much banter and jokes. He asked one sitter if he could touch her. She agreed and told everyone that he had very soft hands. Quentin quipped that he was not exactly a workman, which brought a huge laugh. He said that he was not exactly the type of person to get his hands dirty.
Quentin stopped in front of me and asked who I was and where I came from. When I told him the United States, he said that he lived in New York before he passed. (Side note: We were not aware of who Quentin Crisp was until after the séance. He became a gay icon in the 1970s after publication of his memoir, The Naked Civil Servant, which brought attention to his defiant exhibitionism and longstanding refusal to remain in the closet. Every icon has something totally distinctive about their look that no other icon has. Marlon Brando had his leather jacket, and with Quentin, it was his fedoras and many scarves. The Quentin Crisp archives at quentincrisp.com, is dedicated to promoting his philosophy of individuality, self-acceptance, and tolerance.)
Quentin asked if he could touch me and his hand felt warm, soft, normal; just like a person who is alive not dead! When you are touched, it is immediate, directly on your cheek or where they intend to touch you. No fumbling or misses. Try that in a pitch-black room.
Quentin asked, “And who do we have over here?” Chris the circle leader said, “Her husband may be jealous, Tom is over here.” Quentin asked to touch Tom. There was much laughter when Quentin said “Ohhhhh, he has one of those beards.” He went on to greet and touch just about everyone in the circle. His wonderful sense of humor really increased the energy. He remembered people in the circle from other séances and even asked one of them to convey greetings to acquaintances that he hadn’t seen for a while. He then said that he could not stay all night and that he needed to go. Everyone was saying their goodbyes when he asked, “Well Mr. Butler, or should I say Tom. How is your brain, trying to assimilate what is taking place?” Tom replied that he had suspended thinking and was just listening. Quentin then said, “How about you Lisa, or should I say Alisa.” His use of my legal name surprised me. He went on to say that it is such a pretty name, “and yet you call yourself Lisa.” I tried to explain that I use “Lisa” because “Alisa” is so often mispronounced and he quipped back that he could pronounce it. I had to agree that he did so, perfectly. He asked about how my brain was doing with the séance and if it had been worth the five-year wait. I said it was and that I hoped it would not be another five-years, to which he assured me that it would not.
This exchange was very evidential because I did not feel anyone there knew my legal name, and if they had somehow learned my name, they would likely have mispronounced it. The remark about the five year wait to see David was also evidential, as I had told all members of the circle that I had been trying for three years. When I later researched the timing, I realized that at the time of the séance it had actually been a little over five years. Additionally, Quentin’s prediction we would not have to wait another five years came true. The group did another sitting in Florida in early November and we were able to sit in.
Timmy came in again and asked that the red light be turned on so that those who secured David could check the cabinet to see that he was there and bound as they had left him. Tom also checked to see that David was still secured. The light was turned off again and Tim asked whether he should partially materialize or fully materialize. He was encouraged to do what he needed with the energy. Timmy said that he needed a bit more ectoplasm, and urged us to hold on. There was a gurgling sound and the suddenly loud sound of childish laughter, along with a loud thud that startled us all.
Tim asked Tom Newman to step forward in the dark. He did this and told us that David had been levitated out of the cabinet and that he was still bound to the chair. Tim asked Newman to feel the gag while Tim talked. Tom verified that David was gagged and not talking while Tim was talking.
Tom Newman returned to his seat while music was played to help David come out of trance. When Chris communicated with David that it was okay, the red light was turned on and we saw that David was ten feet in front of the cabinet, still gagged and bound. His sweater was reversed and the wraps were still in place! All cable wraps needed to be cut before he could be removed from the chair.
The whole experience was beyond words. Members of the Association know that EVP and ITC are beyond many people’s boggle point. This is way beyond that! Tom and I did not go to the séance with skeptical minds but we do believe that we are a couple of very critical thinkers. We stayed awake until two a.m. that morning talking and trying to wrap our brains around what we had experienced. We finally had to say it was what those who spoke to us during the séance said it was; so called “dead people” talking, walking, interacting with us and touching us.
We went to Australia believing in life after death but this séance was life-changing. What an incredible gift to be lucky enough to have the experience. We, like hundreds of others, thank the Circle of the Silver Cord and David Thompson for this important work.