Tuesday, 4 September 2012

“All are heroes who take part in the Paralympics - Also our own heroes.”..... Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had many strings to his bow”......... “No – not a ghost.

19th August ... It is always a pleasure to attend the Love and Friendship Spiritualist Church, Langside Halls Glasgow.  President Maureen Land and her committee have worked hard over the years to make this a very successful church and they always have time for those who need their help.
21st... A new church for me and a fairly new church the Free Spirit Spiritualist Church, Kilmarnock.  This church has taken off in a short time and has a dedicated committeeworking hard to make sure it is successful.
22nd... I was giving a talk on Psychic Detection and the question & answer session which was allocated twenty minutes ended up being over one hour long.
23rd... Taking a meditation class.
24th...  I was going private sittings for a charity... This is the one and only time a year I take on charity work.  Before anyone emails me asking why I will explain.  Most other mediums take part in charity events so I try to fill the need in areas I feel are neglected, taking time for those who contact our churches, plus I do other forms of voluntary work. 
25th... Another new church for me  The Leading Light Spiritualist Church, Masonic Hall, Manse Road, Glencraig, Fife,  KY5 8AQ   well known medium Jean Bruce is president.
27th... A Special evening for myself Jackie and Iain McConnachie and the people of Cumnock. It was five years to the day since the Cumnock Spiritualist Church opened its doors and this was the anniversary service. It was an honour to share the platform with Jackie and to have members of the committee take part in the service. In those five years this church has done a lot for the community and to educate those who are interested Spiritualism and their psychic abilities. It was an added pleasure to have Iain and Jackie’s young son Jack in attendance
29th... The long journey north to Alness Spiritualist Church....
 My next workshop is at the Glasgow Association of Spiritualists on 13th October
Unfortunately I was not one of the 11milion who tuned into CH4’s for the opening ceremony of the London 2112 Paralympics Games but I have watched most of the events since.  I have watched more of the Paralympics that I did of its sister games a few weeks ago. Of course I admired the determination and courage of the able bodied athletes but with all those taking part in the Paralympics this courage and determination goes into a different dimension.
A few weeks ago we heard on a regular basis from competitors and commentators like “To finish fourth is the worst position to be in” and “To finish fourth is the biggest failure of all”. Yet to finish fourth or even qualify for these games is a tremendous achievement.  I realise why these comments are made, after working so hard to end up just one pace out of the medals and at time the difference between third and fourth can be as little as one-hundredth-of-a-second.  What different comments I have heard at the Paralympics “Fate is what happens to us, destiny is what we do with It.”, just to mention one....  Even in defeat competitors in the Paralympics seemed so much more upbeat.
At one time disabled athletes felt they were being patronized or pitied.  But by their commitment and courage they have earned respect from all of us, they are great ambassadors for all those who are in their position. 
That got me wondering why we don’t have more people with disabilities being involved in the spiritualist movement.  At the moment onlyfour come to mind..
 Glasgow medium Helen McEwen who is now in spirit.  Helen founded the Toryglen Spiritualist Church which is still going strong.  She was confined to a wheelchair for the latter part of her life but had a great determination and I am sure I am not the only person who felt uplifted after a chat with Helen.
It would not be obvious to many that medium Maureen Brown has hearing and sight problems.  A hearing aid certainly kept Maureen in touch with what was being said but her sight made it difficult to see clearly those at the back of the church.  Yet that did not stop Maureen going direct to whom. Spirit was trying to contact.  The only way one would notice Maureen had a sight problem was when she would say “Can I come to you madam?” when it was a gentleman and vice versa. But her messages were always accurate and of high quality.  We can never mention Maureen without mentioning her late husband Archie.  The couple was always together and often Archie would joke that he was the medium’s chauffeur.  It was a great loss to the Scottish Spiritual circuit when because of health reasons Maureen could not travel to our churches.  But Maureen is one of these people who will not lie down to anything and for a while she was going to  schools explaining to the pupils what it was like to be blind and deaf.
We have also within our ranks Ivy Campbell President of the Perth Spiritualist Church.  Ivy is a great ambassador for spirit and displays as much courage and determination as many of the Paralympics competitors.
We have also Irish medium Sharon Neil who is blind. 
Of course there will be many with some form of disability which is not noticeable working in committees etc, but maybe we should look into why there are not more disabled people attending our churches and taking part in our work.
BBC2 got the time just right for the drama “Best of Men”.  The true story of Dr Ludwig Guttmann, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany who founded the Paralympics Games
Up till Dr Guttmann arrived at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 1944 patients were heavily sedated and largely written off.  The spinal unit was not so much a treatment centre as a dumping ground for bedsore-ridden invalids.  Fighting against much prejudice from fellow doctors; Dr Guttmann came out with what seemed at the time crazy ideas to transform the lives of those with spinal injuries.  The crazy ideas were to get the patients to be involved in sports.  As soon as Dr Guttmann got the ball rolling a great transformation was seen in the patients.  Their fitness, and self-esteem improved immensely and their depression started to wane. 
Eventually the Paralympics were born – initially in 1948 with the Stoke Mandeville Games, and then in earnest in 1952.  Look how  these games have grown in sixty years.  Who would have believed ten years ago, never mind sixty years, how successful such games would become. That such vast numbers would pass through the turnstiles and the amount of media time given over to theses games.
Dr Guttmann efforts were the start of turning around what was a death sentence for those with spinal injuries to having an 80% success rate of survival.  He made the patient realise they were not worthless; they had much to offer to society. He made society realise that those with spinal injuries were not cripples, they were not a burden of society, but they had so much they could put back into society.
What a great acting performance by Eddie Marsan and he looked so like the real Dr Ludwig Guttmann.
If all in society had the same courage and determination of those seen in this drama and at the Paralympics Games then the world would be a better place.  Not all of those with disabilities will ever be able to take part in the Paralympics just as most of us will never qualify for the Olympic Games, but we can always try to be the best in what we do. We can look and smile at the next person we pass who has a disability and instead of feeling pity we can hope that they are having the opportunity to be their best in whatever they want to do.
 Mention the name Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and instantly the Sherlock Holmes’s novels come to mind.  Spiritualists will go that bit further and think of his role in the spiritualist movement.    But there were many other strings to Sir Arthur’s bow that few know about.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was also a fervent advocate of justice and two cases he personally investigated led to two men being exonerated of the crimes of which they were accused. In 1906, involved a shy half-British, half-Indian lawyer who had allegedly penned threatening letters and mutilated animals. Police were set on convicting this gentleman, even though the mutilations continued after their suspect was jailed.  It was partially as a result of this case that the Court of Criminal Appeal was established in 1907.   So not only did Conan Doyle help an innocent man but his endeavor helped establish a way to correct other miscarriages of justice.
The second case, that of Oscar Slater, a German Jew and gambling-den operator convicted of bludgeoning an 82-year-old woman in Glasgow in 1908, excited Conan Doyle's curiosity because of inconsistencies in the prosecution case and a general sense that Slater was not guilty. Ended up paying most of the costs for Slater's successful appeal in 1928.
With his writing Sir Arthur made public the atrocities in several places around the world, particularly in The Congo… One long pamphlet he wrote was The Crime of the Congo, in which he denounced the horrors in that country.
There are many ways of working for Spirit and with so much that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle achieved with his campaigns and writing I believe that much of it was spirit inspired.
Platform and healing is only two of the areas where spirit will work with us.    In every walk of life spirit will be working with us to help others in many different ways and also help us to reach our full potential. 

I was asked to visit a house where a white ghost-like figure had been seen.  Four of the five members of this family had seen a ghostly white figure on several occasions and they were terrified.
First on the scene were a medium and a researcher who both claimed to have seen a white figure during their visit...  They felt this warranted an all-night vigil, in fact in two overnight stays, but there were no sightings on these nights.   Over the next few weeks the family were again aware of this figure several times and I was asked go out and see if I could find out what was going on.

I attended with another medium and neither of us sensed anything at all but that is not to say there was no spirit around.   We had complete faith in the medium and researcher that had seen something out of the ordinary on their visit.
The sightings all had taken place in the living room.  This room was 24ft long and the figure always appeared at the opposite end from where the family usually sat.  Lights in far side of the room were on a dimmer switch so that part was darker than where the family would congregate.

 We went back a second time and as we were talking to the family my colleague saw a white oblong shape go from one wall to the other at the far side of the room. I saw nothing and that was because I had my back to the far side of the room
I looked out of the back window and I could see little.... The garden was in complete darkness... I could not see the lane which ran along the back garden, but the lights of the houses behind and the street lamps behind these houses were shining brightly.... 

We spent a long time going through all the usual questions and there was nothing to connect to what had disturbed spirit or why they were making themselves known.  The family had been in the house for twelve years and there had been nothing like this till a few weeks before.  So we targeted what was going on in the family and the house at that time - but still no answers.
As we drove away we entered the street behind the ‘haunted house’ and I noticed something that maybe could give us some answers.  There was a small road, well it only run for 50yeards and went nowhere, maybe it was in preparation for further development which had never taken place.

If a driver had not wanted to drive round the estate to get back to the main road then he could reverse into this gap.  That would mean that their headlights would be shining through between the two houses opposite.  It could be possible that a vehicle’s lights could be shining on the back living room window of the haunted house and causing the problem.  So there was the answer – or was it? 
We went back round to the house and after dropping my colleague off to sit with the family; I would go back round and reverse into that short road several times.     

In the pouring rain I reversed into the gap half-a dozen times, three with my headlights dipped and three with them on full beam. I was feeling very pleased with myself as I drove back to the house but my pleasure was soon dampened as not one of the seven people sitting in the room had seen the white figure.  By this time the family were looking on us as not being up to the job and there were desperate to get rid of us.  There was no more we could do anyway I had to file this as an unsolved case.
The incident would have remained unsolved and I believe that the family would have decided to move elsewhere if the following situation had not happened. And it was solved without a medium, psychic or psychic researcher.

Over Christmas the family had relatives from abroad staying with them and unexpectedly their eldest son had returned home on leave from the RAF.  The son had to sleep in a couch in the living room.

Just after 1am on his second night sleeping on the couch the son saw this ‘ghost-like ‘figure and put it down to the scare stories he was told from his family playing on his mind.  After a few minutes he thought no more about it.
Two nights later he had the same sighting and this time he thought more about it.  It suddenly dawned on him that just a few minutes before when he saw the ‘white figure’ he heard the sound of a car with a faulty exhaust or from a car that young ones drive about in that’s engine roars more than the normal engine.  Not only that but he felt he may have heard the same noise at the first sighting.

He did a little investigating and found that a daughter of a family in the houses in the street being was often driven home by her boyfriend and he had one of those ‘growling engines’.  A little bit more investigation and he found that this vehicle had its headlights out of alignment.

So the RAF lad asked the young driver if he would keep reversing into the small road just to see if it was his lights that was causing what appeared to be a white ghostly figure at the end of the living room.   Bingo! That was it – no ghost but a reflection from a car’s headlights.   But there was more to this story; the faulty lights alone would not have caused the problem.  The house next door to the so-called haunted house had a large greenhouse and the faulty light beam was hitting off the panes of glass and shining through the living room window.

Only by chance was this situation sorted out.  If there had been different or thicker curtains/blinds this may not have happened.  If the son had not unexpectedly returned home from leave.  If it had not been Christmas and the young girl who was in the catering trade had not returned home at 1am when street was quiet and no TV’s on then we would have still being guessing.

Every unusual incident is not spirit.  We have to look at logic first and if logic cannot explain what is going on then we can start to look elsewhere...  in this case it would have been so easy to say “It is Spirit” and then concoct all sorts of stories as to why it was there.














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