Is contacting the dead really possible? A man named Leonard George has taken it upon himself to discover the truth. George has a Ph.D. in psychology and was formally employed as a clinical psychologist by Vancouver General Hospital.
He currently works for Capilano University and is an esteemed writer and researcher. George made the trek from British Columbia to upstate New York to be at the global center of Spiritualism. Spiritualism is a religion that surfaced in the 19th century.
It’s founded on the belief that humans can contact the spirits of people who have passed away. “I wanted to go to where it all began. I wondered what it would feel like to be a medium. What better way to find out than to sign up (for a course),” says George.
At 11:30 am on Halloween, George will disclose the incredible and astonishing discoveries he made about the art of being a medium. He will also discuss the possibility of a spirit world existing. The Capilano University Psychology Students Society is promoting his lecture.
“The Medium’s Apprentice: A Psychologist Explores Spiritualism from the Inside” is the name of the lecture. It will explore the mysterious aspects of the world related to ESP, hypnosis, séances, fortune-telling, and even levitation.
George described himself as a “skeptical psychologist” who is mindful that so many people associate Spiritualism with deception and scams. He decided to set out and see it for himself.
The Significance Of The Date He Chose For His Lecture
He chose to give his lecture on Halloween because October 31st is known as Samhain to Pagans. They believe that, in the words of George, “the membrane between the two worlds (of the living and dead) is the thinnest that day.”
Before delving into George’s discoveries and if he successfully contacted the dead or not, here’s some history on Spiritualism. Across Vancouver and many parts of the world, small spiritualist congregations still meet regularly.
Canada, the U.S, Russia, and Britain all have a long history of Spiritualism. William Lyon Mackenzie King, the dominant Canadian political leader from the 1920s through the 1940s, possessed a crystal ball and was known to have made trips to Detroit to speak with a medium frequently.
Other prominent figures who supported Spiritualism and parapsychological phenomenon include:
- Authors Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, William Blake, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning
- Psychotherapists Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud
- Philosopher William James
- Scientists David Bohm and Thomas Edison
To uncover this mysterious subject, George went to Lily Dale, N.Y, a small town situated near the Canadian border. “It’s the oldest and largest Spiritualist community in the world,” he says. The city of Lily Dale is very close to where Joseph Smith founded Mormonism in 1823.
This entire region of the state is recognized as a land of women’s rights, free speech, free love, and particularly of free religious expression since the early 1800s. George, accompanied by about a dozen others, worked with Judith Rochester, a well-known and famed medium.
Rochester received her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Toronto. She is an expert on the life of Ludwig Wittgenstein, an esteemed German philosopher. She is more widely known for her ability to develop the gift of communicating with the spirits of the deceased in others.
George Wanted To Approach The Paranormal With A Medical Mind
Before making the trip to Lily Dale, George had published two books whose subjects were in the paranormal field. One of them was titled “The Encyclopedia of Heresies and Heretics,” and the other is titled “Alternative Realities: The Paranormal, the Mystic, and the Transcendent in Human Experience.”
Since George is a psychologist, he wanted to explore this mysterious universe with a scientific and possibly medical mind. Aside from teaching introductory psychology, he also teaches courses on neuroscience and mental illness.
In his office, you will find a large number of mainstream books on psychology, as well as a small skull that he displays, and which he states reminds him of “memento mori,” a Latin phrase that refers to how our time here on Earth is limited.
On one wall, he has a poster hanging up of Iamblichus, also known as “The Second Century Syrian,”; and who is his favorite philosopher. Iamblichus was a big fan of Plato and his theories about the nature of reality and divinity.
So what discoveries did George wind up making about Spiritualism? He states that the very first thing he noticed was that the New York spiritualists exuded “100% sincerity”. He was blown away by the integrity, commitment, and kindness that Rochester and the others involved in Lily Dale displayed during the course.
Even though the spiritualists’ had moral standards of the highest degree and refused to use deception of any sort, this did not provide George with any scientific proof of their ability to communicate with the dead. Even though George is a psychologist, he has always kept an open mind about these types of things.
George Has Always Been Fascinated By The Unseen World
He has used hypnosis on clients before and has meditated almost all of his life. He states that the study of psychic happenings has always fascinated him. George tells of how he entered into a light trance while under his training with Rochester.
He said that during this trance, some dream visions he had seen all his life became immensely realistic all of a sudden. George has had a frequent otherworldly dream about “looking up at mysterious lights in the sky that seem to have intelligence” ever since he was young.
When he was at Lily Dale in a trance, these lights became even more extraordinary. He describes what he felt; “I had an experience of rising. I was perched on a mountain, and the lights were right in front of me. These lights communicated that they were my spirit guides. It was quite shocking.”
In a different trance, George made contact with this father, who passed away in 1982. He said that at first, he had the feeling that he was being buried alive, and then images of his father sitting on a bench made of marble came to him.
In his words, his father was acting “calm, talkative, and reassuring. It was one of the weirdest things that ever happened to me,” he said. Then came the part where George tried his hand at giving psychic readings to a woman who was in attendance; this is where it got even more supernatural.
He performed a reading for one of the female students in attendance, a woman he had never met before or had any previous contact with. While he was in an altered state, he meditated on the woman’s soul and an image of a woman who is short in stature and dark-skinned came to him.
George’s Vision Was Amazingly Accurate!
In his vision, she was inside a storm-ravaged house covered in Christmas ornaments. He sensed that her name was something along the lines of Mabel or Annabel. George told the woman about what he had seen to see if she could make any sense of it. Surprisingly, she knew what he was talking about.
She told him that when she was just a little girl, she and her family lived in a rural, poverty-stricken part of the country and that anytime there were high winds, it would almost always knock out the family’s water supply.
When this happened, she would have to walk through a forest so that a kind African American woman named Mabel could give them some water. Mabel liked to have her house decorated with Christmas ornaments all year long.
“When she said that, my hair was standing up. It’s standing up right now,” says George. “It seemed so accurate to me. I didn’t have anything to say for hours after that.”
What had allowed George to know this about the woman? Was he experiencing authentic psychic powers that allowed him to receive images and to hear realities? Ones we’re not usually able to detect via normal sensory experience?
When we look at the world with a scientific eye, we assume that the universe is much like a device made up of concrete parts. Therefore, it would seem that ESP, clairvoyance, and other psychic phenomena couldn’t possibly exist. However, a small number of scientists and philosophers believe in something called “panexperientialism.”
What Is Panexperientialism?
Wikipedia describes panexperientialism as “a view that credits all entities with non-physical properties that are precursors to phenomenal consciousness (or phenomenal consciousness in a latent, undeveloped form) but not with cognition itself, or with conscious awareness.
It is the belief that everything living has a certain trace of intellect in it and that it is very possible to have psychic experiences that science cannot easily explain. To support the possibility of paranormal experiences, George quoted one of his favorite American philosophers, William James, a Harvard professor.
His words were, “it only takes the discovery of one white crow to prove that not all crows are black.” The fact that he successfully gave a stranger an accurate psychic reading implies that psychic readings are possible and can be authentic.
However, George’s scientific side was not satisfied, and he contemplated a lot on his otherworldly experience. For example, does the fact that he saw a dark-skinned woman named Mabel who turned out to be a real person, and that he saw his father sitting on the marble bench prove there is an afterlife?
Do the spirit guides that came to him in the form of celestial lights also prove this? Although his experience left a deep impression on him, it is not proof that we can contact the dead. His answer to this is, “I didn’t cross the Rubicon.”
Since his medium apprenticeship in the summer ended, he has not embraced Spiritualism in his daily life. He also does not feel that he received “scientific proof” that humans can make psychic contact with spirits. “There is an unseen reality,” he says assuredly.
How This Experience Has Affected His Mindset
He keeps an open mind about the fact that it is a possibility and acknowledges that some people are more able to see this alternate reality than others. “But I’m not committed to what spiritualists say it is,” he adds.
He does, however, believe that most people practicing Spiritualism do have valid experiences that provide “personal proof” of an entirely different realm. His opinion is that these experiences tend to make them tougher and more self-assured than the majority of people.
To follow up his Halloween day lecture, George has planned a distinctive psychology course towards the end of 2013 that he has named Concepts of the Imagination. In this course, he will utilize what he learned as a medium apprentice.
He wants to expand on the subject since he believes that there is something more to it than we currently know. During his unique psychology course, George is going to suggest that anyone who engages their spiritual imaginations are, in his words, “actually making contact with something real.”
He feels that it is unavoidable for sparks to fly when everyday people establish a relationship with the unseen world. “There is something that is of us- and not of us. It’s impossible to disengage the two. I think, instead of debunking the mystery, we should be humbled by it.”