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The Psychic Mafia

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The Psychic Mafia

Post by Candlelight.kk on Sun 14 May 2017, 20:14

26 Jul 2014, 13:14

Introduction to this electronic version.
You may make this electronic version available to others, in any manner you wish, as long as the book is out of print, but you may not ask money for it, and you must impose these same conditions on anyone that obtains it from you.



The Psychic Mafia

By M. Lamar Keene
As told to Allen Spraggett


(Retyped by an anonymous someone who doesn't want to be prosecuted under copyright laws.)

Originally published by Dell Publishing Co.
Copyright 1976 by M. Lamar Keene



I, Lamar Keene, hereby affirm and warrant that the experiences related in this book, written in collaboration with Allen Spraggett and William Rauscher, are the truth and nothing but the truth (though, it should be added, not necessarily the whole truth, which would be even worse). These experiences are from my career of thirteen years as a fraudulent spiritualist medium.
Lamar Keene


Introduction by the Anonymous Typist


[Note: I wrote this several years ago, and while I might revise it sometime in the future, I figure, I'll include it for now.]

This book has been out of print for many years, and Lamar Keene hasn't been heard from ever since an attempt was made on his life shortly after the publication of this book. It's too bad, because a tell-all book in the world of spiritualism is a very rare event. It takes some thought to appreciate just how rare such books are.

A book about Spiritualism seems a little out of date, even during the current resurgence of paranormal beliefs under the `New Age' banner. There's something quaint, and obviously bogus, about little old ladies invoking ghosts who spew ectoplasm and whirl trumpets about the place. It's as if the special effects have been forsaken these days, in favor of vague pronouncements over `The meaningfulness of what you have named being' and 35,000-year-old warriors from Atlantis.1 The spiritualism described in this book has a kind of pre- war feeling about it, next to the New Age. It's like putting a velvet- black digital stereo rack system next to an old Philco radio in its cathedral-shaped oak case, with maybe some Glenn Miller or Kay Kyser floating out of its fuzzy speaker.

But, getting back to the subject, this is a pretty rare sort of book. The vast majority of books about the paranormal are strongly `Pro,' with rarely a hint of doubt. They're filled with wonderful and intriguing stories, and much of the drama is skewed towards encouraging the reader to believe that something truly astounding is going on. Rarely are books written debunking these claims; a casual appraisal of the local B. Dalton's won't turn up more than two or three on an `occult' rack holding a hundred titles.

Books debunking the paranormal operate under several constraints and burdens that pro-paranormal books simply don't have. First and foremost, debunkers are in the position of telling people that things they want to believe may not be so. And, as The Psychic Mafia details, the Will to Believe is surprisingly strong. Even when a medium admits to fakery, there are those who persist in believing that he's genuine, or resorts to trickery only when under pressure, or that the presence of skeptics somehow causes the psychic to fake it, or. . . well, you get the idea.

Second, because the debunker has to overcome this Will to Believe, he has to make his arguments that much more forceful. The only thing on his side is the research required, and his audience's ability to reason. Many paranormal books repeat many of the stories published in others, occasionally with a little embellishment here and there.2 But the debunker must track down the correct details, stick to established sources, cut away the intriguing details that the myth- mongers have added, and appraise the claim as honestly as possible. I'm speaking from experience when I say that any flaw in one's arguments, real, imagined or irrelevant, becomes the Devastating Blow to Science that the True Believer seizes upon.

Third, these added details have become facts in the mind of the believer, and the debunker is then called upon to explain every little aspect of a claim, real or mythical; if he can't, the believer walks away feeling that the debunker hasn't done his job. For example, Philip Klass has investigated most of the major UFO sightings over the past two decades, and has explanations for all that he's investigated. But the UFO believer can always mention some obscure sighting or event that Klass hasn't had the resources to investigate. If Klass can't debunk that one, well, that just proves to the True Believer that Klass hasn't proven his case.3

Fourth, there is a peculiar mythology about paranormal claims and science that colors every debate on the subject. Proponents of paranormal claims frequently present themselves as heretics whose unconventional views and disconcerting data threatens to overturn all of established science; and that's why, they claim, science refuses to acknowledge this data.4 Strangely, most of the unconventional `Heresies' are old orthodoxies (Creationism, astrology, the powers of prophets and seers, some aspects of herbalists' claims, tarot cards, the existence of ghosts, etc.) that were overturned by the heretics of science. In this sense, many pro-paranormalists seem not only somewhat conservative, upset at how science threatens conventional beliefs, but can legitimately be termed reactionaries, demanding that progress and change not only be halted, but reversed.

This may seem like an extreme assertion, and I admit, it is somewhat unconventional-- but only if we adopt the framework of science being the orthodoxy, with old mythologies being the heresy. Imagine if someone were to claim that the medieval theologians were correct; the Earth is the center of the Universe, and the planets rotate about it in crystal spheres. That person will very likely present his view as unorthodox heresy undermining the authority of monolithic, conservative science-- even though, centuries ago, his claim was the orthodoxy in more oppressive times, enforced with torture and imprisonment, and the cosmology we take for granted today was a truly dangerous heresy to believe in.

(One can appraise many other pseudoscientific beliefs in this manner, and easily understand how, rather than challenging popular myth or unquestioned orthodoxy, they actually perpetuate and enforce it. Science's process of self-revision marks it as far more inherently heretical than most religious or political outlooks, and demanding of a more subtle understanding of the world.5 And on the whole, it's been far more tolerant of opposing opinion than most religious or mystical institutions.)

Fifth, and finally, the debunker frequently has to explain science to his readers, and this is a delicate art that even only a few scientists can do. For example, an astrologer can simply say, "The moon causes tides, doesn't it? Human beings are ninety percent water; do you really doubt that whole planets don't influence our lives?" But someone debunking astrology must explain why this analogy is false, and how gravity really behaves, and why human beings just don't have enough mass for the moon's gravity to affect them to any great degree. And sadly, many of these explanations sail right over peoples' heads.

The few books which have had a measurable impact in debunking paranormal claims share one important aspect; they provide an inside view into how things are done. A book like Douglas Stalker and Clark Glymour's anthology Examining Holistic Medicine, which dissects such claims as chiropractic, visualization therapy, and homeopathy in detail, doesn't affect someone in the same way as James Randi's excellent The Faith Healers. Randi not only discusses the medical aspects of faith healing, but exposes the deliberate fraud of several faith healers. Randi makes a story out of it; the investigation is fascinating by itself, but Randi describes such wonderful tricks as direct-mail fundraising, the selling of `Blessed' trinkets, the way the money is spent, etc. In other words, people may not want to bother with scientific principles involved, but they love to see how the special effects work.6

Such a book is The Psychic Mafia.

The critical reader will find a lot in this book to criticize. The writing is awkward in places, and the habit of ending chapters with ellipses (. . . ) is irritating. The chapter "Sex in the Seance" has some passages that haven't aged well into the 1990s, especially the sniggering remarks on homosexuality. I get the impression that these two troublesome aspects of the book come from co-author Allen Spraggett, mainly because of certain aspects of his book Arthur Ford: The Man who Spoke with the Dead. (See Appendix 1 for details.)

Another issue should be mentioned at the outset. While Keene's story is fascinating in and of itself, not much can be said for William Rauscher or Allen Spraggett's participation in the project. Spraggett, a former Fundamentalist preacher, proclaimed himself a `Psychic investigator' and had a radio program about "The Unexplained." He wrote a series of books about what he considered to be legitimate paranormal events, such as astrology, and the spirit mediums whose trickery he couldn't detect. Rauscher, as you'll see in his foreword, is convinced of the reality of psychic phenomena as well-- apparently, one has to be a truly inept medium to be debunked by these guys (see Chapter 6), or be a former fraud who brings his story to them (see Appendix 1). One truly wishes that Keene had sat down with someone else for this book-- someone more critical minded, or with better training as a journalist.

About This Computer Disk Edition

So, why did I go through the trouble of converting this book to computer text?7 Because the book is so hard to find, mainly. I felt that a lot of people would get some benefit from it. I've also taken the liberty of adding footnotes, which did not appear in the original text. Usually, they're meant to provide additional information or a different perspective on the events described-- a passage from another book describing similar events, more info on various people mentioned in the book, etc. With William Rauscher's foreword, for example, I couldn't help getting a little sarcastic.

It's also been my experience that material stored electronically has a better chance of staying available. Copies can be made in seconds. Topics and passages can be found with the help of a good search feature in a word processor.8 The material can be excerpted into a research paper or essay with little fuss. The text may find its way into something more permanent, like a CD-ROM or database.

Also, material stored electronically is far more malleable. Those who have poor or failing eyesight can print a copy in larger than normal type, and blind computer users can use any of several programs that `Read' text and use a sound synthesizer to simulate a human voice reading the material aloud.9

So, to do this book a service. Please distribute as many copies as possible. Upload it onto computer bulletin boards, preferably in straight ASCII format as well as Word Perfect. Give printouts to friends, especially the ones who want to pay psychics for powers they don't have.

We're not cutting Dell out of any profits, because they haven't published the book since 1977. And those of us who circulate this book aren't making money at this at all.

By the way, if Lamar Keene is out there reading this. . . I hope you're doing well, and wish you the best of luck.

Best Regards,
The Anonymous Typist



Foreword
The Rev. Canon William V. Rauscher


This book is true.

At first, when I met Lamar Keene, the former fraudulent medium whose story it is, I found his revelations in some respects almost incredible.

Oh, I knew, as does every serious investigator of the psychic scene (and I have been one for more than eighteen years) that fraud existed. There was the expose at Camp Chesterfield in 1960 (described in this book) when infrared film of a materialization seance showed that the "spirits" were staff mediums dressed up in chiffon ectoplasm. I had personally checked out Camp Silver Belle, a spiritualist establishment in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, and Camp Chesterfield, and found rampant fraud. And I had heard of other cases, other exposures.

But with all the whispers, rumors, and suspicions nobody really knew how widespread the fraud was, whether it was organized or haphazard, or whether spiritualist authorities actively connived in it or merely winked at it.10 What was needed to set us straight was the inside story from someone who knew. And who would know? Only one who had been part of the fraud.

We now have that story-- in this book.

Lamar Keene's account is supported by a wealth of documentary evidence, which I have examined. I have met and talked with some of those he duped while he was a medium. I have checked out the church of which he formerly was minister-medium. His story is fact, not fiction.

In my judgement, this book may be one of the most significant in the recent history of psychical research. It will not be so important for the professional parapsychologist (who no doubt will tend to feel that Lamar's tricks wouldn't have fooled him) as for the interested layman, the average person who shares today's popular fascination with anything psychic.

The enormous rise of interest in psychic phenomena and ESP in the last ten years has made it easier for the fake medium and clairvoyant to gain clients. A recent poll showed that a majority of Americans now believe in such phenomena. This new climate of opinion is a gold mine for the phony psychic.

The general public, softened up by watching mentalists on television and reading in popular magazines about psychic experiments in labs and universities, is prone to overbelief. The average person is exceedingly easy to fool. No book could ever detail all the methods by which the fake psychic or medium performs his wonders. Most people, with no inkling of such methods, believe in psychic phenomena much too readily.

This may sound strange coming from one who accepts the reality of paranormal manifestations (as attested in my own book, The Spiritual Frontier, an account of my psychic explorations). However, I have spent as much time arguing some people out of an overly credulous attitude toward the subject as arguing others into being open-minded toward it.

As Lamar's story devastatingly reveals, the greatest friend the fraudulent medium has is overbelief on the part of his victims. Lamar calls it "the true believer syndrome." The need to believe in phony wonders sometimes exceeds not only logic but, seemingly, even sanity.

A portrayal of this very attitude can be found in the unusual opera, The Medium, by Gian-Carlo Menotti. The central character is a fake medium, Madame Flora, who one day tells her sitters that all the wonderful phenomena she has produced were fraudulent. And the result of this confession? The sitters refuse to believe her!

Madame Flora says:

Listen to me!
There never was a seance!
I cheated you!
Do you understand?
Cheated you, cheated you!

But the true believers won't give up their deluded faith. Echoes of this are found in Lamar's story and are for me perhaps the most terrifying part.

In my pastoral ministry, as a priest with a profound belief in the importance of psychic experience for religion, I quickly learned how vulnerable the bereaved are to any promise of reassurance that their beloved dead still live. People who have lost one they cherished will travel anywhere, pay anything, believe anything, it seems, to hear again that voice that is stilled. I'm personally besieged with requests to recommend "a good medium."

Now, I believe that "good mediums" exist. I believe I have met some of them.11 Not all mediums are dishonest, and this book is not intended to discredit those who are legitimate.12 Nor will it do so. The honest psychic or medium has nothing to fear from this book.13 It can only help him by making it harder for the fakes, cheats, and liars to continue their nefarious work and confuse the sincere seeker. The only medium threatened by this book is the fraudulent one.14

My basic attitude toward mediumship and psychic phenomena in general is that historically taken by the Church.15 Long ago, wary of the dangers of psychic dabbling, the Church openly discouraged the mourner from seeking communication with deceased loved ones and instead stressed the reality of communion with the dead.16 This is the "communion of saints." We the living are linked to the so-called dead in God's fellowship of love. Attempts to go beyond communion to overt communication, however, as through a medium, can become a dangerous addiction.17

But in trying to avoid extremes for the good of souls, the Church went too far and unfortunately abandoned some of its own mystical heritage. It so downgraded the reality of personal psychic experiences-- which have happened spontaneously to millions of believing Christians18-- that unwittingly it played into the hands of those who would exploit man's natural hunger for mystery for their

own purposes.19 My firm opinion is that much of the current excessive fascination with mystery, especially by young people, results from the Church's aloofness toward the true, profound, and wonderful mysteries which lie at the heart of spiritual experience.

This is why I have taken a strong lead in urging the Church to rediscover its mystical and psychical roots-- not to strengthen belief in the psychic, as such, but to strengthen belief in the Church's message that there is a spiritual world, that man is part of it, and that Time is the antechamber of Eternity.20

However, I have spent almost as much energy in trying to combat the abuses of psychic experience as in trying to win the Church back to an acceptance of the validity of such experience.21 It is precisely because I believe so deeply in the psychic dimension that I detest those who pervert and misuse it to their own advantage: namely, phony mediums. These desecrators of the holy, these blasphemers of the dead are psychic parasites fattening on the sorrow of the bereaved.

This remarkable, unique book is the testament of one such fraudulent medium who lived for thirteen years in darkness and then emerged into the light. It is a spiritual story, not in the goody- goody sense, but in the most profound meaning of that word, because it tells how a man came to feel that he had gained the whole world but lost his soul.

When I first met M. Lamar Keene, through my Masonic brother, William A. Twiss, he had been in virtual seclusion for three years. That time had been spent, as this book tells, trying to disentangle himself emotionally from the sticky web of lies, deceit, and fraud in which he was trapped for so long.

As Lamar unfolded his experiences to me, I sensed how vital it was that this book be written. When I invited Allen Spraggett to collaborate as a professional writer and a psychic investigator, he agreed that Lamar Keene's story was too important not to be told.

Those who read this book will have, I trust, ears to hear and eyes to see,22 and will not be like the believers in Madame Flora's phony wonders who, even after being told they were phony, clamored:

Please let us have our seance,
Madame Flora!
Just let us hear it once more,
Madame Flora!
This is the only joy we have in our lives,
Madame Flora!
Our little dead are waiting for us,
Madame Flora!
You wouldn't keep us away from them
Would you, Madame Flora?
Please let us have our seance,
Madame Flora!
Let us just have it once more,
just once more, Madame Flora!

I commend this book to the truth-seeking reader, confident that "ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."



Preface
Allen Spraggett


In William Lindsay Gresham's novel Nightmare Alley (often seen on the Late, Late Show in its movie version, starring Tyrone Power), the antihero is a cunning opportunist who climbs from carnival mind-reader to nightclub mentalist and then to minister of a fashionable and successful spiritualist church.

As a successful spook merchant, Gresham's memorable character Stan Carlisle, enjoys money, adulation, and the attentions of desirable women. He becomes suave, sophisticated, and smooth as silk, but inside is the heart of the carny who used to laugh at the geek-- the poor wino in every sideshow, at the bottom of the heap, who impersonates the Wild Man of Borneo and bites the heads off chickens.

Stan Carlisle cheats, lies, wheedles, and seduces his way to the top. Then he meets someone-- a steely woman psychiatrist, in this case-- who outcheats, outlies, outwheedles, and outseduces him and sends him plunging all the way down the ladder again.

Gresham's bitter and biting story ends with the former medium, once at home in the salons of the rich and famous, back at the carnival begging for a job. And what's offered him? To be a geek, of course . . .

This book, with some important differences, is Nightmare Alley in real life. It's about a nonfictional Stan Carlisle who enjoyed unusual success from his phony medium's bag of tricks. But in this true-life version, the protagonist sickens of the whole mess, turns from it, and makes a new beginning.

As a writer I find this story a marvelously gutsy, colorful, and compelling account. As a psychic investigator I think it's one that's important to everybody with a serious interest in parapsychology and the unexplained.

Read the true story of Lamar Keene and the nightmare alley he inhabited as a fake medium. It's a story I'm sure you won't soon forget . . .


READ THE BOOK IN FULL HERE
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Re: The Psychic Mafia

Post by Candlelight.kk on Sun 14 May 2017, 20:15

21 Nov 2016, 01:53

Neither believers nor skeptics can afford to ignore this book. It is the first-hand account of a young man interested in spiritualist religion, who discovers that it is easy to fake communication with people's dead relatives, and uses his tricks to become a star of spiritualism.

For believers, the most damning part of the book is Keene's account of how many (not all) spirit mediums of his acquaintance cynically cooperated with one another to fool and cheat their credulous clients. Believers cannot easily dismiss Keene's inside expose, as they do many other exposes, as the attack by an opponent of spiritualism. Keene was one of their own, and his "as told to" coauthor Allan Spraggett is a well-known writer on paranormal topics, and himself a believer in psychic powers, but also too honest to ignore fraud when he sees it.

For skeptics, the challenge of the book will be to understand the enduring attraction of psychic powers in general, and spiritualism in particular, in the face of this and other exposes.

For the casual reader, the book is an entertaining account of a confessed con man. For the student of paranormal phenomena, the book is an account of the psychology of both the psychic faker and of the psychic true believer. The psychology of human belief remains the same, and that is why this book belongs on the shelf of every serious student of the paranormal.


HERE

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Re: The Psychic Mafia

Post by mac on Sun 14 May 2017, 20:16

21 Nov 2016, 19:17

I suppose I ought to read the review before I comment but it does annoy me how such mediumship - fraud, fake, pretence - is associated with the religion and philosophy of Spiritualism. Pretence at mediumship isn't anything specifically to do with Spiritualism unless it's carried out under the auspices of Spiritualism, such as in one of its churches.
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Re: The Psychic Mafia

Post by Candlelight.kk on Sun 14 May 2017, 20:27

21 Nov 2016, 20:40

mac wrote:I suppose I ought to read the review before I comment but it does annoy me how such mediumship - fraud, fake, pretence - is associated with the religion and philosophy of Spiritualism.  Pretence at mediumship isn't anything specifically to do with Spiritualism unless it's carried out under the auspices of Spiritualism, such as in one of its churches.

M. Lamar Keene, the author of the book 'The Psychic Mafia', operated out of a so-called 'spiritualist centre', Camp Chesterfield (Indiana Association of Spiritualists - founded 1886) - which is by all accounts still going strong today.  https://campchesterfield.net/

This is what they declare on their home page, under the subject of Spiritualism:

What is Spiritualism?


  • Spiritualism is the science, philosophy, and religion of continuous life based upon the demonstrated fact of communication by means of mediumship with those who live in the spirit world.

  • Spiritualist is one who believes, as part of his or her religion, in communication between this and the spirit world by means of mediumship, and who endeavors to mold his or her character and conduct in accordance with the highest teachings derived from such communion.

  • Medium is one whose organism is sensitive to vibrations from the spirit world, and through whose instrumentality, intelligences in that world are able to convey messages and produce the phenomena of Spiritualism.

  • Spiritual Healer is one who is able to impart vital, curative force to pathologic conditions through inherent power or through mediumship.

 
Declaration of Principles


  1. We believe in Infinite Intelligence.
  2. We believe that the phenomena of nature, both physical and spiritual, are the expression of Infinite Intelligence.
  3. We affirm that a correct understanding of such expression and living in accordance therewith constitute true religion.
  4. We affirm that the existence and personal identity of the individual continue after the change called death.
  5. We affirm that communication with the so-called dead is a fact, scientifically proven by the phenomena of Spiritualism.
  6. We believe that the highest morality is contained in the Golden Rule: “Whatsoever ye would that others should do unto you, do ye also unto them.”
  7. We affirm the moral responsibility of the individual, and that we make our own happiness or unhappiness as we obey or disobey nature’s physical and spiritual laws.
  8. We affirm that the doorway to reformation is never closed against any human soul here or hereafter.
  9. We affirm that the precepts of prophecy and healing contained in the Bible and all sacred writings of the world are Divine attributes proven through mediumship.


Camp Chesterfield appears to be a thriving 'spiritual holiday camp' to this day ( https://campchesterfield.net/ )
despite the Psychic Observer's report on the fraudulent practices uncovered there (1960):


(July 10, 1960 Psychic Observer)
FRAUD UNCOVERED AT CHESTERFlELD  SPIRITUALIST CAMP
Infrared Motion Pictures Reveal This Great Deception

Shocking—Amazing—But True
By the Editor - Tom O'Neil

This is the story of an adventure—an adventure with a purpose. The purpose of this adventure was to record for all time, the truth of a very special type of science in the field of Spiritualism: MATERIALIZATION!

While it is a well known fact that materialization is a matter of record in the files of many Psychic Researchers, and we too, have files of photographs to prove it, this adventure with a purpose started out NOT TO RESEARCH, NOT TO INVESTIGATE—but to RECORD ONLY with the most modern technique of the day, the motion picture camera, Infrared lighting and Infrared Film. Used in conjunction with this most modern approach was the OBSERVER-SCOPE called SNOOPER-SCOPE by armed forces. This instrument was used to clearly observe the enemy regardless of darkness at a distance of a thousand feet.

When this instrument was placed on the rifle barrel a good marksman could hit the enemy squarely between the eyes in the dead of night. This then was our approach, with permission granted from all parties concerned to the putting on record the great truth of MATERIALIZATION.

Psychic Observer secured the services of a man whose stamp of approval on the project would demand a closer look from those who heretofore have openly sneered at the possibilities of this great science. This man, Dr. Andrija Puharich, whom I was lucky enough to catch in between trips in his search the sacred Mushroom gladly consented to accompany me on what he considered one of the great adventures of his life!

Dr. Puharich secured all the equipment: cameras, film, lights and two Snooper Scopes, and arrived, after a rough weekend (which is a story in itself) at the Indianapolis Airport, Indianapolis Indiana, Sunday, May 9, 1960.

We were accorded a royal welcome at Camp Chesterfield, and word soon got around that we were there to record, for the first time in the history of American Spiritualism, motion picture materialization.

The medium was Edith Stillwell and the cabinet attendant, Mable Riffle, (The duties of a cabinet attendant are to see that the séance runs smoothly and to help, with her presence some of the more shaky sitters.

Our first three séances were conducted with Edith Stillwell sitting outside the cabinet in the chair normally occupied by the cabinet attendant, and Mable Riffle—who was to act as cabinet attendant, sat back with us in chairs for the sitters. This in itself, Edith Stillwell sitting outside of the cabinet for the materialization, indicated a source of tremendous power, and because of this, Dr. Puharich and myself had visions of a tremendous scoop for the Psychic World at large.
Our first sitting (Monday) was a sort of get acquainted time because we had not as yet set up all of our equipment. (Tuesday was the day we had planned to start rolling) We went through the standard procedure; said the Lord's prayer and sang (creaked and cracked are better words) our way through one of the usual hymns. Halfway through (thank goodness) the second chorus, the phenomena started.

A gentleman appeared and announced himself as Brother Ben; he was replete with brilliant headgear that seemed to flow down as far as his waist. He philosophised a bit, then turned to the cabinet to personally bring out another spirit with the statement that—It was her first try at this sort of thing and he wanted to be of help in the situation. This creature was gorgeously arrayed in pink ectoplasm and called herself Sister Mary. Both spirits were on the floor at the same time, which gave us a look at everyone in the room; Brother Ben, Sister Mary, Edith Stillwell, and Mable Riffle. This was great! What camera shots we could take! What Proof we could give to the world! Finally, it was announced that the power had run out and that the séance would have to come to an end. In due time the white lights were turned on and we sat back congratulating each other on the wonder of it all.
Frankly, there wasn't much sleep for either of us that night. Puharich and I sat on the front porch of the Western Hotel until 2 a.m. planning our camera layout, and when we finally did hit the sack, sleep for me was mighty hard to come by.

Little did I know of the great shock for that was in store for me.

Morning finally arrived, and after a good breakfast, with more planning of camera angles, we went over to Edith Stillwell's séance room and assembled our equipment which we had unloaded there the day before.

I could go into a long and detailed description of the time we had getting our lighting up to par in order to record perfectly all that transpired in the séance room, and actually, we did not start shooting perfect film until Wednesday, June 1st. We discovered that we needed more infrared lighting for crystal clear pictures, and after a BIG search in. Indianapolis , we were lucky enough to come up with two 250 watt infrared lights. This gave us altogether, 1000 watts of pure infrared lighting, which incidentally, does not throw out as much light as the standard 15 watt red lights normally used in a materialization séance room. But let us for the moment return to Monday night's séance. While it is true that we did not record anything on film that night, the Snooper - scope worked like a Snooper-scope should, and Andrija, (Dr. Puharich) saw perfectly everything that transpired in the room. Later, he told me what he saw, and frankly I didn't believe: that the spirits were entering the séance room from a door just adjacent to the cabinet!

I was profoundly shocked! Edith Stillwell, whom I had always praised to the skies as one of the top mediums in the Spiritualist movement, just couldn't— wouldn't—fake a séance! I said: Andrija these people know what we are doing; they have even looked through the snoopr-scope themselves; they know its powers of observation, and besides, why should they take such terrible chances with the Editor of Psychic Observer, and a scientist of your reknown, recording for Posterity, every movement that transpires in the room!'' The discussion grew hotter and heavier; not from Anrija's side, but from my side. I could not, no matter how much I badgered him, get him to admit that he had made even the slightest error of observation through the snooper-scope!

Tuesday night's séance, however was the clincher! This clincher did not come to light though, until the following day. Wednesday, June 1, 1960.

We had been quite fortunate in discovering that Indianapolis was the only city in a radius of a 1000 miles that could boast, as one of its enterprises, a firm called FILMCRAFT LABORATORIES. These people process every and all types of film, and processing infrared film, which had been one of our greatest concerns, was second nature to them. Hence, all we had to do was take the film we had shot the night before down to Filmcraft; it was processed on the spot, and we viewed our efforts in their projection room the same day. That is why I say Wednesday was the clincher, this was the day when we were viewing Tuesday night's film. I could hardly believe my eyes! Andrija was right! The spirits were coming from a door adjacent to the cabinet; entering the cabinet through its loose side-curtain, and walking through the front opening of the cabinet to be photographed by us. Little did they know that we were photographing the whole bit!

After viewing this ridiculous fakery, my apologies to Andrija for doubting his snooperscope observations, were not very good, due to my feelings of guilt for my erstwhile good friend, Edith Stillwell and Mable Riffle.

Even now, writing this story just about tears my heart out of its socket, but this a story that must be written and the film must be publicized. Being Editor of the Psychic Observer, one of the foremost psychic publications in the world, carries its burden in presenting psychic truths to the world at large. The masthead clearly states TRUTH FOR AUTHORITY, NOT AUTHORITY FOR TRUTH hence, there is no place else to turn.

On Wednesday, June 1st, 1960, we were recording movies that were of excellent quality. The séance did not last long, but we got about 30 feet of fabulous pictures.

It must be wise to inject here, at no time did we discuss our findings with Edith Stillwell, Mable Riffle, or for that matter, anyone else in or around Camp Chesterfield. We kept the whole thing to ourselves, and while Filmcraft Laboratories knew we were attempting to take motion pictures of the spirits, I do not believe that they were aware of just what action WAS taking place.

Thursday, June2, on our regular 8:30 schedule, we sat again. This time Edith Stillwell sat inside the cabinet; (as I have already mentioned, Edith sat for the first three nights outside of the cabinet where she could also, out of trance, witness. some of her own phenomena.) However, absolutely nothing occurred. Neither actors nor spirits showed up. This may be due to the fact that before the séance I had asked Edith if she minded my putting two chairs in front of the curtain that covers the door: (where the spirits had been entering from). I had mentioned that it would look better in our recorded séance if this curtain, which swung back and forth on a single arm, wasn't standing straight out, making it look on film, like a curtained hallway from the door of her living quarter to the cabinet. She agreed to the arrangement, but all we drew was a blank!

Edith said that she would try again on the following night which was June 3rd.
Andrija and I discussed the point, that perhaps they, Edith and Mable, were onto the fact that we were recording more than they thought we should, but apparently not, for the following night, they even had another medium, Gladys Strohm, to help in the sitting. Mable Riffle said that it would help give more power to Edith.

Andrija and I were filled with misgivings. We still had high hopes that we could photograph the real thing; we had also discussed the fact that if this night was a dry run we would just pack up out equipment, and head for home. While we had photographed enough evidence of fraud to upset the whole field of spiritualism for many years to come, we had the thought that, in front of another medium, trickery would not be resorted to.

The séance started as usual—prayer, a few hymns, and while we again bogged down on how the tunes should go our 'feelings were good and our thoughts ran high.
The Phenomena started before we stopped singing and the motion pictured results of some of the proceedings that took place in the next hour, will go down in history as the greatest recordings of fraud in the history of the movement of Spiritualism.

The whole sordid mess is one of the bitterest pills that I have ever had to swallow, and my heart will bleed for a long long time for those poor misguided people, Edith Stillwell and Mable Riffle.
It is true, of course, that all mediums are not frauds; there are some very fine ones, and no doubt there are some very fine ones at the Chesterfield Spiritualist Camp, but I for one, will never go there again to seek them out, that is, unless Mable Riffle is no longer in charge of the Camp, and a great sweeping has taken place!

From The Editors Desk
BY TOM ONEIL

Are We What The Scoffers Say We Are?

Let's suppose together for a few paragraphs...
Suppose you were an individual in the foreranks of the movement called Spiritualism. Occupying such a spot, you accepted your position with a grave sense of responsibility, and believing in the truths Spiritualism has to offer. You are anxious to share these with the world. . I suppose a little further—you ponder about how these truths can be most effectively and convincingly presented to the public who is either ignorant of or scornful of them. You need proof, hard, cold, tangible facts—something to sink your teeth into!

Suppose after you think, pray and meditate, you decide to take a long chance-a real long chance. BUT, if successful, you will have that hard, cold, tangible proof
What did you decide? A motion picture, via infrared photography, of a materialization and trumpet séance. Incredible you think—maybe even impossible. BUT (the little big word) if successful, what a tremendous impact. Those who come to scoff at such a film will stay to marvel learn and maybe even believe.

Suppose you go ahead with this revolutionary idea. You purchase the expensive film.... you engage reputable scientific researchers, as anxious as you are to prove personal survival, to participate in the séance... you obtain the services of mediums who are giants in the field of physical phenomena... you go to work.

The mediums fully comprehend that the séance is a scientific experiment with an ultimate aim of securing indisputable proof of personal survival after the change called death for a skeptical world.

The séance is about ready to begin... cameras are loaded.... one scientist stands by with a snooperscope....the medium is in the cabinet.... the cabinet tender sits nearby.... the air around you is vibrant with a sense of expectancy and hope... the séance begins.
The medium is entranced, spirits materialize, walk around the room, approach you, speak to and with you. All the time the cameras are grinding and the snooperscope is scanning every inch of the room. And then it is all over. Specially trained technicians develop your precious infrared film...you are enthusiastic to the point of bursting with pride. You are going to do what Lodge, Schrenck-Notzing, Flammarion, Crookes attempted to do. But these men didn't have the tools that you now have—who ever heard of infrared film back in those days.

No, you and you alone are going to have that proof so desperately needed for so long. The processed film is returned. You load the filmholder...the projector starts to grind.
As it grinds on, you sink lower and lower into your chair.... you cannot believe your eyes! It can't be, you say to yourself. It can't be!... But it is. Cameras don't lie. There aren't any materialized spirits—only actors—people popping in and out of partially concealed doors—all quick-change artists waving cotton gauze ectoplasm.

Suppose all this happened to you. What would you do? Destroy the film.... sell it to the powerful anti-Spiritualist press who would have a field-day with it.... print it in the Spiritualist press.... lose all faith in the philosophy that has previously brought you knowledge and proof of survival and peace within... button your lip up forever because you cannot bring yourself to destroy the faith of thousands who have been helped both physically and spiritually by Spiritualism and demonstrations of physical phenomena even by fake mediums....
Just suppose all this happened to you. What would you do?
You tell us.... are we what the scoffers say we are?

mac
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Re: The Psychic Mafia

Post by mac on Sun 14 May 2017, 20:28

21 Nov 2016, 22:48

What would I do in a similar position? I don't know. I hope I'd disclose what happened but I can't know it without being faced by that situation. The right thing to do would be to show the fraud even if it had been carried out at a Spiritualist centre's premises. Tell the truth, shame the Devil. Lies will often be uncovered anyway and it's usually worse to be caught out in a lie, even if you think you had the 'right' motives.

I'm a Spiritualist; I'm certain about that but I'm not the kind of Spiritualist that Camp Chesterfield (hidey-hi ?) defines and I don't subscribe to its prescriptive view of Spiritualism. But I'm not saying that its followers aren't Spiritualists - each to her/his own.

JDBP
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Re: The Psychic Mafia

Post by JDBP on Sun 14 May 2017, 20:30

03 Dec 2016, 18:00

mac wrote:
What would I do in a similar position? I don't know. I hope I'd disclose what happened but I can't know it without being faced by that situation. The right thing to do would be to show the fraud even if it had been carried out at a Spiritualist centre's premises. Tell the truth, shame the Devil. Lies will often be uncovered anyway and it's usually worse to be caught out in a lie, even if you think you had the 'right' motives.

I'm a Spiritualist; I'm certain about that but I'm not the kind of Spiritualist that Camp Chesterfield (hidey-hi ?) defines and I don't subscribe to its prescriptive view of Spiritualism. But I'm not saying that its followers aren't Spiritualists - each to her/his own.

EVERY SINGLE MEDIUM in the world at one point will have the day of justification. And there is only 2 options, admit its all a scam, or keep scamming.

Respect to Keene for admitting his fraud, but his book exposes a lot more than just how a few spiritualist tricks works, it exposes the entire psychology of the believer

mac
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Re: The Psychic Mafia

Post by mac on Sun 14 May 2017, 20:33

03 Dec 2016, 21:42

Been away for a time, eh, JD impersonator? lol very happy

I think you might have meant 'day of reckoning" though and as always you're making skewed, unsupported claims to try to apply them to a global situations viz. "EVERY SINGLE MEDIUM" You know that you can't know anything much about every single medium but, of course, that won't stop you pretending here and now any more than it ever did and from making your mischief. very happy

I guess you're bored on BadPsychics. Why else would you return looking for something to respond to? lol  very happy  I know how it feels there - it's a boring place and you have nothing much to wind anyone up about as most of you - those who know anything at all, that is -are singing from the same hymn sheet.

So you come here every now and then - welcome back, impersonator.  trumpet

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