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Boggled Spirit Minds & Messages – Part II

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Boggled Spirit Minds & Messages – Part II


“When we converse through a medium and with a medium or automatist we become, as it were, dependent on her thoughts, words and images, and we go wrong, we stray in that tide. It can be a River of Forgetfulness temporarily too, for the struggling communicator in many cases, and it can be a mixture; part the automatist, part the communicator, or it can come in flashes and be almost true.”

So communicated the discarnate Winifred Coombe Tennant (below) in the fifth of forty scripts recorded by renowned Irish automatic-writing medium Geraldine Cummins on February 15, 1958.  As summarized in my previous blog, Coombe Tennant (hereinafter referred to as Winifred) was a renowned medium, herself, before her death on August 31, 1956, at age 82. She began communicating through Cummins on August 28, 1957.


Winifred stressed that she was still new to it all, still learning, and there was much that she did not understand about mediumistic communication, but she could give assurance “that human souls born into this world after death in many cases pass on to a different level, where their appearance is of a kind not known to any being on earth.  They are not merely moving at a different rate; they travel on a different scale. On that scale and changed key, they are cut off from earth. Only when these souls drop back in the scale and slower rhythm and sequence [frequency?] near the physical, can they project or put on the likeness of themselves as they were on earth, so that she or he [is] whole as the inner eye perceives them or their projected images. Or they, in that minor scale and key, convey fragmentary communications to the subliminal mind of a skilled medium. But medium is an incorrect term. They should be called interpreters, and bad ones at that! So often there is mistranslation. They catch perhaps what the communicator emphasizes and then fill in their own subconscious material. Oh, the woeful mistranslations!”

In the ninth script, on February 16, 1958, Winifred directed the message to her son Henry, fully aware that Henry did not believe in an afterlife. “Far be it from me to convert you to a belief that a vestige of your mother still lives on quite comfortably, without ache or pain,” she wrote through Cummins’s hand. “Later I may explain why it is probably far better for you to keep your belief in my annihilation. But it is happiness to me to get your letter, to write to you again, and tell travellers’ tales.” She went on to tell Henry that she had some pleasant dreams, some uneasy ones, and some nightmares before she woke up from the “sleep of death” and was welcomed by her father and mother, followed by Henry’s father and her two sisters. “I was too overjoyed perhaps at getting a glimpse of George, your brother, so father and mother soothed me, calmed me, took charge of me and gave my first sense of locality and environment.” (Note: For an unexplained reason, Winifred’s oldest son, Christopher, is continually referred to as George, his middle name, throughout the scripts.)

Winifred went on to say that she now had a freer movement in space-time. She was able to relive familiar scenes from her earthly life. Her mother and father, she explained, now existed at a higher plane than she found herself in, but they were able to come down to her level and “put on their mortal semblance as I remembered them, in order to greet me.”  Had she been able to go up to their level, they would be almost unrecognizable, she added.

In the 14th script, a message from the “group” to which Winifred belonged on the Other Side added to her comment that the famous Cross-Correspondence cases in which she had participated were no longer possible as “human desire springing from imagination has failed.”  The Group added: “It is when imaginative desire fails on the part of human beings otherwise fitted for the work that ‘cases peter out,’ as you describe the process. At the present time imagination is too completely subservient to the intellect among well-educated people. The over-riding intellect produces sterility of imagination. Such people are therefore wholly incompetent as investigators: they are bound, if they can investigate, only to meet with negative results. But atheists or agnostics who do not subdue the imaginative desire of the explorer will, granted other conditions, a skilled medium, etc., obtain fruitful results. If the desire is there, the gift is there.

Several months later, in the 28th script, Winifred communicated that “even temporary belief on the part of the sitter and automatist in the personality of the communicators is a vital part of the conditions.” She pointed out that Gerald Balfour’s intellect was wholly skeptical, but his imagination was not. “It could clearly conceive a situation his intellect did not admit, for imagination has its roots in the subliminal mind. His subliminal mind, as well as his deeper emotional being could wholly believe in the communicator’s reality. Yet, in ordinary life his cold, impersonal intellect governed all his actions.”  She recalled cases in which Balfour, J. G. Piddington, and Eleanor Sidgwick (all prominent SPR researchers) accepted the reality of the communication during the sitting but later rejected it due to the intellect later overriding the imagination.

“The opposite to Gerald and Oliver Lodge is the egocentric sitter who has a deep-seated complex, such as a repressed horror of death, or inordinate vanity that derives from an insecurity fear. How dreadful to the egocentric is the thought that others might deem him credulous! Another quite useless investigator is very much a creature of his physiological brain patterns. Communicators are cut off through his being cut off from his subliminal, and through a paralyzing emanation from him.  G. B. (Balfour) and O. L. (Lodge) were fortunately free from any of these crippling hindrances which prevent any results of value being transmitted in most cases.” 

In the 16th script, Winifred stated that the human being consists of a number of selves or aspects with a primary self. “We only become unified in spirit or the other self on the higher level. When I communicate, I blend with the automatist in the sense that depend partly on her memory and her standard of intelligence for words in which to express my thoughts. Occasionally her subliminal mind enters my mind, plunders an idea or memory. It is not all a one-way traffic. Then, of course, her mind may insert in patches its own mistaken interpretation. Supernal and infernal juggling can occur.” 

As a test, Henry, still very skeptical, asked his mother about her sittings with the “scientist” during her earth life. Winifred remembered the scientist being Sir Oliver Lodge. “How may I describe that first meeting with Sir Oliver?” Winifred communicated. “Charm is not the word to apply to him. Kindliness is a more suitable noun with which to describe his gracious reception of me. He spoke very appreciatively of my brother-in-law Fred (Myers), and of the greatness of his work, and of the need for people psychically gifted, who were of good standing and repute, to devote time to experiments in order to follow up and develop his pioneer work. I was deeply impressed.”  In Winifred’s diary for April 15, 1909, she wrote: “Of the SPR, the most surprising thing to me is Oliver Lodge. His accuiel (?) to me has been astonishing – so extraordinarily kind and gentle and understanding, so unlike my idea of a Professor. I have lost any sense of shrinking in that respect which I had and feel as if I knew him already.”

In the earlier scripts, Winifred talked about being part of a group, a group that was controlling the communication. She elaborated on the group in the 28th script. “The human being’s soul belongs to, or is derived from, a Group Soul, which is inspired by one spirit,” she further explained. “If we make progress in the after-death, we become more and more aware of this Group Soul. It is more than a brotherhood, it is organic, an organized psychic or spiritual structure. Its spirit is the bond that holds together a number of souls. The spirit might be described as a thought of God, or the Light from Above –the Creative Light from Above. It has an apartness from God, as is the created thing from the One who gave it life. At first an embryo innocent, it has to gather a harvest. There are unaccountable spirits, each one connected with a Group Soul.”

In the 32nd script, Winifred informed Henry, still doubting the validity of the messages purportedly from his mother, that she no longer cared whether he accepted her continued existence beyond death.  “Oh I was filled with moral and missionary zeal and laboured in various ways to give evidence of my identity,” she communicated. “But now all desire has left me to convert you…I do not care whether to the end of your days you consider me non-existent…love, a force of gravitation in this world of the mind, will inevitably draw us together at some future date. Meantime, be as happy as you can in your nursery illusion that death means extinction. It will make the universe seem much cozier to you. But life goes on relentlessly and so does my love for you, dear son.”

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife, and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.
His latest book, No One Really Dies: 25 Reasons to Believe in an Afterlife is published by White Crow books

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