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Spectacular Voices of the Dead Shock British Playwright

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Spectacular Voices of the Dead Shock British Playwright

Posted on 07 June 2021, 9:10

Nearly every renowned medium of the past was called a cheat or a fraud at one time or another, thereby raising doubts as to his or her credibility and otherwise significantly detracting from the weight of the evidence supporting communication with the spirit world. In many cases, indications are that those alleging fraud were applying terrestrial standards to celestial matters that were beyond human understanding. Nevertheless, the fraud claims have been carried down over the years and often seem to outweigh the strong evidence in support of the medium.

Such may have been the case with George Valiantine, the direct-voice medium through whom Professor Neville Whymant, an Oxford-educated linguist who heard 14 languages, including an ancient Chinese dialect, come through Valiantine’s mediumship. This was discussed in the last blog post involving communication supposedly coming from the great Chinese philosopher, Confucius.  As mentioned in that blog, it is extremely difficult to come up with a debunking theory that makes sense, or at least would carry any weight in a court of law.  Add in the testimony of H. Dennis Bradley, a British playwright and author who also studied Valiantine, as set forth in his book, Toward the Stars.   

“It was fortunate that our expressions could not be seen, for my nose was tilted in scorn and my lip curled in unrestrained contempt,” Bradley (below) wrote of his initial reaction to an invitation to attend a séance with Valiantine at the country home of Joseph De Wyckoff, a retired lawyer, in Ramsey, New Jersey, not far from New York City.  Bradley, who lived in London, was a guest at the De Wyckoff home at the time.  Although extremely skeptical, Bradley thought it might provide some amusement and agreed to it.


Also present for Bradley’s first séance with Valiantine on June 16, 1923 was De Wyckoff’s 20-year-old nephew, Joseph Dasher.  The four men sat in a circle about five feet from each other with two aluminum trumpets in the center of the room to amplify the voices of the spirits. “The lights were turned off, when the whole affair struck me as being rather idiotic,” Bradley related. “I wondered at intelligent people submitting to such infantile forms of amusement.  I wondered how a shrewd mind like that of my host could be induced to waste his time on such silly exploits.”  It was explained to Bradley that they had to sing some hymns in order to achieve a certain passivity and harmony.  Bradley’s expression of “unrestrained contempt” came on after about 20 minutes into the singing, as nothing was happening.  Bradley saw it as an “exceptionally dull show.”

A Soft, Gentle Voice

But, without warning, things started to happen.  A soft and gentle woman’s voice was heard. “I was called by my name, and the voice, which sounded about three feet away on my right, was full of emotion,” Bradley explained.  Though he then went by his middle name, his first name, Herbert, was repeated twice, and then his deceased sister, Annie, identified herself.
“Her voice on earth was soft and beautifully modulated, and her elocution in public was distinguished. In conversation she was a purist in her choice of words,” Bradley recalled. “I have never met any woman who spoke in the same odd way.  When she addressed me, after ten years of silence, she said sayings in her own characteristic manner. Every syllable was perfectly enunciated and every little peculiarity of intonation was reproduced…

“Then we talked, not in whispers, but in clear, audible tones, and the notes of our voices were pitched as if we might have been speaking on earth. And that which we said to each other were things of wondrous joy.”

They talked for 15 minutes. “She told me that for several years she had been trying to get into communication with me, that she was always with me, and that she watched over me and accompanied me on my journeys.  She knew of the books that I had written and other things that I have done since she died….

“Throughout our talk the note of gladness was uppermost – the grateful gladness of eternity, the magnificent laughter of survival, the surety of supernatural progress, the knowledge of the inconceivable.”

The cynical sceptic was suddenly a believer in spirit communication.  He was certain that the information coming from his sister could not have been known by anyone else in the room.  “Any suggestion of ventriloquism is ridiculous,” he added, while also ruling out the possibility it was somehow coming from his subconscious mind.  “No man living could imitate the clear and gentle voice which spoke, and, beyond this, no man living could talk in Annie’s characteristic way, with her individual enunciation, her own choice of words, and her knowledge of the many things which she and I alone could have known.”

After his sister’s departure, five other spirits came though over the next two hours. “Each spirit was distinct and each spoke with an accent unlike the other,” Bradley recorded. One of those spirits was unknown to anyone present and identified himself as Reverend Doctor Joseph Krauskopf of 4715 Pulaski Ave., Philadelphia.  He said that he had died six days earlier. He communicated that his associates at the Hebrew Seminary were concerned that cremation would affect the life of the spirit.  He asked that they be told that the spirit survives cremation.  Bradley and Dasher confirmed the prior existence of Krauskopf, although it is not stated whether they passed on the message about cremation.

On the following night, they again sat for a séance. De Wyckoff’s cook and butler were invited to join with the four men. After a Dr. Barnett, one of Valiantine’s “controls,”  spoke to the group in a loud Scottish accent, Bradley’s sister again spoke.  She talked for some 20 minutes about Bradley’s young son, Dennis, his schooling and sensitive temperament, facts Bradley was certain Valiantine knew nothing about.  “Her tones were clear and bell-like, her notes were sympathetic and understanding, and were radiant,” Bradley recorded. “How can I describe the indescribable?”

Again, Bradley pointed out that his sister mentioned things that nobody else knew about or could have known about.  Moreover, Bradley observed De Wyckoff talking with Valiantine at the same time Bradley’s sister was communicating with him.  After his sister left, the trumpet floated in front of De Wyckoff’s cook.  “Anita! Anita!” the “voice’ said.  “Si! Si!” Anita Ripoll excitedly responded.  “It is Jose! Jose!” the “voice” said.  It was the cook’s deceased husband.  They carried on a conversation in Spanish which Bradley could not understand.  However, De Wyckoff understood and described it as a mixture of Basque and corrupt Spanish, which he often heard them speak when Jose was alive and in his employment.  When De Wyckoff spoke directly to Jose, Jose spoke more perfect Spanish.  Jose requested De Wyckoff’s assistance in bringing their children from Spain. Bradley estimated that the conversation lasted ten to twelve minutes. “To produce the scene which took place, Anita would have to be a great actress and Valiantine a magnificent actor,” Bradley opined, “ and having produced many plays myself, I can say with confidence that they would have had to rehearse the scene for at least three weeks.”

Bradley further recorded that the butler, Percy Wheatley, then heard from his niece, who had died at age of five several years earlier. “She talked in a sweet, childish voice and her sentences were interjected with happy, childish laughter,” Bradley noted. “She said that life was splendid where she was, and that she was growing up and learning, that she was so glad she was no longer a cripple.”  Bradley thought he saw the young girl’s spirit form sitting on Wheatley’s knee, referring to it as “silvery, misty, and delicate in outline,” but the others did not see it. 

A Canadian Indian named “Kokum,” said to be one of Valiantine’s spirit guides, communicated in French and broken English. De Wyckoff had communicated with him on previous occasions and asked him to sing. He then started to sing “La Paloma.”  “Never in my life have I heard such a colossal voice,” Bradley wrote. “In all seriousness I assert that his voice could have been heard a quarter of a mile away….” Bradley thanked Kokum and asked him if he could touch him. He then felt fingers of a hand pat him gently on the head. 

Bradley called the two séances the “most staggering event of my life,” causing him to change his whole philosophy of life. “Doubt took flight when faced by an unchallengeable fact and the mind understood in a flash that what had hitherto appeared to be impossible was possible.”

Fraud Charges

Shortly after returning to London, Bradley received a shocking cable from De Wyckoff advising him that Valiantine had been discovered “in undeniable instance of conscious fraud.”  Thinking back to that weekend, Bradley could conceive of no possible way that a charlatan could duplicate the phenomena he had experienced – his sister’s voice, the personal knowledge, the intimate dialogue he had with his sister. He was bewildered.

On November 27, 1923, Bradley and his wife visited the renowned English medium Gladys Osborne Leonard.  The appointment had been made by a friend and their identities not given.  After Leonard went into a trance, Feda, her spirit control, announced that Bradley’s sister and W.A. were present. (The full name of “W.A.” was given but his family objected to his name being used in the book.) As W.A. was doing most of the communicating, Bradley requested that he ask his sister if she had been present at De Wyckoff’s home several months earlier. W.A. said that she had and that he (W.A.) also had been there, although he could not muster enough power to speak.  Annie then spoke and further confirmed some of the things they had talked about at De Wyckoff’s home, including Bradley’s son, Dennis.  Bradley then mentioned the fraud charges made by De Wyckoff.  His sister said that she does not know much about Valiantine, but he was genuine at the time.  W.A. was also unaware of any fraud by Valiantine, but he explained that a medium may sometimes be impelled or impressed by his unconscious knowledge of what the spirit communicators want to do or want to say and thus carry it into action.  His unconscious actions are then interpreted by the sitters as a conscious attempt to deceive them.

As Bradley would later determine, the “fraud” claimed by De Wyckoff had to do with automatic writing coming through Valiantine. Although the messages themselves were evidential, the handwriting was Valiantine’s.  De Wyckoff saw this as evidence of fraud, even though research in this area had revealed that some automatic writing came through in the handwriting of the communicating spirit, while some came through in the script of the medium. 

However, as mentioned in the last post here, it was Valiantine’s toe print, which was supposed to match up with the thumb print left by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, that cast the most suspicion on Valiantine and doomed his reputation several years later. Though said to be semi-illiterate, Valiantine appeared intelligent enough to realize that his toe print would not match Doyle’s thumb print. As mysterious as the toe print was, it had nothing to do with voices coming through in different languages and inflections, while providing facts that Valiantine had no way of knowing.  “Nobody,” said Bradley, “could shake my knowledge that for thirty-five minutes I had talked on personal matters – matters unknown to anyone but ourselves – with the discarnate but living spirit of my sister: her voice, her personality, her spirit, her soul.”

In 1901, pioneering psychical researcher Frederic W. H. Myers, who had passed to the spirit world earlier in the year, was communicating with Sir Oliver Lodge, the renowned British physicist, through the mediumship of Rosalie Thompson.  He told Lodge that he was trying to understand “how the cheating things that are not cheats are done,”  There is no indication that he ever figured it out. If he did, it may have been explained by W.A. 

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

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