Videos now exist showing a well-known UK physical medium engaging in fraudulent activity during a séance. Nic Whitham of Banyan Retreat smuggled a night-vision video camera into a séance room to reportedly catch physical medium Gary Mannion leaving his ‘cabinet’ to act out phenomena attributed to the deceased. These videos were released recently and may have been covered extensively in the UK, but I really want to be sure my American audience sees these videos as well. It is really important to see how fraud can be achieved easily in these situations. I am a believer in mediumship in general, and it makes fraud all the more repugnant to me.
I have to extend my sincere appreciation to Dave Haith for always keeping me up to date with the spiritual goings-on in the UK. This tip came from him a few weeks ago via email otherwise I may have never known about it. Thank you Dave!
The videos can be obtained here:
Here is the statement made by Whitman of the occurrence:
As you may be aware we had good reason and were morally obliged to offer a refund to all who attended a recent séance at Banyan Retreat with Gary Mannion on the 1st May, 2016.
We have decided to make everyone aware of our reasons for doing this and the source of our concerns. We believe the alleged phenomena and trance that took place throughout the evening was of this world and had no influence from the Spirit world. This is not and will never be behaviour we accept or endorse. It is most important to us to protect the honesty and integrity of the reputable mediums and tutors we host at Banyan Retreat, and also honour the trust placed in us by the Spirit world to do so. Despite these despicable activities, there are genuine, although rare physical mediums who dedicate their lives to working with the Spirit world. Phenomenon in itself is not proof of life after life and any sitter in a physical séance should use common sense and rational and be open minded to assess that which is taking place is genuine. […] I am sure you will agree, this clearly demonstrates all that took place during this event is of this world and not the Spirit world.”
I am always saddened and disappointed when a medium is discovered to be a fraud. For those people who believed, it destroys their trust and may do irreparable spiritual damage. For those who are grieving, the pain is incalculable. I can’t think of anything more monstrous than to take advantage of grieving people. It also damages the credibility of genuine mediums, both mental mediums and the dwindling number of real physical mediums who exercise their gifts usually in obscurity and for little money – just for the satisfaction of being able to help others.
Each time a medium is caught engaging in fraud, the closed-minded skeptics pounce and reassert their belief that all mediumship is bunk. I am sure they get more converts to their way of thinking each time fraud is revealed. Unfortunately, the field is rife with frauds or mediums with mediocre ability (I call them half-frauds because they pepper their real demonstration with cold-reading and other tactics) but we should not become discouraged that real mediumship isn’t out there. Better education on fraudulent tactics and more rigorous certification of genuine mediums can help separate the wheat from the chaff.
The first video on the site shows the “medium” walking to each audience member and touching them with a trumpet. Can you see how close the medium comes to each person? Why did none of these people put out a hand when the medium was standing right in front of them waving a trumpet around? One hand, thrust out straight while the trumpet was in front of the person would have taken down the whole game. How did Gary Mannion know that none of the sitters would do that? Because they have been conditioned not to disrupt, question, or demand better.
Let’s demand better. Check out the Scole Experiment, which was a 5-year investigation and demonstration of physical mediumship and overseen in part by the Society for Psychical Research, the oldest and most revered psychical society in England.
You can also read their report of their extensive tests and observations called The Scole Report which is described as “a 334-page, scholarly, scientific, illustrated record of the research conducted by the three principal scientific investigators, Professor Arthur Ellison (Electrical Engineering), former SPR President Montague Keen, and Professor David Fontana (Psychology). ”
You may think the results provide fantastic evidence of the afterlife, or perhaps you will believe at the end of the day the results are inconclusive. The point is that a real investigation was done and properly analyzed by experts in the field.
Mediumship needs to be elevated from a common stage show to a real field of research. Luckily, people like Dr. Julie Beischel and the Windbridge Institute are beginning to do this type of important work in the modern-day, along with many people in the great history of spiritualism.
Until then, it is up to us to refuse to accept with wide-eyed wonder every medium in sparkly shoes who dances across our television sets or publishes one book of platitudes after another. Keep an open mind and critical eye – the truth is out there but its more rare and elusive than we have been led to believe by new-age publishers and television producers greedy to devour hope and hopelessness alike. Belief and trust are sacred; be discriminating and bestow it only on the most deserving. Remember that the shiniest coin may not be the most valuable.