Testing in other countries
The Australian Academy of Spirit (AAS), based at Universal Cottage on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, which has also given its support to our TRUTH campaign, is leading the field in setting new standards on that continent.
It stipulates that “all physical mediumship by AAS members or visiting mediums will now be conducted in some or full red light or, where not possible to conduct in red light, there will be non-intrusive thermal imaging, full spectrum or infrared cameras on and recording!”
The needs of the medium and the requirements of the AAS will be discussed and a mutually acceptable situation agreed upon. It is, however, determined to provide “a level playing field” for all physical mediums.
“We have in the past allowed certain mediums to remove the cameras and regretted it,” Debbie Bozicevic-Mewes, AAS president and founder, tells Psychic News.
She reveals that Gary Mannion was invited to demonstrate his physical mediumship for the AAS after he participated in a Symposium on Physical Mediumship organised by the Wallacia Development Centre, Sydney, two years ago. Mannion is closely associated with Wallacia and returned there from the UK in August this year.
“When informed of the cameras (after we experienced his appalling work twice at the Wallacia Symposium, the second time to make sure we were correct) Mannion declined the booking saying that his ‘team’ do not work with cameras,” Debbie continues.
“The Wallacia Physical Mediumship Symposium was to have Garry Mannion, Kai Muegge and Warren Caylor, as well as Gordon Garforth who was also in attendance as a transfiguration medium and whose work was impressive in red light.
“Warren arrived, was accused of fraud by Mannion and after some very unfortunate incidents Caylor got on a plane back home before the symposium started.
“Caylor contacted me from Dubai to tell me of the incidents. Muegge, who was also to be at the symposium before coming on to the AAS (where he was to give seven fully booked séances) was stopped at the airport and deported for not having the correct visa.”
So the only medium in attendance at the symposium was Mannion. Debbie Bozicevic-Mewes says that those who knew better became angrier and angrier at the level of fraud they witnessed at his séances.
British-born medium David Thompson, who now lives in New Zealand, had impressed the AAS president some years ago but when he gave three physical séances for the academy she received 10 complaints from sitters, some of whom reported having their toes trodden on by the “spirits” – though it has been argued that this was merely a demonstration of a materialisation’s presence.
Thermal imaging would have settled that argument but Thompson had demanded the removal of cameras from the room prior to his séances.
This month, Helen DaVita will be running a physical mediumship course at the AAS’s specially-designed séance room, which will be filmed by the academy’s thermal imaging equipment. Her trance and transfiguration séances, held in red light, have been filmed in the past but this will be the first opportunity for AAS to capture physical mediumship on camera. We look forward to reporting on the results.
It is hoped that North America will also soon have a test centre that will verify the claims of physical mediums living on that continent or visiting from overseas, if they have not already been tested in their home countries. This follows the whole-hearted support for the TRUTH campaign from the American Society for Standards in Mediumship and Psychical Investigations (ASSMPI) which is currently searching for a suitable test centre.
Its president, Jock Brocas, tells Psychic News: “The ASSMPI is dedicated to raising standards in all aspects of mediumship. This is the main focus of our charity and our mission to give service to Spirit and raise standards in all practices. This includes mental, trance and, in particular, physical mediumship.
“The very fact that we also have the Helen Duncan Foundation under our auspices means that we have a real desire for transparency within the practice of physical mediumship. Due to recent events we have had to re-evaluate our position and expand our protocols.
“One of our major goals is to develop a centre of excellence and research in the USA. Furthermore, we can confirm that we will be moving towards more stringent protocols in the testing of physical mediums to include, but not limited to, the use of thermal imaging as well as other protocols that we are developing to create a balance between Spirit and science.
“It is our desire to work hand-in-hand with all organisations and retain an a-political and non-judgmental stance. We believe that together, as a Movement, we all have to protect mediumship, our public that needs us, and our mediums.
“We will not support or stand for any fraudulent mediumship, no matter who, where or by whom, and our goal is to raise our standards, to remove the desire for material superiority, and to bring the message from Spirit through Spirit and to Spirit.”
ASSMPI’s decision is also of historical importance since its board members include Margaret Hahn, granddaughter of famous physical medium Helen Duncan.
Psychic News encourages all churches and centres to support our TRUTH campaign and allow only physical mediums whose abilities have been confirmed by thermal imaging technology to demonstrate to the public on their premises.
Church officials can do so on Facebook.com/psychicnews/. We will also be pleased to have the public support – on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, for example – of individual Spiritualists who agree that now is the time for action.
This important initiative will be of great benefit not only to Spiritualism and those who attend séances but also to those genuine physical mediums whose dedicated work is being tarnished by the efforts of frauds.