Observation of Two David Thompson Séances, November 4 and 5, 2011
Sarasota Center of Light, Florida
R. Craig Hogan, Ph.D.
Prepared for the American Society for Standards in Mediumship and Psychical Investigation
January 15, 2012
Dr. Hogan is the author of Your Eternal Self and co-author of two books: Induced After-Death Communication: A
New Therapy for Healing Grief and Trauma and Guided Afterlife Connections: They Come to Change Lives. He is director of the Center for Spiritual Understanding, owner of Greater Reality Publications, on the boards of the Academy of Spiritual and Paranormal Studies, Association for Evaluation and Communication of Evidence for Survival, and American Society for Standards in Mediumship and Psychical Investigation. Dr. Hogan is a business communications professor who has taught at two universities and now owns an online business writing school.
The Tradition of Rigorous Investigations of Mediums
The history of Spiritualism and mediumship in general is replete with rigorous investigations of mediums by all manner of researchers using a plethora of inventive controls to ensure that the activities in séances genuinely originate from the discarnates, not the medium or sitters. Investigators have included members of the Society for Psychical Research, members of the American Society for Psychical Research, physicians, psychologists, attorneys, judges, magicians, engineers, scientists of all disciplines, and a host of avowed skeptics. The tradition has been and continues to be that all involved in communication with people living on the other planes of eternal life must be open to having their activities investigated and validated using tightly controlled testing methods that will certainly discover fraud and testify to the veracity of genuine mediumship activity. David Thompson has consistently been open and willing to permit such controlled investigations of his mediumship. This investigation is one of them.
David Thompson has been demonstrating his mediumship abilities for twenty-nine years and is one of two physical mediums publically demonstrating his ability today. David’s abilities include mental mediumship, physical or materialization mediumship with ectoplasm, deep trance mediumship, and spiritual healing. His Circle of the Silver Cord in Sydney, Australia, originated in 2004.
Séance Friday, November 4, 2011, Sarasota Center of Light, Sarasota, Florida
This séance was hosted by the Sarasota Center of Light, Sarasota, Florida, November 4, 2011. There were 34 sitters, including three staff of the Sarasota Center of Light. In addition, Christine Morgan, organizer for David Thompson’s circle, was present, coordinating the activities of the séance.
I was permitted to be one of the two “checkers” who would inspect the environment and David Thompson before and
after the séance. Prior to the séance, sitters were asked to empty their pockets of all items and take off belts, shoes, or other articles they were wearing that were not clothing. No one was to bring wallets, handbags, or other objects into the room. All sitters were patted down by staff of the Sarasota Center of Light before entering the séance room. I then patted down the three male staff of the Sarasota Center of Light while the other checker, a female, patted down Christine Morgan. I patted down David Thompson. He wore a buttoned cardigan, shirt, and khaki pants. His shoes were light gym shoes with pliable rubber soles.
David Thompson moved a hand wand that uses electromagnetic waves to detect metal across every person’s body to ensure no metal objects had been undetected during the patting down. We were satisfied that none of those present
had any device on them during the séance.
The séance room was approximately 20 feet by 35 feet, with a single door and no windows. The cabinet with three wooden sides and an open front was toward one end of the room, approximately a foot out from the wall. A 4 x 8 piece of plywood lay in the center of the room. Off of the plywood in the center of the room, was a small, three-legged table with luminescent tape strips on it. In a corner at the cabinet end of the room, approximately two feet away from the cabinet, was a table with a glass inlaid top, approximately one foot wide, five feet long, and four feet high. On the table was an assortment of bells. The sole source of light in the room was a pole lamp.
The participants were seated close together around three walls of the room in a horseshoe shape. The cabinet was before the fourth wall.
As the female checker and I checked the room, we reported what we saw and felt to the assembled participants while they observed from their seats. I was able to walk around the cabinet, inspect and tap on the walls, and inspect the
floor. There were no seams in the carpeting or hollow areas around the cabinet. The back wall was solid. A curtain with bathroom-curtain style rings was suspended from a rod at the single open end of the cabinet. A metal
chair with welded seams was inside the cabinet. The chair’s parts had no connections that could be parted.
David hung a digital recorder from a hook on the wall behind the row of seats in which I was sitting. He turned it on.
The female checker and I were each given an unopened package of standard zip ties (“cable ties”). Following Christine’s instructions, we opened the packages and took out eight zip ties apiece. We inspected them and tested them, revealing that they functioned as intended. When the pointed end of a zip tie is inserted into the ratchet casing at the other end and pulled through, the ratchet casing tightly secures the zip tie so it cannot be withdrawn from the casing. To free anything bound by the zip tie, the zip tie must be cut off.
David was wearing a button-down cardigan. We pushed four zip ties through one side of the front of the cardigan and out the other side so the buttoned front panels of the cardigan were securely zip tied together. David sat in the chair inside the cabinet. I stood just inside the cabinet to observe how the ties were applied. The other checker stood on the other side. The chair had straps with buckles secured to the arms. David’s arms were secured to the arms of the chair with the straps over the fabric of the cardigan. The buckles were secured tightly. We inserted zip ties through the eyes of the buckles and zipped them tightly so the straps could not be loosened without cutting off the zip ties. With the fabric of the cardigan, fabric of his shirt, and tight fit of the buckled straps, he could not slide his arms out to free them.
We then secured David’s legs to the legs of the metal chair with zip ties. Christine rolled a gag from material rather like a scarf and inserted the center of its length into David’s mouth. She pulled the two ends of the material around to the back of his head and secured the gag by tying the ends together in a granny knot. We inserted a zip tie through the two ends of the fabric that were in the granny knot and zipped the tie to secure the gag. When asked whether he was comfortable, David could manage only a muffled response.
Christine snipped off the loose ends of the ties, making them even more difficult to grip. When she finished, she gave the wire cutters to me to put into my pocket until the end of the séance. The other checker and I, along with all participants witnessing the checking, were satisfied that David was immobilized and incapable of speaking intelligibly. Christine pulled the curtain across the front of the cabinet and we took our seats.
I was seated in the second chair from the end of the line of chairs that extended to the left of David as he sat in the
cabinet. Christine Morgan sat to my right after the arrangements were finished. To her right was an empty space and the glass-topped table against the wall. Beside Christine, on the floor, were a trumpet with luminescent tape strips on it, drumsticks, and other items.
Directly opposite us, seated at the end of the row of chairs there, Tim, a Center staff member, sat controlling the music that would play to aid David as he went into trance and emerged from trance after the séance.
Christine walked to the door, taking the pole lamp out of the room. She turned off the light outside of the room, walked back in the room, closed the door, and locked it. The room was pitch dark. Christine felt her way along
sitters’ knees until she came to her chair to my right. During the séance, all of the sitters held hands when any materializations were occurring. Christine kept both of her hands on my hand to ensure that I knew where she was. However, I could hear her voice coordinating the events during the entire séance, so I knew her location.
Tim turned on the music David normally needs to enter trance. After approximately four songs, we could hear William Charles Cadwell, David’s teacher and friend, greeting us. We all returned a warm greeting to him. Tim
turned off the music and Christine instructed us to hold hands. We then heard William’s solidly heeled boots clomping across the plywood in the middle of the room.
He spoke for a moment. We could then hear him walking across the floor to stand before me. He asked if he could touch me. I replied that I would be delighted to have him touch me. He placed his hand across the top of my head. It was a large, masculine hand that stretched from my forehead to the back of my head. I could feel the solid fingers distinctly. He asked, “Did I have any trouble placing my hand directly onto your head.” I replied, “No.” As he left me, he gently gripped my left shoulder. I could again feel his large hand.
William walked around the room addressing people and touching their heads. They all had the same reaction to his hand that I had. He traversed the length of the room, walking around the perimeter greeting people. He
answered questions from the sitters. After a while, we could hear him walking back to the cabinet. He informed us that he would be withdrawing for a while.
The next voice we heard was the youthful voice of Timothy Booth, whom we knew to be the whimsical, fun-loving guide who would bring through loved ones to communicate with the sitters. After bantering light heartedly with the
participants for a short time, we could hear his voice coming nearer to me and Christine. Christine knew that he wanted the trumpet that was on the floor beside her. She kept one hand on my hand while rising from her chair to place the trumpet out onto the floor in front of us. She sat back down and Tim, the staff member managing the music player, played a lively Irish jig. We could see the luminescent tape on the trumpet fly rapidly around the room, all along the length, up to the ceiling and down to the floor at a pace that would have been impossible for any human to have accomplished. The trumpet banged on the ceiling, beat on the table, and darted around the room. We then could see from the luminescent tape on the small table that the table had levitated and was moving rapidly around
the room as well. It was hitting the ceiling and floor alternately. Several times, we could hear the trumpet hitting
The Irish jig ended, and we heard the voice of someone coming into the room from the direction of the cabinet. The voice approached the sitters at the far end of the room from the cabinet. He identified himself as Raymond, the father of a 26-year old young man sitting with his wife at that end of the room. He had passed into spirit in a car accident six months before the séance. He reassured his son, “I didn’t suffer.” His son was obviously moved by the encounter, and they spoke of their love for each other. He told his son how proud he was of him and to pass on his love to the young man’s mother, his wife, and to his other children. It sounded as though the young man’s father touched or embraced him.
The father withdrew and someone else came from the area of the cabinet. He approached one of the sitters and spoke with him. It was the sitter’s grandfather who had passed into spirit 50 years before. He had had a strong influence on his grandson. The two exchanged greetings and spoke about times they had spent together.
The grandfather left, and Timothy announced that he was leaving. After a brief moment, we all heard a voice identified as Quentin Crisp, the English writer who became a gay icon in the 1970s after the publication of his memoirs, The Naked Civil Servant. Quentin is a regular visitor to David Thompson’s séances, speaking with a gay affectation. He approached me and asked if he could touch me. I replied that I would like him to, and he placed his hand on my head. It was a quite distinctively much smaller hand than William’s hand.
Quentin strolled around the room, exchanging quips and humorously bantering with the sitters. He particularly commented on the hairspray some of the ladies were wearing.
After a while, Quentin withdrew and we heard the familiar voice of Louis Armstrong. Tim turned on the Hello Dolly music and we listened as Louis sang Hello Dolly. He tap danced on the plywood in tune with his singing. We all joined in singing the familiar lyrics.
After Louis Armstrong withdrew, William returned and closed the séance. Tim turned on the music David needed to leave the trance state. During the songs, we heard a loud thud on the plywood, as of someone dropping a heavy piece of furniture.
When Christine felt that David had sufficiently come out of trance, she asked him if he was OK. He replied that he was. Christine made her way through the darkness to the door, opened the door, and retrieved the pole lamp. She turned it on and walked into the room with it. David, securely strapped to the chair, had been transported to the middle of the plywood eight feet or so from the cabinet. That accounted for the loud thud we had heard. His cardigan sweater was reversed so that the buttons were at his back.
The other checker and I went to David, who was still groggy from coming out of trance. We inspected all of the zip ties and straps. All were tightly secured as we had seen them before the séance. We inspected the gag and zip tie. They were still secured. David could be released from the zip ties only by Christine’s cutting them off using the wire cutters I had in my pocket during the séance. I can say with certainty that David Thompson was immobilized and unable to speak during the séance.
Séance Saturday, November 5, 2011, Sarasota Center of Light, Sarasota, Florida
The séance on Saturday, November 5, 2011, proceeded in the same way as the séance the previous evening. David was thoroughly secured prior to the séance. I was seated at the far end of the séance room this time, giving me another distinctive perspective on the séance.
When the light was extinguished and Christine had taken her seat, Tim turned on the music. After around four songs, William greeted the sitters and all responded enthusiastically. William again walked around the room greeting individuals and answering questions.
William withdrew and Timothy Booth entered. He joked with the sitters for a few minutes. Then, with the Irish jig
playing, we watched the luminescent tape on the trumpet zip around the entire expanse of the room, rising and falling, beating on the ceiling and the floor. Then we saw the luminescent tape on the table darting around the room.
The table stopped in front of me, with its top facing me, remaining there for a moment. Then Timothy asked for the drumsticks. He began to drum on the table, the floor, and the metal sides of the trumpet.
After the music stopped, we heard a voice coming before sitters on one side of the room. He identified himself as Albert Stewart, the control for the renowned Scottish medium, Helen Duncan. One of the sitters in the séance was Helen’s granddaughter. He spoke with her for a moment. Then we heard the voice of Helen Duncan herself, speaking with her granddaughter. Helen was from Scotland and was one of the world’s most famous physical mediums. She specialized in materialization and underwent a great deal of persecution from law enforcement because of her
Helen Duncan retired and Harry Edwards, the famous English healer, entered and approached one of the sitters, named Lisa. Lisa used to sit in his healing classes in England. She now performs healing at the Sarasota Center of Light. He said that he has been helping Lisa with her healing at the Center and that her ability will continue to grow stronger. He then went around the room and gave healing to four people, placing his hands on them. His energy was
described by those receiving the healing as being very powerful.
Harry Edwards retired and Timothy said he was going to withdraw. After Timothy left, Quentin Crisp entered the room. He greeted everyone and exchanged quips. The sitters greatly enjoyed the exchange and filled the room with
laughter. At the end of his visit, he walked to a position just before the cabinet and recited a beautiful poem he had
Quentin Crisp withdrew and Louie Armstrong entered. Tim, the staff member controlling the music, played Hello Dolly and Louie sang with his unmistakable gravelly voice. He did a tap dance on the plywood.
Louie Armstrong retired and William closed the séance for the evening.
Christine instructed Tim to turn on the music for David to come out of trance. As the music played, we heard the distinct sound of something being dragged across the floor, followed by a loud thud. When Christine was assured that David was sufficiently out of trance to turn on the lights, she went out of the room and brought in the light. We saw that the heavy, five foot by one foot, four foot high glass-topped table that was originally at the far end of the room had been moved to three feet in front of me. Several feet from that table was the small table that had been in the middle of the room. On it was the trumpet disassembled into two parts, with the drumsticks protruding from the trumpet. The bells that had been on the glass-topped table were piled on the small table. Between the two tables, David sat, still secured to his chair. His cardigan was backwards, with the buttons in the back.
The checkers examined David. All ties were secure. We all agreed that he could not have moved from the chair or spoken during the séance.
The activities in the séance room could only have been instigated by discarnates who materialized using ectoplasm from David Thompson and moved around the room. The careful examinations of the room by me, three other checkers, and the other sitters confirmed that David Thompson could not have acted or spoken during the séance. Our holding hands during the materializations ensured that we knew the locations of the others in the room.
The fleeting movements of the trumpet and table about in the room from one end to the other would have been impossible for any human to have accomplished. The glass-topped table and David’s chair with him in it could only have been moved by two or three strong individuals, who would have had to have navigated in pitch darkness around the table in the middle of the room, avoiding the plywood, and not touching any of the sitters. It would have been impossible for any person to have accomplished those feats.
The séances were demonstrations of discarnates materializing to give evidence of the reality of eternal life and of our
ability to communicate with people living on the next planes of life. It also demonstrated their commitment to continuing to demonstrate the reality of life after the transition from the Earth plane.
The David Thompson Investigation Literature
David Thompson’s mediumship activities have been evaluated by other researchers:
Alexander, S. (2003.) A David Thompson séance reported by renowned physical medium.
From the bibliography, Montague Keen, Materialisations at the David Thompson Séance. No
further information was available.
Eccles. V. (2002.) David Thompson gives a séance at Tumbetin in Australia. Psychic News, Sept 21.
Foy, R. (2011.) First Festival of Physical Mediumship in Spain, August 22, 2011. http://circleofthesilvercord.net/?page_id=579
Harrison, A. (2011.) A Festival of Physical Mediumship, August 21-26, 2011. http://circleofthesilvercord.net/?page_id=608
Keen, M. (ND.) Materialisations at the David Thompson Séance. http://circleofthesilvercord.net/?page_id=81
Pearman, R. (2002.) A star-studied evening with Physical Medium David Thompson. Psychic News, Dec 21-28.
Pearson, R. (1991.) A Sitting with the “Circle of the Silver Cord.” http://circleofthesilvercord.net/?page_id=62.
Zammit, V. (2002.) A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife. Gammell Pty., Ltd.
Video testimonials by experiencers of David Thompson Seances are at http://circleofthesilvercord.net/?page_id=10