newmanThe Ground of Faith
Exploring Science, Mysticism and Experience Together

Our Eighth Year of Issue                               October 2010 Editor: The Rev. Michael Cocks Advisory Editors: The Rev. Victor MacGill, and Michael Tymn Assistant Ed.: Nate Cull

Cardinal Newman                                                            What is a Saint?


What is a Saint?

          An Interview with Professor William James on the 100th Anniversary of His Death

WHITE CROW publication: Michael Tymn 

What is the best evidence for survival? ASPSI Boyce Batey

ASPSI Exceptional Human Experiences as indicators of immortality.

The Lightning Sonata

The lengths to which some people will go, to debunk NDEs, OBEs

What is a saint?

Book Reviews:  Conversations with a Jesus of Nazareth

Letters from a Living Dead Man

Amazing Discoveries about Gematria to be found in 21st chapter of John's Gospel

Preposterous People: Dr Carl Wickland

Keith Parsons

Revisiting Survival 37 Years Later. Is the Data Still Compelling?1

A Scottish Blessing

Brigid of Gael

Letters to the Editor:

Robert Sumutka

Other relevant e-journals, blogs and publications

Victor Zammit's Weekly Treasure Trove

Public Parapsychology

Electronic Voice and Instrumental Communication:

What is a Saint?

    Obviously we fully back the work of Michael Tymn of the Academy of Spiritual and Paranormal Studies Inc. and the work of Victor Zammit in telling the world about psychic research over the past 150 years. We always urge readers to go to their links in this journal. But our personal hope is that Christians and others should know the research that validates the core message of the great religions:  that there is a spiritual world, and there is eternal life. We think it is a tragedy that religions do not look at this research, for faith in what is fact would be established, and dearly loved prejudices and sometimes antagonisms could be put aside.
    So we are very happy,  to introduce two  writers, new to this journal, who share this strong desire to bring healthy religion into touch with psychic research. One of these is Keith Parsons, who in the past has produced many programmes for the BBC. He has sent me a 60 minute video that he has produced, surveying the history of psychic research. As might be expected it is a highly professional presentation. The other is Jonathan Beecher, the publisher for White Crow books, an imprint that seems to strike just the right balance between psychic research and healthy spirituality. We strongly recommend that readers explore their publications. Just Google “White Crow”. 
    In contrast with most psychic research, good religion acknowledges the communal aspect of spirituality. While it seems to be true that on leaving the physical body we are usually met by loved ones and friends who had died before us, we need also to acknowledge that all of us belong to varying kinds of wider communities that powerfully influence the experiences of our spiritual selves.(Under "Letters to the Editor" read the note under the name Robert Szumutku.) The fact that we speak, shall we say, English, will mean that we perceive things very differently from say, the Kwakiutl Indians. If we are Moslem, we will perceive things somewhat differently from a Southern Baptist. Furthermore, it is extremely difficult for us to step outside any one of these communities in our thinking and feeling. Synchronicities bear witness to spirituality being a community affair, and they involve symbols peculiar to a community. The Christian concept of the Body of Christ, or the Communion of Saints with its “Church Militant and Church Triumphant” similarly bears witness to the corporateness of spirituality. Science, music, art, literature, technology, and more all bear this same witness. 
    The challenge is to produce sound and healthy corporate spirituality. I personally am much attracted to Celtic worship; yet no existing community of faith can possibly do justice to the length, breadth, height and depth of oneness in Spirit, to a Spirit that is in all, through all, and above all. 
    (Nevertheless, for your appreciation, we reproduce a Scottish Celtic blessing later in this journal.)

          An Interview with Professor William James on the 100th Anniversary of His Death

WHITE CROW publication: Michael Tymn 

    Abstract:  This “interview” with Professor William James, a pioneer in psychology, philosophy, and psychical research, is based on his actual words from various books and essays now in the public domain.   Words in brackets have been inferred and inserted to permit a flow or transition.  The questions have been tailored to fit the answers.

      Harvard professor William James was clearly one of the key figures in the early years of psychical research.

williamjames   Professor William James

         His interest in the field, especially mediumship, was prompted by a dozen sittings he had during 1885 with trance medium Leonora Piper after his mother-in-law informed him of a very evidential sitting she had had with Mrs. Piper.  James came to refer to Piper as his “white crow,” the one that upset the law that all crows are black.  “I cannot resist the conviction that knowledge appears which she has never gained by the waking use of her eyes and ears and wits,” he wrote in his report for the American branch of the Society for Psychical Research (ASPR).  “What the source of this knowledge may be I know not, and have not the glimmer of an explanatory suggestion to make; but from admitting the fact of such knowledge I can see no escape.” (D) Read “Interview”

What it the best evidence for Survival?

ASPSI Boyce Batey

dostoevsky.jpgIn his Diary of a Writer, the Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, says: "There is only single supreme idea on earth -the concept of immortality of the human soul. All other profound ideas by which men live are only an extension of it. "

In our culture grounded in philosophical materialism, researchers have sought evidence for survival of consciousness after bodily death through a number of separate though united categories of survival research evidence: near-death experiences or the azarus syndrome, out-of-body experiences, reincarnation, mental, physical, trance, and direct voice mediumship, after-death communications place hauntings, possession, apparitions of the dead including psychomanteum use, spirit photographs, electronic voice recordings, instrumental transcommunication, death bed visions and experiences, cross correspondences, materialization, etc.

One approach to develop the best evidence for survival is to research all available evidence for each category of survival evidence to identify the very best cases in each category that have no viable explanations such as coincidence, conscious or unconscious fraud, mistaken observation, etc. Consider that if you have one stick, it is easy to break; If you bundle many sticks together, it is difficult to break the bundle. Similarly, if you combine all the best cases in all the categories of survival evidence, they make a robust bundle of evidence for survival of consciousness after bodily death. But this is extremely difficult to do because all categories of survival evidence have in common aspects of paranormal cognitive and/or paraphysical explanations. Read the article

ASPSI Exceptional Human Experiences as indicators of Immortality

gaiaRev. Louis Richard Batzler, Ph.D.

Abstract: Anyone who is aware of current scientific and religious thought and action knows that we are at an axial point in human history. The amazing achievements in science and technology, and the paradoxical situation of polarization and interfaith cooperation within religion are creating crises and opportunities. One of the greatest challenges in this time of global transitions is self-understanding. We cannot adequately cope with the many crises or seize the opportunities until we know who and why are are. Essential to this understanding are two of our deepest concerns and anxieties concerning the meaning and purpose of life and our mortality. The Exceptional Human Experience (EHE)and Immortality can be catalysts in this effort for self-understanding. This paper describes and evaluates EHEs and Immortality and their relationship. and notes how both provide the possibilities and potentialities of persons for greater self-understanding and a more meaningful life now. and in the afterlife.Read the address

cicoriaSacksThe Lightning Sonata

We've already had a feature on Cicoria and his Lightning Sonata: but you may like to hear what Sacks has to say, as well as hearing Cicoria play.

The lengths to which some people will go, to debunk NDEs, OBEs

Here is a long and scholarly debunking article by Keith Augustine: he does make valid points

But read this reply by Michael Preston

Similarly Dr Pim van Lommel, writer of a paper on NDEs in The Lancet replies to Michael Shermer, 'Demon-Haunted Brain' Scientific American, page 25, March 2003.

 What is a saint?

Jonathan Beecher, Editor, White Crow Books

On the fourth day of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the UK the Pope held mass in Birmingham. Birmingham you ask, why Birmingham?

newmanBirmingham is the burial place of John Henry Newman, a 19th century cardinal in the Catholic Church, and the reason the Pope is there is because Newman is being ‘Beatified’, in other words, made a saint. 
Apparently, in order to be made a saint, a ‘miracle’ has to be ascribed to Newman, and that miracle came in the form of Jack Sullivan. Read the story

whitecrowJonathan Beecher and White Crow Books

   Conversations with Jesus of Nazareth - Simon Parke  (White Crow)

conversationsYou can find out about Simon Parke and his imagined conversations with Jesus here , but we can note that this former Anglican priest is employing the same device as Michael Tymn when he interviews William James, (above). He is very successful in bringing us to Jesus the man. Perhaps some would have liked other questions, but - it is Simon Parke who is questioning, not someone else. Do go to the link above, do view the short video which will give you a clear impression of how things will proceed.

lettersLetters from a Living Dead Man - Elsa Barker (White Crow)

       "Elsa Barker, American author and poet, was born in 1869 in Leicester, Vermont, USA. Throughout her life, Barker’s poems and short stories were published in various books and magazines.
        Her debut novel, The Son of Mary Bethel, was published in 1909 and this was followed in 1910 by her first collection of poetry, The Frozen Grail and Other Poems. Barker was a spiritual writer and one evening in 1912, while she was in Paris, she began automatic writing, the phenomenon where someone other than her own subconscious was writing using her hand. What followed was the trilogy of Living Dead Man books."  For further details, read this.


**Amazing discoveries in the 21st chapter of John's GospelMichael Cocks


In this journal, over the past seven years, we have been amassing the evidence that we are conscious participants in a Mind generated universe, in which all is connected to, and part of all else. And of special interest to Christians, is how St John's Gospel points to this. John represents Jesus as saying he is the vine and we are the branches, we have the prayer of Jesus in John 17, “I pray that they may all be one. Father! May they be in us, just as you are in me and I in you.... that the may be one, just as you and I are one.” [Good News Bible] Such is tribalism of organised Christianity, that we tend to conceive this oneness as describing the oneness of an individual congregation in a particular denomination. We often forget that Jesus and his followers continued to participate in synagogue and temple worship, but aimed to promote awareness that ultimately our relationship to God is similar to that between parent and children, and to bring us to awareness that we are participating in the Kingdom of Heaven, regardless of rites and ceremonies, laws and customs, and local culture. The writer of the epistle to the Ephesians, spoke of a God who is in all, through all, and above all. “All” meaning the whole of everything, not just those people who called themselves Christians.

That's why these discoveries about John 21 are so fascinating. This link  brings you to a confirmation course I had written. I hope you find pages 18-25 truly meaningful. The material has been derived from John Michell's City of Revelation (1972), which I recommend. 

Preposterous People: Dr Carl Wickland

Keith Parsons 

Of himself, Dr Keith Parsons writes: “I was a BBC World Service radio producer from 1975 to 1989, making current affairs programmes, and presenting documentaries from around the world. For three years before retirement, I became Head of Communications at Loughborough University. Now I live in a quiet village in the Peak District National Park in England. It was here that I developed an absorbing interest in survival after death. I find the historical evidence fascinating”.  

An excerpt from his article:
"Decades later I read about the Wimhurst machine again, this time being used to shock people on purpose. These were the patients of Dr Carl Wickland. In the early 1900s he believed that many people in psychiatric hospitals were not mentally ill but were possessed by the spirits of the dead; sometimes by several spirits simultaneously. Now remember that in the New Testament Jesus spent a good deal of time healing people by casting out unclean spirits. So either there is something to the theory of spirit possession, or the Bible was describing a travesty and Jesus was a fraud.  Read 

Revisiting Survival 37 Years Later. Is the Data Still Compelling?

neppeby Professor Vernon M. Neppe, MD, PhD (Med), FRSSAf, DFAPA, BN&NP (UCNS), DSPE
Director, Pacific Neuropsychiatric Institute, Seattle, WA.

Editor's Note: This article was written 37 years ago when Professor Neppe was in the last year of his medical training. It is a wide ranging and helpful article, and as Prof. Neppe now says, the last half is the most compelling in its evidence for survival. In the earlier half one might consider the earlier Vernon Neppe was unnecessarily dismissive of some of the evidence. That said, we do warmly commend this article for the interest of our readers. Read the article

A Scottish Blessing

May the blessing of light be on you,
light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire,
so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it.
And may light shine out of the two eyes of you,
like the candle of a window of a house,
bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.
And may the blessing of the rain be on you,
may it beat upon your Spirit and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven
shines, and sometimes a star.
And may the blessing of the earth be on you,
soft under your feet as you pass along the roads,
soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day;
and may it rest easy over you when, at last, you lie out under it.
May it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be out from
under it quickly; up and off and on its way to God.
And now may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly. Amen

 Brigid of Gael

Let us go forth tonight
through a mightly strength:
God's power to guide me,
God's might to uphold me,
God's eyes to watch over me;
God's ears to hear me,
God's word to give me speech,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to shelter me,
God's host to secure me.

Letter to the Editor

Robert Szumutku

of Seskatchewan, Canada, challenges preconceptions about NDEs and Reincarnation. He and the Editor have had long phone conversations about a prolonged and most interesting OBE that he had experienced. He has sent several e-mails raising a number of questions that the Editor hopes to follow up in future issues. For instance he challenged us to re-examine our thoughts about Reincarnation: how can there be reincarnation when we speak of an eternal present? He also asks whether the NDEs we report can be seen as describing a reality that all should experience. He instanced the findings of the Thailand Society for Psychic Research, where Thai NDEers often encounter a rather horrific reality that no Westerner would recognise.  Here is a longish report from that Society, that in effect demands that we take account of  cultural and corporate beliefs and expectations in imagining what we experience when we lay aside our earthly bodies. In the physical world visitors to a town will all see the same buildings, conform to the local laws, will agree as to what is happening before their eyes. It may not be so in the world of Spirit, where what is encountered is more obviously the product of thought. Consider these words: "Beware of the God that you believe in. You may get him."

Other relevant e-journals, blogs and publications

Don't forget to visit these websites: Victor Zammit's site for instance, is updated every week with new material of great interest.

Victor Zammit's Weekly Treasure Trove

ZammitVisit the archives of Victor Zammit's weekly newsletter at  for hours of  fascinating reading.  When you open this website you have the opportunity to request that these emails be sent to you every week, something that we strongly recommend.

Spend hours exploring these very important links

Debunking Common Skeptical Arguments Against
Paranormal and Psychic Phenomena;  
Winston Wu

Scientific Committee to Evaluate Pseudo Skeptical Criticism of the Paranormal: SKEPCOP

We strongly recommend this site, as a source of much interesting material.

Public Parapsychology

Editors' notes: Public Parapsychology is one of an increasing number of web sites that we should be aware of.. and subscribe to. Try this url:

The Largest Database of Afterlife Description & Analysis on the Internet

This web site is a compilation of information on the afterlife and other related critical concepts, such as the purpose of life and reincarnation, as they relate to souls here on earth. We have not created this site to convince anyone of the validity of this information, we simply invite you to read through the data, explore the sources we have used and visit other sources to learn more. Using spirit sources from and respected authors like Michael Newton, Allan Kardec, Jane Roberts and others, the results of our first investigations reveal 94.8% agreement on a variety of very specific topics. We believe this web site contains the largest correlation of spirit communications about the afterlife, all from respected sources, available anywhere. We will continue to expand this data as information is made available to us and our research expands.”

Click for hours of fascinating reading

 Continue reading

Read also A long list of extraordinary coincidences between the lives of Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy.

Electronic Voice and Instrumental Communication: