SChwartzThe Ground of Faith
*Between  Materialism and Superstition: Experience and Science

Our Eighth Year of Issue                  February 2011

Editor: The Rev. Michael Cocks Advisory Editors: TheRev. Victor MacGill, and Michael Tymn 
Asst Ed.: Nate Cull

Gary Schwartz        
  Praying for the Dead : The Ethics of Contact with the Dead


Editorial: Praying for the Dead: The Ethics of Contact with the Dead

White Crow Scientific Research Suggests Contact with the “Dead”

ASPSI The Case for the Return of Richard Hodgson

ASPSI Investigation of precognitive dreamer Christopher Robinson

More on Darryl Bem's landmark study on precognition

There is No Death

Exorcisms, Rescue Work and the Departed.

Roberta Tatom

Human Rights for the Earthbound Spirit

A Liturgy for the Transition of Earthly Friends

The Harp Came Back

George Chapman

Book Reviews

The Third Man Factor, The secret to survival in extreme environments. John Geiger. Penguin Canada 2009

You Might Already Know This ...

From our Readers:

Brian Longhurst

Other relevant e-journals, blogs and publications

Victor Zammit's Weekly Treasure Trove

Psypioneer Journal

Public Parapsychology

Electronic Voice and Instrumental Communication:

Praying for the Dead : The Ethics of Contact with the Dead.

Any editor,  preparing for publication on such subjects, will be conflicted. And I, as an Anglican priest in good standing, am no exception. Anglicans embrace conservative Evangelicals, Charismatics, Anglo-Catholics, and people who regard the church as their spiritual home, yet are sceptical about the reality of an afterlife. And in addition there is  the wide-spread taboo about talk of death and the afterlife. This is found both in the churches and in Academia. 

In addition, this journal is neither about Anglicanism, Presbyterianism, or any other kind of Ism: it is about the open-minded critical investigation of reality. More opportunity for inner conflict.  Yet if we think about it, such investigation as is ours, is not an invitation to abandon whatever faith we have, but rather is a reality check, providing ways of interpreting our faith, and ways of seeing what is important, and what needs to be put to one side.

In this way, when we are called upon to bury the dead, and to counsel the living, we may be in a better position to be helpful in many and various ways. Pray for the dead? Do the dead continue in spirit? What happens when we pray for them? Are the dead connected to us in the Communion of Saints? How should we pray?
"Let Light Eternal shine on them".. yes, and what do we mean by this?  Unless we simply take refuge behind our priest/presbyter/rabbi office, and our books of prayer, we need to look at the conflicted areas which we have been mentioning.

 White Crow Scientific Research Suggests Contact with the “Dead”

Beischel Michael E. Tymn

Co-founder and Director of Research at The Windbridge Institute for Applied Research in Human Potential in Tucson, Arizona, Julie Beischel, Ph.D, is one of the leading consciousness researchers in the world today. Her focus has been on communication purportedly coming from discarnates through mediums. Read Michael Tymn's interview with Dr Beischel

Case Report

 hodgsonASPSI The Case for the Return of Richard Hodgson

by Michael E. Tymn

To better understand why the conclusions of the majority of the pioneers of psychical research relative to the survival hypothesis are not more widely accepted today, we might begin with the resistance to the spiritistic hypothesis, or concomitantly to the weight given to subliminal theories, by Professor William James, one of the leaders among the early researchers. Though James clearly wanted to believe in survival, he struggled to accept the evidence and gave greater weight to subliminal theories than did other researchers, such as Frederic Myers, Oliver Lodge, William Barrett, Richard Hodgson, and James Hyslop, all of whom came to accept the survival hypothesis without reservation. Read the article

SchwartzASPSI Investigation of precognitive dreamer Christopher Robinson

Exploratory Blinded Field Experiment Evaluating Purported Precognitive Dreams in a Highly Skilled Subject: Possible Spiritual Mediation?

by Gary E. Schwartz, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology, Medicine, Neurology, Psychiatry and Surgery, Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness and Health, The University of Arizona

The purpose of this exploratory mixed double and single-blinded field experiment was to determine if an alleged precognitive dreamer, Mr. Christopher Robinson (CR), could receive specific details – and in particular, patterns of details – in his dreams, about ten different locations that he would be taken to (one location per day for ten consecutive days).  It was recognized at the outset that the pattern of details provided by CR would need to be specific and novel enough to rule out selective attention and perceptual priming as likely explanations of the findings. Read this research article

christopher-robinsonBrief History of Christopher Robinson and the Arizona Precognitive Dream Experiment

In a book published in England, CR’s personal history was described in some depth; from CR having been a television repairman to becoming an undercover agent for Scotland Yard and British Intelligence.  The book reports a series of events where CR was presumably able to predict the occurrence of serious crimes, terrorist acts, and natural disasters through messages received while he slept. 

CR claims to have carefully recorded the preponderance of his nightly dreams in diaries for more than three decades.   He has also demonstrated his purported precognitive dream ability on more than thirty television shows in England and Japan (some are described at  The author spoke with two separate police officials in England who confirmed CR’s longstanding collaboration in law enforcement activities and their satisfaction with the accuracy and usefulness of his information.

CR originally contacted the author (GES) claiming that he had precognitive dreams (regularly used by local and governmental officials in England), and that he wanted to be tested scientifically under controlled conditions.   CR learned about GES through an article published in the Journal of the Society of Psychical Research conducted documenting anomalous information retrieval by a team of high skilled mediums.

Wikipedia on Dr Gary Schwartz :

First of Twelve YouTube presentations in which Schwartz is interviewed on his work in this field:

Christopher Robinson's website where the above research is summarised. Another good interview. Followed up by this

Reactions to Prof Darryl Bem's Study on Precognition

BemIn our December issue, we published a landmark study by Cornell Professor of Psychology, Dr Darryl Bem, on predicting the future. It is being published in a prestigious scientific journal and is inciting a big back-lash in the scientific community.  Bem's study is so watertight, so hard to fault, that it has prompted Benedict Carey (below) to  question the whole field of statistics that underlies modern science. 

Stop Press NPR (National Public Radio) publishes this readable potted  description of Bem's experiments. Readers' comments are also interesting, including on precognitive dream

watts Science Fiction writer Peter Watts describes the contortions of various scientists as they attempt to refute what seems irrefutable. We give a link to an article from his blog, and you will find links to the reactions of other scientists in his text.  His blog is sometimes laced with out of place profanity, but his contribution is so  sound and useful that we present:  

Extraordinary Claims

I’ve had a fondness for Daryl Bem ever since his coauthored paper appeared in Psychological Bulletin back in 1994: a meta-analysis purporting to show replicable evidence for psionic phenomena. I cited it in Starfish, when I was looking for some way to justify the rudimentary telepathy my rifters experienced in impoverished environments. Bem and Honorton gave me hope that nothing was so crazy-ass that you couldn’t find a peer-reviewed paper to justify it if you looked hard enough. Read the article

RadinDean Radin examines James Alcock on Darryl Bem in the Skeptical Enquirer

The Skeptical Inquirer (online version) has published a commentary on Daryl Bem's precognition research, written by dedicated skeptic James Alcock. The same story has also bubbled up to the attention of the mainstream media, including the New York Times and NPR. Some of the op-eds border on the hysterical. Others are more rational.

Read the Blog entry

Editor: The following article attempts to discredit Bem by questioning the whole use of statistics that underlies modern science. The article below is mentioned in Dean Radin's article above.

careyYou Might Already Know This ...


Published: January 10, 2011

In recent weeks, editors at a respected psychology journal have been taking heat from fellow scientists for deciding to accept a research report that claims to show the existence of extrasensory perception.

The report, to be published this year in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, is not likely to change many minds. And the scientific critiques of the research methods and data analysis of its author, Daryl J. Bem (and the peer reviewers who urged that his paper be accepted), are not winning over many hearts.

Yet the episode has inflamed one of the longest-running debates in science. For decades, some statisticians have argued that the standard technique used to analyze data in much of social science and medicine overstates many study findings — often by a lot. As a result, these experts say, the literature is littered with positive findings that do not pan out: “effective” therapies that are no better than a placebo; slight biases that do not affect behavior; brain-imaging correlations that are meaningless. Read the full NYTIMES article



sacredpromise#Michael Tymn reviews here another interesting book by Gary Schwartz . Tymn's review is the second customer review in an Amazon listing.  Click the following link:

The Sacred Promise: How Science Is Discovering Spirit's Collaboration with Us in Our Daily Lives


Philosophical Discussion

ASPSI teridaniel There is No Death

by Teri Daniel

Abstract: In this article, a discussion is given about: a dying youngster facing death; basic ideas about death; near-death experiences; after-death contacts; how we learn about death; and concepts about the afterlife

The way we perceive death is a choice.

When my 10 year-old son Danny was diagnosed with a degenerative illness that would end his life sometime within the next 10 years, we began a sacred, transcendent journey that led us through disability, death and beyond. A large piece of this process involved my helping him to understand life and death in a way that would give meaning to his life and help him face his death without fear. Read this article .

Go to this website to find out about Teri and the books she has written about children and death.

Exorcisms, Rescue Work and the Departed.

Michael Cocks

Over the years we have published many case histories of OBEs or NDEs, or communications through mediums, and in sum they imply that we take ourselves just as we are to the next life; that we do not necessarily become more wise, more knowing, simply by shedding our earthly bodies. We will be free of pain and of hunger. We will be freed from some of the restrictions of the physical body. For many it will feel like heaven. For many negative and materialistic people, existence may be bleaker, and they may be drawn to the unresolved negativities of physical existence. Some will actually attach themselves to the living, obsess them, possess them, and work great mischief.

Granted the reality of the afterlife, these issues need to be taken very seriously. But in doing so we have to make our way through the superstitions, fantasies, and the unjustified doctrines of Christianity and other religions. (Religions have a way of proclaiming basic truths about Spirit, and of adding what is less true) We can make our way by focusing on reliable case histories, and by investigating the various interpretations that are possible.

exorcismExorcism: Catholic and also Charismatic Christianity recognise the reality of demons and evil spirits. In this regard this news item will be of interest. From the point of view of psychic research, we are not in the position to deny the existence of “demons”, but we can positively affirm that some of those negative people we have been referring to, can trouble and obsess the living. Exorcisms may well be a fruitful way to deal with the problem. Having said that, we will need to be sure of the situation, that a person is indeed being harmed by a negative departed; few will be prepared to assert that all or even most mental disturbance is caused by “demons” or by the departed.

Psychic Rescue Groups: In an exorcism the focus is on freeing a living person from the negative influence of the departed. In a Psychic Rescue Group, the focus is on helping the departed to move away from being earthbound, to understand their true present situation, and to move toward the Light. A psychologist friend, Roberta Tatom, was participant in such a group for some years. Here is the first part of her The Last Taboo, describing her experiences, and reflecting on what they imply. (Feel free to email me for the complete text.) Although there will be conflicting opinions about such groups, if we wish to investigate reality from the point of view of experience, then we should be prepared to study such material. 

Of course any time that we pray for departed loved ones, we may be said to be wishing to aid them to progress in the state in which they now find themselves. People of all religions, all times and places, will do this, and it is not regarded as controversial. 

The author of the next article, the Rev. Rob Smith, is also concerned to help the departed,  and he seeks  to do this in  the context of Electronic Voice Phenomena or EVP.  As always in our journal, while retaining our critical faculties, we need to be open to examining the evidence.

Human Rights for the Earthbound Spirit

robsmithRob Smith B.Theol. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

My name is Rob Smith. I am an Experiencer for Source. I am a former Uniting Church in Australia Minister and School Chaplain. I am a Funeral Celebrant, Grief Counsellor, and Life Continuance Researcher”

Editor's note: For some time The Ground of Faith has been listing Rob Smith's Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) website. Here is the link again, and readers might like to visit it now, to remind themselves what it offers.

He writes: "Due to the church no longer commanding as much attention and 'protection' for spiritual explorers today, many are freelancing and experimenting and employing their own methodology to explore these unseen realms without considering the fuller consequences of incarnate ego / discarnate ego interactions that may occur, such as 'overshadowing' and 'walk ins'.
Hollywood continually uses its entertainment 'factor of fear', to portray these unseen realms as 'evil' and 'demonic' -playing on people's fears, creating personal vulnerability, and then opening the door for earthbound discarnate influences such as 'cranky Aunt Joan' and 'angry Uncle Fred'  to
subtly influence  these spiritual questers! "

humanrightsHe, as well as others who contribute to this journal, has had many experiences definitively showing the reality of what we call Afterlife. These have led him to raise the question of the ETHICS of our relating to those who have passed on. Read what follows, and think whether you agree with what you read: we would like to publish letters from readers on this subject.

The goal of Human Rights for the Earthbound Spirit (HRES) is to ensure that people are protected by universal human rights until those rights are no longer needed.

The focus of this group is simply to spread awareness. Due to a simple but vital oversight of the definition of human being, rights are being violated and shamefully exploited every day.

If you are like us, you believe that a human is more than a physical body; a human being also has a spirit.

The goal of Human Rights for the Earthbound Spirit (HRES) is to ensure that people are protected by universal human rights until those rights are no longer needed. Applied appropriately, this means that a person transitions humanly after they discard their physicality.  

Editor's Note: And what do you think about the following? Rob Smith, once again, presents us with something that may change how we see things.

A Liturgy for the Transition of Earthly Friends

robsmithangels“I call upon Angels and Risen Helpers to be in attendance at this special gathering."

"I welcome all attending Angels and Risen Helpers"

"I request protection for myself and request that no attachments be formed at this gathering.”

"Cleanse and permeate my being with that pure white light of unconditional love."

A Liturgy for the Transition of Earthly Friends

extraordinary Elizabeth Lloyd Mayer

The Harp Came Back

Watch this video, and let Elizabeth Lloyd Mayer tell the story of the harp that came back.

Read this Subversive Thinking Blogspot

Read this review of her book Extraordinary Knowing

and this one

"Preposterous People"

George Chapman Script.
Dr Keith Parsons

August 12th is a memorable day for me; my partner’s birthday so we usually go out to celebrate. On that day in 2006, I was reading the morning paper when I saw the obituary of George Chapman who had died three days earlier, aged 85. His story really is extraordinary.

Born in 1921 in Liverpool, George was orphaned at a young age and brought up by his grandparents. Poorly educated, he left school at 14 and tried various jobs, including being a docker and a boxer, before the Second World War broke out and he joined up. After he was demobbed, he looked around for a job and decided to join the Aylesbury Fire Brigade.   Read the article

Book Reviews

thirdmanThe Third Man Factor, The secret to survival in extreme environments. John Geiger. Penguin Canada 2009


“In 1953, Austrian mountaineer Herman Buhl became the first person to climb Nanga Parbat in the ­Himalayas—at 26,660 feet, the ninth tallest peak in the world. He climbed by himself and not far from the summit was forced to spend the night out in the open without a sleeping bag or tent. It was an agonizing ­bivouac, but Buhl survived—in part, he later wrote, ­because he sensed that he shared the ordeal with a ­companion. "I had an extraordinary feeling," he wrote, "that I was not alone."”

Read Ybarra's Review

Michael Cocks comments on this review: Ybarra notes, “Although Mr. Geiger never shoots down any specific theory, he seems to endorse a biochemical ­explanation.” In Michael Tymn's interview with Dr Beischel, he points out that scientists seem to tip-toe around the question whether or not there is an afterlife. In the eyes of some it is academic suicide to affirm its reality. Of course we who are living cannot deny the importance of the brain in our conscious experiences. But information and help is given by an invisible companion, unavailable to the person in extreme danger. To cite one of many examples in this book, the aviator Lindbergh felt that the invisible companions were there to help, 'conversing and advising on my flight, discussing problems of my navigation, reassuring me, giving me messages of importance unobtainable in ordinary life.' [p.85]

I was moved by the stories of heroism, endurance, extreme suffering, and by the accounts of the invisible companions. In some case histories, the invisible companion might well be an aspect of the self of the person in extremis, in others a deceased Other is plainly helping, in others it would not be amiss to speak of guardian angels. An inspiring book, and we should not be put off by any tip-toeing.


From our Readers:

longhurstEach week, Brian Longhurst sends me a meditational email, which I often find helpful. We have featured Brian in an earlier issue, but here again is his website, which readers may like to explore.

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.

Psypioneer Journal

NEW LISTING! The PSYPIONEER Journal. In the archives of this journal one can find much original source material, which is drawn upon in much contemporary writing. This site deserves thorough exploration. Publication had ceased in 2002, but now an Australian site makes this valuable material available once more. then click on Psypioneer Journals.

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: