• 3: A Background to Physical Phenomena Reported in Sittings

    It was agreed that the first three sittings would be held in blackout conditions. All historical accounts of successful circles had begun in this way, without exception. The first phenomenon to be reported in the circle was significant; a dull white/yellow light approximately two inches in diameter, emanating from a wall to the left of the séance cabinet curtain. This was observed at the time by all five members of the group and remained visible for over 15 minutes; the light was able to be extinguished by hands placed against the wall. It faded slowly, before reappearing in various places around the room before dissolving; it did not return. After witnessing such phenomena early on, it was a difficult decision to move to red light and potentially delay development.

    Moderate red light up to 20 watts, does not appear to inhibit the generation of physical phenomena. Lights are still seen, both static and moving; they have been described as tiny pinks of colour to brilliant flashes of lightening. An increased level of lighting does affect the production of phenomena. At 60 watts, knocking, unexplained noises and EVP capture are reported but no visible phenomena. The dimmer switch which is next to the door and out of the possible reach of all those seated, occasionally turns up or down, independently of the group. When it is turned down significantly and independently of group members, visible phenomena is often reported. We initially thought decreased visual acuity may explain our observations, however, coincidental EVPs have confirmed many reports. The light switch has been replaced and checked twice as working correctly by two electricians.

    Partial materialisations were reported in five sittings over the period of nine years, two were before recordings began. The first to be reported was a hand that was placed over my lower abdomen. It appeared unexpectedly, resembling a petite solid black ladies glove; there was no visible attachment and it was unmoving. This hand dissolved in less than a minute before the eyes of the observers. Larger but less opaque hands in pairs were seen high over my head, placed against the wall. Only once was a complete head seen in good red light. This was described in formation to be semi-solid in front of my face; the head grew upwards in a writhing motion and appeared to be one and half times larger than life size when fully formed. The skin was said to be a parchment white, with no visible wrinkles and the eyes were sparkling and black with no white sclera visible. We believe the head to resemble a person known to the circle that we had not known whilst he was alive. Although communication was encouraged, the head did not speak and dissolved approximately one minute after full formation.

    The method of development of transfiguration described by observers is dissimilar to existing literature on the subject. Transfiguration began as a dense, dark field of static reported to envelope my head with a corona of around two inches. The field was described by one observer as appearing similar to a television screen that has not been tuned to a station; fast moving black and white pixels. Over the period of six months, the static was removed in a defined line to reveal a face underneath – this was always described as not resembling my face. Since 2009 transfigured heads are regularly reported in good red light without the preceding static field. They are often described to have hair styles and hairlines that are much different to mine. Transfiguration is the most frequently observed type of physical phenomena. It is also the most common type of phenomena commented on in EVP. An example was the voice of gentleman with a North East English accent, who said “We’re not impressed with that”, as a circle member observes many faces transfiguring in rapid succession (v4).

    We repeatedly enquired in séances as to the development of direct voice. We received no communication in response on the subject but have heard unusual audible phenomena. The most perplexing was the sound of a heavy horse walking on cobblestones. The noise was centred in the middle of the room and the horse so close that it felt possible to reach out and touch it. There was no gradual fade in to the sound and it died abruptly, it was described at the time as being like a three dimensional recording. Again, this phenomenon was never repeated. Voices have been heard in the séance room by all present but never clearly enough to understand their speech. Whistles are occasionally heard in the room, at other times they can be heard on the recording without our awareness at the time (v5).

    There have been relatively few tactile experiences in sittings. One member was slapped audibly on the head after mocking me. The same person later had their trouser legs pulled very loudly for a sustained period until they asked for it to stop. Cold breezes can be occasionally felt, once it was strong enough to be considered a gust of wind. General decreases in temperature are rare but when they do are usually precursors to reports of physical phenomena.

    Invited guests who attend one sitting, very rarely experienced significant phenomena. Those who come more than once are more likely to experience phenomena. All guests sitting with us whilst a recording was made were able to identify voices on the recordings, not heard in the séance room.


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