The Gift Within
Experiences of a Spiritual Medium
The Most Complete Firsthand Account of Extraordinary Psychic Awareness Ever Published!
James H.P. Wilkie
Revised And With an Introduction by
Author of the Unexplained
Wilkie's search for truth
has taken him into every
aspect of the seance room.
He has demonstrated his gifts in churches and universities, and on the radio. His power as a clairvoyant has convinced both skeptic and seeker alike. He has pioneered on both sides of the Atlantic and penetrated the barriers of orthodox churches; no sacrifice has been too great in his demand for the highest and best. People from every walk of life have benefited by his gifts, and he has been privileged to work with some of the finest mediums of the century.
He believes that, with centers for extrasensory perception and psychic research now becoming world-wide and with interest in religion growing again, the new age will provide mediumship its true place in society. He is now one of Canada9s most versatile mediums; his story is unique.
This book is dedicated to my Spiritual Guide "Rama".
To all seen and unseen friends.
Life is a schoolroom—
Death is the final examination.
We go on to the classroom over there—
According to our merits on earth.
There is no religion greater than truth.
James H.P. Wilkie
Introduction by Allen Spraggett
1 The Early Years of a Psychic
2 Rama, Spirit Guide
3 Some "Hits" for ESP
4 Instances of Materialization
5 Evidence for Survival
7 Healing, Prophecy, and Clairvoyance
8 Rama at Work, and Some of His Predictions
by Allen Spraggett
It was an evening in March 1970. My psychic friend Jim Wilkie was demonstrating a bit of impromptu ESP for an acquaintance of mine, a television producer. (The three of us were relaxing in the living room of my suburban Toronto home.)
"Give me a name," said Wilkie to the other man. "Any name. Somebody you know. If we're lucky I may be able to pick up something about the person just from the name."
My other friend, I thought, looked faintly amused.
"Well, let's see," he said, rubbing his chin with the back of his hand. Then his brow furrowed.
"All right," he continued evenly, "let's see what you get." He mentioned a woman's name.
Wilkie concentrated for a moment, then spoke rapidly.
"I feel I'm being taken to a hospital. Not here but in another city. On the west coast. I feel it's Vancouver. This person is surrounded by flowers-as if she were dead, but she's not. . . . But death isn't far away. Her condition, I'm afraid, is hopeless. Are you aware of this?"
The man's response was another question. "Do you get any impression of-well, how long ..."
"Until she dies? Not long, I fear. Maybe three days."
Then the man told us that the woman was his sister-in-law who was in the hospital in Vancouver (his hometown), in terminal condition.
A week later he wrote me to say that Wilkie's prediction had been accurate. His sister-in-law had died three days later.
This is the sort of thing I've seen Jim Wilkie do many times. To be sure, he isn't always so accurate- even Mickey Mantle struck out occasionally-but his record is good.
His powers often function best, it seems, on the spur of the moment. Once, a Ceylonese friend of mine, Manik Sandras, who was meeting Wilkie for the first time, said lightly: "I've got something in my pocket. Do you think you could tell me about the person who gave it to me."
"I'll try," said the medium (his usual reply in such circumstances).
Manik opened his wallet and took out a small package of tissue paper about the size of a silver dollar. He handed it to Jim Wilkie.
Immediately Jim's eyes grew large.
"Oh, there's power in this, whatever it is," he murmured. "I get a powerful sense of a holy man. I feel this came from a very holy person. The feeling I have is as though I want to take off my shoes because I'm standing on sacred ground. Do you understand?"
Manik allowed that he did.
"I think this is dust or powder of some kind," Jim Wilkie continued. "And I get a picture of a man with his arm upraised and this-well, I'll call it dust- pouring down. Do you understand?"
Manik Sandras nodded.
"This man, whoever he is, has the power to leave his body. Did you know that? He has the power to take astral flights and appear to people miles away from where his physical body is at the time. I feel sure that this man actually has been seen in two places at once. That's all I can get."
Manik said that the package contained sacred ash given to him in Madras by a holy man named Sai Baba, revered by many Hindus as an avatar, or embodiment, of the god Krishna.
Sai Baba had produced the ash, said Manik, by merely lifting his hand (as Wilkie had described) and causing the white powdery substance apparently to precipitate out of thin air. His followers consider it a miracle.
And, again as Wilkie intimated, Sai Baba claims to have the power to travel in his astral body, Manik said. He recounted stories he had heard in Madras of how the holy man had appeared in a sick room while many miles away he was also addressing a large public meeting. (In Catholic literature this experience is reported about many of the Christian saints. It's called bilocation.)
On another occasion Jim Wilkie gave a psychic reading to Nihal Fonseka, a young Ceylonese tenor with a thrilling voice. The medium told Nihal that his mentor in the spirit world was none other than the great Caruso.
The skeptic might say here: "Ho hum. Just the sort of romantic twaddle a tenor would like to hear and a medium would tell him." But Wilkie went a little further.
"You already have a sign of Caruso's presence with you," he said. "Before every performance, just as you are preparing to sing your first number, you feel a sensation like a mild electric shock at the base of your skull. Right here. (Wilkie tapped the back of his own neck.) Isn't that true?"
"It is true," Nihal agreed with obvious surprise. "It's absolutely true. But I haven't told anybody about that."
From now on, when you feel it," said the medium, "realize that it means Caruso is drawing close to you, within your aura, to inspire your performance."
The most memorable thing Jim Wilkie has done for my wife and me concerns the spontaneous recovery of one of our children.
It happened in 1962 while I was the student pastor of a rural parish in eastern Ontario, dividing my time between attending theology classes and caring for the spiritual needs of my flock.
One morning when I was away at university, Wilkie phoned my wife Marion to tell her that Rama, his "spirit guide" or trance personality (whom you'll meet in this book) was concerned about our baby's health. Rama knew, said Jim, that our baby was seriously ill.
Marion was startled because this was indeed the case. Yet how could Wilkie know it? He lived some 300 miles from us and we had neither seen nor heard from him for at least six weeks.
Wilkie went on to say that Rama had paid our baby an astral visit a few moments before to give her healing. If Marion would check immediately she would find that this was true.
"This is amazing," my wife allowed. "The baby certainly is sick. As a matter of fact, I was about to call the doctor who was here last night and said to notify him this morning if the baby hadn't improved. He wants to hospitalize her.
"I just came downstairs from checking her and she's still sick. She's running a high fever and her chest it very congested."
"No," corrected Jim Wilkie, "she's fine now. Rama's healed her. Go and check again."
Marion did so, doubtfully. To her astonishment she found that in the few minutes since her last check the baby had lost all her obvious symptoms and was sleeping soundly and normally. There was no trace of fever or congestion. (The recovery, by the way, proved to be lasting.)
How did Jim Wilkie know not only that our baby was ill but the precise moment, apparently, when she recovered?
It is experiences such as this which have convinced me that psychic phenomena are real in principle. I say in principle because I'm still skeptical about individual cases. As an open-minded skeptic-which every psychic investigator has to be-I want solid evidence.
But I know that people like Jim Wilkie can see events across the miles by a kind of mental television (clairvoyance, its called). They can pick up information about someone by handling a personal object belonging to him (this is called psychometry). They sometimes can read the future (known as precognition). And they can, on occasion, communicate messages which appear to emanate from dead loved ones or friends.
A certain kind of skeptic often asks: But what good is this mediumistic stuff? Healing I can see the value of, but what about the rest? Sure, it's fun to have your palm read or to hear what some crystal gazer tells you, but is it of any value in coping with real life? Or is it just a chloroform mask for the weak?
One of our friends, a successful businesswoman, had a sitting with Wilkie in which he told her, correctly, that she had been having a lot of back trouble. The woman related to us how he then had predicted that she was going to have major surgery on her back within three months, whether she liked the idea or not.
But cheer up, Wilkie had added. After the operation she would feel physically reborn and enjoy life as she hadn't been able to in years.
At the time the woman dreaded the thought of back surgery and was determined to avoid it. Moreover, though her back was troublesome she had no reason to think that an operation was needed.
However, in three months she was compelled to undergo surgery to correct her suddenly worsened back condition. It was a painful ordeal. Later the woman told my wife and me that Wilkie's assurance about the operation's spectacular success buoyed her up during her low moments; and this prediction proved to be accurate.
In another case, a friend of mine, a theology student, had an unarranged sitting with Jim Wilkie. The medium didn't know my friend was coming so there can be no question of prior research on his part.
Jim Wilkie probed this man's innermost thoughts. He said the man's mother had committed suicide in a slow, agonizing way. In fact, she had taken a caustic substance.
The medium said she had been estranged from her husband for several years before her death and that the immediate cause of her suicide was the husband's rejection of her attempt at a reconciliation. This was true. Wilkie went on to tell the man that he, too, was contemplating suicide. He even described the gun the man had in mind to use and accurately sketched the circumstances which were driving him to end his life.
"Don't do it," the medium warned him. "Suicide doesn't solve your problems, it only postpones them."
My friend staggered out of the seance room in a state of shock. He was flabbergasted, awed, by Wilkie's incredible perception. The medium's counsel played a part in dissuading the man from suicide.
Sometimes Wilkie has been helpful to people with their business affairs. He doesn't specialize in this kind of counsel, but on occasion it just happens.
An example of Wilkie's accuracy as a prophet of people's personal and business affairs was cited by sports columnist Jim Proudfoot in the Toronto Daily Star on April 6, 1968:
"Jake Gaudaur, the new commissioner of the Canadian Football League, is a rational man who would put up a fierce argument if you were to suggest he is at all superstitious.
"And yet he acknowledges there is something uncanny about the way Jim Wilkie, a medium from Vancouver, can foretell the future.
"On the same evening last November when he said Lester Pearson would step down as [Canada's] Prime Minister, to be replaced in April, and that Lyndon Johnson would not be a candidate for reelection as U.S. president in 1968, Wilkie made an astonishingly accurate prediction regarding Gaudaur's future.
"At the time, in late November, the public understood Gaudaur could not be a candidate for the vacant football commissioner's job, though he was the logical choice, because of his connection with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats [ED. NOTE: a football team].
"Wilkie told him he was negotiating for an important post and ultimately would get it, after three months of confusion. Gaudaur, in fact, was angling in complete secrecy to unload his Ticat stock so that he could become Canadian Football League boss and he was extremely surprised to hear about it from a complete stranger who knew absolutely nothing about football, who didn't even realize what business Gaudaur was in.
"Shortly afterwards, Gaudaur's candidacy was announced. Then a hitch developed in his Hamilton dealings and he informed the [football] league he was not available after all.
"And that's how matters stood until late February, when the way was cleared, unexpectedly, for Gaudaur to leave the Hamilton organization. And so he landed the appointment, just as Wilkie said he would, when Wilkie said he would.
"Or, the way Jim Wilkie explains it, just as Rama said he would. Although Wilkie is clairvoyant himself, and an eerily good one, most of his spectacular pronouncements come during self-induced trances in which he takes on the personality, the mind, voice, and many of the physical characteristics of Rama, a priest who lived in Egypt thousands of years ago ..."
Of his misses, Wilkie has said: "Time is difficult for me. A day seems like a week, a week like a month."
Indeed, I've noticed that Wilkie's predictions are more often right than wrong over the long haul but that the time factor frequently is distorted. In other words, if he sees a politician's star waning or rising, as the case may be, his prediction generally comes true. But rather than coming about in six months, as predicted, it may take twice or three times that long.
In some ways, the most impressive thing about Jim Wilkie's psychic readings is the manner in which they often ferret out hidden or obscure facets of personality.
On one occasion in my home, the medium, in trance, said that the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi was present and that he had been drawn by the enormous affinity which someone in the room had for him. The medium identified a friend of mine who was present as a great admirer of Gandhi. The man admitted that this was true.
I was aware, in a vague sort of way, of the man's reverence for Gandhi, but the medium then said something of which I knew nothing.
"You have long felt drawn to India," the entranced Wilkie told the man. "In fact, at one point in your life you made arrangements to go there to live but circumstances changed your plans. Is this not so?"
The man admitted that it was. Later, he said that he had arranged to go to India as a missionary (he had been a clergyman earlier in his life) but that the outbreak of World War II had disrupted his plans.
Jim Wilkie is the medium I know best. But I've come to know many other mediums and psychics, too.
Arthur Ford was probably today's most celebrated medium until his death in January, 1971. He first won fame as the psychic who broke the Houdini coded message (agreed to by Houdini and his wife before his death) and convinced the great magician's widow that Houdini had communicated from the grave. Arthur Ford won renewed fame in September 1967 when I invited him to participate in what turned out to be an historic seance on Canadian television.
That seance-which I dubbed the first attempt to call up the dead on prime-time television-was arranged and moderated by me and brought together Ford and the late Bishop James A. Pike. Later Pike-the former Episcopal bishop of California and one of the world's most controversial religious figures-said he had talked to his dead son via Arthur Ford during the seance.
A full account of that psychic landmark can be found elsewhere (in my book, The Bishop Pike Story, New York, Signet Books, 1970; and The Other Side, by Bishop James A. Pike with Diane Kennedy, New York, Dell Books, 1969). It unleashed tremors around the world.
Arthur Ford was a complex, even enigmatic man. Besides his genuinely mysterious powers, he had an urbanity which came from having hobnobbed with the great and near-great.
A couple of nights before we taped the famous Pike-Ford television stance in Toronto, my wife and I went to the Park Plaza Hotel, where Ford was staying, to take him to dinner. Coming out of the hotel as we arrived was the entourage of King Constantine of Greece and his queen, who were on an official visit to Toronto.
When we met Arthur, I said to him jokingly: "We should have invited the king to a seance."
"Yes," he agreed, lighting a cigar. "I knew his uncle very well."
He wasn't joking. During the 1930s, when the Greek monarchy was an on-again-off-again thing, Arthur Ford knew the king-in-exile and gave seances for him. (The proclivity of the Greek royal family, and the British royal family, for psychic matters has been remarked upon. Queen Victoria had her private medium, a Scots manservant named John Brown, to whose memory she erected a statue. The present Queen Mother is reputed to consult a certain London clairvoyant known for his Irish charm and his skill with the crystal ball.)
During his mediumistic career Arthur Ford gave sittings not only for royalty but for literati, such as Arthur Conan Doyle and the American novelist Upton Sinclair; scientists, such as Sir Oliver Lodge and the psychologist William McDougall; and assorted celebrities, such as Mae West and Romula Nijinsky, widow of the greatest of all ballet stars.
Another psychic I know, who is consulted by the rich and powerful, is Jeane Dixon, the "seeress of Washington," as some have called her. Mrs. Dixon, who helps her husband run a thriving real estate business when she isn't peering into her crystal ball, is a hyperactive, charming, deeply religious woman.
In some psychic circles it has become fashionable to pooh-pooh Jeane Dixon's prophetic powers. But I've had remarkable evidence that they do exist.
In February 1965, during breakfast in Washington, D.C., Mrs. Dixon told me: "Robert Kennedy will die violently as his brother did."
In her latest book (My Life and Prophecies, New York: William Morrow & Company, Inc., 1969), Jeane Dixon says that in January 1968 she told a Philadelphia public relations executive named Frank Callahan: "Robert Kennedy will be assassinated in California this coming June."
On March 29, 1968, in Dallas, where she was to speak to a convention, Mrs. Dixon told the wife of Senator John Tower of Texas: "Senator Kennedy will be shot while in California."
On May 28, 1968, after addressing a meeting in the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, she told George Maines, an American Legion official, and Mrs. June Wright, mother-in-law of Flordia's lieutenant-governor: "Robert Kennedy will be killed in this very hotel."
He was, of course; a week later-on June 5, 1968.
The critics are fond of citing Jeane Dixon's misses- and, to be sure, they have plenty from which to choose.
In 1957 she prophesied that Communist China would go to war over the Chinese off-shore islands of Quemoy and Matsu.
In February 1965 she predicted a major natural disaster on the United States West Coast for that year or the next. At the same time she forecast the end of the Vietnam war in 1965 or 1966, and the replacement of the two-man Russian leadership "soon," by a single leader, probably Mikhail Suslov.
In 1966 she said that Fidel Castro was "either in China or he's dead," and hinted that the latter was more likely.
The statistically inclined skeptic could argue that if Jeane Dixon's widely heralded hits were balanced against her less widely heralded misses they would cancel each other out. In other words, her success as a prognosticator is no better really than what would be expected on the basis of chance.
But can chance, or even shrewd intuition, explain a specific prediction, such as: "Martin Luther King, Jr., will be shot in the neck before the end of this week?"
Former Alabama Congressman Frank W. Boykin attests, in Mrs. Dixon's new book, that she made this prediction to him and his wife three days before the civil rights leader was fatally shot-in the neck-in Memphis.
My book The Unexplained reports that in February 1965 Jeane Dixon gave me some personal predictions. One was that in my thirty-fourth or thirty-fifth year there would be "a very great change for the better in your life." She said that I was writing a book and that my first published book would be a bestseller.
Well, my first book, The Unexplained, was published in 1967 when I was thirty-five. It has become a modest bestseller. And certainly its publication did mark a great change for the better in my life in many ways.
To the possible rejoinder, "But what's so unusual about predicting that a book will be a bestseller?" I can only say that the vast majority of books never come remotely close to such status.
In July 1970, while I was having breakfast with Jeane Dixon in Washington, she came up with a striking bit of apparent mindreading.
We were discussing her idea of reincarnation, which is that individual souls do not come back to earth in another body but that the "spirit"-the mission, the cause, the supreme concern-of an individual does, and that in this sense reincarnation is true.
Suddenly, out of the blue, Jeane Dixon put her hand on my sleeve and said: "Right now, I'm getting from you very strongly the vibrations of Brigham Young. I feel that you are the reincarnation of the spirit of Brigham Young."
I was taken a little aback, as was a friend who was with me, the Reverend William Rauscher, an Episcopal priest. Neither of us had mentioned the subject of Mormonism or Brigham Young, yet Father Rauscher knew how preoccupied-obsessed, in a way-I had been with the whole subject of the Mormon faith.
As a matter of fact, I had told Father Rauscher that my wife and I were going to visit the sites and shrines of early Mormon history near Palmyra, New York, in the next few weeks and how much we were looking forward to it. (We visited Salt Lake City, the present focus of Mormonism, a few years ago.) Also, Father Rauscher knew that I had just finished reading a new critical biography of Brigham Young (the Mormon leader who succeeded the Prophet Joseph Smith) that I felt that it was biased and distorted, and that I was even half thinking of writing a corrective.
Now, suddenly, Jeane Dixon was saying that she picked up from me the "vibrations of Brigham Young."
A lucky guess? An uncommonly lucky one, if you ask me.
My own hunch is that Jeane Dixon is more often right than wrong when making predictions for individuals; but she may well be more often wrong than right when she prophesies about more complex things, such as world events or political trends. The reason could be that focusing on the destiny of a single person is relatively simple compared to the task of psychically weighing, sifting, and analyzing the incredibly complex elements involved in world events. Just try to imagine the maze of possibilities to be cut through-the interwoven strands of individual destinies and political, social, and economic trends-in predicting, for example, the outcome of the war in Vietnam.
Another psychic whom I've come to know is Douglas Johnson, who might be called, for his intellectual style, a thinking man's clairvoyant.
I first met him a while ago sitting on a veranda, overlooking the well-manicured lawns of his then host in the elegant, if in spots somewhat faded, Rosedale section of Toronto. Johnson was dressed in a pale blue tropical suit and was sipping chilled white wine. He looked and sounded urbane, witty, and plausible.
During his visit to Toronto, a procession of businessmen, professionals, theater people, and assorted cerebral and noncerebral types had beaten a path to his door-for readings from one of England's best known clairvoyants.
"I saw him last year," one man told me, "and he said I would be completely changing jobs and going into theater within six months. Out of the question, I said.
"Six months later I got an offer out of the blue and I'm in theater."
Another man said: "He told me a lot of wonderful things. Unfortunately, very few of them applied to me." Douglas Johnson's special powers are about as well documented as any professed psychic's. He is almost a professional guinea pig for scientists who, as he puts it, "have prodded me, probed me, and put electrodes on my head."
He has been studied at length in the former parapsychology laboratory at Duke University, in the Men-ninger Dream Laboratory of Brooklyn's Maimonides Medical Center, and elsewhere.
He has been asked to describe people he has never seen by holding an object belonging to them (the people themselves being absent), has gone into a trance while hooked up to an electroencephalogram which records brain wave patterns, and has submitted to batteries of psychological probes, including word association and ink blot tests.
"My fellow psychics ask me why I subject myself to all this business," Johnson said with a chuckle.
"I tell them that I'd get unutterably bored giving readings to little old ladies. I want to help science explore these uncharted powers of the mind. I find it exciting. And the researchers, many of whom have become my good friends, are unfailingly kind."
Douglas Johnson is somewhat atypical among mediums because, though he has his "spirit guide"-a Chinese teacher named Chiang-he says emphatically that he is not a spiritualist.
"I'm High Church [Anglican]," he said. "I don't believe that all, or even most, of the psychic impressions I get come from the so-called dead. Oh, I believe it does happen sometimes. But much of what I get comes by pure ESP."
Sitters who make the pilgrimage to Johnson's Chelsea flat include bishops, show business personalities ("I get a lot of young pop stars"), businessmen, and even a few little old ladies.
In my many meetings with Douglas Johnson, I've discovered that he possesses psychic gifts which at times are unusually accurate. But like all mediums, he's fallible. His best hits are often spontaneous.
As my first meeting with him was ending, he shook hands and said in his cool English manner: "Oh by the way, you know a man named Raymond," and he went on to describe this person and a specific problem he faced.
He was quite correct.
In my time, I've had sittings with more than fifty different mediums in several countries. I've seen mediums go in and out of trances, do automatic writing, psychometrize objects, speak in strange voices and accents, demonstrate psychic photography, cause arthritic joints to loosen, and make tables dance on one leg; one medium passed on to me Debussy's own favorite of all his musical compositions (it was Nuages).
Some of these mediums were brilliant, some so-so; a few drew absolute blanks; and a very few were obviously outright frauds whose psychic powers, if any, were conspicuous by their total absence.
As far as spirit guides-the trance personalities which manifest through mediums-are concerned, I've talked to quite a variety. They've included Egyptian priests, Chinese sages, more Red Indians than I can remember, an Arab shiek or two, a Negro mammy, a garrulous child named Ivy, a German doctor, a Scots Highlander, and others.
What about all this? How do mediums do what they do? And what-or who-are these spirit guides, really?
There are basically two theories about what medium-ship is and how it works. The spiritualist view, familiar enough is that the medium is just that-a medium or transmitter between this world and the next. This is the view accepted by most mediums, including the author of this book, Jim Wilkie.
Wilkie makes it plain that he is convinced that death is a fraud, that the so-called dead are more alive than we are, and that he can act as their messenger, on occasion, to pass on communications to friends or loved ones still here.
However, another theory interprets mediumship as being due to forces within the unconscious mind of the medium. In other words, he or she may think the information is coming from the dead when it actually is coming from extrasensory perception (ESP).
For example, if a medium tells you something about your deceased mother that you know is correct, but which the medium presumably couldn't have known, is this actually communication from the dead or mind-reading on the part of the medium? Whichever it is, it's something special and important; but can you be sure the medium wasn't really reading your mind rather than getting in touch with your mother's spirit?
The problem becomes more complicated if the medium tells you something about your mother which you didn't know but which later you discover is true. Here, telepathy, or simple mindreading, seems ruled out. But what about clairvoyance? Could the medium unconsciously have tapped other sources by ESP-your living father's unconscious mind (if he knew the revealed facts about your dead mother), or even a document somewhere which contains the information?
This problem-whether the medium is really communicating with the dead or using a sort of super ESP-bedevils psychical researchers.
It doesn't bedevil mediums, as a rule. Most of them are quite certain in their own minds, as Jim Wilkie is, that the dead do speak to them.
Another problem for psychical researchers is the identity of mediumistic spirit guides or controls. Are they really discarnate (out-of-the-body) human beings, as they claim to be? Or are they secondary personalities of the medium?
We know that the living exercise psychic power, so it isn't always necessary, anyway, to invoke spirit guides to account for mediums' supernormal abilities. Moreover, psychology is familiar with a phenomenon which resembles the mediumistic trance personality. Under hypnosis, for example, a good subject can be told that he is a famous TV personality, a Hindu seer, or even a man from Mars, and he will do his best to portray such a person. Often his best is very good indeed.
Is it possible, many psychologists have asked, that mediumistic trance personalities are induced by a form of self-hypnosis? A medium, in such a view, thinks that he is a disembodied spirit and his unconscious mind whips up a convincing performance to go along with it. (Mind you, there is no suggestion here of conscious pretense, of mere playacting. A secondary personality induced by self-suggestion would be perfectly real to the medium.) There is evidence on both sides. Word association tests given to Mrs. Gladys Osborne Leonard and Mrs. Eileen Garrett, two famous British mediums, and to their spirit guides, Feda and Uvani, respectively, revealed a countersimilarity. This means that the mediums and their controls gave responses that were quite opposite. Now, this is exactly what one would expect if the controls did represent aspects of the mediums' unconscious minds which were repressed in the normal state. In other words, the fact that a medium and his spirit guide may disagree on many things is not proof that they are separate and distinct people but, rather, may be evidence that the guide is a part of the medium's personality-which has been buried deeply in his or her mind.
Mediums don't generally find this theory at all plausible.
As Jim Wilkie has put it to me: "I'll believe Rama is part of me when I see him wearing a kilt and playing the bagpipes!"
(I'm sure Jim won't mind my repeating here what one person said after meeting Rama in a seance:
"Well, he's certainly better educated than his medium.")
A few mediums have seriously questioned whether their trance personalities were indeed spirit beings or repressed parts of themselves. One of these was Mrs. Eileen Garrett, who died in 1970 after a long and distinguished career as a medium and psychical researcher.
Mrs. Garrett often wondered aloud if her controls- she had two main ones: Uvani, who said he was an Arab, and Abdul Latiff, who traced his pedigree back to Persia many centuries ago-were separate from or part of her.
In 1936 Dr. Cornelius Horace Traeger, a medical specialist in arthritis and cardiac ailments, performed a series of exhaustive tests on Mrs. Garrett and her spirit guides. Their purpose was to find the relationship, if any, between the medium and her trance personalities by testing blood count, bleeding time, respiration, pulse, and reaction to various drugs.
The tests, administered first while Mrs. Garrett was normal, then while she was entranced by Uvani and then by Abdul Latiff, revealed many striking differences.
The blood clotting time for the medium in the normal state was three minutes; for Abdul Latiff, 90 seconds; and for Uvani, 33 seconds.
The blood count in the normal state was 70; for Abdul Latiff, 115; and for Uvani, 85.
Blood sugar tests showed a normal level for the medium and for Uvani; however, Abdul Latiff-who said that he had died of diabetes-showed a blood sugar level that was abnormally high.
Tests indicated that Abdul Latiff, when in control of the medium, seemed to breathe only from the top of the lungs, a condition often noticed in elderly people. (He claimed to have lived to a ripe old age.)
The most startling results, medically speaking, were those obtained with the electrocardiograph, which measures heart activity. Graphs taken for the medium in her normal state, and then while entranced by her two guides, varied so much that a cardiologist said he didn't think it was possible for the three readings to be of the same person.
Jim Wilkie, the author of this revealing, honest account of his own mediumship, has no doubt whatsoever that his guide Rama is a beneficent spirit being who, for reasons which to him seem good and sufficient, uses Wilkie as his instrument to help mankind.
Knowing Jim as well as I do, I can vouch for the absolute sincerity of his attitude toward Rama.
"When I'm depressed or sorely tried, I feel a wave of overwhelming love pour over me and I know Rama is there," he told me once.
To be sure, Wilkie and Rama have their conflicts, too, which are not devoid of humor. The medium once ruefully confessed to me that there are times when he has to assert himself or the thinks Rama would take over completely. Then, presumably, Rama would be the "normal" personality and Wilkie the secondary one. Even now, one occasionally wonders which is which.
There have been occasional periods in Wilkie's life when, disillusioned, he has sworn off mediumship for life. At such times Rama can make his presence known in some interesting ways.
Once, I was sitting in Wilkie's apartment in Vancouver chatting with him. He was telling me how, tired of being misunderstood and abused by people who didn't appreciate his psychic gift, he had decided to give up mediumship once and for all and follow a more normal life. Rama, he confided, wasn't very happy about it.
Suddenly, from directly beneath the plain kitchen chair on which I was sitting, came a loud crash. (At the time I tried to find an accurate way of characterizing the sound; I decided it was like someone pounding a kettle drum.)
Knowing that around Wilkie you can expect anything, I wasn't upset or even startled by the sudden, inexplicable bang.
"Rama?" I asked, looking under my chair.
"Yes, it's him," said Wilkie, not without heat. "He's been banging around here for the past week, throwing pictures off the wall and thumping."
Eventually Jim Wilkie gave in to Rama and returned to his mediumship, as he always does. I'm convinced that he will be a medium until the day he dies. And even then he may come back as somebody else's spirit guide.
It is possible to see in Rama reflections of Jim Wilkie's early emotional life. Wilkie's father served in Egypt with the British army in World War I and apparently conceived a lasting fascination for the land of the pyramids. The medium's relationship with his father, though today a warm and close one, apparently wasn't always so. I leave these facts for the psychoanalyst to make of what he will.
The emotional ups and downs which are hinted at in this book are part of a medium's life. In this respect, a medium is like an artist, who also exhibits a certain instability of temperament. In both cases, a supersensitivity is the price one has to pay for special perceptivity.
To my mind, people such as Jim Wilkie-who in this book gives you, the reader, a unique glimpse into the inner world of a gifted psychic-are among mankind's most valuable natural resourses. They offer the best hope we have of ever penetrating the ultimate mystery of life and death.
Mediums are astronauts of the spirit, explorers of that other new frontier which is even more exciting and potentially more important than outer space-the world of inner space, the new horizon of the mind.
To be continued...
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