Convincing The Scientific Mind
by Piers Eggett
People I meet are often surprised to learn that I am both a government scientist and a committed Spiritualist.
Somehow, the two don't seem to go together, but I am by no means unique. I think of myself as following in the footsteps of the pioneers, some of them far better scientists than I will ever be, such as William Crookes and Oliver Lodge, to name but two.
These people had reputations at stake, which I do not; yet they were not afraid of making their views known, so why should I worry about what people think of me?
My career has reached its peak, more of a plateau really, so I have nothing to lose. Also, I am pleased to say, there is a growing number of young scientists who are showing great interest in psychic phenomena and spiritual matters.
Scientific people, however, are notoriously sceptical, so what can be done to help convince them of the truth?
Perhaps the best place to begin is to look at what finally convinced me that Spirit really exists. Admittedly, I was already part way there, since from childhood I had been aware of spirit people and occasionally had clairvoyant flashes, but awareness is a feeling, and not tangible proof. What I needed was something more definite.
I was sitting in bed, reading, one night in 1987, when I was suddenly aware of a man's presence in the room.
This, as I have said before, was not unusual in itself, except that the feeling was particularly strong. I thought no more of it and finished my book, turned out the light and went to sleep.
Suddenly I was awoken by something, and as I lay there, wide-awake, the feeling of a presence was quite intense. The atmosphere was electric and highly charged. although the room was quite dark, I looked around me, and was startled to see beside me, no more than a foot away, a small cloud of what looked like white smoke!
The cloud swirled around as it grew in size and intensity, and then, suddenly 'locked on' to a form. It was the face of a man, and was perfectly detailed, with every hair and wrinkle clearly visible.
He was grinning at me, and I remember thinking what lovely even teeth he had! He then leant over, and although I couldn't see his arms, I could clearly feel them as he embraced me in a hug. His arms were strong and absolutely solid; without doubt, he was real!
I asked him for his name, and in a soft but audible voice, he told me.
He spoke a few more words, and then kissed me on the cheek before drawing back, and gradually he faded away.
Now, I can say that in all honesty that Spirit is real; I don't just believe it, I know it! I have since that night had many similar meetings with my spirit friends, and each occasion is a wonderful experience.
Sometimes the electric field is so powerful that, when I reach out to touch the person, I am stopped by sparks dancing on my finger tips and an electric shock travelling up my arm.
While on other occasions I am able to hold them by the hand, and feel the fabric of their clothing.
Once, the 'smoke' was bright green!
We rely on our senses to tell us about the world around us, and although I know they can be fooled, I would say that if our senses of sight, hearing, touch and smell simultaneously indicate that someone is present in the room with us, then it must be a fact.
We normally accept a person's presence with less sensory input than this, after all. We don't have to touch someone to prove they really are there.
This proof, however, is personal to the recipient, being specifically tailored to their particular need, and obviously does not constitute proof to anyone else.
Similarly, the small gifts apported to us either in circle or directly into our homes, are quite meaningless to those not present at the time, no matter how precious and undoubtedly cherished they are to those who receive them.
I have been privileged to receive a number of gifts this way, and my scientist friends are always keen to see them and examine them closely, but at the end of the day, they have only my word as to where they came from.
In any case, what exactly do they prove?
They show that it is possible to dematerialise an object in one location, and re-materialise it somewhere else, but do they prove the existence of Spirit?
Incidentally, we are told that since time does not exist to Spirit, this is no barrier and things can be transported from the past as well as from the present.
It is, though, more difficult to bring items from the future. The only way in which apports offer any evidence of Spirit, is in the significance of the article to the recipient.
In fact, when we have received more than one item at the same time in circle, the nature of each gift has made it plain which belongs to which sitter, thus indicating the work of a Spirit mind, which knows each of us well enough to be able to select a relevant gift.
One of the main ways in which a scientist verifies a theory is by testing it repeatedly with a suitable experiment.
When we put Spirit to the test in this way, we immediately run into difficulty.
Firstly, many effects have been observed, but do we really have any idea of why and how these things are brought about?
Secondly, results are not consistent. For example, it is a well-known feature of physical circles that a fall in temperature occurs, but the size and speed of the change depends on various factors such as the place, the sitters and their energy levels, and of course, the intention of the spirit workers on that particular occasion.
Also, temperature changes tend to be much more marked below knee level, so it is important to site the thermometer correctly, and to use an instrument with a sufficiently rapid response.
It is important, therefore, to have experimenters who have at least some experience of the work.
Even then, results are likely to be very variable, since no two circles are ever the same. Sitters would soon lose interest if the circles repeated themselves every week, and Spirit too would not tolerate such a waste of time.
These precious moments we are able to spend in the company of our spirit friends are far too valuable to waste; after all, it takes effort and commitment on both sides. There is work to be done, such as healing, and teaching and so on.
Care must also be taken not to influence the results. I was aware of this possibility as a young experimentalist, over twenty years ago, when I used to ask not to be told what results to expect, because I knew that if we were looking for a subtle effect, I could sometimes influence it just by thinking about it.
How, then, do I go about convincing my sceptical colleagues?
The best proof of all is, of course, the kind of personal proof, which I have had, and I am sure that anyone who is genuinely seeking conclusive proof, will eventually be given it.
Meanwhile, there must be something I can do to whet the appetite of the scientific mind.
I put this problem to spirit one day, and was immediately shown the inside of a library. The walls were covered with bookshelves to the ceiling, and in the foreground stood a group of scientists from the past.
One or two faces were familiar, but most of them I didn't know at all. One man stepped forward and explained that they understood my desire to help, and the problems I was facing.
He went on to say that they would impress my mind from time to time, with thoughts about various experiments and measurements, which could usefully be made.
He indicated the books behind him and said "Look, we have all this knowledge to work from, and there is no shortage of ideas over here".
Needless to say, I was tremendously encouraged by this, and look forward to working with these fine people.
They have already given me some ideas, which I am eager to try out. I think it is so important to work with Spirit, if we can, as their task is difficult enough without having us against them.
One of the major problems with physical phenomena, at least to the sceptical mind, is that of light, or should I say, the lack of it.
Most work of this sort takes place in complete darkness, which it must be said, if you don't have complete confidence in the integrity of the medium and sitters, can appear highly suspicious to an already critical investigator.
Equally, from a spiritualist point of view, it can be argued that if you distrust others in the group, you should not be in circle in the first place, and in any case, phenomena are unlikely to occur under such conditions.
Spirit tells us they are well aware of this problem, and are as keen to work in light as we are.
The trouble is, working in the dark is much easier for them, and to develop a medium to work in light conditions takes much longer. It has been done in the past, and I am confident that before long, we will, once more, have physical mediums working in, perhaps not daylight, but certainly subdued light.
Once people are sure that they are not being deceived, an enormous degree of scepticism will be removed. I'm afraid though, that many scientists will still have their doubts.
When it comes to scientific investigations, the reader may conclude that I am in favour of physical mediumship only. This, however, is not so. I believe that mental mediumship has a vital role to play, since it works on a mental level in more ways than one.
In short it makes us think, and this is an essential part of breaking down the resistance of a stubborn mind.
We cannot force people to believe as we do, but if we can prompt them to think about our words and the evidence given by high quality clairvoyance, then we have done them an enormous service.
If they can just admit to themselves that the existence of Spirit is a possibility, then when they are ready for their own personal proof, they are. less likely to turn their backs on it or to look around for signs of trickery.
They are much more likely to say to themselves: ‘This really is true!’
It is my view that a big stumbling block in the minds of sceptical scientists is that of fear.
They have been trained to believe that everything is measurable and understandable, to the extent that they think that anything which can't be tied down and understood by physics cannot possibly exist.
This blinkered and arrogant way of thinking has led to a scientific community, which is afraid of being shown up as not knowing all the answers.
I can see nothing wrong in saying ‘I don't know’.
After all, there is so much that we don't know, and where is the shame in admitting it?
The most sceptical people' will not have their comfortable world turned upside down, and will deny the very best of proof.
For them, it would mean having to rewrite the science books and the laws of physics.
Well, why not? As spirit has said to me, ‘You will never be able to convince everyone, and as a result, you will suffer much scorn and ridicule, and you will need to be strong to withstand it. We will be there to support you. Be thankful for those you are able to convince’.