Book Extract of the Month:  from Spirit Communication by Roy Stemman (currently Editor of Psychic News)

“When asked, ’Do you believe in Spiritualism?’ many people respond with the words, ‘I don’t believe, I know!’.  By this they mean that the cornerstone of Spiritualism – communication with the next world – has been proved to them beyond a shadow of a doubt.  There are, however, many people who, because they turn to Spiritualism in their grief at losing a loved one, allow their critical faculties to take a back seat as they grasp any morsel of evidence that life after death is a fact.  Sadly, in that state of mind, they make easy victims for individuals who claim to be in touch with the next world but have no real mediumistic powers or are outright charlatans.  On the other hand, there are individuals who refuse even to accept the possibility that life continues beyond the grave and who therefore dismiss everything associated with Spiritualism as lies, fraud or self-deception.  There are also religious fanatics who insist spirit communication is wrong.  Every medium is therefore a sitting target for sceptics and extremists.   Occasionally when someone I meet learns that I have an interest in Spiritualism and mediumship, they respond by saying, ‘Oh, I don’t believe in that.’ It’s a sweeping statement that has to be challenged. I therefore ask them to define what they mean by ‘all that’.  Usually they mention astrology, fortune-telling and tarot readings.  So, I tell them that none of these has anything to do with Spiritualism; that some Spiritualists may be interested in them but many others do not believe in any of them. ‘Spiritualism,’ I go on to explain, ‘is about spirit communication – talking with the dead.’ 

‘Oh, I don’t believe in that, either’ they usually respond.   

‘So, have you investigated it?’      

‘Er, no’

‘Then how can you not believe in something you have not investigated? I’ve taken the trouble to investigate it, and on the basis of what I have seen and experienced I believe spirit communication does take place.

‘I just don’t believe it.’

At which point, I usually change the subject, having at least made the point that Spiritualism is about much more than belief – that it’s something that that can be examined and researched. Of course, if I get a different response, such as ‘That’s interesting, what convinced you?’ I offer one or two examples of spirit communication from personal experience.

It never ceases to amaze me that so many people are dismissive of subjects about which they know nothing.”