Mediumship Research in the 21st Century | David T. Saunders

Stansted Hall was gifted to the Spiritualists’ National Union (SNU) by J. Arthur Findlay MBE in 1954 with the intention that the buildings be used to establish a ‘College of Psychic Science’ [emphasis added]. Stansted Hall was named ‘The Arthur Findlay College’ and has established an international reputation for its educational programmes in mediumship practice and philosophy. Despite Spiritualism being among the most evidence-based of the major religions, these programmes have not always sought to engender a scientific approach to the evaluation of empirical evidence gathered during mediumistic demonstrations. The President of the SNU, Minister David Bruton, has begun to address that shortcoming, initially by organizing a Science Day at the SNU’s Arthur Findlay Centre in 2013 that was intended to introduce the Spiritualist community to the scientific research that had been conducted on the subject of mediumship and to suggest ways in which they might adopt a more scientific approach to their own practice and experiences. Contributors included PA members Chris Roe, Elizabeth Roxburgh and Matt Smith. The event was extremely well received among practitioners, and as a consequence a ‘Science Week’ of workshops was run at Stansted Hall in 2014 that provided an opportunity for students to work with scientific methods ranging from controlled experiments incorporating EEG measures to more qualitative but still rigorous approaches including surveys and interviews. A condensed workshop programme was run at the SNU’s Stafford Centre in 2015, and the authors contributed to residential weeks in 2016, 2017 and 2018. The ultimate aim of these initiatives is to encourage collaboration between the Spiritualist and scientific communities to further our understanding of the nature and phenomena of mediumship.

As a next step in the rapprochement between mediums and academics, the SNU Executive Committee agreed to convert space at the Arthur Findlay College into a permanent laboratory that could be used to conduct research with the community of mediums who attend programmes at the College. Funding from the Society for Psychical Research has enabled the space to be refurbished and for equipment to be procured. The intention is that the space would be made available to serious academics for them to conduct their own research (subject to approval from the SNU). To facilitate this, we identified a study of mediumship by Delorme, Beischel, Michel, Boccuzzi, Radin, and Mills (2013) that could showcase the technical facilities available at the lab and to encourage the wider academic community to make use of this resource.

Presented at the “62nd Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association” on July 4, 2019, Paris, France; program chaired by Ramses D’Leon. Download the Abstracts at

The Parapsychological Association is an international professional organization of scientists and scholars engaged in the study of psi (or ‘psychic’) experiences, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, psychic healing, and precognition. The primary objective of the PA is to achieve a scientific understanding of these experiences.

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Published on February 11, 2020