Do you smell ectoplasm?

By Sue Farrow

For those of our readers who live in the northern hemisphere, it’s almost spring – allegedly. But if the south-east of England is anything to go by, the flowers and trees are having none of it, and barely a snowdrop has summoned up the courage to surface in the bitterly cold winds and rains of recent weeks.

Whatever the grey and gloom outside, it’s been sunshine all the way in the SPN office as we’ve worked through your fantastic response to our new debate series, For and Against. As we go to press, you’ve contributed almost 80 comments – many of them very detailed, containing original and thought-provoking points.

So what is the verdict to date? Our poll currently shows that 65 per cent of you believe in reincarnation, while 35 per cent do not. The debate and poll will remain open indefinitely, so please keep your comments and votes flooding in and we’ll let you know if the voting percentages change.

This month’s debate is an equally hot potato – physical mediumship and its place in the Spiritualist movement. Putting the case in favour of it is research electronics engineer Lew Sutton, who has almost four decades’ experience of physical séances and has written widely on the subject, most recently in the Society for Psychical Research’s journal, Paranormal Review. The noted Spiritualist historian and psychical researcher Leslie Price responds to Lew, suggesting that physical mediumship is “bad news” for Spiritualism.

Do you have passionate views already? As with reincarnation, physical mediumship can arouse strong opinions. Perhaps you sit on the fence at the moment and want to weigh up the arguments for and against? Whatever your views, join the debate via our comments facility and let us know what you think. We’ll announce the poll result in our April issue.

On a completely different note, we launch a brand new series this month – Spotlight on the Churches. In each issue we’ll highlight the work of a thriving church or centre and look in detail at what it has to offer. First up is the UK’s Bournemouth Spiritualist Church, in Dorset, led by president Al Potts.

Former PN writer Graham Jennings makes his first contribution to SPN this month, with an article on the healer George Fox. We also welcome American Spiritualists the Revs. Tom and Lisa Butler, who are well known for their extensive work with Instrumental TransCommunication (ITC). Their article I’m afraid of dying addresses a subject that affects many people in this world, and draws on some compelling examples of messages received from the other side through Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP).

Lis Warwood tells a dramatic and watery tale of spirit returns so evidential that even the most hardened sceptic would have trouble explaining them away, while Geoff Griffiths is back with a hard-hitting piece offering ten things ‘big’ churches can do that ‘small’ churches can’t.

SPN’s assistant editor Paul Brett takes a look at a new production of Noel Coward’s classic farce, Blithe Spirit, in which the lead character, medium Madame Arcati, makes her breathless entrance with the distinctly unusual line – “I smell ectoplasm!” It’s a play I love – an absolute must-see for Spiritualists with a sense of humour…

Kay Hunter rounds up some of the month’s most topical news stories, and you can also read one of Lis Warwood’s short Snippets from the Past.

All in all it’s a jam-packed issue, with something for everyone. As always, we want to know what you think. Keep those comments coming!

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