Séances, in which contact was made with alleged discarnates, were held in the White House while Abraham Lincoln, a professing Christian, was President. Powerful manifestations of poltergeist activity, including the levitation of a grand piano, were claimed to have been witnessed by Lincoln and Cabinet members during these séances. MacKenzie King, prime minister of Canada, secretly engaged in necromancy and believed he was in touch with his dead mother. Unlike King, the famous W. E. Gladstone and the first Earl of Balfour, two of England’s prime ministers, were very open about their spiritualist beliefs and frequent attendance at séances. It was through attending spirit séances with his wife, Helen, that Carl Rogers became convinced of the reality of the spirit world.
Many professed mediums are undoubtedly frauds, as is the case with astrologers, palm-readers, psychics, and fortune-tellers. The existence of organized, mediumistic fraud has been documented in The Psychic Mafia. Ex-spiritualist M. Lamar Keene confessed that for 13 years he was part of a nationwide network of 2000 phony mediums who traded information about clients and conspired to cheat countless people out of millions of dollars. He claimed that massive card files on “believers” were kept at Camp Chesterfield, Indiana—known as the “hub of world Spiritualism”—for the use of mediums “on the inside.”
There is, however, solid evidence that communication with spirit entities does take place. Ruth Montgomery was one of the most highly honored women journalists of her day when she was assigned by an editor to investigate the strange phenomenon of communication with alleged spirits of the dead. Surprisingly, she founder herself confronted with more than enough evidence to overcome her seasoned journalistic skepticism. Eventually “spirit entities” began writing books through Montgomery, and she became known as “the Herald of the New Age.”
California’s Episcopalian Bishop James Pike, a former lawyer, rejected most of what the Bible said. After the suicide of his son, Pike was convinced that he had made contact with his son’s discarnate spirit through a medium in London, England: Enna Twigg. Pike’s skepticism was overcome when the spirit speaking through Twigg mentioned numerous details of private life that only he and his son knew.