The Philip Experiment (Toronto; 1970s)

_Lizard23_

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#1
"made up" polt/spirit/gestalt

I am sorry - I know we have talked about this before, but I have searched the message board without being able to find it ...
so ... can anyone tell me the name of the group who decided to "contact" an entity, the name, personality, life etc of which they all just "made up" ... and what was the entity called (simon? peter? something quite reasonable like that?)???

Any web links to info also greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
 
A

Anonymous

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#2
I seem to remember this being mentioned as well as an article on a Ghost, made up and then propagated around a locale to see what stories returned and if anyone would subsequently witness it. Both of these I think are in some of my "Unexplained" Collection (what an absolutely brilliant resource those were, rescued from a bonfire as well, would you believe it).

I'll see what I can dig up.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#3
I know that the ghost was called Peter. Colin Wilson wrote about the case in one of his books - The Occult, I think. I've got the book but I'm not at home right now, so I can't check. I'll post back tonight if nobody else has dug up the details by then.
 
A

Anonymous

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#4
The entity was actually called Philip. The full story is in a book named 'Conjuring up Philip' By Iris Owen.

The experiment took place in Toronto and involved members of the Toronto Society for Psychical Research. A biographical outline was created for Philip then the group proceeded to conjure him up. The results are reported to have been quite spectacular - lots of rappings and furniture moving around. The experiment was eventually had to be abandoned because of the mental strain on the participants.

One thing that has always intrigued me is that the group appeared on television and reportedly demonstated a table levitation on camera. If anyone knows if a tape of this actually exists I'd be interested to know.

Colin Wilson does refer to the case in at least one of his books. He is of the opinion that a malevolent spirit took over the character of Philip.

Kent
 

_Lizard23_

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#5
THANK YOU!!

Thanks - just the correct name for the "spirit" enabled me to find stuff on the web about this - thanks once again peeps for your vast knowledge and great help!!!
 
A

Anonymous

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#6
What's always interested me about this is that no-one seems to have repeated the experiment. You'd have thought it would make a wonderful piece of 'reality TV'!
 
A

Anonymous

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#7
I had always wondered about that too - however apparently the experiment has been repeated.

By chance I heard a radio interview a few days ago in which the Philip experiment was mentioned. The interview is now on the internet here -

radio.cbc.ca/programs/basic_black/past_shows/audio/0206/0615_6.ram
Link is dead. No archived version found.


The beginning of the interview is a general discussion about poltergeists. They then go on to talk about the Philip experiment and the interviewee's later attempts to repeat it.

The person being interviewed was a psychologist named Leoard George. I found his web site but there is no discussion of poltergeists there as far as I can see -

http://www.geocities.com/nulliusinverba/

- but there is a lot there and I may have missed something.

Kent
 
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escargot

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#8
I remember reading about a story being made up of a murderous clergyman in a seaport town who had a boarding house where he robbed and smothered sailors in the night. His repentant ghost was supposed to haunt the area and was seen by lots of people. Years later whoever made it up revisited the area, to be told the same story with gruesome embellishments.

Didn't someone write to the FT a few years ago about a teenage prank involving the creation of a polt- which then haunted that location afterwards?
 
A

Anonymous

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#9
I read about it quite a while ago, and have been amazed with it since. What I want to know is what people think about it: if it's real or a hoax; if it's real then what the implications are; if people have even heard about it (I don't know any other Fortean enthusiasts).
 

ruffready

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#10
yeah I read the first book years ago

by charels berlitz (spl)..and then followed up over the years with various articles ,including "the book" by frank scully, with all the writting in the margines ..that even "said" american intel was interested in and printed off a couple hundred copies of the "scully" book with the marginal noted "the perp" that got this story going was just one man (con artist) alan ,allana, (he went by aliases. bottom line is its a Hoax.
 

_Lizard23_

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#13
I have been fascinated by this too.
It was mentioned in FT a while back I think, and I did do a bit of searching on the web for info, but I will go and look at your links.

If forced to provide an opinion (I actually think there is much more to forteana than whether or not things are "real" or a "hoax" or some artifact of the mind etc etc) I would say - why not?! I mean I suspect something similar occurs in teenage ouija sessions, and is certainly the principle behind a lot of chaos magic(k) (and all magic(k) by logical extension) ......... but if you ask me whether the thing contacted has any external reality I would probably pester you interminably to define external and reality until you didn't want to talk to me anymore :D
 

chiaa

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#14
I remember parallels having been drawn between the Phillip Experiment and the "Bell Witch Haunting" in Tennessee (maybe I drew them, but still, it might be worth a look).
 

escargot

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#15
Whooooooaaaaaaaaah

I spent half an hour last night looking on the MB for a thread I thought I'd seen about this very subject!

I have 'The Ghost Hunter's Guide' by Peter Underwood which has an account of 'Philip'.

The 'Philip' character was supposed to have felt guilty for not preventing the burning of a witch in mid-17th century England.
This whole premise is flawed as no witches were burned in England and very few were hanged, and none at all at the time in question. :rolleyes:

Sounds to me like someone had read too many bodice-rippers.
 

Jerry_B

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#16
'Very few were hanged' - hmm, what about all those condemned to death by people like Matthew Hopkins? Standard practice was for the accused to be hung.
 
A

Anonymous

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#18
since you said, "mid-17th Century England", I'll limit myself to the years 1640-1680 in that country...

*Anne Alderman, hanged at Bury St. Edmunds, 27 August 1645
*Joan Allen, hanged in London, 1650
*Anne Ashby, hanged at Maidstone, July 1652
*Mary Bacon, hanged at Bury St. Edmunds, 27 August 1645
*Mary Baguley, hanged in Chester, 1675
*Anne Bodenham, hanged at Salisbury, 1653
*Two Boram women, hanged at Bury St. Edmunds, 1655
*Jane Brooks, hanged at Shepton Mallet, 26 May 1658
*Margaret Brown, hanged in Newcastle, March 1650
*Mary Browne, hanged in Maidstone, July 1652
*Edmund Bull, hanged in Taunton, 1631
*Matthew Bulmer, hanged in Newcastle, 1649
*Joan Cariden, hanged in Kent, 29 September 1645
*Mary Clowes, hanged in Bury St. Edmunds, 27 August 1645
*Julian Cox, hanged in Taunton, 1663
*Rose Cullender, Hanged in Bury St. Edmunds, 17 March 1664
*Amy Duny, hanged in Bury St. Edmunds, 17 March 1664
*Thomas and Mary Evereda, hanged in Bury St. Edmunds, 27 August 1645
*Anne Foster, hanged in Northampton, 1674
*Mary Fuller, hanged in Bury St. Edmunds, 27 August 1645
*Jane Holt, hanged in Kent, 29 September 1645
*Elizabeth Knott, hanged in St Albans, 1649
*? Lakeland, burned in Ipswich, 9 September 1645
*Prudence Lee, burned in Smithfield, 10 April 1652
*Anne Leeth, hanged in Bury St. Edmunds, 27 August 1645
*Jane Limstead, hanged in Bury St. Edmunds, 27 August 1645
*John Lowes, hanged in Bury St. Edmunds, 27 August 1645
*Susan Manners, hanged in Bury St. Edmunds, 27 August 1645
*Anne Martin, hanged in Maidstone, 1652
*Anne Martyn, hanged in Maidston, July 1652
*Rebecca Morris, hanged in Bury St. Edmunds, 27 August 1645
*Joan Neville, hanged on 3 September 1660
*Elizabeth Newman, hanged in Whitechapel, 1653
*Mary Oliver, burned in Norwich, 1658/9
*? Orchard, hanged in Salisbury, 1658
*John Palmer, hanged in St. Albans, 16 July 1649
*Joan Perry, hanged in Oxfordshire, 1660
*Joan Peterson, hanged at Tyburn, 12 April 1652
*? Powle, hanged at Durham, 1652
*Mary Reade, hanged at Maidstone, July 1652
*Jane Rivert, hanged at Bury St. Edmunds, 27 August 1645
*Mary Skinner, hanged at Bury St. Edmunds, 27 August 1645
*Mary Smith, hanged at Bury St. Edmunds, 27 August 1645
*Margery Sparham, hanged at Bury St. Edmunds, 27 August 1645
*Sarah Spinlow, hanged at Bury St. Edmunds, 27 August 1645
*Katherine Tooley, hanged at Bury St. Edmunds, 27 August 1645
*? Utley, hanged in Lancaster, 1630
*Rebecca West, hanged 1649
*Joan Williford, hanged at Faversham, 29 September 1645
*Anne Wilson, hanged in Maidston, July 1652
*Anne Wright, hanged at Bury St. Edmunds, 27 August 1645
*Mildred Wright, hanged at Maidstone, July 1652
*And, finally, Hopkins himself ;) - hanged May 1647

These are just the individuals of that period, obviously there would be many more who went unrecorded...
 

Jerry_B

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#19
I'm glad I'm not imagining that such hangings took place and actually haven't been watching too many Hammer films ;) Several 'witches' from the area around where I grew up were hung at either Taunton or Shepton Mallet. And, although it was rare, people were indeed burned after being condemned for acts of witchcraft in the UK during that period (and others).

Escargot - how did you think, say, Hopkin's victims met their end, if it wasn't by the standard method of the time?
 
A

Anonymous

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#20
Phillip Xperiment+reality

The Phillip Experiment was real,we have several films by the group on the phenomena,as well as other groups in Canada.
We tried it several years ago,failed,then tried batcheldors methodology.
We achieved table scratching noises,taps,table leg lifts,rotations of the tabel etc,when sitters had their fingers lightly resting on the table in low light,as well as full light.
WE considered the results which we videotaped as examples of PK,which explains everything,but,explains nothing.
It has nothing to do with the bell witch haunting.
The historical inaccuracies that Philip was burdened with were done on purpose,to try to eliminate people saying"it must be a spirit since the historical stuff it repeats is real".
The reason more experiments like Philip are not reported is that most people "interested" in weird stuff like that are to lazy to try it.
The ramifications are... macro PK efefcts can be generated by humans.
The experiment we did,which was witnessed by outside observers like psychologists/psychiatrists etc, was produced as a refereed paper in the Australian Journal Of Parapsychology.

Mike
 

Ideasman

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#21
Very interesting stuff.

I have to say that as a Fortean observer, I am struck at how little evidence ther is to actually suggest that ghosts are the surviving 'spirits' of dead people in the conventionally accepted sense. If you study the literature, the most compelling evidence seems to relate to poltergeist situations which clearly seem to be centred around living beings. The Philip Experiment gives some credence to this notion. For me it links the phenomena much more closely to the world of consciousness research which offers a potentially more plausible theory. If miniscule physical effects can actually be measured in experiments conducted by Radin et al., the notion of the creation of wide variety of external effects isn't entirely implausible. Seems like a very obvious experiment to do.

Then again there are those religious types who insist that things of this nature are actually 'demons' who impersonate human personality.

Good stuff... I think there are more experiments like this that could be performed. Good one to catch old Derek Acorah out at least!
 

TVgeek

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#22
"Tulpa" -- in Tibetan mystic practice, a ghostly manifestation of a "thought-form" produced by the mind.

William S. Burroughs even considered characters in his
novels to be tulpas... that is: characters that have an existence apart from the novel, beyond the page.

John Keel (among others) has proposed this as an explanation
for many UFO sightings.

Besides ghosts, the concept seems to fit Bigfoot,
Chupacabras, Nessie, black dogs, poltergeists, demons, etc...

Thoughts?

TVgeek
 

Ideasman

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#23
Yes - The Mothman prophecies suggests the Point Pleasant phenomena were of 'hyperterrestrial' or psychic origins rather than extraterrestrial. As you say there are lots of mythological and folk beliefs pertaining to this and the Jungian collective unconscious idea. Also explains why EVP voices apparently make reference to the recorders thoughts and intentions etc.

Some have suggested that quantum non-locality etc. could underpin the notion of 'ambient consciousness'. As I say as an observer, these seem to have a degree of plausibility based on a purely objective study of the phenomena. Possibly as consciousness research develops there will also be the framework of a physical hypothesis. For me one the problems associated with the ETH in ufology and the idea of ghosts as 'departed spirits' is the strong element of wishful thinking charactersitic of religious or quasi-religious beliefs. Objective study like the Philip experiment tends to show explanations may lie elsewhere.
 
A

Anonymous

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#24
Dodgy Links

WARNING!

I clicked on one of the links above and ended up with about 10 pop-ups and a trojan tried ot install itself on my PC :(

You've been warned
 
A

Anonymous

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#25
ideasman said:
The Mothman prophecies suggests the Point Pleasant phenomena were of 'hyperterrestrial' or psychic origins rather than extraterrestrial.
This has always struck me as the Fortean equivalent of 'The God of the Gaps'.

(Warning: extended rambling follows)

The more we find out about outer space, the less likely it is that aliens from other worlds are visiting us. Thus, how to explain phenomena that would have been chalked up as UFOs? Hey, just say they came from another dimension.

This is closely tied up with ideas about the collective unconscious and how phenomena may be partly mental and physical simultaneously, e.g. Patrick Harpur's concept of "Daimonic Reality". However, once again, all it does is explain away oddity without explaining it. Aspects of any phenomena that leaves some sort of trace (e.g. crop circles), that can be physical, the bits that are entirely illogical (people see and interact with bigfoot, but no bigfoot corpses), well that bit was the non-corporeal part - how convenient! Everything is tied up and parcelled off.

It's a useful way to think about phenomena and to notice connections between apparently disparate strands, but it has no explanatory power and no evidence to support it. I don't think it leaves us any better off.

There is of course, a skeptical version of 'The God of the Gaps' : "it was all a hallucination". Given that there is so much still to learn about the brain, pretty much anything can be put down to some exotic and hitherto undiscovered mechanism lurking in the grey matter.


Some have suggested that quantum non-locality etc. could underpin the notion of 'ambient consciousness'.


I feel that invoking the quantum weirdness for anomalous phenomena is also a bit of a cop-out. "Hey, quantum theory is counter-intuitive, and my pet theory is nonsensical too - they must be connected!".
 

TVgeek

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#26
JamesM said:
The more we find out about outer space, the less likely it is that aliens from other worlds are visiting us
Actually, the recent experiments with the "quantum-
entangled-pair-transporter" make it seem quite a
bit MORE likely that distant civilizations (who obviously are sending more than our laserbeam experiments)
could travel here without a problem.

But thats just me...:)

TVgeek

P.S. I'm sure there is an "entangled pair quantum"
discussion already in progress
somewhere on the board... anyone?!?
 

Ideasman

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#29
In response to JamesM

Fair comment - in truth we are a LONG way from any explanations for any of this - just pure speculation. The thing that is significant about Philip is that it tests a hypothesis - that Ghosts (or at least the perception of a ghost can be manufactured). Similarly Radin & co. test the hypothesis that human consciousness can have an effect on small scal physical systems and appear to have shown tome effect. The point is though that you can develop hypotheses that are testable that gradually piece together a model.

What I find most fascinating about Fortean phenomena is that they give us clues to things that exist in nature that are outside the current model. I guess what I don't buy is the 'cosmic joker' hypothesis - that there are no rules or that they can be changed just at the point where we are close to understanding them. This however is ultimately as much an act of faith as believing these phenomena as being the work of external supernatural intelligences. You can at least start your enquiry from the standpoint that there are intelligent beings in the universe - us. At heart I'm a materialist, but not a reductionist - there's a lot we don't know about us.

What I like about the experiment is that it takes an empirical approach to something that some regard as mystical and 'beyond knowledge'. I agree though that the extension of this to 'Ahh so we create all the ghosties, aliens, plesiosaurs in lakes etc. by some sort of mind projection from the collective unconscious - that'll be those quantums again you bet!' is no better than the other theories. It does however point to a line of enquiry that has some potential to be tested when there are as yet no aliens on the Whitehouse lawn, 'friends re-united from beyond the grave' or plesiosaurs at marine world.;)
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#30
Re: Phillip Xperiment+reality

mikew said:
The Phillip Experiment was real,we have several films by the group on the phenomena,as well as other groups in Canada.
We tried it several years ago,failed,then tried batcheldors methodology.
We achieved table scratching noises,taps,table leg lifts,rotations of the tabel etc,when sitters had their fingers lightly resting on the table in low light,as well as full light.
WE considered the results which we videotaped as examples of PK,which explains everything,but,explains nothing.
It has nothing to do with the bell witch haunting.
The historical inaccuracies that Philip was burdened with were done on purpose,to try to eliminate people saying"it must be a spirit since the historical stuff it repeats is real".
The reason more experiments like Philip are not reported is that most people "interested" in weird stuff like that are to lazy to try it.
The ramifications are... macro PK efefcts can be generated by humans.
The experiment we did,which was witnessed by outside observers like psychologists/psychiatrists etc, was produced as a refereed paper in the Australian Journal Of Parapsychology.

Mike
Mike,

I realize this was posted several months ago but perhaps you are still lurking. You mentioned that you had copies of the films from this event. I assume that these are the 16mm copies that were distributed back in the 70's.

Would you be willing to copy these films or know of a source for copies of these films? Apparently they are very difficult to find.

Thanks
 
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