By Sylvia Barbanell
Because of the success Red Cloud (spiritual guide of Estelle Roberts) has achieved in wartime with his voice séances, I thought that a statement by him on what happens “behind the scenes” would be of interest. When Red Cloud was approached by my husband and myself, he said it would be difficult to convey what happened in a spirit world that had different dimensions, but he would do his best.
“There are some things I can tell you,” he said, “but some are impossible. Let me put it like this. When a scientist is in his laboratory, and he is testing the various elements, he is very secluded and does not let others into his laboratory. Well, in this new group we have formed we are experimenting still. We are experimenting along lines of electricity and ether, that we may be able to accomplish the direct voice later on without a material body, because it causes a certain amount of interference and waste. Under those conditions, in the first instance, we must be careful in our experiments.
“I have my group. In it I have a scientist who was very well known in your world in his day. He has come in since I started this new series of voice circles, which you must admit are better than the old ones. Then there are some doctors and the four boys. The scientist and I gather a certain amount of ectoplasm from the medium and a little—very little—from the sitters. Some of this we have managed to keep. That is difficult for you to understand because you have the idea that ectoplasm always must return to its source. This small quantity, such a fraction, we have solidified and retained. We draw on it when we are ready and put it into the trumpet when we are using the trumpet.’’
“Would it be correct to say,” Red Cloud was asked “that in addition to the ectoplasm, which has gone back to the medium after every séance, there is a small proportion which has been retained by you”
“That is right,” was his reply. “It is so fractional that it is not missed. We have moulded it into a larynx, able to expostulate, so that sound can be transmuted in an understandable form to your ears.”
“So you have actually constructed a model larynx,” my husband said to the guide. “and kept it in stock, as it were, one that is not connected with the medium?”
“That is what I want you to remember, ‘Red Cloud answered. “Now, then, we use electricity from the ether. We take rods from the magnetic belt and connect them with the larynx.”
“What exactly are the rods?” he was asked. “Are they made of ectoplasm, too?”
The guide said: “They are electrical. They are something like electrical waves with insulating tapes of ectoplasm over them, which we draw from the medium and which have to return to the medium.”
“Is the purpose of the rods to enable the trumpet to move?” he was asked.
“No. Sometimes there is one rod, sometimes there are two rods. It depends on the conditions in operation, the condition of the body, atmospherics, etc. These affect the life—ray of electricity, as they do in your world, because we have to strike the vibration of your world.”
“Is it the same kind of electricity that we have in this world?” was the next question.
“It is,” said Red Cloud, “but the revolution of it is quicker until it strikes your vibration of electricity. When we have attached those rods to the larynx in the trumpet, the voices are struck on the electrical vibrations at the other end of the rods— not the trumpet end—and vibrate through the larynx, which converts them into audible sound in your world.”
“At what stage does the projection of the voice take place?” the guide was asked.
“It takes place twice,” said Red Cloud. “First, from the astral—we do not have to have a conductor for that, we use our own—then, it strikes down to a lower vibration, and then it strikes through the electrical rod into the mouthpiece of the larynx. Hence you get the boys’ voices.”
“So two distinct operations are required to bring the vibration down to earth’s level and then to make it audible?”
“Yes, for the larynx is inside the trumpet.”
“And where does the spirit speaker stand, at the trumpet or the other end?”
“The other end, sometimes right at the side of the medium.”
“Where the rod is connected to the medium?”
“Then that electrical impulse travels up the rod into the larynx and so we hear the voice?”
“What does the spirit speaker have to do in order to make himself heard? Does he think, or actually speak?”
“In the voice circles, we have built, just outside the ether, a box, or case, large enough for a man to stand in. Sometimes you have heard them say they have been asked to stand in the box, haven’t you? Well, they stand there and we fix over their ears and their mouths an electric rod, and they strike on the rod through which they strike to the earth.
“But they often stand near the medium. It depends on how calm they are and on the kind of voice we want to put through. Some are more capable than others. You know that in your world you have speakers and speakers. But they do speak. You have to be a long time in our world before you conduct conversation only by thought. You have to use your lips to voice your thoughts—well, it is the same here. We certainly talk.”
“Why are a trumpet and rods necessary? Why can’t you have a larynx at the side of the medium, or build it up over the medium’s larynx, and let them speak direct into that?”
“Now, listen. That is just what I was coming to. I told you we were experimenting. In your world there is a man I know. .
Here Red Cloud was referring to Sir Ernest Fisk, one of the world’s experts on radio communication. Sir Ernest, who was associated with Marconi in his pioneering experiments, has stated that he considers one day wireless communications with the dead will be achieved.
Sir Ernest has spoken to Red Cloud and the guide said of him:
“We are experimenting along his lines. Eventually, instead of using the box, the electrical machine will be built in your world by which voices will be heard directly from the ether space. We shall then be able to manifest the vibration sufficiently to strike the heavier forms of ether of your world through wireless telegraphy.”
“And that will dispense with the medium?” was the next inquiry.
“Yes, later on, but not yet. You are aware that always there are voices in space. You have proved that earthly voices and music can be picked up on certain wavelengths. Well, it will come about. Tell him he is right. The time will come, just as your wireless came, but it is still in the experimental stage.”
“But why can’t you have a larynx over the medium’s and dispense with the rods?”
“We cannot at present. We would have to form certain electrical rods which might interfere with the grey matter of the medium.
“What purpose does the trumpet serve from your point of view?”
“For one thing, you must have elements of conduction. We must have conduction to help hold the electricity together, something like a little cabinet to hold the ectoplasm, otherwise it would disintegrate. That is why I ask for water to be poured through the trumpet – it is a conductor.”
“So it is in cabinet form to condense and break down everything to make it audible to us?”
“Quite right. You appreciate also that we are dealing with the electrical vibrations of all the people in the room.”
“What exactly, as far as you can describe it, is it that you put over the ears and mouth of the people who speak, and why is it done?”
“It is done, first of all, to distract their attention from what is going on round them, and also to cause them to lower their vibration just a little to touch the rods sufficiently to express themselves clearly.”
“It is really the means of enabling them to concentrate on talking to the exclusion of anything else?”
“Yes, we do not want them to be put off by the others, or by any outside noise. You have external distractions; well, we have the noise of the universe around us.”
“It is a means of isolating them?”
“Yes, exactly. It is a substance used from our sphere and not from yours at all. It is a means of insulation by a substance which you cannot understand, a form of solidified ether.”
“It seems to me similar to the kind of apparatus that airmen use to communicate with one another.”
“Yes, it is similar. It is also a means of preventing the communicator from being interfered with by the conventional things of our world. You know the interferences and atmospherics you get when the rays are crossed by some vehicles.”
“So the communicators talk just as naturally as they would here when they get into the box?”
“Yes, except when they break down.”
“Does it require an effort on the part of the speaker?”
“Yes and no. It is all according to the nature of the person and his ability to overcome self-consciousness. Every personality is different.”
“Is it largely emotional stress that makes them break down sometimes?’’
“Not always, sometimes they become self-conscious without any emotional stress. Some are successful, like Henry Segrave; he has grown quite accustomed to it, like I have. But to some, when they hear your voices, it strikes such a chord in their memory that the emotion rises and they give it up.”
“Would you describe it as a difficult task for the average communicator to speak in the direct voice?”
“Yes, it is, but remember, it is only in its infancy. Men like Oliver Lodge are endeavouring with their earth knowledge to do what they can to help this subject forward.”
“How far are the speakers rehearsed beforehand?”
“We have to put them through their paces.”
“Do you cross-examine them beforehand?”
“Yes, but it is not done out of any disrespect or lack of love, but merely to make them practised. We put them on once or twice to see if they are capable of holding it. If they break down, we put them back a bit, but we always promise to let them come back and try again.”
“Do you rehearse the evidence?”
“Yes, but sometimes if the earth person becomes emotional that immediately has the effect of causing the voice to withdraw.”
“When a question is asked which the spirit does not answer, is that because that question has been unrehearsed?”
“That is true. They can sometimes answer spontaneously; it is all according to their personality. They are so keyed-up to get over what they want to say, that sometimes your questions make them feel they want to run hack and find out the answers, and then it all breaks down.”
“Obviously they are not completely normal while communicating, keyed-up with the excitement of what they are going to say.”
“Yes, but it is all according to the personality of the communicator.”
“Is the duration of the séance determined by the amount of strain it causes to the medium?”
“Exactly, I have often said to you: ‘I must go away now.’ That is when the doctors come and beckon to me that it is time the medium returned to her body.”
“Why does the trumpet go down with a bang?”
“When we disconnect and withdraw the rods from the trumpet it has nothing to hold it up.
The voice and the box are often at the medium’s side. You will notice the trumpet often ends there – in the box. Then the rods and larynx are removed and it comes down. It is just the law of gravitation.”
“How is the trumpet manipulated?”
“It is held up by an electrical ray.”
“Not by rods?”
“It is the same thing really.’’
“Who actually manipulates the trumpet?”
“When Bill Castello is talking to his father and mother and the trumpet goes right over to them, is that you or Bill moving it?’’
“I move it for Bill.”
“But Bill is not at the small end of the trumpet; his voice is still striking the rod near your medium?”
“Yes, quite right, that is the position. When the boys sometimes say: ‘Let us get it up a bit higher,’ they are all just giving a bit of power.”
“So the ‘transmitting station’ is by the side of the medium, and the loudspeaker is the trumpet?”
“Yes, that is a good way of putting it.”
“Your methods are a great improvement on the old ones.”
“Yes, all things must improve. Credit must be given to the pioneers of 50 years ago, but there has never been work like that you have had in the past 20 years. Everything must go on, if it is for the good of mankind. You do not think good men are going to sit down there and forget all about their life efforts, do you?”
“Do you get any interference at the voice séance?”
“Yes. You may wonder why I do not allow my medium to have them too often. I believe she has told you the condition of the astral world is chaotic. The result is that we find, very often, there are so many wandering round our world. That is something we have to watch out for.
Many men, lying unconscious in hospitals, are wandering in the astral world. If they can get to know of a circle being held, they are just like normal beings over here and they endeavour to join in. And they could do so and talk just as easily as one who is really over here for good.
That is one thing we have to be careful about. It is not deliberate interference, but due to their natural desire.”
“How are they attracted to a circle?”
“They just hear somehow. News travels here, too, and they all rush to see what is going on, just like any man would.”
“How do you keep them out?”
“We have watchers. That is why your mediums should not work half so hard as they do.”
“And yet the demand at present is greater than ever.”
“Yes, but they should wait until the conditions settle down more.
“Does the one communicating hear all that is said? Do you hear what is said?”
“I can, but not the others, only the one inside the box. They cannot strike through so clearly into your world and they only get a distorted view of what is going on, if at all. You get a word here and there, but not a great deal, if you are not in the box actually speaking. But I hear it all.”
“It all really comes down to a question of vibrations.”
“Yes, and the greatest difficulty of all is to strike the vibration between our rate and your rate, so that the link operates between the two at the right moment. That is tricky.”
“That is done by electrical impulses?”
“Yes, it is purely a scientific question. You may have noticed that sometimes the boys’ voices become slurred, that is, when they try to speak their words become slurred as they strike the lower rate of vibration, and it becomes sound without articulation.’’
“Is that why we do not always get the distinct characteristic tones of the speaker, but there seems to be the sound of Estelle’s voice in the background?”
“That is due to the striking between the two rates. If you could listen from our world you would hear their own characteristic voices, but the medium’s characteristics are in the ectoplasm. It is impossible to cut that completely out.”
“Yes, I suppose it is inherent in the ectoplasm, in the larynx you build.”
“Yes, you cannot have it otherwise, except when I talk. I am in complete charge. After all, the boys cannot understand it as well as I do.”
“Is it right to call it a larynx, is that the most suitable description?”
“We call it the articulation box.”
“What happens to the larynx that is retained, the piece of ectoplasm that does not go back into the medium?”
“We take it away in a little case we have, because it is solidified, not in your sense, but in the etheric sense; that is, once again, a transmutation of matter.’’
“With the direct voice, when the spirits speak, is that not astral projection?”
“No, the person has to be there in order to speak; nobody else can do it for them. It is not actually his voice, he is there behind it, but I suppose it is a form of projection.”
“We can understand that. It is no more the actual voice than a gramophone record of my voice would be actually mc.”
“Yes, that is right.”
Recommended reading: Some Discern Spirits by Sylvia Barbanell