Romano, Jacques - 'Spirit readings'
Type of Spiritual Experience
Not seeing spirits but reading the perceptions of each subject to get information about a deceased person they knew
A description of the experience
The Jacques Romano Story – Dr Berthold Eric Schwartz
… Romano … believed that he could obtain impressions of thoughts and information about people who had died long ago. He said, "If you understand your bodily and mental state, you can get hunches and presentiments all the time, but you only get an impression when you don't fill your head up with a lot of irrelevant material. Your mind must be a blank. When I do this work, I am oblivious to everything else on the face of the earth, to all sounds, sights, and distractions. My mind must be clear. There is no anger or anxiety. I must just want to do it. I isolate myself from the whole world."
In the middle of an evening or after he had observed the participants' nonverbal reaction to his monologue, Romano would select someone from the audience and give him a piece of cigarette paper. Romano instructed the subject to roll up the paper into a little ball and put it between his opposed forefinger and thumb. The subject held this in his outstretched hand and brought it in apposition to the point of a soft lead pencil in his other hand.
Romano then said, "Think of someone you have known well for many years, someone who is dead. The longer you have known the person and the more you know about him, the more vibrations I get. Don't think of a child because he did not have enough experience in life to leave an identity. There can never be any embarrassment in what I have to say because I only speak what the whole world can know.
Do not think about a soldier, because if I tell you all about the soldier and his life, three members of his family will become upset and might then go to a charlatan who can bring them too much grief. The deceased soldier's mother, his wife, and his sister would understandably confuse what I am doing.
"Now, I want you to be very quiet and listen to me. I will tell you things and recall events that you, yourself, have long since forgotten. Whatever you do, say nothing until I am finished. Do not interrupt or I cannot do it."
Romano assumed at times different postures and characteristic facial expressions of the deceased. He described many apparently significant events in their lives. The spirit reading usually lasted five to fifteen minutes. Romano seldom used a woman as a subject because he felt women were too easily overcome with emotion and often did not tell the truth about their age, and thus confused the chronology of the reading.
In eight out of fourteen spirit readings which the writer observed, Romano correctly spelled the letters and then gave the Christian names of the deceased whom the subjects were thinking of. In the other instances he got most of the letters correct but could not synthesize them into the name. For instance, he got in incorrect order all of the letters for the Norwegian name Torger, except the g. In one case, where he "failed," he correctly perceived three of the letters but was thrown off by the subject's insisting that he was wrong. The subject could not himself, it turned out, correctly spell the name Eleanor.
In many instances Romano provided additional first or last names of persons who were close relatives or friends of the deceased. Several times, Romano astounded his subject by telling him that he had switched from a man to a woman in thinking of a name or vice versa. If Romano began incorrectly or was interrupted, he would change the subject and, apparently, work himself up into a trancelike state again. Then after "erasing" his mind he would start over again.
A total of twenty names was given by Romano, which seemed to make sense and conform to the subjects' memories of the correct facts. Even where the names were incorrect, Romano usually provided enough pertinent information so that the subject felt he succeeded in the "spirit reading."
During the readings Romano's face would sometimes become contorted. He would take his glasses off and put them on or suddenly grasp his abdomen and gasp for breath. Sometimes he appeared depressed when describing a suicide. Once he held his chin, as if in pain, before proceeding to mention a fractured jaw sustained in an auto accident. Other widely diverse significant life experiences he described, and which were later said to be true by the participants, included "tremor of the fingers," "caught in barbed wire," "serious infection from an ingrown toenail," "motorcycle accident," "a wheelchair case for years and crippled with arthritis," "loss of a business by, recent fire" (giving the correct time of the incident), "breathing obstruction in the neck" (thyroid disease), "heart attack," "lameness resulting from a fractured hip," "chronic alcoholism," "study of foreign languages and particular interest in French," "paralyzed fifth finger from a fight in a grocery store," "mutilative leg scars," "a life intimately connected with horses" (Pony Express rider), and "decapitation in an auto accident."
In many of these instances Romano gave the approximate or exact age at onset of illness and death or the time of the event. By his acting, gesticulating, tone of voice and manner of speaking, he often so successfully imitated the deceased that the subject was amazed. In some instances the wives of the subjects cried out in astonishment.
Romano frequently "recalled" such personality traits pertaining to the deceased as "vile temper" "played the piano" . . . "a busybody" . . . "very stubborn" . . . "hard". "fighter" … "willful" .."sensitive"..."readily absorbs knowledge" . . . "envied by his associates and having a hard time for three years" . "an aunt wanted to adopt him" . . "the wife needed surgery but it was put off because of fear" "liked 'happy shoes' for some silly reason" . . . "wrote heavily and illegibly" . . . "a tall brother who speculated" . . "athletically inclined" . . . "very poor in mathematics" . . . and "a policeman with very big hands."
As far as could be ascertained in the observed readings, Romano was seldom completely incorrect in his statements. Judging by the subject's verbal response and, more particularly, by his reactions of amazement, it seemed that Romano was right many times.