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Observations placeholder

Turvey, Vincent – The beginnings of Seership – Controlling mediums in out of body experiences



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

The beginnings of Seership – Vincent Turvey

A few friends who were interested in psychic phenomena used to call upon me on Tuesday evenings (1905-1906). On Friday evenings they met at Mr. Walker's house, and held seances for psychic phenomena.

Knowing that “l" frequently left “Me," I asked them if they would allow “I" to visit them during their seance, in order to prove that such a phenomenon was actually possible. They kindly consented, and here I tender my thanks to them. When they called upon me on the Tuesday, they asked me if “l" had tried to go to their seance on the previous Friday. Thereupon I told them whether “I" had gone or not, and stated what “l" had seen and what “I" had tried to do.

A “document” was then drawn up and signed. The reader will notice that I was always made to tell my story first. Thus, in giving the account of what "I" had tried to do at their seance, or one occasion I said, “I” tried to go to your seance, and when 'I' got there ‘!' saw you like a lot of dolls in a blue mist; and then ‘I’ tried to make passes about a foot away from Mr. Gartside, and to make him brush his hair with his hand and shake his head"

The reader will note that "I" evidently misjudging the distance, actually touched Mr. Gartside, and that he felt the touch. There was no arrangement as to when I should go, beyond the general invitation, "Whenever you feel well enough to try.”

And it is worth recording that never once was “l" announced by a medium as being present when I had not made an attempt to be present and never once did a medium fail to do something that to some extent tallied with my version when “I" did go.

This rather upsets "suggestion by anticipation" as an explanation.

As there may be some among my readers who do not know the meaning of the word "control," I shall endeavour to explain it so far as is necessary. Until quite recently, in spiritualistic circles, "control" had only two meanings; but, unfortunately, certain investigators, with that love of coining new words which is far too prevalent, have given to the word “control” a third meaning. When a medium is entranced some investigators hold his or her arms and legs, in order to prevent those useful parts of the anatomy from moving a table or touching some one’s face under the pretence of “spirit" action. This these investigators call "controlling the medium's hands"; because, I presume "holding" would be too much like the phraseology of laymen.

Now, as a “spirit" often "controls" a person's hand in order to make him write automatically, Mr. Stead's for instance, we see how liable one is to be confused by the weird machinations of the "word-coiner." In using the word "control," the editor does so in the "old-style manner." That is to say, if a "spirit" hypnotizes a medium and makes use of the medium's body in order to talk, see, hear, etc., then the medium is said to be "controlled by a spirit".

If the "spirit " is one who often uses that medium, then the "spirit" is called the medium's "guide," or, sometimes, the medium's (regular) "control." This is well understood by most spiritualists; hence my objection to the phrase "controlling the medium "when "holding the medium "would save confusion.

Because I maintain that “I" is to all intents and purposes a "spirit" when “I" has left “Me," the reader will understand that the sentence "Mr. X.V.Z. was controlled by Mr, Turvey "means "Mr. Turvey's mental body, acting as does a 'spirit guide,' used Mr. X.Y. Z,'s organism (by permission) in order to demonstrate that Mr. Turvey was (mentally) in the room, etc."

In the light of this explanation document No. 5 will now be clear to those who might otherwise wonder how I could introduce myself to a lady when I was not there (in the ordinary way). So far as I know, there is no account written directly by a "spirit guide " of the method of taking control of a medium; and, since opinions differ, even among old spiritualists, I shall take the liberty of breaking the rule (of admitting facts and descriptions of sensations only) which I made for myself when planning this book, seeing that a brief outline of "I's " method of “taking control " may be of interest to some of my readers.

First of all, then, "Me" must be comfortably settled-in bed, on a couch, or in a chair - fully conscious, perhaps smoking a cigarette.

PROVIDED THE .FACULTY BE ACTIVE (big italics, Mr. Printer please, or else some cute critic will say that I claim to use the mental body whenever I like), I say (mentally) "I" am going to Boscombe, and shall try to "control" Mr. X.Y Z “I" leaves "Me," and comes to consciousness about a quarter of a mile away from my house.

In a second or two "I" tells "Me" that "l" has arrived, and that Mr. X,Y,Z. feels “I's " presence, "Me" thinks, " Try to make him say 'Hullo! Mr. Jones; how are you?'" “I” replies, "That's done."

Then “Me " says, "Make him do so and so," Perhaps "I" cannot do that particular thing, and "I” therefore does something else on its own hook, so to speak, and tells "Me" what “l" tried to make Mr. Jones do, after “I" has returned to "Me"

In moving a table “I" tilts out the letters ABC, etc., one tilt of the table being A, and three or four tilts C or D, etc. In order that this should be done, "Me" taps his foot on the floor, or his left hand on a cushion, and “I" tilts the table in response to the taps made by "Me"

The difficulties (and perhaps, dangers) are many.

First, “I" has to make the medium's own ideas "lie down quiet"; for, absurd as it may appear to say so, these “ideas " seem to stand up from the brain like blades of grass on red jelly, and until "I" can get one or two of these “blades " to "lie flat," “l" cannot get "Me's" message delivered even to a small extent.

Then, again, other "influences" try to "chip into the conversation " and to "play the idiot " with the cords of communication between “I" and “Me," and between "I" and the medium.

Furthermore, “I" cannot always remember what "Me" wanted to make the medium say or do.

Sometimes, on the other hand, "I" does a lot more than "Me" knows. But worst of all, and this it was which chiefly caused me to drop the experiments, when once “I" had “laid a communication wire " to any brain, other impersonating entities, who could not lay one for themselves, might make use of it, and by giving silly messages get the unfortunate Mr. Turvey into trouble.

There is one extraordinary feature of this phenomenon, viz. at times “I’s” faculties transcend those of "Me," and at other times they are much inferior. Thus “I" has diagnosed an illness, whereas (normally) I could not have done so; and "I" has failed to see a large bookcase in a certain room, whereas, of course, any one in the body could have seen it with half an eye!

The above remarks may possibly help to explain the reason why "spirits " can, or can not, do or remember this or that. For my own part, I think nothing is impossible to the mind of man under appropriate circumstances and yet very little can be done without certain conditions being satisfied.

Documents No. 1 and No.2 practically speak for themselves, and therefore I shall spare the reader any further infliction from my pen.

(Document No. 1.)

We, the undersigned, declare the following statements to be true in so far as we are jointly and severally concerned. On Friday February 9, 1906, a “sitting" was held at Mr. Walker's house four miles from Mr. Turvey's. Present (five persons). Mr. Turvey was sitting at home and willed to attend the seance in "Spirit body." “He came and saw us all as small dolls in a blue mist. He tried to attract Mr. Gartside's attention. Mr. Gartside felt Mr. Turvey's presence and said so, made room for him (He drew up on his chair.- V. N. T.), and then felt him touch him and said so. Mr. Turvey tried to make "passes" a foot away from Mr. Gartside and make him brush his hair up with his hands and shake his head.




We, the undersigned, vouch for correctness of the foregoing statements.


A- R-----.

(Document No 2.)


Mar. 6, 1906,

We, the undersigned, bear witness to the truth of the following incident in so far as we are jointly and severally concerned. At a sitting held four miles from Mr. Turvey's house. Present (five persons).

On February 16, 1906, Mr. Gartside said: "Mr. Turvey is not here" (in the spirit body), and on the Tuesday following, Mr. Turvey, in reply to question, said: ”I” did not try to go I was too ill."

On the Friday following (February 23) Mr Turvey was in bed, at nine, in his house-the usual sitting was held four miles away. Mr. Gartside said: "Mr. Turvey is here," and began to cough, and felt a pain in his left lung, and Mr. Walker said: “That is not your usual cough."

“No," he replied, “it is Mr. Turvey's."

Then Mr. Gartside stood up for a moment or two.

On Mr. Turvey's being questioned on the following Tuesday: "Did 'you' come?" He said: “Yes, ‘I' came and then ('M’) began to cough so 'I returned to my body. Then 'I ' went again and tried to make Mr, Gartside stand up and walk round the circle. But I was too ill to ‘see' if he did it.

Did he feel me there? What happened? " We, the undersigned, in so far as the actions of Mr. Gartside are described in the foregoing, testify as to the correctness of the statement.




A_ W_ R_.

(My pain is in the left lung-V. N. TURVEY.)

(Document No. 3.)

We, the undersigned, testify to the following facts, some of us for one, two, or all of the dates given. We attended a seance at a house at least two miles from Mr. Turvey's home on April 4, 11, and 18, 1907, and the table spelt out, on the first occasion, "T U R V"; on the next, “VINCENT NEWTON TURVEY," the middle name being evidently unknown to any one, judging by the general remarks. And on the last occasion the table spelt "TURVEY," and answered correctly one or two test questions, Mr. Turvey was not in the room in visible form.

J, WALKER.                                  H. MUNDAY

C. LUCKHAM.                              D. HARTLEY.

V. HARTLEY.                                 H-G-(Rev)


(Document No 4)

We, the undersigned, testify to the following facts, which occurred at above address on June 19, 1907- Mr. Blake was apparently "controlled" by an influence purporting to be "V. N. Turvey" He was at first made to write Mr. Turvey's name, and then, assuming Mr. Turvey's mannerism, he shook hands with Mr. Walker, and said, "Well, Walker, I have done it." So convinced were we that Mr. Blake was controlled by Mr. Turvey that we signed a similar letter to this, and gave it to him; but we therein stated, "Mr. Blake was controlled by Mr. Turvey" And it is at Mr, Turvey's own request that we protect ourselves from criticism by adding the words “apparently,” and “by an influence purporting to be. " Mr. Turvey was not in the room in his body. We believe his statement that he was in his house four miles away.

Signed by M, WALKER.


E. BLAKE (Mrs.).



Document No 5

(No. 69.)


July 19 1907


Referring to our conversation on the 17th inst. You mentioned to me that when I was at the "sitting" held July 3, 1907, I was "wearing something green at the top part of my dress, you had seen it, and also that I sat 'low' at the table, causing me to appear a much shorter woman than I am." Now these two statements are singularly correct. You claim that your "spirit" actually controls the medium, using hypnotism and Telepathy as "spirits" do. You further claim that your spirit is actually there, and certainly the two facts you gave me seem to prove your claims. I fail to see how you could so correctly describe my dress if the phenomena was only "hypnotism and Telepathy at a distance," for in that case the hypnotized medium would have to hypnotize you, his hypnotizer, which I should think is impossible, in order to telepath back to you "Mrs. Laney wears green cross-over, etc." These details are of great interest to me for in conjunction with others (as instance the difficult breathing of the medium) it proves the possibility of an incarnate spirit effecting control of a medium.

Sincerely yours,


The Document No 5 is as follows:- July 4, 1907, At the circle held at C- Rd, Bournemouth, Mr. Blake, under control of Mr. Turvey turned to Mrs. Laney and introduced himself, at same time shaking hands, and then turning to Mrs. Walker he inquired why she had not come to see him. The second message was particularly convincing in this respect ; unknown to the rest of the sitters, Mr. Turvey had made the same remark to Mr. Walker in his (Mr T.’s) garden about two hours previous, and there could not be any chance of thought-reading in this particular case, as Mr. Walker had to retire from the circle soon after it opened, and had not mentioned this remark of Mr. Turvey’s to any one.


M. WALKER (Mrs.).




(Document No 6.)

On the Wednesday following the 7th of July, 1907, I retired into my drawing-room with the intention of trying to go to a séance at Pokesdown (some four miles distant) in the mental body. "Me" had hardly got settled on the sofa before “l" was free and away from the house. "l" had just taken control of the medium when "Me" was disturbed by some loud talking in my hall, and “l" returned in haste to the body. Now for the sequel. I went out of the room into the hall to see why I had been disturbed. There was my wife, a maid, the cook, a nurse, and a Persian cat. This cat had followed the maid home, and the noise was about, "Oh, do let us keep it," etc., etc. A number of excited persons talking about a cat. And exactly at, the time that the noise commenced in my hall, the medium, four miles away, shouted out, "Cat, cat, cat!" The document is as follows:-

(Document No 6.)

July 10, 1907.

At the “aftercircle" in Hall on Sun day night, 7th inst., Mr. Blake, under control of Mr. Turvey, described to a lady in Hall the form of a gentleman, whom she recognized. At the usual weekly circle held in Pokesdown Mr. Blake, under control, said in a very emphatic manner, “Cat" This was all, as the "control" then left.


E. BLAKE (Mrs.).



The source of the experience

Turvey, Vincent N

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps