Sir Robert Ottley, Royalist

Sir Robert Ottley, Royalist

 Continuing with JH Brennan’s, Whisperings: The Secret History of the Spirit World, I wanted to mention the research conducted by Dr. A.R. G. Owen a few years after Bacheldor’s work. A Canadian research group led by Owen wondered if they could create a ghost.

Working a lot like fictional writers, the group created “Philip” and gave him a whole history. Philip had been a Cavalier officer during the English Civil War and had resided at Diddington Hall (a real place). The story of his life was a fabrication and went like this. Although Philip was married, he had an affair with a gypsy girl which had enraged his wife. The wife managed to have the girl denounced as a witch and burned. So distraught was Philip that he threw himself off the battlements of the hall committing suicide. Poor Philip!

Diddington Hall. Photo: John Evans

Diddington Hall. Photo: John Evans

The group held séances for a year trying to contact the Cavalier with no luck. I think it’s pretty amazing they’d keep at it that long with no result. One of the group eventually read Bacheldor’s work and wondered if a lighthearted atmosphere might make a difference. Giving it the old college try, they sang and told jokes, and oddly enough, after a few more séances, things started to happen. They heard their first rap and the table slid across the floor. Success at last! Encouraged, someone asked if Philip was doing it and was answered back with a loud rap. Having contacted the entity, the group used the one knock for yes and two for no method, to go on to communicate with Philip. Phillip affirmed the basic facts of his fictional life story and went on to reveal additional details the group had not created. The séances also produced various physical phenomena. The most spectacular was recorded for a television program. A table climbed a set of steps joining the panelists being interviewed.

Battle of Marston Moor, 1644

Battle of Marston Moor, 1644

I’ll leave you to ponder the significance of the Philip research. As a fiction author, I’m already concocting plots about how the other side conspires to have a good laugh at Owen and the other sitters.


Filed under Book Review, Books


  1. This is fascinating, especially the table walking up the stairs with no apparent foolery. Many Bible believers would say that demons (the third of the angels that fell when Lucifer AKA Satan deceived them) are present to play the same roll in deceiving humans. The premise would then be that they have no qualms about mimicking humans – whether dead or made up – in a seance or otherwise. Whether one believes this or not, it makes for good story telling inspiration.

  2. Sp fascinating. I was born and raised in Cornwall, UK, so grew up with the Cornish litany: “From ghosties and ghoulies and long legged beasties and thing that go bump in the night, good Lord deliver us.”

    • I always tell my husband I want a useful ghost- someone to empty the dishwasher and run the vacuum. Maybe I can get one now. Seriously, growing up in upstate NY, we had our share of ghosts and headless horsemen. They run through all cultures.

  3. Bob Edward Fahey

    How fascinating. Just goes to showing how much of channeling and mediumship lies actually in the beliefs of the channels and mediums themselves. Not all of it of course, but very challenging to sort one from another.

  4. I’ve noticed a similarity in fiction between the unreliability of communications from the other side, and communications from what claims to be the future.

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