Chapter 3

Psi and the Occult

Psi and the Occult

The Scole Experiment

This was a series of extended contacts with an entity named Manu and his team of spirit scientists and technicians comprised of personalities who had had an interest in science and technology while alive on Earth. The means of communication was the traditional mediumistic setting. The experiment itself was named after the village of Scole in Norfolk, England, and took place between the years 1993-1998CE. Involved as mediums (channelers) were Alan and Diana Bennett and the work was undertaken in the basement of a house rented by Robin and Sandra Foy. Manu, speaking through Diana, told them that he was the gatekeeper between Earth and the other side, and that he represented thousands of minds from the many other realms of existence. Their plan was to pioneer methods of communication between the two dimensions using combination of spiritual, human and earth-bound energy forces. Manu further explained that it was important that two of the group were able to work as mediums. As we will see, what makes this different from any other number of séances are two factors. The first was the major emphasis on physical manifestations, and the second its thorough investigation by the Society for Psychical Research (SPR)1 and others over a period of more than two years.
The first physical manifestation occurred when Manu announced that he had brought a gift from his team to their group. There was a loud thud on the table and after the lights were switched on a mint condition coin, a Churchill Crown, was lying on the table. Within six months of receiving the coin, the group recorded that they had witnessed dancing lights, the ringing of bells hung on the roof of the cellar, levitation of objects placed on the table, noisy cracklings and loud thumps. This process culminated one night when the Foys and Bennetts were joined by three other friends they received another message from Manu that he was going to bring a collection of gifts for them. At the end of the session when the lights had been turned on there were seven objects lying on the table. These were: A silver thimble, Two small silver lockets, A silver chain bracelet, A St Christopher medallion, An ornate miniature spoon, A decorated bowl with an inscription in French on the reverse, A small gold medallion adorned with hieroglyphics.
After this the sessions produced even more esoteric phenomena. Dancing lights would appear in the cellar and touch the group members. Among the varied activities of the lights were:

  • Extremely rapid movements.

  • Shape changes.

  • Responses to requests to visit and touch the hands of participants.

  • Hitting suspended strings of bells, glass jars or the table top with a loud noise.

  • Entering and apparently moving around inside people.

  • Extremely precise high speed geometrical gyrations.

Often accompanying them were words spoken from mid-air, a technique that came to be known as extended voice, and which seemed to come from all quarters, even from within the walls.
The next series of manifestations began when the Scole group bought a new camera loaded with conventional color film. This was placed on a wooden chair beside Sandra Foy who was instructed by the spirit team to take photographs in the total darkness whenever she was asked to do so. This was to be done without the use of a flash attachment even though there was no source of light in the room. As the ghostly lights moved around the cellar the spirits explained that they would try to project images directly onto the film. Altogether eleven frames were exposed in the darkness and upon development there were recognizable pictures where there should have been none at all. The pictures varied greatly and appeared unconnected with each other. The first and second were images of St Paul’s Cathedral during the Blitz of WW2. Two others showed a wrecked bus after a night of bombing in Coventry or London. The fifth showed the front cover of a newspaper from 1936CE and a sixth showed a group of soldiers from WW1 consisting of two officers and seven men. The remaining pictures were not as clearly defined but seemed to be groups of people. Having proved they could use the camera the spirit scientists needed one further test before the group could go public with their findings. They intended to project images directly onto film left on the table without using a camera. The group used a 35mm film still factory sealed and also put out two instant Polaroid films. The latter, when processed by feeding back through a camera, revealed a variety of pictures, star clusters and on one occasion a very clear portrait of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As the experiment progressed the images grew more sophisticated and started to include ancient scripts and hieroglyphics as well as excerpts from poems and pieces of literature. At this point Manu suggested that the Scole group invited the scrutiny of more orthodox scientists, and they contacted the SRP via a friend of their who was a member, Montague Keen. The subsequent investigations involved individuals from organizations such as NASA, the Scientific And Medical Network, and various European universities and privately funded research bodies. Investigators from Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the U.S. assessed and reviewed the Scole group’s techniques and physical evidence, especially the photographs.
To preclude fraud a special wooden box was built that was just large enough to house the unopened still sealed film. This was then padlocked and held by one of the visiting investigators. However, before the box was used in any of the experiments, it was sent away for examination to ensure that it was not possible to open it without breaking its seals. An “outsider”, a highly respected German engineer named Walter Schinneger, was invited to attend a session. He was handed the wooden box and placed his own roll of film inside it before locking it. He then carried both the keys and box to his car where he left the box keys. The car keys he handed to another investigator (Dr Hans Schaer) for safe keeping. In the meantime all the participants agreed to wear luminous wristbands so that their position at any time could be determined. Schinneger then explained what happened:

From the moment of locking the box until the time the film was processed immediately after the sitting, the box was solely in my hands. It was never allowed to stand alone and was not even touched by anyone else. In the cellar I held the box on my lap with my right hand, in such a way that my forefinger was on the lid and the lower part of the finger touching the locking mechanism. During the several minutes that followed, with my hand in this position, the table vibrated several times, sometimes so strongly that crystals we had placed on the top started to rattle. On one occasion the pullover and shirt on my right arm were pulled up and a finger circled my wrist; then the clothes were pulled down again. It felt as though at least five hands were touching my right arm at the same time, some of them quite powerful, as if they were seeking to pull my fingers away from the container (which I did not allow) or to apply force to the container, so that some effort was needed to keep the container in place. I held on to the box until after the sitting had finished. Then I retrieved my car keys from Hans, took the box to the car to pick up the padlock keys and returned to make a close inspection of the processing machine to ensure that it was empty. I then inserted the film into the processing machine and started the clearly audible processing mechanism, which took about two minutes. I removed the film myself and we all inspected it. It showed text, symbols and lines over the whole length of the film, together with some German words and handwriting and some strange mirror text.”

Although the investigators present were convinced there was no fraud there was still an element of doubt which visiting investigators insisted on removing. Dr Richard Wiseman was brought in to ensure no tricks were being played. He was a former member of the parapsychology unit at Edinburgh University and a specialist in the psychology, methods and practice of deception. He provided another fraud-proof security bag made of opaque triple-layered polythene. Investigators always insisted on bringing their own film.
Approximately four years after the
Scole experiment began Manu asked to switch some of their experiments to video. A video camera was mounted on a tripod and angled according to the spirits instructions. The captured images ranged from dramatic surges of color to Human faces emerging from bubble-like spheres. A year later the group saw a rather animated non-Human creature on film they named “Blue”.
In the last experiment in 1998 Dr Hans Schaer personally loaded a new tape into the video camera that was focused on a mirror reflecting a brown ceiling
1, making sure that no one else touched it. Alan and Diana Bennett went into a trance and Manu spoke to them, explaining that the work that they had all produced in the past would not continue, as the energy was needed elsewhere. At the end of the session Dr Schaer removed the videotape from the camera, checked his dated signature and carried the tape upstairs where he inserted it in the video player. At the start of the tape was the profile of a man aged between 50 and 60, slightly balding in front, with dark hair and possibly a black mustache, wearing metal-rimmed glasses. After a few seconds the image moved slightly and another face appeared behind the first one of a man wore something like a Russian fur hat. After a further three seconds or so both images vanished. Dr Schaer later concluded in his report that there was no explanation for what had happened.
Perhaps the most astonishing phenomena were those involving dematerialisations. Montague Keen writes:

“… the event that finally overwhelmed any lingering doubts harbored by Professor Arthur Ellison (former SPR president) about the authenticity of what he was experiencing. It occurred when a small point of light settled on and irradiated one of the four crystals located at the cardinal points on the periphery of the circular table round which the investigators and the Group sat. The three visitors saw, and described for the benefit of the tape recorder (all sittings were recorded and later transcribed) how the glowing crystal then rose before our eyes, and descended into the base of a translucent perspex kitchen bowl from which Arthur was invited to abstract it and replace it. He did so, bending low over the bowl to ensure than no human hand or instrument was at work. He was then asked to repeat the process, only to find that the image of the crystal was simply that: a non-material but clearly visible essence. This experiment was at our request repeated for the benefit of the two other investigators. All experienced the phenomenon of de-materialization and re-materialization of the crystal.”

Another notable feature was that the group were given instructions to build a communications device based around a chip of Germanium placed under physical pressure by a screw, and the output fed to a high impedance audio amplifier. Initial tests revealed the output to consist largely of White Noise (see later) which one would expect from such a setup. The claims as to there being faint voices or music present could be put down to either the unit acting as a radio receiver and picking up transmissions on the AM radio band, or to Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP). The group were then asked to bring some film to one of the sessions and it was subject to the usual security. Upon development it showed a modified circuit diagram, where the Germanium was located between two iron cored coils wired in parallel with it. This is reproduced in the Machines chapter.

1 Compare this set-up with the Psychomanteum described elsewhere in the book


1The Scole Report: Proceedings SPR Vol. 58, Society for Psychical Research, 49 Marloes Road, London, W8 6LA