Book review of The Unbelievable Truth by medium Gordon Smith, 2004 Published by Hay House, Inc
There have been many books written by psychics but this has got to be one of the more credible. Gordon Smith has been hailed as Britain’s most accurate medium. I saw him the other day at a theatre in Birmingham and clearly the audience were astonished at the detailed factual information he gave that was confirmed by the individuals he was talking to.
Of course our western culture tends to be sceptical about anything that is not rationally understood and claims by a medium such as Smith are highly contentious within the world of science.
Having said that many people nevertheless embrace paranormal beliefs. Gallup has conducted several polls and find that about three-quarters of the American population believe in the one or more paranormal processes.
Perspective of the medium
The medium comments on how amazing it is to watch the reaction on someone’s face when a certain piece of evidence comes through from the other side. It can put a light back on in a person’s life. One example is when he was talking with the woman in her mid-forties who had arranged a half-hour sitting with him. He heard the voice of a young man by his left ear saying ‘Mum I’m here’. Smith passed on his name, how he passed away and many features of his life. All seemed to be going well until the woman asked about a special code she had arranged with her son before he died. Her face fell when nothing came back.
Smith often looks at a private sitting as the spirit person getting a chance to make a phone call through the medium. If we imagine what we would say to our family in what might be a one-off call, it would probably not be a very measured and concise conversation. For me his sitter exemplifies the sceptical attitude of many. Despite all the evidence that it was her son who was present, she still disbelieved. However, finally as she stood up to depart, he heard her son suddenly call out the word ‘clover’.
“At this she stared at me, shocked. Tears began to run down her cheeks.”
This was the code that they had agreed upon.
Concern about open communication with spirits
I approached The Unbelievable Truth aware of Emanuel Swedenborg’s warnings about the dangers of open communication with spirits. In books about the history of modern spiritualism considerable space has been given to Swedenborg because of his voluminous writings detailing his extraordinary experiences of spirits including evil spirits who wish to cause harm. For example in his Spiritual Diary he comments
“When spirits begin to speak with a person, one must take care not to believe them at all, for almost everything they say, they have made up, and they are lying.” (SD 1622)
This links in with the attitude of Christians who have traditionally been wary of contacting spirits through the agency of a spiritualist medium.
“Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards to be defiled by them. I am Jehovah your God.” Leviticus 19:31
And so I asked myself ‘How come this particular medium, Gordan Smith, has not come a cropper through contact with malicious spirits? How advisable is it to have any truck with psychics such as those who apparently believe what the spirits are saying?’
Protection of the medium
I have come to think that a genuine medium such as Smith is protected by a divine force. This is because he is seeking to bring comfort to the bereaved and hope in a future reunion. If you open yourself to the psychic realm in the right spirit of care and concern for others then you’ll get the right spirit coming to you. Smith points out that mediums do not call up the dead. “On the contrary, the spirit people attract the attention of the particular medium they feel attuned to in order to contact their loved one.”
He writes that he has spent most of his life through his medium-ship trying to convince people that there is life after death. “Once we accept that our spirit will live on after death, then comes the question: what is it like in the afterlife? Where do we go? Is there a Heaven and Hell and what qualifies you to go to one or the other?”
The book has a chapter on heaven and hell. He points out that some people fear that loved ones are held in some ‘dark Hell realm’. They are seen as having led less than perfect lives. This applied to an occasion in 1966 during a private sitting with a well dressed but sad looking woman. The medium heard the voice of a young man in the spirit world telling him that this was his mother. The information came through that Mike had been suffering from AIDS and knew he was going to soon die. One night he had simply decided to take some tablets from the bathroom and end it all. This rather than involve everyone around him in prolonged emotional suffering. His family had already died a social death with neighbours and so-called friends.
“He told his mother that he was free of his suffering now. In addition he wanted to stop her from hurting because of what he had done. Such was her state of mind that she had consulted a medium even though it was against her religious beliefs.”
Smith says that the real hell is a state experienced by people who are locked in personal torment. If they grow from the experience of awareness of the wrong they have done then no afterlife judgment is needed. Living with the emotional pain they feel from this is punishment enough.
There is much more in this book. Not only what it is like to be a medium. Also it is about poltergeists, hauntings, altered states etc. A lot of this I find helpful and believable.
It fits in well with the idea I favour that we are simultaneously part of a physical and spirit realm. Also that, as Smith says, the part of us that is the material world is the size of your thumbnail.
Copyright 2013 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of Heart, Head & Hands Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems
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