Eckhard Kruse's Pages
Physical Mediumship
Experiments with Gary Mannion, Wallacia Development Centre, Australia, January 2018
In January 2018, I visited Wallacia Development Centre to do experiments and investigations regarding the physical mediumship of Gary Mannion. This research was made possible by Inge Crosson, who is leading the center. She had also invited EEG researcher Andrea Groh, who made very interesting EEG measurements with Gary and other mediums, which, however, won't be addressed on this page.

This page provides information about the equipment and measurements being made, as well as comments and conclusions from my perspective. However, the original data such as videos, sensor readings and resulting diagrams cannot (yet) be made available to the general public. I know the reasons for this and I fully accept them. The phenomena I experienced, measured and recorded during Gary's seances left me with no doubt that I witnessed authentic and real phenomena of physical mediumship. But, of course, without presenting the detailed evidence here, I do not expect to convince anyone else of my assessment.

Rather I just show what has been done in Wallacia, including some probably new and beneficial approaches to investigate physical mediumship. I hope and I am confident that the measurements can be continued and extended with Gary, and of course I appreciate any interest from others. But I also fully understand that every medium (and his spirit team) has their own approach to this topic, including the perfectly legitimate choice to deny any investigations. After all, the past has shown more than once that even the most rigorous and convincing investigation results did not protect mediums from being attacked as fraud. Science (alone) probably won't solve the issue, as so often human thinking seems not to be guided by evidence and reasoning, but by personal beliefs, dogmas or even selfish interests.

Research approach
I brought various technical devices, sensors and cameras to Wallacia, without exactly knowing beforehand which of them could be used and to what extent. I am convinced that the best approach to investigate physical mediumship is to not impose my own rigid measurement approach to the medium / the spirit team, but to jointly discuss what could be done, while minimizing the risk to interfere with the subtle conditions required for the phenomena or to even endanger the medium. Of course, scientific methodology aims at having maximum control. But I believe that investigating physical mediumship does not work like physics or other experiments with inanimate matter. Think rather about anthropology or psychology (or the observer effect in quantum physics): Every measurement is an interaction that by itself can strongly influence the outcome.

Sometimes skeptics argue that a medium will anyhow only allow those measurements that cannot debunk any fraud - implicitly saying that only secret measurements without the medium's consent can bring up the truth. I rather see it the opposite way: Those who base their investigations on betrayal will never be able to find any truth. Interestingly, in our case, some measurements that would have been anyhow quite weak to reveal any trickery, were declined by the spirit team. Others, with quite challenging conditions such as white light and sensors at the medium's arm and inside the cabinet, were allowed.

Sensors and devices
Here is a list of the technical devices which were available and how they could be used. Apart from a commercial video camera, the devices were to some degree built, adapted or programmed by myself. This includes changes required for seance room conditions, i.e. to not produce any light (LEDs, Displays etc.), keep electromagnetic emissions at minimum (local storage rather than WiFi or Bluetooth transmission), and be handy and self-contained (running on battery power). Each device (based on Arduino/Sparkfun technology) works independently, storing the raw data on a Micro SD card with precise time stamps and sample rates from 2 Hz (e.g. temperature and weight) up to 100 Hz (motion sensors). For post-processing, synchronisation of different data sets and visualisation I wrote a software for the PC (see example diagrams below).
  • Video camera (Canon XA30) with infra-red support, i.e. the IR filter can be removed and optional IR lighting is provided. The active IR lighting has not been used, but the IR sensitivity helped to improve image quality in red-light conditions.
  • Thermal video camera + box (based on Raspberry Pi microcomputer) for lossless recording of the raw data.
  • Motion sensors (with MPU-9250 motion processing unit), with accelerometer, gyroscope and compass, allowing to measure forces/acceleration, angular velocities and absolute orientation in space (based on the magnetic field and the gravity vector).

  • Air quality / 'weather' sensors (Datasheets: BME280, CCS811, Si7021, MPL3115A2): Temperature, humidity, pressure (also usable for altitude, but accuracy of about 30 cm). Also estimation of total volatile organic compounds / CO2 equivalent units.

  • Human body sensors: ECG (with 3 contact electrodes), pulse oximetry (heart rate, O2 saturation, using fingerclip, but still needs some calibration work), contactless temperature (IR)
  • Scale: Chair and medium are placed on a wooden board residing on four load sensors (strain gauges). Measures the weight (sample rate about 2 Hz) and is also sensitive to body motions.
Experiments and results
Of course, it would be nice to just put all these devices at the same time into the seance room or the cabinet and let them record the whole session. But physical mediumship does not seem to work this way. Every change to the setting can have an impact that is potentially hard to predict (I remember a spirit team complaining about freshly painted walls...). So, the team suggested a step-by-step approach with a limited number of devices. And even then, e.g., the first trial with the motion sensor attached to the medium's forearm resulted in a skin irritation looking like a very local sunburn where the sensor had been placed. After a discussion with the spirit team, this could be resolved by wrapping the sensor in a handkerchief. Further motion sensors had been placed on top of the cabinet (to measure its often intense motions) and on a trumpet.

All sessions have been recorded on audio, thus providing a reference timeline for all phenomena. The sections of video footage and the sensor readings were aligned accordingly.

Many phenomena could be observed in red-light (or even white-light) conditions. Thus, the video camera was the preferred choice, whenever any recording was possible, while the thermal camera often even had to stay outside the room. In many experiments the motion sensor was attached to the forearm, recording even the slightest motions or small changes of orientation. It is very unlikely that the medium could secretly remove it / reattach it later. This is quite an advantage compared to the usual ties - which were nonetheless used to fixate the forearms and lower legs (in all the seances with relevant measurements).

In combination with the motion sensors, various impressive phenomena could be captured. For example, the cabinet (an upright tent, standing loose on the floor) moved or rotated very forcefully and fast (up to three full turns in six seconds), while the motion sensor on the forearm remained entirely still. Various times the cabinet was tilted, revealing the feet, sometimes in addition even both hands could be seen, all on their original positions, while the cabinet kept on moving.

I tried to produce similar cabinet motions, without being tied to the chair, but they turned out to be very different, less smooth, slower, while at the same time producing very strong motion sensor readings.

In one séance a hand and forearm came out of the cabinet. It seemed to be wet, had a somewhat unnatural texture, like plastics, made various very natural motions and touched a sitter standing in front of the cabinet. Before and after, the medium was confirmed to be tied to the chair, but with some minutes in between und without a sensor on the medium's arm. But the spirit team often seemed to follow a very systematic approach. So, in a later session, again the (left) hand appeared, this time while the medium's left forearm was controlled by the sensor, which showed that it remained unmoved throughout the session.

Also, sensors for temperature and humidity had been involved in some experiments. For example, the sensor was placed inside the cabinet below the chair. At the time, when the team said to do an experiment, a sharp rise and subsequent fall of temperature and humidity could be noticed.

By the way, Andrea Groh's EEG measurements also showed amazing results. Gary's very unusual brainwave patterns were perfectly in line with theories about altered (and mediumistic) states of consciousness - and there is not much room to fool electrodes that are directly applied to the head.

Added 2018/03/06:
In another séance, the spirit team said they want to try some experiment with the sensor, but we did not perceive any phenomena in the seance room. Only now, weeks later, having another look at the sensor data, I discovered an interesting vibration of the sensor during the time when the experiment was said to take place. The sensor makes very regular motions (only translation, no rotation), with a stable frequency of about 15 Hz (hertz = cycles per second). It lasts about 30 seconds, then there is a one minute pause, then again 30 seconds. I did a quick Web search to find data for comparison: There are various causes for human tremor, with frequencies ranging mostly from 5 Hz to 10 Hz (e.g. Parkinson's desease, physiological tremor of healthy people due to anxiety or fatigue, etc.). Maximum tremor frequencies are said to be around 12 Hz (with the exception of the rare Orthostatic tremor having 13-18 Hz). I tried various techniques to voluntarily produce tremor movements / vibrations with the sensor attached to my lower arm, but I only reached about 8 Hz. Also, the translational vibrations were always accompanied with rotational movements and they were much less regular than the sensor reading in Gary's séance.

So, here we have another interesting experiment: On the one hand it is completely invisible to the sitters and without any apparent 'use' regarding public séances. On the other hand, it seems to be very hard to manipulate the sensor in a way that it records such data. If somebody has an idea how to manually produce 15 Hz translational trembling motions, please let me know!
The case Gary Mannion - conclusions?
So what do we have now? Gary has successfully worked for years as a psychic healer as well as a medium. Then, there have been people saying that Gary is a fraud, providing as evidence some (incomplete) material, namely an infrared video, but without the audio, which according to some people would show that much more phenomena happened during the seance than could be explained by the video. Now, this Eckhard Kruse is saying he has experienced and measured authentic phenomena, but he does not provide the material needed to get more insight. Those who know me well, probably will trust my assessment. Those who do not: Sorry, I can't help it for now.

Once again, it seems to me that the spirit world just does not want to give simple, final answers with which everybody would have to agree. But, that can also be a call for everyone to continue looking for own answers. There are simple ones or more complex ones, such as:
  • One or the other group is a liar, evil, follows just personal interests. I choose my friends, I choose my enemies, the world remains simple and I am done.
  • It's all nonsense and too overwhelming. I return to a well established worldview which is widely accepted. Best choice today: Materialism. No more silly questions, no justifications required.
  • If the spirit world is able to produce real physical phenomena, even though it remains a mystery how this can be done, then it should also be able to produce phenomena that exactly look like fraud. Shouldn't we do much more research on how the sitters and their mindset influence the outcome of a seance?
  • The spirit world is much more intelligent and flexible and humorous than we might think. Those who look for fraud get what they want. Those who look for real phenomena get what they want. Maybe this is some form of observer effect?
  • Is all this controversy and elusiveness part of a bigger plan to train the human mind for more openness, flexibility and courage to let go of all our concepts?
I especially like those answers that lead to new questions, that help us to drive future research.