This is the third and concluding article in my mini-series inspired by the writing of Terence Palmer PhD. I understand the confusion I may have created for some of my readers with the numbering of the articles, and I apologise. This one is indeed the third, but it’s numbered as II. Reason is that the first article was a general introduction, whilst the second and the third deal specifically with Spirit Release Therapy, and therefore are numbered I and II. A sub-series in the mini-series? Apologies again for that.
I would like to introduce now a couple of clinical examples, exactly as reported by Dr Palmer in his Paranormal Review article. Then, as usual, I will contribute some of my own reflection. Dr Palmer reports about:
“The schoolgirl who could not walk. This was a fifteen-year-old girl who had progressively lost the use of her legs until she had to be taken to school in a wheelchair. There was no medical explanation for her condition and when I visited her home she was seen to be crawling on her elbows from room to room as she dragged her legs behind her. On investigation, it was discovered that when she was eight years old she had been playing in the garden of a friend when her friend’s uncle had tried to sexually abuse her. The fear generated by this experience attracted a discarnate entity that used the fear to attach itself and incapacitate her. This case is representative of how fear is used as an attractant and reinforces the hypothesis of ‘sympathetic resonance’ where emotions emit an energetic frequency that acts as a beacon to attract negative spirit entities.”
Wow, says I.
From another case, we learn about:
“The school teacher with an impulse to electrocute herself. Investigation revealed that this woman had been a healer in a previous life and had been hanged as a witch in sixteenth century Scotland. Although she had a leaning to
wards nursing, her past-life experience prompted her into the teaching profession, but her healing abilities were being thwarted by a dark force entity (DFE) whose job it ws to prevent her. The entity was responsible for inducing her to the potentially lethal obsession to place her fingers into electrical sockets.”
Double wow, says I.
I have to admit that, even after all I have learnt in my ten years as a scholar of psychical research and with all the open mindedness I am capable of, these accounts make my toes curl inside my shoes big time.
My readers who have read the previous two articles may be under the impression that I am favourably disposed towards Spirit Release Therapy (SRT). This is not true, primarily because I know next to nothing about it. In a way, I must admit, the real reason to start this mini-series was a series of “collateral” reflections triggered by the original Paranormal Review article. Now, however, it is time to tackle the main issue head on.
To do so, I will assume that the two clinical cases briefly sketched by Dr Palmer are representative of what goes on in SRT. Incidentally, similar cases are reported by another author in the same issue of the Review. We have patients showing exceedingly weird symptoms and/or a variety of disruptive behaviours whom are reportedly cured by therapists by basically asking a “possessing spirit” to leave their body. This is an over-simplification, but it captures the essence of the procedure.
This first question is – what evidence do we have that SRT actually works (that is, the patients are relieved of their symptoms)? We only have the word of the therapists themselves and, possibly, corroborating statements by the patients. This is not unusual for healing interventions, however, particularly in psychology. Plus, this is such a “frontier” kind of therapy that I think controlled studies comparing its outcomes to more established therapies are a thing for the distant future. We therefore have to give credit to the qualified and serious professionals gathered in the Spirit Release Forum, and assume that yes, SRT does work.
The second question, which for me is more interesting, is – does the fact that SRT works, at least in some cases, prove that its theoretical foundation is correct? Does it mean that “dark force entities” actually exist, and that they do take possession of people’s bodies? No, not necessarily. Think of Freudian psychoanalysis, for instance, which can be said to work as a therapy, at least in some cases, and yet is based on a theoretical foundation that is today widely considered as unscientific, unsupported by evidence and basically false.
Is SRT’s claimed success a result of the quality of the therapist, of the nature of the relationship between therapist and patient (exactly as it seems to be happening in psychoanalysis)? Are therapist and patient engaging in a sort of pantomime, completely based on fantasy, but which turns out to be effective?
Yes, this is indeed a possibility. And, exactly the same can be said for the claimed success of Regression Therapy, which assumes that some symptoms experienced by a patient today are the result of traumas suffered during previous incarnations.
Or, one could take the results of SRT and its explanations at face value. And then accept that yes, we do live many lives; and yes, previous lives do condition the present one; and yes discarnate personalities exist in the spirit world in different forms, and some of these are “negative” and can indeed attach to living bodies and cause havoc; and, finally, yes, the Archangel Gabriel can be summoned to escort away Dark Samuel, a discarnate entity who thought that a certain patient was his own possession, as recounted in another one of Dr Palmer’s cases.
The fact that many of these ideas have been echoed for centuries in the communications by alleged discarnate entities and in the writing of a variety of “seers” (from Emmanuel Swedenborg to Edward Cayce) does nothing to ease my own sense of confusion and of being at a loss.