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Conjuring Philip Part 1

Astonishing Legends

Scott Philbrook

History, Society & Culture

4.69.6K Ratings

🗓️ 12 March 2023

⏱️ 117 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


In 1972, the Toronto Society for Psychical Research, led by mathematical geneticist Dr. A.R. George Owen, assembled a group of volunteers from various backgrounds to try something never before attempted. For their experiment, they aimed to manifest a fictional ghost they named “Philip Aylesford” and would try to communicate with this fabricated entity through séance-like sessions conducted under laboratory conditions and bright lighting. A fictional biography was created for Philip that the group could focus on. He was to be born in England in 1624 and connected to real places and events but with intentional historical errors inserted as control markers. For over a year, the “Group of 8” met weekly, and for over a year… nothing happened. But then, upon the advice of two pioneering paranormal researchers, the group changed their tactics to make their attempts more in the style of seances from the turn of the 20th century. This made the meetings more like festive social gatherings, with singing and laughter, under dimmer lighting. Soon, they would experience tangible responses to their questions in the form of knocking for “yes” and “no.” But the psychokinetic activity didn’t stop there. The group also felt a presence in the room with palpable energy, unexplainable breezes, and vibrations of the card table they used, which would tilt and scoot across the room seemingly under its own power. This might seem like fanciful exaggerations from overly enthusiastic true believers or downright kooks, but this phenomenon was continually repeatable under various conditions and even captured by TV cameras. If it were a parlor trick, this result would be mind-blowing. Even more astounding, however, is considering the implications to our reality if an invisible, conscious force exists and is demonstrable. What is the source and nature of this ethereal influence? In other words, if Philip was wholly made up, who or what was this group communicating with?

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