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The Philip Experiment Creating a Ghost From a Fictional Character

Updated on March 15, 2013

A Drawing of the fictional Philip Aylesford

As drawn by a member of The Toronto Canada Society of Psychical Research Group.
As drawn by a member of The Toronto Canada Society of Psychical Research Group.

Table Tilting

Table tilting came the time of of spiritualism during seance sittings as guests would place their fingertips on the table in the sight of all present and the table would tilt move or levitate on its own but under the direction of an unseen intelligence.

Philip Experiment Video

The group consisted of Iris Owen, a former nurse and wife of the mathematician A. R. G. Owen; Margaret Sparrrows, former chairperson of MANSA in Canada, an organization of individuals with high IQs; Andy H., housewife; Lorne H., industrial designer and husband of Andy H.; Al P., heating engineer; Bernice M., accountant; Dorothy O' D., housewife and bookkeeper; and Sidney K., sociology student. Dr. A. R. G. Owen or Dr. Joel Whitton, psychologist, attended the group meetings.

Creating a Real Ghost from a Fictional Character

The Mysterious Case of To Be a Ghost or Not To Be a Ghost:

In the 1970's a group named The Toronto Canada Society for Psychical Research set out to see if they could in fact create tangible forms by the act of willing a fictional spirit into existence. This was the exploration of the idea behind Tibetan tulpas or thought-forms which manifested in the real world.They then are realized into reality and become tangible.

This was the idea, create it and use a ritual to reinforce the thought form into reality, even to manifest itself physically and possibly visually. Now you may think this is a radical idea and probably a bunch of dreck. You may also believe that all spirit and haunting activity are created by ghosts or demons, But for the fact that they succeeded.

So we explore the story of Philip

Philip was the result of an experiment in which a group known as the Owen Group created an artificial poltergeist. This was done through a process of expectation, imagnation, and visualization in a group setting. The idea was to create through fabrication a character with a fictitious historical background and then using the information they fabricated bring the artificial spirit into a state of manefestation.

They created the story of Philip Aylesford a man born in England 1624 who had a short military career. At the age of 16 Philip was knighted and then was introduced to Prince Charles II to whome he became loyal secret agent for. Philip fell in love with a Gypsy girl and had an extramarital affair and when the affair was discovered Philip's wife accused the Gypsy girl of witchcraft and the girl was then burned at the stake. Philip so hurt by the loss of his love killed himself at the age of 30 in 1654.

The Owen group began conducting sittings in September 1972 during which they meditated, visualized, and discussed the details of Philip's life. Although no apparition ever appeared, occasionally some sitters felt a presence in the room; still others experienced vivid mental pictures of "Philip."

The Owen group did their sittings starting in September of 1972 where they meditated, visualized, and fleshed out the details of Philips life. Though no actually visual apparition ever formed of Philip other manifestations did appear. In just a few months communication began as the group witnessed table tilting and rappings for yes or no. None of the sitters at the group was the cause of these phenomenon.

Within weeks after changing to the seance setting the group established communication with "Philip." They engaged "Philip" in a table rapping session where he gave yes or no answers. "Philip" answered questions that were consistent with his fictitious history, but was unable to provide any information beyond that which the group had conceived. However, "Philip" did give other historically accurate information about real events and people. The Owen group theorized that this latter information came from their own collective unconsciousness.

Philip would rap on the table to answer questions posed by the group with a 1 for yes and 2 for no mode of operation. When asked questions about his life but he was unable to give any information beyond what the group had already made up for him. He did answer historical questions though with great accuracy. It has been proposed that the groups collective knowledge of history played a great part in his ability to answer historical questions. One of the sittings was filmed in front of a live audience for television. In other sittings lights would go on and off and sounds would be heard around the room along with whispered answers to questions. But the evidence was considered inconclusive.


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