There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff – we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.
If everyone who saw this today donated $5, we would meet our goal for 2021.
| Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.|
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with !
| Putting the psycho in|
|Men who stare at goats|
|By the powers of tinfoil|
Foy and his wife Sandra both claim to be mediums and researchers on the subject of spiritualism for over 37 years. They are devout spiritualists who ignore any evidence of fraud in the mediums they have written about. Foy has written that fraudulent mediums such as Mina Crandon, Helen Duncan and Leslie Flint were all genuine. He was the founder of the Noah's Ark Society for Physical Mediumship in 1990. He has published a bunch of crank books claiming ectoplasm and physical mediumship "materializations" are real. Foy discussed his spiritualist woo beliefs on Coast to Coast AM. He also runs a physical mediumship community known as "Physical Mediumship 4U" which has been criticized for promoting pseudoscience.
In the late 1990s a series of séances were conducted by members of the Society for Psychical Research in Scole, a small village in England. Spiritualists have claimed that during the experiments tables were levitated and spirit voices were heard.
The séances took place in a dark a room in the basement of the house of Robin and Sandra Foy. There were a total of six mediums and fifteen investigators from the SPR. The investigators imposed no scientific controls or restrictions upon the mediums. Both Foy and his wife were in control of the séances, not the investigators. The séances were held in complete darkness as the Foys refused to allow any night-mode video cameras or light enhancement equipment into the séance room as they claimed it would distract the investigators and scare the spirits away. The séances were held once a month, which gave the Foys suitable time to make any alterations to the room. The room was not properly searched before or after the séance and neither were the mediums. There were many flaws with the experiment, the skeptic Brian Dunning has discussed some of them.
Skeptics are not the only people that have criticized the Scole experiment. The subject has been controversial in the field of parapsychology as most psychical researchers have accepted that physical mediumship is fraudulent, outdated and an embarrassment for mediumship. Foy from an older generation believes that physical mediumship offers the best evidence for life after death.
Very few psychical researchers have supported the experiment. David Fontana (a spiritualist) claimed the phenomena at the Scole experiment was genuine, however, most psychical researchers such as Alan Gauld, Tony Cornell and Donald West have claimed the experiment lacked scientific controls and was easily open to fraud.
- In Pursuit of Physical Mediumship (2007)
- Witnessing the Impossible (2008)
- Robin Foy Biography
- Robin Foy on Coast to Coast AM
- Physical Mediumship 4U
- The Scole Experiment by Brian Dunning
- Cornell, A. D. (1999). Some Comments on the Scole Report. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research. Volume 58: 397-403. Gauld, A. (1999). Comments on the Scole Report. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research. Volume 58: 404-424. West, D. J. (1999). The Scole investigation: Commentary on Strategy and Outcome. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research. Volume 58: 393-396.