New Research: Samuel A. Aykroyd’s Pseudonyms

New research has revealed that Kingston doctor of dental surgery Samuel A. Aykroyd (1855-1933), the great-grandfather of actor and screenwriter Dan Aykroyd, was a frequent writer on Spiritualist and psychical research topics. To protect his professional status, most of those letters and articles (1899-1929) were submitted to local newspapers under the pseudonym “A Student of Psychic Phenomena.” Though the Aykroyds did not observe ectoplasm in their family séances, Dan Aykroyd popularized the term ectoplasm through the green slimy substance portrayed in the movie Ghostbusters (1984).

Article: New survey is launched into the afterlife

A new book being published by the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) is to feature a chapter on whether Spiritualist mediumship has proven life after death. To find out the answer, Walter Meyer zu Erpen is conducting an online survey and will publish his findings in the book.

Walter’s detailed historical study of the Thomas Glendenning Hamilton psychical research experiments in Winnipeg, Manitoba, began in 1991. His research in the field includes a decade of observation of psychokinetic table movements in a Spiritualist home circle. He has lectured and written extensively about the Hamilton research and other significant Canadian cases, and is the Parapsychology Foundation’s Canadian representative.

Here in this interview with PN Editor Tony Ortzen in the September 2020 issue of Psychic News, Walter answers questions about the book. The first point put to him was, “Can you tell readers something about it?”

Read the full article here: New survey is launched into the afterlife

Podcast: The Ghost of Thomas Lacey

Congratulations to Canadian archivist Nick Richbell and University of Waterloo Special Collections & Archives for their participation in the recently released “The Ghost of Thomas Lacey” podcast and related “Afterlife” exhibit in Kitchener, Ontario.  The podcast provides a balanced, respectful and accurate treatment of Spiritualism, including reconstruction of a séance in a historical venue.

From the producers:  In 2015 a donation was made to Special Collections & Archives, University of Waterloo Library of 154 audio reels. The reels contain recordings of séances from 1960s Kitchener led by a mysterious medium named Mr. Thomas Lacey. Erin MacIndoe Sproule and Rebecca Swabey from Anthroscope Media investigate the origins of the tapes and what they can tell us about contact with the spirit world.  This project is supported by a grant from the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund and Ed Video Media Arts Centre.  This project is exhibited at AFTERLIFE a séance experience at THEMUSEUM in downtown Kitchener September 19th 2019 – January 5th 2020.

The podcast is in two parts (21 minutes each):  Part 1 covers the history of the Thomas Lacey séances; Part 2 includes short clips from a séance held this year in the room in the basement of Otto Smith’s home, now owned by his grandson, where the original séance recordings were made.  In addition to the producers, the séance participants included Nick Richbell, Reverend Karen Charles, and other members of the First Spiritualist Church of Galt, Ontario.

Book: Thursdays in Spirit:  Communications from the Other Side

Congratulations are also due to Reverend Dianne Burrough, Spiritualist minister, medium and healer, and her transcriber and editor Heather Thornton on publication of Thursdays in Spirit:  Communications from the Other Side (2019).  Dianne Burrough is Minister of the Two Worlds Spiritualist Centre of Nanaimo.  Thursdays in Spirit is available in Kindle and paperback editions through Amazon.

Reverend Dianne Burrough:  “We come here to work our way through all the boundaries that we create as humans. To see our way around them. And then we can start to realize there is no such thing as colour, or religion, or even gender; that is just our physical body. We are not really any of that, we are just Spirit. We are all one, from the same essence, that is Love. Always remember that you are a soul, with a body, on an eternal journey. Just keep on, breath by breath, moment by moment, every day. And trust that there is a purpose to every single life in this world. Everybody counts, every single soul.”

Digital Collection: Psychic News

Psychic News Digital Archive now available through University of Manitoba Digital Collections:
A project in which the Survival Research Institute of Canada has participated over a number of years has finally come to fruition.  The Psychic News (PN) digital archive for years 1932 to 1967 is now available online, for free full-text searching through the University of Manitoba digital collections website.  It is anticipated that years 1968 to 2010 will be added in Fall 2020.  Here is an overview of the newspaper’s content:

The UK-based Psychic News regularly features articles about evidence of life after death obtained through mediumship and various forms of spirit communication, as well as spiritual healing, the psychic gifts of clairvoyance, clairaudience, and clairsentience, automatic writing and drawing, psychic and spirit art, psychokinesis, ectoplasm, materialization, reincarnation and other paranormal topics.  The newspaper’s pages celebrate the successes of the Spiritualist movement; they also document the controversy and disappointment when séance-room fraud was uncovered.  Biographers will discover tributes to Spiritualist mediums, healers, and church leaders, many of whom were previously difficult to trace, as well as well-known figures associated with psychical research experiments.  Today, Psychic News is a full-colour monthly magazine, available both through print and digital subscriptions:

The link for searching the PN digital archive can be accessed through the University of Manitoba Psychic News landing page.  Illustrated with the first page of the first Psychic News issue (28 May 1932), the landing page provides a history of the newspaper, the scope of the digitization project, and acknowledgement of this unique international collaboration between Senate House Library (University of London), Psychic Press Ltd., University of Manitoba Libraries, and other partners over the past five years:

For tips about searching and downloading pages, send an email request to


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Historial Directories

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