One of the few (perhaps two) physical mediums left in the world was in Seattle, David LeBaron, who worked at a small Spiritualist church there named Tower Memorial Church. My colleague and I have been observing David’s work now for some time and I will share some of our observations.

Rev. LeBaron was a trumpet medium and a materialization medium. In trumpet mediumship he consistently produced “apports” through the trumpets. These apports have often been larger in size than the small end of the trumpet and some have been valuable. Imperial jade pieces have materialized which have been shown to be worth about $500. Scarabs have materialized which have been found to be very old and valuable. I myself have a large collection of apports that have been given to me by spirits through the trumpets. Even though we have not conducted a rigid control system of observation, we have tried to rule out several possibilities of fraud. For example, no one leaves the seance room and comes back in. Rev. LeBaron allows people to search him before the seance. The small, common room which is used for the seance is easily searched before the session. There are no trap doors, no secret panels, no places in the small room that could hide the large quantity of apports that come through in a séance. Furthermore, as I mentioned, many times the apport, which comes out of the trumpet, is larger than the small end of the trumpet, ruling out the possibility that Rev. LeBaron or a confederate is inserting the so-called apport into the trumpet for it to appear to be coming from spirits. Rev. LeBaron does not charge much for any séance, $15, and does not try to acquire notoriety. He would not have the financial ability to give away valuable pieces of imperial jade. Furthermore, many of the apports roll out of the trumpet warm and soft to the touch, and we are asked to let them cool and solidify before grasping them tightly. I have not been able to think of any possibility of deception. Furthermore, many of the people in his séances are highly trained observers, some psychologists, counselors, and psychiatrists. All I have talked to agree that the phenomena appear genuine.

Rev. LeBaron himself is a very loving, gentle man. From a purely subjective observation, I have never experienced a more loving environment in a group of 20 people than I have in the seances with David LeBaron. The paranormal actions of the trumpets themselves is an interesting point. Even though most séances take place in the dark, the voices coming through the trumpets establish the positions of the trumpets in the room. There are no hidden microphones or speakers which could allow for deception. I have checked the small room and the trumpets many times. The voices coming from the trumpets indicate that the trumpets are moving around the room. Some séances are conducted with a small amount of light and in these settings my colleague and I, as well as the other participants I have interviewed, have seen the trumpets apparently levitate and move around the room. We handle the trumpets at some points when requested to do so, as for the reception of apports, and no strings or devices have been noticed. Furthermore, the feeling of the trumpet when handled under these conditions indicates that there is a firm hold on it from the other end. It is not the kind of feeling that would be given by a wire or string. The flight motion of the trumpet is also not consistent with trickery. They move suddenly at angels that one would not expect to find in a deception. The trumpets themselves are ordinary constructions of light weight aluminum and have no secret compartments or remote control devices. The voices coming out of the trumpets also weigh against trickery. Here my own area of expertise in voice comes in. The explanation offered by the spirits and by the medium is that the spirits have made something of a “template” of David LeBaron’s voice, and the possible timbres his instrument could produce. It is this spectrum of timbres which is utilized by the various spirits who speak through David’s mediumship through the trumpets or in materialized form. This explanation, at first, did not seem testable in the dark, but gradually events developed which allowed us to test it in certain ways. It is true that the voices of the spirits appeared to have a timbre spectrum that I would have suspected from David LeBaron’s vocal fold structure. But there were times when David came out of trance because of physical discomfort, coughing, while the spirit was still speaking. In those times Rev. LeBaron was coughing at the same time that the spirit was speaking. On some such occasions the spirit addressed David, now out of trance, and David answered back to the spirit, both of their voices overlapping for a brief period. No ventriloquist could do this. Furthermore, the way in which many spirits speak with rapid exchange goes beyond the ability of the world’s best ventriloquists. In rapid exchange between characters and the ventriloquist there is always some observable bleed-over between timbres, the worst (or best) example was found in one of the most famous ventriloquists, Edgar Bergen, whose dialogues with Charlie showed a great blending of timbres. In seances with David LeBaron there is no such effect. The timbres move from one spirit to the next without any indication of ventriloquism. And after the seance, David’s voice shows no evidence of vocal strain. As an expert in voice, these observations were very interesting to me. My feeling is that the paranormal effects observed in his seances are genuine.
In materialization seances, there are no cameras or sophisticated laser technology that could generate holograms. The forms that materialize vary in degree of solid form. They may be gaseous light-forms which speak in the same voice timbres as they have through the trumpets. In this state I have felt their touch, a light vaporous touch which still has substance. In this state, we have seen them descend through the floor or go through a human participant in the seance. When they materialize in a full form, they appear to be dressed in a glowing solid white substance, often with full color accouterments, and are very solid to the touch. In this form I have walked arm in arm around the room with them. When they have to leave, their solid form begins to become more vaporous and they sometimes also depart in remarkable ways. As a materialization medium Rev. LeBaron is noted for the solid full form features of the spirits that come through him. I have been unable to discover any means of deception here. At times, the materialized spirit takes a participant into the cabinet where David sits in trance, and often there is enough light to see David seated in trance. This would appear to rule out the possibility of David masquerading as spirits. But no masquerade theory could explain a gaseous form going through the floor. Also, more than one spirit materializes at one time, and with different features from David, for example, shorter or taller. Again, my sense is that the materializations through David LeBaron are not done by trickery.
Pursuant to my interest in spirit possession and the possible usage of mediums for treatment, I note that David LeBaron has been trying to help in one case I know of, through the usage of spirits which come through him. In this particular case, he, and the spirits, have been unable to effect a stable cure. This is of interest to me.
I hope this little account will be of some interest to you.


    • Hi, Vinnie, I too miss David, We used to visit him at least twice a month when he was at the Church and when he moved the seances to his house. A truly gifted man. He is with his guide now, her name as Hilda. He told me he had an agreement, when he passed Hilda would incarnate and David would be her spirit guide, I wonder!

  1. Thank You for sharing this, as I attended several of his sessions, and no medium I have ever encountered has displayed the ability he has.

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