Hearing Voices, Part III– Chopin

Originally posted February 11, 2010 at Gaia.com

I told you that I was introduced to the Leslie Flint recordings in March 1998, five years into my own contacts with the spirit world, and that I had a personal connection with this phenomenon.  Here’s what I was talking about.

One night I was searching online for information relating to Fryderyk Chopin, the “dead” person I’d been communicating with for so long.  This was relatively early in Internet history, and I didn’t find a lot.  However, astonishingly, there was a link to something entitled “Chopin still composes,” which promised a recording of his voice.  A real voice, captured on tapes made in the middle of the 20th century!  At the time I’d never heard of direct voice, and certainly didn’t know that Chopin had ever been involved with it.  Despite the intensity of my own connection with him over those past five years, I’d never received a verbal message myself.   The contacts had consisted of emotions, physical sensations, and sometimes images.

In order to hear the recording, I needed to download a plugin, and for quite a while, on attempt after attempt, it refused to work.  At last it kicked in, and suddenly, much too loudly, the following boomed from my speakers, staticky and rough:

“True music, real music, great music, is something that is beyond your world, and springs from the spiritual aspect of man, the realization of the greatness and the oneness with God.  Great music is something that is really born in the spirit, and is reproduced, perhaps, very badly in your world.”

It was 2:00 in the morning, and I’ll never forget the feeling of shock as that voice filled the room.

This touched off a whole month of unprecedentedly strong and persistent contacts.  For the next month he came around on a more or less daily basis– far more often, and for longer periods of time, than he’d ever done before.  It was as if he battered at my reality, doing everything he could to get through to me.  It was wonderful, romantic, and musically instructive, and I was deeply grateful for the experience, though it turned out to be more intense than I could handle.  Just when I began to get used to it all, it stopped.  But that’s a story for another time.

This connection between the entity identified as Chopin in the recordings and the one that I know makes me feel virtually certain that the two are the same being.  And when I’ve asked “my” Chopin questions about the Flint phenomena, he has answered as if he were the person involved with all that.  The personality of one is consistent with the other.  I have many reasons to believe that the person who visits me is the current version of the one who lived on Earth from 1810 to 1849 and wrote all that superb music, but I understand that it is never going to be possible to prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt.  That small shadow can sometimes seem bigger than the light it obscures, I’m afraid.  I am further limited in my understanding by the fact that I’ve only been able to listen to a small percentage of the conversations that took place in sessions with “their” Chopin.  It’s possible that if I could hear everything, my doubts would be allayed– or that I would hear something that would absolutely, finally convince me that this person could not truly be Fryderyk Chopin.  Here I’m going to do some devil’s advocating and lay out some of the issues that might give a skeptical listener reason to scoff, along with some of my reasons to think The Voice is for real.

On the surface, the Chopin voice sounds more like a French speaker than anything else, and indeed Chopin did spend the second half of his life mostly in France.   English/French cognates tend to come out with the pronunciation split between the two languages; for example, “science” sounds like “sigh-AHNCE,” with a French nasal in the second syllable.  But Chopin should sound Polish, shouldn’t he?  (I mean, if I’d been trying to fake a Chopin voice, I would have tried to make him sound Polish, period.)  He does, if you listen closely.  For example, some of the vowels are distinctly Polish, and final Ys often sound like short I in English.  The syntax is frequently very Slavic.  I think this combination of linguistic influences would be difficult to fake.  Overall, one gets the impression of a person who is educated and cultured but is not entirely comfortable in English.

I spent a great deal of time minutely analyzing this voice’s accent and manner of speaking, only to realize, finally, that there is little point to that.  Since the voices are group processes and have nothing to do with the vocal mechanism of any individual human being, there is a limit to how much can be discerned about the speaker that way.  On May 19, 1955, the Chopin voice explained:  “You know, or should realize, that all that we strive to do, it has in every part of it an aspect which is more than it appears.  That is not very clear…. What I mean is that I speak to you, but behind my voice is something much more.  I mean, what you hear is an artificial voice.  It is not a natural voice, for the simple reason that we are reproducing our thoughts in an artificial way.”

Yet, wouldn’t it be more convincing if the voice of Chopin expressed itself in Polish?  I don’t know if this ever happened, but on the recordings I’ve heard, there is not a word of that language.  There was an apparent attempt, though.  At the beginning of one session, Mr. Flint mentions that he had awakened in the middle of the night to find himself speaking a foreign language.  The culprit’s voice breaks in with, “That was me.”  He says that it was easier to accomplish this while the medium was asleep, and that he wasn’t yet ready to try it under normal séance conditions.  Now why, you may ask, would it be a problem for a spirit to speak through direct voice in his native language, since it’s the spirit and not the medium who is doing the speaking?  I’ve certainly asked that myself.  In fact, I have endlessly picked and worried at this question, and a number of times I’ve pestered my Historical Source about it.  After all, other languages, both ancient and modern, have been known to come through with direct voice.  Yet, somehow, it seems to matter when the speaker’s language is not known to the medium.  Perhaps it is all the worse when the sitters don’t know the language either.

For quite a while I was severely bothered by the voice’s unwillingness to come across with even a few words of Polish.*  I was somewhat in agreement with a friend of the sitter, who had insisted, “I’ll only believe it’s Chopin if he speaks Polish.”  The voice, however, had a completely opposite take on the matter.  He felt that if he did not speak perfect Polish, and modern Polish at that, people would say, “That can’t be Chopin.”  He said that he was trying to learn to “speak modern” and to be totally proficient in the direct voice method before attempting to speak in what he referred to as “my language.”  (Apparently there was a specific Polish person he was expecting would listen to the recordings; I couldn’t catch the man’s name.)  Myself, I think we’d have been all the more convinced by Polish from the first half of the 19th century, but for whatever reason, he didn’t see it that way.  He would get this done in his own way and in his own time, he said, “because my way is the right way.”  An unusually arrogant statement for this being– though I do know him to be pretty bull-headed at times.  At any rate, heard all together, his point of view does sound reasonable.

This is all still a bit unclear to me, but I will tell you what I’ve received on the subject.  The gist of the message was this:  It was easier for the spirits to bring through more remote, ancient languages because Flint had no preconceived notions about them and did not have any expectation of understanding them.  In the case of Polish, even though it was unfamiliar, his mind kept trying to analyze and understand, and that created a barrier.   He could still grasp at the Latin and Greek roots and the other bits that were similar to English.

There was an image of the mind of the medium being like a thicket or swamp, full of things that get in the way, which the spirits must navigate around and through.  It was similar to something Fryderyk had told me a long time before:  “There is always interference from the medium.  The medium cannot turn his brain off just because he is a medium.”

Toward the end of the contact, I heard, “The mind of the medium is a blank canvas…”

I interrupted with, “I thought you said it wasn’t blank.”  A moment before, he’d shown me that thicket.

“The mind of the medium is a blank canvas in the sense that we use it to paint ourselves onto your reality.”

The sitter in these sessions, Rose Creet, was a huge fan of Chopin, and had read a great deal about him.  Sometimes she would ask him questions in which she’d massacre one Polish name or another.  I noticed that although her pronunciations were like an ice pick through my ear, he didn’t correct her.  Did he not hear her– or did he perhaps hear her thoughts more than her voice, and simply know who she was talking about?  Did he feel it was better to let the conversation proceed without interruption, and so let the errors go?  Or does this indicate an entity who is not sufficiently familiar with the facts of Chopin’s life?

For example, in a 1956 session, Rose brings up Antoni Wodziński’s book about Chopin’s “three romances,” mispronouncing “Wodziński” and incorrectly referring to him as a count.  The voice doesn’t correct her on either point.  “Three romances!” he says, with a kind of dismissive sniff.  “I had more than three.”  Rose, naturally, presses for more information, which he refuses with, “No, I have no intention to go over my dirty parts,” getting a huge laugh.  Like Rose, I would have loved to hear more, especially since I do know of at least one other romance of his.

There is one other thing that has bothered me about this voice.  In a 1953 session, the group is discussing a recent portrait of Chopin.  The subject approves of it, saying, “I think it is for the man to be congratulated.”  Rose asks what his coloring really was like in life, and he says that his hair and eyes were light brown.  Hmm, every piece of evidence we have says that Chopin’s eyes were actually grey-blue.   “That tears it,” I thought.  “This can’t be for real.”

At the next opportunity I had to meet with Fryderyk at Mendy’s, I expressed my concern about this.  I was told that his eyes had been mixed colors, rather like agate.  Well, I’d often seen eyes that were both blue and brown, but I’d never describe them as simply brown, I thought.  Right after this exchange, and I mean directly after, I went to see my friend Pam.  I noticed for the first time that her eyes were about 50/50 blue and brown, and that in certain light they appeared to have areas of green, turquoise and grey.  What would one call that combination of colors?  It turned out that Pam calls it brown. She told me that years ago a friend had insisted that her eyes were blue, and she thought he was crazy.  I told her that they were in fact blue, among other things, and she disagreed with me.   My perceptions of those colors were completely different from hers.  This may or may not have anything to do with Chopin, but it was fascinating that the universe put this lesson in my path just at that moment.

Apparently this entity made his own efforts to show what he looked like.  There was quite a bit of photographic activity on the part of the spirits in the Flint project.  A frequent communicator, Dr. Charles Marshall, described what they’d been up to in a session in 1955.  They had attempted to get an image of Chopin as he would have looked in his cell at the monastery in Majorca over a century earlier, but that had come out rather fuzzy.  Superimposed on that picture was an image of the séance room, and this part was Chopin’s project.  He took his place at the ectoplasmic voice-box and described something of what he had done to create the photograph.  He had wanted to do the photographic process in reverse, he said, taking an image of the people in the séance room even as they were trying to get a picture of him at Valldemosa.  He thought it would be amusing!  Rose asked why the door of the room was open in the picture, since it was always kept closed in reality.  The voice explained that he had wanted to make the image different from the usual appearance of the séance room, so that it would be obvious that it was not a normal photo with a double exposure.  In order to show the open door, he said, it had been necessary to figure out what to show on the other side, so he had needed to visualize the piano and other objects that he knew were in the next room.  It sounded awfully tricky to me– a virtuosic performance.

The spirits often spoke of Mr. Flint as “the instrument.”  Perhaps that gives us a way into a clearer understanding of this phenomenon.  Different instruments make different sounds, even when the same music is played by the same player.  An instrument doesn’t choose what notes are played, but it has its own range, tone quality, degree of responsiveness, and so forth.  It determines the ultimate effect, and limits and shapes what music is possible.

But for a master musician, an “instrument” has further possibilities.  A recording from 1956 begins with Dr. Marshall cautioning the group that if they wish to perform experiments like the one they did the evening before, they ought to stick with using only their friends and not involve total strangers.  It seems that the occasion had been a piano recital attended by Mrs. Creet and Mr. Flint—and by Chopin as well.  He had taken over the unsuspecting pianist, the total stranger, and played through him during much of the program, with varying degrees of success.  Toward the end, everyone agreed, his control had been almost complete, and the performance of a waltz that had served as an encore was considered to be as close to Chopin’s actual playing as could possibly be.  Everyone sounded delighted with the results.

I was boggled when I heard this.  Not because this entity could exert control over another pianist; I was well aware that he could.  But to impose himself on someone who had not given his consent and in fact had no idea what was going on— and during an actual performance, not just during a practice session!  That, to my mind, went beyond the bounds of propriety.  Yet Chopin seemed to have no compunction about trying this very invasive experiment, and an experiment it was, as far as he was concerned.  He didn’t express the slightest qualms; he was like a scientist discussing a lab animal.  “That man, he was like wax,” he said.

It is so unusual to catch Chopin doing or saying anything egotistical, during his life or now, that this really stands out.  One might choose to say that since it is so uncharacteristic of him, this proves that the voice on the Flint recordings cannot truly be Chopin.  Yet, I know that this escapade was and is absolutely within his capabilities.

It is clear from the recording that Chopin did not feel he was doing anything wrong in playing that player.  He seemed to believe that he was simply advancing the cause of communication between the worlds, and in fact he sounded quite pleased with himself.  Rose did not express the slightest misgivings either.

I brought this up with him at Mendy Lou’s, asking both of them for comments.

“He says, in his defense, that it was a long time ago,” Mendy began.  She added that the pianist had wanted this, even though he couldn’t have understood what was happening—he had always wished to play like Chopin.  I hoped that had been true, but it still wasn’t enough justification for me.  Yet, Chopin had been only one component of a large group on the Flint project, and most likely working with beings wiser and more mature than himself.  He had been allowed to perform this experiment, so the group must have thought it was all right.  Dr. Marshall’s comments may not have reflected the majority opinion.

I think this story did more to convince me of the identity of the Chopin voice than anything else.  The description of his ability to control the player varying through the performance matched my experience exactly.  His experimental attitude and his expansive energy sounded right too.

In the sessions with Rose, there is a running discussion of her difficulties with her own piano playing, which apparently caused her a great deal of frustration.  This exchange, from 1953, is especially pithy, and will give you a good sense of the personalities involved:

Chopin says, “If only you would practice, you could be very good, then I could help you.  As you know, you don’t practice enough.  You spend much too much time away from the music room.”

Rose replies, “But I can’t practice, Monsieur….”  She continues with an unintelligible protest.

“You should practice every day for at least three hours,” he insists.

Weakly and unconvincingly, Rose sighs, “Oh… I’ll try.”

“Shut yourself away.  Lock the doors if necessary, and then I can inspire you.  When you are saying to yourself, ‘Oh, I must do this, I must do that,’ and the phone go, and then you pick him up, and you say, ‘Yes, yes, no,’ and you rush back to the piano, how can you expect to have the right atmosphere?  How can you get into the mood if you always be distracted, you know.”

“I know, that’s it,” Rose admits.

“Ah, I look forward to winter comes, you shut all the windows, all the noise out, and you shut yourself up with the piano and me.”

“You know what I’m going to do, Monsieur?  I’ll just have the firelight, just the fire, and I’m just going to sit at my piano and improvise.”

“Ah, you improvise.  My work is not good enough for you, you have to improvise!”

“No, I mean to say, no, no, your work is wonderful, but only by improvisation….”   Chopin refuses to hear her explanation, and continues teasing.  “Well, you know, I am amused with you, because you come out with such talk!—how would you say, strange statements.  You say you admire my work, you think it is the most wonderful thing in the world, and yet you say to me, quite calmly, ‘I improvise.’  Why?”

Rose turns completely serious.  “I’ll tell you why, Monsieur, because I find your work very, very difficult….”

“Why don’t you practice?  You say you find it difficult.  Well, of course you find it difficult if you don’t work on it!  Ah!  You are hopeless.”  This sounds harsh in print, but it is delivered with tenderness, and everyone in the room breaks into laughter.  “I think sometimes I say to myself, ‘Hm.  Why, she is get a little better.’  Then I think, ‘Oh, no, that was dreadful.’  I don’t know.  But I’ll help you all I can.”

“I see.  But what shall I start with?  Tell me that, and I shall do it.”

“I think you start with five-finger exercises, for six years,”  he deadpans.  (It is so difficult to avoid awful puns with this material!)

One of my Chopaholic friends listened to some of this material and responded with, “It can’t be him.  I’d know him anywhere.”  But this is very much the him that I know, and in fundamental qualities like irrepressible humor, sky-high artistic standards, and a penchant for experimentation, I’d say he’s very much like Chopin 1.0.  I realize, though, that no manifestation of Chopin we may meet today is really that same person.  Any contact with the “dead” involves that being remembering his or her Earth personality and trying to reproduce it, then squeezing him or herself down into a form that can fit through our methods of communication.  The reality of that person is multidimensional and unlimited, but generally we only get a hint of that greater reality, if we can perceive it at all.

Which is true for us on the planet, as well.

*My local manifestation of Chopin doesn’t speak to me in that language either, but then I rarely get a verbal message at all, in English or otherwise; it’s still more a matter of raw ideas, images, and emotions.  This is true for my friends who see and hear him, as well– language is irrelevant.  However, once when Hania Stromberg and I were in touch with him during an IADC session– a large subject in itself– Hania heard, “Dusze.  Dusze.  Mają dusze.”  (“Souls.  Souls.  They have souls.”)  She said that she was puzzled by having a Polish phrase pop into her head, because she was completely “in English mode” at the time.  And we were both confused by the message itself, because it seemed to have nothing to do with what was going on at that moment.  Later, someone reading my transcript of the session pointed out that a little before that, I had been telling Hania that I hadn’t experienced anyone close to me dying in recent years, except for two cats, and that I didn’t have any idea what happened to cats when they died.  Obviously, said my friend, “they have souls” referred to the cats!

When I do get messages in English, they are brief and pithy, and they tend to sound very non-native.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Hearing Voices, Part III– Chopin

  1. Pingback: “When you play it you are touching my soul” | Elene Explores

  2. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well
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    Like

  3. Just been re reading this post- really fascinating Elene, especially the bit about Frederic playing through the pianist. Is this recording online to listen to?

    Like

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