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in the New Testament, manifestation wherein Jesus appeared "shining" before Peter, James, and John. The traditional explanation is that in it Jesus' divine glory shone in his earthly body. Mt. Tabor is usually said to be the mountain where it took place. The event is commemorated in the feast of the Transfiguration on Aug. 6.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Nandor Fodor described transfiguration as the “metamorphic power of the medium to assume bodily characteristics of deceased people for their representation.” In The National Spiritualist journal, Rev. William J. Erwood reported on a 1931 séance with a medium named Mrs. Bullock. The sitting was conducted in sufficient light to show every movement of the medium, who presented more than fifty faces within a period of an hour and a half.

It was as though the medium’s face were of plastic material being rapidly moulded from one form to another by some master worker in plastics. Oriental faces, Indians, calm, dignified, serious, spiritual, in short, almost every type of face was depicted during this most unusual séance. One of the most striking was the impersonation of a paralyzed girl whom I had known in the States. The medium’s entire body, as well as face, was twisted out of all semblance of its normal state, to depict the condition of this victim of paralysis.

This is in sharp contrast to many so-called “red light transfiguration séances” often presented today. At these, the “medium” sits with a red light projected from below the level of his or her face—or even just holds a flashlight with a red filter over the lens—and by small movements of the facial muscles, gives the impression of different faces (for example, a slight curling of the upper lip can produce a shadow that looks like a mustache). These performances are no more than the equivalent of the antics children perform with a flashlight at summer camp to entertain each other. They are certainly not true transfigurations and not a part of Spiritualism. Yet there are some mediums who do demonstrate true transfiguration. One such is the young British medium Tony Stockwell.

In some transfigurations, ectoplasm covers the medium’s face and changes the features. It can be dangerous to the medium for a strong light to be shone unexpectedly on the face, or for anyone to attempt to touch or interfere with the medium. Serious injury has been recorded, as in the instance of the medium Ada Besinnet when being examined by the British College of Psychic Science in 1921. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, speaking of Florence Cook (then Mrs. Corner) when she was seized by Sir George Sitwell and accused of impersonating a spirit, stated, “It is worthy of remark that upon this occasion the observers agreed that the figure was white, whereas when Mrs. Corner was seized no white was to be seen. An experienced investigator would probably have concluded that this was not a materialization, but a transfiguration, which means that the ectoplasm, being insufficient to build up a complete figure, has been used to drape the medium so that she herself may carry the simulacrum.”


Buckland, Raymond: Buckland’s Book of Spirit Communications. St. Paul: Llewellyn, 2004
Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan: The History of Spiritualism. New York: Doran, 1926
Fodor, Nandor: Encyclopedia of Psychic Science. London: Arthurs Press, 1933


1. New Testament the change in the appearance of Christ that took place before three disciples (Matthew 17:1--9)
2. the Church festival held in commemoration of this on Aug. 6
References in periodicals archive ?
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