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The following is an annotated bibliography inspired by this non-annotated bibliography, but massively expanded, and inspired by correspondence with some people who had been tendentiously attacked, and who, it became apparent, were merely recent researchers in a field where members have historically been tendentiously attacked. This is an attempt to put relevant sources "in one place" to make research on obfuscated material easier. There used to be an introduction here, but the way I had written it was pretty "non-sober" if we want to use that term. So I will write a new introduction later. Meanwhile, people who want to dispute this content can do so on my user talk page.

It would probably take me another year, working about a couple hours a week, to really flesh out analyses of the claims and counter-claims, beyond merely providing source literature (though I have attempted to do this to a considerable degree). Much of this literature, furthermore, used to be on the internet archive, but has since disappeared from it.

People who desire to help me may support this project via my gofundme page. I am also available for communication over the Internet via Facebook.

As far as I know, I am the only person on the Internet who is doing this, because the SPR encyclopedia, disappointingly, seems to be written with the intent to provide a general overview and avoid controversies. Controversies not dealt with here are dealt with on my user talk page. Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 19:38, 3 January 2017 (UTC)

General Overviews & Critiques[edit]

Prince (1928). Noted Witnesses for Psychic Occurrences.

Wallace (1870). An Answer to the Arguments of Hume, Lecky, and Others, Against Miracles.

Sommer, Andreas (2014). Psychical research in the history and philosophy of science. An introduction and review. (in Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 48, 38-45).

Sommer (2015). Review of Extraordinary Beliefs: A Historical Approach to a Psychological Problem (review occurs in The British Journal for the History of Science / Volume 48 / Issue 04 / December 2015, pp 707-708. It reads as follows:

"This book's expressed aim is to help us understand why people believe in alleged extraordinary phenomena that define the research agenda of modern parapsychology – telepathy, clairvoyance and psychokinesis. The author, a historian, magician and member of the Koestler Parapsychology Unit at Edinburgh University, makes clear from the outset that he does not believe in any of those things. Employing conjuring theory, frame analysis and discourse analysis to reveal how affirmations, as well as rejections, of belief in these phenomena were made convincing, Lamont takes his readers through a history of modern empirical approaches to occult phenomena from the nineteenth century to the present day. Essentially limited to English-language sources, the book reconstructs selected debates around extraordinary phenomena that have been associated with animal magnetism, spiritualism, psychical research and modern parapsychology.

Lamont's focus on rhetorical discourse, such as avowals of prior scepticism by those claiming conversions to a belief in the reality of extraordinary events, and of open-mindedness by non-believers, reveals the robustness of rhetorical patterns over time. But the main achievement of the study is to tease out the often-neglected variety of stances of historical actors involved in these debates, and significant subtleties in degrees of belief and scepticism. There was, for example, a considerable number of intellectuals who became convinced that some of the phenomena of spiritualism constituted genuine scientific anomalies while dismissing or suspending belief that they were actually caused by spirits. So far, not many historians of modern empirical approaches to the occult have done a better job at raising sensitivity in the reconstruction of various attitudes to these hotly disputed phenomena. Not least, by criticizing the continued lumping together of all sorts of deviant beliefs in modern psychological scales measuring (or rather policing) ‘paranormal beliefs’, the book is an example of how history can be practically useful to non-historians.

An apparent core virtue of the book is its strong commitment to symmetry. In Lamont's account there are neither heroes nor villains, and most of the time his actors appear to have perfectly good reasons to believe or disbelieve. In his discussions of the age-old question of authority to evaluate extraordinary phenomena, Lamont also reminds us that professional conjurors have always been on either side of the debate, and that we can hardly rely on them as impartial judges regarding the scientific status of ‘paranormal’ phenomena.

Lamont stresses that psychological interest in extraordinary beliefs ‘itself has a history. By looking back, we can understand not only why people have believed, but also why this became the key question asked by psychologists' (pp. 6–7). However, in his account of boundary disputes during the professionalization of psychology Lamont tries a little too hard to maintain symmetry. He confirms previous historians' arguments that debunking exercises by American psychologists worried about their leader William James closely collaborating with the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) were politically instrumental in asserting the usefulness of the fledgling science in the battle against ‘epidemic delusions’ like spiritualism. But I rather disagree with statements like ‘So far as “psychologists” engaged in the testing of psychic claimants, far from combatting psychical research, they were, by definition, doing psychical research’ (p. 196). In fact, the book's commitment to never go beyond discourse comes at the cost of a critical failure to reveal just how methodologically thorough the best of James's and the SPR work was, and how poor in comparison most critiques of their psychical research were. This is important, since one of the standard rhetorical strategies of opponents of elite psychical research that continues to inform its historiography was the conflation of the hard-nosed empiricism typical of the early SPR with superstition and uncritical belief, i.e. the kind of lumping together of positions which Lamont rightly criticizes in present-day ‘paranormal-belief’ scales.

Just to give one example, Lamont tries to capture a key episode in the public repudiation of psychical research from nascent psychology's territories, the debate concerning James's star medium Leonora Piper, on less than three pages. Much of the space is dedicated to G. Stanley Hall's and Amy Tanner's Studies in Spiritism (1910), which was based on just six sittings with Piper and published shortly after James's death. Readers unfamiliar with the sheer wealth of primary sources concerning Piper, however, will not get the slightest idea of the outstanding quality of the studies previously published by the SPR, let alone the extent to which Hall and Tanner misrepresented these sources and engaged in other remarkable acts of intellectual dishonesty. Together with detailed critiques of Hall and Tanner's book by the sceptical Andrew Lang and some of Piper's surviving investigators, such as Eleanor Sidgwick and James Hyslop, these primary sources (of which not a single one turns up in Lamont's bibliography) document in great detail that in the strange case of Leonora Piper debunkers like Hall, Tanner and James McKeen Cattell were overwhelmingly wrong and James and fellow psychical researchers overwhelmingly right as far as basic standards of scientific methodology and fair play were concerned.

A disbeliever in ‘paranormal’ phenomena, Lamont does well to distance himself from prominent representatives of the modern ‘Skeptics’ movement, whose methods have provoked protests from sociologists like Harry Collins, Trevor Pinch and Robert Evans. Taking issue with the evangelism displayed by self-appointed ‘sceptical’ experts such as Richard Dawkins, James Randi and Michael Shermer, Lamont argues that a true sceptic ‘needs to distinguish between the wheat and the chaff’ (p. 215). But he also should have pointed out that methods and rhetorical styles employed by Hall, Tanner, Cattell, Joseph Jastrow, Hugo Münsterberg and other opponents of psychical research are virtually indistinguishable from those of Dawkins, Randi et al. Hence Extraordinary Beliefs offers little help to those willing to distinguish the wheat and the chaff in the still hopelessly biased historiography of the modern occult.

Perhaps ironically, Lamont himself experienced the kind of treatment characteristic of assaults on James, the early SPR and present-day parapsychologists in a 2013 review in PsycCRITIQUES, an online review published by the American Psychological Association. The reviewer, Jonathan C. Smith, indirectly accused Lamont of advocating for parapsychological pseudoscience, which Smith informs us is motivated by the same mentalities responsible for the continued burning of witches, global warming denial and, of course, 9/11. In his published response, Lamont corrected evident misrepresentations of his arguments and even identified a fabricated quote. One could say that Smith by definition reviewed Lamont's book, but I suppose Lamont would be appreciative of future historians reconstructing discourses regarding science and the occult for including his reply.")

Loxton (2013). Why Is There A Skeptical Movement? (historical overview of antagonist talking points, important to understand how antagonists see themselves and what they believe to be their mission. 2 of the writers he references with praise, Michael Shermer and James Randi, are unreliable, as I will demonstrate below. As for Joe Nickell, I have seen murmurs of him misrepresenting sources, but nothing adequate to substantiate the charge, so I cannot assume bad faith on his part, as I do with people like Martin Gardner (though people have argued that he is tendentious). The attacks from some of the literature he brings up are condensed and concentrated in a text from Walter Mann which I will attempt to refute below. For the time being, a text that offers a useful counterpoint to Loxton's overall view of psychic claimants is A Campbell Holms' The Facts of Psychic Science and Philosophy. Some of the authors he lauds as heroes are, in The Enchanted Boundary by WF Prince, and The Personality of Man by GNM Tyrell, pt. IX, shown to be unreliable. Loxton has written elsewhere a hagiography of Joseph Rinn, later in this annotated bibliography I demonstrate that Rinn engaged in extreme dishonesty. Loxton makes no mention of the fact that leading luminaries in all kinds of fields have reported strong paranormal experiences, as shown by Prince's Noted Witnesses for Psychic Occurrences, and other texts.

Loxton's discussion of the ancient Roman skeptical activist Lucian, who wrote a polemic against Alexander of Abonoteichus, references an article that challenges the reliability of the narrator, though he does not indicate that it does this - the challenge to Lucian's reliability occurs in the subsection "THE CASE AGAINST THE PROSECUTION" of the article Snake or Fake? As regards Lucian, the psycho-folklorist Andrew Lang noted (Cock-Lane and Common Sense, pp. 24-26), "Once more, Rome in the late Republic, the Rome of Cicero, was ‘enlightened,’ as was the Greece of Lucian; that is the educated classes were enlightened. Yet Lucretius, writing only for the educated classes, feels obliged to combat the belief in ghosts and the kind of Calvinism which, but for his poem, we should not know to have been widely prevalent. Lucian, too, mocks frequently at educated belief in just such minor and useless miracles as we are considering, but then Lucian lived in an age of cataclysm in religion. Looking back on history we find that most of historical time has either been covered with dark ignorance, among savages, among the populace, or in all classes; or, on the other hand, has been marked by enlightenment, which has produced, or accompanied, religious or irreligious crises. Now religious and irreligious crises both tend to beget belief in abnormal occurrences. Religion welcomes them as miracles divine or diabolical. Scepticism produces a reaction, and ‘where no gods are spectres walk’. Thus men cannot, or, so far, men have not been able to escape from the conditions in which marvels flourish. If we are savages, then Vuis and Brewin beset the forest paths and knock in the lacustrine dwelling perched like a nest on reeds above the water; tornaks rout in the Eskimo hut, in the open wood, in the gunyeh, in the Medicine Lodge. If we are European peasants, we hear the Brownie at work, and see the fairies dance in their grassy ring. If we are devoutly Catholic we behold saints floating in mid-air, or we lay down our maladies and leave our crutches at Lourdes. If we are personally religious, and pass days in prayer, we hear voices like Bunyan; see visions like the brave Colonel Gardiner or like Pascal; walk environed by an atmosphere of light, like the seers in Iamblichus, and like a very savoury Covenanting Christian. We are attended by a virtuous sprite who raps and moves tables as was a pious man mentioned by Bodin and a minister cited by Wodrow. We work miracles and prophesy, like Mr. Blair of St. Andrews (1639-1662); we are clairvoyant, like Mr. Cameron, minister of Lochend, or Loch-Head, in Kintyre (1679). If we are dissolute, and irreligious like Lord Lyttelton, or like Middleton, that enemy of Covenanters, we see ghosts, as they did, and have premonitions. If we live in a time of witty scepticism, we take to the magnetism of Mesmer. If we exist in a period of learned and scientific scepticism, and are ourselves trained observers, we may still watch the beliefs of Mr. Wallace and the experiments witnessed by Mr. Crookes and Dr. Huggins."

Loxton does not attempt to deal with more difficult to dismiss cases, like Appolonius of Tyana. Andreas Sommer noted in his thesis (p. 30), that "Aided by advances in print technology, leading thinkers such as Voltaire, Diderot and other philosophes in France and elsewhere launched campaigns to banish reports and claims of supernatural phenomena from intellectual discourse, a movement which Roy Porter (1999) called the ‘Enlightenment crusade’. ‘Cunning folk’, miracle healers, visionaries, convulsionaries and other ‘enthusiasts’ were no longer burned at the stake or beaten to death but publicly ridiculed, arrested and medically ‘treated’ by dunking, beating or forced marriage. (Speculations about Voltaire) in line with Barruel's Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism seem relevant) Ancient history was rewritten when the Greek and Roman oracles, held in high esteem by medieval to Renaissance writers, were retroactively transformed into instruments of a corrupt pagan priesthood"; and he noted on p. 30n29, "A major attack was The History of Oracles by Bernard de Fontenelle ([1687] 1753), secretary of the French Academy of Science. Like other retroactive debunkers of the time, de Fontenelle used religious rather than naturalistic arguments to show the backwardness of belief in the ‘supernatural’." An antithesis to de Fontenelle, also using religious arguments was, Jean Francois Baltus' "An Answer to Mr de Fontelle's History of Oracles." I am however not interested in disputes along these lines- I am interested in empirical arguments. As such, it is notable that Loxton ignores the documentation of Dodds in his overview of supernormal phenomena in classical antiquity, which it would be difficult to miss with minor acquaintance with the psychical research literature.

Loxton misrepresents Andrew Lang as an anti-paranormal writer, citing Lang's text Cock-Lane and Common Sense, when the SPR review of that text shows the exact opposite (see particularly p. 424 of the review demonstrating Loxton's sloppy misrepresentations - "Mr. Lang examines some of the attempts to give rationalistic "Common-sense" explanations of certain tales, including that of the famous Cock Lane ghost, and shows how miserably inadequate they are to account for the phenomena even as recorded by the sceptics themselves."). What Lang's book actually showed is that Spiritualist phenomena have universal parallels across human cultures, as evident in p. 81 where he shows cross cultural, independent examples paralleling the phenomena of the medium William Stainton Moses. One thing that really arrested my attention in this text was the statement on pp. 34-36: Thus enough is known to show that savage spiritualism wonderfully resembles, even in minute details, that of modern mediums and seances, while both have the most striking parallels in the old classical thaumaturgy.

This uniformity, to a certain extent, is not surprising, for savage, classical, and modern spiritualism all repose on the primaeval animistic hypothesis as their metaphysical foundation. The origin of this hypothesis — namely, that disembodied intelligences exist and are active — is explained by anthropologists as the result of early reasonings on life, death, sleep, dreams, trances, shadows, the phenomena of epilepsy, and the illusions of Starvation. This scientific theory is, in itself, unimpeachable ; normal phenomena, psychological and physical, might suggest most of the animistic beliefs.

At the same time 'veridical hallucinations,' if there are any, and clairvoyance, if there is such a thing, would do much to originate and confirm the animistic opinions. Meanwhile, the extraordinary similarity of savage and classical spiritualistic rites, with the corresponding similarity of alleged modern phenomena, raises problems which it is more easy to state than to solve. For example, such occurrences as 'rappings,' as the movement of untouched objects, as the lights of the seance room, are all easily feigned. But that ignorant modern knaves should feign precisely the same raps, lights, and movements as the most remote and unsophisticated barbarians, and as the educated Platonists of the fourth century after Christ, and that many of the other phenomena should be identical in each case, is certainly noteworthy. This kind of folk-lore is the most persistent, the most apt to revive, and the most uniform. We have to decide between the theories of independent invention; of transmission, borrowing, and secular tradition; and of a substratum of actual fact."

It is ironic that he references approvingly a text that provides a firm basis for a refutation of his predicate.

There are numerous cross-cultural correlations addressing some of the most seeming implausible subjects in this field. St. Augustine, writing in his City of God, discussed materialization mediumship (as cited in Psychical and supernormal phenomena their observation and experimentation by Dr. Paul Joire. Frederick A. Stokes, New York, 1916. p. 462). Loxton completely ignores well accounted for paranormality in the lives of the saints, like Joan of Arc and Joseph of Cupertino, even though this evidence comes from Andrew Lang, who he misrepresented, and from Eric Dingwall, a person who "skeptics" of the latter half of the 20th century graciously referenced, but who did not fall into their camp or the camp of enthusiastic proponents, and whose arguments in this case provide counter-evidence to derision.

Loxton then discusses Thomas Ady's A Candle in the Dark (though he neglects to mention mention the work of the ur-skeptic Reginald Scot, The Discoverie of Witchcraft). He makes no mention of Glanvill's antithesis to skepticism along those lines, Sadducimus Triumphatus, which was a, perhaps the, prototypical psychical research text, attempting to extract evidence of paranormality from accounts of the time period, which were at that time enmeshed in the context of the Witchcraft belief - both this text and Ady's were of historical significance in the Salem witch trials ((Wikipedia cites the following in relevant articles, which will have to be independently verified) for Ady, cf. Mary Beth Norton. In the Devil's Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Dec 18, 2007. p. 251; for Glanvill, cf., Ankarloo, Bengt and Henningsen, Gustav, ed. Early Modern European Witchcraft: Centres and Peripheries (1990). Oxford University Press. p. 431-3. - see also Wise, Paul Melvin, "Cotton Mathers's Wonders of the Invisible World: An Authoritative Edition" (2005). English Dissertations. Paper 5 - also available here) - actual skeptics would analyze the strengths and weaknesses of both of them. Ady did good work in countering religious bigotry, though his view could be modified in a minor way by Edmund Gurney's Notes on Witchcraft (Montague Summers' A History of Witchcraft and Demonology, an attempted argument for the reality of the phenomena, offers an interesting argument that I feel is somewhat bigoted that connects it to Spiritism).

The notes on Glanvill bring to mind something noted by Andreas Sommer, who discussed the continuous occupation with the occult among elite intellectuals in his May 13, 2014 article Enchanted Cambridge, "While modern popular science still often relies on traditional claims of the inherent incompatibility of science and the ‘miraculous’, current history of science scholarship has shown remarkably fluid boundaries between elite science and the ‘occult’. No location in Britain, and perhaps the whole Western hemisphere, is more apt to challenge popular standard notions of the alleged disenchantment of science than Cambridge." He noted of Glanvill's work, "At the end of the seventeenth century, early members of the Royal Society such as Ralph Cudworth at Emmanuel College and Henry More at Christ compiled natural histories of witchcraft, apparitions and poltergeist phenomena. With the support of Robert Boyle and other fellow Royal Society members, Henry More edited and substantially supplemented the crowning outcome of these endeavours, Joseph Glanvill’s posthumous Saducismus Triumphatus."

Wise notes on p. 325 of his aforementioned dissertation, "Cotton Mathers's Wonders of the Invisible World: An Authoritative Edition", that "Witchcraft was a serious topic of debate among members of the Royal Scientific Society of London, that prestigious organization into which Mather was eventually inducted. People concerned with witchcraft included Robert Boyle, Joseph Glanvill, and Isaac Newton, and many of these Royal Society confreres truly believed in witchcraft. In spite of the fact that many in the Royal Society tried to examine witchcraft scientifically, their Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, published since 1665, ignored the issue of witchcraft completely. The Transactions “carefully excluded the topics of God and the soul from its province” (Prior 183). Instead, they confined themselves to discussion about matters that could be empirically verified. Regardless of what these scientists may have said or written elsewhere about it, real debate over witchcraft was not taking place in the pages of the Transactions of the Royal Society, despite Royal Society fellow Joseph Glanvill’s suggestion in 1668 that the “SOCIETY” take up scientific study of the “the LAND of SPIRITS [as] a kinde of AMERICA” (A Blow 115). "

It is interesting that while these people were proto-psychical researchers in their attempt to vindicate the Witchcraft belief, they were adherents of intellectual trends that would later fuel a 19th century anti-occultism. Initial trends were not like this at all - Sommer noted in his aforementioned article on "Enchanted Cambridge" about the frist proto-psychical researcher of the west, John Dee, "on the eve of the Scientific Revolution the famous natural philosopher and mathematician John Dee, a student at St. John’s and early fellow of Trinity College, conducted alchemical and astrological studies, and explored techniques for the communication with angelic beings."

This was in opposition to a general trend among educated proponents of supernaturalism, who were influenced by the church. Sommer noted in his thesis, pp. 24-27, "Whereas to engage directly in communion with disembodied spirits was strictly prohibited to Christians of any ilk, leading early members of the London Royal Society produced natural histories of apparitions, hauntings and poltergeist phenomena (i.e., physical phenomena supposedly worked by demons or impure spirits of the departed), diabolical possession and other supposed interventions from the spirit world.17 Joseph Glanvill’s (1636-1680) Saducismus Triumphatus (1681), for example, is a more or less systematic attempt to document otherworldly occurrences – witchcraft, apparitions and poltergeist cases.18 Other industrious collectors of spirit testimony during the first generation of the Royal Society were Ralph Cudworth (1617-1688) and, most importantly, Henry More (1614-1687), who edited and enlarged Glanvill’s posthumous Saducismus, and whose An Antidote to Atheism (More, [1653] 1662) and The Immortality of the Soul (More, [1659] 1662) likewise contain documentations of spirit intervention. The programmatic title of More’s Antidote nicely explicates the agenda of English natural philosophers conducting and publicising such investigations with the aim to convert the irreligious as well as ‘enthusiasts’ to what they insisted was the only true religion. By the formation of the London Royal Society in 1660, ‘enthusiasm’ had become a label widely used to blemish individuals or groups who claimed to receive private divine revelations, bypassing clerical and thus state authority.19 The title and subject matter of another book of More’s, Enthusiasmus Triumphatus; or, A Brief Discourse of The Nature, Causes, Kinds, and Cure of Enthusiasm ([1656] 1662) is hardly less programmatic than the Antidote to Atheism, opening as it does with a discussion of the “great Affinity and Correspondence betwixt Enthusiasm and Atheism” (pp. 1-2). Writings by early modern natural philosophers, who often combined the roles of cleric, politician and natural philosopher in one person, were replete with attacks on heresies like ‘atheism’, ‘enthusiasm’, ‘Hobbism’, ‘Epicurism’ and other worrying ‘superstitions’.20 While popular coffee-house materialism and atheism could not yet play a role in official intellectual or political discourse anywhere in Europe or the New World, mystic ‘enthusiasm’, along with other epistemic deviations did exist and clearly worried the ‘Christian virtuosi’,21 whose recollections of riots, wars and regicides caused by religious unrest and fanaticism were fresh in their memories.

Apart from materialist beliefs, it was particularly animistic or hylozoist notions of a ‘world soul’ [later suggested in works by psychical researchers such as FWH Myers and William Barrett], which were widely viewed as enthusiast aberrations threatening the Christian belief in the survival of the individual, rational soul after bodily death, and – most importantly – its immediate post-mortem reward or punishment in the afterlife by a watchful God.

Another (albeit not quite as ubiquitous) enemy of the ‘new mechanical philosophers’ in England was therefore Renaissance naturalism, which tended to share certain hylozoist notions with scholasticism and certain strands of ‘enthusiast’ (often pantheistic) beliefs by imbuing nature and matter with mental properties such as sentience, volition, sympathy, love and horror. Thus, in A Free Enquiry into the Vulgar Notion of Nature, Robert Boyle ([1686] 1725) complained: The looking upon merely corporeal, and often inanimate things, as endow’d with life, sense, and understanding; and ascribing to nature, and some other Beings, things that belong to God alone, have been grand causes of the polytheism and idolatry of the Gentiles (pp. 113-114).

Identifying ancient sun and moon worship as candidates for such blasphemous doctrines, and rebuking Hippocrates and Galen for deeming nature animated and inherently divine, Boyle also scolded adherents of the “Chinese religion”, the Stoics, and Aristotle’s “heathen disciples” (p. 115) who had called the works of God “the works of nature, and mention him and her together, not as creator and a creature, but as two co-ordinate governors”(p. 114).22 In France, Descartes (in a letter to Henry More) stated that he had refrained from developing an extreme form of voluntarism (i.e., the doctrine of God’s immediate interference in the course of nature) because he was worried to “be supporting the opinion of those who regard God as anima mundi, united to the matter of the world” (cited in Schaffer, 1985, p. 127, original italics).23

Regarding the theological-pedagogic function of a belief in disembodied minds, Robert Boyle expressed a sentiment common at the time: “To grant … that there are intelligent beings that are not ordinarily visible does much conduce to the reclaiming … of atheists”, since this would “help to enlarge the somewhat too narrow conceptions men are wont to have of the amplitude of the works of God” (cited in Shapin, 1998, p. 154). Boyle, who was involved in a survey of ‘second sight’ in Scotland (Hunter, 2001) and investigations of healers such as the Irishman Valentine Greatrakes (Breathnach, 1999; Shaw, 2006), therefore actively supported Glanvill’s and More’s programme and instigated, and wrote the preface to, the English edition of the report on a famous French ‘poltergeist’ case, the ‘Divell of Mascon’ (Perrault, [1653] 1658; Webster, 2005, pp. 92-93).24

According to a current consensus among historians working on early modern science and supernaturalism, ‘empirical eschatology’ in the service of social control and the new mechanical philosophy were thus closely interlinked. In fact, it is difficult to disagree with Philip Almond (1994), who observed that Judgement Day “became part of the new science” (p. 111)."

Sommer noted (pp. 28-29), "While earlier attacks on the belief in apparitions and witchcraft had tended to employ theological and natural-magic arguments rather than natural explanations (see 1.4), Thomas Hobbes, the persona non grata at the Royal Society, was among the first to offer a purely physiological account for reports of apparitional experiences, suggesting they were produced in the same manner, as when a man violently presseth his eye, there appears to him a light without, and before him, which no man perceiveth but himselfe; because there is indeed no such thing without him, but onely a motion in the interiour organs, pressing by resistance outward, that makes him think so (Hobbes, [1651] 1904, p. 472).

Men like Boyle, More, Cudworth and Glanvill sought to refute such arguments in the vein of Boylean public science, by preferably publishing cases that involved phenomena perceived collectively, carefully observed, and vouched for by witnesses of impeccable intellectual and personal integrity. Glanvill (1681) therefore believed he was justified to assert that “there are Spirits, who sometimes sensibly intermeddle in our affairs”, doing so “with clearness of evidence”, for the presented testimony for poltergeist phenomena, apparitions and witchcraft was not collected in the dark past, or at far distance, in an ignorant age, or among a barbarous people, they were not seen by two or three only of the Melancholick and Superstitious, and reported by those that made them serve the advantage and interest of a party. They were not the passages of a Day or Night, nor the vanishing glances of an Apparition; but these Transactions were near and late, publick, frequent, and of divers years continuance, witnessed by multitudes of competent and unbyassed Attestors, and acted in a searching incredulous Age: Arguments enough one would think to convince any modest and capable reason (Second Part, p. 62, original italics).

In a letter to Glanvill, Robert Boyle urged his colleague to take special care in obtaining evidence for ghostly goings-on, and to ensure that, at least, the main circumstances of the relation may be impartially delivered, and sufficiently verified . . . for we live in an age, and a place, wherein all stories of witchcrafts, or other magical feats, are by many, even of the wise, suspected; and by too many, that would pass for wits, derided and exploded.25

These efforts notwithstanding, the popularity of exercises in ‘empirical eschatology’ rapidly declined in the early eighteenth century on the backdrop of the horrors of the witch craze and continuing religious wars and unrest. The Catholic commercialization of the afterlife through letters of indulgence, sold to the wealthy to secure places in heaven, continued to outrage Protestant and other avowedly progressive religious as well as anti-religious figures. Natural histories of ghostly goings-on as compiled by Boyle, Glanvill and More were a thing of a dark past, having become the domain of Catholic apologists such as the French Benedictine scholar Dom Augustin Calmet (1672-1757) and ‘enthusiasts’ like the founder of Methodism, John Wesley (1703-1791).26 The pillars of rational Protestantism, on the other hand, were no longer grounded in miracles as evidence for an omnipotent God but on the supposed self-evidence of reason and its use as demanded by a rational and progressive divine watchmaker, who had created the world but did not interfere with his perfectly tuned clockwork. Rather than the still widely contested atheistic-materialistic accounts of human physiology particularly by French authors such as Paul-Henri Thiry d’Holbach (1723-1789), Denis Diderot (1713-1784) and Julien Offray de La Mettrie (1709-1751),27 it was the by now orthodox viewpoint of ‘rational Christianity’ – Deism, Latitudinarism and related variants – that was instrumental in the decline of the respectability of the ‘supernatural’ among enlightened elites. No longer required by the enlightened Christian mind, reports of supernatural occurrences were therefore laughed out of intellectual discourse as an infantile, inherently subversive and intellectually vulgar relict of a backward pagan past, and the only true proof of God was man’s possession of reason.28"

He noted in his thesis, p. 52, " faced by the new ‘enthusiasm’ of modern spiritualism, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries professional alienists and medics sweepingly pathologised mediumship and occult belief, while retroactively transforming early modern critics of belief in witchcraft and demonic possession such as Johan Wier (1515-1588), John Webster (1610-1682) and Balthasar Bekker (1634-1698) into spokesmen of modern naturalistic nineteenth-century medicine and psychiatry.75 As authors like Patrick Vandermeersch (1991), Roy Porter (1999) and Hans de Waardt (2011) have observed, however, these portrayals blatantly ignore that these works almost exclusively relied on arguments and explanations not exactly conforming to modern medical views. One of the works routinely celebrated by nineteenth-century alienists, John Webster’s 1677 The Displaying of Witchcraft (which was mainly written as an attack on Glanvill)76, for instance, did not employ ‘natural’ explanations but relied on alchemical, natural magical and theological arguments to argue against a demonological interpretation of witchcraft, which Webster protested was blasphemy as it granted the devil too much power. Moreover, Webster did not deny that ‘miraculous’ phenomena occurred, for instance, in reported cases of demonic possession, but explained them in a Paracelsian manner through natural magic of the living. Also, his concerns were mainly directed against ‘enthusiasts’, whose visions and revelations he pathologised using a Galenic humoral framework. Moreover, as G. S. Rousseau observed, “medical doctors did not take up the cudgels for Webster: only preachers and other clerical types did, pouring forth a literature contra enthusiasm on grounds that it was but insanity in disguise” (Rousseau, 1980, p. 194)."

Sommer noted, in his thesis, p. 31, "While the Enlightenment doubtlessly saw major judicial advances regarding the prosecution of members of competing denominations, sweeping present-day claims about the Enlightenment as the great age of tolerance therefore need to be soundly qualified (see also Grell & Porter, 2000). As long as personal religion was based on ‘occult’ or ‘mystical’ experience, it was labelled as ‘enthusiastic’ and therefore deemed subversive and strictly undesirable, which is illustrated, e.g., by David Hume’s essay ‘Of Superstition and Enthusiasm’ ([1741] 1889), which to Hume constituted “the corruptions of true religion” and “two species of false religion” (p. 144). While “Weakness, fear, melancholy, together with ignorance” were “the true sources of Superstition” to Hume, “Hope, pride, presumption, a warm imagination, together with ignorance” were “the true sources of Enthusiasm” (p. 145). Followed by observations regarding abuse of clerical power through the encouragement of superstition, Hume admitted that the rejection of authority by ‘enthusiasts’ was closer to the ideal of liberty, but still lamented that “enthusiasm produces the most cruel disorders in human society” (p. 149). Hence, this text should be read in conjunction with Hume’s famous argument for the intrinsic fallibility of testimony for the occurrence of ‘miracles’ (Hume, [1748] 2007) – i.e., the kind of things investigated by Boyle, Glanvill and others at the end of the seventeenth century, and which formed the phenomenological standard repertoire of modern spiritualism in the nineteenth century –, and both need to be appreciated in their historical context.32

Though any empirical approach to the spirit realm was now intellectually taboo, the perceived importance of scripture-based afterlife beliefs for the stability of the social order and moral conduct continued to be stressed and defended by many Enlightenment thinkers such as Rousseau, Herder and Kant."

In Early Modern European Witchcraft, Centres and Peripheries by Bengt Ankarloo; Gustav Henningsen, Review by: Stephen Wilson, Social History, Vol. 16, No. 3 (Oct., 1991), pp. 367-370, on p. 367, Wilson notes that with the rise of Protestantism came a rejection of belief in saints, this is a possible origin of the trend of skepticism in paranormality.

Loxton's overall negative view of Mesmerism is countered within Crabtree's annotated bibliography on the subject and my commentary on that bibliography - he ignores the problems with the reliability of the commission that I highlighted, the fact that the commissioner Jussieu dissented, the fact that a subsequent commission validated mesmeric clairvoyance, and the fact that the world class prestidigitator of the time period, Robert Houdin, validated the somnambulist Alexis Didier's clairvoyance.

His mentions of Faraday ignore the fact that Faraday was biased - he would test Daniel Dunglas Home only if he (Home) denounced Spiritualism - and Faraday's table-turning tests were refuted by de Gasparin - having purportedly read Andrew Lang's "Cock Lane and Common Sense", Loxton would undoubtedly be aware of the chapter entitled "The Logic of Table Turning" which mentions this. It is important to note that Faraday's experiments did not relate to the phenomena they purported to test - Crabtree notes "666. Faraday, Michael. “Professor Farady on Table Moving.” The Athenaeum (London), No. 1340, (July 2, 1853): 801–803. In 1853 the fad of “table-moving” swept across the Atlantic from the United States and rapidly engulfed the whole of Britain and Europe. “Table-moving” consisted of gathering a number of people (often termed “sitters”) around a table and having them attempt to get the table to rotate or rise and fall without using physical force to do so. Techniques varied greatly. For example, the sitters might spread their hands on the table, joining little finger to little finger to form a continuous circle; or they might hold their hands above the table with little or no contact with it. The practice derived from the newly formed Spiritualist movement whose central belief was that spirits of the dead can communicate with the living. Spiritualists believed that the tables were moved by spirits, and when the tables would rise and fall, causing a leg to knock against the floor, they would discern spirits messages being tapped out in code for the benefit of the “sitters.” Others believed that the tables indeed did move, but that spirits were not involved; rather the physical effects were caused by some unknown force produced by the “sitters” (such as animal magnetic force, odic force, electrical force, etc.). Still others believed that no movement without physical force took place at all, and that table moving phenomena were either the result of self-deception or deliberate trickery. Since the fad had become so widespread and table moving was being attempted in many of the living rooms of the western world, a clamor arose for men of science to make a pronouncement on the reality of the phenomena. So it was that the physicist Michael Faraday, one of the most eminent scientists of the century, was persuaded to try some experiments and settle the matter “once and for all.” This Faraday did, making his findings known first in a letter to the editor of the London Times in the June 30, 1853 issue, then in more detail in the Athenaeum. Bringing together a group of people as “sitters” whom he considered to be honest and who enthusiastically believed they could move the tables, Faraday concluded that the tables move, if they move, simply as a result of “quasi-involuntary” muscular exertion on the part of the sitters. While believing they were merely pressing straight down on the table, the sitters unwittingly caused their hands, which were in contact with the table, to apply force in a uniform direction of motion. Faraday’s experiment was supposed to put the matter to rest, but it did not. Many protested that no general conclusions could be drawn from his very limited experiment, carried out using only one of many possible techniques. Faraday’s conclusions, for example, did not pertain to those purported cases of table moving with no physical contact. Nonetheless, Faraday’s reputation was such that virtually everyone who wrote about table-moving phenomena after him felt called upon to acknowledge his view and take a stand in relation to it. This early attempt to investigate the physical phenomena of spiritualism scientifically is an important milestone in the development of psychical research. The call for rational and controlled study of these experiences would grow in intensity over the next thirty years, contributing significantly to the founding in London in 1882 of the Society for Psychical Research. [H & P]":

He mentions the Lankaster and Donkin show trial of Henry Slade - certainly, for someone as apparently widely read as he, he would have been aware of the disputes between William Benjamin Carpenter and Alfred Russel Wallace, and that Wallace, in a review: Carpenter's "Mesmerism, Spiritualism, &c., Historically and Scientifically Considered", had a footnote demonstrating skulduggery on the part of the prosecutors of the trial - unless of course he only reads the books of bigots and antagonists to the subject. Unlike Home (the skeptic Peter Lamont's biography of Home demonstrates that his detractors have not proven fraud and have not made their case against him, and later on I provide information that Lamont overlooked), Slade cannot be easily defended, unless one defends him as a mixed medium. Nevertheless, many skeptics omit the fact that the world class prestidigitator Samuel Bellacinni claimed that the phenomena he witnessed from Slade, in full light, was genuine.

As for the opposition to this group to the "paranormal", the origins of this most likely lie with the sentiment attributed to the "leading biologist" in the already noted quote from The Will to Believe by William James - occasionally it does some good work, like James Randi's exposure of the phony faith healer Popoff. But this movement unfortunately obfuscates advances in frontier science).

Hasen (2000). Review of The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal by Gordon Stein (carries same significance as the above - it has an interesting passage that reads as follows: "Martin Gardner’s entry “Magic and Psi” is a mixed bag. He cites no references to any work since 1981, and he provides no historical perspective at all. But then, many of the most eminent magicians have endorsed the reality of psi--a fact that must discomfit Gardner. Further, he is not altogether accurate. For instance, he asserts that Conan Doyle “never asked Houdini or any other magician to attend a séance with him” (p. 381). It is widely known that Conan Doyle did indeed ask Houdini to attend, and in fact, editor Stein even wrote about that. This entry is noteworthy because it contains previously unpublished criticism that bears directly on a paper published in this Journal. Honorton (1993) reported observing Felicia Parise move a pill bottle via PK. At some point, Honorton told Gardner that Parise could not have been using a thread because the bottle moved away from her. Honorton’s assertion is devastating to any presumption of his competence to observe putative macro-PK. I have no doubt that Gardner is telling the truth here, because in 1984, a decade after the incident, Honorton told me the very same thing he told Gardner. Honorton was emotionally taken with what he saw, and he never made any attempt to learn how a magician could accomplish the feat using a thread." Gardner's statements regarding Honorton are thus speculative, but Hansen in his skepticism seems to overlook the greater difficulty of moving it forward (and not being noticed), than moving it backward. He also neglects to mention the scope of the findings with Parise, as enunciated in The Power of the Mind (Chilton Book Co., 1975) by Susy Smith, chapter 27:

"In Parapsychology Review4 I read the following:

One evening, the two classes had a joint meeting in order to see a film showing psychokinesis by Felicia Parise. This demonstration was filmed by a skeptical photographer and witnessed by Charles Honorton. After the area was thoroughly examined, the photographer had to believe what he saw. Felicia Parise moved a plastic pill box on a table a few inches. Under a very heavy bell jar, she was able to cause a cork to roll and strips of aluminum foil to flutter. This ten minute film took her many hours to produce and proved very enervating. She had to rest between attempts. Her hands hovered over the object and she said the sensation was like pitching. When she finished she couldn't move her arm, it was too painful. At another time, they tested her physical reaction during an experiment. She lost two pounds, during a 40-minute session, her blood pressure was affected, blood sugar rose, and her heart rate increased. She claimed that she performs best when under personal stress.

For the following week, we were told to bring a compass to class. No one in the class could move the needle but we watched Felicia Parise move it a few degrees on three different compasses. She no longer attempts PK, except every once in a while to see if she still has the ability."

In Mysterious Minds, p. 74 we have a description of the precautions Honorton took, and we can see that the attempts to castigate him as credulous by Gardner are therefore without merit.

More significantly, Stanley Krippner, who is regarded as having been "duped" by critics given his endorsement of Nina Kulagina, argues against critics that she engaged in fraud, argues and provides evidence of misrepresentation concerning this issue from Martin Gardner, in ch. 2 of Human Possibilities: Mind Exploration in the U. S. S. R. and Eastern Europe (Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1980). Krippner there also defends Felicia Parise.

Similar misinformation has persisted about Stanislaw Tomzynck. As regards Tomczyk's phenomena - the magician William S. Marriott claimed to have exposed and replicated Tomczyk's levitation of a glass beaker in 1910 by by means of a hidden thread (Pearson's Magazine. June 1910. C. Arthur Pearson Ltd. p. 615). However, Harry Price, who knew Marriott (Harry Price. Fifty Years of Psychical Research. (Kessinger Publishing, 2003). ISBN 978-0766142428, p. 208), wrote of Tomczyk's phenomena: "Another medium (non professional) who produced telekinetic phenomena of unquestionalble genuineness was Stanislawa Tomczyk, a young Polish girl" (ibid., p. 76). Eric Dingwall also wrote positively of the work with Tomczyk, writing: "Even if in England we have failed to realise the importance of Dr. von Schrenck-Notzing's contribution (I), in Germany the attacks made upon it reflect great credit upon its author. For the truth is that it is by far the most important work on telekinesis since the S.P.R. Report on Palladino or Dr. Ochorowicz's observations on Mile T." (Eric Dingwall. Telekinetic And Teleplastic Mediumship. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research. Volume 34 (1924), pp. 324-322). The descriptions of the Tomczyk experiments by psychical researchers reveal conditions precluding Marriott's attempted replication by means of trickery. Charles Richet wrote of the experiments with Tomczyk: "J. Ochorowicz has studied telekinesis with great care through the powerful mediumship of a young Polish girl, Stanislawa Tomczyk. I have myself been present at several experiments with her that seemed quite conclusive. The illustrations (Figs. 11-13) show some of the photographs taken.Small objects-a ball, a handbell, a needle-are drawn towards the medium and maintained in the air long enough for a photograph to be taken even in a moderate light. It cannot be supposed that these objects are held up by a thread, for a ball cannot be balanced on a thread, which would, moreover, appear in the photograph. Stanislawa turns up her sleeves to the elbow, washes her hands in soap and warm water, after which her hands remain always in full view. A commission at Warsaw composed of physicians, physiologists, and engineers carefully verified these facts and despite the furious opposition of Professor Cybulskii, who denied the facts while declining to examine them, certified to their entire authenticity. In telekinesis with small objects even in full light, fraud is always possible if the observers are not fully vigilant; for such small objects may be displaced by a thread. Ochorowicz has worked out this question in his experiments with Miss Tomczyk. There are cases in which the object is moved without any thread, and others in which a thread does appear; but this thread is not the hair or fine wire of a conjuring trick, it is a fluidic thread. "I have felt," says Ochorowicz, "this thread on my hand, on my face, on my hair. When the medium separates her hands, the thread gets thinner and disappears; it gives the same sensation as a spider's web. If it is cut with scissors its continuity is immediately restored (p. 262). It seems to be formed of points; it can be photographed and is then seen to be much thinner than an ordinary thread. It starts from the fingers. Needless to remark that the hands of the medium were very carefully examined before every experiment" (A.S.P., 1910, xx, 208). Ochorowicz cites a curious observation made by the Chevalier Peretti with Eusapia at Genoa. A glass having been raised by Eusapia without contact, she cried out, "The thread, look at the thread." Peretti took the thread and pulled it; it broke and suddenly disappeared. This "fluidic thread" should be compared with the fluidic emanations from Marthe Béraud. The minute details given by Ochorowicz should be carefully studied. Instead of quoting the experiments by Ochorowicz, I will cite those by the Warsaw Committee (A.S.P., 1910, xx, 37) A celluloid ball, 6 cm. in diameter, was placed in full light on a dynamometer. S. placed her hands two or three centimetres from it and the ball began to roll off the dynamometer on to the table. S. ordered it to return, which it did. There was then another movement. In a second experiment the ball was screened by a large celluloid funnel, but the movement was still produced. The committee state that the facts are certain, but incomprehensible. Incomprehensible? So be it!" (Charles Richet. Thirty Years of Psychical Research. (Kessinger Publishing, 2003). ISBN 978-0766142190, pp. 424-427)

Hereward Carrington wrote of the experiments with Tomczyk: "In the Annals of Psychic Science, April, July, and October 1909, Dr. J. Ochorowicz published the results of his careful experiments with this remarkable young Polish medium——many of them being subsequently confirmed by a committee of scientists. The medium displayed remarkable telekinetic power, being enabled to move objects by placing her hands over or near them. 'Psychic threads' seemed to run from her finger-tips, by means of which the objects in question were moved or levitated. The question naturally arose as to whether these threads might not be material. This Ochorowicz seemingly disproved (1) by passing rods between the object and the fingertips, and (2) by photographing the levitation in situ, and throwing an enlargement of this photograph upon a screen, when it was found that no 'threads' were visible in the enlargement, whereas real threads, however fine in character, became visible. He obtained impressions of hands upon photographic plates and upon films——the latter rolled up and sealed in a glass bottle! These hands were quite different in size and general characteristics from those of the medium. He also succeeded in obtaining a curious photograph of 'Little Stasia,' the medium's control, when neither he nor the medium were in the room. Numerous other photographs were observed, recorded, and photographed. I have given a summary of these experiments in my Problems of Psychical Research, pp. 36-50, so we need not unduly expand upon them here. I need only add that Dr. Ochorowicz is the author of that remarkable book Mental Suggestion, and was referred to by Prof. Charles Richet as 'an exceptionally careful and cautious investigator.' His results have never been explained, and are profoundly interesting laboratory experiments." (Hereward Carrington. Laboratory Investigations into Psychic Phenomena. (Kessinger Publishing, 2007). ISBN 978-0548097182, pp. 106-107)

McVaugh (1977). Review of "Natural and Supernatural: A History of the Paranormal from Earliest Times to 1914" by Brian Inglis (positive review of Brian Inglis' classic text in the British Journal for the History of Science - states: "the result is implictly a partisan account, but it is well worth the historian's while to have a detailed presentation of the accumulated evidence as it has won over psychical researchers. Inglis's use of the term 'paradigm' is a self-conscious one; he cites T. S. Kuhn to explain why orthodox scientists have chosen to ignore or to disdain the evidence he sets forth. But it is also true that a reader of Inglis's book will acquire an excellent understanding of the frame of mind of the informed psychical researcher in the early twentieth century". Inglis spent much time near the end of his life opposing orthodoxy - one area in which he focused his attention was fringe medicine and opposition to orthodox medicine - this aroused the attention of spokespersons for orthodoxy who cited "errors" in his work - but, and this is crucial, the crux of his argument was that the concepts he wrote of in this area were wrong - they did not demonstrate that he misrepresented the source literature. In contrast, the key critics we will be dealing with here build their case on misrepresentations of the source literature. Inglis as an outspoken advocate of psychic research attracted criticism from opponents of the field - the most serious sounding one is meaningless - it is by John Taylor, opposing him for suggesting that physics may discover new forces that could explain psychic phenomena. For the other criticisms, it is important to consider them in light of Inglis' rebuttals to them as they appeared in the correspondence section of the journal of the society for psychical research.

Inglis does provide a partisan account in this text, and I recommend balancing it against more conservative commentators like Alan Gauld, and skeptics with a mastery of the literature and no a priori antagonism who are nevertheless deeply critical, like Frank Podmore and Harry Price and Eric Dingwall. Nevertheless, it is very useful for people who want a positive assessment of the evidence, to start out with.

In Psychic Phenomena and the Mind–Body Problem: Historical Notes on a Neglected Conceptual Tradition (2012 - see below), Carlos Alvarado cites (on p. 36) this text as a source regarding the occurrence of psychic phenomena since ancient times.

The version of the text I will be citing is the 2012 edition from the Spiritualist publisher White Crow books, however, it was originally published in London in 1977 by the publisher Hodder and Stoughton. Those who desire the annotated version can consult the edition from Prism Pr Ltd; Rev Sub edition (July 1992))

Grattan-Guinness (1985). Review of "Science and parascience. A history of the paranormal, 1914–1939." by Brian Inglis (positive review in the British Journal for the History of Science. See also Alvarado (1985). Review of "Science and Parascience: A History of the Paranormal from 1914-1939" by Brian Inglis)

Spence (1920). An encyclopædia of occultism; a compendium of information.

Fodor (1966). Encyclopedia of Psychic Science

Kelley et al (2015). Beyond Physicalism Supplement.

Zorab (1957). Bibliography of Parapsychology.

Kelley et al (2010). Introductory Bibliography of Psychical Research.

McLuhan (no date). Fraud in psi research.

Hansen (1990). Deception by Subjects in Psi Research.

Hansen (1990). Magicians Who Endorsed Psychic Phenomena. (controversy has arisen over this article because it notes that Proskauer, otherwise an entrenched counter-advocate, admitted “there have been some inexplicable phenomena during seances.” The fact is that, whatever attacks Proskauer may have made in his work, he contradicts them with this statement, as it demonstrates rejection of the null hypothesis, that the phenomena are explainable as fraud and delusion)

Stevenson (1990). Thoughts on the Decline of Major Paranormal Phenomena.

Braude (1993). Fear of Psi Revisited or It's the Thought that Counts.

Ancient and Medieval Paranormal Claims[edit]

Carrington (1937). The Psychic World.

Howitt (1863). The History of the Supernatural in All Ages and Nations and in all Churches, Christian and Pagan, demonstrating a Universal Faith. (Vol. I, Vol. II)

Lang (1909). The Making of Religion.

Winkelman (1982). Magic, A Theoretical Reassessment (and Comments and Replies).

Dodds (1971). Supernormal Phenomena in Classical Antiquity.

Peters (1998). The Literature of Demonology and Witchcraft.

Scott (1584/1886). The Discoverie of Witchcraft. (very important skeptic text, though this emphasizes the positive side of skepticism, in opposition to religious bigotry. Dingwall said of this in his scathing 1971 attack The Need for Responsibility in Parapsychology: My Sixty Years in Psychical Research (some of the writing I provide here partially critiques this - particularly, he can be challenged on the Cross-Correspondences and Geraldine Cummins), "The power of the demons in influencing the weather was questioned by a few bold men who were gradually beginning to see the enormity of the witchcraft persecutions. Such were Pomponazzi and Agrippa, but their suggestions were soon disposed of by writers of the caliber of Jean Bodin who relied on the supposed authority of the Bible and the pronouncements of the Popes. In this connection we are reminded that one of the critics of Jean Bodin and of the others with such views was Reginald Scot, whose great book The Discoverie of Witchcraft was first published in 1584. Scot, who had little patience with the occultists and demonologists, was, as might be expected, bitterly assailed by the believers, among whom was numbered King James I, who described Scot's views as damnable. It was Scot who tried to show that conjurers were able to demonstrate what seemed to be examples of the paranormal whereas, when explained, they were clearly simple tricks. Neither the occultists of the sixteenth century nor modern parapsychologists of the twentieth have ever been able to grasp the fact that, because they did not then and do not now understand how these tricks were and are done, this does not mean that the effects are paranormal. Our modern occultists have apparently learned nothing since the sixteenth century, since they are still assuming that, because they do not understand how certain tricks are done, these must be paranormal. I need hardly mention such examples as Sir Oliver Lodge and the Zancigs and Sir Conan Doyle and Houdini. Even as I write these words I have received a leading journal dealing with parapsychology that is largely devoted to the amazing paranormal phenomena exhibited by a performer who, from the accounts, would seem to be an ordinary playing card manipulator and card location expert."

As regards the contents and impact, Sidney Lee, in his article on Scott in his Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 51, wrote of the book: "There are four dedications—one to Sir Roger Manwood, chief baron of the exchequer, another to Scot's cousin, Sir Thomas Scot, a third jointly to John Coldwell [q. v.], dean of Rochester (afterwards bishop of Salisbury), and William Redman [q. v.], archdeacon of Canterbury (afterwards bishop of Norwich), and a fourth ‘to the readers.’ Scott enumerates no less than 212 authors whose works in Latin he had consulted, and twenty-three authors who wrote in English. The names in the first list include many Greek and Arabic writers; among those in the second are Bale, Fox, Sir Thomas More, John Record, Barnabe Googe, Abraham Fleming, and William Lambarde. But Scot's information was not only derived from books. He had studied the superstitions respecting witchcraft in courts of law in country districts, where the prosecution of witches was unceasing, and in village life, where the belief in witchcraft flourished in an endless number of fantastic forms. With remarkable boldness and an insight that was far in advance of his age, he set himself to prove that the belief in witchcraft and magic was rejected alike by reason and religion, and that spiritualistic manifestations were wilful impostures or illusions due to mental disturbance in the observers. He wrote with the philanthropic aim of staying the cruel persecution which habitually pursued poor, aged, and simple persons, who were popularly credited with being witches. The maintenance of the superstition he laid to a large extent at the door of the Roman catholic church, and he assailed with much venom credulous writers like Jean Bodin (1530–1596), author of ‘Démonomie des Sorciers’ (Paris, 1580), and Jacobus Sprenger, joint-author of ‘Malleus Maleficarum’ (Nuremberg, 1494). Of Cornelius Agrippa (1486–1535) and John Wier (1515–1588), author of ‘De Præstigiis Demonum’ (Basle, 1566), whose liberal views he adopted, he invariably spoke with respect. Scot performed his task so thoroughly that his volume became an exhaustive encyclopædia of contemporary beliefs about witchcraft, spirits, alchemy, magic, and legerdemain. Scot only fell a victim to contemporary superstition in his references to medicine and astrology. He believed in the medicinal value of the unicorn's horn, and thought that precious stones owed their origin to the influence of the heavenly bodies.

Scot's enlightened work attracted widespread attention. It did for a time ‘make great impressions on the magistracy and clergy’ (Ady). Gabriel Harvey in his ‘Pierce's Supererogation,’ 1593 (ed. Grosart, ii. 291), wrote: ‘Scotte's discoovery of Witchcraft dismasketh sundry egregious impostures, and in certaine principall chapters, and speciall passages, hitteth the nayle on the head with a witnesse; howsoever I could have wished he had either dealt somewhat more curteously with Monsieur Bondine [i.e. Bodin], or confuted him somewhat more effectually.’ The ancient belief was not easily uprooted, and many writers came to its rescue. After George Gifford (d. 1620) [q. v.], in two works published respectively in 1587 and 1593, and William Perkins (1558–1602) [q. v.] had sought to confute Scot, James VI of Scotland repeated the attempt in his ‘Dæmonologie’ (1597), where he described the opinions of Wier and Scot as ‘damnable.’ On his accession to the English throne James went a step further, and ordered all copies of Scot's ‘Discoverie’ to be burnt (cf. Gisbert Voet, Selectarum Disputationum Theologicarum Pars Tertia, Utrecht, 1659, p. 564). John Rainolds [q. v.] in ‘Censura Librorum Apocryphorum’ (1611), Richard Bernard in ‘Guide to Grand Jurymen’ (1627), Joseph Glanvill [q. v.] in ‘Philosophical Considerations touching Witches and Witchcraft’ (1666), and Meric Casaubon in ‘Credulity and Uncredulity’ (1668) continued the attack on Scot's position, which was defended by Thomas Ady in ‘A Treatise concerning the Nature of Witches and Witchcraft’ (1656), and by John Webster in ‘The Displaying of Supposed Witchcraft’ (1677). More interesting is it to know that Shakespeare drew from his study of Scot's book hints for his picture of the witches in ‘Macbeth,’ and that Middleton in his play of the ‘Witch’ was equally indebted to the same source."

See also Ady (1656). A Candle in the Dark. - an overview of this text is provided by Loxton on pp. 21-23 of his essay)

Glanvill (1681). Sadducimus Triumphatus: or, Full and plain evidence concerning witches and apparitions. In two parts. The first treating of their possibility. The second of their real existence (the SPR article on Glanvill notes the background to such work, and the influence Glanvill had on the texts The certainty of the worlds of spirits (1691) by Richard Baxter, and Pandaemonium (1691) by Richard Bovet.

This is a pioneering psychical research text and also a useful treatment of the subject from a Christian Platonist perspective. Alfred Russell Wallace, in his answer to the arguments of Hume, Lecky, and others against miracles, noted, "Another of Mr. Lecky's statements is, that there is an alteration of mental conditions invariably accompanying the decline of belief. But this "invariable accompaniment" certainly cannot be proved, because the decline of the belief has only occurred once in the history of the world; and, what is still more remarkable, while the mental conditions which accompanied that one decline have continued in force or have even increased in energy and are much more widely diffused, belief has now for twenty years been growing up again. In the highest states of ancient civilisation, both among the Greeks and Romans, the belief existed in full force, and has been testified to by the highest and most intellectual men of every age. The decline which in the present century has certainly taken place, cannot, therefore, be imputed to any general law, since it is but an exceptional instance.

Again, Mr. Lecky says that the belief in the supernatural only exists "when men are destitute of the critical spirit, and when the notion of uniform law is yet unborn." Mr. Lecky in this matter contradicts himself almost as much as Hume did. One of the greatest advocates for the belief in the supernatural was Glanvil,3 and this is what Mr. Lecky says of Glanvil.

He says that Glanvil "has been surpassed in genius by few of his successors."

"The predominating characteristic of Glanvil's mind was an intense scepticism. He has even been termed by a modern critic the first English writer who has thrown scepticism into a definite form; and if we regard this expression as simply implying a profound distrust of human faculties, the judgment can hardly be denied. And certainly it would be difficult to find a work displaying less of credulity and superstition than the treatise on The Vanity of Dogmatising, afterwards published as Scepsis Scientifica, in which Glanvil expounded his philosophical views . . . The Sadducismus Triumphatus is probably the ablest book ever published in defence of the reality of witchcraft. Dr. Henry More, the illustrious Boyle, and the scarcely less eminent Cudworth, warmly supported Glanvil; and no writer comparable to these in ability or influence appeared on the other side; yet the scepticism steadily increased."

Again Mr. Lecky thus speaks of Glanvil:--

"It was between the writings of Bacon and Locke that that latitudinarian school was formed which was irradiated by the genius of Taylor, Glanvil, and Hales, and which became the very centre and seedplot of religious liberty.

These are the men and these the mental conditions which are favourable to superstition and delusion!"

As regards an important poltergeist case in this text, see this. William Barrett, in his article Poltergeists, old and new (Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 25, 377-412) stated that "more than two centuries ago, one of the earliest Fellows of the Royal Society, whom Mr. Lecky describes as a man of "incomparable ability," Joseph Glanvil, the author of Saducismus Triumphatus, dealt with every objection raised by modern critics, and demonstrated that neither fraud nor hallucination was adequate to explain the poltergeist phenomena which were abundant in his day. Like all other inexplicable supernormal phenomena, it is, as Glanvil says, simply a question of adequate and trustworthy evidence. With all deference, I venture to commend sceptics who dogmatize on this question to Glanvil's work on the Vanity of Dogmatizing, a book of which Mr. Lecky remarks: "Certainly it would be difficult to find a work displaying less of credulity and superstition than this treatise."")

Gurney (1886). Notes on Witchcraft (treats the phenomena similar to how Podmore treats Spiritualism, like Podmore though, he argues that there was evidence of telepathy when one sifts through some of these accounts)

Summers (1926). The History of Witchcraft and Demonology. (overview of the subject by a devout believer in the genuineness of the phenomena. c.f. Summers' text The Geography of Witchcraft, which is not visible online, but which is reviewed here

I will attempt to use books to counter Podmore's views on witchcraft, and concerning old cases of poltergeists, Pdomore is countered by Andrew Lang, The Poltergeist and his explainers (Appendix B), The Making of Religion, London, Longmans, Green and Co., 1900, pp. 324–39.)

Benedict XIV (1730). De Beatificatione et Beatorum Canonizatione.

Grosso (2011). Extreme Phenomena and Human Capacity - An Essay Review of The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism by Herbert Thurston.

Higher Mesmeric Phenomena, etc.[edit]

Crabtree (1988). Animal Magnetism, Early Hypnotism, and Psychical Research, 1766 – 1925: An Annotated Bibliography (some of the main claims of mesmerism would later find support with the work of Reichenbach and Reich to be discussed later on in this list, as I have seen it cited, Crabtree's From Mesmer to Freud deals with psychological healing associated with mesmeric and subsequent related experiments, and investigations of "higher mesmeric phenomena" (alleged telepathy and clairvoyance associated with hypnotism) preceded parapsychology - they constitute the proto-parapsychology, and around them we find the origins of the modern controversy on the subject. Dean Radin provided an enthusiastic overview of the history of this in Debating Psychic Experience, p. 16, as follows: "While George Washington was battling the British, Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer was advancing the concept of "animal magnetism." At the time, electricity and magnetism were evoking great interest as newly discovered, still-mysterious forces of nature. Mesmer proposed that animal magnetism was a biological force analogous to those physical forces (Alvarado, 2006). Mesmer’s ideas are reflected today in the origins of hypnosis, psychoanalysis, and psychosomatic medicine. The French aristocrat Armand Marie Jacques de Chastenet, known as the Marquis de Puysegur, was one of Mesmer’s early students. Puysegur accidentally discovered the first method claimed to reliably evoke psi phenomena. He called his discovery "magnetic somnambulism," a type of "sleep-walking" trance we now call deep trance hypnosis. He found that some somnambulists showed the full range of purported psychic skills, including telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition. The explosion of popular interest in Mesmer and Puysegur’s methods outraged the physicians of the day, and in 1784 their indignation triggered an investigation by the French Academy of Sciences. The Academy was charged with evaluating the scientific status of mesmerism. A month later, a second commission was formed under the auspices of the French Royal Society of Medicine. It was asked to determine whether mesmerism was useful in treating illness, regardless of whether there was any scientific explanation for it. After numerous tests, both commissions concluded that there was no evidence for the "magnetic fluid" proposed by Mesmer, and that all of the observed effects could be attributed to imagination (what we now call the placebo effect). But the Royal Society’s conclusion wasn’t unanimous. A minority report declared that some healing effects could not be attributed solely to imagination (Crabtree, 1993). A half-century later, mesmerism was still raging unchecked throughout Europe, so the French Royal Society of Medicine felt compelled to launch a new investigation. This time the report was uniformly favorable not only to mesmerism but also to the somnambulistic psi phenomena reported by Puysegur. The report ended with a recommendation that the Royal Society continue to investigate these phenomena. For the next five years those studies took place and the commissioners described many examples of psi phenomena that they had personally witnessed (Crabtree, 1993). This was one of the first major government sponsored scientific investigations of psi effects that had an entirely positive outcome. It wasn’t just the Royal Society that was impressed. Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin, the most famous stage magician of his day (from whom Ehrich Weiss, better known as "Houdini," would later adopt his stage name), "confessed that he was completely baffled" about a somnambulist named Alexis, who displayed the clairvoyant ability to read playing cards while blindfolded (Beloff, 1993, pp. 30–31)." However, objectively evaluating the validity of the phenomena requires a more assiduous appraisal:

As for the first commission, its conclusions may have stemmed from an unreliable foundation, Gauld noted in his A History of Hypnotism, p. 30: "d'Eslon states that the commissioners of the Royal Society of Medicine saw at his clinic three patients, two of whom they had presented to him themselves, whose maladies improved during the period of observation. He quotes a certificate signed by two of the commissioners, concerning one of them, a girl of nine suffering from scrofula. Yet the commissioners deny they saw any improvement in any malady of known cause. D'Eslon also states that convulsions are nothing like so common among his patients as the commissioners make out, only 20 patients in more than 500 having suffered from them; as for the supposed dangers to which the convulsions give rise, he declares that only five of his patients have died during the last three years, and that all the world knows these were in a desperate state when they came to him. Furthermore, crises take many forms other than convulsions - some patients cough and spit, others sleep, and others are agitated and troubled - so how can the commissioners use "imitation" to explain the supposed prevalence of convulsions at his clinic? Nor can the convulsions be explained in terms of the irritation of abdominal nerve plexuses by strong pressure of the operator's hands; the touches employed are always soft and light, never powerful.

Several of these claims are confirmed by Bonnefoy as an eyewitness of Mesmer's procedures. At Mesmer's clinic he has seen only eight conclusive crises among more than two hundred patients, and he has observed crises of which the aftermath has been unmistakably beneficial. The commissioners, he adds, make the treatment rooms sound like places of darkness and horror which one should tremble to approach. Mesmer's clinic, and that at Lyon, are not like this at all. Windows and curtains are always open, weather permitting, and no-one observes silence. Tranquility, cheerfulness, laughter, and varied and amusing conversation, make the time pass quickly. The truth, I suspect, is that convulsions at first occurred not infrequently at Mesmer's baquets, but that he later on somewhat discouraged them because they aroused so much unfavorable comment."

The dissenter was Antoine Laurent de Jussieu, and Crabtree summarizes his "Rapport de l’un des commissaires chargés par le Roi, de l’examen du magnétisme animal", published in 1784, and listed as item 72 of the bibliography, as follows, "Jussieu strongly disagreed with the conclusions of the principal report which followed the investigation of animal magnetism by the Société Royale de Médecine in 1784. He stated his own views in this treatise. The commission had seen the demonstrations of animal magnetism given by D’Eslon and Lafisse (Mesmer having refused to take part in the investigation). He distinguished four different kinds of facts observed by the commissioners concerning animal magnetism: the first were those general positive effects about which it was not possible to come to any conclusions as to cause; the second were those which were negative, showing only the non-action of the alleged magnetic fluid; the third were effects, either positive or negative, which could be attributed to the work of the imagination; and the fourth were those positive effects that could only be explained through the action of some unknown agent. Jussieu concluded that although the existence of a magnetic fluid had not been proven, there were enough effects of the fourth kind to justify the continued use of animal magnetism and further investigations of the exact nature of those effects." There was also a secret report made by Jean Sylvain Bailly, "Rapport secret sur le mesmérisme.", only published later in 1800, and listed as item 213 in Crabtree's bibliography. In it Bailly discusses the sexual effects of the treatment, and the concern of the society over it - Crabtree summarizes it as follows, "The report also points out that often the female subject experiences an ecstasy of sorts when in the magnetic crisis, a buildup of emotions which is followed by a languor and a kind of sleep of the senses. The emphasis of the commission is on not only the danger of overt sexual acts performed by the magnetizer, but also the fact that the process may well awaken sexual passions latent in the female patient which she will then seek to fulfill in fornication or adultery." These descriptions are of course totally limited in light of what would subsequently be found about the nature and phenomena of these trances. Brian Inglis, in Natural and Supernatural, wrote of the stages of sonambulic trance proposed by Professor D. Veliansky, who summarized the observations of the mesmerists (pp. 139-140): "In the first, magnetic readiness, the patient was aware of what was going on. In the second, magnetic half-sleep, he retained some awareness, but not full control. In the third, magnetic sleep, he lost contact with external reality. In the fourth, somnambulism, he was entirely at the magnetiser's command. In the fifth, clairvoyance, he could 'see' into his own body and recommend a course of treatment. And in the sixth, he might achieve a state comparable to that which mystics had tried to describe: a feeling of community with nature, liberating him from the bonds of time and space, and giving him the ability to describe not merely what was happening behind his back, or when blindfolded, but also to 'see' what was going on at a distance.", but we are getting ahead of ourselves

As for the Second Commission and outstanding instances of higher mesmeric phenomena, more detailed appraisal is needed by consulting the detailed accounts written by skeptical and conservative scholars, so as to inform a baseline of opinion, and then contrast this with attempted detailed defenses of the subject. Eric Dingwall, when writing on this period, in "Abnormal Hypnotic Phenomena I: Hypnotism in France: 1800-1900" (1967, J. & A. Churchill LTD.), argued that the accounts of this period either showed poor control or lack of proper reporting - including the experiments of the second commission (p. 295), he cautioned against both blind belief and a priori skepticism, stated (p. 297), his belief that future conclusive demonstrations of psi would retroactively increase the probability that psi was occurring with the magnetic somnambules, and stated (p. 297), "It would seem that an attitude of suspended judgement both as regards the past and the present is perhaps the most judicial, though many will find it impossible." (though compare his conservatism to his enthusiastic commentary concerning his experiment with Stephan Ossowiecki, details of which are provided below). Some of Dingwall's colleagues who wrote sections on other countries had a kinder tone. Dingwall's tone in this seems like a rhetorical device, or seems to be a consequences of his hyper-skepticism, because he and others provide some striking examples of evidence from tests with somnambules (I am thankful to Brian Inglis whose book made me aware of some of these examples, I have traced them to their original sources):

1) Julian Ochorowicz noted, in Mental Suggestion, pp. 263-265, "The comparison of the sensitive subject with the compass-needle is ever recurring in these old authors. It is justified by the undoubted analogy that subsists between the physical action of a hand and that of the magnet in general; but especially is it justified by the attractive action of the magnetizer on the magnetized. This is a very complex question, for it assumes many different forms: 1. Attraction by ideoplasty, fascination, imitation of movements. 2. Reflex physical attraction by the approximation of the hand. 3. Direct physical and mental attraction, i.e., attraction without intermediation of ordinary perception, from a distance. The magnetized subject is always drawn toward the operator, seeks him, tends to come nearer to him; hence, the mental suggestion experiment that succeeds most readily is one that makes the subject come to the operator. The subject will always incline toward the magnetizer, and Mr. Janet has observed that, after having endormed Mrs. B. from a distance, he found her head leaning in the direction of his action. But the most striking fact of this kind is recorded by Bruno : "The phenomenon that surprised me most," he says, "because it was the first that came under my notice, is the one I am about to relate. A young woman 18 or 19 years of age had been, for five or six months, dying of consumption. After three or four days of treatment she slept. Her sleep became very deep in a few days. When I magnetized her, her head leaned toward me; I was obliged to push her back gently in her chair, to prevent her falling on me. As that is a usual effect of sleep I paid no attention to it; after magnetizing her I left her sleeping quietly and went to another patient. But now new trouble: the girl leaned to one side, sometimes fell on her next neighbor, and some one had to be continually holding her up. I had a large armchair provided for her in which she might sleep comfortably. Vain precaution! Her head leaned quite slowly, but by jerks, and all that portion of her body which was not held back by the armchair followed this movement. At last a thought struck me: that her head always leaned toward the side on which I was. I changed my position gradually, and what was my astonishment to find that her head, like a veritable compass-needle, followed the curve I slowly made around her at the distance of five or six feet.

It stopped when I stopped, always leaning toward me. ... In vain I went to a greater distance, the effect was the same. I left the room, went down into the courtyard, placed myself in different directions. I went and placed myself at a very great distance in the angle of a second courtyard of my house, which faces on two intersecting streets; my 'compass' always showed, with the utmost exactitude, the point of the horizon at which I stood. She had to be supported or she would have fallen out of the chair." This experiment was very successful when I made it in presence of a physician, to whom I felt the choice of the places. After having had me placed at different points outside of the chamber, while he remained in it himself, in order to observe the directions in which the young woman would turn, he proposed to me to go into the street. He himself led me to a corner of the court-yard very far from the house. I had ordered that no one should touch the girl, so that her direction might be seen on our return. As soon as I was in place, the physician went back promptly, and hurried upstairs with all speed. He found the girl had fallen on the floor. I had seated her on a very low chair, telling the attendants to see that her fall should be very gentle, and to assist her in falling by helping her with their arms to the floor. The direction of her body was not exactly toward my place, the back of the chair having hindered that, but she had fallen to that side. Her sleep was not disturbed by the occurrence. The next day the same physician had some doubts as to the direction of the fall, which did not seem to him to be exactly toward where I had stood, and he was not willing to accept the explanation I had given. So he asked me to repeat the experiment. When I had gone down into the street he desired that I should go around the neighboring house, situated to the west of mine. He went upstairs immediately to observe what might take place. It was agreed between us that the attendants should prevent the girl's falling. He returned in time to witness the prodigy, and it produced conviction in him. I walked very slowly, always thinking of the girl, and that without knowing the full importance of that operation. The head of the patient indicated to him perfectly the direction in which I went; he also perceived the action I exerted (l'action que je fis) from the position of her body, which was in danger of falling soon. A young woman who was in the custom of assisting her when in this state kept her from falling But soon that was no longer necessary. The girl straightened herself up, and the new direction of her head, which described a curve from east to west, announced my return."*

This observation possesses interest for us, for it shows how a physical phenomenon of bodily attraction produced by the mere presence of the magnetizer may be accentuated by the concurrence of mental action. But it is of very rare occurrence, and generally the attraction is purely reflex (sensation of warmth and of air-currents); or, if it be direct, it is exerted only at a very small distance. It is also to be remarked that Bruno's somnambule tolerated the attouchment of a third person, that is to say, there was no hyperaesthesia, properly called. This point is one that we shall not fail to consider from the view-point of theory. Strong attraction is always accompanied by rigidity of the members. It ceases sometimes at the moment of a general contracture, but there is always a tendency to contracture wherever attraction manifests itself. After Bruno, and "often without knowing of his researches, several magnetizers have noted the same phenomenon."

2) The following experiment is one Dingwall criticizes for lack of full reporting such as to thoroughly appraise it, but it is an interesting result (pp. 54-55) - "the Samson experiments began by those taking part in them assembling the room where they were to take place, the patient of course being excluded. Husson then asked Du Potet whether he would quickly put the patient to sleep without touching her, as he wished him to try to magnetize Mille Samson without her seeing him or even knowing that he was coming to the hospital. To this proposal Du Potet replied that he would certainly try, but could not guarantee the success of the experiment, since action at a distance depended on the sensitivity of the subject affected. Husson then arranged that the audible signal which he was to hear and then commence magnetization was to be the throwing of a pair of scissors on to the table. It was arranged that Du Potet should enter a small closet which was separated by a thick partition from the experimental room and the door of this closet should be securely locked, an arrangement to which he agreed without hesitation. When Mlle Samson was brought in, she was placed with her back turned towards the closet where Du Potet was concealed and which was about three or four feet away. Those present, not knowing that he had already arrived, wondered why he had not come and decided that he was not coming, so that their part of the little drama was carried out very successfully. When he heard the scissors drop, he began magnetizing, although he had no idea in what position the subject had been placed and did his best to avoid any movement that might warn her of his presence in the closet. Three minutes later after he had commenced action the patient began to show signs of drowsiness and at last fell into her ordinary magnetic condition. This experiment was repeated a week later in the presence of Professor J.C.A. Recamier, who took all the precautions he wanted, but the result was the same. For this experiment Du Potet arrived at 9.15 and was told by Husson that Recamier wished to see him out the patient to sleep through the partition. A signal was agreed to: Du Potet entered the closet and the door was locked. Then the subject was brought in and Recamier placed her more than six feet from the closet, with her back turned towards it. Recamier talked to her and she was told that Du Potet was not coming that day, at which news she wanted to leave the room. Recamier then asked her whether she digested meat which was the signal agreed upon for the commencement of magnetization. It was then 9.32 and three minutes later she fell asleep." (emphasis in original)

3) Charles Richet, while referring to a slightly later period in the following discussion in Thirty Years of Psychical Research nevertheless brings up some items of relevance. He states (p. 121): "Dr. Ferroul, the mayor of Narbonne and deputy for the Aube, made some noteworthy experiments on the lucidity of Anna B., a young woman whom he put into the somnambulic state. An amusing incident is related by him. Being editor of the RePublique Sociale, a socialist paper of Narbonne, and having a crow to pluck with the prefect of the Aude, he obtained through Anna some confidential details which he published in his paper. The prefect, supposing the revelations to have been made by two agents of the secret police, dismissed them. They were proved innocent. It was solely by the lucidity of Anna that the knowledge of the facts had come to Dr. Ferroul. Some further interesting experiments were made with Anna, which at first seemed to establish the fact of her vision through opaque paper. A line was written, "Your party is certainly killing itself by subservience." This was folded, put into an outer green envelope, enclosing another envelope, and the whole wrapped in two pieces of squared paper. The writing was read by Anna. Grasset, the eminent professor of the Medical Faculty of Montpellier, subsequently gave Dr. Ferroul another opaque envelope containing two verses that were immediately read by Anna (A.S.P., 1896, vi, 145). This experiment, which appeared decisive to Grasset, was followed by a failure. A commission was named, and no result secured. It is well known that for various reasons scientific commissions rarely reach a definite conclusion, but nevertheless there is reason to doubt the experiments of Dr. Ferroul with Anna."

He also states (pp. 124-125), "I have reported a remarkable instance of lucidity in my own experience that occurred long ago and impressed me very strongly at the time. While a young student at the Hotel-Dieu Hospital, I was in the habit of magnetizing a convalescent girl who was still an inmate. One day I took with me an American fellow student who had never before been to the hospital, and I said to T., in her sleep, "Do you know my friend's name?" She began to laugh. Then I said, "Look, what is the first letter of his name?" She said, "There are five letters; the first is H, then E, I do not see the third, the fourth is R, and the fifth is N." My friend's name was Hearn (Phant. of the Living, 1886; ii, 665). I made experiments in sending some hypnotized subjects "travelling" as the old magnetizers did, and had some astonishing successes, especially with Alice. She went to visit the house of a Mr. C. at Mans, a house not known to me, but very well known to Mr. P. Renouard, then present. She saw a walled garden and a swing (correct, but unknown to Mr. Renouard, for the swing had been placed there since he was last at Mans). She saw a clock with pillars which she described closely enough for me to make the rough sketch annexed, which may be compared with Fig. 3 of the actual clock in Mr. C.'s drawing-room. On another day Alice described the house of Dr. P. Rondeau, then present. "Draperies over the mantelpiece, a clock, and, leaning on the wood, someone looking at the clock whose shoulder is visible. A large painting of a landscape; between the town and the sea something pointed, a tower, or the roof of a church. ..." In fact, in M. Rondeau's country house which Alice could never have seen, there is a statue of Penelope whose shoulder is prominent, looking at the clock towards which her head is turned. The picture is a copy of one by Canaletti and represents Venice, the canal in the foreground, and behind it the church of San Giorgio Maggiore."

I will save descriptions of his work with Léonie B. for later. [note, extract from Dingwall on Léonie]

4) Casare Lombroso discussed an experiment involving transposition of the senses in After Death - What?, pp. 2-5:

5) Dingwall takes the paradoxical role of writing on the "credulity of medical men" of the period, and he tars Dr. L. Rostan, who began as an open minded skeptic (p. 45), with this brush (p. 46), while at the same time refuting (p. 45), the critic of his experiments, Dupau. Rostan was important, because he, upon his experiences, was to write the article on animal magnetism in the Dictionaire de Medecine. Dingwall notes (pp. 40-41), that "In the course of his discussion, Rostan described clairvoyant phenomena which excited enormous interest. He had obtained the services of a clairvoyant who apparently possessed the faculty of eyeless-vision and he, with his assistant Ferrus, tried some experiments in order to test this power. He took his watch and placed it at two or three inches from the back of the somnambule's head. He then asked her if she saw anything, to which she replied that she saw something shining which made her feel ill. Ferrus, breaking the silence then said to Rostan that if she saw something shining she could doubtless say what it was and that was easy to ask her. What was the bright object that she saw? To this she replied that she did not know and could not say and was then asked to try hard to do so. After saying that she was tired and that they must wait a moment, she then announced that it was a watch. Ferrus then said that if she saw a watch she could doubtless say what time it was, to which she replied that this was too difficult. Thereupon she was asked again to try hard and again she asked them to wait and then said that she might give the hour but never the minutes. Finally, after trying for some time she said that it was ten minutes to eight, which was exactly correct. Ferrus then wished to try the experiment himself and he repeated it with the same success. Later he made Rostan turn the hands of his watch several times and, having presented it to her without having looked at it themselves, they found that she was not deceived. These watch experiments are extremely interesting and perhaps a digression may be allowed here to say something more about them. Those conducted by Rostan and Ferrus seem to have been among the first described in detail, but later they became more popular and further instances are to be found in the literature. Thus Alfred Fillassier in his book on animal magnetism, published in 1832, not only described (pp. 49-59) some interesting material on travelling clairvoyance, but also some experiments with watches. Fillassier was a French physician from Martinique and his book constituted a thesis for the Paris faculty of Medicine. It had a remarkable success and the first edition was sold out in a few weeks. Fillassier first became interested in these experiments after reading Rostan's article and decided, as he put it, to conquer his repugnance to the subject by beginning to investigate it himself. Meeting a young physician at a party where Rostans work was discussed, Fillassier was persuaded by him to try to magnetize him, which he did, and very soon he young man fell into the magnetic state. But his physical symptoms, such as a weak, irregular pulse and cold sweat, so terrified Fillassier that in spite of another trial, he concluded that these manifestations could not be due to the imagination and that their existence demonstrated the truth of the power that one human being had over another (pp. 13-15) Fillassier was of the opinion that the best subjects in animal magnetism were the large, stolid peasant types. He was lucky in discovering that his housekeeper was a remarkable subject for demonstrating the higher phenomena of clairvoyance. It was with her that he tried to duplicate Rostan's experiment with watches and in this he was remarkably successful. The subject was able to tell the time after the hands of the watch had been turned round and the watch itself placed on her forehead, her belly, or the back of her head (pp. 25-26)."

6) Dingwall writes (pp. 56-57) of the experiments of "E.J. Georget, whose book on the physiology of the nervous system appeared in two volumes in 1821. According to Chardel, in his book on physiological psychology, published in 1844, Georget was a materialist until he conducted these experiments on animal magnetism. Some of his tests seem to have been well devised, such as that of detecting magnetized water in which five glasses of water were presented to the patient and the one containing the treated liquid was described by the subject as tasting of iron."

7) Inglis summarizes examples that are highlighted in other volumes of Dingwall's Abnormal Hypnotic Phenomena anthology (in volumes II and III) in essays by other authors dealing with other countries, writing, in Natural and Supernatural, pp. 137-138, "In 1814 Dutch lawyer, Pieter van Ghert, described how he had found a boy who, when magnetised, could 'read' with his fingertips [Vol. III, p. 68]; and a girl who, when asked about people or places he knew, appeared to be able to 'visit' them in her trance and tell him about them, not always correctly, but sometimes with complete accuracy. [Vol. III, p. 65 - an interesting case of "travelling clairvoyance" in a subject of Ghert is described on Vol. III, p. 55] Four years later Dietrich Kieser, a Professor and Privy Councillor at Jena, published an account of experiments he had made with an epileptic boy who could detect colours by touch, even with the soles of his stockinged feet, and describe correctly things which were being done in another room.[Vol. III, p. 125] In Baden Dr. Franz Durr magnetised Wilhemina Koch, daughter of the Court Artist, and asked her to describe the contents of an opaque sealed envelope. He did not know what they were himself; but she correctly pronounced that the message was, 'Trust in God. He will help thee.' [Vol. III, p. 149] And in Langenberg Adolf Kottgen, a silk manufacturer, did a series of tests of this kind with a girl, Maria, who suffered from fits (epileptics were often taken to magnetisers, as it had to be believed that treatment could succeed where orthodox methods were useless). Kottgen enlisted friends to act as referees, to prevent any deception. Words written by one of them were carefully wrapped up, sealed, and given to a friend who, not knowing what they were, brought them to Kottgen. Maria, magnetised, painfully spelled out Kunst-und-Muskikalienhandlung.' When the missive was brought back, still sealed, to the writer, he said that Maria had been very nearly right; what he had actually written was Buch-und Muskikalienhandlung. So he had; but when the seal was broken, and the paper opened up, it was found that some of the melted sealing wax had seeped through on to the paper, obscuring the first letter 'B'. [Vol. III, pp. 140-141]

Similar accounts came from other countries. In Sweden Pehr Cederschjold, later Professor of Obstertics at the Stockholm Medical School, watched a magnetist at work while he was on a visit to Denmark, and later began to experiment for himself. His first patient, 'Miss N' displayed eyeless vision; blindfold, she could describe people, tell him what he was doingm even read from a book. Far from being impressed, Cederschjold (who wanted to use magnetism in treatment) did a series of tests designed to provide a natural explanation; but when 'Miss N' was able to 'read' a book placed on her stomach while her head, swathed in a cloth, was turned in another direction, he was 'forced to throw rationalism overboard, and cease doubting what I saw with my own eyes.'" [Vol. III, p. 208]

8) Brian Inglis, in Natural and Supernatural, p. 174, wrote of some notable experiments: "Scoresby and Townshend had both carried out experiments of their own; Townshend with, among others, 'Anna M.' He could have give instructions to Anna, Townshend claimed, while she was mesmerized, which she would faithfully carry out later even when it was an inconvenience; as on an occasion when he had told her to come round to his house later in the day - she felt compelled to leave a dinner party, though she could give no explanation for her action except that she just could not help herself. He could also mesmerize Anna from his house when she was in her house, a quarter mile away. Another of his subjects, 'E.A.' could 'see' in any direction when mesmerized, ' as if his head was one organ of visual perception'. These results, Townsend admitted, were not consistent; and he had tried to find why there was sporadic interference with perception. The weather, he thought, was one factor ('E.A.' did well when it was fine, but poorly when there were storms around). But the chief problem was psychological. The more I wish,' 'E.A.' complained, ' the less I can do'; the will, in other words, was a hindrance rather than a help." this can be verified by consulting The London Lancet, Vol. I (1845), p. 503.

9) Inglis (ibid, p. 175) also discussed the experiments of the magnetiser Scoresby, that "[H]is most striking experiment was with 'Miss H.' He found that he had only to breathe on an object, and it would affect her. If she touched it, she would go into a trance and then carry out whatever mental command he had given through the object. By this means, he could magnetise the sofa in which she was going to sit, and she would be unable to get up; or he could draw an imaginary circle on the floor and when she was in it, she would be unable to leave, however anxious she might be to do so." - this can be verified by consulting Scoresby's Zoistic magnestism: being the substance of two lectures, descriptive of original views and investigations respecting this mysterious agency, searching throughout for the relevant terms.

10) As regards the Second French Commission, we should begin with Frank Podmore's skeptical criticism, and see if we can salvage it from this dismissal. Podmore is as usual cynical and tendentious - he mentions data showing that blindfolds do not fully secure against sensory leakage, however he leaves out the full details of the findings. His defects are corrected by Charles Richet in his summary of the findings. (Thirty Years of Psychical Research, pp. 22-23): "A notable report was presented by Husson to the Paris Academy of Medicine, and appeared in 1833. Among the conclusions adopted, I give the following, which will seem bold, even today: "An effort of will or a fixed gaze has sufficed to produce magnetic phenomena, even when the subject was unaware. "A somnambulic state may give rise to new faculties, designated as clairvoyance, intuition, or interior prevision. "By an effort of will it is possible not only to act on the patient, but even to induce complete somnambulism and to dispel it, unknown to and out of sight of the patient, through closed doors. "We have seen two somnambulists with closed eyes distinguish objects placed before them; they have named the color and value of cards, have read words of script or some lines in books selected at random, and this when the eyelids were held down with our fingers." In spite of these declarations the scepticism of official science prevailed. Husson's report was disputed and then forgotten, and the metapsychic phenomena were taken up by novelists, and denied or disdained by men of science." (emphasis added) Richet's statements while giving a greater scope of what was surveyed than Podmore still leave out, possibly because it was less well known in psychic lore, or for whatever other reason, an important point - an 1837 follow-up commission was not successful. Eric Dingwall, in Abnormal Hypnotic Phenomena I, pp. 83-90, appraises this work, and the controversy it caused. A skeptic Dr. Burdin after this commission put aside some money for a prize for a successful demonstration of higher mesmeric phenomena (op cit., p. 91). Regarding the ensuing results, Alfred Russel Wallace stated, "In 1837, however, in consequence of many accounts of clairvoyance then occurring in various parts of France, the Académie de Médecine offered a prize of three thousand francs to anyone who should prove his ability to read without use of the eyes. The daughter of a physician at Montpelier--Dr. Pigeaire--possessed this power, as testified by many persons of repute; and, in consequence of this offer, he brought her to Paris. Many persons saw her in private, and several physicians--MM. Orfila, Ribes, Reveillé-Parisé and others--certified the fact of her clairvoyant powers. But the members appointed by the Academy--less experienced than those of the Commission of 1831--began by making stipulations as to the complete enclosure of the clairvoyante's head, to which her father would not consent, and thus the opportunity of officially testing this lady was lost.1 Others presented themselves, but none p. 201 succeeded. The result was therefore purely negative; but as there were in some cases suspicions of imposture or attempts at imposture, the report was, of course, against the existence of clairvoyance. This was only what might have been anticipated by all who had really investigated the subject. Professor William Gregory, of the University of Edinburgh, after twenty years' study of animal magnetism and an extensive personal experience, wrote as follows: "In regard to clairvoyance, I have never seen it satisfactorily exhibited except quite in private; and in this point my experience has simply confirmed the statements made by the best observers. I feel confident that everyone who chooses to devote some time and labor to the investigation may meet with it, either in his own cases or those of his friends." In his "Letters on Animal Magnetism" Professor Gregory gives several indisputable cases tested by himself. Dr. Haddock, Major Buckley, Sir Walter Trevelyan, Miss Martineau, Dr. Esdaile, Dr. Lee, and Dr. Elliotson, have all obtained evidence of the most convincing kind, much of which has been published; while many eminent physicians and men of science on the Continent obtained equally convincing results--all confirming the positive evidence of the French Commission of 1831, and proving that the negative results of the Commission of 1837 were due to the inexperience and prejudices of the members. Yet, notwithstanding this cumulative proof, modern writers against the higher phenomena produced by hypnotism appear to be either totally ignorant of the existence of the five years' inquiry and elaborate report of the first commission of the p. 202 Académie de Médecine, or confound it with the second commission, which gave a purely negative report on one limited phase of the phenomena!"

Dingwall, moreover, provides some information that Podmore omits, that in one of the tests in the commission that obtained positive findings (quoting from an account of the tests, Vol. I, op cit., p. 82), "M. Du Potet being desirous that not the slightest shadow of doubt should remain with regard to the nature of the physical influence exerted at will upon the somnambulist, proposed to place upon M. Petit as many bandages as we might think proper, and to operate upon him while in this state. In fact, we covered his face down to the nostrils with several neckcloths; we stopped up with gloves the cavity formed by the prominence of the nose, and we covered the whole with a black handkerchief, which descended, in the form of a veil, as far as the neck. The attempts to excite the magnetic susceptibility, by operating at a distance in every way, were then renewed; and, invariably, the same motions were perceived in the parts towards which the hand or the foot were directed."

Still, the results of these commissions would be rather uninteresting were it not for the astonishing feats of some remarkable sonambulists like the Didier brothers and Léonie B, which Dingwall considers to be in a class above the other cases.

11) Dingwall himself took the cases of the Didier brothers and Léonie B. to be "very striking" (op cit., p. 295), and Alan Gauld stated of Alexis Didier, in A History of Hypnotism (Cambridge University Press, 1992) pp. 239-240, "I cannot help suspecting that he, and certain other magnetic somnambules, did sometimes acquire and transmit information which they could not have come by in any of the ordinarily recognized ways." ... delving into this requires some detail ... Dingwall notes that those who criticized fraudulent somnambules like A.S. Morin considered Didier to be genuine (Dingwall, Vol. 1, op cit. p. 195). Podmore, in his discussion of the Trance phenomena of Mrs. Piper, argued that Didier was fraudulent (pp. 53-58), followed by a dispute with Alfred Russel Wallace - Wallace's opening commentary, Podmore's reply (the debate continues, but then covers other issues). Podmore reiterated his skepticism in Modern Spiritualism (1902), vol. I, ch. X. Then, in Mesmerism and Christian Science (1909), we find some change in view, as he is admitting (whether he is fully aware of it or not) to the reality of "travelling clairvoyance", - chapter IX begins with the following prefatory overview: "Community of sensation and clairvoyance partly explicable by thought-transference — Clairvoyance at close quarters largely fraudulent— But probably in some cases due to hyperaesthesia of vision — The case of Alexis Didier — His card-playing and reading in closed books — Houdin's testimony — Alexis probably an automatist — His description of sealed packets and of distant scenes possibly indicative of supernormal power — Other examples of probably telepathic clairvoyance given by Lee, Haddock, Gregory — Many Mesmerists see in these demonstrations proof of the action of the soul apart from the body" [Insofar as Podmore's Mesmerism and Christian Science deals with the mental healer Phineas Quimby, who was Eddy's influence and therefore the influence on Christian science, an updated overview is given by Alan Angoff in Abnormal Hypnotic Phenomena IV, pp. 42-60]

Podmore then wrote of Didier in The Newer Spiritualism (1910), pp. 153-154, as follows: "Yet another illustration of an apparent mixture of genuine supernormal faculty with what might be interpreted as trickery will perhaps throw further light upon the problem. In the case to be quoted the nature of the "trickery" proves it to have been automatic. Alexis Didier was a well-known professional clairvoyant of the middle decades of last century. His feats were attested by Elliotson, Townshend, Newnham, and many other mesmerists and magnetists of this country and in France. The most remarkable things told of him are the reading of words or descriptions of articles in closed packets and the descriptions of distant scenes. Many of these feats are so precisely recorded and so well authenticated that it is difficult to doubt their genuineness. They stand on the same evidential level as many of the similar incidents recorded in the Proceedings of the S.P.R.

There can be little doubt that Alexis was gifted with genuine telepathic powers of a remarkable kind. But his performances also included feats such as playing cards face downwards and reading with eyes bandaged, which resembled closely the ordinary trick performances of pseudo-clairvoyants. For a long time I found these questionable performances an insuperable bar to accepting the testimony, otherwise difficult to set aside, for his exercise of telepathy. But recently I have come across an interesting proof that Alexis was really in an abnormal state of consciousness during these dubious performances, and that, though his success was no doubt due to the exercise of his normal senses, he was probably not himself conscious of any deception in the matter." (Podmore then proceeds, while afterwards arguing against conscious fraud on the part of Alexis, to provide his theory of hyper visual acuity as explaining some of the feats of Alexis with Houdin, arguing that in the "clairvoyance at close quarters sessions" Alexis was given a book which he rapidly turned the pages of, and could have percieved the words in pages in advance of where he stopped in the process of turning them. Here he sloppily, or perhaps cunningly and deceptively, conflates cases. This describes some incidents with Alexis which did not involve Houdin's control conditions (such as those with Lord Adare (Dingwall, op. cit., Vol. I., p. 166), and Sir John Forbes (ibid, p. 169)), but the original source regarding the Houdin case does not state this at all, and instead states that Houdin merely opened a book, not giving it to Alexis, and that Alexis read the words on a page 8 pages in advance of where Houdin opened it).

Wallace argued against this position of Podmore's when it first appeared, writing, in prefatory remarks to the first English translation of the detailed report of Houdin's experiments with Didier as recorded in the work Marquis de Mirville (printed in Supplement 5 to Part XXXV of the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, in 1899), "Mr. Podmore admits that "Houdin's testimony is, no doubt, very striking"; but he urges that it is not conclusive as against the theory that subjects in trance may possess "preternormal acuteness of vision." To this I would reply that any such preternatural acuteness of vision as is here required has never been proved to exist, but has been suggested as the only means of explaining phenomena deemed too incredible for acceptance on any testimony; and, further, that if trance patients can see through cards, and tables, and eight pages of a printed book, to admit such "acuteness of vision" is only to admit "clairvoyance" under another name.

I would here earnestly call the attention of our members to a very important elementary principle of sound reasoning too often neglected in discussions of these questions--that, as tersely stated by J. S. Mill, "an argument is not answered till it is answered at its best," and that no amount of negative or indirect evidence is of any weight as against good, positive, and direct evidence on the other side. I ask them to compare carefully this evidence of De Mirville and Houdin with that adduced by Mr. Podmore, and they will find that while the former consists of the very best direct evidence of facts, the latter is wholly negative, consisting of doubts, suspicions, and possibilities, every one of which is excluded in the direct evidence here given.

This fundamental defect applies, in my opinion, to all Mr. Podmore's writings on this subject."

The translation then is provided on pages 374-381.

Eric Dingwall, expert in conjuring, while not taking too kindly to Wallace in Abnormal Hypnotic Phenomena IV on account of his support of some disputed physical phenomena of spiritualism - slate writing and materialization phenomena, including Florence Cook's "Katie King", who Dingwall hotly contested the genuineness of. However, Podmore himself, who Dingwall had some admiration for, was initially convinced by Henry Slade, as were other magicians, so, if he was merely a conjuror (an explanation I contest the veracity of below), then he was superior to his contemporaries.

(as for Wallace, read his reply to the SPR over the S.J. Davey experiments, below, to see that he was less credulous than his critics made him out to be)

...nevertheless also chastised James Hyslop for making "reckless statements" stemming from Podmore's early commentaries instead of the original sources (op cit., Vol. I, p. 195), and expressed his disagreement with some of Podmore's views on this matter. Prior to getting into this, I will note that it is true that there were some sittings that were inconclusive where natural causes could not be ruled out (Dingwall, op cit., pp. 168-171). Alfred Russell Wallace, describing then disputing the use of this case by William Benjamin Carpenter, the Ray Hyman of his day, noted, "One more example as to the mode of treatment of evidence for the reality of clairvoyance. Dr. Carpenter describes some of his own visits to Alexis and Adolphe Didier, accompanied by Dr. Forbes; and because they saw nothing which was to them absolutely conclusive, he leads the reader to think that nothing really conclusive had ever been obtained. But Dr. Lee, a physician of repute, and therefore presumably as good a witness as Dr. Carpenter or Dr. Forbes, in his well-known work on Animal Magnetism, devotes twenty-two pages to an account of his own personal experiments with Alexis at Brighton in 1849, including such a number and variety of striking tests as to entirely outweigh any number of negative results like those of Dr. Carpenter. And in addition to these, other special tests of the most stringent character have been published, two of which may be here given. Sergeant Cox, in his "What Am I?" (vol. ii. p. 176) describes a test by a party of experts, of whom he was one. A word was written by a friend in a distant town, and enclosed in an envelope, without any one of the party knowing what the word was. This envelope was enclosed successively in six others of thick brown paper, each sealed. This packet was handed to Alexis, who placed it on his forehead, and in three minutes and a half wrote the contents correctly, imitating the very handwriting. Let anyone compare Dr. Carpenter's explanation of how he supposed such readings were done, and he will see how completely inadequate it is as applying to tests such as that of Sergeant Cox and scores of other inquirers." Dingwall also contrasts the Forbes tests with the Cox test, says that (op cit., vol. I., p. 172) that "Superficially it seems watertight.", but, in my view, superficially attacks it on account of the word not being specified.

Dingwall was impressed with tests with Alexis where he described the interior contents of closed boxes. He overviewed one that occured in The Zoist, Vol. II, pp. 510-511, and criticized Podmore's debunking style of this kind of case as inadequate, noting, in a rejection of Podmore's account of the case (op cit., vol. I, p. 174), "This kind of criticism does not appear to me to be very helpful. It would appear that if Colonel Llewellyn had brought the case as a test, he would hardly have told Marcillet the details given by Alexis and the same objection would arise in the case of the few persons present who were acquainted with him. The possibility exists, however, and it is one that Podmore had not thought of, that the Colonel had presented the same box to another somnambule working in London at the same time and that this person had told Alexis, who therefore was prepared for the same test. The objection to this possibility is that there is no evidence whatever, as far as I know it, to support it." For other counters to skepticism, it appears that the account of Bertrand Meheust will have to be relied upon (see below).

Dingwall, (op cit., Vol. I, pp. 176-193), positively described travelling clairvoyance tests of Alexis, afterwards, he turned to Alexis' brother Adolphe. He then stated, on p. 205, in discussing the case of the Didier brothers, "The evidence for the paranormal acquisition of information seems to me to be very strong: the travelling clairvoyance also and the discovery of lost objects can be linked with it; and the evidence for thought-transmission cannot just be put on one side. It is true that a good deal of the sealed letter reading and ecarte playing is very suspicious, as ample evidence exists that, in the majority of cases at the time, successes in these directions were almost certainly due to faulty blindfolding and other sources of error. But many of the phenomena with both Alexis and Adolphe seem to me to be of a different order from those reported with other somnambules; and even if we go so far as to assume that the sitters were merely getting back what they told the subject without knowing what they were doing, it would not account for correct facts being given which had to be verified later."

Charles Richet, in Thirty Years of Psychical Research, p. 118, stated, "Alexis gave President Seguier a proof of lucidity (not telepathy) of a very curious kind. Alexis, mentally travelling to the President's room, saw a handbell on the table. "No," said M. Seguier, "there is no handbell." But on returning home that afternoon he found that a handbell had been placed on his table. The President had not given his name (Delaage, Les mysteres du magnetizms)."

Richet wrote (op cit., p. 119), "Alphonse Karr and Victor Hugo obtained decisive proofs of cryptesthesia with Alexis, hypnotized by Marillat. The testimony of Alphonse Karr and Victor Hugo would be insufficient if it referred only to a game at cards played with Alexis, for clever prestidigitation can do anything of the kind, but there is much more; Alexis told Alphonse Karr that he (Karr) had placed a branch of white azalea in an empty bottle before leaving his house; which was the fact. Victor Hugo had prepared a packet tied up with string in which he had written the word "politique"; this was read by Alexis. Alexandre Dumas also tells of a memorable seance, but his testimony is less precise. Alexis, when M. Vivant came to consult him, said that he had come concerning some lost object-four banknotes of one thousand francs-which was correct, and he added, "Do not complain to the police, no one has stolen them, they have fallen behind a drawer in your desk." M. Vivant, on returning home, found them there."

Ian Stevenson, in A World in a Grain of Sand: The Clairvoyance of Stefan Ossowiecki, stated of Didier, in a chapter comparing Ossowiecki, who could be regarded as Didier's successor, to Didier, when considering the phenomena (pp.151-152): "He sometimes described objects, such as a bone, that experimenters had concealed. Of such objects he could sometimes give the history (Elliotson, 1845). He could state the previous activities of someone not personally known to him. For example, one report credits him with accurately recounting unusual events occurring two days earlier in the life of an Englishman resident in Paris (Elliotson, 1849). On another occasion he described in detail an obscure episode that occured in 1812 during the Peninsular War in Spain; this happened some 30 years before Didier's correct and later fully verified description of the episode (Elliotson, 1845, 1846). Didier also demonstrated a kind of "travelling clairvoyance" during which he would describe the location and the contents of distant houses he could never have seen. His statements about the interior of the houses he visited in this way included details of paintings hung on the walls (Elliotson, 1845; Lee, 1866)."

In retrospect it could be said that the best of the experiments of this period were good for the time they took place in, and provided a foundation upon which rested the more stringent modern work (in some ways they were more interesting, perhaps parapsychologists will want to consider replicating them under modern conditions of control). It would appear that subsequent scholarship has argued more in the favor of these experiments, though I am precluded from it so long as I remain illiterate in French. In Authors of the Impossible, p. 237, Jeffrey Kripal overviews Bertrand Meheust's study of Didier, Un voyant prodigieux : Alexis Didier, 1826-1866 (Les Empêcheurs de penser en rond (February 27, 2003)), stating, "Any attempted summary of the history of psychical research and modern paranormal phenomena-including the one I have sketched here and there throughout the present set of chapters-is all too prone to impressions of secondhand rumor and suspicions of sloppy thinking, as if the authors of the last two centuries were somehow not as smart or careful as those of this one. The truth is that Meheust's study of Alexis Didier reaches to nearly five hundred pages and explores virtually every imaginable criticism and reading, and that in this it resembles and extends the work of such earlier researchers as Frederic Myers, William James, Richard Hodgson, and Hereward Carrington, all of whom we have met before. Such invocations, however brief, are worth making here, since there is much nonsense written about the history of psychical research, with the greatest nonsense of all being the ignorant claim that it was never carefully done." The text given below in the section on telepathy, Didier in the Zoist, begins with a review of Meheust's study of Didier, and then features primary sources establishing Didier's phenomena. A subsequent overview by Alan Gauld of experiments with Leonie B is given in that section, with some additional commentary added).

Colquhoun (1833). Report of the experiments on animal magnetism, made by a committee of the Medical section of the French Royal academy of sciences.

Colquhoun (1844). Isis revelata: an inquiry into the origin, progress, and present state of animal magnetism. 2 volumes.

Gregory (1851). Letters to a candid inquirer, on animal magnetism.

Townshend (1854). Mesmerism proved true, and the Quarterly reviewer reviewed.

Haddock et al. (1865). Library of mesmerism and psychology

Lee (1866). Animal magnetism and magnetic lucid somnambulism: With observations and illustrative instances (Alfred Russel Wallace in making his arguments against Podmore, and eventually, Frank Podmore in making his concessions in The Newer Spiritualism, are in agreement that this is one of the best texts on the higher mesmeric phenomena)

Ochorowicz (1891). Mental Suggestion (discussion of telepathic rapport in mesmeric experiments. In Abnormal Hypnotic Phenomena II, p. 120, in an overview of Polish work in the subject , we find the following summary of this book: "Ochorowicz's major work(12) Mental Suggestion deserves closer attention, not only because it is the most important of the Polish contributions to tile subject but also because it is one of the most notable contributions to research on magnetism. Professor Charles Richet, the celebrated French physiologist and enquirer into parapsychological phenomena, wrote a preface to the French edition of the work and expressed his high opinion of it in the following terms: "A multitude of facts are set forth herein ... and nowhere else can you find brought together so many data. But it is not enough to accumulate facts-the facts must be rightly observed. In this respect Mr. Ochorowicz's criticism of the facts he has witnessed, or that he cites from the accounts given by other scientific men, is as rigorous as is called for by a subject so difficult. The most notable thing in his work is the resolute, unflagging determination to weigh all objections, to put away all causes of bad faith, whether conscious or unconscious ... and not to be content till every possible cause of illusion has been removed. ... One feels that he has a passionate love of truth.")

Schopenhauer (1851/1974). Essay on Spirit Seeing and Everything Connected Therewith (a very positive overview from the famous philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, published in Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays, Volume 1)

Wallace (1898). The Opposition to Hypnotism and Psychical Research. (discusses disputes over higher mesmeric phenomena, accuses opponents of obfuscation)

Alvarado (2009). Modern Animal Magnetism.

Leigh (1969). Review of "Abnormal Hypnotic Phenomena" ed. by Eric J. Dingwall.

Harrington (1995). Review of A History of Hypnotism by Alan Gauld

Nahm (2012).The Sorcerer of Cobenzl and His Legacy: The Life of Baron Karl Ludwig von Reichenbach, His Work and Its Aftermath (as Harrington's above review notes, Gauld in "A History of Hypnotism", after discussing the rituals revolving around esoteric energy of the !Kung bushmen as follows (p. 617): "The purpose of the dance is to activate a healing energy, n/um, a distant cousin of the mesmeric fluid, which resides in the stomach and becomes heated during the dance. When it boils, the vapours rise to the brain, and the dancer passes into a trance state, !kia, in which he achieves power of clairvoyant diagnosis, spirit seeing, or travel out of the body. [...] The first hand accounts of those who have become healers in this way leave no doubt that the boiling of n/um and the transition to !kia occasion real and vivid sensations of heat, pain, dissociation, etc., as well as certain sorts of hallucinations."

endorsed the position against the objectivity of these "subtle energies" associated with Mesmeric practices and folklore, stating that "N/um, the boiling energy of the !Kung bushmen, does not exist. It is imaginary, or at best metaphorical. It works, produces felt effects and genuine benefits, not because it is really there, but because those educated into Cushman culture believe that it is or might be.", though he later notes, "the immediate point, however, is that through the concept of hypnosis, like the concept of n/um, may be an artefact, corresponding to no reality that it has not itself engendered, the elements of the concept are not at all factitious, are not all derived from folk superstitions, socially inculcated practices, etc. Some are genuine in the sense that the phenomena in question occur independently of whether or not the persons to whom they occur antecedently know anything about them.", and Irreducible Mind, a text that he coauthored, contained a more favorable view regarding treatments relevant to the subject.

Amongst the Mesmerists, the refined argument for subtle energies related to Mesmeric practices related to the alleged "Odic Force" of Karl Ludwig von Reichenbach - we can see this argument in the works of Gregory and Mayo (author of Letters on the Truths in Popular Superstitions) - Gregory even translated Reichenbach's Physikalish-physiologische Untersuchungen über die Dynamide des Magnetismus, der Electrizität, der Wärme, des Lichtes, der Krystallisation, des Chemismus in ihren Beziehungen zur Lebenskraft (item #583 in Crabtree's annotated bibliography), into English as Researches on magnetism, electricity, heat, light, crystallization, and chemical attraction, in their relations to the vital force. A defense of Reichenbach is provided by Wallace in a chapter of Miracles and Modern Spiritualism entitled Od-Force, Animal Magnetism, and Clairvoyance. Wallace himself noted, in his rebuttal to Carpenter, "Baron Reichenbach's researches are next discussed, and are coolly dismissed with the remark that "it at once became apparent to experienced physicians, that the whole phenomena were subjective, and that 'sensitives' like Von Reichenbach's can p. 395 feel, see, or smell anything they were led to believe they would feel, see, or smell." His evidence for this is, that Mr. Braid could make his subjects do so, and that Dr. Carpenter had seen him do it. One of them, for instance,--an intellectual and able Manchester gentleman,--"could be brought to see flames issuing from the poles of a magnet of any form or colour that Mr. Braid chose to name." All this belongs to the mere rudiments of mesmerism and is known to every operator. Two things, however, are essential--the patient or sensitive must be, or have been, mesmerised, or electro-biologised as it is commonly called, and the suggestion must be actually made. Given these two conditions and no doubt twenty persons may be made to declare that they see green flames issuing from the operator's mouth; but no single case has been adduced of persons in ordinary health, not subject to any operation of mesmerism, &c., being all caused to see this or any other thing in agreement, by being merely brought into a dark room and asked to describe accurately what they saw. Yet this is what Von Reichenbach did, and much more. For, in order to confirm the evidence of the "sensitives" first experimented on, he invited a large number of his friends and other persons in Vienna to come to his dark room, and the result was that about sixty persons of various ages and conditions saw and described exactly the same phenomena. Among these were a number of literary, official, and scientific men and their families, persons of a status fully equal to that of Dr. Carpenter and the Fellows of the Royal Society--such as Dr. Neid, a physician; Professor Endlicher, director of the Imperial Botanic Garden; Chevalier Hubert von Rainer, barrister; Mr. Karl Schuh, physicist; Dr. Ragsky, Professor of Chemistry; Mr. Franz Kollar and Dr. Diesing, Curators in the Imperial Natural History Museum, and many others. There was also an artist, Mr. Gustav Anschütz, who could see the flames, and drew them in their various forms and combinations. Does Dr. Carpenter really ask his readers to believe that his explanation applies to these gentlemen? That they all quietly submitted to be told what they were to see, submissively said they saw it, and allowed the fact to be published at the time, without a word of protest on their part from that day to this? But a little examination of the reports of their evidence shows that they did not follow each other like a flock of sheep, but that each had an individuality of perceptive power, some seeing one kind of flame better than another; while the variety of combinations of magnets submitted to them, rendered anything like suggestion as to what they were to see quite impossible, unless it were a deliberate and wilful imposture on the part of Baron von Reichenbach.

But again, Dr. Carpenter objects to the want of tests, and especially his pet test of using an electro-magnet, and not letting the patients know whether the electric circuit which "makes" and "unmakes" the magnet was complete or broken. How p. 396 far this test, had it been applied, would have satisfied the objector, may be imagined from his entirely ignoring all the tests, many of them at least as good, which were actually applied. The following are a few of these:--Test 1. Von Reichenbach arranged with a friend to stand in another room with a stone wall between him and the patient's bed, holding a powerful magnet, the armature of which was to be closed or opened at a given signal. The patient detected, on every occasion, whether the magnet was opened or closed. Test 2. M. Baumgartner, a professor of physics, after seeing the effects of magnets on patients, took from his pocket what he said was one of his most powerful magnets, to try its effects. The patient, to Von Reichenbach's astonishment, declared she found this magnet on the contrary very weak, and its action on her hardly more perceptible than a piece of iron. M. Baumgartner then explained that this magnet, though originally very powerful, had been as completely as possible deprived of its magnetism, and that he had brought it as a test. Here was suggestion and expectation in full force, yet it did not in the least affect the patient. (For these two tests see "Ashburner's Translation of Reichenbach," pp. 39, 40.) Test 3. A large crystal (placed in a new position before each patient was brought into the dark room) was always at once detected by means of its light, yellower and redder than that from magnets (loc. cit., p. 86). Test 4. A patient confined in a darkened passage held a wire which communicated with a room in which experiments were made on plates connected with this wire. As these plates were exposed to sunlight or shade, the patient described corresponding changes in the luminous appearances of the end of the wire (loc. cit. p. 147). Test 5. The light from magnets, &c., was thrown on a screen by a lens, so that the image could be instantly and noiselessly changed in size and position at pleasure. Twelve patients, eight of them healthy and new to the enquiry, saw the image, and described its alterations of size and position as the lens or screen was shifted in the dark (loc. cit., p. 585). Dr. Carpenter's only reply to all this is, that "Baron Reichenbach's researches upon 'Odyle' were discredited a quarter of a century ago, alike by the united voice of scientific opinion in his own country, and by that of the medical profession here." Even if this were the fact, it would have nothing to do with the matter, which is one of experiment and evidence, not of the belief or disbelief of certain prejudiced persons, since to discredit is not to disprove. The painless operations in mesmeric sleep were "discredited" by the highest medical authorities in this country, and yet they were true. But Dr. Elliotson, Dr. Ashburner, and others, accepted Reichenbach's discoveries; and some of the Vienna physicians even, after seeing the experiments with persons "whose honour, truthfulness, and impartiality they could vouch for," also accepted them as proved.

The facts of the luminosity of magnets was also independently established by Dr. Charpignon, who, in his "Physiologie, Médicine, et Metaphysique du Magnetisme," published in 1845--the very same year in which the account of Von Reichenbach's observations first appeared--says: "Having placed before the sonnambulists four small bars of iron, one of which was magnetised by the loadstone, they could always distinguish this one from the others, from its two ends being enveloped in a brilliant vapour. The light was more brilliant at one end (the north pole) than at the other. I could never deceive them; they always recognised the nature of the poles, although when in their normal state they were in complete ignorance of the subject." Surely here is a wonderful confirmation. One observer in France and another in Germany make the same observation about the same time, and quite independently; and even the detail of the north pole being the more brilliant agrees with the statement of Reichenbach's sensitives (Ashburner's Trans., p. 20).

Our readers can now judge how far the historic and scientific method has been followed in Dr. Carpenter's treatment of the researches of Von Reichenbach, not one of the essential facts here stated (and there are hundreds like them) being so much as alluded to, while "suggestion," "expectation," and "imposture," are offered as fully explaining everything. We cannot devote much time to the less important branches of the subject, but it is necessary to show that in every case Dr. Carpenter misstates facts and sets negative above positive evidence. Thus, as to the magnenometer1 and odometer of Mr. Rutter and Dr. Mayo, all the effects are imputed to expectation and unconscious muscular action, and we have this positive statement: "It was found that the constancy of the vibrations depended entirely upon the operator's watching their direction, and, further, that when such a change was made without the operator's knowledge in the conditions of the experiment, as ought, theoretically, to alter the direction of the oscillations, no such alteration took place." Yet Mr. Rutter clearly states-- 1. That the instrument can be affected through the hand of a third person with exactly the same result (Rutter's "Human Electricity," App., p. 54). 2. That the instrument is affected by a crystal on a detached stand brought close to the instrument, but without contact (loc. cit., p. 151). 3. That many persons, however "expectant" and anxious to succeed, have no power to move the instrument. 4. That substances unknown to the operator, and even when held by a third party caused correct indications, and that an attempt to deceive by using a substance under a wrong name was detected by the movements of the instrument (loc. cit., Appendix, p. lvi.). Here then Mr. Rutter's p. 398 positive testimony is altogether ignored, while the negative results of another person are set forth as conclusive. Next we have the evidence for the divining-rod similarly treated. Dr. Mayo is quoted as supporting the view that the rod moved in accordance with the "expectations" of the operator, but on the preceding page of Dr. Mayo's work, other cases are given in which there was no expectation; and the fact that Dr. Mayo was well aware of the source of error, and was a physiologist and physician of high rank, entitles his opinion as to the reality of the action in other cases to great weight. Again, we have the testimony of Dr. Hutton, who saw the Hon. Lady Milbanke use the divining-rod on Woolwich Common, and who declares that it turned where he knew there was water, and that in other places where he knew there was none it did not turn: that the lady's hands were closely watched, and that no mention of the fingers or hands could be detected, yet the rod turned so strongly and persistently that it became broken. No other person present could voluntarily or involuntarily cause the rod to turn in a similar way (Hutton's "Mathematical Recreations," Ed. 1840, p. 711). The evidence on this subject is most voluminous, but we have adduced sufficient to show that Dr. Carpenter's supposed demonstration does not account for all the facts."

According to Crabtree in his bibliography, where he features that text as item #583, "it is difficult to distinguish Reichenbach’s odic force from Mesmer’s magnetic fluid. The similarity is reflected in general writings on human magnetism from 1850 on that often treat the two phenomena as identical." In the featured paper, Nahm reviews all attempted replications of Reichenbach's results, with which there was some heterogeneity in observed effects, and brings awareness to a particularly interesting result of Floris Jensen. Similar explorations were undertaken by Wilhelm Reich with his investigation into Orgone energy - as argued in a recent paper In Defense of Wilhelm Reich: An Open Response to Nature and the Scientific /Medical Community, coauthored by 24 scientists and physicians and 3 PhD candidates, the attack on him is illegitimate, and replication of all his major experiments has been achieved. Reich is an unfortunate example of the political consequences of pathological pseudoskepticism. An attempted synthesis of the bioenergetic work of Reich and the mystical-psychological ideas of G.I. Gurdjieff is provided in the text Reich and Gurdjieff: Sexuality and the Evolution of Consciousness

Also relevant is work on the aura. Hereward Carrington, in Laboratory Investigations into Psychic Phenomena, pp. 56-57: "Reichenbach was, as we have seen, among the first to study, scientifically, the subtle emanations issuing from the human body, and since his day much has been written upon this subject in spiritualistic and particularly in Theosophical literature. In 1874, Francis Gerry Fairfield published his Ten Years with Spiritual Mediums, in which he recorded his experiments upon the aura, which he designated the 'nerve-atmosphere.' These observations of his tally in a remarkable manner with those of Dr. Kilner, who issued his book, The Human Atmosphere, in 1908. Kilner employed dicyanin screens, or slides, by means of which (he asserted) the human aura could be seen by practically any person with normal eyesight. Kilner's work is so well known that any summary of it here would be out of place. It has been contended that much of Kilner's work is subjective and illusory; on the other hand, numerous independent investigations tend to prove the reality of an atmosphere or aura surrounding the body, and a number of eminent scientific men assert that they have seen it-Dr. C. Martin, Mr. Havelock Ellis, and Dr. Barker Smith being among them. In this connection I might refer the reader to an article by Dr. Gerda Walther in the Journal, A.S.P.R., Sept., 1932, entitled 'Some Experiences Concerning the Human Aura,' which in my estimation contains some useful material. See also the article by F.E. Leaning in Price's Journal, No. 1, p. 27, and one by Dr. W.G. Richards in Psychic Science, Jan., 1934.")

Hansen (1982). Dowsing: A Review of Experimental Research (Uri Geller apparently dowsed successfully. According to Guy Playfair, "It was on one of these tours, to Mexico in 1976, that Geller embarked on two new careers. The first was as a dowser, in which he had been encouraged by Sir Val Duncan, chairman of the Rio Tinto-Zinc Corporation, and which he was able to put into practice when asked by the president of Mexico to dowse for oil, which he apparently did successfully. The director-general of the state oil company Pemex told him his dowsing had been ‘very precise’, as it is said to have been on several subsequent commissions from other companies. These were normally carried out on a ‘total non-disclosure’ basis, though one his employers, Peter Sterling, former chairman of the Australian mining company Zanex, has stated on the record (Financial Times, 18 January 1986) that he was ‘well pleased’ with Uri’s services.")

Spiritualism (less evidential, with the goal of challenging claims of fraud)[edit]

(The previous resources profiled at some of the main historical resources on Mesmerism, early hypnotism, and higher mesmeric phenomena. As for Spiritualism, Brian Inglis records precedent phenomena occurring since ancient times, he notes some interesting though

On the subject, people usually rely on Frank Podmore's Modern Spiritualism: A History and a Criticism (1902) - Vol. I, Vol II and The Newer Spiritualism (1911)) - however, these are in fact biased debunking books, they are in fact the basis of modern antagonism on the subject, and, as I demonstrate throughout this annotated bibliography, they are tendentious. Therefore I am providing instead, in this bibliography, the main historical sources on the subject, books on the fraudulent imitation of genuine phenomena, and rebuttals to key antagonist texts. Those interested in pursuing further claims specifically relating to spiritualism can consult the PsyPioneer Journal founded by the spiritualist Leslie Price and edited by Paul J. Gaunt:, or the archives of the International Association for the Preservation of Spiritualist Periodicals:

On the "prophet of Spiritualism", Andrew Jackson Davis, Podmore, in Modern Spirituaism, ch. XI, provides negative evidence, whereas . A text attempts to show that some of Davis' trance utterances predated modern scientific discoveries that were subsequent to his time period. One thing interesting that Doyle notes is the fact of relevant trance utterances from Davis coinciding with the phenomena of the Fox sisters, discussed below).

  • Capron (1855). Modern spiritualism, its facts and fanaticisms, its consistencies and contradictions, with an appendix. (Regarding the Fox sister mediums, who allegedly started modern spiritualism by faking rappings, and Crookes' endorsement of Kate Fox, which critics attempt to impeach him by, counter-evidence has been given to you above, and Gauld wrote in "The Founders of Psychical Research", p. 26: "The trouble with all toe, ankle, and knee theories is the absolute failure of of their proponents (including Margaretta Fox) to tell precisely how the joints precisely how the joints or members could be manipulated so as to produce the famous rapings in a convincing way. Quite a few people who could crack their toes or their knees came forward to give a public demonstration of their powers; but no toe cracker of whom I have heard could tap out a rhythm in the least comparable way to that which any one of the Fox sisters could produce on a good day. The sisters could obtain not just regular rappings, but arpeggios and cadenzas of raps at a rate not unlike that of a musician playing a fast passage. It is difficult to believe that the human being has ever existed who could work his toes to this tune."

Gauld noted, op cit, p. 26n3, "Cromwell Varley (a noted electrical engineer and a Fellow of the Royal Society) said that Kate Fox produced for him 'a chorus of raps such as fifty hammers, all striking rapidly, could hardly produce" (Dial. Soc. Report, p. 165). Sir William Crookes said that he had heard 'a cascade of sharp sounds as from an induction coil in full work' (Researches in the Phenomena of Spiritualism, London, 1874, p. 86). The violence of the blows was also sometimes such as to rule out toe- or knee- cracking. Crookes (op. cit., p. 87) said that the raps which Kate produced were 'sometimes loud enough to be heard several rooms off'. Cf. R. D. Owen, The Debatable Land, 2nd edn., London, 1874, pp. 274-7."

Doyle noted, as regards the "confession" of fraud "The statement would settle the question if we could take the speaker's words at face value, but unfortunately the author is compelled to agree with Mr. Isaac Funk, an indefatigable and impartial researcher, that Margaret at this period of her life could not be relied upon.

What is a good deal more to the purpose is that Mr. Funk sat with Margaret, that he heard the raps " all round the room " without detecting their origin, and that they spelt out to him a name and address which were correct and entirely beyond the knowledge of the medium. The information given was wrong, but, on the other hand, abnormal power was shown by reading the contents of a letter in Mr. Funk's pocket. Such mixed results are as puzzling as the other larger problem discussed in this chapter." - Doyle, The History of Spiritualism, Vol. I, pp. 109-110: - Fox's later revelation that she had been paid by antagonists to make a false confession is not surprising in light of this (see op. cit., p. 106):

Reliable background information on this is given in Herbert Thurston's book "Church and Spiritualism", in chapter II,

Then consider the actual contents of McLuhan's book "Randi's Prize: What Skeptics Say About the Paranormal, Why They're Wrong, and Why it Matters" (2010), regarding the invalidity of the "confession"- its inconsistencies with the primary sources - and the other sources cited for a reevaluation.

It is true that there were some failed sittings, but this does not impeach the phenomena. Thus Nichol, in chapter 1, "Historical Overview" of Handbook of Parapsychology (Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1977), Part IV. Parapsychology and Physical Systems, on p. 307, noted, "Mrs. E. M. Sidgwick (1886b) had several seances with Kate (then Mrs. Jencken) in 1874 and 1885, and though she discovered no fraud, she remained unconvinced. Lord Rayleigh (1919), the future Nobel physicist, had sittings with Mrs. Jencken at his country house which left him unable to form a definite opinion one way or the other. One thing he could not explain on normal grounds was floating lights as much as 6 and 8 feet distant from the medium."

Regarding the evaluation of the Seybert commission, we can consult the primary source, which shows no fraud at all: Mr Furness, with the 'medium's ' permission, places his hand on one of her feet. The ' Medium '—' There are the raps now, strong—yes, I hear them.' Mr Furness (to the ' Medium ')—' This is the most wonderful thing of all, Mrs Kane ; I distinctly feel them in your foot. There is not a particle of motion in your foot, but there is an unusual pulsation.' "

So there might be insight into the physiology of raps, but no proof that their origin is fraudulent.

Capron's "Modern Spiritualism" (1855) is a source refuting the early counter-claims (the Buffalo doctors, Professor Page, etc.)

Capron, pp. 390-392, noted that in the original report of the critic E.P. Langworthy, the source of the raps could not be found, but that Langworthy later modified his statements fraudulently so as to make it appear that fraud by the Fox sisters was indicated:

Capron, p.305, wrote, "Among the persons who visited the Misses Fox, at Washington, were Prof. Henry and Prof. Page, of the Smithsonian Institute. The former expressed great surprise, on his first visit, that he could not find out the source of the sounds. "It is true ! " he exclaimed with surprise. He tried several experiments ; had the girls stand on a cloak with a silk lining, and, hearing no rapping, concluded it to be electricity, and published in one of the Washington papers a card to that effect. Prof. Page has since published a pamphlet "expose," in which he takes the ground that no well-educated man will for a moment suppose the sounds to be electrical ; but that it is all sheer fraud and trickery ! He is even sure that this is the case, although he did not discover the trick. I shall notice this " expose " more fully in the Appendix of this book."

In the appendix, p. 425, he noted:

"I think I have recorded pretty much all the different kinds of newspaper exposures ; and it is only necessary to mention that, during the winter of 1852-3, a Methodist minister, who calls himself Rev. H. Mattison, Aj0L., delivered many lectures, pretending to expose the " rappings " (for which the press, in different places, accused him of obtaining money under false pretences) , but was so bold in his asserting that the things alleged never did happen, that he attracted little notice except as a pretender. He afterward published a book entitled "Spirit Rappings Overthrown," being a very feeble attempt at wit, and perfectly successful as a blackguard. In the summer of the same year one "Professor Charles G. Page," of Washington, D. C, published a book (or pamphlet of ninety-six pages), in which he said as near nothing as possible. It was truly " full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." The nearest a position he took was, that the sounds were produced by leaden balls tied to the toes ! The tables, &c, never moved as pretended. This, I think, is a fair " table of contents " of these two books. They were both considered as the true " expose " by some newspaper editors, but the notices of them did not appear quite as confident as those of former exposures. The press seemed to be weary of so often endorsing any new pretender to exposures."

Wallace wrote - "But what is evidently thought to be the most crushing blow is the declaration of Mrs. Culver given at length in the Appendix. This person was a connection of the Fox family, and she declared that the Misses Fox told her how it was all done, and asked her to assist them in deceiving the visitors; two gentlemen certify to the character of Mrs. Culver. The answer to this slander is to be found in Capron's "Modern Spiritualism," p. 423. Mr. Capron was an intimate friend of the Fox family, and Catherine Fox was staying with him at Auburn, while her sisters were at Rochester being examined and tested by the committee. Yet Mrs. Culver says it was Catherine who told her "that when her feet were held by the Rochester Committee the Dutch servant-girl rapped with her knuckles under the floor from the cellar." Here is falsehood with circumstance; for, first, Catherine was not there at all; secondly, the Committee never met at the Fox's house, but in various public rooms at Rochester; thirdly, the Fox family had no "Dutch servant-girl" at any time, and at that time no servant-girl at all. The gentlemen who so kindly signed Mrs. Culver's certificate of character did not live in the same town, and had no personal knowledge of her; and, lastly, I am informed that Mrs. Culver has since retracted the whole statement, and avowed it to be pure invention (see Mrs. Jencken's letter to "Athenæum," June 9, 1877). It is to be remarked, too, that there are several important mistakes in Dr. Carpenter's account. He says the "deposition" of Mrs. Culver was not made more than six years ago, whereas it was really twenty-six years ago; and he says it was a "deposition before the magistrates of the town in which she resided," by which, of course, his readers will understand that it was on oath, whereas it was a mere statement before two witnesses, who, without adequate knowledge, certified to her respectability!" - Alfred Russel Wallace, Review of Carpenter's "Mesmerism, Spiritualism, &c., Historically and Scientifically Considered" (Quarterly Journal of Science, July 1877), p. 408:

Paul J. Gaunt in "Mrs. Norman Culver, and Kate Fox", Psypioneer Volume 7, No 9: September 2011, pp. 280-288, brings upon further discredit to the Culver testimony:

In the footnote to his statement, Wallace wrote, "Since the MS. of this article left my hands, I have seen Dr. Carpenter's letter in the "Athenæum" of June 16th, withdrawing the charges founded on the declaration of Mrs. Culver, which, it seems, Dr. Carpenter obtained from no less of an authority than Mr. Maskelyne! the great conjuror and would-be "exposer" of spiritualism. He still, however, maintains the validity of the explanation of the "raps" by Professor Flint and his coadjutors, who are said to have proved that persons who have "trained themselves to the trick," can produce an "exact imitation" of these sounds. This "exact imitation" is just what has never been proved, and the fact that a "training" is admitted to be required, does not explain a sudden occurrence of these sounds as soon as the Fox family removed temporarily to the house at Hydesville. If Dr. Carpenter would refer to better and earlier authorities than Mr. Maskelyne and M. Louis Figuier, he would learn several matters of importance. He would find that Professors Flint, Lee, and Coventry, after one hasty visit to the mediums, published their explanation of the "raps" in a letter to the "Buffalo Commercial Advertiser," dated February 17th, 1851, before making the investigation on the strength of which they issued their subsequent report, which, therefore, loses much of its value since it interprets all the phenomena in accordance with a theory to which the reporters were already publicly committed. On this scanty evidence we are asked to believe that two girls, one of them only nine years old, set up an imposture which for a long time brought them nothing but insult and abuse, subjected their father to public rebuke from his minister, and made their mother seriously ill; and that they have continuously maintained the same for nearly thirty years, and in all this long period have never once been actually detected. But there are facts in the early history of these phenomena which demonstrate the falsehood of this supposition, but which Dr. Carpenter, as usual, does not know, or, if he knows does not make public. These facts are, firstly, that two previous inhabitants of the House at Hydesville testified to having heard similar noises in it; and, secondly, that on the night of March 31st, 1848, Mrs. Fox and the children left the house, Mr. Fox only remaining, and that during all night and the following night, in presence of a continual influx of neighbours the "raps" continued exactly the same as when the two girls were present. This crucial fact is to be found in all the early records, and it is surprising that it can have escaped Dr. Carpenter, since it is given in so popular a book as Mr. R. Dale Owen's "Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World" (p. 209). Mr. Owen visited the spot, and obtained a copy of the depositions of twenty-one of the neighbours, which was drawn up and published a few weeks after the events. This undisputed fact, taken in connection with the great variety of sounds--varying from taps, as with a knitting-needle, to blows as with a cannon-ball or sledge-hammer--and the conditions under which they occur--as tested by Mr. Crookes and the Dialectical Committee, completely and finally dispose of the "joint and tendon" theory as applicable to the ascertained facts. What, therefore, can be the use of continually trying to galvanise into life this thoroughly dead horse, along with its equally dead brother the table-turning "indicator"?"

The anthropologist and psychofolklorist Andrew Lang noted in "Cock-Lane and Common Sense", pp. 34-36: Thus enough is known to show that savage spiritualism wonderfully resembles, even in minute details, that of modern mediums and seances, while both have the most striking parallels in the old classical thaumaturgy.

This uniformity, to a certain extent, is not surprising, for savage, classical, and modern spiritualism all repose on the primaeval animistic hypothesis as their metaphysical foundation. The origin of this hypothesis — namely, that disembodied intelligences exist and are active — is explained by anthropologists as the result of early reasonings on life, death, sleep, dreams, trances, shadows, the phenomena of epilepsy, and the illusions of Starvation. This scientific theory is, in itself, unimpeachable ; normal phenomena, psychological and physical, might suggest most of the animistic beliefs.

At the same time 'veridical hallucinations,' if there are any, and clairvoyance, if there is such a thing, would do much to originate and confirm the animistic opinions. Meanwhile, the extraordinary similarity of savage and classical spiritualistic rites, with the corresponding similarity of alleged modern phenomena, raises problems which it is more easy to state than to solve. For example, such occurrences as 'rappings,' as the movement of untouched objects, as the lights of the seance room, are all easily feigned. But that ignorant modern knaves should feign precisely the same raps, lights, and movements as the most remote and unsophisticated barbarians, and as the educated Platonists of the fourth century after Christ, and that many of the other phenomena should be identical in each case, is certainly noteworthy. This kind of folk-lore is the most persistent, the most apt to revive, and the most uniform. We have to decide between the theories of independent invention; of transmission, borrowing, and secular tradition; and of a substratum of actual fact.")

  • Delorme (2014). Physiology or psychic powers? William Carpenter and the debate over spiritualism in Victorian Britain. (this, among other things, shows that Carpenter became increasingly open to thought-transference. Other excerpts: "his pride in a religious culture that questioned orthodoxy was by no means stronger than his ambition to become part of the intellectual establishment at a time of increased social mobility for Dissenters. His public discourse on psychical research must therefore be examined as a potential social and political strategy, rather than as a faithful reflection of the interests and doubts he may have entertained privately." - also, "a few months later Stainton Moses wrote to Carpenter to inform him of the presence in London of Henry Slade whom he held to be an outstandingly gifted new Medium. Carpenter accepted to attend a séance and on the 9th of August 1876 sent Moses the following remarkable reply39:

I had a séance with Dr Slade yesterday; and do not hesitate to say that what I saw fully satisfied me that the matter is one deserving of further investigation. If not a piece of jugglery of the most wonderful kind, the phenomena are of a nature that no hypothesis I have hitherto applied will account for. Of course in Dr Slade's own room the possibilities of the former hypothesis are numerous, but he professes himself quite ready to come to my house, and confident that he shall succeed well with my table, slates and chairs, as with his own. (…) I must request that you will not make public in any way either the fact of my visit to Dr Slade, or what I have now written. I have made the same request to the Editor ofThe Spiritualist, who has given me his promise to that effect. I do not wish, in the present stage to be committed to anything except enquiry.

The correspondence seems to have been discontinued at this point, but the existing letters pose some important—and hitherto unasked—questions about the true nature of Carpenter's interest in psychical phenomena. It appears unlikely that Carpenter was feigning interest, and the fact that he urged his correspondent not to divulge his opinion lends further weight to the idea that he was privately, if not publicly, thinking anew. Moses himself seemed confident that Carpenter's interest was sincere, for shortly after receiving his letter he wrote to Thomas Massey to report Carpenter's fascination, rejoicing about having at last “shot down his bird40”—though whether or not this statement was based on any further admission by Carpenter remains unclear. The following October, Henry Slade was charged with fraud by the young scientist Edwin Ray Lankester. Carpenter was probably instrumental in the investigations but the exact role he played, as well as his reaction to the trial, are still currently unknown.")

  • Harrison (1997). H.P. BLAVATSKY and the SPR: An Examination of the Hodgson Report of 1885. (Theosophy is somewhat derivative of Spiritualism, adding other motifs. In the article "Spiritualism in Its Relation to Theosophy by Emily Kislingbury, F.T.S. A paper read before the Blavatsky Lodge of the Theosophical Society in 1892 Reprinted from "Theosophical Siftings" Volume 5", we find that "For it is matter of history that the Theosophical Society drew the chief of its first adherents from the ranks of Spiritualism.", however, Spiritualists dissociated from her because she believed that the spirits manifesting in seances were "Kama-rupic dregs, or cast-off lower principles, of former men and women, helped by certain elementals to utilize the vital forces of the medium,": (light on such Theosophical views appears here:

The source highlighted needs to be evaluated in light of the information in "Lives and Letters in American Parapsychology", where there is a critique of the ostensible recent defense of the theosophists.

this is a counter to the Hodgson report against Blavatsky and the Theosophists. On account of this, the SPR issued a press-release, which reads as follows:

"The Incorporated Society for Psychical Research


Registered Office Telephone: 01-937 8984 1 Adam & Eve Mews, Kensington, London, W8 6UG

News Release ----- Not for publication before 8 May 1986


The 'exposure' of the Russian-born occultist, Madame H. P. Blavatsky by the S.P.R. in 1885, is in serious doubt, with the publication in the S.P.R. Journal (Vol.53 April 1986) of a forceful critique of the 1885 report.

The case has been re-examined by Dr. Vernon Harrison, past president of The Royal Photographic Society and formerly Research Manager to Thomas De La Rue, who is an expert on forgery. The 1885 report was written mostly by Richard Hodgson, an Australian pioneer of both the British and American S.P.R.'s, who became widely known through the case.

Central to the case were two sets of disputed letters. One set, provided by two dismissed employees of The Theosophical Society at its headquarters in India, were apparently in the handwriting of Madame Blavatsky and implicated her in fraudulent psychic phenomena. The other set, were ostensibly written in support of The Theosophical Society by members of an oriental fraternity, popularly called Mahatmas. Dr. Hodgson accepted the genuineness of the first set. He argued that the Mahatma Letters were spurious productions by Madame Blavatsky and occasional confederates.

Dr. Harrison on the contrary, suggests that it is the incriminating letters that are forgeries, concocted by the ex-employees for revenge; while the bulk of the Mahatma Letters, now preserved in the British Library, are not in Madame Blavatsky's handwriting. disguised or otherwise.

Dr. Harrison concludes;

"As detailed examination of this Report proceeds, one becomes more and more aware that, whereas Hodgson was prepared to use any evidence, however trivial or questionable, to implicate H.P.B., he ignored all evidence that could be used in her favour. His report is riddled with slanted statements, conjecture advanced as fact or probable fact, uncorroborated testimony of unnamed witnesses, selection of evidence and downright falsity.

"As an investigator, Hodgson is weighed in the balances and found wanting. His case against Madame H. P. Blavatsky is not proven."

Much of Dr. Harrison's paper is an examination of the handwriting evidence presented in the 1885 report. He believes this was so weak, partisan and confused that it might just as easily show that Madame Blavatsky wrote "Huckleberry Finn" - or that President Eisenhower wrote the Mahatma Letters.

In an introductory note to the paper, the Editor of the S.P.R., Dr. John Beloff, recalls that other researchers have criticised the 1885 report, and that it had wrongly been taken as expressing an official view of the S.P.R., when in fact the S.P.R. had no opinions. Noting that Dr. Harrison is not a member of The Theosophical Society, but a long-standing member of the S.P.R., Dr. Beloff says;

"Whether readers agree or disagree with his conclusions, we are pleased to offer him the hospitality of our columns and we hope that, hereafter, Theosophists, and, indeed, all who care for the reputation of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, will look upon us in a more kindly light."

Responding to the publication of Dr. Harrison 5 paper, Dr. Hugh Gray, General Secretary of The Theosophical Society in England, said;

"We welcome the publication of Dr. Harrison's findings, which in dependently confirm what many Theosophists have pointed out in the past century. We hope that the Theosophical message in general, and Madame Blavatsky's work in particular, can now be studied without the distraction of the Hodgson allegations."

Dr. Vernon Harrison, who lives in Surrey, may be available for interviews from 6 May onwards. Please contact the S.P.R. in the first instance.

The Society for Psychical Research, as noted above, has no collective views. Thus it was not the S.P.R. which condemned Madame Blavatsky in 1885, but only an S.P.R. Committee, whose report was mostly written by Dr. Hodgson. Similarly, Dr. Harrison's paper represents only his personal views.

Cordial relations have existed between psychical researchers and Theosophists in England for sometime. In 1982, the S.P.R. chose as its centenary president, Professor Arthur Ellison of The City University, a distinguished engineer, psychical researcher and Theosophist.

Madame Blavatsky founded The Theosophical Society with others in New York in 1875, and it is an international body active in more than 60 countries with its headquarters in Adyar, Madras, India. The Society exists to promote a knowledge of Theosophy, a word of Greek origin meaning Divine Wisdom. Madame Blavatsky's main work was "The Secret Doctrine" (1888). She died in London in 1891 at the age of 59.

For further information contact;

The Society for Psychical Research Tel. 0l 937 8984 The Theosophical Society in England 50 Gloucester Place, London W1H 3HJ Tel. 01 935 9261"

Prior to this, defense of Blavatsky, including the paranormality of the events associated with her, occurred in Carrithers Jr. (1965). Obituary: The "Hodgson Report" on Madame Blavatsky.

Prior to this, a collection of attacks on the society were listed in Carrington's The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism, pp. 15-18, and an early collection of defenses were listed in Annie Besant's 1907 book H.P. Blavatsky and the masters of the wisdom. The attacks by Solvyoff, author of A Modern Priestess of Isis, appear to be dealt with in PERSONAL MEMOIRS OF H.P. BLAVATSKY By Mary K. Neff.

Robert Todd Carroll states that "She most certainly faked the materialization of a tea cup and saucer" the testimony of Sinnett seems to counter skepticism, though this is mere anecdote. Other attacks on the Theosophists such as those of K. Paul Johnson have been countered here.

In a Wikipedia article rare for its revelations, we find that "When The Secret Doctrine appeared, William Emmette Coleman of San Francisco “outraged by Madame Blavatksy’s pretensions of Oriental learning, undertook a complete exegesis of her works.[8][9] He showed that her main sources were H.H. Wilson’s translations of the Vishnu Purana; Alexander Winchell’s World Life: or, Contemporary Geology; Ignatius Donnely’s Atlantis: The Antediluvian World (1882); and other contemporary scientific and occult works, plagiarized without credit and used in a blundering manner that showed superficial acquaintance with the subjects under discussion. She cribbed at least part of her Stanzas of Dzyan from the Hymn of Creation in the old Sanskrit Rig-Veda, as a comparison of the two compositions will readily show. Coleman promised a book that would expose all of H.P.B.’s sources including that of the word Dzyan.” [10] In her biography HPB: The Extraordinary Life and Influence of Helena Blavatsky, Sylvia Cranston tackles the claim of plagiarism that was leveled by William Emmette Coleman.[11] Her view, like Coleman's, is that HPB's plagiarism consisted of quoting primary sources, without acknowledging the secondary sources from which they came. Cranston states that a research assistant of hers took on the task of finding Coleman's alleged 70 passages that HPB plagiarized from World-Life, and could only find 6. Coleman himself, far from being an authority on occult material, was a clerk in the Quartermaster Department of the US Army. He was likely not an impartial judge, having written to Coues on July 8, 1890, "I emphatically denounced and ridiculed the theory of occultism, of elementary spirits, etc., before the Theosophical Society was organized [in 1875], and from that time to this I have strenuously opposed Theosophy all the time." [12] Coleman promised to publish a book that would "prove" his charges against Blavatsky regarding the Book of Dzyan; this book and its proof never appeared.[13] The reason Coleman's book never appeared is that “Coleman lost his library and his notes in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and died three years later, his book unwritten”.[14]"

As regards the modern relevance of Theosophy to psychical research, a relevant source is Price, Leslie. "THEOSOPHY AS A PROBLEM FOR PSYCHICAL RESEARCH." Parapsychology, Philosophy, and Religious Concepts: Proceedings of an International Conference, Held in Rome, Italy, August 23-24, 1985. Parapsychology Foundation, 1987.

I may provide this source later).

  • Oxon (1877). The Slade Case: Its Facts and Lessons. A Record and a Warning (Charles Richet has written on this issue, in "Thirty Years of Psychical Research", summarizing the magic trick exposures on Slate writing, "It cannot be affirmed that all the cases of direct writing presented by Slade and Eglinton were fraudulent, but Mr. Davey's experiment warrants great reserve in accepting any, and the tricks of American conjurers described in detail by Mr. David Abbott justify the utmost distrust of alleged slate-writing.

If the medium (usually a paid medium) is allowed to use his own slates, however blank they may seem, or if he is allowed to hold or even to touch those that have been brought, nothing can be guaranteed, for anything is possible by clever substitution. It is very difficult to certify absolutely and incontrovertibly that the medium has not touched the slates, for a single moment of inattention (and who can be certain that attention has not been relaxed for a moment?) suffices for substitutions to be made. As Mr. Abbott remarks, if the experimenter brings his own slate and the putative medium does not touch it at all, no trickery is possible. But how often has this been done?"

However, that criteria ("if the experimenter brings his own slate and the putative medium does not touch it at all") had been satisfied in the experiment with Barrett of the originator of the phenomena, Slade (at least as regards the latter part), from the primary source - at least we know from column 2 of page 3 of the Sept. 13, 1876 Glasgow Herald:

Wallace wrote, his experiments similarly satisfying test conditions, "As I have now shown that Professor Lankester commenced his letter with an erroneous statement of fact, and a "more than questionable" statement of opinion, it is not to be wondered at that I find the remainder of his communication equally unsatisfactory. His account of what happened during his visit to Dr. Slade is so completely unlike what happened during my own visit, as well as the recorded experiences of Serjeant Cox, Mr. Carter Blake, and many others, that I can only look upon it as a striking example of Dr. Carpenter's theory of preconceived ideas. Professor Lankester went with the firm conviction that all he was going to see would be imposture, and he believes he saw imposture accordingly. The "fumbling," the "manouvres," the "considerable interval of time" between cleaning the slate and holding it under the table, and the writing occurring on the opposite side of the slate to that on which the piece of pencil was placed, were all absent when I witnessed the experiment; while the fact that legible writing occurred on the clean slate when held entirely in my own hand while Dr. Slade's hands were both upon the table and held by my other hand, such writing being distinctly audible while in progress, and the further fact that Dr. Slade's knees were always in sight, and that the slate was never rested upon them at all, render it quite impossible for me to accept the explanation of Professor Lankester and Dr. Donkin as applicable to any portion of the phenomena witnessed by me.":

The following text, "Psychography", is a defense of the Slade phenomena: It contains the following interesting item: "Dr. George Wyld contributes important evidence on this point. He has kindly put down for me an exact record of a crucial experiment, which I append in his own words. The bearing of this fact upon such allegations as those on the faith of which Slade was adjudged by the public to be an impostor is plain to see : —

I expected to be called as a witness in the second trial of Slade, and as Professor Lancaster's evidence was that "there was no time to produce the writing, and that therefore it had, in his case, been previously prepared," it seemed to me most important to be able to swear that writing could be produced by spirit-power with a rapidity beyond the capacity of human hands.

Accordingly, I visited Slade, who readily consented to make a trial as I suggested.

We sat down to his usual table. Slade sat with his left hand resting on the table, and with his right band he held an ordinary slate, on which was placed the customary bit of slate-pencil. This slate he passed steadily but rapidly below the corner of the flap of the table at his right hand. Each time he so passed it I examined the slate. He so passed it two or three times, without any result; but at last, after passing it as usual, on its emergence from below the flap of the table I found these words written in dusty slate-pencil writing "Let this convince you."

I could not time Slade's actions while in progress, but subsequently I imitated his mode of passing the slate as closely as I possibly could, and my friends found that the operation occupied from three-quarters of a second to a second and a half. I then timed the writing, and could find no one capable of writing the words in less than three seconds.

I considered at the time, and still consider, this experiment a complete refutation of Professor Lankester's objection as to time.

Geo. Wtld, M.D. 12 Great Cumberland Place, Hyde Park, December 30, 1877."

Other notable parts of "Psychography" are here:,, and pp. 92-101:

See the following report by Dr. George King, concerning positive results in a seance in full light with slates obtained by the sitter himself with the slates above the table not leaving the sitter's hands.

Richet corroborates the Slade phenomena as going beyond magic trick explanations, noting, in "Thirty Years of Psychical Research", p. 410:

"P. Gibier also experimented with Slade (Le Spiritisme, Paris, 1882. Le Fakirisme Occidental). Gibier first verified the force and frequency of the raps. On one occasion, so strong a knock was delivered on the middle of the table as to lead him to think it must be broken. During this time the feet and hands of the medium were well in sight. In a daylight séance a chair placed forty inches away made a half turn and moved against the table.

"Subsequently in full daylight, a chest placed twenty-five inches away from his chair began to move, leaving the wall so slowly that we could verify that there was no contact between it and any other object; it then came and violently struck the table at which we were sitting.

"At ten different trials the slate held by Slade under the table was broken into several pieces. These slates were framed in very hard wood. We endeavoured to break them in the same way by striking them against the table, but never succeeded in even cracking them.

"Several times we have seen a framed slate leave Slade's hand, pass right under the table to the other side, and, when taken hold of, give the sensation of resistance as if another hand were holding the slate. We kept the hands of the medium in sight, and could see his two knees outside the table."

Richet also noted, regarding Slade (pp. 450-451): "Dr. Paul Gibier, an experienced physiologist and a careful observer, testifies; "We have seen more than a hundred times letters, drawings, lines, and even whole phrases produced by a slight touch on slates held by Slade, and even between two slates with which he had no contact. We had ourselves bought these slates in a shop in Paris and marked them with our signature. When the writing was produced on one slate only, this was usually done under that corner of the table at which we happened to be. We kept both the slate and Slade's fingers well in view; we ourselves placed the pencil on the slate, but we were never able to get a sight of the moving pencil. The slate oscillated slightly as if by the pressure of the invisible writer" (Le Spiritisme, Paris, Doin, 1887).

The experiment that Dr. Gibier regards as perhaps the best is the following: "I had brought several slates, among others two screwed together, tied with string, sealed, and wrapped in paper . . , I proposed that I should get an answer on two new slates that I had brought in a napkin. I received permission, after having put the traditional little pointer between the two, to sit on my slates. Having then placed them on my chair I sat down and did not let go of the slates till the whole weight of my body bore on them. I then put my hands on the table along with Slade's hands, and I felt and heard very clearly that writing was taking place on the slates with which I was in contact. When this ended I myself withdrew my two slates, and read the following words, 'Slates are difficult to influence; we will do what we can.' The writing was bad, but it was writing, and legible writing. Slade had not touched these slates."

There are other interesting aspects of the slate writing phenomena that are more difficult to explain away. "Psychography", aforementioned, quotes the following example (p. 72), "I saw Dr. Slade again. On this occasion I took two new-framed slates, which I marked. I particularly asked whether it was possible to get writing without putting the slate under the table, and was told it was quite possible. My two slates were then laid upon the table, with a tiny bit of pencil between ; and upon them, in the full daylight, we laid our four hands. I then distinctly heard the sound of writing, and, on lifting up the top slate, found these words written, but very badly : — " We cannot give you a communication, only a proof our power." I remarked that though one or two words (the word " communication," for instance) were very badly written, Dr. Slade at once read them. On my way from Dr. Slade's, this slate got broken to splinters — how, I know not"

Zollner noted, in Transcendental Physics, pp. 219-233: Chapter Thirteenth PHENOMENA DESCRIBED BY OTHERS.:

"The foregoing comprises in essentials all the phenomena which I have myself observed in Slade's presence during a series of more than thirty sittings and other meetings. The precautionary measures which I had taken on these occasions were such, that for my understanding every possibility of deception or subjective illusion was excluded. I do not, how- ever, assert that these measures will be regarded as sufficient by the understanding of other men. I am therefore quite ready and willing to receive instruction and enlightenment as to better precautions than those adopted by me; provide that my advisers have given other proofs of intellectual competence superior to my own, to induce me to defer to them and to recognise them as judges of facts of observation, which they have not seen, but have learned for the first time from my description.

Before Mr. Slade left Germany, he visited Annathal in Bohemia, by special invitation from Herr J.E. Schmid, the owner of a factory there. In the family of this gentleman lie found the most friendly reception, and remained a week. Herr Schmid has already published a short account in a letter to Psychische Studien (July 187S). For the following detailed description I am indebted to Herr Heinrich Gossmann, Herr Schmid's bookkeeper, who witnessed all the phenomena during Slade's residence with Herr Schmid, and gave me a verbal account of them when on a visit to Leipsic. In accordance with my request, and by permission of Herr Schmid, he afterwards furnished me the following written account.*

"Mr. Slade arrived here on the 14th May, last year (1878), but was too tired by his journey to give us a sitting on that day. Notwithstanding which, to the surprise of us all, on his entering the room, we heard thundering blows on the sofa, for which Mr. Slade could certainly have made no preparations, as lie had never been in the room before. To the question whether this was a manifestation, Mr. Slade replied in the affirmative, remarking that the spirits could not wait till the next day to announce themselves, and that he had often found this to be the case where harmony prevailed. We took our seats at the table, without intending; a regular sitting, and had scarcely done so when all at once a seat at some distance, near the piano, put itself in motion, and came up to the table of its own accord. Continually as our astonishment increased, we did not neglect to watch Mr. Slade closely and attentively. I was sitting next him, and after some time was swiftly and unexpectedly swung round in a half circle, with the chair on which I sat, so that I nearly fell off it. Others at the table were now touched, sometimes softly, sometimes powerfully, and to me this happened often.

"One manifestation now followed another, chairs moved up to the table, touches on our knees were constantly felt, a knife and fork were put across each other on a cloth at the lower end of the table, as if they were cutting meat, then from another side of the table a fork flew off on to the floor in a slight curve.

"On the next and two following days seances were held in another room at a table appropriated to them. Many persons, sceptics and the like, to whom Spiritualism was as yet unknown, took part in them. A chain was formed, and we gave Mr. Slade a slate which he had never had in his hands before. He laid on it a small bit of pencil, and asked the spirit of his deceased wife to tell them, by direct writing, if it was possible for any of the departed relatives of the family to communicate in the same way; to which an affirmative answer was returned. Mr. Slade now put the pencil on the table, showed us that the slate was quite clean and without writing, and then laid it on the table over the pencil. Writing under the slate was at once heard; we could distinctly follow the scribbling and taking off of the pencil. This sitting, as all the rest, was in bright daylight; the slate lay there free, before all our eyes, when we formed the chain, and Slade laid one hand on the slate. The conclusion of the spirit-writing was denoted by three sharp raps; and the slate being lifted up, we found the whole under side of it written over, first by an address from Slade's wife in English, and next by a message in German from a spirit-relative. A communication from the deceased father of the lady of the house was especially striking, as his characteristics and habitual expressions when on earth were quite distinctly recognisable in it. Besides the great resemblance of the writing on the slate to that of the deceased, his identity was apparent from a certain manner of speech, and such phrases as 'We must all die,' which came upon the slate. And in many of these communications the like resemblances were observable. Among others, the brother of the lady of the house communicated, and in verse a custom he had when on earth, especially in writing to his sister, whom he generally addressed in rhymes. She recognised her brother very clearly in this, and on comparing the writing with that of his letters, just the same strokes were found in them.

This communication was obtained in the following manner : —

" A young lady (a relative of the family) who sat at the lower end of the table, opposite Mr. Slade, took in her left hand, by his direction, two slates connected by hinges ; a small pencil was laid between them, and she joined her right hand to the chain of hands on the table. Mr. Slade sat quite away from the slates, and his hands were likewise joined in the chain ; and under these conditions, to our great astonishment, writings began between the slates. The young lady, according to Mr, Slade, was mediumistic, therefore it was that she could obtain writing while holding the slate herself alone, which was not the case with the others ; she also perceived the pressure upon the under side of the slate while it was being written upon. . . .

" Such direct writings covered at least twelve slates, which were bought here, and came to Mr. Slade's hands for the first time, before all eyes, without his having any possible opportunity for "preparing" them, or for writing upon them without continual observation. Mr. Slade often held the slate quite sloping, at an oblique angle, and yet the pencil upon it did not slip to the edge, but wrote quietly on. The supposition one so often hears that the slates are "prepared" by Mr. Slade will not stand examination, because he washes out the answers, given to his questions by the spirits, on the slate, which (the same one) is again written upon; this also, as always, happening under observation. Wlien once during a seance at which writing was going on under a slate, one of the circle raised his hand quietly and without being observed, from that of his neighbour, the writing suddenly ceased, the connection being thus disturbed. Mr. Slade looked up, and seeing what had happened, requested the gentleman referred to, to try the experiment frequently, and each time the writing; ceased, and began again as soon as the chain was re-closed. There were many other manifestations. For instance, a bell under the table came out of its own accord, ringing, rose high up in the air, and let itself gently down, still ringing, on the table. A slate placed under the table was shivered into small a pieces, as by lightning, and the fragments flew in curve over our heads and so on to the floor. During a seance, another heavy table which stood at some distance from the one at which we sat, came with a rush of extraordinary speed and force to the side of a gentleman among us, whom we thought must have been hurt ; but it only touched him quite gently. The spirits gave to a hydropathic doctor, who was present, a token of esteem for his practice by wetting him with a jet of water, which came from a corner of the ceiling opposite him. Just afterwards my knee was tightly grasped by a wet hand, so that I felt the wet fingers sharply, and on examination I found the moisture on ray trouser. (Mr. Slade, during this, had his hands linked in the chain formed by those of all present.)

" Another interesting fact is, that when my Principal (Herr Schmid), Mr. Slade, and I, were holding our hands lightly on the table, the latter went up, hoveing in the air, and turned itself over above our heads, so that its legs were turned upwards.

" What an enormous force Mr. Slade must have applied to evoke these manifestations deceptively, is shown by the following case. When I was sitting, a little distance from him, he likewise sitting, he stretched out his arm, and laid his hand on the back of my chair. All at once I was raised, with the chair, swaying in the air about a foot high, as if drawn up by a pulley, without any exertion whatever by Slade, who simply raised his hand, the chair following it as if it were a magnet. This experiment was often repeated with others.

'Mr. Slade held an accordion under the table, grasping it by the strap at the side ; his other hand lay on the table. Immediately we heard the falling- boards move, and a fine melody was played.

" The experiment with two compasses was also tried; these were placed close together, and when Mr. Slade held his hand over them, the magnetic needle in one of the compasses began quickly swinging round in complete rotations, while tho needle in the other compass remained at rest, and so also conversely. According to the laws of physics known hitherto, if Mr. Slade had been secretly applying a magnet, as is so frequently alleged by opponents, both needles must have been set in motion, as they were quite close together, yet this was not the case.

" One of the most wonderful manifestations was the following: — Mr. Slade stood in the middle of the room, I on his right, on my right my Principal, and behind us, at the window, stood a young lady. While in this position we were conversing, and my Principal was about to go into the next room to fetch some- thing, a heavy stone, as if originating in the air, fell before all our eyes with a very heavy blow upon the floor, so that a regular hole was made in the latter ; the stone fell quite close to my Principal's feet. Immediately afterwards there fell a second stone, the fall of which, as of the first, we saw very distinctly. This did not happen close to Slade, for I and my Principal were both between him and the place.

" Occasionally at a sitting we saw a materialised hand; it would tear the slate forcibly out of Slade's hand under the table; it appeared suddenly at the side of the table, and quickly vanished again; it was a strong hand, quite like one of flesh and blood.

"A slate was regularly wrenched out of my Principal's hand ; it then made the round of the table, hovering free in the air before all eyes. ...Slade came here alone without any companion."

Professor Zollner next refers to the manifestations obtained through Slade at Berlin, of which he had received information from visitors and correspondents. Among the slates which were brought or forwarded to him, was one written upon in six different languages, and which Professor Zollner ascertained, upon examination, to be free from the "preparation" by artificial means, so often suggested as the probable explanation of the long sentences coming upon apparently clean slates during Blade's seances. In this case, moreover, as will be seen, the slate was brought by the investigators, and was never in Slade's custody at all ; nor was there the smallest opportunity afforded for effecting an exchange. The correspondent from whom the author received the account was a " Herr Director Liebing," of Berlin, who obtained the details from the owner of the slate, in whose presence it was written upon, with full authority to transmit them to Professor Zollner for publication, with the slate. Although it would have been preferable to have had the account direct from this gentleman, it appears from the correspondence in the text (which it is not thought necessary to reproduce literally and at length in this translation), that the statement was submitted to him for correction, was in fact corrected by him, and is thus, as here given, in fact his own. He was a Herr Kleeberg, residing at No. 5 Schmied Street, Berlin, and "of a very respectable firm" in that city. He and a friend of his, a "thorough sceptic," took two slates to Slade. One slate was covered by the other, and beyond putting a piece of slate-pencil between them, Slade never touched them at all.Herr Kleeberg and his friend then held the two slates, so joined together by their hands, above the table, suspended over it, in full daylight, and writing at once began. When it was over, and the slates were separated, the lower one was found covered with writing, as shown in Plate IX. One long passage was in English, five short sentences in French, German, Dutch, Greek, and Chinese (the latter according to the judgment of a student of Oriental languages), respectively. They were as follows : —

1. Look about over the great mass of human intelligence and see for what these endowments are given to man. Is it not to unfold (in) the great truths God has embodied in him? Is it not mind that frames your mighty fabrics - the soul that is endowed with powers. Shall he not go on unfolding these powers as God has sent His angels to do? Must man pass his judgments on God's laws that he does not understand ? We say no.

2. [German in text] (I am proud to be able to serve you.)

3. [French in text] (The grace of God be with you all who are in Jesus Christ. Amen.)

4. [Greek in text] (Bad men look only to their own advantage.)

5. [Dutch in text] (Who to the seed-corn increase gives, nourishes all that therein lives.)

The last sentence, supposed to be Chinese, was not understood. "

Slade at best was a mixed medium, because while Brian Inglis countered the main charges against him (trial, Seybert commission) in "Natural and Supernatural", and while some of his critics like Houdini, Rinn, Truesdell, and Krebs present difficulties, other reliable sources caught him out as recorded in Camille Flammarion's "Mysterious Psychic Forces", additionally, Inglis himself noted that Charles Massey held that Slade "could do things in a seance which no conjuror could do, yet he might use slight of hand in another seance, or even in the same seance, 'with an almost infantile audacity and naivete'." (see here for an example from an unimpeached witness: I will note, however, in agreement with John Beloff in his discussion of Palladino in "A Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology", that subject fraud (as opposed to experimenter fraud) is not really an impeachment of the phenomena, while it is an impeachment, say, of the veracity of an autobiography, it is so presumed in the case of professionals that what matters is if test seances were conducted that specifically precluded the counter-hypotheses. Some experiments with Slade did this, such as those highlighted, and also, he was validated by Bellachini the magician in full light:

Also, it is important toe really emphasize that some of the attacks on him really were spurious - e.g., The Lankaster trial, which is used as a centerpiece for the attack on Slade. Chris Carter noted, in "Science and Psychic Phenomena" that "the legal evidence against Slade was weak. Even a historian favorably disposed toward Lankester and Donkin wrote that "both scientists turned out to be terrible witnesses; their observational skills, developed in anatomy and physiology labs, were useless in detecting fraud by professional cheats. ... Indeed, Lankester and Donkin apparently could not agree on anything much beyond their charge that Slade was an imposter.""

For more on the Lankester prosecution, see the following:

With the Seybert commission, there remain difficulties. There is the following statement, (p. 10) "strange Spiritual antics may be there manifested, such as upsetting chairs which happen to be there, making slates appear above the edge of the table, etc. These manifestations are executed by the Medium's foot, which, on one occasion, was distinctly seen before it had time to get back into its slipper by one of our number, who stooped very quickly to pick up a slate which had accidentally fallen to the floor while the Spirits were trying to put it into the lap of one of the sitters.", and (p. 13): "At our last séance with him we noticed two slates which were not with the other slates on the small table behind him, but were on the floor resting against the leg of that table, and within easy reach of his hand as he sat at the larger table. As we had previously seen prepared slates similarly placed we kept a sharp watch on these slates. Unfortunately, it was too sharp. Dr. Slade caught the look that was directed at them. That detected glance was sufficient to prevent the Spirits from sending us the messages which they had so carefully prepared. The slates were not produced during the séance, but when it was over one of our number managed to strike them with his foot so as to displace them and reveal the writing. None of us present that day will be likely to forget the hurried way in which these slates were seized by the Medium and washed.":

This seems like a devastating set of exposures, but the first is merely a noting of a release of a foot from a slipper and a SUPPOSITION that therefore there was fraud, which is a non-sequitur, as he could have executed fraud with his slipper on - there is also no indication that foot-control was an important test condition of the seance - and there are many other explanations for the foot movement, it could have been a pseudopod, or it could have been due to unconscious muscular action. For the second item, writing may have been visible on unwashed slates, but the very function of Slade's sittings was to produce messages on Slates that were initially clean - whether it was produced genuinely or fraudulently is a different manner. The fact that there were unwashed slates suggests carelessness on Slade's part, but not that there was an exposure of fraudulent methods. This is the best evidence against him, and it is astonishingly weak. It appears also that the commission duped Slade, as he was led to believe that the overall attitude had been positive, p. 13 states, "We received from Dr. Slade a written expression of his satisfaction with our treatment of him, which had been throughout, so he said, entirely fair and courteous, and of his willingness at any time hereafter to sit with us again, should we desire it and his engagements permit."

Brian Inglis stated many objections to the commission as follows - he later noted contradictions in the testimony of Wundt to Fullerton re. the abilities of Zollner as a competent investigator (Wundt's testimony to Fullerton was more malicious in a way that contradicted earlier non-malicious testimony), and he notes bias so great it extended into malice on the part of Fullerton's overall denunciation of the Zollner investigation, but regarding the weak "exposures", Inglis noted (p. 371) that "by agreement these rules were not pointed out until the post-mortems which the members of the commission held after seances; so Slade was never actually caught red handed.

Some of his effects too, at the time had seemed unaccountable.

Once he had held two slates, one of them cleaned, behind the head of one of the investigators; when the question was put 'will the spirits endeavor to write on the slate thus held?' the sound of writing and a rap, signifying 'yes', were heard, and the message on the Slate was 'Yes, we will try'. It was 'one of the neatest things he did', Furness thought; an inspired guess if he had prepared the slate in advance.

Even Sellers could detect no substitution. In the circumstances, the commission realized that it would be unwise to denounce Slade until they could reassure themselves that everything he did could be duplicated by sleight-of-hand. Harry Kellar, one of the best known conjurors of the day, happened to be in Philadelphia, and a few days later he gave the members of the commission a demonstration of slate-writing which, they found, was 'far more remarkable than any which we have witnessed with mediums', including messages in various languages. Later, Kellar showed one of the commission's members ho he did it; and although in defense to the interests of his profession this was not made public at the time, the members of the commission felt that it constituted sufficient proof that Slade was a conjuror, and nothing more.

Over thirty years later Kellar, having retired, felt at liberty to disclose how he had done the slate-writing. He told Hereward Carrington that he had Had [sic] a trap-door constructed under the seance table, and employed an assistant in the room below - an explanation echoed by Houdini. But this method would have only been possible for a professional magician. Slade gave seances wherever he happened to be, in private houses or hotel rooms; there could be no question of his having trapdoors cut wherever he went - and if he had, he would have soon been exposed. The reliance on Kellar's testimony was consequently dishonest - at least on the part of the member of the commission who was let in on the secret. So far from discrediting Slade, it could have been held to be in his favor."

Further refutation occurs in Brian Inglis "Natural and Supernatural" (White Crow Books, p. 373), showing contradictions in versions of Wilhelm Wundt's statements against Zollner. The Zollner case is complex and difficult to appraise, but we can point out several items in Zollner's favor:

A Campbell Holms, in "The Facts of Psychic Science and Philosophy", sources an article by Massey critiquing in detail the charge of Zollner's incompetence - he noted, "It was asserted by Prof. G. S. Fullerton of Pennsylvania University, the Secretary of the notorious Seybert Commission for Investigating Modern Spiritualism, that Zollner was of unsound mind when he experimented with Slade and that, therefore, no credence could be placed in his conclusions. But this assertion was shown to have no foundation in fact by C. C. Massey (Zollner's translator) in a letter to the Professor dated August, 1887, and published, with others, in Light for that year, pp. 375, 393, 451, 543, 562." - that letter can be read here:

The noted scholar Isaac Funk, in The Widow's Mite, p. 276, refuted the charge of Zollner's incompetence.

2) Funk noted, on p. 281 of The Widow's Mite that Frank Podmore misrepresented the details of Zollner's coin experiment.

A defense of the Zöllner experiments is beyond the scope of this post, I intend to write a paper on this at a later time. There are some points that should be made on this though. The speculations of Robison in "Spirit Slate Writing and Kindred Phenomena", pp. 104-105, as to Slade's production of the accordion phenomena:, are in opposition to the facts of the experiment as recorded on pp. 39-40 of Zollner's "Transcendental Physics":

A counter to important critiques of the Zöllner work, which form a vital part of the criticism, appears here:

Andreas Sommer noted in "Crossing the boundaries of mind and body: Psychical research and the origins of modern psychology" ((Ph.D. thesis) London University College (2013)), pp. 215-216, "Inspired by his friend William Crookes, in 1877 and 1878 Zöllner conducted a series of experiments with the American Henry Slade, who specialized in so-called slate-writing (i.e., direct ‘spirit writing’ in sometimes sealed slates).275 Slade, who had just escaped from England after a lawsuit for fraud instigated by the physiologist and tireless popularizer of political materialism E. Ray Lankester, was brought to Germany by Aksakov.276 After the Russian had failed to interest Helmholtz, Virchow and von Hartmann to investigate the medium, Zöllner agreed to test Slade with the support of Wundt’s old mentor Fechner, the physicist Wilhelm Weber (1804-1891, the co-inventor of the first electromagnetic telegraph) and the mathematician Wilhelm Scheibner (1826-1908).277 The famous physiologist and member of du Bois-Reymond’s and Helmholtz’s circle of anti-vitalist friends, Carl Ludwig, the surgeon Carl Thiersch, and Wilhelm Wundt, together attended a séance with Slade in November 1877, but left after only half an hour.2

In his detailed report, Zöllner stated that in order to control for possible fraud the experiments were conducted in bright daylight or gaslight in his flat, and he purchased a new table as well as freshly manufactured slates, which he secretly marked in order to rule out manipulations by Slade. Still, apart from slate writings in different handwritings and languages allegedly unknown to the medium, Zöllner reported phenomena such as the deflection of a compass needle, prints in flour and carbon-black from human hands and feet differing in shape and size from Slade’s, the lasting magnetization of knitting needles, and effects suggesting the interpenetration of matter, such as knots in loops of thread and leather, and ‘teleportations’ of marked coins from sealed containers and of wooden rings around the legs of a table, which Zöllner viewed as an empirical corroboration of his famous theory of a fourth dimension of space.279

Zöllner claimed that Slade had been closely observed and he described how he and Weber, to limit possibilities of fraud without inhibiting the medium psychologically, would often spontaneously request effects not in Slade’s known repertoire and make impromptu modifications in the course of experiments. Also, Zöllner argued that certain phenomena could have been faked only if Slade, who was never left in Zöllner’s flat unobserved, had installed intricate devices prior to the sittings. Among these were the disappearance of a small table which was later reported to descend from the ceiling, unexpected movements of heavy furniture, and the spontaneous destruction of a heavy wooden frame accompanied by a cracking noise while Slade was busy producing requested effects.280"

The critique of Carrington in "The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism: The Fraudulent and The Genuine", is predicated on a dismissal of the main points of the third paragraph, thereby it is rendered problematic. Andreas Sommer wrote of the bias of critical sources on this issue, "The same is true for Zöllner/Slade. The political relevance of the episode is enormous, and I uncovered some primary/archival sources putting things into perspective (see my “Spiritualism and the origins of modern psychology in late nineteenth-century Germany: The Wundt-Zöllner debate”, in C. M. Moreman (Ed.), The Spiritualist Movement: Speaking with the Dead in America and Around the World (Vol. 1, pp. 55-72). Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2013. For an evaluation of Carrington’s verdict, I recommend studying the German original of Zöllner’s observations (in vols. 2-3 of his Wissenschaftliche Abhandlungen, 1878-9), or the very able compilation/translation by C. C. Massey: Zöllner, J. K. F. (1880). Transcendental Physics: An Account of Experimental Investigations. London: W. H. Harrison.

Mind you, I’m not claiming the phenomena were real, all I mean to imply is that primary sources tend to be constructed in an extremely biased manner by self-styled ‘reality sheriffs’.":

As regards Henry Slade, Klinkowström in a German article claimed secondary validation for the confession of fraud, though he is a difficult source himself, as will be shown later:

I am of the opinion that Slade had some genuine mediumistic abilities, because the counter-hypotheses can be refuted with him in some instances, but that he buttressed some of his performances with fraud for professional purposes. Grounds for a reevaluation are given above, are given in Holms, and in the following item - Wallace noted "at Glasgow, last year, Lord Rayleigh informed us that he took with him a professional conjuror to Dr. Slade's, that the phenomena happened with considerable perfection, while "the conjuror could not form the remotest idea as to how the effects were produced."" and "The popular view of a subject like this is sure of a wide circulation, and writers in the daily and weekly papers increase its publicity, whereas few read the answer, and the press decline or refuse to make it known.", after which he said, in a footnote, " A striking proof of this statement has been quite recently furnished us. The letter given below was sent by Dr. Slade to Professor E. R. Lankester. It would seem to exhibit, in a high degree, the characteristics of truth, fairness, and charity. No answer was received. The press, moreover, refused to publish it, and the daily press, one and all, refused to insert it even as an advertisement!


"DEAR SIR,--Dr. Slade having in some measure recovered from his very severe illness, and his engagement to St. Petersburg having been postponed (by desire of his friends there) till the autumn, desires me to make the following offer:--

"He is willing to return to London for the express and sole purpose of satisfying you that the slate-writing occurring in his presence is in no way produced by any trickery of his. For this purpose he will come to your house unaccompanied by any one, and will sit with you at your own table, using your own slate and pencil; or, if you prefer to come to his room it will suit him as well.

"In the event of any arrangement being agreed upon, Slade would prefer that the matter should be kept strictly private.

"As he never can guarantee results, you shall give him as many as six trials, and more if it shall be deemed advisable.

"And you shall be put to no charge or expense whatever.

p. 416 "You on your part shall undertake that during the period of the sittings, and for one week afterwards, you will neither take, nor cause to be taken, nor countenance legal proceedings against him or me.

"That if in the end you are satisfied that the slate-writing is produced otherwise than by trickery, you shall abstain altogether from further proceedings against us, and suffer us to remain in England, if we choose to do so, unmolested by you.

"If, on the other hand, you are not satisfied, you shall be at liberty to proceed against us, after the expiration of one week from the conclusion of the six or more experiments, if we are still in England. You will observe that Slade is willing to go to you without witnesses of his own, and to trust entirely to your honour and good faith.

"Conscious of his own innocence, he has no malice against you for the past. He believes that you were very naturally deceived by appearances, which, to one who had not previously verified the phenomena under more satisfactory conditions, may well have seemed suspicious.

"Should we not hear from you within ten days of this date, Slade will conclude that you have declined his offer.

"I have the honour to be, sir, your obedient servant, J. Simmons."

37, Spui-straat, The Hague, May 7th, 1877.":

If Slade was a fraud he would have not ordered the writing of that letter, as it would have put him at immense personal risk.

Slade is often classed with William Eglinton and Francis Ward Monck. On Monck, see this.

On Eglinton, I will below attempt a partial validation. (I feel intuitively that William Eglington was probably a fraud, though I don't know how he did some of his magic tricks - confirmation or refutation of this viewpoint will have to be established by testing his phenomena against counter-hypotheses) Partial validation of Eglinton comes from what I describe here: " As an aside, Wiley's book p. 35, states, "the prominent American illusionist Harry Kellar, while appearing in Calcutta in 1882, admitted he had been baffled by the mediumistic effects and levitation of the English medium William Eglinton[12]. Eglinton was exposed as a fraud several year later." But examination of thesource reveals misrepresentation in the wikipedia article. Footnote 12 - occurs on p. 207 of Wiley's book - from it we read that the source cited is: Harry Kellar, A Magician's Tour (Chicago: Donohue, Henneberry, 1891), pp. 168-172 - as cited, this does not demonstrate that the levitations were fraudulent tricks. On p. 173 of the text cited, it is revealed that though Kellar was able to reproduce other phenomena (though there is the statement that Kellar "makes no claim to performing the tricks by the same means Mr. Eglinton used"), he never was able to account for the Levitation, which, on p. 171, he describes the baffling nature of. [specifically we find that "What puzzles him the most is how he could have been pulled up by Mr. Eglinton without felling his own weight on his hand and arm. He seemed to lose gravity."] See here for the source cited: 13"

A.C. Doyle attempts to refute the fraud charge from Archdeacon Colley - search "Archdeacon Colley" in his The History of Spiritualism, Vol II (1926):

Aside from this, (p. 30): "A good case of direct writing is related as having occurred about this time by Dr. Nichols, who had removed from Malvern to 32, Fopstone Road, Earl's Court, S.W. It occurred on the 9th September. "At a seance last night, in the presence of three other persons and Mr. Eglinton, the materialised form of 'Joey' made in our presence about twenty yards of white drapery, which certainly never saw a Manchester loom. The matter of which it was formed was visibly gathered from the atmosphere, and later melted into invisible air. I have seen at least a hundred yards so manufactured. Then 'Joey' said, 'Dr. Nichols, I have got into a great row about that Greek, which you transcribed imperfectly.' He then selected two small slates from a pile of new ones lying on the mantel-shelf, and handed them to me to be cleaned. I rubbed them both thoroughly, and so did each of the three other — one of them using a wet cloth. 'Joey' then borrowed my knife, whittled a piece of slate pencil, bit off a piece of it, and placed it between the two slates, and then carefully wrapped up both in a piece of newspaper. This was all done in the centre of the small room, quite away from the medium, and in plain sight of all. Then, at his request, I moved my chair forward, and sitting facing 'Joey' held one corner of the slates with my left hand, as he did the other corner with his right, and I laid the fingers of my right hand on the fingers of his left. Instantly we heard the sound of writing on the slates. In a few moments three little raps told us the writing was done, and I pushed back into my place, holding the slates. At the end of the seance we found on one slate a message for Mrs. Nichols from the late Dr. Ferguson, signed with his name in his well-known handwriting, and on the other, in a very neat and delicate hand, each letter almost separately written, the following: — 'The message in Greek has been imperfectly transcribed by you. Translate as written below, and you have the proverb in its correct and original meaning: [Greek in text] The fifth word is underscored, as you will see on the slate I leave for your inspection.' Now, one fact, for what it is worth, is as good as a million. Here is a Greek sentence twice written under absolute test conditions, in the presence of several persons, by some invisible intelligence, between two slates closely bound and firmly held together. The medium was not near the slates. They were prepared by a human form, which was not that of any one of the five persons in the room. Not one of those five persons could write the shortest sentence in Greek. Not one of them knew that there was such a proverb in that language."

On pp. 116-119 of the biography, testimony is given regarding Eglinton's slate-writing describing situations apparently precluding fraud - also, the personal nature of some of the message is discussed:

Such testimony abounds throughout the book. Colley, discussed previously, in spite of the arguments made against Eglinton, elsewhere wrote positively of Eglinton's phenomena - that "The medium was next entranced and carried by invisible power over the table several times, the heels of his boots being made to touch the head of our medical friend. Then he was taken to the further end of the dining room, and finally, after being tilted about as a thing of no weight whatever, was deposited quietly in his chair.":

Charles Richet in his book "Thirty Years of Psychical Research", noted: "Eglinton was a very powerful medium, and though he has been suspected of fraud, he was able finally to prove that the allegations of his enemies were calumnies. Moreover, the question is not to establish that he was never guilty of trickery (which is not easy in the case of a professional medium) but whether in certain definite instances striking metapyschic phenomena have been produced (Erny, loc. cit., 159)."

This book that Richet cites by Erny is Le psychisme expérimental: étude des phénomènes psychiques: the text, to copy and paste into google translate for those who don't know french, begins here: It continues onto p. 173 For simplicity, Richet summarizes some of the information: "Miss Glyn, who did not believe in materializations, saw Eglinton at her own house, at a séance at which her father, her brother, and a friend were present. Eglinton was in the middle of this little circle, and his hands were held. Two forms appeared that could move and speak. Miss Glyn recognized them for her mother and her younger brother. The forms slowly disappeared.Phantoms are often too readily recognized, and the desire to secure this recognition detracts much from the value of the attestation.

Dr. Carter Blake, with five persons well known in English intellectual society, narrates that he saw by the side of Eglinton, who was sitting in an armchair, a tall brown form that melted into the medium's body.

The distinguished naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, in a letter to Erny, states that he saw Eglinton at a séance in a private house. By his side there appeared Abdullah, a materialized Oriental wearing sandals, a turban, and burnous; Eglinton being visible at the same time sitting in an armchair in evening dress. After the séance Eglinton was undressed and most carefully searched but neither sandals, turban, nor burnous were found.

Important séances were held at the house of the artist, J. Tissot, who has represented one result in a very beautiful picture. Eglinton sat in an armchair, close to Tissot, and stayed there the whole time. The doors were locked. After a brief space two forms appeared by Tissot's side. At first they were nebulous, but gradually became clear so that all their features could be seen. The male form had in his hand a kind of light with which he lit up the feminine form. M. Tissot recognized the latter, and, much moved, asked her to kiss him; she did so several times and her lips were seen to move.

Dr. Nichols experimented with Eglinton, putting him in a cage with a net over it. The doors of the cage were closed with sealed knots and the approaches to the cage were dusted with flour. The forms appeared outside the cage. Another time, at Dr. Nichols's house, in daylight, but behind closed curtains, there was a materialization in human form, which, in order to be recognized, raised the curtain to show itself in the daylight. It then slowly dematerialized till there remained nothing but the lower part of the body which vanished abruptly.

Florence Marryat and her husband assisted at a remarkable private séance in which they saw a whitish, cloudy substance emerge from the left hip of the medium; this cloud increased in size, condensed, and became a materialized form that stood before Eglinton. She also studied the materializations given by Mr. Arthur Coleman who was not a professional medium. He was tied with cotton threads that would break at the least movement. Before the five sitters six forms appeared and were seen by the light of a gas-burner. During this time Coleman was entranced in the next room."

Carvill Lewis had however, caught Eglinton in trickery in a similar way to the Hodgson exposure of Slade, these seem to be the only legitimate exposure - and the question of conscious or unconscious fraud is also a factor here. The above testimony, particularly the powerful testimony of Kellar, is important to consider as counterbalance. P. 324 of "Light", July 16, 1887, offers a contextualization of Eglinton in light of the Lewis information:

In contrast to that, though, also note the positive evidence presented by Fodor, who noted that Eglinton had convinced British PM William Gladstone of the supernormal, and notes positive phenomena in this case - Gladstone stated, incidentally, that psychical research was the most important work which is being done in the world - by far the most important" - the article also notes, "Eglinton's open air materializations have no parallel in spiritualistic history. This is a summary of Dr. Nichols' experiences in Malvern: "Mr. Eglinton lay on a garden bench in plain sight. We saw the bodies of four visitors form themselves from a cloud of white vapour and then walk about, robed all in purest white, upon the lawn where no deception was possible. One of them walked quite around us, as we sat in our chairs on the grass, talking as familiarly as any friend ... took my hat from my head, put it on his own, and walked off with it where the medium was lying; then he came and put it on my head again; then walked across the lawn and up a gravel walk to the foot of the balcony and talked with Mrs. Nichols. After a brief conversation he returned to the medium and gradually faded from sight."


The spiritualistic Press of the day was full of such marvels. Mr. W. H. Harrison, the editor of The Spiritualist and a Fleet Street writer on science, reported the transportation of Eglinton through the ceiling of a locked room into the room above on March 16th, 1878, at Mrs. Macdougall Gregory's house at 21 Green Street, Grosvenor Square, London. He was one of seven sitters.

"The séance was held in the drawing-room on the first floor high above the street. The shutters of all the windows of the room were closed and barred; they could not have been opened without admitting light from the street. The door was locked on the inside and the key left in the lock. The table around which all the sitters sat was about two yards from the lock and considered in the most favourable position for enabling all the sitters to gaze into the passage if the door had been opened either to a large or small extent... Mr. George Sutherland, one of the sitters, was raised, chair and all, and placed on the centre of the table, where he was seen when a light was struck. Another sitter and his chair were raised about two feet. Mr. W. H. Harrison half seriously asked if the spirits could take Mr. Colman through the ceiling by way of giving a variety of manifestation; Mrs. Fletcher and Mr. Colman then called out simultaneously that Mr. Eglinton had broken the circle and left them. Mrs. Gregory told them to join hands. About the same moment, a chair, probably Mr. Eglinton's, was heard to fall lightly on its feet, apparently some yards from the circle; and a violent bump, caused by the falling of a heavy body on the floor of the room above, caused everybody to think that Mr. Eglinton was carried through the ceiling. So a light was struck.

"From the time the remark was made about Mr. Colman to the time the light was struck, was about a minute. From the time Mr. Eglinton disjoined hands to the time the fall in the room above was heard, was probably less than ten seconds; some of the sitters, a few minutes after the event occurred, estimated it at five seconds.

"When the light was struck, Mr. Eglinton was not in the room. Mr. George Sutherland unlocked the door by turning the key which was in the lock, and it was then noticed that the passage outside was fairly illuminated by reflected light from the gas in the hall below. Mrs. Gregory and several sitters proceeded upstairs, and found Mr. Eglinton lying in a deep trance on the floor with his arms extended. This was about two minutes after he disjoined hands in the room below. In two or three minutes he revived and complained of the back of his head being hurt, as if by a blow; beyond this there was nothing the matter with him and he was as well as before in a few minutes."

Were all these people dithering imbeciles or did Eglinton actually go through the ceiling?":

  • Medhurst & Goldney (1964). William Crookes and the physical phenomena of mediumship. (defense of William Crookes, appraises him in light of Trevor Hall's allegations, also argues that the claims of Houdini and Maskelyne that Anna Eva Fay confessed to them that she duped Crookes to them were false because their accounts conflicted with the primary sources, though notes that F.W.H. Myers, initially supportive of Fay, came to have very negative views of her. As regards Fay, Wallace wrote, "I have already shown (in this month's Fraser) that the supposed exposure of Eva Fay in America was no exposure at all, but a clumsy imitation, as will be manifest when it is stated that the exposer, Mr. Bishop, performed all his tricks by stretching the cord with which his hands were secured to the iron ring behind his back! There is hardly a greater exhibition of credulity on record than Dr. Carpenter's believing that such a performer proved Eva Fay to be an impostor and Mr. Crookes's experiments valueless. But what can we expect when we find a Daily Telegraph report quoted as an authority in a matter of scientific inquiry?

I venture to think that, whatever may be their opinions as to the amount of fact in the phenomena called "spiritualistic" (by Dr. Carpenter, but never by Mr. Crookes), all men of science will agree with me that Dr. Carpenter is bound to prove by direct experiment that Mr. Crookes and his coadjutors were the victims of imposture on the particular occasion referred to; or if he fails to do this, that he should in common fairness publicly withdraw the injurious accusations he has made against Mr. Crookes and all who are engaged in similar investigations. If this is not done it is equivalent to deciding that no possible proof of such phenomena is admissible--a position which is not that of Dr. Carpenter, or, as far as I am aware, of the scientific world generally.":

Morselli wrote, "In the same way, we do not understand how mediumship could be successfully imitated by Annie Eva Fay, who, besides producing admirable impressions in wax, increases in weight every night, resisting the efforts of several spectators to raise her from the ground." (Mediumship and Conjuring (in Connection with Eusapia Paladino)):

Barry Wiley, a critic of Anna Eva Fay, wrote in a critique of the biography of William Crookes, "Brock lists references published by Dingwall and Houdini (Brock omits Walter Franklin Prince, to whom AEF spun yet another version just three months before her death) regarding admissions by AEF that she had cheated Crookes. No. The AEF stories related in A Magician Among the Spirits and in Dingwall’s Critic’s Dilemma regarding how she had fooled Crookes are not true, and the conversations quoted, in fact, most likely never took place. For example, on July 8, 1924, Houdini visited AEF at Heathman Manor for five hours. One of his first questions which he records in the notes he made from the visit, was how had she beaten the Crookes galvanometer? Why did he ask if he had already published her answer? As it is, the answer that AEF gave him was so far-fetched that even Houdini admitted in his notes that he could not believe it. But why did he ask if he already knew? There are other statements in the book, but the above is sufficient to show that Professor Brock is relatively unfamiliar with the history of magic and Spiritualism, and apparently feels that AEF is a secondary character in the arc of the Crookes story. If she were not the last medium endorsed as genuine by Crookes, I would have some sympathy for Professor Brock’s position. But Crookes said she was genuine, on the 19th and only on the 19th. He never issued a blanket endorsement of AEF, regardless of the later advertising that AEF used up until 1894. And it is reasonably clear how AEF beat the Crookes galvanometer test on the 19th. You’ll find it in Chapter 8 of my book.":

Wiley's hypothesis of fraud, a variation of the hypothesis of Podmore, given in appendix G of "The Thought-Reader Craze" is, "For Annie's coil of wire to match her body resistance, Gimingham [Crookes' assistant] had only to have had Annie in the circuit only once to match her body resistance. He then wound a coil of wire, put it into the circuit to ensure a close match, and adjusted accordingly."

Without critiquing this directly, I will just note counter-comments to Podmore's hypothesis to show, indirectly, the difficulties of the former hypothesis:

Hereward Carrington wrote "The next year (1875) Sir William Crookes repeated the same experiment with Mrs. Fay, in his own laboratory. Telekinetic phenomena and materializations nevertheless occurred. In his Mechanism of Man (II, p. 446) Serjeant Cox narrates a similar test with the same medium, in the presence of Messrs. Huggins, Galton, and Crookes, who were present. To be sure, Mr. Frank Podmore has suggested that the medium might have employed some 'connecting substance of a resistance approximately equal to that of her own body'; but in view of the later tests this view can hardly be taken seriously." - Laboratory Investigations Into Psychic Phenomena, p. 86 - see the account from Cox's book, for evidence that other aspects of the phenomena were beyond fraudulent explanations:

In JSPR Volume 42, pgs 370 to 372, Thompson expanded on Podmore's hypothesis of fraud, and Medhurst & Goldney argued this involves cutting corners as regards the competencies of the full set of observers, the full scale of their observations, and the nature of the experiment. They raised important points against one who simply supposes that this is a simple matter of them being duped.

Still though, some negative evidence on Fay is here - she definitely committed fraud in her later career, though this does not, in and of itself, impeach the observations of Crookes, Galton, etc., which were from a highly controlled set of experiments that skepticism has failed to adequately explain away:

Medhurst & Goldney argued that Frank Herne and Charles Williams were mixed mediums in "William Crookes and the Physical Phenomena of Mediumship". Medhurst and Goldney gave an appraisal of this that removes some of the animus against Cook on account of her association with Herne. Dingwall, in a critique of Trevor Hall's book on DD Home cited below, stated, "the author discusses what he calls a damning ingredient in his critical assessment of Home. Indeed, he goes so far as to say that he considers it axiomatic that the honesty of a medium may be judged by his or her associates. What he refers to is a letter6 to the eminent astronomer and solar physicist William Hugqins (1824-1910) from Crookes in which he described a Seance on April 11, 1871. The two mediums who gave the sitting were Charles Williams and Frank Herne, two professionals, the latter having a highly dubious reputation and whom Hall, rightly I think, describes as an unscrupulous trickster (p. 50) since both a few years later were exposed in blatant acts of deception. It appears that Home had dined with Crookes on April 11 and was invited to accompany him to the seance which had been arranged for that evening. In the letter Crookes told Huggins that he had to induce Home to come since it was a dark seance and Home "always refused to sit in the dark" as he considered an absence of light unsatisfactory to those present. In this instance, however, he consented and Crookes told Huggins in enthusiastic terms about the extraordinary phenomena that took place. Now, since, according to Hall (p. 50), if two mediums give demonstrations then both must be genuine or fraudulent, then it follows that as Herne was almost certainly a fraud then Home was one also. It would seem that Crookes thought that both Herne and Williams may have been genuine, but what reason have we to suppose that Home, if genuine himself, knew that the two other mediums were fraudulent? That he wanted to see more is clear from the statement by Crookes in the letter that he agreed to attend another sitting on April 25. Whether this convinces the reader that Home's "demonstrations" show that he himself was a fraud is for him to decide, but there is no doubt that he later considered Heme to be an imposter since he refers to the exposure of him in 1875 which caused a sensation among believing spiritualists."

Regarding Crookes and William Hope, the standard line is that he was duped, though Medhurst and Goldney provide excerpts from primary sources in "William Crookes and the Physical Phenomena of Mediumship" leading us to understand the nuances of this - and see commentary in a critical review of Simeon Edmunds book on spirit photography in the International Journal of Parapsychology (Volume VIII, p. 608, "Edmunds makes reference to the fact that Hope succeeded in convincing Sir William Crookes, and he discusses the ease with which an intelligent investigator can be duped. He goes on to quote Fred Barlow assaying "Recognized likenesses have been produced, but in every single instance I have investigated where there is no doubt as to the likeness, the 'extra' has been an exact copy of some photograph or painting." Since Edmunds apparently shares this view, it is perhaps pertinent to point out that in a letter to Sir Oliver Lodge - dealing with a photograph taken by Hope and showing an "extra" which Crookes identified as his recently deceased wife - Crookes states: "The picture ... is not a facsimile of any photograph ever taken of my wife""). Sudre (Treatise on Parapsychology, p. 286) provides evidence for Hopes's phenomena, sources an appraisal of Harry Price's dispute with Hope, also discusses a test of Hope undertaken by an expert conjuror, Dr Lindsay Johnson, in 1921. Johnson brought all the equipment himself and - presumably aware of the earlier accusations against Hope - refused to allow him to come near it, except in a test where Hope was allowed to put his hands in a box which contained unexposed plates. Of eight photographs which Johnson took and developed, three had an 'extra' - two of them identifiable human. And on one of the exposed plates in the box, two in the middle had 'extras' - 'one showed four heads of the same person, and the other a photograph which had appeared the day before' - evidence which sufficed to convince Johnson - vindicating Hope beyond this is outside my knowledge, but there seems to be sufficient corroboration on this, and per the above, it is not accurate to say that Crookes was duped. Though Fodor has written some important commentary: - Arguments in favor of William Hope's "Spirit Photographer" predecessors can be found in James Oates' 1911 book "Photographing the Invisible", which discusses tests of these Spirit photographers, and counters criticism. More tests are discussed by Stanley de Brath, in chapter 3 of "Psychical Research, Science, and Religion".

One article arguing that Brian Inglis misrepresented source literature: [2], was in response to a critique of Hansel where he argued that Hansel relied on discredited material [3] - the critique of Inglis argued that although critics had attacked the Anderson testimony, the basis of the allegation that Crookes was having an affair with Florence Cook. Much support of Inglis' position was put forth in Goldney's article Further Light on the Anderson Testimony. Eric Dingwall launched a successful defense in Critics Dilemma, and that therefore Inglis was misrepresenting source material (how Inglis' view was a "misrepresentation" is hard to see). However, Alan Gauld, in a review of "The Critic's Dilemma", argued that Dingwall had failed to rehabilitate the Anderson testimony from the discrediting that critics had given it.

Mary Rose Barrington wrote in her rebuttal to Gordon Stein:

"It is not at all difficult to make a convincing case against the genuineness of Florence Cook's full-form materializations, creatures apparently composed of all-too-solid flesh and blood, one of which walked around arm-in-arm with the equally solid creation of Rosina Showers, a medium whose fraudulent methods became known to Crookes. It is easy in the light of so many indications of fraud to overlook the testimonial to her mediumship provided by Cromwell Varley's test. Varley attached electrodes to Florence's arms in a way that would make escape from an electrical circuit very difficult if not impossible (Stephenson, 1966), and still a materialized figure presented herself, a rather convincing one in that, according to Varley's report in The Spiritualist of 20th March 1874, she appeared not only in full form but also "half materialised from her waist upwards, the lower extremities being absent". Phantom forms with parts missing are much more persuasive than those that are indistinguishable from fleshly humans.

Varley was a Fellow of the Royal Society specializing in electrical engineering, and he was using his own apparatus, but Stein sees no difficulty in positing that it was Crookes (described in the reports as "also present" and as one of the "observers") who would have taken over from Varley the task of attaching electrodes to Florence's arms, and would have come equipped with resistors to insert into the circuit in place of the medium so that she would be free to impersonate a materialization. This all seems highly unlikely in view of Varley's observation about the state in which he found Florence at the end of the sitting: "The sovereigns, blotting paper, and wires were exactly as I [not Crookes] had left them, viz. attached to her arms by pieces of elastic." No statement could be clearer."

Regarding Crookes and Florence Cook and the alleged impropriety, for an evaluation of Trevor Hall's verdict on the issue as a whole, refutation of claims of fraud with Florence Cook, and support for Florence Cook's phenomena, see John Beloff's commentary in "In Honor of GAM Zorab" (Netherlands: Dutch Society for Parapsychology, 1986. 163p. Bibl: 128-161; Chap bibl; 1 illus).: Then see chapter X., "Materializations and "Katie King"" in Herbert Thurston's "Church and Spiritualism" for a refutation of the objections of Frank Podmore, Klinckowström, etc, on the Katie King phenomena:

One online article by a spiritualist that is very good on this subject is "A Lawyer Defends Sir William Crookes" by Victor Zammit, though in no way is it a substitute for the above meticulously researched items:

Inexplicable as this is, there are cross-cultural corroborations. St. Augustine, writing in his "City of God", discussed materialization mediumship - as cited in Psychical and supernormal phenomena their observation and experimentation by Dr. Paul Joire. Frederick A. Stokes, New York, 1916. p. 462:

Noakes (2004). The "Bridge Which is Between Physical And Psychical Research”: William Fletcher Barrett, Sensitive Flames, And Spiritualism.

Stewart & Tait (1875). The Unseen Universe or Physical Speculations of a Future State.

Raia (2007). From ether theory to ether theology: Oliver Lodge and the physics of immortality. (useful neutral overview of Oliver Lodge)

Drusart (1903), in Revue Scientifique etc Morale du Spiritisme, vol. 7 (beginning on p. 398, continuing throughout) and Revue Scientifique etc Morale du Spiritisme, vol. 8 (beginning on p. 42, continuing throughout) - (this is a rejoinder to Frank Podmore's Modern Spiritualism: A History and a Criticism - Podmore was generally reliable on the subject of telepathy, for which his views were corroborated by his colleagues, but on Spiritualism, he was tendentious at best, and often distorted source materials - see also and especially two rebuttals to him given in English below, from James Hyslop and others and also regarding William Stainton Moses).

Funk (1907). The Psychic Riddle.

Funk (1911). The Widow's Mite and Other Psychic Phenomena.

  • Doyle vs. McCabe (1920). Verbatim Report of a Public Debate on “The Truth Of Spiritualism” Between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, M.D., LL.D. (Representing Spiritualism), and Joseph McCabe (Representing the Rationalist Press Association). (Doyle would later write ''The History of Spiritualism Vol. I, Vol. II, in opposition to he views of the arch-critic Joseph McCabe, a good introduction to which is Dingwall (1922). Review of "Spiritualism: A Popular History from 1847" by Joseph McCabe. (In a review of his previous book, Is Spiritualism Based on Fraud?, in JSPR Volume 19, Nov., 1920., p. 268, Dr. Dingwall wrote: "In this volume Mr. Joseph McCabe sets out in his usual vigorous and slashing style to castigate the devoted adherents of the spiritualistic faith and incidentally to cast scorn upon the more serious side of psychical research. If the writer's intention was to remind the unthinking public that fraud is common in psychical phenomena he has probably succeeded in his task, but to the serious student the book will be found to be of little interest. Mr. McCabe is at pains to expose the arguments and pretensions of persons whose acquaintance with the subject is such that they easily lend themselves to the most crushing replies. But he himself cannot be said to be over accurate. For example, on page 33, speaking of the Turin sittings, he says that Linda Gazzera being a lady and a good Catholic could not of course be stripped and searched, whereas Prof. Richet distinctly says with reference to these very sittings that before every séance she was completely undressed by Mme. R. or by another of the ladies present and then re-clothed in another tight-fitting garment. [on Gazzera, see Richet's Thirty Years of Psychical Research] Again, it was not Schrenck-Notzing who sewed Linda in a sack but Dr. Charpentier, an error indicating that the author's statements must be taken with due reserve. It would indeed be a thankless task to point out the many mistakes and misrepresentations with which the book abounds. In actual omissions the facts are even more curious. Thus the S.P.R. Report on Eusapia Palladino is silently passed over and space given to the farcical American sittings. Such celebrated mediums as Mile. Tomczyk, Mrs. Blake, Miss Burton and Mrs. Chenoweth, are not even so much as mentioned, the reader being denied the pleasure of hearing their full modus operandi exposed by Mr. McCabe. For those, however, who wish to revise their knowledge of the fraudulent side of spiritualism the book may be confidently recommended as a useful addition to the material already existing. It could certainly be profitably read by those persons who are only too apt to forget the mass of shameless deception which has unfortunately been so often associated with psychical phenomena."

Joseph McCabe takes a shotgun approach, so he gets some things right, and I, while shying away from this initially, actually agree with Dingwall about McCabe's book Is Spiritualism Based on Fraud? (moreso than his Popular History), "It could certainly be profitably read by those persons who are only too apt to forget the mass of shameless deception which has unfortunately been so often associated with psychical phenomena." The psychical researcher Adam Crabtree lists a book of McCabe's as item number 1784 in his bibliography, and states, "The book contains useful information." McCabe's work is very powerful, and will likely turn anyone who does not cross-reference it into an anti-Spiritualist. Yet, as I will show, what McCabe writes on the subject needs to be cross referenced. His opposite on the subject would probably be Brian Inglis, in Natural and Supernatural and Science and Parascience, and for an evaluation of his arguments, I recommend pitting it against The Facts of Psychic Science and Philosophy by Holms and Richet's Thirty Years of Psychical Research. There are some errors related to the texts of scientists and psychical researchers, in both McCabe's Is Spiritualism Based on Fraud? and his Spiritualism: A Popular History. I will cite these throughout this overview (regarding Daniel Dunglas Home I do this, and my overview is sufficient to discredit the text), but here are some preliminary notes, regarding unreliability or counter-evidence:

In Is Spiritualism Based on Fraud? Joseph McCabe wrote regarding the presentation of the disputed apparition case of Judge Edmund Hornby by F.W.H. Myers and Edmund Gurney that as exposed by a Mr. Balfour the story was a "jumble of inaccuracies" and "Sir E. Hornby was compelled to admit, that the story was entirely untrue." He repeats this in his popular history, on p. 175, without correcting his previous fabrication, which can be assessed from a summary of the case as follows: Hornby actually argued against Balfour. The primary source is here, for anyone to independently verify: [4], [5] - some further related discussion on this occurs in Hamilton's book. - as follows (p. 127): "Those who mocked the Spookical Society were delighted by the Edmund Hornby fiasco, the first of several embarrassing episodes that damaged - but did not destroy - the Society's reputation for investigative competence. Sir Edmund Hornby was a very grand figure indeed. As Fraser Nicol states, 'the case was printed very largely as an act of faith in Sir Edmund's testimony (though ostensibly confirmed by his wife)' (Nicol 1972: 352). And what a case! Sir Edmund had the grand title of Chief Judge of the Supreme consular court of China and was based in Shanghai. His customary practice was, the night before he gave written judgments in court, to brief favored journalists on his verdict, so they could catch the morning press. On one occasion he was awoken, he stated, just after one in the morning press. On one occasion he was awoken, he stated just after one in the morning, by a journalist asking for his judgement. Sir Edmund, though enraged, gave him the report verbally. The journalist said this would be the last time they met. Lady Hornby, aroused by the noise, was told by the judge what had happened. She later confirmed this. The following day it was found that the reporter had been working on this very story at the time of his death, which was about the time Hornby had seen him in his bedroom. This story was one of the more vivid tales in the May and July editions of the Nineteenth Century which eventually reached Shanghai. Upon their arrival a local newspaper editor wrote to the periodical pointing out that Hornby was not married at the time and that the reporter's death had actually occurred between eight and nine in the morning (Hall 1980a: 65-68). Gurney had to withdraw the case and make a grovelling apology for not seeking corroborating evidence, which he should have done by searching 'the files of Chinese newspapers at the British Museum' (Gurney 1885a: 2-4). Hornby, however, refused to retract his testimony. One explanation, of course, is that it was a particularly vivid dream. Another, more piquant one, is that Hornby was in bed with his future wife before they were legally married and that the incident occurred broadly as he reported it (Lambert 1969: 43-55). But bluntly, whatever the case, Gurney should not have accepted his word-just because he was a senior judge-without searching for corroborative evidence, as he had done in other cases." In "Phantasms of the Living", "Preliminary Remarks: Grounds of Caution", we find that these kinds of problems are no longer relevant in light of Gurney's assiduousness (possibly strengthened in light of this), and a search for the truncated term "corroborat" shows the level of care paid to corroboration: Phantasms was notably positively reviewed in the journal Nature - see below. See also the discussion of criticisms and rebuttals, and Lodge (1909). The Attitude of Science to the Unusual, above.

McCabe (p. 188-189 of his "Popular History") provides mention of a letter that alleges that Pellew's relatives denied that there was any evidence that the control alleging itself to be "George Pellew", and that Richard Hodgson fabricated statements about Leonora Piper attributed to a professor Fiske. Alan Gauld, in The Founders of Psychical Research: Appendix B", provided below, refers to the original source for this letter as "Wholly Unreliable", and provides a point by point demonstration of it being inconsistent with the primary source material. This is the basis for McCabe's dismissal of the Piper phenomena.

IT is not clear that many of the famed exposures of mediums were accurate.


Some of the arguments concerning fraud can be controverted. An introduction to C.E. Wood occurs in Psypioneer Volume 10, No. 11: November 2014 In Holms' The Facts of Psychic Science and Philosophy, pp. 413-414, we find that "Mrs. Mellon (formerly Miss Fairlamb) was a remarkably powerful medium for materialisations. While in Sydney, on October 12th, 1894, she was accused of fraud because, during a seance, the materialised spirit " Cissie " was seized by Mr. T. S. Henry who then found he was holding the medium in deshabille. Accounts of the affair were published in the local and other papers and in Border- land, Vol. II, pp 40-3. While the accuser's statements would indicate deliberate fraud on the part of the medium, he says nothing that is not contradicted in statements by other sitters. It is pretty evident that he seized a genuine materialised form; that the medium at that moment was sitting in the cabinet, and that her body dematerialised and immediately flew to, and was absorbed in, the materialised form, her boots and stockings dropping off before she left the cabinet, where they were afterwards found.1 As a result of this outrage she had haemorrhage and suffered severely in health for many weeks. When she recovered she resolved that in future she would sit in the seance room and abandon entirely the use of a cabinet. In this she was quite successful, for she gave important test seances in which different spirits (including " Cissie ") materialised visibly before the sitters while she sat in full view. Like Mme d'Esperance, she did not lose consciousness during the materialisations. The following quotation is from an account of one of these seances by Mr. A. G. O. Stordeur, M.A.a It was held in Sydney on March 14th, 1895:— "The light having been reduced, leaving us, however, able to perceive distinctly everything that might take place, and everyone in the room, Mrs. Mellon seated herself, as on the former occasion, with her face directed towards us and in full view of all—no curtain nor anything else in the nature of a screen being used. We then sang in a subdued voice a cheerful but appropriate song, and while thus engaged we all noticed on the left side of the medium, a dim, hazy light collecting itself into a luminous cloud, out of which gradually arose an intensely white vaporous form, which, however, soon dis- appeared, to our great disappointment. But our hopes were revived on observing the luminous cloud rising from the ground and develop- ing into the form of a human body, which stood for about three minutes in full view of all. Again it dematerialised, but this time only for a more beautiful re-materialisation, for in less than five minutes there appeared before us a slender female form about five feet high. This elegant and graceful white-clad form threw her arms round Mrs. Mellon and caressed her in a most affectionate manner, and then moved nimbly about, displaying the stars which glittered as so many brilliants on her wavy tresses of a deep dark colour, and answered our questions by signals made by the graceful movement of her head or hands. Our spirit friend then bade us good-bye, and dematerialised gradually to what I should call a small spark of phosphorescent light about the size of an apple.""

The Wikipedia article on Mme. d'Esperance states, "In 1880 in a séance a spirit named "Yohlande" materialized, a sitter grabbed it and was revealed to be Elizabeth herself." However, the source for this assertion is "Spiritualism: A Popular History" by Joseph McCabe, p. 167, which does not cite any sources, except for d'Esperance's autobiography. which has descriptions of her extreme physical lack of ease - she stated, "All I knew was a horrible excruciating sensation of being doubled up and squeezed together, as I can imagine a hollow gutta percha doll would feel, if it had sensation, when violently embraced by its baby owner-. A sense of terror and agonising pain came over me, as though I was losing hold of life and was falling into some fearful abyss, yet knowing nothing, hearing nothing, except the echo of a scream I heard as at a distance. I felt I was sinking down, I knew not where. I tried to save myself, to grasp at something, but missed it; and then came a blank from which I awakened with a shuddering horror and sense of being bruised to death."

There was an allegation, and as for refutation, I am unable to get a copy of "Medium and Daybreak", Sept. 10, pp. 577-83, which has has been cited as a defense of d'Esperance against the allegation ("The Darkened Room" by Alex Owen (1989), p. 285n62). Hopefully it will be up soon. But for now, it is important to establish that there were compelling counter-examples with d'Esperance in order to move the case in her favor. When that excerpt from M & D becomes available, it will be added as a reference.

To start, while the earlier pages from the Sept. 1880 edition are not available, the later pages are. p. 613 describes precautions against fraud, and then a full materialization - beginning as a small white patch and becoming a full fledged form, and then "Yolanda" as a separate form, all while the medium was also in full view, and then dematerialization, also with the medium in full view:

The following testimony, from "The Medium and Daybreak", July 23 1880, p. 466, is quite extraordinary corroboration of the above exact points:

Other positive testimony to d'Esperance re. mental mediumship also occurs on p. 203 of "The Spiritualist", Oct. 25 1878:

Regarding d'Esperance, Richet notes: "Professor Aksakoff published a memorandum of Mme. d'Espérance to which it would seem too much importance has been ascribed.

Mr. Carrington has shown that if there was no fraud, fraud was quite possible. Professor Aksakoff very loyally gives the evidence of several persons present at this alleged dematerialization who did not accept it as genuine, for example, the engineer, Schonelz (p 92). The honesty of Mme. d'Espérance may very well be admitted while supposing that by an unconscious backward movement of her legs she may have given rise to the notion or may have herself thought that her lower limbs were dematerialized for a time."

However, Richet also noted, "At the house of Professor E., of Christiania, in 1893, M. de Bergen arranged a series or séances with Mme. d'Espérance, in which many distinguished persons belonging to the university, the magistrature, and the clergy took part. In one of these séances an extremely beautiful female form appeared calling herself Nepenthes. "She showed herself in the light at the same time as the medium, who was sitting with other persons outside the cabinet, and materialized in the midst of the circle. She plunged her hand into liquid paraffin wax, leaving a mould of rare beauty. The modeller who made the plaster cast could not believe his eyes and spoke of sorcery, because he could not imagine how the hand could have been extricated from the wax glove. "Nepenthes dematerialized in the midst of the circle. She lowered her head on which her usual diadem shone, and little by little became a luminous cloud like a human head (on which the diadem still faintly showed) gradually fading away.""

Eusapia Palladino:

I will cover the general objections to Eusapia Palladino later. Buts regards McCabe's insinuations, let us begin by analyzing the character assassinations that have been levied against Cesare Lombroso and Charles Richet - 2 of Palladino's initial investigators. Mr. McCabe in his Debate on Spiritualism with Conan Doyle, p. 44, and in Is Spiritualism Based on Fraud, p. 54, informs us that Lombroso's daughter noted his very poor health in the last few years of his life, when he embraced a full-fledged form of Spiritualism. This is possibly true, but it does not effect his early investigations. It is noteworthy also that the A.M.A. Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry review of that biography notes the daughter's full support of all of Lombroso's views.

McCabe wrote of Palladino: "The impressions of faces which she got in wax or putty were always her face. I have seen many of them. The strong bones of her face impress deep. Her nose is relatively flattened by the pressure. The hair on the temples is plain. It is outrageous for scientific men to think that either "John King" or an abnormal power of the medium made a human face (in a few minutes) with bones and muscles and hair, and precisely the same bones and muscles and hair as those of Eusapia. I have seen dozens of photographs of her levitating a table. On not a single one are her person and dress entirely clear of the table."

I suggest comparing McCabe's accounts to those given in original sources. In conflict with McCabe's theory that impressions in plaster were made by fraudulent imprints of the medium's own hand, the scholar Carlos Alvarado noted: "Some imprints were quite detailed. Morselli described the photograph of the imprint of a ‘spirit fist’ as showing that it was made by placing the second phalange of the four fingers and the lower outer edge of the radial or thumb against the impressionable soft substance. That hand is small, and does not have morphological characters that can recognized, also because the pressure shifted somewhat towards the cubital, and the second phalanx of the little finger is seen as split.37"

I give a contrary overview of photographs later.

On Eva C., as is relevant to this aspect of this overview, see Bowers (1926). In Which I Pat Professor Jastrow's Rosy Cheeks (a rebuttal of Carlos María de Heredia's attack on Eva C, which was subsequently taken up by Joseph Jastrow. Heredia relies on a summary from McCabe that is in conflict with the primary source:

Counter-evidence on Dr. W. J. Crawford's experiments with Kathleen Goligher. As a preliminary item, we would do well to note Stanley de Brath's introduction in his The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism, pp. 23-24: "The classical experiments in Telekinesis are those by Dr. W.J. Crawford, D.Sc. He experimented with the Goligher family in Belfast for six years (1914 to 1920) and the following is a brief account of his experiments.

"The Medium, having seated herself on a chair placed on a platform-weighing machine, and the total weight noted, the 'spirit-operators' were asked by Dr. Crawford to levitate the table - a small one, weighing about 10 lbs. This was promptly done, and the weight of the Medium was increased by the weight of the table. This was repeated many times, always with the same result. 'The increase in weight was not precisely that of the table, but within 5 per cent. of it. When the table was pressed downwards it offered a peculiar elastic resistance, as though it were floating in water'."

He found that during the levitation there was an invisible link connecting the Medium and the table, for when he placed his hand in certain places the table dropped to the floor. Though usually invisible, the ectoplasmic substance was palpable - it felt cold, soft, and clammy. If the hand were gloved, the table did not fall so readily. It did not drop at all when the space was explored with a glass rod. The link was of the form ofarodwhich had the power of becoming a cantilever"

Horace Leaf, who attended Crawford-Goligher seances, in his book "What Is This Spiritualism" (1919) pp. 35-36 wrote on the controls:

"The experiments were conducted in a light strong enough to enable all present to see the objects in the room; whilst the tables used for levitations were so situated as to make it quite impossible for any of the mediums to lift them, even if they could have done so without being detected. The greatest freedom was afforded Dr. Crawford, who spent many hours within the circle and in all places around it. He continually worked under the levitated table and between the levitated table and the medium. Complicated instruments were introduced, and placed below the table, whilst Dr. Crawford often placed his arm and hand in the space between the medium and the table. As a result of these and other precautions and tests, eliminating all possibility of fraud, Dr. Crawford was enabled to confirm the reality of psychic force and discover two of the ways in which it is used by spirit communicators when producing physical phenomena."

I would also like to excerpt from Lord Rayleigh's 1938 article on physical phenomena, "The Problem of Physical Phenomena in Conjunction with Psychical Research", PSPR 45: 1-18 - the specific excerpt begins on p. 8 and ends on p. 12, since so much is dealt with that without addressing McCabe directly, and since it directly deals with the statement of Joseph Jastrow, in The Case For and Against Psychical Belief, p. 307, "The case of Dr. Crawford is most instructive. He is an engineer; his subject, the usual jeune femme of the drama, lifts a table and performs similar feats of what Richet calls telekinesis; but the explanation is that a psychic rod acting as a cantilever is exuded from the body of the medium and lifts the table or makes raps; and by adopting a code the "operators" (he does not like to call them spirits) by taps assure Crawford that his theory is correct. Sir Bryan Donkin, M.D., calls attention to the "superabundant exposure of the massive credulity and total defect of logical power displayed by Dr. Crawford (who gives) the most pathetic picture of a willing victim of pernicious deception." Dr. Crawford committed suicide. After his death a further examination of the medium was made by the translator of the sumptuous volume of Schrenck-Notzing and Mme. Bisson, the sponsors of the ectoplastic performances of Eva C., which the translator credits as genuine; contrary to expectation he discovered definite evidence of fraud photographically documented. He agrees with a hostile critic that "the cantilever which worked the experiments in Crawford's book was the leg of that Irish medium." The minute detail of apparatus and all the paraphernalia of an engineering experiment which fills the Crawford books must ever remain an amazing document in the story of the metapsychic. As proof of what prepossession can do to a trained mind the case is invaluable."

I disagree with Rayleigh's view that D'Albe caught Goligher in fraud, and I substantiate my views after this excerpt and subsequent discussion, but, without further ado, the excerpt: "We come next to the investigations of the late Dr W. J. Crawford of Belfast with Miss Kathleen Goligher as medium. [FOOTNOTE: Recorded in his three books: The Reality of Psychic Phenomena, London,. 1919, here referred to as R.P.P.; Experiments in Psychical Science, London,. 1919, referred to as E.P.S.; The Psychic Structures at the Goligher Circle London, 1921.] Dr Crawford was a lecturer in mechanical engineering at the Municipal Technical Institute of Belfast, and from enquiries I have made he seems to have impressed other scientific men favourably. The medium usually sat with a circle of her own friends and relations, a fact to which due prominence must be given.

Dr Crawford's work was largely directed to determining the mechanical reactions of the forces which came into play in the levitations he observed. For this purpose he placed the medium on a weighing machine, to determine whether the seat of the reaction was on her. He worked by the light of a red lamp, of which more will be said later.

Dr Crawford describes how he was able to have a table weighing about 10 lbs. levitated and kept steady about eight inches up in the air for as long as he required to make a test of the addition to the ordinary weight of the medium. This was two or three minutes, and apparently he could have had more, for on each occasion he indicated that he had finished. It was found that the medium gained weight about equal to that of the table. These steady conditions could only be obtained after the sitting had continued for some time.

Dr Crawford interprets this gain of weight by the medium as due to an invisible cantilever or rigid bracket, which comes out from the body of the medium, and supports the table. Mrs Sidgwick, in a review of Dr Crawford's first book, hints that this "cantilever" is nothing else than the medium's leg. Many statements in Dr Crawford's various publications, however, are definitely at variance with this hypothesis. Thus (E.P.S., p. 119) "Practically no palpability is experienced when one cuts through the psychic structure with the hand, or, say, with a piece of wood." [FOOTNOTE: See also R.P.P., p. 87.]

Dr Crawford's hypothesis is, however, so fraught with mechanical difficulties that it is questionable whether it really helps much to correlate the facts he has determined, assuming that these latter are correct. To begin with, it is almost self-contradictory to postulate a structure which is rigid to act as a cantilever, and not rigid at all for the hand or a piece of wood to pass through it. The attempt to imagine a medium rigid for some purposes but not for others is not new to science. Problems of this character arose in connexion with the elastic solid theory of the luminiferous ether, which was to show rigidity for carrying rapid transverse vibrations, and fluidity to allow solid bodies, e.g. the earth in its orbit, to pass through. {FOOTNOTE: A short explanation of this matter may be useful. When it had been established that light, like sound, was of the nature of a wave movement, it was considered necessary to postulate a medium in order to convey it. If the waves were waves of compression, as is the case of sound travelling in air or water, then a fluid medium would do, and there would be no particular difficulty in understanding how solid bodies could pass through it. But waves of compression could not account for the phenomenon called the polarisation of light. When a ray of light passes through a suitable polariser, such as a tourmaline crystal, it acquires " sides " as Sir Isaac Newton expressed it. It is no longer an indifferent matter if the beam is rotated on its own axis. We can prove this by a second tourmaline crystal. This will only transmit the beam if it is placed parallel to the first tourmaline. If crossed with the first there is no transmission. Now waves can only give room for effects of this kind if they are transverse to the direction of propagation. It is clear that there can be nothing of the sort in compressional waves for hi these no one transverse direction can have preference over any other. It was therefore concluded that the vibrations were transverse. But (apart from what happens at a free surface) fluids cannot transmit such waves. Elastic solids can do so in virtue of their stiffness. Hence the elastic solid ether.] Lord Kelvin at one time appealed to the properties of bodies like hard pitch or cobbler's wax, which while reacting to very rapidly alternating forces, will yield viscously in time to forces applied steadily in one direction. [FOOTNOTE: I need scarcely say that the elastic solid ether is now superseded by quite a different order of ideas.] But to satisfy Crawford's hypothesis the requirement is that there should be great stiffness for persistent forces, and fluidity for more transient ones. This is too much to ask. Another difficulty is boldly stated by Dr Crawford (E.P.S., p. 117). "How can it be", he says, "that a rigid structure two or three feet long can issue from the medium's body and support 30 or 40 lbs. weight at its end, and the medium experience no inconvenience?" [This of course applied to a different experiment from that already referred to with the 10 lb. table.] Dr Crawford has his own tentative answer to this question, though I cannot personally feel satisfied by it. But in this and other instances the candid way in which specific questions are faced produces a favourable impression, compared with the mere appeal to mysticism of so many writers on these subjects. Dr Crawford's theory perhaps raises more difficulties than it answers; nevertheless, if work of this kind is ever satisfactorily built into the scientific edifice, I do not doubt that he will rank as a pioneer.

Space is lacking to go into further particulars of Dr Crawford's work. It is necessary to mention that he died by his own hand before the whole of it was published. I shall return to this point a little later.

About a year after Dr Crawford's death, the late Dr Ε. Ε. Fournier D'Albe proceeded to Belfast and had a series of sittings with Miss Goligher, with a view to confirming and extending the work of Crawford, [The Goligher Circle, London, 1922.] which had impressed him favourably. He failed to obtain any phenomena which he could regard as evidential. It was apparently admitted that they were not so (p. 43). Although he expressly reserves the question of whether any of Dr Crawford's results could be accepted as supernormal it is pretty evident that he thought they could not be. Towards the end Crawford had obtained numerous photographs of what he regarded as " psychic structures " rendered visible under special conditions. They are published in his last book. The half tone blocks made from these photographs are undoubtedly very suggestive of pieces of muslin or the like, hung from the bottom of the table or knotted on to its legs. Fournier gives similar pictures of much better definition published as actual photographic prints, not half tone blocks, and I fully agree with him that they show the material to be a woven product. This is the most damaging feature in the whole case. Fournier also tells in detail how he saw the medium raising a stool with her extended foot. Fournier worked as far as possible under the same conditions as Crawford. He had the same circle of sitters, and in one instance actually held the sitting in Dr Crawford's house. He also used the identical appliances, lent by Mrs Crawford. These circumstances are of some importance because they show that she remained on friendly terms with the medium, and can scarcely have attributed Dr Crawford's collapse to his having been ultimately convinced that the medium had deceived him. Dr Crawford stated in his posthumous letter that this was not the reason of his breakdown, and I, for one, accept his statement.

No really valid reason seems to be known for doubting the candour and accuracy of either Fournier or Crawford, so far as they are describing what they themselves observed. Fournier says (pp. 48, 49) : " I have no reason to doubt the conscientious and accurate character of Dr Crawford's observations and records."

Fournier thinks that Crawford was too soon convinced that all was well, and relaxed his vigilance prematurely. But Crawford's letters written during the last few months of his life, and given by Fournier (pp. 66-70), negative this view, for they are full of details of the various precautions which he took.

Fournier emphasises strongly that the shadow of the table afforded protection for fraudulent manipulation, but there are passages in Crawford's books which seem to be a complete answer on the point. Thus (R.P.P., p. 13): "Even with the largest table it is sometimes possible to see completely underneath (as I have done), to see the feet and bodies of all present at rest, and hands held together in chain order, while the table has been steadily levitated."

Again (Psychic Structures, p. 8) : "A strong red light was falling upon the space below the levitated table while another source of red light was showing from behind so that the whole area between the medium and the levitated table was itself quite visible, and I shifted my position into various positions in the circle, looking at the space below the table from different angles. But to all appearance the space was empty-----"

If we accept this statement as being, in Fournier's own words, "conscientious and accurate," I think it is clear that his criticism fails.

Fournier says (p. 49) : "The tests to which he [Crawford] submitted the medium completely satisfied him as to her bona fides so that he no longer thought it necessary to control the other sitters as well." It is, however, instructive to compare this with a passage from Crawford (R.P.P., p. 16) : "The experiments in Chapter III show conclusively that while the table is steadily levitated nearly the whole of its weight is upon the medium. Therefore it follows that if anyone is lifting the table with any part of his body, it is the medium, and the others are not concerned."

Moreover Crawford states (R.P.P., p. 81) that he was allowed to move anywhere between the sitters and the levitated table except immediately in front of the medium. If this statement too is accepted as "conscientious and accurate", it is difficult to see the force of Fournier's remark above quoted, in which he suggests fraud of the sitters as the factor neglected by Crawford: the more so that he claims to have seen "levitation" achieved by the medium's foot. Fournier does not seem to have really made up his mind whether the table was fraudulently raised by the medium, or fraudulently raised by the sitters.

I must frankly admit that I am unable to sum up this case to my satisfaction. Fournier does not profess to discuss Crawford's work in detail, and he seems tacitly to admit that for all he can say some part of it may have been correct, though he evidently does not think so. Crawford's publications contain a complete answer to Fournier's general objections, and I am unfavourably impressed by Fournier's failure to notice this. On the other hand, Fournier does seem to have proved that the medium was on occasion fraudulent. It is difficult to understand what could have been her motive in continuing to deceive Crawford for the first three years, during which there was no payment. It is also difficult to discount either witness. Crawford is confirmed on the main points by several other observers. [See in particular Whately Smith, Proceedings S.P.R., vol. xxx, p. 314, 1920.] Fournier stands alone, but produced his photographs, showing the woven texture of what purports to be a "psychic structure". Both records are very satisfactory in point of detail and internal consistency, standing far above the available accounts of D. D. Home in this respect; and the very matter-of-fact style of Crawford's narrative makes any idea of hallucination seem altogether out of place. In this unsatisfactory position I must leave the case."

The technical critique of this work is given by Mr. McCabe in Is Spiritualism Based on Fraud?, pp. 59-63, but from the above overviews we can already see the problems of it. He attacks the use of red light without citing a source, similarly, I can cite Cecil Adams, of "The Straight Dope" (a source liked by some "skeptics" I have encountered), to the effect that "Red light has minimal effect on night vision because its energy level is so low that the eye doesn't register it strongly enough to produce a compensatory reaction."

As regards the table levitation, McCabe omits items that refute his thesis, which are shown by Rayleigh above. He attacks William Barrett, but does not attempt to dispute Barrett's testimony, which provides remarkable corroboration as regards raps, levitations, etc., definitively shifts the argument against McCabe, and is as follows (PSPR 30, pp. 334-337). Here is an excerpt:

"Through Dr. Crawford's kindness I was permitted to join the circle in Belfast, during the Christmas vacation, 1915, and was allowed to bring with me a medical friend, Dr. W., who kindly consented to make any pathological or physical examinations of the medium that might be necessary.

The sitting took place at the residence of the medium's family, a small upper room having been regularly used for the sittings. This room was lighted by an incandescent gas burner, and a flat flame gas burner inside a lamp with a large pane of red glass on the side facing the circle. The circle of seven persons sat round a small table and each clasped hands with the adjoining sitter. We sat just outside, and close to, the circle. After some hymns had been sung, the gas burner was turned off, and the red light illuminated the room sufficiently to enable us to see the sitters and the table. The gas flame inside the red lantern was at my request subsequently raised, so that there was quite enough light to see the objects and sitters in the room. A tin trumpet stood below the table, the latter had four legs, with no cross bar on two sides, but a cross bar between the legs on the two shorter sides, away from the medium.

Knocks soon came and answered questions. Three knocks for yes, two for doubtful, and one for no. Messages were also slowly spelt out by repeating the alphabet aloud, a knock coming at the right letter. The knocks appeared in some cases to come from the table, at others from outside the circle. Suddenly a very loud knock came in response to a request, and was repeated with violence. Dr. W. asked for it to be still louder, and a tremendous bang then came, which shook the room and resembled the blow of a sledge hammer on an anvil. After the sitting we examined the feet of the sitters and all had felt slippers on, except one who had light shoes, and none could have produced these sounds with their feet. Then came some remarkable sounds resembling the sawing of wood, the boring of timber, and the bouncing of a ball. First a small ball bouncing up and down, and then apparently a larger ball bouncing up and down, the gradual dying away of the sounds as the ball came to rest very cleverly reproduced.

The trumpet below the table then began to move about, and the smaller end poked itself from under the top of the table towards Dr. W. and myself. We were allowed to try and catch it, but in spite of all our endeavours it eluded us, darting in and out and changing its position as we tried to seize it. The medium was on the opposite side of the table to us and all the circle held up their hands—so that we could see each linked hand clearly—as the trumpet played hide and seek with us.

Then the table began to rise from the floor, until it reached a height of some twelve or eighteen inches, and remained thus suspended and quite level. We were allowed, first myself and then Dr. W., to go beneath the clasped hands of the sitters into the circle and try to force the table down. This both of us found it impossible to do; though we laid hold of the sides of the table it resisted our strongest efforts to push it down. I then sat on the table when it was about a foot off the floor and it swayed me about, finally tipping me off. We then< returned outside the circle, when the table turned itself upside down and moved up and down with the legs uppermost. Again we entered the circle and tried to lift the table top from the floor, but it appeared riveted, and we were unable to stir it. When we resumed our place outside the circle, the table floated up and turned itself over again with its right side uppermost. During these experiments and whilst the table was levitated, all the sitters repeatedly held up their clasped hands, so that we could see no one had any contact with the table, they were in fact so far from it that we could walk between them and the table. Other knockings came, and then the knocks bid us good- night by rapping two or three times to each person in succession, particularly loud knocks being given to Dr. W. and myself. The circle then sang the Doxology, and offered up prayer, and the sitting terminated. The next evening Dr. Crawford had arranged his tests with weighing machines, and Dr. W. took the pulse and breathing of the medium, with the object of noting any change during the manifestations. After half an hour of waiting and hymns, knocks came and a message was spelt out, "We are sorry we cannot give any demon- strations to-night." Asked if we, the visitors, were the cause, "No" was replied. Could we remove the cause? "No." Was the cause on their side, a spiritual one? "No." Was it a material cause ?" Yes." After the previous sitting Dr. W. had made some trials of lifting the table by putting the feet beneath the short cross bars of the table. This could be done clumsily, and the table raised (but not level) for a few inches. So the next evening we went provided with a long strip of paper to paste round the lower part of the table, to prevent these cross bars being used if the medium attempted to lift the table in this way. What was our surprise to find the cross bars had been sawn off close to the legs; then we were told that our trials had shown that the table could be partly lifted by the feet under the cross bars, and so they had sawn off the bars to remove any sus- picion. We asked the unseen friends if this caused the manifestation to cease, and were told "no," but we should have asked them about it beforehand. Finally we were led to infer the material cause was in the medium herself. After the circle had broken up Dr. W. remained behind and examined the medium, and found that she was suffering from a feminine disorder that evening. It was useless to sit again until the medium was well, so we returned to Dublin the next day; but were cordially invited to go again later on, which I hope to do."

The followingfrom W. Whately Smith comes from the same issues of the PSPR, on p. 312, and is as follows: "The following account of the sitting witnessed by myself is taken from my contemporary notes. For the sake of brevity I have omitted a few irrelevant details, but none which would affect the main issues involved. This sitting took place in Belfast on Saturday, Dec. 9th, 1916, at 8.0 p.m. It was held in the room in which most of Dr. Crawford's work has been done, at the house of Mr. Goligher, the father of the medium. There were present Mr. Goligher, Miss Anna Goligher, Miss Lily Goligher, Mr. Morison, Mrs. Morison and Miss Kathleen Goligher, the medium. These formed a circle of about 5 ft. in diameter, sitting with joined hands in the order named, i.e.—with Miss Kathleen Goligher between Mrs. Morison and Mr. Goligher. Dr. Crawford and I sat outside the circle and were free to move about as we pleased. The ordinary seance table was placed in the centre of the circle and a large two-piece metal trumpet stood just outside the circle, between Mr. Goligher and the medium. The arrangement is shown in the diagram. [...] The room was lighted by a fish-tail gas burner enclosed in a sheet-metal box fitted with ruby glass sides and placed on the chimney-piece to the medium's right front as shown. It was warmed by a gas-stove which stood on the floor diagonally opposite the light. This was rather important, as will appear later. It is difficult to give any precise idea of the degree of illumination given by the gas. I can, perhaps, best indicate it by saying that it was a good deal stronger than I should care to use in a photographic dark-room. I found that when my eyes had become accustomed to the light, i.e. after about ten minutes, I could clearly see every object in the room unless it happened to be in deep shadow. The proceedings opened with singing. After a few minutes, and while the singing was still in progress, strong raps were heard which beat time to the tune. These were apparently produced on the floor in the neighbour- hood of the medium. They sounded very definite, that is to say, as if someone were knocking firmly on the floor with a piece of hard wood; they in no way resembled the sound of an electric discharge as some raps have been said to do by certain observers. The singing stopped and the proceedings proper began. First came a variety of raps of all kinds from scarcely audible taps to real "sledge hammer" blows which shook the whole floor. These latter could not normally have been produced without the aid of some heavy percussive instrument or violent kicks with the heel of a boot. The members of the circle were holding hands and all hands were clearly visible to me. I am sure that no one present could have made sufficiently violent movements with their feet without attracting my attention. When the raps ceased the large metal trumpet already mentioned moved into the circle sliding along the ground apparently under its own power, so to speak, the sitters next to it (Miss Kathleen Goligher and Mr. Goligher) raising their hands to allow it to pass. It then fell on the floor under the table, and after a few moments' scuffling about it was separated into its two component parts. These two parts then rose into the air and projected towards me from under the table, being at this juncture not more than 18 inches from me. I was invited to take hold of these two parts and I accordingly grasped each in turn. I found, in each case, that I could move the end which I held to and fro in any direction with the greatest ease, although I was conscious of a slight elastic resistance. But when I tried to twist either of them about a longi- tudinal axis I was quite unable to do so. So great was the resistance to torque that I can only describe it by saying that it felt as if the lower ends of the two parts were embedded in a large mass of solid concrete, freely suspended so as to allow of transverse and longi- tudinal movement, but so heavy as to preclude twisting. After a few moments these two parts of the trumpet fell to the ground, and shortly after the table began to move about. This table was about 2 feet long and 1£ feet broad and was made of dark painted or stained wood. It had four legs of the ordinary turned variety, which had no cross-bars between them, and weighed about ten pounds. First it moved to and fro over a range of about a foot. Then it was rotated about a vertical axis at the rate of about 15-20 revolutions per minute. At the request of Dr. Crawford the direction of rotation was reversed without delay and apparently without difficulty. This rotation was distinctly jerky rather than smooth, and on the whole I should say that this irregularity was due rather to the intermittent nature of the rotating impulses than to inequalities of friction against the floor. The table then moved again slightly, to adjust itself apparently, gave one or two tilts, and finally rose clear off the floor to a height of at least 12 inches. In the course of the evening it did this some six or more separate times. On each occasion I bent down and looked clear under the table. I was particularly well situated for this observation, since, as already explained, the gas stove used for warming the room was diagonally opposite me and emitted a reddish glow from the heated metal, as well as gleams of light from cracks or the like. It was easy, as the table swayed gently to and fro in the air, to bring each leg in turn in line with this glow— by moving my head slightly from side to side—and thus to satisfy myself that there was nothing in contact with any of the legs. On two occasions when the table was clear off the ground all the members of the circle lifted their hands above their heads, in which position they were verified by me. After two or three of these preliminary levitations I was invited to step inside the circle, and I accordingly did so. I grasped the table firmly with both hands and did my utmost to prevent it moving, but I was quite unsuccessful. By dint of great exertion I could prevent it from moving in any one direction and could keep it steady for a second or so, but it instantly moved in some other direction, the force changing with great rapidity. The amount of force exerted was quite extraordinary, indeed incredible to anyone who has not actually ex- perienced it. I estimate that at times I exerted pressures of fully 100 lbs. weight. At one time the table was made so heavy that I could not lift it. At another time, when I had for a moment relaxed my grip, it levitated within six inches of me. While it was thus suspended in the air I again took hold of it and found that although I could move it, within limits, easily in any direction in the plane of its top, I encountered a remarkably solid resistance when I tried to push it downwards and towards the medium at an angle of about 45 degrees. So great was the resistance in this direction that it felt like push- ing against a solid strut of wood or metal. During the whole of this time I was standing within three feet of the medium and, most of the time, facing her. I could see distinctly the whole of her body down to the knees, and the light from the lamp fell directly on to her lap. Her feet were in shadow and I could not make them out distinctly. This is natural as she always sits with them tucked under her chair and her heels against its crossbar. I could infallibly have detected any movement of the medium, and I can certify that she sat absolutely motion- less during the whole time that the table was performing these violent evolutions. I later sat on the table and, with my feet clear of the floor, was moved a distance of about six or eight inches. In addition, the table was three times tilted up to such an angle that I was unable to retain my seat. Finally, after I had dismounted, it pushed me to the extreme edge of the circle, moving to a distance of fully four feet from the medium in the process. In this posi- tion I tried my hardest to push it back. Again it felt like pushing against a solid strut. By putting out all my strength I was only able to move it an inch or so. Certain minor incidents also took place, and one or two interesting variations on the above were introduced.

For instance, raps were produced on the under surface of the table while I rested my hands on the top, and I could plainly feel the wood quivering under the blows. Again, at one time the table was thrown upon the ground, levitated in this position (legs horizontal and pointing towards the medium), and finally restored to its upright position. This last process was performed with difficulty and only succeeded after several attempts. It was done by a series of strong jerks, exactly as if manipulated by an invisible hand which appeared to try to change its grip rapidly but sometimes missed it."

Later critiques of Goligher would claim that her "ectoplasmic cantilevers" were actually muslin cloth, though destruction of such a hypothesis occurs with the experiments of F. McC. Stevenson, "An Account of a Test Seance with the Goligher Circle." Psychic Research Quarterly 1: 113-117, the relevant excerpt is on pp. 116-117: “The lady members of the circle were thoroughly searched and examined by Dr. B. and Dr. M. before entering the séance room. The male members of the circle were searched by myself. I can go so far as to say that Miss Kathleen Goligher, the medium, had not a shred of white fabric, whether clothing or otherwise, on her person. This is vouched for by the two lady doctors. Before the photographs were taken the circle broke up, leaving the medium sitting in the chair with no one near her but myself. As previously stated, I saw the plasma with my own eyes three times as depicted in each photograph. It was seen also by several others in the room. Dr. B. saw it once ; Dr. M. saw it twice ; others saw it as well. “ My sincere thanks are due to the two lady doctors and to Mr. Pollock, who came at much personal inconvenience ; also to Mr. S. and Mr. Hunter, the latter of whom took the trouble to make a special journey from the north of Ireland in order to be present. Last, but not least, my best thanks are due to each and every member of the Circle for their loyal co-operation. “ To anyone who has carefully followed the painstaking work of the late Dr. Crawford any confirmation of the truth of the results he obtained would appear to be both presumptuous and unnecessary; but for the benefit of those sceptics who remain unconvinced I am glad to bring forward the above evidence which, I submit, is irrefutable. “ I am confident that no one who has attended such a séance as I have described can help feeling that they have been in the presence of an unseen intelligence with powers beyond our human understanding. I might point out one important fact, viz.—that one of the cameras used was fitted with a wide-angle lens. This camera was placed on the floor quite close to the feet of the medium for the purpose of giving a photograph of the ‘ plasma ’ at close quarters. In this photograph the mesh of the stockings is plainly visible, but the plasma shows no structure, nor can any be discovered on examining the negatives under the microscope or by other means. “ (Signed) F. McC. STEVENSON.” [This last point is important ; it constitutes additional evidence against the possibility of the substance photographed being some kind of white fabric brought into the séance room and arranged by the medium. We have in our possession a copy of a statement signed by Mr. Stevenson, Mr. 8., Mr. Pollock, Mr. Hunter, Dr. E. G. B., and Dr. S. M. This statement testifies to the facts that “ the members of the Goligher Circle were thoroughly searched by Dr. E. B., Dr. S. M., and Mr. Stevenson, that the precautions described above were taken to ensure that neither plates nor cameras were tampered with,and that “ one exposure was made in a visibility clear enough to enable everyone in the room to detect any movement of either Miss Goligher or any member of the Circle, allof whom were sitting at some distance from the medium.” The statement concludes with the following words: “We un- hesitatingly affirm that this séance has been conducted under strict test conditions ; that the phenomena we have seen, and the photographs that have been taken of the ‘ plasma,’ are results which it is an absolute impossibility for any human being to have engineered or produced.” We shall be glad to consider similarly careful records of investigation from others who are studying these subjects.—-ED. P.R.Q.]


Wikipedia as of 9/14/2014 misrepresents Hyslop on Goligher... hyslop review of goligher:;view=1up;seq=738

Hyslop ... see W.F. Prince

In her thesis given below, From Text to Self: The Interplay of Criticism and Response in the History of Parapsychology, pp. 69-70, Nancy Zingrone wrote:

"G. N. M. Tyrrell’s (1879-1952) book, The Personality of Man, published in 1947, included two short chapters on criticism. They were: ‘Attitude towards the Subject. Psychical Research: Are Men of Science Impersonal about Facts?’ (pp. 226-239), and ‘Attitude to Psychical Research: Still More Evidence on this Question. Its Fundamental Importance’ (pp. 240-247). Tyrrell followed Prince’s lead (1930) in examining the texts of critics of psychical research and showing how individuals, who were otherwise intelligent, lost their ability to function competently when confronted with the content of psychical research. (pp. 227-228). Like Prince, Tyrrell organised his chapters around a series of questions about the legitimacy and findings of psychical research. Unlike Prince [Prince dealt with these people, but briefly as a part of a broader overview, Zingrone is correct in that some of the later papers of Jastrow were not dealt with in Prince's work], however, Tyrrell focused on the writings of such psychologists as Joseph Jastrow (e.g., Jastrow, 1900, 1910, 1912, 1927a, 1927b) and Amy Tanner (1910), and historian Joseph McCabe (1920), amongst others).

For Tyrrell, the willingness to dismiss psychical research out-of-hand, without evidence or with statements based on serious distortions of the evidence displayed by the examples he recounted, was nothing short of amazing. He asked ‘What is the matter with all these people, one wonders?’ To which he suggested that they were ‘wandering in some enchanted wood’ (p. 239). The epitome of this attitude, Tyrrell thought, was represented by Charles Kellogg (1937b) who decried the diversion of graduate students from important areas of psychology into parapsychology, an area Kellogg saw as unworthy of either funds or personnel (p. 239).

In addition to dealing with published materials, Tyrrell also commented on newspaper articles that announced the Perrott Studentship in Psychical Research at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1940 (pp. 242-243). Referred to in the press as the ‘Ghost Scholarship’, Tyrrell felt that the derisive titles of newspaper articles indicated clearly ‘the attitude of the public towards psychical research; for the press reflects public opinion. The general opinion evidently is that the study of human personality is not a matter to be taken seriously. Something psychological is at work under the conscious surface of the critic’s mind which spurs him on to reject facts without testing them, if they depart too far from what is familiar’ (p. 246)"

see also (Unnamed - from what I can recall, Dingawll according to Klinkowstrom, will source later) (1924). Review of "A Magician among the Spirits" by Harry Houdini (de more compelling is WF Prince's chapter "Houdini and Doyle" in The Enchanted Boundary (below), and AC Doyle has some very important information on Houdini in ch. 1 of The Edge of the Unknown, regarding some of his misrepresentations - c.f. Dale (1954). Review of "Sixty Years of Psychical Research: Houdini and I among the Spiritualists" by Joseph Rinn, which discusses the unreliability of Rinn (a critical review from a more notable figure, WH Salter, appears here:

Carrington (1907/1920). The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism: The Fraudulent and the Genuine.

Dutcher (1922). On the Other Side of the Footlights: An Expose of Routines, Apparatus and Deceptions Resorted to by Mediums, Clairvoyants, Fortune Tellers and Crystal Gazers in Deluding the Public. (book on the magic tricks involved in producing fraudulent effects)

Dingwall & Price (1922). Revelations of a Spirit Medium. (book on the magic tricks involved in producing fraudulent effects)

Holms (1927). The Facts of Psychic Science and Philosophy. (single best defense of less evidential mediumship that I have come across)

Lambert (1928). A general survey of psychical phenomena.

Cross (1939). A cavalcade of the supernatural.

Davy (1932). Some Psychic Puzzles (critical review of the text The Truth About Spiritualism by C.E. Bechhofer Roberts)

Brandon (1983). Scientists and the Supernormal. (c.f. Inglis (1983). Supernormal., Brandon (1983). Prestigitations., and Inglis (1983). Review of "The Spiritualists. The Passion for the Occult in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries" by Ruth Brandon.

Sudre (1960). Appraisal of William Hope, the Spirit Photographer. (provides evidence for Hopes's phenomena, sources an appraisal of Harry Price's dispute with Hope, also discusses a test of Hope undertaken by an expert conjuror, Dr Lindsay Johnson, in 1921. Johnson brought all the equipment himself and - presumably aware of the earlier accusations against Hope - refused to allow him to come near it, except in a test where Hope was allowed to put his hands in a box which contained unexposed plates. Of eight photographs which Johnson took and developed, three had an 'extra' - as spirit forms had come to be called - two of them identifiable human. And on one of the exposed plates in the box, two in the middle had 'extras' - 'one showed four heads of the same person, and the other a photograph which had appeared the day before' - evidence which sufficed to convince Johnson. Arguments in favor of William Hope's "Spirit Photographer" predecessors can be found in James Oates' 1911 book Photographing the Invisible, which discusses tests of these Spirit photographers. More tests are discussed by Stanley de Brath, in chapter 3 of Psychical Research, Science, and Religion (though c.f. Whately Carington's 1921 text The Case Against Spirit Photographs). An item of interest is the fact that Wikiped)

In the case of Einer Nielsen, apparently allegations of fraud were invalid and quality positive evidence was obtained

Price (1939). 'Margery' - The Psychic Riddle of the Twentieth Century. (I lack the motivation to investigate this case in detail, so I willmerely provide sources. This is a good negative overview of the case of Mina Crandon, commendable for citing sources from which some positive evidence may be obtained, for other negative overviews consult CEM Hansel's The Search for Psychic Power and the text Lives and Letters in American Parapsychology, as well as Polidoro, Massimo. (1998). Houdini v. the Blond Witch of Lime Street: A Historical Lesson in Skepticism. Skeptic 5: 90–97. Attempted continuing defenses from supporters, after the derision of much of the case, if memory serves me correctly, can be found in the Journal of the American Psychical Research from 1928-1935. Those who want to consult the original sources can obtain The Margery Mediumship, A Complete Record From January 1st, 1925: And The Walter Hands, A Study Of Their Dermatoglyphics, as well as Margery Mediumship, Part 2 - these contain favorable analyses. Hereward Carrington adduces some of the positive evidence concerning the case in his book The Story of Psychic Science. Nandor Fodor provides a more positive introduction than Harry Price: Apparently Mina Crandon was falsely framed by Houdini's assistant - this information comes from blog posts, so I will have to track it down to more serious sources, but this is nevertheless of interest. As follows, "During Houdini's investigation of the medium Mina Crandon, a folding ruler was planted so that it would seem like the medium used it during the seance to commit fraud. This episode is described by Michael Prescott in his blog post "A yardstick for skepticism" which is about the book "The Spiritualists", by Ruth Brandon.

Houdini was invited to investigate Mina Crandon; in a series of sittings he was unable to debunk her. Finally, in one sitting, just as Mina was about to start she suddenly said (while allegedly in a trance and controlled by her spirit guide Walter) that Houdini's assistant had planted a folding ruler in the cabinet that she occupied and that he meant to produce this ruler as evidence that she was cheating. A folding ruler could be unfolded into a yardstick. In the dark it could be used to manipulate objects that were some distance away from the medium and outside of her normal reach. For instance, it could be used to ring bells or to move things around on a table. If Houdini had "discovered" the ruler, it would have been a smoking gun that would have discredited Mina Crandon for good. ...years later Houdini's assistant did in fact admit to planting the ruler on Houdini's instructions, because Houdini was so frustrated in his inability to discredit Mina Crandon that he had decided to frame her. According to Troy Taylor writing in He [Houdini] was widely discredited for it, leading some to doubt the integrity of some of his earlier investigations. More information on this episode can also be found in the book: "The Man Who Could Walk Through Walls" by William Lindsay Gresham.":

The following testimony makes it more difficult to dismiss Mina Crandon's alleged "ectoplasmic hand" as merely being the result of animal tissue used in fraudulent performances, and possibly researchers might be inclined to obtain the proponent sources on account of this: "The teleplasmic hand is arguably the most bizarre aspect of the ‘Margery’ sittings – whether genuine or faked. Here are some of Dingwall’s notes from sitting number 7: In ten minutes rustling in Psyche’s [i.e. Margery’s] lap. Thought a mass of substance was in Psyche’s lap. Walter then directed my palm to be put up on middle of table, near the edge. Then for five minutes – palm struck by cool, clammy apparently disc-like object; on repeated flicks being given to my hand. I noticed that the shape of the object was constantly changing. It appeared to lengthen and to widen, and occasionally parts appeared to be thickened, as if some internal mechanism was causing a swelling in parts of the mass. At times two distinct pressures at least were felt, the sensation being as if crude, clammy, unformed fingers were pressing both the lower portions of my fingers, and also the upper at the same time. This pressure was sometimes increased to 2½-3 pounds, and when the substance was drawn from the hand it always appeared to be slightly viscous. [Dingwall 1928, p.107]":

Nandor Fodor seemed to believe that the medium George Valiantine, who was associated with Crandon, was a mixed medium:

Goldston (1931). Helen Duncan Confounds the Magicians (this is another contradiction of one of Price's alleged exposures of fraud by the founder of the London Magician's club. Additionally Harry Price contradicts his own account. In his text on Duncan, The Cheese-Cloth Worshippers, he wrote: "Every orifice of her body was medically explored--and we found nothing ... We formed the opinion that Mrs. Duncan was a regurgitator, i.e., a person who could swallow things and bring them up again at will ..." In his own words, Price observed the following about the 'cheesecloth' (or, if the spiritualists are right about this case, ectoplasm) during a seance with the entranced Mrs. Duncan: "There appeared to be yards of it. Some of it was trailing on the floor; one end was poked up her nostril; a piece was issuing from her mouth. It moved, it writhed, it waggled, it squirmed on the floor, it spread itself out like an apron ... All these transformations and permutations took place in a red light bright enough to read small print by." As I have seen it cited, a summary of the case for prosecution can be found in Simeon Edmunds' Spiritualism: A Critical History (c.f. Robert Hartley. (2007). Helen Duncan The Mystery Show Trial. HPR Publishing), and the case for the defense can be found in Manifred Cassirer's Medium on Trial. Obviously both texts will have to be pursued for a proper assessment of the case.

The attack on Thomas Glenndening Hamilton relies not on proof, but on insinuation. I comes from the article Touching the Dead: Spooky Winnipeg by Tom Jokinen, which states: "What was the lie in Glendenning Hamilton’s work? Study the pictures. Or just click through them, same outcome. Chilling, in some cases beautiful (the 1934 picture of a woman named Mary M., back arched on a couch, looks like a Henry James character who’s fallen into an F.W. Murnau film), they’re full of holes: the ectoplasm pouring from poor Mrs. Poole’s mouth and nose is either gauze bandaging or crumpled tissue paper in which cut-out photos of faces have been glued. Those skilled in spotting cheeseball Photoshop effects need not even break a sweat. In one case you can see the smiling face of Arthur Conan Doyle who, the story goes, returned to Winnipeg in 1931, the year after he died, coming out of Mrs. Poole’s nose." It is instructive to compare this to the Primary source, Hamilton's Intention and Survival (MacMillian Co. 1977 (Second edition)), ch. 8. The "Doyle" Face Miniatures, which contains statements disproving such assumptions regarding the teleplasm from other observers -e.g., regarding observations in a sitting mentioned in that chapter "John MacDonald stated that one minute before the third flash the entranced Dawn had lifted his left hand up, under her chin, and that he had felt something cool, moist and light, like whipped cream. He stated that he had also noticed a peculiar odour about the medium which he had never noticed before. I suggested that this smell was ozone, but he didn't think so. It was then suggested that it was a cadaverous odour, and with this he half agreed, although he was unable to be definite." for the Doyle ectoplasm, a description from Hamilton's text fills us in on the details: "The teleplasm itself is most interesting. The medium's nose appears to have been the principal point of emergence, and the mass hangs down from the region of the mouth about twelve inches. The portion directly around the differentiated face is relatively thick and amorphous, while the lower parts are very thin, showing a network structure.

If a horizontal line is drawn just below the chin of the tiny skull and the material below this line is folded upwards (see Figure 1)(ISS: Figure 1 is currently unavailable), one can readily see that the lower portion would cover the uppermost face very neatly. Following the left contour downward from this suggested hinge-line we find that it curves inward to an indentation. The thick roll of the contour crosses the isthmus which connects the lowest part with the rest of the mass. Supposing this isthmus were to be folded upward, it would then be seen to be contiguous to the roll of teleplasm which lies immediately below and to the right of the Doyle miniature. On the right contour there are three major promontories formed by three indentations. The first of these likely covered the crude sketch of the woman's head, the second lay directly over the boy's face, while the third and lowest likely covered the Doyle face.

It seems reasonable to assume that this manner of uncovering the inner phenomena was the most efficient which could be used. Certainly it would be more efficient than having separate coverings for each representation. That method would have required four manipulations. Assuming that each plasmic representation had reached its optimum condition for exposure at the same moment, the one manipulation would have served to reveal all four.")

Randall (2002). Harry Price: The Case for the Defence. (among other things, appraises Price in light of Trevor Hall's allegations) (I will wrap up my overview of spiritualism by noting that coverage by critics of the case of Soal and Blanche Cooper seems like motivated misdirection...

Finally, of ongoing relevance to modern spiritualism are the investigations of Stephen Braude and others into the Felix experimental group, on which see endorsement by Braude , criticism by Mulacz, and further endorsement by Braude)


James (1899). William James: Reproduction of his Entry on "Telepathy" in Johnson's Universal Cyclopædia, 1899. (William James, in The Will to Believe (New York, Longmans Green & Co, 1897), stated, on p. 10, "Why do so few 'scientists' ever look at the evidence for telepathy, so-called? Because they think, as a leading biologist, now dead, once said to me, that even if such a thing were true, scientists ought to band together to keep it suppressed and concealed. It would undo the uniformity of nature and all sorts of other things without which scientists cannot carry on their pursuits."

People like to carry on about 2 cases of subject fraud to "discredit", early SPR work. They concern Blackburn and Smith, and the Creery sisters. Regarding Blackburn and Smith - Blackburn argued fraud, Smith denied it, so the case is not clear cut - inImmortal Longings by Trevor Hamilton, it is written, in the context of a review of all the counter-arguments, on p. 120 "After all this time it is not possible to state whether Smith was fraudulent or not. There just is not enough evidence." An extended discussion of the case is given by WF Prince in The Enchanted Boundary, pp. 108-113, which, when taken with below, suggest that Blackburn's insinuations have been discredited.

Particular attack on Trevor Hall's insinuations regarding the significance of this in the life of the psychical researcher Edmund Gurney, alleging that this contributed to his suicide, are violently attacked in Nicol, F. (1966). The silences of Mr Trevor Hall. International Journal of Parapsychology 8: 5-59 (c.f. Hall, T. H. (1968). The Strange Case of Edmund Gurney. Some comments on Mr. Fraser Nicol’s review. International Journal of Parapsychology 10: 149-164. Nicol, F. (1968 unpublished). A Rejoinder ... and Some New Facts Papers, SPR Archive, Cambridge University Library; Nicol, F. letters to Broad, 31/5/1968, 16/2/1970, D1/17/38-51, in Broad, C.D. Papers, Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge. Ssee also Coleman (1992). The Death of Edmund Gurney, which discusses the unreliability of Trevor Hall's account, and how former associates of Hall distanced themselves from him). An introduction to the case for those who do not want to be overwhelmed can be found in the 2016 SPR article Smith and Blackburn. Pursuit of the other articles should begin after the reader has acquainted himself with that overview.

On the case in general, I have accumulated source literature provided here:

Of the Creery sister experiments, Hamilton notes, pp. 119-120, the feeling of SPR members that in the early experiments fraud was ruled out, and that critics complaints do not apply to the whole case. He notes after Gurney's discovery of the code, "From then on, Sidgwick rigorously excluded all their results as possible evidence for telepathy. [William] Barrett strongly protested at this, pointing out that the code only covered situations when the sitters were in sight of each other and that there was plenty of other evidence that telepathically occurred when these conditions did not obtain. [...] The girls performed well on these and other tests but Barrett felt it was obvious what had happened. The girls had become bored and were also worried that their abilities fluctuated, so they invented the code in order not to disappoint their important visitors." Frank Podmore also refutes critical attacks regarding the Creery sisters in his 1894 article What Psychical Research Has Accomplished.

Critics of these overlook the Guthrie experiments, profiled by FWH Myers in Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death, beginning on p. 601, described by Alan Gauld in his 1968 book The Founders of Psychical Research, p. 357, as follows, "The agents included Mr. Guthrie and various other persons of repute in the Liverpool district; also Gurney. A drawing would be prepared in a room apart, and then brought into a room where the blindfolded percipient sat. It would then be placed on a wooden stand where the percipient could not have seen it even if she had not been blindfolded. The agent, or agents, would then look at " for follow-up drawing experiments, cite footnote here:

which were followed-up by Oliver Lodge;view=1up;seq=169 (on Lodge, Oliver Lodge is attacked by some on account of his alleged credulity in uncritically believing that the mentalist David Devant was demonstrating powers that had no naturalistic explanation. This, however, is a mere allegation, since, as a review in the Psypioneer Journal, Vol. 1, January 2013, on p. 16, of the book "The Thought Reader Craze", entitled "Thought Reading Reconsidered" states: "In a 1935 article, for example, the illusionist David Devant recalled how in 1909 he (or rather his assistant Dora) had read a sealed letter on stage (p.146ff.). Sir Oliver Lodge, who was in the audience, was quoted as publicly declaring to the audience that supernatural power was being exercised to do this, and is said to have persisted in this belief even when assured it was an illusion. Colleagues have located for Wiley a 1909 letter from Maskelyne responding to one from Lodge, seeking to know how the trick was done. That does not suggest Lodge thought it paranormal (the word which Lodge might have used in preference to “supernatural”).":, and for further replication, see descriptions on p. 601n of Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death, and pp. 614-636 of that text. For evidence that William Barrett was not as credulous as his detractors believed, see his book Psychical Research (Henry Holt and Company, 1911), pp. 44-51, for his defense of S.P.R. experiments, see pp. 52-81. For corroboration of these results from a skeptic, see W.W. Baggally (1917/1920) Telepathy: Genuine and Fraudulent, with a forward by Oliver Lodge. Frank Podmore came to increasingly favorable conclusions about telepathy - while Tuckett, in p. 307 of his book, quotes some reserved comments about it from "Modern Spiritualism", he wrote about it at length in Telepathic Hallucinations: The New View of Ghosts (for WF Prince's rebuttal to Ivor Lloyd Tuckett's dismissal of this, see p. 99 of The Enchanted Boundary, Tuckett relies on Innes' attack on Phantasms of the Living which has been rebutted (see the rebuttal and especially the discussion accompanying it), the attacks of Simon Newcomb (refuted below - this, and WF Prince's accompanying argument, removes the weight from the argument Tuckett is trying to make), and arguments of the kind that Prince spends some time challenging in the later part of his text - the British Medical Journal review of Tuckett's book attacks William Barrett for not mentioning the critical work of Frank Podmore, yet he mentions it in connection with a case and on p. 251 of the text in his bibliography, he highlights Podmore's distorted text "Modern Spiritualism". Regarding the validity of the text, the reader will find James Hyslop's review to be of interest - it also blasts Podmore).

Harry Price in The Story of ESP (below) actually spoke positively about the Guthrie experiment and so did Morton Prince. Price also stated, "Most of the extrasensory research work has been done in England, though certain foreigners have experimented in the field. Among these are Max Dessoir of Berlin, who sent his results to the compilers of Phantasms of the Living, where they are illustrated and discussed(25); Rene Warcollier(26) of Paris; John Edgar Coover(27) of Stanford University, who obtained 10,000 guesses with 100 students using playing cards; Naum Kotik(28), the Russian, and many others. The reader can conveniently study the work of all these experimenters in the Journal and Proceedings of the SPR. The brilliant results with Ossowiecki have already been mentioned in these pages(29). The most impressive experiments, in the opinion of Mr. S. G. Soal, who is the greatest authority on everything pertaining to ESP, were those conducted by Professor H. J. F. W. Brugmans, the late Professor G. Heymans, and Dr. A. A. Weinberg with the subject van Dam in the Department of Psychology at Groningen University. In these experiments, the subject was seated behind a curtain, blindfolded, and was only able to push his hand under the curtain to move a piece on a chessboard that was numbered and lettered in the Continental fashion. Brugmans and his assistants sat in a darkened room above and watched van Dam through a glass pane in the ceiling. The experimenters 'willed' van Dam to move the piece to a certain square determined by a random draw of a letter and number from two sets of cards. Nothing of van Dam could be seen except his hand. In 187 trials the subject obtained 60 successes as against 4 that chance would suggest. It was found that alcohol increased the percentage of successes. In the oft-quoted Experimental Telepathy and Clairvoyance in England, Soal remarks that 'the English experimenters in telepathy have produced no positive investigations which are at all comparable in scientific precision' with the experiments carried out by Professor Brugmans and his colleagues(30)." The Brugmans experiments can still be defended - they are featured below.)

Newcomb. (1909). Modern Occultism. (for a reply, see Lodge (1909). The Attitude of Science to the Unusual. (See also WF Prince's discussion of Simon Newcomb, and Hyslop's counters to attacks on the work of Lodge in the Survival of Consciousness After Bodily Death section)

Sommer (2011). Professional Heresy: Edmund Gurney (1847–88) and the Study of Hallucinations and Hypnotism.

Gurney (1887). Tertium quid: chapters on various disputed questions, Vol. I.

Myers (1903). Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death. (Landmark psychical research text, accumulates evidence for psi that existed during the time period, and integrates this with a study of abnormal psychological phenomena, to provide a comprehensive survey of human consciousness - arguing that the normal personality is like an island on a vaster body of subliminal processes, which ultimately point to the survival of consciousness.

Trevor Hamilton, in Immortal Longings: F.W.H. Myers and the Victorian Search for Life After Death (2009), p. 275, summarizes the nature of this text as follows, "Myers' approach in the book was to provide a survey of the range of humankind's faculties before culminating in a section that these faculties in their highest form demonstrated the independence of the mind, the individuality, from the brain, and its ultimate capacity, bodiless, to survive death. [...] He was particularly concerned to counter the argument of Leaf and others (Oppenhiem 1985: 260) that all he had done was to describe the His aim was not to destroy personality, but to demonstrate the " (in other words, he attempted to demonstrate an underlying unity of consciousness, a prerequisite for acceptance of a soul, which this book is an attempt to empirically validate the existence of). Alan Gauld noted, in his Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article on Myers, "The development of his theory of the subliminal self can be traced through numerous lengthy articles in the Proceedings of the SPR, and a more popular book, Science and a Future Life (1893), to its fullest, though still incomplete, expression in his posthumous Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death (2 vols., 1903). Myers regards each human personality as consisting of a number of distinct streams of consciousness, which he sometimes compares to geological strata. These are in some sense modifications of the same soul, and have the potential for unification. But normally they remain separate, and one, the ordinary ‘supraliminal’ stream of consciousness, has evolved to cope with the problems of everyday living. Others, however, may possess faculties, for instance telepathy, of less immediate practical relevance. Waking telepathic experiences may be regarded as leaks or messages from these ‘subliminal’ streams of consciousness, and telepathy is most likely to occur when such streams are tapped, as in dreams or hypnosis, or become to an extent detached and autonomous, as in automatic writing or secondary personality. This theory had for a while great influence within psychical research, and some outside it. Whether it could be made credible or even wholly coherent might be doubted. None the less Human Personality—despite the rhapsodical style in which some passages are written—remains an impressive attempt to systematize a vast quantity of interesting materials." - Alan Gauld, ‘Myers, Frederic William Henry (1843–1901)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2011 accessed 17 Oct 2014

Gauld would later collaborate on a defense of Myers' ideas entitled Irreducible Mind (see below)

Carlos Alvarado below, in his review of Myers, "Studying the Life and Work of Frederic W.H. Myers", cites a review crediting Myers for "having rejuvenated animism and with providing a scientific framework for its support. This entailed bringing together mysticism and an empirical approach, something that made Myers a "positivist Swedenborg."" The edition of the book cited, in its preface, states, "The fundamental soundness of Myers's work has been abundantly confirmed by a century of further empirical research on its central topics, as demonstrated in a companion volume, recently produced under the auspices of Esalen's Center for Theory and Research, entitled Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century." Myers coined the term "telepathy", and in an essay in Irreducible Mind by Emily Williams Kelley, entitled F.W.H. Myers and the Empirical Study of the Mind-Body Problem, we find an overview of his views and an argument for his relevance.

William James said of Myers that "through him for the first time, psychologists are in possession of their full material, and mental phenomena are set down in an adequate inventory." For reviews of his work by James and others see this. As for James, in his essay "The Confidences of a Psychical Researcher", he stated, "Out of my experience, such as it is (and it is limited enough) one fixed conclusion dogmatically emerges, and that is this, that we with our lives are like islands in the sea, or like trees in the forest. The maple and the pine may whisper to each other with their leaves, and Conanicut and Newport hear each other’s foghorns. But the trees also commingle their roots in the darkness underground, and the islands also hang together through the ocean’s bottom. Just so there is a continuum of cosmic consciousness, against which our individuality builds but accidental fences, and into which our several minds plunge as into a mother-sea or reservoir. Our “normal” consciousness is circumscribed for adaptation to our external earthly environment, but the fence is weak in spots, and fitful influences from beyond leak in, showing the otherwise unverifiable common connection. Not only psychic research, but metaphysical philosophy, and speculative biology are led in their own ways to look with favor on some such “panpsychic” view of the universe as this. Assuming this common reservoir of consciousness to exist, this bank upon which we all draw, and in which so many of earth’s memories must in some way be stored, or mediums would not get at them as they do, the question is, What is its own structure? What is its inner topography? This question, first squarely formulated by Myers, deserves to be called “Myers’s problem” by scientific men hereafter. What are the conditions of individuation or insulation in this mother-sea? To what tracts, to what active systems functioning separately in it, do personalities correspond? Are individual “spirits” constituted there? How numerous, and of how many hierarchic orders may these then be? How permanent? How transient? And how confluent with one another may they become? What again, are the relations between the cosmic consciousness and matter? Are there subtler forms of matter which upon occasion may enter into functional connection with the individuations in the psychic sea, and then, and then only, show themselves? —So that our ordinary human experience, on its material as well as on its mental side, would appear to be only an extract from the larger psychophysical world?"

It should be noted that corroboration of the filter view of consciousness comes from the following article on a man acquiring previously non-existent artistic talents after a stroke:

Also, here is a New Scientist story about a man with an almost non-existent brain, who nevertheless had a normal life:

Some corroboration for Myers' view on genius is provided by Schwartz (2011), below: "Johannes Brahms described his own moments of creative breakthroughs this way: In this exalted state I see clearly what is obscure in my ordinary moods; then I feel capable of drawing inspiration from above as Beethoven did…. Those vibrations assume the form of distinct mental images…. Straightaway the ideas flow in upon me…and not only do I see distinct themes in the mind’s eye, but they are clothed in the right forms, harmonies, and orchestration. Measure by measure the finished product is revealed to me when I am in those rare inspired moods (as cited in Abell, 1964, pp. 19-21). Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Aaron Copland also seem to have had similar experiences (in Abell, 1964). In Mozart’s case the connection was so clear and strong the pages of his compositions show few alterations; they appear to be finished transcriptions. Remote viewers say of their experiences: “I kind of space out,” or “It’s sort of like focusing my mind at some middle distance” (Schwartz, 2007, p. 34). They describe the moment itself by saying, “It came in a flash,” or, “It was like a hologram…. Images are all there... as if it were a hologram hanging in my mind” (Schwartz, 2007, p. 34). Poincare’ described his work on a mathematical problem in the same vein: “One day, as I was crossing the street, the solution of the difficulty which had brought me to a standstill came to me all at once” (Goldenberg et al., 2009, p. 3)."

Frank Podmore, in The Newer Spiritualism, p. 28-29, criticizes this book's acceptance of phantasms of the dead (apparitions) and higher mesmeric phenomena. On the subject of phantasms of the dead, Podmore's concerns had been previously dealt with by Myers in his Defense of Phantasms of the Dead. On the subject of higher mesmeric phenomena, Podmore's views have been superseded by the 4 volume set Abnormal Hypnotic Phenomena. As regards Major Buckley's experiments, Dingwall, in Abnormal Hypnotic Phenomena IV, overviews the case, criticizing it for lack of proper reporting, stating (p . 108), "this effect appears to show clear paranormal ability, but as we cannot be surethat any of the relevant details are accurate and that others have not been omitted,we must leave it as it is." - he maintains high skepticism, but overviews hypotheses of fraud and discusses the factors contributing to their implausibility. Podmore's attack on the X+Y=Z case relies on speculation and omission of the examples of clairvoyance (not just telepathy, search "Bentley" for this), and Podmore is maintaining contradictions, because he admits to the validity of the "Remote Viewing" feats of Alexis and Adolphe Didier on p. 153, while attributing Didier's results he is suspicious of, those with Houdin, not to fraud, but to automatism and hyperesthesia, and the former are stronger validations of Myers' thesis than the items Podmore attempts to shoot down.

Regarding Myers' work, the eminent scholar and psycho-folklorist Andrew Lang recommended the work as giving insight into the basis of animism from super-normal experiences, and he wrote: "To myself, after reading the evidence, it appears that a fairly strong presumption is raised in favor of a 'phantasmogentic agency' set at work, in a vague unconscious way, by the deceased, and I say this after considering the adverse arguments of Mr. Podmore, for example, in favor of telepathy from living minds, and all the hypotheses of hoaxing, exaggerative memory, mal-observation, and so forth — not to mention the popular nonsense about 'What is the use of it?' Why is it permitted?' What is the use of argon? Why are cockroaches permitted?

To end with a confession of opinion: I entirely agree with Mr. Myers and Hegel, that we, or many of us, are in something, or that something is in us, which does not know the bonds of time, or feel the manacles of space."

Critics, once you begin to discuss Myers, will say - "his views were not accepted by the Scientific community." But how valid was his reception among critics? In this area, we need to proceed with caution, because Andrew Lang, for instance, in his article "The Nineteenth Century" and Mr. Frederic Myers, noted some misrepresentation of the work by critics (though Lang did not wholeheartedly endorse all of Myers' ideas, he rejected, for instance, Myers idea of "possession" (see here), on that, see some of Gauld's commentary).

Jenny Hazelgrove. (2000). Spiritualism and British Society Between the Wars. Manchester University Press. pp. 194-195, merely states the following, which does not really help us to understand the objection to Myers' work, and seems to provide a distorted view (see Irreducible Mind, pp. 61-62). Hazelgrove writes: "Psychical research attracted those members of the intelligentsia who were dissatisfied with the limitations imposed upon scientific knowledge by dominant materialist explanations of the cosmos and of mind. Simultaneously, most researchers looked to the 'scientific method' as a means of transcending these perceived limitations. This paradigmatic cleavage had been present since the founding of the SPR by a group of Cambridge scholars in 1882. In its trend towards integration, or 'participating consciousness', psychical research responded to what Myers and his followers perceived as a living, vital universe imbued with Divine consciousness. For Myers, the individual was linked to transcendent realities through the hidden life of the 'subliminal self'. Here the consciousness of everyday life was but one layer in multiple layers of consciousness - a fraction of a larger whole. To the surface layer Myers accorded 'no primacy'; it was the hidden life in its union with the Divine - a union that had expressed itself through time in outpourings of genius and in the religious instinct - that he considered of momentous importance for humankind. Myers strove until his death in 1901 to make the reality of subjective experience objectively comprehensible to himself and to a largely hostile scientific community [emphasis added - this is the only such statement, it does not illuminate the problem]. But it was in intuitive religious experience and personal intimacies - in, for instance, the warmth of his relationship with Josephine Butler and her evangelical Christianity, or his ecstatic love affair with his cousin, Annie Marshall - that Myers was really sure that there was something in existence that was 'striving upwards into life divine'[see discussion of Alan Gauld's refutation of the claim of sexual affairs between Myers and Marshall below, in commentary to a review of Trevor Hamilton's book on him]."

After this, in that text, there is a discussion of other scientists and philosophers on the convergence of science and mysticism, and then ether theories and Spiritualism, beginning with the phrase "Scientists of the nineteenth century did not always view this sense of mystical involvement with the cosmos as inimical to science[...]." But it does not give us the specific reasons Myers was rejected, except for allusion to the dominant materialistic trends. Janet Oppenheim. (1985). The Other World: Spiritualism and Psychical Research in England, 1850-1914. Cambridge University Press. pp. 254-262, is a bit better in helping to clarify the opposition. She wrote, on pp. 262: "It is hardly surprising that contemporary psychologists were not, for the most part, impressed with Myers' fully elaborated theory of the subliminal self. They dismissed the role Myers wanted psychology to play in the modern world. and disliked the assurance with which he claimed the authority of science for his personal beliefs. There were, ofcourse, a few psychologists, like James and Flournoy, who shared Myers' close involvement in psychical research and were deeply sympathetic to his aims, but not even all Myers colleagues at the SPR accepted his hypotheses. Andrew Lang, for one, rejected outright Myers's [sic] theory of possession [use of the term "outright" creates a slight exaggeration in tone against a subject she dislikes], while Gerald Balfour, in his 1906 address to the SPR, had to confess "in all humility" that he had "never yet succeeded in forming a clear idea" of what Myers intended by the subliminal self. The most crushing review of Human Personality, because the best informed, the most clearly argued, and the least ill-tempered, came from G.F. Stout, professor of logic and metaphysics at St. Andrews, and not a member of the SPR. In the Hibbert Journal for October 1903, Stout explained how Myers's theory of the subliminal self diverged sharply from earlier doctrines of subconscious or unconscious mental states, and how the common understanding of the "subliminal factor" in mental life did not necessitate a secondary personality or alternative self.[Stout was engaging in misrepresentation, see below] Stout could only regard "the hypothetical agency called the 'Subliminal Self' as an addition to his ignorance rather than to his knowledge." As a hypothesis, it was "baseless, futile, and incoherent.""

... and then she went on to discuss a mixed review by William McDougall, though previously, n earlier pages, she had cited positive reviews by Flournoy and James. She concluded her overview of the psychological aspect of SPR work as follows (p. 266): "Decades of further research into the workings of the brain have suggested alternatives to the stark choice between determinism and free will, which psychologists thought they faced at the turn of the century. In the 1980s, it appears that even the most elaborate mechanistic model may not be able to impose rigidly predictable patterns and order on the random activities of the brain's individual neurons. In the still fierce debate among philosophers, physicists, neuroscientists, and computer specialists, it is just possible that indeterministic physics may yet leave some slight area of choice, intent, and purpose among the complex machinery and chemical codes of the brain. The possibility may prove illusory, but it is more than Gurney and Myers had to work with. given the limits of their knowledge and the intellectual conventions in which they worked, the members of the SPR who tried to contribute to psychology before 1914 deserve credit for the way they conducted their inquiries. Their goals were enormous, for they sought to resolve the mind-body puzzle by finding a via media between Cartesian dualism and a monism that threatened to eliminate mind entirely. It comes as no surprise that they failed, nor that only a small group of professional psychologists valued their attempt. But to those particular psychologists, the work of the SPR mattered tremendously."

But such a perspective derives from her bias disguised as scholarship, which manifests in many ways - e.g. - in the book, she cites (p. 375) CEM Hansel's criticism of Piper, when she knows that Alan Gauld demonstrated it to be based on fraudulent sources - Braude offers other criticism here. While her book can certainly be compared favorably to Ruth Brandon's The Spiritualists, the book Irreducible Mind is a direct repudiation of her perspective, arguing that Myers and the SPR had established a robust body of evidence and that advances in the 20th century only further developed and refined their initial efforts.

McDougall's review was in many ways positive and is given here, his main objection though was: "The main difficulty is not in any way touched by the hypothesis. It is this: Our sensations are caused by changes in the brain-matter, and there are irresistibly strong reasons for believing that similar material changes, or transformations of physical energy in the brain, are essential conditions of all our states of consciousness; and there is equally good reason to believe that memory is conditioned, in part at least, by changes produced in the disposition of the matter, or in the state of the matter, of parts of the brain. How then can the procession of states of consciousness continue and the store of memory-images persist undisturbed when the matter of which the brain was composed has been scattered to the four winds of heaven? Myers admits these facts, yet he has not realised the difficulty presented by them for survival (as is proved by his statement that there is no great step from telepathy to possession, i., p. 250) and his hypothesis of the “subliminal self” does not attempt to deal with it. These considerations forbid me to agree with the estimate of the conception of the “subliminal self” expressed by Prof. James and Sir Oliver Lodge, and I confess that if any man should tell me that this hypothesis is no great conception and effects no profounder synthesis but is an elaborate and gratuitous mystification, a monstrous confusion of things that are by nature disparate and distinct, the creation of a mind too passionately centred upon the establishment of one great thesis, I should be at a loss to answer him."

As regards McDougall's views, see Irreducible Mind, p. 580, see also chapter 4 of Irreducible Mind, on Memory, by Alan Gauld. As regards Stout's views, put forth in a review given here, Kelley notes Stout's caricatures and misrepresentations of what Myers was actually saying in his review on pp. 578-579 of Irreducible Mind.

I strongly suggest reading the highlighted excerpt from Irreducible Mind, because they undermine the objections that have been presented. Andreas Sommer's article on Hugo Munsterberg and his upcoming article on G. Stanley Hall also demonstrates the skulduggery that leading psychologists engaged in to "demarcate" psychical research from "respectable" psychology.

The rest of Irreducible Mind is recommended, perhaps more than Myers' text, as a modern exposition and development of the theory).

Mason (1903). Life After Death: First Article and Life After Death: Second Article (positive review of the work of F.W.H. Myers in the New York Times)

Grosso (2010). Reflections on Frederic Myers' Romantic Psychology

Sommer (2011). Review of "Immortal Longings: F.W.H. Myers and the Victorian Search for Life after Death" by Trevor Hamilton (positive review of book that, among other things, counters Trevor Hall's allegations concerning Myers, and other attacks against Myers)

Alvarado (2012). Studying the Life and Work of Frederic W.H. Myers.

(various) (1920-1922). Psyche

Carrington (1921). The problems of psychical research; experiments and theories in the realm of the supernormal.

(Various) (1927). The Case for and Against Psychical Belief

Richet (1923). Thirty Years of Psychical Research. (vindication of Richet against his critics appears in documentation in bibliographies of relevant articles of the [ SPR encyclopedia], and for vindication of Geley see here)

Sommer (2012). Policing Epistemic Deviance: Albert von Schrenck-Notzing and Albert Moll. (critics like to attack Schrenck-Notzing as allegedly being duped by Ladislas Lasslo, but this issue is dealt with in an article by Schrenck-Notzing in Psychische Studien, Feb. 1924, p. 97: "3. Trotz der an sich guten Kontrollmaßregeln mehrten sich fürmich in den vier Sitzungen die Verdachtsmomente derart, daß ich nach meiner Rückkehr von Budapest im Herbst 1923 an den Versuchsleitcr Herrn Tordai einen am 2. Januar 1924 in dem Pester Lloyd abgedruckten Brief schrieb, in welchem ich dringend vor einer Veröffentlichung dieser Versuche warnte, dieselben vom objektiv wissenschaftlichen Standpunkte für gänzlich unzureichend erklärte und eine Wegnahme der Materialisationsprodukte, d. h. eine Entlarvung des Mediums empfahl, wie sie tatsächlich am 27. Dezember 1923 erfolgt ist. Von einer Täuschung meiner Person kann also keine Rede sein, wie der vorliegende Brief zeigt, wenn auch das Medium selbst von meinem Verdacht nichts gemerkt hat."

S-N apparently delivered a lecture on Karl Krauss in 1927 at the third International Congress for Psychical Research held in Sorbonne University in Paris (see James Houran, ed. From Shaman to Scientist: Essays on Humanity's Search for Spirits. Scarecrow Press, 2004. p. 140 [6], also of relevance appears to be La Revue Métapsychique, Janvier-Février 1929 [7])

I also would like to strongly emphasize, for overview, John Palmer's Extrasensory Perception: Research Findings:

Meanwhile, here are some helpful citations:

The item on Rhine that people like to use as a means of stating he is credulous is the "Lady Wonder" horse incident, however, the Richmond-Times Dispatch states (Lady Sparked Wonders About Her Intelligence by Larry Hall, Times-Dispatch Librarian/Researcher, 7/16/2003), "Rhine later altered his assessment slightly, saying he sometimes had detected subtle signals from Claudia Fonda that the horse may have responded to, although he never explained how the horse was able to give correct responses to things Fonda could not have known. ":

For some remarkable incidents with Lady Wonder, see Is Your Pet Psychic?: Developing Psychic Communication with Your Pet by Richard Webster (Llewellyn Worldwide, Jul 8, 2012): [8]

Rhine's 1974 JP article Security vs Deception allegedly shows carelessness in allowing fraudulent experimenters to publish results. Kennedy summarized this much more innocuously than critics, stating that: "In early 1974 J.B. Rhine (1974a) published a paper on experimenter fraud in parapsychology. In the paper he stated “I have selected a dozen cases to illustrate fairly typically the problem of experimenter unreliability prevalent in the 1940’s and 1950’s” (page 104). He also stated “Fortunately, the culprits have thus far been caught (at least in our ‘known’ cases) before serious damage has been done” (page 105). In addition, he described three more recent cases of fraud or clearly inappropriate experimenter behavior that made the results unsuitable for publication. One of his main points in this paper was that “we have been able to do quite a lot to insure that it is impossible for dishonesty to be implemented inside the well-organized psi laboratory today” (page 105).":

These are excerpts from Rhine's article which provide a more innocuous understanding. In the article itself, he notes that "Fortunately the culprits have thus far been caught (at least in the "known"cases) before serious damage has been done. Then, too, as time has passed our progress has aided us in avoiding the admission of such risky personnel even for a short term. As a result, the last twenty years have seen little of this cruder type of chicanery. Best of all, we have reached a stage at which we can actually look for and to a degree choose the people we want in the field. Finally, as will be seen in a few more pages, we have been able to do quite a lot to insure that it is impossible for dishonesty to be implemented inside the well-organized psi laboratory today. So after one further step into the background of the deception problem, I will be ready for the search for solutions." Example 1: "Was this really cheating? Perhaps a sufficient answer can be found in the fact that it was done surreptitiously. I do not need to say (or wish to imply) that they actually were biased by this leaked information in their final analyses, but at least the results were not approved for publication and the individuals were not encouraged to continue work at the center." Example 2: "What was wrong here? Everyone urged going on to see what emerged with further patient variation, everyone but E-l himself; he left, and fortunately the experimental results had not been published so that no one was misled by this particular instance. " However we do have this, where things are more ambiguous: Example 3: "In the editing of a report of this experiment special analyses were made of the data that showed an interesting hit distribution on the record sheets; this in turn suggested a further investigation of the actual test conditions, and this revealed a rather simple trick. A few spaces on E-l's hand copy of the subject's calls were left blank (as though by accident) until the actual checkup when they could be filled in as hits by E-l himself. The use of duplicate sets of records to be exchanged by E-l and E-2 at the checkup time had been omitted, evidently by E-l's intention. Completely mutual vigilance in the joint checking procedure was also obviated. With a well-trained and more watchful E-2 on the job, this cheating could not have occurred." Rhine was very diligent in dealing with the fraud of Levy - for a positive overview of his actions in this area, see this. [cite William J. Broad, Nicholas J. Wade. "Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science" (Simon and Schuster, 1983), for the overall soundness of experiments during the Rhine era]

Martin Gardner has claimed to have inside information that Rhine's files contain "material suggesting fraud on the part of Hubert Pearce", but this has not been forthcoming from those historians and others who have themselves closely studied Rhine's archives and the archives of the Parapsychology Laboratory.(Mauskopf, S. H., & McVaugh, M. R. (1980). The Elusive Science: Origins of Experimental Psychical Research. Baltimore, ML, US: Johns Hopkins University Press). [aside from that, Ian Stevenson's critique of Hansel, provided below, provides a notarized statement from Pearce directly contradicting such insinuation]. Contra the claim that "Pearce was never able to obtain above-chance results when persons other than the experimenter were present during an experiment making it more likely that he was cheating in some way.", we can look at ESP, pp. 75-76. To refute the claim that "Rhine's other subjects were only able to obtain non-chance levels when they were able to shuffle the cards which has suggested they used tricks to arrange the order of the Zener cards before the experiments started", we need only one counter example, and a striking counter-example is given in pp. 77-79 of New Frontiers of the Mind. We can also see p. [130;view=1up;seq=150] of Pratt's ESP-60 for a direct refutation of this claim (as well as the entire chapter including that page for refutations of counter-hypotheses). Rhine himself noted, in his article "History of Experimental Studies", in The Handbook of Parapsychology (Benjamin B. Wolman, ed. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company New York, 1977), on p. 31: "On the side of precautions, in experiments that were intended to be conclusive, it was required in the experimental design that the targets cards should be completely out of the subject's sensory range and the order unknown to all concerned. Opaque envelopes or boxes were adequate but less convenient than opaque screens. The latter were acceptable when additional assurance against sensory cues was provided. This led to the use of different rooms and even different buildings, with still further precautions; for example, an assistant to provide independent observation."

People mistakenly claim that the early Rhine experiments were discredited because of faulty ESP cards. However, Rhine's biographer Denis Brian noted, in The Enchanted Voyager, p. 166: "Rhine responded to criticism of the faulty ESP cards by saying they were manufactured to be used in shuffling machines and behind screens, that heavier cards without defects were subsequently made for unsweetened work. He said that a warning was printed in the first number of the Journal of Parapsychology to appear after the ESP cards were in circulation. Readers were advised to use screens in all serious experiments."

Honorton noted, in his 1975 article "Error Some Place!" (given below), "Defects in an early commercial printing of ESP cards were reported by everal investigators (18, 25). It was found that the cards were warped and could under certain conditions be identified from the back. This discovery circulated widely for a time as an explanation of all successful (i.e., statis- tically ciignificant) experimental series. The parapsychologists retorted that defective cards had not been employed in any of the experiments reported in the literature and that, in any case, they could not account for results from st tidie5 involving adequate screening with such devices as opaque envelopes, screens, distance, or work involving the precognition paradigm in which the target sequences were not generated until after the subject had made his responses (53, 54, 72).

By 1940 nearly one million experimental trials had been reported under conditions which precluded sensory leakage. These included five studies in which the target cards were enclosed in opaque sealed envelopes (41, 45, 46, 54, 59), 16 studies employing opaque screens (7, 8, 11, 19, 33, 34, 35, 38, 41, 42, 44, 45, 46, 59, 71), ten studies involving separation of subjects and targets in different buildings (50, 51, 52, 53, 34, 32, 8, 77, 61, 60), and two studies involving precognition tasks (59, 75). These data are summarized in Table 1. The results were independently significant in 27 of the 33 experiments. By the end of the 1930s there was general agreement that the better-controlled ESP experiments could not be accounted for on the basis of sensory leakage"

James Crumbaugh qualifies his lack of replication while also writing much in support of parapsychology in JP Volume 62, 1998, pp. 187-190. Claims that the Rhine group failed to replicate their experiments are clearly shown as false from that, and Rhine continued to have positive replications, involving novel experimental designs, past the 1940s.

Some interesting overview of criticism is in Price (1939). The Story of ESP, which is extremely informative. As Whately Carington noted however, in a review of it, a truly relevant text on this subject is Pratt et al (1940/1966). Extra-sensory perception after sixty years., where responses to criticism are given.There is the misperception fostered by Melborne Christopher that once Rhine took precautions in response to criticisms of his methods, he was unable to find any high-scoring subjects, and there is the misperception fostered by James Alcock that due to methodological problems, parapsychologists no longer utilize card-guessing studies. This will be dealt with as follows: Palmer & Rao, in the seminal 1987 Brain & Mind Sciences Bulletin article "The Anomaly Called Psi: Recent Research and Criticism" (given below) noted: "The first line of criticism dealt with the experimental conditions. One essential requirement for an acceptable ESP experiment was that data should be collected under conditions that provide no reasonable opportunity for sensory leakage of information or inferential knowledge of the targets. Skinner (1937), Wolfle (1938), and J. L. Kennedy (1938), among others, pointed out that under certain lighting conditions the commercially produced ESP cards could be read through their reverse sides. Rhine responded that the original experiments were conducted with hand-printed ESP cards that were free from such defects and that in his more formal experiments the use of screens and distance prevented the subjects from obtaining any visual cues from the cards. Kennedy (1938), Kellogg (1936), and Leuba (1938) argued that an increase in the experimental rigor of ESP research had resulted in a corresponding decline in ESP results, suggesting that extrachance ESP scores were due to loose experimental conditions. To this Rhine responded that his most rigorously controlled experiment, the Pearce-Pratt series, did give highly significant results (Rhine et al. 1940). Although this experiment was later challenged by critic C. E. M. Hansel (1966) - with questionable success (Hansel 1980; Rhine & Pratt 1961; Stevenson 1967) - as being susceptible to fraud on the part of the subject, it was still more rigorously controlled than the other experiments in the original data base and thus supported Rhine's point. The second line of criticism related to data analysis. Willoughby (1935), Kellogg (1936), Heinlein and Heinlein (1938), Herr (1938), and Lemmon (1939) criticized various features of the statistical analysis used by Rhine and his colleagues. In particular, the criticism focused on Rhine's assumption that the binomial theorem is applicable to "closed decks," decks in which the number of times each type of card appears is not free to vary. This aspect of the methodological debate essentially ceased in 1937, when Burton Camp, President of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, stated that Rhine's "statistical analysis is essentially valid. If the Rhine investigation is to be fairly attacked it must be on other than mathematical grounds" (Camp 1937). For further details, see Burdick and Kelly (1977). It would be wrong to conclude from this, however, that Rhine's experiments were perfect and that they had conclusively eliminated every alternative explanation. In retrospect, one could suggest improvements in the experimental conditions of his experiments. But for his time, Rhine's best experiments were ahead of others in the behavioral sciences. The experimental precautions he took, including two-experimenter controls and doubleblind procedures, were rare in other disciplines at that time. Nonetheless, much of the early criticism of Rhine's experiments was helpful in progressively raising the standards of ESP research and reducing the possibility of experimental errors and artifacts."

They continued on p. 602: "In fact, in the present debate there is some agreement about the fundamental difficulty of defining what would be considered an acceptable level of replication and about the fact that no one experiment alone can suffice. There is further agreement that psi experiments are replicable in the general or "weak sense" of the basic findings being confirmed by others, but not in the "strong sense" of being able to tell the critic how he himself should go about getting positive results. Naturally, for Alcock such weak replication as exists can merely reflect replication of errors. In this sense, the theme of such exchanges between critics and proponents of parapsychology is not new; it is only the players who have changed. In the late 1930s, J. L. Kennedy (1939) debated with Gardner Murphy (1938) the possibility of sensory cues and motivational errors as explanations for psi. The American Psychological Association's Review Committee (1939) actually repudiated this as a viable explanation, and it is now generally accepted even among critics that fraud is the only "normal" alternative explanation for the early findings of Rhine et al. (1940) and Pratt, and Woodruff (1939)."

Regarding the falseness of the accusations of poor controls and the fact that results were obtained with tighter controls, see Hans Jürgen Eysenck, "Sense and nonsense in psychology' (Penguin Books, 1957), pp. 126-131, particularly p. 130.

Chris Carter noted, in "Debating Psychic Experience", p. 82:

"The parapsychologist Charles Honorton (1975) performed a detailed statistical review of the early experiments, and came to this conclusion: By 1940 nearly one million experimental trials had been reported under conditions which precluded sensory leakage. The results were independently significant in 27 of the 33 experiments. By the end of the 1930s there was general agreement that the better-controlled ESP experiments could not be accounted for on the basis of sensory leakage. (p. 107)

There has been a widespread belief that most of the positive results came from Rhine’s laboratory at Duke University, and that most of the experiments performed elsewhere failed to confirm Rhine’s results (Hansel, 1980). Honorton(1975) investigated this claim, and wrote: A survey of the published literature between 1934 and 1940 fails to support this claim. [The table below] shows all the published experimental reports during this period.Inspection of this table reveals that a majority(61 percent)of the outside replications report significant results (p < .01) and that the proportion of significant studies was not significantly greater for the Duke University group. (pp. 109–110)"

This 1975 article by Honorton, Error Some Place!, is given below, and corrects an Orwellian historical rewrite that the Rhine work was never replicated. His table shows that 20 out of 33 of the studies reported outside Duke University were statistically significant.

for follow-up overview, see Rhine & Pratt (1957/1962). Parapsychology: Frontier Science of The Mind.)

On Soal, see this pro-parapsychology edit:

Comments on possible vindication of Soal are provided here:

  • Hansel vs Rhine, Pratt, & Woodruff (1961). Controversy over charges of fraud in ESP (dispute between CEM Hansel and Rhine, Pratt, & Woodruff over the Pearce-Pratt & Pratt-Woodruff experiments) (see, regarding Hansel's follow up work, Honorton (1967). ESP: A Scientific Evaluation, C.E.M. Hansel, Review. (there is an interesting statement on p. 80 of this document - when discussing Hansel's critique of the Pearce-Pratt experiment, Honorton notes: "It is puzzling that Hansel was unable to obtain the plans in view of the fact that Pratt was able, at a later time, to procure them without difficulty or delay. It also seems strange, at least to this reviewer, that Hansel would publish a plan which, in his own estimation (i.e. "not to scale"), was not accurate. Certainly he would agree that it is necessary for the critic to be as judicious in appraising research findings as the investigator must be in carrying out these experiments. It is unfortunate, therefore, that he published his "not to scale" plan; for while it would allow for the possibility of subject-fraud in line with his hypothesis, the correct scale plans, obtained from Duke by Pratt, do not. The crucial door (Room 311) was displaced so far away from the window in Pratt's room, that there can be no doubt as to the inadequacy of Hansel's hypothesis, to say nothing of the accuracy of his plan.")
Dr. D. J. West in his fine review of C. E. M. Hansel's ESP and Parapsychology: A Critical Re-Evaluation (1980) (Journal No. 787) seems to accept too readily the implications of Professor Hansel's alleged discovery of discrepancies in the reporting of the Pearce—Pratt experiment in various places. Since the Pearce-Pratt experiment is one of the highly evidential studies we have in parapsychology and since Hansel is apparently successful in creating the impression—even among such unbiased scientists as Dr. West—that there was something seriously wrong with it, I wish briefly to examine Hansel's arguments and his credibility as a responsible critic. The points made against the Pearce—Pratt experiment are: ( 1 ) that it was not reported in adequate detail at the time it was carried out; (2) that there were discrepancies in its different published versions; and (3) that the experimental conditions were such that the subject, Pearce, could have cheated in a number of possible ways.
Let us consider the fraud issue first. Neither Hansel, or anyone else for that matter, presented any evidence or circumstances that suggest even remotely that Pearce did cheat. The best Hansel (1980) was able to produce was his concluding statement in the book, Ά further unsatisfactory feature lies in the fact that a statement has not been made by the central figure, Hubert Pearce. The experimenters state that trickery was impossible, but what would Pearce have said? Perhaps one day he will give us his own account of the experiment' (p. 123). This statement does not tally with the facts. Contrary to Hansel's remarks, Pearce did make a statement in which he unequivocally asserted that he did not cheat (Stevenson, 1967). Pearce is now dead, and therefore will not be able to make another statement more to the liking of Hansel, unless Hansel believes in the ability of the deceased to make statements!
The hypothesis of fraud to explain away the results of such experiments as the Pearce-Pratt series is essentially sterile and non-falsifiable. As I pointed out elsewhere (Rao, 1981), the argument that it is more parsimonious to assume fraud rather than the existence of 'impossible' phenomena such as ESP is as logically false as it is historically untrue.
Much was made of the fact that the original report of the Pearce-Pratt experiments did not give all the details of procedure and experimental conditions that we now consider necessary. West and some other parapsychologists appear to be ready to blame Rhine for this failure. Stevenson (1967), for example, writes, 'Rhine had already published informal reports [of the Pearce—Pratt experiment] in two of his popular books and it is doubtful procedure in science to announce one's results first to the general public and then (in this case many years later) present a detailed report for scientists' (p. 259). I believe these accusations are unfair.
It is not the case that Rhine announced his results first to the public. The results of the Pearce—Pratt experiment were first published in The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology (Rhine, 1936) and were only subsequently mentioned in his popular books. (The first of these, New Frontiers of the Mind, appeared in 1938.) The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology is a respected journal in mainstream psychology and Rhine had no editorial control over it. Does this not clearly imply that the additional details that we now consider necessary were not considered so then by the psychologists who refereed his paper and the editors who published it? The Journal of Parapsychology was in existence then and if Rhine published his report in it with inadequate details, we might have had some reason to blame him for not giving them all. The truth is that details of the sort that we now require of parapsychological reports were simply not found necessary then. When it became increasingly clear that further details of the experimental procedure were called for, Rhine and Pratt published a detailed report in 1954.
Now, the more serious of the criticisms relates to the discrepancies between various published accounts of the experiment. Several of these are trivial and none is sufficient to call into question the veracity of the experiment or the credibility of the experimenters. Interestingly, Hansel makes more errors in his very brief review of the experiment than do the authors. Here are some examples.
He writes, 'The scores published in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology disagree with those in the Journal of Parapsychology. They give total hits for the four subseries as: A, 179; B, 288; C, 86; D, 56. The individual scores quoted are also in a different order for subseries Β and C from those given in the Journal of Parapsychology' (1980, 120—121). Here Hansel gives the total scores as reported in one journal and not in the other. Therefore, the reader does not really know the magnitude of the discrepancies. More significantly, neither report actually gives the total number of hits in each of the four subseries as Hansel implies. These totals, it appears, are computed by Hansel from the footnote on page 222 of The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology (1936). He found they differed from those obtained by adding up individual scores as given in the Journal of Parapsychology (1954) report. I did the same and came up with different figures. Hansel gives the total hits for subseries A as 179. Actually, the total score that one would obtain by adding up individual scores given in footnotes in both reports or by computing from the average and deviation scores given in the main body of the reports is 119. So Hansel in his computation makes an error much larger than anything that he finds in the reports he criticizes. Again, as far as this score is concerned, there is no discrepancy between the two reports.
As for subseries B, the individual scores as given in the footnotes add up to 288 and 295 in the 1936 and 1954 reports, respectively. Recall that totals are not given in the reports, but can be computed by us from the footnotes as well as from the results presented in the main body of the reports. In the table on page 222 of The Abnormal and Social Psychology report, we find that for subseries B there are 1100 trials and the average score for 25 trials is 6.7. From this, it is clear that even in this report the total number of hits for subseries Β is 295, the same as that given in the Journal of parapsychology report. So there is no discrepancy here.
It would appear that a few of the individual scores as given in the footnote for the 1936 article were misprinted and that one score was inadvertently left out. The footnote gives only 43 scores when there should have been 44.
Hansel leaves the impression that Rhine and Pratt were unmindful of the errors in the first report. This was not so. A footnote in the Journal of Parapsychology article (Rhine and Pratt, 1954) reads: 'In the two reports ... in which the run scores of the series were published, the scores of subseries Β and C were not given consecutively, and there were two other minor errors. It seems worthwhile, therefore, to list the complete run scores in chronological order here' (p. 171). Here is the explanation of the discrepancy in the sequence of the scores as given in the 1936 and 1954 reports. Surely Hansel cannot be unaware of this: he gets the individual scores from this footnote only.
While it is regrettable that there were errors in the first report, though inconsequential in themselves, I wonder how many of us can honestly say that we make no such errors. As I have pointed out, Hansel himself commits a few. To give a few more, reference 8 on page 119 which has to do with Extra-Sensory Perception After Sixty Years refers on page 123 to (The) Reach of the Mind (incidentally, The was omitted); reference 9 to The Reach of the Mind on page 119 is listed in the notes on page 123 as New World of the Mind. On page 121 Hansel mentions Frontiers of the Mind by J. B. Rhine. He obviously means New Frontiers of the Mind.
In evaluating Hansel's critique, we should bear in mind that the records of the Pearce-Pratt experiment are still in existence, and that they were examined in the past by others and re-checked by Stuart, Greenwood and Murphy. Again, Hansel himself was at Duke with Rhine and Pratt and they would have easily clarified these matters, if Hansel had raided them then. Hansel (1961) did not refer to these discrepancies in his first critique of this experiment published in the Journal of Parapsychology.
In summary, then, Hansel's criticism of the Pearce-Pratt experiment is not entirely reliable. But the fact that his words have been taken seriously by such persons as Dr. West makes me wonder whether there is some truth in the saying that if someone shouts long and loud enough he will be heard without regard to what he says."
See also Medhurst (1968). The Fraudulent Experimenter: Professor Hansel's Case Against Psychical Research. (This review notes several misrepresentations with regards to psychical research, and also establishes that Hansel took a shotgun approach, so occasionally he got some things right, but his critique of Samuel Soal was invalid, and other, unrelated discoveries led to an actual case against him (see also Child's 1980 review below) - Medhurst also notes Hansel's misrepresentation of the Ownbey-Turner experiment.)
see also Forwald (1969). Excerptum Concerning Forwald's objections to the claims of CEM Hansel.
as well as Child (1980). Review of ESP and Parapsychology A Critical Reevaluation.)


Then see Hyman & Honorton (1986). A Joint Communiqué: The Psi Ganzfeld Controversy, Palmer (1986). Comments on "The Joint Communiqué", Stanford (1986). Commentary on the Hyman-Honorton Joint Communiqué, Utts (1986). The Ganzfeld Debate: A Statistician's Perspective.

The 1986 Joint Communque between Honorton and Hyman stated "We agree that there is an overall significant effect in this data base that cannot reasonably be explained by selective reporting or multiple analysis. We continue to differ over the degree to which the effect constitutes evidence for psi, but we agree that the final verdict awaits the outcome of future experiments conducted by a broader range of investigators and according to more stringent standards."

In Bem & Honorton (1994). Does psi exist?, the authors noted, regarding the Ganzfeld debate between Hyman and Honorton, etc, "none of the contributors to the subsequent debate concurred with Hyman’s conclusion, whereas four nonparapsychologists—two statisticans and two psychologists—explicitly concurred with Honorton’s conclusion (Harris & Rosenthal, 1988b; Saunders, 1985; Utts, 1991a). For example, Harris and Rosenthal (one of the pioneers in the use of meta-analysis in psychology) used Hyman’s own flaw ratings and failed to find any significant relationships between flaws and study outcomes in each of two separate analyses: “Our analysis of the effects of flaws on study outcome lends no support to the hypothesis that Ganzfeld research results are a significant function of the set of flaw variables” (1988b, p. 3; for a more recent exchange regarding Hyman’s analysis, see Hyman, 1991; Utts, 1991a, 1991b). [...] In 1988, the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences released a widely publicized report commissioned by the U.S. Army that assessed several controversial technologies for enhancing human performance, including accelerated learning, neurolinguistic programming, mental practice, biofeedback, and parapsychology (Druckman & Swets, 1988; summarized in Swets & Bjork, 1990). The report’s conclusion concerning parapsychology was quite negative: “The Committee finds no scientific justification from research conducted over a period of 130 years for the existence of parapsychological phenomena” (Druckman & Swets, 1988, p. 22).

An extended refutation strongly protesting the committee’s treatment of parapsychology has been published elsewhere (Palmer et al., 1989). The pertinent point here is simply that the NRC’s evaluation of the ganzfeld studies does not reflect an additional, independent examination of the ganzfeld database but is based on the same meta-analysis conducted by Hyman that we have discussed in this article.

Hyman chaired the NRC’s Subcommittee on Parapsychology, and, although he had concurred with Honorton 2 years earlier in their joint communiqué that “there is an overall significant effect in this data base that cannot reasonably be explained by selective reporting or multiple analysis” (p. 351) and that “significant outcomes have been produced by a number of different investigators” (p. 352), neither of these points is acknowledged in the committee’s report.

The NRC also solicited a background report from Harris and Rosenthal (1988a), which provided the committee with a comparative methodological analysis of the five controversial areas just listed. Harris and Rosenthal noted that, of these areas, “only the Ganzfeld ESP studies [the only psi studies they evaluated] regularly meet the basic requirements of sound experimental design” (p. 53), and they concluded that it would be implausible to entertain the null given the combined p from these 28 studies. Given the various problems or flaws pointed out by Hyman and Honorton...we might estimate the obtained accuracy rate to be about 1/3...when the accuracy rate expected under the null is 1/4.(p.51)"

Of relevance is Blackmore vs. Sargent (1987). Dispute over Carl Sargent's Ganzfeld Experiments.

Blackmore claims...)

Rao & Palmer (1987). The anomaly called psi: Recent research and criticism. (discusses controversies over Helmut Schmidt's micro-PK experiments, and opens up a debate with others as to the validity of parapsychology as a field)

Hyman & Alcock (1988). Enhancing Human Performance: Issues, Theories and Techniques: Part VI: Parapsychological Techniques (see also Harris & Rosenthal (1988). Human Performance Research: An Overview: Human Performance Technologies and Expectancy Effects: Parapsychology, Harris & Rosenthal (1988). Postscript to Human Performance Research: An Overview, Palmer, Honorton, & Utts (1988). Reply to the National Research Council Study on Parapsychology. (also contains a rebuttal of Hyman's comments on the postscript of the Harris & Rosenthal document), and Alexander (1989). Enhancing human Performance: A Challenge to the Report.)

Office of Technology Assessment (1989). Report of a Workshop on Experimental Parapsychology.

Utts (1991). Replication and Meta-Analysis in Parapsychology. (This is a very important text, as it completely refutes the antagonists' view that "Many studies seeking to detect, understand, and utilize telepathy have been done, but no replicable results from well-controlled experiments exist."

See also Bayarri & Berger (1991). Replication and Meta-Analysis in Parapsychology: Comment, Dawson (1991). Replication and Meta-Analysis in Parapsychology: Comment, Diaconis (1991). Replication and Meta-Analysis in Parapsychology: Comment, Greenhouse (1991). Replication and Meta-Analysis in Parapsychology: Comment, Hyman (1991). Replication and Meta-Analysis in Parapsychology: Comment, Morris (1991). Replication and Meta-Analysis in Parapsychology: Comment, and Utts (1991). Replication and Meta-Analysis in Parapsychology: Rejoinder)

Utts (1995). An Assessment of the Evidence for Psychic Functioning. (see also Hyman (1995). Evaluation of a Program on Anomalous Mental Phenomena, and Utts (1996). Response to Ray Hyman's Report)

The American Institutes for Research (1995). An Evaluation of Remote Viewing: Research and Applications, contains the problematic commentary: "remote viewers and project managers reported that remote viewing reports were changed to make them consistent with know background cues. While this was appropriate in that situation, it makes it impossible to interpret the role of the paranormal phenomena independently. Also, it raises some doubts about some well-publicized cases of dramatic hits, which, if taken at face value, could not easily be attributed to background cues. In at least some of these cases, there is reason to suspect, based on both subsequent investigations and the viewers' statement that reports had been "changed" by previous program managers, that substantially more background information was available than one might at first assume."

Commentary by Jimmy Carter refutes the assertion that no valuable intelligence was gained from this work:

For a refutation of part of this report, see May (1996). The American Institutes for Research Review of the Department of Defense's STAR GATE Program: A Commentary

May has further critical commentary regarding AIR - if you get his new "Anomalous Cognition" book, you will see a footnote to that article as reprinted in the book providing information revealing that the AIR investigation was essentially fraudulent. I await his book on STARGATE before making further commentary, but for now, one can consult Srinivasan (2002). Clairvoyant remote viewing: The US sponsored psychic spying.)

Targ (1996). Remote Viewing at Stanford Research Institute in the 1970s: A Memoir

Mishlove (1997). Extrasensory Perception (ESP)

Mishlove (1997). Psychokinesis (discusses controversies with PEAR RNG-PK experiments, etc)

Radin & Rebman (1997). Seeking Psi in the Casino.

Josephson (1999). Unfounded criticism of a parapsychology book in Nature.

Alcock (2003). Give the null hypothesis a chance.

Parker & Brusewitz (2003). A compendium of the evidence for psi. (this paper commits a glib error in claiming that Wiseman defended the Bill Delmore tests against George Hansen when he merely rejected one of Hansen's hypotheses, otherwise it is useful. Wiseman's article is here, and though he does not specifically state that Hansen's other criticisms are valid in the paper, neither does he reject them, so Parker errs in extending refutation of one item to refutation of all items. Appraisal of the Delmore case requires first reading Hansen's criticism of it, and then the counter-arguments of proponents (1,2,3,4), and not stopping with the Wiseman article which only rebuts one criticism and doesn't comment on the others, and pretending that it is a defense. Wiseman is not in any way a psi proponent, he has made concessions (1), however, even though he has been rebutted in various exchanges with others, he could never be described as having made explicitly positive claims. In his book The Heretics: Adventures with the Enemies of Science (2011), (p. 325), Will Storr after interviewing Wiseman noted that "Wiseman's career as a celebrity Skeptic is predicated on there being no such thing as paranormal phenomena. He admits to never having had 'any interest in investigating if it's true because I've always thought it isn't.'").

Stokes (2006). Consciousness and the Physical World

Zingrone (2006). From Text to Self: The Interplay of Criticism and Response in the History of Parapsychology.

Jahn & Dunne (2008). Change the Rules!

Watt (2004). Reporting of Blind Methods: An Interdisciplinary Survey. (Parapsychology is found to have drastically higher use of Blind Methods than the physical sciences, confirming the results of a previous survey).

French (2008). Is Parapsychology a Pseudoscience?

Smith (2009). Is Physicalism "Really" True? (overviews remote viewing controversies, among other things (DMILS, etc.),contains the statement, on p. 212: "When the first edition of Marks’ and Kamman’s Psychology of the Psychic was published in 1980, there may have been some reason to question the original remote viewing research and replications, since there was still only a relatively small number of 212 trials (certainly not yet even 200) available in only a few publicly accessible studies. However, by the time Marks published the second edition of the book in 2000 (some years after Kamman’s death), there was much less justification – and justification has grown even less in the intervening years since that time.").

Wiseman (2010). ‘Heads I Win, Tails You Lose’: How Parapsychologists Nullify Null Results.

Carter (2010). "Heads I lose, tails you win", or, how Richard Wiseman Nullifies Positive Results, and what to do about it.

(various) (2010). Debating Psychic Experience

Crabtree (2012). Parapsychology. (article on the subject in the Encyclopedia of the History of Psychological Theories, 2012)

Derakhshani (2011). An alternative take on ESP.

Pigliucci (2012). On Parapsychology. (Pigliucci here presents himself as a balanced observer on this issue, however, here he reveals a priori debunking obligations)

Davidson (2011). Review of The Logical Leap by David Harriman (a critique of a Randian objectivist text. This is of tangential relevance to the topic of discussion, because Randian objectivism implies steadfast adherence to the perspective of materialist monism, and adherent of that perspective would reject data such as is presented here no matter how compelling. There is an attraction in Rand's militant rejection of irrationalism, because in this day and age, with postmodernist nonsense, ethical relativism, and decadence, Rand is a breath of fresh air, asserting that principles of reason, sound philosophy, and science, should be our guides. But her framework is partially based on a priori perspectives that can be challenged, and she misunderstands the perspective of those she attacks. The best introduction to this is in the article from the skeptic Michael Shermer, entitled The Unlikliest Cult in history, as well as George V. Walsh's paper Ayn Rand and the Metaphysics of Kant, which shows that the Objectivist objection to Kant is based on misunderstandings (and this also makes some interesting references to Aristotle - as an aside, the alleged basis of Objectivism in Aristotle turns out to be spurious when you realize that contrary to Libertarianism, Aristotle in his Politics derived an Organic framework for society). Acquaintance with Aristotle is important, and Will Durant provides a relevant overview, additionally, The Metalogicon of John of Salisbury is very important in helping us to acquire the gift of Aristotelian reason. But as to accurate overviews of Kant, we will need again to refer to Will Durant. Likewise, refer to Durant's overviews of German Philosophy: 1789-1815 (Fichte, Schelling & Hegel), Schopenhauer, Nietzsche (c.f. Abir Taha's 2013 text Nietzsche's Coming God or the Redemption of the Divine), and finally Henri Bergson, a one time President of the Society for Psychical Research, who offered a solution to Kant, though one not embracing materialist monism.

Davidson notes in his review, "In the final chapter, Harriman turns his attention to quantum theory. “As a mathematical formalism, quantum theory has been enormously successful. It makes quantitative predictions of impressive accuracy for a vast range of phenomena, providing the basis for modern chemistry, condensed matter physics, nuclear physics and optics. It also made possible some of the greatest technological innovations of the twentieth century, including computers and lasers. Yet as a fundamental theory of physics it is strangely empty… It gives a mathematical recipe for predicting the statistical behavior of particles but fails to provide causal models of subatomic processes.” (p248) According to Harriman, the necessity of supposing that a single reality exists, that the human mind has a reasonably clear access to it, and that the scientist can explain it, has been surrendered not by reference to experimental facts (“the knowledge gained by experimental discovery of facts can never lead to the denial of knowledge and fact.”) but by the influence of post-Kantian philosophy, “an enemy that operated behind the front lines and provided the corrupt framework used to misinterpret facts. By rejecting causality and accepting the unintelligibility of the atomic world, physicists have reduced themselves to mere calculating machines (at best) – and thus they are unable to ask further questions or to integrate their knowledge.” Harriman does not discuss the double-slit experiment, the EPR experiments of Alain Aspect and others, the quantum Zeno effect, quantum computation and the various other puzzling phenomena in quantum physics. Harriman himself seems to be ‘theory stealing’ here in that he is willing to accept the benefits he lists from quantum theory without subscribing to the theory itself, nor addressing the really puzzling experimental facts on which the theory is based. There is no explanation of why quantum mechanics gives such precise answers whilst it does not correspond to reality."

Many of the strangest conceptions related to quantum theory have been validated in mainstream experiments - see the ScienceNews February 27, 1998 article Quantum Theory Demonstrated: Observation Affects Reality, and the ScienceAlert June 1, 2015 article Reality doesn’t exist until we measure it, quantum experiment confirms. Henry Stapp, in "Mindful Universe" (Springer-Verlag, 2nd edition, 2011), p. 15, notes in layman's terms how the following perspective inductively derives from empirical observations related to the double-slit experiment, stating, of of the Copenhagen interpretation it evolved from, and then, of the Von Neumann interpretation itself, "In this initial version of the theory the brains and bodies of the experimenters, and also their measuring devices, are described fundamentally in empirical terms: in terms of our experiences/perceptions pertaining to these devices and their manipulations by our physical bodies. However, the boundary between our empirically described selves and the physically described system we are studying is somewhat arbitrary. The empirically described measuring devices can become very tiny, and physically described systems can become very large, [sic] This ambiguity was examined by von Neumann (1932) who showed that we can consistently describe the entire physical world, including the brains of the experimenters, as the physically described world, with the actions instigated by an experimenters stream of consciousness acting directly upon that experimenter's brain. The interaction between the psychologically and physically described aspects in quantum theory thereby becomes the mind-brain interaction of neuroscience and neuropsychology." Following this, one of the most informed apologists, Inspiring Philosophy, who has collaborated with the physics student Johanan Raatz, has produced an exhaustively documented overview of The Measurement Problem citing papers removing contradictions and leading therefore not to solipsism, but to an animistic perspective. This can be followed by an overview of The Introspective Argument, which, when combined with the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument, provides a basis for Panentheism.

Davidson's paper challenging Harriman's The Logical Leap contains this valuable excerpt: "I am skeptical about his insistence that physics must conform to some pre-ordained form (which might be construed as ‘cognitive fixation’). As Neils Bohr said in response to Einstein’s insistence that “God does not play dice with the universe,”: “Do not tell God what to do.”")

Schwartz (2011). The Antique Roadshow: How Denier Movements Debunk Evolution, Climate Change, and Nonlocal Consciousness

Dossey (2011). Why Are Scientists Afraid of Daryl Bem? (see also this article)

Dossey (2013). Unbroken Wholeness: The Emerging View of Human Interconnection

Cardeña (2014). A call for an open, informed study of all aspects of consciousness.

Baptista & Derakhshani (2014). Beyond the Coin Toss: Examining Wiseman's Criticisms of Parapsychology. (attempts to establish that Ganzfeld results are consistent)

Beauregard et al (2014). Manifesto for a Post-Materialist Science.

Watt and Kennedy (2015). Lessons from the first two years of operating a study registry.

Dossey (2015). The Sandy Island Syndromes: On Seeing What Is Not There and Not Seeing What Is There.

Articles related to telepathy (mind-to-mind communication) and clairvoyance (perception of events beyond the normal physical senses)[edit]

(for other interesting reports not covered in this list, see this)

Dodds (1946). Telepathy and Clairvoyance in Classical Antiquity.

Lang (1909). The maid of France; being the story of the life and death of Jeanne d'Arc. (see also the quick overview from FWH Myers)

Prince (1928/1963). Noted Witnesses for Psychic Occurrences: Men of Science: Clairvoyantly Witnesses a Fire in Progress at Three Hundred Miles Distance - Emanuel Swedenborg.

Barth (1853). Adolph Didier's Clairvoyance.

Townshend (1854). The Indisputable Clairvoyance of M. Adolphe Didier.

West & Barrington (2004). Didier in the Zoist. (overview of the feats of Adolphe Didier's brother, Alexis)

Gauld (1996). Notes on the career of the somnambule Léonie. (discusses the career of, and heterogeneous, but very notable, results obtained in the career of the somnambule Léonie)

Richet, C. (1884). La suggestion mentale et le calcul des probabilites. [Mental suggestion and probability calculation] Revue Philosophique de la France et de I'Etranger, 18, 609-674. (the set up seems to have been similar to poker:;view=1up;seq=634 as for overview, see the following commentary - Note on Charles Richet’s "La Suggestion Mentale et le Calcul des Probabilités" (1884) (Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 22, No. 4, pp. 543–548, 2008):;jsessionid=CA882F7E79C364A6F0E2E2A8DED9CAC6?doi= The statistical methods of this paper and its significance in using such methods were praised by historian of science Ian Hacking - see Hacking (1988). Telepathy: Origins of Randomization in Experimental Design, which noted, on p. 441. that "[the noted statistician F. Y. Edgeworth] does conclude that the probability that Richet's phenomena were obtained by chance is very small, 0.00004, and so the reliability of the phenomena not being due to chance "may fairly be regarded as physical certainty" and "the conclusion may be regarded as safe." After this, with some sagacity, he con- cludes his 1885 paper with the words: "Such is the evidence which the calculus of probabilities affords as to the existence of an agency other than mere chance. The calculus is silent as to the nature of that agency- whether it is more likely to be vulgar illusion or extraordinary law. That is a question to be decided, not by formulae and figures, but by general philosophy and common sense." This warn- ing may be compared with a rather celebrated assertion by R. A. Fisher on the logic of significance testing. He speaks of a "logical disjunction" being the basis of a test of significance. Either something very uncommon has occurred by chance, or a hypothesis of "no effect" must be rejected. Fisher explicitly introduced these observations in connection with "the studies known as para- psychology."37"

Alvarado provided a summary of this text as follows: "'Richet went on to report certain experiments of his own that he evaluated statistically – a novel approach at the time. (JB Rhine, the American scientist who contributed much to parapsychology as a statistical science in the 1930s, credited Richet as the first to use ‘the mathematics of chance’ in evaluating results of telepathy tests.6) His tests consisted of guessing tasks that employed playing cards and photographs of statues, antique objects, paintings, and the like, also motor automatisms, the movements involved in table turning and the dowsing rod. By statistical analysis of the guesses Richet aimed to demonstrate that the ‘thought of an individual is transmitted without the help of exterior gestures to the thought of an individual located close to him’.7 Discussing the quantitative aspect of his work, he wrote:

The method that I have adopted is that of probabilities; it poses the problem thus: Given an arbitrary designation whose probability is known; does the probability of this designation change by the fact of mental suggestion? To this question our experiments allow us to reply affirmatively: For playing cards, the answer by chance should be 458, and it was 510 with suggestion on 1833 tests. For photographs and pictures, the probable number was 42, and the acquired number was 67 on 218 tests. For experiments with the dowsing rod, the probable number was 18, and the real number was 44 on 98 tests. For experiments called spiritistic, the probable number was 3, but the real number was 17 on 124 tests. The results acquired by the calculation of serial probability are more conclusive still.8

Richet found it ‘completely implausible’ that these results could have occurred by chance in around 300 experiments.9 Following Pascal, he wrote: ‘If it was necessary to opt for the reality or not reality of mental suggestion, I would let luck decide; but I would give two chances to the hypothesis that suggestion exists, and one chance only to the opposite hypothesis’.10 Turning to the characteristics of telepathy, Richet described the phenomenon as ‘capricious, wandering, uncertain’.11 The process, he believed, showed various degrees of sensitivity. He also noted displacement and declines in participant responses. Satisfactory results were acquired with adult participants who were ‘in good health, not hypnotized, nor hypnotizable…’,12 although two successful participants proved to be highly sensitive to hypnotism. The majority of participants were non-psychic, among them Richet himself and his friends. Five of the participants in the table tilting tests were childhood friends of Richet, two of whom were said to be mediums. Richet went to on highlight studies carried out by other researchers, among them card guessing thought-transference experiments conducted by members of the Society for Psychical Research that on one occasion achieved five successive hits.13 He pointed out that with just one chance in 52 to select the target card from a pack of cards. The odds of getting five right in a row is one in 16,680,235, making chance highly unlikely as an explanation. Turning to possible theories, Richet suggested that telepathy might be an unconscious process, also that ‘the vibration of the thought of an individual influences the vibration of the thought of a nearby individual’,14 an idea which, however, would find little favour among psi researchers today.":

As noted in "Phantasms of the Living" by Gurney, Myers, and Podmore: "In the Revue Philosophique for December, 1884, M. Ch. Richet, the well-known savant and editor of the Revue Scientifique, published a paper, entitled “La Suggestion Mentale et le Calcul des Probabilités,” in the first part of which an account is given of some experiments with cards precisely similar in plan to those above described. A card being drawn at random out of a pack, the “agent” fixed his attention on it, and the “percipient” endeavoured to name it. But M. Richet’s method contained this important novelty—that though the success, as judged by the results of any particular series of trials, seemed slight (showing that he was not experimenting with what we should consider “good subjects”), he made the trials on a sufficiently extended scale to bring out the fact that the right guesses were on the whole, though not strikingly, above the number that pure accident would account for, and that their total was considerably above that number. This observation involves a new and striking application of the calculus of probabilities. Advantage is taken of the fact that the larger the number of trials made under conditions where success is purely accidental, the more nearly will the total number of successes attained conform to the figure which the formula of probabilities gives. For instance, if some one draws a card at random out of a full pack, and before it has been looked at by anyone present I make a guess at its suit, my chance of being right is, of course, 1 in 4. Similarly, if the process is repeated 52 times, the most probable number of successes, according to the strict calculus of probabilities, is 13; in 520 trials the most probable number of successes is 130. Now, if we consider only a short series of 52 guesses, I may be accidentally right many more times than 13 or many less times. But if the series be {i-32} prolonged—if 520 guesses be allowed instead of 52—the actual number of successes will vary from the probable number within much smaller limits; and if we suppose an indefinite prolongation, the proportional divergence between the actual and the probable number will become infinitely small. This being so, it is clear that if, in a very short series of trials, we find a considerable difference between the actual number of successes and the probable number, there is no reason for regarding this difference as anything but purely accidental; but if we find a similar difference in a very long series, we are justified in surmising that some condition beyond mere accident has been at work. If cards be drawn in succession from a pack, and I guess the suit rightly in 3 out of 4 trials, I shall be foolish to be surprised; but if I guess the suit rightly in 3,000 out of 4,000 trials, I shall be equally foolish not to be surprised. Now M. Richet continued his trials until he had obtained a considerable total; and the results were such as at any rate to suggest that accident had not ruled undisturbed—that a guiding condition had been introduced, which affected in the right direction a certain small percentage of the guesses made. That condition, if it existed, could be nothing else than the fact that, prior to the guess being made, a person in the neighbourhood of the guesser had concentrated his attention on the card drawn. Hence the results, so far as they go, make for the reality of the faculty of “mental suggestion.” The faculty, if present, was clearly only slightly developed; whence the necessity of experimenting on a very large scale before its genuine influence on the numbers could be even surmised. Out of 2,927 trials at guessing the suit of a card, drawn at random, and steadily looked at by another person, the actual number of successes was 789; the most probable number, had pure accident ruled, was 732. The total was made up of thirty-nine series of different lengths, in which eleven persons took part, M. Richet himself being in some cases the guesser, and in others the person who looked at the card. He observed that when a large number of trials were made at one sitting, the aptitude of both persons concerned seemed to be affected; it became harder for the “agent” to visualise, and the proportion of successes on the guesser’s part decreased. If we agree to reject from the above total all the series in which over 100 trials were consecutively made, the numbers become more striking.1 Out of {i-33} 1,833 trials, he then got 510 successes, the most probable number being only 458; that is to say, the actual number exceeds the most probable number by about 1/10. Clearly no definite conclusion could be based on such figures as the above. They at most contained a hint for more extended trials, but a hint, fortunately, which can be easily followed up. We are often asked by acquaintances what they can do to aid the progress of psychical research. These experiments suggest a most convenient answer; for they can be repeated, and a valuable contribution made to the great aggregate, by any two persons who have a pack of cards and a little perseverance.1 Up to the time that I write, we have received, in all, the results of 17 batches of trials in the guessing of suits. In 11 of the batches one person acted as agent and another as percipient throughout: the other 6 batches are the collective results of trials made by as many groups of friends. The total number of trials was 17,653, and the total number of successes was 4,760; which exceeds by 347 the number which was the most probable if chance alone acted. The probability afforded by this result for the action of a cause other than chance is ·999,999,98[☼]—or practical certainty.2 I need hardly say that there has been here no selection of results; all who undertook the trials were specially requested to send in their report, whatever the degree of success or unsuccess; and we have no reason to suppose that this direction has been ignored. It is thus an additional point of interest that in only one of the batches did the result fall below the number which was the most probable one for mere chance to give. And if we take only those batches, 10 in number, in which a couple of experimenters made as many as 1,000 trials and over, the probability of a cause other than chance which the group of results yields is estimated by one method to be ·999,999,999,96, and by another to be ·999,999,999,999,2.":

[note: I believe Dingwall may ave commentary on this in Abnormal Hypnotic Phenomena, if so, cite Dingwall's commentary in Abnormal Hypnotic Phenomena, may be supportive or skeptical, I don't have the book on me at present])

Gurney, Myers, & Podmore (1886). Phantasms of the Living. (

a defense of Phantasms of the Living is here

see also Williams (2011). Review and appraisal of Phantasms of the Living, for relevant analysis.

For follow-up work, see Podmore (1894). Apparitions and Thought Transference. , Podmore (1909). Telepathic hallucinations: the new view of ghosts, and Sidgwick (1923). Phantasms of the Living, pt. II)

Usher & Burt (1910). Quelques expériences de Transmission de la Pensée à grande distance

Coover (1917). Experiments in Psychical Research at Leland Stanford Junior University. (Rao & Palmer note, at the end of the 1987 Brain & Mind Sciences debate, "On to Hansel's specific points. Coover's results are in fact highly significant, if analyzed fairly (Thouless 1935; see also Coover 1939)." - Rao & Palmer are candid by referencing the skeptic Coover's attempted rebuttal of Thouless, however, Utts, in her 1991 article Replication and Meta-analysis in Parapsychology noted (p. 365), "One of the first American researchers to use statistical methods in parapsychology was John Edgar Coover, who was the Thomas Welton Stanford Psychical Research Fellow in the Psychology Department at Stanford University from 1912 to 1937 (Dommeyer, 1975). In 1917, Coover published a large volume summarizing his work (Coover, 1917). Coover believed that his results were consistent with chance, but others have argued that Coover's definition of significance was too strict (Dommeyer, 1975). For example, in one evaluation of his telepathy experiments, Coover found a two-tailed p-value of 0.0062. He concluded, "Since this value, then, lies within the field of chance deviation, although the probability of its occurrence by chance is fairly low, it cannot be accepted as a decisive indication of some cause beyond chance which operated in favor of success in guessing" (Coover, 1917, page 82). On the next page, he made it explicit that he would require a p-value of 0.0000221 to declare that something other than chance was operating."

Whateley Carington's overview of Early ESP Experiments and his book on telepathy contain some important commentary on this series and shows that there were serious pre-Rhine replications from which evidence could be adduced regardless of the researcher's prejudice - see especially his commentary on Troland, Usher and Burt, etc.:

Verrall (1918). Report on a Series of Experiments in "Guessing." (a dispute over whether or not these results could be explained by unconscious hyperaesthesia occurred in JSPR Volume 47. See also Sidgwick (). Report on Further Experiments in Thought-Transference Carried Out by Gilbert Murray, LL.D., LITT.D., Sidgwick (). Appendix II to Mrs. Sidgwick's Paper on Professor Murray's Experiments on Thought-Transference, Thouless (1925). Letter Regarding Murray's Experiments in Telepathy, and Dodds (1972). Gilbert Murray's Last Experiments)

Bender (1938). The Case of Ilga K: Report of a Phenomenon of Unusual Perception. (on the face of it, the results with this girl are absolute, incontrovertible evidence of telepathy. However, some experimenters found that hyperaesthesia could account for some of the results. In this paper, Bender argues that it cannot account for many of the results with her. He wrote a later paper on this - I don't have access to it - Bender, Hans (1940): Zur Nachuntersuchung des Falles Ilga K. In: Zeitschrift für angewandte Psychologie und Charakterkunde 58,5/6, S. 317-342 , which can be located here, but not read:

Schouten & Kelley (1978). On the Experiments of Brugmans, Heymans, and Weinberg. (In this experiment first presented in 1921, the selected subject, Van Dam, sat in a cubicle and make his selection of the target symbol, which the sender one floor above had randomly chosen, by reaching out and tapping at the appropriate symbol on a checker board. This paper demonstrates that C.E.M. Hansel misrepresented the Brugmans experiment, it also rebuts the critiques of Gardner Murphy and Samuel Soal. There was, later, a dispute about this experiment in the Zetetic Scholar Vol. 6, where John Beloff presented this experiment as one of the 7 items he believed provided convincing evidence for psi)

Pagenstecher (1922). Past Events Seership: A Study In Psychometry. (psychometry is a form of extra-sensory perception characterized by the claimed ability to make relevant associations from an object of unknown history by making physical contact with that object. This study replicates results in The Soul of things: Or, Psychometric Researches and Discoveries, and an overview of psychometry mentioning this and many other studies can be found in MAry Rose Barrington's 2016 SPR article on the subject. These results were further corroborated by Dr. J. Hettinger in his text The Ultra-Perceptive Faculty, summarized by G.N.M. Tyrell. Eric Dingwall criticized this later study by Hettinger, and further criticism was given by the skeptic Christopher Scott (Scott, C. (1949), 'Experimental object-reading: a critical review of the work of Dr J. Hettinger', Proc. S.P.R., 48, 16-50), but it is interesting in light of earlier results, and as such is suggestive for further research. John Beloff, in Parapsychology: A Concise History, pp. 97-98, wrote of the featured work: "Another German physician who discovered an outstanding clairvoyant subject was Gustav Pagenstecher. He had settled in Mexico city where he was a surgeon at the American Hospital. His subject, Maria Reyes de Zierold, knon in the literature as 'Señora de Z.' had been a patient of his, and her peculiar ability came to light only after he had hynotized her in an attempt to cure her of her insomnia! She excelled in what, in spiritualist parlance, is known as 'psychometry': an object of unknown provenance is held in the hand and the psychic attempts to produce relevant associations. Of course, if the object in question is a sealed letter, such 'psychometrizing' may approximate to a straightforward clairvoyant reading. Prince visited Pagenstecher in 1920 and carried out a study of this case. It proved a turning-point in his outlook. For example, he gave her a letter he had taken from an old file which she held between her hands while giving her associations. Subsequent association revealed that no less that 35 of 38 statements she had made concerning the author of the letter (a clergyman) proved to be literally correct.")

Dingwall (1922). An Experiment With the Polish Medium Stephan Ossowiecki. (In this account of the experiment, published in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, after ruling out any possibility of access to the contents of the envelope by normal means, Dingwall concluded, "The supernormal character of the incident seems to me quite clear and decisive." Regarding this experiment conjuring expert Harry Price, in Fifty Years of Psychical Research, pp. 41-42, the following: "It is a relief to turn from rather clever conjuring tricks to the really abnormal cognizance of the contents of a sealed package, a feat accomplished during my attendance at the Second International Congress for Psychical Research, held at Warsaw in August and September, 1923) by the Polish engineer, Stefan Ossowiecki. Dr. E. J. Dingwall, then research officer of the (British) S.P.R., also attended the Congress and took with him a sealed package, consisting of coloured opaque envelopes, in which were a message in French, a date, and crude drawings of a bottle and a flag. By merely holding the package, Ossowiecki correctly visualized the flag and the bottle, the colours of the envelopes, and the numerals of the date, though not in the order as written. Because he had himself prepared the drawing, etc., and in order to eliminate the possibility of telepathy, Dingwall did not attend the experiment, the result of which was cheered by those present, Baron Schrenck-Notzing rushing up to the medium and crying "Merci, merci, au nom de la science!"

Most of the skepticism regarding Ossowiecki is countered by Weaver on pp. 64-69 of the 2002 EJP article Poland: Home of Mediums. Weaver noted that the test of Dingwall was overlooked by critics, and supersedes their objections. Weaver wrote a text on Ossowiecki with Barrington and Stevenson entitled The World In A Grain of Sand: The Clairvoyance of Stefan Ossowiecki (McFarland & Company, Inc., 2005)

He was not omniscient, but did prove psi under controlled conditions, and as we can see from Appendix I of the aforementioned book on him, skeptical claims with regards to the work done with him by Poniatowski are misleading. Most of this work produced valid information (see especially experiments 9, 10, and 13, 14, and 15, highlighted in the text.

Most of his hits in the work with him were successful - Appendix II is devoted to this.

See also Besterman (1933). An Experiment in "Clairvoyance" With M. Stefan Ossowiecki. (Whereas the Dingwall paper is more proof oriented, this is more process-oriented. Stevenson, Weaver, and Barrington noted (p. 66) that Besterman's "choice of target was more process oriented than was Dingwall's, in that he sought answers to two questions, firstly, whether the medium, despite not knowing any English, perceived the meaning associated with the drawing of a bottle of ink with the words "Swan Ink" written on it; i.e., would he show any apprehension of the black swan trademark associated with those words, or would he show any apprehension of "swan" or "bird". Secondly, Besterman folded the paper so that one of these words was folded over on itself, while the other was not; a psychic operating by clairvoyance might be expected to have clearer sight of the unfolded word, on the principle that if you hold up to the light a paper on which a word is written and then folded over on itself, you would normally have great difficulty in deciphering the word." Hansel's dismissal of this experiment is refuted by text from the report - "I minutely examined the envelopes and found that with the exception of considerable wear and tear on the outer envelope, they were all intact. The private marks which I had made and which would have been inevitably disturbed on any attempt to open the envelopes, were all in order. I have no hesitation in saying that none of the envelopes was opened. I am also satisfied that no effort was made [...] to render the contents transparent by chemical means. The same is true of X-ray and similar methods.").

Warcollier (1922). La télépathie, recherches expérimentales. - (later published, along with other articles, as Mind to Mind - the theoretical contributions of this book are summarized here. My research has suggested that a conclusive analysis of this text may be found in ESP over distance: A survey of experiments published in English (K Osis - Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1965). However, I need to obtain that text before providing further commentary).

Osty (1923). Supernormal Faculties in Man: An Experimental Study. (Rhine, in ESP, p. 15, notes the importance of this book as an extension of earlier SPR case collection work. See also this review of early cases in psychometry, and the following 2005 review of the text itself. Alan Gaud, in Mediumship & Survival, noted that ". It would take an immense mass of erroneous material to outweigh Osty’s more remarkable cases, and a great deal of misrecording and misverification to undermine them. They receive some support from comparable findings by others (e.g. Pagenstecher, 117; Prince, 125c, 125e). And they have some curious and fascinating features. Consider, for example, the case I have just quoted. Can one possibly attribute the ‘hits’ to telepathy? The sensitive gave (as often happened) a sort of conspectus or précis of the subject’s life. One can hardly suppose that the subject herself was revolving such a précis in her mind and thus broadcasting it to the world. Nor can one plausibly suppose that the sensitive quickly scanned the memory-store of her distant subject and was immediately able to extract therefrom the series of general facts required—especially when one adds that in many cases this sort of conspectus was apparently continued into the future. Clairvoyance is not a possible explanation—it is not stated that the main facts of the subject’s life were anywhere recorded in physical form. It seems to me that what we have here does not (in most instances) suggest a telepathic cognizing of the subject’s memory-store; it suggests rather the direct acquisition (whatever that may mean) of propositional knowledge about the subject. If I understand Osty’s somewhat vague remarks aright, this is the sort of conclusion towards which he too is driven. He points out that the visions and images which pass before the minds of his sensitives cannot be regarded as perceptions of distant persons, scenes, etc. They are often symbolic in form; and the same piece of information can present itself to the same sensitive in numerous different guises. It is as though what the sensitive grasps is on a conceptual level, a level of propositional or factual knowledge, which she then translates into the language of sensory imagery (cf. 162b; also 44d and 44e, pp. 617–618). I am not sure that this sort of knowledge-acquisition fits into the conventional categories of ESP at all. The knowledge is, one may note, knowledge primarily about people and thus differs markedly from the ‘knowledge’ which it is hoped that e.g. subjects in card-guessing experiments will display.")

Gradenwitz (1924). Experimental Telepathy (also here). (Scientific American 130, 304 - 305. Upton Sinclair noted, in "Mental Radio" (given below), "As this book is going to the printer, my attention is called to the fact that Dr. Carl Bruck of Berlin has published a book entitled "Experimentelle Telepathie," in which he reports a series of tests closely resembling those here described. The main difference is that he used hypnotized subjects, four different young men, as the recipients of his telepathic messages. He made drawings at home, and locked them in a large portfolio, which he placed in an adjoining room from the subject, two or three yards distant through a wall. He himself sat in front of the hypnotized subject, and concentrated upon "sending" one of the drawings. Under these conditions, in a total of 111 experiments, one-third were successful. The Berlin correspondent of the "Scientific American" reported these tests in the issue of May, 1924, where those interested may read the details, and inspect twelve of the drawings. The tests were conducted in the presence of various physicians and scientists; and I am interested in a recent comment on the matter by a German physician living in Mexico City: "Bruck's work has gone almost wholly unnoticed."")

Estabrooks (1927). A Contribution to Experimental Telepathy. (cited as evidential in light of Whateley Carington's commentary: see also Carington's overview of past evidential studies in JSPR Volume 30 pp. 298-308)

Rhine (1934). Telepathy and clairvoyance in the normal and trance states of a medium (in Character and Personality, 3, 91-111) (Tests with Eileen Garrett. As Harry Price notes above, in his 1939 overview of ESP work, Soal's results with Garrett were less impressive than Rhine's. Dean Radin commented on this as follows: "I found in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research (1938-1939), "A repetition of Dr. J. B Rhine's work with Mrs. Eileen Garrett," by S. G. Soal. Soal reports that the total number of trials was 12,425, of which 7,425 were in a telepathy mode with 1,535 hits, and 5,000 in a clairvoyance mode with 980 hits. The former gives an overall p = value of 0.07 and the latter p = 0.76. Thus, Soal was correct that overall this is not a very impressive performance.

In that same article Soal reports Rhine's (1934) experiments with Garrett. He reports for telepathy 625 trials (336 hits) for a wildly successful outcome, and for clairvoyance 3,525 trials and 888 hits, again for results more than 7 sigma from chance.

Later publications have both Soal and Rhine puzzling over the differences in their results. Both were keenly aware of critiques about sensory leakage and other cues, misrecorded data, and etc. These loopholes were reportedly closed, so Rhine's spectacular results did not appear to be due to obvious errors.")

Sinclair (1930). Mental Radio. (attempts to attack this piece by people like Martin Gardner are refuted by consideration of the article of Walter Franklin Prince in an addendum to that text. Regarding Mcdougall's less than spectacular results in this case, WF Prince has relevant commentary. Harry Price, in his aforementioned chapter from Fifty Years of Psychical Research entitled The Story of ESP, stated, "Other tests carried out in the United States were those staged by the Scientific American in 1933 and 1934, with readers as percipients. Results were negative." Hopefully someone interested in process oriented work will make a review of both the Sinclair and Scientific American work and reveal the causes of the discrepancy.

Critics have also misrepresented the Wilkins and Sherman experiment Thoughts Through Space (Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads, 2004. Originally published in 1951 by C & R Anthony, Inc). Radin, in Entangled Minds (Pocket Books, 2006), on pp. 70-72, wrote a corrective summary, "Just before the Second World War erupted, Sir Herbert Wilkins and Harold Sherman conducted a remarkable long-distance experiment in clairvoyance. Wilkins was an Australian photographer and naturalist who gained fame for exploring the world in aeroplanes and submarines. Sherman was a popular author and playwright with a long-term interest in psychic phenomena. The experiment was sparked by the loss of a Russian plane somewhere in the Arctic off the coast of Canada. Given Wilkins knowledge of the Arctic and his piloting skills, he was asked by the Russian government to see if he could find the missing plane. He agreed, and Wilkins and Sherman decided to use this opportunity to see if Sherman could "tune in" to Wilkins at a distance. On a daily basis, Sherman used clairvoyance to "see" what was happening to Wilkins and his team. Wilkins, in turn, kept a daily log of each day's events, which was later compared against Sherman's perceptions.

Intercontinental communication was sporadic at best in 1938, and communication with Wilkins, who was usually flying a small plane off the coast of Alaska, was impossible. Weeks would often pass from the time when Wilkins wrote his daily reports to when they were received in New York City. To ensure that the experiment was conducted fairly, each day Sherman deposited copies of his nightly impressions to third-party witnesses, all of whom later attested that the recordings were in their hands before Wilkins's [sic] log was received.

As an example of the similarities in their reports, on November 30, 1938, Wilkins and his team were in Aklavik, in the Canadian Northwest Territories. This was the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the winter, above the Arctic Circle. Within the small settlement of Aklavik, at one point Wilkins and his men were invited to attend a party at the local hospital. They did so, and later that evening two of his crew went to the basement where they were surprised to find Ping-Pong tables. They played Ping-Pong with some nurses and had a grand time.

That evening in New York City, some 3000 miles away, Sherman recorded his nightly clairvoyant vision as follows: "I received a strong impression of 'Ping-Pong balls,' for some reason, and found myself writing: "sudden flash of Ping-Pong - is there table in town where people play? Can't account for this unusual impression. ..." Wilkins later noted, after reading Sherman's impressions of this day, that "[Sherman] would have hardly guessed that we would be playing Ping-Pong in the Arctic." Dozens of such correspondences are described in their book.")

(Of the Warcollier and Sinclair items, Adrian Parker noted, in his Compendium of Evidence for Psi, "these would be deficient by modern standards, which require additional controls especially concerning the random selection of target. However, since they usually allow the reader to make an assessment of the complete series from which targets have been represented, it must be said some of the results are extremely impressive and the conditions for success described there may be instructive for process research." However, Parker notes that "those of Whatley Carington can be considered the most controlled and some of these do appear to fulfill the modern safeguards and requirements". He cites the experiment given below.)

Carington (1941). Experiments on the paranormal cognition of drawings. (C.D. Broad and R.H. Thouless were very critical of Whately Carington's word association tests with Gladys Osborne Leonard. However, as Broad noted in his introduction to this work, this experiment, conducted after the word-association tests, was vetted both by Thouless and himself, and Broad had very positive comments about it.)

Rhine & Pratt (1954). A Review of the Pearce-Pratt Distance Series of ESP Tests.

Pratt & Woodruff (1939). Size of stimulus symbols in extrasensory perception. (see also Pratt (1976). New Evidence Supporting the ESP Interpretation of the Pratt-Woodruff experiment - Hansel does not cite this later item in "the Search for Psychic Power" (1989), though it is the last item mentioned by Gerd Hövelmann in his overview of relevant literature)

Pratt (1973). Decade of Research With a Selected ESP Subject: An Overview and Reappraisal of the work with Pavel Stepanek. (Proceedings of the American Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 30, Sept. 1973, which notes egregious misrepresentations by CEM Hansel - will later provide information concerning a dispute in Nature preceding this text).

Targ & Puthoff (1974). Information transmission under conditions of sensory shielding. (I will wait several years before appraising any of this because more literature might come out. I will merely begin by stating that on the first part of this paper, Hansen, in his aforementioned 1992 article CSICOP and the Skeptics: An Overview, p. 47n25, stated: "Randi’s antics should have come as no surprise to members of CSICOP because he has engaged in similar behavior in relation to psi research. Krippner (1977), Rao (1984), Targ and Puthoff (1977, pp. 182-186), and Tart (1982b) have all documented glaring errors of Randi. Dennis Stillings has demonstrated that “Randi is capable of gross distortion of facts” (Truzzi, 1987, p. 89). Randi has been quoted as saying, “I always have an out” with regard to his $10,000 challenge (Rawlins, 1981, p. 89). Puthoff and Targ (1977) documented a number of mistakes. In a published, handwritten, signed letter, Randi replied offering $1,000 if any claimed error could be demonstrated (see Fuller, 1979). Fuller proved Randi wrong. In a rejoinder to Puthoff and Targ (1977), Randi reversed himself (for a clear example, see point number 15 in Randi, 1982, p. 223). Randi should have paid the $1,000, but he never did."

however, a critical contradiction showing that Geller would cheat when he could comes from David Marks - see David Marks. (1986). Investigating the paranormal. Nature 320: 121-124.

It is difficult to proceed further pending an appraisal of relevant source literature. I will provide an overview of the relevant ones, in lieu of an appraisal: See first Marks' 1978 paper "Informaton Transmission in Remote Viewing Experiments" and Tart's paper of the same name (Nature. Vol. 284. No. 5752. p 19 1. March 13 1980 cite further exchange Tart, Puthoff, & Targ (1980). Information transfer in Remote Viewing Experiments, Marks (1981). Sensory cues Invalidate Remote Viewing Experiments, Puthoff & Targ (1981). Rebuttal of Criticisms of Remote Viewing Experiments, and the following paper which does not cite the Targ 1981 paper Marks (1986). Remote Viewing Exposed. (for rebuttal to this paper, see pp. 210-212 of the aforementioned thesis Is Physicalism "Really" True?, a concluding excerpt states, "Though seriously flawed, the Marks/Kamman analysis was an important contribution to remote viewing research. Even before this objection became known some experimenters had recognized the problem and were taking care to check their raw data for inadvertent clues prior to judging. But once the Marks/Kamman critique was published, those safeguards quickly became standard procedure for all responsibly done remote viewing research.") Cite aforementioned thesis "Is Physicalism really True", Palmer's 1985 paper, and this:, on Price, as regards remote viewing. Palmer may write a forthcoming paper in the JP.

Regarding Puthoff & Targ (1976). A perceptual channel for information transfer over kilometer distance: Historical perspective and recent research, Make use of the thesis "Is Physicalism Really True", then John Palmer's 1985 article in evaluating Hammid series,

(((see what can be gleaned from Child's Advances in Parapsychology 5 article)))

follow up- work from SRI experiments is described in Targ (1994). Remote viewing replication evaluated by concept analysis

Smith noted (p. 199) that "Other attempted but failed replications and quasi-replications of the Puthoff/Targ model include Rauscher, et al (1976), Allen, et al (1976); and Solfving, et al (1978). However, each of these showed noteworthy departures from the general Puthoff/Targ format, either due to design, or error." However, apparent confirmation comes from the following re-analysis of Allen, et al (1976), in Targ & Morris (1982). Note on a Re-Analysis of the UCSB Remote Viewing Experiments.

further work appeared in Schlitz & Gruber (1980). Transcontinental Remote Viewing. (cf. Schlitz & Gruber (1981). Transcontinental Remote Viewing: A Rejudging. (Alcock and Palmer criticize this, but even Alcock spoke more positively about the subsequent study:, in which the problems in this one were eliminated)

Schlitz & Haight (1984). Remote Viewing Revisited: An Intrasubject Replication.

Palmer's review of Alcock's "Science and Supernature" in the Journal of Parapsychology (JP) contains the statement "Although frequently citing my criticisms of psi experiments, Alcock mostly ignores my criticisms of the critiques of these experiments and other remarks favorable to the pro-psi viewpoint. In the remote-viewing section, for example, he leaves out my point that the SRI remote-viewing experiments remained significant when reanalyzed by more appropriate statistical techniques. He also ignores my methodological criticisms of the unsuccessful remote-viewing experiments of Karnes, a critic."

Smith in his thesis "Is Physicalism Really True?" provides detailed critical analysis of the Karnes experiments. On p. 201, he concluded, "These latter attempted replications and the three involving Karnes are often cited as persuasive evidence against remote viewing, but as can be seen, their value in that regard is at best questionable."

On pp. 190-191, Smith noted that "Altogether, as of 1984 a review of remote viewing experiments in the civilian community found 28 published studies, of which more than half (15) were significant at p = 0.05 or better (where only 1 in 20 significant experiments would be expected at most by chance). Also, 18 unpublished studies were found, 8 of which reported statistical significance. (Hansen, Schlitz, and Tart, 1984)"

There was a dispute concerning the remote viewing experiments in the Princeton Anomalies Research Laboratory, on which see Hansen, Utts, & Markwick (1992). Critique of the PEAR Remote Viewing Experiments vs. Dobyns, Dunne, Jahn, & Nelson (1992). Response to Hansen, Utts, and Markwick: Statistical and Methodological Problems of the PEAR Remote Viewing (sic) Experiments.

Concerning United states STARGATE program psychic spying using remote viewers, we can see the following dispute Utts (1995). An Assessment of the Evidence for Psychic Functioning. (see also Hyman (1995). Evaluation of a Program on Anomalous Mental Phenomena, and Utts (1996). Response to Ray Hyman's Report)

There was a dispute between Edwin May and Richard Wiseman concerning "Experiment One of the SAIC Remote Viewing Program" in the Journal of Parapsychology in 1999.

As I noted previously, the American Institutes for Research (1995). An Evaluation of Remote Viewing: Research and Applications, contains the problematic commentary: "remote viewers and project managers reported that remote viewing reports were changed to make them consistent with know background cues. While this was appropriate in that situation, it makes it impossible to interpret the role of the paranormal phenomena independently. Also, it raises some doubts about some well-publicized cases of dramatic hits, which, if taken at face value, could not easily be attributed to background cues. In at least some of these cases, there is reason to suspect, based on both subsequent investigations and the viewers' statement that reports had been "changed" by previous program managers, that substantially more background information was available than one might at first assume."

Commentary by Jimmy Carter refutes the assertion that no valuable intelligence was gained from this work:

For a refutation of part of this report, see May (1996). The American Institutes for Research Review of the Department of Defense's STAR GATE Program: A Commentary

May has further critical commentary regarding AIR - if you get his new "Anomalous Cognition" book, you will see a footnote to that article as reprinted in the book providing information revealing that the AIR investigation was essentially fraudulent. I await his book on STARGATE before making further commentary, but for now, one can consult Srinivasan (2002). Clairvoyant remote viewing: The US sponsored psychic spying.

Allegedly negative remote viewing research by the United Kingdom Government was not entirely negative p. 105 of this overview: notes that "the majority of subjects failed to access the target in any degree. In 28% of the sessions there was "May have accessed some feature of the target"

Positve results were obtained in Persinger et al (2002). Remote viewing with the artist Ingo Swann: neuropsychological profile, electroencephalographic correlates, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and possible mechanisms).

Eisenberg & Donderi (1979). Telepathic transfer of emotional information in humans.

Stanford and Stein (1994). A Meta-Analysis of ESP Studies Contrasting Hypnosis and A Comparison Condition.

Playfair (1999). Identical Twins and Telepathy.

Child (1985). Psychology and Anomalous Observations: The Question of ESP in Dreams (makes the case for the Maimonides Dream Telepathy Experiments, and notes the misrepresentations of Hansel, Alcock, and Zusne and Jones, of these experiments - see also Van de Castle (1989). ESP in Dreams: Comments on a Replication "Failure" by the "Failing" Subject, where Van de Castle notes that this replication "failure" of Edward Belvedere and David Foulkes diverged significantly from the original experiments in that there was a lack of contrast among targets, making the judging process more difficult. He also noted that critics like Hansel, via distorting the facts, used this replication failure as evidence against the Maimoinides experiments, when such a position was unjustified.

Then see Sherwood & Roe (2003). A Review of Dream ESP Studies Conducted Since the Maimonides Dream ESP Programme (appraises attempted post-Maimonides Dream Telepathy replications, notes (pp. 92-93) that the experiments of Edward Belvedere and David Foulkes cannot be considered exact attempts to replicate because of important differences in experimental procedure. The document also notes (p. 104) that "When the study effect sizes are combined for the Maimonides (r = 0.33, 95% C.I. 0.24 to 0.43) and post-Maimonides studies (r = 0.14, 95% C.I. 0.06 to 0.22) respectively, we can see that performance was better than chance with medium and small effect sizes. We can be 95% confident that the true effect size is positive and therefore better than chance expectations for both sets of studies. The Maimonides studies were significantly more successful than the post-Maimonides studies in terms of effect size (t = 2.14, df = 34, p = 0.04, two-tailed), although there are a number of differences between the two sets of studies that may have contributed to this. A meta-analysis of the studies that involves coding of the presence/absence or quality of particular features is needed to see whether the effect size covaries with particular variables."

In Sherwood, S.J., & Roe, C.A. (2013). An undated review of dream ESP studies conducted since the Maimonides dream ESP program. In S. Krippner et al. (Eds.), Advances in Parapsychological Research (vol. 9, pp, 38-81)., we find that “When the study effect sizes are combined for the Maimonides and updated post-Maimonides studies, we can see that performance was better than chance with medium and small effect sizes, respectively."

Prior to this, Richard Broughton had noted in Parapsychology: The Controversial Science (Ballantine Books, 1991), p. 98: "In 1988, Alan Vaughan, one of the participants in the dream project, and Jessica Utts, a University of California Statistician, did an appraisal of the entire project. Using the Maimoinides definition of a hit as a mean ranking by the judges that fell in the upper half of the possible range, Vaughan and Utts found there were a total of 233 hits in 379 trials, or an accuracy rate of 83.5 percent (where chance would be 50 percent). The odds against chance for this are better than a quarter of a million-to-one."

see also Smith (2013). Can Healthy, Young Adults Uncover Personal Details Of Unknown Target Individuals In Their Dreams?, Paquette (2011). A New Approach to Veridicality in Dream ESP Studies, and Mayer (2001). ON “TELEPATHIC DREAMS?”: AN UNPUBLISHED PAPER BY ROBERT J. STOLLER)

Sheldrake & Smart (2000). Testing a return-anticipating dog, Kane. (see also Sheldrake & Smart (2000). A dog that seems to know when his owner to coming home: Videotaped experiments and observations.)

Sheldrake & Morgana (2003). Testing a language-using parrot for telepathy.

Sheldrake & Smart (2003). Videotaped experiments on telephone telepathy. (see also Sheldrake (2014). Telepathy in Connection with Telephone Calls, Text Messages and Emails.)

Williams (2014). Empirical Examinations of the Reported Abilities of a Psychic Claimant: A Review of Experiments and Explorations with Sean Harribance (in Evidence for Psi: Thirteen Empirical Research Reports (McFarland, Nov 5, 2014) edited by Damien Broderick and Ben Goertzel. This person has associated with him a very high number of positive replication studies concerning psychic ability, also, from his site: "The following predictions were the published predictions selected for the statistical study in the book, Sean Harribance: A Psychic Predicts the Future. The prediction was made between January 1986 and August 1993, and was published in a newspaper, or made during an interview with Sean on television or radio, or made in a telegram that was sent and of which a copy is on record. Using a simple statistical model, there is one chance in 40,000,000 (40 million) that Sean was right 72 or more times out of 93 just accidentally. In other words, that chance alone was operating, has a very, very small probability.")

Ertel (2014). Assessing Psi Ability Via the Ball Selection Test: A Challenge for Psychometrics (see also Ertel (2010). Psi In A Skeptic's Lab: A Successful Replication of Ertel's Ball Test, which deals with positive results from graduate students under the supervision of the skeptic Chris French, the abstract of which reads: "In the Ball Selection Test for assessing psi, ping pong balls are drawn blindly from an opaque bag one at a time with replacement. Each ball has an integer from 1-5 and red or green dots marked on it, thereby producing 10 distinct alternatives. On each trial, a participant jumbles the balls, and attempts to guess both the number and the dot color on the ball prior to pulling it out of the bag. Because the 10 ball types are equally represented in the bag, the probability of correctly guessing both the number and the dot color by chance is 10%. In the full protocol, participants first test themselves at home without supervision. Those who score significantly above chance are then retested in the laboratory under an experimenter's supervision. In an experiment by the author with participants of the Georg-Elias-Müller Institute (GEMI), 47 participants achieved a hit rate of 11.6% in the at-home phase of the study, p = 1014 by a one-tailed binomial test; nine selected participants retested in the laboratory achieved a hit rate of 17.3% (p = 1050). A replication of the laboratory procedure was conducted by two graduating students working under the guidance of a skeptical professor at the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit (APRU) at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Their 40 unselected APRU participants achieved a hit rate of 10.75, which was very significant by a binomial test (p =.002) and p =.0003 by summed Z2 values. The lower hit rate of the APRU participants compared with GEMI participants was significant (p =.02) and predicted. It is argued that this low-tech testing procedure is less monotonous and more psi-conducive than conventional multiple choice procedures for testing psi.")

[Ganzfeld Arguments require a great detail of analysis, see list of sources here for now:]

But here are some sources:

Bem (1994). Response to Hyman. (Hyman, in 2007, regurgitated his criticism of the Bem and Honorton results that had already been refuted in this paper. He wrote, "The most suspicious pattern was the fact that the hit rate for a given target increased with the frequency of occurrence of that target in the experiment. The hit rate for the targets that occurred only once was right at the chance expectation of 25%. For targets that appeared twice the hit rate crept up to 28%. For those that occurred three times it was 38%, and for those targets that occurred six or more times, the hit rate was 52%. Each time a videotape is played its quality can degrade. It is plausible then, that when a frequently used clip is the target for a given session, it may be physically distinguishable from the other three decoy clips that are presented to the subject for judging. Surprisingly, the parapsychological community has not taken this finding seriously. They still include the autoganzfeld series in their meta-analyses and treat it as convincing evidence for the reality of psi." (Ray Hyman. Evaluating Parapsychological Claims in Robert J. Sternberg, Henry L. Roediger, Diane F. Halpern. (2007). Critical Thinking in Psychology. Cambridge University Press. pp. 216-231.)

But this concern had already been dealt with in this paper - as follows (p. 27): "Higher repetitions of a target necessarily occur later in the sequence than lower repetitions. In turn, the chronological sequence of sessions is confounded with several other variables, including more experienced experimenters, more “talented” receivers (e.g., Juilliard students and receivers being retested because of earlier successes), and methodological refinements introduced in the course of the program in an effort to enhance psi performance (e.g., experimenter “prompting”). Again, Hyman’s major concern is that this pattern might reflect an interaction between inadequate target randomization and possible response biases on the part of those receivers or experimenters who encounter the same judging set more than once. This seems highly unlikely. In the entire database, only 8 subjects saw the same judging set twice, and none of them performed better on the repetition than on the initial session. Similar arithmetic applies to experimenters: On average, each of the eight experimenters encountered a given judging set only 1.03 times. The worst case is an experimenter who encountered the same judging set 6 times over the 6 1/2 years of the program. These six sessions yielded three hits, two of them in the first two sessions.")

Bierman (1999). The PRL Autoganzfeld Revisited: Refuting the Sound-Leakage Hypothesis.

Bem, Palmer, & Broughton (2001). Updating the Ganzfeld Database: A Victim of its own Success?

Radin (2007). Finding Or Imagining Flawed Research?

Storm et al (2010). Meta-Analysis of Free-Response Studies, 1992–2008: Assessing the Noise Reduction Model in Parapsychology

Distant intentional healing, including intercessory prayer[edit]

Parapsychology Foundation (undated). PF Bibliography No. 22: Healing

Elliotson (1848). Cure of a true cancer of the female breast with mesmerism.

Loehr (1959). The Power of prayer on plants.

Byrd (1988). Positive therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer in a coronary care unit population.

Benor (1995). Spiritual healing: A unifying influence in complementary therapies.

Harris et al (1999). A randomized, controlled trial of the effects of remote, intercessory prayer on outcomes in patients admitted to the coronary care unit.

Dossey (1999). Prayer and Medical Science: A Commentary on the Prayer Study by Harris et al and a Response to Critics

Astin et al (2000). The Efficacy of “Distant Healing”: A Systematic Review of Randomized Trials

Bengston (2000). The Effect of the 'Laying On of Hands' on Transplanted Breast Cancer in Mice

Haid et al (2001). Modulation of germination and growth of plants by meditation.

Leibovici (2001). Effects of remote, retroactive intercessory prayer on outcomes in patients with bloodstream infection: randomised controlled trial

Krucoff et al (2001).Integrative noetic therapies as adjuncts to percutaneous intervention during unstable coronary syndromes: Monitoring and Actualization of Noetic Training (MANTRA) feasibility pilot

Braud (2003). Distant Mental Influence: Chapter 9: Empirical Studies of Prayer, Distant Healing, and Remote Mental Influence

Radin et al (2004). Possible effects of healing intention on cell cultures and truly random events.

Krucoff et al (2005). Music, imagery, touch, and prayer as adjuncts to interventional cardiac care: the Monitoring and Actualisation of Noetic Trainings (MANTRA) II randomised study

Benson et al (2006). Study of the therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients

Masters & Spielmans (2007). Prayer and Health: Review, Meta-Analysis, and Research Agenda

Hodge (2007). A Systematic Review of the Empirical Literature on Intercessory Prayer.

Radin et al (2008). Compassionate intention as a therapeutic intervention by partners of cancer patients: Effects of distant intention on the patients’ autonomic nervous system.

Schlitz et al (2012). Distant healing of surgical wounds: An exploratory study.

Physiological influences at a distance, including distant EEG correlations[edit]

Duane & Behrendt (1965). Extrasensory electroencephalographic induction between identical twins.

Grinberg-Zylberbaum et al (1994). The Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Paradox in the Brain: The transferred potential

Wiseman & Schlitz (1997). Experimenter effects and the remote detection of staring.

Standish et al (2003). Evidence of correlated functional magnetic resonance imaging signals between distant human brains.

Wackermann et al (2003). Correlations between brain electrical activities of two spatially separated human subjects

Schmidt et al (2004). Distant intentionality and the feeling of being stared at: Two meta-analyses

Radin (2004). Event related EEG correlations between isolated human subjects.

Standish et al (2004). Electroencephalographic evidence of correlated event-related signals between the brains of spatially and sensory isolated human subjects

Richards et al (2005). Replicable functional magnetic resonance imaging evidence of correlated brain signals between physically and sensory isolated subjects.

Achterberg et al (2005). Evidence for correlations between distant intentionality and brain function in recipients: A functional magnetic resonance imaging analysis

Radin (2005). The sense of being stared at: A preliminary meta-analysis.

Radin & Schlitz (2005). Gut feelings, intuition, and emotions: An exploratory study.

Schlitz et al (2006). Of two minds: Skeptic-proponent collaboration within parapsychology.

Sheldrake & Smart (2008). Investigating Scopesthesia: Attentional Transitions, Controls and Error Rates in Repeated Tests.

Moulton & Kosslyn (2008). Using neuroimaging to resolve the psi debate.

Ambach (2008). Correlations between the EEGs of two spatially separated subjects − a replication study.

Hinterberger (2010). Searching for neuronal markers of psi: A summary of three studies measuring electrophysiology in distant participants.

Dotta et al (2011). Photon emissions from human brain and cell culture exposed to distally rotating magnetic fields shared by separate light-stimulated brains and cells.

Dotta & Persinger (2012). “Doubling” of local photon emissions when two simultaneous, spatially-separated, chemiluminescent reactions share the same magnetic field configurations

Schmidt (2012). Can we help just by good intentions? A meta-analysis of experiments on distant intention effects

Jensen & Parker (2012). Entangled in the womb? A pilot study on the possible physiological connectedness between identical twins with different embryonic backgrounds.

Scott & Persinger (2013). Cerebral Activity and Source Profiles Accompanying the Process of Non-Locality.

Parker & Jensen (2013). Further possible physiological connectedness between identical twins: The London study.

Acunzo et al (2013). Anomalous experiences, psi and functional neuroimaging.

Survival of consciousness after bodily death, including mediumship studies[edit]

Moreira-Almeida (2006). Review of "Is There Life After Death: An Examination of the Empirical Evidence" by David Lester (this review of an antagonist's text, in the Journal of Near-Death Studies, provides, in its brief counter to antagonist talking points, a useful introduction to the proponents' case)

Williams (undated). Scientific Evidence Supporting Near-Death Experiences and the Afterlife (useful preliminary overview. One uncommon criticism is that people undergoing these experiences have brought back no useful contributions to the advancement of human knowledge. Refutation of that contention is provided).

Williams (undated). Out of the Body and Into the Lab.

Williams et al (undated). Apparitional Experiences: A Primer on Parapsychological Research and Perspectives

Betty (undated). The World of Spirit According to Psychical Research.

James (1898). Human immortality; two supposed objections to the doctrine

Beloff (1994). Minds and Machines: A Radical Dualist Perspective.

Grossman (2012). Who’s Afraid of Life After Death?

Carter (2006). Does Consciousness depend on the Brain?

Augustine (2006). A Critique of "Does Consciousness Depend on the Brain?" by Keith Augustine

Carter (2006). Rebuttal to Keith Augustine's attack of "Does Consciousness depend on the Brain?"

Koksvik (2006). In Defence of Interactionism.

Araujo (2012). Materialism’s Eternal Return: Recurrent Patterns of Materialistic Explanations of Mental Phenomena.

Almeder (2012). The Major Objections from Reductive Materialism Against Belief in the Existence of Cartesian Mind–Body Dualism

Alvarado (2012). Psychic Phenomena and the Mind–Body Problem: Historical Notes on a Neglected Conceptual Tradition.

Ishida (2010). Rebuttal to Claimed Refutations of Duncan MacDougall's Experiment on Human Weight Change at the Moment of Death

Myers (1903). Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death.

Lodge (1908/1920). The Survival of Man: A Study in Unrecognized Human Faculty (best considered a supplement to the Myers work)

Carrington & Meader (1912). Death: its causes and phenomena (best considered a supplement to the Myers work)

Barrett (1917). On the Threshold of the Unseen. (best considered a supplement to the Myers work)

Flammarion (1922). Death and Its Mystery - Vol. I: Before Death, Vol. II: At the Moment of Death, Vol. III: After Death (best considered a supplement to the Myers work)

Baird (1944). One Hundred Cases for Survival After Death (very useful summary)

Hart & Hart (). Visions and Apparitions Collectively and Reciprocally Perceived.

Hart (1956). Six Theories About Apparitions.

Salter (1961). Zoar, or the Evidence of Psychical Research Concerning Survival

Ducasse (1961). A Critical Examination of the Belief in a Life After Death.

Stevenson (1982). The Contribution of Apparitions to the Evidence for Survival.

Alvarado & Zingrone (1997). Characteristics of Hauntings With and Without Apparitions: An Analysis of Published Cases.

Roll (2006). A Discussion of the Evidence that Personal Consciousness Persists After Death with Special Reference to Poltergeist Phenomena.

Williams (2013). Deathbed Phantasms: Mere Terminal Hallucinations, or Harbingers of the Afterlife?

Cobbe (1882). The Peak in Darien.

Myers (1892). On Indications of Continued Terrene Knowledge on the part of Phantasms of the Dead.

Bozzanno (1906). Apparitions of Deceased Persons at Death Beds.

Hyslop (1907). Visions of the Dying.

Barrett (1926). Death-Bed Visions - The Psychical Experiences of the Dying

Osis (1961). Deathbed Observations of Physicians and Nurses. (This, and a subsequent study (Osis & Haraldsson (1977). Deathbed observations of physicians and nurses: A cross-cultural study. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 71, 237-59.), provided the nucleus for what evolved into the book on death bed visions by Osis and Haraldsson, "At the Hour of Death".

"At the Hour of Death" is made to appear, in a misleading "review" by Paul Kurtz, as if it covered idiosyncratic, subjective culturally modulated deathbed visions, when in reality it described an underlying unity of features of the experience - Osis and Haraldsson wrote, in that text (White Crow Books, 2012),

p. 184: "When the dying see apparitions, they are nearly always experienced as messengers from a postmortem mode of existence."

p. 184-185: "The pilot survey revealed the most dramatic characteristic of deathbed apparitions: the ostensible intent to take the patient away to the other world. This was again found to be the dominantly stated purpose of the apparitions of the dying, as well as of come-back cases, in both American and Indian cultures. The apparitions seem to show a will of their own, instead of expressing the desires and inner dynamics of the patients."

p. 185, "Nearly all the American patients, and two-thirds of the Indian patients, were ready to go after having seen otherworldly apparitions with a take-away purpose. Encounters with ostensible messengers from the other world seemed to be so gratifying that the value of this life was easily outweighed." they then get to the reasons some Indians did not go, due to cultural conditioning, but that shaped the subjective ego of the experiencer, not the experience. They do discuss som moderate shaping if the experience, but this is minor when compared to the underlying unity.

On p. 190, the phenomena describing the underlying cross-cultural nature of the experience are listed in a chart. On p. 191, the authors state, "One can easily see the similarities outweighed the differences by a wide margin [...] In our judgement, the similarities between the core phenomena found in the deathbed visions of both countries are clear enough to be considered as supportive of the postmortem survival hypothesis."

Continuing on p. 191, "We found another source of evidence: The phenomena within each culture often do not conform with religious afterlife beliefs. The patients see something new, unexpected, and contrary to their beliefs. Christian ideas of "judgement," "salvation," and "redemption" were not mirrored in the visions of our American patients. Furthermore, while we had many reports about visions of Heaven, visions of Hell and Devils were almost totally absent. The afterlife figures and environments experienced by Christians were entirely of a benign and pleasing nature. Several basic Hindu ideas of an afterlife were never portrayed in the visions of Indian patients. The various Vedic "loci" of an afterlife-Hindu Heaven-were never mentioned. Nor were reincarnation and dissolution in Brahma, the formless aspect of God which is the goal of Indian spiritual striving. The concept of Karma-accumulation of merits and demerits-may have been vaguely suggested by reports of a "white-robed man with a book of accounts." In both cultures, the visionary contact with deities and other religious figures seemed to be gratifying and value-fulfilling. With the exception of some Indian Yamdoots, the white-robed figures seem to have had an aura of numinous qualities about them. We reached the impression that cultural conditioning by Christian and Hindu teaching is, in part, contradicted in the visionary experiences of the dying. It seems to us that besides symbolizations based on inculcated beliefs, terminal patients do "see" something that is unexpected, untaught, and a complete surprise to them."

A complementary text, revealing the underlying unity of disparate mediumistic communications about afterlife conditions is The Supreme Adventure by Robert Crookall, which I recommend students of the subject obtain immediately, prior to pursing further research in it.

Regarding the main criticisms of the Osis and Haraldsson book, Zingrone noted, "If one reads the articles Alcock published before 1981, it is obvious that Alcock does not see anecdote as proper scientific evidence. This is a common stance in science in general, and in psychical research and parapsychology as well. It is not at all unreasonable (e.g., Thouless, 1969, 1972), even though some of us would argue that close study of anecdotal material can be very fruitful, scientifically-speaking. A reading of Alcock’s review of parapsychology as a science that appeared in an early issue of Skeptical Inquirer (Alcock, 1979) underscores his rejection of anecdote as evidence. In this review, Alcock criticised Osis and Haraldsson’s (1977a) summary of the evidence for survival provided by their death-bed vision research. In their book, At The Hour of Death, Osis and Haraldsson (1977b) presented the results of Osis’s pilot study and their own extensive replication of survey and interview research conducted with doctors and nurses in the US and in India. In their studies, Osis and Haraldsson had asked respondents if they had ever observed dying patients, if within this set of observations they had ever observed behaviours that seemed to indicate that the patient had experienced a death-bed vision, and if so, to describe that experience as they observed it.5 Osis and Haraldsson also sought experiences in which patients had recounted such a death-bed vision to the respondents as well as experiences in which the doctors or nurses themselves witnessed something around the dying patient which seemed to them to be indicative of such an experience, even if the patient did not report such an experience personally.

Setting aside the fact that the research was based on a survey which is certainly an acceptable method of research, and setting aside the fact that the anecdotes, albeit second-hand, were gathered systematically from credible witnesses first as reports and then through follow-up elaborative interviews, Alcock (1979) says: “However, can we have any confidence in the veridicality of thepatients’ reports? The authors in this case didn’t even interview the patients ... . [Osis and Haraldsson] ... argue that these trained observers are likely to be more accurate in their accounts of what the patients reported than would be the patients themselves. This is difficult to accept, of course, since what they were really doing was asking for anecdotal reports about the observer’s impressions of what a patient was experiencing in a situation that occurred in all likelihood years before” (p. 29, my emphasis).

Although Alcock’s concerns about the veridicality of the reports as depictions of the patients’ first-hand experience are reasonable, his characterization of the research and its goals as inherently and weakly anecdotal is simplistic and misleading in the extreme. Osis’s pilot study on the topic (Osis, 1961) made a point of labelling the phenomena of interest as “hallucinatory behaviour” which gave the appearance that patients had had a deathbed vision (p. 10, my emphasis). Osis and Haraldsson were well-aware of the methodological advantages and disadvantages of their approach. They devoted a number of pages, in both the pilot study and in the replication, to a discussion (Osis & Haraldsson, 1977a) of efforts they made to improve on previous death-bed vision case collections. Such early case collections as that conducted by William Barrett (1926) had compiled experiences from any observer; from family members who might reasonably be assumed to be compromised observers operating under extreme emotional and psychological duress, and from dying patients whose perceptive faculties could reasonably be assumed to be compromised by either their medical condition or by the treatment they were receiving. It is equally obvious that Osis and Haraldsson were well aware that, by surveying individuals who had merely observed these behaviours, they were working at one remove. But for them, the key element in choosing doctors and nurses was to obtain accounts from skilled, dispassionate observers (Osis & Haraldsson, p. 14). In addition, they had hoped, in both the pilot study and the replication attempt, to interview experiencers and other witnesses directly.

Unfortunately, in both studies, respondents were unwilling to provide specific details necessary for further corroboration such as the names of the dying persons, their family members or other witnesses. Indeed, some respondents were even unwilling to provide the exact dates on which their observations occurred (p. 15), presumably to prevent Osis and Haraldsson from obtaining identifying information from other sources such as medical records.

One additional and very important advantage of focusing on physicians and nurses in both studies was that Osis and Haraldsson could ask questions about their respondents’ general experience with dying patients so as to assess the prevalence of death-bed-related hallucinatory behaviours and subsequent apparent mood changes attributed by the patients to such experiences. Having access to expert medical testimony also allowed Osis, in the pilot study, to compare the reported content of the experiences of terminal patients with non-terminal ones, and Osis and Haraldsson, in the replication, to look more deeply at the impact of a variety of medical, psychological, and cultural variables on the type and content of reported experiences.

By the time Osis’s pilot study and the Osis and Haraldsson cross-cultural study were combined with a general treatment of the background of deathbed visions into At the Hour of Death (Osis & Haraldsson, 1977b), the authors had begun to make a strong case that their work provided evidence in support of the survival hypothesis. Still, even with that rhetorical bent, the book provided a fairly detailed description of the methodology used in both studies (see, for example, pp. 28-37) as well as a fairly complete tabular presentation of the results (pp. 223-238). Rather than deal with the empirical content of the book in his article, however, Alcock’s “horror of anecdote” argument hinged on the gross over-simplification “The authors in this case didn’t even interview the patients …” (Alcock, 1979, p. 29). He rejected the interviews with doctors and nurses a priori, never giving any indication that Osis and Haraldsson understood the methodological risks of such interviews. In addition, although the point is made in passing in their book (Osis & Haraldsson, 1977b) - and not in the detail in which it appears in the scientific reports (Osis, 1961; Osis & Haraldsson, 1977a) - it is obvious even to casual readers that the authors of At the Hour of Death had hoped, from the beginning of the decade-long research program, to interview the patients themselves when possible, or their family members and other witnesses when not. It was only the unwillingness of the doctors and nurses to share identifying information that thwarted this aim. (This is not to dwell on the fact that, given that the experiencers, by definition, would have either already died at the time the study was conducted or have been further into the process of dying, first-hand interviews would have been difficult, if not impossible or unethical, in most cases.)

One must assume that Alcock understood what he read. Perhaps the pro-survival tone of the book influenced his ability to take in the details of the underlying research and thus, he felt pushed into focusing on what he saw as the anecdotal nature of their research. Or perhaps, like many critics, he deliberately oversimplified his description of the work so as to make it an easier target for ridicule. Alcock’s review does not show that he has an understanding of the unexpected logistical difficulties that often bedevil even the most well-thought-out research program (and one would presume that he does have such an understanding, given that he has conducted survey research himself). One wonders what Alcock would have done if, after gathering thousands of questionnaires and conducting scores of interviews, he found that doctors and nurses could not be convinced to provide the necessary information to do what first-hand interviews were possible. Would Alcock have scrapped the project and left the data he obtained unanalyzed on some forgotten shelf? I doubt it. More likely, as Osis and Haraldsson did, Alcock would have made a reasonable, albeit pragmatic, decision to investigate a set of claims the best way possible, to analyze the data obtained, and to report the findings with the proper qualifications. Because they made that reasonable pragmatic decision, Osis’s and Haraldsson’s efforts resulted in a creative and important contribution to the literature on survival.

It is likely that Alcock was making a pragmatic rhetorical decision 6 to set aside his distaste for anecdote in order to use Carson Bock’s patient’s tale “as is”, even though at the time there were relevant scientific articles available in our literature on cryptomnesia and in the mainstream psychological literature on forgotten memory with which this anecdote could have been scientifically contextualised. Apparently, however, Alcock’s ability to make pragmatic decisions does not translate into the ability to understand the pragmatic decisions of others. Instead of discussing, acknowledging, or even quibbling with the methodological constraints faced by Osis and Haraldsson as they conducted their studies, and in spite of the systematic methods they used to collect the data they did analyze and present, Alcock dismissed the entire research program as merely anecdotal and, by implication, useless and unscientific. At the same time in his own prose, Alcock was perfectly happily to rely on one unreferenced and unexamined story from one lone clinician drawn from one personal caseload.7

One can read the Alcock examples even more closely. Was Alcock tacitly evoking a corollary to the notion that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence? Was he telling us that conventional claims require no evidence at all? Certainly this seems to be what Zusne and Jones, Neher, Gardner and Kurtz are saying when they rely on their own unpublished, informal experiments, on untested generalisations, or on a mythological body of “evidence” to bolster their points. If so, this is a corollary that we are well within our rights as scientists to reject categorically: All explanations, conventional or extraordinary, require real evidence."

As for other criticism of Haraldsson, the 2013 edition of his book on Sai Baba, entitled "Modern Miracles: The Story of Sathya Sai Baba: A Modern Day Prophet", counters the critics. That work is not featured here though, because the profiled person never submitted to controlled tests

[note: get osis' obe work, compare primary source to criticism]).

Stevens (1887/1928). The Watseka Wonder.

Gauld (1968). Critics of Mrs. Piper. (notes, among other things, that attacks on the Hodgson-Piper investigations and attacks on Hodgson's integrity in these investigations are in conflict with the primary sources, discusses the misrepresentations that CEM Hansel credulously endorsed from "wholly unreliable" sources, a letter conveyed by Edward Clodd and a book of Joseph Rinn.

Gauld says in this attachment that "Writers who confine their attention to accounts of Mrs. Piper's off-days can make a black case against her." In order to make the case for Piper, I will begin by citing this alleged negative evidence and show how these writers misrepresent the facts even in these cases, that the tendentious "black case" is considerably lightened. This "negative" evidence is on Wikipedia and rather than quoting it directly, I will provide in context citations from the primary sources. First I will discredit what appear to be proofs of fraud:

The Australian Dictionary of Biography states, of Richard Hodgson,"Mrs Piper's 'controls' gave him news of his mother and Jessie D—, and of Madame Blavatsky, whose 'spirit was in the deepest part of Hell'.":

This cannot be found in Proceedings vol. 6:, vol. 8:;view=1up;seq=9, vol. 13:;id=inu.30000108460993,vol. 14:, vol. 16:;id=inu.30000108461025 - these cover the Piper sittings during the period of Hodgson. Until we have the primary source, it seems premature to accept things which are at total variance with the overall content of the reports.

Less problematic is the accusation against Myers which appears in Edward Clodd's book The Question, from which we gain the view that "In 1889 George Darwin attended two séance sittings with Piper anonymously. The control of Piper mentioned names, but according to Darwin "not a single name or person was given correctly, although perhaps nine of ten were named." At the end of the first séance Darwin and Frederic Myers were talking on the stairs outside of the séance room whilst Piper was left alone inside. Myers mentioned Darwin's name in a clear voice whilst the séance room door was open. In the second séance Piper mentioned the name Darwin."According to Clodd the information about Darwin and Myers talking outside of the séance room originally came from a personal letter from Darwin to Ivor Lloyd Tuckett, there is no way the check this original source. Moreover, this description of behavior is in conflict with the general behavior of the investigators as described below. Problematic information about both Clodd and Tuckett is provided below.

As for Dr. Tuckett, Elanor Sidgwick, in a review of Tuckett's text, noted that he focuses on weaknesses in the proceedings VI report that were known to the investigators, and therefore add nothing to our knowledge. See also page 106 in Walter Franklin Prince's book which describes one of Tuckett's suggestions about Piper employing a conjurer trick in broad daylight whilst in front of Oliver Lodge as completely improbable.

Hyslop's 1912. Review of "Evidence for the Supernatural" by Ivor Lloyd Tuckett is of relevance, and from all of this, we can see that Tuckett's work fails the criteria of comprehensiveness and reliability.

Regarding comprehensiveness, Gauld, specifically citing Tuckett, said in The Founders of Psychical Research, Appendix B, "Writers who confine their attention to Mrs. Piper's off-days can make a black case against her." (emphasis added).

Hyslop wrote of Tuckett's explanations as regards Piper: "In Appendix Q he quotes one of the Piper records freely, but only such portions of it as he thinks guessing, fishing, and chance coincidence. He carefully refrains from mentioning any incidents whatever on which writers of the reports laid any stress or to which they attached any value. He does not tell readers that the Society pressed those explanations wherever and whenever they could. He would imply that they had neglected fundamental principles when in fact they leaned backward in their effort to stretch those hypotheses. When he comes to consider some of the cross correspondences he abandons chance coincidence to suggest previous knowledge on the part of Mrs. Piper. The author does not see that you cannot play the game of chance against knowledge in the same facts. He labors under the illusion that you can combine fishing, chance coincidence, muscle reading, suggestion, certain types of mistakes and confusions, and various suppositions to explain a unity which would not occur in such a combination, but which would occur on the spiritistic theory. On this point he has no sense of humor. It is all very well to attack each incident on the hypothesis of some natural occurrence. There can be no objection to that. But he ought to know that the facts would have no organic unity on his objections. The fact is that they show a psychological unity which no ordinary combination of hypotheses can explain and it is this fact to which the believer in the supernormal appeals, but the author carefully evades this. He does not seem to be familiar with the old and familiar analogy of a bundle of sticks. You can break each separate stick, but you cannot break the bundle of them collectively. In using this analogy I do not concede that you can even succeed in explaining away all the single incidents. In fact the author never takes the strong incidents. This he passes by and shows only an instinct very like lying about the records. It is this sort of criticism which makes friends for psychic research. It wants no better opponents than that. They simply disgust intelligent people."

The issues which Tuckett imagines he discovered were already elucidated by Oliver Lodge years before - Myers quotes Lodge as follows:

From the report by Professor Lodge, Proceedings S.P.R., vol. vi. pp. 448–53. The personality active and speaking in the trance is apparently so distinct from the personality of Mrs. Piper that it is permissible and convenient to call it by another name. It does not differ from her as Hyde did from Jekyll, by being a personification of the vicious portion of the same individual. There is no special contrast, any more than there is any special similarity. It strikes one as a different personality altogether, and the name by which it introduces itself when asked, viz., “Dr. Phinuit,” is as convenient as any other, and can be used wholly irrespective of hypothesis. I would not in using this name be understood as thereby committing myself to any hypothesis regarding the nature of this apparently distinct and individual mind. At the same time the name is useful as expressing compactly what is naturally prominent to the feeling of any sitter, that he is not talking to Mrs. Piper at all. The manner, mode of thought, tone, trains of idea, are all different. You are speaking no longer to a lady, but to a man, an old man, a medical man. All this cannot but be vividly felt even by one who considered the impersonation a consummate piece of acting. Whether such a man as Dr. Phinuit ever existed I do not know, nor from the evidential point of view do I greatly care. It will be interesting to have the fact ascertained if possible; but I cannot see that it will much affect the question of genuineness. For that he did not ever exist is a thing practically impossible to prove. While, if he did exist, it can be easily supposed that Mrs. Piper took care enough that her impersonation should have so much rational basis. It can be objected, why, if he was a French doctor, has he so entirely forgotten his French? For though he speaks in a Frenchified manner, I am told that he cannot sustain a conversation in that language. I am unable to meet this objection by anything beyond the obvious suggestion that Mrs. Piper's brain is the medium utilised, and that she is likewise ignorant. But one would think that it would be a sufficiently patent objection to deter an impersonator from assuming a rôle of purely unnecessary difficulty, and one which it was impossible satisfactorily to maintain. Admitting, however, that “Dr. Phinuit” is probably a mere name for Mrs. Piper's secondary consciousness, one cannot help being struck by the singular correctness of his medical diagnoses. In fact, the medical statements, coinciding as they do with truth just as well as those of a regular physician, but given without any ordinary examination and sometimes without even seeing the patient, must be held as part of the evidence establishing a strong primâ facie case for the existence of some abnormal means of acquiring information. Not {ii-605} that it is to be supposed that he is more infallible than another. I have one definite case of distinct error in a diagnosis (Report, p. 547). Proceeding now on the assumption that I may speak henceforth of Dr. Phinuit as of a genuine individual intelligence, whether it be a usually latent portion of Mrs. Piper's intelligence, or whether it be something distinct from her mind and the education to which it has been subjected, I go on to consider the hypotheses which still remain unexamined. And first we have the hypothesis of fishery on the part of Dr. Phinuit, as distinguished from trickery on the part of Mrs. Piper. I mean a system of ingenious fishing: the utilisation of trivial indications, of every intimation, audible, tactile, muscular, and of little shades of manner too indefinable to name; all these excited in the sitter by skilful guesses and well-directed shots, and their nutriment extracted with superhuman cunning. Now this hypothesis is not one to be lightly regarded, or ever wholly set aside. I regard it as, to a certain extent, a vera causa. At times Dr. Phinuit does fish. Occasionally he guesses; and sometimes he ekes out the scantiness of his information from the resources of a lively imagination. Whenever his supply of information is abundant there is no sign of the fishing process. At other times it is as if he were in a difficult position—only able to gain information from very indistinct or inaudible sources, and yet wishful to convey as much information as possible. The attitude is then as of one straining after every clue, and making use of the slightest indication, whether received in normal or abnormal ways: not indeed obviously distinguishing between information received from the sitter and information received from other sources. The fishing process is most marked when Mrs. Piper herself either is not feeling well or is tired. Dr. Phinuit seems to experience more difficulty then in obtaining information; and when he does not fish he simply draws upon his memory and retails old facts which he has told before, occasionally with additions of his own which do not improve them. His memory seems to be one of extraordinary tenacity and exactness, but not of infallibility; and its lapses do introduce error, both of defect and excess. He seems to be under some compulsion not to be silent. Possibly the trance would cease if he did not exert himself. At any rate he chatters on, and one has to discount a good deal of conversation which is obviously, and sometimes confessedly, introduced as a stop-gap. He is rather proud of his skill, and does not like to be told he is wrong; but when he waxes confidential he admits that he is not infallible: “he does the best he can,” he says, but sometimes “everything seems dark to him,” and then he flounders and gropes, and makes mistakes. It is not to be supposed that this floundering is always most conspicuous in presence of a stranger. On the contrary, if he is in good form he will rattle off a stranger's connections pretty glibly, being indeed sometimes oppressed with the rush and volume of the information available; while, if he is in bad trim, he will fish and retail stale news (especially the latter) to quite an old hand, and one who does not scruple to accuse him of his delinquencies when they become conspicuous. This fallibility is unfortunate, but I don't know that we should expect anything else; anyhow it is not a question of what we expect, but of what we get. {ii-606} If it were a question of what I for one had expected, the statement of it would not be worth the writing. Personally I feel sure that Phinuit can hardly help this fishing process at times. He does the best he can, but it would be a great improvement if, when he realises that conditions are unfavourable, he would say so and hold his peace. I have tried to impress this upon him, with the effect that he is sometimes confidential, and says that he is having a bad time; but after all he probably knows his own business best, because it has several times happened that after half-an-hour of more or less worthless padding, a few minutes of valuable lucidity have been attained. I have laid much stress upon this fishery hypothesis because it is a fact to be taken into consideration, because it is occasionally an unfortunately conspicuous fact, and because of its deterrent effect on a novice to whom that aspect is first exposed. But in thus laying stress I feel that I am producing an erroneous and misleading impression of proportion. I have spoken of a few minutes' lucidity to an intolerable deal of padding as an occasional experience, but in the majority of the sittings held in my presence the converse proportion better represents the facts. I am familiar with muscle-reading and other simulated “thought-transference” methods, and prefer to avoid contact whenever it is possible to get rid of it without too much fuss. Although Mrs. Piper always held somebody's hand while preparing to go into the trance, she did not always continue to hold it when speaking as Phinuit. She did usually hold the hand of the person she was speaking to, but was often satisfied for a time with some other person's, sometimes talking right across a room to and about a stranger, but preferring them to come near. On several occasions she let go of everybody, for half-hours together, especially when fluent and kept well supplied with “relics.” I have now to assert with entire confidence that, pressing the ingenious-guessing and unconscious-indication hypothesis to its utmost limit, it can only be held to account for a very few of Dr. Phinuit's statements. It cannot in all cases be held to account for medical diagnoses, afterwards confirmed by the regular practitioner. It cannot account for minute and full details of names, circumstances, and events, given to a cautious and almost silent sitter, sometimes without contact. And, to take the strongest case at once, it cannot account for the narration of facts outside the conscious knowledge of the sitter or of any person present. Rejecting the fishery hypothesis, then, as insufficient to account for many of the facts, we are driven to the only remaining known cause in order to account for them:—viz., thought-transference, or the action of mind on mind independently of the ordinary channels of communication. Whether “thought-transference” be a correct term to apply to the process I do not pretend to decide. That is a question for psychologists. It may be within the reader's knowledge that I regard the fact of genuine “thought-transference” between persons in immediate proximity (not necessarily in contact) as having been established by direct and simple experiment; and, except by reason of paucity of instance, I consider it as firmly grounded as any of the less familiar facts of nature such as one deals with in a laboratory. (Proceedings S.P.R., vol. ii. p. 189.) I speak of it therefore as a known cause, i.e., one to which there need be no hesitation in appealing in order to explain facts which without it would be inexplicable. The Phinuit facts are most of them of this nature, and I do not hesitate to assert confidently that thought-transference is the most commonplace explanation to which it is possible to appeal. I regard it as having been rigorously proved before, and as therefore requiring no fresh bolstering up; but to the many who have not made experiments on the subject, and are therefore naturally sceptical concerning even thought-transference, the record of the Phinuit sittings will afford, I think, a secure basis for faith in this immaterial mode of communication,—this apparently direct action of mind on mind. But, whereas the kind of thought-transference which had been to my own knowledge experimentally proved was a hazy and difficult recognition by one person of objects kept as vividly as possible in the consciousness of another person, the kind of thought-transference necessary to explain these sittings is of an altogether freer and higher order,—a kind which has not yet been experimentally proved at all. Facts are related which are not in the least present to the consciousness of the sitter, and they are often detailed glibly and vividly without delay; in very different style from the tedious and hesitating dimness of the percipients in the old thought-transference experiments. But that is natural enough, when we consider that the percipient in those experiments had to preserve a mind as vacant as possible. For no process of inducing mental vacancy can be so perfect as that of going into a trance, whether hypnotic or other. Moreover, although it was considered desirable to maintain the object contemplated in the consciousness of the agent, a shrewd suspicion was even then entertained that the unconscious part of the agent's brain might be perhaps equally effective. Hence one is at liberty to apply to these Phinuit records the hypothesis of thought-transference in its most developed state: absolute vacuity on the part of the percipient, acted on by an entirely sub-conscious or unconscious portion of the sitter's brain. In this form one feels that much can be explained. If Dr. Phinuit tells one how many children, or brothers, or sisters one has, and their names; the names of father and mother and grandmother, of cousins and of aunts; if he brings appropriate and characteristic messages from well-known relatives deceased; all this is explicable on the hypothesis of free and easy thought-transference from the sub-consciousness of the sitter to the sensitive medium of the trance personality.1 So strongly was I impressed with this view, that after some half-dozen sittings I ceased to feel much interest in being told things, however minute, obscure, and inaccessible they might be, so long as they were, or had been, within the knowledge either of myself or of the sitter for the time being. At the same time it ought to be constantly borne in mind that this kind of thought-transference without consciously active agency has never been experimentally proved. Certain facts not otherwise apparently explicable, such as those chronicled in Phantasms of the Living, have suggested it, but it is really only a possible hypothesis to which appeal has been made whenever any other explanation seems out of the question. But until it is actually established by experiment in the same way that conscious mind action has been established, it cannot be regarded as either safe or satisfactory; and in pursuing it we may be turning our backs on some truer but as yet perhaps unsuggested clue. I feel as if this caution were necessary for myself as well as for other members of the Society. On reading the record it will be apparent that while “Phinuit” frequently speaks in his own person, relating things which he himself discovers by what I suppose we must call ostensible clairvoyance, sometimes he represents himself as in communication—not always quite easy and distinct communication, especially at first, but in communication—with one's relatives and friends who have departed this life. The messages and communications from these persons are usually given through Phinuit as a reporter. And he reports sometimes in the third person, sometimes in the first. Occasionally, but very seldom, Phinuit seems to give up his place altogether to the other personality, friend or relative, who then communicates with something of his old manner and individuality; becoming often impressive and realistic. This last, I say, is rare, but with one or two personages it occurs, subject to reservations to be mentioned directly; and when it does, Phinuit does not appear to know what has been said. It is quite as if he in his turn evacuated the body, just as Mrs. Piper had done, while a third personality utilises it for a time. The voice and mode of address are once more changed, and more or less recall the voice and manner of the person represented as communicating. The communications thus obtained, though they show traces of the individuality of the person represented as speaking, are frequently vulgarised; and the speeches are more commonplace, and so to say cheaper, than what one would suppose likely from the person himself. It can, of course, be suggested that the necessity of working through the brain of a person not highly educated may easily be supposed capable of dulling the edge of refinement, and of rendering messages on abstruse subjects impossible." (emphasis added)

Walter Leaf when reviewing Proceedings VI also looked into the kinds of arguments Tuckett used and stated that these arguments were "far from covering the whole of the facts."

Oliver Lodge, after introductory remarks on p. 647 of Proceedings VI, made a list of Piper's accurate portrayal of incidents unknown to, or forgotten by, or unknowable to persons present.

As for Edward Clodd, of relevance is Hyslop's 1919 article Review of "Spiritualism and Sir Oliver Lodge" by Charles Mercier, "Reflections on "Raymond"" by Walter Cook, and "The Question: "If a Man Die, Shall he Live Again?"" by Edward Clodd. It is notable that Oliver Lodge has been a whipping boy for opponents of this research. Critics of it, like Francis Jones, dismissed his text The Survival of Man because of undemonstrated "weak points" in the arguments. The author who did attempt to demonstrate "weak points" in it, Charles Mercier, did so by means of distortion, as Hyslop's review of his text shows, and WF Prince's review of the text further demonstrates. The greatest distortion, however, is the one antagonists like to quote him on regarding Leonora Piper - Alan Gauld, in The Founders of Psychical Research, p. 255, demonstrates this in the context of an overview of the conditions of the sittings with her, "Mrs. Piper stayed twice in Liverpool with Lodge, twice in Cambridge with Myers and the Sidgwicks, and twice in London in lodgings chosen by the committee. Careful precautions were taken to prevent her from obtaining information about her hosts and possible sitters. Almost all her sitters were introduced anonymously. Lodge's house contained (by chance) completely new servents, who could have known little about his concerns. He locked up the family Bible and photograph albums." - in a footnote, he states, "None the less, C. A. Mercier, Spiritualism and Sir Oliver Lodge, London, 1917, p. 116, triumphantly demands to know if Lodge had not a family photograph album and a family Bible from which Mrs. Piper might have obtained her information." - Gauld continues the main passage: "Mrs. Piper allowed him to examine her mail and to search her baggage, though the payment which she received - 30 shillings a day -would hardly have enabled her to employ agents. Myers obtained for Mrs. Piper and her children a servant who could have known nothing of himself and his Cambridge friends; he chose sitters, he tells us 'in great measure by chance', sometimes introducing hem only after the trance had begun. Of some sittings stenographic records were kept, of the majority full contemporary notes were were taken; those made of the most successful sittings, the twenty-one held under Lodge's auspices, being in fact the fullest."

In this article, Hyslop suggested serious misrepresentations in the works of these authors, and also stated that Frank Podmore, insofar as he wrote counter-advocate literature, was adept at the use of misrepresentation and a priori methods

As for the reception of Oliver Lodge - critics have misrepresented this. While he was viciously assailed by ultra-rationalists, his psychical research was openly received by eminent physicists like Heinrich Hertz and Max Planck.

As for the reception of Hyslop, Arthur Berger has noted, in Lives and Letters in American Parapsychology: A Biographical History, 1850-1987, on p. 58, that he "generated experimental reports so bulky and so rich in thoroughness and detail and data that nothing like them has been seen since in American parapsychology. These reports are "his greatest monument; and no marble shaft could be more imperishable.""

Regarding the reception of Hyslop among psychical researchers, it is another thing that has been obfuscated by tendentious misrepresentation in the current historical rewrite: Whilst it is true that Berger notes, on p. 62 of the aforementioned text, "The charges made against Hyslop by Pope and Friend when they resigned from the ASPR in 1915 have been reechoed recently by the historian R. Laurence Moore: Hyslop ran the ASPR "like a dictator". It was a one-man rule and Hyslop was no angel. James thought him crude. Funk told Hyslop bluntly: "[Y]ou antagonize." Hyslop's conduct in the Palladino case seems to have been costly to the ASPR. Hyslop's writings were criticized not only for their inadequacies but for his convoluted style. James's letters in 1901 and 1902 are full of complaints about it. To Hodgson he remarked: "I think Hyslop's discussions and methods admirable in all but literary style," and in his correspondence with Flournoy, he said: "[Hyslop's] report is intolerably ill written and I have not been able to read the whole of it. Sir Oliver Lodge deplored the fact that Hyslop did not have "the gift of expressing himself in clear and simple English. Throughout his voluminous writings the sentences are frequently involved, and sometimes so curiously constructed that it is difficult to disentangle their meaning." Sir William Barrett lamented similarly: "Hyslop would have gained a wider and more respectful hearing had he cultivated a better and more restrained style of writing, and been less dogmatic and combative in the expression of his opinions.", critics, who tendentiously cite this, omit what he says next (pp. 62-63):

"If Hyslop's publications were themselves a psychic phenomenon which deterred others from reading them, it was Gardiner thought, because Hyslop "cared little about style, what he cared greatly about was thoroughness" and, indeed, the cases reported in his bulky reports were described down to the minutest detail so that the facts could be studied. He felt "that the American public did not like brevity, but wanted full measure and overflowing in the discussion of any subject." Perhaps Hyslop was combative and dogmatic because of his strict moral character, which also made him intolerant of skeptics who were not truthful or sincere. He was also straitlaced. Once he had an encounter with Theodate Pope who sent someone from her lawyer's office to Hyslop's home to inspect the ASPR's books of account. Hyslop refused to admit the man. Then he came back to the library where the books were kept. His face was white with anger and, in a loud voice, he uttered his choicest epithet: "Sugar Beets! Inspect the books - makes me mad. Sugar beets!" "Sugar beets" was the best Hyslop could do under the trying circumstances. To describe Hyslop like a "dictator" seems unduly harsh in view of the support given him by the ASPR Board of Trustees and in light of the opinions of those who were close to him at the time. A Christian clergyman called Hyslop "a secular saint." Gertrude O. Tubby, his secretary, said of Hyslop:

Mankind he loved ... To have worked under his direction and training ... is a privilege as rare as it is desirable. Moral, intellectual and spiritual integrity, scientific understanding and patience, philosophical and religious poise, an appreciation of art ... these are characteristics of James Hervey Hyslop. ...

Walter F. Prince, who had been appointed by Hyslop in 1917 as ASPR research officer, was another co-worker. He described Hyslop as:

the most delightful man to work with.... We often disagreed and debated, but with utmost good feeling.... [Hyslop] was always just.... Dr. Hyslop knew what rank he occupied in the field of psychical research, but he knew it without elation. Few men who have accomplished anything have been so devoid of vanity...."

Finally from his son "[Father] believed that each man has his work in the world to perform. He chose his task, and to its completion gave all that he had. His race was well run." Hyslop was the first American academician to give all his time to parapsychology. He demonstrated his devotion to this field by refusing to accept any salary from the ASPR., and his energy and industry, as evidenced by his voluminous reports, cannot be doubted. Barrett wrote of Hyslop: "No man could long stand this drain on his mental and physical energies, and Hyslop literally sacrificed his life in the cause of psychical research."

Horace Howard Furness was the source of the biggest example of negative evidence in the Piper case - (c.f. William James. (1986). Essays in Psychical Research. Harvard University Press. p. 398.), however, he was the chairman of the Seybert Commission, problems with which have been highlighted above, as such, he may not be a reliable source on the subject of Spiritualism. (ibid, p. 420)

Furness' descriptions of fake trance are at total variance with the trances reported by multiple psychical researchers who studied Piper over time.

The sitting of professor MacAllister was merely a failed sitting. If there is evidence of supernormality in successful sittings, then failed sittings are of relevance only insofar as they might shed light, via differences in condition, on the reasons for success or failure.

Thomas W. M. Lund had a mixed, inconclusive sitting with Leonora Piper. The primary source, PSPR Vol. 6, pp. 234-236 states: "Notes by Mr. Lund. With regard to my experience of Mrs. Piper, I do not feel that I saw enough to form data for any satisfactory conclusion. What impressed me most was the way in which she seemed to feel for information, rarely telling me anything of importance right off the reel, but carefully fishing, and then following up a lead. It seemed to me that when she got on a right tack, the nervous and uncontrollable movement of one's muscles gave her the signal that she was right and might steam ahead.

In some points she was entirely out of it—e.g., carriage accident—the dangerous dark man—Joseph and Harriet—and especially, my style of preaching. Nothing could be a more ludicrous caricature than this last.

In others, which I will name, she made statements which singularly tallied with the truth—e.g., my son was ill, and my wife was going to see him. I found that at the very time given she left the house with a cloak on her arm, and brushed her dress in the way imitated by Mrs. Piper. Still I am bound to say that within earshot of Mrs. Piper—before the sitting—I told Mrs. Lodge of my son's illness in Manchester, and my wife'* proposed visit to him, and Mrs. L. addressed me bg my name of Lund.

It is quite true that a carpet was recently burnt at our house; that my wife worries over her duties too much for comfort and health ; that I live in a room full of MSS. But without doubt the feature of this sitting was the reference to my youngest sister, who died of diphtheria in my absence quite 30 years ago, and whose death was a heartaching sorrow of many years. Not only did she hit the name "Maggie," but even the pet name "Margie," which I had quite forgotten. However, the reason afterwards alleged for my absence at her death was quite wrong.

I accepted the trance condition on Dr. Lodge's authority; otherwise I should have felt bound to test it.

Altogether there was such a mixture of the true and false, the absurd and rational, the vulgar commonplace of the crafty fortune-teller with startling reality, that I have no theory to offer—merely the above facts. I should require much more evidence than I yet have, and with much more careful testing of it, to convince me (1) that Mrs. Piper was unconscious; (2) that there was any thought-reading beyond the clever guessing of a person trained in that sort of work; (3) that there was any ethereal com- munication with a spirit-world. I did not like the sudden weakness experienced when I pressed my supposed sister for the reason of my absence at her death, and the delay wanted for giving a reply.

That the subject is full of interest I admit, and I should like to pursue it; but I am far from convinced at present that we have evidence on which to build a new theory.

April 26th, 1890. T. W. M. Lund, M.A., Chaplain of the School for the Blind, Liverpool.

To this O. L. adds the following incident which occurred during this sitting, but which had no connection with T. W. M. L.

(Chain handed to Phinuit by O. L., the package having been delivered by hand to O. L. late the previous evening. He had just opened the package, glanced at the contents, and hastily read a letter inside, then wrapped all up again and stored them. The chain had been sent by the friend whom it has been agreed to call George Wilson; it had belonged to his father.)

"This belongs to an old gentleman that passed out of the body—a nice old man. I see something funny here, something the matter with heart, paralytic something. Give me the wrappers, all of them." [i.e., The papers it came in ; a letter among them. Medium held them to top of her head, gradually flicking away the blank ones. She did not inspect them. She was all the while holding with her other hand Mr. Lund, who knew nothing whatever about the letter or the chain.]

"Who's dear Lodge? Who's Poole, Toodle, Poodle? Whatever does that mean?"

O. L.: "I haven't the least idea."

"Is there J. N. W. here? Poole. Then there's Sefton. S-e-f-t-o-n.

Pool, hair. Yours truly, J. N. W. That's it; I send hair. Poole. J. N. W. Do you understand that?"

O. L. : "No, only partially."":;view=1up;seq=562

As regards this sitting Oliver Lodge wrote "The next morning I had arranged for a friend to arrive at 11 o'clock. Mrs. Piper was ready and waiting in my study before that time, and I went outside the gate to meet him. Unfortunately, as he entered, my wife met him accidentally in the hall, and conversed for some two minutes while I was in the study with Mrs. Piper. The door was ajar, and though I did not overhear anything particular Mrs. Piper remarked that they should not be talking within earshot like that. It is impossible to say how much she either consciously or unconsciously heard, and the incident prevents me from being able to consider Mr. Lund as an anonymous stranger, as I had intended.

A second sitting ought always to be given to a stranger, as speedily after the first as possible. A single experience of so novel a kind can hardly ever be satisfactory. Shortness of time prevented it in the present instance.":;view=1up;seq=560

Regarding the "Bessie Beals" misidentification of Piper, of relevance is JASPR vol. 11 (1917), pp. 293-294: "New Light on a Piper Incident. Readers will recall the "Bessie Beals" incident in the re- view of Mrs. Sidgwick's Report. Cf. pp. 90-98. President G. Stanley Hall had asked for a " Bessie Beals" and purported to get messages from her and the alleged Dr. Hodgson con- trolling claimed to see her, tho there was no such known person according to President-Hall. It will be interesting to know that, in a recent conversation with Mrs. Piper regarding this incident, she told me that she knew a Jessie Beals who lived near her. This Jessie Beals's sis- ter was an intimate friend of Mrs. Piper and lived next door to the latter. I made inquiries of a man in whose office this Jessie Beals had been an official at one time and he confirmed the facts. Jessie Beals was living at the time of President Hall's experiments. Mrs. Piper also told me that a Mrs. Beals used to have ittings with her, but she was not certain of her husband's name, and I could not verify the facts, tho I inquired at the office of the man whose name she gave me; he was absent in Europe and I could learn nothing definite about the matter. There are 51 persons by the name of Beal in the Boston Directory, 18 by the name of Beale and 27 by the name of Beals. It will be quite apparent that it would be quite easy to understand the incidents in President Hall's sittings about Bessie Beals, especially if a Mrs. Beals had had sittings with Mrs. Piper. The mere suggestion of the name would possibly recall to the subconscious of Mrs. Piper, especially if she mistook the name Bessie for Jessie, a mental picture of the person she knew or some personality connected with previous communications. In that case Dr. Hodgson might well claim the presence of such a person. The mistake may still have been there, but on Presi- dent Hall's own ideas of suggestion, it would be easy to suppose that the suggestion gave rise to a genuine mental picture as- sociated with the idea of known reality and the whole dramatic episode might readily have occurred as it did, without supposing that it was pure imagination at all, and if any real Beals was present, or personality taken for such, the incident of Hodgson's recognition would be a natural phenomenon, tho a mistake.":;view=1up;seq=303

Researcher Greg Taylor's post The Not-So-Imaginary Bessie Beals is also of relevance.

Of related relevance is James Hyslop's 1920 Review of "The Quest for Dean Bridgman Connor" by Anthony Philpot.

Skeptics usually like to focus on only negative information, omitting positive information like the fact that from page 73 in the book "Can Telepathy Explain?: Results of Psychical Research" 1902, Minot Judson Savage describes visiting Piper in a séance before she was investigated by the SPR and she described his father in accurate detail, cold reading would not explain this, also see the following chapter which has information about his daughter from a sitting with Piper where three locks of hair were taken and the names were given accurately.

Critics claim that Piper read an obituary notice in the local newspaper to obtain information about Mr and Mrs. Sutton daughter Katherine, this is sourced to the believer turned skeptic John Taylor. But this suggestion is not plausible if you read the original report of those séances which is cited in Stephen E. Braude's "Immortal Remains: The Evidence for Life After Death" pp. 62-66 which gives the information Piper gave from those séances which accurately described many details about Katherine including her favorite toys.

Andrew Lang's criticism of Piper has been miscited, he argued in full (see The Making of Religion, 1900, p. 139) "Mrs. Piper's honesty and excellent character, in her normal condition, are vouched for by her friends and observers in England and America ; nor do I impeach her normal character. But ' secondary personalities ' have often more of Mr. Hyde than of Dr. Jekyll in their composition. It used to be admitted that, when 'possessed,' Mrs. Piper would cheat when she could — that is to say, she would make guesses, try to worm information out of her sitter, describe a friend of his, alive or dead, as ' Ed.,' who may be Edgar, Edmund, Edward, Edith, or anybody. She would shuffle, and repeat what she had picked up in a former sitting with the same person; and the vast majority of her answers started from vague references to probable facts." Alan Gauld wrote in his article on Lang and Piper "Although Lang continued to talk of'telepathy' or 'thought-transference', he was well aware that application of these terms to such phenomena is merely paying oneself with words. Often he confined himself simply to expressing his agreement with Myers and Hegel that we, or many of us, are in something, or that something is in us, which 'does not know the bounds of time or feel the manacles of space' (53, p. 109). This lent, he thought, some presumption to the view that we do not utterly perish with the destruction of our physical bodies. By a curious paradox the very phenomena which led him to believe in the possibility of survival led him to set aside that evidence for survival which some leading members of the SPR found the strongest, namely the trance communications received through Mrs. Piper. Hodgson and others thought that the hypothesis of telepathy from the living could not fully explain Mrs. Piper's 'hits'. The information given quite often went far beyond what was known to the sitters, so that to maintain the hypothesis of telepathy from the living we should have to postulate telepathy so extended and so selective as to seem no less remarkable than the supposition of survival. In a close analysis of the Piper case (41), Lang replies that Miss Angus' crystal visions often exhibited telepathy ofjust such an extent and selectiveness. 'Suppose', he says (p. 49) 'that Miss Angus, instead of dealing with living people, by ways of visions, had dealt by way of voice, or automatic handwriting, and had introduced a dead 'communicator'. Then she would have been on a par with Mrs. Piper, yet with no aid from the dead. Her cases do not differ from Mrs. Piper's cases, except in copiousness, and in the circumstances that her condition was normal, and that she was new to all such exercises. If Miss Angus can achieve such feats without aid from the dead, why should we suppose interference by the dead in the case of Mrs. Piper?' Lang has other arguments against Mrs. Piper, or rather against the claims of her communicators to be the spirits of deceased persons. He dwells much upon their worst rather than upon their best performances. That spirits in the next life, making use of Mrs. Piper's brains, nerves, voice and hands, should often become confused is, he admits, intelligible. 'But why should they be impudently mendacious, absurdly ignorant, and furtively evasive, fluent in twaddle, and "groping" when a simple question as to something familiar to them when alive is asked, that is, in many cases?' His conclusion is that though Mrs. Piper gave some indications of paranormal faculty worthy of further investigation, her controls and communicators were secondary personalities of her own. Lang often mentions her in his later writings on psychical research, usually with marked distaste. It is curious that an anthropologist who writes dispassionately and even humorously about spirit possession among savages, and in distant lands, and can touch with equanimity upon barbaric or obscene rituals and practices, should have been so distressed by apparent examples of spirit possession occurring, as it were, nearer home. One reason, more or less overtly expressed, for his aversion to Mrs. Piper was a deep-seated feeling that no educated or honourable person could, after death, conceivably wish to speak in American slang through the mouth of an uneducated lower-middle class lady hired at so many dollars a sitting. Even at the time there were those who took exception to this attitude (85; 88). I think, however, that Lang's attitude arose not so much from 'aristocratic aversion' to paid mediums (75, p. 367), as from fastidiousness and sensitivity, an awareness of the pain he would suffer were he to find old friends thus degraded. Lang's emotions rarely got the better of his intellect for long, and occasionally he would defend Mrs. Piper, as he did (23) when two psychologists, Amy Tanner and G. Stanley Hall, wrote a dismissive and remarkably obtuse book about her (38). Nothing, indeed, illustrates the ascendancy of Lang's intellect over his feelings more effectively than the way in which, on a number of occasions, he used the case of Mrs. Piper, and other comparable cases, such as that of Helene Smith, to throw light upon the gifts and genius of the historical figure whom he admired above all others, namely, Joan of Arc."

An unexpected strong item of defense for her comes from Frank Podmore: "On the hypothesis that Mrs Piper has obtained all this information fraudulently, we can but view with amazement the artistic restraint in the use of proper names; her masterly reticence on dates and descriptions of houses and such concrete matters, which form the stock-in-trade of the common clairvoyante, the consummate skill which has enabled her to portray hundreds of different characters without ever confusing the role, to utilize the stores of information so laboriously acquired without ever betraying the secret of their origin." Frank Podmore also noted of Piper's sittings that "the sittings which have to be written down as failures now number barely 10 per cent.":

He concluded: "If Mrs Piper’s trance-utterances are entirely founded on knowledge acquired by normal means, Mrs Piper must be admitted to have inaugurated a new departure in fraud. Nothing to approach this has ever been done before. On the assumption that all so-called clairvoyance is fraudulent, we have seen the utmost which fraud has been able to accomplish in the past, and at its best it falls immeasurably short of Mrs Piper’s achievements. Now, that in itself requires explanation.":

In his mostly ultra-skeptical book “The Newer Spiritualism”, written in 1910, p. 222, Podmore conceded that "Taken as a whole, the correspondences are so numerous and precise, and the possibility of leakage to Mrs. Piper through normal channels in many cases so effectually excluded, that it is impossible to doubt that we have here proof of a supernormal agency of some kind - either telepathy by the trance intelligence from the sitter or some kind of communication with the dead.:

However, see James Hyslop's 1910 overview of Podmore's text - Review of "The Newer Spiritualism" by Frank Podmore. Prior to this, we had Hyslop (1903). Reply to Mr. Podmore's Criticism. Confusion has been made about Hyslop's sittings with Piper pertaining to Samuel Cooper. In his text "Science and A Future Life" (given below), Hyslop states (p. 281), "I received for answer a number of statements wholly false regarding this Samuel Cooper, but which I later discovered to be true of a Dr. Joseph Cooper, and not in my mind or memory at all.", he also noted (p. 162), "errors are not opposed to any theory when the correct facts are not explicable by chance or guessing." Martin Gardner's belief that Piper recieved information from hodgson is contingent on a belief in Hodgson's dihonesty based on a "letter" refuted above. Hereward Carrington, expert in mediumistic trickery, cited Hyslop's book "Science and A Future Life" in support of the contention that Piper was a genuine medium, and notes in The Coming Science, p. 248, that it was on the strength of Hyslop's arguments that he modified his position on Piper.

A good overview of the case is the chapter "The Piper Case" on pp. 291-311 of the book "Are the Dead Alive? The Problem of Physical Research". G.N.M. Tyrell gave perhaps the best introduction to Piper: "Mrs. Piper, whose case was carefully studied for many years by the Society for Psychical Research, had a remarkable variety of controls, which included Julius Caesar, "Moses of Old," Longfellow, Sir Walter Scott, George Eliot and many more. Three others were entitled Impcrator, Rector and Prudens. Some of them talked incredible nonsense; yet Mrs. Piper's phenomena gave incontestable evidence of knowledge which she could not normally have gained. During the long period that she was under observation, the possibility of her obtaining information by fraudulent and normal methods was fully investigated. Everyone who had much to do with her agreed that nothing less than telepathy could account for her phenomena.", see regarding this the text Spiritism, hypnotism and telepathy as involved in the case of Mrs. Leonora E. Piper and the Society of Psychical Research - suggestion has also been made that sensory leakage could have accounted for William James' positive views on Piper, however, Henry Holt, in The Cosmic Relations and Immortality, Vol. 1, pp. 411-413., notes an instance where Piper conveyed relevant information to James not known by any of the sitters at the time. See also Mrs. Piper & The Society for Psychical Research by Michael Sage, chapter IV, The hypothesis of fraud—The hypothesis of muscle-reading—"Influence." Trevor Hamilton, in Immortal Longings: F.W.H. Myers and the Victorian Search for Life After Death (2009), p. 255, wrote that "[Ruth] Brandon stated that Mrs Piper gained clues to the kind of statements she should make by fishing for evidence, or using the indicators she obtained from holding the hand of the sitter. Berger made it absolutely clear that this was not a feature of many of the best sittings and described the considerable lengths Professor Hyslop and Hodgson went to prevent Hyslop giving her any sensory clues that might provide evidence she might use to fabricate spirit communication: "Hyslop would arrive in Mrs Piper's home in a closed coach. Before entering he donned a mask which covered his entire face and which he wore as he entered the house and sat with the medium. Hodgson introduced him to Mrs Piper as 'Mr Smith,' the name Hodgson also used to introduce all strange sitters to her. Sitters like Hyslop were were [sic] instructed to say nothing so that voice, in addition to face, was concealed. Like Hyslop, sitters merely bowed when introduced to the medium. During the sitting they never spoke in a normal tone. Moreover, during the sittings Mrs Piper was never touched by a sitter so as to avoid any muscular suggestion. Nor were clues given by questions asked in order that facts obtained might not be suggested by questions. Finally, the sitters stood behind the medium so that she could not see them or their movements (Berger 1988: 24)."

in PSPR vol. 31, pp. 103-104, Oliver Lodge states: "NOTE ON "A RECORD OF OBSERVATIONS OF CERTAIN PHENOMENA OF TRANCE." By Sir Oliver Lodge, F.R.S. In an article published in Proceedings, S.P.R., Vol. VI., on p. 460, at the top of the page, reference is made to a statement made by Phinuit during a sitting I had with Mrs. Piper in Liverpool in 1889, from which I quote the following sentences: Phinuit told me to take the watch out of its case (it was the old- fashioned turnip variety) and examine it in a good light afterwards, and I should see some nicks near the handle which Jerry said he had cut into it with his knife. Some faint nicks are there. I had never had the watch out of its case before; being, indeed, careful neither to finger it myself nor to let anyone else finger it. I recall this because recently, during the British Association Meeting at Bournemouth in September, 1919, a cousin of mine whom I had never previously seen, and who has been most of his life in South America, introduced himself to me and related many reminiscences of our joint uncles, in days partly concurrent with and partly preceding the period during which I knew them. This cousin is Mr. Frederick L. Lodge, who had corresponded with me about an experience of his wife's, the incident being related by me in my book, The Survival of Man, page 74. I had no further communication with Mr. F. L. Lodge, except those specified in the book, and I had not realised exactly who he was. I found at Bourne- mouth, however, for the first time that he was a son of one of my uncles, and that he had been born in 1846, so that his memories date back earlier than my own. Among many recollections of his father and my other senior uncles, who were considerably older than my own father, he told me stories of Uncle Jerry and his blindness, one of which I asked him to put into writing. This morning, September 16th, 1919, accordingly, he sends me the following: When Uncle Jerry was staying at Graf rath in Germany, consulting an oculist (he was then totally blind), I used to accompany him in his daily walks, and on one occasion as we were sitting by the road-side he had his gold repeater watch in his hand and was whittling away at it with his penknife. I asked him what he was doing, and he replied that he was marking it, so as to know it by the touch; I believe it was on the shank near the ring, whether he succeeded in making a mark I do not remember. At the time of your seance with Mrs. Piper the watch was in the possession of his brother Robert at Highgate, but I believe no mark could be discovered then.":;view=1up;seq=117

See, for related phenomena, Hyslop's 1920 article "Bosh" Proves to be Sense.

Myers, in Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death, wrote, "I do not propose here to discuss the hypothesis of fraud in this case, since it has been fully discussed in the articles referred to in {ii-239} my Appendices and elsewhere, e.g. by Dr. Hodgson, Professor William James, Professor Newbold of Pennsylvania University, Dr. Walter Leaf, and Sir Oliver Lodge. I merely quote, as a summary of the argument, a few words of Professor James, from The Psychological Review, July, 1898, pp. 421–22:— "Dr. Hodgson considers that the hypothesis of fraud cannot be seriously maintained. I agree with him absolutely. The medium has been under observation, much of the time under close observation, as to most of the conditions of her life, by a large number of persons, eager, many of them, to pounce upon any suspicious circumstance for [nearly] fifteen years. During that time, not only has there not been one single suspicious circumstance remarked, but not one suggestion has ever been made from any quarter which might tend positively to explain how the medium, living the apparent life she leads, could possibly collect information about so many sitters by natural means. The scientist who is confident of “fraud” here, must remember that in science as much as in common life a hypothesis must receive some positive specification and determination before it can be profitably discussed, and a fraud which is no assigned kind of fraud, but simply “fraud” at large, fraud in abstracto, can hardly be regarded as a specially scientific explanation of concrete facts."

He then provides James' account. See "The Cosmic Relations and Immortality" by Henry Holt, pp. 411-413. for a full contextualization facts related to James unknown to anyone present, but only verified afterwards:

From the book "The Enigma of Survival: The Case For and Against an Afterlife" by Hornell Hart, see page 75 "Four years later, a month after his death, communications alleged to come from Pelham began to be received through Mrs. Piper. During the next six years, at least 150 sitters were present when 'Pelham' communicated. From among these, he recognized 30 whom he had known when living, and he never claimed acquaintance with a sitter whom he had not known." Skeptics do not mention this. Hart continued on pp. 75-76, "Even the failure of Pelham to recognize a certain young lady whom he had met before death seems to point towards the existence of a real surviving personality rather than merely a fragment of Mrs. Piper's unconscious. The young lady, a Miss Warner, had been only a little girl when Pelham saw her, eight or nine years previously. She had changed greatly. If Pelham had still been in the flesh when he encountered her after this lapse of time, the natural thing would have been for him to have forgotten her, as his alleged surviving personality did in this sitting. But if the supposed personality was a mere construct by Mrs. Piper's unconscious, patching together telepathic information, it would have been natural for Miss Warner to have been 'recognized'. Both she and Dr. Hodgson were aware of the fact that Miss Warner had known Pelham when she was a little girl, so that sources for telepathy were at hand. Moreover, correct information not known to the Sitters was given about Miss Warner's relatives, so that the unconscious of Mrs. Piper must have been aware of her identity. The non-recognition thus seems to be an argument in favour of the independent existence of Pelham. Gardner Murphy summarized in 1957: 'The recently deceased George Pelham appeared to communicate in so convincing a fashion as to lead both Hodgson and Professor J. H. Hyslop to the conviction that the survival of death and the reality of communication had been established.'"

Hyslop (1921). Dr. Hodgson as a Communicator.


Hyslop (1910). President G. Stanley Hall's and Dr. Amy E. Tanner's Studies in Spiritism.


Hyslop (1917). Mrs. Sidgwick's Report on Mrs. Piper's Trance.

are all useful in helping us navigate the difficulties of the later aspects of the case.

Myers, in Section 956 B of his book, said that: "The next passage I quote from the Introduction by myself—Proceedings S.P.R., vol. vi. pp. 436–442,—to the records of sittings given by Mrs. Piper in England, 1889–90:— Mrs. Piper's case has been more or less continuously observed by Professor James and others almost from the date of the first sudden inception of the trance, some five years ago. Mr. Hodgson has been in the habit of bringing acquaintances of his own to Mrs. Piper, without giving their names; and many of these have heard from the trance-utterance facts about their dead relations, &c., which they feel sure that Mrs. Piper could not have known. Mr. Hodgson also had Mr. and Mrs. Piper watched or “shadowed” by private detectives for some weeks, with the view of discovering whether Mr. Piper (who is employed in a large store in Boston, U.S.A.) went about inquiring into the affairs of possible “sitters,” or whether Mrs. Piper received letters from friends or agents conveying information. This inquiry was pushed pretty closely, but absolutely nothing was discovered which could throw suspicion on Mrs. Piper,—who is now aware of the procedure, but has the good sense to recognise the legitimacy—I may say the scientific necessity—of this kind of probation. It was thus shown that Mrs. Piper made no discoverable attempt to acquire knowledge even about persons whose coming she had reason to expect. Still less could she have been aware of the private concerns of persons brought anonymously to her house at Mr. Hodgson's choice. And a yet further obstacle to such clandestine knowledge was introduced by her removal to England—at our request—in November 1889. Professor Lodge met her on the Liverpool landing-stage, November 19th, and conducted her to a hotel, where I joined her on November 20th, and escorted her and her children to Cambridge. She stayed first in my house; and I am convinced that she brought with her a very slender knowledge of English affairs or English people. The servant who attended on her and on her two young children was chosen by myself, and was a young woman from a country village whom I had full reason to believe to be both trustworthy and also quite ignorant of my own or my friends' affairs. For the most part I had myself not determined upon the persons whom I would invite to sit with her. I chose these sitters in great measure by chance; several of them were not resident in Cambridge; and (except in one or two cases where anonymity would have been hard to preserve) I brought them to her under false names,—sometimes introducing them only when the trance had already begun. In one sitting, for instance, which will be cited below, I learnt by accident {ii-603} that a certain lady, here styled Mrs. A., was in Cambridge;—a private lady, not a member of the Society for Psychical Research, who had never before visited my house, and whose name had certainly never been mentioned before Mrs. Piper. I introduced this lady as Mrs. Smith;—and I think that when the reader is estimating the correct facts which were told to her, he may at any rate dismiss from his mind the notion that Mrs. Piper had been able either to divine that these facts would be wanted,—or to get at them even if she had known that her success depended on their production on that day. Mrs. Piper while in England was twice in Cambridge, twice in London, and twice in Liverpool, at dates arranged by ourselves; her sitters (almost always introduced under false names) belonged to several quite different social groups, and were frequently unacquainted with each other. Her correspondence was addressed to my care, and I believe that almost every letter which she received was shown to one or other of us. When in London she stayed in lodgings which we selected; when at Liverpool, in Professor Lodge's house; and when at Cambridge, in Professor Sidgwick's or my own. No one of her hosts, or of her hosts' wives, detected any suspicious act or word. We took great pains to avoid giving information in talk; and a more complete security is to be found in the fact that we were ourselves ignorant of many of the facts given as to our friends' relations, &c. In the case of Mrs. Verrall, for instance [cited in the Report, p. 584], no one in Cambridge except Mrs. Verrall herself could have supplied the bulk of the information given; and some of the facts given (as will be seen) Mrs. Verrall herself did not know. As regards my own affairs, I have not thought it worth while to cite in extenso such statements as might possibly have been got up beforehand; since Mrs. Piper of course knew that I should be one of her sitters. Such facts as that I once had an aunt, “Cordelia Marshall, more commonly called Corrie,” might have been learnt,—though I do not think that they were learnt,—from printed or other sources. But I do not think that any larger proportion of such accessible facts was given to me than to an average sitter, previously unknown; nor were there any of those subtler points which could so easily have been made by dint of scrutiny of my books or papers. On the other hand, in my case, as in the case of several other sitters, there were messages purporting to come from a friend who had been dead many years, and mentioning circumstances which I believe that it would have been quite impossible for Mrs. Piper to have discovered. I am also acquainted with some of the facts given to other sitters, and suppressed as too intimate, or as involving secrets not the property of the sitter alone. I may say that, so far as my own personal conviction goes, the utterance of one or two of these facts is even more conclusive of supernormal knowledge than the correct statement of dozens of names of relations, &c., which the sitter had no personal motive for concealing. On the whole, I believe that all observers, both in America and in England, who have seen enough of Mrs. Piper in both states to be able to form a judgment, will agree in affirming (1) that many of the facts given could not have been learnt even by a skilled detective; (2) that to learn others of them, although possible, would have needed an expenditure of money as well as of time which it seems impossible to suppose that Mrs. Piper could have met; and (3) that her conduct has never given any ground whatever for supposing her capable of fraud or trickery. Few persons have been so long and so {ii-604} carefully observed; and she has left on all observers the impression of thorough uprightness, candour, and honesty."

On the question of fraud, see also the statements of Professor Lodge, Proceeding S.P.R., vol. vi. pp. 443–7; of Dr. Walter Leaf, pp. 558–9 of the same Proceedings; pp. 1–9 of the report by Dr. Hodgson in Proceedings S.P.R., vol. viii.; pp. 6–11 of the report by Professor Newbold in Proceedings S.P.R., vol. xiv.; and pp. 5–9 of the report by Professor Hyslop in Proceedings S.P.R., vol. xvi."

These reports follow: Oliver Lodge, Proceeding S.P.R., vol. vi. pp. 443–7: "Account of sittings with Mrs. Piper. Formal Report. At the request of Mr. Myers I undertook a share in the investiga- tion of a case of apparent clairvoyance. It is the case of a lady who appears to go off into a trance when she pleases to will it under favourable surroundings, and in that trance to talk volubly, with a manner and voice quite different from her ordinary manner and voice, on details concerning which she has had no information given her. In this abnormal state her speech has reference mainly to people's relatives and friends, living or deceased, about whom she is able to hold a conversation, and with whom she appears more or less familiar. By introducing anonymous strangers, and by catechising her myself in various ways, I have satisfied myself that much of the information she possesses in the trance state is not acquired by ordinary common- place methods, but that she has some unusual means of acquiring information. The facts on which she discourses are usually within the knowledge of some person present, though they are often entirely out of his conscious thought at the time. Occasionally facts have been narrated which have only been verified afterwards, and which are in good faith asserted never to have been known j meaning thereby that they have left no trace on the conscious memory of any person present or in the neighbourhood, and that it is highly improbable that they were ever known to such persons. She is also in the trance state able to diagnose diseases and to specify the owners or late owners of portable property, under circum- stances which preclude the application of ordinary methods. In the midst of this lucidity a number of mistaken and confused statements are frequently made, having little or no apparent meaning or application. Concerning the particular means by which she acquires the different kinds of information, there is no sufficient evidence to make it safe to draw any conclusion. I can only say with certainty that it is by none of the ordinary methods known to Physical Science. Oliver J. Lodge. May, 1890. The above careful statement does not convey any vivid idea of the actual occurrences, nor does it impart such information as is needed by persons not already familiar with the subject before they read the detailed report; hence it may be permissible to amplify it by a more descriptive and less cautiously worded account of my experience, accompanied by a preliminary examination of such elucidatory hypo- theses as suggest themselves; premising that for evidence the report of the sittings must be appealed to, not this narrative account. Regarding the manner of the sitting, it may be convenient to print here, as sufficiently representative of what happens, and as embodying what it is necessary somewhere to say concerning Mrs. Piper's initial acquaintance with me, a statement I wrote shortly after my first sitting. Preliminary statement written December 1st, 1889. Mrs. Piper arrived in England on November 19th in the Cunard steamer Scythia from Boston, and as Mr. Myers was called away to Edinburgh on that day, I met the steamer at his request and conveyed the lady to the hotel apartments he had taken for her. I was a complete stranger, but was introduced sufficiently by a note Mr. Myers had left with the hotel Commissionaire, who also met the steamer and saw the luggage through the Custom House. In the course of the drive to the hotel with Mrs. Piper and her two little girls, I mentioned that I had a good many children ; in fact, seven. I also told her that I was a Professor at a college in the city. At the hotel I left her, and though I called next day just to see that she was all right, I told her no more about myself, nor was she in the least inquisitive. She was naturally tired after the journey, and absorbed with the children. That evening Mr. Myers arrived, and next day escorted her to his house in Cambridge. I remained at work in Liverpool till November 29th, when I travelled to London to attend the Royal Society dinner the following day. And on the morning of this day, the 30th, I met Mr. Myers at King's Cross, and travelled to Cambridge with him by the 9.5 a.m. train, reaching his house about 11. Mrs. Piper was soon ready and we commenced a sitting. I sat facing Mrs. Piper in a partially darkened room, and Mr. Myers was within earshot on the other side of curtains, taking note of what was said. Mrs. Piper sat still, leaning forward in her chair, and holding my hands. For some time she could not go off, but at last she said, "Oh, I am going," the clock happened to strike one (for a half hour), and she twitched convulsively, ejaculated "don't," and went into apparent epilepsy. [I had seen epilepsy several times before and recognised many of the ordinary and obvious symptoms; not, of course, pretending to speak medically.] Gradually she became quiet, and still holding my right hand, cleared her throat in a male voice, and with distinctly altered and hardened features, eyes closed and un- used the whole time. Having been told what to expect and how to humour this impersonation,I said, "Well, Doctor," upon which he [for it sounded like a man, and I quite forgot that it was a woman who was speaking for the rest of the sitting: the whole manner and conversation was masculine] introduced himself as "Dr. Phinuit," and we made the usual commonplace remarks. I found it difficult to know what to say, but I said I had heard of him from Myers, and he said, "Ha ! Myers, is he here? He wasn't here last time I came," upon whic Mr. Myers replied, "Yes, I am here, Doctor." He said a few more words to Mr. Myers, and then asked me if there was anything I wanted to ask him, at the same time putting his hand on my head and feeling all over it, saying he wanted to become acquainted with me, that I was "a nice fellow," "worked too hard," "had a full head," and such like things, as he probably would say to anyone engaged in similar pursuits. I asked him if he could tell me anything about my relations, upon which he began a rambling and excited conversation consisting of short sentences and curious snatches and jerks, with occasional wanderings into momentary (apparent) irrelevance, but every now and again coming to a point energetically and hammering it into me with insistence both verbal and manual. Of this conversation Mr. Myers took as complete notes as was possible, and I have not been able to supplement his notes very materially, except perhaps here and there with a touch which had escaped him. The occasional irrelevance faintly coming in every now and then amid the more constant coherent and vigorous communication, reminded me of listening at a telephone, where, whenever your main correspondent is silent, you hear the dim and meaningless fragments of a city's gossip, till back again comes the voice obviously addressed to you and speaking with firmness and decision. The record follows later (p. 465). The details given of my family are just such as one might imagine obtained by a perfect stranger surrounded by the whole of one's relations in a group and able to converse freely but hastily with one after the other; not knowing them and being rather confused with their number and half-understood messages and personalities, and having a special eye to their physical weaknesses and defects. A person in a hurry thus trying to tell a stranger as much about his friends as he could in this way gather would seem to me to be likely to make much the same kind of com- munication as was actually made to me. In order to gain further experience, my wife invited Mrs. Piper to our house between the dates December 18th and December 27th, 1889; and again between the dates January 30th and February 5th, 1890, when she sailed for New York. During these days we had 22 sittings, and I devoted my whole time to the business, being desirous of making the investigation as complete and satisfactory as possible while the opportunity lasted. Mrs. Piper pretends to no knowledge as to her own powers, and I believe her assertion that she is absolutely ignorant of all that she has said in the trance state. She appears to be anxious to get the phenomenon elucidated, and hopes by sitting to scientific investigators to have light thrown on her abnormal condition, about which she expresses herself as not quite comfortable. She perfectly appreciates the reasonableness of withholding information from her; assents with a smile to a sudden stop in the middle of a sentence, and in general is quite uninquisitive. All this innocency may, of course, be taken as' perfection of acting, but it deprives her of the great advantage (assuming fraudulent intention for the moment) of controlling the circumstances after the manner of a conjurer; and prevents her from being the master of her own time and movements. The control of the experiments was thus entirely in my own hands, and this is an essential ingredient for satisfactory testimony. The initial question to be satisfactorily answered before anything can be held worth either investigating or recording concerns the honesty of Mrs. Piper herself. That there is more than can be explained by any amount of either conscious or unconscious fraud, that the phenomenon is a genuine one however it is to be explained, I now regard as absolutely certain; and I make the following two statements with the utmost confidence :— (i.) Mrs. Piper's attitude is not one of deception. (ii.) No conceivable deception on the part of Mrs. Piper can explain the facts. I will not take up time by doing more than enumerating some of the methods of imposture which suggest themselves to an inquirer as preliminary possibilities to be guarded against. Such as :— Inquiry by paid agents. Inquiry by correspondence. Catechism of servants or children. Research in Family Bibles. Study of photograph albums. Use of directories and biographies. Prowling about the house at night with skeleton keys. Bribing servants to name the sitter. The question of good faith is so vital that before taking leave of this part of the subject I will make the following statements :— 1. Mrs. Piper's correspondence was small, something like three letters a week, even when the children were away from her. The outsides of her letters nearly always passed through my hands, and often the insides, too, by her permission. 2. The servants were all, as it happened, new, having been obtained by my wife through ordinary local inquiries and registry offices, just about the time of Mrs. Piper's visit. Consequently they were entirely ignorant of family connections, and could have told nothing, however largely they had been paid. The ingenious suggestion has been made that they were her spies. Knowing the facts, I will content myself with asserting that they had absolutely no connection with her of any sort. 3. The photograph albums and Family Bibles were hidden by me the morning of the day after she arrived at my house. I had intended to do it sooner. This is manifestly a weak point. Like many such things, it sounds worse than it is. The more important books were in my study, and into it she did not go till just before the first sitting. One or two photographs she did look at, and these are noted. The safest tiling is to assume that she may have looked at everything about the house. 4. In order to be able to give better evidence, I obtained permission and immediately thereafter personally overhauled the whole of her luggage. Directories, biographies, Men of the Time, and such-like books were entirely absent. In fact there were scarcely any books at all. 5. The eldest child at home was aged nine, and the amount of information at his disposal was fairly well known to us. My wife was sceptically inclined, and was guarded in her utterances; and though n few slips could hardly be avoided—and one or two of these were rather unlucky ones—they were noted and are recorded. 6. Strange sitters frequently arrived at 11 a.m., and I admitted them myself straight into the room where we were going to sit; they ■were shortly afterwards introduced to Miff. Piper under some assumed name. 7. Occasionally, when the sitter came in an evening and took .a meal first, the correct name was apt to leak out. Even then it seems to me that a portentous and impossible memory would be needed to select from the entire mass of facts which had been previously (by impossible hypothesis) hunted up and memorialised for the circle of my and many other people's acquaintance, and to affix the correct parcel to the appropriate individual. 8. The whole attitude of Mrs. Piper was natural, uninquisitive, ladylike, and straightforward. If anything was noticeable it was a trace of languor and self-absorption, very natural under the trying condition of two long trances a day. Her whole demeanour struck everyone who became intimate with her as utterly beyond and above suspicion. 9. The trance is, to the best of my belief, a genuine one. In it Mrs. Piper is (sometimes, at least,) insensible to pain, as tested by suddenly pushing a needle into her hand, which causes not the slightest flinching; and her pulse is affected beyond what I can imagine to be the control of volition. Of the genuineness of the trance I have not the remotest doubt, and only say no more about it because it is a question for medical witnesses (p. 441). Cheating being supposed out of the question, and something which may briefly be described, at least by a non-psychologist, as a duplex or trance personality being conceded, the next hypothesis is that her trance personality makes use of information acquired by her in her waking state, and retails what it finds in her subconsciousness without any ordinary effort of memory. It is an interesting question whether any facts instilled into the waking Mrs. Piper can be recognised in the subsequent trance speech My impression at one time was that the trance information is practically independent of what specific facts Mrs. Piper may happen to know. The evidence now seems to me about evenly balanced on either side. Whether the trance speech could give, say, scientific facts, or a foreign language, or anything in its nature entirely beyond her ken, I am unable to say. Definite experiments may have, and I hope have, been directed to each of these questions, but not yet by me. I want to attack these questions next time I have a chance. So far as my present experience has gone, I do not feel sure how far Mrs. Piper's knowledge or ignorance of specific facts has an appreciable influence on the com- munication of her trance personality. But certainly the great mass of facts retailed by this personality are wholly outside of Mrs. Piper's knowledge; in detail, though not in kind."

Walter Leaf, pp. 558–9 of the same Proceedings: "(3) PART II By Walter Leaf, Litt.D. The series of sittings held by Mrs. Piper at Liverpool forms a set distinct to some extent from the rest in quality as well as in matter, and has therefore been treated apart, for convenience' sake, by Professor Lodge. It was remarkable, as compared with those which have now to be considered, for a high level of success. At Cambridge, as in London, success and failure alternated in a puzzling manner. In a large number of cases particles of intuition were embedded in a mass of vague, unintelligible, or distinctly "fishing" conversation. The sittings, however, have the advantage of throwing a great deal of light upon the working of the medium's secondary personality, and deserve therefore as careful study as those of more uniform quality. The plan adopted in dealing with them has been to set out first the most remark- able from an evidential point of view, and then a few of those which give the most unfavourable side of Dr. Phinuit's personality ; for as a. distinct personality we shall have to regard him. The remainder are collected in the Appendix in an abbreviated form. Before entering upon details, it is necessary to give a general view of the conditions under which the London sittings took place. Mr. Myers has already done this for Cambridge. In London the same precautions were of course taken to introduce all sitters, not previously known to Mrs. Piper, under feigned names. The possibility of gaining information by local gossip, which has to be taken into account in Cambridge and even in Liverpool, was here excluded by the circum- stances of the case; and the same may be said of another supposed source of information, that by inquiry from servants. The first nine sittings were held at Mrs. Piper's lodgings, No. 27, Montagu-street, W.C. The owners of the lodgings could not possibly have known anything of Dr. Myers, by whom the arrangements were made. When Mrs. Piper came to London for the second time, she was lodged at a private hotel not far from my residence, where the possibility of information was equally excluded. She sat several times at my house, and dmed there on one occasion ; but she was under close observation all the time, and it is perfectly certain that she had no chance of "pumping" any of the servants, nor indeed are any of the statements which she made such as could possibly be accounted for by such channels of information. One sitting, perhaps the most remarkable of the series, took place at Mr. Clarke's house at Harrow. Here it may be said that there was a possible source of inquiry; for Mrs. Piper had not only met Mr. Clarke in America, but had crossed the Atlantic on the same steamer with him ; and it will be suggested, no doubt, that she had succeeded in pumping him as to his wife's family in the course of conversation. That any man could have imparted unconsciously such curious and unusual family histories as those told to Mrs. Clarke would be amazing enough. The supposition is simply impossible to those who have had the opportunity of watching Mrs. Piper, and estimating the singularly limited range of her conversation, and its inadequacy for the subtle designs attributed to it. Moreover, some of the facts stated were unknown to Mr. Clarke himself till he heard them asserted by the medium and confirmed by his wife. Both Mr. and Mrs. Clarke are intimately known to me ; and no better evidence than theirs could possibly be desired. Mrs. Clarke is a German by birth, and has been in England only since her marriage. The facts stated to her refer entirely to members of her family in Germany. Nothing short of a detective employed by Mrs. Piper in Munich would have availed to get her the knowledge which she showed on the occasion of her sitting with Mrs. Clarke. The same may be said of the only two other London sittings which are published at length, as being of evidential importance. My sister- in-law, Mrs. H. Leaf, was introduced to Mrs. Piper at the lodgings in Manchester-street, where Mrs. Piper had arrived the day before, and was immediately told a number of facts of almost all of which I was myself quite ignorant, as they referred to various cousins of hers whose names I had not to my knowledge ever heard. Mr. Pye is a friend whom I have known for many years, but of whose family I know only one or two members. What was stated to him was entirely outside my own knowledge. Of the other sittings the most remarkable was undoubtedly Miss " Gertrude C.'s." As will be seen from her report, Appendix, Nos. 29 and 31, the best part of this was of so private a nature that practically very little can be published. Of the facts which have had to be reserved it is quite clear that no means, not even the most astute detective, could have obtained knowledge of them ; they were secrets which were the property of one, or at most of two or three persons. In addition to this there is the conviction which I strongly feel, in common, I think, with all those who have seen much of Mrs. Piper, that she is absolutely honest. This of course refers to her normal state; as to the view to be taken of the Phinuit personality there will be more to be said hereafter. But as to the first and most obvious question, whether she consciously acquires knowledge with regard to her sitters, with the intention of deceiving, I may say most positively that I regard such a supposition as entirely untenable."

pp. 1–9 of the report by Dr. Hodgson in Proceedings S.P.R., vol. viii.: "§ 1. Introductory. My knowledge of Mrs. Piper began early in May, 1887, about a fortnight after my arrival in Boston. Professor William James men- tioned her to me, and appointed an hour, without, of course, mentioning my name, at which Mrs. Piper could give me a sitting. Mrs. Piper, however, was engaged at the time I called, and could see me only to arrange for a sitting a day or two later. As my readers know, from the article in Proceedings S.P.E., Vol. VI., pp. 436-650, Mrs. Piper passes into the so-called "mediumistic trance," and then usually purports to be "controlled" by a "Doctor Phinuit." For convenience of reference I shall speak of "Phinuit " as a distinct personality, and consider later some points that bear on the probability or improbability that Phinuit is an intelligence entirely separate from the individuality of Mrs. Piper. After I had had several sittings I informed Mrs. Piper of my name and address, ike, for convenience in arranging sittings—either for myself or for other persons—and I estimate that I have made appoint- ments for at least fifty persons whom I believed to be strangers to Mrs. Piper. At one time I arranged with Mrs. Piper that she should give me the first hour on three mornings of the week for several successive weeks, and I sent persons at these times to keep the appointment, usually warning them not to speak of their intended visit even in the presence of their nearest relatives, while Mrs. Piper knew simply that either myself or some person deputed by me would fill each engagement. On a few occasions I accompanied the sitters and took notes of the sittings. Several times Mrs. Piper was unable to go into trance at all. At other times the attempts of Phinuit to give information to the sitters were not only unsatisfactory, but were calculated to produce the opinion that he had no supernormal faculty whatever, but was "fishing" and "shuffling" like any ordinary pseudo-medium, and this opinion was produced in some of the sitters, who regarded Mrs. Piper as probably fraudulent. Others again believed themselves to be, through Phinuit, actually conversing with their deceased friends, while others regarded the communications as explicable on the hypothesis that Mrs. Piper in her trance state possesses the power of getting glimpses into the sitter's past experiences, or, to use the phrase of one sitter, of "fingering in the wastepaper basket of our memories." These sittings, therefore, were very much of the same character as those already reported in Vol. VI. of our Proceedings. Much interest was aroused by these preliminary inquiries, which I conducted for my own personal satisfac- tion, and finally, in 1888, a serious attempt was made by the Com- mittee on Mediumistic Phenomena (appointed by the Council of the American Society for Psychical Research) to investigate Mrs. Piper, and I extract the following from the Report of the Committee (Pro- ceedings of the American Society for Psychical Research, p. 320):— "During the year the committee, as such, has undertaken the careful examination of the results obtained by one well-known trance medium, who is reported to have given to many prudent sitters names and communications of such accuracy and fulness that it is supposed that such results could only be reached by some occult agency, or by some mental process which is not exactly recognised as yet. The committee was of the opinion that the reality of such phenomena could probably be satisfactorily determined by a series of sittings held with suitable sitters under the personal supervision of a member of the committee and stenographically reported. In this plan we were aided very materially by the generous co-operation of the medium, who expressed herself ready and willing to act with us in our work. Thus far we have been able to have only eight or ten sittings in which the desired conditions were reasonably fulfilled. The results thus obtained are not of such a character as to warrant any very decided judgment as to the nature of the phenomena under examination, but they throw some light on the questions involved." This special investigation ended owing to lack of funds. The com- mittee regarded the stenographic reports as essential, and these were expensive. I had the opportunity of studying the stenographic reports men- tioned in the above extract, and also the comments of the sitter and of the member of the committee in each case. I have also in my posses- sion several stenographic reports of sittings made at the instance of Professor James previous to my arrival in America. In addition I have had sittings for the purpose of testing Phinuit's capacities in various ways, and among them a series of sittings which Mrs. Piper gave gratuitously, for the purpose of enabling me to find out what I could from Phinuit, in any way that I chose, concerning his own personality, his knowledge, his relations to Mrs. Piper, ifcc. This series of sittings last referred to, of which the circumstances at the time permitted me to have only five, were stenographically reported, also gratuitously, by a lady member of our Society who had had frequent sittings with Mrs. Piper, and was well known to the Phinuit personality. Furthermore, I have received oral accounts from a large number of persons, some of whom have had frequent sittings with Mrs. Piper for several years, indepen- dently of my arrangements. I have before me also the reports of Mrs. Piper's sittings in England. Mrs. Piper, throughout all my acquaint- ance with her, has shown the fullest readiness to accept my suggestions in any way whatever for the purpose of ascertaining the meaning of the Phinuit personality, and both she and Phinuit gave me full permission to try and test in any way that I might think desirable. As my investi- gations have proceeded I have been more and more strengthened in the conviction that Mrs. Piper's trance is a genuine abnormal state, and that the normal waking Mrs. Piper has no direct knowledge whatever of the sayings and doings of her trance personality. That she exhibits supernormal phenomena in the trance state I have no doubt. In brief, I find myself in entire agreement with the formal summary report pre- sented by Professor Lodge in Proceedings S.P.E., Vol. VI., p. 443, which ran, it will be remembered, as follows :— "It is the case of a lady who appears to go off into a trance when she pleases to will it under favourable surroundings, and in that trance to talk volubly, with a manner and voice quite different from her ordinary manner and voice, on details concerning which she has had no information given her. "In this abnormal state her speech has reference mainly to people's relatives and friends, living or deceased, about whom she is able to hold a conversation, and with whom she appears more or less familiar. "By introducing anonymous strangers, and by catechising her myself in various ways, I have satisfied myself that much of the information she possesses in the trance state is not acquired by ordinary commonplace methods, but that she has some unusual means of acquiring information. The facts on which she discourses are usually within the knowledge of some person present, though they are often entirely out of his conscious thought at the time. Occasionally facts have been narrated which have only been verified afterwards, and which are in good faith asserted never to have been known; meaning thereby that they have left no trace on the conscious memory of any person present or in the neighbourhood, and that it is highly improbable that they were ever known to such persons. "She is also in the trance state able to diagnose diseases and to specify the owners or late owners of portable property, under circumstances which preclude the application of ordinary methods. "In the midst of this lucidity a number of mistaken and confused statements are frequently made, having little or no apparent meaning or application. "Concerning the particular means by which she acquires the different kinds of information, there is no sufficient evidence to make it safe to draw any conclusion. I can only say with certainty that it is by none of the ordinary methods known to Physical Science." § 2. Some Peculiarities of the Trance State. Mre. Piper seems, so far as my experiments have gone, to be partially anaesthetic in the medium-trance. Professor James tells me that on one occasion he found the lips and tongue analgesic. Phinuit claims to have neither taste nor smell, and I was unable to get any indications of them. Once, however, when I was testing Phinuit's knowledge of herbs (see below, p. 51), Mrs. Blodgett was present and tasted one of the specimens, whereupon Phinuit put a portion in his mouth, but in reply to my inquiry said that he could not taste it. Phinuit claimed to get no sensations of smell from a scent-bag or a bottle of perfume,—at which I was not surprised, since, on a previous occasion, I could not detect the smallest signs of discomfort1 after he had taken several inhalations of strong ammonia. I took special care to see that the ammonia was actually inhaled. Similarly he appeared to be quite un- aware of a spoonful of salt which I placed in his mouth. Dr. C. W. F. states (see below, Reports of Sittings, No. 23) that the sense of taste was in the forehead, but the single incident upon which he founded this opinion is capable of another explanation. Dr. F. writes to me :— "February 16tt, 1891. At my first seance with Mrs. Piper, Phinuit said, 'Get the medium to cut off a lock of your hair for me to examine and then prescribe some medicine for you.' This was done and the medicine sent to me, and I took it for a time, and thought it soothed the bladder. I put a small vial of it in my pocket before visiting Mrs. Piper again, as I wished Phinuit to tell me what it was. I took it from my pocket during the trance and handed it to her, when she removed the cork and wetted her finger either from the cork or vial and placed it to her forehead. Phinuit remarked that it was all right, correctly prepared. It contained, among other things, uva ursi and wild carrot. I now remember asking him the question, 'Why was it necessary for you to have a lock of my hair to examine before prescribing for me when you had me right before you?' His answer was to the effect that the medicine might be examined by him after its preparation to see that it was all right. He then instanced a case he prescribed for where a wrong salt was used by the apothecary to the injury of the lady having the seance. I made no further experiment as to the seat of the sense of taste." On the other hand, Miss W. relates an incident that seems to bear on this point (see p. 31), where Phinuit apparently went through the process of " tasting," and suggested that Mrs. Piper had been eating onions. Miss W. further writes :—. 1 Mrs. Piper suffered somewhat after the trance was over. "Dr. Phinuit seemed to taste the onion. The tongue moved about in the mouth and smacked on the lips for several seconds, while I waited with much curiosity. Neither then nor afterwards did I get any hint of the odour through my own nostrils." He localised pinches correctly in various parts of the body, and sensations of touch, temperature, pressure, and the muscular sense seem to be all present, though apparently somewhat enfeebled. The sense of hearing is present, though this seems to vary in fineness to a certain extent in different trances. When I made some rough experiments on localisation by pinching—sometimes rather severely—Phinuit explained that he "lost control" temporarily of that portion of the body. "Makes it like a stick. I have got no feeling in that for a time, but when you let go I feel it again." Later on, unexpectedly, I held a lighted match to the left forearm. The arm was drawn away, not suddenly, but slowly, as though a vague discomfort was appreciated. "Oui, I feel it," exclaimed Phinuit. "Did you feel pain J" "No, felt cold—cold, I think." I have not tried any severe pain tests. (See Proceedings, Vol. VI., p. 447.) Whenever I examined the eye- balls in the medium-trance I found them rolled up, and the pupils reacted to light. They reacted also, I leam from Professor James, in the ordinary hypnosis which he succeeded in obtaining with Mrs. Piper. On one occasion, having persuaded Phinuit to stand up,1 I held the eyelids up and urged Phinuit to force the eyeballs into their ordinary waking position. This seemed to involve considerable effort on Phinuit's part, and Mrs. Piper's face became much drawn and rather ghastly during the process. The eyeballs, with a vacant stare, remained down for about half a minute, though I did not take the exact time, and then suddenly rolled up again. (At the end of that sitting Mrs. Piper was an exceptionally long time recovering from trance. Phinuit had said "Au revoir," but after several minutes spoke again in a low voice, and complained that he had "got twisted round somehow and could not find his way out." After a short interval, however, Mrs. Piper began to come to herself in the usual way.) Here I fully expected to have added the report of Mrs. Piper's physician, who attended her for several months in 1890, and who was present at a sitting which Mrs. Piper gave on December 4th, 1890; but after hesitating for some time he absolutely refused to make any report whatever. Dr. Wadsworth, who made an examination of Mrs. Piper's eyes in 1 Mrs. Piper stood up without changing the position of her feet, at the same time throwing her head slightly back and her chest forward, and thrusting the thumbs jauntily into what would have been the armholes of her waistcoat had she worn one. the normal state, informs me that she has slight astigmatism, hut that otherwise the eyes are normal in all respects.1 § 3. Hypothesis of Fraud ox the Part of Mrs. Piper. I need hardly say that in estimating the value of my own as of all other sittings, I was compelled to assume, in the first instance, that Mrs. Piper was fraudulent and obtained her information previously by ordinary means, such as inquiries by confederates, &c. Not only was this assumption as to Mrs. Piper's fraud necessary, but it was alst> needful to suppose that she worked herself into a hyperresthetic state during which she obtained much further information given in various ways by the sitter, consciously or unconsciously, by speech, gesture, and other muscular action. That I did not obtain a sitting at my first visit might be pointed to as a very suspicious circumstance, and it might well be supposed that, in consequence of my known connection with the Society for Psychical Research, Mrs. Piper might have previously "got up" information about myself and other active workers in the Society in the expectation of future use. The inadequacy, moreover, of my notes may also be alleged, since they were not absolutely verbatim and my attention was more or less given to the associations connected with the information communicated by Phinuit. In reply to this I can only say that I have striven with the utmost care to avoid attributing to Phinuit any statement which might have been obtained previously from my own words.2 My opinion about my own sittings is that they would appear much more remarkable if stenographic reports had been taken. Now, we cannot argue that the facts related to me by Phinuit were not such as were likely to have been provided by confederates, because we must suppose that Mrs. Piper has an astuteness at least equal to ours, and would therefore anticipate an argument of this kind. And there is hardly any single fact about any single person of which a medium may not be legitimately supposed to have acquired some knowledge, either accidentally or by systematic secret inquiry. The difficulty in supposing that Phinuit's knowledge has been acquired in this way is 1 Examination bit 0. F. Wadmorth, M.D., Boston, Mass.—Mrs. L. E. Piper, January 11th, 1891.—Eyes on external inspection normal in appearance. Right eye: vision, with— -25 sph. and + 75 cyl., axis vertical, -J* +. Left eye: vision, with + -50cyl., axis vertical, \i +. Reads '5 Snellen 26" to 9". Field of vision in each eye normal. Colour sense normal. Fundus normal. 2 In recording the early sittings both of myself and other persons, my object was not so much to note down every word of Phinuit, but to note the substance of such specific statements as were made by Phinuit without help from the sitter, using, of course, Phinuit's words as far as possible. I did not, moreover, anticipate any detailt d publicaiton of these early records, which I made for my own satisfaction and for subsequent questioning of the sitters, at a time when I was looking forward to a systematic examination of Mrs. Piper's trance state by the then existing American S.P.R. owing to the large number of facts communicated concerning a large number of different sitters, special care having been taken with the view of preventing Mrs. Piper's knowing anything of these persons before- hand. There is, I think, in the reports which follow, enough evidence to show that fraud on the part of Mrs. Piper is very far from being an adequate explanation, though it is, of course, conceivable that in some cases Mrs. Piper, had she been fraudulent, might have acquired by ordinary means such information as Phinuit gave to the sitter. Mr. John F. Brown, for example, appears to have concluded that this supposition, allowing also for guesswork and questioning during the sitting, is the actual explanation of his own experiences with Mrs. Piper (Reports of Sittings, No. 13); and Professor Henry P. Bowditch, M.D., has given me an account of some circumstances which he finds hard to explain, except upon the hypothesis that Mrs. Piper was acting fraudulently. Professor Bowditch had a sitting with Mrs. Piper in May, 1886, at which the communications were entirely irrelevant. His con- nection with the American Society for Psychical Research was prominent, and he might have been seen by Mrs. Piper presiding at public meetings, and his name ascertained. He is frequently called Dr. Henry Bowditch. An uncle of his, Henry I. Bowditch, M.D., was also well known as a practising physician in Boston. About December, 1887, Professor Bowditch, accompanied by his brother's wife, called on Mrs. Piper for the purpose of having a sitting. Mrs. Piper, he says, declined to give a sitting on the plea of ill-health, but held some con- versation with them, and presumably recognised Professor Bowditch. Several weeks later I arranged a sitting for them, at the request of Pro- fessor Bowditch, without, of course, mentioning any names. At this sitting, which was held on January 17th, 1888, several specific details were given which purported to come from a deceased lady well known to the sitters. Her Christian name and surname were correctly given, and also the place of her death, in Europe; but the references to Pro- fessor Bowditch, his father, and other relatives were incorrect as applied to him, but would have been correct if applied to his uncle, Dr. Henry I. Bowditch, to whom also the deceased lady had been well known. Moreover, no statements at all were made which appeared specially to concern Professor Bowditch's sister-in-law, who accompanied him. It was plain to him during the sitting that there was some confusion, but it was not till afterwards, in talking the matter over with his sister-in- law, that it occurred to him that the references would have fitted his uncle. Professor Bowditch's inference was that Mrs. Piper had obtained information beforehand by ordinary means concerning Dr. Henry I. Bowditch, and had applied it to himself, supposing him to be the person. Unfortunately no record was made of this sitting, and although Professor Bowditch's explanation is the one that would appear most reasonable to any person who was not. familiar with Mrs. Piper's trance state, I think it probable that the incident could easily be explained otherwise if we had a detailed report of the conversation between Professor Bowditch and Phinuit. In personal appearance, at least, Professor Bowditch could never be mistaken for his uncle; but if we suppose Phinuit to be receiving there and then—from whatever source, "departed spirits" or the minds of the sitters—a general mass of information about the Bowditch family, it would not be matter of surprise that he should be confused as to the two doctors Henry Bowditch. It would be much more matter of surprise that Mrs. Viper should make this mistake. It may even be that Phinuit was drawing information, not only—at the time of the sitting—from the sitters or from some extraneous source, but also from the knowledge, conscious and unconscious, previously possessed by Mrs. Piper, and in attempting to piece these fragments of information together made some mistakes. But in the absence of precise details as to what Phinuit said, how far there was mere confusion and how far there was definite mis- taken identity, my explanation cannot go beyond conjecture. The reader may compare the incidents described by Professor Lodge in Proceedings, Vol. VI., p. 454 and p. 462 (footnote). I have already stated my conviction of Mrs. Piper's honesty, and I hold further that the reports quoted here—not to speak of those already published in Vol. VI.—establish the existence of some faculty in Phinuit which goes at least as far as telepathy. The detailed reports themselves are offered as justification for this view, and —after what has been already published—I think it superfluous to attempt any summary of them for the purpose of proving either that Mrs. Piper could not have acquired by normal means the information given at the sittings, or that Phinuit, as distinguished from Mrs. Piper, could not have obtained all this information by guessing, questioning, and interpretation of muscular and other indications consciously and unconsciously given by the sitters. My readers, I shall assume, are familiar with the analysis of Phinuit's character and methods by Professor Lodge and also with the —to a certain extent complementary —analysis by Mr. Leaf. With all their criticisms of Phinuit's "tricks and manners" I substantially if not completely agree, and I wish to emphasise this fact very strongly, not because of the mere agreement itself, but because it should be understood that I do not pass lightly over the weakness and deficiencies of the Phinuit personality. Indeed; I have been at sittings where Phinuit has displayed such paltering and equivocation, and such a lack of lucidity, that I believe had these been my only experiences with him I should without any hesitation have condemned Mrs. Piper as an impostor. Such failures appear to depend sometimes, but not always, on the sitter. As Phinuit himself confessed (May 26th, 1888): "Sometimes when I come here, do you know, actually it is hard work for me to get control of the medium. Some- times I think I am almost like the medium, and sometimes not at all. Then [when the control is incomplete] I am weak and confused." Admitting, then, and emphasising the shortcomings of Phinuit, and allowing that many statements correctly made by Phinuit might be accounted for on the supposition that Mrs. Piper had "got up" the information beforehand, I shall here assume that there is nevertheless a large residuum to be attributed to some supernormal faculty. From this point of view the really important questions for consideration are: (1) What is Phinuit? and (2) By what supernormal means does he get his information? I have no final answer for either of these questions, but I think it useful to collate briefly some of the most important incidents in the records here published, with the view of showing why the most obvious answers are not entirely satisfactory. In doing this I propose to follow the example of Professor Lodge (Proceedings, Vol. VI., p. 647), and dismiss altogether the hypothesis of imposture on the part of Mrs. Piper."

pp. 6–11 of the report by Professor Newbold in Proceedings S.P.R., vol. xiv.: "A FURTHER RECORD OF OBSERVATIONS OF CERTAIN PHENOMENA OF TRANCE. PART H. A.—By Professor William Romaine Newbold. § 1. Introductory. I have been present at twenty-six sittings with Mrs. Piper, and Dr. Hodgson kindly supervised seven others at which I was not present, although the communicators invoked and the topics introduced were suggested by me. Fifteen sittings, including two of those at which I was not present, were devoted for the most part to getting evidence to prove the identity of the alleged communicators; the remainder to getting from them their own theory of the phenomena and their description of the conditions under which they were working and of the life they live. While it is impossible at present to accept these statements as true, it is of the greatest importance to put them on record as affording clues for the guidance of experiments with other automatists. The material got from this latter series I shall leave entirely to Dr. Hodgson. I am myself concerned with the evidence for identity only. Of the general character of that evidence the following pages will give a sufficient account. In making my abstract I have tried to include the more important passages which are relevant to the question of identity. I have been especially careful to bring into prominence all distinct failures and any other facts which would tend to detract from the surprising character of many of the statements made. As a rule I have not transcribed verbatim pages of confusion from which no coherent thought can be extracted. But in the cases in which such confusion immediately precedes the appearance of some surprising bit of information, it has been in several cases given in full, that the reader may form his own opinion of the methods by which such results are attained. For examples cf. the giving of the names of Morton, Murdoch, and the introduction of Mr. Burton (pp. 15, 27, 32). When clearly intelligible passages contained repetitions of the same word due to the inability of the sitter to decipher the first attempt, or words and phrases which have nothing to do with the general tenor of the communication, the extraneous material has frequently been omitted without indication of the fact. Names of persons and of places have been in nearly all cases sup- pressed. In the selection of pseudonyms I have taken great pains to represent familiar names by names at least as familiar, and unfamiliar names by names as unfamiliar. So also in the transcription of phonetic approximations to the real names, I have taken great care to make the representatives letter for letter analogous to their originals. A few other changes have been made in order still further to conceal identity, but nothing which could at all affect the value of the evidence. With regard to the origin of the information given, I have no theory to offer. I can frame none to which I cannot myself allege unanswerable objections. I am satisfied, however, as is every one so far as I know who has studied the case at any length, that it was not consciously got by Mrs. Piper during waking life and then fraudulently palmed off on the sitter as supernormal. There is every reason for believing that there is no memory bond between Mrs. Piper's waking consciousness and that of her trance life. A question more difficult to answer is that which inquires into the amount of information which Mrs. Piper's trance personalities get from the sitter. Even without resorting to the assumption of a tele- pathic relation between the sitter and the "medium," no one who has seen how readily an acute "medium" will construct an appropriate "spirit" message upon the suggestions furnished by a sitter's looks and words will be easily convinced by any such record as I here offer. This is a legitimate objection, and to some extent impairs the value of the evidence. In dealing with personalities who had had much experience in writing, and occasionally with those. who represented themselves as having been long dead, it was usually possible to keep complete notes of the sitter's questions and answers. The writing was relatively slow, and illegible words were readily rewritten. But the alleged spirits of those who had but recently died, or who had died a violent death, or who had been bound to the sitter by strong emotional ties, nearly always display great excitement and confusion. The time and attention of one and even two sitters is fully occupied in con- trolling the violent convulsions which seize the writing arm, keeping a constant flow of cheering talk going for the benefit of the communica- tor, replacing broken pencils and at the same time deciphering the pages of delirious nonsense which the hand scribbles off as fast as it can tear over the sheets, any misreading of which greatly increases the excitement and confusion. Under such circumstances, our notes necessarily became frag- mentary, and when the sitting was written up a few hours later, many of our questions and answers had to be supplied from memory. It is possible that some suggestions given by sitters have escaped our notice, and the evidence is to that extent untrustworthy. I am myself satisfied that the percentage of error thus introduced is not considerable. Both Dr. Hodgson and I have seen much of pro- fessional mediums, and are thoroughly familiar with the methods of "fishing" upon which they generally rely. Hence we always had such possibilities in mind, and it would have been impossible for any large amount of detailed information to have been extracted from us in this way without our knowledge. Occasionally our vigilance relaxed, and we made careful note of the fact. For examples see the quotation "Fama tempus vivat" (p. 45), and Mr. Bonney's name (p. 43). Probably it occasionally relaxed without our making any note of it, but that could not have happened very often. The reader will observe that "yes " and "no" are often written when no questions are recorded. This is due to the fact that, the writing being exceedingly illegible and coming very rapidly, the sitter reads aloud with a slight interrogatory inflection at any convenient resting point, as at the end of a sheet or at an apparent pause in the sense. To this the writer responds with "yes" or '• no," to show whether he is being correctly understood. If these utterances are, as I believe them to be, entirely dissevered from the normal consciousness of Mrs. Piper, they as truly reveal to us a new world of mind as the microscope reveals a new world of matter. George Pelham and his companions undoubtedly record for us conscious experiences which are subjectively as real as any that you or I ever experienced. But when we ask to what metaphysical category of Being they are to be assigned, we find no satisfactory answer. Are they merely unusually stable dream states, generated in connection with Mrs. Piper's brain, interrupted perhaps during her normal life, but resuming the thread of their phantasmal existence with the recurrence of the convulsions which usher in her trance? Or are they what they profess to be, human minds, divested of their mortal bodies, and lead- ing an independent existence in a supersensible world?—a world as real as this present world in the only true sense of real, being an inevitable portion of the common experience of conscious beings. Of the existence of such a world we cannot satisfy ourselves by any of our usual tests. We are confined to the evidence for the iden- tity of the alleged communicators. Of the extent and value of the evidence to be got from my series of sittings the reader can himself judge. Much of it seems to me strong, and much more I cannot reconcile with the theory of identity. The only alternative to the "spirit" theory is the theory which ascribes the phenomena to secondary personalities, derived from the weaving together by Mrs. Piper's nervous mechanism of all the complex suggestions of the stance room, supplemented by telepathic and clairvoyant impressions got in connection with the sitter and with the articles which he brings. For this we can find some analogies on a smaller scale; the greater part of my own experiences, if taken severally, seem to me susceptible of such an explanation, and there are a few items, such as the Morse incident (p. 24), which almost irresistibly suggest it. Taken as a whole, however, I do not think that the phenomona can be satisfactorily explained by reference to telepathy or clair- voyance. Indeed the phenomena which those words vaguely designate are themselves too little known to provide principles for the elucidation of the less known, and although, as I have said, individual scraps of information may be ascribed with some show of plausibility to a telepathic or clairvoyant origin, the arrangement of these scraps into mosaics of thought, which, however defaced, still often irresistibly suggest the habits, tastes, and memories of some friend deceased—for this I know of no telepathic or clairvoyant analogy. For example, the demand made by "aunt Sallie" that I should identify myself by expounding the significance of "two marriages in this case, mother and aunt grandma also," admits of no satisfactory telepathic explanation. The fact was known to me and might have been got telepathically. But why is the dream personality of the only communicator who died in my childhood the only one who seeks to identify me? Why does she allude in so indirect a fashion to the mode of her death (see p. 34)1 Certainly no stratum of my personality would have felt hesitation in alluding to so commonplace a matter as a laparotomy, or would have lacked suitable language in which to express the allusion. Whence came the reference to "Carson the Dr.," a circumstance which I had totally forgotten, if I ever knew it? And, finally, why was the faded personality of this almost forgotten maiden aunt evoked at all 1 I was not ten years old when she died, and she had been dead twenty years. She was a teacher, lived in Philadelphia, died in a hospital in New York, and was buried near Philadelphia. I do not know the exact date of her death or the exact place of her burial. Probably few persons beside her immediate relatives know that such a person ever existed, and even her relatives seldom think of her. Why were these dim memories so clearly reflected, while others, far stronger, produced no effect 1 Why were my memories, in process of reflection, so refracted as to come seemingly not from my masculine and adult point of view but from that of a spinster aunt who could not at first recognise me with confidence, and who, taking it for granted that her little nephew of ten had not been informed as to the precise cause of her death, expected him, although grown to man's estate, to convey a very obvious allusion to his mother for interpretation without himself knowing what it meant 1 The telepathic interpretation of my other sittings might be criti- cised in much the same manner. Evidence of this sort does not suggest telepathy, it suggests the actual presence of the alleged communicators, and if it stood alone I should have no hesitation in accepting that theory. Unfortunately it does not stand alone. It is interwoven with obscurity, confusion, irrelevancy, and error in a most bewildering fashion. I agree with Dr. Hodgson that the description given by the writers themselves of the conditions under which they are labouring would, if accepted, account for a very large part of this matter. But, even after the most generous allowance on this score, there remains much which the writers cannot explain. Easily first comes their almost total inability to observe and report the phenomena of the material world, coupled with their reiterated assertions that they can and will do so. Second should be put, perhaps, the unaccountable ignorance which they often betray of matters which upon any theory should have been well known to them. In the third place, the general intellectual, as distinguished from the moral and religious, tone of the more recent communications is far lower than we would expect of beings who had long enjoyed exceptional opportunities for the acquisi- tion of knowledge. Concrete descriptions of the other world can be had indeed ad infinitum, but of organised, systematised, conceptual knowledge there is little trace. From such inconsistent material one can draw no fixed conclusions. But there is one result which I think the investigation into Mrs. Piper's and kindred cases should achieve. For any theory some intrinsically strong evidence must be adduced, even if there be but little of it, before the theory can be given any standing in court at all. Until within very recent years the scientific world has tacitly rejected a large number of important philosophical conceptions on the ground that there is absolutely no evidence in their favour whatever. Among those popular conceptions are those of the essential independ- ence of the mind and the body, of the existence of a supersensible world, and of the possibility of occasional communication between that world and this. We have here, as it seems to me, evidence that is worthy of consideration for all these points. It was well expressed by a friend of mine, a scholar who has been known for his uncom- promising opposition to every form of supernaturalism. He had had a sitting with Mrs. Piper, at which very remarkable disclosures were made, and shortly afterwards said to me, in effect, "Scientific men can- not say much longer that there is no evidence for a future life. I have said it, but I shall say it no longer; I know now that there is evidence, for I have seen it. I do not believe in a future life. I regard it as one of the most improbable of theories. The evidence is scanty and ambiguous and insufficient, but it is evidence and it must be reckoned with." If the evidence which the Mrs. Piper case affords proves sufficient to draw any considerable body of competent men into these lines of research, it will have done as much as, and more than, I can venture to expect."

p. 5–9 of the report by Professor Hyslop in Proceedings S.P.R., vol. xvi: "In fixing these alternatives, however, I am told that I should include the possibility of fraud, which is simpler than either of the others. My reply is that I shall not discuss that hypothesis at length. I consider it as having been excluded from view as much as ten years ago, and no one except those who have resolutely remained ignorant of the Society's work in general, and who have not taken the pains to acquaint themselves with the very special precautions in regard to this matter in the Piper case, would compromise his intelligence with that accusation without giving specific proofs of i"t^ For the special benefit of that class, I shall refer it to the record which shows what means were taken to eliminate this resource for explana- tion. (Proceedings, Vol. VI., pp. 437-440, 444-447, 558-560, 615 - etal. Vol. VIII., pp. 1-9; Vol. XIII., pp. 284-5, and Vol. XIV., pp. 7 and 50-78.) Nor is it necessary to resent any insinuations that we are duped, until those who are' possessed of so much intelligence without any previous study of this special instance can produce specific; evidence that the subject of our investigation exhibits the qualities and engages in the kind of work that must be supposed in order to meet the case. It is easy to say "fraud" and suggest any number of imaginable methods of deception, as it is known and practised in most that passes for spiritualism. But it is quite a different thing to indicate the exact kind of "fraud" necessary to reduce the character of a given case. Those who are at all acquainted with the conditions and nature of the Pijier phenomena, and who are not willing to excuse their indolence by an appeal to an explanation for which they have no evidence, will very quickly discover that there is only one kind of fraud even conceivable in the case, and that is the employment of detectives for obtaining infor- mation. This method will undoubtedly account for the cases with which the public is usually entertained, but any attempt to apply it to the present instance in detail, taking adequate consideration of the content of it, will be confronted with assumptions that are about as enormous as the spiritistic theory itself. I am not questioning the' value of scepticism in this direction, but only insisting that it be intelligent and ready to accept the logical consequences of the supposi- tion that it makes. The accuser does not stop to think of the magnitude of his hypothesis when applied to both the quality and quantity of the facts under the conditions involved. But it is not this alone that eviscerates that suspicion of its perti- nence. We might well admit that both quality and quantity would be vitiated by the existence of detective fraud, if that suspicion could be legitimately directed against the subject of our experiments. But in spite of the care with which the Society's publications have stated the conditions under which all arrangements are made for experiments, exempting Mrs. Piper from all responsibility for security against sus- picion, not even the scientific public has yet been intelligent enough to discover that it is on an entirely wrong scent. It ought to be clear to even the most dull person, who must bear the suspicion of fraud, when Dr. Hodgson interposes between the experimenter and Mrs. Piper, and when he, with the rest of us, subordinates the evidential value of any experiments otherwise conducted. The situation is such, as the most cursory examination shows, that the notion of fraud cannot be entertained without implying the complicity of Dr. Hodgson. Now Dr. Hodgson is not under the slightest obligation to prove his own honesty, or that he is not a fraud himself. Hence it is the duty of the sceptic to prove that there is collusion and dishonesty on Dr. Hodgson's part when any charge is made against Mrs. Piper. Members of the Society assumed the duty to examine into her relation to the phenomena, and having satisfied themselves of her innocence, Dr. Hodgson has chosen to shelter her behind his own responsibility, so that the man who wishes to cling to the suspicion of fraud must accept without wincing this responsibility for proving his suspicion. The time is past when we can indulge in the cheap accusation against Mrs. Piper, which tries to throw the burden of proof upon us who announce the value of our results. But when it is Dr. Hodgson who is the starting point of the experiments, critics must accept the challenge to investigate him, or turn their objections to his conclusions in another direction. They cannot stand idly by and demand proof for honesty when it is their duty to prove dishonesty. If we were dealing only with Mrs. Piper, the case might be different, but, as it is, we can safely leave to critics to make good against Dr. Hodgson the alternative to the hypotheses of telepathy and spiritism. In regard to Dr. Hodgson's relation to the sittings generally, it will be important for the reader to know that he is not always present at the sittings that he has arranged for, and that some of the best com- munications have come to persons who, at the former period when the control of Mrs. Piper was not stringent, arranged for themselves and went to her without the knowledge of Dr. Hodgson at all, and reported to him afterward (Cf. Professor Nichols' case, Proceedings, Vol. XIII. pp. 374 and 534). At present, in spite of his control of all arrange- ments for sittings, he is often absent from whole series of them, and the fact makes no difference in the content of the communications. In mine I insisted on his presence, because I was not familiar with the automatic writing and did not wish to waste time in learning to read it. Dr. Hodgson acted as stenographer, so to speak, copying at the time much of the automatic writing, and noting all that was said, or done by both of us and by Mrs. Piper's hand. Any attempt on my part to do this without experience would have resulted in much loss of time and increase of confusion in the "communications," owing to the necessity of repeating until I could decipher the writing. But even then Dr. Hodgson was several times sent out of the room by the trance personalities, and his absence showed no effect on the contents of the "communications," except perhaps to improve that feature of them affecting their relevance, though it took more time for me to read the writing and to obtain a given quantity of material. For the occasions on which Dr. Hodgson was sent out of the room and was not present the reader can consult the following references to the Appendices and detailed records. (Appendix I., pp. 305-306, 306-308, 309-310. All the best part of this sitting, in so far as content is concerned, came while Dr. Hodgson was out of the room. Appendix III., pp. 420-421). The reader can see for himself that in all the instances the "communications " were not interrupted either in manner or matter, except so far as I was the cause and so far as supersensible causes are assumed, so that no affirmation of their entire dependence upon his presence can be made. This is, of course, far truer of others than myself, as he was so often not present even in the house, and the sitter was unknown to Mrs. Piper. Nor is this all, taking the whole case into account. Professor William James, of Harvard University, exercised more or less super- vision over Mrs. Piper's trances and introduced unknown sitters as early as 1885, two years before Dr. Hodgson ever saw the shores of America. And, in fact, it was Professor James that made the appoint- ment for Dr. Hodgson's own first sitting. Professor James says of this year, 1885, "I visited her (Mrs. Piper) a dozen times that winter, sometimes alone, sometimes with my wife, once in company with the Rev. M. J. Savage. I sent a large number of persons to her, wishing to get the results of as many first sittings as possible. I made appoint- ments myself for most of these people, whose names were in no instance announced to the medium." {Proceedings, Vol. VI., p. 652.) A favour- able report of these experiments by Professor James was published in the spring of 1886 {Proceedings of the American S.P.R. pp. 102- 106) one year before Dr. Hodgson came to this country. Further, Mrs. Piper saw a large number of sitters during her visit to England in 1889-90, while Professor James and Dr. Hodgson were both in this country, and several English gentlemen were responsible for the appointments there, especially Professor Oliver J. Lodge, F.R.S., Dr. Walter Leaf, and Mr. F. W. H. Myers. (Proceedings, Vol. VI., pp. 436-447, 558-568). All this implies that we cannot assume fraud without supposing that there has been a conspiracy of it in the Piper case, involving not only the above-named persons, but also many others that could as easily be mentioned. This insinuation must be made good by any man who suggests the possibility of fraud on the part of anyone con- nected with the case. I am myself not exempt from this accusation if a man chooses to make it, and one of my "scientific" colleagues frankly says that he reserves the right to believe, and that he would believe, as an alternative to fraud by Mrs. Piper, that I have lied about the facts. I am not competent to disprove such a theory, but I have shaped this report with the distinct purpose of inviting this charge. Nor does all this imply that I admit the possibility of fraud on the part of any of the persons named. On the contrary, I do not admit that any such thing is possible in the case, because I consider that it was thrown out of court as much as ten years ago for all intelligent men. But I allude to it here, first, to show that I have been alert to all the issues likely to be raised in this problem, and, second—accept- ing a man's right to raise the question where his conviction is involved —to emphasize the fact that the present situation devolves upon him who entertains such a hypothesis the duty to furnish specific and adequate evidence for it. Professor James says on this point (Psycho- logical Review, Vol. V., p. 421): "The 'scientist,' who is confident of 'fraud ' here, must remember that in science, as much as in common life, a hypothesis must receive some positive specification and determi- nation before it can be profitably discussed; and a fraud which is no assigned kind of fraud, but simply 'fraud' at large, fraud in abstracto, can hardly be regarded as a specifically scientific explanation of specific concrete facts." In addition to this, when it comes to accusing Mrs. Piper of fraud without specific proofs, Professor James also says in the same refer- ence: "Dr. Hodgson considers that the hypothesis of fraud cannot be seriously entertained. I agree with him absolutely. The medium has been under observation, much of the time under close observation, as to most of the conditions of her life, by a large number of persons, eager many of them to pounce upon any suspicious circumstance for fifteen years. During that time not only has there not been one single snslncious circumstance remarked, but not one suggestion has ever been made from any quarter which might tend positively to explain how the medium, living the apparent life she leads, could possibly collect infor- mation about so many sitters by natural means." (Cf. Professor Newbold, Proceedings, Vol. XIV., p. 7, and Mr. Andrew Lang, Vol. XV., p. 45.)"")

Hodgson (1897-8). A Further Record of Observations of Certain Phenomena of Trance.

Hyslop (1905). Science and a Future Life.

Hyslop (1909). A Case of Veridical Hallucinations.

Hyslop (1910). A Record and discussion of Mediumistic Experiments.

Lodge (1916/1926). Raymond, or Life and Death.

Thorne (1917). Sir Oliver Lodge Says Son's Spirit Talks to Him; Slain in Battle, the Youngest Son of the Scientist Is Asserted to Have Communicated Facts of Existence in Another World. (In a review in the New York Times Van Buren Thorne stated that there was nothing to indicate that Oliver Lodge might not have been deceived as regards his claim that mediums gave evidential communications at a time when they were unaware of his identity or the identities of his family members. However, Thorne conceded that the mediums could have not seen the group photograph at any time before it was described to Lodge.)

Holt (1919). The Cosmic Relations and Immortality Vol. I, Vol. II. (Extended discussion of the Leonora Piper investigations, and the cross-correspondences)

Hyslop (1919). Contact with the other world: the latest evidence as to communication with the dead.

Dallas (1919). Death, the gate of life? (mors janua vitae?) : a discussion of certain communications purporting to come from Frederic W.H. Myers

Balfour (1920). The Ear of Dionysius (alongside the Lethe Incident (concerning otensible communications from F.W.H. Myers), which Frank Podmore concedes is the "one case ... which may be held to furnish perhaps the clearest and most direct evidence for the spiritualistic hypothesis" (for discussion of the other incident Podmore describes, see Gauld (1982), below), this (involving the ostensible communications of A.W. Verall and S.H. Butcher, two dead classical scholars who taught at Oxford) is one of the more notable cross-correspondence cases. In these cases, very obscure sources of classical literature were communicated disparately via several separated mediums, which made sense only when compiled together. For arguments against fraud in the cross-correspondences, see Gauld (1982) below, particularly Hamilton (2017) below, and Carter (2014), Have the Cross-Correspondences Been Explained Away?, a note he gave me in private correspondence as follows: ABSTRACT - Magician John Booth in his 1986 book Psychic Paradoxes claims to have claims to have offered a “rational, credible, natural interpretation” for the cross correspondences, one that does not involve the necessary involvement of the deceased. However, there is nothing new in his “interpretation” which involves nothing more than mere speculation about the possibilities that the cross correspondences arose from fraud or by chance, and that these possibilities were overlooked because of the alleged stupidity and incompetence of the investigators. Despite the fact that the cross correpondences have been carefully scrutinized in several lengthy articles and books, Booth devotes a mere 8 pages to the phenomenon, and offers an analysis of not even one case. I intend to show here that there is nothing “rational, credible, or natural” about his “interpretation”, as all his speculations have been dealt with before, and do not stand up to an examination of the actual cases. As one pseudo-skeptic is said to have remarked, “never let the facts get in the way of a good debunking.”

BODY OF TEXT - The messages which became known as the cross correspondences were received by mediums in England, the United States, and India, during the period 1901 – 1932. Their distinguishing feature is that they appear to be meaningless when read by themselves. But when combined with messages received by other mediums at about the same time, they show various correspondences, so that when a group of them is considered together they can be seen to clearly refer to some common topic, usually from classical literature or history. They are in the form of literary puzzles, analogous to the pieces of a crossword puzzle – individually meaningless, but when combined can be seen to form a pattern. The nature of these puzzles seems to rule out telepathy between the mediums as their source. After all, if each medium does not understand their own part of the message, then how could they transmit the corresponding messages that complete and solve the puzzle?

A further difficulty these puzzles raise for the hypothesis of telepathy is that many of them required knowledge of the classics that far exceeded the knowledge of most of the mediums involved – but not that of the living Myers. In some of the best cases, solving the puzzles required a great deal of study on the part of the investigators. And throughout these investigations, the mediums frequently remained ignorant of what the other automatists had written.

What makes the cross correspondences so strangely unusual in that they seem to be a method invented “on the other side” in order to overcome the objection that alleged messages from the dead via talented human mediums could be the result of some form of extreme telepathy between mediums and the living. The defining characteristic of the cross correspondences is that messages received via one medium seemed to make no sense until they were compared to messages received via another medium from the same alleged communicator, in which common patterns were found. Booth spends two pages describing the background, and then writes

"Hypothetically, the aim of the discarnates in the beyond, who had themselves been psychic researchers while in the flesh, was to provide a demonstratable form of communication from the spirit realm that would convincingly and absolutely rule out causative factors of fraud or telepathy." (Booth, 1986, p. 172)

But there is nothing “hypothetical” about this claim, as it is constantly claimed in the scripts that this is in fact the intention of the communicators. There are many passages in the scripts that bear this out. The automatists are exhorted “to weave together” and are told that by themselves they can do little. In the script of Mrs Verrall we find: “Record the bits and when fitted they will make the whole”, and “I will give the words between you neither alone can read but together they will give the clue he wants.” (Saltmarsh, 1938, p. 36) It is constantly claimed in 2 the scripts that the enigmatic messages are part of an experiment designed to provide convincing evidence of survival, and that the source of the enigmatic messages is the mind of Frederic Myers; or later, of some of his deceased colleagues.

Also, in several instances there are instructions in the scripts for the automatist to send her script to one of the other automatists, or to one of the investigators. As we will see, it was such instructions that first brought two of the automatists together.

Cast of Characters

In addition to Frederic Myers, the communications claimed to come mostly from the two other co-founders of the Society for Psychical Research, Edmund Gurney and Henry Sidgwick. Gurney was Myers’ friend and collaborator, and had helped write a book on apparitions titled Phantasms of the Living. He died in June, 1888. Sidgwick was a well-known philosopher at Cambridge, and was the first President of the SPR when it was founded in 1882. He died in August 1900. Later communications were received that claimed to come from Dr A.W. Verrall, a classical scholar at Cambridge who died in 1912; and from his friend Henry Butcher, another classical scholar at Cambridge who died in 1910.

The automatists included the Boston medium Mrs Piper, the only professional medium in the group. Most of the other principal mediums were upper-class women, some of them well-known figures in public life who used pseudonyms and kept their mediumship a closely-guarded secret, even from their friends. These included Mrs Verrall, wife of Dr A.W. Verrall and lecturer in Classics at Newnham College; her daughter Helen; Mrs Holland, pseudonym of Mrs Fleming, a sister of Rudyard Kipling who lived in India; Mrs Forbes, another pseudonym; and Mrs Willett, a pseudonym for Mrs Coombe-Tennant, justice of the peace and the first woman to be appointed by the British Government as a delegate to the assembly of the League of Nations.

The chief investigators were Gerald Balfour and J.C. Piddington. Balfour was an expert classical scholar, and Piddington also had sufficient knowledge of the classics to understand the frequent allusions made to them in the scripts. Both men devoted a large part of their lives to the study of the scripts, and the script intelligences took an active interest in their efforts. Others involved in a significant way include Miss Alice Johnson; Mrs Henry Sidgwick (sister of Gerald Balfour and wife of one of the communicators); distinguished physicist Sir Oliver Lodge; Frank Podmore; and Dr Richard Hodgson up to the time of his death in 1905.

The investigation of the scripts proved to be an enormous task, as they continued to appear for over thirty years, and finally numbered over three thousand. The membership of the group of mediums changed somewhat over the years. In the end over a dozen different mediums were involved, from the three countries of England, India, and the United States.

Early Messages

Shortly after Myers died in 1901, Mrs Verrall in Cambridge began to write automatic scripts which were signed “Myers.” At first they were rather poorly expressed, but gradually became more coherent. However, the messages remained cryptic, as though their true meaning were being concealed. About a year later, allusions to the same subjects began to appear in the scripts of Mrs Piper in Boston, and these too claimed to come from Myers. Some time later Mrs Verrall’s daughter Helen began automatic writing, and similar oblique references to the same subjects were found in her scripts as well.

Starting at this point, the scripts were sent to Miss Alice Johnson, secretary of the SPR.

Soon afterwards, Mrs Holland in India also began to receive messages which purported to come from Myers. On November 7 1903 the script read, “My Dear Mrs Verrall I am very anxious to speak to some of the old friends – Miss J. – and to A.W.” These initials were taken to refer to Miss Johnson and Dr A.W. Verrall. This was followed by a largely accurate description of Dr Verrall, and finally the words: “Send this to Mrs. Verrall, 5 Selwyn Gardens, Cambridge.” (Saltmarsh, 1938, p. 46)

Mrs Holland knew the name of Mrs Verrall, as it appears in Myer’s Human Personality, which she had recently read. But she knew nothing about her personally, and most certainly did not know her address, or even if there was such a place as Selwyn Gardens, Cambridge. As such, she did not follow these instructions, but did eventually send the scripts to Alice Johnson, secretary for the SPR, who duly filed them away without suspecting that they contained allusions to the same subjects as the Verrall and Piper scripts.

It was not until 1905 that Miss Johnson realized what was happening. By that time, the scripts contained the astounding claim that the discarnate Myers, Gurney, and Sidgwick had devised the scheme of providing meaningless fragments in the scripts of different mediums, fragments which would be found to express a coherent idea only when combined. In her article of 1908 the theory of the cross correspondences is fully discussed for the first time. She first describes the nature of the messages:

"What we get is fragmentary utterance in one script, which seems to have no particular point or meaning, and another fragmentary utterance in the other, of an equally pointless character; but when we put the two together, we see that they supplement one another, and that there is apparently one coherent idea underlying both, but only partially expressed in each."

We now turn to Booth’s speculations, which fall into two categories: fraud and chance.

Conscious Fraud

Booth writes: "Does not the abundance of scholarly correspondences in the messages and the apparent cross references, prove that mediums untutored in the classics or even working together could not have fraudulently produced the messages out of their own minds? In reply, we must emphasize the studious research frequently found behind the better psychics’ work. They are not fools. (Booth, p. 174)

Booth apparently has a lower opinion of the distinguished investigators, for he writes next:

The surface personality of many so-called psychics often belies what dwells in the depths below. Underneath a socially adapted façade may lurk a mischievous seriousness. (Booth, p. 174)

As mentioned above, Mrs Piper of Boston was the only professional medium involved, and although she was studied intensively over many years, was brought to England where she had no acquaintances, and was even trailed by private detectives, not the slightest hint of fraud was ever found. (One investigator of Mrs Piper remarked, “As to fraud, that has been excluded in the Piper case for fifteen or twenty years, and only unintelligent men would talk about it any longer.” (quoted in Tymn, p. 164.)) Booth’s remarks are nothing more than a sleazy and 6 unfounded accusation against women of culture and sophistication; note that he provides not a shred of evidence to support this accusation.

Booth continues along the same lines, writing: "It may be that, among the dozen or so participating mediums, some less conscientious, self-invited individuals may have latched onto an opportunity (the Cross Correspondences) for which they possessed few appropriate talents and were clearly cheating." (Booth, p. 176)

It very well “may be that” certain “self-invited individuals may have latched onto an opportunity”, but who exactly were these “self-invited individuals”? And what could possibly be their motive for this “opportunity”? Mediums were not paid for work on the cross correspondences, and most operated under pseudonyms in order to keep their participation a secret. Booth does not provide any names or any motive, nor could he. And if these individuals “were clearly cheating” then why doesn’t Booth provide us with even a shred of evidence?

Note that Booth also casually insults the investigators, who presumably were too stupid or gullible to detect that these “self-invited individuals were clearly cheating.”

Unconscious Fraud

Not all of Booth’s accusations are as sinister.

"The style of messages required in order to become part of this venture was obvious. Widely known were the scholarly interests, literary forms and word usages of Messrs. Gurney, Sidgwick, and Myers. Conforming to such expectations, the classical specialist, Mrs Verrall, set the tone of the transmissions from the start. Naturally, other sensitives were thereafter motivated to delve into and become familiar with related works of mythology, technical phrases, poetry, Latin and Greek writings. These materials are readily accessible in the libraries of the world. (Ibid, p. 174)

Booth continues: "Incomplete and meaningless scripts are exactly the result one might expect from quick learning autonomists sitting alone with pencil and paper trying to “receive” (recollect) unfamiliar classical passages. Recently memorized or read, difficult-to-recall materials are more easily handled in fragments. What was now being wrung out of the conscious or unconscious memory they may have honestly come to believe was surging from spirit entities – and that their own literary research was not consciously undertaken to produce this information but to be able to understand or record properly whatever strange or foreign words should present themselves psychically. Thus, sincere persons might have become self-deluded by what, on their own part, was actually an “unconscious” fabrication of messages." (Ibid, pp. 174-5)

Once again, Booth provides not a shred of supporting evidence, and the vacuous nature of this claim becomes readily apparent from an actual examination of the case material. Even assuming - for the sake of argument and without any evidence - the mediums involved did secretly study the classics, how do we account for the detailed, sophisticated, and extensive knowledge of literature and philosophy displayed in the communications at the times when a cross correspondence was not being attempted? The following is impossible to explain on the basis of “recently memorized or read, difficult-to-recall material [that] are more easily handled in fragments.”

The following comes from the mediumship of Mrs Willett. Unlike Mrs Piper and Mrs Leonard, when the English medium Mrs Willett went into a trance she did not lose control of her body as if she were asleep or in a faint. She would sit up and talk in a natural way, and Mrs Willett had no regular control. Messages usually appeared to be conveyed to her directly, and she would then pass them on to the sitters. Clearly, she was no ordinary trance medium.

Her two main communicators claimed to be the surviving spirits of Edmund Gurney, who had died in 1888, and Frederic Myers, who had died in 1901. Both men were classical scholars and founders of the Society for Psychical Research, and both had made sizeable contributions to research into mediumship and other psychical phenomena. When alive, Gurney and Myers were avid philosophers, widely read in philosophy and psychology. On several occasions the alleged postmortem personalities of Gurney and Myers communicated through Mrs Willett the request that one of the sitters be their friend G.W. Balfour, a keen psychic researcher and president of the SPR from 1906 to 1907. On numerous occasions Balfour had engaged in philosophical discussion with Gurney and Myers before they died.

With Balfour and others present, Mrs Willett would enter a deep trance. Lively philosophical discussions would then ensue between Balfour and the communicators “Myers” and “Gurney.” The philosopher C.D. Broad commented on the content of these discussions, and wrote that all of the communications were “plainly the product of a highly intelligent mind or minds, with a keen interest in psychology, psychical research and philosophy, and with a capacity for drawing subtle and significant distinctions.” (Broad, 1962, p. 297) The purported 10 communicators also showed a thorough acquaintance with the views and terminology of books written by the living Myers and Gurney.

At these sittings there was not merely an outpouring of views which the sitter simply passively recorded and accepted. On the contrary, the sittings provided excellent examples of the conversational give-and-take that by itself stretches the ESP hypothesis nearly to the breaking point. In between sittings Balfour would leisurely examine the record of a previous sitting, and then at the next sitting would make criticisms or suggestions, and would ask for explanations of obscure matters. The communicators would address the issues raised, and would accept, or at times vigorously reject, Balfour’s suggestions. The philosopher Robert Almeder wrote that some of the sittings “were purely philosophical and sound like the transcript of an Ivy League graduate seminar on classical philosophy.” (Almeder, 1992, p. 219)

Mrs Willett had never met Myers or Gurney, yet Balfour and others were convinced that the Myers and Gurney communicators acted and spoke in ways uniquely characteristic of Myers and Gurney. Second – and perhaps even more startling – Mrs Willet was neither educated nor interested in philosophy, and showed little patience for such discussions. The attitude of her trance personality (as well as her normal personality) toward the communications can best be described as one of boredom and bewilderment. At one point, when the Gurney personality was discussing in detail some philosophical problem, she exclaimed “Oh, Edmund, you do bore me so!” At another point she complained, “you see it seems a long time since I was here with them [with Myers and friends] and I want to talk and enjoy myself. And I’ve all the time, to keep on working, and seeing and listening to such boring old – Oh Ugh!” (Heywood, 1961, p. 102) When the communicators were comparing 12 three conflicting views of the mind-body relationship – interactionism, epiphenomenalism and parallelism – she seemed to have great problems communicating the word “interaction.” At last she said, “I’ve got it.” And then, “Oh but now I’ve got to give it out. Oh, I’m all buzzing. I can’t think why people talk about such stupid things. Such long stupid words.” (Heywood, 1961, p. 103)

We cannot attribute these communications as due to unconscious fraud plus the dramatizing powers of the medium’s trance personality.

First of all, Mrs Willett never met the living Myers or Gurney, and – given the technology available at the time – almost certainly never had the opportunity of studying audiotapes of their voices. Second, the high-level philosophical discussions reflect an acquired skill – the skill of philosophizing well. But there is a substantial difference between knowledge that something is true, and knowledge of how to do something. The knowledge of how to do something – such as play an instrument or speak a language – frequently requires a skill that is only developed through years of solid practice. Learning to philosophize well is one such skill, and these lengthy scripts are not “incomplete and meaningless.”

Reflecting on this case, philosopher C.D. Broad wrote: "Suppose we altogether rule out the suggestion that Myers and Gurney in some sense survived bodily death and were the deliberate initiators of these utterances. We shall then have to postulate in some stratum of Mrs Willet’s mind rather remarkable powers of acquiring information from unread books or the minds of living persons or both; of clothing it in phraseology characteristic of Myers and Gurney, whom she had never met; and of working it up and putting it forth in a dramatic form which seemed to their friend Balfour to be natural and convincing." (Broad, 1962, p. 313)

At any rate, Balfour found the communications so natural and convincing that he came to believe that he was indeed discussing philosophy with the departed spirits of Myers and Gurney, and that no other hypothesis could explain the data as well. The philosophical views expressed by the Myers and Gurney communicators certainly did not seem to come from his mind, since both of the communicators contradicted Balfour’s opinions on several occasions. When, for instance, Balfour argued that the conscious and subconscious minds of one person may communicate with each other by telepathy, the Myers personality would have none of this. When, on another occasion, Balfour suggested that the conscious and subconscious selves were as separate as two persons are separate, the Gurney communicator firmly replied “Bosh! Different aspects of the same thing.”

Cooperation among Mediums

In a variation of the fraud hypothesis, Booth writes: "Limited cooperation among two or more sensitives may also have developed at one point or another. What would be more natural than for one automatist to write casually, and at first innocently, in a social letter to another: “Yesterday, Myers came through to me quoting, oddly, from Browning and suggesting anagrams. What peculiar stuff!” Would it be surprising if the recipient of this “offhand” comment did not find herself receiving comparable messages the next day? (Booth, p. 175)

Once again, Booth provides not a shred of evidence to support his claim. Several of the autonomists did not even know each other; and at important periods, one (Mrs Holland) was in India, another (Mrs Piper) was in the United States, and the rest were in Great Britain. It is hard to see how the conspiracy could be carried out without the aid of the investigators, as the scripts were often written under their own eyes. Moreover, several writers have commented on the enormous amount of work that would have been required. For instance, Rosalind Heywood describes a simple experiment that a skeptic can perform to illustrate the amount of knowledge, ingenuity, and research required to create these puzzles:

To construct an elementary cross correspondence, a topic or quotation from a particular author must be chosen and further quotations collected from his work which allude to this topic but do not mention it directly. Puns are allowed. Finally an independent investigator must find the clue which binds the quotations into a coherent whole. Anyone who tries to construct a cross correspondence of the quality of those which claimed to come from the Myers group will sympathize with the remark in Mrs Willett’s script which purported to be made by Dr Verrall shortly after his death: “This sort of thing is more difficult to do than it looked.”

And could the mediums even have possibly communicated with each other in the time required? They were found in three different continents, and in the days before email, letters would take weeks or months to arrive. The next two cases are simply inexplicable as due to communication between mediums.


As Mrs Piper in Boston awoke from trance on April 17 1907 a word was spoken which was first heard as “Sanatos,” then repeated as “Tanatos.” Mrs Sidgwick, the sitter, inserted a note saying that “Thanatos” was probably meant. On April 23, in the waking stage of the seance, the word was correctly pronounced as “Thanatos”, and on May 7th “I want to say Thanatos” came through in the waking stage. Thanatos is the Greek word for “Death.”

By this time the investigators had learned that the repetition of a word in a disconnected fashion was usually a signal that it is being used in a cross correspondence.

On April 16, 1907 Mrs Holland in India wrote the following words: “Maurice Morris Mors. And with that the shadow of death fell upon his limbs.”

It was thought that ‘Maurice Morris’ were the first attempts at “Mors”, the Latin word for “Death.” The later occurrence of the English word “death” points to this.

On April 29, 1907, Mrs Verrall in England wrote: Warmed both hands before the fire of life. It fades and I am ready to depart… Manibus date lilia plenis… Come away, come away, Pallida mors.

Finally, in the same script came the message: “You have got the word plainly written all along in your own writing. Look back.” “Warmed both hands…” is a quotation from a poem by nineteenth-century English poet, Walter Landor. Manibus date lilia plenis [Latin for “Give lilies with full hands”] is a quotation from a section of Virgil’s work The Aeneid, in which Anchises fortells the early death of Marcellus. “Come away, come away” is from a song by Shakespeare, and the next word in the song is “death.” (Come away, come away, death, and in sad cypress let me be laid; Fly away, fly away, breath: I am slain by a fair cruel maid. - Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, II, 4)

Pallida mors [Latin for “Pale death”] are the first two words, in the original Latin, from a line in Odes by Horace. (Pale Death, with impartial step, knocks at the poor man’s cottage and the palaces of kings. (Pallida Mors aequo pulsat pede, pauperum tabernas regumque turris) - Horace, Odes, 1.4 )

In a period of less than two weeks, the same keyword was given by three mediums located in three different continents, in three different languages, combined with indirect references to the same topic.

The Roden Noel Case

On March 7, 1906 Mrs Verrall’s script in England contained an original poem, which started with the words: Tintagel and the sea that moaned in pain.

When Miss Johnson read this she was struck by its similarity to a poem by Roden Noel, entitled “Tintadgel.” To the best of her recollection, Mrs Verrall had never read this poem.

On March 11, 1906 Mrs Holland’s script in India contained these words: This is for A.W. Ask him what the date May 26th, 1894 meant to him – to me – and to F.W.H.M. I do not think they will find it hard to recall, but if so – let them ask Nora.

The date given, which meant nothing to Mrs Holland, is the death of Roden Noel. The initials A.W. refer to Dr Verrall, and F.W.H.M. refers of course to F.W.H. Myers, both of whom knew Noel, but not very well. Nora means Mrs Sidgwick, which seems appropriate, as Noel was an intimate friend of Dr Sidgwick.

On March 14, before any of the above facts were known to Mrs Holland, she wrote, in a trance state:

"Eighteen, fifteen, four, five, fourteen, Fourteen, fifteen, five, twelve. Not to be taken as they stand. See Rev. 13, 18, but only the central eight words, not the whole passage." (Quoted in Saltmarsh, 1938, p. 57. For original material, see Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. XXI)

The whole thing was meaningless to Mrs Holland, and she did not look up the passage. But Miss Johnson did, and found that the central eight words were: “for it is the number of a man.” Taking this to be a hint, she translated the numbers given in the script into the letters of the alphabet, with “d” being the fourth letter, “e” the fifth, and so on. When finished, the letters spelled Roden Noel.

There was a further reference to Roden Noel in Mrs Verrall’s script of March 16, 1906, and finally, on March 28 1906 Mrs Holland’s script contained the name Roden Noel written out in full. Hence, the common topic of the scripts was only revealed in a later script, and by the dutiful efforts of Miss Johnson to understand the earlier scripts.

In this cross correspondence between two mediums on different continents we find three references to the same person, but given in an indirect manner which did not reveal the chosen topic to the conscious minds of the mediums. This deliberate concealment seems to be crucial to the plan of the cross correspondences: the messages are deliberately enigmatic to prevent the mediums from acquiring knowledge of the topic, in order to rule out the possibility of the mediums helping each other, normally or telepathically.

From an examination of actual cases, we can see once again the vacuous nature of Booth’s “explanation” of the cross corresponences, that is, that “they could have been the result of information transfers between those mediums who did write one another though they may never have met.” (Booth, p. 176)


Booth asserts that “across 30 years some seemingly amazing material would inevitably show up in the scripts. According to the law of averages, corresponding literary and language content would occur, sometimes expectedly, sometimes accidentally.” (Ibid, p. 176) And that is the sum total of Booth’s assertion that chance can explain at least some of the “seemingly amazing material.” The problem with this is that the possible role of chance has been thoroughly examined.

The possibility that the cross correspondences may simply due to chance coincidence may, at first glance, seem reasonable. After all, in scripts full of cryptic literary and historical allusions, we might reasonably expect occasional coincidences of theme and reference. However, an explanation in terms of chance coincidence has several strikes against it.

First of all, Piddington and Dorr tried to generate artificial cross correspondences. Fourteen people were each sent quotations, twelve in all, from Virgil, Homer, Shakespeare, Shelly, Milton, Rostand, Wordsworth and Coleridge, and were asked to write down words or phrases associated with them. The results were very different from the cross correspondences that appeared spontaneously in the scripts of the automatists. There was no tendency to return again and again to one theme, and Piddington and Dorr concluded that the few cross references that occurred bore no resemblance to the cross correspondences of the scripts.

Second, various experiments may be performed in order to attempt to create cross correspondences. Choose a book by an author whose works you are well acquainted, and pick a passage at random. Pick another book by the same author, randomly choose another passage, and try to work out a cross correspondence between the two passages. The results (or, more likely, the lack or results) will give a clear indication of how far pure chance is likely to have been responsible for the cross correspondences.

Third, Piddington counted cross correspondence on a large scale, and found that allusions pertinent to a given cross correspondence did not wax and wane haphazardly, but arose during the appropriate period and then largely disappeared. And finally, we have seen that the cross correspondences are accompanied by explicit statements that they are indeed parts of a planned experiment. Here is another example: on March 2nd and March 4th 1906 Mrs Verrall wrote a series of cryptic scripts referring to the main events in the history of the City of Rome, accompanied by a statement that she would receive a message through another woman. On March 7th, five thousand miles away, Mrs Holland wrote: “Ave Roma Immortalis. How could I make it clearer without giving her the clue?” Similar remarks occur again and again. (Saltmarsh, 1975, 85-6)

For all of these reasons, chance coincidence can be effectively ruled out as an explanation.


With fraud and chance ruled out, Booth is left only with the stupidity and incompetence of the investigators.

The interpretations that even some impartial SPR investigators placed upon cryptic material in the thousands of automatic writings demonstrate how readily human beings can adapt evidence to fit understandable hopes or expected conclusions. (Booth, p. 176)

Once again, the vacuous and insulting nature of this comment will be readily apparent to those who examine the actual cases.

In a 1908 review of some of the earliest cross correspondences, Piddington wrote: "The only opinion which I hold with confidence is this: that if it was not the mind of Frederic Myers it was one which deliberately and artistically imitated his mental characteristics." (Piddington, 1908, p. 243)

But as the years went on, Piddington, who disliked the idea of survival, was driven more and more to the conclusion that communication from the surviving minds of Myers, Gurney, and the others was the most plausible explanation of the cross correspondences. With very few exceptions, the other investigators also came to this conclusion.

Mrs Verrall was the only medium in the group who had a substantial knowledge of the classics. However, the death of Mrs Verrall in 1916 made very little difference to the content or nature of the scripts. This contrasts sharply with the change in the scripts following the death of her husband, Dr A.V. Verrall, on June 18, 1912. Within a few weeks of his death, messages purporting to come from Dr Verrall began to appear in the scripts. There also appeared several striking literary puzzles, purportedly created by Verrall, which differed sharply in style from those which purported to come from the Myers group. Like some of the earlier puzzles, they were at first completely incomprehensible to the investigators – including his surviving wife and daughter. But after following up on clues provided in the scripts, solutions were found which indicated knowledge that very few living classical scholars possessed – but that was known to be possessed by Dr Verrall. (Excellent summaries of these cases can be found in Saltmarsh, 1938, chapter VI.)

In addition, the accompanying messages displayed many idiosyncratic personal characteristics of the living Verrall. His old friend Reverend Bayfield, after reviewing these messages, testified that “to me at least it is incredible that even the cleverest could achieve such an unexampled triumph in deceptive impersonation as this would be if the actor is not Verrall himself.” (Bayfield, 1915, p. 249)

Years of reviewing and researching the cross correspondences eventually convinced Piddington, Lodge, Miss Johnson, Mrs Sidgwick, Balfour and others that the cross correspondences were in fact what they constantly claimed to be – messages from Myers and his deceased colleagues. In 1932, as the cross correspondences were finally petering out, Mrs Sidgwick wrote an account of the history of the work of the Society for Psychical Research during its first fifty years. At the time she was President of Honor of the Society, and her keen mind and cautious approach were widely respected. At the Society’s Jubilee her paper was read by her brother, Lord Balfour. After he finished, he added a personal comment:

"Some of you may have felt that the note of caution and reserve has possibly been over-emphasized in Mrs Sidgwick’s paper. If so, they may be glad to hear what I am about to say. Conclusive proof of survival is notoriously difficult to obtain. But the evidence may be such as to produce belief, even though it fall short of conclusive proof. I have Mrs Sidgwick’s assurance – an assurance which I am permitted to convey to the meeting – that, upon the evidence before her, she herself is a firm believer both in survival and in the reality of communication between the living and the dead." ( Balfour, G. 1933. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 41, 1932-3, p. 26)

Balfour had also come to share this belief. Certainly very few people have been as thoroughly acquainted with the evidence from cross correspondences, and at the same time as objective and keenly critical, as were Mrs Sidgwick and Lord Balfour.

Booth’s concludes his 8-page treatment of this complex set of cases with the triumphant words “believers cannot now claim that the Cross Correspondences phenomena, in their many developments, are without a rational, credible, natural interpretation.” However, there is nothing new in his “interpretation” which involves nothing more than mere speculation about the possibilities that the cross correspondences arose from fraud or by chance, combined with the alleged stupidity and incompetence of the investigators. I believe I have shown here that there is nothing “rational, credible, or natural” about his “interpretation”, as all his speculations have been dealt with before, and do not stand up to an examination of the actual cases.

Booth’s book has largely been ignored by serious researchers. However, it would be naïve to suppose that his work will not sometimes be referenced by those who are comfortable with never letting the facts get in the way of a good debunking.

Sources Almeder, Robert, 1992. Death & Personal Survival. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Balfour, G., 1933. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 41. Bayfield, M.A., 1915. “Notes on the same Scripts”, Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, vol. XXVII, 1914-1915, pages 244-249. Booth, John, 1986. Psychic Paradoxes. Prometheus Books. Carter, Chris, 2012. Science and the Afterlife Experience: Evidence for the Immortality of Consciousness. Vermont: Inner Traditions. Heywood, Rosalind, 1961. Beyond the Reach of Sense. New York: EP Dutton & Company. Piddington, J.G., 1908. “A Series of Concordant Automatisms”, Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, vol. 22, pages 19-416. Saltmarsh, H.F., 1938. Evidence of Personal Survival from Cross Correspondences. London: G. Bell & Sons. Tymn, Michael, 2013. Resurrecting Leonora Piper. UK: White Crow Books)

Hamilton (2017). The Cross-Correspondences. (SPR article by Trevor Hamilton, author of a forthcoming extensive book on the subject)

Glenconner (1921). The earthen vessel: a volume dealing with spirit-communication received in the form of book-tests. (with a preface by Oliver Lodge - this book is an argument in favor of the book tests with Gladys Osborne Leonard - see also Smith (1964), below)

Prince (1927). The Case of Patience Worth (noting the errors and distortions of Joe Nickell and Joseph Jastrow on this case, we can now consult the original source. This is useful for the pages dealing with Curran's testimony and the corroborating testimony of others concerning the differences between Curran and Worth, and for rebuttals to criticisms. Regarding Grandolfi-Wall, see this. Parapsychologists like Ian Stevenson and Stephen Braude regard "Patience Worth" as a secondary personality demonstrating latent capacities, though this interpretation has been challenged in favor of the spiritualistic hypothesis. At minimum, this case shows, as Walter Franklin Prince states, that "EITHER OUR CONCEPT OF WHAT WE CALL THE SUBCONSCIOUS MUST BE RADICALLY ALTERED, SO AS TO INCLUDE POTENCIES OF WHICH WE HITHERTO HAVE HAD NO KNOWLEDGE, OR ELSE SOME CAUSE OPERATING THROUGH BUT NOT ORIGINATING IN THE SUBCONSCIOUSNESS OF MRS. CURRAN MUST BE ACKNOWLEDGED." (emphasis in original))

Allison (1929). Leonard and Soule experiments in psychical research.

Thomas (). A Proxy Case Extending Over Eleven Sittings With Mrs. Osborne Leonard.

Thomas (1937). Beyond normal cognition: an evaluative and methodological study of the mental content of certain trance phenomena.

Dingwall & Langdon-Davies (1956). Mental Mediums and Survival. (overviews incidents in the careers of Leonora Piper and Gladys Osborne Leonard suggestive of paranormality (with Piper, notable incidents occur with Oliver Lodge and James Hyslop providing credence to the Spiritualist hypothesis), and notes in the case of Leonard that detectives were hired to see if she was trying to get information about sitters, and found nothing to impeach her honesty)

Smith (1964). The Mediumship of Mrs. Leonard. (Various false claims about Leonard have made that are corrected in this text and in ensuing commentary. People cite the study of Heard and Besterman to prove ventriloquism on the pat of Leonard, however, the reference, Besterman, Theodore & Heard, G. NOTE ON AN ATTEMPT TO LOCATE IN SPACE THE ALLEGED DIRECT VOICE OBSERVED IN SITTING WITH MRS LEONARD, JSPR 28, 1933-34, p. 84, merely states that "On none of these occasions was the voice found to be displaced in space, i.e. to emanate from a source in space other than the position occupied by the medium." This should be considered in light of ch. 11 of Smith's text, which notes results contradicting this. References to criticisms of Whately Carrington's word association tests have been given in the overview of Carrington's work on telepathy, in ch. 8 of Smith's book we find information contradicting this.

As an introduction to Leonard, we should note Dingwall's statement in The Unknown: Is it Nearer? (Cassell & Company Ltd., London, 1956.) pp. 162: "Everybody is agreed that Mrs. Leonard has always been utterly honest, sincere, and modest. During her active mediumship she has never resented any kind of investigation - detectives, for example, hired to see if she was trying to get information about sitters, tests of every sort both during trance and in her ordinary life; and indeed she has welcomed every sort of inquiry and has shown herself as much interested as anyone else to learn more as to the how and why of her extraordinary gift. She has never taken sitters wanting information of material value to themselves, but has confined herself to those who have wanted to get in touch with their dead friends. In short, we are as far away as it is possible to get from the sort of mediumship, usually physical, which must work in darkness, which resents any sort of test and lays down conditions which make all scientific investigation impossible or at least doubtfully effective."

For Leonard's book tests, critics omit relevant details, and their views as well as Anthony Flew's comment about alleged "vagueness" on p. 47 of his text A New Approach to Psychical Research, are misinformed. Flew himself admits, and in contrast, a deeply critical, but extremely informed student of the field, Eric Dingwall, made very positive statements about the tests. In The Unknown: Is it Nearer? (Cassell & Company Ltd., London, 1956.) pp. 163-166 - " It should be noted that with a really good medium like Mrs. Leonard great care is taken to preserve the anonymity of the sitter. The appointment is obtained by letter, usually written by someone else, and the reply is sent to the applicant under a false name, care of some friend, or of their bank or lawyer. The sitter should never give any kind of information away, and until the identity has been established must be careful to give no hint that Feda's "fishing" is "warm" or "cold." It is with all these precautions carefully observed that the following examples of successful mediumship took place.

Our first example is a book test. This is a method devised to give the communicator an opportunity of proving his reality and his identity by conveying information that neither the sitter, nor Mrs. Leonard, nor anyone else can possibly know.

On September 29, 1917, Mrs. Beadon wished to get in touch with her husband, Colonel Beadon. Feda told her to go to a squarish room and to take the fifth book on a certain shelf whose position was minutely described and look at either page 71 or 17 - she was not sure which, but thought it was 71. On this page would be found a message to her from her husband, who, through Feda, described seven tests:

1. The passage in question referred to a past condition. 2. But also had application to the present. 3. It is an answer to a thought previously more in Mrs. Beadon's mind than at present. 4. On the opposite page there is a reference to five. 5. Also a reference to light. 6. Also a reference to olden times, but none of these have anything to do with the message; they are only for identification purposes. 7. On the same page or opposite or perhaps overleaf a very important word beginning with S.

(In passing we may remark that Feda is always bad at numbers and uncertain of proper names. When she gets them, presumably from the communicator, they are often distorted, or it is after great difficulty.)

Mrs. Beadon identified the shelf in a room in her mother's home and took down the book indicated. On page 71 there was the following poem:

The weary pilgrim slumbers, His resting-place unknown, His hands were crossed, his lids were closed, The dust was o'er him strown; The drifting soil, the mouldering leaf Along the sod were blown, His mound has melted into Earth His memory lives alone.

The communicator, Colonel Beadon, was killed in action in Mesopotamia and buried the same night. All traces of the grave were obliterated to avoid interference from Arabs. Therefore the poem can be said to refer very accurately to the dead person whose identity had to be established. But that is only the beginning. Let us consider the seven tests.

1. The poem is O. W. Holmes's "The Pilgrim's Vision" and refers to early American settlers, i.e., a past condition. 2. It refers to the present, Le., Colonel Beadon's resting-place unknown. 3. Mrs. Beadon had at first been worried by the fact that her husband's grave was not marked by a cross and had hoped to have the spot identified, but had recently felt far less concern about the matter. 4. On the opposite page there was the following poem: Still shall the fiery pillar's ray Along the pathway shine, 5. To light the chosen tribe that sought 6. This Western Palestine

(The lines refer to the Israelites led by a pillar of fire out of Egypt into Palestine.)

7. On the next page there is a poem called "The Steamboat" in capital letters.

Curiously enough, on turning to page 17, Mrs. Beadon found another poem mentioning an unmarked grave and on the opposite page there are the words "fire" and "sunset glow." No wonder Feda was not quite sure of the page! Moreover, on page 17 the lines appear "No altars - and they need them not who leave their children free," which was even more strongly a message, especially as the poem was a soldier's message about a battlefield and as it mentions "the Indian's shaft, the Briton's ball" when her husband was commanding Indian troops.

In short, Feda seems, on the face of it, to have been given a double reference by Colonel Beadon for communication to his wife. There cannot be any other book in which the references on two different pages would be so appropriate, whether taken together or apart. We have said "On the face of it" in order to retain an impartial approach to the questions involved, but we are not prepared to suggest an alternative explanation, nor has any other been offered.

More than five hundred of these book tests were carried out by Mrs. Leonard and her various sitters, with results of varying accuracy. A large number were as suggestive as the one we have quoted, though few probably contained quite as many separate items. In order to get an idea of how chance results would compare, a careful experiment was carried out. Three ideas were selected and a page chosen out of one of a number of books on which something to do with the idea was to be found. Thus one "idea" was an allusion to circles of any kind, and page 150 of Emerson's English Traits was looked up. If there was anything to do with circles on it that scored a success. Of 1,800 trials 1.89 per cent were scored as successes, 4.72 per cent as successes or partial successes, and 7.67 per cent when "slight successes" were added to the others. In Mrs. Leonard's mediumistic tests the percentages were 17.2, 36, and 54.1 for all 532 results and with the best communicator 63.6, 68.2, and 77.2. That should settle the question as to whether the results were due to chance."

Alan Gauld's Mediumship and Survival: A Century of Investigations, is cited as an authoritative source by Kelly and Arcangel in their 2011 Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease mediumship article. He revealed the facts that are obfuscated in the half-truths of critics. On p. 47, he discussed how the book tests were extremely remarkable in their precision, that they displayed characteristics of psi making the survival hypothesis difficult because they showed a clairvoyance that extended beyond information that would have been known to the communicators. He also clarified the percentage of accurate hits Leonard made by comparison to a control. He wrote, "The origin of the Leonard book tests is a little obscure, and it seems quite likely that they were first proposed by Feda. If so, they share with the ‘cross-correspondences’ (to be discussed later) the remarkable feature of being ‘tests of survival’ ostensibly suggested by deceased persons. There are, however, analogies for them from earlier literature. The principle of book tests is well summarized by Sir Oliver Lodge (50, p. xvi). A communicator, usually passing the message through Feda, has to specify the number of a page in a book, itself indicated only by its numbered place on a given shelf in a book-case whose position is described, in a house to which the medium need have no access, though a house presumably, or usually, well-known to the ostensible communicator. The idea is that a sentence shall subsequently be found on that page, by any one who follows the instructions and identifies the book, which sentence shall sufficiently convey an intended message, or shall show a similarity in thought to what has otherwise been said, or shall be appropriate to the actual circumstances or past connection of communicator and intended recipient. Since the book chosen need not be one known to the sitter, or indeed known in the requisite detail to anyone living, it is plain, as Lodge says, that ‘no simple kind of mind-reading can be appealed to or regarded as a rational explanation.’ I will take as an example a short but somewhat remarkable case in which the communicator is Edward Wyndham Tennant (‘Bim’), a young officer killed on the Somme in 1916. The sitting (50, p. 60) was held on 17 December 1917. Feda. ‘Bim now wants to send a message to his Father. This book is particularly for his Father; underline that, he says. It is the ninth book on the third shelf counting from left to right in the bookcase on the right of the door in the drawing-room as you enter; take the title, and look at page 37.’ We found the ninth book in the shelf indicated was: Trees [by J. Harvey Kelman]. And on page 36, quite at the bottom and leading on to page 37, we read: ‘Sometimes you will see curious marks in the wood; these are caused by a tunnelling beetle, very injurious to the trees …’ (Signatures of two testificators to the finding and verifying of this Book-Message). GLENCONNER DAVID TENNANT

Bim’s father was intensely interested in Forestry; and his obsession with ‘the beetle’ was a family joke. Thus the message was particularly appropriate, and the bookshelf from which it had been culled was one known to the alleged communicator. During the period immediately before and after the end of the First World War many successful book tests were carried out (145c, 157a). In a lengthy paper published in 1921 (145c), Mrs E. M. Sidgwick analysed the results of 532 such tests. She classified 92 (17%) as successful, 100 (19%) as approximately successful. 96 as dubious, 40 as nearly complete failures and 204 as complete failures. In a control experiment (138a; cf. 10) 1800 ‘sham’ book tests were subjected to a similar analysis. There were 34 successes (under 2%) and 51 partial successes (under 3%).

Some of the individual successes in these tests were very remarkable. In one case (145c, pp. 253–260) an anonymous sitter (Mrs Talbot) received through Feda a message from her late husband advising her to look for a relevant message on page twelve or thirteen of a book on her bookcase at home. Feda said the book was not printed, but had writing in it; was dark in colour; and contained a table of Indo-European, Aryan, Semitic and Arabian languages, whose relationships were shown by a diagram of radiating lines. Mrs Talbot knew of no such book, and ridiculed the message. However when she eventually looked, she found at the back of a top shelf a shabby black leather notebook of her husband’s. Pasted into this book was a folded table of all the languages mentioned; whilst on page 13 was an extract from a book entitled Post Mortem. In this case the message related to a book unknown to medium and sitter (indeed, so far as could be told, to any living person), but undoubtedly known to the communicator.

The two book tests which I have just described might be thought to constitute rather striking evidence for survival. Mind-reading does not seem a likely explanation, for it was highly unlikely that the requisite information was possessed in sufficient detail by any living person. On the other hand the existence of the books, and of the relevant passages, could have been, and in the second case certainly was, known to the alleged communicator. Unfortunately the results of many other book tests serve only to confuse the issue; not because they were unsuccessful, but because they were too successful. For the communicators proved equally able to transmit information relating to the contents of books deliberately placed on shelves in houses unknown to them, books, furthermore, having for them no special significance. On the face of it |49| this would imply that the communicators got their knowledge of the contents of these books by clairvoyance (the books, of course, being all closed). Feda certainly talks as though the communicators were independent entities who homed in on the test bookshelves, scanned the books for appropriate passages, and then returned to relay the results through her. But if these communicators can exercise clairvoyance of such remarkable degree, why should not Feda? Why should not Mrs Leonard herself? The information given is no longer such as the alleged communicators are specially qualified to supply. In some cases (145c, pp. 300–313), indeed, correct information was apparently given about the contents of books in classical Greek; yet neither Mrs Leonard, nor the sitter, nor the alleged communicator knew classical Greek, while the person who lent the books (Mrs Salter), though she knew Greek, had not properly studied several of the volumes. Neither telepathy with the living, nor communication with the dead, nor yet clairvoyance, would seem to supply us with an adequate explanation here. I think it would be fair to say this of the book tests: (a) The fact that in certain cases meaningful reference was made to passages from books to which the communicators had in life had special access cannot be taken as evidence that the surviving memory stores of those communicators were somehow active in the matter. For, as we have just seen, communicators were also able to refer unmistakably to passages in books which it was highly unlikely they had read when alive. (b) Still, if we grant for the sake of argument that the books were in some sense open to clairvoyant inspection by an agency other than that of the communicator, there remains the problem of how, from this mass of potentially available material, just those passages were so often selected which were particularly appropriate as messages from the communicator to the particular living recipient. Who selected for Bim’s father the passage about the beetle damaging trees? To select a passage as appropriate as this, the medium would have had e.g. to tap Bim’s father’s mind, and then in the light of information telepathically gained from it, select that one of the very numerous book passages clairvoyantly accessible to her which would be most likely to impress Bim’s family as a message of a kind he might plausibly address to his father. This problem of selection will arise again; as will that of the apparent synthesis of information extrasensorially acquired from more than one source."

Gauld then moves on to discuss proxy sittings with Leonard, which skeptics don't touch: "The term ‘proxy sitting’ is almost self-explanatory. A sitter takes a sitting on behalf of a third party, about whom both he and the medium know as little as possible. If ‘evidential’ communications are then received, the explanation can hardly be laid at the door of telepathy with persons present. Usually the third party, or absent principal, desires communications from a particular deceased person who has in some way or another to be contacted. To achieve this the proxy sitter may give the medium carefully circumscribed details (e.g. name, identifying phrase) of the desired communicator, or may bring some relic of him to serve as a ‘token object’; or he may privately appeal to him, or concentrate upon him, before the sitting; or he may request his own ‘spirit guides’ to act as intermediaries. The best-known of all proxy sittings are without doubt the numerous sittings with Mrs Leonard at which Miss Nea Walker and the Rev C. Drayton Thomas acted as proxies (157d; 157e; 157f; 167a, 167b; cf. 158). These sittings were usually, although not always, the outcome of letters from bereaved, sometimes despairing, parents, spouses, etc.

Many proxy cases went on for several sittings, and it is hard to convey the ‘feel’ of them adequately in a brief summary. For instance one of Drayton Thomas’s most remarkable cases, the ‘Bobbie Newlove’ case (157e), extended over eleven sittings. Bobbie was a boy of ten who had died of diphtheria. He proved a fluent communicator, and through Feda made unmistakable references to such matters as a dog-shaped salt-cellar he had owned, a ‘Jack of Hearts’ costume he had once worn, visits to a chemical laboratory with his grandfather, gymnastic apparatus which he had set up in his room and exercises carried out therewith, a girl skater of whom he was fond, an injury to his nose, and the topography of his home town (including place-names). Most curious of all, he repeatedly insisted that some weeks before his death his constitution had been undermined by contact with poisonous ‘pipes’, and that this had lowered his resistance to the diphtheria. In connection with the pipes he talked of cattle, a sort of barn, and running water. This meant nothing to his family, but upon investigation some water pipes round which he had played with a friend were discovered. The locality answered the description given and it is possible that Bobbie had drunk bad water there.

In another case, Drayton Thomas was asked by Professor E. R. Dodds, well-known as a critic of the evidence for survival, to attempt to contact a certain Frederic William Macaulay on behalf of the latter’s daughter, Mrs Lewis. Thomas had five sittings with Mrs Leonard. |51| Distinctive references were made to Macaulay’s work as an hydraulic engineer. The following passages (157f, pp. 265–269) refer to more personal matters. Mrs Lewis’s annotations are in square brackets.

FEDA: There is a John and Harry, both with him. And Race … Rice … Riss … it might be Reece but sounds like Riss, and Francis. These are all names of people who are connected with him or linked up with him in the past, connected with happy times. I get the feeling of an active and busy home in which he was rather happy. [This is a very curious passage … Probably the happiest time of my father’s life was in the four or five years before the war, when we, his five children, were all at school, and the home was packed with our friends during the holidays. John, Harry and Francis could be three of these . . But the most interesting passage is ‘It might be Reece but it sounds like Riss’ … My elder brother was at school at Shrewsbury and there conceived a kind of hero-worship for one of the ‘Tweaks’ (sixth form boys) whose name was Rees. He wrote home about him several times and always drew attention to the fact that the name was spelt ‘Rees’ and not ‘Reece’. In the holidays my sister and I used to tease him by singing ‘Not Reece but Riss’ until my father stopped us …] FEDA: I get a funny word now … could he be interested in … baths of some kind? Ah, he says I have got the right word, baths. He spells it, BATHS. His daughter will understand, he says. It is not something quite ordinary, but feels something special. [This is, to me, the most interesting thing that has yet emerged. Baths were always a matter of joke in our family—my father being very emphatic that water must not be wasted by our having too big baths or by leaving taps dripping. It is difficult to explain how intimate a detail this seems…The mention of baths here also seems to me an indication of my father’s quaint humour, a characteristic which has hitherto been missing … ] FEDA: … Godfrey; will you ask the daughter if she remembers someone called Godfrey. That name is a great link with old times. [My father’s most trusted clerk, one who specially helped in the hydraulic research, was called William Godfrey. He was with my father for years and I remember him from almost my earliest childhood … ] FEDA: What is that? … Peggy … Peggy … Puggy … he is giving me a little name like Puggy or Peggy. Sounds like a special name, a little special nickname, and I think it is something his daughter would know … [My father sometimes called me ‘pug-nose’ or ‘Puggy’.]

Altogether, 124 items of information were given, of which 51 were classified as right, 12 as good, 32 as fair, 2 as poor, 22 as doubtful, and 5 as wrong. Dodds, the instigator of this experiment, remarks: ‘It appears to me that the hypotheses of fraud, rational influence from disclosed facts, telepathy from the actual sitter, and coincidence cannot either singly or in combination account for the results obtained.’

Of the more impressive proxy cases, most are, like the Bobbie Newlove and Macaulay cases, too long to be done justice to in a brief summary. The next case (157g) has some very unusual (though not unprecedented) features, the essentials of which can be set forth fairly briefly. We may call it the ‘Aitken’ case, after the family involved.

At a Leonard sitting on 28 October 1938, Drayton Thomas’s regular communicators (his father and his sister) enquired if he had recently received from a middle-aged man a letter about his son. He had not yet received such a letter, and the communicators proceeded to give some further particulars of its contents. The letter would concern an accident to do with a motor car. In this accident the young man was killed outright, or nearly so. There was a connection with ‘Morton’ or a like-sounding name. The father once lived near where Drayton Thomas lived. Finally another name, sounding like ‘Char’, was given.

The anticipated letter duly arrived. It was dated eleven days after the sitting, and was from Mr Lionel G. Aitken, a member of the SPR. Mr Aitken told Drayton Thomas that he first thought of writing after hearing him speak at a Queen’s Hall meeting on 9 October, i.e. three weeks before the sitting and nearer five before he actually wrote. A sentence of the letter reads, ‘Not very long ago I lost my son, a splendid young man, full of the joy of life and success.’ After reference to certain London mediums, it continues, ‘I think on the whole that we have been most fortunate in the evidential nature of the messages received.’ Finally Thomas’s advice was asked about other mediums, but there was no word to suggest that he might possibly obtain a message for him through Mrs Leonard.

Drayton Thomas entered into correspondence with Mr Aitken. From this correspondence certain facts emerged concerning the statements made at the sitting of 28 October. In this quotation (157g, pp. 103–104) Drayton Thomas places these facts for comparison beside the items given at the sitting.

1. I am to expect a letter from a father about his son … On my enquiring when Mr Aitken had first thought of writing he replied, ‘I don’t think I had thought of mentioning my case to you and asking for advice until I actually wrote the letter. I merely intended to thank you for your address. It appears that you had news of something I was going to write before I wrote it or had consciously thought of it.’ 2. The father is middle aged. This is correct. 3. An accident case. This is also correct. 4. Connected with a motorcar. Mr Aitken writes, ‘Not a motorcar accident exactly.’ 5. The young man was killed outright or very nearly so. He was killed outright. 6. Morton or a like-sounding name; this father once lived near where you lived. In correspondence about this statement I learnt that Mr Aitken had resided at the village of Norton and that his son was born there and had been familiar with all the neighbourhood. Norton is but one and a half miles from Baldock where I lived with my parents in 1876–8. Is it too much to suppose that Feda’s ‘Morton’ was misheard by her for Norton? 7. Another name like Char—is given. This was unsatisfactory, just possibly an attempt for Charles, the Christian name of Mr Aitken’s friend killed at Gallipoli. Drayton Thomas was entirely convinced that something more than chance was at work here. Several of the items, however, are either commonplace or wrong. The case rests largely on: (a) the coincidence in time between the prediction of a letter that a man would write about his son, and the fulfilment of that prediction, and (b) the fairly clear indication of a particular locality. The former is somewhat hard to assess in the absence of detailed knowledge about the sort of letters Drayton Thomas habitually received; (b) is, however, not easy to discount.

Thomas uses the apparent precognition displayed by his communicators to knock the super-ESP hypothesis. He says (p. 104): Those who incline to the universal telepathy hypothesis will suggest that the messages originated with Mr Aitken. But this would imply that the medium tapped the Aitken memory before either she or I were aware of his existence and, more incredibly still, that she divined a purpose of which he remained entirely unaware until he was in the act of writing to thank me for remarks he heard me make in public.

Drayton Thomas’s criticism of the ‘universal telepathy hypothesis’ is no doubt entirely justified. One suspects, however, that he wishes to pass from the shortcomings of that hypothesis directly to the validity of the survivalist position. The principle seems to be—and it is, unfortunately, a principle enthusiastically applied in this field by partisans of all persuasions—that if your chief competitors are bankrupt, your own business must be on a sound footing. Many hopeful theorists have tried to persuade themselves of the latter by proving the former to their own satisfaction. But of course the present problem—that of the apparent precognition of Mr Aitken’s letter—is not solved simply by attributing the precognition to discarnate spirits. Such a move would be entirely regressive.

The most remarkable aspect of this case, however, still remains to be told. At four later Leonard sittings, for which Drayton Thomas was sitter, and at which Mr Aitken was not present, a good deal of material ostensibly relating to Mr Aitken’s son was received. Mr Aitken regarded much of this matter as highly evidential. There were however some passages which he could make little of, but which his other son recognized at once as a message concerning a common friend of his and his brother’s, a friend of whom Mr Aitken had never heard. It transpired that the living son had (in thought) deliberately asked his dead brother to try to send a message concerning this friend through some medium.

I give now Mr Aitken’s own corroborations of Feda’s statements (157g, pp. 122–123): In Mr Drayton Thomas’s sitting of 20 January 1939, Feda says: ‘There was somebody else he was very interested in, that perhaps you don’t know … a name that starts with the letter B, and I think there is an R in it … it’s not a long name—very much linked with him … it might be a Mr BRICK … I feel this is something you could use for building, and is a name much connected with this boy and his interests.’ In Mr Drayton Thomas’s sitting of 3 February 1939, Feda says: ‘A name starting with BR—rather an important name with him … Somebody he was linked up with shortly before his passing … there is a link between this BR … and the boy’s passing. I also want to know if there is anything to do with him like a little ship … or a little model of a ship—something he had on earth and was very fond of. He is showing me something like a toy ship—a fancy ship, not a plain one—’laborate, rather ’laborate—with a good deal of detail shown in it—it seemed to be connected with his earth life—but some time before he passed over, rather early in his earth life, but I think it is something that his people have still got …’ A name beginning with BR—like the name Feda says ‘might be Mr BRICK’—had been mentioned by other mediums, but we had been unable to place it, nor was the reference to a ‘model ship’ understood; but my son, on seeing the Leonard script, recognised its meaning. He and his deceased brother had been friends at an RAF Station with a young officer called BRIDGEN—whom we had not heard of—and who had been killed about a year after my son. This young man, before joining the RAF, had worked for a firm which made scale models of ships for shipping companies, and he had shown my son a photograph of one of these models which he had made himself and which he said his people still had at home. My son had felt sure that this matter of the model ship would be given as a sign if they were unable to get the name through correctly.

These corroborations were accompanied by the following letter from Mr Aitken’s surviving son: The Editor, Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. Dear Sir, I have read my father’s account of the ‘Leonard-Aitken’ proxy sittings, and I testify to its correctness. I was the only living member of the family who knew of ‘Bridgen’, and I had never had any communication with Mr Drayton Thomas or Mrs Leonard. My ‘thought-message’ was not directed to Mr Drayton Thomas or to Mrs Leonard—but to my ‘dead’ brother—and to me, the reply was unmistakable. Yours sincerely, LIONEL AITKEN, Flying-Officer, RAF 14 November 1939

I shall not at this point attempt to work out the full implications which successful proxy sittings may have for the problem of survival. But the following points are worth bearing in mind for future discussion:

1. It seems rather unlikely that all or even most of the information transmitted at these sittings could have come in a large part from clairvoyance by the medium. Many of the details given could be verified only by consulting the memories of friends and relatives of the deceased persons; there were, so far as we know, no pictures, no records, written or printed, and no other physical state of affairs which, clairvoyantly perceived, might have yielded such pieces of information as that Bobbie Newlove had an affection for a girl skater a little older than him, that F. W. Macaulay had an obsession about baths, and that he used unfeelingly to call his daughter ‘pug-nose’, and so on. And even if there had been such clairvoyantly accessible sources of information, the sources for each case would almost certainly have been scattered, so that the medium would have had to locate them, read them and synthesize them into a coherent and plausible story. Telepathy with some living person possessed of all the relevant scraps of information sounds a far more hopeful proposition.

2. However it appears that in at any rate two of the proxy cases cited in this chapter there was no one living person who possessed all the information. This is most obvious in the Aitken case just described, in which Feda produced some distinctive pieces of information not known to Mrs Leonard, to Drayton Thomas, or to Mr Aitken, but only to the latter’s still living son. In the Bobbie Newlove case some of the |56| relevant information (about the pipes and their location) was not known to any member of the communicator’s family. We are forced to attribute its production either to telepathy between Mrs Leonard and one of Bobbie’s friends (the one who played with him around the pipes), or to clairvoyant scanning of the neighbourhood plus skilful guessing about Bobbie’s likely habits, or to a clairvoyant monitoring prior to Bobbie’s death of his pastimes and activities, and a subsequent storing up of a record of them in the medium’s unconscious mind. (This last possibility, implying as it does continual monitoring of the lives of an indefinitely large number of potential communicators who are as yet still living, seems to me more fantastic than any version of the survival hypothesis.) For both of these cases, therefore, we would on the ESP (or super-ESP) hypothesis have to postulate that Mrs Leonard located (telepathically or clairvoyantly) two separate sources of information, tapped them, and collated and synthesized the results.

In the remaining case cited, the Macaulay case, Drayton Thomas listed three correct items given by Feda which were not known to Mrs Lewis, the presumed principal source of telepathically obtained information. However Dodds found these items too vague and general to be convincing; and I agree with Dodds’s estimate of them.

3. An obvious underlying problem which successful proxy sittings present for the ESP hypothesis is of course that of how the medium manages to locate (telepathically or clairvoyantly) sources of information appropriate to the case in hand. These sources are, in a number of different senses, remote from the sitting and the sitter, to whom the very existence of some of them is likely to be unknown. We might propose that the medium learns from the sitter’s mind the identity of his principal (i.e. of the person for whom he is acting as proxy), and that this somehow enables her to home in on the mind of the principal; from the mind of the principal further clues to other sources of information may be obtained; and soon. One has only to ask oneself in detail what would be involved here to see that the proposed process is grotesquely implausible. Proper names, addresses, dates, and so forth—details which identify a person uniquely— are notoriously among the most difficult of all items for sensitives to obtain; and yet such uniquely identifying details (or their equivalents) would have to be obtained in a proxy case before the medium could pinpoint the right source of information to tap; and in some cases they would have to be obtained from several sources as the medium’s mind so to speak moved along the chain of clues.

It must be added, of course, that the survivalist theory too must cope with the problem of how Feda managed to locate Bobbie Newlove, F. W. Macaulay, etc., on the ‘other side’ in order to extract evidential messages from them. Did she do it by ESP? Certainly she often speaks as though her awareness of communicators were of a fluctuating and uncertain kind. However, if there is ‘another world’ to which our spirits pass at death, it is perhaps reasonable to suppose that it contains some form of established communication network or heavenly post office directory.

4. Finally it should be noted that in some proxy cases the principals have felt the messages received contained not just correct information, but hints of the personal characteristics (humour, interests, turns of phrase, and so forth) of the ostensible communicators. If they are correct in this, we have additionally to attribute to the medium the power to glean the relevant facts and then, instead of presenting them in statement form (‘he had a dry sense of humour’), so to speak to enact them in dramatic form by reproducing the communicator’s characteristic dry humour (or whatever it may be). Certainly, the more numerous the unusual gifts we have to attribute to mediums in order to support the super-ESP hypothesis, the more cumbersome that hypothesis becomes.")

Tyrell (1946). Mrs Willet: Communications Ostensibly Proceeding from the Dead.

Balfour (1960). The 'Palm Sunday' Case.

Broad (1965). Mrs Willett (Winifred Margaret Pearce-Serocold): 1874-1956 (from the Foreword by C. D. Broad from "Swan on a Black Sea" by Geraldine Cummins (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1965)).

(various) (1966). Complete SPR Correspondence on Geraldine Cummins' Swan on a Black Sea. (this shows the necessity of following the whole correspondence for articles like this, and the correspondence, as a whole, exonerates Cummins from all attacks, which were already misrepresented by critics in the first place. The text analyzed, Swan on The Black Sea, is the only empirically evident "channeled" text that I am aware of, though according to Trevor Hamilton, in Immortal Longings (2009), p. 300, regarding the alleged "Myers" scripts The Road to Immortality and Beyond Human Personality, "The preface to the 4th edition of the former, written by Geraldine Cummins, stated that shortly after its publication, Sir Lawrence Jones, a close friend of Myers and his wife, came to visit her and made her an extraordinary offer. He said that Eveleen Myers had brought twenty-seven copies of the book to give to her friends, since she was sure the communications were from her husband, and Sir Lawrence offered her, on behalf of Mrs Myers, the chance to live on the top floor of Mrs Myers' house so that she might receive communications from her husband. Miss Cummins refused the offer, wisely no doubt." Hamilton pp. 283-292, notes that Eveleen Myers was antagonistic to earlier alleged communication because they disclosed personal details she did not want to deal with, though her attacks were emotional rather than logical, but in the case of the Cummins scripts, they touched upon cosmic philosophy and life after death in general, and so were more acceptable to her).

Hume (2015). The R-101 Seances in light of the once secret Jarman Report (in Light', Vol. 136 - this shows skeptical misrepresentation of the R-101 seances of Eileen Garrett)

Carrington (1957). The Case for Psychic Survival. (concerns Eileen Garrett)

Haraldsson & Stevenson (1975). A Communicator of the Drop-in Type in Iceland: the case of Runolfur Runolfsson.

Haraldsson & Stevenson (1975). A Communicator of the Drop-in Type in Iceland: the case of Gudni Magnusson.

Gauld (1982). Mediumship and Survival: A Century of Investigations.

Keen et al (1999). The Scole Report.

Fontana (1999). Evidence Inconsistent With the Super-ESP Hypothesis.

Fontana (2004). Survival Research: Opposition and Future Developments.

Schwartz (2003). How Not To Review Mediumship Research: Understanding the Ultimate Reviewer's Mistake.

Playfair & Keen (2004). A Possibly Unique Case of Psychic Detection.

Beischel (2007). Contemporary methods used in laboratory-based mediumship research.

Beischel & Schwartz (2007). Anomalous information reception by research mediums demonstrated using a novel triple-blind protocol.

Moreira-Almeida et al (2008). Comparison of Brazilian Spiritist Mediumship and Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Beischel & Rock (2008). Quantitative Analysis of Research Mediums’ Conscious Experiences during a Discarnate Reading versus a Control Task: A Pilot Study.

Beischel & Rock (2009). Adressing the Survival versus PSI debate through Process-Focused Mediumship Research.

Rock et al (2009). Psi vs. survival: A qualitative investigation of mediums’ phenomenology comparing psychic readings and ostensible communication with the deceased

Kelly (2010). Some directions for mediumship research.

Moreira-Almeida et al (2010). The Neurobiology of Trance and Mediumship in Brazil.

Kelly & Arcangel (2011). An investigation of mediums who claim to give information about deceased persons

Boccuzzi & Beischel (2011). Objective Analyses of Reported Real-Time Audio Instrumental Transcommunication and Matched Control Sessions: A Pilot Study.

Roxburgh & Roe (2013). “Say From Whence You Owe This Strange Intelligence”: Investigating Explanatory Systems of Spiritualist Mental Mediumship Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.

Miraldi & Krippner (2013). A Biopsychosocial Approach to Creative Dissociation: Remarks on a Case of Mediumistic Painting.

Delorme et al (2013). Electrocortical activity associated with subjective communication with the deceased.

Lucchetti et al (2013). Historical and cultural aspects of the pineal gland: comparison between the theories provided by Spiritism in the 1940s and the current scientific evidence.

Williams (2014). Mediums, Spirits, and Science.

Rocha et al (2014). Investigating The Fit And Accuracy Of Alleged Mediumistic Writing: A Case Study Of Chico Xavier’s Letters.

Sanderson (2003). The Case For Spirit Release.

Powell (2003). Psychiatry and Spirit Release Therapy.

Powell (2005). The Contribution of Spirit Release Therapy to Mental Health.

Moreira-Almeida et al (2005). Spiritist Views of Mental Disorders in Brazil.

Powell (2007). ‘Furthering the spiritual dimension of psychiatry in the United Kingdom’.

Stevenson (1974). Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation.

Matlock (2011). Ian Stevenson's Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation: An Historical Review and Assessment.

Stevenson et al (1980). A preliminary report on an unusual case of the reincarnation type with Xenoglossy.

Stevenson (1983). American Children Who Claim to Remember Previous Lives.

Stevenson et al (1989). A Case of the Possession Type in India with evidence of Paranormal Knowledge.

Almeder (1992). Death and Personal Survival: The Evidence for Life After Death (general overview which also contains a defense of the work of Ian Stevenson on reincarnation, with rebuttals to C.T.K. Chari, Ian Wilson, and Paul Edwards)

Almeder (1997). A Critique of Arguments Offered Against Reincarnation (appraisal of the evidence in light of Paul Edwards' attacks in Reincarnation: A Critical Examination - also rebuts misleading attacks Edwards made against Almeder)

Stevenson (2000). The phenomenon of claimed memories of previous lives: possible interpretations and importance.

Haraldsson et al (2000). Psychological Characteristics of Children Who Speak of a Previous Life: A Further Field Study in Sri Lanka.

Haraldsson (2003). Children who speak of past-life experiences: Is there a psychological explanation?

Stevenson & Haraldsson (2003). The Similarity of Features of Reincarnation Type Cases over Many Years: A Third Study.

Sharma & Tucker (2005). Cases of the Reincarnation Type with Memories from the Intermission Between Lives.

Tucker (2008). Children's reports of Past-Life Memories: A Review.

Carpenter (2009). An Experimental Investigation of Past-Life Experiences.

Matlock (2012). Bibliography of reincarnation resources online (articles and books, all downloadable).

Haraldsson (2012). Cases of the Reincarnation Type and the Mind–Brain Relationship.

Tart (1968). A Psychophysiological Study of OBEs in a Selected Subject. (this experiment, like many really notable experiments, has been attacked, however, such attacks are irrelevant if one considers Tart's commentary on pp. 82-83 of this 1998 review of studies - see also Alvarado (1982). ESP During Out-of-Body Experiences: A Review of Experimental Studies)

Paquette (2012). NDE Implications from a Group of Spontaneous Long-Distance Veridical OBEs. (excerpt: "The case for veridical out-of-body experiences (OBEs) reported in near-death experiences might be strengthened by accounts of well-documented veridical OBEs not occurring near death. However, such accounts are not easily found in the literature, particularly accounts involving events seen at great distances from the percipient. In this article, I seek to mitigate this paucity of literature using my collection of dream journal OBE cases. Out of 3,395 records contained in the database as of June 15, 2012, 226 had demonstrated veridicality. This group divides into examples of precognition, after-death communications, and OBEs. Of the OBEs, 92 are veridical. The documentation involved is stronger than is normally encountered in spontaneous cases, because it is made prior to confirmation attempts, all confirmations are contemporaneous, and the number of verified records is large relative to the total number of similar cases in the literature. This database shows that NDE-related veridical OBEs share important characteristics of veridical OBEs that are not part of an NDE. Because the OBEs are similar, but the conditions are not, skeptical arguments that depend on specific physical characteristics of the NDE--such as the use of drugs and extreme physical distress--are weakened. Other arguments against purported psi elements found in veridical OBEs are substantially weakened by the cases presented in this article.")

Alvarado (2016). Out-of-Body Experience (OBE).

Greyson & Stevenson (1980). The Phenomenology of Near-Death Experiences

Greyson (1985). A Typology of Near-Death Experiences.

Fenske (1990). The near-death experience: An ancient truth, a modern mystery.

Serdahely (1991). A comparison of retrospective accounts of childhood near-death experiences with contemporary pediatric near-death experience accounts. (excerpt: "I compared five childhood near-death experiences (NDEs) reported by adults and another five NDEs reported by minors, in terms of Ring's five NDE stages, Greyson's four NDE components, Moody and Perry's 12 NDE traits, Sabom's 16 general characteristics, and Gallup and Proctor's 10 basic positive experiences. In this combined pool of 47 NDE characteristics (which were interdependent), only two relating to time sense showed significant differences between the adults' retrospective reports of childhood NDEs and the children's contemporary NDE reports, and that number of differences would be expected by chance. This study therefore supports the claims of previous researchers that adults' retrospective reports of childhood NDEs are not embellished or distorted.")

Greyson (1993). Near-death experiences and the physio-kundalini syndrome.

Fenwick (1997). Is the Near-Death Experience Only N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Blocking? (excerpt: "Karl Jansen's interesting hypothesis that near-death experiences (NDEs) result from blockade of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor has several weaknesses. Some NDEs occur to individuals who are neither near death nor experiencing any event likely to upset cerebral physiology as Jansen proposed; thus his hypothesis applies only to a subset of NDEs that occur in catastrophic circumstances. For that subset, the clarity of NDEs and the clear memory for the experience afterward are inconsistent with compromised cerebral function. Jansen's analogy between NDEs and ketamine-induced hallucinations is weakened by the fact that most ketamine users do not believe the events they perceived really happened. Temporal lobe seizures do not resemble NDEs as Jansen postulated; they are confusional, rarely ecstatic, and never clear, as are NDEs, nor are they remembered afterward. Jansen's hypothesis assumes the standard scientific view that brain processes are entirely responsible for subjective experience; however, NDEs suggest that that concept of the mind may be too limited, and that in fact personal experience may continue beyond death of the brain.")

Cook et al (1998). Do any near-death experiences provide evidence for the survival of human personality after death? Relevant features and illustrative case reports.

Ring & Cooper (1998). Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind: A Study of Apparent Eyeless Vision. (these kinds of results are further elaborated upon in Ring & Cooper (2008) Mindsight: Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind)

Green (1998). Near-Death Experiences, Shamanism, and the Scientific Method (excerpt: "The first 20 years of near-death studies have thoroughly documented the existence of this phenomenon. The field of near-death studies appears to be evolving from a purely academic one to include an applied, clinical component. I discuss the overlap between shamanism and near-death experiences (NDEs) and suggest that the study of shamanism would be helpful in more fully understanding this phenomena and beginning the development of an applied methodology. Although it may be difficult to verify subjective accounts of NDEs and shamanic journeys, from a clinical stand-point it may not be necessary to do so in order to develop a technique that passes the test of scientific scrutiny.")

Stone (2001). A Critique of Susan Blackmore's Dying Brain Hypothesis by Greg Stone. (Informal non-peer reviewed critique of the dying brain hypothesis by a psychologist and theologian).

van Lommel et al (2001). Near-death experience in survivors of cardiac arrest: a prospective study in the Netherlands.

Parnia and Fenwick (2002). Near death experiences in cardiac arrest: visions of a dying brain or visions of a new science of consciousness? (formal, peer-reviewed critique of the dying brain hypothesis - a relevant excerpt is as follows: "The occurrence of lucid, well structured thought processes together with reasoning, attention and memory recall of specific events during a cardiac arrest (NDE) raise a number of interesting and perplexing questions regarding how such experiences could arise. These experiences appear to be occurring at a time when cerebral function can be described at best as severely impaired, and at worst absent. Although, under other clinical circumstances in which the brain is still functioning, it may be possible to argue that the experiences may arise as a hallucination in response to various chemical changes in the brain, this becomes far more difficult during a cardiac arrest. NDE in cardiac arrest appear different to hallucinations arising from metabolic or physiological alterations, in that they appear to occur in a non-functioning cortex, whereas hallucinations occur in a functioning cortex. Therefore, it is difficult to apply the same arguments for their occurrence. In addition cerebral localisation studies have indicated that thought processes are mediated through a number of different cortical areas, rather than single areas of the brain. Therefore a globally disordered brain would not be expected to produce lucid thought processes. From a clinical point of view any acute alteration in cerebral physiology such as occurring in hypoxia, hypercarbia, metabolic, and drug induced disturbances and seizures leads to disorganised and compromised cerebral function[36]. Furthermore, as already described, any reduction in cerebral blood flow leads to impaired attention and higher cerebral function. A recent study by Marshall and co workers has demonstrated that deterioration in higher cerebral function correlates with reduction in the levels of cerebral blood flow, and that even relatively minor reductions in blood flow leads to impaired attention [37]. NDEs in cardiac arrest are clearly not confusional and in fact indicate heightened awareness, attention and consciousness at a time when consciousness and memory formation would not be expected to occur.

An alternative explanation is that NDEs reported from cardiac arrests, may actually be arising at a time when consciousness is either being lost, or regained, rather than during the actual cardiac arrest period itself. Experiments during simple fainting episodes have shown that, experiences arising during loss of consciousness occur in conjunction with mental experiences at the beginning of the episode [38]. This is not seen classically in NDEs. The EEG during fainting show a gradual slowing of the cerebral rhythms with the appearance of delta activity before finally, in a minority of cases, the EEG becoming flat [39]. In cardiac arrest, the process is accelerated, with the EEG showing changes within a few seconds[40].

Any cerebral insult leads to a period of both anterograde and retrograde amnesia [41] and [42]. In fact memory is a very sensitive indicator of brain injury and the length of amnesia before and after unconsciousness is an indicator of the severity of the injury [43]. Therefore, events that occur just prior to or just after loss of consciousness would not be expected to be recalled. Recovery following a cerebral insult is confusional [41] and [42]. As has been described above, cerebral function as indicated by EEG has, in many cases been shown not to return until many minutes or even a few hours after successful resuscitation. Despite these observations it can still be argued that the occurrence of some of the features of an NDE such as seeing a light or a tunnel potentially may occur during the recovery phase following a cardiac arrest, with the patient thinking that the experiences had occurred during the actual period itself. However, anecdotal reports of patients being able to ‘see’ and recall detailed events occurring during the actual cardiac arrest, such as specific details relating to the resuscitation period verified by hospital staff, simply cannot be explained in this way. For this memory to take place, a form of consciousness would need to be present during the actual cardiac arrest itself.")

van Lommel (2003). Open Letter to Michael Shermer. (chastises Shermer for misrepresentation of data from van Lommel's Lancet study)

Rivas (2003). The Survivalist Interpretation of Recent Studies Into the Near-Death Experience.

Rivas (2003). The Survivalist Interpretation of Recent Studies into the NDE.

van Lommel (2006). Near-death experience, consciousness, and the brain.

Alvarado (2006). Neglected Near-Death Phenomena.

Greyson (2007). Consistency of near-death experience accounts over two decades: Are reports embellished over time? (excerpt: "Near-death experiences," commonly reported after clinical death and resuscitation, may require intervention and, if reliable, may elucidate altered brain functioning under extreme stress. It has been speculated that accounts of near- death experiences are exaggerated over the years. The objective of this study was to test the reliability over two decades of accounts of near-death experiences. Methods: Seventy-two patients with near-death experience who had completed the NDE scale in the 1980s (63/ of the original cohort still alive) completed the scale a second time, without reference to the original scale administration. The primary outcome was differences in NDE scale scores on the two administrations. The secondary outcome was the statistical association between differences in scores and years elapsed between the two administrations. Results: Mean scores did not change significantly on the total NDE scale, its 4 factors, or its 16 items. Correlation coefficients between scores on the two administrations were significant at P < 0.001 for the total NDE scale, for its 4 factors, and for its 16 items. Correlation coefficients between score changes and time elapsed between the two administrations were not significant for the total NDE scale, for its 4 factors, or for its 16 items. Conclusion: Contrary to expectation, accounts of near-death experiences, and particularly reports of their positive affect, were not embellished over a period of almost two decades. These data support the reliability of near-death experience accounts.")

Greyson (2007). Near-death experience: clinical implications. (excerpt: "When some people come close to death, they report a profound experience of transcending the physical world that often leads to spiritual transformation. These ``near-death experiences (NDEs) are relevant to clinicians because they lead to changes in beliefs, attitudes, and values; they may be mistaken for psychopathological states, although producing different sequelae requiring different therapeutic approaches; and because they may enhance our understanding of consciousness. Objectives: This literature review examined the evidences regarding explanations proposed to explain NDEs, including expectation, birth memories, altered blood gases, toxic or metabolic hallucinations, and neurochemical and neuroanatomical models. Methods: The literature on NDEs of the past 30 years was examined comprehensively, including medical, nursing, psychological, and sociological databases. Results: NDEs typically produce positive changes in attitudes, beliefs, and values, but may also lead to interpersonal and intrapsychic problems. These problems have been compared to various mental disorders, but are distinguishable from them. Various therapeutic strategies have been proposed to help experiencers with problematic aftereffects, but have not been tested yet. Conclusions: The mystical consciousness and higher mental activity during NDEs, when the brain is severely impaired, challenge current models of brain/mind interaction and may occasionally lead to more complete models for the understanding of consciousness.")

Parnia (2007). Do reports of consciousness during cardiac arrest hold the key to discovering the nature of consciousness? (excerpt: "Perhaps the biggest challenge facing neuroscience at the dawn of the 21st century is understanding the relationship between mind, consciousness and the brain. Editorials in recent years have highlighted the difficulties faced by cognitive neuroscience in attempting to answer questions regarding the nature, as well as the mechanism by which subjective experiences and our sense of consciousness may arise through neuronal processes. Current scientific views regarding the origin of consciousness vary widely and range from an `epiphenomenon' arising from neuronal networks, to neuronal quantum processes, to a separate undiscovered scientific entity. Although there has been a lack of experimental studies to test these theories, recent studies have indicated that the study of the human mind during cardiac arrest may hold the key to solving the mystery of consciousness. Four published prospective studies of cardiac arrest survivors have demonstrated that paradoxically human mind and consciousness may continue to function during cardiac arrest. This is despite the well demonstrated finding that cerebral functioning as measured by electrical activity of the brain ceases during cardiac arrest, thus raising the possibility that human mind and consciousness may continue to function in the absence of brain function. In this article the broad theories for the causation of consciousness are reviewed as well as a novel method to study consciousness during cardiac arrest. This may provide a unique experimental method to determine the nature of human mind and consciousness as well as its relationship with the brain.")

Greyson (2008). Four Errors Commonly Made by Professional Debunkers.

Smit (2008). Corroboration of the Dentures Anecdote Involving Veridical Perception in a Near-Death Experience.

Smit & Rivas (2010). Rejoinder to “Response to ‘Corroboration of the Dentures Anecdote Involving Veridical Perception in a Near-Death Experience’” (argues that Woerlee's account of this case is an inaccurate misrepresentation)

Wood (2010). Response to G.M. Woerlee's Critique of Dr. Long's Research. ("After reading Dr. Woerlee's critique of Dr. Jeffery Long's NDE research, Review of Evidence of the Afterlife, I was rather frustrated at what I felt was a sloppy effort on Dr. Woerlee's part. I think it is very important that we hold those who make claims and those who rebut claims to the same level of scientific scrutiny. Therefore, in the spirit of science, I offer this paper as a response to Dr. Woerlee's critique. This document is formatted to follow the same sectional outline that Dr. Woerlee used in his critique of Dr. Long.")

Rivas (2010). Is it Rational to extrapolate from the Presence of Consciousness during a Flat EEG to Survival of Consciousness After Death?

Dellolio (2010). Do Near-Death Experiences Provide a Rational Basis for Belief in Life after Death?

Greyson (2010). Implications of Near-Death Experiences for a Postmaterialist Psychology.

Greyson (2010). Seeing dead people not known to have died: “Peak in Darien” experiences.

Nahm et al (2009). Terminal Lucidity in Patients With Chronic Schizophrenia and Dementia: A Survey of the Literature.

Nahm et al (2011). Terminal lucidity: A review and a case collection.

Facco & Agrillo (2012). Near-death experiences between science and prejudice. (this, among other things, rebuts the erroneous, but popularly cited paper "There is Nothing Paranormal about Near-Death Experiences" by Mobbs and Watt, and similar literature. Bruce Greyson, Janice Holden, and Pim van Lommel, noted in a reply to the article of Mobbs & Watt that "We suggest that Mobbs and Watt explained ‘all aspects’ of near-death experiences (NDEs) by ignoring aspects they could not explain and by overlooking a substantial body of empirical research on NDEs. In a subsequent radio interview, Watt acknowledged that they had avoided looking at any evidence for veridical out-of-body perception, resulting in their being unable to evaluate whether or not there was empirical evidence of anything paranormal about NDEs. But if Mobbs and Watt did not consider the evidence for possible paranormal features, then their claim that there is nothing paranormal about NDEs is not evidence based." Pim van Lommel wrote in a 2013 Journal of Consciousness Studies article Non-local consciousness: A concept based on scientific research on near-death experiences during cardiac arrest. (Journal of Consciousness Studies, 20, 7-48.), on p. 18: "In a recent review of 93 corroborated reports of potentially verifiable out-of-body perceptions during NDE it was found that about 90% were completely accurate, 8% contained some minor error, and only 2% were completely erroneous (Holden, 2009). This strongly suggests that OBE cannot be an hallucination, i.e. experiencing a perception that has no basis in ‘reality’, like in psychosis, neither can it be a delusion, which is an incorrect assessment of a correct perception, nor an illusion, which means a misapprehension or misleading image. So the question arises: should an OBE be considered as a kind of non-sensory perception?" - in that article he refuted common materialist monist explanations for the phenomena. The following excerpts from Irreducible Mind also engage in such refutation.)

Agrillo et al (2012). Near-death experiences as a tool for forming a broader comprehension of the link between consciousness and social perception: commentary on Graziano and Kastner (2011)

Fenwick (2012). Can Near Death Experiences Contribute to the Debate on Consciousness? (excerpt: "The near death experiences (NDEs) is an altered state of consciousness, which has stereotyped content and emotional experience. Some features of the experience are trans-cultural and suggest either a similar brain mechanism or access to a transcendent reality. Individual features of the experience point more persuasively to transcendence than to simple limited brain mechanisms. Moreover there are, so far, no reductionist explanations which can account satisfactorily for some of the features of the NDE; the apparent ``sightedness in the blind during an NDE, the apparent acquisition after an NDE of psychic and spiritual gifts, together with accounts of healing occurring during an NDE, and the accounts of veridical experience during the resuscitation after a cardiac arrest. Although nonlocal mind would explain many of the NDE features, nonlocality is not yet accepted by mainstream neuroscience so there is a clear explanatory gap between reductionist materialistic explanations and those theories based on a wider understanding of mind suggested by the subjective experience of the NDEr. Only wider theories of mind would be likely candidates to bridge this gap.")

Facco et al (2013). Near-Death Experiences and Non-Ordinary Mental Expressions (NOME): Is There an Original Sin of Galilean Sciences?

Carter (2012). Reply to Woerlee’s Rejoinder on the Pam Reynolds Case.

Alexander (2012). Proof of Heaven: A Doctor’s Experience With the Afterlife.

Alexander (2013). Eben Alexander answers skeptics' criticisms.

Mays (2013). Esquire article on Eben Alexander distorts the facts (saved internet copy of the early article, the final draft excises some information)

Rivas & Smit (2013). A Near-Death Experience with Veridical Perception Described by a Famous Heart Surgeon and Confirmed by his Assistant Surgeon.

Greyson et al (2013). Surge of neurophysiological activity in the dying brain ( There is also the claim put forth by counter-advocates that "Most brain activity tests are not typically performed when a patient is undergoing attempts at emergency resuscitation because this takes far too much time, and patients need to be resuscitated as soon as possible. It is entirely possible, for example, that a patient showing no activity on an EEG scan could still have brain activity that would appear on an FMRI, PET, or catSCAN. This is because, unless surgically implanted into the brain directly, the EEG principally measures surface cortical activity."

All of this seems very convincing to people who don't know the issues. The source for the refutation is Pim van Lommel's book Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience (HarperOne; Reprint edition (August 9, 2011)).

Within 10 - 15 seconds after cardiac arrest the EEG goes flat, indicating no activity in the cerebral cortex. Within about one minute the patient will show no pupil reflexes in response to bright light shone into the eyes, indicating no activity in the brain stem. Since all parts of the brain are deprived of oxygen and glucose during cardiac arrest, there is no reason to think that any part of the brain is functioning. Yet detailed experiences are still reported.

Also, the claims by counter-advocates are irrelevant, as no model has ever postulated consciousness as a function of any part of the brain except the cerebral cortex.

Finally, any sort of insult to the brain is marked by amnesia and recovery via a state of confusion. Yet patients showing all these signs still report clear memories of the time there is every reason to believe their brains were non functioning.

Unfortunately have people like Michael Shermer lying about the results of the Van Lommel study, Stenger lying about and minimizing Kenneth Ring's results, and Woerlee lying about cases of veridical perception. Such action "for the greater good" only holds back science).

Palmieri et al (2014). “Reality” of near-death-experience memories: evidence from a psychodynamic and electrophysiological integrated study (from abstract: "Findings showed that NDE memories were similar to real memories in terms of detail richness, self-referential, and emotional information. Moreover, NDE memories were significantly different from memories of imagined events. The pattern of EEG results indicated that real memory recall was positively associated with two memory-related frequency bands, i.e., high alpha and gamma. NDE memories were linked with theta band, a well-known marker of episodic memory. The recall of NDE memories was also related to delta band, which indexes processes such as the recollection of the past, as well as trance states, hallucinations, and other related portals to transpersonal experience. It is notable that the EEG pattern of correlations for NDE memory recall differed from the pattern for memories of imagined events. In conclusion, our findings suggest that, at a phenomenological level, NDE memories cannot be considered equivalent to imagined memories, and at a neural level, NDE memories are stored as episodic memories of events experienced in a peculiar state of consciousness.")

Tressoldi et al (2014). Out of Body Experience Induced by Hypnotic Suggestion: Phenomenology and Perceptual Characteristics.

Tressoldi et al (2015). Out of Body Experience Induced by Hypnotic Suggestion. Part 2: How Many Bodies are Out There? News About the Subtle and Psychic Body.

Facco et al (2015). Epistemological implications of near-death experiences and other non-ordinary mental expressions: Moving beyond the concept of altered state of consciousness

(Various) (undated). Links to over 300 online NDE Scientific Papers.

Sartori (2016). Near-Death Experience.

A item I'd like to obtain is The Handbook of Near-death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigation by Janice Miner Holden, Bruce Greyson, and Debbie James.

Also, as regards the debate as to whether Near-death experiences can be explained or not explained by abnormalities in brain functioning, I have been referred to the following debate in the Journal of Near-Death Studies as a very significant fleshing out of the arguments:

Vol. 25, No. 4 (Summer 2007) started with "Does Paranormal Perception Occur in NDEs?" by Keith Augustine, followed by four critiques written by Greyson, by Kimberly Clark Sharp, by Charles Tart, and by Mike Sabom, and a response by Augustine.

Vol. 26, No. 1 (Fall 2007) started with "NDEs with Hallucinatory Features" by Augustine, followed by three critiques written by Jan Holden, by Peter Fenwick, and by Bill Serdahely, and a response by Augustine. This issue also included letters to the editor from Greyson, from Ken Ring, from Raymond Moody, from Steve Cooper, and from Barbara Whitfield correcting some of the factual and conceptual errors in Augustine's response in the previous issue.

Vol. 26, No. 2 (Winter 2007) started with "Psychophysiological and Cultural Correlates Undermining a Survivalist Interpretation of NDEs" by Augustine, followed by four critiques written by Greyson, by Allan Kellehear, by Mark Fox, and by Harvey Irwin, and a response by Augustine.

(Greyson's commentary was quoted by Carter as stating: "Without exception, every report of a large study of NDEs published in a mainstream medical journal has concluded that these phenomena cannot be explained as hallucinations. Such unanimity among scientific researchers is unusual and should tell us something. Why is it that scientists who have done the most near-death research believe the mind is not exclusively housed in the brain, whereas those who regard NDEs as hallucinations by and large have not conducted any studies of the phenomena at all?")

Vol. 26, No. 3 (Spring 2008) included letters to the editor from P.M.H. Atwater, from Mike Sabom, and from Neal Grossman commenting on further errors by Augustine, followed by a response from him.

Vol. 26, No. 4 (Summer 2008) included a letter to the editor from Rudolf Smit correcting additional errors by Augustine.

Retrocognition, or perception of past events[edit]

Myers (1894-95). The Subliminal Self, Chapter VIII: The Relation of Supernormal Phenomena to Time;—Retrocognition.

Patel (2004). Deep-Sea Volcanoes and Their Associated Hydrothermal Vents, Historical Notes.

Patel (2004). Who Really Discovered Deep-Sea Volcanoes?

Patel (2005). Who Were the Earliest Scholars of Submarine Volcanoes and Their Submerged Hydrothermal Vents?

Precognition and presentiment, or perception of future events[edit]

Sidgwick (1888-89). On the Evidence for Premonitions.

Myers (1894-95). The Subliminal Self, Chapter IX: The Relation of Supernormal Phenomena to Time;—Precognition.

Richet (1931). L’Avenir et la Prémonition.

Saltmarsh (1938). Foreknowledge.

Honorton & Ferrari (1989). “Future telling”: A meta-analysis of forced-choice precognition experiments, 1935-1987

Palmer (1996). Evaluation of a conventional interpretation of Helmut Schmidt’s automated precognitive experiments.

Palmer (1997). Hit-contingent response bias in Helmut Schmidt's automated precognition experiments.

Spottiswoode & May (2003). Skin Conductance Prestimulus Response: Analyses, Artifacts and a Pilot Study

Radin (2004). Electrodermal presentiments of future emotions.

McCraty et al (2004). Electrophysiological Evidence of Intuition: Part 1. The Surprising Role of the Heart

McCraty et al (2004). Electrophysiological Evidence of Intuition: Part 2. A System-Wide Process?

Radin & Lobach (2007). Toward understanding the placebo effect: Investigating a possible retrocausal factor.

Radin & Borges (2009). Intuition through time: What does the seer see?

Bem (2011). Feeling the Future: Experimental Evidence for Anomalous Retroactive Influences on Cognition and Affect

Bem et al (2011). Must Psychologists Change the Way They Analyze Their Data?

Bierman (2011). Anomalous Switching of the Bi-Stable Percept of a Necker Cube: A Preliminary Study

Radin et al (2011). Electrocortical activity prior to unpredictable stimuli in meditators and non-meditators.

Radin (2011). Predicting the Unpredictable: 75 Years of Experimental Evidence (very useful overview)

Tressoldi et al (2011). Let Your Eyes Predict : Prediction Accuracy of Pupillary Responses to Random Alerting and Neutral Sounds

Galek et al (2012). Correcting the Past: Failures to Replicate Psi

Mossbridge et al (2012). Predictive physiological anticipation preceding seemingly unpredictable stimuli: a meta-analysis

Bem et al (2014). Feeling the Future: A Meta-Analysis of 90 Experiments on the Anomalous Anticipation of Random Future Events.

Mossbridge et al (2014). Predicting the unpredictable: critical analysis and practical implications of predictive anticipatory activity.

Schwarzkopf (2014). We should have seen this coming.

Mossbridge et al (2015). We Did See This Coming: Response to, We Should Have Seen This Coming, by D. Sam Schwarzkopf.

Franklin et al (2014). Future directions in precognition research: More research can bridge the gap between skeptics and proponents.

Mind-matter interaction[edit]

Historical evidence[edit]

Schoch (2012). Mysteries, Miracles, & Parapsychology.

Harvey-Wilson (2005). Human Levitation. (Hereward Carrington, in The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism, pp. 380-381, stated: "Now, what are we to do with such facts as these? They must either have occurred, as stated, or the narrators must have been under some sort of influence, hypnotic or what not, which induced in them the belief that the events occurred as stated. It is useless for us to simply deny that the facts took place, since that would be childish, no less than unscien- tific and prejudiced. Here is a great mass of evidence to be accounted for by some means, or we must admit that we cannot account for it at all. It is not that there are so few cases on record that the; can be lightly overlooked or passed by as the results of a disordered imagination, Crookes mentions several cases, quite as remarkable as those just given, which I refrain from quoting, from lack of space. The Rev. Minot Savage quotes a remarkable case that happened in his own presence in the case of an American medium. Several cases of levitation will also be found recorded in Occult Science in India, pp. 287-8, 267; Around the World with a Magician and a Juggler, pp. 56-7; Baldwin's Secrets of Mahatma Land Explained, p. 34, and various other works on Eastern travel. As Mr. Lang pointed out, "This phenomenon is constantly reported in the Bible, in the Lives of the Saints, by the Bollandists, in the experiences of the early Irvingites, in witch trials, in Iamblichus, and in savage and European folk-lore." Indeed, there is hardly a phenomenon that is so frequently recorded as is this phenomenon of levitation. And, "when we find savage biraarks in Australia, fakirs in India, saints in medieval Europe, a gentleman's butler in Ireland, boys in Somerset and Midlothian, a young warrior in Zululand, Miss Nancy Wesley at Epworth, in 1716, and Mr. Daniel Home, in London, in 1856-70, all triumphing over the law of gravitation, all floating in the air, how are we to explain the uniformity of stories palpably ridiculous?" - Carrington then goes on to provide a theory to account for levitation.

Some interesting early claims revolve around the Neoplatonist Iamblichus, of which the historian Eusapius relates the following in Lives of the Philosophers and Sophists (this text contains some interesting material on the other Neoplatonists, and this contains some interesting material as regards physical mediumship in general): "After these men comes a very celebrated philosopher, IAMBLICHUS, who was of illustrious ancestry and belonged to an opulent and prosperous family. His birthplace was. Chalcis, a city in the region called Coele Syria.19 As a pupil of Anatolius, who ranks next after Porphyry, he made great progress and attained to the highest distinction in philosophy. Then leaving Anatolius he attached himself to Porphyry, and in no respect was he inferior to Porphyry except in harmonious structure and force of style. For his utterances are not imbued with charm and grace, they are not lucid, and they lack the beauty of simplicity. Nevertheless they are not altogether obscure, nor have they faults of diction, but as Plato used to say of Xenocrates, "he has not sacrificed to the Graces" of Hermes.20 Therefore he does not hold and enchant the reader into continuing to read, but is more likely to repel him and irritate his ears. But because he practised justice he gained an easy access to the ears of the gods; so much so that he had a multitude of disciples, and those who desired learning flocked to him from all parts. And it is hard to decide who among them was the most distinguished, for Sopater 21 the Syrian was of their number, a man who was most eloquent both in his speeches and writings; and Aedesius and Eustathius from Cappadocia; while from Greece came Theodorus 22 and Euphrasius, men of superlative virtue, and a crowd of other men not inferior in their powers of oratory, so that it seemed marvellous that he could satisfy them all; and indeed in his devotion to them all he never spared himself. Occasionally, however, he did perform certain rites alone, apart from his friends and disciples, when he worshipped the Divine Being. But for the most part he conversed with his pupils and was unexacting in his mode of life and of an ancient simplicity. As they drank their wine he used to charm those present by his conversation and filled them as with nectar. And they never ceased to desire this pleasure and never could have too much of it, so that they never gave him any peace; and they appointed the most eloquent among them to represent them, and asked: "O master, most inspired, why do you thus occupy yourself in solitude, instead of sharing with us your more perfect wisdom? Nevertheless a rumour has reached us through your slaves that when you pray to the gods you soar aloft from the earth more than ten cubits to all appearance;23 that your body and your garments change to a beautiful golden hue; and presently when your prayer is ended your body becomes as it was before you prayed, and then you come down to earth and associate with us." Iamblichus was not at all inclined to laughter, but he laughed at these remarks.24 And he answered them thus: "He who thus deluded you was a witty fellow; but the facts are otherwise. For the future however you shall be present at all that goes on." This was the sort of display that he made; and the report of it reached the author of this work from his teacher Chrysanthius of Sardis. He was a pupil of Aedesius, and Aedesius was one of the leading disciples of Iamblichus, and one of those who spoke to him as I have said. He said that there occurred the following sure manifestations of his divine nature. The sun was travelling towards the limits of the Lion at the time when it rises along with the constellation called the Dog. It was the hour for sacrifice, and this had been made ready in one of the suburban villas belonging to Iamblichus. Presently when the rites had been duly performed and they were returning to the city, walking slowly and at their leisure,----for indeed their conversation was about the gods as was in keeping with the sacrifice----suddenly Iamblichus even while conversing was lost in thought, as though his voice were cut off, and for some moments he fixed his eyes steadily on the ground 25 and then looked up at his friends and called to them in a loud voice: "Let us go by another road, for a dead body has lately been carried along this way." After saying this he turned into another road which seemed to be less impure,26 and some of them turned aside with him, who thought it was a shame to desert their teacher. But the greater number and the more obstinate of his disciples, among whom was Aedesius, stayed where they were, ascribing the occurrence to a portent and scenting like hounds for the proof.27 And very soon those who had buried the dead man came back. But even so the disciples did not desist but inquired whether they had passed along this road. "We had to," they replied, for there was no other road.

But they testified also to a still more marvellous incident. When they kept pestering Iamblichus and saying that this that I have just related was a trifle, and perhaps due to a superior sense of smell, and that they wished to test him in something more important, his reply to them was: "Nay, that does not rest with me, but wait for the appointed hour." Some time after, they decided to go to Gadara, a place which has warm baths in Syria, inferior only to those at Baiae in Italy, with which no other baths can be compared.28 So they set out in the summer season. Now he happened to be bathing and the others were bathing with him, and they were using the same insistence, whereupon Iamblichus smiled and said: "It is irreverent to the gods to give you this demonstration, but for your sakes it shall be done." There were two hot springs smaller than the others but prettier, and he bade his disciples ask the natives of the place by what names they used to be called in former times. When they had done his bidding they said: "There is no pretence about it, this spring is called Eros, and the name of the one next to it is Anteros." He at once touched the water with his hand----he happened to be sitting on the ledge of the spring where the overflow runs off----and uttering a brief summons 29 he called forth a boy from the depth of the spring. He was white-skinned and of medium height, his locks were golden and his back and breast shone; and he exactly resembled one who was bathing or had just bathed. His disciples were overwhelmed with amazement, but Iamblichus said, "Let us go to the next spring," and he rose and led the way, with a thoughtful air. Then he went through the same performance there also, and summoned another Eros like the first in all respects, except that his hair was darker and fell loose in the sun. Both the boys embraced Iamblichus and clung to him as though he were genuinely their father. He restored them to their proper places and went away after his bath, reverenced by his pupils. After this the crowd of his disciples sought no further evidence, but believed everything from the proofs that had been revealed to them, and hung on to him as though by an unbreakable chain. Even more astonishing and marvellous things were related of him, but I wrote down none of these since I thought it a hazardous and sacrilegious thing to introduce a spurious and fluid tradition into a stable and well-founded narrative. Nay even this I record not without hesitation, as being mere hearsay, except that I follow the lead of men who, though they distrusted other signs, were converted by the experience of the actual revelation. Yet no one of his followers recorded it, as far as I know. And this I say with good reason, since Aedesius himself asserted that he had not written about it, nor had any other ventured to do so."

On the Neoplatonists in general, a relevant source is the chapter Platonic Siddhas: Supernatural Philosophers of Neoplatonism by Gregory Shaw, which appears in aforementioned the text Beyond Physicalism.

As regards evidence, however, few cases carry enough unequivocal, patently obvious, in your face proof to warrant our attention. The only case that comes to mind that meets this criteria is that of the "thaumaturgist monk" Joseph of Cupertino, positively profiled by the skeptic Eric Dingwall in his book Some Human Oddities. Michael Grosso further overviews the evidence on this in Evidence for St. Joseph of Copertino’s Levitations, a summary overview of Grosso, M. (forthcoming), The Strange Case of St. Joseph of Copertino: Ecstasy and the Mind-Body Problem (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Some items I found notable from Dingwall's text are p. 13 where he describes levitation in the kneeling position. On p. 14, Dingwall notes "When he entered the basilica of the monastery and saw the crowds and notables who were gathered together, he raised his eyes to Heaven and saw the picture of the Virgin Mary painted on the ceiling surmounting the carved wooden group on the altar depicting the Immaculate Conception. Uttering a cry, Joseph rose into the air and flew eighteen paces (diciotto passi=about 15 yards) in order to embrace it, crying out : " Oh ! My Mother ! Thou hast followed me! "" From Dingwall, p. 15, we read of how Joseph flew from"the air from the middle of the church where he had been dancing on to the High Altar on which was the tabernacle which he embraced, and which was about twenty yards 1 distant from the spot from which he rose." From Dingwall p. 16, "It appears that one day Joseph went to see a sick man in whose room there was a sacred picture which attracted his attention. Under the picture was a small table on which had been placed a number of bottles containing various medicines, among which was also a phial containing some kind of balsam. At the sight of the picture Joseph immediately flew up in the air and landed on the table in the kneeling position, remained a few moments, and then flew back to the place from which he had risen without overturning or breaking anything." Dingwall, pp.16-17, "The flights and levitations of Joseph did not always occur inside buildings, but sometimes out of doors. For instance, it is recorded that one day a priest, Antonio Chiarello, who was walking with him in the kitchen-garden, remarked how beautiful was the heaven which God had made. Thereupon Joseph, as if these words were an invitation to him from above, uttered a shriek, sprang from the ground and flew into the air, only coming to rest on the top of an olive tree where he remained in a kneeling position for half an hour. It was noticed with wonder at the time that the branch on which he rested only shook slightly as if a bird had been sitting upon it. It appears that in this case Joseph came to his senses whilst still on the tree, as the Rev. Antonio had to go to fetch a ladder to get him down. This seems all the more remarkable as the fact that his weight did not bend down the branch on which he rested whilst in trance might have been ascribed to the force responsible for his levitation, which presumably would no longer be active after Joseph had recovered his senses. Why, then, did not the branch break, or did the holy man crawl to a safer one before being rescued?" "On more than one occasion the mystery of Joseph's levitations was deepened by the fact that he was reported to lift others with him on his aerial flights. For example, in the Church of Santa Chiara in Copertino a festival was once in progress in honour of the clothing of some novitiates. Joseph was present, and was on his knees in a corner of the church, when the words Veni Sfonsa Cristi (Come, Bride of Christ) were being intoned. Giving his accustomed cry, he ran towards the convent's father confessor, a priest from Secli, a village not far off, and who was attending the service and, seizing him, grasped him by the hand and (to quote Bernmo) "in a joyous rapture began to whirl round and round just as David did before the Ark of the Lord. 2 Finally both rose into the air in an ecstasy, the one borne aloft by Joseph and the other by God Himself, both being sons of St. Francis, the one being beside himself with fear but the other with sanctity. Thus it is noted in the Processes how a Custos of the Sacro Convento of Assisi, a lunatic and a priest of the Order of the Reformati were all at different times and in different places seized and carried aloft by this Angel of God, like Habbakuk by the hair,* or like the prophet Elijah in his aerial journey. Happy travellers," Joseph's biographer concludes, "to whom God conceded so rare' a gift as to travel towards Heaven without regard to their own merit but in the company of others!" Moreover, from p. 19, "One of the most interesting events of this kind was that connected with Johann Friedrich, Duke of Brunswick, who died in [679, and who was the patron and employer of the great German philosopher, G. W. Leibnitz (1646-1716), who for many years had charge of the Brunswick family library in Hanover. He visited Assisi in February 1651, and expressed a wish to see Joseph in the Sacro Convento. For this purpose the Duke, on his arrival and accompanied by two of his noble retinue, Johann Friedrich Blume and Georg Sittig, of whom Sittig was a Catholic and the other not, was conducted to a room in the Convent which was called the Pope's Room. The next morning, which happened to be Sunday, he with his two companions were secretly taken by a private staircase to the door of the chapel situated in the Noviziato Vecchio, where Joseph was accustomed to say Mass, but on this occasion had no idea that he was being observed. There they heard him give a loud cry and saw him rise in the air in a kneeling position, passing backwards five paces and then returning in front of the altar remaining in ecstasy for some time. The Duke was naturally eager to see this unexpected phenomenon a second time, and it was arranged that the next day he should again see Joseph when he was saying Mass, as it seemed possible that the Duke, hitherto a Lutheran, might be converted to the Roman Catholic faith. On Monday morning, therefore, the Duke was again present at the service ; and this time he saw Joseph raised a palm high from the altar step and remain floating for about a quarter of an hour. The Duke was so overcome by the sight that his doubts were resolved and he became a Catholic. Not so Heinrich Blume, who was of the Lutheran persuasion, although already tending towards Catholicism. He was frankly annoyed and exclaimed : " May I be cursed for coming to this country ! I arrive with a quiet mind, but here I am always in a state of agitation and anger and, further, I have difficulties with my conscience.""

Regarding the contemporary nature of these accounts, Grosso, in the aforementioned document, noted that "The evidence is historical and consists of written narratives. The core documents depose eyewitness testimony given under oath. More than one hundred and fifty cases have been collected; in light of what we know, we may infer that the people who actually observed Joseph levitate numbered in the thousands, for Joseph was a public figure for thirty-five years, and his levitations, spontaneous and unpredictable, occurred throughout that period. Original records of sightings exist in letters, diaries, biographies; they are inscribed on relics, monuments, official documents, located in the many churches and convents of Italy where Joseph lived or visited; in addition, in the Vatican Archives, we find numerous riti, compendia, and 13 volumes of processi covering all aspects of his life." He also noted elsewhere, "The records show at least 150 sworn depositions of witnesses of high credentials: cardinals, bishops, surgeons, craftsmen, princes and princesses who personally lived by his word, popes, inquisitors, and countless variety of ordinary citizens and pilgrims. There are letters, diaries and biographies written by his superiors while living with him.":

This continues throughout the text, and I encourage the reader to pursue the aforementioned research. One gets the impression from all of this that the "skeptics" deriding cases like this are complete liars, and once again are in the business of obfuscating extraordinary cases. Also, in some cases there is fraud, but still inexplicable phenomena, as with the mixed medium Eglinton, (cite full spectrum of evidence with Mirabelli), etc.

There is much that is really unclear in this, so I will attempt to narrow things down by looking atthe more reliable cases. 2 physical mediums, Indridi Indridason and Stella C., were written about positively in Harry Price's Fifty Years of Psychical Research. Aside from that, Hereward Carrington wrote "... I personally am quite convinced of the reality of materialization. In saying this, however, it must not be understood that I accept the majority of phenomena which have been adduced it its favor; far from it. With few exceptions, every materializing medium I have ever seen has turned out, upon investigation, to be an arrant fraud. Nevertheless, such phenomena exist, and I believe that, in the presence of Eusapia Palladino, I have seen materializations of an unquestionably genuine character. I have seen, touched, and felt hands and portions of a living body which have occasionally melted in my grasp. It is my belief that similar manifestations have been seen by others, in the presence of such mediums as Home, Eva C., Willi and Rudi Schneider, etc. Genuine phenomena of the sort may be rare, but they are, in my estimation, undoubted." (Laboratory Investigations into Psychic Phenomena. (Kessinger Publishing, 2007). p. 78)

Following Cupertino, the most famous claimant to levitation is the Scottish Spiritualist Medium Daniel Dunglas Home, who is the most interesting paranormal claimant from that time period. He will be profiled below. For now, I will merely note that it is extremely useful to consult the chapter The Strange Case of Daniel Dunglas Home from the anthropologist Andrew Lang's 1905 text Historical Mysteries. This text rebuts some of the major arguments against him. For me the most interesting statement from the chapter is "In no instance, as far as I am informed, did anything extraordinary occur in connection with Home which cannot be paralleled in the accounts of Egyptian mediums in Iamblichus."

In his Appendix to "A Defence of Modern Spiritualism", section IV, Alfred Russel Wallace wrote, "I here give a few extracts strikingly illustrative of our subject. In the following passage from Jamblichus on Divination, quoted in Maurice's Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy, we find mention in a short space of a number of the most startling phenomena of modern Spiritualism:--

"Often at the moment of inspiration, or when the afflatus has subsided, a fiery appearance is seen--the entering or departing power. Those who are skilled in this wisdom can tell by the character of this glory the rank of the divinity who has seized for the time the reins of the mystic's soul, and guides it as he will. Sometimes the body of the man is violently agitated, sometimes it is rigid and motionless. In some instances sweet music is heard, in others discordant and fearful sounds. The person of the subject has been known to dilate and tower to a superhuman height, in other cases it has been lifted into the air. Frequently not merely the ordinary exercise of reason, but sensation and animal life would appear to have been suspended; and the subject of the afflatus has not felt the application of fire, has been pierced with spits, cut with knives, and not been sensible to pain.""

I recall p. 81 of Andrew Lang's Cock-Lang and Common Sense, where he shows cross cultural, independent examples paralleling the phenomena of the medium William Stainton Moses, and pp. 34-36 of that text: "Thus enough is known to show that savage spiritualism wonderfully resembles, even in minute details, that of modern mediums and seances, while both have the most striking parallels in the old classical thaumaturgy.

This uniformity, to a certain extent, is not surprising, for savage, classical, and modern spiritualism all repose on the primaeval animistic hypothesis as their metaphysical foundation. The origin of this hypothesis — namely, that disembodied intelligences exist and are active — is explained by anthropologists as the result of early reasonings on life, death, sleep, dreams, trances, shadows, the phenomena of epilepsy, and the illusions of Starvation. This scientific theory is, in itself, unimpeachable ; normal phenomena, psychological and physical, might suggest most of the animistic beliefs.

At the same time 'veridical hallucinations,' if there are any, and clairvoyance, if there is such a thing, would do much to originate and confirm the animistic opinions. Meanwhile, the extraordinary similarity of savage and classical spiritualistic rites, with the corresponding similarity of alleged modern phenomena, raises problems which it is more easy to state than to solve. For example, such occurrences as 'rappings,' as the movement of untouched objects, as the lights of the seance room, are all easily feigned. But that ignorant modern knaves should feign precisely the same raps, lights, and movements as the most remote and unsophisticated barbarians, and as the educated Platonists of the fourth century after Christ, and that many of the other phenomena should be identical in each case, is certainly noteworthy. This kind of folk-lore is the most persistent, the most apt to revive, and the most uniform. We have to decide between the theories of independent invention; of transmission, borrowing, and secular tradition; and of a substratum of actual fact."

The manifestations of such phenomena in the cases of the Neoplatonic Thaumaturgists, the Catholic Mystics, and the major Spiritualist Mediums, all operating in dramatically different social contexts, is very noteworthy.)

De Gasparin (1857). A Treatise on Turning Tables (a refutation by Count Agenor de Gasparin of the arguments of Michael Faraday and William Benjamin Carpenter on table turning, with accounts of large scale psychokinetic effects [including when heavy weights were on the table], that does not invoke the Spiritistic explanation. Camille Flammarion summarizes all of the essential points of this text in ch. 6 of Mysterious Psychic Forces. Marc Thury, professor of physics at the University of Geneva at the time, corroborated his account - see ch. 7 of Flammarion's Mysterious Psychic Forces. Hereward Carrington, in The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism, p. 65n2, rejected Frank Podmore's dismissal of these experiments. Podmore, as we have seen elsewhere, is so distorted in these issues that we need not deal with him much - he implies no controls for fraud or excluding muscular action - Crookes' overview directly refutes it, as follows: "In 1854, Count Agenor de Gasparin published a book, giving full details of a large series of physical experiments which he had tried with some private friends in whom this force was found to be strongly developed. His experiments were very numerous and were carried on under the strictest test conditions. The fact of motion of heavy bodies without mechanical contact was demonstrated over and over again. Careful experiments were made to measure the force both of gravitation and of levitation thus communicated to the substances under trial, and an ingenious plan was adopted by which Count de Gasparin was enabled to obtain a rough numerical estimate of the power of the psychic force in each individual. The author finally arrived at the conclusion that all these phenomena are to be accounted for by the action of natural causes, and do not require the supposition of miracles nor the intervention of spirits or diabolical influences. He considers it as a fact, fully established by his experiments, that the will, in certain states of the organism, can act at a distance on inert matter, and most of his work is devoted to ascertaining the laws and conditions under which this action manifests itself.

In 1855, M. Thury, a Professor at the Academy of Geneva, published a work, in which he passed in review Count de Gasparin’s experiments, and entered into full details of researches he had been simultaneously carrying on. Here, also, the trials were made with private friends, and were conducted with all the care which a scientific man could bring to bear on the subject. Space will not allow me to quote the valuable numerical results obtained by M. Thury, but from the following headings of some of his chapters, it will be seen that the enquiry was not conducted superficially:—Facts which Establish the Reality of the New Phenomenon; Mechanical Action rendered Impossible; Movements effected without Contact; The Causes; Conditions requisite for the Production and Action of the Force; Conditions for the Action with Respect to the Operators; The Will; Is a Plurality of Operators Necessary? Preliminary Requisites; Mental Condition of the Operators; Meteorological Conditions; Conditions with Respect to the Instruments Operated upon; Conditions relative to the Mode of Action of the Operators on the Instruments; Action of Substances interposed; Production and Transmission of the Force; Examination of the Assigned Causes; Fraud; Unconscious Muscular Action produced in a particular Nervous State; Electricity; Nervo-magnetism; M. de Gasparin’s Theory of a Special Fluid; General Question as to the Action of Mind on Matter. 1st Proposition; In the ordinary conditions of the body the will only acts directly within the sphere of the organism. 2nd Proposition; Within the organism itself there are a series of mediate acts. 3rd Proposition: The substance on which the mind acts directly—the psychode—is only susceptible of very simple modification under the influence of the mind; Explanations which are based on the Intervention of Spirits. M. Thury refutes all these explanations, and considers the effects due to a peculiar substance, fluid, or agent, pervading, in a manner similar to the luminiferous ether of the scientist, all matter, nervous, organic, or inorganic—which he terms psychode. He enters into full discussion as to the properties of this state or form of matter, and proposes the term ectenic force (ἐκτένια, extension), for the power exerted when the mind acts at a distance through the influence of the psychode."

Flammarion's chapters are defense enough. And as Flammarion points out on p. 251, De Gasparin had specifically refuted Podmore's views on this when he conducted the experiment! See also p. 271 of Flammarion's text, and, regarding Thury, throughout the relevant chapter.

Wallace, in Miracles and Modern Spiritualism, pp.279-280, states, when commenting on a work of Carpenter: "At p. 296 Dr. Carpenter says, that the only answer spiritualists give to Faraday's experiments is, that "Faraday's performers moved the tables with their hand*, whereas we know that we do not;" and he then continues " Those who make this assertion are (of course) scientifically bound to demonstrate it, by showing that in their case the table does go round without any deflection of the index by lateral pressure, but they have uniformly refused to apply this test to their own performance, although repeatedly challenged to do so." But Dr. C. omits to tell us who are the spiritualists whose "only answer" is above given, and who are they who have been " repeatedly challenged " and have " uniformly refused" to accept the challenge. On inquiry, it may be found that it is the men of science who have " uniformly refused " to witness the proof of what they say spiritualists are scientifically bound to demonstrate.

In the spring of 1867, when I had obtained the proofs of force in lifting (not turning) a table (as detailed at p. 141), I invited Dr. Carpenter to attend some sittings with every probability of being able to show the phenomena. He came once. The sitting was not very successful, raps and taps of varying character being alone produced. Although strongly pressed to do so, he never came again. With Professor Tyndall exactly the same thing occurred. He came once, and declined to come again ; although informed of phenomena which had repeatedly occurred in my own house, which he could not explain, and which I had every reason to believe would occur in his presence if he would only give three or four short sittings to these investigations. More recently Dr. Sharpey and Professor Stokes, Secretaries of the Royal Society, refused the invitation of one of their own Fellows, Mr. Crookes, to witness experiments which formed the subject of a paper offered to the Society. Where we are vaguely and generally accused of "uniformly refusing" to produce certain proofs, it is only right that the public should know how our scientific opponents receive our offers to exhibit even more conclusive proofs. We must also remember that Dr. Carpenter is acquainted with the evidence of the Dialectical Committee, of Serjeant Cox, of Mr. Crookes, of Mr. Varley, and of myself, as to the movement of heavy objects entirely without contact of the medium or any other person ; yet in 1874 he can adduce nothing but the utterly exploded and almost forgotten "table-turning" of the time of Faraday as worthy of notice!"

Regarding the paranormal nature of this, we find one of the few instances in which the conjurer Maskelyne and Wallace were in agreement

Moreover, in 1869, the Dialectical Society, a rationalist debating club, carried out forty table turning sessions, of which thirty-four were productive. In one session, the table moved four times in one minute up to a distance of one foot, when the members’ feet were out of range and their hands were extended four inches above the surface.

In Mysterious Psychic Forces, p. 369, Camille Flammarion provides a photograph of a levitated table.

Further rebuttal to Faraday occurs in the experiments of Ken Batcheldor and Colin Brookes-Smith, further replicated by Iris M. Owen and Margaret H. Sparrow)

Carrington (1907/1920). The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism: The Fraudulent and the Genuine: Part II: The Genuine: Raps, Telekinesis

Hare (1855). Experimental investigation of the spirit manifestations (Podmore dismisses this in Modern Spiritualism, alleging that no precautions were taken, and Ray Hyman in his 1986 IEEE paper doesn't even attempt to refute it, but just notes that his conversion to Spiritualism, when he was a former skeptic, on account of his experiments was ridiculed by his colleagues.

The New York Times, November 21, 1855 noted that precautions were taken. As follows:

"Dr. HARE of Philadelphia, of World-Wide reknown, some years since embraced the theories of Spiritualism. The following correspondence explains itself. Through it the public will be gratified to know that the Doctor will lecture on this subject next Friday evening in the Tabernacle. CORRESPONDENCE.

Prof. Robert Hare, M.D. - Sir: Having a high appreciation of your abilities and life-long labors as a man of science; and learning that you have recently been employing your vast resources of ingenuity and experience in the investigation of the current phenomena known by some as "Spiritual Manifestations"; and having, moreover, been informed that you have, in this investigation, employed mechanical apparatus and other contrivances as, in your judgement, were calculated to preclude all possible deception, and exhibit the precise nature of the agent involved in the production of the phenomena aforesaid--the undersigned, citizens of New York, would respectfully invite you to explain your experiments, with their results, in a public lecture in this City, to be delivered at your earliest convenience. Signed by[a plethora of names]."

Crookes noted in his Researches in the Phenomena of Spiritualism:

"There is likewise another case on record in which similar test experiments were tried, with like results, by a thoroughly competent observer. The late Dr. Robert Hare, in one of his works,† gives an engraving of an apparatus very similar to my own, by which the young man with whom he was experimenting was prevented from having any other communication with the apparatus except through water; yet, under these circumstances, the spring balance indicated the exertion of a force equal to 18 lbs. The details of this experiment were communicated by Dr. Hare, to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, at the meeting in August, 1855."

Zollner noted, in Transcendental Physics, pp. 151-153:

"I cannot omit to impart the following fact observed by the celebrated American scientist and chemist, Professor Hare[FOOTNOTE: Robert Hare, Doctor of Medicine, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia; born 1781, died 15th May 1858. In Poggendorffs Literary Biographical Dictionary, from which I have taken the above particulars, will be found a catalogue, filling a whole column, of Hare's numerous chemical and physical treatises. In text-books of Physics his name survives in the so-called "Hare's Spiral," a galvanic element, in which a copper and zinc plate, properly separated by bad conductors, are rolled over one another for the production of the greatest possible surface. With this arrangement, previously to the construction of constant batteries, very strong effects of light and heat could be produced. The treatise of Hare's referred to is published in Tilloch's Philosophical Magazine, of the year 1837, under the title "New Voltaic Battery."

In his later years Professor Hare undertook, as a true man of science, the most thorough experimental investigation of the phenomena of Spiritualism, for which, in his country, convenient opportunities offered. He even evinced his acuteness in this field in the construction of suitable apparatus and instruments. One of these he named the "Spiritoscope." It consisted of an apparatus connected with a cipher-plate and index, similar to that which was applied to the first electric telegraphs. A detailed description, with picture, of this ingenious apparatus, in which the motions of the index are completely concealed from the medium, will be found in the pamphlet, Experimental Investigations of Spirit-Manifestations, by Dr. Robert Hare, Professor of Chemistry, &c., &c." German edition by Alex. Aksakow, Leipzig, 1874, Mutze.]

It is that described by State Councillor Aksakow in Psychische Studien (edited by him) in the July number of this year (1879), under the title "Some Experiments of Professor Hare Confirmatory of Zollner's Experiments." I confine myself here to the first experiment, described in a letter published on the 1st May 1858 by an eye-witness, Dr. S. A. Peters, who had visited Professor Hare in his laboratory, in order himself to witness some of the remarkable phenomena which Hare had publicly reported. The letter is addressed to the editor of The Spiritual Telegraph, and is as follows:—

"PHILADELPHIA, April 18, 1858.

"Mr. Editor, — Finding myself in this city on a visit from the State of Missouri, I availed myself of the opportunity to visit Professor Hare, in order to see what new developments or discoveries he has made in Spiritualism. I have no doubt that a history of the most astonishing spiritual manifestations which are now taking place in the Professor's laboratory will shortly be given to the public.

"I will now confirm what I saw myself. Dr. Hare, the medium (a young man named Ruggles, of from eighteen to nineteen years, to whom I was quite a stranger when I entered the laboratory), and myself, were the only persons present. The medium sat down in front of the spiritoscope, which stood on the table in the middle of the room. Dr. Hare and I sat opposite and close to the table. After some minutes it was said to us through the spiritoscope, 'Let Dr. S. A. Peters put two glass tubes and two pieces of Russian metal in the box.' Dr. Hare thereupon left his seat, and fetched me two glass tubes of about six inches length, and half an inch diameter, hermetically sealed at the ends, and also two pieces of Russian platinum, each of the shape of a common musket-ball. I first examined the box in which I was to deposit these objects. It stood on the table before me. It resembled a writing-desk; was about two feet long and half a foot broad, four to eight inches deep, and had a lid which let down slantwise, with hinges and a lock. In this box I placed the two glass tubes and the balls of platinum — there was nothing else in it, — and locked it. Dr. Hare and I then took our seats as before, and the medium, Mr. Ruggles, continued at the spiritoscope. After the lapse of fifty-five minutes there was said through the spiritoscope, 'We have a present for Dr. S. A. Peters ; let him go to the box and fetch it.' Hereupon I went to the box, which was only a single foot from me, opened it, and found — the two pieces of Russian platinum inside the two hermetically sealed glass tubes.

"I will make no observations on the above. What I have seen I hold it to be my duty to make known to the world. I have no other interest in making the above statement than the desire to serve my fellow-men. S. A. Peters.")

London Dialectical Society (1872). Report on Spiritualism, of the Committee of the London Dialectical Society, Together with the Evidence, Oral and Written, and a Selection from the Correspondence.

Home (1864). Incidents in my Life, (1872) Second series (Alan Gauld provided a reliable introduction to Daniel Dunglas Home, "Home, Daniel Dunglas (1833–1886), medium, was born at Currie, near Edinburgh, on 20 March 1833, the third son of William Home (c.1810–1882), a labourer, and his wife, Elizabeth, née McNeil (c.1810–1850), and was raised as a Presbyterian. He seems to have added his middle name later because of his belief that his father was the illegitimate son of the tenth earl of Home. Hostile biographers have alleged that he invented this story; but there is documentary evidence that the earl paid for William Home's apprenticeship and upkeep. Daniel Home was adopted in infancy by his mother's sister, Mrs Mary Cook, and with this lady and her husband emigrated about 1842 to the United States, settling in Greeneville, now part of Norwich, Connecticut. Here he attended school, receiving a sound basic education. His own family shortly settled in nearby Waterford, Connecticut.

Home was a studious, dreamy, and sensitive boy, often ill. A vision in 1850 of the unexpected death of his mother awoke in him religious interests that led to friction with his aunt. That lady, a strict Presbyterian, was further shocked early the following year when poltergeist phenomena, in the form of inexplicable raps and object movements, broke out around him. This was the period of the Fox sisters and the rapid spread of ‘spirit-rapping’ in the eastern United States. Daniel's rappings soon began to take the form of ostensible communications from the dead, and the terrified Mrs Cook threw out her nephew, still not quite eighteen, to fend for himself. The strange phenomena went with him.

In this way Home was precipitated into a mode of life that he pursued for many years. He did not become a professional medium, but almost a professional guest, moving from one hospitable family to another, mostly of spiritualists. At first they were solid middle-class folk, but after his return to Europe he moved increasingly among the cosmopolitan upper classes. Usually there was a tacit understanding that he would, if ‘in power’, hold séances for his hosts and their friends. He would never sit for money, though he did receive indirect benefits over and above hospitality—for instance travelling expenses and gifts, especially of jewellery (which he retained rather than sold).

During Home's residence in the United States most of his characteristic phenomena were already in evidence. The company generally sat with their hands on a table, often a large and heavy one. Raps would come from it, spelling out messages from the ‘spirits’, who sometimes produced information which the medium could hardly have known. Commonly the table would move about, rock, and rise clear of the floor, sometimes to a considerable height. Or it might tilt steeply while objects on it remained as if glued in position. Surrounding items of furniture might be moved, or small objects carried through the air. These phenomena would often occur in good light, and sitters were at liberty to search beneath levitated tables. Dimmer, though usually passable, light was required for the playing of musical instruments by unseen hands, and for the visible or tangible manifestation of the hands themselves. Near, though not total, darkness was needed for the relatively frequent phenomenon of ‘spirit lights’ and the much rarer one of levitation of the medium's body. Later developments included the unscathed handling of red-hot coals, the supposed elongation of his body, once by as much as 11 inches, and the materialization of dim or misty phantom figures. During all these happenings (which were by no means confined to séance situations) Home might be awake, or sleepy, or ostensibly in a trance state. When in trance he might clairvoyantly ‘see’ spirits and deliver messages from them (some of which profoundly impressed the recipients) or be ‘taken over’ and speak as if controlled by them.

Meanwhile friends at Newburgh, New York, had been urging him to resume his education. Early in 1853 he went as a boarder to the Newburgh Theological Institute, and began the private study of French and German. That autumn he commenced medical studies in New York, but after a few months his health broke down. A second attempt the following autumn had the same result. In January 1855 pulmonary consumption was diagnosed and a voyage to Europe recommended. On 31 March he sailed for England, probably subsidized and furnished with introductions by prosperous American spiritualists.

In the spring and summer Home stayed for extended periods with two spiritualist sympathizers, Mr William Cox of Cox's Hotel, Jermyn Street, London, and Mr J. S. Rymer, a solicitor of Ealing. Invitations to his sittings were eagerly sought. Among notables who attended and were impressed were Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, Robert Owen, Lord Brougham, Sir David Brewster (who later denied that he had seen anything remarkable), J. J. Garth Wilkinson (a well-known Swedenborgian), T. Adolphus Trollope and his mother, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. However Elizabeth's husband, Robert, conceived a violent loathing of Home and later lampooned him viciously in ‘Mr Sludge the Medium’ (1864).

In autumn 1855 Home travelled to Florence at the invitation of the Trollopes. There ‘the manifestations were very strong’, and hostesses were eager to secure him. But he became the subject of obscurely unfavourable gossip, and on 10 February 1856 the spirits informed him that his power would depart for a year. Shortly afterwards he visited Naples and Rome with friends, and while at Rome was received into the Catholic church. In June 1856 he went to Paris and remained there through the winter, despite serious lung ailments. On 10 February 1857 his powers duly returned. The emperor, Louis Napoleon, immediately summoned him, and for much of the next year he was frequently at court, where his virtuoso displays caused amazement and his supposed influence over the emperor and empress dark rumours. Towards the end of March he returned briefly to America to fetch his sister, Christine, whose education the empress had offered to arrange; in August and September he visited Baden Baden, and there gave three sittings to Friedrich Wilhelm, the crown prince of Prussia (later emperor of Germany). In February 1858 he was taken to Holland for sittings with a rationalist group, De Dageraad, and also gave sittings to the queen of Holland. On his return to Paris he received medical advice to seek a warmer climate, and in March went to Rome. There he met, and after a swift courtship became engaged to, Alexandrina (Sacha) de Kroll, a diminutive, vivacious, and charming Russian girl of seventeen, the daughter of Count de Kroll, and a goddaughter of the tsar. They were married at St Petersburg on 1 August 1858.

For almost a year they remained in Russia, where Home gave sittings to many in high society, including the tsar. On 8 May 1859 the Homes had a son, Gregoire (Gricha). In the autumn they made their way to England, staying there for the best part of the next two years. Home was now famous, and much in demand by fashionable hostesses. Persons of greater intellectual consequence also showed some interest, especially following publication of Robert Bell's article ‘Stranger than fiction’ in the Cornhill Magazine for August 1860. Sacha Home, by now a total convert to spiritualism, frequently attended her husband's sittings, but she was consumptive, and her health was failing. Visits to health resorts in England and abroad did not halt the disease, and she died in France on 3 July 1862.

On returning to London, Home found himself in financial difficulties. Sacha's modest estate had been seized by relatives. To raise funds he produced, with the help of two recent converts, W. M. Wilkinson, a solicitor, and Robert Chambers, his autobiographical Incidents in my Life (1863). He also embarked on a disastrous attempt to train as a sculptor in Rome. He arrived there in November 1863, but early in January was summarily expelled as a practitioner of the black arts. In England again, he decided to earn his living by giving public readings, and in the summer of 1864 successfully toured America. On his return in May 1865 he set out for Russia, where his phenomena were very powerful and he became the guest of the tsar and of Count Aleksey Tolstoy. Back in England later in the year his health deteriorated, and he spent several periods at the Malvern hydropathic establishment of another convert, Dr James Manby Gully. In the summer of 1866 Gully joined Mr and Mrs S. C. Hall and other well-wishers in establishing a spiritualist centre, the Spiritual Athenaeum, at 22 Sloane Street, London, of which Home became resident secretary without any obligation to hold sittings.

This comfortable arrangement was upset after a few months by the intrusion into Home's life of a dominating and emotionally disturbed elderly widow, Mrs Jane Lyon, who pressed upon him £60,000 by deeds of gift on condition that he added her surname to his own. Home foolishly agreed. In the summer of 1867 Mrs Lyon changed her mind, accused Home of swindling her, and instituted a chancery suit. At the hearing in April 1868 she was detected in numerous lies and contradictions, but the vice-chancellor, although refusing to award her costs, found against Home on the curious but legally correct grounds that the onus was on the defendant to prove that he had not exercised undue influence.

Home was befriended during this difficult period by Lord Adare (later fourth earl of Dunraven) and the master of Lindsay. He spent much time in the company of Adare, whose accounts (and his father's) of seventy-eight sittings from November 1867 to July 1869 (Experiences in Spiritualism with D. D. Home) constitute the most extensive, and the most controversial, record of the phenomena Home produced both within and between séances.

The Lyon lawsuit left Home heavily in debt, and in 1869 and 1870 he toured England and Scotland giving highly successful public readings. On the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in July 1870 he travelled to France as war correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle. In February 1871 he accepted an invitation to recuperate in Russia. There he was investigated by a number of savants, including A. Butlerov, professor of chemistry at St Petersburg. He also met Butlerov's sister-in-law, Miss Julie De Gloumeline, a keen spiritualist, and almost immediately became engaged to her.

Before the marriage, however, Home returned to England to fulfil a promise to William Crookes, the eminent chemist. Between April and July 1871 Crookes conducted the only attempts ever made to record Home's phenomena on self-registering instruments. In the most remarkable of these experiments Home, watched and held in sufficient light, was several times able to depress, without contact, a pivoted board and a parchment drum.

Home (now received into the Greek Orthodox church) and Miss De Gloumeline were married in Paris on 16 October 1871. She was a person of considerable worldly competence and took total charge of their affairs. She came from a well-to-do and well-connected family, and Home had by this time obtained the residuum of his first wife's estate. They travelled a good deal around Europe, visiting friends and health resorts. Their only child, a daughter Marie, born in April 1872, died a few months later. Though Home's health problems, pulmonary and arthritic, grew steadily worse, he still gave occasional sittings. He kept up a large correspondence, and published two more books, a second series of Incidents in my Life (1872) and Lights and Shadows of Spiritualism (1877), which shocked spiritualists by its attacks on mediumistic fraud. He died at Auteuil in France on 21 June 1886, survived by his second wife, and was buried at St Germain-en-Laye.

Home was about 5 feet 10 inches in height, slim, blue-eyed and red-haired, often tired or ill, but always fastidious in dress. There are many photographs of him. He had no immediately obvious faults of character, unless one counts a somewhat marked vanity, an occasional prickliness, a delight in wearing jewellery, and a willingness to be cossetted by the ladies; he was often accused of effeminacy. He was a pleasant guest, musically talented, a fair linguist, kind, humorous, sociable, and happy to participate in parlour games and amateur dramatics. Scandalous rumours about him sometimes circulated, but are difficult to trace to any satisfactory source.

Of the strange happenings that surrounded Home many contemporary reports remain which, though varying in value, raise considerable problems. If the phenomena were as described, the framework of conventional science cannot accommodate them. But explaining them away presents its own difficulties. That (as sometimes suggested) Home hypnotized his sitters could be maintained only by someone who knew nothing of hypnosis. That he was a clever conjuror there is little evidence. The few allegations that he was detected in fraud were second- or third-hand, or were related long after the event, or both, and are of unclear significance. The conjuring hypothesis is almost pure speculation and generally involves passing over many of Home's performances, and supposing that others were radically different from the reports of them. He remains a puzzle.


G. Zorab, D. D. Home il medium (1976) · E. Jenkins, The shadow and the light: a defence of Daniel Dunglas Home the medium (1982) · J. Burton, Heyday of a wizard: Daniel Home the medium (1948) · J. Home, D. D. Home, his life and mission (1888) · J. Home, The gift of D. D. Home (1890) · D. D. Home, Incidents in my life, 2 vols. (1863–72) · F. W. H. Myers and W. F. Barrett, ‘D. D. Home, his life and mission’, Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 4 (1889–90), 101–36 · E. J. Dingwall, Some human oddities: studies in the queer, the uncanny and the fanatical (1947), 91–128, 187–93 · F. Podmore, Modern spiritualism: a history and a criticism (1902), 2, 223–43 · Crookes and the spirit world, ed. M. R. Barrington and others (1972) · Viscount Adare [W. T. Wyndham-Quin], Experiences in spiritualism with D. D. Home (1870) · F. W. H. Myers, ‘The character of Mr D. D. Home’, Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 6 (1893–4), 176–9 · Report on spiritualism of the committee of the London Dialectical Society (1871), 187–94, 206–16, 213–17, 359–71 · W. Crookes, Researches in the phenomena of spiritualism (1874) · W. Crookes, ‘Notes of séances with D. D. Home’, Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 6 (1889–90), 98–127 · J. S. Rymer, Spirit manifestations (1857) · P. P. Alexander, Spiritualism: a narrative with a discussion (1871) · F. Podmore, The newer spiritualism (1910), 31–86 · A. Lang, Historical mysteries (1904), 170–92 · J. Oppenheim, The other world: spiritualism and psychical research in England, 1850–1914 (1985), 10–16, 34–5 · G. Stein, The sorcerer of kings (1993) · T. H. Hall, The enigma of Daniel Home: medium or fraud? (1984)

Archives CUL, Society for Psychical Research archives, corresp. · NA Scot., earl of Home MSS

Likenesses J. Durham?, bronze bust, c.1860, Society for Psychical Research, London · H. W. Pickersgill, oils, 1866, College of Psychic Studies, London · Maull & Co., photograph, London Library [see illus.] · photographs, CUL, SPR Archives · photographs, Mary Evans Picture Library, London · prints, NPG

Wealth at death £40: probate, 30 Aug 1886, CGPLA Eng. & Wales" - Alan Gauld, ‘Home, Daniel Dunglas (1833–1886)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 17 Oct 2014

As to accusations of fraud, it is instructive to consult Zorab's 1971 paper Were D. D. Home’s ‘spirit hands” ever fraudulently produced? (pt. 1, pt. 2). Zorab's paper is worth reading in full, but part of his hypothesis as regards the Merrifield sitting involves ectoplasmic pseudopods, a psychical research concept that was perhaps demonstrated most reliably in the sittings with Stella Cranshawe, described below.

There is also a highly critical review in 1898 from Richard Hodgson, a fellow skeptic of physical phenomena, of Mr. Henry Ridgely Evans's "Hours with the Ghosts.", noting inaccuracies and shortcomings. As regards DD Home, pp. 149-150 of the review notes: "Although Mr. Evans devotes more than forty pages of his book to D. D. Home, there is clear indication that he has not made any careful examination of the mass of testimony to Home's phenomena, and in fact it is difficult to understand that, if he had ever even read the bulk of this tehtimony, he could have offered the "cheap and ready-made" accounts of the music-box tricks and fire-tricks as providing in themselves an adequate explanation of certain notable incidents described by Home's witnesses. I refer to two other instances of the want of care shown by Mr. Evans. He quotes a statement from "Celia Logan, the journalist," concerning "one of Home's seances at a nobleman's house in London," in which occurs the charge that the host saw Home place a bottle on the mantelpiece just before leaving the room for the staircase where luminous hands wero seen. The host, it is alleged, seized the bottle and found later that it contained "phosphorated olive oil or some similar preparation," and "after the discovery of the phosphorus trick he dropped Homo at once." Who is Celia Logan? Where and when did this account originally appear, and who was the host? We protest against any such vague and uncorroborated charge. At least two such charges against Home have come under my own direct notice; in each case the person making the charge was compelled to acknowledge that the charge was completely unfounded, and, oddly enough, one of the charges was based upon a quotation from Home himself, who was describing the tricks of another medium. This question as to the proof of fraud on the part of Home was considered fully in the article in the Journal S.P.R. for July, 1889, by Professor Barrett and Mr. F. W. H. Myers, and at that time no proof of fraud was forthcoming. Later, in 1897, Mr. Podmore writes (Studies in Psyehical Research, p. 111): "I am not aware that clear proof of imposture was ever brought forward against him." Again, Mr. Evans quotes the statement made by Dr. Carpenter in the Contemporary Review for January, 1876, concerning Home's alleged levitation, that "a single honest sceptic declares that Mr. Home was sitting in his chair all the time." This was proved to be a gross misstatement, and was so proved by Captain C. Wynne, the supposed "sceptic" himself, who actually corroborated the account of the levitation. (See D. D. Home: His Life and Mission, by Madame Dunglas Home, p. 307; also Journal S.P.R., July, 1889, p. 108.) In dealing with Home, Mr. Evans seems to have followed blindly the lead of Dr. W. A. Hammond's inadequate treatment in his book Spiritualism and Nervous Derangement, published in 1876. Whether Home's phenomena can be explained away or not—and there is a large mass of testimony to be taken into consideration—they most assuredly have not been satisfactorily accounted for as yet by any ordinary explanations which I have seen offered, and we cannot but condemn such ignorant and superficial treatment as that accorded to them by Mr. Evans. I should, however, regret if I did Mr. Evans an injustice. Possibly he may have intended merely to present a loose and popular view of Home by quoting various opinions for and against him; but this would be hardly consistent with his professed intention in his preface "to give an accurate account of the lives and adventures of celebrated mediums and occultists.""

Madame Home offers a critique of Hammond on p. 305 of "DD home: His Life and Mission", and on p. 124, provided evidence that Celia Logan was unreliable.

William Crookes noted in Researches in the Phenomena of Spiritualism, in the section Notes of an Enquiry into the Phenomena Called Spiritual, contra Celia Logan, that

"Class VIII. Luminous Appearances.

These, being rather faint, generally require the room to be darkened. I need scarcely remind my readers again that, under these circumstances, I have taken proper precautions to avoid being imposed upon by phosphorised oil, or other means. Moreover, many of these lights are such as I have tried to imitate artificially, but cannot. Under the strictest test conditions, I have seen a solid self-luminous body, the size and nearly the shape of a turkey’s egg, float noiselessly about the room, at one time higher than any one present could reach standing on tiptoe, and then gently descend to the floor. It was visible for more than ten minutes, and before it faded away it struck the table three times with a sound like that of a hard, solid body. During this time the medium was lying back, apparently insensible in an easy chair. I have seen luminous points of light darting about and settling on the heads of different persons; I have had questions answered by the flashing of a bright light a desired number of times in front of my face. I have seen sparks of light rising from the table to the ceiling, and again falling upon the table, striking it with an audible sound. I have had an alphabetic communication given by luminous flashes occurring before me in the air, whilst my hand was moving about amongst them. I have seen a luminous cloud floating upwards to a picture. Under the strictest test conditions, I have more than once had a solid, self-luminous, crystalline body placed in my hand by a hand which did not belong to any person in the room. In the light I have seen a luminous cloud hover over a heliotrope on a side table, break a sprig off, and carry the sprig to a lady; and on some occasions I have seen a similar luminous cloud visibly condense to the form of a hand and carry small objects about. These, however, more properly belong to the next class of phenomena."

As to the Morio/Barthez attack on Home, I will in the future excerpt Zorab's refutation of it, which is in an Italian biography:

As regards the false allegation that Home refused to have the magician Robert Houdin attend a sitting, see p. 221 of Mme. Home's "The Gift of D.D. Home", see also p. 13 of the text regarding the vindication of Home by the magician Bosco. Regarding p. 221, Barkas noted "Mons. Canti, the celebrated French conjuror who witnessed the phenomena produced through Mr. Home, told Prince Napoleon “that he could in no way account for the phenomena he saw on the principles of his profession.” He also published a letter expressing the same opinion." (Thomas Pallister Barkas. "Outlines of Ten Years Investigations into the Phenomena of Modern Spiritualism, embracing letters, lectures,&c". Frederick Pitman, 1862. p. 54:

Leslie Shephard, in the Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology, Vol. II (Gale Research Company, 1991), p. 1010, quoted Carl du Prel's "Experimentalpsychologie und Experimentalmetaphysik" (Leipzig, 1891) to the effect that Houdin stated "I have come away from that seance as astounded as I could be, and persuaded that it is perfectly impossible by chance or adroitness to produce such marvellous effects."

So it is possible that Houdin later vindicated Home after that disputed item, covered on p. 221 of Mme Home's book cited above.

Of biographical relevance is Myers' and Barrett's 1889 article Review of "DD Home: His Life and Mission", with appendices offering additional evidence, which reviews and corroborates the book DD Home: His Life and Mission. See also Myers' 1890 article Review of "The Gift of DD Home", which reviews and corroborates the book The Gift of DD Home.

Alan Gauld, in The Founders of Psychical Research wrote that Horace Wyndham's biography of Home is unreliable - this view receives some support in a source one would not expect, a review of the text by Perovsky-Petrovo-Solovovo, an opponent of Home's and physical mediumship in general, which lists errors. Conversely there is Elizabeth Jenkens' text The Shadow and the Light- Stephen Braude argued that Zorab's biographer was far superior insofar as it presented an analysis of ostensible psychic phenomena (cite source), the parapsychologist Roger I. Anderson argued that Jenkens' account was hagiographical and credulous (see from p. 91), though Eric Dingwall, in a review of the text, praised it as a source of biographical information. As to negative biographies, it is useful to see Braude's 1985 Review of "The enigma of Daniel Home" by Trevor Hall, Barrington (1994). Review of "The Sorcerer of Kings: The Case of Daniel Dunglas Home and William Crookes" by Gordon Stein, and most importantly Beloff's 1994 Review of "The Sorcerer of Kings: The Case of Daniel Dunglas Home and William Crookes" by Gordon Stein, which is perhaps the most interesting introductory item, and raises important points about Eric Dingwall, who Stein dedicated the critical attack to. An interesting review of a contemporary biography is from Zofia Weaver in 2008 - Daniel Dunglas Home Revisited- Evidence Old and New.

Hereward Carrington (1907/1920) book The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism: The Fraudulent and the Genuine: Part II: The Genuine: The Mediumship of D.D. Home, is an important source countering the idea that the magic tricks related to fraudulent performances, e.g. - with accordion playing, fire handling, etc, accounted for the phenomena with Daniel Dunglas Home.

As regards Home's elongations, see Holms (1927), pp. 318-320. The scope of this phenomenon has been underestimated, and probably tendentiously misrepresented, by the critic Gordon Stein. Stein (The Sorcerer of Kings, p. 78) claims that Home was performing a magic trick body stretching method called the Willard method. This ignores the full testimony of people like H.D. Jencken, cited by Holms, which notes the elongation and shortening of nearly every body part including hands by Home, and also, the testimony of others concerning the force with which they were pushed away. Also, Thurston noted, in The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism (1952, Burns Oates), p. 196: "Adare remarks concerning Home's elongation on April 3, 1869, in the presence of six observers:

"While his arms appeared to be increasing in length, his chest became greatly expanded, and he said to me: "You see how it is; the extension is from the chest." He then placed himself against the wall and extended his arms to their full natural length; I made a pencil mark at the tips of his fingers. His left arm was then elongated. I held the pencil against the wall, suffering it to be pushed along by his fingers until he told me to make another mark. His right arm was then elongated, and I marked the movement in the same manner. The total elongation, as ascertained by this means, amounted to 9 1/2 inches. [FOOTNOTE: Dunraven, Experiences with D.D. Home, p. 239.]

As regards the fire-tests, the scope of which has been under-estimated by skeptics as it included bathing his face in fire and the transference of incombustibility to others - and all without creating any smell of burning whatsoever - see Holms (1927), pp. 321-325. The scope of the fire tests that I outlined serves to rebut critics like Ruth Brandon who makes her case in an appendix to her book The Spiritualists and Gordon Stein, who minimize the extent of it, and suggest that he employed fire handling magic tricks. Particularly Brandon likes to assume that William Crookes was a fool, and was clueless as to such tricks.

For Home's fire tests, Wallace in "Miracles and Modern Spiritualism", pp. 166-167, noted that they extended to the transference of incombustibility, and that others who held the coals when incombustibility was transferred were also sheilded from the temperature, though other objects would burn from the coals and other body parts would feel the heat:

Lord Lindsay noted how the transference could be turned on and off, verifying that this was a real phenomenon "I have frequently seen Home, when in a trance, go to the fire and take out large red-hot coals, and carry them about in his hands, put them inside his shirt, etc. Eight times I myself have held a red-hot coal in my hands without injury, when it scorched my face on raising my hand. Once I wished to see if they really would burn, and I said so, and touched a coal [held by Home] with the middle finger of my right hand, and I got a blister as large as a sixpence; I instantly asked him to give me the coal, and I held the part that burnt me in the middle of my hand for three or four minutes, without the least inconvenience. A few weeks ago, I was at a seance with eight others. Of these, seven held a red-hot coal without pain, and the two others could not bear the approach of it; of the seven, four were ladies." - Dialectical Society report, p. 208.

Carrington refuted the speculations of the magician Henry Evans as regards ALL of Home's fire tests by noting not only Crookes' presumed precautions, but also the lack of burning smell in the tests, in "The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism". This can be further verified by searching "The Gift of DD Home" for the word "fire". See, for more evidence of the authenticity of the tests, the following from appendix M of the SPR review:

Regarding the fire tests with Home, McCabe cites in Is Spiritualism Based on Fraud? (p. 78) the famous one as recorded by Mrs. S.C. Hall. He suggests that there is nothing in the narrative countering the possibility of a non-conducting substance being applied to the hair of Hall's husband. It is instructive to compare the primary source with McCabe's animadversions. The original source states: " Dear Lord Dunraven,—You have requested me to recall the circumstances of a séance that took place here several weeks ago. I have much pleasure in doing so, but I never take notes. I am, however, certain of the facts ; though I shall not be able to place them in the order in which they occurred. " We were nine (a greater number than Mr. Home likes) ; we were seated round the table as usual, in the small drawing room, which communicates with a much larger room ; the folding doors were pushed back into the wall, and the portiers unclosed. I think there was one lamp burning over the table, but a very large fire was blazing away in the large room—I know there was a great deal of light. The Master of Lindsay, the Rev. Mr. Y------, and his wife, Mr. Hall and myself, Mr. Home, and the Misses Bertolacci were present. We sat for some little time before the tremulous motion that so frequently indicates stronger manifestations commenced, but it was quickly followed by raps, not only on the table, but in different parts of the room ; the table was moved up and down,—lifted perfectly off the ground—made ' light ' and ' heavy ' at the request of one or two of the gentlemen present ; and after the lapse of, I suppose, nearly an hour, Mr. Home went into a trance. Presently he pushed his chair, or his chair was pushed away—quite away from the table. He got up ; walked about the room in his usual manner ; went to the fire-place ; half knelt on the fender stool ; took up the poker and poked the fire, which was like a red-hot furnace, so as to increase the heat ; held his hands over the fire for some time, and finally drew out of the fire, with his hand, a huge lump of live burning coal, so large that he held it in both hands, as he came from the fire-place in the large room into the small room ; where, seated round the table, we were all watching his movements. Mr. Hall was seated nearly opposite to where I sat ; and I saw Mr. Home, after standing for about half a minute at the back of Mr. Hall's chair, deliberately place the lump of burning coal on his head ! I have often since wondered that I was not frightened ; but I was not ; I had perfect faith that he would not be injured. Some one said— 'Is it not hot?' Mr. Hall answered—'Warm, but not hot ! ' Mr. Home had moved a little away, but returned, still in a trance ; he smiled and seemed quite pleased ; and then proceeded to draw up Mr. Hall's white hair over the red coal. The white hair had the appearance of silver threads, over the red coal. Mr. Home drew the hair into a sort of pyramid, the coal still red, showing beneath the hair ; then, after, I think, four or five minutes, Mr. Home pushed the hair back, and, taking the coal off Mr. Hall's head, he said (in the peculiar low voice in which, when in a trance, he always speaks), addressing Mrs. Y------, ' Will you have it ? ' She drew back ; and I heard him murmur, ' Little faith—little faith.' Two or three attempted to touch it, but it burnt their fingers. I said, ' Daniel, bring it to me ; I do not fear to take it.' It was not red all over, as when Mr Home put it on Mr. Hall's head, but it was still red in parts. Mr. Home came and knelt by my side ; I put out my right hand, but he murmured, ' No, not that ; the other hand.' He then placed it in my left hand, where it remained more than a minute. I felt it, as my husband had said, ' warm ' ; yet when I stooped down to examine the coal, my face felt the heat so much that I was obliged to withdraw it. After that Mrs. Y------ took it, and said she felt no inconvenience. When Mr. Hall brushed his hair at night he found a quantity of cinder dust. Mr. Home was elongated, and all the manifestations that evening were very remarkable ; but I believe your Lordship requested me to relate only what I remember of the coal test. " Dear Lord Dunraven, sincerely yours, "ANNA MARIA HALL." (Mrs. S. C. Hall.) The following is an additional case of the fire test witnessed at a séance held at Lady Louisa ------'s, at Brighton, furnished me by the Countess M. de Pomar. Lady Gomm has permitted me to make use of her name in corroboration of the statement about the red-hot coal being placed in her hand. " Mr. Home went into a trance ; he walked about the room ; played the piano ; stood behind Mr. Douglas's chair, who also went into a sleep or trance ; and Mr. Home appeared to be speaking with some one about him, and to magnetize him ; he said it was for his good, and would remove his headache finally. Mr. Home went to the fire and took out a large red-hot mass of coal, which he held in his extended hands, and blew up to keep it alight. He walked up and down the room with it, then went to Lady Louisa and wanted to put it in her hands, but she drew back. He then said, * No, you must not have it, for if you have no faith, it will burn you.'"

Podmore dismissed the tests as Home using some "non-conducting" substance, though in light of the temperature shielding and lack of burning smell alone that is clearly inadequate as an explanation. Andrew Lang on pp. 333-339 of The Making of Religion, noted inadequacies in Podmore's arguments, as did Carrington in "The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism", pp. 399-409. Thurston in "The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism" (as cited above), p. 183 noted additionally, as regards Podmore's general dismissal, "It is hard to believe that Lord Lindsay was hallucinated, or lying, and hardly less difficult to suppose that on each of these eight occasions Home was successful in slipping in, as Podmore suggests, a thin clinker or a pad of ashes between the burning coal and the hand. Also, if he put an innocuous substitute in his own shirt, what became of the real red-hot coal in the meantime? Red-hot coals have a way of betraying their presence to more senses then that of sight if they are left lying on carpets or thrown into water. But what I would more especially insist upon is the audacity of all this playing about with fire. There seems to have been very little of the dare-devil, either physically or morally, in the normal Home when not entranced. Think of the social ruin to which he would have exposed himself if anything had gone wrong. Mr. Jencken stated: "Only within these last few days, a metal ball, heated to redness in the fire, was placed on a lady's head without causing injury," and in the case of another lady on a different occasion, a red-hot coal "was dropped," she said, "on to my white muslin dress, where it remained for some seconds, as it was so hot we all feared to touch it. My dress though made of the finest muslin was not ignited, and we even failed to detect the slightest trace or mark of any kind after examination." Nothing was dearer to Home than the vogue he enjoyed in the aristocratic circles, but if a lady had had to carry a scar for the rest of her life, or had had her dress set on fire as the result of one of these experiments, he must have known that such an incident would not easily have been forgiven or forgotten."

Frank Podmore, in "The Newer Spiritualism", p. 80, expresses difficulties in dealing with the following account from Crookes, “Mr. Home again went to the fire, and, after stirring the hot coal about with his hand, took out a red-hot piece nearly as big as an orange, and, putting it on his right hand, covered it over with his left hand so as to almost completely enclose it, and then blew into the small furnace thus extemporised until the lump of charcoal was nearly white-hot, and then drew my attention to the lambent flame which was flickering over the coal and licking round his fingers; he fell on his knees, looked up in a reverent manner, held up the coal in front, and said: ‘Is not God good? Are not His laws wonderful? ’ ” - he toys with the hypothesis of hallucination in much of Home's phenomena, but admits, that this doesn't apply to this experience of Crookes, and on p. 85, wrote that "It is difficult to see how Sir W. Crookes, if in full possession of his normal senses, could be mistaken in describing the flames licking Home’s fingers. We don’t quite see how some of the things were done, and we leave the subject with an almost painful sense of bewilderment. But to say that because we cannot understand some of the feats, therefore they must have been due to spirits or psychic force, is merely an opiate for the uneasiness of suspended judgment, a refuge from the trouble of thinking." - however, see throughout this piece for refutation of his views of Home.

Definitive rebuttal to the idea of Home's fire handling being a magic trick comes from FWH Myers PSPR IX article "The Experiences of W. Stainton Moses" on pp. 306-309 [particularly William Crookes' commentary on pp. 308-309]:

John Beloff, writing in chapter 1, "Historical Overview" of Handbook of Parapsychology (Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1977), on p. 9, "Recent historical research (Zorab, 1975), however, has made all these hypotheses difficult to sustain. We can discount straight away the use of machinery, at least where the table levitations were concerned, for the tables in question were not flimsy little card-tables of the sort that one could hoist on the end of one's toes but massive mahogany dining-room tables of the sort could seat a dozen or more at dinner! Next, the idea that Home exercised a veto on those who were to be admitted does not square with the facts. Podmore (1902) grossly underestimated the total number of different individuals who witnessed the phenomena during Home's lifetime, and while no doubt many of them were his friends and supporters, they included also some of his bitterest enemies and critics. Likewise, if many sitters were already convinced beforehand of the truths of Spiritualism, others were professed skeptics, like the Dutch rationalists who who invited Home to Amsterdam hoping to expose him but then had to acknowledge that there was no explanation for what they had observed with their own eyes (Zorab, 1970). The "defective-memory" hypothesis is also quite inadequate to account for more than minor discrepancies. Some of the reports were penned on the same day, and a comparison between contemporaneous and delayed reports shows none of the progressive embroidery of the incidents one would expect on this hypothesis. Thus, the hypnotic hypothesis remains the only serious contender that stops short of a paranormal explanation; after all, there were as yet no recording instruments to prove that the events described actually took place. Nevertheless, the theory that the events were purely hallucinatory runs into grave difficulties. In the first place, the annals of hypnotism and mesmerism provide no independent evidence of any powers of comparable magnitude. But even if, faute-de-mieux, we attribute to Home this unique power over his sitters we would have to suppose that he could wield it with 100 per cent efficacy. If even one witness for even part of the time had failed to succumb to it, the game would have been up. Yet there is no record of one such witness failing to see, say, a table-levitation, which every one else present claimed to observe, and this is the more telling insamuch as investigators were well aware of the danger of falling a victim to Home's charisma and took strenuous precautions against it (Dingwall, 1953; Zorab, 1970). There is also some evidence of tables being broken by a too precipitate descent which is hard to reconcile with an hallucinatory explanation.")

Skeptics who praise Eric Dingwall should quote the full breadth of his writings more often. He noted, in contrast to myths propagated by unscrupulous writers, "There was a time when it would have been possible to examine Home's mediumship with as much care as could have been given to one single branch of scientific research. That opportunity was passed by through the almost criminal negligence of so called scientific men, who, in order to bolster up their own ideas of what nature ought to be, refused even to look at phenomena which appeared at first to contradict their own theories. Of all mediums of whom we have any record Home was probably the most open for investigation. He asked for it; he delighted in it; he held his sittings in either full daylight or in subdued light, only very rarely requiring darkness. His phenomena were extremely varied, of an amazing character, and had abundant testimony in their support." - JASPR Vol. 15, p. 498:;view=1up;seq=512

Eric Dingwall, in Zetetic Scholar, 12/13, pp. 154-159, corrected Trevor Hall's views of Home.:

Peter Lamont in his book "The First Psychic" (Abacus, 2006) corrected parts of Trevor Hall's view of Home that Dingwall did not address. For instance, Lamont noted in his endnotes, such as endnote 1 for chapter 1, given on p. 279 , "Home's birth certificate refers merely to 'Daniel Home'. On the other hand, the aristocratic connection is not without evidential support. According to John Dea, a retired paper-maker of Colington parish, who had family in Currie when William was there, it was a 'fact well known that he was a natural son of the late Earl of Home and was spoken of as such' (SPR .MS 28/139, Home collection, Cambridge University). Furthermore, I have checked the census, and it shows a Dea family in Currie at the time,suggesting John was related to neighbors (or at least acquaintances) of the Homes." And endnote 18 for chapter 2, on p. 282 - "The authenticity of both the middle name, and the claim associated with it, has been a subject of much controversy. The main critic, Trevor Hall, went into somewhat tedious detail to argue that, since Dunglas did not appear on the birth certificate, the name and the associated claim was the invention of the medium. Hall supports his argument by claiming that Home did not use it until much later in life, though he failed to point out that there were several earlier references to the middle name, including a letter addressed to 'Daniel Dunglass Home' from L. Aurelia Ely, Lebanon, dated 29 June, 1851 (Home collection, SPR.MS 28/179)."

Dingwall corrected many other parts of Hall's view of Home. For instance, he noted in correction to the view that Home selected his sitters in seances, "In his general treatment of Home's phenomena. Hall is inclined to follow Podmore's guidance in the latter's views on the physical phenomena and quotes passages from his books where his views on Home are given. For example, he says that as Home was treated as a distinguished guest he was able to select his sitters and arrange their positions at the table. This may have occurred at times, but it was clearly not the rule since it was not usual to inform the medium who was going to be invited to the sitting. For instance, Mrs. Honywood, who knew Home well, said that she had often taken Home in her own carriage to the houses of her friends who were strangers to him and had there seen violent movements of furniture at sittings in rooms where she knew that Home had never entered until that moment."

Ray Hyman, in his 1986 IEEE paper given above, also cited, as a basis for his criticism, Frank Podmore's false statement for dismissing the experiments - that Home imposed his own conditions. Contra this, Crookes noted on page 3 of the Sept. 13, 1876 Glasgow Herald, as regards work with the medium Slade (on that, see below), which applies equally to Daniel Dunglas Home:

"I was asked to investigate when Dr. Slade first came over, and I mentioned my conditions. I have never investigated except under these conditions. It must be at my own house, and my own selection of friends and spectators, under my own conditions, and I may do whatever I like to make the physical apparatus test the things themselves, and have not trusted more than is possible to my senses."

Joseph McCabe makes many misrepresentations of the work of William Crookes with Daniel Dunglas Home, and I suggest reading Crookes' Experimental Investigation of a New Force for cross-referencing. McCabe states on p. 140 of his Spiritualism: A Popular History that Crookes modified tests in favor of Home's whims, however, Crookes actually states, "Before Mr. Home entered the room, the apparatus had been arranged in position, and he had not even the object of some parts of it explained before sitting down. It may, perhaps, be worth while to add, for the purpose of anticipating some critical remarks which are likely to be made, that in the afternoon I called for Mr. Home at his apartments, and when there he suggested that, as he had to change his dress, perhaps I should not object to continue our conversation in his bedroom. I am, therefore, enabled to state positively, that no machinery, apparatus, or contrivance of any sort was secreted about his person." Of the accordion, Crookes states "The accordion was a new one, having been purchased by myself for the purpose of these experiments at Wheatstone’s, in Conduit Street Mr. Home had neither handled nor seen the instrument before the commencement of the test experiments."

The skeptical biographer William Brock for his comments about "diversionary" signals in the Crookes-D.D. Home experiments relies on cherry picked critiques of the later notes on seances with DD Home from Oppenheim (see p. 345): - though various noises were made by Home in the later seances - religious commentary, calling attention to himself as phenomena arose, etc., there seems to be no support for the view that he made "diversionary signals".

Frank Podmore was a major source of criticism, though in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, Volume 1 (1907), p. 502, we find the following: "STATEMENT OF SIR WILLIAM CROOKES. [We asked Sir William Crookes if he wished to see Mr. Frank Podmore’s article and he replied that he had not time to consider it, but he requested us to formulate our questions, to which we desired an answer. The following letter from him is in reply to the question whether he could furnish further particulars in regard to the statements which he had made respecting Home’s mediumship. These statements were made at the conclusion of a paper by Sir Oliver Lodge, in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. VI., pp. 341-345. We quote these statements after giving his letter in reply to our inquiry.—-Editor.] 7 Kensington Park Gardens, London, W. August 10th, 1907. Hereward Carrington, Esq, Dear Sir :—If you will kindly read my introduction to the series of séances with D. D. Home, as printed on pp. 98-100 of Part XV. of the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, you will, I think, find answers to all your queries, written with more care and accuracy than I could now write them at this distance of time and in the hurry of other avocations. I have no objection to your reprinting this Introduction in your Journal. Indeed, I should like it to be reprinted, as it gives a clear statement of my present position in respect to these phenomena. I remain, truly yours, WILLIAM CROOKES."

The article then follows with the relevant commentary from the introduction.

You would think on account of the critics' distortions that Crookes' seances were of low quality, though as Lang notes in "Historical Mysteries", "Into the details of the mechanical tests as to alterations of weights I cannot go. Mr. Angelo Lewis (Professor Hoffman), an expert in conjuring, says that, accepting Sir William's veracity, and that he was not hallucinated, the phenomena 'seem to me distinctly to be outside the range of trick, and therefore to be good evidence, so far as we can trust personal evidence at all, of Home's power of producing motion, without contact, in inanimate bodies.' Sir William himself writes (1890): 'I have discovered no flaw in the experiments, or in the reasoning I based upon them.'[27] The notes of the performances were written while they were actually in course of proceeding. Thus 'the table rose completely off the ground several times, whilst the gentlemen present took a candle, and, kneeling down, deliberately examined the position of Mr. Home's knees and feet, and saw the three feet of the table quite off the ground.' Every observer in turn satisfied himself of the facts; they could not all be hallucinated.":

Lewis is able to make his commentary because of his examination of the full context of the sittings. Regarding that, William Crookes in JSPR Vol. 6, pp. 344-345 noted: "Home always refused to sit in the dark. He said that with firmness and perseverance the phenomena could be got just as well in the light, and even if some of the things were not so strong, the evidence of one's eyesight was worth making some sacrifice for. In almost all the seances I had with Home there was plenty of light to see all that occurred, and not only to enable me to write down notes of what was taking place but to read my notes without difficulty. Home was very anxious to let everyone present be satisfied that he was not doing any of the things himself—too anxious, I sometimes thought, for frequently he would interfere with the progress and development of what was going on by insisting that some sceptic or other should come round and take hold of his hands and feet to be sure he was not doing anything himself. At times he would push his chair back and move right away from the table when things were moving on it, and ask those furthest from him to come round and satisfy themselves that he had nothing to do with the movements. I used frequently to beg him to be quiet, knowing that if he would not move about in his eagerness to convince us of his genuineness, the strength of the phenomena would probably increase to such a degree that no further evidence would be needed that their production was beyond the powers of the medium."

"During the whole of my knowledge of D. D. Home, extending over several years, I never once saw the slightest occurrence that would make me suspicious that he was attempting to play tricks. He was scrupulously sensitive on this point, and never felt hurt at anyone taking precautions against deception. He sometimes, in the early days of our acquaintance, used to say to me before a stance, 'Now, William, I want you to act as if I was a recognised conjurer, and was going to cheat you and play all the tricks I could. Take every precaution you can devise against me, and move about and look under the table or where else you like. Don't consider my feelings. I shall not be offended. I know that the more carefully I am tested the more convinced will everyone be that these abnormal occurrences are not of my own doings.' Latterly I used jokingly to say to him, 'Let us sit round the fire and have a quiet chat, and see if our friends are here and will do anything for us. We won't have any tests or precautions.' On these occasions, when only my own family were present with him, some of the most convincing phenomena took place."

"I think it is a cruel thing that a man like D. D, Home, gifted with such extraordinary powers, and always willing, nay, anxious, to place himself at the disposal of men of science for investigation, should have lived so many years in London, and with one or two exceptions no one of weight in the scientific world should have thought it worth while to look into the truth or falsity of things which were being talked about in society on all sides. To those who knew him Home was one of the most lovable of men, and his perfect genuineness and uprightness were beyond suspicion, but by those who did not know him he was called a charlatan, and those who believed in him were considered little better than lunatics.":;view=1up;seq=368

A canard has been levied against William Crookes that his eyesight was bad, therefore his observations in his experiments with Daniel Dunglas Home were worthless. This comes from Edward Clodd, an unrelible source. Aside from the fact that his observations were corroborated by others, primary sources are especially useful in disposing of myths, for instance, William Crookes said, refuting the idea that he had bad eyesight in this period, ""Home always had a great objection to darkness, and we generally had plenty of light. I tried several experiments on lighting the room. Once I illuminated it with Geissler vacuum tubes electrically excited, but the result was not satisfactory; the nickering of the light distracted one's attention. Another time I lighted the room with an alcohol flame coloured yellow with soda. This gave everyone a ghastly look, but the phenomena that took place were very strong, and I was told it was a good light for the purpose. One of the best seances I ever had was. when the full moon was shining into the room. The blinds and curtains were drawn back and there was light enough to enable one to read small print." - JSPR 6, p. 342:;view=1up;seq=366

McCabe dismisses the accordion experiments on the same page on account of alleged scanty lighting. Crookes stated, "The meetings took place in the evening, in a large room lighted by gas."

The citation of critics of Carpenter's "Quarterly Review" article, critiquing Crookes for testing Home with the accordion under the table, is a cynical joke in light of the notorious falsehoods it contained, but it the rebuttal to the article, Crookes stated, "My reviewer objects to the accordion being tried in a cage under the table. My object is easily explained. I must use my own methods of experiment. I deemed them good under the circumstances, and if the reviewer had seen the experiment before complaining it would have been more like a scientific man. But the cage is by no means essential, although, in a test experiment, it is an additional safeguard. On several subsequent occasions the accordion has played over the table, and in other parts of my room away from a table, the keys moving and the bellows action going on. An accordion was selected because it is absolutely impossible to play tricks with it when held in the manner indicated. I flatly deny that, held by the end away from the keys, the performance on an accordion “with one hand is a juggling trick often exhibited at country fairs,” unless special mechanism exists for the purpose. Did ever the reviewer or anyone else witness this phenomenon at a country fair or elsewhere? The statement is only equalled in absurdity by the argument of a recent writer, who, in order to prove that the accounts of Mr. Home’s levitations could not be true, says, “An Indian juggler could sit down in the middle of Trafalgar Square, and then slowly and steadily rise in the air to a height of five or six feet, still sitting, and as slowly come down again.” Curious logic this, to argue that a certain phenomenon is impossible to Mr. Home because a country bumpkin or an Indian juggler can produce it.":

See p. 297 of "The Gift of DD Home" for a counter to the objections of Carpenter on the accordion phenomena from another observer:

Regarding the accordion phenomena with Home, McCabe suggests trickery in Is Spiritualism Based on Fraud?, p. 80. This is accomplished by ignoring items that refute his hypothesis. I will now cite the relevant excerpts from Crookes' text:

"The height of this cage was such that it would just slip under my dining table, but be too close to the top to allow of the hand being introduced into the interior, or to admit of a foot being pushed underneath it." (this is why Crookes conducted the experiment in the way he did)

"Mr. Home took the accordion between the thumb and middle finger of one hand at the opposite end to the keys (see woodcut, Fig. 1), (to save repetition this will be subsequently called “in the usual manner.”) Having previously opened the bass key myself, and the cage being drawn from under the table so as just to allow the accordion to be passed in with its keys downwards, it was pushed back as close as Mr. Home’s arm would permit, but without hiding his hand from those next to him (see Fig. 2)."

"Presently the accordion was seen by those on either side of Mr. Home to move about, oscillating and going round and round the cage, and playing at the same time. Dr. A. B. now looked under the table, and said that Mr. Home’s hand appeared quite still whilst the accordion was moving about emitting distinct sounds." (refutes separate music box suggestion)

"Mr. Home still holding the accordion in the usual manner in the cage, his feet being held by those next him, and his other hand resting on the table, we heard distinct and separate notes sounded in succession, and then a simple air was played. As such a result could only have been produced by the various keys of the instrument being acted upon in harmonious succession, this was considered by those present to be a crucial experiment. But the sequel was still more striking, for Mr. Home then removed his hand altogether from the accordion, taking it quite out of the cage, and placed it in the hand of the person next to him. The instrument then continued to play, no person touching it and no hand being near it." (contra McCabe's hook suggestion, this was Crookes' own accordion, so it would not have played a melody in this way)

"The accordion was now again taken without any visible touch from Mr. Home’s hand, which he removed from it entirely and placed upon the table, where it was taken by the person next to him, and seen, as now were both his hands, by all present. I and two of the others present saw the accordion distinctly floating about inside the cage with no visible support. This was repeated a second time, after a short interval. Mr. Home presently re-inserted his hand in the cage and again took hold of the accordion. It then commenced to play, at first chords and runs, and afterwards a well-known sweet and plaintive melody, which it executed perfectly in a very beautiful manner. Whilst this tune was being played, I grasped Mr. Home’s arm, below the elbow, and gently slid my hand down it until I touched the top of the accordion. He was not moving a muscle. His other hand was on the table, visible to all, and his feet were under the feet of those next to him."

Whilst it is true that nobody specifically referred to the manipulation of keys in the accordion experiment (reference was made to "the accordion was seen by those on each side to be waving about in a somewhat curious manner; then sounds came from it, and finally several notes were played in succession. Whilst this was going on, my assistant went under the table, and reported that the accordion was expanding and contracting; at the same time it was seen that the hand of Mr. Home by which it was held was quite still, his other hand resting on the table." and "Presently the accordion was seen by those on either side of Mr. Home to move about, oscillating and going round and round the cage, and playing at the same time. Dr. A. B. now looked under the table, and said that Mr. Home’s hand appeared quite still whilst the accordion was moving about emitting distinct sounds.")), in other work with Crookes, this was addressed. But first, one extraordinary event occurring with Crookes' work with Home:

Alfred Russell Wallace, in My Life, vol. II, p. 304, stated "Here I attended many seances - on one occasion when Home was the medium and Mr. (now Sir William) Crookes was present. As I was the only one of the company who had not witnessed any of the remarkable phenomena that occurred in his presence, I was invited to go under the table while an accordion was playing, held in Home's hand, his other hand being on the table. The room was well lighted, and I distinctly saw Home's hand holding the instrument, which moved up and down and played a tune without any visible cause. On stating this, he said, 'Now I will take away my hand - which he did; but the instrument went on playing, and I saw a detached hand holding it while Home's two hands were seen above the table by all present. This was one of the ordinary phenomena, and thousands of persons have witnessed it; and when we consider that Home's seances almost always took place in private houses at which he was a guest, and with people absolutely above suspicion of collusion with an impostor, and also either in the daytime or in a fully illuminated room, it will be admitted that no form of legerdemain will explain what occurred."

Now for the rebuttal: In William Crookes' "Notes of seances with D.D. Home" (PSPR 6: 98-127), on p. 119, it is written, "we heard the accordion fall heavily to the ground. It had been suspended in the air behind the chair where Mr. Home had been sitting. When it fell Mr. Home was about 10ft. from it.

Mr. Home still standing behind Mrs. I. and Mr. Wr. Crookes, the accordion was both seen and heard to move about behind him without his hands touching it. It then played a tune without contact and floating in the air.

Mr. Home then took the accordion in one hand and held it out so that we could all see it (he was still standing up behind Mrs. I. and Mr. Wr. Crookes). We then saw the accordion expand and contract and heard a tune played. Mrs. Wm. Crookes and Mr. Home saw a light on the lower part of the accordion, where the keys were, and we then heard and saw the keys clicked and depressed one after the other fairly and deliberately, as if to show us that the power doing it, although invisible (or nearly so) to us, had full control over the instrument.

A beautiful tune was then played whilst Mr. Home was standing up holding the accordion out in full view of everyone.

Mr. Home then came round behind me and telling me to hold my left arm out placed the accordion under my. arm, the keys hanging down and the upper part pressing upwards against my upper arm. He then left go and the i accordion remained there. He then placed his two hands one on each of my shoulders. In this position, no one touching the accordion but myself, and every one noticing what was taking place, the instrument played notes but no tune."

In other work with Crookes, this was also addressed. Regarding the claim ofabout keys never having been depressed by Crookes and his fellow observers, Thurston, in his writing on the accordion phenomena cited below, wrote:

Sir William Crookes, F.R.S., speaking of a séance held at the house of Miss Douglas, 81 South Audley Street, London, W., on May 9, 1871, records in his contemporary notes: “I took particular note that Mr. Home’s feet had boots on and were both quiet, at some distance from the instrument, and that although the keyed end was rising and falling vigorously and the keys moving as the music required, no hand, strings, wires or anything else could be seen touching that end.” He goes on to remark that the room. was lit by four candles, one on the table, two on the mantlepiece, one on a side table, and that there was a wood fire in the grate, though this was rather dull. The accordion was then given to others, Home’s two hands remaining on the table, and while they held it, it played for a time.14 Similarly Crookes’ notes of another sitting at the same house record that “we then heard and saw the keys clicked and depressed one after another, fairly and deliberately, as if to show that the power doing it had full control over the instrument.”15 On this occasion three spirit lamps were used to examine the phenomenon at close quarters."

Of other accordion phenomena Crookes wrote: "A medium, walking into my dining-room, cannot, while seated in one part of the room with a number of persons keenly watching him, by trickery make an accordion play in my own hand when I hold it key downwards, or cause the same accordion to float about the room playing all the time. He cannot introduce machinery which will wave window-curtains or pull up Venetian blinds 8 feet off, tie a knot in a handkerchief and place it in a far comer of the room, sound notes on a distant piano, cause a card-plate to float about the room, raise a water-bottle and tumbler from the table, make a coral necklace rise on end, cause a fan to move about and fan the company, or set in motion a pendulum when enclosed in a glass case firmly cemented to the wall.": [for similar accordion phenomena, see the JASPR vol. 15 article "The Divinity Student and DD Home":;view=1up;seq=237]

In the Dialectical Society report, pp. 138-139, a sitter Coleman describes how Home (or spirits, or whatever) psychokinetically made an accordion play in his own hand in the manner that Crookes described in the passage quoted directly above:

Cox, in "The Mechanism of Man", Vol. II, pp. 450-451, noted similar phenomena:

And Alfred Russell Wallace, in My Life, vol. II, p. 304, stated "Here I attended many seances - on one occasion when Home was the medium and Mr. (now Sir William) Crookes was present. As I was the only one of the company who had not witnessed any of the remarkable phenomena that occurred in his presence, I was invited to go under the table while an accordion was playing, held in Home's hand, his other hand being on the table. The room was well lighted, and I distinctly saw Home's hand holding the instrument, which moved up and down and played a tune without any visible cause. On stating this, he said, 'Now I will take away my hand - which he did; but the instrument went on playing, and I saw a detached hand holding it while Home's two hands were seen above the table by all present. This was one of the ordinary phenomena, and thousands of persons have witnessed it; and when we consider that Home's seances almost always took place in private houses at which he was a guest, and with people absolutely above suspicion of collusion with an impostor, and also either in the daytime or in a fully illuminated room, it will be admitted that no form of legerdemain will explain what occurred." [note how utterly different this statement is from those of hostile secondary sources]:

see also appendix J of the SPR review, regarding the accordion floating around the room on a different occasion by a different sitter, with nobody holding it, and some even more striking phenomena:

The scholar Herbert Thurston, in the chapter The Accordion Playing of D. D. Home, from his book "Church and Spiritualism", published in 1933, and reprinted in the PsyPioneer Journal, a publication dedicated to the serious discussion of Spiritualism and Psychical Research, in Vol. 10 No. 5 - May 2014, on pp. 142-155, counters claims of critics about the accordion phenomena (e.g - the claim of skeptics, not sitters, that it played only "Home Sweet Home" and "The Last Rose of Summer"), totally falsifies claims that Home was never searched with his seances, etc. It counters the claim that in his accordion performances Home played only a couple of tunes, and it counters both Frank Podmore's claim that the accordion feat was a concealed music-box, and Carlos María de Heredia's claim that a secret accomplice was playing another accordion. As regards comparison to Slade on the accordion phenomena, Carrington countered this in "The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism", though I think him to be biased on this. The speculations of Robison in "Spirit Slate Writing and Kindred Phenomena", pp. 104-105, as to Slade's production of the phenomena:, are in opposition to the facts of the experiment as recorded on pp. 39-40 of Zollner's "Transcendental Physics":

The comparison to the medium Francis Ward Monck can be refuted, but as regards claims against Monck on this account, note this, from Wallace:

Joseph McCabe's suggestion for how the Crookes spring-balance experiments were accomplished, in Is Spiritualism Based on Fraud?, p. 80., is that foot manipulation on the side opposite Home's fingers will explain them.

The picture in figure 3 precludes this explanation. Crookes also stated "In order to see whether it was possible to produce much effect on the spring balance by pressure at the place where Mr. Home’s fingers had been, I stepped upon the table and stood on one foot at the end of the board. Dr. A. B., who was observing the index of the balance, said that the whole weight of my body (140 lbs.) so applied only sunk the index 1½ lbs., or 2 lbs. when I jerked up and down. Mr. Home had been sitting in a low easy-chair, and could not, therefore, had he tried his utmost, have exerted any material influence on these results. I need scarcely add that his feet as well as his hands were closely guarded by all in the room." (emphasis added)

This explanation also ignores the primary source description from best experiments:

Experiment I.—The apparatus having been properly adjusted before Mr. Home entered the room, he was brought in, and asked to place his fingers in the water in the copper vessel, N. He stood up and dipped the tips of the fingers of his right hand in the water, his other hand and his feet being held. When he said he felt a power, force, or influence, proceeding from his hand, I set the clock going, and almost immediately the end B of the board was seen to descend slowly and remain down for about 10 seconds; it then descended a little further, and afterwards rose to its normal height. It then descended again, rose suddenly, gradually sunk for 17 seconds, and finally rose to its normal height, where it remained till the experiment was concluded. The lowest point marked on the glass was equivalent to a direct pull of about 5000 grains. The accompanying figure (5) is a copy of the curve traced on the glass. Experiment II.—Contact through water having proved to be as effectual as actual mechanical contact, I wished to see if the power or force could affect the weight, either through other portions of the apparatus or through the air. The glass vessel and iron stand, &c., were therefore removed,as an unnecessary complication, and Mr. Home’s hands were placed on the stand of the apparatus at P (Fig. 2). A gentleman present put his hand on Mr. Home’s hands, and his foot on both Mr. Home’s feet, and I also watched him closely all the time. At the proper moment the clock was again set going; the board descended and rose in an irregular manner, the result being a curved tracing on the glass, of which Fig. 6 is a copy. Experiment III.—Mr. Home was now placed one foot from the board A B, on one side of it. His hands and feet again set going; the board descended and rose in an irregular manner, the result being a curved tracing on the glass, of which Fig. 6 is a copy. Experiment III.—Mr. Home was now placed one foot from the board A B, on one side of it. His hands and feet were firmly grasped by a bystander, and another tracing, of which Fig. 7 is a copy, was taken on the moving glass plate. Experiment IV.—(Tried on an occasion when the power was stronger than on the previous occasions). Mr. Home was now placed 3 feet from the apparatus, his hands and feet being tightly held. The clock was set going when he gave the word, and the end B of the board soon descended, and again rose in an irregular manner, as shown in Fig. 8." (This appears not only in the primary source, but also in a secondary source, Camille Flammarion's Mysterious Psychic Forces, pp. 220-222)

A refutation of the full set of commentary of critics regarding the Crookes spring-balance psychokinesis experiments has occurred here, using the source Barry Wiley relies on in his book The Thought-Reader Craze for his critique about the Crookes experiments being a part of a larger test seance:

As follows:

"But ok, since I have the book "Crookes and the Spirit World" in my possession, I will debunk the debunker. If you don't know, this book is a collection of Crookes' actual writings and correspondences about his experiments.

Point 1: Yes, the experiments were conducted in Crookes' own laboratory and that consisted of a room with his scientific apparatuses in it. The exact dimensions of the room don't really matter and don't really have any bearing on the experiments.

Point 2: Crookes states: "I called for Mr. Home at his apartments, and when there he suggested that, as he had to change his dress, perhaps I should not object to continue our conversation in his bedroom. I am, therefore, enabled to state positively, that no machinery, apparatus, or contrivance of any sort was secreted about his person." (24) In other words, Crookes carefully watched Mr. Home as he dressed and saw no evidence of him placing any device about his person.

Point 3: Crookes never said he was forced to sit far away from Home. He states: "Mr. Home placed the tips of his fingers lightly on the extreme end of the mahogany board which was resting on the support, whilst Dr. A. B. and myself sat, one on each side of it, watching for any effect which might be produced." (28) He makes no mention of sitting far away. In fact he says, "his feet as well as his hands were closely guarded by all in the room" (28) [unfortunately Wiley is in error on this - and as regards Crookes taking notes, it is important to note that Crookes' observations were independently verified. He noted, "I have now given a plain unvarnished statement of the facts from copious notes written at the time the occurrences were taking place, and copied out in full immediately after. Indeed, it would be fatal to the object I have in view—that of urging the scientific investigation of these phenomena—were I to exaggerate ever so little; for although to my readers Dr. A. B. is at present represented by incorporeal initials, to me the letters represent a power in the scientific world that would certainly convict me if I were to prove an untrustworthy narrator."

"Mr. Home now of his own accord took a small hand-bell and a little card match-box, which happened to be near, and placed one under each hand, to satisfy us, as he said, that he was not producing the downward pressure (see Fig. 3). The very slow oscillation of the spring balance became more marked, and Dr. A. B., watching the index, said that he saw it descend to 6½ lbs. The normal weight of the board as so suspended being 3 lbs., the additional downward pull was therefore 3½ lbs. On looking immediately afterwards at the automatic register, we saw that the index had at one time descended as low as 9 lbs., showing a maximum pull of 6 lbs. upon a board whose normal weight was 3 lbs.

In order to see whether it was possible to produce much effect on the spring balance by pressure at the place where Mr. Home’s fingers had been, I stepped upon the table and stood on one foot at the end of the board. Dr. A. B., who was observing the index of the balance, said that the whole weight of my body (140 lbs.) so applied only sunk the index 1½ lbs., or 2 lbs. when I jerked up and down. Mr. Home had been sitting in a low easy-chair, and could not, therefore, had he tried his utmost, have exerted any material influence on these results. I need scarcely add that his feet as well as his hands were closely guarded by all in the room.

This experiment appears to me more striking, if possible, than the one with the accordion. As will be seen on referring to the cut (Fig. 3), the board was arranged perfectly horizontally, and it was particularly noticed that Mr. Home’s fingers were not at any time advanced more than 1½ inches from the extreme end, as shown by a pencil-mark, which, with Dr. A. B.’s acquiescence, I made at the time. Now, the wooden foot being also 1½ inches wide, and resting flat on the table, it is evident that no amount of pressure exerted within this space of 1½ inches could produce any action on the balance. Again, it is also evident that when the end furthest from Mr. Home sank, the board would turn on the further edge of this foot as on a fulcrum. The arrangement was consequently that of a see-saw, 36 inches in length, the fulcrum being inches from one end; were he therefore to have exerted a downward pressure, it would have been in opposition to the force which was causing the other end of the board to move down."]

Point 4: Crookes states that the room was lit by gas when the experiments with the board and balance were conducted. He further states in another section of his writing that: "Indeed, except on two occasions, when, for some particular experiments of my own, light was excluded, everything which I have witnessed with him [Home] has taken place in the light." (111)

Point 5: Crookes considered the individuals present "irreproachable witnesses". They included Dr. Huggins, F.R.S., Mr. Serjeant Cox, Mr. Crookes, Mrs. Crookes, Mr. W. Crookes, Mrs. W. Crookes, Mrs. Humphrey, Miss Crookes, and Mr. Gimingham. (172) They did not assist Home. Besides, the way the experiment was set up I'm pretty sure Crookes or someone present would have caught the person trying to aid Home by passing him an apparatus or by trying to effect a pressure on the board.

Point 6: Where is this in the reports? Give me a specific reference. From what I can see there is no evidence that Home was trying to divert attention to the other side of the room. I suspect this is just a deliberate lie [...]. [this is as regards diversionary signals]

Point 7: As far as cheating, Crookes never detected this and states that the facts he attests to "have all taken place in my own house, at times appointed by myself, and under circumstances which absolutely precluded the employment of the very simplest instrumental aids." (110)

Point 8: Crookes states that a passing train could not produce the effects and invites witnesses to verify the fact. He calls this assertion "utterly baseless" (72) [he continues, "but as he is careful to tell us that in this particular case the “fact” is not one of his own invention, what is to be said of his discretion in believing his “highly intelligent witness”? No such occurrence took place; nor will a passing railway train produce a ripple on the surface of water in the basin in my room. I invite the “highly intelligent witness” to verify the fact."]

Point 9: Crookes states: "I have chosen my own circle of friends, have introduced any hard-headed unbeliever whom I pleased, and have generally imposed my own terms, which have been carefully chosen to prevent the possibility of fraud" (110)

Point 10: Crookes performed numerous experiments with not only Home but other mediums as well. These experiments with Home were, in fact, repeated many times with many different apparatuses. I endeavor you to do some actual research so you can read about them. [in addition to noting replications, e.g., "A committee of scientific men met Mr. Home some months ago at St. Petersburg. They had one meeting only, which was attended with negative results; and on the strength of this they published a report highly unfavourable to Mr. Home. The explanation of this failure, which is all they have accused him of, appears to me quite simple. Whatever the nature of Mr. Home’s power, it is very variable, and at times entirely absent. It is obvious that the Russian experiment was tried when the force was at a minimum. The same thing has frequently happened within my own experience. A party of scientific men met Mr. Home at my house, and the results were as negative as those at St Petersburg. Instead, however, of throwing up the inquiry we patiently repeated the trial a second and a third time, when we met with results which were positive."

Crookes wrote, "I am informed by my friend Professor Boutlerow,* that during the last winter, he tried almost the same experiments as those here detailed, and with still more striking results. The normal tension on the dynamometer being 100 lbs., it was increased to about 150 lbs., Mr. Home’s hands being placed in contact with the apparatus in such a manner that any exertion of power on his part would diminish, instead of increase, the tension."

and there are of course his own modified replications - see his article Some Further Experiments on Psychic Force - as Crookes noted, "The objection has been raised that announcements of such magnitude should not be made on the strength of one or two experiments hastily performed. I reply that the conclusions were not arrived at hastily, nor on the results of two or three experiments only. In my former paper (“Quarterly Journal of Science,” page 340), I remarked:—“Not until I had witnessed these facts some half-dozen times, and scrutinised them with all the critical acumen I possess, did I become convinced of their objective reality.” Before fitting up special apparatus for these experiments, I had seen on five separate occasions, objects varying in weight from 25 to 100 lbs., temporarily influenced in such a manner, that I, and others present could with difficulty lift them from the floor. Wishing to ascertain whether this was a physical fact, or merely due to a variation in the power of our own strength under the influence of imagination, I tested with a weighing machine the phenomenon on two subsequent occasions when I had an opportunity of meeting Mr. Home at the house of a friend. On the first occasion, the increase of weight was from 8 lbs. normally, to 36 lbs., 48 lbs., and 46 lbs., in three successive experiments tried under strict scrutiny. On the second occasion, tried about a fortnight after, in the presence of other observers, I found the increase of weight to be from 8 lbs. to 23 lbs., 43 lbs., and 27 lbs., in three successive trials, varying the conditions. As I had the entire management of the above-mentioned experimental trials, employed an instrument of great accuracy, and took every care to exclude the possibility of the results being influenced by trickery, I was not unprepared for a satisfactory result when the fact was properly tested in my own laboratory. The meeting on the occasion formerly described was, therefore, for the purpose of confirming my previous observations by the application of crucial tests, with carefully arranged apparatus of a still more delicate nature." "Experiment I.—The apparatus having been properly adjusted before Mr. Home entered the room, he was brought in, and asked to place his fingers in the water in the copper vessel, N. He stood up and dipped the tips of the fingers of his right hand in the water, his other hand and his feet being held. When he said he felt a power, force, or influence, proceeding from his hand, I set the clock going, and almost immediately the end B of the board was seen to descend slowly and remain down for about 10 seconds; it then descended a little further, and afterwards rose to its normal height. It then descended again, rose suddenly, gradually sunk for 17 seconds, and finally rose to its normal height, where it remained till the experiment was concluded. The lowest point marked on the glass was equivalent to a direct pull of about 5000 grains. The accompanying figure (5) is a copy of the curve traced on the glass.

Experiment II.—Contact through water having proved to be as effectual as actual mechanical contact, I wished to see if the power or force could affect the weight, either through other portions of the apparatus or through the air. The glass vessel and iron stand, &c., were therefore removed,as an unnecessary complication, and Mr. Home’s hands were placed on the stand of the apparatus at P (Fig. 2). A gentleman present put his hand on Mr. Home’s hands, and his foot on both Mr. Home’s feet, and I also watched him closely all the time. At the proper moment the clock was again set going; the board descended and rose in an irregular manner, the result being a curved tracing on the glass, of which Fig. 6 is a copy.

Experiment III.—Mr. Home was now placed one foot from the board A B, on one side of it. His hands and feet again set going; the board descended and rose in an irregular manner, the result being a curved tracing on the glass, of which Fig. 6 is a copy. Experiment III.—Mr. Home was now placed one foot from the board A B, on one side of it. His hands and feet were firmly grasped by a bystander, and another tracing, of which Fig. 7 is a copy, was taken on the moving glass plate.

Experiment IV.—(Tried on an occasion when the power was stronger than on the previous occasions). Mr. Home was now placed 3 feet from the apparatus, his hands and feet being tightly held. The clock was set going when he gave the word, and the end B of the board soon descended, and again rose in an irregular manner, as shown in Fig. 8.""

...Crookes also cited the work of Robert Hare, and the work of de Gasparin, Thury, and the Dialectical society as corroborating evidence. For that, see above. Further replication by Crookes witnessed by many others is provided in his Notes on Seances With D.D. Home.

Incidentally, that article contains an excerpt,, pp. 100-101: "Phenomena.—The table tilted several times in four or five directions at an angle of about 25deg., and kept inclined sufficiently long for those who wished to look under with a candle and examine how the hands of Mr. Home and the others present were touching it. Sometimes it stood on two legs, and sometimes' it was balanced on one. I, who had brought a spring balance in my pocket, was now invited by Mr. Home to try an experiment in the alteration of weight.

As it would have been inconvenient without disturbing the sitting to have experimented on the total weight of the table, the balance was hooked under one edge of the table, and the force required to tilt it measured.

Experiment 1.—" Be light." An upward pull of 2lb. required to lift one of the feet off the ground, all hands lightly touching the top of the table.

Experiment 2.—"Be heavy." As soon as this was said, the table creaked, shuddered, and appeared to settle itself firmly into the floor. The effect was as if the power of a gigantic electro-magnet had been suddenly turned on, the table constituting the armature. All hands were, as before, very lightly touching the upper surface of the table with their lingers. A force of 36lb. was now required to raise the foot of the table from the floor. I lifted it up and down four or five times, and the index of the balance kept pretty constant at 36lb., not varying more than 1/2lb. Whilst this was going on, each person's hands were noticed. They were touching the table so lightly that their aggregate downward pressure could not have been many ounces. Mr. Home once lifted his hands for a moment quite off the table. His feet were tucked back under his chair the whole time.

Experiment3.—"Be light." Conditions the same as before. An upward pull of 7lb. required to tilt the table.

Experiment 4.—"Be heavy." The same creaking noise as in Experiment 2 was again heard. Every person (except Mr. O. B. and myself, who was standing up trying the experiment) put the ends of the fingers underneath the table top,the palms being upwards and the thumbs visible, so that, if any force were unconsciously exerted, it should tend to diminish the weight. Ac the same time Mr. O. R. took a candle and stooped under the table to see that no one was touching the legs of the table with their knees or feet. I also stooped down occasionally to verify Mr. O. R. 's statement that all was fair beneath. Upon applying the spring balance, I saw that 1 the table was pulled up at 45lb. Immediately this was announced I felt an increase of weight, and, after a few trials, the pull was increased to 48lb., at which point the index stood steady, the leg of the table being about 3in. off the floor.

Experiment 5.—"Be heavy." The conditions were the same as before, a little more care being taken by the sitters to keep their feet well tucked under their chairs. Hands touching the under side of the table top as before. The index of the balance rose steadily, without the table moving in the least, until it pointed to 461b. At this point the table rose an inch, when the hook of the balance slipped off, and the table returned to its place with a crash. The iron hook had bent out sufficiently to prevent it holding the table firmly any longer, so the experiments were obliged to be discontinued.

(After the seance was over, the normal weight of the table was taken. Its total weight was 321b. In order to tilt it in the manner described in the experiments a pull of 8lb. was required. When lifted straight up at three equidistant points, the spring-balance being at one point, a pull of 10lb. was required. The accuracy of the balance could be depended on to about 1/4 lb., not more.)"

This replicates phenomena given at the Amsterdam seances Home had with diehard skeptics, as cited in the Zorab article given below, in that article, they noted, "We then ordered the table to become as light as possible so that we should be able to lift it with one finger. And so it came to pass. When the order was reversed (i.e., to increase the table's weight) the table could hardly be lifted at all in spite of our utmost efforts." (p. 55)]

Crookes responded to initial criticisms like that of Balfour Stewart and WB Carpenter in his 1874 text - the sections "Some Further Experiments on Psychic Force", "Psychic Force and Modern Spiritualism",and "Correspondence" also, the scientific community was not universally hostile to the work - see, for example, this commentary in Nature:

But as to later criticisms, William Crookes, in JSPR Vol. 9, p. 324, also noted: "For nearly twenty-five years I have been attacked on account of these experiments, and I have not replied. All the attacks I have seen have been criticisms of one or two isolated experiments or statements I made, with an entire avoidance of passages which would explain the former. They have been written more with the object of showing I was wrong and untrustworthy than with the object of getting at the real truth."

Of particular relevance is Ishida (2012). A Review of Sir William Crookes' Papers on Psychic Force with some Additional Remarks on Psychic Phenomena, which defends the Crookes spring-balance experiments with Daniel Dunglas Home, which replicated, with modifications, previous experiments from the chemist Robert Hare, and with modifications for greater control. This paper reviews Crookes' spring-balance experiments with the medium D.D. Home by theoretically simulating the experiments based on Newtonian mechanics. It shows in the simulation that even if a competent magician is permitted to use a trick to realize similar variations in spring force to the one recorded in Crookes' second experiment, the magician could not realize it because the experimental results (time-dependent variations in spring force) showed features which could not be explained on the basis of Newtonian mechanics.

It also, among other things, refutes the view that external tremors could account for the phenomena, and refutes the other speculations of critics like Gordon Stein.

Evidence as regards levitations of Home himself and of furniture is provided in Holms (1927), pp. 306-308.

There are other interesting sources on this showing Home exceeding test conditions of skeptics. One such item is Aidé (1890). Was I Hypnotised? On this, readers of Gordon Stein's book on Daniel Dunglas Home will find it instructive to compare the primary source for Hamilton Aide's "Was I Hypnotised?" account with Gordon Stein's commentary to see that Stein was tendentious - a particularly relevant excerpt is here:

In Modern Spiritualism, Vol. II, p. 245n, Podmore wrote of Hamilton Aide's commentary, "The question asked by Hamilton Aide, in his article, "Was I Hypnotised?" (Nineteenth Century, April, 1890) may no doubt be answered in the negative. If we were forced to take Mr. Aide's narrative as an accurate representation of what he saw at a sitting with Home, we might be hard put to it for any better explanation. But the article was written twenty years after the events which it records, and, though the author speaks of "referring to his note-book," bears internal evidence of being founded mainly on memory. "

He thus rejects it on this account. His view however is countered by Andrew Lang, who noted, in "Historical Mysteries", "In The Nineteenth Century for April 1896 Mr. Hamilton Aïdé published the following statement, of which he had made the record in his Diary, 'more than twenty years ago.' Mr. Aïdé also told me the story in conversation. He was 'prejudiced' against Home, whom he met at Nice, 'in the house of a Russian lady of distinction.' 'His very physical manifestations, I was told, had caused his expulsion from more than one private house.' Of these aberrations one has not heard elsewhere. Mr. Aïdé was asked to meet M. Alphonse Karr, 'one of the hardest-headed, the wittiest, and most sceptical men in France' (a well-merited description), at a séance with Home. Mr. Aïdé's prejudice, M. Karr's hard-headed scepticism, prove them witnesses not biassed in favour of hocus-pocus.

The two arrived first at the villa, and were shown into a very large, uncarpeted, and brilliantly lighted salon. The furniture was very heavy, the tables were 'mostly of marble, and none of them had any cloths upon them.' There were about twenty candles in sconces, all lit, and a moderator lamp in the centre of 'the ponderous round rosewood table at which we were to sit.' Mr. Aïdé 'examined the room carefully,' and observed that wires could not possibly be attached to the heavy furniture ranged along the walls, and on the polished floor wires could not escape notice. The number present, including Home, was nine when all had arrived. All hands were on the table, but M. Alphonse Karr insisted on being allowed to break the circle, go under the table, or make any other sort of search whenever he pleased. 'This Home made no objection to.' Raps 'went round under the table, fluttering hither and thither in a way difficult to account for by the dislocation of the medium's toe' (or knee), 'the common explanation.' (I may remark that this kind of rapping is now so rare that I think Mr. Frederick Myers, with all his experience, never heard it.) Mr. Aïdé was observant enough to notice that a lady had casually dropped her bracelet, though she vowed that it 'was snatched from her by a spirit.' 'It was certainly removed from her lap, and danced about under the table....'

Then suddenly 'a heavy armchair, placed against the wall at the further end of the salotto, ran violently out into the middle of the room towards us.' Other chairs rushed about 'with still greater velocity.' The heavy table then tilted up, and the moderator lamp, with some pencils, slid to the lower edge of the table, but did not fall off. Mr. Aïdé looked under the table: Home's legs were inactive. Home said that he thought the table would 'ascend,' and Alphonse Karr dived under it, and walked about on all fours, examining everybody's feet--the others were standing up. The table rose 'three or four feet,' at highest, and remained in air 'from two to three minutes.' It rose so high that 'all could see Karr, and see also that no one's legs moved.' M. Karr was not a little annoyed; but, as 'Sandow could not have lifted the table evenly,' even if allowed to put his hands beneath it, and as Home, at one side, had his hands above it, clearly Home did not lift it.

All alike beheld this phenomenon, and Mr. Aïdé asks 'was I hypnotised?' Were all hypnotised? People have tried to hypnotise Mr. Aïdé, never with success, and certainly no form of hypnotism known to science was here concerned. No process of that sort had been gone through, and, except when Home said that he thought the table would ascend, there had been no 'verbal suggestion;' nobody was told what to look out for. In hypnotic experiment it is found that A. (if told to see anything not present) will succeed, B. will fail, C. will see something, and so on, though these subjects have been duly hypnotised, which Mr. Aïdé and the rest had not. That