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Tags Daniel Dunglas Home , mediums

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Old 3rd May 2013, 05:41 PM   #1
DoomMetal
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Exclamation The tricks of the medium Daniel Dunglas Home

Daniel Douglas Home (1833 – 1886) was a famous medium and I am sure most of you have probably heard of him.

Home was a bit different than most other mediums of his time, first he did not give séances to the public, he was cautious and only selected his sitters (who were usually rich folk). Home would usually invite sitters back to his house, so Home had all the conditions in his favour for his mediumship. Home would not perform his mediumship in front of skeptics (this is well known).

So what I really want to talk about in this thread, is not Home's levitation myth (perhaps we can touch on that later on) but really this thread is to discuss the supposed "scientific" experiments into the mediumship of Home by the scientist William Crookes.

As you may know William Crookes was a convinced spiritualist and he has been unreliable on his statements on mediumship regarding other mediums but lets talk about these experiments that he carried out with Home.

The experiments

Firstly the experiments were rather strange they consisted of two experiments. One of these utilised a board and balance spring apparatus which Crookes said Home managed to alter the weight of objects without contact on several occasions via a "psychic force".

According to Crookes' report this experiment consisted of:

Quote:
A mahogany board, 36 inches long by 9 and half wide and 1 inch thick. At each end a strip of mahogany 1 and half inches wide was screwed on, forming feet. One end of the board rested on a firm table, whilst the other end was supported by a spring balance hanging from a substantial tripod stand. This balance was fitted with a self-registering index, in such a manner that it would record the maximum weight indicated by the pointer. The apparatus was adjusted so that the mahogany board was horizontal, its foot resting flat on the support. In this position its weight was 3lbs as marked by the pointer of the balance... Mr Home placed the tips of his fingers lightly on the extreme end of the mahogany board which was resting on the support... almost immediately the pointer of the balance was seen to descend. After a few seconds it rose again. This movement was repeated several times, as if by successive waves of the psychic force.
In the most famous experiment known as the accordion experiment Home would place one hand on the top of a dining table and the other hand under the table inside a cage with his fingers on the opposite end of the keys whilst his feet were said to be held down. According to Crookes' report two songs from the accordion were heard. It must be noted that before this experiment, Home had already been performing his accordion feat for over 15 years.

Crookes published his reports in the Quarterly Journal of Science but they are known to contain serious errors.

Problems with the experiments

1. The experiments took place in Crookes's self built laboratory at the back of his house (no description of this lab has survived) but the room was described by Crookes as "large".

2. Home was not personally searched before the experiments took place but was watched as he changed clothing according to Crookes' report but as Frank Podmore and others have suggested, Home could have easily placed fraudulent devices or materials in his pockets.

3. In the experiments Home refused for Crookes to sit near him - According to the reports Crookes was quite a bit of distance away from Home. Is this normal for a scientific experiment?

4. Contrary to what spiritualists have written the experiments with Home were not conducted in light conditions, report has it that only "dim light" occurred in part of the room. So most of the room was in darkness.

5. Crookes' report deliberately left out who was present in the room, it was only revealed later that six men were present during the Crookes-Home experiments and four women. As Ruth Brandon suggested Home could have easily had an accomplice. We know according to other séances that Home had a female accomplice.

6. According to reports of the experiment Home would draw attention to something on the other side of the room, or make conversation for diversionary signals with those who were in the room and Crookes was occupied most of the time with writing notes.

7. Crookes admitted that Home and himself had "tested" similar devices to the ones used in the experiments beforehand on other occasions. Home could have easily known how to cheat on the experimental apparatus before the experiments had even taken place.

8. Crookes was convinced that Home had proven the existence of a "psychic force" but as others have suggested the experiments had poor scientific controls and the movement observed on a piece of the apparatus could easily be explained by the vibrations of the trains (the lab was built under a train track at the back of Crookes house) but other things have been suggested such as home using a piece of resin on his finger etc.

9. Home largely directed the proceedings of the experiments, even giving those in the room instructions, of course this was not mentioned in Crookes' report but this is what happened.

10. The experiments were never repeated.

Questions to people on this forum

1. How do you believe the accordion trick was done, and what is your explanation for the board and balance experiment? Of course the board and balance experiment can easily be dismissed by natural causes and not fraud, some already listed, but others are convinced Home manipulated the apparatus perhaps with a piece of resin on his fingertip.

2. So far I have not been able to locate the names of the four females who were present during the Crookes-Home experiments. Why Did Crookes not mention any of the names of those who were present in his reports?

Home is supposed to be the "great" of spiritualism, and the supposed medium who was never caught in fraud. If you visit any parapsychology or spiritualist forum you will see people claiming the Crookes experiments were sound and that Home scientifically had proven a "psychic force". Well as you can see above, the experiments were far from scientific

Please comment if you are interested in this subject.

Sources

Peter Lamont. (2005). The First Psychic: The Extraordinary Mystery of a Notorious Victorian Wizard.

Ruth Brandon. (1983). The Spiritualists: The Passion for the Occult in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

Frank Podmore (1910). The Newer Spiritualism.

Milbourne Christopher. (1970). ESP, Seers & Psychics.

Ronald Pearsall. (1972) Table-rappers: The Victorians and the Occult.

Nicola Bown, Carolyn Burdett and Pamela Thurschwell. (2009). The Victorian Supernatural (Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture).

William Hodson Brock. (2008). William Crookes (1832-1919) and the Commercialization of Science.

Also note that James Randi wrote a foreword to Gordon Stein. (1993). The Sorcerer of Kings: The Case of Daniel Dunglas Home and William Crookes - I have not read this book yet.

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Old 3rd May 2013, 06:42 PM   #2
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As I get time (which may not be a while), I will dig up my electronic copy of the JSPR on Home and will read your analysis in more detail. In the meantime, allow me to point out a detail that is a bit of a peeve for me: it is Daniel DUNGLAS Home. Not Douglas.

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Old 4th May 2013, 05:46 AM   #3
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My only experience with such things is reading accounts of Houdini, Randi, Gardner, etc.... And without bothering to posit a specific technique, it's easy to see that the conditions very strongly favored fakery.
The presence of other people who may or may not have been confederates, the poor lighting, the lack of controls, the venue itself...
No modern researcher would tolerate such conditions.
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Old 4th May 2013, 08:43 AM   #4
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Yes, it is DUNGLAS Home, but it was not on his birth certificate, according to Houdini in "A Magician Among the Spirits." Home added it because it was a name from Scottish royalty and he wanted to be associated with that old family.

The accordian trick, iirc, was really a couple of simple songs with few notes, most notably "Home Sweet Home" (cute ) and was done with a harmonica hidden beneath his "soup strainer" moustache. After his death, a number of small worn harmonicas were found among his possessions.

As for the rest, I don't remember, and my books are all packed away. But the above was what I recalled from Houdini's book. I also recall that rich peoples' rings were snatched from their fingers during seances and if caught, he would jokingly say that the "lovely spirits" were playing with the guests.

He and his supporters made a huge deal out of his never charging people, but he always accepted generous "donations" even when quite sizable.

I also recall that a rich lady adopted him, and later disowned him. I don't remember where I read that, tho.

As to the "never caught in fraud" I've read, I believe from Houdini, too, that people said he had been "caught cheating" but never formally convicted of actual fraud. Well, "caught cheating" is the same, really, just not taken to Court, right?

Nice thread! I'm sorry that for the moment my contribution is small.
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Last edited by Minarvia; 4th May 2013 at 08:50 AM. Reason: clarification and correction
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Old 4th May 2013, 05:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
The accordian trick, iirc, was really a couple of simple songs with few notes, most notably "Home Sweet Home" (cute ) and was done with a harmonica hidden beneath his "soup strainer" moustache. After his death, a number of small worn harmonicas were found among his possessions.
Yes this is possible, a small harmonica could have been used but it does not fit the evidence in my opinion. According to Crookes' report one hand of Home was under the table the entire time in a cage and the other was on top of the table in view of the sitters and was said not to move.

The thing is the Crookes report is unreliable so it is hard to know what to believe. As stated in my first post, Crookes in his report never revealed who was present in the room, it was only revealed after some of the names of the sitters present and four of the ladies remain unidentified from what I have read so far. The whole thing is rather strange.

The hand under the table of Home was not observed, anything could have been going on and the conditions were dark. I can't post pictures (yet) but there was quite a large hole in the cage under the table.

The harmonica was never found among his possessions. William Lindsay Gresham told Randi he had seem them, but this was never verified. Eric John Dingwall who catalogued Home's belongings did not find any harmonicas.

It is possible that Home used a small music box under the table or in his trousers, there was another fraud medium from the same time as Home known as Francis Ward Monck who was caught utilising a small music box in his trousers to pretend spirits were playing music in his séances.

Before the accordion feat in the Crookes experiments, Home had already been performing this feat for 15 years, so he knew what he was doing, he had plenty of experience.

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Old 5th May 2013, 10:32 AM   #6
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Yes, Crooke's did well controlled tests, as I recall reading somewhere. (I wish I could remember where), but there is speculation that Crooke's was biased toward spiritualism being real, and sometimes his controls were looser for some of his subjects.

As for the harmonicas being found or not found, I don't know what to conclude. They could have been stolen. Hells, even evidence for famous murder cases have cops stealing evidence for souvenirs. Black Dahlia missing evidence, anyone?

If someone had a great deal of experience, he could hide them in his mouth or under his moustache no matter how closely observed. Perhaps.

Of course the elaborate cages and other frippery used in the tests for Home and his kind to show their "power" are so extraordinary and elaborate that I'm sure no researcher today would tolerate such conditions, as Bikewer said. And such "flap-doodle" stunts ... oh, my! Lol! Spirits will stoop to no lengths to maintain any dignity, it seems.

You bring up great points, DoomMetal. I now want to dig further. My recollections are vague, but you are right about Crooke's report being unreliable. I recall that, too.

Do you know, off the top of your head, the name of the investigator who went to a house to see proof of the haunting of a little girl? He and his aids put talcum powder all over the floor and by every entrance and exit, and in the pitch dark (of course) he felt the form of a small naked girl who was supposedly a spirit? I don't want to derail, and may start a new thread, but for the life of me I cannot recall who he was. Harry somebody. I think. Regardless, I think they detected no fraud. I don't doubt that it was, but it went undetected at the time. Okay - end derail!
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Old 5th May 2013, 03:03 PM   #7
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Crookes' published his reports in the Quarterly Journal of Science (QJS). He was careful not to use the word "spirit" in his report because he didn't want his report to sound un-scientific.

Note that Crookes via his experiments with Home actually opposed the spirit hypothesis and claimed the phenomena was the result of a "psychic force" i.e. psychokinesis. This is in opposition to the spiritualist community and was actually in opposition to Home himself! It was only claimed many years later in a book Crookes published that Home in the experiments was "communicating" with spirits in the experiments and talking to them etc but of course Crookes left this out of his original report in this QJS because he didn't want to bring in spirits as he wanted to keep it "scientific".

The experiments took part in Crookes home built lab in the back of his house, hardly the best of places for a scientific experiment.

Quote:
Do you know, off the top of your head, the name of the investigator who went to a house to see proof of the haunting of a little girl? He and his aids put talcum powder all over the floor and by every entrance and exit, and in the pitch dark (of course) he felt the form of a small naked girl who was supposedly a spirit? I don't want to derail, and may start a new thread, but for the life of me I cannot recall who he was. Harry somebody. I think. Regardless, I think they detected no fraud. I don't doubt that it was, but it went undetected at the time. Okay - end derail!
The psychic researcher was Harry Price. I have read about this in detail. If you are interested you can read about the whole thing in his book Fifty Years of Psychical Research. The girl was called Rosalie, she had died at age six but their were reports of her coming through in a séance so Price went to investigate it.

Yes Price did put starch powder all over the floor, outside of the room and even in the chimney place. He moved all objects such as pictures and clocks outside of the room. He locked the door, and put tape on the windows.

There were six people present, but for some reason three of them were not searched. After a few minutes into the seance a little girl did appear, of course the room was in pitch darkness so anything could have been going on. Price wrote he felt the child, heard her breathing and could feel respiratory movements from her chest. Price even measured the pulse of the child.

When the lights were turned on, the child was not there and Price checked every part of the room for the child and found nothing and all the powder over the floor and in the chimney was undisturbed without any footprints and none of the tape on the windows had been removed. Price claimed he was the only one with a key, so nobody could have gotten in or out of the room during the séance.

The whole thing was a trick. I do know how it was done as after it had happened one of those who was in the séance confessed to having set the thing up and having used a child during the séance - this had not been widely reported. I could create a thread on this if you like

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Old 8th May 2013, 05:46 AM   #8
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Here is a sketch of Home in the accordion experiment. As you can see it looks like he could have easily gotten his arm in and out of the cage during the experiment:

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Old 8th May 2013, 05:24 PM   #9
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Ah! I've never seen that sketch. That cage is ridiculous. Of course it looks like he could get his arm out.

I wonder why someone didn't just firmly hold his hands or something like that. A cage is a lot of trouble.

I've really got to take time and find some material about the Crooke's test.

Thank you for Harry PRICE! Yes! That's the one. And as much as I tried to discover an aftermath, I never came across any report that it was a confessed hoax. I'll look into that book. I'm currently preparing my house to put on the market again, so my time and money for books is limited, but surely there is a place I find on the web about this now that you've reminded me of his name. I just may want a thread if there is more material on Price and other investigations that are ... interesting.
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Old 9th May 2013, 07:21 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Minarvia View Post
Ah! I've never seen that sketch. That cage is ridiculous. Of course it looks like he could get his arm out.

I wonder why someone didn't just firmly hold his hands or something like that. A cage is a lot of trouble.

I've really got to take time and find some material about the Crooke's test.

Thank you for Harry PRICE! Yes! That's the one. And as much as I tried to discover an aftermath, I never came across any report that it was a confessed hoax. I'll look into that book. I'm currently preparing my house to put on the market again, so my time and money for books is limited, but surely there is a place I find on the web about this now that you've reminded me of his name. I just may want a thread if there is more material on Price and other investigations that are ... interesting.
According to the Crookes' report both of Home's feet were held down but his hand on the top of the table was not. There was only one small lamp in the room and it was not on the table, and under the table was pitch dark. Yes very easy to use tricks. I am surprised how modern day parapsychologists still take the experiment seriously.

Another thing, after the experiments a rumour was spread in spiritualist publications that Home was not holding the accordion at all and it was levitating inside the cage for as long as 10 minutes it is amazing how dishonest the spiritualists are, of course no such thing ever happened but this myth is still occurring in modern spiritualist books.

Regarding Harry Price he is disliked by the spiritualists because he debunked many fraud mediums but also disliked by some of the modern sceptics. I like the man and think he was an honest psychic investigator. Of course he was not a professional magician or scientist so he was probably duped by a few things, but he was one of the first investigators to utilise scientific controls and methods to rule out trickery in the experiments he conducted like pouring powder over the floor or tying up the medium etc.

Price debunked the mediums Helen Duncan and Rudi Schneider. His work has been very useful and modern sceptics do actually quote his work now and again on exposing fraudulent mediums but unfortunately tend to ignore his other work.

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Old 12th May 2013, 04:29 AM   #11
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This took a long time to find, it is a sketch of the board and balance spring experiment.
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Old 13th May 2013, 12:50 PM   #12
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I really appreciate the time you took. That is fascinating! Do you know what book may have this? All mine are packed away, and I know that the only ones I have are by Home himself (yeah, so reliable! And I hadn't had time to read it yet) and the one by Houdini.

As I recall, Houdini also cited a claim that a group of people "witnessed" (I quoted that word because I don't think anyone actually claimed that they saw the entire event) Home float out of one window on a second story of a dwelling, glided alongside the structure, and then floated back inside via a window in another room.

I am going to try and refresh myself on the board and balance spring experiment. Again, if spirits were/are real they are very tolerant of such intricately silly tests.

As for Price, from his account of "Rosalie" that I do recall, I like the man, too. He obviously did not have cover all possible bases as he was fooled, but I think he did his best. He also has probably kept some names alive, successfully debunked or not, that may have been forgotten had he not pursued their claims.

I remember also reading about Eusapia Paladino (sp?) and how she was caught cheating numerous times, but the popular excuse for that was that because she was so desperate to not displease or disappoint her sitters she HAD to cheat sometimes. But, of course, all the other times she was not she was obviously NOT cheating.

I recall some cases in general, but not the mechanics by which they were tested. I really appreciate the time you have taken to help me further my own knowledge. I do recall Houdini's rubber-banding his leg to swell it so he could feel the slightest movement of a leg and even the muscles of the leg of the medium; was it Ms. Paladino? and also exposing the tricks of how "mediums" could use one of their hands in the dark serve as seeming like two. There was also a case where someone took a famous photograph in the middle of a session of a famous man's wife (whose name escapes me for the moment) while she was in a cabinet playing a trumpet that was expected to be attributed to spirits. Oh, was it ... darn it! I just had her name but as I was typing I forgot it.

I mainly recall Home as being a sneaky, oily little man who somehow charmed and cheated his way into many "donations" and into one old lady's heart until something occurred which made her cast him out of her home. I have to give him credit for fooling testers, tho, and having his skills perfected to the point where actually proving he was a fraud was made difficult.
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Old 14th May 2013, 05:20 AM   #13
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I really appreciate the time you took. That is fascinating! Do you know what book may have this? All mine are packed away, and I know that the only ones I have are by Home himself (yeah, so reliable! And I hadn't had time to read it yet) and the one by Houdini.

As I recall, Houdini also cited a claim that a group of people "witnessed" (I quoted that word because I don't think anyone actually claimed that they saw the entire event) Home float out of one window on a second story of a dwelling, glided alongside the structure, and then floated back inside via a window in another room.
The photographs appear in a number of books, but if you search for Barry H. Wiley. (2012). The Thought Reader Craze: Victorian Science at the Enchanted Boundary you can read it on Google books for free and there is an entire chapter on the Home experiments. Wiley does a good job at exposing the problems with the experiments. Wiley also in communication with a professional magician suggested that he cheated on the spring balance experiment with a piece of resin under his fingertip.

The spiritualists and psi believers have no interest in the truth, so they don't bother to read books on the subject other than the lies promoted in spiritualist publications. Spiritualists are a case of True-believer syndrome

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/True-believer_syndrome so no amount of evidence is going to convince them the contrary to their belief.

The Crookes-Home experiments are an embarrassment to parapsychology, even Crookes admitted they were not repeated. If it is not repeatable it is not science, so it amazes me how the modern parapsychologists still promote his old experiments as evidence for a "psychic force".

As previously stated Crookes lied and left things out of his original report. He did not reveal who was present during the experiments, it was only revealed years later who was involved. This is dishonest and not professional especially for a scientific report.

As for the levitation myth it is exactly that a myth, it never happened. I can touch on that later. Yes the levitation myth has been promoted in 100s if not 1000s of parapsychology and spiritualist publications as factual. The spiritualist crowd are not interested in the truth about what really happened instead they cling to pure fantasy
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Old 14th May 2013, 05:38 AM   #14
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I remember also reading about Eusapia Paladino (sp?) and how she was caught cheating numerous times, but the popular excuse for that was that because she was so desperate to not displease or disappoint her sitters she HAD to cheat sometimes. But, of course, all the other times she was not she was obviously NOT cheating.
Eusapia Palladino (yes also known as Paladino to some) was a complete fraud medium and it not even worth discussing in my opinion. Home was a clever medium, yes a fraud but was clever in what he did. I actually respect Home he would of made a great public magician!

As for Palladino she was caught cheating by over 30 different scientists in every country she was investigated in, there is no reason to take her seriously.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eusapia_Palladino

Even Oliver Lodge a confirmed spiritualist accepted Palladino was a fraud, as did most other spiritualists such as Richard Hodgson.

The only supporters of Palladino were Cesare Lombroso - But according to his daughter in his later years he could hardly see anything as his sight deteriorated, oh and Lombroso was in a sexual relationship with Palladino. And the other supporter was Hereward Carrington. Carrington was an amateur conjurer and accepted in his own words that 98% of mediumship was fraud but believed 2% was genuine and of course he accepted that Palladino herself cheated as much as 90% of the time, but believed she had a 10% of supernormal powers of being able to levitate a table... lol yes it is hard to take seriously. I actually like Carrington It is a shame he made a monkey of himself with the Palladino business.

The levitation trick has been exposed, Palladino was just using her feet and she objected for anyone to be under the table but Joseph Rinn the magician snuck into one of her séances dressed in black and observed her trick from under the table.

As for why any modern parapsychologist would give any attention to Palladino, it is because Hereward Carrington was an amateur conjurer and was rather sceptical of mediumship (he accepted 98% of it was fraud) but when it came to Palladino he admitted she had some genuine "supernormal" ability. Its already been exposed, in the Carrington experiments with Palladino nobody was observing her feet, there were a lack of scientific controls in place, the experiment took place in a dark hotel room! Yes it still amazes me how anyone can take this seriously in the 21st century.

It has been suggested by some researchers that Carrington was personally in a relationship with Palladino and that he acted as a secret accomplice with her, well that is complete nonsense in my opinion. Carrington was not a professional magician, he was duped by Palladino in this case that is all... especially as the controls were so poor in the experiments. Carrington I actually respect he wrote some good books on conjurer tricks, he was not an expert like Houdini or Joseph Rinn but he knew his stuff.

Btw if you search for any of the supposed Palladino "levitation" table photographs you will notice that Palladino always had a long dress, it was pitch dark, nobody was under the table observing or holding her feet down and that in not one photo are all chair legs visible or in the air. As I said it is amazing how anyone can take this seriously in the 21st century but some parapsychologists still do! During the levitation experiments Palladino would free her feet from her shoes, that is all she did. And modern parapsychologists claim she proved levitation or psychokinesis... lol. It is hard to take some modern parapsychologists seriously

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Old 14th May 2013, 05:56 AM   #15
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Here is an interesting article by Houdini from 1925 on fake mediums.

http://www.libertymagazine.com/icons_houdini.htm
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Old 15th May 2013, 09:25 AM   #16
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Quote:
There was also a case where someone took a famous photograph in the middle of a session of a famous man's wife (whose name escapes me for the moment) while she was in a cabinet playing a trumpet that was expected to be attributed to spirits. Oh, was it ... darn it! I just had her name but as I was typing I forgot it.
There have not been many trumpet mediums, like all physical mediumship it was an early fad based on fraud and by the 1950s reports of it had died out.

The most well known trumpet mediums were Jack Webber, Etta Wriedt and George Valiantine all were exposed as frauds. Out of the three Wriedt was most interesting, she mixed chemicals inside the trumpet to make "explosion" sounds and movement of the trumpet which she attributed to spirits. She used metallic potassium and in other cases Lycopodium. A clever trick

I would be interested in knowing if you remember the name of the medium you are thinking about. The book Behind the Scenes With the Mediums (1907) by the magician David Abbott exposes many of the tricks of early mediums especially the cabinet tricks, you can find it free online if you are interested.
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Old 16th May 2013, 02:55 PM   #17
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Some interesting stuff on trumpet mediums:

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There were many trumpet tricks. If the medium's hands were not controlled (a practice intended to prevent trickery) he or she could simply move the trumpet about, a rubber tube being attached through which the medium spoke. Sometimes, a removable luminous band was employed and moved about at the end of a telescoping rod. In these instances, the whispered voices did not actually emanate from the trumpet; the illusion that they did worked on the ventriloquism principle: it is not easy to locate the source of a sound, especially if misdirection takes place. If controlled, the medium had clever techniques of getting one hand free or could use a secret assistant dressed all in black. (For a discussion of trumpet and other séance trickery, see M. Lamar Keene, Psychic Mafia, Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 1997; and Walter Gibson, Secrets of Magic, New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1967.)
http://www.skeptiseum.org/index.php?id=42&cat=ghosts

You can find the book Psychic Mafia by M. Lamar Keene which exposed many of the tricks of fraud mediums free online:

http://www.drspeg.com/courses/00-paranormal/tpm.pdf

Quote:
Keene and Spraggett's book caused a storm among his former associates in spiritualist circles. There were telephone cals threatening his life. One night, while walking across his front lawn in Tampa, an unseen shooter fired at him and missed, and he later dug the rifle bullet out of the wall of his house.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._Lamar_Keene

The spiritualists were so insecure and angry that their tricks had been exposed they tried to kill Keene.

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Old 24th May 2013, 09:20 PM   #18
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Thank you for all the links! I will get to them asap. I'm still preparing my house for sale, but I came back here because I had to tell you how much I appreciate your help and info here.

Anyway, I think I (again) had my mediums mixed up. But the name I was trying to think of who was exposed on camera blowing a trumpet or some such thing (tho I can't find the pic right now), if indeed it was her, was Margery. I'm sure you know who she is. I can only recall right now that she was beautiful, often exposed her body during some seances, and her husband aided her in trickery and deceit.

Wasn't it about that time that Home and the rest all of a sudden sprang up out of nowhere? I mean, first there were the Fox Sisters, and then all of a sudden "mediums" were everywhere! Even an awful lady named Mrs. Guppy who wanted to disfigure a lovely rival. I think her name was Florence?

Anyway, I'll try to get my hands on those books. I do recall borrowing one from my local library many years ago and it covered all the early mediums. It detailed all of the cheesecloth regurgitators, the magazine cut-out apparitions, the story of the pirate "King" and his daughter "Katie." How could ANYONE ever have been fooled by such hokum?

And now I'm off to check out your links. Thank you so much!
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Old 25th May 2013, 04:25 AM   #19
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Hi again Minarvia, thanks for your interest in my thread. As you can see from the lack of response, not many other users are interested in such stuff like this! And probably have no idea what is being discussed lol.

The book that you were thinking of from your library was probably The Spiritualists written by Ruth Brandon in the early 1980s or the book The Table Rappers by Ronald Pearsall from 1972. Both are the "common" books on spiritualism and both debunk practically every Victorian medium and document their tricks. I have not seen many any other books on spiritualism in libraries.

Quote:
But the name I was trying to think of who was exposed on camera blowing a trumpet or some such thing (tho I can't find the pic right now), if indeed it was her, was Margery. I'm sure you know who she is. I can only recall right now that she was beautiful, often exposed her body during some seances, and her husband aided her in trickery and deceit.
This indeed was Mina Crandon, who also went by the name "Margery". Yes she was described as beautiful but in her later years she put a heck a lot of weight on and died an alcoholic!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mina_Crandon

Crandon did on occasion use a cabinet, but I can't seem to find any reference for the trumpet. Crandon was discredited when she was caught in fraud many times most notably her "spirit" hand was a piece of animal liver.

Houndi and many other researchers exposed her tricks.

She was also caught out in fraud when it was revealed the "spirit" fingerprints left on wax in her séances actually belonged to her living dentist. She was quite a clever fraud but not as clever as some of the others in my opinion.

And many psychical researchers were in a sexual relationship with Crandon even though she was married. She would pose naked in her séances to Eric Dingwall. She had an affair with Hereward Carrington. Malcolm bird was stage managing some of the séances with Crandon in an attempt to sleep with her. Crandon's husband displayed nude photographs of Mina in her own séances!

It was also suggested even Houdini was in a sexual relationship with Mina Crandon but I do not think this is true. Having said that there are still to this very day naked photographs of Mina Crandon which sell for a lot of money amongst Houdini collectors, weird stuff
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Old 25th May 2013, 10:26 AM   #20
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Actually, DoomMetal, I am very interested in the thread. I had intended to participate because I thought myself fairly well informed on the matter, but two things happened: I ended up with less available time than anticipated, and it turns out I could contribute little if anything to what has been said.

So I'm enjoying the reading and will look up the links as I get time.

Cheers
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Old 25th May 2013, 10:32 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Garrette View Post
Actually, DoomMetal, I am very interested in the thread. I had intended to participate because I thought myself fairly well informed on the matter, but two things happened: I ended up with less available time than anticipated, and it turns out I could contribute little if anything to what has been said.

So I'm enjoying the reading and will look up the links as I get time.

Cheers
Hi Garrette no worries at all, I understand people are busy. I just finished college so I have a lot of free time on my hands, probably too much free time! I am researching Home's levitation myth and hopefully I will be able to cover that soon in this thread. So for any readers interested, stay tuned.
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Old 25th May 2013, 01:38 PM   #22
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Even an awful lady named Mrs. Guppy who wanted to disfigure a lovely rival.
There are absolutely hundreds of mediums from around 1880-1940. If I was getting paid I would spend more time looking into them to debunk them, but too many exist. I have no time to look into any new ones, it is a very addictive subject and I have wasted far too much time looking into it. There are only a handful including Home that I continue to research. See my thread on Victor Zammit for a debunking of mediums like Mina Crandon, Helen Duncan, Jack Webber etc.

I have discovered with about 30% of the mediums from that period that no skeptical coverage exists of their claims. They were never investigated by psychical researchers or scientists, so it is hard to verify or do an analyse on their claims and look at the conditions and controls etc that were in place in their séance. All we have is far fetched claims from the spiritualists, not proof and as most spiritualistic mediums have been caught in fraud it is hard to take their words at face value.

And yes if you read the spiritualist literature, you will see all kinds of wild supernatural claims without any critical coverage. I have read everything from mediums claiming that they "materialized" stones, gems, rings and even animals out of thin air. There was even a medium who claimed to produce an ectoplasm materialization of a giraffe! Another spiritualist book I read claimed a man teleported 40 miles away out of the séance room. Of course it is all hearsay from the spiritualists, and there is no scientific proof of these claims.

Franck Kluski is a typical example. The spiritualists claim he scientifically produced materialization spirits of animals but only a handful on convinced spiritualists investigated him. There were no scientific controls in place, anything could have been going on. If you google search Kluski you will notice a handful of photographs showing him in séance with a bird and some other weird looking people covered in cloth. Kluski is not mentioned in a single skeptical book on mediumship or spiritualism.

We do happen to know that Gustav Geley the spiritualist who investigated Kluski was caught in fraud with another medium Eva C. It is very likely that Kluski just snuck a bird into his séance room and could have had a secret accomplice. The medium Charles Bailey (1870-1947) was caught in the act of that very trick sneaking birds into the séance room. Unless I see proof of fraud like I have documented in my other posts I don't go about claiming all mediums are frauds. There is enough evidence that Home was a fraud, contrary to what spiritualists have accused me of I don't just say all mediums are frauds, I look at the evidence as objective as I can, unlike them

The sad truth is that most mediums who have been investigated by scientists or other psychical researchers (including the SPR) have been discovered to be a fraud. So when you add it all up it is unlikely that spirits in mediumship exist. I say unlikely, not impossible. I have no agenda at all and if spirits were proven in mediumship I would be more than happy. I am sure most people would want to receive evidence for survival... but unfortunately after years of study into mediumship and spiritualism and after spending much money on hundreds of books, articles and papers and even attending a few séances myself I have not seen anything but cheap fraud i.e. cheese-cloth, conjurer tricks, guesses or cold reading.

Overall there is no conclusive evidence for mediumship, most skeptics would tell you that without even researching the subject and they are correct but I wanted to read into it deeply and see for myself.

One of the best books debunking countless mediums is the book by the magician Joseph Rinn Sixty Years of Psychical Research published in 1950. The book is out of print, but I may put it online one day.

If you have some spare time you can also read Is Spiritualism Based on Fraud? by the skeptic Joseph McCabe, it was published in 1920. McCabe debated the spiritualist Arthur Conan Doyle on frauds in mediumship and documented his evidence in the book, he won the debate. He debunked practically every popular medium in spiritualism of that era including Home, Leonora Piper and Eusapia Palladino. No spiritualist had ever been able to respond to the book. I did send the book to a spiritualist once and he told me he isn't reading it because the author Joseph McCabe was an atheist...

The book is free online

http://www.archive.org/stream/isspir...ge/n3/mode/2up

As for Mrs Guppy (real name Agnes Guppy-Volckman) she is another example of spiritualist hearsay. The spiritualists claim she teleported 3 miles outside of her house during a séance.

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Old 25th May 2013, 02:46 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by DoomMetal View Post
There are absolutely hundreds of mediums from around 1880-1940. If I was getting paid I would spend more time looking into them to debunk them, but too many exist. I have no time to look into any new ones, it is a very addictive subject and I have wasted far too much time looking into it. There are only a handful including Home that I continue to research. See my thread on Victor Zammit for a debunking of mediums like Mina Crandon, Helen Duncan, Jack Webber etc.

I have discovered with about 30% of the mediums from that period that no skeptical coverage exists of their claims. They were never investigated by psychical researchers or scientists, so it is hard to verify or do an analyse on their claims and look at the conditions and controls etc that were in place in their séance. All we have is far fetched claims from the spiritualists, not proof and as most spiritualistic mediums have been caught in fraud it is hard to take their words at face value.

And yes if you read the spiritualist literature, you will see all kinds of wild supernatural claims without any critical coverage. I have read everything from mediums claiming that they "materialized" stones, gems, rings and even animals out of thin air. There was even a medium who claimed to produce an ectoplasm materialization of a giraffe! Another spiritualist book I read claimed a man teleported 40 miles away out of the séance room. Of course it is all hearsay from the spiritualists, and there is no scientific proof of these claims.

Franck Kluski is a typical example. The spiritualists claim he scientifically produced materialization spirits of animals but only a handful on convinced spiritualists investigated him. There were no scientific controls in place, anything could have been going on. If you google search Kluski you will notice a handful of photographs showing him in séance with a bird and some other weird looking people covered in cloth. Kluski is not mentioned in a single skeptical book on mediumship or spiritualism.

We do happen to know that Gustav Geley the spiritualist who investigated Kluski was caught in fraud with another medium Eva C. It is very likely that Kluski just snuck a bird into his séance room and could have had a secret accomplice. The medium Charles Bailey (1870-1947) was caught in the act of that very trick sneaking birds into the séance room. Unless I see proof of fraud like I have documented in my other posts I don't go about claiming all mediums are frauds. There is enough evidence that Home was a fraud, contrary to what spiritualists have accused me of I don't just say all mediums are frauds, I look at the evidence as objective as I can, unlike them

The sad truth is that most mediums who have been investigated by scientists or other psychical researchers (including the SPR) have been discovered to be a fraud. So when you add it all up it is unlikely that spirits in mediumship exist. I say unlikely, not impossible. I have no agenda at all and if spirits were proven in mediumship I would be more than happy. I am sure most people would want to receive evidence for survival... but unfortunately after years of study into mediumship and spiritualism and after spending much money on hundreds of books, articles and papers and even attending a few séances myself I have not seen anything but cheap fraud i.e. cheese-cloth, conjurer tricks, guesses or cold reading.

Overall there is no conclusive evidence for mediumship, most skeptics would tell you that without even researching the subject and they are correct but I wanted to read into it deeply and see for myself.

One of the best books debunking countless mediums is the book by the magician Joseph Rinn Sixty Years of Psychical Research published in 1950. The book is out of print, but I may put it online one day.

If you have some spare time you can also read Is Spiritualism Based on Fraud? by the skeptic Joseph McCabe, it was published in 1920. McCabe debated the spiritualist Arthur Conan Doyle on frauds in mediumship and documented his evidence in the book, he won the debate. He debunked practically every popular medium in spiritualism of that era including Home, Leonora Piper and Eusapia Palladino. No spiritualist had ever been able to respond to the book. I did send the book to a spiritualist once and he told me he isn't reading it because the author Joseph McCabe was an atheist...

The book is free online

http://www.archive.org/stream/isspir...ge/n3/mode/2up

As for Mrs Guppy (real name Agnes Guppy-Volckman) she is another example of spiritualist hearsay. The spiritualists claim she teleported 3 miles outside of her house during a séance.
I am really enjoying this book. Thank you for the link. I find this stuff fascinating and I appreciate your efforts to gather data for us to explore.
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Old 26th May 2013, 02:00 PM   #24
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This is indeed fascinating! And yes, DoomMetal, the book I read when it was new (wow, it was THAT long ago!) was "The Spiritualists."

I remember all sorts of silly things that were claimed that people believed. If Home was in this book (I can't recall at the moment) I don't remember if his levitation trick was mentioned or not, nor his musical "concertinas." But, iirc, he never did the really stupid "ectoplasm" nonsense. I think he was too smart and knew that if touched or analysed cheesecloth and egg would be discovered. Well, either that or he did not want to learn how to regurgitate on command. I mean...UGH! That can't feel good.

I do recall one parlour trick that involved the usual darkness, and then a woman would gently push cloth out from under a table until it began to be noticeable, and then she would carefully stand up while blending it with her clothing to simulate a spiritual manifestation. One gentleman skeptic recalled that he felt bad for a lady one time when she stumbled on her cloth, or something like that, and he had to hold himself back from helping her up!

And hardly anybody save Houdini, McCabe, Price, and a few other critical people, gave thought to why spirits would require elaborate set-ups, cabinets, slates they could write on under tables, stools that they could make dance (according to a man named Kardec), and so many other undignified tricks.

Yes, there were so many "mediums" that I doubt we know who they all were. And how many more attempted to get in on the money-making fad and failed? Likely hundreds more.

It's obviously many people were fooled, but I like to think that many sitters realised that what they were seeing was entertaining spooky fun. At least I hope so.

Wow, this topic IS fun! I add my thanks to Apology's that you are taking so much time to help the rest of us become more informed, DoomMetal.
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Old 2nd June 2013, 05:11 PM   #25
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Minarvia unfortunately (if that the right word! ) the Rosalie séance where a small girl was have said to have materialized looks like it never happened according to most psychical researchers.

It will be very long to go into this now but in brief. The skeptical psychical researchers Trevor H. Hall and Eric Dingwall went all around the area that the séance in the house described by Price was supposed to have been at. They could not find the house and Price in his notes described the house very specifically i.e. very precise details. Price did not give an exact address and both Dingwall and Hall received no clarification or contact from any of the séance sitters involved when they researched into it. Hall claimed Price made the entire thing up. They say Price made it up to make some money or seek attention.

The entire thing is a mystery to this very day. I don't think it was made up. I'm a tad busy at the moment but I will create an entire thread on it when I get the time.

You might be interested in this publication. It was published in a journal by the Society for Psychical research

Medhurst, R.G. HARRY PRICE AND ‘ROSALIE’, Journal 43, 1965-66, pp. 201-9

Defends the independent psychical researcher against allegations that he invented the account of a materialisation séance described in one of his books. During the séance he claimed to have witnessed the materialisation of a six-year-old girl, a regular visitor to séances attended by her mother.
See also pp. 327-9, 382-3.

As I said in one of my first posts I am convinced the Rosalie séance took place and it was a trick, the reason I say this is because a witness came forward and wrote a letter and admitted how it was done. This is very rare stuff that not many people know about. I am currently looking into it deeper and will inform you what I have dug up.

As for Home's accordion songs it could well have been a small music box hidden in his trousers, it could easily be played without his hands. Another medium at the time period of Home known as Francis Monck was caught utilizing the very trick. He hid a small music-box in his trousers and activated it by moving his leg.

Remember the accordion of Home only played two limited songs. Ruth Brandon in her book suggested that Home may have had a secret accomplice playing the songs in the room. Contrary to what spiritualists have written the room was not brightly lit, there was only limited lighting in the room and much of the room was dark. Why did Home only reveal those who were present in the room only years later? Why were the names omitted from his reports? Lots of questions.
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Old 6th June 2013, 02:37 PM   #26
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This is the truth about Home's "levitation".

Joseph McCabe wrote this (I have highlighted in bold the main points):

"[According to the spiritualists] Daniel Dunglas Home was, in the year 1869, wafted by spirit hands from one window to another, seventy feet above
the ground, at a house in Victoria Street, But here I must ask him to pause. This is one of the classical manifestations, one of the foundations of Spiritualism. Sir A. C. Doyle says that the evidence here is excellent. Sir William Barrett maintains that the story is indisputably true. Sir William Crookes says that " to reject the recorded evidence on this subject is to reject all human testimony whatever." It is a Spiritualist dogma.

I have shown in the debate with Sir A. C. Doyle that this dogma is based on evidence that will not stand five minutes' examination. Not one of these leading Spiritualists can possibly have examined the evidence. No witness even claims to have seen Home wafted from window to window. Lord Adare is the only survivor of the three supposed witnesses, and, when he saw some Press report of my destructive criticism in the Debate, he sent to the Weekly Dispatch a letter that he had written at the time. He seemed to think that this letter afforded new evidence. The interested reader will be amused to find that this letter is precisely the evidence I had quoted in the Debate, for it was published forty years ago.

No one professes to have seen Home carried from window to window. Home told the three men who were present that he was going to be wafted, and he thus set up a state of very nervous expectation. Sir W. Barrett, who tells us that " nothing was said beforehand of what they might expect to see," says precisely the opposite of the truth. Both Lord Crawford and Lord Adare say that they were warned. Then Lord Crawford says that he saw the shadow on the wall of Home entering the room horizontally ; and as the moon, by whose light he professes to have seen the shadow, was at the most only three days old, his testimony is absolutely worthless. Lord Adare claims only that he saw Home, in the dark, "standing upright outside our window." In the dark—it was an almost moonless December night—one could not, as a matter of fact, say very positively whether Home was outside or inside ; but, in any case, he acknowledges that there was a nineteen-inch window-sill outside the window, and Home could stand on that.

So there is not only not a shred of evidence that Home went from one window to another, but the whole story suggests trickery. Home told them what to expect, and he pretended, in the dark, that he was a "spirit" whispering this to them. He noisily opened the window in the next room. He came into their room, from the window-sill, laughing and saying (in spite of the historic solemnity of the occasion !) that it would be funny if a policeman had seen him in the air. When Lord Adare went into the next room, and politely doubted if Home could have gone out by so small an aperture, Home told him to stand some distance back, and then swung himself out in a jaunty fashion, as a gymnast would. In fine, it is well to remember that this was the same D. D. Home who had defrauded a widow of £33,000, and had been, in the previous year (1868), branded in a London court as a fraud and an adventurer."

Source:

Is Spiritualism Based On Fraud? The Evidence Given by Sir A. C. Doyle and Others Drastically Examined by Joseph McCabe (1920).

Online: http://archive.org/stream/isspiritua...ge/n3/mode/2up

So contrary to what you might read from the spiritualists the levitation didn't happen in front of anyone! Home was in one room and his friends were in another. Home cried out to his friends that spirits were "levitating" him and carrying him out the window. He then "appeared" at the next window and entered the room. All he did was open the window, step onto the ledge, and then step onto the ledge of the next window. The ledge (window sill) was 19 inches!

That is all there is to it! But spiritualists continue to peddle the lie that he was levitated out of the window 75 feet above the ground and into the middle of the street...

Now if we do further research we discover this:

Two days before the supposed "levitation" Home had opened the same window, and stepped on the ledge outside of it and remained standing there where Lord Linsay observed him in the street below. Thus Home already had a sketch of his levitation trick and had tested that the ledge was safe to stand on.

Source:

The Evidence for the Supernatural: A Critical Study Made With "Uncommon Sense by Dr. Ivor Lloyd Tuckett (1911).

Online: http://www.archive.org/stream/eviden...ge/n5/mode/2up

It amazes me how some people still believe his levitation was real. Then again the spiritualists don't do proper research and are not interested in the truth about their fraudulent mediums

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Old 6th June 2013, 05:50 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by DoomMetal View Post
This is the truth about Home's "levitation".

Joseph McCabe wrote this (I have highlighted in bold the main points):

"[According to the spiritualists] Daniel Dunglas Home was, in the year 1869, wafted by spirit hands from one window to another, seventy feet above
the ground, at a house in Victoria Street, But here I must ask him to pause. This is one of the classical manifestations, one of the foundations of Spiritualism. Sir A. C. Doyle says that the evidence here is excellent. Sir William Barrett maintains that the story is indisputably true. Sir William Crookes says that " to reject the recorded evidence on this subject is to reject all human testimony whatever." It is a Spiritualist dogma.

I have shown in the debate with Sir A. C. Doyle that this dogma is based on evidence that will not stand five minutes' examination. Not one of these leading Spiritualists can possibly have examined the evidence. No witness even claims to have seen Home wafted from window to window. Lord Adare is the only survivor of the three supposed witnesses, and, when he saw some Press report of my destructive criticism in the Debate, he sent to the Weekly Dispatch a letter that he had written at the time. He seemed to think that this letter afforded new evidence. The interested reader will be amused to find that this letter is precisely the evidence I had quoted in the Debate, for it was published forty years ago.

No one professes to have seen Home carried from window to window. Home told the three men who were present that he was going to be wafted, and he thus set up a state of very nervous expectation. Sir W. Barrett, who tells us that " nothing was said beforehand of what they might expect to see," says precisely the opposite of the truth. Both Lord Crawford and Lord Adare say that they were warned. Then Lord Crawford says that he saw the shadow on the wall of Home entering the room horizontally ; and as the moon, by whose light he professes to have seen the shadow, was at the most only three days old, his testimony is absolutely worthless. Lord Adare claims only that he saw Home, in the dark, "standing upright outside our window." In the dark—it was an almost moonless December night—one could not, as a matter of fact, say very positively whether Home was outside or inside ; but, in any case, he acknowledges that there was a nineteen-inch window-sill outside the window, and Home could stand on that.

So there is not only not a shred of evidence that Home went from one window to another, but the whole story suggests trickery. Home told them what to expect, and he pretended, in the dark, that he was a "spirit" whispering this to them. He noisily opened the window in the next room. He came into their room, from the window-sill, laughing and saying (in spite of the historic solemnity of the occasion !) that it would be funny if a policeman had seen him in the air. When Lord Adare went into the next room, and politely doubted if Home could have gone out by so small an aperture, Home told him to stand some distance back, and then swung himself out in a jaunty fashion, as a gymnast would. In fine, it is well to remember that this was the same D. D. Home who had defrauded a widow of £33,000, and had been, in the previous year (1868), branded in a London court as a fraud and an adventurer."

Source:

Is Spiritualism Based On Fraud? The Evidence Given by Sir A. C. Doyle and Others Drastically Examined by Joseph McCabe (1920).

Online: http://archive.org/stream/isspiritua...ge/n3/mode/2up

So contrary to what you might read from the spiritualists the levitation didn't happen in front of anyone! Home was in one room and his friends were in another. Home cried out to his friends that spirits were "levitating" him and carrying him out the window. He then "appeared" at the next window and entered the room. All he did was open the window, step onto the ledge, and then step onto the ledge of the next window. The ledge (window sill) was 19 inches!

That is all there is to it! But spiritualists continue to peddle the lie that he was levitated out of the window 75 feet above the ground and into the middle of the street...

Now if we do further research we discover this:

Two days before the supposed "levitation" Home had opened the same window, and stepped on the ledge outside of it and remained standing there where Lord Linsay observed him in the street below. Thus Home already had a sketch of his levitation trick and had tested that the ledge was safe to stand on.

Source:

The Evidence for the Supernatural: A Critical Study Made With "Uncommon Sense by Dr. Ivor Lloyd Tuckett (1911).

Online: http://www.archive.org/stream/eviden...ge/n5/mode/2up

It amazes me how some people still believe his levitation was real. Then again the spiritualists don't do proper research and are not interested in the truth about their fraudulent mediums
I remember hearing about the in and out Window trick of D.D. Home. I even remember hearing about how all the true believers "forget" about the 19 inch ledge! I didn't know about someone seeing D.D. Home practicing this deception two days before!

I wonder do you have any interesting information to share about Home's more usual levitation tricks. Such as him allegedly floating to the ceilings of darken rooms? This sort of stuff was sworn to by so many who often failed to say that the room was very dark at the time, and that they only "knew" he was floating because he left a mark on the ceiling or his voice sounded "faint".
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Old 25th June 2013, 09:03 AM   #28
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Quote:
I wonder do you have any interesting information to share about Home's more usual levitation tricks. Such as him allegedly floating to the ceilings of darken rooms? This sort of stuff was sworn to by so many who often failed to say that the room was very dark at the time, and that they only "knew" he was floating because he left a mark on the ceiling or his voice sounded "faint".
I do have some of that information, it is featured in the books of Joseph McCabe, also Edward Clodd discussed some of it. I will get round to typing some of it up. At the moment I have been reading a book called The Table-Rappers by Ronald Pearsall. Here are some things he has written:

On pages 95-96 he writes:

Quote:
Home's spirit hands seemed to be long kid gloves stuffed with some substance, and Browning thought that they were fixed to Home's feet. This was a device of some mediums, and in the dim light of the séance actual feet could simulate spirit hands, especially those of children or not quite materialised hands. Even when adjacent sitters were keeping their feet on the medium's shoes this could be accomplished by the use of metal toe-caps on the medium's boots. The foot could also double for a spirit baby. This could be strapped to the medium's belt until needed, or to the leg a few inches above the ankle. When the séance lights 'accidentally' went out, the medium could thrust a stocking foot into the dummy hand, and by resting the foot on the other knee, the spirit hand or spirit baby could peep over the table in an astounding manner.
Here is what Pearsall writes about the accordion trick of Home on page 88:

Quote:
The two most prominent instruments at séances were probably the guitar and the accordion. The latter was one of Home's favourite props: his special instrument was ornately-decorated, with a very short keyboard. Its shape was dumpy and squat more like a concertina than an accordion. Except when it was playing by itself away from everyone, he held it beneath a table, his hands away from the keys. Stage conjurors, the most damaging witnesses against séance tricks, explained how it could be done. The accordion was on a loop of catgut, by which means Home could turn the accordion round. There was also on the market a self-playing accordion.
His suggestion that the accordion was attached on a loop of catgut I have never heard of before, this is entirely feasible. The suggestion however about a self-playing accordion is not likely in my opinion. Home had never seen the accordion before Crookes gave it to him, apparently the accordion was brand new and it was not a self-playing one. Unless Crookes was in on the hoax, or somehow the accordion was swapped throughout the experiment but this is not likely in my opinion either.

Crookes was a sloppy researcher (he left things out of his report) and was duped by these tricks but he was not that much of a dishonest scientist from what I have read. I wouldn't rule out a secret accomplice but the swapping of an entire accordion is a bit far fetched but I understand the room was quite dark so anything really could have been going on.

As already stated Home had already been performing his accordion feat for over 15 years before the Crookes experiments, so he was well experienced and had performed the trick many times before the experiments, he knew what he was doing.

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Old 25th June 2013, 09:21 AM   #29
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Here is something else Ronald Pearsall writes that is interesting:

Quote:
The zither music heard at Stainton Moses' séances could have been produced quite easily. Musical-boxes had become extremely sophisticated, and were being made with a zither attachment, tissue paper in a metal holder that dropped on to the comb of a musical box and modified the sound to give a very good impression of a zither. Small musical-boxes were strapped to the leg of the medium, and it is not necessary to stress again the difficulty of determining from where a sound was proceeding. Self-playing guitars were constructed by inserting into the body of the instrument a small musical-box. Guitars were also useful for concealing the medium's bric-a-brac, such as gauze or muslin, or small apports.
Mediums of the period such as Stainton Moses, Francis Ward Monck or Henry Slade were all using music boxes in their trousers or attached to their leg to dupe their sitters into believing "spirits" were playing music. The music box could be played without the need for hands. It is entirely possible that Home's accordion trick was just a music box attached to his leg or concealed in his trousers. Nobody searched Home's clothes before or after the experiment. Such sloppy scientific controls
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Old 25th June 2013, 11:11 AM   #30
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Thumbs up

It appears there are more problems for Home's 'famous' levitation. Ronald Pearsall writes:

Quote:
The whole business is bogged down with errors and contradictions. In his account, Adare stated that it was all taking place on the third floor; later he said it was on the first floor. The Master of Lindsay, one of the audience, estimated the height from the ground at eighty-five feet; in fact it was thirty-five to forty feet. There was also uncertainty to where it all took place, either 5 Buckingham Place, or Ashley House, Victoria Street. Compared with this, the disagreement as to whether the outside ledge was four inches (Adare) or an inch and a half (Lindsay) was marginal. The outside world was, understandably, sceptical about these events. W. M. Thackeray asked why Home did not levitate in daylight? His 'admirers would then see his gracious countenance smiling benignantly upon their upturned faces'. The Saturday Review, considered Home 'a weak, credulous, half-educated, fanatical person, born, bred, and educated in wonderful stories, who has lived from his earliest years in an atmosphere and mirage of dreaming. The witnesses, few in number and almost entirely unknown, are much in the same condition'.
Pearsall has done some good research here and as I mentioned earlier there was a nineteen-inch window-sill outside the window, most spiritualists books ignore this.

According to some sources the levitation took place at Victoria Street, whilst others say at 5, Buckingham Gate. !!

Here are just some of the contradictory sources which mention Home's levitation, some claim different locations, different dates and different details such as on a different floor etc!

Colwyn Edward Vulliamy in his book The Polderoy Papers writes:

Quote:
The famous "levitation" of Home took place at 5, Buckingham Gate on December 16, 1868, in the presence of two gullible aristocrats, Lord Lindsay and Lord Adare.
So it was the 16th of December? At 5 Buckingham Gate?

Harry Price writes in his book Fifty Years of Psychical Research:

Quote:
The most famous case of a levitating medium is that of D. D. Home, as recorded by Viscount Adare in Experiences in Spiritualism with Mr. D. D. Home.36 This took place on December 13, 1868, at Ashley House, Victoria Street, London.
So it was on the 13th December at Ashley House, Victoria Steet?

Walter Semkiw writes in his book Return of the Revolutionaries:

Quote:
Home's most famous levitation occurred on December 16, 1867, at Ashley House in London, which was owned by the Adare family.
The date and year are different according to this source! 1867? I thought it was 1868?

Lewis Spence writes in his book Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology:

Quote:
It was witnessed on December 13, 1868, at Ashley House, Victoria Street London, in the presence of Lord Adare, the Master of Lindsay and Charles Wynne, Lord Adare's cousin.
So it was the 13th?

Jean Porche, Deborah Vaughan wrote in their book Psychics and Mediums in Canada

Quote:
Home's most celebrated act of levitation took place on December 13, 1868, and was witnessed by two earls and a military captain. That day, in broad daylight, Home was observed to levitate and float out of a third-floor window of Ashley House, where the séance was taking place and return through a second window.
They are telling lies here! In broad daylight!? I don't think so! One of the actual reports claim moonlight.

Arthur Conan Doyle writes in his book The History of Spiritualism:

Quote:
On December 16 when at Ashley House Home, in a state of trance, floated out the bedroom and into the sitting-room window, passing seventy feet about the street.
No witnesses directly saw Home float of the bedroom, and what evidence is there Home was in a state of trance?!

Daniel Cohen in his book Masters of the Occult writes:

Quote:
The most famous of these levitations, and probably the most celebrated single mediumistic feat in modern history took place on December 16, 1868, on the fourth floor of Ashley House on Victoria Street in London.
The fourth floor? But others say it was the first or the third

Roy Stemman writes in his book One Hundred Years of Spiritualism:

Quote:
His most celebrated psychic feat took place on December 13, 1868 at Ashley House, Victoria Street, London.
The 13th December, the data has changed again! I thought it was the 16th!

Slater Brown in his book The Heyday of Spiritualism writes:

Quote:
The incident occurred on the fourth floor of Ashley House in London, on Victoria Street, where Home had proposed a séance in a small room overlooking the street.
Fourth floor, but others say it was the first or the third?

Raymond Buckland in his book Doors to other Worlds writes:

Quote:
Perhaps the most famous of Home's feats was his levitation out of one window and in at another, seventy feet above the ground. It occurred at Ashley House, Victoria Street, London.
75 feet? Other sources contradict this claim.

Edwin A. Dawes in his book The Great Illusionists writes:

Quote:
A new development of the levitation illusion stemmed from the most famous and controversial of the phenomena of the medium Daniel Dunglas Home (1833-1886)12 who, it was alleged, floated out of one upper-storey window and in at another at Ashley House, Westminster, in 1868.
Here are some quotes which summarize the overall problems.

Julian Franklyn in his book Death by enchantment: an examination of ancient and modern witchcraft writes:

Quote:
There is some doubt whether on the thirteenth or on the sixteenth of the month, and there is some confusion concerning the address at which it took place, both Ashley House, Victoria Street, and No 5 Buckingham Gate being given.
Peter H. Aykroyd in his book A History of Ghosts: The True Story of Séances, Mediums, Ghosts, and Ghostbusters writes:

Quote:
To this day their is controversy; about the date on which the Ashley House séance took place (was it December 13th December 16th?), about whether the room was illuminated by full moonlight (the sitters said yes, the almanac says not a chance on either night), or whether in fact the séance was even held at Ashley House.
So we don't know the exact date or year, the location and the reports are contradictory I.e. some claim the third floor and others claim the fourth. After reading all this there is no reason to take the Home levitation seriously.

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Old 25th June 2013, 12:30 PM   #31
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Here's some further information on the "witnesses" of Home's famous levitation trick. According to Ronald Pearsall:

Quote:
Were the three observers at Ashley House (majority opinion prefers this address) entirely unknown? One of them was all but unknown - Captain Charles Wynne, then a thirty three year old serving officer at the Tower of London, a station notorious for tricks and japes of kind or another. He later became a magistrate in Sligo, Ireland. The Master of Lindsay, later Lord Lindsay, was a young man of twenty-one living in the shadow of his formidable father, a savant, book-collector, and a prolific author, not the mention being a prodigious researcher... He was an avid believer in all the phenomena put out by Home.

Lord Adare was born in 1841. During his boyhood his father joined the Catholic Church. His mother remained Protestant, and Adare was sent got his education to Rome, forbidden to contact his mother. He subsequently went to Christ Church, Oxford, after which he entered the Army. In 1867 he went to Abysinnia to the cover the war for the Daily Telegraph, returning in the winter, when he met Home. Home completely dominated him, reduced him to a state of nervous exhaustion.
So all of the witnesses were believers in spiritualism and were convinced in the phenomena of Home... they were credulous, it is also interesting to note that Home was in a homosexual relationship with Adare.

Quote:
In 1869 Lord Adare revealed in his diaries under the title Experiences in Spiritualism with D. D. Home that he had slept in the same bed with Home. Many of the diary entries contain erotic homosexual overtones between Adare and Home.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Dunglas_Home

It is interesting to note that each of their witness reports of the Home levitation contradict each other. It has been suggested by some researchers that Home could have been blackmailing Adare.

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Old 25th June 2013, 01:18 PM   #32
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I have just been reading the book Spiritism and Common Sense (1922) by the magician Carlos María de Heredia.

Heredia claims to have replicated the Home accordion trick. He believed the answer was using signals and utilizing secret accomplice with a hidden accordion.

Quote:
I offer the same demonstration in my lectures. After a few minutes of expectation I give a signal to a friend behind the partition who plays a tune on another accordion. As he is invisible and as the source of the sound is not discoverable, especially when attention is riveted on the visible instrument, the effect is as convincing as the humbug is simple. The power of a demonstration is usually in direct ratio to the stupidity of the device that produces it. Sometimes my friend, taken up with his playing, fails to notice the signal to desist, and continues his tune after the accordion is no longer suspended. The effect of this little slip in arrangements is even more extraordinary on the auditors, as it was on Sir William Crookes.
Ruth Brandon also suggested something similar, it is entirely possible.

Source:

Page 68 in Spiritism and Common Sense, which can be found online here

http://www.archive.org/stream/spirit...ge/68/mode/2up

Heredia's book also contains a goldmine of information into how mediumistic tricks were performed such as making fake ectoplasm hands or performing fraudulent levitations. It is a shame spiritualists don't read books like this if they did they wouldn't believe in the silliness they have been duped into.

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Old 25th June 2013, 05:46 PM   #33
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Some comments about the credulous William Crookes:

Quote:
'If Home was a conjurer,' wrote Frank Podmore in Modern Spiritualism, 'Mr Crookes was probably in no better position for detecting the sleight-of-hand than any other man his equal in intelligence and native acuteness'.

Professional magicians were more scathing and outspoken: 'As a believer Mr Crookes is all very well,' declared J. N. Maskelyne; 'as an investigator, he is a failure'.

Harry Houdini in A Magician among the Spirits was equally forthright: 'There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that this brainy man was hoodwinked, and that his confidence was betrayed, and his reasoning faculties so blunted by his prejudice in favour of anything psychic or occult that he could not or would not, resist this influence.'
Ronald Pearsall. The Table-Rappers. (1972). pp. 226-227

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Old 26th June 2013, 12:01 PM   #34
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As I have already stated on this thread, I believe Home's accordion trick was performed by playing a hidden music box, in his trousers, most likely attached to his leg.

The magician Henry Ridgely Evans also suggested this in one of his books which exposed the tricks of mediums:

Quote:
The production of spirit music was one of Home's favourite experiments. There are all sorts of ways of producing this music, the most ingenious of which I give:

The apparatus consists of a small circular musical box, wound up by clock work, and made to play when ever pressure is put upon a stud projecting a quarter of an inch from its surface. This box is strapped around the right leg of the medium just above his knee, and hidden beneath the trouser leg. When not in use it is on the under side of the leg. On the table a musical box is placed and covered with a soup tureen, or the top of a chafing dish. When the spectators are seated, the medium works the concealed musical box around to the upper part of his leg near the knee cap, and by pressing the stud against the under surface of the table, starts the music playing. In this way the second musical box seems to play and the acoustic effect is perfect. Perhaps Home used a similar contrivance; Dr. Monck did, and was caught in the act by the chief of the Detective Police.
Hours with the ghosts, or, Nineteenth century witchcraft (1897). Online at

http://archive.org/stream/hourswithg...e/112/mode/2up

The fraud medium Francis Ward Monck was caught utilising the music box to pretend to his audience "spirits" were playing music. The music box is more likely in my opinion rather than some of the other things suggested by other researchers. Music boxes are small and easy to hide.

As discussed Home was not personally searched before or after the Crookes experiments.

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Old 26th June 2013, 02:10 PM   #35
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On this thread I am going to try and be referencing every skeptical book that contains information about the tricks of Home. So far I believe I am the only person to have attempted to do this.

So far I referenced some very useful material from Joseph McCabe, Dr. Ivor Lloyd Tuckett, Edward Clodd, Ruth Brandon, Henry Ridgely Evans, Carlos María de Heredia and Ronald Pearsall etc.

I have just found some more books which may expose the tricks of Daniel Dunglas Home:

John Mulholland - Beware Familiar Spirits.
Milbourne Christopher - Mediums, Mystics & The Occult.
Julien Proskauer - Spook Crooks.
Simon A. Blackmore - Spiritism, Facts and Frauds.
Georgess McHargue - Facts, frauds, and Phantasms: A Survey of the Spiritualist Movement.
Chung Ling Soo - Spirit Slate Writing & Kindred Phenomenon.

I have ordered a few of them.

I have already mentioned Psychic Mafia by LaMar Keene but he did not mention Home. So if anyone is interested in this thread. Stay tuned. Lot's more stuff to come.

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Old 26th June 2013, 02:56 PM   #36
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If you want every book, then you will also need Proskauer's The Dead Do Not Talk.. He really mentions Home only in passing while discussing other frauds or common themes, but he does mention him several times. Proskauer makes it clear that he considers Podmore's book to be perhaps the finest medium debunking book ever. I am inclined to agree.
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Old 26th June 2013, 03:11 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Garrette View Post
If you want every book, then you will also need Proskauer's The Dead Do Not Talk.. He really mentions Home only in passing while discussing other frauds or common themes, but he does mention him several times. Proskauer makes it clear that he considers Podmore's book to be perhaps the finest medium debunking book ever. I am inclined to agree.
I have heard of Proskauer and his debunkings of various medium tricks but his books are quite rare and expensive to get hold of, nobody has reprinted them and they are not online. It is a shame books like this get forgotten about. But thanks for this I probably will get hold of it. I am determined to read every book critical of Home!

What Podmore book is it? Modern Spiritualism published in 1902? Whenever I open a skeptical book on mediumship I have noticed that Podmore is nearly always mentioned.

I will get round to citing Podmore. He believed if I can remember correctly that Home used a piece of black thread to cheat on the board and balance experiment. He also suggested a music box for the accordion trick.

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Old 26th June 2013, 03:25 PM   #38
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Yep, the Podmore book is Modern Spiritualism.
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Old 26th June 2013, 03:36 PM   #39
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I have just downloaded and been reading the book Spirit Slate Writing & Kindred Phenomenon (1898) by the magician Chung Ling Soo.

This is an excellent book which exposes the tricks of the spiritualist billet and slate writing of the Victorian period. We don't hear about spiritualist slate writing anymore, but back in the day it was popular it seems. There were a number of ways of pulling off slate tricks. The book is filled with excellent diagrams. Unfortunately the book does not mention Home, but an interesting thing is this:

Quote:
Dr. Henry Slade was, of course, identified and recognized as the principal slate-writing medium, but at various times he presented other phenomena, one of which was the playing of an accordion while held in one hand under the table. The accordion was taken by him from the table with his right hand, at the end containing the strap, the keys or notes at the other end being away from him. He thus held the accordion beneath the table, and his left hand was laid on top of the table, where it was always in plain view. Nevertheless, the accordion was heard to give forth melodious tunes, and at the conclusion was brought up on top of the table as held originally ; the whole dodge consisting in turning the accordion end for end as it went under the table. The strap end being now downward, and held between the legs, the medium's hand grasped the keyboard end, and Avorked the bellows and keys, holding the accordion firmly with the legs and working the hand, not with an arm movement, but mostly by a simple wrist movement. Of course, at the conclusion, the hand grasped the accordion at the strap end, and brought it up in this condition. Sometimes an accordion is tied with strings and sealed so the bellows cannot be worked. This is for the dark seance. Even in this condition the accordion is played by inserting a tube in the air-hole or valve and by the medium's using his lungs as bellows.
On pp. 105-106 found online here: http://archive.org/stream/spiritslat...e/105/mode/2up

So the fraud medium Henry Slade also played the accordion with one hand under the table like Home did. Not many researchers seem to have picked up on this.

The book also documents some magic tricks. In one of the chapters he reveals the trick of how to balance an egg on a card on a wand!

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Old 26th June 2013, 05:01 PM   #40
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I have just been reading the book Spiritualism and the New Psychology: An Explanation of Spiritualist Phenomena and Beliefs in Terms of Modern Knowledge (1920) by the psychologist Millais Culpin.

It only has one page on Daniel Dunglas Home, most of the book is about explaining mediumship and related phenomena by psychology i.e. by suggestion or dissociation etc. There is not much on physical mediums. Here is what Dr. Culpin writes regarding Crookes and Home:

Quote:
Sir William Crookes gives detailed accounts of marvellous happenings, but two mediums in whom he had implicit trust were detected in deliberate fraud by other people, so that his critical powers failed him. Some of his accounts show curious lapses. In one experiment an accordion is placed in a cage under the table and Mr. Home puts his hand into the top of the cage to do psychic things with the instrument. The temperature of the room is carefully recorded (that doesn't matter, but imparts a scientific flavour to the observations) although we are not told why the experiment was done under the table instead of in a more convenient position on top of it, though ' my assistant went under the table, and reported that the accordion was expanding and contracting,' and ' Dr. A. B. now looked under the table and said that Mr. Home's hand appeared quite still.' Sir William would never have made such an omission if he had been using the same reasoning powers that he used in his scientific descriptions.
page 126 found online here: http://archive.org/stream/spirituali...e/126/mode/2up

Very interesting points, firstly the two mediums who were convicted of fraud that Crookes believed were genuine was one of the Fox sisters and Florence Cook. So Crookes' credulous reputation was already well known.

Secondly regarding the accordion experiment with Home, there was no need for the table! Why was there a table in the first place? If Home was going to get in contact with spirits and get them to play an accordion, why not in full bright light in the middle of the room?

But as Dr. Culpin wrote as there was a table why not perform the experiment on the top of the table where it is visible? All this nonsense about hiding under a table is not science and makes it easy for fraud and is very suspicious. This has always been the case with mediumship. Always silly tricks in dark rooms. The story hasn't changed for mediumship in over 100 years and we are in 2013 now. I find it hard to believe spiritualists still believe in this nonsense, but they do!

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