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The following is taken from Mysterious Psychic Forces by Camille Flammarion,
for now this is :-
FRAUDS, TRICKS, DECEPTIONS, IMPOSTURES, FEATS OF LEGERDEMAIN, MYSTIFICATIONS, IMPEDIMENTS
Several times in the preceding chapters the question has come up of fraud in the mediums. I am sorry to say that experimenters must be constantly on their guard against them. It is this which has discouraged certain eminent men and prevented them from continuing their researches, for their time is too precious to waste. This may be especially noticed in the letter of M. Schiaparelli above
whom Spiritualists keep citing (wrongly) as among the number of their partisans. But he absolutely refuses to be identified with them. He accepts no theory; he is not even sure of the actual existence of the facts, and has declined to give the time needed for their authentication.
I shall take occasion in the second volume of The Unknown to treat of Spiritualism (properly so called), of the doctrine of the plurality of worlds, of the plurality of existences, of re-incarnation, of pre-existence, and of communications with the departed,---subjects independent of the material phenomena to a discussion of which the present work is devoted. To these subjects the physical manifestations only contribute in an indirect manner. As we have already several times said in the preceding pages, we are only concerned here to prove the actual existence of these extraordinary phenomena. The establishing of the proof depends above all upon the elimination of fraud.
In the case of Eusapia (the medium most thoroughly
examined in the present volume) fraud, unhappily, has been only too well established in more than one instance.
But a very important remark must here be made. All physiologists know that hysterical persons have a tendency to falsehood and simulation. They lie, apparently without reason, and solely for the pleasure of lying. There are hysterics among the women and young girls of the higher classes.
Does this characteristic defect prove that hysteria does not exist? It proves just the contrary.
Consequently, those who think that the frauds of the mediums give the death blow to mediumship are deceived. Mediumship exists, as well as hysteria, as well as hypnotism, as well as somnambulism. Trickery also exists.
I will not say, with certain theologians, "There are false prophets, therefore there are true ones," for that is a sophism of the worst kind. The existence of the false does not hinder the existence of the true.
I knew a kleptomaniac, who got herself arrested more than once in the great shops of Paris for stealing various articles. That does not prove that she never bought anything, and only obtained by theft all the articles she needed. On the contrary, the objects stolen must have represented but a small part of the materials of her toilet. But the fact that she stole is incontestable. In the experiments which we are considering in these pages, deception is a co-efficient which cannot be neglected.
It is my duty to point out here some examples of this failing. Before doing so, I ought to recall the fact that for a period of forty years I have examined all the mediums whose achievements have had the widest celebrity,---including Daniel D. Home, gifted with the most astounding powers, who gave at the Tuileries, before the Emperor Napoleon III, his family, and his friends, such extraordinary[Pg 196] seances, and who was later employed by William Crookes in the accurate scientific researches made by that gentleman; Mme. Rodiere, a remarkable typtologic medium; C. Bredif, who produced strange apparitions; Eglington, with the enchanted slates; Henry Slade, who made with the astronomer Zollner those incredible experiments from which geometry only saved itself by admitting the possibility of a fourth dimension of space; Buguet whose photographic plates caught and held the shadows of the dead, and who, having allowed me to experiment with him, let me conduct my researches for five weeks before I detected his fraudulent methods and mechanisms; Lacroix, to whom spirits of all ages seemed to troop in crowds; and many others who inspire deep interest in Spiritualists and scientific investigators by manifestations more or less strange and marvelous.
I have quite often been absolutely deceived. When I took the precautions that were necessary to put the medium beyond the possibility of trickery, I obtained no result; if I pretended not to see anything I would perceive out of the corner of my eye attempts at deceit. And, in general, the phenomena which took place happened only in the moments of distraction in which my attention was for an instant relaxed. While I was pushing my investigation a little farther, I saw with my own eyes Buguet's prepared negatives; saw with my own eyes Slade writing under the table upon a concealed slate, and so forth. Apropos of this famous Medium Slade, I may recall the fact that after his experiments with Zollner, director of the observatory at Leipzig, he came to Paris, and for the purpose of experimentation, placed himself at my disposal (and that of all the astronomers at the Observatory to whom I should introduce him). He said he got direct writings from the Spirits by a bit of pencil placed between two slates tied together, by oscillations of the magnetic needle, displacements of
furniture, the automatic throwing about of objects, and the like. He was very willing to give me one sťance a week, for six weeks (on Monday at 11 o'clock A. M., at 21 Beaujon Street). But I obtained nothing certain. In the cases that did succeed, there was a possible substitution of slates. Tired of so much loss of time, I agreed with Admiral Mouchez, director of the Observatory of Paris, to confide to Slade a double slate prepared by ourselves, with the precautions which were necessary in order that we should not be entrapped. The two slates were sealed in such a way with paper of the Observatory that if he took them apart he could not conceal the fraud. He accepted the conditions of the experiment. I carried the slates to his apartment. They remained under the influence of the Medium, in this apartment, not a quarter of an hour, not a half-hour or an hour, but ten consecutive days, and when he sent them back to us there was not the least trace of writing inside; and yet specimens of this were always furnished by him when he had the opportunity of transposing slates prepared in advance.
Without entering into other details, let it suffice me to say, that, too frequently deceived by dishonest and mendacious Mediums, I brought to my experiments with Eusapia a mental reserve of scepticism, of doubt, and of suspicion.
The conditions of experimenting are in general so crooked that it is easy to be duped. And scientists and scholars are perhaps most easily duped of all men, because scientific observation of experiments is always honest, since we are not obliged to distrust nature,---when the question is of a star or of a molecule,---and since we have the habit of describing facts as they present themselves to our intelligence.
That granted, we may now look at certain curious doings of Eusapia.
We considered a little farther back
Col. de Rochas's strange experiment with the letter-weigher. This was considered by the experimenters as absolutely conclusive. I was curious to verify it. Here are my notes on the matter.
November 12, 1898.---This afternoon we took a drive in a landau (Eusapia and I) in company with M. and Mme. Pallotti of Cairo, and, among other things, we visited the exhibition of chrysanthemums at the Tuileries. Eusapia is enchanted. We return about 6 o'clock. My wife seats herself at the piano, and Eusapia sings some Neapolitan airs and some little fragments of Italian operas. Afterwards we all three chat confidentially with each other.
She is in a very happy state of mind, tells us how sometimes on stormy days she experiences electric cracklings and sparkling in her hair, especially on an old wound that she once received on the head. She also tells us that when she has been a long time without holding a seance she is in a state of irritation, and feels the need of freeing herself of the psychic fluid which saturates her. This avowal astonishes me, for, at the end of every seance, she seems rather to be listless and melancholy and seems to hold a sitting rather unwillingly than otherwise. She adds that she frequently has fluidic prolongations of the ends of her fingers, and, putting her two hands on my knees, the inside of the hand turned upward, at the same time spreading out the fingers and placing them opposite each other face to face, at a distance of several inches, and alternately bringing the hands together and withdrawing them, she tells us to observe from time to time the radiations which prolong the fingers by forming a sort of luminous aureole at their extremities. My wife thinks she perceives some of them. I am unable to see anything at all, in spite of all my efforts, although I change the light and shade in all sorts of ways. The salon is lighted at this time by two intense Auer burners. We go into the
bedroom, lighted only by candles, and I cannot see them any better. I snuff out the candles, on the supposition that this is perhaps a case of phosphorescence; but I never perceive anything. We return to the salon. Eusapia spreads a black woollen shawl over her silk skirt and shows me the luminous effluence. But all the time I can see nothing, unless it be for a moment a kind of pale ray at the end of the index finger of her right-hand.
The dinner hour approaches. It is seven o'clock. A letter-weigher (Pl. X), which I had bought to renew the curious experiment of M. de Rochas, is upon the table. I ask Eusapia if she remembers having made a piece of mechanism like this move downward on its spring by placing her hands on each side of it, at a distance, and making something like magnetic passes. She doesn't seem to remember anything about it and hums a little stanza from Santa Lucia. I beg that she will try it. She does so. Nothing moves. She asks me to place my hands on hers. We make the same passes, and, to my amazement (for I really was not expecting it at all) the little tray sinks down to the point where it touches the lever and produces the sharp sound of contact. This point is beyond the graduation of the scale, which stops at fifty grams, and may go to sixty, and represents seventy grams at the lowest. The tray immediately rises again. We begin a second time. Nothing. A third time: the same lowering and the same return to equilibrium. Then I beg her to try the experiment alone. She rubs her hands together and makes the same passes. The letter weigher goes down to the same maximum point. We are all standing close by her, in the full light of the Auer burners. The same performance is repeated, the tray remaining down for an interval of about five minutes. The movement does not take place at once; there are sometimes three or four trials without success, as if the force were exhausted by the result. The tray had already sunk down four times before our eyes, always as far as the maximum point, when the valet de chambre, passing by upon some matter of service, I tell him to stop and look. Eusapia begins again and does not succeed. She waits a moment, rubs her hands, begins again, and the same movement without contact is produced for the
seventh time, before the three witnesses, each as much astonished as the other. Her hands are sensibly chilled. I think of the trick of the hair, pass my hands between both of hers and find nothing there; I did not see anything. Besides, she does not seem to have touched her head, and her hands have remained before us since the commencement of the experiment, free and untouched.
On the supposition that there may be here some electric force in operation, I beg her to place her fingers upon an extremely sensitive compass. In whatever way she grasps this, it refuses to move.
We sit down to the dinner-table. I ask her to lift a fork as she had done at Montfort. At the third trial she succeeds---and without the use of a hair, at least any that was apparent.
November 16.---In order to entertain Eusapia, Adolphe Brisson yesterday evening offered her a box at the Folies-Bergere, where Loie Fuller was giving her magnificent spectacular exhibitions. We went there with her. She returned enchanted, is to-day very gay and very animated, speaks of her candid and loyal character and blames the comedies of fashionable life. During dinner she tells us a part of the story of her life.
Nine o'clock.---M. and Mme. Levy and M. G. Mathieu have just arrived.
We are conversing. Placing her hands on a leg of M. Mathieu in the darkness she shows him the radiations emanating from her fingers, which are however scarcely apparent to us.
It was after having shown me these radiations, the other day, that the experiment of the letter-weigher took place. She associates the two phenomena, and undertakes to try the latter again.
She asks me to give her a little water. I go to the dining-room in search of a carafe and a glass. During my absence, M. Mathieu remarks that, while my wife is talking with M. and Mme. Levy, Eusapia reaches her hand to her head and makes a little gesture as if she were pulling out a hair.
Plate X. Scales Used in
Professor Flammarion's Experiment.
I return with a glass and a carafe and pour out for her as much as she wishes. She drinks a quarter of a glass of water. At my request, she moves her hands downward on each side of the letter-weigher in the same way as day before yesterday, and after two or three passes the tray sinks, not to its full length as day before yesterday, but to the mark of thirty-five or forty grams.
The experiment was tried a second time and succeeded in the same way.
Under pretext of going in search of a photographic camera M. Mathieu draws me into another room and shows me a long, very fine hair which fell into his hand after the experiment, at the moment when Eusapia was making a gesture as if she were going to shake his hand.
This hair is of a rich chestnut tint (the colour of Eusapia's hair) and measures fourteen inches in length. I have preserved it.
This took place at quarter past nine. The sitting begins at 9:30 and finishes at 11:30. After the sitting, Eusapia asks me for another glass of water, and shows me a little hair between her fingers.
Just as she is going, at midnight, half laughingly, half seriously, she pulls a hair from the front part of her head and, taking the hand of my wife, puts this hair in it and closes the hand while looking her in the eye. She certainly noticed that we had perceived fraud.
November 19.---Eusapia is a sly one. She is gifted with great sharpness of sight and has unusually sensitive ears. She is very intelligent and is a person of rare delicacy of feeling. She perceives and divines everything which concerns herself. Never reading, since she doesn't know how to read; never writing, since she doesn't know how to write; speaking little when here, since she rarely finds persons who understand and speak Italian, she remains always concentrated in herself and nothing turns her from permanent thought about her own personality. It would undoubtedly be impossible to discover a similar state of mind in the case of other persons; for we, as they, are generally occupied
with a thousand things which scatter our attention over many different objects.
I arrive, at 11:30, at the rooms of Dr. Richet in order to escort Eusapia to Mme. Fourton's, where we are to take luncheon. She is cold and constrained. I pretend not to notice it, and keep talking with the doctor. She goes to put on her hat and we descend the stairs. At the foot of the staircase she says, "What did M. Richet say to you? What were you speaking of?" A moment after, returning in thought to our last seance, she says, "Were you completely satisfied?" In the carriage I take her hand and converse with her in a friendly way. "Everything is going very well," I say to her "but some experiments will still be necessary in order to leave no room for doubt." Then I speak to her of other things.
She becomes gradually sociable and her clouded brow seems to clear up. However, she evidently feels that in spite of my rather superficial amiability, I am not absolutely the same to her. During the luncheon she holds out her champagne glass to me and drinks my health. Mme. Fourton is convinced of Eusapia's genuineness, beyond all manner of doubt. During conversation, a little later, Eusapia says to her, "I am sure of you, I am sure of Mme. Blech, of M. Richet, of M. de Rochas; but I am not sure of M. Flammarion."
"You are sure of Mme. Fourton," I replied. "Very well. But think for a moment of the several thousand persons who are waiting for my opinion in order to fix their own. M. Chiaia told you this at Naples, M. de Rochas repeated it to you in Paris. You see I have a very great responsibility and you yourself certainly see that I cannot affirm that of which I am not absolutely certain. You ought yourself loyally to aid me in obtaining that certainty."
"Yes," she replied, "I understand the difference very well. However, if it had not been for you I should not have made the journey from Naples, for the climate of Paris does not agree with me very well. Oh, certainly; we must have you convinced beyond the possibility of doubt."
She has now returned to her habitual intimacy. We took her to the Museum at the Louvre, which she had not visited,
then to a meeting with M. Jules Bois who was making suggestion-experiments with Mme. Lina. Eusapia is very much interested in these. We speak of the jests and mimickings of the comedians.
In the evening, at dinner, the brilliant
conversation of Victorien Sardou, the repartees of Col. de Rochas, the
questions (a little insidious) of Brisson, all interest her but it is
evident that she never forgets herself. Thus, before dinner, she tells me
that she has the headache, especially in the neighbourhood of her wound,
passes her hand through her hair ("which hurts her"), and asks me for a
brush. "In order," she says, that "in case of a seance experiment, a stray
hair shall not be found in the wrong place." And she carefully brushes her
shoulders. I do not always appear to understand her. But there is no doubt
that she understands that we have---found a hair!
(MORE RECENT NOTE,óMARCH, 1906.)
On Thursday, March 29, Eusapia, being in Paris, came to see me. I had not seen her since her seances at my house in November, 1898. We kept her to dinner, and after dinner I asked her to take part with me in some experiments.
I first asked her to place her hands upon the piano, thinking that perhaps some of its strings would vibrate. But nothing happened.
I then induced her to place her hands on the covered keyboard. She asked that it be slightly opened by means of a little block. I placed my hands upon it, by the side of hers. My object was, by keeping up contact, to keep her from slipping a finger over the keys. She kept trying to substitute one hand for the two that I held, in such a way as to leave one of them free, and a few notes sounded. Result of the experiment, nil. We left the piano and went over to a white-wood table. We got some insignificant balancings.
"Is there a Spirit there?"
"Yes" (indicated by three raps.)
"Does it wish to communicate?"
I pronounce slowly and in their proper order the letters of the alphabet.
Reply, "Tua matre," ("thy mother.")
This certainly means "Tua madre." (note once more that Eusapia does not know how to read or write.)
Eusapia noticed that I was in mourning and I had told her that my mother had died on the first of last July. I then asked to be told her name. (Eusapia does not know it.)
The movements of the table which were next asked for gave no results of any particular value.
However, a stuffed arm-chair near by was several times shifted out of its place without contact, advancing of itself toward Eusapia. Since the chandelier was lighted, and there was no possibility of any string being used, and since I had my foot upon that one of Eusapia's which was nearest the arm-chair, the movement must evidently have been due to a force emanating from the Medium.
I pushed the easy chair back three times. Three times it returned. The same phenomenon was reproduced several days afterward.
It is observable that if she had been able to detach her foot from mine, she would have been able to reach the chair (by some little twisting,) and the production of the phenomenon must have been within the range of her circle of activity (and of possible trickery). But, as the case was, deception was impossible.
Since we could not obtain any levitation of the table, and since the psychical force of the four of us (Eusapia, myself, my wife, and Eusapia's companion, who had joined us for a moment, but, who at other times, always remained apart) was clearly insufficient, I went and secured a lighter round table. Then, with her hands placed upon it in contact with mine, three of its feet were raised to a height of ten or twelve inches from the floor. We repeated the experiment three times, with gratifying success. Eusapia squeezed my hands violently in one of hers (the right hand) which rested on the table.
The whole seance is thus seen to have been a web of intermingled truth and falsehood.
These notes remind us once more that there is almost always a mingling of veritable fact and of fraudulent performance.
It is easy to admit that the Medium, wishing to produce an effect, and having at her disposal for this purpose two means,---the one easy and demanding only skill and cunning, the other distressing, costly, and painful,----is tempted to choose, consciously or even unconsciously, that which costs her the least.
The following is her method of procedure for obtaining the substitution of hands. The figures shown in Plate XI represent four successive positions of the Medium's hands and those of the sitters. They show how, owing to the darkness and to a skilful combined series of movements, she can induce the sitter on the right to believe that he still feels the right hand of the Medium on his own, while he really feels her left hand, which is firmly held by the sitter on the left. This right hand of hers, being then free, is able to produce such effects as are within its reach.
The substitution may be obtained in different ways. But, whichever method is used, it is evident that the freed hand can only operate in a space within its reach.
Who of us is always master of his impressions and of his faculties? writes Dr. Dariex in this connection. Who of us can at will put himself into such and such a physical condition and such and such a moral state? Is the composer of music master of his inspiration? Does a poet always write verses of equal worth? Is a man of genius always a man of genius? Now, what is there less normal, more impressionable, and more capricious than a sensitive, a Medium, especially when she is away from home, thrown out of the routine of her daily life, and staying with those with whom she is unacquainted or knows very slightly, who are to be her judges and who expect from her the rare and
abnormal phenomenon the production of which is not under the constant and complete control of her will?
A sensitive placed in such a situation, will have a fatal propensity to feign the phenomenon which does not spontaneously materialize or to heighten by deceit the intensity of a partially successful experiment.
This feigning is of course a very vexatious and regrettable thing. It throws suspicion upon the experiments, renders them much more difficult and less within the reach of the investigator. But this is only an impediment, and ought not to fetch us up short and lead us to give a premature decision. All of us who have experimented with and handled these sensitives know that at every step we run foul of fraud, conscious or unconscious, and that all Mediums---or almost all---are used to the thing. We know that we must, unfortunately, take our share, for the moment, of this regrettable weakness, and be perspicacious enough to hinder, or at least to unearth the trickery, and to disentangle the true from the false.
More than one of those who have engaged perseveringly in psychic experiments, can say that he has been sometimes enervated and irritated while waiting for a phenomenon which does not take place, and that he has felt something like a desire to put an end to this waiting by himself giving the extra twist or decisive touch.
Such experimenters can understand that if, in place of being conscientious workers, always masters of themselves, incapable of deceiving, and engaged solely in the search for scientific truth, they were, on the contrary, somewhat dreamy and impulsive persons who were susceptible to suggestion and whose amour propre was active, and in whose minds scientific probity did not hold the first and pre-eminent place, they would undoubtedly engage, more or less involuntarily, in the artificial production of phenomena which refused to take place in smooth and natural order.
As to Eusapia, if she does sometimes counterfeit, she does it only by eluding the watchful inspection of the experimenters and by escaping for a moment from their control; but
she does it without any other artifice. Her experiments are not planned, and, contrary to the habit of prestidigitators, she does not carry any apparatus upon her person. It is easy to assure one's self of this, for she is very willing to completely undress before a lady charged with keeping watch of her.
Furthermore, she exhibits her powers ad libitum with the same persons, and repeats indefinitely the same experiments before them. Prestidigitators do not act in this way.
Method Used by Eusapia to Surreptitiously Free her Hand. Allegedly.
It is infinitely to be regretted that we cannot trust the loyalty of the Mediums. They almost all cheat. This is extremely discouraging to the investigator, and the constant perplexity of mind we feel during our investigations renders them altogether painful. When we have passed several days in these inexplicable researches and then return to scientific work,---to an observation or to an astromical calculation, for example, or to the examination of a problem in pure science,---we experience a sensation of freshness, calmness, relief, and serenity which give us, by contrast, the most lively satisfaction. We feel that we are walking on solid ground and that we have not got to distrust anybody. Indeed, all the intrinsic interest of psychic problems is needed, sometimes, to give us the courage to renounce the pleasure of scientific study in order to give ourselves to investigations so laborious and perplexed.
I believe that there is only one way to assure ourselves of the reality of the phenomena, and that is to put the Medium under conditions in which trickery is impossible. To catch her in the very act of deceit would be extremely easy. It would only be necessary to give her free rein. And then one can very easily aid her to cheat and to get caught. All that is necessary is that we be convinced of her dishonesty. Eusapia, especially, very easily takes suggestion. While going one day in an open carriage to dine at his residence,
Colonel de Rochas said to her, in my presence, "You can't lift your right hand any more. Try it!" She did try, but in vain. "Non posso, non posso!" ("I can't do it, I can't do it!"). The mere suggestion had been sufficient.
In the phenomena concerned with the movements of objects without contact she always makes a gesture corresponding to the phenomenon. A force darts forth from her and performs the deed. Thus, for example, she strikes with her fist three or four strokes in the air at a distance of ten or twelve inches from the table: the same strokes are heard in the table. And it is positively in the wood of the table. It is not beneath it, nor upon the floor. Her legs are held and she does not move them. She strikes five strokes with the middle finger upon my hand in the air: the five strokes are rapped upon the table (November 19).
Nay more, this force can be transmitted by another. I hold her legs with my left hand spread out upon them; M. Sardou holds her left hand; she takes my right wrist in her right hand and says to me, "Strike in the direction of M. Sardou." I do so three or four times. M. Sardou feels upon his body my blows tallying my gesture, with the difference of about a second between my motion and his sensation. The experiment is tried again with the same success.
That same evening, not only did we not let go for a single instant of Eusapia's hands, separated from each other by the width of her body and placed near our own, but we did not allow them to be moved from the side of the objects to be displaced. It took considerable time to obtain results. But, all the same, they were wholly successful.
She has a tendency to go and take hold of the objects; she must be stopped in a good time. However, she herself does take hold of them, in fact, through the prolongation of her muscular force, and she says so: "I am grasping it, I have
hold of it." It is our part to carefully retain her normal hands in ours.
We sometimes have good reason to suspect that
Eusapia seizes the objects to be moved (such as musical instruments) with
one of her hands which she has freed. But there is plenty of proof that she
does not always do so. Here is a case, for example. The scene is Naples,
1902, at a seance with Professor von Schrenck-Notzing:
The seance took place in a little room, by a feeble light, but one sufficient for us to distinguish the personages and their movements. Behind the Medium, upon a chair, there was a harmonica, at the distance of about a yard.
Now, at a certain moment, Eusapia took between her hands a hand of the professor and commenced to separate his fingers one from another and bring them together again, as may be seen in the accompanying cut. The harmonica was at that moment playing at a distance in tones that perfectly synchronized the movements made by Eusapia. The instrument was isolated in the room. We made sure that there
were no threads connecting it with the Medium. Still less could anybody fear accomplices, for the light would easily have betrayed their intervention. This performance was analogous to that which occurred in my presence on the 27th of July, 1897. (see above p. 72.)
The following is a typical example of "sympathetic" movements, taken from a report by Dr. Dariex. The matter in hand was to make a key spring out from a lock.
The light was strong enough for us to perfectly distinguish Eusapia's every movement. All at once, the key of the chest is heard to rattle in its lock; but, caught in some unknown way, it refuses to budge. Eusapia grasps with her right hand the left of M. Sabatier, and, at the same time, curls the fingers of her other hand around his index finger. Then she begins to make alternate movements of rotation back and forth around his finger. We at once hear synchronous rattlings of the key which turns in its lock just as the fingers of the Medium are doing.
Let us suppose that the chest, instead of being at a distance from the Medium, had been within her reach; let us still further suppose that the light, instead of being abundant, had been feeble and uncertain: the sitters would not have failed to confound this kind of synchronous automatism with conscious and impudent fraud on the part of Eusapia. And they would have been deceived.
Without excusing fraud, which is abominable, shameful, and despicable in each and every case, it can undoubtedly be explained in a very human way by admitting the reality of the phenomena. In the first place the real phenomena exhaust the medium, and only take place at the cost of an
enormous expenditure of vital force. She is frequently ill on the following day, sometimes even on the second day following, and is incapable of taking any nourishment without immediately vomiting. One can readily conceive, then, that when she is able to perform certain wonders without any expenditure of force and merely by a more or less skilful piece of deception, she prefers the second procedure to the first. It does not exhaust her at all, and may even amuse her.
Let me remark, in the next place, that, during these experiments, she is generally in a half-awake condition which is somewhat similar to the hypnotic or somnambulistic sleep. Her fixed idea is to produce phenomena; and she produces them, no matter how.
It is, then, urgent, indispensable, to be constantly on the alert and to control all her actions and gestures with the greatest care.
I could cite hundreds of analogous examples observed by myself in the years gone by. Here is one taken from my notes.
On the second of October, 1889, a spiritualistic seance had brought together certain investigators in the hospitable mansion of the Countess of Mouzay, at Rambouillet. We were told that we had the rare good fortune to have with us a veritable and excellent Medium,---Mme. X., the wife of a very distinguished Paris physician, herself well educated and inspiring by her character the greatest confidence.
We arranged ourselves, four in all, around a little table of light wood. Scarcely a minute has passed when the little table seems to be taken with trembling, and almost immediately it rises and then falls back. This vertical movement is repeated several times in the full light of the lamps of the salon.
The next day the same levitation occurred in broad daylight, at noon, while we were waiting for a guest who was
late to luncheon. This time the round table used was much heavier.
"Is there a Spirit there?" some one asks.
"Is he willing to give his name?"
Someone takes an alphabet, counts the letters, and receives, by taps made by one of the feet of the table, the name Leopoldine Hugo.
"Have you something to say to us?"
"Charles, my husband, would like to be reunited to me."
"But where is he?"
"Floating in space."
"In the presence of God."
"All that is very vague. Could you give us a proof of identity to show us that you are really the daughter of Victor Hugo, the wife of Charles Vacquerie? Do you remember the place where you died?"
"Yes, at Villequier."
"Inasmuch as the accident of your shipwreck in the Seine is well known, and since the whole thing may be latent in our brains, could you please give us other facts? Do you remember the year of your death?"
"I do not think so," I replied, "for I have in my mind's eye a page of the Contemplations where the date of September 4, 1843, is written. Has my memory played me false?"
"Yes. It is 1849."
"You astonish me very much, for in 1843, Victor Hugo returned from Spain on account of your death, while in 1849 he was a representative of the people in Paris. Moreover, you died six months after your marriage, which took place in February, 1843."
At this point, the Countess of Mouzay remarked that she was very well acquainted with Victor Hugo and his family, that they were living then in the street of Latour-d'Auvergne, and that the date 1849 must be correct.
I maintain the contrary. The Spirit sticks to its fact.
"In what month did the event take place?"
"No, it was in September. You are not Leopoldine Hugo. How old were you when you died?"
"Eighteen years. They don't remember very often to decorate my tomb with flowers."
"You are wrong, it was at Villequier that you were buried, and I went myself to visit your tomb. Your husband, Charles Vacquerie is also there, with the two other victims of the catastrophe. You don't know what you are talking about."
At this point our hostess declares that she was not thinking at all of Pere-Lachaise, and that, in her opinion, Leopoldine Hugo and her husband remained at the bottom of the Seine.
After luncheon we sit down again at the seance table. Various oscillations. Then a name is dictated.
"In what year did you die?"
"March." (It was April 15.)
"From what point did your balloon start?"
"La Villette." (Correct.)
"Where did you fall?"
"In the river Indre."
All these "elements" were more or less known to us. I ask for a more special proof of identity.
"Where did you know me?"
"With Admiral Mouchez."
"It is impossible. I first knew Admiral Mouchez at the time of his appointment to the directorship of the Paris Observatory. He succeeded Le Verrier in 1877, two years after your death."
The table is agitated and dictates as follows:
"Give your name."
"Witold. Marchioness, I love you still."
"Are you happy?"
"No, I behaved badly to you."
"You know very well that I pardon you, and that I preserve the happiest recollection of you."
"You are too good."
These thoughts were evidently in the mind of the lady; so there was here no more proof of identity than in the other case.
All of a sudden the table begins to move vigorously, and another name is dictated, "Ravachol."
"Oh, what is he going to say to us?"
I will set down here what he said, though not without shame, and with all due apologies to my lady readers. Here it is in all its crudity:
"Bougres de cretins, votre sale gueule est encore plaine des odeurs du festin."
("Nasty blackguards and idiots, your dirty throat is still full of the odours of the feast.")
"Monsieur Ravachol, this language of yours is exquisite! Have you nothing more refined than this to say to us?"
"You be blowed!"
Certainly no one of us was capable of consciously composing such a sentence as that. But everybody knows the words that were used. Perhaps our conscious or sub-conscious thoughts spoke in them? Did they emanate from Mme. X., the Medium?
In the uncertainty into which we were plunged by these two seances, we asked M. and Mme. X. to come and pass a Sunday at Juvisy and try some new studies and tests.
They came, and on Sunday, October 8, we obtained some remarkable levitations. But there are some dregs of doubt yet in our minds, and we make engagements for another reunion that day fortnight.
On Sunday, the 22d of October, 1899, in furtherance of my desire to exercise careful control over the investigators, I had four broad boards nailed together, forming a vertical frame in which I placed the little table to be used during the sitting. This framework made it impossible for the feet
of the sitters to pass under the table; and if it rose in spite of this, then we should know that the levitation was due to an unknown force.
The remarks of Mme. X., when she saw this device, made me think at once that no levitation was going to take place.
"This power of ours," said she, "is capricious; on some days we get good results, on others none at all, and for no apparent reason."
"But we shall perhaps have raps, at any rate?"
"Certainly. We ought not to anticipate results. One can always try."
Two hours after luncheon, Mme. X. agrees to try a sitting. No levitation whatever occurred.
I had some suspicions that this would be the case. I ardently desired the contrary, and we willed the levitation with all our might. I was expressly careful to have the same experimenters (Mme. X. and Mme. Cail, and myself) as a fortnight before, when everything succeeded so admirably,---same places, same chairs, same room, temperature, hour, etc.
Raps indicate that a Spirit wishes to speak. I notice that the raps correspond to a muscular movement of Mme. X.'s leg.
"Who are you?"
"In the library of the master of the house my name will be found in a book."
"How shall we find it?"
"It is written on a piece of paper."
"In what book?"
"Of what date?"
"Of what colour?"
"On what shelf?"
"It impossible to go through thousands of volumes, and, besides, there is not such a book in the whole library."
After a series of questions we learn that the book is on the sixth shelf of the main body of the library, to the right of the door. But first, we all went into the room to make sure it contained no such book as was described.
"Then the volume is bound in boards?"
"Yes, there are four low volumes."
We return to the room, and, sure enough, find in a volume entitled Anatomia Celeste, Venice, 1573, a piece of paper, upon which is pencilled the name "Krishna." We return to the seance table.
"Is it really you, Krishna?"
"In what epoch did you live?"
"In the time of Jesus."
"In what country?"
"In the neighbourhood of the Himalaya mountain system."
"And how did you write your name on this piece of paper?"
"By passing through the thought of my Medium."
I thought it would be superfluous to persist any farther.
Mme. X. not being able to raise the table had chosen the device of table rappings. The calling up of the Hindu prophet, however, I thought was a fine piece of audacity.
The simplest hypothesis is that the woman went into my library and put the piece of paper in the book. In fact, she was seen there. But even had she not been, the conclusion would be no less certain. For the room was open, and Mme. X. had remained about an hour in the next room, detained by "a nervous headache."
This specimen of mediumistic trickery is, as I have said, one among hundreds. Really, one must be endowed with the most unweariable perseverance to enable him to devote to those studies hours which would be much better employed even in doing nothing at all. However, when one has the
conviction that something real exists he always returns, in spite of incessant trickery.
In the month of May, 1901, Princess Karadja introduced to me a professional Medium, Frau Anna Rothe, a German, whose specialty consisted in her alleged ability to Spirit Flowers into a tightly closed room in broad daylight.
I made arrangements for a seance with her at my apartments in Paris. During its continuance, bouquets of flowers of all sizes, did, in truth, make their appearance, but always from a quarter in the room the opposite of that to which our attention was drawn by Frau Rothe and her manager, Max Lentsch.
Being well nigh convinced that all was fraud, but not having the time to devote to such sittings, I begged M. Cail to be present, as often as he could, at the meetings which were to be held in different Parisian salons. He gladly consented, and got invited to a seance at the Clement Marot house. Having taken his station a little in the rear of the flower-scattering Medium, he saw her adroitly slip one hand beneath her skirts and draw out branches which she tossed into the air.
He also saw her take oranges from her corsage, and ascertained that they were warm.
The imposture was a glaring one, and he immediately unmasked her, to the great scandal of the assistants, who heaped insults upon him. A final seance had been planned, to be held in my salon on the following Tuesday. But Frau Rothe and her two accomplices took the train at the Eastern Railway station that very morning, and we saw them no more. In the following year she was arrested in Berlin, after a fraudulent seance, and sentenced to one year in jail for swindling.
In this class of things, cheatings and hoaxings are as
numerous as authenticated facts. Those who are curious in such things will not have forgotten the scandalous hoax and misdemeanour of the celebrated Mrs. Williams, an American woman who was received in full confidence, in 1894, in Paris, by my excellent friend, the Duchess of Pomar. Already made distrustful by the ingenious observations of the young duke, the sitters were determined not to be the butt of her fooleries very long, and a sitting was agreed on. The participators were MM. de Watteville, Dariex, Mangin, Ribero, Wellemberg, Lebel, Wolf, Paul Leymarie (son of the editor of La Revue Spirite), etc.
The specialty of Mrs. Williams (who was, by the way, quite a stout person) was the showing of apparitions, or ghosts. Said apparitions proved to be manikins, rather poorly got up; the lady spectators, as well as the gentlemen, were quite disappointed at the absence of the rich and flowing outlines of form under the draperies of the wretched puppets. Thin and limp, tatterdemalion things, they showed not the faintest resemblance to the normal and classic contours of woman, the lines of which we should have been able to glimpse at least to some extent under the light gauze that enwrapped the figures. Several bright-witted, but rather irreverent, ladies took no pains to conceal the fact that they should prefer annihilation if it were necessary to be so ... "reduced," so "incomplete" in the other world! The gentlemen added that they would certainly not be alone in lamenting such a state of things!
There was no religious atmosphere at all about these sittings. The imposture was discovered, or, one might rather say, seized, by M. Paul Leymarie. He simply grasps Mme. Impostor around the waist (having slipped behind the curtain for the purpose), and holds her fast for the inspection of the audience. Lights are brought on, and, in the midst
of the confused uproar made by twenty-five duped sitters, the heroine of the entertainment is compelled to show herself in flesh tights, while the whole apparatus of her ghostly puppet-show is discovered in the cabinet!
Mrs. Williams had the effrontery to defend herself, a little later, in the American Journal Light, bestowing the playful epithet of "bandits" upon those who had unmasked her in Paris.
That was a case of high mystification, of jugglery worthy of a street-corner mountebank. But, as we have already seen, matters do not usually attain to such a height of audacity, and quite often fraud only intervenes when the genuine powers have become enfeebled. This well appeared in the accounts of the "girl torpedo-fish," Angelica Cottin, who attained a good deal of notoriety.
On the 15th of January, 1846, in the village of Bouvigny, near Perriere (Orne), a young girl thirteen years old, named Angelica Cottin, light and robust, but extremely apathetic in physical temperament and in morals, suddenly exhibited strange powers. Objects touched by her, or by her clothing, were forcibly repelled. Sometimes, even on her mere approach, people were thrown into commotion and excitement, and pieces of furniture and household utensils were seen to move and vibrate. With some variations in intensity, and with intermittences, sometimes, of two or three days, this curious virtue held good for about a month, then disappeared as unexpectedly as it had appeared. It was authenticated by a large number of persons, some of whom submitted the little girl to genuine scientific experiments, and embodied their observations in formal reports, which were collected and published by Dr. Tanchou. This gentleman first saw Angelica on February 12 (1846), in Paris, where she had been taken to be exhibited. The manifestations (which had decreased from the day when the
basis, or usual course of her habits had been altered) were on the point of disappearing altogether. Yet they were still distinct enough to enable the investigator to draw up the following note, which was read to the Academy of Science, on February 17, by Arago, an eye-witness of the facts.
I saw the young "electric" girl twice (says Dr. Tanchou).
A chair which I was holding as hard as I could with my foot and both hands was forcibly wrenched from me the moment she sat down in it.
A little slip of paper which I held poised on one finger was several times carried away as if by a gust of wind.
A dining-table of moderate size, though rather heavy, was more than once displaced by the mere touch of her dress.
A little paper wheel, placed vertically or horizontally upon its axis was put into rapid movement by the radiations which darted from this child's wrist and the bend of her arm.
A large and heavy sofa upon which I was seated was pushed with great force against the wall the moment the girl came to seat herself by me.
A chair was held fast upon the floor by strong men and I was seated on it in such a way as to occupy only the half of the seat. It was forcibly wrenched away from under me as soon as the young girl sat down on the other half.
One curious thing is that every time the chair is lifted it seems to cling to Angelica's dress. It follows her for an instant before it becomes detached.
Two little elder-pith balls or feather-balls, suspended by a silken thread, are set in motion, attracted to each other and sometimes repelled.
This girl's radiations of psychic force (emanations) are not permanently present during all the hours of the day. They are especially strong in the evening, from seven to nine o'clock,---which leads me to surmise that perhaps her last meal (taken at six o'clock) is not without its influence.
The emanations are given forth only from the front part of the body, especially at the wrist and at the bend of the arm. They only occur on the left side, and the arm of this side is of a higher temperature than that of the other. It gives off a gentle heat, as from a part where a lively reaction is going on. The arm trembles and is continually disturbed by unusual contractions and quiverings which seem to be imparted to the hand that touches it.
During the time I observed this subject, her pulse varied from 105 to 120 pulsations a minute. It seemed to me frequently irregular.
When she is isolated from the common reservoir of electric or magnetic power, either by being seated upon a chair without her feet touching the floor or when placing them upon the chair of a person in front of her, the phenomena do not take place. They also cease when she is made to sit down on her own hands. A waxed floor, a piece of oiled silk, a plate of glass under her feet or on the chair, all have the effect of antagonizing and destroying for the time the electro-dynamic property of her body.
During the paroxysm she can touch scarcely anything with her left hand without throwing it from her as if it burned her. When her clothes touch the articles of furniture in a room she attracts them, displaces them, and overturns them.
One will understand this more easily when it is realized that at every electric discharge she runs away to escape the pain. She says "it pricks" or "stings" her in the wrist or bend of the elbow. Once when I was feeling for her pulse in the temporal artery (not having been able to locate it in the left arm) my fingers chanced to touch the nape of the neck. She uttered a cry and drew back quickly from me. I several times assured myself of the fact that, near the cerebellum, at the place where the muscles of the upper part of the neck are joined to the cranium, there is a spot so sensitive
that she allows no one to touch it. All the sensations she feels in her left arm are here echoed or repeated.
The electric emanations of this child seem to move by waves, intermittently, and in succession through different parts of the anterior portion of the body. But be that as it may, they are certainly accompanied by an aeriform current which gives the sensation of cold. I plainly felt upon my hand a quick puff of air like that produced by the lips.
Every time the mysterious force strikes through her frame and materializes in an act, terror and dismay fill the mind of this child, and she seeks refuge in flight. Every time she brings the end of her fingers near the north pole of a piece of magnetized iron, she receives a severe shock; the south pole produces no effect. If I manipulated the iron in such a way that I could not myself tell the north pole on it, she could always tell it very well.
She is thirteen years old and has not yet reached the age of puberty. I learned from her mother that nothing like menstruation has yet appeared. She is very strong and healthy, but her intellect is as yet little developed. She is a peasant cottager (villageoise) in every sense of the word; yet she knows how to read and write. Her occupation is the making of thread gloves for ladies. The first electric phenomena began a month ago.
It is desirable to add to the foregoing note extracts from other reports. Here, for example, is a citation from M. Hebert:
On the 17th of January,---that is to say, the second day of the appearance of the phenomena,---the scissors suspended from her waist by a cotton tape, flew from her without the cord being broken, and no one could imagine how it got untied. This circumstance, incredible from its resemblance to the pranks of lightning, makes one think at once that electricity must play an important role in the production of such astonishing effects. But this way of looking at the thing did not last long. For the miracle of the scissors only occurred twice, once in the presence of the cure of the village,
who guaranteed to me upon his honour the truth of the statement. In the middle of the day almost no effects were obtained, but in the evening, at the usual hour, they redoubled in intensity. It was at that time that action without contact took place, and effects were produced in organic living bodies. These latter made their first appearance in the form of violent shocks felt in the ankles by one of the women labourers who happened at the time to be facing Angelica, the points of their sabots being about four inches apart.
Dr. Beaumont Chardon, a physician of Mortagne, also published similar notes and observations,---among others the following:
The repulsion and attraction, hopping about and displacement, of a rather solid table; of another table six feet by nine, mounted on casters; of another four-feet-and-a-half square oak table; of a very massive mahogany easy-chair,---all these displacements took place through contact with the Cottin girl's clothes,---contact either involuntary or purposely brought about by experiments.
There was a sensation of violent prickings when a stick of sealing-wax or a glass tube suitably rubbed was placed in contact with a bend in the left arm or with the head, or simply when brought somewhat near there. When the sealing-wax or the tube had not been rubbed, or when they were being wiped dry or moistened, there was a cessation of effects. The hairs on one's arm, made to slope or lie flat by a little saliva, rose up again at the approach of the child's left arm.
I have already remarked that this young girl was brought to Paris as a subject of scientific observation. Arago, at the Observatory, in the presence of his colleagues MM. Mathieu, Laugier, and Goujon, established the truth of the following phenomena:
When Angelica held out her hand toward a sheet of paper laid near the edge of a table, the paper was strongly attracted by the hand. Approaching a centre-table, she
grazed it with her apron, and the table drew back from her. When she sat down on a chair and put her feet on the floor, the chair was thrown back violently against the wall, and she herself was thrown forward to the other side of the room. This last experiment, repeated several times, always succeeded. Neither Arago nor the astronomers of the Observatory were able to hold the chair down. M. Goujon, who had sat down in advance upon one half of the chair which was going to be used by Angelica, was upset at the moment when she came to share the seat with him.
Following a favourable report of its illustrious perpetual secretary, the Academy of Science named a commission to examine Angelica Cottin. This commission confined its efforts exclusively to the task of determining whether or not the electrical force of the subject was similar to that of the machines or that of the torpedo-fish. They could not come to any conclusion, probably on account of the emotion excited in the girl at the sight of the formidable apparatus of experimentation; and then her peculiar powers were already on their decline. Thus the commission hastened to declare all the communications on this subject made to the Academy previous to this to be null and void.
Upon this topic my old master and friend Babinet, who was a member of the commission, wrote as follows:
The members of the commission were not able to verify any of the features announced. There was no report made, and Angelica's parents, worthy people of the most exemplary probity, returned with her from Paris to their own locality. The good faith of this couple and of a friend who accompanied them interested me very much, and I would have given anything in the world to find some reality in the wonders that had been proclaimed about the girl. The only remarkable thing she did was to rise from her chair in the most
matter of fact way in the world and hurl it behind her with such force that often the chair was broken against the wall. But the supreme experiment,---that in which, according to her parents, the miracle was revealed of motion produced without contact,---was as follows: She was placed standing before a light centre-table covered with a thin silken stuff. Her apron also made of a very light and almost transparent silk, rested on the centre-table (though this last condition was not indispensable). Then, when the electric force appeared, the table was overturned, while "the electric girl" maintained her usual stupid impassivity. I had never personally seen any success attained in this particular feature of the girl's performances; nor had my colleagues of the commission of the Institute, nor the physicians, nor certain writers, who, with great assiduity, had attended all the seances appointed at the headquarters of the girl's parents in Paris. As for myself, I had already overstepped all the bounds of friendly complaisance, when, one evening the parents came to beseech me, in virtue of the interest I had shown in them, to attended one more sťance, saying that the electric force was going to declare itself anew with great energy. I arrived about eight o'clock in the evening at the hotel where the Cottin family was staying. I was disagreeably surprised at finding a seance intended only for myself, and the friends whom I brought with me, overrun by a crowd of physicians and journalists who had been attracted by the announcement of the prodigies which were to begin again. After due excuses had been made I was introduced to a back room which served as dining-room, and there I found an immense kitchen table made of oak planks of an enormous thickness and weight. At the moment when dinner was being served the electric girl had, by an act of her will (it was said), overturned this massive table, and, as a necessary result, broken all the plates and bottles that were on it. But her excellent parents did not regret the loss, nor the poor dinner that resulted from it, on account of the hope that animated them that the marvellous qualities of the poor idiot were going to manifest themselves and receive the official stamp of authenticity. There was no possibility of doubting the veracity of these honest witnesses. An octogenarian who accompanied
me (M. M.---, the most sceptical of men) believed their recital as I did; but, after entering with me the room full of people, this distrustful observer took his stand in the very entrance-door, alleging as a pretext the crowd in the room, and so placed himself as to have a side view of the electric girl with her centre-table before her. The crowd that faced the girl occupied the farther end and the sides of the room.
After an hour of patient waiting, and all in vain, I withdrew, expressing my sympathy and my regrets. M. M. remained obstinately at his post. He pointed the electric girl with his unwearied eye, as a crouching setter does a partridge. At last, at the end of another hour, when the attention of the company was distracted by innumerable preoccupations and several centres of conversation had been formed---suddenly the miracle occurred: the centre-table was overturned. Great amazement! great expectations! They were just beginning to cry "Bravo!" when M. M., advancing by warrant of age and the love of truth, declared that he had seen Angelica, by a convulsive movement of the knee, push the table that was placed before her. He drew the conclusion that the effort she must have made before dinner in the overturning of the heavy kitchen table would have occasioned a severe contusion above her knee,---a matter that was investigated and found to be true. Such was the end of this melancholy affair in which so many people had been duped by a poor idiot, who yet had enough crafty cunning to inspire illusion by her very calmness and impassivity. We have still to account for the singular facts observed near Rambouillet (see the Reports of the Academy), at the house of a wealthy manufacturer, all whose vases and other vessels of pottery-ware burst into a thousand pieces at the moment when least expected. Kettles and other large vessels cast in metal also flew into fragments, to the great loss of the proprietor, whose troubles, however, ceased with the discharge of a servant, who had come to an understanding with a man who was to occupy the factory so that he might get it at a better bargain. Nevertheless, it is to be regretted that the matter ended before it was discovered what fulminating powder had been employed to produce such curious results, so new, and, apparently, so well proved.
Babinet adds farther on in the same volume the following remarks on Angelica Cottin:
In the midst of wonders which she did not perform there was seen a very natural effect of the first relaxation of muscles which was curious in the highest degree. The girl, of slight figure and torpid physique, who was correctly styled the "torpedo-fish," being first seated on a chair and then rising very slowly (in the midst of the movement she was making in the act of rising) had the power of throwing backward, with terrifying suddenness, the chair she was leaving, without anybody being able to perceive the slightest movement of the trunk of the body, and solely by the relaxation of the muscle which had been in contact with the chair. At one of the test-seances in the laboratory of physics at the Jardin des Plantes, several amphitheatre chairs of white wood were hurled against the walls in such a way as to break them. A second chair, which I had once taken the precaution to place behind that in which the electric girl was seated (for the purpose of protecting, if need were, two persons who were conversing at the back part of the room) was drawn along with the propelled chair and went with it to arouse from their absent-mindedness the two savants. I will add that several young employees at the Jardin des Plantes succeeded in performing---although in a less brilliant way---this pretty trick in bodily mechanics. In order to get a good idea of this play of the muscles by a similar effect, you have only to gently squeeze that part of the muscle of some one's arm that is most developed, at the same time that he makes the motion of opening and closing his fist several times. You will at once feel the swelling up of the muscles and divine the movement that would result from it were the change of shape made very rapid.
Such is the report of the learned physicist. It is thus that fraud once more hindered the recognition of the reality of phenomena that had been duly proved before. Accompanying this there was also a weakening of the faculties of the performer. But it is absurd to conclude from this
that the observers of the earlier days in this case (including Arago and his colleagues of the Observatory,---Mathieu, Laugier, and Goujon,---as well as the examiner Hebert, Dr. Beaumont Chardon, and others) were poor observers, and were deceived by movements of the foot of this child.
We may allow for the fraud, conscious and unconscious of Mediums. We may deplore it, for it throws an unpleasant gloom upon all the phenomena; but let us render justice to incontestable facts, and continue to observe them.
Quaere et invenies! Seek and thou shalt find. The Unknown, the science of to-morrow.
Many of these cases are classic cases where an infra red or ordinary, low light or night time video camera would have convinced the skeptics whether it was fraud or not. We, in our time now ahead of the events of yesteryear cannot say for certain. We can only look inbetween the lines of the writers. Mediums start sitting in your Circles in front of your video cameras in red or low light even in the dark. The modern day cameras are now certainly cheap enough to have a few set up for recording your seances.
This was taken from 'Mysterious Psychic Forces by Camille Flammarion'
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