Italian Watchmaker and Physical Medium. His mediumship was developed by the psychical researcher Captain Enrico de Albertis. In 1902, a series of experiments were conducted on Politi in Paris by de Albertis, Col. Eugene Rochas, Taton, Lemerle, Bacle, Guillaume de Fontenay, and Dariex. Photographs were taken of table levitations. In 1904, he was studied by a group in Rome under the direction of Professor Milesi.
Extracts from Mysterious Psychic Forces by Camille Flammarion
It is evident that these experiments of Dr. Maxwell are in accord with all the preceding ones. The results ascertained mutually confirm each other.
Apropos of mediums who produce physical or material effects, I should also like to mention here the one who was very specially examined at Paris, in 1902, by a group of men composed in large part of former pupils of the Polytechnic School. They held a dozen seances in July and August. This group was composed of MM. A. de Rochas, Taton, Lemerle, Bacle, de Fontenay, and Dariex. The Medium was Auguste Politi, of Rome. He was forty-seven years old.
Several very remarkable table-levitations were observed and photographed by these gentlemen during their sittings. I reproduce here (Pl. XIII) one of these photographs, taken by M. de Fontenay which he kindly allows me to use. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful that has been obtained, and one of the most striking. All the hands that form the chain are carefully held away from the table. It seems to me that not to recognize the value of this photograph as a record would be to deny the evidence itself. It was taken instantaneously by a flash of magnesium light. The eyes of the Medium had been bandaged, that the light might not give him a nervous shock.
This same medium was studied at Rome, in February, 1904, by a group composed of Professor Milesi, of the University of Rome, M. Joseph Squanquarillo, Mr. and Mrs. Franklin Simmons (American travellers passing through Rome), and M. and Mme. Cartoni.
They declare that they heard scales very well executed upon the piano (which was an upright one), at quite a distance from the sitters; yet none of the sitters knew how to play on the piano, while Professor Milesi's deceased sister, who was called upon to manifest herself, was a very good pianist.
Another musical phenomenon was produced: A mandolin placed on the lid of the piano, began of its own accord to play, balancing itself in the air until it went and fell down (playing all the while) between the hands of the experimenters who formed the chain.
Later, at intervals, the piano was lifted in its turn, falling back noisily. It must be remarked that two men scarcely sufficed to lift this piano, even by one of its sides. After the sitting, it was ascertained that the instrument had been displaced about a foot and a half.
But here follows a resume of the phenomena observed with this Medium.
In every seance, very vigorous raps were obtained in the table around which were grouped the experimenters and the medium (they together forming the chain), while the lamp with red light was on the table itself. "If we wished to produce raps so sharp and strong (says M. C. Caccia, the reporter of these sťances), we had to rap with all our might on the table with some solid object, while the kind of raps which were produced in the seances with Politi seemed to issue from the interior of the table with loud sounds like explosions."
But now the table begins to be shaken. The white curtain of the cabinet which was behind the Medium, at a distance of twenty inches, swelled out and floated in every direction, as if a violent wind had inflated it from the other side. We heard a chair moving with a gliding motion over the floor. It had been placed there before the beginning of the sitting and was now thrown violently over. During the course of the fifth sitting it came clear out of the cabinet, in the
presence of everybody, and did not stop until it got near the Medium.
These phenomena took place by the red light of a photographic lamp. In the complete darkness which attended the third sťance an extraordinary thing occurred,---so much the more extraordinary because we had taken special measures to forestall any attempt at fraud. The medium was held by two sitters who, being very sceptical, had taken their places on his right and on his left, and were holding his hands and his feet.
At a certain moment the medium ordered the operators to lift their hands from the table and not to hinder its movements; above all, not to break the chain. Whereupon a great uproar was heard in the cabinet. The Medium calls for light, and, to the great amazement of all of us, we discover that the table, which was rectangular in form and did not weigh less than thirty-nine pounds, was found turned upside down upon the floor of the cabinet. The controllers declared that the medium had not stirred. It is to be remarked:
1. That the table must have been lifted high enough to pass over the heads of the sitters.
2. That it must have passed above the group forming the chain.
3. That as the opening in the curtains of the cabinet only measured thirty-seven inches across, and the table, on its shortest side, thirty inches, there only remained free seven inches for passing through this opening.
4. That the table must have come forward endwise, then moved around lengthwise (it was three feet long), and turned upside down, resting on the floor; that the whole of this difficult manoeuvre was executed in a few seconds in complete darkness and without any of the sitters having touched the table in the slightest degree.
Luminous phenomena were also obtained. Lights appeared and disappeared in the air. Some of them gave the outline of a curve. They did not show any radiation. In the fifth seance, everybody was able to testify to the appearance of two luminous crosses, about four inches in height.
At the last seance, the tambourine fringed with bells, which had been rubbed with phosphorous, went circling around the whole room, and in such a way that all its movements could be followed.
During almost all the sittings, mysterious touchings were noticed,---among others, those produced by an enormous hairy hand!
In the first, fourth and fifth seances there were "materializations." Prof. Italo Palmarini believed that he recognized his daughter, who had been dead three years. He felt himself embraced; everybody heard the sound of a kiss. The same manifestation took place in the fifth sťance. Professor Palmarini believed that he still recognized the person of his daughter.At the opening of each seance the Medium was searched, and was then placed in a kind of big sack, made to order for this purpose, and fastened at the neck, the wrists, and the feet.
In 1908, Politi gave more than 70 seances in Milan at the Societe d'Etudes Psychiques.