Marquis Carlo Centurione Scotto, Carlo Centurione Scotto,
Medium Marquis Carlo Centurione Scotto. Italy.
Carlo Centurione Scotto
Marquis Centurione Scotto
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Marquis Carlo Centurione Scotto, Medium
In Modern Psychic Mysteries at Millesimo Castle Mrs. Gwendolyn Kelley Hack has
united all the reports of the memorable psychic investigations which took place
during the years 1927 and 1928 in the mediaeval Castle of Millesimo in the
Province of Savona, Italy, the property of Marquis Carlo Centurione Scotto. The
principal phenomenon which we obtained was that of the Direct Voice, combined
with many other important manifestations, such as extraordinary apports and
asports, the transportation from a distance of extremely large and heavy
articles, the playing of musical instruments while they floated round the room,
the materialization of human hands and feet, the levitation of the medium to a
height of over six feet above the ground in the large arm-chair in which he was
seated, noisy duels between invisible fighters; and finally, the culminating
phenomenon, in the dramatic bodily disappearance of the Medium. This was
followed by an anxious, but vain search for the sensitive which lasted for two
and a half hours. We were eventually relieved of our anxiety by means of Mrs.
Kelley Hacks mediumship, the welcome information which guided us to the spot
where we found the Medium, Marquis Centurione Scotto, immersed in deep sleep,
being written automatically through her hand.
This is not the place to analyze the facts, but it seems an opportune moment to quote and comment on some criticism which has been advanced in Germany against the investigations at Millesimo, with regard to the methods of control adopted during these experiments, which are considered to have been insufficiently stringent from a scientific point of view. This criticism is brought forward by Prof. von Schrenck-Notzing and Prof. Rudolf Lambert. It is unnecessary to quote these criticisms in detail as they all centre round the fact that the mediums were not subjected to a rigorous, personal control; such as, for example, Prof. von Schrenck-Notzing invariably adopts when experimenting with the Schneider brothers.
Now I must frankly confess that in the main our critics are right. This does not, however, signify that our experiments are destitute of scientific value. I hasten to demonstrate this on the basis of fact, but before I begin it appears a suitable opportunity to consider certain psychological and moral considerations regarding the metapsychic investigation of Mediums; considerations which are of no little importance from the scientific standpoint, and, in our case, they amply justify our not having adopted this rigorous personal control.
I flatter myself that our critics will gladly concede that there is an enormous difference between a Circle of experimenters, who employ professional Mediums, and a group which experiments with private, cultured mediums of a privileged social class. In saying which I do not refer to the indubitable fact of the great difference between the conditions of these two kinds of experiment; for they cannot well be compared on a moral or psychological basis; rather do I refer to another circumstance which concerns the susceptibility of mediumistic persons. For, in the first case, we are treating of professionals who must perforce accept the necessary conditions of control inseparable from the exercise of their profession. Whereas, in the second case, we are treating of private Mediums who lend themselves voluntarily, for the purpose of experiment, without any utilitarian end, urged solely by their intense interest in these new researches. It is, therefore, necessary to consider the personal susceptibilities of these last-mentioned mediums and to remember, as of paramount importance, their dignity as gentlemen. It is true that amongst private mediums one occasionally finds persons so imbued with the spirit of sacrifice in the cause of science that they will undergo any kind of humiliation which may be inflicted on them. Such people deserve an honored place amongst the saints and martyrs of a future metapsychic calendar; and in saying this I have in mind that American lady, Margery (Mrs. Crandon) and her worthy husband, Dr. L. Crandon. They submitted themselves to all kinds of tests and endured untold indignity in order to convince the men of science who attended their seances.
Such a spirit of sacrifice is indeed worthy of admiration, but one cannot reasonably demand that all private Mediums should desire to be aspirants to the crown of martyrdom. It is only human that many of them should be extremely tenacious of their personal dignity. This is all the more easy to understand in our case, for our experiments were held with a member of the highest Italian aristocracy, who had undertaken this research work in the hope of getting into communication with his adored deceased son; but the scientific side of the experiments, and the question of propaganda did not interest him at all. Therefore, it is but natural that when certain delicate arguments are addressed to these Mediums, they proudly reply that they are not in the habit of being treated with suspicion, and that such people as insist on humiliating personal control may very well stay at home, for no one feels it at all necessary to convince them. There is not the slightest doubt that they are entirely within their rights in so replying. I may, however, be told that although their right is incontestable that does not prevent scientific experiments from being invalidated when conducted without rigorous personal control of the Mediums. Not so fast : I will demonstrate on the basis of fact that when considering the case of control and scientific proof one must proceed by analyzing each case on its own merits, that it is not right to settle the matter in a pedantic way as though by the stroke of a dogmatic scientific totalizer, for we must proceed slowly, example by example, our experience proving that it is possible to conduct a whole series of metapsychic experiments which give solid, scientific proof, without adopting any kind of personal control of the Mediums whatsoever.
I conclude my preliminary discussion of this matter by stating that scientific critics do not take enough account of the enormous difference between a professional Medium, who lends himself to this form of research without ideal motives, and a private Medium of ancient lineage, blessed with vast culture, who had been drawn to the investigation of this new form of research on account of a family tragedy which had occurred a few months previously. When added to this our critics pronounce sentence without troubling to analyze the facts by which it is desired to solve the discussion, it is plain that we are confronted by a kind of scientific dogmatic totalizer. This is unreasonable, and can only be classed as pedantry.
However, all the above is only a theoretic prologue to the matter under discussion; let us come to the practical part, in order to analyze the facts.
I commence with a query : When are we to consider rigorous personal control of the medium an indispensable necessity? The answer is simple. Except in special cases, it is absolutely necessary when the phenomena takes place in the vicinity of the medium, and are of a purely physical character. Such was the case with Eusapia Paladino, and it is the same with the Schneider brothers with whom Prof. von Schrenck-Notzing is in the habit of experimenting. In such experiments it is necessary for the control of the Medium to be rigorous even to pedantry. Not only must every possibility of conscious fraud be eliminated, but still more must strict control be adopted as a protection against those inevitable subconscious automatisms, the result of suggestion or of auto-suggestion to which a Medium in trance is liable.
It must be recognized that stringent control such as that which Prof. von Schrenck-Notzing adopts when experimenting with professional mediums, is fully justified, but in such a case as the Millesimo experiments, the circumstances are entirely different, for even the most elementary phenomena (or at least that which we considered to be the most elementary when contrasted with the major phenomena) are of such a nature as to eliminate at one stroke every suspicion of fraud, and for this reason, that it would be impossible to obtain them by fraudulent means. This can be said of the phenomenon with which our sittings usually commence. The trumpets, encircled with a band of luminous paint, rise rapidly to the ceiling, whirl and twist about with great speed, moving in every direction, then descend into the midst of the Circle, tap the Medium on the head, and touch the knees of the sitters in sign of greeting. In spite of our being in total darkness this is accomplished with infallible precision. How would it be possible to obtain such results by means of fraud, seeing that the first part of the phenomenon could not be carried out even if one climbed on to the table which stands in a corner of the room, for in this case the trumpets would be obliged to confine their evolutions to that particular corner, instead of which they glide about the seance room with perfect freedom. The criticism that the height to which the trumpets rise is difficult to estimate in total darkness cannot legitimately be advanced, for it is discounted by the fact that when the luminous trumpets were whirling around they sometimes illuminated the ceiling. With regard to the second part of the phenomenon in which the trumpets touched the sitters with such wonderful precision (a phenomenon which we constantly observed in far more amazing circumstances) and which it would be impossible to explain unless we admit that our Mediums are nictalopes, namely that they can see perfectly in the dark. Now people who can see in the dark are extremely rare members of the human race, and I am sure all will credit my assertion that our Mediums do not belong to this category. As they invariably remain awake and normal during the seance it is not possible to even insinuate that they become nictalopes when in trance.
I turn to a second physical phenomenon which is equally impossible to obtain by fraudulent methods. On the evening of July 7, 1928, the heat was very oppressive; a deplorable circumstance, for the Medium suffers terribly from heat during the manifestation of phenomena. At the beginning of the sitting we happened to mention this disadvantage, and almost immediately blasts of unusually strong, icy air were felt by us all, as I recorded in my account of the sitting, in the following words :
There was a continual change in the direction from which these air currents came; sometimes they descended from the ceiling, then we felt them in front of us, or at our side, or blowing from behind us; sometimes they were like small whirlwinds. It felt as though several electric fans were working in the centre, outside and above the Circle.
In the next seance, July 8, another extremely hot day, the phenomenon was repeated, and this time it was perfected, for, instead of sudden blasts of air coming from all sides, these refreshing breezes descended from a central point situated above us, and were described in my report as follows : Almost immediately we felt strong blasts of icy air which rapidly increased in force, giving one the impression of a powerful supernormal electric fan which periodically wafted its pleasant, cooling currents of air over the sitters. . . . These currents were so strong that our hair waved in the wind, and the men's coats, and the lace on the ladies dresses were blown about. . . .
This remarkable physical phenomenon so occurred, and it was particularly convincing. Our thoughts turned to the adherents of the theory of universal fraud, and someone remarked : If the famous French journalist, M. Heuze, were here now, he would at last be convinced of the genuine character of mediumistic phenomena. Indeed, it would be impossible to reproduce the phenomenon by artificial means, even supposing that a powerful electric fan were suspended in the centre of the Circle, for although it would have a similar effect, it would be impossible for it to work without its making the slightest sound.
Nor must we forget that melodious music played on the flexatone, that small North American musical instrument, an instrument new to us, all of which the technique requires great skill in the performer, for these musical notes are obtained by pressing the end of the musical blade with greater or less force. I described it as follows when I first listened to the phenomenon : Hardly had the gramophone recommenced playing the waltz from Faust when the flexatone rose in the air and began to accompany the music with unsurpassable synchronization, never missing a beat, nor sounding a wrong note, executing the most brilliant variations, thus proving the great virtuosity of the player. All the while the flexatone was floating about in the air, rising to the ceiling and then descending again in order to play the instrument close to the ears of the experimenters, soaring and floating around in every direction with the agility and grace of a butterfly. Again, one may well ask, how fraud could have occurred in such a case? This small musical instrument had come into our hands owing to our holding these mediumistic seances. No one had ever heard of it before, no one knew how to play it, and its technique appears difficult to acquire. Nevertheless the instrument was played most beautifully, whilst it hovered about in the air like a luminous butterfly. This last fact must not be overlooked by our critics, for it flew all about the room, both within and without the Circle, and such behavior cannot be explained by fraud.
A fourth phenomenon, which cannot be produced by a conjurer, is the fact that Cristo D'Angelo, the Spirit Guide, is able to read peoples thoughts, both when they are present, or when absent. He answers mental questions, and informs the sitters as to what is happening to an absent member of the group at that precise moment, or else what is actually taking place at a great distance in another experimental circle. He can answer questions admirably, these questions having been written on a sheet of paper placed in a sealed envelope and deposited, unknown to the rest of the sitters, in the middle of the circle by Mme la Marquise Luisa. He revealed the name of the author of an anonymous letter, gave an invaluable diagnosis from a distance (the diagnosis being given in London while the patient was at Millesimo), sometimes he predicted recovery and sometimes death. This diagnosis is of such importance that it deserves a short digression. It occurred at a sitting held on November 12, 1928, this seance being exclusively dedicated to the matter. The report was not published on account of its extremely private nature; however it is now possible to give the following details. In October 1928 our friend M. Paulo Rossi was in London, where he sat in a Direct Voice sťance with a private medium. Cristo D'Angelo, speaking in Italian, communicated with him, saying that Marquis Centurione Scotto's deceased son, by advice of Dr. Barnett (one of Valiantine's Spirit Guides) wished to give a message of supreme importance concerning the health of someone dear to the Marquisson. He, therefore, begged M. Rossi to take his wife to Millesimo during the first fortnight of November in order to sit in a private sitting at which no persons were to be present except the Marquis Centurione Scotto and his wife, M. and Mme Rossi, and Ernesto Bozzano. Even Marquis Centurione Scotto was to be kept in ignorance of what transpired at the sitting (in order that he should not be alarmed) and so Cristo D'Angelo decided to put him into trance. We five assembled on November 12 at Millesimo according to Cristo D'Angelo's instructions, and almost immediately, as had been predicted in London, but contrary to his usual practice, Marquis Centurione Scotto fell into trance. Cristo D'Angelo at once communicated at the request, he informed us, of Marquis Centurione Scotto's deceased son. He spoke for half an hour, giving a masterly diagnosis of a disease of the blood, called leucemia. He told us the cause of the disease and prescribed a cure, after which he ordered the sitting to be closed. The diagnosis, given by our Spirit Guide, purported to be imparted through the instrumentality of Dr. Barnett, and was absolutely correct, for the cause of this illness was such as he had stated, and the cure prescribed rapidly brought back health, strength, and energy to a person in a precarious condition, the reason of whose ill health had been a mystery.
I flatter myself that my critics will not hesitate to allow that this memorable incident, when our Spirit Guide at a seance in London informed us that a member of our Circle had, unknown to herself, contracted the germs of an insidious disease of the blood, and that he therefore instructed us to meet at Millesimo so that he could prescribe a cure, is an event which in itself suffices to demonstrate the supernormal source of our experiments. It should certainly be sufficiently convincing when considered in conjunction with another similar instance mentioned above, of Cristo D'Angelo's power of mind-reading, in the case of persons both present and absent; and also of various cases of clairvoyance and of clairvoyant predictions.
Passing to the consideration of the phenomena of apports, I must point out that in our case their dimensions were usually so great as to completely exclude that criticism which is constantly advanced in similar incidents, namely, that mediums hide about their person (not excluding the natural cavities of the body) such objects as they pretend to produce as apports. Now it is plain that in our case such objections need not even be considered, because it would be absolutely impossible for our Mediums to hide about their person a halberd over six feet long, a plant in its pot over four feet high, large pistols, swords, and dolls of great size. This being the case it would be absurd to inconvenience our sensitives in order to prevent a danger which does not exist. This is the gravest objection advanced against the phenomenon of apports; and I agree that in the case of small objects it would be difficult to eliminate this possibility.
With regard to large apports, such as those which we obtained, it is only necessary to consider the facts in order to eliminate another objection, that of their having previously been hidden in the seance room. With regard to this supposition I must state that in this particular room the only furniture beside the chairs occupied by members of the Circle, is a piano, two corner tables not covered with a cloth, and a very low antique divan or couch, so low that one could hardly force ones hand under it. In consequence it could not possibly be used as a hiding place for the cuirass, shields, and helmets, or for the large and beautifully dressed doll, nor for the plant in its pot, and so forth. Not to mention that at the beginning of every sitting the author examined it by means of a stick. This is all by the way, because the circumstances in which a large number of these apports took place are such as to demonstrate their indisputable authenticity.
So, for instance, when Cristo D'Angelo told Mme la Marquise Luisa that a very near relative of hers was destined to die she became much agitated and anxiously enquired : Who is it? Tell me who it is, don't leave me in this cruel uncertainty. Cristo D'Angelo replied : I will bring you his portrait. Soon after this the framed photograph of her doomed relative fell at Mme la Marquise Louisa's feet. Now the great value of this apport as a test, consists in the fact that it followed a premonition of death, and a question asked on the spur of the moment by Mme la Marquise Luisa. That is to say that if we are to invoke the theory of fraud the hypothetical conjurer must have known that a near relation of the Centurione Scotto's would be taken dangerously ill two days later, that he would die, that Mme la Marquise would ask just such a question, and, on the basis of this, the hypothetical conjurer would have prepared this sensational faked apport. Now considering that clairvoyant prediction exceeds the normal stock-in-trade of a conjurer, we must logically infer that this phenomenon of apports is incontestably genuine. It must follow, therefore, that one of our apports being recognized as genuine, there is no longer any reason arbitrarily to deny the genuineness of the others; all the more as we are forced to credit their authenticity on account of the evidence furnished in each case which I have previously referred to. As I cannot discuss each one in detail I must limit myself to the most important apport we received--that of the variegated ivy plant, about four feet high, with its bamboo support, and the flower-pot full of earth. I repeat, that such a plant could not have been hidden under the divan, for it was impossible to insert it on account of its size. The method by which this difficult apport was accomplished should be noted. First the earth contained in the flower-pot was sprinkled over us, next the plant was placed in the authors lap, and lastly the terracotta flower-pot in which the plant had been growing was laid at the writers feet. This can well be understood when we consider the difficulty which must have confronted the Spirit Entities, the materials of which the apport was composed being of such different kinds; and it would explain why they were obliged to perform this feat in three separate parts. On the other hand the production of an apport in three portions cannot be explained in the case of a hypothetical conjurer who would naturally cause less suspicion when making one journey to fetch the plant, than if he had risked discovery on three separate occasions. Why make three journeys when one would suffice? (See Chapter II)
I must remind the reader that in the last seance, by Cristo D'Angelo's orders, the doors of the seance room were sealed with wax, but this did not prevent our obtaining two remarkable apports, one of which was a large and beautifully dressed doll (which was too large to be placed under the couch) nor did it interfere with the asportation of articles which were returned to their place outside the sťance room. I hasten to discuss this phenomenon at length.
Before I commence I cannot resist the temptation of telling my critics how absurd and unlikely--I might almost say puerile--it would be to imagine that in a group of intelligent experimenters at every seance one of their number secretly leaves his chair; quietly opens a locked door and goes out; that shortly afterwards he re-enters carrying a plant, a cuirass, or a halberd, that he manages to pass between the chairs (which are separated from each other by a space of about seven inches) into the centre of the Circle, without ever stumbling in the darkness, knocking against one of the other sitters or dropping the apport, and without any of the investigators hearing the key turn in the lock, or the door creak on its hinges. Is this likely? In the name of logic and common sense I feel sure that no one will desire to uphold this hypothesis.
In conclusion we must reject both the theory that the conjurer conceals fake apports on his own person or that he previously hides them in the seance room, as an adequate explanation of our experiments. The foolish assumption that the aforesaid conjurer could, time after time, leave the room in search of the objects of which he has need, is also quite untenable, and it therefore follows that the apport phenomena witnessed by us cannot reasonably be doubted, and consequently we must accept these important incidents as reliable facts on which to base our scientific studies, in the hope of discovering their origin and significance. But if the hypothesis of fraud be incapable of explaining our apports, the question becomes still more complicated when we consider the opposite phenomenon--that of asports, namely the transportation of articles out of the seance room. Let us examine some of them. In the seance of July 8, 1928, the sitters were tapped on the head, knees, or shoulders, by a little parchment drum; and Mme Fabienne Rossi and Mme la Marquise Luisa each felt their heads squeezed by two iron mittens. At the conclusion of the sitting these objects were no longer in the room, but were found in the large salon, where the small drum had been replaced on the table, where it previously stood, while the iron mittens were discovered where they had been deposited at the foot of the suit of armour from which they had previously been detached. In the sitting of August 12, 1928, we witnessed a bloodless, but noisy duel between two Roman centurions. We heard the swords cross and glance off each other in a sinister manner, and then we heard formidable blows which rained on metallic armour, on helmet, shield, or cuirass. At the end of the sitting the only thing which remained on the field of battle was a Roman gladiators sword, everything else having been returned to its place in another room. In both the sittings of July 14 and 28, 1928, a large, live bird flew about the room; three times it touched the head of the writer with its wing as it flew by, and it also touched Mme Fabienne Rossi, and Mme la Marquise Luisa. When the sitting was over the bird had disappeared. Such are the facts. Let us consider them a moment : If we admit the presence of a conjurer, we must endow him with sufficient ability and common sense not to embark upon fraudulent practices such as would contravene those psychological laws of least effort and least risk. Now the phenomenon asports is in conflict with these laws. How can one imagine that a conjurer endowed with common sense, after having introduced helmets, swords, shields, cuirasses, chains, small drums, iron mittens and live birds into the seance room, would unnecessarily expose himself for the second time to the risk of discovery, with the absurd idea of discounting and canceling the magnificent success which he had already achieved by means of his faked apports? Then consider the asportation of a bird which touched us when flying about the room. It must first be caught, and how is one to catch it in total darkness? I will say no more, for I am confident that everyone, commencing with my critics, will, ere this, have conceded the logical impossibility of explaining these asport phenomena by means of fraud.
Still another point : it might be objected that it was not a question of birds, nor of armour actually brought into the room, but that the experimenters were afflicted by tactile and auditory hallucinations simulating birds and armour, and that, as in all hallucinations, they were nonexistent. I reply that the fact that we found the iron mittens deposited at the foot of the suit of armour from which they had been detached (the great difficulty of hooking them on to the iron hauberk will explain this fact) proves that it was not a case of hallucination, but that they were genuine asports. At the same time I must point out that this objection would be invalid from the point of view which we are considering namely, that of fraud--seeing that if this were the correct solution we should then have to explain the genesis of this hallucination, a phenomenon which is extremely complex and perturbing on account of the perfect imitation of the objects represented, which could certainly not be explained by the easily formulated theory of universal fraud. Now I have finished, for I believe that I have withdrawn from the hands of my critics all those offensive weapons with which they were provided in order to combat the reality of apport and asport phenomena. My critics being men of science whose great analytical penetration is combined with an unshakable serenity of thought and judgment, I am sure that they will appreciate the absurdity, and above all the uselessness, of bringing forward such an untenable interpretation of the phenomena in question.
Another noteworthy incident, which cannot be elucidated or explained by fraud, occurred on July 28, 1928, when the Medium, seated in an exceptionally heavy armchair, was levitated to a height of over six feet. (This could be ascertained by the fact that the arm-chair with the Medium in it knocked against the central chandelier, which was about nine feet above the floor.) Considered as a test, such a phenomenon is even more remarkable, because one of our number, perturbed at the turn that events had taken and fearing the intervention of low and dangerous Spirit Entities, suddenly turned on the red light at the very moment when the Mediums arm-chair was staggering about on the floor in an effort to levitate itself. We have to thank our fellow-investigator for his action, which proved so valuable, as it gives a solemn lie to propounders of the theory of universal fraud. The unexpected illumination of the room just at the instant at which this great physical phenomenon took place, that is to say, at the critical moment when, according to the fraud theory, the accomplices should have been discovered in the act of levitating the so-called Medium, the sudden illumination clearly revealed the fact that all the sitters were in their seats, that no one else had entered the room, and that none of the furniture had been moved, except the chair which the spirit operators were endeavoring to levitate. What are our critics to think? I must remind them that this incident was referred to by me, and that I commented on it in the report of July 28. How can one understand Prof. von Schrenck-Notzing and Prof. Rudolf Lambert having completely ignored it, although the facts were conclusively proved? This is hardly the right attitude for a scientist to adopt with regard to the work of other investigators. (See Chapter VIII.)
Passing to other manifestations I must call my critics attention to that most unusual and important physical phenomenon, namely, the unexpected disappearance of the Medium, which was followed by our anxious search of the castle, the stables, and the park in our efforts to find him.
We persevered in the search for two and half hours without result, until our anxiety was finally relieved by a psychic message which gave us the necessary information as to where we should find the Medium. This series of facts constitutes a sequence of unassailable proofs. I refer my critics to the report published by me on the subject, because as it treats of the most extraordinary of all the phenomena witnessed by us I described and discussed it in such minute detail that nothing now remains for me to add. I merely remind the reader that the authenticity of the phenomenon was unexpectedly confirmed by a message from New York from the Spirit Guide, Bert Everett who, when manifesting in one of Valiantine's sittings, referred to the Millesimo experiments and stated that he had helped Cristo D'Angelo to carry out the phenomenon of the transport of the medium into the granary. And this was received a whole month before a report of the case had been published in Italy or elsewhere.
Finally I come to the principal phenomenon of our experiments, that of the Direct Voice. Wishing to be sincere I cannot refrain from the remark that however superficially one analyses the manifestations which we witnessed in our sittings, one is struck by the fact that the proof of their supernormal origin is so palpable that one is amazed how our critics could possibly have overlooked it. Alas! that it should be so. They refuse to recognize it, and therefore I am forced to enumerate some of these manifestations in order to demonstrate the truth of my thesis. I cannot refer to them all as there are far too many to quote and space would not permit it. I must point out with regard to Bert Everett, the Spirit Guide, that when he speaks by Direct Voice the sound issues with great power from a corner of the ceiling, and it would be quite impossible to produce it fraudulently. Critics who remain unconvinced are invariably people who have never had the opportunity of personally hearing the phenomenon, and were it possible for them to do so, they would immediately change their opinion. Alas! in metapsychics those who arrogate the right of judgment are almost always individuals who do not possess the requisite knowledge for their task. I well know how the supporters of the universal fraud theory explain the form of trickery by means of which the Direct Voice is produced when it issues from a corner of the ceiling. They affirm that in order to obtain this acoustic illusion, Valiantine, the celebrated Medium, joins two acoustic trumpets by their smaller ends; so that, when he speaks through one of the trumpets the voice, passing through both of them, issues sufficiently high up in the room to give the illusion that it comes from a corner of the ceiling. An ingenious explanation, but inapplicable in Valiantine's case, for he only uses one trumpet. As regards our experiments this explanation is still more absurd, for two equally good reasons, the first being that both trumpets used are encircled with luminous paint, so that if anyone fitted the mouthpiece of the one into the mouthpiece of the other, it would immediately be noticed on account of the luminous band at the end of each. Secondly, the mouthpieces of our trumpets will not go one inside the other, because they are of exactly the same size.
As regards the location of the voices it is worth mentioning that there is a curious way in which they are exteriorized. This generally takes place at the commencement of the sitting when the trumpets are standing upright side by side in the centre of the Circle, and are plainly visible on account of the luminous paint which encircles them; if one asks Cristo D'Angelo a question before they have begun to move, his reply is often given from the inside of one of the trumpets, without the latter having moved from its position. Now as the band of luminous paint surrounding the instruments throws a patch of light on to the carpet, it can easily be understood that if a ventriloquist approached the trumpet in order to speak through it, he would immediately be seen.
When we consider the vocal timbre of the Direct Voice, one wonders how a male trickster could possibly speak with a perfectly natural feminine voice, for it is most certainly not a male voice speaking in falsetto. But this difficulty, although insurmountable, appears as nothing compared with another of a similar nature. One asks how any trickster who had never known Eusapia Paladino in life could express himself with that most unusual vocal timbre which she possessed; and how could he express himself in her Italianized Neapolitan dialect? When addressing the writer how could he make use of the same idiosyncrasies of language, pronunciation and inflexion as she did when conversing with the author, which he alone in all the world would be able to recognize? In my report I drew special attention to this. Why, therefore, did my critics not take notice of it? Is not this simple incident, which also excludes the hypothesis of an accomplice, quite enough to explode the theory of fraud and to demonstrate the true supernormal origin of the phenomenon of the Direct Voice?
Let us proceed. We have seen that in the manifestations of the Spirit Personality who affirmed that she was my mother, I was almost always obliged to suppress a large part of what she told me because she referred to extremely private family matters, and that on one occasion Cristo D'Angelo ordered all the sitters to stop their ears. I must add that one part of this information was unknown even to the writer, who had to adopt detective methods in order to verify its truth. I ask my critics to demonstrate to me how such a mystery as this, namely, information confided to me by a Spirit, can be explained by the theory of fraud; and if such a mystery is inexplicable by fraud, then in its turn it clearly proves the supernormal origin of these Direct Voices.
There were also very strange incidents connected with the arrival of Mlle Ferraris from Turin. She was a new acquaintance, previously unknown to us all, but the very same evening that she arrived at Millesimo we had a communication from the Spirit Guide of her Turin Circle. Speaking in the Piedmontese dialect (which everyone present of course understood, but would have been incapable of speaking correctly) he immediately referred to a family incident with which her mind had been occupied a month before. Then a deceased sister communicated with her, and thanked her for the affectionate solicitude which she had shown with regard to the education of her little orphaned daughter. The sister approved of the having the child placed in a nuns school on Lake Como by Mlle Ferraris, this school being correctly named by the sister. Another of the Turin Circles spirit Guides then communicated, his voice issuing from the floor; we all noticed that he frequently made a curious sound which he apparently obtained by clicking his tongue against the roof of his mouth. Mlle Ferraris explained that this strange idiosyncrasy was characteristic of this Spirit when he communicated through the mouth of their Turin Medium, when the latter was in trance. Such are the facts. If for the purpose of the present discussion it be desired to deny the spiritistic interpretation of the facts, the only alternative is to allow that all the information furnished by these so-called spirit personalities was obtained by the supernormal power of rendering the sitters subconscious, in other words by telepathy, which power must be conceded to be supernormal. If this is granted such a concession is enough to exclude the hypothesis of fraud, and to confirm the supernormal origin of the Direct Voice. Such being the case I can only beg my critics to explain how their hypothetical trickster could have managed to inform himself about the private affairs of a person who an hour earlier was completely unknown to all present.
Passing to the consideration of these Direct Voices, I must mention that they spoke three languages and five dialects unknown to our Mediums, namely, Latin, Spanish, and German, and the following dialects, Piedmomtese, Romagmolo, Neapolitan, Venetian, and Sicilian. From the theoretical point of view the Romagmolo and the Sicilian were the most important, because these dialects present an insurmountable difficulty with regard to accent, construction and technique. Being unable to quote all I must limit myself to an account of the conversation in German which took place between M. Gimo Gibelli and a personality who affirmed that he was the Spirit of an Austrian prisoner of war who had passed two days in the Castle of Millesimo. (It is true that Austrian prisoners had spent two days there.) The communicating personality spoke in a loud voice, more powerful than a normal one would be. Of those present only Mrs. Gwendolyn Hack and M. Gibelli could speak German, and the communicating entity therefore conversed with them. I repeat that the two mediums did not know a single word of German. Who, therefore, could have been the communicator? At the present time I am not concerned with the theoretical interpretation of these facts, and therefore I will only ask my critics to explain how fraud could account for this phenomenon of xemoglossis? M. Gibelli had lived in Austria for many years, and he affirms that the entity with whom he conversed expressed himself with a provincial accent. Therefore, the man who spoke must have been of Germanic race. Where could he have come from? Any trickery by members of the group is out of the question, seeing that only Mrs. Hack and M. Gibelli were conversant with German; therefore, the only remaining hypothesis is that of an Austrian accomplice, introduced into Millesimo Castle for the purpose of deceiving the sitters. But supposing that anyone can be found willing to accept such a monstrous theory I warn him that the hypothetical accomplice will have to enlist the services of a dozen assistants of different nationalities, and of almost all the Italian Provinces, seeing that they must be able to converse in Latin, Spanish, and German, and in the following dialects : Venetian, Romagmolo, Piedmomtese, Genoese, Neapolitan, and Sicilian.
And now I come to the final proof, which our critics never cease to demand; it is this : that we have recently adopted personal control during several of our experiments, and although the Circle was principally composed of new sitters (this is always a detriment to the manifestations, because there is a lack of that indispensable coalescence and fusing of the psychic fluids), yet in spite of these difficulties we obtained the Direct Voice.
A short sitting was held in the house of M. Gimo Gibelli (Piazza dello Zerbino, Genoa), on September 24, 1928, Marquis Carlo Centurione Scotto, Prof. Tullio Castellani, M. Mongiardino (the engineer), M. Lavarello, M. Schiaffino, and M. Massone being present. In order to allay scepticism Prof. Castellani had prepared strips of material covered with small patches of phosphorescent paint. These pieces of material were fixed to the hands of the sitters by means of two rings placed upon the fingers, and were fastened round the wrist by a strong piece of tape, the ends of which were sealed on the same system in use for packages sent by rail in Italy. In the same manner similar pieces of material were fixed round the sitters ankles. It is plain that in this way all present were able to see and keep a check on the hands and feet of each of the others. With one exception the doors were all locked on the outside of the room, and this was locked on the inside, the key being handed to Prof. Castellani. In spite of this personal and general control Bert Everett, the Spirit Guide, gave the usual English greeting, which resounded almost immediately from a corner of the ceiling; but the experimenters noticed that the Voice was not as strong as usual, and that although it issued from a corner of the room, the sound came from a spot nearer to the Medium. This weakening of the phenomena is theoretically interesting, for it occurs in direct proportion to the number of new sitters present who, not being in the habit of sitting together and not being in sympathetic rapport one with another, cannot fuse their psychic powers. To this deplorable circumstance must be added the exhaustion of the Medium, and the absence of the other sensitive, Mme Fabienne Rossi. Bert Everett was followed by the other Spirit Guide--Cristo D'Angelo--who spoke several times, and complained of the excessive amount of luminosity which prevented the regular concentration of the fluids necessary for the production of the voices. The trumpet was then thrown violently into a corner. The experimenters also felt the usual currents of icy air, and were touched by materialized hands. A few days later another sitting was held in which a similar system of control was adopted, with the same results; namely, Direct Voice, movement of articles, cold breezes, and the materialization of hands.
It is not inadvisable to point out that in these experiments the Medium was not in his own house, and this alone is enough to exclude the theory of accomplices. And now I consider that I have abundantly proved the absolutely genuine and supernormal character of our Millesimo experiments.
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