Charles Bailey, Chuck Bailey,
Medium Charles Bailey, Australia
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Charles Bailey Medium
Chuck Bailey Medium
Charles Bailey, of Melbourne, appears to be a very remarkable Apport Medium,
[Physical Medium] and the
author has no confidence in his alleged exposure at Grenoble. Bailey's own
account is that he was the victim of a religious conspiracy, and in view of his
long record of success it is more probable than that he should, in some
mysterious way, have smuggled a live bird into a seance room in which he knew
that he would be stripped and examined. The explanation of the Psychic
Researchers, that the bird was concealed in his intestines, is a supreme example
of the absurdities which incredulity can produce. The author had one experience
of an apport with Bailey which it is surely impossible to explain away. It was
We then placed Mr. Bailey in the corner of the room, lowered the lights without turning them out, and waited. Almost at once he breathed very heavily, as one in a trance, and soon said something in a foreign tongue which was unintelligible to me. One of our friends, Mr. Cochrane, recognized it as Indian, and at once answered, a few sentences being interchanged. In English the voice then said that he was a Hindoo control who was used to bring apports for the Medium, and that he would, he hoped, be able to bring one for us. Here it is, he said, a moment later, and the Medium's hand was extended with something in it. The light was turned full on and we found it was a very perfect bird's nest, beautifully constructed of some very fine fibre mixed with moss. It stood about two inches high and had no sign of any flattening which would have come with concealment. The size would be nearly three inches across. In it lay a small egg, white, with tiny brown speckles. The Medium, or rather the Hindoo control acting through the Medium, placed the egg on his palm and broke it, some fine albumen squirting out. There was no trace of yolk. We are not allowed to interfere with life, said he. If it had been fertilized we could not have taken it. These words were said before he broke it, so that he was aware of the condition of the egg, which certainly seems remarkable.
Where did it come from? I asked. From India.
What bird is it?
They call it the Jungle Sparrow.
The nest remained in my possession and I spent a morning with Mr. Chubb, of the local museum, to ascertain if it was really the nest of such a bird. It seemed too small for an Indian Sparrow, and yet we could not match either nest or egg among the Australian types. Some of Mr. Bailey's other nests and eggs have been actually identified.
Surely it is a fair argument that while it is conceivable that such birds might be imported and purchased here, it is really an insult to one's reason to suppose that nests with fresh eggs in them could also be in the market. Therefore, I can only support the far more extended experience and elaborate tests of Dr. MacCarthy of Sydney, and affirm that I believe Mr. Charles Bailey to be upon occasion a true Medium, with a very remarkable gift for apports.
It is only right to state that when I returned to London I took one of Bailey's Assyrian tablets to the British Museum, and that it was pronounced to be a forgery. Upon further inquiry it proved that these forgeries are made by certain Jews in a suburb of Bagdad-and, so far as is known, only there. Therefore the matter is not much farther advanced. To the transporting agency it is at least possible that the forgery, steeped in recent human magnetism, is more capable of being handled than the original taken from a mound. Bailey has produced at least a hundred of these things, and no Custom House officer has deposed how they could have entered the country. On the other hand, Bailey told me clearly that the tablets had been passed by the British Museum, so that I fear I cannot acquit him of tampering with truth-and just there lies the great difficulty of deciding upon his case. But one has always to remember that physical mediumship has no connection one way or the other with personal character, any more than the gift of poetry.*
* The Wanderings of a Spiritualist, pp. 103-5.
Annals of Psychical Science, Vol. IX.
It is forgotten by those critics who are continually quoting Bailey's exposure,
that immediately before the Grenoble experience he had undergone a long series
of tests at Milan, in the course of which the investigators took the extreme and
unjustifiable course of watching the Medium secretly when in his own bedroom.
The committee, which consisted of nine business men and doctors, could find no
flaw in seventeen sittings, even when the Medium was put in a sack. These
sittings lasted from February to April in 1904, and have been fully reported by
Professor Marzorati. In view of their success, far too much has been made of the
subsequent accusation in France. If the same analysis and scepticism were shown
towards exposures as towards phenomena, public opinion would be more justly
The phenomenon of apports seems so incomprehensible to our minds, that the author on one occasion asked a Spirit Control whether he could say anything which would throw a light upon it. The answer was:
It involves some factors which are beyond your human science and which could not be made clear to you. At the same time you may take as a rough analogy the case of water which is turned into steam. Then this steam, which is invisible, may be conducted elsewhere to be reassembled as visible water. This is, as stated, an analogy rather than an explanation, but it seems very apt none the less. It should be added, as mentioned in the quotation, that not only Mr. Stanford, of Melbourne, but also Dr. MacCarthy, one of the leading medical men of Sydney, carried out a long series of experiments with Bailey, and were convinced of his genuine powers.
Famous apport Medium of Melbourne, Australia, discussed for years both in Australia and in Europe. Though repeatedly accused of fraud by many, [please look at the things he was accused of and what circumstances then use your own logic] he was able to continue work with a small group of believers until shortly before his death. Bailey was a Bootmaker by trade when he began his mediumship in 1889. For many years he was the private Medium of Thomas Welton Stanford, a Melbourne millionaire, who made a collection of Bailey's apports, the first museum of its kind. It is preserved at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, to which he gave an endowment of $50,000 for psychical research in 1911.
Public attention for Bailey's phenomena was aroused in 1902 by accounts published in the Harbinger of Light. In 1904 the records of a long series of experiments appeared in Rigid Tests of the Occult by Dr. C. W. McCarthy, one of the leading medical men of Sydney. The conditions of these experiments were severe. The Medium was searched, stripped, sometimes dressed in a new suit, tied up in a sealed sack, with openings for the hands to hold the apported object; on special occasions the sitters were also searched and the Medium was enclosed in a cage with close mosquito netting. The doors were locked or sealed, no furniture was kept in the room except chairs and a table, the fireplace was blocked, and the only second floor window was papered.
Immediately after Bailey went into trance, the controls took charge of the phenomena. The chief control was a "Dr. Whitcombe," sometime physician in Melbourne. Another, "Dr. Robinson," claimed to have been professor of Syro-Chaldaic literature in New York. The apport of old coins and Babylonian clay tablets with cuneiform inscriptions were apparently due to him. A third control was a Hindu named "Abdul." It was he who actually brought the apports. A few minutes were sufficient, and when light was produced, the Medium was found to hold a live bird and a nest in each hand. Many of these birds were kept for days in cages. Sometimes they disappeared as mysteriously as they came, and sometimes they died in captivity.
Once a live, shovel-nosed shark, 18 inches long, was brought in. A crab, with dripping seaweed, was similarly apported. Another time a long snake was found coiling around the Medium's neck. On being covered with a cloth it disappeared in full light. Undercover apports sometimes appeared in good visibility, or were seen to drop from a height away from the Medium. In McCarthy's cap, after being covered by a handkerchief, a turtle was discovered. Another time he found a jewel in his hand under a palm leaf.
The clay tablets and the Egyptian and Indian coins that Bailey apported in abundance were submitted by McCarthy to the Department of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities of the British Museum. The tablets were pronounced imitations and the coins genuine but of no rarity or value.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle related his personal experiences with Bailey in the History of Spiritualism (1926), adding that on further inquiry it was found that these forgeries were made by certain Jews in a suburb of Baghdad. He voiced the opinion that a forgery, steeped in recent human magnetism, may be more capable of being handled by the invisible operators than the originals, which have to be searched for in mounds. Bailey produced at least 100 such tablets and told Doyle that they were passed as genuine by the British Museum.
At the sitting in question, besides an Assyrian tablet, Bailey apported a jungle sparrow's nest with an egg in it. The nest was two inches high and showed no sign of any flattening, which ought to have been the case had it been concealed on the medium's person.
On Marco Falcomer 's intervention, the Milan Society for Psychical Studies made arrangements with Bailey for a European visit. From February to April 1904, 17 sittings were held in Milan. Bailey was put in a sleeved-sack of thin black satin. The sack was fastened at the neck and wrist with tapes. The tapes were tied and the knots were sealed. His coat and boots were taken off, and the investigators felt over his body, especially in hollow parts where objects could be hidden. Bailey, however, refused to allow himself to be entirely undressed, saying he was afraid of catching cold.
The apports consisted mostly of small articles: two or three live birds; a fish with an acrid, penetrating, saline odor; and a Babylonian tablet enveloped in a hard coating of sand. Some of the birds, nests, and eggs disappeared before the end of the seance. In the dark Bailey demonstrated the rapid growth of a seed in a flower pot and the presence of phosphorescent lights and luminous shapes. The committee's desire to have a specially designated object transported from one room to another was not realized.
The report, signed by Mr Baccigaluppi, A Brioschi, Dr Clericetti, O Cipriana, Dr F Ferrari, A Marzorati, Odorico, Redealli, and Dr E Griffini, stated: "The Committee … whilst it deplores (a) the Medium's strange obstinacy in refusing to consent to allow himself to be thoroughly undressed; (b) having been obliged to submit to conditions of total darkness at the critical moment of the apport; (c) having been unable, because of the short time accorded the research and in consequence of the very nature even of the phenomena, to apply any method which might enable the Committee to state, precisely and scientifically, the process and origin of the phenomena in question, is on the other hand obliged to state (i) that during the course of seventeen seances, notwithstanding the search of the Medium's person by different individuals and by various methods, nothing has ever been found which might justify the hypothesis of fraud; that even admitting that for some of the phenomena an approximate explanation might be found, as far as others are concerned—e.g., the apport of living birds, the instantaneous disappearance of a small bird, etc.; it does not seem possible to formulate a likely explanation; (ii) that, moreover, the hypothesis of suggestion becomes inadmissible if we take into consideration the number of experimenters, who were constantly being changed and who were differently seated each time, as well as the material traces which were left of the phenomena. Given this, the Committee, whilst making reserves on the archaeological value of certain apports, believes it is able, in principle, to come to a conclusion in favor of the objectivity of the facts, and calls the attention of science to these phenomena which find no sufficient explanation in recognised laws."
From Milan Bailey went on to Rome. After giving two seances to Lady Butt he returned to Australia. Because the Milan findings were criticized in many quarters, plans were set afoot to induce Bailey to make a second European visit. It took some years until the plan materialized.
On the invitation of Col. Eugene A. D. Rochas and W. Reichel, Bailey came to Grenoble, where disaster overtook him. In a séance held on February 20, 1910, two small live birds were produced. A local dealer recognized in Bailey the man who bought three similar birds from him two days previously. The investigators claimed that he concealed the birds in his intestinal opening as Bailey did not allow them to make examination there. Matters were made worse by the statement of the Hindu control that the birds came directly from India.
In 1911, under the auspices of Mrs. Foster-Turner, Bailey came to London. In a test séance on July 6 before a committee selected by Dr. Abraham Wallace in which the Society for Psychical Research was represented by two well-known members, Bailey was undressed, examined, and shut into a cage. Several controls came, a Hindu took possession, but when addressed in Hindustani by a professor of Oriental languages, he immediately subsided into broken English. Later a bird nest appeared in the medium's hand. The control, however, tore it asunder. Two small eggs were also produced but they were broken by the control when passing them to a member of the committee. After the seance, the committee desired to examine the medium's boots more thoroughly, but he left the house, and as a result an unfavorable verdict was returned. On July 28, at another test sitting, during a period of complete darkness, two small birds appeared between the mosquito netting that enveloped the medium and the cabinet. However, toward the end of the sitting the medium toppled over, and in falling he tore the network, so the verdict was again "not proven" (Light September 1911; Journal of the Society for Psychical Research Vols. 12 & 15).
Back in Sydney there was another exposure scandal on March 5, 1914. One of the sitters made a grab at a materialized form and caught hold of the drapery. It was wrenched from his hand, and the medium, sick and dazed, was carried to Dr. MacCarthy for medical aid. In the same year Bailey sat for six weeks in Rothesay, Scotland, for a Circle selected by James Coates. Coates reported in Light (August 1, 1914) that Bailey was not only a genuine but a unique medium. They obtained apports: ruby sand and an Indian sparrow's nest containing two eggs. The eggs were in Coates's possession for two weeks, and after being blown, the contents were found fresh. Bailey was also induced to try a trumpet. "The personal indication of the voices was most convincing." Impressions of hands and feet were also obtained on plasticine.
In Psychic Research (June 1931), Harry Price published extracts from a letter written to him by H. L. Williams, a retired magistrate from the Punjab. According to this, Bailey was still active and produced such objects as "a Saracen helmet of scale armour, each scale (3,000 of them) a silver coin with inscription; 30 to 40 Chinese carved figures in ivory of exquisite workmanship and draped in silk arranged to represent a royal court, a complete mandarin's robe which a friend of Williams saw fall from the ceiling, live birds … Babylonian cuneiform tablets … punic tablets, faience figures from Egypt, cut and polished stone and coins, coins in gold, silver, and copper with inscriptions in Sanskrit, Persian, and Arabic; plaster casts of hands and feet of adults and children obtained from materialisations, etc. Williams says that half the homes of Sydney are stocked with these apports." Bailey held daily seances and charged a small fee only. It could not possibly cover the cost of fraudulently producing such a wide variety of apports.
Bailey's phenomena confounded many psychic researchers in his own day. Given the more skeptical perspective produced by continuous observation of physical Mediums, of which only a few remain, and the revelations of Mediums like M. Lamar Keene, it is difficult to see in Bailey anything other than a clever stage magician and in the favorable reports of some observers as the observations of those less competent in detecting fraud. The simple fact remains that no one has been able to produce apports under anything resembling controlled conditions, and their existence is highly doubtful.
However, it seems that Bailey continued to give seances in the late 1930s. According to Two Worlds (July 9, 1937), the author and playwright H. Dennis Bradley communicated in a Circle in Manly, Australia, March 25, 1937, at which Charles Bailey was the Medium, and a "fraud-proof" instrument, the "Shastaphone" was used.
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York: Paragon House, 1991.
Doyle, Arthur Conan. History of Spiritualism. 2 vols. London: Cassele, 1926.
Irwin, H. J. "Charles Bailey: A Biographical Study of the Australian Apport Medium." Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 54 (1987): 97.
Keene, M. Lamar. The Psychic Mafia. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1976.
McCarthy, C. W. Rigid Tests of the Occult. Melbourne, Australia: Stephens, 1904.
"Mediumship of Mr. C. Bailey." Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 12 (1905): 77, 109.
A new machine for which many claims are
made was shown to me the other day by Murdo MacDonald-Bayne, the Principal
of the College of Universal Science in Australia, who is now in this
For many years Mr. MacDonald-Bayne has been sitting with Charles Bailey, the well-known Australian Medium. In their Circle they have obtained the direct voice and the trumpet voice. All the directions for the manufacture of this new machine, called the "Chastaphone," were given from the Other Side five months ago by a Spirit claiming to be St. Anthony of Alexandria, of the second century.
This machine has been tried out successfully on at least fifty occasions. All kinds of Spirit Voices have been registered, voices speaking in French, Dutch, Chinese, German, Hindoo and, of course, English.
Evidence of survival has been given again and again, and often the tones of the voices have been clearly recognised.
The "Chastaphone" is a small wooden box, wired inside with a special kind of German wire, which is sensitive to vibrations.
It is claimed for this machine that it reduces the vibrations used by spirit people, which are normally high ones, to a range of 30,000 to 32,000 vibrations per second, which is the range that the ear can hear.
On two occasions, Mr. MacDonald-Bayne told me, Charles Bailey's voice has been heard at the same time as Two Spirit Voices were registered through the machine, the Spirit Voices carrying on a conversation of their own.
This machine has been constructed with the collaboration of the engineering department of one of the universities in Australia.
When an attachment is placed in water it is claimed that the vibrations of even metal and flowers and plants can be distinctly heard.
The "Chastaphone" not only works in conjunction with Bailey's mediumship, but was tried with a young lad named McCarthney in Sydney. When this youth first sat, whisperings were heard, but at subsequent sittings the voices became more and more distinct, and gave evidences of survival.
Mr. MacDonald-Bayne has discovered as a result of constant sittings that he can be used as an instrument for healing, and he says he has had some extraordinary cures in Australia. He does not touch the patient at all. He merely stands by.
He contends he has proved that life is not resident in the physical body, but in the spiritual one. In cases of disease, if the life force can be stimulatd into making contact again with the nerve forces of the body, then astonishing cures can be obtained.
He gave me instances, one of an old lady, aged eighty-four, suffering from paralysis in the lower limbs, who was carried on to the platform, and after a few moments without any contact by him found her legs began to move. Also a young girl paralysed in her legs, and arms, who was unable to speak, but who spoke and moved in a few moments.
It is obvious that the Spirit World is trying to find new methods of communication and new avenues of contact with this world of ours.
Mr. MacDonald-Bayne told me that Swaffer's name and address were given to him through the machine by one of the Spirits who spoke regularly, as were also those of the editors of two Spiritualist journals in this country.
I am going to try the "Chastaphone." Charles Bailey is coming here in November and I have been promised the first sitting with him in this country.
If it is satisfactory, arrangements will be made for Spiritualists generally to participate at his seances. Meanwhile I am trying to arrange with other mediums who obtain the voice to have the "Chastaphone" at their seances and see what results are obtained.
It is hoped, when Bailey comes over, to arrange for Dr. Quentin McLennan, who, when on earth, was a distinguished Glasgow surgeon, to address the Royal College of Surgeons in Glasgow through the "Chastaphone."
It is Bailey, of course, whose apport mediumship has for many years been known to psychical researchers in Australasia. Once, he was fined by the Customs for having in his possession articles which they claimed must have been imported! Actually, they had suddenly arrived, as though from nowhere, in the seance-room.
Bailey sits every night in Sydney, often with scientists. Here, his guides will not allow him to sit more than four times a week."
From the Psychic News August 13 1932
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