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Ladislaus Laszlo Medium
Ladislaus Laszlo was involved in one of the largest
scandals in the History of German and Hungarian Parapsychology. Main reason
therefore was, that Baron Von Schrenck-Notzing was involved and considered
Laszlo as genuine. Two years later the hoax was debunked.
After the German Researcher Schrenck Notzing had published his famous "Phenomena of Materialisation" he was worldwide active to find genuine Mediums supporting his findings and hypothesis of "Ideoplastics", a theory, that Mediums exterioriate ectoplasm as thought-forms, so to speak, as a paranormal exhibition of contents that were produced through the mediums own visual imaginery. This "animistic" theory was the counterpart to the "spiritualistic" view on things, that considers the paranormal performance on the side of the "Trance"- or "Spirit"-Personalities nearly every Medium is working with!
Through an hungarian Researcher, Torday, Schrenck became involved in the investigation of a Medium, that Schrenck claimed to be genuine after sitting with him for several seances. Using the outcomes of the "Ladislaus Laszlo"- Seances as support for his findings mainly on Eva C. and on Stanislawa P., in the end his involvement was used by sceptics for one blatant blow on his credibility, when it became clear, that Laszlo was a notorious criminal, who, inspired by Schrencks own work, wanted to purposefulness betray the Spiritualist scene in Hungary for monetary reasons.
Through this scandal he became the most famous fake Medium from Hungary during the 1920s.
Laszlo was born in Budapest September 23, 1898, the son of a locksmith. At the age of 13 he was apprenticed to an electrician, by whom he was harshly treated. Laszlo ran away on several occasions but was returned by the police. After three and a half years apprenticeship, he beat up his master before finally leaving him.
Laszlo earned a living as an electrician until 1915, when he joined a Polish Legion of the Austro German campaign against Russia. He fought at the front for nearly a year but deserted after being wounded. He was court-martialed, then escaped, later serving in a Hungarian unit on the Italian front in 1916. He deserted again when his girlfriend became a prostitute, and, since ordinary employment was barred to him, Laszlo joined a gang of burglars. He supported his girlfriend to keep her off the streets, but when he found that she was still living as a prostitute and even keeping pimps, he began to drink heavily and attempted suicide. He was arrested and imprisoned until October 1918, when the revolution in Hungary decreed a general amnesty.
After that, he continued his criminal activities, taking refuge from the police in southeast Hungary, where he became involved with an anti-Communist plot. Arrested and sentenced to be shot, Laszlo was freed by anti-Communists. He fought against Romanians until captured and taken to the death camp of Jassy, where he was beaten and starved for three months before he escaped.
Laszlo returned to Budapest, hoping that his criminal record had been lost in archives' burnings. According to his own account, he took a succession of jobs as actor, film extra, variety artist, playwright, painter, and electrical technician. The performance of a music hall hypnotist led him to become interested in Spiritualism and occultism.
With his background and emotional instability, it was a fatal mixture. Influenced by Laszlo's seances, several young men committed suicide in order to journey to the "Great Beyond." In 1920 Laszlo fell off a tram, and during two weeks in a hospital met a girl with whom he fell deeply in love. After recovery, he telephoned her, demanding that they become engaged, and when she refused him, he shot himself in the telephone booth. Back in the hospital, he fell in love with another girl, with whom he later formed a suicide pact. In a somewhat confused scene with a gun, the girl died, while Laszlo was only wounded. He was arrested for homicide.
The police astonishingly agreed to hold a Spiritualist seance at their headquarters with Laszlo as Medium, during the course of which Laszlo claimed that he was the victim of an evil entity from the thirteenth century who desired to use psychic force to destroy victims. Laszlo was released, but he later claimed the seance to be a fake.
He then became a journalist on a Budapest newspaper, publishing articles about occultism and Spiritualism. Through them Laszlo was introduced to William Torday, president of the Hungarian Metapsychical Society. Torday and his colleagues believed that Laszlo had brilliant occult talents and persuaded him to sign an exclusive contract with them for sťances. Laszlo duly produced fake Spirit heads and hands and built up a reputation as a great Medium.
After reading a classic work on materialization by famed psychic researcher Baron Schrenck-Notzing, Laszlo deliberately contrived to fake such effects in order to deceive the baron. The materials used by Laszlo for fake ectoplasm were gauze and cotton-wool soaked in goose fat. These props were hidden in the furniture in the seance room, and when this became impossible through strict controls, Laszlo was impudently adroit in slipping his props into the pockets of his investigators when he was searched, then picking their pockets during the seance! It is not known whether Schrenck-Notzing was actually deceived, but many prominent psychic researchers were.
Later it was discovered that this was not the whole truth. At least two respected Personalities of the Hungarian Society were involved in the trickery, hid all the fake material until after the complete and medical search of Laszlo and handed it over to him when he was entering the cabinet.
Laszlo was exposed in his fraud by Eugene Schenck, a music-hall hypnotist and stage clairvoyant. Anticipating publicity for his tricks, Laszlo himself admitted fraud at a public lecture and even reveled in them. In the aftermath of the scandal, Torday was discredited as a psychic researcher, and 67 of the 70 members of the Hungarian Metapsychical Society resigned. According to Laszlo, he was then visited by two young men who were members of a Spiritualist Circle. They said they had received a Spirit message that Laszlo should retract his confession of fraud or be killed. Laszlo accordingly drew up a public statement that his materialization phenomena were genuine, and he undertook not to combat Spiritualism in any way. This melodramatic episode may also be of Laszlo's invention. The story of Laszlo can be compared with that of the famous British fake Medium William Roy, who was equally shameless.
Laszlo resumed his everyday work as an electrician, and in due course became a criminal again. Ten years later he was arrested for burglary and housebreaking. Before the hearing could be completed, he died of a lung hemorrhage in 1936.
Schrenck declared, that nobody is in the first place safe against such an implemented deceit as an organised crime, like Laszlo had accomplished with his helpers, that "had obviously changed the sides". "But no fraud can function forever! And so it was finally discovered. ", Schrenck said. "Such a planned fraud of a notorious criminal cannot be compared with the Phenomena of Eva C., because she simply had no accomplices at hand."
"Latestly the SPR-Sittings of Eva C. 1922 proved, that Eva was able to produce her feats after internal medical searches, without coming in touch with her only confident, Mme.Bisson, with hands and feet held throughout the seance and the curtains mostly open!"
Nevertheless Schrenck was seriously effected by the storm of malice and mischievousness his critics fired at him.
Laszlo, after many years of involvement in criminal activities, started to work as a journalist for occult stories, when he stumbled upon Schrenck-Notzings books.
Laszlo displays a feat, that was originally observed with the Medium Stanislawa Tomczyk, who said it showed for the first time fine spider web like exteriorisations from her fingertips; to me a fine thread.
Laszlo was most impressed by the phenomena Eva C. had produced.
Looking at some of the photographs I can see similarities with the cloths being used by her in the photos take by Baron Schrenck Notzings of Eva C.
Notice the lips are tight, holding onto the cloth so it cannot fall out of his mouth while being held.
Laszlo cut human forms into the cloths to imitate several forms.
Cut ragged at the bottom of this white cloth.
Laszlo in faked alleged trance. Notice the neck in tension.
Laszlo always let the researchers touch his productions
Again a researcher examines the substances as he holds it tightly in his mouth.
Seemingly well controlled
An examiner moves Laszlos head to be exposed to the magnesium flash in full while he has the cloth in the mouth.
After the body search it was no problem for him to hide the fake materials which was passed to him by an accomplice without being detected.
Laszlos seances were normally held in red-light.
Again display of the alleged ectoplasm fine thread between the fingers, which is supporting a piece of cloth purported to be ectoplasm.
Thread drawn across from the fingers holding up a lighter box which is attached to the thread which can be clearly seen.
Supposed to be levitation of the small box through the medium's energy
The veil like substance that many genuine Mediums were producing and that was able to protrude experimental head nets (for control reasons - see "Phenomena of materialisation") Laszlo was not able to produce.
The allowance of strictest controls Laszlo provided made him interesting for Baron von Schrenck.
Alleged Ectoplasm display by Ladislaus Laszlo, known now as cloth.
A muslin cloth glove like hand form hangs out of Laszlos mouth.
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