Medium Mrs Smead, 


  Medium Mrs Willis M Cleaveland,    USA  

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 Mrs Smead Medium,  Mrs Willis M Cleaveland Medium,    USA


Pseudonym of Mrs. Willis M. Cleveland, wife of an American preacher to whom James H. Hyslop's attention was invited in December 1901. Smead had occasionally practiced planchette writing from her childhood and began systematic experiments in 1895. Records were kept of the communications received and put at Hyslop's disposal. He was impressed with both Willis Cleveland and Mrs. Smead as honest, conscientious people. The communicators claimed to be the deceased children of the couple and a deceased brother of Willis Cleveland's. Their identities, because of the evidence they gave were very plausible.

A curious feature of Smead's mediumship began to develop when in August 1895 several references were made to the planets Mars and Jupiter. A short time before, an article by Percival Lowell was published in the Atlantic Monthly that referred to the canals of the planet Mars. This article may have had something to do with Smead's new variety of phenomena in which Jupiter played an additional but minor part.

A crude map of Jupiter's surface was given, and the planet was said to be the "babies' heaven." At the next sitting, the map of Mars was drawn, the different zones were named in Martian, and several communications were given about the inhabitants and the canals.

There followed then an incubation period of five years during which no Martian revelations were granted. In September 1900, the communications returned in a developed state. Men, boats, houses, and flowers were drawn, named in Martian, and written in hieroglyphic characters. Some of the sketches, such as one of a self-winding double clock, were very ingenious; others, like a Martian airship, were peculiar but unconvincing. A curious coincidence existed with Helene Smith, the French Medium studied by Theodore Flournoy, who also produced Martian drawings.

In general, according to Flournoy's review in Spiritism and Psychology, "the Martian revelations of Mrs. Smead present the same character of puerility and naive imagination as those of Mlle. Smith." He could only think that the psychological explanation was at basis the same. Flournoy's book was actually in the house, but it was carefully kept from the Medium.

The number of Martian scripts continued to increase until a new personality, calling himself "Harrison Clark," abruptly came on the scene and shut out all other communicators. He showed great facility in inverted and mirror writing and gave his autobiography. When he was confronted by Hyslop with the findings of his investigation, he began "a battle of intellectual sparring and defiance which perhaps has hardly its equal in the annals of secondary personality."

For a considerable period, Hyslop attributed all the communications to a secondary personality. In this view Hyslop was confirmed by the controls of the medium Leonora Piper. They sent a message to Hyslop that he should be wary. "The so-called light as seen by us is not a light given from our world at all, but the conditions are hypocritic and fanciful."

Later, however, the mediumship improved, scraps and bits of paranormal information came through, and, although at first Hyslop only classified the case as an intermediate one between Smith and Piper, he later surrendered his hesitations and admitted the existence of genuinely paranormal phenomena beyond question.

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