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 SEANCES & CIRCLES THROUGHOUT THE AGES  page 31  

                                                                     

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This book 'Mysterious Psychic Forces' by Camille Flammarion

chapter 1 is on seances 27

chapter 2 is on seances 28

chapter 3 is on seances 29

chapter 4 is on seances 30

chapter 5 is continued on Hoaxes page 10

CHAPTER IV

HER SEANCES WITH EUSAPIA PALADINO

 

The Medium, whose marvellous seance performances we have been describing has been the subject of a long series of observations by eminent and careful experimenters. Her endowments are indeed exceptional. When you study with Eusapia, the comparison of her powers with those of ordinary cases makes you think of the difference between a fine electrical machine operated under good atmospheric conditions and a bad one operated on a rainy day. You see more with her in one hour than in a host of faulty trials with other Mediums.

Our study of these unknown forces will progress rapidly if, in place of limiting the results obtained to one or two groups, such as those which precede, we examine the totality of the observations made in the seances of this Medium. My readers can then compare them with the preceding ones; they can judge, they can make their own estimates.

The documents which I am now going to print are all borrowed from the Annales des sciences psychiques and from the valuable collection of M. Albert de Rochas upon The Externalization of Motivity.

A few words, first, about the debuts of Eusapia in her mediumistic career.

Professor Chiaia, of Naples, to whom I owe it that I was able to receive Eusapia at my house and obtain the experiments reported above, was the first to bring her gifts into public notice. He first published on the 9th of August,

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1888, in a journal issued at Rome, the following letter addressed to Professor Lombroso:

Dear Sir,---In your article, The Influence of Civilization upon Genius (which has incontestable beauties of style and of logic), I noticed a very happy paragraph. It seems to me to sum up the scientific movement (starting from the time when man first invented that head-breaking thing called an alphabet) down to our own day. This paragraph reads as follows:

"Every generation is prematurely ready for discoveries which it never sees born, since it does not perceive its own incapacity and the means it lacks for making further discoveries. The repetition of any one manifestation, by impressing itself upon our brains, prepares our minds and renders them less and less incapable of discovering the laws to which this manifestation is amenable. Twenty or thirty years are enough to make the whole world admire a discovery which was treated as madness at the moment when it was made. Even at the present day academic bodies laugh at hypnotism and at homeopathy. Who knows whether my friends and I, who laugh at Spiritualism, are not in error, just as hypnotized persons are? Thanks to the illusion which surrounds us, we may be incapable of seeing that we deceive ourselves; and, like many persons of unsound mind who stubbornly oppose the truth, we laugh at those who are not of our way of thinking."

Struck by this keen thought, which by chance I find adapted to a certain matter with which I have been occupied for some time, I joyfully accept it, without abatement, without any comment which might change its sense; and, confining myself to the fine old rules of chivalry, I make use of it as a challenge. The consequences of this challenge will neither be dangerous nor bloody: we shall fight fairly; and, whatever may be the results of the encounter, whether I succumb or whether I make my opponent yield, it will always be in a friendly way. The result will tend to the improvement of one of the two adversaries and will be in every way useful to the great cause of truth.

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There is much talk nowadays of a special malady which is found in the human organism. We notice it every day; but we are ignorant of its cause and know not what to call it. The cry is raised that it be subjected to the examination of contemporary science; but science, in reply, only meets the request with the mocking ironical smile of a Pyrrhus, for the precise reason (as you say) that the time is not yet ripe.

But the author of the paragraph I have quoted above, of course did not write it merely for the pleasure of writing. It seems to me, on the contrary, that he would not smile disdainfully if he were invited to observe a special case that is worthy to attract the attention and to seriously occupy the mind of a Lombroso. The case I allude to is that of an invalid woman who belongs to the humblest class of society. She is nearly thirty years old and very ignorant; her look is neither fascinating nor endowed with the power which modern criminologists call irresistible; but, when she wishes, be it by day or by night, she can divert a curious group for an hour or so with the most surprising phenomena. Either bound to a seat or firmly held by the hands of the curious, she attracts to her the articles of furniture which surround her, lifts them up, holds them suspended in air like Mahomet's coffin, and makes them come down again with undulatory movements, as if they were obeying her will. She increases their weight or lessens it according to her pleasure. She raps or taps upon the walls, the ceiling, the floor, with fine rhythm and cadence. In response to the requests of the spectators, something like flashes of electricity shoot forth from her body, and envelop her or enwrap the spectators of these marvellous scenes. She draws upon cards that you hold out everything that you want---figures, signatures, numbers, sentences---by just stretching out her hand toward the indicated place. If you place in the corner of the room a vessel containing a layer of soft clay, you find after some moments the imprint in it of a small or a large hand, the image of a face (front view or profile), from which a plaster cast can be taken. In this way, portraits of a face taken at different

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angles have been preserved, and those who desire so to do can thus make serious and important studies.

This woman rises in the air, no matter what bands tie her down. She seems to lie upon the empty air as on a couch, contrary to all the laws of gravity; she plays on musical instruments---organs, bells, tambourines---as if they had been touched by her hands or moved by the breath of invisible gnomes.

You will call that a particular case of hypnotism; you will say that this sick woman is a fakir in petticoats, that you would shut her up in a hospital. Let me beg of you, most eminent professor, not to shift the argument. As is well known, hypnotism only causes a momentary illusion; after the seance, everything takes its original form. But here the case is different. During the days which followed these marvellous scenes there remained traces and records worthy of consideration.

What do you think of that?

But allow me to continue. This woman, at times, can increase her stature by more than four inches. She is like an india-rubber doll, like an automaton of a new kind; she takes strange forms. How many legs and arms has she? We do not know. While her limbs are being held by incredulous spectators, we see other limbs coming into view, without knowing where they come from. Her shoes are too small to fit these witch-feet of her, and this particular circumstance gives rise to the suspicion of the intervention of mysterious power.

Don't laugh when I say "gives rise to the suspicion." I affirm nothing; you will have time to laugh presently.

When this woman is bound, a third arm is seen to appear, and nobody knows where it comes from. Then follows a long series of droll teasing tricks. She abstracts bonnets, watches, money, rings, pins, and produces them again with great adroitness and gayety; she takes coats and waistcoats, pulls off boots, brushes hats and puts them back upon the heads of those to whom they belong, curls and strokes moustaches, and occasionally hits you with a fist, for she also has

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fits of ill-temper. I said a fist, because it is always a clumsy and callous hand that strikes the blow. It has been noticed that the hand of the sorceress is small. She has large finger-nails; has a moist skin, the temperature of which varies from the natural warmth of the body to the icy chill of a corpse the touch of which makes you shiver; she allows herself to be handled, pinched, observed; and ends by rising into the air, remaining suspended there with no visible means of support, like one of those plump wooden hands hung out over the sidewalk as a sign at the shops of the glove merchants.

 

 

Plate VII. Plaster Casts of Impressions in Clay Produced by an Unknown Force.

I swear to you that I emerge with a very calm spirit from the cave of this Circe. Freed from her enchantments, I pass all my impressions in review, and end in scepticism, although the testimony of my senses assures me that I have not been the sport of an error or of an illusion.

All these extraordinary manœuvres cannot be attributed to prestidigitation. We ought to be on our guard against every kind of trickery, and make a scrupulous investigation in order to forestall mendacity or fraud.

But the test sometimes fails; the facts do not always meet the demands of the eager and restless spectators. This is one more mystery to explain, and proves that the individual herself who works these wonders is not their sole arbiter. Undoubtedly, she possesses the exclusive power of producing these portentous feats; but they cannot materialize except with the co-operation of an unknown agent, some deus ex machina.

From all this two things result; namely, the great difficulty there is in examining the true inwardness of this stupefying piece of charlatanry, and the necessity of making a series of experiments in order to get together enough of them to illuminate the dark intellects of the dupes and to overcome the obstinacy of the wranglers.

Now you see my challenge. If you have not written the paragraph cited above simply for the pleasure of writing it; if you have the true love of science; if you are without prejudices,---you, the first alienist in Italy,---please have the kindness to take the field, and persuade yourself that you are going to measure swords with a worthy adversary.

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When you can take a week's vacation, leave your beloved studies, and, instead of going into the country, show me a place where we can meet. Choose the time yourself.

You are to have a room into which you will enter alone before the experiment; there you will arrange the furniture and other objects just as you wish; you will lock the door with a key. I believe it would be useless to present the lady to you in the costume worn in the Garden of Eden, because this new Eve is incapable of retaliating upon the serpent and of seducing you.

Four gentlemen will be our seconds, as is fitting in all knightly encounters; you will choose two, and I will bring the other two.

No easier conditions were ever drawn up by the Knights of the Round Table. It is evident that, if the experiment does not succeed, I shall be able to accuse only the harsh decrees of destiny; you will consider me but as a man suffering from hallucination, who longs to be cured of his extravagances. But, if success crowns our efforts, your loyalty will impose upon you the duty of writing an article, in which, without circumlocution, reticence, or error, you will attest the reality of the mysterious phenomena and promise to investigate their causes.

If you decline this meeting, please explain to me your sentence, "The time is not yet ripe." Undoubtedly, that might apply to common intellects, but not to a Lombroso, to whom is addressed this advice of Dante: "Honour ought to close the lips of falsehood with truth."

Yours very devotedly and respectfully,

(Professor) Chiaia.

M. Lombroso did not at once accept this eloquent and witty challenge. However, we shall presently find that learned professor himself experimenting. In the mean time read what M. de Rochas tells us of Eusapia's youth:-

Her first mediumistic manifestations began at the age of puberty, when she was about thirteen or fourteen years old. This coincidence is found in almost all the cases

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in which the singular power of producing movements at a distance has been observed.

At this epoch of her life it was remarked that the Spiritualistic séances to which she was invited succeeded much better when she was seated at the table. But they tired and bored her, and she refrained from taking part in them for eight or nine years.

It was only in her twenty-second or twenty-third year that the Spiritualistic education of Eusapia began. It was directed by an ardent Spiritualist, M. Damiani. It was then that the personality of John King appeared, a Spirit who took possession of her when she was in the trance state.

This John King is said to be the brother of Crookes's Katie King, and to have been Eusapia's father in another existence. It is John who speaks when Eusapia is in her trance; when he speaks of her, he calls her "my daughter," and gives advice about the care of her person and life. M. Ochorowicz thinks this John is a personality created in the Spirit of Eusapia by the union of a certain number of impressions collected in the different psychic environments in which her life has been passed. This would be almost the identical explanation for the personalities suggested by the hypnotists, and for the variations of personality observed by MM. Azam, Bourru, and Burot, et al.

Some have thought they noticed that Eusapia prepared herself, consciously or unconsciously, at the séance, by diminishing her respiration,---a very singular thing. At the same time, her pulse gradually rises from 88 to 120 pulsations a minute. Is this a practice analogous to that which the fakirs of India employ, or a simple effect of the emotion which, before every séance, Eusapia experiences?---a fact which has a strong tendency to convince the sitters, but is never sure of the production of the phenomena.

Eusapia is not hypnotized; she enters of herself into the trance state when she becomes a link in the chain of hands.

She begins to sigh deeply, then yawns and hiccoughs. A series of varied expressions passes over her face. Sometimes

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it takes on a demoniacal look, accompanied by a fitful laugh very much like that which Gounod gives to Mephistopheles in the opera of Faust, and which almost always precedes an important phenomenon. Sometimes her face flushes; the eyes become brilliant and liquid, and are opened wide. The smile and the motions are the mark of the erotic ecstasy. She says "mio caro" ("my dear"), leans her head upon the shoulder of her neighbour, and courts caresses when she believes that he is sympathetic. It is at this point that phenomena are produced, the success of which causes her agreeable and even voluptuous thrills. During this time her legs and her arms are in a state of marked tension, almost rigid, or even undergo convulsive contractions. Sometimes a tremor goes through her entire body.

To these states of nervous super-activity succeeds a period of depression characterized by an almost corpse-like paleness of the face (which is frequently covered with perspiration) and the almost complete inertia of her limbs. If she lifts her hand, it falls back of its own weight.

During the trance her eyes are turned up, and only the white is visible. Her presence of mind and her general consciousness are diminished or not at all in evidence. She gives no reply, or, if she does, her reply is retarded by questions. Eusapia has no recollection of what has taken place during the séances, except for states of mind bordering close on those of her normal state; and, consequently, they only relate, as a general thing, to phenomena of slight intensity.

In order to aid in the manifestations, she frequently asks that her force be increased by putting one more person in the chain. It has frequently happened to her to address a sympathetic spectator, to take his fingers and press them as if to draw something out of them, then push them abruptly away, saying that she has enough force.

In proportion as her trance increases, her sensibility to light increases. A sudden light causes difficulty in her breathing, rapid beatings of the heart, an hysterical feeling, general irritation of the nerves, pain in the head and eyes, and a trembling of the whole body, with convulsions,—except when she herself asks for light (a thing which frequently happens to her when there are interesting verifications

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 to be made upon the subject of displaced objects), for then her attention is strongly called in other directions.

She is in constant motion during the active period of the seances. These movements may be attributed to the hysterical crises which then agitate her; but they appear to be necessary to the production of the phenomena. Every time that a movement is being caused at a distance, she imitates it, either with her hands or with her feet, and by developing a much stronger force than would be necessary for producing the movement by contact.

Here is what she herself says of her impressions when she wishes to produce a movement at a distance. She suddenly experiences an ardent desire to produce the phenomena; then she has a feeling of numbness and the goose-flesh sensation in her fingers; these sensations keep increasing; at the same time she feels in the inferior portion of the vertebral column the flowing of a current which rapidly extends into her arm as far as her elbow, where it is gently arrested. It is at this point that the phenomenon takes place.

During and after the levitations of the tables she has a feeling of pain in her knees; during and after other phenomena, in her elbows and all through her arms.

It was only in the end of February, 1891, that Professor Lombroso, whose curiosity had finally been strongly excited, decided to come to Naples to examine these curious manifestations about which everybody in Italy was speaking. The following reports by M. Ciolfi were published apropos of this visit.

First Seance

A large room, selected on the first floor by these gentlemen, had been put at our disposal. M. Lombroso began by carefully examining the Medium, after which we took places around a gaming table. Mme. Paladino sat at one end; at her left, MM. Lombroso and Gigli; I faced the medium, between MM. Gigli and Vizioli; then came MM. Ascensi and

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Tamburini, who closed the Circle, the last named at the right of the medium and in contact with her.

The room was lighted by candles placed upon a table behind Mme. Paladino. MM. Tamburini and Lombroso each held a hand of the medium. Their knees touched hers, at a certain distance from the feet of the table; and her feet were under theirs.

After a rather long wait the table began to move, slowly at first,---a matter explained by the scepticism, not to say the positively hostile spirit, of those who were this night in a seance circle for the first time. Then, little by little, the movements increased in intensity. M. Lombroso proved the levitation of the table, and estimated at twelve or fifteen pounds the resistance to the pressure which he had to make with his hands in order to overcome that levitation.

This phenomenon of a heavy body sustained in the air, off its centre of gravity and resisting a pressure of twelve or fifteen pounds, very much surprised and astonished the learned gentlemen, who attributed it to the action of an unknown magnetic force.

At my request, taps and scratchings were heard in the table. This was new cause for astonishment, and led the gentlemen to themselves call for the putting out of the candles in order to ascertain whether the intensity of the noises would be increased, as had been stated. All remained seated and in contact.

In a dim light which did not hinder the most careful surveillance, violent blows were first heard at the middle point of the table. Then a bell placed upon a round table, at the distance of a yard to the left of the Medium (in such a way that she was placed behind and to the right of M. Lombroso), rose into the air, and went tinkling over the heads of the company, describing a circle around our table, where it finally came to rest.

In the midst of the expressions of deep amazement which this unexpected phenomenon drew forth, M. Lombroso showed a strong desire to hear and to prove it again. Whereupon the little bell began to sound, and again made the tour of the table, redoubling its strokes upon it, to such a degree that M. Ascensi, divided between astonishment and the fear of

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having his fingers broken (the bell weighed fully ten ounces), hastened to rise and go and seat himself on a sofa behind me.

I kept insisting that we had to do with an intelligent force,---a matter that he persistently denied,---and that consequently there was nothing to fear. But M. Ascensi refused, under any circumstances, to take his place again at the table.

I called attention to the fact that the Circle was broken, since one of the experimenters had left, and that, under penalty of no longer being able to observe the phenomena in a cool judicious Spirit, it would be necessary that he should at least keep silent and motionless. M. Ascensi was very willing to pledge himself to that.

The light was extinguished, and the experiments began again. While, in response to a unanimous wish, the little bell was beginning again its tinklings and its mysterious aerial circuits, M. Ascensi, taking his cue, unknown to us, from M. Tamburini, went (unperceived, owing to the darkness), and stood at the right of the Medium, and at once with a single scratch lighted a match, so successfully, as he declared, that he could see the little bell, while it was vibrating in the air, suddenly fall upon a bed about six feet and a half behind Mme. Paladino.

I will not attempt to depict for you the amazement of the learned body, the most striking manifestation of which was a rapid exchange of questions and comments upon this strange occurrence.

After some remarks I made about the intervention of M. Ascensi, who seemed likely to seriously trouble the psychic condition of the medium, the darkness was turned on again, so to speak, in order to continue the experiments.

At first it was a little work-table, small, but heavy, that moved about. It was placed at the left of Mme. Eusapia, and it was upon it that the little bell was placed at the beginning of the seance. This small piece of furniture struck against the chair on which M. Lombroso was seated, and tried to hoist itself up on our table.

In the presence of this new phenomenon, M. Vizioli gave up his place at our table to M. Ascensi and went to stand

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between the work-table and Mme. Eusapia, to whom he turned his back. At least he said he did all this, for we could not see him on account of the darkness. He took the little table between his two hands and tried to hold it; but, in spite of his efforts, it released itself and went rolling over the floor.

An important point to note is that, although MM. Lombroso and Tamburini had not for a moment let go of the hands of Mme. Paladino, Professor Vizioli announced that he felt a pinch in the back. General hilarity followed this declaration.

M. Lombroso stated that he had felt his chair lifted up so that he was compelled to remain standing for some time, after which his chair had been so placed as to permit him to sit down again.

He also experienced twitches upon his clothes. Then he and M. Tamburini felt the touches of an invisible hand upon their cheeks and fingers.

M. Lombroso, especially struck with the two facts of the work-table and the little bell, judged them of sufficient importance for him to put off till Tuesday his departure from Naples, which had been first fixed for Monday.

Upon his request I promised a new seance, on Monday, at the Hotel de Geneve.

Second Seance

At eight o'clock in the evening I arrived at the Hotel de Geneve, accompanied by the medium, Eusapia Paladino. We were received under the colonnade by MM. Lombroso, Tamburini, Ascensi, and several other persons whom they had invited; namely Professors Gigli, Limoncelli, Vizioli, and Bianchi (superintendent of the insane asylum at Sales), Dr. Penta, and a young nephew of M. Lombroso, who lives at Naples.

After the customary introductions, we were asked to go up to the highest story in the house, where we were introduced into a very large room with an alcove. Curtains, or portières, were let down across the front of the alcove. Behind the curtains at a distance of about three feet and a half,

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measured by MM. Lombroso and Tamburini, there was placed, in this alcove, a round table, with a porcelain salver filled with flour, in the hope of obtaining face-imprints in it. The alcove also contained a tin trumpet, writing-paper, and a sealed envelope containing a sheet of white paper, to see if we could not get direct writing on it.

The gentlemen inspected the alcove with extreme care, in order to assure themselves that there was nothing there of a fixed-up, suspicious nature.

Mme. Paladino sat down at the table, a little less than two feet from the alcove curtains, turning her back to them. Then, at her request, she had her body and her feet tied to her chair by means of cloth bands. This was effected by three members of the company, who left only her arms free. That done, places were taken at the table in the following order: on the left of Mme. Eusapia, M. Lombroso; then, in succession, M. Vizioli, myself, the nephew of M. Lombroso, MM. Gigli, Limoncelli, Tamburini; finally, Dr. Penta, who completed the Circle and sat at the right of the Medium.

MM. Ascensi and Bianchi refused to form part of the Circle, and remained standing behind MM. Tamburini and Penta. I paid little attention to these two, being certain that their action was a premeditated combination in order to redouble the vigilance. I simply recommended that, while they were observing with extreme care, each should remain quiet.

The experiments began in candlelight strong enough to light up the whole room. After a long wait the table began to move, slowly at first, then more energetically. However, the movements remained intermittent, labored, and much less vigorous than at Saturday's séance.

The table volunteered a request by taps of its leg designating the letters of the alphabet, that MM. Limoncelli and Penta should exchange places. This exchange effected, the table called for the turning out of lights.

A moment after, and with more force this time, the movements of the table began again. Suddenly, in the midst of these, violent blows were heard. The chair placed at M. Lombroso's right tried to climb up on the table, then hung suspended upon the arm of the learned professor. All of

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a sudden the curtains of the alcove were shaken, and swung forward over the table in such a way as to envelop M. Lombroso, who was very much moved by such a wonder, as he himself has declared.

All these phenomena, happening at long intervals, in the darkness, and in the midst of noisy conversation, were not estimated at their true worth. It was thought that they were only the effects of chance or were jests of some member of the company.

While we are all waiting and discussing the import of the phenomena and the greater or less value that should be set on them, the noise of the fall of an object is heard. When the room is lighted, there is found at our feet under the table the trumpet which had been placed on the round table in the alcove behind the curtains. This circumstance, which MM. Bianchi and Ascensi receive with a burst of laughter, surprises the experimenters, and has the effect of more completely fixing their attention.

The room is darkened again, and, by urgent request some fugitive glimmers of light are seen to appear and disappear at long intervals. This phenomenon impressed MM. Bianchi and Ascensi, and put an end to their incessant railleries, so much so that they came and formed a part of the Circle. At the moment of the appearance of the gleams, and even some time after they had ceased to show themselves, MM. Limoncelli and Tamburini, at the right of the medium, said that they were touched in several places by a hand. M. Lombroso's young nephew, absolutely sceptical, who had taken a seat by the side of M. Limoncelli, declared that he felt the touch of a flesh-and-blood hand, and asked with some impetuosity who did that. He forgot---being not only sceptical, but artless---that, like himself, all the persons present were helping to form the chain of hands and were in mutual contact.

It was getting late, and the lack of homogeneity in the circle was abridging the phenomena. Under these conditions I thought I ought to end the séance and cause the candles to be lighted.

When MM. Limoncelli and Vizioli were taking leave, the Medium being still seated and bound, and all of us were

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standing around the table conversing about the luminous phenomena, and comparing the scattered and feeble effects obtained in this soirée with those of the Saturday preceding, and seeking the reason for this difference, we heard noise in the alcove, and saw the portières which enclosed it vigorously shaken, and the round table which was behind them slowly advancing toward Mme. Paladino, still seated and bound.

On seeing this strange, unexpected phenomena occur in full light, we were all stupefied with amazement. M. Bianchi and M. Lombroso's nephew dashed into the alcove, under the impression that some person concealed there was producing the movement of the portieres and the round table. Their astonishment was unbounded when they ascertained that there was no one there, and that, under their very eyes, the table continued to glide over the floor in the direction of the medium. That is not all. Professor Lombroso observed that, while the table was in movement, the salver on it had been turned upside down without a single particle of the flour which it contained being spilled; and he added that no prestidigitator would have been able to accomplish such a feat. In the presence of these phenomena taking place as they did, after the breaking up of the Circle, in such a way as to eliminate the hypothesis of a magnetic current, Professor Bianchi, in obedience to the love of truth, confessed that it was he who, for the sake of a joke, had contrived and brought about the fall of the tin trumpet, but that in the presence of such achievements as this he could no longer be sceptical, and was going to apply himself to the study of them in order to investigate their causes.

Professor Lombroso complained of the trick, and said to M. Bianchi that, as between professors met in order to make scientific studies and researches in common, mystifying pranks like this could not but cast a slur upon the respect due to science.

Professor Lombroso, who was a prey both to doubt and to ideas of his own which tormented his mind, made an engagement to be present at further meetings on his return to Naples in the following summer.

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M. Ciolfi, having sent these two reports to M. Lombroso, the eminent professor of Turin confirmed their accuracy in the following letter, dated June 25, 1891:-

Dear Sir,---The two reports that you have sent me are of the utmost accuracy. I add that, before we had seen the salver turned over, the Medium had announced that she would sprinkle the faces of those who sat by her with flour; and everything leads to the belief that such was her intention, but that she was not able to realize it,---a new proof, to my mind, of her perfect honesty, especially considering her semi-unconsciousness.

I am filled with confusion and regret that I combated with so much persistence the possibility of the facts called Spiritualistic. I say facts, because I am still opposed to the theory.

Please give my greetings to M. E. Chiaia, and, if it is possible, get M. Albini to examine the visual field and the inner recesses of the eye of the medium, about which I desire to inform myself.

Yours very truly,

C. Lombroso.

M. Lombroso soon after published his experiences and reflections, in an article in the Annales des sciences psychiques (1892) which ends thus:

None of these facts, (which we must admit, because no one can deny things which he has seen) is of such a nature as to lead us to form for their explanation an hypothesis of a world different from that admitted by the neuro-pathologists.

Above all, we must not forget that Mme. Eusapia is a neuropath; that in her childhood she received a blow on the left parietal bone, which produced a hole so deep that you could put your finger in it; that she remained subject to attacks of epilepsy, catalepsy, and hysteria, which take place especially during the seance phenomena; and that, finally, she has a remarkable obtuseness of touch.

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Well, I do not see anything inadmissible in this,--that in the case of hypnotic and hysterical persons the excitation of certain centres, which become powerful by the paralysis of all the others and then provoke a transposition and a transmission of physical forces, may also produce a transformation in luminous force or in motive force. Thus we understand how the force in a medium which I shall call cortical or cerebral may, for example, lift the table, pull somebody's beard, hit him, caress him, etc.

During the transposition of senses due to hypnotism,--when, for example, the nose and the chin see (and that is a fact which I observed with my own eyes), and when for some moments all the other senses are paralyzed, the cortical centre of vision, which has its seat in the brain, acquires such an energy that it supersedes the eye. It is this which we have been able to prove, Ottolenghi and I, in the case of three hypnotized persons, by making use of the lens and of the prism.

The phenomena observed would be explained, according to this theory, by a transformation of the powers of the Medium. Let us continue our account of the experiments.

Taking into consideration the testimony of Professor Lombroso, several savants--including MM. Schiaparelli, director of the observatory at Milan; Gerosa, professor of physics; Ermacora, doctor of natural philosophy; Aksakof, councillor of state to the Emperor of Russia; Charles du Prel, doctor of philosophy in Munich; Dr. Richet, of Paris, and Professor Buffern--met in October, 1892, in the apartment of M. Finzi, at Milan, to renew these experiments. M. Lombroso was present at several of the soirees. There were seventeen in all.

The experimenters present signed the following long declaration:

The results obtained did not always come up to our expectations. Not that we did not secure a large number of

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facts apparently or really important and marvellous; but, in the greater number of cases, we were not able to apply the rules of experimental science which, in other fields of observation, are regarded as indispensable in order to arrive at certain and incontestable results. The most important of these rules consists in changing, one after the other, the methods of experiment, in such a way as to bring out the true cause, or at least the true conditions of all the events. Now it is precisely from this point of view that our experiments seem to us still incomplete.

It is very true that the Medium, to prove her good faith, often voluntarily proposed to change some feature of one or the other experiment, and frequently herself took the initiative in these changes. But this applied only to things that were apparently indifferent, according to our way of seeing. On the contrary; the changes which seemed to us necessary to put the true character of the results beyond doubt, either were not accepted as possible or ended in uncertain results.

We do not believe we have the right to explain these things by the aid of insulting assumptions, which many still find to be the simplest explanation, and of which some journals have made themselves champions. We think, on the contrary, that these experiments are concerned with phenomena of an unknown nature, and we confess that we do not know what the conditions are that are required to produce them. To desire to fix these conditions in our own right and out of our own head would be as extravagant as to presume to make the experiment of Torricelli's barometer with a tube closed at the bottom, or to make electrostatic experiments in an atmosphere saturated with humidity, or to take a photograph by exposing the sensitive plate in full light before placing it in the camera. However, it is a fact that the impossibility of varying the experiments in our own way has diminished the worth and the interest of the results obtained, by depriving them of that rigorous demonstration which we are right in demanding in cases of this kind, or, rather, to which we ought to aspire.

 

The following are the principal phenomena observed.

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Levitation of One Side of the Table

We agreed to have the Medium sit alone at the table, in full light, her two hands placed on its upper surface and her sleeves drawn back to the elbows.

We remained standing about her, and the space above and under the table was well lighted. Under these conditions the table rose at an angle of twenty to forty degrees, and so remained for some minutes, while the medium was holding her legs stretched out and striking her feet one against the other. When we pressed with the hand upon the lifted side of the table, we experienced a considerable elastic resistance.

The table was suspended by one of its ends to a dynamometer which was coupled to a cord: this cord was tied to a small beam supported upon two wardrobes.

Under these conditions, the end of the table having been lifted six and a half inches, the dynamometer showed seventy-seven pounds. The Medium sat at the same narrow end of the table, with her hands wholly on the table, to the right and the left of the point where the dynamometer was attached. Our hands formed the chain upon the table, without pressure: they would not have been able in any case to do more than increase the pressure brought to bear on the table. On the contrary, the desire was expressed that the pressure should diminish, and soon the table began to rise on the side of the dynamometer. M. Gerosa, who was following the marks on the apparatus, announced this diminution, expressed by the successive figures 7½, 4½, 2½, 0 (pounds). At the last the levitation was such that the dynamometer rested horizontally on the table.

Then we changed the conditions by putting our hands under the table. The Medium, especially, put hers, not under the edge, where it might have touched the vertical border-board and exercised a push downwards, but under the rail that unites the feet, and touched this, not with the palm, but with the back of the hand. Thus all the hands together could only have diminished the traction upon the dynamometer. Upon the desire being expressed to see this traction augment, it increased from 7½ pounds to 13 pounds. During

[Pg 154]

 all these experiments each of the medium's feet rested under the foot of her nearest neighbour to right or left.

Complete Levitation of the Table.

It was natural to conclude that if the table, in apparent contradiction to the law of gravity, was able to rise partly, it would be able to rise entirely from the floor. As a matter of fact, this is what happened. This levitation, one of the most frequent phenomena that occur in the experiments with Eusapia, stood a most satisfactory examination.

The phenomenon always materialized under the following conditions: the persons seated about the table place their hands on it, and form the chain; each hand of the Medium is held by the adjacent hand of her two neighbours; each of her feet remains under the feet of her neighbour, who also press her knees with theirs. She is seated, as usual, at one of the small ends of the table, a position least favourable for a mechanical levitation. At the end of several minutes the table makes a side movement, rises first to the right, then to the left, and finally mounts off of its four feet straight into the air, and lies there horizontally (as if it were floating on a liquid), ordinarily at a height of from 4 to 8 inches (in exceptional cases from 24 to 27 inches); then falls back and rests on its four feet. It frequently remains in the air for several seconds, and while there also makes undulatory motions, during which the position of the feet under the table can be thoroughly examined. During the levitation the right hand of the Medium often leaves the table, as well as that of her neighbour, and is held in the air above.

In order the better to observe this thing, we removed one by one the persons placed at the table, recognizing the truth that the chain formed by several persons was neither necessary for this phenomenon nor for others. Finally, we left only a single person with the medium, seated at her left. This person placed her foot upon Eusapia's two feet and one hand upon her knees, and held with her other hand the left hand of the medium. Eusapia's right hand was on the table, in full view,---though sometimes she held it in the air during the levitation.

 

Plate VIII. Drawing from Photograph,

Showing Method of Control by Professors Lombroso and Richet of Eusapia.

Table Completely Raised.

sitters feeling for hidden wires.

 

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As the table remained in the air for several seconds, it was possible to obtain several photographs of the performance. Three pieces of photographic apparatus were working together in different parts of the room, and the illumination was furnished by a magnesium light at the opportune moment. Twenty photographs were obtained, some of which are excellent. Upon one of them (Plate. VIII) we see Professor Richet, who holds one hand, the knees, and a foot of the medium. The other hand of the latter is held by Professor Lombroso. The table is shown horizontally lifted,---a fact proved by the interval between the extremity of each foot and the extremity of the corresponding projected shadow.

In all the experiments which precede, we gave our attention principally to a careful inspection of the position of the hands and the feet of the medium; and, in this respect, we believe we can say that they were safe from all criticism. Still, a scrupulous sincerity compels us to mention the fact to which we did not begin to call attention before the evening of October 5, but which probably must have occurred also in the preceding experiments. It consists in this, that the four feet of the table could not be considered as perfectly isolated during the levitation, because one of them at least was in contact with the lower edge of the Medium's dress.

On this evening it was remarked that a little before the levitation, Eusapia's skirt was inflated on the left side until it touched the foot of the nearest table. One of us having been charged with the duty of hindering this contact, the table was unable to rise as before, and it only did rise when the observer intentionally permitted the contact to take place. This is shown in the photographs taken during this experiment, and also in those in which the table-foot in question is visible (after a fashion) at its lower extremity. The reader will see that at the same time the medium had her hand placed upon the upper surface of the table, and on the same side, in such a way that this table-foot was under her influence, as much in its lower portion, by means of the dress, as in the upper portion, by means of the hand.

Now in what way is it possible for the contact of a light dress-stuff with the lower extremity of the foot of a table to assist in the levitation? That is something we do not know.

[Pg 156]

The hypothesis that the dress may conceal a solid support, skilfully introduced, which may serve as a temporary support for the foot of the table, is a very poor one.

In fact, to keep the whole table resting on this one foot through the influence that a single hand could produce upon the upper surface of the table would require that the hand exercise upon the table a very strong pressure, one that we cannot suppose Eusapia capable of, even during three or four seconds.

We convinced ourselves of this by ourselves making proof of it with the same table.

 

Movements of Objects at a Distance, without Contact with Any of the Persons Present

1. Spontaneous movements of objects.

These phenomena were observed several times during our seances. It often happened that a chair, placed for this purpose not far from the table, between the medium and one of her neighbours, began to move about, and sometimes came up to the table. A remarkable instance occurred in the second seance, everything being all the time in full light. A heavy chair, weighing twenty-two pounds, which stood a yard from the table and behind the Medium, came up to M. Schiaparelli, who was seated next the Medium. He rose to put it back in its place; but scarcely was he seated when the chair advanced a second time toward him.

2. Movement of the table without contact.

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It was desirable to obtain this phenomenon as a matter of experiment. For that purpose, the table being placed upon casters, the feet of the medium were watched, as has been said, and all of the sitters formed the chain with their hands, including those of the medium. When the table began to move, we all lifted our hands, without breaking the chain, and the table thus isolated made several movements. This experiment was several times renewed.

 

The Fetching of Different Objects, the Hands of the Medium Being tied to those of her Neighbours.

In order to assure ourselves that we were not the victims of a trick, we tied the hands of the medium by a string to those of her two neighbours, in such a way that the movements of the four hands would reciprocally control each other. The length of the cord between the hands of the medium was from eight to twelve inches, and between each one of her hands and the hands of her neighbours four inches. This distance of space was purposely arranged in order that the hands of the neighbouring persons might, in addition, readily hold those of the Medium during the convulsive movements which usually agitate her.

The tying was done in the following way: we took three turns of the string around each wrist of the Medium, without leaving any slack, but drawn so tightly as almost to give her pain, and then we tied two simple knots. This was

[Pg 158]

done in order that, if by any artifice the hand was able to release itself from the string, the three turns would work against it and the hand could not get back again under the string as it was before.

A little bell was placed upon a chair behind her. The chain was formed, and her hands as well as her feet were held as usual. The room was darkened in answer to the request that the little bell should at once sound, after which we were to untie the medium. Immediately we heard the chair move, describe a curve upon the floor, approach the table, and presently place itself upon it. The bell rang, then was thrown upon the table. The light having been at once turned on, we ascertained that the knots of the string were in perfect order. It is clear that the fetching on of the chair was not produced by the action of the hands of the Medium.

Impressions of Fingers obtained on Smoked Paper.

In order to decide if we had to do with a human hand ... or with any other way of dealing, we fixed a sheet of paper, blackened with the smoke of a lamp, upon the table, on the side opposite that of the medium, and expressed a wish that the hand would leave an impression on it, that the hand of the medium should remain unsoiled, and that the lampblack be transferred to the hands of one of us. The hands of the medium were held by those of MM. Schiaparelli and Du Prel. The chain was made in the darkness, then we heard a hand lightly tap upon the table, and presently M. Du Prel announced that his left hand, which he held on the right hand of M. Finzi, had had the sensation of fingers rubbing it. As soon as the room was lighted, we found upon the paper several imprints of fingers, and the back of M. Du Prel's hand was covered with lampblack; but the hands of the Medium, examined then and there, had no trace of it. This experience was repeated three times. When we insisted upon having a complete impression, we obtained five fingers upon a second sheet of paper, and upon a third the impression of almost an entire left hand. After that the back of

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M. Du Prel's hand was completely blackened, the hands of the Medium remaining perfectly clean.

 

 Apparition of Hands upon a Dimly Lighted Background

We placed upon the table a large cardboard covered with a phosphorescent substance (sulphide of calcium), and we placed other pieces of cardboard upon chairs in different parts of the chamber. Under such conditions we saw very plainly the outline of a hand imposed on the cardboard of the table. Upon the background formed by the other pieces we saw the shadow of the hand pass and re-pass around us.

On the evening of September 21 one of us several times saw the image, not of one, but of two hands at once, thrown upon the glass panes of a feebly illuminated window (outside it was night, but the darkness was not complete). These hands exhibited a rapid tremulous motion, but not so rapid as to hinder us from seeing the outline clearly. They were wholly opaque and were thrown upon the window as absolutely black silhouettes.

This simultaneous appearance of two hands is very significant, for they cannot be explained on the hypothesis of a trick of the Medium, who would not have been able in any way to free more than one of her hands, owing to the surveillance of those who sat beside her. The same conclusion applies to the clapping of two hands, one against the other, which was several times heard in the air.

 

The Levitation of the Medium to the Top of the Table

We regard this levitation as among the most important and most significant of Spiritualistic achievements. It took place twice, on September 28 and October 3. The medium was seated at one end of the table, uttering deep groans, and was lifted up with her chair and placed upon the table, not moving from her position, those next her still holding her hands as she rose.

On the evening of September 28, while her two hands were held by MM. Richet and Lombroso, the medium complained of their grasping her under the arm. Then, in a state of

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trance she said, with the changed voice which she usually has while in this state, "Now I bring up my medium upon the table." At the end of two or three seconds the chair, with the Medium seated in it, was not thrown, but lifted with precaution and placed upon the table. MM. Richet and Lombroso are sure they did not assist her in this ascension. After she had spoken, being all the time in a state of trance, the Medium announced her descent, and (M. Finzi being substituted for M. Lombroso) was placed upon the floor with care and precision, MM. Richet and Finzi following her movements without at all assisting them.

Moreover, during the descent, both gentlemen felt a hand touching them lightly several times upon the head. On the evening of October 3 the same phenomenon was repeated in similar circumstances.

Touchings

Some of these merit particular notice, owing to a circumstance capable of giving us an interesting notion of their possible origin. Our first business is to describe the touchings which were felt by persons beyond the reach of the hands of the Medium. Thus, on the evening of October 6, M. Gerosa, who was separated from the Medium by three places (about four feet, the medium being a little to one side and M. Gerosa in one of the adjacent corners at the opposite short end of the table), having lifted his hand that it might be touched, felt a hand strike his own several times to make him lower it; and, as he persisted, he was hit with a trumpet, which an instant before had been making sounds in the air.

In the second place, we must note touchings which constitute very delicate operations, and which cannot be made in the darkness with the precision which we have noted in them. Twice (on September 16 and 21) M. Schiaparelli had his spectacles removed from his nose and laid down on the table before another person. These glasses are fixed to the ears by means of two springs, and a certain amount of attention is necessary in order to remove them, even to one working in full light. Yet they were removed in complete

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darkness with so much delicacy and promptness that the said experimenter only perceived the loss of them when he no longer had the usual feeling of them on his nose, on his temples, and behind his ears, and he was obliged to feel with his hands in order to be sure that they were no longer in their usual place.

Many other touchings produced similar effects, and were executed with extreme delicacy; for example, when one of the company felt his hair and beard stroked.

In all of the innumerable manoeuvres executed by mysterious hands, there was never any awkward stumbling or collision to be noted, though ordinarily this is inevitable when one is working in the dark. I may add, in this connection, that bodies tolerably heavy and bulky, such as chairs and vessels full of clay, were deposited upon the table without having collided with any of the numerous hands resting upon the table,---a particularly difficult thing in the case of chairs which, owing to their dimensions, occupied a large part of the table. A chair was turned over on its face upon the table and lay there at full length without causing the least annoyance to anybody; and yet it covered almost the entire surface.

Contact with a Human Face

One of us having expressed the wish to be kissed, felt before his very mouth the peculiar quick sounds of a kiss, but not accompanied by any contact of lips. This happened twice. On three different occasions one of the experimenters felt the touch of a face with hair and beard. The feeling of the skin was exactly that of a living man. The hair was much coarser and more bristly than that of the Medium, and the beard seemed very soft and delicate.

Such are the experiments made at Milan in 1892 by the group of savants cited above.

How can we help admitting, after the reading of this new official report, the following things?

1. The complete levitation of the tables.

2. The levitation of the medium.

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3. The movement of objects without contact.

4. Accurate and delicate touches made by invisible organs.

5. The formation of hands and even of human figures.

 

These phenomena take their place in this book as things which were observed with the most scrupulous care.

Let us note also the action of the little piece of furniture (chair or round table), which tries to climb up on one of the company or upon the large table,--a thing also observed by myself.

Although the savants of the Milan group regretted that they did not make experiments, but only observations (I said above (p. 20), what we ought to think about this), the facts were none the less proved.

I will add that after the reading of this proces-verbal, the cautious reserves of M. Schiaparelli seem exaggerated. If fraud has sometimes crept in, still what has been accurately observed remains safe and sound and is an acquisition to science.

Our medium, Eusapia, has been the subject of a fruitful series of experiments. Let me also mention those of Naples in 1893, under the direction of M. Wagner, Professor of Zoology at the University of St. Petersburg; that of Rome in 1893-1894, under the direction of M. de Siemiradski, correspondent of the Institute; those of Varsovie, from the 25th of November, 1893, to the 15th of January, 1894, at the house of Dr. Ochorowicz; those of Carqueiranne and of l'île Roubaud, in 1894, at the house of Professor Richet; those of Cambridge in August, 1895, at the house of Mr. Myers; those of the villa de l'Agnellas, from the 20th to the 29th of September, 1895, at the house of Colonel de Rochas; those of Auteuil, in September, 1896, at the house of M. Marcel Mangin, etc. It would be entirely superfluous and

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an unconscionably long task to analyze them all. Let us merely select some special characteristic instances.

 

In the report of M. de Siemiradski we read as follows:

In the corner of the hall there was a piano, placed to the left of Ochorowicz and Eusapia, and a little in the rear. Some one desired to hear the keyboard touched. We at once hear the moving of the piano. Ochorowicz can even see the displacement, thanks to a ray of light which falls upon the polished surface of the instrument through the window shutters. The piano then opens noisily, and we hear the bass notes of the keyboard sounding. I utter aloud my desire to hear high notes and low notes touched at the same time, as a proof that the unknown force can act at the two ends of the keyboard. My wish is granted, and we hear bass notes and treble notes sounded at the same time, which seems to prove the action of two distinct hands. Then the instrument advances toward us. It presses against our group, and we are obliged to get up and move back with our experiment table, and we do not stop until we have thus moved back several yards.

A glass half full of water, which stands on a buffet, out of reach of our hands, was carried by an unknown power to the lips of Ochorowicz, Eusapia, and another person, who all drank of it. This performance took place in complete darkness and with astonishing precision.

We were able to prove the existence of a real hand not belonging to any one present. We did it by means of the plaster cast and mould, as follows:

Having placed a heavy basin filled with modelling-clay upon the large table in the middle of the dining-room, we sat down with Eusapia around the little experiment-table more than a yard distant. After some minutes of waiting, the basin came of itself and stood on our table! Eusapia groaned, writhed, and trembled in all her limbs; yet not for a moment did her hands quit ours. Then she cried, "E fatto" ("It is done"). The candle is lighted again, and we find an irregular hollowed place upon the surface of the clay. This hollow place, afterward filled with plaster, gives us a perfect cast of the contracted fingers of a hand.

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We placed upon the table a plate smeared with lampblack. The mysterious hand left there the print of the end of its fingers. The hands of the experimenters, including those of Eusapia, remained white. We next induced the medium to reproduce the impression of her own hand upon another lamp-smoked plate. She did so. The layer of soot removed by her fingers had deeply blackened them. A comparison of the two plates enabled us to prove a striking resemblance,---that is to say (to speak more accurately), the identity of the arrangement of the spiral circles in the epidermis of the two hands; and we know that the arrangement of these Circles is unique in every individual. This is a particular which speaks eloquently in favor of the hypothesis of the double personality of the Medium.

In order mechanically to control the movements of Eusapia's feet, Dr. Ochorowicz employed the following piece of apparatus. Two deep and narrow cigar-boxes were placed under the table, and Eusapia put her unshod feet into them. The boxes had double bottoms and were provided with an electrical arrangement of such a nature that she could move her feet freely for some inches in every direction; but, if she wished to withdraw them from the box, the electric bell tinkled before she had moved them half way to the top, and only stopped when they were returned to their place. Eusapia cannot remain utterly quiet during the seances. So she was given a certain freedom of movement; but it was impossible for her to make use of her legs for lifting the table. Under these conditions the table, weighing twenty-five pounds, rose up twice without the bell being heard. During the second levitation the table was photographed underneath. (The four feet of the table are seen in the photograph. The left is in contact with Eusapia's dress, as is always the case when the light is strong; but the boxes holding the feet of the Medium are in their place.) Then the experimenters verified the fact that the

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 bell was heard, not only when she removed her foot, but when she lifted it too high in the box.

After all these demonstrations, I will not do my readers the wrong of thinking that the levitation of the table is not MORE THAN PROVED for all of them.

Here, now, is a curious observation relative to the inflation of the curtain: Ten persons were seated around the table. Eusapia had her back turned to the curtain; she was controlled by General Starynkiewicz and Dr. Watraszewski.

I was seated (writes M. Glowacki-Prus) opposite Eusapia, near Mlle. X., a very nervous person and easily hypnotized. The séance had lasted for about an hour, with numerous and varied phenomena. Eusapia, as always, was in a semi-conscious state. Suddenly she awoke, and Mlle. X. uttered a cry. Knowing what this cry meant, I grasped her hand with great force and then put my arm about her; for this girl becomes very strong in certain states. The room was well lighted, and this is what we saw (something, be it noted, which I myself experienced by my hands). Every time that the muscles of Mlle. X. became more tense and rigid, the curtain which hung opposite her, at a distance of from seven to ten feet, made a movement. The following table indicates the details of this correlation:

Feeble tension of the muscles   The curtain is set in motion.

Strong tension   It bellies out like a sail.

Very strong tension, cries   It reaches as far as Eusapia's controllers,

and almost wholly covers them.

Repose   Repose.

Tension of the muscles   Movement of the curtain.

Strong tension   Strong inflation of the curtain.

This tabular view presents the striking proportion which I ascertained between the tension of the medium's muscles

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(who in this case was Mlle. X.) and the mechanical work of the curtain in movement.

This experiment is so much the more interesting since it was not Eusapia who made it; and, if she had a trick for inflating the portieres, it was not employed in this case. We already know that she had none.

Here are the conclusions of M. Ochorowicz:

1. I did not find any proofs in favour of the Spiritualistic hypothesis; that is to say, in favour of the intervention of an intelligence other than that of the medium. "John" is for me only a psychic double of the medium. Consequently, I am not a Spiritualist.

2. Mediumistic phenomena are confirmatory of "magnetism" as opposed to "hypnotism"; that is to say, they imply the existence of a fluidic action apart from suggestion.

3. Still, suggestion plays an important role in them, and the Medium is only a mirror reflecting the forces and the ideas of those present. Moreover, she possesses the power of realizing her own somnambulistic visions or those suggested by the company, simply by the process of externalizing them.

4. No purely physical force explains these phenomena, which are always of a psycho-physical nature, having a centre of action in the mind of the Medium.

5. The phenomena proved do not contradict either mechanics in general or the law of the conservation of forces in particular. The Medium acts at the expense of her own proper powers and at the expense of those of the persons present.

6. There exists a series of transitions between mediumship of an inferior kind (automatism, unconscious fraud) and mediumship of a superior kind or externalization of motivity (action at a distance without visible and palpable connecting link).

7. The hypothesis of a "fluidic double" (astral body), which, under certain conditions, detaches itself and acts independently of the body of the medium, seems necessary for

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the explanation of the greater part of the phenomena. According to this conception, the moving of objects without contact would be produced by the fluidic limbs of the Medium.

Sir Oliver Lodge, an eminent English physicist, rector of the University of Birmingham, says that, on the invitation of Dr. Richet, he went to attend the experiments at Carqueiranne, thoroughly convinced that he should not see there any instance of physical movement without contact but that what he saw completely convinced him that phenomena of that kind can have, under certain conditions, a real and objective existence. He vouches for the following verified facts:

1. Movements of a chair at a distance, seen by the light of the moon, and in circumstances which proved that there was no mechanical connection.

2. The inflation and the movement of a curtain in the absence of wind or of any other ostensible cause.

3. The automatic winding up and moving about of a music-box.

4. Sounds proceeding from a piano and from an accordion which had not been touched.

5. A key turned in a lock, on the inside of the room where the séances were held, then placed upon the table, and again put back into the lock.

6. The overturning, by means of slow and correct evolutions, of a heavy moving table, which was afterwards found thus turned upside down.

7. The levitation of a heavy table, under conditions in which it would have been impossible to lift it in ordinary circumstances.

8. The appearance of blue marks upon a table previously spotless, and this done without the help of the ordinary methods of writing.

9. The sensation of blows, as if some one were striking the

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head, the arms, or the back, while the head, the hands, and the feet of the medium were plainly in view or held apart from the portions of the body that were touched.

It is plain enough what part the above statements play in our argument. They are throughout simply confirmations of the experiments described above.

At Cambridge, Eusapia was taken in the very act of deception; namely, the substitution of hands. While the controllers believed that they were holding her two hands, they were only holding one of them: the other was free. So these experimenters at Cambridge unanimously declared that "everything was fraud, from the beginning to the end," in Eusapia Paladino's twenty séances.

In a paper sent to M. de Rochas, M. Ochorowicz contested this radical conclusion, for several reasons. Eusapia is very susceptible to suggestion, and, by indulging her inclination to fraud and not hindering it, they incite her to it still more by a kind of tacit encouragement. Moreover, her fraud is generally of an unconscious kind. I append here, as a particular illustration of this, a rather typical story about her:

One evening, at Varsovie (says M. Ochorowicz), Eusapia is sleeping in her chamber by the side of ours. I have not yet gone to sleep, when suddenly I hear her rising and moving about with bare feet in the drawing-room. Then she enters her chamber again and approaches our door. I make a sign to Mme. Ochorowicz, who has waked up, to be quiet and to observe carefully what is going to take place. A moment after, Eusapia gently opens the door, comes up to my wife's toilet-table, opens a drawer, shuts it, and goes away, carefully avoiding making any noise. I hastily dress myself and we enter her chamber. Eusapia is quietly sleeping. The light of our candle seems to wake her.

"What were you hunting for in our sleeping-room?"

"I? I haven't left this place."

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Seeing the uselessness of further questions, we go to bed again, advising her to sleep quietly.

Next day I ask her the same question. She is very much astonished and even troubled (she blushes slightly).

"How should I dare," said she, "to enter your chamber during the night?"

This accusation is very painful to her, and she tries to persuade us by all kinds of insufficient reasons that we are wrong. She denies the whole thing, and I am obliged to admit that she does not remember getting up or even having conversed with us (it was just another somnambulistic state).

I take a little table, and direct Eusapia to put her hands on it.

"Very well," says she, "John will tell you that I don't lie."

I then ask the following questions:

"Is it you, John, who came into our sleeping chamber last night?"

"No."

"Was it the chambermaid?" (I suggest this idea for the express purpose of testing John's veracity.)

"No," says he.

"Was it the Medium herself?"

"Yes," says the table.---"No, it is not true," exclaims Eusapia, seeing her hope banished---"Yes," replies the table, forcibly.

"Was she in the trance state?"

"No."

"In her normal state?"

"No."

"In a spontaneous somnambulistic state?"

"Yes."

"For what purpose?"

"She was hunting matches; for she was frightened in her sleep, and didn't want to sleep without light."

Sure enough, there were always matches in the drawer opened by Eusapia, except on this particular night. She therefore returned without getting any.

While listening to the explanation of the table, Eusapia shrugged her shoulders, but protested no longer.

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Here, then, is a woman who, from time to time, has the power of passing from one psychical state to another. Is it just to accuse such a creature of premeditated fraud, without the slightest medical and psychological examination, without the least attempt at verification?...

M. Ochorowicz adds here that, so far as he is concerned, the phenomena are not produced by a personality different from that of the medium, nor by a new independent occult force; but it is a special psychic condition which permits the vital dynamism of the medium (the astral body of the occultists) to act at a distance, under certain exceptional conditions. It is the only hypothesis which seems necessary in the actual state of our knowledge.

Why does the medium so often try to release her hand? So far as the Cambridge experimenters are concerned, the cause is very simple and always the same: she releases her hand in order to indulge in tricks. As a matter of fact, the reasons why she frees her hand are many and complicated.

Dr. Ochorowicz's explanations are as follows:

1. Let me observe, in the first place, that Eusapia frequently releases her hand for no other reason than to touch her head, which is in pain at the moment of the manifestations. It is a natural reflex movement; and, in her case, it is a fixed habit. Since, more often than not, she does not notice that she is doing it, or at least fails to give warning to her controller, the darkness justifies suspicions.

2. Immediately before the mediumistic doubling of her personality, her hand is affected with hyperæsthesia and, consequently, the pressure of the hand of another makes her ill, especially in the dorsal quarter. She then most frequently places the hand which is to be mediumistically active above and not below that of the controller, trying to touch it as little as possible. When the doubling of the personality is complete, and the dynamic hand more or less

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materialized, that of the medium contracts and rests heavily upon the controller, exactly at the moment that the phenomenon takes place. She is then almost insensible and all shrunken together. In very good mediumistic conditions the doubling is easy and the initial hyperesthesia of short duration. In this case the medium allows her hand to be completely covered and the feet of the controllers to be upon hers, as was always the case in our séances at Rome in 1893; but, since that time, she can no longer endure that position, and rather prefers to be held by hands under the table.

3. In accordance with psychological laws, the hand always proceeds automatically in the direction of our thoughts (Cumberlandism). The medium acts by auto-suggestion, and the order to go as far as an indicated point is given by her brain simultaneously to the dynamic hand and the corporeal hand, since in the normal state they form only one. And since, immediately after the hyperaesthesia, the muscular sensation is excited and the hand grows benumbed, it sometimes happens (especially when the medium proceeds carelessly and does not properly govern her movements) that the dynamic hand remains in place, while her own hand goes in the indicated direction. The former, not being yet materialized, produces only a semblance of pressure; and another person, able to see a little in the darkness, will perceive nothing of it, and will even be able to ascertain by touch the absence of the Medium's hand from that of the controller. At the same time the hand of the medium is going in the direction of the object; and still it may happen that it does not really reach it, acting, as it does, at a distance, by a dynamic prolongation.

It is in this way that I explain the cases in which the hand, being released, has not yet been able to reach the point aimed at (physically inaccessible), as well as the numerous experiments made at Varsovie in full light, with a little bell hung in different ways, with compasses of different forms, with a very small table, etc.,---experiments in which Eusapia's fingers were quite near, but did not touch, the object. I proved that there was no electric force at work in these cases, but that things occurred as if the arms of the medium were lengthened and acted invisibly, but

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mechanically. At Varsovie, when one of my friends M. Glowacki, took it into his head "that it was necessary to give the Medium free rein, in order to discover her method," we had an entirely fraudulent séance and lost our time to no purpose. On the contrary, in a poor séance at l'île Roubaud, we obtained some good phenomena after having frankly told the medium that she was cheating.

 

And here are the conclusions of the author upon "the Cambridge frauds":

1. Not only was conscious fraud not proved on Eusapia at Cambridge, but not the slightest effort was made to do so.

2. Unconscious fraud was proved in much larger proportions than in all the preceding experiments.

3. This negative result is vindicated by a blundering method little in accordance with the nature of the phenomena.

Such is also the opinion of Dr. J. Maxwell, and of all who are competent judges of the question.

To sum up, we see that the influence of preconceived ideas, opinions, and sentiments, upon the production of phenomena, is certain. When all the experimenters have nearly the same sympathetic inclination for this kind of research, and when they have decided to exercise sufficient "control" (that is, watchful oversight) not to be the dupe of any mystification, and agree among themselves to accept the regrettable conditions of darkness necessary to the activity of these unknown radiations, and not to trouble in any way the apparent exigencies of the Medium, then the resulting phenomena attain an extraordinary degree of intensity.

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But if discord reigns, if one or more of the company persistently spy upon the acts of the medium, with the conviction that he or she must be cheating, the results are very much like the progress of a sailing vessel impelled by several contrary winds. The Medium simply marks time without advancing; and little but sterile results are secured. Psychic forces are no less real than physical or chemical or mechanical forces. In spite of the desire that we may have to convince prejudiced sceptics, it is advisable to invite only one of them at a time, and to place him next to the medium, in order that he may be at once astonished, shaken, and convinced. But in general this is not worth the trouble.

In the month of September, 1895, a new series of experiments was made at l'Agnelas, in the residence of Colonel de Rochas, president of the polytechnic school, with the assistance of Dr. Dariex, editor of the Annales des sciences psychiques, Count de Gramont (doctor of science), Dr. J. Maxwell, deputy of the attorney-general at the Court of Appeals in Limoges, Professor Sabatier, of the faculty of sciences at Montpellier, and Baron de Watteville, a licentiate in science. They confirmed all the preceding details.

A similar series was held in September, 1896, at Tremezzo, in the rooms of the Blech family, then in summer residence at Lake Como; again at Auteuil, at the home of M. Marcel Mangin, with MM. Sully-Prudhomme, Dr. Dariex, Emile Desbeaux, A. Guerronnan, and Mme. Boisseaux also participating. Let us stop for a moment to glance at this last seance.

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I will first mention the photograph of the table suspended in the air, a levitation which did not leave any doubt in the mind of the experimenters, any more than it does in that of the observer who examines with attention this photograph (Pl. IX). The table descended slowly and the succession of images was registered by the photograph (same plate, Cut B). The following is an extract from the report by M. de Rochas upon this séance and the succeeding one:

 

September 21.-The table rises off its four feet. M. Guerronnan has time to take a photograph of it, but he fears that it may not be good. We beg Eusapia to begin again. She consents with good grace. The table is again lifted off its four feet. M. Mangin notifies M. Guerronnan who, from his post, could not see, and the table remains in the air until he has had time to take a picture of it (from three to four seconds at the most). The dazzling magnesium light enables us all to verify the reality of the phenomenon.

The curtain, hung in the corner of the room, suddenly blows out and covers my head. Then I feel in succession three pressures of a hand upon my head, the pressures growing stronger and stronger. I feel fingers which press as those of M. Sully-Prudhomme, my neighbor on the right, might do. I hold his left hand as a part of the chain of hands.

It is a hand, it is fingers, which have just pressed upon me so; but whose? I have continually had Eusapia's right hand upon my left hand, which she seized and tightly held at the moment of the production of the phenomenon....

I throw back the curtain, which has remained upon my head, and we sit waiting. "Meno luce" ("less light") asks Eusapia. The lamp is turned down more, and the remaining light shut off by a screen.

Facing me there is a window with closed outside shutters, but through which filters the light of the street. In

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the silence, my attention is caught by the appearance of a hand, the small hand of a woman. I can see it, owing to the feeble light coming from the window.

 

 

Plate IX

Photograph of Table Suspended.

 

 

Plate X

The Table Falling Back.

It is not the shadow of a hand: it is a hand of flesh (I do not add "and of bone," for I have the impression that it has no bones). This hand opens and closes three times, sufficiently long to permit me to say:

"Whose hand is this?---yours, Monsieur Mangin?"

"No."

"Then it is a materialization?"

"Undoubtedly: if you hold the medium's right hand, I hold the other."

I had the right hand of Eusapia on my left hand, and her fingers were interlaced with mine.

Now the hand which I saw was a right hand, stretched out and presented in profile. It remained for a moment motionless in the air, at about from twenty-four to twenty-eight inches above the table and thirty-six inches from Eusapia. As its immobility (I suppose) was the cause of my not seeing it, it therefore opened and closed: it was these movements which attracted my attention.

My favourable position in respect to the window, unfortunately permitted me alone to see this mysterious hand; but M. Mangin saw, at two separate times, not a hand, but the shadow of a hand outlined in profile upon the opposite window.

Eusapia turns her head in the direction of the curtain, behind which there is a leather-covered easy-chair, and, displacing the curtain, this chair comes and leans against me.

She takes my left hand, lifts it above the table the whole length of her right arm, and makes the feint of rapping in the air: the echo of three blows is heard on the table.

A little bell is placed before her. She stretches out her two hands to the right and the left of the bell at a distance of from three to four inches; then she draws back her hands toward her body, and, lo and behold! the bell comes gliding along over the table until it bumps against something and falls over. Eusapia repeats the experiment several times. You would think that her hands were invisibly prolonged; and that seems to me to justify the term "ectenic force,"

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which Professor Thury, of Geneva, gave in the year 1855 to this unknown energy.

I was just asking if she did not perchance have some invisible thread between her fingers, when suddenly, an irresistible itching made her put her left hand to her nose; her right had remained upon the table near the bell; the two hands at this moment were about two feet apart. I observed carefully. Eusapia rested her left hand upon the table, some inches from the bell, and this was again set in motion. Considering the gesture made by her, it would have been necessary, in order to perform this feat, to have a wonderfully elastic thread, absolutely invisible; for our eyes were, so to speak, upon the bell, and the light was abundant. My eyes were only a foot distant from the bell, at the utmost.

This was a certain and undeniable case, and Sully-Prudhomme returned to his home with me as thoroughly convinced as I am.

The poet of Solitudes and of Justice, wrote on his part, as follows:

After a rather long wait, an architect's stool came marching up all alone toward me. It grazed my left side, rose to the height of the table, and succeeded in placing itself upon it. As I lifted my hand, I felt it at once seized.

"Why do you take my hand?" I asked of my neighbour.

"It was not I," said he.

While these phenomena were taking place, Eusapia seemed to be suffering. It seemed as if out of her own physiological fund or stock she were furnishing all the force required to put the objects in motion.

After the seance, while she was still very much prostrated, we saw an easy-chair which was behind the curtain come rolling up behind her, as if to say, "Hold on there! you've forgotten me!"

My conviction is that I witnessed phenomena which I cannot relate to any ordinary physical law. My impression is that fraud, in any case, is more than improbable,--at least so far as concerns the displacement at a distance of

[Pg 177]

heavy articles of furniture arranged by my companions and myself. That is all that I can say about it. For my part, I call "natural" that which is scientifically proved. So that the word "mysterious" means that which still astonishes us because it cannot be explained. I believe that the scientific spirit consists in verifying facts, in not denying a priori any fact which is not in contradiction with known laws, and in accepting none which has not been determined by safe and verifiable conditions.

Séance of September 26.--A dark bust moves forward upon the table, coming from where Eusapia sits; then another, and still another. "They look like Chinese ghosts," says M. Mangin, with this difference, that I, who am better placed, owing to the light from the window, am able to perceive the dimensions of these singular images, and above all their thickness. All these black busts are busts of women, of life size; but, although vague, they do not look like Eusapia. The last of them, of fine shape, is that of a woman who seems young and pretty. These half-lengths, which seem to emanate from the Medium, glide along between us; and, when they have gone as far as the middle of the table or two-thirds of its length, they sink down altogether (all of a piece, as it were), and vanish. This rigidity makes me think of the reproductions, or fac-similes, of a bust escaped from a sculptor's atelier, and I murmur, "One would think he was looking at busts moulded in papier-mache." Eusapia heard me. "No, not papier-mache," she says indignantly. She does not give any other explanation, but says (this time in Italian), "In order to prove to you that it is not the body of the Medium, I am going to show you a man with a beard. Attention!" I do not see anything, but Dr. Dariex feels his face rubbed against for quite a while by a beard.

New experiments made at Genoa in 1901, at which Eurico Morselli, professor of psychology at the University of Genoa, was present, were reported by my learned friend the astronomer Porro, successively director of the observatories of Genoa and Turin, to-day director of the national observatory

[Pg 178]

of the Argentine Republic at La Plata. Here are some extracts from this report:

Nearly ten years have passed since Eusapia Paladino made her first appearance in the memorable séances at Milan during the course of her mediumistic tours through Europe. The object of shrewd investigations on the part of experienced and learned observers; the butt of jokes, accusations, sarcasms; exalted by certain fanatics as a personification of supernatural powers and scoffed at by others as a mountebank,--the humble haberdasher of Naples has made so much stir in the world that she is herself bored and displeased by it.

I had good proof of this when I took leave of her, after I had listened with much curiosity to the anecdotes which she related to me of her séances and of the well-known men with whom she has been associated,--Ch. Richet, Schiaparelli, Lombroso, Flammarion, Sardou, Aksakof, et al. She then very emphatically asked me not to speak in the journals of her presence at Genoa and of the experiments in which she should figure there. Happily, she has good reasons herself for not reading the journals.

Why was an astronomer chosen to give an account of the experiments at Genoa? Because astronomers are occupied with researches into the unknown.

If a man absorbed in his own private studies and attached to an austere and laborious manner of life, such as my venerated master M. Schiaparelli, has not hesitated to defy the irreverent jests of the comic journals, it behooves us to conclude that the bond between the science of the heavens and that of the human soul is more intimate than appears. The following is the most probable explanation. We have to do in these studies with phenomena which are manifested under wholly special and still undetermined conditions, in

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conformity with laws almost unknown and, in any case, of such a character that the will of the experimenter has but little influence upon the unshackled, self-regulating, and often adverse volitions which betray themselves at every moment in the study of these psychical marvels. Nobody is better prepared to study these things than an astronomer, possessing, as he does, a scientific education precisely adapting him to the investigation of such conditions. In fact, by the systematic observation of the movements of the heavenly bodies, the astronomer contracts the habit of being a vigilant and patient spectator of phenomena, without attempting either to arrest or to accelerate their irresistible development. In other words, the study of the stars belongs to the science of observation rather than to that of experiment.

Professor Porro then sets forth the actual state of the question relating to mediumistic phenomena.

The explanation that everything is fraud, conscious or unconscious [says he], is to-day almost entirely abandoned, as much so as that which supposes that all is hallucination. In fact, neither one nor the other of these hypotheses is sufficient to throw light upon the observed facts. The hypothesis of unconscious automatic action on the part of the medium has not obtained any better fate; for the most rigorous controls have only proved that the medium finds it impossible to excite a direct dynamic effect. Physio-psychology has therefore been obliged, in these latter years, to have recourse to a supreme hypothesis, by accepting the theories of M. de Rochas, against which they had heretofore directed the fire of their heaviest guns. It has become resigned to the admission that a medium whose limbs are held motionless by a rigorous control may, under certain conditions, project outside of herself, to a distance of several yards, a force sufficient to produce certain phenomena of movement in inanimate bodies.

The boldest partisans of this hypothesis go so far as to accept the temporary creation of pseudo-human limbs,--arms, legs, heads,--in the formation of which the energies

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of other persons present probably co-operate with those of the Medium. The theory is that as soon as the energizing power of the medium is withdrawn these phantom dynamic limbs at once dissolve and disappear.

For all that, we do not yet go so far as to admit the existence of free and independent beings who would be able to exercise their powers only through the human organism; and still less do we admit the existence of Spirits who once animated the forms of human beings....

M. Porro openly declares that, for his part, he is neither a materialist nor a Spiritualist: He says that he is not ready to accept, a priori, either the negations of psycho-physiology or the faith of Spiritualists.

He adds that the nine persons who were present with him at the séances represented the greatest variety of opinions on the subject, from the most firmly persuaded Spiritualists to the most incorrigible sceptics. Moreover, his task was not that of writing an official report, approved by all the experimenters, but solely that of faithfully relating his own impressions.

The following are the most important of these, selected from his reports on the different seances:

I saw, and plainly saw, the rough deal table (a table a yard long and nearly two feet wide and resting on four feet) rise up several times from the floor and, without any contact with visible objects, remain suspended in the air, several inches above the floor, during the space of two, three, and even four seconds.

This experiment was renewed in full light without the hands of the medium and of the five persons who formed the chain about the table touching the latter in any way. Eusapia's hands were looked after by her neighbours, who controlled also her legs and her feet in such a way that no part of her body was able to exercise the least pressure for the lifting or maintaining in the air of the rather heavy article of furniture used in the experiments.

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It was under such absolutely trustworthy conditions as these that I was able to see inflated a very thick piece of black cloth and the red curtains which were behind the medium, and which served to close the embrasure of the window. The casement was carefully closed, there was no current of air in the room, and it is absurd to suppose that persons were hidden in the embrasure of the window. I believe, then, that I can affirm with the utmost confidence that a force, analogous to that which had produced the levitation of the table, was manifested in the curtains, inflated them, shook them, and pushed them out in such a way that they touched now one and now another of the company.

During the sitting an event took place which deserves to be mentioned as a proof, or at least as an indication, of the intelligent character of the force in question.

Being face to face with Mme. Paladino, at a point in the table the most removed from her, I complained that I had not been touched as had the four other persons who formed the company. No sooner had I said this than I saw the heavy curtain sweep out and come and hit me in the face with its lower edge, at the same time that I felt a light blow upon the knuckles of my fingers, as if from a very fragile and light piece of wood.

Next a formidable blow, like the stroke of the fist of an athlete, is struck in the middle of the table. The person seated at the right of the medium feels that he is grasped in the side; the chair in which he was seated is taken away and placed upon the table, from which it then returns to its place without having been touched by anybody. The experimenter in question, who has remained standing, is able to take his seat in the chair again. The control of this phenomenon left nothing to desire.

The blows are now redoubled, and are so terrific that it seems as if they would split the table. We begin to perceive hands lifting and inflating the curtains and advancing so far as to touch first one, then the other, of the company, caressing them, pressing their hands, daintily pulling their ears or clapping hands merrily in the air above their heads.

It seems to me very singular and perhaps intentional,--this contrast between the touches (sometimes nervous and

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energetic, and again delicate and gentle, but always friendly) and the deafening, violent, brutal blows struck upon the table.

A single one of these fist-blows, planted in the back, would suffice to break the vertebral column.

The hands that perform these feats are the strong and brawny hands of a man, the daintier hands are those of a woman, the very small hands those of children.

The darkness is rendered a little less dense, and at once the chair of No. 5 (Professor Morselli), which had already made a jump to one side, is slipped from under him, while a hand is placed on his back and on his shoulder. The chair gets up on the table, comes down again to the floor, and, after different horizontal and vertical oscillations, soars up and rests upon the head of the professor, who has remained standing. It remains there for some minutes in a state of very unstable equilibrium.

The loud blows and the delicate touches of hands, large and small, succeed each other uninterruptedly in such a way that, without our being able mathematically to prove the simultaneousness of different phenomena, it is yet almost certain in several cases.

While our opportunities for obtaining so valuable a subject of demonstration increase, the simultaneity which we ask for is at last granted; for the table raps, the bell sounds, and the tambourine is carried tinkling over our heads all about the room, rests for a moment on the table, and then resumes its flight in the air....

A bouquet of flowers, placed in a carafe on the larger table, comes over onto ours, preceded by an agreeable perfume. Stems of flowers are placed in the mouth of No. 5; and No. 8 is hit by a rubber ball, which rebounds upon the table. The carafe comes over to join the flowers on our table; it is then immediately lifted and put to the mouth of the Medium, and she is made to drink from it twice; between the two times it sinks down to the table and stands there for a moment right side up. We distinctly hear the swallowing of the water, after which Mme. Paladino asks some one to wipe her mouth with a handkerchief. Finally, the carafe returns to the large table.

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But a transfer of a totally different character is effected in the following way. I had complained several times that my position in the chain at a distance from the medium had hindered me from being touched during the seance. Suddenly, I hear a noise on the wall of the room, followed by the tinkling of the strings of the guitar, which vibrate as if some one were trying to take down the instrument from the wall on which it hung. At last the effort succeeds, and the guitar comes toward me in an oblique direction. I distinctly saw it come between me and No. 8, with a rapidity which rendered the impact of it rather unpleasant. Not being able at first to account to myself for this dim black object which was driving at me, I slipped to one side (No. 8 was seated at my left). Then the guitar, changing its route, struck forcibly with its handle three blows upon my forehead (which remained a little bruised for two or three days), after which it came to a rest with delicate precision upon the table. It did not remain there very long before it began to circle about the hall, with a rotation to the right, quite high above our heads, and at great speed.

It is proper to remark that, in this rotation of the guitar, the vibration of its own strings was added to the sound of the tambourine struck sometimes on one side, sometimes on the other, in the air; and the guitar, bulky as it was, never once struck the central supporting electric-light rod, nor the three gas lamps fixed on the walls of the chamber. When we take into consideration the contracted dimensions of the room, we see that it was very difficult to avoid these obstacles, since the space remaining free was very limited.

The guitar took its flight twice around the room, coming to a stand-still (between the two times) in the middle of the table, where finally it came to a rest. In a final supreme effort, Eusapia turns toward the left, where upon a table is a typewriting machine weighing fifteen pounds. During the effort the medium falls exhausted and nervous upon the floor; but the machine rises from its place and betakes itself to the middle of our table, near the guitar.

In full light, Eusapia calls M. Morselli, and, controlled by the two persons next her, brings him with her toward the table, upon which is placed a mass of modelling-plaster.

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She takes his open hand and pushes it three times toward the plaster, as if to sink the hand into it and leave upon it an impression. M. Morselli's hand remains at a distance of more than four inches from the mass: nevertheless, at the end of the séance, the experimenters ascertain that the lump of plaster contains the impression of three fingers,--deeper prints than it is possible to obtain directly by means of voluntary pressure.

The medium lifts her two hands, all the time clasped in mine and in those of No. 5 (Morselli), and uttering groans, cries, exhortations, she rises with her chair, so far as to place its two feet and the ends of its two front cross-bars upon the top of the table. It was a moment of great anxiety. The levitation was accomplished rapidly, but without any jarring or jolting or jerking. In other words, if, in an effort of extreme distrust you insisted on supposing that she employed some artifice to obtain the result, you would rather have to think of a pulling up, by means of a cord and pulley, rather than of a pushing from beneath.

But neither of these hypotheses can stand the most elementary examination of the facts....

There is more to follow. Eusapia was lifted up still farther with her chair, from the upper part of the table, in such a way that No. 11 on one side and I on the other were able to pass our hands under her feet and under those of the chair.

Moreover, the fact that the posterior feet of the chair were entirely off of the table, without any visible support makes this levitation still more irreconcilable with the supposition that Eusapia could have made her body and the chair take an upward leap.

M. Porro judges that this phenomenon is one of those which are less easily explained if we decline to have recourse to the Spiritualistic hypothesis. It is a little like the man who fell into the water and thought he could pull himself out by his own hair.

Eusapia [adds M. Porro] descended without any jolting, little by little, No. 5 and I never letting go her hands. The

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chair, having risen up a little higher, turned over and placed itself on my head, whence it spontaneously returned to the floor.

This thing was tried again. Eusapia and her chair were transported again to the top of the table, only, this time, the result of the fatigue undergone by her was such that the poor woman fell in a faint upon the table. We lifted her down with all due care.

The experimenters desired to know whether these phenomena, the success of which depends in so great measure upon the conditions of light, could not have better success in the white and quiet light of the moon.

They were obliged to admit that there was no appreciable difference between the lunar light and other kinds. But the table around which they had formed the chain quitted the veranda where the sitting was being held, and, in spite of the strongly expressed wishes of the sitters and of the medium herself, betook itself into the neighbouring room, where the sitting then continued.

This room was a little salon crowded with elegant furniture and fragile objects, such as crystal chandeliers, porcelain vases, bric-a-brac, etc. The experimenters feared very much that these things would suffer damage in the bustle of the séance; but not the slightest object suffered any damage.

Mme. Paladino, who was now herself again, took the hand of No. 11 and placed it gently upon the back of a chair, at the same time placing her own hand upon his. Then, as she lifted her hand and that of No. 11, the chair followed the same ascending movement several times in succession.

This thing was repeated in full light.

No. 5, as well as other gentlemen, perceived, in a manner that admitted of no doubt, a vague, indistinct figure thrown upon the air in the doorway of an antechamber which was feebly illuminated. The figure consisted of changing and fugitive silhouettes, sometimes with the outline of a human head and body, sometimes like hands reaching out from the curtains. Their objective character was demonstrated by the agreement of impressions, which were controlled in their turn by means of continual inquiries. There was no possibility of their being shadows voluntarily or involuntarily

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projected by the bodies of the experimenters, since we were mutually watching each other.

The tenth seance (the last) was one of the best-attended, and was perhaps the most interesting of all.

Scarcely has the electric light been extinguished when we remark an automatic movement of the chair upon which a lump of plaster has been placed, while the hands and feet of Eusapia are watchfully controlled by me and by No. 3. However, as we wish to forestall the objection of critics that the phenomena take place in the dark, the table typtologically (that is, by taps) asks for light, and the experimenters light the electric lamp.

Presently, all the company see the chair on which the lump of plaster lies (not at all a light chair) moving between myself and the medium, without our being able to understand the determining cause of the movement.

Mme. Paladino puts her outspread hand upon the back of the chair and her left above it. When our hands rise up, the chair rises also without contact, reaching a height of about six inches. This performance is several times repeated, with the addition of the intervention of the hand of No. 5, under conditions of light and of control which leave nothing to be desired.

The room is again almost completely darkened.... A current of cold air upon the table precedes the arrival of a little branch with two green leaves. We know that there are no plants in the neighbourhood of the company: it appears then that we have here a case of bringing-in from the outside.

No. 3 is greatly exhausted with the heat. And, lo! a hand, which takes his handkerchief from his neck and with it dries the perspiration on his face. He tries to seize the handkerchief with his teeth, but it is snatched from him. A big hand lifts his left hand and makes him rap several strokes with it on the table.

Gleams of light begin to appear, at first on the right hand of No. 5, then in different parts of the hall. They are perceived by everybody.

[Pg 187]

The curtain is inflated, as if it were pushed against by a strong wind, and touches No. 11, who is seated in a small easy-chair a yard and a half from the medium. The same person is touched by a hand, while another hand pulls a fan from the inside pocket of his jacket, carries it to No. 5 and then to No. 11. The fan is soon returned to its owner, and is moved to and fro above our heads, to the great satisfaction of all of us. A tobacco pouch is taken from the pocket of No. 3: the Invisible empties it on the table, and then gives it to No. 10. Various stems of plants drop upon the table.

Transfers of the fan from one hand to another begin again. Then No. 11 believes that he ought to announce that the fan had been offered to him by a young girl who had expressed the wish that it be transferred to No. 11, then given back to No. 5. Nobody knew about this except No. 11.

No. 5, who at present occupies the small arm-chair where formerly No. 11 was seated, a yard and a half from the medium, feels the edge of the curtain touching him and then perceives the presence of the body of a woman whose hair rests on his head.

The seance is adjourned about one o'clock.

At the moment of parting, Eusapia sees a bell on the piano; she extends her hand; the bell glides along on the piano, turns over, and falls on the floor. The experiment is renewed, in full light as before, the hand of the medium remaining several inches from the bell....

It is evident that these exploits are still more extraordinary than the preceding ones, in certain respects. The following are the conclusions of the report of Professor Porro.

The phenomena are real. They cannot be explained either by fraud or by hallucination. Do they find their explanation in certain strata of the unconscious (the subliminal), in some latent faculty of the human soul, or indeed do they reveal the existence of other entities living under conditions wholly different from ours and normally inaccessible to our senses? In other words, will the animistic hypothesis suffice to solve the problem and to do away with

[Pg 188]

the Spiritualistic hypothesis? Or, rather, do not the phenomena serve here, as in the psychology of dreams, to complicate the problem by hiding the Spiritualistic solution within them? It is to this formidable query that I am going to attempt a reply.

When, eleven years ago, Alexander Aksakof stated the dilemma between Animism and Spiritism, and in a masterly work clearly proved that purely animistic manifestations were inseparable from those which direct our thoughts to a belief in the existence of independent, intelligent, and active entities, no one could have expected that the first term of the dilemma would be disputed and criticised in a thousand ways, under a thousand varying forms, by persons who would be dismayed at the second term.

In fact, what are all the hypotheses which for ten years now have been invented in order to reduce mediumistic phenomena to the simple manifestation of qualities latent in the human psyche (or soul), if not different forms of the animistic hypothesis, so jeered at when it appeared in the work of Aksakof?

From the idea of the unconscious muscular action of the spectators (put forth half a century ago by Faraday) to the projection of protoplasmic activity or to the temporary emanation from the body of the Medium imagined by Lodge; from the psychiatric doctrine of Lombroso to the psycho-physiology of Ochorowicz; from the externalization admitted by Rochas to the eso-psychism of Morselli; from the automatism of Pierre Janet to the duplication of personality of Alfred Binet,---there was a perfect flood of explanations, having for their end the elimination of an exterior personality.

The process was logical and in agreement with the principles of scientific philosophy, which instructs us to exhaust the possibilities of what is already known before having recourse to the unknown.

But this principle, unassailable in theory, may lead to erroneous results when it is wilfully stretched too far into a given field of research. Vallati has cited, in this connection, a curious marginal note of Galileo, recently published in the third volume of the national edition of his works:

[Pg 189]

"If we heat amber, the diamond, and certain other very dense substances by chafing them, they attract small light bodies, because, in cooling off, they attract the air, which draws these corpuscles along with it." Thus the desire to bring still unexplained material facts under the known physical laws of his day led an observer and thinker so prudent and practical as Galileo to formulate a false proposition. If anybody had said to him that in the attraction exercised by amber there was the germ of a new branch of science and the rudimentary manifestation of an energy (electricity) then unknown, he would have replied that it was useless to "have recourse to the aid of the unknown."

But the analogy between the error committed by the great physicist and that which modern scholars commit can be pushed still farther.

Galileo was familiar with a form of energy which the natural philosophy of our times investigates simultaneously with electric energy, with which it has close relations confirmed by all recent discoveries. If it had been perceived that the explanation which he gave of the phenomenon of amber had no foundation, he would have been able to give his attention to the analogies which the attraction exercised by amber rubbed over light bodies presents with the attraction exercised by the loadstone upon iron filings. When he had got so far, he would very probably have discarded his first hypothesis and would have admitted that the attractive power of amber is a magnetic phenomenon. He would have been deceived, however, for it is an electric phenomenon.

In the same way might not those persons deceive themselves who, in order to escape at any cost the necessity of the hypothesis of spiritistic entities, should insist with a too persistent predilection upon the animistic hypothesis, even when this would be found insufficient to explain all mediumistic manifestations? Might it not be true that, like electric and magnetic phenomena, which are in close interchangeable connection, and frequently appear to us inseparable, animistic and spiritistic phenomena have a common bond? And let us well note that a single fact, inexplicable by the animistic hypothesis and explicable by the

[Pg 190]

spiritistic hypothesis, would suffice to confer upon the latter that degree of scientific value which up to the present time has been so energetically denied to it, just as the discovery of a secondary phenomenon, that of the polarization of light, sufficed to make Fresnel reject the Newtonian theory of emission and admit that of undulation.

Did we obtain, during the course of our ten séances with Eusapia, the one fact which is enough to make the spiritistic hypothesis necessarily take precedence of all others?

It is impossible to reply categorically to this question because it is not possible, and never will be, to have a scientific proof of the identity of the beings who manifest themselves.

The fact that I hear, that I see, that I touch a phantom; that I recognize in it the form and the attitude of persons whom I have known and whom the medium has neither known nor of whom she has even heard the names; that I have the most lively and affecting testimony to the presence of this ephemeral apparition,--all that will not be sufficient to constitute the scientific fact which none can refute, and which shall be worthy to remain in the annals of science along with the experiments of Torricelli, Archimedes and Galvani. It will always be possible to imagine an unknown mechanism by the aid of which elemental substance and power may be drawn from the Medium and the sitters and combined in such a way as to produce the indicated effects. It will always be possible to find in the special aptitudes of the Medium, in the thought of the sitters, and even in their attitude of expectant attention, the cause of the human origin of the phenomena. It will always be possible to unearth from the arsenal of the attacks made upon these studies during the last fifty years, some generic or specific argument, either ad rem or ad hominem, while ignoring or feigning to ignore the refutation of the argument which has already been made.

The question, then, reduces itself at once to an individual study of cases either directly observed or obtained from some sure hand, in order on the one hand, to create a personal conviction capable of resisting the scathing ridicule of the sceptics, and, on the other hand, to prepare public opinion to

 [Pg 191]

admit the truth of cases observed by persons worthy of credence.

With regard to the first of these, the illustrious experimenter Sidgwick, has already said that no fact or case exists capable of convincing everybody, but that each one, by patiently and calmly observing, may find such fact or case as will suffice to establish his own conviction. I may say that for myself such a case exists. I need only refer to the phenomena in which I have personally participated in the séances with Eusapia.

With regard to the second point I could say much, but that would lead me beyond the subject matter and the limits of this study.

On the one hand, we have the universal belief in the objective existence of a world unknown to us in our normal state; that faith (the basis of all religions) in a future life where the injustices of this one will be atoned for and where we shall be confronted with the good or evil deeds that we have done on earth; that uninterrupted tradition of systematic or spontaneous observances and rituals, thanks to which man is constantly kept in relation more or less with that unknown world.

On the other hand, we have the sceptical and disheartening negation of systems of pessimistic philosophy and of atheism, a negation which takes its rise in the absence of positive proofs of the survival of the soul; the ever more and more marked tendency of science toward a monistic interpretation of the enigma of human life; and the belief that all the known phenomena of life appear only in connection with special organs.

In order to decide in so abstruse a matter as this, mediumistic experiments do not suffice; everyone may draw from these as much of credence or of incredulity as he may need in order to resolve his doubts in one way or another; but he will never divest himself of the substratum of temperamental tendencies which the more or less scientific education of his mind or the more or less mystical inclinations of his nature shall have developed in him.

One word more and I have done.

While admitting it as the most probable hypothesis that

[Pg 192]

the intelligent beings to whom we owe these psychical phenomena are pre-existing, independent entities, and that they only derive from us the conditions necessary for their manifestation in a physical plane accessible to our senses, ought we to admit also that they are really the Spirits of the dead?

To this question I will reply that I do not feel that I am as yet capable of giving a decisive answer.

Still I should be inclined to admit it, if I did not see the possibility that these phenomena might form part of a scheme of things still more vast. In fact, nothing hinders us from believing in the existence of forms of life wholly different from those which we know, and of which the life of human beings before birth and after death forms only a special case, just as the organic life of man is a special case of animal life in general.

But I am leaving the solid ground of facts to explore that of the most hazardous hypotheses. I have already spoken at too great length, and will therefore close the discussion of this particular topic.

I have considered the above subjects in several of my own works.

We are surrounded by unknown forces and there is no proof that we are not also surrounded by invisible beings. Our senses teach us nothing about reality. But logically the discussion of theories ought to be reserved as a complement to the ensemble or summary of our observations and experiments; that is to say, for the last chapter. It behoves us before everything else positively to ascertain that mediumistic phenomena exist.

It seems to me, that this has been done for every impartial reader. This will be overwhelmingly confirmed by the following chapters. But there is one point on which we ought to dwell a moment. I mean the question of fraud, conscious or unconscious, which it would be natural, but

[Pg 193]

unfair, to here ignore and cover up. Our judicial review would not be complete did we not consecrate a special chapter to these mystifications, which unhappily are too frequently employed by Mediums.

This is from the book 'Mysterious Psychic Forces' by Camille Flammarion

 

chapter 5 is continued on Hoaxes page 11

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chapter 4 is on seances 30

 

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