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  Spiritualism 2


How it began and its different facets.

Spiritualism, Spiritist, and Espiritismo churches today,

In a small hamlet in New York State, in the township of Arcadia 30 miles east of Rochester, New York. Hydesville is now widely considered the birthplace of modern nineteenth century Spiritualism.

In the house of John D Fox, his wife Margaret Fox, and their daughters Leah Fox, Margaretta Fox, and Kate Fox, a lot of mysterious rappings [or in the air knockings] first took place on March 31, 1848. The two Fox sisters, Kate and Margaretta (aged 11 and 13, eventually joined by the third older sister Leah who was living in Rochester, asked questions to which the raps responded intelligently. A wide spectrum of neighbours were called in and one person showed great ingenuity in connecting the letters of the alphabet to the responses of the raps. The raps [or in the air knockings] were a forerunner of the technique of Spirit Communication in Spiritualism.

In 1915 the old Fox house was purchased by B. F. Bartlett of Cambridge, Pennsylvania, who had it dismantled and removed to the Lily Dale Spiritualist camp in western New York. In 1955 the building was totally destroyed by fire.

During the week of December 4-7, 1927, an International Hydesville Memorial and Spiritualist Congress was held at Rochester, and it was voted to erect a 25-foot monument to commemorate the advent of Spiritualism at Hydesville.

In 1948 a centennial celebration of the Hydesville events was also held at Lily Dale.


The Birth of Spiritualism

by Lis in Australia Thu Mar 27, 2008.

At first, after John Fox, wife Margaret, and daughter’s Margaretta and Katherine moved into the little house in Hydesville, they were not apparently bothered by any troubling noises. However, in the middle of March, 1848, the rappings and knockings began to disrupt their lives and from that time increased in frequency and intensity. Sometimes they were a mere knocking; at other times they sounded like the movement of furniture. The children, by then aged 14 and 12, were so alarmed that they refused to sleep apart and were taken into the bedroom of their parents. So strong were the sounds that the beds rattled and shook. Every possible search was made to account for the knockings but without success. Finally, on the night of March 31 there was a very loud and continued outbreak of inexplicable sounds.

Let me describe to you what happened.

Friday 31st of March 1848 was a windy evening. Imagine if you will, a little bedroom in a shack, feebly lit by candlelight, heavy shadows lurking in the corners of the room, and a mother and her two young children, in their night attire, surrounded by the sounds of unexplained knocking.

The night before, the family had been disturbed throughout the night with the noises heard in all parts of the house. There were knockings but also the sounds of footsteps in the pantry, and walking downstairs, and Margaret Fox had concluded that “the house must be haunted by some unhappy restless spirit.”

This night Mrs Fox had decided to “go to bed early and not permit (the family) to be disturbed by the noises, but try and get a night’s rest.” It was very early, hardly dark, when Margaret Fox and daughters Margaretta and Katherine went to bed, but the noises soon commenced and the children, hearing the rapping, tried to make similar sounds by snapping their fingers. Katherine, the youngest child tried clapping her hands. The sound instantly followed her with the same number of raps. When she stopped, the sound ceased for a short time. Then Margaretta said, in sport, ‘Now, do just as I do. Count one, two, three, four,’ striking one hand against the other at the same time; and the raps came as before.”

Margaret Fox then thought to put a test to the source of the knockings and asked “the noise to rap” her different children’s ages. Instantly, each of the children’s ages was given correctly, until the seventh was reached, at which point a pause was made, and then three more emphatic raps were given, corresponding to the age of the little one that had died.

Mrs Fox asked whether it was a human being that answered her questions so correctly, but there was no rap in response. Then she asked “Is it a Spirit? If it is, make two raps”. Two sounds were given as soon as the request was made. As she continued to ask questions each was answered in the same manner with raps and it was by this means that it was ascertained that it was the Spirit of a man who claimed to have been murdered in the house.

Neighbours were called in and their amusement was changed to wonder, and finally to awe, as they also listened to correct answers to intimate questions.

The children were taken away to stay the night at their brother’s home, while Margaret Fox went to spend the night at a neighbours. In their absence the phenomena went on exactly the same as before with Mr Duesler, a neighbour, taking up the task of asking questions, which included establishing that the dead peddler claimed he had been murdered by John Bell some five years earlier, his throat having been cut and his body buried in the cellar.

The crowd of neighbours spent a large part of the night of March 31st in playing question and answer with the unseen intelligence.

These, in very brief outline, were the events of March 31, which were continued and confirmed on the following night, when not less than a couple of hundred people had assembled round the house. By April 2nd, it was observed that the raps came in the day as well as at night.

The phenomena were witnessed for over a two week period and there were no set times when the phenomena occurred. There can therefore be little argument that true phenomena ….occurred in this little hamlet” of Hydesville. (reported Paul J Gaunt, in ‘What is Known of the Hydesville Peddler?’ in Psypioneer An Electronic Newsletter from London Vol 1 No 9 Jan 2005)

It is often at this point in the story when it is told in Spiritualist Churches that the talk comes to an end, and some phrase or remark is made along the lines of ‘and the rest is history’.

But today I would like to take the tale in a somewhat different direction and share with you what happened after this time to the Fox family and in particular the two sisters, Catherine & Margaretta Fox. It is important to remember that the family and these two young girls did not seek the role that was thrust upon them by the events in Hydesville. What followed is, in part, a rather sad story to relate, and highlights I suspect the dangers inherent in the awakening of the psychic powers without the corresponding development of spirituality.

For a while the children, Margaretta and Katherine were cared for in the home of their brother David. Soon John Fox and his wife Margaret joined them in the household. The Fox family was overwhelmed by the attention, much of it negative that surrounded the phenomena occurring in their home. Mrs Fox was deeply disturbed by the notoriety and was completely broken down to find that the manifestations continued unabated around the family after they had moved to the son’s household.

At the same time the manifestations continued in the Hydesville cottage without the presence of the Fox family and people continued to come to the cabin, alone and in groups. They also found their way to the home of David Fox. Indeed, on one occasion the family were set upon by a mob. Though David Fox had been supplied by friends with some guns he threw them away saying he would not fight the mob and that if God had sent this trouble upon them for the good of mankind he would be able to protect them. He threw open the doors of his home and told the mob they were welcome to enter. With the Spirit raps spelling out that the family would not be harmed, the mob quietly turned and left.

The family agreed that the manifestations seemed strongest in Katherine’s presence and hoped to eliminate them by removing her from the household. Weary of the annoyance to which they had been subjected, they allowed the older daughter Anne Leah to take Katherine to live with her in Rochester, only to then find that as Katherine departed, the mediumship of Margaretta began. Sadly with the events that continued to unfold, the new home John and Margaret Fox had intended to live in never did get built and both John and Margaret continued to live in their don’s home in Arcadia until they died in 1865, except, that is, for when Margaret Fox accompanied her daughters on public demonstration tours to other states around America.

On Katherine’s arrival in Rochester, the phenomena began almost immediately and continued day after day causing great disturbance to both the Fox sisters and to their neighbours. Mrs Fox then arrived with Margaretta and the manifestations became even stronger. They moved to new accommodation but the phenomena again continued unabated. The various members of the family were beside themselves and frequently frightened by the incidents that continued day and night. Finally, with the assistance of their Quaker friends Amy and Isaac Post, who were convinced of the genuineness of the manifestations, Spirit were able to make their intended message clear: ‘make public the truths of survival over death’

Mother and daughters, felt strongly to do so would bring further scorn, ridicule, and perhaps worse to their doorstep, but eventually they were persuaded and shortly after Anne Leah Fox was asked to organise private seances in her home and to invite prominent citizens of Rochester where raps, knockings and other phenomena occurred on a regular basis. It wasn’t long before she too, apparently developed the psychic power to produce phenomena of a wide ranging kind.

Then Spirit instructed them to engage Corinthian Hall, the largest public hall in Rochester, for a public demonstration. Margaretta gave the first public demonstration of mediumship in 1849. At the conclusion of the meeting a committee was selected from the audience to examine the girls and their manifestations. The girls were subjected to physical examination, were tied up, stripped and forced to undergo various other humiliating tests to prove their genuineness.

By 1850 the happenings of Hydesville and at the public demonstrations had snowballed into the Modern Spiritualist Movement as many others discovered they too could communicate with the Spirits and a torrent of information began to pour forth from the Spirit realms. The great truth of Spiritualism was lectured about and demonstrated, first in America, then England and eventually around the world.

For a while the girls toured demonstrating the phenomena that had made them famous but by 1852 Margaretta had met the love of her life, Dr Elisha Kane, a famed Arctic explorer and the dashing son of an aristocratic family, who did not deem Margaretta worthy of marrying into their line. In 1853 they did exchange vows and rings in the presence of the rest of the Fox family but it is said they were never legally wed. Kane sought to break Margaretta from the movement that had grown up around her and she converted to the Roman Catholic faith, but Kane died in 1857, and she, left broken-hearted and almost penniless, eventually returned to her activities as a Medium.

Katherine continued to demonstrate in seances and public demonstrations for 20 years, sometimes with Margaretta, at other times on her own, then, in 1871 she travelled to England, the trip paid for by a wealthy New York banker, so that she would not be compelled to accept payment for her services as a medium. There she met and married Henry Diedrich Jencken, a Barrister, and had two sons before her husband’s untimely death in December 1881. After her husband’s death Katherine returned to America.

Katherine Fox was considered to be a powerful Medium, capable of producing not only raps, but “spirit lights, direct writing, and the appearance of materialised hands” as well as the movement of objects at a distance (Doyle 1926: Vol 1, 9) She was one of three Mediums examined by Sir William Crookes, the prominent scientist, between 1871 and 1874.

Sadly, the strain of the notoriety that surrounded them over the years, took its toll on Katherine and Margaretta, and by the 1880’s both had developed serious drinking problems. In 1885 Margaretta was called before a commission in New York to prove her skills, a test she failed miserably, and in 1888 Katherine was arrested for drunkenness and welfare workers took custody of her sons. They were eventually placed in the care of an uncle in England.

It was at that time Katherine and Margaretta became embroiled in a quarrel with their sister Anne Leah and other leading Spiritualists. Katherine was determined Anne would not have her sons, especially her eldest Ferdinand who was born in 1873 and was reportedly a powerful Medium by the time he was three years old.

At the same time, Margaretta, by then suffering financial hardship, and contemplating a return to the Roman Catholic faith, became convinced that her powers were diabolical. She was offered $1,500 if she would expose Spiritualism as a sham. Margaretta publicly declared to this on October 21, 1888, before an audience of 2,000, however, she recanted her confession the following year. Though Katherine was present on the stage that night she never admitted to carrying out any fraud and it is clear that it was the temptation of money which had caused Margaretta to act as she did.

Within five years, both sisters died in poverty, shunned by former friends and the Spiritualist Movement. Katherine drank herself to death in July 1892 at the age of only 56. Margaretta died in March 1893, at age 59. At the time of her death she was penniless. They are buried together in a Brooklyn Cemetery. But even in their dying, the Spirit phenomena persisted.

There is a well documented account of Margaretta being visited in the final stages of her life, where in a room devoid of furniture, and she lying prostrate on her bed, the rapping and knockings from Spirit continued unabated all around her.



This article is one of a number dealing with 'Spiritualism and the Establishment', published in the NAS Newsletter with slight additions.

Healing is one area where Spiritualism has had an enduring effect upon establishment attitudes, an impact that belies the relatively small size of the Spiritualist movement today.
All human cultures have had their esoteric healing traditions that have interpreted a seemingly natural human faculty according to their own mythologies. Spiritualists, of course, view healing as a type of Mediumship and by the mid-twentieth century Spiritualism had played a central role in reintroducing healing into western society. Also, one Spiritualist healer in particular was causing intense embarrassment to both the established Church (which had largely abandoned its own links with the healing tradition whilst still claiming to be an authority on the matter) and the medical establishment which, as a branch of the scientific establishment, saw no room for the superstitious notion that healing could be brought about by any other means than surgery or modern drugs.
The healer in question, Mr Harry Edwards, was not an Establishment figure by any stretch of the imagination; despite this, he probably did more to permanently affect Establishment attitudes, in the UK at least, towards a particular type of mediumship (healing) than any other single Spiritualist before or since.
Edwards was, easily, the most well known and best loved healer of his generation, and over the course of his long career he fought hard to win recognition for Spiritual Healing by the medical profession. However, as he frequently pointed out, he did not see healing as being a substitute for conventional medicine, it was his greatest wish to see doctors and healers working together in a common cause with the doctor remaining firmly in charge of each case.(1) In this respect, Edwards began an approach that has been continued since.
As far as the Church was concerned, Harry Edwards was outraged that mainstream Christianity had abandoned healing. It was his view that the Church was disobeying the instructions of its founder by doing this and he often said so in public which, no doubt, did little to endear him to the leaders of the Anglican Church. He would answer Christian critics, some of whom accused him of doing the 'Devil's work', by saying that people should be able to have healing in church every Sunday, and that if this were done then the problem of dwindling congregations would be solved at a stroke. But, Edwards also warned all denominations that healing was the property of no one, including Spiritualists, because:-
'There is not one set of Divine laws for the Church of England and another set for the Methodists, the Congregationalists, and the Spiritualists. It is our common heritage. To try and control it by ritual or set performances of any kind, or to discipline, by set prayers, the healing efforts of healer priests will likewise fail.'(2)

Ironically, this attitude would also cause Edwards some unpopularity amongst Spiritualists but to the established Church, which had probably stifled the healing gift in this very way, it was a double insult, the other half of which was Edwards' very public success at practising what he preached at venues the length and breadth of the country. There was also the fact that clergymen were turning to Edwards instead of the Church authorities to ask how they could develop the healing gift themselves. Parallel to this, many doctors, ignoring the threat of disciplinary action, were covertly referring 'incurable' patients to Edwards.
It was inevitable that matters would come to a head and this happened eventually in 1953 when the Church organised a commission consisting of assorted Bishops and other clergymen, doctors and a psychologist to look into the evidence for 'Divine' healing. However, before I relate how the Commission subjected Edwards to some astonishingly shabby treatment, despite his best efforts to co-operate, and of how the healer eventually managed to humiliate the Church by guessing the true purpose of its panel and successfully predicting its 'findings' in public, a brief account of his career up to this point would be in order.
Henry (Harry) James Edwards was born on May 29, 1893 in Islington, North London, the eldest son of a print compositor. As a child Edwards was described in the biography by colleague Raymus Branch, Harry Edwards...The Life Story of the Great Healer, as being 'a holy terror of the first order' whose most notable achievements were the derailment of a number of railway trucks from the line at the back of the Edwards home at Wood Green, London, and the premature launching of a hot-air balloon one evening at Alexandra Palace. Edwards' character underwent a dramatic transformation, however, when he developed a crush on the local butcher's daughter; in an effort to impress her he even gave up swearing and joined the local Church Lads Brigade, (Church Boys Brigade). He also developed an interest in politics and became a youthful, but avid, supporter of the Liberal party, gaining his first experience of public speaking at political rallies.

During the First World War Edwards served in India and the Middle East, eventually attaining the rank of Captain and it was here that he showed the first signs of the extraordinary healing gift that was to make him famous the world over. As 'Assistant Director of Labour, Persian Lines of Communication' he found himself, equipped with little more than bandages and iodine, having to act as an unofficial doctor to the native workforce. Edwards was surprised to observe an unusual rate of recovery even amongst those with serious injuries but he thought nothing more about this until many years later after his introduction to Spiritualism.
After returning to England, Edwards married and set up his own print business in Balham, South London. By now his early interest in politics had turned into a burning ambition to right the wrongs of society and he stood unsuccessfully as the Liberal party candidate for North West Camberwell twice, in 1929 and 1935. It was after his second election defeat, in 1936, that Edwards received a message that would change his life at a small Spiritualist Church at Clousdale Road in Balham.

Up until then he had adopted the views of his father who, as a religious rationalist, had no belief in an afterlife. Edwards was also a keen amateur conjurer and 14 years previously he had visited a Spiritualist Church for the first time with every intention of exposing the Medium's tricks. Instead he was given a message that he could not account for and his interest was aroused. So when, during his second exposure to Spiritualism at Clousdale Road, the Medium told him that he was 'born to heal' and despite the fact he had no idea what a healer was, he joined a Development Circle to see what would happen. Edwards quickly developed trance mediumship and this was followed closely by his first cautious attempts at absent healing.
One of these came after a distraught woman, a Mrs Newland, whose husband had been sent home to die of lung cancer, wandered into Edwards' print shop quite by chance and he offered to try absent healing. Two days later, Mrs Newland returned to say that her husband's condition had improved radically. Later, x-rays showed no signs of the malignancy but a doctor at St Thomas' Hospital who was unfamiliar with the case concluded that Mr Newland had never had cancer in the first place.

Edwards soon found that his early self-conscious attempts at contact healing often brought similar results, and soon his reputation had spread to such an extent that his home was regularly filled by people seeking his help. He eventually found that many of the elaborate gestures employed by healers, such as blowing on the patient and flicking away 'diseased' energy from the fingers, were quite unnecessary and he developed the simple, straightforward approach that became his trademark. It was not long before his efforts were being reported in Psychic News and the local papers.
In his autobiography, On The Side Of Angels, Gordon Higginson remarked that some aspects of Edwards' healing bore the hallmarks of physical mediumship and it was during this early, pre-war phase of his career that the healer sponsored the mediumship of Jack Webber. Edwards' photographs of seance room phenomena are some of the best ever obtained and his careful documentation of Webber's mediumship was published as The Mediumship of Jack Webber.(3) Edwards also ensured that some very sceptical members of the press were able to report on some of the Welsh ex-miner's remarkable seances. Montague Keen, writing recently in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, has remarked that the name of 'Webber' has been remarkable by its absence from the sceptical literature and that 'The record of his physical mediumship...constitutes a challenge that seems to have been ignored even by our own society.'(4)

It was after World War Two that Edwards' career really took off, with his public demonstrations of contact healing at venues ranging from the humblest Spiritualist Church to the Albert Hall. During these, Edwards would usually ask for those suffering from conditions that he had found to respond most rapidly to contact healing, but he was always careful to point out that, in most cases, patients would require further treatment and that a complete cure was not always to be expected. Even so, he began to experience foretastes of the treatment he would receive later at the hands of the medical members of the Archbishops' Commission. One such case was reported in the Cambridge Daily News in 1948. At a demonstration at Cambridge Guild Hall Edwards had given healing to four-year-old Phillip Goodliff who, being crippled by polio, had to be carried onto the platform by his mother. A minute after receiving healing, the child, after discarding his leg-iron, was 'romping' around the front of the hall and creating such a disturbance that his mother had to remove his shoes. However, the orthopaedic surgeon who had treated the boy, Mr Noel Smith, despite the fact that the child could now walk, declared that Edwards had merely used 'an age-old chiropractic stunt' and that the treatment for infantile paralysis should be on 'scientific and proved lines'.(5)
Of course, the case of Phillip Goodliff represented the only the tip of a very large iceberg of successful healings. By the time that he received a request to submit evidence to the Archbishops' Commission, Edwards was a national figure who was answering thousands of requests for absent healing from around the world each week at his Sanctuary, 'Burrows Lea' in Surrey, which he had acquired in 1946. Edwards was also keeping records of each patient's progress. Ostensibly, the task of the Commission was to assess the evidence for Divine Healing with a view to issuing guidelines to the clergy as to how requests for healing should be handled and how healing should be given.(6) As we shall see, however, the former aim somehow vanished from the Commission's agenda once it became apparent that Edwards could actually meet the criteria for evidence specified by the panel. And, tragically, the 'guidelines' that were eventually issued were little better than an insult to the sick.

As Raymus Branch has noted, if it had not been for Harry Edwards then the Archbishops' Commission on Divine Healing would probably never have been formed.(7) It was, after all, Edwards' public demonstrations of contact healing that had made the subject a matter of public debate in post-war Britain. So, although Edwards was not the only healer to be asked to co-operate with the Commission it was inevitable that, in the public mind, he would be seen as its chief subject of investigation. As the most famous healer of the day, it was Harry Edwards, a Spiritualist, who bore the burden of responsibility for proving the worth of spiritual healing to the bishops and their panel of medical advisers.
The panel formed to investigate healing was formidable indeed, including five bishops and an array of senior doctors and academics.(8) The most notable and hostile of these was Dr. David Stafford-Clark (later to become known as 'the television psychiatrist'). Ironically, the panel also included the Rev. Maurice Elliot who had long campaigned for a liaison between Spiritualism and the Church. Elliot had been one of the prime movers behind an earlier Church Commission, formed by Archbishop Cosmo Lang, to investigate Spiritualism itself. It was Elliot who had courageously spoken out after Lang had tried to suppress the resulting 'majority report' which was favourable to Spiritualism, and the nature of the Healing Commission may be judged by the fact that the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Fisher, reacted with dismay at Elliot's participation. Upon finding him present at the first meeting of the Commission, Fisher had demanded of Elliot 'And what are you doing here today?' closely followed by 'Who sent you?' upon which Elliot merely pointed upwards and walked away.(9)
Edwards was later to comment that Elliot was the only friend amongst a panel that was otherwise 'horse-faced'.(10) However, if the healer's account of his interview by the Commission is to be believed, there must be some doubt as to the fitness of at least one panel member to have participated in such an inquiry.

Although the Commission had been announced in 1953 it was not until July 7 1954 that Edwards (accompanied by his assistant, Olive Burton), arrived at Lambeth Palace to present his evidence for healing. The Commission had requested details of six cases for investigation by the medical panel. Edwards, who by this time was dealing with thousands of requests for absent healing every week, had little trouble in forwarding seventy such cases from the previous three months, the details of which could all be checked by the panel with the doctors concerned via the patients themselves.(11)
After a talk, during which he invited the panel to witness a contact healing session at Burrows Lea, Edwards faced a barrage of hostile, critical questions.(12) He related later how one doctor had stood up and contemptuously cast the papers relating to the healings to one side declaring 'There is no evidence of spiritual healing here for they could all have been spontaneous (natural) healings'. When Edwards pointed out the absurdity of this suggestion (that seventy patients who had been declared by their doctors to be 'incurable' just happened to recover 'spontaneously' after being given healing), the doctor retorted that 'Too many doctors are declaring people to be incurable when they are not'.(13) When, at another stage in the proceedings, Edwards attempted to give details concerning the healing of a 'blue baby', this brought a shout of 'impossible' from Dr. Stafford-Clark. When the healer persisted in trying to give an account of this case, Stafford-Clark swung his chair round and Edwards found himself addressing the doctor's back!(14)

After their in-depth, minutes-long 'investigation' of the seventy cases presented by Edwards the panel then asked him to provide a further six 'case histories' for scrutiny, perhaps knowing that, owing to the confidentiality of such information, the healer would be denied access to official medical histories. In 1950, Edwards had helped a doctor from St. Bartholomew's Hospital who was conducting a private study of healing by supplying ninety-five cases for examination. Even the doctor himself had not been able to get access to the medical records for fifty-eight of these cases but when Edwards pointed this out to the panel he was told, incredibly, that 'he only had to ask' for the details.(15)
Nevertheless, Edwards managed to meet the new criteria for eight cases which were duly supplied to the Commission with a request that he be allowed to see the medical panel's comments in advance of publication. In view of the evasion tactics already employed by the medical panel this was an understandable request from Edwards who, by now, was beginning to suspect that even these cases would not be investigated properly and that the Commission was likely to be misled. Edwards simply wanted to be able to correct any likely mis-statements or evasions concerning the cases to prevent this from happening. As we shall see, however, Edwards had to wait two years, despite repeated requests, before he received an assurance that his plea to see the findings in advance would be met and, even then, this proved to be a waste of paper and ink.
In the meantime Edwards continued with his healing work. Shortly after the fiasco of his interview at Lambeth Palace he gave a healing demonstration at the Albert Hall, on September 25 1954, in front of an audience of 6,000 which included 17 members of the Archbishops' Commission, representatives of the BMA and members of the Church's Council of Healing. Accordingly, Edwards made a point of asking for people with 'incurable' conditions: a girl of eight who was spastic from birth raised her arms above her head for the first time; a man crippled by arthritis for 30 years walked away from the platform as did a woman who had not walked for five years. During the demonstration, Edwards made numerous asides that were obviously intended for the ears of the Commission, such as 'Would it not be a fine thing if this healing was taking place in Canterbury Cathedral and in all our Parish Churches? It should be happening there, for that is its rightful place!'(16)
During the coming months, Edwards voiced his increasing frustration with the Commission more directly with a series of letters to Lambeth Palace repeatedly asking, to no avail, that he be allowed to comment on the medical panel's findings. Gradually, he became so disillusioned with the Commission that he started to complain publicly about his treatment in his own magazine The Spiritual Healer, and this culminated in an open accusation of 'conspiracy and negligence' when he found out that the patient from one of the cases, a Mr William Olsen, had been asked by the Commission to provide his own medical corroboration and that five of the other patients and their doctors had not even been contacted!(17)

By May 1956 Edwards had just completed a book, The Truth About Spiritual Healing, in which he gave an account of the Commission's behaviour. On May 8, after the book had gone to press he received a letter from Lambeth palace signed by the Bishop of Lincoln and the Secretary to the Commission, the Rev. Eric Jay, saying that a Dr. Claxton of the BMA had no objections to granting his request and would write to him shortly with the medical panel's findings. Edwards was so pleased with this that he suspended his book's publication immediately, only to find that the conclusions of the medical panel (on which the Commission's report was eventually to be based), were published in the British Medical Journal on May 12 anyway.(18) And, to rub salt into the wound, Edwards received Claxton's letter containing the findings two days afterwards.(19)
As Edwards was to write later in an updated version of his book...'the offer of co-operation was a sham - a case of "thank you for nothing"', but what made matters much worse was the fact that the BMA report amply confirmed his worst fears as it contained evasions and downright errors concerning the eight cases that were scarcely believable. This suggested that the panel had either not bothered to conduct its investigation with anything like the scientific detachment and thoroughness that one would expect, or had actually chosen to lie rather than admit that the cases presented evidence in favour of Spiritual Healing.

Edwards wrote back to Rev. Eric Jay, to whom he had already predicted this very outcome many times over the previous months:-
'As I anticipated, and as I have told you several times, the BMA findings are purposefully evasive, misleading and a distortion of the truth...It is obvious that the doctors are hostile. To ask them for an impartial judgement is asking them to agree that spiritual healing can succeed when they have failed, and this they do not want to do, whatever the evidence...If the commission is willing to accept the BMA report at its face value, that is its responsibility, but if, on the other hand, it cares to question this report, I shall be prepared to co-operate.'(20)
Edwards included details of the BMA's errors but, apparently, the Commission was prepared to accept the report at face value as he received no reply to his letter.

A full commentary on the BMA report was included in the final version of The Truth About Spiritual Healing.(21) Fairly typical is the treatment the panel gave to the case of a patient, Mr. 'B', whose son had sought absent healing from Edwards on his father's behalf for bladder cancer which was diagnosed after a biopsy. An operation was planned but, according to the son, shortly after healing commenced his father's 'appearance was transformed, pain ceased, and he appeared to regain his perfect health'. No cancer was found during a preliminary examination prior to the operation at the Royal Masonic Hospital and so the actual surgery was not performed and the patient was found to be cancer free on several occasions up to December 1954. In 1955, the same patient became very seriously ill with bronchitis but again, after healing, recovered. Three months later, however, Mr. 'B' died suddenly of a heart attack.
Doubtless, Edwards would not have objected if the BMA report had told the truth concerning this patient's demise (after all he was not claiming that, through healing, one could achieve immortality) but it claimed that Mr 'B' had succumbed to the original 'carcinoma of the bladder', completely ignoring the actual medical evidence.
Another case concerned a Miss E. Wilson who had been suffering from back pain for more than forty years and was diagnosed in 1950 at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary as having 'gross Kyphosis deformity'. After one contact healing session with Edwards in 1951 her spine was straightened considerably, she became completely pain-free and was able to discard her back-brace and walking sticks...improvements that were acknowledged by her consultant, a Mr. Ross. However, the BMA report stated wrongly, without even calling Miss Wilson as a witness, that she had 'improved whilst receiving physiotherapy in addition to Mr. Edwards's administrations' when she had, in fact, received no further treatment because, as Edwards pointed out, she did not need it.
There were similar inconsistencies with all of the other cases and it would be no exaggeration to say that the report was scientifically worthless. Yet, the panel still managed to conclude from its non-investigation that... 'We can find no evidence that organic diseases are cured by such means [spiritual healing]'.

Edwards' immediate response was to issue a statement to the press in which he gave the true details of the eight cases and challenged the BMA to have them independently assessed.(22) Of course, this challenge was not taken up and, in the eyes of many, the BMA must have appeared rather foolish. The authors of the report also seemed to have been blissfully unaware that Edwards had many friends in the medical profession and he was particularly annoyed that they had reminded doctors that they were liable to disciplinary action if they co-operated with healers. In a speech made in Bloomsbury the following year, Edwards was able to produce a fistful of the 200 letters he had received from doctors requesting his assistance in the short time since the report's publication. He warned the BMA that if they should be 'ill-advised' enough to discipline even one of them that... 'we are in a position to provide a great amount of support to that doctor through the medical profession itself'.(23)

It is, perhaps, hardly surprising that, in 1958, Edwards received a letter from the Chaplain of the Commission telling him that none of the evidence he had supplied would be used in the final report.(24) After all, the Commission had been totally out-manoeuvred by the healer who had managed to publicly discredit the 'findings' of their eminent medical panel; any reference to this in the final report would have amounted to a public admission of everything that Edwards had accused the Commission of unless they had taken up his challenge to have the evidence independently assessed.
The Commission had clearly decided to fudge the issue by not mentioning Edwards' evidence at all. But, Edwards had pre-empted the Church even here. Anticipating the likely outcome years before, he had devoted a whole chapter in The Truth About Spiritual Healing to predicting what the Commission's recommendations to the clergy regarding healing would be. He would now see just how accurate his predictions had been. Today, nearly forty years after the Commission's findings were published, we can see that the Healing Movement has continued to flourish in the manner envisioned by Edwards, albeit without the co-operation of the Church.

It must have seemed obvious to Edwards that the Commission, rather than take advice from a Spiritualist who was providing powerful evidence that genuine healing of organic and mental disease was possible without placing any religious preconditions on the act, would uselessly try to cram the healing gift into its own dogmas to avoid losing face. This belief that one can magically confer the gift of healing on someone by dressing them in priest's robes and asking them to perform set rituals and prayers was, as Edwards had maintained all along, how the Church had managed to mislay its healing ministry in the first place. Edwards' predictions of the Commission's recommendations may be summarised thus:(25) (i) It would admit that healers from outside the Church may be able to bring about healing but there would be references to evil Spirits and the Devil; (ii) It would 'suggest that applicants for spiritual healing should receive devotional education', and it would also expect patients to become members of the Church, placing its own preconditions on 'Divine' healing; (iii) It would accept that healing may be possible with 'nervous diseases' but not with organic conditions; (iv) It would disparage public demonstrations of healing such as those given by Edwards.

This forecast was remarkable in its accuracy.(26) After the report's publication in June 1958 Edwards gave his reaction to it in his own magazine, The Spiritual Healer. There was, indeed, an acknowledgement that Spiritualist healers 'may be...gifted men' but, despite Edwards' efforts to give an understanding of this they were 'gifted in ways which as yet we do not understand'. There were references to 'demons' and how churchmen should 'exorcise' patients.
There was the recommendation that 'Sickness...often presents a unique opportunity for instruction' and that the patient be 'prepared', 'instructed' and encouraged to 'confess' to 'bring the patient to a real sorrow for his sins' before healing. The clergy were also advised that if they were asked to give healing to a stranger they would 'need to discover whether the patient is a Christian,...a churchman, whether he has been baptised...confirmed and is a communicant'. In other words, the report inferred that non-Anglicans should be left to suffer, something which Edwards described as 'downright cruel'. There was also the disingenuous comment that 'If the investigation was sufficiently complete, there might arise scientific evidence for unparalleled physical cures' followed by a 15 paragraph dismissal of apparent healing successes as being due to wrong diagnoses, 'spontaneous' remission etc. Edwards remarked 'So illogical is the report that after ruling that any investigation of Spiritualist healings were outside its business, it devotes pages to explain them away'.

As far as public healing was concerned, the report, although not ruling it out, recommended that it should only be held for the 'instructed', otherwise 'attendance at a healing service could have disastrous results'. This prompted Edwards to retort that 'The only disastrous result will be that the patients may die while they are waiting for all this "preparation" before they are allowed to enter the Church to be healed'.
The popular press reacted with bewilderment and a certain amount of outrage to the report. The Daily Express commented that its 'jungle of theological jargon' reached back to 'the dark superstitious beginnings of man himself' and was a 'tremendous attack' on other denominations including Spiritualists. The Star, a leading evening newspaper of the time, obviously unaware of the irony of the situation, asked in a leading article 'Why, for instance, didn't the Commission probe and test the evidence of a man like Harry Edwards...Because, they say, it was outside their terms of reference.' Needless to say, Maurice Barbanell, editor of Psychic News was also outraged, he wrote that the report was a 'waste of the paper on which it was printed'. Perhaps the most ridiculous of the report's recommendations had been its suggestion that to induce healing the priest should bless a bottle of olive oil, soak a piece of wool in this, draw a cross on the patient's forehead and, after reciting a prayer, burn the wool. Edwards commented that 'If Spiritualist healers did this, they would be rightly laughed at'. He also predicted that, until the Church came to its senses the sick would continue to seek healing from Spiritualists. Which, indeed, they did.

Barely a month after the report's publication Edwards held another healing demonstration at the Albert Hall. He shared the platform with 300 healers from the non-denominational National Federation of Spiritual Healers (of which Edwards was President) which had been formed in 1955 by John Britnell with Edwards' help.(27) Also there to speak in support of healing was the MP for Kensington, George Roger, but it was Edwards himself who delivered the coupe de grace to the Archbishops' report. After accusing the medical panel from the Commission of 'shameful negligence' for not examining the evidence he had provided, he declared... 'We present the evidence for the judgement of public opinion'. Then two of the eight patients whose cases had been misrepresented in the earlier BMA report, before being ignored completely by the Commission, stepped up to the microphone. William Olsen who had recovered from spinal collapse and Elizabeth Wilson, a former hunchback, stepped up to the microphone to testify to their recovery at Edwards' hands. A Mrs Blowes whose eight month old daughter had been sent home to die of a malignant growth told the audience that the girl was now nine years old thanks to healing. The audience were also told that the patient from one of the other cases, a boy who had been crippled by a strange condition that had bent his body 'like a question mark', would have been present were it not for the fact that he was taking his school exams.
The Archbishops' report was then finally laid to rest by none other than the Rev. Maurice Elliot who, as a member of the Commission, had been present when Edwards first presented his evidence at Lambeth Palace. Elliot told the audience that he was so disgusted by the report and the way it had been compiled that he had refused to sign it.(28)

Many years before, during his army career in the Middle East, Edwards had been entrusted with the task of building a bridge over a wide, fast flowing river. As he only knew how to build bridges over roads Edwards simply ordered the bridge to be built to one side of the river which was then diverted underneath it with dynamite.(29) In retrospect it can be seen that Harry Edwards used a similar approach to paving the way for the increasing acceptance of healing by the medical establishment that we see today. Edwards already had considerable covert grass-roots support amongst doctors, indeed he recalled that after a lecture given to a division of the BMA several doctors had taken him to one side and told him how they were his 'best friend here', 'your strongest supporter' etc.(30)

In 1959 healers from the NFSH, of which Edwards was the first president, were given permission to give healing in 1,500 NHS hospitals,(31) but Edwards continued to fight for recognition of healing by the BMA and the General Medical Council. During his long presidency of the NFSH, whose early headquarters was Edwards' own healing sanctuary at Burrows Lea, he was responsible for the organisation's early training courses,(32) and he continued to demonstrate healing internationally, even touring Zimbabwe at the age of 82, shortly before his passing in 1976.(33)
It has been estimated that, over the course of his 40 year career, Edwards gave healing to around 14 million people, from the most humble to members of the Royal Family, without ever charging a penny for his services.(34) One year after his passing, in 1977, the GMC issued a policy statement in which permission was given for doctors to refer patients to accredited healers if they saw fit.(35) 1981 saw the formation of the Confederation of Healing Organisations, an umbrella organisation for healing associations from all denominations who are prepared to accept a common code of conduct prepared in consultation with the GMC, BMA and Royal Colleges of Medicine.(36) In 1988, the Doctor Healer Network was formed by psychiatrist Dr Daniel Benor for Doctors who wished to employ healers at their surgeries and an increasing number of Doctors, such as Dr Barbara King of Birmingham have become healers themselves.(37)
Today Britain is the only European country to have a strongly established healing movement and an attempt to make complementary therapies such as healing available on the National Health Service was defeated in the House of Lords by only 4 votes in 1990.(38) It would seem that the realisation of this central aim of the CHO is only a matter of time, especially since an attempt by the Lannoye Committee of the European Parliament to severely restrict complementary medicine in the UK was met with a threat by the last government to use the Maastricht treaty to veto any such move.(39)

It is difficult to imagine that any of the above would have been possible without Harry Edwards although, of course, a great deal of the credit belongs to many others also. Despite his own Spiritualist interpretation of how healing is achieved by attunement with 'God's Healing Ministers in Spirit', he wisely recognised that this must take second place to the healing act itself. His insistence that healing should be non-denominational was an act of humility that ensured its wider acceptance by an increasingly secular society and an Establishment that is still largely hostile to the concept of mediumship as such. Of course, such an approach would be vastly more difficult with mediumship as a form of evidential communication.
So much for the medical establishment. The Church, for its part, seems to have learned nothing from its encounter with Harry Edwards. The Churches Council for Health and Healing, unlike the NFSH, is not a member of the CHO, and therefore is not bound by a code of conduct which forbids forcing the belief system of the healer upon the patient. Consequently, the vacuum left by the mainstream church's rejection of Harry Edwards' advice has been filled, in part, to the dismay of many clergymen, by the rise of the so-called 'Toronto Blessing': in this, people cavort around like chickens in a disco, baying like animals while they exorcise various imaginary demons. This practice has even been encouraged in church by some of the more evangelically minded clergy and some 'patients' who have been exposed to it have claimed that they suffered long-term psychological damage as a result. Some may remember a TV documentary about this phenomenon a few years ago during which one man alleged that his 'healing' had involved being forcibly held down whilst blackcurrant cordial was poured into his underwear to purify him. One wonders whether the Archbishops' Commission would have regarded this as a 'disastrous' result.
Naturally, one also wonders what Harry Edwards would have thought of such antics. A number of years ago I was present at a contact healing session at Burrows Lea, during which Ray and Joan Branch gave healing to a lady whose neck, hips, and wrists were chronically affected by arthritis. As she walked away from Edwards' old healing chair (carrying her support collar) she turned and asked Ray whether he ever heard anything from his former mentor. He replied, with a smile, 'Oh, we never do anything without him!'.

(1)Harry Edwards (a), A Guide to the Understanding and Practice of Spiritual Healing (Guildford: Healer Publishing, 1982), pp.111-112.
(2)And all other general biographical details, Raymus Branch, Harry Edwards: The Life Story of the Great Healer (Guildford: Healer Publishing, 1991), p.174.
(3)For an excellent account of Jack Webber's career see 'The Mediumship of Jack Webber', The NAS Newsletter, December 1995.
(4)Montague Keen, 'A Sceptical View of Parapsychology', JSPR, Vol. 61, No. 846, Jan. 1997, p.298.
(5)Raymus Branch, Ibid., pp.139-140.
(6)Raymus Branch, Ibid., p.167.
(7)Raymus Branch, Ibid., p.166.
(8)For full details see 6.
(9)Raymus Branch, Ibid., p.168.
(10)Raymus Branch, Ibid., p.170.
(11)Raymus Branch, Ibid., p.169.
(12)Harry Edwards (b), The Truth About Spiritual Healing (London: Spiritualist Press, 1956), pp.146-151.
(13)Harry Edwards (b), Ibid., pp.31-32.
(14)Raymus Branch, Ibid., p.175.
(15)See 7.
(16)Raymus Branch, Ibid., p.176.
(17)Raymus Branch, Ibid., p.181.
(18)British Medical Journal Supplement, May 12 1956, pp.269-273.
(19)Harry Edwards (b), Ibid., pp.33-39.
(20)See 12.
(21)Harry Edwards (b), Ibid., pp.40-84.
(22)Harry Edwards (b), Ibid., pp.152-153.
(23)Raymus Branch, Ibid., p.188.
(24)Raymus Branch, Ibid., p.190.
(25)Harry Edwards (b), Ibid., pp.124-126.
(26)Ramus Branch, Ibid., pp.190-196.
(27)Don Copeland, 'Harry Edwards and Healing Training', NFSH Region 14 Newsletter, Summer 1997, p.4.
(28)Ramus Branch, Ibid., p.198.
(29)Ramus Branch, Ibid., pp.41-40.
(30)Ramus Branch, Ibid., p.145.
(31)Anthea Courtenay, Healing Now (London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1991), p.112.
(32)Don Copeland, Ibid.
(33)Ramus Branch, Ibid., illustration facing p.227.
(34)Estimate given by Ramus Branch at seminar, Burrows Lea 1996.
(35)Ramus Branch, Ibid., p.147.
(36)Anthea Courtenay, Ibid., p.13.
(37)Jo Ind, writing in the Birmingham Post, July 6 1993.
(38)News and Views, Journal of the Surrey Spiritual Healers Association, Autumn 1997, pp.30-31.
(39)See 14.
(40)Anthea Courtenay, Ibid., p.13.


Spiritualism during the Civil War... the dead soldiers return.

As many of you know, Spiritualism was very popular during the Civil War. By 1861, a Spiritualist newspaper appeared called the “Banner of Light”.

The Banner of Light proposed to seek out dead soldiers to find out how they were doing after death, what conditions they were in when they died, and whether they died the “good death.”

Each issue of the newspaper provided a litany of answers from dead soldiers in a monthly article known as “Voices from the Dead.”. A Mrs. Conant would go into a trance and seek out dead soldiers on both sides. In one episode, Stonewall Jackson answered her… “I adopted the course I took because I felt it was right for me to.” Willie Lincoln apparently sent regular communications. Messages were not specific, and contained the typical condolence letter responses.

Some of the dead channeled Mrs Conant with things like, “as a favor of you today, that you will inform my father, Nathaniel Thompson of Montgomery, Alabama, if possible, of my decease. Tell him I died …eight days ago, happy and resigned.”

Leonard Bolton wants to give my mother …”a little sketch of the manner of my death.”

Charlie Hiland reported, “I lost my life in your Bull Run affair, and the folks want to know how I died and what became of me after death… I should like to inform them.”

None of the soldiers mentioned were real soldier’s names. The Banner of Light did not present any reader’s actual kin, or any real details. The newspaper lasted well into mid-1870s.

Source: “The Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War” - Drew Gilpin Faust

There are two ways of looking at this kind of fakery. Looking back on it, it’s hard to imagine such an insidious form of lying. Yet, the Civil War was a huge trauma for individual parents. Many were desperate as they could not find their son’s body, and many went missing in some remote battlefield as an unknown grave.

As Faust points out, The newspaper brought an affirmation to the
dead’s mourning and grieving kin. The intent was to suggest that…”The [dead] were struggling to reach out to those they had left behind in order to console them with the reassurance at Spiritualism’s core” ‘I still live.’








Historical overview of the activities of IMI

Their motto is :-    "Le Paranormal"   We do not believe     We study

Par Grégory Gutierez By Greg Gutierrez, Jean-Paul Bailly, Alexis Champion, Peter Bancel.

L'Institut Métapsychique International est créé en 1919, grâce aux efforts de trois personnes. The Psychic International Institute was created in 1919 through the efforts of three people. Tout d'abord, un riche négociant venu de Bézier, Jean Meyer, qui depuis plusieurs années, est l'un des principaux artisans du spiritisme français... First, a rich merchant came Bezier, Jean Meyer, who for many years, is one of the main architects of French spiritualism ...

Jean Meyer John Meyer

C'est lui qui fournit l'argent nécessaire à l'ouverture de la fondation. It is he who provides the money needed to open the foundation. Les deux autres fondateurs sont des médecins d'une certaine renommée, qui se sont connus pendant la Première Guerre Mondiale : le Pr. Rocco Santoliquido, d'origine italienne, est alors le représentant de la Croix Rouge auprès de la Société des Nations (l'ancêtre de l'ONU) ; le Dr. Gustave Geley, un médecin d'Annecy, se passionne pour la philosophie spirite depuis le début du siècle. The other two founders are doctors of some renown, who met during the First World War: Prof. Rocco Santoliquido, of Italian origin, is then the Red Cross representative to the League of Nations (the ancestor of the UN); Dr. Gustave Geley, a physician in Annecy, passionate spiritualist philosophy since the beginning of the century. Geley devient le premier président de l'Institut, qui s'installe avenue Niel à Paris, dans un hôtel particulier. Geley became the first president of the Institute, which installs Avenue Niel in Paris, in a mansion. L'IMI est alors doté d'un laboratoire, d'une grande salle de conférence et d'une bibliothèque. IMI is then equipped with a laboratory, a large conference room and a library. A partir de 1921, il publie la Revue Métapsychique , qui cessera sa publication au début des années 80. From 1921 he publishes the Psychic , which will cease its publication in the early 80s.

Etant donné les préoccupations spirites de ses trois fondateurs, on pourrait croire que le nouvel institut se destinait à devenir l'un des foyers culturels de cette religion, le Spiritisme, qui imprégnait tant l'Europe du début du XXème siècle. Given the concerns of its three founders spiritualists, one would think that the new institute was destined to become one of the cultural centers of that religion, Spiritism, which permeated Europe until the early twentieth century. Mais il s'agissait plutôt, et ce dès le début, d'étudier les bizarres phénomènes physiques et mentaux qui semblaient alors se manifester au cours des séances spirites, phénomènes dont avaient déjà témoigné des auteurs, dès la fin du XVIIIème siècle, dans le cadre des controverses sur le "magnétisme animal". But it was more, right from the start, to study the strange physical and mental phenomena that seemed to occur during the seance, phenomena which had already testified to the authors, from the late eighteenth century, in the context of controversies over the "animal magnetism". En outre, parmi les premiers membres de l'Institut, on compte notamment Charles Richet (Prix Nobel de médecine en 1913) ou encore le célèbre astronome Camille Flammarion, tous deux farouches partisans d'une métapsychique expérimentale et dégagée de toute préoccupation spirite (Camille Flammarion eut un rapport ambiguë avec le mouvement spirite, il fut lui-même spirite dans ses jeunes années puis il prit ses distances au tournant du siècle avant d'exprimer à nouveau des convictions spirites dans ses derniers ouvrages). In addition, among the first members of the Institute, there are particular Charles Richet (Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1913) or the famous astronomer Camille Flammarion, both backers of a psychic experimental and free from any concerns spiritualist (Camille Flammarion had an ambiguous relationship with the spiritualist movement, he was himself a spiritualist in his early years and then he distanced himself at the turn of the century before expressing again spiritualist beliefs in his later works).

La Grande Epoque de l'IMI The Epoch of IMI

Le Dr. Gustave Geley Dr. Gustave Geley
Premier directeur de l'IMI, il étudia notamment les médiums polonais Jean Guzik et Franek Kluski. First director of IMI, he studied Polish mediums including John Guzik and Franek Kluski.

Dans les années 20, à l'époque dite "des Années Folles", le Dr. Geley enflamme les colonnes des quotidiens avec le "Manifeste des 34", un texte signé de 35 personnalités savantes et intellectuelles du moment. In the 20s at the time called "the Roaring Twenties," Dr. Geley inflames the columns of newspapers with the "Manifesto 34", a statement signed by 35 academic and intellectual personalities of the moment.
Toutes ces personnes sont d'accord pour témoigner qu'un certain médium venu de Pologne, Jean Guzik, invité à se produire dans le salon de l'IMI, a bien manifesté des phénomènes non réductibles à de simples fraudes ou effets d'illusionnisme, et ce dans des conditions sévères : ses mains et ses pieds sont liés par des liens serrés, il est déshabillé et revêtu d'un pyjama sans poche avant la séance et les portes de la salle sont fermées et cachetées avant chaque réunion. All these people are willing to testify that a medium come to Poland, John Guzik, invited to perform in the lounge of the IMI has demonstrated phenomena not reducible to mere effects of fraud or illusion, and that under severe conditions: his hands and feet were bound by close ties, it is stripped and dressed in a pajama pocket without the prior session and the room doors are closed and sealed before each meeting. Mais lorsque quelques mois plus tard, le même Guzik est invité à montrer ses talents en Sorbonne devant plusieurs savants, après une quinzaine de séances ces derniers concluent que le médium a tenté d'exécuter des fraudes habiles en libérant une de ses jambes pour déplacer des objets "à distance", en pleine obscurité. But when a few months later, the same Guzik is invited to show his talents at the Sorbonne before several scholars, after a couple of meetings they concluded that the medium has attempted to execute skillful fraud by releasing one of his legs to move objects "remote" in the dark. Si Guzik arrive à convaincre beaucoup de métapsychistes, sa réputation "médiatique" restera à jamais entâchée par ce désaveu de la Sorbonne. If Guzik convinces many psychic, his reputation "media" will forever be tainted by the denial of the Sorbonne. A la même période, Geley organise des séances avec un deuxième médium polonais, Franek Kluski, avec lequel il parvient à obtenir des "moulages ectoplasmiques" de mains et de pieds, preuve physique que lors des séances, de véritables "ectoplasmes" seraient apparus grâce à l'énergie mentale du médium ... At the same time, Geley organizes meetings with a second medium Polish Kluski Franek, with which he managed to obtain "casts ectoplasmic" hands and feet, physical evidence sessions, true "ectoplasm" would have appeared with the mental energy of the medium ... Malheureusement, en 1924, Geley meurt tragiquement dans un accident d'avion, alors qu'il retourne en France après avoir continué des séances avec Kluski à Varsovie au cours desquelles de nouveaux moulages avaient été obtenus. Unfortunately, in 1924, Geley dies tragically in a plane crash as he returned to France after continuing sessions with Kluski in Warsaw during which new castings were obtained. La manière dont les moulages furent produits, par fraude ou par une capacité authentiquement paranormale, est encore débattue de nos jours dans les revues spécialisées. How the casts were produced, by fraud or a genuine paranormal ability, is still debated today in the journals. Si quelques pistes explicatives ont été avancées pour expliquer ces moulages, aucune n'a encore permis de rendre compte sérieusement des événements, et les désormais célèbres moulages restent aujourd'hui encore l'une des plus curieuses énigmes de l'histoire de la métapsychique . If some tracks explanatory been advanced to explain these casts, none have allowed seriously to report events, and the now famous casts are still one of the most intriguing riddles in the history of the psychic .

Le Dr. Eugène Osty
Dr. Eugene Osty

Sous sa direction, l'IMI se consacre d'abord à l'étude des phénomènes intellectuels, mais on lui doit aussi une mise en évidence de la "force psychique", à travers l'étude du médium autrichien Rudi Schneider. Under his leadership, IMI is dedicated primarily to the study of mental phenomena, but he has also highlighted the "psychic force" through the study of medium Austrian Rudi Schneider.
A la mort de Geley, le Dr. Eugène Osty prend sa succession. On the death of Geley, Dr. Eugene Osty takes over. C'est un médecin prudent dans ses opinions, plus intéressé par les phénomènes intellectuels, clairvoyance et télépathie , que par les phénomènes physiques qu'affectionnait le Dr. Geley. It is a prudent physician in his opinion, more interested in mental phenomena, clairvoyance and telepathy , as physical phenomena fond Dr. Geley. Malgré plusieurs livres importants sur les processus psychologiques de la voyance, Osty connaîtra une certaine célèbrité grâce à ses expériences avec un nouveau médium à effets physiques, le jeune Rudi Schneider, venu d'Autriche. Despite several important books on the psychological processes of clairvoyance, Osty know a certain celebrity thanks to his experiences with a new medium to physical effects, young Rudi Schneider, who came from Austria. En utilisant des rayons infrarouge, invisibles, pour sécuriser la salle et surprendre le médium si ce dernier tente de frauder dans la pénombre, il obtient des photographies suggérant qu'en réalité, une mystérieuse "force psychique" serait émise par le corps du médium lorsqu'il tente d'imprimer un mouvement à distance à un objet. Using infrared rays, invisible to secure the room and surprise the medium if the latter tries to cheat in the dark, he obtained photographs suggesting that in reality, a mysterious "psychic force" would be issued by the body of the medium when it tries to impart a distance to an object. Ces expériences s'étendent sur près d'une année et comprennent plus de 90 séances, un véritable record d'endurance, aussi bien pour le savant que pour le jeune médium . These experiences span nearly a year and include over 90 sessions, a real endurance record for both the scientist and for the young medium . Les résultats d'Osty sont évidemment discutés, la Society for Psychical Research (SPR) de Londres reproduit ces expériences et obtient des résultats mitigés, la revue Nature publie un bref compte rendu évidemment sceptique sur les résultats d'Osty, mais surtout, en 1933, le chercheur anglais Harry Price dénonce publiquement Rudi Schneider et produit une photographie sensée montrer ce dernier en flagrant délit de tricherie au cours d'une séance (plusieurs auteurs ont montré depuis lors que Price avait lui-même créé cette photographie afin de ruiner la carrière du médium Autrichien ainsi que la réputation de ses collègues - et néanmoins adversaires - de la SPR). The results are obviously Osty discussed, the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) in London repeated the experiments and obtained mixed results, the journal Nature published a brief account obviously skeptical about the results Osty, but especially in 1933 The British researcher Harry Price publicly denounces Rudi Schneider and produced a photograph showing the latter sense in the act of cheating during a meeting (several authors have shown since then that Price himself had created this picture in order to ruin the career the medium Austrian and the reputation of his colleagues - and opponents, however - the SPR). Cette triste polémique marque en quelque sorte la fin des "années folles" de la métapsychique dite "objective", cad s'intéressant aux phénomènes physiques de la médiumnité spirite. This sad sort of controversy mark the end of the "Roaring Twenties" the psychic "objective", ie an interest in physical phenomena of mediumship spiritualist.

A la même époque, l'ingénieur-chimiste René Warcollier intègre l'équipe de l'Institut et organise des séances de télépathie en groupe. At the same time, the chemical engineer Rene Warcollier joined the Institute staff and organizes meetings of telepathy as a group. Il s'intéresse plus particulièrement au curieux processus inconscient qui semble s'exprimer lorsque qu'une personne "capte" les images mentales d'une autre. It focuses on the dubious unconscious process that seems to be expressed when someone "captures" the mental images of another. A la fin des années 30, son livre La Télépathie , complété et traduit, est diffusé aux Etats-Unis grâce aux premiers chercheurs Américains de ce qui est en train de devenir "la parapsychologie". In the late 30s, his book Telepathy , completed and translated, is released in the U.S. thanks to the first American researchers to what is becoming "parapsychology."

L'Après-Guerre The Post-War

La Deuxième Guerre Mondiale modifie profondément le paysage métapsychique français. World War II profoundly changed the landscape psychic French. Pendant la guerre, l'IMI cesse toute activité et lorsque la paix revient en 1945, la recherche s'est développée essentiellement aux Etats-Unis où elle a pris une avance considérable. During the war, IMI cease any activity and when peace returned in 1945, research has developed primarily in the United States where she has taken a considerable lead. Le psychologue JB Rhine (biologiste de formation) fonde un laboratoire de parapsychologie à l'université de Duke dans les années 30 et crée la première revue parapsychologique universitaire, le Journal of Parapsychology . The psychologist JB Rhine (biologist by training) founded a laboratory parapsychology at Duke University in the 30s and created the first academic journal parapsychology, the Journal of Parapsychology. Au début des années 50, la Parapsychological Association est créée, rassemblant les universitaires et scientifiques Américains travaillant sur le sujet (la PA sera ensuite intégrée à l'AAAS, l'association américaine pour le progrès scientifique, éditrice de la célèbre revue Science ). In the early 50s, the Parapsychological Association was formed, bringing together academics and scientists working Americans on the subject (the PA will then be incorporated into the AAAS, the American Association for Scientific Progress, publisher of the renowned journal Science).

Pendant ce temps-là, en France, la métapsychique se marginalise de plus en plus, et les activités de l'IMI s'en ressentent. During that time, France, the psychic is increasingly marginalized, and the activities of IMI are felt. Mais les travaux continuent à l'IMI et se focalisent sur les phénomènes de la télépathie et de la voyance, sous l'impulsion de René Warcollier, pendant que le chimiste et physicien Robert Tocquet s'intéresse plus particulièrement aux liens entre parapsychologie et illusionnisme, égratignant au passage quelques unes des légendes de l'ancienne métapsychique mais défendant aussi certains cas célèbres, notamment la production des moulages ectoplasmiques. But work continues to IMI and focus on the phenomena of telepathy and clairvoyance, led by René Warcollier, while the chemist and physicist Robert Tocquet particularly interested in links between parapsychology and illusionism, scratching in passing some of the legends of ancient psychic but also promotes some famous cases, including the production of castings ectoplasmic. Tocquet s'intéresse aussi aux exploits mentaux des calculateurs prodiges. Tocquet also interested in the exploits of mental calculators wonders.

Dans les années 50, Robert Amadou s'investit dans les activités de l'Institut et publie plusieurs ouvrages référencés et sans concession, dont sa grande étude La Parapsychologie , chez Denoël en 1954 et le petit manuel La Télépathie en 1958 chez Grasset. In the '50s, Robert Amadou involved in the activities of the Institute and published several books referenced and uncompromising, with his great study The Parapsychology , Denoël in 1954 and the small manual The Telepathy in 1958 by Grasset.

L'ère moderne The Modern Era

Dans les années 60, l'IMI se fait discret. In the '60s, the IMI is discreet. C'est l'époque de la revue Planète et du livre Le Matin des Magiciens de Louis Pauwels et Jacques Bergier. It's that time of the journal Earth and the book The Morning of the Magicians by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier. Mais il est symptômatique de constater que dans toutes cette littérature, si avide de mystères et de paranormal cuisiné à toutes les sauces, on ne trouve guère de référence à l'IMI ni à son histoire (les éditions Planète republieront tout de même un livre de Robert Tocquet, compilant et commentant les recherches passées, ainsi que le premier ouvrage du Pr. Rémy Chauvin, publié alors sous le pseudonyme de Pierre Duval et décrivant la recherche parapsychologique aux Etats-Unis). But it is symptomatic that in all this literature, so eager for mysteries and paranormal cooked all the sauces, we find little reference to IMI or its history (reissue editions Planet still a book Robert Tocquet, compiling and commenting on past research, and the first book of Prof. Rémy Chauvin, then published under the pseudonym Pierre Duval and describing parapsychological research in the U.S.).

Dans les annés 70 et 80, l'Institut, qui subit de graves revers financiers, s'oriente vers une approche plus historique et anthropologique de la métapsychique . In the 70 and 80, the Institute, who suffered serious financial setbacks, is moving towards a more historical and anthropological psychic . Il publie notamment dans sa Revue Métapsychique des articles du folkloriste Michel Meurger, ou de Jean Guitton, membre de l'Académie Française. It publishes in its journal Psychic articles of folklorist Meurger Michel, and Jean Guitton, a member of the French Academy. Cependant la recherche expérimentale, même si elle devient plus modeste que naguère, subsite encore, avec en particulier les expériences du Dr. Jean Barry ( psychokinèse sur les plantes) et surtout les travaux d'Yvonne Duplessis sur la "perception dermo-optique des couleurs" ( La Vision Parapsychologique des Couleurs , Epi, 1974). However, experimental research, although it becomes smaller than before, yet subsite, particularly with the experiences of Dr. John Barry ( psychokinesis on plants) and especially the work of Yvonne Duplessis on "dermo-optical perception of color "(The Vision of Color parapsychological, Epi, 1974).

Dans les annés 80, l'IMI survit grâce aux efforts de son directeur, le Dr. Hubert Larcher, qui y organise régulièrement des conférences et reçoit en consultation des personnes en souffrance. In the 80s, IMI survives thanks to the efforts of its director, Dr. Hubert Larcher, who regularly organizes conferences and receives consultation with those in suffering. Mais les problèmes financiers de plus en plus pressants forcent l'IMI à stopper la publication de sa revue. But financial problems forced the increasingly urgent IMI to stop the publication of its journal. En 1991, après plusieurs années de silence, un "numéro spécial" est publié, entièrement consacré au neurone considéré comme "l'arme absolue", l'endroit ultime pour découvrir les mécanismes obscurs de la perception extasensorielle. In 1991, after several years of silence, a "special edition" was published, devoted entirely to the neuron considered the "ultimate weapon", the ultimate location for exploring the mechanisms of perception extasensorielle obscure. Ce sera le dernier numéro de la Revue. This will be the last issue of the Journal.

Aujourd'hui Today

Au milieu des années 90, grâce à l'énergie et à la passion des journalistes Nicolas Maillard et Didier Dufresnoy, l'IMI retrouve un nouveau souffle. In the mid-90s, thanks to the energy and passion of journalists Nicolas Didier Maillard and Dufresnoy IMI found a second wind. Les locaux vétustes de la place Wagram, où l'Institut s'était établi dans les années 50, sont rénovés de fond en comble. The premises of the old place Wagram, where the Institute was established in the '50s, are being renovated from top to bottom. Les archives et la bibliothèque sont réorganisés et Nicolas Maillard persuade une nouvelle équipe de reprendre en mains le vénérable Institut. The archives and library are reorganized and Nicolas Maillard persuades a new team regaining the venerable Institute. Mario Varvoglis, docteur en psychologie expérimentale ayant travaillé au Maimonides Hospital de New York dans les années 80, devient le nouveau président. Mario Varvoglis doctor who worked in experimental psychology at Maimonides Hospital in New York in the '80s, became the new president. Malheureusement, après tout ce travail, Nicolas Maillard disparait des suites d'une longue maladie en juillet 2000. Unfortunately, after all this work, Nicolas Maillard disappears following a long illness in July 2000.

En juin 2002, l'IMI emménage dans des locaux plus grands, dans le 10ème arrondissement. In June 2002, IMI moved into larger premises in the 10th arrondissement. La rénovation de la Bibliothèque arrive enfin à terme, une salle est consacrée à l'informatique et à l'électronique, une autre aux expériences. The renovation of the library is finally coming to term, a room is devoted to computing and electronics, another experiences. On y installe bientôt l'outillage nécessaire à l'organisation de sessions de Ganzfeld (un état de privation sensoriel facilitant l'émergence de la perception extrasensorielle). It soon installs the tools necessary to organize sessions Ganzfeld (a state of sensory deprivation facilitating the emergence of extrasensory perception).

Aujourd'hui, l'IMI se compose d'une équipe pluri-disciplinaire d'une dizaine de personnes, comprenant des électroniciens, des médecins, des psychiatres et des historiens de la métapsychique . Today, IMI consists of a multidisciplinary team of a dozen people, including electronics, medical doctors, psychiatrists and historians of the psychic . Depuis 1999, l'Institut fait partie du réseau Global Consciousness Project . Since 1999, the Institute is part of the Global Consciousness Project . En 2002, l'équipe s'attelle à la préparation d'expériences de Ganzfeld , grâce au matériel informatique prêté par l'université de Liverpool-Hope en Angleterre. In 2002, the team is working to prepare experiments Ganzfeld , thanks to computer equipment on loan from Liverpool Hope University in England. En 2003, quelques "voyants" sont approchés par l'IMI et des expériences "pour voir" sont organisées à plusieurs reprises. In 2003, some "lights" are approached by IMI and experience "to see" are held several times.

En 2002, l'équipe de l'IMI accueille et organise à Paris le 49ème congrès annuel de la Parapsychological Association , un événement d'envergure internationale au cours duquel les parapsychologues de laboratoires et d'universités du monde entier présentent leurs travaux récents et les soumettent aux critiques de leurs pairs. In 2002, the IMI team hosted and organized in Paris the 49th annual convention of the Parapsychological Association, an international event during which parapsychologists laboratories and universities around the world present their recent work and subject to criticism from their peers. C'est la première fois depuis des années qu'une équipe française y présente des études, qui portent essentiellement sur des aspects historiques de la recherche (les travaux de Warcollier, les expériences d'Eugène Osty avec le jeune médium Rudi Schneider, le cas du voyant Alexis Didier ) [ 1 ] This is the first time in years that a French team presents the studies, which focus on aspects of historical research (Warcollier work, experiences with the young Eugene Osty medium Rudi Schneider, where LED Alexis Didier ) [ 1 ]

En mars 2003, le Pr. Roger Nelson de l'université américaine de Princeton présente le Global Consciousness Project lors de la toute première conférence publique de l'IMI depuis de longues années. In March 2003, Professor Roger Nelson of the American University of Princeton presents the Global Consciousness Project at the first public lecture of IMI for many years. En octobre 2003, c'est Bertrand Méheust qui vient présenter ses recherches sur un voyant célèbre au XIXème siècle, le jeune Alexis Didier . In October 2003, Bertrand Méheust who is presenting his research on a famous nineteenth century saw the young Alexis Didier .

A l'automne 2003, l'IMI accueille le congrès Euro PA , qui réunit les chercheurs européens, depuis l'Angleterre à l'Allemagne, en passant par les Pays-Bas et l'Italie. In autumn 2003, IMI welcomes the congress Euro PA , which brings together European researchers from England to Germany via the Netherlands and Italy. Invité d'honneur, le biologiste anglais Rupert Sheldrake y fait sensation avec ses travaux sur la télépathie animale. Guest of Honour, the British biologist Rupert Sheldrake to a sensation with his work on telepathy animal.

Depuis, décembre 2003, l'IMI propose une formation aux étudiants au sein du Groupe Etudiants de l'Institut Metapsychique International (GEIMI ), dirigé par Paul-Louis Rabeyron . Since December 2003, IMI offers training to students in the Student Group of the International Institute for Psychic (GEIMER ), directed by Paul-Louis Rabeyron . Chaque année, des étudiants effectuent ainsi des travaux universitaires en lien avec la parapsychologie . Each year, students perform well in academic work in connection with parapsychology . Plus de cinquante étudiants ont déjà rejoint le GEIMI. Over fifty students have already joined Geimer. Un certain nombre d'entre eux ont effectué leurs recherches en lien avec la parapsychologie en milieu universitaire. A number of them have conducted their research in connection with parapsychology in academia.

Depuis 2004, L'IMI a également mis en place des cycles de conférences annuels avec notamment comme intervenants Rupert Sheldrake [ 2 ] et plus récemment Stephen Schwartz. Since 2004, IMI has also established the annual lecture series with speakers such as Rupert Sheldrake and more recently Stephen Schwartz. Aujourd'hui, près d'une conférence se déroule chaque mois à la fondation . Today, nearly a conference is held each month at the foundation .

Fin octobre 2007, l'IMI a organisé l'EuroPA , impliquant les meilleurs universitaires travaillant dans le domaine de la parapsychologie scientifique. In late October 2007, IMI has held Europe , involving leading scholars working in the field of parapsychology science. Plusieurs membres du comité directeur et du GEIMI ont présenté l'état actuel de leurs recherches à cette occasion. Several steering committee members and GEIMER presented the current state of their research on that occasion.


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