Extract from Fodor's Encyclopedia of Psychic Science 1932.
MATERIALIZATION, appearance of temporary, more or less organized substances in various degrees of solidification and possessing human physical characteristics: limbs, faces, eyes, heads, full figures, shaped for a temporary existence out of ectoplasm by an unknown agency.
According to Geley's Clairvoyance and Materialization this "is no longer the marvelous and quasi-miraculous affair described and commented on in early spiritualistic works."
"I shall not waste time” says Prof. Richet in Thirty Years of Psychical Research “in stating the absurdities, almost the impossibilities, from a psycho-physiological point of view, of this phenomenon. A living being, or living matter, formed under our eyes, which has its proper warmth, apparently a circulation of blood, and a physiological respiration which has also a kind of psychic personality having a will distinct from the will of the medium, in a word, a new human being! This is surely the climax of marvels. Nevertheless, it is a fact."
He suggests that "materialization is a mechanical projection; we already know the projection of light, of heat and of electricity; it is not a very long step to think that a projection of mechanical energy may be possible. The remarkable demonstrations of Einstein show how close mechanical or luminous energy are to one another."
"I have also, like Geley, Schrenck Notzing, and Mme. Bisson, been able to see the first lineaments of materializations as they were formed. A kind of liquid or pasty jelly emerges from the mouth or the breast of Marthe which organizes itself by degrees, acquiring the shape of a face or a limb. Under very good conditions of visibility, I have seen this paste spread on my knees, and slowly take form so as to show the rudiment of the radius, the cuvitus, or metacarpal bone whose increasing pressure I could feel on my knee."
The Marthe of Prof. Richet's account is identical with Eva C. Geley relates his experiences with her:
"I have very often seen complete representations of a face, a hand, or a finger. In the most perfect instances the materialized organ has all the appearance and the biological properties of a living organ. I have seen admirably modeled fingers with nails; I have seen complete hands with their bones and joints; I have seen a living head and felt the skull under thick hair; I have seen well-formed and living faces-human faces. In many instances these representations have grown under my own eyes from the beginning to the end of the phenomena. The forms show some degree of self-movement, and this is physiological as well as anatomical. The materialized organs are not inert, but biologically alive. A well-materialized hand has the functional capacities of a normal hand; I have at different times been touched or grasped by its fingers. Well-constituted organs, with all the appearances of life, are often replaced by incomplete formations. Relief is often wanting, and the forms are flat. I have sometimes seen a hand or a face appear flat and then take to three dimensions, either completely or partially, as I looked. When the forms are incomplete they are often smaller than natural size-miniatures."
On June 13, 1913, the ectoplasm emerged from the medium's mouth with a materialized finger at the end. M. Bourbon took hold of the finger as it came from Eva's mouth and verified the bone in it. The tulle which covered the medium's head showed no hole.
From Thought-forms to Full Grown Phantoms.
Many of the photographs taken of Eva C's materializations suggest the evolution of thought-forms. Prof. Daumer contends that ectoplasmic forms are neither bodies, nor souls. He offers the name: eidolon (shape). A number of Eva C's phantom forms were such shapes and resembled pictures she had seen, caricatures of Wilson and Poincare and they often had folds as if a paper had been uncreased to be photographed.
Prof. Richet remarks that the supposition of fraud would presume extreme stupidity on Eva's part as she knew that photographs would be taken, moreover that there is no ground to suppose that a materialization must be analogous to a human body and must be three dimensional. "The materialization of a plaster bust is not easier to understand than that of a lithographic drawing; and the formation of an image is not less extraordinary than that of a living human head."
Professor Daumer's speculation is strangely contrasted by Dr. Glen Hamilton's report (Psychic Science, January, 1933) on the building and photographing of a three-dimensional ectoplasmic ship in the Winnipeg circle. "John King" and "Walter" were responsible for the experiment. Coming through the mediums Mary M. and X. they carried on a dialogue feigning that they were aboard John King's pirate ship and amongst a crew of piratical ruffians. It was hinted that this play-acting had a psychological purpose: the recovery of past memories and the creation of the thought image of a sailing ship. Eventually the ship was built, but owing to some indecision in giving the signal to take a flash photograph, it" came into port badly damaged."
Dr. Glen Hamilton remarks: "No matter how great we may conceive the unknown powers of the human organism to be, we cannot conceive of it giving rise to an objective mass showing purposive mechanistic construction such as that disclosed in the ship teleplasm of June 4th (1930). We are forced to conclude that the supernormal personalities in this case (by some means as yet unknown to us) so manipulated or otherwise influenced the primary materializing substance after it had left the body of the medium, or was otherwise brought into its objective state, as to cause it to represent the idea which they, the unseen directors, had in view, namely the idea of a sailing ship."
Generally the appearance of images instead of forms may have something to do with the quantity of available power. It is suggestive that Geley often observed strange, incomplete forms, imitations or simulacra of organs. "There are simulacra of fingers, having only their general shape, without warmth, without suppleness, and without joints. There are simulacra of faces like masks, or as if cut out of paper, tufts of hair sticking to them, and undefinable forms."
In explanation Geley expressly says: "They are often the products of weak power using still weaker means of execution; it does what it can, and rarely succeeds, because its activity, diverted from its usual course, no longer has the certainty of action which normal biologic impulse gives to a physiological act." He compares them to the strange formations called dermoid cysts, in which are found hair, teeth, divers organs, viscera and even more or less complete foetal forms. The supernormal physiology, like normal physiology, has its finished products and its abortions, monstrosities and dermoid cysts.
The essential thing is that "the formations materialized in mediumistic seances arise from the same biological process as normal birth. They are neither more nor less miraculous or supernormal; they are equally so. The same ideoplastic miracle makes the hands, the face, the viscera, the tissues, and the entire organism of the fetus at the expense of the material body, or the hands, the face, or the entire organs of a materialization.
This singular analogy between normal and so-called supernormal physiology extends even to details; the ectoplasm is linked to the medium by a channel of nourishment, a true umbilical cord, comparable to that which joins the embryo to the maternal body. In certain cases the materialized forms appear in an ovoid of substance. ... I have also seen, on several occasions, a hand presented wrapped in a membrane closely resembling the placental membrane. The impression produced, both as to sight and touch, was precisely that of a hand presentation in childbirth, when the amnion is unbroken. Another analogy with childbirth is that of pain. The moans and movements of the entranced medium remind one strangely of a woman in travail."
To the legitimate objection why is one biological process regular and the other exceptional, Geley returned the answer that "normal physiology is the product of organic activity such as evolution has made it. The creative and directive idea normally works in a given sense, that of the evolution of the species, and conforms to the manner of that evolution. Supernormal physiology, on the other hand, is the product of ideoplastic activity directed in a divergent manner by an abnormal effort of the directive idea."
Geley certainly shows a greater understanding of all the complexities of the phenomena than Baron Schrenck Notzing when the latter categorically concludes that "a continuation of the materialization of organic parts beyond the field of vision of the observers is non-existent." It has been suggested that the Baron's interest in anatomy was instrumental in the immature formations, just as Dr. Crawford's experiments in engineering training may have contributed to the evolution of cantilever functions. Similarly, the appearances resembling internal organs in Margery's mediumship may have had something to do with Dr. Crandon's work as a surgeon.
In a higher degree of development we find that the ectoplasmic shapes tend to conform to the bodily pattern of the medium. "I have seen, with my natural vision"-stated the Rev. J. B. Ferguson- "the arms, bust and, on two occasions, the entire person of Ira E. Davenport duplicated at a distance of from two to five feet from where he was seated fast bound to his seat.
I have seen, also, a full-formed figure of a person, which was not that of any of the company present. In certain conditions, not yet clearly understood, the hands, arms and clothing of the Brothers Davenport and Mr. Fay are duplicated alike to the sight and the touch. In other cases, hands which are visible and tangible, and which have all the characteristics of living human hands, as well as arms, and entire bodies, are presented, which are not theirs or those of anyone present."
Crookes was satisfied that Katie King was independent from Florence Cook. Yet, on certain occasions he noted a striking resemblance between phantom and medium. There is a highly curious account in the history of Mme. d'Esperance which seems to suggest that a total exchange is within the bounds of possibility. Under the auspices of Alexander Aksakof and Matthews Fidler, savants from different parts of Europe were holding a series of sittings with Mme. d'Esperance in Sweden. A crucial test was asked and the medium bravely stated to "Walter," the spirit control, that she would take the responsibility.
So writes Mme. d'Esperance:
"A very uncomfortable feeling pervaded the circle but it afterwards gave place to one of curiosity. My senses became keenly alert, the cobwebby sensation, before described, grew horribly intense, and a peculiar feeling of emptiness, which I had previously had, became so strong that my heart seemed as though swinging loosely in an empty space, and resounding like a bell with each stroke. The air seemed to be full of singing, buzzing sounds that pressed on my ears, but through it I could hear the breathing of the sitters outside the curtains. The movements made in the air seemed to sway me backwards and forwards. A fly alighting on my hand caused a pain like that of a toothache to shoot up my arm. I felt faint, almost dying. At last the arranged-for signal was given, that all was ready. The curtains were thrown open, and a materialized form stood fully revealed beside me. The lens of the camera was uncovered, the plate exposed, the magnesium light flashed. Then the curtains fell together. I remember the feeling of relief and thinking: Now I can give way. It is possible that I did faint. I do not know. But I was aroused by the sound of a voice saying in my ear: She is not here, she is gone. It was one of the family who spoke and the terror in the boy's voice roused me effectually. I wanted to reassure him, and asked for water, and wondered at the same time whose voice was it that made the request. It was like my own but seemed to come from the air or from another person. The water was brought and drunk, but though I felt refreshed the act seemed to be performed by, that other person who had spoken. Then I was left alone ... Now comes the strangest part of this strange experiment. The photographic plate was carefully developed and a print made, which revealed a most astonishing fact. The materialized form, well in focus, was clad in white, flowing garments. The hair was hanging loosely over the shoulders, which, like the arms, were without covering. The figure might have been that of a stranger, but the features were unmistakably mine. Never has a photograph shown a better likeness. On a chair beside it and a little behind, was a figure clad in my dress, the black bands on the wrist, and the tape round the waist showing themselves clearly and intact ' but the face was that of a stranger, who seemed to be regarding the proceedings with great complacency and satisfaction. Needless to say, we looked at this extraordinary photograph with something like petrifaction. We were utterly at a loss to understand its meaning, and no explanation was forthcoming, except a rueful remark from "Walter," who when questioned replied that "Things did get considerably mixed up."
In Light, December 19, 1903, L. Gilbertson remarks: "My own theory of the strange head is that the manifesting spirit was driven out of the materialized form by Madame's sub-self, which had gained an abnormal excess of power through the weak condition of her normal organism. Finding itself ousted, the visitor took refuge with Madame's other part, and proceeded to operate on it in the way generally known as "transfiguration." Succeeding in this operation, it is not difficult to believe, as Madame says, that it "seemed to be regarding the proceedings with great complacency and satisfaction."
If the health of the medium is weak or the power, for any other reason, low, materialization usually does not progress beyond the stage of resemblance to the medium. It is a staggering phenomenon in itself and it vindicates Prof. Morselli's psycho-dynamic theory (Psycologia e Spiritismo, 1907) according to which the ectoplasmic substance is the result of a kind of human radio-activity and the directive idea seems to have its origin in the medium's subconscious mind.
But Morselli also adds that the medium's subconscious mind may establish telepathic communication with the sitter's subconscious mind and may shape the ectoplasmic forms into conformance to their thoughts and desires. Or it may be conceived that the medium transmits her psychodynamic forces to the spectator and he, by a sort of catalytic action, objectifies his own emotional complexes. The second part of the hypothesis is a farfetched assumption. The first is borne out by many observations. St. Augustin believed that the angels make themselves visible by the agency of elements taken from the air. We know better. The human body plays the paramount part. The influence of the human mind, however, is noticeable up to a certain stage only. The phantom shapes do not keep for long the physiognomy, gestures and voice of the medium and disclose, after the transitory period, an apparent independence. Their body has temperature, blood circulation, exhales carbonic acid and behaves in every way as an unrelated entity.
"I took a flask of baryta water," writes Prof. Richet of his experiments with Bien Boa in the Villa Carmen, "to see if his breath would show carbon dioxide. The experiments succeeded. I did not lose sight of the flask from the moment when I put it into the hands of Bien Boa, who seemed to float in the air on the left of the curtain at a height greater than Marthe could have been if standing up. While he blew into the tube the bubbling could be heard."
According to Epes Sargent a spirit has been known to cut its finger with a knife, then borrow a handkerchief to wind around the wound, and at the end of the sitting, to return the handkerchief marked with blood.
The materialized form may be physically more perfect than the medium. Crookes found that the lungs of Katie King were sounder at a time when Miss Cook was undergoing medical treatment for bronchitis. Katie also proved her distinct individuality by changing the color of her face to chocolate and jet black. She did it repeatedly because she was told that she resembled the medium too much.
The will of the phantom apparently has metamorphic powers over the temporary body. Epes Sargent writes in Proof Palpable of Immortality that a feminine spirit, who manifested herself at Moravia in Mrs. Andrews' seances, was, on one occasion, known to produce in rapid succession, facsimiles of her personal appearance at six different periods of her earth-life, ranging from childhood to old age.
"I think," says Oxley of a materialized spirit, Lily, that she, did not appear twice in exactly the same form; but I always recognized her and never confused her with other apparitions."
The phantoms of Mrs. Etta Roberts often transformed themselves into the forms of other persons in view of the sitters.
According to E. A. Brackett's experience the sitter's will has an influence over the phantom shapes as well. In his seances with Mrs ~ H. B. Fay he found that by the exercise of his will he could cause the materialized forms to recede. If this is so it should be expected that the will-power of the medium wields a dominant influence. There is some reason to suppose that ectoplasm has a tendency to return to the medium's body and that the invisible operators have to be constantly on guard against this propensity. As long as the medium is passive the tendency is not difficult to overcome, but as soon as his will is active or a sudden emotion sweeps over him the operators become powerless and the reversal of the creative process speedily sets in. For the exercise of the medium's will-power or a show of emotion, however, there is but little opportunity, as most of the materialization mediums pass into trance before the phenomena begin. D. D. Home, Mme. d'Esperance, Kate Fox, Mrs. Hollis, Mrs. Andrews, Mrs. Mellon, Eglinton, Mrs. Thompson, Miss Florence Cook and Kluski, in the first stage of their mediumship, have given most of their materialization seances in a conscious state. Their subjective experiences should be instructive.
Interdependence of Phantom and Medium
"I feel," said Mrs. Mellon, as though I were that form, and yet I know I am not and that I am still seated on my chair. It is a kind of double consciousness, a far-away feeling, hard to define. At one moment I am hot, and the next moment cold. I sometimes have a choking, fainting, sinking sensation when the form is out."
Describing an early materialization seance of Mrs. Thompson, Mr. F. W. Thurstan says: "All this while Mrs. T. was in full consciousness, but she kept exclaiming that she felt "all hollow" and another thing she noticed that whenever "Clare's" fingers touched anyone she distinctly felt a pricking sensation in her body, very similar to her experiences when she had been placed once on an insulating stool and charged with electricity and persons had touched her to make sparks come from her."
This community of sensations between the medium and the phantom has important bearings. The interaction between the two bodies is constant. The blending of the two organisms may be manifest in the lines of paraffin moulds. Miss Florence Cook once had a dark stain on a covered part of her body after an ink mark had been made on the face of Katie, while the medium was shut up in the cabinet. Mme. d'Esperance, who never touched tobacco, suffered from nicotine poisoning if her sitters smoked during the ectoplasmic process.
W. Reichel observed that the phantoms of Miller smelled of tobacco and even of food and wine if the medium had liberally partaken of them before the seance. When the materialized child of Florence Marryat filled her mouth with sugar-plums she nearly choked the medium. Mahedi, the Egyptian phantom of Monck, discovered a dish of baked apples in the room. "I got him to eat some" writes the Archdeacon. "Our medium was at this time six or seven feet away from the materialized form and had not chosen to take any of the fruit, averring that he could taste the apple the Egyptian was eating. Wondering how this could be, I, with my right hand, gave our abnormal friend another baked apple to eat, holding this very bit of paper in my left hand out-stretched towards the medium, when from his lips fell the chewed skin and core of the apple eaten by "The Mahedi" --and here it is before me now after all these years in this screwed up bit of paper for any scientist to analyse."
The Archdeacon repeated the same experiments many times "but never could I see the transit from the mouth of the psychic form at my right hand of what was masticated, or swallowed, of wine from a measured glass pouring in exact measure again from the mouth or dropping from the lips of the medium six or seven feet at my left into these carefully kept papers."
In a similar account about Monck in The Spiritualist, December 4th, 1877, the story is told of a materialized spirit who drank water. What he swallowed was instantly ejected from the medium's mouth. No such reaction was observed in the case of George Sprigg's materialized phantom "Zion," who drank water and ate biscuits in Melbourne.
The sensitivity of ectoplasm is well known. It must be handled with caution and protected from light. Geley observed that the shock of sudden light is proportional to the duration of the light and not to its intensity. The magnesium flash hurts the medium less than the rays of a pocket lamp. If the ectoplasm has solidified, the danger of injuring the medium is less. But it is a danger, nevertheless. The medium may suffer agonies if the phantom meets with a misadventure, but the injury may not necessarily react on the corresponding part of his body.
A phantom hand may be pierced through with a knife, the medium will shriek with pain, yet his hands may bear no trace of the wound. Dr. F. L. Willis had an experience of this kind in his mediumship. However, seance room atrocities seldom go beyond the stage of spirit grabbing. It is probably that the danger attending such attempts is somewhat exaggerated. In 1876 and 1877 it was for the first time suggested that the medium and the materialized form are in an unstable equilibrium and that whether the union is effected in the hands of the spirit grabber or inside the cabinet depended on the relative proportion of energy in the two forms at the time of the seizure.
When Florence Marryat was conducted into the cabinet by a materialized spirit of Miss Showers, she was told: "You see that Rosie is half her usual size and weight. I have borrowed the other half from her, which, combined with contributions from the sitters, goes to make up the body in which I show myself to you. If you increase the action of the vital half to such a degree, that the two halves did not reunite, you would kill her. You see that I can detach certain particles from her organism for my own use, and when I dematerialize, I restore these particles to her, and she becomes once more her normal size. You only hurry the re-union by violently detaining me, so as to injure her."
In an earlier account given to Mr. Luxmoore by Katie King, the danger is graphically but less scientifically pictured. On the question: when you disappear where is it to? she answered: "Into the medium, giving her back all the vitality which I took from her. When I have got very much from her, if anyone of you were to take her suddenly round the waist and try to carry her you might kill her on the spot; she might suffocate. I can go in and out of her readily, but understand, I am not her-not her double; they talk a deal of rubbish about doubles; I am myself all the time."
The experience of Archdeacon Colley with Mahedi appears to conform to the above theories. This phantom was a giant. His physical strength was so enormous that he could lift the Archdeacon from his chair to the level of his shoulders apparently without effort. He reminded the Archdeacon of a mummy of gigantic proportions he once saw in some museum. On his first visit through F. W. Monck, the Mahedi wore a kind of "metal skull cap, with an emblem in front which trembled and quivered and glistened, overhanging the brow. I was allowed to feel it, but there was little resistance to my fingers, and it seemed to melt away like a snowflake under my touch, and to grow apparently solid again the moment after. For once (February 18, 1878) by daylight, it was arranged, as a most dangerous experiment, that I should grasp the white-attired Egyptian and try to keep him from getting back to invisibility through the body of the medium. I was, by an invisible force, levitated, as it seemed instantly some eighteen or twenty feet from my drawing room door right up to where the medium stood, whom, strangely and suddenly, wearing white muslin over his black coat, I found in my arms just as I had held The Mahedi. The materialized form had gone, and the psychic clothing that he evolved with him from the left side of my friend must also have gone the same way with the speed of thought back to invisibility through the medium. But whence its substituted drapers' stuff now on the body of our friend not wearing it an instant before? "
It is difficult to find a corroboration of this experience in the literature of spiritualism. It has happened far more often that the spirit dissolved in the grabber's hand. Mr. Volckman had this experience with Katie King. Mostly, however, when the light was switched on, the spirit was found to be identical with the medium. Cases of transfiguration in a state of deep trance may offer an excuse, but generally it is a safe assumption that a successful grabbing of the medium in the spirit's guise, establishes a prima facie case for fraud. The question which usually complicates the case is of the drapery which is visible in the dark and may serve for purposes of transfiguration. This drapery has often disappeared when the light was switched on. But often it was found and turned out to be very material and enduring.
In case of full materialization the weight of the medium's body proportionately decreases (See Ectoplasm). In exceptional cases strange means appear to have been adopted to keep the phantom in sufficient solidity.
Col. Olcott, in his experiments with Miss Compton, shut the medium up in a small cabinet, passed threads through the bored holes of her ears and fastened them to the back of her chair. When a phantom appeared from the cabinet, Olcott asked it to stand on a weighing platform. Twice it was weighed, the records being 77 and 59 lbs. Olcott then left the phantom outside and went into the cabinet. The medium was gone. Stepping out he again weighed the apparition. The weight this time was 52 Ibs. The spirit then reentered the cabinet from which other spirits emerged. Finally, Olcott went inside with a lamp and found the medium just as he had left her at the beginning of the seance with every thread unbroken and every seal undisturbed. After the return of consciousness she was weighed. Her weight was 121 Ibs.
Some Early Explanations and Early History
According to the explanation of the controls the phenomena of materialization are not produced by a single spirit. John King, in a seance with Cecil Husk, pictured to Florence Marryat the concerted work as follows: "When the controls have collected the matter with which I work---some from everybody in the circle, mostly from the medium's brain - I mould with it a plastic mask, somewhat like warm wax in feel, but transparent as gelatine, into the rough likeness of a face. I place this plastic substance over the spirit features and mould it to them. If the spirit will have the patience to stand still I can generally make an excellent likeness of what they were in earth life, but most of them are in such haste to manifest that they render my task very difficult. That is why very often a spirit appears to his friends and 'they cannot recognize any likeness."
The solidity of the materialized form greatly varies. Some mediums only produce vaporous and unsubstantial phantoms. They are called etherealizations. Apparently, the exertion of force is not dependent on solidity. An instructive instance is told in Judge Edmond's Spirit Manifestations: "I felt on one of my arms what seemed to be the grip of an iron hand. I felt distinctly the thumb and fingers, the palm of the hand, and the ball of the thumb, and it held me fast by a power which I struggled to escape from in vain. With my other hand I felt all round where the pressure was, and satisfied myself that it was no earthly hand that was thus holding me fast, nor indeed could it be, for I was as powerless in that grip as a fly would be in the grasp of my hand."
The word materialization was first used in 1873 in America in place of spirit-forms. Hands and arms were seen in the Davenport seances in the earliest days of modern spiritualism. According to Epes Sargent's The Scientific Basis of Spiritualism "as far back as 1850, a full spirit form would not infrequently appear." D. D. Home produced many good manifestations. Professor Mapes was the first scientist who discoursed on the means by which the semblance of such temporary organisms could be produced in accordance with the kinetic theory of gases, with a minimum employment .of actual material particles, provided a sufficiently intense energy of motion were imparted to them.
Complete forms were often seen with Mrs. Andrews of Moravia about 1860. Shortly after Katie Fox gave proof of the same power in the Livermore seances. Dr. John F. Gray of New York testified: "Mr. Livermore's recitals of the seances in which I participated are faithfully and most accurately stated, leaving not a shade of doubt in my mind as to the truth and accuracy of his accounts of those at which I was not a witness. I saw with him the philosopher Franklin, in a living, tangible, physical form, several times; and, on as many different occasions, I also witnessed the production of lights, odor s, and sounds; and also the formation of flowers, cloth-textures, etc., and their disintegration and dispersion."
In America Mrs. Hardy, Mrs. Maud Lord, Mrs. Jennie Lord Webb, Bastian and Taylor, in England Mrs. Guppy, Herne and Williams, Miss Cook and Miss Showers were the next materializing mediums. The two extremes were well represented by D. D. Home and Miss Cook. Home's phantoms were mostly transparent. Katie King was flesh and blood.
Eyes and Hands, but Whose?
The evolution from ectoplasmic vapor to full phantoms with all the attributes of life is a fascinating subject.
"From the curtain of the cabinet now and then slowly advancing towards one or another of those controlling, came Things, black and unformed, which seemed nearly always to withdraw without having touched." (Barzini, Mondo dei Misteri).
A record published in the Report of the Dialectical Society narrates the metamorphosis of a psychic light into an eye: "Mr. Lindsay said there was a large bright eye in the center of the table, from whence other eyes appeared to emanate and approach and retreat." Eyes, winking humorously were frequently seen in Margery's seances in Boston.
F. W. Pawlowski, Professor of Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Michigan, writes on his experiences with Franek Kluski in the Journal, A.S.P.R.:
"Bright bluish stars appear and begin to move high above the table, near the ceiling. When they approached me at a distance of about sixteen inches I recognized to my great astonishment that they were human eyes looking at me. Within a few seconds such a pair of eyes develops into a complete human head, and with a hand moving a luminous palm illuminating it clearly. The hand will move around the head as if to show itself more clearly to the onlooker, the eyes looking at one intensely and the face smiling most pleasantly. I have seen a number of such heads, sometimes two at a time, moving through the air like drifting toy balloons from one sitter to another. On several occasions the apparitions appeared just behind my back, and I was aware of them from the sound of their breathing, which I could hear distinctly before they were noticed by the sitters opposite to me. When I turned around I found their faces just about a foot from me, either smiling or looking intently at me. Some of these were breathing violently as if after a strenuous run, and in these cases I felt their breath on my face. Once I listened to the heartbeat of an apparition. They conducted themselves as callers at a party. The expression of curiosity in their eyes is most appealing. I have seen a similar look only in the eyes of children at the age of the awakening of their intelligence. On one occasion I saw two of them flying high above our heads in the high room, illuminating each other with the plaques and performing fancy evolutions. It was really a beautiful sight, something like an aerial ballet."
Crookes testified that the phantom hand "is not always a mere form, but sometimes appears perfectly life-like and graceful, the fingers moving and the flesh apparently as human as that of any in the room. At the wrist, or arm, it becomes hazy and fades off into a luminous cloud." To the touch the hand sometimes appears icy cold and dead, at other times warm and lifelike. He has seen a luminous cloud hover over a heliotrope, break a sprig off and carry it to a lady, he has seen a finger and thumb to pick the petals from a flower in Home's button-hole and lay them in front of several persons sitting near him. Phantom hands playing the keys of an accordion floating in the air were of frequent occurrence.
William Howitt, S. Carter Hall and Mrs. Britten once saw in the full light of the day in the drawing room of Mr. Hall, with Home's feet and hands in full view the whole time, twenty pairs of hands form and remain visible for about an hour. They were active and unattached, but otherwise could not be distinguished from ordinary human hands.
"One evening," writes Dr. Ashburner of his experiences with Foster, "I witnessed the presence of nine hands floating over the dining table."
Signor G. Damiani testified before the Dialectical Committee of having seen, at a seance of the Davenport Brothers in London in 1868 "five pink transparent hands ranged perpendicularly behind the door. Subsequently I placed my hand in the small window of the cabinet, when I felt each of my five digits tightly grasped by a distinct hand; while my own was thus held down, five or six other hands protruded from the hole above my wrist. On withdrawing my hand from the aperture, an arm came out therefrom-an arm of such enormous proportions that had it been composed of flesh and bone, it would, I verily believe, have turned the scale (being weighed) against the whole corporeal substance of the smaller Davenport."
A silver-colored, self-luminous hand, which began at the elbow and was seen in the process of formation is described in the report of a seance with D. D. Home in the Hartford Times, March, 18, 1853. The question was spelled out whether the sitters would like to see the hand of a colored person. "In a moment there appeared a rather dull looking, grey hand, somewhat shadowy, and not quite so clearly defined as the first, but it was unmistakably there, and its grey hue could be clearly seen."
Eusapia Paladino did not produce compact, full size materializations. She was famous for her "third arm" which issued from her shoulders and receded into it. This arm was often seen independently and well materialized. The "counterpartal arms" of Stainton Moses, extending generally from the shoulder, straight out, and above the true arms, presented a similar phenomenon. They simply retracted into the medium, or vanished if an attempt was made to grasp them.
Describing John King's materialized hand Professor Richet says: "I held it firmly and counted twentynine seconds, during all which time I had leisure to observe both of Eusapia's hands on the table, to ask Mme. Curie if she was sure of her control, to call Courtier's attention, and also to feel, press and identify a real hand through the curtain. After twenty-nine seconds I said: "I want something more, I want uno anello (a ring) on this hand." At once the hand made me feel a ring: I said "adesso uno braceletto" and on the wrist I felt the two ends as of a woman's bracelet that closes by a hinge. I then asked that this hand should melt in mine, but the hand disengaged itself by a strong effort, and I felt nothing further."
Sitting with Eusapia Paladino, Professor Bottazzi four times saw an enormous black fist come out from behind the left curtain, which remained motionless, and advance toward the head of Mme. W.
Dr. Eugene Crowell writes in The Identity of Primitive Christianity with Modern Spiritualism: "At Moravia, at one time, I saw an arm projected from the aperture of the cabinet, which with the hand, was fully three and a half feet in length. It remained in view, in free motion, for a time sufficient for all to observe and remark upon it. Its enormous length and size startled all present." (p. 417.)
Despite such startling testimonies the inference that telekinetic effects are produced by materialized hands should not be drawn hastily, Dr. Ochorowicz noticed an alternative character about these manifestations. A well-materialized hand when clearly visible is mechanically inactive. Mechanical effects are generally produced by invisible hands. The same holds good for chemical, luminous and acoustic effects.
Phantoms of Fame and Name
The best records of full form materialisations have been furnished by "familiar" spirits: Katie King, who attended Florence Cook for three years; Yolande, who appeared in Mme. d'Esperance's seances for' a similar period;. Estella, who manifested in the Livermore sittings for five years and Bertha, a niece of E. A. Brackett who appeared to him through different mediums for two years.
The materialized spirits seldom come in numbers and their range of activity is limited. The marvelous stories of C. V. Miller's mediumship, which was powerful enough to make twelve materialized figures appear at once, rest mostly on the testimony of' W. Reichel.
Corroboration, by a repetition of the occurrence, is also wanting of the peripatetic ghosts of' George Spriggs who walked about the house and in the garden, and of the open-air materialisations of Eglinton, in which the spirits walked away to a distance of 66 feet from the medium. Yolande's case is unique in a queer respect: her body was so carnally feminine that she was assaulted by a man who took her for a real woman. This resulted in a profound injury, and almost mortal illness, to the medium.
Crookes was the first modern scientist who delved into the study of materialisations. Katie King offered him every opportunity for investigation. She even allowed Crookes to enter the cabinet where, armed with a phosphorus lamp, he saw both the medium and Katie at the same time. In D. D. Home's mediumship Crookes did not see many fully materialized figures. "In the dusk of the evening," he writes, "during a seance with Mr. Home at my house, the curtains of a window about eight feet from Mr. Home were seen to move. A dark, shadowy, semi-transparent form, like that of a man, was seen by all present standing near the window, waving the curtain with his hand. As we looked, the form faded away and the curtains ceased to move."
A phantom form ' semi-transparent, through which the sitters could be seen all the time, holding an accordion in his hand and playing continuously, is described by Mrs. Crookes as seen in the presence of her husband, the Rev. Moses, and Serjeant Cox in a Home seance. "As the figure approached I felt an intense cold, and as it was giving me the accordion I could not help screaming. The figure seemed to sink into the floor, leaving only the head and shoulders visible, still playing the accordion, which was then about a foot off the floor."
Description of a more solid case is given by Lord Adare: "Her form gradually became apparent to us; she moved close to Home and kissed him. She stood beside him against the window intercepting the light as a solid body, and appeared fully as material as Home himself, no one could have told which was the mortal body and which was the spirit. It was too dark, however to distinguish features. I could see that she had her full face turned towards us, and that either her hair was parted in the middle, and flowed down over her shoulders or that she had on what appeared to be a veil."
The next systematic investigation attaches itself to Prof. Richet's name. "At the Villa Carmen I saw a fully organized form rise from the floor. At first it was, only a white, opaque spot like a handkerchief lying on the ground before the curtain, then this handkerchief quickly assumed the form of a human head level with the floor, and a few moments later it rose up in a straight line and became a small man enveloped in a kind of white burnous, who took two or three halting steps in front of the curtain and then sank to the floor and disappeared as if through a trap-door. But there was no trap-door."
Bien Boa, the phantom, possessed all the attributes of life. "It walks, speaks, moves and breathes like: a human being. Its body is resistant, and has a certain muscular strength. It is neither a lay figure nor a doll, nor an image reflected by a mirror; it is as a living being; it is as a living man; and there are reasons for resolutely setting aside every other supposition than one or other of these two hypotheses: either that of a phantom having the attributes of life; or that of a living person playing the part of a phantom."
In another note Prof. Richet says: "At certain moments it was obliged to lean and bend, because of the great height which it had assumed. Then suddenly, his head sank, sank right down to the ground, and disappeared. He did this three times in succession. In trying to compare this phenomenon to something, I can find nothing better than the figure in a jack-in-the-box, which comes out all of a sudden."
Hands that Melt Like Snow
The miracle of the birth of human organs or of complete bodies is twofold as it is followed by an equally mysterious dissolution of the temporary organization. This phenomenon has been observed under very dramatic circumstances. There can be no question of delusion when a spirit hand is tightly held and melts away in the sitter's grasp. Testimonies of this occurrence are numerous: Frank L. Burr, editor of the Hartford Times, in a letter to Mrs. Home, published in D. D. Home: His Life and Mission, adds the following particulars to his account of March 14, 1855, of one of Home's last seances before his departure to England: "Turning this 'Strange hand palm towards me, I pushed my right forefinger entirely through the palm, till it came out an inch or more, visibly, from the back of the hand. In other words, I pushed my finger clean through that mysterious hand. When I withdrew it, the place closed up, much as a piece of putty would close under the circumstances, leaving a visible mark or scar, where the wound was, but not a hole. While I was still looking at it the hand vanished, quick as a lightning flash."
Crookes writes, also of Home I have retained -one of these hands in my own, firmly resolved not to let it escape. There was no struggle or effort to get loose, but it gradually seemed to resolve itself into vapor, and faded in that manner from my grasp." He observed that the hands and fingers do not always appear to be solid and lifelike. Sometimes they present the appearance of a nebulous cloud partly condensed into the form of a hand. This is not equally visible to all present. Only when fully formed does it become visible to all present."
H. D. Jencken read in his paper before the Dialectical Society: "I have once been enabled to submit a spirit hand to pressure. The temperature was, as far as I could judge, the same as that of the room, and the spirit hand felt soft, velvety, dissolving slowly under the greatest amount of pressure to which I could submit it."
Katie's wrist was once seized in anger by Mr. G. H. Tapp of Dalston whom Katie struck on the chest for a joke she resented. As Tapp described it, it" crumpled up in my grasp like a piece of paper, or thin cardboard, -my fingers meeting through it."
John King was seen by Florence Marryat to "hold a slate so that both hands were visible, and then let one hand dematerialize till it was no larger than a doll's, whilst the other remained the normal size."
Prof. Bottazzi of the University of Naples writes "I saw and felt at one and the same time a human hand natural in color, I felt with mine the fingers and the back of a strong, warm, rough hand. I gripped it and it vanished from my grasp, not becoming smaller, but melting, dematerializing, dissolving."
Col. Rochas writes in the Annales des Sciences Psychiques (1908, XVIII., p. 280) of a seance in which M. Montorguiel seized a materialized hand and called for a light. The hand melted and "all of us thought we saw a luminous trail from his hand to F.'s body."
Dr. Hereward Carrington, the keenest fraud-hunter among psychical researchers, writes: "I myself have observed materializations under perfect conditions of control, and have had the temporary hand melt within my own, as I held it firmly grasped. This hand was a perfectly formed, physiological structure, warm, lifelike and having all the attributes of a human hand yet both the medium's hands were securely held by two controllers, and visible in red light. Let me repeat, this hand was not pulled away, but somehow melted in my grasp as I held it."
Dramatic Exit of Spirit Visitants
The dissolution of a full phantom is very dramatic. Katie King agreed to demonstrate it on herself. Florence Marryat gives the following account, in There is no Death: "She (Katie King) took up her station against the drawing room wall, with her arms extended as if she were crucified. Then three gas-burners were turned on to their full extent in a room about sixteen feet square. The effect upon Katie King was marvelous. She looked like herself for the space of a second only, then she began gradually to melt away. I can compare the dematerialization of her form to nothing but a wax doll melting before a hot fire. First the features became blurred and indistinct; they seemed to run into each other. The eyes sunk in the sockets, the nose disappeared, the frontal bone fell in. Next the limbs appeared to give way under her, and she sank lower and lower on the carpet, like a crumbling edifice. At last there was nothing but her head left above the ground-then a heap of white drapery only, which disappeared with a whisk, as if a hand had pulled it after her-and we were left staring by the light of three gas burners at the spot on which Katie King had stood."
Sometimes the dissolution is unexpected. The power wanes and the form cannot be held together. In a seance with Mrs. H. B. Fay a deceased sister appeared to Florence Marryat. Suddenly she "appeared to faint. Her eyes closed, her head fell back on my shoulder, and before I had time to realize what was going to happen, she had passed through the arm that supported her, and sunk down through the floor. The sensation of her weight was still making my arm tingle, but Emily was gone, clean gone."
Honto, the Indian spirit squaw of the Eddy Brothers, smoked a pipe. The light from the burning tobacco enabled Col. Olcott to see distinctly her copper-colored cheek, the bridge of her nose and the white of her eye. She remained out too long. Darting back she collapsed into a shapeless heap before the curtains, only one hand being distinguishable. In half a minute she appeared again.
The process of dissolution varies. Robert Dale Owen has seen a form fade out from head downwards. William Oxley saw Yolande melting away from the feet upwards until only the head appeared above the floor, and then this grew less and less until a white spot only remained, which, continuing for a moment or two, disappeared." Her materialization, as a rule, occupied ten to fifteen minutes. Her disappearance took place in two to five minutes while the disappearance of the drapery lasted from one half to two minutes.
At one of Mrs. Mellon's seances in Sydney a form, after walking about, lay down on the platform, stretched out the limbs in the presence of all and each member of the body separately dematerialized.
Most often the figures collapse and disappear through the floor. The phantoms of Virginia Roberts, however, as Florence Marryat testifies, if they were strong enough to leave the cabinet, invariably disappeared by floating upwards through the ceiling. "Their mode of doing this was most graceful. They would first clasp their hands behind their heads, and lean backwards; then their feet were lifted off the ground, and they were borne upward in a recumbent position."
The phantoms of Carlo Mirabelli, the South American medium, similarly raise themselves and float in the air before full dissolution which begins from the feet upwards.
When matter passes through matter or when apports are brought into the seance room, the process of dematerialization may be identical. At least, this is strongly suggested by the following account given by Mme. d'Esperance in Shadow Land: "A lady brought a brilliantly colored Persian silk scarf. Yolande took a great delight in it. She could not be induced to part with it. When she had disappeared and the seance closed, the scarf also vanished. The next time she was asked what she had done with it. "Yolande seemed a little nonplussed at the question, but in an instant she made a few movements with her hands in the air and over her shoulders, and the scarf was there, draped as she had arranged it on the previous evening. She never trusted this scarf out of her hands. When sometimes she herself gradually dissolved into mist under the scrutiny of twenty pairs of eyes, the shawl was left lying on the floor and we would say "At last she has forgotten it." But no, the shawl itself would gradually vanish in the same manner as its wearer and no search which we might afterwards make ever discovered its whereabouts. Yet Yolande assured us gleefully that we failed to see it only because we were blind, for the shawl never left the room. This seemed to amuse her and she was never tired of mystifying us by making things invisible to our eyes."
The story of spirit drapery
The drapery in which materialized phantoms are enveloped goes a long way towards helping us to understand how apparitions, observed independent of seance conditions, appear clothed. This was always considered as one of the greatest puzzles of ghost lore. The communications received through mediums did not throw too much light on the subject.
"When the soul leaves the body," we read in one of Julia's letters, "it is at the first moment quite unclothed, as at birth. When the thought of nakedness crosses the spirit's mind, there comes the clothing which you need. The idea with us is creative. We think and the thing is. I do not remember putting on any garments. "
Caroline D. Larsen, in My Travels in the Spirit World, similarly says: "From every spirit emanates a strong aura, a pseudo-phosphoric light. This aura is completely controlled by the mind. Out of this substance is moulded the vesture of the body."
"On one occasion," writes Sylvan J. Muldoon of a conscious projection of his astral body, "I noticed the clothing forming itself out of the emanation surrounding my astral body, when only a few feet out of coincidence, and the clothing was exactly like that covering my physical body. On another occasion I awakened and found myself moving along at the intermediate speed. A very dense aura surrounded me---so dense, in fact, that I could scarcely see my own body. It remained so until the phantom came to a stop, when I was dressed in the typical ghost-like garb."
The power to form spirit-clothes may not be technically understood but it is shown to be a fact by observations in materialization seances. There, indeed, the formation of spirit drapery is in a way preliminary to the building up of the body. It appears to serve the purpose of covering up imperfections or vacant spots in the temporary organism, besides which it protects the ectoplasmic substance from the effects of light, of human gaze and also satisfies the requirements of modesty. Once while Yolande, who was often seen together with Mme. d'Esperance outside the cabinet, was talking to a sitter "the top part of her white drapery fell off and revealed her form. I noticed," writes Oxley, "that the form was imperfect, as the bust was undeveloped and the waist uncontracted which was a test that the form was not a lay figure."
The drapery is usually white in color, sometimes of a dazzling whiteness but may also be of greyish appearance; it is often luminous and so material that it is always the last to disappear when the curtain is rung down on the seance. The reason apparently is that the substance of the drapery, though its texture is different and much finer, is-as pointed out by Lombroso-withdrawn from the medium's clothes to be moulded by the invisible operators in a fashion similar to ectoplasm into all kinds of patterns. The rare instances in which the medium's body, during the process of materialization, entirely vanished, point to this conclusion. It is not the body alone which disappears, but the dress as well.
Kluski noticed that the curtains and carpets of his apartment where his astounding materialization phenomena were produced had been seriously worn out in an inexplicable manner. The observation was made at the British College of Psychic Science that the lining of the underarms of the medium's jacket exclusively used for seance purposes and apparently subjected to no rough wear had to be renewed frequently. The wife of John Lewis, of Wales, who had to repair the garment said that the wear on this was much harder than on garments worn in his occupation of a coal miner. The coloring matter in the garment is apparently of no consequence as the spirit drapery remains white, even if the original dress was black.
How is this substance extracted? The following graphic descriptions furnish little explanation: In a seance with Eglinton on September 9, 1877, Dr. Nichols saw the materialized form Joey "make, in the presence of three other persons, twenty yards of white drapery which certainly never saw a Manchester loom. The matter of which it was formed was visibly gathered from the atmosphere and later melted into invisible air. I have seen at least a hundred yards so manufactured."
Katherine Bates writes in Seen and Unseen: "I stood close over her (the phantom) holding out my own dress, and as she rubbed her hands to and fro a sort of white lace or net came from them, like a foam, and lay upon my gown which I was holding up towards her. I touched this material and held it in my hands. It had substance but was light as gossamer, and quite unlike any stuff I ever saw in a shop."
Mr. F. W. Thurstan says, in a record of a seance with Mrs. Thompson in 1897, when she produced physical phenomena, "a soft, gauzy, scented white drapery was flung over my head and seen by the others on my side of the room."
The spirit niece of E. A. Brackett, in seances with Mrs. H. B. Fay, made yards and yards of spirit drapery by rubbing her hands together with bare arms. Once she made a seamless robe on Mr. Brackett and dematerialized it instantaneously.
William Harrison, editor of The Spiritualist, says in an account of a seance with Miss Cook: "She (Katie King) threw out about a yard of white fabric ' but kept hold of it by the other end, saying: ' Look ' this is spirit drapery.' I said ' Drop it into the passage Katie, and let us see it melt away; or let us cut a piece off.' She replied: ' I can't; but look here.' She then drew back her hand, which was above the top of the curtain, and as the spirit drapery touched the curtain, it passed right through, just as if there were no resistance whatever. I think at first there was friction between the two fabrics and they rustled against each other, but that when she said ' Look here ' some quality which made the drapery common matter was withdrawn from it, and at once it passed through the common matter of the curtain, without experiencing any resistance."
Katie King often allowed her sitters to touch her drapery. Sometimes she cut as many as a dozen pieces from the lower part of her skirt and made presents of them to different observers. The holes were immediately made good. Crookes examined the skirt inch by inch and found no hole, no marks or seam of any kind.
These pieces of drapery mostly melted into thin air, however carefully they were guarded, but sometimes they were rendered enduring. But in the latter cases and in instances of careless operation it happened that the medium's dress suffered. Katie King said in explanation that nothing material about her could be made to last without taking away some of the medium's vitality and weakening her.
A specimen of Katie's drapery was taken by Miss Douglas to Messrs. Howell and James's, London, with the request to match it. They said that they could not, and that they believed it to be of Chinese manufacture.
At a seance in Christiania with Mme. d'Esperance, a sitter abstracted a piece of drapery which clothed one of the spirit forms. Later Mme. d'Esperance discovered that a large square piece of material was missing from her skirt, partly cut, partly torn. The abstracted piece was found to be of the same shape as the missing part, but several times larger, wad white in color, the texture fine and thin as gossamer. In the light of this experience Mme. d'Esperance understand a similar happening, in England. Ninia, the child control, was asked for a piece of her abundant clothing. She complied but unwillingly. . After the seance Mme. d'Esperance found a hole in her new dress.
Katie Brink, the spirit of Mrs. Compton, cut a piece of her dress for Col. Richard Cross, of Montreal, but on the condition that he would buy a new dress for the medium, for a corresponding hole would appear on her skirt. - The cut piece was fine, gossamer like material. The medium's dress black alpaca, and much coarser. The cut piece fitted the hole in the medium's dress.
According to the recollection of Vout Peters (Light, April 7, 1931) two or three times the spirit Marie has given a piece of white drapery to the sitters. The next morning Mrs. Corner found that a hole had been cut in the middle of her black skirt. Subsequently Marie was able to prevent making a hole in the medium's skirt when cutting off the "ectoplasm." Sometimes this material disappeared the next day, at other times it remained, and it may be that certain pieces are still in existence. At the Circle of Light, in Cardiff, in a sitting with George Spriggs, a piece of rich crimson silk was cut from a girdle worn by a spirit. It began to fade after a few days, but being taken back into the seance room it was manipulated by one of the spirits and restored at once to its original luster.
Stainton Moses was once given a piece of spirit drapery sweetened by "spirit musk." He sent it to Mrs. Speer. The scent on the letter was fresh and pungent seventeen years after.
Part of the-available power is always consumed by the creation of this spirit drapery. Sometimes before its appearance recourse is made to the portieres of the cabinet, the spirit forms wrapping in themselves before thrusting out a hand or head. In some instances, for economical reasons, the operators accepted ready made cloth brought in for them to wear. John King was photographed in such borrowed garments. There are stories that for similar reasons wearing apparel may be apported. This, however, carries to uncertain grounds where fraud may easily flourish and find ready excuse. Mrs. Cook, Florence's mother, is said to have once caught Katie King wearing a dress of her daughter. Katie confessed that she borrowed it because the power was weak. She gave an undertaking that she would never do this again as the medium might be compromised. In other cases yards of muslin and grenadine were apported expressly for draping purposes and left in the seance room. Such accounts must needs be accepted with strong reservations.
We find traces of spirit cloth in mediumistic plastics. The hand, or face is often enveloped in drapery before the putty is impressed or a paraffin cast made.
Souvenir locks of hair, materialized jewels and flowers.
Similarly to pieces of drapery, materialized phantoms often gave locks of hair for souvenirs. Katie King did it very often. Once in the cabinet she cut off a lock of her own hair and a lock of the medium's and gave them to Florence Marryat. One was almost black, soft and silky, the other a coarse golden red. On another occasion she asked Florence Marryat to cut her hair with a pair of scissors as fast as she could. "So I cut off curl after curl, and as fast as they fell to the ground the hair grew again upon her head." The severed hair vanished.
In some instances these souvenirs did not disappear. Crookes in a later writing speaks of a lock of Katie as still before him. Similarly the lock which Prof. Richet cut from the head of an Egyptian beauty remained. Prof. Richet says: "I have kept this lock, it is very fine, silky and undyed. Microscopical examination shows it to be real hair; and I am informed that a wig of the same would cost a thousand francs. Marthe's hair is very dark and she wears her hair rather short."
It would appear from this that the materialized product is finer in quality than the natural one.
The materialized phantoms often wear ornaments. Admiral Moore, in his seances with J. B. Jonson, of Detroit, found these ornaments yielding to the touch. In other instances they were solid.
"Abd-u-lah," the one-armed spirit of Eglinton, appeared bedecked with diamonds, emeralds and rubies. The materialization of precious stones is thus described by Mrs. Nichols in the October 26, 1877, Spiritualist: "For some time he moved his hands as if gathering something from the atmosphere, just as when he makes muslin. After some minutes he dropped on the table a massive diamond ring. He said: "Now you may all take the ring, and you may put it on, and hold it while you count twelve." Miss M. took it and held it under the gaslight. It was a heavy gold ring with a diamond that appeared much like one worn by a friend of mine worth £1,000. Joey said the value of this was 900 guineas. Mr. W. examined it as we had done. He now made, as it seemed, and as he said, from the atmosphere two diamonds, very clear and beautiful, about the size of half a large pea. He gave them into our hands on a piece of paper. We examined them as we had the others. He laid the ring and the diamonds on the table before him, and there next appeared a wonderful cluster of rubies, set with a large ruby about half an inch in diameter in the center. These we all handled as we had the others. Last there came a cross, about four inches in length, having twenty magnificent diamonds set in it; this we held in our hands, and examined as closely as we liked. He told us that the market value of the gems was £25,000. He remarked: "I could make Willie the richest man in the world, but it would not be the best thing, and might be the worst." He now took the jewels in front of him and seemed to dissipate them, as one might melt hailstones in heat until they entirely disappeared."
Stainton Moses was told by Magus, one of his controls, that he would deliver him a topaz, the material counterpart of his spiritual jewel which would enable him to see scenes in the spheres on looking into it. The jewel was found in his bedroom. Stainton Moses was much exercised over it. He believed it to be an apport, taken without the consent of the owner. He never received any definite information as to its origin. It cannot be traced how long the stone, which was set in a ring, remained in his possession.
Gems and pearls were frequently brought to the circle of Stainton Moses. His theory was that they were made by spirits because he could see them falling before they reached the table while others could not see them until they had fallen, and because an emerald had flaws in it and therefore could not have been cut or be an imitation.
Flower materializations are comparatively more frequent. There is a remarkable instance in Mme. d'Esperance's mediumship. On June 28, 1890, at a seance in St. Petersburg, in the presence of Aksakof and Prof. Boutlerof, a golden lily, seven feet high, appeared in the seance room. It was kept for a week, during which time it was six times photographed. After a week it dissolved and disappeared.
In the record of the Livermore seances with Katie Fox, under date February 22, 1862, we find: "Appearance of flowers. Cloudy. Atmosphere damp. Conditions unfavorable. At the expiration of half an hour a bright light rose to the surface of the table, of the usual cylindrical form, covered with gossamer. Held directly over this was a sprig of roses about six inches in length, containing two half-blown white roses, and a bud with leaves. The, flowers, leaves and stem were perfect. They were placed at my nose and smelled as though freshly gathered; but the perfume in this instance was weak and delicate. We took them in our fingers and I carefully examined the stem and flowers. The request was made as before to "be very careful." I noticed an adhesive, viscous feeling which was explained as being the result of a damp, impure atmosphere. These flowers were held near and over the light, which seemed to feed and give them substance in the same manner as the hand. By raps we were told to "Notice and see them dissolve." The sprig was placed over the light, the flowers dropped, and in less than one minute, melted as though made of wax, their substance seeming to spread as they disappeared. By raps "See them come again." A faint light immediately shot across the cylinder, grew into a stem; and in about the same time required for its dissolution, the stem, and the roses had grown into created perfection. This was several times repeated, and was truly wonderful."
F. W. Thurstan, M.A., made the significant observation with Mrs. Thompson (Light, March 15, 1901) that when a pineapple was to be materialized the smell and notion of it was all day in "her head." He believed that ideas of shapes, actions and words that are required to be brought into objectivity at a seance are made by unseen operators to be running in the medium's head often for days beforehand.
In experiments with T. Lynn at the British College for Psychic Science objects were photographed in the course of materialization. They showed flecks and masses of a luminous material, possessing string-like roots. These light masses floated over a harp lying upon the table and were visible to all present. A finger-like projection extended from a mass of this luminosity, and extended itself towards the harp as if to play upon it. As the photo plates were developed a bone ring was seen to depend from the medium's nose, and an object similar to the top of an infant's nursing bottle appeared to hang from his lips by a cord. The medium's features also seemed somewhat altered. At a second sitting a two-pronged fish-hook, and also a small ring materialized. The photo plates of this materialization showed that some remarkable rounded object proceeded from the region of the medium's solar plexus, which had often appeared in previous photographs, and from this a root, or string, seemed to extend to the object materializing, apparently attached thereto. In this case, the root was twisted in a remarkable manner.
Similar observations have been reported by Prof. Karl Blacher, of Riga University, with the apport medium BX. (Zeitschrift fur Parapsychologie, June, 1933). In trance, and under control, nails, screws or pieces of iron would be visibly drawn out of his chest, his armpits or arms, as could be clearly observed by means of luminous screens. On one occasion a length of wire over a yard long was drawn from the man's bared chest; at another time Prof. Blacher himself caught hold of an end that was protruding from the same spot and drew forth a long leather strap. At another sitting the medium produced a heavy slab of metal from his chest; and from his left arm a piece of wrought steel weighing over 3 lbs.
There is a curious meeting, point between apports and materialization here to which sufficient attention has not been devoted yet. The complexity of the problem is further demonstrated by the story of Lajos Pap, the, Budapest apport medium (Light, July 14, 1933) that previous to his first apport of a frog, for two ' days he heard continual croaking. It seemed to him to come from his stomach, and he kept on asking people if they heard nothing. Similarly he heard the chirping of apported grasshoppers a long time before their arrival; and, preliminary to the apport of a large packet of needles, he felt pricking sensations over the back of his hand.
Still Greater Marvels.
On May 25, 1921, Mme. Bisson observed the materialization on Eva's hand of a naked female eight inches high, with a beautiful body, long fair hair, brilliantly white skin. It vanished and returned several times and either her hair was differently arranged or her height grew less. The little figure performed various gymnastic exercises and finally stood on Mme. Bisson's extended hand. The materialization of small heads, of the size of a walnut in a glass of water is the peculiar feature of Mme. Ignath's mediumship. "Nona," the control, asserts these heads to be plastic thought-forms.
Describing a visit to an unnamed materializing medium, Mrs. Leonard writes in her My Life in Two Worlds: "My husband was sitting with his feet and knees rather wide apart. His gaze suddenly was diverted from the materialized spirit to a kind of glow near his feet. Looking down he saw a tiny man and woman, between 12 and 18 inches high, standing between his knees.
They were holding hands and looking up into my husband's face, as if they were thinking 'What on earth is that?' They seemed to be interested, if not more so, in him, and the details of his appearance, as he was in theirs. He was too astonished to call anybody's attention to the tiny people, who were dressed in bright green, like the pictures of elves and fairies, and who wore little pointed caps. A slight glow surrounded them, or emanated from them, he wasn't sure which, but it was strong enough for him to see their little faces and forms clearly. After a moment or two they disappeared, apparently melting into the floor."
In a sitting with Countess Castelwitch in Lisbon, a communicator, who called himself M. Furtado, husband of Mme. Furtado, present, rapped out through the table that he would not allow himself to be photographed because he had forgotten what his face was like. At the next seance he said: "I have no face, but I will make one." The photographic plate revealed a tall phantom clothed in white, having a death head instead of a face.
A similar but more gruesome instance is described in the reports of the Academia de Estudo Psychicos Cesar Lombroso, of Sao Paolo, on the mediumship of Carlo Mirabelli. "The third sitting followed immediately while the medium was still in a state of exhaustion. A skull inside the closet began to beat against the doors. They opened and the skull floated into the air. Soon the bones of a skeleton appeared one after another from neck to feet. The medium is in a delirium, beats himself and emits a bad smell like that of a cadaver. The skeleton begins to walk, stumble and walk again. It walks round the room while Dr. de Souza touches it. He feels hard, wet, bones. The others touch it. Then the skeleton disappears slowly until the skull alone remains which finally falls on a table. The medium was bound throughout the performance. It lasted 22 counted minutes in bright sunlight.
Alfred Vout Peters claims to have seen, in a seance with Cecil Husk, the materialization of a living friend of his who was at the time asleep in his home. Horace Leaf writes (Light, Jan. 29, 1932) of the undoubted materialization of the head, shoulders and arm of a relative of his living 400 miles away. A conversation was carried on for several minutes on matters thoroughly appropriate, then bidding him goodbye, the head vanished.
Indeed, one is tempted to speculate whether it would not be possible to build up, through a process of dematerialization and materialization a living organism on altered lines. Perhaps some of the miraculous cures in which organic parts of the body had been restored will find an explanation in the future along such speculative lines.
Of the mysterious Mahedi whose characteristics were recorded by Archdeacon Colley some unique feats deserve mentioning. He could not speak English. By signs the Archdeacon Colley made him understand that he wanted him to write. He looked puzzled at the lead pencil. When he was shown how to use it he held it as he would hold a stylus and began to write quickly from the right to the left in unknown oriental characters, being "in a most peculiar way under the control of 'Samuel'"--one spirit controlling another spirit-the medium having nothing whatever to do with the matter, he being at the time his own normal fully awake natural self some seventeen feet away at the other end of the room talking to a lady."
Archdeacon Colley had samples of "Samuel's" handwriting, obtained direct, moreover he knew that Samuel was in control "for while the Egyptian, left to himself, could not speak any more than he could write it, yet now, with 'Samuel' in him to operate the vocal organs, he could speak real good idiomatic English- Samuel" speaking through him. The voice was Samuel's while the lips that moved were The Mahedi's. But "Samuel"and"The Mahedi" were both the outcome of the medium and the connection between our normal friend, and materialized friend, and friend in control was, as the telescopic lengthening out of a multiple personality to the power of three very remarkable.
It was something like what I had before seen and publicly reported relating to the evolution of a spirit form from another spirit form, which first form, as usual, extruded from the medium, so that (December 7, 1877) there stood in line our normal friend (entranced) and next to him the Egyptian thence derived, and from the Egyptian, in turn, the extruded personality of "Lily," all at the same time-the three in a row ranked together yet separate and distinct entities."
After all these marvels Archdeacon Colley's description of the reabsorption of a phantom into the medium's side in plain view appears to lose its wild improbability. Of a seance held on September 25, 1877, the notes having been made on the same evening, Archdeacon Colley says: "As I brought my sweet companion close up to him, the gossamer filament again came into view; its attenuated and vanishing point being, as before, towards the heart. Greatly wondering, yet keen to observe, did I notice how, by means of this vapory cord, the psychic figure was sucked back into the body of the medium. For like a waterspout at sea-funnel-shaped or sand column such as I have seen in Egypt-horizontal instead of vertical, the vital power of our medium appeared to absorb and draw in the spirit-form, but at my desire, so gradually that I was enabled quite leisurely thus closely to watch the process. For leaning against, and holding my friend with my left arm at his back and my left ear and cheek at his breast, his heart beating in an alarming way, I saw him receive back the lovely birth of the invisible spheres into his robust corporeal person. And as I gazed on the sweet face of the disintegrating spirit, within three or four inches of its features, 1 again marked the fair lineaments, eyes, hair and delicate complexion, and kissed the dainty hand as in process of absorption it dissolved and was drawn through the texture and substance of his black coat into our friend's bosom."
The Archdeacon once spoke to a materialized phantom before her extrusion was accomplished, and he saw recognition in her eyes and heard her whisper, during the psychic parturition "so glad to see you." On one occasion a minister friend of Dr. Monck materialized; by common consent the medium was carefully awakened. "Dazed for a moment, and then most astonished, our aroused friend looked enquiringly at the materialized spirit form, and jumping up from the sofa on which we had placed him he excitedly rushed forward to his one-time fellow-student, shouting "Why, it is Sam" and then there was handshaking and brotherly greetings between the two. When both friends were about to speak at once there was a momentary impasse and neither seemed able to articulate; the medium's breath appearing to be needed by Samuel when he essayed to speak, while the materialized form was also checked in his utterance when the medium began to speak."
C. V. Miller, the San Francisco materialization medium, as a rule did not pass into trance, took the phantoms that issued from the cabinet by the hand and introduced them to his sitters. His amazing seances have been duplicated by Dr. R. H. Moore, of San Diego, California. According to the account of N. Meade Layne, A.B., A.M., in Psychic Research, June, 1931, he is a well-known gentleman past seventy years of age, does not go into trance and accompanies the forms which issue from behind a curtain within a few steps into the circle. The forms are never fully materialized, as a rule they are invisible below the bust, though the ectoplasmic drapery sometimes trails nearly to the floor. "At a recent seance one of the forms, while conversing with the person at my side, advanced to within about eighteen inches of my face. Dr. Moore then, after telling us what he was about to do, struck the head of the form lightly with his open hand to show the degree of materialization. The movement and the sound were plainly perceived. He then passed his arm through the form at the solar plexus." (Psychic Research, July, 1930).
There is but one thing to make the record of all these miracles complete: the materialization of forms other than human. There are abundant experiences to prove that even this is a possibility. We owe the strangest observations in this field to three Polish mediums: Kluski, Guzyk and Burgik.
Guzyk materialized dogs and other strange animals, Kluski, a large bird of prey, small beasts, a lion and an apeman. The year 1919 abounded with animal materialization in the Kluski seances. "The bird was photographed, and before the exposure a whirring, like the stretching of a huge bird's wings, could be heard, accompanied by slight blasts of wind, as if a large fan were being used ... Hirkill (an Afghan) materialized ... Accompanying him always was a rapacious beast, the size of a very big dog, of a tawny color, with slender neck, mouth full of large teeth, eyes which glowed in the darkness like a cat's, and which reminded the company of a maneless lion. It was occasionally wild in its behavior, especially if persons were afraid of it, and neither the human nor the animal apparition was much welcomed by the sitters ... The lion, as we may call him, liked to lick the sitters with a moist and prickly tongue, and gave forth the odor of a great feline, and even after the seance the sitters, and especially the medium, were impregnated with this acrid scent as if they had made a long stay in a menagerie among wild beasts" (Psychic Science, April, 1926.)
According to Prof. Pawlowski's account (journal A.S.P.R., Sept., 1925) the bird was a hawk or a buzzard. It "flew round, beating his wings against the walls and ceiling, and when he finally settled on the shoulder of the medium he was photographed with a magnesium flash, as the camera was accidently focussed on the medium before, and was ready."
The anthropoidal ape showed itself first in July, 1919. Geley writes in Clairvoyance and Materialization: "This being which we have termed Pithecanthropus has shown itself several times at our seances. One of us, at the seance of November 20, 1920, felt its large shaggy head press hard on his right shoulder and against his cheek. The head was covered with thick, coarse hair. A smell came from it like that of a deer or a wet dog. When one of the sitters put out his hand the pithecanthrope seized it and licked it slowly three times. Its tongue was large and soft. At other times we all felt our legs touched by what seemed to be frolicsome dogs." According to Col. Norbert Ocholowicz's book on Kluski ".this ape was of such great strength that it could easily move a heavy bookcase filled with books through the room, carry a sofa over the heads of the sitters, or lift the heaviest persons with their chairs into the air to the height of a tall person.
Though the ape's behavior sometimes caused fear, and indicated a low level of intelligence, it was never malignant. Indeed it often expressed goodwill, gentleness and readiness to obey ... After a long stay a strong animal smell was noticed. It was seen for the last time at the seance of December 26, 1922, in the same form as in 1919 and making the same sounds of smacking and scratching." Mrs. Hewat McKenzie, from whose article the above quotation is taken, also writes of a small animal, reminding the sitters of the ' weasel,' so often sensed at Guzyk seances. "It used to run quickly over the table on to the sitters' shoulders, stopping every moment and smelling their hands and faces with a small, cold nose; sometimes, as if frightened, it jumped from the table and rambled through the whole room, turning over small objects, and shuffling papers lying on the table and writing desk. It appeared at six or seven seances, and was last seen in June, 1923."
Of Burgik Prof. Richet writes in Thirty Years of Psychical Research: "In the last seance that I had with him the phenomena were very marked. I had his left hand and M. de Gielski his right. He was quite motionless, and none of the experimenters moved at all. My trouser leg was strongly pulled and a strange, ill-defined form that seemed to have paws like those of a dog or small monkey climbed on my knee. I could feel its weight very light and something like the muzzle of an animal (?) touched my cheek. It was moist and made a grunting noise like a thirsty dog."
Dogs were materialized by Mrs. Wriedt. Lieut. Col. E. R. Johnson writes in Light, November 11, 1922, of a seance with Mrs. Wriedt: "It was quite common to meet one's departed dogs. I had one of these, a very small terrier, placed on my knees. It remained there for about a minute, and both its weight and form were all recognized. It was not taken away but seemed gradually to evaporate or melt. Two others, a large retriever and a medium-sized terrier, came very often, and all three barked with their direct voices in tones suitable to their sizes and breeds. Other sitters saw, heard and were touched by them. Those three had died in India some thirty years previously."
A dog which Haxby materialized ran about the room. The appearance and pranks of an unseen but palpable pet dog in a seance with Politi on June 18th, 1900, is described, by General Ballatore in Vesillo Spiritista. It ran about the room, jumped on the knees of one of the sitters, Major Bennati, and put its paws round its mistress's neck, besides performing several other little tricks it had been taught in life.
Wyllie, the psychic photographer, has on record the psychic picture of a dog.
The flight of birds was often heard in seances with D. D. Home and recently, with the Marquis Scotto Centurione. A tame flying squirrel was materialized by Honto, the Indian squaw, in the seances of the Eddy Brothers. Another Indian girl "brought in a robin perched on her finger, which hopped and chirped as naturally as life." (Olcott, People from the Other World).
Two triangular areas of light, with curved angles like butterfly wings, audibly flitting and flapping were noticed in the February 24, 1924, seance of Margery. The flying creature, claimed to be Walter's tame bat, "Susie," performed strange antics. The wings would hover over the roses on the table, pick up one, approach a sitter and hit him over the head with it. "Susie" pulled the hair of the sitters, pecked at their faces, flapped her wings in their eyes. Another large, beetle-like area of light which scrambled about the table with a deal of flapping was called by Walter his "Nincompoop." Peculiar motions were also performed by a patch of light, said to be a tame bear, over a curtain pole. Clicking and whizzing it toboganned down the pole and climbed back again. Walter was so fond of poking fun at the expense of the sitters that beyond his assertions that he paraded his actual live stock nothing definite could be established about these curious animated batches of light.
"Materialization of both beasts and birds sometimes appeared," writes Gambier Bolton, in Ghosts in Solid Form, London, 1919, "during our experiments, the largest and most startling being that of a seal which appeared on one occasion when Field-Marshal Lord Wolseley was present. We suddenly heard a remarkable voice calling out some absurd remarks in loud tones, finishing off with a shrill whistle. "Why, that must be our old parrot," said the lady of the house." He lived in this room for many years, and would constantly repeat those very words." A small wild animal from India which had been dead for three years or more, and had never been seen or heard of by the Sensitive, and was known to only one sitter, suddenly ran out from the spot where the Sensitive was sitting, breathing heavily and in a state of deep trance, the little creature uttering exactly the same cry which it had always used as a sign of pleasure during its earth life. It had shown itself altogether on about ten different occasions, staying in the room for more than two minutes at a time, and then disappearing as suddenly as it had arrived upon the scene. But on this occasion the lady who had owned it during its life called it to her by its pet name, and then it proceeded to climb slowly up on to her lap. Resting there quietly for about half a minute it then attempted to return, but in doing so caught one of its legs in the lace with which the lady's skirt was covered. It struggled violently, and at last got itself free, but not until it had torn the lace for nearly three inches. At the conclusion of the experiment a medical man reported that there were five green-colored hairs hanging in the torn lace, which had evidently become detached from the little animal's legs during its struggles. The lady at once identified the color and the texture of the hairs, and this was confirmed by the other sitter-himself a naturalist-who had frequently seen and handled the animal during its earth life. The five hairs were carefully collected, placed in tissue paper, and then shut up in a light-tight and damp-proof box. After a few days they commenced to dwindle in size, and finally disappeared entirely."
The story of a materialized seal is told in detail in Light, April 22, 1900, on the basis of Gambier Bolton's account before the London Spiritualist Alliance in a discussion. It reads: Being well-known as a zoologist connected with the Zoological Society, he on one occasion received a note from an auctioneer asking if he would call to see a large seal which had been sent from abroad. "The poor thing is suffering; come round and see what you can do"-wrote the seal's temporary owner, and being deeply interested in the welfare of animals of all kinds, Mr. Bolton at once obeyed the mandate. He saw the seal: the poor creature had been harpooned, and was lying in a languishing state in a large basket. He saw at once that it could not live, but wishing to do what he could to prolong its life, he at once dispatched it to the Zoological Gardens. Later in the day he called to see how it was faring, and found that it had been put into the seal tank. On visiting the tank the seal rose from the water and gave him a long look, which as he humorously suggested, seemed to indicate that the animal recognized him and entertained some sentiments of gratitude for its treatment. It died that night, and ten days later Mr. Bolton was at a seance at which Mr. Craddock was the medium. A number of people of social and scientific repute wore present. Suddenly someone called out from the cabinet: "Take this great brute away, it is suffocating me." It was the seal! It came slowly from the cabinet, flopping and dragging itself along after the fashion of seals, which (unlike sea-lions) cannot walk. It stayed close to Mr. Bolton for ' some moments, and then returned to the cabinet and disappeared. "There is no doubt in my mind," said Mr. Bolton, "that it was the identical seal."
To a question as to the modus vivendi of animal materializations Gambier Bolton obtained the following answer from the spirit controls: "Their actions are altogether independent of us. Whilst we are busily engaged in conducting our experiments with human entities who wish to materialize in your midst, the animals get into the room in some way which we do not understand, and which we cannot prevent; obtain, from somewhere, sufficient matter with which to build up temporary bodies; coining just when they choose; roaming about the room just as they please; and disappearing just when it suits them, and not before; and we have no power to prevent this so long as the affection existing between them and their late owners is so strong as it was in the instances which have come under our notice."
In contradiction to this information Col. Norbert Ocholowicz makes it a point that at the Kluski seances the animal apparitions were seen to be in charge of human apparitions. The only animal which seemed to be able to act independently of a keeper was the pithecanthropus. Generally the -animal and human apparitions were not active at the same moment. When the animal was fully materialized and active the keeper was passive and kept in the background, and vice versa ... The testimony of clairvoyants also goes to prove that when animal apparitions are seen the necessary link is furnished by a friend of the sitter.
In conclusion one May safely quote an ancient account: At the trial of the Chelmsford witches in 1645 Matthew Hopkins, the witch-finder, John Sterne and six others, testified that on the previous night they had sat up in the room where the accused was confined to watch for the appearance of her imps which the accused promised and that they indeed saw them: five or six, entering the room in the shape of cats, dogs and other animals. John Sterne was so convinced of the truth of what he saw that he wrote a pamphlet about his experience.
Mme. Bisson: Les Phenomenes dits de Materializations, Paris, 1917;
Baron Schrenck Notzing: Phenomena of Materializations, London, 1920;
Gustave Geley: From the Unconscious to the Conscious, 1920, Clairvoyance and Materialization, 1927;
E. A. Brackett: Materialized Apparitions, Boston, 1886;
Gambier Bolton: Ghosts in Solid Form, London 1919;
Col. Olcott: People from the Other World, Hartford, Conn., 1875;
Epes Sargent: Proof Palpable of Immortality, Boston, * 1876;
Anon: Revelations of a Spirit Medium, Confessions of a Medium, 1882;
A. Lunt: Mysteries of the Seance;
David P. Abbott: Behind the Scenes with Mediums, 1907;
Dr. Hereward Carrington: The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism, 1908;
T. R. Hazard: Eleven Days in Moravia;
Anon: Life of James Riley Horace Leaf: Materializations;
Archdeacon Colley Sermons on Spiritualism, 1907;
G. Delanne: Les Apparitions Materializees, Paris, 1911;
Dr. Wolfe: Startling Facts in Modern Spiritualism, 1875;
Allen Putnam: Biography of Mrs. Conant, 1873; Flashes of Light from the Spirit Land, 1872.