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HISTORIC GHOSTS AND GHOST HUNTERS

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Author Topic: HISTORIC GHOSTS AND GHOST HUNTERS  (Read 2509 times)
Porscha Campbell
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« Reply #150 on: November 15, 2009, 05:39:24 am »

Such was the situation at the time of Richard Hodgson's advent. Primarily, as will be remembered by all who have followed the[Pg 186] work of the Society for Psychical Research, Dr. Hodgson had come to this country to investigate the trance mediumship of Mrs. Leonora Piper. But his attention having been called to the Vennum mystery, he visited Watseka in April, 1890, and instituted a rigorous cross-examination of the surviving witnesses. Dr. Stevens was dead, and Lurancy herself had married and moved with her husband to Kansas, but Dr. Hodgson was able to interview Mr. and Mrs. Roff, Mrs. Alter, and half a dozen neighbors who had personal knowledge of the "possession." All answered his questions freely and fully, reiterating the facts as given in Dr. Stevens's narrative, and adding some interesting information hitherto not made public. In the main this bore on the question of identity and tended to vindicate the reincarnation theory. It also developed that while Lurancy had grown to be a strong, healthy woman, she had had occasional returns of Mary's spirit in the years immediately following the chief visitation; but that these had ceased with her marriage to a man who, Roff regretfully observed, had never made himself acquainted with spiritism and therefore "furnished poor[Pg 187] conditions for further development in that direction."

Appreciating the fact that Mr. Roff and his family would furnish the best possible conditions for such development, and that he must be on his guard against unconscious exaggeration and misstatement, Dr. Hodgson nevertheless deemed the evidence presented to him too strong to be explained away on naturalistic grounds. Contributing to The Religio-Philosophical Journal an account of his inquiry and of the additional data it had brought to light, he described the case as "unique among the records of supernormal occurrences," and frankly admitted that he could not "find any satisfactory interpretation of it except the spiritistic."
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