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Communicating with the Dead (Original)

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Author Topic: Communicating with the Dead (Original)  (Read 4086 times)
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« Reply #165 on: January 19, 2008, 03:02:34 pm »

Sandra Taylor

Member # 2492

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   posted 07-17-2005 10:11 PM                       
The 'Scientific American' Inquiry

In 1922 the Scientific American launched an inquiry into psychic matters, based largely on my exposure of Hope. Among those tested was George Valiantine, well-known voice and physical medium, who entered for the Scientific American prize of $2,500, to be awarded to any medium producing a physical phenomenon under test conditions. Valiantine was charged with fraud. At the final sitting, in complete darkness, on May 26, 1923, special apparatus was installed. This was an electrical circuit which included the chair on which the medium sat. When the medium rose from his scet, a light went out in an adjoining room. Dictaphone notes were taken of all that occurred. It was found that Valiantine left his chair fifteen times (when he should have been in it), sometimes for as long as eighteen seconds, and that these periods corresponded with those when the sitters were touched by the 'spirits'(41). Other mediums who were tested included the Rev. Josie K. Stewart, a woman who produced 'supernormal' writing on cards; Mrs. Thompson, materializing medium; and Nino Pecoraro(42). They were all exposed. The reader has already learnt how 'Margery' fared in this investigation.

(41) See issues of the Scientific American, New York, from October, 1922 to January, 1923; and 'Untold Facts Behind Scientific American's Psychic Probe!' by Austin C. Lescarboura in True Mystic Science, Minneapolis, November, 1938. See also Daily Express, London, May 28,1923 (article, 'Spirits with a Punch').
(42) See The Medium who Admits he is a Fake, by jack Alexander, St. Louis, U.S.A., 1931.

Valiantine was in London in 1925 and I had one sťance with him. He was then producing voice phenomena. At this particular sťance, held at the house of Mr. Dennis Bradley, the spirit of Luigi Arditi (the composer) was alleged to manifest. I took down all that 'Arditi' said and afterwards discovered that every sentence was identical with those I found in Bradshaw's Complete Anglo-Italian Phrase Book and Jaschke's English-Italian Dictionary. Not a comma had been altered(43). Dennis Bradley had many sittings with Valiantine, but in 1931, in some experiments for fingerprint impressions (a la Margery) Bradley found that the thumb-print of the spirit 'Conan Doyle' coincided with Valiantine's right big toe, and a print from the spirit thumb of Lord Dewar exactly matched that of the medium's left big toe. An indelible dye had been painted on the substance to be impressed, and this same dye was found on the medium's feet and elbow(44).

(43) The detailed analysis of this case can be found in Price's Leaves From a Psychist's Case-Book, pp. 307-15.
(44) Bradley tells the whole story in ... And After (London, 1931). See also 'Tricks of a Famous Medium Exposed: Finger-Prints of the Dead Faked,' in the Daily Express, September 21, 1931. The complete history of Valiantine's activities has been summed up (1932) by Mrs. W. H. Salter: 'The History of George Valiantine,' Proc., SPR, Vol. XL, pp. 389-410.

Another voice medium whom I detected was Frederick Tansley Munnings, an ex-burglar. I had invented a piece of testing apparatus which I called the Voice Control Recorder. Munnings tried hard to beat the machine, but failed. We heard the voices of 'Julius Caesar,' 'Dan Leno,' 'Crippen' and 'Henry VIII,' but the machine proved that it was Munnings speaking. He finally sold his 'confessions' to a Sunday paper(45).

(45) 'My Confessions: How I Produced "Spirit Voices",' in the People, February 5 to May 13, 1928. See also 'The Case of Mr. Moss and Mr. Munnings', Journal, SPR, Vol. XXIII, pp. 71-5.

Voice mediums under test have usually done badly. Mrs. Susannah Harris, an American, was investigated in Oslo in 1920, when twenty-five sittings were held. The final report was, to put it mildly, very uncomplimentary(46). This account of unsatisfactory voice mediums could be extended indefinitely. Another unsatisfactory sťance was that held at 61, North Gate Mansions, Regent's Park, on May 27, 1938, with Mr. Colin Evans. This medium claims that, in complete darkness, he is 'levitated.' Mrs. A. Peel Goldney, Mrs. Henry Richards and others were convinced that at this particular test no levitation took place and the cheque paid to the medium was returned to the sitters(47).

(46) See Light, May 1, 1920.
(47) A photograph of an alleged psychic levitation of this medium was published in the Daily Mirror, June 13, 1938. See also Photography for January, 1939. How photographs can be obtained of a man assumed to be levitating, but in reality jumping, is graphically recorded (with illustrations) in Proc., SPR, Vol. XLV, Part 158, pp. 196-8.
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