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low of a mouth, the upper jaw of which had some teeth
wanting on the right side.

"At this point Dr. Venzano remarked that these signs

Eusapia Palladino 147

corresponded exactlj' with the characteristics of a very near
relative, deceased."

To this account by Dr. Bozzano, Dr. Venzano adds some
notes of his own. He says:

"When my hand, guided by another hand, and lifted up-
ward, met the materialized form, I had immediately the
impression of touching a broad forehead, on the upper part
of which was a quantity of rather long, thick, and very
fine hair. Then, as my hand was gradually led upward, it
came in contact with a slightly aquiline nose, and, lower
still, with mustaches and a chin with a peaked beard. From
the chin, the hand was then raised somewhat, until, coming
in front of the open mouth, it was gently pushed forward,
and my forefinger, still directed by the guiding hand, en-
tered the cavity of the mouth, where it was caused to rub
against the margin of an upper dental arch, which, toward
the right extremity, was wanting in four molar teeth.

"It should be mentioned that when my hand came in con-
tact successively with the lock of hair on the forehead, the
nose, and the chin with the pointed beard, the other hand
which guided it pressed upon it and caused it to stop at each
with manifest purpose, as though each of these points repre-
sented a special sign. I must note, also, that on comparing
the indications obtained with those typical of a person who
was very dear to me, I did not remember whether the four
molars were absent on the right or left side, and that later,
after making special inquiries in the family, I was able to
ascertain that this defect exactly corresponded with the con-
ditions presented by the materialized form.

"In the present case, the problem of seeking for the will
which directs the phenomena is of very great complexity.
It must be remembered that, in the execution of this mani-
festation, two materialized forms took part. This fact be-
comes evident since, without the control of tlie medium be-
ing in any way relaxed, two large hands, which were not
his own, seized M. Bozzano's head and forced him to turn
toward the far end of the room, which was dimly lighted,

148 Eusapia Palladino

where a second materialized form developed, having the ap-
pearance of a complete figure of a man.

"As for the materialized form which presented itself to
my direct observation, offering the tokens typical of a de-
ceased person, who was dear to me, I can affirm that it was
neither thought of nor expected by me. Moreover, as I at
once declared, when I did first think of it, I certainly did
not ask for proofs of identity such as were offered me. Then,
too, among the tokens by which the materialization revealed
its identity, it chose one which was only imperfectly known
to me, and the accuracy of which I could only ascertain
after making inquiries among my family. Nor could I have
been influenced by an impression received from what had
occurred just before to M. Bozzano. He had simply men-
tioned that his hand had been carried into contact with a
human face, with a pointed beard — a fact which had been
previously mentioned at sittings, and was insufficient to af-
ford precise data for the identification of a face. Thus the
possibility is excluded of direct suggestion conveyed to Mme.
Palladino from myself or from the other sitters — to whom,
as to the medium herself, the person who manifested himself
to me was entirely unknown.

"As to the medium, who remained during the whole
seance in a state of profound trance, the only act of hers
which might be suspected of being done with a purpose was
that of raising M. Bozzano's hand to touch the human face,
on which he recognized nothing characteristic except the
pointed beard.

"In the face of these conditions what conclusions can
one deduce? In this case the dilemma referred to in relation
to the previous case repeats itself. ' Either the phenomenon
is produced under the direction of an intelligence foreign to
the medium and to the experimenters, or the subconscious-
ness of Palladino succeeded in bringing forth from the in-
nermost recesses of my thought details known only by
myself and followed up this work of mind-reading by a lib-
eration of phvsiopsychic energy which assumed the form and
the character of two human beings, one of whom bore the

Eusapia Palladino 149

typical traits of a deceased person with whom I was very
famih"ar during his lifetime. And not only was the sub-
consciousness of the medium able to reveal facts which I
could clearly remember but also circumstances which I had
doubtless known of in the past, but which I had in large
measure forgotten at the moment when the phenomenon
occurred. I allude particularly to the number and position
of the teeth found wanting at the extremity of the upper
jaw of the mouth of the face, a point on which, as I after-
wards found, the Intelligence regulating the manifestation
was much better informed than 1."

The last seance here quoted is that originally published
in the Revue d' Etudes Psychiques, in September, 1902.
Professors Morselli, Bozzano, and a number of noted ladies
and gentlemen were present. The sitting was held in the
house of the Avellino family. The cabinet was of the usual
simple kind — two black curtains stretched across one corner
of the room. Before the seance, Mme, Palladino was care-
fully searched by two ladies present, and nothing un-
usual discovered upon her person.

Eusapia was then bound to a small camp bed by means
of ropes. Her wrists were fastened to the iron bars at the
side; next, her waist was fastened likewise, and lastly her
feet and ankles. Professor Morselli executed the tying him-
self, and fastened the cords in a number of knots in every
case. All felt that the tying was perfectly secure, and all
that could be desired.

Places were resumed in the circle, and the table soon be-
gan to move about of its own accord. Then the curtains
of the cabinet were gently parted, and the head and shoulders
of a young woman emerged. She bowed several times, and
ended by blowing a kiss to the company — which was heard
by all present.

i^o Eusapia Palladino

The face of a man, with large head and strong shoulders,
then made its appearance between the curtains. It was en-
veloped in white drapery, but the rosy tint of its skin could
be distinctly seen, and a black beard was visible also. It
remained visible about a minute, then disappeared behind the
cabinet curtains.

At this juncture the medium began calling out plaintive-
ly that the ropes were hurting her, and Professor Morselli,
going into the cabinet, found her securely tied as at first.
He unfastened her wrists, leaving her still tied by the waist
and ankles, and resumed his seat.

Several forms then issued from the cabinet, in turn; but
soon plaintive cries were again heard from the cabinet; and
Professor Morselli, entering at Eusapia's request, found that
the medium had been tied afresh, at the wrists, and fastened
to the two side boards of the bed, by means of many turns
of cord, which terminated in knots much more numerous
and tighter than those which were made by Professor Mor-
selli at the beginning of the seance.

She was again untied and several more forms issued from
the cabinet — one that of a young woman carrying a child,
which repeatedly kissed her. Finally, it became necessary
to untie the medium, on account of her increasing complaints.
Her breathing was difficult, and her pulse rapid and strong.
She appeared to be tired and suffering. It is of interest to
note in this connection that the form carrying the child was
recognized to be the host's grandmother. She wore a pecu-
liar lace cap, characteristic of her in life.

One of the most remarkable and striking peculiarities of
the seance was that the forms remained visible for some
considerable time in bright gaslight — light sufficiently good,
as Professor Morselli ascertained, to read a newspaper by.

Eusapia Palladino 151

This seems to show us that, when the medium is genuine
and the force is strong, no reasonable amount of h'ght will
impede the manifestations.

Commenting on these seances, Dr. Venzano comes to the
conclusion that the spiritistic hypothesis is the only one
capable of explaining the facts in a reasonable way. He

"In the greater number of the materialized forms per-
ceived by us either by sight, contact, or hearing, we were
able to recognize points of resemblance to deceased persons,
generally our relatives, unknown to the medium and known
only to those present who were concerned with the phe-



Bearing in mind the results of previous investigators —
particularly the reports more recently issued by eminent
scientific men in Europe, it became imperative for the Society
for Psychical Research, in spite of the past negative results
of the Cambridge experiments, to reconsider the question of
Eusapia's mediumship. The decision was reached in the
following way:

In October and November of igo8, I found myself in
London on other business, and while discussing with Miss
Alice Johnson various matters connected with the work of
the S. P. R., and my desire to hold seances with Eusapia
Palladino, she suggested that it might be desirable for me
to go for the English Society, and render them a report of
the phenomena observed. I acquiesced in this, and said I
should be glad to go, if the matter could be arranged. The
Hon. Everard Feilding — second son of Lord Denbigh — ■
Hon. Secretary of the Society, who had previously obtained
seances with Eusapia in Paris, said that he would be glad
to go also, and share in the investigation. The matter hav-
ing been decided, we left London on different days, traveled
by different routes, and met in Naples on the afternoon of
November ig, igo8.

At the conclusion of the second seance, we were so im-
pressed by the phenomena we had observed that we wired to
England, giving the officials of the S. P. R. a brief account


Eusapia Palladino 153

of the phenomena witnessed, and asking for additional help,
in order the more successfully to control the medium. We
had hoped that either Mr. Podmore or Miss Alice Johnson
would be able to come, but in this we were disappointed,
neither of them being able to leave London at the time, but
we were joined after the fourth seance by Mr. W. W.
Baggally — a member of the Council of the English S. P. R.,
who is himself an expert conjurer, and thoroughly well ac-
quainted not only with the past history of all the important
mediums since Home, but with their methods of trickery.
And just here let me give a brief sketch of the personnel of
the three investigators {i.e., the two gentlemen above men-
tioned and myself) who formed the committee of inquiry
for these seances.

Mr. Baggally, as I have said, is himself an amateur con-
jurer and is exceptionally well posted on all the tricks and
devices resorted to by fraudulent mediums. Most of them
he can perform himself. He has been constantly investi-
gating the subject for more than thirty-five years, and dur-
ing all this time he had never witnessed a single genuine
physical phenomenon — with the exception, perhaps, of a few
occurring at a previous seance of Eusapia's which he had at-
tended some years before. Throughout his investigations,
he had invariably detected fraud and nothing but fraud. I
think it is safe to say, therefore, that a man of his caliber,
armed as he was with this past knowledge of medium's his-
tories, and their methods, would not be likely to be taken in
by a few simple tricks, such as the substitution of hands or
feet, which Eusapia occasionally practises!

Mr. Feilding, in his position of Honorary Secretary for
the Society, is constantly investigating cases of all kinds, and
delights especially in running down cases of poltergeists,

154 Eusapia Palladino

physical phenomena, etc. He has an excellent and keen judg-
ment in all such investigations. He has been engaged in this
work on and off for some ten years, but during all that time
he had never seen one physical phenomenon which appeared
to him to be conclusively proved — with the exception, per-
haps, of certain phenomena which, again, had occurred in
Eusapia's presence, at a previous seance attended by him
in Paris. We may well suppose, therefore, that Mr. Feild-
ing, also, was quite enabled to detect fraud, had such existed,
and was not at all likely to be taken in by the simple process
of substitution which he, in common with all of us, well
knew existed.

As for myself, I can but say that, during ten years con-
tinued investigations of the physical phenomena of spirit-
ualism, during which period I have sat many score, if not
hundreds of times, with mediums, and traveled many hun-
dreds of miles in order to see genuine physical phenomena,
if such existed — I had invariably been disappointed, and un-
til I had attended my first seance with Eusapia, had never
seen one single manifestation of the physical order which
I could consider genuine. On the contrary, I had always
detected fraud, and, being an amateur conjurer myself, was
enabled in nearly every instance to detect the modus operandi
of the trick, usually the first time I saw it. In my Physical
Phenomena of Spiritualism, I devoted more than three hun-
dred pages to the psychology of deception, and to a detailed
exposure of the tricks and devices of fraudulent medium-

* In reviewing my book for the Proceedings of the English S. P. R., Count
Perovsky-Petrovo-Solovovo said:

Mr. Carrington seems to have quite an extraordinary knowledge of conjuring
and pseudo-mediumistic tricks, and throughout the four hundred pages of his
book he almost unceasingly opens up in this direction such vistas, that the

Eusapia Palladino 155

Taking it all In all, therefore, we felt that our committee
— composed as it was of skeptical investigators — and of
skeptics, moreover, who were particularly qualified to ex-
pose trickery of the nature usually practised — wc felt that,
if trickery were practised to any great extent, we should de-
tect it; and I think the detailed reports of our sittings will
indicate that we took all due precautions to guard against
substitution of hands and of feet, and to convince, not only
ourselves, but the outside world also, that her hands and
feet were not at liberty during the production of these phe-
nomena, and that they were not produced by any normal
means. This, however, the reader must judge for himself,
when he comes to the records of the seances.

It will be obvious to the careful student of the preceding
records that there are two fundamentally weak points, which,
in spite of the evidential value of some of the sittings, must
be said to weaken them tremendously in the eyes of the pub-
lic. It is improbable that any seances will be held in the
future more striking than some of those already held, and
yet, in spite of their tremendously strong character, it is
certain that they have failed to carry conviction to all care-
ful students of the reports — though I feel they should have
done so — largely because of these two weak points. They
are (1) that the amount of light, on any one occasion, was
not as a rule specifically stated; and (2) the exact position
of each hand and each foot of the medium w^as not fully ac-
counted for, when any special phenomenon took place. Thus,
it is quite inadequate to say that "the medium was securely

uninitiated reader's breath is simply taken away. ... As an exposcr of con-
juring and 'mediumistic' devices he in my opinion stands unsurpassed, and
there can be no doubt that his volume has dealt professional mediumship a most
sensible, I should perhaps say a crushing, blow."

156 Eusapia Palladino

held," or that "there was no possibility of trickery" on any
special occasion — when remarkable phenomena were in
progress. We want to know just hozv and where each hand
and each foot was during that crucial moment; who was
holding it, and how. In other words, as I have pointed out
before, we do not want the investigator's opinion that such
and such a phenomenon was genuine ; we want the facts and
the data which will allow us to form our own opinions as
to whether the normal production of the phenomenon was pos-
sible or not. It is inconclusive to say that an object "at some
distance from the medium" moved of its own accord. What
we want to know is exactly how many feet and inches away
the object was; and, having these facts before us, we should
be in a position to know or judge whether it was impossible
for the object to have been moved or not. This judgment
may be wrong. We may conclude that it was possible for
the medium to have moved the object, whereas, as a matter
of fact, it was not possible, and this might have been obvious
to the members of the circle. But so long as the printed
evidence does not prove its impossibility, the skeptical world
will never be convinced. I have no doubt whatever that
every impartial investigator, who sits with Eusapia, becomes
convinced of the reality of at least some of the phenomena;
but all the world cannot obtain personal sittings. They
must judge by the printed reports; and so long as that is
the case, the reports of the sittings must be made to read
convincingly. And in order to read convincingly, it is neces-
sary, first and foremost, to have a strict account of the exact
position of each hand and foot of Eusapia, during each
minute of the seance — certainly at the moment when any
important occurrence is happening. Such a record can only
be made by keeping an exact stenographic account of the

Eusapla Palladino 157

position of the hands and feet ; and this must be made during
the sitting — while it is actually in progress — and it is useless
for evidential purposes to attempt this account after the
seance has terminated. A precise contemporary record is
therefore necessary — giving these exact details from moment
to moment.

Feeling the force of these arguments strongly, then, we
determined that our seances should not be vitiated by the
same weaknesses that had impaired those of our predecessors
in this field, and we accordingly organized our control, and
the manner of dictating it. We arranged a series of lights
of varying intensities, in the center of the room, and de-
scribed exactly what we could see in each case. This will
be found described in detail in the sittings. We also dic-
tated to the stenographer, sitting at another table, the exact
position of each hand and each foot during the production of
every piienomenon.^ This will also be found in the record of
sittings. It will be seen tliat this method of accounting for
each hand and each foot precluded all possibility of decep-
tion ; since, if both hands and both feet are accounted for,
it is obvious that the medium could not have produced any
of the observed phenomena — unless some third hand pro-
duced them — or some means equally supernormal.

Our own seances at Naples were held in the middle room
of our suite at the Hotel Victoria. The three members of
the committee occupied three adjoining rooms — Mr. Baggally
the one on the extreme left, Mr. Feilding the one in the
middle, myself the room on the extreme right. These three
rooms were all connected by double doors, which were usually

' The extracts that follow are all drawn from our official Report on Eusapia
Palladino's mediumship, which appeared in the Proceedings of the English
Society for Psychical Research, Vol, XXIII, Part LIX.

1^8 Eusapia Palladino

left open, but were closed during the seance. All these
doors, particularly those leading into the public hall, were
securely locked and bolted before each seance, and we tied
the door handles together by means of white tape, when the
doors could not be bolted from the inside. The windows,
one in each room, led on to a small balcony, which looked
on to the street, five flights below. These small balconies
were not connected, and it would have been an utter im-
possibility for anyone to have climbed from one room to
another, and so into the seance room through the window.
The windows were, moreover, closed, bolted, and shuttered.
I need scarcely add that we made a careful examination of
the cabinet, the instruments, the table, and seance room
before and after each sitting. The instruments used
were in all cases our own, bought by us at various shops
in Naples.

We constructed a cabinet by hanging two light, black
curtains across one corner of the room, forming a triangular
space about three feet deep — the curtains extending up seven
or eight feet from the floor. Directly in front of the open-
ing in the curtains we placed Eusapia's chair, and again in
front of her, the seance table. The controllers occupied
positions on either side of the table, as close to Eusapia as

The walls and the floor of the seance room were of stone
and plaster, no wood being used in their construction. This
caused us some annoyance, since when, later on, we desired
to fasten the small table to the floor by means of staples,
we found it extremely difficult to do so, and had to drive
these into the woodwork, on the one hand, of the door lead-
ing from one room into the other, and on the other side,
into the window frame!

Eusapia Palladino




B'i ROOf^

E-P. -^
A B -



C'i Room



And now as to the control of Eusapia's hands and feet.
It is obvious that it is desirable to encircle the ivhole of the
medium's hands, whenever possible, and it is hard for the
absent critic to see why this should not be done. Before
we had our own seances, we could not see why previous
sitters had not insisted on this more strongly than they ap-
peared to have done. The fact of the matter is that Eusapia
herself has a good deal to say as to the manner m which her
hands shall be held, and her feet also. We do not mean
by this that she always insists on her hands being held in

i6o Eusapia Palladino

such a manner that substitution is thereby rendered possible,
for she would allow one of her hands to be held in her lap
and the other on the table. She does, however, frequently
object to a complete and rigid encircling of her hands by
those of the sitter, and, in reply to our protest, explained to
us first, that if the hands of the sitter are moist or clammy,
she cannot bear them to touch her during the trance state —
though she does not particularly object to this when she is
normal, and secondly that the backs of both her hands, and
the insteps of both her feet (especially the left hand and
left foot) become extremely hyperaesthetic during the condi-
tion of semitrance when the slightest pressure occasions her
acute discomfort. We have frequently seen Eusapia wince
under a pressure of the hand that would not affect her in
the least in the normal state ; and we came ultimately to the
conclusion that this hyperassthesia is genuine, and is not mere
affectation, for the purpose of getting the hand free to pro-
duce phenomena. One may hold the hand and wrist as
firmly as one likes, provided the tender spots are not touched,
and she does not object in the least. It is for this reason,
therefore, that the entire hand of Eusapia is not completely
encircled by the hands of the controllers more often tha:i
it is ; but the control is generally quite as good as if it were^ —
while, when her two hands are situated far from one an-
other, on different corners of the table, or one on the tabic
and the other in her lap, it must obviously be regarded as
quite secure.

We may state, then, that, save on a few occasions, which
will be found described fully in the shorthand notes, the con-
trol of the medium's hands and feet (and particularly of her
hands) was a far easier matter than we had anticipated.
During the greater part of many of the sittings, there was

Eusapia Palladino i6i

so much light that we could clearly see both her hands on
the table before us; and as at such times it was perfectly
easy to follow every movement of them, we ourselves should
have been content not to hold them at all. But for the sake
of the public, and in order to be able to say that we had
done so, we carefully controlled each hand, nevertheless, and
recorded this control, as will be found in the notes. When

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Online LibraryHereward CarringtonEusapia Palladino and her phenomena → online text (page 13 of 27)