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experiment were as follows:

"C. My right hand is under the table, firmly holding
the medium's left hand.

"F. I have hold of her right hand continuously in her

"C. Medium holds my right hand firmly.

"F. The medium kicks with her right foot violently
on mine.

"C. She kicks with her left foot also.

"C. Her left hand raises my right hand toward the cur-

'T. Objects in the cabinet rattle on the table.

"F. Medium asks me to put my left arm on her shoulder.
Her right arm is around my neck.

"C. With her left hand medium is holding my right hand
on the table.

"C. Objects in the cabinet fall over on the table. She
grasped my right hand firmly in her left hand at the time
this was going on and pressed on my right foot with her left

"F. I held her right hand on the table with my left and
the tips of both her feet under the table with my right hand.

1176 Eusapia Palladino

"C. My left hand holds her head. I am holding her
left hand in my right."

Immediately after this, the small table, which had been
placed in the cabinet, and upon which rested the various
musical instruments, climbed up of its own accord on to the
seance table. It came up, remaining behind the curtains, so
that it was invisible. Several objects remained on the sur-
face of the table — kept there by the pressure of the curtain
above them. It came up at an angle of about forty-five de-
grees, and, while it was endeavoring to clamber up on the
seance table by a series of jerks, I placed my hand and elbow
upon its surface and pressed downward in an attempt to
force it to the floor. I experienced a peculiar elastic resist-
ance, however, as though the table were strung on rubber
bands and was unable to force it downward. I continued
this struggle for several seconds, then yielded and allowed the
table to clamber on to our seance table, which it almost suc-
ceeded in doing. While this was happening, we verified,
several times, that our control of head, hands, elbows,' feet,
and knees was secure.

At 11.44 w^ experienced for the first time a touch by
an apparently human hand. This was in reply to a request.
F. had said, 'John, will you touch me?' He was imme-
diately touched on the left forearm as though by a hand.
He verified at that moment that he was holding the medium's
right hand in his, while I verified that I was holding her
left hand. Her head was clearly visible."

Following this, we experienced a series of touches, which
we recorded as follows:

"F. asks John to touch C.

"C. I am touched through the curtain on my right arm.

Eusapla Palladino 177

Her hand is holding mine on top of the table. I could
see her face.

"F. I could see her right hand in mine, and her face.

"11.49. F. asks whether John can touch C. on his head.
The medium asks F. to rest his head against hers.

"F. Our two heads are touching.

"C. I am touched on the head by a hand through the
curtain. While this was going on, the medium held my hand
in hers, and I could feel her forearm, with my arm pressed
against it. The distance between her hand and the touch
was about two feet.

"F. Her head was resting against mine. Her right hand
was in mine.

"C. The curtain blows right out over the table,"

At this point the medium asked that her feet might
be untied, as they were hurting her. [Up to this point they
had remained securely tied with rope to our chair legs.]

F. stooped down to untie the rope on his side, and at the
moment he was doing so I saw a square black object come
out from the cabinet to within a few inches of my face and
instantly recede into the curtains again. This square ob-
ject somewhat resembled a head in outline — although it was
exceptionally square and rather small. It appeared to be
attached to a long neck. Eusapia's left hand was held in
mine and her body and head appeared to be motionless. As,
however, her right hand was unaccounted for, since F. had
released it in order to untie her feet, we had to discount the
evidential value of this phenomenon. F, stated, however,
that he looked up immediately I cried out, on seeing the face,
and saw Eusapia's right hand and arm resting quietly, partly
on the table and partly on his own shoulder.

The cabinet curtains had remained drawn to one side, and,
leaning sideways on my chair, I was enabled to see into the

178 Eusapla Palladino

cabinet. While doing so, I perceived that the small round
table (which had fallen backward, after its attempt to climb
up on the seance table, and was now lying prone upon the
floor) seemed to be endowed with life and commenced to
move about upon the floor of its own accord. I watched the
movements for sometime, pausing to ascertain that Eusapia's
feet, knees, and hands were securely held in F.'s hands and
mine, and again saw the table moving at some distance from
everybody. It moved about a foot.

Eusapia now pressed F.'s hand three times, and three noises
in the cabinet were heard, corresponding to these squeezes.
The noises appeared to issue from the tambourine, whose
cymbals were heard to rattle.

I have said that the small table was lying across the cabi-
net floor. In the corner rested our guitar, standing upside
down, where it had fallen from the small table when the
latter was forcibly extracted from the cabinet. In this posi-
tion, it will be seen, the small table formed an effectual de-
fense, or barrier, as it were — some eighteen inches high, be-
tween Eusapia's feet and the guitar in the corner. In order
to reach the guitar, moreover, she would have had to lift
her foot, pass it between the opening in the curtains, over
the table, and touch the strings of the guitar. When I say,
moreover, that both the medium's feet were securely held,
and that there was a clearly lighted patch of carpet of about
a foot between her skirt and the cabinet curtains, it will be
obvious that her feet had nothing to do with the following

The medium was standing up, out.ide the cabinet, her
hands held in ours. She took one of F.'s hands in hers, and
rapped upon it three times with the other. Exactly corre-
sponding with the first two raps, raps were heard on the

Eusapia Palladino 179

wood of the small table in the cabinet, and corresponding
with the third tap, one string of the guitar was played. The
medium had had no opportunity to touch this instrument be-
fore, and we regarded this phenomenon as one obtained under
excellent test conditions.

At the conclusion of the seance a rather amusing incident
occurred. The medium had said that she was tired, and
asked John if the seance might terminate. John replied,
"No! No!" by means of raps upon the table. The medium
said, "Say yes, John, please," but John again rapped, "No!
No!" The curtains of the cabinet were then gently parted,
as if by invisible hands, and the next minute four complete
levitations of the table took place, following one another in-
stantaneously. This took place when both hands and both
feet of the medium were well held — her hands being clearly
visible about six inches above the table. After this, Eusapia
again asked "John" if the seance might end, and this time
he rapped three times for "yes."


The first two seances had afforded us ample opportunity
to assure ourselves that the phenomena were real, and had
indicated several weak points in the management of the
seance — partly in the manner of dictating the stenographic
record, but chiefly as to the arrangement of the lights.

For our third seance, we had, accordingly, arranged in
tlie same position as the single burner at the previous seances,
a cluster of four electric lights. The current varied through
110, 150, 220, and 240 volts. These lamps are referred to
throughout the shorthand notes as Numbers I, 2, 3, and 4,
respectively. No. i was a bright white light, sufl!iciently

i8o Eusapia Palladino

clear to enable us to read small print with ease; No. 2 a
feeble white light, but enabling us to see across the room
various articles of furniture, etc. ; No. 3 was a bright red
light, really as intense as No. 2, and we had to shade this
later with tissue paper and a silk handkerchief, since the rays
were very penetrating ; No. 4 was a feeble red light, enabling
us only to see the white of the medium's head and hands,
and in order to detect the texture of the skin, etc., we had to
hold them within a few inches of our eyes. The stenographer
was provided with a separate red lamp of his own, so as to
throw no light into any part of the room — the rays being
directed downward on to his notebook.

In order to test, further, the phenomena of levitation, we
had had constructed, in wood, a piece of apparatus, which we
styled "the stocks." [See accompanying figure.] This con-
sisted of two square, tapering cubes, into which were set the
legs of the table. These tubes were fastened to a board, and
this board was held to the floor by our feet, which were
placed upon it, and by the legs of our chairs, which also rested
upon this board. It will be seen, therefore, that the medium
could no longer raise the table by means of her feet, since she
could not touch the table legs nearest to her in any way.
She was also prevented from levitating the table with her
knees by the board which joined these two tubes at the upper
extremity. The table could rock and sway, therefore, with
more or less freedom, and could, of course, be levitated with
perfect ease.

The seance commenced about 9.50, and considerable time
elapsed without any important phenomena taking place. The
lights were successively lowered through Nos. i, 2, 3, and 4.
After about fifteen minutes the curtain commenced blowing
out, and at 10.10 an incident occurred which shows us how

Eusapia Palladino


this power may be communicated from the medium to one of
her sitters when she chooses to impart it. Thus:

"F. She asked me to make a motion toward the curtain
with my hand, free, I did so, and the curtain moved. She
then took hold of my wrist and the curtain came out and
touched me."

Position I

At 10.32 we detected a substitution of hands, which was
the first attempt at fraud that the medium had made, and,
I feel sure, with one possible exception, during the ninth
seance, that it was the last. The lights had been successively
lowered, until almost complete darkness resulted — this being
very different from our first two seances, where all our best
phenomena had been obtained in bright light. Moreover,
instead of holding our hands upon the table, the medium
insisted in holding them beneath it — upon the board of
the stocks — still farther in the shadow. Our record of the
incident reads as follows:

"10.32. F. The medium makes three gestures with the
right hand and nothing happens.

"C. The curtain blows out on the table.

"F. For the first time the right-hand curtain blows out
on the table.

182 Eusapia Palladino '

"C. My left hand was not properly held, and I am per-
fectly certain that there was a substitution of hands.

"F, explains to the medium that the control was not good."

I think that this detection of fraud, instead of tending to
disprove the reality of the phenomena, is the strongest pos-
sible argument we could have that the majority of them
were genuine, and this for two reasons: In the first place, the
character of the resultant phenomena was entirely different
from those which we had seen before and those which we
saw later. Whereas, in the other instances, the curtain had
merely bulged out, as though blown by a wind from within
— in this particular instance the curtain came out with a
swish and the lower end of it landed on the seance table.
Nothing like it ever happened before or after.

Secondly, the whole process was easily perceived by me,
on whose side it occurred, I saw the medium effect the
well-known substitution of hands, release the right hand and
arm, place it behind her into the cabinet, catch hold of the cur-
tain on that side and throw it out over the table. Imme-
diately she resorted to fraud — it will be observed — we de-
tected it, and this is one very strong argument, it seems to
me, that we should have detected it on other occasions also
had she resorted to it. When we told Eusapia that the con-
trol of her hands was not good — intimating to her that she
had practiced fraud, she immediately admitted that the con-
trol had not been satisfactory and replaced her hands in
ours, allowing for the rest of that seance, and thence-
forward, perfect control to be exercised and did not again at-
tempt fraud at any of the ensuing seances.

It seems probable to me that Eusapia attempted fraud on
this occasion in order to test our credulity, and to see if we
could be deceived by it. It must be remembered that a

Eusapia Palladino 183

genuine seance is exceedingly exhausting to Eusapia, and
if she could have succeeded in producing fraudulent phe-
nomena, and in duping us into thinking that they were
genuine, she would have saved herself this outlay of nervous
energy and yet receive her pay for the seances as usual! I
fcelieve, therefore, that this phenomenon was merely to test
us, and to see if she could rely upon deceiving us during
the future seances. Finding that she could not, she made
up her mind that to attempt fraud was useless, and thence-
forth consented to our most rigorous control and made
no further attempt to produce phenomena by fraudulent

Repeatedly, after this, the medium asked us to verify the
fact that her hands and feet were securely held, and generally
warned us in advance, so that we could make sure of their
exact position before any phenomenon. Thus, at 10.52 the
medium said :

"Look out! I feel that something is going to happen!"

She pressed vigorously on my foot and immediately after-
wards we obtained our first complete levitation of the table
that evening. The medium was holding my left hand in her
right hand on her right knee, and F.'s right hand was held by
her left hand on her left knee. We each felt a complete
hand and assured ourselves that there was no question of
substitution. F., at the moment of the production of the
phenomenon, saw something which he described as "a filmy
black thing" shoot out from her body and touch the table
immediately before the levitation.

To the skeptic this would suggest that some mechanical
device was employed by Eusapia in order to effect the levi-
tation. We frequently ascertained, however, that such was
not the case. Not only could we see a clear space between her

184 Eusapia Palladino

body and the table, but we frequently passed our hands be-
tween them during the actual levltation, in a number of in-
stances. We have to conclude, then, it seems to me, that this
filmy black substance was some supernormal prolongation,
and was not a mechanical appliance as might be imagined at
first sight.

A few minutes after this, I was pulled by a hand through
the curtains of the cabinet, and the medium called our at-
tention to a black shadow, which, however, we did not see.
This fact is interesting, since it shows us how little expec-
tancy and suggestion can succeed in producing hallucinations
during these sittings. So far as I can remember, this is al-
most the only instance where Eusapia directly suggested to
us that a form was to be seen in a certain direction — and we
failed to see it!

At 10,59 I heard something moving in the cabinet, which
I described as a sound similar to that made by a small kitten
romping about. Nothing, however, resulted immediately.
At 11.06 the medium asked M., the stenographer, to change
places with me. He accordingly assumed control of her right
side, while F. went under the table and held her ankles in
his hands. On my side I was holding the medium's left
hand on her left thigh, my hand entirely encircling hers.
Under these conditions of control, we obtained a complete
levitation of the table of about eight inches. A minute later,
we obtained a second levitation, which, however, we had
largely to discount for evidential purposes — inasmuch as the
medium had asked to rest and we were more or less ofif
our guard. Personally we were convinced that she did not
produce the levitation by fraudulent means, but we would
not attempt to convince others on evidence itself inconclu-
sive. At this point M. resumed his position at his table,

Eusapia Palladino 185

made notes of what had occurred, while F. assumed control

of the right side.

11.35. Medium's hands tied to ours with rope.

At 11.45, after a series of curtain phenomena and lesser

Position II



manifestations, the following interesting series of events took
place, the account of which I quote from the detailed record :

"C. The tambourine in the cabinet rattles after three
distinct movements. While that was going on, I was hold-
ing medium's left hand over the table with my right.

"Medium says: 'Oh, la! la! la!' several times, and then
suddenly the table in the cabinet falls over and the things
on it fall to the floor with a crash. Tambourine strikes
several times.

"F. She was holding my right hand all the time.

"C. Touched on my right arm. Medium holds my right
hand in her left all the time. Her left foot pressing on my
right foot.

"C. Touched again on my right arm. She presses four
times strongly with her finger on my hand.

"F. Her right foot on mine all the time, and kicking
about, her right hand pressing on mine.

"C. Medium presses her left foot on my right. Loud
noises in the cabinet, as though objects were moving about

i86 Eusapla Palladino


'F. She is kicking about under the table with her right

[The above series of phenomena took place so rapidly,
like a kind of feu de joie, that it was difficult to describe the
control throughout. The final description of the foot con-
trol, when one foot was stationary, while the other moved
about, seems to make it clear that two separate feet were

Immediately after these phenomena, a complete levitation
of the table occurred.

At 11.50 another series of remarkable phenomena oc-
curred, the account of which I again quote from the original
record :

"Gestures made toward the cabinet, followed by movements
of instruments inside the cabinet.

"Medium tells F. to make gestures with his free hand and
noises inside the cabinet follow them irregularly.

"C. Small table is coming out from under the curtain
on my right, legs first. One leg of the table has climbed up
on to my chair. [Here again the phenomena followed so
quickly that a description of the control was impossible. We
can only say that it seemed adequate at the time.]

"Light No. 4.

"M. I can see everything very clearly.

"F. So can I.

"C. So can I.

"Noises again follow gestures made by F.

"C. The small table attempts to climb on to the seance
table and falls back.

"M. I can see all the hands over and away from the
table and her feet.

"Things in the cabinet move about violently and with
great commotion.

"F. Feet are all right. [That is, securely held.]

"11.51. C. In good light I can see the small table mov-
ing toward me, the result of my making movements toward

Eusapia Palladfno 187

it with my right hand. The medium's left hand holding my
right hand and clearly visible. She is pressing on my right
foot with her left foot.

"F. Her right foot firmly fixed on mine. I have just
verified with my hand the division of her toes.

"Medium asked C. to lift up the small table and put it
upright. [The small table now stands completely out of the

"11.53. Complete levitation of the small table.

"C. My right hand being on the surface, her left hand
being upon mine, her left foot pressing strongly on mine.

"The table is raised about a foot in the air.

"F. Her right foot is pressing on mine.

"11.57 P. M. C. She puts her left hand on my right,
which rests flat on the top of the small table and the table
again rises a foot in the air. Her foot is still strongly press-
ing on my right.

"F. Her right foot is still pressing on mine; her right
hand is visible close to me, in mine.

"C. I now ascertain that there is no string or connection
between the medium and the small table. The distance be-
tween the small table and the dress of the medium appears to
me to be about a foot."

Soon after this the medium made several movements of
her hand above the table, which rocked to and fro in re-
sponse to her motions. Finally, a complete levitation re-
sulted, the small table rising to a height of about a foot.

During these latter phenomena, I had not been perfectly
satisfied with the control of the foot on my side, not feel-
ing the whole of the foot, as I did usually. We explained
to her that the control had not been considered perfect, and
that we were not altogether satisfied. As a matter of fact,
and as the result of added experience, I now think that these
phenomena were probably genuine, but I was naturally skep-
tical at the time, after only three seances — at one of which

1 88 Eusapia Palladino

we had detected fraud. I was, therefore, In a hypercritical
frame of mind and undesirous of accepting any phenomenon
not produced under absolutely test conditions. Immediately
we told Eusapia that our control had not been good, she
said, "Let us repeat It, then," and resumed her place at the
table, asking us to control her as before. I regret to say
that in spite of our waiting sometime no additional move-
ments of the small table took place.


After our third seance Eusapia informed us that we must
provide a larger circle if we wished to see the more striking
phenomena — since two of us were not enough to supply the
necessary "current." She asked that a friend of hers, a M.
De Santis, and two other friends might be present — who
would sit outside the circle and act merely as spectators. To
this we agreed, feeling that, although we might thereby
sacrifice certain scientific control of the seance, we might on
the other hand obtain more decisive proof than any so far
furnished. We also invited to this seance Professors Bot-
tazzi and Galeotti, Professors of Physiology and Pathology,
respectively, of the University of Naples, who had previously
studied her.

We had ascertained In the interval between the third and
fourth seances that, if Eusapia managed to free one hand,
she could have produced levltatlons of the table by fraudu-
lent means. In spite of our stocks apparatus — in this manner :
If Eusapia could free one hand and Insert it beneath the edge
of the table, an upward pull would succeed In levitating the
table, for the reason that the two front legs, i.e., those nearest
to her, would be balanced and controlled by the front edge

Eusapia Palladino 189

of the stocks — against which it would scrape in its upward
journey. Provided Eusapia could introduce one hand be-
neath the edge of the table, therefore, it became easier for
Eusapia to levitate the table with the stocks than without
them ! A hook, attached to a strap, passing around her
shoulders, would have the same effect. If the hook were in-
troduced beneath the table and the medium half rose in her
chair, it would be possible to lift the table off the ground,
while both her hands and both feet were securely held.
Because of the facilities afforded, therefore, and partly on
account of Eusapia's antagonism to the apparatus, we dis-
continued its use after this seance, preferring to obtain levi-
tations without rather than with it. But on this occasion
we wished to obtain levitations while the stocks apparatus
was in place. We accordingly left the apparatus as it was
before, and around the under edges of the table we pasted
newspaper, reaching down as far as the transverse board of
the stocks, across the front and the two sides, so that had a
hand, a hook, or any similar instrument been introduced be-
neath the table, it would immediately have torn the paper.
We felt convinced that if we obtained phenomena under such
conditions, trickery would be excluded. We afterwards as-
certained, however, that even in spite of all these precautions,
the table could still be fraudulently levitated, provided one
hand were free! This could not be accomplished without the
apparatus and we accordingly agreed to discontinue its use.

To return, however, to the fourth seance, which com-
menced at 9.30 P.M. on the evening of November 29, 1908.

No phenomena of importance occurred for fully half an
hour, when the first manifestation took place. This was a
complete levitation of the table, which occurred in spite of

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Online LibraryHereward CarringtonEusapia Palladino and her phenomena → online text (page 15 of 27)