Hereward Carrington.

Eusapia Palladino and her phenomena online

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forehead — her nose and mouth, as well as our own, still be-
ing well covered. The flag blew out several times, and then
out so forcibly that it turned completely over and wrapped
itself once round the flagstaff, to which it was attached!
The objective nature of this breeze was thus established —
though a thermometer held to her head failed to record any
lowering of temperature.

2o6 Eusapia Palladino

At the conclusion of the sixth seance, we asked the medium
if we might search her. She at once consented, and pro-
ceeded to take off her clothes one by one and hand them to
us for examination. There was certainly no slit or other
contrivance in the skirt or in the bodice, and we also exam-
ined her petticoats and other undergarments and felt over
her body with our hands through the few remaining clothes.
So far as we could discover, nothing was concealed about
her person or her clothes.

I quote the following extract from Mr. Feilding's Note,
made the day after the seance, since it expresses, more or
less, the view of all of us who participated in these seances.
He says in part:

"After the sixth seance, for the first time I find that my
mind, from which the stream of events had hitherto run off
like rain from a mackintosh, is at last beginning to be capable
of absorbing them. For the first time I have absolute con-
viction that our observation is not mistaken. I realize as an
appreciable fact in life that, from an empty curtain, I have
seen hands and heads come forth, and that from behind that
empty curtain I have been seized by living fingers, the ex-
istence and position of the very nails of which were percep-
tible. I have seen this extraordinary woman sitting outside
the curtain, held hand and foot, visible to myself, by my
colleagues, immobile, except for the occasional straining of a
limb, while some entity within the curtain has over and over
again pressed my hand in a position clearly beyond her reach.
I refuse to entertain the possibility of a doubt about it, or
that we were the victims of an hallucination. I appreciate
exactly the fact that ninety-nine people out of a hundred will
refuse to entertain the possibility of a doubt that it could be
anything else, and, remembering my own belief of a very
short time ago, I shall not be able to complain, though I shall
unquestionably be annoyed when I find that to be the case.
, . . Since writing the above, I have read the notes of C. and

Eusapia Palladino 207

B. The former has apparently submitted with the same
completeness as myself to the evidence of facts. B., who is
evidently passing through the same stages as I did in my
earlier seances, toys with the suggestion of an apparatus, by
way of easing his mind. It would be an interesting problem
to set before a manufacturer of conjuring machines to de-
vise an apparatus capable of producing alternately a black,
flat, profile face, a square face on a long neck, and a 'cello-
like face on a warty, knobby body, two feet long. Also a
white hand with movable fingers, a yellowish hand, and a
hand invisible altogether — all these for use outside the cur-
tain. Further, for use within, a hand with a practicable
living thumb, and fingers having nails, capable of reaching
high above the medium's head, of patting, hitting, and pulling
hair, and of so vigorously grasping B. by the coat as to up-
set him into the cabinet. Our manufacturer must so con-
struct the apparatus that it can be actuated, unseen by a
somewhat stout and elderly lady, clad in a tight, plain gown,
who sits outside the curtain, held visibly by hand and foot,
in such a way as to escape the observation of two practical
conjurers, clinging about her, and on the lookout for its
operation. It must further be of such dimensions as to be
concealed about the lady, while parading herself for inspection
upon a chair clad in her stays and a short flannel petticoat,
and it must have the property of penetrating matter suffi-
ciently well to be able to emerge from its hiding place, either
through the two plain skirts (apart from the flannel petti-
coat) and through a close bodice, with a waist belt so tight
that I cannot get my finger in, making no mention of the


Our seventh seance occurred on the evening of Decem-
ber 7th. Finding that there was a tendency on the part
of "the powers that be" to upset the table in the cabinet when
bringing it on to the seance table, thereby turning all the


Eusapla Palladino

musical instruments upon it over on to the floor, we secured
the table firmly by means of rope fastened to staples,
driven into the floor, in such a manner that it could not be
lifted except by the exertion of an immense force, which
would either snap the rope or pull the iron staples out "by
the roots."

Po5fTiON I

Soon after the seance began a phenomenon occurred which
has frequently been observed by others, viz: the blowing out
of her skirt, as though by a strong air current from within.
The skirt slowly bulged out six or eight inches. All of us,
including Eusapia, watched it with considerable interest. I
asked Eusapia if I might touch this. She replied "yes." I
put my hands down, and felt that there was no solid substance
under the skirt, causing it to inflate in this manner. We
ascertained with our hands and with our eyes that Eusapia's
feet were both securely held, and that they were not produc-
ing this bulging movement. With her permission we then
turned back her skirts, examined the leg as far as the knee,
and the skirt and petticoats beneath it. We found no
mechanism, and no piece of apparatus, the operation of which
could in any way account for the facts. We let the dress


Eusapia Palladino


fall again and it immediately began to inflate as before. Eu-
sapia then told Mr. Feilding to sit between the light and her
skirt, so as to throw it into shadow, when, she said, the
bulging would become stronger. This incident is interesting,
serving as it does to indicate the influence of light upon the
production of the phenomena. These swellings continued
for some minutes, becoming stronger and stronger, and finally
dying away.

Position U


Shortly after 10 P.M. I exchanged places with Mr.
Baggally, who retained control of the right side throughout
the remainder of the seance. Various minor phenomena oc-
curred during the first hour, including tilts of the table of
a remarkable character, curtain phenomena, and movements
of a small stool outside the cabinet without apparent cause.
White objects also appeared over her head and shoulder,
and were perceived by us — the control being perfect. The
small stool came farther out into the seance room, and con-
tinued to move, visibly, in response to waves of her hand in
the air above it.

At 1 1. 01 Eusapia nodded her head four times in the direc-
tion of the table, but without touching it. Exactly corre-

210 Eusapla Palladino

spending with each nod, four tremendous bangs, as though
made by a large wooden mallet, were heard on the table —
so loud it would have been impossible to duplicate it without
some mechanical contrivance, such as a hammer. A minute
later she said she would try to levitate the table, and a par-
tial levitation resulted.

At 11.07 we asked "John" to show himself outside the
cabinet curtains. Four tilts of the table, meaning "talk,"
responded. We spoke, however, very little, but paid close
attention to the curtains. In a moment, something misty
and black shot out about eighteen inches from the cabinet,
close to Mr. Baggally's head. It came and went so quick-
ly, however, that we could not distinguish what it was. A
few minutes later, we heard the table in the cabinet lifted
a fraction of an inch off the floor and then released again,
coming down with a bang. It must be remembered that the
table had been securely fastened down with ropes, and that
it was impossible to move it. A very considerable force must
have been exercised to lift it off the floor at all — certainly
more than Eusapia could have brought to bear with one or
even with two hands free. We explained to "John" that since
he had always upset the table and the instruments upon it
in former seances, we had tied it to the floor on this occa-
sion, since we wished him to finger and to bring out to us the
various small objects placed upon it.

At 11.20 a remarkable manifestation took place — one of
the most remarkable of all, perhaps — the description of which
I quote from our detailed record :

"C. A bell from the cabinet Is lifted from the table
through the curtains and put upon the medium's head and
remains there.

"F. The left hand was visibly In my right all the time on

Eusapia Palladino 211

the table, and I heard the bell, which had been on the table
in the cabinet, began to ring, and then it suddenly appeared
outside the curtain and came over the medium's head, and
it hung there and went on ringing. She told me it was tied
to her head. I felt with my fingers and felt something like
muslin tying it to her hair. As I was looking at it, I suddenly
saw a white thing, which I thought was the medium's right
hand come to untie the bell, because it was uncomfortable,
ring it hard, and throw it on to the seance table. This was
within one foot of my nose. I could see the medium's face

"B. I saw the bell come out and He on the medium's
head, and also saw it thrown from her head on to the table.
During the whole of this phenomenon her right hand was
resting on my left hand on the table, and her right foot on
my left foot."

During the next few minutes indefinable white objects
continued to appear over the medium's head — under excel-
lent test conditions — and when her hands and feet were
securely held. A brilliant, bluish-green light was perceived,
which lasted about two seconds. The next minute a simi-
lar light came outside the curtains of the cabinet and was
seen to be resting in Eusapia's lap. The table rapped for
less light. A brilliant luminous point was seen within the
cabinet about two and a half feet from Eusapia, bluish green
in color. Another light of a slightly different character ap-
peared the next minute — this time, however, a small spark-
ling light, about four or five inches above her head.

We asked Eusapia to endeavor to obtain an impression of
a hand in our clay, which we had placed in readiness on the
small table. She felt F.'s hand, which was resting upon the
seance table as though she were feeling the clay with hers,
and replied that the clay was "too wet."

At this point, Eusapia informed us that some one was com-

212 ,Eusapia Palladino

ing out to kiss Mr. Baggally. The curtain swelled out toward
him and a clicking sound was made close to his face. It did
not sound in the least like a kiss, however, which she had said
it was, but exactly like the sound one would make were
the thumb and middle finger nails clicked together. This
was, of course, a highly suspicious circumstance, and we so
regarded it, in spite of the fact that we repeatedly verified
the control of the hands, and could even see them lying up-
on the table while this phenomenon was in progress.

A small, black, square object then came out, which Eusa-
pia said was "the head of a man clean shaven." It did not
resemble a head, however, and was far too small for the head
of anybody. Mr. Feilding complained to Eusapia that it did
not look in the least like a head, and that it was, as he ex-
pressed it, "an outrage upon humanity." Eusapia said : "We
will try again." The black thing thereupon came out the
second time, somewhat larger than before, but still not hav-
ing any resemblance to a human profile. It retired imme-
diately, and we could, in fact, catch but a fleeting glimpse
of it.


It will be remembered that we had partially searched
Eusapia at the conclusion of the sixth seance. We did not
feel, however, that our search had been strict and thorough
— such a search as would enable us to say with confidence
that nothing was concealed about her person ; and while we
ourselves felt assured that nothing was in fact concealed, we
had to have evidence such as would convince others of this
fact. We desired to obtain the services of one or two ladies
to make a thorough and proper search, and we accordingly

Eusapia Palladino


asked Senora Rocca and Miss Crawford — the two daughters
of Mr. Marion Crawford — to attend this seance and super-
vise the searching for us. There were also present at this
seance Lord Sudeley and Mr. Ryan — so that we had an ad-
dition of four to our usual number. The sitters were ar-
ranged as shown in the diagram. The eighth sitting took
place in the usual room, on the evening of December 10,

Eusapia was taken into a separate room, and, before the
two ladies, she completely stripped, and handed them, one by
one, her clothes for inspection. These were thoroughly ex-
amined, even the linings of the bodice and the skirt being
searched, and her hair was taken down and put up before

Position ll o

Position I




n<is C




Lord Svoeley

Lord 5

The seance began at 10.30, and an exceptionally long wait
occurred before any phenomena of interest took place. At
10.53 I resigned my control to Mr. Ryan, to see if this might
beneficially influence the results. But it was not until past
II that phenomena began to be noticed. Slight, and then
more forcible movements of the curtain were the first mani-
festations of interest. These were followed by several
touches under conditions of good control, but merely dupli-


Eusapia Palladino

eating phenomena seen at previous seances. At this point
F. and R. change places.

'Position HI =
^ tip

F I 1 ,R




At 11.55 we saw the first striking manifestation. The
tin trumpet, which had rested on the small table in the cabi-
net, appeared in front of the curtains, about a jard distant
from Eusapia, and crept slowly along I\Ir. Ryan's arm until
it arrived on the seance table. A square white patch then
appeared over Eusapia's head. Immediately afterwards the
small toy piano was thrown from the cabinet, struck Mr.
Ryan lightly on the head and rolled to the floor. Eusapia
was at this moment holding Mr. Ryan by the hand, her right
hand being held by Mr. Feilding on her lap. Both her feet
were also held.

Various lights then manifested, and a white object, which
was described at the time as resembling "a boiled white
cabbage," came out from between the curtains and approached
Mr. Ryan. Again, something tried to lift the small table,
but finding, apparently, that it was tied, let it go with a

At 11.22, after the appearance of another white, inde-
finable object over the medium's head, a hand appeared at
the extreme opening of the left curtain, nearest the window,

Eusapia Palladino 215

and about a yard distant from Eusapia. This hand was bear-
ing the plate of clay which we had placed upon the small
table, hoping for impressions of hands or faces. The clay
must have been lifted first of all from the small table, to the
position at the opening of the curtains, where it was seen
by us.

The hand then moved slowly downward and deposited the
plate of clay on the seance table, taking fully four or five
seconds in its passage. The hand then seemed to disappear.
This phenomenon was clearly visible to all of us, and it
would have been quite impossible for Eusapia to have dupli-
cated it, even had her left hand been free (i), because she
could not have reached so far, and (2), had she succeeded
in doing so, and had she brought the plate of clay on to the
seance table, she must necessarily have gathered in toward her
the left-hand curtain, round which her arm must neces-
sarily have circled. But such was not the case. I noted
especially that, while the white hand was conveying the
object from B.i to C.i the curtain remained stationary.
IVIr. Ryan is certain, moreover, that he was, at that mo-
ment, holding Eusapia's left hand in the middle of the

Mr. Baggally then climbed up on to the seance table and
stretched his hand at least a yard over Eusapia's head, resting
it against the cabinet curtains. We felt that, were he touched
under these conditions, it would be proof positive that Eusa-
pia had not produced the phenomenon by fraud — since she
could not, with her short arms, reach so high. He felt a
solid substance pressing against his hand on two or three oc-
casions, however, which he described as being not solid, but
resembling the pressure of wind.

An interesting scries of phenomena began at 12.47, the

2i6 Eusapia Palladino

account of which I quote from our detailed notes as fol-
lows ;

"R.^ Somebody nudged me in the ribs on the right side.

"C. A solid substance pushes against my hand. I am
touched on the left arm.

"F. Her right hand is two feet above the table in my left

"R. Noises in the cabinet.

"F. She taps with her right hand on mine, and the tam-
bourine shakes synchronously inside the cabinet. Her head
close to me and visible. The same thing has happened again.

"R. She grips my hand, both resting upon the table,
her foot pressing mine firmly.

"C. The bell rings, and has been brought on to the
top of the medium's head from the cabinet and remains

"F. I was holding her right hand on the top of the
table. I saw the bell arrive on her head. I hold the bell
up against the curtain and ask John to take it from me.
I \^•as holding my hand about a foot from her head and to-
ward the curtain, with my fingers holding it so that they
projected beyond the bell toward the curtain. Three or
four fingers took hold of the bell and shook it in my hand.
I felt the pressure on my fingers. [This is not a strictly
accurate description. The fingers took hold of my fingers.
I felt them distinctly as living fingers through the curtain.
They held my fingers tight, and shook my hand, and with
it the bell.]"

Immediately after this several touchings occurred, the cur-
tain blew out toward me, brushed against my face, and some-
thing hit me through the right-hand curtain. I was then
pushed through the curtain and a solid substance cam.e out
from the cabinet and struck me, on the face. A small ob-
ject then came out past me and landed on the seance table.

' In this sitting, R = Ryan.

Eusapia Palladino 217

These phenomena followed so rapidly on one another that It
was almost impossible to dictate the control. F. and R. both
assert, however, that the hands under their supervision were
securely held throughout this series of remarkable manifesta-

While I was standing at least a yard in front of the cur-
tain, a hand came out and touched my hand. I could feel
the texture of the skin. F. was touched on the left cheek
by a hand through the curtain, while the medium's right
hand was resting firmly in his left and while she was grasp-
ing the forefinger of Mr. Ryan's hand with her left hand —
fingers and thumb encircling it.

At 1.05 A.M. a very unusual manifestation occurred, the
only one of its kind we saw, and which has been very rarely
recorded in the past history of this case. It throws con-
siderable light on many of the historical phenomena, render-
ing highly possible manifestations which have hitherto been
considered incredible. I quote from our detailed record:

"C. Two raps are heard in the cabinet. Medium says
she is tired.

"F. A white hand has appeared over her head. Oh! it
has brought a cord. [A small coil of cord was on the top of
the medium's head, the end of it descending to her left. F.
handed it to R. and asked him to trace it down.]

"F. It is fastened to something. Somebody is pulling it.
[R, traced it down and found it attached to the rung of his

"F. Two minutes before this had happened she had asked
me to feel the cord on her left leg, to see whether it was
fastened. [We had tied her feet to our chairs with rope at
the commencement of the seance.] I put my finger through
the loop on her left leg and found that the cord was still
round it. I did the same thing to the right leg. Shortly
after that, I put my left hand on the medium's head and

2i8 Eusapia Palladino

she said she was going to rest. I continuously kept my right
hand on her left. There then appeared a white hand through
the curtain, which dropped something on the top of her head.
// proved to be the cord ivhicli had previously been fastened
to the left leg. [I had tied the medium's left leg at the nar-
rowest part of the ankle with this cord. I made four reef
knots. The other end of the cord I had attached to the leg
and rung of the controller's chair, in the same manner — with
four reef knots — pulled tightly. B.]

"[F. It did not occur to me when the medium asked me
to verify the fastening of her feet two minutes before this in-
cident to do more than ascertain that the ropes were still tied
round her ankle, which was so, nor did it occur to me when
the coil dropped on her head, that it could possibly be the
same cord. When traced by R. to the left leg of his chair,
her leg was found free. The rope was of such a kind as to
be difficult to untie. A similar knot on the other foot took
me about two minutes to untie — using both hands. Even
supposing that the medium had freed her hand from R.,
unperceived and unremembered by him, it is, to me, in-
conceivable that she could have stooped down and untied the
knot with her left hand between the time that I verified the
fastenings and the appearance of the rope on her head, un-
noticed by R. and me — the light being amply sufficient to
follow any action of the kind.] Several touches and a par-
tial levitation of the table ended the seance."


Our ninth seance was held on the evening of December
13, igo8 — the conditions being the same as the last seance,
with the exception that Messrs. Feilding, Baggally, and my-
self were alone present. At the last seance, it will be re-
membered, we waited for more than two hours before any
manifestations of note took place. At this seance, on the
Other hand, hardly had we seated ourselves at the table than

Eusapia Palladino


manifestations began ! Eusapia allowed us to tie up her hands
and her feet with rope — though she had angrily refused to al-
low us to do so when we had asked her at the previous
sitting. The seance began in very good light at 10.12 p.m.
I quote from our detailed record — the initial stages of this
remarkable seance :

Position Throughout

C ^^B

"Tilts begin almost immediately.

"F, Table tilts on the legs farthest from her.

"10.13. Complete levitation of the table.

*'C. The right hand resting on the table, touching mine.
My wrist being between hers and the edge of the table. Her
right foot in contact with my right foot. I saw a clear space
of about nine inches between her dress and the leg of the

"B. Complete levitation of the table, for a second time.
[During dictation of B.'s control.]

"B. My right hand on both her knees. Her left foot
touching my right foot.

"10.14 P.M. F. Complete levitation for the third time
in full view of us all.

"B. Another complete levitation!

"F. Both medium's hands completely on top of the
table, touching ours.

220 Eusapia Palladino

"C. I can see a clear space of about eight inches between
her dress and the table leg all the way down.

"B. Right hand on her two knees. My right foot against
her left foot, and I can see between her left leg and the
table leg.

" I O.I 6 P.M. Another complete levitation.

"F. Right hand off the table altogether. Left hand on
B.'s, pulling the table up with it, which appeared to stick
to it.

"10.17. Another complete levitation of the table.

"F. First of all a partial levitation, which lasted about
ten seconds, then a complete levitation off all four legs. Right
hand touching the table, left hand on B.'s. She raised her
hand from the table and the table slid sideways in the air
under B.'s hands.

"B. Right hand across both her knees.

"C. Her right hand clenched at first on the table, within
three inches of my eyes. My left hand across both her knees.
Right foot on my left foot. I can clearly see a space of at
least six inches between her dress and the table leg all the
way down.

"B. My right knee against her left knee. My right foot
against her left foot, and I see a clear space between her leg
and the table leg.

"[The light was sufficient to read small print with

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Online LibraryHereward CarringtonEusapia Palladino and her phenomena → online text (page 17 of 27)