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tate to accept his conclusions also. As a matter of fact, there
is ha: uly any evidence whatever that the "subconscious mind"
can do any of these things, and the theory seems to me to
be one deliberately invented in order to neutralize the simpler
theory of spiritism, which, in scientific minds, did not appear
to be acceptable. Whether spiritism be true or not, however,
it may be said that the scientific world has not taken kindly
to Hartmann's theory, and that it is accepted by no one.

M. Guillaume De Fontenay, in his work, A propos d'Eusa-
pia Palladino, ingeniously tried to explain the phenomena by
a dynamic theory of matter. According to this theory, the
solidity and stability of matter can no more be said to be
real than the light that strikes our eyes, or the sound our
ears. What corresponds to solidity and stability in matter
would, in reality, consist of disturbances or vortices in the
ether. Life itself would be a special kind of movement —
this movement being determined and organized by a direct-
ing force. Applying this theory to the facts before us, we
might be enabled to account, in some degree, for the phe-
nomena observed. For, in this case, the vital force of the
medium would externalize itself, and produce in a point of
space a vibratory system, which would be the counterpart of
itself, in a more or less advanced degree of visibility and
solidity. So far as duplicate apparitions of the medium are
concerned, therefore, we might conceive that this hypothesis
goes a long way toward explaining the facts; but it would fail
to explain the foreign intelligences manifested during a
seance, or the materializations of heads, hands, and even com-
plete forms, differing from those of Eusapia.

276 Eusapia Palladino

Other investigators have come to the conclusion that in-
dependent intelligences are manifested during a seance, but
that these intelligences are not those of human beings. That
is, spirits are present, but not necessarily the souls of the dead.
All kinds of spiritual beings might exist, and fill the space
all about us, without our ever knowing anything of them
except under unusual circumstances. In fact, we find in the
literatures of all nations references to demons, angels, gnomes,
goblins, spirits, specters, elementals, etc. It might be that
these legends have some foundation in fact! Some psychic
researchers of the present day are, in fact, inclined to defend
this hypothesis in certain instances — there being much evi-
dence tending to show that "evil spirits" are operative in the
production of phenomena — phenomena indicating external, in-
dependent intelligence. Nevertheless, no scientific man could
accept this theory unless some definite evidence were ad-
vanced in its support. We are not entitled to assume that
even human consciousness exists apart from bodily structure,
until it has been proved ; and if that is the case with human
consciousness, which we know exists in this life, we should
require a great deal more evidence to prove that independent
Intelligences of other types existed — since we have no scien-
tific evidence at all that they exist or have ever existed in
connection with bodily frames! Though one could not say
"impossible" to such a theory, therefore, definite evidence
would have to be advanced that such intelligences exist quite
apart from these phenomena; and until such evidence is pro-
duced, I feel that it is useless to discuss this hypothesis

Some authorities have advanced the theory that a sort of
reflection, or reflex action, is sufficient to explain the phe-
nomena. Says M. Flammarion:

Eusapla Palladino 277

"Everyone has seen his image reflected in a mirror, and
nobody is astonished by it. However, analyze the thing.
The more you look at this optical being moving there behind
the mirror, the more remarkable the thing appears to you.
Now, suppose looking-glasses had not been invented. If
we had not knowledge of those immense mirrors which re-
flect whole apartments and visitors in them, if we had never
seen anything of the kind, and if some one should tell us that
images and reflections of living persons could thus manifest
themselves, and thus move, we should not comprehend and
should not believe it.

"Yes, the ephemeral personification, created in spiritual-
istic seances, sometimes recalls the image that we see in a
mirror, which has nothing real in itself, but which yet exists
and reproduces the original. The image fixed by the photo-
graph is of the same kind, only durable. The potential image
formed at the focus of the mirror of a telescope, invisible in
itself, but which we can receive on a level mirror and study,
at the same time enlarging it by the microscope of the eye-
piece, perhaps approaches nearer to that which seems to be
produced by the concentration of the psychical energy of a
group of persons. We create an imaginary being; we speak
to it, and in its replies it almost always reflects the mentality
of the experimenters. And, just as with the aid of mirrors,
we can concentrate light, heat, ether waves, electric waves,
in a focus — so, in the same way, it seems sometimes as if
the sitters added their psychic forces to those of the medium
— condensing the waves, and helping to produce a sort of
fugitive being, more or less material. The subconscious na-
ture, the brain, of the medium, or its astral body, the fluidic
mind, the unknown powers latent in sensitive organisms —
might we not consider these as the mirror which we have
just imagined, and might not this mirror also perceive and
reproduce impressions, or influences from a soul at a dis-

Professor Morselli, though firmly believing in the facts,
ridicules the spiritistic interpretation of them and clings to

278 Eusapia Palladino

the idea that these "teleplastic phantoms," seen at Eusapia's
seances, are the creations of her subconscious mind, and are
merely mental reflexes of her subliminal activity. When
facts are told by the phantoms, unknown to the medium,
these are supposed to be obtained, telepathically, from the
minds of the sitters. Nevertheless, I am convinced that the
majority of students of these phenomena would consider this
by far the more improbable hypothesis of the two ; and that
it has not any real evidence in its support whatever. Pro-
fessor Lombroso, in criticising Morselli's book, justly says:

"When,' therefore, Morselli attempts to explain the dis-
agreement of John with his medium, when he went so far
as to cuff her because she refused to hold a seance on the fol-
lowing day, by saying that the medium tried to be 'more
medium than the medium,' in order to convince the sitters of
her sincerity, he juggles with subtleties which, through being
too subtle, break down under the evidence; and, in fact, when
Eusapia refused, since she was too tired, to work on the next
day, it was for a very good reason, because the seance in such
a case would not have been successful.

"Another explanation which errs through excess of subtlety
is that of the levitation of Eusapia, which took place slowly,
without shocks, like a person who dreams that he is flying;
and he adds, mistakenly: 'not, however, as though the me-
dium was carried upward by a force acting on her from
without.' But when one dreams of flying, one has the illu-
sion of moving suddenly and rapidly, and not seated on one's
chair, but rising upv/ard, and that not slowly. Besides, what
relation is there between an illusion, a mere dream, and a
real fact that is tangible to other persons?

"It is notable also that when he finds himself confronted
with new and important facts, he tries to throw doubt on
them through excess of impartiality. Thus, having weighed
Eusapia before and after the seance, he finds that at the end
of the sitting her weight had diminished by 2.2 kilogrammes,

Eusapia Palladino 279

or nearlj' 5 lbs, (Vol. II, p. 293), but he remarks that this
diminution in weight arose from her moving about while
she was on the scale, and thus throwing the balance out of
equilibrium. Now, his criticism might have been just if
Eusapia had moved ; but it is not so at another time when he
admits that she did not move, but remained rigid on the scale ;
here it is evident that if the results in both cases are to be
taken as negative, the conditions ought to have been the same,
and not different ; all the more so as this alteration in weight
coincides with what was observed on other occasions by Gyel
and Aksakoff, and indirectly by Visani Scozzi when he saw
her lose her lower limbs during a levitation.

"Yet he attaches some importance (Vol. I, p. 351) to the
loss in dynamometric force by five of the sitters, amounting
to 6 kilos on the right side and 14 on the left; while the
fact might be explained otherwise than by the left-handedness
of the medium, as being due to the weariness produced by
a long sitting and great nervous strain.

"More importance, on the other hand, should have been
given to the fact that the medium, usually left-handed, be-
came right-handed at one sitting, and Morselli himself be-
came left-handed. This confirms Dr. Audenino's hypothesis
of transitory left-handedness in the abnormal state, and the
transference to the sitters of the anomalies of the medium;
and the left-handedness of Eusapia, like that of Mme,
d'Esperance and of Miss Smith, and the reversed writing
of mediums, seem to indicate the increased participation of
the right lobe of the brain in mediumistic states, as occurs
with hypnotized persons, and would explain the concomitant

"As to the feeling of intense repugnance at seeing his
mother recalled, and against his A\ill, by Eusapia, I confess
that I not only do not share it, but, on the contrary, when
I saw my mother again, I felt one of the most pleasing in-
ward excitements of my life, a pleasure that was almost a
spasm, which aroused a sense, not of resentment, but of grati-
tude to the medium who threw my mother again into my
arms after so many years, and this great event caused me to

280 Eusapia Palladino

forget, not once but many times, the humble position of
Eusapia, who had done for me, even were it purely automat-
ically, that which no giant in power and thought could ever
have done.

"I respect Morselli's feelings, however, because feelings
are individual ; yet I ask him if it has ever happened to him,
as to me, to have to sit alongside of persons who, if not by
birth, at least by conduct, are much more unworthy than
Eusapia — and not as an involuntary spectator, but as a col-

"Where Morselli excels, and his book has great merit, is
in the clinical study of Eusapia, made at two or three dif-
ferent periods, but complete. He has observed, for in-
stance, that during trance Eusapia's secretions augment,
that the reflexes on both sides are abolished, that several
nerves are painful on pressure, etc. ; left-handedness, hyper-
aesthesia of the whole left side of the body; that she is
more easily magnetized than hypnotized, so that by me-
thodical stroking of her head with the hand one can remove
headaches and calm her mind, and by magnetic passes
from below upward can cause a semicatalepsy, while by
reverse passes one can relieve muscular contractions and

" 'Like the fakirs,' he writes, 'when they wish to enter
into trance, Eusapia begins to slacken her rate of breathing,
passing from 28 inspirations to 15 or 12 to the minute, while
her heart beats from 99 to 120; then her hands are seized
with little starts and tremors, the joints of the feet and hands
are bent and straightened, and every now and then become
rigid. The passage through this state of active somnam-
bulism is marked by yawns, sighs, sweat on the brow, per-
spiration of the hands, strange expressions of countenance —
now seized by a kind of anger marked by imperious com-
mands, and sarcastic phrases addressed to the critics — and
now by a voluptuous erotic ecstasy, succeeded by intense

"All this is connected with hysteria, just as many of those
afflicted with gravel and asthma have similar symptoms to

Eusapia Palladino 281

the gouty and rheumatic, even though they may not have pain
in their joints.

"Very true also are his observations that Eusapia predicts
what will happen at the seances, and, therefore, has a certain
consciousness of the phenomena before they occur; and that
almost all her trance phenomena are stereotyped and auto-
matic, like some of the peculiar motions of epileptics, which
may or may not be associated with absolute loss of conscious-
ness, but always with an impotence of the will to restrain
the actions. Equally automatic are the movements of the divin-
ing-rod, spirit writing, musical and dramatic performances
in a state of trance, in which there is a disintegration of the
personality, while certain brain centers are still able to act ;
and so, too, according to Myers, are hallucinations with the
crystal ; and why should we not add, as he says, the speaking
in foreign tongues, and impersonations? It is true that we
do not understand what is the internal stimulus from which
these latter result, if we do not wish to admit the action of
spirits, but sometimes thev arise from forgotten impressions
of childhood."

This completes our resume of the theories that have been
advanced, to date, to explain the remarkable phenomena oc-
curring in Eusapia's presence. Other theories will doubtless
be proposed in the future, and perhaps others have been ad-
vanced in the past of which I am ignorant. But the above
summary will at least give the reader an idea of the hypoth-
eses that have become necessary, in order to explain these
facts — once they are admitted into positive science. The
same objection may be applied to each and every one in turn.
They explain some of the facts, but by no means all of them,
and any theory which does not explain them all cannot be
said to be truly explanatory. I shall again refer to this in
the next chapter, in which I shall advance a theory of my

282 Eusapia Palladlno

Certain It Is that the facts occur; and that having once
been granted, it becomes necessary to explain them, or to at-
tempt to explain them, by some means or other, and with the
least strain upon our credulity. Any theory which serves to
explain the facts in the most satisfactory manner must depart
least from scientific standards, as held to-day. That is, in
order really to explain a phenomenon, we must show its rela-
tion to the knoivn, and attempt to connect it in some way
with the established facts — with physical, physiological, or
mental science. It is useless to speculate at random con-
cerning these phenomena — though speculations of this char-
acter are, perhaps, seldom wasted. Still, the most scien-
tific hypothesis is probably that which departs least from
what is known of the physical and mental world. I shall
endeavor in the next chapter to formulate a theory which
fulfills these requirements — inasmuch as I shall attempt to
bring these phenomena within the pale of science by showing
their connection with what we know of physics, physiology,
and psychology.




The theory that is now presented is based upon the as-
sumption that the phenomena are genuine, and are the result
neither of fraud nor of hallucination. Of course, personal
experiments finally settled this, but the incident which origi-
nally forced me into an attitude of belief was the following,
which appeared in the Aiwdh of Psychical Science for Sep-
tember, 1907, under the signature of Dr. Joseph Venzano,
who relates the incident at first hand soon after it occurred.
"The room," we read, 'Svas arranged as usual and lighted
when the phenomenon occurred by the candle in the ante-
room. . . . The control of Mme. Palladino was confined to
me, on the right, and to Mme. Ramorino, seated on the left.
. . . The narrative of this incident is taken from the special
note which I made myself on the same evening after the

It would appear, therefore, that very little is to be desired
in the way of testimony, and the light was fairly good —
certainly enough to sec the outlines of the medium's figure,
as we shall presently see. Yet, under these conditions, the
following remarkable incident took place (p. 164) :

"In spite of the dimness of the light I could distinctly see
Mme. Palladino and my fellow-sitters. Suddenly I perceived
that behind me was a form, fairly tall, which was leaning
its head on my left shoulder and sobbing violently, so that
those present could hear the sobs; it kissed me repeatedly.


284 Eiisapia Palladino

I clearly perceived the outlines of this face, which touched
my own, and I felt the very fine and abundant hair in
contact with my left cheek, so that I could be quite sure
that it was a woman. The table then began to move, and
by typtology gave the name of a close family connection who
was known to no one present except myself. She h::d died
sometime before, and on account of incompatibility of
temperament there had been serious disagreements with her.
I was so far from expecting this typtological response that
I at first thought this was a case of coincidence of
name ; but while I was mentally forming this reflection I
felt a mouth, with warm breath, touch my left ear and
whisper, i?i a low voice in Genoese dialect, a succession of
sentences, the murmur of which was audible to the sitters.
These sentences were broken by bursts of weeping, and their
gist was to repeatedly implore pardon for injuries done to
me with a fullness of detail connected with family affairs
which could only be known to the person in question. The
phenomenon seemed so real that I felt compelled to reply
to the excuses offered me with expressions of affection, and
to ask pardon in my turn if any resentment of the wrongs
referred to had been excessive. But I had scarcely uttered
the first syllables when two hands, with exquisite delicacy,
applied themselves to my lips and prevented my continuing.
The form then said to me, 'Thank you,' embraced me,
kissed me, and disappeared."

These facts were corroborated by the others present at
the seance. Hallucination, therefore, could not explain the
facts. M. Venzano distinctly asserts that he was perfectly
calm throughout the seance, that he did not cease to watch
the medium carefully, who "was quite awake and visible to
all," and who also "remained motionless through the whole
course of the phenomenon." As to the alternatives — fraud
and hallucination — M. Venzano writes: "The ensemble of
my perceptions of contact as well as audible ones (the latter

Eusapla Palladino 285

shared by my fellow-sitters), the typtological response in
complete accordance with the perceptions themselves, and the
fact that, in spite of the very dim light, Mme. Palladino
was distinctly visible to me as to all those present — as well
as her complete ignorance of the family details revealed —
exclude absolutely both these hypotheses" (p. 165).

In the face of evidence of this kind it would appear to
me simply absurd to press any theory of fraud. If the
seance had been held in complete darkness, or if the medium
had been in a cabinet concealed from all, such a theory
might be pressed. But in view of the evidence it certainly
cannot. In such a case as this fraud appears to me to be
absolutely out of the question, and any attempt to explain
the facts by that theory would be far more inconceivable
than an acceptance of the facts. In this cr^se, at any rate,
fraud is unable to explain the facts observed, and since that
is the case in this instance, It is most probably inadequate to
explain many of the other facts likewise — only in these other
cases the facts, as reported, are not strong enough, evi-
dentially, to establish that conclusion. There is always a
vast difference between a truth and establishing a truth.

Having thus shown that fraud alone is unable to explain
the facts, we must turn to other explanatory hypotheses.
Hallucination may appeal to some as a rational explanation
of at least some of the incidents; but here I would ask my
reader to bear in mind what I have said before as to the
necessary inclusiveness of any hypothesis that may be ad-
vanced. Hallucination certainly cannot account for many
of the graphic records — it has very rarely been actually
proved to exist in any case — why, therefore, postulate it as
a part of any explanatory hypothesis, when we have no evi-
dence whatever that it is correct or even justifiable?

286 Eusapia Palladino

I should like to say one or two more words here on this
question of hallucination, as it is one on which other critics
and myself tend to disagree in our interpretation of the
phenomena. It is a theory often advanced by students as an
explanatory hypothesis and finds great favor in certain quar-
ters. I am well aware of its strong points and the argu-
ments in its favor, but I am also aware of the facts and
arguments tending to disprove it. I think it probable that
illusions very frequently take place at spiritualistic seances.
One very interesting example of this I mentioned in my
report on "Lily Dale"; ^ but that is a different thing from
full-blown hallucination. The former implies that there is
some background of reality, the outlines and details of which
are filled in by the mind of the seer; the former supposes
that there is no such reality of background at all. There
is a vast difference between these two. I have frequently
seen the former psychological process at work at fraudulent
seances ; but I can truthfully say that in the ten years during
which time I have been a constant attendant at seances (all
of which time I was on the alert for anything of the kind),
I have never seen any traces of genuine hallucination in any
single case. I am disposed to disbelieve in this hypothesis
most strongly. I have never seen a trace of it at work.
Where others saw hallucination I saw simply fraud. In
most cases, what passes for hallucination is nothing more
than clever trickery — trickery of a kind I have frequently
been able to detect. I have always been inclined to place
the physical phenomena either in the realm of fraud or that
of reality, and I greatly doubt if hallucination plays any
part in any of these phenomena. In this, however, I am
in disagreement with other writers. Each one must choose
^Proceedings of the American S. P. R., Vol. II, Part I, p. 29.

Eusapia Palladino 287

the hypothesis that most appeals to him; I merel)' give my
opinion in such a case — stating it for what it is worth.

The same objections, it seems to me, that have been
advanced against fraud and hallucination (as explanations)
may successfully be urged against every one of the theories
that has been advanced to date. Fluidic prolongations,
etheric doubles, unknown neuric forces, etc., explain many
of the phenomena, but by no means all of them. What
is the use of a theory that explains a certain percentage
of the phenomena, merely, and leaves unexplained a large
number of facts — and the most interesting facts at that?
None of these theories would explain the impressions
obtained on wet clay and putty; of faces and hands other
than those of the medium; none of them explain the
materializations of forms, of heads and faces, entirely dif-
ferent from those of Eusapia; none of them really explain
the intelligent force that frequently moves objects, plays
musical instruments, etc. — which Eusapia could not have
moved or played. To postulate an "unknown force" leaves
us where we were in the first place, and explains nothing
in the second. Can "unknown forces" make impressions of
hands and faces in putty? Do they possess an intelligence
equal to or even greater than that of the medium who
liberates them? The mere statement of the theory carries
with it its own refutation ; it is inherently absurd. So far
as we know anything about "forces" in this universe, they
can do none of these things.

Nor can the theory of an "astral double of the medium"
explain the facts. It might explain some of them, but cer-
tainly not all, or even the great majority of them. One can
conceive that such an entity could make impressions of the
medium's face in the putty (duplicating hers), but how about

288 Eusapia Palladino

impressions of altogether alien and foreign faces? Unless
we revert to the medi;eval conception of lycanthropy (change
of form at will) we are unable to explain these facts on

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