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visibly, being seen coming through the air by M. and L., and
rested on the seance table. It got onto the floor; finally
Professor Richet said: "Enough of that music!" It then
stopped, "probably," the report says, "because run down."

Various touches, under good conditions of control, ended
the seance ; afterwards, however. Professor Richet, when un-
dressing, found upon his shirt front, which had been covered

Eusapia Palladino 47

by a flannel jacket, and a high white waistcoat, a blue
scrawl, clearly defined. Just before the seance had termi-
nated, Eusapia had taken one of ]\Ir. ]\Iyers' fingers and
with it executed a scrawl outside Richet's flannel jacket,
which was buttoned up to the neck. It will be observed that
several times during this seance phenomena were obtained
when both of Eusapia's hands were held by the same con-

The second sitting occurred two daj^s later under virtu-
ally the same conditions. After various minor phenomena,
the chalet wound itself up and, playing, descended to the
floor. It ran down, and stopped playing, but while still on
the floor. It wound itself up again, and rose onto the table
once more, playing as it came. Eusapia's hands and head
were well held, and her feet had been placed in a wooden
apparatus, so constructed that, if she lifted either of them,
an electric bell would ring immediately, showing that they
had been removed. The report continues:

"L. was then permitted to hold both arms and both feet
(the foot apparatus being removed), and he was then touched
twice on the back, and grasped distinctly on the left arm.
E. then held up one of L.'s hands, and with it made two
small movements, and at each movement a chair not far
distant grated along the floor, as if pushed or pulled."

Various touches and levitations ended the seance.

The third sitting took place two evenings later under the
same conditions. After various minor phenomena, including
the production of scent, had been observed, the large table
was violently dragged about, and raps heard upon it.
Touches and grasps by hands were then experienced by the
sitters. The following phenomenon, which must be regarded
as remarkable, then took place:

48 Eusapia Palladino

"While L. held both the medium's hands on the table,
and also her head, leaning over onto him, away from the
chalet, and while Richet held both her feet, the suspended
chalet was heard to be wound partially up three times, with
three pauses, taking four seconds in all, as heard and recorded
by Bellier. (The chalet had been suspended from the ceiling
quite beyond Eusapia's reach.) It did not now begin to
play, but began to flap, as if its doors were trying to open.
Soon it began to play, and raps were heard on it. While
it played, Eusapia's hands waved L.'s hands in the air, in time
with the music. It was immediately rewound, and went
on playing sometime. While this was going on the chalet
began to swing, and the string was heard to break, but in-
stead of dropping onto the floor, the chalet was gently placed
on M.'s head, and thence onto the table. This phenomenon
occurred under quite satisfactory conditions."

Professor Lodge was told to hold one hand loosely against
the skirt of Eusapia, still holding her two hands with the
other, and he then felt his hands gripped quickly several
times, as by a hand through her dress. He had also several
distinct hand grasps, as by a bare hand, coming from E.'s
shoulder, both her real hands being at the time completely
in his control. He did not succeed in grasping one of these
pseudo-hands, though other observers did on other occasions.
"Attempt was now made to prolong one of these pressures.
A hand was felt on M.'s back, and he began counting seconds,
when It slapped audibly, and disappeared. Observation made
In light as to the correct holding of Eusapia's real hands."

After the seance had been concluded, the following inter-
esting phenomenon occurred:

"The clean finger nail of Professor Richet, held by Eusapia,
was made to act as a blue crayon, and to leave a thick, blue
pencil mark, when drawn thus along white paper, in full
candle light. This was done several times, and the forma-

Eusapia Palladino 49

tion of the last two of these marks was closely watched by
all in the light close to a candle. It appeared to L. as if the
blue did not appear directly under the nail, but slightly to
one side, as if some invisible protrusion from the fingers of
Eusapia (which themselves were about half an inch off the
paper) were really producing it, but he does not vouch for
this detail, and only records it as a memorandum for future
observation. [The paper was certainly clean beforehand,
and the marks could be seen being formed.]"

The fourth seance was held under virtually the same con-
ditions, on the evening of the next day. Loud raps were
heard on the square table adjoining the seance table, and
lights were seen several times by L. and M. An arm chair
was made to move several inches in various directions, the
light being good, and the chair at least four feet from Eusa-
pia, there being a space visible to all between the chair and
her body. The window curtain, five feet away, then swelled
out, and a large face, visible twenty or thirty seconds, was
observed close to the window. Professor Richet was grasped
by a large hand, he at the time holding both hands of
Eusapia. Mr. Myers' wallet of books and papers, weighing
twelve pounds, was lifted from the floor onto the table. The
following important phenomenon then occurred:

"Noise, as of key being fumbled in the door, and Ochoro-
wicz, from outside, asked who was unlocking the door. Eusa-
pia's hands were well held, and no one was near the door.
The clear space of several feet, near the door, was plainly
enough visible. Blows occurred on the door. The key then
arrived on the table, and was felt there by L. It disappeared
again, and was heard to be replacing itself in the door, with
a sound as of the door being locked (or imlocked) ; then the
key came again onto the table, into Richet's hand, and stayed
there. [At the beginning of the seance, the door had been
locked, and at the end it was still locked. Judging by sound,

50 Eusapia Palladino

it had probably been unlocked and locked again during this
episode. The door certainly remained shut all the time.]

"Richet saw an indistinct, black, square-looking object,
which seemed to prolong the key when it was brought toward
his hand. There was light enough to see the position of
everybody's normal hands all the time on this occasion, and
we were sitting some four or five feet distant from the door,
[It was a perfectly distinct phenomenon.]

"Richet next saw something detached, like a bird in the
air, going to M.'s head. At the instant he saw it touch, M.
called out that he was touched on the head.

"L., R., and M. then all saw the curious imitation hand, or
feather fingers, stretched horizontally over the vertical gap
between the half-open shutters; a thing which L. had sev-
eral times seen before.

"M. was seized from behind while standing, and vigor-
ously pulled and shaken about, while all four were standing,
holding hands around the table. L. saw him moving, and
felt a transmitted pull. A loaf, and other objects, from the
buffet, hard by, arrived on the table, and a pile of five plates.
Our small table was in front of the buffet. Everybody was
now standing up, and observers were getting tired, so we
asked to stop ; but agency insisted on continuing. Statement
made that the medium needed refreshment, but the agency
said it could see to that. A gurgling noise was heard, as
if the medium was drinking from a bottle, and directly after-
wards a decanter with water, which had been on the top shelf
of the buffet, arrived on the table. Then it rose again to
the medium's mouth, where it was felt horizontally by Richet,
and again she drank. It then came again onto the table, and
staj'ed there."

After the seance had been concluded, the medium was
conducted to a writing desk in a corner of the room. She
made three movements with her hand, and the desk Vv^as
tilted backward, after an interval of a second or two. She
moved farther away and repeated the action, and the same
movement of the desk occurred, but with more delay. When

Eusapia Palladino 51

standing two meters from the desk, she did the same thing,
and the desk again tilted, but not until two seconds after the
motion made by her hand.

Appendix II to Professor Lodge's paper consists in a list
of appliances that would be needed for a psjxhical laborator)-.
Their uses are also pointed out. Thus, a registering balance
would be necessary, to test losses and gains in the weight of
medium, before, during, and after seances. A clock, ther-
mometer, and barometer would be essential, and instruments
for recording the medium's temperature, muscular exertion,
pulse, breathing, etc. ; and these should all be registered au-
tomatically by apparatus outside the room. Means for ob-
taining graphic records should, therefore, be supplied. Special
chairs and tables should be provided; and the method of
graphic record should be applied to registering levitations of
the table. Elaborate arrangements for variations of the
amount of light should be made, and, if possible, means should
be invented for obtaining a number of photographs secretly
from without the room. A number of cameras should be •
operated simultaneously through various openings, and the
room might be flooded with invisible, ultraviolet light — suf-
ficient to obtain photographs, but which would be unknown
to the medium. Other devices, such as smoked surfaces, wet
clay, etc., for obtaining an imprint of the hands, should also
be provided, together with such additional instruments and
appliances as future experiments and experience might sug-

§ 7. Experiments at Cambridge — 1895

When this Report was issued. Dr. Richard Hodgson, then
Secretary of the S. P. R. for America, challenged the conclu-
sive nature of the sittings, and pointed out what, in his esti-

52 Eusapia Palladino

mation, were numerous defects in the record — showing that
it might have been possible, on some occasions, for the me-
dium to have resorted to trickery. He suggested various ways
by which Eusapia might have released one hand or one foot.
He contended that the holding was not sufficiently described,
and suggested substitution of dummy hands and feet instead
of those held by the sitters. The actual detail of the hand
and foot holding was, he contended, the essential feature, and
this was insufficiently described. As to the levitations of the
table, Dr. Hodgson suggested that they might have been ac-
complished by means of a hook inserted under its edge, and
attached to a strap passing over Eusapia's shoulders. Other
critical remarks of a general nature were also made.

This criticism by Dr. Hodgson elicited four replies — one
from each of the four investigators. They were unanimous
in declaring that, while Dr. Hodgson's paper was remark-
able, and his criticisms excellent, and while they admitted
that further precautions of the kind suggested by him should
be taken in future, they contended that Dr. Hodgson's
explanations did not explain all the phenomena witnessed by
them; nor, indeed, any larger portion of them. Reviewing
the seances in detail, it was found that some of Dr. Hodg-
son's criticisms were unjustified, and that, for example, where
he had said that both of Eusapia's hands were not accounted
for on any particular occasion, they were in fact amply ac-
counted for on a number of occasions, while in two or three
instances, both her hands were held in the hands of one in-
vestigator. Dr. Lodge in his reply insisted upon this point,
and he had the support of Professor Richet and Dr. Ochoro-
wicz, as well as Mr. Myers, whose reply was the most de-

In spite of these replies, however, Dr. Hodgson apparently

Eusapia Palladino 53

remained skeptical, and the result of the disagreement was
that both Eusapia and Dr. Hodgson were invited to Eng-
land, and a series of experiments, since famous, and styled
the "Cambridge Experiments," were held in the house of
Mr. Myers, in August and September, 1895. The results of
these sittings will be found described in detail in the Octo-
ber and November, 1895, issues of the Journal S. P. R.

The results of these seances were entirely negative. Not
only were the phenomena, comparatively speaking, sparse and
uninteresting, but fraud was detected in actual operation
again and again — fraud of a kind which necessitated the
supposition that the medium had practiced it long and care-
fully. Details of these seances are unnecessary. It need only
be said that Dr. Hodgson, and, in a lesser degree, Mr. Nevil
Maskelyne, of London, detected substitution of hands over
and over again, and caught her in the act of producing fraud-
ulent phenomena. The conclusion was, that systematic
fraud had been used from first to last, and that there was
no adequate reason to suppose any supernormal agency what-
ever. Mr. and Mrs. Myers, Miss Johnson, Mrs. Sidgwick,
Professor Sidgwick, and Dr. Hodgson unanimously "adopted
the conclusion that nothing but trickery had been at work
in the Cambridge series of experiments." As a result of
these sittings. Professor Sidgwick stated that "inasmuch as
trickery had been systematically practised, apparently, by
Eusapia Palladino for years, he proposed to ignore her per-
formances in the future as those of other persons engaged
in the same mischievous trade were to be ignored." {Journal
S. P. R., April, 1896.)

When the results of this exposure were made known, it
created little less than a furore in the world of psychic re-

54 Eusapia Palladino

search. For many days columns of material, and letters pro
and con, appeared in The Daily Chronicle, The Westminster
Gazette, The Liverpool Daily Post, The British Medical
Journal, Light, and other magazines; and it need hardly be
said that the general effect of the exposure, on the public
mind, was to impress them even more deeply than ever with
skepticism, and to confirm their wavering doubt that Eusapia
was fraudulent from beginning to end.

Yet there is a reason for the fraud that Eusapia resorted
to at Cambridge, and those investigators who have had much
experience with her had no difficulty in pointing out exactly
what the cause of this was. It has always been well known
that if Eusapia were allowed to trick her sitters she would do
so, and the policy of the English investigators had been, not
to endeavor to prevent phenomena by rigorous control, but to
allow great laxit>', to permit her to substitute her hands when
she desired, and merely note the results. Eusapia, finding
that she could effect substitution of hands with ease, and
apparently without detection, naturally resorted to this de-
vice at every seance, and the result of this was that fraud
was almost invariably detected during her English sittings.
Yet there is doubt if all the phenomena witnessed in Eng-
land could be accounted for by fraud. Certainly the phe-
nomena differed considerably from the more striking mani-
festations witnessed at her genuine seances. Mr. Myers, in
a letter written to The Daily Chronicle, and published
November 4, 1895, said:

"As to the phenom.ena on the ile Roubaud, in relation to
those at Cambridge : The best of those observed on the island
were so different from those at Cambridge that I cannot
wonder that Professor Lodge should still hold firmly to their
genuine character."

Eusapia Palladino 55

This has been our own experience also. We noted in
our seances that when Eusapia resorted to fraud, as she did
occasionally (see p. 182) the character of the resulting phe-
nomenon was entirely different from the genuine and far more
striking manifestations which occurred at other times. Fur-
ther, had the opposite policy been adopted ; had she been pre-
vented from resorting to fraud instead of allowed to
do so, very different results would doubtless have been ob-
tained. It must be remembered, in this connection, that these
methods of trickery (substitution of hands, etc.) had always
been known to the Continental investigators; and in their
previous reports they had several times called attention to
this aspect of the problem, and stated that Eusapia would in-
variably resort to trickery unless she were prevented from do-
ing so. Dr. J. Maxwell, indeed, in his Metapsychical Phe-
nomena, criticised the results of these Cambridge experiments,
and said :

"As far as his (Dr. Hodgson's) experiments with Eusapia
Palladino are concerned, I will reply to him that in a great
measure he and his friends were responsible for her frauds,
and almost wholly responsible for the failure of the experi-
ments. They appear to have neglected the psychological side
of a medium's role, and forgot that a medium is not a me-
chanical instrument. Eusapia was not at her case, and, if
my memory serves me right, she found the Cambridge center
rather disdainful and haughty, save Mr. and Mrs. Myers.
She was dull and lonely. . . . The seances were too numer-
ous (there were twenty seances held in less than seven weeks
— a seance every other day) — if you take into consideration
her not being very well and consequently unfit for anything
for a few days. This was making sure of bad results, es-
pecially as the seances sometimes lasted two and a half to
three hours. It was impossible for the medium to recruit
her strength, physically or morally — especially in a country

56 Eusapla Palladino

where the manners, life, language, and even the cooking were
so different from those of Naples. . . .

"It appears, however, that the first seances were pretty
good. There were some suspicious things, as is often the case
with Eusapla. Hodgson's arrival changed everything. It
was then that fraud was discovered, but a long time after
Richet and Torelll had pointed it out."

Then follows a discussion of the method employed by the
English experimenters, which Dr. Maxwell considered funda-
mentally wrong. Extracts from the sittings were quoted to
sustain his position. Dr. Maxwell stated that he, in com-
mon with other Continental Investigators, had proceeded by
another route, and had obtained very different results. He
had set about gaining Eusapla's confidence and sympathy,
and the results of some of his seances appeared to him quite
conclusive. One or two extracts from seances held by him
are quoted by way of sustaining his position. I cite one of
these here, as being of special Interest.

"P. Is vigorously touched. Eusapla gives him the control
of her hands and feet. P. receives slaps on the back every
time Eusapla presses her foot. The noise Is distinctly heard.
P.'s chair Is shaken and drawn from under him. Eusapla
rubs her feet on the floor, 'to give fluid,' she says. Finally,
P.'s chair Is slowly carried on to the seance table. The per-
sons (Dr. Denuce, Mme. A., and I) for whom P. Is be-
tween the table and the window, see the chair very clearly
outlined on the window. After having been placed on the
table, the chair Is taken back to the floor, and the second time
carried on to the table. The movements were slowly produced.
While they were being produced, the hands, feet, and head
of the medium were under control. If any part of the me-
dium's body had touched the chair, the contact would have
been seen on the silhouette of the chair, the latter standing
out well against the llghted-up window. While the chair
Is In movement, P. is crouching down on his heels. He Is

Eusapia Palladino ^"^

touched on the back. His garments are pulled, he is tickled.
At the same time the table is levitated. These three manifes-
tations were produced simultaneously."

Dr. Maxwell concludes with these words:

"My judgment will convince no one. In such matters we
must see for ourselves in order to be convinced. Dr. Hodg-
son himself knows this to-day. My testimony contradicts
formally and explicit)' the conclusions of the Cambridge in-
vestigators. Eusapia does not always defraud. With us she
rarely defrauded."

§ 8. Experiments at I'Agnelas — 1895

Immediately following the exposure at Cambridge, a com-
mittee was formed at the house of Colonel De Rochas, in
September, 1895, consisting of Dr. Darlex, Count De Gram-
mont, Dr. Maxwell, Professor Sabatier, Baron De Watte-
ville, and Colonel De Rochas. The report of these seances
is given in full in M. De Rochas' book, The Exteriorization
of Motivity — to which I would refer the reader for a de-
tailed account. It was believed by these experimenters that
the Cambridge exposure had been incomplete and more or
less superficial ; and it was determined to test again Eusapia's
powers, and to see whether or not genuine phenomena could
be obtained when Eusapia was prevented from resorting to
trickery. The investigators seem to have been exceedingly
careful in their method of procedure, the hands and feet were
well controlled, and are accurately described by Colonel De
Rochas. Here, e.g., is the method of control during the third
seance — which was the first official seance held — all members
of the Committee being present.

"At a quarter to nine, Dr. Dariex, upon the request of the
medium, returned to her right side. He seated himself on the

_58 Eusapia Palladino

little tabouret, in the angle formed bj'' the medium and M.
Sabatier. Eusapia then places her two legs between those
of Dr. Dariex, and rests her two feet upon the tabouret.
The right arm and the right hand of Dr. Dariex supports
her knees and her thighs. In that position, the feet, the legs,
the knees, and the thighs of the medium are continually con-
trolled ; the contact is constant, so that the least movement
of the lower members of the medium can be accounted for.
This position of the legs w^as retained to the end of the
seance; at the same time Eusapia rests her head against that
of Dr. Dariex, and the latter also shares in the control of the
right arm and the right hand, twining his left arm around
the arm of Eusapia, in such a manner that the bend of the
elbow encircles the lower part of the arm, so that the forearm
of Dr. Dariex comes in contact with the forearm of the me-
dium, and his hand rests on the back of her wrist ; moreover,
by the tips of his fingers. Dr. Dariex touches the hand of M.
Sabatier, which holds the right hand of Eusapia.

"To sum up, he holds the medium in such a manner that
he is sure of her lower limbs, her right hand and her right
wrist, which do not leave the table, and of her head, which
does not leave his head. Dr. Maxwell always holds the left
hand ; M. Sabatier the right hand very securely."

It must not be assumed that the control throughout the
whole series of seances was as complete as on this particular
occasion, but it seems to have been accurately governed and ac-
curately recorded throughout, and it would appear to me that
any impartial critic must be forced into the belief that on very
rare occasions could Eusapia have freed one hand or one foot,
and with it produced spurious phenomena. Without going
into detail regarding the control throughout these seances,
therefore, I shall give a brief resume of the phenomena ob-
served — since the control will be stated in great detail during
our own series of seances, to be recorded later on.

Various movements of the table and curtain phenomena

Eusapia Palladino 59

usually commenced the seance. Loud raps occurred, the toy
piano was brought from the cabinet onto the seance table,
and the large arm chair partly rose into the air, its feet
keeping time with the music. Invisible hands touched the
sitters, pulling their hair and pinching them. Chairs and
other articles of furniture were piled onto the table without
apparent cause — both hands of Eusapia being well held, it
is asserted, at the time. Indeed, Eusapia invariably announced
in advance the character of the phenomenon which was about
to take place, and asked that the control should be thoroughly

It would be useless to supply similar details of all the
seances held at I'Agnelas, which were of very similar char-
acter — progressing in excellence as the seances proceeded, and
which finally convinced the sitters that genuine phenomena
had been obtained under excellent conditions of control, and
that, in spite of the Cambridge exposure, Eusapia's medium-
ship was undoubted.

§ 9. Experiments at Naples — 1895

Meanwhile, in 1895, a new series of experiments had been

Online LibraryHereward CarringtonEusapia Palladino and her phenomena → online text (page 5 of 27)