Copyright
Hereward Carrington.

Eusapia Palladino and her phenomena online

. (page 9 of 27)
Online LibraryHereward CarringtonEusapia Palladino and her phenomena → online text (page 9 of 27)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


at a distance.

"Then the medium desired me to keep the instrument in
my hands, high enough for everj'one to see it. I did so. The
curtain swelled out and advanced to my hand; the invisible
behind the curtain seized my fingers, which held the dyna-
mometer, and I felt a rapid and not very strong pressure.
Holding it to the light I perceived that the pressure was only
that of 2 kilog. (4 lbs.) ; we were far from the no kilog.
registered in the Genoa seances! I showed my surprise and
disappointment, and the medium, whose amour propre was
stung, wished to try again. The phenomenon was repeated
in the same manner. The hand seized mine, holding the
four fingers on the side of the oval piece of steel on which



98 Eusapia Palladlno

my thumb was resting, and the thumb on the side on which
my four fingers were pressing. The pressure of the mys-
terious hand was thus exerted partly on my fingers and partly
on the instrument. The constraint was felt longer and
stronger, but not with much more effect than the first time.

"On the other hand, a sudden and curious variation oc-
curred : I was following attentively a little operation of the
invisible, who was trying to displace the needle of the dy-
namometer in order to raise the coefficient of the pressure.
The first finger of the mysterious hand liberated itself, felt
for the needle, and instead of pushing the indicator, touched
the needle connected with the levers and fixed to the steel
spring in such a manner that when it was let go it caused
the clear sound of metallic vibrations; then it glided to the
other needle, displacing it perhaps a few degrees, so that the
dynamometer registered 20 kilog. (44 lbs.). Evidently 'John
King' was attempting a trick.

"I now understand how it came about that the pressure
was raised in the Genoa experiment, to 110 kilog. (242 lbs.),
a result so much in excess of that which would be obtained
with a strong man, and I also understand the variability
of the pressure already observed in many other instances. It
is not only 'John's' force, but also his trickery which moves
the needles of the dynamometer to such an incredible extent.

"Dr. Norlenghi requested that a tiny round table which
he had brought with him might be placed on the table. I
took it by one of its feet, and I was in the act of holding it
out toward the curtains ; I had not reached to the middle of
the circle of investigators when it was torn out of my hands
and raised, turned over and upside down, and shaken about
for nearly a quarter of a minute. Dr. Norlenghi insisted on
verifying the control, and as he was advancing his head to-
ward the medium's hands to satisfy himself de visu that they
were securely held, he inquired whether the control was
complete. This seemed to annoy the unknown entity, whose
hands rapidly lowered the little table on to the surface of
the large table with a bang. The little piece of furniture
then rose up again, was violently seized, knocked about, and




y o



■Hue



<u



(u o .23

" <u 2

-r; C3 f>
- ^~

'i l-i^

EQ C U- —

< l^-i

5 E ^ _>.

- :5 S 'S
"^ a; D

O 0, «

.■^ r» ■-

~ > SO

c _ o
■^ o



g o «
f 5 c

> — ' — '

c jr



yi



1 — ^ a>
■- - c

o _-^



Eusapia Palladino 99

smashed in pieces. Two feet were thrown down among
the investigators, the third hit Dr. Norlenghi in the face,
without hurting him, however.

"Then the unknown entity seized one of the feet of the
little table and rapped with it repeatedly now on one, then
on another of the hands of the sitters, while the big table
shook, and laughed in its own fashion.

"Meanwhile the curtain blew out; the table rapped three
times to signify 'Attention!' and Engineer Pomba was
honored by a visit from the unknoivn as in the preceding
seance, the head surrounded by the curtain approached him
and kissed him while two hands, which we could not see,
held his head with an affectionate gesture. This was repeated
more than once. We all got on to the right side of the table
to be able to see the materialization, which was clearly out-
lined against the light background of the wall, so as to ob-
serve all its movements.

"I observed that the dimensions of this human form va-
ried, that its volume increased and diminished visibly, so
that sometimes it appeared to be that of an adult, sometimes
that of a child. It was evidently subject to the variations
of the emission of the mediumistic force. When the effort
was more intense, the materialization was more complete ;
the medium seemed more fatigued when the head was more
largely developed.

"It is difficult to state precisely the nature of this head ;
it seemed to me — and long practice in the use of my eyes
justifies my believing that I was not deceived — like those of
the last seance. The most striking characteristics were the
same; the jests, the way of coming out and approaching M.
Pomba were the same, the only difference, in my opinion,
consisted in this, that in the course of the last seance the head
represented the aged mother of one of the sitters, and this
evening it represented the father of another.

"Dr. Audenino thought sadly of his Marey apparatus,
which for three evenings had not been used, and looked to
see if the smoked paper had not been touched, when sud-
denly a slight sound indicated that the needle of the appa-



100 Eusapia Palladino

ratus was moving. Dr. Audenino at once put the tam-
bourine in action, and our ears perceived for a few^ seconds
the scratching of a pen, which made long jumps on the
smoked surface of the tambourine in such a manner as to
correspond to the pressure exerted inside on the cardiograph,
tracing a curious and variable diagram. The cabinet was
quite empty and the medium's hands were, as always, in the
hands of the controllers. Moreover, the distance between the
cardiograph and the medium's chair was such that, even
had she wished to, she could not have succeeded in pressing
it with her hands.

"This phenomenon finally eliminates all suspicion. We
have no longer merely the testimony of our senses, but that
of a metal instrument which has registered, as we have, an
unknown force; a well-known scientific apparatus has been
moved by an invisible force, and has had imprinted upon it
the tangible and mathematical proof of the reality of these
phenomena.

"The medium got up, the table going with her and with
the investigators into the middle of the room, where it rose
to a considerable height and fell on the ground upside down.
The medium, standing up, moved it first on one side, then
on the other, but she seemed already very tired, and was al-
most supported by the two controllers. She then turned to
an armchair and let herself sink into it exhausted. The
table was raised by the sitters, but the medium wished it to
go down again, and with a gesture of her head she sent it
rolling again on the ground. Then she threw herself back
in the armchair, hid her head in her arms, and seemed to
fall asleep. Our series of sittings was thus concluded."



§ 1 8. Experiments at Turin — 1907 (Foa, etc.)

Soon after the experiments performed by Professor Mor-
selli and Professor Lombroso, another series of seances was
held in Turin by Drs. Herlitzka, Charles Foa, and Aggaz-
zotti — assistants of Professor Mosso. At the second and more



Eusapla Palladino lOil

remarkable seance Professor Pio Foa, of the same Univer-
sity, Professor of Pathological Anatomy, Director of the
Anatomical Museum, and General Secretary of the Academy
of Sciences, was also present.

Speaking of the seances, these gentlemen state:

"We all, who had never before been present at medium-
istic phenomena, found that even the most incredible phe-
nomena produce no emotion, and the most extraordinary
things soon appear as quite common and natural manifesta-
tions. In the days that followed the first seance, however,
all seemed to us an impossibility, and but for our reciprocal
testimony, and without the objective, irrefutable documents
which remained, we should almost have doubted our senses
and our intelligence."

The seances took place in the house of Count Verdun. The
doors and windows of the seance room were securely fastened,
and the room examined. The two controllers were, at first.
Dr. C. Foa and Dr. Herlitzka. Throughout the seance,
we are told, incessant and reciprocal control was exercised
by all those present.

Eusapia commenced the seance by having a fit of hysterics.
Upon recovering, she no longer spoke in the first person,
but in the third, speaking as if she were John King. Dr. C.
Foa immediately afterwards saw a dark, ill-defined profile,
which disappeared almost instantaneously, but reappeared
again at his request. Attempts by Dr. Foa to seize this head
failed. The table in the cabinet was heard to move about,
and immediately after^vards came right out into the seance
room, no one touching it. Many objects then began to
arrive one by one, and were deposited on the seance table.
A mandolin, a sheet of paper, a little woolen sheep, were
thus carried. Then the curtain came out, and a hand, ob-



I02 Eusapia Palladino

viously not the medium's, pulled the hair of Dr. Foa. At
the same moment the strings of the mandolin were picked.
The toy piano issued from under the table, the keys were
depressed in turn, and various notes sounded. Soon after
this, the lights were turned up and an examination made,
but no cause for these manifestations was discovered. In full
light, strong movements of the table were heard — synchroniz-
ing with movements of the medium's hand. The investiga-
tors endeavored to obtain graphic records — the keys and
other parts of the instruments capable of being manipulated
being covered with a cardboard box, and fastened down with
sealed ribbons. These attempts, however, resulted in com-
plete failure — since, although the keys of the instruments
were manipulated, it was found that the cardboard box,
containing the key, had been unfastened, that a glass tube had
been broken, and that one of the ribbons which fastened the
box was missing.

Numerous other phenomena of interest occurred, how-
ever, during this seance, notably touches by invisible hands.
Eusapia was asked if the key of the apparatus might be
pressed down. She replied: "The key is uncovered, and as
I do this I can also press the key down." When she said
the word this. Dr. Herlitzka felt a finger press strongly on
his shoulder. Eusapia's hands were at this moment firmly
held by her two neighbors. The seance ended with several
levitations. The small table upon which the toys had been
placed was pushed completely outside the cabinet.

The second seance, which took place in the same room,
and virtually under the same conditions as the first, was
far more remarkable. Two complete levitations in full light
opened the proceedings, which were immediately followed



Eusapia Palladino 103

by the small table in the cabinet advancing into the room,
pushing the curtain in front of it. Eusapia moved her hands
in the air over the small table, which moved about upon
the floor, corresponding in its movements to those made by
her hands. It ended by rising completely into the air. Dr.
Aggazzotti repeatedly pushed the table back but every time
it returned to its place. The curtain then swelled out, in
response to movements of the medium's hands, and remained
out during the rest of the sitting. This enabled Dr. Herlitz-
ka to see into the cabinet during the rest of the seance, and
observe carefully everything that went on in it.

In this seance, also, the fabrics and other materials that
had been used to cover the apparatus in the cabinet were torn
away by invisible fingers and, both Eusapia's hands being
visible, the experimenters could hear the cloth being torn,
inside the cabinet. The experiments in registration, there-
fore, w^ere not conducted under test conditions, but numer-
ous other phenomena occurred at this sitting which were
even more interesting than these. Thus we read :

"In consequence of a desire expressed by the medium. Dr.
Herlitzka took control instead of Dr. Arullani, who took
his seat on the left, near the cabinet, where he immediately
felt a blow as with a fist, uhile his feet were trodden upon,
and a finger nail was stuck into his hand.

Some of the sitters observed a sort of white mist round
the medium's head. A few seconds later, inside the cabinet,
was heard the sound, several times repeated, which told us
that the membrane of our apparatus was being rapped upon.
At each of these raps there was corresponding pressure of
the right hand of the medium on that of the "controller"
on that side. The apparatus was on the right of the medium
at a distance of a foot or two from the controller and per-
fectly visible. No one was at that time in the cabinet, as
it was easy to certify.



104 Eusapia Palladino

A little drum which was on table No. i floated in the
air above the medium's head, and subsequently returned to
its place. Immediately afterwards a mandolin made some
sounds on table No. i, rose up above it and fell on the
ground. Also from the toy piano, which was on the floor,
some notes were heard to sound and the medium stated
that the effort to produce these latter sounds was made
through her feet. And, in fact, the controllers, who had
Eusapia's feet on theirs, observed that each sound corre-
sponded with a contraction of the muscles of her leg. The
medium rested a leg horizontally on the knee of Dr. Ag-
gazzotti, who held the foot of the medium in his hand and
asked her to repeat the experiment without moving her foot;
a slighter but synchronous movement of the foot corre-
sponded with each sound.

Soon after this, the piano, of its own accord, came on to
the seance table, passing over the head of Professor Foa
in so doing. Dr. Aggazzotti's eyeglasses were taken and
flung violently on to the floor. He stated his anxiety lest
the lenses should be broken. This the medium emphatically-
denied. The eyeglasses were later discovered on the floor
uninjured."

John King seemed to possess a certain antipathy to Dr.
Arullani. Thus we read :

"Dr. Arullani wished to approach the curtain on the me-
dium's left; but the table, advancing toward him, pushed
him back, as if Math anger. The medium then asked the
doctor to put his fingers over her eyes; he did so, but two
hands were placed on his chest and violently repulsed him,
the hands of the medium being at the same time held below
by the two controllers. Arullani tried to approach again,
but the medium cried out, "Do not approach," and the doc-
tor felt himself hit on the head.

We relate all these details because they show that the
medium is perfectly conscious of the phenomena which are
forthcoming, although when the somnambulistic state is over
she does not remember what has happened.



Eusapia Palladino 105

A luminous interlude ensued : above Eusapia's head, at
a height of about eighteen inches, all the sitters saw a bright
light appear, similar to that of a small electric pocket lamp.
One of us (Dr. Foa) went out of the circle and held a pho-
tographic plate above the medium's head to find out whether
it was possible to register the radiations. A few moments
later, the bright light, well localized, reappeared ; imme-
diately afterwards the toy piano, which was on the table all
the time with the ke3'board turned away from the medium,
made a few sounds; the sitters observed the spontaneous
depression of the keys which accompanied the sounds.

Still with the object of obtaining a record of possible
radiations, one of us (Dr. Foa) held the photographic plate,
wrapped in paper, over Eusapia's head, and he felt the plate
seized by a hand covered with the curtain ; he passed one
hand behind the curtain, but found nothing there.

The hand (for reasons that will appear later we apply
this term to the force that acted on the plate, although no
form of a hand was visible) made an effort to seize the plate,
by snatching it unexpectedly, and renewed this attempt re-
peatedly but without success. Dr. Foa seized the hand,
which was covered with the curtain, and had the impression
of pressing real fingers, the fingers escaped him, however,
and gave him a blow ; the plate was changed, and the in-
visible hand began another struggle, during which it had
tight hold of the plate for several seconds. At last a sud-
den blow given to the plate caused it to fall on the seance
table without breaking. Dr. Aggazzotti, who held another
plate over the medium's head, had, in his turn, to struggle
in order to prevent its escaping him — a struggle in the course
of which his hand was even bitten.

At this juncture the medium told Professor Pio Foa not
to be alarmed whatever might happen, and advised all pres-
ent not to touch the objects which would be suspended in
the air, otherwise she would be unable to restrain the move-
ments and might hurt somebody.

Table No. i rose in the air many inches high and passed
once over the head of Professor Foa; returning to the



io6 Eusapia Palladino

ground, and keeping, all the time, outside the cabinet, It
turned over and then stood up again.

Needless to say that the controllers were always vigilant
and saw that the hands and feet of the medium were held in
our hands and under our feet. Often during the occurrence
of the most important phenomena, Eusapia's legs were placed
horizontally on our knees.

After table No. i had stood upright. Dr. Arullani ap-
proached it, but the piece of furniture, moving violently
toward him, repulsed him ; Dr. Arullani seized the table,
which was heard to crack in the struggle: it was a strong
table of white wood about 2 feet 9 inches high and 3 feet
long by 22 inches broad, weighing 17 pounds.

Dr. Arullani asked that the hand behind the curtain
should grasp his; the medium replied in her own voice:
"First I am going to break the table, then I will give you a
grasp of the hand." This declaration was followed by three
fresh complete levitations of the table, which fell back each
time heavily on to the floor. All those who were on the left
of the medium could observe, by a very good red light, the
various movements of the table. The latter bent down and
passed behind the curtain followed by one of us (Dr. C.
Foa), who saw it turn over and rest on one of its two short
sides, while one of the legs of the table came off violently,
as if under the action of some force pressing upon it. At
this moment the table came violently out of the cabinet and
continued to break up under the eyes of everyone present;
at first its different parts were torn off, then the boards them-
selves went to pieces. Two legs which still remained united
by a thin slip of wood floated above us and placed them-
selves on the seance table.

The medium said: "Unhappy owners of the house!" As
the medium had thus kept her promise to break the table.
Dr. Arullani asked for the hand shake, and was invited by
the medium to approach the curtain. He had hardly reached
it when he found himself hit by pieces of wood and hands,
and we all heard the noise of the blows.

One of us, who was in control, felt himself tickled under



Eusapia Palladino 107

the arm, but could not see any hand, although the subjec-
tive impression was that of four fingers which moved rapidly
unjier the armpit.

During the whole seance the condition of the medium and
her power were being discussed. Dr. Arullani maintained
that this force was only manifested at a few inches' distance.
The medium then told him to stand on the seance table. Dr.
Arullani confined himself to kneeling on it, and was struck
on the head by a piece of wood ; then two feet of the table
were raised three times; the third time more violently, and
the doctor was sent rolling over on to the ground.

The seance approached its close; the medium seemed very
tired ; she leaned her head on the shoulder of one of the
controllers. A very interesting experience was yet in store
for us. The medium, as well as all the sitters, who formed
a chain, rose up. The table moved toward the center of the
room and afterwards rose completely in the air. After a
brief pause, during which one of us mentioned the fact that
a photographic plate was fixed under the seance table, and
while everyone was standing up at some distance from the
table, which was free and quite visible on all sides, the me-
dium asked for Dr. Aggazzotti's hand, and immediately
afterwards the photographic plate was seen to fall with vio-
lence on to the seance table. Dr. C. Foa and Dr. Aggaz-
zotti saw it distinctly come out from under the table, move
round the edge and pass on to the upper surface.

It was I A.M., and the medium was asked whether the
seance should be closed, but she did not reply; she was seen
to be very fatigued, and we broke off the seance without fur-
ther demur; the medium was placed in an armchair
and carried into a small adjoining sitting room."

At the conclusion of the seance, the "field of battle" was
visited, and the various objects were found out of place, the
table broken, etc. — showing that real forces had been at
work, and that the investigators had not been the subjects
of any hallucination. One incident of extreme interest is



io8 Eusapia Palladino

to be noted in this connection : When the photographic
plates were examined, two gave uncertain results, but
the third, which had been seized for some seconds by the
invisible hand, showed distinctly the dark, negative Image
of four big fingers, the position and form of which corre-
sponded with the index, the middle finger, the third, and
the little finger. The impression of the thumb seems to be
indicated also but not so clearly.

Summing up the results of their experiments, the in-
vestigators concluded that, whatever might be thought of
the seances as a whole, or of the various minor phenomena,
at least four of these were to be retained as proof positive
that fraud could not account for the results obtained. These
four were: (i) The marks on the apparatus (the revolving
cylinder) ; (2) the table broken to pieces before their eyes;
(3) the photographic plate nailed under the table, passed
on to it by invisible hands; (4) the impression of the hand
on the photographic plate enveloped in black paper. As to
this latter phenomenon, the committee could only suggest
that some sort of radio-activity issued from the medium's
fingers when in trance — penetrating the opaque paper, and
impressing the sensitive plate.

The investigators favored the hypothesis that the phe-
nomena were produced by some force issuing from the body
of the medium, and pointed out that, in our present state of
knowledge, the denial of such force is absurd. The phe-
nomena of heredity, they say, are equally unknown to us,
and that "it is very probable that when the determinism of
mediumistic phenomena have been completely established,
that of the phenomena of heredity will still remain enveloped
in the veil of mystery."



Eusapla Palladino 109

§ 19. Experiments at Naples — 1907

In the September and October, 1907, issues of The Annals
of Psychical Science, Professor Bottazzi records a number of
seances which he, together with Professor Galeotti, Dr.
DeAmicis, Dr. Oscar Scarpa, Dr. Luigi Lombardi, and Dr.
Sergio Pansini conducted in their own laboratories in the
University of Naples. The cabinet consisted of two cur-
tains hung across a doonvay. This door led into another
laboratory in the University, and both rooms were invariably
locked securely before the commencement of any seance. A
series of electric lamps of various intensities, red and white,
were affixed to the movable supports, and above the door —
allowing various degrees of illumination of the seance room.
They were controlled by a switch within reach of the sitters.

The object of the experimenters was to obtain graphic
records of the phenomena — that is to say, records obtained
by means of mechanical instruments. The realit)^ of the
phenomena, therefore, did not depend upon the observation
of the sitters. The medium was prevented from tampering
with these instruments during the seance in the following
manner. The seance cabinet was constructed in front of a
door leading into another laboratory. In this other labora-
tory, and behind the closed door, were placed the recording
instruments on various tables, and they were connected with
the keys, etc., inside the cabinet, by means of electric wires.
Thus, if a key had to be pressed in order to affect one of the
instruments on the other side of the partition door, this



Online LibraryHereward CarringtonEusapia Palladino and her phenomena → online text (page 9 of 27)