By an easy association of ideas one turns to the professional mediums and the physical manifestations of their subtle art and craft. Both have been the subject of two series of articles in thereto Zealand Tablet, in which some corners of the curtain were raised and the wholesome light of day let in upon the unworthy wilear and ways by which the incautious, the credulous, and the unknowing are gulled into acceptance of the prestiges of the cpnjurer as the work of spirits from the vasty deep. After a long experience of mediums, that king 6f modern conjurers, Mr. J. N. Maskelyne, pronounces this sweeping verdict: ' There does not exist, and there, never has existed, a professional medium of any note who has not been convicted of trickery or fraud.' And the author of that strange book of confessions; The Eevelations of a Spirit. Medium, says of himself and his fellows in the trade (p. 95): 'Of all the mediums he (the author) has met, in eighteen years,
and that means a great many, in all phases, he has never met one that was not sailing under the very same .description as himself.. Every one; no exception.' Again, on p. 332, he says of himself and the rest : * His own career, and< the fact that he has met no other professional medium, - male or female, in his long experience and extensive travels, who were not "crooked," leads him to the conclusion that, " from the professional, you are to expect nothing genuine.'
- 1 j j " *• Our own • views in regard to the generally fraudulent ■character of the professional medium are more than borne .out by a recently published work, The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism, Fraudulent and Genuine, by. Hereward Carrington, who is- a practical conjurer- and a member of', the Council of the American Society for Scientific Research and of the (London) Society for Psychical Research. On page 6he says : ' Turning now, for the moment, to the historical side of this question, we find that there is scarcely a medium producing physical phenomena who has not; at one time or another, been exposed in the grossest kind of fraud, and that the whole history of the subject — so far as the physical phenomena are concerned — is bespattered with evidences of fraud, and the worst kind of "moral mud" and intellectual mire imaginable. It presents an almost unbroken chain of evidence, showing that fraud and nothing but fraud has been practised throughout, by mediums; and presenting scarcely any evidence whatever that they are ever genuine, or did really happen, as stated. . . . We find, in practically all cases that have been recorded, fraud has afterwards been proved to exist; or the nature of the evidence is such as to strongly suggest that fraud was employed — only undetected.' ' There" can be no doubt, then,' says the author (pp. 9-10), 'that the history of spiritualism is saturated with fraud, and that the vast majority of the phenomena obtained through mediums are fraudulent in character. . . The net result of the investigations conducted by the Society for Psychical Research was to produce the conviction that no results obtained through professional mediums were to be trusted, so long as the conditions rendered fraud possible; and, further, that practically all professional mediums are frauds. . . The American S.P.R. [Society for Psychical Research] was unable to find any medium who could produce satisfactory " phenomena under test conditions, and stated that " it is, in their opinion, inadvisable to undertake further investigation in regard to professional paid materialising mediums, inasmuch as all the materialising seances yet attended by them have been held under conditions which rendered any scientific investigation impossible." ' All this more than bears out the conviction which was forced upon us by twenty years' study of the methods and the physical ' phenomena ' of professional mediums, from the view-point of the practical conjurer. In response to requests made to us from several quarters, we propose to deal in some detail, in an early issue, with ' an allied subject — namely the tricks that are dark and the ways that are vain by which so-called ' mind-readers ' and performers of ' thought-transference ' not alone ama?e the groundlings, but sometimes almost deceive the elect. "Here again we shall write with a direct knowledge of the methods which we propose to describe.
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Fraudulent Mediums, New Zealand Tablet, 11 November 1909
Fraudulent Mediums New Zealand Tablet, 11 November 1909
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