Archive for July, 2017


Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

Another interesting report about Palladino’s phenomena was authored by a group of Italian scientists: Aggazzotti, A., Foà, C., Foà, P., & Herlitzka, A. (1907). The experiments of Prof. P. Foà, of the University of Turin, and three doctors, assistants of Professor Mosso, with Eusapia Paladino. Annals of Psychical Science, 5, 361–392.

Aggazzotti Palladino Annals 1907

In the first  page of the report it was stated that these were séances  “held in Turin by Doctors Herlitzka, Charles Foà and Aggazzotti, the assistants of Prof. Mosso, the eminent physiologist, whose works on fatigue, puberty, etc., now looked upon as classics, are universally known. Another Professor of the same University, Dr. Pio Foà, Professor of Pathological Anatomy, Director of the Anatomical Museum, General Secretary of the Academy of Sciences in Turin, was present at the second and most remarkable seance.”

In a section of the article before the description of the first séance the authors describe an instrument they used as follows:

“In order to register objectively the movements that might be made by the medium, we had prepared a cylinder which revolved around a vertical axis, making a complete circuit in six hours. Round the cylinder is rolled a sheet of glazed paper, covered with a layer of lamp-black. This surface is touched by a needle, which, as the cylinder moves, carries away the lamp-black, and makes a horizontal white line on the paper.”

“If the point is moved from above downwards, it makes a little vertical line on the paper. The writing-lever could be put in motion by a small electro-magnet (Desprez signal) connected.with an accumulator and a telegraphic key. The revolving cylinder with the Desprez signal is under a glass bell placed on a solid wooden stand. The bell, which at its lower extremity has a thick rim, was fixed to the wooden stand by means of a string which passed through three eyelet holes formed of little ribbons attached to the wooden stand by seals; the string passed round the bell just above the thick rim.”

“Through two holes bored in the wood conducting wires leading from the signal issued from the bell, passing immediately into tubes of glass, so as to prevent contact, either intentional or accidental, occurring between them, and consequently the closing of the electric circuit. One of the wires terminated at the accumulator, and the other ended at the telegraphic key, from which a third wire, also insulated by a glass tube, led to the other pole of the accumulator. All the parts of the wires which could not be insulated by means of glass (the connecting wires of the accumulator) were surrounded by an insulating cord covered with ribbon, sealed with our seal. The key itself was closed in a card-board box, nailed to the stand, and secured by means of two ribbons crossed and sealed. Two little holes in the box admitted the glass tubes containing the conducting wires. The accumulator and the key were fixed on the same stand on which was the revolving cylinder. By this arrangement, a mark could only be made on the cylinder when the key had been depressed. Consequently, if we had found a mark on the cylinder, that would have proved conclusively that the key had been depressed, and if the seals were found intact, there would be absolute proof that no trick had been perpetrated.”

Here is the report of their first séance.

“The first seance took place on the evening of 20th February [1907], at the house of Count Verdun. We thank the Count and Countess, not only for their warm hospitality, but also for allowing us to examine the room minutely, without taking ofence at our, certainly ill-concealed, mistrust.”

“The seance took place in a dining-room, which occupied a corner of the house on the ground floor. One of the outer walls has two windows; the adjacent wall has one only. In front of the two windows is a big sideboard, beside which is a door which communicates with the vestibule; the fourth wall has two doors, the first leads to a little room and remained closed during the seance; the second leads to a small office; between the two doors is a chimney-piece surmounted by a mirror. All the windows were closed. One of them, the angle of which was intended to serve as the medium’s cabinet, was closed with shutters without any openings, which opened from the inside only and were barred with two strong iron bars which crossed each other and were fastened into a ring in the wall. The shutters were attached to each other by a band of gummed paper. The angle of the window, where the cabinet was arranged, was enlarged by a wooden canopy enclosed in front by two black woollen curtains. In the cabinet were two small tables, on one of which had been placed our apparatus and some pieces of cardboard on which were gummed the sheets of smoked paper. On the other table various toys were placed; under the table was a child’s piano.”

“There were present at the seance, besides the owners of the house and the undersigned, Dr. Imoda, Chevalier Rostain and a lady.”

“At the beginning of the seance the two of us who took the control were Dr. C. Foà and Dr. Herlitzka. The seance began in full light, and whilst the medium was still quite conscious, movements at first slight, then stronger, began in the seance-table, which raised three of its feet. In full light the slight outward movements of the curtain on the left were observed. The medium asked by means of the table (five raps) that the light might be lessened; this was done rather slowly, and the strong red light, reflected by the mirror on the mantelpiece, fell directly on to the medium’s eyes, which occasioned in her a fit of hysteria; she wept and cried out as if demented, hitting her face repeatedly with her fists. This was a genuine fit of hysteria, and every doctor at all familiar with these attacks could not fail to recognise it as such. The tears of Eusapia fell on the hands of those seated near her . . .”

“When the attack was over, Eusapia was no longer in her normal state of consciousness, and no longer spoke in the first person; she spoke as if she were John King, remaining in her well-known state of delirium. The medium advised the controllers to fix their attention on her head and one of them, Dr. C. Foà, saw a dark ill-defined profile like a head in a Capuchin-hood, which disappeared and afterwards appeared again at his request. M. Foà  liberated his hand from that of his neighbour to seize the head, but the latter withdrew. The others present did not see the apparition.”

“In the meanwhile, the table on which the toys had been placed, and which we will call No. I, made a noise in the interior of the cabinet, from which it at last came out completely. Then there began to arrive on the séance table many objects from table No. I: a sheet of paper, a little wooden sheep and a mandoline; the latter was accompanied by the curtain which covered the handle; the curtain, being pushed back by M. Foà, came back and covered the handle of the mandoline, and a hand, which was not that of the medium or of the sitters, pulled the hair of the person who had pushed back the curtain. At the same time we heard a scratching on the strings of the mandoline.”

“The little piano, in its turn, issued from under the table, we heard the sound of the keys being depressed of themselves and causing the strings to vibrate. We lit up, and observed that the objects which had arrived were really on the table; nothing abnormal was noticeable in the cabinet behind the curtain.”

“Dr. Foà now gave up his control to M. Rostain, whilst, in full light, table No. I made strong movements which synchronised with the movements of the medium’s hand.”

THE WORK OF THE UNKNOWN FORCE UPON THE APPARATUS
INVENTED BY THE EXPERIMENTERS

“The light was lowered. A peacock’s feather which was on the toy table rose up in the air from the table and stroked several of the sitters. In the meantime—addressing ourselves always to John King, in order to humour the delirium of the medium—we began to express the desire that our apparatus might be set in motion. Then we heard the table, on which the apparatus was standing, moving towards us behind the curtain, and we perceived that some continuous operation was going on round the card-board box; immediately afterwards some fragments of sealing-wax were thrown outside the curtain on to the séance table. After a pause, one of us having taken out his pocket handkerchief and replaced it in his pocket, someone remarked jokingly that he must take care that his handkerchief was not carried off; at once he felt and saw the handkerchief taken out of his pocket, without being able to observe whether it was done by a hand or not. The handkerchief was unfolded and carried to the nose of the owner: then it disappeared behind the curtain and was afterwards thrown upon the seance table.”

“After this interlude, the operations round our apparatus were begun again and a ribbon was thrown on to the table with the wax seal. We lit up immediately, and one of us hastened into the cabinet holding in his hand a little lighted electric pocket lamp, but he observed nothing indicative of trickery. He observed that the card-board box containing the key was unfastened, that a glass tube was broken, and that one of the ribbons which fastened the box was missing. There was no mark on the cylinder; the bell was still sealed. We assured ourselves by opening the box that the key acted all right, then we closed it again, sealed it afresh and lowered the light.”

Eusapia Palladino 5

Eusapia Palladino

“The work began again round the apparatus; we heard the seals being torn off, and the lid of the card-board box being removed. We asked that the instrument might be carried through the air on to the seance-table, and the lid at once approached us, accompanied by something white, which everyone saw but no one could identify.”

Dr. Herlitzka asked permission to seize the lid; the medium consented, through the table, which rapped three times, and Dr. Herlitzka stretched out his hand and touched the lid, but the curtain advanced and it was rapidly removed.”

“At the same time Dr. Herlitzka felt himself pulled by the ear, and received a blow on his shoulder which was heard by all the sitters. The lid again appeared in the air, was thrown on the table and was taken into the hands of some of us.”

“We then asked that the key of the apparatus might be pressed down. Eusapia replied, pronouncing the words very indistinctly:”

“The key is uncovered and as I can 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 neighbours.”

“A few minutes later several raps on the key were heard at intervals of a minute or so from one another. At the same time, the seance-table rose up and one of the controllers felt his arm seized by an unknown hand. Dr. Herlitzka also felt himself touched on the shoulder, and felt the curtain pressed against his nose; he had the impression that a hard spherical body was behind it.”

“We asked that the lid of the box should be replaced and at once a white luminosity which several of us saw, but which no one could identify as a hand, felt about on the table for the lid. It could not find it and, as if annoyed, it rapped forcibly two raps on the table and disappeared. Supposing that the lid was too far outside the “ sphere of activity,” one of us placed it nearer to the medium; immediately the curtain advanced on to the table, enveloped it and carried it away. It is needless to repeat that the medium continued under strict control. Dr. Herlitzka saw the usual white form come out from the curtain and make the action of throwing something; and at once a piece of ribbon bearing a wax seal was thrown forcibly on the hand of Dr. Imoda, who was at some distance, opposite the medium.”

“The table with the toys was then pushed completely outside the cabinet.”

“The medium, sighing and groaning, managed to ask, uttering the words indistinctly, whether she might make an apport of the glass bell. We did not consent, fearing that the marks registered on the smoked paper would be smudged, and we said that the bell was sealed; the medium laughed ironically, and the table rapped twice as a sign of negation.”

“Then seven raps informed us that the medium wished to terminate the seance. Before we lit up, Eusapia was carried by the experimenters into an adjoining dark room, where she gradually came to herself.”

“Then we examined the field of operation of the unknown force, and we found that the cardboard lid was lying imperfectly on the box, and that the ribbon which surrounded the bell had been removed. On the smoked paper of the cylinder, we found the marks made by the pressure on the electric key. The diagram was fixed, signed by the sitters, and preserved.”

“The window was closed and barred, there was no indication of trickery in the little room, which had been under constant supervision.”

The report of this séance was signed by Drs. A. Herlitzka, C. Foà, and  A. Aggazzotti.

As in other séance reports, there were several mentions of movement of objects, mainly the table, but also of other objects such as a sheet of paper, a mandoline, the cabinet curtain, and a handkerchief. In addition some musical instruments were played, some sitters felt things (pull of an ear, blow on shoulder), there were raps, and a luminous form and the profile of a head were seen. Also interesting was the fit the medium had, and possesson by her control John King.

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Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

As I write these lines the Parapsychological Association is holding its annual convention in Athens, Greece. I was not able to attend, but I am glad that I participated as part of the Program Committee. Here I would like to present the titles of the papers, as presented in the convention’s abstracts of papers. The photos i have posted were recently taken  at the convention.

 

PA 2017 Logo

PA 2017 Group Photo

Conference Attendees

 

Papers Presented at the Convention

The “Vienna Circle” and Parapsychology

by Peter Mulacz

PA 2017 Peter Mulacz Photo by Renaud Evrard

Peter Mulacz (photo by Renaud Evrard)

Freud as a Psychical Researcher: The Impossible Freudian Legacy

by Evrard Renaud, Claudie Massicotte & Thomas Rabeyron

The Creation and Validation of the Belief in the Supernatural Scale

by Malcolm B. Schofield, Ian S. Baker, Paul Staples & David Sheffield

Anomalistic Psychology, Parapsychology, Psychology of Magic, and Psychology of Religion: An Integration Proposal to Deal with the Complexity of the Paranormal

by Leonardo Martins

Training Anomalous Cognition in a Motor Task with Subliminal Auditory Feedback

by John Palmer

Do Changes of Thermodynamic Entropy at a Remote Site Enhance the Quality of Anomalous Cognition?

by Edwin C. May, Lory Hawley & Sonali Bhatt Marwaha

PA 2017 Ed May Photo by Renaud Evrard

Ed May (photo by Renaud Evrard)

Exploring the Effect of a Contingent Cash Based Reward on the Precall of Arousing Images

by David Vernon

Exceptional Experiences under Placebo God Helmet Conditions

by Christine Simmonds-Moore, Donadrian Rice & Chase O’Gwin

A Test of Morphic Resonance using Urdu Words

by Kate Archer & Rachel Cooper

Scientific Evidence of Telekinetic Effects on a Spinning Mobile: A Scientific Attempt to Detect and Study Telekinetic Effects even in a Non-Confined Environment

by Eric Dullin & David Jamet

Implicit Psi in a Stimulus Detection Task: Can PK and Precognition Affect Perceptual Performance? [Research Brief]

by Jacob Jolij & Dick Bierman

The Selfield: A Precognitive Study using an Immersive Display System

by Mario Varvoglis, Peter Bancel, Djohar si Ahmed, Jocelyne Boban & Jean-Paul Bailly

PA 2017 Mario Varvoglis Photo by Renaud Evrard

Mario Varvoglis (photo by Renaud Evrard)

Descriptive Analyses of Various Anomalous Experiences of Nurses and Carers: Personality, Perceptual and Cognitive Factors Associated with Anomalous/Paranormal Experiences  Reported by Nurses

by Alejandro Parra

The Bélmez Faces: An Investigation of a Supposedly Strong Case [Research Brief]

by Gerhard Mayer

PA 2017 Gerhard Mayer Photo by Rachel Evenden

Gerhard Mayer (photo by Rachel Evenden)

“Logic is Only Half the Equation”: Exploring Psychedelic Drug Usage and Transformations of Identity, Spiritual Awakening, the Transcending of Ordinary States of Consciousness and Enlightenment Experiences Following LSD Consumption

Lesley-Ann Smith, Johnny T. Ryan & Rachel E. Evenden

Content Analysis of Spontaneous Cases of Psi included in the Alister Hardy Religious Experiences Research Centre Database

Chris A. Roe & Rebecca Linnett

PA 2017 Chris Roe 2017 Photo by Rachel Evenden

Chris Roe (photo taken by Rachel Evenden)

The Relation of Psi and Alterations of Consciousness in Ganzfeld and Hypnosis Contexts

by Etzel Cardeña & David Marcusson-Clavertz

Dreamy States and Cosmic Wanderings: An Autoethnographic Narrative of Spiritual Experiences in Epilepsy

by Louise N. King, Chris A. Roe & Elizabeth C. Roxburgh

Transformative Features of the Psychedelic Drug Experience: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Ayahuasca Users in Britain

by Johnny T. Ryan, Lesley-Ann Smith & Rachel E. Evenden

The Star Gate Archives: Reports of the US Government Sponsored Psi Program: 1972-1995. An Overview

by Sonali Bhatt Marwaha & Edwin C. May

Exploring the Model of Pragmatic Information: Implications for the Classification and Explanation of Psi

by Bevis Beauvais

Open Data in Parapsychology: Introducing PSI Open Data

by Adrian Ryan

Panel Discussion

A Tribute to Gerd Hövelmann (1956-2017)

Chair: Renaud Evrard

Gerd Hovelmann 2

Gerd Hövelmann (1956-2017)

Gerd H. Hövelmann or the ‘Amicus Curiae’ of Parapsychology: A personal appreciation

by Eberhard Bauer

Gerd H. Hövelmann: Some Personal Recollections

by Peter Mulacz

From Responsible Scepticism to Reflexive Anomalistics: A Selection of Quotes from Gerd Hövelmann

by Renaud Evrard

Posters

An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of After-Death Communication in the Bereavement Process of Professed Sceptics

by Miruna M. Bara & Callum E. Cooper

Spontaneous Post-Death Phenomena and their Positive Impact on Experients

by Callum E. Cooper, Chris A. Roe & Graham Mitchell

A Pilot Study of Floatation Tanks and Sensory Isolation in Producing Psi Conducive Imagery

by Callum E. Cooper & David T. Saunders

Medical Diagnosis and Death Detection: A Replication of Reading Faces through Photographs

by Marcelo Eremián

How do RNGs Detect Psychokinesis? The Proposed CAW Model (Coupling, Analog Signal Anomaly, and Wave-Like Field Model) as a Mechanism of Detecting PK

by Hideyuki Kokubo

What about Parapsychology and Anomalistics? Results of a WGFP and GfA Member Survey

by Gerhard A. Mayer

Therapeutic Approaches towards Integrating Near-Death Experiences

by Erika A. Pratte

PA 2017 Erka Pratte Photo by Renaud Evrard

Erika Pratte (Photo by Renaud Evrard)

Exploring the Parapsychological and Transpersonal Dimensions of the Psychedelic Drug Experience: A Mixed Methods Analysis

by Johnny T. Ryan, Chris A. Roe & Lesley-Ann Smith

Individual Difference Correlates of Psi Performance in Forced-Choice Precognition Experiments: A Meta-Analysis (1945-2016)

Marco Zdrenka & Marc S. Wilson

Special Presentations

Presidential Address

Withering Skepticism: Inclusive Criticism, or Hackneyed Mantras and Extraordinary Standards?

by Chris A. Roe

J.B. Rhine Banquet Speech

Invisible World and Modern Astrophysics

by Efstratios Theodosiou

Schmeidler Award Address

A Brief History of Psionics

by Michael Tremmel

Exhibitions and Live Performance

Pythia: An ancient musical instrument exhibition and live performance

Nikolaos Koumartzis, Iordanis Koumartzis, Theodore Koumartzis & George Saratsis

The Greek History of Psychical Research: A Photo-Exhibition

Nikolaos Koumartzis

PA 2017 Niko Koumartzis Tanagras Display Photo by Annalisa Ventola

Niko Koumartzis photo exhibit (photo by Annalisa Ventola)

 

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

In 1908 Italian physician Enrico Imoda published a short report of of Palladino’s attempt to influence an electroscope: “The Action of Eusapia Paladino on the Electroscope” (Annals of Psychical Science, 1908, 7, 410–412). He was later known for his séances with materialization medium Linda Gazzera.

Enrico Imoda

Enrico Imoda

Imoda wrote:

“At the mediumistic séance held with Eusapia Paladino, on the evening of April 10th, 1908, at the house of the engineer, M. F., I experimentally obtained a phenomenon which appears to demonstrate that radiations resembling those of radium and the cathodic rays of Crookes emanated from the medium. The phenomenon consisted in the rapid discharge of an electroscope without contact.”

“At the end of the séance, and when I she was completely aroused from her trance condition, I asked Madame Paladino to stand beside a table on which I had placed a charged electroscope, the dielectric portion of which was made of pure sulphur, so that the insulation might be perfect. I got her to stretch her hands forward to a distance of about four inches from the electrode. Her hands were watched by a friend of mine, so that there was no possibility of her touching the electroscope, whilst I attentively observed every movement of the gold leaves, separated by the charging of the electroscope.”

“For perhaps two minutes no visible effect was produced, but after that the leaves began to fall together, very slowly, but perceptibly; at length, after three or four minutes more, the gold leaves of the electroscope suddenly came together, showing that the electroscope was discharged.”

“Since the conditions under which the phenomenon was obtained (the room was lighted by six small oil lamps, with red glasses) precluded the possibility that Eusapia had touched the instrument, it seems to me possible to argue that the discharge was due to the surrounding air having become a conductor of electricity, just as if I had approached to the electroscope a radium salt or a Crookes’ bulb. But there was one difference between the action of the radium and that of the medium—viz., that whilst the discharge of the electroscope by the approach of a radium salt produces an instantaneous effect as soon as the radium is brought close to it, in the case of Eusapia the discharge did not take place until after several minutes, as though the body of the medium, previously passive, suddenly projected a jet of these radiations. That is to say, the emission of the mediumistic rays appeared not to be continuous, but by shocks, as, perhaps, is the case with the electrical discharge of the gymnotus and torpedo.”

Imoda Palladino Electroscope

“If we compare this phenomenon of the mediumistic discharging of an electroscope with the phenomena already certified by myself and others, such as impressions on photographic plates tightly sealed up in paper or wooden boxes, the hypothesis that radium emanations, cathodic rays, and mediumistic rays are one and the same thing appears to gain in probability.”

“One other phenomenon equally well vouched for by myself and others as occurring in mediumistic séances, appears to support this hypothesis; namely, that a small white cloud, floating like a vapour, and resembling a slightly luminous fog, is frequently seen above the surface of the table during séances. In one instance I saw, surrounding the head of Professor Lombroso, a thick cloud of white vapour, the medium having asked us to blow our breath in that direction.” [On this medium and Lombroso click here]

“We know that one of the properties of the cathodic rays is precisely that of causing the formation of a fog when they pass through a layer of air saturated with moisture. It would be interesting to ascertain whether mediumistic radiations, as well as cathodic rays and the emanations of radium, have the property of phenomenon, equally rendering phosphorescent a screen of platino-cyanide of barium placed in their track; up to the present I have not had the opportunity of trying this experiment.”

“The phenomenon of the discharge of the electroscope, taken by itself, would not, for me, be an absolute proof that the surrounding air had become a conductor of electricity, because the phenomenon can be explained in another way.”

“We have only to suppose that a materialised limb had placed the hand of the medium in direct contact with the instrument, and that this small degree of materialisation, sufficient to discharge the electroscope, but not to make an impression on my retina, had remained invisible to me. We know, in fact, positively, that the lower degrees of materialisation are not visible to the physical eye, while they may be sufficiently powerful to impress a photographic plate, even by reflected light.”

“But this hypothesis, reasonable in other respects, is contradicted by the two classes of phenomena mentioned above: The cloud of vapour and the impression on the covered photographic plate. Therefore, the former one seems to me more probable—viz., that the mediumistic radiations are able of themselves to render air a conductor of electricity, and that, in consequence, the radiations of radium, the cathodic radiations of the Crookes” bulb, and mediumistic radiations, are fundamentally the same.”

“I would strongly urge experimenters to undertake researches in pursuance of this idea; for if we can definitely establish the identity of all these radiations, one of the mysteries of an obscure and complex problem—that is, the physical nature of mediumistic force—would begin to be cleared up.”

Eusapia Palladino 16