Friday, February 28, 2014

Facts are not allowed in Wikipedia

In Wikipedia (as of February 28, 2014), the entry on psychic Eileen Garrett includes the following:
Garrett took part in "clairvoyance" tests. One of the tests was organised by Joseph Rhine at Duke University in 1933 which involved cards with certain symbols that were placed in a sealed envelope and participants were asked to guess their contents. Garrett scored 2,433 correct hits in 10,900 cards. She performed poorly and later criticised the tests by claiming that the cards lacked a psychic energy called "energy stimulus" and that she could not perform clairvoyance to order.
J. B. Rhine's ESP experiments involved the use of card decks with 5 symbols, so the probability of a correct guess was 1 in 5 or 0.2. That means with 10,900 cards guessed the chance expected number of correct guesses was 2,180. The exact cumulative binomial probability of Garrett's 2,433 hits out of 10,900 guesses in a standard ESP card test is associated with a probability of p = 0.000000001, which in turn is associated with a z score of 5.97. This is close to the estimate

z = (hits - N/5)/sqrt(Npq), where N = number of guesses, p = 0.2 and q = 1-p, or 
z = (2433 - (10900/5))/sqrt(10900 * .2 * .8) = 6.06.

While Garrett might have been disappointed with her results, someone should have explained to her that from a statistical perspective her performance was astoundingly good and did support the idea of providing "clairvoyance to order."

Wikipedia's entry on Rhine and his ESP card test results is equally flawed. For details read the book, ESP After Sixty Yearson Google books. It shows that Rhine and his colleagues were well aware of all of the criticisms of their methods (sensory leakage, selective reporting, recording errors, etc.), they responded to those critiques by steadily improving and testing the new methods, and they showed that the ESP interpretation remained valid. That book also shows that dozens of other investigators had tried to replicate Rhine's work and that cumulatively they were successful. This book is also the forerunner of modern meta-analysis.

Update 1: When the Wikipedia entry on Garrett was edited by referring to this blog post, the correction was removed in 6 hours, citing my post as an "unreliable source." This would be funny if it wasn't so silly. I am simply pointing out a mathematical fact. I guess facts are not allowed on Wikipedia.

Update 2: There is a discussion on Wikipedia where editors assert that parapsychology is a pseudoscience, and this is why it doesn't deserve a balanced article. I guess some simply cannot accept that parapsychology is an elected affiliate in good standing with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as I describe here on my evidence page. The AAAS is the world's largest scientific organization and as such it represents the scientific mainstream. To be an affiliate of the AAAS an organization must be approved by the AAAS Council and it must be consistent with the objectives of the AAAS: "To further the work of scientists, to facilitate cooperation among them, to foster scientific freedom and responsibility, to improve the effectiveness of science in the promotion of human welfare, and to increase public understanding and appreciation of the importance and promise of the methods of science in human progress." The Parapsychological Association, which I've been President of four times, is strongly in favor of these objectives. We are especially in favor of promoting scientific freedom to seriously investigate any topic without prejudice. That aspiration is apparently prohibited on Wikipedia.

The AAAS does not tolerate pseudoscience, nor does it include any so-called "skeptical organizations" in its list of affiliates. Wikipedia editors are ignoring the fact that parapsychology is sanctioned as legitimate by mainstream science. This is yet another fact disallowed on Wikipedia.

If Wikipedia was really interested interested in being a neutral, fact-based encyclopedia, it would disallow editorial prejudice from distorting articles on controversial topics, and it would end the ridiculous policy of allowing anyone, regardless of expertise, to edit articles anonymously. I urge readers of my blog to regularly view the Wikipediocracy site, which is doing a good job in exposing major problems with Wikipedia across all disciplines.

Update 3: The above-mentioned discussion on Wikipedia has been archived.  A saved version of the same discussion is also available here.  See the comments on this post from Ben for more details. 




68 comments:

Ben Steigmann said...

John Booth's attack on Garrett re. the R-101 incident has also been countered: http://michaelprescott.freeservers.com/r-101.html

I think the problem is that from a historical view, people view parapsychology as deriving from more spurious research which is allegedly "based on fraud and delusion." Thus challenging what are distortions of the earlier history - in the same spirit as the Wikipedia distortions occur today, in the spirit of Alan Gauld ("The Founders of Psychical Research"), Brian Inglis ("Natural and Supernatural", "Science and Parascience", "The Hidden Power"), or even more conservative commentators like Walter Franklin Prince ("The Enchanted Boundary") seems to be appropriate. This is not particularly your field, but it is something that needs to be done by somebody - hopefully on a single site that people can link to. Maybe individual researchers can focus on specific areas, and aggregate the results to counter the wave of disinformation that has been put out in the last year.

danneiman said...

I see it was amended again with this new info: "Garrett scored 2,433 correct hits in 10,900 cards for an average of 5.7 per 25. The chance expectation for guessing is 5 per 25 and her score was statistically significant." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eileen_J._Garrett

Ben Steigmann said...

On the Wikipedia Talk:Parapsychology section, there is this statement: "here's no controversy from the overall consensus in the scientific community about parapsychology, the controversy is only in the parapsychological community. Parapsychology is a pseudoscience. There is no controversy from the scientific community about this.": (scroll down) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Parapsychology#Major_Revisions_Are_Needed_Here...

Therefore, since your blog is one of the more consulted sources on this, I have a strategy - a suggestion that you write a new post countering that statement, so as to act as a vector of change.

My suggestion is to write a post called "A Counter for the Wikipedia Rationale for the Marginalization for Parapsychology" - which will refute that exact point - not to emphasize that there exist "fringe rebuttals", but rather, to refute the assertion that parapsychology is universally sneered at by the scientific community.

As a beginning item, it would help to first note the information about the inclusion of the PA in the AAAS, exactly as you did in your "show me the evidence" intro.

Then note the 2006 inclusion of ESP as a "pseudoscience" by the NSF, but later retraction of that inclusion, as you wrote in an email to me.

Then note the results from the 2005 Gallup pool that 3/4 of Americans believe in the paranormal: http://www.gallup.com/poll/16915/three-four-americans-believe-paranormal.aspx

but much more importantly, the following NBC news story - "Does education fuel paranormal beliefs?", which states "Believe it or not, higher education is linked to a greater tendency to believe in ghosts and other paranormal phenomena, according to a new study.": http://www.nbcnews.com/id/10950526/ns/technology_and_science-science/#.UxLjePldWSo

Then note the surveys of academic opinion regarding parapsychology showing that there is widespread INDEPENDENT support in ANONYMOUS surveys, that only declines when you get to surveys in institutions like the NSF. Sources of such surveys, from which you might wish to extract information, are as follows:
1)http://en.wikademia.org/Surveys_of_academic_opinion_regarding_parapsychology
2) This section of the following article from Dossey, entitled "Widespread Interest": http://www.explorejournal.com/article/S1550-8307(12)00219-4/fulltext#sec6

You may want to include more such examples, as you see fit.

However, there are some problems with the views of the higher ups, as follows:
1) I noted in comments to your "show me the evidence" blog the following:
"the mainstream media attacked and discredited the US remote viewing program, but there is an incredible discrepancy between that attack and the statements of former president Jimmy Carter on the very high accuracy of one participant in the program as presented here: http://www.lookingglassnews.org/viewstory.php?storyid=5187"

2) I gave you the reply by Honorton and Utts to the NRC showing that the NRC attack on parapsychology was a coverup - you might want to include it and flesh out further details.

Ben Steigmann said...

Then take note of the Epoch Times article "Does Telepathy Conflict With Science?": http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/science/does-telepathy-conflict-with-science-211214-page-2.html

...and the references in it accounting for psi within the framework of the Orthodox von Neumann interpretation of QM, as well as the articles from a current leading proponent of that view, Henry Stapp, who refuted Hofstadter's claim about Bem presentiment experiments, "If any of his claims were true, then all of the bases underlying contemporary science would be toppled, and we would have to rethink everything about the nature of the universe.": http://www-physics.lbl.gov/~stapp/Reason01132012.doc

and has put forth arguments accounting for the information in "Irreducible Mind", which provides the outlines of a "theory" for psi, within the framework of the orthodox von Neumann interpretation of QM: http://www-physics.lbl.gov/~stapp/Compatibility.pdf

Ben Steigmann said...

There is a wikipedia noticeboard discussion attacking the current parapsychology advocate, so you might want to write the suggested article soon, so it could be used: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Administrators%27_noticeboard/Incidents#Constant_arguing_over_parapsychology

Ben Steigmann said...

I would finally suggest that, should you do this, then, re. Bem presentiment experiments, which Stapp corroborated, it might be a good idea to mention the yet to be published meta-analysis showing many replications.

And re. Irreducible Mind, which Stapp corroborated, it is true that it did recieve one negative review: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.5406/amerjpsyc.123.2.0246?uid=3739560&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21102903217433, but that prompted a rebuttal in that same mainstream journal: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.5406/amerjpsyc.124.1.0111?uid=3739560&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21102866149803, and more importantly, there were 4 positive reviews in mainstream journals: https://www.academia.edu/3617812/Review_of_Kellys_Irreducible_Mind, "a comprehensive review of empirical evidence that questions the assumption that "properties of minds will ultimately be fully explained by those of brains"...Kelly et al. deserve to be praised for their courage and scholarship in dealing with such a controversial topic."—Alexander Moreira-Almeida & Harold Koenig, Duke University, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: http://www.hoje.org.br/site/arq/artigos/Kelly_book_review_JNMD08.pdf, "a monumental work...Only a very resistant observer will remain unpersuaded that a proportion, as least, of all this carefully evaluated data presents a significant challenge to conventional views"—Paul Marshall, Journal of Consciousness Studies: http://www.imprint.co.uk/pdf/14_11_books.pdf, "The authors have not only plausibly argued that the empirical and conceptual horizon of science, particularly the science of the human mind, is both capable and in dire need of expansion, but—and I use this strong term deliberately—they have proven it."—Andreas Sommer, University College, London, Journal of Mind and Behavior: http://www.umaine.edu/jmb/archives/volume29/v29n4.htm

Stapp's reply to Streater, a critic, is also important: http://www-physics.lbl.gov/~stapp/RTS.doc

It is important, should you discuss the NRC etc., to emphasize other forms of fraud levied against the psi community - Extracts regarding an attempt by Martin Gardner to bribe Pavel Stepanek into "revealing" how he cheated to achieve positive results in a series of ESP trials conducted by Milan Ryzl, which were attacked in Gardner's book 'How Not to Test a Psychic', are provided here- first, other misrepresentations are noted: https://ia701200.us.archive.org/13/items/NotesonSpiritualismandPsychicalResearch/RebuttalOfGardnerByKeil-JpVol54June1990020.pdf, https://ia701200.us.archive.org/13/items/NotesonSpiritualismandPsychicalResearch/Ryzl%20Accuses%20Gardner%20of%20Attempted%20Bribery%20-%20JP%20Vol%2054%20September%201990019.pdf

Ben Steigmann said...

The parapsych discussion is no longer immediately available - it has since been archived: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Parapsychology/Archive_17#Major_Revisions_Are_Needed_Here..., though a saved version of it is here: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:Parapsychology&diff=597806593&oldid=597803996#Major_Revisions_Are_Needed_Here...

Contrasting examples of counter-advocate fraud with the few cases of fraud in psi research, discovered by parapsychologists (e.g. - the McLuhan link), would be important.

I would like to add that I became aware of the recent situation on Wikipedia by consulting the history for the Garrett article - it turns out that "Goblin Face" is an alias for "Dan Skeptic", an editor who, though he ridicules and denies it (as in the above ANI), is very active in trying to get banned editors who disagree with his views, and was also policing the Dean Radin article. Craig Weiler has been ridiculed for some of his speculations re. Wikipedia, but in the case of "Dan Skeptic", there is some interesting evidence - from "Dan Skeptic", we do in fact find that there is a connection between all of this and the "Guerilla Skeptic" group: http://weilerpsiblog.wordpress.com/2013/10/23/wikipedia-the-dirty-tricks-machine/ - Weiler also provides evidence of other unethical censorship oriented tactics by that group, like gaming the web of trust: http://weilerpsiblog.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/the-guerrilla-skeptics-taking-creepy-to-11/

And considering the style of naming, it is quite likely that the wikipedia user Sarah8866, who initially reverted the Garrett item, is likely the wikipedia user Ivy46 and the RationalWiki user David1234 (interesting synchronicity there). There are cases in which he has inserted false information into articles. I have evidence that he may be the same person as "Dan Skeptic", or at least very closely connected with him, in the close collusion sort of way that these people deny.

I remember emailing Rome Viharo (creator of http://wikipediawehaveaproblem.com/) a while ago, during the Sheldrake incident, and he was concerned about the defamation they (RW) levy against ideological opponents, and noted that in a discussion with a lawyer it would take a class-action lawsuit to put an end to that. As one party, he was somewhat at a loss in doing this, but several parties can do this. Your blog, Dean, is popular amongst a subsection of those being ridiculed in those articles - perhaps you might want to talk to some of them about a petition to impose sanctions on that site for defamation. Or those reading here might be inspired to take that action themselves.

The Thought Criminal said...

Wikipedia is, openly, the focus of a concerted organized effort to turn it into a tool of pseudo-skepticism, the "Guerrilla Skeptics on Wikipedia" who have openly been training "editors" to get control of topics of interest to their ideology. On their website they said "Wikipedia is the most important tool for skepticism that exists today". There isn't any doubt about that and, yet, the establishment of Wikipedia does absolutely nothing to guarantee people who read it that it is impartial. And that is hardly the only problem with how it is set up. There is massive evidence that some language and national Wikipedias have been taken over by the farthest of right wing extremists (Croatian) or, openly, a tool of brutal dictators (Kazakhstan) the later one with considerable support from figures high up in Wikipedia

http://wikipediocracy.com/2012/12/23/jimmy-wales-in-the-dictator-and-i/

The best thing to do with Wikipedia is to discredit it for the fraud it is.

Ben Steigmann said...

The reply to the NRC is available here: https://ia700604.us.archive.org/25/items/someitems/ReplyToTheNationalResearchCouncilStudyOnParapsychologyPalmerHonortonAndUttsjasprVol83Jan89Pp31-49034.pdf

Ben Steigmann said...

I will just say though, reflecting retrospectively, that some of the attack on editors and groups is misguided, as the issue is with wikipedia policy, which calls for across the board negative edits of these subjects, with the editors merely carrying those edits out, and points challenging that. One of the editors mentions Sgerbic, but that is only circumstantial evidence at best, and it is the BEST evidence for the GSoW item, and that leaves much to be desired. Rather than focusing on that, people should focus on changing the wiki policy re. parapsychology, partially by citing the arguments I gave previously in this thread. At best, attacks on other editors lead to idiotic, unnecessary antagonism.

I say that after what could be called an attempt at cordial exchange with one of the editors - which brought up some of my internet history which I feel I have to publicize lest it be misrepresented: one thing I did a few years ago is attempt to prove classical conspiratorial arguments regarding Zionism, Communism, Super-Capitalism, etc., partially because I energized myself by engaging in intellectual arguments with people along these lines, but mostly because I felt that people around me were suffering from a type of collective Stockholm syndrome, attacking any suggestion that such is the case as "conspiracy theory". In order to attempt to change this, I decided that I would attempt to vindicate the historical, classical arguments which people said were the real basis of modern arguments - some of my writing on this was initially immature and rebellious (I could use it to shock people), though I never succumbed to racism, and specifically rebuked racists (see for example: http://bensteigmann.blogspot.com/2013/09/proclamation-pt-iii.html). The contentious nature of the material brought up some concerns I felt I had to clarify - https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Administrators%27_noticeboard/Incidents&diff=597912950&oldid=597912089#Archiving_parapsychology_argument

The reason I was antagonistic to those editors was that both editors claimed I was "inserting pseudoscience" into wiki articles, though in both cases most of my editing was including mainstream journals and/or the opinions of qualified scientists. The edit I made to the Radin article had one less than high-quality source re. the NRC, however, the source above is much better. While it is in the JASPR, it is from other qualified scientists, and most of the other material in my edit to the Radin article - others said I was inserting pseudoscience when I attempted to get proper coverage of 2 medical reviews on IV vitamin C - but my edit to the Radin article is here: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Dean_Radin&diff=580843185&oldid=580842904

Ben Steigmann said...

The reason I brought up the Ivy46 user is because s/he attacked Stephen Braude with illegitimate attacks - however, this is probably more the result of glibness than malice. Contrary to the wikipedia article on Braude, he directly engages the "skeptical" literature on D.D. Home and counters claims of fraud: https://www.academia.edu/2976261/The_Enigma_of_Daniel_Home

Regarding Ted Serios, Braude's actual commentary is, in "The Limits of Influence" (1997), p. 30, that "A different sort of contemporary example is a double-barreled offense: (a) magician James Randi's dishonesty and evasive dialectic concerning the psychic photography of Ted Serios, and (b) the support of Randi's position by scientists and others who have made no direct study of the evidence. For instance, in an inexcusable act of misrepresentation and abuse of his position of influence, Martin Gardner claimed [...] that Randi "regularly" duplicates the Serios photographic phenomena. It may be that Gardner simply an unwisely took Randi's word on this, but the claim, nevertheless, is patently false. Although Randi confidently and flamboyantly accepted a wager from Eisenbud on national television to duplicate the Serios photographic phenomena, in fact he has never even attempted to duplicate those phenomena under the most stringent - and most relevant - conditions in which Serios succeeded. The story is too complicated to be presented here, and Randi has (sagely) not granted permission to publish his revealing correspondence with Eisenbud, in which he attempts, transparently, to back down from Eisenbud's wager. The reason, of course, is that for Randi's purposes, confident posturing before the public is all he needs. I refer the interested reader to Eisenbud, 1989 (pp. 226-227) and Fuller, 1974, for partial (and unfortunately the only accessible) accounts of the matter."

Reliable sources praise Braude, I will list them elsewhere.

Aside from rejection of the US Government Remote viewer work (the legitimacy of this rejection is questioned above), James Randi seems to be one of the main reasons that psi is looked at with disdain. In the following previous thread on your site, I used publicly available information to call Randi, and Alcock and others, who are sources precluding acceptance of this, into question - some of the writing sources people against whom there are attacks that have not yet been refuted, though I will refute them later this week: http://deanradin.blogspot.com/2013/04/show-me-evidence.html?showComment=1386267603458#c9012372150767499963

Ben Steigmann said...

It appears some of the content I posted may have been a bit touchy, even though it was merely meant as a clarification. If the two comments I previously made are not posted by this weekend, I will write a less touchy, edited version.

Ben Steigmann said...

Dean, I appreciate your making a comment on the older stuff - in comments to this thread, I will attempt to cover the older stuff, and discuss the newer stuff in the comments to the "Show me the Evidence" blog post that you made.

For now, I'll just make a few comments:
1) Regarding Randi's "Project Alpha" hoax, which supposedly impeaches parapsychology, Brian Inglis, in "The Hidden Power" (1986), p. 256, noted that, "What actually occurred has been set out by Michael Thalbourne in a paper, 'Science vs. Showmanship: the case of the Randi Hoax'. Towards the end of his career Rhine had recommended a two-stage procedure in his tests. Initially, 'free exploratory conditions were to be allowed to see what the subjects could do, and how best to develop their abilities; better controlled conditions can then be introduced when the stage is reached at which it is worth while and important '"

2) Guy Playfair is cited in the "Show me the Evidence" blog comments. He is supposedly "impeached" because of the writings of Joe Nickell. He gave me permission to write this, in response to that:
"Mirabelli - Stein was quite right, as I made clear in 'Mirabelli and the phantom ladder' (JSPR 58, 201-3, 1992) and Letter to the Editor (ibid. 407-9). The retouching is unmistakable on the original print Stein managed to discover in the SPR archives. He deserves full credit for some thorough research into primary source material which all too few 'skeptics' ever do. Incidentally, in my caption to the famous 'levitation' photo in the first edition of my 1975 book The Flying Cow, I noted that it 'could have been faked', and in the 2011 edition I added that 'following the discovery of an original print it is now clear that it was, the ladder on which Mirabelli was standing having been removed by retouching'.

Enfield - Nickell's piece is typical of the tendentious and mendacious distortions one has come to expect from any coverage of psi phenomena in Wikipedia.
As I have repeatedly made clear, most recently in the 2011 edition of This House is Haunted (White Crow Books), the girls did play a few tricks, as Janet has also repeatedly admitted, for example in an interview with Lynne Plummer (Radio France-Inter, 17 June 1982), 'once or twice, just to see if Mr Grosse or Mr Playfair would catch us, and they always did'. More recently, she told Will Storr (cited in Will Storr vs. the Supernatural) as putting the number of tricks at 'I'd say two per cent'. Nickell spins this 'confession' to become 'The evidence suggests that this figure is closer to 100 percent'.

What evidence? Oh, never mind. There's no need for evidence when an unsourced allegation will do. Nickell never went near the scene of the Enfield poltergeist disturbances and seems determined to avoid any of the abundant positive evidence for them. According to the 'Rational Wiki' site, he lists his interests as including the investigation of 'bullshit claims'. Which evidently does not inhibit him from making them himself."

Mary Rose Barrington's views on Enfield have notoriously been misrepresented by debunkers, here she rebuts them, in The Skeptic Vol. 23 No 4 Summer 2012 p. 31: https://ia601200.us.archive.org/13/items/NotesonSpiritualismandPsychicalResearch/EnfieldHydeVsBarrington-TheSkepticVol23No4Summer2012P31031.pdf

Ben Steigmann said...

Later he added:

"I'm all in favour of debunking when it's done properly and is evidence-based (Stein) but not when it isn't and is prejudice-based (Nickell). For an example of my own evidence-based debunking, see The Return of Katharine Bates: an evaluation of a claimed autobiography (JSPR 69, 121-7, 2005)."
Mirabelli was likely a mixed medium, who buttressed his phenomena with fraudulent phenomena for showmanship purposes. Playfair has responded further to Nickell here: http://whitecrowbooks.com/guylyonplayfair/entry/the_enfield_poltergeist_joe_nickell_explains_all/

for a rebuttal to Nickell re. Patience Worth, see the following: http://www.patienceworth.com/nickells-worth/

Ben Steigmann said...

Before continuing with future posts, I will note that Harry Price is lauded to some degree by many skeptics, who defend his work re. Rudi Schneider (though he still considered the phenomena of Schneider prior to the controversial photograph - a debate on this between an advocate and counteradvocate occurs here: http://forum.mind-energy.net/scientific-debates/5928-rudi-schneider-case-example-errors-galore-wikipedia-so-called-skeptics.html- for discussion of the corroboration of Gregory's thesis by a photographic expert, see "Science and Parascience" by Brian Inglis)

Yet he himself considered the physical mediumship of Stella Cranshaw to be completely genuine, and this apparently warrants no mention by them: http://www.harrypricewebsite.co.uk/Seance/Stella/stella-intro.htm

And Price is problematic, because of accusations of fraud not related to his psychical research. Richard Morris, his biographer, stated (p. 108 of this: http://www.woodlandway.org/PDF/PP3.5May07..pdf): "Dear Paul

In Leslie Price’s even-handed review of my biography about Harry Price he said that in the book I don’t always draw the obvious conclusion and cites the cases of William Hope and Rudi Schneider.

First off, I concluded that Price faked evidence against Rudi because of the strong evidence in favour of it. I’m not so sure whether he faked evidence in the Hope case but it seems likely. I wrote that although Harry stated that he passed the supposedly faked plate to an independent photographer to develop they were in fact developed by one of Harry’s close friends, Charles Reginald Haines. Haines was also implicated in Price’s attempt at passing off fake antiquities and a staged robbery at a village church in the 1920s.

My statements regarding Stella Cranshaw having had an abortion followed on from careful analysis of her letters, Price’s replies, her medical condition and her sudden switches of behaviour – which 3 independent psychologists said were symptomatic of some type of deep trauma. The pregnancy and abortion are supposition, but my duty, as Price’s biographer, was to work out why Stella may have acted in the way she did. My conclusions were based on her close relationship with Price and his subsequent relationship with other women.

Yours faithfully

Richard Morris"

Harry Price is suspicious, because his denunciation of Helen Duncan, one of the most ridiculed mediums currently (due to photographs which the debater in the Schneider case claims have a contradictory origin - he privately gave information on that to me - I might flesh the information out later, but for now, regarding Duncan in general, "Helen Duncan: The Mystery Show Trial" is interesting), is in complete conflict with the endorsement of her by the magician Will Goldston: http://whitecrowbooks.com/features/page/helen_duncan_confounds_the_magicians_by_will_goldston

Like Mirabelli, it is important with Price to rely on reliable corroboration from others.

Ben Steigmann said...

Just a couple more comments before I attempt to delve into the historical aspect - my goal is to attempt to rehabilitate the field and counter the critics - the blog linked to on the show me the evidence page will look into the more modern evidence - Ganzfeld and PEAR and Bem presentiment studies are already discussed - Targ, NDEs, positive brain scan evidence, etc., will be discussed in future comments there.

But, while we are discussing mediums, you, Dean, are attacked in an out of context way on wikipedia - you were actually defending D.D. home, but the fox sisters and Florence Cook are brought in as items of derision.

Regarding the Fox sisters - Doyle, on page 106 of "A History of Spiritualism", vol. 1, discusses how Maggie Fox revealed that she was paid to give a false confession - he also defends other aspects of their phenomena in a previous chapter: https://archive.org/stream/historyofspiritu015638mbp#page/n115/mode/2up

And the Florence Cook info really revolves around Trevor Hall - Medhurst and Goldney show the fallacious nature of the argument in this monograph: http://deanradin.com/evidence/Medhurst1964.pdf

I make a defense of D.D. Home here, which I will update later: http://bensteigmann.blogspot.com/2014/02/current-interests.html

and I make a defense of Leonora Piper in the comments here: https://archive.org/details/NotesonSpiritualismandPsychicalResearch - I will refute the misrepresentations regarding Gladys Leonard later and Geraldine Cummins later, though for now, in "Mediumship and Survival", Alan Gauld cites an item that the detractors of Leonard seem to overlook: http://www.esalen.org/ctr-archive/mediumship.html "Some of the individual successes in these tests were very remarkable. In one case (145c, pp. 253-260) an anonymous sitter (Mrs Talbot) received through Feda [Leonard's "control"] a message from her late husband advising her to look for a relevant message on page twelve or thirteen of a book on her bookcase at home. Feda said the book was not printed, but had writing in it; was dark in colour; and contained a table of Indo-European, Aryan, Semitic and Arabian languages, whose relationships were shown by a diagram of radiating lines. Mrs Talbot knew of no such book, and ridiculed the message. However when she eventually looked, she found at the back of a top shelf a shabby black leather notebook of her husband's. Pasted into this book was a folded table of all the languages mentioned; whilst on page 13 was an extract from a book entitled Post Mortem. In this case the message related to a book unknown to medium and sitter (indeed, so far as could be told, to any living person), but undoubtedly known to the communicator."

Ben Steigmann said...

I will just attempt to make some commentary on attempts to dismiss Home by comparison to other mediums - the way other mediums are described in the wikipedia article is misrepresented.

The main medium Home is compared to is William Eglinton - he is famous in SPR history because it was revealed by a person initially impressed with him that conjuring tricks could produce Slate writing phenomena convincingly. The wikipedia article on Eglinton states, "The levitations of Eglinton were also revealed as tricks.[4]"

However, the source cited, a skeptic source (with aspects refuted in my site) Barry Wiley. (2012). The Thought Reader Craze: Victorian Science at the Enchanted Boundary. McFarland. p. 35, states, "the prominent American illusionist Harry Kellar, while appearing in Calcutta in 1882, admitted he had been baffled by the mediumistic effects and levitation of the English medium William Eglinton[12]. Eglinton was exposed as a fraud several year later."

A.C. Doyle attempts to refute the fraud charge - search "Archdeacon Colley" in the following: http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks03/0301061.txt

But more importantly, an examination of the source reveals misrepresentation in the wikipedia article.

Footnote 12 - available to the public on google books (I obtained the citations via that and amazon preview) - occurs on p. 207 of Wiley's book: Harry Kellar, A Magician's Tour (Chicago: Donohue, Henneberry, 1891), pp. 168-172

As cited, this does not demonstrate that the levitations were fraudulent tricks. On p. 173 of the text cited, it is revealed that though Kellar was able to reproduce other phenomena (though there is the statement that Kellar "makes no claim to performing the tricks by the same means Mr. Eglinton used"), he never was able to account for the Levitation, which, on p. 171, he describes the baffling nature of. See here for the source cited: http://books.google.com/books?id=JxkuAQAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Harry+Kellar,+A+Magician%27s+Tour&hl=en&sa=X&ei=VUT1Utu1KsuFogTbg4CwCg&ved=0CE4Q6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=Harry%20Kellar%2C%20A%20Magician's%20Tour&f=false

So the attempt to claim Home was a fraud by spurious comparison to Eglinton is - well - spurious.

Ben Steigmann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben Steigmann said...

Regarding Henry Slade, I don't know if all the phenomena he produced was fraudulent - there is some of it that - is quite extraordinary, and cannot be produced by magic tricks. In a similar way, the easier to defend medium - DD Home (Hereward Carrington - who believed that much mediumship was fraudulent, and whom I disagree with in some cases, defender Home at length: https://archive.org/stream/physicalphenome00carrgoog#page/n416/mode/2up)- and something noted by Alfred Russell Wallace in his defense of Home - something that cannot be replicated by magic tricks - was the ability to assume, but much more importantly, to transfer incombustibility: https://archive.org/stream/miraclesmodernsp00walliala#page/166/mode/2up

The following article attempts to defend Slade, challenging most of the skepticism of him, but nevertheless notes an exposure by Hodgson that if read, while not proving fraud, suggests it: https://ia601200.us.archive.org/13/items/NotesonSpiritualismandPsychicalResearch/NotesonHenrySlade.pdf

As an example of puzzling phenomena produced by Slade, "Transcendental Physics" by Zollner records a table vanishing and reappearing in Slade's presence: http://www.freewebs.com/afterlife/articles/Table.htm

Hereward Carrington attempted to explain away all the phenomena of Slade in the Zollner investigation, on p. 28 he, in my view, failed to account for this: https://archive.org/stream/physicalphenome00carrgoog#page/n50/mode/2up

A.C. Doyle may have been credulous in some cases, but I don't think he was insincere, and he is useful as a historian - on p. 301 of "A History of Spiritualism", vol. 1, he states reasons for putting faith in Zollner's account: https://archive.org/stream/historyofspiritu015638mbp#page/n315/mode/2up

Slade was endorsed by a leading magician. Still, Doyle notes later fraud in Slade's career - exposed by spiritualists - this of course needs to be read with the previous defense of Slade in mind. Doyle's rival Houdini cannot be considered reliable though - Houdini literally fabricates things in his book: https://ia700604.us.archive.org/25/items/someitems/Houdini.AMagicianAmongTheSpiritsJsprVolume21_pg340to341.pdf

On pp. 103-105, Zollner discusses something else that is very interesting that I find it difficult to account for - I could not find reference to a "shell" in this context in Carrington's book, and he describes modifications to the temperature in a way that is difficult to account for: http://books.google.com/books?id=g9cRAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=transcendental+physics+zollner&hl=en&sa=X&ei=CS_1UtXnM6iY2wXahYGwAQ&ved=0CDoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=shell&f=false

William Barrett gives the proper view on Slade - defending Transcendental physics by Zollner (much was produced in that aside from Slate writing that is more important), though noting the importance with doubt with him - it is obvious that there must be corroboration, and phenomena, like that cited, that self-evidently defy traditional naturalism: https://archive.org/stream/onthresholdofuns00barr#page/84/mode/2up

Barrett has been attacked, his book is a defense of him in itself. Edward Clodd and Joseph McCabe were critics of Barrett, but they are not reliable sources, as is proven here: http://monkeywah.typepad.com/paranormalia/2013/12/there-probably-is-an-afterlife.html?cid=6a00d8341c6d8553ef019b02fda242970c#comment-6a00d8341c6d8553ef019b02fda242970c

I make statements about Hornby that requires access to google books to verify, but hornby actually gives a counter to Balfour's account - I quote the last line, but I should have quoted the entire passage - this people with google books can access. A full defense of F.W.H. Myers from the charges against him - Myers was in many ways the precursor to Rhine - he coined the term "telepathy" - occurs on my site.

Ben Steigmann said...

Just a few more comments - skeptics like to cite Terence Hines as follows - "If John Edward (or any of the other self-proclaimed speakers with the dead) really could communicate with the dead, it would be a trivial matter to prove it. All that would be necessary would be for him to contact any of the thousands of missing persons who are presumed dead—famous (e.g., Jimmy Hoffa, Judge Crater) or otherwise—and correctly report where the body is. Of course, this is never done. All we get, instead, are platitudes to the effect that Aunt Millie, who liked green plates, is happy on the other side." But identification of missing persons apparently has been done by Ena Twigg, attacked in wikipedia with a citation of John Booth, whose credibility has been questioned above. From Raymond Buckland's "Spirit Book", p. 308, we find that this occurred upon the death of James Pike: http://books.google.com/books?id=y7LKFfO9Bi0C&pg=PA308&lpg=PA308&dq=ena+twigg+pike&source=bl&ots=AlsVnpYfuV&sig=E1OLpASuAXyRuy1iD5MzI1zeNOk&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Y0ccU46IFsryoASGz4LYCQ&ved=0CGMQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=ena%20twigg%20pike&f=false

And though I expressed reserve about some of the earlier phenomena associated with the theosophists, noting a defense but only putting it forth as a defense, without necessarily investing too much energy into it - it just exists as a source for people who care to balance against critical sources, there appears to be a clear case of clairvoyance associated with Besant, as you described on p. 20 of "Debating Psychic Experience" - she clairvoyantly anticipated the discovery of the isotope of neon for which Francis Aston won the Nobel prize: http://www.scribd.com/doc/94892851/Debating-Psychic-Experiences

The following also relates indirectly to Myers - Blackmore has been criticized by the authors of Irreducible Mind for misrepresenting the facts on the following issue -as cited (p. 395), "In 1863 Mr. Wilmot and his sister Miss Wilmot were on a ship traveling from Liverpool, England, to New York, and for much of the journey they were in a severe storm. More than a week after the storm began, Mrs. Wilmot, in Connecticut and worried about the safety of her husband, had an experience, while she was awake during the middle of the night, in which she seemed to go to her husband's stateroom on the ship, where she saw him asleep in the lower birth and another man in the upper birth looking at her. She hesitated, kissed her husband, and left. The next morning Mr. Wilmot's roommate asked him, apparently somewhat indignantly, about the woman who had come into their room during the night. Miss Wilmot added her testimony, saying that the next morning, before she had seen her brother, the roommate asked her if she had been in to see Mr. Wilmot during the night, and when she replied no, he said that he had seen a woman come into their room in the middle of the night and go to Mr. Wilmot."

F.W.H. Myers gives full details on the case here: http://www.esalen.org/ctr-archive/book-hpsurvival.html#p20005ff88850i-682001

Ben Steigmann said...

On pp. 395-396n22, the authors of "Irreducible Mind" add that "Blackmore (1983a, pp. 143-144) thinks that she has successfully discredited the Wilmot case, and Edwards (1997, p. 20) agrees, asserting that "the case totally collapsed when it was investigated by Susan Blackmore." Blackmore claims that the entire story rests on Mr. Wilmot's testimony alone and that this testimony was unreliable because he had been seasick at the time. She further claims that "Mrs. Wilmot never reported having had an OBE at all." Although Blackmore claims to have read the original reports (citing Myers's [sic] reprinting of the case), she clearly did not read them carefully enough, and Edwards apparently relied entirely on Blackmore without reading the original report himself. In the report, both the original and Myers's [sic] reprinting of it, letters are printed not only from Mr. Wilmot but also from Mrs. Wilmot and Miss Wilmot, corroborating essential features of his account. Although Mrs. Wilmot never explicitly said "I had an out-of-body experience," she did say "I had a very vivid sense all the [next] day of having visited my husband." She also said "I felt very much disturbed at his [the man in the upper birth] presence,as he leaned over, looking at us." She further reported that "the impression was so strong that I felt unusually happy and refreshed," in contrast to the anxiety about her husband that had preceded it. We do not unfortunately have the testimony of the man in the upper berth (who had since died), but, as we mentioned above, we do have Miss Wilmot's testimony that he told her about his experience the next morning, before she had seen her brother and heard his account of what had happened. The case is not perfect, but Blackmore's and Edward's [sic] misrepresentation of the reported facts, and offhand dismissal of testimony that conflicts with their beliefs, is indefensible at best."

Now, later here I intend to defend mesmerism before defending some other mediumship - and the precursors to parapsychology - the miscellaneous phenomena is already covered in this bibliography to the extent that it can be, with skeptical and proponent views expressed: monkeywah.typepad.com/files/miscellaneous-phenomena.doc‎
to bypass the wikipedia biased coverage of poltergeists, see (some of these people, like Cornell, I disagree with on other issues): http://monkeywah.typepad.com/paranormalia/poltergeists.html

But for now, as a preliminary item before further posts are made, I will note that most skeptics are obviously motivated by apriori assumptions - believing that to acknowledge this would be to accept "miraculous anomalies" that are in conflict with "well established" universals. A rebuttal to this comes from Andrew Lang's "Cock Lang and Common-Sense", which has been strangely cited by counter-adovcates as confirming their contentions - the following review shows why such citation by counter-advocates is fallacious: http://books.google.com/books?id=sUPYAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA423&lpg=PA423&dq=cock+lane+and+common+sense+joseph+of+cupertino&source=bl&ots=IsLmV4wL0L&sig=QDD9v-FjBGkL_TRuB2opiX-YWGQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=3UMcU5fFF9XqoATf8YGICg&ved=0CEAQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=cock%20lane%20and%20common%20sense%20joseph%20of%20cupertino&f=false

Ben Steigmann said...

The book actually contains information that shifts the debate to the side of the advocates. Lang notes, in "Cock Lane and Common-Sense": http://www.gutenberg.org/files/12674/12674-h/12674-h.htm "Thus enough is known to show that savage spiritualism wonderfully resembles, even in minute details, that of modern mediums and séances, while both have the most striking parallels in the old classical thaumaturgy.

This uniformity, to a certain extent, is not surprising, for savage, classical, and modern spiritualism all repose on the primæval animistic hypothesis as their metaphysical foundation. The origin of this hypothesis-namely, that disembodied intelligences exist and are active-is explained by anthropologists as the result of early reasonings on life, death, sleep, dreams, trances, shadows, the phenomena of epilepsy, and the illusions of starvation. This scientific theory is, in itself, unimpeachable; normal phenomena, psychological and physical, might suggest most of the animistic beliefs. {35}

At the same time 'veridical hallucinations,' if there are any, and clairvoyance, if there is such a thing, would do much to originate and confirm the animistic opinions. Meanwhile, the extraordinary similarity of savage and classical spiritualistic rites, with the corresponding similarity of alleged modern phenomena, raises problems which it is more easy to state than to solve. For example, such occurrences as `rappings,' as the movement of untouched objects, as the lights of the séance room, are all easily feigned. But that ignorant modern knaves should feign precisely the same raps, lights, and movements as the most remote and unsophisticated barbarians, and as the educated Platonists of the fourth century after Christ, and that many of the other phenomena should be identical in each case, is certainly noteworthy. This kind of folklore is the most persistent, the most apt to revive, and the most uniform. We have to decide between the theories of independent invention; of transmission, borrowing, and secular tradition; and of a substratum of actual fact."

So in this case, unless one assumes an ubiquitous "psychical/spiritualistic hoaxing gene", which is an absurd proposal, the argument from miracles would seem to be refuted, as instead of dealing with anomalies contradicting universals, we are dealing with universals (albiet more elusive), that seem to be in conflict with more common universals, but may in reality just require an expanded naturalism - perhaps expanded beyond our present conceptions, though that, for mature people, shouldn't be a problem. From this we can conclude that cases of fraud, rather than being the defining nature of the phenomena, are deviations from the underlying "substratum of actual fact." However, the cultural nature of the Spiritualist movement encouraged fraud (implicit commercialism, desire to produce "phenomena" to satisfy customers, etc.), and differed from other cases (e.g. - those under Iamblichus, by their nature, are more credible at face value, excepting the scientific investigations of the modern mediums - on this,it is important to note what James Hyslop said of Spiritualists, in a review attacking a book of Clodd, that "Their credulity and unscientific methods are the cause of such books, and they will receive no mercy until they yield to the demands of science. But their faults are not an adequate excuse for bias and misrepresentation from the other side."). Regarding Iamblichus, though, it is interesting that Andrew Lang, on p. 339 of his Making of Religion, stated, "The interesting point, historically, is the combination in Home of all the repertoire of the possessed men in Iamblichus."

Simon Fraser said...

Interestingly enough, when it comes to stuff like this, especially on youtube. i've noticed something about the commenters who dismiss it with the usual "woo woo" statements. Almost all of them are subscribed to numerous atheist and sceptics channels, literally dozens, and indeed, they are the only channels they appear to be subscribed to.This is not to denigrate atheists at all. When it comes to organised religion, I'm very much on the same page. Nonetheless, it is an interesting phenomena that I've noticed about those who are keen to dismiss the evidence a priori.

Ben Steigmann said...

A suggestion to Dean,

add to your evidence database "The physical phenomena of spiritualism: The Fraudulent and the Genuine" (a very useful defense of DD Home) by Carrington and, if you feel comfortable with it, his book "Eusapia Palladino and her phenomena" in "mind matter interaction", alongside the other DD Home related material, and the reply to the NRC given above in the "general overviews and critiques" section. It can be easy to get bogged down with references, but those three cover appropriate, reference the early history in some depth, and might help people with their research - in a skeptical, but less biased way than wikipedia's a priori dismissals. If you get a chance to read Trevor Hamilton's book on FWH Myers, that may be good also, since the book is recent, and some of the most interesting mental mediumship ever related to him - he is to mental mediumship what Eben Alexander is to the NDE.

Ben Steigmann said...

Eric Dingwall writes lucidly on the fears skeptics have of parapsychology - he calls parapsychologists irresponsible propagandists for the occult and writes: "It now seems almost impossible to realize the extent of human suffering that had to be endured before man was able partially to free himself from the mass of crude occult teaching carried out by the Christians and others in their endeavor to stifle all independent thought that did not conform to their point of view. [...] Just as the early Christians carried over pagan beliefs in demonic influences and incorporated them into their own peculiar ideas, so similar views on the nature of health and disease prevailed among them. Sometimes the unfortunate patient was being punished by God; at other times he was possessed by spirits. In the same way as the study of meteorology was stifled so was medical work condemned unless it conformed with the crazy notions of these early occultists. [...] The Churches' Fellowship is one of the leading Christian occult organizations in England today and has an impressive list of bishops and distinguished clerics supporting it. It is abundantly clear that before publishing these tales those responsible made no attempt whatever to obtain any kind or sort of corroboration. The revival of occultism under the name of psychical research has been accompanied by nearly all the follies that were so striking a feature in medieval times and, masquerading as science, has succeeded in attracting the attention of many who have little idea of what lies below the surface. Most of Europe appears to be infected, and it is, in my view, one of the signs of the disintegration of Western culture."

Regarding meteorites, though, its initial adherents were held to be the "superstitious" that Dingwall denigrates.

Modern skepticism has taken on the thought control aspects that Dingwall criticizes the Christians for.

The criticism of Rhine that he makes is countered by point 26 on p.143 of "ESP After 60 Years": http://books.google.com/books?id=BOf6-nVjVTIC&printsec=frontcover&dq=ESP+after+sixty+years&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Pf0QU5WWItHloATm44LYCw&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=sesnory%20leakage&f=false

In spite of this, Dingwall compiled strong evidence for Joseph of Cupertino in his works, praised very highly Everard Feilding of the Fielding report on Eusapia Palladino, and he also praised D.D. home, writing a review listed in the SPR bibliography in the same time period when he wrote the article in "The Skeptics Handbook of Parapsychology" given above - this book counters all the major allegations against Home:
Jenkins, Elizabeth. THE SHADOW AND THE LIGHT, reviewed by E.J. Dingwall, Journal 52, 1983, pp. 143-7. Biography of the nineteenth century D.D. Home. ‘It is one of the best written and most original of the biographies, since the author not only writes as a believer in the genuine nature of the phenomena occurring with Home, but stresses the importance of dealing with Home as a person rather than simply as a medium and exposes the unworthiness of those who, when he was alive, sought to denigrate both him and his work…’ BR/PM/Biog/dh

Ben Steigmann said...

So he has less of the a priori bias of most skeptics - and although he worked with Price, unlike with Price, there are no indications of fraud with him. It is true that both were in the William Hope investigation, but Dingwall may have been duped by Price, per the above. The following is a very interesting on Dingwall, the Price collaboration, and other items - it concludes, "it is untrue to say that he had never experienced anything genuinely inexplicable. He was
perplexed by the pseudopod which appeared during a sitting given by the medium Stella C, and was also unable to explain a cold wind which he experienced when alone with Eva C in her cabinet.": http://sas-space.sas.ac.uk/4828/1/Academia_FT_Dingwall._Part_One.pdf

Dingwall made some important concessions on Eva C - correcting errors of modern skeptics. He stated - "not a shred of evidence exists which implicates Mme Bisson in anyway whatsoever with the alleged fraudulent aspect of the phenomena of Eva C.": http://books.google.com/books?id=4jJYAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA310&lpg=PA310&dq=eva+c.bisson&source=bl&ots=0WVwg0FV3F&sig=n6e4IBVYfoOCbFfmmwtc_40KgBA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=sG4dU_e1G4PsoASgn4GABQ&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAjgK#v=onepage&q=eva%20c.bisson&f=false

On p. 172 of Houdini's "Magician Among the Spirits", he stated that he believed that the Eva C phenomena was due to regurgitation: http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/A-Magician-Among-the-Spirits-1.pdf

The SPR investigation also refuted the regurgitation hypothesis: http://books.google.com/books?id=rUDOAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA338&focus=viewport&dq=editions:LCCN09022954&lr=&output=html

Shrenck-Notzing refuted the three main points of skepticism of Eva C. in aspects of his writing "The Phenomena of Materialization", that are reproduced here:
1) "The Rumination Hypothesis": http://www.survivalafterdeath.info/articles/notzing/rumination.htm
2) "Front Page Illustrations from the Journal Le Miroir": http://www.survivalafterdeath.info/articles/notzing/miroir.htm
3) and most importantly, "Expert Opinion on the Fraudulent use of Certain Materials in Producing Teleplasmic Images": http://www.survivalafterdeath.info/articles/notzing/expert.htm

The following overview of Eva C states: http://www.survivalafterdeath.info/mediums/beraud.htm
Says Professor Richet in Thirty Years of Psychical Research:
"The official reports of the séances lead to very distinct inferences; it seems that though the external conditions were unfavourable to success, some results were very clear and that it is impossible to refer the phenomena to fraud. Nevertheless, our learned colleagues of the SPR came to no conclusion. They admit that the only possible trickery is regurgitation. But what is meant by that? How can masses of mobile substance, organised as hands, faces and drawings be made to emerge from the oesophagus or the stomach? No physiologist would admit such power to contract those organs at will in this manner. How, when the medium's hands are tied and held could papers be unfolded, put away and made to pass, through a veil? The members of the SPR, when they fail to understand, say 'It is difficult to understand how this is produced.' Mr. Dingwall, who is an expert in legerdemain, having seen the ectoplasm emerge as a miniature hand, making signs before disappearing, says 'I attach no importance to this.' We may be permitted to remark that very great importance attaches to Mr. Dingwall's testimony."

Brian Inglis, in "Natural and Supernatural" and "Science and Parascience" counters all the items of skepticism against Eva C - including Rudolf Lambert's allegation of fraud on the part of Richet and Shrenck-Notzing - I do not have this on me, so I cannot reproduce it currently. I'll get into that, and also the refutation of allegations concerning Bien Boa, which if genuine, would be a replication of the Florence Cook phenomena, which I will defend further.

Ben Steigmann said...

But again, returning to Dingwall, the following part two of the overview of him states, "Palladino was one of a very few mediums whose performances, Dingwall felt, could not be dismissed as fraud or
deception, others being Daniel Dunglas Home, and - initially - Willi Schneider."

That paper offers an observation by Dingwall that makes the Mina Crandon investigation - this medium Rhine despised, more difficult to dismiss as merely being the result of animal tissue used in fraudulent performances:
"The teleplasmic hand is arguably the most bizarre aspect of the ‘Margery’ sittings – whether genuine or faked. Here are some of Dingwall’s notes from sitting number 7:
In ten minutes rustling in Psyche’s [i.e. Margery’s] lap. Thought a mass of substance was in
Psyche’s lap. Walter then directed my palm to be put up on middle of table, near the edge.
Then for five minutes – palm struck by cool, clammy apparently disc-like object; on repeated
flicks being given to my hand. I noticed that the shape of the object was constantly changing.
It appeared to lengthen and to widen, and occasionally parts appeared to be thickened, as if
some internal mechanism was causing a swelling in parts of the mass. At times two distinct
pressures at least were felt, the sensation being as if crude, clammy, unformed fingers were
pressing both the lower portions of my fingers, and also the upper at the same time. This
pressure was sometimes increased to 2½-3 pounds, and when the substance was drawn
from the hand it always appeared to be slightly viscous.
[Dingwall 1928, p.107]": http://sas-space.sas.ac.uk/4828/2/Academia_FT_Dingwall._Part_Two.pdf

Inglis also covers the Crandon case in "Science and Parascience".

Ben Steigmann said...

I deleted some of the commentary on Palladino because there were pagination errors in my critique of Frank Podmore's misrepresentations re.the Fielding report (Podmore has been criticized on similar lines by experts re. Daniel Dunglas Home). I won't go into that now because the Palladino case requires some time that I am not willing to expend currently. I will however repost Alice Baily's attempted defense of Blavatsky because this is of relevance to another medium whom I partially explored, but will explore further as some interesting evidence comes from him. This medium is William Eglinton, the defense of Blavatsky against the charges of Richard Hodgson is here: https://archive.org/details/hpblavatskymaste00besa

Some defense of Eglinton has already been given, but regarding the Davey Slate-writing item, while it could be shown that slate writing could be cleverly imitated by conjuring tricks, but the question is - could this account for more interesting examples of the slate writing of Eglinton and Slade? The relevance of the Hodgson-Davey item is countered by the testimony of Angelo Lewis (professor Hoffman, the magician) and others: http://books.google.com/books?id=02YAAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA373&lpg=PA373&dq=%22on+the+other+hand,+I+do+not+believe+the+cleverest+conjurer+could,+under+the+same+conditions,+use+trickery+in+the+wholesale+way+necessary&source=bl&ots=Aex0ZR8rw4&sig=Yc3P2uR1ORSsc4uZjQDZxlylsE8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=NYYmU_nkMsLzoASG2YDIBg&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22on%20the%20other%20hand%2C%20I%20do%20not%20believe%20the%20cleverest%20conjurer%20could%2C%20under%20the%20same%20conditions%2C%20use%20trickery%20in%20the%20wholesale%20way%20necessary&f=false

Ben Steigmann said...

The biography of Eglinton provides items clearly showing the irrelevance of it. As an example (p. 30): https://archive.org/stream/twixttwoworldsna01farm#page/30/mode/2up
"A good case of direct writing is related as having occurred about this time by Dr. Nichols, who had removed from Malvern to 32, Fopstone Road, Earl's Court, S.W. It occurred on the 9th September. "At a seance last night, in the presence of three other persons and Mr. Eglinton, the materialised form of 'Joey' made in our presence about twenty yards of white drapery, which certainly never saw a Manchester loom. The matter of which it was formed was visibly gathered from the atmosphere, and later melted into invisible air. I have seen at least a hundred yards so manufactured. Then 'Joey' said, 'Dr. Nichols, I have got into a great row about that Greek, which you transcribed imperfectly.' He then selected two small slates from a pile of new ones lying on the mantel-shelf, and handed them to me to be cleaned. I rubbed them both thoroughly, and so did each of the three other — one of them using a wet cloth. 'Joey' then borrowed my knife, whittled a piece of slate pencil, bit off a piece of it, and placed it between the two slates, and then carefully wrapped up both in a piece of newspaper. This was all done in the centre of the small room, quite away from the medium, and in plain sight of all. Then, at his request, I moved my chair forward, and sitting facing 'Joey' held one corner of the slates with my left hand, as he did the other corner with his right, and I laid the fingers of my right hand on the fingers of his left. Instantly we heard the sound of writing on the slates. In a few moments three little raps told us the writing was done, and I pushed back into my place, holding the slates. At the end of the seance we found on one slate a message for Mrs. Nichols from the late Dr. Ferguson, signed with his name in his well-known handwriting, and on the other, in a very neat and delicate hand, each letter almost separately written, the following: — 'The message in Greek has been imperfectly transcribed by you.
Translate as written below, and you have the proverb in its correct and original meaning:
[Greek in text]
The fifth word is underscored, as you will see on the slate I leave for your inspection.' Now, one fact, for what it is worth, is as good as a million. Here is a Greek sentence twice written under absolute test conditions, in the presence of several persons, by some invisible intelligence, between two slates closely bound and firmly held together. The medium was not near the slates. They were prepared by a human form, which was not that of any one of the five persons in the room. Not one of those five persons could write the shortest sentence in Greek. Not one of them knew that there was such a proverb in that language."

On pp. 116-119 of the biography, testimony is given regarding Eglinton's slate-writing describing situations precluding fraud - also, the personal nature of some of the message is discussed: https://archive.org/stream/twixttwoworldsna01farm#page/116/mode/2up

Such testimony abounds throughout the book. Colley, discussed previously, in spite of the arguments made against Eglinton - these arguments were challenged by Doyle, elsewhere wrote positively of Eglinton's phenomena - that "The medium was next entranced and carried by invisible power over the table several times, the heels of his boots being made to touch the head of our medical friend. Then he was taken to the further end of the dining room, and finally, after being tilted about as a thing of no weight whatever, was deposited quietly in his chair.": https://archive.org/stream/twixttwoworldsna01farm#page/14/mode/2up/search/colley

Ben Steigmann said...

This, what has been given and what follows (what will follow with respect to Home), are what lead me to endorse Eglinton and DD Home and Rudi Schneider and Stella C as fully genuine physical mediums. Some mediums produced interesting phenomena attested to by reliable witnesses, but were definitely caught in fraud- these (mixed mediums) include Carlos Mirabelli and Eusapia Palladino. Regarding Henry Slade, I can't be sure - the following questions the intellectual honesty of the Seybert Commission: https://archive.org/details/whatisawatcassa01spirgoog

Further refutation occurs in Brian Inglis "Natural and Supernatural" (White Crow Books, p. 373), showing contradictions in versions of Wilhelm Wundt's statements against Zollner. On pp. 371-372, Inglis criticizes the entire premise of the report. The legitimacy of the trial of Slade in 1876 is called into question by AC Doyle in pp.294-298 of "A History of Spiritualism", vol. 1: https://archive.org/stream/historyofspiritu015638mbp#page/n307/mode/2up

And the legitimacy of the trial is questioned in further detail by Chris Carter, in the introduction to "Science and Psychic Phenomena". Of the Lankester allegation, Brian Inglis, in "Natural and Supernatural", p. 27, stated, that in contrast to Lankester's allegations, "Slate himself also wrote to The Times to claim that spirit writing had in fact been heard before the slate was snatched away".

Refutations of the other allegations occur in the defense of Slade given above. There remains the Aksakof allegation, but his is too vague to be evidential, and it related to a generally positive sitting.

Ben Steigmann said...

The following text, "Psychography", is a full scale defense of the Slade phenomena: https://archive.org/stream/psychographybym00mosegoog#page/n11/mode/2up
It contains the following interesting item:
"Dr. George Wyld contributes important evidence on this point. He has kindly put down for me an exact record of a crucial experiment, which I append in his own words. The bearing of this fact upon such allegations as those on the faith of which Slade was adjudged by the public to be an impostor is plain to see : —

I expected to be called as a witness in the second trial of Slade, and as Professor Lancaster's evidence was that "there was no time to produce the writing, and that therefore it had, in his case, been previously prepared," it seemed to me most important to be able to swear that writing could be produced by spirit-power with a rapidity beyond the capacity of human hands.

Accordingly, I visited Slade, who readily consented to make a trial as I suggested.

We sat down to his usual table. Slade sat with his left hand resting on the table, and with his right band he held an ordinary slate, on which was placed the customary bit of slate-pencil. This slate he passed steadily but rapidly below the corner of the flap of the table at his right hand. Each time he so passed it I examined the slate. He so passed it two or three times, without any result; but at last, after passing it as usual, on its emergence from below the flap of the table I found these words written in dusty slate-pencil writing "Let this convince you."

I could not time Slade's actions while in progress, but subsequently I imitated his mode of passing the slate as closely as I possibly could, and my friends found that the operation occupied from three-quarters of a second to a second and a half. I then timed the writing, and could find no one capable of writing the words in less than three seconds.

I considered at the time, and still consider, this experiment a complete refutation of Professor Lankester's objection as to time.

Geo. Wtld, M.D.
12 Great Cumberland Place, Hyde Park,
December 30, 1877."

As regards the Zollner investigation, the previously posted defense of Slade had two excerpts that were fitting in showing self evident proof for the Slade phenomena. First, regarding the Slate writing that occurred, conditions precluding trickery are described as follows:

Ben Steigmann said...

p. 46: “Friday, 14th December 1877 (11.0 to 11.40 A.M.). Today, first one of the slates kept always in readiness, which I myself selected and cleaned, was laid open with a bit of slate pencil upon the floor under the table. Now, while Slade had both his hands linked with ours upon the table, and his legs, turned sideways, were continually visible, writing, loudly perceptible by us all, began on the slates lying below. When we raised it, there were on it the words—'Truth will overcome all error!'"

pp. 39-40:"In order to repeat some observations with an accordion, in the presence of Home (which were made and published by Crookes and Huggins), besides the above-mentioned large hand-bell, an accordion had been brought by one of my friends. The bell was placed under the table, as in the morning, and Slade grasped the keyless end of the accordion (which he had never had in his hands before, but saw now for the first time) above, so that the side with keys hung down free. While Slade's left hand lay on the table, and his right, holding the upper part of the accordion above the table, was visible to us all, the accordion began suddenly to play, and at the same time the bell on the floor to ring violently. The latter could thus not be touching the floor with its edges during the ringing. Here upon Slade gave the accordion to Professor Scheibner, and requested him to hold it in the manner above described, as it might possibly happen that the accordion would play in his hand also, without Slade touching it at all. Scarcely had Scheibner the accordion in his hand, than it began to play a tune exactly in the same way, while the bell under the table again rang violently. Slade's hands meanwhile rested quietly on the table, and his feet, turned sideways, could be continually observed during this proceeding."

Stephen Braude notes, regarding that "shell" incident that I discussed previously, noted,in "Limits of Influence" (1997), p. 147, "Moreover, as Randall recognizes (p. 105), the shell's high temperature blocks the skeptic's move of supposing that Slade had merely distracted Zollner and Hoffman and palmed the shell, making it appear to have passed through the table. This gamibt does not explain how the shell could have been heated to a high temperature."

Ben Steigmann said...

Summarizing the Zollner experiments in general (we have seen the descriptions that critics overlook), Inglis, in his chapter on Henry Slade, wrote, "The seances began with the standard slate-writing, and went on to tests with a compass needle which eventually, after some difficulty, Slade managed to cause to oscillate. Poltergeist-type phenomena soon began to be observed. A pen-knife fell into the air, and fell back with its blade opened. Furniture, out of Slade's reach, began to move around.

A wooden screen suddenly split across with a resounding crack (the slate-writing which followed explained 'it was not our intention to do harm. Forgive what has happened'). A string which Zollner was holding tied itself in knots, without Slade touching it. An accordion played while Scheibner was holding it with one hand, at the end away from the keys. A bell, left standing upright on the floor, began to ring, though nobody was near.

As the experiments proceeded, the manifestations proliferated, as if encouraged by the investigators' favorable reception. A candle lit itself, the spirits explaining 'fire is everywhere', and reminding them that flint could draw a spark. While Zollner and Weber were watching Slade, Scheibner felt his jacket being unbuttoned; his gold watch was taken out and placed in his hand. The following day a small table suddenly disappeared; later it floated down from the ceiling, giving Zollner a painful blow on the head. For a decisive proof Zollner asked Slade if he could arrange for two rings, each carved from a single piece of wood so that there were no joins, to be interlinked. When they were next examined they were not interlinked; but both were wrapped around a table leg, in such a way that it could not be taken off (and could not have been put on) without taking the table to pieces. When asked to leave some memento of itself, the spirit even obliged with the impression of a human foot on some sooted paper."

Finally, and especially considering that conditions precluding the fraudulent reproductions of conjurers has been noted, it is interesting to take note of the testimony of the conjuror Samuel Bellachini to the genuineness of the Slade phenomena, reproduced here: https://archive.org/stream/transcendentalph00zlrich#page/258/mode/2up

Ben Steigmann said...

With regards to Stella C, the following critique of Richard Morris' biography of Price, while not repudiating the entire thing, calls it biased in attempting to paint Price with a wholly black brush. There are still many questions with regards to Price (e.g. -re William Hope, and also, as I pointed out, re Helen Duncan), but the review defends his work with the Borley Rectory, and also notes, "It so happens that a few years ago I undertook a detailed examination of one of Price's best cases: the mediumship of Stella Cranshaw (Randall, 2001). I discovered hidden patterns in the data which had not been noticed by Price, and I came to the conclusion that the phenomena could not be explained by fraud, either on the part of Price alone or by Price and Stella in collusion. The simplistic dismissal of all Price's work as fraudulent does not do justice to the surviving evidence.": http://www.harrypricewebsite.co.uk/BooksabtHP/psychic-detective-review-randall.htm

That review actually endorses Anita Gregory's work regarding Rudi Schneider, but concedes, "Morris makes only a brief mention of Anita Gregory's monumental study of the Rudi Schneider case (p.170), but I think her assessment of Price's general character is superior to his. Gregory did much to expose Price's mendacious politicking with other organisations, and she certainly thought he had faked one of the Schneider photographs. Yet her assessment of Price's character was not wholly negative. She wrote (Gregory, 1985, 139-140):

There can be no doubt, at least in my mind, that Price was genuinely devoted to psychical research and was anxious to establish it as a respectable subject in the universities. Unfortunately (and of this I feel quite certain), Price was also determined that he personally should be, and be seen to be, responsible for this innovation. He had a picture of himself as the great amateur scientist, presenting the world of learning with a new discipline."

Of the Rudi Schneider case, fist, consult the debate above, and pay attention to the word ALSO, capitalized thusly in one of the posts by the advocate "Open Mind", after the first page - these disprove the fraud assertion. Brian Inglis, in "Science and Parascience" (1984), pp. 252-253, "But there was another possibility, which Osty, understandably angry with Price, hinted at: that Price had actually faked the photographs. After examining the negatives in detail, Mrs Gregory realised there were good grounds for this suspicion. They were to be confirmed by Colin Brookes-Smith, a photographic expert, whose opinion was that in the photograph which Price had used to damn Rudi, Price had superimposed the extended arm with the help of a double exposure."

Ben Steigmann said...

But returning to Eglinton, Charles Richet will be defended later, but in his book "Thirty Years of Psychical Research", he noted:
"Eglinton was a very powerful medium, and though he has been suspected of fraud, he was able finally to prove that the allegations of his enemies were calumnies. Moreover, the question is not to establish that he was never guilty of trickery (which is not easy in the case of a professional medium) but whether in certain definite instances striking metapyschic phenomena have been produced
(Erny, loc. cit., 159)."

This book that Richet cites by Erny is Le psychisme expérimental: étude des phénomènes psychiques: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k55105785/f170.image
the text, to copy and paste into google translate for those who don't know french, begins here: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k55105785/f170.texte
It continues onto p. 173
For simplicity, Richet summarizes some of the information:
"Miss Glyn, who did not believe in materializations, saw Eglinton at her own house, at a séance at which her father, her brother, and a friend were present. Eglinton was in the middle of this little circle, and his hands were held. Two forms appeared that could move and speak. Miss Glyn recognized them for her mother and her younger brother. The forms slowly disappeared.Phantoms are often too readily recognized, and the desire to secure this recognition detracts much from the value of the attestation.

Dr. Carter Blake, with five persons well known in English intellectual society, narrates that he saw by the side of Eglinton, who was sitting in an armchair, a tall brown form that melted into the medium's body.

The distinguished naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, in a letter to Erny, states that he saw Eglinton at a séance in a private house. By his side there appeared Abdullah, a materialized Oriental wearing sandals, a turban, and burnous; Eglinton being visible at the same time sitting in an armchair in evening dress. After the séance Eglinton was undressed and most carefully searched but neither sandals, turban, nor burnous were found.

Important séances were held at the house of the artist, J. Tissot, who has represented one result in a very beautiful picture. Eglinton sat in an armchair, close to Tissot, and stayed there the whole time. The doors were locked. After a brief space two forms appeared by Tissot's side. At first they were nebulous, but gradually became clear so that all their features could be seen. The male form had in his hand a kind of light with which he lit up the feminine form. M. Tissot recognized the latter, and, much moved, asked her to kiss him; she did so several times and her lips were seen to move.

Dr. Nichols experimented with Eglinton, putting him in a cage with a net over it. The doors of the cage were closed with sealed knots and the approaches to the cage were dusted with flour. The forms appeared outside the cage. Another time, at Dr. Nichols's house, in daylight, but behind closed curtains, there was a materialization in human form, which, in order to be recognized, raised the curtain to show itself in the daylight. It then slowly dematerialized till there remained nothing but the lower part of the body which vanished abruptly.

Florence Marryat and her husband assisted at a remarkable private séance in which they saw a whitish, cloudy substance emerge from the left hip of the medium; this cloud increased in size, condensed, and became a materialized form that stood before Eglinton. She also studied the materializations given by Mr.
Arthur Coleman who was not a professional medium. He was tied with cotton threads that would break at the least movement. Before the five sitters six forms appeared and were seen by the light of a gas-burner. During this time Coleman was entranced in the next room."

Ben Steigmann said...

Finally, before returning further to other commentary, I would like to establish the credibility of Stephen Braude and Brian Inglis. The objections to them have actually been answered so far - with Inglis re. Eva C, and even re Geller when you consider the information in the modern parapsychology "show me the evidence" thread and the information contra Gardner that has been presented here. Regarding Ted Serios, Braude in "The Gold Leaf Lady and Other Parapsychological Investigations" supplemented the earlier critique of Randi and Gardner of Serios by noting the deceptive nature of the commentary of Reynolds and Eisendrath: http://books.google.com/books?id=KkOWvjAaVasC&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+gold+leaflady&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Da8mU4eyGY29oQSPnoKgAw&ved=0CDkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=eisendrath&f=false
Of DD Home, he correctly wrote, (p. 38) on how the allegations of fraud were of no value, and simply read like cries of outrage against the phenomena.

Braude has, contrary to what you might expect from critics, been positively lauded by the philosopher David Ray Griffin in his "Parapsychology, Philosophy, and Spirituality", and obviously, the paranormal is a contentious subject, but Braude is considered a good enough source on it to be positively reviewed in the following reliable sources:
http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/2184638?uid=3739560&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21103486730883
http://imprint.co.uk/pdf/15_2_br.pdf
http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract;jsessionid=0B5CD641A49E203C7E3CFA8E73252814.journals?fromPage=online&aid=241389
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1011160610239#page-1
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11016-008-9185-2?LI=true - read here: http://ebookscentral.com/read-online/?title=Fools%E2%80%99+Gold%3F+The+Challenge+of+Real+World+Parapsychological+...&doc=Mamfwk1Gw2pj3H0686MaHZL14iQO4gsyuJEG-PiIEatu4SsddHEzNUhVS45hpH,tZ78PTqvkFGqSCCPBZ14sxas8SvGl1YFD.pdf

He is considered enough to author the following: Braude, Stephen E. (1998). Paranormal Phenomena, in Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Edward Craig. Routledge, New York

Here are positive reviews of Brian Inglis' "Natural and Supernatural" ("Science and Parascience" is pt. II of that very book), from the backcover of the new edition:
"I believe it to be an extraordinarily important and valuable work, sensational in what it contains and even more so in its implications... he has piled up a mountain of evidence, searchingly examined and scrupulously evaluated." - Bernard Levin, The Times

"It has the two basic qualities which make books on history endure: it is both scholarly and readable." - Arthur Koestler, The Guardian

"A tour de force ... one of those works, like H.G. Wells Outline of History, that fires the imagination and leaves the reader feeling stunned, but excited." - Colin Wilson, Evening News

"Brian Inglis is eminently sensible and sane. In this massive survey, the evidence is presented in a soberly and scholarly way...
Natural and Supernatural is hard to fault." - The Economist

"Inglis brings to this book the same thoroughness and care that he shows in his other books... while I have not been converted, it has intensified mental conflict, and I admire and respect him for writing it." - Karl Sabbagh, New Scientist (back when it had a more liberal orientation)

"Cool, authoritative, and highly readable - a service to science and society." - Ray Brown, Psychology Today

Ben Steigmann said...

I just found reference to an SPR press release repudiating the Hodgson report on Blavatsky re Blavatsky faking the leters - this is important when considering the above: http://www.blavatsky.net/gen/refute/sprpress.htm

The following supplements this release: http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/hpb-spr/hpbspr-h.htm

The following defends some of the alleged paranormal phenomena with Blavatsky: http://www.blavatskyfoundation.org/obituary.htm#

As for the "cup and saucer" materialization, the testimony of Sinnett counters skepticism: http://www.blavatskyarchives.com/cupandsaucer.htm

However, this does not discredit the Piper case. Allegations attacking Hodgson have recently been brought into public view - and the main item" discrediting" the work in the Piper case is a supposed "letter" alleging that Hodgson falsified the data with regards to the sitter Fiske. In the following SPR article comparing the "letter" to the actual facts, Pellew's brother's charges are found, even in the case of Fiske, to be completely spurious - thus either his brother, or Edward Clodd, the source of this letter, is impeached as a witness, not Hodgson - Hodgson is rehabilitated as a source on this issue: https://ia601200.us.archive.org/13/items/NotesonSpiritualismandPsychicalResearch/MunvesJGpsYoungerBrotherANoteJsprVolume60_pg401to405.pdf

Ben Steigmann said...

Now, returning to the above - the case with DD Home is rather simple - Frank Podmore, leading counter-advocate of the time he was writing, stated in "Modern Spiritualism" vol. II, p. 230, "Home was never publicly exposed as an impostor; there is no evidence of any weight that he was even privately detected in trickery."

He later modified his position slightly in "The Newer Spiritualism" based on the Browning and Merrifield allegations against Home - however, Stephen Braude, in "The Limits of Influence", 1997, p. 28, cites sources regarding contradictions in versions of Robert Browning's denunciations of Home, and Merrifield's denunciation of Home is likewise inadequate to establish fraud - as shown by G. Zorab's writing on the subject: http://www.deanradin.com/evidence/Zorab1971.pdf, http://www.deanradin.com/evidence/Merrifield1855.pdf

So it is accurate to say that Home was never caught in fraud.

With Henry Slade, we need to flesh out the details more in order to vindicate him. The initial charges were spurious. Chris Carter noted, in "Science and Psychic Phenomena" that "the legal evidence against Slade was weak. Even a historian favorably disposed toward Lankester and Donkin wrote that "both scientists turned out to be terrible witnesses; their observational skills, developed inanatomy and physiology labs, were useless in detecting fraud by professional cheats. ... Indeed, Lankester and Donkin apparently could not agree on anything much beyond their charge that Slade was an imposter.""

There are other interesting aspects of the Slade phenomena. "Psychography", aforementioned, quotes the following example (p. 72), "I saw Dr. Slade again. On this occasion I took two new-framed slates, which I marked. I particularly asked whether it was possible to get writing without puttingthe slate under the table, and was told it was quite possible. My two slates were then laid upon the table, with a tiny bit of pencil between ; and upon them, in the full daylight, we laid our four hands. I then distinctly heard the sound of writing, and, on liftingup the top slate, found these words written, but very badly : — " We cannot give you a communication, only a proof our power." I remarked that though one or two words (the word " communication," for instance) were very badly written, Dr. Slade at once read them. On my way from Dr. Slade's, this slate got broken to splinters — how, I know not"

Ben Steigmann said...

However, with the Seybert commission, even though the above items, including the defense of Slade, (which shows, among other things, that the alleged confessions of fraud are not to be taken seriously, not trusting the account of Truesdell, etc.) offer explanation, there is still the following statement, (p. 10) "strange Spiritual antics may be there manifested, such as upsetting chairs which happen to be there, making slates appear above the edge of the table, etc. These manifestations are executed by the Medium's foot, which, on one occasion, was distinctly seen before it had time to get back into its slipper by one of our number, who stooped very quickly to pick up a slate which had accidentally fallen to the floor while the Spirits were trying to put it into the lap of one of the sitters.", and (p. 13): "At our last séance with him we noticed two slates which were not with the other slates on the small table behind him, but were on the floor resting against the leg of that table, and within easy reach of his hand as he sat at the larger table. As we had previously seen prepared slates similarly placed we kept a sharp watch on these slates. Unfortunately, it was too sharp. Dr. Slade caught the look that was directed at them. That detected glance was sufficient to prevent the Spirits from sending us the messages which they had so carefully prepared. The slates were not produced during the séance, but when it was over one of our number managed to strike them with his foot so as to displace them and reveal the writing. None of us present that day will be likely to forget the hurried way in which these slates were seized by the Medium and washed.": http://ssoc.selfip.com:81/texts/1887__seybert___commission_report.pdf

This seems like a devastating set of exposures, but the first is merely a noting of a release of a foot from a slipper and a SUPPOSITION that therefore there was fraud, which is a non-sequitur, as he could have executed fraud with his slipper on - there is also no indication that foot-control was an important test condition of the seance - and there are many other explanations for the foot movement - see also, in the above provided defense of Slade, the phrase "surreptitious use of hand or foot" - or it could have been due to unconscious muscular action. For the second item, writing may have been visible on unwashed slates, but the very function of Slade's sittings was to produce messages on Slates that were initially clean - whether it was produced genuinely or fraudulently is a different manner. The fact that there were unwashed slates suggests carelessness on Slade's part, but not that there was an exposure of fraudulent methods. This is the best evidence against him, and it is astonishingly weak. It appears also that the commission duped Slade, as he was led to believe that the overall attitude had been positive, p. 13 states, "We received from Dr. Slade a written expression of his satisfaction with our treatment of him, which had been throughout, so he said, entirely fair and courteous, and of his willingness at any time hereafter to sit with us again, should we desire it and his engagements permit."

Ben Steigmann said...

Brian Inglis states many objections to the commission as follows - he later notes contradictions in the testimony of Wundt to Fullerton re. the abilities of Zollner as a competent investigator (Wundt's testimony to Fullerton was more malicious in a way that contradicted earlier non-malicious testimony), and he notes bias so great it extended into malice on the part of Fullerton's overall denunciation of the Zollner investigation, but regarding the weak "exposures", Inglis notes (p. 371) that "by agreement these rules were not pointed out until the post-mortems which the members of the commission held after seances; so Slade was never actually caught red handed.
Some of his effects too, at the time had seemed unaccountable.
Once he had held two slates, one of them cleaned, behind the head of one of the investigators; when the question was put 'will the spirits endeavor to write on the slate thus held?' the sound of writing and a rap, signifying 'yes', were heard, and the message on the Slate was 'Yes, we will try'. It was 'one of the neatest things he did', Furness thought; an inspired guess if he had prepared the slate in advance.
Even Sellers could detect no substitution. In the circumstances, the commission realized that it would be unwise to denounce Slade until they could reassure themselves that everything he did could be duplicated by sleight-of-hand. Harry Kellar, one of the best known conjurors of the day, happened to be in Philadelphia, and a few days later he gave the members of the commission a demonstration of slate-writing which, they found, was 'far more remarkable than any which we have witnessed with mediums', including messages in various languages. Later, Kellar showed one of the commission's members ho he did it; and although in defense to the interests of his profession this was not made public at the time, the members of the commission felt that it constituted sufficient proof that Slade was a conjuror, and nothing more.
Over thirty years later Kellar, having retired, felt at liberty to disclose how he had done the slate-writing. He told Hereward Carrington that he had Had [sic] a trap-door constructed under the seance table, and employed an assistant in the room below - aan explanation echoed by Houdini. But this method would have only been possible for a professional magician. Slade gave seances wherever he happened to be, in private houses or hotel rooms; there could be no question of his having trapdoors cut wherever he went - and if he had, he would have soon been exposed. The reliance on Kellar's testimony was consequently dishonest - at least on the part of the member of the commission who was let in on the secret. So far from discrediting Slade, it could have been held to be in his favor."

So the commission was a farce - Slade is vindicated. And Carrington might not like such a defense of Slade, but the following full scale defense of the Bangs sisters shows that Carrington might be like Price, may not have been totally honest, and shows the necessity of caution and corroboration before his words are accepted wholeheartedly: http://www.the-voicebox.com/bangsisters.htm

Ben Steigmann said...

For more on DD Home, just to drive the point home - The Morio/Barthez "exposure" is refuted in Jenkens' biography pp 86-91, the phosphorous item is dealt with in Mary Rose Barrington's rebuttal to Stein as completely inadequate: https://ia701200.us.archive.org/13/items/NotesonSpiritualismandPsychicalResearch/Mary%20Rose%20Barrington%20Review%20of%20Stein%20on%20Home%20JSPR%20Volume%2060_pg45to50.pdf - , and the SPR review notes that this is thirdhand evidence from the discredited (if you follow theaforementioned references) source Browning: https://archive.org/stream/journalofsociety04sociuoft#page/102/mode/2up, the Hiram Powers letter I have not yet tracked down,but a pursuit of the source that cites it states it was a letter on how Powers believe trickery COULD have been done, though Jenkens cites many items of support of Home by Powers, so Powers seems to have eventually became a believer in the Home phenomena. Now it is a matter of just tracking down dates, though Powers' views, in absence of actual exposure, carry no weight. Everything I would have to say on Home, completely refuting all major points of skepticism, is covered in Jenkens' biography, "Natural and Supernatural" by Inglis, and "The Limits of Influence" by Stephen Braude. I will focus on Palladino there too, though that is too in depth for here - I will focus on other issues instead. For now, I will just note that Braude discusses distortions of Frank Podmore on Home in his rebuttal to MH Coleman: https://ia600604.us.archive.org/25/items/someitems/Correspondence%20-%20Reply%20to%20M.H.%20Coleman%20JSPR%20Volume%2053_pg244to247.pdf, Andrew Lang notes further issues with Podmore's arguments in "The Making of Religion", pp. 334-339, and the arguments of Lambert on Home have been strongly countered: https://ia700604.us.archive.org/25/items/someitems/CORRESPONDENCE%20%28Inglis%20et%20al.%29%20JSPR%20Volume%2048_pg504to511.pdf

Podmore is completely overrated as an analyst. Elizabeth Jenkens notes, on p. 254 of her biography, "The Homes were in Nice in 1872 and Hamilton Aide, with Alphonse Karr the editor of Le Figaro, were able to attend a seance, Karr, who was noted for irony and skepticism, announcing that he should soon get to the bottom of the thing. They were shown into a large room, sparsely furnished, the tables, mostly of marble, without cloths, the scene brightly lit by a lamp on the centre table and twenty candles on the chimney piece. The visitors scanned the room narrowly but could detect no trace of apparatus or machinery; but presently a large arm-chair rushed violently towards them across the room, then the central table began to tilt so that they could see under it as well as over it. Podmore's suggested explanation for this type of phenomena is:-'the articles were probably, it may be suggested, held in position when the table was tilted by means of hairs or fine threads attached to Home's dress'. This ingenious supposition did not present itself to Hamilton Aide or to Karr, who was irritated and nonplussed."

Ben Steigmann said...

With respect to Palladino and the Feilding report, Podmore engaged in egregious misrepresentation. his attack on the Fielding report on Palladino was criticized for engaging in selective findings and ignoring phenomena that do not fit into his theory - the criticism was that he was tendentious: https://archive.org/stream/journalofsociety14sociuoft#page/212/mode/2up

some confusion has arisen on the nature of Podmore's account, thus we readthe wikipedia article alleging that Podmore found that the Fielding report contained contradictions as to who was holding the medium - the confusion is as follows - Podmore in "The Newer Spiritualism", pp. 127-131, took note of a "contradiction" between Palladino's left hand stroking vs. the left hand resting on "R."'s wrist - this is superficial criticism, and it referred to SEANCE 8. However, on his footnote, p. 131, he states that Carrington made different descriptions to the "contemporary account" - this might create some confusion. Carrington, however, was describing seance 9, Podmore previously was describing seance 8. See Carrington's descriptions on p. 274 of the following: http://books.google.com/books?id=aI9EAQAAIAAJ&pg=PP10&dq=hereward+carrington+mcclure%27s&hl=en&sa=X&ei=t-L1Ur2SLc_voAS2y4HIDQ&ved=0CDMQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=I%20was%20holding%20both&f=false

Podmore asserted that there were inconsistencies with this account and p. 518 of the original report. My copy of the Fielding report is in the book "Sittings With Eusapia Palladino & Other Studies" with a forward by Dingwall. Podmore stated, "In his article in McClure's Magazine, reprinted in the Journal of the American S.P.R., Mr. Carrington, in a similar fashion, amplifies at a later date the contemporary notes. In relating that he felt his arm gripped by a hand, he says in the magazine article : "I was holding both of Eusapia's hands in mine. ... Her feet, knees, and head were also visible." But from the shorthand notes (Report, p. 518) it appears that one of Eusapia's hands was under the curtain, and nothing is said about the feet and knees being visible. Perhaps Mr. Carrington means that he would have seen them if he had looked under the table."

However, the McClure's article does not mention that both hands were visible, but that they were held and controlled. And on p. 228 of the book, corresponding to the relevant page of the report, we find his statement.
"C. I am touched on the left side by a hand.
C. I was holding both medium's hands in both of mine and she was squeezing tightly, one being clearly visible and one on the table under the curtain. Absolute control of right foot and leg; her right foot pressing strongly on my left foot in contact with my right.
B. I was holding the wrist of her left hand with my right hand on the table in full view of us all,-perfectly visible. My right knee against he left knee. My right foot under her left foot."

It's these subtle misrepresentations that abound in Podmore's work that make him problematic. James Hyslop questioned Podmore's reliability in cases where he made a priori dismissals (like physical phenomena) - see the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, vol. 13, June 1919, beginning on p. 354 of the pdf (p. 327 of the document): http://www.iapsop.com/archive/materials/aspr_proceedings/aspr_journal_v13_1919.pdf

For a self-evident macro-pk demonstration with Palladino that cannot be debunked, see the aforementioned book, pp. 217-219.

For strong criticism of Richard Hodgson's views on Palladino, see Alan Gauld, "The Founders of Psychical Research", pp. 233-241

Ben Steigmann said...

Gauld's negative view on Slade in that book is countered by some of what was given above, and is superseded by the subsequent work of Inglis.

Richet corroborates the Slade phenomena, noting, in"Thirty Years of Psychical Research", p. 410:

"P. Gibier also experimented with Slade (Le Spiritisme, Paris,
1882. Le Fakirisme Occidental).
Gibier first verified the force and frequency of the raps. On one occasion, so strong a knock was delivered on the middle of the table as to lead him to think it must be broken. During this time the feet and hands of the medium were well in sight. In a
daylight séance a chair placed forty inches away made a half turn and moved against the table.

"Subsequently in full daylight, a chest placed twenty-five inches away from his chair began to move, leaving the wall so slowly that we could verify that there was no contact between it and any other object; it then came and violently struck the table at which we were sitting.

"At ten different trials the slate held by Slade under the table was broken into several pieces. These slates were framed in very hard wood. We endeavoured to break them in the same way by striking them against the table, but never succeeded in even cracking them.

"Several times we have seen a framed slate leave Slade's hand, pass right under the table to the other side, and, when taken hold of, give the sensation of resistance as if another hand were holding the slate. We kept the hands of the medium in sight, and could see his two knees outside the table."

Richet also notes, regarding Slade (pp. 450-451): "Dr. Paul Gibier, an experienced physiologist and a careful
observer, testifies;
"We have seen more than a hundred times letters, drawings,
lines, and even whole phrases produced by a slight touch on
slates held by Slade, and even between two slates with which he had no contact. We had ourselves bought these slates in a shop
in Paris and marked them with our signature. When the writing
was produced on one slate only, this was usually done under
that corner of the table at which we happened to be. We kept
both the slate and Slade's fingers well in view; we ourselves
placed the pencil on the slate, but we were never able to get a
sight of the moving pencil. The slate oscillated slightly as if by
the pressure of the invisible writer" (Le Spiritisme, Paris, Doin,1887).
The experiment that Dr. Gibier regards as perhaps the best is
the following:
"I had brought several slates, among others two screwed together,
tied with string, sealed, and wrapped in paper . . , I
proposed that I should get an answer on two new slates that I
had brought in a napkin. I received permission, after having put
the traditional little pointer between the two, to sit on my slates.
Having then placed them on my chair I sat down and did not
let go of the slates till the whole weight of my body bore on
them. I then put my hands on the table along with Slade's hands,
and I felt and heard very clearly that writing was taking place
on the slates with which I was in contact. When this ended I
myself withdrew my two slates, and read the following words,
'Slates are difficult to influence; we will do what we can.' The writing was bad, but it was writing, and legible writing. Slade had not touched these slates."

Ben Steigmann said...

Regarding Pierre Keeler, the following is from the PASPR concerning witnesses for and against Keeler: http://books.google.com/books?id=jZDNAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA449#v=onepage&q&f=false

Reading that, do take note that positive evidence in Keeler's favor is provided in the addendum to "What I saw at Cassadaga lake", pp. 18-20: https://archive.org/stream/whatisawatcassad00rich#page/18/mode/2up

Regarding Francis Ward Monck, the following account from Alfred Russell Wallace provides clear evidence for some genuine slate writing phenomena: https://archive.org/stream/psychographybym00mosegoog#page/n89/mode/2up/search/wallace

He was definitely caught in fraud during his career, but Doyle, acknowledging this, also notes a full fledged materialization observed in full light emanating from Monck, separating from him, and returning to him: https://archive.org/stream/historyofspiritu015638mbp#page/n323/mode/2up

The nature of this materialization of Monck helps us understand another situation - that of Mme. d'Esperance. The wikipedia article on her states, "In 1880 in a séance a spirit named "Yohlande" materialized, a sitter grabbed it and was revealed to be Elizabeth herself." However, the source for this assertion is "Spiritualism: A Popular History" by Joseph McCabe, p. 167, which does not cite any sources, except for d'Esperance's autobiography. which has descriptions of her extreme physical lack of ease - she stated, "All I knew was a horrible excruciating sensation of being doubled up and squeezed together, as I can imagine a hollow gutta percha doll would feel, if it had sensation, when violently embraced by its baby owner-. A sense of terror and agonising pain came over me, as though I was losing hold of life and was falling into some fearful abyss, yet knowing nothing, hearing nothing, except the echo of a scream I heard as at a distance. I felt I was sinking down, I knew not where. I tried to save myself, to grasp at something, but missed it; and then came a blank from which I awakened with a shuddering horror and sense of being bruised to death."

There was an allegation, and as for refutation, I am unable to get a copy of "Medium and Daybreak", Sept. 10, pp. 577-83, which has has been cited as a defense of d'Esperance against the allegation ("The Darkened Room" by Alex Owen (1989), p. 285n62). Hopefully it will be up soon. But for now, it is important to establish that there were compelling counter-examples with d'Esperance in order to move the case in her favor. When that excerpt from M & D becomes available, it will be added as a reference.

To start, while the earlier pages from the Sept. 1880 edition are not available, the later pages are. p. 613 describes precautions against fraud, and then a full materialization - beginning as a small white patch and becoming a full fledged form, and then "Yolanda" as a separate form, all while the medium was also in full view, and then dematerialization, also with the medium in full view: http://www.iapsop.com/archive/materials/medium_and_daybreak/medium_and_daybreak_september_1880_incomplete.pdf

The following testimony, from "The Medium and Daybreak", July 23 1880, p. 466, is quite extraordinary corroboration of the above exact points: http://www.iapsop.com/archive/materials/medium_and_daybreak/medium_and_daybreak_july_1880_incomplete.pdf

Other positive testimony to d'Esperance re. mental mediumship also occurs on p. 203 of "The Spiritualist", Oct. 25 1878: http://www.iapsop.com/archive/materials/spiritualist/spiritualist_v13_n17_oct_25_1878.pdf

Ben Steigmann said...

Regarding d'Esperance, Richet notes:
"Professor Aksakoff published a memorandum of Mme. d'Espérance
to which it would seem too much importance has been ascribed.

Mr. Carrington has shown that if there was no fraud, fraud
was quite possible. Professor Aksakoff very loyally gives the
evidence of several persons present at this alleged dematerialization
who did not accept it as genuine, for example, the engineer,
Schonelz (p 92). The honesty of Mme. d'Espérance may very
well be admitted while supposing that by an unconscious backward
movement of her legs she may have given rise to the notion or may
have herself thought that her lower limbs were dematerialized for a time."

However, Richet also noted, "At the house of Professor E., of Christiania, in 1893, M. de Bergen arranged a series or séances with Mme. d'Espérance, in
which many distinguished persons belonging to the university, the
magistrature, and the clergy took part.
In one of these séances an extremely beautiful female form appeared calling herself Nepenthes. "She showed herself in the light at the same time as the medium, who was sitting with other persons outside the cabinet, and materialized in the midst of the circle. She plunged her hand into liquid paraffin wax, leaving a
mould of rare beauty. The modeller who made the plaster cast could not believe his eyes and spoke of sorcery, because he could not imagine how the hand could have been extricated from the wax glove.
"Nepenthes dematerialized in the midst of the circle. She
lowered her head on which her usual diadem shone, and little by
little became a luminous cloud like a human head (on which the
diadem still faintly showed) gradually fading away.""

The Thought Criminal said...

After encountering all kinds of pseudo-skeptic trolls, some of whom obviously use multiple identities, I've decided that, since organized training of these guys is an openly announced fact, all skeptics have to now be presumed to be one of these obsessed, trained ideologues and that should be mentioned from the start of an encounter with them. Pseudo-skepticism is one of a group of obviously organized efforts of the kind that I used to notice with right-wing callers to call in shows. They will destroy any value of comment boards if they aren't exposed and challenged and since other skeptics don't call them on their dishonesty they share responsibility for that.

C. Carol said...

Excellent, Dean, as always.

My two cents. "Wikipedia is a Failed Experiment". http://cathicarolblog.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/wikipedia-is-a-failed-experiment/

C. Carol said...

My longer commentary, from November, is here. "Wikipedia and the Pseudoskeptical Weaselword Wars". http://cathicarolblog.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/wikipedia-and-the-pseudoskeptical-weaselword-wars/

Ben Steigmann said...

I countered most of the skepticism of modern parapsychology in the comments thread to this post - also giving reference to a Chris French article that, in addition to my initial points in this thread, would help activists who want to create change in Wikipedia: http://deanradin.blogspot.com/2013/04/show-me-evidence.html

The evidence in that area is pretty clear. For the subject of mediumship, which I am dealing with currently, on the other hand, we can get into difficult territory - as there are many contradictions. For instance - some of the anti-medium magicians have been impeached as witnesses - Houdini has been above and there is further information impeaching him to be given below. Joseph Rinn has been impeached: https://ia601200.us.archive.org/13/items/NotesonSpiritualismandPsychicalResearch/LA%20Dale%20Reviews%20Rinn%20JASPR%20XLV%201951%28April%29015.pdf

But in other cases, we are dealing with contradictory evidence from non-impeached witnesses. For Jack Webber, for instance, the magician Julien Proskauer claimed the floating trumpet of Webber was a trick - that Webber would hold a telescopic reaching rod attached to the trumpet, and sitters in his séances only believed it to have levitated because the room was so dark they could not see the rod. He claimed further that Webber would cover the rod with crepe paper as ectoplasm to disguise its real construction. Just from photographic analysis, this statement seems premature - especially when you consider the following:

The source "The Mediumship of Jack Webber" stands in conflict with this claim - p. 30 states, "To those who still may consider that the medium may possess a technique to permit his exit and entry from the fastenings normally, there is a final aspect that forbids that supposition. At the commencement of a séance, immediately after the tying, the light is put out. Within a fraction of a second one or two trumpets are in levitation encircling the sitters. As the levitation ends and the trumpets come to the floor, there is an immediate request for light. The trumpets may have moved several feet away from the medium and have come to rest well away from his chair. Frequently in most séances the trumpets are lying on the floor, in positions where it is absolutely impossible for the medium to touch them without getting out of the fastenings and reaching down to pick them up.

The almost instantaneous switching-on of the light before and after this, and other phenomena, illustrates beyond any possible doubt whatever that supernormal means must have been employed. The Guides have so perfected this rapidity of action that trumpets are often seen moving as the light goes on-and still more amazing, continuing in motion for a period while the light is on. (See the description by Colin Evans of a séance, further on in this volume.)"

and p. 44, "Every time the light was in this way flashed on suddenly, the medium was seen to be still securely roped and tied with the knots and the exact angle of the crossing loops of rope so undisturbed as to prove that he had not even been twitching restlessly as a medium in trance often does, and this within a small fraction of a second of movements of the trumpets at a distance from his body that could not have been normally manipulated unless he had been free from the ropes. His hands were empty and there was no possibility of his having concealed any mechanical device for moving the trumpets at a distance.": http://www.ghostcircle.com/ebooks/Harry%20Edwards%20-%20The%20Mediumship%20Of%20Jack%20Webber.doc

Ben Steigmann said...

It would appear then that this contradiction is all we can go by regarding Webber - though Proskauer may have made an interpretation without acknowledging all the data - unfortunately his book costs money and I do not have it, so I cannot check his original sources, if there are any aside from his written words, which, if he does not provide the photo in question, carries less weight than the above testimony. And in light of the above testimony, he may have misinterpreted what was going on. As for the Carrington reference in the wiki article, it does not refer to Webber, as he was born in the year that Carrington wrote the book.

Ben Steigmann said...

I just realized that there were a couple of skeptical books I had overlooked (e.g. 'The Table Rappers') by Pearsall, and I need to address them in order to make my case. Hence some of the above commentary is provisional. I will also refrain from posting online articles as if they 'prove' anything, and focus on primary and scholarly sources. An exception is the articles from this site, which are copies of relevant original sources: http://survivalafterdeath.info

For the time being, I recommend a book I just received today, "Immortal Longings", by Trevor Hamilton. This is a scholarly work, and a defense of him, that is quite comprehensive. I have found it to be very useful.

Ben Steigmann said...

Here are some positive comments on DD Home that critics overlook. It will become the basis for some future comments: http://www.survivalafterdeath.info/books/fodor/chapter15.htm

Steve A. Ray said...

It's fortunate that one can transcend PSI, rather than just defend it, which is...fair to do.

Steve A. Ray said...

You want to hear a really hilarious FACT? Well, just Google search Define Fact ...and you'll see that a fact is really just a point that is not debated, undisputed as it were. Well, then, name a fact!
To me, this definition seems lusciously correct, in a relativism sense..but when I mentioned it on a skeptic web site the other day...well, all hell broke loose...lol. Turns out The Pope and Dawkins are both against anti-relativism. It is a bit scary to ponder for most. I mean, aren't we supposed to live in a normative universe? (nice and tidy.)

Ben Steigmann said...

Some parts of the above two comments seem incoherent, but, returning to thetopic at hand, Rearsall's "The Table-Rappers" is unfortunately somewhat fraudulent text: http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2006/10/sleight_of_mind.html

Nandor Fodor's "Encyclopedia of Psychic Science" and "These Mysterious People" is a useful counter to some of the assault on wikipedia. Wikipedia gives the impression that he denounced ectoplasm, physical phenomena, etc. I strongly doubt this in light of some of its fraudulent citations, also the fact that Fodor endorsed Florence Cook - see the end of this: http://survivalafterdeath.info/researchers/fodor.htm

Fodor was disgusted with the attacks by Trevor Hall on Price, Crookes, and Myers. I was interested in Pearsall's source for his claim that Myers had sexual affairs with mediums he investigated - it turns out that he cites no source for this claim - it is pure innuendo. Trevor Hamilton's biography Immortal Longings: F.W.H. Myers and the Victorian Search for Life after Death refutes such allegations: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3143887/

Ben Steigmann said...

In his case, as in so many others, the criticisms have rejoinders:

For Pierce's criticisms, these have rejoinders - see Proceedings of the American Society for Psychical Research, vol. I:
"Criticism on Phantasms of the Living: An Examination of an Argument of Messrs. Gurney, Myers, and Podmore", n. 3, pp. 150-157. Reprinted (W 6:74–81). Followed by a response by Gurney, Edmund, "Remarks on Professor Peirce's Paper", pp. 157-179.
"Mr. Peirce’s Rejoinder", still in n. 3, pp. 180-215. Reprinted (W 6, pp. 101–141). Followed (1889 March) by a response by Gurney, Edmund, "Remarks on Mr. Peirce's Rejoinder", n. 4, pp. 286-300, followed by W. H. Myers, Frederic, "Postscript to Professor Gurney's Reply to Mr. Peirce", pp. 300-301.
All of this can be viewed in this volume - Proceedings of the American Society for Psychical Research - Volume 1: http://www.iapsop.com/archive/materials/aspr_proceedings/aspr_proceedings_v1_1885-1889.pdf

For Edmund Gurney's reply to A Taylor Innes, noting his errors, see "Letters on Phantasms: A Reply" (Nineteenth Century, Volume 22 (October 1887), pp. 522-533) - also available here: http://books.google.com/books?id=aDgPAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA522#v=onepage&q&f=false

There it is noted the existence of cases with contemporary validation.

Regarding Edmund Parish's criticism that this was evidence for a dream state of consciousness, not the paranormal, Alan Gauld notes: "The Census had netted 350 examples of recognized visual hallucinations of living persons known to the percipients and believed by them up to that moment to be still alive (only percipients who had had no other hallucination were included). Of these 80 were death-coincidences in that they coincided within twelve hours either way with the death of the recognized individual. However it was apparent from the distribution of reported cases over time that people were much more likely to forget noncoincidental cases than coincidental ones. The Committee calculated that (after elimination of all cases occurring to percipients under the age of ten, and of all cases which might be regarded as doubtfully hallucinatory or otherwise suspect), the real number of recognised visual hallucinations could be reckoned at about 1,300 and (to be on the safe side) the number of death-coincidences at 30. They then argued that since the Registrar General’s tables showed the chance of any person taken at random dying on a given day was 1 in 19,000, the chance of any given single event, such as someone’s having a one-off hallucination of an individual known to him, coinciding with the death of that individual would also be 1 in 19,000. The actual proportion of such coincident hallucinations was about 30 in 1,300, or 440 times the predicted figure. In most of the residual 30 cases the percipients had been interviewed by members of the committee or their representatives, and the collector had no previous knowledge of the respondent’s experience. In at least 16 cases the percipient either had no reason to suppose that the decedent was unwell or no reason to suppose that his or her illness should occasion anxiety, nor were the figures seen predominantly those of elderly and presumably more vulnerable persons (A. Johnson, Review of Ueber die Trugwahrnehmung, by Edmund Parish, in Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, vol. 11, 1895, pp. 170-171; PSPR on Lexscien: Library of Exploratory Science). Occasional errors of memory came to light but were in general not such as to invalidate the basic fact of the correlation in time between hallucination and death. In a sprinkling of cases percipients had made contemporary notes of the experience, or had mentioned it to other persons before learning of the death.": http://www.henrysidgwick.com/4th-paper.1st.congress.cat.eng.html

Ben Steigmann said...

Some of the criticism was fraudulent. Andreas Sommer noted in his article "Professional Heresy", "Gurney’s work, publicly praised by James as science par excellence, became the subject of early boundary work, not only in American academic psychology. Wilhelm Preyer in Germany published an attack on the SPR’s and Gurney’s work which, however, Gurney was able to show in detail was based on serious errors and misrepresentations of the original publications Preyer purported to rebut.22 Gurney’s defences against Preyer’s and others’ allegations of scientific incompetence and gullibility failed to be promulgated in the popular and academic press psychologists had learned to utilise to demarcate the ‘new psychology’ from its ‘unscientific Other’. As a consequence of psychology’s lasting uneasiness with it’s occult ‘shadow’ and resulting boundary work, the likes of Gurney and Myers, who enriched the science of the soul by fundamentally challenging it in its infancy, were refused treatment in the standard history of psychology textbooks.23"

Of the value of Gurney's work, Sommer noted, "Another important contribution to psychological knowledge by Gurney was his study of hallucinations. In 1886, he was the lead author of Phantasms of the Living, a first systematic survey of ‘telepathic’ hallucinations in the general English public. Aided by the pioneer in statistics Francis Y. Edgeworth, Gurney delivered a sophisticated treatment of the role of chance coincidence in such cases. Displaying a firm command of the relevant literature, he also discussed possible confounding psychological factors, such as prior beliefs and expectations, errors of memory and the problem of human testimony in general. One of the centre pieces of Phantasms was a masterly review of the contemporary literature on the psychology and pathology of hallucinations, based on a paper he had published two years previously in Mind.10 Gurney and his collaborators collected and scrutinised 5,705 cases of alleged ‘telepathic’ hallucinations (mostly apparitions of distant persons in a severe bodily or emotional crisis at the time of their alleged appearance to the percipient, who could have no plausible knowledge of the perceived person’s state), of which around 700 he felt were sufficiently corroborated to be included in the book. Shortly after Phantasms, Gurney initiated the SPR ‘Census of Hallucinations’, an international replication of Phantasms based on a sample of 17,000 sane persons. The international Census, which the SPR continued after Gurney’s death, was conducted with the support of the International Congress of Psychology and published by Henry Sidgwick and his colleagues in 1894.11 Independent of their conclusions regarding the prevalence of telepathic experiences, the results of Phantasms and the ‘Census of Hallucinations’ seemed to provide overwhelming evidence for the prevalence of hallucinations in the general public.12": http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3143882/

Ben Steigmann said...

This is a digression from my previous writing here, this is not necessarily in a systematic order, but presented as I information comes to me so as to provide overlooked facts.

I claimed that evidence seems to suggest that Mirabelli was a mixed medium - I also claimed that I would be refraining from using self-published internet sources. Yet the following, in addition to this online archive of books: http://www.spiritarchive.org/ebooks-in-english.html - is a list of useful well sourced articles: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/annetts/ark/articles_on_physical_mediumship.htm - and it's article on Mirabelli is useful in proving that contention: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/annetts/ark/mediums/c__mirabelli_physical_medium.htm
Dingwall's comment is interesting - the article quotes him thusly:
"There were also instances of Carlos dematerializing from the sealed seance room to another room, and the seals on his bonds being found untouched. When he disappeared, some of the sitters remained in the seance room while others went to search for him: 'He was soon discovered in a side room lying in an easy chair and singing to himself'.(18) It cannot go unnoticed how Dingwall mentioned that Carlos 'submitted himself to the severest tests of...investigators, passively suffered being tied and stripped, until doubt was excluded'.(19)
It was this type of activity that prompted some investigators outside Brazil to believe that Carlos's mediumship could not be ignored; Dingwall was one such person. Faced with so many reports of spectacular phenomena, witnessed by hundreds of people and sometimes photographed, an answer was clearly required. In 1930, Dingwall wrote of Carlos's mediumship in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, the contents of which have already been cited above. He said that the phenomena was 'so extraordinary indeed that there is nothing like them in the whole range of psychical literature'. Relevant in view of what the Europeans were saying, he also argued that, 'It would be easy to condemn the man as a monstrous fraud...But I do not think that such a supposition will help even him who makes it'. Despite this, the best that Dingwall could say on his own behalf was that he could not make any decision; he said that Carlos could be a fraud and the materializations were his confederates but admitted 'confederates are human beings and human beings do not usually rise into the air, dissolve...and float about'.(20)"

It will of course be necessary to obtain dingwall's document on the case, E. J. Dingwall, 'An Amazing Case: The Mediumship of Carlos Mirabelli', JASPR, 24 (1930)

I also became aware of the alleged Krebs exposure on Slade, and would have thus mentioned it, but his credibility is weakened by what Carrington notes is his unreliability regarding Palladino: https://ia701200.us.archive.org/13/items/NotesonSpiritualismandPsychicalResearch/ReviewOfCarringtonsBookOnTheAmericanSeancesWithPalladino-CarringtonJsprVolume37_pg386to388.pdf

Carrington himself tries to debunk Slade, but I feel there are things he overlooks based on a priori views. Isaac Funk's "The Widow's Mite" has a good appraisal of this issue, substantiating my position, though he doesn't reference Carrington in this context: https://archive.org/stream/widowsmiteandot00funkgoog#page/n380/mode/2up

I will attempt an appraisal of this myself later.

Ben Steigmann said...

Carvill Lewis had however, caught Eglinton in trickery in a similar way to the Hodgson exposure on Slade, these seem to be the only legitimate exposures - and the question of conscious or unconscious fraud is also a factor here. In contrast to that, though, note the positive evidence presented by Fodor, who noted that Eglinton had convinced British PM William Gladstone of the supernormal, and notes positive phenomena in this case - Gladstone stated, incidentally, that psychical research was the most important work which is being done in the world - by far the most important" - the article also notes, "Eglinton's open air materializations have no parallel in spiritualistic history. This is a summary of Dr. Nichols' experiences in Malvern:

"Mr. Eglinton lay on a garden bench in plain sight. We saw the bodies of four visitors form themselves from a cloud of white vapour and then walk about, robed all in purest white, upon the lawn where no deception was possible. One of them walked quite around us, as we sat in our chairs on the grass, talking as familiarly as any friend ... took my hat from my head, put it on his own, and walked off with it where the medium was lying; then he came and put it on my head again; then walked across the lawn and up a gravel walk to the foot of the balcony and talked with Mrs. Nichols. After a brief conversation he returned to the medium and gradually faded from sight."

[...]

Ben Steigmann said...

[...]

The spiritualistic Press of the day was full of such marvels. Mr. W. H. Harrison, the editor of The Spiritualist and a Fleet Street writer on science, reported the transportation of Eglinton through the ceiling of a locked room into the room above on March 16th, 1878, at Mrs. Macdougall Gregory's house at 21 Green Street, Grosvenor Square, London. He was one of seven sitters.

"The séance was held in the drawing-room on the first floor high above the street. The shutters of all the windows of the room were closed and barred; they could not have been opened without admitting light from the street. The door was locked on the inside and the key left in the lock. The table around which all the sitters sat was about two yards from the lock and considered in the most favourable position for enabling all the sitters to gaze into the passage if the door had been opened either to a large or small extent... Mr. George Sutherland, one of the sitters, was raised, chair and all, and placed on the centre of the table, where he was seen when a light was struck. Another sitter and his chair were raised about two feet. Mr. W. H. Harrison half seriously asked if the spirits could take Mr. Colman through the ceiling by way of giving a variety of manifestation; Mrs. Fletcher and Mr. Colman then called out simultaneously that Mr. Eglinton had broken the circle and left them. Mrs. Gregory told them to join hands. About the same moment, a chair, probably Mr. Eglinton's, was heard to fall lightly on its feet, apparently some yards from the circle; and a violent bump, caused by the falling of a heavy body on the floor of the room above, caused everybody to think that Mr. Eglinton was carried through the ceiling. So a light was struck.

"From the time the remark was made about Mr. Colman to the time the light was struck, was about a minute. From the time Mr. Eglinton disjoined hands to the time the fall in the room above was heard, was probably less than ten seconds; some of the sitters, a few minutes after the event occurred, estimated it at five seconds.

"When the light was struck, Mr. Eglinton was not in the room. Mr. George Sutherland unlocked the door by turning the key which was in the lock, and it was then noticed that the passage outside was fairly illuminated by reflected light from the gas in the hall below. Mrs. Gregory and several sitters proceeded upstairs, and found Mr. Eglinton lying in a deep trance on the floor with his arms extended. This was about two minutes after he disjoined hands in the room below. In two or three minutes he revived and complained of the back of his head being hurt, as if by a blow; beyond this there was nothing the matter with him and he was as well as before in a few minutes."

Were all these people dithering imbeciles or did Eglinton actually go through the ceiling?": http://www.survivalafterdeath.info/books/fodor/chapter20.htm

Ben Steigmann said...

Dean Radin,

I will just make the statements that with the Hodgson and Carvill Lewis exposures, fraud was strongly indicated but not proven - unconscious factors may have also been at work. But more importantly...

Here Harry Price publishes a highly balanced criticism of some of the ESP work (aspects of which can be controverted, but interesting prior to ESP After 60 Years). If the allegations of fraud against him can all be refuted, he would have been one of the best psychical researchers - Price made some very interesting commentary on the Garrett case you wrote about.

He also made a solution to a problem in early parapsychology - see his section on "Price's 'Telepatha' Cards, with Dazzle Backs": http://www.survivalafterdeath.info/articles/price/esp.htm

this problem was noted by Eric Dingwall: http://www.survivalafterdeath.info/articles/dingwall/responsibility.htm

"I was hardly prepared for what one day I found lying on a table in New York. It was, it appeared, one of the famous cards used in certain card-guessing experiments that were supposed to suggest ESP. This card was so crudely made that a mere glance at the back was sufficient to determine what was on the front. Although I knew that the cards used in the early experiments at Duke were so badly made that they were not in some cases even of the same shape, it was an additional shock to discover that some of the cards were almost transparent. Evidently some, at least, of the astonishing beyond-chance successes could easily be explained.

[...]

It might have been thought that after an exposure of this sort the ESP propagandists would have quietly repaired the damage and seen to it that no such scandal again arose. The officials of the SPR in London were, it is true, somewhat disconcerted by these discoveries and succeeded in having cards made that could not be read from the back, which at least removed one source of error. Later, however, the Society, having apparently sold their stock of the opaque cards, began selling again the packs patented by J. B. Rhine in 1937. During tests in 1960 by an SPR working group, remarkable hits in clairvoyance runs were obtained; but it soon emerged that the transparent nature of the cards offered an easy solution. The handbook supplied with the cards in 1937, which was arranged and edited by members of the Duke University Parapsychology Laboratory, is quite clear as to how the cards were to be used, and in the single card-calling test the amateur is instructed to test his ESP by having the pack in front of him and calling the cards one after another.

After the lapse of 30 years, the transparent cards are still being sold and the instructions clearly state that all handling of the cards should be screened from the subject. But on the card of instructions provided with the deck of cards it is said that in the BT (Before Touching) clairvoyance card tests the experimenter can see the cards and thus clues might unwittingly be given to the subject during a series of tests of this kind."

Price offered a design for the cards that you can clearly see that would have solved this entire problem - parapsychologists should have simply done away with the old design and adopted his - they would have saved themselves hardship in the process.

Ben Steigmann said...

The comments of Dingwall, properly interpreted, are more a criticism of some shenanigans in the SPR administration than they are of parapsychology as a whole. Palmer & Rao summarize some of the issues with Rhine, the objections to them and literature where one can find refutations of these objections. By the way, if deviations from chance are robust and consistent, rather than sporadic, then we can say there is evidence of an effect, and not a statistical glitch: https://ia600604.us.archive.org/25/items/someitems/TheAnomalyCalledPsi.pdf

"The first line of criticism dealt with the experimental conditions. One essential requirement for an acceptable ESP experiment was that data should be collected under conditions that provide no reasonable opportunity for sensory leakage of information or inferential knowledge of the targets. Skinner (1937), Wolfle (1938), and J. L. Kennedy (1938), among others, pointed out that under certain lighting conditions the commercially produced ESP cards could be read through their reverse sides. Rhine responded that the original experiments were conducted with hand-printed ESP cards that were free from such defects and that in his more formal experiments the use of screens and distance prevented the subjects from obtaining any visual cues from the cards. Kennedy (1938), Kellogg (1936), and Leuba (1938) argued that an increase in the experimental rigor of ESP research had resulted in a corresponding decline in ESP results, suggesting that extrachance ESP scores were due to loose experimental conditions. To this Rhine responded that his most rigorously controlled experiment, the Pearce-Pratt series, did give highly significant results (Rhine et al. 1940). Although this experiment was later challenged by critic C. E. M. Hansel (1966) - with questionable success (Hansel 1980; Rhine & Pratt 1961; Stevenson 1967) - as being susceptible to fraud on the part of the subject, it was still more rigorously controlled than the other experiments in the original data base and thus supported Rhine's point. The second line of criticism related to data analysis. Willoughby (1935), Kellogg (1936), Heinlein and Heinlein (1938), Herr (1938), and Lemmon (1939) criticized various features of the statistical analysis used by Rhine and his colleagues. In particular, the criticism focused on Rhine's assumption that the binomial theorem is applicable to "closed decks," decks in which the number of times each type of card appears is not free to vary. This aspect of the methodological debate essentially ceased in 1937, when Burton Camp, President of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, stated that Rhine's "statistical analysis is essentially valid. If the Rhine investigation is to be fairly attacked it must be on other than mathematical grounds" (Camp 1937). For further details, see Burdick and Kelly (1977). It would be wrong to conclude from this, however, that Rhine's experiments were perfect and that they had conclusively eliminated every alternative explanation. In retrospect, one could suggest improvements in the experimental conditions of his experiments. But for his time, Rhine's best experiments were ahead of others in the behavioral sciences. The experimental precautions he took, including two-experimenter controls and doubleblind procedures, were rare in other disciplines at that time. Nonetheless, much of the early criticism of Rhine's experiments was helpful in progressively raising the standards of ESP research and reducing the possibility of experimental errors and artifacts."

Ben Steigmann said...

p. 602: "In fact, in the present debate there is some agreement about the fundamental difficulty of defining what would be considered an acceptable level of replication and about the fact that no one experiment alone can suffice. There is further agreement that psi experiments are replicable in the general or "weak sense" of the basic findings being confirmed by others, but not in the "strong sense" of being able to tell the critic how he himself should go about getting positive results. Naturally, for Alcock such weak replication as exists can merely reflect replication of errors. In this sense, the theme of such exchanges between critics and proponents of parapsychology is not new; it is only the players who have changed. In the late 1930s, J. L. Kennedy (1939) debated with Gardner Murphy (1938) the possibility of
sensory cues and motivational errors as explanations for psi. The American Psychological Association's Review Committee (1939) actually repudiated this as a viable explanation, and it is now generally accepted even among critics that fraud is the only "normal" alternative explanation for the early findings of Rhine et al. (1940) and Pratt, and Woodruff (1939)."

Chris Carter noted, in "Debating Psychic Experience", p. 82:

"The parapsychologist Charles Honorton (1975) performed a detailed statistical review of the early experiments, and came to this conclusion: By 1940 nearly one million experimental trials had been reported under conditions which precluded sensory leakage. The results were independently significant in 27 of the 33 experiments. By the end of the 1930s there was general agreement that the better-controlled ESP experiments could not be accounted for on the basis of sensory leakage. (p. 107)

There has been a widespread belief that most of the positive results came from Rhine’s laboratory at Duke University, and that most of the experiments per-formed elsewhere failed to confirm Rhine’s results (Hansel, 1980). Honorton(1975) investigated this claim, and wrote:A survey of the published literature between 1934 and 1940 fails to support this claim. [The table below] shows all the published experimental reports during this period.Inspection of this table reveals that a majority(61 percent)of the outside replications report significant results (p < .01) and that the proportion of significant studies was not significantly greater for the Duke University group. (pp. 109–110)"

Predecessors to this, like that of Coover, are unfairly attacked - Rao & Palmer note, at the end of the debate, "On to Hansel's specific points. Coover's results are in fact highly significant, if analyzed fairly (Thouless 1935; see also Coover 1939). Hansel's criticisms of the Pearce-Pratt experiment have been addressed elsewhere (e.g., Rao 1981c; Stevenson 1967)"

Criticism of popular previous work like Sinclair's "Mental Radio" is refuted by consideration of the article of Walter Franklin Prince in an addendum to that text: https://archive.org/stream/mentalradio017719mbp#page/n173/mode/2up
some have commented on Mcdougall's less than spectacular results in that case: https://archive.org/stream/mentalradio017719mbp#page/n225/mode/2up

though re McDougall, see pp. 206-207 of the text, relevant commentary by Prince: https://archive.org/stream/mentalradio017719mbp#page/n229/mode/2up

Walter Franklin Prince's aforementioned "Enchanted Boundary" dealt with the errors of previous counter-advocate research.

Keith Marantz said...

Wikipedia has increased the number of guesses to 12,000.

Which is it??

Dean Radin said...

Good question. On WP facts sometimes change on a daily basis. Maybe tomorrow the encyclopedia will change the number of guesses to 5,000 or 15,000.

Keith Marantz said...

Is the actually data available anywhere?

Dean Radin said...

I am told (but have not been able to confirm) that the Garrett WP page at one time reported two tests. We know that WP pages related to psi are thoroughly scrubbed to remove any positive results, so the most recent edits are to be expected.

----------------------
Garrett took part in "clairvoyance" tests. One of the tests was organized by the parapsychologist Joseph Rhine at Duke University in 1933 which involved Zener cards with certain symbols placed in a sealed envelope and participants were asked to guess their contents. Garrett scored 2,433 correct hits in 10,900 cards for an average of 5.7 per 25. The chance expectation for guessing is 5 per 25 and her score was statistically significant.

Garrett claimed she performed poorly and later criticized the tests by claiming the cards lacked a psychic energy called "energy stimulus" and that she could not perform clairvoyance to order.

The parapsychologist Samuel Soal and his colleagues tested Garrett in May, 1937. Most of the experiments were carried out in the Psychological Laboratory at University College London. A total of over 12,000 guesses were recorded but Garrett failed to produce above chance level and the experiments were completely negative.
------------------

I have not been able to find the actual number of trials and hits for the latter tests.

Dean Radin said...

I found in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research (1938-1939), "A repetition of Dr. J. B Rhine's work with Mrs. Eileen Garrett," by S. G. Soal. Soal reports that the total number of trials was 12,425, of which 7,425 were in a telepathy mode with 1,535 hits, and 5,000 in a clairvoyance mode with 980 hits. The former gives an overall p = value of 0.07 and the latter p = 0.76. Thus, Soal was correct that overall this is not a very impressive performance.

In that same article Soal reports Rhine's (1934) experiments with Garrett. He reports for telepathy 625 trials (336 hits) for a wildly successful outcome, and for clairvoyance 3,525 trials and 888 hits, again for results more than 7 sigma from chance.

Later publications have both Soal and Rhine puzzling over the differences in their results. Both were keenly aware of critiques about sensory leakage and other cues, misrecorded data, and etc. These loopholes were reportedly closed, so Rhine's spectacular results did not appear to be due to obvious errors.