Gustave Geley

Graduate doctor of the Faculty of Medicine of Lyon, distinguished psychical researcher and Director of the Institut Metapsychique International from 1919 to 1924. He wrote "l'Etre Subconscient" (Paris, 1899), "From the Unconscious to the Conscious" and "Clairvoyance and Materialisation" (London, 1927). It was to have been followed by a second volume, "The Genesis and Meaning of Metapsychic Phenomena", of which, however, the world was deprived by his sudden death in an aeroplane accident on July 15, 1924, a few days after a last experiment with Kluski in Warsaw.

Experimental Demonstrations by Dr. von Schrenck Notzing

- Gustave Geley -

          DR. VON Schrenck Notzing devoted several months in 1922 to demonstrations of the reality of ectoplasms to members of the liberal professions.

These demonstrations were entirely successful. A round hundred of scientists, all profoundly sceptical, and some openly hostile, declared themselves, without exception, completely convinced after having worked under the direction of Dr. Schrenck-Notzing with his medium Willy [Schneider]. Herewith the list of those best known among the witnesses (the numerals signify the number of sittings attended):

Dr. Zimmer, Professor of Zoology in the University of Munich (18).
Dr. Güber, Professor of Zoology at the Polytechnichum (18).
Dr. Hans Driesch, Professor of Philosophy in the University of Leipsic (1).
Dr. Becher, Professor of Psychology in the University of Munich (3).
Dr. Œsterreich, Professor of Philosophy in the University of Tubingen (3).
Dr. von Kalker, Professor of Jurisprudence in the University of Munich (2).
Dr. Gustav Freytag, Professor of Medicine in the University of Munich (3).
Dr. Salzer, Professor of Medicine in the University of Munich (2).
Dr. Gustav Wolff, Professor of Psychiatry in the University of Basle, and Director of the Asylum at Friedmatt (1).
Dr. von Aster, Professor of Philosophy in the University of Giessen (1).
Dr. Graetz, Professor of Physics in the University of Munich (3).
Dr. Pauli, Professor of Psychology in the University of Munich (1).
Dr. Alrutz, Professor of Psychology in the University of Upsala (1).
Dr. Vanino, Professor of Chemistry in the University of Munich (1).
Dr. Wiedersheim, Privy Councillor, former Professor of Anatomy in the University of Fribourg (1).
Dr. Huber, Privatdocent of Psychology in the University of Munich (1).
Dr. Schmidt-Noehr, ex-Professor of Philosophy, University of Heidelberg (1).
Dr. Hartogs, Professor of Mathematics, University of Munich (1).
Dr. Heilner, Professor of Medicine, University of Munich (1).
Dr. Pauli, Professor of Physics in the University of Jena (1).
Dr. Geiger, Professor of Philosophy in the University of Munich (1).
Dr. Wildstaetter, Professor of Chemistry in the University of Munich (1).
Dr. Lindemann, Professor of Mathematics in the University of Munich (1).

Other Medical Men who took part in the Seances:

Dr. Osborne, neurologist, Munich (12).
Dr. Marcinowski, Director of the Sanatorium of Heilbrunn (5).
Dr. Troemmer, Physician-in-Chief, Hospital St. George, Hamburg (1).
Dr. Tischner, oculist, Munich (3).
Dr. Müller, Councillor of Hygiene, specialist in radioscopy, Munich (2).
Baron Dr. von Gersattel, neurologist, Munich (4).
Dr. Kindborg, neurologist, Breslau (1).
Dr. Krapf, Director of the Asylum at Gabersee (1).
Mme. Dr. Lebrecht, neurologist (25).
Kuttner, medical student, Munich (1).
Dr. Wittenberg, neurologist, Munich (3).
Dr. Recknagel, physician at Munich (2).
Dr. Durig, physician of Munich (1).
Dr. von Hattingberg, neurologist, Munich (1).
Dr. Nobbe, occulist, formerly of Munich (1).
Dr. Patin, gynecologist, Munich (1).
Dr. Bohm, veterinary surgeon, Nuremberg (1).

Other Witnesses of Scientific Standing:

Dr. von Scanzoni, advocate at Munich (2).
Dr. Oertel, Oberlandesgerichtrat at Munich (2).
Dr. Erich Bohn, advocate at Breslau (3).
Dr. Willi Seidel, author, Munich (1).
Mr. Gustave Meyrinck, author, Starnberg (1).
Mr. R. Lambert, Director of Studies, Stuttgart (3).
Mr. Karl Krall, animal psychologist, Elberfeld (2).
Mr. Rudolph Schott, scientist, Munich (2).
Mr. Sicler, librarian, National Library of Berne (2).
Prof. Dr. Bastian Schmid, animal psychologist, Munich (1).
Alfred Schuler, scientist, Munich (25).
Dr. Ludwig Klages, ex-Professor of Philosophy, Munich (1).
General Peter, author on para-psychology, Munich (25)
Dr. Offner, Director of Gymnasium at Gunzburg (Danube) (1).
Mr. Hutchinson, author, formerly of Munich (1).
Mr. Pearse, English writer and occultist.
Messrs. Dingwall and [Harry] Price, of the British SPR (3).

Professor Karl Gruber, collaborating with Dr. von Schrenck-Notzing, had kindly sent me his synthetic abstract of these decisive experiments. The objectivity and even the nature of telekinesis and materialisation are warmly discussed in Germany, on the basis of the experiments made for a whole year by Dr. Schrenck-Notzing and his collaborators with the medium Willy Schneider.

There are two features that distinguish these experiments from those that preceded them:

1. The control has been so perfect, and the training of the medium by Dr. Schrenck-Notzing was conducted with such wise comprehension of the necessities of the case, that it was possible to make the experiments decisive and unassailable.

2. A large number of German and foreign scientists have collaborated with Dr. Schrenck-Notzing, and bear their witness. As he says in the recently published second edition of his work on Materialisation Phenomena, 94 persons took part in these seances between December 3, 1921, and July 1, 1922, among whom were 23 University professors, 18 medical men, and 19 distinguished persons, all students of parapsychology, whose names appear in the foregoing list.

I myself took part in twenty-five of these experiments, and have convinced myself that telekinesis and materialisation are facts. This conviction was shared by all the other scientific witnesses. They are all in accord that the hypothesis of fraud is quite untenable, and they arrived at this conclusion most circumspectly.

Although nothing could be established as to the nature of the manifestations, the complete exclusion of fraud is of the first importance, for this hypothesis of fraud has always held the first place in criticism of the phenomena. It should be added that the medium submitted to the most rigorous examination in the Munich Institute of Psychology by Professor Becher in fifteen seances, most of which were successful. The conclusions reached have not been published as yet, further experimentation being in progress. The statements of the participants are all in the hands of Dr. Schrenck-Notzing, and have been published in the work above referred to.

That so many scientific observers should have testified that fraud could have no place is due to conditions of control so perfect that they cannot be surpassed. It is now admitted that regular telekinetic manifestations were observed under the conditions here following:

The room in which the experiments took place was most carefully searched before each sitting; the medium was examined by specialists at the moment of putting on his tight garment; luminous bracelets and bands were sewn on, and luminous-headed pins were affixed so that his slightest movements could be seen by the witnesses, even in the dark.

Willy was seated outside the cabinet, and two witnesses held his wrists. A third controlling witness sat in front of him, holding his hands and keeping his legs between the knees of the controller. Each of these and their colleagues could observe Willy freely. Both medium and experimenters were shut off from the objects to be telekinetically moved by a gauze screen in the form of a cage. Even if the medium could have freed a leg or an arm (impossible under the conditions of control), the gauze screen would have prevented factitious phenomena. The increasing severity of control exercised from one experiment to another has never as yet prevented the phenomena. In most cases there was no inhibiting influence; when such existed it was overcome. Darkness was rarely total; the light was usually given by several red lamps, sufficient to enable the outlines of the experimenters to be seen.

Later observations have distinguished a rigid body that seemed to emanate from the right hip of the medium. At about ¾ (three-quarters) yard from the floor it traversed the gauze partition, enlarging some of its interstices, and moved objects 80 to 100 centimetres distant from the medium. It seems that the medium has to make a certain effort to cause this fluidic member to traverse the screen. But here also training has enabled this obstacle to be overcome.

Up to the present we have not succeeded in getting materialisations by circumscribing the medium's radius of action by a gauze partition, but the materialisations (which were observed with extraordinary frequency) were produced at 1 to 1.20 metres from him under conditions which exclude any error.

During most of the seances in which I participated I was one of the controllers, and by the aid of a small red lamp I have often observed the apparition of a small hand, more or less completely formed. I have seen, and many others have also seen, the shadow from the ends of the fingers of an entire hand on a luminous disc. I have even been able to see a small opaque hand take hold delicately of a handkerchief placed on the foot of the lamp, wave it from side to side, and replace it; and this while my two hands and those of my colleague grasped the medium's forearms, which were encircled by luminous bands, his legs being held firmly between mine.

The abundance of the phenomena produced under these same conditions allows of a statement of palmary interest: Telekinetic manifestations often, perhaps invariably, precede materialisation. By using luminous bracelets we have verified that during the levitation of a small table a dark stump like that of a member could be distinguished, that it rose up under the table, raised it, and replaced it on the floor, and showed itself afresh underneath it. Objects telekinetically moved - a bell, luminous screens, etc. - have been seen by all the witnesses many times to have been grasped by an opaque member.

Besides these important aids to the solution of the problems involved, the series of experiments made by Schrenck-Notzing has the great merit of having enabled a large number of men of science to observe personally both telekinesis and materialisations under conditions that defy criticism. Although some of these men, in view of the small extent of their investigations, have not been able to adopt from the outset the declaration of a physician of Munich - "Telekinesis is demonstrated" - their unanimous testimony that "fraud is excluded" is of the highest importance. Scientists who were previously among the most hardened sceptics have had to bow before the evidence. Those collaborators whose observations have extended to a series of experiments have been able to convince themselves without reserve of the objectivity of telekinesis and materialisation.


The above article was taken from Gustave Geley's "Clairvoyance and Materialisation: A Record of Experiments" (London: T. Fisher Unwin Limited, 1927).

Other articles by Gustave Geley

Introduction to the Practical Study of Mediumship
Pseudo-Materialisations and Pseudo-Mediums
Similarity of Experiments at the General Institute of Psychology and those at the International Metapsychic Institute

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