ARTICLES

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.

The Similarity of Experiments at the General Institute of Psychology and those at the International Metapsychic Institute

- Gustave Geley -

          THE EXPERIMENTS at the General Institute of Psychology with Eusapia Paladino constitute some of the most valuable data for metapsychic studies. Their long duration (three years - 1905, 1906, and 1907), the minuteness and perfection of the human and mechanical control, the high standing of the scientists who took part in them - Messrs. d'Arsonval, Gilbert Ballet, Bergson, de Gramont, M. and Mme. Curie, and Professor Richet - make these experiments truly decisive.

The results obtained agree in a most striking manner with those of the Metapsychic Institute. Differences there are, no doubt, and even important differences, but these are in details and not in essentials.

We will put before our readers some few of the principal stenographic reports, as they appear in the official resume[1], comparing them, as occasion serves, with our own data.

[1] Edited by M. Jules Courtier, and published under the title "Documents sur Eusapia Paladino".

No commentary on these is necessary, the conclusions being self-evident.

Raps

These were very frequent at the experiments of the General Psychologic Institute. In the following precis the Roman letters following the date indicate the number of the séance; the numerals following refer to the page of the stenographic report.

It is noticeable that the raps usually followed an imitative movement made by Eusapia.

(1905, IV., 6) Mr. d'Arsonval controls Eusapia's left hand and knees. Mr. Ballet controls the right. Eusapia strikes blows in the air, and similar raps are heard on the table. Mr. Ballet strikes three blows on the table; three raps are repeated. Mr. d'Arsonval scratches the table twice; this is repeated. Mr. Ballet claws the table; a little later the same sound is heard.

(1905, X., 4) Eusapia strikes the shoulder of Mr. Curie with her left hand, and immediately after corresponding raps occur on the table. (Controllers: Left, Mr. Yourievitch; right, Mr. Curie.)

(1905, X., 8) Eusapia scratches the hand of Mr. Curie, and the scratching is heard on the table. (Same controllers.)

(1907, II., 8) Eusapia says that she wishes to strike the table with her head; she bends her head thrice over the table, in (not on) which three loud blows are heard. (Controllers: Left, Mme. Curie; right, Mr. Debierne.)

(1906, V., 5) At other times raps are heard in the table according with the number requested. (Controllers: Left, Mr. Curie; right, Mr. Charles Richet.)

(1907, V., 3) At a distance from the table Eusapia makes the gesture of striking it, and the raps are heard on the table in the cabinet. She makes the gesture of two blows, and these are heard behind the curtain. (Controllers. Left, Mme. Curie; right, Mr. Perrin.)

(1905, V., 4) Eusapia strikes the table-top with her fist and asks Mr. Charpentier to put his hand on the wood. He then feels as if the table-top were struck under his hand. (Controllers: Left, Mr. Charpentier; right, Mr. Bergson.)

(1905, IV., 2) Eusapia strikes light blows on Mr. Ballet's back, and the same number of blows is repeated under the hand of Mr. d'Arsonval, placed on a small table a yard distant from Eusapia, on her left. (Controllers: Left. Mr. d'Arsonval; right, Mr. Gilbert Ballet.)

If the reader will refer to the records of experiments at the Metapsychic Institute, he will observe that along with many similarities there is one notable difference - Eusapia seems to be able to control the raps, which are produced at her will or command.

With Kluski, on the other hand, the raps were only produced when he was in deep trance, perfectly still, and unconscious. With Eusapia the raps were usually near her; with Kluski they were sometimes several yards distant from him. With Eusapia the raps were a mechanical phenomenon; with Kluski they were manifestations of an intelligent kind, being the chief means of communication with the "entities" producing the phenomena.

Telekinesis

Movements on objects without contact were much the most frequent phenomena produced by Eusapia. The following are a few, taken from the official reports:

(1906, III., 3) April 3, 5 hours 34 minutes. The shutters of the two windows of Room No. 3, in which the experiments were made, were open. (Controllers: Left, Mr. Yourievitch; right, Mr. d'Arsonval.)

Eusapia asks whether Mr. Bergson, who was outside the chain, sees her two knees.

MR. BERGSON: "Quite well."

The table was sharply raised off its four feet.

MR. YOURIEVITCH: "I am certain that I did not let go her hand."

MR. D'ARSONVAL: "I also."

(1905, IX., 4) Eusapia holds up one of her hands in the air, the other resting on the hand of Mr. d'Arsonval on the table. Mr. Yourievitch controlled her knees. The table rose off legs 1 and 2, then off all four. (Controllers: Mr. d'Arsonval, right; Mr. Yourievitch, left.)

(1905, IV., 3) Eusapia closes her fists and stretches them towards the table, then places them on the table and raises them off it. The table rises off all four feet. The registration apparatus recorded this. Messrs. d'Arsonval and Yourievitch, who were controlling her right and left, declare that her feet and knees did not move.

(1905, IX., 13) The table was raised off its four legs five times and struck five blows. 10 hours 30 minutes: The table was raised off its four feet, one of Eusapia's hands being on that of Mr. d'Arsonval, and the other on the head of Mr. Yourievitch.

(1905, X., 4-5) 9 hours 58 minutes: The table was raised off all four feet about 12 inches off the floor, and remained in the air seven seconds. Eusapia had one hand on the table. The candle under the table enabled her knees to be seen; they did not move.

10 p.m.: The table was raised off all four feet about 10 inches, and remained in the air four seconds, Mr. Curie alone touching the table, the hand of Eusapia being upon his. Eusapia moaned and seemed to be making a great effort. The control was excellent by reason of a candle placed under the table.

10.01 p.m.: The table rose off all four legs and remained two seconds in the air. The candle below the table was extinguished by the experimenters.

10.02 p.m.: Eusapia held her hands about 12 inches above the table, and it rose off all four feet without any visible contact. Mr. Curie had his hand on Eusapia's knees.

(1906, IV., 3) The table rose off two feet, then off all four. One of Eusapia's hands was above the table, and the other on that of Mr. Curie. Her feet were tied to the chair on which she was sitting. (Controllers: Left, Mr. Curie; right, Mr. Feilding.)

(1905, IV., 9) Eusapia asked that a heavier weight should be put on the table, and a weight of 10 kilograms was placed on it. Loaded with this weight, it rose off all four feet. Mr. Ballet and Mr. d'Arsonval perfectly controlled the hands, feet, and knees of Eusapia. There was no contact with the table-legs. Eusapia said she was calm and not exhausted.

The table rose a second time off all four feet, with the hand of Mr. Ballet upon it, and remained in the air a number of seconds. Mr. d'Arsonval was controlling Eusapia's left hand, her knees, and her feet.

(1906, II., 8) Eusapia asked that no one should touch the table. Mr. Curie held her left hand and Mr. Courtier her right. Mr. Yourievitch held her two feet under the table. The table rose off all four feet under these conditions.

(1905, VII., 22) Eusapia asked that all should stand up and that Count de Gramont should hold her two legs. Eusapia was standing on a Marey's weighing-machine. M. de Gramont held her two legs. All the experimenters - Messrs. d'Arsonval, L. Favre, Vaugeois, and Yourievitch - stood up and linked hands, Mr. d'Arsonval holding her left hand and Mr. Yourievitch her right.

The table rose so high that its legs 1 and 2 were almost outside the sheaths round them (see photograph VII [in Documents sur Eusapia Paladino edited by M. Jules Courtier].)

10 hours 53 minutes: Same control of hands and feet. Someone said: "Higher, outside the sheaths." The table rose very high and fell back outside the sheaths (see graph No. 20 [in Documents sur Eusapia Paladino edited by M. Jules Courtier].)

Light objects - porcelain saucers, small boxes covered with lamp - black, a zither, a violin, etc. - were previously placed in the cabinet. These were touched and carried on to the table or thrown to the floor (1905, IV., 18, and 1906, IV., 12).

(1905, VI., 18) Eusapia made gestures with her hands, and the zither sounded inside the cabinet. Eusapia plucked on Mr. d'Arsonval's hand, and the zither sounded as if twanged by a hand. (Controllers: Left, Mr. d'Arsonval; right, Mme. Brincard.)

(1905, VII., 17-18) Worsted threads had been stretched behind the curtain of the cabinet, close enough to prevent an arm being put in. Towards the middle of the experiment we heard these broken, and a few moments later a bundle of these threads was thrown into the circle. (Controllers: Left, Mr. d'Arsonval; right, Mr. Yourievitch.)

(1905, X., 24) Another time a console-shelf, fixed in a recess of the cabinet, was detached from its supports. (Controllers: Left, the Marquise de Ganay; right, Mr. Langevin.) Some much heavier objects have been moved and transported; for instance, a stool a yard high, loaded with a basin of clay (1905, X., 24), was placed in the cabinet. It was seen to emerge and re-enter several times by the opening between the curtains.

It was asked that the basin of clay should be brought on to the table. Eusapia asked that will should be concentrated to that effect. The stool was then hoisted on Mr. Curie's shoulder. The basin of clay weighed 7 kilograms, and a notable effort was needed to raise and hold it with one hand; it measured 12 inches in length by 9 1/2 broad. (Controllers: Left, Mr. Komyakoff; right, Mr. Curie.)

A small white-wood table has been already mentioned. It was usually placed a metre distant from Eusapia, on her left. This was often displaced and completely levitated under diverse circumstances.

To register the horizontal displacements of this object, Mr. Yourievitch had recourse to the method he had employed at Naples. To the point where its three legs joined he fastened a cord passing over a pulley. The cord was kept tense by a weight of 100 grams. This weight rose when the table was pulled away, and fell when it approached the pulley. An arrangement was made with a stylus touching blackened paper on a Marey recorder so that all horizontal movements could be automatically recorded (photograph XVI [in Documents sur Eusapia Paladino edited by M. Jules Courtier]). We have numerous graphs of these displacements, showing that the movements really took place and were not illusory. They also allow of the displacements being accurately measured.

Returning to the stenographic records:

(1905, IV., 5) Eusapia closed her fists, holding her hands in the air, not held by us, and made gestures of summons and repulsion. The small table moved correspondingly. (Controllers: Left Mr d'Arsonal; right, Mr. Yourievitch.)

(1905, IV., 14) Eusapia, holding Mr. Ballet's left hand in her right, raised it above the experimental table towards the smaller table, which rose up. Mr. Ballet drew his hand back, and the small table approached. Mr. d'Arsonval was holding Eusapia's left hand. Eusapia said, "Go away," and the small table moved away.

MR. D'ARSONVAL: "That took place without any apparent contact."

Eusapia held Mr. Ballet's hand and caused him to make a gesture of repelling the small table, which moved away and was thrown against the wall.

(1906, IV., 10) The small table placed on Eusapia's left, about 1/2 yard from her chair, was completely levitated, while her feet were tied to the legs of her chair and her hands attached to the wrists of the controllers. At its full height on a level with Mr. Curie's shoulders, it was reversed and placed top downwards and legs up, and so deposited on the table before the experimenters. The movement was slow, as if carefully guided. (Controllers: Left, Mr. Curie; right, Mr. Yourievitch.)

"What is most astonishing," said Mr. Curie, "is the precision with which the small table was guided so as to touch nobody. It made a circuit in coming on to the table, but did not touch me at all."

(1905, IV., 12) The small table was raised under Mr. d'Arsonval's hand, which was exerting a contrary pressure, stated by him as 2 to 3 kilograms. It was carried on to the larger table. We tried to push it back, but without effect. It was suddenly raised ½ yard and put on Mr. d'Arsonval's shoulder, then replaced on the table. Messrs. Ballet and d'Arsonval tried to push against it, and felt a strong resistance.

MR. D'ARSONVAL: "It is just like the resistance of a magnetic field."

It is obvious from the reports how clear and undeniable were the phenomena. In his official report Mr. Courtier says that two of the phenomena should be held indisputable:

1. The complete levitation of the table while its legs were enclosed in immovable sheaths fixed to the floor, when the control of the hands and knees of the medium was perfect; and

2. The movement of the small table away from the medium and to a great distance from her.

"Let us now analyse the conditions of displacement when the small table was a yard distant on Eusapia's left. It advanced and retreated on her gesture. When moving towards her it may be imagined that, despite the most careful precautions against fraud, she might use a wire so fine as to be invisible. The effort required to displace so light an object was tested by Messrs. Courtier and Yourievitch as 1 kilogram only. But how can its retreat be explained?" (Mr. Courtier explains at some length that no possible mechanism could have been installed to produce this, and that the movement did not take place in a straight line, but was curvilinear, to avoid obstacles.)

In the last experiment described above it is stated:

"Neither Mr. Curie, nor Mr. Feilding, nor Mr. Yourievitch, nor Mr. Courtier, who all saw the fact in a light sufficient to observe all its phases, could see any suspicious movement of the medium, who remained tied hand and foot the whole time. The small table thus transported had a circular top 40 centimetres (16 inches) in diameter, was 55 centimetres (20 inches) high, and weighed 1¼ kilograms (nearly 2½ Ibs.)."

In our experiments with Kluski we avoided phenomena of telekinesis as far as possible, aiming at complete materialisations. We had therefore but few. Such as did occur were similar to those with Eusapia, except that they were independent of the will of the medium, who was entranced and inert.

Contacts

The same similarity is to be remarked in the case of contacts. Some records of the General Institute of Psychology are as follows:

The persons near the cabinet often felt touches on their arms, shoulders, and heads, as if by invisible hands, which they judged to be sometimes large and sometimes small.

(1905, IV., 11) MR. D'ARSONVAL: "I felt a pressure on my temple. It was a cotton-like contact, but very distinct." (Controls: Mr. d'Arsonval, left; Mr. Yourievitch, right.)

(1905, VI., 11) MR. KREBS: "I felt a pressure on my left arm, like a ball of cotton." (Controls: Mr. d'Arsonval, left; Mr. Krebs, right.)

(1907, IX., 9) MME. CURIE: "I am touched, quite clearly; a finger touched my back. I am sure of the control on my side; the hand controlled by Mr. Yourievitch could not reach my back." Mr. Yourievitch declares his control perfect. MME. CURIE: "Her hand did not even try to leave mine; she pressed strongly on mine."

MME. CURIE: "Now I am strongly grasped by the shoulder and pulled for a considerable time. At that moment the control was better than ever, for Eusapia grasped my, hand very hard. I felt a strong and increasing pressure."

MR. YOURIEVITCH: "At that moment she squeezed my hand with her fingers."

The contacts were energetic, even sometimes to the extent of being painful.

(1905, IX., 12) Mr. Yourievitch placed his hand on Eusapia's head. He said: "I am grasped and pinched as with finger-nails, and it even hurt." (Control: Mr. d'Arsonval, left; Mr. Yourievitch, right.)

The hands constantly evaded being touched.

(1907, VII., 12) MR. BRANLY: "I tried to seize it, but could not. It came and went. There was something rounded under the curtain."

The curtain went forward twice towards Mr. Branly. He said: "There is the hand! It has come! ... There it is again!" At other times the hands pulled the hair and ears of the controllers, undid the knots of their neckties (1906, L, 15), and pulled their chairs from under them.

(1905, L, 13) MR. YOURIEVITCH: "My chair was pulled two or three times as if by a hand. I remained sitting on it. Then it was very strongly pulled away from under me, and I fell and hurt myself." (Control: Mr. Yourievitch, left; Mr. Courtier, right.)

The hands act sometimes as high as the top of the junction of the curtains.

(1907, VII., 11) Eusapia asks that someone should get up on the table.

Mr. Yourievitch kneels on the table facing the curtain.

MR. YOURIEVITCH: "I put my hand near the curtain." (Eusapia raises her arm to show that she cannot reach Mr. Yourievitch's hand.)

MR. YOURIEVITCH: "Something has taken hold of the curtain by the side of my hand quite high up."

One controller sometimes feels two touches at once, or both are touched at the same moment.

(1905, XII., 10) Mr. Curie and Mr. Langevin are touched simultaneously. Eusapia says that two phenomena will come.

MR. LANGEVIN: "I am grasped on the arms and leg at the same time."

10 hours 18 minutes: Mr. Langevin has his hand and arm grasped at the same time.

(Control: Mr. Curie, left; Mr. Langevin, right.)

Luminous Phenomena

These were of the same kind with Eusapia as with Kluski, but much more powerful with the latter. At the General Institute of Psychology there were neither "human nebulas" nor "luminous phantoms," but this difference is quantitative, not in essence. Kluski is trained towards the complex ectoplasmic phenomena, Eusapia more especially to telekinesis.

(1905, VI., 18-19) MR. D'ARSONVAL: "There are constantly lights on Eusapia's forehead, especially on the left side. They form, go out, and reappear."

MME. DE GRAMONT: "There are bluish lights in the air."

MR. D'ARSONVAL: "The phenomena of phosphorescence are very distinct; it shows up against the dark background of the curtain. I see it very well."

MME. DE GRAMONT: "I see blue lights come from Eusapia on to the table."

Eusapia was lying on a long chair in the cabinet. With her consent she was tied from shoulders to feet with canvas bands fastened to rings fixed under the chair, and her sleeves were pinned with safety-pins to the upholstery of the chair itself (see photograph XVII [in Documents sur Eusapia Paladino edited by M. Jules Courtier]).

(1906, VIII., 12) At Eusapia's request, Mr. Courtier sat inside the cabinet at the foot of the long chair. He said: "I see vague lights mount up, apparently from the middle of Eusapia's body, and move towards the join between the curtains." At the same moment the sitters say that they perceive a light, like a kind of hand, in the opening of the curtains.

(1906, IX., 17) Mr. Courtier, sitting as before near the long chair on which Eusapia is tied down, says: She, speaking of herself in the third person, tells him to look at the fluids which emanate from her - luminous vapours - and to announce when he sees them. He said: "I perceive lights, very faint at first, like white or phosphorescent clouds, moving in the cabinet above Eusapia's body. When they become brighter they go towards the opening in the curtains and seem, as they condense, to rise vertically." The sitters outside the cabinet saw them, in their turn, at the opening.

(1907, XIII., 14-16) Luminous points appear over Eusapia's head. She then rubs Mr. Debierne's hands, and a spark seems to come from them. She tells Mme. Curie to rub her hands together, and four bright points are seen successively before her hands. Eusapia carries Mme. Curie's hand to her (Eusapia's) head, and a spark comes from it. Eusapia then touched Mme. Curie's head, and a luminous point seems to come from it.

(1906, XL) Mr. Jarry Desloges, who observed the luminous points very closely, describes them thus: "The bright point lights up what look like nebulous rings to its left, but these nebulas seem to stop at one level as if the bright point were on an opaque support."

Materialisations

The principal difference in this part of the phenomena as between Eusapia and Kluski is the mediocrity of the former; but her manifestations are like a first attempt at the more perfect kind.

The luminous appearances produced near Eusapia often take on more or less precise forms:

(1905, VI., 11) A hand is seen above the head of Eusapia at the parting of the curtains. Mr. Courtier says: "The fingers appeared first, were then raised, and I could see the palm." Mr. d'Arsonval says: "I saw a closed hand, which then opened." (Controllers: Mr. d'Arsonval, left; Mr. Krebs, right.)

(1905, XL, 24) Mr. Yourievitch sees a hand rest four fingers on Eusapia's head. M. de Gramont saw it, too. Mme. de Gramont saw something like a white hand place itself on Eusapia's head. Mr. Yourievitch feels a hand grasp his head. M. de Gramont saw the hand come from the curtain and rest on Mr. Yourievitch's head. (Controllers: Left, Mr. Curie; right, Mr. Yourievitch.)

(1907, VI., 14) Eusapia says that she wants to make two hands at the same time - one that touches and one that can be seen.

Mme. Curie, Mr. Courtier, and Mr. Debierne see the form of a hand, not very distinct, but luminous. Mr. Yourievitch is twice touched. MR. PERRIN: "I could not say it was a hand." MR. DEBIERNE: "Not a real hand, but an attempt at a hand." (Controllers: Mr. Yourievitch, left; Mr. Debierne, right.)

At other times what looked like dark members, dark shadow outlines, were seen.

(1905, X., 12) What looked like a dark arm was seen clearly by Mr. Curie and Mr. Yourievitch close to Mr. Komyakoff's elbow.

Again, Mr. Curie, Mr. Bergson, Count de Gramont, Mr. Komyakoff, and Mr. Yourievitch see a black arm come from the left side of the curtain, advance several times and touch Mr. Komyakoff's shoulder strongly. (Controllers: Mr. Komyakoff, left; Mr. Curie, right.)

(1906, VIII., 13) Eusapia, tied on the long chair as before, was alone in the cabinet. Hands were linked outside the cabinet round the table. The sitters saw something like a dark head and bust of a man, covered with white drapery, appear for a moment at the opening of the curtains.

Control of the Medium

The method of control at the experiments by the General Institute of Psychology and those at the Metapsychic Institute was essentially the same. It consisted mainly in holding both her hands; but this method of control was much more sure with Kluski than with Eusapia. For while Eusapia was in continual agitation, Kluski was in a lethargic state and made no movements at all. Under these conditions the control of his hands and whole body was very easy and gave perfect satisfaction. Kluski could never have made the slightest movement unperceived.

At the Psychological Institute mechanical control was largely used and constituted a great reinforcement of the human means.

At the Metapsychic Institute we used a new method of control for the mouldings - admixture of colouring matter and chemical reagents secretly put into the paraffin.

Our purpose was to get phenomena that would be impossible to make by trickery under the conditions of the experiment. In this we fully succeeded.

Comparison of the experiments at the General Institute of Psychology with those at the Metapsychic Institute is most instructive, and we call the attention of all honest opponents to this similarity.

Note: 

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
Experimental Demonstrations by Dr. von Schrenck Notzing
Pseudo-Materialisations and Pseudo-Mediums

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