Mediums

 

C Stella (Leslie Deacon)


          a London hospital nurse, whose mediumship was discovered by Harry Price in 1923. She gave a series of remarkable sittings in the National Laboratory of Psychical Research in London. Many telekinetic phenomena were produced with the usual changes in temperature which were very carefully recorded by a self-registering thermometer. On many occasions, the temperature of the sťance room was found to have been permanently lowered. Harry Price read a paper on the subject before the Third International Congress for Psychical Research in Paris. It was entitled: "Some Account of the Thermal Variations as Recorded During the Trance State of the Psychic Stella C."

The physical phenomena, raps, movements and levitations of the table, etc., took place under exceptionally stringent conditions. A trick table which has become famous since and many other ingenious pieces of apparatus were devised by Harry Price. This table was, in fact, a double table, the inner one fitting into a table rim of four legs, the surfaces being quite even. The space under the table was barred by strips of wood connecting the legs of the outer table. The inner table had a shelf nearly as large as the top. This shelf was surrounded on the sides by gauze of a fine mesh so that the only access to the space thus enclosed was through a trap door in the table top which was easy to push open from the inside but very difficult to lift from the outside. Various musical instruments were placed on the shelf which was thus doubly protected: by the strips of wood of the outer table and the gauze mesh of the inner table. Nevertheless, the operators of Stella C. found no difficulty in getting within and playing upon the instruments.

Another apparatus, the telekinetoscope, yielded still more interesting results. An electric telegraph key was placed into a brass cup and connected to a red light under a hermetically sealed glass shade. A soap bubble was blown over the cup and covered by a glass shade. It was only through the depression of the telegraph key that the red light could be flashed. The whole apparatus was placed on the shelf inside the double table. The telegraph key was repeatedly depressed. The soap bubble, at the end of the sťance, was found unbroken.

A shadow apparatus, consisting of a battery and lamp in a metal box with a Zeiss telephoto lens as a projector and a Wratten ruby filter to shoot a pencil of light on a luminous screen, was employed to detect the shape of the invisible arms which moved the bell or the trumpet. When the light was switched on the shadow of the arm was thrown on the screen. To quote the result of this experiment in the words of Eric J. Dingwall:

"When the red light was switched on under the table I lay down on the floor and looked through the passage towards the luminous screen. From near the medium's foot, which was invisible, I saw an egg-shaped body beginning to crawl towards the centre of the floor under the table. It was white and where the light was reflected it appeared opal. To the end nearest the medium was attached a thin white neck, like a piece of macaroni. It advanced towards the centre and then rapidly withdrew to the shadow."

Source (with minor modifications): An Encyclopaedia of Psychic Science by Nandor Fodor (1934).

 

 

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