Charles Williams

          BRITISH MATERIALISATION medium, controlled by John King and working, from 1871, in partnership with Frank Herne. They gave public sťances at 61, Lamb's Conduit Street, London. The first was held under Mrs. Guppy's patronage. The famous transportation of Mrs. Guppy occurred at one of these sťances. He often sat with Stainton Moses. The results were always very meagre. Stainton Moses was in doubt about the genuineness of his mediumship and asked his controls for information. They were reluctant to give it. Catherine Berry's Experiences in Spiritualism and A. Smedley's Some Reminiscences contain enthusiastic accounts. But fraud was often suspected and at least in one case glaringly proved.

In Paris at a sťance on May 14, 1874, an attempt was made to seize John King. He eluded the grasp and left a piece of drapery behind, the further history of which is not known. The medium was found in his scat. The search of his person revealed nothing suspicious.

In 1878 the Research Committee of the British National Association of Spiritualists constructed a cabinet with an automatic recording apparatus. An observer sat in another cabinet with a lighted lamp to make the readings. A spirit form appeared, sometimes ten or twelve feet from the cabinet. These appearances corresponded with fluctuations recorded by the self-registering apparatus. The maximum loss of weight amounted to 100 Ibs. There was no weight in the cabinet which could have been fixed on the weighing platform. Frank Podmore's objection that by a gimlet or a piece of string the suspended cabinet may have been fastened to the floor could not explain the extreme variations in weight.

It was a few months after this conclusive experiment that in a spiritualist circle in Amsterdam, Williams and his fellow medium, A. Rita, were exposed. "Charlie," a materialised spirit, was seized and found to be identical with Rita. Many handkerchiefs, a bottle of phosphorised oil, several yards of very dirty white muslin, a false black beard with brown silk ribbon and other paraphernalia were found on the persons of the two mediums. During a visit to Russia, Prof. Boutlerof and Alexander Aksakof had very convincing experiences. In a note to Prof. Boutlerof's account in the Psychische Studien, Aksakof adds:

"I can testify to having received the confirmation of the appearance of John King from Mr. Crookes in his own house, Mrs. Crookes' hand being on Williams's shoulder while he was asleep behind the curtain; also that in the house of Mrs. MacDougall Gregory, the curtain behind which Williams was placed was in a niche almost hermetically sealed; and that John King appeared above the table, round which the company were assembled in front of the curtain."

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



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