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Timeless Tuesday – April 2015

Tuesday April 21, 2015

When I began reading this week’s 2 page article (2nd page) from 1922, I had absolutely NO idea it was going to end up with further researched into a MOST interesting character.  It turns out that Marthe Béraud Carrière aka Eva C was quite the interesting medium.

As a finale Carrière would strip naked and have a further, erm, lets call it a gynaecological examination. It’s then said that Carrière would run around the séance room nude indulging in sexual activities with her audience.

Its no wonder Professor Richet claimed her as genuine (evil wink) and it makes the title of the article even more interesting!

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Atlanta Constitution edition 4/2/1922

Maybe Antigonish’s Ghost Is Mary Ellen, But a Few Other Spooks Haven’t Been Laid Yet

While Dr. Prince Seems to Have Explained the Supposed Unearthly Demonstrations in Nova Scotia, There Are Other Psychic Manifestations Which Scientists Believe to Be Superhuman

By Charme Seeds

The life of primitive man was enwrapt in what we call superstition. Violent gods controlled the elements. These gods were whimsical and had need of placation by human sacrifice and cajolery. As time went on men developed what we call science. By science men explained the elements. Civilized men say that there is no longer need of sacrifice and cajolery as far as the elements are concerned. In other words, we have rid ourselves of the blackness of superstition. At least science makes a claim to have done this.

But through all our scientific years ghosts have walked. The legend of every country whispers lip-to-ear of haunted houses and shadowed hollows where walk shades of men who are supposed to have passed to a world beyond the stars.

“Science will dispel all these theories.” We have said confidently. And we, or the great majority of us, have scorned the legends of shades and haunts and spirits and ghosts.

Scientists have set to work confidently, so to say. And Sir Oliver Lodge would say, over-confidently. For there are in the present day many scientists, eminently respected as such, who have set out to dispel who are now attempting to discover. There is in this great significance.

Instead of scorning we pause to consider. Have we been ignoring a tremendous thing in life? Have we scoffed at the most serious side of living? In our stupidity and our material satisfaction have we been unintelligently oblivious to a super-world? Have we stupidly ignored an amazing intercourse which we do not understand?

OLD England is steeped in ghost lore. But then England is replete with ancient abbeys and castles and towers which are apparently ideal for the elusive maneuverings of ghosts. There is the Tower of London, for instance. The old tower housed so much suffering and tragedy that one pauses fleetingly to wonder why any shade of Anne Boleyn or any one else might care to return.

But London Tower is rich in ghosts, according to the keepers thereof. And St. James’ palace and Hampton Court have their pet tales that entertain the skeptical and harrow the imaginative. Richmond palace also has its own ideas of superhuman shades.

There are many English ghosts that ride in the night in the interests of omens and warnings. The “Radiant Boy” of Corby castle for instance. Then there are the stories of Lord Lyttelton, Lord Castlereagh, the Earls Ferrers, the Drummer of Oortachy, the Chartley Black Calves and Roslin castle.

America is too young for ghosts, perhaps Europe will say. At least America has been too busy clearing ground and building sky-scrapers to notice the shades that may choose to walk in the witching hour. Then, too, there are astonishing numbers of people from Missouri on this young continent.

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Dr Walter Franklin Prince

Now just the other day we thought we had a real haunted house on this continent. We were thrilled and expectant and wanting to believe in a ghost who bothered about a little farmhouse up in Nova Scotia. But this Dr. Prince, who must surely have been born in the very center of Missouri, has the temerity to inform the world that this ghost is human.

In the dead of winter not many weeks ago the MacDonald family, of Caledonia Mills, Nova Scotia, fled from their home, terrorized by unseen “things.” Alexander MacDonald, his wife and their adopted daughter, Mary Ellen, had been disturbed in their domestic tranquility by “things” that chased their horses into a later, that braided the cows’ tails and that started a multitude of little fires about the house.

The little house, in Antigonish valley, stands in a setting which might be conducive to the walking of ghosts. It lies thirty miles as the crow flies from Halifax. Snows lie heavy on the hillside and blue shadows hover in the valley. Bleak winds, recently familiar with the polar regions, howl through the naked trees. The MacDonald home is an excellent scene for ghosts, as those things go.

When the ghost-ridden family fled down Antigonish valley the police and the press came in to “explain” the matter and restore the tranquility of the erstwhile happy home. But the police detective and the Halifax Herald reporter were slapped on the wrists and made generally uncomfortable by some one or some “thing” that they could not see.

The MacDonald family fled and no one in the outside world took much notice. A hard-boiled detective and an iron nerved reporter are slapped on the wrists and the world develops a conern.

Dr. Walter Franklin Pierce, director of the American Institute for Scientific Research, was prevailed upon to invade Antigonish valley with a staff of workers. The world sat by with bated breath. They wanted him to discover a ghost and they didn’t want him to discover a ghost. They wanted to be lifted above the commonplace world of scientific explanations, but, of course, they didn’t want to be.

Elaborately equipped with paraphernalia and staff Dr. Pierce made his way up the lonely valley and established himself scientifically in the haunted house. What chance had a poor little ghost in the midst of an intrication of flash lights, wires, wireless, bells, dictographs and all the rest of it?

In fact, it didn’t’ have a ghost of a show. Neither did Mary Ellen. Things just didn’t happen to Dr. Pierce. Not one of his men even was slapped on the wrist. The whole world was disappointed in a way.

Dr. Pierce said Mary Ellen measured up to his idea of what this ghost might be able to do, if there were a ghost. Mary Ellen in a playful mood might easily have done all the weird little odds and ends which had been attributed to the ghost, was the scientific answer to the riddle of Antigonish Valley.

Of course this statement still provided tea-time gossip for the valley but it lacked the romantic flavor of ghosts and haunted houses. Everyone was disappointed in Dr. Pierce. And especially was the Halifax Herald reporter disappointed.

But Mary Ellen isn’t quite to be blamed says the scientist, for she is the victim of “dream states” and “altered consciousness.”

Besides,”, says Dr. Pierce, “Mary Ellen is not mentally culpable because she is exceedingly young for her years in development of mind.”

But the merciless hunt of science along the ghost trail has sometimes brought us nearer to a ghost-world than some of us care to dream. French, English, German, American scientists in their bland search after the truth about ghosts have stumbled into a filmy sort of over-world that their pitiless scientific pryings fail to penetrate.

Eminently respected names are enrolled among the ghost hunters – Alfred J. Balfour, W.E. Gladstone, John Ruskin, Lord Alfred Tennyson, Sir William Crookes, Richard Hutton, Charles Richet, Frank Posmore, G.F. Watts, James H. Hyslop and William James. At least these men stand willing to be convinced.

Charles Richet, like Sir Oliver Lodge, went into things psychic for the sake of exposing perpetrated fraud. Both of these men were convinced against their scientific judgment, so to speak. They went in to dispel and they have gone on groping to discover.

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Picture of Eva from Baron von Schrenck-Notzing’s book

“The ghosts I knew were warm to touch; they had body and substance,” says Professor Richet, “they had eyes that turned in their sockets. They had voices that I heard. They had breath which threw off carbonic acid gas. They had feet that moved and fingers that clutched.”

Not only has he seen but Professor Richet has also photographed his ghosts. And attention must be given to these findings because they are the belief of a serious scientist of good standing. Dr. Richet holds the chair of physiology in the Academy of Medicine of Paris. He enjoys an enviable reputation as a specialist in the treatment of tuberculosis and as an innovator of new methods in medicine.

The experiments which played the most important part in convincing Dr. Richet of the reality of psychic apparitions took place in a kiosque on the grounds of the Villa Carmen at Algiers, the residence of General Noel, an officer in the French army. During these séances the medium sat in the cabinet in one corner of the room. The cabinet was formed by a heavy curtain dropped from a pole across the angle of the corner. The walls behind were solid.

The windows of the room were blocked up and covered with canvas which were tacked to the casement. That there were no secret panels, trap doors or other trick entrances, Professor Richet satisfied himself before the performance began. No one could have entered the room unknown to him, he felt assured.

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Representation of photograph taken by Professor Richet

Professor Richet’s most prominent ghost takes the form of an Arab soldier. This apparition is the most definite of all recorded by scientists – that is, it takes the most definite shape. The soldier appeared to Dr. Richet in all his accourtrement. According to the testimony he was visible, his voice was heard, and when he sank to the ground there was a clanking of metal and a thud as of flesh and bones.

This ghost appeared to come out of the floor a while ball, irregular in shape. And from this ball before Professor Richet’s eyes arose the Arab Soldier. Its breathing was audible and its breath smelled of carbonic gas.

MORE propitious is Paris for such and enterprise as the hunting of ghosts. And perhaps Paris stands first as a city of ghost trails. Many of Professor Richet’s experiments have been conducted there under the shadow of an ancient chapelle, or just above some little brasserie where some historical character was ruthlessly murdered. (Such characters are always ruthlessly murdered, are they not?) Paris also serves as a liely ghost-hunting ground to the Baron von Schrenok Notzing.

Eva Carriere is the most noted of Parisian apparition producers. Eve is a French woman of a certain position socially. Her station in life, so to speak, raises her above any of the sordidness of a fakir atmosphere. After most careful investigations, Dr. Richet and the baron have taken Eva seriously.

In his stupendous work, “Phenomena of Materialization,” the baron has used his observations of Eva Carrier as a foundation. This book gives a detailed account of his investigations, the account accompanied by numerous photographic illustrations. In this the noted physician of Munich describes the “projection of personalities.”

Six different personalities have been produced by Eva and many fragments of personalities have come as flame from her lips. At one sitting she produced two heads at the same time. One of these was recognized by Madame Bisson, the French woman physician with whome Eva lives, as the head of her deceased husband. The other was the head of a woman, unknown to any of the group of witnesses.

For some of these experiments Eva was sewed up in tights so that there could be no possibility of concealing fraudulent materials within her clothing. A fish-net veil was sewed over her head. But the substance, whatever it was, came through the coverings. For some of the experiments Eva was stripped naked. The substance appeared just as freely.

Ireland is replete with ghost-lore, and such romantic ghost stales as they tell. The story of “The Radiant Boy” is perhaps the most picturesque and best loved of these legends. Lord Castlereagh, the second Marquis of Londonderry, relates a personal encounter with this apparition.

Legend says a certain room in Corby castle, which overlooks the Eden river in the north of Ireland, is haunted by the figure of a beautiful naked boy. The unclad figure is surrounded by a kindly light that sheds a radiance upon the objects hear him. Those to whom he appears are supposed to mount to a great height of power and then meet with a violent death.

While on a hunting trip Lord Londonderry visited Corby castle. He reported that he saw the apparition in the night. Years later, distinguishing himself as a statesman, Londonderry rose to the head of the British government. Finally he became violently insane and took his own life.

The child apparition is particularly common to Germany. German folk-lore is generously touched with “kindermorderinn” the ghosts of children who have been murdered by their mothers. These “kindermorderinn” wander frequently through the fearful mysticism of Teutonic legend.

Vari-colored ghosts seem to haunt the royal families of Europe. The White Lady walked among the Hohenzollerns. The Bavarians boasted a Black Lady. The Green Page is familiar in the Italian house of Savoy, while the French monarchs seem to have been haunted by the Red Man. The Red Man even made so bold as to appear before Napoleon.

It seems the Red Man appeared to Napoleon to warn him to accept the peace terms of the allies, telling him he had just three months to do it in. Napoleon refused to heed the warning of the ghost and three months later he was forced to abdicate.

Thus the stories go. The problem is to discover just what is legend, just what is hallucination, just what is the trapping of fakirs and what, if anything, is real and means something to us in our pilgrimage after the truth.

Tuesday April 14, 2015

 This week’s article from 1922 kind of disappointed me. I really wanted to find out that this man had been duped by a big bad wraith! But it is very interesting to see the psychology behind the threat.

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San Francisco Chronicle edition 11/12/1922

The “Ghost” That Hypnotized a Bank President

And How This Official, According to His Own Statements, Became Involved in a $500,000 Defalcation, Because the Guilty Person Threatened to Commit Suicide and Haunt Him

A HALF-MILLION DOLLARS has disappeared from a Chicago bank and a ghost is charged with being the chief accessory after the fact. Legal responsibility for the shortage rests with Everette R. Peacock, a former president, Albert H. Sporleder, who succeeded Peacock, and several others. But the real responsibility, according to Sporleder and several Chicago neurologists, is chargeable to a wraith and the most intangible sort of wraith at that.

It was Peacock who manipulated his account at the Milwaukee-Irving State Bank in such a way as to bring about the illegal withdrawal of the missing money. Testimony to this effect has been placed before the state attorney.

But when Sporleder became president of the bank and discovered the irregularities he went to Peacock, he says, and threatened him with exposure, unless immediate restitution was made. Peacock answered by telling Sporleder that if he didn’t keep quiet, he, Peacock, would kill himself and that his ghost would stand on Sporleder’s doorstep and haunt him.

Dread of Exposure

Sporleder, much shaken by this threat, went back to his bank and thought it over. He decided after a while to say nothing and that perhaps matters would be better. Instead of that, he says, they got worse. A shortage of $260,000 in over-drafts mounted to nearly half a million, by the time affairs got so bad that the bank examiners caught the irregularities and the directors were notified.

Details of the “check kiting” operations whereby the over-drafts in question were made, were conveyed in statements made to the state attorney by Peacock, Sporleder, Miss Clara Rahn, Peacock’s secretary, and Harold W. Anderson, former cashier of the bank. The state attorney announced that he would ask for the indictment of Peacock, Sporleder, Anderson and several others.

Sporleder’s statement of the threat made by Peacock came at the end of his detailed confession to the state attorney. He said:

“When I first took over the bank I found several irregularities, but they were not for large sums. Mr. Peacock was one of the largest depositors and I thought it best to carry him along, even though some of the things were distinctly shady.

“Finally, when the full magnitude of the situation came to me, I went to Mr. Peacock and told him that unless he made immediate restitution and straightened things out I would have to put it all before the bank directors and the state attorney.

“ ‘Do you remember the Paul Stensland bank case?’ he asked me. He knew that I had lived within a few doors of the Stensland home and could not help but know of it.

“ ‘You remember that a broker committed suicide because of that case,’ he continued. ‘If you want my ghost on your door-step, go to the state attorneys and the directors. I’ll kill myself if you do. I can’t face the world if the crash comes. You can save me if you will. Without you I haven’t a chance and I’ll kill myself as sure as the sun rises, if you force the disgrace.’

“After that I thought things might come out all right and went along with him. Instead of coming out all right, however, they all went wrong and I became involved deeper and deeper.”

What passed through Sporleder’s mind between the time Peacock made his threat and his final decision to stick by his predecessor, even Sporleder hasn’t been able to tell with any accuracy. But from the known facts, Chicago neurologists and psychologists who have been interested in the psychological aspect of the case, have reached certain interesting conclusions.

Sporleder was not a man who was known to be superstitious. Under ordinary circumstances he would have laughed away the thought that anyone he had known might come back and haunt him. What gave him pause at first was the possibility that Peacock might end his life. He evidently took seriously this threat.

As he sat turning over this possibility in his mind, however, the ghost thought kept recurring with greater frequency. The association between Peacock’s death and his reappearance as a ghost grew closer and closer, as Sporleder’s mind revolved in an ever narrowing circle, until what was considered at first as childish and fantastic was now accepted as credible.

And once the ghost was accepted, the possibilities of what might happen to him if Peacock should die and haunt him, became manifold and terrible. His mind passed through a succession of fear states in which he imagined himself being dogged to his grave by unforgettable shapes and beings.

After a while, of course, Sporleder brought himself back to a comparatively rational state of mind, but the harm had been done. He had developed what the psychoanalysts call a complex. He could never think rationally on the subject of ghosts. Whenever he tried to, his subconscious mind would interfere and he should pass off again into a succession of fear states.

Thus it was that Peacock’s threat prevented Sporleder from making an exposure of the bank shortage.

According to those psychoanalysts who follow the Freudian school, there are many cases in the history of psychic research where rationalist and materialistic persons have been brought to believe in ghosts and their power to inflict harm, within a comparatively short span of time. In fact, it is an exceptional human being, who couldn’t’ be brought to such a state if conditions were right. And once those standards of judgement which kept him from being what is called superstitious were destroyed, he would straightway become a prey to fears.

The reason for this, they declare, is that every human being has an inherent wish for immortality. When some of them are normal, they may conceivably tell themselves that personal immortality doesn’t’ appear to be logical. But if certain unnatural conditions are brought to bear upon them, the wish to be immortal will become stronger than their rational processes and what they would ordinarily call unreal become real. For the wish has become a belief.

In Terror, Confesses

Those who believe in personal immortality are more easily led to a belief in ghosts, it is declared. It is often the case that the mere removal of the influences of one’s normal environment will be things about.

In his statement to the state attorney, Everette Peacock admitted that he had looted the Milwaukee-Irving State Bank for $486,000. He further admitted that he obtained an additional $155,000 through loans from six other banks and that of the entire $623,000 he could account for only $25,000. When these over-drafts were put through, Peacock was president of the Peacock Seed Company. He said that he and Albert Sporleder had at first realized money on checks that were no good and that the checks had been covered by money raised from the conversion of stock and bonds belonging to the bank.

Harold W. Anderson, the cashier, said:

I was ordered to pay the money to Mr. Peacock by Mr. Sporleder on checks drawn by Mr. Peacock for various amounts ranging between $5000 and $10,000. There were no funds to cover these checks, which on Mr. Sporleder’s order I carried as cash assets.

“The checks were presented by Charles P. Gascon, secretary of the Peacock company, and were in the name of the firm. The thing started in April, 1921, said went on for a long time.”

After questioning Mr. Peacock, the state attorney sent for Miss Clara Rahn, Peacock’s secretary. She admitted that there were irregularities practiced, in the handling of the Peacock account at th bank for the year and a half, past.

She said she had been present at conferences between Mr. Sporleder, Mr. Peacock, Mr. Gascon and Harold W. Anderson, former cashier, at which methods for taking money from the bank were discussed. She said she had, on order from Mr. Gacson, signed fictitious names to checks which were later cashed at the bank. She told of minor transactions, but insisted she knew nothing of $500,000 worth of hidden assets as charged by the prosecutor.

When the directors first found out about the shortage, the missing amount was immediately made good. In his statement of the case made for the benefit of depositors, State Attorney Edgar Jonas said:

“it is only fair to the board of directors to point out that while the shortages ixist it is not the depositors who will lose. The directors and the stockholders are the victims. The bank, I believe, can and always could pay dollar for dollar to its depositors.”

 

 

Tuesday April 7, 2015

Henry Archer (who’s real name was Harry Wild) had a very very busy year in 1892.  This is another article that discusses his fraudulent exploits as a materializing medium.  The only really interesting thing to me here is that he got shot because yet again, someone thought they could shoot a ghost, and we get to see the term spook priestess again and we all know I just love that term!

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San Francisco Chronicle edition 03/01/1892

A MEDIUM’S STORY

He Duped Many People in California

A Stranded Actor Becomes a Spiritualist

Confession of Henry Archer, Who has Been Sentenced for Fraud in Chicago

 

Special Dispatch to the CHRONICLE

CHICAGO, February 29 – Henry Archer, the San Francisco spiritualist, who last week was fined $200 by Justice Woodman on his confession in open court that he is a fraud, now comes out in a five-column article in one of the local papers telling how he worked San Franciscans for the last ten years. “I was born in Georgia,” said he, “and spent my early life in the Peanut State. When 12 years old I moved to New York and five years later commenced a theatrical career. I had a good voice then and I was a fair elocutionist. I made my debut on the bowery in in a company headed by Zoe Gayton, an actress, who afterward gained some fame by trundling a wheelbarrow from San Francisco to New York. I put in several years with a stock and traveling company and finally secured a good ‘sit’ at the Leland Opera house in Albany, N.Y.

“Ten years ago I went to California with a company that bursted in San Francisco, and, to add trouble to my troubled state, I lost my voice. Well, I was in pretty tough luck when that show went to pieces, and I did not know in what direction to turn. While wandering around the city one day I heard of a camp-meeting – Spiritualists. I went out there to pass the time away and saw the first séance of my life. Some woman who was giving tests told me that if I sat for development I would make a great medium and incidentally make a great deal of money, so I sat for development. To be developed, the sucker sits in front of the medium, clasps hands, and they sit there, and sit there, and sit there, until some of the medium’s power passes to the sitter. I got developed for nothing.

“I first turned my attention to clairvoyancy and had good success with it. My success nearly lead to my ruin. I made from $10 to $25 a day and spent it nearly all for drink. During the two years I practiced clairvoyancy I was visited by the best people in San Francisco. The work was a little hard, wearing on the brain, and so I quit. I was thrown into contact with a number of materializing mediums, and as they told me there was a mine of money in the business I made up my mind to enter it. I attended several séances, my eyesight was good, and I always had a seat near the cabinet. At the outstart of my materializing career I was well acquainted with Mrs. Josie Hoffman, the most notorious spook priestess of that time. Josie’s glory was at its zenith when I attended her séances and spirits were shy when she did not produce three or four at one and the same time. And they were all good looking females too, but when Josie thought her greatness was a-ripening there came a chilling frost in the shape of skeptics, who grabbed three entrancing shades one evening and found them to be flesh and blood. They also found a trap door in the cabinet. That made me a little careful and I journeyed around the State until the excitement died down a little in San Francisco. It don’t cost much to equip a spook factory. A supply of wigs, whiskers and other paraphernalia is all that is needed.

Here Archer jumps from the main trend of his story and tells how he developed spooks for Joe Jefferson and Grover Cleveland at Onset bay, Mass., last summer. “But to return to California. I had a fairly easy time there. The newspapers got after me, called me a fraud, printed lots of s tuff about my séances, but I never had any serious trouble. I thought I had gotten into a hole once. I used to claim that I produced genuine spirits, but on the advice of my attorneys I quit that. I now make a little speech in which I say: “there are three phases of these phenomena presented through me. First, genuine materialization, when the form appears entirely independent of the medium; second, etherealization, when the spirit is more like a vapor or cloud, with no substance to it, and, third, transfiguration, when the body of the medium is used and clothed with white drapery and brought out on the floor by the spirit.:

Three years ago he left California and came East, Boston, he says, is the home of spiritualism. “Down in El Paso, Tex., seven years ago,” said he, “I had a lively time. A man shot at a spirit. A scar several inches in length, only partially covered by the hair, ranged across the summit of the medium’s cranium. “It was Lily Roberts he shot at,” continued Archer. “Well, Lily was having a nice time that night walking around the circle distributing flowers to the sitters. James Ransom – that was the name of the unbelieving wretch who did the shooting – drew a bead on Lily, and but for the wig I wore I guess he would have ended my career then and there. I fainted; my, or rather Lily’s beautiful spirit garments were dyed with blood and that séance broke up in a hurry. Ransom was arrested, but I was not yearning to persecute and so he escaped punishment.

“Here’s another battle scar,” said Archer, extending his right wrist. An ugly looking livid scar extending clear across the wrist showed plainly that it was the result of a dangerous would. “I got that memento in Truckee, Cal.,” he said, “when some skeptic stuck a bowie-knife in my wrist. I was impersonating the spirit of a San Francisco financier of note who then had recently passed to the other world. I never found out who did the work, but I had a narrow escape for my life, as I bled profusely before medical assistance came. A small-sized panic ensued when I fell to the floor.

Shannon

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