Daniel Dunglas Home was a Scottish spiritualist medium who was exposed as a fraud. Spiritualists have claimed in their publications that Home was never caught in fraud. This is completely false. Psychologist Andrew Neher has written that Home was detected in fraud by at least four people on different occasions.
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Many consider DD Home to be the greatest of all physical mediums. His phenomena were dramatic and varied, and although his career lasted approximately 25 years, he was never detected in fraud of any kind. Allegations of fraud were made against him from time to time, but most were second or third hand, and none were substantiated.
Home was born in Edinburgh, in March Not long afterwards he was adopted by his maternal aunt, Mrs Cook. His mother was frequently subject to clairvoyant often precognitive visions, and Daniel himself was apparently somewhat precocious in this respect. One vision, for example, announced the death of his mother and the hour at which she would die. Mrs Cook believed the noises were manifestations of the devil and sent for two ministers to attempt an exorcism.
But the raps continued, and in the days ahead the phenomena escalated. Soon objects were moving about the room, and before long neighbors got wind of the peculiar goings-on.
Eventually, Mrs Cook could no longer tolerate the apparent affront to her religious sensibilities, and she turned Daniel out of the house. He was then aged eighteen.
In any case, he was now on his own. Although he apparently neither asked for nor received direct payment for his activities, from this time until his death he survived on the hospitality and generosity of those attracted to and intrigued by his visions, trances, healings, and other physical phenomena. See below for some details. Evidently, Home was not originally interested in making a name for himself as a medium.
Rather, he aspired to be a physician. In fact, one of his benefactors even sent him to medical school, although undoubtedly he would have been equally if not more pleased to finance a career for Daniel as a spiritualist missionary.
His persistent and debilitating cough was diagnosed as consumption, and his physicians recommended inscrutably that he move to England. Armed with little more than that questionable medical advice and a few letters of introduction to English spiritualists, Daniel left America in Before long, his reputation spread throughout Europe, and Home quickly became an international celebrity and frequent guest of royalty. As noted above, Home was often accused of fraud it comes with the territory , but never detected in fraud.
As Eisenbud remarked, 3 the charges against Home seem mostly to have been cries of outrage against the very possibility of the phenomena being genuine.
In fact as will be explained more fully below , given the technological limitations of the period, it is difficult to imagine what sort of legerdemain Home could possibly have been practicing. Actually, Podmore eventually and apparently reluctantly conceded that point. In any case, Podmore can probably be forgiven for not realizing the crucial point that people differ markedly in their degree of hypnotizability and that as a result, his proposal was completely incredible.
By the time he moved to England in , Home had already introduced most of the phenomena from his repertoire. Focusing just on physical phenomena and excluding many apparent healings and trance-impersonations of deceased persons , the list of manifestations is formidable. The major items are as follows. Clearly, this repertoire of phenomena is impressive and presents an imposing challenge to the skeptic. While some phenomena appear to admit of simple normal explanations e.
And counter-explanations that have a certain degree of plausibility in some cases fail obviously for others. To explain the entire array as due to conjuring or fraud, one must as will become clear endow Home either with an implausible degree of conjuring skill or else with access to technology known to no scientist of his day or, in some cases, even of today. The best known—if not always the best documented—are from the investigations of Sir William Crookes discussed below.
In fact, the reader cannot hope to assess the evidential weight of the case without appreciating the full range of conditions under which phenomena apparently occurred, and the sheer length of time during which alleged frauds would have gone undetected, despite careful efforts to expose or prevent them. After several sittings they published a signed statement concerning the results of their investigation.
The undersigned The table was moved in every possible direction, and with great force, when we could not perceive any cause of motion. It the table was forced against each one of us so powerfully as to move us from our positions—together with the chairs we occupied—in all, several feet. Wells and Mr. Edwards took hold of the table in such a manner as to exert their strength to the best advantage, but found the invisible power, exercised in an opposite direction, to be quite equal to their utmost efforts.
In two instances, at least, while the hands of all the members of the circle were placed on the top of the table—and while no visible power was employed to raise the table, or otherwise move it from its position—it was seen to rise clear of the floor, and to float in the atmosphere for several seconds, as if sustained by some denser medium than air.
Wells seated himself on the table, which was rocked for some time with great violence, and at length, it poised itself on the two legs, and remained in this positions for some thirty seconds, when no other person was in contact with it. Three persons, Messrs. Wells, Bliss and Edwards assumed positions on the table at the same time, and while thus seated, the table was moved in various directions. Occasionally we were made conscious of the occurrence of a powerful shock, which produced a vibratory motion of the floor of the apartment in which we were seated—it seemed like the motion occasioned by distant thunder or the firing of ordnance far away—causing the table, chairs, and other inanimate objects, and all of us to tremble in such a manner that the effects were both seen and felt.
In the whole exhibition, which was far more diversified than the foregoing specification would indicate, we were constrained to admit that there was an almost constant manifestation of some intelligence which seemed, at least, to be independent of the circle.
In conclusion, we may observe, that Mr. Home, frequently urged us to hold his hands and feet. During these occurrences the room was well lighted, the lamp was frequently placed on and under the table, and every possible opportunity was afforded us for the closest inspection, and we admit this one emphatic declaration: We know that we were not imposed upon nor deceived.
But in many instances he remained in a waking state, sometimes conversing with sitters about ordinary matters, and other times sitting silent and still. Then more spectacular phenomena would occur, sometimes beginning with the earthquake effect. Before considering sample descriptions, readers should note that the phenomena reported were frequently produced in locations never before visited by Home. Consider, now, some sample reports, a very modest selection from hundreds of private and published accounts.
First, from a paper by Zorab, about an enquiry made in Amsterdam in The number of investigators ranged from 7 to 10 for the sittings described below and 5 for the middle sitting, not excerpted. They were held around a massive round mahogany table, 80 cm.
Four bronze candelabra with wax candles were placed on top of the table, and two were placed beneath. In order to allow for an unobstructed view under the table, the tablecloth was folded up toward the center of the table, leaving a free space of about 18 ins.
Home, who talked very little himself, urged us, in order to remain in a normal state, to go on talking freely among ourselves. This we did, continuing our conversation now in Dutch and then again in French. He also insisted that we should observe him and all his manipulations as closely as possible Home was sitting. Those sitting at Mr. At the other side of the table i. The table now started to rise up on one side The rising up We then ordered the table to become as light as possible so that we should be able to lift it with one finger.
And so it came to pass. When the order was reversed i. These raps were heard to come from all sides of the large room. They were accompanied by a complete rocking movement of the ceiling which became so violent that, together with the chairs on which we were seated, we felt ourselves going up and down as if on a rocking-horse. We experienced the same sensation and movement as when sitting in a carriage on springs while driving along the highroad. The table behaved more or less in the same manner observed in the former two sittings, i.
And now phenomena were produced that would make those who possessed weaker nerves than we had believe that there indeed existed a world of spirits. Here are the facts. One of us suddenly asked his neighbor if he had touched him, a question the latter answered in the negative. The gentleman who had been touched declared that he felt something touching his cheek. The unbelievers loudly laughed at him, and all these men wanted also to be touched.
Their desire was at once gratified. The one was touched on his arm, another felt something touching his knee, a third one was contacted on his cheek, etc. In the case of one of us, this touching and contacting went on continuously during twenty minutes and the touching took place on various parts of his body.
Another man was so violently clutched at all of a sudden that he jumped from his chair. Then one of us took out his handkerchief and threw it onto the floor in front of himself. He then requested that it be put into the hand of the man sitting opposite to him. The gentleman indicated laid his opened hand upon his knee, while the sitter next to him kept his eye constantly upon it. After a few moments the handkerchief flew into the hand on the knee; but as the owner of the hand did not close his fingers quickly enough, it dropped again onto the floor, and in the next instant it returned to the spot from where it had departed, viz.
This gentleman then picked up the handkerchief and wound it around his little finger. Thereupon he placed his hand on the table and asked that the handkerchief be taken away from him. All of us—some of us looking on above the table while others were watching under the table—saw all this happening. Other persons were keeping a constant eye on Mr. Home in order to see if he was exercising some influence on the phenomena. I myself then pulled out my handkerchief, wound it around the whole of my right hand, and requested that it be taken away from me.
Within a few seconds I had the sensation as if an invisible hand was trying to wrench the handkerchief off my hand. But I was holding on so firmly to the handkerchief that, after some repeated unsuccessful attempts lasting several minutes, the force could not succeed in getting the handkerchief off. I then took hold of the handkerchief between my thumb and one of my fingers; and at my request, it was immediately pulled away from my fingers.
Home was acting in a fraudulent manner. In , Barrett and Myers published a review of D. Home arrived at our house shortly before dinner.
Daniel Dunglas Home
Daniel Dunglas Home was the most celebrated medium of the 19th century. Although his name is not very well known today, he astonished audiences, friends, heads of state, and the rich and famous with startling paranormal feats and levitation. His seemingly impossible powers bewildered those who witnessed them, including many respected scientists and journalists. Did D. Home truly possess extraordinary paranormal abilities? Or was he a gifted magician, far ahead of his time, who was able to fool even the closest of observers with slight of hand and magician's illusions? Although there were certainly many skeptics among his contemporaries who denounced him as a clever fraud, they could never really prove how he accomplished his many incredible demonstrations.
The Incredible Powers of D. D. Home
The most notable physical medium in the history of Spiritualism. There was a certain mystery about Home's parentage. According to a footnote in his Incidents in My Life , his father was a natural son of Alexander, the tenth earl of Home. Through his mother he was descended from a Highland family in which the traditional gift of second sight had been preserved. He was born on March 20, , in Scotland.
Home , Daniel Dunglas
Daniel Dunglas Home, — was a Scottish Medium renowned for his remarkable physical feats. Daniel Dunglas Home repeatedly moved objects, stuck his head into fires without burning himself, levitated, elongated and shrank his body, and materialized spirits. He was often accused of fraud, though no one was ever able to prove it in a single instance. Home was a vain man who used his paranormal ability to circulate among the aristocracy and upper classes. He never accepted money for his performances, but lived off the largess of his wealthy patrons. Home pronounced Hume was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on March 20,
Home, Daniel Dunglas (1833-1886)
His biographer Peter Lamont opines that he was one of the most famous men of his era. The gift of second sight was often seen as a curse , as it foretold instances of tragedy and death. The Homes moved into one of small houses built in the mill for the workforce, in Currie six miles south-west of Edinburgh. The eldest, John, later worked in the Balerno mill and eventually managed a paper mill in Philadelphia , Mary drowned in a stream at the age of 12 years in , and Adam died at sea at the age of 17 while en route to Greenland , which Home says he saw in a vision and reportedly confirmed five months later. Daniel Home was Elizabeth's third child, and was born on 20 March He was baptised by the Reverend Mr. Somerville three weeks after his birth at Currie Parish Church on 14 April