Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Icelandic Physical Medium Indridi Indridason

The career of physical medium Indridi Indridason is described in The Icelandic Physical Medium Indridi Indridason by Loftur R. Gissurarson & Erlendur Haraldsson, Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 57, 1989, 53-148. The paper is from Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson's web site. Indridason's career as a medium was cut short by illness after only four years. He died in 1912 at the age of 29. During his brief career, he produced most of the phenomena that other physical mediums have produced, including levitations, appearance of lights, odors, direct voice communication, materializations, apports, and poltergeist phenomena. Indridason was Iceland's first medium and the Experimental Society in Iceland was formed for the express purpose of investigating his mediumship. During his seances, his hands were held by someone selected to be the "watchman" to rule out fraud as an explanation for the phenomena that occured.

The paper is interesting and entertaining to read ...

Levitation (p 75):

During the period when the seances were held in members’ homes, Indridason is reported to have levitated sometimes up to the ceiling, which he touched with his head (Kvaran, 1910, p45 Nielsson, 19l9b, p.344 Thordarson, 1942, p. 13). Sometimes he even bumped his head harshly against the ceiling and complained about “pain in his head” after sittings (Kvaran, 1906, p.26). According to Kvaran it was difficult at first to observe the levitations of the medium because of the darkness. But the noise, especially when he crashed down on the floor, resulted in complaints from neighbours, and at least twice the Society had to find another flat to hold their seances (Kvaran, 1906, p.26; 1934).
Evidential Clarivoyance (p 76):
... on the evening of 24th November 1905, when a personality, who had previously appeared but not identified himself, introduced himself as Mr. Jensen (a Danish surname) for the first time through Indridason at a séance (Kvaran, 1910, p.46; Nielsson, 1922a, pp. 14-15; 1922b,p.456). Nielsson reports (1922b,p.456) :—
The first evening he manifested himself through the medium, he told us that, during the half-hour pause while the medium was being allowed to rest in the middle of the sitting, he had set off for Copenhagen and had seen that a factory was on fire in one of the streets of the city. He told us that the firemen had succeeded in conquering the fire. At that time no telegraphic connection between Iceland and the outside world had been established, so there was no means of hearing about that event. This happened on 24th November 1905, Next day I went to see the Bishop of Iceland, the Right Reverend Hallgrimur Sveinsson, who was my uncle, and stated to him what Jensen had told us, and asked him to put it down and be a witness, whether this proved true or not. At Christmas the next boat came from Denmark, and my uncle looked with curiosity through the Danish paper, Politihen, and to his great satisfaction observed the description of the fire. Both day and time were right. Jensen was also right about the factory. It was a tamp factory at 63, Store Kongensgade.

The medium's arm dematerializes (p 78):

Perhaps the most mysterious phenomenon observed with Indridason started on 18th December 1905 (Kvaran, 1906, pp.27-32; l9l0,p.45) when the sitters heard some creaking sounds in his arm while he was in a trance state. At Kvaran’s home the next day, Indridason, while awake, wrote automatically about the serious concern the controls had about the experimenting séance that was to be held the following evening. The controls stressed in this automatic writing that the sitters would have to be very calm and quiet, otherwise the medium’s life could be in danger. An “operation” would be carried out on him but he was not to have any knowledge about that beforehand so he would not be worried. At the séance during the evening, Indridason’s left arm apparently became invisible and intangible for a while. Here is Kvaran’s description, based on extensive notes taken during the séance (1906,pp.27-32):-—
Then I shall allow you to hear what happened at the séance the next evening (19th Dec.). After the usual séance beginning, a song from us and a prayer from the control, the control seemed to go away for a while. Then the medium said:

“Hi! I’m glad to see you come. But what are you going to do with all those knives? —No, no, no!” (Goes into the cabinet). “No, no, this is not allowed.”

The control’s voice: “You be careful!”

Now for a while one could hear cries of pain from the medium coming from the cabinet. Then he came out of the cabinet and said, as if very unhappy:

“When are you coming back with it?”

Then the medium came to me (I sat at the back of the hall), handed me the empty left sleeve of his jacket and said with the control’s voice:

“Take hold here, carefully! You can touch with caution,”

I touched, but could not find the left arm.

The control: “Take the jacket and be careful! Take it from the right side! [Probably, start by taking the jacket off the right shoulder.] I will put him outside; the air is more refreshing there. [Probably, take Indridason out of the séance room.] I’m afraid that, if it becomes too hot, he will bleed.”

The medium then went out into an empty room at the front of the hall and stayed there for a while. Then he came back in and went into the cabinet.

Then I was called up by the control’s voice: “Would you see if his nose is bleeding?”

I asked if I could then light a match.

“Yes, but you may not have the light on for a very long time.”

I lit a match and saw that it was not bleeding. The medium was lying on his right side on a mattress inside the cabinet. I checked again to see if I could find the arm. But the result was the same.

The medium: “Ah, where are you going with it? Where is it?”

The control: “Check now carefully whether you can see any phenomenon in front of you; perhaps someone will be able to see something waved; my relative’s arm, for example.”

We searched carefully around us in the hall, but didn’t see anything. However, two sitters felt a cold, soft hand touch their faces. I was again invited to search the shoulder, and I did it as carefully as I could, but did not find the arm.

Materializations (p. 82):

Kvaran (1910, p.47) and Nielsson (1922b, p.456) report that shortly before Christmas 1906 sittings were being held in two rooms in Kvaran’s house (one fairly large room and a small adjoining bedroom). During sittings in the large room, the smaller séance room started to become filled with very strong whitish light. In this light appeared a human being that purported to be the discarnate Mr.Jensen. He first appeared between the curtains (probably, curtains between the rooms), in the small room, and shouted, in a genuine and typical Copenhagen Danish accent, “Ka’ De se mig?” (in English: “Can you see me?”) (Kvaran, 1934; Nielsson, 1922 a, p.20). The control personalities had said they required the small room for their own use. Kvaran’s wife and Thorlaks son say that Jensen always asked as he appeared, “Can you see me?” (Thordarson, 1942, pp. 102, 109). Kvaran (1910, p.47) continues: — Then Jensen became visible in the [selfluminous] light. In the New Year he showed himself in the living room, where we sat. He was dressed in a white, very fine robe, which reached down to the floor. The light radiated from him and we saw him in various locations in the room, Sometimes he stood very close to one of us. Once he stood on a sofa and behind his shoulders was something like a tiny sun on the wall. This was a very beautiful sight. Sometimes he stood on the chair-back behind the medium.

Poltergeist (p 93):

Indridi is starting to dress again and is putting on his trousers, but I walk into the outer room and stand there. Then Indridi screams for help once more. I run into the bedroom to him. But then I see a vision that I shall never forget. Indridi is lying horizontal in the air, at about the height of my [Thorlaksson’s] chest, and swaying there to and fro, with his feet pointing towards the window, and it seems to me that the invisible power that is holding him in the air is trying to swing him out of the window. I don’t hesitate a moment, but grab around the medium where he is swinging in the air, and push him down onto the bed and hold him there. But then I notice that both of us are being lifted up. I scream to Thordur Oddgeirsson and ask him to come to help.


Mr. Oddgeirsson went into the bedroom, but a chair was hurled at him and fell beside the stove in the outer room. Mr. Oddgeirsson moved aside to avoid the chair and went on into the bedroom. Mr. Thoriaksson was then lying on the medium’s chest. Mr. Oddgeirsson lay down on the knees of the medium, whose whole frame was in motion on the bed. Then a bolster, which was under the medium’s pillow, was thrown into the air; it fell on the bedroom floor. Simultaneously the candlesticks which were in the outer room came through the air and were flung down in the bedroom.

Direct Voice (p 123):
A friend of Hannesson reported to him the following incident (Hannesson, 1924b, p.267):— A friend of mine was once invited to a séance of the Society, previous to my going there. He was a good singer, but a humorist and jester. Before he went, he told me where he was going, and that he had a trick up his sleeve for the ghosts. He seemed to look upon the manifestations as rather a joking matter. When he came back he was amazed at the ghosts and their performances, and said that this was not altogether natural. “I had heard,” he said, “that Mr. N.N. [probably a deceased person] was appearing there and singing, and I knew that he used to be an excellent duet singer. I thought I should soon find out if there was here the question of a trained singer or not, but for a further certainty I was going to offer to sing with him a duet. He appeared, and I did as I had intended. He agreed and consented to my taking the lower voice while he was to take the higher. I purposely began too high so as to make him break, but I failed miserably in my reckonings. He sang the higher voice with such power that the whole house resounded and I was absolutely amazed.” My friend thought it very improbable that there was in the whole town a singer who could do what this “voice” had done.
As you can see, despite being from a scientific journal, it's a good read.

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