Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Notes of Seances with D. D. Home. By William Crookes, F. R. S.

From: Notes of Seances with D. D. Home. By William Crookes, F. R. S. p98. The Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research Volume VI 1889 - 1890

The seance excerpted below took place at the home of William Crookes. There was sufficient light for everyone present to see everything that occurred. The accordion which was seen and heard to play by itself was purchased by Crookes. Under these conditions the medium, D. D. Home, could not have used any special mechanical apparatus to produce levitations, play the accordion, produce raps, or create any other of the phenomena that was observed.

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(VIII.) SUNDAY, July 30th, 1871. Sitting at 20, Mornington-road.

Present:- Mr. D. D. Home, Mr. Wm. Crookes, Mrs. Wm. Crookes, Mrs. Humphrey, Mr. Wr. Crookes, Mrs. Wr. Crookes, Mrs. I., Miss A. Crookes, Mr. H. Crookes, Mr. T., and at 11p.m. Lord A.

In the dining-room round the dining-table.

During the former part of the evening the gas was lighted; during the latter part the room was illuminated by two spirit lamps.


The accordion was held by Mr. Home in the usual position under the table. Whilst it played Mrs. I. looked beneath and saw it playing. Mr. Home removed his hand altogether from it, and held both hands above the table. During this Mrs. I. said she saw a luminous hand playing the accordion.

The gas was now turned out, and three spirit lamps were lighted.

Loud raps were heard, and, the planchette moved across a sheet of paper, leaving a mark with the pencil.

The lath moved some inches.

The accordion, which had been left by Mr. Home under the table, now began to play and move about without anyone touching it. It dropped on to my foot, then dragged itself away, playing all the time, and went to Mrs. I. It got on to her knees.

Mr. Home then took it in his hand, where it played, and delivered the following message by chords in the usual way:-

"Our joy and thankfulness to have been allowed to make our presence manifest We thank you for your patience and we thank GOD for His love."

Mr. Home got up and stood behind in full view of all, holding the accordion out at arm's length. We all saw it expanding and contracting and heard it playing a melody. Mr. Home then let go of the accordion, which went behind his back and there continued to play; his feet being visible and also his two hands, which were In front of him

Mr. Home then walked to the open apace in the room between Mrs. I.'s chair and the sideboard and stood there quite upright and quiet. He then said, "I'm rising, I'm rising"; when we all saw him rise from the ground slowly to a height of about six inches, remain there for about 10 seconds, and then slowly descend. From my position I could not see his feet, but I distinctly saw his head, projected against the opposite wall, rise up, and Mr. Wr. Crookes, who was sitting near where Mr. Home was, said that his feet were in the air. There was no stool or other thing near which could have aided him. Moreover, the movement was a smooth continuous glide upwards.

Whilst this was going on we heard the accordion fall heavily to the ground. It had been suspended in the air behind the chair where Mr. Home had been sitting. When it fell Mr. Home was about 10ft. from it.

Mr. Home still standing behind Mrs. I. and Mr. Wr. Crookes, the accordion was both seen and heard to move about behind him without his hands touching it It then played a tune without contact and floating in the air.

Mr. Home then took the accordion in one hand and held it out so that we could all see it (he was still standing up behind Mrs. I. and Mr. Wr. Crookes). We then saw the accordion expand and contract and heard a tune played. Mrs. Wm. Crookes and Mr. Home saw a light on the lower part of the accordion, where the keys were, and we then heard and saw the keys clicked and depressed one after the other fairly and deliberately, as if to show us that the power doing it, although invisible (or nearly so) to us, had full control over the instrument.

A beautiful tune was then played whilst Mr. Home was standing up holding the accordion out in full view of everyone.

Mr. Home then came round behind me and telling me to hold my left arm out placed the accordion under my arm, the keys hanging down and the upper part pressing upwards against my upper arm. He then left go and the accordion remained there. He then placed his two hands one on each of my shoulders. In this position, no one touching the accordion but myself, and every one noticing what was taking place, the instrument played notes but no tune.

Mr. Home then sat down in his chair, and we were told by raps to open the table about an inch or an inch and a.half.

Mr. T. touched the point of the lath, when raps immediately came on it.

The planchette, which was on the table resting on a sheet of paper, now moved a few inches.

Sounds were heard on the accordion, which was on the floor, not held by Mr. Home.

The corner of the paper next to Mrs. Wm. Crookes (on which the planchette was standing) moved up and down. (These three last phenomena were going on simultaneously.)

I felt something touch my knee; it then went to Mrs. I., then to Miss A. Crookes.

Whilst this was going on I held the bell under the table, and it was taken from me and rung round beneath. It was then given to Mrs. I. by a hand which she described as soft and warm.

The lath was now seen to move about a little.

Mrs. Wm. Crookes saw a hand and fingers touching the flower in Mr. Home's button-hole. The flower was then taken by the hand and given to Mrs. I. and the green leaf was in a similar manner given to Mr. T.

Mrs. Wm. Crookes and Mr. Home saw the hand doing this, the others only saw the flower and leaf moving through the air.

Mrs. Wm. Crookes held a rose below the table; it was touched and then taken.

The sound as of a drum was heard on the accordion.

The lath lifted itself up on its edge,then reared itself upon one end and fell down. It then floated up four inches above the table, and moved quite round the circle, pointing to Mrs. Wm. Crookes. It then rose up and passed over our heads outside the circle.

The planchette moved about a good deal, marking the paper.

The cloth was dragged along the table.

Whilst the lath was moving round the circle, the accordion played a tune in Mr. Home’s hand whilst Mrs. Wm. Crookes's hand was also on it.

Mrs. Wm. Crookes put her hand near the lath, when it came up to it, and moved about it very much.

The paper on which the planchette was resting moved about us as if by a hand. Many present saw a hand doing it. (Mr. Home and Mrs. Wm. Crookes saw this hand.)

Mr. H. Crookes saw a luminous hand come up between Mr. Home and Mrs. Wm. Crookes.

Some time during the evening Mrs. Wm. Crookes's handkerchief, which had been in her pocket, was taken out of it by a hand.

I saw something white moving about in the further corner of the room (diagonal to door) under a chair. On my remarking this, a message was given by raps:-

"William! take it."

On getting up and taking it I saw that it was my wife's pocket handkerchief tied in a knot, and having the stalk of the rose which had been taken from her tied up in it. The place where I picked up the handkerchief was fifteen feet from where she had been sitting.

A glass water bottle which was on the table now floated up and rapped against the planchette.

Mr. Home said: "I see a face. I see Philip's face. Philip! Brother I"

The water and tumbler now rose up together, and we had answers to questions by their tapping together whilst floating in the air about eight inches above the table, and moving backwards and forwards from one to the other of the circle.

Mr. H. Crookes said a hand was tickling his knee.

A finger was protruded up the opening of the table between Miss A. Crookes and the water bottle,

Miss A. Crookes, Mr. H. Crookes, and Mrs. I. were then touched.

Fingers came up the opening of the table a second time and waved about.

The lath, which on its last excursion had settled in front of the further window, quite away from the circle, now moved along the floor four or five times very noisily. It then came up to Mr. T., and, passed into the circle over his shoulder. It settled on the table and, then rose up again, pointing to Mrs. Wm. Crookes's mouth.

The lath then went to the water bottle and pushed it several times nearly over, to move it away from the opening in the table. The lath then went endways down the opening.

The tumbler moved about a little.

The lath moved up through the opening in the table and answered "Yes" and "No" to questions, by bobbing up and down three times or once.

A hand was seen by some, and a luminous cloud by others, pulling the flowers about which were in a stand on the table. A flower was then seen to be carried deliberately and given to Mrs. Wr. Crookes.

Another flower was taken by the hand and brought over to Mrs. Wm. Crookes; it was dropped between her and Mr. Home.

Raps then said

"We must go."

The raps then commenced loudly all over the room and got fainter and fainter until they became inaudible.

The seance then broke up.

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