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Observations placeholder

Gambier Bolton, Robert – Ghosts in Solid Form – Experiment 03 Test with Sensitive B , Florrie Cook



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience


Place — West Hampstead London N.W.

Sensitive B, female aged about 49.

Persons of middle age or older who happened to be in England a few years ago at the time that two lawsuits were brought against a celebrated conjurer by the clever young man who had succeeded in exposing one of his most mystifying tricks, will well remember the sensation caused by the giving of both verdicts against the conjurer; and the young man — to whom I shall refer as Mr X. — at once became famous as the man who had beaten one of the cleverest conjurers of the day.

A friend of mine, who had been present on several occasions when Sir William Crookes' Sensitive - Florrie Cook (Mrs Comer), referred to above as Sensitive B — had produced materialisations in gaslight at my house in London, asked her to visit his house at West Hampstead one evening to meet several friends of his, and to see if it were possible for any entity to materialise in my friend's own drawing-room.

She at once accepted his invitation to sit there under strict test conditions; and, talking the matter over with some of his friends a day or two before the one chosen for the experiment, he told me that they had arranged to have the Sensitive securely tied to her chair, to have strong iron rings fastened to the floor-boards, through which ropes would be passed, these ropes to be securely fastened to the Sensitive's legs; all knots of every size and kind to be sealed, so as to prevent any attempt on her part to leave her chair and to masquerade as a materialised entity.

One of his friends happened to know the celebrated Mr X., and, as he had so recently succeeded in beating so notable a conjurer, he was invited to be present and to take entire charge of the tying up, the binding and sealing arrangements, in order to render the escape of the Sensitive from her chair an impossibility.

When I joined the party in the drawing-room, Mr X., to whom I was introduced, was busily engaged in tying the Sensitive up with his own ropes and tapes, sealing every knot with special sealing-wax and with a seal provided by our host. The room was a large one, and a portion at one end had been cleared of all furniture, and in the centre of this space only the Sensitive seated upon her chair, and Mr X. busily at work, were to be seen ; and the latter, after another fifteen minutes of real hard labour, was asked by our host if he was thoroughly satisfied that the Sensitive was fastened to her chair securely.

He replied that so securely was she fastened, that if she could produce phenomena of any kind whatever under such conditions, he would at once admit their genuineness.

The Sensitive was all this time in a perfectly normal state, and not flurried in any way, her one anxjety being lest we should lower the lights, as she was so terrified at the thought of darkness.

Mr X., after stepping backwards to have a final look at the result of his labours, then walked close to the spot where the Sensitive was sitting in gaslight, and put one hand up towards the top of the curtain, and was in the act of drawing this round her to keep the direct rays of the gaslight from falling upon her, when a large brown arm and hand suddenly appeared, the hand being clapped heavily upon Mr X.'s shoulder, whilst a gruff masculine voice asked him in loud tones, " Are you really satisfied? "

I have witnessed some strange happenings in connection with my investigation of occult matters, but to my dying day I shall never forget the look of blank astonishment on Mr X.'s face at that moment.

Quickly recovering himself, however, he at once examined the Sensitive — a little woman, far below the average height, having small hands and feet, as we could all see quite clearly — and declared that every seal and every knot was unbroken, and just as he had left them not sixty seconds before.

Amongst other entities who materialised that evening was a young girl of about eighteen years of age, who stated that when she left her earth-body she had been a dancer at a cafe in Algiers.

She came from the spot where the Sensitive was seated, laughing heartily, stating that the hand and arm belonged to an old English sailor, whom she spoke of as "the Captain."

She said, further, that he had been standing with her watching the tying-up process from their sphere, and laughing at Mr X.'s vain attempt to prevent the production of the phenomena. The Captain had very much wished to materialise fully, so as to surprise Mr X. as he stepped back from the Sensitive; but, finding that he could only get sufficient "power" to produce a hand and arm, he was in a bad temper. And this was evidently the case, for during the ten minutes that the girl remained talking to us we could now and then hear the gruff voice of the Captain rolling out language which can only be described as "forcible and free."

The experiment lasted for nearly an hour, and at its conclusion Mr X. examined the Sensitive, and once again reported that every seal and knot were just as he had left them at the commencement of the experiment.

The source of the experience

Gambier Bolton, Robert

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps