Harry Price – A scientific examination of Rudi Schneider – 01 Conclusions
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Rudi Schneider – A scientific examination of his mediumship, compiled by Harry Price (Honorary Director, National Laboratory of Psychical Research)
The careful reader of the foregoing report of our investigation into the psychic powers of Rudi Schneider, if he be honest, will be compelled to admit that we have witnessed absolutely genuine phenomena under conditions of triple control which defy valid criticism.
It is all very well for the man who was not present at our experiments to say that we ought to have done this or we might have done that. I, personally, could pick holes in any report ever published-especially if I were not present at the investigation it described. But the fact remains that Rudi has been subjected to the most merciless triple control ever imposed upon a medium in this or any other country and has come through the ordeal with flying colours.
The genuineness of the phenomena produced at his London seances has impressed nearly one hundred persons, including scientists, doctors, business men, professional magicians, journalists, etc., etc.
Once more I will recapitulate the conditions of the triple control. Rudi was held hands and feet by one controller, and a second person always had one hand upon the four locked hands of the medium and controller, and could always verify the position of all their limbs during the production of the phenomena. In fact, this is what the assistant controller usually did: when the major phenomena were happening he-or she-informed the rest of the circle that all hands and feet were in their proper controlled positions. Actually, this super-check control was not really necessary, as neither medium nor controller could raise a foot or unclasp a hand without the respective indicator light immediately informing the circle that a hiatus had occurred. This severe electrical control was applied to every observer alike, so that the hand and foot of every sitter was immobilized. A further check on the freedom of the medium was the fact that he always wore a pyjama jacket to which the metallic gloves were sewn, and that he was invariably searched. Also, on two occasions, he wore luminous armlets.
And yet under the above severe conditions of control of both medium and sitters we experienced the following phenomena over and over again:
- cold breezes felt by everyone;
- an occasional fall in the temperature of the cabinet (though we have decided not to regard this as abnormal until we can repeat the experiments under more exact thermal conditions) ;
- violent movements of the pair of curtains (hung separately, weight nine pounds fourteen ounces), which billowed and waved over the sitters' heads from time to time;
- movements and levitations of the luminous waste-paper basket (weight seven and a half ounces) and the coffee table (fifteen inches square, sixteen inches high, and weighing seven pounds ten ounces) ;
- the ringing of the bells and the twanging of the toy zither, even in mid-air;
- the emergence from, and withdrawal into, the cabinet of a handkerchief, afterwards found in a far corner, tied into a tight knot ;
- the 'touchings' and ‘brushings' of the sitters at the wonderful thirteenth, fifteenth, twenty-first, and other seances ;
- the intelligent knocking of the table (several feet away from the medium) when it was resting against a sitter's leg near the end of circle farthest from the medium;
- the tugs-of-war with Olga;
- and, finally, the emergence from, and withdrawal into, the cabinet of 'hands', ' arms', and 'tubes', some perfectly formed (these phenomena were frequent at the April experiments).
Does any sane person imagine that the conscious Rudi was responsible for these manifestations? It is not as if they occurred with only one controller or with certain sitters; they have happened under various conditions of circle formation and with different controllers.
I know how difficult it is to convey to the reader the things we saw and the conditions under which we saw them ; but if he will carefully study our conditions and results, and the independent reports, I am sure he will appreciate the phenomena which so many of us witnessed, and how we witnessed them. The phenomena presented to us were, in some cases, impossible of reproduction by ordinary normal means. For instance, the 'breezes' cannot easily be duplicated, and sometimes these were very strong. The extraordinary series of waves into which the heavy curtains formed themselves at the fifth seance (witnessed by Dr. F. C. S. Schiller) cannot be duplicated by ordinary means. When I tried with my hands, feet, and sticks to get the same effect, the result was a dismal failure ; no pushing, pulling, or kicking on my part will make those heavy curtains (hung independently) soar over our heads in a series of sustained waves, as we witnessed them.
On another occasion Professor Nils von Hofsten also tried, and failed.
Does the conscientious reader of this report seriously think that it is possible to produce normally a 'woman's' arm, holding and waving the waste-paper basket, under the conditions of control obtaining at these experiments?
And yet that is what we saw: apparently a woman's arm complete with hand and fingers, unclothed, emerge from, and withdraw into, the cabinet. Could any person have duplicated normally, under our conditions, that small, slender, very white, four fingered hand which tried to pick up Lord Charles Hope's rose, afterwards patting him upon the hand? In all seriousness, would not the normal duplication of that phenomenon (Lord Charles's hand was virtually between the 'hand' and the medium) under our control conditions have been as great a 'miracle ' as what we actually saw? And yet this same effect was again witnessed at the extraordinary last seance.
I am tired of challenging conjurers and others, and offering money prizes for a duplication of Rudi's phenomena under our conditions of control-conditions which have confounded our critics.