Harry Price – A scientific examination of Rudi Schneider – 03 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)
As a lifelong student of methods of deception, I know the apparatus that would be required for the simple effect of, say, merely raising a handkerchief from the floor and manipulating it as we saw it. The wires, pulleys, etc., required would be considerable, and a person would have to have his entire freedom to manipulate them in order to simulate the effect we saw with the handkerchief-to say nothing of what would be required to tie it in a tight knot!
This is not an ex parte report; I am speaking as one with complete knowledge of what can and cannot be done by means of legerdemain. If we had detected Rudi in any fraudulent action we would have exposed him. The simplest parlour trick requires conditions. Remove the conditions and away goes the trick.
Young Maskelyne, with his skit ' OIga', required a special solid mechanical cabinet (Rudi uses a pair of curtains) which, I am told, cost forty pounds to build. He required means of masked ingress and egress to the cabinet. He required a trap-door in the stage, and sub-stage assistants to hand up the things and work the trap. He employed two other attendants on the stage, besides himself and his girl assistant, ' Olga'.
In other words, there were probably at least six persons with perfect freedom, a mechanical cabinet, and a mechanical stage, in order to attempt to simulate the effects (which it did not in any shape or form) produced through an unlettered Austrian youth, in the paroxysms of a trance, and held by two persons and controlled electrically.
And yet the magician dares to call his act 'Maskelyne's answer to Rudi Schneider'. Maskelyne's effort was ludicrous.
No wonder Maskelyne refused my thousand pounds' challenge to reproduce Rudi's phenomena when he required such a lot of human and mechanical aid in order to produce his own ridiculous travesty of our experiments. During the six-days run of his skit 'Olga', at the Coliseum music-hall, from the stage of that theatre I publicly challenged Noel Maskelyne (on December 10th 1929) to simulate by trickery one single phenomenon as produced through Rudi Schneider under the identical conditions as imposed by the National Laboratory of Psychical Research. I offered him a personal fee of two hundred and fifty pounds if he could show us how it was possible for Rudi to trick us under our electrical system of controlling the medium.
Of course he refused.