Harry Price – A scientific examination of Rudi Schneider – 06 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 reader will appreciate the fact that this report has been drawn up as the investigation proceeded.
Besides the dictaphonic records, the annotations and remarks were made usually the next day (sometimes the same day) when the events they describe were but a few hours old. This report is a bald statement of what occurred, and the conditions under which they occurred; and care has been taken not to exaggerate when dealing with the phenomena we witnessed.
This I repeat, is not an ex parta report.
Rudi visited us to be tested, and if our findings had been negative, or if we had found cause to be dissatisfied with the boy, we should have said so just as enthusiastically as we now state that the medium has produced genuine phenomena under our own laboratory conditions.
We have no fault to find with Rudi; he has cheerfully consented to our holding any test or any seance, with any sitter or controller. He is the most tractable medium who has ever come under my notice.
Mediumship amuses him-and bores him.
He would much rather be playing football, and we owe something to him that he so cheerfully left his own native playing-fields at the best time of the year to gratify a number of strangers in whom he cannot have the slightest interest.
Our thanks are due also to Rudi's father, Herr Josef Schneider, in allowing us to keep his son for so long. But I know he has the cause of science at heart, and no bona fide investigator has ever been refused a seance with Rudi. If some so-called psychists have failed to obtain what they sought, we must conclude that the fault rests with the investigators rather than the medium. The psychological nexus between the medium and his judges is a very real, but very delicate, thread which can easily snap if roughly or unsuitably handled.
Some 'investigators' of my acquaintance are not fit to examine a horse, let alone a being with a soul and a personality. If Rudi is so tractable in our dealings with him, Olga, his trance personality, is only rather less so. We have asked Olga to do things for us, and they have been done. She has promised us good phenomena at prearranged times, and often but not always-these have been forthcoming.
I am afraid that Olga has her likes and dislikes and occasionally makes uncomplimentary remarks about the sitters. But do not we all? Olga says what we 'are thinking! Fortunately, her utterances are in a sibilant German which does not reach the ears of the criticized. This is usually a pity!
One sometimes hears the remark, 'What does Rudi make out of his mediumship?' This question is asked usually by someone who is completely ignorant of the Schneider brothers or their mediumship, because it is quite well known that the Austrian boys have never received payment for their services, as such, though there is no earthly reason why they should not.
I once saw this question hinted at in the Press, but I suppose it never occurred to that particular newspaper man that Rudi was just as much entitled to be paid for his services as was the journalist who made money by writing about him. A most extraordinary notion has got abroad that if you are a medium you must work for nothing! As a matter of fact, we paid Rudi only what he would have earned at his trade, from which we took him. We ought to have paid him more, but so many other expenses were incurred through the investigation that we did not remunerate him as much as we would have liked.
Though of course members of the Laboratory paid for their sittings, there was a considerable deficit to be made up, and on behalf of our Council I would like to thank Lord Charles Hope for his very material assistance in this connexion. I must also publicly thank our secretary, Miss Lucie Kaye, for making arrangements for Rudi's sojourn in London and looking after his general welfare. She could do this better than anyone, because of her perfect knowledge of the German language.
I know that often, at great inconvenience, she has attended and recorded our seances-which meant many late nights-and for this the Council is greatly indebted to her.