Harry Price – A scientific examination of Rudi Schneider – 09 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)
Our experiments with Rudi concluded rather earlier than we anticipated on account of the fact that Olga told us (see 'conversational seance', December 17th) that it would be useless to continue the sittings after January 27th. She said she 'could not come' after that date. I do not pretend to see either rhyme or reason in this summary termination of our investigation, but experience has proved that it would not be sound policy to pursue our experiments when we are told distinctly that conditions would not be good.
It might be possible to talk Olga into 'carrying on' through February and March, but, as it happens, Lord Charles Hope will be in the South of France after the middle of January, and the present writer feels that he, too, requires a rest after so many late nights and the burning of the midnight oil compiling this report. And the medium must want a rest from his mental exertions of the past three months.
So Olga's dictum happens to coincide with our own inclination in the matter.
I think it would be almost useless for us to experiment with Rudi again unless we could form a group of scientists (physicists, biologists, etc.) who would agree to sit regularly with the medium and make many tests concerning his respiration, blood-pressure, body temperature, pulse-rate, trance, 'Olga personification', etc., etc. That is the next step, now that we have definitely proved, that the phenomena, are genuine.
It is also necessary to photograph the various phases-or stages in the growth of the pseudopods, or 'limbs ', which we have witnessed. This might be done by means of the infra-red rays or other source of invisible illumination' of a wave-length which is not visible to the eye but which will affect the sensitized emulsion of a rapid photographic plate. It is also necessary to construct a thermal chamber in order to accurately determine the variations in the temperature of the cabinet or seance room.
All this costs money, much energy, time and labour, and the sustained interest of a number of scientists who have the necessary qualifications to carry out the experiments. As regards the present series of seances, our policy has been to interest as many scientific men as possible in the phenomena of mediumship, and in this we have succeeded.
The reader may reasonably question whether we have 'discovered anything' during the course of our investigations. Well, we have discovered that the phenomena are real, and can be produced to order-surely a conclusion of paramount importance. As to the causation of the manifestations, that can be determined only after many more experiments with many more mediums. But we have succeeded in adding our quota to the fund of general knowledge of the subject, and it is only by the piling up of data, obtained under conditions which are beyond valid, criticism, that we shall ever arrive at the truth which underlies psychic phenomena.
The question whether these manifestations prove survival or whether they are merely the outward and visible signs of some natural law will be settled only in the laboratory by scientific means.
Psychologists and philosophers may theorize, and theologians may dogmatize, but it is the experimenter in his laboratory who will, some day, determine that immensely important question which so vitally concerns every one of us:
'What happens after death? '
I will conclude this report by stating that it should be read in conjunction with the protocol of the April sittings-the two reports are complementary and supplementary. Our Rudi investigation may well become classic, and the wax cylinders of the dictaphone-which are being preserved-may some day adorn a museum devoted to the birth of a science which is destined to revolutionize-perhaps even regenerate mankind.
PRINCIPAL PHENOMENA OBSERVED
Floating, levitation, and intelligent movements of waste-paper basket, hand-bell, toy zither, handkerchief, rose, etc. The tying of knots in handkerchief. Writing on paper by pseudopod or 'terminal'. Violent movements of coffee table, including upsetting and displacement. Billowing, waving, shaking, and bulging of the pair of curtains. Removal of ribbons fastened to curtains. Movements of contact-maker, etc. Playing of toy zither while being levitated and moved around the circle. Levitation and ringing of hand-bell while 'floating' around circle. Loud raps and knocks on table, chairs, inside cabinet, etc., to order.
Production of teleplasmic masses resembling ‘arms’, ‘hands’ ‘tubes’, ‘triangular leg’, ‘chocolate-covered leg’, ‘snow-man’, ‘childlike form’ ‘luminous masses’, etc., all showing volition and In some cases, intelligence.
Apparent fall in temperature of cabinet. Stratum of cool air near floor, etc. Cool breezes, winds, etc.
Taps felt by the sitters, and on their chairs. 'Brushings' felt by sitters, as if something had passed them. The tugging of parts of sitters' clothing. Cognition of objects whose whereabouts is unknown sitters' Attempted mental phenomena. Clonic tremors and paroxysms in trance. Sustained stertorous breathing while in trance. Increase of pulse-rate in trance-state.