Ostoja, Count Roman - Levitating a table
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Upton Sinclair – Mental Radio
Two years ago Craig and I heard of a "psychic," a young foreigner who was astounding physicians of Southern California, performing feats so completely beyond their understanding that they were content to watch without trying to understand. We went to see this young man, and befriended him; he came to our home every day, and his strange demonstrations became familiar to us.
He had the ability to produce anæsthesia in many parts of his body, and stick hatpins through his tongue and cheeks without pain; he could go into a deep trance in which his body became rigid and cold; and I put his head on one chair and his heels on another, and stood in the middle, as if he were a two-inch plank. We have a motion picture film, showing a 150-pound rock being broken with a sledge-hammer on his abdomen while he lay in this trance. The vital faculties were so far suspended in this trance that he could be shut up in an airtight coffin and buried underground for several hours; nor was there any hocus-pocus about this—I know physicians who got the coffins and arranged for the tests and watched every detail; in Ventura, California, it was done in a ball park, and a game was played over the grave.
In our home he gave what appeared to be a demonstration of levitation without contact. I do not say that it really was levitation; I merely say that our friends who witnessed it—physicians, scientists, writers and their wives, fourteen persons in all—were unable even to suggest a normal method by which the event could have happened. There was no one present who could have been a confederate, and the psychic had been searched for apparatus; it was in our home, where he had no opportunity whatever for preparation. His wrists and ankles were firmly held by persons whom I know well; and there was sufficient light in the room so that I could see the outline of his figure, slumped in a chair. Under these circumstances a 34-pound table rose four feet into the air and moved slowly a distance of eight feet over my head.
We saw this; our friends saw it; yet, in my mind, and likewise in theirs, the worm of doubt would always creep in. There are so many ways to fool people; so many conjuring tricks—think of Houdini, for example! I was unwilling to publish what I had seen; yet, also, I was unwilling not to publish it—for think of the possible importance of faculties such as this, locked up in our minds! Here was my wife, ill, suffering pain; and these faculties might perhaps be used in healing. If by concentration and autosuggestion it was possible for the mind to control the body, and put a veto upon even a few of its disorders, certainly it was worth while for us to prove the fact. I could not escape the moral obligation to probe these matters.
This "psychic" claimed also to possess and demonstrate the power of telepathy, or mind-reading. He would go out of the room while one of as selected mentally some object in the room, not revealing the choice to any one else. The "psychic" would then come back, and tell us to stand behind him and concentrate our thoughts upon that object, and follow close behind him, thinking of it. He would wander about the room for a while, and in the end pick up the object, and do with it whatever we mentally "willed" him to do.
We saw him make this test not less than a hundred times, in California, New York, and Boston; he succeeded with it more than half the time. There was no contact, no word spoken, nothing that we could imagine as giving him a clue. Did we unconsciously make in our throats some faint pronunciation of words, and did the young man have a super-acuity of hearing? Again, you see, the worm of doubt, and we never could quite decide what we really believed about this performance.