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Observations placeholder

The psychometric powers of Senora Maria Reyes de Z



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Psychical Research and Religion - G. N. M. Tyrrell

Effect of Holding an Object when under Hypnosis

THE influence of an object in assisting a sensitive to become aware of facts about its owner or about those who have touched it is well brought out by the case of Senora Z.

She was a Mexican lady, her full name being Senora Maria Reyes de Z (the surname is not published). She was well educated and of good social standing, being a daughter of the Governor of the State of Michoacan.  Dr. Walter Franklin Prince; who investigated the case of Patience Worth and was one of the ablest workers in psychical research on the American side of the Atlantic, travelled to Mexico in 1921 to investigate this sensitive. This fact greatly enhances the case's evidential value.

The lady was not interested in spiritualism but went to Dr. Pagenstecher, a German physician of high repute in Mexico City, to be treated for insomnia. He tried hypnosis and discovered that she entered a cataleptic state in which her hands became rigid, and that while in this state she could give accurate descriptions of the history of any object placed between her hands. If told to do so, she would answer questions about them afterwards when in the post-hypnotic state.

Various objects were given her.

Sometimes she would go back to the beginning and describe the scene of their manufacture; sometimes events in which they had played a part.

A fragment of marble, for example, taken from a temple in the Roman Forum produced a recognisable description of the Forum as seen from a particular point of view, although she had not been told where the marble came from.

Pumice stone, taken from the bed of Lake Texcoco, produced not only a description of its volcanic origin (perhaps obvious) but also a description of fishes swimming above it. Some of the information given might have been telepathically acquired from the mind of Dr. Pagenstecher; but the canalising effect of the object was well-marked, and she was apparently unable to do anything without it. .

Her outstanding achievement occurred when a piece of paper, which had been found in a bottle washed up of the Azores, was given to her to hold. . The paper is stated to have been protected by five seals, which were examined and found intact after the sensitive's statement relating to the contents of the paper had been taken down. The paper contained the words:

"The ship is sinking. Farewell my Luisa, see that my children do not forget me, your Ramon, Havana. May God care for you and me also. Farewell."

On account of the names on the paper, it finally reached a lady living in Havana who recognised on it her husband's writing. The latter was a political refugee, who had left without stating his destination and had last been heard of in New York. A realistic description of the personal appearance of the writer of the message, including a pronounced scar above the right eyebrow, was given by Senora Z; and this description was recognised by the widow in Havana.

A description was also given of the sinking of a very large liner and of the man writing the message, corking it up in a bottle and throwing the bottle into the sea. As he was never heard of again and had been in New York about the time of the sailing of the Lusitania on her last voyage, it was concluded that he had been lost in that ship.

Senora Z made a number of remarkable statements concerning various objects given her to hold.

Some of these experiments were witnessed by half a dozen prominent Mexicans and Americans and by a British banker, and the records of certain of these were entered in the minutes of the Medical Society Pedro Escobedo in Mexico City.

An extraordinary rapport is stated to have existed between the subject and Dr. Pagenstecher, in which every prick or sensation experienced by him was simultaneously experienced by her while she was in her hypnotic state. This case shows how much is yet to be learned from an examination of hypnotic states induced in specially-selected subjects.

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items





Science Items

Activities and commonsteps