Varley, C F - 05 Experiments in spiritualism; Florence Cook
Type of Spiritual Experience
We believe that Florence Cook was able to go out of body, but was also able to project an image of herself
A description of the experience
Cromwell Varley FRS, electrical discharge and Victorian spiritualism - Richard Noakes
Varley, op. cit. (note 18). The most spectacular instance of Varley's use of telegraphic resources and skills in the study of spiritualism was his ‘electrical test’ of the medium Florence Cook.
In 1874 Varley connected Cook to a circuit containing an electric battery and a mirror galvanometer used on the 1865 and 1866 Atlantic cable expeditions.
Varley's aim was to gauge remotely what the medium was doing in a darkened room where she insisted on sitting, completely alone, to summon the ‘spiritual’ energies needed to produce a ‘materialized’ spirit form called ‘Katie King’, which briefly appeared before and conversed with the sitters.
Varley observed from the galvanometer readings taken during the test séance that even with Miss Cook in the room and ‘Katie’ far in front of it, the electric circuit remained unbroken.
Contrary to rumour, Varley concluded, Miss Cook could not have masqueraded as ‘Katie’ to whom she bore suspicious physical similarity.