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Home, D. D.

Category: Other spiritually gifted people

Phot:  Granger.  Home appears to be left handed

Daniel Dunglas Home (pronounced Hume; 20 March 1833 – 21 June 1886) was a Scottish medium with considerable magical and shamanistic ability. 

According to the many books written of him he could  levitate to a variety of heights, speak with the dead, and produce rapping and knocks in houses at will.

His fire handling capabilities were extraordinary.  In the presence of numerous witnesses, he was able to handle fire, put his head in fires and place hot embers and coals in the hands or on the heads of other people.

Home also conducted hundreds of séances, which were attended by many eminent Victorians.

The word magician is used to describe skills that are related to environmental influence.  The person can walk on fire, or make rain, or levitate and so on.  There are a number of environmental influences that are possible.  Inter composer communication is also one of the extra skills that may be available with this role, thus the ability to read minds becomes possible. 

WYNDHAM THOMAS WYNDHAM-QUIN, fourth earl of
DUNRAVEN (until 1871 Lord Adare)

And Home could do all of these.

The main difference between him and other magicians is that he went into a trance state in order to do all these things, trances when he appeared to be helped and guided by spirit helpers.  In some respects therefore, it was not he who did all this, but his invisible helpers and he was just the medium by which they demonstrated their abilities. 

A puppet of the spirit world in other words.

Viscount Adare - Experiences in Spiritualism with Mr D D Home

A very common misconception on the general subject ought to be here pointed out. The idea seems very prevalent that Mr. Home invokes or evokes spirits. This notion is totally destitute of foundation. Neither Mr. Home, nor any medium, as far as I know ever professes to call up spirits. Several persons sit round a table, and Mr. Home, while deprecating levity, desires to promote cheerful and social conversation on general matters, without any premeditated design or wish expressed that particular things should happen or particular spirits be present…..  

We have on the site under the Shaivism heading a series of observations from Louis Jacolliot pertaining to a very gifted fakir, who also repeatedly asserted that ultimately he was responsible for none of the phenomenon that occurred but was simply a channel, a sort of directing aerial by which they could home in.

Viscount Adare - Experiences in Spiritualism with Mr D D Home

One of the most remarkable features in these seances is the frequency of Mr. Home's trances. This peculiar phase of his power has become much developed of late; while others, such as his being raised in the air, have comparatively diminished. To those who are familiar with mesmeric trances, the genuineness of Mr. Home's is easily admitted. To me they are among the most interesting portions of the manifestations which occur through his mediumship. The change which takes place in him is very striking; he becomes, as it were, a being of a higher type. There is a union of sweetness, tenderness, and earnestness in his voice and manner which is very attractive. At first sight much might appear to be skillful acting; but after having so frequently witnessed these trance states, I am fully convinced of their truthfulness. Sometimes his utterances are most impressive; the language beautiful, conveying his thoughts in the most appropriate words. That he is possessed by a power or spirit, not his own, and superior to himself, a very little experience will suffice to render manifest.

Character

 

D D Home led a life filled with people clamouring to see his gifts demonstrated.  He was 'taken up' by members of noble English families: Home's remarkable performances were quite enough to make him welcome in most country houses. He played the piano, [but NOT the accordion - this is a key fact pertinent to the observations],  and was thus also regarded as good company. 

The adventures of Home in the Courts of Europe, have filled books.  He also ‘deserted the errors of Wesleyan Methodism for those of the Church of Rome’.  He was entertained by diamond-giving emperors and was expelled from Rome as a sorcerer.

He also successively married, with the permission and good will of the Czar, two Russian ladies of noble birth.  In 1858, he married Alexandria de Kroll ("Sacha"), the 17-year-old daughter of a noble Russian family, in Saint Petersburg, his Best Man was the writer Alexandre Dumas. They had a son, Gregoire ("Grisha"), but Alexandria fell ill with tuberculosis, and died in 1862.  He also lost his son.

In October 1871, Home married for the second, and last time, to Julie de Gloumeline, whom he also met in St Petersburg. In the process, he converted to the Greek Orthodox faith.

Home did not make money as a medium, meaning the observations are that much more interesting as there was no motive for trickery.  He did it because he was asked, could do it and liked to please people.  There are times when one reads the accounts of his seances that one feels one is almost seeing a child having great fun; Home seems to have done these things because he really enjoyed the entertainment it provided.  Home lived on gifts, donations and lodging/hospitality from admirers and friends. He felt that he was on a "mission to demonstrate immortality and wished to interact with his clients as one gentleman to another, rather than as an employee.”

 

The Strange Case of Daniel Dunglas Home – Andrew Lang

Home …. has been described to me, by a lady who knew him in his later years, when he had ceased to work drawing-room miracles in society, as a gentle, kindly, quiet person, with no obvious fault, unless a harmless and childlike vanity be a fault. He liked to give readings and recitations, and he played the piano with a good deal of feeling. He was a fair linguist, he had been a Catholic, he was of the middle order of intelligence, he had no 'mission' except to prove that disembodied spirits exist, if that were a legitimate inference from the marvels which attended him.
Mr. Robert Bell in The Cornhill Magazine, Vol. II., 1860, described Home….  Home was 'a very mild specimen of familiar humanity.' His health was bad. 'The expression of his face in repose' (he was only twenty-seven) 'is that of physical suffering.... There is more kindliness and gentleness than vigour in the character of his features.... He is yet so young that the playfulness of boyhood has not passed away, and he never seems so thoroughly at ease with himself and others as when he is enjoying some light and temperate amusement.'………….
Home's private character raised no scandals that have survived into our knowledge. It is a very strange thing, as we shall see, that the origin of Home's miracles in broad daylight or artificial light, could never be traced to fraud, or, indeed, to any known cause; while the one case in which imposture is alleged on first-hand evidence occurred under conditions of light so bad as to make detection as difficult as belief …

Life

Hume was described as red-haired and freckled as a child.  He was ‘a delicate child’, having a "nervous temperament", and was quiet and introspective by nature, preferring walks in the woods to sports.  He had a like-minded friend called Edwin, and the two boys read the Bible to each other and told stories.  Edwin later died of malignant dysentery.

The Strange Case of Daniel Dunglas Home – Andrew Lang

A sketch of Home's life must now be given. He was born in 1833, at Currie, a village near Edinburgh. In his later years he sent to his second wife a photograph of the street of cottages beside the burn, in one of which he first saw the light. His father had a right to bear the arms of the Earls of Home, with a brisure, being the natural son of Alexander, tenth Earl of Home. The Medium's ancestor had fought, or, according to other accounts, had shirked fighting, at Flodden Field, as is popularly known from the ballad The Sutors of Selkirk. The maiden name of Home's mother was Macneil. He was adopted by an aunt, who, about 1842, carried the wondrous child to America. He had, since he was four years old, given examples of second sight; it was in the family. Home's mother, who died in 1850, was second-sighted, as were her great-uncle, an Urquhart, and her uncle, a Mackenzie. ….  [Footnote: I follow Incidents in My Life, Series i. ii., 1864, 1872. The Gift of Daniel Home, by Madame Douglas Home and other authorities.]…..
Home, aged seventeen, was so constantly attended by noises of rappings that his aunt threw a chair at him, summoned three preachers, an Independent, a Baptist, and a Wesleyan (Home was then a Wesleyan), and plunged into conflict with the devil. The furniture now began to move about, untouched by man, and Home's aunt turned him out of the house. Home went to a friend in another little town, people crowded to witness the phenomena, and the press blazoned the matter abroad. Henceforth, Home was a wonder worker; but once, for a whole year--February 1856 to February 1857--'the power' entirely deserted him, and afterwards, for shorter periods.

 

 

Home moved to New York after interest in his abilities was expressed, then in 1853, he went to live in the Theological Institute, situated on the Hudson river.  He took no part in any of the theological discussions held there. His idea was to fund his work with a legitimate salary by practicing medicine.  But he became ill in early 1854, and stopped his studies. Home was diagnosed with Tuberculosis, and his doctors recommended recuperation in Europe. His last séance in America was in March 1855, in Hartford, Connecticut, before he travelled to Boston and sailed to England on board the Africa, at the end of March.

At the time of his arrival, Home was described as "tall and thin, with blue eyes and auburn hair, fastidiously dressed but seriously ill with consumption". Nevertheless, he held sittings for notable people in full daylight, moving objects that were some distance away.

In the following years Home travelled across continental Europe, and always as a guest of wealthy patrons. In Paris, he was summoned to the Tuileries to perform a séance for Napoleon III. He also performed for Queen Sophia of the Netherlands, who wrote:

"I saw him four times...I felt a hand tipping my finger; I saw a heavy golden bell moving alone from one person to another; I saw my handkerchief move alone and return to me with a knot... He himself is a pale, sickly, rather handsome young man but without a look or anything which would either fascinate or frighten you. It is wonderful. I am so glad I have seen it..."

 

Criticism

Needless to say, Hume had his critics, but Andrew Lang in his article The Strange Case of Daniel Dunglas Home does an extremely good job of showing how mean minded and wrong they were.  Home was used and abused, but remained gracious and polite throughout.   His biggest fault was his gullibility, and his innocence:

Wikipedia

In 1866, Mrs Jane Lyon, a wealthy widow, adopted Home as her ‘son’, allegedly giving him £60,000 in an attempt to gain introduction into high society. Finding that the adoption did not change her social situation, Lyon changed her mind, and brought a suit for the return of her money from Home on the grounds that it had been obtained by spiritual influence. Under British law, the defendant bears the burden of proof in such a case, and proof was impossible since there was no physical evidence. The case was decided against Home, Mrs Lyon's money was ‘returned’, and the press pilloried Home's reputation. Home's high society acquaintances thought that he behaved like a complete gentleman throughout the ordeal, and he did not lose a single important friend.

 

 

There is also the hint in Andrew Lang’s articles that Mrs Lyon was a lonely widow, whose aims were a little more than just introduction to high society, that there was no money, and that a lady spurned is indeed a formidable adversary.  Not that Home ever said anything, as it says ‘he behaved like a complete gentleman throughout the ordeal’.

One of the intriguing aspects around all those who later [without having attended any séances] decided that Home had to be a fraud, is that the ego plays a big part in the accusation.  It goes something like:

“Although I was not at the séance, I know that levitation, table tilting etc have no current explanation in science, thus because I wish to ally myself with the new far more lucrative and powerful religion of science, I have to condemn this as fraud”.

 

The irony of this is, of course, not lost on those who consider Home to be totally genuine, as a true scientist would do his or her utmost to find out how it worked.  In other words, only those whose religion is science and whose income and power come from allying themselves with it, say these things. 

Even more important, it is clear that they do so, because they actually have no scientific ability at all – they are really no asset to true science, any more than the inquisition was an asset to Christianity.   

We can thus see that theirs is more a statement of positioning rather than any genuine scientific reason – ‘which way is the wind blowing as far as jobs, money and power are concerned’ – it still is.  I’m sure that if the money and power started to favour those who could levitate, there would be a whole bucket load of skeptics  suddenly undergoing a ‘Saul at Damascus’ revision of views.

In Robert Browning’s case – a very persistent critic – this was not the motive, it was  jealousy.  As Andrew Lang says:

In 1855, Home met Mr. and Mrs. Browning at the house of a Mr. Rymer, at Ealing, the first of only two meetings. On this occasion, … a wreath of clematis rose from the table and floated towards Mrs. Browning, behind whom her husband went and stood. The wreath settled on the lady's head, …. who, Home thought, was jealous of the favour.

And Home was maybe right.  A jealous husband is another formidable opponent.

Death

 

At the age of 38, Home retired due to ill health; the tuberculosis, from which he had suffered for much of his life, was advancing and he said his powers were failing. He died on 21 June 1886 and was buried in the Russian cemetery of St. Germain-en-Laye, in Paris.

D.D. Home has been called 'The Greatest Physical Medium in History'. He has been accused of fraud by skeptics but never found to be anything but genuine by anyone who studied him seriously while he was alive.
The list of people who sat with Home is impressive. Count Alexis Tolstoy, cousin of Leo Tolstoy, Alexander Dumas, Lady Shelly, Sir Francis Galton, James M. Gully, an eminent doctor whose clients included Charles Darwin, Sir William Crookes; President of the Royal Society, and the Emperor Napoleon III and the French royal court.
During one conversation, the Duke de Morny told the Emperor that he felt it a duty to contradict the report that the Emperor believed in spiritualism. The Emperor replied:
"Quite right, but you may add when you speak on the subject again that there is a difference between believing a thing and having proof of it, and that I am certain of what I have seen."
Napoleon later stated "Whoever says that Home is a charlatan is a liar."

 

References

  • Incidents in My Life – Hume’s autobiography was published in 1863, detailed his public life, his psychic life, and his tragic personal life, including his struggle with TB as well as the death of his wife Alexandria de Kroll and their son Greigore. Many of the amazing accounts in Incidents of my Life left out names in order to protect friends from ridicule.
  • D.D. Home: His Life His Mission  - Madam Home's memoirs [Julie de Gloumeline] of his life, D.D. Home: His Life His Mission, were published in 1877. D D Home's letters and diaries were a Who's Who of 19th Century society and in Madam Home's book she reveals many of the names and stated: The fact that many of these names are now for the first time published, will prove to what degree Home carried his consideration for others, suppressing their names in order to spare them from ignorant abuse, and tranquilly encountering the host of calumnies that were directed against him in consequence.
  • Experiences in Spiritualism with Mr D D Home [1976]– Viscount Adare.  Home met one of his future closest friends in 1867; the young Lord Adare (later the 4th Earl of Dunraven). The book Experiences in Spiritualism with D D Home, from which we have extracted a number of  observations, was compiled from the letters Lord Adare had sent to his father.  The letters were initially simply compiled by Adare’s father for private circulation to those who had attended the séances Home gave – a sort of memento of the occasions.  Only much later did they become a book.
  • Notes of an Enquiry into the Phenomena called Spiritual during the Years 1870-1873 - Crookes, William (1874), Quarterly Journal of Science
  • The Strange Case of Daniel Dunglas Home - Andrew Lang, Chapter 8 of Historical Mysteries (1904)

Observations

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