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Schneider, Rudi

Category: Other spiritually gifted people

 

Rudi Schneider (27 July 1908 – 1957), son of Josef Schneider and brother of Willi Schneider, was an Austrian, gifted psychically.

He was telepathic, could remote view, levitate, read minds, apport objects and communicate with other beings. 

Of especial importance was the fact he was a ‘trance medium’ – in other words he went into a trance state during which he had no recollection of what had happened.  Needless to say it is impossible to fake results when one is effectively unconscious, as such he became a subject of considerable study both in the UK and in Austria.

About Rudi

Rudi (Rudolph) Schneider was born in the small frontier town of Braunau, Austria (on the banks of the River Inn, where it divides Bavaria from Austria), on July 27th 1908. 

Rudi aged 14

He was the youngest of twelve children - nine boys and three girls - of whom only six (all boys) at the time of the experiments were still living - Karl, Hans, Fritz, Willi, Franzl, and Rudi.

Herr Josef Schneider, the father of the boys, was described by Harry Price as “a very intelligent, much respected, and charming man, now 59 years of age”.

He was a Maschinensetzer-or what we would call a lino- type compositor or typesetter-and lived over the business, where he had been employed continuously for forty-five years. “No signs of abnormality can be traced in his or Frau Schneider's family, and his grandchildren have so far exhibited no psychic faculties”.

Frau Schneider was a ‘gentle, unassuming woman’, and Rudi appears to have taken after her. Of the six surviving sons of Herr Schneider, Rudi, Willi, Hans, and Karl were gifted psychically, though the two last-named possessed the faculty only in a very slight degree.

Willi proved himself a ‘very brilliant medium’ until around 1928, when his waning powers appeared to synchronize with his intensive  application to his profession-that of a dentist. Willi showed signs of mediumship at about the age of 14 or 15.  Rudi first exhibited abnormal faculties at the age of 11 years.  Trained as a motor engineer, the story of Rudi's mediumship is an interesting one.

Mrs Schneider, Papa Schneider, Rudi and Willi

One evening Herr Schneider's friends were holding a séance with Willi when ' Olga', the trance personality who then spoke through Rudi's brother, said that the power was not good and that she wanted Rudi to 'assist'.

The boy's parents objected on the grounds that Rudi was only 11 years of age. Rudi was then asleep in bed.

'Olga ' said nothing, but a few minutes later the door opened and Rudi, deeply entranced, entered the room and took his place in the circle.

'Olga' never again came through Willi after that night, this ‘intangible young lady’ attaching herself to the younger brother, Rudi. Another entity, ' Mina ', took Olga's place in the Willi mediumship, and 'Mina' proceeded to make psychic history, as she became the focus of Dr. A. Baron von Schrenck-Notzing’s work.

Willi with Harry Price in the laboratory

Harry Price - Rudi Schneider – A scientific examination of his mediumship
I have stated that the 'trance personality', ' secondary personality', ' Olga personification'-or, if you are a spiritualist, the discarnate entity,' Olga'-appeared originally through Willi Schneider, and the sitters very naturally questioned her concerning her antecedents.

Olga stated that her full name was Olga Lintner, known previously as Lola Montez, the international adventuress.

No one accepted 'Lola'-or ' Olga'- seriously, and to this day the mystery of Rudi's psychic ' guide, philosopher, and friend' has never been cleared up.

Spirit helpers rarely do give their real identity.

Rudi's first real seance was held in November 1919 at his home in Braunau. A police inspector, a naval captain from Trieste, and a customs' officer were among the sitters. The seance was successful, and a tiny materialized hand made its appearance as part of the phenomena. And so from there more interest was generated and Rudi started to get involved in scientific investigation.

Studies by Dr. A. Baron von Schrenck-Notzing

Rudi with Mitzi

Dr. Albert Baron von Schrenck-Notzing  was a Physician and psychic researcher. Rudi was initially studied extensively, in a long series of experiments, by him. 

At the time of the start of these studies the two Schneider boys - Rudi and Willi Schneider - were still children.  As time went on the experiments became more sophisticated with more electrical equipment being used as a means of controlling the experiments.

Baron von Schrenck-Notzing had arranged ‘a most elaborate programme’ for 1929, along with a Herr Karl Krall- using a system of control, partly electrical and partly tactual, which was to ‘silence the Critics for ever’. The experiments were to have been conducted in Krall's laboratory, just outside Munich. But this was not to be; the early weeks of 1929 witnessed the sudden deaths of both Krall and the Baron.  Remembering this was the time of the rise of the Nazis, the deaths were not without suspicion.

Harry Price then decided he needed to step in and he visited Munich in March 1929, to ascertain what was happening to the Schneider boys. He found that Willi had passed his final dental examination and was busily engaged in his profession but that Rudi was still in Munich, more or less undecided as to his future movements, but engaged, pro-tem, in assisting Herr Karl Amereller, a clever electrician, who had fitted up Krall's laboratory. And from this we get our first observation as Amereller arranged a séance for Price.

Arranging a visit to London by Rudi

 

Price’s séance on March 21st at Herr Amereller's flat convinced him that Rudi was worth approaching with a view to his coming to London. He enlisted the help of Baroness von Schrenck-Notzing and as a consequence Rudi agreed to visit the Laboratory. At the time that Harry Price investigated him in January 1930, he was 21 ½ years old.

Dr. Gerda Walther and Amereller were also enthusiastic over the idea and did much to convince Rudi that though he would be among strangers he would be treated with kindness and courtesy. As Price said, part of the deciding factor was that “I promised Rudi that he should fly to London, as the boy has a passion for travelling by aeroplane”.

The only difficulty to be surmounted was whom should accompany Rudi to London, because it was obvious the boy could not travel alone. Also, he had to have a companion in London to go about with him. In case of illness, too, it was imperative that the boy should have a friend by his side.

The names of three persons suggested themselves to Price, viz., Dr. Gerda Walther, Major Kalifius (a friend of the family, living in Braunau), and Herr Amereller. The most suitable of the three was, in Price’s opinion, Amereller. Major Kalifius was a regular attendant at the Braunau sittings, and on that account he was automatically ruled out. Dr. Walther was unsuitable ‘on account of her sex’.

Price also wanted Mr. Thomas H. Pierson (the secretary of the American S.P.R.) to see Rudi in action and as luck would have it, he and his wife were in London on an extended tour of Europe.  In the end Herr Amereller agreed to accompany Rudi and they arrived in London on April 10th.

 Harry Price
I take this opportunity of thanking both Herr Amereller and Rudi for placing their services at the disposal of science, and cheerfully record the fact that neither of them received one penny piece in cash, or received a present in any shape or form. Their tickets were procured for them, their hotel bill was paid for them, and we did our best to entertain them in a modest way. But apart from that they received neither cash nor kind, thus upholding the best traditions of scientific research.

 

Rudi Schneider in a trance  (head bowed) experimenting with Baron von Schrenck

The Harry Price experiments by the National Laboratory of Psychical Research

Rudi Schneider – A scientific examination of his mediumship – Harry Price

THE examination of the mediumship of Rudi Schneider was undertaken by the National Laboratory of Psychical Research for several reasons.

 - In the first place, I consider him the foremost physical medium known to psychists, and the only one (with the possible exception of Miss Stella C.) who will submit himself to the severe triple control and scientific conditions of the Laboratory.

Harry Price in his workshop at his home in
Pulborough, West Sussex

- Another reason why we have expended so much time, energy, and money on the Schneider investigation is because we wanted to settle the question, once and for all, as to the present status of the mediumship. The advent of the modern electrical system of controlling both medium and sitters decided us to make a systematic examination of the boy under séance conditions which defy valid criticism. Although I had previously satisfied myself that Rudi's phenomena were genuine to a high degree of probability, on account of the fact that my experiments were held in Austria and Germany I could not control the seances as we have been able to do in our own Laboratory. Also, the electric control was non-existent when I had the earlier seances with Rudi.

 -  A third reason why we were anxious to test Rudi in London was because we thought that it was highly desirable that the Press and public should be informed as to what psychical research really meant under modern scientific methods of investigation. That we have succeeded beyond our most sanguine hopes is proved by the fact that there is not a man, woman, or child in Great Britain who has not read about Rudi, his phenomena, and the conditions controlling the experiments. The British public has learnt more about scientific psychical research in the last few months than it did in the previous fifty years. … the public is at last beginning to realize the difference between modern organized scientific psychical research and ' spiritualism'.

 - But I think the principal reason why we decided to invite Rudi Schneider to London was because we were determined that official science should have an opportunity of witnessing for itself phenomena of unimpeachable genuineness under control conditions which had never previously been imposed upon any medium in this country. That the scientists have been deeply impressed is obvious from the reports which we publish herewith. Never before had orthodox science been able to experiment with such a brilliant medium under such perfect conditions of control.

The campaign against Rudi

Later experiments showing foot sensors

You will be able to see from the observations that the experiments undertaken with Rudi were witnessed by over 50 people unconnected with him, and furthermore were well controlled, carefully planned and meticulously documented.  

So successful were they that a great number of the ‘science as religion’ community went into a panic.  One cannot promote science as a religion attracting large sums of money unless, as a high priest of science, one has an answer for everything - preferably an entirely material one. 

And so those who promoted the new religion, with its promise of great power and wealth, got together to try to discredit the poor lad.  And the way they went about it was to invent – fabricate - séances he had supposedly undertaken in which he had been ‘exposed’.  None of these séances ever took place, but such was the concerted campaign against him that Rudi was forced eventually to give up.  As Harry Price said

Harry Price (1936). Confessions of a Ghost-Hunter
Rudi has been accused of producing spurious phenomena many times, by many persons. In 1924 Professor Przibram, of Vienna, accused him of evading control. On April 28, 1933, Professor Przibram wrote me: "We know that Rudi evaded control at the [Vienna] séances and we have no reason to believe that any of the phenomena we saw were of supranormal character."

Harry Price lost his nerve as a consequence of these false reports, thinking he had missed something and not suspecting ulterior motives, but lest we forget:

Harry Price - Rudi Schneider – A scientific examination of his mediumship
Rudi Schneider, … has exhibited signs of mediumship for a considerable period. He has been tested in various continental cities, by many investigators and different circles; he has produced his phenomena in several countries, and no trickery has been recorded against him. Professor Hans Thirring of Vienna was impressed by the phenomena he saw in 1924 and other competent observers have been convinced of the genuineness of what they have seen.

Professor Przibram of the University of Vienna never attended a séance.  To make the point again, Rudi was a trance medium.  He could not have faked anything because he was not conscious.  It is interesting that in fabricating their evidence against the poor lad, the ‘scientists’ describing these so called séances, gave accounts that simply did not tie in with the way in which Rudi worked – in general he was controlled by the afore mentioned spirit entity called ‘Olga’. 

So desperate were those frightened by his powers to maintain ‘science as religion’, not only did they invent non existent séances, they invented ludicrous means by which the entire room colluded with him to trick the one scientist [or journalist] there.

William Reuter, William. (1941) -  An Objective Study in Extra-sensory Perception
In Rudi's home in Braunau, Vinton found that any of the phenomena were possible because of the cooperation of confederates both in the circle and in the cabinet, combined with the use of reaching rods.

One would have thought reaching rods, whatever they are, would have been a little obvious and rather difficult for an unconscious boy to manipulate.   And it rather stretches credulity to imagine that the entire room contained people whose only objective was to fool a journalist.  People who attend séances have a tendency to want to see things happen, not fool journalists. This is what Harry Price said:

I have often wondered why Vinton descended on the boy's home like a bolt from the blue, why this tiro should have chosen the Schneiders to experiment with I can only surmise; but apparently the journey to Austria was worthwhile, since he filled 45 pages telling us what ought to have happened but didn't.  Mt Vinton tells us that he supplied Herr Schneider with 'unlimited beer' and 'led him on'.

There is another greatly worrying aspect to this attempt to discredit a boy.  It is the readiness by which numerous – and I do mean numerous – other writers were willing to accept the hearsay of an extremely small number of people whose motive was dishonourable – and repeat it.  In other words this was science as belief system at its very worst.

  • Julian Franklyn, (2003). Dictionary of the Occult - repeats the lies and elaborates them with additions of his own
  • Donovan Rawcliffe, (1988). Occult and Supernatural Phenomena, not only repeats the lies but adds some rhetoric of his own "Rudi, and his brother Willi, had been repeatedly and comprehensively exposed as fraudulent tricksters”.  No, untrue.
  • Rosemary Guiley (1994). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits – at least has the courtesy to recognise that other motives may be afoot and carefully words her entry as follows  "The first major controversy erupted following publication in the metaphysical journal Psyche of a hypothesis of fraud that involved a confederate sneaking into the séance room unobserved. The article was written by an American journalist, W. J. Vinton

Notice it is the same names each time.  Vinton was paid a substantial sum to invent whatever he could – he was a journalist.  And here we have proof that there was indeed very nasty work afoot.  This is a quote from a recent book - no names to save embarrassment

"In August 1926 Dr. E. J. Dingwall, accompanied by the American journalist W. J. Vinton, again visited Braunau for sittings with Willi and Rudi. They hoped to substantiate Dingwall's theory that the sittings in the Schneider Home were fraudulent, perpetrated by the various members of the family.”

Dr Dingwall had no theory.  In the first place his name was Mr E J Dingwall and in the second, he had accompanied Harry Price to Munich in 1922 through the kindness of Baron Schrenk.

Harry Price - Rudi Schneider – A scientific examination of his mediumship
These seances at Munich were to all intents and purposes under our own control.  We examined everything, affixed our seals to the seance room door etc and after the seances Dingwall and I signed statements to the effect we had witnessed genuine phenomena, which included the starting and stopping of a musical box in a gauze cage to order.  The box also wound itself up....

Mr Dingwall was happy for the article in Psyche magazine to be published in April 1923.

So it was the same small number of people over and over again attempting to discredit Rudi and his family.  And the objective was money and a belief system that needed to be defended.

The Inquisition lives and its name is ‘science as religion’, because as we can see, it ceased to be science years ago.

Death

 

In The Strange Case of Rudi Schneider (1985), Anita Gregory concluded that any objective person who studied Schneider's life and his mediumship would form the impression that he was possessed of remarkable psychic abilities.

From being a boy of 11, he had permitted himself to be thoroughly investigated by psychical researchers and had willingly accepted whatever strenuous conditions they chose to impose.

In Gregory's assessment:

"there is not one iota of evidence to suggest that he was ever in his life anything other than transparently honest."

Today, psychical researcher John Beloff has decreed Rudi Schneider's mediumship to be rightly considered among the most authenticated in the annals of psychical research.

Schneider married his girlfriend and settled down away from all the back stabbing and negativity of the ‘science as religion’ era, but until his death on April 28, 1957, at the age of only 49, Rudolf Schneider continued to indulge various researchers who wished to test his mediumship, and he generously shared his talents with his friends and neighbours in Meyer, Austria, where he had supported his family by starting his own driving school.

References

Die Phenomene des Medium Rudi Schneider (The Phenomena of the Medium Rudi Schneider; 1933) - Dr. Albert Baron von Schrenck-Notzing 

Dr. Albert Baron von Schrenck-Notzing  was one of the best known and most persistent of the psychic researchers of his day, and devoted forty years to study and experiment, eventually equipping his own laboratory for the investigation of mediumship and frequently financing the publication of his own and others' reports in the whole field of parapsychology.

He first became interested in the study of psychics through his work as a medical student with hypnotism and the therapy of suggestion.   Because such physical phenomena as levitation, the movement of objects without apparent physical contact, and the seeming materialization of amorphous masses and phantom-like figures during seances have always aroused skepticism, Schrenck-Notzing took extreme precautions in an effort to prevent conscious or unconscious fraud during his investigations. Mediums were carefully searched before seances and were also required to wear tightly fitted seance clothing.  Their arms and legs and often their heads were held by investigations during trance.

These precautions did not save Schrenck-Notzing from criticism and even ridicule when he reported the occurrence of physical phenomena at such sittings. But he doggedly continued his efforts to prove to others what he considered the reality of materialization and other physical phenomena.

Rudi Schneider – A scientific examination of his mediumship, compiled by Harry Price (Honorary Director, National Laboratory of Psychical Research).

 We have the original book, printed by Methuan [price 10/6] dated 1930 and as an added bonus signed by Harry Price himself in July 1930, as such we can be sure no ‘adaptations’ have taken place to this evidence.

The book provides a very detailed account of 26 experimental séances held in London during 1929-30 with Rudi.  As the photographs of the equipment and the actual description word for word is so important to this evidence, we have simply scanned it in and each scanned entry is in the observation as a copy.

As you will see from the scanned entries, Rudi managed to produce – in a trance condition – materialised limbs, movements of objects without physical contact, cold breezes plus many more very interesting phenomena.  The experiments were witnessed by a great number of eminent scientists of the time under conditions of control ‘never previously imposed upon any medium in any country’.

The monograph according to the introduction, represents the fullest report of any physical medium ever investigated under modern laboratory methods of psychical research.  Included in the observations are the personal observations of Lord Charles Hope, Dr Wiliam Brown, Dr F C S Schiller, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Professor A F C Pollard, Dr Eugene Osty, Mr C E M Joad, Mr Shaw Desmond, and Mr Will Goldston.

Observations

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