Mrs. Piper & The Society For Psychical Research
Author: Noralie Robertson, Varla Ventura
Paranormal Parlor – A Weiser Books Collection
eISBN # 978-1-61940-006-1
Weiser Books currently has two paranormal digital book collections – “Magical Creatures” and “Paranormal Parlor”. I just found out about this, and find them to be incredible offerings! “Mrs. Piper & The Society For Psychical Research” , by Noralie Robertson, was originally published by Scott-Thaw Company in 1904, in New York.
To this day we see both people and organizations who’s sole purpose in life is to “debunk”, or prove false or fraudulent, those who serve as mediums or channels. The story that unfolds in this book concerns a Victorian medium by the name of Mrs. Piper, and a fifteen year study of her sittings conducted by the Society For Psychical Research. In the editor’s notes it is remarked that the paper being presented, by French critic M. Sage has been “slightly abridged” by the translator, in order to reduce vagueness and remove material that was superfluous to the understanding of Mrs. Piper.
The introduction is by the President of the Society, Oliver Lodge. He notes that the investigation of Mrs. Piper, which began in 1887, was the most thorough made under the auspices of the society. Already know tot he Professor of Psychology at Harvard, she was brought tot he attention of the British Society by Dr. Richard Hodgson. The material contained in this book came from a book written by a French writer, M. Sage. Lodge states that he had some misgivings about an English translation before it began, and felt that those misgivings were warranted after he saw the translation. As they were intended in the original version, there was harmony in the work. In the English translation, they appear less appropriate.
The objectives of the Society are stated, which are (and I paraphrase here): (1) an examination of the nature and extent of any influence of one mind upon another, other than through recognized sensory channels, (2) the study of hypnotism and mesmerism, and the alleged phenomenon of clairvoyance, (3) a careful investigation of an apparitions coinciding with some external event (if strong evidence warrants), (4) investigation into alleged phenomenon such as extra-human intelligence, (5) collection and collation of existing materials bearing on the history of these subjects. The aim at all times was to do so without prejudice. It is also noted that women were accepted into this society with full status!
Mrs. Piper was an American medium who hosted,amongst others, the entities of a French doctor (Dr. Phinuit), a young man by the name of George Pelham, and Rector. She lead a normal life until she developed a tumor, at which time her husband’s family encouraged her to visit a spiritualist medium who gave medical consultations (J. R. Cocke). It was he who detected her ability to become a medium, and encouraged her to do so.
There are stories within stories in this book. On the surface, it is a gathering together of the accounts of various people from the Society that arranged sittings for Mrs. Piper, and recorded the proceedings: who was asking the questions (I.e who the sitting was for), the control (entity) that presented themselves, how Mrs. Piper went into her trance, what entities from the other side wanted to be heard, and how Mrs. Piper came out of the trance. The controls are commented on, as well as the accuracy of the information that was brought through.
It seems that one of the issues was getting names correct – there might be several names that ‘sounded alike” before the control came up with the correct name. The questions themselves were phrased in such a manner as to not provide a hint of the answer that was being looked for.
One very interesting thing was commented on that I was not aware of, and that was that two entities could enter the host at the same time. One spoke verbally, the other wrote through the host’s hand. There were operating on completely separate levels.
Other interesting information came out of this study, including the fact that the entities that come through the host have specific views about those of us on this side of the veil. We see them in a certain way, and they see us in a certain way!
I liked what was presented here. It helps that this material covers a fifteen year study, so we have some clues tot he character of the medium (Mrs. Piper), as well as to the entities that came through. If you are at all interested in mediums, mediumship, and the method by which they are studied, then this is a good book to add to your library.
© October 2011 Bonnie Cehovet