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Our future, our universe, and other weighty topics

Thursday, May 12, 2022

More Ladies of the Second Sight

Two of the most famous clairvoyants were men, the brothers Alexis Didier and Adolphe Didier. In the posts here and here I discuss some of the astonishing evidence they provided for paranormal phenomena. But it rather seems that female clairvoyants are more common than male clairvoyants (just as it seems that female mediums are more common that male mediums).  In previous posts I discussed some very dramatic cases of female clairvoyants such as:

  • The case of Mrs. Croad and five other female clairvoyants, discussed here;
  • the similar and even more astonishing case of Mollie Fancher, discussed here;
  • the equally astonishing case of Mrs. Morel, discussed here;  
  • the equally astonishing case of Emma, a clairvoyant whose abilities were described at length by physician Joseph Haddock, as discussed here;
  • the equally astonishing case of Semantha Mettler, discussed here;
  • the equally astonishing case of Adele Maginot, discussed here;
  • the no-less-astonishing case of "E,"discussed here, a female clairvoyant that William Gregory (a professor of chemisty at Edinburgh University) stated "frequently exhibited direct clairvoyance in every form, not only in those just mentioned, but also in that of seeing prints or pictures shut up in boxes." 

Below are some additional cases of female clairvoyants. In the 1898 book Glimpses of the Unseen by B. J. Austin we read of tests of a clairvoyant female in  France:

"He  had  been  told  that  the  patient  could  see through  the  darkest  substance,  and  read  writing  and  letters  through  walls.  He asked  if  this  were  really  the  case,  to  which  she  replied  in  the  affirmative.  He therefore  took  a  book,  went  into  an  adjoining  room,  held  with  one  hand  a  leaf  of this  book  against  the  wall,  and  with  the  other  took  hold  of  one  of  those  that were  present,  who,  joining  hands,  formed  a  chain  which  reached  to  the  patient, on  whose  stomach  the  last  person  laid  his  hand.  The  patient  read  the  leaves that  were  held  to  the  wall,  which  were  often  turned  over,  and  read  them  without making  the  smallest  error....This  narrative  contains  nothing  that  is  not  confirmed  by  numberless  experiments ;  one  circumstance  is,  however,  remarkable,  that  the  lady  in  question can  read  at  a  distance,  without  coming  into  immediate  contact,  when  a  line  of persons  take  hold  of  each  other's  hands,  the  first  of  whom  lays  his  hand  upon the  pit  of  the  heart — not  of  the  stomach,  which  has  nothing  to  do  with  the matter — and  the  last  holds  the  letter ;  however,  she  reads  through  neither  the partition  nor  the  wall,  but  through  the  soul  of  him  who  holds  the  book  or  letter. "

In pages 354-355 of Glimpses of the Unseen (quoting a story in the Duluth Herald  of  February 13th, 1897) we have an account of a female clairvoyant named Ethel Gilliam who woke up blind after being put in a glass case when it was assumed she was dead.  We read this:

"An  examination  then  showed  that  the  child  was  totally  blind,  though every  other  faculty  was  perfect.  Although  blind  she  seemed  endowed  with  a wonderful  power  that  enabled  her  to  read  and  see  by  the  sense  of  touch  alone...Although  blind,  this  girl  can  read  by  passing  her  fingers  over  the  printed or  written  page,  and  can  describe  persons  whose  pictures  were  handed  to  her... Mr.  Gray  first  handed  the  sick  girl  his  watch,  and she  told  him  it  was  a  gold  watch, and  the  time  of  day  by  passing  her  lingers  over the  glass. To  make  sure  that  her  power  was  genuine  a  paper  was  held  between  her face  and  a  photograph  that  Mr.  Gray  handed  to  her,  and  she  described  the picture  perfectly  as  that  of  an  old  gentleman  with  gray  whiskers,  wearing  a  dark suit  and  a  cravat.  She  read  from  books  and  papers  handed  to  her,  by  the  use of  her  fingers.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Gray  tell  many  other  wonderful  things  in  relation  to this  child.  She  has  now  been  ill  ten  days,  and  has  not  been  able  to  digest  any food." 

We again have a case of transposition of the senses, one documented also in the case of Mrs. Croad described here, and also in my posts herehereherehere and here.

In one book we read of a clairvoyance experiment of a hypnotized subject in Russia:

"They then started on an imaginary trip to Mr. M.'s apartment, M. telling the subject to ask the name of the servant. ‘ I don’t feel it’s the right thing to do,'  said E. ‘ Never mind, do it.' She says she's called Dunia,' said the subject. This was correct. They then entered the hall and there was an old helmet above the door. ' What's in it? ' asks M. 'Some old bones,' answers E. Indeed, there was a skull inside the helmet. "

In Italy in 1851 a 26-year-old female named Orsola Bajo produced very impressive results in a series of stringently designed tests of clairvoyance. In a scholarly book we read this:

"Six sittings were held with her from 3 to 19 January 1851...According to the report, it was possible to establish the fact of vision with eyes closed and perfectly bandaged (13, p. 31). The eyes were covered over with cotton and with a thick and wide coloured scarf, wrapped round eight times. All those present superintended the bandaging, some testing it on themselves, and all agreed that it was absolutely impossible for the patient to see. Besides, in the course of the first sitting the cotton and the shawl were substituted by a mask, consisting of two pieces of cardboard stuck together, which hermetically sealed the eye sockets. Bajo correctly read several words written in printed characters on little pieces of cardboard which were given her to hold and which were unknown to the [hypnotist], who stood at several paces distant with his face turned away. In the course of the sitting Bajo succeeded several times in distinguishing various colours (handkerchiefs, playing cards), in counting exactly the number of persons present and in recognizing those persons who were presented to her and the positions they assumed, in distinguishing the value of playing cards and naming various other objects shown to her. Few errors were noted....This series of experiments may be considered particularly interesting on account of various factors present : firstly they were all conducted within a hospital and there were always present qualified persons representative of the medical faculty of the said hospital....During the course of the sittings, moreover, precautionary measures were also taken which, even if not entirely satisfactory, can be considered among the more scrupulous of those generally adopted, as compared with similar experiments conducted in Italy at the same period. The results, especially with the subject Bajo, are very, perhaps excessively, surprising: almost no mistake in the clairvoyant experiments."

In the account below, we read of apparent clairvoyance of a woman named Marie in Belgium:

"Sometimes when on his way to Marie, Lafontaine bought a book at some bookseller’s shop, a book of which he knew only the title at the moment of buying. Hardly had Marie been put into the somnambulistic condition than she named the title of the book just purchased, its author, and what was still more remarkable, she said whether it was a good or a bad book and whether it would interest Lafontaine or bore him. Then, upon his request and without her having touched the book or before the book had been opened in her presence, she read a sentence on a certain page indicated and of which he did not have the slightest knowledge, having himself not read the book or even having opened it (8, i, p- 65). Lafontaine stated that he obtained from Marie all kinds of information about what his friends were doing, what they experienced and what was happening in their entourage. He had often the greatest pleasure in seeing his friends become completely dumbfounded when he related to them what they had done or said or even thought in the greatest secrecy a short time before."

Later we read this about the same Marie:

"Lafontaine goes on to remark that Marie’s somnambulism was in a high degree of a clairvoyant ( lucide) nature. She could with the greatest ease perceive what happened in rooms other than the one in which she found herself. This also was the case with events happening outside her home. One day, for example, she correctly announced to Lafontaine that a client was approaching her house and was going to order a suit of clothes to be made by her father who was a tailor (8, i, p. 72)."

Later in the same scholarly work we read of the astonishing powers of another female Belgian clairvoyant, the daughter of a highly respected writer. We read of another case of clairvoyance in a hypnotized subject (the "somnabulistic condition" refers to being put into a deep hypnotic trance):

"Lafontaine wrote that after having been present at a mesmerist’s sitting at Mons on 1 July, 1839, and on her way home, Mme Magauden, a young married woman of 19, fell into a somnam- bulistic condition. In that state she could divine all kinds of hidden and wrapped objects put in her hands or applied to her forehead. She could perceive the words 'Idjiez' and 'thélésie' penned on a piece of paper and presented to her in the middle of two opaque pieces of blank paper....When a closed box was placed in her hands she was able to say in a few moments that a ring of enamel with a dog’s head imprinted upon it could be found in that box. The statement was correct. For the second time the same box was presented to the young woman. But now she remarked that the box contained a small ring belonging to her sister; this, too, was the correct answer....In the somnambulistic state she was able to perceive a word or figures written on a piece of paper far away from her; she also correctly indicated two portraits and a miniature locked in a box. She could also say exactly what movements a person made who was completely outside her normal sight. All this and several other remarkable experiments Mme Magauden performed in the somnambulistic condition, and every time with excellent results. Lafontaine stated that a report of all the remarkable performances and mesmeric demonstrations given by the somnambulist was drawn up by Mme Félix de la Motte, who was Mme Magauden’s mother and herself a distinguished writer and literary critic....Mme Felix de la Motte and her daughter, Mme Magauden, were well-known and respected persons belonging to the higher Belgian society circles. The former had built up for herself an excellent literary reputation as a poetess and playwright, and there can be no reasonable doubt that the phenomena occurring in Mme Magauden’s somnambulistic state happened as described, and that Mme Magauden had suddenly developed into an excellent subject for the production of paranormal phenomena."


We read here of a case of what is called "transposition of the senses," in which vision capability seems to be displaced to some other part of the body. 

"One morning he stated (4, pp. 23-24) that his patient (Mrs. Millet, aged 19) had greatly heightened clairvoyant faculties. She could perceive clearly anything held before the pit of her stomach, e.g. a portrait which she could identify so clearly that she could even give the name of the person who was pictured thereupon. She could also tell the time on a watch that was held before her; and she could always name the exact minute to which the hands of the watches pointed. The various watches held before the pit of her stomach all differed in the time indicated. In a further instance (4, pp. 25 ff.) van Ghert stated that she not only could see very well by means of the pit of her stomach but she even assured them that she saw her sister walking in the Plantage (i.e. the plantation in Amsterdam). The sister was dressed in a new gown of a yellow colour that the somnambulist had never seen, and she said that the sister intended to visit her doctor at 1 o’clock. After investigating the matter it was found that the course of events had been precisely as the clairvoyant had indicated. The sister did take a walk in the Plantage, being dressed in a yellow gown. Next day the sister, with the same yellow dress on, came in order to be present at the magnetizing séance of the subject. When the subject awoke from the magnetic sleep, she declared that she saw her sister’s yellow dress for the first time."

The 1838 book An Introduction to the Study of Animal Magnetism by the Baron Dupotet de Sennevoy is a book that abundantly testifies to the reality of clairvoyance during hypnotic trances (at the time of its writing, the term "animal magnetism" was the most common term used for hypnotism). For example on page 109 we read of the clairvoyance of a girl named Arron. We read this: 

"This girl, when plunged in a state of somnambulism, answers with precision the questions put to her. Though she be asleep, she perceives not only such external objects as are around her, but also those which are concealed ; and, what is still more surprising, objects removed to a very great distance. Nay, she does more, she can divine the thoughts of those who put questions to her. Many physicians in this department went to pay her a visit, and they were all amazed on witnessing a phenomenon which all their science cannot explain."

Below we read of a conversation between this Arron and a newly arrived stranger:

' 'Who am I?' — 'You are a physician.' ' Whence do I come ? '  '---From Chartres.' ' Where is my house at Chartres ? ' — ' In a small street running down a declivity.'  ' Can you see my house ? ' — 'Yes, sir.' 'Is there any company in it?' — ' Yes, sir; four ladies, one old, two middle-aged, and one young lady.' ' For what purpose have I come in this part of the country?' — 'To see a female patient.' 'Where is her complaint?'— (Here she pointed to the part affected, which we cannot just now recollect.) ' Where did I dine ? '— ' At M.W '  'Was there a good dinner ? ' — ' Yes, sir.' ' Could you tell me what dishes we had?' — ' Certainly.' (She names every dish and its particular place on the table.) ' What do I hold in my hand ? '— ' A small wooden box.' ' What does it contain ?'  — ' Sharp little iron tools.' ' Now what have I in my hand ? ' — ' Some money.' ' How much ? ' — (She names the sum.) 'In what coins?' — (She specifies the various coins.) ' Can you tell me my thought at this moment?'—' Yes, sir.' ' Say it.'— 'I dare not ; I must not tell you.' ' Well, I will tell you : I think of giving you this money.' — ' So you do, sir ; but I could not say so.' All these answers were perfectly correct." 

In the same 1838 book we read of the phenomenon of being able to read regular text only with the fingers, a phenomenon which many witnesses have described very consistently in different parts of the globe, for more than two centuries. We read this:

"Other minutely detailed accounts of sight without the assistance of the eyes, will be found in a memoir by Dr. Delpit, on two nervous affections. 'One of the patients read,' says the author, 'and that very distinctly, when her eyes were hermetically closed, and by running her fingers over the letters. I made her read printed characters in this manner, both in the open day-light or in the most profound darkness, on opening the first book that came into my hand ; and oftentimes written characters, by giving her sundry notes, which I had prepared previous to my coming. Whether the sense of sight was in her case supplied by that of touch, I cannot tell ; but I affirm that she read fluently by running her fingers over the letters.' "

The book What Happens When You Die by Robert Crookall is one of several books of his filled with very many cases of out-of-body experiences, most of them reported directly to Crookall. In the book we get countless accounts of people who reported observing their bodies after floating out of them, often seeing a kind of "silver cord" connecting their floating "soul-body" or "astral body" and their physical body.  We also get some mention of female clairvoyance. On page 101 we hear that the distinguished psychologist Pierre Janet experimented with a woman named Leonie, who under hypnosis reported mentally traveling to the Paris laboratory of Charles Richet, and claiming that the lab had caught on fire. It was later found that the lab had caught on fire on the same day. On the same page we read of a traveling clairvoyance experience by a Mrs. Z, who reported that a particular person at a distant location had been struck by his wife. It was later found that the man had indeed been struck by his wife on that day.  

Then there is the case of Ellen Dawson, a name I mentioned only in passing in one previous post. The case is well worth a fuller discussion. The original source material is the July 1845 edition of the journal The Zoist, which you can read here. On page 226 an M. Hands begins telling us about Ellen. Hands notes severe medical problems suffered by Ellen, which he attempted to treat. He then states this: 

"One day Ellen being in the sleep-waking state, I observed her take up some publications which lay on the table and read the titles of them, by which I perceived she was clairvoyant. In order to test this faculty, I filled the tops of some pill-boxes with cotton and tied them over her eyes with a fillet of ribbon, taking care that the edges of the boxes should rest upon the skin ; still, she read and distinguished colours as before. I now placed her in a room from which I had shut out every ray of light, and then presented to her some of the plates in Cuvier's Animal Kingdom ; she described the birds and beasts, and told accurately the colour of each, as I proved by going into the light to test her statements. She also distinguished the shades and hues of silks, as indeed did her sister, who is also clairvoyant."

Hands then describes testing whether Ellen could perform what was called "traveling clairvoyance," a widely reported paranormal phenomena. In such tests a person would urge a clairvoyant to travel with him in imagination along some path that the person knew well but the clairvoyant knew nothing about (typically some distant home of the person doing the test).  Hands describes Ellen starting to pass the test very well, with her reporting that she saw Mrs. Hands playing cards and declaring a victory in a card game just as the hour that Mrs. Hands did do just that (page 229). We then read this on page 230:

"I now said let us leave the church. In travelling along, she perceived the castle. I wished her to visit it, and soon found from her observations she had entered the hall. ' Ob, what a large room ! ' she exclaimed, ' look at the beautiful painted windows.' I asked what she saw at the bottom of the hall, and she described the figures in armour, the flags, swords, and spears collected there; I told her to go down the steps into the housekeeper's room,— she there saw, or rather felt...a bald-headed old man, and a woman with spectacles. I knew these parties from the description. She now entered the dining-room, and there saw and described each painting it contained, particularly the one called ' the Tribute Money.' "

The narrative continues like this for several paragraphs, with Ellen apparently describing in great detail and accuracy various unusual architectural features in places she had never been to (page 230).  A bit later (page 231) we read this description of Ellen telling all kinds of details about a package she had never seen:

"A few days after this Mrs. H. returned by railway from Bristol. One of her boxes was left behind in that city, and she was told it should follow her by the next train, and that it would be in town by eight o'clock. Ellen came to my bouse whilst the servant was gone to inquire about the box ; I put her in the [hypnotic] sleep, and asked if she thought it would be lost, or whether it would come by the eight o’clock train ? Her reply was that it would not be lost— that it would not arrive at eight o’clock, but would come by the ten o’clock train; that we should not receive it that night, but at breakfast time on Sunday morning. Such proved to be the case. She also described many of the things in the box, especially a large doll, its dress, the colours, and even told Mrs. H. who it was for."

Ellen apparently could tell details in some paranormal way about some unseen person, for we read this on page 231:

"The clairvoyant became much interested in one of the daughters, and Mrs. H. asked ' where is that young lady’s mother ?'  Her countenance instantly assumed the most striking picture of pity. She made all present feel that grief which those only experience who have lost a mother, and exclaimed, ' She is dead and in her grave.'

' What did she die of?'

' Dropsy. Why did they bleed her ?' 

She died a few hours after the last bleeding."

Bleeding was an archaic medical practice in which blood would be drained from someone in hopes that it would improve their health.  The narrative next describes Ellen correctly describing the death (by poisoning) of another unseen person she had no normal knowledge of, although on the second try. Then we have much further narrative of Ellen's continued success at traveling clairvoyance, including apparently mentally finding the brother of Mr. Hands and correctly describing his distinctive finger ring (page 232).  On page 233 Hand describes Ellen as correctly describing details of Windsor and various other British locations.  Later on page 235 Ellen is apparently able to correctly describe many very distinctive details of a very troublesome sea voyage that a distant unseen subject was undergoing. 

Beginning on page 236, we have a narrative by Carolina Courtenay Boyle, who also attests at great length to the "traveling clairvoyance" of Ellen Dawson.  On pages 236 to 240 she describes going with Ellen on a mental journey to France, on which Ellen correctly describes countless details that were observed by Carolina but never seen by Ellen (who had not been to France).  On page 240 we read this:

"She also told me of a conversation 1 held eleven years ago in the church of Santo Spinto at Florence; described the person 1 was there with, and who has never been in England, and what objects (some of which were peculiar, and which she was a long time making out or seeing, as she told me) were around us at the time. Strange, passing strange, 1 admit; nevertheless, strictly true, I most solemnly declare. Ellen Dawson's discrepancies were those of one anxious to tell all, yet speaking too eagerly to be quite accurate; besides which, she  invariably corrected herself, and her details were then strictly true. And now, my dear sir, 1 will conclude. .. If I did not believe in Ellen Dawson’s clairvoyance, 1 could never again hope to believe in the evidence of my own senses, as no truth ever came home to me in so forcible a manner."

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