Daniel Dunglas Home

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Daniel Dunglas Home
Daniel Dunglas Home.jpg
Daniel Dunglas Home
Born (1833-03-20)20 March 1833
Currie, Scotland
Died 21 June 1886(1886-06-21) (aged 53)
Occupation clairvoyant, medium, psychic
Spouse(s) Alexandria de Kroll (m. 1858–62)
Julie de Gloumeline (m. 1871)
Children Gregoire
Parents William and Elizabeth Home (née McNeill)

Daniel Dunglas Home (pronounced 'Hume') (20 March 1833 – 21 June 1886) was a Scottish physical medium with the reported ability to levitate to a variety of heights, speak with the dead, and to produce rapping and knocks in houses at will. His biographer Peter Lamont opines that he was one of the most famous men of his era.[1] Harry Houdini described him as "one of the most conspicuous and lauded of his type and generation" and "the forerunner of the mediums whose forte is fleecing by presuming on the credulity of the public."[2] Home conducted hundreds of séances, which were attended by many eminent Victorians.

There have been eyewitness accounts by séance sitters describing conjuring methods and fraud that Home may have employed.[3][4]


Daniel Home's mother, Elizabeth ("Betsy") Home (née McNeill) was known as a seer in Scotland, as were many of her predecessors, like her great uncle Colin Uruqhart, and her uncle Mr. McKenzie. The gift of second sight was often seen as a curse, as it foretold instances of tragedy and death.[5][6] Home's father, William Home, was the illegitimate son of Alexander, the 10th Earl of Home.[5] Evidence supports the elder Home's illegitimacy, as various payments meant for William were made by the 10th Earl.[7] Elizabeth and William were married when he was 19-years old, and found employment at the Balerno paper mill. The Homes moved into one of small houses built in the mill for the workforce, in Currie (six miles south-west of Edinburgh).[8] William was described as a "bitter, morose and unhappy man" who drank, and was often aggressive towards his wife.[8] Elizabeth had eight children while living in the mill house: six sons and two daughters, although their lives were not fully recorded. The eldest, John, later worked in the Balerno mill and eventually managed a paper mill in Philadelphia, Mary drowned in a stream at 12-years old in 1846, and Adam died at sea at the age of 17 while en route to Greenland, which Home says he saw in a vision and reportedly confirmed five months later.[9][10]

Early life[edit]

Daniel Home was Elizabeth's third child, and was born on 20 March 1833. He was baptised by the Reverend Mr. Somerville three weeks after his birth at Currie Parish Church on 14 April 1833.[11] The one-year old Home was deemed a delicate child, having a "nervous temperament", and was passed to Elizabeth's childless sister, Mary Cook. She lived with her husband in the coastal town of Portobello, 3 miles (4.8 km) east of Edinburgh.[12] According to Home, his cradle rocked by itself at the Cooks' house, and he had a vision of a cousin's death, who lived in Linlithgow, to the west of Edinburgh.[13][14]


Home pondering a skull. A staged studio photograph typical of the era.

Sometime between 1838 and 1841, Home's aunt and uncle decided to emigrate to the United States with their adopted son, sailing in the cheapest class of steerage as they could not afford a cabin.[15] After landing in New York, the Cooks travelled to Greeneville, near Norwich, Connecticut.[16] The red-haired and freckled Home attended school in Greeneville, where he was known as "Scotchy" by the other students.[17] The 13-year old Home did not join in sports games with other boys, preferring to take walks in the local woods with a friend called Edwin. The two boys read the Bible to each other and told stories, and made a pact stating that if one or the other were to die, they would try and make contact after death.[17] Home and his aunt soon moved to Troy, NY, which is about 155 miles (249 km) from Greeneville, although Home in his own book stated it was 300 miles (480 km) away.[18] Home lost contact with Edwin until one night when Home, according to Lamont, saw a brightly lit vision of him standing at the foot of the bed, which gave Home the feeling that his friend was dead. Edwin made three circles in the air before disappearing, and a few days later a letter arrived stating that Edwin had died of malignant dysentery, which was three days before Home's vision.[19]

A few years later Home and his aunt returned to Greeneville, and Elizabeth Home emigrated from Scotland to America with the surviving members of the family to live in Waterford, Connecticut, which was 12 miles (19 km) away from the Cook's house.[20] Home and his mother's reunion was short-lived, as Elizabeth appeared to foretell her own death in 1850. Home said he saw his mother in a vision saying, "Dan, 12 o'clock", which was the time of her death.[9][20] After Elizabeth's death Home turned to religion.[21] His aunt was a Presbyterian, and held the Calvinist view that one's fate has been decided, so Home embraced the Wesleyan faith, which believed that every soul can be saved.[22] Home's aunt resented Wesleyans so much that she forced Home to change to Congregationalist, which was not to her liking, either, but was more in line with her own religion.[23] The house was reportedly disturbed by rappings and knocking similar to those that occurred two years earlier at the home of the Fox sisters. Ministers were called to the Cooks' house: a Baptist, a Congregationalist, and even a Wesleyan minister, who all believed that Home was possessed by the Devil, although Home believed it was a gift from God.[24] According to Home, the knocking did not stop, and a table started to move by itself, even though Home's aunt put a bible on it and then placed her full body weight on it.[25][26] According to Lamont, the noises did not stop and were attracting the unwanted attention of Cook's neighbours, so Home was told to leave the house.[27]


William Cullen Bryant, a poet, and editor of the New York Evening Post, who witnessed one of Home's séances.

The 18-year old Home stayed with a friend in Willimantic, Connecticut, and later Lebanon, Connecticut. Home held his first séance in March 1851, which was reported in a Hartford newspaper managed by W. R. Hayden, who wrote that the table moved without anyone touching it, and kept moving when Hayden physically tried to stop it.[28][29] After the newspaper report, Home became well known in New England, travelling around healing the sick and communicating with the dead, although he wrote that he was not prepared for this sudden change in his life because of his supposed shyness.[30]

Home never directly asked for money, although he lived very well on gifts, donations and lodging from wealthy admirers. 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.[31][32] In 1852, Home was a guest at the house of Rufus Elmer in Springfield, Massachusetts, giving séances six or seven times a day, which were visited by crowds of people, including a Harvard professor, David Wells, and the poet and editor of the New York Evening Post, William Cullen Bryant. They were all convinced of Home's credibility and wrote to the Springfield Republican newspaper stating that the room was well lit, full inspections were allowed, and said, "We know that we were not imposed upon nor deceived".[33] It was also reported that at one of Home's demonstrations five men of heavy build (with a combined weight of 850 pounds) sat on a table, but it still moved, and others saw "a tremulous phosphorescent light gleam over the walls".[34] Home was investigated by numerous people, such as Professor Robert Hare, the inventor of the oxy-hydrogen blowpipe, and John Worth Edmonds, a Supreme Court judge, who were sceptical, but later said they believed Home was not fraudulent.[34][35]

In his book, "Incidents in My Life", Home claims that on August 1852, in South Manchester, Connecticut, at the house of Ward Cheney, a successful silk manufacturer, he was reportedly seen to levitate twice and then rise to up to the ceiling, with louder rappings and knocking than ever before, more aggressive table movements and the sounds of a ship at sea in a storm, although persons present said that the room was badly lit so as to see the spirit lights.[36][37]

The reported levitation at Ward Cheney's house interpreted in a lithograph from Louis Figuier, Les Mystères de la science 1887.

New York was now interested in Home's abilities, so he moved to an apartment at Bryant Park on 42nd street. His most verbal critic in New York was William Makepeace Thackeray, the author of Vanity Fair. Thackeray dismissed Home's abilities as "dire humbug", and "dreary and foolish superstition", although Thackeray had been impressed when he saw a table turning.[38] Home thought that Thackeray was "the most sceptical inquirer" he had ever met, and as Thackeray made his thoughts public, Home faced public scepticism and further scrutiny.[39] Home travelled between Hartford, Springfield, and Boston during the next few months, and settled in Newburgh by the Hudson River in the summer of 1853.[40] He resided at the Theological Institute, but took no part in any of the theological discussions held there, as he wanted to take a course in medicine. Dr. Hull funded Home's studies, and offered to pay Home five dollars a day for his séances, but Home refused, as always.[41] 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.[42]


Home's name was originally Daniel Home, but by the time he arrived in Europe he had lengthened it to Daniel Dunglas Home, in reference to the Scottish house of Home, of which his father claimed to be a part.[43] In London Home found a believer in spiritualism, William Cox, who owned a large hotel at 53, 54 and 55 Jermyn Street, London. As Cox was so enamoured of Home's abilities, he let him stay at the hotel without payment.[44] Robert Owen, an 83-year-old social reformer, was also staying at the hotel, and introduced Home to many of his friends in London society.[45] At the time 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.[46]

Robert Browning, who wrote "Sludge the Medium" about Home.

Some early guests at Home's sittings included the scientist Sir David Brewster (who remained unconvinced), the novelists Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton and Thomas Adolphus Trollope, and the Swedenborgian James John Garth Wilkinson.[47][48] As well as Brewster, fellow scientists Michael Faraday and Thomas Huxley were prominent contemporary critics of Home's claims.[49] It was the poet Robert Browning however, who proved to be one of Home's most adamant critics. After attending a séance of Home's, Browning wrote in a letter to The Times that: 'the whole display of hands, spirit utterances etc., was a cheat and imposture'.[50] Browning gave his unflattering impression of Home in the poem, "Sludge the Medium" (1864).[51] His wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, was convinced that the phenomena she witnessed were genuine and their discussions about Home were a constant source of disagreement.[52] Frank Podmore writes of a Mr Merrifield's first-hand account of experiencing Home's fraudulence during a séance.[50]

Home's fame grew, fuelled by his ostensible feats of levitation. William Crookes claimed Home could levitate five to seven feet above the floor.[53] Crookes wrote "We all saw him rise from the ground slowly to a height of about six inches, remain there for about ten seconds, and then slowly descend."[54]

Home was investigated at the house of Crookes in a laboratory at Mornington Road, north London in 1871. In an experiment that involved a board and spring balance apparatus both Crookes and Edward William Cox attributed the phenomena of Home not to spirits but to a "psychic force".[55] The experiment was not repeatable and sometimes failed to produce any phenomena. The experiment was rejected and ridiculed by the scientific community for lack of scientific controls. In the experiment Home refused for Crookes to be near him and would draw attention to something on the other side of the room, or make conversation for diversionary signals.[56] In another experiment Home sat at a table, with Crookes and another observer on either side of him, each with a foot on one of Home's feet. Home inserted his hand inside a wire cage that was pushed under the table. One of Home's hands was placed on the top of the table, and the other inside the cage which held an accordion on the non-key side, so the keyed end was hanging downwards. The accordion was reported to have played musical sounds.[57] However, the amount of light in the room was not stated, and the accordion was not observed in good light. There was no evidence the accordion played at all, as the keys were not observed to have moved. Frank Podmore wrote the musical sounds could have come from an automatic instrument that Home had concealed.[58]

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..."[59]

In 1866, Mrs Jane Lyon, a wealthy widow, adopted Home as her son, giving him £60,000[60] 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.[51] 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,[61] 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.[62]

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle a spiritualist who supported the mediumship of Home stated that he was unusual in that he had four different types of mediumship: direct voice (the ability to let spirits audibly speak); trance speaker (the ability to let spirits speak through oneself); clairvoyant (ability to see things that are out of view); and physical medium (moving objects at a distance, levitation, etc., which was the type of mediumship in which he had no equal).[63]

Alleged levitation[edit]

Home met one of his future closest friends in 1867; the young Lord Adare (later the 4th Earl of Dunraven). Adare was fascinated by Home, and began documenting the seances they held. The following year, Home was said to have levitated out of the third storey window of one room, and back in through the window of the adjoining room in front of three witnesses (Adare, Captain Wynne, and Lord Lindsay).[64]

Lord Adare stated that Home "swung out and in" of a window in a horizontal position.[65] However, according to Joseph McCabe who wrote about the alleged levitation:

No one professes to have seen Home carried from window to window. Home told the three men who were present that he was going to be wafted, and he thus set up a state of very nervous expectation... Both Lord Crawford and Lord Adare say that they were warned. Then Lord Crawford says that he saw the shadow on the wall of Home entering the room horizontally; and as the moon, by whose light he professes to have seen the shadow, was at the most only three days old, his testimony is absolutely worthless. Lord Adare claims only that he saw Home, in the dark, "standing upright outside our window." In the dark—it was an almost moonless December night—one could not, as a matter of fact, say very positively whether Home was outside or inside; but, in any case, he acknowledges that there was a nineteen-inch window-sill outside the window, and Home could stand on that.[66]

Outside the house there is an extending ledge connecting the 19 inch balconies of each described window.[67] A few days earlier, scaring Lord Lindsay, Home had opened the same window, stepped out and stood on the outside ledge in the presence of two witnesses.[68]

Although it should be noted that, in his own written record, Lord Adare states that both windows were 'seven feet four inches apart' and that only 'a string-course, four inches wide, runs between the windows' [69]

Personal life[edit]

Home married twice. 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.[70] They had a son, Gregoire ("Grisha"),[70] but Alexandria fell ill with tuberculosis, and died in 1862.[71] In October 1871, Home married for the second, and last time, to Julie de Gloumeline, a wealthy Russian, whom he also met in St Petersburg.[72] In the process, he converted to the Greek Orthodox faith.[73]

In 1869 Lord Adare revealed in his diaries under the title Experiences in Spiritualism with D. D. Home that he had slept in the same bed with Home. Many of the diary entries contain erotic homosexual overtones between Adare and Home.[74]


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.[73][75]

Critical reception[edit]

Frank Podmore, a skeptic of Home's mediumship.

The psychologist Andrew Neher has written the spiritualist claim that Home was never caught in fraud does not hold up to scrutiny as he was caught utilizing tricks by at least four people on different occasions.[76]

At a séance in the house of the solicitor John Snaith Rymer in Ealing on July 1855, a sitter (Frederick Merrifield) observed that a "spirit-hand" was in fact a false limb attached on the end of Home's arm. Merrifield also claimed to have observed Home use his foot in the séance room.[77]

The poet Robert Browning and his wife Elizabeth attended a séance on 23, July 1855 in Ealing with the Rymers.[78] During the séance a spirit face materialized which Home claimed was the son of Browning who had died in infancy. Browning seized the "materialization" and discovered it to be the bare foot of Home. To make the deception worse, Browning had never lost a son in infancy. Browning's son Robert in a letter to the London Times, December 5, 1902 referred to the incident: "Home was detected in a vulgar fraud."[79][80]

Writing in the journal for the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Count Petrovsky Petrovo-Solovo described séances in which Home was caught using his feet to create supposed spirit effects. Home wore thin shoes, easy to take off and draw on, and also cut socks that left the toes free. "At the appropriate moment he takes off one of his shoes and with his foot pulls a dress here, a dress there, rings a bell, knocks one way and another, and, the thing done, quickly puts his shoe on again." Home held a séance for Eugénie de Montijo, and positioned himself between Montijo and Napoleon III. One of the séance sitters known as General Felury suspected Home was utilizing trickery and asked to leave but returned unobserved to watch from another door behind Home. He saw Home slip his foot from his shoe and touch the arm of the Empress, who believed it to be one of her dead children. The observer stepped forward and revealed the fraud, and Home was conducted out of the country: "The order was to keep the incident secret."[81]

The psychical researcher Guy William Lambert has written Home was a fraud who chose to host his séances in houses where disturbances caused by underground streams or railways were common.[82] Donald Serrell Thomas wrote Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, the French stage magician, was refused admission to Home's séances as were other magicians and skeptics.[78] Home was never searched before or after his séances. Science historian Sherrie Lynne Lyons wrote that the glowing or light-emitting hands in his séances could easily be explained by the rubbing of oil of phosphorus on his hands.[83] The journalist Delia Logan who attended a séance with Home in London claimed Home had used the phosphorus trick. During the séance luminous hands were seen and Logan noticed that Home placed a small bottle upon a mantle piece and then slipped the bottle into his pocket-upon examination the bottle was found to contain phosphorus oil.[84]

The researchers Frank Podmore (1910), Milbourne Christopher (1970), Trevor Hall (1984) and Gordon Stein (1993) were convinced that Home was a fraud and have provided a source of speculation on the ways in which he could have duped his sitters.[85][86][87][88]

Frank Podmore recorded that Home had a constant companion that sat opposite of him during his séances.[89] A lady acted as a medium and used to help Home during the séances attended by Henrietta Ada Ward.[90] In 1870 at a séance in the house of Home it was reported by the sitters that Home picked up a hot piece of coal from the fire, held it in his hand and placed it in the hands of others to then return it into the fire where it came from. The magician Henry Evans wrote that the coal handling was a juggling trick:

The "coal" is a piece of spongy platinum which bears a close resemblance to a lump of half burnt coal, and is palmed in the hand, as a prestidigitateur conceals a coin, a pack of cards, an egg, or a small lemon. The medium or magician advances to the grate and pretends to take a genuine lump of coal from the fire but brings up instead at the tops of his fingers, the piece of platinum.[91]

Between 1870 and 1873, chemist and physicist William Crookes conducted experiments to determine the validity of the phenomena produced by three mediums: Florence Cook, Kate Fox, and Home. Crookes' final report in 1874 concluded that the phenomena produced by all three mediums were genuine, a result which was roundly derided by the scientific establishment.[92] Crookes recorded that he controlled and secured Home by placing his feet on the top of Home's feet.[93] Crooke's method of foot control later proved inadequate when used with Eusapia Palladino, as she merely slipped her foot out and into her sturdy shoe. In addition, Crookes' motives, methods, and conclusions with regard to Florence Cook were called into question, both at the time and subsequently, casting doubt on his conclusions about Home.[94][95]

Home performing the accordion experiment.

In a series of experiments in London at the house of William Crookes in February 1875, the medium Anna Eva Fay managed to fool Crookes into believing she had genuine psychic powers. Fay later confessed to her fraud and revealed the tricks she had used.[96]

When Crookes published his report on the experiments with Home in the Quarterly Journal of Science in 1871 he did not mention the names of the other observers present in the room, four of whom were female. He also did not refer to any "spirits" in his report. Many years later in 1889 Crookes revealed in his Notes of séances with D. D. Home the names of the observers and claimed Home was in communication with spirits during the experiments.[97]

The experiments with Home took place in Crookes' self-built laboratory at the rear of his house. No plans of the laboratory have been found and there is no contemporary description of it. Crookes wrote the board and spring balance experiment was a success with Home and had proven "beyond doubt" the existence of a "psychic force." However, the experiment could be easily dismissed as the result of vibrations caused by the passage of Euston trains in the large railway cutting near his house in London.[98]

Edward Clodd wrote that Home chose his séance sitters and "if test experiments were suggested, he imposed the conditions."[99]

Joseph McCabe criticized the Crookes experiments for lack of scientific controls and wrote Home was "daily in and out of Crookes's laboratory, and it appears that he closely watched the development of the tests and was prepared in advance."[100]

The séances of Home never took place in full light. Home and his followers claimed that some of the séances took place in "light" but this was nothing more than a candle, or some glow from a fireplace. Home would adjust the lighting to his needs with no objections from his séance sitters.[101] For example, there is this report from a witness: "The room was very dark...Home's hands were visible only as a faint white heap".[102] The light conditions during Home's most famous feat of levitation were disputed, but some witnesses recorded that it was dark.

Regarding William Crookes, the magician Harry Houdini wrote:

There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that this brainy man was hoodwinked, and that his confidence was betrayed by the so-called mediums that he tested. His powers of observation were blinded and his reasoning faculties so blunted by his prejudice in favor of anything psychic or occult that he could not, or would not, resist the influence.[103]

Gordon Stein speculated on the deception of Crookes' testing devices (with diagrams) and gave an account of Home being caught with a vial of oil of phosphorus. During a Crookes test when Home "is not touching with his hands" there are objects just lying beneath his hands that his fingertips are touching, a small match box and a small bell. The measuring arm of Crookes' gauge does not exactly "move". It trembles.[104][105]

Barry Wiley wrote that Crookes' reports are unreliable as Home refused for Crookes to sit near him during the board and spring balance experiment and Crookes was occupied with writing notes. Wiley suggested that Home used resin on his finger tips to tamper with the apparatus in the experiment which managed to fool Crookes into believing a psychic force was being displayed.[106]

Before the accordion experiment with Crookes, Home had performed the accordion feat for over fifteen years under various conditions but always under his control.[107]

The psychologist Millais Culpin wrote the experiments of Crookes with Home were not scientific and questioned why the accordion experiment was done under the table instead of in a more convenient position on top of it.[108] It was reported by sitters and Crookes that Home's accordion played only two pieces, Home Sweet Home and The Last Rose of Summer. Both contain only one-octave. Home held his accordion with only one hand beneath a table.[105] The fraud medium Henry Slade also played an accordion while held with one hand under a table.[109] Hereward Carrington was unconvinced that Home played the accordion in a similar way to Slade from reading Crookes' reports.[110]

The magician Carlos María de Heredia claimed to have replicated the accordion trick of Home and suggested the secret to the trick was an accomplice playing a hidden accordion.[111]

Sketch showing how Home held the accordion.

Researcher Ronald Pearsall in his book The Table-Rappers (1972) suggested some different explanations for the accordion trick:

The two most prominent instruments at séances were probably the guitar and the accordion. The latter was one of Home's favourite props: his special instrument was ornately-decorated, with a very short keyboard. Its shape was dumpy and squat more like a concertina than an accordion. Except when it was playing by itself away from everyone, he held it beneath a table, his hands away from the keys. Stage conjurors, the most damaging witnesses against séance tricks, explained how it could be done. The accordion was on a loop of catgut, by which means Home could turn the accordion round. There was also on the market a self-playing accordion.[112]

Regarding the accordion songs Ruth Brandon considered the possibility of an accomplice playing a concertina, or Home playing a hidden music box.[113] The 19th century British medium Francis Ward Monck was caught using a music box in his séances that he had hidden in his trousers.[114] The British medium William Eglinton claimed to perform many of the same feats as Home such as levitations, movement of objects and materializations. All of his mediumship feats were exposed as tricks.[115]

Henry Evans suggested the accordion trick was Home playing a musical box, attached to his leg.[116] It has also been suggested that the "spirit hands" in the séances of Home were made of gloves stuffed with a substance. Robert Browning believed they were attached to Home's feet.[117]

Simon During wrote the levitation of Home was a magic trick and suggested that he borrowed it from the magician Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin.[118]

Skeptic James Randi stated that Home was caught cheating on a few occasions, but the episodes were never made public, and that the so-called spirit accordion was a one-octave mouth organ that Home concealed under his large moustache. Randi writes that one-octave mouth organs were found in Home's belongings after his death.[119] According to Randi 'around 1960' William Lindsay Gresham told Randi he had seen these mouth organs in the Home collection at the Society for Psychical Research.[120] The claim that the accordion trick was performed by Home using a small harmonica was originally suggested by J. M. Robertson in 1891.[121] The psychical researcher Eric Dingwall who catalogued Home's collection on its arrival at the SPR did not record the presence of the mouth organs, and Lamont speculates that it is unlikely Dingwall would have missed these or not made them public.[120] The accordion in the SPR collection is not the actual one Home used; a duplicate is displayed.[122]


  1. ^ Lamont, Peter (2005). The First Psychic: The Extraordinary Mystery of a Notorious Victorian Wizard. Abacus. ISBN 0-349-11825-6. , pxiii
  2. ^ Houdini, Harry (2011). A Magician Among the Spirits. Cambridge University Press. p. 38. ISBN 978-1-108-02748-9. 
  3. ^ Frederick Merrifield. (1903). A Sitting With D. D. Home. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 11: 76–80.
  4. ^ Gordon Stein. (1993). The Sorcerer of Kings. Prometheus Books. pp. 101-126. ISBN 978-0879758639
  5. ^ a b Lamont 2005 p5
  6. ^ Home "Incidents in my Life" 1863 p22
  7. ^ Journal of the Society For Psychical Research, vol 70, no.4, 246-48
  8. ^ a b Lamont 2005 p6
  9. ^ a b Home "Incidents in my Life" 1863 p20
  10. ^ Home "Incidents in my Life" 1863 p30
  11. ^ Lamont 2005 pp6-7
  12. ^ "Altered Dimensions". SparTech Software. Retrieved 2008-01-03. 
  13. ^ Lamont 2005 p8
  14. ^ Home "Incidents in my Life" 1863 p17
  15. ^ Lamont 2005 p13
  16. ^ Hoare, Philip (2005-09-10). "A talent for ectoplasm". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-01-05. 
  17. ^ a b Lamont 2005 p14
  18. ^ Home "Incidents in my Life" 1863 pp18-19
  19. ^ Lamont 2005 p15
  20. ^ a b Lamont 2005 p16
  21. ^ Fodor, Nandor. "News and articles on Mediumship Psi and survival". Survival after death. Retrieved 2008-01-05. 
  22. ^ Lamont 2005 pp16-17
  23. ^ Lamont 2005 p17
  24. ^ Lamont 2005 p18
  25. ^ Lamont 2005 p19
  26. ^ Home "Incidents in my Life" 1863 p25
  27. ^ Lamont 2005 p20
  28. ^ Lamont 2005 pp28-29
  29. ^ Home "Incidents in my Life" 1863 pp26-27
  30. ^ Lamont 2005 pp29-30
  31. ^ Doyle "The History of Spiritualism" volume 1, 1926 pp186-190
  32. ^ Home "Incidents in my Life" 1863 p62
  33. ^ Lamont 2005 pp30-31
  34. ^ a b Lamont 2005 p31
  35. ^ Griffin, A. M. "Experiences of Judge J. W. Edmonds, in Spirit Life. With a Poem, "The Home of the Spirit."". Mrs. Cora L. V. Tappan, 1876. Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  36. ^ Lamont 2005 pp31-33
  37. ^ Home "Incidents in my Life" 1863 pp62-63
  38. ^ Lamont 2005 p37
  39. ^ Lamont 2005 pp34-35
  40. ^ Lamont 2005 p35
  41. ^ Home "Incidents in my Life" 1863 pp70-71
  42. ^ Lamont 2005 p36
  43. ^ Lamont 2005 pp36-37
  44. ^ Lamont 2005 p43
  45. ^ Lamont 2005 pp43-44
  46. ^ Doyle "The History of Spiritualism" volume 1, 1926 pp188-192
  47. ^ Doyle "The History of Spiritualism" volume 1, 1926 pp193-195
  48. ^ The North British review 39. 1863. p. 175. 
  49. ^ The North British review 39. 1863. pp. 186–187. 
  50. ^ a b Podmore, Frank (2003). Newer Spiritualism. Kessinger Publishing. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-7661-6336-2. 
  51. ^ a b Public Domain Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Home, Daniel Dunglas". Encyclopædia Britannica 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 625–626. 
  52. ^ Lamont 2005 p50
  53. ^ Doyle "The History of Spiritualism" volume 1, 1926 p196
  54. ^ William Crookes quoted in Frank Podmore. (1902). Mediums of the 19th Century. Kessinger Publishing. p. 254. ISBN 978-0766131842
  55. ^ Lewis Spence. (2003). Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology. Kessinger Publishing. p. 195. ISBN 978-0766128156
  56. ^ William Hodson Brock. (2008). William Crookes (1832-1919) and the Commercialization of Science. Ashgate. pp. 138-148. ISBN 978-0754663225
  57. ^ Frank Podmore. The Newer Spiritualism. Henry Holt and Company. pp. 48-49
  58. ^ Frank Podmore. The Newer Spiritualism. Henry Holt and Company. p. 50
  59. ^ Een Vreemdelinge in Den Haag, Hella Haasse, 1984
  60. ^ Amy Lehman (2009). Victorian women and the theatre of trance: mediums, spiritualists and mesmerists in performance. McFarland. p. 145. ISBN 0-7864-3479-1. 
  61. ^ The Bar Reports VII, London: Horace Cox, 1868, pp. 451–457 
  62. ^ Doyle "The History of Spiritualism" volume 1, 1926 pp207-209
  63. ^ Doyle "The History of Spiritualism" volume 1, 1926 pp204-205
  64. ^ Doyle "The History of Spiritualism" volume 1, 1926 pp196-197
  65. ^ Adare "Experiences in Spiritualism" 1976 p83
  66. ^ Joseph McCabe. (1920). Is Spiritualism Based On Fraud? The Evidence Given by Sir A. C. Doyle and Others Drastically Examined. London: Watts & CO. p. 49
  67. ^ "ESP Extrasensory Perception", Chapter 5, Spiritualism, Spirits and Mediums, photograph page 63, by Simeon Edmonds, Wilshire Book co, 1975
  68. ^ Ivor Lloyd Tuckett. (1932). The Evidence for the Supernatural. Abridged edtiion, Chapter 2, The Value of Evidence, p.17
  69. ^ "D.D.Home, His Life And Mission" 1888 p236
  70. ^ a b Christiansen (2000) p.142
  71. ^ Christiansen (2000) p.147
  72. ^ Christiansen (2000) p.154
  73. ^ a b Christiansen (2000) p.156
  74. ^ Barry H. Wiley. The Thought Reader Craze: Victorian Science at the Enchanted Boundary. McFarland. p. 24. ISBN 978-0786464708
  75. ^ Lamont, 2005 p. 222-223
  76. ^ Andrew Neher. (2011). Paranormal and Transcendental Experience: A Psychological Examination. Dover Publications. pp. 214-215. ISBN 978-0486261676
  77. ^ Joseph McCabe. (1920). Spiritualism: A Popular History from 1847. Dodd, Mead and Company. pp. 110-112. A Mr. Merrifield was present at one of the sittings. Home's usual phenomena were messages, the moving of objects (presumably at a distance), and the playing of an accordion which he held with one hand under the shadow of the table. But from an early date in America he had been accustomed occasionally to "materialise" hands (as it was afterwards called). The sitters would, in the darkness, faintly see a ghostly hand and arm, or they might feel the touch of an icy limb. Mr. Merrifield and the other sitters saw a "spirit-hand" stretch across the faintly lit space of the window. But Mr. Merrifield says that Home sat, or crouched, low in a low chair, and that the "spirit-hand" was a false limb on the end of Home's arm. At other times, he says, he saw that Home was using his foot."
  78. ^ a b Donald Serrell Thomas. (1989). Robert Browning: A Life Within Life. Weidenfeld and Nicolson. pp. 157-158. ISBN 978-0297796398
  79. ^ Harry Houdini. (2011 reprint edition). Originally published in 1924. A Magician Among the Spirits. Cambridge University Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-1108027489
  80. ^ John Casey. (2009). After Lives: A Guide to Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. Oxford. p. 373. ISBN 978-0199975037 "The poet attended one of Home's seances where a face was materialized, which, Home's spirit guide announced, was that of Browning's dead son. Browning seized the supposed materialized head, and it turned out to be the bare foot of Home. The deception was not helped by the fact that Browning never had lost a son in infancy."
  81. ^ Count Petrovsky-Petrovo-Solovo. (1930). Some Thoughts on D. D. Home. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research. Volume 114. Quoted in John Casey. (2009). After Lives: A Guide to Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. Oxford. pp. 373-374. ISBN 978-0199975037 "He then saw the latter open the sole of his right shoe, leave his naked foot some time on the marble floor, then suddenly with a rapid and extraordinarily agile movement, touch with his toes the hand of the Empress, who started, crying "The hand of a dead child has touched me!" General Fleury came forward and described what he had seen. The following day Home was embarked at Calais conducted by two agents; the order was to keep the incident secret."
  82. ^ Guy William Lambert. (1976). D. D. Home and the Physical World. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. Volume 48. pp. 298–314.
  83. ^ Sherrie Lynne Lyons. Species, Serpents, Spirits, and Skulls: Science at the Margins in the Victorian Age. State University of New York Press. p. 95. ISBN 978-1438427980
  84. ^ Paul Kurtz. (1985). A Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology. Prometheus Books. p. 255. ISBN 978-0879753009
  85. ^ Frank Podmore. (1910). Newer Spiritualism. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-0766163362
  86. ^ Milbourne Christopher. (1970). ESP, Seers & Psychics. Crowell. ISBN 978-0690268157
  87. ^ Trevor Hall. (1984). The Enigma of Daniel Home: Medium or Fraud?. Prometheus Books. ISBN 978-0879752361
  88. ^ Gordon Stein. (1993). The Sorcerer of Kings: The Case of Daniel Dunglas Home and William Crookes. Prometheus Books. ISBN 978-0879758639
  89. ^ Podmore "Mediums of the Nineteenth Century, Part 1." 2003 p45
  90. ^ Memories of Ninety Years by Mrs E. M. Ward (Henrietta Mary Ada Ward), Henry Holt,2nd edition, 1925, page 102
  91. ^ Henry Evans. (1897). Hours With the Ghosts Or Nineteenth Century Witchcraft. Kessinger Publishing. pp. 106-107. ISBN 978-0766139305
  92. ^ Doyle "The History of Spiritualism" volume 1, 1926 pp230-251
  93. ^ Crookes 1874
  94. ^ Irwin, Harvey J.; Watt, Caroline (2007). An Introduction to Parapsychology (fifth ed.). McFarland. pp. 18–19. ISBN 0-7864-3059-1. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  95. ^ Hall, Trevor H. (1963). The spiritualists: the story of Florence Cook and William Crookes. Helix Press. 
  96. ^ The Skeptical Inquirer. (2000). Volume 24. Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. pp. 36-38
  97. ^ Barry H. Wiley. (2012). The Thought Reader Craze: Victorian Science at the Enchanted Boundary. McFarland. p. 28. ISBN 978-0786464708
  98. ^ William Hodson Brock. (2008). William Crookes (1832-1919) and the Commercialization of Science. Ashgate. pp. 45-147. ISBN 978-0754663225
  99. ^ Edward Clodd. (1917). The Question: A Brief History and Examination of Modern Spiritualism. Grant Richards, London. p. 87
  100. ^ Joseph McCabe. (1920). Spiritualism: A Popular History from 1847. Dodd, Mead and Company. p. 140
  101. ^ Barry H. Wiley. (2012). The Thought Reader Craze: Victorian Science at the Enchanted Boundary. McFarland. p. 26. ISBN 978-0786464708
  102. ^ Frank Podmore. (2003). Mediums of the Nineteenth Century. Kessinger Publishing. p. 233. ISBN 978-0766128538
  103. ^ Harry Houdini. (2011). A Magician Among the Spirits. Cambridge University Press. p. 205. ISBN 978-1108027489
  104. ^ Gordon Stein. (1993). The Sorcerer of Kings. Prometheus Books. ISBN 978-0879758639
  105. ^ a b Ruth Brandon. (1983). The Spiritualists: The Passion for the Occult in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Alfred E. Knopf. ISBN 978-0394527406
  106. ^ Barry H. Wiley. (2012). The Thought Reader Craze: Victorian Science at the Enchanted Boundary. McFarland. p. 36. ISBN 978-0786464708
  107. ^ Barry H. Wiley. (2012). The Thought Reader Craze: Victorian Science at the Enchanted Boundary. McFarland. p. 30. ISBN 978-0786464708
  108. ^ Millais Culpin. (1920). Spiritualism and the New Psychology: An Explanation of Spiritualist Phenomena and Beliefs in Terms of Modern Knowledge. E. Arnold. p. 126. "Sir William Crookes gives detailed accounts of marvelous happenings, but two mediums in whom he had implicit trust were detected in deliberate fraud by other people, so that his critical powers failed him. Some of his accounts show curious lapses. In one experiment an accordion is placed in a cage under the table and Mr. Home puts his hand into the top of the cage to do psychic things with the instrument. The temperature of the room is carefully recorded (that doesn't matter, but imparts a scientific flavor to the observations) although we are not told why the experiment was done under the table instead of in a more convenient position on top of it, though ' my assistant went under the table, and reported that the accordion was expanding and contracting,' and ' Dr. A. B. now looked under the table and said that Mr. Home's hand appeared quite still.' Sir William would never have made such an omission if he had been using the same reasoning powers that he used in his scientific descriptions."
  109. ^ Chung Ling Soo. (1898) Slate Writing and Kindred Phenomena. Munn & Company. Scientific American, New York City. pp. 105-106
  110. ^ Hereward Carrington. (1920). The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism. Dodd, Mead and Company, New York. pp. 376-377
  111. ^ Carlos María de Heredia. (1922) Spiritism and Common Sense. P. J. Kenedy & Sons. p. 68. "After a few minutes of expectation I give a signal to a friend behind the partition who plays a tune on another accordion. As he is invisible and as the source of the sound is not discoverable, especially when attention is riveted on the visible instrument, the effect is as convincing as the humbug is simple. The power of a demonstration is usually in direct ratio to the stupidity of the device that produces it. Sometimes my friend, taken up with his playing, fails to notice the signal to desist, and continues his tune after the accordion is no longer suspended. The effect of this little slip in arrangements is even more extraordinary on the auditors, as it was on Sir William Crookes."
  112. ^ Ronald Pearsall. (1972). The Table-Rappers. Book Club Associates. p. 88
  113. ^ The Skeptical Inquirer. (1983). Volume 8. Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. p. 166
  114. ^ Walter Mann. (1919). The Follies and Frauds of Spiritualism. London: Watts & Co. pp. 40-41
  115. ^ Montague Summers. (2010). Physical Phenomena of Mysticism. Kessinger Publishing. p. 114. ISBN 978-1161363654. Also see Barry Wiley. (2012). The Thought Reader Craze: Victorian Science at the Enchanted Boundary. McFarland. p. 35. ISBN 978-0786464708
  116. ^ Henry Evans. (1897). Hours With the Ghosts Or Nineteenth Century Witchcraft. Chicago: Laird & Lee. pp. 113-114. "The apparatus consists of a small circular musical box, wound up by clock work, and made to play whenever pressure is put upon a stud projecting a quarter of an inch from its surface. This box is strapped around the right leg of the medium just above his knee, and hidden beneath the trouser leg. When not in use it is on the under side of the leg. On the table a musical box is placed and covered with a soup tureen, or the top of a chafing dish. When the spectators are seated, the medium works the concealed musical box around to the upper part of his leg near the knee cap, and by pressing the stud against the under surface of the table, starts the music playing. In this way the second musical box seems to play and the acoustic effect is perfect. Perhaps Home used a similar contrivance; Dr. Monck did, and was caught in the act by the chief of the Detective Police."
  117. ^ Ronald Pearsall. (1972). The Table-Rappers. Book Club Associates. pp. 95-96. "Home's spirit hands seemed to be long kid gloves stuffed with some substance, and Browning thought that they were fixed to Home's feet. This was a device of some mediums, and in the dim light of the séance actual feet could simulate spirit hands, especially those of children or not quite materialised hands. Even when adjacent sitters were keeping their feet on the medium's shoes this could be accomplished by the use of metal toe-caps on the medium's boots. The foot could also double for a spirit baby. This could be strapped to the medium's belt until needed, or to the leg a few inches above the ankle. When the séance lights 'accidentally' went out, the medium could thrust a stocking foot into the dummy hand, and by resting the foot on the other knee, the spirit hand or spirit baby could peep over the table in an astounding manner."
  118. ^ Simon During. (2004). Modern Enchantments: The Cultural Power of Secular Magic. Harvard University Press. p. 161. ISBN 978-0674013711
  119. ^ Randi, James. "An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural". James Randi Educational Foundation. Retrieved 2008-01-05. 
  120. ^ a b Lamont 2005 p 302
  121. ^ Robertson, J. M. (1891). A Spiritualistic Farce. The National Reformer, September 20th.
  122. ^ Simeon Edmonds. (1975). Chapter 5 Spiritualism, Spirits and Mediums in ESP Extrasensory Perception. Wilshire Book Co.


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