Eileen J. Garrett
Eileen Jeanette Vancho Lyttle Garrett (17 March 1893 – 15 September 1970) was an Irish medium and parapsychologist. Skeptics who have studied the mediumship of Garrett came to the conclusion that she had no genuine psychic ability.
Garrett was Born at Beauparc, County Meath in Ireland on 17 March 1893. Her parents committed suicide and Garrett went to live with her aunt. Garrett admitted she had a very unpleasant childhood and due to the anger of her aunt would "separate into a world of her own" where she could dissociate from her surroundings. She claimed to have developed psychic ability in her youth. She later married and claimed to hear voices and show symptoms of a dissociative identity disorder. Both Garrett and her husband believed she was on the "brink of madness", however, Garrett came to accept her condition and took up trance mediumship. The psychologist Jan Ehrenwald wrote that Garrett's claims of psychic ability could easily be explained by "megalomania... ideas of grandeur" as she experienced mental dissociation, hallucinations and had an eccentric disposition from her childhood.
Garrett married three times. Her first marriage was to Clive Barry and they had three sons all of whom died young and a daughter, Eileen Coly who took interest in psychical research. Garrett worked at a hostel for wounded soldiers during World War I.
In 1931 she was invited to the United States by the American Society for Psychical Research and performed experiments for various psychical researchers in both America and Europe until the 1950s. Garrett took part in "clairvoyance" tests. One of the tests was organised by Joseph Rhine at Duke University in 1933 which involved cards with certain symbols that were placed in a sealed envelope and participants were asked to guess their contents. Garrett scored 2,433 correct hits in 10,900 cards. She performed poorly and later criticised the tests by claiming that the cards lacked a psychic energy called "energy stimulus" and that she could not perform clairvoyance to order.
Garrett was not a proponent of the spiritualist hypothesis and attributed her mediumship not to spirits but to the activity of a "magnetic field". Garrett wrote "In all my years' professional mediumship I have had no "sign", "test" or slightest evidence to make me believe I have contacted another world." She considered that her trance controls were personalities from her subconscious and admitted to the parapsychologist Peter Underwood "I do not believe in individual survival after death".
The main trance controls of Garrett were known as "Abdul Latif" and "Uvani". In 1934 Garrett voluntarily submitted herself to an analysis by the psychologist William Brown and by word-association tests by the psychical researcher Whately Carington. The tests had proven that her controls were secondary personalities from her subconscious, organised around repressed material.
The psychical researcher Hereward Carrington with his colleagues also examined the trance controls in many séance sittings. They utilised instruments to measure everything from galvanic skin response to blood pressure and concluded from the results that the controls were nothing more than secondary personalities of Garrett and there was no spirits or telepathy involved.
On October 7, 1930 it was claimed by spiritualists that Garrett made contact with the spirit of Herbert Carmichael Irwin at a séance held with Harry Price at the National Laboratory of Psychical Research two days after the R101 disaster, while attempting to contact the then recently deceased Arthur Conan Doyle, and discussed possible causes of the accident. The event "attracted worldwide attention", thanks to the presence of a reporter. Major Oliver Villiers, a friend of Brancker, Scott, Irwin, Colmore and others aboard the airship, participated in further séances with Garrett, at which he claimed to have contacted both Irwin and other victims. Price did not come to any definite conclusion about Garrett and the séances:
It is not my intention to discuss if the medium were really controlled by the discarnate entity of Irwin, or whether the utterances emanated from her subconscious mind or those of the sitters. "Spirit" or "trance personality" would be equally interesting explanations - and equally remarkable. There is no real evidence for either hypothesis. But it is not my intention to discuss hypotheses, but rather to put on record the detailed account of a remarkably interesting and thought-provoking experiment.
Garrett's claims have since been questioned. The magician John Booth analyzed the mediumship of Garrett and the paranormal claims of R101 and considered her to be a fraud. According to Booth Garrett's notes and writings show she followed the building of the R101 and she may have been given aircraft blueprints from a technician from the airdrome. Archie Jarman who had known Garrett wrote an 80,000-word report on the topic concluding the séance information was valueless and that we should "best forget the psychic side of R-101; it's a dead duck— absolutely!" The researcher Melvin Harris who studied the case wrote no secret accomplice was needed as the information described in Garrett's séances were "either commonplace, easily absorbed bits and pieces, or plain gobblede- gook. The so-called secret information just doesn't exist."
- Many Voices: The Autobiography of a Medium (1968)
- Adventures in the Supernormal: A Personal Memoir (1968)
- The Sense and Nonsense of Prophecy (1950)
- Telepathy in Search of a Lost Faculty (1941)
- My Life as a Search for the Meaning of Mediumship (1938)
- Raymond Buckland. (2005). The Spirit Book: The Encyclopedia of Clairvoyance, Channeling, and Spirit Communication. Visible Ink Press. p. 157. ISBN 978-1578592135
- Melvin Harris. (2003). Investigating the Unexplained: Psychic Detectives, the Amityville Horror-mongers, Jack the Ripper, and Other Mysteries of the Paranormal. Prometheus Books. pp. 171-182. ISBN 978-1591021087
- Lewis Spence. (2003). Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. Kessinger Publishing. p. 366. ISBN 978-1161361827
- Jon Klimo. (1987). Channeling: Investigations on Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources. Jeremy P. Tarcher. p. 154. ISBN 978-1556432484
- Jenny Hazelgrove. (2000). Spiritualism and British Society Between the Wars. Manchester University Press. pp. 127–128. ISBN 978-0719055591
- John Booth. (1986). Psychic Paradoxes. Prometheus Books. p. 193. ISBN 978-0879753580
- Rosemary Guiley. (1994). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits. Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 132–133. ISBN 978-0851127484
- Helene Pleasants. (1964). Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology with Directory and Glossary 1946–1996. New York: Garrett Publications. p. 118
- Arthur Hastings. (1991). With the Tongues of Men and Angels: A Study of Channeling. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. p. 43. ISBN 978-0030471643
- Jenny Hazelgrove. (2000). Spiritualism and British Society Between the Wars. Manchester University Press. p. 204. ISBN 978-0719055591
- Gordon Lewis. (1987). Confronting the Cults. P & R Publishing Company. p. 168. ISBN 978-0875523231
- Peter Underwood . (1983). No Common Task: The Autobiography of a Ghost-Hunter. George G. Harrap & Co Ltd. p. 56. ISBN 978-0245539596
- Daniel Cohen. (1971). Masters of the Occult. Dodd, Mead and Company. p. 211. ISBN 978-0396064077
- Hornell Hart. (1959). The Enigma of Survival. Rider. p. 138
- Peter H. Aykroyd, Angela Narth and Dan Aykroyd. (2009). A History of Ghosts: The True Story of Séances, Mediums, Ghosts, and Ghostbusters. Rodale Books. pp. 74–75. ISBN 978-1605298757
- Lawrence Samuel. (2011). Supernatural America: A Cultural History. Praeger Publishers. p. 64. ISBN 978-0313398995
- "R101". Retrieved 10 September 2011.
- James Leasor. (2001; first published 1957). The Millionth Chance: The Story of the R.101. London, House of Stratus. p. 181. ISBN 978-0-7551-0048-4.
- Harry Price. (1933). Leaves from a Psychist's Case-book. Gollancz. p. 132
- John Booth. (1986). Psychic Paradoxes. Prometheus Books. pp. 164–165. ISBN 978-0879753580
- Whately Carington. (1934). The Quantitative Study of Trance Personalities. Part 1. Preliminary Studies. Mrs. Garrett, Rudi Schneider, Mrs. Leonard. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 42, 173–240.
- Harold Grier McCurdy. (1961). The Personal World: An Introduction to the Study of Personality. Harcourt, Brace & World.