Stanisława Tomczyk

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Tomczyk, in trance, levitates scissors as psychologist Julian Ochorowicz watches. Wisła, Poland, 1909.[1][2]

Stanisława Tomczyk was a Polish fraud in the early 20th century.


Stanisława Tomczyk was the subject of experiments conducted in 1908–9 at Wisła, in southern Poland, by the Polish psychologist Julian Ochorowicz. Reportedly he regularly hypnotized her for therapeutic purposes, and she claimed to be controlled by an entity, "Little Stasia" ("Stasia" being a diminutive of Tomczyk's given name, "Stanisława"), who said she was not the spirit of any dead person. Tomczyk claimed she could levitate objects without contact, stop the movement of a clock in a glass case, and influence the turn of a roulette wheel.

At the age of twenty, Tomczyk was arrested during a riot and jailed for ten days. The experience is said to have caused her hysteria and mental dissociation.[3]

In Great Britain, between 2 June and 13 July 1914, Tomczyk was tested in eleven sittings by the Society for Psychical Research. The investigation committee included electrical engineer Mark Barr, V. J. Woolley, W. W. Baggally and Everard Feilding. The informal experiments admittedly not subject to rigid control obtained "inconclusive results". The most striking demonstration was the momentary levitation of a celluloid ball some 9 inches above a table, with her hands about a quarter-inch away.[4]

Scientists suspected that the telekinesis Tomczyk was performing involved the use of a fine thread or hair, running between her hands to lift and suspend the objects in the air. This was confirmed when psychical researchers who tested Tomczyk occasionally observed the thread.[5]

Tomczyk (left) and magician William Marriott (right), who duplicated by natural means Tomczyk's trick of levitating a glass beaker

On one occasion Ochorowicz saw a black thread between her hands, and in numerous photographs taken by him and later investigators a thread was sometimes visible.[6]

Tomczyk's levitation of a glass beaker was exposed and replicated in 1910 by the magician William S. Marriott by means of a hidden thread.[7]

Personal life[edit]

In 1919 Tomczyk married the psychical researcher Everard Feilding, secretary of the Society for Psychical Research.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Stanisława Tomczyk photo description at Diomedia". Archived from the original on November 18, 2013. Retrieved November 18, 2013. Description page at a stock photo agency representing the Mary Evans Picture Library, where the date is also given as 1909. She visited the researcher in 1908 and 1909; hence, the exact date is uncertain at this time and reported as 1908 elsewhere.
  2. ^ "The Sketch. A journal of art and actuality". Digital Library. 70: 277. June 8, 1910. Retrieved November 17, 2014.
  3. ^ Anderson, Rodger. Psychics, Sensitives and Somnambules: A Biographical Dictionary with Bibliographies. McFarland. p. 174
  4. ^ "Journal of the Society for Psychical Research". Digital Library. 17: 24, 25. February 1915. Retrieved November 18, 2013.
  5. ^ Carrington, Hereward (1992) [1931]. Story of Psychic Science. Kessinger Publishing. p. 136. ISBN 978-1564592590.
  6. ^ Benjamin B. Wolman. (1977). Handbook of Parapsychology. McFarland & Company. p. 320. ISBN 978-0442295769
  7. ^ Pearson's Magazine. June 1910. C. Arthur Pearson Ltd. p. 615
  8. ^ Buckland, Raymond (2005). The Spirit Book: The Encyclopedia of Clairvoyance, Channeling, and Spirit Communication. Visible Ink Press. ISBN 9780780809222. Feilding's name is often misspelled 'Fielding', as here.
  9. ^ Lewis Spence. (2003). Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. p. 327. ISBN 978-1161361827