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The power of ingenuity meeting the compulsion of credulity. I'm constantly amazed by the human desire to exploit others. If Mr. Zammit reads this latest posting, do you imagine he will reconsider his convictions regarding Mr. Thompson? However it plays out for him, it's heartening to see that your interest in this has stimulated the responses which help to cast light on those who would deceive us in the dark, as well as drawing attention to sources of genuine psi effects. I hope that your interest, and the interest of those who follow your blog, continues, as it seems a certainty that psi phenomena can tell us more about the nature of consciousness than we can rightly imagine, if only we give them effective investigation.

I am sure Florence Cook a 15 year old girl knew all of these tricks and knowing these tricks she and her mother asked the most famous scientist in England to verify her abilities totally convinced that these bag of tricks would fool Crookes.

Or better yet the mother of Florence believes she can entice Crookes into a torrid love affair with her daughter and have him and the other scientists and medical doctor fooled. Maybe but sounds pretty far-fetched to me.

If I were conning the public for money I would not want the most famous scientist in the land near me.

People are gullible usually due to fear of death or grief so we must be skeptical but please note some that post on here have already made up their mind that Thompson is a fraud.

We simply don’t have enough data yet to know. Let the data do the talking not beliefs. Easy to say hard to do. our opinions that are based in beliefs; well we just we love to share with others.

On the subject of Florence Cook, here is a very good article on her...

http://www.prairieghosts.com/florence.html

Cook subsequently admitted that the entire thing was a hoax, tho just looking at those "materialized" Katie King photos would tell you the same thing, Cooke and King were clearly one and the same.

Mark no they were not the same say katie was 6 inches then florence cook

'Katie' was none other than Miss Cook."
This is the core attack by skeptics on Crookes. If the materialized Katie was simply Florence in a white dress how would we account for the following evidence:
1. In many of the photographs that were taken, Katie King looking between 30 to 40 years whereas Cook was in her teens.
2. Katie being six inches taller than her medium.
3. The absence of a blister on Katie's neck.
4. The absence of perforations in Katie's ears (Florence always wore earrings).
5. The difference in complexion.
6. The difference in bodily proportion (Katie more voluptuous.)
7. The fact that Katie and Florence were seen together by eight people beside Crookes. One of them was Aksakoff, a Russian aristocrat, who reported how in one séance Katie King invited him to see for himself the medium Florence Cook 'deep in trance … sitting on a chair, with both her hands bound fast behind her back' (Cit. G. Zorab (1964: 174-5).
8. Katie King being reported to have appeared in Canada during the famous Dr G Hamilton materialisation seances.
9. Katie King appearing in Rome in 1974 (Noah's Ark Society website).
10. Katie King having dye on her hand which did not appear on Florence Cook's hand.
11. Katie King being observed dematerialising "like a wax doll melting before a fire": (Fodor 1966:222).
Crookes made points 1 to 8 in public repeatedly at the time and they were not contradicted by the many quality eye-witnesses. (See Crookes, Fodor, Medhurst and Bolton)

Florence Cook confessed to Anderson and M Bois that she and Crookes committed fraud during the séances."

These alleged confessions have NOT been independently substantiated. The alleged confessions have not been tested for validity. We allegedly have claims by two people, Anderson and M Bois, who allegedly were Florence Crooks' lovers. I submit the reasonable person uncommitted to this issue would NOT accept Anderson and Bois' allegations of confessions - especially, when it is not credible that a person would say these things against themselves. Indeed Mrs Goldney who apparently was acquainted with Anderson and witnessed his allegations did not accept them (see below).

Besides, as has been discussed above, identical experiments were successfully repeated by other investigators in the UK and in Berlin many years after Crookes retired.

Experts in security disinformation will tell you that it would be relatively easy to set up incidents to look genuine, using bribed "witnesses" the effect of which would be to destroy the credibility of a targeted person who could in Crookes' context, raise more than reasonable doubt about the validity of traditional reductionist science. There are allegations that this is being done even to-day.

I believe that Leo's two comments above are taken verbatim from Victor Zammit's Web site.

Please please please give credit when using someone else's words.

In the article I linked above, from PrarieGhosts [http://www.prairieghosts.com/florence.html], it mentions regarding Florence Cook, a very damning incident that occured with another materialized spirit control she had, named "Marie", that took place several years AFTER the Katie King seances ended...

"Florence went into a sort of retirement for six years but then returned to the Spiritualist scene manifesting a new spirit, this one named Marie. This new spirit partner managed to provide even more entertainment that Katie had, singing and dancing for the sitters at her séances. There was something about "Marie" that was beginning to bother people though...

At a séance in 1880, Sir George Sitwell noticed that Marie’s spirit robes covered corset stays, so he reached out and grabbed hold of her. He held on tightly to her and when he pulled aside Florrie's curtain, he found that the medium's chair was empty. He was not surprised to discover that he was holding onto Florence, clad only in her underwear.

After that, Florence would only perform if someone were tied up in the cabinet with her. On at least one occasion, a woman named Florence Marryat participated and she later testified that during Marie’s appearance, she was firmly tied to Florence in the cabinet. This wasn't enough to keep her audience though and Florence vanished into relative obscurity as a housewife in Monmouthshire. She gave her last séance in 1899 and passed away in 1904."

That would appear to be the death blow to her as a medium. She was CONFIRMED to have been caught cheating red-handed undeniably in one of her later "Marie" spirit control seances. She was using fraud in that case confirmably.

Regardless, the article also remarks, regarding Katie King, how time and time again, Crookes FAILED TO CHECK very important things in his investigation, regarding the veridical stuff that supposeably proved that Cook and King were seperate...

"In one of the remaining photos, we see Crookes walking arm in arm with the spectral Katie but even the most casual observer can see the obvious facial similarities between Katie and Florence. In another, we see Katie standing in the background while Florence is slumped (apparently in a trance) over a chair in the foreground. Unfortunately though, Katie's face is hidden by an "ectoplasmic" shroud. In a third, very strange photograph, we see a blurred Katie staring directly into the camera and an odd sitter on the left who is actually a reflection in a mirror. On the right side, we see one half of a medium who is supposed to be Florrie but could be anyone. Strangest of all though is the fact that Katie is kneeling, or appears to be, on some article of furniture that covered to look like an extension of her dress. Katie was said to be four inches taller than Florence but if this was to create some extra height, it was badly done. It resulted in making her dress bunch at the knees and legs appear ridiculously long."

And in another place it states...

"Unbelievably though, as when he failed to check under the shawl, Crookes took no comparison photographs to show that the pierced and unpierced ears or the length of the girls' fingers. Or if he did, he left no record of them. This seems amazing in that Crookes was investigating a phenomenon that could theoretically change the way the world believed!"

>>"In one of the remaining photos, we see Crookes walking arm in arm with the spectral Katie but even the most casual observer can see the obvious facial similarities between Katie and Florence.<<
Indeed.

And why is it that the only photo of Florence and Katie in the same frame has Katie's face conveniently obscured?

William Volckman, a sitter at once seance, also noticed this striking resemblance between the two and physically grabbed Katie and she had to fight him off, tho I don't understand why she didn't just de-materialize instead, would have been a lot easier.

>>That would appear to be the death blow to her as a medium. She was CONFIRMED to have been caught cheating red-handed undeniably in one of her later "Marie" spirit control seances. She was using fraud in that case confirmably.<<

And I'm pretty confident she was using fraud years ealier during the Crookes seances as well, her credibility was shot.

>>time and time again, Crookes FAILED TO CHECK very important things in his investigation<<

It would seem that Crookes was either so gaga for her that he willingly jeopardized his hard-earned reputation to provide Cook an air of credibility (probably in an attempt to win her heart) OR, as I and many others tend to assume, he intitially believed she was kosher, went on record to that effect, only to discover the hoax later down the line. And being a proud Victorian gentleman and respected man of science he couldn't well admit to being royally duped by such silly young thing so as the record shows he simply shut up about the entire thing and withdrew from the Spiritualist debate.

I still cringe when I see psi proponents cite the Crookes-King case as evidence, it's just so full of holes and reasonable doubt, they'd do much better to mention D.D.Home, who managed to do some pretty impressive things in front of multiple witnesses in well-lit rooms on many occasions, and, crucially, he was never caught cheating and the skeptics that claim they can replicate his feats of levitation have never been able to do so, try as they might.

But Markus, your whole second paragraph echoes Crookes' own position. He said he gave up citing the Katie King investigation as evidence, always referring to his work with Home instead.

>And being a proud Victorian gentleman and respected man of science he couldn't well admit to being royally duped by such silly young thing

Another possibility (purely speculative, I admit) is that Florence threatened to say that she and Crookes had been having an affair. Even if this was not true, Crookes could not have disproved it, and his reputation would have been ruined.

Crookes earlier discovered fraud on the part of another test subject, the materialization medium Rosina Showers, but never went public with the news.

Oh the tangled webs we weave to support our cherished paradigms.

Many of the sitters noticed the likeness of Katie and Florence so a doctor was called in to do heart pulse tests. So Florence had the ability to change her pulse rate. Quit a girl that Florence.

And Katie did do a whole body dematerialization on at least one occasion right in front of everyone when they turned on the lights. Next time she came back she said that was very painful and would not do that again. Suspicious but hey it could be painful to dematerialize that fast in the light; try it sometime.

But I suppose Florence was able to do that also. Quit a girl that Florence.

I cannot validate if these séances were fraud or not but I find it interesting how much speculation and comments are made from an apparent lack of research is done to support one’s beliefs. Picking one suspicious incident to deem the whole thing fraud. With my own materialistic paradigm I doubt if I would believe it if I saw it.

“Acceptance without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western religion, rejection without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western science.”
Gary Zukav

As a former six-sigma consultant we would always tell our clients follow the data. I am sure when Florence’s mother got in touch with Crookes she thought to herself now there is a man we can manipulate. Lets move into his house and let the fraud begin.

Oh and while we are at it let him invite anyone he wants into these séances we can fool them all. Gutsy lady that mother. Crookes invited many other scientists to be a witness but most refused to attend. Got to love those opened minded scientists that don’t have a clue as to the meaning of the scientific method.

From my point of view I never could figure out where Florence’s sister was located during the séances. My question is could she have been Katie. I have read that she was forced to sit with the sitters but did she stay there. Was she tied down? (grey tape?)

The mistakes Crookes made is the same one victor is making and Crookes thought because he was a recognized world famous scientist the world would believe him. NOT.

I dunno ...... looking at the photos, those two women don't look all that much alike to me. As best I can tell, Flo has a bigger (very big) schnoz, bushier brows, and a less delicate face shape than Katie.

What's amazing to me is that either woman was considered beautiful enough to bowl over a distinguished scientist (or any other man, for that matter). Boy, standards of beauty must have been way different in those days! :-)

>>Oh the tangled webs we weave to support our cherished paradigms.<<

That works both ways. :)

And I'm not some narrowminded pseudoskeptic, I believe in the reality of certain paranormal phenomena, I just don't think any was present in this particular case.

>>Many of the sitters noticed the likeness of Katie and Florence so a doctor was called in to do heart pulse tests. So Florence had the ability to change her pulse rate. Quit a girl that Florence.<<

How does that change the fact that Florence and Katie looked uncannily alike? I'd sooner say the doc was in on it than Katie was real.

Hell, maybe most or all of the sitters exaggerated or even flat-out lied for whatever reason, I consider that are more likely explaination because Florence did eventually prove to be a fraud a few years later (tho she had been suspected of it throughout her entire mediumship) and this needs to be taken into consideration when assesing the validity of this particular case.

If Florence had real powers she wouldn't have died in obscurity, totally discredited, just like all the other exposed Spiritualist frauds of her time, she played the game and she lost. So it goes.

And as for the investigation, it was shoddy at best, I mean, featuring Katie and Florence in the same frame but not showing Katie's face?! Come on, that's the money shot right there, for Pete's sake, the photo that makes this case, and Crookes somehow forgets to ask Katie to please show her face and smile?! Incredible!!!!

>>From my point of view I never could figure out where Florence’s sister was located during the séances. My question is could she have been Katie.<<

It is considered probable that her sister was Katie on at least several occasions, when Florence was also present.

I've already linked this article in a previous post but for the benefit of those who haven't read it I'll do it again, it's an in-depth analysis of the case and I think it presents a more balanced and reasonable assesment of what actually happened.

"How does that change the fact that Florence and Katie looked uncannily alike? I'd sooner say the doc was in on it than Katie was real." Interesting and revealing comment into human behavior and the power of beliefs.

Could be the doc was in on it, but I doubt it. Was Florence Maryyat in on "it" too? Also if my memory serves me correct several other scientists attended and confirmed the validity of these séances. Maybe Florence Cook had an affair with Marryat also. Busy girl that Florence.

Lets see if I were William Crookes and having an affair with Florence I would invite one of the most popular journalist’s in England that did not believe in physical manifestations and my peers to sit in on these séances to completely destroy my reputation. It can happen love and lust can blind (i.e. craig) us, but I doubt it.

And as far as "proven’ a fraud once when this idiot jumped up and grabbed her the entity dissolved right in his arms and almost killed Florence. And once I believe when he grabbed her I think it was Florence. Many Mediums are known for cheating if given a chance.

God that Florence or her sister was good I mean dissolving right in front of all the sitters. And carrying on the scam for three years. To your point it has been known to happen usually only with confirmed believers. Confirmed believers are highly susceptible to fraud. “Sucker born every minute and five to sucker him or her”.

"If Florence had real powers she wouldn't have died in obscurity, totally discredited, just like all the other exposed Spiritualist frauds of her time"

You have got to be kidding being a medium can be the most dangerous thing you can do for your reputation. The materialist paradigm folks are in full attack for anyone that comes out in favor of physical manifestations or for that matter any paranormal communications. I suspect Michael has been attacked by these very materialists. Materialism, atheism, and Darwinism can be as much about illogical beliefs and attacks against those that oppose their views as Christianity or Islam.

As Crookes and Victor have learned the hard way that materialists will even accuse Crookes of an affair with Florence to satisfy their materialistic paradigm. Victor has been attacked so much he is losing it and now is in a defensive mode rather than an investigative mode.

"Hell, maybe most or all of the sitters exaggerated or even flat-out lied for whatever reason" That is a lot of sitters with a lot of exaggerations and a lot of flat out lies.

Who knows if they were fraud? I don’t the data suggests to me there was something truly amazing going on there. Our materialistic beliefs can be so powerful we accuse everyone of fraud. A very distinguished scientist, a distinguished doctor, a distinguished journalist, etc.

Just curious but did you read Florence Marryat's book "there is no death" or was she part of the scam in your eyes? She has a nice chapter in there on the mind of a skeptic. Loved her writing abilities and her insights into human behaviour.

We humans think that if one lawyer is a crook all lawyers are shady and if one congress person is on the take from lobbyists all of congress is on the take; if one general will lie most generals will lie to promote their career; whoops poor examples, my bad.

>once when this idiot jumped up and grabbed her the entity dissolved right in his arms

There are two versions of that story. In one, the entity dissolved. In the other, the entity struggled free and ran back into the cabinet.

For those interested in the Katie King episode, I recommend Medhurst's long analysis of the matter in Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 54 pp. 23-159.

One can access the journals on a 7-day free trial basis here.

Oh, and another excellent book about mediumistic deception available for free on archive.org is David Abbott's Behind the Scenes with the Mediums.

"There are two versions of that story. In one, the entity dissolved. In the other, the entity struggled free and ran back into the cabinet"

If my memory serves me correct (and at this stage of my life this is not always the case) this grabbing the entity happened twice and once the entity dissolved and once the person ran back into the cabinet. Maybe I read two versions and now remember it as two incidents.

If I have learned nothing else in my research, skeptics which this man was, will lie big time some even to the point of bringing in props to discredit the medium. But also so will mediums, sitters, and well you get the point.

Was Crookes present? Mediums have been known to cheat especially if they start to lose their abilities or they that always want to put on a show.

In the ghost hunters the skeptics made sure the lady from Italy was not secured completly so she would cheat, as she was known to cheat if given a chance. Then they wrote articles that all of her abilities were fraud. Illogical cherished beliefs die a slow death. My opinion of the ultra skeptics is not that good or as my Internet friend would say ultra septics.

A good and honest medium will tell you sometimes they can perform and sometimes not. They have no idea why this is so.

More research is needed. we have only touched the surface of our understanding of all the mysteries the universe has to offer.

And most scientists to their shame (i.e. ignorance) think they have already figured it all out. Kind of like religion. Two sides of the same coin.

>If my memory serves me correct (and at this stage of my life this is not always the case) this grabbing the entity happened twice and once the entity dissolved and once the person ran back into the cabinet. Maybe I read two versions and now remember it as two incidents.

Okay, here's the thing. There were two incidents, but there were also two versions of the first incident.

The first incident involved a man named Volkmann, who later married a rival medium named Mrs. Guppy. Volkmann grabbed "Katie" in an attempt to discredit Florence Cook. He seized her in the dark and yelled, "It's the medium!" According to Volkmann, "Katie" then fought her way free and ran back to the cabinet. The cabinet was immediately opened and Florence was found in her chair with the ropes loosely arranged around her but not properly tied.

According to some other witness(es), whose name(s) I don't know, "Katie" made a strange arching movement "like a seal" and melted out of Volkmann's grasp. When the cabinet was opened, Florence was found properly tied up, the ropes seemingly undisturbed and the wax seals unbroken.

So there are two versions of that incident. It happened before the Crookes experiments. In fact, Florence probably approached Crookes because she needed the imprimatur of science in order to recover her reputation after the damaging Volkmann expose.

The second incident took place years later, long after Crookes' tests were over. No one disputes that in this second case, the entity (which was not identified as "Katie" but as a different spirit) was seized by a spectator and held until the lights came up, at which point the spirit was revealed to be Florence Cook in costume.

>If I have learned nothing else in my research, skeptics which this man was, will lie big time some even to the point of bringing in props to discredit the medium.

Volkmann was not a skeptic, but he did have a motive to discredit Florence - namely, to clear the way for Mrs. Guppy. Mrs. Guppy may well have been upset about a young, attractive girl taking away much of her business. Mrs. Guppy herself was hugely obese and could not compete with Florence's feminine charms.

The author of Revelations of a Spirit Medium observes that female mediums are prone to such feuds and will often try to sabotage each other; he says this is much less common among male mediums, who are more inclined to collaborate for mutual advantage.

Michael thanks for the update. My memory was not as bad as I thought.

Anyhow I believe Crookes was on the up and up and not having an affair with Florence if he was maybe he was like a lot of present day political personalities and want a trophy wife or girlfriend.

I think accusing him of having an affair is a tactic the skeptics use to discredit someone so they can hang on to their materialistic beliefs.

Hey my own materialistic beliefs get in the way of my views and I basically believe some of these phenomena are valid.

I have learned over the years talking with ultra skeptics on the net and watching them on TV to trust them at about a 1% level.

Of course the same can be said for psychics and mediums. I did go to four psychics and three of them read me with the same profession in a past life, which I found interesting. Does not prove anything but interesting to me.

Have not heard back yet from the silver cord group on the night goggles thing.

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