I've been reading the online text of Florence Marryat's book There Is No Death. Some parts are interesting, and her sendup of dogmatic skepticism is funny and smart; but I was disturbed by the way she handles a well-known incident in the career of medium Florence Cook.
The crisis of Cook's career was her exposure by George Sitwell. Here's how one source describes this event:
As reported in the Daily Telegraph, 13 January 1880, Sitwell, one of the sitters at a séance at the BNAS, seized the materialization and found Florence to be missing from the cabinet, and declared her to be a fraud. It was admitted by one of the sitters who had the responsibility of securing Florence that it had been deliberately arranged that the medium could free herself. Supporters of Florence argued this was a case of unconscious fraud, as claimed with Eusapia Palladino in following years, while in a trance-state; there was also of course a state of confusion after Sitwell's action. ["The Mediumship of Florence Cook"]
And here's another source:
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. ["Florence Cook & the Enigmatic Katie King," Troy Taylor]
It seems clear enough that Cook was revealed to be cheating in this episode. But the way Marryat reports the event, it's far less incriminating. Marryat knew Cook well and was obviously intent on dispelling the doubts that had been raised about her mediumship. She does so, in part, by downplaying the significance of Sitwell's exposure.
On one occasion Miss Cook (then Mrs. Comer) was giving a public séance at the rooms of the National British Association of Spiritualists, at which a certain Sir George Sitwell, a very young man, was present, and at which he declared that the medium cheated, and that the spirit Marie was herself, dressed up to deceive the audience. Letters appeared in the newspapers about it, and the whole press came down upon Spiritualists, and declared them all to be either knaves or fools. [There Is No Death, Ch. 16]
That's it. Nothing about Cook being grabbed by Sitwell and held until the lights came on, revealing that the "materialized" spirit was actually Cook in her undies. Nothing about the cabinet being empty. Nothing about prior arrangements with one of the sitters to ensure that Cook could free herself.
In short, there was a lot more to Sitwell's exposure than a mere declaration. The fact that Marryat described the event so misleadingly does not engender confidence in her overall reliability - or in the mediumship of Florence Cook.