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A SPIRIT TALKS TO HIS SON IN HUNGARIAN AT A VOICE SÉANCE (November 7th 1936)

Dr. Nandor Fodor describes below the remarkable story of his first experience of seance phenomena, when his “dead” father spoke to him in his native tongue, Hungarian, at a New York voice sitting, with William Cartheuser, to whom he was introduced by Arthur Ford.

By NANDOR FODOR

We sat in a circle, men and women alternating. A shaded red lamp cast a feeble glow on the middle of the floor.

Alongside were two telescopic trumpets. We sang and conversed to provide vibrations.

In the red glimmer I saw one of the trumpets sway. Then it shot up and vanished in the upper darkness. Occasionally, it was revealed by the red light in swift motion.

While the medium was heard speaking in his place, it travelled around and gently touched various sitters.

I hear whistling from the trumpet. Then a sonorous, pleasant, and friendly voice says: “Good evening, my friends.”

The seance is soon in full swing. “Dead” sweethearts, fathers, and mothers come and talk.

I feel breathless, keyed up. The trumpet is not very clear. It is only Fletcher (Ford’s guide) whom one can easily follow. He often steps in and explains. He cracks jokes. His laugh is delightful.

The strain is easing. It is a social evening. People are quite jolly. I risk a request.

Could Fletcher bring someone speaking Hungarian? My wife is more practical. She wants her brother, a brilliant artist who “died” very young. Fletcher, full of sympathy, says: “I will try. Have a little patience.”

The trumpet clatters to the floor. Silence. Now it shoots up.

I hear a voice. Cold shiver runs down my back. It sounds like a distant cry. It is repeated. Someone is calling my name.

“Who . . . who is it? Whom do you want?” I ask hoarsely in my native tongue.

The call is more explicit: “Fodor…Journalist!”

The last word shakes me to the core. It is pronounced in German. It is the only German word my father ever used. He only used it when he spoke about me!

I stammered an answer. Craning my neck in the dark in the direction of the trumpet, I listened with strained nerves to tatters of a terrific struggle for expression: “Edesapa . . . édesapa …” (Dear father… dear father).

The voice vibrates with emotion. It makes me hot and burning. I sound unnatural to myself: “Apám?” (Father, dear?),

“Igen. Edes flam . . .“ (Yes, dear son…)

I cannot describe the minutes that followed. From beyond the Great Divide somebody who says he is my father is making desperate efforts to master some weird instrument of speech, and trembles with anxiety to prove his presence by speaking in his native tongue: “Budapest . . . nem értesz? Enekelek . . . Magyar Kislány vagyok…” (Budapest … don’t you understand…I will sing…). I don’t know the song. Two lines rhyming. Have I heard them before?

I recognise the pet name of my eldest brother, to whom my father was very attached. The voice comes from near the ceiling. But it comes nearer at my
request. It is still struggling for words.

Fletcher takes pity and explains: “Your father wishes to tell you that he ‘died’ on January 16th. It is for the first time he tries to speak. That makes it very difficult for him.”

The interruption brings relief.

The voice becomes much clearer. It gives me a message about my mother and sister.

Then: “Isten áldjon meg, édes fiam.” (God bless you, my son.)

Sounds of kisses. . . . Silence. .

The trumpet provides a fresh thrill. It speaks again in Hungarian “Esti Ujság” (Evening News). My wife screams.

Esti Ujság was the newspaper on the staff of which her brother was employed before he “died.”

“Sanyika?”

“Yes.”

I feel her trembling with excitement.

he voice is youthful and explosive. It speaks as my wife’s brother would. “He” knows all about the family and is always about. “He” has but one regret: “Szegény Vilmos bácsi!” (Poor Uncle Vilmos)

“Why, what is wrong with Vilmos?”

“He is not well. He will go blind

We receive the prophecy in silence.

My experience was more unusual than that of the majority. I was a foreigner on the staff of a foreign daily in New York. I had few friends. They were all new ones. None of them knew about my old country relations. Yet the statements about my family were correct.

The voice spoke in Hungarian.

Plain as the words were, my native tongue offers a variety of expression for the relationship between father and son.

The voice made no mistake my father was in the habit of using the VERY words.


He had forgotten his German years before.

It was no more spoken at home. The only word he retained was “journalist.” He was very proud of his boy, the journalist. The Hungarian equivalent is “ujságiro.” He never used it. He preferred the German term.

The reference to the date of his “death” was not correct. He did not “die” on January 16th. But he was buried on that day.

Uncle Vilmos, as predicted, went blind and committed suicide.

I knew him as Uncle Villy. Vilmos (the proper name) left me uneasy.

I had the matter out with my mother-in-law two years later when I revisited Budapest. She opened her eyes wide.

“Why, didn’t you know? My boy alone in the family called him Uncle Vilmos. He was Uncle Villy to everybody else!”



Dr Hereward Carrington

At the beginning of the 20th century another great investigator entered the field of Psychical Research. Carrington, an American, at the age of nineteen joined the S.P.R. in 1900, and from then on devoted the rest of his life to psychical investigation.

When the new independent American Society for Psychical Research was formed in 1906 under Prof. Hyslop’s leadership, he became his assistant. His researches, recorded in many books, are a substantial contribution to the subject, but for many years he kept an open mind regarding the Spiritualistic hypothesis.

After investigating Eusapia Palladino in company with Baggally and Feilding he stated: "My own sittings convinced me finally and conclusively that genuine phenomena do occur, and, that being the case, the question of their interpretation naturally looms before me. I think that not only is the Spiritualistic hypothesis justified as a working theory, but it is, in fact, the only one capable of rationally explaining the facts."

In 1933, however, during a visit to the American Psychical Institute by Mrs. Eileen Garrett, he subjected this medium to psychoanalytic association tests, combined with electrical recording apparatus, in order to discover whether the communicators were personalities distinct from the medium.

His conclusion was as follows: ‘‘I can now say that our experiments seem to have shown the existence of mental entities independent of the control of the medium, and separate and apart from the conscious or subconscious mind of the medium.’’

I wonder why people feel like they need or have to experience some kind of physical manifestation during a reading to make it "real?" It seems rather bizarre to me because I don't think of spirits as being "physical" and they rarely interact with the physical universe.

It is enough for me if they bring through information that validates they are really who they say they are. On Crossing Over if John Edward had apports or trumpets playing or flowers appearing I would have been turned off and thought it was ridiculous.

I've seen George Anderson do readings on TV before and he was really impressive. George Anderson is one of the most amazing Mediums I've ever witnessed. He sits in a chair with his head down and waves his hand, while holding a pencil, back and forth across a pad of paper and just starts talking. I'm a big George Anderson fan and there's no silly light shows or physical anything going on when he is bringing through information.

Art: there is a big differenece between mental mediumship and physical mediumship.

Mental mediums such as George Anderson (whom I happen to think is excellent) are unable to produce physical phenomena and I have never known a medium do physical manifestations during a reading. There is no reason why they should.

As far as physical mediumship is concerned the two finest forms are Independent Direct Voice (e.g Leslie Flint in the UK and Etta Wriedt and Emily French in the USA) and full form materialisation (Alec Harris). They are worth researching and you will understand what I mean.

Naturally there have been many others over the years - I have just picked two excellent examples - as you will find out if you research them.

There is nothing more evidential than talking to a loved one who had supposedly 'died'.

Thanks, Zerdini, for sharing the info about Nandor Fodor's experience. He was favorably impressed with Cartheuser at that time, but (according to the source linked to his name in the main post) he later he became skeptical when he learned that Cartheuser had been observed cheating on other occasions.

The aspect of the radio experiment that gives me pause is that we are told the technicians never publicized their story. This makes me wonder how the story was confirmed, and whether it could have been embellished.

I uploaded a couple videos to youtube you might be interested in:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaTXZPtiIek

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12Bo6U8oI9E

Nandor Fodor writes about the episode here: http://www.survivalafterdeath.org.uk/books/fodor/chapter25.htm

Fair point, Michael except that the story was written by J. Gay Stevens, a member of the American Society for Psychical Research’s investigative team.

Witnesses included Hereward Carrington, Helen T. Bigelow, the Society’s secretary, Chester Grady, Louis Anspacher and the organizer, Dr Frank Black, the group met at the studios situated at 50 West 57th Street, New York.

Surely someone can check with the ASPR as to the veracity of the story and the whereabouts of the nine long-playing records on which the seance was recorded?

I understand that ASPR members can search their archives so it shouldn't be too difficult.

Jenny O'Hara Pincock's book "The Trails of Truth" contains considerable details of Cartheuser's voice seances in Canada.

Darryn: These YouTube videos feature Meurig Morris, a well-known trance speaker. Nandor Fodor has written an excellent article about her mediumship and the Movietone recording.

Many thanks for bringing it to our attention.

Darryn: Here is some additional information about Meurig Morris taken from an article I wrote about her mediumship some years ago:

Born in 1899, trance medium, (Louisa Anne) Meurig Morris’s psychic gifts were noticeable at an early age, but were stifled by an orthodox education. However, she began to develop rapidly after joining Mr Maddams circle in Newton Abbot in 1922. “I sat in his group and went into trance. I was told that my work would be spiritual teaching and philosophy.”

“Little Sunshine,” the spirit of a child, spoke through her, “Father O’Keefe” an old Irish priest described as “an elderly man with a long beard and thin face” and “Sister Magdalene,” the spirit of a French nun, who assumed charge as principal trance control were her main controls.

The prediction came through that Morris would be trained for the delivery of teaching by a spirit called "Power."

Under the control of "Power," the medium's soprano voice changed to a ringing baritone, her mannerisms became masculine and priestly, and the teachings disclosed an erudition and sophisticated philosophy that was far above the intellectual capacities of the medium.

Sir Oliver Lodge, in his book Past Years (1931), refers to Morris: "When the medium's own vocal organs are obviously being used—as in most cases of trance utterances—the proof of supernormality rests mainly on the substance of what is being said; but, occasionally the manner is surprising. I have spoken above of a characteristically cultured mode of expression, when a scholar is speaking, not easily imitated by an uncultured person; but, in addition to that a loud male voice may emanate from a female larynx and may occasionally attain oratorical proportions. Moreover, the orator may deal with great themes in a style which we cannot associate with the fragile little woman who has gone into trance and is now under control.

This is a phenomenon which undoubtedly calls attention to the existence of something supernormal, and can be appealed to as testifying to the reality and activity of a spiritual world. It is, indeed, being used for purposes of such demonstration, and seems well calculated to attract more and more attention from serious and religious people; who would be discouraged and offended by the trivial and barely intelligible abnormalities associated with what are called physical (or physiological) phenomena and would not be encouraged by what is called clairvoyance."

I have read all books by Nandor Fodor. Esp his latest books are worth to read, because he was the first researcher, who described and analyzed deeply hoaxing and cheating in dissociative states (e.g. "Apports of a carpenter"), which are incredible stories. The late Fodor was much much more sceptical, because of his battle with spiritualists (with Barnabell) and of his detections of fraud. He did not believe in direct voice mediums, because he claimed to get fooled by too many. He stated ("BETWEEN TWO WORLDS") the paranormal act of direct voice mediumship is more related to the mental statements of medium than to the physical activities.
This claim is in deep contrast to Tony Cornell, who is very sceptical, too. In his book "INVESTIGATING THE PARANORMAL", Cornell performed intensive investigations in a private seance circle under good conditions, red light included. He concluded to have witnessed physical activities, which CAN NOT be explained by normal means. His main findings were flying trumpets in red light. Otherwise regarding the investigation of Alec Harris I think Cornell was deeply wrong (in opposite view to D Fontana), because he accused Harris of hoaxing.

When I first published the story of Fodor's first direct voice seance I was contacted by a senior member of the SPR who asked me where I got the information. I explained that it was written by Fodor himself. Fodor was quite wellknown for changing his mind from time to time as circumstances suited him which is why he was often challenged by Barbanell.

I have got my information from his latest books, which were published in the 1950´s and 1960´s. Would be great, what he really believed at the end of his life? Really, do you know any late letters?

If he changed his mind all the time what does it matter what he thought at the end of his life? :)

In a letter published in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research (December 1964) Mr. David Cohen, author of a book on Harry Price, wrote:

"Before his death,(May 17 1964), Dr. Nandor Fodor expressed to me in a letter his fear that fresh denigrations of dead researchers would follow after those of Price and Crookes, and now F. W. H. Myers has been included.... Who will be next on the list?

Mr. R. S. Lambert's final words in his foreword should be heeded by all investigators: 'We need more tolerance, less cynicism and greater respect for human nature.'"

Sorry Zerdini I need you to explain the last posting please :)

Paul it was a reply to Joki regarding Fodor's last thoughts not to your last post. Sorry for the confusion.

It's ok I am easy to confuse.

William Cartheuser was recorded and Hereward Carrington had an LP pressed of the seance. It was this seance or another and Hereward's private copy. It was sold [the LP] on ebay some years ago when Carrington's estate items were being sold over a long period. To bad there is no master list of who bought what, it would be helpful to many researchers.

Thanks for that piece of information, Steve, regarding Carrington. Have you access to the archive records of the ASPR where the original recordings of the Cartheuser seance were lodged?

I do not and it seems unlikely I will any time soon. I am working on a number of articles about the man [HC] though. The reasons Houdini no longer trusted HC prior to his arrival at Margery's is one of the articles, Houdini had multiple reasons. I am not saying Houdini was being totally fair but he had his own viewpoint. Many are critical of HC but in the end he actually assisted in the exposure of Margery in the fingerprint affair. - Steve

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