Seance of the Century

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Seance of the Century

Post by zerdini on Sun Jul 19, 2009 5:17 pm

Luckily I have been able to recover this piece which Z removed.



Seance of the Century with William Cartheuser

One of the most fantastic direct voice séances ever held took place at the studios of the World Broadcasting Company (later to become Decca Records) on April 23 1933, and was recorded on nine long-playing records.

The medium for this two-and-a-quarter hour séance was William Cartheuser, a NewEngland shoe plant worker, who had a severe speech defect, caused by a hare lip and a cleft palate.

Although he was difficult to understand during normal conversation, the spirit voices which spoke at his séances were free of impediments.

The story was written by J. Gay Stevens, a member of the American Society for Psychical Research's investigative team.

Together with his colleagues, Dr Hereward Carrington, a lifelong psychic researcher, Helen T. Bigelow, the society's secretary, Chester Grady, LouisAnspacher and the organizer, Dr Frank Black, the group met at the studios situated at 50 West 57th Street, New York.

The séance was instigated by Dr Black, a leading musical show producer and part owner of the WBC.

He suggested to the ASPR that it should supervise the recording of a voice séance in his studios and the resultant recordings would be donated to the society for reference and study.

The sound engineers, who were extremely skeptical, took care of the test conditions intent on unmasking the voice makers.

To a man they were certain there was no such thing as a spirit voice and regarded this as a heaven-sent opportunity to prove it in their own studio under their own recording conditions.

At this time the Western Electric Company was, installing some of the latest sound equipment into the World studios.

Hearing of the séance project they joined their World colleagues, making probably "the most formidable array of sound engineering talent ever organized to debunk a spirit voice."

The studio itself was a large 40-foot long, windowless room.

It was soundproof and two storey's high. Seats for the sitters were arranged around the stand microphone – 'mike one'.

Two additional microphones, two and three, hung close to the ceiling in diagonally opposite corners.

All voices spoken in the circle would be recorded on mike one.

The ceiling equipment had such a short range of sensitivity that it would not record voices from the studio floor.

Pointing to the control room, curtained off to keep out the light, a technician indicated a recessed loudspeaker through which the engineers could communicatewith those in the studio.

A man was stationed at the only exit door to see that no one entered or left during the séance.

Stevens comments: "We had no way of knowing that the engineers, after a week or so of conferring, had hit on a very simple plan that covered all possibilities.

''They concluded that, no matter what tricks the 'voice-maker used, he had to work on the floor.

"If the sounds were authentic spirit voices then they need have no such limitation in space."

The ceiling mikes were 20 feet from the sitters and 20 feet in the air.

All extra furniture had been moved out of the studio to prevent anyone standing on it in an attempt to speak into the mikes.

In order for either mikes two or three to pick up a voice the speaker had to be within 12 inches.

Both were highly directional — they had to be spoken into head-on and not from an angle.

To make things more difficult, the engineers had turned the microphones at right angles to the circle of sitters.

Each mike had its own line of communication with the control room.

The technicians knew which mike was bringing in each voice by listening to the three independent loudspeakers and watching the dial connected to each line.

The sitters were unaware what the engineers had planned and proceeded with a normal direct voice séance.

Eventually a trumpet, ringed with luminous paint, lifted into the air.

It circled the sitters and tapped each one lightly on the head in greeting.

Soon voices built up through the trumpet. Communicators identified themselves –and were recognized – as the sitters' "dead" relatives and friends.

Occasionally they asked the spirit voices to speak into mike one, but says Stevens, it never occurred to them to suggest they talk into the other microphones.

The séance was interrupted by a voice over the control room loudspeaker. "Are these what you call spirit voices?" asked a cynical engineer.

The trumpet fell to the floor. Several minutes of oppressive silence followed.

Suddenly a man's resonant voice "seemed to pop out of space in front of us,directly above mike one." writes Stevens.

They could still see the phosphorescent ring of the trumpet on the floor. This was independent voice.

In a brisk business-like manner, the spirit communicator expressed interest in the experiment.

The sitters asked what he meant. He said he was referring to the engineers'conditions.

"We think they have worked out a very interesting testing procedure for us on their equipment."

A voice from the control room asked who was speaking.

The communicator moved in close to mike one and said he was an engineer in the Spirit World.

Together with a couple of colleagues, he told the earthly technicians he would like to collaborate in making the important recording.

He added: "We have a definite plan in mind for your tests. We are perfectly willing to meet any conditions you set up, or make any demonstration you have in mind ... if it is within our power. Just let us know what you would like to have me do."

The control room voice asked: "Do you think you could speak to us over one of those microphones located up at the ceiling?"

Immediately, the engineer heard the communicator say, "How's this?" It came from mike two on the ceiling!

The spirit engineer added, "Does it any difference to you which microphone I use up here?"

The shocked control room operators listened in amazed silence.

"Is this all right?" asked the eager communicator once more.

"Yes … yes, that's fine", the engineer replied. "Would you mind lowering your voice a little? We have no volume control on that line." The spirit voice apologized at a normal level.

The control room asked if he could now speak from mike three on the other side of the room.

Before the request was even completed, the communicator's voice came over on the other ceiling microphone.

As before, it was answering from within inches of the mike. It had travelled across the room in a matter of a second.

The puzzled sitters listened to this in silence. Then one asked the engineers if they were ready with their experiment.

"It's all over as far as we're concerned", came the control room reply.

They began to talk among themselves, but the spirit voice interrupted them. Itwas speaking at mike one, on the floor.

The communicator politely suggested to the technicians that if they had finished their tests, "We have a demonstration or two we would like to show you."

Without waiting for an answer the voice explained he would make a complete circuit of the three microphones while speaking a short, simple sentence.

An engineer yelled, "Go!" Speaking at normal conversational pace the voice said, "I am now making a complete circuit of all three microphones and am now back at number one."

The technicians followed the voice as it progressed around the loudspeakers.

"As revealed later," says Stevens, "that voice had moved at such incredible speed between mikes it sounded as if it had been recorded on one mike."

The communicator then introduced a colleague, a "one-time research engineer inthe science of sound."

This new spirit speaker said evidence had been given that the communicators were not earthly but that they were "surviving personalities speaking to you from another dimension."

He continued with an offer to show that spirit voices could give a sound performance beyond earthly scope.

He explained that he was talking at the normal level for a male human being, around 300 cycles.

Then he asked the engineers to listen as he moved his voice slowly up the scaleof sound frequencies in an unbroken flow.

Stevens likened the achievement to the "glissando of a musical instrument, from a resonant baritone to a bright tenor, to a soprano." Through it all the spirit voice never stopped speaking.

The communicator announced that his voice was now at the 1,100 cycle level, which was about the highest point the human voice can articulate.

He then increased the cycle frequency until it was beyond the range of earthly hearing.

As the pitch soared he gave the levels 3,000 and 5,000, with relevant remarks,until the only audible sound was similar to the twittering of a bird, though the words could still be understood.

Eventually his commentary became a thread of sound like "an incredibly distant radio signal."

The control room loudspeaker interrupted the silence.

"We know that none of you could have done that", said an engineer.

Repeating the test the communicator descended through the frequency cycles.

His voice deepened to "a bass-profundo and on down to the lowest reaches of an orchestral string bass."

He paused to explain that he was 100 cycles below where the human vocal chords can enunciate recognisable words.

Continuing to speak clearly his voice slid further down the scale until it sounded like a "giant mumbling at the bottom of a well."

It faded into a swishing sound, "like the lowest note on the longest pipe in a giant organ." Then it vanished.

The silence was interrupted by the original spirit engineer's voice.

He thanked the medium, sitters and recording staff for collaborating in the experiment and offered to co-operate in future tests. The historic séance was over.

A few days later Dr Frank Black delivered the records to the ASPR as promised.

But Stevens ends with this comment: "This séance and its records made little impression in official circles.

"Only the engineers in the control room were in a position to testify to the reality of the discarnate voices.
"But they, like so many others, were not about to go on record officially.

"So one of the technically best test cases for the reality of spirit voice phenomena went officially unconfirmed."

Although this séance took place over 78 years ago it has never been equalled or bettered.

In spite of his critics the name of William Cartheuser will rank alongside thegreat physical mediums of the past.













Last edited by zerdini on Thu May 31, 2012 5:41 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Seance of the Century

Post by Admin on Tue Jul 21, 2009 12:11 am

What an amazing story Z and it is atypical that such great evidence gets passed over. A story I had never heard thank you very much. A brilliant off set to the shenanigans at Camp Chesterfield.
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Re: Seance of the Century

Post by obiwan on Fri Jul 24, 2009 12:01 am

Yes Z this was great. How on earth can this go unrecognised?

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Re: Seance of the Century

Post by zerdini on Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:05 am

obiwan wrote:Yes Z this was great. How on earth can this go unrecognised?

This why Spiritualism has had such an uphill battle. Decca records also have the Confucius communications on record and probably others too.

Times are changing and who knows the recordings may come to light again one day.

I wonder if the ASPR still have the recordings in their archives? Perhaps an American researcher can investigate.

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Re: Seance of the Century

Post by obiwan on Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:12 am

You may be right Z. Although technology makes it easier than ever before to fake evidence, it also perhaps makes it much more difficult to supress information.

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Re: Seance of the Century

Post by Miles on Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:01 pm

Zerdini -- please provide citation for source of this story, Thanks, Miles, www.SurvivalTop40.com

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Re: Seance of the Century

Post by Admin on Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:43 pm

Hi Miles,

There are many references to this, I wonder whether Z's came from records of the American Society for Psychical Research

Just a few other references for you

There Is No Death and There Are No Dead By Tom Butler, Lisa F. Butler pages, 7, 8

Information can also be found in
Carrington, Hereward. The Invisible World. New York: The Beechhurst Press; B. Ackerman Inc., 1946.
Pincock, Mrs. J. O'Hara. The Traits of Truth. N.p., 1930.

This document from the Survival Research Institute of Canada
http://www.islandnet.com/~sric/Pincock_Jenny_OHara.pdf
and
http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CCcQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lib.uwaterloo.ca%2Fdiscipline%2FSpecColl%2Farchives%2Fmainespincockfamily.html&ei=0jFGTOzbMsq3cemb3I0B&usg=AFQjCNF8QqLkUW1w5cBjbNjnZE8AZB6k7g&sig2=v7oiCfRdaJRIo2GJymTMYA

These may lead you to other avenues
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Re: Seance of the Century

Post by Admin on Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:50 pm

There is also information in one of Michael Prescott's excellent blogs which presents another side od Willian Carthueser

Please acknowledge Michaels copyright
http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/direct-voice-mediumship/

However, in Googling "William Cartheuser," I found that some people who accepted other mediums as genuine nevertheless apparently regarded Cartheuser as a fraud. One was Hereward Carrington, and another was Nandor Fodor.

A balanced view of the subject is provided in this excerpt from The Case for Life after Death, by Elizabeth E. McAdams and Raymond Bayless, which is online here:

Bayless sat a number of times with William Cartheuser, a physical medium who gained considerable notoriety in his day. He apparently produced phenomena by trickery as often as he could. He used a flashlight equipped with a pinhole for "spirit lights"; he squirted water about with a water pistol; he picked up his trumpets and whirled them about with masterly skill; he calmly reached about, creating "spirit touches"; and he even walked about the séance room producing phenomena. But in spite of these habits he possessed genuine telepathic ability and in all probability had some authentic ability as a physical medium as well. Additional discussion of Cartheuser can be found in Hereward Carrington's The Invisible World. [p. 54]

Luckily, Carrington's book is online, and although it is only a "limited preview," the entire section on Cartheuser -- pages 68-93 -- is available. Carrington clearly had very good grounds to be suspicious of Cartheuser, yet he did conclude that "a small residuum" of the phenomena were worthy of further study. This residuum included uncannily accurate touches (by the trumpet) in a pitch-dark room; a few instances of overlapping voices produced by the medium; isolated bits of information from Cartheuser that seemed impossible for him to have known by any normal means; and one test in which a light was rigged to go off if Cartheuser left his chair. In this test, the light stayed on throughout the séance, yet "touches and other phenomena occurred nevertheless at considerable distances" from the chair.

These indications of genuine mediumship are balanced by very obvious signs of deception on many occasions, as recounted in Carrington's book.

At the end of the day, I don't have enough information to evaluate Cartheuser.

The online resources quoted are not completely available, Bayless book The Case for Life After Deth is no longer to be found in Google Books except as an overview.

Carringtons Invisible World
This link will take you directly to the page

http://books.google.com/books?id=XEFIILcJOVMC&pg=PA68&dq=william+Cartheuser&hl=en&ei=8DVGTL_fHIbsvQPs5pm-Aw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=william%20Cartheuser&f=false

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Re: Seance of the Century

Post by Admin on Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:52 pm

Trails of Truth has been republished by Kessinger
http://books.google.com/books?id=kD0L5Taes88C&pg=PA131&dq=william+Cartheuser&hl=en&ei=VDZGTLfyKoKKvgOdmODBAg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CDgQ6AEwBA
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Re: Seance of the Century

Post by Admin on Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:56 pm

You will find a reference to Cartheusers Mediumship in the ASPR book The Margery Mediumship

This link takes you direct
http://books.google.com/books?id=C4lGUBJErlsC&pg=PA545&dq=william+Cartheuser&hl=en&ei=VDZGTLfyKoKKvgOdmODBAg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CDwQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=william%20Cartheuser&f=false


THE ASPR 1933 Proceedings also has reference to him on pages 545 and 546
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Re: Seance of the Century

Post by Admin on Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:47 am

It appears Gay Stevens also wrote about this in Fate Magazine in May 1966. However I am not sure where Z's original report came from in his extensive armoury of Material. Stevens was a New York journalist and a member of the ASPR

From the Book

Pincock, Jenny O’Hara (1890–1948) Canadian author
and spiritualist. Jenny O’Hara Pincock is noted for two
publications: Trails of Truth (1930), which contains
descriptions of spiritualist SEANCES held in a HOME CIRCLE
in St. Catharines, Ontario, during 1928 and 1929; and
Hidden Springs: A Narrative Poem of Old Upper Canada and
Other Poems (1950), published posthumously. The latter
includes a foreword by her husband’s friend Dr. E. J. Pratt,
a prominent Canadian poet.
She was born Jenny Helena Florence O’Hara in 1890
at Madoc, Ontario, the daughter of Benson O’Hara. She
married Robert Newton Pincock (1883–1928).
In the seances detailed in Trails of Truth, Robert Pincock
and other family members allegedly return through
the American MEDIUM William Cartheuser to prove their
SURVIVAL AFTER DEATH. Cartheuser was well known for
his DIRECT VOICE MEDIUMSHIP. Cartheuser’s SPIRIT GUIDE,
Dr. Anderson, was often present at the TRUMPET seances.
Anderson’s communications were philosophical, about
the nature of the AFTERLIFE and other matters of interest
to the sitters.
All of the seance participants are named, with the
exception of Dr. E. J. Pratt and his wife Viola Pratt, who
are identifi ed in the introduction only as “Dr. X, Ph.D.,
M.A.” and “Mrs. X, B.A.” The author’s sister Minnie
(O’Hara) Maines and her husband, United Church minister
Reverend Fred Maines, regularly took part. Other
group members were poet W. W. E. Ross and a number
of local citizens. The group was well educated and largely
middle class.
The foreword to the book was written by Reverend
Benjamin Fish Austin, an Ontario minister who was
ousted from the Methodist ministry in an 1899 heresy
trial after he converted to SPIRITUALISM.
Cartheuser worked for the New York section of the
AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR PSYCHICAL RESEARCH. He also
had a home at the LILY DALE ASSEMBLY SPIRITUALIST
CAMP, where Jenny spent summers as librarian. After
her last sitting with Cartheuser in 1935, Jenny came to
wonder if Cartheuser had, to some degree, let his mind
infl uence the content of his messages from the spirit
world. However, she still believed that his mediumistic
abilities had been genuine at the time of the Trails of
Truth sittings.
As well as participating in seances, Pincock and the
Maineses founded the Church of Divine Revelation in
1930 and the Radiant Healing Centre in 1932, both at St.
Catharines. Reverend B. F. Austin reordained Reverend
Fred Maines into the spiritualist ministry and Maines was
appointed as the church’s pastor. The United Church of
Canada, where Maines had been originally ordained, was
quick to act and in February 1931 suspended him from
its ministry. For many months, a controversy raged in the
local newspapers, with vicious attacks from ministers of
orthodox churches and letters in response from supporters
of spiritualism.
FURTHER READING:
McMullin, Stan. Anatomy of a Seance: A History of Spirit Communication
in Central Canada. Montreal and Kingston:
McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2004.
Pincock, Jenny O’Hara. Trails of Truth. Los Angeles: Austin
Publishing Company, 1930.
extract from Rosemary Guiley's The Encyclopedia of GHOSTS AND SPIRITS THIRD EDITION
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Re: Seance of the Century

Post by Admin on Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:29 am

He gets a chapter in Nandor Fodor's book The Haunted Mind too
http://books.google.com/books?id=gSEvAAAAYAAJ&q=The+Haunted+Mind+Cartheuser&dq=The+Haunted+Mind+Cartheuser&hl=en&ei=QltGTL-HFIm0vgOomfHPAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAA
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Re: Seance of the Century

Post by Admin on Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:28 am

Nice little article from Time magazine

Science: Ghosts, No Ghosts
Monday, Oct. 28, 1935

Cartheuser is on page 2

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,847535-1,00.html
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Re: Seance of the Century

Post by Admin on Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:32 am

Anatomy of a seance: a history of spirit communication in central Canada By Stanley Edward McMullin

Not all there but this link takes you to the page teh accounts of seances with Cartheuser started
http://books.google.com.au/books?id=KTe8Q_2c0EIC&pg=PA132&lpg=PA132&dq=american+society+of+psychical+research+cartheuser&source=bl&ots=6cKQ2s6z0Y&sig=KZuCtsN5HJm_nSAeIWn_AHeFylQ&hl=en&ei=0pNGTIqAL8WqccrttI4B&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CDwQ6AEwCA
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Re Source of Decca studios article

Post by Miles on Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:46 pm

Admin wrote:Hi Miles,

There are many references to this, I wonder whether Z's came from records of the American Society for Psychical Research

Just a few other references for you

There Is No Death and There Are No Dead By Tom Butler, Lisa F. Butler pages, 7, 8

Information can also be found in
Carrington, Hereward. The Invisible World. New York: The Beechhurst Press; B. Ackerman Inc., 1946.
Pincock, Mrs. J. O'Hara. The Traits of Truth. N.p., 1930.

This document from the Survival Research Institute of Canada
http://www.islandnet.com/~sric/Pincock_Jenny_OHara.pdf
and
http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CCcQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lib.uwaterloo.ca%2Fdiscipline%2FSpecColl%2Farchives%2Fmainespincockfamily.html&ei=0jFGTOzbMsq3cemb3I0B&usg=AFQjCNF8QqLkUW1w5cBjbNjnZE8AZB6k7g&sig2=v7oiCfRdaJRIo2GJymTMYA

These may lead you to other avenues

Please excuse my inept use of this forum, as I rarely use such and am entirely new to this one.
Thank you for your prompt reply to my query as to the source of the Decca recording experiment.
I have the book you reference first, but the Butlers only cite their own Journal, to which I do not have access. They (and several others here) refer to an ASPR report, but I have never been able to detect life in that organization -- they have a website, but their publications ceased over a decade ago and they won't return my calls. Does anyone know who, if anyone, is running the shop there?
As far as the two citations for Pinock et. al., I don't understand the relevance.
Thanks again. -- Miles
www.TheSurvivalFiles.com
www.SurvivalTop40.com

Miles


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Re: Seance of the Century

Post by Admin on Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:46 pm

Hi Miles,

Like Z I also enjoy yur site. Yes the ASPR appears moribund but it has just started a Facebook Site you could try there.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/American-Society-for-Psychical-Research/108396505855130?ref=search

Hope it helps

Jim
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