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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Empty Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Post by zerdini Tue Dec 09, 2008 2:12 pm

The Movietone Newsreel of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Conan Doyle Video (Year 1929)




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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Empty Re: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Post by Admin Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:52 am

Time Magazine Monday, Jul. 21, 1930
Religion: Spiritualist Heyday

The demise of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle last fortnight (TIME, July 14) provided immediate opportunity to test his and many another man's belief in a spirit-life after Death. Sir Arthur's family cheerfully buried him last week in the trim kitchen garden close to the Sussex hut where he wrote both his fiction and his documents on Spiritualism. So voluminous were those documents, so widely did he distribute them that Spiritualists called him their "St. Paul."

Although he did not promise to send any message after his passing, his family and all other Spiritualists expected one. It would convince skeptics, mockers. Said Lady Doyle last week: "Although I have not spoken to Arthur since he passed, I am certain that in his own time and his own way he will send a message to us. We are not trying to communicate with him, because in the Beyond [he called it Summerland] you cannot call them as you would on a telephone. I am sure he will make contact with us first."

Professional mediums—in the Bronx, N. Y., in Vancouver, B. C., in Neuilly, Paris suburb—at once began reporting "messages." The Doyle family declared them all spurious. Said Son Adrian Doyle: "There is no question that my father will often speak to us just as he did before he passed over. We will always know when he is speaking but one has to be careful because there are practical jokers on the other side, as there are here. It is quite possible that these jokers may attempt to impersonate him. But there are tests which my mother knows, such as little mannerisms of speech which cannot be impersonated and which will tell us it is my father, himself, who is speaking."

Lady Doyle sent a formal notice to all British newspapers: "Lady Conan Doyle informs news editors that any message purporting to have come from her late husband is unauthenticated and no such message can be accepted. As such unless it receives her personal endorsement."

Sunday of last week the proof convincing to Spiritualists of an After Life developed. Ten thousand people pushed into huge Albert Hall, London. On the stage was a chair placarded with Sir Arthur's name. It was the chair he occupied corporeally when he had directed Spiritualist demonstrations there. Beside his chair sat Lady Doyle, near her his two sons and two daughters.

The ceremony began by the Spiritualists extolling their late St. Paul. Sir Oliver Lodge, 79, great scientist, great Spiritualist, could not attend, but sent a message: "Our great-hearted champion will still be continuing his campaign on the Other Side with added wisdom and knowledge. Sursum corda [lift up your hearts]."

The speakers were cheerful, occasionally whimsical. One speaker made the audience laugh when he actively illustrated Sir Arthur's love of cricket.* Another speaker, Ernest Oaten, made the audience weep by suddenly looking upward, raising his hand, and loudly crying: "We thank you! God bless you, Doyle!''

Then came the Spiritualist evidence. A Mrs. Estelle Roberts, clairvoyant, took the stage. She declared five spirits were "pushing" her. She cried out their messages. Persons in the audience confirmed their validity.

Suddenly Mrs. Roberts looked at Sir Arthur's empty chair, cried: "He is here."

Lady Doyle stood up. The clairvoyant's eyes moved as though accompanying a person who was approaching her. "He is wearing evening clothes," she murmured. She inclined her head to listen. A silent moment. Her head jerked up. She stared at Lady Doyle, shivered, ran to the widow, whispered.

Persons nearby could hear: "Sir Arthur told me that one of you went into the hut [on the Doyle estate] this morning. Is that correct?"

Lady Doyle, faltering: "Why, yes." She beamed. Her eyes opened widely.

At this point some intrepid mockers rose in the hall, noisily stamped towards exits. The great organ of the hall pealed, drowned out the disturbance.

The clairvoyant to Lady Doyle: "The message is this. Tell Mary [eldest daughter]. . . ."

Eavesdroppers could hear no more.

Adrian Doyle, later: "The spirit message answers all the tests which my father and mother had agreed upon before his passing. I can only agree with mother that the message is of so intimate a character it cannot be made public even to our closest friends."

Lady Doyle, later: "I am perfectly convinced that the message is from my husband. I am as sure of the fact that he has been here with us as I am sure that I am speaking to you. It is a happy message, one that is cheering and encouraging. It's precious and sacred."

*Sir Arthur used to boast that he had played practically every game of modern athletics. He was a chunky, muscular, solid, stolid man. Psychologists have noted that such men. when emotionally upset as by a close death, often become mystics. Spiritualists.

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Post by zerdini Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:27 am

What greater testimony to the return of ACD than that of his wife and family.........and what a brilliant medium was Estelle Roberts.

Somewhere I've seen a photograph of the platform of the Albert Hall on that special day showing the empty chair but I can't remember where I've seen it.

Thanks, Jim, for unearthing that report.


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Post by Admin Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:07 am

I'm looking out for the picture Z then there is a longer piece courtesy of the New YorK Times
The Empty Chair

I have learned never to ridicule any man’s opinion,
however strange it may seem.


As many as six thousand people crowded into London's Royal Albert Hall that night, while hundreds more were turned away at the doors. Inside the great hall, men in evening dress and ladies in long gowns found their seats and whispered excitedly to one another. They had come to see and hear Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, perhaps the most beloved author of his generation, and he was expected to deliver startling news.

In most respects, the gathering was no different from the hundreds of lectures Conan Doyle had given in such places as Paris, New York, Melbourne, and Capetown. On this particular night, however, the sense of anticipation was especially intense. The reason was simple: Conan Doyle had died five days earlier at his home in Crowborough.

Even so, expectations remained high. Conan Doyle's death, according to the beliefs he himself passionately espoused, would not necessarily prohibit his appearance on the lecture platform that evening. At the time of his passing on July 8, 1930, Conan Doyle had long been established as the world's best-known and most outspoken proponent of spiritualism, the belief that the dead communicate with the living through an earthly conduit, or medium. For fourteen years Conan Doyle had devoted the better part of his time, energy, and resources to this cause, which he often described as "the most important thing in the world." For those who found comfort and meaning in his beliefs, he was "the Saint Paul of spiritualism." For those who did not, he was a sad and deluded old man who had squandered his greatness. The Albert Hall memorial, many believed, would settle the issue once and for all.

Sir Arthur's widow, Lady Jean Conan Doyle, entered the hall accompanied by her sons, Denis and Adrian, her daughter, Jean, and her stepdaughter, Mary. Denis and Adrian wore evening dress and carried top hats. Lady Conan Doyle, in keeping with the beliefs she shared with her husband, had chosen a dress of gray lace rather than traditional mourning garb, to signify that Sir Arthur's "translation" to the other side was not an occasion for sorrow. "I know perfectly well that I am going to have conversations with my father," Adrian Conan Doyle had told the press at his father's funeral. "We shall miss his footsteps and his physical presence, but that is all. Otherwise he might have only gone to Australia."

At the edge of the lecture platform, a row of chairs was set out for the family. A square of cardboard held one of them in reserve. It read: "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle." Lady Conan Doyle sat to the left of her husband's chair, just as she had for twenty-three years at nearly all of the many lectures, meetings, and other assemblies to which her husband lent his name and influence. This gathering, she had confided to a friend, would be the last public demonstration she would ever attend with her husband.

Conan Doyle's chair would have been the only empty seat in the house. Some accounts estimated the size of the crowd at ten thousand, though this would have seriously strained the hall's capacity. Extra seats had been set up to accommodate some of the overflow.

As the audience settled, Mr. George Craze of the Marylebone Spiritualist Association stepped to the microphone to open the proceedings. He offered a few words of welcome, then read out a written statement from Lady Conan Doyle. "I want in my children's, and my own and my beloved husband's name, to thank you all from my heart for the love for him which brought you here tonight," her message stated. However, she continued, she wished to correct an erroneous impression that Sir Arthur's materialized form was expected to appear in the empty chair. "At every meeting all over the world I have sat at my beloved husband's side, and at this great meeting, where people have come with respect and love in their hearts to do him honour, his chair is placed, as I know that in psychic presence he will be close to me, although our earthly eyes cannot see beyond the earth's vibration. Only those with the God-given extra sight, called clairvoyance, will be able to see the dear form in our midst."

Ernest Hunt, a spiritualist colleague of Conan Doyle's, added a forceful elaboration. Pointing to the vacant chair, Hunt warned that it would be "a very trifling thing if any people here with hectic imagination were to persuade themselves imaginatively that they could see Sir Arthur's form there. Nor would it be to me of surprising worth that some gifted clairvoyant could see the form. But it would be a great thing for you to see in the vacant chair a symbol of God's call to you to qualify for being Doyle's successors."

These words, however heartfelt, did little to quell the mood of charged expectancy. Since the first reports of Conan Doyle's death there had been a wave of heated speculation about his possible return. "Widow Indicates Hope of Message," declared a front-page headline in the New York Times. "Return of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Spirit Awaited by Widow and Sons," reported the New York American. London's Daily Herald gave details of a secret code word Conan Doyle had left with his wife, to prove the veracity of any spirit contact.

If Lady Conan Doyle clung to the hope of a message, however, she believed that such communication could only come through a "spirit sensitive." The notion that her husband's materialized form would suddenly pop into view arose from a series of ambiguous statements made by Conan Doyle's spiritualist colleagues. "I should imagine that he would be quite capable of demonstrating already," declared one of the organizers of the Albert Hall event. "He was quite prepared for his passing."

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Post by Admin Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:08 am

After five days of such statements, the attempt to inject a note of moderation had come too late. Throughout the hall eyes were kept trained on the empty chair beside Lady Conan Doyle, hoping for some telltale indication of an otherworldly presence.

For a time, the evening proceeded like any other memorial service. Friends and colleagues rose to pay tribute, hymns were sung, and passages of Scripture were read. A telegram from the prominent physicist Sir Oliver Lodge, who shared Conan Doyle's spiritualist beliefs, praised the author's unwavering dedication: "Our great-hearted champion will soon be continuing his campaign on the other side with added wisdom and knowledge," adding, "Sursum corda!"—lift up your hearts.

After nearly an hour, the more conventional portion of the service drew to a close. George Craze returned to the microphone and asked the audience to stand for two minutes of silent reflection. "The completeness of the silence," wrote one journalist, "was unforgettable."

As the congregants took their seats, Craze stepped forward once again. "This evening," he began, "we are going to make a very daring experiment with the courage implanted in us by our late leader. We have with us a spirit sensitive who is going to try to give impressions from this platform. One reason why we hesitate to do it in such a colossal meeting as this is that it is a terrific strain on the sensitive. In an assembly of ten thousand people a tremendous force is centered upon the medium. Tonight, Mrs. Roberts will try to describe some particular friends, but it will be the first time this has been attempted in such a tremendous gathering. You can help with your vibrations as you sing the next hymn, `Open My Eyes.'"

Mrs. Estelle Roberts stepped to the front of the platform as the last notes of the hymn faded. A slimly built, fluttery woman with dark hair and large brown eyes, Mrs. Roberts stood at the microphone for several moments wringing her hands. Her anxious, dithery appearance belied a canny flair for the dramatic. She had been a favorite medium of Conan Doyle's before his departure for the spirit plane, and he had remarked more than once on her "mesmerizing presence."

In one sense, George Craze had been correct to call the evening a daring experiment. Mrs. Roberts had been called upon to make contact with departed souls—Conan Doyle's among them. In so doing, she would also attempt to make believers out of skeptics. Though spiritualism was by no means uncommon in 1930, it was generally practiced in the darkened confines of the séance room. There, under conditions set by the medium, one might expect to see tambourines floating in the air, or ghostly messages appearing on chalk slates, or any number of other discarnate effects taken to signify spirit contact. Under the bright lights of the Albert Hall, there would be no floating tambourines. Instead, Mrs. Roberts would be expected to stand before the microphone and pluck spirit messages out of the ether, apparently at random, and deliver them to individuals in the crowd. Any evidence of otherworldly phenomena, then, would show itself solely in the force of her spoken testimony.

The mesmerizing presence that had so impressed Conan Doyle was not immediately apparent. For some time, Mrs. Roberts did nothing more than rock back and forth on her heels, and soon the sounds of coughing and restless movement could be heard from the audience. At this, she appeared to gather her resolve. Shielding her eyes like a sailor on lookout, Mrs. Roberts swept her eyes over the gallery, tiers, and boxes. Her attention fixed not on the faces of the expectant crowd, but on the empty space above their heads. "There are vast numbers of spirits here with us," she announced. "They are pushing me like anything."

With that, she launched into a long unbroken monologue, apparently describing a series of spirits whom only she could see. "All around was a great concourse of spirit people anxious to communicate with their friends," she would later write. "For half an hour, by means of clairvoyance, I relayed their messages to individuals among the mass of people in the hall."

In fact, she did more than relay messages. She described the features of the departed spirits, along with their characteristics, their method of speech, and even their clothes. The audience sat in rapt attention as she related tales of whole families reunited in the spirit world, then pointed out their loved ones in the crowd. "There was something uncanny," one journalist noted, "in the sight of ten thousand people sitting in the Albert Hall, half afraid, yet half hoping that they might be singled out."

"There is a gentleman over there with hardly any hair," said Mrs. Roberts, pointing to a man in the gallery. "Yes, there! That's right. I see standing there in front of you, a spirit form of a young soldier." She peered into the lights, as if for a better view.

"He looks to be about twenty-four. In khaki uniform. Upright. Well-built. Mouth droops a little at the corners. He passed suddenly." Mrs. Roberts angled her head, as though listening to a soft voice.

"He gives me 1916 as the year of passing. He distinctly calls you `Uncle.' `Uncle Fred.'"

The man in the gallery stiffened, and nodded that the details were correct.

"He speaks of a brother Charles," she continued. "Is that correct? He wants to know if you have Aunty Lillian with you. Do you understand?"

From his seat, the man nodded more vigorously.

"The boy tells me that there is a little anxiety going on, and wants me to tell you he is helping you. He—" Abruptly, as if pushed by unseen hands, Mrs. Roberts broke off her discourse and took a few lurching steps across the stage. She turned to an empty space on the platform behind her. "All right," she said, as though addressing a large and unruly knot of people. "All right."

She turned back to the audience and pointed to a woman seated in one of the boxes. "There is a gentleman here, John Martin. He says he is looking for his daughter Jane. Correct?"

The woman in the box confirmed that her name was Jane, and that her late father's name had been John Martin. Mrs. Roberts continued. "He has got her mother, Mary Martin, with him. Little Willie is with them. Also your sister Mary. Your sister-in-law Elizabeth is with him. You understand?" Mrs. Roberts opened her mouth to continue, then pitched forward as though shoved by invisible hands. "All right!" she said, glaring at the empty space behind her. "Just a minute!" She turned to the front of the platform, gathered herself, and carried on.

Then as now, opinions differed sharply as to whether such revelations were produced by psychic means or by more earthbound contrivances such as audience confederates and careful vetting of potential contacts. The crowd at the Albert Hall consisted mostly of those sympathetic to spiritualist phenomena, and at least one of those who received a message was himself a practicing medium. To a large extent, it seems fair to say, Mrs. Roberts was preaching to the converted.

But the audience also held a fair number of nonbelievers who had come only to pay tribute to Conan Doyle. "It was either an amazing proof of communication with the dead," said one skeptic, "or it was the most cold-blooded and cruel fraud." A reporter from the Saturday Review was more blunt: "I should like to have heard Sherlock Holmes examining the medium at the Albert Hall last Sunday, for the methods that were employed were hardly reminiscent of Baker Street. Indeed, far from satisfying Holmes, I doubt if the evidence would even have been good enough for Watson."

After half an hour or so, the nonbelievers could no longer suppress their irritation. From various parts of the hall, some forty or fifty people rose from their seats and headed for the exits. From the platform, Mrs. Roberts registered her distress: "I can't go on with all these people walking out," she announced. A blast of organ music rang out to cover the confusion, and for a few moments it appeared the memorial might come to a premature end.

At that moment, however, just as the meeting threatened to disband in an atmosphere of disarray, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle made his appearance. "He is here!" Mrs. Roberts shouted. "He is here!" The skeptics stopped in their tracks. All eyes locked on the empty chair.

Later, Mrs. Roberts would claim that Conan Doyle had been on the platform all along: "I saw him first during the two minutes' silence," she would recall. "Then when I was giving my messages I saw him again. He was wearing evening dress. He walked across the platform and sat in the empty chair. He was behind me, encouraging me while I was doing my work. I recognized once more that fine, clear voice of his, which could not be mistaken."

Whatever one's opinion of her psychic abilities, Mrs. Roberts's timing could not be faulted. Her announcement galvanized the audience. From the farthest reaches of the house, people strained for a better view of the empty chair.

A serene smile spread across Lady Conan Doyle's features. Mrs. Roberts stepped over to her side. "I have a message for you, dear, from Arthur," she said. Lady Conan Doyle gave a nod.

"Sir Arthur told me that one of you went into the hut this morning," Mrs. Roberts said, referring to a building on the family's Crowborough estate. "Is that correct?"

"Why, yes," said Lady Conan Doyle. "I did."

Mrs. Roberts nodded, and leaned forward. "The message is this: Tell Mary—"

Just then a second blast from the pipe organ drowned out the medium's voice, so that only those sitting nearby could hear. Mrs. Roberts spoke for some moments, while Conan Doyle's family listened intently. Occasionally one of his sons would lean forward to add a word of explanation or clarification. Lady Conan Doyle simply sat and listened.

For the rest of her life, Lady Conan Doyle would decline to discuss the contents of the message, saying only that she was perfectly convinced it had come from her husband. "I am as sure of that," she told a reporter that night, "and of the fact that he has been here, as I am that I am speaking to you."

Her sincerity was evident as she sat listening to the words of the medium. For several moments she sat perfectly still, her features radiant, her eyes fixed on a point at the far end of the hall. She held her gaze for several moments, then brushed her cheek and looked away.

(C) 1999 Daniel Stashower All rights reserved. ISBN: 0-8050-5074-4

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Post by zerdini Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:16 am

A much better report than Time magazine - well researched,Jim. I doubt there were ten thousand there - eight thousand is usually the maximum - they may have crammed a few more in although they would probably have had to stand.


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Post by Admin Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:40 pm

Hi Z,

There are so many News Reports on Archive to find but each one is around a 2 quid and add nothing. Sadly no pictures. When I have some clear time I may download from The Times Archives but I need to identify a days worth of archive material to make it of value. This event was reported accross the United States papers and obviously widely in the Uk.

There must be pictures, I presume initially in the wonderful Arthur Conan Doyle museum which, in the main part went missing during the war. A major major loss to our history.

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Post by Admin Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:55 pm

Hmm several days posts have gone missing here all my material re Estelle Stead and Carta Blanca included

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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Empty Re: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Post by Admin Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:34 am

I will try and recover the lost material,

Once again I am greatful to Christopher and his blog spot http://cartablanc.blogspot.com/2009/07/sir-arthur-and-spirits.html The blog is well worth a read as are many of his other items especially about The book Blue Islands.
It is also good that I was able to provide him with the photograph shown below which he had been unable to find, I thank him for placing a link to this forum in the article too.

From Christophers blog

"The New York Times article of May 8th 1922 gave an account of a public talk given by Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle about life on The Other Side. It was Sir Arthur who, if you'll remember, wrote an introduction to "The Blue Island"."

The New York Times article said:


Devils, Too, In Other World, Says Doyle

They're Spirits Who Were Low Down On This Side, He Tells Big Audience At Carnegie

Shows A Picture Of Stead

Much-Discussed 'Supernatural' Photograph of Titanic Victim Brings Applause

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in his lecture on spiritualism in Carnegie Hall yesterday showed more of his photographs of "spirits" built up out of the mysterious ectoplasm, and gave a new explanation of the devil.

"A devil in the other world", he said, "is a low-down, crude, bad man who passes over from this world. They do there as they have done here. Then there are mischievous spirits in the other world, just as there are mischievous boys in this world. When they see a lot of ridiculous persons gathered around a table in a seance these mischievous spirits set out to make the worldly persons more ridiculous".

One of the new photo graphs in his exhibit, which, he said, had been taken in the laboratory of William Hope at Crewe, showed W.T. Stead, the famous British writer and editor who perished on the Titanic. It was a very clear portrait of a man, and around the outside was scribbled, in handwriting which Sir Arthur said was undoubtedly Stead's, these words:

"I will try to keep you posted."

Explaining what these words meant, Sir Arthur said that he had been informed that a friend named Walker accompanied Mr Stead to the station to bid him farewell just before the start of the voyage on the Titanic, and that Stead's last words were: "I will try to keep you posted." Walker hurried to the laboratory after the death of Stead, and asked the medium there to get a picture of Stead, if possible.

Smiling Spirit There Too.

He showed also Stead's daughter in pictures with "spirits" summoned to the photographic plate by her, and another photograph of "an old gentleman from Aberdeen", whose "spirit" smiled through from the "other world". Sir Arthur pointed out that the smile was not a frequent phenomenon.

The audience, which again filled nearly every seat in Carnegie Hall to hear the lecture, was intensely interested in the photograph of W.T. Stead, and after it had been shown there were bursts of applause here and there in the galleries and in the auditorium. It was evident that many of those present had read of the discussion as to whether Mr Stead, himself one of the foremost students of spiritualism in his day, would be able to "penetrate the veil" and convey some message to this world from the "world of the spirits."

As the photograph was flashed on the screen, there was discussion here and there in the audience as to the controversy on the validity of this photograph, which is now famous among spiritualists in England and other European countries.

Sir Arthur plainly made this photograph of Mr Stead the main effort of this appearance. Before he called for the display of the photograph, he told about W.T. Stead, and showed a few pictures of his daughter taken with "spirits." He told of the friendship of Mr Stead for those who had assisted in the taking of the photograph, and then the picture was flashed on the screen.

There was a brief moment of suspense; then a murmur over the crowd as the words on the rim of the picture were read, and finally applause as Sir Arthur declared that he believed that any man who could scoff at evidence of that sort, had no mind whatever.

Says Fake Is Impossible

The lecturer said that there could be no doubt that this photograph of Stead was projected from the "spirit world"; that he had investigated the laboratory in which it was taken, not only once, but scores of times, and knew that there was no "fake" of any kind there, and that scores of persons who knew Stead in life had recognized his likeness instantly upon viewing the photograph.

It was a likeness of a man of years, with gray hair and beard, and glasses with visibly heavy rims, and a disarranged necktie. The words on the rim of the picture were not written in a straight line, but were turned so that they formed the sides and bottom of a box. They were easily read.

With this photograph of Stead and several other of his new displays, Sir Arthur showed what he meant by the "psychic arch". The pictures of nearly all these "spirits" are draped with a substance resembling some fine white cloth, which, Sir Arthur says, is really ectoplasm not used in the formation of the likeness of the "spirit." The "psychic arch" resembles in contour a shawl around the face, and in some of the photographs it looked as if the veil were held together under the chin of the "spirits" by some unseen hand.

Just How Photo Was Made

Expounding his theories on how the pictures of Mr Stead and others were projected from the "spirit" world," he said he believed that the subjects were marshaled by a "control" on the other side, some superior spirit who knew the best ways to obtain results. He said he believed that the ectoplasm was gathered in a sort of bag, and that the head of the "spirit" subject to be photographed, gradually emerged from the opening of the bag, with the excess ectoplasm flowing out to form the "psychic arch."

He showed a picture of a woman wearing an earring, and a baby wearing bracelets, and said that the appearance of those adornments was merely to convince the worldly beings of the existence of a world of the spirits. The pieces of jewelery were familiar to those who had known the "spirits" in life, and the earring had been a childhood gift of a boy to a girl who later became his wife. Though the couple became wealthy, Sir Arthur said, she always wore the cheap silver earrings.

"There is a great deal of intelligence behind these pictures," said Sir Arthur. "They are trying to put over their evidence to us."

He said that "on the other side" assistance in the taking of the pictures was given to "controls" by small children, usually appearing to be about seven or eight years old, and usually negroes, Indians or some other colored race. He showed a picture of one of these children, apparently a boy from India.

One unusual picture showed a woman from this world, with faces of three relatives from the "spirit world." One face seemed superimposed on her head, and another head, vivid in its outlines, seemed to repose on her lap under her arm. A third was dimly outlined on the other side of the picture.

Sir Arthur said that in his last lecture in Carnegie Hall on Wednesday evening he would show some more new pictures and summarize his views on spiritualism.

As Christopher says in his excellent blog
"Startling stuff, you will surely agree, particularly about the photographs of "spirits". It strains credibility, you might say. Now, while some photographs of "spirits" have demonstrably been fakes, are they all? Note particularly the section in the article about a spirit photograph of WT Stead. The photo, showing WT Stead's daughter, Estelle, with an image of the face of her deceased father - who had died in 1912 on the Titanic - hovering beside her, is the frontispiece to the original 1922 edition of "The Blue Island".

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Blue_i10

"Is the photo a fake? Sir Arthur, for what it's worth, said this was impossible. But, more relevantly, we should turn to what Estelle Stead, herself, wrote in her introduction to "The Blue Island". She said that the photographic plate, on which her father's face appeared, was never out of her sight from when she purchased it, to when the photograph was developed. This was also the case with another photograph on which WT Stead's face appeared. So, if Estelle Stead wasn't lying, no-one could have faked the photographs.

While Estelle Stead could have lied about all this, it's unlikely she did. For one thing, her face, as evidenced in the photograph of her with her "spirit" father, bespoke a woman of obviously great moral strength and integrity. Also, as the daughter of WT Stead who was the epitome of Victorian English moral uprightness, Estelle, in her character, would have mirrored her father. English Victorians, of the class and station of the Steads, didn't consciously lie, cheat, steal, or otherwise do anything dishonest or dishonorable. If the likes of the Steads were witnesses in a criminal trial, you would believe what they said."

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Post by Admin Sun Dec 27, 2009 11:07 pm

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in Winnipeg

Wonderful piece from the Manitoba History Association

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