views updated May 14 2018


A term designating the spirit entity that works with a medium from "the other side" and who takes charge of the séance proceedings while the medium is in a trance. This operator might also be called a guide. Generally, the term implies enduring attendance by a distinct and continuous personality who uses the entranced medium's body. Some controls, such as Arthur Ford 's "Fletcher," became almost as famous as the medium. In some ways, the control resembles the regular entities that speak through channels and deliver a body of teachings. In fact, controls often deliver a brief message at the beginning of séances, but their primary function is to direct the orderly contact of various spirit entities with the people present. The apparent motive of controls is to do good, to be of service, and to work out their salvation.

Spiritualists, who view the medium as a bridge to a lively world of spirit entities, believe the control performs a variety of functions during the séance: delivering direct or relayed messages to sitters, keeping order among those who rushed to the "light" (emanating from the "other side"), keeping away undeveloped or evil spirits, and occasionally getting out of the way to allow the entity to communicate directly to others.

Spiritualists claim that the body of the medium is an instrument that requires considerable practice in efficient handling. The control is a communication expert that watches over the fluency of the proceedings and often steps in to explain or repeat unintelligible expressions. The conversational aspect of the séances is largely due to the control's presence.

The nature of the control entity and the manner in which the control functions remains unclear. There are, of course, a variety of opinions on exactly what a control is. Today, many non-Spiritualists, especially psychological scientists, consider the control a part of the medium's personality. Otherseven more skeptical in light of the significant amount of fraud found among mediums in the early twentieth centurytend to write off controls as mundane creations of mediums. Spiritualists suggest that the controls' long-term attendance of mediums is considered on the other side as a kind of missionary work, or as an occasional opportunity for experimental research.

Some of the most critical pieces of evidence to be considered in assessing the nature of spirit controls suggest that some entities at séances may be artificial personalities created from the unconscious attitudes and thoughts of the sitters. In September 1972, a group of experimenters at the Toronto Society for Psychical Research in Canada created an artificial entity named "Philip " by meditating on his history, characteristics, and appearance as decided on by the group. After negative results for nearly a year, the group adopted the conventional Spiritualist séance method and soon received messages from Philip through table rapping. Some spirit guides and controls are obviously synthetic and illusory, as in the deliberate creation of Philip; however, it may be that the momentary acceptance of them as real personalities can favorably influence paranormal phenomena.

The Human Qualities of Controls

There is a human element in the process of establishing a control's presence. Among the spirit entities, there may be a struggle for the post, and an established control may be replaced by another, as witnessed in the case of Leonora Piper. The struggle for control is often conveyed to the medium by broken communications and spasmodic movements of the hand or of the traveler on the ouija board.

The character and limitation of the controls also bear the human stamp. They may have a large experience in life in the beyond, yet, in answer to questions, they often confess ignorance and reply that they will inquire from another who knows. They tend to be patient, and during the days of physical phenomena were ready to produce such phenomena to the sitters' satisfaction. But they seem adverse to taking orders; they expect courteous treatment, appreciation for what they do, and have their own caprices. Often they bring a religious atmosphere but few of them seem of saintly disposition. "Walter," the control of Mina Crandon (Margery) cursed freely if something displeased him and sent cantankerous objectors to the devil. In his righteous indignation against Houdini he accused him of cheating, swore terribly, called down curses on his head, and used the most fearful language.

"Eyen," the Egyptian control of Mrs. Travers Smith (Hester Dowden ), who claimed to have been a priest of Isis in the reign of Ramses II, also cursed and swore in verse against a member of the circle who drove him out by hypnotic suggestion given to the medium. "Peter," another control of Smith, was similar to "Walter," in that he attached himself to the circle to satisfy his own curiosity and conduct psychical experiments from the other side. He was excellent in devising tests, but otherwise his character left little to be desired.

The power of constant controls is usually greater than that of incidental communicators, and often appears to be specific. "I have only power for voices," said Cristo d'Angelo, when he was requested to be the control at the Rossi sittings. This is a curious parallel with similar limitations on the part of mediums and supports the theory that the control, in relation to other spirits, is just as psychic as the medium in relation to the sitters. For instance, in Cristo d'Angelo's case some spirits, if too weak to reach the sitter on their own voice vibrations, came through that of the control, which resulted in a blending of accent and occasional predomination of the timbre of the control.

During the period when mediums were under widespread scrutiny, the controls became central to physical effects (an understanding of which has to be integrated with the belief that the majority of the physical mediums were discovered in some form of fraud). Consequently, the controls often had helpers (some would term them "confederates"), other spirits who prepared difficult physical phenomena while a message was being delivered. These helpers sometimes assisted in the control as well, increasing the coherence of the messages.

Many instances of blunders by controls were recorded in the scripts of Stainton Moses. Once, heavy volumes of phosphoric smoke were produced, scaring the medium as he was enveloped in fire. It was explained afterward that an accident happened during the production of the psychic lights (see luminous phenomena ). Another time, a perfume-producing experiment miscarried and the sitters were driven out of the room by an unbearable stench.

Sometimes harm reportedly occurred to the medium because of the control's negligence or careless overdraft of power. Occasionally controls failed in their capacity as doorkeepers and undesirable, malignant elements invaded the séance room. In such cases they immediately ordered the closing of the sitting. When the medium awakened from trance, the control disappeared. The control could not communicate anymore but might be watchful and desirous of sending a message. Mrs. Piper occasionally received such messages through her own entranced daughters.

The presence of the control was made known by various means. The voice in direct speaking, the character of the handwriting or the sensation experienced in automatic writing, the peculiar style of rapping or tilting of the table, or mannerisms disclosed the control's identity. Physiological observations may have also furnished proof. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle found that the pulse of medium John Tichnor beat 100 when controlled by "Colonel Lee," 118 when under the control of "Black Hawk," and 82 when normal.

A curious case of two controls conversing audibly, each using his own medium, was witnessed in the Mina Crandon séances when another medium, Miss Scott, also fell into trance. The control, "Walter," who was in charge of the séance from the other side, instructed the spirit of Mrs. Scott, mother of the medium, how to proceed, when to start and when to stop talking.

The Picturesque Element

The claims by controls of prior existence in human embodiment present another problem in assessing them. Most controls have claimed a distant and inconspicuous life that defies any verification. The control of D. D. Home always spoke in plural and never gave his name. Stainton Moses was attended by an organized band of controls that included biblical characters, philosophers, sages, and historic personalities. The biblical characters called themselves "Imperator" (Malachias), "Preceptor" (Elijah), "The Prophet" (Haggai), "Vates" (Daniel), "Ezekiel," "Theophilus" (St. John the Baptist), "Theosophus" (St. John the Apostle), and "Theologus" (St. John the Divine).

The philosophers and sages included a prestigious selection of the famous and a few unknowns: Solon, Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Athenodorus (Doctor), Hippolytus (Rector), Plotinus (Prudens), Alexander Achillini (Philosophus), Algazzali or Ghazali (Mentor), Kabbila, Chom, Said, Roophal, and Magus. Moses was torn by doubts for a long time as to their identity and finally concluded that, "judging as I should wish to be judged myself they were what they pretended to be."

Imperator was one of the most ancient spirit controls, but he was preceded by nearly a thousand years by "Lady Nona" (the guide of "Rosemary"), who claimed to have lived in Egypt in the time of the pharaohs. "Black Hawk," the control of Evan Powell, insisted that a book had been published about him in America. In 1932 the book was found; it was printed in 1834 in Boston.

There are several instances in which the same control has manifested through different mediums. They have particular favors for one medium at a time, however, and on that medium's death the loss of power is passed on to another. "John King ," who also claimed to have been Sir Henry Owen Morgan, the buccaneer king, first appeared in the Davenport séances and manifested at séances of other mediums for a long time, while "Katie King ," his daughter, appeared to have passed on to a higher sphere after her farewell from Florence Cook. Katie, however, made an unexpected return to the circle of Dr. Glen Hamilton in 1932. Roy Stemman reported that Katie King materialized in Rome in July 1974 with the medium Fulvio Rendhell.

Native American Controls

Native Americans attained a special status within Spiritualist circles, so frequently did they act as controls. Spiritualism, in fact, presents one of the earliest attempts to build a positive image of Native Americans among the European-American public. These controls bore romantic or plain Indian names; for instance, "North Star" (Gladys Osborne Leonard ), "Red Cloud" (Estelle Roberts ), "White Feather" (John Sloan ), "Greyfeather" (J. B. Johnson ), "Grey Wolf" (Hazel Ridley ), "Bright Eyes" (May Pepper ), "Red Crow" (F. F. Craddock ), "Black Hawk" (Evan Powell ), "Black Foot" (John Myers ), "Red Jacket" (Dr. C. T. Buffum ) and Emily French, "Old John" and "Big Bear" (Dr. Charles B. Kenney), "Hawk Chief" and "Kokum" (George Valiantine ), "Moonstone" (Alfred Vout Peters ), "Tecumseh" (W. H. Powell ), and "Segaske" (T. d'Aute Hopper ). Few Native American guides surpassed the fame of "White Eagle" and "Silver Birch," the controls of two famous British mediums, Grace Cooke and Maurice Barba-nell, respectively.

Other nationalities, primarily those identified as cultures that taught the ancient wisdom, were also frequently encountered, such as "Tien-Sen-Tie" (the Chinese guide of J. J. Morse ), "Eyen" (an Egyptian guide of Hester Dowden), and "Feda" (the Asian Indian guide of Gladys Leonard. In addition, Hooper was attended by a fakir, Annie Brittain by a Senegalese child, and Eileen Garrett by an Arab control. Nevertheless, Native American controls were in the majority.

In spirit photographs Native American controls followed popular images and appeared in scalp locks and tribal robes. Their chief organizer was said to have been John King, but before the appearance of the romantic buccaneer the first Indian controls manifested in the Shaker communities in America. They came collectively as a tribe. A knock was heard at the door and when the spirits were invited they possessed everyone. Indian shouts echoed in the house; the obsessed spoke Native languages among themselves and danced Native American dances.

The Native American spirits did not deliver any teaching. On the contrary, the Shakers came to the conclusion that they had to teach and convert the spirits. The Shakers' work was the beginning of what later became known in Spiritualist groups as a rescue circle. The visits continued from 1837 to 1844. When the spirits left, they informed their teachers that they would return soon and invade the world, entering palaces and cottages. But generally the Native American controls restricted their activity to physical manifestations.

E. W. Wallis, coauthor with M. H. Wallis of Guide to Medium-ship, writes:

"Many Indian spirits become true and faithful friends. They act as protectors"doorkeepers" so to speakto their mediums. They do the hard work of development in the circle and prevent the intrusion of undesirable spirits. Sometimes they are boisterous and exuberant in their operations and manifestations and while we do not share the prejudices which are expressed against them we think it is wise to exercise a restraining influence over their demonstrations. They generally possess strong healing power and frequently put their mediums through a course of calisthenic exerciseswhich, although beneficial to the health of the medium and, in the presence of a few friends, may pass without adverse comment, would probably cause criticism if performed in a public assembly."

Apart from Native Americans, and in light of contemporary discussion of the child as an element in the individual's subconscious self, children furnished the most interesting group of controls. The best known include "Feda" (Gladys Osborne Leonard), "Nelly" (Rosina Thompson ), "Dewdrop" (Bessie Williams ), "Sunshine" (Anne Meurig Morris ), "Little Stasia" (Stanislawa Tomczyk ), "Nina" and "Yolande" (Elizabeth d'Esperance ), "Belle" (Annie Brittain), "Bell" (Florence Perriman ), "Harmony" (Sussannah Harris ), "Snow Drop" (Maud Lord Drake), and "Pocka" Miss C. E. Wood ).

Before Emanuel Swedenborg, the human element was largely lacking in spirit contact. Paracelsus, for example, communed with elemental creatures; the spirits seen in the "shew stone"of John Dee were not identified with men; and sleepwalkers believed themselves to be possessed by the devil or by the Lord. The first controls as guiding spirits appeared in the experiments of G. P. Billot in France about 1820. The spirits possessing his mediums claimed to be their guardian angels. Some controls claim to be pure spirits (never incarnated), such as "Little Stasia" of Stanislawa Tomczyk and "Nona" of Lujza Linczegh Ignath.

Control by the Living

In several recorded cases the messages delivered by the medium were proved to have emanated from living individuals. This introduces the important question of whether the living can act as controls. It was found that messages from the living often came without their knowledge, in most cases when they were asleep. This would suggest that occasionally the spirit entity communicating might also be unconscious of doing soit might be dreaming through the medium. The repeated statements of Mrs. Piper's controls that they have to enter a dream state to communicate have a curious bearing on this idea.

The Frenchman Allan Kardec and American John Edmonds were the first to state that spirit communications may emanate from the living. In his Spiritual Tracts (October 24, 1857), Edmonds writes: "One day while I was at West Roxbury there came to me through Laura [his daughter] as a medium, the spirit of one with whom I had once been well acquainted, but from whom I had been separated some fifteen years. His was a very peculiar characterone unlike that of any other man whom I ever knew, and so strongly marked that it was not easy to mistake his identity. I had not seen him for several years; he was not at all in my mind at the time, and he was unknown to the medium. Yet he identified himself unmistakably, not only by his peculiar characteristics, but by referring to matters known only to him and me. I took it for granted he was dead, and was surprised afterwards to learn that he was not. He is yet living. I have known since then many similar manifestations so that I can no longer doubt the fact that at times our communications are from the spirits of the living as well as the dead."

Other interesting cases may be found in E. K. Bates's Seen and Unseen (1907), M. Monteith's The Fringe of Immortality (1920), A. N. Aksakov 's Animismus und Spiritismus (1890), and Florence Marryat 's There Is No Death (1892).

In one instance the spirit of Florence Marryat was summoned while she was asleep. In the experience of the author, the spirits of the living invariably beg to be sent back or permitted to go, as if they were chained by the will of the medium. Among her own mediumistic gifts Marryat claimed the power to summon the spirits of the living.

Some early clairvoyants suggested that the only perceptible difference between the spirits of the living and those of the dead was that a delicate line of light appears to proceed from the latter, apparently uniting it with the distant physical body. Some modern clairvoyants claimed to have discovered another distinction. The spirit incarnate appears lifeless, dead, statue-like, whereas the discarnate one is intensely alive.

Catherine Berry writes in Experiences in Spiritualism (1876): "The table presently began rolling in a most extraordinary manner, so that we could scarcely keep it down. We asked what was the matter and it spelled out 'We have buoyed the cable and shall be home in three days.' We did not know what this meant. Someone suggested that we should ask the name which it gave. A gentleman then present at once said 'Are you Alfred?' Answer: 'Yes.' 'Then you are on board the Great Eastern?' 'Yes.' 'Then you are all safe?' 'Yes.' At this time, I should say, the vessel had not been heard of for ten days or a fortnight; and exact-ly at the end of three days the vessel arrived. This spirit "Al-fred" was in the flesh at the time and is now; and though he has been questioned he has no knowledge of the circumstance or of having desired to send us such a communication."

The story of a communication by raps from a living man is told in the Revue Spirite, January 1911 by a Mrs. Bardelia. This medium reported the occurrence took place under the observation of Gustave Le Bon. It happened in 1908 in St. Petersburg. The manager of the hotel where the medium was staying asked for the favor of a séance. He was eager to get a message from his father, who had recently died. The manager was dissatisfied when, with the aid of the alphabet, the first raps spelled out a name quite different from the one he expected. The family name shortly followed, and he exclaimed, "Why, that is the name of my best friend; but he is certainly not dead, for I just lately heard from him from a hotel in Moscow, where he is employed." Both the manager and the medium were surprised, and Bardelia sought further information. The spirit confided, "I am not dead, but in a state of coma; I shall die tonight." The manager asked, "Are you at your hotel?" "No, at the hospital," was the reply. The raps ceased.

The manager, still skeptical, announced his intention of immediately telephoning to Moscow to verifying the message. About an hour later he returned, very pale and greatly excited. A hotel spokesman said that, delirious and dying, his friend had been moved to the hospital that morning and was not expected to live through the night.

Mrs. J. H. Conant, an American medium, could manifest through other mediums while her body was in trance and under spirit control.

Wsevolod Solowiof, a well-known Russian writer, and automatist who usually produced mirror scripts, on one occasion wrote the name "Vera." On inquiry it was elicited that a relative of his was communicating. "Yes; I sleep, but I am here, and I have come to tell you that we shall meet tomorrow in the summer gardens." This came to pass. Moreover, the young girl told her family that she dreamed of visiting her cousin and of having told him of their meeting.

Hereward Carrington, in his introduction to Sylvan J. Muldoon's The Projection of the Astral Body (1929), narrates his personal attempt at projectionto appear to a certain young lady, an accomplished pianist, with a phenomenal musical memory:

"One day, I asked her if she had ever heard of an old song, 'Sparrows Build,' made famous years ago by Jenny Lind, and a favourite of my childhood days. She stated that she never had. I said that I would get and send her a copy 'some time' as I thought she would like it. That was all that was said about it at the time and no particular importance was attached to it. A couple of nights later I attempted to appear to her, and as usual awoke in the morning without knowing whether my experiment had 'succeeded' or not. A little later I received a telephone call and the young lady in question informed me that I had appeared to her the night beforerather more vividly than usualand that she had thereupon been seized with the impulse to write automaticallythe result being a verse of poetry. That afternoon I called, was told of the experience, was shown the poetry and confess that I received quite a momentary thrill. The poetry consisted of the opening lines of the song 'When Sparrows Build,' absolutely accurate with the exception of one word."

The Gordon Davis case recorded by S. G. Soal in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research (vol. 35) is one of the more famous cases in all of psychical research. In a series of séances with Blanche Cooper in 1922, a voice came through which Soal recognized as that of Gordon Davis, an acquaintance who he believed had died in the war. Details about home and family were given in a very convincing manner. Three years later Soal met Davis, still quite alive. He knew nothing of the communications that were said to have come from him. Several similar cases are recorded by W. Leslie Curnow in a 1927 article in Psychic Science.

Shamar, the Hindu control of Hester Dowden, specialized in bringing communicators who were living. In one instance, the name of an intimate friend came through:

"He stated that he was not sound asleep and therefore the message would come in jerks, which it did. He said he was sitting before the fire in his drawing-room; no one else was in the room. I asked him to give my sister a message from me; he said, 'Sorry, I can't; I shall forget all this when I wake.' He then said goodbye and that he could not speak any more as he was getting more wakeful."

Sir Lawrence J. Jones, in his presidential address to the Society for Psychical Research in 1928, dwelt on the mediumship of Kate Wingfield, saying,

"On four different occasions my youngest girl, aged nine, purported to control during her sleep, speaking with great animation and very characteristically. In the first instance she was at Ripley, some fifteen miles from Wimbledon, where K. [Wing-field] was staying. Later at Valescure she was asleep either in the same house or in a neighbouring villa. On the first occasion the child was asked, after some conversation, "What about the sailor frock?" The answer came: "We went to a shop. Mummie just said, 'You get those things out. That is her tallness.' And they got them; nothing else to be done, no alteringthey just sent them home. That's what I like."

This was a correct version of what had happened that afternoon. The child had been taken by her mother to London but none of us had been at Wimbledon that day, so K. and the other members of the circle only knew that there was a plan to buy a sailor frock. Here is Herbert's (the guide) comment,

"In many cases a spirit on our side is quite unable to tell if a person is dead, or unconscious, or merely sleeping, if the spirit is outside; for after death for some little time the cord hangs loosely before it is absorbed into the soulbody and often in sleep the slackness of the cord presents the same appearance."

This instance may be compared with the "Beard" case in Journal of the Society for Psychical Research (vol. 23), where Mr. Beard was described as having quite recently passed over at a sitting held some eight hours before his actual decease.

Mercy Phillimore (in Light, May 9, 1931) told of her experience in 1917 in a sitting with Naomi Bacon when a man was described whom she recognized as a living friend:

"The moment my mind realized his presence a certain ease seemed to invade the sitting and he took direct control of the medium. The control lasted between five and ten minutes, but before it ended the communicator requested me never to refer to the experience to him in his normal state. The facts communicated were found to be correct. In another sitting a year later the living friend again purported to be present. His communications were evidential."

In a direct voice séance given by William Cartheuser for the American Society for Psychical Research on October 26, 1926, Mrs. X, a lady acquaintance of Malcolm Bird received what she considered communication from her former father-in-law. He said that he died of a lung condition and had tried hard to impress Mrs. X the night before. He gave a correct description of what she was doing at that particular time. After the séance, Mrs. X found out that the communicator was alive and in great mental distress on the date of the séance (Psychic Re-search, 1927).

Alfred Vout Peters, the well-known London clairvoyant, had several similar experiences. On four separate occasions, Laura Finch ("Phygia") controlled Peters while she was in Paris in the body and he in London. She promised to do so if she could. "All who know her have been unanimous in declaring it was Phygia's own self speaking; her mannerism was there; things were said of which only she had cognisance, and when tests were agreed upon beforehand in the shape of certain phrases to be uttered they were invariably used" (Light September 2, 1899). On another occasion it was found that a control who manifested through Peters was alive in Africa.

Admiral J. G. Armstrong related (Light, April 25, 1931) that on one occasion while he was in London, his mother, who lived in Devonshire, spoke to him through a medium. She was asleep at the time and had the impression, on waking, of having made a long journey. During a naval conference in London a naval officer whom he had known many years prior similarly came through and advised him to protest against the reduction of the navy. He gave facts about his recent service. On inquiry Armstrong found out that the man was alive and served in the East. Allowing for the difference in time, it was likely he was sleeping at the hour of the communication.

There are some cases on record in which a materialized apparition was discovered to be living. Alfred Vout Peters saw, in a séance with Cecil Husk, the phantom of a friend who must have been at home asleep at the time. Others had similar experiences with the same medium. Stanley de Brath saw, on four occasions, the materialized face of a lady (then in India) of whom he had lost track. Afterward he received a letter from her. A Church of England clergyman saw the materialized face of his brother who was then living in South Africa (Light, 1903).

In the controversy that ensued, a correspondent wrote to Light of the materialization in the United States of General Sherman, who not only announced his identity, but also stated that he had just died. The general, however, who was at the time on his death bed, did not die until a day or two later.

Some mediums are claimed to have materialized animal phantoms. From a Spiritualist perspective, the question might arise, Is it not possible for animal spirits to control men in trance? The confession of Charles Albert Beare, a self-styled, bogus medium of Peckham, London (Daily Express, September 18, 1931), contains this curious passage:

"One night at Bermondsey I saw a woman supposed to be controlled by an ape. She jumped on chairs, on the table and darted all over the room just like an apein fact, she had all the mannerism and characteristics of the ape. It was a horrifying performance, and when the woman came out of the control she had to be revived with water and by people beating her hands."


Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York: Paragon House, 1991.

Curnow, W. Leslie. "Spirits in the Flesh." Psychic Science (January 1927).

Marryat, Florence. There Is No Death. New York: John Lovell, 1891. Reprint, New York: Causeway Books, 1973.

Moore, J. D. "A Medium Appearing in a Materialized Form." Facts 6 (March 1887).

Owen, Iris M., and Margaret Sparrow. Conjuring Up Philip. New York: Harper & Row, 1976.

Stemmen, Roy. Spirits and Spirit Worlds. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1975.


views updated May 18 2018

con·trol / kənˈtrōl/ • n. 1. the power to influence or direct people's behavior or the course of events: the whole operation is under the control of a production manager. ∎  the ability to manage a machine or other moving object: he lost control of his car. ∎  the restriction of an activity, tendency, or phenomenon: pest control. ∎  the power to restrain something, esp. one's own emotions or actions: get control of your emotions. ∎  (often controls) a means of limiting or regulating something: growing controls on spending. ∎  a switch or other device by which a machine is regulated: the volume control. ∎  the place where a particular item is verified: passport control. ∎  the base from which a system or activity is directed: mission control. ∎  Bridge a high card that will prevent opponents from establishing a particular suit. ∎  Comput. short for control key.2. Statistics a group or individual used as a standard of comparison for checking the results of a survey or experiment.3. a member of an intelligence organization who personally directs the activities of a spy.• v. (-trolled, -trol·ling) 1. [tr.] determine the behavior or supervise the running of: he was appointed to control the company's marketing strategy. ∎  maintain influence or authority over: you shouldn't have dogs if you can't control them. ∎  limit the level, intensity, or numbers of: he had to control his temper. ∎  (control oneself) remain calm and reasonable despite provocation. ∎  regulate (a mechanical or scientific process): the airflow is controlled by a fan. ∎  [as adj.] (controlled) (of a drug) restricted by law with respect to use and possession.2. Statistics [intr.] (control for) take into account (an extraneous factor that might affect results) when performing an experiment: no attempt was made to control for variations. ∎  check; verify.PHRASES: in control able to direct a situation, person, or activity.out of control no longer possible to manage.under control (of a danger or emergency) being dealt with successfully and competently: it took two hours to bring the blaze under control.DERIVATIVES: con·trol·la·bil·i·ty / kənˌtrōləˈbilitē/ n.con·trol·la·ble adj.con·trol·la·bly / -əblē/ adv.


views updated May 11 2018

1. The part of an experiment that acts as a standard by which to compare experimental observations.

2. The natural regulation of biological processes. See control mechanism.

3. See biological control; chemical control.


views updated May 14 2018

control check (accounts) by comparison with a duplicate register; exercise restraint or sway over. XV. — AN. contreroller, F. †conteroller (now contrôler) — medL. contrārotulāre, f. contrārotulus, f. contrā opposite + rotulus ROLL 1.
Hence, or — F. contrôle, control sb. restraint, check, sway. XVI. So controller, COMPTROLLER.

control (experimental)

views updated May 21 2018

control (experimental) Experimental research designs require that all cases are randomly allocated to either the experimental group which receives the treatment being tested, or to a control group which receives no treatment or an ineffective (placebo) treatment, and hence provides baseline information on spontaneous developments against which the effects of the experimental treatment can be measured.