Abbott, David P(helps) (1863-1934)

views updated

Abbott, David P(helps) (1863-1934)

Amateur magician and investigator of Spiritualist mediums. He was born in Falls City, Nebraska, September 22, 1863. His early education consisted of three months a year in a country schoolhouse on Nebraska prairies, and a final nine months in Falls City High School. In later life Abbott followed the trade of a money lender but took a great interest in science and philosophy. He also became an amateur magician, inventing and performing many startling feats of magic. He lived for some years in Omaha, Nebraska.

Abbott published numerous essays and several books on psychical subjects. His book Behind the Scenes with the Mediums exposed many techniques of fake mediumship, including slate writing and billet tests (see pellet reading ). In spite of his skepticism regarding the claims of mediumship, however, Abbott did not rule out the possibility of genuine phenomena. In a thoughtful contribution to the second volume of The Dream Problem by Ram Narayana (Delhi, 1922), he stated: "I mention these things to show that telepathy is far from established as a fact, yet I must say that I believe it to be possible under certain conditions, but positively it can not be commanded at will in the slightest degree." He then related personal and family experiences of veridical dreaming.


Abbott, David P. Behind the Scenes with the Mediums. Chicago: Open Court Publishing, 1912.

. The History of a Strange Case. Chicago: Open Court Publishing, 1908.

. Spirit Portrait Mystery Its Final Solution. Chicago: Open Court Publishing, 1913.

About this article

Abbott, David P(helps) (1863-1934)

Updated About content Print Article