The name given to various objects, such as flowers, jewelry, and even live animals, reportedly materialized in the presence of a medium. During the first hundred years of Spiritualism, the production of apports was one of the most prominent and effective features of Spiritualistic seances. Sometimes apports flew through the air and struck the faces of sitters; sometimes they appeared on the table, or in the laps of those present. A favorite form was the scattering of perfume on the company. In the last half century, however, as standards for observing seances improved, and the number of fake mediums exposed increased, the appearances of apports steadily decreased and today can only be found in the small circles of fake mediums that still exist on the fringes of the Spiritualist community.
Systematic experiments conducted in a purely scientific spirit exposed fraud in numerous instances where ordinary precautions would not have sufficed for its detection. Frequently it was found that the medium had skillfully concealed the apports in the room or about his or her person. Spiritualists have often argued that even though apports were often produced by obviously unscrupulous means, it does not follow that all materializations were performed with fraudulent intent. There are cases where, so far as can be judged, the character of the medium was beyond reproach, as in the case of Hélène Smith. The idea has been advanced that any preparations made beforehand, such as the secreting of flowers, must result from a process of activity of the subliminal consciousness. Spiritualists generally believe that apports are actually conveyed to the séance by spirits, or that they are drawn there by magnetic power. Branches of trees, armfuls of fruit and flowers, money, jewels, and live lobsters are among the more extraordinary apports.
Today, however, it is difficult to find anyone making a serious case for the existence of genuine apports. After a century and a half of observation, there is no single case of apports to which one can point as even a highly probable incident of the materialization of an object as a result of a medium's activity.
Were apports genuine, they would constitute one of the most baffling phenomena of Spiritualism. The objects produced in seances differed in size, were both inanimate and living, and appeared none the worse for their strange journey. The phenomenon was first observed by Dr. G. P. Billot. In Recherches psychologique ou correspondence sur le magnetisme vital entre un Solitaire et M. Deleuze (Paris, 1839) he describes a session on March 5, 1819, with three somnambules and a blind woman. He writes: "Towards the middle of the séance, one of the seeresses exclaimed: 'There is the Dove, it is white as snow, it is flying about the room with something in its beak, it is a piece of paper. Let us pray.' A few moments later she added: 'See, it has let the paper drop at the feet of Madame J."' Billot saw a paper packet at the spot indicated. He found in it three small pieces of bone glued onto small strips of paper, with the words: "St. Maxime, St. Sabine and Many Martyrs" written beneath the fragments.
With the same blind woman on October 27, 1820, he witnessed flower apports. J. P. F. Deleuze, to whom Billot communicated his experience in 1830, answered that he had just received a visit from a distinguished physician who had had similar experiences. His somnambule, however, never professed to have interviews with spirits. Deleuze suggested that the power of animal magnetism might better explain the phenomena than the intervention of spirits.
In the history of the curious occurrences in the household of Dr. Larkin of Wrentham, Massachusetts, around his servant girl, Mary Jane, about 1844, it is recorded:
"On one occasion, the whole family being assembled round the couch of the magnetized sleeper and every door being shut, a heavy flat-iron, last seen in the kitchen—quite a distance away—was suddenly placed in their midst, and, at the request of Mrs. Larkin, as suddenly disappeared, and was next found in the kitchen, every door of communication having remained closed."
The apport of a white dove into "The Olive Branch of Peace" circle of Boston was attested, in the early years of American Spiritualism, in an account published in the New Era by 11 respectable citizens of Boston. The room was hermetically sealed for 24 hours prior to the promised presentation. In quoting this and similar accounts in her Modern American Spiritualism (1870), Emma Hardinge Britten remarks on the singular docility of apported birds and says: "Numerous other instances can be cited in which spirits have manifested their power of influencing birds with a degree of readiness and intelligence as unaccountable as it is interesting."
Theories of Explanation
Ever since Britten's report of Larkin's experience, the dove has remained a favorite apport object of the invisible operators. The average apport manifestation, however, is less impressive, though, from the viewpoint of experimental research, the appearance of the smallest object in a closed space to which there is no normal access is of immense import. Unfortunately, observations under strict test conditions are all but nonexistent, and psychical research has classified the phenomenon as among the least attested. Besides the lack of observable data, the chief reason is that the phenomenon itself is exceptional and is considered so contrary to scientific observation to date that even those few great minds who admitted the phenomena of materialization as genuine shied away from apports. It also has to be admitted that the production of tame doves (and other items) from thin air is a common trick of the stage magician.
There are two theories that attempted to bring the phenomena of apports within understanding, on the assumption that genuine cases did occur. One is the fourth dimension, and the other, generally favored by Spiritualists, the disintegration and reintegration of the apported objects. The former was first advocated by German psychical researcher Johann Zöllner to explain the phenomenon of interpenetration of matter, which he claimed to observe with Henry Slade. It was accepted by Cesare Lombroso and Camille Flammarion and later endorsed by W. Whateley Carington in Britain and Malcolm Bird in the United States.
Zöllner's theory implies that there is a higher form of space of which we are not normally cognizant. The objects to be apported are lifted into this dimension, brought to the desired spot and then precipitated into our three-dimensional space, much as we can lift out something which is enclosed in a circle and place it outside. For two-dimensional beings, who experience only length and breadth, and live in a plane, this act of ours would constitute an apport phenomenon.
The other theory has been put forward in séance room communications. According to it, the spirits, by an act of willpower, disintegrate the matter to be transported into its molecular elements without altering its form. In this state the object may pass through the interstices of intervening matter and become reintegrated by a second act of willpower. René Sudre believes the medium's mind works upon a molecular scale, so that it can dematerialize and rematerialize objects at ordinary temperatures.
This theory essentially means there is another aggregation of matter. It is proposed that beyond the solid, liquid, and gaseous state is a fourth, fluidic state in which matter becomes invisible and impalpable and possesses, conjointly with an expansion of volume, great molecular malleability. From various observations one would have to suppose the state is one of inertia and that it requires strong thermo-dynamic efforts on the part of the operators to effect the return to the former solid state.
If the disintegration theory is correct, in consonance with the law of the transmutation of energy, a thermic reaction should be expected. Spiritualists have suggested that just such a reaction exists. Stone and metallic apports, especially bigger objects, are often burning or scorching hot on arrival. This sudden increase of heat was noticed by Zöllner in the claimed passage of matter through matter. Other objects were nevertheless found cold. In answer the invisible operators replies that they sometimes prefer to disintegrate a portion of the wood of the door or part of the ceiling to facilitate the entrance of the object in its original state. One would have had to suppose that this is the procedure employed when living things are brought in.
Some spirit operators make no claim for the unobstructed passage of matter through matter. They say a crack in the wall or roof is required for a dematerialized object to pass through to the place where a séance was being held. Julien Ochorowicz received this explanation from Stanislawa Tomczyk. It is very significant that the apport of a key was described by her as something long and whitish. It did not become a key with its peculiar color and shape until it dropped. She also stated in trance that metals became hot because of the friction of the particles in contracting. Paper, leather, and wood are not sensibly heated because they are not so hard and dense. In darkness an apport can be accomplished without dematerialization if the passage is free. In this case the spirit hand holding it would have to be solidified. In light the object had to be dematerialized.
There is one instance on record which suggests the disintegration and reintegration theory. To quote Ernesto Bozzano in Luce e Ombra (August-October, 1927):
"In March, 1904, in a sitting in the house of Cavaliere Peretti, in which the medium was an intimate friend of ours, gifted with remarkable physical mediumship, and with whom apports could be obtained at command, I begged the communicating spirit to bring me a small block of pyrites which was lying on my writing table about two kilometres (over a mile) away. The spirit replied (by the mouth of the entranced medium) that the power was almost exhausted, but that all the same he would make the attempt. Soon after the medium sustained the usual spasmodic twitchings which signified the arrival of an apport, but without hearing the fall of any object on the table, or on the floor. We asked for an explanation from the spirit-operator, who informed us that although he had managed to disintegrate a portion of the object desired, and had brought it into the room, there was not enough power for him to be able to re-integrate it. He added 'Light the light.' We did so, and found, to our great surprise, that the table, the clothes, and hair of the sitters, as well as the furniture and carpet of the room, were covered by the thinnest layer of brilliant impalpable pyrites. When I returned home after the sitting I found the little block of pyrites lying on my writing table from which a large fragment, about one third of the whole piece, was missing, this having been scooped out of the block."
Again, as an instance speaking for the fourth dimensional explanation, it is mentioned by Malcolm Bird that "Walter," the control of Margery (Mina Crandon ), cracked a joke at his expense during the Boston investigation on behalf of the Scientific American and promised to get a mate for "Birdie." On November 26, 1923, a live carrier pigeon, showing no resemblance to the pigeons found freely about Boston, appeared in the closed dining room of the house. "Walter," when previously asked where he would deposit the living apport, answered, "I can't say, I have to take a run and leap, and I can't tell where I shall land."
Apports in the Course of Arrival
One might expect that sometimes the circumstances of the arrival of the apport would be noticed. This has indeed happened. A pair of modest earrings, a present from the spirit guide to the Marquise Carlo Centurione Scotto, was seen to arrive in the Millesimo seances as described: "We all saw the trumpet (having a phosphorescent band) rise towards the ceiling and turn upside down so as to place the large end uppermost, then we heard something fall heavily into the trumpet, as though the object had dropped from the ceiling."
The arrival of a jar of ointment in full visibility is recorded in Rev. Charles L. Tweedale 's Man's Survival After Death (1909). He writes:
"Sunday, 13th November, 1910. Mother had sustained a cut on the head, and she, my wife, and I were all in the dining room at 9:20 P.M. We were all close together, mother seated in a chair, self and wife standing. No one else was in the room. My wife was in the act of parting mother's hair with her fingers to examine the cut and I was looking on. At that instant I happened to raise my eyes and I saw something issue from a point close to the ceiling in the corner of the room over the window, and distant from my wife (who had her back to it) three and a quarter yards, and four and a quarter yards from myself, facing it. It shot across the room close to the ceiling and struck the wall over the piano, upon which it then fell, making the strings vibrate, and so on to the floor on which it rolled. I ran and picked it up, and found, to my astonishment, that it was a jar of ointment which mother used specially for cuts and bruises, and which she kept locked up in her wardrobe. The intention was evident, the ointment was for the wound. I saw it come apparently through the wall, near the ceiling, and this with no one within three and a quarter yards of the place. The room is over nine feet high and was brilliantly lighted by a 100 candle-power lamp, and the door and window were shut, the latter fastened, and incapable of being opened from the outside."
Tweedale recorded several other similar observations.
"We were talking about the mysterious disappearance of the keys. Suddenly I saw something bright coming swiftly through the air from the direction of the corner opposite the door and high up towards the ceiling, and so from that part of the room where there is neither door, nor window, nor any opening in the wall. The bright thing rushed through the air and struck my wife on the coil of hair at the back of her head. It came with such a force that it bounced from her head to a distance of nearly three and a half yards from where she stood. My wife uttered a loud cry of alarm, due to the shock and surprise, but owing to the thick mass of hair intervening, she was not hurt in the least. I instantly ran and picked the object up, when, to our amazement, we found it was the bunch of keys missed from my mother's pocket since noon, and of which we had been talking when they were thus projected into the room.
"On another occasion (17th January 1911) a shower of articles came apparently through the ceiling and fell upon the tea-table, in the presence of six witnesses, and in good light. On 11th November 1913, a stick three feet ten inches long came slowly through the solid plaster ceiling in the presence of my daughter Marjorie and the servant in full lamplight, and fell on the table, leaving no trace of its passage; and again, on 29th January 1911, a solid article came apparently through the ceiling in our bedroom, in presence of myself and wife, in broad daylight and slowly descended on to the pillow. All these objects proved to be objective and real when we came to pick them up."
Writing of an earlier occurrence, Tweedale noted,
"At 2 p.m. the door once more opened, and from the top of the door there shot a long stream of white cloudy stuff. This was projected towards mother, who was lying in bed, the distance from the door to her pillow being four and a quarter yards. This extraordinary phenomenon looked like a tube of cloudy material and floated in the air. As it drew near to mother's pillow it slowed down, and when close to her she shrank away from it. At this moment something dropped from the end of the tube, which was close to her, on to the pillow and the tube of cloudy material then floated back to the top of the door and vanished. Thinking that the article which had dropped from it was a ball of wool, mother picked it up, and found to her amazement that it was an egg. She instantly sprang to the door, but found no one upstairs."
Henry Sausse in his book Des Preuves? En Voila observed many instances of his medium forming her hand into a cup, in trance and in full light, in the cavity of which a small cloud was seen to form, transforming itself instantly into a small spray of roses, with flowers, buds and leaves complete.
The gradual progress of an apported object was recorded by Stainton Moses in his account of August 28, 1872.
"In the dining room there was a little bell. We heard it commence to ring, and could trace it by its sound as it approached the door which separated us from it. What was our astonishment when we found that, in spite of the closed door, the sound drew nearer to us. It was evidently within the room in which we sat, for the bell was carried round the room, ringing loudly the whole time. After completing the circuit of the room, it was brought down, passed under the table, coming up close to my elbow. It was finally placed upon the table."
One must suppose that in this case a hole must have been made through the door to open a free passage to the bell. Naturally, the disintegration could not have occurred in a manner similar to atomic disintegration; otherwise we would have to ask as did W. W. Smith a whole series of questions: what becomes of the enormous quantity of energy that must be liberated; how is it prevented from being dissipated; and how is it collected again and recondensed into matter. Spiritualists suggested one way out, to suppose that in some mysterious manner the liberated energy was stored in a reservoir, so to speak, which is not situated in ordinary space at all. Such a conclusion leads back to Zöllner's fourth dimensional theory.
Mediums offered no other explanation of apports, but did complain of the difficulties they had to overcome. "I wanted to bring you a photograph in its frame with the glass but I cannot manage it. I will bring it to you without the glass," opined "Cristo d'Angelo" in the séance of July 8, 1928, at Millesimo. On another occasion a large ivy plant, about one meter fifty centimeters in height, was apported in three parts. First came the earth, then the plant with clods sticking to it, and finally the pot. The operators seemingly could not have managed the three things at once. That preparation in advance is often necessary seems to be suggested by similar experiences in Elizabeth d'Esperance 's mediumship.
The Wonders of Flower, Fruit and Living Apports
The flower apports of "Yolande," d'Esperance's control, were generally very impressive. On her instructions white sand and plenty of water were always held in readiness in the cabinet. On August 4, 1880, in the presence of William Oxley of Manchester, she directed a Mr. Reimers to pour sand into a water carafe, which he did until it was about half full. Then he was instructed to pour in water. "Yolande" took it, placed it on the floor, covering it lightly with the drapery she took from her shoulders. The circle was directed to sing. While singing they observed the drapery to be rising from the rim of the carafe. "Yolande" several times came out of the cabinet to examine the thing growing under the drapery. Finally she raised the drapery altogether and disclosed a perfect plant, its roots firmly grown and packed in the sand. She presented it to Oxley. Through raps, instructions were given not to discuss the matter but sing something and be quiet. They obeyed. More raps came and told them to examine the plant again. To their great surprise they observed a large circular head of bloom, forming a flower fully five inches in diameter, that had opened while the plant stood on the floor at Oxley's feet. The plant was 22 inches in height, with a thick woody stem that filled the neck of the water carafe. It had 29 leaves, each smooth and glossy. It was impossible to remove the plant from the water bottle, the neck being too small to allow the roots to pass; indeed the comparatively slender stem entirely filled the orifice. The plant was a native of India, an "Ixora Crocata." It had some years of growth. "We could see where other leaves had grown and fallen off, and wound-marks which seemed to have healed and grown over long ago. But there was every evidence to show that the plant had grown in the sand in the bottle as the roots were naturally wound around the inner surface of the glass, all the fibres perfect and unbroken as though they had germinated on the spot and had apparently never been disturbed." The plant was photographed. It lived for three months under the care of Mr. Oxley's gardener and then shrivelled up.
It was a favorite feat of "Yolande" to put a glass of water into the hand of one of her particular friends and tell him to watch it. She would then hold her slender tapered fingers over the glass and while her eyes were closely scrutinizing the water within it a flower would form itself upon it and fill the glass.
Patterns of ferns were often handed to her. She always matched them with others to please the sitters. Roses were frequently produced in the water pitcher she carried on her shoulder. If a special color was required it was obtained. D'Esperance once asked for a black rose. "Yolande" dipped her fingers into the pitcher and instantly brought out a dark object, dripping with moisture. It was a rose of distinctly blue-black color the like of which neither d'Esperance nor any of those assembled had seen.
On June 28, 1890, an overpowering scent was followed by the appearance in a water carafe, which was previously prepared with sand and water, of a golden lily, a foot and a half taller than d'Esperance. From root to point it measured seven feet. It bore eleven large blossoms, and the flowers were perfect, five fully blown. After it was photographed by one Professor Boutleroff, "Yolande" tried to take it back. Her efforts of dematerialization were unsuccessful. "Yolande" was in despair as—according to a message from "Walter," another control— she had gotten the plant on condition of returning it. "Walter" gave instructions to keep the plant in darkness until she could come again and take it. On July 5 the plant vanished as mysteriously as it came. At 9:23 P.M. it stood in the midst of the company, and at 9:30 P.M. it was gone. Not a vestige remained except the photographs and a couple of flowers, which had fallen off. The scent seemed for a moment to fill the room almost over-poweringly, and then it was gone.
Addressing inquiries to "Walter" at the time of the lily's appearance, the sitters were told that the plant was in the room before the sitters came in and "was ready for being put together" at least an hour before they saw it. Alexander N. Aksakof also witnessed this apport. On the night of its disappearance a piece of grey cloth was found on its stem. The stem passed through a hole in the center of the cloth. The cloth could not be removed. When, however, "Yolande" instructed Aksakof to remove it, it came off, without a rent, and still showing the round hole through which the stem had passed. She said that she got the piece of cloth from the same country as the flower. On examination the piece of cloth was found to be a scrap of mummy cloth, still aromatic with the perfumes used for embalming. It contained 2,584 meshes to the square inch.
It speaks for the previous preparation of apports that the British medium Kathleen Barkel saw in the room of the British College of Psychic Science in which Heinrich Melzer was to hold an apport séance in 1926, the shadow of a bunch of violets near the electric light bulb. At the séance that evening a quantity of violets did, indeed, appear. However, as Melzer was once detected in fraud, a more practiced explanation would be that the flowers had indeed been prepared and hidden near the light bulb, throwing a shadow.
Another early medium, famous for her flower and fruit apports, was Agnes Guppy-Volckman. In her seances the operators honored the requests of the sitters. Alfred Russel Wallace wrote that a friend of his asked for a sunflower, and one six feet high fell upon the table, having a large mass of earth around its roots. Georgina Houghton testified before the committee of the London Dialectical Society in 1869 of a sitting with Guppy-Volckman with 18 ladies and a gentleman present. Everybody could wish for a fruit. The list of the various things brought was a banana, two oranges, a bunch of white grapes, a bunch of black grapes, a cluster of filberts, three walnuts, about a dozen damsons, a slice of candied pineapple, three figs, two apples, an onion, a peach, some almonds, four very large grapes, three dates, a potato, two large pears, a pomegranate, two crystallized greengages, a pile of dried currants, a lemon, and a large bunch of raisins. They were brought in the order they had been wished for.
Signor G. Damiani made the curious observation of Guppy-Volckman's apports before the Dialectical Committee that the ends of the stems of the flowers presented a blackened and burnt appearance. When the reason was asked, the invisible intelligences answered that electricity was the potent "nipper" employed.
In her séance before the Florence Spiritual Society, "a sudden noise was heard as if the chandelier had fallen down; a light was struck, and a thick block of ice, of about a square foot in size, was found upon the table." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had a sitting with her at Naples. He held both her hands, and while he did so several orange boughs were brought. Longfellow considered this manifestation to be one of the most conclusive he had ever witnessed.
Houghton, in her Evenings at Home in Spiritual Séance (1881), described a farewell séance held by Samuel Guppy and his mediumistic wife before their departure from England.
"By and by Mrs. Guppy exclaimed that there were creeping creatures about, and begged to be allowed to light the candle. Upon her request being granted there was a quantity of butterflies travelling about among us and the flowers, some of which were caught and put away in a box; altogether we reckoned that there were about forty of them."
Guppy-Volckman also obtained apports in a lighted room. A tray was placed on her knee, it being touched by the sitter's knee. A large shawl pinned to their necks covered the tray. The objects were then deposited on the tray. It is open to speculation whether the darkness under the tray was necessary for the rematerialization of the object or whether it only served the purpose of excluding the human gaze. Apports were peculiar in this respect. They did not appear before the eye but waited until attention was for a moment diverted, additional reason to suppose their production the result of trickery.
This curious fact was often noticed in the seances of Charles Bailey, the well-known Australian apport medium. From a description in Light (November 26, 1910), it was noted that "the apports included an Indian blanket containing a human scalp and tomahawk, a block of lead said to be found in Roman strata at Rome and bearing the name of Augustus, a quantity of gravel alleged to have come from Central America and quite unlike anything seen in Australia, two perfect clay tablets covered with cuneiform inscriptions and several thousands of years old, said to have been brought direct from the mounds at Babylon, and finally, a bird's nest containing several eggs and the mother bird undoubtedly alive." He was famous for living apports, jungle sparrows, crabs, turtles. Once an 18-inch-long shark, at another time a 30-inch snake appeared mysteriously in the séance room. The apport of jungle sparrows passed the test of a committee of investigation in Milan. Six years later, however, Bailey got into trouble in Grenoble. The investigators claimed that he smuggled in the birds in his intestinal opening, and they found a local dealer who identified Bailey as the man to whom he sold them. Discredit was also attached to his archaeological objects when the British Museum found the clay tablets were fake.
Where do apports come from? If one eliminated any consideration of fraud, it would be a difficult question. Flowers were sometimes traced to nearby gardens. During his visit to the British College of Psychic Science in 1926, Heinrich Melzer suddenly fell into a semitrance condition out of doors and in his hands appeared sprays of flowers similar to those in a coster's barow on the other side of the street. Once in a séance with Mary Baker Thayer, Henry Steel Olcott received, on a mental request, the leaf of a rare plant which he marked in a garden. The question of source is pertinent as in some cases the apport of precious stones was also recorded. Semiprecious stones of little value often appeared in Bailey's seances. The bringing of pearls as apports is recorded in Georgina Houghton's book. They came in veritable showers in the seances of Stainton Moses. They may not have had any value, but that must have been different with his ruby, sapphire, and emerald apports. Small as they were, great commercial value must have been attached to them. Once he woke up from his sleep and saw a luminous hand near the ceiling, under it a little ball of fire as big as a pea. As he looked, the fingers were unclasped, the hand opened and the little ball of fire fell on his beard. It was a small opalescent stone about the size of a large pea, called sapphirium. Two similar stones were later delivered during a séance, the arrival being preceded by a fit of violent convulsion.
Apports, if real, would therefore raise a moral question. Who do they belong to? On being asked an opinion of fruit and flower apports, "John Watts," Mrs. Thomas Everitt 's control, said in a séance on February 28, 1868, recorded in Catherine Berry's Experiences in Spiritualism (1876), "I do not approve of bringing them, for they are generally stolen."
In discussing apports, Spiritualists surmised that space appears to be uniformly accessible to the spirit operators. Dr. L. Th. Chazarain, in his pamphlet Scientific Proofs of the Survival of the Soul told the story of the placing of two chaplets in the coffin of a child, in the presence of a medium very easily hypnotizable, and of their being returned two days after the burial. He made special marks on the chaplets, did not lose sight of them until the coffin was screwed down, and followed it to the church and to the cemetery. Two days later the mother of the child and Mme. D. suddenly saw something white detach itself from the ceiling and descend slowly, to the ground, in a spiral course. They immediately picked up the little white mass. It was the first chaplet, surrounded with a little wadding which smelled of the corpse, and still having the metallic button (the secret mark) attached. The child's body had been wrapped in wadding. Two days later the second chaplet was returned in the same manner.
Distance, however, appears to be of some consequence. The precipitation of the object was often heralded by a spasmodic seizure of the medium. Sometimes she cried out in agony. Fabian Rossi, in a séance on May 20, 1929, in Genoa, Italy, in which two small stones were apported, complained of great pains after she regained consciousness and said that she had been crushed between two enormous stones. At the time of this statement she did not know the nature of the apported objects. In the case of Maria Silbert, a light effect, similar to lightning, accompanied the delivery of the object. The bigger it was the greater the nervous tension. The medium always appeared to suffer more keenly if a greater distance was involved. The objects usually fell with a heavy thud. Breakage, it was noted, seldom occurred.
An alarm clock that was seen to fall at least 16 feet down the well of the stairs on to the flagstones in the hall of Tweedale's house was found to be undamaged and still going. The precipitation is usually effected from the direction of the ceiling. Catherine Berry writes in her Experiences in Spiritualism : "I saw coming from the ceiling, at the extreme end of the room, the branch of a tree about three feet in length. At the end was a large branch of white blossoms. I should perhaps say it appeared, in descending, like a flash of lightning."
Objects of unusual dimension and variety were apported at the Millesimo Castle seances with Marquise Centurione Scotto and Fabian Rossi. They were too large to hide about anybody's person, a halberd over six feet long, a plant in its pot over four feet high, large pistols, and swords and dolls of great size. The room was nearly bare of furniture and examined at the beginning of every sitting by Ernesto Bozzano. The story of one of these apport cases is notable. "Cristo d'Angelo," the control, told La Marquise Luisa that a very near relative of hers was destined to die. On her entreaty to tell who it was, "Cristo d'Angelo" replied, "I will bring you his portrait." Soon after the framed photograph of the doomed relative fell at La Marquise Luisa's feet. The last news of the relative had been excellent. Two days later he relapsed, and afterward died as predicted.
It was also observed in the Millesimo seances that the objects that were apported from a neighboring room had sometimes vanished days earlier (suggesting that they had been stolen at an opportune moment). Often they were returned to the room from which they were taken. This return, at least in one case, was only partially successful. A squire appeared and executed a "dance of the lance" in the July 8, 1928, séance in total darkness. Two mailed fists squeezed the hands of some of the sitters. The lance, at the end of the séance, was found in the room, but the mittens of mail were discovered in a distant room beneath the suit of mail, from the sleeves of which they were detached. The detachment of the mittens suggests that the rest of the armor was not apported.
One experiment is on record to test the theory that heavy apports brought about no variation in the weight of the medium. It was done in W. H. Terry's house in Melbourne in 1876 with Mrs. Paton, a medium who specialized in apporting her personal property. Sometimes it was a cup of tea she had forgotten to drink before leaving home, once a burning hot flat iron, at another time a glass of wine and a plate of eggs. Her phenomena were mostly recorded between 1872 and 1878.
There could hardly be anything to surpass in wonder the accounts of the apports said to be experienced by General "Lorrison" (Major-General A. W. Drayson) at Portsmouth. The medium was a Mrs. Maggs, the wife of a local editor and a writer herself. In a strictly private circle, apports arrived by the thousand. The household was supplied with eggs straight from Brooklyn from a spirit circle and return gifts were sent through similar means to countries as distant as Spain, Australia, India, and China. It is claimed that once a letter was apported, was read, a corner torn off for identification and then reapported. Ten days later it arrived, addressed to General Drayson. The torn-off piece fitted in and the contents were identical.
In experiments with Lajos Pap at the Budapest Metapsychical Museum, Chengery Pap often obtained living insects, frogs, and butterflies. Often they were completely dazed and motionless on arrival but recovered completely after a few minutes. Apports have also frequently been noticed in poltergeist cases. In stone throwing the stones may arrive apparently through the window without breaking the glass. In the case reported in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research (vol. 12), stones seemed to pass through the roof of a Mr. Grottendieck's hut in the jungle of Sumatra without making a hole. They were so hot that Grottendieck at first believed them to be meteorites.
Apport Mediums Observed
That the actions of apport mediums require careful attention before the séance is well illustrated. Such was the case of a patient of Pierre Janet, a 26-year-old woman called Meb, who had visions of Saint Philomena and claimed to receive apports from her. Philomena was later removed from the Roman Catholic Church's list of saints as a nonexistent person. The apports were pebbles, feathers, flowers, and small pieces of cheap jewelry found lying about on the stairs or in other unlikely spots, or discovered in the patient's bedroom in the morning. On one occasion she found several small objects arranged in the shape of a cross, another time a pair of wings was stretched out on the eiderdown quilt. On one occasion feathers floated down from the ceiling upon the family assembled at their evening meal. In hypnotic sleep, the patient confessed the apports were arranged by herself in a state of somnambulism, that she put a stool on the table, mounted it and fastened small feathers with paste to the ceiling so that the heat of the lamp might bring them fluttering down. In her waking state she had no knowledge of these manipulations. It should be added that Meb was a hysteric.
A number of psychic researchers came to believe in apports. A comprehensive monograph on apports was published by Ernesto Bozzano in Luce e Ombra (1930), and subsequently in book form. It deals specifically with apports requested by experimenters, which reduces the possibility of a secret introduction. Of Eusapia Palladino 's apports, Enrico Morselli said, "This phenomenon was repeated two or three times during our sittings, but I frankly confess I was not convinced by it, which does not imply that under better observation it might not also be real in the case of Paladino, as it seems to have been through the agency of other mediums."
Striking experiments were carried out at the British College of Psychic Science in 1929 with Thomas Lynn. He was searched, stripped, and put in a bag. Many small objects, a cheap pearl necklace, a small reel of cotton, a button, a shell and a screw nail were apported and photographed at the moment of their arrival. During the sitting the medium lost 10-12 ounces in weight. The objects appeared to grow out of the body of the medium. The same phenomenon was reported upon by Karl Blacker, of Riga University, with the Medium B. X. (Zeitschrift für Parapsychologie, June 1933).
One of the more renowned twentieth-century psychics who produced apports was Roberto Campagni in Italy. The Genoanese physicist Alfredo Ferraro stated that he had seen 30 apports materialized by Campagni and had established beyond doubt that no trickery was involved. An interesting aspect is that the apports were often preceded by a blue light emanating from the medium's hands.
In spite of these passing recommendations, by the mid-twentieth century, it became obvious that apports were the product of mediumistic fraud, and consideration of them dropped completely from the literature of psychical research and slowly moved to the edge of Spiritualist claims.
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