Goligher Circle

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Goligher Circle

A small Spiritualist group in Ireland that became the subject of a series of experiments by Dr. W. J. Crawford. The circle was created from a poor Belfast family consisting of a father, four daughters, a son, and a son-in-law. The girls were all mediumistic, Kathleen Goligher (b. 1898) being the most noteworthy among them. The experiments lasted from 1914 until Crawford's death in 1920. For four years the family accepted no payment since Spiritualism was their religion. The séances were held in dim red light either in the Goligher home or in Crawford's house.

Six members of the family formed the circle, while Crawford retained liberty of movement for better observation and experiments. Communication with the invisible operators was maintained through raps. Kathleen only went into trance when prolonged discussion on the phenomena became necessary. The explanation then came through trance speaking.

Crawford wrote enthusiastically of the phenomena he witnessed and speculated broadly about its implication for understanding the nature of the world. Psychic researchers William Barrett and Whateley Carington witnessed the phenomena and also believed it real. Two years after Crawford's death, however, E. E. Fournier d'Albe sat with the circle and suggested fraud as the better explanation for the unusual manifestations. After his book appeared, Kathleen Goligher (by then Lady G. Donaldson) discontinued sittings for outside inquirers.


Crawford, W. J. Experiments in Psychical Science: Levitation, "Contact," and the "Direct Voice." London: John M. Watkins, 1919.

. The Psychic Structures at the Goligher Circle. London: John M. Watkins, 1921.

. The Reality of Psychic Phenomena: Raps, Levitations, etc. 2nd ed. London: John M. Watkins, 1919.

D'Albe, E. E. Fournier. (Psychical Research). The Goligher Circle: May to August, 1921. London: John M. Watkins, 1922.