Hellenbach, Baron Lazar De Baczolay(1827-1887)

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Hellenbach, Baron Lazar De Baczolay(1827-1887)

Hungarian philosopher whose numerous important works, including Birth and Death and The Philosophy of Sound Common Sense closely concern psychical research. In Birth and Death, which was translated into English in 1886, Hellenbach proposes the original idea that no change of world occurs at the moment of birth and death, except in the method of perception. In The Philosophy of Sound Common Sense, published in 1876, he tells the story of his psychical investigations.

Hellenbach's first convincing mediumistic experience was in 1857 at a Countess D.'s castle in Croatia. For six years thereafter, he engaged the services of two women as mediums. Through one of them he supposedly communicated with the philosopher Schopenhauer.

In 1870 he made the acquaintance of Baroness Adelma Vay, whose powers as a seeress opened up new fields of research for him.

In 1875 Hellenbach witnessed impressive physical manifestations with Lottie Fowler. Following these he invited many well-known mediums to Vienna. Henry Slade visited in 1878, and the results of the sittings were published in a pamphlet, Mr. Slade's Residence in Vienna: An Open Letter to My Friend. In February 1880 Karl Hansen, the famous hypnotist, went to Vienna. In response to the controversy that arose in the press, Baron Hellenbach contributed another pamphlet, Is Hansen a Swindler? A Study of Animal Magnetism. In the same year he stood up with similar vigor for the medium William Eglinton, who had been charged with fraud.

The medium Harry Bastian paid Hellenbach two visits, of which he gives an account in a leaflet entitled The Latest Communications from the "Intelligible" World. In 1884 Bastian went to Vienna for the third time. The sitters were Crown Prince Rudolph and Archduke John. The archduke seized the "materialized spirit," and it was found to be the medium. The archduke himself published a pamphlet about this exposure, A Glimpse into Spiritism. Hellenbach countered with another, The Logic of Facts, in which he attempted a defense of the medium.

In 1885, after a second visit from Eglinton, Hellenbach gave up his residence in Vienna and returned to his second home in Croatia, where he began another book. However, he only completed a series of essays, published in the periodical The Sphynx under the title "Ether as a Solution of the Mystic Problem."