Melzer, Heinrich (1873-?)
Melzer, Heinrich (1873-?)
German apport medium of Dresden, the successor of Anna Rothe. His early séances were reported in Die Übersinnliche Welt in November 1905. These were held in darkness, but the medium allowed himself to be fastened into a sack. Quanties of flowers and stones were apported to sitters.
The operators were said to be Oriental entities: "Curadiasamy," a Hindu, who spoke with a foreign accent; "Lissipan," a young Indian Buddhist; and "Amakai," a man from China. "Quirinus," who claimed to be a Roman Christian of the time of Diocletian, and "Abraham Hirschkron," a Jewish merchant from Mahren, were other picturesque controls. By occupation Melzer was a small tobacconist. It is said that at one time he was an actor, which may account for his powers of declamation under control.
He visited the British College of Psychic Science in 1923 and in 1926. Owing to a significant development in his mediumship, he was able to sit in good white or red light. In 1923 he was examined before each séance and dressed in a one-piece linen suit, secured at wrist and ankles. The flowers arrived when the medium was in deep trance. He seemed to be able to observe them clairvoyantly before they appeared to the physical sight. Occasionally sitters, who knew nothing of this, spoke of seeing shadows of flowers in the air before they arrived.
Sometimes the medium seized upon the flowers and ate them voraciously, together with stalks and soil, often wounding his mouth by thorns on rose stalks. Returning to normal consciousness, he blamed a particular control for the occurrence. The flowers seemed to arrive toward the medium and were not thrown out from him.
These phenomena were very impressive. The same could not be said of the stone apports. They were invariably very small, and led to his detection in fraud. In the sittings of 1926, the doctor in charge slipped his hands at the back of the ears of the medium and discovered two small light colored stones affixed by flesh-colored sticking plaster. The medium's only attempt at excuse was that by that stage his power had gone and that he had been tempted by an undesirable control.
Spiritualist leader James Hewat McKenzie defended Melzer in his report in Psychic Science (April 1927):
"But there is a difference between stones of a quarter to half an inch in size, and flowers of 18 inches stalk length, with leaves and thorns. Twenty-five anemones—or a dozen roots of lilies of the valley, with soil attached, pure bells and delicate leaves— or violets appearing fresh and fragrant, after two and a half hours sitting—have all been received, when the medium's hands have been seen empty a second before, when no friends of his were in the sittings, and when no opportunity could have presented itself to conceal them that would not have resulted in broken stems and blossoms."
However, the damage had been done to the medium's credibility.