Ossowiecki, Stephan (1877-1944)

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Ossowiecki, Stephan (1877-1944)

Polish engineer and clairvoyant. Reportedly, he read thoughts from early childhood. At the Engineering Institute at Petrograd, where Ossowiecki studied, he reportedly answered questions enclosed in sealed envelopes. Supposedly he described the colored auras of people in his presence, heard raps, and could move objects telekinetically (without physical means). Reportedly when Ossowiecki practiced telekinesis, his clairvoyant powers diminished. At the age of thirty-five he "lost" his telekinetic powers and his "gift" of reading sealed papers developed.

With human subjects Ossowiecki claimed to know their most intimate thoughts and read their past, present, and future. Reportedly on several occasions, mostly involuntarily, but once by an effort of will, he projected his likeness over a distance. His friends claimed to have received the impression that he was near in flesh and blood.

Ossowiecki's "powers" were possibly psychometry rather than clairvoyance. It was claimed he never read the sealed letters word for word but perceived the ideas. He was unable to perceive ideas from typewritten or printed texts. Letters had to be written by a living person. If the writing was in a language he did not know, he could not disclose the contents but supposedly could describe the circumstances connected with the writer and the writing.

He impressed Charles Richet, Gustave Geley, and other scientists in reading sealed letters, the contents of which in many cases were unknown to the investigator. To Geley, he read the contents of a letter as follows: "I am in a zoological garden; a fight is going on, a large animal, an elephant. Is he not in the water? I see his trunk as he swims. I see blood."

Geley said: "Good, but that is not all."
Ossowiecki: "Wait, is he not wounded in his trunk?"
Geley: "Very good. There was a fight."
Ossowiecki: "Yes, with a crocodile."

The sentence Geley wrote was "An elephant bathing in the Ganges was attacked by a crocodile who bit off his trunk."

In 1923, at the International Psychical Research Congress in Warsaw, Poland, Ossowiecki "read" the contents of a note sent by the Society for Psychical Research and sealed by Dr. Edwin J. Dingwall in an envelope. The note had been wrapped in several pieces of colored paper. The note contained the sketch of a flag, a bottle, and the date August 22, 1923. Reportedly Ossowiecki reproduced correctly the flag and the bottle and wrote the numerals of the date, although not in correct order. After the seal was broken, Ossowiecki was accepted by the Congress. The psychical researcher, Baron Schrenck-Notzing said: "Thank you, thank you, in the name of science."

Ossowiecki remained in Warsaw during World War II. He was killed in August 1944 during an uprising in which the Nazi occupation forces killed 9500 civilians.


Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York: Paragon House, 1991.

Besterman, Theodore. Collected Papers on the Paranormal. New York, Garrett Publications, 1968.

Dingwall, E. J. "An Experiment with Polish Medium Stefan Ossowiecki." Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 21 (1924).

Geley, Gustav. Materialisation and Clairvoyance. London, 1927.

. "Une sensationelle expérience de M. Stephan Ossowiecki au Congrès de Varsovie." Revue Métapsychique (September-October 1923).