Thompson, Rosina (1868-?)

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Thompson, Rosina (1868-?)

British trance medium, whose abilities developed at Frederic W. Thurstan's Delphic Circle at Hertford Lodge, Battersea, London. In her early sittings in 1897 and 1898, the records of which in Light refer to her as Mrs. T., she exhibited startling physical phenomena, raps, movements of objects, luminous phenomena, elongation of the human body, direct voice, apports, scents, and materializations.

Her physical manifestations were discouraged by F. W. H. Myers and she was persuaded to give her services to the Society for Psychical Research as a trance medium from 1898 onward. Her chief control was her deceased daughter, Nelly, who had died in infancy. Another communicator of importance was a Mrs. Cartwright, the teacher of the school where Thompson was educated. Her trances were much lighter than those of Leonora Piper and occasionally they were scarcely distinguishable from the state of normal wakefulness. Many instances of her paranormal perceptions were recorded in the waking state.

Richard Hodgson, after six sittings, formed an unfavorable opinion of her powers; it was the skeptical Frank Podmore who hurried to Thompson's defense. He considered Hodgson's conclusion that Thompson was untrustworthy to go beyond the warrant of the facts. Podmore expressed his opinion in plain words: "I should perhaps add that the supernormal source of much of the information given at Mrs. Thompson's séances seems to me to be almost beyond dispute."

The reports of Frederik van Eeden contained many curious accounts. The results of Frederik van Eeden were very convincing. He came from Holland with an article of clothing that belonged to a young man who first cut his throat and then shot himself. He obtained dramatic communications, and Thompson spoke in Dutch (a language she did not know) with the young man.

Margaret Verrall had 22 sittings with Thompson. She made statistical calculations and found that out of 238 definite statements referring to things past and present, 33 were false, 64 were unidentified, and 141 (approximately 59 percent) were true. Of these 141 true statements, 51 could not have been ascertained from normal sources. Verrall's general opinion of the controlling personalities was that although their characteristics were not very marked, all bore strong resemblance to the waking Thompson, the voice was hardly to be distinguished from hers, and the words and phrases were such as she herself used in the normal state. She nevertheless, admitted that many personalities bore, for the sitters, the marks of independent individuality.

Myers's belief in survival was chiefly founded on experiments with Thompson following the death of his great love, Annie Marshall. He and his friends had 217 sittings, about two thirds of which he personally attended. After Myers's death on January 17, 1901, Thompson, who had previously suspended sittings altogether, gave two sittings to Sir Oliver Lodge. In both of them, communications characteristic of Myers were forthcoming. She also took part in the cross-correspondence sittings.


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

Myers, F. W. H. "On the Trance Phenomena of Mrs. Thompson." Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research 17 (1902).

Van Eeden, Frederik. "Account of Sittings with Mrs. Thompson." Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research 17 (1904).

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Thompson, Rosina (1868-?)

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