Interview With

William J. Crawford, D.Sc.
Interviewed by Michael E. Tymn

Between 1914 and 1917, William J. Crawford, D.Sc., studied the mediumship of Kathleen Goligher, a Belfast, Ireland medium. He reported on his findings in four separate books. This “interview” is based on Crawford’s words from those books. The questions have been tailored to fit the comments.

In 1914, Dr. William J. Crawford, a lecturer in mechanical engineering at Queen’s University of Belfast, Ireland, began investigating the mediumship of 16-year-old Kathleen Goligher. The phenomena surrounding the young girl included communicating raps, trance voice, and table levitations. In all, Crawford had 87 sittings over some two and a half years with the Goligher Circle.

During December 1915, Crawford invited Sir William Barrett, professor of physics at Royal College in Dublin, to join him. At first, they heard knocks, and then messages were spelled out as one of the sitters recited the alphabet. Barrett then reported observing a floating trumpet, which he tried unsuccessfully to catch. “Then the table began to rise from the floor some 18 inches and remained suspended and quite level,” Barrett wrote. “I was allowed to go up to the table and saw clearly no one was touching it, a clear space separating the sitters from the table.”

Barrett put pressure on the table to try to force it back to the floor. He exerted all his strength but was unable to budge it. “Then I climbed on the table and sat on it, my feet off the floor, when I was swayed to and fro and finally tipped off,” Barrett continued the story. “The table of its own accord now turned upside down, no one touching it, and I tried to lift it off the ground, but it could not be stirred; it appeared screwed down to the floor.”

When Barrett stopped trying to right the table, it righted itself on its own accord. Apparently, the spirits were having a bit of fun with Barrett as he then heard “numerous sounds displaying an amused intelligence.”

Crawford brought in a scale large enough to hold the medium while she was sitting in her chair. He discovered that when a table was being levitated, the weight of the table, usually around 16 pounds, was transferred to the medium through what he called “psychic rods” (ectoplasmic rods). Most of the time, the transfer of weight would be a few ounces short of the weight of the table. Further experimentation revealed that the extra weight was being transferred to the sitters in the room, who apparently furnished small amounts of the “psychic force.”

During his experiments with Goligher, Crawford began communicating with spirit entities, one of whom said he was a medical man when on earth and that his primary function was to look after the health of the young medium. This spirit explained to Crawford that two types of substances were used in the production of the phenomena. One was taken in large quantities from both the medium and the sitters, then returned to them at the close of the séance. The other substance was taken exclusively from the medium in minute quantities and could not be returned to her as its structure was broken up. It was pointed out that it came from the interior of the medium’s nerve cells and if too much were taken she could suffer serious injury.

Some of the communication took place through Goligher’s voice mechanism while she was in trance while much of it came through raps and table tilting. On one occasion, a clairvoyant joined in the circle and told Crawford that she could see “a whitish vapory substance, somewhat like smoke,” forming under the surface of the table and increasing in density as it was levitated. She could see it flowing from the medium in sort of a rotary motion. From other sitters, she could see thin bands joining into the much larger amount coming from the medium. She also saw various spirit forms and spirit hands manipulating the “psychic stuff.”

Born in New Zealand, Crawford (1881-1920) received his D.Sc. from the University of Glasgow and authored a number of books, including Elementary Graphic Statics and Calculations on the Entropy-Temperature Chart, before undertaking his research of psychic phenomena. This “interview” is based on his books, The Reality of Psychic Phenomena (1918) (I), Hints and Observations For Those Investigating the Phenomena of Spiritualism (1918) (II), Experiments in Psychical Science (1919) (III), and The Psychic Structure of the Goligher Circle (1921) (IV), all published by E. P. Dutton & Co. of New York City. Except for words in brackets, inferred and inserted to permit a flow, the words are his. The questions have been tailored to fit the answers. Various English words, e.g., colour, sceptic, centre, etc. have been Americanized. When Crawford refers to “operators,” he is speaking of spirits.

Dr. Crawford, how did you become interested in psychical research?

“A number of us had been sitting round a small table in the usual way and had obtained the usual tiltings and usual mixed-up messages, when suddenly the table twisted round under our hands and did not stop until it had turned through nearly a complete revolution. It did this two or three times. The movement, which was so obviously not produced by any of us present and which we did not expect – this simple little turning movement – caused the first glimmer of doubt in my mind that all table tiltings, etc., were due to subconscious actions of the sitters, as I had strongly held up to that time. From that moment – now years ago – I decided to investigate the matter thoroughly.” (II, 61)

I believe you referred to the type of table phenomenon you initially experienced, where the sitters have their hands resting gently on the table, as “contact” type, while that involving a medium like Kathleen Goligher, when no one is touching the table as non-contact. Would you mind explaining the contact phenomenon?

“[In the contact phenomenon] the sitters, it is understood, are only touching the top of the table lightly with the palms of their hands or their finger tips. When the table thus moves about by the true action of psychic force upon it, it seems to possess a peculiar attribute of inherent liveliness and lightness, very obvious to the sitters, who soon become convinced that its motions are quite independent of muscular pressure. On the other hand, if the psychic force is absent or is not being applied, the table feels heavy and dead. What causes the table to move if muscular force has nothing to do with the matter? Up to the time of my experiments on table movements without contact, I do not think anyone had much idea. But I fancy the matter is a little clearer now. Arguing on the basis of non-contact phenomena, what probably happens is that psychic arms (or rods) – invisible and impalpable – project themselves from the person who is mediumistic, these arms being supplied with energy from the bodies of the sitters. Briefly, the medium supplies the psychic arm and the sitters the energy required to work it. If there is no medium present, no psychic arm can be projected and no phenomena can ensue though all the sitters may be able to give forth psychic energy in abundance…These invisible psychic arms probably grip the table by adhesion to its under surfaces or legs and thus bring about the movements which appear so mysterious.” (II.73, 74)

Would you mind describing the process involving Kathleen Goligher?

“The members constituting the circle enter the room and each sits down on his customary chair. They sit around in the form of a circle about five feet diameter and the table is placed in the center. The ordinary illuminant is turned off and a red light turned on. The sitters clasp each other’s hands in chain order and the séance commences. One of the members of the circle opens the proceedings with prayer and then a hymn is sung. In a few minutes, sounds – tap, tap, tap, -- are heard on the floor close to the medium. These are the first ‘spirit’ raps of the evening. They soon become louder and stronger and occur right out in the circle space, on the table, and on the chairs of the sitters. Their magnitude varies in intensity from the slightest audible ticks to blows which might well be produced by a sledge-hammer, the latter really being awe-inspiring and easily heard two stories below and even outside the house. The loud blows perceptibly shake the floor and chairs. Sometimes the raps keep time to hymns sung by members of the circle; sometimes they tap out themselves complicated tunes and dances on top of the table or on the floor. Besides the ordinary raps the operators can produce various modifications and peculiar variations. For instance, they can imitate a bouncing ball so perfectly that one would be prepared to affirm a ball was really in the room. They can imitate to perfection the sawing of the table leg, the striking of a match, the walking of a man, and the trotting of a horse. They give double and treble knocks, i.e., two or three fast ones and one slow one. In fact, almost every variety and combination of rap it is possible to imagine is heard.” (III, 3-4)

How long does this rapping go on?

“After a quarter of an hour or so the rappings cease and another type of phenomenon takes its place. [It should be remembered] that the members of the circle are simply sitting on their chairs and holding each other’s hands in chain order and are only passive instruments in the hands of the invisible operators – whoever the latter may be. The little table is standing on the floor within the circle formed by the sitters and is not in contact with any of them or with any portion of their clothing. Suddenly the table gives a lurch or moves slightly along the floor. After a while it may give another lurch or it may rise into the air on two legs. These movements – which are executed, as I have said, without physical contact with the medium or the members of the circle – are the preliminary motions which usually take place just previous to the first levitation, i.e., before the table rises completely into the air of itself where it remains suspended for several minutes without visible support.” (III, 4-5)

Do you know how the rappings come about?

“A psychic ‘rod’ (or arm) issues from the body of the medium; a semi-flexible rod, which is moved up and down and strikes the floor or table. [The operators] say that raps are produced in two ways: (1) soft raps, bouncing ball imitations, etc. – by beating the side of the rod on the floor, as one uses a stick for beating a carpet. (2) hard raps – by beating the rod on the floor more or less axially. I asked them the approximate dimensions of a rapping rod used to give a fairly hard blow. They gave a blow on the floor as a sample and then said that the diameter of the rod used in that particular case was about two inches and of uniform thickness over its length, until just before entering the body of the medium, where it increased to a diameter of about three inches.” (III, 16-17)

Is Miss Goligher in a trance when the various phenomena are produced through her?

“[No.] The medium was quite conscious during all my experimental investigations, and any fraud presented would therefore be in the nature of deliberate action. She herself was always keenly interested in the experiments, and has told me she enjoys such sittings much more than ordinary development séances…Many times I have observed the keenness with which she followed what went on, evidently forgetting for the time being that she herself was the prime cause of all the phenomena, and that without her there would have been nothing.” (I, 13)

So you recognize that there is such a thing as unconscious fraud with some mediums?

“While recognizing that both varieties of fraud exist, I am confident that they have been much overrated. Even at séances, such as the Golighers’, where everything is above suspicion, where all phenomena can be demonstrated with the greatest ease to be genuine to the last detail, things happen which to a superficial observer might appear fraudulent. For instance, sometimes the medium’s body, or portions of her body, make spasmodic kinds of movements when heavy raps or impacts are being experienced far out in the circle. These are simply the reactions due to the raps and are what we might expect. The seeker after fraud (who by the way is usually a person with no knowledge of science) immediately puts them down to imposture. My experiments, conducted over a long period of time and more thoroughly than any ever carried out hitherto, have proved to me beyond all question that the medium’s body is either directly or indirectly the focus of all the mechanical actions which result in phenomena. And not only is it the focus but it also seems to supply a kind of duplicate of portions of her body, which can be temporarily detached and projected into the space in front of her. Thus, things happen in the séance room which, from the nature of the case, sometimes bears a superficial appearance of fraud, though, in a properly conducted circle it is only superficial, and the true and genuine nature of the phenomena can always be discovered by a little investigation.” (III, 141-142)

What kind of person is Kathleen Goligher?

“She is an upright and honorable young woman, has received no monetary recompense for what she has done, and has always been willing to give me her services freely in the cause of science. Her mediumship is absolutely beyond dispute, as many people, some of them well known, are able with certainty to say. However, she knows it is my duty to set at rest the minds of those who are afraid of unconscious mediumistic action and the like; of those who, not having been able to attend her séances and see for themselves what actually happens, wish to know what precautions have been taken, and what independent witnesses have to say.” (I, 21)

Do these levitations happen frequently in her mediumship?

“I have seen hundreds of levitations under all conditions; standard levitations such as that [just mentioned], abnormal levitations (such as where a stool rose four feet into the air and moved gently up and down for several minutes while we all examined it closely and while the medium was seated on a weighing machine) and freak levitations (such as where the table, being levitated, rocked in the air just like a small boat tossed about on choppy sea). I have seen the table turn completely around in the air, and I have seen it levitated upside down and sideways.” (III, 5-6)

Is that the extent of the phenomena?

“[No.] After the exhibition of levitation ceases, the trumpet phenomena commence At the beginning of the séance a couple of thin metal cones which fit telescopically into each other and which we call ‘trumpets’ are fixed together and placed upright on the floor between the medium and her father. The trumpets now begin to straddle over the floor with little leaps and jerks, remaining in a vertical position until the reach the table in the center of the circle where they fall or are sometimes seemingly pushed over, and are then drawn under the table. A loud shuffling noise is now heard, for the operators are trying to detach the trumpets, a somewhat difficult process as they fit rather tightly together. At length, however, the operators succeed in separating the two pieces, which are soon seen floating in the air, with their ends projecting from under the table. The halves then beat time to time to a tune, like the batons of a conductor, after which a visitor is allowed to grasp the end of either and thus ‘shake hands’ with the invisible entities. Sometimes the operators press upwards on the under-surface of the table with one or both of the floating trumpets, thus levitating it. A little handbell is sometimes placed on the floor and this is often lifted and rung…Sometimes raps accompany the ringing of the bell. The sitters are occasionally psychically ‘touched’ on various parts of the body.” (III, 6-7)

You mentioned observing all this under a red light. How strong is the light?

“The light is usually strong enough – after the eyes get accustomed to its red color – to see quite plainly all the sitters. It is a subdued kind of light, issuing from a large surface of ordinary gas flame. The only difficulty in the visibility is where a table or other large body casts a shadow over a portion of the floor. The hands of the sitters can nearly always be quite plainly seen, and it is a simple experiment, while the séance table is levitated a foot or more in the air , to ask the sitters to raise their hands (joined in chain order) up to the level of their heads, so that the observer can be quite sure that the hands have nothing whatever to do with the phenomenon. The observer at this time may be within the circle, and he may move anywhere inside it so long as he does not get immediately in front of the medium…It is sometimes possible to see completely under it, as I have done, to see the feet and bodies of all present at rest and hands held together in chain order, while the table has been steadily levitated.” (I, 12-13)

According to Sir William Crookes, light did not seem to affect D. D. Home.

“A few mediums of the past have apparently been able to withstand the effects of the magnesium light fairly well. At least no untoward results were reported. But I am satisfied that its use is rather risky for the medium and that it should only be employed after careful thought and preparation and in conjunction with the desires of the operators. For, whether [one] looks upon the operators as the spirit beings they claim to be, or as sub-conscious nuclei belonging to the medium or sitters, it is certain they are in charge of and produce the phenomena, and that, therefore, they may be trusted to know more about the dangers incurred by the medium than the experimenter. Miss Goligher is a young woman and possibly her bodily functions are not yet fully developed, with the consequence that exposure to flashlight during the occurrence of the phenomena would be specially injurious to her. At any rate the operators were always careful that nothing should be done which would in any way be likely to harm her.” (III, 154)

Do you have an opinion as to whether these “operators” are spirits of the “dead” or some aspect of the subconscious?

“[The subconscious] is the alternative I had in mind all through my investigations. As months succeeded month, as each new phase of phenomena was presented, as each new experiment was done, I always said to myself, ‘Can this very determined work of seemingly intelligent beings be but a simulation after all? Can it be all a fraud? Is it possible that nature holds intelligences belonging to ourselves or otherwise, which could so persistently deceive? Why should our subliminal consciousness (supposing we possess such a thing) carry out for us phenomenal demonstrations on the lines of reason and intelligence, requiring effort and system, for the object of deceiving us?’ No! It seems most unlikely and repellant to our sense of the fitness of things. Nobody who has not delved deeply into psychic phenomena can have any conception of its tremendous variety and range. It includes telekinetic phenomena, apports, materialization, the direct voice, clairvoyance, clairaudience, trance, etc., etc. There are, in fact, dozens of phases of psychic action, all consistent in the inference to which they lead, namely, that man survives death, and inconsistent on any other hypothesis.” (II, 101-102

Some critics have a difficult time believing that spirits would be engaged in what seems to them as tomfoolery. As I understand it, they are experimenting, just as you are? What do you say to this?

“I admit that it is very difficult for the ordinary person to bring home to his consciousness the fact that these unseen beings can possibly be like himself in their make-up. There is an ingrained feeling in humanity that the beings inhabiting the after-death world must be far removed from us in mental qualities and characteristics – we feel that they should a great advance in intellectual equipment over what they possessed h ere; that they should be, if not quite angels, at any rate not far removed from them. Of course this instinctive feeling we all possess is due to centuries of religious instruction behind us; we feel that the next state must of necessity be either heaven or hell. Hence it is rather a shock to us when we find the inhabitants of that other state not to be angels by any manner of means, not to exceed us appreciably in intelligence, but to be, in fact, only good-natured beings of much the same capacity as our familiar selves.” (II, 8-9)

I gather that the reason one cannot get directly in front of the medium has something to do with the psychic force flowing from her. But can that space be observed to be sure she is not using her feet or some other form of trickery?

“I have spent many hours within the circle in all places around it, and I have continually worked under the levitated table and between the levitated table and the medium. I have had complicated instruments below the table. I have often placed my arm and hand in the space between the medium and the table and felt her feet and legs absolutely still during the course of experiments win which the table was levitated and the instruments were registering below it; and I say finally that if the medium had desired to impose, she could not, no matter how she tried, have kept the table levitated and the instruments registering at the same time, while my hands were on such instruments and I myself close to her feet and working between her and the table.” (I, 15-16)

I know that Sir William Barrett, the physicist, was an observer. Have other outsiders been witness to it?

“A great many people have been invited to visit the circle and witness the phenomena. I think I can say that not one of all these has come away from it without the assurance that ‘there is something in psychic force,’ be he previously skeptic, believer, or a ‘sitter on the fence.’ Of course, the visitor is not always certain that the phenomena are produced by spirits of the dead; but at least he is sure of this, that they are genuine and in no way due to normal action on the part of the medium or members of the circle.” (I, 14)

I recall reading in one of your reports that the psychic energy gets stronger as the séance goes on.

[“True.] About an hour and a half from the opening, the psychic energy available, to use a common term, is at a maximum and great forces are exerted. For instance, although a heavy man sits upon the table it moves about the floor with great ease; or the table being levitated, a strong man pushing from the top cannot depress it to the floor; or the table moves to the side of the circle farthest from the medium and an experimenter is asked to lay hold of it and try to prevent its return to the center, but he is totally unable to do so; or the table’s weight can be temporarily so much increased that it cannot be lifted, or on the other hand so much reduced that it can be raised by an upward force of an ounce or two; or the table being turned upside down on the floor cannot be raised by a strong upward pull on the legs, being apparently fastened to the floor.” (II, 7-8)

As I understand your reports, this psychic energy, psychic stuff, plasma. or ectoplasm, whatever name be given to it, is not really visible to the naked eye, but that you were able to feel it. Would you mind elaborating on that experience?

“On one occasion, while the table was levitated I placed my hand under it near the top. As in previous tests, I felt no sense of pressure whatever, but I did feel a clammy, cold, almost oily sensation – in fact, an indescribable sensation, as though the air there were mixed with particles of dead and disagreeable matter. Perhaps the best word to describe the feeling is ‘reptilian.’ I have felt the same substance often – and I think it is substance – in the vicinity of the medium, but there it has appeared to me to be moving outwards from her. Once felt, the experimenter always recognizes it again. This was the only occasion on which I have felt it under the levitated table, though perhaps it is always there, but not usually in such intense form. Its presence under the table and also in the vicinity of the medium shows that it has something to do with the levitation; and in short I think there can be little doubt that it is actual matter temporarily taken from the medium’s body and put back at the end of the séance, and that it is the basic principle underlying the transmission of psychic force. The table soon dropped when I moved my hand to and fro in amongst this psychic stuff.” (I,145-146)

Your books show photographs of ectoplasm. How did that come about?

“Only [during the last six months or so of my investigation was it] possible to photograph the stuff which issues from the medium’s body. (I call it ‘plasma’ for want of any better word), and from which the psychic structures are built up that produce the phenomena of raps, levitations, touchings, etc. For about a year I took a photograph each séance night in the hope that success might ultimately be obtained. The operators informed me by raps that success would finally come if I would be persistent enough.

“The chief difficulty seemed to be in preventing injury to the medium. The operators said it was necessary gradually to work her up to withstand the shock of the flashlight upon the plasma; nor is this to be much wondered at when it is considered the plasma is part of her body exteriorized in space.

“After innumerable attempts, very small patches of plasma were obtained in full view between the medium’s ankles. As time went on these increased in size and variety until great quantities of this psychic stuff could be exteriorized and photographed. Then the operators began to manipulate it in various ways, building it up into columns, or forming into single or double arms, molding it into different shapes with which I had been long familiar in a general way from previous investigation. (IV 171-172)

I know that your focus was on the physical phenomena, but you seem to have communicated with the operators or spirits quite often. Did they tell you much about themselves?

“The operators emphatically declare that the fact of death does not in the least degree alter a man’s character. He is exactly the same five minutes after the passing as five minutes before it. So that the next state of existence contains all kinds and conditions of humanity, just as the earth does. They say that malevolence, envy, hate and all the lower attributes inherent in earth humanity exist also in their world. There are not the two classes only – good and bad – as theology would have us believe. They say that the good bears a higher ratio to the bad than is the case here; so that we have an advance, if it is only a small one, so far as moral qualities are concerned.” (II, 17)

Did they ever tell you why they are interested in demonstrating at these séances?

“[Yes.] Their answer to this is that the mere fact of being engaged in producing the phenomena and thus doing useful work helps them in their own development. For this and for other reasons I have rather come to the conclusion that one of the central ideas underlying the activities of the next state is that of service.” (II, 19)

Outside of the operators, are other spirits aware of what is going on?

“According to the operators the people on their side are somewhat curious about psychic phenomena. I have often asked them if there were many looking on at our séances. Whenever asked the questions they would begin rapping and keep on rapping until we were tired of hearing them. They wished to indicate by this that there were great crowds of spirit people looking on. They told me this was the case at all our séances. They gave me the impression that the séance room and the sitters were surrounded by a huge invisible audience arranged in an orderly and disciplinary manner, perhaps tier upon tier as in a lecture theater. The séance to many of them would appear to be as novel as it is to us.” (II, 18)

Have they told you anything about their living conditions?

“I may say at once that the operators at the Belfast circle are unable to explain – even by analogy – the appearance of their world. And I think this state of affairs holds generally at all reputable circles. Not that the entities inhabiting it exist within the unsubstantial fabric of a vision, as it were, but simply that they are unable to explain to us in terms we can understand. There is some reason to suppose that the psychic realm may include a dimension more than ours, i.e., it may be in four dimension, length, breadth, thickness and a something else. which we may call X. If this is so we need not be surprised that its inhabitant can tell us practically nothing of it. We ourselves could give no information to being living in a two dimensional world which would be understandable to them.” (II, 22-23)

Have they mentioned spheres, levels, dimension, or planes as so many other communicators have?

“The entities communicating say that the next state is not a homogeneous whole, but that it is built up of ‘spheres’ and ‘realms,” and that they themselves do not all belong to one sphere. Entities belonging to a higher sphere may come down at will to a lower, but not vice versa…The first sphere would seem to be the abode of people whose moral development was somewhat low as they passed from things terrestrial; who need a lot of cleaning up before they can rise into the second and higher spheres; in other words, the spheres next the earth are the abode of the riff-raff of humanity. The entities tell me that all our experimental circles are guarded very strictly on their side so that no undesirable shall be able to get near. As a matter of fact I would not care to be in the Belfast séance room if I had any doubt of the beneficent intentions of those behind the scenes.” (II, 37-38)

It is my understanding that there are times when nothing happens at Miss Goligher’s séances. Do you know why this is?

“It is only by persistence that anything worth having can be obtained in the psychic world. The dilettante gets nothing. Many people seem to forget that the entities operating from the next state have themselves to experiment with every circle which is formed before even the slightest phenomenon can be produced, and that sometimes the sitters do not form an ideal combination from this point of view, with the consequences that their psychic emanations have to be mixed and worked up for quite a long time before decent results can ensue. So that it is only to the earnest enquirer that phenomena come…I have certainly received messages via the table stating that the spirit entities mix the psychic or nervous emanations of the sitters and that sometimes there is difficulty in getting these emanations to blend, this especially being so if the circle is a promiscuous one.” (II, 59-60, 65)

In spite of your efforts to be strictly scientific in your experiments and reports, you’ve received much negative criticism from the scientific world. Any thoughts on this?

“As the most voluble of the critics fails completely to understand the mechanism of the rap, a comparatively trivial phenomenon, his attempts to explain the higher phenomena, such as materialization or the direct voice, are accordingly more laughable still. Probably no phenomena in nature have received such bizarre criticism as the psychic. Some people, it would seem, would dictate to nature as to what phenomena should be allowed and what not. They call those who investigate these things emotional and gullible, whereas of course, the shoe is on the other foot, and it is they who are the lamentably emotional and gullible, inasmuch as they allow prejudice full play and at the same time plane an inhibition to investigate upon the intellect.” (II, 105)

Historical Notes:

Dr. Crawford died by suicide on July 30, 1920. Skeptics suggested that his suicide was the result of realizing he had been duped. However, four days prior to his death, Crawford wrote to David Gow, the editor of Light, the following: “My psychic work was all done before the (mental) collapse, and is the most perfect work I have done in my life. Everything connected with it is absolutely correct, and will bear every scrutiny. It was done when my brain was working perfectly, and it could not be responsible for what has occurred….I wish to affirm my belief that the grave does not finish all.”

In 1922, Dr. E. E. Fournier d’Albe had 20 sittings with Kathleen Goligher and obtained limited results, leading him to report that Crawford must have been tricked. However, defenders of Crawford suggested that d’Albe did not bring the proper attitude to his investigation, thus discouraging phenomena, or Goligher had lost much of her power as mediums are known to do over time. As Crawford had reported, “the dilettante gets nothing.”

Crawford did not observe the medium herself being levitated and exactly how the psychic rods or arms emanating from her would have lifted her is not explained, although it is theorized that in those cases where the medium, e.g., D.D. Home, has been levitated, one of the sitters or the cumulative effect of the sitters’ psychic energy may have provided the psychic rods.

Sir William Barrett wrote: “I can testify to the genuineness and amazing character of these physical manifestations and also to the patient care and skill which have characterized Dr. Crawford’s long and laborious investigations.”

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