Daniel Dunglas Home

Daniel Dunglas Home (March 20, 1833 - June 21, 1886) was a Scottish spiritualist, famous during his lifetime for his claimed powers as a medium and his reported ability to levitate to a variety of heights, elongate and to handle fire and hot coals without injury. He conducted hundreds of seances over a period of 35 years — at which were present many of the best-known names of the Victorian period — without being conclusively, or publicly, exposed as a fraud.

According to Arthur Conan Doyle, Home was unusual in that he had powers in four different types of mediumship: direct voice (the ability to let spirits audibly speak); trance speaker (the ability to let spirits speak through oneself); clairvoyant (ability to see things that are out of view); and physical medium (moving objects at a distance, levitation, etc.--the type of mediumship in which Home had no equals).

Home was suspicious of any medium who claimed powers he himself did not possess, particularly the materializing mediums (such as the Eddy Brothers), who claimed the ability to produce solid spirit forms, and he marked these as faudulent. Since materializing mediums always work in darkened places, Home urged that all séances be held in the light (Doyle 1926: volume 1, 204-205). Home, in his 1877 book Lights and Shadows of Spiritualism, detailed the conjuring tricks employed by false mediums Home himself, of course, was widely suspected of fraud, but it was never proved (Doyle 1926: volume 1, 207). Frank Podmore (1910, 31-86 and 1902, 223-269) and Milbourne Christopher (1970, 174-187) provide a particularly rich source of speculation on the ways in which Home could have duped his sitters.

Some testimony suggests that Home often conducted his demonstrations in dim light.[2] The light conditions during Home's most famous feat of levitation were disputed, but some witnesses recorded that it was quite dark.[3] Podmore (1910, p. 45) records that Home had a constant companion that sat opposite of him during his séances.

 

 

 

 












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