Some Famous Exposures

Probably the greatest swindle ever perpetrated in the name of

spiritualism was recently brought to light in Stockton, California.

The medium and his confederates materialized everything from frogs

and small fish to a huge bowlder of gold quartz weighing several

hundred pounds. This latter had to be brought from the mountains

with a mule team.

The materializing was done through sliding panels in the walls

while the believers sat holding hands about the opposite side of a

table, and loudly singing sacred hymns. They had the only door to

the room locked and sealed, and never dreamed that the spirits who

brought the quartz from the mine were mules.

Thousands of dollars were invested in this "spirit mine," the

believers stacking their money on the quartz as it lay on the table

at a dark seance, and receiving deeds in return for their money,

which the spirits dematerialized.

The medium established, or had his spirits establish, a "Treasury

of Heaven," for the faithful to deposit their money in, and on

which they were to receive fifty per cent interest. This interest

the believers continued to receive at dark seances from the spirits

for a time. Each sitter's interest was found on the table stacked

in front of him when the lights were lighted. When the spirit bank

became insolvent and the chief medium disappeared, the believers

were out about thirty-five thousand dollars.

No less a personage than a millionaire of Tacoma, Washington, is

said to have contributed largely to this spirit fund. I had known

of this case for some time before the exposure (conducted by a

performer engaged for the purpose), and knew that certain

interested persons were contemplating bringing it about, in order

to rescue certain estimable persons from the clutches of these

mediums. This was successful; and the confederates of the medium

signed written confessions in the presence of one of the most

devout of the believers, and a gentleman who is otherwise very

intelligent. Upon this the gentleman was greatly crestfallen, but

he still insists that there are certain mediums who are not

impostors; and that certain mediums in Chicago who produce spirit

portraits are genuine.

A full and very interesting account of this exposure is given in

the San Francisco Examiner of March 3 and 4, 1907.

. . . . .

I could report enough cases of materialization to fill a volume.

These I know of, from various sources, and in every case they were

invariably fraudulent. I will give a short account of a

materialization which a very expert medium, who is on friendly

terms with me, witnessed. The gentleman was originally a minister,

and afterwards began investigating spiritualism, as he was a

believer in it. He hoped to become a medium; and at one time paid

two lady mediums of some renown, who reside in Chicago, three

dollars a sitting for three sittings a week. These sittings were

conducted for the purpose of developing this gentleman in

mediumship. He continued this for a long time, but he was no

nearer to being a medium than he was in the beginning.

At one time he detected one of the sisters passing a slate to the

other, and substituting another in its place. He saw the edge of

one of the slates protruding from behind the dress of one of the

sisters. They never knew they were discovered as he said nothing,

but this "opened his eyes." After this he investigated everywhere,

and at every opportunity, and grew to be a very expert medium


Recently, when in Los Angeles, he visited a seance conducted by a

medium who claimed to be a Buddhist priest. This medium was known

under the name of "The Reverend Swami Mazzininanda." He had an

altar in his home, constructed something like those in Roman

Catholic churches. He had various candles and images on this

altar, including an image of Buddha, and also a number of mystical

figures. It was a great mixture of "fake" Buddhism, Roman

Catholicism, and modern spiritualism. The medium also wore the

costume of a Buddhist priest at his seances.

This "priest" held services here for the faithful. He conducted

all in Hindoostani (?), his native tongue. He chanted, prayed to

Buddha, etc., all in a queer-sounding "gibberish." Certain

evenings of the week were devoted to "soul-travel," and certain

evenings after the religious services a "Black Chapter" was held.

The gentleman whom I have mentioned attended one of these dark

seances. He sat with other spectators around the room in perfect

darkness. The spectators were not required to hold hands, so great

was their faith. Finally, in the darkness, a queer-looking,

vapory, luminous form floated around in the air and paused in front

of the spectators. My friend slipped down quietly on his knees,

and gradually worked closer and closer to the luminous form, until

he could detect that the vapor was a kind of luminous "cheese

cloth." He did not desire to expose this "priest," but he desired

to have the "priest" know that some one had discovered him. My

friend accordingly took hold of the gauze and gave it a very slight

downward jerk. He then immediately returned quietly to his seat.

There was an immediate pause in the discourse of the "priest," who

had really been floating this form on the end of a stick. Everyone

knew that something had happened, but no one but my friend knew

what it was. The "priest" then said in his slow, peculiar,

eccentric and measured tones, "I have received a very great shock;

and I will be unable to continue further this evening." The next

day, when in conversation with some of the "faithful," this

"priest" stated in his peculiar manner of speaking, and with

intense earnestness, that which follows: "Last night I received a

very great shock. I was just in the middle of the 'Dark Chapter'

and the spirit of the Master, Krishna, was out. Having spent the

greater portion of my life on the Himalayas, my right eye has

become injured by the snows." Then pointing to his right eye, he

added, "My right eye has a defect in it which you cannot see; but

on account of that, I can only see in the dark with it. I

immediately turned my right eye downward and I looked! I

distinctly saw a lady's hand reached out toward my robe in the

darkness, and this hand took hold of it and jerked it lightly just

like this." The "Reverend Swami" here illustrated, by slightly

jerking his coat downward. It was very amusing to hear him, in

great seriousness, relate this in his low and measured accents to

his faithful followers.

Shortly after this, when the Los Angeles Herald was conducting a

crusade against the numerous mediums of that city, and when it had

an exhibit in its windows of the confiscated material of some of

them, this "Buddhist priest" was arrested and imprisoned for some

of his practices.