Rosalie Thompson

          BRITISH TRANCE medium, whose powers were developed at Frederic W. Thurstan's Delphic Circle at Hertford Lodge, Battersea. In her early sittings in 1897 and 1898 the records of which in Light refer to her as Mrs. T., she exhibited powerful physical phenomena, raps, movements of objects, psychic lights, elongation, direct voice, apports, scents and materialisations. Her physical manifestations were discouraged by F. W. H. Myers and she was persuaded to give her services to the SPR as a trance medium from 1898 onwards (SPR Proc., Vol. XVII, 1901-3).

Her chief control was her deceased daughter, Nelly, who died in infancy. Another communicator of importance was Mrs. Cartwright, the mistress of the school where Mrs. Thompson was educated. Her trances were much lighter than Mrs. Piper's and occasionally they were scarcely distinguishable from the state of normal wakefulness. Many instances of her supernormal perceptions were recorded in the waking state.

Against Dr. Richard Hodgson, who, in six sittings, formed an unfavourable opinion of her powers, it is Frank Podmore who hurries to Mrs. Thompson's defence and considers Dr. Hodgson's conclusion that Mrs. Thompson is untrustworthy to go beyond the warrant of the facts. He expresses his opinion in plain words:

"I should perhaps add that the supernormal source of much of the information given at Mrs. Thompson's sťances seems to me to be almost beyond dispute."

The reports of Mr. J. G. Piddington and Dr. van Eeden contain many curious accounts. Mrs. Verrall had 22 sittings. 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 141-59 percent were true. Of these 141 true statements 51 could not have been ascertained from normal sources. The results of Dr. 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 spoke in Dutch, of which language Mrs. Thompson is ignorant, with the young suicide.

Mrs. Verrall's general opinion of the controlling personalities was that their characteristics are not very marked, all bear strong resemblance to Mrs. 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. Nevertheless she admits that many personalities bore, for the sitters, the marks of independent individuality.

Frederic Myers, whose belief in survival was chiefly founded on experiments with Mrs. Thompson (he and his friends had 217 sittings about two thirds of which he personally attended) died on January 17, 1901. Mrs. Thompson, at this time, had already suspended sittings altogether. Feeling an impulse to do so she gave two sittings to Sir Oliver Lodge. In both of them communications, characteristic of Myers, were forthcoming.

Source (with minor modifications): An Encyclopaedia of Psychic Science by Nandor Fodor (1934).



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