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Daniel Dunglas Home

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Daniel Dunglas Home

Post by Candlelight.kk on Fri 28 Apr 2017, 16:00

(originally posted on 12 Jan 2013)

Daniel Dunglas Home (pronounced 'Hume') ( March 20, 1833 – June 21, 1886) was a Scottish Spiritualist, famous as a physical medium with the reported ability to levitate to a variety of heights, speak with the dead, and to produce rapping and knocks in houses at will.

When Home was young, he moved with his aunt and uncle from Scotland to America, where they lived in Connecticut. After becoming well-known he travelled to England in 1855, and conducted hundreds of séances, which were attended by many of the best-known names of the Victorian period.

Though there were speculations that Home employed fraud, none were ever proven. Home died in France in 1886, and was buried in the St. Germain-en-Laye cemetery in Paris.


Family

Daniel Home's mother, Elizabeth Home (née McNeill) was known as a seer in Scotland, as were many of her predecessors, like her great uncle Colin Uruqhart, and her uncle Mr. McKenzie. The gift of second sight was often seen as a curse, as it foretold instances of tragedy and death. Home's father, William Home, was the illegitimate son of Alexander, the 10th Earl of Home. Evidence supports the elder Home's illegitimacy, as various payments meant for William were made by the 10th Earl. Elizabeth and William were married when he was 19-years-old, and found employment at the Balerno paper mill. The Homes moved into one of small houses built in the mill for the workforce, in Currie (six miles south-west of Edinburgh). William was described as a "bitter, morose and unhappy man" who drank, and was often aggressive towards his wife. Elizabeth had eight children while living in the mill house: six sons and two daughters, although their lives were not fully recorded. The eldest, John, later worked in the Balerno mill and eventually managed a paper mill in Philadelphia, Mary drowned in a stream at 12-years-old in 1846, and Adam died at sea at the age of seventeen while on route to Greenland, which Home saw in a vision, and was confirmed five months later.


Early life

Daniel Home was Elizabeth's third child, and was born on 20 March 1833. He was baptised by the Reverend Somerville three weeks after his birth. The one-year-old Home was deemed a delicate child, having a "nervous temperament", and was passed to Elizabeth's childless sister, Mary Cook. She lived with her husband in the coastal town of Portobello, east of Edinburgh. It was at the Cook's house that Home's cradle rocked by itself, and the infant had a vision of a cousin's death, who lived in Linlithgow, to the west of Edinburgh.


America

Sometime between 1838 and 1841, Home's aunt and uncle decided to emigrate to the United States with their adopted son, sailing in the cheapest class of steerage as they could not afford a cabin. After landing in New York, the Cooks travelled to Greeneville, near Norwich, Connecticut. The red-haired and freckled Home attended school in Greeneville, where he was known as "Scotchy" by the other students. 13-years-old Home did not join in sports games with other boys, preferring to take walks in the local woods with a friend called Edwin. The two boys read the Bible to each other and told stories, and made a pact stating that if one or the other were to die, they would try and make contact after death. Home and his aunt soon moved to Troy, NY, which is about from Greeneville, although Home in his own book stated it was away. Home lost contact with Edwin until one night when Home, according to Lamont, saw a brightly lit vision of him standing at the foot of the bed, which gave Home the feeling that his friend was dead. Edwin made three circles in the air before disappearing, and a few days later a letter arrived stating that Edwin had died of malignant dysentery, which was three days before Home's vision.

A few years later Home and his aunt returned to Greeneville, and Elizabeth Home emigrated from Scotland to America with the surviving members of the family to live in Waterford, Connecticut, which was away from the Cook's house. Home and his mother's reunion was short-lived, as Elizabeth foretold her own death in 1850. This was also confirmed by Home, as he saw his mother in a vision saying, "Dan, twelve o'clock", which was the time of her death. After Elizabeth's death Home turned to religion. His aunt was a Presbyterian, and held the Calvinist view that one's fate has been decided, so Home embraced the Wesleyan faith, which believed that every soul can be saved. Home's aunt resented Wesleyans so much that she forced Home to change to Congregationalist, which was not to her liking, either, but was more in line with her own religion. The house was then disturbed by rappings and knocking similar to those that occurred two years earlier at the home of the Fox sisters. Ministers were called to the Cook's house: a Baptist, a Congregationalist, and even a Wesleyan minister, who all believed that Home was possessed by the Devil, although Home believed it was a gift from God. The knocking did not stop however, and a table started to move by itself, even though Home's aunt put a bible on it and then placed her full body weight on it. As the noises did not stop, and were attracting the unwanted attention of Cook's neighbours, Home was told to leave the house.


Fame

The eighteen-year-old Home stayed with a friend in Willimantic, Connecticut, and later Lebanon, Connecticut. Home held his first séance in March 1851, which was reported in a Hartford newspaper managed by W. R. Hayden, who wrote that the table moved without anyone touching it, and kept moving when Hayden physically tried to stop it. After the newspaper report, Home became well-known in New England, travelling around healing the sick and communicating with the dead, although he wrote that he was not prepared for this sudden change in his life because of his supposed shyness.

Home never directly asked for money, although he lived very well on gifts, donations and lodging from wealthy admirers. He felt that he was on a "mission to demonstrate immortality", and wished to interact with his clients as one gentleman to another, rather than as an employee. In 1852, Home was a guest at the house of Rufus Elmer in Springfield, Massachusetts, giving séances six or seven times a day, which were visited by crowds of people, including a Harvard professor, David Wells, and the poet and editor of the New York Evening Post, William Cullen Bryant. They were all convinced of Home's credibility and wrote to the Springfield , and Boston during the next few months, and settled in Newburgh by the Hudson River in the summer of 1853. He resided at the Theological Institute, but took no part in any of the theological discussions held there, as he wanted to take a course in medicine. Dr. Hull funded Home's studies, and offered to pay Home five dollars a day for his séances, but Home refused, as always. His idea was to fund his work with a legitimate salary by practicing medicine, but he became ill in early 1854, and stopped his studies. Home was diagnosed with Tuberculosis, and his doctors recommended recuperation in Europe. His last séance was in March 1855, in Hartford, Connecticut, before he travelled to Boston and sailed to England on board the Africa, at the end of March.


Europe

Home's name was originally Daniel Home , but by the time he arrived in Europe he had lengthened it to Daniel Dunglas Home , in reference to the Scottish house of Home, of which his father claimed to be a part. In London Home found a believer in spiritualism, William Cox, who owned a large hotel at 53, 54 and 55 Jermyn Street, London. As Cox was so enamoured of Home's abilities, he let Home stay at the hotel without payment. Robert Owen, an 83-year-old social reformer, was also staying at the hotel, and introduced Home to many of his friends in London society. At the time Home described as tall and thin, with blue eyes and auburn hair, fastidiously dressed but seriously ill with consumption. Nevertheless, he held sittings for notable people in full daylight, moving objects that were some distance away. Some early guests at Home's sittings included the scientist Sir David Brewster, the novelists Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton and Thomas Adolphus Trollope, and the Swedenborgian James John Garth Wilkinson. Home converted most sceptics, but Robert Browning, the poet, proved more difficult. After attending a séance of Home's Browning gave his impression of Home in the unflattering poem, "Sludge the Medium" (1864). His wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, was convinced that the phenomena she witnessed was genuine and their discussions about Home were a constant source of disagreement.

Home's fame grew, fuelled by his feats of levitation. William Crookes claimed to know of more than 50 occasions in which Home levitated "in good light" (gas light) at least five to seven feet above the floor. Homes' feats were recorded by Frank Podmore: "We all saw him rise from the ground slowly to a height of about six inches, remain there for about ten seconds, and then slowly descend." In the following years Home travelled across continental Europe, and always as a guest of wealthy patrons. In Paris, he was summoned to the Tuileries to perform a séance for Napoleon III. Home also performed for Queen Sophia of the Netherlands, who wrote: "I saw him four times...I felt a hand tipping my finger; I saw a heavy golden bell moving alone from one person to another; I saw my handkerchief move alone and return to me with a knot... He himself is a pale, sickly, rather handsome young man but without a look or anything which would either fascinate or frighten you. It is wonderful. I am so glad I have seen it...

In 1866, Mrs Lyon, a wealthy widow, adopted Home as her son, giving him £60,000 in an attempt to gain introduction into high society. Finding that the adoption did not change her social situation, Lyon changed her mind, and brought a suit for the return of her money from Home on the grounds that it had been obtained by spiritual influence. Under British law, the defendant bears the burden of proof in such a case, and proof was impossible since there was no physical evidence. The case was decided against Home, Mrs Lyon's money was returned, and the press pilloried Home's reputation. Home's high society acquaintances thought that he behaved like a complete gentleman throughout the ordeal, and he did not lose a single important friend.

Home met one of his future closest friends in 1867; the young Lord Adare (later the 4th Earl of Dunraven). Adare was fascinated by Home, and began documenting the seances they held. One of Home's levitations occurred the following year, and in front of three witnesses (Adare, Captain Wynne, and Lord Lindsay) Home was said to have levitated out of the third storey window of one room, and back in through the window of the adjoining room.

Home married twice. In 1858, he married Alexandria de Kroll, the 17-year-old daughter of a noble Russian family. They had a son, Gregoire, but Alexandria fell ill with tuberculosis, and died in 1862. In October 1871, Home married for the second, and last time, to Julie de Gloumeline, a wealthy Russian, whom he met in St Petersburg. In the process, he converted to the Greek Orthodox faith. At the age of 38, Home retired, as his health was bad – the tuberculosis, from which he had suffered for most of his life, was advancing –and his powers, he claimed, were failing. He died on the 21 June 1886, and was buried in the St. Germain-en-Laye cemetery of St. Germain-en-Laye Paris.


Critical reaction

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stated that Home was unusual in that he had 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., which was the type of mediumship had no equal). 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 fraudulent. Since materializing mediums always work in darkened places, Home urged that all séances be held in the light. Home, in his 1877 book Lights and Shadows of Spiritualism , detailed the conjuring tricks employed by false mediums.

Lord Adare stated that Home "swung out and in" of a window in a horizontal position. "He [Home] came in [through the window] again, feet foremost, and we returned to the other room. It was so dark I could not see clearly how he was supported" [outside of the three story window]. Podmore recorded that Home had a constant companion that sat opposite of him during his séances. Between 1870 and 1873, Crookes conducted experiments to determine the validity of the phenomena produced by three mediums: Florence Cook, Kate Fox, and Home. Crookes' final report in 1874 concluded that the phenomena produced by all three mediums were genuine, a result which was roundly derided by the scientific establishment. Crookes recorded that he controlled and secured Home by placing his feet on the top of Home's feet. Crooke's method of foot control later proved inadequate when used with Eusapia Palladino, as she merely slipped her foot out and in of her sturdy shoe. Alexander von Boutlerow, Professor of Chemistry at the University of St. Petersburg and Home's brother-in-law, also obtained positive results in his tests of Home.

Frank Podmore and Milbourne Christopher provide a 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. For example, there is this report from a witness: "The room was very dark...Home's hands were visible only as a faint white heap". The light conditions during Home's most famous feat of levitation were disputed, but some witnesses recorded that it was quite dark. James Randi stated that Home was caught cheating on a few occasions, but the episodes were never made public, and that the accordion Home is supposed to have played without touching it was a one-octave mouth organ that Home concealed under his large moustache. James Randi writes that one-octave mouth organs were found in Home's belongings after his death.According to Randi 'around 1960' William Lindsay Gresham told Randi he had seen these mouth organs in the Home collection at the Society for Psychical Research. Eric Dingwall who catalogued Home's collection on its arrival at the SPR does not record the presence of the mouth organs. It is unlikely Dingwall would have missed these or did not make them public.

Notes
References
Adare, Viscount (1976). Experiences in Spiritualism With Mr D D Home . Ayer Co Pub. ISBN 9780405079375.
Christopher, Milbourne (1971) ESP,Seer & Psychics: What the Occult Really Is . Thomas Y. Crowell Company ASIN: B000O8Z6AC
Crookes, William. 1874. "Notes of an Enquiry into the Phenomena called Spiritual during the Years 1870-1873." Quarterly Journal of Science. link
Doyle, Arthur Conan The History of Spiritualism, Volume 1 Volume 2. New York: G.H. Doran.
Home, Daniel Dunglas (2005). Incidents in My Life link. Adamant Media Corporation. ISBN 9781402159299.
Home, Daniel Dunglas (2007). Lights and Shadows of Spiritualism . Cosimo Classics. ISBN 9781602068179.
Lamont, Peter (2005). The First Psychic: The Extraordinary Mystery of a Notorious Victorian Wizard . Abacus. ISBN 0349118256.
Oppenheim, Janet (1988). The Other World: Spiritualism and physical research in England, 1850-1914 link. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521347679.
Podmore, Frank (2003). Mediums of the Nineteenth Century, Part 1 . Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 9780766128538.
Podmore, Frank (2003). The Newer Spiritualism . Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-0766163362.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Dunglas_Home
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Re: Daniel Dunglas Home

Post by Candlelight.kk on Fri 28 Apr 2017, 16:02

D.D. Home's autobiography 'Incidents in my Life', can be read online HERE.

    Current date/time is Fri 19 Jan 2018, 15:15