Letter to Harry Price (26 january 1926)

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

This letter was written by Arthur Conan Doyle on 26 january 1926 to Harry Price about spiritualism and Price's essay "Stella C. : An Account of Some Original Experiments in Psychical Research".


15 Buckingham Palace Mansions
26th January, 1926.

Dear Price,

I am sorry you were not present at my remarks — I had taken it for granted that you would be when I prepared to make them. If you had been you would know that I praised your work, mentioning the Stella C. case, and you are aware that I gave it publicity in the Strand. But I said that you must get out of the way of condemning mediums publicly without a shadow of proof, and surely that is not an unreasonable attitude for a spiritualist to take up. It must be the attitude of the L.S.A. if I am its president.

You really seem to think that a mere assertion is proof, and that it is unnecessary to examine witnesses for the defence or even to ask the accused what she has to say for herself. If you have an incriminating document from Mrs. Deane let me see it and I will join you in denouncing her. I have seen her defence and her letters to that woman who attacked her and I think that her defence is at least quite a feasible one. Surely we have a right in every case to see these proofs which you say you have and to judge for ourselves how far they are conclusive.

As to the Falconers my mind is open because I have seen some results — which you have not inspected — which I cannot explain away. Merely calling them 'awful swindles' does not make them so. Mediumship is an honest trade if it is honest, and that is subjudice.

If we wished to suppress your American letter it was not to spite you but to prevent scandal about an innocent and valuable medium. That must always be our policy, united with resolute exposure of all who are proved to be wrong ones. Surely that is clear enough and quite natural.

Yours sincerely,

A. Conan Doyle