Sir A. Conan Doyle's Séance

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Sir A. Conan Doyle's Séance is an article published in the Daily Mail on 18 february 1919, including a part of an interview with Arthur Conan Doyle.

Sir A. Conan Doyle's Séance

Daily Mail (18 february 1919, p. 3)

Amazing Narrative.

Flying Tambourine and Rattles.

From Our Own Correspondent.

Cardiff, Monday.

South Wales is discussing the amazing narrative of eerie and exciting happenings at a spiritualist séance in Cardiff on Saturday attended by about twenty people, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his wife, the chief constable, and the deputy chief constable.

The medium was Mr. Tom Thomas, a Merthyr collier, who has been accepted locally as "a medium of the first class" for six or seven years. He was accompanied by his brother.

Sir A. Conan Doyle informed the reporter of the Cardiff Evening Express that the brothers "looked more like international footballers than spiritualistic media."


Mr. W. W. Wall, of Hillcrest, Penylan, in whose house the séance was held, says: "They came to my house with a curtain, a tambourine, a few rattles, and other toys. Previously I had not taken much interest in spiritualism, and lent my house for the event at the request of the organiser, a friend of mine.

"The curtain was put up by means of a piece of cord across the corner of the room farthest from the door, and the toys were put into a cabinet behind the curtain. The medium was roped very securely to a chair by the chief constable, helped by the super-intendent, and after a short while the articles which had been put into the cabinet began to fly about the room.

"The medium was about 20 ft. away and he and his brother were on our side of the curtain all the while. There was a dim light, although it was too dark to see the articles actually coming over the curtain. The tambourine fell in the chief constable's lap and the whatnot came across the room. I was sitting next to Lady Conan Doyle and asked in a whisper if she felt all right.

"I am very cold," she whispered in reply.

"I do not think that the medium could have heard, but he asked:

"'Is Lady Conan Doyle cold?'

"'Yes. I am chilly,' she replied.

"'Well,' he said, 'I will send over something to warm you.'

"And in a few moments his coat fell in her lap. When the light was turned up he was still roped to the chair just as he had been at the start but was without his coat."


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said in his description of the happenings that the medium and his brother "insisted on being thoroughly searched before the phenomena appeared. We went over all their clothes and took their boots off.

"The lights were turned down in order to obtain the proper conditions, because ether transmits light and is also the source of all psychic phenomena. We sang some hymns, and the whole proceedings were conducted in a religious spirit.

"I was sitting next to the medium's brother, and Lady Doyle was next to me. Presently things began falling about, such as small rattles. People were struck with the various objects which bad been placed twenty to thirty feet from where the medium was sitting.

"The chief constable said he had been touched several times, and once a hand grasped his band and the lady's hand he was holding. All in the room were holding hands. The chief constable said the touch was like that of a human band."