Sir A. Conan Doyle. Reply to Critic of his Séance

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Sir A. Conan Doyle. Reply to Critic of his Séance is an article published in the Daily Mail on 19 february 1919, including a part of an interview with Arthur Conan Doyle.

Sir A. Conan Doyle

Daily Mail (19 february 1919, p. 3)

Reply to Critic of his Séance.

Sir A. Conan Doyle was asked his opinion at Cardiff yesterday of Mr. Maskelyne's criticism in The Daily Mail of the spiritualist séance at Cardiff last Saturday, when a tambourine, rattles, and other articles were made to move about a darkened room.

Sir A. Conan Doyle said the opinion of Mr. Maskelyne upon an affair which he did not see did not interest him. The twenty spectators at the séance were convinced that the phenomena were genuine. They were not, however, amazing, for they were of a very ordinary type.

Questioned about the séance being conducted in the dark, Sir Arthur said: "Such phenomena can be produced in light, Mr. Horne habitually did so during his career of thirty years. It is found by experience that they come more rapidly and more forcibly in the dark. This was made a reproach to the spiritualists, and it was assumed that the dark covered fraud. In the case of some unscrupulous rogues it undoubtedly did so.

"But since those days science has suggested a good reason for the use of darkness. It is highly probable that all genuine psychic phenomena have their origin in the ether, which is the means of conveying light. It has been found that wireless, telegraphy, which also acts by ether, goes considerably farther by night than by day.

"Such phenomena as those produced by Thomas (the medium at the séance) are very elementary and are only useful as forming a final argument against materialism by showing that there are unquestionably powers, and intelligent powers, outside our ordinary senses.

"From this starting point one rises on one solid step after another until one understands the fall religious revelation which has ... from ... humble beginnings."