Tests of Rudi Schneider

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Tests of Rudi Schneider is an article published in the Daily Mail on 4 december 1929, including a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Tests of Rudi Schneider

Daily Mail (4 december 1929, p. 8)

Sir A. Conan Doyle Replies

Carried Out Years Ago.

"Disciple" Taunt Refuted.

The controversy on spiritualism in which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author, is engaged with Mr. Noel Maskelyne, the conjurer, and Commander Oliver Looker-Lampson, M.P., is carried a stage farther by a letter to-day from Sir Arthur.

Sir Arthur has defended Rudi Schneider, the young Austrian medium, and described the Maskelyne family as being parasitic upon spiritualism. Mr. Maskelyne in yesterday's Daily Mail retorted that every opportunity had been given to Rudi Schneider to come out into the daylight and let it be proved that there is no trickery in his manifestations.

Commander Locker-Lampson declared that mediums should be tested, and challenged Sir Arthur "to submit his disciple, Rudi Schneider, to a sufficient test.

Here is Sir Arthur's reply :

To the Editor of "The Daily Mail."
Sir, — Commander Locker-Lampson seems to me to be strangely ignorant of the history of psychic research.
The brothers Willie and Rudi Schneider — they may be taken as one since their phenomena are the same — have been tested again and again in every possible way by independent observers of European celebrity.
In Munich, for example, in the laboratory of Dr. Schrenck-Notzing, a hundred people of note, including professors from the Universities of Jena, Giessen, Upsala, Heidelberg, Münich, Tübingen, Freiburg, and Basle, tested the Schneider phenomena and were unanimous in their declaration that they were genuine.
Commander Locker-Lampson therefore is somewhat belated in his demand for tests. Incidentally, I may inform him that I have never seen Schneider, so that his description of him as a "disciple" of mine is as well-informed as the rest of his letter.
It is quite an easy thing to stop psychic phenomena, just as electrical phenomena may be stopped by adverse conditions. I would undertake to stop Rudi Schneider's results just as surely as Mr. Maskelyne could, by making him angry and self-conscious, surrounding him with an inharmonious atmosphere, and subjecting him to physical discomfort by tight bonds.
Such methods prove nothing save the want of sense or humanity of the experimenter. Personally, I think that if a friendly but critical observer holds the hands of a medium that control should be enough to satisfy any reasonable person. Unless assured that his medium will be placed in harmonious conditions, I think that Mr. Price is quite right in refusing Capt. Maskelyne's proposal.
Arthur Conan Doyle.
Buckingham Palace-mansions, S.W.