The Conan Doyle-McCabe Debate

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

The Conan Doyle-McCabe Debate is an article written by Arthur Conan Doyle first published in Light on 20 march 1920.


The Conan Doyle-McCabe Debate

Light (20 march 1920, p. 91)

Letter from Sir A. Conan Doyle.

Sir A. Conan Doyle writes:—

I have no desire to re-open the Queen's Hall debate in print, but as Mr. McCabe denied certain facts I am bound to show that they actually were facts.

The first point concerns tho Professors who had, as I stated, accepted our views, some limiting the acceptance to the phenomena only. and some going the whole way with us.

Mr. McCabe challenged me to produce ten names. I produced a list which I said contained forty names. He, after a casual examination, threw it down on tho table with tho assertion that as far as he could see, it contained only ten names, two of which were not Professors. As a fact the list contained forty-two names, and Mr. McCabe simply bluffed the audience when he pretended there were only ten. The names are:—

Great Britain. — Professors Lodge, Crookes, Barrett, Mayo, Challis, de Morgan, Henslow.

America. — Professors William James, Elliott Coues, Denton, Mapes, Hare, Hyslop, Hyde, Corson.

Continental. — Tornebom (Sweden), Zollner, Carl du Prel, Weber, Scheibner, Seiling (Germany), Grimard, Richet, Reichel, Maxwell (France), Gigli, Chiaia (Naples), Schiaparelli (Milan), Brofferio (Milan), Lombroso, Armicis, Ermacora, Finizi, Pictet, Marghieri, Pio Foa, Forro, Morselli, Geresa, Falcomer, Sans Binito (Barcelona), Ochorowicz (Warsaw).

These furnish forty-two names in which I have not included men of Science like Dr. Crawford, Myers, Russel Wallace, Varley, and many more who do not happen to have had posts in a University. Of course, the list is by no means complete.

On a second point of fact. Mr. McCabe questioned Lord Lindsay's account of Home's levitation, and put forward the supposition that Home stepped from balcony to balcony outside — so far as one could understand what his supposition was. He quoted the beginning of Lord Lindsay's statement, but he suppressed the end, which surely he must also have read. It runs:—

"Lord Adare then went into the next room to look at the window from which ho had been carried. It was raised about 18 inches, and he expressed his wonder how Mr. Home had been taken through so narrow an aperture. Home, still entranced, said, 'I will show you.' Then with his back to the window, he leaned back, and was shot out of the aperture head first, with the body rigid, and then returned quite quickly."

How does this fit in with Mr. McCabe's theory of the balcony? As a fact there was no balcony.

Surely, I did not exaggerate when I said that the evidence for this event was clearer than that for many of the historical occurrences which all the world has agreed to accept.