The Mediumship of Phoenix

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

The Mediumship of Phoenix is a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle published in the magazine Light on 19 november 1927.

The Mediumship of Phoenix

Light (19 november 1927, p. 573)

Sir, — I remember sitting with Mr. Phoenix a year or two ago in London. I am sure that he rose from his chair. Mr. Vale Owen, who was present, came to the same conclusion. We both, however, noticed that he did not advance into the circle and that phenomena occurred which seemed to be outside any possible point which he could reach. On a former occasion, when I saw him in Glasgow, there were some striking luminous phenomena which would be hard to produce normally, and finally the control, "Luke," in addressing us gave me a prophecy of what would occur that very evening, which proved to be quite correct. Therefore, I have no doubt at all that Mr. Phoenix is a true medium, though here, as always, it is impossible to give a blank cheque for honesty to anyone.

In the report of his experiences with a very unruly spirit, "Jan," in the Iceland Psychic Society, Professor Nielsson tells how a much esteemed member of the circle was caught assisting the phenomena. When "Jan" became a reformed character he explained that he had brought this about (as a sort of joke) by influencing this susceptible man. It is well to bear this in mind, and to realise that if our conclusions are too hasty we may be doing an injustice and playing straight into the hands of the antagonistic forces. After all, it is the true and positive results which count. The negative and doubtful ones can be disregarded as long as we are really certain of the former. But to cast a slur upon a long list of real successes on the strength of a few failures which may well be misunderstandings, seems to me to be very doubtful policy.

Yours, etc.,