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22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

Psychic Photographs. Conan Doyle to Mr. Blow

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Psychic Photographs. Conan Doyle to Mr. Blow is a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle first published in The Evening News (Australia) on 2 december 1920.


Psychic Photographs. Conan Doyle to Mr. Blow

The Evening News (2 december 1920)

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle writes:—

I have already stated in the clearest possible English that in the case of the photograph which reproduced my son's face a year after his death, no one — at any stage — touched the plate except myself, and that I saw the face before I left the dark room. Therefore, if there was any fake it was I who faked, since Mr. Hope never had the chance, even if he had the desire. I do not think that the public will accept the theory that I was guilty of so blasphemons a swindle. As to Mr. Blow's opinion, I am perfectly indifferent to it, and the more so since I have perceived by a personal interview how ignorant he is upon the subject.

When I said that these photographs were guaranteed by Sir William Crookes. Dr Russell Wallace, Mr. Traill Taylor, and others, I should have thought it was perfectly clear that each guaranteed the ones which he himself took part in. Sir William Crookes guarantees the three which he took of Katie King, Dr. Wallace that of his mother. Mr. Traill Taylor that of Mr. Glendinning, with the birds and flowers behind him, and so on. I should not have thought it possible that anyone could pervert my words so far as to take them as meaning that all these people guaranteed the photo of my son. It is I who guarantee that, and my guarantee is enough for those who show me.

Mr. Blow's exclamation of psychic photographs, so far as I could follow it, was that the carrier or dark slide contained some fluorescent material which in some way formed a picture. If he will read Mr. Traill Taylor's experiment — and Mr. Taylor was a great photographic expert — he will find: "My conditions were simple... They were that I should use my own camera, and unopened packages of dry plates and that I should be excused from allowing a plate to go out of my hand till after development." ("The Veil Lifted" p. 24) Under these conditions he got psychic figures upon the plates. What then becomes of the theory of fluorescent carriers."

As I leave to-day I fear I cannot carry on the correspondence but I should recommend the public to take any statement of Mr. Blow's upon this subject with a large cellar-full of salt.




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