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Tom and Will Thomas (B. CA. 1881) most well known as the Thomas brothers were two early twentieth century spiritualist mediums from Penylan, a village in the south of Wales.
Mediumship is the practice of purportedly mediating communication between spirits of the dead and living human beings. Practitioners are known as "mediums." There are different types of mediumship, including spirit channeling and ouija.
Penylan is a district and community in the east of Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, known for its Edwardian era period houses and spacious tree lined roads and avenues.
South Wales is the region of Wales bordered by England and the Bristol Channel to the east and south, mid Wales to the north, and west Wales to the west. With an estimated population of around 2.2 million, which is almost three-quarters of the whole of Wales, Cardiff has approximately 400,000, Swansea has approximately 250,000 and Newport has 150,000. The region is loosely defined, but it is generally considered to include the historic counties of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire, extending westwards to include Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. In the western extent, from Swansea westwards, local people would probably recognise that they lived in both south Wales and west Wales. The Brecon Beacons national park covers about a third of South Wales, containing Pen y Fan, the highest British mountain south of Cadair Idris in Snowdonia.
The brothers claimed to communicate with a spirit guide called "White Eagle". They were tied up in their séances and when the lights were turned off, objects would move around the room.
A spirit guide, in western spiritualism, is an entity that remains as a disincarnate spirit to act as a guide or protector to a living incarnated human being.
A séance or seance is an attempt to communicate with spirits. The word "séance" comes from the French word for "session", from the Old French seoir, "to sit". In French, the word's meaning is quite general: one may, for example, speak of "une séance de cinéma". In English, however, the word came to be used specifically for a meeting of people who are gathered to receive messages from ghosts or to listen to a spirit medium discourse with or relay messages from spirits. In modern English usage, participants need not be seated while engaged in a séance.
Arthur Conan Doyle had attended a séance with the brothers in 1919, and declared the phenomena to be genuine. This was disputed by the magician Harry Houdini who found their mediumship act suspicious, noting there were methods of how they could have freed themselves from control.The mentalist Stuart Cumberland, whom the brothers refused to their séances, told Houdini "there wasn't a chance of the Thomas brothers being genuine".
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was a British writer best known for his detective fiction featuring the character Sherlock Holmes. Originally a physician, in 1887 he published A Study in Scarlet, the first of four novels and more than fifty short stories about Holmes and Dr. Watson. The Sherlock Holmes stories are generally considered milestones in the field of crime fiction.
Harry Houdini was a Hungarian-born American illusionist and stunt performer, noted for his sensational escape acts. He first attracted notice in vaudeville in the US and then as "Harry Handcuff Houdini" on a tour of Europe, where he challenged police forces to keep him locked up. Soon he extended his repertoire to include chains, ropes slung from skyscrapers, straitjackets under water, and having to escape from and hold his breath inside a sealed milk can with water in it.
Stuart Cumberland (1857–1922) was an English mentalist known for his demonstrations of "thought reading".
Spiritualism is a religious movement based on the belief that the spirits of the dead exist and have both the ability and the inclination to communicate with the living. The afterlife, or the "spirit world", is seen by spiritualists, not as a static place, but as one in which spirits continue to evolve. These two beliefs—that contact with spirits is possible, and that spirits are more advanced than humans—lead spiritualists to a third belief: that spirits are capable of providing useful knowledge about moral and ethical issues, as well as about the nature of God. Some spiritualists will speak of a concept which they refer to as "spirit guides"—specific spirits, often contacted, who are relied upon for spiritual guidance. Spiritism, a branch of spiritualism developed by Allan Kardec and today practiced mostly in Continental Europe and Latin America, especially in Brazil, emphasizes reincarnation.
Ira Erastus Davenport and William Henry Davenport, known as the Davenport brothers, were American magicians in the late 19th century, sons of a Buffalo, New York policeman. The brothers presented illusions that they and others claimed to be supernatural.
William Hope was a pioneer of so-called "spirit photography". Based in Crewe, England, he was a member of the well known spiritualists group, the Crewe Circle. He died in Salford hospital on 8 March 1933.
Arthur Ford was an American psychic, spiritualist medium, clairaudient, and founder of the Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship (1955). He gained national attention when he claimed to have contacted the dead son of Bishop James Pike in 1967 on network TV. In 1928 Ford claimed to have contacted the deceased spirits of Houdini's mother and later in 1929 Harry Houdini himself.
William Stainton Moses (1839–1892) was an English cleric and spiritualist medium.
A theatrical séance is an aspect of mentalism that purports to give its audiences the feeling of contacting the spirits of the dead, as might be experienced in a successful Spiritualist séance.
Eva Carrière, also known as Eva C, was a prominent spiritualist and psychic in the early 20th century.
Franek Kluski, real name Teofil Modrzejewski (1873-1943), was a Polish medium.
Joseph Francis Rinn (1868–1952) was an American magician and skeptic of paranormal phenomena.
William Eglinton (1857–1933), also known as William Eglington was a British spiritualist medium who was exposed as a fraud.
Bert Reese (1851–1926) was an American-Polish medium and mentalist, most well known for his billet reading demonstrations.
Kathleen Goligher was an Irish spiritualist medium. Goligher was endorsed by engineer William Jackson Crawford who wrote three books about her mediumship but was exposed as a fraud by physicist Edmund Edward Fournier d'Albe in 1921.
Samuel Spencer Baldwin, or Samri Baldwin, most well known as "The White Mahatma" was an American magician.
Ada Maud Besinnet Roche (1890–1936) also known as Ada Bessinet was an American spiritualist medium.
James Malcolm Bird was an American mathematician and parapsychologist.
Nino Pecoraro (1899–1973) was an Italian spiritualist medium who was exposed as a fraud.
Rose Mackenberg was an American investigator specializing in fraudulent psychic mediums, known for her association with Harry Houdini. She was chief of a team of undercover investigators who investigated mediums for Houdini in the 1920s. After Houdini's death she continued to investigate spiritualist fraud for over 20 years and was known as an expert on the subject. She testified in court cases and before Congress and was interviewed in national magazines and on television.
William Wortley Baggally, most well known as W. W. Baggally, was a British psychical researcher who investigated spiritualist mediums.