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Enigma of Daniel Home: Medium or Fraud

by Trevor H. Hall

Buy the book: Trevor H. Hall. Enigma of Daniel Home: Medium or Fraud

Release Date: May, 1984

Edition: Hardcover

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Buy the book: Trevor H. Hall. Enigma of Daniel Home: Medium or Fraud


Seriously Flawed

Hall tries his best to debunk the famed 19th century medium Daniel Home. Unfortunately, much of the book is concerned with tedious and irrelevant minutiae. Hall spends many pages trying to prove that Home invented his middle name (Dunglas) in order to fake a connection with Scottish nobility that allowed him to advance in European high society. Even if true, this says little about Home's purported mediumistic abilities. A later discussion of the publication date of an obscure book brought out by Home in 1869 or 1870 goes on for multiple chapters and succeeds in establishing that 1869, not 1870, may be the correct date. So what? Hall makes no attempt to deal with the bulk of Home's alleged phenomena, ascribing the hundreds of eyewitness reports to group hallucination or collective hypnosis. He does not discuss Sir William Crookes' controlled experiments with Home, carried out in good light and in the presence of various witnesses. He does expend a great deal of energy on Home's purported levitation in front of three young friends, under non-controlled conditions, in the dark. This is one of the weakest cases, and serves as a straw man by which Hall can profess to have discredited all the stronger cases without actually addressing them. He does, however, succeed in casting great doubt on the alleged levitation, for what that is worth. A much more complete analysis of Home is found in Stephen E. Braude's "The Limits of Influence," now out of print but worth tracking down. Braude's detailed and careful approach makes Hall seem sloppy and disingenuous by comparison.

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