The name given to various objects, such as flowers, jewelry,
and even live animals, reportedly materialized in the presence
of a medium. During the first hundred years of Spiritualism,
the production of apports was one of the most prominent and
effective features of Spiritualistic seances. Sometimes apports
flew through the air and struck the faces of sitters; sometimes
they appeared on the table, or in the laps of those present. A
favorite form was the scattering of perfume on the company.
In the last half century, however, as standards for observing seances
improved, and the number of fake mediums exposed increased,
the appearances of apports steadily decreased and
today can only be found in the small circles of fake mediums
that still exist on the fringes of the Spiritualist community.
Systematic experiments conducted in a purely scientific
spirit exposed fraud in numerous instances where ordinary
precautions would not have sufficed for its detection. Frequently
it was found that the medium had skillfully concealed the apports
in the room or about his or her person. Spiritualists have
often argued that even though apports were often produced by
obviously unscrupulous means, it does not follow that all materializations
were performed with fraudulent intent. There are
cases where, so far as can be judged, the character of the medium
was beyond reproach, as in the case of Hélène Smith. The
idea has been advanced that any preparations made beforehand,
such as the secreting of flowers, must result from a process
of activity of the subliminal consciousness. Spiritualists
generally believe that apports are actually conveyed to the séance
by spirits, or that they are drawn there by magnetic power.
Branches of trees, armfuls of fruit and flowers, money, jewels,
and live lobsters are among the more extraordinary apports.
Today, however, it is difficult to find anyone making a serious
case for the existence of genuine apports. After a century
and a half of observation, there is no single case of apports to
which one can point as even a highly probable incident of the
materialization of an object as a result of a medium’s activity.
Were apports genuine, they would constitute one of the
most baffling phenomena of Spiritualism. The objects produced
in seances differed in size, were both inanimate and living,
and appeared none the worse for their strange journey.
The phenomenon was first observed by Dr. G. P. Billot. In Recherches
psychologique ou correspondence sur le magnetisme vital entre
un Solitaire et M. Deleuze (Paris, 1839) he describes a session on
March 5, 1819, with three somnambules and a blind woman.
He writes ‘‘Towards the middle of the séance, one of the seeresses
exclaimed ‘There is the Dove, it is white as snow, it is flying
about the room with something in its beak, it is a piece of
paper. Let us pray.’ A few moments later she added ‘See, it has
let the paper drop at the feet of Madame J.’’’ Billot saw a paper
packet at the spot indicated. He found in it three small pieces
of bone glued onto small strips of paper, with the words ‘‘St.
Maxime, St. Sabine and Many Martyrs’’ written beneath the
With the same blind woman on October 27, 1820, he witnessed
flower apports. J. P. F. Deleuze, to whom Billot communicated
his experience in 1830, answered that he had just received
a visit from a distinguished physician who had had
similar experiences. His somnambule, however, never professed
to have interviews with spirits. Deleuze suggested that
the power of animal magnetism might better explain the phenomena
than the intervention of spirits.
In the history of the curious occurrences in the household
of Dr. Larkin of Wrentham, Massachusetts, around his servant
girl, Mary Jane, about 1844, it is recorded
‘‘On one occasion, the whole family being assembled round
the couch of the magnetized sleeper and every door being shut,
a heavy flat-iron, last seen in the kitchen—quite a distance
away—was suddenly placed in their midst, and, at the request
of Mrs. Larkin, as suddenly disappeared, and was next found
in the kitchen, every door of communication having remained
The apport of a white dove into ‘‘The Olive Branch of
Peace’’ circle of Boston was attested, in the early years of American
Spiritualism, in an account published in the New Era by 11
respectable citizens of Boston. The room was hermetically
sealed for 24 hours prior to the promised presentation. In
quoting this and similar accounts in her Modern American Spiritualism
(1870), Emma Hardinge Britten remarks on the singular
docility of apported birds and says ‘‘Numerous other instances
can be cited in which spirits have manifested their
power of influencing birds with a degree of readiness and intelligence
as unaccountable as it is interesting.’’
Theories of Explanation
Ever since Britten’s report of Larkin’s experience, the dove
has remained a favorite apport object of the invisible operators.
The average apport manifestation, however, is less impressive,
though, from the viewpoint of experimental research, the appearance
of the smallest object in a closed space to which there
is no normal access is of immense import. Unfortunately, observations
under strict test conditions are all but nonexistent,
and psychical research has classified the phenomenon as
among the least attested. Besides the lack of observable data,
the chief reason is that the phenomenon itself is exceptional
and is considered so contrary to scientific observation to date
Apports Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
that even those few great minds who admitted the phenomena
of materialization as genuine shied away from apports. It also
has to be admitted that the production of tame doves (and
other items) from thin air is a common trick of the stage magician.
There are two theories that attempted to bring the phenomena
of apports within understanding, on the assumption that
genuine cases did occur. One is the fourth dimension, and the
other, generally favored by Spiritualists, the disintegration and
reintegration of the apported objects. The former was first advocated
by German psychical researcher Johann Zöllner to explain
the phenomenon of interpenetration of matter, which he
claimed to observe with Henry Slade. It was accepted by Cesare
Lombroso and Camille Flammarion and later endorsed
by W. Whateley Carington in Britain and Malcolm Bird in the
United States.
Zöllner’s theory implies that there is a higher form of space
of which we are not normally cognizant. The objects to be apported
are lifted into this dimension, brought to the desired
spot and then precipitated into our three-dimensional space,
much as we can lift out something which is enclosed in a circle
and place it outside. For two-dimensional beings, who experience
only length and breadth, and live in a plane, this act of
ours would constitute an apport phenomenon.
The other theory has been put forward in séance room communications.
According to it, the spirits, by an act of willpower,
disintegrate the matter to be transported into its molecular elements
without altering its form. In this state the object may pass
through the interstices of intervening matter and become reintegrated
by a second act of willpower. René Sudre believes the
medium’s mind works upon a molecular scale, so that it can dematerialize
and rematerialize objects at ordinary temperatures.
This theory essentially means there is another aggregation
of matter. It is proposed that beyond the solid, liquid, and gaseous
state is a fourth, fluidic state in which matter becomes invisible
and impalpable and possesses, conjointly with an expansion
of volume, great molecular malleability. From various
observations one would have to suppose the state is one of inertia
and that it requires strong thermo-dynamic efforts on the
part of the operators to effect the return to the former solid
If the disintegration theory is correct, in consonance with
the law of the transmutation of energy, a thermic reaction
should be expected. Spiritualists have suggested that just such
a reaction exists. Stone and metallic apports, especially bigger
objects, are often burning or scorching hot on arrival. This sudden
increase of heat was noticed by Zöllner in the claimed passage
of matter through matter. Other objects were nevertheless
found cold. In answer the invisible operators replies that they
sometimes prefer to disintegrate a portion of the wood of the
door or part of the ceiling to facilitate the entrance of the object
in its original state. One would have had to suppose that this
is the procedure employed when living things are brought in.
Some spirit operators make no claim for the unobstructed
passage of matter through matter. They say a crack in the wall
or roof is required for a dematerialized object to pass through
to the place where a séance was being held. Julien Ochorowicz
received this explanation from Stanislawa Tomczyk. It is very
significant that the apport of a key was described by her as
something long and whitish. It did not become a key with its
peculiar color and shape until it dropped. She also stated in
trance that metals became hot because of the friction of the particles
in contracting. Paper, leather, and wood are not sensibly
heated because they are not so hard and dense. In darkness an
apport can be accomplished without dematerialization if the
passage is free. In this case the spirit hand holding it would
have to be solidified. In light the object had to be dematerialized.
There is one instance on record which suggests the disintegration
and reintegration theory. To quote Ernesto Bozzano in
Luce e Ombra (August–October, 1927)
‘‘In March, 1904, in a sitting in the house of Cavaliere Peretti,
in which the medium was an intimate friend of ours, gifted
with remarkable physical mediumship, and with whom apports
could be obtained at command, I begged the communicating
spirit to bring me a small block of pyrites which was lying on
my writing table about two kilometres (over a mile) away. The
spirit replied (by the mouth of the entranced medium) that the
power was almost exhausted, but that all the same he would
make the attempt. Soon after the medium sustained the usual
spasmodic twitchings which signified the arrival of an apport,
but without hearing the fall of any object on the table, or on the
floor. We asked for an explanation from the spirit-operator,
who informed us that although he had managed to disintegrate
a portion of the object desired, and had brought it into the
room, there was not enough power for him to be able to reintegrate
it. He added ‘Light the light.’ We did so, and found,
to our great surprise, that the table, the clothes, and hair of the
sitters, as well as the furniture and carpet of the room, were covered
by the thinnest layer of brilliant impalpable pyrites. When
I returned home after the sitting I found the little block of pyrites
lying on my writing table from which a large fragment,
about one third of the whole piece, was missing, this having
been scooped out of the block.’’
Again, as an instance speaking for the fourth dimensional
explanation, it is mentioned by Malcolm Bird that ‘‘Walter,’’
the control of Margery (Mina Crandon), cracked a joke at his
expense during the Boston investigation on behalf of the Scientific
American and promised to get a mate for ‘‘Birdie.’’ On November
26, 1923, a live carrier pigeon, showing no resemblance
to the pigeons found freely about Boston, appeared in
the closed dining room of the house. ‘‘Walter,’’ when previously
asked where he would deposit the living apport, answered, ‘‘I
can’t say, I have to take a run and leap, and I can’t tell where
I shall land.’’
Apports in the Course of Arrival
One might expect that sometimes the circumstances of the
arrival of the apport would be noticed. This has indeed happened.
A pair of modest earrings, a present from the spirit
guide to the Marquise Carlo Centurione Scotto, was seen to arrive
in the Millesimo seances as described ‘‘We all saw the
trumpet (having a phosphorescent band) rise towards the ceiling
and turn upside down so as to place the large end uppermost,
then we heard something fall heavily into the trumpet,
as though the object had dropped from the ceiling.’’
The arrival of a jar of ointment in full visibility is recorded
in Rev. Charles L. Tweedale’s Man’s Survival After Death
(1909). He writes
‘‘Sunday, 13th November, 1910. Mother had sustained a cut
on the head, and she, my wife, and I were all in the dining room
at 920 P.M. We were all close together, mother seated in a chair,
self and wife standing. No one else was in the room. My wife
was in the act of parting mother’s hair with her fingers to examine
the cut and I was looking on. At that instant I happened to
raise my eyes and I saw something issue from a point close to
the ceiling in the corner of the room over the window, and distant
from my wife (who had her back to it) three and a quarter
yards, and four and a quarter yards from myself, facing it. It
shot across the room close to the ceiling and struck the wall
over the piano, upon which it then fell, making the strings vibrate,
and so on to the floor on which it rolled. I ran and picked
it up, and found, to my astonishment, that it was a jar of ointment
which mother used specially for cuts and bruises, and
which she kept locked up in her wardrobe. The intention was
evident, the ointment was for the wound. I saw it come apparently
through the wall, near the ceiling, and this with no one
within three and a quarter yards of the place. The room is over
nine feet high and was brilliantly lighted by a 100 candle-power
lamp, and the door and window were shut, the latter fastened,
and incapable of being opened from the outside.’’
Tweedale recorded several other similar observations.
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Apports
‘‘We were talking about the mysterious disappearance of the
keys. Suddenly I saw something bright coming swiftly through
the air from the direction of the corner opposite the door and
high up towards the ceiling, and so from that part of the room
where there is neither door, nor window, nor any opening in
the wall. The bright thing rushed through the air and struck my
wife on the coil of hair at the back of her head. It came with
such a force that it bounced from her head to a distance of
nearly three and a half yards from where she stood. My wife uttered
a loud cry of alarm, due to the shock and surprise, but
owing to the thick mass of hair intervening, she was not hurt
in the least. I instantly ran and picked the object up, when, to
our amazement, we found it was the bunch of keys missed from
my mother’s pocket since noon, and of which we had been talking
when they were thus projected into the room.
‘‘On another occasion (17th January 1911) a shower of articles
came apparently through the ceiling and fell upon the teatable,
in the presence of six witnesses, and in good light. On
11th November 1913, a stick three feet ten inches long came
slowly through the solid plaster ceiling in the presence of my
daughter Marjorie and the servant in full lamplight, and fell on
the table, leaving no trace of its passage; and again, on 29th
January 1911, a solid article came apparently through the ceiling
in our bedroom, in presence of myself and wife, in broad
daylight and slowly descended on to the pillow. All these objects
proved to be objective and real when we came to pick them
Writing of an earlier occurrence, Tweedale noted,
‘‘At 2 p.m. the door once more opened, and from the top
of the door there shot a long stream of white cloudy stuff. This
was projected towards mother, who was lying in bed, the distance
from the door to her pillow being four and a quarter
yards. This extraordinary phenomenon looked like a tube of
cloudy material and floated in the air. As it drew near to mother’s
pillow it slowed down, and when close to her she shrank
away from it. At this moment something dropped from the end
of the tube, which was close to her, on to the pillow and the tube
of cloudy material then floated back to the top of the door and
vanished. Thinking that the article which had dropped from it
was a ball of wool, mother picked it up, and found to her
amazement that it was an egg. She instantly sprang to the door,
but found no one upstairs.’’
Henry Sausse in his book Des Preuves En Voila observed
many instances of his medium forming her hand into a cup, in
trance and in full light, in the cavity of which a small cloud was
seen to form, transforming itself instantly into a small spray of
roses, with flowers, buds and leaves complete.
The gradual progress of an apported object was recorded by
Stainton Moses in his account of August 28, 1872.
‘‘In the dining room there was a little bell. We heard it commence
to ring, and could trace it by its sound as it approached
the door which separated us from it. What was our astonishment
when we found that, in spite of the closed door, the sound
drew nearer to us. It was evidently within the room in which we
sat, for the bell was carried round the room, ringing loudly the
whole time. After completing the circuit of the room, it was
brought down, passed under the table, coming up close to my
elbow. It was finally placed upon the table.’’
One must suppose that in this case a hole must have been
made through the door to open a free passage to the bell. Naturally,
the disintegration could not have occurred in a manner
similar to atomic disintegration; otherwise we would have to
ask as did W. W. Smith a whole series of questions what becomes
of the enormous quantity of energy that must be liberated;
how is it prevented from being dissipated; and how is it collected
again and recondensed into matter. Spiritualists
suggested one way out, to suppose that in some mysterious
manner the liberated energy was stored in a reservoir, so to
speak, which is not situated in ordinary space at all. Such a conclusion
leads back to Zöllner’s fourth dimensional theory.
Mediums offered no other explanation of apports, but did
complain of the difficulties they had to overcome. ‘‘I wanted to
bring you a photograph in its frame with the glass but I cannot
manage it. I will bring it to you without the glass,’’ opined
‘‘Cristo d’Angelo’’ in the séance of July 8, 1928, at Millesimo.
On another occasion a large ivy plant, about one meter fifty
centimeters in height, was apported in three parts. First came
the earth, then the plant with clods sticking to it, and finally the
pot. The operators seemingly could not have managed the
three things at once. That preparation in advance is often necessary
seems to be suggested by similar experiences in Elizabeth
d’Esperance’s mediumship.
The Wonders of Flower, Fruit and Living Apports
The flower apports of ‘‘Yolande,’’ d’Esperance’s control,
were generally very impressive. On her instructions white sand
and plenty of water were always held in readiness in the cabinet.
On August 4, 1880, in the presence of William Oxley of
Manchester, she directed a Mr. Reimers to pour sand into a
water carafe, which he did until it was about half full. Then he
was instructed to pour in water. ‘‘Yolande’’ took it, placed it on
the floor, covering it lightly with the drapery she took from her
shoulders. The circle was directed to sing. While singing they
observed the drapery to be rising from the rim of the carafe.
‘‘Yolande’’ several times came out of the cabinet to examine the
thing growing under the drapery. Finally she raised the drapery
altogether and disclosed a perfect plant, its roots firmly
grown and packed in the sand. She presented it to Oxley.
Through raps, instructions were given not to discuss the matter
but sing something and be quiet. They obeyed. More raps came
and told them to examine the plant again. To their great surprise
they observed a large circular head of bloom, forming a
flower fully five inches in diameter, that had opened while the
plant stood on the floor at Oxley’s feet. The plant was 22 inches
in height, with a thick woody stem that filled the neck of the
water carafe. It had 29 leaves, each smooth and glossy. It was
impossible to remove the plant from the water bottle, the neck
being too small to allow the roots to pass; indeed the comparatively
slender stem entirely filled the orifice. The plant was a
native of India, an ‘‘Ixora Crocata.’’ It had some years of
growth. ‘‘We could see where other leaves had grown and fallen
off, and wound-marks which seemed to have healed and grown
over long ago. But there was every evidence to show that the
plant had grown in the sand in the bottle as the roots were naturally
wound around the inner surface of the glass, all the fibres
perfect and unbroken as though they had germinated on the
spot and had apparently never been disturbed.’’ The plant was
photographed. It lived for three months under the care of Mr.
Oxley’s gardener and then shrivelled up.
It was a favorite feat of ‘‘Yolande’’ to put a glass of water into
the hand of one of her particular friends and tell him to watch
it. She would then hold her slender tapered fingers over the
glass and while her eyes were closely scrutinizing the water
within it a flower would form itself upon it and fill the glass.
Patterns of ferns were often handed to her. She always
matched them with others to please the sitters. Roses were frequently
produced in the water pitcher she carried on her shoulder.
If a special color was required it was obtained. D’Esperance
once asked for a black rose. ‘‘Yolande’’ dipped her fingers into
the pitcher and instantly brought out a dark object, dripping
with moisture. It was a rose of distinctly blue-black color the like
of which neither d’Esperance nor any of those assembled had
On June 28, 1890, an overpowering scent was followed by
the appearance in a water carafe, which was previously prepared
with sand and water, of a golden lily, a foot and a half
taller than d’Esperance. From root to point it measured seven
feet. It bore eleven large blossoms, and the flowers were perfect,
five fully blown. After it was photographed by one Professor
Boutleroff, ‘‘Yolande’’ tried to take it back. Her efforts of
dematerialization were unsuccessful. ‘‘Yolande’’ was in despair
Apports Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
as—according to a message from ‘‘Walter,’’ another control—
she had gotten the plant on condition of returning it. ‘‘Walter’’
gave instructions to keep the plant in darkness until she could
come again and take it. On July 5 the plant vanished as mysteriously
as it came. At 923 P.M. it stood in the midst of the company,
and at 930 P.M. it was gone. Not a vestige remained except
the photographs and a couple of flowers, which had fallen off.
The scent seemed for a moment to fill the room almost overpoweringly,
and then it was gone.
Addressing inquiries to ‘‘Walter’’ at the time of the lily’s appearance,
the sitters were told that the plant was in the room
before the sitters came in and ‘‘was ready for being put together’’
at least an hour before they saw it. Alexander N. Aksakof
also witnessed this apport. On the night of its disappearance a
piece of grey cloth was found on its stem. The stem passed
through a hole in the center of the cloth. The cloth could not
be removed. When, however, ‘‘Yolande’’ instructed Aksakof to
remove it, it came off, without a rent, and still showing the
round hole through which the stem had passed. She said that
she got the piece of cloth from the same country as the flower.
On examination the piece of cloth was found to be a scrap of
mummy cloth, still aromatic with the perfumes used for embalming.
It contained 2,584 meshes to the square inch.
It speaks for the previous preparation of apports that the
British medium Kathleen Barkel saw in the room of the British
College of Psychic Science in which Heinrich Melzer was
to hold an apport séance in 1926, the shadow of a bunch of violets
near the electric light bulb. At the séance that evening a
quantity of violets did, indeed, appear. However, as Melzer was
once detected in fraud, a more practiced explanation would be
that the flowers had indeed been prepared and hidden near
the light bulb, throwing a shadow.
Another early medium, famous for her flower and fruit apports,
was Agnes Guppy-Volckman. In her seances the operators
honored the requests of the sitters. Alfred Russel Wallace
wrote that a friend of his asked for a sunflower, and one six feet
high fell upon the table, having a large mass of earth around
its roots. Georgina Houghton testified before the committee of
the London Dialectical Society in 1869 of a sitting with
Guppy-Volckman with 18 ladies and a gentleman present. Everybody
could wish for a fruit. The list of the various things
brought was a banana, two oranges, a bunch of white grapes,
a bunch of black grapes, a cluster of filberts, three walnuts,
about a dozen damsons, a slice of candied pineapple, three figs,
two apples, an onion, a peach, some almonds, four very large
grapes, three dates, a potato, two large pears, a pomegranate,
two crystallized greengages, a pile of dried currants, a lemon,
and a large bunch of raisins. They were brought in the order
they had been wished for.
Signor G. Damiani made the curious observation of GuppyVolckman’s
apports before the Dialectical Committee that the
ends of the stems of the flowers presented a blackened and
burnt appearance. When the reason was asked, the invisible intelligences
answered that electricity was the potent ‘‘nipper’’
In her séance before the Florence Spiritual Society, ‘‘a sudden
noise was heard as if the chandelier had fallen down; a
light was struck, and a thick block of ice, of about a square foot
in size, was found upon the table.’’ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
had a sitting with her at Naples. He held both her hands,
and while he did so several orange boughs were brought. Longfellow
considered this manifestation to be one of the most conclusive
he had ever witnessed.
Houghton, in her Evenings at Home in Spiritual Séance (1881),
described a farewell séance held by Samuel Guppy and his mediumistic
wife before their departure from England.
‘‘By and by Mrs. Guppy exclaimed that there were creeping
creatures about, and begged to be allowed to light the candle.
Upon her request being granted there was a quantity of butterflies
travelling about among us and the flowers, some of which
were caught and put away in a box; altogether we reckoned that
there were about forty of them.’’
Guppy-Volckman also obtained apports in a lighted room.
A tray was placed on her knee, it being touched by the sitter’s
knee. A large shawl pinned to their necks covered the tray. The
objects were then deposited on the tray. It is open to speculation
whether the darkness under the tray was necessary for the
rematerialization of the object or whether it only served the
purpose of excluding the human gaze. Apports were peculiar
in this respect. They did not appear before the eye but waited
until attention was for a moment diverted, additional reason to
suppose their production the result of trickery.
This curious fact was often noticed in the seances of Charles
Bailey, the well-known Australian apport medium. From a description
in Light (November 26, 1910), it was noted that ‘‘the
apports included an Indian blanket containing a human scalp
and tomahawk, a block of lead said to be found in Roman strata
at Rome and bearing the name of Augustus, a quantity of gravel
alleged to have come from Central America and quite unlike
anything seen in Australia, two perfect clay tablets covered with
cuneiform inscriptions and several thousands of years old, said
to have been brought direct from the mounds at Babylon, and
finally, a bird’s nest containing several eggs and the mother
bird undoubtedly alive.’’ He was famous for living apports, jungle
sparrows, crabs, turtles. Once an 18-inch-long shark, at another
time a 30-inch snake appeared mysteriously in the séance
room. The apport of jungle sparrows passed the test of a committee
of investigation in Milan. Six years later, however, Bailey
got into trouble in Grenoble. The investigators claimed that he
smuggled in the birds in his intestinal opening, and they found
a local dealer who identified Bailey as the man to whom he sold
them. Discredit was also attached to his archaeological objects
when the British Museum found the clay tablets were fake.
Where do apports come from If one eliminated any consideration
of fraud, it would be a difficult question. Flowers were
sometimes traced to nearby gardens. During his visit to the
British College of Psychic Science in 1926, Heinrich Melzer
suddenly fell into a semitrance condition out of doors and in
his hands appeared sprays of flowers similar to those in a coster’s
barow on the other side of the street. Once in a séance with
Mary Baker Thayer, Henry Steel Olcott received, on a mental
request, the leaf of a rare plant which he marked in a garden.
The question of source is pertinent as in some cases the apport
of precious stones was also recorded. Semiprecious stones of little
value often appeared in Bailey’s seances. The bringing of
pearls as apports is recorded in Georgina Houghton’s book.
They came in veritable showers in the seances of Stainton
Moses. They may not have had any value, but that must have
been different with his ruby, sapphire, and emerald apports.
Small as they were, great commercial value must have been attached
to them. Once he woke up from his sleep and saw a luminous
hand near the ceiling, under it a little ball of fire as big
as a pea. As he looked, the fingers were unclasped, the hand
opened and the little ball of fire fell on his beard. It was a small
opalescent stone about the size of a large pea, called sapphirium.
Two similar stones were later delivered during a séance,
the arrival being preceded by a fit of violent convulsion.
Apports, if real, would therefore raise a moral question.
Who do they belong to On being asked an opinion of fruit and
flower apports, ‘‘John Watts,’’ Mrs. Thomas Everitt’s control,
said in a séance on February 28, 1868, recorded in Catherine
Berry’s Experiences in Spiritualism (1876), ‘‘I do not approve of
bringing them, for they are generally stolen.’’
In discussing apports, Spiritualists surmised that space appears
to be uniformly accessible to the spirit operators. Dr. L.
Th. Chazarain, in his pamphlet Scientific Proofs of the Survival of
the Soul told the story of the placing of two chaplets in the coffin
of a child, in the presence of a medium very easily hypnotizable,
and of their being returned two days after the burial. He
made special marks on the chaplets, did not lose sight of them
until the coffin was screwed down, and followed it to the church
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Apports
and to the cemetery. Two days later the mother of the child and
Mme. D. suddenly saw something white detach itself from the
ceiling and descend slowly, to the ground, in a spiral course.
They immediately picked up the little white mass. It was the
first chaplet, surrounded with a little wadding which smelled of
the corpse, and still having the metallic button (the secret
mark) attached. The child’s body had been wrapped in wadding.
Two days later the second chaplet was returned in the
same manner.
Distance, however, appears to be of some consequence. The
precipitation of the object was often heralded by a spasmodic
seizure of the medium. Sometimes she cried out in agony. Fabian
Rossi, in a séance on May 20, 1929, in Genoa, Italy, in which
two small stones were apported, complained of great pains
after she regained consciousness and said that she had been
crushed between two enormous stones. At the time of this statement
she did not know the nature of the apported objects. In
the case of Maria Silbert, a light effect, similar to lightning, accompanied
the delivery of the object. The bigger it was the
greater the nervous tension. The medium always appeared to
suffer more keenly if a greater distance was involved. The objects
usually fell with a heavy thud. Breakage, it was noted, seldom
An alarm clock that was seen to fall at least 16 feet down the
well of the stairs on to the flagstones in the hall of Tweedale’s
house was found to be undamaged and still going. The precipitation
is usually effected from the direction of the ceiling. Catherine
Berry writes in her Experiences in Spiritualism ‘‘I saw coming
from the ceiling, at the extreme end of the room, the
branch of a tree about three feet in length. At the end was a
large branch of white blossoms. I should perhaps say it appeared,
in descending, like a flash of lightning.’’
Objects of unusual dimension and variety were apported at
the Millesimo Castle seances with Marquise Centurione Scotto
and Fabian Rossi. They were too large to hide about anybody’s
person, a halberd over six feet long, a plant in its pot over four
feet high, large pistols, and swords and dolls of great size. The
room was nearly bare of furniture and examined at the beginning
of every sitting by Ernesto Bozzano. The story of one of
these apport cases is notable. ‘‘Cristo d’Angelo,’’ the control,
told La Marquise Luisa that a very near relative of hers was destined
to die. On her entreaty to tell who it was, ‘‘Cristo
d’Angelo’’ replied, ‘‘I will bring you his portrait.’’ Soon after the
framed photograph of the doomed relative fell at La Marquise
Luisa’s feet. The last news of the relative had been excellent.
Two days later he relapsed, and afterward died as predicted.
It was also observed in the Millesimo seances that the objects
that were apported from a neighboring room had sometimes
vanished days earlier (suggesting that they had been stolen at
an opportune moment). Often they were returned to the room
from which they were taken. This return, at least in one case,
was only partially successful. A squire appeared and executed
a ‘‘dance of the lance’’ in the July 8, 1928, séance in total darkness.
Two mailed fists squeezed the hands of some of the sitters.
The lance, at the end of the séance, was found in the room, but
the mittens of mail were discovered in a distant room beneath
the suit of mail, from the sleeves of which they were detached.
The detachment of the mittens suggests that the rest of the
armor was not apported.
One experiment is on record to test the theory that heavy
apports brought about no variation in the weight of the medium.
It was done in W. H. Terry’s house in Melbourne in 1876
with Mrs. Paton, a medium who specialized in apporting her
personal property. Sometimes it was a cup of tea she had forgotten
to drink before leaving home, once a burning hot flat
iron, at another time a glass of wine and a plate of eggs. Her
phenomena were mostly recorded between 1872 and 1878.
There could hardly be anything to surpass in wonder the accounts
of the apports said to be experienced by General ‘‘Lorrison’’
(Major-General A. W. Drayson) at Portsmouth. The medium
was a Mrs. Maggs, the wife of a local editor and a writer
herself. In a strictly private circle, apports arrived by the thousand.
The household was supplied with eggs straight from
Brooklyn from a spirit circle and return gifts were sent through
similar means to countries as distant as Spain, Australia, India,
and China. It is claimed that once a letter was apported, was
read, a corner torn off for identification and then reapported.
Ten days later it arrived, addressed to General Drayson. The
torn-off piece fitted in and the contents were identical.
In experiments with Lajos Pap at the Budapest Metapsychical
Museum, Chengery Pap often obtained living insects, frogs,
and butterflies. Often they were completely dazed and motionless
on arrival but recovered completely after a few minutes.
Apports have also frequently been noticed in poltergeist cases.
In stone throwing the stones may arrive apparently through the
window without breaking the glass. In the case reported in the
Journal of the Society for Psychical Research (vol. 12), stones
seemed to pass through the roof of a Mr. Grottendieck’s hut in
the jungle of Sumatra without making a hole. They were so hot
that Grottendieck at first believed them to be meteorites.
Apport Mediums Observed
That the actions of apport mediums require careful attention
before the séance is well illustrated. Such was the case of
a patient of Pierre Janet, a 26-year-old woman called Meb, who
had visions of Saint Philomena and claimed to receive apports
from her. Philomena was later removed from the Roman Catholic
Church’s list of saints as a nonexistent person. The apports
were pebbles, feathers, flowers, and small pieces of cheap jewelry
found lying about on the stairs or in other unlikely spots, or
discovered in the patient’s bedroom in the morning. On one
occasion she found several small objects arranged in the shape
of a cross, another time a pair of wings was stretched out on the
eiderdown quilt. On one occasion feathers floated down from
the ceiling upon the family assembled at their evening meal. In
hypnotic sleep, the patient confessed the apports were arranged
by herself in a state of somnambulism, that she put a
stool on the table, mounted it and fastened small feathers with
paste to the ceiling so that the heat of the lamp might bring
them fluttering down. In her waking state she had no knowledge
of these manipulations. It should be added that Meb was
a hysteric.
A number of psychic researchers came to believe in apports.
A comprehensive monograph on apports was published by
Ernesto Bozzano in Luce e Ombra (1930), and subsequently in
book form. It deals specifically with apports requested by experimenters,
which reduces the possibility of a secret introduction.
Of Eusapia Palladino’s apports, Enrico Morselli said,
‘‘This phenomenon was repeated two or three times during our
sittings, but I frankly confess I was not convinced by it, which
does not imply that under better observation it might not also
be real in the case of Paladino, as it seems to have been through
the agency of other mediums.’’
Striking experiments were carried out at the British College
of Psychic Science in 1929 with Thomas Lynn. He was
searched, stripped, and put in a bag. Many small objects, a
cheap pearl necklace, a small reel of cotton, a button, a shell
and a screw nail were apported and photographed at the moment
of their arrival. During the sitting the medium lost 10–12
ounces in weight. The objects appeared to grow out of the body
of the medium. The same phenomenon was reported upon by
Karl Blacker, of Riga University, with the Medium B. X.
(Zeitschrift für Parapsychologie, June 1933).
One of the more renowned twentieth-century psychics who
produced apports was Roberto Campagni in Italy. The Genoanese
physicist Alfredo Ferraro stated that he had seen 30 apports
materialized by Campagni and had established beyond
doubt that no trickery was involved. An interesting aspect is
that the apports were often preceded by a blue light emanating
from the medium’s hands.
In spite of these passing recommendations, by the midtwentieth
century, it became obvious that apports were the
Apports Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
product of mediumistic fraud, and consideration of them
dropped completely from the literature of psychical research
and slowly moved to the edge of Spiritualist claims.
D’Esperance, Elizabeth. Shadow Land or Light from the Outer
Side. London George Redway, n.d.
Hack, Gwendolyn K. Modern Psychic Mysteries Millesimo Castle,
Italy. London Rider, [1929].
Holms, A. Campbell. The Facts of Psychic Science and Philosophy
Collated and Discussed. London, 1925. Reprint, New Hyde
Park, N.Y. University Books, 1969.
Richet, Charles. Thirty Years of Psychical Research Being a
Treatise on Metaphysics. New York Macmillan, 1923.
Zöllner, J. C. F. Transcendental Physics. London, 1880. Reprint,
Boston, Mass. Colby and Rich, 1881.

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