Corralès, Ophelia (ca. 1908)
Materialization medium of San José, Costa Rica, of whose
powers the most astounding claims were made in three publications
the Annals of Psychic Science (1910); El Siglo Espirita,
(March 28, 1908), the organ of the Mexican Spiritist Federation;
and La Voz de la Verdad of Barcelona.
The séances were presided over by Dr. Alberto Brenes, professor
at the law academy and a skeptic. Roberto Brenes Mesên,
under secretary to the minister of public instruction, and
Ramiro Aguilar, principal of the high school of San José, were
Corralès was 18 years old at the time when she retained
complete consciousness while an entity, giving the name ‘‘Miguel
Ruiz,’’ materialized. He could be touched, his heart could
be tested, he could become tall or reduce his size, and if a
match was struck, he immediately vanished. He became the
guide of the séances and often came in the company of other
phantoms, among whom ‘‘Mary Brown’’ was the most remarkable.
It was claimed that as many as five phantoms were sometimes
witnessed at the same time, each talking in its mother
tongue. The medium could project her double into the séance
room while she remained outside. The double wore a different
costume but exactly reproduced the voice and appearance of
Corralès. When the medium, who was heard talking outside simultaneously
with the double, was asked to transmit to the double
a comb that was in her hair and a handkerchief, the two articles
came immediately through the wall. On request, the
medium herself was similarly transported.
While the medium was possessed by a spirit, her double
could be seen in the room, and on command, spoke in her
voice. Once, when the medium was not possessed, the double
was heard accompanying Mary in song. The voice emanated far
from where the body was placed by Mary.
Many other marvels, unparalleled in Spiritualist records,
were said to have been performed by these spirit visitors. Mary
Brown began to write, then she placed her hand on the shoulder
of a sitter, who continued the writing in the same character.
Similarly, if she or Miguel touched a sitter, the sitter could
speak in a language of which he or she was ignorant.
In the light of a small lamp Mary often rose and floated in
the air. She could also multiply herself into four personalities
or psychic forms, three of which took one of the bystanders by
the arms and talked about different things at the same time,
acting as though they were independent of one another, while
the fourth, some distance away, sang.
Mary explained the feat as a division of the astral body, the
parts of which could materialize separately and consciously.
Several flashlight photographs were taken; Mary is remarkably
lifelike in some.
However, according to a letter from the medium’s father to
W. T. Stead, published by the Voz de la Verdad, ‘‘the photographs
taken of Mary have not all the interest which at first attached
to them. It is proved that she introduced a young unknown
girl into the room, and she appears on the plate
(phenomenon of transport and possession).’’
Mary gave this explanation ‘‘I sought amongst living persons
for one who could faithfully reproduce the expression of
my countenance I found her and brought her here. My intention
was a healthy one, and I am ready to repeat the phenomenon
in order that you could submit it to a more severe control.’’
Upon visiting San José, Prof. Willy Reichel found attempts
at fraud during the materialization séances, yet he affirmed
that Corralès was a medium for independent voices and automatic
Corralès discontinued her séances in 1914. In the absence
of any reliable evidence for her phenomena, and the questionable
records of other people who have attempted similar feats,
the claims made for Corralès remain doubtful. (See also Teleportation)

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