De Gasparin, Count Agenor (1810–1871)
French politician, minister plenipotentiary, and one of the
first investigators of table-turning and telekinesis. His book
Des Tables Tournantes, du Surnaturel engénéral, et des Esprits
(1854) describes his experiments at Velleyres, Switzerland,
which were constructed under stringent test conditions.
The results of his research were quite positive and seemed
to support a Spiritualist explanation (i.e., he demonstrated to
his own satisfaction the intelligence manifesting behind the
phenomena). Because of his own orthodox Christian commitments,
however, he could not accept the spirit hypothesis. Instead
he settled for a more mundane conclusion suggestive of
what later would be termed telekinesis. He suggested that the
will—in a certain condition of the human organism—can act,
from a distance, upon inert bodies, and by an agency different
from that of the muscular. He also believed that, under the
same conditions, thought can be communicated directly,
though unconsciously, from one individual to another.
In a preface to an 1888 edition of his book he states that the
problem had not been resolved in the 30 years that had elapsed
but that ‘‘some day an edifice would be erected on the same
stone which was laid in 1854.’’