De Vesme, Count Cesar Baudi (1862–1938)
A distinguished European author and psychical researcher,
de Vesme was born November 12, 1862, in Turin, Italy. He was
secretary general of the Société des Amis de l’Institut Métapsychique
Internationale (Paris) from 1934 to 1938. He was drawn
to the study of psychical phenomena upon reading the narrative
of the following incident
‘‘One night in 1871 cries of despair were heard from M. de
M.’s mother. She was found in a state of terror, declaring that
she was carried by spirits to the foot of her bed. At seven o’clock
the following morning Col. Daviso, a stranger [,] called. He was
informed at a spiritistic séance that the spirits were about to
play a trick upon a lady in the house of M. de M. He came to
verify the information.’’
In 1898, after the death of Giovanni Ermacora, the renowned
psychical researcher Cesare Lombroso entrusted de
Vesme with the editorship of the Rivista di Studi Psichici. He arranged
for a simultaneous French edition under the title Revue
des Etudes Psychiques which he also edited. In 1905 this journal
was merged with the Annales des Sciences Psychiques, of which
Charles Richet and Dr. X. Dariex were the directors, and de
Vesme became its editor in chief. He made extensive studies
with Eusapia Palladino, Stanislawa Tomczyk, Eva C., and
other famous mediums. He acknowledged mediumistic phenomena
and sympathized with the Spiritualist hypothesis. He
still had serious reservations, however.
In 1930 de Vesme published an excellent book on predictions
in games of chance (Le Merveilleux dans les jeux de hasard)
that is extensively quoted by Richet in L’Avenir et la Premonition.
His main work, however, was A History of Experimental Spiritualism
(1931), a book lauded by the French Academy of Science.
Versions appeared in English, Italian, and German. The first
volume of this two-volume work, Primitive Man, discusses the
nature and origin of religious beliefs. The second, Peoples of Antiquity,
deals with the experimental elements in the spiritualistic
doctrines of early civilizations.
De Vesme died July 18, 1938, in Paris.
De Vesme, Cesar. A History of Experimental Spiritualism. 2
vols. London, 1931.