Firman, Mr. and Mrs. A. H. (ca. 1876)
British mediums who claimed to be controlled by ‘‘John
King’’ and produced direct voice phenomena. Mrs. Firman
produced wax molds (see plastics) and materialization of spirit
William Oxley, author of Modern Messiahs and Wonder Workers
(1889), claimed to have observed a total dematerialization
of the medium while the phantom was outside the cabinet. The
phantoms either shrank through the floor or rose to the ceiling
and slowly disappeared. Similarly, Emma Hardinge Britten
wrote of the production of the mold of a spirit foot in her Nineteenth
Century Miracles (1883). The Honorable J. L. O’Sullivan
recorded in The Spiritualist an instance of May 4, 1877, when
four spirits were present at once with the sleeping form of the
medium plainly visible.
Unfortunately, when mediums claimed to do materializations,
discovery of fraud usually followed, and the Firmans
were no exception. There was a very serious disclosure in the
Procès des Spirites by Mme. P. G. Leymarie (Paris, 1875), according
to which Mr. Firman was detected in Paris masquerading
as an Indian spirit and left his mantle in the hands of the
woman who seized him.