Melzer, Heinrich (1873– )
German apport medium of Dresden, the successor of Anna
Rothe. His early séances were reported in Die Übersinnliche Welt
in November 1905. These were held in darkness, but the medium
allowed himself to be fastened into a sack. Quanties of flowers
and stones were apported to sitters.
The operators were said to be Oriental entities ‘‘Curadiasamy,’’
a Hindu, who spoke with a foreign accent; ‘‘Lissipan,’’ a
young Indian Buddhist; and ‘‘Amakai,’’ a man from China.
‘‘Quirinus,’’ who claimed to be a Roman Christian of the time
of Diocletian, and ‘‘Abraham Hirschkron,’’ a Jewish merchant
from Mahren, were other picturesque controls. By occupation
Melzer was a small tobacconist. It is said that at one time he was
an actor, which may account for his powers of declamation
under control.
He visited the British College of Psychic Science in 1923
and in 1926. Owing to a significant development in his mediumship,
he was able to sit in good white or red light. In 1923
he was examined before each séance and dressed in a one-piece
linen suit, secured at wrist and ankles. The flowers arrived
when the medium was in deep trance. He seemed to be able
to observe them clairvoyantly before they appeared to the physical
sight. Occasionally sitters, who knew nothing of this, spoke
of seeing shadows of flowers in the air before they arrived.
Sometimes the medium seized upon the flowers and ate
them voraciously, together with stalks and soil, often wounding
his mouth by thorns on rose stalks. Returning to normal consciousness,
he blamed a particular control for the occurrence.
The flowers seemed to arrive toward the medium and were not
thrown out from him.
These phenomena were very impressive. The same could
not be said of the stone apports. They were invariably very
small, and led to his detection in fraud. In the sittings of 1926,
the doctor in charge slipped his hands at the back of the ears
of the medium and discovered two small light colored stones
affixed by flesh-colored sticking plaster. The medium’s only attempt
at excuse was that by that stage his power had gone and
that he had been tempted by an undesirable control.
Spiritualist leader James Hewat McKenzie defended
Melzer in his report in Psychic Science (April 1927)
‘‘But there is a difference between stones of a quarter to half
an inch in size, and flowers of 18 inches stalk length, with leaves
and thorns. Twenty-five anemones—or a dozen roots of lilies
of the valley, with soil attached, pure bells and delicate leaves—
or violets appearing fresh and fragrant, after two and a half
hours sitting—have all been received, when the medium’s
hands have been seen empty a second before, when no friends
of his were in the sittings, and when no opportunity could have
presented itself to conceal them that would not have resulted
in broken stems and blossoms.’’
However, the damage had been done to the medium’s credibility.