Phone-Voyance
A kind of psychic television, named as a special form of
clairvoyance by British psychic Vincent N. Turvey in 1905,
when the telephone was still a relatively new device to most
people. Phone-voyance implies four things psychic vision,
physical contact, the wires and instruments of a telephone company,
and simultaneity of clairvoyance with physical contact.
Turvey often described things which the listener at the other
end of the telephone wire did not know, for instance, what his
daughter was doing in the room above him or what a man behind
his back was reading in a book.
Turvey saw things habitually worn by his listener, although
they may not have been on the listener at the particular time.
He also claimed to see spirits in the room of his listener. Once
he described the picture of a young lady known to the listener,
but then at a distant location, and told him that she was not
dead and yet not actually in the room.
Turvey demonstrated this faculty intermittently from 1905
to 1908, but complained that it was a great strain on the brain
and that too frequent use would lead to very serious injury. In
most cases, he reported that he saw
‘‘. . . through a halo, or aura, of bright heliotrope, or pale
violet-coloured fire, the flashes or sparks of which do not appear
to cover all the window, so to speak, but to leave the centre
clear and colourless, and in that centre appears the person or
object that is seen. Another extraordinary thing is that occasionally
a part of my mentality seems to ooze out of me, and to
run along the line for a little distance, say a yard or two; and
as ‘‘I’’ (his spirit) go, so little pieces of the copper wire which
lay together, A-B, seem to turn over to B-A, i.e., reverse their
position as if on a hinge. These pieces appear to be about four
inches in length. At other times phone-voyance seems to be
very like mental body-traveling, because ‘‘I’’ appears to be in
the room at the one end of the line, and by a sort of living cord
to communicate with ‘‘ME’’ (his body)] at the other end, and to
make ‘‘ME’’ speak about that which ‘‘I’’ see.’’
The famous spiritualist editor W. T. Stead, in his preface to
Turvey’s Beginnings of Seership (1911), quoted the case of Mrs.
A. T. Giddings, a professional music hall performer, who
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Phone-Voyance
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trained the faculty of ‘‘phone-voyance’’ to such perfection that
it could be exercised at will under the most adverse conditions.
Experiments with Giddings were carried out by a committee of
investigators between the stage of the Alhambra Theater in
London and the office of the Daily Mirror. Articles presented at
random to Mr. Zomah (professional name of A. T. Giddings)
by members of the committee in the Alhambra were immediately
seen and described by his wife who was at the other end
of the telephone in the newspaper office.
Of course this demonstration may have been simply longdistance
telepathy or even clever stage mentalism, but according
to Stead (to judge from the reports that were published),
Giddings claimed to actually see the article which was held in
her husband’s hand at the other end of the telephone wire.
Sources
Turvey, Vincent N. The Beginnings of Seership. 1911. Reprint,
New Hyde Park, N.Y. University Books, 1969