Thompson, Rosina (1868– )
British trance medium, whose abilities developed at Frederic
W. Thurstan’s Delphic Circle at Hertford Lodge, Battersea,
London. In her early sittings in 1897 and 1898, the records of
which in Light refer to her as Mrs. T., she exhibited startling
physical phenomena, raps, movements of objects, luminous
phenomena, elongation of the human body, direct voice, apports,
scents, and materializations.
Her physical manifestations were discouraged by F. W. H.
Myers and she was persuaded to give her services to the Society
for Psychical Research as a trance medium from 1898 onward.
Her chief control was her deceased daughter, Nelly, who
had died in infancy. Another communicator of importance was
a Mrs. Cartwright, the teacher of the school where Thompson
was educated. Her trances were much lighter than those of
Leonora Piper and occasionally they were scarcely distinguishable
from the state of normal wakefulness. Many instances of
her paranormal perceptions were recorded in the waking state.
Richard Hodgson, after six sittings, formed an unfavorable
opinion of her powers; it was the skeptical Frank Podmore who
hurried to Thompson’s defense. He considered Hodgson’s
conclusion that Thompson was untrustworthy to go beyond the
warrant of the facts. Podmore expressed his opinion in plain
words ‘‘I should perhaps add that the supernormal source of
much of the information given at Mrs. Thompson’s séances
seems to me to be almost beyond dispute.’’
The reports of Frederik van Eeden contained many curious
accounts. The results of Frederik van Eeden were very convincing.
He came from Holland with an article of clothing that belonged
to a young man who first cut his throat and then shot
himself. He obtained dramatic communications, and Thompson
spoke in Dutch (a language she did not know) with the
young man.
Margaret Verrall had 22 sittings with Thompson. She made
statistical calculations and found that out of 238 definite statements
referring to things past and present, 33 were false, 64
were unidentified, and 141 (approximately 59 percent) were
true. Of these 141 true statements, 51 could not have been ascertained
from normal sources. Verrall’s general opinion of the
controlling personalities was that although their characteristics
were not very marked, all bore strong resemblance to the waking
Thompson, the voice was hardly to be distinguished from
hers, and the words and phrases were such as she herself used
in the normal state. She nevertheless, admitted that many personalities
bore, for the sitters, the marks of independent individuality.
Myers’s belief in survival was chiefly founded on experiments
with Thompson following the death of his great love,
Annie Marshall. He and his friends had 217 sittings, about two
thirds of which he personally attended. After Myers’s death on
January 17, 1901, Thompson, who had previously suspended
sittings altogether, gave two sittings to Sir Oliver Lodge. In
both of them, communications characteristic of Myers were
forthcoming. She also took part in the cross-correspondence
sittings.
Sources
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of
Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York Paragon
House, 1991.
Myers, F. W. H. ‘‘On the Trance Phenomena of Mrs.
Thompson.’’ Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research
17 (1902).
Van Eeden, Frederik. ‘‘Account of Sittings with Mrs.
Thompson.’’ Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research
17 (1904).