Vollhardt, Maria (Frau Rudloff) (ca. 1925)
A physical medium whom Dr. F. Schwab, author of Teleplasma
und Telekinese (Berlin, 1923) made the subject of searching
studies for two years. Vollhardt, the wife of an official in the
Berlin Postal Ministry, produced telekinesis (movements of
objects at a distance), levitations, apports, ectoplasm and stigmata
phenomena of a baffling character.
In his book My Psychic Adventures (1924), psychical researcher
J. Malcolm Bird wrote of having seen a quantity of irritatedlooking
puncture wounds, some actually bleeding, appear in a
rough square pattern on the medium’s hand. The only suggestion
he could make for normal duplication was a battery of
three or four forks or a section of nutmeg grater. The mystery
of how such wounds were produced deepened when the sitters
declared that they had seen on Vollhardt’s hand a small object,
the shape of a bird’s beak, or claw. They put a pot full of farina
on the table and asked for an imprint. They got it—in the
shape of a chicken’s foot.
Once the medium’s hand was stigmatized across the hand
of one of the sitters who was controlling her. At each puncture,
the medium gave a sharp cry of pain. She stated that she felt
as though an electric current had entered at the skin and
passed through the body.
Schwab observed the phenomenon some fifty times outside
the séance room in good light. When he made photographs
with a stereoscopic camera he got a picture of a sort of claw of
several branches, poised upon the perfectly controlled hand of
the medium. He believed it was a materialized symbol of the
medium’s subconscious notion of oppression and torture.
In 1925, Vollhardt figured in court proceedings. At a séance
given to a number of scientists and doctors, her arms, linked
up in the orthodox manner, were found, on the lights being
turned up, encircled by two massive rings. Albert Moll refused
to believe in the penetration of matter passing through matter
and later declared in a book that the medium must have had
the rings concealed under her sleeves. The medium retorted
with libel proceedings and offered to demonstrate her powers
before the Bench. The offer came to nothing as Moll insisted
that the demonstration should be done in daylight.
Degner testified on behalf of Vollhardt. The court found
Moll guilty of calumny, but acquitted him as his statement was
made ‘‘in defense of justified interests.’’ The medium appealed
against the acquittal and lost her case. Prof. Busch testified that
the apports produced were fraudulently introduced by the medium
while in a ‘‘semi-conscious condition.’’
Bird, J. Malcolm. My Psychic Adventures. New York Scientific
American Publishing, 1924.