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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Piper, Leonora E. (1857-1950) A Boston housewife who said she discovered her power as a spirit medium at age twenty-seven, Mrs. Piper told of an Indian spirit guide with the unlikely name of Chlorine who was aided by another guide named Dr. Phinuit, which she pronounced “finny.” Strangely, this French doctor knew only a little French and less about medicine.
      The mediumship of Mrs. Piper, which involved dramatic teeth-gnashing, moaning, and thrashing about, was enthusiastically supported by the famous psychologist/philosopher William James. The fact that she regularly spoke with Longfellow and Bach (the latter spoke no German in Summerland) provided James with excellent methods for testing the medium, but such tests were not done.
      Mrs. Piper began featuring automatic writing, and then in 1911 abandoned her séances altogether and concentrated solely on the automatic writing.
      She was investigated by Richard Hodgson, a member of the American Society for Psychical Research, for eighteen years. He became convinced of her legitimacy, and he was very pleased when she told him that he would have a long life, would soon marry, and would have two children. Hodgson died a few months later, unmarried and childless.

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