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When spirit entities take over the arm

Posted on 15 November 2010, 20:48

If there is some kind of Guinness world record for the number of books authored in a lifetime, Francisco Candido “Chico” Xavier must certainly hold the record.  A Brazilian who transitioned to the spirit world on June 30, 2002, Xavier produced 458 books with sales in excess of 50 million copies.

chico xavier

But the record may require an asterisk, because Xavier was not really the author. “…if I were to say these books belonged to me, I would be committing a fraud for which I would have to answer in a very serious way after I left this world,” Xavier is quoted in a recently-released book, Chico Xavier: Medium of the Century, authored by Guy Lyon Playfair, a long-time investigator of psychic phenomena.  (The book is available at and

Xavier, who dropped out of school at age 13, gave credit for the words in his books to various spirit entities.  His books, which included literature, history, science, and Spiritist doctrine, were published with the phrase “dictated by the spirit of…” on the title page.  Moreover, Xavier donated the royalties to charity, living his entire life on a very modest government income and pension.

Most people familiar with mediumship would call it “automatic writing,” but Brazilian Spiritists call it “psychography.”  As Playfair points out, Spiritists make a distinction between the two, holding that automatic writing comes from the subconscious and psychography from a separate entity.
So famous was Xavier in Brazil and the Portuguese-speaking world that he was honored with a stamp on April 2 of this year, the 100th anniversary of his birthday.  In his home state of Minas Gerias, he was voted “person of the century” in 2000 by readers of a major newspaper there, beating out an aviation pioneer, a former president of the country, and the legendary soccer player, Pelé.  More than 120,000 people lined up in a queue over two miles long to file past Xavier’s coffin and 30,000 joined in the funeral procession.

In 1932, when he was just 22, Xavier produced a 421-page book with 259 poems, signed by 56 poets, many of them famous when alive in the flesh. It became a best-seller and convinced many Brazilians that consciousness survives physical death. Playfair mentions that the poems were clearly in the individual styles of the deceased poets.  “Moreover,” Playfair offers, “if you are thinking of faking a Shakespeare sonnet, you must do more than imitate the poet’s style.  You must get across an idea, an image, that elusive ingredient that makes a poem something more than the sum of its words.”  This was clearly the case with the Xavier-produced poems.

Xavier explained that he always felt an electrical sensation in his arm when he was taking dictation and that he felt his brain had been invaded by some indefinable vibrations.  Interestingly, D.D. Home, the famous 19th century medium known for his levitations, wrote that he experienced an “electrical fullness” about his feet when the spirits were raising him from the ground.

“To produce automatic writing, the spirit simply makes contact with the medium’s frontal lobes and right hand, leaving the rest of the brain and body free,” Playfair sets forth his understanding of the phenomenon.

In addition to the books, Xavier also received many evidential messages.  One of them was even accepted in a court of law and a couple of others influenced court decisions.

Patience Worth
A somewhat similar case of automatic writing began in the United States when Chico Xavier was only three years old.  It involved a St. Louis, Missouri housewife, Pearl Curran. First from a friend’s Ouija board, then a pencil, then a typewriter, flowed the writings of a person identifying herself as Patience Worth, a 17th Century English woman.  Over a period of 24 years, Patience Worth dictated approximately four million words, including seven books, some short stories, several plays, thousands of poems, and countless epigrams and aphorisms.

Like Chico Xavier, Pearl Curran had only an elementary school education. In some of her scripts, she used Anglo-Saxon words that are no longer part of the English vocabulary; yet, researchers were able to confirm that these words did exist at one time, although it would have been virtually impossible for Curran to have come upon them.  Critics compared her works to those of Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Spencer.

W. T. Allison, professor of English literature at the University of Manitoba, observed that Patience Worth dictated words found only in Melton’s time and some of them had no meaning until researched in dialectic dictionaries and old books.  Allison, who closely observed Curran, reported that in one evening 15 poems were produced in an hour and 15 minutes, an average of five minutes for each poem.  “All were poured out with a speed that Tennyson or Browning could never have hoped to equal, and some of the 15 lyrics are so good that either of those great poets might be proud to have written them,” Allison offered. He went on to say that Patience Worth “must be regarded as the outstanding phenomenon of our age, and I cannot help thinking of all time.”

When a philologist asked Patience how and why she used the language of so many different periods, she responded: “I do plod a twist of a path and it hath run from then till now.”  When asked to explain how she could dictate responses without a pause, she replied: “Ye see, man setteth up his cup and fillet it, but I be as the stream.”
According to Dr. Walter Franklin Prince, one of the scientists who studied the phenomena, Patience Worth’s writing “displayed original genius, enormous erudition, familiarity with literature and history of many ages, versatility of experience, philosophical depth, piercing wit, moral spirituality, swiftness of thought, and penetrating wisdom,” qualities and characteristics which were totally foreign to Pearl Curran.  Moreover, Curran was witnessed talking to people as she took dictation from Patience.
(For a more complete story on Pearl Curran, see The Mystery of Patience Worth in the Features section of this blog.)

Many psychologists and parapsychologists are grounded in materialism and unable to consider a spiritual explanation for automatic writing.  Thus, they contend that the automatic writing is coming from the medium’s subconscious mind.  However, they don’t really address how the information got into the subconscious in the first place.  Television was not yet a reality when Pear Curran lived nor for the first half of Chico Xavier’s life, so it is unlikely that the subconscious absorbed it from television programs.  Radio was in its infancy when Pearl Curran lived and it is highly unlikely she listened to many radio programs or read many books with 17th Century English.

Those who believe in reincarnation might explain Patience Worth as memories from a past life existing in Pearl Curran’s subconscious, but past lives would not explain most of the material produced by Chico Xavier as many of the spirits communicating through Xavier were “living” when he was born.
No doubt the subconscious mind does produce things we are not consciously aware of or thinking about, but to write it all off as coming from the subconscious seems like a real stretch.

william thomas stead

William T. Stead, a famous British journalist who was a victim of the Titanic disaster in 1912, developed the ability to do automatic writing. In one of his books, Letters from Julia, he wrote that he could not believe that any part of his unconscious self would deliberately practice a hoax upon his conscious self about the most serious of all subjects, and keep it up year after year with the most sincerity and consistency.  “The simple explanation that my friend who has passed over can use my hand as her own seems much more natural and probable,” concluded Stead, who was observed by Titanic survivors serenely sitting in the smoking room and reading his Bible as pandemonium took place all around him.

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.





a) “Not a word about Joan Grant, or ‘fraud’.”

Of course not, I said she mentioned Joan Grant in the book, not in the video.

b) “If she did translate the Joan Grant story and give it to Chico, and he then repeated it in the introduction to one of his books, so what?”

This at least shows that you should think twice before say things like “it is most unlikely that he ever read Joan Grant’s story”.

c) “Anyone familiar with the workings of mediumship will know that when in trance a medium has no conscious control over what gets written or spoken, so that for Chico to reproduce material he was already aware of is quite normal and accusations of ‘fraud’ are totally inappropriate.”

Oh my Dog, he had a spiritual guide that NEVER existed and this guide appeared in a materialization seance. What this tells to you?

d) “Fraud, at least in this country, implies deliberate deceit for financial gain”

Wrong. Fraud does not implies financial gain. In fact, Carlos Alvarado wrote:

“Some have focused on psychological aspects of fraud. A good historical example is the important but almost forgotten paper by Ochorowicz (1896) on unconscious fraud with Palladino. There was also the investigation of medium Anna Burton in which unconscious fraud was documented (Hamilton, Smyth & Hyslop, 1911). The reporting of cases with no motivation or no apparent reason for fraud was the subject of papers by Sidgwick (1894) and Feilding (1905). The latter referred to poltergeist manifestations fraudulently produced by a solicitor that brought financial disaster to the perpetrator. Delanoy’s (1987) more recent discussion of a fraudulent metal bender also touches on motivations for fraud.”

Vitor, Fri 1 Apr, 04:11

Enough indeed. The video clip of Wanda A. Joviano describes how Chico wrote his early books during his lunch break at the farm directed by her father. Not a word about Joan Grant, or ‘fraud’.

If she did translate the Joan Grant story and give it to Chico, and he then repeated it in the introduction to one of his books, so what? Anyone familiar with the workings of mediumship will know that when in trance a medium has no conscious control over what gets written or spoken, so that for Chico to reproduce material he was already aware of is quite normal and accusations of ‘fraud’ are totally inappropriate.

Fraud, at least in this country, implies deliberate deceit for financial gain and is a criminal offence, as is a false accusation of it. so when making such allegations, make sure you have very sound primary-source evidence, and a good lawyer.

That’s all I have to say on this topic.

GLP, Fri 1 Apr, 00:53

01 -  “If I’m not mistaken, the book in question is actually by Theodore Flournoy ~ which suggests to me that you actually know very little about this field.”

You are mistaken. The book is by Camille Flammarion. The name is “Urania”.

02 -  “First, it would appear that you’ve started from the position that Chico was a fraud”

Wrong. I believed in him before I have started my research (2004).

03 - “who is Wanda Amorim Joviano?”

The daughter of his boss and a big friend of Xavier. You can see her in this video:
Ask Playfair to translate the video for you.

04 - “Just how did she come upon Joan Grant’s story so soon after its publication?”

I don’t know, but she had 7 years to do that. Ask Playfair to interview her about this, she seems to be still alive. She has 85 years now.

05 - “What was her connection with Chico during the 1940s?”

The video above explain all this.

06 - “Why was Chico at all interested in that story?”

He isn’t. She just read the story for him, he liked and did copy/paste. Why he did this? No one knows.

07 - “& most important:  while it’s not proof of deception, certainly, when one is going to accuse someone of malefaction, but waits until the accused is no longer in a position to respond, the accusation seems rather suspicious.”

She has the letters which Chico admits to have used her translation.  These letters are in the book “Deus Conosco”.

Enough for now.

Vitor, Thu 31 Mar, 17:44

Finally, Vitor, I have to wonder whether you are actually familiar with these matters or are just taking them from a crib sheet of scurrilous accusations against Chico issued by someone else.  The reason why I bring this up is that you mention Chico’s mother & Camille Flammarion.  If I’m not mistaken, the book in question is actually by Theodore Flournoy ~ which suggests to me that you actually know very little about this field.  Now, unless there are something close to citations from Flournoy’s book in Chico’s work, I suggest that you get yourself a copy (if you can, for it’s not easy to find) of Geraldine Cummins’ book Beyond Human Personality, & see what Myers has to say there about Mars & Venus.  Let me know whether the mention of a spirit of being/having been on other planets is automatically a mark of plagiarism.

I hope that you take steps to defend your credibility instead of coming up with more accusations & “proofs” of fraud.  Deal with these matters first, & then your claims might be taken more receptively.

Milo, Thu 31 Mar, 11:27

About Wanda Amorim Joviano I have two things to say.

First, it would appear that you’ve started from the position that Chico was a fraud, & that therefore any testimony suggestive of that can be accepted uncritically.  You have certainly not answered any of the questions that one might ask about the value of the testimony that you bring forward.  If you want to convince anyone, you do have to deal with such questions.

Second, one should like to know the following:
who is Wanda Amorim Joviano?  Just how did she come upon Joan Grant’s story so soon after its publication?  What was her connection with Chico during the 1940s?  Why was Chico at all interested in that story?  & most important:  while it’s not proof of deception, certainly, when one is going to accuse someone of malefaction, but waits until the accused is no longer in a position to respond, the accusation seems rather suspicious.  Joviano had fifty years in which to bring forward her claim so that Chico could respond, if he chose to do so.  But she waited until he was dead before speaking.  Why?  The same as Vieira.  Why do these people come forward with these claims only when the possibility of their being controverted has passed?

If you want to have any credibility at all in this matter, you do need to deal with these questions adequately.

Milo, Thu 31 Mar, 10:53

Vitor, I unfortunately don’t read Portuguese, so I’m unable to come to any independent judgement about your claims (in context) insofar as they’re in that language.
I am, however, somewhat skeptical of your position for two reasons.  One has to do with Waldo Vieira.  As I mentioned, he would have to declare himself a fraud if he calls Chico a fraud, because he channelled a number of books in partnership with Chico.  In addition, if he told Chico that he would keep his discoveries about Chico’s fraud a secret, why is he revealing them now?  One would think that he would still be bound to keep them a secret.  On the other hand, if he were going to reveal them, why did he wait for so long?  Why didn’t he reveal them while Chico was still alive & in a position to respond, if that was what Chico wanted to do?  So I’m quite skeptical.

The other thing that bothers me about your attack concerns Otilia Diogo.  Unless she were an out & out fraud, having never once produced psychical phenomena, her fraudulence in certain instances would not invalidate any of her successes.  It would simply mean that we might not be certain of when she genuinely succeeded & when she “succeeded” by virtue of fraud.  But it’s quite difficult, in many cases, to determine fraud in the matter of physical mediums.  Ignoring the fraudulent appearance of many materializations when seen in the process of materializing (Eva C/Marthe Beraud is a case in point), physical mediumship often seems fraudulent even when it’s not.  Take for example the object levitations of Stanislawa Tomczyk.  Threads would appear between her fingers & the objects, suggesting that she was using thread to move the objects.  But the investigators were able to feel the “threads”, which didn’t feel like regular thread, & the “threads” disappeared shortly after their appearance.  In addition, when one has a full-form materialization, that materialization seems to be a double of the medium, in the sense that using violence on the materialization affects the medium as if the violence were committed on the medium directly, & not on the materialization.  Moreover, the materialization may look very much like the medium, even when it’s clear that the materialization & the medium are distinct beings.  So judgement about fraud in physical mediumship can be extremely difficult to make, & shouldn’t be made without adequate investigation.

Your position in this matter isn’t clear to me.  Are you stating simply that Chico was a fraud (out & out)?  Are you stating that Chico did occasionally resort to fraudulent practices?  Are you claiming through this that all evidence of the psychical is fraud?

Milo, Thu 31 Mar, 09:39

“But it is most unlikely that he ever read Joan Grant’s story”

He read it. You can find this informations in the book “Deus Conosco” (2007). A girl named Wanda Amorim Joviano translated the story for him from Grant’s book. Today the girl has more than 80 years.

One more prrof that Xavier was a fraud. I don’t know how much more proofs do you want, but I think any rational human being would be satisfy with this.

Vitor Moura Visoni, Tue 29 Mar, 21:14

Milo -  good point about Vieira. Is he accusing himself of being a fraud? I don’t consider him a reliable witness, to put it politely.

Chico did speak some English - when we met he greeted me in quite respectable English. But it is most unlikely that he ever read Joan Grant’s story, or indeed much else. When would he have had the time after his day job and after-hours writing sessions (many of them in public) to do all the research needed for his historical novels?

Lew Wallace took several years to research and write Ben-Hur. Chico dashed off his huge books about the same period in a matter of months or even weeks. Not bad going for a ‘fraud’.

G.L.Playfair, Mon 28 Mar, 01:10

Unless Waldo Vieira has confessed to being a fraudulent channel as well, neither his nor Vitor’s accusations of Chico Xavier being fraudulent are very straight-forward.  After all, Vieira did channel a few books in partnership with Xavier.  So what, according to him, would be the status of those books?  Now, if Vieira does claim to have committed fraud in those cases, what would Vitor say about the value of his testimony?  In any case, the conclusions to be drawn aren’t at all obvious.

Also, with regard to the use of books, I might refer Vitor to Guy Playfair’s Chico Xavier, medium of the century, page 78, where, commenting on the story of the red fish, Playfair comments:  “This story appears in Joan Grant’s The Scarlet Fish & Other Stories, published in 1942 & as far as I have been able to discover, never translated into Portuguese.  Chico’s version is from the Introduction, by his chief guide Emmanuel, to Libertaçāo (Deliverance) published in 1949”.  I see no problem in material from books being channelled.  It does seem rather obvious that Chico himself didn’t use the book, since he seems not to have known English.  To say that material in Chico’s books has come from available sources is one thing; to say that this invalidates the books is another, & doesn’t follow unless one provides a plausible account of how the material got there, & how this shows that ... (whatever it is one wishes to prove).  It does need to be kept in mind that the majority of the books in question are in the first instance fiction, & historical accuracy isn’t one of the standards by which fiction is judged.  Moreover, even if one of the major purposes of the fiction is to convey spiritist doctrine, it doesn’t follow that historical accuracy necessarily affects that. 

Finally, I hope that Vitor has heard of Eusapia Palladino or of “Margery” (Mina Crandon).  The former was certainly caught in fraud, the latter was accused of fraud in circumstances extremely difficult to judge.  Neither was therefore a fraud pure & simple.  In fact, in Palladino’s case, the fraud is more or less irrelevant, because the reality of her powers was verified time & time again.

Nothing here is as straightforward & as obvious as Vitor wants us to believe.  (He might consult Brian Inglis, Natural & Supernatural, on the issue of the connection between the medium & a materialization; Inglis, Science & Parascience has some further remarks on the subject.)

Milo, Sun 27 Mar, 12:30

Waldo Vieira, who knew him closely, said he cheated in sessions of materializations.

And if the spirits who wrote through Chico never existed, of course that EVERYTHING he wrote is false.

And yes, I have more moral authority. I never gave to millions of people an illusion.

Vitor, Thu 16 Dec, 18:03


I have three points to add to your discussion:

1. Is any man perfect?  Judge other people by the standard which you wish to be judged.  What if we utilize your own standard of judgment on your own writing: if anyone ever discovers that some of Vitor’s claims are inaccurate or false, does that therefore mean we should judge everything you say to be false?  So if Chico Xavier had made *some* mistakes in his claims, does that therefore invalidate *all* of his claims?    

2. You judge Chico Xavier harshly.  Where is your moral authority in doing so?  You may want to take the plank out of your own eye first before you judge the speck in Chico’s eye.  When you become a more perfect man than Chico, by giving more love and charity in your life than Chico did, then you will have moral authority, and people will believe your judgments.

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.  You shall know them by their fruits.”.—Jesus

3. Finally, Vitor, did you personally know Chico?  How many interactions did you have with him while he was still on earth?  Or are you judging him from afar?  For the thousands of people who *personally* knew Chico, would most of them say he was like a saint?  If you know Chico’s biography (how he donated millions of dollars during his life to create and sustain thousands of charities, and how hard he worked on behalf of other people), you will know the answer.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”—The Apostle Paul

GK, Wed 15 Dec, 21:11


Chio was NEVER in contact with spirits. In the book “Cartas de Uma Morta” he was receiving messages from his dead mother, and she said that she visited Mars and Saturn and described the alien life in these places! And these descriptions were extrated from one book by Camille Flammarion, wich was found in his home.

Chico never contacted the spirits. It was ALL a creation of his mind.

Vitor, Wed 1 Dec, 20:24

The book “Mecanismos da Mediunidade” explicit says that the spirits used terrestrial sources!

I don’t know the book “Mecanismos da Mediunidade” but are you saying the spirits supplying Chico sometimes used terrestrial sources? If so, that is my point.  As far as I’m aware Chico always denied authorship of the books and maybe the spirits (in this case) were supplying him from terrestrial sources.

Maybe the spirit/spirits channelling information to Chico did blame the Jews for Jesus’ death; and maybe the communicator was Roman, who knows? The point is we don’t know. 

What we do know is that Chico was a transmitter of information and a messenger from non-physical sources and as a result of his ‘transmissions’, millions of people in Brazil benefited from the royalties the books generated. As the old saying goes, ‘don’t shoot the messenger.’

Jon, Wed 1 Dec, 15:39


Xavier did rely in terrestrial sources. The book “Há Dois Mil Anos” put all the blame is the jews for the death of Jesus. No blame for the romans. The book was published just before the Holocaust! Why this? Because the book has extracts of “Vida de Jesus” by Ernest Renan, who did not liked the jews.

The book “Mecanismos da Mediunidade” explicit says that the spirits used terrestrial sources!

Chico did not knew that Lentulus never existed. There is a famous letter of him that many think still today that is real document, not apocriph. Imagine how was this situation in 1938!

Vitor, Wed 1 Dec, 14:56

I’m not an expert on Chico but isn’t it possible that whoever channelled that particular book to Chico wasn’t who he said he was? Entities often claim to be who they’re not and there is often a question of identity particularly when the entities claim to be famous people.

Aside from the good works that Chico did and the fact so many people attest to his mediumship, it is possible that occasionally communicators duped him, but that doesn’t in anyway diminish his abilities or his reputation.

If Chico wanted to fabricate a book, surely he would have made sure he got his information right and if anything, it shows that Chico wrote down what he received and didn’t rely on terrestrial sources.

Jon, Wed 1 Dec, 14:36

Hi, Tymn,

there are many evidences that Publius Lentulus never existed and all the book is full of historic mistakes. All the names of the roman people are wrong. Just one example: the name of the daughter of Publius Lentulus is Flávia Lentúlia, but according to the roman rules should be Cornelia! A real senator of Roma would know this.

I could give literally hundreds of mistakes of the book. I put many of them in my blog, “Obras Psicografadas”. Guy Lyon Playfair knows Portuguese and he never answered these arguments.

Vitor, Wed 1 Dec, 08:19

I wonder how many other ‘frauds’ have given all the proceeds of their mediumistic work to charity?

Guy Lyon Playfair, Wed 1 Dec, 02:22


I remember your negative comments about Chico from Michael Prescott’s blog a year or so ago and I recently saw your comments about him at another web site.  I considered your comments at Michael Prescott’s site before I even read the book.  I don’t think that there has ever been a medium who hasn’t had someone claim that he or she was a fraud.  In fact, Guy Playfair mentions in the book that Chico’s nephew made the same claims you are making, all indications being that a local priest put him up to it because he thought it all demonic and in conflict with Church teachings.  I’m wondering if your motives are the same.

The Catholic web site you referenced does not seem very conclusive in saying that Publius Lentulus was a fictitious person. It looks like the author of that article jumped to a conclusion without any real support.

There is just too much evidence in favor of Chico being genuine to discount him as a fraud based on your remarks. I am not in a position to do my own investigation, nor do I care to.  Your comments give me some concern and I will be a little skeptical when I think of Chico, but weighing the evidence in favor of Chico against the evidence against him, I would say the odds are heavily in his favor of having been a genuine medium. 

Thanks for writing.

Michael Tymn, Tue 30 Nov, 00:33

Chico Xavier was a fraud and I have all the proofs of this. I accuse him of borrowing from other books in his automatic writing. The book “Há 2.000 Anos” has extracts of “Vida de Jesus” by Ernest Renan. The book “Mecanismos da Mediunidade” has extracts of “O Átomo” by Fritz Kahn. Ans so goes on.

His control, Emmanuel, who said that in a previous life was the senator Publuis Lentulus, NEVER existed.

And Xavier faked materialization seances, like Waldo Vieira, a close friend, said. Xavier materializate Publius Lentulus, who never existed, so the seance was a fraud.

Best wishes.

Vitor, Sun 28 Nov, 18:14


I don’t know anything about the photos you referenced, but I do know that the pseudo-skeptics scoff at what they don’t understand.  The whole history of materializations, involving ectoplasm, is filled with very “hokey” photographs, some of them looking like paper cut-outs, some like toy balloons, some like department store mannequins.  Yet, they have been validated as real by a number of very distinguished scientists who studied them over and over again, including Dr. Charles Richet, a Nobel Prize winner in medicine. 

What the pseudo-skeptics don’t understand is that materializations are projected thought-images.  The spirit projecting his image must be able to visualize his old self and project that image into the ectoplasm.  The ability to do this seems to vary as much as artistic ability does with those incarnate.  Ask me to draw a picture of myself and I won’t be able to give you much more than a stick figure.  I’m not sure that is a good analogy, but it comes close. 

Richet once witnessed a materialized figure with a body but no face.  When Richet asked him why he had no face, he explained he could not remember what he looked like when alive. 

Florence Marryat experienced much the same thing when a friend of hers materialized.  She didn’t recognize the figure as her friend.  He explained that he was having problems visualizing his old self and asked her to come back the next night and he would try again.  She did and this time he succeeded in better projecting his old image.

But I think there is more to proper vizualing to it.  It is a matter of the spirits learning how to work with the ectoplasm.  Their failures in this regard account for the two-dimensional figures and some of the real hokey ones, as the one you can find by looking for some of the Helen Duncan materializatons on the Internet.

Read Dr. Glen Hamilton’s book on the subject as well as Richet’s and Dr.Gustave Geley and you might get a different perspective on things.

I’m not saying that was the case with the photos you referenced of Chico Xavier’s.  Guy addressed that in his post.

The point is that the pseudo-skeptics are applying terrestrial standards to celestial matters of which they understand nothing.

Michael Tymn, Wed 17 Nov, 12:34

Hey Mr. Playfair,

I’m willing to take a second look at the Chico Xavier case. I definitely don’t take a debunking site as the final word, however I’ve been highly dismissive after Vitor showed me the article on another forum.

Why did Xavier willingly promote a medium who was faking materializations by donning a white robe? Unfortunately, I feel like this case left a black eye for spiritualism.

If you do have your full take on the story, maybe post it online somewhere? If Xavier is really more innocent then he seems, then that information should be more available or else more people like myself will see one side to the story and take that as the final word that the man was completely fraudulent.

Cyrus, Wed 17 Nov, 00:29

The photos do not speak for themselves and do not show Chico Xavier faking anything. They show him in the company of a ‘medium’ in whose powers he had every reason to believe at the time, probably because of his (then) friendship with Waldo Vieira. I gave Otilia Diogo a whole chapter in my 1975 book The Flying Cow and told the whole sad story, which is far more complicated than some seem to think.

Guy Lyon Playfair, Tue 16 Nov, 18:54


I agree.  Henry Holt’s two volumes have been a very important part of my library. 

Thanks for the comments.

Michael Tymn, Tue 16 Nov, 11:40

I don’t exactly link to CSICOP much. But unfortunately the photos of Chico Xavier hoaxing physical mediumship speak for themselves.:

Cyrus, Tue 16 Nov, 10:02

Jack’s comment reminds me of Casper S. Yost who was very influential in the early promotion of the Patience Worth/Pearl Curran writings.  It was Yost who brought Pearl Curran and Patience Worth into the public domain by publishing the first book about her. It was thanks to Yost that Patience Worth’s poems and novels were published and distributed. Yet if one searches for information about Casper Yost on the internet, one finds little about him other than he was an editor of the St. Louis Globe Democrat and founder of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.  He also had a liberty ship named after him. Nothing about Patience Worth is ever mentioned.  He will probably be most remembered however for his association with Patience Worth for whom he unabashedly expressed his love. Apparently mainstream media is embarassed to acknowledge his role in the paranormal.

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 16 Nov, 09:17

Thanks, Mike, for your kind words. Just a small correction: Chico is not the world’s most prolific author ever. I’m not sure who is, but Barbara Cartland and John Creasey must be front runners.

You’re right to link Chico with ‘Patience Worth’. In terms of literary quality they stand out from the field. They both wrote fine literature - Chico’s received poems are quite remarkable in terms of quality as well as quantity, and English readers can get an idea of his skill as a novelist from And Life Goes on, now translated.

As for Patience Worth, her novel Hope Trueblood is a tremendously good read - the dark side of the world of Jane Austen and the Brontes. and well up to their literary standards. Interesting that when it was first published in the UK the publisher didn’t say anything about how it was written.It had excellent reviews from all the great and good and sold quite well. Since it has become known how it was written, of course, the literary establishment doesn’t want to know and the book has been unjustly forgotten. I’d love to see it reissued.

Guy Lyon Playfair, Tue 16 Nov, 02:22

James Merrill, who wrote a number of books, including “Divine Comedies”. for which he won the Pulitzer Prize.
He and his partner frequently used an ouija board

The reluctance of mainstream media to reference any mention of the paranormal can be seen by googling “Henry Holt”.
In addition to founding a large publishing company and writing novels, he also wrote
“Cosmic Relations and Immortality”(2 volumes).
This covered his lifelong interest in psychic affairs and has perhaps the most extensive quotations from the “Proceedings of the Society for Psychic Research” (SPR).
This is not noted by many of the posts about him

jack, Mon 15 Nov, 22:44

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“Life After Death – The Communicator” by Paul Beard – If the telephone rings, naturally the caller is expected to identify himself. In post-mortem communication, necessitating something far more complex than a telephone, it is not enough to seek the speakers identity. One needs to estimate also as far as is possible his present status and stature. This involves a number of factors, overlapping and hard to keep separate, each bringing its own kind of difficulty. Four such factors can readily be named. Read here
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