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The Sittings of Leonora Piper: George Pellew

May 8, 2011

– From the book, “Ghost Hunters,” by Deborah Blum, year 1893

His investigation of the so-called ghost of George Pellow was based upon a simple idea, with a twist. He would bring more than a hundred visitors, eventually, to sit with Mrs Piper. Some would be friends of the dead man; some would be strangers to him. But she would be given no relationship clues. No participants would be allowed to tell their names or whether they had any connection to GP. They would be allowed to improvise personal tests, but they would not be allowed to give any explanation for them.

One visitor brought a photograph of a building.

“Do you recognize this?”

“Yes, it is your summer house.”

Which it was.

Another woman placed a book on the medium’s head.

“Do you recognize this?” she said to GP.

“My French lyrics,” he answered.

That was right too.

Another visitor, a man, simply asked. “Tell me something, in our past, that you and I alone know.”

As he spoke, Mrs Piper sat slumped forward into a pile of pillows on the table, her left hand dangling limply over the edge, her right hand coiled loosely around a pencil. Next to her right side, a pad of paper sat on the table. Suddenly, her fingers tightened and she began to write, wildly, filling pages, ripping them off, thrusting them away from her.

Hodgson moved to the other side of the room. The man began flipping through the pages. He paled and folded the papers.  They were too private to be read aloud, he told Hodgson.

But he was, “perfectly satisfied, perfectly.”

“I could not distinguish anything at first,” GP told a friend during one of the sittings. “Darkest hours just before dawn, you know that, Jim.  I was puzzled, confused.”

“Weren’t you surprised to find yourself still living?” his friend asked in return.

“Perfectly so. It was beyond my reasoning powers. Now it is as clear to me as daylight.”

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