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Ada Besinnet

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Ada Besinnet
BornAda Maud Besinnet
1890
Ohio
DiedMarch 13, 1936
Toledo, Ohio

Ada Besinnet (1890–1936) was an American spiritualist medium.

Biography

Besinnet was known for materializing 'phantom' faces, producing voices and 'psychic' lights in her séances. Psychical researchers were convinced that all her phenomena were fraudulent but some suggested she may have been in a dissociated state. Researchers found the phantom faces suspicious, commenting that they had a strong resemblance to her own face.

Besinnet refused to sit with the magician Harry Houdini. She had been exposed as a fraud by an undercover magician Fulton Oursler. During the séance he heard the medium leaving her chair, moved his shoe over the seat and discovered she was not there. Oursler in his exposure wrote that Besinnet had easily performed the phenomenon herself by getting up and moving around the room making noises. He had studied ventriloquism and stated all the voices were her own. As for the faces and lights, he suggested they were masks and observed a flashlight and, on another occasion, a rag in her hand.

In Toledo, Ohio the spiritualist Arthur Conan Doyle attended séances with Besinnet and claimed the faces were of his mother and nephew. Doyle endorsed her as a genuine materialization medium. This was disputed by other researchers who noted Besinnet had already been caught utilizing tricks by Oursler, but Doyle had ignored the exposure.

James H. Hyslop of the American Society for Psychical Research concluded after attending 70 sittings that Besinnet was responsible for the all phenomena during the séances but her trance control was a "secondary personality".


References

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