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reader comments: spiritualism

20 May 2014
Hi Mr. Randi
Or if pre-read by your assistant, please take just a moment to look into Cora L. V. Richmond's work available for free at the web site in her honor.

reply: I'm not Mr. Randi and I have no assistants but I did take a moment to look into Cora L. V. Richmond (aka Cora Scott, Cora Hatch, Cora Daniels, and Cora Tappan).

If time is limited, I would rather you use this time to go to her site, rather than read what follows.

reply: Cora (b. 1840) has been dead since 1923, but since she was a medium in the spiritualism movement, perhaps her spirit has created a selfie website. According to the Wikipedia entry on Cora Scott:

Cora's father died in 1853, and in 1854 she moved to Buffalo, New York and became well-known among the most important Spiritualists in the country. By the age of 15, she was making public appearances in which she spoke with "supernatural eloquence" on almost any topic put forward by the audience, all while claiming to be in a trance. Contemporary audiences found the spectacle itself incredible: a very young and pretty girl declaiming with authority on esoteric subjects; it was enough to convince many people that she was indeed a channel for spirits....

Her first husband, whom she married at age 16, was the professional mesmerist Benjamin Franklin Hatch. Over 30 years her senior, Hatch was a skilled showman who managed Cora in order to maximize revenue, much to the dismay of serious spiritualists.

Apparently, her charm continues to mesmerize.

CoraLVHatch.jpgI have already sent this request to Richard Dawson with whom you have worked with and Bart Ehrman who was a Christian turned agnostic and has many lectures and debates on the Internet.

reply: Richard Dawson is also dead, but he was great on Hogan's Heroes and Family Feud. How did you send your request to him, if you don't mind my asking?

I now add you to the list on a most perplexing discovery which I can find no one who can explain it or no one attempting to debunk it I see you have touched upon the subject this relates to, but I hope you can find a bit of time to at least have a look as I would be very interested in your opinion. This lady is acclaimed to be the best in her field and her presentations have been world wide, with audiences of the top scientist of her day as well as U. S. Presidents. I would think if your [sic] going to debunk anyone, it would be best to start at the top and leave it at that.

reply: You may put Cora at the top of your list of spiritualist delusionals and frauds, but she was not even on my list until you mistook me for Mr. Randi.

The name of this person of interest is Cora L. V. Richmond, 1840 - 1923. She was a spiritual median [sic] with very interesting abilities. Her purpose was to teach spirituality and she completed thousands of trance state presentations, without any knowledge of the subject and would as described articulate the answer with tremendous clarity, accuracy and never stumble throughout her talk. Educated to the age of 10 or so, she has no knowledge of the subjects discussed but indicates she is guided by a group of 12 spirits. Reviews indicated that no one known to exist on earth could have such vast knowledge. If necessary she spoke in other languages without training, and in one instance answered the question of a north American Indian with his native sign language which he latter indicated was in perfect form. You seem to have a knack of explaining such things. The web site even offers for free a six-part lesson she offered on the involution of the soul from the source and its complete journey again in clear detail.

My name is Craig. For a long time now I have been a seeker of truth and reality to the best of my ability trying to maintain an open mind and considering all. After stumbling onto this site, I have been stopped in my tracks, unsure as to whether this is nothing or if it is of the most up most [sic] importance in understanding the tremendous cycle of purpose we are experiencing and how it all fits together. Your insight and time are both yours to give, and if you can share your thoughts on Mrs. Richmonds work, It would be greatly appreciated.

Craig ---- Registered Geologist, Arizona!

reply: Well, Craig, I don't think you need much insight to explain Cora's popularity or your fascination with her. She doesn't seem all that different from dozens of others I've investigated and written about in The Skeptic's Dictionary. If you have the time, you might want to look at my Short History of Psi Research or at the SD entries on Camp Chesterfield, Char Margolis, Jeane Dixon, Lily Dale, Leonora Piper, Amy Tanner, and Patience Worth. If you only have time for one, read the entry on Amy Tanner.

Good luck with your open-minded search.



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