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E.H. Everard Feilding: Researcher

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Francis Henry Everard Feilding was born in 1867, one of nine children born to Mary and Rudolph F Feilding, 8th Earl of Denbigh. Feilding began his career as a midshipman for the Royal Navy and participated in the Egyptian Campaign in 1882.  Afterward, he attended Oscott College and Trinity College in Cambridge, graduating with a law degree in 1890.

Feilding was a Catholic, and while living at Oxford, he was participated in a movement to encourage young Catholics to enter the University. He also visited Lourdes in 1892 which may have sparked his interest in spirit communication. By 1903, he was secretary of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR). He held the position until 1920.

Feilding became an avid researcher in the field. E. N. Beknett wrote that he and Feilding felt “it was worthwhile to explore any really well attested phenomena on the off chance of finding some grains of gold among the dross.”

Feilding is known for his investigation of the Italian medium Eurapia Palladino with an SPR committee in 1908.   He took the lead in all their experiments and became convinced that unexplained powers existed that could create matter.  Although they caught Palladino cheating during some of the seances, they were convinced she had produced genuine phenomena, including table levitations, movement of curtains and objects, and touches from hands. In 1909, the team wrote a report on the medium in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research. It became known as the “Feilding report” and was the source of debate between psychical researchers and sceptics for years. Afterward, Feilding attended other Palladino séances with magician William S. Marriott at his side. He concluded that Palladino was a fraud.

Feilding’s investigations were interrupted by World War I. He served as a lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and worked for British Intelligence in Egypt.  During that time Feilding met Polish medium Stanislawa Tomczyk. His research on her abilities led to a marriage in 1919.

Feilding investigated many cases over the years. In 1914, he examined an alleged miracle, a bleeding lithographic print belonging to priest Abbé Vachère. He took a blood sample and a lab concluded it was not human blood. Feilding and his wife visited Vachère many years later. The priest showed them a small bleeding statue of Jesus. Feilding took a sample and this time the results showed it was human blood.

Feilding held a “ghost hunt” at an alleged haunted house known as “Pickpocket Hall.” He spent a few nights in the abandoned house with a friend, but they witnessed nothing. He exposed materialization medium, Christopher Chambers, as a fraud. In 1911, he also attended two séance sittings with Etta Wriedt. He wrote about a dozen reports on various cases that were published in the SPR’s journal.

After Feilding passed in 1936, Beknett wrote, “When I last saw my old friend, exactly a fortnight before his death, his mind seemed as cheerful and as vigorous as ever. He died amid the love and esteem of all who knew him, without an enemy in the world — I know no better record for any man or woman.”

Additional Reading

Beknett, E.N. (1936) In Memory of Everard Feilding. Proceedings of the Society for Physical Research, Vol XLIV, 1936-1937.

 

 

Please note I reproduce exactly the original authors work so no editing is done.

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