Regurgitation

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regurgitation

[ri‚gər·jə′tā·shən]
(medicine)
Reverse circulation of blood in the heart due to defective functioning of the valves.
(physiology)
Bringing back into the mouth undigested food from the stomach.

Regurgitation

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Many of the early materialization mediums were accused of fraud, with the explanation that the ectoplasm that they produced was, in fact, physical material that they had swallowed and then regurgitated. This theory was first propounded in 1922 by the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) in the case of Eva C.. The medium Eva Carriere was visiting London and being investigated by the SPR. Professor Charles Richet said, “They [the SPR] admit that the only possible trickery is regurgitation. But what is meant by that? How can masses of mobile substance, organized as hands, faces, and drawings, be made to emerge from the oesophagus or the stomach? … How, when the medium’s hands are tied and held, could papers be unfolded, put away and made to pass through a veil?"

At a séance on November 26, 1913, conducted by Baron von Schrenck-Notzing, a strong emetic was given to Eva to answer the charge that the ectoplasm was actually regurgitated material. It satisfied the researchers that she had swallowed nothing. A number of experiments took place at Dr. Gustav Geley’s laboratories in 1917 and 1918. Nearly 150 scientists and others witnessed the sittings.

To state that the medium had “obviously regurgitated material” became a typical dismissal of a medium’s performance by a researcher either too lazy to fully investigate or too skeptical to accept what was being proven before his eyes. However, there certainly were fraudulent mediums who did swallow cheesecloth and similar material and attempt to regurgitate it to create an ectoplasmic effect. One such was Helen Duncan, who was examined by the National Laboratory of Psychical Research. Following this, the Morning Post of July 14, 1931, carried an article claiming that Duncan had been caught out and exposed as a fraud. Researcher Harry Price called her “one of the cleverest frauds in the history of Spiritualism.” It transpired that the “ectoplasm” was in fact a composition of wood pulp and egg white, which she was able to swallow and then regurgitate. On July 17, the Light carried a followup article also branding her as a fraud and carrying a confession from her husband.

Sources:

Fodor, Nandor: Encyclopedia of Psychic Science. London: Arthurs Press, 1933
The International Survivalist Society: http://www.survivalafterdeath.org
Psychic News, #3754, June 19, 2004. Stansted, Essex
Leonard, Sue (ed): Quest For the Unknown—Life Beyond Death. Pleasantville: Reader’s Digest, 1992