Mirabelli, Carlos Carmine

Mirabelli, Carlos Carmine (1889–1951)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Carlos (originally Carmine) Mirabelli was born to Italian parents in Botucatu, Sao Paolo, in 1889. His father was a Protestant pastor. Mirabelli first drew attention to himself as a teenager, when he was the center of poltergeist activity. When working as a shoe clerk, a large number of shoe boxes flew off the store shelves and chased him into the street. Similar things kept happening and Mirabelli was placed in an asylum for nineteen days for observation. The doctors found nothing physically wrong with him. They said that although he wasn’t sick, he wasn’t normal either. It was not until August 1929 that Mirabelli’s extraordinary mediumistic abilities came to world attention through an article published in Germany in Zeitschrift für Parapsychologie. This article was actually based on a little-circulated Brazilian work, O Medium Mirabelli, by Amador Bueno.

Nandor Fodor listed phenomena witnessed by many, saying, “The newspapers … wrote of telekinetic movements; of apports; of a miraculous transportation of the medium from the railroad station of Da Luz to Sao Vincenti, 90 kilometres distance, in two minutes; of his levitation in the street two metres high for three minutes; of how he caused a skull to float towards an apothecary; of making an invisible hand turn the leaves of a book in the home of Dr. Alberto Seabra in the presence of many scientists; of making glasses and bottles at a banquet play a military march without human touch; of causing the hat of Antonio Canterello to fly off and float ten metres along a public square; of making and quelling fire by will in the home of Prof. Dr. Alves Lima; of making the cue play billiards without touching it, and finally of having the picture of Christ impressed on plaster in the presence of Dr. Caluby, Director of Police.” There are photographs of Mirabelli levitating at a séance attended by his son Luiz. A board of enquiry established that the majority of these phenomena occurred spontaneously in daylight in public places, that the phenomena could not be based on trickery, and that the statements of personalities whose reputation was above reproach could not be denied.

In 1919, the Academia de Estudos Psychicos Cesare Lombroso was founded. Mirabelli submitted himself for investigation of his trance speaking, automatic writing, and the physical mediumship. In 1926, the Academy published a report that mentioned 392 sittings in broad daylight, or in a room illuminated by powerful electric light; 349 cases took place in the rooms of the Academy and were attended by 555 people. During the investigations, Mirabelli spoke in twenty-six languages, including seven dialects, and wrote in twenty-eight languages including three dead ones: Latin, Chaldaic, and Egyptian hieroglyphics. The automatic writing included such examples as a treatise of nine pages on the independence of Czechoslovakia, written in twenty minutes, and five pages on the Russo-Japanese war, written in Japanese in twelve minutes. He was able to converse in one language while writing in another. There were incredible phenomena of materializations, with medical doctors examining the spirits and obtaining pulses, heart beats, testing saliva, eyes, etc. At one sitting the recently dead daughter of Dr. de Souza materialized and he was able to hug her and speak with her for more than half an hour. At another sitting a bishop, who had recently drowned in a ship wreck, appeared and was scrutinized by a medical doctor.

Fodor said, “if they (the phenomena) could be proved to the satisfaction of English and American psychical researchers he (Mirabelli) would have to be ranked as the greatest medium of all time.” Psychical researcher Eric Dingwall examined the original Portuguese documents and stated in the July, 1930 Psychic Research, “I find myself totally at a loss to come to any decision whatever on the case. It would be easy to condemn the man as a monstrous fraud and the sitters as equally monstrous fools. But I do not think that such a supposition will help even him who makes it.” He commented on the fact that Mirabelli worked in full light and not in the “feeble glimmer of ruby light” preferred by most British and American physical mediums, and to point out that Mirabelli “submitted himself to the severest tests of … investigators, passively suffering being tied and stripped, until doubt was excluded.”

Before publishing their article, editors of Zeitschrift für Parapsychologie contacted the Brazilian consul, who assured them that he could personally vouch for the integrity of the majority of the people who had testified on Mirabelli’s behalf. Unfortunately there were no funds to send Mirabelli to Europe to be tested and investigated, and the Society for Psychical Research dismissed the reports they heard of his mediumship as “too fantastical.” They also felt that the Brazilian researchers lacked the necessary expertise to test Mirabelli properly. In the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research (#24, 1930) Dingwall reported, An Amazing Case: the Mediumship of Carlos Mirabelli. He said, “The chaos in which psychical research finds itself at present prevents any really valuable systematic work being done.”

In the November, 1930 issue of Psychic Research, Professor Hans Driesch reported that he sat with Mirabelli in Sao Paolo two years previously and that, although there had been some surprising examples of psychokinesis, which he could not explain, there had been no materializations nor speaking in languages other than Italian and Esthonian. Yet at one séance Mirabelli was in trance when a bell on the table levitated and started to ring. It woke Mirabelli who then described a man he had seen clairvoyantly. As he spoke, that same man began to materialize and two sitters recognized him as the deceased Dr. de Menezes. A physician present tried to examine the form but it floated away. As Fodor said, “the figure began to dissolve from the feet upwards, the bust and arms floating in the air.” Mary S. Walker, of the American Society for Psychical Research, did sit with Mirabelli and was most impressed by what she saw, even though his powers were somewhat diminished by that time.

In 1933, Mirabelli was bound and handcuffed yet flowers floated into the room through a locked window, followed by a statue. Mirabelli spoke in Arabic to one of the sitters, who recognized the voice of his mother who had died thirty years before. The sitter became a Spiritist on the spot! During a séance in 1934, flowers and bottles materialized, a chair and keys moved about the room, and a picture lifted from the wall and floated across the room, striking one of the sitters on the head in passing. It is claimed that there was an instance of Mirabelli himself dematerializing from a sealed séance room and reappearing in another room, where he was found with his bonds and their seals still intact.

When Mirabelli’s biographer Eurico de Goes went to visit the medium on one occasion, Goes realized he had left his umbrella at home. As he entered Mirabelli’s house, the umbrella fell from the ceiling—an apport. A similar example of an apport was seen when the British diplomat Sir Douglas Ainslie visited the medium. As Sir Douglas entered the house he suddenly found his traveling alarm clock on the hall table. He had last seen it in his hotel room. Mirabelli’s three sons reported to Guy Lion Playfair in 1973 that their father’s powers were evident on a daily basis. They could happen “almost every day, any time and any place.” Their mother, they said, was resigned to such things as having a newly set dinner table suddenly wiped clear of table cloth, dishes, glasses, and cutlery. None of the sons had inherited the father’s abilities.

Since Mirabelli was practicing his mediumship in a Roman Catholic country, he was taken to court fifteen times over the years. Despite this persecution, he continued to demonstrate the reality of survival of the spirit after physical death, bringing happiness to a great many people. Mirabelli died in 1951. Playfair said, “His son Cesar Augusto has movingly described how, while they were on their way to the local cinema, the medium dashed across the road to buy his son an ice cream. He was hit by a car, and died without regaining consciousness.”


Carlos Mirabelli Biography: http://www.fortunecity.com/roswell/seance/78/mirab.htm Fodor, Nandor: Encyclopedia of Psychic Science. London: Arthurs Press, 1933 Foreman, Laura (ed): Mysteries of the Unknown: Spirit Summonings. New York: Time-Life Books, 1989
Playfair, Guy Lion: The Flying Cow: Research into Paranormal Phenomena in the World’s Most Psychic Country. London: Souvenir Press, 1975
Playfair, Guy Lion: Mysteries of Mind Space & Time; the Unexplained: “This Perilous Medium.” Westport: H. S. Stuttman, 1992
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