Newspaper Tests

Newspaper Tests

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

These were experiments set up initially for testing the medium Gladys Osborne Leonard. They were recorded by the Reverend C. Drayton Thomas in his book Some Recent Evidence for Survival (London, 1948). The purpose was to rule out telepathy as the explanation for apparent spirit communications. Many other psychic researchers have subsequently used similar tests.

The method required the medium to ascertain, from spirit communication, the details of certain columns that would be published in The Times on the following day. The messages were received at a time of day before the newspaper had assembled its pages, therefore no one would know what words, or even which column, would appear on specific pages. The predictions were given to the Society for Psychical Research by 6:00 pm on the same day the messages were received. In tests conducted on February 13, 1920, at 3:00 pm, of the twelve items that were given, only two were completely incorrect. Enquiries at The Times revealed that at the time of the séance, in some cases the particular columns and wording referred to might have been set in type but the position in the paper, with regard to page and column placement, had not been decided. In other cases, the type had not even been set.


Fodor, Nandor: Encyclopedia of Psychic Science. London: Arthurs Press, 1933