The electric girl and Harry Price

In the times of psychic creeps like Chris Angel and John Edward, it’s nice to reflect on the olden days of paranormal research. Back when invention ruled and tools of the trade had names like Telekinetoscope and Shadow Apparatus, and mad genius Harry Price was causing waves of awe and skepticism with his unorthodox methods in the field.

Harry Price’s Telekinetoscope

One his greatest discoveries was Stella Cranshaw, later called The Electric Girl. She earned this title by occasionally producing strange flashes of light and underwent 5 years of study by Price, demonstrating extraordinary abilities in which she, oddly, showed little interest. His seances, which he called “sittings” exhausted her and after 13 of them she refused further study, got married and soon disappeared entirely.

Dorothy Stella Cranshaw

Stella’s telekinetic powers were significant nonetheless, at least to Harry, who took great pride in his work with her. During his meticulously orchestrated sittings room temperature lowered, furniture levitated, and much more. Every outrageous detail was documented and later published as “Stella C – A Record of Thirteen Sittings for Thermo-Psychic and Other Experiments”. These studies are online in full – I’ve been reading them in pieces all day here. His methods, tools and prose are fascinating and endearing, if not always awe-inspiring and make for excellent entertainment. An excerpt and links, below.

“Once the table rose completely above the heads of the sitters, some of whom had to rise in order to keep contact with it. During this levitation, the lower platform of the table struck the chin of Mr. Price (who had remained seated, and had lost contact), and came to rest on his chest. The sitters then removed their hands from the table, only the finger-tips of the medium remaining upon it. Movements of the table still continued. The sitters again placed their fingers on the table top, when still further power was developed with increasing violence, two of the legs breaking away from the table with a percussion-like noise as the fracture occurred. At this juncture (12:27) Mr. Pugh excused himself and the sĂ©ance continued without him. Col. Hardwick, Mrs. Pratt, and Mr. Price still retained their fingers upon the top of the table, which was resting on the remaining leg. Suddenly, without warning, and with a violent snap, the table top broke into two pieces; at the same time the remaining leg and other supports of the table crumpled up, the whole being reduced to what is little more than matchwood. The sitting then concluded.”

6 Responses to “The electric girl and Harry Price”

  1. gooby Says:

    Ooh, i love hearing about these stories!!

    I miss the days when life and the spiritual realm were directly attached to some weird idea of electricity. The creation of Frankenstein’s monster seemed quite plausible, and Alexander Graham Bell was busy trying to invent a machine that could use electricity so he could commune with his dead mother, but he messed up and invented the telephone instead.

    I gotsta read all these!!

  2. Zoetica Says:

    Careful, that site sucks you in, especially if you’re already prone to electric fascination. I keep going back to the page, even though I ought to pace myself!

  3. Matt Says:

    The back room of the Photographers’ Gallery (the London one, near Leicester Square tube) currently has some of the photos from Price’s archive collection on display, part of their ‘Seeing Is Believing’ exhibition…

    Surreal, much like when you ladies wrote a post about The Billy Nayer Show, that it’s only a few hours since I happened across that exhibition.

  4. Zoetica Says:

    Matt, what a strange occurence. Some kind of electricity in the air, perhaps? Harrr! I remember that tube stop from my one visit to London a few years ago.

    I’ll add your link to the end of article – thank you.

  5. Iconoclastic Says:

    How fascinating. You have just given me the perfect way to spend the weekend indoors :) Cheers!

  6. Apokalypi Says:

    “I miss the days when life and the spiritual realm were directly attached to some weird idea of electricity.”

    what are you like 107?