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THE BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF PARAPSYCHOLOGY

FLORENCE COOK

(Mrs. E. E. Corner), medium. B. 1856, Christ Church, Surrey, England; d. April 22, 1904, London. M. 1874, Edward Elgie Corner (d. 1928): 2 d.

Few individuals in the history of psychic research have aroused so much controversy as "Florrie Cook, one of the more famous of the so-called materializing mediums. The most remarkable of her phenomena was the supposed production of a full-form materializatio claiming to be "Katie King," the daughter of the pirate John King, alias Henry Morgan.

A sensation was caused in 1874 when the famous physicist and psychic researcher Sir William Crookes (q.v.) announced that he had not only witnessed but had photographed the King materialization, which he pronounced genuine. Crookes said he had seen the entranced medium still in the cabinet, or enclosure used by some mediums during a seance, at the same time as the materialized Katie was walking about the seance room; that he had carried on a normal conversation with Katie, and even, on one occasion had embraced her.

Prior to 1962, most of the controversy over the report by Crookes concerned whether, on the one had, he had been deceived, or on the other, the medium's phenomena were genuine. With the publication in 1962 of The Spiritualists, an exhaustive investigation by Trevor H. Hall (q.v.), new light was thrown on the subject. Material compiled by Hall, apparently indicating that Crookes was partner to a hoax - perpetrated perhaps as cover for an intimate relationship between him and Florence - increased doubt whether genuine phenomena had ever been produced by Miss Cook.

Taken from Helene Pleasants (1964) Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology with Directory and Glossary 1946-1996 NY: Garrett Publications


 
 

 

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