THE BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF PARAPSYCHOLOGY
W(ILLIAM) J(ACKSON) CRAWFORD
Lecturer in engineering. B. 188-?, d. July 30, 1920, Belfast, Ireland. D.Sc. Lecturer in mechanical engineering, Municipal Technical Istitute, Belfast; Queen's University, Belfast.
In 1916 Crawford caused a sensation in the field of psychical research with the publicatios of a report of series of sittings he had conducted with a young Irish medium, Kathleen Goligher. In these sittings he claimed not only to have witnessed a variety of "physical" phenomena, including levitation and the production of ectoplasmic structures, but to have taken photographs and made sound recordings of the phenomenal and made accurate measurements of changes in the weight of persons and objects during the production of the phenomena. He asserted that raps, levitations and similar occurrences were produced by "psychic rods," constructed from ectoplastm, and that well-known systems of mechanical leverage such as the cantilever principle were employed in the use of these "rods."
Unfortunately Crawford refused to allow representatives of the Society for Psychical Research, London, to join him in controlled experiments with Miss Goligher. Two visits were, however, made to Belfast by W. Whately Carington (q.v.), a member of the SPR. On his first visit Carington expressed himself satisfied that the phenomena were genuine, but on the second, four years later, he found "a conspicuous and startling deterioration," and concluded that the mediumship had become fradulent.
After Crawford's death (by suicide), an attempt to repeat his results was made with the same medium by Dr. E. E. Fournier d'Albe. Twenty sittings were completely negative, and d'Albe expressed the view that the levitations witnessed by Crawford were produced fraudulently. His findings were published in a book, The Goligher Circle, in 1922. Publications by Crawford, all concerning the same experiments, are The Reality of Psychic Phenomena (1916); Experiments in Psychical Science (1919); The Psychic Structures at the Goligher Circle (1921).
Taken from Helene Pleasants (1964) Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology with Directory and Glossary 1946-1996 NY: Garrett Publications