Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Iceland, has picked up where early 20th century scholars left off in the investigation of an Icelandic medium’s claim to supernatural abilities.
Haraldsson found a ghost.
As part of the research for his book, “Indridi Indridason: The Icelandic Physical Medium,” published in October 2015, Haraldsson found documentation connecting a spirit said to appear during a séance to a real person.
In the account, a human figure appeared in a pillar of light during one of Indridason’s séances. The man identified himself as Fabrikant Jensen (“Fabrikant” means manufacturer). He spoke Danish and told of a factory fire in Copenhagen, Denmark. Jensen appeared to Indridason again a few days later and said he had six siblings, was not married, and had no children.
At the time, news from Denmark came to Iceland by ship at lengthy intervals. There were no other means of communication to Iceland. The séance occurred on Nov. 24, 1905. The next ship carrying news from Copenhagen arrived shortly before Christmas.
When it arrived, it brought newspapers reporting that a factory caught fire on Nov. 24, the day of the séance.
No one had tried to verify the existence of a “Fabrikant Jensen” until Haraldsson delved into the public records in Copenhagen. He found a man who matched Jensen’s description precisely, and this man had lived two doors down from the factory that caught fire. He died in 1898, seven years before the fire.
Haraldsson delved into the public records in Copenhagen. He found a man who matched Jensen’s description precisely.
“[Indridason] was investigated very thoroughly by very competent investigators, so there is a lot of available material on him,” Haraldsson said. For example, Gudmundur Hannesson, a physician who later became a professor at the University of Iceland, brought Indridason to his own house, stripped him and made him change into his own clothes, and prohibited any of Indridason’s associates from coming with him. The strange phenomena still occurred.
Indridason reportedly levitated during séances. Voices of deceased people were frequently heard in various parts of the séance room, along with other supernormal occurrences. A few years ago, more detailed accounts from the séances emerged, giving Haraldsson additional fuel for his research.
Changing Water to Petrol?
The Indian spiritual leader Sathya Sai Baba similarly attracted Haraldsson’s attention. Sai Baba purportedly performed supernatural feats, but refused to take part in tests Haraldsson proposed to scientifically verify his abilities. He did, however, give Haraldsson ample opportunities to observe him.
Haraldsson interviewed a great number of people who lived with Sai Baba in different periods of his life. They found no normal explanation for the phenomena, which included producing rare objects on demand and changing liquids of one kind to another, such as water into petrol.
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