Common thieves, Russian spies, and invisible parrots all suspected
From The Cincinnati Scepter, August 8, 1936
The world famous Medium Family of Allamuchy, New Jersey, has made quite a splash of late. At a recent New York City engagement, these Mediums (in more than one sense of the word) described past events for dozens of people in the audience, listed objects that people had in their pockets, and forecast a number of in-house happenings mere moments before they occurred—all with absolute certainty and correctness.
“I had a silver pocketwatch with a crack in the glass, a billfold with two dollars and a stick of gum in it, and a lucky thimble that I always carry around with me,” says Sheldon Sheingold of Brooklyn who was in attendance and came onstage as a randomly chosen volunteer. “Not only did they name all these things, but they talked about Kugel, which was not just my favorite food as a kid but also the name of my puppy dog back then.”
The crowd applauded for the Mediums and for Sheingold alike when, just before walking offstage, Montrose Medium, the head of the family proclaimed, “In just a moment, Mr. Sheingold shall trip and fall on his way down the steps.”
He did just that.
“How’d they know?” said Sheingold, talking to the press from his hospital bed, his bandaged leg elevated in a sling. “And if they did know, why didn’t they stop it from happening?”
★ ★ ★
Questions like Mr. Sheingold’s are on the minds of many who have come in contact with the Medium Family.
At one engagement in Chicago, Mr. Medium stated, “Before you leave the theatre, those of you who left your coats with the check girl are in for a nasty shock.” Sure enough, all the contents of patrons’ pockets were missing and the check girl was nowhere to be found.
At a gala event in Atlanta, Georgia, Marsha McMedium (her maiden name) divulged that a Democratic senator was wearing a corset and brassiere beneath his tuxedo, right after Mr. Medium pronounced, “In just a moment, this gentlemen shall turn the color of a beet, grab his hat, coat, and wife, and then vacate the premises.” These events transpired, though the senator's alleged corset and brassiere were never verified.
“I have many theories as to what’s transpiring at these events,” says Dr. Randall Harris of Missoula, Montana. “One theory is that these so-called mediums* are using the power of suggestion to make these events occur. Suggestion can sometimes be so strong that it can almost be called coercion—or even hypnosis.”
Dr. Harris, whose specialty is psychology, when asked about a theory that the Mediums are in cahoots with a ring of pickpockets said, “As a man of science, I can neither verify nor refute these claims. Not without hard evidence. There are those who say that Mr. Medium has spent time in Communist Russia and carries a device that sends direct signals to the KGB. I’ve also heard a theory that there is an invisible parrot sitting on Marsha McMedium’s shoulder, whispering secrets in her ear.”
Dr. Harris went on to say that an invisible parrot was implausible, but that a “very small parrot” would be possible.
The Medium Family performs this Tuesday, August 11th, at the Bastion Hill Auditorium in downtown Cincinnati. It is predicted that there will not be an empty seat in the house.
*Editor’s note: Mr. Harris’s use of the phrase “so-called mediums” refers to the family’s occupation being put into question, whereas the family’s surname is indeed “Medium” , a fact that this reporter has verified through reputable sources.