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Scientific American magazine sponsored a contest in 1923 offering anyone that could conduct a real séance twenty five hundred dollars.  As a part of the challenge, the medium had to agree to scrutiny from the  scientific community during the session.  During the contest period; many mediums were disproven and exposed as frauds. 

Mina Crandon

Mina Crandon was persuaded by the associate editor of the Scientific American to perform a séance before the committee.  Now a little background on Mina, she had already gained a bit of notoriety for her work with Walter.  Walter was Mina’s dead brother and according to her the person that gave her access to the spirit world.  Through this partnership she was able to make objects levitate, make writings appear out of nowhere and cause voices to be heard out of thin air.  She was said to have proven her paranormal gifts during scientific tests in Europe.

In the Spring and Summer of 1924, Mina Crandon was monitored by several world renown elitist.  The group included former professor of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Daniel Comstock and one of the world’s greatest magicians and biggest skeptics, Harry Houdini.  As Mrs. Crandon performed many of the same examples of her supposed powers to the group, Houdini believed her to be a fraud.  He went as far as to give lectures discrediting her as a medium and accused the associate editor of the Scientific American of being in cahoots with her and being inept.    

Although, Houdini felt she was not legitimate, many of the others on the committee believed otherwise.  Since the committee was unable to disprove her abilities, their findings moved her into the national spotlight.  Next, she demonstrated making her dead brother’s fingerprint on a  string dental wax. This helped her career continue to evolve and peak for many years.

Then There Is the Truth

Many examinations were done of the fingerprint before it was eventually discovered that the fingerprint that Mina claimed to be of her dead brother’s finger was actually her dentist fingerprint.  With this faux paus coming to light, soon Mr. Bird, the associate editor of Scientific American came out and confessed to his collaboration with Crandon’s husband to fool the committee.  This once and for all proved what Houdini seemed to have known all along; she was a fake. 

Still Waiting

After over 150 years of scientific testing of mediums and psychics, no one has been able to claim the prizes offered including a million dollar prize offer by a magician known as “The Amazing Randi” for conducting a real séance.  This has left the world’s greatest minds to believe that this so called power does not actually exist.  So if you think you have the power to speak with the dead, then step forward; the world is waiting for you.