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19th Century Apparitions/ Mark Twain & The Supernatural

Date Friday - October 20, 2017
Host Dave Schrader
Guests Peter ManseauAlan Pell Crawford

Filling in for George Noory, guest host Dave Schrader (email) welcomed first hour guest, curator and author Peter Manseau, who shared the story of 19th-century spirit photographer William Mumler, known for photographing Abraham Lincoln's ghost. Mumler asserted he was experimenting with a self-portrait which when developed showed a translucent female next to him, Manseau explained. "The more he showed it around people couldn't explain how the image had been placed there," he said, noting spiritualists of the age initially supported Mumler in his endeavors to capture spirits on film. Ultimately, some of his photographs were proven to be fakes created by double exposing the plates, and he was arrested for fraud in 1869, Manseau reported.

During the second hour, author Alan Pell Crawford talked about Mark Twain's fascination with the supernatural. "I think the reason so many of his stories... are shot through with [supernatural] material is that he grew up with it... it was part of the folklore," Crawford suggested, noting Twain was a chronic sleepwalker as a child who thought his mother had second sight and believed in faith healers. Crawford detailed a vivid dream Twain had about the death of his younger brother and how it came to pass a few days later. "This haunted [Twain] throughout his life to the point that he would visit fortune tellers and palm readers... still trying to sort this out," he said. Crawford also recounted an eerie experience had by Twain in which a current of cold air inexplicably surrounded him in the room where his daughter Jean died.

Open Lines followed in the latter half of the program. Julia in South Carolina told Dave about her psychic experiences. According to Julia, she displayed psychic abilities as a child when she had a premonition of her cat dying which came true. She also claimed to have had visions of her grandfather suffering a stroke and the tragic murder of a good friend. Guy from Buffalo, New York, suggested authors receive their information from the future since the books they write are completed as a present fact in the future. "Your future self is almost dictating the book through some sort of inner dictation to you," he proposed. Jean, a woman of Native American descent in Mansfield, Ohio, shared the bizarre results some of her own people have received from DNA ancestry tests. "A couple of them have had results that have said we have one [gene] that is not human," she revealed.

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