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THE NEW YORK TIMES Dec. 19, 1923 Page 17, Column 1


Nino Pecoraro Gets Third Test, but Expected Phenomena Fail to Materialize.

Lad Declared to Be Most Promising Candidate for $2,500 Prize.
—Houdini a Witness.

Nino Pecoraro, from The Scientific AmericanFor the third time Nino Pecoraro, an Italian boy medium, sat for The Scientific American Investigating Committee last night, in its law library in the Woolworth Building. This time the greatest care was taken to be sure the medium would be unable to move himself or the chair in which he sat in the cabinet.

Houdini came all the way from Little Rock, Ark., to attend, and at the end of the séance the boy was found exactly as he had been left. Little of the phenomena which were produced at the last sitting last week occurred on this occasion, and with the exception of miscellaneous noises from the cabinet, the séance was confined to messages purporting to come from the medium’s “spirit control.”

However, the investigating committee still feels that the lad is the most promising candidate for The Scientific American’s prize of $2,500 for a medium able to produce genuine psychic phenomena. They are still of the opinion that if the phenomena he produces are fraudulent, they are due to subconscious fraud practiced in the hypnotic state. Dr. Anselme Vecchio of the Hotel Theresa, manager and interpreter for Nino, who speaks no English, attributed the comparative failure of last night’s séance to the discomfort of the medium. The investigating committee hopes to meet this claim in another séance to be held soon.

Say Trance Was Genuine.

Nino Pecoraro in The Scientific AmericanAt the end of the séance J. Malcolm Bird, Chairman of the committee, announced that the committee and its medical advisers were satisfied that the medium’s trance was genuine and that he had not practiced conscious fraud. One of these advisers was Dr. Siegfried Block, a neurologist and something of a hypnotist himself. He made a thorough examination of the boy after the sitting and declared there was no question about the trance.

“Tonight, for the first time,” said Mr. Bird, “we made a definite effort to tie up the medium so that he could not get loose, and we seem to have been successful. Dr. Vecchio attributes the failure to produce phenomena of consequence to the medium’s discomfort, the delay in getting him tied and other unfavorable conditions. The committee doesn’t feel in a position to comment on that at this time. Houdini feels that the medium was not tied in such a way as to produce any discomfort at all, aside from the fact that he could not move. We hope to prove at the next séance that the failure had nothing to do with the tying.”

It took almost an hour and three-quarters to prepare the medium for his test, which was probably the most severe he ever underwent. His hands were sewn into gloves attached fast to his underclothing. His hands were then placed, Chinese fashion into the sleeves of his coat and sewn there. The sleeves were sewn to the coat itself and the coat to the trousers, both in front and behind.

With Nino PecoraroThen Houdini put the boy in a chair and tied him with short pieces of rope which won even the admiration of the “spirit,” which referred to his success time and again during the sitting. The chair was put into the cabinet, which was formed by black curtains hung in one corner of the room, and screwed to the baseboard of the room with metal bands, which were sealed.

Hear Bells and Voices.

It was only a few minutes after the lights were put out that the manifestations began, with creaks from inside the cabinet. There were sounds of an extra chair in the cabinet being tilted back and forth throughout the séance, and at times, a tambourine and bells on the chair could be heard.

Most of the phenomena were attributed to Eusapia Palladino, a world-famous medium until she died several years ago. On one or two occasions Dr. Vecchio declared the voice to be that of Mannie, Nino’s dead brother. At the outset “Palladino” complained of the way they had tied Nino, but she promised phenomena in spite of it. Little, however, became manifest.

This article is reproduced here only for educational purposes. Please do not copy the text or accompanying images for commercial use.


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