Materialized objects produced by mediums during Spiritualistic seances. These objects can range from flowers, jewelry, and even live animals. The production of the apports was and is still one of the most prominent and effective aspects of the seances. Their behavior vary from flying through the air, to hitting the sitters in their faces, to landing on the table or in people’s laps. A favorite is to scatter perfume over the audience.
However, during scientific testing in seances numerous frauds have been discovered even when ordinary precautions were taken. Often the fraudulent medium concealed the apports in the room or on his/her person. While the seances may have been conducted by unscrupulous procedures, often it was discovered that no fraudulent intent was intended.
Production of apports is one of the most puzzling and exciting aspects of Spiritualism. The objects vary in size, are both inanimate and animate, and seem to suffer no ill effects from their strange mode of travel. The first recorded observation of them appeared in the Researches psychologique ou correspondencesur le magnetisme vital entre un Solitaire et M. Deleuze (Paris, 1839) It was witnessed by a Dr. G. P. Billot during a seance on March 5, 1819. At the seance were three somnambules and a blind woman. One of the seeresses said she saw a dove flying around the room. It was carrying something in its beak which it finally deposited before a person. When Billot examined the contents of the packet he found three peieces of paper with a small bone glued to each and beneath was written, «St. Maxime, St. Sabine and Many Martyrs.» Later Billot with the blind woman told of the experience to Dr. Deleuze who said he thought that animal magnetism was probably a better explanation than the intervention of spirits. There have, of course, been other explanations.
Apports have been recorded as arriving in various ways. During one of the Millesimo seances a pair of modest earrings given by a guide spirit to Marchioness Centurione Scotto came by means of a trumpet with a phosphorus band which appeared. The trumpet turns its large end up to fit against the ceiling and then there was heard a thumbing sound as the earrings dropped into the instrument.
In his work Man’s Survival After Death the Reverend C. L. Tweedale described an incident which involved his mother, wide and himself. His mother had suffered a cut on her head. They were all in the dinning room. His wife had just parted the older woman’s hair to examine the wound. The minister suddenly looked and saw coming through the air with force from an opposite corner of the room above a window which his wife’s back was to a jar of ointment. The jar was one which his mother kept locked away in a chest. To him, the obvious indication was to apply the ointment to his mother’s injury. Tweedale notes other similar incidents in his book.
Doctors Dusart and Brogart both observed a lump of sugar disappear and reappear in a seance room.
There is the question from where do these apports come from. The question is legitimate when there is no fraudulent manipulation of the objects involved. Apports of flowers have been traced to a nearby gedarden. One incident involved Henry Olcott when attending a seance held by Helena Blavatsky who was presented with a leaf of a rare plant on which he had previously put a mark. A.G.H.