Home, Daniel Dunglas
Home, Daniel Dunglas
BORN 20 Mar 1833, Currie (near Edinburgh) - DIED 21 Jun 1886, Auteuil|
GRAVE LOCATION Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Yvelines: Vieux Cimetière (Carré K )
Daniel Dunglas Home was born near Edinburgh. His parents were poor and an aunt took care of him. When he was nine years old he went back to his parents, who lived in Connecticut by that time. His mother was known as a clairvoyant and when Hume was seventeen there were knockings, flashes of light and other strange things going on. Eventually his parents forced him to
leave their house.
He wandered around and started giving seances in broad daylight. Tables were mysteriously lifted from the floor and spirit voices were heard. He was also able to tell people details from their lives that they had long forgotten themselves.
In 1855 he went to England, where his abilities were soon widely recognized. Queen Victoria and Charles Dickens were among his admirers. He also travelled to other countries in Europe. In 1858 he married Alexandra de Kroll, a 17 year old girl from a noble family and a god daughter of the Tsar of Russia. They had a son, Gregoire, but Alexandra died after only four years of marriage in 1862.
In 1857 he was the guest of Napoleon III and the empress Eugénie. Eugénie was reported to have communicated by handshakes with her father, who had been dead for 18 years. But not everybody was equally susceptible to the spirits. When Home asked the princess Metternich how she liked communication with them she coolly responded that she preferred relations with the living. Foreign diplomats started to make fun of the numerous seances and Count Walewski, the emperor's half brother, even threatened to resign as Foreign Secretary if they wouldn't stop. There is a story that at one occasion at Biarritz Eugénie was touched by a perfumed hand and cried out. Immediately the room was lighted and it turned out the foot of Home was near her face. The emperor's physician Dr. Barthez called Home and imposter, but Eugénie denied the story. However, it is certain that Home was forced to leave France and didn't return during the reign of Napoleon III.
Home also held seances in the presence of Mark Twain, Charles Darwin and William Makepeace Thackeray. In 1862 he published a book titled "Incidents in My Life".
Home never accepted money for his feats, only gifts. But when a Mrs. Lyon took a fancy to him and in 1866 and offered to settle a fortune on him if he changed his name to Lyon he agreed and did so. She transferred 60.000 pounds to his account and changed her will in his favour. But soon she regretted her act and she sued him, claiming that Home had influenced her by spirit communications from her late husband. He was arrested had to deposit the 60.000 to be liberated. Home lost the case and didn't appeal because the public opinion was strongly against him. During the trial an attempt on his life was made and his hand was cut by the stiletto of his attacker.
On December 13th, 1868 he gave his most remarkable performance. In view of a crowd of people he stepped out of a window on the third floor of a house and appreared in front of the window of another room. A little later he returned through the original window. Lord Adare was a witness to this event and wrote an account of it.
Many people tried to prove Home was a fraud, but spiritists claim that every attempt to do so failed. In later years Harry Houdini stated that he would reproduce the levitation that Lord Adare had witnessed, but the event never took place. It has been suggested that Home must have used mass hypnosis to make so many people believe they witnessed his levitation. In some other cases witnesses recorded that it was 'quite dark' during his seances and it was also noted that he often had the same companion sitting opposite of him.
The famous Sir William Crookes experimented with Home to find out if his powers were real. In front of his eyes Home took hot coals from a fire and held them in his hands. After Crookes published the surprising results of his investigations, other scientists scorned him in public. It seems Crooks was indeed a bit too enthousiastic about spiritualism. He also investigated the famous medium Florence Cook and believed she was a genuine medium, but she fooled him all along.
In 1873 Home published "Lights and Shadows of Spiritualism" in which he protested against seances in the dark. This enfuriated many other mediums who were always operating in complete darkness.
In 1871 Home married the Russian heiress Julie de Gloumeline, whom he had met in St. Petersburg. After the fall of Napoleon III he was able to bring his spirits to France again, but by this time the tuberculosis he had been suffering from for a long time grew worse. His financial circumstances now enabled him to retire from his performances. In 1873 he moved to the Mediterranean, where he lived until his death in 1886. He was buried at St. Germain-en-Laye. His tombstone bears the inscription "Born to Spirit Life - To another discerning of Spirits." His widow published two books bout him, "D.D.Home: His Life and Mission" (1888) and "The Gift of D.D.Home" (1890).
corresponded with Crookes, William
performed for Napoleon III Bonaparte
met Trollope, Anthony
Beyern, Bertrand, Guide des tombes d'hommes célèbres, Le Cherche Midi, Paris, 2003
Stephen, Leslie [Sir], Sidney Lee [Sir] [Editors], The Dictionary of National Biography, From the Earliest Times to 1900, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1960
Gooch, C.H., The Second Empire, Longmans, London, 1960
Historia Hors Serie 34, Tallandier, Paris, 1974
Daniel Dunglas Home