George Valiantine

George Valiantine (1874–1947) was an American direct voice medium that was exposed as a fraud.[1][2]

George Valiantine


Valiantine was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He worked as a manufacturer before he discovered mediumship. He gave séances in America and Europe.[3] Valiantine predicted in the 1920s that aliens would visit earth.[4] He also claimed contact with spirit guides known as Hawk Chief and Kokum.[5]


British spiritualist author Herbert Dennis Bradley defended Valiantine as a genuine medium and wrote two books about his mediumship.[6] Researcher Melvin Harris has written that Bradley was naïve and easily duped.[7] However, Bradley later admitted he caught Valiantine cheating.[8] In 1931, Bradley wrote a book that exposed Valiantine as a fraud.[9]

Voices were heard in the séances of Valiantine and he always used a trumpet but denied that he had spoken through it. Psychical researcher Ernest Palmer had investigated the trumpet after a séance and discovered "a good deal of moisture" inside the mouth piece, which indicated that it been spoken into by an ordinary human and not a spirit.[10]

Valiantine entered for the Scientific American prize of $2,500, to be awarded to any medium producing spiritualist phenomenon under test conditions. In the test Valiantine produced movement of a trumpet in the dark séance room, however, an electrical connection had been rigged to his chair which was connected to a light in an adjoining room which revealed that all the trumpet activity coincided with when he left his chair.[11] Valiantine had not known his chair was wired.[12] Psychical researcher Harry Price described the test séance:

At the final sitting, in complete darkness, on May 26, 1923, special apparatus was installed. This was an electrical circuit which included the chair on which the medium sat. When the medium rose from his seat, a light went out in an adjoining room. Dictaphone notes were taken of all that occurred. It was found that Valiantine left his chair fifteen times (when he should have been in it), sometimes for as long as eighteen seconds, and that these periods corresponded with those when the sitters were touched by the 'spirits'.[13]

Valiantine did not collect the award as he had cheated and was pronounced a fraud by the Scientific American committee.[14]

In 1925, Harry Price investigated the "direct voice" mediumship of Valiantine in London. In the séance Valiantine claimed to have contacted the "spirit" of the composer Luigi Arditi who spoke Italian. Price wrote down every word that was attributed to Arditi and they were found to be word-for-word matches in an Italian phrase-book.[15] Price also discovered that Valiantine had studied the telephone directory to obtain information.[16] In 1931, Valiantine was exposed as a fraud in the séance room as he produced fraudulent "spirit" fingerprints in wax. The "spirit" thumbprint that Valiantine claimed belonged to Arthur Conan Doyle was revealed to be the print of his big toe on his right foot. It was also revealed that Valiantine made some of the prints with his elbow.[17]


  1. ^ Anderson, Rodger (2006). Psychics, Sensitives and Somnambules. McFarland & Company. p. 178. ISBN 978-0786427703
  2. ^ Jaher, David. (2015). The Witch of Lime Street: Séance, Seduction, and Houdini in the Spirit World. Crown. pp. 111-121. ISBN 978-0307451064
  3. ^ Spence, Lewis. (2011). Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. Kessinger Publishing. p. 957. ISBN 978-0766128170
  4. ^ Baker, Robert A. (1996). Hidden Memories: Voices and Visions from Within. Prometheus Books. p. 118. ISBN 978-1573920940
  5. ^ Buckland, Raymond. (2005). The Spirit Book: The Encyclopedia of Clairvoyance, Channeling, and Spirit Communication. Visible Ink Press. p. 426. ISBN 978-1578592135
  6. ^ Bradley, Herbert Dennis. Towards the Stars, The Wisdom of the Gods (T. Werner Laurie Limited. 1924, 1925)
  7. ^ Harris, Melvin. (1978). Strange to Relate. Granada Publishing. p. 109. ISBN 0-583-30342-0
  8. ^ Summers, Montague. (2010). Physical Phenomena of Mysticism. Kessinger Publishing. p. 114. ISBN 978-1161363654
  9. ^ Bradley, Herbert Dennis. (1931). And After. T. Werner Laurie Limited.
  10. ^ Palmer, E. Clephan. (2003). Riddle of Spiritualism. Kessinger Publishing. p. 78. ISBN 978-0766179318
  11. ^ Kalush, William; Sloman, Larry. (2007). The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero. Atria Books. p. 413. ISBN 978-0743272087
  12. ^ Christopher, Milbourne. (1998). Houdini: A Pictorial Biography, Including More Than 250 Illustrations. Random House Value Publishing. p. 127. ISBN 978-0756775735
  13. ^ Price, Harry. (1939). Chapter The Mechanics of Spiritualism in Fifty Years of Psychical Research. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-0766142428
  14. ^ Stein, Gordon. (1996). The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal. Prometheus Books. p. 395. ISBN 978-1573920216
  15. ^ Price, Harry. (1942). Search For Truth: My Life For Psychical Research. Collins. p. 203
  16. ^ Tabori, Paul. (1966). Harry Price: The Biography of a Ghosthunter. Living Books. p. 120
  17. ^ Franklyn, Julian. (2003). A Survey of the Occult. pp. 263-395. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-0766130074

Further readingEdit