The Voice Box

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Schneider, Rudi

Rudi Schneider  (27 July 1908 – 1957)

Rudi was one of six sons of Josef Schneider.   The brothers Willy, Hans and Carl were the only ones who had any psychic power, but Hans and Carl only to a slight degree.  

Rudi was a Motor Mechanic by trade, an Austrian Spiritualist and Physical Medium.[1][2] His career was covered extensively by the journal of the American Society for Psychical Research[3] ,[and he took part in a number of notable experiments conducted by paranormal researchers/debunkers, including Harry Price, Albert von Schrenck-Notzing and Eric J. Dingwall.[4] Some of which declared him to be a fraud, and others of which were unable to find evidence of trickery.[3][4][5][6][7]

Early career

Rudi Schneider began participating in Séances with his elder brother Willi Schneider at age 11, at which he claimed to be channelling the spirit of Olga Lintner; a persona previously used by Willi. He held his first solo séance in 1919 and is said to have been able to summon the ghostly image of a human hand, as well as a number of other manifestations that are traditionally associated with séances.[3][4] 

Schneider began giving demonstrations to the Vienna Institute fur Radiumforschung der Academic der Wissenschaffen in 1923. However, in 1924, Professors Sefan Mayer and Karl Przibram found that he had attempted to get round the controls that they had set up to prevent fakery, though no actual fakery was observed. After Meyer and Przibram's accusations, the institute concluded that the abilities that Schneider's had demonstrated up to that point were all, based on the balance of probability, the result of trickery and that he was no-longer of interest to them.[3][4] Three years later, in April 1927, Warren Vinton went further, publishing an article in Psyche that directly accused Schneider of being a fraud. According to Vinton, Schneider's feats were produced by means of a hidden accomplice. In October of that year, the case was taken up by Malcolm Bird, a research officer for the American Society for Psychical Research. Bird concluded that Vinton's accusations had a sound basis.[3][4] Similar conclusions of fakery were also reached by other researchers [7]

Harry Price

In 1929 Schneider took part in a number of experiments conducted by notable investigator/debunker Harry Price at the National Laboratories for Psychical Research. Price conducted a series of experiments in which Schneider was connected to a series of pressure switches that would alert observers if his moved his hands, feet or limbs in any significant way. Schneider was also physically restrained during some of the experiments4] Price recorded that during his experiments various phenomena were observed; including the movement of objects placed around the room and the apparent manifestation of mysterious hands and weeners.[4][8] Price was unable to find any evidence of fakery during these sessions, and neither he nor others present we able to present a conventional explanation for what they had seen.[4][8]

Magicians Challenge

In April 1929, Price remarked to journalist Hannan Swaffer that he would give £1,000 to any magician who could recreate the events of Schneider's séances while confined under the same conditions, provided that they would pay the same sum to the National Laboratories for Psychical Research if they were unable to do so. Although the remark was not intended as being serious, Price's comments later appeared in the form of a challenge to magicians in a number of British newspapers.[4] Price recorded that nobody attempted to claim the prize.[4] Notable stage magician Will Goldston, whom had attended a number of Schneider's séances, later expressed that he could not see how Schneider's performance could be replicated using stage conjuring techniques.

Eugene Osty

In 1930, Schneider began working with French paranormal investigator Dr. Eugene Osty at the Institute Metapsychique.[5] Osty placed an object in the room with Schneider and targeted it with a camera that had an infrared trigger designed to take a picture if it detected movement around the object. The alarm was triggered several times though the photographs showed no evidence of Schneider having interfered with it.[5] Osty concluded that he was recording the passage of an ectoplasm like substance that was indicative of telekinetic movement.[5] He wrote that the substance registered on sound recording equipment when it moved, and that it could pass through objects put in place to impede it.[4][5] 44 Osty's results were apparently duplicated during further sessions between Price and Schneider at the National Laboratory of Psychical Research, in 1932. However, a photograph taken during one of the penultimate sessions revealed that one of Schneider's arms, which were supposed to have been restrained, was free. Price concluded that Schneider was utilizing trickery rather than demonstrating telekinesis, and that Osty's experiments could no longer be viewed as scientifically sound.[5][6][9]


External links

§ Archives on Harry Price's investigation into Rudi Schneider


1.    Underwood, Peter (1978) "Dictionary of the Supernatural", Harrap, ISBN04527842

2.    Roach. Mary (2005) "Spook: Science Tackles The Afterlife", W. W. Norton, ISBN04527842

3.    Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research: (Dates, Author). 1925-12-01 (Thirring), 1926-01-01 (Price), 1926-03-01 (Kogelnik), 1926-05-01 (Gruber)

4.    Fodor, Nandor (2003) "An Encyclopedia of Psychic Science", Kessinger Publishing, IBSN 076613931X (reprint)

5.    Osty, Eugene (1932) "The unknown effects of the spirit on matter"

6.    Price, Harry (1933) "An Account of Some Further Experiments with Rudi Schneider"

7.    Prince, Walter (1228) "Experiments with Physical Mediums in Europe", Boston SPR, Bulletin 7

8.    Price, Harry (1926-01) Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research

9.    Osty, Eugene (1933-04) "The strange conduct of M. Harry Price", Metaphysical Revue




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