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Posted on Monday, April 27 - 2009

" The Spirit of Dr. Bindelof: the Enigma of Séance Phenomena, by Dr. Rosemarie Pilkington features the story of a little known episode of physical mediumship that took place among a group of teenage boys in New York City in the 1930’s. Dr. Pilkington is a musician, writer, and educator with..."

The Spirit of Dr. Bindelof: the Enigma of Séance Phenomena, by Dr. Rosemarie Pilkington features the story of a little known episode of physical mediumship that took place among a group of teenage boys in New York City in the 1930’s. Dr. Pilkington is a musician, writer, and educator with a PhD in psychology from Saybrook Institute. She befriended one of the members of this sitter group, Gilbert Roller, later in his life and presents his autobiographical account of the boys’ experimentation with séance phenomena, and their contact with an alleged spirit named Dr. Bindelof.Gilbert recalled his childhood home life as “monstrous and terrible” (p. 7). Early in the story, we learn that he was the focus of an outbreak of poltergeist activity in his home. Gil’s mother was absent much of the time, and she and her husband (Gil’s stepfather) fought often. When Gil was about 12 or 13, the family heard sounds from his mother’s bedroom and found hairpins that had apparently flown from the dresser and hit the door. Wooden knobs from her shoe tree came off and were flung across the room. As the phenomena progressed, dishes would come crashing off the counters, and the words ‘GO GO’ were found crayoned in huge letters on the wall. These and other events prompted Gil’s father to call in the well known psychical researcher, Howard Carrington, to investigate. Later, Gil joined his mother in evening séances in which minor events occurred in his presence. Eventually, he started his own sitter group along with some of his teenage friends, including the late Montague Ullman, who later became a psychiatrist and parapsychologist and founder of the Dream Laboratory at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn, New York (whose own account of the sittings can be found here). The boys were dedicated to the task of facilitating paranormal phenomena and met regularly on Saturday nights for several years. Among the phenomena they reported were table levitations, raps, direct voice phenomena, direct writing, and communications with a ‘spirit’ by the name of Dr. Bindelof, who provided healing and medical advice. On the front of the book is a portrait of Dr. Bindelof, taken under the very specific guidance of the communicator. Gilbert and Pilkington seem to agree that.

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