There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff – we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.
If everyone who saw this today donated $5, we would meet our goal for 2020.
| Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.|
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with !
Many thanks for this article, Duncan was a blatant and disgusting fraud and I am glad she has been exposed. Interestingly some spiritualists accept Duncan was a fraud . However one spiritualist religious fundamentalist who calls himself "open mind" is not interested in the evidence of fraud and believes the MI6 Secret Intelligence Service was involved in setting up Duncan to ruin her career . Either delusion or trolling! Gordon Freeman (talk) 22:08, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
Rebuttal of the spiritualist "Open Mind" dishonest comments in defending Helen Duncan
User "Open mind" from the Mind Energy forum has defended Helen Duncan in a number of posts across the internet since 2004. Here I will focus on his recent comments in 2013 that he posted on the Mind Energy forum and refute his nonsense point by point. Firstly regarding the photographs of Helen Duncan with mask-like faces the spiritualist "Open mind" claims they were not Duncan. To keep things shorter I will refer to "Open mind" as OM. See here for OM's comments. 
I have highlighted OM's comments in bold. OM writes:
"The above photographs are alleged by conjuror called Harry Price in a mid 1930s book to be a picture of the medium Helen Duncan (in blindfold). There is no record of Helen Duncan claiming the above photograph to be real."
The photograph is real, but the mask-like faces are obviously not spirits but made of cloth and other materials. A coat-hanger is visible on the shoulders of the right puppet. So the puppets in the photographs are fraudulent but the photograph itself is not fake. If OM had done some real research he would have discovered the origin of the photographs. They were not taken by Esson Maule or Harry Price. The photographs were taken by a Dundee press photographer W. M. Scott who showed the photographs to Esson Maule at the Edinburgh Psychic College. Esson Maule later showed the pictures to J. B. McIndoe who borrowed the photographs from Scott. This is when the pictures became more wider known. This can be confirmed if you read page 153 in Hellish Nell by Malcolm Gaskill.
I say pictures, because the picture depicting the puppets is not the only one that was taken, Scott had also taken another photograph of Duncan depicting a plastic baby doll and cheesecloth coming out of Duncan's nose. These photographs were taken at the house of Duncan. A cupboard is visible in both of the photographs. Please see this page for an enlarged print of this photograph  for the full image please see here  as you can see two séance sitters are clearly visible, paid by the MI6 Secret Intelligence Service were they OM!? Get in reality, the photograph is Duncan and those were her séance sitters. There is no conspiracy!
"The most authoritative book on the Duncan case is Maurice Cassier's "Medium On Trial".
In short NO it isn't! Manfred Cassier (1920-2003) was the author's name who was a spiritualist crackpot who believed UFOs and psychokinesis are related and the old testament had psychic revelations in it. See amazon for some of his crazy books on aliens . There is a biography of Cassier here which described him as an animal abuser and "psychologically disturbed" . This is your source of authority OM? By the way other psychical researchers negatively reviewed that book by Cassier. Apart from the introduction by John Beloff no psychical researcher wanted anything to do with Cassier or his silly ideas about aliens and mediumship.
If you want a NEUTRAL book on Helen Duncan not written by a believer or a Skeptic then please read the biography Hellish Nell: Last of Britain's Witches by the historian Malcolm Gaskill.
"These pseudoskeptics are using a photograph of unproven origin, the clues of which are the photographs emerged via a Duncan lookalike who created other psuedo-reconstruction photographs too and the information on these went missing from the normally impeccable record keeping of Harry Price who dodged the 1940s court case against Duncan to avoid being questioned about photographs possibly because he had been caught lying (and suspected of faking to frame a psychic) a photograph in prior Schneider case."
The photographs that depict Helen Duncan are not of unproven origin. I have already mentioned where they came from they were taken by Dundee press photographer W. M. Scott. There is no Duncan exact lookalike of Duncan. By "lookalike" OM is referring to Esson Maule. But do a search of Esson Maule she looks different (see photographs of Maule on this page) than Duncan .
The reconstruction photographs did exist, but they were not taken of Duncan or during any "live" séance. They were taken to show the room location and layout of the events that took place in January 1933 where Duncan was convicted of fraud in Edinburgh. Esson Maule during the séance seized Duncan's "spirit guide" peggy and it was revealed to be a vest. This evidence was used against Duncan. There is no conspiracy here at all.
You can see the vest here on the Harry Price website . The vest was used in evidence against Duncan and she stood trail and was convicted of fraud on May 1933 and paid a fine of £10 for her fraudulent mediumship.
OM is completely silent on the vest issue. There were multiple witnesses who confirmed it all.
"Harry Price who dodged the 1940s court case against Duncan to avoid being questioned about photographs"
COMPLETE AND UTTER LIE!! Harry Price did not dodge the 1940s court case against Helen Duncan. He was there.
Please see the trial which was recorded in Helena Normanton The Trial of Mrs. Duncan Edited with a Foreward by C. E. Bechhofer Roberts, Jarrolds Publishers, 1945. The book can be found online here . OM has ignored the book. In the trial a MR. ELAM was asked questions:
Q. Do you know anything about anybody called Harry Price, described as the honorary director of the National Laboratory of Psychic Research?
Q. Do you know him? A. I have met him. Q. Have you seen him anywhere in the vicinity of this court this morning?
A. Yes, he is right in front of me this morning, sitting right facing me.
There you have it, Harry Price was in the court. OM's dishonesty has been exposed. There is no mystery to Duncan's mediumship. She was a fraud. The MI6 Secret Intelligence Service were not involved in paying "lookalike" mediums to impersonate Duncan. Get in reality.
OM also claims Harry Price was involved in faking a photograph of Rudi Schneider to damage his reputation as a medium (no source is given but OM has probably read the spiritualist book by Anita Gregory). The claim that Price set up Rudi is absolute nonsense. The photograph was a not a fake. Rudi was a fraudulent medium who used to free his hands from the controls in his séance, he was an expert at doing this, this was well known and other researchers also had written on this and even thanked Harry Price for his work in exposing Rudi. The only people who dislike Price are fundamentalist spiritualists such as OM who refuse to accept that their mediums have been debunked. These people who call Price a skeptic don't realize that he believed some paranormal phenomena was genuine. Do some real research OM instead of just reading spiritualist books. Most psychical researchers rejected physical mediumship as fraud so by your own logic you are actually anti-parapsychology OM. You are a religious fundamentalist. I can debunk any of your other nonsense :) Gordon Freeman (talk) 22:08, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
- I am getting seriously pissed off by people who use RationalWiki as a "red telephone" to other websites.
- And sometimes I really regret RW's culture of tolerance of sockpuppets.--ZooGuard (talk) 08:14, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
- See link 3 that was cited by Gordon. User Open Mind created a thread called "Rational Wiki editors sleazy tactics against this Skeptiko Forum" so his post is related to this website and is not off topic. As I wrote elsewhere, Open Mind is probably Robert McLuhan and his crackpot claims do need debunking. Apparition (talk) 11:38, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
Hi, I found this page from an internet search. I recently debated this "Open Mind" person from the Mind-Energy forum, his research is not to be trusted, he's even been claiming the Fox sisters and Henry Slade were genuine! (see my rebuttal to Open Mind on the JREF forum). I agree mostly with what Gordon has written (I have cited some of your comments) but I would point out a slight mistake you have made. The Helen Duncan photographs depicting puppets (that appear on this article) were taken by a spiritualist called Harvey Metcalfe in 1928 at the House of Duncan during a séance. Dundee press photographer W. M. Scott later ended up with them, they were not taken by Scott. But I am in agreement there is absolutely no conspiracy regarding the photographs, they are Duncan. Regards James Cunningham (talk) 17:54, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Information on the spiritualist photographs depicting puppet like masks that were taken by Harvey Metcalfe
Firstly after reading this page I would like to say that I am definitely not Open Mind. I banned this user from my paranormalia blog as he was using sockpuppet accounts including a user called "debunking skeptics". As for MU he not Open Mind. I also banned MU, he was using the name The Od and other sockpuppets such as a user called Irreligious Survivalist and impersonating other people. I have banned others as well including comments from skeptical users such as Forests, Eveshi and Jon Donnis earlier this year. As for Helen Duncan I suggest the issue from the Woodlands Sanctuary Foundation who have issued a spiritualist journal for many years, see the May edition Volume 9, Number 5 edited by my friend Paul J. Gaunt where the photographs of Helen Duncan are discussed in detail . The photographs that depict the dubious puppet-like faces were taken by Harvey Metcalfe. There is no conspiracy at all, so Open Mind is wrong but the dogmatic skeptics are no better. The ectoplasm of Duncan was fake but that doesn't mean all mediums are frauds. As I have written on my blog there is some impressive evidence for mediums. If anyone wants to learn about mediumship I suggest the book The Truth about Spiritualism published by C. E. Bechhofer Roberts in 1932, it is the most neutral book on the subject. Robert McLuhan (talk) 21:55, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
I recommend that this page gets deleted. Some of it has nothing to do with the article but is an attempt to divert traffic to various forums to cause trouble which has happened both on the Mind-Energy forum and on the JREF. The person doing this MU is most likely all of the above sockpuppets accounts. I say delete and clear the page. Or at least archive this nonsense. Skeptic Jon (talk) 05:04, 7 September 2013 (UTC)