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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Carrière, Eva (1886-?) Born Marthe Béraud, known in the research literature as “Eva C.,” and extensively examined by several prominent scientists, Carrière was famous for materializing spirit faces (starting in 1911) after having been searched before the séance. The faces that show up on the photographs——taken under conditions that she carefully controlled——are distorted and marred, hardly convincing to anyone even moderately skeptical.
      It appears that her “materializations” were crude drawings on crumpled paper, items not too difficult to conceal from the kind of examination that was usually employed by researchers. In 1914, it was found that Carrière's faces closely resembled pictures found in the French fashion magazine Le Miroir. Certain features had been accented or altered, but the resemblance was unmistakable. The scientist/baron Albert Von Schrenck-Notzing came up with the marvelous rationalization that the spirit faces, rather than being the results of trickery, were supernaturally generated by Carrière's memories of having once read the magazine. This, he said, made them “ideoplasts” rather than ectoplasm. (Similar reasoning was recently invoked by Dr. Jule Eisenbud to explain the performances of Ted Serios. See thoughtography.)
      In Algiers, Eva many times produced a full-figure materialization of a bearded spirit named Bien Boa, said to be an Indian who had been dead for three hundred years. A fired coachman of the medium, named Areski, was exposed as the actor performing the part of Bien Boa, and Eva's career came close to ending prematurely. However, since the believers were, as usual, willing to overlook such a small peccadillo, she went back into business, this time in Paris.
      The Society for Psychical Research investigated Eva C.'s work, obtained a sample of the ectoplasm she produced, and tested it. It turned out to be chewed-up paper.

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