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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

Ford, Arthur (1896-1971) One of the most successful spirit mediums of all time, “Reverend” Ford began his interest in professional spiritualism when, as a young man, he met Sir Arthur Conan Doyle during an American tour. He adopted a spirit guide named Fletcher, who was “with” him all his life.
      He was a very systematic, successful, and hardworking practitioner of spiritualism. He maintained huge files of data on all his sitters and always traveled with a case full of personal information to be used to convince the skeptics and believers alike. Fed back to the sitters as a revelation from beyond the grave, these data were very effective as a means of satisfying doubts.
      After the death of magician Harry Houdini, Ford kept company with Beatrice (Bess) Houdini, the magician's wife. She admitted, late in life, that she had given the famous “survival” code to Ford, who had thereupon announced a successful attempt to contact the spirit of Houdini. Mrs. Houdini, a Catholic, recanted her announcement that her husband's spirit had contacted her, and died (in 1943) convinced that all such attempts were futile.
      Ford impressed Bishop James A. Pike, an ardent believer in spiritualism, and he became a confidant of the bishop.
      Late in his life Reverend Ford maintained a room at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City where he did readings and séances for his customers. He always exhibited a callous attitude toward the sitters, referring to them when with his colleagues as “suckers” and worse. He was an open medium.

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