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Is Spiritualism a Fraud? (1906)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

A medium and his assistant talk, making plans, in a richly furnished room. The assistant has long, white hair. The assistant hides in a chest behind a row of chairs. A man and woman enter. The medium greets them and invites them to sit down. A young man, wearing a straw boater and smoking a cigarette, enters. He is also asked to sit. A second couple enter and they too sit down; the husband is hard of hearing. The medium sits upright on a chair and invites the group to tie him to it. Having tied him up they return to their chairs and hold hands. The hard of hearing gentleman reaches up and pulls at the light. As the screen image darkens the young man kisses the wife of the hard of hearing man. The screen images lightens as the light comes on; the couple are still kissing and the husband pulls the young man away. The young man and the hard of hearing man swap seats and the young man pulls at the light.

Black screen. A man's head with white hair (the medium's assistant) appears on the screen and moves around the screen disembodied. The head is joined by a pair of white-gloved hands, a circular object on a long stick and finally a skull with a long white cloth over it. These objects float independently about the screen.

The screen lightens to reveal the assistant standing behind the group holding a long stick and the skull. He drops his props on the floor in front of them and hurriedly goes back in the chest but is observed by one of the group. His trick is revealed and he is bundled out of the room. The men take hold of the medium (still tied to the chair) and put him and the chair in the chest. They sit on it and then nail it down and carry it out of the room.

The staircase and hallway. The chest is manoeuvred roughly down the stairs and out into the street. In the street a postman leaves his cart while he delivers parcels. The men put the chest on the cart and push it away. A deserted stretch of wasteland. Two of the men push the cart and chest down a slight incline. The chest tumbles from the cart. The men run away and the medium tries to set himself free. He is helped by the postman, a passing policeman and a passer-by who, unable to untie him, put him back on the cart and wheel him away. A high street; the medium is being wheeled along the road to the police station.