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"Spook" Pictures ving Man "Possessed" by a Dead Artist

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This article was originally published in The World's News (Sydney), Saturday 14 August 1909

"Spook" Pictures

Living Man "Possessed" by a Dead Artist

Professor J. H. Hyslop, president of the American Society for Psychical Research, announces what he describes as the strangest psychic case on record.

The spirit of the dead artist, R. Swain Gifford, apparently inhabits the body of F. L. Thompson, an engraver, who in 1905 was suddenly seized with the irresistable desire to paint.

Although he knew nothing of painting he began to produce splendid landscapes which appeared to him in visions. Then he believed that he was Gifford, whom he met once, and of whose death he was ignorant. Thompson concluded that he was becoming insane, and he consultered Professor Hyslop, who, continuing the story, says: -

"I secured pictures made by Thompson and took him to mediums, who described where the landscapes Thompson had painted, but never saw, really existed. I visited these places, and found they had been accurately reproduced.

"One day Thompson visited Gifford's house, Mrs. Gifford showed him an unfinished painting by Gifford which had been put away immediately after his death. Thompson was astonished to find that this was similar to a picture he painted following a vision which came to him six months after Gifford's death. "This picture was in my possession at the time. There is no possibility of Thomson having known that the uncompleted painting existed.

"A further search showed three more paintings by Gifford, one a forest scene, another a view of a seashore, and the third a man with an ox-team. All of these Thompson painted after visions. "Thompson, who was formerly unable to paint at all, has now become a powerful finished artist. The spiritualistic hypothesis is no longer in doubt. Gifford's ghost has possessed Thompson's body, endowing it with the identical artistic gift that was Gifford's."

Spiritualists, of course, make a sensation of this report, and New York is amused at it.

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