“At one time, there was reason to hope that Russian scientists would have undertaken the task of giving the phenomena a careful and impartial study. A commission was appointed by the Imperial University of St. Petersburg, with Professor Mendeleyeff, the great physicist, at its head.
The advertised programme provided for a series of forty seances to test mediums, and invitations were extended to all of this class who chose to come to the Russian capital and submit their powers to examination. As a rule they refused – doubtless from a provision of the trap that had been laid for them.
After eight sittings, upon a shallow pretext, and just when the manifestations were becoming interesting, the commission prejudged the case, and published a decision adverse to the claims of mediumism. Instead of pursuing dignified, scientific methods, they set spies to peep through the key-holes.
Professor Mendeleyeff declared in a public lecture that spiritualism, or any such belief in our souls’ immortality, was a mixture of superstition, delusion, and fraud; adding that every “manifestation” of such nature – including mind-reading, trance, and other psychological phenomena, we must suppose – could be, and was produced by means of clever apparatus and machinery concealed under the clothing of mediums!”
H. P. Blavatsky