Ghosts Of The Past: Exposed Poltergeist Girl

10th June 2023. Reading Time: 3 minutes General, Ghosts Of The Past. 1122 page views. 0 comments.

In this series, I take a look at some historical accounts of ghostly encounters published in newspapers. In this edition, we look at an article in the Queensland Times about the famous case of Romanian poltergeist girl Elenore Zugan who it seemed was not actually possessed by the devil, but instead had a unique skin condition!

In this series, I take a look at some historical accounts of ghostly encounters published in newspapers.  In this edition, we look at the famous case of poltergeist girl Elenore Zugan who it seemed was not actually possessed by the devil as she tried to lead the World to believe, but instead had a unique skin condition!

The following article was published in the Queensland Times on Saturday 16th April 1927

Exposed Poltergeist Girl

The Romanian poltergeist (unruly ghost) girl, Eleonore Zugun, who recently gave a display of her supposed remarkable powers in London, has, it is asserted, been unmasked by a Munich doctor and a conjurer acting in collaboration. The girl, it may be recalled, claimed to be possessed of the Devil, who, it was stated, was responsible for the marks of bites, scratches, weals, &c which appeared on the girl's skin, apparently through no human agency. Dr. Hans Rosenbusch and the conjurer Herr Otto Diehl, a German amateur Maskelyne of unusual powers of observation, has, however, published a document proving without a shadow of a doubt that the Polish Countess Zoe Wassilko, in whose company the girl travelled, was the main agent of the deception.

The pair were in Munich where a film is being made of Eleonore's strange markings, and the film operator adds as evidence that in the pauses the Countess, under the pretence of smoothing the girl's hair, would skillfully scratch her cheek or neck. Eleonore is one of those curious human beings whose skin reacts abnormally, on an average two to three minutes after being pinched, scratched, or even poked. According to the document mentioned, while the girl was displaying one mark either she or the countess would adroitly manage to injure the skin and so produce the next. Often a handkerchief or a hand held before the mouth to conceal a yawn was used as a cloak: often a flutter of the Countess's eyelids would give directions. So cleverly was this done that no complete evidence was forthcoming till Dr. Rosenbusch could get both to his own house at a tea party on the ostensible grounds of discussing the film, in the success of which the Countess was financially interested. At a sitting after tea, which continued for five hours, notes were taken by Herr Diehl, masquerading as a harmless inquirer, of the most insignificant movements of the girl and the Countess. The absolute coincidence of touch and the resultant mark proves that there is no devil in the case, but only very clever sleight of hand. The pair have now vanished from Munich.

Eleonore Zugun came to London at the beginning of October last, and was examined on many occasions in connection with her supposed abnormal powers. Mr. Harry Price, honorary director of the National Laboratory of Psychical Research, in a report on the girl, wrote—"There is not the slightest doubt that our careful experiments made under ideal scientific conditions, have proved that stigmatic markings appeared spontaneously on various parts of Eleonore's body; that she was not consciously responsible for the production of the marks; and that under test conditions movements of small objects without physical contact took place."

The full article can be found here on trove

Of course, this is a small snippet of what is actually quite a famous and controversial case.  Obviously, while the is an explanation for the markings, a researcher such as Harry Price is not someone so easily fooled.  He also mentioned observing items moving of their own accord under strict laboratory conditions. 

Check out this entry in the psi encyclopedia for a more in-depth analysis of this case.

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