Physical Mediumship & the Enigma of Franek Kluski | Documentary

Physical Mediumship & the Enigma of Franek Kluski | Documentary

September 1, 2019 100 By William Hollis


I must warn the viewer that the phenomenon
we are about to examine is something so extraordinary that the mind will immediately and instinctively
act to dismiss it. That is why it will be important to remember
the words of Dr. Charles Richet throughout our examination, the Nobel prize-winning doctor
who witnessed this phenomenon first-hand: “I never said it was possible. I only said that it was true.” Amongst psychic abilities, mediumship is endlessly
fascinating. The most common form of mediumship is mental
mediumship. Those who profess this ability claim to be
able to communicate with the dead mentally, which includes the gift of clairvoyance (to
see); clairaudience (to hear); or clairsentience (to feel). There is, however, a form of mediumship which
is far more rare – and arguably far more bizarre. Physical mediumship. Those who claim to be physical mediums state
that they can not only communicate with the dead, but allow others who are not mediums
to perceive this communication as it happens, in a physical form. One example of this is the physical manifestation
of a spirit. Unsurprisingly, physical mediumship has long
been dismissed as elaborate hoaxes by cunning frauds. Helen Duncan was one such trickster, famous
for her production of ectoplasm, a gooey substance that is produced using spiritual energy. Despite many arguing that not all her demonstrations
were fraudulent, Duncan’s reputation was nonetheless tarnished when the gooey substance
she had produced proved to be a mucous covered cheesecloth that she had regurgitated. Many other so-called physical mediums were
similarly exposed. In one case the professed medium Einer Nielsen
was even found to have hid the supposed ectoplasm in his rectum. While these incidents ended much of the serious
research into physical mediumship, the voices of those who defended Helen Duncan and others
have echoed into our own times. Indeed, one could even say that in recent
years, there has been something of a resurgence of interest in the topic. It is easy to hear about levitating tables,
spirits being conjured to dance around a room of people, and think it merely fraud. Without a doubt, such reports do not fit in
the materialistic reality we are so sure of. Yet, a “one bad apple spoiling the barrel”
mentality is a dangerous one to have. Dismissing physical mediumship in its entirety
because of a few dubious cases is akin to pointing to a quack doctor and damning the
entire medical field. Equally, just because we do not understand
something, does not mean it is not real. This is why it is necessary to examine one
of the best examples of physical mediumship. To many, this is the work of the fascinating
Franek Kluski. Kluski never performed publicly as a physical
medium: he gained no profit from it and gave it up after a rather short-lived and intense
series of experiments, mainly between 1918 and 1925. This is one of the more curious aspects of
Franek Kluski, for he was primarily a banker with a passive interest in the paranormal. In 1920 he sat on the board of one the biggest
Polish banks in Warsaw. As a secondary profession, he was a journalist. He was also known as a poet and writer, and
before World War One managed one of Warsaw’s most popular literary cabarets. Kluski’s dabblings with physical mediumship
seemed to be just that: dabblings, motivated by experimentalism for the for the sake of
experimentalism. There seems to have been no agenda or financial
motivation. Even the name Franek Kluski, which was his
mediumistic name not his real one, had something playful in it: in Polish, Kluski refers to
a somewhat dull type of pasta. Furthermore, he never personally wrote anything
about his mediumistic ability, for he feared that writing about seances would tarnish his
reputation as a writer. For this reason, most of what we know about
Kluski comes from his very good friend, a decorated Polish colonel who sat with Kluski
on numerous occasions. Many of his seances were in fact conducted
with senior members of the Polish military – men who had performed legendary exploits
during the First World War and afterwards. These men, as well as a series of independent
researchers, academics and eyewitnesses all attested to Kluski’s ability to manifest
extraordinary phenomena. Kluski’s seances seem to have the trappings
of poltergeist activity at times. Especially in the early days when he had trouble
controlling what would happen. According to those who attended, knocking
sounds would reverberate from every surface, furniture would thrash around the house, and
a variety of strange noises would be heard. Not only that, participants often observed
how Kluski seemed to be injured by this phenomena, with grave, unexplained illnesses rapidly
afflicting him, only for him to be completely well again by morning. Whilst his seances were active and full of
strange phenomena, mystifying occurrences were common in Kluski’s presence, even outside
of seances. One could even say that the inexplicable followed
the man. Discarnate lights – varying in shape, size
and density – were said to manifest around Kluski. A businessman who once, out of necessity,
had to spend the night sharing a hotel room with Kluski, observed a light seemingly emanate
from within his mouth as he slept. Kluski also had a strange relationship with
magnetism. On one occasion, he was reported to have gone
to an optician’s shop to repair his glasses, only to have to leave in a hurry when all
the needles went haywire in a cabinet over which he had leaned. This type of strange phenomena was common
for Kluski throughout his life. He described how, as a child, he would on
occasion have premonitions. During an out of body experience he had as
a child, he allegedly saw an unfamiliar house with his mother next to a dark spectre called
“pneumonia”. The following summer, Kluski saw the house
and his mother fell ill with pneumonia. From the age of 20 until 46, little is known
of Franek Kluski. The little that is revealed tell us that he
had married and had a happy family, was a thriving businessman and a well-educated individual
involved in many aspects of Polish life. Perhaps there was something in the horrors
of World War One that set him on course to experiment with the paranormal. Indeed, a pan-European response to the mass
bloodshed and bereavement of the Great War was the increase in popularity of Spiritualism
and seances. Although Kulski’s involvement in WW1 is
clouded, his militant entourage of friends and his openness to volunteer for the army
in the 1920 Polish-Soviet war seems to indicate that he must have been quite involved in the
World War. Despite his willingness to experiment, Kluski
always tried to dismiss the inexplicable phenomena that seemed obvious to everyone around him. One incident from 1920, that occurred whilst
Kluski was a volunteer in the Dragoons, is related by Dr. Sokolowski. During a feast with some Tartar soldiers,
Kluski and others ate and drank sumptuously. Once inebriated, Kluski proceeded to converse
with the soldiers, fluent in their Tartar language. The following morning Kluski stated that he
remembered having a conversation, but had no knowledge of the Tartar language. All of the officers around him, including
an expert on Tartar languages protested, certain that he did indeed know the language. Kluski was certain that he did not, and refused
to believe their claims. On another occasion he was tasked with writing
leaflets for distribution. However, whilst he attempted to write them
on the typewriter, spirits are said to have continuously interrupted him, trying to write
out their own messages through him. To this he responded by thrashing the typewriter. It would seem that Franek Kluski had a complicated
relationship with the paranormal. On the one hand he was annoyed by it and sought
to dismiss it. After all, it was troubling to reconcile such
phenomena with his deep, Catholic faith. On the other hand, Kluski was a curious and
profoundly intellectual man. As such, from 1918 to 1925, his curiosity
turned into something of an addition. The seances held throughout these years demonstrated
a great breadth of phenomena, which was honed and perfected over time as Kluski became more
adept. Apports – objects appearing from nowhere in
the middle of a seance – were more random at the beginning. As time went by, Kluski found that he could
summon whatever item he wished for the seances’ participants. Most of the time, however, Kluski was in an
immobile trance-like state as the spectacular occurrences happened around him. His hands were usually held, and red light
was commonly used, alongside a screen to aid in the appearance of some apparitions. Red light was used to see the demonstrations
because pure, white light was thought to inhibit the production of ectoplasm. Animal apparitions were one of the more unbelievable
aspects of these seances. Usually, animal manifestations could not be
seen by participants, only heard, felt and smelled. One of the earliest animals to appear was
named “Hirkil”, a smelly lion without a mane that was reported to have had the habit
of incessantly trying to lick everyone’s faces with a wet and prickly tongue. Incredible indeed. A large hawk was also known to have flown
around the seance room. Unlike the lion, a photograph of the bird
was taken. However, one of the most popular creatures
which Kluski manifested was the “pithecanthropos” or “primitive man”: an ape-like animal
with tangled hair and a habit of loudly smacking its lips. It was reportedly good-natured, but very simple
minded. The creature supposedly had a habit of not
following commands correctly, to the extent that it would often be reprimanded, at which
point the ape would hide under the table and proceed to lick everyone. The bizarreness of these animal manifestations
cannot be understated, but they have been verified as having appeared by numerous investigations. In the particular, reports of the ape man
were confirmed, by the eye-witness and [psychical] researcher, [Gustav] Geley, who gave a detailed
account of his experiences. Another eye witness, Mrs Hewat Mckenzie, detailed
her experience in an article for the Psychic Science. Part of her account reads as follows: “I can certainly certify to this, having,
in 1922, seen the creature lift the luminous slate and with it illumine and show its face
quite … I saw its jaw and shoulder illumined from behind in the same way. No other apparition accompanied it.” However, the most spectacular of Franek Kluski’s
powers was his ability to fully materialize the dead before participants’ eyes. On 21st June 1923, [Wojciech Stpiczynskia],
a patriotic Polish politician and writer reports on a seance he attended at Kluski’s house. According to his testimony, a phantom appeared,
perfectly formed, whom one of the participants, General Mariusz Zaruski recognised as a Russian
general he once knew. Zaruski approached the phantom and asked in
Russian: “Is that you?” In response, the phantom happily saluted the
general several times, and tried to communicate something with his lips, but no sound was
uttered. Commenting on this, the eyewitness wrote in
a state of bewilderment: “But how, out of what elements, does human
flesh, accurate, perfect, living, vibrant, form itself? […] do they contradict their material existence
or do they mock experimental science and the wisdom of this world?” During his lifetime, many researchers tried
to expose Franek Kluski as a fraud. During a trip to Paris, Kluski was approached
by the L’Institut Métapsychique International (IMI), who asked if they could investigate
him under laboratory conditions. He agreed. During these seances, conditions were tightly
controlled: a red light and large screens coated with zinc and sulphide were used; and,
Kluski’s hands were held and pressed up against his body throughout. Nobody was allowed in or out of the seance
room once it had begun. During the sittings in Paris, much of the
same of phenomena occurred as had during his other sittings. Even some of the same faces which had appeared
during previous sitting back in Poland manifest for the French researchers. Thus, if it were all fake, it would mean that
Kluski traveled everywhere with the same actors just in case he would be asked to perform
an impromptu seance. And, even then, these actors would have had
to have been proficiently sneaky enough to break into a monitored laboratory environment
unnoticed. During the course of their experiment, 11
seances were held, with only 3 producing no or insignificant results. In 1922, Dr Charles Richet and Geley joined
forces to conduct their own independent experiment with Kluski. This time, Kluski was naked and closely monitored. However, this did not inhibit any of the phenomena. In fact, the participants observed the physical
effects of these seances on Kluski more closely. By the end of the session, Kluski was mutilated,
with bloody cuts all over his body. By morning, they were gone. Physical injury and illness was somewhat common
during Kluski’s seances. There have been many reports of him looking
bruised, sick and pale during and after his sessions. Sometimes he was reported as so sickly, that
it was thought that he himself may pass through Death’s door. Yet, every time, he would wake up the next
morning, after his customary three hours of sleep, his usual lively self. The reason for his sudden illnesses and physical
mutilations was never made clear. Undoubtedly, there is great wealth of testimonial
evidence to suggest that there is something in the professed paranormal aptitude of Franek
Kluski. However, there is also a collection of physical
evidence as well. In addition to photographs taken during the
seances, Kluski also produced a number of wax paraffin moulds of the hands of the phantoms
he had supposedly conjured. This being said, these moulds have been shown
to be easily replicable by people such as Harry Houdini, who showcased how it could
have been done himself. It is easy to dismiss Kluski as a fraud when
looking at the wax moulds. Even the photographs test the limit of our
willingness to be open-minded, with the images looking like little more than bed sheets and
blankets. Indeed, how is one supposed to tell the difference
between an actual bird, and one supposedly brought into the physical realm by the powers
of a physical medium? Equally, the great wealth of testimony could
be dismissed as raging madness, Spiritualism and spiritualistic belief being a source of
contention and scorn for many. Combined, however, Franek Kluski is an unsolvable
enigma. With much of the great trove of information
translated into English by a diligent researcher, the reality of Franek Kluski is baffling. Not only that, Kluski’s gentlemanly nature
and willingness to be observed and take part in controlled experiments sets him apart from
many others. Ultimately, one is left with one of two conclusions:
Kluski was either a magnificent conman, with no financial or even ideological motivation
– a rare criminal without motive; or, he was the real deal – a physical medium. It is a staggering proposition. One which I can provide no answer to. Franek Kluski stopped being a physical medium
after 1925, but continued practising automatic writing seances until 1939. During these sessions, he would communicate
with the dead through the means of remarkably accurate handwritten and typed correspondence. In 1939, at the outbreak of World War Two,
he went to a priest to confess his sins. The priest told him that he must do penance
and never practice mediumship again. Ever faithful to his Catholic belief, Kluski
obeyed the priest’s command. Thank you for watching. This video was made possible thanks to the
information provided by Dr. Zofia Weaver, in her book: Other Realities? The Enigma of Franek Kluski. Having translated much of the original sources
into English, it is thanks to her that we are able to understand the life and enigma
of Franek Kluski in a way which simply wouldn’t be possible otherwise. As such, I highly recommend everyone who wants
to know more about Franek Kluski to read it. You can find a link to the book in the description. I would also like to extend a big thank you
to our patrons for their wonderful support. You can click the link to our Patreon on screen
now, or the link to another video. Remember, the more you know, the more there
is to fear.