Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP2574

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Editor of "Nature"
[not recorded]

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, [address not recorded] to Editor of "Nature" [none given] on  .

Record created:
30 November 2011 by Mayer, Anna


Re. "Mr Bishop and Eva Fay"

Record notes

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP2574.2464)

A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.

Held by:
British Library, The
Finding number:
BL Add. 46439 ff. 169-170
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Mr. Bishop1 and Eva Fay2.

It will be in the recollection of some of your readers that more than a year ago (Dec. 6, 1877) I called upon Dr. Carpenter3 to explain to the readers of Nature the exact particulars of the "simple dodge" by which, he had asserted, Mr. Crookes'4 electrical test of Eva Fay was to be evaded, and, on the strength of which he had accused Mr. Crookes of encouraging "disgraceful frauds" and indorsing a "notorious imposter".

In the succeeding issue of Nature (Dec. 13th 1877) Dr. Carpenter replied as follows: "What I hold myself pledged to show (in Nature if it pleases as well as in the new edition of my Lectures) is, that the 'tying down by electricity' described by Mr Crookes in the Spiritualist is no more effective in preventing the performance of juggling tricks than Eva Fay's ordinary tying down"; and he goes on to maintain the completeness of the exposure of Eva Fay by Maskelyne & Cooke5, and especially by Mr. Bishop in New York.

The new edition of Dr. Carpenter's Lectures which was, partially [[2]] at least in type last in November 1877 has not so far as I know, yet appeared, nor has the "pledge" given6 been in any way fulfilled. There need, however, be no further delay, for Mr. Bishop himself is now (or was a few weeks back) in London, and has (he says) called on Dr. Carpenter. who can now have no excuse for further delay Let him therefore now prove to the scientific witnesses of Mr. Crookes' experiment that Mr. Bishop can do exactly what Eva Fay did, and show them the trick by which it is done.

Having publickly[sic] accused Mr. Crookes of indorsing "a notorious impostor" (on the strength of Mr. Bishop's alleged exposure) and having further declared that he would make known the 'simple dodge' by which the electrical test was evaded, he is now in honour bound, either to fulfill[sic] his promise, or to acknowledge his inability to do so and retract the expressions he made use of towards Mr. Crookes.

Alfred R. Wallace [signature]


1. W. Irvine Bishop, medium.

2. Anna Eva Fay (1851 - 1927), medium. The underlined names were written in the center at the top of the page. The letter was written to the editors of Nature.

3. Dr. William Carpenter (1813 - 1885), physiologist and anti-Spiritualist.

4. William Crookes (1832 - 1919), physicist, chemist, and believer in spiritualism.

5. John Nevil Maskelyn (1839 - 1917) and George Cooke (1825 - 1904), magicians.

6. The word "not" was crossed out and above it was written "given."

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