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The raising of a heavy object, usually a human body, without the use of any mechanical force, aid, or contact. There is no scientific explanation for this widely reported phenomenon and most scientists either ignore or reject such an inherently implausible occurrence.

The nineteenth century medium Daniel Dunglas Home was reported to have levitated on numerous occasions. William Crookes, an English physicist, observed Home levitate on three separate occasions under conditions that would seem to preclude the usual conjurer’s methods such as concealed rods. An even more surprising feat by Home was reported by the Earl of Dunraven and two other witnesses who claimed to have seen him rise from the floor and float out of a window, twenty meters above the ground, and in another about two meters away.

Levitation has been reported among Indian holy men and Christian saints and indeed when levitation is reported by reliable witnesses it is considered an important evidential factor in the process of canonization.

A series of experiments involving the levitation of a small table weighing about two kilograms were reported by W. J. Crawford, D.Sc. The levitations took place during seances. The table was placed on a weighing scale and Crawford discovered that there was a downward force on the scale platform approximately equal to the weight of the table. (The Reality of Psychic Phenomena, Raps, Levitations, Etc., John M. Watkins, 1916).

There is an uncorroborated report of a levitation in the book Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain (Ostrander and Schroeder, 1970, p. 291). A Bulgarian farmer, aged forty-three, named Mikhail Drogzenovich, rose about 1.2 meters above the ground and remained there for ten minutes while witnesses checked that there was no means of support.

The September 1887 issue of The Theosophist magazine contained an article by Sreenath Chatterjee who had a Lama who levitated while staying in his house. Helena P. Blavatsky claimed to have seen many cases of levitation by Indian yogis (CW I:243). The anecdotal weight of evidence for levitation is so great that were the phenomenon not so contrary to common-sense the case would long ago have been accepted as proven. The problem facing experimenters is that of “repeatability.” Cases of levitation seem to occur in a random fashion which makes close scientific scrutiny difficult to achieve.


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