The Paranormal World of Arthur Conan Doyle Pt 3: The table tilted, rose in the air and flew across the room

In the third of a five-part series based on Ann Treherne’s book Arthur and Me, the author and her spiritual circle witness the incredible and the impossible.
The surgeon Joseph Bell at work in lifeThe surgeon Joseph Bell at work in life
The surgeon Joseph Bell at work in life

HAVING made contact with the other side through the spirit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it soon became clear to Ann Treherne, author of Arthur and Me, that there was a purpose behind the paranormal activity her Circle had experienced. It was on Thursday, 29 June, 2006 that they received the message from the spirit of Conan Doyle that they must start to look for a more suitable meeting place.

In the transcript of that meeting, Ann asks, “So you are taking us through each stage of the development of Spiritualism, but we’re stuck at the moment... we can’t go any further with the physical phenomena until we get suitable premises to allow you to take us to the next stage?”

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Conan Doyle had taken to using a small table to communicate by knocking against the wall - one knock for yes, no knock for no. On this occasion, the table rocked violently in agreement as Ann talked. As the book records, ‘Mayumi: “Can I ask... is it right to say each one of us will develop a new physical phenomenon which is different from the old style?”

‘The table rocks an excited “Yes” in acknowledgement.

‘Little did we know, but we were just about to receive a demonstration of this new form of physical phenomena - the table began to move in a sort of circular movement on one leg before resting back on all four.’

The group’s transcript of events records:

‘Gordon to the table (Spirit): “Are you getting close to trying to levitate?”

‘Jim: “That’s not giving an answer.”

‘Ann: “Right, what is it doing then? We’ve got this rocking rolling movement... Right, people in the Spirit World, can you settle down again so...”

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‘The Group gives out an exclamation as the table spins round on one leg.

‘Gordon: “The table is going around erratic.”

‘Mairi: “I think it really is going to levitate... Oh, it’s nearly there. I think it’s actually trying to get off the ground.”

‘Gordon commentating: “The table is going around in circles rather animated, one leg after another, we’re also heading towards the centre of the room.”

‘Jim commentating: “We’re going clockwise now, then anti-clockwise, one leg, do you want to lie down?”

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‘The Group again let out a collective exclamation as the table bows down low towards the ground until the top of the table is resting on the floor and the table is on its side, then all four legs of the table are lifted from the floor and then it quickly rises again.

‘Gordon: “Oh, hello. That was clever, the nearest thing to a summersault we’ve seen.”

‘Gordon commentating: “Although everyone’s hands were on the top of the table which was lying down on its side, all four legs were lifted off the floor.

“There’s no known way which we could be making that happen. That happened twice. I didn’t really comment the first time, because we couldn’t believe what was happening.”

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‘The Group was nervously laughing through disbelief of what we were witnessing.’

After the meeting, the group placed the table on its side on the floor, as it had been positioned earlier, and tried to lift the legs from the floor - it proved impossible. All that happened was the table slid along the floor, it was not possible to lift the legs from this position. The Group agreed that what was witnessed tonight was quite phenomenal.’

The Circle returned to the Theosophical Society in mid-July, and this time Conan Doyle was accompanied by another spirit. The transcripts reprinted in Arthur and Me record, ‘Gill: “I have a question. Regarding the other person who is with you, is he of a medical background?”

‘Yes - the table continues rocking excitedly, almost as if perceiving the next question.

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‘Gill: “And, this person was a colleague of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle?” - Yes.

‘Gill: “Thank you. Did he work in Edinburgh?” - Yes.

‘Gill: “Would I be correct in saying there has been a recent newspaper article about this?” - Yes.

‘Gill: “Am I correct in saying there has been a special exhibition regarding this?” - Yes. The table then tilts over till the top of it is resting in Gill’s lap.

‘The table returns to an upright position as the Group realise Gill is receiving further information...

‘Gill: “Would this gentleman’s name be Joseph Bell?” - Yes.

‘Jim: “Who’s Joseph Bell?”

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‘Gill: “Joseph Bell was the Professor at Arthur Conan Doyle’s university, and Arthur Conan Doyle worked as his clerk, isn’t that correct?” - Yes.

‘Gill: “And he is reputed to have been the model for Sherlock Holmes?” - Yes.’

Sometime later, the Circle would again witness another display of the impossible when the Spirit once more demonstrated its physical capabilities.

In the book Ann writes: ‘There are various gasps and expletives as well as commentary amongst the Group as they again become aware of the energy building. Then, the table elevates again, about two to three feet from the floor and quickly moves across the room and comes to rest upside down on one of the chairs that had been pushed back to the side of the room near the window. The Group members were left standing round the chair on which the table had come to rest, except Gill who had dropped to her knees in front of the chair as she tried to keep up with the table and keep her hands on the table top whilst it moved across the room....

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‘As we reconvened the following week there was a palpable anticipation we might be privileged to a repeat performance, but before we started, I had the feeling something was not quite right. The need for protection was back.

TOMORROW: Ann’s fears prove justified

Arthur and Me, by Ann Treherne, is available from

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