Daniel Dunglas Home (born Daniel Home) was a famous spiritual medium and psychic of the 19th century. He is most famous for his amazing abilities to levitate both himself, other people and other objects and to communicate with the dead. As a child, Home was a delicate boy, who was uninterested in sports teams or clubs.
The third of his mother's children, Home was born on March 20th, 1833, in Currie, Scotland, but he was given as an adopted child to his mother, Elizabeth's, sister, Mary Cook, who was unable to have her own children. Mary Cook and her husband moved themselves and their new child, Daniel, to the United States some time in the late 1830s.
The first recollection Home had of his psychic ability was when he was in grade school. He and his parents originally lived in Connecticut, where Home had made a close friend named Edwin. Together, the two boys read the Bible together and made a pact that if either of them died, the dead would try to contact the living.
When Mary Cook and her husband moved the family to Troy, New York, Home lost touch with Edwin, but one night Home awoke to a vision of his friend standing at the foot of his bed. There, the vision of Edwin made three circles in the air. The very next day, the family received a letter from Edwin's family that Edwin had passed away of an illness exactly three days prior.
When, after this occurrence strange things started to happen in the Home's house, his adoptive mother called in priests of many different religions, many of whom said that Home himself was possessed by the devil. Attempts were made to stop the presence in the house that made tables move by themselves and rapped persistently in the walls, but when it seemed nothing could be done and neighbors began to grow weary of the family, the young Home was asked to leave.
At only 18 years of age, Home conducted his first séance in the home of a friend he was staying with. The séance was reported about in the local paper, the article stating that a table was made to move and even when people tried to keep it down, it persisted to levitate.
After this, Home became famous in New England. Wealthy admirers funded Home well for his talents, giving him gifts and money and letting him stay in their homes. One such admirer, a man name Rufus who lived in Springfield, Massachusetts, invited Home to come to his house and stay. Home did so and gave six to seven séances a day in Springfield, to which crowds and crowds of people attended.
Some of the people who attended these séances were well-known and well-respected New Englanders and were often quite skeptical at first. Two such men were David Wells, a professor at Harvard University and William Cullen Bryant, the editor of the famous New York Evening Post. Both men were initially wary of what Home was said to be able to do, but upon seeing him conduct a séance, both denied any fraudulent behavior and fully backed the authenticity of Home. These types of investigations happened with many well known figures in New England, but all realized the true power that Home had after they saw him in action.
Home was able to levitate objects like tables, but he was also able to levitate himself, doing so on more than one occasion and wowing his audiences. It was at this time that New York and its inhabitants became increasingly interested in Home's amazing talents, so he moved there in 1853.
Home did some touring and continued performing successful levitations and séances until he decided to move to the Theological Institute in Newburgh where he began taking medical courses and studying to become a doctor. His goal was to fund his psychic and medium work through working in medicine, and at the institute he conducted séances but did not take any of the theological courses.
He also refused pay for his séances, again wanting to pay his own way by being a doctor. Unfortunately, it was at this time that Home became ill and was diagnosed with Tuberculosis. At the suggestion and urging of a friend, he decided to move to Europe to recover, so in 1855, Home conducted his final American séance in Connecticut.
Although Home was quite ill with consumption, he found friends and admirers in England and was allowed to stay for free at a hotel in London belonging to William Cox. Cox was a believer in spiritualism and believed honestly in the ability of the dead to speak to the living. They formed a bond and Home met other notable people in the London area as well, many of which asked him to perform private séances for them. Home always delivered, though he was often weak from the Tuberculosis.
Home's fame grew in Europe, and he began touring mainland Europe and performing levitations for the most well known dignitaries of the times, all of whom were wowed by Home's abilities, praising and applauding him. Home went to the homes of some of the wealthiest people in Paris, including Napolean III, and the accounts of all of his abilities were consistently the same: Home could levitate 5-7 feet off the ground, sometimes all the way up to the ceiling, and he could stay there. When people tried to pull him down or grab on to him, they often found themselves levitating too. He could also move objects and connect with the dead. Napolean III's empress, Eugénie, felt the spirit hand, conjured by Home, of her dead father. She knew it was her father because he had a specific deformity of his finger.
Home could even levitate others without levitating himself and conjure spirit apparitions in the room with other people around him. He would hold white hot embers in his hands for minutes at a time. In 1868, three men saw Home levitate in mid air outside the high up window of a building. Physicists and scientists who tried to test Home with apparatuses and weights were always found to challenge their own scientific beliefs in the end and consistently corroborated the evidence of authenticity in Home and his abilities.
Home married twice in his lifetime, though his first wife, Alexandria de Kroll, died of tuberculosis in 1862. Julie de Gloumeline, a wealthy Russian, was Home's second and last wife. On June 21st 1886 at age 53, Daniel Dunglas Home died in his home of complications from tuberculosis, the disease from which he had been suffering for some time.
Home is buried in in the Russian cemetery of St. Germain-en-Laye Paris.