In 1876, William Eglinton was exposed as a fraud when the psychical researcher Thomas Colley seized a "spirit" materialization in his séance and cut off a portion of its cloak. It was discovered that the cut piece matched a cloth found in Eglinton's suitcase.[82] Colley also pulled the beard off the materialization and it was revealed to be a fake, the same as another one found in the suitcase of Eglinton.[83] In 1880 in a séance a spirit named "Yohlande" materialized, a sitter grabbed it and was revealed to be the medium Mme. d'Esperance herself.[84]
On Fox News on the Geraldo at Large show, October 6, 2007, Geraldo Rivera and other investigators accused Schwartz as a fraud as he had overstepped his position as a university researcher by requesting over three million dollars from a bereaved father who had lost his son. Schwartz claimed to have contacted the spirit of a 25-year-old man in the bathroom of his parents house and it is alleged he attempted to charge the family 3.5 million dollars for his mediumship services. Schwartz responded saying that the allegations were set up to destroy his science credibility.[197][198]
In 1880 the American stage mentalist Washington Irving Bishop published a book revealing how mediums would use secret codes as the trick for their clairvoyant readings.[87] The Seybert Commission was a group of faculty at the University of Pennsylvania who in 1884–1887 exposed fraudulent mediums such as Pierre L. O. A. Keeler and Henry Slade.[88] The Fox sisters confessed to fraud in 1888. Margaret Fox revealed that she and her sister had produced the "spirit" rappings by cracking their toe joints.[89]
Humans have been fascinated with contacting the dead since the beginning of human existence. Cave paintings by indigenous Australians date back 28,000 years, some depicting skulls, bones, spirits and the afterlife.[3] Other cave paintings in Indonesia date back a further 10,000 years.[4] Mediumship gained popularity during the nineteenth century, when ouija boards were used by the upper classes as a source of entertainment. Investigations during this period revealed widespread fraud—with some practitioners employing techniques used by stage magicians—and the practice began to lose credibility.[5][6] Fraud is still rife in the medium/psychic industry, with cases of deception and trickery being discovered to this day.[7]