Daniel Dunglas Home was one of the world’s most famous psychic mediums of his day, RICK HALE reports

During my time as a paranormal investigator, I have made the acquaintance of dozens of people who claim to possess special abilities that defy human understanding.

Most of them are well meaning people who had a brush with the unexplained or experienced odd coincidences that caused them to believe they had an ability.

To people who are clearly predators, who exploit the raw emotions of people by claiming they have a message from their loved ones from beyond the grave.

Daniel Dunglas Home
Daniel Dunglas Home

Although exceedingly rare, I do know a handful of people who have demonstrated an uncanny ability to speak to the dead.

With that being said, the frauds do greatly outnumber the real ones. This can be traced back to the earliest days of the spiritualist movement.

Nevertheless, there were a number of spiritualist mediums who did possess a real ability.

One of those mediums that did manage to confound the sceptics was the Scottish seer, Daniel Dunglas Home.

A Phenom Is Born

Home was born in Currie in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1833 and was destined for a life of scrutiny and communing with the dead. Not to mention, acts that could only be described as amazing.

Even as an infant, lights were seen floating around his crib as an unseen person rocked the baby to sleep.

His mother, Elizabeth, was a well known seer, as were two of his uncles.

Back in those days, the gift of the second sight was regarded as a curse. Speaking with the dead and precognitive abilities were considered the work of Satan and was strictly prohibited by the church.

Sent Away

As Daniel grew, his abilities became a nuisance, even for a family of psychics.

As a result, Daniel, was sent to live with his aunt and uncle.

At 13, the burgeoning psychic superstar immigrated with auntie and Uncle to the United States. Eventually settling in the state of Connecticut.

When he turned 18, Home found himself in an unenviable situation. 

As Home’s abilities developed, his aunt became convinced the young man was possessed by the devil.

The knockings and weird light shows didn’t help matters and the ginger haired psychic found himself living on the street.

Home comes into his own

Although homeless, Home, did pretty good for himself.  He travelled New England performing seances and healing the sick.

Most mediums of the time charged exorbitant prices for their services, which only added to the arguments of sceptics.

Not Daniel Dunglas Home, he never charged a dime but did accept donations and gifts from the people he helped.

Another thing that set Home apart from other psychics, while they held their services in darkness, Home held seances in well lit rooms.

Not only could Home commune with the dead, he appeared to have the power of psychokineses.

Two of his earliest displays were the most impressive. In full view of numerous witnesses, Home levitated a table with eight large men sitting on it.

Home could also levitate himself and fly around a room.

William Makepeace Thackery, author of “Vanity Fair” was determined to expose Home for a fraud and a trickster.

However, after watching Home fly around a room and manifest spirits on command, Thackery, quickly changed his mind.

Satisfied he had conquered the United States, Daniel Dunglas Home, turned his attention to England and the European continent. It was time for him to return home.

Detractors abound

When he arrived in England, Home, quickly became a favourite of the upper classes of British society.

Lavish parties were held in his honour and he did not disappoint his wealthy benefactors. 

However, with those that loved him, came those that would seek to bring him down.

The medium fell under the heavy scrutiny of Sir William Crookes and Frank Podmore. Two of England’s finest minds and early psychical researchers.

His detractors also included famed authors. Robert Browning wrote the poem, “Mr Sludge, the medium.”

In the poem, Browning did not pull any  punches as he criticised the psychic.

It’s commonly believed his poem was written out of jealousy. Browning’s wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, was very vocal concerning her admiration for the psychic.  It’s even thought she was in love with him.

With his detractors, Home, did have believers who defended him.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the immortal Sherlock Holmes mysteries was convinced Home, was a true phenomena with a real gift.

As Home toured the European continent, he proved to be extraordinarily popular with the crown heads of Europe.

Home performed for Napolean III and was a close and dear friend to Queen Sophia of the Netherlands.

And following him around, reporting on his marvelous exploits was Lord Dunraven.

Death of a legend

Sadly, Daniel Dunglas Home’s extraordinary abilities could not save him from the cold grip of death.

While travelling, Home, developed the dread ‘White Death’ or tuberculosis. A disease that claimed the lives of scores of people in the 19th century. Home was only 38 years old.

In life, Home, had a reputation for being a gentleman. Gracious to both his friends and enemies.

Sceptics and his detractors never managed to attain their stated mission to expose him as a fraud.

Frankly, because there was nothing to expose.

Daniel Dunglas Home lived his life and performed his feats in the open for all to see.

He was a talented medium who will forever be known as a truly gifted person.

Rick Hale, is a native of Chicago, Illinois and first became interested in the paranormal after having a positive interaction with an apparition at a young age. Rick is the author of The Geek's Guide To The Strange and Unusual: Poltergeists, Ghosts and Demons. Behold! Shocking True Tales of Terror...and Some Other Spooky Stuff. And Bullets, Booze and Babes: The Haunted History of Chicago and Illinois. Rick is the co-host of The Shadow Initiative Paranormal Talk. Rick was featured in the documentary Ghost Tapes 2. Rick is a featured writer for Spooky Isles and Paranormalstudy.com. Rick has also been published by Haunted Times, Paranormal Underground, The Supernatural Magazine and Legends Magazine.


  1. It is rather perplexing to read a puff piece about a man who has been dead 134 years but, each to his own, I suppose. With all due respect, I say ‘puff piece’ because your article is considerably unbalanced. The myth alleging Home’s unchallenged status continues to roll on in perpetuity largely due to pieces such as this, being printed/published periodically.
    “The truth is rarely plain and never simple” said the late, great, Oscar Wilde – who himself was the beneficiary of almost 110 years of hagiographies until at last in 2013, Mr. J. Robert Maguire told the entire truth about Wilde’s role in the notorious Dreyfus Affair in France. Facts which had been airbrushed out of succesive biographies by (some) people who really ought to have known better. Facts which help the public garner the true measure of the man’s character – especially after his release from prison and nowadays, this great distance in time.
    The same can be said for Home. A sometime contemporary of Wilde. For Home, the unpleasant affair with the wealthy widow Mrs. Jane Lyon serves some unpalatable truths. Along with the undoubted debunking from some – particularly regarding one of his ‘levitating’ demonstrations – in a darkened room, on a moonless night. In the presence of just two friends. A demonstration which he may have hung ropes from the chimneys in order to swing from, in preparation.
    I hope to encourage others to research the details for themselves. For both of these men led fascinating lives which are well worth the examination. It is certainly not my intention to pooh-pooh your article. Let us all remember that many times, it can be the things left unsaid which throw context and truth into sharp relief.

    According to Wikipedia and a book by Roger Clarke, Daniel Dunglas Home was 53 when he died in 1886.


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