What is dematerialization?

   Dematerialization is the disappearance of all or part of a medium's phys­ical body, or of other solid physical objects, during a seance, dematerialization is also the reverse of materialization, or the appearance of apports—objects that show up, seemingly out of nowhere, during a seance. Mediumistic literature is filled with accounts of spectacular dematerializations, under which heading are also included such famous "shrinkings," or compactions, of medi­ums as that of Eusapia Palladme.
   A typical account of a dematerialization is that of Dr. R Bribier, a witness to such an event. "Lucie disappeared by degrees," the doctor wrote, "in two seconds ... as she had come . . . in front of the curtains beside which I was standing. The curtains did not move. . . . Just as the last white spot was disappearing from the carpet where the figure had been, I stooped down and put my hand upon it, but could feel nothing."
   Perhaps the most marvelous dematerialization on record, however, is that experienced by a Mme. d'Esperance, a medium who dematerialized while fully conscious and with corroborating witnesses to confirm the otherwise incredible events. The supposed episode took place in Helsingibrs, Finland, on December 11, 1895. for about 15 minutes, Mme. d'Esperance's lower body simply disappeared, her skirt lying flat on the chair as though nothing lay underneath. "I relaxed my muscles and let my hands foll upon my lap," the medium recalled, "and then I found that, instead of resting against my knees, they rested against the chair in which I was sitting. This discovery disturbed me greatly and I wondered if I were dreaming. I patted my skirt carefully, all over, trying to locate my limbs and the lower half of my body. ... all ... had entirely disappeared. . . . Nevertheless, I felt just as usual—better than usual, in fact. . . . Leaning forward to see if my feet were in their proper place, I almost lost my balance. This frightened me very much. ... I reached over and took Prof. Seiling's hand, asking him to tell me if I was really seated in the chair. I awaited his answer in perfect agony of suspense. I felt his hand just as if it touched my knees; but he said: 'There is nothing there but your skirts.' "