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G. Simoni (Rome)
The young medium Linda Gazzera (1890-1932)
Swann Galleries - New York
Courtesy of Swann Galleries (Auction, Dec 8-10, 2014, #2370, Lot 209)
Dr. Enrico Imoda, 1912, Fotografie di Fantasmi, (Turin: Fratelli Bocca)
Illustrated with 48 tipped-in silver prints credited to G. Simoni of Rome, and one half-tone, each depicting a sťance held by the young medium Linda Gazzera, most of the images with appearances of spirits, ectoplasmic forms, and telekinetic phenomena, as well as other participants and Dr. Enrico Imoda, her observer. 4to, original black-printed cream paper over cloth and board covers, slightly worn; housed in a custom archival tray-case with leather spine by Jon Buller of Bassenberg Bindery. First edition.
Turin: Fratelli Bocca, 1912
Exceedingly rare, there are fewer than 2 dozen copies of this title known worldwide.
Dr. Imoda's investigation of the young medium Linda Gazzera (1890-1932) relied upon photographic evidence gathered from 1908-10 in a series of 100 sťances. A diagram and photograph in the book depict the deplopyment of multiple cameras. The sťances were conducted in total darkness, a magnesium flash allowing the cameras to capture the materialized ectoplasmic forms and telekinetic phenomena produced by Miss Gazzera.
Some of the images present the medium entranced and surrounded by sťance participants in dramatic tableaux reminiscent of scenes from Grand Opera. In several cases, Dr. Imoda himself is included in the photographs, pulling back a curtain or staring in astonishment at a levitating birdcage.
Fotografie di Fantasmi was published posthumously, with an introduction by Imoda's collaborator Dr. Charles Richet. A reknowned physiologist, Dr. Richet was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1913, the year after this volume appeared. A number of the sťances in 1909 were conducted under Dr. Richet's supervision at his home in Paris, and photographed by the French occult researcher Gillaume de Fortenoy (who wrote the aferword to this volume).
In his preface and in later writings, Richet insists that these photographs of Gazzera's "ectoplasmic forms" depict true psychic phenomena, becuase the scientific protocols employed were too strict to allow trickery. But de Fortenoy, in his afterword to this volume, casts doubt on Gazzera's mostly two-dimensional manifestations. He suggests that if Dr. Imoda had lived longer, he would have shared these doubts.
This copy of Fotografie di Fantasmi includes a pink label on page 88, as issued, in place of a small photograph that was not available at the time of publication.