Drop-in Communicator

A drop-in communicator is an unknown entity who appears unexpectedly and uninvited at a Séance. Drop-in communicators have provided fascinating data to psychical researchers to support the contention that mediums do communicate with spirits of the dead and are not merely manifesting secondary personalities.

The potential importance of drop-ins was recognized as early as 1874 by William Stainton Moses, an English Medium, and a few years later by early English psychical researchers such as Frederic W.H. Myers, a founder of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR). True drop-ins are unknown to both medium and sitters. Thus, they are evidence that contradicts the theory of Super-PSI, which holds that mediums obtain their information from clairvoyance of published sources and telepathy of facts from the minds of sitters, not from discarnate entities.

In the best cases, drop-ins provide information that has never been in print in a public source but that is known to, and can be verified by, a small circle of family or friends. Some drop-ins, through automatic speech, speak in foreign languages unknown to the medium. There is no known way for knowledge of a foreign language to be transmitted by telepathy.

In rare cases, the appearance of a drop-in is accompanied by physical phenomena such as Table-Tilting, Rappings, mysterious lights, Apports, Smells, and strange whistles, whisperings and breathing. Some drop-ins drop out as quickly as they appear, showing up once or twice without making their motive clear. Most cases are inconclusive. Many drop-ins appear with a motive.

Like lonely people who finally find a receptive audience, they love to talk about themselves in their most recent life, and reveal personal information that may be verified upon research. One of these was “Harry Stockbridge” (a pseudonym used by investigators to protect the family of the deceased), a spirit who dropped in on the Ouija Séances of a group in Cambridge, England between 1950 and 1952.

Stockbridge said he had been a second lieutenant in the Northumberland Fusiliers and had died on July 14, 1916. He offered a physical description of himself, personality traits and other facts. His information was verified through old military records and interviews with surviving family members. Some drop-ins do not want to talk about themselves, but are intent on accomplishing a mission. One such case was that of Runolfur Runolfsson, a hard-drinking, rough-talking Icelander who dropped in on medium Hafsteinn Bjornsson in 1937, looking for his missing leg bone.

Another drop-in with a mission was Patience Worth, who dropped in on Pearl Curran and a friend in 1913 as they used a Ouija board. The entity demurred to talk much about herself, but dictated through Curran a prodigious literary outpouring of novels and poetry. The biggest hazard with drop-in communicators is unwitting self-deception on the part of the medium.

One such case is that of English medium Margo Williams, whose first drop-in, “Jane,” appeared in 1976; Williams eventually claimed to be visited by more than 100 dropins, including Mary Todd Lincoln. The Lincoln drop-in stated some minor errors about Abraham Lincoln; the same errors were later discovered in material at the local library, which Williams frequented.



  • Gauld, Alan. “A Series of Drop-in Communicators.” Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR)55 (July 1971): 1966–72.
  • ———. Mediumship and Survival. London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1982.
  • Stevenson, Ian. “A Communicator Unknown to Medium and Sitters.” Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research (SPR)64 (January 1970): 53–65.
  • Stevenson, Ian, and John Beloff. “An Analysis of Some Suspect Drop-in Communicators.” Journal of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR)50 (September 1980): 427–447.


The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits – Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley  – September 1, 2007