Term used to describe the elongation of a medium’s body while under spirit control. Historically, elongations were attributed to possession by gods or demons but by the third century AD similar experiences are reported with mediums. Elongations often feature in the data collected for canonization proceedings and some of El Greco’s paintings appear to illustrate saints that are ‘stretched’.
Elongations were a common occurrence in Victorian spiritualist séances, the most well-known and reported being those of the famous Scottish medium D. D. Home, who allowed witnesses to measure him. At one of the test séances which Home undertook with Lord Adare and the Master of Lindsay, a journalist who was present, H. T.Humphries, wrote that Home ‘was seen by all of us to increase in height to the extent of some eight or ten inches.’
Elongations are still occasionally reported in séances, but no other medium has even been tested in the detailed way Home allowed. Sceptics argue that elongations are illusions and made possible with simple tricks such as slipping feet out of shoes and standing on tiptoe. Although trickery might have been the case in many instances, throughout his career as a medium, Home was never exposed as a fraud.
The Element Encyclopedia of the Psychic World: The Ultimate A–Z of Spirits, Mysteries and the Paranormal: The Ultimate A-Z of Spirits, Mysteries and the Paranormal – Written by Theresa Cheung – © Theresa Cheung 2006