Indridi Indridason ( Indriði Indriðason ) – (1883–1912) Remarkable Icelandic physical Medium who exhibited numerous paranormal feats while under strict observation and was never caught in fraud.
Indridi Indridason was born October 12, 1883, to a farming family in a rural part of western Iceland. He went to the Icelandic capital of Reykjavík to learn typography and was working as a printer’s apprentice in 1905 when he attended a Home Circle devoted to Table-Tilting experiments. As soon as Indridason sat at one of the tables, it reacted by violently jerking and trembling. That was the start of his mediumistic career, which included both mental and physical phenomena. Before Indridason, there were no known mediums in Iceland, and he became one of the country’s biggest celebrities.
Initially, Indridason communicated with spirits of the dead through trance speaking and Automatic Writing. Soon, however, he began to produce phenomena of the sort associated with other great physical mediums, such as D.D. Home and Eusapia Palladino: loud raps, Levitation of furniture, self-Levitation, Apports, strong breezes, luminous phenomena, unaccountable Smells, direct voices, the remote playing of musical instruments, dematerializations and full-form Materializations. The phenomena were most often produced in darkness but sometimes occurred in full light.
The Psychical Experimental Society was established to study Indridason and supported him with housing and a modest salary, in exchange for which he agreed to sit only with the society’s permission. The society included several people prominent in Reykjavík, including Bjorn Jónsson, later prime minister of Iceland. In 1907, the society built a small house to better conduct its work. The building was one floor with a flat roof and shuttered windows. There were two rooms for meetings, in addition to the rooms in which Indridason lived. From 1908, the investigation was under the direction of Gudmundur Hannesson, professor of medicine at the University of Iceland from 1911 to 1946 and sometime member of the Reykjavík City Council.
The Psychical Experimental Society invited people to attend Séances, but mediumship had not caught on in Iceland as it had in Britain and the United States, due to the popularity of Spiritualism there, so only a few accepted. Nonetheless, sometimes 60 to 70 people would be present, and even before such crowds Indridason produced phenomena. Sceptics, including Hannesson, became convinced that unknown powers truly were at work. The society became known as “the Ghost Society,” reflecting the popular belief about the source of Indridason’s abilities.
Indridason never had a “blank” sitting; some feats always occurred. Sometimes as many as 26 spirit voices would speak directly; sitters claimed that those voices allegedly belonging to persons they had known in life sounded exactly as they had when living. Occasionally, the spirits would use Indridason’s voice to sing. He had a good voice of his own but had never had singing lessons. In trance, Indridason would state that his singing was controlled by the Other Side. Indridason’s numerous controls said he also had exceptional healing ability.
Indridason’s primary Control claimed to be a brother of his grandfather, who had been a professor at the University of Copenhagen. Other controls included three physicians (one English, one Dutch and one Norwegian), four Icelandic clergymen, an Icelandic farmer, a Danish manufacturer, a German officer, a Norwegian male singer, a French female singer and an Icelandic girl. Other spirits also manifested themselves, including a troublesome one named “John,” who claimed to have committed SUICIDE and said he wanted to possess the medium. John—whose real identity was verified by researchers—eventually mellowed and began to assist Indridason.
Some classes of phenomena seemed to have their own cycles of power. During the winter of 1906–07, Indridason produced mostly materializations and luminous phenomena, while during the winter of 1908–09, he produced mostly Levitations and direct voices.
Indridason’s powers were at a peak in June 1909, when he contracted typhoid fever and ceased giving sittings. He never fully recovered from the typhoid and died of tuberculosis on August 31, 1912, in a sanatorium. Shortly after his death, the Psychic Experimental Society broke up. An outgrowth of the research, however, was the formation in 1918 of the Icelandic Society for Psychical Research.
- Gissurarson, Loftur R., and Erlendur Haraldsson. “The Icelandic Physical Medium Indridi Indridason.” Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR)57 (1989): 53–148.
- Hannesson, Gudmundur. “Remarkable Phenomena in Iceland.” Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research (SPR)18 (1924): 233–259