Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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HOME, Daniel Douglas, spiritualist, born near Edinburgh, Scotland, 20 March, 1833; died in Auteuil, France, 21 June, 1886. He was adopted by an aunt, whom he accompanied to the United States in 1840. It is claimed that spiritualistic manifestations attended him from his infancy, but, his own earliest recollection dates from a vision in his fourteenth year of a deceased schoolmate. At seventeen he became celebrated as a "medium." He resided at Lebanon, Connecticut, Newburg and Troy, New York, and at Springfield, Massachusetts, where the most remarkable of his spiritualistic manifestations took place. Besides the table-moving, writing, and playing on musical instruments, these manifestations were said to have included the materialization of spirits, the elongation and shortening of his own body, and his handling fire without pain. He claimed to have performed remarkable cures, and to be impervious to disease. In 1853 he went to New York and studied medicine, but did not practise. Removing to London, he remained there several years, making frequent visits to the continent, where he was presented at the courts of Russia, Germany, the Vatican, and France. In 1856 he united with the Roman Catholic church, but was expelled in 1863 for spiritualistic practices. His visit to Russia was made with the elder Dumas, who devoted columns in the newspapers, and even a book, to his praise. In 1858 he married a Russian lady of rank and wealth, who died in 1862. leaving a son, who is said to inherit his father's peculiar power. In 1863 Home went to Italy to study art, visited Florence, and was befriended by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Mrs. S. C. Hall, Mary Howitt, and many other literary persons, all of whom testified to his honesty, and were witnesses of many inexplicable phenomena. Three years later a wealthy Englishwoman, Mrs. Jane Lyons, as a reward for his services, placed £27,000 in the hands of trustees for his benefit, and on his adding Lyons to his name increased the gift to £33,000. A few years afterward she demanded the return of her money, and when Home refused to give it up he was arrested, and after a trial lost his ease. He again married a Russian lady in 1871, but the alliance proved unhappy, and he died harmlessly insane. Professor William Crookes, of London, and Victorian Sardou, of Paris, devoted much time to the investigation of the phenomena he produced, and published papers asserting that his practices were not the effect of jugglery. Robert Browning's poem entitled "Mr. Sludge, the Medium," is understood to be a study of Home.
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