Frederick Marion

Real name Josef Kraus. Born in Prague on 15 October 1892 and educated at the Commercial Academy in the same town. In the Foreword to Marion's Book "In My Mind's Eye" R. H. Thouless and B. P. Wiesner said, "We can say definitely that we are satisfied that Marion shows paranormal capacities of an unusually high order under strictly controlled experimental conditions". In this book Marion describes how he was launched on his stage career by his spectacular success in locating certain objects which had been hidden in various parts of the city of Prague by a committee composed of police and other townsmen.

The year is 1910.

In a park in Sydney Australia a little girl of three is skipping along the sandy yellow paths in the bright summer sun, the watchful eye of a nursemaid upon her.

A passing friend offers the nursemaid a welcome opportunity for a few words of gossip, and for a matter of minutes the small charge is forgotten. A sudden mild anxiety as the nursemaid realises that the little girl is no longer in sight, and then increasing panic and frantic scurrying through the broad lanes between the flower-beds as her calls remain unanswered.

The little girl is lost, and a frightened nursemaid returns, sobbing and breathless, to tell the parents. For a few hours the police treat the matter as an everyday routine job; but the hours turn to days, and still no news comes to bring relief to the heartbroken parents. Their child has disappeared as if from the face of the earth, and all investigation and cross-questioning prove fruitless.

Weeks, months, years roll by, and the mystery remains unsolved. The authorities are helpless, the case is dropped and is relegated to a brief, unemotional account in the official records.

In 1930 - twenty years later - certain Australian newspapers announce the arrival of " Fred Marion, the famous Czech medium " in Sydney, and the threads of this tragic story are picked up again...

It was my first visit to Australia, and I found myself delivering lecture-demonstrations in halls filled to capacity. Once my name became well known in any town I used to give private sittings for those who felt themselves to be in need of my advice.

After one particular lecture I was approached by an elderly couple, their lined faces stamped deeply with enduring sorrow. They handed me a tiny metal pendant, obviously antique, and asked me if I could gain any impressions from it. They told me nothing of the history of the pendant, a fact which pleased me greatly for reasons which I have explained elsewhere.

I received strong and clear-cut impressions as soon as I began.

"This has been closely connected with a little girl who ran away many years ago," I told the parents (as they later proved to be). "She is playing in a park, and stops to speak to a lady - a lady past middle age. The lady takes the child by the hand and they walk away together. The lady is a married woman. She and her husband have always longed for children, but have been unable to have any. This fierce desire overwhelms the lady and she takes the child away, to call it her own. The child grows up with this couple. She becomes a singer. Her voice is a beautiful soprano and she achieves success."

That was the sum of the impressions I received, and I have seldom seen such a reaction as took place in the parents as they heard this news of the child who had been stolen from them so many years before. They told me the story as it was known to them, and begged me to make a journey with them through every large town in Australia, searching the theatres in an effort to find the missing girl. They were willing, they said, to spend every penny they possessed if only I would agree.

I was touched by their piteous pleading, but explained gently that such a search might take several years. An attempt to solve the mystery in this way was quite impractical. If they could think of some other way in which I might assist, then I would be willing to help.

The couple exchanged desperate glances.

"You say the girl ... our daughter ... has made a success in singing," said the gentleman. "Surely there must be records of her voice. There can only be a limited number of sopranos who are good enough to have recordings made. Would you recognise the voice if you heard it?"

I affirmed this readily, for the impression of the girl's voice had been so strong and distinctive that I knew I should recognise it anywhere. The gentleman made all arrangements, and two days later he asked if I would visit a large store with him. There we sat in a booth while scores of records were played, waiting for the voice I hoped would come. The task was exhausting, but just as I was beginning to lose hope of any success I heard the voice I knew to be that of the missing girl. I wish I could reveal her name, for even though it could not be classed as famous it is at least familiar in many countries; but my position in the affair was a confidential one, and I am bound to respect this.

Yes. The girl was found. Her 'mother' had died, and she was living with her 'father', who broke down and confessed to the abduction when confronted by the real parents.

The girl was twenty-three, and had looked upon him as her father for as long as she could remember. The situation was not a pretty one. Even the reunion with their daughter, who did not know them, could not erase the sorrow of twenty years from the hearts of her parents. My own part played, I did not follow up what must have been a rather distressing sequel. Whether any action was taken against the man I do not know.

 

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