NABOKV-L post 0015804, Mon, 10 Dec 2007 11:40:34 -0500

THOUGHTS: Pale jellies and mandolins (final word?)
[EDNOTE. After this post, I suggest that we move on from the subject of
jellies and mandolins, which has begun to shift away from VN. -- SES]

Dear Matt,

You have stumbled on the Bad Girl of spiritualism, Eusabia Palladino - -
but you can hardly call her "yet another medium"! She was truly
extraordinary - - an illiterate from Naples, remarkably uninhibited and
quite the superstar of her day. She was especially known for fluttering
curtain effects and her feet! very talented with her feet. Distinguished
for temperament (foul and noisy), sex with clients during and after
séances and dislike of bathing.

She also may have been the first to produce "ectoplasm." The word was
adopted by a French scientist who examined her - - Mme Palladino was
examined by many scientists of many nationalities, it was the greatest
source of her fame - - to explain a third arm that appeared from her
body. The originally biological term comes from the Greek words "ekto"
and "plasma" meaning outer substance (according to the OED it was
originally applied to jelly-fish).

Mme Palladino did spend some time in Russia and played a small role in
Polish literature, but I don't recall VN ever making specific reference
to her.


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