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The Amazing Carlos Mirabelli

Updated on November 3, 2012

Although Carlos Mirabelli was known to be a simple man born to humble circumstances, he wasn’t one to be dismissed lightly. He was born during 1889 in São Paulo, Brazil, of Italian immigrant parents. Despite a limited, basic education he had a vast assortment of amazing skills according to reliable accounts of the day. Many claimed him to be the greatest medium of all time.

No one knew how, but on many documented occasions he exhibited the ability to speak and write over 28 languages. Carlos didn’t have any formal training in any. This was remarkable in and of itself. However, he also spoke on advanced subjects in medicine, theology, psychology, history, astronomy, literature and music as well as many other subjects. These subjects would have been beyond the scope of anyone with only an elementary education. In one well known case, Carlos wrote in hieroglyphics. To this day no one has been able to translate it.

Surely, these accomplishments alone made Carlos someone history wouldn’t soon forget. But he had other talents too. Many witnessed by people whose reputations were beyond reproach. He could levitate objects and appear and disappear at will. In one séance, Carlos levitated himself three feet above his chair. In another incident, Carlos instantly vanished at a railroad station in front of several witnesses and reappeared in Da Luz to São Vicenti, 90 kilometers away.

Carlos was said to vanish from a room and instantly appear in another. To ensure there was no trickery involved a controlled experiment was conducted. He was bound to a chair in a room where all doors and windows had been sealed. At the set time he instantly appeared in another room on the opposite side of the building. The seals on the doors and windows where he had been moments before were still intact.

In another instance, a little girl materialized in a closed room witnessed by a Dr. Ganymede de Souza. The girl was his daughter who had died a few months earlier from influenza and was attired in her burial clothes. The doctor took the girl's pulse, asked her personal questions and took photographs before she dematerialized in front of him.

Many of Mirabelli's events were witnessed by great numbers, sometimes upward of 500. Included were doctors, scientists, engineers and lawyers. They took photographs and filmed them as well. These were later closely studied and analyzed. The President of Brazil once saw Mirabelli's talents in action and had him investigated.

Word of his extraordinary abilities rapidly spread through psychical research circles in England and the United States. Carlos demonstrated automatic writing in over thirty languages, levitation, making objects and people appear and disappear and other paranormal phenomena. Much of this was done in broad daylight.

Of course, the newspapers quickly got wind of this extraordinary fellow. Soon stories of telekinesis, teleportation, levitation and other miraculous happenings filled their pages. There were so many things Mirabelli did having no apparent explanation.

He once caused a skull to float toward an apothecary. Other examples included: Making an invisible hand turn the leaves of a book; making untouched glasses and bottles play a military march at a banquet; without human touch; causing a person’s hat fly off and float ten meters along a public square; making and extinguishing a blaze by sheer will; making a cue stick play a game of billiards untouched by human hands and having Christ’s image impressed in plaster in the presence of the director of police.

Hoping to gain a measure of fame, one magician managed to recreate a few of Mirabelli's phenomena however, Mirabelli's reputation suffered little from them. But by this time so much controversy surrounded Mirabelli an investigation board of learned men was formed to discover how he was able to perform such amazing feats. They found no evidence to prove any deception.

Mirabelli's automatic writings were reportedly inspired by spirits of historical figures. When he made people materialize, members of the medical community made exhaustive examinations of them. These apparitions were not only photographed but found to be complete and anatomically correct. After one examination a materialized figure began dissolving from the feet up. One of the doctors seized the remaining half of the body. The next moment he sank unconscious to the ground. When he regained consciousness, he said the phantom had felt like a “spongy, flaccid mass.”

In 1930 the noted British psychical researcher Eric J. Dingwall, made a lengthy examination of the documents concerning Mirabelli, After his review Dingwall said "I must confess that, I find myself totally at a loss to come to any decision whatever on the case."

Others however were still skeptical. In 1934, Theodore Besterman, a researcher with the Society for Physical Research in London, sat in on some of Mirabelli's séances in Brazil. His report indicated Mirabelli was a fraud, but for some unknown reason that particular report was never published. The report that was published, stated only he had seen nothing extraordinary. But he didn’t come up empty handed. He had received a photograph from Mirabelli showing the medium performing a levitation act. It proved nothing at the time. However, a more recent examination of the picture has been shown to be a fraud.

Mirabelli died April 30, 1951, in an auto accident.


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    • JY3502 profile image

      John Young 5 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Sure was, he wrote this story from the grave. I just sat and watched as those invisible hands danced across my keyboard....honest! LOL

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Such an interesting story. Sounds like a person that would have been a great one to meet. Who is to say if trickery was involved or not? If he was that good, it was a moot point.