Hamlin Garland Papers: Collection Highlights from USC Libraries Special Collections

Psychical Research

Throughout his life—and especially during his later years in 1930s Los Angeles—Garland devoted much of his time and writing to investigating paranormal events and individuals claiming to be psychics and/or mediums. Garland’s final book, The Mystery of the Buried Crosses (1939), investigates an alleged psychic’s discovery of buried American Indian artifacts. The psychic in this case, Violet Parent, claimed that “the spirits of the mission fathers and several of their Indian converts” visited Violet in her sleep with information regarding the locations of buried artifacts. Subsequently, Violet Parent reportedly used this information “to locate the burial places of certain treasures which had been hidden by the Indians more than a hundred years before.” Garland’s book investigates these claims and relates his own experiences in finding buried artifacts using Violet Parent’s personal narratives.

The Hamlin Garland papers also hold transcripts of séances in which Garland participated, sheets of “spirit-writing” by purported mediums, and research and records from Garland’s involvement with the American Society for Psychical Research.

Items pictured above:

(Image 1) Photograph: Digging for buried crosses with Sophia Williams and Harold Crowell, 1939
Written on verso of photograph: “Hamlin Garland digging for a cross while his psychic looks on. Photo by George P. Putnam. 1939.”
View this item in the Hamlin Garland papers finding aid

(Image 2) Garland, Hamlin. The Shadow World. Harper & Bros., 1908.
View this item in the USC Libraries' catalog.

More from the exhibit:

Garland, Hamlin. The Mystery of the Buried Crosses; a Narrative of Psychic Exploration, Illustrated with Photographs and Endpapers. E. P. Dutton and Company, 1939.
View this item in the USC Libraries' catalog.

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