On the threshold of the unknown: A case of an extraordinary vision in the Spain of Primo de Rivera

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© 2013, Editorial Universida de Granada. All rights reserved. This paper analyzes the reactions of scientists and intellectuals to a sensational case: the son of the Marquis of Santa Cara appeared able to see through opaque materials, a phenomenon that attracted the attention of Spanish society around 1924. Its authenticity was certified by several well-known scientists and intellectuals, including Cabrera, Torres Quevedo, Gimeno and Valle-Inclán. The article seeks to understand the reasons for this occurrence, taking into account different theories formulated at the time about new types of rays and unknown psychic abilities. In the context of the Primo de Rivera regime, two engineers proposed metapsychic explanations with a patriotic touch, while the Marquis himself used his status to endorse the case and to promote his scientific work in the field of metapsychics. However, the prodigious aristocrat and his supporters received a serious setback from his encounter with the famous magician Houdini as well as from the criticism mounted by the psychiatrist Rodríguez Lafora, who interpreted the phenomenon as a product of suggestion.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Clairvoyance
  • Daily press
  • Marquis of Santa Cara
  • Metapsychics
  • Parapsychology


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