IN THE SILENCE OF THE NIGHT, in a remote room in a laboratory at the Institute of Physiology of the University of Naples, a small group of scientists meet to attend seances with Europe's most celebrated medium, Eusapia Palladino, a peasant woman whose mediumship has been dazzling Europe for decades. It is not the first time she has been subjected to tests, but it is the first time that she is being examined with the automated tools of orthodox scientific research, in an effort to produce an impartial and unbiased record of her activities. As fascinating as a theatrical piece, this true life narrative has a riveting plot: scientists attempting to penetrate the troubling mysteries of the occult and coming to grips with the phenomena of mediumship, its dynamics and possibilities. The eight seances at the Institute are literally-sometimes humorously-described by the group's director, Professor Filippo Bottazzi, one of the most authoritative researchers in Italy at the time. And it is Bottazzi himself who, on the basis of the evidence obtained, proposes an explanation of the observed events based on his knowledge of physiology. All of this occurred more than a century ago, but the story remains fascinating-and relevant-to our own time."