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´╗┐Title: Cock Lane and Common-Sense
Author: Lang, Andrew, 1844-1912
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Dear Payn,

Spirits much more rare and valuable than those spoken of in this
book are yours.  Whatever 'Mediums' may be able to do, you can
'transfer' High Spirits to your readers; one of whom does not hope
to convert you, and will be fortunate enough if, by this work, he
can occasionally bring a smile to the lips of his favourite

With more affection and admiration than can be publicly expressed,

Believe me,

Yours ever,



Since the first publication of Cock Lane and Common-Sense in 1894,
nothing has occurred to alter greatly the author's opinions.  He has
tried to make the Folklore Society see that such things as modern
reports of wraiths, ghosts, 'fire-walking,' 'corpse-lights,'
'crystal-gazing,' and so on, are within their province, and within
the province of anthropology.  In this attempt he has not quite
succeeded.  As he understands the situation, folklorists and
anthropologists will hear gladly about wraiths, ghosts, corpse-
candles, hauntings, crystal-gazing, and walking unharmed through
fire, as long as these things are part of vague rural tradition, or
of savage belief.  But, as soon as there is first-hand evidence of
honourable men and women for the apparent existence of any of the
phenomena enumerated, then Folklore officially refuses to have
anything to do with the subject.  Folklore will register and compare
vague savage or popular beliefs; but when educated living persons
vouch for phenomena which (if truly stated) account in part for the
origin of these popular or savage beliefs, then Folklore turns a
deaf ear.  The logic of this attitude does not commend itself to the
author of Cock Lane and Common-Sense.

On the other side, the Society for Psychical Research, while
anxiously examining all the modern instances which Folklore rejects,
has hitherto neglected, on the whole, that evidence from history,
tradition, savage superstition, saintly legend, and so forth, which
Folklore deigns to regard with interest.  The neglect is not
universal, and the historical aspect of these beliefs has been dealt
with by Mr. Gurney (on Witchcraft), by Mr. Myers (on the Classical
Oracles), and by Miss X. (on Crystal-Gazing).  Still, the savage and
traditional evidence is nearly as much eschewed by psychical
research, as the living and contemporary evidence is by Folklore.
The truth is that anthropology and Folklore have a ready-made theory
as to the savage and illusory origin of all belief in the spiritual,
from ghosts to God.  The reported occurrence, therefore, of
phenomena which suggest the possible existence of causes of belief
_not_ accepted by anthropology, is a distasteful thing, and is
avoided.  On the other hand, psychical research averts its gaze, as
a rule, from tradition, because the testimony of tradition is not
'evidential,' not at first hand.

In Cock Lane and Common-Sense an attempt is made to reconcile these
rather hostile sisters in science.  Anthropology ought to think
humani nihil a se alienum.  Now the abnormal and more or less
inexplicable experiences vouched for by countless living persons of
honour and sanity, are, at all events, _human_.  As they usually
coincide in character with the testimony of the lower races all over
the world; with historical evidence from the past, and with rural
Folklore now and always, it really seems hard to understand how
anthropology can turn her back on this large human province.  For
example, the famous affair of the disturbances at Mr. Samuel
Wesley's parsonage at Epworth, in 1716, is reported on evidence
undeniably honest, and absolutely contemporary.  Dr. Salmon, the
learned and acute Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, has twice
tried to explain the phenomena as the results of deliberate
imposture by Hetty Wesley, alone, and unaided. {0a}  The present
writer examined Dr. Salmon's arguments (in the Contemporary Review,
August, 1895), and was able, he thinks, to demonstrate that scarcely
one of them was based on an accurate reading of the evidence.  The
writer later came across the diary of Mr. Proctor of Wellington,
near Newcastle (about 1840), and found to his surprise that Mr.
Proctor registered on occasion, day by day, for many years,
precisely the same phenomena as those which had vexed the Wesleys.
{0b}  Various contradictory and mutually exclusive theories of these
affairs have been advanced.  Not one hypothesis satisfies the
friends of the others:  not one bears examination.  The present
writer has no theory, except the theory that these experiences (or
these modern myths, if any one pleases), are part of the province of
anthropology and Folklore.

He would add one obvious yet neglected truth.  If a 'ghost-story' be
found to contain some slight discrepancy between the narratives of
two witnesses, it is at once rejected, both by science and common-
sense, as obviously and necessarily and essentially false.  Yet no
story of the most normal incident in daily life, can well be told
without _some_ discrepancies in the relations of witnesses.  None
the less such stories are accepted even by juries and judges.  We
cannot expect human testimony suddenly to become impeccable and
infallible in all details, just because a 'ghost' is concerned.  Nor
is it logical to demand here a degree of congruity in testimony,
which daily experience of human evidence proves to be impossible,
even in ordinary matters.

A collection of recent reports of 'fire-walking' by unscorched
ministrants, in the South Seas, in Sarawak, in Bulgaria, and among
the Klings, appeals to the present writer in a similar way.
Anthropology, he thinks, should compare these reports of living
witnesses, with the older reports of similar phenomena, in Virgil,
in many books of travel, in saintly legends, in trials by ordeal,
and in Iamblichus. {0c}  Anthropology has treasured the accounts of
trials by the ordeal of fire, and has not neglected the tales of old
travellers, such as Pallas, and Gmelin.  Why she should stand aloof
from analogous descriptions by Mr. Basil Thomson, and other living
witnesses, the present writer is unable to imagine.  The better, the
more closely contemporary the evidence, the more a witness of the
abnormal is ready to submit to cross-examination, the more his
testimony is apt to be neglected by Folklorists.  Of course, the
writer is not maintaining that there is anything 'psychical' in
fire-walking, or in fire-handling.  Put it down as a trick.  Then as
a trick it is so old, so world-wide, that we should ascertain the
modus of it.  Mr. Clodd, following Sir B. W. Richardson, suggests
the use of diluted sulphuric acid, or of alum.  But I am not aware
that he has tried the experiment on his own person, nor has he
produced an example in which it was successfully tried.  Science
demands actual experiment.

The very same remarks apply to 'Crystal-Gazing'.  Folklore welcomes
it in legend or in classical or savage divination.  When it is
asserted that a percentage of living and educated and honourable
people are actually hallucinated by gazing into crystals, the
President of the Folklore Society (Mr. Clodd) has attributed the
fact to a deranged liver. {0d}  This is a theory like another, and,
like another, can be tested.  But, if it holds water, then we have
discovered the origin of the world-wide practice of crystal-gazing.
It arises from an equally world-wide form of hepatic malady.

In answer to all that has been urged here, anthropologists are wont
to ejaculate that blessed word 'Survival'.  Our savage, and
mediaeval, and Puritan ancestors were ignorant and superstitious;
and we, or some of us, inherit their beliefs, as we may inherit
their complexions.  They have bequeathed to us a tendency to see the
viewless things, and hear the airy tongues which they saw and heard;
and they have left us the legacy of their animistic or
spiritualistic explanation of these subjective experiences.

Well, be it so; what does anthropology study with so much zest as
survivals?  When, then, we find plenty of sane and honest people
ready with tales of their own 'abnormal' experiences,
anthropologists ought to feel fortunate.  Here, in the persons of
witnesses, say, to 'death-bed wraiths,' are 'survivals' of the
liveliest and most interesting kind.  Here are parsons, solicitors,
soldiers, actors, men of letters, peers, honourable women not a few,
all (as far as wraiths go), in exactly the mental condition of a
Maori.  Anthropology then will seek out these witnesses, these
contemporary survivals, these examples of the truth of its own
hypothesis, and listen to them as lovingly as it listens to a
garrulous old village wife, or to an untutored Mincopi.

This is what we expect; but anthropology, never glancing at our
'survivals,' never interrogating them, goes to the Aquarium to study
a friendly Zulu.  The consistency of this method laisse a desirer!
One says to anthropologists:  'If all educated men who have had, or
believe they have had "psychical experiences" are mere "survivals,"
why don't you friends of "survivals" examine them and cross examine
them?  Their psychology ought to be a most interesting proof of the
correctness of your theory.  But, far from studying the cases of
these gentlemen, some of you actually denounce, for doing so, the
Society for Psychical Research.'

The real explanation of these singular scientific inconsistencies is
probably this.  Many men of science have, consciously or
unconsciously, adopted the belief that the whole subject of the
'abnormal,' or, let us say, the 'psychical,' is closed.  Every
phenomenon admits of an already ascertained physical explanation.
Therefore, when a man (however apparently free from superstitious
prejudice) investigates a reported abnormal phenomenon, he is
instantly accused of _wanting to believe_ in a 'supernatural
explanation'.  Wanting (ex hypothesi) to believe, he is unfit to
investigate, all his conclusions will be affirmative, and all will
be worthless.

This scientific argument is exactly the old argument of the pulpit
against the atheist who 'does not believe because he does not want
to believe'.  The writer is only too well aware that even scientific
minds, when bent on these topics, are apt to lose balance and
sanity.  But this tendency, like any other mental bad habit, is to
be overcome, and may be vanquished.

Manifestly it is as fair for a psychical researcher to say to Mr.
Clodd, 'You won't examine my haunted house because you are afraid of
being obliged to believe in spirits,' as it is fair for Mr. Clodd to
say to a psychical researcher, 'You only examine a haunted house
because you want to believe in spirits; and, therefore, if you _do_
see a spook, it does not count'.

We have recently seen an instructive example.  Many continental
savants, some of them bred in the straitest sect of materialists,
examined, and were puzzled by an Italian female 'medium'.  Effects
apparently abnormal were attested.  In the autumn of 1895 this woman
was brought to England by the Society for Psychical Research.  They,
of course, as they, ex hypothesi, 'wish to believe,' should, ex
hypothesi, have gone on believing.  But, in fact, they detected the
medium in the act of cheating, and publicly denounced her as an
impostor.  The argument, therefore, that investigation implies
credulity, and that credulity implies inevitable and final
deception, scarcely holds water.

One or two slight corrections may be offered here.  The author
understands that Mr. Howitt does not regard the Australian conjurers
described on p. 41, as being actually _bound_ by the bark cords
'wound about their heads, bodies, and limbs'.  Of course, Mr.
Howitt's is the best evidence possible.

To the cases of savage table-turning (p. 49), add Dr. Codrington's
curious examples in The Melanesians, p. 223 (Oxford, Clarendon
Press, 1891).

To stories of fire-handling, or of walking-uninjured through fire
(p. 49), add examples in The Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol.
ii., No. 2, June, 1893, pp. 105-108.  See also 'At the Sign of the
Ship,' Longman's Magazine, August, 1894, and The Quarterly Review,
August, 1895, article on 'The Evil Eye'.

Mr. J. W. Maskelyne, the eminent expert in conjuring, has remarked
to the author that the old historical reports of 'physical
phenomena,' such as those which were said to accompany D. D. Home,
do not impress him at all.  For, as Mr. Maskelyne justly remarks,
their antiquity and world-wide diffusion (see essays on 'Comparative
Psychical Research,' and on 'Savage and Classical Spiritualism') may
be accounted for with ease.  Like other myths, equally uniform and
widely diffused, they represent the natural play of human fancy.
Inanimate objects are stationary, therefore let us say that they
move about.  Men do not float in the air.  Let us say that they do.
Then we have the 'physical phenomena' of spiritualism.  This
objection had already occurred to, and been stated by, the author.
But the difficulty of accounting for the large body of respectable
evidence as to the real occurrence of the alleged phenomena remains.
Consequently the author has little doubt that there is a genuine
substratum of fact, probably fact of conjuring, and of more or less
hallucinatory experience.  If so, the great antiquity and uniformity
of the tricks, make them proper subjects of anthropological inquiry,
like other matters of human tradition.  Where conditions of darkness
and so on are imposed, he does not think that it is worth while to
waste time in examination.

Finally, the author has often been asked:  'But what do you believe

He believes that all these matters are legitimate subjects of
anthropological inquiry.

London, 27th October, 1895.


Nature of the subject.  Persistent survival of certain Animistic
beliefs.  Examples of the Lady Onkhari, Lucian, General Campbell.
The Anthropological aspect of the study.  Difference between this
Animistic belief, and other widely diffused ideas and institutions.
Scientific admission of certain phenomena, and rejection of others.
Connection between the rejected and accepted phenomena.  The
attitude of Science.  Difficulties of investigation illustrated.
Dr. Carpenter's Theory of unconscious Cerebration.  Illustration of
this Theory.  The Failure of the Inquiry by the Dialectical Society.
Professor Huxley, Mr. G. H. Lewes.  Absurdity and charlatanism of
'Spiritualism'.  Historical aspect of the subject.  Universality of
Animistic Beliefs, in every stage of culture.  Not peculiar to
savagery, ignorance, the Dark Ages, or periods of Religious crisis.
Nature of the Evidence.

It is not without hesitation that this book is offered to the
reader.  Very many people, for very various reasons, would taboo the
subjects here discoursed of altogether.  These subjects are a
certain set of ancient beliefs, for example the belief in
clairvoyance, in 'hauntings,' in events transcending ordinary
natural laws.  The peculiarity of these beliefs is, that they have
survived the wreck of faith in such elements of witchcraft as
metamorphosis, and power to cause tempest or drought.  To study such
themes is 'impious,' or 'superstitious,' or 'useless'.  Yet to a
pathologist, or anthropologist, the survivals of beliefs must always
be curious and attractive illustrations of human nature.

Ages, empires, civilisations pass, and leave some members even of
educated mankind still, in certain points, on the level of the
savage who propitiates with gifts, or addresses with prayers, the
spirits of the dead.

An example of this endurance, this secular survival of belief, may
be more instructive and is certainly more entertaining than a world
of assertions.  In his Etudes Egyptiennes (Tome i. fascic. 2) M.
Maspero publishes the text and translation of a papyrus fragment.
This papyrus was discovered still attached to a statuette in wood,
representing 'the singer of Ammen, Kena,' in ceremonial dress.  The
document is a letter written by an ancient Egyptian scribe, 'To the
Instructed Khou of the Dame Onkhari,' his own dead wife, the Khou,
or Khu, being the spirit of that lady.  The scribe has been
'haunted' since her decease, his home has been disturbed, he asks
Onkhari what he has done to deserve such treatment:  'What wrong
have I been guilty of that I should be in this state of trouble?
what have I done that thou should'st help to assail me? no crime has
been wrought against thee.  From the hour of my marriage till this
day, what have I wrought against thee that I need conceal?'

He vows that, when they meet at the tribunal of Osiris, he will have
right on his side.

This letter to the dead is deposited in the tomb of the dead, and we
may trust that the scribe was no longer annoyed by a Khou, which
being instructed, should have known better.  To take another ancient
instance, in his Philopseudes Lucian introduces a kind of club of
superstitious men, telling ghost stories.  One of them assures his
friend that the spectre of his late wife has visited and vexed him,
because he had accidentally neglected to burn one of a pair of gilt
shoes, to which she was attached.  She indicated the place where the
shoe was lying hidden, and she was pacified.  Lucian, of course,
treats this narrative in a spirit of unfeeling mirth, but, if such
tales were not current in his time, there would have been no point
in his banter.  Thus the belief in the haunting of a husband by the
spirit of his wife, the belief which drives a native Australian
servant from the station where his gin is buried, survived old
Egypt, and descended to Greece.  We now take a modern instance,
closely corresponding to that of the Instructed Khou of the Dame

In the Proceedings of the Psychical Society (part xiv. p. 477) the
late General Campbell sends, from Gwalior House, Southgate, N.,
April 27, 1884, a tale of personal experiences and actions, which
exactly reproduces the story of the Egyptian Scribe.  The narrative
is long and not interesting, except as an illustration of survival,--
in all senses of the word.

General Campbell says that his wife died in July, 1882.  He
describes himself as of advanced age, and cautious in forming
opinions.  In 1882 he had never given any consideration to 'the
subject of ultra-mundane indications'.  Yet he recounts examples of
'about thirty inexplicable sounds, as if inviting my attention
specially, and two apparitions or visions, apparently of a carefully
calculated nature, seen by a child visitor, a blood relation of my
late wife, whom this child had never seen, nor yet any likeness of
her'.  The general then describes his house, a new one, and his
unsuccessful endeavours to detect the cause of the knocks, raps,
crashes, and other disturbances.  Unable to discover any ordinary
cause, he read some books on 'Spiritualism,' and, finally, addressed
a note, as the Egyptian Scribe directed a letter, to the 'agent':
{4} _Give three raps if from my deceased wife_!

He was rewarded by three crashing sounds, and by other peculiar
phenomena.  All these, unlike the scribe, he regarded as sent 'for
my particular conviction and comfort'.

These instances prove that, from the Australian blacks in the Bush,
who hear raps when the spirits come, to ancient Egypt, and thence to
Greece, and last, in our own time, and in a London suburb, similar
experiences, real or imaginary, are explained by the same
hypothesis.  No 'survival' can be more odd and striking, none more
illustrative of the permanence, in human nature, of certain
elements.  To examine these psychological curiosities may, or may
not, be 'useful,' but, at lowest, the study may rank as a branch of
Mythology, or of Folklore.

It is in the spirit of these sciences, themselves parts of a general
historical inquiry into the past and present of our race, that we
would glance at the anecdotes, legends, and superstitions which are
here collected.  The writer has been chiefly interested in the
question of the Evidence, its nature and motives, rather than in the
question of Fact.  It is desirable to know why independent
witnesses, practically everywhere and always, tell the same tales.
To examine the origin of these tales is not more 'superstitious'
than to examine the origin of the religious and heroic mythologies
of the world.  It is, of course, easy to give both mythology, and
'the science of spectres,' the go by.  But antiquaries will be
inquiring, and these pursuits are more than mere 'antiquarian old
womanries'.  We follow the stream of fable, as we track a burn to
its head, and it leads us into shy, and strange scenes of human
life, haunted by very fearful wild-fowl, and rarely visited save by
the credulous.  There may be entertainment here, and, to the student
of his species, there may be instruction.

On every side we find, as we try to show, in all ages, climates,
races, and stages of civilisation, consentient testimony to a set of
extraordinary phenomena.  Equally diffused we find fraudulent
imitations of these occurrences, and, on one side, a credulity which
has accepted everything, on the other hand, a scepticism which
denies and laughs at all the reports.  But it is a question whether
human folly would, everywhere and always, suffer from the same
delusions, undergo the same hallucinations, and elaborate the same
frauds.  The problem is one which, in other matter, always haunts
the student of man's development:  he is accustomed to find similar
myths, rites, customs, fairy tales, all over the world; of some he
can trace the origin to early human imagination and reason, working
on limited knowledge; about others, he asks whether they have been
independently evolved in several places, or whether they have been
diffused from a single centre.  In the present case, the problem is
more complicated.  Taboos, totemism, myths explanatory of natural
phenomena, customs like what, with Dr. Murray's permission, we call
the Couvade, are either peculiar to barbarous races, or, among the
old civilised races, existed as survivals, protected by conservative
Religion.  But such things as 'clairvoyance,' 'levitation,'
'veridical apparitions,' 'movements of objects without physical
contact,' 'rappings,' 'hauntings,' persist as matters of belief, in
full modern civilisation, and are attested by many otherwise sane,
credible, and even scientifically trained modern witnesses.  In this
persistence, and in these testimonies, the alleged abnormal
phenomena differ from such matters as nature-myths, customs like
Suttee, Taboo, Couvade, and Totemism, the change of men into beasts,
the raising of storms by art-magic.  These things our civilisation
has dropped, the belief in other wild phenomena many persons in our
civilisation retain.

The tendency of the anthropologist is to explain this fact by
Survival and Revival.  Given the savage beliefs in magic, spirit
rapping, clairvoyance, and so forth, these, like Marchen, or nursery
tales, will survive obscurely among peasants and the illiterate
generally.  In an age of fatigued scepticism and rigid physical
science, the imaginative longings of men will fall back on the
savage or peasant necromancy, which will be revived perhaps in some
obscure American village, and be run after by the credulous and
half-witted.  Then the wished-for phenomena will be supplied by the
dexterity of charlatans.  As it is easy to demonstrate the quackery
of paid 'mediums,' as _that_, at all events, is a vera causa, the
theory of Survival and Revival seems adequate.  Yet there are two
circumstances which suggest that all is not such plain sailing.  The
first is the constantly alleged occurrence of 'spontaneous' and
sporadic abnormal phenomena, whether clairvoyance in or out of
hypnotic trance, of effects on the mind and the senses apparently
produced by some action of a distant mind, of hallucinations
coincident with remote events, of physical prodigies that contradict
the law of gravitation, or of inexplicable sounds, lights, and other
occurrences in certain localities.  These are just the things which
Medicine Men, Mediums and classical Diviners have always pretended
to provoke and produce by certain arts or rites.  Secondly, whether
they do or do not occasionally succeed, apart from fraud, in these
performances, the 'spontaneous' phenomena are attested by a mass and
quality of evidence, ancient, mediaeval and modern, which would
compel attention in any other matter.  Living, sane, and
scientifically trained men now,--not to speak of ingenious, and
intelligent, if superstitious observers in the past,--and Catholic
gleaners of contemporary evidence for saintly miracle, and
witnesses, judges, and juries in trials for witchcraft, are
undeniably all 'in the same tale'.

Now we can easily devise an explanation of the stories told by
savages, by fanatics, by peasants, by persons under ecclesiastical
influence, by witches, and victims of witches.  That is simple, but
why are sane, scientific, modern observers, and even disgusted
modern sceptics, in a tale, and that just the old savage tale?  What
makes them repeat the stories they do repeat?  We do not so much
ask:  'Are these stories true?' as, '_Why are these stories told_?'
Professor Ray Lankester puts the question thus, and we are still at
a loss for an answer.

Meanwhile modern science has actually accepted as real, some strange
psychological phenomena which both science and common-sense
rejected, between 1720 and 1840, roughly speaking.  The accepted
phenomena are always reported, historically, as attendant on the
still more strange, and still rejected occurrences.  We are thus
face to face with a curious question of evidence:  To what extent
are some educated modern observers under the same illusions as Red
Men, Kaffirs, Eskimo, Samoyeds, Australians, and Maoris?  To what
extent does the coincidence of their testimony with that of races so
differently situated and trained, justify curiosity, interest, and
perhaps suspense of judgment?

The question of the value of the facts is one to be determined by
physiologists, physicians, physicists, and psychologists.  It is
clear that the alleged phenomena, both those now accepted and those
still rejected, attend, or are said to attend, persons of singular
physical constitution.  It is not for nothing that Iamblichus,
describing the constitution of his diviner, or seer, and the
phenomena which he displays, should exactly delineate such a man as
St. Joseph of Cupertino, with his miracles as recounted in the Acta
Sanctorum {9} (1603-1663).  Now certain scientific, and (as a layman
might suppose), qualified persons, aver that they have seen and even
tested, in modern instances, the phenomena insisted on by
Iamblichus, by the Bollandists, and by a great company of ordinary
witnesses in all climes, ages, and degrees of culture.  But these
few scientific observers are scouted in this matter, by the vast
majority of physicists and psychologists.  It is with this majority,
if they choose to find time, and can muster inclination for the task
of prolonged and patient experiment, that the ultimate decision as
to the portee and significance of the facts must rest.  The problem
cannot be solved and settled by amateurs, nor by 'common-sense,'

Delivers brawling judgments all day long,
On all things, unashamed.

Ignorance, however respectable, and however contemptuous, is
certainly no infallible oracle on any subject.  Meanwhile most
representatives of physical science, perhaps all official
representatives, hold aloof,--not merely from such performances or
pretences as can only be criticised by professional conjurers,--but
from the whole mass of reported abnormal events.  As the occurrences
are admitted, even by believers, to depend on fluctuating and
unascertained personal conditions, the reluctance of physicists to
examine them is very natural and intelligible.

Whether the determination to taboo research into them, and to
denounce their examination as of perilous moral consequence, is
scientific, or is obscurantist, every one may decide for himself.
The quest for truth is usually supposed to be regardless of
consequences, meanwhile, till science utters an opinion, till Roma
locuta est, and does not, after a scrambling and hasty inquiry, or
no inquiry at all, assert a prejudice; mere literary and historical
students cannot be expected to pronounce a verdict.

Spiritualists, and even less convinced persons, have frequently
denounced official men of science for not making more careful and
prolonged investigations in this dusky region.  It is not enough,
they say, to unmask one imposture, or to sit in the dark four or
five times with a 'medium'.  This affair demands the close scrutiny
of years, and the most patient and persevering experiment.

This sounds very plausible, but the few official men of science,
whose names the public has heard,--and it is astonishing how famous
among his peers a scientific character may be, while the public has
never heard of him--can very easily answer their accusers:  'What,'
they may cry, 'are we to investigate?  It is absurd to ask us to
leave our special studies, and sit for many hours, through many
years, probably in the dark, with an epileptic person, and a few
hysterical believers.  We are not conjurers or judges of conjuring.'
Again, is a man like Professor Huxley, or Lord Kelvin, to run about
the country, examining every cottage where there are rumours of
curious noises, and where stones and other missiles are thrown
about, by undetected hands?  That is the business of the police, and
if the police are baffled, as in a Cock Lane affair at Port Glasgow,
in 1864, and in Paris, in 1846, we cannot expect men of science to
act as amateur detectives. {11}  Again, it is hardly to be expected
that our chosen modern leaders of opinion will give themselves up to
cross-examining ladies and gentlemen who tell ghost stories.
Barristers and solicitors would be more useful for that purpose.
Thus hardly anything is left which physical science can investigate,
except the conduct and utterances of the hysterical, the epileptic,
the hypnotised and other subjects who are occasionally said to
display an abnormal extension of the perceptive faculties, for
example, by way of clairvoyance.  To the unscientific intelligence
it seems conceivable that if Home, for example, could have been kept
in some such establishment as the Salpetriere for a year, and could
have been scrutinised and made the subject of experiment, like the
other hysterical patients, his pretensions might have been decided
on once for all.  But he merely performed a few speciosa miracula
under tests established by one or two English men of science, and
believers and disbelievers are still left to wrangle over him:  they
usually introduce a question of moral character.  Now a few men of
science in England like Dr. Gregory about 1851, and like Dr.
Carpenter, and a larger number on the continent, have examined and
are examining these peculiarities.  Their reports are often
sufficiently astonishing to the lay mind.

No doubt when, if ever, a very large and imposing body of these
reports is presented by a cloud of scientific witnesses of esteemed
reputation, then official science will give more time and study to
the topic than it is at present inclined to bestow.  Mr. Wallace has
asserted that, 'whenever the scientific men of any age have denied,
on a priori grounds, the facts of investigation, they have _always
been wrong_'. {12}  He adds that Galileo, Harvey, Jenner, Franklin,
Young, and Arago, when he 'wanted even to discuss the subject of the
electric telegraph,' were 'vehemently opposed by their scientific
contemporaries,' 'laughed at as dreamers,' 'ridiculed,' and so on,
like the early observers of palaeolithic axes, and similar
prehistoric remains.  This is true, of course, but, because some
correct ideas were laughed at, it does not follow that whatever is
laughed at is correct.  The squarers of the circle, the discoverers
of perpetual motion, the inquirers into the origin of language, have
all been ridiculed, and ruled out of court, the two former classes,
at least, justly enough.  Now official science apparently regards
all the long and universally rumoured abnormal occurrences as in the
same category with Keely's Motor, and Perpetual Motion, not as in
the same category with the undulatory theory of light, or the theory
of the circulation of the blood.  Clairvoyance, or ghosts, or
suspensions of the law of gravitation, are things so widely
contradictory of general experience and of ascertained laws, that
they are pronounced to be impossible; like perpetual motion they are
not admitted to a hearing.

As for the undeniable phenomenon that, in every land, age, and
condition of culture, and in every stage of belief or disbelief,
some observers have persistently asserted their experience of these
occurrences; as for the phenomenon that the testimonies of
Australian blacks, of Samoyeds, of Hurons, of Greeks, of European
peasants, of the Catholic and the Covenanting clergy, and of some
scientifically trained modern physicians and chemists, are all
coincident, official physical science leaves these things to
anthropology and folklore.  Yet the coincidence of such strange
testimony is a singular fact in human nature.  Even people of open
mind can, at present, say no more than that there is a great deal of
smoke, a puzzling quantity, if there be no fire, and that either
human nature is very easily deluded by simple conjuring tricks, or
that, in all stages of culture, minds are subject to identical
hallucinations.  The whole hocus-pocus of 'spirit-writing' on slates
and in pellets of paper, has been satisfactorily exposed and
explained, as a rather simple kind of leger-de-main.  But this was a
purely modern sort of trickery; the old universal class of useless
miracles, said to occur spontaneously, still presents problems of
undeniable psychological interest.

For example, if it be granted, as apparently it was by Dr.
Carpenter, that, in certain circumstances, certain persons, wide
awake, can perform, in various ways, intelligent actions, and
produce intelligent expressions automatically, without being
conscious of what they are doing, then that fact is nearly as
interesting and useful as the fact that we are descended from
protozoa.  Thus Dr. Carpenter says that, in 'table-talking,' 'cases
have occasionally occurred in the experience of persons above
suspicion of intentional deception, in which the answers given by
the movements of tables were not only unknown to the questioners,
but were even contrary to their belief at the time, and yet
afterwards proved to be true.  Such cases afford typical examples of
the doctrine of unconscious cerebration, for in several of them it
was capable of being distinctly shown that the answers, although
contrary to the belief of the questioners at the time, were true to
facts of which they had been formerly cognisant, but which had
vanished from their recollection; the residua of these forgotten
impressions giving rise to cerebral changes which prompted the
responses without any consciousness on the part of the agents of the
latent springs of their actions.'  It is, apparently, to be
understood that, as the existence of latent unconscious knowledge
was traced in 'several' cases, therefore the explanation held good
in all cases, even where it could not be established as a fact.

Let us see how this theory works out in practice.  Smith, Jones,
Brown and Robinson are sitting with their hands on a table.  All, ex
hypothesi, are honourable men, 'above suspicion of intentional
deception'.  They ask the table where Green is.  Smith, Jones and
Robinson have no idea, Brown firmly believes that Green is in Rome.
The table begins to move, kicks and answers, by aid of an alphabet
and knocks, that Green is at Machrihanish, where, on investigation,
he is proved to be.  Later, Brown is able to show (let us hope by
documentary evidence), that he _had_ heard Green was going to
Machrihanish, instead of to Rome as he had intended, but this
remarkable change of plans on Green's part had entirely faded from
Brown's memory.  Now we are to take it, ex hypothesi, that Brown is
the soul of honour, and, like Mr. Facey Rumford, 'wouldn't tell a
lie if it was ever so'.  The practical result is that, while Brown's
consciousness informs him, trumpet-tongued, that Green is at Rome,
'the residue of a forgotten impression' makes him (without his
knowing it) wag the table, which he does not intend to do, and
forces him to say through the tilts of the table, that Green is at
Machrihanish, while he believes that Green is at Rome.

The table-turners were laughed at, and many, if not all of them,
deserved ridicule.  But see how even this trivial superstition
illuminates our knowledge of the human mind!  A mere residuum of a
forgotten impression, a lost memory which Brown would have sworn, in
a court of justice, had never been in his mind at all, can work his
muscles, while he supposes that they are _not_ working, can make a
table move at which three other honourable men are sitting, and can
tell all of them what none of them knows.  Clearly the expedient of
table-turning in court might be tried by conscientious witnesses,
who have forgotten the circumstances on which they are asked to give
evidence.  As Dr. Carpenter remarks, quoting Mr. Lecky, 'our
doctrine of unconscious cerebration inculcates toleration for
differences not merely of belief, but of the moral standard'.  And
why not toleration for 'immoral' actions?  If Brown's residuum of an
impression can make Brown's muscles move a table to give responses
of which he is ignorant, why should not the residuum of a forgotten
impression that it would be a pleasant thing to shoot Mr. Gladstone
or Lord Salisbury, make Brown unconsciously commit that solecism?
It is a question of degree.  At all events, if the unconscious self
can do as much as Dr. Carpenter believed, we cannot tell how many
other marvels it may perform; we cannot know till we investigate
further.  If this be so, it is, perhaps, hardly wise or scientific
to taboo all investigation.  If a mere trivial drawing-room
amusement, associated by some with an absurd 'animistic hypothesis,'
can, when explained by Dr. Carpenter, throw such unexpectedly
blinding light on human nature, who knows how much light may be
obtained from a research into more serious and widely diffused
superstitious practices?  The research is, undeniably, beset with
the most thorny of difficulties.  Yet whosoever agrees with Dr.
Carpenter must admit that, after one discovery so singular as
'unconscious cerebration,' in its effect on tables, some one is
bound to go further in the same field, and try for more.  We are
assuming, for the sake of argument, the accuracy of Dr. Carpenter's
facts. {17a}

More than twenty years ago an attempt was made by a body called the
'Dialectical Society,' to investigate the phenomena styled
spiritualistic.  This well-meant essay had most unsatisfactory
results. {17b}

First a committee of inquiry was formed, on the motion of Dr.
Edmunds.  The committee was heterogeneous.  Many of the names now
suggest little to the reader.  Mr. Bradlaugh we remember, but he
chiefly attended a committee which sat with D. D. Home, and it is
admitted that nothing of interest there occurred.  Then we find the
Rev. Maurice Davies, who was wont to write books of little
distinction on semi-religious topics.  Mr. H. G. Atkinson was a
person interested in mesmerism.  Kisch, Moss, and Quelch, with Dyte
and Isaac Meyers, Bergheim and Geary, Hannah, Hillier, Reed (their
names go naturally in blank verse), were, doubtless, all most
estimable men, but scarcely boast of scientific fame.  Serjeant Cox,
a believer in the phenomena, if not in their spiritual cause, was of
the company, as was Mr. Jencken, who married one of the Miss Foxes,
the first authors of modern thaumaturgy.  Professor Huxley and Mr.
G. H. Lewes were asked to join, but declined to march to Sarras, the
spiritual city, with the committee.  This was neither surprising nor
reprehensible, but Professor Huxley's letter of refusal appears to
indicate that matters of interest, and, perhaps, logic, are
differently understood by men of science and men of letters. {18}
He gave two reasons for refusing, and others may readily be imagined
by the sympathetic observer.  The first was that he had no time for
an inquiry involving much trouble, and (as he justly foresaw) much
annoyance.  Next, he had no interest in the subject.  He had once
examined a case of 'spiritualism,' and detected an imposture.  'But,
supposing the phenomena to be genuine, they do not interest me.  If
anybody would endow me with the faculty of listening to the chatter
of old women and curates in the nearest cathedral town, I should
decline the privilege, having better things to do.'  Thus it would
not interest Professor Huxley if some new kind of telephone should
enable him to hear all the conversation of persons in a town (if a
cathedral town) more or less distant.  He would not be interested by
the 'genuine' fact of this extension of his faculties, because he
would not expect to be amused or instructed by the contents of what
he heard.  Of course he was not invited to listen to a chatter,
which, on one hypothesis, was that of the dead, but to help to
ascertain whether or not there were any genuine facts of an unusual
nature, which some persons explained by the animistic hypothesis.
To mere 'bellettristic triflers' the existence of genuine abnormal
and unexplained facts seems to have been the object of inquiry, and
we must penitently admit that if genuine communications could really
be opened with the dead, we would regard the circumstance with some
degree of curious zest, even if the dead were on the intellectual
level of curates and old women.  Besides, all old women are not
imbeciles, history records cases of a different kind, and even some
curates are as intelligent as the apes, whose anatomy and customs,
about that time, much occupied Professor Huxley.  In Balaam's
conversation with his ass, it was not so much the fact that mon ane
parle bien which interested the prophet, as the circumstance that
mon ane parle.  Science has obviously soared very high, when she
cannot be interested by the fact (if a fact) that the dead are
communicating with us, apart from the value of what they choose to

However, Professor Huxley lost nothing by not joining the committee
of the Dialectical Society.  Mr. G. H. Lewes, for his part, hoped
that with Mr. Alfred Russel Wallace to aid (for he joined the
committee) and with Mr. Crookes (who apparently did not) 'we have a
right to expect some definite result'.  Any expectation of that kind
was doomed to disappointment.  In Mr. Lewes's own experience, which
was large, 'the means have always been proved to be either
deliberate imposture . . . or the well-known effects of expectant
attention'.  That is, when Lord Adare, the Master of Lindsay, and a
cloud of other witnesses, thought they saw heavy bodies moving about
of their own free will, either somebody cheated, or the spectators
beheld what they did behold, because they expected to do so, even
when, like M. Alphonse Karr, and Mr. Hamilton Aide, they expected
nothing of the kind.  This would be Mr. Lewes's natural explanation
of the circumstances, suggested by his own large experience.

The results of the Dialectical Society's inquiry were somewhat
comic.  The committee reported that marvels were alleged, by the
experimental subcommittees, to have occurred.  Sub-committee No. 1
averred that 'motion may be produced in solid bodies without
material contact, by some hitherto unrecognised force'.  Sub-
committees 2 and 3 had many communications with mysterious
intelligences to vouch for, and much erratic behaviour on the part
of tables to record.  No. 4 had nothing to report at all, and No. 5
which sat four times with Home had mere trifles of raps.  Home was
ill, and the seances were given up.

So far, many curious phenomena were alleged to have occurred, but
now Dr. Edmunds, who started the whole inquiry, sent in a separate
report.  He complained that convinced spiritualists had 'captured'
the editing sub-committee, as people say, and had issued a report
practically spiritualistic.  He himself had met nothing more
remarkable than impudent frauds or total failure.  'Raps, noises,
and movements of various kinds,' he had indeed witnessed, and he
heard wondrous tales from truthful people, 'but I have never been
able to see anything worthy of consideration, as not being accounted
for by unconscious action, delusion, or imposture'.  Then the
editors of the Report contradicted Dr. Edmunds on points of fact,
and Mr. A. R. Wallace disabled his logic, {21} and Mr. Geary
dissented from the Report, and the editors said that his statements
were incorrect, and that he was a rare attendant at seances, and
Serjeant Cox vouched for more miracles, and a great many statements
of the most astounding description were made by Mr. Varley, an
electrician, by D. D. Home, by the Master of Lindsay (Lord Crawford)
and by other witnesses who had seen Home grow eight inches longer
and also shorter than his average height; fly in the air; handle
burning coals unharmed, cause fragrance of various sweet scents to
fill a room, and, in short, rival St. Joseph of Cupertino in all his
most characteristic performances.  Unluckily Mr. Home, not being in
the vein, did not one of these feats in presence of Mr. Bradlaugh
and sub-committee No. 5.  These results are clearly not of a
convincing and harmonious description, and thus ended the attempt of
the Dialectical Society.  Nobody can do otherwise than congratulate
Professor Huxley and Mr. Lewes, on their discreet reserve.  The
inquiry of the Dialectical Society was a failure; the members of the
committees remained at variance; and it is natural to side with the
sceptics rather than with those who believed from the first, or were
converted (as many are said to have been) during the experiments.
Perhaps all such inquiries may end in no more than diversity of
opinion.  These practical researches ought not to be attempted by
the majority of people, if by any.  On many nervous systems, the
mere sitting idly round a table, and calling the process a seance,
produces evil effects.

As to the idea of purposely evoking the dead, it is at least as
impious, as absurd, as odious to taste and sentiment, as it is
insane in the eyes of reason.  This protest the writer feels obliged
to make, for while he regards the traditional, historical and
anthropological curiosities here collected as matters of some
interest, in various aspects, he has nothing but abhorrence and
contempt for modern efforts to converse with the manes, and for all
the profane impostures of 'spiritualism'.

On the question of the real existence of the reported phenomena
hereafter chronicled, and on the question of the portee of the
facts, if genuine, the writer has been unable to reach any
conclusion, negative or affirmative.  Even the testimony of his
senses, if they ever bore witness to any of the speciosa miracula,
would fail to convince him on the affirmative side.  There seems to
be no good reason why one observer should set so much store by his
own impressions of sense, while he regards those of all other
witnesses as fallible.  On the other hand, the writer feels unable
to set wholly aside the concurrent testimony of the most diverse
people, in times, lands and conditions of opinion the most various.
The reported phenomena fall into regular groups, like the symptoms
of a disease.  Is it a disease of observation?  If so, the topic is
one of undeniable psychological interest.  To urge this truth, to
produce such examples as his reading affords, is the purpose of the

The topic has an historical aspect.  In what sorts of periods, in
what conditions of general thought and belief, are the alleged
abnormal phenomena most current?  Every one will answer:  In ages
and lands of ignorance and superstitions; or, again:  In periods of
religious, or, so to say, of irreligious crisis.  As Mr. Lecky
insists, belief in all such matters, from fairies to the miracles of
the Gospel, declines as rationalism or enlightenment advances.  Yet
it is not as Mr. Lecky says, before reason that they vanish, not
before learned argument and examination, but just before a kind of
sentiment, or instinct, or feeling, that events contradictory of
normal experience seem ridiculous, and incredible.

Now, if we set aside, for the present, ecclesiastical miracles, and
judicial witchcraft, and fix our attention on such minor and useless
marvels as clairvoyance, 'ghosts,' unexplained noises, unexplained
movements of objects, one doubts whether the general opinion as to
the ratio of marvels and ignorance is correct.  The truth is that we
have often very scanty evidence.  If we take Athens in her lustre,
we are, undeniably, in an age of enlightenment, of the Aufklarung.
No rationalistic, philosophical, cool-headed contemporary of
Middleton, of Hume, of Voltaire, could speak more contemptuously
about ghosts, and about the immortality of the soul, than some of
the Athenian gentlemen who converse with Socrates in the Dialogues.
Yet we find that Socrates and Plato, men as well educated, as
familiar with the refined enlightenment of Athens as the others,
take to some extent the side of the old wives with their fables, and
believe in earth-bound spirits of the dead.  Again, the clear-headed
Socrates, one of the pioneers of logic, credits himself with
'premonitions,' apparently with clairvoyance, and assuredly with
warnings which, in the then existing state of psychology, he could
only regard as 'spiritual'.  Hence we must infer that belief, or
disbelief, does not depend on education, enlightenment, pure reason,
but on personal character and genius.  The same proportionate
distribution of these is likely to recur in any age.

Once more, Rome in the late Republic, the Rome of Cicero, was
'enlightened,' as was the Greece of Lucian; that is the educated
classes were enlightened.  Yet Lucretius, writing only for the
educated classes, feels obliged to combat the belief in ghosts and
the kind of Calvinism which, but for his poem, we should not know to
have been widely prevalent.  Lucian, too, mocks frequently at
educated belief in just such minor and useless miracles as we are
considering, but then Lucian lived in an age of cataclysm in
religion.  Looking back on history we find that most of historical
time has either been covered with dark ignorance, among savages,
among the populace, or in all classes; or, on the other hand, has
been marked by enlightenment, which has produced, or accompanied,
religious or irreligious crises.  Now religious and irreligious
crises both tend to beget belief in abnormal occurrences.  Religion
welcomes them as miracles divine or diabolical.  Scepticism produces
a reaction, and 'where no gods are spectres walk'.  Thus men cannot,
or, so far, men have not been able to escape from the conditions in
which marvels flourish.  If we are savages, then Vuis and Brewin
beset the forest paths and knock in the lacustrine dwelling perched
like a nest on reeds above the water; tornaks rout in the Eskimo
hut, in the open wood, in the gunyeh, in the Medicine Lodge.  If we
are European peasants, we hear the Brownie at work, and see the
fairies dance in their grassy ring.  If we are devoutly Catholic we
behold saints floating in mid-air, or we lay down our maladies and
leave our crutches at Lourdes.  If we are personally religious, and
pass days in prayer, we hear voices like Bunyan; see visions like
the brave Colonel Gardiner or like Pascal; walk environed by an
atmosphere of light, like the seers in Iamblichus, and like a very
savoury Covenanting Christian.  We are attended by a virtuous sprite
who raps and moves tables as was a pious man mentioned by Bodin and
a minister cited by Wodrow.  We work miracles and prophesy, like Mr.
Blair of St. Andrews (1639-1662); we are clairvoyant, like Mr.
Cameron, minister of Lochend, or Loch-Head, in Kintyre (1679).  If
we are dissolute, and irreligious like Lord Lyttelton, or like
Middleton, that enemy of Covenanters, we see ghosts, as they did,
and have premonitions.  If we live in a time of witty scepticism, we
take to the magnetism of Mesmer.  If we exist in a period of learned
and scientific scepticism, and are ourselves trained observers, we
may still watch the beliefs of Mr. Wallace and the experiments
witnessed by Mr. Crookes and Dr. Huggins.

Say we are Protestants, and sceptical, like Reginald Scot (1584), or
Whigs, like De Foe, we then exclaim with Scot, in his Discovery of
Witchcraft (1584), that minor miracles, moving tables, have gone out
with benighted Popery, as De Foe also boasts in his History of the
Devil.  Alas, of the table we must admit eppur si muove; it moves,
or is believed by foreign savants to move, for a peasant medium,
Eusapia Paladino.  Mr. Lecky declares (1865) that Church miracles
have followed Hop o' my Thumb; they are lost, with no track of white
pebbles, in the forest of Rationalism. {26a}  And then Lourdes comes
to contradict his expectation, and Church miracles are as common as
blackberries.  Enfin, mankind, in the whole course of its history,
has never got quit of experiences which, whatever their cause, drive
it back on the belief in the marvellous. {26b}

It is a noteworthy circumstance that (setting apart Church miracles,
and the epidemic of witchcraft which broke out simultaneously with
the new learning of the Renaissance, and was fostered by the
enlightened Protestantism of the Reformers, the Puritans, and the
Covenanters, in England, Scotland and America) the minor miracles,
the hauntings and knockings, are not more common in one age than in
another.  Our evidence, it is true, does not quite permit us to
judge of their frequency at certain periods.  The reason is obvious.
We have no newspapers, no miscellanies of daily life, from Greece,
Rome, and the Middle Ages.  We have from Greece and Rome but few
literary examples of 'Psychical Research,' few collections of books
on 'Bogles' as Scott called them.  We possess Palaephatus, the life
of Apollonius of Tyana, jests in Lucian, argument and exposition
from Pliny, Porphyry, Iamblichus, Plutarch, hints from Plato,
Plautus, Lucretius, from St. Augustine and other fathers.  Suetonius
chronicles noises and hauntings after the death of Caligula, but,
naturally, the historian does not record similar disturbances in the
pauperum tabernaae.

Classical evidence on these matters, as about Greek and Roman
folklore in general, we have to sift painfully from the works of
literary authors who were concerned with other topics.  Still, in
the region of the ghostly, as in folklore at large, we have relics
enough to prove that the ancient practices and beliefs were on the
ordinary level of today and of all days:  and to show that the
ordinary numbers of abnormal phenomena were supposed to be present
in the ancient civilisations.  In the Middle Ages--the 'dark ages'--
modern opinion would expect to find an inordinate quantity of
ghostly material.  But modern opinion would be disappointed.
Setting aside saintly miracles, and accusations of witchcraft, the
minor phenomena are very sparsely recorded.  In the darkest of all
'dark ages,' when, on the current hypothesis, such tales as we
examine ought to be most plentiful, even witch-trials are
infrequent.  Mr. Lecky attributes to these benighted centuries
'extreme superstition, with little terrorism, and, consequently,
little sorcery'.  The world was capable of believing anything, but
it believed in the antidote as well as in the bane, in the efficacy
of holy water as much as in the evil eye.  When, with the dawn of
enlightenment in the twelfth century, superstition became cruel, and
burned witch and heretic, the charges against witches do not, as a
rule, include the phenomena which we are studying.  Witches are
accused of raising storms, destroying crops, causing deaths and
blighting marriages, by sympathetic magic; of assuming the shapes of
beasts, of having intercourse with Satan, of attending the Sabbat.
All these fables, except the last, are survivals from savage
beliefs, but none of these occurrences are attested by modern
witnesses of all sorts, like the 'knockings,' 'movements,' 'ghosts,'
'wraiths,' 'second sight,' and clairvoyance.

The more part of mediaeval witchcraft, therefore, is not quod
semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus.  The facts were facts:  people
really died or were sterile, flocks suffered, ships were wrecked,
fields were ruined; the mistake lay in attributing these things to
witchcraft.  On the other hand, the facts of rappings, ghosts,
clairvoyance, in spite of the universally consentient evidence, are
very doubtful facts after all.  Their existence has to be
established before we look about for their cause.  Now, of records
about _these_ phenomena the Middle Ages produce but a very scanty
supply.  The miracles which were so common were seldom of this kind;
they were imposing visions of devils, or of angels, or of saints;
processions of happy or unhappy souls; views of heaven, hell, or
purgatory.  The reason is not far to seek:  ecclesiastical
chroniclers, like classical men of letters, recorded events which
interested themselves; a wraith, or common ghost ('matter of daily
experience,' says Lavaterus, and, later, contradicts himself), or
knocking sprite, was beneath their notice.  In mediaeval sermons we
meet a few edifying wraiths and ghosts, returning in obedience to a
compact made while in the body.  Here and there a chronicle, as of
Rudolf of Fulda (858), vouches for communication with a rapping
bogle.  Grimm has collected several cases under the head of 'House-
sprites,' including this ancient one at Capmunti, near Bingen. {30}
Gervase of Tilbury, Marie de France, John Major, Froissart, mention
an occasional follet, brownie, or knocking sprite.  The prayers of
the Church contain a petition against the spiritus percutiens, or
spirit who produces 'percussive noises'.  The Norsemen of the Viking
age were given to second sight, and Glam 'riding the roofs,' made
disturbances worthy of a spectre peculiarly able-bodied.  But, not
counting the evidence of the Icelandic sagas, mediaeval literature,
like classical literature, needs to be carefully sifted before it
yields a few grains of such facts as sane and educated witnesses
even now aver to be matter of their personal experience.  No doubt
the beliefs were prevalent, the Latin prayer proves that, but
examples were seldom recorded.

Thus the dark ages do _not_, as might have been expected, provide us
with most of this material.  The last forty enlightened years give
us more bogles than all the ages between St. Augustine and the
Restoration.  When the dark ages were over, when learning revived,
the learned turned their minds to 'Psychical Research,' and Wier,
Bodin, Le Loyer, Georgius Pictorius, Petrus Thyraeus, James VI.,
collected many instances of the phenomena still said to survive.
Then, for want of better materials, the unhappy, tortured witches
dragged into their confessions all the folklore which they knew.
Second sight, the fairy world, ghosts, 'wraiths,' 'astral bodies' of
witches whose bodies of flesh are elsewhere, volatile chairs and
tables, all were spoken of by witches under torture, and by sworn
witnesses. {31}  Resisting the scepticism of the Restoration,
Glanvil, More, Boyle, and the rest, fought the Sadducee with the
usual ghost stories.  Wodrow, later (1701-1731), compiled the
marvels of his Analecta.  In spite of the cold common-sense of the
eighteenth century, sporadic outbreaks of rappings and feats of
impulsive pots, pans, beds and chairs insisted on making themselves
notorious.  The Wesley case would never have been celebrated if the
sons of Samuel Wesley had not become prominent.  John Wesley and the
Methodists revelled in such narratives, and so the catena of
testimonies was lengthened till Mesmer came, and, with Mesmer, the
hypothesis of a 'fluidic force' which in various shapes has endured,
and is not, even now, wholly extinct.  Finally Modern Spiritualism
arrived, and was, for the most part, an organised and fraudulent
copy of the old popular phenomena, with a few cheap and vulgar
variations on the theme.

In the face of these facts, it does not seem easy to aver that one
kind of age, one sort of 'culture' is more favourable to the
occurrence of, or belief in, these phenomena than another.
Accidental circumstances, an increase, or a decrease of knowledge
and education, an access of religion, or of irreligion, a fashion in
intellectual temperament, may bring these experiences more into
notice at one moment than at another, but they are always said to
recur, at uncertain intervals, and are always essentially the same.

To prove this by examples is our present business.  In a thoroughly
scientific treatise, the foundation of the whole would, of course,
be laid in a discussion of psychology, physiology, and the phenomena
of hypnotism.  But on these matters an amateur opinion is of less
than no value.  The various schools of psychologists, neurologists,
'alienists,' and employers of hypnotism for curative or experimental
purposes, appear to differ very widely among themselves, and the
layman may read but he cannot criticise their works.  The essays
which follow are historical, anthropological, antiquarian.


'Shadow' or Magic of the Dene Hareskins:  its four categories.
These are characteristic of all Savage Spiritualism.  The subject
somewhat neglected by Anthropologists.  Uniformity of phenomena.
Mr. Tylor's theory of the origin of 'Animism'.  Question whether
there are any phenomena not explained by Mr. Tylor's theory.
Examples of uniformity.  The savage hypnotic trance.  Hareskin
examples.  Cases from British Guiana.  Australian rapping spirits.
Maori oracles.  A Maori 'seance'.  The North American Indian Magic
Lodge.  Modern and old Jesuit descriptions.  Movements of the Lodge.
Insensibility of Red Indian Medium to fire.  Similar case of D. D.
Home.  Flying table in Thibet.  Other instances.  Montezuma's
'astral body'.  Miracles.  Question of Diffusion by borrowing, or of
independent evolution.

Philosophers among the Dene Hareskins in the extreme north of
America recognise four classes of 'Shadow' or magic.  Their
categories apply sufficiently closely to all savage sorcery
(excluding sympathetic magic), as far as it has been observed.  We
have, among the Hareskins:--

1.  Beneficent magic, used for the healing of the sick.

2.  Malevolent magic:  the black art of witchcraft

3.  Conjuring, or the working of merely sportive miracles.

4.  Magic for ascertaining the truth about the future or the distant
present--clairvoyance.  This is called 'The Young Man Bound and
Bounding,' from the widely-spread habit of tying-up the limbs of the
medium, and from his customary convulsions.

To all of these forms of magic, or spiritualism, the presence and
aid of 'spirits' is believed to be necessary, with, perhaps, the
exception of the sportive or conjuring class.  A spirit helps to
cure and helps to kill.  The free spirit of the clairvoyant in
bondage meets other spirits in its wanderings.  Anthropologists,
taking it for granted that 'spirits' are a mere 'animistic
hypothesis'--their appearances being counterfeited by imposture--
have paid little attention to the practical magic of savages, as far
as it is not merely sympathetic, and based on the doctrine that
'like cures like'.

Thus Mr. Sproat, in his excellent work, Scenes and Studies of Savage
Life, frankly admits that in Vancouver Island the trickery and
hocus-pocus of Aht sorcery were so repugnant to him that he could
not occupy himself with the topic.  Some other travellers have been
more inquisitive; unlettered sojourners among the wilder peoples
have shared their superstitions, and consulted their oracles, while
one or two of the old Jesuit missionaries were close and puzzled
observers of their 'mediumship'.

Thus enough is known to show that savage spiritualism wonderfully
resembles, even in minute details, that of modern mediums and
seances, while both have the most striking parallels in the old
classical thaumaturgy.

This uniformity, to a certain extent, is not surprising, for savage,
classical, and modern spiritualism all repose on the primaeval
animistic hypothesis as their metaphysical foundation.  The origin
of this hypothesis--namely, that disembodied intelligences exist and
are active--is explained by anthropologists as the result of early
reasonings on life, death, sleep, dreams, trances, shadows, the
phenomena of epilepsy, and the illusions of starvation.  This
scientific theory is, in itself, unimpeachable; normal phenomena,
psychological and physical, might suggest most of the animistic
beliefs. {35}

At the same time 'veridical hallucinations,' if there are any, and
clairvoyance, if there is such a thing, would do much to originate
and confirm the animistic opinions.  Meanwhile, the extraordinary
similarity of savage and classical spiritualistic rites, with the
corresponding similarity of alleged modern phenomena, raises
problems which it is more easy to state than to solve.  For example,
such occurrences as 'rappings,' as the movement of untouched
objects, as the lights of the seance room, are all easily feigned.
But that ignorant modern knaves should feign precisely the same
raps, lights, and movements as the most remote and unsophisticated
barbarians, and as the educated Platonists of the fourth century
after Christ, and that many of the other phenomena should be
identical in each case, is certainly noteworthy.  This kind of
folklore is the most persistent, the most apt to revive, and the
most uniform.  We have to decide between the theories of independent
invention; of transmission, borrowing, and secular tradition; and of
a substratum of actual fact.

Thus, either the rite of binding the sorcerer was invented, for no
obvious reason, in a given place, and thence reached the Australian
blacks, the Eskimo, the Dene Hareskins, the Davenport Brothers, and
the Neoplatonists; or it was independently evolved in each of
several remote regions; or it was found to have some actual effect--
what we cannot guess--on persons entranced.  We are hampered by not
knowing, in our comparatively rational state of development, what
strange things it is natural for a savage to invent.  That spirits
should knock and rap seems to us about as improbable an idea as
could well occur to the fancy.  Were we inventing a form for a
spirit's manifestations to take, we never should invent _that_.  But
what a savage might think an appropriate invention we do not know.
Meanwhile we have the mediaeval and later tales of rapping, some of
which, to be frank, have never been satisfactorily accounted for on
any theory.  But, on the other hand, each of us might readily invent
another common 'manifestation'--the _wind_ which is said to
accompany the spirit.

The very word spiritus suggests air in motion, and the very idea of
abnormal power suggests the trembling and shaking of the place
wherein it is present.  Yet, on the other side, the 'cold non-
natural wind' of seances, of Swedenborg, and of a hundred stories,
old or new, is undeniably felt by some sceptical observers, even on
occasions where no professional charlatan is engaged.  As to the
trembling and shaking of the house or hut, where the spirit is
alleged to be, we shall examine some curious evidence, ancient and
modern, savage and civilised.  So of the other phenomena.  Some seem
to be of easy natural invention, others not so; and, in the latter
case, independent evolution of an idea not obvious is a difficult
hypothesis, while transmission from the Pole to Australia, though
conceivable, is apt to give rise to doubt.

Meanwhile, one phenomenon, which is usually said to accompany others
much more startling, may now be held to have won acceptance from
science.  This is what the Dene Hareskins call the Sleep of the
Shadow, that is, the Magical Sleep, the hypnotic trance.  Savages
are well acquainted with this abnormal condition, and with means of
producing it, and it is at the bottom of all their more mysterious
non-sympathetic magic.  Before Mesmer, and even till within the last
thirty years, this phenomenon, too, would have been scouted; now it
is a commonplace of physiology.  For such physical symptoms as
introverted eyes in seers we need look no further than Martin's
account of the second-sighted men, in his book on the Hebrides.  The
phenomenon of anaesthesia, insensibility to pain, in trance, is not
unfamiliar to science, but that red-hot coals should not burn a seer
or medium is, perhaps, less easily accepted; while science,
naturally, does not recognise the clairvoyance, and still less the
'spiritual' attendants of the seer in the Sleep of the Shadow.
Nevertheless, classical, modern, and savage spiritualists are agreed
in reporting these last and most startling phenomena of the magic
slumber in certain cases.

Beginning with what may be admitted as possible, we find that the
Dene Hareskins practise a form of healing under hypnotic or mesmeric
treatment. {38}  The physician (who is to be pitied) begins by a
three days' fast.  Then a 'magic lodge,' afterwards to be described,
is built for him in the forest.  Here he falls into the Sleep of the
Shadow; the patient is then brought before him.  In the lodge, the
patient confesses his sins to his doctor, and when that ghostly
friend has heard all, he sings and plays the tambour, invoking the
spirit to descend on the sick man.  The singing of barbarous songs
was part of classical spiritualism; the Norse witch, in The Saga of
Eric the Red, insisted on the song of Warlocks being chanted, which
secured the attendance of 'many powerful spirits'; and modern
spiritualists enliven their dark and dismal programme by songs.
Presently the Hareskin physician blows on the patient, and bids the
malady quit him.  He also makes 'passes' over the invalid till he
produces trance; the spirit is supposed to assist.  Then the spirit
extracts the _sin_ which caused the suffering, and the illness is
cured, after the patient has been awakened by a loud cry.  In all
this affair of confession one is inclined to surmise a mixture of
Catholic practice, imitated from the missionaries.  It is also not,
perhaps, impossible that hypnotic treatment may occasionally have
been of some real service.

Turning to British Guiana, where, as elsewhere, hysterical and
epileptic people make the best mediums, or 'Peay-men,' we are
fortunate in finding an educated observer who submitted to be
peaied.  Mr. Im Thurn, in the interests of science, endured a savage
form of cure for headache.  The remedy was much worse than the
disease.  In a hammock in the dark, attended by a peay-man armed
with several bunches of green boughs, Mr. Im Thurn lay, under a vow
not to touch whatever might touch him.  The peay-men kept howling
questions to the kenaimas, or spirits, who answered.  'It was a
clever piece of ventriloquism and acting.'

'Every now and then, through the mad din, there was a sound, at
first low and indistinct, and then gathering in volume, as if some
big, winged thing came from far towards the house, passed through
the roof, and then settled heavily on the floor; and again, after an
interval, as if the same winged thing rose and passed away as it had
come,' while the air was sensibly stirred.  A noise of lapping up
some tobacco-water set out for the kenaimas was also audible.  The
rustling of wings, and the thud, 'were imitated, as I afterwards
found, by skilfully shaking the leafy boughs, and then dashing them
suddenly against the ground'.  Mr. Im Thurn bit one of the boughs
which came close to his face, and caught leaves in his teeth.  As a
rule he lay in a condition scarcely conscious:  'It seems to me that
my spirit was as nearly separated from my body as is possible in any
circumstances short of death.  Thus it appears that the efforts of
the peay-man were directed partly to the separation of his own
spirit from his body, and partly to the separation of the spirit
from the body of his patient, and that in this way spirit holds
communion with spirit.'  But Mr. Im Thurn's headache was not
alleviated!  The whirring noise occurs in the case of the Cock Lane
Ghost (1762), in Iamblichus, in some 'haunted houses,' and is
reported by a modern lady spiritualist in a book which provokes
sceptical comments.  Now, had the peay tradition reached Cock Lane,
or was the peay-man counterfeiting, very cleverly, some real
phenomenon? {40}

We may next examine cases in which, the savage medium being
entranced, spirits come to him and answer questions.  Australia is
so remote, and it is so unlikely that European or American
spiritualists suggested their ideas to the older blacks (for
mediumship seems to be nearly extinct since the settling of the
country), that any transmission of such notions to the Black Fellows
must be very ancient.  Our authorities are Mr. Brough Smyth, in
Aborigines of Victoria (i. 472), and Messrs. Fison and Howitt, in
Kamilaroi and Kurnai, who tell just the same tale.  The spirits in
Victoria are called Mrarts, and are understood to be the souls of
Black Fellows dead and gone, not demons unattached.  The mediums,
now very scarce, are Birraarks.  They were consulted as to things
present and future.  The Birraark leaves the camp, the fire is kept
low, and some one 'cooees' at intervals.  'Then a noise is heard.
The narrator here struck a book against the table several times to
describe it.'  This, of course, is 'spirit-rapping'.  The knocks
have a home among the least cultivated savages, as well as in
mediaeval and modern Europe.  Then whistles are heard, a phenomenon
lavishly illustrated in certain seances held at Rio de Janeiro {41a}
where children were mediums.  The spiritual whistle is familiar to
Glanvil and to Homer.  Mr. Wesley, at Epworth (1716), noted it among
all the other phenomena.  The Mrarts are next heard 'jumping down,'
like the kenaimas.  Questions are put to them, and they answer.
They decline, very naturally, to approach a bright fire.  The medium
(Birraark) is found entranced, either on the ground where the Mrarts
have been talking, or at the top of a tree, very difficult to climb,
'and up which there are no marks of any one having climbed'.  The
blacks, of course, are peculiarly skilled in detecting such marks.
In maleficent magic, as among the Dene Hareskins, the Australian
sorcerer has 'his head, body, and limbs wound round with stringy
bark cords'. {41b}  The enchantment is believed to drag the victim,
in a trance, towards the sorcerer.  This binding is customary among
the Eskimo, and, as Mr. Myers has noted, was used in the rites
described by the Oracles in 'trance utterances,' which Porphyry
collected in the fourth century.  Whether the binding was thought to
restrain the convulsions of the mediums, or whether it was,
originally, a 'test condition,' to prevent the medium from cheating
(as in modern experiments), we cannot discover.  It does not appear
to be in use among the Maoris, whose speciality is 'trance

A very picturesque description of a Maori seance is given in Old New
Zealand. {42}  The story loses greatly by being condensed.  A
popular and accomplished young chief had died in battle, and his
friends asked the Tohunga, or medium, to call him back.  The chief
was able to read and write; he had kept a journal of remarkable
events, and that journal, though 'unceasingly searched for,' had
disappeared.  This was exactly a case for a test, and that which was
given would have been good enough for spiritualists, though not for
more reasonable human beings.  In the village hall, in flickering
firelight, the friends, with the English observer, the 'Pakeha
Maori,' were collected.  The medium, by way of a 'cabinet,' selected
the darkest corner.  The fire burned down to a red glow.  Suddenly
the spirit spoke, 'Salutation to my tribe,' and the chief's sister,
a beautiful girl, rushed, with open arms, into the darkness; she was
seized and held by her friends.  The gloom, the tears, the sorrow,
nearly overcame the incredulity of the Englishman, as the Voice
came, 'a strange, melancholy sound, like the sound of a wind blowing
into a hollow vessel'.  'It is well with me,' it said; 'my place is
a good place.'  They asked of their dead friends; the hollow answers
replied, and the Englishman 'felt a strange swelling of the chest'.
The Voice spoke again:  'Give my large pig to the priest,' and the
sceptic was disenchanted.  He now thought of the test.  '"We cannot
find your book," I said; "where have you concealed it?"  The answer
immediately came:  "Between the Tahuhu of my house and the thatch,
straight over you as you go into the door".'  Here the brother
rushed out.  'In five minutes he came back, _with the book in his
hand_.'  After one or two more remarks the Voice came, '"Farewell!"
_from deep beneath the ground_.  "Farewell!" again _from high in
air_.  "Farewell!" once more came moaning through the distant
darkness of the night.  The deception was perfect.  "A
ventriloquist," said I, "or--or, _perhaps_ the devil."'  The seance
had an ill end:  the chief's sister shot herself.

This was decidedly a well-got-up affair for a colonial place.  The
Maori oracles are precisely like those of Delphi.  In one case a
chief was absent, was inquired for, and the Voice came, 'He will
return, yet not return'.  Six months later the chiefs friends went
to implore him to come home.  They brought him back a corpse; they
had found him dying, and carried away the body.  In another case,
when the Maori oracle was consulted as to the issue of a proposed
war, it said:  'A desolate country, a desolate country, a desolate
country!'  The chiefs, of course, thought the _other_ country was
meant, but they were deceived, as Croesus was by Delphi, when he was
told that he 'would ruin a great empire'.  In yet another case, the
Maoris were anxious for the spirits to bring back a European ship,
on which a girl had fled with the captain.  The Pakeha Maori was
present at this seance, and heard the 'hollow, mysterious whistling
Voice, "The ship's nose I will batter out on the great sea"'.  Even
the priest was puzzled, this, he said, was clearly a deceitful
spirit, or atua, like those of which Porphyry complains, like most
of them in fact.  But, ten days later, the ship came back to port;
she had met a gale, and sprung a leak in the bow, called, in Maori,
'the nose' (ihu).  It is hardly surprising that some Europeans used
to consult the oracle.

Possibly some spiritualists may take comfort in these anecdotes, and
allege that the Maori mediums were 'very powerful'.  This is said to
have been the view taken by some American believers, in a very
curious case, reported by Kohl, but the tale, as he tells it, cannot
possibly be accurate.  However, it illustrates and strangely
coincides with some stories related by the Jesuit, Pere Lejeune, in
the Canadian Mission, about 1637.  The instances bear both on
clairvoyance and on the force which is said to shake houses as well
as to lift tables, in the legends of the modern thaumaturgists.  We
shall take Kohl's tale before those of the old Jesuit.  Kohl first
describes the 'Medicine Lodge,' already alluded to in the account of
Dene Hareskin magic.

The 'lodge' answers to what spiritualists call 'the cabinet,'
usually a place curtained off in modern practice.  Behind this the
medium now gets up his 'materialisations,' and other cheap
mysteries.  The classical performers of the fourth century also knew
the advantage of a close place, {45a} 'where the power would not be
scattered'.  This idea is very natural, granting the 'power'.  The
modern Ojibway 'close place,' or lodge, like those seen by old
Jesuit fathers, 'is composed of stout posts, connected with basket-
work, and covered with birch bark.  It is tall and narrow, and
resembles a chimney.  It is very firmly built, and two men, even if
exerting their utmost strength, would be unable to move, shake, or
bend it.' {45b}  On this topic Kohl received information from a
gentleman who 'knew the Indians well, and was even related to them
through his wife'.  He, and many other white people thirty years
before, saw a Jossakeed, or medium, crawl into such a lodge as Kohl
describes, beating his tambour.  'The entire case began gradually
trembling, shaking, and oscillating slowly amidst great noise. . . .
It bent back and forwards, up and down, like the mast of a vessel in
a storm.  I could not understand how those movements could be
produced by a man inside, as we could not have caused them from the
exterior.'  Two voices, 'both entirely different,' were then heard
within.  'Some spiritualists' (here is the weakest part of the
story) 'who were present explained it through modern spiritualism.'
Now this was not before 1859, when Kohl's book appeared in English,
and modern spiritualism, as a sect of philosophy, was not born till
1848, so that, thirty years before 1859, in 1829, there were no
modern spiritualists.  This, then, is absurd.  However, the tale
goes on, and Kohl's informant says that he knew the Jossakeed, or
medium, who had become a Christian.  On his deathbed the white man
asked him how it was done:  'now is the time to confess all
truthfully'.  The converted one admitted the premisses--he was
dying, a Christian man--but, 'Believe me, I did not deceive you at
that time.  I did not move the lodge.  It was shaken by the power of
the spirits.  I could see a great distance round me, and believed I
could recognise the most distant objects.'  This 'with an expression
of simple truth'.  It is interesting, but the interval of thirty
years is a naked impossibility.  In 1829 there were queer doings in
America.  Joe Smith's Mormons 'spoke with tongues,' like Irving's
congregation at the same time, but there were no modern
spiritualists.  Kohl's informant should have said 'ten years ago,'
if he wanted his anecdote to be credited, and it is curious that
Kohl did not notice this circumstance.

We now come to the certainly honest evidence of the Pere Lejeune,
the Jesuit missionary.  In the Relations de la Nouvelle France
(1634), Lejeune discusses the sorcerers, who, as rival priests, gave
him great trouble.  He describes the Medicine Lodge just as Kohl
does.  The fire is put out, of course, the sorcerer enters, the
lodge shakes, voices are heard in Montagnais and Algonkin, and the
Father thought it all a clumsy imposture.  The sorcerer, in a very
sportsmanlike way, asked him to go in himself and try what he could
make of it.  'You'll find that your body remains below and your soul
mounts aloft.'  The cautious Father, reflecting that there were no
white witnesses, declined to make the experiment.  This lodge was
larger than those which Kohl saw, and would have held half a dozen
men.  This was in 1634; by 1637 Pere Lejeune began to doubt whether
his theory that the lodge was shaken by the juggler would hold
water.  Two Indians--one of them a sorcerer, Pigarouich, 'me
descouvrant avec grande sincerite toutes ses malices'--'making a
clean breast of his tricks'--vowed that they did not shake the
lodge--that a great wind entered fort promptement et rudement, and
they added that the 'tabernacle' (as Lejeune very injudiciously
calls the Medicine Lodge), 'is sometimes so strong that a single man
can hardly stir it.'  The sorcerer was a small weak man.  Lejeune
himself noted the strength of the structure, and saw it move with a
violence which he did not think a man could have communicated to it,
especially not for such a length of time.  He was assured by many
(Indian) witnesses that the tabernacle was sometimes laid level with
the ground, and again that the sorcerer's arm and legs might be seen
projecting outside, while the lodge staggered about--nay, more, the
lodge would rock and sway after the juggler had left it.  As usual,
there was a savage, Auiskuouaskousit, who had seen a juggler rise in
air out of the structure, while others, looking in, saw that he was
absent.  St. Theresa had done equal marvels, but this does not occur
to the good Father.

The savage with the long name was a Christian catechumen, and yet he
stood to it that he had seen a sorcerer disappear before his very
eyes, like the second-sighted Highlander in Kirk's Secret
Commonwealth (1691).  'His neibours often perceaved this man to
disappear at a certane place, and about one hour after to become
visible.'  It would be more satisfactory if the Father had seen
these things himself, like Mrs. Newton Crosland, who informs the
world that, when with Robert Chambers and other persons of sanity,
she felt a whole house violently shaken, trembling, and thrilling in
the presence of a medium--not a professional, but a young lady
amateur.  Here, of course, we greatly desire the evidence of Robert
Chambers.  Spirits came to Swedenborg with a wind, but it was only
strong enough to flutter papers; 'the cause of which,' as he remarks
with naivete, 'I do not yet understand'.  If Swedenborg had gone
into a Medicine Lodge, no doubt, in that 'close place,' the
phenomena would have been very much more remarkable.  In 1853 Pere
Arnaud visited the Nasquapees, and describes a seance.  'The
conjurers shut themselves up in a little lodge, and remain for a few
minutes in a pensive attitude, cross-legged.  Soon the lodge begins
to move like a table turning, and replies by bounds and jumps to the
questions which are put to the conjurer.' {48}  The experiment might
be tried with a modern medium.

Father Lejeune, in 1637, gives a case which reminds us of Home.
According to Home, and to Mrs. S. C. Hall, and other witnesses, when
'in power' he could not only handle live coals without being burned,
but he actually placed a large glowing coal, about the size of a
cricket-ball, on the pate of Mr. S. C. Hall, where it shone redly
through Mr. Hall's white locks, but did him no manner of harm.  Now
Father Pijart was present, tesmoin oculaire, when a Huron medicine-
man heated a stone red hot, put it in his mouth, and ran round the
cabin with it, without receiving any harm.  Father Brebeuf,
afterwards a most heroic martyr, sent the stone to Father Lejeune;
it bore the marks of the medicine-man's teeth, though Father Pijart,
examining the man, found that lips and tongue had no trace of burn
or blister.  He reasonably concluded that these things could not be
done 'sans l'operation de quelque Demon'.  That an excited patient
should not feel fire is, perhaps, admissible, but that it should not
scorch either Mr. Hall, or Home, or the Huron, is a large demand on
our credulity.  Still, the evidence in this case (that of Mr.
Crookes and Lord Crawford) is much better than usual.

It would be strange if practices analogous to modern 'table-turning'
did not exist among savage and barbaric races.  Thus Mr. Tylor, in
Primitive Culture (ii. 156), quotes a Kutuchtu Lama who mounted a
bench, and rode it, as it were, to a tent where the stolen goods
were concealed.  The bench was believed, by the credulous Mongols,
to carry the Lama!  Among the Manyanja of Africa thefts are detected
by young men holding sticks in their hands.  After a sufficient
amount of incantation, dancing, and convulsions, the sticks became
possessed, the men 'can hardly hold them,' and are dragged after
them in the required directions. {50a}  These examples are analogous
to the use of the Divining Rod, which is probably moved
unconsciously by honest 'dowsers'; 'sometimes they believe that they
can hardly hold it'.  These are cases of movement of objects in
contact with human muscles, and are therefore not at all mysterious
in origin.  A regular case of movement _without_ contact was
reported from Thibet, by M. Tscherepanoff, in 1855.  The modern
epidemic of table-turning had set in, when M. Tscherepanoff wrote
thus to the Abeille Russe:  {50b} 'The Lama can find stolen objects
by following a table which flies before him'.  But the Lama, after
being asked to trace an object, requires an interval of some days,
before he sets about finding it.  When he is ready he sits on the
ground, reading a Thibetan book, in front of a small square table,
on which he rests his hands.  At the end of half an hour he rises
and lifts his hands from the surface of the table:  presently the
table also rises from the ground, and follows the direction of his
hand.  The Lama elevates his hand above his head, the table reaches
the level of his eyes:  the Lama walks, the table rushes before him
in the air, so rapidly that he can scarcely keep up with its flight.
The table then spins round, and falls on the earth, the direction in
which it falls, indicates that in which the stolen object is to be
sought.  M. Tscherepanoff says that he saw the table fly about forty
feet, and fall.  The stolen object was not immediately discovered,
but a Russian peasant, seeing the line which the table took,
committed suicide, and the object was found in his hut.  The date
was 1831.  M. Tscherepanoff could not believe his eyes, and searched
in vain for an iron wire, or other mechanism, but could find nothing
of the sort.  This anecdote, if it does not prove a miracle,
illustrates a custom. {51}

As to clairvoyance among savages, the subject is comparatively
familiar.  Montezuma's priests predicted the arrival of the
Spaniards long before the event.  On this point, in itself well
vouched for, Acosta tells a story which illustrates the identity of
the 'astral body,' or double, with the ordinary body.  In the witch
stories of Increase Mather and others, where the possessed sees the
phantasm of the witch, and strikes it, the actual witch proves to be
injured.  Story leads to story, and Mr. Thomas Hardy somewhere tells
one to this effect.  A farmer's wife, a woman of some education,
fell asleep in the afternoon, and dreamed that a neighbour of hers,
a woman, was sitting on her chest.  She caught at the figure's arm
in her dream, and woke.  Later in the day she met her neighbour, who
complained of a pain in the arm, just where the farmer's wife seized
it in her dream.  The place mortified and the poor lady died.  To
return to Montezuma.  An honest labourer was brought before him, who
made this very tough statement.  He had been carried by an eagle
into a cave, where he saw a man in splendid dress sleeping heavily.
Beside him stood a burning stick of incense such as the Aztecs used.
A voice announced that this sleeper was Montezuma, prophesied his
doom, and bade the labourer burn the slumberer's face with the
flaming incense stick.  The labourer reluctantly applied the flame
to the royal nose, 'but he moved not, nor showed any feeling'.  On
this anecdote being related to Montezuma, he looked on his own face
in a mirror, and 'found that he was burned, the which he had not
felt till then'. {52}

On the Coppermine River the medicine-man, according to Hearne,
prophesies of travellers, like the Highland second-sighted man, ere
they appear.  The Finns and Lapps boast of similar powers.  Scheffer
is copious on the clairvoyant feats of Lapps in trance.  The Eskimo
Angakut, when bound with their heads between their legs, cause
luminous apparitions, just as was done by Mr. Stainton Moses, and by
the mediums known to Porphyry and Iamblichus; the Angakut also send
their souls on voyages, and behold distant lands.  One of the oddest
Angekok stories in Rink's Tales and Traditions of the Eskimo (p.
324) tells how some children played at magic, making 'a dark
cabinet,' by hanging jackets over the door, to exclude the light.
'The slabs of the floor were lifted and rushed after them:' a case
of 'movement of objects without physical contact'.  This phenomenon
in future attended the young medium's possessions, even when he was
away from home.  This particular kind of manifestation, so very
common in trials for witchcraft, and in modern spiritualistic
literature, does not appear to prevail much among savages.  Persons
otherwise credible and sane tell the authorities of the Psychical
Society that, with only three amateurs present, things are thrown
about, and objects are brought from places many miles distant, and
tossed on the table.  These are technically termed apports.  The
writer knows a case in which this was attested by a witness of the
most unimpeachable character.  But savages hardly go so far.  Bishop
Callaway has an instance in which 'spirits' tossed objects into the
midst of a Zulu circle, but such things are not usual.  Savages also
set out food for the dead, but they scarcely attain to the
credulity, or are granted the experience, of a writer in the Medium.
{53}  This astonishing person knew a familiar spirit.  At dinner,
one day, an empty chair began to move, 'and in answer to the
question whether it would have some dinner, said "Yes"'.  It chose
croquets de pomme de terre, which were placed on the chair in a
spoon, lest the spirit, whose manners were rustic, should break a
plate.  'In a few seconds I was told that it was eaten, and looking,
found the half of it gone, with the marks showing the teeth.'
Perhaps few savages would have told such a tale to a journal which
ought to have a large circulation--among believers.

The examples of savage spiritualism which have been adduced might
probably receive many additions; those are but gleanings from a
large field carelessly harvested.  The phenomena have been but
casually studied; the civilised mind is apt to see, in savage
seances, nothing but noisy buffoonery.  We have shown that there is
a more serious belief involved, and we have adduced cases in which
white men were not unconscious of the barbarian spell.  It also
appears that the now recognised phenomena of hypnotism are the basis
of the more serious savage magic.  The production of hypnotic
trances, perhaps of hypnotic hallucinations, is a piece of knowledge
which savages possessed (as they were acquainted with quinine),
while European physicians and philosophers ignored or laughed at it.
Tobacco and quinine were more acceptable gifts from the barbarian.
His magic has now and then been examined by a competent
anthropologist, like Mr. Im Thurn, and Castren closely observed the
proceedings of the bound and bounding Shamans among the Samoyeds.
But we need the evidence both of anthropologists and of adepts in
conjuring.  They might detect some of the tricks, though Mr. Kellar,
a professional conjurer and exposer of spiritualistic imposture, has
been fairly baffled (he says) by Zulus and Hindus, while educated
Americans are puzzled by the Pawnees.  Mr. Kellar's plan of
displaying a few of his own tricks was excellent:  the dusky
professionals were stimulated to show theirs, which, as described,
were miracles.  The Pakeha Maori, already quoted, saw a Maori
Tohunga perform 'a very good miracle as times go,' but he does not
give any particulars.  The late Mr. Davey, who started as a
Spiritualist catechumen, managed, by conjuring, to produce answers
to questions on a locked slate, which is as near a miracle as
anything.  But Mr. Davey is dead, though we know his secret, while
it is improbable that Mr. Maskelyne will enrich his repertoire by
travelling among Zulus, Hindus, and Pawnees.  As savages cease to be
savages, our opportunities of learning their mystic lore must

To one point in this research the notice of students in folklore may
be specially directed.  In the attempt to account for the diffusion
of popular tales, such as Cinderella, we are told to observe that
the countries most closely adjacent to each other have the most
closely similar variants of the story.  This is true, as a rule, but
it is also true that, while Scandinavian regions have a form of
Cinderella with certain peculiarities not shared by Southern Europe,
those crop up sporadically, far away, among Kaffirs and the Indian
'aboriginal' tribe of Santhals.  The same phenomenon of diffusion
occurs when we find savage mediums tied up in their trances, all
over the North, among Canadian Hareskins, among Samoyed and Eskimo,
while the practice ceases at a given point in Labrador, and gives
place to Medicine Lodges.  The binding then reappears if not in
Australia, certainly in the ancient Greek ceremonial.  The writer is
not acquainted with 'the bound and bounding young man' in the
intervening regions and it would be very interesting to find
connecting cases, stepping-stones, as it were, by which the rite
passed from the Levant to the frozen North.


M. Littre on 'demoniac affections,' a subject, in his opinion,
worthy of closer study.  Outbreak of Modern Spiritualism.  Its
relations to Greek and Egyptian Spiritualism recognised.  Popular
and literary sources of Modern Spiritualism.  Neoplatonic
thaumaturgy not among these.  Porphyry and Iamblichus.  The
discerning of Spirits.  The ancient attempts to prove 'spirit
identity'.  The test of 'spirit lights' in the ancient world.
Perplexities of Porphyry.  Dreams.  The Assynt Murder.  Eusebius on
Ancient Spiritualism.  The evidence of Texts from the Papyri.
Evocations.  Lights, levitation, airy music, anaesthesia of Mediums,
ancient and modern.  Alternative hypotheses:  conjuring,
'suggestion' and collective hallucination, actual fact.  Strange
case of the Rev. Stainton Moses.  Tabular statement showing
historical continuity of alleged phenomena.

In the Revue des Deux Mondes, for 1856, tome i., M. Littre published
an article on table-turning and 'rapping spirits'.  M. Littre was a
savant whom nobody accused of superstition, and France possessed no
clearer intellect.  Yet his attitude towards the popular marvels of
the day, an attitude at once singular and natural, shows how easily
the greatest minds can pay themselves with words.  A curious reader,
in that period of excitement about 'spiritualism,' would turn to the
Revue, attracted by M. Littre's name.  He would ask:  'Does M.
Littre accept the alleged facts; if so, how does he explain them?'
And he would find that this guide of human thought did not, at
least, _reject_ the facts; that he did not (as he well might have
done) offer imposture as the general explanation; that he regarded
the topic as very obscure, and eminently worthy of study,--and that
he pooh-poohed the whole affair!

This is not very consistent or helpful counsel.  Like the rest of
us, who are so far beneath M. Littre in grasp and in weight of
authority, he was subject to the idola fori, the illusions of the
market-place.  It would never do for a great scientific sceptic to
say, 'Here are strange and important facts of human nature, let us
examine them as we do all other natural phenomena,' it would never
do for such a man to say that without qualification.  So he
concluded his essay in the pooh-pooh tone of voice.  He first gives
a sketch of abnormalities in mortal experience, as in the case of
mental epidemics, of witchcraft, of the so-called prophets in the
Cevennes, of the Jansenist marvels.  He mentions a nunnery where,
'in the sixteenth century,' there occurred, among other phenomena,
movements of inanimate objects, pottery specially distinguishing
itself, as in the famous 'Stockwell mystery'.  Unluckily he supplies
no references for these adventures.' {57}  The Revue, being written
for men and women of the world, may discuss such topics, but need
not offer exact citations.  M. Littre, on the strength of his
historical sketch, decides, most correctly, that there is rien de
nouveau, nothing new, in the spirit-rapping epidemic.  'These
maladies never desert our race.'  But this fact hardly explains
_why_ 'vessels were dragged from the hands' of his nuns in the
sixteenth century.

In search of a cause, he turns to hallucinations.  In certain or
uncertain physical conditions, the mind can project and objectify,
its own creations.  Thus Gleditch saw the dead Maupertuis, with
perfect distinctness, in the salle of the Academy at Berlin.  Had he
not known that Maupertuis was dead, he could have sworn to his
presence (p. 866).  Yes:  but how does that explain volatile pots
and pans?  Well, there are _collective_ hallucinations, as when the
persecuted in the Cevennes, like the Covenanters, heard non-existent
psalmody.  And all witches told much the same tale; apparently
because they were collectively hallucinated.  Then were the
spectators of the agile crockery collectively hallucinated?  M.
Littre does not say so explicitly, though this is a conceivable
theory.  He alleges after all his scientific statements about
sensory troubles, that 'the whole chapter, a chapter most deserving
of study, which contains the series of demoniac affections
(affections demoniaques), has hardly been sketched out'.

Among accounts of 'demoniac affections,' descriptions of objects
moved without contact are of frequent occurrence.  As M. Littre
says, it is always the same old story.  But why is it always the
same old story?  There were two theories before the world in 1856.
First there was the 'animistic-hypothesis,' 'spirits' move the
objects, spirits raise the medium in the air, spirits are the
performers of the airy music.  Then there was the hypothesis of a
force or fluid, or faculty, inherent in mankind, and notable in some
rare examples of humanity.  This force, fluid, agency, or what you
will, counteracts the laws of gravitation, and compels tables, or
pots, to move untouched.

To the spiritualists M. Littre says, 'Bah!' to the partisans of a
force or fluid, he says, 'Pooh!'  'If your spirits are spirits, why
do they let the world wag on in its old way, why do they confine
themselves to trivial effects?'

The spiritualist would probably answer that he did not understand
the nature and limits of spiritual powers.

To the friends of a force or faculty in our nature, M. Littre
remarks, in effect, 'Why don't you _use_ your force? why don't you
supply a new motor for locomotives?  _Pooh_!'  The answer would be
that it was not the volume and market value of the force, but the
_existence_ of the force, which interested the inquirer.  When
amber, being rubbed, attracted straws, the force was as much a
force, as worthy of scientific study, as when electricity is
employed to bring bad news more rapidly from the ends of the earth.

These answers are obvious:  M. Littre's satire was not the weapon of
science, but the familiar test of the bourgeois and the Philistine.
Still, he admitted, nay, asserted strongly, that the whole series of
'demoniac affections' was 'most worthy of investigation,' and was
'hardly sketched out'.  In a similar manner, Brierre de Boismont, in
his work on hallucinations, explains a number of 'clairvoyant'
dreams, by ordinary causes.  But, coming to a vision which he knew
at first hand, he breaks down:  'We must confess that these
explanations do not satisfy us, and that these events seem rather to
belong to some of the deepest mysteries of our being'. {60}  There
is a point at which the explanations of common-sense arouse

Much has been done, since 1856, towards producing a finished
picture, in place of an ebauche.  The accepted belief in the
phenomena of hypnotism, and of unconscious mental and bodily
actions--'automatisms'--has expelled the old belief in spirits from
many a dusty nook.  But we still ask:  '_Do_ objects move untouched?
_why_ do they move, or if they move not at all (as is most probable)
_why_ is it always the same story, from the Arctic circle to the
tales of witches, and of mediums?'

There is little said about this particular phenomena (though
something is said), but there is much about other marvels, equally
widely rumoured of, in the brief and dim Greek records of
thaumaturgy.  To examine these historically is to put a touch or two
on the picture of 'demoniac affections,' which M. Littre desired to
see executed.  The Greek mystics, at least, believed that the airy
music, the movements of untouched objects, the triumph over
gravitation, and other natural laws, for which they vouch, were
caused by 'demons,' were 'demoniac affections'.  To compare the
statements of Eusebius and Iamblichus with those of modern men of
science and other modern witnesses, can, therefore, only be called
superfluous and superstitious by those who think M. Littre
superstitious, and his desired investigation 'superfluous'.

When the epidemic of 'spiritualism' broke out in the United States
(1848-1852) students of classical literature perceived that
spiritualism was no new thing, but a recrudescence of practices
familiar to the ancient world.  Even readers who had confined their
attention to the central masterpieces of Greek literature recognised
some of the revived 'phenomena'.  The 'Trance Medium,' the
'Inspirational Speaker' was a reproduction of the maiden with a
spirit of divination, of the Delphic Pythia.  In the old belief, the
god dominated her, and spoke from her lips, just as the 'control,'
or directing spirit, dominates the medium.  But there were still
more striking resemblances between ancient and modern thaumaturgy,
which were only to be recognised by readers of the late
Neoplatonists, such as Porphyry, and of the Christian Fathers, such
as Eusebius, who argued against the apologists of heathenism.  The
central classical writers, from Homer to Tacitus, are not
superstitious; they accept the orthodox state magic of omens, of
augurs, of prodigies, of oracles, but anything like private
necromancy is alien and distasteful to them.  We need not doubt that
sorcery and the consultation of the dead were being practised all
through the classical period, indeed we know that it was so.  Plato
legislates against sorcery in a practical manner; whether it does
harm or not, men are persuaded that it does harm; it is vain to
argue with them, therefore the wizard and witch are to be punished
for their bad intentions. {62}

There were regular, and, so to speak, orthodox oracles of the dead.
They might be consulted by such as chose to sleep on tombs, or to
visit the cavern of Trophonius, or other chasms which were thought
to communicate with the under world.  But the idea of bringing a
shade, or a hero, a demon, or a god into a private room, as in
modern spiritualism, meets us late in such works as the Letter of
Porphyry, and the Reply of Iamblichus, written in the fourth century
of our era.  If we may judge by the usual fortune of folklore, these
private spiritualistic rites, without temple, or state-supported
priestly order, were no new things in the early centuries of
Christianity, but they had not till then occupied the attention of
philosophers and men of letters.  The dawn of our faith was the late
twilight of the ancient creeds, the classic gods were departing,
belief was waning, ghosts were walking, even philosophers were
seeking for a sign.  The mysteries of the East had invaded Hellas.
The Egyptian theory and practice were of special importance.  By
certain sacramental formulas, often found written on papyrus, the
gods could be constrained, and made, like mediaeval devils, the
slaves of the magician.  Examples will occur later.  This idea was
alien to the Greek mind, at least to the philosophic Greek mind.
The Egyptians, like Michael Scott, had books of dread, and an old
Egyptian romance turns on the evils which arose, as to William of
Deloraine, from the possession of such a volume. {63}  Half-
understood strings of Hebrew, Syriac, and other 'barbarous' words
and incantations occur in Greek spells of the early Christian age.
Again, old Hellenic magic rose from the lower strata of folklore
into that of speculation.  The people, the folk, is the unconscious
self, as it were, of the educated and literary classes, who, in a
twilight of creeds, are wont to listen to its promptings, and return
to the old ancestral superstitions long forgotten.

The epoch of the rise of modern spiritualism was analogous to that
when the classical and oriental spiritualism rose into the sphere of
the educated consciousness In both periods the marvellous
'phenomena' were practically the same, and so were the perplexities,
the doubts, the explanatory hypotheses of philosophical observers.
This aspect of the modern spiritualistic epidemic did not escape
attention.  Dr. Leonard Marsh, of the University of Vermont,
published, in 1854, a treatise called The Apocatastasis, or Progress
Backwards.  He proved that the marvels of the Foxes, of Home, and
the other mediums, were the old marvels of Neoplatonism.  But he
draws no conclusion except that spiritualism is retrogressive.  His
book is wonderfully ill-printed, and, though he had some curious
reading, his style was cumbrous, jocular, and verbose.  It may,
therefore, be worth while, in the light of anthropological research,
to show how very closely human nature has repeated its past

The new marvels were certainly not stimulated by literary knowledge
of the ancient thaumaturgy.  Modern spiritualism is an effort to
organise and 'exploit' the traditional and popular phenomena of
rapping spirits, and of ghosts.  Belief in these had always lived an
underground life in rural legend, quite unharmed by enlightenment
and education.  So far, it resembled the ordinary creeds of
folklore.  It is probable that, in addition to oral legend, there
was another and more literary source of modern thaumaturgy.  Books
like Glanvil's, Baxter's, those of the Mathers and of Sinclair, were
thumbed by the people after the literary class had forgotten them.
Moreover, the Foxes, who started spiritualism, were Methodists, and
may well have been familiar with 'old Jeffrey,' who haunted the
Wesleys' house, and with some of the stories of apparitions in
Wesley's Arminian Magazine.

If there were literary as well as legendary sources of nascent
spiritualism, the sources were these.  Porphyry, Iamblichus,
Eusebius, and the life of Apollonius of Tyana, cannot have
influenced the illiterate parents of the new thaumaturgy.  This fact
makes the repetition, in modern spiritualism, of Neoplatonic
theories and Neoplatonic marvels all the more interesting and

The shortest cut to knowledge of ancient spiritualism is through the
letter of Porphyry to Anebo, and the reply attributed to Iamblichus.
Porphyry, the disciple of Plotinus, was a seeker for truth in divine
things.  Prejudice, literary sentiment, and other considerations,
prevented him from acquiescing in the Christian verity.  The
ordinary paganism shocked him, both by its obscene and undignified
myths, and by many features of its ritual.  He devised non-natural
interpretations of its sacred legends, he looked for a visible or
tangible 'sign,' and he did not shrink from investigating the
thaumaturgy of his age.  His letter of inquiry is preserved in
fragments by Eusebius, and St. Augustine:  Gale edited it, and, as
he says, offers us an Absyrtus (the brother of Medea, who scattered
his mutilated remains) rather than a Porphyry. {65a}  Not all of
Porphyry's questions interest us for our present purpose.  He asks,
among other things:  How can gods, as in the evocations of gods, be
made subject to necessity, and _compelled_ to manifest themselves?

How do you discriminate between demons, and gods, that are manifest,
or not manifest?  How does a demon differ from a hero, or from a
mere soul of a dead man?

By what sign can we be sure that the manifesting agency present is
that of a god, an angel, an archon, or a soul?  For to boast, and to
display phantasms, is common to all these varieties. {65c}

In these perplexities, Porphyry resembles the anxious spiritualistic
inquirer.  A 'materialised spirit' alleges himself to be Washington,
or Franklin, or the lost wife, or friend, or child of him who seeks
the mediums.  How is the inquirer, how was Porphyry to know that the
assertion is correct, that it is not the mere 'boasting' of some
vulgar spirit?  In the same way, when messages are given through a
medium's mouth, or by raps, or movements of a table, or a
planchette, or by automatic writing, how (even discounting
imposture) is the source to be verified?  How is the identity of the
spirit to be established?  This question of discerning spirits, of
identifying them, of not taking an angel for a devil, or vice versa,
was most important in the Middle Ages.  On this turned the fate of
Joan of Arc:  Were her voices and visions of God or of Satan?  They
came, as in the cases mentioned by Iamblichus, with a light, a
hallucination of brilliance.  When Jean Brehal, Grand Inquisitor of
France, in 1450-1456, held the process for rehabilitating Joan,
condemned as a witch in 1431, he entered learnedly into the tests of
'spirit-identity'. {66a}  St. Theresa was bidden to try to exorcise
her visions, by the sign of the Cross.  Saint or sorcerer? it was
always a delicate inquiry.

Iamblichus, in his reply to Porphyry's doubts, first enters into
theology pretty deeply, but, in book ii. chap. iii. he comes, as it
were, to business.  The nature of the spiritual agency present on
any occasion may be ascertained from his manifestations or
epiphanies.  All these agencies show _in a light_, we are reminded
inevitably of the light which accompanied the visions of Colonel
Gardiner and of Pascal.  Joan of Arc, too, in reply to her judges,
averred that a light (claritas) usually accompanied the voices which
came to her. {66b}  These things, if we call them hallucinations,
were, at least, hallucinations of the good and great, and must be
regarded not without reverence.  But modern spiritualistic and
ghostly literature is full of lights which accompany
'manifestations,' or attend the nocturnal invasions of apparitions.
Examples are so common that they can readily be found by any one who
studies Mrs. Crowe's Night Side of Nature, or Home's Life, or
Phantasms of the Living, or the Proceedings of the Psychical
Society.  Meantime Homer, and Theocritus in familiar passages,
attest this belief in light attendant on the coming of the divine,
while the Norse Sagas, and the well-known tale of Sir Charles Lee's
daughter and the ghost of her mother (1662), speak for the same
belief in the pre-Christian north, and in the society of the
Restoration. {67a}  A light always comes among the Eskimo, when the
tornak, or familiar spirit, visits the Angekok or sorcerer.  Here,
then, is harmony enough in the psychical beliefs of all time, as
when we learn that lights were flashed by the spirits who beset the
late Rev. Stainton Moses. {67b}  Unluckily, while we have this cloud
of witnesses to the belief in a spiritual light, we are still
uncertain as to whether the seeing of such a light is a physical
symptom of hallucination.  This is the opinion of M. Lelut, as given
in his Amulette de Pascal (p. 301):  'This globe of fire . . . is a
common constituent of hallucinations of sight, and may be regarded
at once as their most elementary form, and their highest degree of
intensity'.  M. Lelut knew the phenomenon among mystics whom he had
observed in his practice as an 'alienist'.  He also quotes a story
told of himself by Benvenuto Cellini.  If we can admit that this
hallucination of brilliant light may be produced in the conditions
of a seance, whether modern, savage, or classical, we obtain a
partial solution of the problem presented by the world-wide
diffusion of this belief.  Of course, once accepted as an element in
spiritualism, a little phosphorus supplies the modern medium with a
requisite of his trade. {68a}

Returning to Iamblichus, he classifies his phantasmogenetic agencies
by the _kind_ of light they show; greater or less, more or less
divided, more or less pure, steady or agitated (ii. 4).  The arrival
of demons is attended by disturbances. {68b}  Heroes are usually
very noisy in their manifestations:  a hero is a polter-geist,
'sounds echo around' (ii. 8).  There are also subjective moods
diversely generated by diverse apparitions; souls of the dead, for
example, prompt to lust (ii. 9).  On the whole, a great deal of
experience is needed by the thaumaturgist, if he is to distinguish
between one kind of manifestation and another.  Even Inquisitors
have differed in opinion.

Iamblichus next tackles the difficult question of imposition and
personation by spirits.  Thus a soul, or a spirit, may give itself
out for a god, and exhibit the appropriate phantasmagoria:  may
boast and deceive (ii. 10).  This is the result of some error or
blunder in the ceremony of evocation. {69}  A bad or low spirit may
thus enter, disguised as a demon or god, and may utter deceitful
words.  But all arts, says our guide, are liable to errors, and the
'sacred art' must not be judged by its occasional imperfections.  We
know the same kind of excuses in modern times.

Porphyry went on to ask questions about divination and clairvoyance.
We often ascertain the future, he says, in dreams, when our bodies
are lying still and peaceful:  when we are in no convulsive ecstasy
such as diviners use.  Many persons prophesy 'in enthusiastic and
divinely seized moments, awake, in a sense, yet not in their
habitual state of consciousness'.  Music of certain kinds, the water
of certain holy wells, the vapours of Branchidae, produce such
ecstatic effects.  Some 'take darkness for an ally' (dark seances),
some see visions in water, others on a wall, others in sun or moon.
As an example of ancient visions in water, we may take one from the
life of Isidorus, by Damascius.  Isidorus, and his biographer, were
acquainted with women who beheld in pure water in a glass vessel the
phantasms of future events. {70a}  This form of divination is still
practised, though crystal balls are more commonly used than
decanters of water.  Ancient and modern superstition as in the
familiar case of Dr. Dee, attributes the phantasms to spiritual

Is a divine being _compelled_, Porphyry asks, to aid in these
efforts, or is it only the soul of the seer, as some believe, which
hallucinates itself, by the aid of points de repere? {70b}  Or is
there a blending of the soul's operations with the divine
inspiration?  Or are demons in some way evolved out of something
abstracted from living bodies?  He seems to hint at some such theory
of 'exuvious fumes' from the 'circle,' as more recent inquirers have
imagined.  The young appear to be peculiarly sensitive to vapours,
invocations, and other magical methods, which affect the human
constitution, and the young are usually engaged as seers.  Hence
visions are probably subjective.  Ecstasy, madness, fasts and vigils
seem particularly favourable to divination.  Or are there certain
mystic correspondences in the nature of things, which may be
detected?  Thus stones and herbs are used in evocations; 'sacred
bonds' are tied (as in the Eskimo hypnotism and in Australia);
closed doors are opened, the heavenly bodies are observed.  Some
suppose that there is a race of false and counterfeiting spirits,
which, indeed, Iamblichus admits.  These act the parts of gods,
demons, and souls of the dead.  Again, the conjurer plays on our
expectant attention.  Omitting some remarks no longer appropriate,
Porphyry asks what use there is in chanting barbarous and
meaningless words.  He is inclined to think that the demon, or
guardian spirit of each man is only part of his soul,--in fact his
'subliminal self'.  And generally, he suspects that the whole affair
is 'a mere imaginative deceit, played off on itself by the soul'.

Replying as to divination, Iamblichus says that the right kind of
dreams are between sleeping and waking when we hear a voice giving
directions.  A modern example occurred in the trial of the Assynt
murderer in 1831.  One Kenneth Fraser, called 'the dreamer,' said in
the trial:  'I was at home when I had the dream.  It was said to me
in my sleep by a voice like a man's voice, that the pack (of the
murdered pedlar) was lying in sight of the place.  I got a sight of
the place just as if I had been awake.  I never saw the place
before, but the voice said in Gaelic, "the pack of the merchant is
lying in a cairn of stones, in a hollow near to their house".  The
voice did not name Macleod's house.'  The pack was, however, not
found there, but in a place hard by, which Kenneth had _not_ seen in
his dream.  Oddly enough, the murderer had originally hidden the
pack, or some of its contents, in a cairn of stones, but later
removed it.  In the 'willing game,' as played by Mr. Stuart
Cumberland, the seeker usually goes first to the place where the
hider had thought of concealing the object, though later he changed
his mind.  Macleod was hanged, he confessed his guilt. {71}

Iamblichus believed in dreams of this kind, and in voices heard by
men wide awake, as in the case of Joan of Arc.  When an invisible
spirit is present, he makes a whirring noise, like the Cock Lane
Ghost! {72}  Lights also are exhibited; the medium then by some
mystic sense knows what the spirit means.  The soul has two lives,
one animal, one intellectual; in sleep the latter is more free, and
more clairvoyant.  In trance, or somnambulism, many cannot feel pain
even if they are burned, the god within does not let fire harm them
(iii. 4).  This, of course, suggests Home's experiments in handling
live coals, as Mr. Crookes and Lord Crawford describe them.  Compare
the Berserk 'coal-biters' in the saga of Egil, and the Huron coal-
biter in the preceding essay.  'They do not then live an animal
life.'  Sword points do not hurt them.  Their actions are no longer
human.  'Inaccessible places are accessible to them, when thus borne
by the gods; and they tread on fire unharmed; they walk across
rivers. . . .  They are not themselves, they live a diviner life,
with which they are inspired, and by which they are possessed.'
Some are convulsed in one way, some in another, some are still.
Harmonies are heard (as in Home's case and that of Mr. Stainton
Moses).  Their bodies are elongated (like Home's), or broadened, or
float in mid-air, as in a hundred tales of mediums and saints.
Sometimes the medium sees a light when the spirit takes possession
of him, sometimes all present see it (iii. 6).  Thus Wodrow says (as
we have already shown), that Mrs. Carlyle's ancestor, Mr. Welsh,
shone in a light as he meditated; and Patrick Walker tells the same
tale about two of the fanatics called 'Sweet Singers'.

From all this it follows, Iamblichus holds, that spiritual
possession is a genuine objective fact and that the mediums act
under real spiritual control.  Omitting local oracles, and practices
apparently analogous to the use of planchette, Iamblichus regards
the heavenly _light_ as the great source of and evidence for the
_external_ and spiritual character and cause of divination (iii.
14).  Iamblichus entirely rejects all Porphyry's psychological
theories of hallucinations, of the demon or 'genius' as 'subliminal
self,' and asserts the actual, objective, sensible action of
spirits, divine or daemonic.  What effect Iamblichus produced on the
inquiring Porphyry is uncertain.  In his De Abstinentia (ii. 39) he
gives in to the notion of deceitful spirits.

In addition to the evidence of Porphyry, Iamblichus, Eusebius and
other authors of the fourth century, some recently published papyri
of the same period throw a little light on the late Greek
thaumaturgy. {73}  Thus Papyrus cxxv. verso (about the fifth
century) 'contains elaborate instructions for a magical process, the
effect of which is to evoke a goddess, to transform her into the
appearance of an old woman, and to bind to her the service of the
person using the spell. . . .'

Obviously we would much prefer a spell for turning an old woman into
a goddess.  The document is headed, [Greek], 'the old serving woman
of Apollonius of Tyana,' and it ends, [Grrek], 'it is proved by

You take the head of an ibis, and write certain characters on it in
the blood of a black ram, and go to a cross-road, or the sea-shore,
or a river-bank at midnight:  there you recite gibberish and then
see a pretty lady riding a donkey, and she will put off her beauty
like a mask and assume the appearance of old age, and will promise
to obey you:  and so forth.

Here is a 'constraint put on a god' as Porphyry complains.  Reginald
Scot, in his Discovery of Witchcraft (1584), has a very similar
spell for alluring an airy sylph, and making her serve and be the
mistress of the wizard!  There is another papyrus (xlvi.), of the
fourth century, with directions for divination by aid of a boy
looking into a bowl, says the editor (p. 64).  There is a long
invocation full of 'barbarous words,' like the mediaeval nonsense
rhymes used in magic.  There is a dubious reading, [Grrek] or
[Greek]; it is suggested that the boy is put into a pit, as it seems
was occasionally done. {74}  It is clear that a spirit is supposed
to show the boy his visions.  A spell follows for summoning a
visible deity.  Then we have a recipe for making a ring which will
enable the owner to know the thoughts of men.  The god is threatened
if he does not serve the magicians.  All manner of fumigations,
plants, and stones are used in these idiotic ceremonies, and to
these Porphyry refers.  The papyri do not illustrate the phenomena
described by Iamblichus, such as the 'light,' levitation, music of
unknown origin, the resistance of the medium to fire and sword
points, and all the rest of his list of prodigies.  Iamblichus
probably looked down on the believers in these spells written on
papyri with extreme disdain.  They are only interesting as folklore,
like the rhymes of incantation preserved in Reginald Scot's
Discovery of Witchcraft.

There were other analogies between modern, ancient, and savage
spiritualism.  The medium was swathed, or tied up, like the
Davenport Brothers, like Eskimo and Australian conjurers, like the
Highland seer in the bull's hide. {75a}  The medium was understood
to be a mere instrument like a flute, through which the 'control,'
the god or spirit, spoke. {75b}  This is still the spiritualistic
explanation of automatic speech.  Eusebius goes so far as to believe
that 'earthbound spirits' do speak through the medium, but a much
simpler theory is obvious. {75c}  Indeed where automatic
performances of any sort--by writing, by the kind of 'Ouija' or
table pointing to letters, as described by Ammianus Marcellinus
(xxix. 29)--or by speaking, are concerned, we have the aid of
psychology, and the theory of 'unconscious cerebration' to help us.
But when we are told the old tales of whirring noises, of
'bilocation,' of 'levitation,' of a mystic light, we are in contact
with more difficult questions.

In brief, the problem of spiritualism in general presents itself to
us thus:  in ancient, modern, and savage thaumaturgy there are
certain automatic phenomena.  The conjurer, priest, or medium acts,
or pretends to act, in various ways beyond his normal consciousness.
Savages, ancient mystics, and spiritualists ascribe his automatic
behaviour to the control of spirits, gods or demons.  No such
hypothesis is needed.

On the other side, however, are phenomena not automatic, 'spiritual'
lights, and sounds; interferences with natural laws, as when bodies
are lifted in the air, or are elongated, when fire does not fasten
on them, and so on.  These phenomena, in ancient times, followed on
the performance of certain mystic rites.  They are now said to occur
without the aid of any such rites.  Gods and spirits are said to
cause them, but they are only attained in the presence of certain
exceptional persons, mediums, saints, priests, conjurers.  Clearly
then, not the rites, but the peculiar constitution of these
individuals is the cause (setting imposture aside) of the phenomena,
of the hallucinations, of the impressions, or whatever they are to
be styled.  That is to say, witnesses, in other matters credible,
aver that they receive these peculiar impressions in the society of
certain persons and not in that of people in general.  Now these
impressions are, everywhere, in every age and stage of civilisation,
essentially identical.  Is it stretching probability almost beyond
what it will bear, to allege that all the phenomena, in the Arctic
circle as in Australia, in ancient Alexandria as in modern London,
are, always, the result of an imposture modelled on savage ideas of
the supernatural?

If so we are reduced to the choice between actual objective facts of
unknown origin (frequently counterfeited of course), and the
theory,--which really comes to much the same thing,--of identical
and collective hallucinations in given conditions.  On either
hypothesis the topic is certainly not without interest for the
student of human nature.  Even if we could, at most, establish the
fact that people like Iamblichus, Mr. Crookes, Lord Crawford,
Jesuits in Canada, professional conjurers in Zululand, Spaniards in
early Peru, Australian blacks, Maoris, Eskimo, cardinals,
ambassadors, are similarly hallucinated, as they declare, in the
presence of priests, diviners, Home, Zulu magicians, Biraarks,
Jossakeeds, angakut, tohungas, and saints, and Mr. Stainton Moses,
still the identity of the false impressions is a topic for
psychological study.  Or, if we disbelieve this cloud of witnesses,
if they voluntarily fabled, we ask, why do they all fable in exactly
the same fashion?  Even setting aside the animistic hypothesis, the
subject is full of curious neglected problems.

Once more, if we admit the theory of intentional imposture by
saints, angakut, Zulu medicine-men, mediums, and the rest, we must
grant that a trick which takes in a professional conjurer, like Mr.
Kellar, is a trick well worthy of examination.  How did his Zulu
learn the method of Home, of the Egyptian diviners, of St. Joseph of
Cupertino? {78a}  Each solution has its difficulties, while
practical investigation is rarely possible.  We have no Home with
us, at present, and the opportunity of studying his effects
carefully was neglected.  It was equally desirable to study them
whether he caused collective hallucinations, or whether his effects
were merely those of ordinary, though skilful, conjuring.  For Home,
whatever his moral character may have been, was a remarkable
survival of a class of men familiar to the mystic Iamblichus, to the
savage races of the past and present, and (as far as his marvels
went) to the biographers of the saints.  'I am one of those,' says
the Zulu medicine-man, in Mr. Rider Haggard's Allan's Wife, 'who can
make men see what they do not see.'  The class of persons who are
said to have possessed this power appear, now and then, in all human
history, and have at least bequeathed to us a puzzle in
anthropology.  This problem has recently been presented, in what may
be called an acute form, by the publication of the 'Experiences of
Mr. Stainton Moses'. {78b}   Mr. Moses was a clergyman and
schoolmaster; in both capacities he appears to have been
industrious, conscientious, and honourable.  He was not devoid of
literature, and had contributed, it is said, to periodicals as
remote from mysticism as Punch, and the Saturday Review.  He was a
sportsman, at least he was a disciple of our father, Izaak Walton.
'Most anglers are quiet men, and followers of peace, so simply wise
as not to sell their consciences to buy riches, and with them
vexation, and a fear to die,' says Izaak.

In early middle age, about 1874, Mr. Moses began to read such books
as Dale Owen's, and to sit 'attentive of his trembling' table, by
way of experiment.  He soon found that tables bounded in his
presence, untouched.  Then he developed into a regular 'medium'.
Inanimate objects came to him through stone walls.  Scent of all
sorts, and, as in the case of St. Joseph of Cupertino, of an unknown
sort, was scattered on people in his company.  He floated in the
air.  He wrote 'automatically'.  Knocks resounded in his
neighbourhood, in the open air.  'Lights' of all varieties hovered
in his vicinity.  He spoke 'automatically,' being the mouth-piece of
a 'spirit,' and very dull were the spirit's sermons.  After a
struggle he believed in 'spirits,' who twanged musical notes out in
his presence.  He became editor of a journal named Light; he joined
the Psychical Society, but left it when the society pushed
materialism so far as to demonstrate that certain professional
mediums were convicted swindlers.

The evidence for his marvels is the testimony of a family, perfectly
respectable, named Speer, and of a few other witnesses whom nobody
can suspect of conscious inaccuracy.  There remain, as documents,
his books, his MS. notes, and other corroborative notes kept by his
friend Dr. Speer, a sceptic, and other observers.

It is admitted that Mr. Moses was not a cautious logician, his
inferences are problematic, his generalisations hasty.  As to the
facts, it is equally difficult to believe in them, and to believe
that Mr. Moses was a conscious impostor, and his friends easy dupes.
He cannot have been an impostor _unconsciously_ in a hypnotic state,
in a 'trance,' because his effects could not have been improvised.
If they were done by jugglery, they required elaborate preparations
of all sorts, which must have been made in full ordinary
consciousness.  If we fall back on collective hallucination, then
that hallucination is something of world-wide diffusion, ancient and
continuous, for the effects are those attributed by Iamblichus to
his mystics, by the Church to her saints, by witnesses to the
'possessed,' by savages to medicine-men, and by Mr. Crookes and Lord
Crawford to D. D. Home.  Of course we may be told that all lookers-
on, from Eskimo to Neoplatonists and men of science, know what to
expect, and are hallucinated by their own expectant attention.  But,
when they expect nothing, and are disappointed by having to witness
prodigies, the same old prodigies, what is the explanation?

The following tabular statement, altered from that given by Mr.
Myers in his publication of Mr. Moses and Dr. Speer's MS. notes,
will show the historical identity of the phenomena.  Mr. Moses was
the agent in all; those exhibited by other ancient and modern agents
are marked with a cross.

   Rev.      D. D.  Iamblichus  St.        Eskimo  Australian

   Stainton  Home               Joseph of

   Moses                        Cupertino



1.   X         X                                        ?
2.   X         X        X                     X
3.   X         X        X            X        X         X
4.   X
5.   X
6.   X         X
7.   X         X
8.   X         X        X
9.   X         X                     X
10.  X         X        X                     X
11.  X         X
12.  X         X

1.  'Intelligent Raps.'
2.  'Movement of objects untouched.'
3.  'Levitation' (floating in air of seer).
4.  Disappearance and Reappearance of objects.  The 'object' being
the medium in some cases.
5.  Passage of Matter through Matter.
6.  Direct writing.  That is, not by any detected human agency.
7.  Sounds made on instruments supernormally.
8.  Direct sounds.  That is, by no detected human agency.
9.  Scents.
10.  Lights.
11.  Objects 'materialised.'
12.  Hands materialised, touched or seen.

There are here twelve miracles!  Home and Iamblichus add to Mr.
Moses's repertoire the alteration of the medium's height or bulk.
This feat still leaves Mr. Moses 'one up,' as regards Home, in whose
presence objects did not disappear, nor did they pass through stone
walls.  The questions are, to account for the continuity of
collective hallucinations, if we accept that hypothesis, and to
explain the procedure of Mr. Moses, if he were an impostor.  He did
not exhibit before more than seven or eight private friends, and he
gained neither money nor dazzling social success by his

This page in the chapter of 'demoniac affections' is thus still in
the state of ebauche.  Mr. Moses believed his experiences to be
'demoniac affections,' in the Neoplatonic sense.  Could his
phenomena have been investigated by the Archbishop of Canterbury,
Dr. Parker, Messrs. Maskelyne and Cook, and Professor Huxley, the
public mind might have arrived at some conclusion on the subject.
But Mr. Moses's chief spirit, known in society as 'Imperator,'
declined to let strangers look on.  He testified his indignation in
a manner so bruyant, he so banged on tables, that Mr. Moses and his
friends thought it wiser to avoid an altercation.

This exclusiveness of 'Imperator' certainly donne furieusement a
penser.  If spirits are spirits they may just as well take it for
understood that performances 'done in a corner' are of no scientific
value.  But we are still at a loss for a 'round' and satisfactory
hypothesis which will colligate all the alleged facts, and explain
their historical continuity.  We merely state that continuity as a
historical fact.  Marvels of savages, Neoplatonists, saints of
Church or Covenant, 'spontaneous' phenomena, Mediumistic phenomena,
all hang together in some ways.  Of this the Church has her own


A Party at Ragley Castle.  The Miraculous Conformist.  The
Restoration and Scepticism.  Experimental Proof of Spiritual
Existence.  Glanvill.  Boyle.  More.  The Gentleman's Butler.
'Levitation.'  Witchcraft.  Movements of Objects.  The Drummer of
Tedworth.  Haunted Houses.  Rerrick.  Glenluce.  Ghosts.  'Spectral
Evidence.'  Continuity and Uniformity of Stories.  St. Joseph of
Cupertino, his Flights.  Modern Instances.  Theory of Induced
Hallucination.  Ibn Batuta.  Animated Furniture.  From China to
Peru.  Rapping Spirit at Lyons.  The Imposture at Orleans.  The
Stockwell Mystery.  The Demon of Spraiton.  Modern Instances.  The
Wesleys.  Theory of Imposture.  Conclusion.

In the month of February, 1665, there was assembled at Ragley Castle
as curious a party as ever met in an English country-house.  The
hostess was the Lady Conway, a woman of remarkable talent and
character, but wholly devoted to mystical speculations.  In the end,
unrestrained by the arguments of her clerical allies, she joined the
Society of Friends, by the world called Quakers.  Lady Conway at the
time when her guests gathered at Ragley, as through all her later
life, was suffering from violent chronic headache.  The party at
Ragley was invited to meet her latest medical attendant, an
unlicensed practitioner, Mr. Valentine Greatrakes, or Greatorex; his
name is spelled in a variety of ways.  Mr. Greatrakes was called
'The Irish Stroker' and 'The Miraculous Conformist' by his admirers,
for, while it was admitted that Dissenters might frequently possess,
or might claim, powers of miracle, the gift, or the pretension, was
rare among members of the Established Church.  The person of Mr.
Greatrakes, if we may believe Dr. Henry Stubbe, physician at
Stratford-on-Avon, diffused a pleasing fragrance as of violets.
Lord Herbert of Cherbury, it will be remembered, tells the same
story about himself in his memoirs.  Mr. Greatrakes 'is a man of
graceful personage and presence, and if my phantasy betrayed not my
judgement,' says Dr. Stubbe, 'I observed in his eyes and meene a
vivacitie and spritelinesse that is nothing common'.

This Miraculous Conformist was the younger son of an Irish squire,
and a person of some property.  After the Restoration--_and not
before_--Greatrakes felt 'a strong and powerful impulse in him to
essay' the art of healing by touching, or stroking.  He resisted the
impulse, till one of his hands having become 'dead' or numb, he
healed it by the strokes of the other hand.  From that moment
Greatrakes practised, and became celebrated; he cured some diseased
persons, failed wholly with others, and had partial and temporary
success with a third class.  The descriptions given by Stubbe, in
his letter to the celebrated Robert Boyle, and by Foxcroft, Fellow
of King's College, Cambridge, leave little doubt that 'The Irish
Stroker' was most successful with hypochondriacal and hysterical
patients.  He used to chase the disease up and down their bodies, if
it did not 'fly out through the interstices of his fingers,' and if
he could drive it into an outlying part, and then forth into the
wide world, the patient recovered.  So Dr. Stubbe reports the method
of Greatrakes. {86}  He was brought over from Ireland, at a charge
of about 155 pounds, to cure Lady Conway's headaches.  In this it is
confessed that he entirely failed; though he wrought a few miracles
of healing among rural invalids.  To meet this fragrant and
miraculous Conformist, Lady Conway invited men worthy of the
privilege, such as the Rev. Joseph Glanvill, F.R.S., the author of
Sadducismus Triumphatus, his friend Dr. Henry More, the Cambridge
Platonist, and other persons interested in mystical studies.  Thus
at Ragley there was convened the nucleus of an unofficial but active
Society for Psychical Research, as that study existed in the
seventeenth century.

The object of this chapter is to compare the motives, methods, and
results of Lady Conway's circle, with those of the modern Society
for Psychical Research.  Both have investigated the reports of
abnormal phenomena.  Both have collected and published narratives of
eye-witnesses.  The moderns, however, are much more strict on points
of evidence than their predecessors.  They are not content to watch,
but they introduce 'tests,' generally with the most disenchanting
results.  The old researchers were animated by the desire to
establish the tottering faith of the Restoration, which was
endangered by the reaction against Puritanism.  Among the fruits of
Puritanism, and of that frenzied state of mind which accompanied the
Civil War, was a furious persecution of 'witches'.  In a rare little
book, Select Cases of Conscience, touching Witches and Witchcraft,
by John Gaule, 'preacher of the Word at Great Staughton in the
county of Huntington' (London, 1646), we find the author not denying
the existence of witchcraft, but pleading for calm, learned and
judicial investigation.  To do this was to take his life in his
hand, for Matthew Hopkins, a fanatical miscreant, was ruling in a
Reign of Terror through the country.  The clergy of the Church of
England, as Hutchinson proves in his Treatise of Witchcraft (second
edition, London, 1720), had been comparatively cautious in their
treatment of the subject.  Their record is far from clean, but they
had exposed some impostures, chiefly, it is fair to say, where
Nonconformists, or Catholics, had detected the witch.  With the
Restoration the general laxity went so far as to scoff at
witchcraft, to deny its existence, and even, in the works of
Wagstaff and Webster, to minimise the leading case of the Witch of
Endor.  Against the 'drollery of Sadducism,' the Psychical
Researchers within the English Church, like Glanvill and Henry More,
or beyond its pale, like Richard Baxter and many Scotch divines,
defended witchcraft and apparitions as outworks of faith in general.
The modern Psychical Society, whatever the predisposition of some of
its members may be, explores abnormal phenomena, not in the
interests of faith, but of knowledge.  Again, the old inquirers were
dominated by a belief in the devil.  They saw witchcraft and
demoniacal possession, where the moderns see hysterics and hypnotic

For us the topic is rather akin to mythology, and 'folk-psychology,'
as the Germans call it.  We are interested, as will be shown, in a
most curious question of evidence, and the value of evidence.  It
will again appear that the phenomena reported by Glanvill, More,
Sinclair, Kirk, Telfair, Bovet, are identical with those examined by
Messrs. Gurney, Myers, Kellar (the American professional conjurer),
and many others.  The differences, though interesting, are rather
temporary and accidental than essential.

A few moments of attention to the table talk of the party assembled
at Ragley will enable us to understand the aims, the methods, and
the ideas of the old informal society.  By a lucky accident,
fragments of the conversation may be collected from Glanvill's
Sadducismus Triumphatus, {88a} and from the correspondence of
Glanvill, Henry More, and Robert Boyle.  Mr. Boyle, among more
tangible researches, devoted himself to collecting anecdotes, about
the second sight.  These manuscripts are not published in the six
huge quarto volumes of Boyle's works; on the other hand, we possess
Lord Tarbet's answer to his questions. {88b}  Boyle, as his letters
show, was a rather chary believer in witchcraft and possession.  He
referred Glanvill to his kinsman, Lord Orrery, who had enjoyed an
experience not very familiar; he had seen a gentleman's butler float
in the air!

Now, by a great piece of good fortune, Mr. Greatrakes the fragrant
and miraculous, had also been an eye-witness of this miracle, and
was able to give Lady Conway and her guests the fullest information.
As commonly happened in the seventeenth century, though not in ours,
the marvel of the butler was mixed up with ordinary folklore.  In
the records and researches of the existing Society for Psychical
Research, folklore and fairies hold no place.  The Conformist,
however, had this tale to tell:  the butler of a gentleman unnamed,
who lived near Lord Orrery's seat in Ireland, fell in, one day, with
the good people, or fairies, sitting at a feast.  The fairies,
therefore, endeavoured to spirit him away, as later they carried off
Mr. Kirk, minister of Aberfoyle, in 1692.  Lord Orrery, most kindly,
gave the butler the security of his castle, where the poor man was
kept, 'under police protection,' and watched, in a large room.
Among the spectators were Mr, Greatrakes himself, and two bishops,
one of whom may have been Jeremy Taylor, an active member of the
society.  Late in the afternoon, the butler was 'perceived to rise
from the ground, whereupon Mr. Greatrix and another lusty man clapt
their hands over his shoulders, one of them before, and the other
behind, and weighed him down with all their strength, but he was
forcibly taken up from them; for a considerable time he was carried
in the air to and fro, over their heads, several of the company
still running under him, to prevent him receiving hurt if he should
fall;' so says Glanvill.  Faithorne illustrates this pleasing
circumstance by a picture of the company standing out, ready to
'field the butler, whose features display great concern.' {90a}

Now we know that Mr. Greatrakes told this anecdote, at Ragley, first
to Mrs. Foxcroft, and then to the company at dinner.  Mr. Alfred
Wallace, F.R.S., adduces Lord Orrery and Mr. Greatrakes as witnesses
of this event in private life.  Mr. Wallace, however, forgets to
tell the world that the fairies, or good people, were, or were
believed to be, the agents. {90b}  Fairies still cause levitation in
the Highlands.  Campbell of Islay knew a doctor, one of whose
patients had in vain tried to hold down a friend who was seized and
carried to a distance of two miles by the sluagh, the fairy folk.
{90c}  Glanvill admits that Lord Orrery assured Lady Roydon, one of
the party at Ragley, that the Irish tale was true:  Henry More had
it direct from Mr. Greatrakes.

Here is a palpably absurd legend, but the reader is requested to
observe that the phenomenon is said to have occurred in all ages and
countries.  We can adduce the testimony of modern Australian blacks,
of Greek philosophers, of Peruvians just after the conquest by
Pizarro, of the authors of Lives of the Saints, of learned New
England divines, of living observers in England, India, and America.
The phenomenon is technically styled 'levitation,' and in England
was regarded as a proof either of witchcraft or of 'possession'; in
Italy was a note of sanctity; in modern times is a peculiarity of
'mediumship'; in Australia is a token of magical power; in Zululand
of skill in the black art; and, in Ireland and the West Highlands,
was attributed to the guile of the fairies.  Here are four or five
distinct hypotheses.  Part of our business, therefore, is to examine
and compare the forms of a fable current in many lands, and reported
to the circle at Ragley by the Miraculous Conformist.

Mr. Greatrakes did not entertain Lady Conway and her friends with
this marvel alone.  He had been present at a trial for witchcraft,
in Cork, on September 11, 1661.  In this affair evidence was led to
prove a story as common as that of 'levitation'--namely, the
mysterious throwing or falling of stones in a haunted house, or
around the person of a patient bewitched.  Cardan is expansive about
this manifestation.  The patient was Mary Longdon, the witch was
Florence Newton of Youghal.  Glanvill prints the trial from a
document which he regards as official, but he did not take the
trouble to trace Mr. Aston, the recorder or clerk (as Glanvill
surmises), who signed every page of the manuscript.  Mr. Alfred
Wallace quotes the tale, without citing his authority.  The
witnesses for the falling of stones round the bewitched girl were
the maid herself, and her master, John Pyne, who deposed that she
was 'much troubled with little stones that were thrown at her
wherever she went, and that, after they had hit her, would fall on
the ground, and then vanish, so that none of them could be found'.
This peculiarity beset Mr. Stainton Moses, when he was fishing, and
must have 'put down' the trout.  Objects in the maid's presence,
such as Bibles, would 'fly from her,' and she was bewitched, and
carried off into odd places, like the butler at Lord Orrery's.
Nicholas Pyne gave identical evidence.  At Ragley, Mr. Greatrakes
declared that he was present at the trial, and that an awl would not
penetrate the stool on which the unlucky enchantress was made to
stand:  a clear proof of guilt.

Here, then, we have the second phenomenon which interested the
circle at Ragley; the flying about of stones, of Bibles, and other
movements of bodies.  Though the whole affair may be called
hysterical imposture by Mary Longdon (who vomited pins, and so
forth, as was customary), we shall presently trace the reports of
similar events, among people of widely remote ages and countries,
'from China to Peru'.

Among the guests at Ragley, as we said, was Dr. Joseph Glanvill, who
could also tell strange tales at first hand, and from his own
experience.  He had investigated the case of the disturbances in Mr.
Mompesson's house at Tedworth, which began in March, 1661.  These
events, so famous among our ancestors, were precisely identical with
what is reported by modern newspapers, when there is a 'medium' in a
family.  The troubles began with rappings on the walls of the house,
and on a drum taken by Mr. Mompesson from a vagrant musician.  This
man seems to have been as much vexed as Parolles by the loss of his
drum, and the Psychical Society at Ragley believed him to be a
magician, who had bewitched the house of his oppressor.  While Mrs.
Mompesson was adding an infant to her family the noise ceased, or
nearly ceased, just as, at Epworth, in the house of the Rev. Samuel
Wesley, it never vexed Mrs. Wesley at her devotions.  Later, at
Tedworth, 'it followed and vexed the younger children, beating their
bedsteads with that violence, that all present expected when they
would fall in pieces'. . . .  It would lift the children up in their
beds.  Objects were moved:  lights flitted around, and the Rev.
Joseph Glanvill could assure Lady Conway that he had been a witness
of some of these occurrences.  He saw the 'little modest girls in
the bed, between seven and eight years old, as I guessed'.  He saw
their hands outside the bed-clothes, and heard the scratchings above
their heads, and felt 'the room and windows shake very sensibly'.
When he tapped or scratched a certain number of times, the noise
answered, and stopped at the same number.  Many more things of this
kind Glanvill tells.  He denies the truth of a report that an
imposture was discovered, but admits that when Charles II. sent
gentlemen to stay in the house, nothing unusual occurred.  But these
researchers stayed only for a single night.  He denied that any
normal cause of the trouble was ever discovered.  Glanvill told
similar tales about a house at Welton, near Daventry, in 1658.
Stones were thrown, and all the furniture joined in an irregular
corroboree.  Too late for Lady Conway's party was the similar
disturbance at Gast's house of Little Burton June, 1677.  Here the
careful student will note that 'they saw a hand holding a hammer,
which kept on knocking'.  This _hand_ is as familiar to the research
of the seventeenth as to that of the nineteenth century.  We find it
again in the celebrated Scotch cases of Rerrick (1695), and of
Glenluce, while 'the Rev. James Sharp' (later Archbishop of St.
Andrews), vouched for it, in 1659, in a tale told by him to
Lauderdale, and by Lauderdale to the Rev. Richard Baxter. {94}
Glanvill also contributes a narrative of the very same description
about the haunting of Mr. Paschal's house in Soper Lane, London:
the evidence is that of Mr. Andrew Paschal, Fellow of Queen's
College, Cambridge.  In this case the trouble began with the arrival
and coincided with the stay of a gentlewoman, unnamed, 'who seemed
to be principally concerned'.  As a rule, in these legends, it is
easy to find out who the 'medium' was.  The phenomena here were
accompanied by 'a cold blast or puff of wind,' which blew on the
hand of the Fellow of Queen's College, just as it has often blown,
in similar circumstances, on the hands of Mr. Crookes, and of other
modern amateurs.  It would be tedious to analyse all Glanvill's
tales of rappings, and of volatile furniture.  We shall see that,
before his time, as after it, precisely similar narratives attracted
the notice of the curious.  Glanvill generally tries to get his
stories at first hand and signed by eye-witnesses.

Lady Conway was not behind her guests in personal experiences.  Her
ladyship was concerned with a good old-fashioned ghost.  We say
'old-fashioned' of set purpose, because while modern tales of
'levitation' and flighty furniture, of flying stones, of rappings,
of spectral hands, of cold psychical winds, are exactly like the
tales of old, a change, an observed change, has come over the ghost
of the nineteenth century.  Readers of the Proceedings of the
Psychical Society will see that the modern ghost is a purposeless
creature.  He appears nobody knows why; he has no message to
deliver, no secret crime to reveal, no appointment to keep, no
treasure to disclose, no commissions to be executed, and, as an
almost invariable rule, he does not speak, even if you speak to him.
The recent inquirers, notably Mr. Myers, remark with some severity
on this vague and meaningless conduct of apparitions, and draw
speculative conclusions to the effect that the ghost, as the Scotch
say, 'is not all there'.  But the ghosts of the seventeenth century
were positively garrulous.  One remarkable specimen indeed behaved,
at Valogne, more like a ghost of our time than of his own. {95}
But, as a common rule, the ghosts in whom Lady Conway's friends were
interested had a purpose:  some revealed the spot where a skeleton
lay; some urged the payment of a debt, or the performance of a
neglected duty.  One modern spectre, reported by Mr. Myers, wandered
disconsolate till a debt of three shillings and tenpence was
defrayed. {96}  This is, perhaps, the lowest figure cited as a
pretext for appearing.  The ghost vouched for by Lady Conway was
disturbed about a larger sum, twenty-eight shillings.  She, an
elderly woman, persecuted by her visits David Hunter, 'neat-herd at
the house of the Bishop of Down and Connor, at Portmore, in 1663'.
Mr. Hunter did not even know the ghost when she was alive; but she
made herself so much at home in his dwelling that 'his little dog
would follow her as well as his master'.  The ghost, however, was
invisible to Mrs. Hunter.  When Hunter had at last executed her
commission, she asked him to lift her up in his arms.  She was not
substantial like fair Katie King, when embraced by Mr. Crookes, but
'felt just like a bag of feathers; so she vanished, and he heard
most delicate music as she went off over his head'.  Lady Conway
cross-examined Hunter on the spot, and expressed her belief in his
narrative in a letter, dated Lisburn, April 29, 1663.  It is true
that contemporary sceptics attributed the phenomena to potheen, but,
as Lady Conway asks, how could potheen tell Hunter about the ghost's
debt, and reveal that the money to discharge it was hidden under her

The scope of the Ragley inquiries may now be understood.  It must
not be forgotten that witchcraft was a topic of deep interest to
these students.  They solemnly quote the records of trials in which
it is perfectly evident that girls and boys, either in a spirit of
wicked mischief, or suffering from hysterical illusions, make
grotesque charges against poor old women.  The witches always prick,
pinch, and torment their victims, being present to them, though
invisible to the bystanders.  This was called 'spectral evidence';
and the Mathers, during the fanatical outbreaks at Salem, admit that
this 'spectral evidence,' unsupported, is of no legal value.
Indeed, taken literally, Cotton Mather's cautions on the subject of
evidence may almost be called sane and sensible.  But the Protestant
inquisitors always discovered evidence confirmatory.  For example, a
girl is screaming out against an invisible witch; a man, to please
her, makes a snatch at the empty air where she points, and finds in
his hand a fragment of stuff, which again is proved to be torn from
the witch's dress.  It is easy to see how this trick could be
played.  Again, a possessed girl cries that a witch is tormenting
her with an iron spindle, grasps at the spindle (visible only to
her), and, lo, it is in her hand, and is the property of the witch.
Here is proof positive!  Again, a girl at Stoke Trister, in
Somerset, is bewitched by Elizabeth Style, of Bayford, widow.  The
rector of the parish, the Rev. William Parsons, deposes that the
girl, in a fit, pointed to different parts of her body, 'and where
she pointed, he perceived a red spot to arise, with a small black in
the midst of it, like a small thorn'; and other evidence was given
to the same effect.  The phenomenon is akin to many which, according
to medical and scientific testimony, occur to patients in the
hypnotic state.  The so-called stigmata of Louise Lateau, and of the
shepherd boy put up by the Archbishop of Reims as a substitute for
Joan of Arc, are cases in point.  But Glanvill, who quotes the
record of the trial (January, 1664), holds that witchcraft is proved
by the coincidence of the witch's confession that she, the devil,
and others made an image of the girl and pierced it with thorns!
The confession is a piece of pure folklore:  poor old Elizabeth
Style merely copies the statements of French and Scotch witches.
The devil appeared as a handsome man, and as a black dog!  Glanvill
denies that she was tortured, or 'watched'--that is, kept awake till
her brain reeled.  But his own account makes it plain that she was
'watched' after her confession at least, when the devil, under the
form of a butterfly, appeared in her cell.

This rampant and mischievous nonsense was dear to the psychical
inquirers of the Restoration; it was circulated by Glanvill, a
Fellow of the Royal Society; by Henry More; by Sinclair, a professor
in the University of Glasgow; by Richard Baxter, that glory of
Nonconformity, who revels in the burning of an 'old reading parson'--
that is, a clergyman who read the Homilies, under the Commonwealth.
This unlucky old parson was tortured into confession by being
'walked' and 'watched'--that is, kept from sleep till he was
delirious.  Archbishop Spottiswoode treated Father Ogilvie, S. J.,
in the same abominable manner, till delirium supervened.  Church,
Kirk, and Dissent have no right to throw the first stone at each

Taking levitation, haunting, disturbances and apparitions, and
leaving 'telepathy' or second sight out of the list for the present,
he who compares psychical research in the seventeenth and nineteenth
centuries finds himself confronted by the problem which everywhere
meets the student of institutions and of mythology.  The
anthropologist knows that, if he takes up a new book of travels in
the remotest lands, he will find mention of strange customs
perfectly familiar to him in other parts of the ancient and modern
world.  The mythologist would be surprised if he encountered in
Papua or Central Africa, or Sakhalin, a perfectly _new_ myth.  These
uniformities of myth and custom are explained by the identical
workings of the uncivilised intelligence on the same materials, and,
in some cases, by borrowing, transmission, imitation.

Now, some features in witchcraft admit of this explanation.
Highland crofters, even now, perforate the image of an enemy with
pins; broken bottle-ends or sharp stones are put, in Russia and in
Australia, in the footprints of a foe, for the purpose of laming
him; and there are dozens of such practices, all founded on the
theory of sympathy.  Like affects like.  What harms the effigy hurts
the person whose effigy is burned or pricked.  All this is perfectly
intelligible.  But, when we find savage 'birraarks' in Australia,
fakirs in India, saints in mediaeval Europe, a gentleman's butler in
Ireland, boys in Somerset and Midlothian, a young warrior in
Zululand, Miss Nancy Wesley at Epworth in 1716, and Mr. Daniel Home
in London in 1856-70, all triumphing over the law of gravitation,
all floating in the air, how are we to explain the uniformity of
stories palpably ridiculous?

The evidence, it must be observed, is not merely that of savages, or
of persons as uneducated and as superstitious as savages.  The
Australian birraark, who flies away up the tree, we may leave out of
account.  The saints, St. Francis and St. Theresa, are more
puzzling, but miracles were expected from saints. {100a}  The
levitated boy was attested to in a court of justice, and is designed
by Faithorne in an illustration of Glanvill's book.  He flew over a
garden!  But witnesses in such trials were fanciful people.  Lord
Orrery and Mr. Greatrakes may have seen the butler float in the air--
after dinner.  The exploits of the Indian fakirs almost, or quite,
overcome the scepticism of Mr. Max Muller, in his Gifford Lectures
on Psychological Religion.  Living and honourable white men aver
that they have seen the feat, examined the performers, and found no
explanation; no wires, no trace of imposture.  (The writer is
acquainted with a well vouched for case, the witness an English
officer.)  Mr. Kellar, an American professional conjurer, and
exposer of spiritualistic pretensions, bears witness, in the North
American Review, to a Zulu case of 'levitation,' which actually
surpasses the tale of the gentleman's butler in strangeness.  Cieza
de Leon, in his Travels, translated by Mr. Markham for the Hakluyt
Society, brings a similar anecdote from early Peru, in 1549. {100b}
Miss Nancy Wesley's case is vouched for (she and the bed she sat on
both rose from the floor) by a letter from one of her family to her
brother Samuel, printed in Southey's Life of Wesley.  Finally, Lord
Lindsay and Lord Adare published a statement that they saw Home
float out of one window and in at another, in Ashley Place, S.W., on
December 16, 1868.  Captain Wynne, who was also there, 'wrote to the
Medium, to say I was present as a witness'. {101}  We need not heap
up more examples, drawn from classic Greece, as in the instances of
Abaris and Iamblichus.  We merely stand speechless in the presence
of the wildest of all fables, when it meets us, as identical myths
and customs do--not among savages alone, but everywhere, practically
speaking, and in connection with barbarous sorcery, with English
witchcraft, with the saintliest of mediaeval devotees, with African
warriors, with Hindoo fakirs, with a little English girl in a quiet
old country parsonage, and with an enigmatic American gentleman.
Many living witnesses, of good authority, sign statements about
Home's levitation.  In one case, a large table, on which stood a man
of twelve stone weight rose from the floor, and an eye-witness, a
doctor, felt under the castors with his hands.

Of all persons subject to 'levitation,' Saint Joseph of Cupertino
(1603-1663) was the most notable.  The evidence is partly derived
from testimonies collected with a view to his canonisation, within
two years after his death.  There is a full account of his life and
adventures in Acta Sanctorum. {102}  St. Joseph died, as we saw, in
1663, but the earliest biography of him, in Italian, was not
published till fifteen years later, in 1678.  Unluckily the compiler
of his legend in the Acta Sanctorum was unable to procure this work,
by Nutius, which might contain a comparatively slight accretion of
myths.  The next life is of 1722, and the author made use of the
facts collected for Joseph's beatification.  There is another life
by Pastrovicchi, in 1753.  He was canonised in that year, when all
the facts were remote by about a century.

Joseph's parents were pauperes sed honesti; his father was a
carpenter, his mother a woman of almost virulent virtue, who kept
her son in great order.  From the age of eight he was subject to
cataleptic or epileptic fits and convulsions.  After his novitiate
he suffered from severe attacks of melancholia.  His 'miracles'
attracting attention, he was brought before the Inquisition at
Naples, as an impostor.  He was sent to an obscure and remote
monastery, and thence to Assisi, where he was harshly treated, and
fell into Bunyan's Slough of Despond, having much conflict with

He was next called to Rome, where cardinals testify that, on hearing
sacred names, he would give a yell, and fall into ecstasy.
Returning to Assisi he was held in high honour, and converted a
Hanoverian Prince.  He healed many sick people, and, having fallen
into a river, came out quite dry.  He could scarcely read, but was
inspired with wonderful theological acuteness.  He always yelled
before falling into an ecstasy, afterwards, he was so much under the
dominion of anaesthesia that hot coals, if applied to his body,
produced no effect.  Then he soared in air, now higher, now lower (a
cardinal vouches for six inches), and in aere pendulus haerebat,
like the gentleman's butler at Lord Orrery's.

Seventy separate flights, in-doors and out of doors, are recorded.
In fact it was well to abstain from good words in conversation with
St. Joseph of Cupertino, for he would give a shout, on hearing a
pious observation, and fly up, after which social intercourse was
out of the question.  He was, indeed, prevented by his superiors
from appearing at certain sacred functions, because his flights
disturbed the proceedings, indeed everything was done by the Church
to discourage him, but in vain.  He explained his preliminary shout
by saying that 'guns also make a noise when they go off,' so the
Cardinal de Laurea heard him remark.  He was even more fragrant than
the Miraculous Conformist, or the late Mr. Stainton Moses, to whose
seances scent was marvellously borne by 'spirits'.  It must be
remembered that contemporary witnesses attest these singular
circumstances in the evidence taken two years after his death, for
the beatification of Joseph.  From Assisi he was sent to various
obscure convents, where his miracles were as remarkable as ever.
One Christmas Eve, hearing sacred music, he flew up like a bird,
from the middle of the church to the high altar, where he floated
for a quarter of an hour, yet upset none of the candles.  An insane
nobleman was brought to him to be healed.  Seizing the afflicted
prince by the hair of the head, he uttered a shout, and soared up
with the patient, who finally came down cured!  Once he flew over a
pulpit, and once more than eighty yards to a crucifix.  This is
probably 'a record'.  When some men were elevating a cross for a
Calvary, and were oppressed by the weight, Joseph uttered a shriek,
flew to them, and lightly erected the cross with his own hand.  The
flight was of about eighty yards.  He flew up into a tree once, and
perched on a bough, which quivered no more than if he had been a
bird.  A rather commonplace pious remark uttered in his presence was
the cause of this exhibition.  Once in church, he flew from his
knees, caught a priest, lifted him up, and gyrated, laetissimo
raptu, in mid air.  In the presence of the Spanish ambassador and
many others, he once flew over the heads of the congregation.  Once
he asked a priest whether the holy elements were kept in a
particular place.  'Who knows?' said the priest, whereon Joseph
soared over his head, remained kneeling in mid air, and came down
only at the request of his ecclesiastical superior.  Joseph was
clairvoyant, and beheld apparitions, but on the whole (apart from
his moral excellence) his flights were his most notable
accomplishment.  On one occasion he 'casual remarked to a friend,'
'what an infernal smell' (infernails odor), and then nosed out a
number of witches and warlocks who were compounding drugs:
'standing at some considerable distance, standing, in fact, in quite
another street'.

Iamblichus, in the letter to Porphyry, describes such persons as St.
Joseph of Cupertino.  'They have been known to be lifted up into the
air. . . .  The subject of the afflatus has not felt the application
of fire. . . .  The more ignorant and mentally imbecile a youth may
be, the more freely will the divine power be made manifest.'  Joseph
was ignorant, and 'enfeebled by vigil and fasts,' so Joseph was
'insensible of the application of fire,' and 'was lifted up into the
air'.  Yet the cardinals, surgeons, and other witnesses were not
thinking of the pagan Iamblichus when they attested the
accomplishments of the saint.  Whence, then, comes the uniformity of

The sceptical Calef did not believe in these things, because they
are 'miracles,' that is, contrary to experience.  But here is
experience enough to which they are not contrary.

There are dozens of such depositions, and here it is that the
student of testimony and of belief finds himself at a deadlock.
Believe the evidence we cannot, yet we cannot doubt the good faith,
the veracity of the attesting witnesses.  Had we only savage, or
ancient and uneducated testimony, we might say that the uniformity
of myths of levitation is easily explained.  The fancy wants a
marvel, it readily provides one by positing the infraction of the
most universally obvious law, that of gravitation.  Men don't fly;
let us say that a man flew, like Abaris on his arrow!  This is
rudimentary, but then witnesses whose combined testimony would prove
almost anything else, declare that they saw the feat performed.
Till we can find some explanation of these coincidences of
testimony, it is plain that a province in psychology, in the
relations between facts as presented to and as represented by
mankind, remains to be investigated.  Of all persons who have been
levitated since St. Joseph, a medium named Eglinton was most subject
to this infirmity.  In a work, named There is no Death, by Florence
Marryat, the author assures us that she has frequently observed the
phenomenon.  But Mr. Eglinton, after being 'investigated' by the
Psychical Society, 'retired,' as Mr. Myers says, 'into private
life'.  The tales told about him by spiritualists are of the kind
usually imparted to a gallant, but proverbially confiding, arm of
Her Majesty's service.  As for Lord Orrery's butler, and the others,
there are the hypotheses that a cloud of honourable and sane
witnesses lied; that they were uniformly hallucinated, or
hypnotised, by a glamour as extraordinary as the actual miracle
would be; or again, that conjuring of an unexampled character could
be done, not only by Home, or Eglinton, in a room which may have
been prepared, but by Home, by a Zulu, by St. Joseph of Cupertino,
and by naked fakirs, in the open air.  Of all these theories that of
glamour, of hypnotic illusion, is the most specious.  Thus, when Ibn
Batuta, the old Arabian traveller, tells us that he saw the famous
rope-trick performed in India--men climbing a rope thrown into the
air, and cutting each other up, while the bodies revive and reunite--
he very candidly adds that his companion, standing by, saw nothing
out of the way, and declared that nothing occurred. {107a}  This
clearly implies that Ibn Batuta was hypnotised, and that his
companion was not.  But Dr. Carpenter's attempt to prove that one
witness saw nothing, while Lord Lindsay and Lord Adare saw Home
float out of one window, and in by another, turns out to be
erroneous.  The third witness, Captain Wynne, confirmed the
statement of the other gentlemen.

We now approach the second class of marvels which regaled the circle
at Ragley, namely, 'Alleged movements of objects without contact,
occurring _not_ in the presence of a paid medium,' and with these we
shall examine rappings and mysterious noises.  The topic began to
attract modern attention when table-turning was fashionable.  But in
common table-turning there _was_ contact, and Faraday easily
demonstrated that there was conscious or unconscious pushing and
muscular exertion.  In 1871 Mr. Crookes made laboratory experiments
with Home, using mechanical tests. {107b}  He demonstrated, to his
own satisfaction, that in the presence of Home, even when he was not
in physical contact with the object, the object moved:  e pur si
muove.  He published a reply to Dr. Carpenter's criticism, and the
common-sense of ordinary readers, at least, sees no flaw in Mr.
Crookes's method and none in his argument.  The experiments of the
modern Psychical Society, with paid mediums, produced results, in
Mr. Myers's opinion, 'not wholly unsatisfactory,' but far from
leading to an affirmative conclusion, if by 'satisfactory' Mr. Myers
means 'affirmative'. {108a}  The investigations of Mrs. Sidgwick
were made under the mediumship of Miss Kate Fox (Mrs. Jencken).
This lady began the modern 'spiritualism' when scarcely older than
Mr. Mompesson's 'two modest little girls,' and was accompanied by
phenomena like those of Tedworth.  But, in Mrs. Sidgwick's presence
the phenomena were of the most meagre; and the reasoning faculties
of the mind decline to accept them as other than perfectly normal.
The society tried Mr. Eglinton, who once was 'levitated' in the
presence of Mr. Kellar, the American conjurer, who has publicly
described feats like those of the gentleman's butler. {108b}  But,
after his dealings with the society, Mr. Eglinton has left the
scene. {108c}  The late Mr. Davey also produced results like Mr.
Eglinton's by confessed conjuring.

Mr. Myers concludes that 'it does not seem worth while, as a rule,
to examine the testimony to physical marvels occurring in the
presence of professional mediums'.  He therefore collects evidence
in the article quoted, for physical marvels occurring where there is
no paid medium.  Here, as in the business of levitation, the
interest of the anthropologist and mythologist lies in the
uniformity and identity of narratives from all countries, climates,
and ages.  Among the earliest rappings with which we chance to be
familiar are those reported by Froissart in the case of the spirit
Orthon, in the fourteenth century.  The tale had become almost a
fabliau, but any one who reads the amusing chapter will see that it
is based on a belief in disturbances like those familiar to Glanvill
and the Misses Fox.  Cieza de Leon (1549) in the passage already
quoted, where he describes the levitated Cacique of Pirza in Popyan,
adds that 'the Christians saw stones falling from the air' (as in
the Greatrakes tale of the Youghal witch), and declares that, 'when
the chief was sitting with a glass of liquor before him, the
Christians saw the glass raised up in the air and put down empty,
and a short time afterwards the wine was again poured into the cup
from the air'.  Mr. Home once equalled this marvel, {109a} and Ibn
Batuta reports similar occurrences, earlier, at the court of the
King of Delhi.  There is another case in Histoire Prodigieuse d'une
jeune Fille agitee d'un Esprit fantastique et invisible. {109b}  A
bourgeois of Bonneval was beset by a rapping rattle of a sprite.
'At dinner, when he would lay his hand on a trencher, it was carried
off elsewhere, and the wineglass, when he was about drinking, was
snatched from his hand.'  So Mr. Wesley's trencher was set spinning
on the table, when nobody touched it!  In such affairs we may have
the origin of the story of the Harpies at the court of Phineus.

In China, Mr. Dennys tells how 'food placed on the table vanished
mysteriously, and many of the curious phenomena attributed to
ghostly interference took place,' so that the householder was driven
from house to house, and finally into a temple, in 1874, and all
this after the death of a favourite but aggrieved monkey! {110a}
'Throwing down crockery, trampling on the floor, etc.--such pranks
as have attracted attention at home, are not unknown. . . .  I must
confess that in China, as elsewhere, these occurrences leave a bona
fide impression of the marvellous which can neither be explained nor
rejected'. {110b}

We have now noted these alleged phenomena, literally 'from China to
Peru'.  Let us next take an old French case of a noisy sprite in the
nunnery of St. Pierre de Lyon.  The account is by Adrien de
Montalembert, almoner to Francis I. {110c}  The Bibliography of this
very rare tract is curious and deserves attention.  When Lenglet
Dufresnoy was compiling, in 1751, his Dissertations sur les
Apparitions he reprinted the tract from the Paris quarto of 1528, in
black letter.  This example had been in the Tellier collection, and
Dufresnoy seems to have borrowed it from the Royal Convent of St.
Genevieve.  Knowing that Cardinal Tencin had some acquaintance with
the subject, Dufresnoy wrote to him, and publishes (vol. i. cxli.)
his answer, dated October 18, 1751, Lyons.  The cardinal replied
that, besides the Paris edition of 1528, there was a Rouen reprint,
of 1529, by Rolin Gautier, with engravings.  Brunet says, that there
are engravings in the Paris edition of 1528, perhaps these were
absent from the Tellier example.  That of Rouen, which Cardinal
Tencin collated, was in the Abbey of St. Peter, in Lyons.  Some
leaves had been thumbed out of existence, and their place was
supplied in manuscript.  The only difference was in chapter xxviii.
where the printed Rouen text may have varied.  In the MS. at all
events, it is stated that on March 21, the spirit of Sister Alix de
Telieux struck thirty-three great strokes on the refectory of her
convent, 'mighty and marvellous,' implying that her thirty-three
years of purgatory were commuted into thirty-three days.  A bright
light, scarcely endurable, then appeared, and remained for some
eight minutes.  The nuns then went into chapel and sang a Te Deum.

At the end of the volume, a later hand added, in manuscript, that
the truth of the contemporary record was confirmed by the tradition
of the oldest sisters who had received it from eye-witnesses of the
earlier generation.  The writer says that she had great difficulty
in finding the printed copy, but that when young, in 1630, she
received the tale from a nun, then aged ninety-four.  This nun would
be born in 1536, ten years after these events.  She got the story
from her aunt, a nun, Gabrielle de Beaudeduit, qui etoit de ce tems-
la.  There is no doubt that the sisters firmly and piously believed
in the story, which has the contemporary evidence of Adrien de
Montalembert.  Dufresnoy learned that a manuscript copy of the tract
was in the library of the Jesuits of Lyons.  He was unaware of an
edition in 12mo of 1580, cited by Brunet.

To come to the story, one of our earliest examples of a 'medium,'
and of communications by raps.  The nunnery was reformed in 1516.  A
pretty sister, Alix de Telieux, fled with some of the jewels, lived
a 'gay' life, and died wretchedly in 1524.  She it was, as is
believed, who haunted a sister named Anthoinette de Grolee, a girl
of eighteen.  The disturbance began with a confused half-dream.  The
girl fancied that the sign of the cross was made on her brow, and a
kiss impressed on her lips, as she wakened one night.  She thought
this was mere illusion, but presently, when she got up, she heard,
'comme soubs ses pieds frapper aucuns petis coups,' 'rappings,' as
if at the depth of four inches underground.  This was exactly what
occurred to Miss Hetty Wesley, at Epworth, in 1716, and at Rio de
Janeiro to a child named 'C.' in Professor Alexander's narrative.
{112}  Montalembert says, in 1528, 'I have heard these rappings many
a time, and, in reply to my questions, so many strokes as I asked
for were given'.  Montalembert received information (by way of raps)
from the 'spirit,' about matters of importance, qui ne pourroient
estre cogneus de mortelle creature.  'Certainly,' as he adds,
'people have the best right to believe these things who have seen
and heard them.'

The rites of the Church were conferred in the most handsome manner
on the body of Sister Alix, which was disinterred and buried in her
convent.  Exorcisms and interrogations of the spirit were practised.
It merely answered questions by rapping 'Yes,' or 'No'.  On one
occasion Sister Anthoinette was 'levitated'.  Finally, the spirit
appeared bodily to her, said farewell, and disappeared after making
an extraordinary fracas at matins.  Montalembert conducted the
religious ceremonies.  One case of hysteria was developed; the
sufferer was a novice.  Of course it was attributed to diabolical
possession The whole story in its pleasant old French, has an
agreeable air of good faith But what interests us is the remarkable
analogy between the Lyons rappings and those at Epworth, Tedworth,
and countless other cases, old or of yesterday.  We can now
establish a catena of rappings and pour prendre date, can say that
communications were established, through raps, with a so-called
'spirit,' more than three hundred years before the 'Rochester
knockings' in America.  Very probably wider research would discover
instances prior to that of Lyons; indeed, Wierus, in De Praestigiis
Daemonum, writes as if the custom was common.

It is usual to explain the raps by a theory that the 'medium'
produces them through cracking his, or her, knee-joints.  It may
thus be argued that Sister Anthoinette discovered this trick, or was
taught the trick, and that the tradition of her performance, being
widely circulated in Montalembert's quarto, and by oral report,
inspired later rappers, such as Miss Kate Fox, Miss 'C.' Davis, Miss
Hetty Wesley, the gentlewoman at Mr. Paschal's, Mr. Mompesson's
'modest little girls,' Daniel Home, and Miss Margaret Wilson of
Galashiels.  Miss Wilson's uncle came one day to Mr. Wilkie, the
minister, and told him the devil was at his house, for, said he,
'there is an odd knocking about the bed where my niece lies'.
Whereupon the minister went with him, and found it so.  'She, rising
from her bed, sat down to supper, and from below there was such a
knocking up as bred fear to all that were present.  This knocking
was just under her chair, where it was not possible for any mortal
to knock up.'  When Miss Wilson went to bed, and was in a deep
sleep, 'her body was so lifted up that many strong men were not able
to keep it down'. {114a}  The explanation about cracking the knee-
joints hardly covers the levitations, or accounts for the tremendous
noise which surrounded Sister Anthoinette at matins, or for the
bright light, a common spiritualistic phenomenon.  Margaret Wilson
was about twelve years of age.  If it be alleged that little girls
have a traditional method of imposture, even that is a curious and
interesting fact in human nature.

As regards imposture, there exists a singular record of a legal
process in Paris, 1534. {114b}

It may have been observed that the Lyons affair was useful to the
Church, as against 'the damnable sect of Lutherans,' because Sister
Alix attested the existence of purgatory.  No imposture was
detected, and no reader of Montalembert can doubt his good faith,
nor the sincerity of his kindness and piety.  But such a set of
circumstances might provoke imitation.  Of fraudulent imitation the
Franciscans of Orleans were accused, and for this crime they were
severely punished.  We have the Arrest des Commissaires du Conseil
d'Etat du Roi, from MS. 7170, A. of the Bibliotheque du Roi. {115}
We have also allusions in the Franciscanus, a satire in Latin
hexameter by George Buchanan.  Finally, we have versions in
Lavaterus, and in Wierus, De Curat. Laes. Maleficio (Amsterdam,
1660, p. 422).  Wierus, born 1515, heard the story when with Sleidan
at Orleans, some years after the events.  He gives the version of
Sleidan, a notably Protestant version.  Wierus is famous for his
spirited and valuable defence of the poor women then so frequently
burned as witches.  He either does, or pretends to believe in
devils, diabolical possession, and exorcism, but the exorcist, to be
respectable, must be Protestant.  Probably Wierus was not so
credulous as he assumes to be, and a point of irony frequently peeps
out.  The story as told by Sleidan differs from that in the official
record.  In this document Adam Fumee counsellor of the king,
announces that the Franciscans of Orleans have informed the king
that they are vexed by a spirit, which gives itself out by signs
(rappings), as the wife of Francois de St. Mesmin, Provost of
Orleans.  They ask the king to take cognisance of the matter.  On
the other side, St. Mesmin declares that the Franciscans have
counterfeited the affair in hope of 'black-mailing' him.  The king,
therefore, appoints Fumee to inquire into the case.  Thirteen friars
are lying in prison in Paris, where they have long been 'in great
wretchedness and poverty, and perishing of hunger,' a pretty example
of the law's delay.  A commission is to try the case (November,
1534).  The trouble had begun on February 22, 1533 (old style), when
Father Pierre d'Arras at five a.m. was called into the dormitory of
'les enfans,'--novices,--with holy water and everything proper.
Knocking was going on, and by a system of knocks, the spirit said it
wanted its body to be taken out of holy ground, said it was Madame
St Mesmin, and was damned for Lutheranism and extravagance!  The
experiment was repeated before churchmen and laymen, but the lay
observers rushed up to the place whence the knocks came where they
found nothing.  They hid some one there, after which there was no
knocking.  On a later day, the noises as in Cock Lane and elsewhere,
began by scratching.  "M. l'Official," the bishop's vicar, 'ouit
gratter, qui etoit le commencement de ladite accoutummee tumulte
dudit Esprit'.  But no replies were given to questions, which the
Franciscans attributed to the disturbance of the day before, and the
breaking into various places by the people.  One Alicourt seems to
have been regarded as the 'medium,' and the sounds were heard as in
Cock Lane and at Tedworth when he was in bed.  Later experiments
gave no results, and the friars were severely punished, and obliged
to recant their charges against Madame de Mesmin.  The case,
scratches, raps, false accusations and all, is parallel to that of
the mendacious 'Scratching Fanny,' examined by Dr. Johnson and
Douglas, Bishop of Salisbury.  In that affair the child was driven
by threats to make counterfeit noises, but, as to the method of
imposture at Orleans, nothing is said in the contemporary legal

We now turn to the account by Sleidan, in Wierus.  The provost's
wife had left directions for a cheap funeral in the Franciscan
Church.  This economy irritated the Fathers, who only got six pieces
of gold, 'having expected much greater plunder'.  'Colimannus'
(Colimant), an exorcist named in the process, was the ringleader.
They stationed a lad in the roof of the church, who rapped with a
piece of wood, and made a great noise 'when they mumbled their
prayers at night'.  St. Mesmin appealed to the king, the Fathers
were imprisoned, and the youth was kept in Fumee's house, and plied
with questions.  He confessed the trick, and the friars were
punished.  Of all this confession, and of the mode of imposture,
nothing is said in the legal process.  From the whole affair came a
popular saying, c'est l'esprit d'Orleans, when any fable was told.
Buchanan talks of cauta parum pietas in fraude paranda.

The evidence, it may be seen, is not very coherent, and the
Franciscans may have been the deceived, not the deceivers. {117}
Wierus himself admits that he often heard a brownie in his father's
house, which frightened him not a little, and Georgius Pictorius
avers that a noisy spirit haunted his uncle's house for thirty
years, a very protracted practical joke, if it was a practical joke.
{118}  This was a stone-throwing demon.

A large book might easily be filled with old stories of mysterious
flights of stones, and volatile chairs and tables.  The ancient
mystics of the Levant were acquainted with the phenomena, as
Iamblichus shows.  The Eskimo knew them well.  Glanvill is rich in
examples, the objects flying about in presence of a solitary
spectator, who has called at a 'haunted house,' and sometimes the
events accompany the presence of a single individual, who may, or
may not be a convulsionary or epileptic.  Sometimes they befall
where no individual is suspected of constitutional electricity or of

We may select a laughable example from a rare tract.  'An authentic,
candid, and circumstantial narrative of the astonishing transactions
at Stockwell, in the county of Surrey, on Monday and Tuesday, the
6th and 7th of January, 1772.  Published with the consent and
approbation of the family and other parties concerned, to
authenticate which, the original copy is signed by them.  London,
1772, printed for J. Marks, bookseller, in St. Martin's Lane.'

The dramatis personae are old Mrs. Golding, of Stockwell parish, 'a
gentlewoman of unblemished honour and character'; Mrs. Pain, her
niece, a farmer's wife, 'respected in the parish'; Mary Martin, her
servant, previously with Mrs. Golding; Richard Fowler, a labourer,
living opposite Mrs. Pain; Sarah Fowler his wife--all these sign the
document,--and Ann Robinson, Mrs. Golding's maid, just entered on
her service.  Ann does _not_ sign.

The trouble began at ten a.m. on January 6, when Mrs. Golding heard
a great smash of crockery, an event 'most incident to maids'.  The
lady went into the kitchen, when plates began to fall from the
dresser 'while she was there and nobody near them'.  Then a clock
tumbled down, so did a lantern, a pan of salt beef cracked, and a
carpenter, Rowlidge, suggested that a recent addition of a room
above had shaken the foundation of the house.  Mrs. Golding rushed
into the house of Mr. Gresham, her next neighbour, and fainted.
Meanwhile Ann Robinson was 'mistress of herself, though china fall,'
and seemed in no hurry to leave the threatened dwelling.  The niece
of Mrs. Golding, Mrs. Pain, was sent for to Mr. Gresham's, Mrs.
Golding was bled, when, lo, 'the blood sprang out of the basin upon
the floor, and the basin broke to pieces!'  A bottle of rum, of
sympathetic character, also burst.  Many of Mrs. Golding's more
fragile effects had been carried into Mr. Gresham's:  the glasses
and china first danced, and then fell off the side-board and broke.
Mrs. Golding, 'her mind one confused chaos,' next sought refuge at
Mr. Mayling's for three-quarters of an hour.  Here nothing unusual
occurred, but, at Mr. Gresham's (where Ann Robinson was packing the
remains of her mistress's portable property) a 'mahogany waiter,' a
quadrille box, a jar of pickles and a pot of raspberry jam shared
the common doom.  'Their end was pieces.'  Mrs. Pain now hospitably
conveyed her aunt to her house at Rush Common, 'hoping all was
over'.  This was about two in the afternoon.

At eight in the evening, the whole row of pewter dishes, bar one,
fell from a shelf, rolled about a little, and 'as soon as they were
quiet, turned upside down; they were then put upon the dresser, and
went through the same a second time'.  Then of two eggs, one 'flew
off, crossed the kitchen, struck a cat on the head, and then burst
in pieces'.  A pestle and a mortar presently 'jumped six feet from
the floor'.  The glass and crockery were now put on the floor, 'he
that is down need fear no fall,' but the objects began to dance, and
tumble about, and then broke to pieces.  A china bowl jumped eight
feet but was not broken.  However it tried again, and succeeded.
Candlesticks, tea-kettles, a tumbler of rum and water, two hams, and
a flitch of bacon joined in the corroboree.  'Most of the genteel
families around were continually sending to inquire after them, and
whether all was over or not.'  All this while, Ann was 'walking
backwards and forwards', nor could they get her to sit down, except
for half an hour, at prayers, 'then all was quiet'.  She remarked,
with stoicism, 'these things could not be helped'.  Fowler came in
at ten, but fled in a fright at one in the morning.  By five, Mrs.
Golding summoned Mrs. Pain, who had gone to bed, 'all the tables,
chairs, drawers, etc., were tumbling about'.

They rushed across to Fowler's where, as soon as Ann arrived, the
old game went on.  Fowler, therefore, like the landlord in the poem,
'did plainly say as how he wished they'd go away,' at the same time
asking Mrs. Golding 'whether or not, she had been guilty of some
atrocious crime, for which providence was determined to pursue her
on this side the grave,' and to break crockery till death put an end
to the stupendous Nemesis.  'Having hitherto been esteemed a most
deserving person,' Mrs. Golding replied, with some natural warmth,
that 'her conscience was quite clear, and she could as well wait the
will of providence in her own house as in any other place,' she and
the maid went to her abode, and there everything that had previously
escaped was broken.  'A nine-gallon cask of beer that was in the
cellar, the door being open and nobody near it, turned upside down';
'a pail of water boiled like a pot'.  So Mrs. Golding discharged
Miss Ann Robinson and that is all.

At Mrs. Golding's they took up three, and at Mrs. Pain's two pails
of the fragments that were left.  The signatures follow, appended on
January 11.

The tale has a sequel.  In 1817 an old Mr. Braidley, who loved his
joke, told Hone that he knew Ann, and that she confessed to having
done the tricks by aid of horse-hairs, wires and other simple
appliances.  We have not Mr. Braidley's attested statement, but
Ann's character as a Medium is under a cloud.  Have all other
Mediums secret wires?  (Every-day Book, i. 62.)

Ann Robinson, we have seen, was a tranquil and philosophical maiden.
Not so was another person who was equally active, ninety years

Bovet, in his Pandaemonium (1684), gives an account of the Demon of
Spraiton, in 1682.  His authorities were 'J. G., Esquire,' a near
neighbour to the place, the Rector of Barnstaple, and other
witnesses.  The 'medium' was a young servant man, appropriately
named Francis Fey, and employed in the household of Sir Philip
Furze.  Now, this young man was subject to 'a kind of trance, or
extatick fit,' and 'part of his body was, occasionally, somewhat
benumbed and seemingly deader than the other'.  The nature of Fey's
case, physically, is clear.  He was a convulsionary, and his head
would be found wedged into tight places whence it could hardly be
extracted.  From such a person the long and highly laughable tale of
ghosts (a male ghost and a jealous female ghost) which he told does
not much win our acceptance.  True, Mrs. Thomasin Gidley, Anne
Langdon, and a little child also saw the ghost in various forms.
But this was probably mere fancy, or the hallucinations of Fey were
infectious.  But objects flew about in the young man's presence.
'One of his shoe-strings was observed (without the assistance of any
hand) to come of its own accord out of his shoe and fling itself to
the other side of the room; the other was crawling after it (!) but
a maid espying that, with her hand drew it out, and it clasp'd and
curl'd about her hand like a living eel or serpent.  A barrel of
salt of considerable quantity hath been observed to march from room
to room without any human assistance,' and so forth. {122}

It is hardly necessary to add more modern instances.  The 'electric
girl' Angelique Cottin, who was a rival of Ann Robinson, had her
powers well enough attested to arouse the curiosity of Arago.  But,
when brought from the country to Paris, her power, or her artifice,

It is rather curious that tales of volatile furniture are by no
means very common in trials for witchcraft.  The popular belief was,
and probably still is, that a witch or warlock could throw a spell
over an enemy so that his pots, and pans, tables and chairs, would
skip around.  The disturbances of this variety, in the presbytery at
Cideville, in Seine Inferieure (1850), came under the eye of the
law, because a certain shepherd injudiciously boasted that he had
caused them by his magic art. {123a}  The cure, who was the victim,
took him at his word, and the shepherd swain lost his situation.  He
then brought an action for defamation of character, but was non-
suited, as it was proved that he had been the fanfaron of his own
vices.  In Froissart's amusing story of Orthon, that noisy sprite
was hounded on by a priest.  At Tedworth, the owner of the drum was
'wanted' on a charge of sorcery as the cause of the phenomena.  The
Wesleys suspected that their house was bewitched.  But examples in
witch trials are not usual.  Mr. Graham Dalyell, however, gives one
case, 'the firlote rynning about with the stuff popling,' on the
floor of a barn, and one where 'the sive and the wecht dancit throw
the hous'. {123b}

A clasped knife opened in the pocket of Christina Shaw, and her
glove falling, it was lifted by a hand invisible to several persons
present.  One is reminded of the nursery rhyme,--'the dish it ran
after the spoon'.  In the presence of Home, even a bookcase is said
to have forgotten itself, and committed the most deplorable
excesses.  In the article of Mr. Myers, already cited, we find a
table which jumps by the bedside of a dying man. {124}  A handbag of
Miss Power's flies from an arm-chair, and hides under a table; raps
are heard; all this when Miss Power is alone.  Mr. H. W. Gore Graham
sees a table move about.  A heavy table of Mr. G. A. Armstrong's
rises high in the air.  A tea-table 'runs after' Professor
Alexander, and 'attempts to hem me in,' this was at Rio de Janeiro,
in the Davis family, where raps 'ranged from hardly perceptible
ticks up to resounding blows, such as might be struck by a wooden
mallet'.  A Mr. H. falls into convulsions, during which all sorts of
things fly about.  All these stories closely correspond to the tales
in Increase Mather's Remarkable Providences in New England, in which
the phenomena sometimes occur in the presence of an epileptic and
convulsed boy, about 1680.  To take one classic French case, Segrais
declares that a M. Patris was lodged in the Chateau d'Egmont.  At
dinner-time, he went into the room of a friend, whom he found lost
in the utmost astonishment.  A huge book, Cardan's De Subtilitate,
had flown at him across the room, and the leaves had turned, under
invisible fingers!  There are plenty of bogles in that book.  M.
Patris laughed at this tale, and went into the gallery, when a large
chair, so heavy that two men could scarcely lift it, shook itself
and came at him.  He remonstrated, and the chair returned to its
usual position.  'This made a deep impression on M. Patris, and
contributed in no slight degree to make him a converted character'--
a le faire devenir devot. {125a}

Tales like this, with that odd uniformity of tone and detail which
makes them curious, might be collected from old literature to any
extent.  Thus, among the sounds usually called 'rappings,' Mr.
Crookes mentions, as matter within his own experience, 'a cracking
like that heard when a frictional machine is at work'.  Now, as may
be read in Southey's Life of Wesley and in Clarke's Memoirs of the
Wesleys, this was the very noise which usually heralded the arrival
of 'Jeffrey,' as they called the Epworth 'spirit'. {125b}  It has
been alleged that the charming and ill-fated Hetty Wesley caused the
disturbances.  If so (and Dr. Salmon, who supports this thesis, does
not even hazard a guess as to the modus operandi), Hetty must have
been familiar with almost the whole extent of psychical literature,
for she scarcely left a single phenomenon unrepresented.  It does
not appear that she supplied visible 'hands'.  We have seen Glanvill
lay stress on the apparition of a hand.  In the case of the devil of
Glenluce, 'there appeared a naked hand, and an arm from the elbow
down, beating upon the floor till the house did shake again'. {126a}
At Rerrick, in 1695, 'it knocked upon the chests and boards, as
people do at a door'.  'And as I was at prayer,' says the Rev.
Alexander Telfair, 'leaning on the side of a bed, I felt something
thrusting my arm up, and casting my eyes thitherward, perceived a
little white hand, and an arm from the elbow down, but it vanished
presently.' {126b}  The hands viewed, grasped, and examined by
Home's clientele, hands which melted away in their clutch, are
innumerable, and the phenomenon, with the 'cold breeze,' is among
the most common in modern narratives.

Our only conclusion is that the psychological conditions which begat
the ancient narratives produce the new legends.  These surprise us
by the apparent good faith in marvel and myth of many otherwise
credible narrators, and by the coincidence, accidental or designed,
with old stories not generally familiar to the modern public.  Do
impostors and credulous persons deliberately 'get up' the subject in
rare old books?  Is there a method of imposture handed down by one
generation of bad little girls to another?  Is there such a thing as
persistent identity of hallucination among the sane?  This was
Coleridge's theory, but it is not without difficulties.  These
questions are the present results of Comparative Psychological


Reginald Scot on Protestant expulsion of Ghosts.  His boast
premature.  Savage hauntings.  Red Indian example.  Classical cases.
Petrus Thyraeus on Haunted Houses.  His examples from patristic
literature.  Three species of haunting spirits.  Demons in
disguises.  Hallucinations, visual, auditory, and tactile.  Are the
sounds in Haunted Houses real or hallucinatory?  All present do not
always hear them.  Interments in houses to stop hauntings.  Modern
example.  The Restoration and Scepticism.  Exceptional position of
Dr. Johnson.  Frequency of Haunted Houses in modern Folklore.
Researches of the S. P. R.  Failure of the Society to see Ghosts.
Uncertain behaviour of Ghosts.  The Society need a 'seer' or
'sensitive' comrade.  The 'type' or normal kind of Haunted Houses.
Some natural explanations.  Historical continuity of type.  Case of
Sir Walter Scott.  A haunted curacy.  Modern instances.  Miss
Morton's case:  a dumb ghost.  Ghost, as is believed, of a man of
letters.  Mr. Harry's ghost raises his mosquito curtains.  Columns
of light.  Mr. Podmore's theory.  Hallucinations begotten by natural
causes are 'telepathically' transferred, with variations, to
strangers at a distance.  Example of this process.  Incredulity of
Mr. Myers.  The spontaneous phenomena reproduced at 'seances'.  A
ghost who followed a young lady.  Singular experience of the writer
in Haunted Houses.  Experience negative.  Theory of 'dreams of the
dead'.  Difficulties of this theory; physical force exerted in
dreams.  Theory of Mr. James Sully.  His unscientific method and
carelessness as to evidence.  Reflections.

Reginald Scot, the humane author who tried, in his Discovery of
Witchcraft, 1584 (xv. 39), to laugh witch trials away, has a
triumphant passage on the decline of superstition.  'Where are the
soules that swarmed in time past? where are the spirits? who heareth
their noises? who seeth their visions?'  He decides that the spirits
who haunt places and houses, may have gone to Italy, because masses
are dear in England.  Scot, as an ardent Protestant, conceived that
haunted houses were 'a lewd invention,' encouraged, if not
originated, by the priests, in support of the doctrine of purgatory.
As a matter of fact the belief in 'haunting,' dates from times of
savagery, when we may say that every bush has its bogle.  The Church
had nothing to do with the rise of the belief, though, early in the
Reformation, some 'psychical phenomena' were claimed as experimental
proofs of the existence of purgatory.  Reginald Scot decidedly made
his Protestant boast too soon.  After 300 years of 'the Trewth,' as
Knox called it, the haunted houses are as much part of the popular
creed as ever.  Houses stand empty, and are said to be 'haunted'.
Here not the fact of haunting, but only the existence of the
superstition is attested.  Thus a house in Berkeley Square was long
unoccupied, for reasons perfectly commonplace and intelligible.  But
the fact that it had no tenants needed to be explained, and was
explained by a myth,--there were ghosts in the house!  On the other
hand, if Reginald Scot asked today, 'Who heareth the noises, who
seeth the visions?' we could answer, 'Protestant clergymen, officers
in the army, ladies, land-agents, solicitors, representatives of all
classes, except the Haunted House Committee of the Psychical

Before examining the researches and the results of this learned
body, we may glance at some earlier industry of investigators.  The
common savage beliefs are too well known to need recapitulation, and
have been treated by Mr. Tylor in his chapter on 'Animism,' {129}
and by Mr. Herbert Spencer in Principles of Psychology.  The points
of difference between these authors need not detain us here.  As a
rule the spirits which haunt the bush, or the forest, are but
vaguely conceived of by the Australian blacks, or Red Men:  they may
be ghosts of the dead, or they may be casual spirits unattached.  An
example analogous to European superstition is given by John Tanner
in his Narrative of a Captivity among the Red Indians, 1830.  In
this case one man had slain his brother, or, at least, a man of his
own Totem, and was himself put to death by the kindred.  The
spectres of both haunted a place which the Indians shunned, but
Tanner (whose Totem was the same as that of the dead) passed a night
on the scene.  His dreams, if not his waking moments, for his
account is indistinct, were disturbed by the ghosts.  It is
impossible to ascertain how far this particular superstition was
coloured by European influences. {130}

Over classical tales we need not linger.  Pliny, Plutarch,
Suetonius, St. Augustine, Lucian, Plautus (in the Mostellaria),
describe, with more or less of seriousness, the apparitions and
noises which haunted houses, public baths, and other places.
Occasionally a slain man's phantom was anxious that his body should
be buried, and the reported phenomena were akin to those in modern
popular legends.  Sometimes, in the middle ages, and later, the law
took cognisance of haunted houses, when the tenant wished to break
his lease.  A collection of authorities is given elsewhere, in
Ghosts before the Law.  It is to be noticed that Bouchel, in his
Bibliotheque du Droit Francais, chiefly cites classical, not modern,

Among the most careful and exhaustive post-mediaeval writers on
haunted houses we must cite Petrus Thyraeus of the Society of Jesus,
Doctor in Theology.  His work, published at Cologne in 1598, is a
quarto of 352 pages, entitled, 'Loca Infesta; That is, Concerning
Places Haunted by Mischievous Spirits of Demons and of the Dead.
Thereto is added a Tract on Nocturnal Disturbances, which are wont
to bode the deaths of Men.'  Thyraeus begins, 'That certain places
are haunted by spectres and spirits, is no matter of doubt,' wherein
a modern reader cannot confidently follow him.

When it comes to establishing his position Thyraeus most provokingly
says, 'we omit cases which are recent and of daily occurrence,' such
as he heard narrated, during his travels, in 'a certain haunted
castle'.  A modern inquirer naturally prefers recent examples, which
may be inquired into, but the old scholars reposed more confidence
in what was written by respected authors, the more ancient the more
authoritative.  However Thyraeus relies on the anthropological test
of evidence, and thinks that his belief is confirmed by the
coincident reports of hauntings, 'variis distinctissimisque locis et
temporibus,' in the most various times and places.  There is
something to be said for this view, and the identity of the alleged
phenomena, in all lands and ages, does raise a presumption in favour
of some kind of abnormal occurrences, or of a common species of
hallucinations.  Like most of the old authors Thyraeus quotes
Augustine's tale of a haunted house, and an exorcism in De Civitate
Dei (lib. xxii. ch. viii.).  St. Gregory has also a story of one
Paschasius, a deacon, who haunted some baths, and was seen by a
bishop. {131a}  There is a ghost who rode horses, and frightened the
religious in the Life of Gregory by Joannes Diaconus (iv. 89).  In
the Life of Theodorus one Georgius, a disciple of his, mentions a
house haunted by stone-throwing sprites, a very common phenomenon in
the books of Glanvill, and Increase Mather, in witch trials, and in
rural disturbances.  Omitting other examples Cardan {131b} is cited
for a house at Parma, in which during a hundred years the phantom of
an old woman was seen before the death of members of the family.
This is a rare case of an Italian Banshie.  William of Paris, in
Bodin (iii. ch. vi.) tells of a stone-throwing fiend, very active in
1447.  The bogey of Bingen, a rapping ghost of 856, is duly
chronicled; he also threw stones.  The dormitory of some nuns was
haunted by a spectre who moaned, tramped noisily around, dragged the
sisters out of bed by the feet, and even tickled them nearly to
death!  This annoyance lasted for three years, so Wierus says. {132}
Wodrow chronicles a similar affair at Mellantrae, in Annandale.
Thyraeus distinguishes three kinds of haunting sprites, devils,
damned souls, and souls in purgatory.  Some are mites, mild and
sportive; some are truculenti ferocious.  Brownies, or fauni, may
act in either character, as Secutores et joculatores.  They rather
aim at teasing than at inflicting harm.  They throw stones, lift
beds, and make a hubbub and crash with the furniture.  Suicides,
murderers, and spirits of murdered people, are all apt to haunt
houses.  The sprites occasionally appear in their proper form, but
just as often in disguise:  a demon, too, can appear in human shape
if so disposed:  demons being of their nature deceitful and fond of
travesty, as Porphyry teaches us and as Law (1680) illustrates.
Whether the spirits of the dead quite know what they are about when
they take to haunting, is, in the opinion of Thyraeus, a difficult
question.  Thomas Aquinas, following St. Augustine, inclines to hold
that when there is an apparition of a dead man, the dead man is
unconscious of the circumstance.  A spirit of one kind or another
may be acting in his semblance.  Thyraeus rather fancies that the
dead man is aware of what is going on.

Hauntings may be visual, auditory, or confined to the sense of
touch.  Auditory effects are produced by flutterings of air, noises
are caused, steps are heard, laughter, and moaning.  Lares domestici
(brownies) mostly make a noise.  Apparitions may be in tactile form
of men or animals, or monsters.  As for effects, some ghosts push
the living and drive them along, as the Bride of Lammermoor, in
Law's Memorialls, was 'harled through the house,' by spirits.  The
spirits of an amorous complexion seem no longer to be numerous, but
are objects of interest to Thyraeus as to Increase Mather.  Thyraeus
now raises the difficult question:  'Are the sounds heard in haunted
houses real, or hallucinatory?'  Omnis qui a spiritibus fit,
simulatus est, specie sui fallit.  The spirits having no vocal
organs, can only produce _noise_.  In a spiritual hurly-burly, some
of the mortals present _hear nothing_ (as we shall note in some
modern examples), but may they not be prevented from hearing by the
spirits?  Or again, the sounds may be hallucinatory and only some
mortals may have the power of hearing them.  If there are visual,
there may also be auditory hallucinations. {133}  On the whole
Thyraeus thinks that the sounds may be real on some occasions, when
all present hear them, hallucinatory on others.  But the sounds need
not be produced on the furniture, for example, when they seem to be
so produced.  'Often we think that the furniture has been all tossed
about, when it really has not been stirred.'  The classical instance
of the disturbances which aroused Scott at Abbotsford, on the death
of his agent Bullock, is in point here.  'Often a hammer is heard
rapping, when there is no hammer in the house' (p. 82).  These are
curious references to phenomena, however we explain them, which are
still frequently reported.

Thyraeus thinks that the air is agitated when sounds are heard, but
that is just the question to be solved.

As for visual phantasms, these Thyraeus regards as hallucinations
produced by spirits on the human senses, not as external objective
entities.  He now asks why the sense of _touch_ is affected usually
as if by a cold body.  Beyond assuming the influence of spirits over
the air, and, apparently, their power of using dead bodies as
vehicles for themselves, Thyraeus comes to no distinct conclusion.
He endeavours, at great length, to distinguish between haunters who
are ghosts of the dead, and haunters who are demons, or spirits
unattached.  The former wail and moan, the latter are facetious.  He
decides that to bury dead bodies below the hearth does not prevent
haunting, for 'the hearth has no such efficacy'.  Such bodies are
not very unfrequently found in old English houses, the reason for
this strange interment is not obvious, but perhaps it is explained
by the superstition which Thyraeus mentions.  One might imagine that
to bury people up and down a house would rather secure haunting than
prevent it.  And, indeed, at Passenham Rectory, where the Rev. G. M.
Capell found seven skeletons in his dining-room, in 1874, Mrs.
Montague Crackanthrope and her nurse were 'obsessed' by 'a feeling
that some one was in the room,' when some one was _not_. {135}
Perhaps seven burials were not sufficient to prevent haunting.  The
conclusion of the work of Thyraeus is devoted to exorcisms, and
orthodox methods of expelling spirits.  The knockings which herald a
death are attributed to the Lares, a kind of petty mischievous
demons unattached.  Such is the essence of the learned Jesuit's
work, and the strange thing is that, in an age of science, people
are still discussing his problems, and, stranger still, that the
reported phenomena remain the same.

That the Church in the case of Thyraeus, and many others; that
medical science, in the person of Wierus (b. 1515); that law, in the
book of Bouchel, should have gravely canvassed the topic of haunted
houses, was, of course, very natural in the dark ages before the
restoration of the Stuarts, and the founding of the Royal Society.
Common-sense, and 'drolling Sadduceeism,' came to their own, in
England, with the king, with Charles II.  After May 29, 1660,
Webster and Wagstaffe mocked at bogles, if Glanvill and More took
them seriously.

Before the Restoration it was distinctly dangerous to laugh at
witchcraft, ghosts and hauntings.  But the laughers came in with the
merry monarch, and less by argument than by ridicule, by inveighing
against the horror, too, of the hideous witch prosecutions, the
laughers gradually brought hauntings and apparitions into contempt.
Few educated people dared to admit that their philosophy might not
be wholly exhaustive.  Even ladies sneered at Dr. Johnson because
he, having no dread of common-sense before his eyes, was inclined to
hold that there might be some element of truth in a world-old and
world-wide belief; and the romantic Anna Seward told, without
accepting it, Scott's tale of 'The Tapestried chamber'.  That a
hundred years after the highday and triumph of common-sense, people
of education should be found gravely investigating all that common-
sense had exploded, is a comfortable thought to the believer in
Progress.  The world does not stand still.

A hundred years after the blue stockings looked on Johnson as the
last survivor, the last of the Mohicans of superstition, the
Psychical Society can collect some 400 cases of haunted houses in

Ten years ago, in 1884, the society sifted out nineteen stories as
in 'the first class,' and based on good first-hand evidence.  Their
analysis of the reports led them to think that there is a certain
genuine _type_ of story, and, that when a tale 'differs widely from
the type, it proves to be incorrect, or unattainable from an
authentic source'.  This is very much the conclusion to which the
writer is brought by historical examination of stories about
hauntings.  With exceptions, to be indicated, these tales all
approximate to a type, and that is not the type of the magazine

It may be well, in the first place, to make some negative statements
as to what the committee does _not_ discover.  First, it has never
yet hired haunted house in which the sights and sounds continued
during the tenancy of the curious observers. {137}  The most obvious
inference is that the earlier observers who saw and heard abnormal
things were unscientific, convivial, nervous, hysterical, or
addicted to practical joking.  This, however, is not the only
possible explanation.  As a celebrated prophet, by his own avowal
had been 'known to be steady for weeks at a time,' so, even in a
regular haunted house, the ghost often takes a holiday.  A case is
well known to the writer in which a ghost began his manoeuvres soon
after a family entered the house.  It made loud noises, it opened
doors, turning the handle as the lady of the house walked about, it
pulled her hair when she was in bed, plucked her dress, produced
lights, and finally appeared visibly, a hag dressed in grey, to
several persons.  Then as if sated, the ghost struck work for years,
when it suddenly began again, was as noisy as ever, and appeared to
a person who had not seen it before, but who made a spirited if
unsuccessful attempt to run it to earth.

The truth is, that magazine stories and superstitious exaggerations
have spoiled us for ghosts.  When we hear of a haunted house, we
imagine that the ghost is always on view, or that he has a benefit
night, at certain fixed dates, when you know where to have him.
These conceptions are erroneous, and a house _may_ be haunted,
though nothing desirable occurs in presence of the committee.
Moreover the committee, as far as the writer is aware, have
neglected to add a seer to their number.  This mistake, if it has
been made, is really wanton.  It is acknowledged that not every one
has 'a nose for a ghost,' as a character of George Eliot's says, or
eyes or ears for a ghost.  It is thought very likely that, where
several people see an apparition simultaneously, the spiritual or
psychical or imaginative 'impact' is addressed to one, and by him,
or her (usually her) handed on to the rest of the society.  Now, if
the committee do not provide themselves with a good 'sensitive'
comrade, what can they expect, but what they get, that is, nothing?
A witch in an old Scotch trial says, of her 'Covin,' or 'Circle,'
'We could do no great thing without our Maiden'.  The committee
needs a Maiden, as a Covin needed one, and among the visionaries of
the Psychical Society, there must be some young lady who should be
on the House Committee.  Yet one writer in the Society's Proceedings
who has a very keen scent for an impostor, if not for a ghost, avers
that, from the evidence, she believes that they are examining facts,
and not the origin of fables.

These facts, as was said, differ from the stories in 'Christmas
numbers'.  The ghost in typical reports seldom or never _speaks_.
It has no message to convey, or, if it has a message, it does not
convey it.  It does not unfold some tragedy of the past:  in fact it
is very seldom capable of being connected with any definite known
dead person.  The figure seen sometimes 'varies with the seer'.
{139}  In other cases, however, different people attest having seen
the same phantasm.  Finally a new house seems just as likely to be
haunted as an old house, and the committee appears to have no
special knowledge of very ancient family ghosts, such as Pearlin
Jean, the Luminous Boy of Corby, or the rather large company of
spectres popularly supposed to make themselves at home at Glamis

What then is the type, the typical haunted house, from which, if
narratives vary much, they are apt to break down under cross-

The phenomena are usually phenomena of sight, or sound, or both.  As
a rule the sounds are footsteps, rustling of dresses, knocks, raps,
heavy bangs, noises as of dragging heavy weights, and of
disarranging heavy furniture.  These sometimes occur freely, where
nobody can testify to having _seen_ anything spectral.  Next we have
phantasms, mostly of figures beheld for a moment with 'the tail of
the eye' or in going along a passage, or in entering a room where
nobody is found, or standing beside a bed, perhaps in a kind of
self-luminous condition.  Sometimes these spectres are taken by
visitors for real people, but the real people cannot be found;
sometimes they are at once recognised as phantasms, because they are
semi-transparent, or look very malignant, or because they glide and
do not walk, or are luminous, or for some other excellent reason.
The combination, in due proportions, of pretty frequent inexplicable
noises, with occasional aimless apparitions, makes up the _type_ of
orthodox modern haunted house story.  The difficulty of getting
evidence worth looking at (except for its uniformity) is obviously
great.  Noises may be naturally caused in very many ways:  by winds,
by rats, by boughs of trees, by water pipes, by birds.  The writer
has known a very satisfactory series of footsteps in an historical
Scotch house, to be dispelled by a modification of the water pipes.
Again he has heard a person of distinction mimic the noises made by
_his_ family ghosts (which he preserved from tests as carefully as
Don Quixote did his helmet) and the performance was an admirable
imitation of the wind in a spout.  There are noises, however, which
cannot be thus cheaply disposed of, and among them are thundering
whacks on the walls of rooms, which continue in spite of all efforts
to detect imposture.  These phenomena, says Kiesewetter, were known
to the Acadians of old, a circumstance for which he quotes no
authority. {140a}

Paracelsus calls the knocks pulsatio mortuorum, in his fragment on
'Souls of the Dead,' and thinks that the sounds predict misfortune,
a very common belief. {140b}  Lavaterus says, that such
disturbances, in unfinished houses are a token of good luck!

Again there is the noise made apparently by violent movement of
heavy furniture, which on immediate examination (as in Scott's case
at Abbotsford) is found not to have been moved.  The writer is
acquainted with a dog, a collie, which was once shut up alone in a
room where this disturbance occurred.  The dog was much alarmed and
howled fearfully, but it soon ceased to weigh on his spirits.  When
phantasms are occasionally seen by respectable witnesses, where
these noises and movements occur, the haunted house is of a healthy,
orthodox, modern type.  But the phenomena are nothing less than
modern, for Mather, Sinclair, Paracelsus, Wierus, Glanvill, Bovet,
Baxter and other old writers are full of precisely these
combinations of sounds and sights, while many cases occur in old
French literature, old Latin literature, and among races of the
lower barbaric and savage grades of culture.  One or two curious
circumstances have rather escaped the notice of philosophers though
not of Thyraeus.  First, the loudest of the unexplained sounds are
_occasionally_ not audible to all, so that (as when the noise seems
to be caused by furniture dragged about) we may conjecture with
Thyraeus, that there is no real movement of the atmosphere, that the
apparent crash is an auditory hallucination.  The planks and heavy
objects at Abbotsford had _not_ been stirred, as the loud noises
overhead indicated, when Scott came to examine them.

In a dreadfully noisy curacy vouched for by 'a well-known Church
dignitary,' who occupied the place, there was usually a frightful
crash as of iron bars thrown down, at 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning.
All the boxes and heavy material in a locked set of attics, seemed
to be dancing about, but were never found to have been stirred.  Yet
this clergyman discovered that 'the great Sunday crash might
manifest itself to some persons in the house without his wife or
himself being conscious of it.  Knowing how overwhelming the sound
always appeared to me when I did hear it, I cannot but consider this
one of the most wonderful things in the whole business.' {142}

In this case, in a house standing hundreds of yards apart from any
neighbour, and occupied only by a parson, his wife, and one servant,
these phenomena lasted for a year, with great regularity.  There
were the usual footsteps, the ordinary rappings were angry when
laughed at, and the clergyman when he left at the end of a year, was
as far as ever from having detected any cause.  Indeed it is not
easy to do so.  A friend of the writer's, an accomplished man of
law, was once actually consulted, in the interests of an enraged
squire, as to how he could bring a suit against _somebody_ for a
series of these inexplicable disturbances.  But the law contained no
instrument for his remedy.

From the same report of the S. P. R. we take another typical case.
A lady, in an old house, saw, in 1873, a hideous hag watching her in
bed; she kept the tale to herself, but, a fortnight later, her
brother, a solicitor, was not a whit less alarmed by a similar and
similarly situated phenomenon.  In this house dresses were plucked
at, heavy blows were struck, heavy footsteps went about, there were
raps at doors, and nobody was ever any the wiser as to the cause.
Here it may be observed that a ghost's power of making a noise, and
exerting what seems to be great physical energy, is often in inverse
ratio to his power of making himself generally visible, or, at all
events, to his inclination so to do.  Thus there is a long record of
a haunted house, by the chief observer, Miss Morton, in P. S. P. R.,
pt. xxii. p. 311.  A lady had died of habits too convivial, in 1878.
In April, 1882, Miss Morton's family entered, but nobody saw the
ghost till Miss Morton viewed it in June.  The appearance was that
of a tall lady in widow's weeds, hiding her face with a
handkerchief.  From 1882 to 1884, Miss Morton saw the spectre six
times, but did not name it to her family.  Her sister saw the
appearance in 1882, a maid saw it in 1883, and two boys beheld it in
the same year.  Miss Morton used to follow the appearance downstairs
and speak to it, but it merely gave a slight gasp, and seemed unable
to converse.  By way of testing the spectre, Miss Morton stretched
threads at night from the railing of the stair to the wall, but the
ghost descended without disturbing them.  Yet her footsteps sounded
on the stairs.  This is, in fact, a crucial difficulty about ghosts.
They are material enough to make a noise as they walk, but _not_
material enough to brush away a thread!  This ghost, whose visible
form was so much en evidence, could, or did, make no noise at all,
beyond light pushes at doors, and very light footsteps.  In the
curacy already described, noises were made enough to waken a parish,
but no form was ever seen.  Briefly, for this ghost there is a cloud
of witnesses, all solemnly signing their depositions.  These two
examples are at the opposite poles between which ghostly
manifestations vary, in haunted houses.

A brief precis of 'cases' may show how these elements of noise, on
one side, and apparitions, on the other, are commonly blended.  In a
detached villa, just outside 'the town of C.,' Mrs. W. remarks a
figure of a tall dark-haired man peeping round the corner of a
folding door.  She does not mention the circumstance.  Two months
later she sees the same sorrowful face in the drawing-room.  This
time she tells her husband.  Later in the same month, when playing
cricket with her children, she sees the face 'peeping round from the
kitchen door'.  Rather later she heard a deep voice say in a
sorrowful tone, 'I can't find it'; something slaps her on the back.
Her step-daughter who had not heard of the phantasm, sees the same
pale dark-moustached face, 'peeping round the folding doors'.  She
is then told Mrs W.'s story.  Her little brother, later, sees the
figure simultaneously with herself.  She also hears the voice say,
'I can't find it,' at the same moment as Mrs. W. hears it.  A year
later, she sees the figure at the porch, _in a tall hat_!  Neither
lady had enjoyed any other hallucination.  Nothing is known of the
melancholy spectre, probably the ghost of a literary person,
searching, always searching, for a manuscript poem by some total
stranger who had worried him into his grave, and not left him at
peace even there.  This is a very solemn and touching story, and
appeals tenderly and sadly to all persons of letters who suffer from
the unasked for manuscripts of the general public.

2.  Some ladies and servants in a house in Hyde Park Place, see at
intervals a phantom housemaid:  she is also seen by a Mr. Bird.
There is no story about a housemaid, and there are no noises.  This
is _not_ an interesting tale.

3.  A Hindoo native woman is seen to enter a locked bath-room, where
she is not found on inquiry.  A woman had been murdered there some
years before.  The percipient, General Sir Arthur Becher, had seen
other uncanny visions.  A little boy, wakened out of sleep, said he
saw an ayah.  Perhaps he did.

4.  A Mr. Harry, in the South of Europe, saw a white female figure
glide through his library into his bedroom.  Later, his daughters
beheld a similar phenomenon.  Mr. Harry, a gentleman of sturdy
common-sense, 'dared his daughters to talk of any such nonsense as
ghosts, as they might be sure apparitions were only in the
imagination of nervous people'.  He himself saw the phantasm seven
or eight times in his bedroom, and twice in the library.  On one
occasion it lifted up the mosquito curtains and stared at Mr. Harry.
As in the case of meeting an avalanche, 'a weak-minded man would
pray, sir, would pray; a strong-minded man would swear, sir, would
swear'.  Mr. Harry was a strong-minded man, and behaved 'in a
concatenation accordingly,' although Petrus Thyraeus says that there
is no use in swearing at ghosts.  The phantasm seemed to be about
thirty-five, her features were described as 'rather handsome,' and
(unromantically) as 'oblong'.  A hallucination, we need hardly say,
would not raise the mosquito curtains, this ghost had more heart in
it than most.

5.  Various people see 'a column of light vaguely shaped like a
woman,' moving about in a room of a house in Sussex.  One servant,
who slept in the room in hopes of a private view, saw 'a ball of
light with a sort of halo round it'.  Again, in a very pretty story,
the man who looked after an orphan asylum saw a column of light
above the bed of one of the children.  Next morning the little boy
declared that his mother had come to visit him, probably in a dream.

On this matter of lights {146} Mr. Podmore enters into argument with
Mr. Frederick Myers.  Mr. Myers, on the whole, believes that the
phenomena of haunted houses are caused by influences of some sort
from the minds of the dead.  Mr. Podmore, if we understand him holds
that some living person has had some empty hallucination, in a
house, and that this is 'telepathically' handed on, perhaps to the
next tenant, who may know nothing about either the person or the
vision.  Thus, a Miss Morris, much vexed by ghostly experiences,
left a certain house in December, 1886.  Nearly a year later, in
November, 1887, a Mrs. G. came in.  Mrs. G. did not know Miss
Morris, nor had she heard of the disturbances.  However sobs, and
moans, and heavy thumps, and noises of weighty objects thrown about,
and white faces, presently drove Mrs. G. to seek police protection.
This only roused the ghost's ambition, and he 'came' as a man with
freckles, also he walked about, shook beds, and exhibited lights.  A
figure in black, with a white face, now displayed itself:
barristers and clergymen investigated, but to no purpose.  They saw
figures, heard crashes, and the divine did a little Anglican
exorcism.  The only story about the house showed that a woman had
hanged herself with a skipping rope in the 'top back bedroom,' in
1879.  Here are plenty of phenomena, apparitions male and female.
But Miss Morris, in addition to hearing noises, only saw a pale
woman in black.

Mr. Podmore's theory comes in thus:  'the later experiences may have
been started by thought transference from Miss Morris, whose
thoughts, no doubt, occasionally turned to the house in which she
had suffered so much agitation and alarm'.  Moreover 'real noises'
may have 'suggested' the visual hallucinations to Miss Morris. {147}
Mr. Podmore certainly cannot be accused of ordinary superstition.
There is a house, and there is a tenant.  She hears footsteps
pounding up- and down-stairs, and all through her room, she says
nothing and gets used to it.  Let it be granted that these noises
are caused by rats.  After conquering her dislike to the sounds,
three weeks after her entry to the house, Miss Morris meets a total
stranger, deadly pale, in deep black, who vanishes.  This phantasm
has gathered round the nucleus which the rats provided by stamping
up- and down-stairs, and through Miss Morris's room.  It is natural
that a person who hears rats, or wind, or waterpipes, and makes up
her mind not to mind it, should then see a phantasm of a pale woman
in black; also should hear loud knocks at the door of her chamber.
Miss Morris goes away, a year later comes Mrs. G., and Mrs. G., her
children, her servants, a barrister and an exorcist, are all
disturbed by






Dragging of heavy weights.

One dreadful white face.

One little woman.


One white skirt hanging from the ceiling.

One footfall which played two notes on the piano (!).

One figure in brown.

One man with freckles.

Two human faces.

One shadow.

One 'part of the dress of a super-material being' (Barrister).

One form (Exorcist).

One small column of misty vapour.

Now all this catalogue of prodigies which drove Mrs. G. into the
cold, bleak world, was caused, 'by thought transference from Miss
Morris,' who had been absent for a year, and whose own
hallucinations were caused by noises which may have been produced by
rats, or what not.

This ingenious theory is too much for Mr. Myers's powers of belief:
'The very first effect of Miss Morris's ponderings was a heavy
thump, followed by a deep sob and moan, and a cry of, "Oh, do
forgive me," all disturbing poor Mrs. G. who had the ill luck to
find herself in a bedroom about which Miss Morris was possibly
thinking. . . .  Surely the peace of us all rests on a very
uncertain tenure.'  Meanwhile Mr. Myers prefers to regard the whole
trouble as more probably caused by the 'dreams of the dead' woman
who hanged herself with a skipping rope, than by the reflections of
Miss Morris.  In any case the society seem to have occupied the
house, and, with their usual bad luck, were influenced neither by
the ponderings of Miss Morris, nor by the fredaines of the lady of
the skipping rope. {149}  It may be worth noticing that the raps,
knocks, lights, and so forth of haunted houses, the 'spontaneous'
disturbances, have been punctually produced at savage, classical,
and modern seances.  If these, from the days of the witch of Endor
to our own, and from the polar regions to Australia, have all been
impostures, at least they all imitate the 'spontaneous' phenomena
reported to occur in haunted houses.  The lights are essential in
the seances described by Porphyry, Eusebius, Iamblichus:  they were
also familiar to the covenanting saints.  The raps are known to
Australian black fellows.  The phantasms of animals, as at the
Wesleys' house, may be beasts who play a part in the dead man's
dream, or they may be incidental hallucinations, begotten of rats,
and handed on by Miss Morris or any one else.

There remains a ghost who illustrates the story, spread all over
Europe, of the farmer who was driven from his house by a bogle.  As
his carts went along the road, the bogle was heard exclaiming,
'We're flitting today,' and it faithfully stayed with the family.
This tale, current in Italy as well as in Northern England, might be
regarded as a mere piece of folklore, if the incident had not
reproduced itself in West Brompton.  In 1870 the T.'s took a house
here:  now mark the artfulness of the ghost, it did nothing for
eighteen months.  In autumn, 1871, Miss T. saw a figure come out of
the dining-room, and the figure was often seen, later, by five
independent witnesses.  It was tall, dressed in grey, and was
chiefly fond of haunting Miss T.'s own room.  It did not walk, it
glided, making no noise.  Mr. T. met it in the hall, once, when he
came in at night, and from the street he saw it standing in the
drawing-room window.  It used to sigh and make a noise as of steps,
when it was not visible, it knocked and moved furniture about, and
dropped weights, but these sounds were sometimes audible only to
one, or a few of the observers.  In 1877 the T.'s left for another
house, to which Miss T. did not repair till 1879.  Then the noises
came back as badly as ever,--the bogle had flitted,--and, on
Christmas Day, 1879, Miss T. saw her old friend the figure.  Several
members of the family never saw it at all.  One lady, in another
case, Miss Nettie Vatas-Simpson, tried to flap a ghost away with a
towel, {150} but he was not thus to be exorcised.  He presently went
out through a locked door.

Such are the ordinary or typical phenomena of haunted houses.  It is
plainly of no use to take a haunted house for a month and then say
it is not haunted because you see no ghosts.  Even where they have
been seen there are breaks of years without any 'manifestations'.
Besides, the evidence shows that it is not every one who can see a
ghost when he is there:  Miss Morton's father could not see the lady
in black, when she was visible to Miss Morton.

It is difficult to write with perfect seriousness about haunted
houses.  The writer will frankly confess that, when living in
haunted houses (as he has done at various times when suffering from
illness and overwork), he takes a very solemn view of the matter
about bed-time.  If 'expectant attention' on a mind strained by the
schools, and a body enfeebled by bronchitis, could have made a man,
who was the only occupant of the haunted wing of an old Scotch
castle, see a ghost, the writer would have seen whatever there was
to see.  To be sure he could not rationally have regarded a spectre
beheld in these conditions, as a well-authenticated ghost. {151}  As
far as his experience of first-hand tales is concerned, the persons
known to him who say they have seen ghosts in haunted houses, were
neither unhealthy, nor, except in one solitary case, imaginative,
nor were they _expecting_ a ghost.  The apparition was 'a little
pleasant surprise'.  The usual seer is not an invalid, nor a
literary person who can always be dismissed as 'imaginative,' though
he is generally nothing of the kind.  But it cannot be denied that
ladies either see more ghosts than men or are less reluctant to
impart information.  The visionary lady who keeps up a regular
telepathic correspondence with several friends is likely to see a
ghost, and should certainly be entered at 'fixed local ghosts,' but
there are slight objections to such evidence, as not free from
suspicion of fancifulness.

Turning from the seers to the seen, it is difficult or impossible
even to suggest an hypothesis which will seem to combine the facts.
The most plausible fancy is that which likens the apparitions to
figures in a feverish dream.  Could we imagine a more or less bad
man or woman dead, and fitfully living over again, 'in that sleep of
death,' old events among old scenes, could we go further and believe
that these dreams were capable of being made objective and visible
to the living, then we might find a kind of theory of the process.
But even if it were possible to demonstrate the existence of such a
process, we are as far as ever from accounting for the force which
causes noises, or hallucinations of noises, a force of considerable
vigour, according to observers.  Still less could we explain the
rare cases in which a ghost produces a material effect on the
inanimate or animate world, as by drawing curtains, or pulling
people's hair and clothes,--all phenomena as well vouched for as the
others.  A picture projected by one mind on another, cannot
conceivably produce these effects.  They are such as ghosts have
always produced, or been said to produce.  Since the days of ancient
Egypt, ghosts have learned, and have forgotten nothing.  Unless we
adopt the scientific and popular system of merely saying 'Fudge!' we
find no end to the conundrums of the ghostly world.  Ghosts seem to
know as little about themselves as we do, so that, if we are to
discover anything, we must make haste, before we become ghosts

Writers on Psychology sometimes make a push at a theory of haunted
houses.  Mr. James Sully, for example, has done so in his book
styled Illusions. {153}  Mr. Sully appears well pleased with his
hypothesis, and this, granting the accuracy of a tale for which he
is indebted to a gentleman who need not be cited here, argues an
easily contented disposition.  Here is the statement:--

'A lady was staying at a country house.  During the night and
immediately on waking up she had (sic) an apparition of a strange-
looking man in mediaeval costume, a figure by no means agreeable,
and which seemed altogether unfamiliar to her.  The next morning, on
rising, she recognised the original of her hallucinatory image in a
portrait hanging on the wall of her bedroom, which must have
impressed itself on her brain before the occurrence of the
apparition, though she had not attended to it.  Oddly enough, she
now learned for the first time that the house at which she was
staying had the reputation of being haunted, and by the very same
somewhat repulsive-looking mediaeval personage that had troubled her
inter-somnolent moments.  The case seems to me to be typical with
respect to the genesis of ghosts, and of the reputation of haunted

This anecdote affords much joy to the superstitious souls who deal
in Psychical Research, or Ghost Hunting.  Mr. Sully's manner of
narrating it clearly proves the difference between Science and
Superstition.  For a Ghost Hunter or Psychical Researcher would not
venture to publish a modern ghost story (except for mere amusement),
if he had it not at first hand, or at second hand with corroboration
at first hand.  Science, however, can adduce a case without
indicating the evidence on which it rests, as whether Mr. Sully's
informant had the tale from the lady, or at third, fourth, fifth, or
a hundredth hand.  So much for the matter of evidence.  Next, Mr.
Sully does not tell us whether the lady 'had an apparition,' when
she supposed herself to be awake, or asleep, or 'betwixt and
between'.  From the phrase 'inter-somnolent,' he appears to prefer
the intermediate condition.  But he does not pretend to have
interrogated the lady, the 'percipient'.  Again, the figure wore a
'mediaeval costume,' the portrait represented a 'mediaeval
personage'.  Does Mr. Sully believe that the portrait was an
original portrait of a real person? and how many portraits of
mediaeval people does he suppose to exist in English country houses?
Taking the Middle Ages as lasting till the beginning of the reign of
Henry VIII., say till Holbein, we can assure Mr. Sully that they
have left us very few portraits indeed.  But perhaps it was a modern
picture, a fanciful study of a man in mediaeval costume.  In that
event, Mr. Sully's case is greatly strengthened, but he does not
tell us whether the work of art was, or was not, contemporary with
the Middle Ages.  Neither does he tell us whether the lady was in
the habit of seeing hallucinations.

The weakest point in the whole anecdote and theory is in the
statement, 'oddly enough, she now learned for the first time that
the house at which she was staying had the reputation of being
haunted' by the mediaeval personage.  It certainly would be very odd
if one picture in a house troubled 'the inter-somnolent moments' of
a succession of people, who, perhaps, had never seen, or, like the
lady, never attended to it.  Such 'troubles' are very rare:  very
few persons have seen a dream which, in Mr. Sully's words, 'left
behind, for an appreciable interval after waking, a vivid after-
impression, and in some cases, even the semblance of a sense
perception'.  Mathematicians may calculate the chances against a
single unnoticed portrait producing this very rare effect, in a
series of cases, so as to give rise to a belief in haunting, by mere
casual coincidence.  In the records of the Psychical Society, one
observer speaks of seeing a face and figure at night, which he
recognises next morning in a miniature on his chimney-piece.  But,
in this case, there was no story of haunting, there had been no
series of similar impressions on successive occupants of the room,
_that_ is the circumstance which Mr. Sully finds 'odd enough,' a
sentiment in which we may all agree with him.  This is exactly the
oddity which his explanation does not explain.

While psychological science, in this example, seems to treat matters
of evidence rather laxly, psychical conjecture, on the other hand,
leaves much unexplained.  Thus Mr. Myers puts forward a theory which
is, in origin, due to St. Augustine.  The saint had observed that
any one of us may be seen in a dream by another person, while our
intelligence is absolutely unconscious of any communication.  Apply
this to ghosts in haunted houses.  We may be affected by a
hallucination of the presence of a dead man or woman, but he, or she
(granting their continued existence after death), may know nothing
of the matter.  In the same way, there are stories of people who
have consciously tried to make others, at a distance, think of them.
The subjects of these experiments have, it is said, had a
hallucination of the presence of the experimenter.  But _he_ is
unaware of his success, and has no control over the actions of what
old writers, and some new theosophists, call his 'astral body'.
Suppose, then, that something conscious endures after death.
Suppose that some one thinks he sees the dead.  It does not follow
that the surviving consciousness (ex hypothesi) of the dead person
who seems to be seen, is aware that he is 'manifesting' himself.  As
Mr. Myers puts it, 'ghosts must therefore, as a rule, represent--not
conscious or central currents of intelligence--but mere automatic
projections from consciousnesses which have their centres
elsewhere,' [Greek]:  as Homer makes Achilles say, 'there is no
heart in them.' {156}  All this is not inconceivable.  But all this
does not explain the facts, namely, the noises, often very loud, and
the movements of objects, and the lights which are the common or
infrequent accompaniments of apparitions in haunted houses.  Now we
have (always on much the same level of evidence) accounts of similar
noises, and movements of untouched objects, occurring where living
persons of peculiar constitution are present, or in haunted houses.
These things we discuss in an essay on 'The Logic of Table-turning'.
By parity of reasoning, or at least by an obvious analogy, we are
led to infer that more than 'an automatic projection from the
consciousness' of a dead man is present where he is not only seen,
but heard, making noises, and perhaps moving objects.  If this be
admitted then psychical conjecture is pushed back on something very
like the old theory of haunted houses, namely, that a ghost, or
spiritual entity, is present and active there.

Long ago, in a little tale called 'Castle Perilous' (published in a
volume named The Wrong Paradise), the author made an affable sprite
explain all these phenomena.  'We suffer, we ghosts,' he said in
effect, 'from a malady akin to aphasia in the living.  We know what
we want to say, and how we wish to appear, but, just as a patient in
aphasia uses the wrong word, we use the wrong manifestation.'  This
he illustrated by a series of apparitions on his own part, which, he
declared, were involuntary and unconscious:  when they were
described to him by the percipient, he admitted that they were
vulgar and distressing, though, as far as he was concerned, merely

These remarks of the ghost, were, at least, explicit and
intelligible.  The theory which he stated with an honourable
candour, and in language perfectly lucid, appears to have been
adopted by Mr. Frederick Myers, but he puts it in a different style.
'I argue that the phantasmogenetic agency at work--whatever that may
be--may be able to produce effects of light more easily than
definite figures. . . .  A similar argument will hold good in the
case of the vague hallucinatory noises which frequently accompany
definite veridical phantasms, and frequently also occur apart from
any definite phantasm in houses reputed haunted.' {158a}  Now where
Mr. Myers says 'phantasmogenetic agency,' we say 'ghost'.  J'appelle
un chat, un chat, et Rollet un fripon.  We urge that the ghost
cannot, as it were, express himself as plainly as he would like to
do, that he suffers from aphasia.  Now he shows as a black dog, now
as a green lady, now as an old man, and often he can only rap and
knock, or display a light, or tug the bed-clothes.  Thus the Rev. F.
G. Lee tells us that a ghost first sat on his breast invisibly, then
glided about his room like a man in grey, and, finally, took to
thumping on the walls, the bed and in the chimney.  Dr. Lee kindly
recited certain psalms, and was greeted with applause, 'a very
tornado of knocks . . . was the distinct and intelligible response'.
{158b}  Now, on our theory, the ghost, if he could, would have said,
'Thank you very much,' or the like, but he could not, so his
sentiments translated themselves into thumps.  On another occasion,
he might have merely shown a light, or he might have sat on Dr.
Lee's chest, 'pressed unduly on my chest,' says the learned divine,--
or pulled his blankets off, as is not unusual.  Such are the
peculiarities of spectral aphasia, or rather asemia.  The ghost can
make signs, but not the right signs.

Very fortunately for science, we have similar examples of imperfect
expression in the living.  Thus Dr. Gibotteau, formerly interne at a
hospital in Paris, published, in Annales des Sciences, Psychiques
(Oct. and Dec, 1892), his experiments on a hospital nurse, and her
experiments on him.  She used to try to send him hallucinations.
Once at 8 p.m. in summer as he stood on a balcony, he saw a curious
reflet blanc, 'a shining shadow' like that in The Strange Story.  It
resembled the reflection of the sun from a window, 'but there was
neither sun, nor moon, nor lighted lamps'.  This white shadow was
the partial failure of Berthe, the nurse, 'to show herself to me on
the balcony'.  In precisely the same way, lights in haunted houses
are partial failures of ghosts to appear in form As for the knocks,
Dr. Binns, in his Anatomy of Sleep, mentions a gentleman who could
push a door at a distance,--if he could push, he could knock.
Perhaps a rather larger collection of such instances is desirable,
still, these cases illustrate our theory.  That theory certainly
does drive the cold calm psychical researcher back upon the
primitive explanation:  'A ghaist's a ghaist for a' that!'  We must
come to this, we must relapse into savage and superstitious
psychology, if once we admit a 'phantasmogenetic agency.'  But
science is in quest of Truth, regardless of consequences.


Cock Lane Ghost discredited.  Popular Theory of Imposture.  Dr.
Johnson.  Story of the Ghost.  The Deceased Wife's Sister.
Beginning of the Phenomena.  Death of Fanny.  Recurrence of
Phenomena.  Scratchings.  Parallel Cases.  Ignorance and Malevolence
of the Ghost.  Possible Literary Sources.  Investigation.  Imitative
Scratchings:  a Failure.  Trial of the Parsonses.  Professor
Barrett's Irish parallel.  Cause undetected.  The Theories of
Common-sense.  The St. Maur Affair.  The Amiens Case.  The Sportive
Highland Fox.  The Brightling Case.

If one phantom is more discredited than another, it is the Cock Lane

The ghost has been a proverb for impudent trickery, and stern
exposure, yet its history remains a puzzle, and is a good, if vulgar
type, of all similar marvels.  The very people who 'exposed' the
ghost, were well aware that their explanation was worthless, and
frankly admitted the fact.  Yet they, no more than we, were prepared
to believe that the phenomena were produced by the spiritual part of
Miss Fanny L.--known after her decease, as 'Scratching Fanny'.  We
still wander in Cock Lane, with a sense of amused antiquarian
curiosity, and the same feeling accompanies us in all our
explorations of this branch of mythology.  It may be easy for some
people of common-sense to believe that all London was turned upside
down, that Walpole, the Duke of York, Lady Mary Coke, and two other
ladies were drawn to Cock Lane (five in a hackney coach), that Dr.
Johnson gave up his leisure and incurred ridicule, merely because a
naughty child was scratching on a little wooden board.

The matter cannot have been so simple as that, but from the true
solution of the problem we are as remote as ever.  We can, indeed,
study even the Cock Lane Ghost in the light of the Comparative, or
Anthropological Method.  We can ascertain that the occurrences which
puzzled London in 1762, were puzzling heathen philosophers and
Fathers of the Church 1400 years earlier.  We can trace a chain of
'Scratching Fannies' through the ages, and among races in every
grade of civilisation.  And then the veil drops, or we run our heads
against a blank wall in a dark alley.  Chaldeans, Egyptians, Greeks,
Eskimo, Red Men, Dyaks, Fellows of the Royal Society, Inquisitors,
Saints, have perlustrated Cock Lane, and have come away nothing the
wiser.  Some, of course, have thought they had the secret, have
recognised the work of God, 'daemons,' 'spirits,' 'ghosts,'
'devils,' 'fairies' and of ordinary impostors:  others have made a
push at a theory of disengaged nervous force, or animal magnetism.
We prefer to leave theory alone, not even accepting with enthusiasm,
the hypothesis of Dr. Johnson.  'He expressed great indignation at
the imposture of the Cock Lane ghost, and related, with much
satisfaction, how he had assisted in detecting the cheat, and had
published an account of it in the newspapers.  Upon this subject I
incautiously offended him, by pressing him with too many questions,'
says Boswell,--questions which the good doctor was obviously unable
to answer.

It is in January, 1762, that the London newspapers begin to be full
of a popular mystery, the Cock Lane ghost.  Reports, articles,
letters, appeared, and the ghost made what is now called a
'sensation'.  Perhaps, the most clear, if the most prejudiced
account, is that given in a pamphlet entitled The Mystery Revealed,
published by Bristow, in St. Paul's Churchyard (1762).  Comparing
this treatise (which Goldsmith is said to have written for three
guineas) with the newspapers, The Gentleman's Magazine and the
Annual Register, we get a more or less distinct view of the subject.
But the various newspapers repeat each other's versions, with slight
alterations; The Gentleman's Magazine, and Annual Register, follow
suit, the narratives are 'synoptic,' while Goldsmith's tract, if it
be Goldsmith's, is obviously written in defence of the unlucky Mr.
K., falsely accused of murder by the ghost.

Mr. K.'s version is the version given by Goldsmith, and thus leads
up to the 'phenomena' through a romance of middle-class life.  In
1756, this Mr. K., a person of some means, married Miss E. L. of L.
in Norfolk.  In eleven months the young wife died, in childbed, and
her sister, Miss Fanny, came to keep house for Mr. K.  The usual
passionate desire to marry his deceased wife's sister assailed Mr.
K., and Fanny shared his flame.  According to Goldsmith, the canon
law would have permitted the nuptials, if the wife had not born a
child which lived, though only for a few minutes.  However this may
be, Mr. K. honourably fled from Fanny, who, unhappily, pursued him
with letters, and followed him to town.  Here they took lodgings
together, but when Mr. K. left the rooms, being unable to recover
some money which he had lent his landlord, the pair looked out for
new apartments.  These they found in Cock Lane, in the house of Mr.
Parsons, clerk of St. Sepulchre's.

It chanced (here we turn to the Annual Register for 1762) that Mr.
K. left Fanny alone in Cock Lane while he went to a wedding in the
country.  She asked little Elizabeth Parsons, her landlord's
daughter, to share her bed, and both of them were disturbed by
strange scratchings and rappings.  These were attributed by Mrs.
Parsons to the industry of a neighbouring cobbler, but when they
occurred on a Sunday, this theory was abandoned.  Poor Fanny,
according to the newspapers, thought the noises were a warning of
her own death.  Others, after the event, imagined that they were
caused by the jealous or admonishing spirit of her dead sister.
Fanny and Mr. K. (having sued Mr. Parsons for money lent) left his
rooms in dudgeon, and went to Bartlet Court, Clerkenwell.  Here
Fanny died on February 2, 1760, of a disease which her physician and
apothecary certified to be small-pox, and her coffin was laid in the
vault of St. John's Church.  Now the noises in Cock Lane had ceased
for a year and a half after Fanny left the house, but they returned
in force in 1761-62.  Mr. Parsons in vain took down the
wainscotting, to see whether some mischievous neighbour produced the
sounds. {165}  The raps and scratches seemed to come on the bed of
little Elizabeth Parsons, just as in the case of the Tedworth
drummer, investigated by Glanvill, a hundred years earlier; and in
the case at Orleans, 230 years earlier.  The Orleans case is
published, with full legal documents, from MS. 40, 7170, 4,
Bibliotheque du Roi, in Recueil de Dissertations Anciennes et
Nouvelles sur les Apparitions, ii. 90 (a Avignon, 1751).
'Scratching' was usually the first manifestation in this affair, and
the scratches were heard in the bedroom occupied by certain
children.  The Cock Lane child 'was always affected with tremblings
and shiverings at the coming and going of the ghost'.  It was stated
that the child had seen a shrouded figure without hands; two other
witnesses (one of them a publican) had seen a luminous apparition,
_with_ hands.  This brilliant being lit up the figures on the dial
of a clock.  'The noises followed the child to other houses,' and
multitudes of people, clergy, nobles, and princes, also followed the
child.  A certain Mr. Brown was an early investigator, and published
his report.  Like Adrien de Montalembert, in 1526, like the
Franciscans about 1530, he asked the ghost to reply, affirmatively
or negatively, to questions, by one knock for 'yes,' two for 'no'.
This method was suggested, it seems, by a certain Mary Frazer, in
attendance on the child.  Thus it was elicited that Fanny had been
poisoned by Mr. K. with 'red arsenic,' in a draught of purl to which
she was partial.  She added that she wished to see Mr. K. hanged.

She would answer other questions, now right, and now wrong.  She
called her father John, while his real name was Thomas.  In fact she
was what Porphyry, the Neoplatonist, would have called a 'deceitful
demon'.  Her chief effects were raps, scratchings, and a sound as of
whirring wings, which filled the room.  This phenomenon occurs in a
'haunted house' mentioned in the Journal of the Psychical Society.
It is infinitely more curious to recall, that, when Mr. Im Thurn, in
British Guiana, submitted to the doctoring of a peayman (see p. 39),
he heard a sound, 'at first low and indistinct, and then gathering
in volume as if some big winged thing came from far toward the
house, passed through the roof, and then settled heavily on the
floor, and again, after an interval, as if the same winged thing
rose and passed away as it had come'.  Mr. Im Thurn thinks the
impression was caused by the waving of boughs.  These Cock Lane
occurrences were attributed to ventriloquism, but, after a surgeon
had held his hand on the child's stomach and chest while the noises
were being produced, this probable explanation was abandoned.  'The
girl was said to be constantly attended by the usual noises, though
bound and muffled hand and foot, and that without any motion of her
lips, and when she appeared to be asleep.' {166}  This binding is
practised by Eskimo Angakut, or sorcerers, as of old, by mediums
([Greek]) in ancient Greece and Egypt, so we gather from Iamblichus,
and some lines quoted from Porphyry by Eusebius. {167}  A kind of
'cabinet,' as modern spiritualists call a curtain, seems to have
been used.  In fact the phenomena, luminous apparition, 'tumultuous
sounds,' and all, were familiar to the ancients.  Nobody seems to
have noted this, but one unusually sensible correspondent of a
newspaper quoted cases of knockings from Baxter's Certainty of the
Worlds of Spirits, and thought that Baxter's popular book might have
suggested the imposture.  Though the educated classes had buried
superstition, it lived, of course, among the people, who probably
thumbed Baxter and Glanvill.

Thus things went on, crowds gathering to amuse themselves with the
ghost.  On February 1, Mr. Aldrich, a clergyman of Clerkenwell,
assembled in his house a number of gentlemen and ladies, having
persuaded Parsons to let his child be carried thither and tested.
Dr. Johnson was there, and Dr. Macaulay suggested the admission of a
Mrs. Oakes.  Dr. Johnson supplied the newspapers with an account of
what happened.  The child was put to bed by several ladies, about
ten o'clock, and the company sat 'for rather more than an hour,'
during which nothing occurred.  The men then went down-stairs and
talked to Parsons, when they were interrupted by some of the ladies,
who said that scratching and knocking had set in.  The company
returned, and made the child hold her hands outside the bedclothes.
No phenomena followed.  Now the sprite had promised to rap on its
own coffin in the vault of St. John's, so thither they adjourned
(without the medium), but there was never a scratch!

'It is therefore the opinion of the whole assembly, that the child
has some art of making or counterfeiting particular noises, and that
there is no agency of any higher cause.'

In precisely the same way the judges in the Franciscan case of 1533,
visited the bed of the child where the spirit had been used to
scratch and rap, heard nothing, and decided that the affair was a
hoax.  The nature of the fraud was not discovered, but the
Franciscans were severely punished.  At Lyons, the bishop and some
other clerics could get no response from the rapping spirit which
was so familiar with the king's chaplain, Adrien de Montalembert
(1526-7).  Thus 'the ghost in some measure remains undetected,' says
Goldsmith, and, indeed, Walpole visited Cock Lane, but could not get
in, apparently _after_ the detection.  But, writing on February 2,
he may speak of an earlier date.

Meanwhile matters were very uncomfortable for Mr. K.  Accused by a
ghost, he had no legal remedy.  Goldsmith, like most writers,
assumes that Parsons undertook the imposture, in revenge for having
been sued for money lent by Mr. K.  He adds that Mr. K. was engaged
in a Chancery suit by his relations, and seems to suspect their
agency.  Meanwhile, Elizabeth was being 'tested' in various ways.
Finally the unlucky child was swung up in a kind of hammock, 'her
hands and feet extended wide,' and, for two nights, no noises were
heard.  Next day she was told that, if there were no noises, she and
her father would be committed to Newgate.  She accordingly concealed
a little board, on which a kettle usually stood, a piece of wood six
inches by four.  She managed this with so little art that the maids
saw her place the wood in her dress, and informed the investigators
of the circumstances.  Scratches were now produced, but the child
herself said that they were not like the former sounds, and 'the
concurrent opinion of the whole assembly was that the child had been
frightened by threats into this attempt. . . .  The master of the
house and his friend both declared that the noises the girl had made
this morning _had not the least likeness to the former noises_.'  In
the same way the Wesleys at Epworth, in 1716, found that they could
not imitate the perplexing sounds produced in the parsonage.  The
end of the affair was that Parsons, Mary Frazer, a clergyman, a
tradesman, and others were tried at the Guildhall and convicted of a
conspiracy, on July 10, 1762.  Parsons was pilloried, and 'a
handsome collection' was made for him by the spectators.  His later
fortunes, or misfortunes, and those of the miserable little
Elizabeth, are unknown.  One thing is certain, the noises did not
begin in an attempt at imposture on Parsons's part; he was on good
terms with his lodgers, when Fanny was first disturbed.  Again, the
child could not counterfeit the sounds successfully when she was
driven by threats to make the effort.  The seance of rather more
than an hour, in which Johnson took part, was certainly inadequate.
The phenomena were such as had been familiar to law and divinity, at
least since 856, A.D. {170a}  The agencies always made accusations,
usually false.  The knocking spirit at Kembden, near Bingen, in 856
charged a priest with a scandalous intrigue.  The raps on the bed of
the children examined by the Franciscans, about 1530, assailed the
reputation of a dead lady.  When the Foxes, at Rochester, in 1848-
49, set up alphabetic communication with the knocks, they told a
silly tale of a murder.  The Cock Lane ghost lied in the same way.
The Fox girls started modern spiritualism on its wild and
mischievous career, as Elizabeth Parsons might have done, in a more
favourable environment.  There was never anything new in all these
cases.  The lowest savages have their seances, levitations, bindings
of the medium, trance-speakers; Peruvians, Indians, have their
objects moved without contact.  Simon Magus, or St. Paul under that
offensive pseudonym, was said to make the furniture move at will.

There is a curious recent Cock Lane case in Ireland where 'the
ghost' brought no accusations against anybody.  The affair was
investigated by Mr. Barrett, a Professor in the Royal College of
Science, Dublin, who published the results in the Dublin University
Magazine, for December, 1877.  The scene was a small lonely farm
house at Derrygonnelly, near Enniskillen.  The farmer's wife had
died a few weeks before Easter, 1877, leaving him with four girls,
and one boy, of various ages, the eldest, Maggie, being twenty.  The
noises were chiefly heard in her neighbourhood.  When the children
had been put to bed, Maggie lay down, without undressing, in the
bedroom off the kitchen.  A soft pattering noise was soon heard,
then raps, from all parts of the room, then scratchings, as in Cock
Lane.  When Mr. Barrett, his friend, and the farmer entered with a
candle, the sounds ceased, but began again 'as if growing accustomed
to the presence of the light'.  The hands and feet of the young
people were watched, but nothing was detected, while the raps were
going on everywhere around, on the chairs, on the quilt, and on the
big four-post wooden bedsteads where they were lying.  Mr. Barrett
now played Moro with the raps, that is, he extended so many fingers,
keeping his hand in the pocket of a loose great-coat, and the sounds
always responded the right number.  Four trials were made.  Then
came a noise like the beating of a drum, 'with violent scratching
and tearing sounds'.

The trouble began three weeks after the wife's death.  Once a number
of small stones were found on Maggie's bed.  All the family suffered
from sleeplessness, and their candles, even when concealed, were
constantly stolen.  'It took a boot from a locked drawer,' and the
boot was found in a great chest of feathers in a loft.  A Bible was
spirited about, and a Methodist teacher (the family were Methodists)
made no impression on the agency.  They tried to get some
communication by an alphabet, but, said the farmer, 'it tells lies
as often as truth, and oftener, I think'.

Mr. Barrett, and a friend, on two occasions, could detect no method
of imposture, and, as the farmer did not believe that his children,
sorely distressed by the loss of their mother, would play such
tricks, at such a time, even if they could, the mystery remains
unsolved.  The family found that the less attention they paid to the
disturbances, the less they were vexed.  Mr. Barrett, examining some
other cases, found that Dr. Carpenter's and other theories did not
account for them.  But it is certain that the children, as
Methodists, had read Wesley's account of the spirit at Epworth, in
1716.  Mr. Barrett was aware of this circumstance, but was unable to
discover how the thing was managed, on the hypothesis of fraudulent
imitation.  The Irish household seems to have reaped no profit by
the affair, but rather trouble, annoyance, and the expense of
hospitality to strange visitors.

The agency was mendacious, as usual, for Porphyry complains that the
'spirits' were always as deceitful as the Cock Lane ghost, feigning
to be gods, heroes, or the souls of the dead.  It is very
interesting to note how, in Greece, as Christianity waxed, and
paganism waned, such inquiring minds as that of Porphyry fell back
on seances and spiritualism, or superstitions unmentioned by Homer,
and almost unheard of in the later classical literature.  Religion,
which began in Shamanism, in the trances of Angakut and Birraark,
returned to these again, and everywhere found marvel, mystery,
imposture, conscious, or unconscious.  The phenomena have never
ceased, imposture has always been detected or asserted, but that
hypothesis rarely covers the whole field, and so, if we walk in Cock
Lane at all, we wander darkling, in good and bad company, among
diviners, philosophers, saints, witches, charlatans, hypnotists.
Many a heart has been broken, like that of Mr. Dale Owen, by the
late discovery of life-long delusion, for we meet in Cock Lane, as
Porphyry says, [Greek].  Yet this 'deceptive race' has had its
stroke in the making of creeds, and has played its part in human
history, while it contributes not a little to human amusement.
Meanwhile, of all wanderers in Cock Lane, none is more beguiled than
sturdy Common-sense, if an explanation is to be provided.  When once
we ask for more than 'all stuff and nonsense,' we speedily receive a
very mixed theory in which rats, indigestion, dreams, and of late,
hypnotism, are mingled much at random, for Common-sense shows more
valour than discretion, when she pronounces on matters (or spirits)
which she has never studied.

Beautiful instances of common-sense explanations, occur in two
stories of the last century, the St. Maur affair (1706), and the
haunted house of Amiens, (1746).  The author of 'Ce qu'on doit
penser de l'aventure arrivee a Saint Maur,' was M. Poupart, canon of
St. Maur, near Paris.  The good canon, of course, admits Biblical
apparitions, which are miraculous, and admits hallucination caused
by the state of the visual organs and by fever, while he believes in
something like the Lucretian idea, that bodies, dead bodies, at
least, shell off a kind of peel, which may, on occasion, be visible.
Common ghosts he dismisses on grounds of common-sense; if spirits in
Purgatory _could_ appear, they would appear more frequently, and
would not draw the curtains of beds, drag at coverlets, turn tables
upside down, and make terrible noises, all of which feats are
traditional among ghosts.

M. Poupart then comes to the adventure at St. Maur.  The percipient,
M. de S., was a man of twenty-five:  his mother seems to have been a
visionary, and his constitution is described as 'melancholic'.  He
was living alone, however, and his mother has no part in the
business.  The trouble began with loud knocks at his door, and the
servant, when she went to open it, found nobody there.  The curtains
of his bed were drawn, when he was alone in the room, and here, of
course, we have only his evidence.  One evening about eleven, he and
his servants heard the papers on a table being turned over, and,
though they suspected the cat, no cat could be found.  When S. went
to bed, the same noise persisted in his sitting-room, where the cat,
no doubt, could easily conceal herself, for it is not easy to find a
cat who has motives for not being found.  S. again hunted for the
animal, but only heard a great rap on the wall.  No sooner had S.
gone back to bed, than the bed gave a violent leap, and dashed
itself against the wall:  the jump covered four feet.  He called his
servants, who replaced the bed, but the curtains, in their sight,
were drawn, and the bed made a wild rush at the fireplace.  This
happened again twice, though the servants held on gallantly to the
bed.  Monsieur S. had no sleep, his bed continued to bound and run,
and he sent on the following day, for a friend.  In that gentleman's
presence the leaps made by the bed ended in its breaking its left
foot, on which the visitor observed that he had seen quite enough.
He is said, later, to have expressed sorrow that he spoke, but he
may have had various motives for this repentance.

On the following night, S. slept well, and if his bed did rise and
fall gently, the movement rather cradled him to repose.  In the
afternoon, the bolts of his parlour door closed of their own accord,
and the door of a large armoire opened.  A voice then bade S. do
certain things, which he was to keep secret, go to a certain place,
and find people who would give him further orders.  S. then fainted,
hurt himself, and with difficulty unbolted his door.  A fortnight
later, S., his mother, and a friend heard more rapping, and a heavy
knock on the windows.

M. Poupart now gives the explanations of common-sense.  The early
noises might have had physical causes:  master, servants, and
neighbours all heard them, but that proves nothing.  As to the
papers, a wind, or a mouse may have interfered with _them_.  The
movements of the bed are more serious, as there are several
witnesses.  But 'suppose the bed was on castors'.  The inquirer does
not ask whether it really was on castors, or not, he supposes the
case.  Then suppose S., that melancholy man, wants a lark (a envie
de se rejouir), he therefore tosses about in bed, and the bed
rushes, consequently, round the room.  This experiment may be
attempted by any philosopher.  Let him lie in a bed with castors,
and try how far he can make it run, while he kicks about in it.
This explanation, dear to common-sense, is based on a physical
impossibility, as any one may ascertain for himself.  Then the
servants tried in vain to hold back the excited couch, well, these
servants may have lied, and, at most, could not examine 'les
ressorts secrets qui causaient ce mouvement'.  Now, M. Poupart
deserts the theory that we can make a bed run about, by lying
kicking on it, and he falls back on hidden machinery.  The
independent witness is said to have said that he was sorry he spoke,
but this evidence proves nothing.  What happened in the room when
the door was bolted, is not evidence, of course, and we may imagine
that S. himself made the noises on walls and windows, when his
friend and mother were present.  Thus M. S. was both melancholy, and
anxious se donner un divertissement, by frightening his servants, to
which end he supplied his bed with machinery that made it jump, and
drew the curtains.  What kind of secret springs would perform these
feats, M. Poupart does not explain.  It would have been wiser in him
to say that he did not believe a word of it, than to give such silly
reasons for a disbelief that made no exact inquiry into the
circumstances.  The frivolities of the bed are reported in the case
of Home and others, nor can we do much more than remark the
conservatism of the phenomena; the knocks, and the animated

The Amiens case (1746) is reported and attested by Father Charles
Louis Richard, Professor in Theology, a Dominican friar.  The
haunted house was in the Rue de l'Aventure, parish of St. Jacques.
The tenant was a M. Leleu, aged thirty-six.  The troubles had lasted
for fourteen years, and there was evidence for their occurrence
earlier, before Leleu occupied the house.  The disturbances were of
the usual kind, a sound of heavy planks being tossed about, as in
the experience of Scott at Abbotsford, raps, the fastening of doors
so that they could not be opened for long, and then suddenly gave
way (this, also, is frequent in modern tales), a sound of sweeping
the floor, as in the Epworth case, in the Wesleys' parsonage, heavy
knocks and thumps, the dragging of heavy bodies, steps on the
stairs, lights, the dancing of all the furniture in the room of
Mlle. Marie de Latre, rattling of crockery, a noise of whirring in
the air, a jingling as of coins (familiar at Epworth), and, briefly,
all the usually reported tintamarre.  Twenty persons, priests,
women, girls, men of all sorts, attest those phenomena which are
simply the ordinary occurrences still alleged to be prevalent.

The narrator believes in diabolical agency, but he gives the
explanations of common-sense.  1.  M. Leleu is a visionary.  But, as
no one says that all the other witnesses are visionaries, this helps
us little.  2.  M. Leleu makes all the noise himself.  That is, he
climbs to the roof with a heavy sack of grain on his shoulder, and
lets it fall; he runs up and down the chimneys with his heavy sack
on his shoulder, he frolics with weighty planks all over the house,
thumps the walls, makes furniture dance, and how?  What is his
motive?  His tenants leave him, he is called a fool, a devil, a
possessed person:  his business is threatened, they talk of putting
him in jail, and that is all he has got by his partiality for making
a racket.  3.  The neighbours make the noises, and again the
narrator asks 'how?' and 'why?'  4.  Some priests slept in the house
once and heard nothing.  But nobody pretends that there is always
something to hear.  The Bishop of Amiens licenses the publication
'with the more confidence, as we have ourselves received the
depositions of ten witnesses, a number more than sufficient to
attest a fact which nobody has any interest in feigning'.

In a tale like this, which is only one out of a vast number, exactly
analogous, Common-sense is ill-advised in simply alleging imposture,
so long maintained, so motiveless, and, on the whole, so very
difficult to execute.  M. Leleu brought in the Church, with its
exorcisms, but our Dominican authority does not say whether or not
the noises ceased after the rites had been performed.  Dufresnoy, in
whose Dissertations {178} these documents are republished, mentions
that Bouchel, in his Bibliotheque du Droit Francois, d. v. 'Louage,'
treats of the legal aspect of haunted houses.  Thus the profession
has not wholly disdained the inquiry.

Of all common sensible explanations, the most sporting and good-
humoured is that given by the step-daughter of Alexander Dingwall, a
tenant in Inverinsh, in 1761.  Poor Dingwall in his cornyard 'heard
very grievous lamentations, which continued, as he imagined, all the
way to the seashore'.  These he regarded as a warning of his end,
but his stepdaughter sensibly suggested that, as the morning was
cold, 'the voice must be that of a fox, to cause dogs run after him
to give him heat'.  Dingwall took to bed and died, but the
suggestion that the fox not only likes being hunted, but provokes it
as a form of healthy exercise, is invaluable.  The tale is in
Theophilus Insulanus, on the second sight.

There is no conclusion to be drawn from this mass of Cock Lane
stories.  Occasionally an impostor is caught, as at Brightling, in
1659.  Mr. Joseph Bennet, a minister in that town, wrote an account
of the affair, published in Increase Mather's Remarkable
Providences.  'Several things were thrown by an invisible hand,'
including crabs!  'Yet there was a seeming blur cast, though not on
the whole, yet upon some part of it, for their servant girl was at
last found throwing some things.'  She averred that an old woman had
bidden her do so, saying that 'her master and dame were bewitched,
and that they should hear a great fluttering about their house for
the space of two days'.  This Cock Lane phenomenon, however, is not
reported to have occurred.  The most credulous will admit that the
maid is enough to account for the Brightling manifestations; some of
the others are more puzzling and remain in the region of the


Apparitions appear.  Apparitions are not necessarily Ghosts.
Superstition, Common-sense, and Science.  Hallucinations:  their
kinds, and causes.  Aristotle.  Mr. Gurney's definition.  Various
sources of Hallucination, external and internal.  The Organ of
Sense.  The Sensory Centre.  The Higher Tracts of the Brain.  Nature
of Evidence.  Dr. Hibbert.  Claverhouse.  Lady Lee.  Dr. Donne.  Dr.
Hibbert's complaint of want of evidence.  His neglect of
contemporary cases.  Criticism of his tales.  The question of
coincidental Hallucinations.  The Calculus of Probabilities:  M.
Richet, MM. Binet et Fere; their Conclusions.  A step beyond
Hibbert.  Examples of empty and unexciting Wraiths.  Our ignorance
of causes of Solitary Hallucinations.  The theory of 'Telepathy'.
Savage metaphysics of M. d'Assier.  Breakdown of theory of
Telepathy, when hallucinatory figure causes changes in physical
objects.  Animals as Ghost-seers:  difficult to explain this by
Telepathy.  Strange case of a cat.  General propriety and lack of
superstition in cats.  The Beresford Ghost, well-meaning but
probably mythical.  Mrs. Henry Sidgwick:  her severity as regards
conscientious Ghosts.  Case of Mr. Harry.  Case of Miss Morton.  A
difficult case.  Examples in favour of old-fashioned theory of
Ghosts.  Contradictory cases.  Perplexities of the anxious inquirer.

Only one thing is certain about apparitions, namely this, that they
do appear.  They really are perceived.  Now, as popular language
confuses apparitions with ghosts, this statement sounds like an
expression of the belief that ghosts appear.  It has, of course, no
such meaning.  When Le Loyer, in 1586, boldly set out to found a
'science of spectres,' he carefully distinguished between his
method, and the want of method observable in the telling of ghost
stories.  He began by drawing up long lists of apparitions which are
_not_ spectres, or ghosts, but the results of madness, malady,
drink, fanaticism, illusions and so forth.  It is true that Le
Loyer, with all his deductions, left plenty of genuine spectres for
the amusement of his readers.  Like him we must be careful not to
confound 'apparitions,' with 'ghosts'.

When a fist, applied to the eye, makes us 'see stars'; when a liver
not in good working order makes us see muscae volitantes, or
'spiders'; when alcohol produces 'the horrors,'--visions of
threatening persons or animals,--when a lesion of the brain, or
delirium, or a disease of the organs of sense causes visions, or
when they occur to starved and enthusiastic ascetics, all these
false perceptions are just as much 'apparitions,' as the view of a
friend at a distance, beheld at the moment of his death, or as the
unrecognised spectre seen in a haunted house.

In popular phrase, however, the two last kinds of apparitions are
called 'ghosts,' or 'wraiths,' and the popular tendency is to think
of these, and of these alone, when 'apparitions' are mentioned.  On
the other hand the tendency of common-sense is to rank the two last
sorts of apparition, the wraith and ghost, with all the other kinds,
which are undeniably caused by accident, by malady, mental or
bodily, or by mere confusion and misapprehension, as when one,
seeing a post in the moonlight, takes it for a ghost.  Science,
following a third path, would class all perceptions which 'have not
the basis in fact that they seem to have' as 'hallucinations'.  The
stars seen after a blow on the eye are hallucinations,--there are no
real stars in view,--and the friend, whose body seems to fill space
before our sight when his body is really on a death-bed far away;--
and again, the appearance of the living friend whom we see in the
drawing-room while he is really in the smoking-room or in
Timbuctoo,--are hallucinations also.  The common-sense of the matter
is stated by Aristotle.  'The reason of the hallucinations is that
appearances present themselves, not only when the _object of sense_
is itself in motion, but also when the _sense_ is stirred, as it
would be by the presence of the object' (De Insomn., ii. 460, b, 23-

The ghost in a haunted house is taken for a figure, say, of a monk,
or of a monthly nurse, or what not, but no monthly nurse or monk is
in the establishment.  The 'percept,' is a 'percept,' for those who
perceive it; the apparition is an apparition, for _them_, but the
perception is hallucinatory.

So far, everybody is agreed:  the differences begin when we ask what
causes hallucinations, and what different classes of hallucinations
exist?  Taking the second question first, we find hallucinations
divided into those which the percipient (or percipients) believes,
at the moment, and perhaps later, to be real; and those which his
judgment pronounces to be _false_.  Famous cases of the latter class
are the idola which beset Nicolai, who studied them, and wrote an
account of them.  After a period of trouble and trial, and neglect
of blood-letting, Nicolai saw, first a dead man whom he had known,
and, later, crowds of people, dead, living, known or unknown.  The
malady yielded to leeches. {183}  Examples of the first sort of
apparitions taken by the judgment to be _real_, are common in
madness, in the intemperate, and in ghost stories.  The maniac
believes in his visionary attendant or enemy, the drunkard in his
rats and snakes, the ghost-seer often supposes that he has actually
seen an acquaintance (where no mistaken identity is possible) and
only learns later that the person,--dead, or alive and well,--was at
a distance.  Thus the writer is acquainted with the story of a
gentleman who, when at work in his study at a distance from England,
saw a colleague in his profession enter the room.  'Just wait till I
finish this business,' he said, but when he had hastily concluded
his letter, or whatever he was engaged on, his friend had
disappeared.  That was the day of his friend's death, in England.
Here then the hallucination was taken for a reality; indeed, there
was nothing to suggest that it was anything else.  Mr. Gurney has
defined a hallucination as 'a percept which lacks, but which can
only by distinct reflection be recognised as lacking, the objective
basis which it suggests'--and by 'objective basis,' he means 'the
possibility of being shared by all persons with normal senses'.
Nobody but the 'percipient' was present on the occasion just
described, so we cannot say whether other people would have seen the
visitor, or not.  But reflection could not recognise the unreality
of this 'percept,' till it was found that, in fact, the visitor had
vanished, and had never been in the neighbourhood at all.

Here then, are two classes of hallucinations, those which reflection
shows us to be false (as if a sane man were to have the
hallucination of a crocodile, or of a dead friend, entering the
room), and those which reflection does not, at the moment, show to
be false, as if a friend were to enter, who could be proved to have
been absent.

In either case, what causes the hallucination, or are there various
possible sorts of causes?  Now defects in the eye, or in the optic
nerve, to speak roughly, may cause hallucinations _from without_.
An injured external organ conveys a false and distorted message to
the brain and to the intelligence.  A nascent malady of the ear may
produce buzzings, and these may develop into hallucinatory voices.
Here be hallucinations _from without_.  But when a patient begins
with a hallucination of the intellect, as that inquisitors are
plotting to catch him, or witches to enchant him, and when he later
comes to _see_ inquisitors and witches, where there are none, we
have, apparently, a hallucination _from within_.  Again, some
persons, like Blake the painter, _voluntarily_ start a
hallucination.  'Draw me Edward I.,' a friend would say, Blake
would, _voluntarily_, establish a hallucination of the monarch on a
chair, in a good light, and sketch him, if nobody came between his
eye and the royal sitter.  Here, then, are examples of
hallucinations begotten _from within_, either voluntarily, by a
singular exercise of fancy, or involuntarily, as the suggestion of
madness, of cerebral disease, or abnormal cerebral activity.

Again a certain amount of intensity of activity, at a 'sensory
centre' in the brain, will start a 'percept'.  Activity of the
necessary force at the right place, may be _normally_ caused by the
organ of sense, say the eye, when fixed on a real object, say a
candlestick.  (1)  Or the necessary activity at the sensory centre
may be produced, _abnormally_, by irritation of the eye, or along
the line of nerve from the eye to the 'sensory centre'.  (2)  Or
thirdly, there may be a morbid, but spontaneous activity in the
sensory centre itself.  (3)  In case one, we have a natural
sensation converted into a perception of a real object.  In case
two, we have an abnormal origin of a perception of something unreal,
a hallucination, begotten _from without_, that is by a vice in an
external organ, the eye.  In case three, we have the origin of an
abnormal perception of something _unreal_, a hallucination, begotten
by a vicious activity _within_, in the sensory centre.  But, while
all these three sets of stimuli set the machinery in motion, it is
the 'highest parts of the brain' that, in response to the stimuli,
create the full perception, real or hallucinatory.

But there remains a fourth way of setting the machinery in motion.
The first way, in normal sensation and perception, was the natural
action of the organ of sense, stimulated by a material object.  The
second way was by the stimulus of a vice in the organ of sense.  The
third way was a vicious activity in a sensory centre.  All three
stimuli reach the 'central terminus' of the brain, and are there
created into perceptions, the first real and normal, the second a
hallucination from an organ of sense, _from without_, the third a
hallucination from a sensory centre, _from within_.  The fourth way
is illustrated when the machinery is set a-going from the 'central
terminus' itself, 'from the higher parts of the brain, from the
seats of ideation and memory'.  Now, as long as these parts only
produce and retain ideas or memories in the usual way, we think, or
we remember, but we have no hallucination.  But when the activity
starting from the central terminus 'escapes downwards,' in
sufficient force, it reaches the 'lower centre' and the organ of
sense, and then the idea, or memory, stands visibly before us as a

This, omitting many technical details, and much that is matter of
more dispute than common, is a statement, rough, and as popular as
possible, of the ideas expressed in Mr. Gurney's remarkable essay on
hallucinations. {186}  Here, then, we have a rude working notion of
various ways in which hallucinations may be produced.  But there are
many degrees in being hallucinated, or enphantosme, as the old
French has it.  If we are interested in the most popular kind of
hallucinations, ghosts and wraiths, we first discard like Le Loyer,
the evidence of many kinds of witnesses, diversely but undeniably
hallucinated.  A man whose eyes are so vicious as habitually to give
him false information is not accepted as a witness, nor a man whose
brain is drugged with alcohol, nor a man whose 'central terminus' is
abandoned to religious excitement, to remorse, to grief, to anxiety,
to an apprehension of secret enemies, nor even to a habit of being
hallucinated, though, like Nicolai, he knows that his visionary
friends are unreal.  Thus we would not listen credulously to a ghost
story out of his own experience from a man whose eyes were
untrustworthy, nor from a short-sighted man who had recognised a
dead or dying friend on the street, nor from a drunkard.  A tale of
a vision of a religious character from Pascal, or from a Red Indian
boy during his Medicine Fast, or even from a colonel of dragoons who
fell at Prestonpans, might be interesting, but would not be evidence
for our special purpose.  The ghosts beheld by conscience-stricken
murderers, by sorrowing widowers, by spiritualists in dark rooms,
haunted by humbugs, or those seen by lunatics, or by children, or by
timid people in lonely old houses, or by people who, though sane at
the time, go mad twenty years later, or by sane people habitually
visionary, these and many other ghosts, we must begin, like Le
Loyer, by rejecting.  These witnesses have too much cerebral
activity at the wrong time and place.  They start their
hallucinations from the external terminus, the unhealthy organ of
sense; from the morbid central terminus; or from some dilapidated
cerebral station along the line.  But, when we have, in a sane man's
experience, say one hallucination whether that hallucination does,
or does not coincide with a crisis in the life, or perhaps with the
death of the person who seems to be seen, what are we to think?  Or
again, when several witnesses simultaneously have the same
hallucination,--not to be explained as a common misinterpretation of
a real object,--what are we to think?  This is the true question of
ghosts and wraiths.  That apparitions, so named by the world, do
appear, is certain, just as it is certain that visionary rats appear
to drunkards in delirium tremens.  But, as we are only to take the
evidence of sane and healthy witnesses, who were neither in anxiety,
grief, or other excitement, when they perceived their one
hallucination, there seems to be a difference between their
hallucinations and those of alcoholism, fanaticism, sorrow, or
anxiety.  Now the common mistakes in dealing with this topic have
been to make too much, or to make too little, of the coincidences
between the hallucinatory appearance of an absent person, and his
death, or some other grave crisis affecting him.  Too little is made
of such coincidences by Dr. Hibbert, in his Philosophy of
Apparitions (p. 231).  He 'attempts a physical explanation of many
ghost stories which may be considered most authentic'.  So he says,
but he only touches on three, the apparition of Claverhouse, on the
night of Killiecrankie, to Lord Balcarres, in an Edinburgh prison;
the apparition of her dead mother to Miss Lee, in 1662; and the
apparition of his wife, who had born a dead child on that day in
England, to Dr. Donne in Paris, early in the seventeenth century.

Dr. Hibbert dedicated his book, in 1825, to Sir Walter Scott, of
Abbotsford, Bart., President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.  Sir
Walter, at heart as great a ghost-hunter as ever lived, was
conceived to have a scientific interest in the 'mental principles to
which certain popular illusions may be referred'.  Thus Dr.
Hibbert's business, if he would satisfy the President of the Royal
Society of Edinburgh, was to 'provide a physical explanation of many
ghost stories which may be considered most authentic'.  In our
prosaic age, he would have begun with those most recent, such as the
tall man in brown, viewed by Sir Walter on the moor near Ashestiel,
and other still remembered contemporary hallucinations.  Far from
that, Dr. Hibbert deliberately goes back two centuries for all the
three stories which represent the 'many' of his promise.  The
Wynyard ghost was near him, Mrs Ricketts's haunted house was near
him, plenty of other cases were lying ready to his hand. {189}  But
he went back two centuries, and then,--complained of lack of
evidence about 'interesting particulars'!  Dr. Hibbert represents
the science and common-sense of seventy years ago, and his criticism
probably represents the contemporary ideas about evidence.

The Balcarres tale, as told by him, is that the Earl was 'in prison,
in Edinburgh Castle, on the suspicion of Jacobitism'.  'Suspicion'
is good; he was the King's agent for civil, as Dundee was for
military affairs in Scotland.  He and Dundee, and Ailesbury, stood
by the King in London, to the last.  Lord Balcarres himself, in his
memoirs, tells James II. how he was confined, 'in close prison,' in
Edinburgh, till the castle was surrendered to the Prince of Orange.
In Dr. Hibbert's tale, the spectre of Dundee enters Balcarres's room
at night, 'draws his curtain,' looks at him for some time, and walks
out of the room, Lord Balcarres believing it to be Dundee himself.

Dr. Hibbert never even asks for the authority on which this legend
reposes, certainly Balcarres does not tell the tale in his own
report, or memoirs, for James II. (Bannatyne Club, 1841).  The
doctor then grumbles that he does not know 'a syllable of the state
of Lord Balcarres's health at the time'.  The friend of Bayle and of
Marlborough, an honourable politician, a man at once loyal and
plain-spoken in dealings with his master, Lord Balcarres's word
would go for much, if he gave it. {190}  But Dr. Hibbert asks for no
authority, cites none.  He only argues that, 'agreeably to the well-
known doctrine of chances,' Balcarres might as well have this
hallucination at the time of Dundee's death as at any other (p.
232).  Now, that is a question which we cannot settle, without
knowing whether Lord Balcarres was subject to hallucinations.  If he
was, cadit quaestio, if he was _not_, then the case is different.
It is, manifestly, a problem in statistics, and only by statistics
of wide scope, can it be solved. {191}  But Dr. Hibbert was content
to produce his easy solution, without working out the problem.

His second case is of 1662, and was taken down, he says, by the
Bishop of Gloucester, from the lips of the father of Miss Lee.  This
young lady, in bed, saw a light, then a hallucination which called
itself her mother.  The figure prophesied the daughter's death at
noon next day and at noon next day the daughter died.  A physician,
when she announced her vision, attended her, bled her, and could
find nothing wrong in her health.  Dr. Hibbert conjectures that her
medical attendant did not know his business.  'The coincidence was
_a fortunate one_,' that is all his criticism.  Where there is no
coincidence, the stories, he says, are forgotten.  For that very
reason, he should have collected contemporary stories, capable of
being investigated, but that did not occur to Dr. Hibbert.  His last
case is the apparition of Mrs. Donne, with a dead child, to Dr.
Donne, in Paris, as recorded by Walton.  As Donne was a poet, very
fond of his wife, and very anxious about her health, this case is
not evidential, and may be dismissed for 'a fortuitous coincidence'
(p. 332).

Certainly Dr. Hibbert could come to no conclusion, save his own, on
the evidence he adduces.  But it was by his own fault that he chose
only evidence very remote, incapable of being cross-examined, and
scanty, while we know that plenty of contemporary evidence was
within his reach.  Possibly the possessors of these experiences
would not have put them at his disposal, but, if he could get no
materials, he was in no position to form a theory.  All this would
have been recognised in any other matter, but in this obscure branch
of psychology, beset, as it is, by superstition, science was content
to be casual.

The error which lies at the opposite pole from Dr. Hibbert's mistake
in not collecting instances, is the error of collecting only
affirmative instances.  We hear constantly about 'hallucinations of
sight, sound, or touch, which suggest the presence of an absent
person, and which occur simultaneously with some exceptional crisis
in that person's life, or, most frequently of all, with his death'.
{192}  Now Mr. Gurney himself was much too fair a reasoner to avoid
the collection of instantiae contradictoraes, examples in which the
hallucination occurs, but does not coincide with any crisis whatever
in the life of the absent person who seems to be present.  Of these
cases, Dr. Hibbert could find only one on record, in the Mercure
Gallant, January, 1690.  The writer tells us how he dreamed that a
dead relation of his came to his bedside, and announced that he must
die that day.  Unlike Miss Lee, he went on living.  Yet the dream
impressed him so much that he noted it down in writing as soon as he
awoke.  Dr. Johnson also mentions an instantia contradictoria.  A
friend of Boswell's, near Kilmarnock, heard his brother's voice call
him by name:  now his brother was dead, or dying, in America.
Johnson capped this by his tale of having, when at Oxford, heard his
name pronounced by his mother.  She was then at Lichfield, but
nothing ensued.  In Dr. Hibbert's opinion, this proves that
coincidences, when they do occur, are purely matters of chance.
{193a}  There are many hallucinations, a death may correspond with
one of them, that case is noted, the others are forgotten.  Yet the
coincidences are so many, or so striking, that when a Maori woman
has a hallucination representing her absent husband, she may marry
without giving him recognised ground for resentment, if he happens
to be alive.  This curious fact proves that the coincidence between
death and hallucinatory presence has been marked enough to suggest a
belief which can modify savage jealousy. {193b}

By comparing coincidental with non-coincidental hallucinations known
to him, Mr. Gurney is said to have decided that the chances against
a death coinciding with a hallucination, were forty to one,--long
odds. {194a}  But it is clear that only a very large collection of
facts would give us any materials for a decision.  Suppose that some
20,000 people answer such questions as:--

1.  Have you ever had any hallucination?

2.  Was there any coincidence between the hallucination and facts at
the time unknown to you?

The majority of sane people will be able to answer the first
question in the negative.

Of those who answer both questions in the affirmative, several
things are to be said.  First, we must allow for jokes, then for
illusions of memory.  Corroborative contemporary evidence must be
produced.  Again, of the 20,000, many are likely to be selected
instances.  The inquirer is tempted to go to a person who, as he or
she already knows, has a story to tell.  Again, the inquirers are
likely to be persons who take an interest in the subject on the
_affirmative_ side, and their acquaintances may have been partly
chosen because they were of the same intellectual complexion. {194b}

All these drawbacks are acknowledged to exist, and are allowed for,
and, as far as possible, provided against, by the very fair-minded
people who have conducted this inquisition.  Thus Mr. Henry
Sidgwick, in 1889, said, 'I do not think we can be satisfied with
less than 50,000 answers'. {195}  But these 50,000 answers have not
been received.  When we reflect that, to our knowledge, out of
twenty-five questions asked among our acquaintances in one place,
_none_ would be answered in the affirmative:  while, by selecting,
we could get twenty-five affirmative replies, the delicacy and
difficulty of the inquisition becomes painfully evident.  Mr.
Sidgwick, after making deductions on all sides of the most
sportsmanlike character, still holds that the coincidences are more
numerous by far than the Calculus of Probabilities admits.  This is
a question for the advanced mathematician.  M. Richet once made some
experiments which illustrate the problem.  One man in a room thought
of a series of names which, ex hypothesi, he kept to himself.  Three
persons sat at a table, which, as tables will do, 'tilted,' and each
tilt rang an electric bell.  Two other persons, concealed from the
view of the table tilters, ran through an alphabet with a pencil,
marking each letter at which the bell rang.  These letters were
compared with the names secretly thought of by the person at neither

He thought of        The answers were

1.  Jean Racine      1.  Igard

2.  Legros           2.  Neghn

3.  Esther           3.  Foqdem

4.  Henrietta        4.  Higiegmsd

5.  Cheuvreux        5.  Dievoreq

6.  Doremond         6.  Epjerod

7.  Chevalon         7.  Cheval

8.  Allouand         8.  Iko

Here the non-mathematical reader will exclaim:  'Total failure,
except in case 7!'  And, about that case, he will have his private
doubts.  But, arguing mathematically, M. Richet proves that the
table was right, beyond the limits of mere chance, by fourteen to
two.  He concludes, on the whole of his experiments, that, probably,
intellectual force in one brain may be echoed in another brain.  But
MM. Binet and Fere, who report this, decide that 'the calculation of
chances is, for the most part, incapable of affording a peremptory
proof; it produces uncertainty, disquietude, and doubt'. {196}  'Yet
something is gained by substituting doubt for systematic denial.
Richet has obtained this important result, that henceforth the
possibility of mental suggestion cannot be met with contemptuous

Mental suggestion on this limited scale, is a phenomenon much less
startling to belief than the reality, and causal nature, of
coincidental hallucinations, of wraiths.  But it is plain that, as
far as general opinion goes, the doctrine of chances, applied to
such statistics of hallucinations as have been collected, can at
most, only 'produce uncertainty, disquietude, and doubt'.  Yet if
even these are produced, a step has been made beyond the blank
negation of Hibbert.

The general reader, even if credulously inclined, is more staggered
by a few examples of non-coincidental hallucinations, than confirmed
by a pile of coincidental examples.  Now it seems to be a defect in
the method of the friends of wraiths, that they do not publish, with
full and impressive details, as many examples of non-coincidental as
of coincidental hallucinations.  It is the _story_ that takes the
public:  if we are to be fair we must give the non-coincidental
story in all its features, as is done in the matter of wraiths with
a kind of message or meaning.

Let us set a good example, by adducing wraiths which, in slang
phrase, were 'sells'.  Those which we have at first hand are marked
'(A),' those at second-hand '(B)'.  But the world will accept the
story of a ghost that failed on very poor evidence indeed.

1.  (A)  A young lady, in the dubious state between awake and
asleep, unable, in fact, to feel certain whether she was awake or
asleep, beheld her late grandmother.  The old lady wept as she sat
by the bedside.

'Why do you weep, grandmamma, are you not happy where you are?'
asked the girl.

'Yes, I am happy, but I am weeping for your mother.'

'Is she going to die?'

'No, but she is going to lose you.'

'Am _I_ going to die, grandmamma?'

'Yes, my dear.'


'Yes, my dear, very soon.'

The young lady, with great courage, concealed her dream from her
mother, but confided it to a brother.  She did her best to be good
while she was on earth, where she is still, after an interval of
many years.

Except for the conclusion, and the absence of a mystic bright light
in the bedroom, this case exactly answers to that of Miss Lee, in
1662.  Dr. Hibbert would have liked this example.

2.  (B)  A lady, staying with a friend, observed that one morning
she was much depressed.  The friend confided to her that, in the
past night, she had seen her brother, dripping wet.  He told her
that he had been drowned by the upsetting of a boat, which was
attached by a rope to a ship.  At this time, he was on his way home
from Australia.  The dream, or vision, was recorded in writing.
When next the first lady met her friend, she was entertaining her
brother at luncheon.  He had never even been in a boat dragged
behind a ship, and was perfectly safe.

3.  (B)  A lady, residing at a distance from Oxford wrote to tell
her son, who was at Merton College, that he had just entered her
room and vanished.  Was he well?  Yes, he was perfectly well, and
bowling for the College Eleven.

4.  (B)  A lady in bed saw her absent husband.  He announced his
death by cholera, and gave her his blessing, she, of course, was
very anxious and miserable, but the vision was a lying vision.  The
husband was perfectly well.

In all these four cases, anxiety was caused by the vision, and in
three at least, action was taken, the vision was recorded orally, or
in writing.  In the following set, the visions were waking
hallucinations of sane persons never in any other instance

5.  (A)  A person of distinction, walking in a certain Cambridge
quadrangle, met a very well-known clergyman.  The former held out
his hand, but there was before him only open space.  No feeling of
excitement or anxiety followed.

6.  (A)  The writer, standing before dinner, at a table in a large
and brilliantly lit hall, saw the door of the drawing-room open, and
a little girl, related to himself, come out, and run across the hall
into another room.  He spoke to her, but she did not answer.  He
instantly entered the drawing-room, where the child was sitting in a
white evening-dress.  When she ran across the hall, the moment
before, she was dressed in dark blue serge.  No explanation of the
puzzle could be discovered, but it is fair to add that no anxiety
was excited.

7.  (A)  A young lady had a cold, and was wearing a brown shawl.
After lunch she went to her room.  A few minutes later, her sister
came out, saw her in the hall, and went upstairs after her, telling
her an anecdote.  At the top of the stairs, the brown-shawled sister
vanished.  The elder sister was in her room, in a white shawl.  She
was visible, when absent on another occasion, to another spectator.

In two other cases (A) ladies, in their usual health, saw their
husbands in their rooms, when, in fact, they were in the drawing-
room or study.  Here then are eight cases of non-coincidental
hallucination, some of people awake, some of people probably on the
verge of sleep, which are wholly without 'coincidence,' wholly
unveridical.  None of the 'percipients' was addicted to seeing
'visions about.' {199}

On the other side, though the writer knows several people who have
'seen ghosts' in haunted houses, and other odd phenomena, he knows
nobody, at first hand, who has seen a 'veridical hallucination,' or
rather, knows only one, a very young one indeed.  Thus, between
these personally collected statistics of spectral 'sells' on one
part, and the world-wide diffusion of belief in 'coincidental'
hallucination on the other, the human mind is left in a balance
which mathematics, and the Calculus of Probabilities (especially if
one does not understand it) fail to affect.

Meanwhile, we still do not know what causes these solitary
hallucinations of the sane.  They can hardly come from diseased
organs of sense, for these would not confine themselves to a single
mistaken message of great vivacity.  And why should either the
'sensory centre' or the 'central terminus' just once in a lifetime
develop this uncanny activity, and represent to us a person to whom
we may be wholly indifferent?  The explanation is less difficult
when the person represented is a husband or child, but even then,
why does the activity occur once, and only once, and _not_ in a
moment of anxiety?

The coincidental hallucinations are laid to the door of 'telepathy,'
to 'a telepathic impact from the mind of an absent agent,' who is
dying, or in some other state of rare or exciting experience,
perhaps being married, as in Col. Meadows Taylor's case.  This is a
theory as old as Lavaterus, and was proclaimed by Mayo in the middle
of the century; while, substituting 'angels' for human agents,
Frazer of Tiree used it, in 1700, to explain second sight.  Nay, it
is the Norse theory of a 'sending' by a sorcerer, as we read in the
Icelandic sagas.  But, admitting that telepathy may be a cause of
hallucinations, we often find the effect where the cause is not
alleged to exist.  Nobody, perhaps, will explain our nine empty
hallucinations by 'telepathy,' yet, from the supposed effects of
telepathy they were indistinguishable.  Are all such cases of casual
hallucination in the sane to be explained by telepathy, by an impact
of force from a distant brain on the central terminus of our own
brains?  At all events, a casual hallucination of the presence of an
absent friend need obviously cause us very little anxiety.  We need
not adopt the hypothesis of the Maoris.

The telepathic theory has the advantage of cutting down the
marvellous to the minimum.  It also accounts for that old puzzle,
the clothes worn by the ghosts.  These are reproduced by the
'agent's' theory of himself, perhaps with some unconscious
assistance from 'the percipient'.  For lack of this light on the
matter, M. d'Assier, a positivist, who believed in spectres had to
suggest that the ghosts wear the ghosts of garments!  Thus
positivism, in this disciple, returned to the artless metaphysics of
savages.  Telepathy saves the believer from such a humiliating
relapse, and, perhaps, telepathy also may be made to explain
'collective' hallucinations, when several people see the same
apparition.  If a distant mind can thus demoralise the central
terminus of one brain, it may do as much for two or more brains, or
they may demoralise each other.

All this is very promising, but telepathy breaks down when the
apparition causes some change in the relations of material objects.
If there be a physical effect which endures after the phantasm has
vanished, then there was an actual agent, a real being, a 'ghost' on
the scene.  For instance, the lady in Scott's ballad, 'The Eve of
St. John,' might see and might hear the ghost of her lover by a
telepathic hallucination of two senses.  But if

The sable score, of fingers four,
Remained on the board impressed

by the spectre, then there was no telepathic hallucination, but an
actual being of an awful kind was in Smailholm Tower.  Again, the
cases in which dogs and horses, as Paracelsus avers, display terror
when men and women behold a phantasm, are not easily accounted for
by telepathy, especially when the beast is alarmed _before_ the man
or woman suspects the presence of anything unusual.  There is, of
course, the notion that the horse shies, or the dog turns craven, in
sympathy with its master's exhibition of fear.  Owners of dogs and
horses may counterfeit horror and see whether their favourites do
sympathise.  Cats don't.  In one of three cases known to us where a
cat showed consciousness of a spectral presence, the apparition
_took the form of a cat_.  The evidence is only that of Richard
Bovet, in his Pandemonium; or, the Devil's Cloyster (1684).  In Mr.
J. G. Wood's Man and Beast, a lady tells a story of being alone, in
firelight, playing with a favourite cat, Lady Catherine.  Suddenly
puss bristled all over, her back rose in an arch, and the lady,
looking up, saw a hideously malignant female watching her.  Lady
Catherine now rushed wildly round the room, leaped at the upper
panels of the door, and seemed to have gone mad.  This new terror
recalled the lady to herself.  She shrieked, and the phantasm
vanished.  She saw it on a later day.  In a third case, a cat merely
kept a watchful eye on the ghost, and adopted a dignified attitude
of calm expectancy.  If beasts can be telepathically affected, then
beasts have more of a 'psychical' element in their composition than
they usually receive credit for; whereas if a ghost is actually in
view, there is no reason why beasts should not see it.

The best and most valid proof that an abnormal being is actually
present was that devised by the ghost of Sir Richard of Coldinghame
in the ballad, and by the Beresford ghost, who threw a heavy curtain
over the bed-pole.  Unluckily, Sir Richard is a poetical figment,
and the Beresford ghost is a myth, like William Tell:  he may be
traced back through various mediaeval authorities almost to the date
of the Norman Conquest.  We have examined the story in a little book
of folklore, Etudes Traditionistes.  Always there is a compact to
appear, always the ghost burns or injures the hand or wrist of the
spectator.  A version occurs in William of Malmesbury.

What we need, to prove a ghost, and disprove an _exclusively_
telepathic theory, is a ghost who is not only seen, heard, or even
touched, but a ghost who produces some change in physical objects.
Most provokingly, there are agencies at every successful seance, and
in every affair of the Poltergeist, who do lift tables, chairs,
beds, bookcases, candles, and so forth, while others play
accordions.  But then nobody or not everybody _sees_ these agencies
at work, while the spontaneous phantasms which are _seen_ do not so
much as lift a loo-table, generally speaking.  In the spiritualistic
cases, we have the effect, with no visible cause; in ghost stories,
we have the visible presence, but he very seldom indeed causes any
physical change in any object.  No ghost who does not do this has
any strict legal claim to be regarded as other than a telepathic
hallucination at best, though, as we shall see, some presumptions
exist in favour of some ghosts being real entities.

These rare facts have not escaped a ghost-hunter so intelligent as
Mrs. Henry Sidgwick.  This lady is almost too sportsmanlike, for a
psychical researcher, in her habit of giving an apparition the
benefit of every imaginable doubt which may absolve him from the
charge of being a real genuine ghost.  'It is true,' she says, 'that
ghosts are alleged sometimes to produce a physical effect on the
external world;' but to admit this is 'to come into prima facie
collision with the physical sciences' (an awful risk to run), so
Mrs. Sidgwick, in a rather cavalier manner leaves ghosts who produce
physical effects to be dealt with among the phenomena alleged to
occur at seances.  Now this is hardly fair to the spontaneous
apparition, who is doing his very best to demonstrate his existence
in the only convincing way.  The phenomena of seances are looked on
with deserved distrust, and, generally, may be regarded as an
outworn mode of swindling.  Yet it is to this society that Mrs.
Sidgwick relegates the most meritorious and conscientious class of

Let us examine a few instances of the ghost who visibly moves
material objects.  We take one (already cited) from Mrs. Sidgwick's
own article. {205}  In this case a gentleman named John D. Harry
scolded his daughters for saying that _they_ had seen a ghost, with
which he himself was perfectly familiar.  'The figure,' a fair woman
draped in white, 'on seven or eight occasions appeared in my
bedroom, and twice in the library, and on one occasion _it lifted up
the mosquito-curtains_, and looked closely into my face'.  Now,
could a hallucination lift a mosquito-curtain, or even produce the
impression that it did so, while the curtain was really unmoved?
Clearly a hallucination, however artful, and well got up, could do
no such thing.  Therefore a being--a ghost with very little maidenly
reserve--haunted the bedroom of Mr. Harry, if he tells a true tale.
Again (p. 115), a lady (on whose veracity I am ready to pledge my
all) had doors opened for her frequently, 'as if a hand had turned
the handle'.  And once she not only saw the door open, but a grey
woman came in.  Another witness, years afterwards, beheld the same
figure and the same performance.  Once more, Miss A. M.'s mother
followed a ghost, who _opened a door_ and entered a room, where she
could not be found when she was wanted (p. 121).  Again, {206} a
lady saw a ghost which, 'with one hand, the left, _drew back the
curtain_'.  There are many other cases in which apparitions are seen
in houses where mysterious thumps and raps occur, especially in
General Campbell's experience (p. 483).  If the apparition gave the
thumps then he (or, in this instance, she) was material, and could
produce effects on matter.  Indeed, this ghost was seen to take up
and lay down some books, and to tuck in the bed-clothes.
Hallucinations (which are all in one's eye or sensory centre, or
cerebral central terminus), cannot draw curtains, or open doors, or
pick up books, or tuck in bed-clothes, or cause thumps--not real
thumps, hallucinatory thumps are different.  Consequently, if the
stories are true, _some apparitions are ghosts_, real objective
entities, filling space.  The senses of a hallucinated person may be
deceived as to touch, and as to feeling the breath of a phantasm (a
likely story), as well as in sight and hearing.  But a visible ghost
which produces changes in the visible world cannot be a
hallucination.  On the other hand Dr. Binns, in his Anatomy of Sleep
tells us of 'a gentleman who, in a dream, pushed against a door in a
distant house, so that those in the room were scarcely able to
resist the pressure'. {207a}  Now if this rather staggering anecdote
be true, the spirit of a living man, being able to affect matter, is
also, so to speak, material, and is an actual entity, an astral
body.  Moreover, Mrs. Frederica Hauffe, when in the magnetic sleep,
'could rap at a distance'.

These arguments, then, make in favour of the old-fashioned theory of
ghosts and wraiths, as things objectively existing, which is very
comforting to a conservative philosopher.  Unluckily, just as many,
or more, anecdotes look quite the other way.  For instance, General
Barter sees, hears, and recognises the dead Lieutenant B., wearing a
beard which he had grown since the general saw him in life.  He also
sees the hill-pony ridden by Mr. B., and killed by him--a steed with
which, in its mortal days, the general had no acquaintance.  This is
all very well:  a dead pony may have a ghost, like Miss A. B.'s dog
which was heard by one Miss B., and seen by the other, some time
after its decease.  On mature reflection, as both ladies were well-
known persons of letters, we suppress their names, which would carry
the weight of excellent character and distinguished sense.  But
Lieutenant B. was also accompanied by two grooms.  Now, it is too
much to ask us to believe that he had killed two grooms, as he
killed the pony. {207b}  Consequently, they, at least, were
hallucinations; so what was Lieutenant B.?  When Mr. K., on board
the Racoon, saw his dead father lying in his coffin (p. 461), there
was no real coffin there, at all events; and hence, probably, no
real dead father's ghost,--only a 'telepathic hallucination'.  Miss
Rose Morton could never _touch_ the female ghost which she often
chased about the house, nor did this ghost break or displace the
threads stretched by Miss Morton across the stairs down which the
apparition walked.  Yet its footsteps did make a noise, and the
family often heard the ghost walking downstairs, followed by Miss
Morton.  Thus this ghost was both material and immaterial, for
surely, only matter can make a noise when in contact with matter.
On the whole, if the evidence is worth anything, there are real
objective ghosts, and there are also telepathic hallucinations:  so
that the scientific attitude is to believe in both, if in either.
And this was the view of Petrus Thyraeus, S.J., in his Loca Infesta
(1598).  The alternative is to believe in neither.

We have thus, according to the advice of Socrates, permitted the
argument to lead us whither it would.  And whither has it led us?
The old, savage, natural theory of ghosts and wraiths is that they
are spirits, yet not so immaterial but that they can fill space, be
seen, heard, touched, and affect material objects.  Mediaeval and
other theologians preferred to regard them as angelic or diabolic
manifestations, made out of compressed air, or by aid of bodies of
the dead, or begotten by the action of angel or devil on the
substance of the brain.  Modern science looks on them as
hallucinations, sometimes morbid, as in madness or delirium, or in a
vicious condition of the organ of sense; sometimes abnormal, but not
necessarily a proof of chronic disease of any description.  The
psychical theory then explains a sifted remnant of apparitions; the
coincidental, 'veridical' hallucinations of the sane, by telepathy.
There is a wide chasm, however, to be bridged over between that
hypothesis, and its general acceptance, either by science, or by
reflective yet unscientific inquirers.  The existence of thought-
transference, especially among people wide awake, has to be
demonstrated more unimpeachably, and then either the telepathic
explanation must be shown to fit all the cases collected, or many
interesting cases must be thrown overboard, or these must be
referred to some other cause.  That cause will be something very
like the old-fashioned ghosts.  Perhaps, the most remarkable
collective hallucination in history is that vouched for by Patrick
Walker, the Covenanter; in his Biographia Presbyteriana. {209}  In
1686, says Walker, about two miles below Lanark, on the water of
Clyde 'many people gathered together for several afternoons, where
there were showers of bonnets, hats, guns, and swords, which covered
the trees and ground, companies of men in arms marching in order,
upon the waterside, companies meeting companies. . . . and then all
falling to the ground and disappearing, and other companies
immediately appearing in the same way'.  This occurred in June and
July, in the afternoons.  Now the Westland Whigs were then, as
usual, in a very excitable frame of mind, and filled with fears,
inspired both by events, and by the prophecies of Peden and other
saints.  Patrick Walker himself was a high-flying Covenanter, he was
present:  'I went there three afternoons together'--and he saw
nothing unusual occur.  About two-thirds of the crowd did see the
phenomena he reckons, the others, like himself, saw nothing strange.
'There was a fright and trembling upon them that did see,' and, at
least in one case, the hallucination was contagious.  A gentleman
standing next Walker exclaimed:  'A pack of damned witches and
warlocks, that have the second sight, the deil ha't do I see'.  'And
immediately there was a discernable change in his countenance, with
as much fear and trembling as any woman I saw there, who cried out:
"O all ye that do not see, say nothing; for I perswade you it is
matter of fact, and discernable to all that is not stone-blind".'
Those who did see minutely described 'what handles the swords had,
whether small or three-barred, or Highland guards, and the closing
knots of the bonnets, black or blue. . . .  I have been at a loss
ever since what to make of this last,' says Patrick Walker, and who
is not at a loss?  The contagion of the hallucination, so to speak,
did not affect him, fanatic as he was, and did affect a cursing and
swearing cavalier, whose prejudices, whose 'dominant idea,' were all
on the other side.  The Psychical Society has published an account
of a similar collective hallucination of crowds of people,
'appearing and disappearing,' shared by two young ladies and their
maid, on a walk home from church.  But this occurred in a fog, and
no one was present who was not hallucinated.  Patrick Walker's
account is triumphantly honest, and is, perhaps, as odd a piece of
psychology as any on record, thanks to his escape from the prevalent
illusion, which, no doubt, he would gladly have shared.  Wodrow, it
should be said, in his History of the Sufferings of the Kirk,
mentions visions of bonnets, which, he thinks, indicated a future
muster of militia!  But he gives the date as 1684.


Revival of crystal-gazing.  Antiquity of the practice.  Its general
harmlessness.  Superstitious explanations.  Crystal-gazing and
'illusions hypnagogiques'.  Visualisers.  Poetic vision.  Ancient
and savage practices analogous to crystal-gazing.  New Zealand.
North America.  Egypt.  Sir Walter's interest in the subject.  Mr.
Kinglake.  Greek examples.  Dr. Dee.  Miss X.  Another modern
instance.  Successes and failures.  Revival of lost memories.
Possible thought-transference.  Inferences from antiquity and
diffusion of practice.  Based on actual experience.  Anecdotes of
Dr. Gregory.  Children as visionaries.  Not to be encouraged.

The practice of 'scrying,' 'peeping,' or 'crystal-gazing,' has been
revived in recent years, and is, perhaps, the only 'occult'
diversion which may be free from psychological or physical risk, and
which it is easy not to mix with superstition.  The antiquity and
world-wide diffusion of scrying, in one form or other, interests the
student of human nature.  Meanwhile the comparatively few persons
who can see pictures in a clear depth, may be as innocently employed
while so doing, as if they were watching the clouds, or the embers.
'May be,' one must say, for crystal-seers are very apt to fall back
on our old friend, the animistic hypothesis, and to explain what
they see, or fancy they see, by the theory that 'spirits' are at the
bottom of it all.  In Mrs. de Morgan's work From Matter to Spirit,
suggestions of this kind are not absent:  'As an explanation of
crystal-seeing, a spiritual drawing was once made, representing a
spirit directing on the crystal a stream of influence,' and so
forth.  Mrs. de Morgan herself seemed rather to hold that the act of
staring at a crystal mesmerises the observer.  The person who looks
at it often becomes sleepy.  'Sometimes the eyes close, at other
times tears flow.'  People who become sleepy, or cry, or get
hypnotised, will probably consult their own health and comfort by
leaving crystal balls alone.

There are others, however, who are no more hypnotised by crystal-
gazing than tea-drinking, or gardening, or reading a book, and who
can still enjoy visions as beautiful as those of the opium eater,
without any of the reaction.  Their condition remains perfectly
normal, that is, they are wide awake to all that is going on.  In
some way their fancy is enlivened, and they can behold, in the
glass, just such vivid pictures as many persons habitually see
between sleeping and waking, illusions hypnagogiques.  These
'hypnagogic illusions' Pontus de Tyard described in a pretty sonnet,
more than three hundred years ago.  Maury, in his book on dreams has
recorded, and analysed them.  They represent faces, places, a page
of print, a flame of fire, and so forth, and it is one of their
peculiarities that the faces rapidly shift and alter, generally from
beautiful to ugly.  A crystal-seer seems to be a person who can see,
in a glass, while awake and with open eyes, visions akin to those
which perhaps the majority of people see with shut eyes, between
sleeping and waking. {214}  It seems probable that people who, when
they think, see a mental picture of the subject of their thoughts,
people who are good 'visualisers,' are likely to succeed best with
the crystal, some of them can 'visualise' purposely, in the crystal,
while others cannot.  Many who are very bad 'visualisers,' like the
writer, who think in words, not in pictures, see bright and distinct
hypnagogic illusions, yet see nothing in the crystal, however long
they stare at it.  And there are crystal-seers who are not subject
to hypnagogic illusions.  These facts, like the analogous facts of
the visualisation of arithmetical figures, analysed by Mr. Galton,
show interesting varieties in the conduct of mental operations.
Thus we speak of 'vision' in a poet, or novelist, and it seems
likely that men of genius 'see' their fictitious characters and
landscapes, while people of critical temperament, if they attempt
creative work, are conscious that they do not create, but construct.
On the other hand many incompetent novelists are convinced that they
have 'vision,' that they see and hear their characters, but they do
not, as genius does, transfer the 'vision' to their readers.

This is a digression from the topic of hallucinations caused by
gazing into a clear depth.  Forms of crystal-gazing, it is well
known, are found among savages.  The New Zealanders, according to
Taylor, gaze in a drop of blood, as the Egyptians do in a drop of
ink.  In North America, the Pere le Jeune found that a kind of
thought reading was practised thus:  it was believed that a sick
person had certain desires, if these could be gratified, he would
recover.  The sorcerers, therefore, gazed into water in a bowl
expecting to see there visions of the desired objects.  The Egyptian
process with the boy and the ink, is too familiar to need
description.  In Scott's Journal (ii. 419) we read of the excitement
which the reports of Lord Prudhoe {215} and Colonel Felix, caused
among the curious.  A boy, selected by these English gentlemen, saw
and described Shakspeare, and Colonel Felix's brother, who had lost
an arm.  The ceremonies of fumigation, and the preliminary visions
of flags, and a sultan, are not necessary in modern crystal-gazing.
Scott made inquiries at Malta, and wished to visit Alexandria.  He
was attracted, doubtless, by the resemblance to Dr. Dee's tales of
his magic ball, and to the legends of his own Aunt Margaret's
Mirror.  The Quarterly Review (No. 117, pp. 196-208) offers an
explanation which explains nothing.  The experiments of Mr. Lane
were tolerably successful, those of Mr. Kinglake, in Eothen, were
amusingly the reverse.  Dr. Keate, the flogging headmaster of Eton,
was described by the seer as a beautiful girl, with golden hair and
blue eyes.  The modern explanation of successes would apparently be
that the boy does, occasionally, see the reflection of his
interrogator's thoughts.

In a paper in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research
(part xiv.), an anonymous writer gives the results of some
historical investigation into the antiquities of crystal-gazing.
The stories of cups, 'wherein my lord divines,' like Joseph, need
not necessarily indicate gazing into the deeps of the cup.  There
were other modes of using cups and drops of wine, not connected with
visions.  At Patrae, in Greece, Pausanias describes the dropping of
a mirror on to the surface of a well, the burning of incense, and
the vision of the patient who consults the oracle in the deeps of
the mirror. {216a}  A Christian Father asserts that, in some cases,
a basin with a glass bottom was used, through which the gazer saw
persons concealed in a room below, and took them for real visions.
{216b}  In mirror-magic (catoptromancy), the child seer's eyes were
bandaged, and he saw with the top of his head!  The Specularii
continued the tradition through the Middle Ages, and, in the
sixteenth century Dr. Dee ruined himself by his infatuation for
'show-stones,' in which Kelly saw, or pretended to see, visions
which Dr. Dee interpreted.  Dee kept voluminous diaries of his
experiments, part of which is published in a folio by Meric
Casaubon.  The work is flighty, indeed crazy; Dee thought that the
hallucinations were spirits, and believed that his 'show-stones'
were occasionally spirited away by the demons.  Kelly pretended to
hear noises in the stones, and to receive messages.

In our own time, while many can see pictures, few know what the
pictures represent.  Some explain them by interpreting the
accompanying 'raps,' or by 'automatic writing'.  The intelligence
thus conveyed is then found to exist in county histories,
newspapers, and elsewhere, a circumstance which lends itself to
interpretation of more sorts than one.  Without these very dubious
modes of getting at the meaning of the crystal pictures, they
remain, of course, mere picturesque hallucinations.  The author of
the paper referred to, is herself a crystal-seer, and (in Borderland
No. 2) mentions one very interesting vision.  She and a friend
stared into one of Dr. Dee's 'show-stones,' at the Stuart
exhibition, and both beheld the same scene, not a scene they could
have guessed at, which was going on at the seer's own house.  As
this writer, though versed in hallucinations, entirely rejects any
'spiritual' theory, and conceives that, she is dealing with purely
psychological curiosities, her evidence is the better worth notice,
and may be compared with that of a crystal-seer for whose evidence
the present writer can vouch, as far as one mortal may vouch for
that of another.

Miss X., the writer in the Psychical Proceedings, has been able to
see pictures in crystals and other polished surfaces, or, indeed,
independently of these, since childhood.  She thinks that the
visions are:--

1.  After-images, or recrudescent memories (often memories of things
not consciously noted).

2.  Objectivations of ideas or images, consciously or unconsciously
present to the mind.

3.  Visions, possibly telepathic or clairvoyant, implying
acquirement of knowledge by supernormal means.  The first class is
much the most frequent in this lady's experience.  She can
occasionally refresh her memory by looking into the crystal.

The other seer, known to the writer, cannot do this, and her
pictures, as far as she knows, are purely fanciful.  Perhaps an
'automatic writer' might interpret them, in the rather dubious
manner of that art.  As far as the 'scryer' knows, however, her
pictures of places and people are not revivals of memory.  For
example, she sees an ancient ship, with a bird's beak for prow, come
into harbour, and behind it a man carrying a crown.  This is a mere
fancy picture.  On one occasion she saw a man, like an Oriental
priest, with a white caftan, contemplating the rise and fall of a
fountain of fire:  suddenly, at the summit of the fire, appeared a
human hand, pointing downwards, to which the old priest looked up.
This was in August, 1893.  Later in the month the author happened to
take up, at Loch Sheil, Lady Burton's Life of Sir Richard Burton.
On the back of the cover is a singular design in gold.  A woman in
widow's weeds is bowing beneath rays of light, over which appears a
human hand, marked R. F. B. on the wrist.  The author at once wrote
asking his friend the crystal-gazer if she had seen this work of
art, which might have unconsciously suggested the picture.  The
lady, however, was certain that she had not seen the Life of Sir
Richard Burton, though her eye, of course, may have fallen on it in
a bookseller's shop, while her mind did not consciously take it in.
If this was a revival of a sub-conscious memory in the crystal, it
was the only case of that process in her experience.

On the other hand Miss X. can trace many of her visions to memories,
as Maury could in his illusions hypnagogiques.  Thus, Miss X. saw in
the crystal, the printed announcement of a friend's death.  She had
not consciously read the Times, but remembered that she had held it
up before her face as a firescreen.  This kind of revival, as she
says, corresponds to the writing, with planchette, of scraps from
the Chanson de Roland, by a person who had never _consciously_ read
a line of it, and who did not even know what stratum of Old French
was represented by the fragments.  Miss X. seems not to know either;
for she calls it 'Provencal'.  Similar instances of memory revived
are not very uncommon in dreams.  Miss X. can consciously put a
group of fanciful characters into the crystal, while this is beyond
the power of the seer known to the writer, who has attempted to
perceive what a friend is doing at a distance, but with no success.
Thus she tried to discover what the writer might be about, and
secured a view of two large sunny rooms, with a shadowy figure
therein.  Now it is very probable that the writer was in just such a
room, at --- Castle, but the seer saw, on the library table, a
singular mirror, which did not exist there, and a model of a castle,
also non-existent.  The knowledge that the person sought for was
staying at a 'castle,' may have unconsciously suggested this model
in the picture.

A pretty case of revived memory is given by Miss X.  She wanted the
date of Ptolemy Philadelphus.  Later, in the crystal, she saw a
conventional old Jew, writing in a book with massive clasps.  Using
a magnifying glass, she found that he was writing Greek, but the
lines faded, and she only saw the Roman numerals LXX.  These
suggested the seventy Hebrews who wrote the Septuagint, with the
date, 277 B.C., which served for Ptolemy Philadelphus.  Miss X.
later remembered a memoria technica which she had once learned, with
the clue, 'Now Jewish elders indite a Greek copy'.  It is obvious
that these queer symbolical reawakenings of memory explain much of
the (apparently) 'unknown' information given by 'ghosts,' and in
dreams.  A lady, who had long been in very bad health, was one
evening seized by a violent recrudescence of memory, and for hours
poured out the minutest details of the most trivial occurrences; the
attack was followed by a cerebral malady from which she fortunately
recovered.  The same phenomenon of awakened memory has occasionally
been reported by people who were with difficulty restored after
being seven-eighths drowned.

The crystal ball, in the proper hands, merely illustrates the
possibility of artificially reviving memory, while the fanciful
visions, akin to illusions hypnagogiques, have, in all ages, been
interpreted by superstition as revelations of the distant or the
future.  Of course, if there is such a thing as occasional
transference of thought, so that the idea in the inquirer's mind is
reflected in the crystal-gazer's vision, the hypothesis of the
superstitious will fix on this as a miracle, still more will that
hypothesis be strengthened, if future or distant events, not
consciously known, are beheld.  Such things must occasionally occur,
by chance, in the myriad confusions of dreams, and, to the same
extent, in crystal visions.  Miss X.'s three cases of possible
telepathy in her own experience are trivial, and do not seem to rise
beyond the possibility of fortuitous coincidence:  and her possible
clairvoyant visions she leaves to the judgment of the reader, 'to
interpret as clairvoyance, or coincidence, or prevision, or whatever
else he will'.  The crystal-gazer known to the author once managed
to see the person (unknown to her) who was in the mind of the other
party in the experiment.  But she has made scarcely any experiments
of this description.

The inferences to be drawn from crystal-gazing are not unimportant.
First, we note that the practice is very ancient and widely
diffused, among civilised and uncivilised people.  In this diffusion
it answers to the other practices, the magical rites of Australian
blacks, Greeks, Eskimo; to the stories of 'death-bed wraiths,' of
rappings, and so forth.  Now this uniformity, as far as regards the
latter phenomena, may be explained by transmission of ideas, or by
the uniformity of human nature, while the phenomena themselves may
be mere inventions like other myths.  In the case of crystal-gazing,
however, we can scarcely push scepticism so far as to deny that the
facts exist, that hallucinations are actually provoked.  The
inference is that a presumption is raised in favour of the actuality
of the other phenomena universally reported.  They, too, may
conceivably be hallucinatory; the rappings and haunting noises may
be auditory, as the crystal visions are ocular hallucinations.  The
sounds so widely attested may not cause vibrations in the air, just
as the visions are not really _in_ the crystal ball.  As the
unconscious self suggests the pictures in the ball, so it may
suggest the unexplained noises.  But while, as a rule, only one
gazer sees the visions, the sounds (usually but not invariably) are
heard by all present.  On the whole, the one case wherein we find
facts, if only facts of hallucination, at the bottom of the belief
in a world-wide and world-old practice, rather tends in the
direction of belief in the other facts, not less universally
alleged.  We know too much about mythology to agree with Dr.
Johnson, in holding that 'a belief, which prevails as far as human
nature is diffused, could become universal only by its truth,' that
'those who never heard of one another would not have agreed in a
tale which nothing but experience could make credible'.  But, on the
other hand, a belief is not necessarily untrue, because it is
universally diffused.

In the second place, crystal-gazing shows how a substratum of fact
may be so overlaid with mystic mummeries, incantations, fumigations,
pentacles:  and so overwhelmed in superstitious interpretations,
introducing fairies and spirits, that the facts run the risk of
being swept away in the litter and dust of nonsense.  Science has
hardly thought crystal-gazing worthy even of contempt, yet it
appears to deserve the notice of psychologists.  To persons who can
'scry,' and who do not see hideous illusions, or become hypnotised,
or superstitious, or incur headaches, scrying is a harmless gateway
into Les Paradis Artificiels.  'And the rest, they may live and
learn.' {223}

A very few experiments will show people whether they are scryers, or
not.  The phenomena, it seems, are usually preceded by a mistiness,
or milkiness, of the glass:  this clears off, and pictures appear.
Even the best scryers often fail to see anything in the crystal
which maintains its natural 'diaphaneity,' as Dr. Dee says.  Thus
the conditions under which the scryer can scry, are, as yet,

The phenomena of scrying were not unknown to Dr. Gregory, Professor
of Chemistry in the University of Edinburgh.  Dr. Gregory believed
in 'odylic fluid' on the evidence of Reichenbach's experiments,
which nobody seems to have repeated successfully under strict tests.
Clairvoyance also was part of Dr. Gregory's faith, and, to be fair,
phenomena were exhibited at his house, in the presence of a learned
and distinguished witness known to the writer, which could only be
accounted for either by thought transference, or by an almost, or
quite incredible combination of astuteness, and imposture on the
side of Dr. Gregory himself.  In presence of the _clairvoyants_ the
nobleman of whom we speak thought not of his own house, but of a
room in the house of a friend.  It possessed a very singular feature
which it is needless to describe here, but which was entirely out of
the experience of the clairvoyante.  She described it, however,
expressing astonishment at what she 'saw'.  This, unless Dr. Gregory
guessed what was likely to be thought of, and was guilty of
collusion, can only be explained by thought transference.  In other
cases the doctor was convinced that he had evidence of actual
clairvoyance, and it is difficult to estimate the amount of evidence
which will clear such a belief of the charge of credulity.  As to
'scrying' the doctor thought it could be done in 'mesmerised water,'
water bewitched.  There is no reason to imagine that 'mesmerised' is
different from ordinary water. {224}  He knew that folklore retained
the belief in scrying in crystal balls, and added some superfluous
magical incantations.  The doctor himself was lucky enough to buy an
old magical crystal in which some boys, after long staring, saw
persons unknown to themselves, but known to the professor, and also
persons known to neither.  A little girl, casually picking up a
crystal ball, cried, 'There's a ship in it, with its cloth all in
rags.  Now it tumbles down, and a woman is working at it, and holds
her head in her hand.'  This is a very fair example of a crystal
fancy picture.  The child's mother, not having heard what the child
said, saw the same vision (p. 165).  But this is a story at third
hand.  The doctor has a number of cases, and held that crystal
possesses an 'odylic' quality.  But a ball of glass serves just as
well as a ball of crystal, and is much less expensive.

Children are naturally visionaries, and, as such, are good subjects
for experiment.  But it may be a cruel, and is a most injudicious
thing, to set children a-scrying.  Superstition may be excited, or
the half-conscious tendency to deceive may be put in motion.

Socrates and Joan of Arc were visionaries as children.  Had Joan's
ears been soundly boxed, as Robert de Baudricourt advised, France
might now be an English province.  But they were not boxed, happily
for mankind.  Certainly much that is curious may be learned by any
one who, having the confidence of a child, will listen to his, or
her, accounts of spontaneous visions.  The writer, as a boy, knew a
child who used to lie prone on the grass watching fairies at play in
the miniature forest of blades and leaves.  This child had a
favourite familiar whom he described freely, but as his remarks were
received with good-humoured scepticism, no harm came to him.  He
would have made a splendid scryer, still, 'I speak of him but
brotherly,' his revelations would have been taken with the largest
allowances.  If scrying, on examination, proves to be of real
psychological interest, science will owe another debt to folklore,
to the folk who kept alive a practice which common-sense would not
deign even to examine.


The Gillie and the fire-raising.  Survival of belief in second
sight.  Belief in ancient Greece and elsewhere.  Examples in
Lapland.  Early evidence as to Scotch second sight.  Witches burned
for this gift.  Examples among the Covenanting Ministers.  Early
investigations by English authors:  Pepys, Aubrey, Boyle, Dicky
Steele, De Foe, Martin, Kirk, Frazer, Dr. Johnson.  Theory of
visions as caused by Fairies.  Modern example of Miss H.  Theory of
Frazer of Tiree (1700). 'Revived impressions of sense.'  Examples.
Agency of Angels.  Martin.  Modern cases.  Bodily condition of the
seer.  Not epileptic.  The second-sighted Minister.  The visionary
Beadle.  Transference of vision by touch.  Conclusion.

Some years ago, the author was fishing in a river of Inverness-
shire.  He drove to the stream, picked up an old gillie named
Campbell, and then went on towards the spot where he meant to begin
angling.  A sheep that lay on the road jumped up suddenly, almost
under the horse's feet, the horse shied, and knocked the dogcart
against a wall.  On the homeward way we observed a house burning,
opposite the place where the horse shied, and found that a farmer
had been evicted, and his cottage set on fire.  This unhappy person,
it seems, was in debt to all his tradesmen, not to his landlord
only.  The fire-raising, however, was an excessively barbaric method
of getting him to leave the parish, and the view justified the
indignation of the gillie.  The old gillie, much excited, declared
that the horse had foreseen this event in the morning, and had,
consequently, shied.  In a more sceptical spirit the author reminded
Campbell of the sheep which started up.  'That sheep was the devil,'
Campbell explained, nor could this rational belief of his be shaken.
The affair led to a conversation on the second sight, and Campbell
said, 'he had it not,' 'but his sister (or sister-in-law) had it'.

Campbell was a very agreeable companion, interested in old events,
and a sympathiser, as he said, in spite of his name, with the great
Montrose.  His remarks led the author to infer that, contrary to
what some inquirers wrote in the last, and Graham Dalyell in the
present century, the belief in the second sight is still quite
common in the Highlands.  As will be shown later, this inference was

We must not, from this survival only, draw the conclusion that the
Highlanders are more superstitious than many educated people south
of the Highland line.  Second sight is only a Scotch name which
covers many cases called telepathy and clairvoyance by psychical
students, and casual or morbid hallucinations by other people.  In
second sight the percipient beholds events occurring at a distance,
sees people whom he never saw with the bodily eye, and who
afterwards arrive in his neighbourhood; or foresees events
approaching but still remote in time.  The chief peculiarity of
second sight is, that the visions often, though not always, are of a
_symbolical_ character.  A shroud is observed around the living man
who is doomed; boding animals, mostly black dogs, vex the seer;
funerals are witnessed before they occur, and 'corpse-candles' (some
sort of light) are watched flitting above the road whereby a burial
procession is to take its way. {228}  Though we most frequently hear
the term 'second sight' applied as a phrase of Scotch superstition,
the belief in this kind of ominous illusion is obviously universal.
Theoclymenus, in the Odyssey, a prophet by descent, and of the same
clan as the soothsayer Melampus, beholds the bodies and faces of the
doomed wooers, 'shrouded in night'.  The Pythia at Delphi announced
a similar symbolic vision of blood-dripping walls to the Athenians,
during the Persian War.  Again, symbolic visions, especially of
blood-dripping walls, are so common in the Icelandic sagas that the
reader need only be referred to the prodigies before the burning of
Njal, in the Saga of Burnt Njal.  Second sight was as popular a
belief among the Vikings as among the Highlanders who retain a large
share of their blood.  It may be argued by students who believe in
the borrowing rather than in the independent evolution of ideas,
that the Gaelic second sight is a direct inheritance from the
Northmen, who have left so many Scandinavian local names in the
isles and along the coasts.

However this may be, the Highland second sight is different, in many
points, from the clairvoyance and magic of the Lapps, those famous
sorcerers.  On this matter the History of Lapland, by Scheffer,
Professor of Law in Upsala, is generally cited (Oxford, 1674).
'When the devil takes a liking to any person in his infancy,' says
Scheffer, 'he presently seizes on him by a disease, in which he
haunts him with several apparitions.'  This answers, in magical
education, to Smalls, or Little Go.

Some Lapps advance to a kind of mystic Moderations, and the great
sorcerers attain to Final Schools, and are Bachelors in Black Arts.
'They become so knowing that, _without_ the drum they can see things
at the greatest distances; and are so possessed by the devil that
they see things even against their will.'  The 'drum' is a piece of
hollow wood covered with a skin, on which rude pictures are drawn.
An index is laid on the skin, the drum is tapped, and omens are
taken from the picture on which the index happens to rest.  But this
practice has nothing to do with clairvoyance.  In Scheffer's account
of Lapp seers we recognise the usual hysterical or epileptic lads,
who, in various societies become saints, mediums, warlocks, or
conjurers.  But Scheffer shows that the Lapp experts try,
voluntarily, to see sights, whereas, except when wrapped in a bull's
hide of old, or cowering in a boiler at the present day, the
Highland second-sighted man lets his visions come to him
spontaneously and uninvoked.  Scheffer wished to take a magical drum
from a Lapp, who confessed with tears, that, drum or no drum, he
would still see visions, as he proved by giving Scheffer a minute
relation 'of whatever particulars had happened to me in my journey
to Lapland.  And he further complained, that he knew not how to make
use of his eyes, since things altogether distant were presented to
them.'  When a wizard is consulted he dances round till he falls,
lies on the ground as if dead, and, finally, rises and declares the
result of his clairvoyance.  His body is guarded by his friends, and
no living thing is allowed to touch it.  Tornaeus was told many
details of his journey by a Lapp, 'which, although it was true,
Tornaeus dissembled to him, lest he might glory too much in his
devilish practices'.  Olaus Magnus gives a similar account.  The
whole performance, except that the seer is not bound, resembles the
Eskimo 'sleep of the shadow,' more than ordinary Highland second
sight.  The soul of the seer is understood to be wandering away,
released from his body.

The belief in clairvoyance, in the power of seeing what is distant,
and foreseeing what is in the future, obviously and undeniably
occurs everywhere, in ancient Israel, as in Mexico before the
Spanish Conquest, and among the Red Indian tribes as among the
Zulus.  It is more probable that similar hallucinatory experiences,
morbid, or feigned, or natural, have produced the same beliefs
everywhere, than that the beliefs were evolved only by 'Aryans,'--
Greeks or Scandinavians--and by them diffused all over the world, to
Zulus, Lapps, Indians of Guiana, Maoris.

One of the earliest references to Scotch second sight is quoted by
Graham Dalyell from Higden's Polychronicon (i. lxiv.). {231a}
'There oft by daye tyme, men of that islonde seen men that bey dede
to fore honde, byheded' (like Argyll, in 1661), 'or hole, and what
dethe they deyde.  Alyens setten theyr feet upon feet of the men of
that londe, for to see such syghtes as the men of that londe doon.'
This method of communicating the hallucination by touch is described
in the later books, such as Kirk's Secret Commonwealth (1691), and
Mr. Napier, in his Folklore, mentions the practice as surviving in
the present century.  From some records of the Orkneys, Mr. Dalyell
produces a trial for witchcraft on Oct. 2, 1616. {231b}  This case
included second sight.  The husband of Jonka Dyneis being in a
fishing-boat at Walls, six miles from her residence at Aith, and in
peril, she was 'fund and sein standing at hir awin hous wall, in ane
trans, that same hour he was in danger; and being trappit, she could
not give answer, bot stude as bereft of hir senssis:  and quhen she
was speirit at quhy she wes so movit, she answerit, "Gif our boit be
not tynt, she is in great hazard,"--and wes tryit so to be'.

Elspeth Reoch, in 1616, was tried as a witch for a simple piece of
clairvoyance, or of charlatanism, as we may choose to believe.  The
offence is styled 'secund sicht' in the official report.  Again,
Issobell Sinclair, in 1633, was accused, almost in modern
spiritualistic phrase, of 'bein _controlled_ with the phairie, and
that be thame, shoe hath the second sight'. {232a}  Here, then, we
find it officially recorded that the second-sighted person is
entranced, and more or less unconscious of the outer world, at the
moment of the vision.  Something like le petit mal, in epilepsy,
seems to be intended, the patient 'stude as bereft of hir senssis'.
{232b}  Again, we have the official explanation of the second sight,
and that is the spiritualistic explanation.  The seer has a fairy
'control'.  This mode of accounting for what 'gentle King Jamie'
calls 'a sooth dreame, since they see it walking,' inspires the
whole theory of Kirk (1691), but he sees no harm either in 'the
phairie,' or in the persons whom the fairies control.  In Kirk's own
time we shall find another minister, Frazer of Tiree, explaining the
visions as 'revived impressions of sense' (1705), and rejecting
various superstitious hypotheses.

The detestable cruelty of the ministers who urged magistrates to
burn second-sighted people, and the discomfort and horror of the
hallucinations themselves, combined to make patients try to free
themselves from the involuntary experience.  As a correspondent of
Aubrey's says, towards the end of the sixteenth century:  'It is a
thing very troublesome to them that have it, and would gladly be rid
of it . . . they are seen to sweat and tremble, and shreek at the
apparition'. {232c}  'They are troubled for having it judging it a
sin,' and they used to apply to the presbytery for public prayers
and sermons.  Others protested that it was a harmless accident,
tried to teach it, and endeavoured to communicate the visions by

As usual among the Presbyterians a minister might have abnormal
accomplishments, work miracles of healing, see and converse with the
devil, shine in a refulgence of 'odic' light, or be second-sighted.
But, if a layman encroached on these privileges, he was in danger of
the tar-barrel, and was prosecuted.  On the day of the battle of
Bothwell Brig, Mr. Cameron, minister of Lochend, in remote Kintyre,
had a clairvoyant view of the fight.  'I see them (the Whigs) flying
as clearly as I see the wall,' and, as near as could be calculated,
the Covenanters ran at that very moment. {233a}  How Mr. Cameron
came to be thought a saint, while Jonka Dyneis was burned as a
sinner, for precisely similar experiences, is a question hard to
answer.  But Joan of Arc, the saviour of France, was burned for
hearing voices, while St. Joseph of Cupertino, in spite of his
flights in the air, was canonised.  Minister or medium, saint or
sorcerer, it was all a question of the point of view.  As to
Cameron's and Jonka's visions of distant contemporary events, they
correspond to what is told of Apollonius of Tyana, that, at Ephesus,
he saw and applauded the murder of Domitian at Rome; that one
Cornelius, in Padua, saw Caesar triumph at Pharsalia; that a maniac
in Gascony beheld Coligny murdered in Paris. {233b}  In the whole
belief there is nothing peculiarly Scotch or Celtic, and Wodrow
gives examples among the Dutch.

Second Sight, in the days of James VI. had been a burning matter.
After the Restoration, a habit of jesting at everything of the kind
came in, on one hand; on the other, a desire to investigate and
probe the stories of Scotch clairvoyance.  Many fellows of the Royal
Society, and learned men, like Robert Boyle, Henry More, Glanvill,
Pepys, Aubrey, and others, wrote eagerly to correspondents in the
Highlands, while Sacheverell and Waldron discussed the topic as
regarded the Isle of Man.  Then came special writers on the theme,
as Aubrey, Kirk, Frazer, Martin, De Foe (who compiled a catch-penny
treatise on Duncan Campbell, a Highland fortune-teller in London),
Theophilus Insulanus (who was urged to his task by Sir Richard
Steele), Wodrow, a great ghost-hunter:  and so we reach Dr. Johnson,
who was 'willing to be convinced,' but was not under conviction.  In
answer to queries circulated for Aubrey, he learned that 'the godly'
have not the faculty, but 'the virtuous' may have it.  But Wodrow's
saint who saw Bothwell Brig, and another very savoury Christian who
saw Dundee slain at Killiecrankie, may surely be counted among 'the
godly'.  There was difference of opinion as to the hereditary
character of the complaint.  A correspondent of Aubrey's vouches for
a second-sighted man who babbled too much 'about the phairie,' and
'was suddenly removed to the farther end of the house, and was there
almost strangled'. {234}  This implies that spirits or 'Phairies'
lifted him, as they did to a seer spoken of by Kirk, and do to the
tribal medicine-men of the Australians, and of course, to 'mediums'.

Contemporary with Aubrey was the Rev. Robert Kirk of Aberfoyle, a
Celtic scholar who translated the Bible into Gaelic.  In 1691 he
finished his Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Faunes and Fairies,
whereof only a fragment has reached us.  It has been maintained that
the book was printed in 1691, but no mortal eye has seen a copy.  In
1815 Sir Walter Scott printed a hundred copies from a manuscript in
the Advocates' Library in Edinburgh.  He did not put his name on the
book, but Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, in a note on his own copy,
affirms that Sir Walter was the editor. {235}  Another edition was
edited, for Mr. Nutt, by the present writer, in 1893.  In the year
following the completion of his book Mr. Kirk died, or, as local
tradition avers, was carried away to fairyland.

Mr. Kirk has none of the Presbyterian abhorrence of fairies and
fauns, though, like the accusers of the Orkney witches, he believes
that 'phairie control' inspires the second-sighted men, who see them
eat at funerals.  The seers were wont to observe doubles of living
people, and these doubles are explained as 'co-walkers' from the
fairy world.  This 'co-walker' 'wes also often seen of old to enter
a hous, by which the people knew that the person of that liknes wes
to visite them within a few days'.

Now this belief is probably founded on actual hallucinatory
experience, of which we may give a modern example.  In the early
spring of 1890, a lady, known to the author, saw the 'copy, echo, or
living picture,' of a stranger, who intended (unknown to her) to
visit her house, but who did not carry out his intention.  The
author can vouch for her perfect integrity, and freedom both from
superstition, and from illusions, except in this case.  Miss H.
lives in Edinburgh, and takes in young men as boarders.  At the time
of this event, she had four such inmates.  Two, as she believed,
were in their study on the second floor; two were in the drawing-
room on the first floor, where she herself was sitting.  The hour
was seven o'clock in the evening, and the lamp on the stair was lit.
Miss H. left the drawing-room, and went into a cupboard on the
landing, immediately above the lamp.  She saw a young gentleman, of
fair complexion, in a suit of dark blue, coming down the staircase
from the second floor.  Supposing him to be a friend of her boarders
whose study was on that floor, she came out of the cupboard, closed
the door to let him pass, and made him a slight bow.  She did not
hear him go out, nor did the maid who was standing near the street
door.  She did not see her two friends of the upstairs study till
nine o'clock:  they had been at a lecture.  When they met, she said:
'Did you take your friend with you?'

'What friend?'

'The fair young man who left your rooms at seven.'

'We were out before seven, we don't know whom you mean.'

The mystery of the young man, who could not have entered the house
without ringing, was unsolved.  Next day a lady living exactly
opposite Miss H.'s house, asked that lady if she could give
hospitality to a young man who was coming to Edinburgh from the
country.  Miss H. assented, and prepared a room, but the visitor,
she was informed, went to stay with a relation of his own.  Two days
later Miss H. was looking out of her dining-room window after

'Why, there's my ghost!' she exclaimed, and her friends, running to
the window, allowed that he answered to the description.  The
'ghost' went into the house of Miss H.'s friend on the other side of
the street, and Miss H., with natural curiosity, sallied out, and
asked who he was.  He was the young man for whom she had prepared a
room.  During his absence in the country, his 'co-walker' had
visited the house at which he intended to stay!

Coincidences of this kind, then, gave rise to the belief in this
branch of second sight.

Though fairies are the 'phantasmogenetic agencies' in second sight,
a man may acquire the art by magic.  A hair rope which has bound a
corpse to a bier is wound about him, and then he looks backward
'through his legs' till he sees a funeral.  The vision of a seer can
be communicated to any one who puts his left foot under the wizard's
right foot.

This is still practised in some parts of the Highlands, as we shall
see, but, near Inverness, the custom only survives in the memory of
some old people. {237}  Mr. Kirk's wizards defended the lawfulness
of their clairvoyance by the example of Elisha seeing Gehazi at a
distance. {238}  The second sight was hereditary in some families:
this is no longer thought to be the case.  Kirk gives some examples
of clairvoyance, and prescience:  he then quotes and criticises Lord
Tarbatt's letters to Robert Boyle.  Second sight 'is a trouble to
most of them, and they would be rid of it at any rate, if they
could'.  One of our own informants says that the modern seers are
anxious when they feel the vision beginning:  they do not, however,
regard the power as unholy or disreputable.  Another informant
mentions a belief that children born between midnight and one
o'clock will be second-sighted.  People attempt to hasten or delay
the birth, so as to avoid the witching hour; clearly then they
regard the second sight as an unenviable accomplishment.  'It is
certane' says Kirk, 'he sie more fatall and fearfull things, than he
do gladsome.'  For the physical condition of the seer, Kirk
describes it as 'a rapture, transport, and sort of death'.  Our
contemporary informants deny that, in their experience, any kind of
convulsion or fit accompanies the visions, as in Scott's account of
Allan Macaulay, in the Legend of Montrose.

Strangely unlike Mr. Kirk, in style and mode of thought, is his
contemporary, the Rev. Mr. Frazer of Tiree and Coll; Dean of the
Isles.  We cannot call a clergyman superstitious because, 200 years
ago, he believed in good and bad angels.  Save for this element in
his creed, Mr. Frazer may be called strictly and unexpectedly
scientific.  He was born in Mull in 1647, being the son of the Rev.
Farquhard Frazer, a cadet of the house of Lovat.  The father was one
of the first Masters of Arts who ever held the living of Coll and
Tiree:  in his time only three landed gentlemen of the McLeans could
read and write.  The son, John, was educated at Glasgow University,
and succeeded to his father's charge, converting the lairds and
others 'to the true Protestant faith' (1680).  At the Revolution, or
later, being an Episcopalian and Jacobite, he was deprived of his
stipend, but was not superseded and continued the exercise of his
ministry till his death in 1702.  Being in Edinburgh in 1700, he met
Andrew Symson, a relation of his wife:  they fell into discourse on
the second sight, and he sent his little manuscript to Symson who
published it in 1707.  There is an Edinburgh reprint, by Webster, in
1820.  The work is dedicated to Lord Cromartie, the Lord Tarbatt of
Kirk's book, and the correspondent of Pepys.  Symson adds a preface,
apologising for Mr. Frazer's lack of books and learned society, and
giving an example of transference of second sight:  the seer placed
his foot on that of the person interested, who then saw a ship
labouring in a storm.  The tale was not at first hand.

Mr. Frazer, in his tractate, first deals with the question of fact,
of the hallucinations called second sight:  'That such
representations are made to the eyes of men and women, is to me out
of all doubt, and that affects follow answerable thereto, as little
questionable'.  But many doubt as to the question of fact,
'wherefore so little has been written about it'.  Four or five
instances, he thinks, will suffice, 1.  A servant of his left a barn
where he slept, 'because nightly he had seen a dead corps in his
winding sheet, straighted beside him'.  In about half a year a young
man died _and was buried_ in the barn. 2.  Mr. Frazer went to stay
in Mull with Sir William Sacheverell, who wrote on second sight in
the Isle of Man, and was then engaged in trying to recover treasures
from the vessel of the Armada sunk in Tobermory Bay.  The Duke of
Argyll has a cannon taken from Francis I. at Pavia, which was raised
from this vessel, and, lately, the fluke of a ship's anchor brought
up a doubloon.  But the treasure still lies in Tobermory Bay.  Mr.
Frazer's tale merely is that a woman told a sailor to bid him leave
a certain boy behind.  The sailor did not give the message, the boy
died, and the woman said that she had seen the lad 'walking with me
in his winding sheets, sewed up from top to toe,' that this portent
never deceived her. 3.  A funeral was seen by Duncan Campbell, in
Kintyre, he soon found himself at the real funeral.

4.  John Macdonald saw a sea-captain all wet, who was drowned,
'about a year thereafter'.  The seer 'was none of the strictest
life'. 5.  A man in Eigg foretold an invasion and calamities.  The
vision was fulfilled by a landing of English forces in 1689, when
Mr. Frazer himself was a prisoner of Captain Pottinger's, in Eigg.
He next mentions an old woman who, in a syncope or catalepsy,
believed she had been in heaven.  She had a charm of barbarous
words, whereby she could see the answers to questions 'in live
images before her eyes, or upon the wall, but the images were not
tractable (tangible), which she found by putting to her hand, but
could find nothing'.  In place of burning this poor crone, Mr.
Frazer reasoned with her, 'taught her the danger and vanity of her
practice,' and saw her die peacefully in extreme old age.

Seeking for an explanation Mr. Frazer gives a thoroughly modern
doctrine of visual and auditory hallucinations, as revived
impressions of sense.  The impressions, 'laid up in the brain, will
be reversed back to the retiform coat and crystalline humour,' hence
'a lively seeing, as if, de novo, the object had been placed before
the eye'.  He illustrates this by experiments in after-images.  He
will not deny, however, that angels, good or bad, may intentionally
cause the revival of impressions, and so, for their own purposes,
produce the hallucinations from within.  The coincidence of the
hallucination with future events may arise from the fore-knowledge
of the said angels, who, if evil, are deceptive, like Ahab's false
prophets.  The angel then, who, through one channel or another,
fore-knows, or anticipates an event, 'has no more to do than to
reverse the species of these things from a man's brain to the organ
of the eye'.  Substitute telepathy, the effect produced by a distant
mind, for angels, and we have here the very theory of some modern
inquirers.  Mr. Frazer thinks it unlikely that _bad_ angels delude
'several men that I have known to be of considerable sense, and
pious and good conversation'.  He will not hear of angels making
bodies of 'compressed air' (an old mystic idea), which they place
before men's eyes.  His own hypothesis is more economical of marvel.
He has not observed second sight to be hereditary.  If asked why it
is confined to ignorant islanders, he denies the fact.  It is as
common elsewhere, but is concealed, for fear of ridicule and odium.
He admits that credulity and ignorance give opportunities to evil
spirits 'to juggle more frequently than otherwise they would have
done'.  So he 'humbly submits himself to the judgment of his
betters'.  Setting aside the hypothesis of angels, Mr. Frazer makes
only one mistake, he does not give instantiae contradictoriae, where
the hallucination existed without the fulfilment.  He shows a good
deal of reading, and a liking for Sir Thomas Browne.  The difference
between him and his contemporary, Mr. Kirk, is as great as that
between Herodotus and Thucydides.

Contemporary with Frazer is Martin Martin, whose Description of the
Western Isles (1703, second edition 1716) was a favourite book of
Dr. Johnson's, and the cause of his voyage to the Hebrides.  Martin
took his M.A. degree at Edinburgh University in 1681.  He was a
curious observer, political and social, and an antiquarian.  He
offers no theory of the second sight, and merely recounts the
current beliefs in the islands.  The habit is not, in his opinion,
hereditary, nor does he think that the vision can be communicated by
touch, except by one to another seer.  Where several seers are
present, all do not necessarily see the vision.  'At the sight of a
vision, the eyelids of the person are erected, and the eyes continue
staring until the object vanish,' as Martin knew by observing seers
at the moment of the experience.  Sometimes it was necessary to draw
down the eyelids with the fingers.  Sickness and swooning
occasionally accompanied the hallucination.  The visions were
usually symbolical, shrouds, coffins, funerals.  Visitors were seen
before their arrival.  'I have been seen thus myself by seers of
both sexes at some 100 miles distance; some that saw me in this
manner had never seen me personally, and it happened according to
their visions, without any previous design of mine to go to those
places, my coming there being purely accidental.'  Children are
subject to the vision, the horse of a seer, or the cow a second-
sighted woman is milking, receives the infection, at the moment of a
vision, sweats and trembles.  Horses are very nervous animals, cows
not so much so.

As to objections, the people are very temperate, and madness is
unknown, hence they are not usually visionary.  That the learned
'are not able to oblige the world with a satisfying account of those
visions,' is no argument against the fact of their occurrence.  The
seers are not malevolent impostors, and there are cases of second-
sighted folk of birth and education, 'nor can a reasonable man
believe that children, horses, and cows could be pre-engaged in a
combination to persuade the world of the reality of the second
sight'.  The gift is not confined to the Western Islands, and Martin
gives a Dutch example, with others from the Isle of Man.  His
instances are of the usual sort, the fulfilment was sometimes long
deferred.  He mentions a case, but not that given by Mr. Frazer, in
the Isle of Eigg.  The natives had been at Killiecrankie, and one of
them murdered an English soldier in Skye, hence the English invasion
of 1689, in which a pretty girl (as had been prophesied by a seer)
was brutally ill-treated.  The most interesting cases are those in
which strangers are seen, and peculiarities in their dress observed
before their arrival.  In the Pirate Scott shows how Norna of the
Fitful Head managed to utter such predictions by aid of early
information; and so, as Cleveland said, 'prophesied on velvet'.
There are a few cases of a brownie being seen, once by a second-
sighted butler, who observed brownie directing a man's game at
chess.  Martin's book was certainly not calculated to convince Dr.
Johnson; his personal evidence only proves that a kind of
hallucinatory trance existed, or was feigned.

Later than Martin we have the long work of Theophilus Insulanus,
which contains many 'cases,' of more or less interest or absurdity.
But Theophilus is of no service to the framer of philosophical or
physiological theories of the second sight.  The Presbyterian clergy
generally made war on the belief, but one of them, as Mrs. Grant
reports in her Essays, {244} had an experience of his own.  This
good old pastor's 'daidling bit,' or lounge, was his churchyard.  In
an October twilight, he saw two small lights rise from a spot
unmarked by any stone or memorial.  These 'corpse-candles' crossed
the river, stopped at a hamlet, and returned, attended by a larger
light.  All three sank into the earth on the spot whence the two
lights had risen.  The minister threw a few stones on the spot, and
next day asked the sexton who lay there.  The man remembered having
buried there two children of a blacksmith who lived at the hamlet on
the opposite side of the water.  The blacksmith died next day!  This
did more for second sight, probably, than all the minister's sermons
could do against the belief.

As we began by stating, it is a popular superstition among the
learned that the belief in second sight has died out among the
Highlanders.  Fifty years ago, Dr. McCulloch, in his Description of
the Western Islands, wrote thus:  'Second sight has undergone the
fate of witchcraft; ceasing to be believed, it has ceased to exist'.
{245}   Now, as to whether second sight exists or not, we may think
as we please, but the belief in second sight is still vivacious in
the Highlands, and has not altered in a single feature.  A well-
known Highland minister has been kind enough to answer a few
questions on the belief as it is in his parish He first met a
second-sighted man in his own beadle, 'a most respectable person of
entirely blameless life'.  After citing a few examples of the
beadle's successful hits, our informant says:  'He told me that he
felt the thing coming on, and that it was always preceded by a sense
of discomfort and anxiety. . . .  There was no epilepsy, and no
convulsion of any kind.  He felt a sense of great relief when the
vision had passed away, and he assured me repeatedly that the gift
was an annoyance rather than a pleasure to him,' as the Lapp also
confessed to Scheffer.  'Others who had the same gift have told me
the same thing.'  Out of seven or eight people liable to this
malady, or whatever we are to call it, only one, we learn, was other
than robust, healthy, and steady.  In two instances the seers were
examined by a physician of experience, and got clean bills of mental
and bodily health.  An instance is mentioned in which the beadle,
alone in a boat with a friend, on a salt-water loch, at night, saw a
vision of a man drowning in a certain pool of a certain river.  A
shepherd's plaid lay on the bank.  The beadle told his companion
what he saw, and set his foot on his friend's, who then shared his
experience.  This proves the continuity of the belief that the
hallucination can be communicated by contact. {246}  As a matter of
evidence, it would have been better if the beadle had not first told
his friend what he saw.  Both men told our informant next day, and
the vision was fulfilled 'scarcely a week afterwards'.  This vision,
granting the honesty of the seers, was a case of 'clairvoyance,' but
'symbolical hallucinations' frequently occur.  In our informant's
experience the gift is not hereditary.

On the whole subject Dr. Stewart, of Nether Lochaber, wrote several
articles in the Inverness Courier, during the autumn of 1893.  The
Highland clergy have, doubtless, some difficulty in dealing with the
belief among their parishioners.  But, as the possession of the
accomplishment is no longer regarded as criminal, and as the old
theories of diabolical possession, or fairy inspiration, are not
entertained, at least by the educated, the seers are probably to be
regarded as merely harmless visionaries.  At most we may say, with
the poet:--

Lo, the sublime telepathist is here.

The belief in witchcraft is also as lively in the Highlands, as in
Devonshire, but, while the law takes no cognisance of it, no great
harm is done.  The witchcraft mainly relies on 'sympathetic magic,'
on perforating a clay image of an enemy with needles and so forth.
There is a very recent specimen in the Pitt Rivers collection, at
the museum in Oxford.  It was presented, in a scientific spirit, by
the victim, who was 'not a penny the worse,' unlike Sir George
Maxwell of Pollok, two centuries ago.

Though second sight is so firmly rooted in Celtic opinion, the
tourist or angler who 'has no Gaelic' is not likely to hear much of
it.  But, when trout refuse to rise, and time hangs heavy in a boat
on a loch, it is a good plan to tell the boatman some ghostly
Sassenach tales.  Then, perhaps, he will cap them from his own
store, but point-blank questions from an inquiring southron are of
very little use.  Nobody likes to be cross-examined on such matters.
Unluckily the evidence, for facts not for folklore, is worthless
till it has stood the severest cross-examination.


Sir Walter Scott on rarity of ghostly evidence.  His pamphlet for
the Bannatyne Club.  His other examples.  Case of Mirabel.  The
spectre, the treasure, the deposit repudiated.  Trials of Auguier
and Mirabel.  The case of Clenche's murder.  The murder of Sergeant
Davies.  Acquittal of the prisoners.  An example from Aubrey.  The
murder of Anne Walker.  The case of Mr. Booty.  An example from
Maryland, the story of Briggs and Harris.  The Valogne phantasm.
Trials in the matter of haunted houses.  Cases from Le Loyer.
Modern instances of haunted houses before the law.  Unsatisfactory
results of legal investigations.

'What I do not know is not knowledge,' Sir Walter Scott might have
said, with regard to bogles and bar-ghaists.  His collection at
Abbotsford of such works as the Ephesian converts burned, is
extensive and peculiar, while his memory was rich in tradition and
legend.  But as his Major Bellenden sings,

Was never wight so starkly made,
But time and years will overthrow.

When Sir Walter in 1831, wrote a brief essay on ghosts before the
law, his memory was no longer the extraordinary engine, wax to
receive, and marble to retain, that it had been.  It is an example
of his dauntless energy that, even in 1831, he was not only toiling
at novels, and histories, and reviews, to wipe out his debts, but
that, as a pure labour of love, he edited, for the Bannatyne Club,
'The trial of Duncan Terig alias Clerk, and Alexander Bane
Macdonald, for the murder of Arthur Davis, sergeant in General
Guise's regiment of foot, June, 1754'.

The trial, as Sir Walter says, in his dedication to the Bannatyne
Club, 'involves a curious point of evidence,' a piece of 'spectral
evidence' as Cotton Mather calls it.  In another dedication (for
there are two) Scott addresses Sir Samuel Shepherd, remarking that
the tract deals with 'perhaps the only subject of legal inquiry
which has escaped being investigated by his skill, and illustrated
by his genius'.  That point is the amount of credit due to the
evidence of a ghost.  In his preface Sir Walter cites the familiar
objection of a learned judge that 'the ghost must be sworn in usual
form, but in case he does not come forward, he cannot be heard, as
now proposed, through the medium' (medium indeed!) 'of a third
party'.  It seems to be a rule of evidence that what a dead man said
may be received, on the report of the person with whom he
communicated.  A ghost is a dead man, and yet he is deprived,
according to the learned judge's ruling, of his privilege.  Scott
does not cite the similar legend in Hibernian Tales, the chap book
quoted by Thackeray in his Irish Sketch-book.  In that affair, when
the judge asked the ghost to give his own evidence:  'Instantly
there came a dreadful rumbling noise into the court--"Here am I that
was murdered by the prisoner at the bar"'.  The Hibernian Tales are
of no legal authority, nor can we give chapter and verse for another
well-known anecdote.  A prisoner on a charge of murder was about to
escape, when the court observed him looking suspiciously over his
shoulder.  'Is there no one present,' the learned judge asked in
general, 'who can give better testimony?'  'My lord,' exclaimed the
prisoner, 'that wound he shows in his chest is twice as big as the
one I gave him.'  In this anecdote, however, the prisoner was
clearly suffering from a hallucination, as the judge detected, and
we do not propose to consider cases in which phantasms bred of
remorse drove a guilty man to make confession.

To return to Scott; he remarks that believers in ghosts must be
surprised 'to find how seldom in _any_ country an allusion hath been
made to such evidence in a court of justice'.  Scott himself has
only 'detected one or two cases of such apparition evidence,' which
he gives.  Now it is certain, as we shall see, that he must have
been acquainted with several other examples, which did not recur to
his memory:  the memory of 1831 was no longer that of better years.
Again, there were instances of which he had probably never possessed
any knowledge, while others have occurred since his death.  We shall
first consider the cases of spectral evidence (evidence that is of a
dead man's ghost, not of a mere wraith) recorded by Sir Walter, and
deal later with those beyond his memory or knowledge. {250}  Sir
Walter's first instance is from Causes Celebres, (vol. xii., La
Haye, 1749, Amsterdam, 1775, p. 247).  Unluckily the narrator, in
this collection, is an esprit fort, and is assiduous in attempts to
display his wit.  We have not a plain unvarnished tale, but
something more like a facetious leading article based on a trial

Honore Mirabel was a labouring lad, under age, near Marseilles.  His
story was that, in May (year not given), about eleven at night, he
was lying under an almond tree, near the farm of a lady named Gay.
In the moonlight he saw a man at an upper window of a building
distant five or six paces, the house belonged to a Madame Placasse.
Mirabel asked the person what he was doing there; got no answer,
entered, and could see nobody.  Rather alarmed he went to a well,
drew some water, drank, and then heard a weak voice, bidding him dig
there for treasure, and asking that masses might be said for the
soul of the informant.  A stone then fell on a certain spot; stone-
throwing is a favourite exercise with ghosts everywhere.

With another labourer, one Bernard, Mirabel dug, found a packet of
dirty linen, and, fearing that it might hold the infection of
plague, dipped it in wine, for lack of vinegar.  The parcel
contained more than a thousand Portuguese gold coins.  Bernard and
his mistress were present at the opening of the parcel, but Mirabel
managed to conceal from them the place where he hid it, not a very
likely story.  He was grateful enough to pay for the desired masses,
and he had himself bled four times to relieve his agitation.
Mirabel now consulted a merchant in Marseilles, one Auguier, who
advised him to keep his old coins a mystery, as to put them into
circulation would lead to inquiry and inconvenience.  He lent
Mirabel some ready money, and, finally, induced Mirabel to entrust
the Portuguese hoard to his care.  The money was in two bags, one
fastened with gold-coloured ribbon, the other with linen thread.
Auguier gave a receipt, and now we get a date, Marseilles, September
27, 1726.  Later Auguier (it seems) tried to murder Mirabel, and
refused to return the deposit.  Mirabel went to law with him:
Auguier admitted that Mirabel had spoken to him about having found a
treasure which he would entrust to Auguier, but denied the rest.  In
his house was found a ribbon of a golden hue, such as Mirabel used
to tie up his bag, and a little basket which has no obvious
connection with the matter.  The case was allowed to come on, there
were sixteen witnesses.  A woman named Caillot swore to Mirabel's
having told her about the ghost:  she saw the treasure excavated,
saw the bags, and recognised the ribbon.  A man had seen Mirabel on
his way to give Auguier his bags, and, indeed, saw him do so, and
receive a piece of paper.  He also found, next day, a gold coin on
the scene of the interview.  A third witness, a woman, was shown the
treasure by Mirabel.

The narrator here makes the important reflection that Providence
could not allow a ghost to appear merely to enrich a foolish
peasant.  But, granting ghosts (as the narrator does), we can only
say that, in ordinary life, Providence permits a number of
undesirable events to occur.  Why should the behaviour of ghosts be
an exception?

Other witnesses swore to corroborating circumstances.  Auguier
denied everything, experts admitted that the receipt was like his
writing, but declared it to be forged; the ribbon was explained as
part of his little daughter's dress.  The judge decided--no one will
guess what--_that Auguier should be put to the torture_!

Auguier appealed:  his advocate urged the absurdity of a ghost-story
on a priori grounds:  if there was no ghost, then there was no
treasure:  if there was a treasure, would not the other digger have
secured his share?  That digger, Bernard, was not called.  Then
Auguier pled an alibi, he was eight leagues away when he was said to
have received the treasure.  Why he did not urge this earlier does
not appear.

Mirabel's advocate first defended from the Bible and the Fathers,
the existence of ghosts.  The Faculty of Theology, in Paris, had
vouched for them only two years before this case, in 1724.  The
Sorbonne had been as explicit, in 1518.  'The Parliament of Paris
_often_ permitted the tenant of a haunted house to break his
contract.' {253}  Ghosts or no ghosts, Mirabel's counsel said, there
_was_ a treasure.  In his receipt Auguier, to deceive a simple
peasant, partially disguised his hand.  Auguier's alibi is
worthless, he might easily have been at Marseilles and at Pertuis on
the same day:  the distance is eight leagues.

Bernard was now at last called in; he admitted that Mirabel told him
of the ghost, that they dug, and found some linen, but that he never
saw any gold.  He had carried the money from Mirabel to pay for the
masses due to the ghost.  Mirabel had shown him a document, for
which he said he had paid a crown, and Bernard (who probably could
not read) believed it to be like Auguier's receipt.  Bernard, of
course, having been denied his share, was not a friendly witness.  A
legal document was put in, showing that Madame Placasse (on whose
land the treasure lay) summoned Mirabel to refund it to her.  The
document was a summons to him.  But this document was forged, and
Mirabel, according to a barrister whom he had consulted about it,
said it was handed to him by a man unknown.  Why the barrister
should have betrayed his client is not clear.  Mirabel and
Marguerite Caillot, his first witness, who had deposed to his
telling her about the ghost, and to seeing the excavation of the
packet, were now arrested, while Auguier remained in prison.
Marguerite now denied her original deposition, she had only spoken
to oblige Mirabel.  One Etienne Barthelemy was next arrested:  he
admitted that he had 'financed' Mirabel during the trial, but denied
that he had suborned any witnesses.  Two experts differed, as usual,
about Auguier's receipt; a third was called in, and then they
unanimously decided that it was not in his hand.  On February 18,
1729, Auguier was acquitted, Mirabel was condemned to the torture,
and to the galley, for life.  Marguerite Caillot was fined ten
francs.  _Under torture_ Mirabel accused Barthelemy of having made
him bring his charge against Auguier, supplying him with the forged
receipt and with the sham document, the summons to restore the gold
to Madame Placasse.  Oddly enough he still said that he had handed
sacks of coin to Auguier, and that one of them was tied up with the
gold-coloured ribbon.  Two of his witnesses, _under torture_, stuck
to their original statements.  They were sentenced to be hung up by
the armpits, and Barthelemy was condemned to the galleys for life.

It is a singular tale, and shows strange ideas of justice.  Once
condemned to the galleys, Mirabel might as well have made a clean
breast of it; but this he did not do:  he stuck to his bags and
gold-coloured ribbon.  Manifestly Mirabel would have had a better
chance of being believed in court if he had dropped the ghost
altogether.  It is notable that Sir Walter probably gave his version
of this affair from memory:  he says that Mirabel 'was non-suited
upon the ground that, if his own story was true, the treasure, by
the ancient laws of France, belonged to the crown'.

Scott's next case is very uninteresting, at least as far as it is
given in Howell's State Trials, vol. xii. (1692), p. 875.

A gentleman named Harrison had been accused of beguiling a Dr.
Clenche into a hackney coach, on pretence of taking him to see a
patient.  There were two men in the coach, besides the doctor.  They
sent the coachman on an errand, and when he came back he found the
men fled and Clenche murdered.  He had been strangled with a
handkerchief.  On evidence which was chiefly circumstantial,
Harrison was found guilty, and died protesting his innocence.  Later
a Mrs. Milward declared that her husband, before his death,
confessed to her that he and a man named Cole were the murderers of
Dr. Clenche.  The ghost of her husband persecuted her, she said,
till Cole was arrested.  Mr. Justice Dolben asked her in court for
the story, but feared that the jury would laugh at her.  She
asserted the truth of her story, but, if she gave any details, they
are not reported.  Cole was acquitted, and the motives of Mrs.
Milward remain obscure.

Coming to the tract which he reprints, Sir Walter says that his
notice was first drawn to it, in 1792, by Robert McIntosh, Esq., one
of the counsel in the case, which was heard in Edinburgh, June 10,
1754.  Grant of Prestongrange, the Lord Advocate well known to
readers of Mr. Stevenson's Catriona, prosecuted Duncan Terig or
Clerk, and Alexander Bain Macdonald, for the murder of Sergeant
Arthur Davies on September 28, 1749.  They shot him on Christie
Hill, at the head of Glenconie.  There his body remained concealed
for some time, and was later found with a hat marked with his
initials, A. R. D.  They are also charged with taking his watch, two
gold rings, and a purse of gold, whereby Clerk, previously
penniless, was enabled to take and stock two farms.

Donald Farquharson, in Glendee, deposes that, in June, 1750,
Alexander Macpherson sent for him, and said that he was much
troubled by the ghost of the serjeant, who insisted that he should
bury his bones, and should consult Farquharson.  Donald did not
believe this quite, but trembled lest the ghost should vex him.  He
went with Macpherson, who showed the body in a peat-moss.  The body
was much decayed, the dress all in tatters.  Donald asked Macpherson
whether the apparition denounced the murderers:  he replied that the
ghost said it would have done so, had Macpherson not asked the
question.  They buried the body on the spot, Donald attested that he
had seen the Serjeant's rings on the hand of Clerk's wife.  For
three years the prisoners had been suspected by the country side.

Macpherson declared that he had seen an apparition of a man in blue,
who said, 'I am Serjeant Davies,' that he at first took this man for
a brother of Donald Farquharson's, that he followed the man, or
phantasm, to the door, where the spectre repeated its assertions,
and pointed out the spot where the bones lay.  He found them, and
then went, as already shown, to Donald Farquharson.  Between the
first vision and the burying, the ghost came to him naked, and this
led him to inter the remains.  On the second appearance, the ghost
denounced the prisoners.  Macpherson gave other evidence, not
spectral, which implicated Clerk.  But, when asked what language the
ghost spoke in, he answered, 'as good Gaelic as he had ever heard in
Lochaber'.  'Pretty well,' said his counsel, Scott's informant,
McIntosh, 'for the ghost of an English serjeant.'  This was probably
conclusive with the jury, for they acquitted the prisoners, in the
face of the other incriminating evidence.  This was illogical.
Modern students of ghosts, of course, would not have been staggered
by the ghost's command of Gaelic:  they would explain it as a
convenient hallucinatory impression made by the ghost on the mind of
the 'percipient'.  The old theologians would have declared that a
good spirit took Davies's form, and talked in the tongue best known
to Macpherson.  Scott's remark is, that McIntosh's was 'no sound
jest, for there was nothing more ridiculous in a ghost speaking a
language which he did not understand when in the body, than there
was in his appearing at all'.  But jurymen are not logicians.
Macpherson added that he told his tale to none of the people with
him in the sheiling, but that Isobel McHardie assured him she 'saw
such a vision'.  Isobel, in whose service Macpherson had been,
deponed that, while she lay at one end of the sheiling and
Macpherson at the other, 'she saw something naked come in at the
door, which frighted her so much that she drew the clothes over her
head'.  Next day she asked Macpherson what it was, and he replied
'she might be easy, for that it would not trouble them any more'.

The rest of the evidence went very strongly against the accused, but
the jury unanimously found them 'Not Guilty'.

Scott conjectures that Macpherson knew of the murder (as indeed he
had good reason, if his non-spectral evidence is true), but that he
invented the ghost, whose commands must be obeyed, that he might
escape the prejudice entertained by the Celtic race against citizens
who do their duty.  Davies, poor fellow, was a civil good-humoured
man, and dealt leniently (as evidence showed) with Highlanders who
wore the tartan.  Their national costume was abolished, as we all
know, by English law, after the plaid had liberally displayed
itself, six miles south of Derby, in 1745.

So far it is plain that 'what the ghost said is not evidence,' and
may even ruin a very fair case, for there can be little doubt as to
who killed Serjeant Davies.  But examples which Scott forgot, for of
course he knew them, prove that, in earlier times, a ghost's
testimony was not contemned by English law.  Cases are given, with
extracts from documents, in a book so familiar to Sir Walter as
Aubrey's Miscellanies.  Aubrey (b. 1626, d. 1697) was a F.R.S., and,
like several other contemporary Fellows of the Royal Society, was a
keen ghost hunter.  He published {259} 'A full and true Relation of
the Examination and Confession of William Barwick, and Edward
Mangall, of two horrid murders'.

Barwick killed his wife, who was about to bear a child, near Cawood
in Yorkshire, on April 14, 1690.  Barwick had intrigued with his
wife before marriage, and perhaps was 'passing weary of her love'.
On April 14, Palm Monday, he went to his brother-in-law, Thomas
Lofthouse, near York, who had married Mrs. Barwick's sister.  He
informed Lofthouse that he had taken Mrs. Barwick, for her
confinement, to the house of his uncle, Harrison, in Selby.  On
September 17, at York assizes, Lofthouse swore that on Easter
Tuesday (eight days after Palm Monday, namely April 22), he was
watering a quickset hedge, at mid-day, when he saw 'the apparition
in the shape of a woman walking before him'.  She sat down opposite
the pool whence he drew water, he passed her as he went, and,
returning with his pail filled, saw her again.  She was dandling on
her lap some white object which he had not observed before.  He
emptied his pail, and, 'standing in his yard' looked for her again.
She was no longer present.  She wore a brown dress and a white hood,
'such as his wife's sister usually wore, and her face looked extream
pale, her teeth in sight, no gums appearing, her visage being like
his wife's sister'.

It certainly seems as if this resemblance was an after-thought of
Lofthouse's, for he dismissed the matter from his mind till prayers,
when it 'discomposed his devotions'.  He then mentioned the affair
to his wife, who inferred that her sister had met with foul play.
On April 23, that is the day after the vision, he went to Selby,
where Harrison denied all knowledge of Mrs. Barwick.  On April 24,
Lofthouse made a deposition to this effect before the mayor of York,
but, in his published statement of that date, he only avers that
'hearing nothing of the said Barwick's wife, he imagined Barwick had
done her some mischief'.  There is not a word hereof the phantasm
sworn to by Lofthouse at the assizes on September 17.  Nevertheless,
on April 24, Barwick confessed to the mayor of York, that 'on Monday
was seventh night' (there seems to be an error here) he 'found the
conveniency of a pond' (as Aubrey puts it) 'adjoining to a quickwood
hedge,' and there drowned the woman, and buried her hard by.  At the
assizes, Barwick withdrew his confession, and pleaded 'Not Guilty'.
Lofthouse, his wife, and a third person swore, however, that the
dead woman was found buried in her clothes by the pond side, and on
the prisoner's confession being read, he was found guilty, and
hanged in chains.  Probably he was guilty, but Aubrey's dates are
confused, and we are not even sure whether there were two ponds, and
two quickset hedges, or only one of each.  Lofthouse may have seen a
stranger, dressed like his sister-in-law, this may have made him
reflect on Barwick's tale about taking her to Selby; he visited that
town, detected Barwick's falsehood, and the terror of that discovery
made Barwick confess.

Surtees, in his History of Durham, published another tale, which
Scott's memory did not retain.  In 1630, a girl named Anne Walker
was about to have a child by a kinsman, also a Walker, for whom she
kept house.  Walker took her to Dame Care, in Chester le Street,
whence he and Mark Sharp removed her one evening late in November.
Fourteen days afterwards, late at night, Graime, a fuller, who lived
six miles from Walker's village, Lumley, saw a woman, dishevelled,
blood-stained, and with five wounds in her head, standing in a room
in his mill.  She said she was Anne Walker, that Mark Sharp had
slain her with a collier's pick, and thrown her body into a coal-
pit, hiding the pick under the bank.  After several visitations,
Graime went with his legend to a magistrate, the body and pick-axe
were discovered, Walker and Sharp were arrested, and tried at
Durham, in August, 1631.  Sharp's boots, all bloody, were found
where the ghost said he had concealed them 'in a stream'; how they
remained bloody, if in water, is hard to explain.  Against Walker
there was no direct evidence.  The prisoners, the judge summing up
against them, were found guilty and hanged, protesting their

It is suggested that Graime himself was the murderer, else, how did
he know so much about it?  But Walker and Sharp were seen last with
the woman, and the respectable Walker was not without a motive,
while, at this distance, we can conjecture no motive in the case of
Graime. {262}  Cockburn's Voyage up the Mediterranean is the
authority (ii. 35) for a very odd trial in the Court of King's
Bench, London.  The logs of three ships, under Captains Barnaby,
Bristow and Brown, were put in to prove that, on Friday, 15th May,
1687, these men, with many others, were shooting rabbits on
Stromboli:  that when beaters and all were collected, about a
quarter to four, they _all_ saw a man in grey, and a man in black
run towards them, the one in grey leading, that Barnaby exclaimed,
'The foremost is old Booty, my next door neighbour,' that the
figures vanished into the flames of the volcano.  This occurrence,
by Barnaby's desire, they noted in their journals.  They were all
making merry, on October 6, 1687, at Gravesend, when Mrs. Barnaby
remarked to her husband:  'My dear, old Booty is dead!'  The captain
replied:  'We all saw him run into hell'.  Mrs. Booty, hearing of
this remark, sued Barnaby for libel, putting her damages at 1000
pounds.  The case came on, the clothes of old Booty were shown in
court:  the date and hour of his death were stated, and
corresponded, within two minutes, to the moment when the mariners
beheld the apparition in Stromboli, 'so the widow lost her cause'.
A mediaeval legend has been revived in this example.

All these curious legal cases were, no doubt, familiar to Sir Walter
Scott.  He probably had no access to an American example which was
reprinted four years after his death, by a member of the club which
he founded, the Bannatyne Club, {263} in 1836.

The evidence of the ghost-seer was republished by Mrs. Crowe, in her
Night Side of Nature.  But Mrs. Crowe neither gives the facts of the
trial correctly, nor indicates the sources of the narrative.  The
source was a periodical, The Opera Glass, February 3, 1827, thirty
years after the date of the trial.  The document, however, had
existed 'for many years,' in the possession of the anonymous
contributor to The Opera Glass.  He received it from one of the
counsel in the case, Mr. Nicholson, afterwards a judge in Maryland,
who compiled it from attested notes made by himself in court.

The suit was that of James, Fanny, Robert, and Thomas Harris,
devisees of Thomas Harris, v. Mary Harris, relict and administratrix
of James Harris, brother of Thomas, aforesaid (1798-99).  Thomas
Harris had four illegitimate children.  He held, as he supposed, a
piece of land in fee, but, in fact, he was only seized in tail.
Thus he could not sell or devise it, and his brother James was heir
in tail, the children being bastards.  These legal facts were
unknown both to James and Thomas.  Thomas made a will, leaving James
his executor, and directing that the land should be sold, and the
money divided among his own children.  James, when Thomas died, sold
the land, and, in drawing the conveyance, it was discovered that he
had no right to do so for Thomas, as it was held by Thomas in tail.
James then conveyed his right to the purchaser, and kept the money
as legal heir.  Why James could sell, if Thomas could not, the
present writer is unable to explain.  In two years, James died
intestate, and the children of Thomas brought a suit against James's
widow.  Before James's death, the ghost of Thomas had appeared
frequently to one Briggs, an old soldier in the Colonial Revolt,
bidding James 'return the proceeds of the sale to the orphans'
court, and when James heard of this from Briggs he did go to the
orphans' court, and returned himself to the estate of his brother,
to the amount of the purchase money of the land'.

Now, before the jury were sworn, the counsel, Wright and Nicholson
for the plaintiffs, Scott and Earle for the defendant, privately
agreed that the money could not be recovered, for excellent legal
reasons.  But they kept this to themselves, and let the suit go on,
merely for the pleasure of hearing Briggs, 'a man of character, of
firm, undaunted spirit,' swear to his ghost in a court of law.  He
had been intimate with Thomas Harris from boyhood.  It may be said
that he invented the ghost, in the interest of his friend's
children.  He certainly mentioned it, however, some time before he
had any conversation with it.

Briggs's evidence may be condensed very much, as the learned Mrs.
Crowe quotes it correctly in her Night Side of Nature.  In March,
1791, about nine a.m., Briggs was riding a horse that had belonged
to Harris.  In a lane adjoining the field where Harris was buried,
the horse shied, looked into the field where the tomb was, and
'neighed very loud'.  Briggs now saw Harris coming through the
field, in his usual dress, a blue coat.  Harris vanished, and the
horse went on.  As Briggs was ploughing, in June, Harris walked by
him for two hundred yards.  A lad named Bailey, who came up, made no
remark, nor did Harris tell him about the hallucination.  In August,
after dark, Harris came and laid his arms on Briggs's shoulder.
Briggs had already spoken to James Harris, 'brither to the corp,'
about these and other related phenomena, a groan, a smack on the
nose from a viewless hand, and so forth.  In October Briggs saw
Harris, about twilight in the morning.  Later, at eight o'clock in
the morning, he was busy in the field with Bailey, aforesaid, when
Harris passed and vanished:  Bailey saw nothing.  At half-past nine,
the spectre returned, and leaned on a railing:  Briggs vainly tried
to make Bailey see him.  Briggs now crossed the fence, and walked
some hundreds of yards with Harris, telling him that his will was
disputed.  Harris bade Briggs go to his aforesaid brother James, and
remind him of a conversation they had held, 'on the east side of the
wheat-stacks,' on the day when Harris's fatal illness began.  James
remembered the conversation, and said he would fulfil his brother's
desire which he actually did.  There was a later interview between
Briggs and Harris, the matter then discussed Briggs declined to
impart to the court, and the court overruled the question.  'He had
never related to any person the last conversation, and never would.'

Bailey was sworn, and deposed that Briggs had called his attention
to Harris, whom _he_ could not see, had climbed the fence, and
walked for some distance, 'apparently in deep conversation with some
person.  Witness saw no one.'

It is plain that the ghost never really understood the legal
question at issue.  The dates are difficult to reconcile.  Thomas
Harris died in 1790.  His ghost appeared in 1791.  Why was there no
trial of the case till 'about 1798 or 1799'?  Perhaps research in
the Maryland records would elucidate these and other questions; we
do but give the tale, with such authority as it possesses.  Possibly
it is an elaborate hoax, played off by Nicholson, the plaintiffs'
counsel, on the correspondent of The Opera Glass, or by him on the
editor of that periodical.

The hallucinations of Briggs, which were fortunate enough, it is
said, to get into a court of justice, singularly resemble those of
M. Bezuel, in July and August, 1697, though these were not matter of
a sworn deposition.  The evidence is in Histoire d'une Apparition
Arrivee a Valogne. {267}  The narrator of 1708, having heard much
talk of the affair, was invited to meet Bezuel, a priest, at dinner,
January 7, 1708.  He told his one story 'with much simplicity'.

In 1695, when about fifteen, Bezuel was a friend of a younger boy,
one of two brothers, Desfontaines.  In 1696, when Desfontaines minor
was going to study at Caen, he worried Bezuel into signing, in his
blood, a covenant that the first who died should appear to the
survivor.  The lads corresponded frequently, every six weeks.  On
July 31, 1697, at half-past two, Bezuel, who was hay-making, had a
fainting fit.  On August 1, at the same hour, he felt faint on a
road, and rested under a shady tree.  On August 2, at half-past two,
he fainted in a hay-loft, and vaguely remembered seeing a half-naked
body.  He came down the ladder, and seated himself on a block, in
the Place des Capucins.  Here he lost sight of his companions, but
did see Desfontaines, who came up, took his left arm, and led him
into an alley.  The servant followed, and told Bezuel's tutor that
he was talking to himself.  The tutor went to him, and heard him
asking and answering questions.  Bezuel, for three-quarters of an
hour, conversed, as he believed, with Desfontaines, who said that he
had been drowned, while bathing, at Caen, about half-past two on
July 31.  The appearance was naked to the waist, his head bare,
showing his beautiful yellow locks.  He asked Bezuel to learn a
school task that had been set him as a penalty, the seven
penitential psalms:  he described a tree at Caen, where he had cut
some words; two years later Bezuel visited it and them; he gave
other pieces of information, which were verified, but not a word
would he say of heaven, hell, or purgatory; 'he seemed not to hear
my questions'.  There were two or three later interviews, till
Bezuel carried out the wishes of the phantasm.

When the spectral Desfontaines went away, on the first occasion,
Bezuel told another boy that Desfontaines was drowned.  The lad ran
to the parents of Desfontaines, who had just received a letter to
that effect.  By some error, the boy thought that the _elder_
Desfontaines had perished, and said so to Bezuel, who denied it,
and, on a second inquiry, Bezuel was found to be right.

The explanation that Bezuel was ill (as he certainly was), that he
had heard of the death of his friend just _before_ his
hallucination, and had forgotten an impressive piece of news, which,
however, caused the apparition, is given by the narrator of 1708.
The kind of illusion in which a man is seen and heard to converse
with empty air, is common to the cases of Bezuel and of Briggs, and
the writer is acquainted, at first hand, with a modern example.

Mrs. Crowe cites, on the authority of the late Mr. Maurice Lothian,
solicitor for the plaintiff, a suit which arose out of 'hauntings,'
and was heard in the sheriff's court, at Edinburgh, in 1835-37.  But
we are unable to discover the official records, or extracts of
evidence from them.  This is to be regretted, but, by way of
consolation, we have the pleadings on both sides in an ancient
French case of a haunted house.  These are preserved in his Discours
des Spectres, a closely printed quarto of nearly 1000 pages, by
Pierre le Loyer, Conseiller du Roy au Siege Presidial d'Angers.
{269}  Le Loyer says, 'De gayete de coeur semble m'estre voulu
engager au combat contre ceux qui impugnent les spectres!'  As Le
Loyer observes, ghosts seldom come into court in civil cases, except
when indicted as nuisances, namely, when they make a hired house
uninhabitable by their frolics.  Then the tenant often wants to quit
the house, and to have his contract annulled.  The landlord resists,
an action is brought, and is generally settled in accordance with
the suggestion of Alphenus, in his Digests, book ii.  Alphenus says,
in brief, that the fear must be a genuine fear, and that reason for
no ordinary dread must be proved.  Hence Arnault Ferton, in his
Customal of Burgundy, advises that 'legitimate dread of phantasms
which trouble men's rest and make night hideous' is reason good for
leaving a house, and declining to pay rent after the day of
departure.  Covarruvias, a Spanish legist, already quoted, agrees
with Arnault Ferton.  The Parliament of Grenada, in one or two
cases, decided in favour of the tenant, and against the landlord of
houses where spectres racketed.  Le Loyer now reports the pleadings
in a famous case, of which he does not give the date.  Incidentally,
however, we learn that it can hardly have been earlier than 1550.
The cause was heard, on appeal, before the Parlement de Paris.

Pierre Piquet, guardian of Nicolas Macquereau (a minor), let to
Giles Bolacre a house in the suburbs of Tours.  Poor Bolacre was
promptly disturbed by a noise and routing of _invisible_ spirits,
which suffered neither himself nor his family to sleep o' nights.
He then cited Piquet, also Daniel Macquereau, who was concerned in
the letting of the house, before the local seat of Themis.  The case
was heard, and the judge at Tours broke the lease, the hauntings
being insupportable nuisances.  But this he did without letters
royal.  The lessors then appealed, and the case came before the Cour
de Parlement in Paris.  Maitre Chopin was for the lessors, Nau
appeared for the tenant.  Chopin first took the formal point, the
Tours judge was formally wrong in breaking a covenant without
letters royal, a thing particularly bad in the case of a minor,
Nicolas Macquereau.

So much for the point of form; as to the matter, Maitre Chopin
laughed at the bare idea of noisy spirits.  This is notable because,
in an age when witches were burned frequently, the idea of a haunted
house could be treated by the learned counsel as a mere waggery.
Yet the belief in haunted houses has survived the legal prosecution
of witches.  'The judge in Tours has merely and mischievously
encouraged superstition.'  All ghosts, brownies, lutins, are mere
bugbears of children; here Maitre Chopin quotes Plato, and Philo
Judaeus in the original, also Empedocles, Marcus Aurelius,
Tertullian, Quintilian, Dioscorides.  Perhaps Bolacre and his family
suffer from nightmare.  If so, a physician, not a solicitor, is
their man.  Or again, granting that their house _is_ haunted, they
should appeal to the clergy, not to the law.

Manifestly this is a point to be argued.  Do the expenses of
exorcism fall on landlord or tenant?  This, we think, can hardly be
decided by a quotation from Epictetus.  Alexis Comnenus bids us seek
a bishop in the case of psychical phenomena ([Greek]).  So Maitre
Chopin argues, but he evades the point.  Is it not the business of
the owner of the house to 'whustle on his ain parten,' to have his
own bogie exorcised?  Of course Piquet and Macquereau may argue that
the bogie is Bolacre's bogie, that it flitted to the house with
Bolacre; but that is a question of fact and evidence.

Chopin concludes that a lease is only voidable in case of material
defect, or nuisance, as of pestilential air, not in a case which,
after all, is a mere vice d'esprit.  Here Maitre Chopin sits down,
with a wink at the court, and Nau pleads for the tenant.  First, why
abuse the judge at Tours?  The lessors argued the case before him,
and cannot blame him for credulity.  The Romans, far from rejecting
such ideas (as Chopin had maintained), used a ritual service for
ejecting spooks, so Ovid testifies.  Greek and Roman hauntings are
cited from Pliny, Plutarch, Suetonius; in the last case (ghost of
Caligula), the house had to be destroyed, like the house at Wolflee
where the ghost, resenting Presbyterian exorcism, killed the Rev.
Mr. Thomson of Southdean, father of the author of The Castle of
Indolence.  'As to Plato, cited by my learned brother, Plato
believed in hauntings, as we read in the Phaedo,' Nau has him here.
In brief, 'the defendants have let a house as habitable, well
knowing the same to be infested by spirits'.  The Fathers are then
cited as witnesses for ghosts.  The learned counsel's argument about
a vice d'esprit is a pitiable pun.

The decision of the court, unluckily, is not preserved by Le Loyer.
The counsel for Bolacre told Le Loyer that the case was adjourned on
the formal point, but, that, having obtained letters royal for his
client, he succeeded in getting the remainder of the lease declared
void.  Comparing, however, Bouchel, s. v. Louage, in his
Bibliotheque du droit Francois, one finds that the higher court
reversed the decision of the judge at Tours.  In the Edinburgh case,
1835, the tenant, Captain Molesworth, did not try to have his lease
quashed, but he did tear up floors, pull down wainscots, and bore a
hole into the next house, that of his landlord, Mr. Webster, in
search of the cause of the noises.  Mr. Webster, therefore, brought
an action to restrain him from these experiments.

Le Loyer gives two cases of ghosts appearing to denounce murderers
in criminal cases.  He possessed the speech of the President Brisson
(at that time an advocate), in which he cited the testimony of the
spectre of Madame de Colommiers, mysteriously murdered in full day,
with her children and their nurse.  Her ghost appeared to her
husband, when wide awake, and denounced her own cousins.  As there
was no other evidence, beyond the existence of motive, the accused
were discharged.  In another well-known case, before the Parlement
de Bretagne, the ghost of a man who had mysteriously vanished,
guided his brother to the spot where his wife and her paramour had
buried him, after murdering him.  Le Loyer does not give the date of
this trial.  The wife was strangled, and her body was burned.

Modern times have known dream-evidence in cases of murder, as in the
Assynt murder, and the famous Red Barns affair.  But Thomas Harris's
is probably the last ghost cited in a court of law.  On the whole,
the ghosts have gained little by these legally attested appearances,
but the trials do throw a curious light on the juridical procedure
of our ancestors.  The famous action against the ghosts in the
Eyrbyggja Saga was not before a Christian court, and is too well
known for quotation. {273}


Thorel v. Tinel.  Action for libel in 1851.  Mr. Dale Owen's
incomplete version of this affair.  The suit really a trial for
witchcraft.  Spectral obsession.  Movements of objects.  Rappings.
Incidental folklore.  Old G.  Thorel and the cure.  The wizard's
revenge.  The haunted parlour boarder.  Examples of magical tripping
up, and provoked hallucinations.  Case of Dr. Gibotteau and Berthe
the hospital nurse.  Similar case in the Salem affair, 1692.
Evidence of witnesses to abnormal phenomena.  Mr. Robert de Saint
Victor.  M. de Mirville.  Thorel non-suited.  Other modern French
examples of witchcraft.

Perhaps the last trial for witchcraft was the case of Thorel v.
Tinel, heard before the juge de paix of Yerville, on January 28, and
February 3 and 4, 1851.  The trial was, in form, the converse of
those with which old jurisprudence was familiar.  Tinel, the Cure of
Cideville, did not accuse the shepherd Thorel of sorcery, but Thorel
accused Tinel of defaming his character by the charge of being a
warlock.  Just as when a man prosecutes another for saying that he
cheated at cards, or when a woman prosecutes another for saying that
the plaintiff stole diamonds, it is really the guilt or innocence of
the plaintiff that is in question, so the issue before the court at
Yerville was:  'Is Thorel a warlock or not?'  The court decided that
he himself had been the chief agent in spreading the slander against
himself, he was non-suited, and had to pay costs, but as to the real
cause of the events which were attributed to the magic of Thorel,
the court was unable to pronounce an opinion.

This curious case has often been cited, as by Mr. Robert Dale Owen,
in his Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World, {275} but Mr.
Owen, by accident or design, omitted almost all the essential
particulars, everything which connects the affair with such
transactions as the witch epidemic at Salem, and the trials for
sorcery before and during the Restoration.  Yet, in the events at
Cideville, and the depositions of witnesses, we have all the
characteristics of witchcraft.  First we have men by habit and
repute sorcerers.  Then we have cause of offence given to these.
Then we have their threats, malum minatum, then we have evil
following the threats, damnum secutum.  Just as of old, that damnum,
that damage, declares itself in the 'possession' of young people,
who become, more or less, subject to trances and convulsions.  One
of them is haunted, as in the old witchcraft cases, by the phantasm
of the sorcerer.  The phantasm (as in Cotton Mather's examples) is
wounded, a parallel wound is found on the suspected warlock.
Finally, the house where the obsessed victims live is disturbed by
knocks, raps, flight of objects, and inexplicable movements of heavy
furniture.  Thus all the notes of a bad affair of witchcraft are
attested in a modern trial, under the third Empire.  Finally, some
curious folklore is laid bare, light is cast on rural life and
superstition, and a singular corroboration of a singular statement,
much more recent than the occurrences at Cideville, is obtained.  A
more astonishing example of survival cannot be imagined, of
survival, or of disconnected and spontaneous revival and
recrudescence. {276}

There was at Auzebosc, near famous Yvetot, an old shepherd named G---:
he was the recognised 'wise man,' or white witch of the
district, and some less noted rural adepts gave themselves out as
his pupils.  In March, 1849, M. Tinel, Cure of Cideville, visited a
sick peasant, and advised him to discard old G., the shepherd
magical, and send for a physician.  G. was present, though
concealed, heard the cure's criticisms, and said:  'Why does he
meddle in my business, I shall meddle in his; he has pupils in his
house, we'll see how long he keeps them.'  In a few days, G. was
arrested, as practising medicine unauthorised, was imprisoned for
some months, and fancied that the cure had a share in this
persecution.  All this, of course, we must take as 'the clash of the
country side,' intent, as there was certainly damnum secutum, on
establishing malum minatum.

On a farm near the cure's house in Cideville was another shepherd,
named Thorel, a man of forty, described as dull, illiterate, and
given to boasting about his powers as a disciple of the venerable G.
Popular opinion decided that G. employed Thorel to procure his
vengeance; it was necessary that a sorcerer should _touch_ his
intended victim, and G. had not the same conveniency for doing so as
Thorel.  In old witch trials we sometimes find the witch kissing her
destined prey. {277}  Thorel, so it was said, succeeded in touching,
on Nov. 25, 1850, M. Tinel's two pupils, in a crowd at a sale of
wood.  The lads, of fifteen and twelve, were named Lemonier and
Bunel.  For what had gone before, we have, so far, only public
chatter, for what followed we have the sworn evidence in court of
the cure's pupils, in January and February, 1851.  According to
Lemonier, on Nov. 26, while studying, he heard light blows of a
hammer, these recurred daily, about 5. p.m.  When M. Tinel, his
tutor, said plus fort, the noises were louder.  To condense evidence
which becomes tedious by its eternal uniformity, popular airs were
beaten on demand; the noise grew unbearable, tables moved untouched,
a breviary, a knife, a spit, a shoe flew wildly about.  Lemonier was
buffeted by a black hand, attached to nobody.  'A kind of human
phantasm, clad in a blouse, haunted me for fifteen days wherever I
went; none but myself could see it.'  He was dragged by the leg by a
mysterious force.  On a certain day, when Thorel found a pretext for
visiting the house, M. Tinel made him beg Lemonier's pardon, clearly
on the ground that the swain had bewitched the boy.  'As soon as I
saw him I recognised the phantasm which had haunted me for a
fortnight, and I said to M. Tinel:  "There is the man who follows
me".'  Thorel knelt to the boy, asked his pardon, and pulled
violently at his clothes.  As defendant, perhaps, the cure could not
be asked to corroborate these statements.  The evidence of the other
boy, Bunel, was that, on Nov. 26, he heard first a rush of wind,
then tappings on the wall.  He corroborated Lemonier's testimony to
the musical airs knocked out, the volatile furniture, and the
recognition in Thorel of the phantom.  'In the evening,' said Bunel,
'Lemonier en eut une crise de nerfs dans laquelle il avait perdu

Leaving the boys' sworn evidence, and returning to the narrative
with its gossip, we learn that Thorel boasted of his success, and
said that, if he could but touch one of the lads again, the
furniture would dance, and the windows would be broken.  Meanwhile,
we are told, nails were driven into points in the floor where
Lemonier saw the spectral figure standing.  One nail became red hot,
and the wood round it smoked:  Lemonier said that this nail had hit
'the man in the blouse' on the cheek.  Now, when Thorel was made to
ask the boy's pardon, and was recognised by him as the phantom,
after the experiment with the nail, Thorel bore on his cheek the
mark of the wound!

This is in accordance with good precedents in witchcraft.  A witch-
hare is wounded, the witch, in her natural form, has the same wound.
At the trial of Bridget Bishop, in the court of Oyer and Terminer,
held at Salem, June 2, 1692, there was testimony brought in that a
man striking once at the place where a bewitched person said the
_shape_ of Mrs. Bishop stood, the bewitched cried out, _that he had
tore her coat_, in the place then particularly specified, and
Bishop's coat was found to be torn in that very place. {279a}  Next
day, after Thorel touched the boy, the windows broke, as he had
prophesied.  Then followed a curious scene in which Thorel tried, in
presence of the maire, to touch the cure, who retreated to the end
of the room, and struck the shepherd with his cane.  Thereupon
Thorel brought his action for libel and assault against the cure.
Forty-two witnesses were heard, it was proved that Thorel had, in
fact, frequently accused himself, and he was non-suited:  his
counsel spoke of appealing, but, unluckily, the case was not carried
to a higher court.  In a few weeks the boys were sent to their
homes, when (according to the narrative) there were disturbances at
the home of the younger lad.  Thus the cure lost his pupils.

A curious piece of traditional folklore came out, but only as
hearsay, in court.  M. Cheval, Maire of Cideville, deposed that a M.
Savoye told him that Thorel had once been shepherd to a M. Tricot.
At that time Thorel said to one of two persons in his company:
'Every time I strike my cabin (a shelter on wheels used by
shepherds) you will fall,' and, at each stroke, the victim felt
something seize his throat, and fell! {279b}  This anecdote is
curious, because in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical
Research is a long paper by Dr. Gibotteau, on his experiments with a
hospital nurse called Berthe.  This woman, according to the doctor,
had the power of making him see hallucinations, of a nature more or
less horrible, from a distance.  She had been taught some
traditional feats of rural sorcery, among others that of making a
man stumble, or fall, as he walked.  The doctor does not make any
allusion to the Cideville affair, and it seems probable that this
trick is part of the peasant's magical repertoire, or, rather, that
the peasant warlocks boast of being able to perform the trick.  But,
if we can accept the physician's evidence, as 'true for him,' at
least, then a person like Berthe really might affect, from a
distance, a boy like Lemonier with a haunting hallucination.  To do
this is witchcraft, and for crimes of this kind, or on false charges
of this kind, poor Mrs. Bishop was burned at Salem in 1692.

At the lowest, we have all the notes of sorcery as our rude
ancestors knew it, in this modern affair.  Two hundred years
earlier, Thorel would have been burned, and G., too, probably, for
the Maire of Cideville swore that before the disturbances, and three
weeks after G. was let out of prison, Thorel had warned him of the
trouble which G. would bring on the cure.  Meanwhile the evidence
shows no conscious malignity on the part of the two boys.  They at
first took very little notice of the raps, attributing the noises to
mice.  Not till the sounds increased, and showed intelligence, as by
drumming tunes, did the lads concern themselves, much about the
matter.  At no time (it seems) did they ask to be sent home, and, of
course, to be relieved from their lessons and sent home would be
their motive, if they practised a fraud.  We may admit that, from
rural tradition, the boys might have learned what the customary
phenomena are, knocks, raps, moving tables, heavy objects sailing
tranquilly about a room.  It would be less easy for them to produce
these phenomena, nor did the people of all classes who flocked to
Cideville detect any imposture.

A land surveyor swore that the raps went on when he had placed the
boy in an attitude which made fraud (in his opinion) impossible.  A
gentleman M. de B. 'took all possible precautions' but,
nevertheless, was entertained by 'a noise which performed the tunes
demanded'.  He could discover no cause of the noise.  M. Huet,
touching a table with his finger, received responsive raps, which
answered questions, 'at the very place where I struck, and beneath
my finger.  I cannot explain the fact, which, I am convinced, was
not caused by the child, nor by any one in the house.'  M. Cheval
saw things fly about, he slept in the boy's room, and his pillow
flew from under his head.  He lay down between the children, holding
their hands, and placing his feet on theirs, when the coverlet of
the bed arose, and floated away.  The Marquis de Mirville had a
number of answers by raps, which staggered him very much, but the
force was quite feeble when he asked for portions of Italian music.
Madame de St. Victor felt herself pushed, and her clothes pulled in
the cure's house, when no one was near her.  She also saw furniture
behave in a fantastic manner, and M. Raoul Robert de St. Victor had
many such experiences.  M. Paul de St. Victor was not present.  A
desk sailed along:  paused in air, and fell:  'I had never seen a
movement of this kind, and I admit that I was alarmed'.  Le
Seigneur, a farmer, saw 'a variety of objects arise and sail about':
he was certain that the boys did not throw them, and when in their
company, in the open air, between Cideville and Anzooville, 'I saw
stones come to us, without striking us, hurled by some invisible
force'.  There was other confirmatory evidence, from men of physic,
and of the law.

The juge de paix, as we have seen, pronounced that the clearest
point in the case was 'the absence of known cause for the effects,'
and he non-suited Thorel, the plaintiff.

The cause of the phenomena is, of course, as obscure for us as for
the worthy magistrate.  We can only say that, when precisely similar
evidence was brought before judges and juries in England and New
England, at a period when medicine, law, and religion all recognised
the existence of witchcraft, magic, and diabolical possession, they
had scarcely any choice but to condemn the accused.  Causa patet,
they said:  'The devil is at the bottom of it all, and the witch is
his minister'.

The affair of Cideville by no means stands alone in modern France.
In 1853, two doctors and other witnesses signed a deposition as to
precisely similar phenomena attending Adelaide Francoise Millet, a
girl of twelve, at Songhien, in Champagne.  The trouble, as at Cock
Lane, began by a sound of scratching on the wood of her bed.  The
clerk of the juge de la paix, the master of the Douane, two doctors,
and others visited her, and tied her hands and feet.  The noise
continued.  Mysterious missiles pursued a girl in Martinique, in
1854.  The house, which was stormed by showers of stone, in Paris
(1846), entirely baffled the police. {283a}  There is a more
singular parallel to the Cideville affair, the account was printed
from the letter of a correspondent in the Abeille of Chartres, March
11, 1849. {283b}  At Gaubert, near Guillonville, a man was
imprisoned for thefts of hay, the property of a M. Dolleans.  Two
days after his arrest, namely, on December 31, 1848, the servant of
M. Dolleans had things of all sorts thrown at her from all
directions.  She fell ill, and went into hospital for five days,
_where she was untroubled_.  On her return, in the middle of a
conversation, ribbons and bits of string would fly at her, and twist
themselves round her neck, as in the case of Francis Fey, of
Spraiton, given by Aubrey and Bovet.  Mademoiselle Dolleans
carefully watched the girl for a fortnight, and never let her out of
her sight, but could not discover any fraud.  After about a month
the maid was sent home, where she was not molested.  Naturally we
see in her the half-insane cunning of hysteria, but that explanation
does not apply to little Master Dolleans, a baby of three months
old.  The curse fell on _him_:  however closely his parents watched
him, pots and pans showered into his cradle, the narrator himself
saw a miscellaneous collection of household furniture mysteriously
amassed there.

The Abeille of Chartres held this letter over, till two of its
reporters had visited the scene of action, and interviewed doctors,
priests, and farmers, who all attested the facts.  Happily, in this
case, an exorcism by a priest proved efficacious.  At Cideville,
holy water and consecrated medals were laughed at by the sprite,
who, by the way, answered to the name of Robert.


Religious excitement and hallucination.  St. Anthony.  Zulu
catechumens.  Haunted Covenanters.  Strange case of Thomas Smeaton.
Law's 'Memorialls'.  A deceitful spirit.  Examples of insane and
morbidly sensitive ghosts.  'Le revenant qui s'accuse s'excuse.'
Raising the devil in Irvine.  Mode of evocation.  Wodrow.  His
account of Margaret Lang, and Miss Shaw of Bargarran.  The unlucky
Shaws.  Lord Torphichen's son.  Cases from Wodrow.  Lord Middleton's
story.  Haunted house.  Wraiths.  Lord Orrery's ghost no
metaphysician.  The Bride of Lammermoor.  Visions of the saints.
Their cautiousness.  Ghost appearing to a Jacobite.  Ghost of a
country tradesman.  Case of telepathy known to Wodrow.  Avenging
spectres.  Lack of evidence.  Tale of Cotton Mather.

In spite of a very general opinion to the opposite effect, it is not
really easy to determine in what kind of age, and in what conditions
of thought and civilisation, ghosts will most frequently appear, and
ghostly phenomena will chiefly abound.  We are all ready to aver
that 'ghaists and eldritch fantasies' will be most common 'in the
dark ages,' in periods of ignorance or superstition.  But research
in mediaeval chronicles, and in lives of the saints makes it
apparent that, while marvels on a large and imposing scale were
frequent, simple ordinary apparitions and haunted houses occur
comparatively seldom.  Perhaps they were too common to be thought
worth noticing, yet they are noticed occasionally, and, even in
these periods of superstition, were apparently regarded as not quite
everyday phenomena.

One thing in this matter is tolerably certain, namely, that intense
religious excitement produces a tendency to believe in marvels of
all sorts, and also begets a capacity for being hallucinated, for
beholding spectres, strange lights, dubious miracles.  Thus every
one has heard of the temptation of St. Anthony, and of other early
Christian Fathers.  They were wont to be surrounded by threatening
aspects of wild beasts, which had no real existence.  In the same
way the early Zulu converts of Bishop Callaway, when they retired to
lonely places to pray, were haunted by visionary lions, and
phantasms of enemies with assegais.  They, probably, had never heard
of St. Anthony's similar experiences, nor, again, of the diabolical
attacks on the converts of Catholic missionaries in Cochin China,
and in Peru.

Probably the most recent period of general religious excitement in
our country was that of the Covenant in Scotland.  Not a mere
scattered congregation or two, as in the rise of Irvingism, but a
vast proportion of a whole people lived lives of prolonged ecstatic
prayer, and often neglected food for days.  Consequently devout
Covenanters, retired in lonely places to pray, were apt to be
infested by spectral animals, black dogs as a rule, and they doubted
not at all that the black dog was the Accuser of the Brethren.  We
have Catholic evidence, in Father Piatti's Life of Father
Elphinstone, S. J., to black dogs haunting Thomas Smeaton, the
friend of Andrew Melville (1580).  But Father Piatti thinks that the
dogs were avenging devils, Smeaton being an apostate (MS. Life of
Elphinstone).  Again Covenanters would see mysterious floods of
light, as the heathen also used, but, like the heathen, they were
not certain as to whether the light was produced by good or bad
spirits.  Like poor bewildered Porphyry, many centuries earlier,
they found the spirits 'very deceitful'.  You never can depend on
them.  This is well illustrated by the Rev. Mr. Robert Law, a
Covenanting minister, but _not_ a friend of fanaticism and sedition.

In his Memorialls, a work not published till long after his death,
he gives this instance of the deceitfulness of sprites.  The Rev.
Mr. John Shaw, in Ireland, was much troubled by witches, and by
'cats coming into his chamber and bed'.  He died, so did his wife,
'and, as was supposed, witched'.  Before Mr. Shaw's death his groom,
in the stable, saw 'a great heap of hay rolling toward him, and then
appeared' (the hay not the groom) 'in the shape and lykness of a
bair.  He charges it to appear in human shape, which it did.'  The
appearance made a tryst to meet the groom, but Mr. Shaw forbade this
tampering with evil in the lykness of a bair.  However a stone was
thrown at the groom, which he took for a fresh invitation from the
bair, so he went to the place appointed.  'The divill appears in
human shape, with his heid running down with blood,' and explains
that he is 'the spirit of a murdered man who lay under his bed, and
buried in the ground, and who was murdered by such a man, naming him
by name'.  The groom, very naturally, dug in the spot pointed out by
this versatile phantom, 'but finds nothing of bones or anything lyke
a grave, and shortly after this man dyes,' having failed to discover
that the person accused of murder had ever existed at all.

Many ghosts have a perfect craze for announcing that bodies or
treasures, are buried where there is nothing of the sort.  Glanvill
has a tale of a ghost who accused himself of a murder, and led a man
to a place in a wood where the corpse of the slain was to be found.
There was no corpse, the ghost was mad.  The Psychical Society have
published the narratives of a housemaid and a butler who saw a lady
ghost.  She, later, communicated through a table her intention to
appear at eleven p.m.  The butler and two ladies saw her, the
gentlemen present did _not_.  The ghost insisted that jewels were
buried in the cellar; the butler dug, but found none.  The writer is
acquainted with another ghost, not published, who labours under
morbid delusions.  For reasons wholly unfounded on fact she gave a
great deal of trouble to a positive stranger.  Now there was
literally no sense in these proceedings.  Such is ghostly evidence,
ever deceitful!

'It's not good,' says Mr. Law, 'to come in communing terms with
Satan, there is a snare in the end of it;' yet people have actually
been hanged, in England, on the evidence of a ghost!  On the
evidence of the devil, some other persons were accused of theft, in
1682.  This is a remarkable instance; we often hear of raising the
ghostly foe, but we are seldom told how it can be done.  This is how
it was done in February, 1682, at the house of the Hon. Robert
Montgomery, in Irvine.  Some objects of silver plate were stolen, a
maid was suspected, she said 'she would raise the devil, but she
would know who the thief was'.  Taking, therefore, a Bible, she went
into a cellar, where she drew a circle round her, and turned a sieve
on end twice, from right to left.  In her hand she held nine
feathers from the tail of a black cock.  She next read Psalm li.
forwards, and then backwards Revelations ix. 19.  'He' then
appeared, dressed as a sailor with a blue cap.  At each question she
threw three feathers at him:  finally he showed as a black man with
a long tail.  Meanwhile all the dogs in Irvine were barking, as in
Greece when Hecate stood by the cross-ways.  The maid now came and
told Mrs. Montgomery (on information received) that the stolen plate
was in the box of a certain servant, where, of course, she had
probably placed it herself.  However the raiser of the devil was
imprisoned for the spiritual offence.  She had learned the rite 'at
Dr. Colvin's house in Ireland, who used to practise this'.

The experiment may easily be repeated by the scientific.

Though Mr. Law is strong in witches and magic, he has very few ghost
stories; indeed, according to his philosophy, even a common wraith
of a living person is really the devil in that disguise.  The
learned Mr. Wodrow, too, for all his extreme pains, cannot be called
a very successful amateur of spectres.  A mighty ghost hunter was
the Rev. Robert Wodrow of Eastwood, in Renfrewshire, the learned
historian of the sufferings of the Kirk of Scotland (1679-1734).
Mr. Wodrow was an industrious antiquarian, a student of geology, as
it was then beginning to exist, a correspondent for twenty years of
Cotton Mather, and a good-hearted kind man, that would hurt nobody
but a witch or a Papist.  He had no opportunity to injure members of
either class, but it is plain, from his four large quarto volumes,
called Analecta, that he did not lack the will.  In his Analecta Mr.
Wodrow noted down all the news that reached him, scandals about 'The
Pretender,' Court Gossip, Heresies of Ministers, Remarkable
Providences, Woful Apparitions, and 'Strange Steps of Providence'.
Ghosts, second sight, dreams, omens, premonitions, visions, did
greatly delight him, but it is fair to note that he does not vouch
for all his marvels, but merely jots them down, as matters of
hearsay.  Thus his pages are valuable to the student of
superstition, because they contain 'the clash of the country' for
about forty years, and illustrate the rural or ecclesiastical
aberglaube of our ancestors, at the moment when witchcraft was
ceasing to be a recognised criminal offence.

A diary of Wodrow's exists, dating from April 3, 1697, when he was
but nineteen years of age.  On June 10, 1697, he announces the
execution of some witches at Paisley:  seven were burned, among them
one, Margaret Lang, who accused herself of horrible crimes.  The
victim of the witches burned in 1697 was a child of eleven, daughter
of John Shaw of Bargarran.  This family was unlucky in its spiritual
accidents.  The previous laird, as we learn from the contemporary
Law, in his Memorialls, rode his horse into a river at night, and
did not arrive at the opposite bank.  Every effort was made to find
his body in the stream, which was searched as far as the sea.  The
corpse was at last discovered in a ditch, two miles away, shamefully
mutilated.  The money of the laird, and other objects of value, were
still in his pockets.  This was regarded as the work of fiends, but
there is a more plausible explanation.  Nobody but his groom saw the
laird ride into the river; the chances are that he was murdered in
revenge,--certain circumstances point to this,--and that the servant
was obliged to keep the secret, and invent the story about riding
the ford.

The daughter of Bargarran's successor and heir was probably a
hysterical child, who was led, by the prevailing superstition, to
believe that witches caused her malady.  How keen the apprehensions
were among children, we learn from a document preserved by Wodrow.
An eminent Christian of his acquaintance thought in boyhood that an
old woman looked crossly at him, and he went in dread of being
bewitched for a whole summer.  The mere terror might have caused
fits, he would then have denounced the old woman, and she would
probably have been burned.  Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, in his
preface to Law's Memorialls (p. xcii.), says that Miss Shaw was
'antient in wickedness,' and thus accounts for her 'pretending to be
bewitched,' by way of revenging herself on one of the maid-servants.
Twenty people were finally implicated, several were executed, and
one killed himself.  The child, probably hysterical, and certainly
subject to convulsions, was really less to blame than 'the absurd
credulity of various otherwise worthy ministers, and some topping
professors in and about Glasgow,' as Sharpe quotes the MS. 'Treatise
on witchcraft' of the Rev. Mr. Bell.  Strangely enough the great
thread manufactories of Renfrewshire owed their origin to this Miss
Shaw, aided by a friend who had acquired some technical secrets in
Holland.  She married a minister in 1718, and probably her share in
an abominable crime lay light on her conscience.  Her fellow-
sufferer from witchcraft, a young Sandilands, son of Lord Torphichen
(1720), became a naval officer of distinguished gallantry.

Wodrow does not appear to have witnessed the execution at Paisley,
one of the last in Scotland, but he had no doubt that witches should
be put to death.  In 1720, when the son of Lord Torphichen exhibited
some curious phenomena, exaggerated by report into clairvoyance and
flying in the air, nobody was punished.  In spite of his
superstition in regard to witches, Wodrow (September 20, 1697)
sensibly explains a death-wraith by the anxiety of the lady who
beheld it.  He also, still in the diary, records a case of second
sight, but that occurred in Argyleshire.  It will be found, in fact,
that all the second-sighted people except some ministers during the
sufferings (and they reckoned as prophets) were Highlanders.
Considering his avidity for ghost-stories, it is remarkable that he
scarcely ever receives them at even second hand, and that most of
them are remote in point of time.  On the other side, he secures a
few religious visions, as of shining lights comforting devout
ladies, from the person concerned.  His narratives fall into regular
categories, Haunted Houses, Ghosts, Wraiths, Second Sight,
Consolatory Divine Visions.  Thus Mr. Stewart's uncle, Harry, 'ane
eminent Christian, and very joviall,' at a drinking party saw
himself in bed, and his coffin at his bed-foot.  This may be
explained as a case of 'the horrors,' a malady incident to the
jovial.  He died in a week, In vino veritas.

Lord Middleton's ghost-story Wodrow got from the son of a man who,
as Lauderdale's chaplain, heard Middleton tell it at dinner.  He had
made a covenant with the Laird of Babigni that the first who died
should appear to the survivor.  Babigni was slain in battle,
Middleton was put in the Tower, where Babigni appeared to him, sat
with him for an hour by the clock, and predicted the Restoration.
'His hand was hote and soft,' but Middleton, brave in the field, was
much alarmed.  He had probably drunk a good deal in the Tower.  This
anecdote was very widely rumoured.  Aubrey publishes a version of it
in his Miscellanies, and Law gives another in his Memorialls (p.
162).  He calls 'Babigni'--'Barbigno,' and 'Balbegno'.  According to
Law, it was not the laird's ghost that appeared, but 'the devil in
his lykness'.  Law and Aubrey make the spirit depart after uttering
a couplet, which they quote variously.

For a haunted house, Wodrow provides us with that of Johnstone of
Mellantae, in Annandale (1707).  The authority is Mr. Cowan, who had
it from Mr. Murray, minister of St. Mungo's, who got it from
Mellantae himself, the worthy gentleman weeping as he described his
misfortunes.  His daughter, Miss Johnstone, was milking a cow in the
byre, by daylight, when she saw a tall man, almost naked, probably a
tramp, who frightened her into a swoon.  The house was then
'troubled and disturbed' by flights of stones, and disappearance of
objects.  Young Dornock, after a visit to Mellantae, came back with
a story that loud knockings were heard on the beds, and sounds of
pewter vessels being thrown about, though, in the morning, all were
found in their places.  The ghost used also to pull the medium, Miss
Johnstone, by the foot, and toss her bed-clothes about.

Next, at first hand from Mr. Short, we have a death-wraith beheld by
him of his friend Mr. Scrimgeour.  The hour was five a.m. on a
summer morning, and Mr. Scrimgeour expired at that time in
Edinburgh.  Again, we have the affair of Mr. Blair, of St. Andrews,
the probationer, and the devil, who, in return for a written
compact, presented the probationer with an excellent sermon.  On the
petition of Mr. Blair, the compact fell from the roof of the church.
The tale is told by Increase Mather about a French Protestant
minister, and, as Increase wrote twenty years before Wodrow, we may
regard Wodrow's anecdote as a myth; for the incident is of an
unusual character, and not likely to repeat itself.  We may also set
aside, though vouched for by Lord Tullibardine's butler, 'ane litle
old man with a fearful ougly face,' who appeared to the Rev. Mr.
Lesly.  Being asked whence he came, he said, 'From hell,' and, being
further interrogated as to _why_ he came, he observed:  'To warn the
nation to repent'.  This struck Mr. Lesly as improbable on the face
of it; however, he was a good deal alarmed.

Lord Orrery is well known in ghostly circles, as the evidence for a
gentleman's butler being levitated, and floating about a room in his
house.  It may be less familiar that his lordship's own ghost
appeared to his sister.  She consulted Robert Boyle, F.R.S., who
advised her, if Orrery appeared again, to ask him some metaphysical
questions.  She did so, and 'I know these questions come from my
brother,' said the appearance.  'He is too curious.'  He admitted,
however, that his body was 'an aerial body,' but declined to be
explicit on other matters.  This anecdote was told by Mr. Smith, who
had it from Mr. Wallace, who had it from 'an English gentleman'.
Mr. Menzies, minister of Erskine, once beheld the wraith of a friend
smoking a pipe, but the owner of the wraith did not die, or do
anything remarkable.  To see a friendly wraith smoking a pipe, even
if he take the liberty of doing so in one's bedroom, is not very
ill-boding.  To be sure Mr. Menzies' own father died not long after,
but the attempt to connect the wraith of a third person with that
event is somewhat desperate.

Wodrow has a tame commonplace account of the Bride of Lammermoor's
affair.  On the other hand, he tells us concerning a daughter of
Lord Stair, the Countess of Dumfries, that she 'was under a very odd
kind of distemper, and did frequently fly from one end of the room
to the other, and from the one side of the garden to the other. . .
.  The matter of fact is certain.'  At a garden party this
accomplishment would have been invaluable.

We now, for a change, have a religious marvel.  Mrs. Zuil, 'a very
judiciouse Christian,' had a friend of devout character.  This lady,
being in bed, and in 'a ravishing frame,' 'observed a pleasant
light, and one of the pleasantest forms, like a young child,
standing on her shoulder'.  Not being certain that she was not
delirious, she bade her nurse draw her curtains, and bring her some
posset.  Thrice the nurse came in with posset, and thrice drew back
in dread.  The appearance then vanished, and for the fourth time the
nurse drew the curtains, but, on this occasion, she presented the
invalid with the posset.  Being asked why she had always withdrawn
before, she said she had seen 'like a boyn (halo?) above her
mistress's head,' and added, 'it was her wraith, and a signe she
would dye'.  'From this the lady was convinced that she was in no
reverie.'  A similar halo shone round pious Mr. Welsh, when in
meditation, and also (according to Patrick Walker) round two of the
Sweet Singers, followers of Meikle John Gibb, before they burned a
Bible!  Gibb, a raving fanatic, went to America, where he was
greatly admired by the Red Indians, 'because of his much converse
with the devil'.  The pious of Wodrow's date distrusted these
luminous appearances, as they might be angelical, but might also be
diabolical temptations to spiritual pride.  Thus the blasphemous
followers of Gibb were surrounded by a bright light, no less than
pious Mr. Welsh, a very distinguished Presbyterian minister.
Indeed, this was taken advantage of by Mr. Welsh's enemies, who,
says his biographer Kirkton, 'were so bold as to call him no less
than a wizard'.  When Mr. Shields and Mr. John Dickson were
imprisoned on the Bass Rock, and Mr. Shields was singing psalms in
his cell, Mr. Dickson peeping in, saw 'a figure all in white,' of
whose presence Mr. Shields was unconscious.  He had only felt 'in a
heavenly and elevated frame'.

A clairvoyant dream is recorded on the authority of 'Dr. Clerk at
London, who writes on the Trinity, and may be depended on in such
accounts'.  The doctor's father was Mayor of Norwich, 'or some other
town,' and a lady came to him, bidding him arrest a tailor for
murdering his wife.  The mayor was not unnaturally annoyed by this
appeal, but the lady persisted.  She had dreamed twice:  first she
saw the beginning of the murder, then the end of it.  As she was
talking to the mayor, the tailor came in, demanding a warrant to
arrest his wife's murderers!  He was promptly arrested, tried, and
acquitted, but later confessed, and 'he was execut for the fact'.
This is a highly improbable story, and is capped by another from
Wodrow's mother-in-law.  A man was poisoned:  later his nephew slept
in his room, and heard a voice cry, 'Avenge the blood of your
uncle'.  This happened twice, and led to an inquiry, and the
detection of the guilty.  The nephew who received the warning was
Sir John Clerk of Penicuik, ancestor of Sir Walter Scott's friend.

We next have a Mahatma-like tale about Cotton Mather, from Mr.
Stirling, who had it from a person who had it from the doctor's own
mouth.  Briefly, Cotton lost his sermon as he was riding to a place
where he had to preach.  He prayed for better luck, and 'no sooner
was his prayer over, but his papers wer conveyed to him, flying in
the air upon him when riding, which was very surprizing'.  It was,
indeed!  Wodrow adds:  'Mind to write to the doctor about this'.
This letter, if he ever wrote it, is not in the three portly volumes
of his correspondence.

The occurrence is more remarkable than the mysterious dispensation
which enabled another minister to compose a sermon in his sleep.
Mr. James Guthrie, at Stirling, 'had his house haunted by the devil,
which was a great exercise to worthy Mr. Guthrie,' and, indeed,
would have been a great exercise to almost any gentleman.  Details
are wanting, and as Mr. Guthrie had now been hanged for sixty years
(1723), the facts are 'remote'.  Mr. Guthrie, it seems, was
unpopular at Stirling, and was once mobbed there.  The devil may
have been his political opponent in disguise.  Mr. John Anderson is
responsible for the story of a great light seen, and a melodious
sound heard over the house of 'a most singular Christian of the old
sort,' at the moment of her death.  Her name, unluckily, is

A case of 'telepathy' we have, at first hand, from Mrs. Luke.  When
in bed 'a horror of darknes' came upon her about her daughter
Martha, who was in Edinburgh.  'Sometimes she began to think that
her daughter was dead, or had run away with some person.'  She
remained in this anxiety till six in the morning, when the cloud
lifted.  It turned out that Martha had been in some peril at sea,
but got safe into Leith Roads at six in the morning.  A clairvoyant
dream was also vouchsafed to Dr. Pitcairn, though 'a Jacobite, and a
person of considerable sense,' as Wodrow quaintly remarks about
another individual.

The doctor was at Paris when a friend of his, 'David' (surname
unknown), died in Edinburgh.  The doctor dreamed for several nights
running that David came to him, and that they tried to enter several
taverns, which were shut.  David then went away in a ship.  As the
doctor was in the habit of frequenting taverns with David, the
dreams do not appear to deserve our serious consideration.  To be
sure David 'said he was dead'.  'Strange vouchsafments of Providence
to a person of the doctor's temper and sense,' moralises Wodrow.

Curiously enough, a different version of Dr. Pitcairn's dream is in
existence.  Several anecdotes about the doctor are prefixed, in
manuscript, to a volume of his Latin poems, which was shown to Dr.
Hibbert by Mr. David Laing, the well-known historian and
antiquarian.  Dr. Hibbert says:  'The anecdotes are from some one
obviously on terms of intimacy with Pitcairn'.  According to this
note Robert Lindsay, a descendant of Sir David Lindsay of the Mount,
was at college with the doctor.  They made the covenant that
'whoever dyed first should give account of his condition if
possible'.  This was in 1671, in 1675 Lindsay died, while Pitcairn
was in Paris.  On the night of Lindsay's death, Pitcairn dreamed
that he was in Edinburgh, where Lindsay met him and said, 'Archie,
perhaps ye heard I'm dead?'  'No, Roben.'  The vision said he was to
be buried in the Grey Friars, and offered to carry Pitcairn to a
happy spiritual country, 'in a well sailing small ship,' like
Odysseus..  Pitcairn said he must first see his parents.  Lindsay
promised to call again.  'Since which time A. P. never slept a night
without dreaming that Lindsay told him he was alive.  And, having a
dangerous sickness, anno 1694, he was told by Roben that he was
delayed for a time, and that it was properly his task to carry him
off, but was discharged to tell when.' {300}  Dr. Hibbert thinks
that Pitcairn himself dictated this account, much more marvellous
than the form in which Wodrow received the story.

Leaving a solitary Jacobite vision, for a true blue Presbyterian
'experience,' we learn that Wodrow's own wedded wife had a pious
vision, 'a glorious, inexpressible brightness'.  The thought which
came presently was, 'This perhaps may be Satan, transforming himself
into an angel of light'.  'It mout or it moutn't.'  In 1729, Wodrow
heard of the ghost of the Laird of Coul, which used to ride one of
his late tenants, transformed into a spectral horse.  A chap-book
containing Coul's discourse with Mr. Ogilby, a minister, was very
popular in the last century.  Mr. Ogilby left an account in
manuscript, on which the chap-book was said to be based.  Another
ghost of a very moral turn appeared, and gave ministers information
about a case of lawless love.  This is said to be recorded in the
registers of the Presbytery of Fordoun, but Wodrow is vague about
the whole affair.

We next come to a very good ghost of the old and now rather
unfashionable sort.  The authority is Mr. William Brown, who had it
from the Rev. Mr. Mercer of Aberdalgie, 'as what was generally
belived as to Dr. Rule, Principal at Edinburgh'.  Such is Wodrow's
way, his ideas of evidence are quite rudimentary.  Give him a ghost,
and he does not care for 'contemporary record,' or 'corroborative
testimony'.  To come to the story.  Dr. Rule, finding no room at an
inn near Carnie Mount, had a fire lit in a chamber of a large
deserted house hard by.  He went to bed, leaving a bright fire
burning, when 'the room dore is opened, and an apparition, _in shape
of a country tradsman_, came in, and opened the courtains without
speaking a word'.  The doctor determined not to begin a
conversation, so the apparition lighted the candles, brought them to
the bedside, and backed to the door.  Dr. Rule, like old Brer
Rabbit, 'kept on a-saying nothing'.  'Then the apparition took an
effectuall way to raise the doctor.  He caryed back the candles to
the table, and, _with the tongs_, took doun the kindled coals, and
laid them on the deal chamber floor.'  Dr. Rule now 'thought it was
time to rise,' and followed the appearance, who carried the candles
downstairs, set them on the lowest step, and vanished.  Dr. Rule
then lifted the candles, and went back to bed.  Next morning he went
to the sheriff, and told him there 'was murder in it'.  The sheriff
said, 'it might be so,' but, even if so, the crime was not recent,
as the house for thirty years had stood empty.  The step was taken
up, and a dead body was found, 'and bones, to the conviction of
all'.  The doctor then preached on these unusual events, and an old
man of eighty fell a-weeping, confessing that, as a mason lad, he
had killed a companion, and buried him in that spot, while the house
was being built.  Consequently the house, though a new one, was
haunted from the first, and was soon deserted.  The narrator, Mr.
Mercer, had himself seen two ghosts of murdered boys frequently in
Dundee.  He did not speak, nor did they, and as the rooms were
comfortable he did not leave them.  To have talked about the
incident would only have been injurious to his landlady.  'The
longer I live, the more unexpected things I meet with, and even
among my own relations,' says Mr. Wodrow with much simplicity.  But
he never met with a ghost, nor even with any one who had met with a
ghost, except Mr. Mercer.

In the same age, or earlier, Increase Mather represents apparitions
as uncommonly scarce in New England, though diabolical possession
and witchcraft were as familiar as influenza.  It has been shown
that, in nearly forty years of earnest collecting, Mr. Wodrow did
not find a single supernatural occurrence which was worth
investigating by the curious.  Every tale was old, or some simple
natural cause was at the bottom of the mystery, or the narrative
rested on vague gossip, or was a myth.  Today, at any dinner party,
you may hear of bogles and wraiths at first or at second hand, in an
abundance which would have rejoiced Wodrow.  Charles Kirkpatrick
Sharpe vainly brags, in Law's Memorialls, that 'good sense and
widely diffused information have driven our ghosts to a few remote
castles in the North of Scotland' (1819).  But, however we are to
explain it, the ghosts have come forth again, and, like golf, have
crossed the Tweed.  Now this is a queer result of science, common-
sense, cheap newspapers, popular education, and progress in general.
We may all confess to a belief in ghosts, because we call them
'phantasmogenetic agencies,' and in as much of witchcraft as we
style 'hypnotic suggestion'.  So great, it seems, is the force of
language! {303}


Bias in belief.  Difficulty of examining problems in which unknown
personal conditions are dominant.  Comte Agenor de Gasparin on
table-turning.  The rise of modern table-turning.  Rapping.  French
examples.  A lady bitten by a spirit.  Flying objects.  The 'via
media' of M. de Gasparin.  Tables are turned by recondite physical
causes:  not by muscular or spiritual actions.  The author's own
experiments.  Motion without contact.  Dr. Carpenter's views.
Incredulity of M. de Gasparin as to phenomena beyond his own
experience.  Ancient Greek phenomena.  M. de Gasparin rejects
'spirits'.  Dr. Carpenter neglects M. de Gasparin's evidence.
Survival and revival.  Delacourt's case.  Home's case.  Simon Magus.
Early scientific training.  Its results.  Conclusion.

While reason is fondly supposed to govern our conduct, and direct
our conclusions, there is no doubt that our opinions are really
regulated by custom, temperament, hope, and fear.  We believe or
disbelieve because other people do so, because our character is
attracted to, or repelled by the unusual, the mysterious; because,
from one motive or another, we wish things to be thus, or fear that
they may be thus, or hope that they may be so, and cannot but dread
that they are otherwise.  Again, the laws of Nature which have been
ascertained are enough for the conduct of life, and science
constantly, and with excellent reason, resists to the last gasp
every attempt to recognise the existence of a new law, which, after
all, can apparently do little for the benefit of mankind, and may
conceivably do something by no means beneficial.  Again, science is
accustomed to deal with constant phenomena, which, given the
conditions, will always result.  The phenomena of the marvellous are
not constant, or, rather, the conditions cannot be definitely
ascertained.  When Mr. Crookes made certain experiments on Home's
power of causing a balance to move without contact he succeeded; in
the presence of some Russian savants a similar experiment failed.
Granting that Mr. Crookes's tests were accurate (and the lay mind,
at least, can see no flaw in them), we must suppose that the
personal conditions, in the Russian case, were not the same.

Now an electric current will inevitably do its work, if known and
ascertained conditions are present; a personal current, so to speak,
depends on personal conditions which are unascertainable.  It is
inevitable that science, accustomed to the invariable, should turn
away from phenomena which, if they do occur, seem, so far, to have a
will of their own.  That they have a will of their own is precisely
their attraction for another class of minds, which recognises in
them the action of unknown intelligences.  There are also people who
so dislike our detention in the prison house of old unvarying laws,
that their bias is in favour of anything which may tend to prove
that science, in her contemporary mood, is not infallible.  As the
Frenchman did not care what sort of scheme he invested money in,
'provided that it annoys the English,' so many persons do not care
what they invest belief in, provided that it irritates men of
science.  Just as rationally, some men of science denounce all
investigation of the abnormal phenomena of which history and rumour
are so full, because the research may bring back distasteful
beliefs, and revive the 'ancestral tendency' to superstition.  Yet
the question is not whether the results of research may be
dangerous, but whether the phenomena occur.  The speculations of
Copernicus, of Galileo, of the geologists, of Mr. Darwin, were
'dangerous,' and it does not appear that they have added to the sum
of human delight.  But men of science are still happiest when
denouncing the 'obscurantism' of those who opposed Copernicus, Mr.
Darwin, and the rest, in dread of the moral results.  We owe the
strugforlifeur of M. Daudet to Mr. Darwin and Mr. Alfred Wallace,
and the strugforlifeur is as dangerous and disagreeable as the half-
crazy spiritualist.  Science is only concerned with truth, not with
the mischievous inferences which people may draw from truth.  And
yet certain friends of science, quite naturally and normally, fall
back on the attitude of the opponents of Copernicus:  'These
things,' they say, 'should not even be examined'.

Such are the hostile and distracting influences, the contending
currents, in the midst of which Reason has to operate as well as she
can.  Meanwhile every one of us probably supposes himself to be a
model of pure reason, and if people would only listen to him, the
measure of the universe.  This happy and universal frame of mind is
agreeably illustrated in a work by the late Comte Agenor de
Gasparin, Les Tables Tournantes (Deuxieme edition:  Levy, Paris,
1888).  The first edition is of 1854, and was published at a time of
general excitement about 'table-turning' and 'spirit-rapping,' an
excitement which only old people remember, and which it is amazing
to read about.

Modern spirit-rapping, of which table-turning is a branch, began, as
we know, in 1847-48.  A family of Methodists named Fox, entered, in
1847, on the tenancy of a house in Hydesville, in the State of New
York.  The previous occupants had been disturbed by 'knocking,' this
continued in the Fox regime, one of the little girls found that the
raps would answer (a discovery often made before) a system of
alphabetic communication was opened, and spiritualism was launched.
{307}  In March, 1853, a packet of American newspapers reached
Bremen, and, as Dr. Andree wrote to the Gazette d'Augsbourg (March
30, 1853), all Bremen took to experiments in turning tables.  The
practice spread like a new disease, even men of science and
academicians were puzzled, it is a fact that, at a breakfast party
in Macaulay's rooms in the Albany, a long and heavy table became
vivacious, to Macaulay's disgust, when the usual experiment was
tried.  Men of science were, in some cases, puzzled, in others
believed that a new force must be recognised, in others talked of
unconscious pushing or of imposture.  M. Babinet, a member of the
Institute, writing in the Revue des Deux Mondes (May, 1854),
explained the 'raps' or percussive noises, as the result of
ventriloquism!  A similar explanation was urged, and withdrawn, in
the case of the Cock Lane ghost, and it does not appear that M.
Babinet produced a ventriloquist who could do the trick.  Raps may
be counterfeited in many ways, but hardly by ventriloquism.  The
raps were, in Europe, a later phenomenon than the table-turning, and
aroused far more interest.  The higher clergy investigated the
matter, and the Bishop of Mans in a charge, set down the phenomena
to the agency of some kind of spirits, with whom Christian men
should have no commerce.  Granting the facts, the bishop was
undeniably right.

There was published at that time a journal called La Table Parlante,
which contained recitals of phenomena, correspondence, and so forth.
Among the narratives, that of a M. Benezet was typical, and is
curious.  In recent years, about 1872-80, the Rev. Mr. Stainton
Moses, a clergyman and scholar of the best moral reputation,
believed himself to be the centre of extraordinary, and practically
incredible, occurrences, a belief shared by observers among his
friends.  M. Benezet's narrative is full of precisely parallel
details.  M. Benezet lived at Toulouse, in 1853; and his experiences
had for their scene his own house, and that of his relations, M. and
Mme. L.  The affair began in table-turning and table-tilting:  the
tilts indicated the presence of 'spirits,' which answered questions,
right or wrong:  under the hands of the L.'s the table became
vivacious, and chased a butterfly.  Then the spirit said it could
appear as an old lady, who was viewed by one of the children.  The
L.'s being alarmed, gave up making experiments, but one day, at
dinner, thumps were struck on the table.  M. Benezet was called in,
and heard the noises with awe.  He went away, but the knocks sounded
under the chair of Mme. L., she threw some holy water under the
chair, when _her thumb was bitten_, and marks of teeth were left on
it.  Presently her shoulder was bitten, whether on a place which she
could reach with her teeth or not, we are not informed.  Raps went
on, the L.'s fled to M. Benezet's house, which was instantly
disturbed in the same fashion.  Objects were spirited away, and
reappeared as oddly as they had vanished.  Packets of bonbons turned
up unbeknown, sailed about the room, and suddenly fell on the table
at dinner.  The L.'s went back to their own house, where their hats
and boots contracted a habit of floating dreamily about in the air.
Things were hurled at them, practical jokes were played, and in
September these monstrous annoyances gradually ceased.  The most
obvious explanation is that Mme. L. demoralised by turning tables,
took, consciously or unconsciously, to imitating the tricks of which
history and legend are full.  Her modus, operandi, in some
phenomena, is difficult to conjecture.

While opinion was agitated by these violent events, and contending
hypotheses, while La Table Parlante took a Catholic view, and
Science a negative view, M. Agenor de Gasparin, a Protestant, chose
a via media.

M. de Gasparin, the husband of the well-known author of The Near and
the Heavenly Horizons, was a table-turner, without being a
spiritualist.  His experiments were made in Switzerland, in 1853; he
published a book on them, as we said; M. Figuier attacked it in Les
Mysteres de la Science, after M. de Gasparin's death, and the widow
of the author replied by republishing part of the original work.  M.
de Gasparin, in the early Empire, was a Liberal, an anti-Radical, an
opponent of negro slavery, a Christian, an energetic honest man,
absolu et ardent, as he confesses.

His purpose was to demonstrate that tables turn, that the phenomenon
is purely physical, that it cannot be explained by the mechanical
action of the muscles, nor by that of 'spirits'.  His allies were
his personal friends, and it is pretty clear that two ladies were
the chief 'agents'.  The process was conducted thus:  a 'chain' of
eight or ten people surrounded a table, lightly resting their
fingers, all in contact, on its surface.  It revolved, and, by
request, would raise one of its legs, and tap the floor.  All this,
of course, can be explained either by cheating, or by the
_unconscious_ pushes administered.  If any one will place his hands
on a light table, he will find that the mere come and go of pulse
and breath have a tendency to agitate the object.  It moves a
little, accompanying it you unconsciously move it more.  The
experiment is curious because, on some days, the table will not
budge, on others it instantly sets up a peculiar gliding movement,
in which it almost seems to escape from the superimposed hands,
while the most wakeful attention cannot detect any conscious action
of the muscles.  If you try the opposite experiment, namely
conscious pushing of the most gradual kind, you find that the
exertion is very distinctly sensible.  The author has made the
following simple experiment.

Two persons for whom the table would _not_ move laid their hands on
it firmly and flatly.  Two others (for whom it danced) just touched
the hands of the former pair.  Any pressure or push from the upper
hands would be felt, of course, by the under hands.  No such
pressure was felt, yet the table began to rotate.  In another
experiment with another subject, the pressure _was_ felt (indeed the
owner of the upper hands was conscious of pressing), yet the table
did _not_ move.  These experiments are, physiologically, curious,
but, of course, they demonstrate nothing.  Muscles can move the
table, muscles can apparently act without the consciousness of their
owner, therefore the movement is caused, or may be irrefutably said
to be caused, by unconscious muscular action.

M. de Gasparin, of course, was aware of all this; he therefore aimed
at producing movement _without_ contact.  In his early experiments
the table was first set agoing by contact; all hands were then
lifted at a signal, to half an inch above the table, and still the
table revolved.  Of course it will not do this, if it is set agoing
by conscious muscular action, as any one may prove by trying.  As it
was possible that some one might still be touching the table, and
escaping in the crowd the notice of the observers outside the
circle, two ladies tried alone.  The observer, Mr. Thury, saw the
daylight between their hands and the table, which revolved four or
five times.  To make assurance doubly sure, a thin coating of flour
was scattered over the whole table, and still it moved, while the
flour was unmarked.  M. de Gasparin was therefore convinced that the
phenomena of movement without mechanical agency were real.  His
experiments got rid of Mr. Faraday's theory of unconscious pressure
and pushing, because you cannot push with your muscles what you do
not touch with any portion of your body, and De Gasparin had assured
himself that there was _no_ physical contact between his friends and
this table.

M. de Gasparin now turned upon Dr. Carpenter, to whom an article in
the Quarterly Review, dealing with the whole topic of abnormal
occurrences, was attributed.  Dr. Carpenter, at this time, had
admitted the existence of the hypnotic state, and the amenability of
the hypnotised person to the wildest suggestions.  He had also begun
to develop his doctrine of 'unconscious cerebration,' that is, the
existence of mental processes beneath, or apart from our
consciousness. {312}  An 'ideational change' may take place in the
cerebrum.  The sensorium is 'unreceptive,' so the idea does not
reach consciousness.  Sometimes, however, the idea oozes out from
the fingers, through muscular action, also unconscious.  This moves
the table to the appropriate tilts.  These two ideas are capable, if
we admit them, of explaining many singular psychological facts, but
they certainly do not explain the movements of tables which nobody
is touching.  In face of M. de Gasparin's evidence, which probably
was not before him, Dr. Carpenter could only have denied the facts,
or alleged that the witnesses, including observers outside the
chaine, or circle, were all self-hypnotised, all under the influence
of self-suggestion, and all honestly asserting the occurrence of
events which did not occur.  His essay touched but lightly on this
particular marvel.  He remarked that 'the turning of tables, and the
supposed communications of spirits through their agency' are due 'to
the mental state of the performers themselves'.  Now M. de Gasparin,
in his via media, repudiated 'spirits' energetically.  Dr. Carpenter
then explained witchcraft, and the vagaries of 'camp-meetings' by
the 'dominant idea'.  But M. de Gasparin could reply that persons
whose 'dominant idea' was incredulity attested many singular
occurrences.  At the end of his article, Dr. Carpenter decides that
table-turners push unconsciously, as they assuredly do, but they
cannot push when not in contact with the object.  The doctor did not
allege that table-turners are 'biologised' as he calls it, and under
a glamour.  But M. de Gasparin averred that no single example of
trance, rigidity, loss of ordinary consciousness, or other morbid
symptoms, had ever occurred in his experiments.  There is thus, as
it were, no common ground on which he and Dr. Carpenter can meet and
fight.  He dissected the doctor's rather inconsequent argument with
a good deal of acuteness and wit.

M. de Gasparin then exhibited some of the besetting sins of all who
indulge in argument.  He accepted all his own private phenomena, but
none of those, such as 'raps' and so forth, for which other people
were vouching.  Things must occur as he had seen them, and not
otherwise.  What he had seen was a chaine of people surrounding a
table, all in contact with the table, and with each other.  The
table had moved, and had answered questions by knocking the floor
with its foot.  It had also moved, when the hands were held close to
it, but not in contact with it.  Nothing beyond that was orthodox,
as nothing beyond hypnotism and unconscious cerebration was orthodox
with Dr. Carpenter.  Moreover M. de Gasparin had his own physical
explanation of the phenomena.  There is, in man's constitution, a
'fluid' which can be concentrated by his will, and which then, given
a table and a chaine, will produce M. de Gasparin's phenomena:  but
no more.  He knows that 'fluids' are going out of fashion in
science, and he is ready to call the 'fluid' the 'force' or
'agency,' or 'condition of matter' or what you please.  'Substances,
forces, vibrations, let it be what you choose, as long as it is
something.'  The objection that the phenomena are 'of no use' was
made, and is still very common, but, of course, is in no case
scientifically valid.  Electricity was 'of no use' once, and the
most useless phenomenon is none the less worthy of examination.

M. de Gasparin now examines another class of objections.  First, the
phenomena were denied; next, they were said to be as old as history,
and familiar to the Greeks.  We elsewhere show that this is quite
true, that the movement of objects without contact was as familiar
to the Greeks as to the Peruvians, the Thibetans, the Eskimo, and in
modern stories of haunted houses.  But, as will presently appear,
these wilder facts would by no means coalesce with the hypothesis of
M. de Gasparin.  To his mind, tables turn, but they turn by virtue
of the will of a 'circle,' consciously exerted, through the means of
some physical force, fluid, or what not, produced by the imposition
of hands.  Now these processes do not characterise the phenomena
among Greeks, Thibetans, Eskimo, Peruvians, in haunted houses, or in
presence of the late Mr. Home,--granting the facts as alleged.  In
these instances, nobody is 'circling' round a chair, a bed, or what
not, yet the chair or bed moves, as in the story of Monsieur S. at
St. Maur (1706), and in countless other examples.  All this would
not, as we shall see, be convenient for the theory of M. de

His line of argument is that the Greek and Latin texts are
misunderstood, but that, if the Greeks did turn tables, that is no
proof that tables do not turn, but rather the reverse.  A favourite
text is taken from Ammianus Marcellinus, lib. xxix. ch. i.  M. de
Gasparin does not appear to have read the passage carefully.  About
371 A.D. one Hilarius was tortured on a charge of magical operations
against the Emperor Valens.  He confessed.  A little table, made of
Delphic laurel, was produced in court.  'We made it,' he said, 'that
confounded little table, under strange rites and imprecations, and
we set it in movement, thus:  it was placed in a room charged with
perfumes, above a round plate fashioned of various metals.  The edge
of the plate was marked with the letters of the alphabet separated
by certain spaces.  A priest, linen clad, bowed himself over the
table, balancing a ring tied to a thin thread.  The ring, bounding
from letter to letter, picks out letters forming hexameters, like
those of Delphi.'  This is confusing.  Probably the movements of the
table, communicated to the thread, caused the bounds of the ring,
otherwise there was no use in the table moving.  At all events the
ring touched THEO (which is not a word that could begin a hexameter)
when they asked who was to succeed Valens.  Some one called out
'Theodore' and they pursued the experiment no farther.  A number of
Theodores and Theophiles were put to death, but when Theodosius was
joined with Gratian in the Empire, the believers held that the table
had been well inspired.  Here there was no chaine, or circle, the
table is not said to lever le pied legerement, as the song advises,
therefore M. de Gasparin rules the case out of court.  The object,
however, really was analogous to planchette, Ouija, and other modern
modes of automatic divination.  The experiment of Hilarius with the
'confounded little table' led to a massacre of Neoplatonists,
martyrs of Psychical Research!  In Hilarius's confession we omit a
set of ritual invocations; as unessential as the mystic rites used
by savages in making curari.

The spiritus percutiens, 'rapping spirit' (?) conjured away by old
Catholic formulae at the benediction of churches, was brought
forward by some of M. de Gasparin's critics.  As _his_ tables did
not rap, he had nothing to do with the spiritus percutiens, who
proves, however, that the Church was acquainted with raps, and
explained them by the spiritualistic hypothesis. {317}

A text in Tertullian's Apologetic was also cited.  Here tabulae and
capae, 'tables and she-goats,' are said to divine.  What have she-
goats to do in the matter?  De Morgan wished to read tabulae et
crepae, which he construes 'tables and raps,' but he only finds
crepae in Festus, who says, that goats are called crepae, quod
cruribus crepent, 'because they rattle with their legs'.  De
Morgan's guess is ingenious, but lacks confirmation.  We are not, so
far, aware of communication with spirits by raps before 856 A.D.

Finally, M. de Gasparin denies that his researches are
'superstitious'.  Will can move my limbs, if it also moves my table,
what is there superstitious in that?  It is a new fact, that is all.
'Tout est si materiel, si physique dans les experiences des tables.'
It was not so at Toulouse!

Meanwhile M. de Gasparin, firm in his 'Trewth,'--the need of a
chaine of persons, the physical origin of the phenomena, the entire
absence of spirits,--was so unlucky, when he dealt with 'spirits,'
as to drop into the very line of argument which he had been
denouncing.  'Spirits' are 'superstitious,'--well, his adversaries
had found superstition in his own experiments and beliefs.  To
believe that spirits are engaged, is 'to reduce our relations with
the invisible world to the grossest definition'.  But why not, as we
know nothing about our relations with the invisible world?  The
theology of the spirits is 'contrary to Scripture'; very well, your
tales of tables moved without contact are contrary to science.  'No
spiritualistic story has ever been told which is not to be classed
among the phenomena of animal magnetism. . . . '  This, of course,
is a mere example of a statement made without examination, a sin
alleged by M. de Gasparin against his opponents.  Vast numbers of
such stories, not explicable by the now rejected theory of 'animal
magnetism,' have certainly been _told_.

In another volume M. de Gasparin demolished the tales, but he was
only at the beginning of his subject.  The historical and
anthropological evidence for the movement of objects without
contact, not under his conditions, is very vast in bulk.  The modern
experiments are sometimes more scientific than his own, and the
evidence for the most startling events of all kinds is quite as good
as that on which he relies for his prodigies, themselves
sufficiently startling.  His hypothesis, at all events, of will
directing a force or fluid, by no means explains phenomena quite as
well provided with evidence as his own.  So M. de Gasparin disposes
of the rival miracles as the result of chance, imposture, or
hallucination, the very weapons of his scientific adversaries.  His
own prodigies he has seen, and is satisfied.  His opponents say:
'You cannot register your force sur l'inclinaison d'une aiguille'.
He could not, but Home could do so to the satisfaction of a
scientific expert, and probably M. de Gasparin would have believed
it, if he had seen it.  M. de Gasparin is horrified at the idea of
'trespassing on the territory of acts beyond our power'.  But, if it
were possible to do the miracles of Home, it would be possible
because it is _not_ beyond our power.  'The spiritualistic opinion
is opposed to the doctrine of the resurrection:  it merely announces
the immortality of the soul.'  But that has nothing to do with the
matter in hand.

The theology of spirits, of course, is neither here nor there.  A
'spirit' will say anything or everything.  But Mr. C. C. Massey when
he saw a chair move at a word (and even without one), in the
presence of such a double-dyed impostor as Slade, had as much right
to believe his own eyes as M. de Gasparin, and what he saw does not
square with M. de Gasparin's private 'Trewth'.  The chair in Mr.
Massey's experience, was 'unattached' to a piece of string; it fell,
and, at request, jumped up again, and approached Mr. Massey, 'just
as if some one had picked it up in order to take a seat beside me'.

Such were the idola specus, the private personal prepossessions of
M. de Gasparin, undeniably an honourable man.  Now, in 1877, his old
adversary, Dr. Carpenter, C.B., M.D., LL.D, F.R.S., F.G.S.,
V.P.L.S., corresponding member of the Institute of France, tout ce
qu'il y a de plus officiel, de plus decore, returned to the charge.
He published a work on Mesmerism, Spiritualism, etc. {319b}  Perhaps
the unscientific reader supposes that Dr. Carpenter replied to the
arguments of M. de Gasparin?  This would have been sportsmanlike,
but no, Dr. Carpenter firmly ignored them!  He devoted three pages
to table-turning (pp. 96, 97, 98).  He exhibited Mr. Faraday's
little machine for detecting muscular pressure, a machine which
would also detect pressure which is _not_ muscular.  He explained
answers given by tilts, answers not consciously known to the
operators, as the results of unconscious cerebration.  People may
thus get answers which they do expect, or answers which they do not
expect, as may happen.  But not one word did Dr. Carpenter say to a
popular audience at the London Institution about M. de Gasparin's
assertion, and the assertion of M. de Gasparin's witnesses, that
motion had been observed without any contact at all.  He might, if
he pleased, have alleged that M. de Gasparin and the others fabled;
or that they were self-hypnotised, or were cheated, but he
absolutely ignored the evidence altogether.  Now this behaviour, if
scientific, was hardly quite _sportsmanlike_, to use a simple
British phrase which does credit to our language and national
character.  Mr. Alfred Wallace stated a similar conclusion as to Dr.
Carpenter's method of argument, in language of some strength.  'Dr.
Carpenter,' he said, 'habitually gives only one side of the
question, and completely ignores all facts which tell against his
theory.' {320}  Without going so far as Mr. Wallace, and alleging
that what Dr. Carpenter did in the case of M. de Gasparin, he did
'habitually,' we may briefly examine some portions of his book
which, perhaps, leave something to be desired.  It is written with
much acuteness, with considerable fairness, and is certainly
calculated to convince any reader who has not been perplexed by
circumstances on which Dr. Carpenter throws little light.

Our own chief perplexity is the continuity and uniformity of the
historical and anthropological evidence for certain marvels.  We
have already shown the difficulty of attributing this harmony of
evidence, first to savage modes of thought, and then to their
survival and revival.  The evidence, in full civilisation, ancient
and modern, of educated and even sceptical witnesses to phenomena,
which are usually grotesque, but are always the same everywhere, in
every age and land, and the constant attendance of these phenomena
on persons of a peculiar temperament, are our stumbling-blocks on
the path to absolute negation.  Epilepsy, convulsions, hysterical
diseases are startling affairs, we admit.  It was natural that
savages and the ignorant should attribute them to diabolical
possession, and then look out for, and invent, manifestations of the
diabolical energy outside the body of the patient, say in movements
of objects, knocks, and so forth.  As in these maladies the patient
may be subject to hallucinations, it was natural that savages or
ignorant men, or polytheists, or ardent Catholics, or excitable
Covenanters, should regard these hallucinations as 'lucid' or
'clairvoyant'.  A few lucky coincidences would establish this
opinion among such observers as we have indicated, while failures of
lucidity would not be counted.  The professional epileptic medicine-
man, moreover, would strengthen his case by 'prophesying on velvet,'
like Norna of the Fitful Head, on private and early information.
Imposture would imitate the 'spiritual' feats of 'raps,' 'physical
movements of objects,' and 'luminous forms'.  All this would
continue after savagery, after paganism, after 'Popery' among the
peasants who were for so long, and in superstition are even now, a
conservative class.

All that 'expectancy,' hysterics, 'the dominant idea' and rude
hypnotism, 'the sleep of the shadow,' could do, would be done, as
witch trials show.  All these elements in folklore, magic and belief
would endure, in the peasant class, under the veneer of
civilisation.  Now and again these elements of superstition would
break through the veneer, would come to the surface among the
educated classes, and would 'carry silly women captive,' and silly
men.  They, too, though born in the educated class, would attest
impossible occurrences.

In all this, we might only see survival, wonderfully vivacious, and
revival astonishingly close to the ancient savage lines.

We are unable to state the case for survival and revival more
strenuously, and the hypothesis is most attractive.  This hypothesis
appears to be Dr. Carpenter's, though he does not, in the limits of
popular lectures, unfold it at any length.  After stating (p. 1)
that a continuous belief in 'occult agencies' has existed, he adds:--

'While this very continuity is maintained by some to be an evidence
of the real existence of such [occult] agencies, it will be my
purpose to show you that it proves nothing more than the wide-spread
diffusion, alike amongst minds of the highest and lowest culture, of
certain tendencies to thought, which have either created ideal
marvels possessing no foundation whatever in fact, or have, by
exaggeration and distortion, invested with a preternatural character
occurrences which are perfectly capable of a natural explanation'.

Here Dr. Carpenter does not attempt to show cause why the
'manifestations' are always the same, for example, why spirits rap
in the Australian Bush, among blacks not influenced by modern
spiritualism:  why tables moved, untouched, in Thibet and India,
long before 'table-turning' was heard of in modern Europe.  We have
filled up the lacuna in the doctor's argument, by suggesting that
the phenomena (which are not such as a civilised taste would desire)
were invented by savages, and handed on in an unbroken catena, a
chain of tradition.

But, in following Dr. Carpenter, we are brought up short at one of
our old obstacles, we trip on one of our old stumbling-blocks.
Granting that an epileptic patient made strange bounds and springs,
we can conceive savages going farther in fancy, and averring that he
flew, or was levitated, or miraculously transported through space.
Let this become matter of traditional belief, as a thing possible in
epilepsy, i.e., in 'diabolical,' or 'angelical possession'.  Add the
honest but hallucinatory persuasion of the patient that he was so
levitated, and let him be a person of honour and of sanctity, say
St. Theresa, St. Francis, or St. Joseph of Cupertino.  Granting the
survival of a savage exaggeration, granting the hallucinated saint,
we may, perhaps, explain the innumerable anecdotes about miraculous
levitation of which a few are repeated in our paper on 'Comparative
Psychical Research.'  The witnesses in witch trials, and in
ecclesiastical inquiries, and Lord Orrery, and Mr. Greatrakes, and
the Cromwellian soldiery in Scotland, the Spanish in Peru, Cotton
Mather in New England, saw what they expected to see, what tradition
taught them to look for, in the case of a convulsionary, or a saint,
or a catechumen.  The consensus in illusion was wonderful, but let
us grant, for the sake of argument, that it was possible.  Let us
add another example, from Cochin China.

The witness and narrator is Delacourt, a French missionary.  The
source is a letter of his of November 25, 1738, to Winslow the
anatomist, Membre de l'Academie des Sciences a Paris.  It is printed
in the Institutiones Theologicae of Collet, who attests the probity
of the missionary. {324}

In May or June, 1733, Delacourt was asked to view a young native
Christian, said by his friends to be 'possessed'.

'Rather incredulous,' as he says, Delacourt went to the lad, who had
communicated, as he believed, unworthily, and was therefore a prey
to religious excitement, which, as Bishop Callaway found among his
Zulu converts, and as Wodrow attests among 'savoury Christians,'
begets precisely such hallucinations as annoyed the early hermits
like St. Anthony.  Delacourt addressed the youth in Latin:  he
replied, Ego nescio loqui Latine, a tag which he might easily have
picked up, let us say.  Delacourt led him into church, where the
patient was violently convulsed.  Delacourt then (remembering the
example set by the Bishop of Tilopolis) ordered the demon _in
Latin_, to carry the boy to the ceiling.  'His body became stiff, he
was dragged from the middle of the church to a pillar, and there,
his feet joined, his back fixed (colle) against the pillar, he was
transported in the twinkling of an eye to the ceiling, like a weight
rapidly drawn up, without any apparent action on his part.  I kept
him in the air for half an hour, and then bade him drop without
hurting himself,' when he fell 'like a packet of dirty linen'.
While he was up aloft, Delacourt preached at him in Latin, and he
became, 'perhaps the best Christian in Cochin China'.

Dr. Carpenter's explanation must either be that Delacourt lied; or
that a tradition, surviving from savagery, and enforced by the
example of the Bishop of Tilopolis, made a missionary, un peu
incredule, as he says, believe that he saw, and watched for half an
hour, a phenomenon which he never saw at all.  But then Dr.
Carpenter also dismisses, with none but the general theory already
quoted, the experience of 'a nobleman of high scientific
attainments,' who 'seriously assures us' that he saw Home 'sail in
the air, by moonlight, out of one window and in at another, at the
height of seventy feet from the ground.' {326}

Here is the stumbling-block.  A nobleman of high scientific
attainment, in company with another nobleman, and a captain in the
army, all vouched for this performance of Home.  Now could the
savage tradition, which attributes flight to convulsive and
entranced persons, exercise such an influence on these three
educated modern witnesses; could an old piece of folklore, in
company with 'expectancy,' so wildly delude them?  Can 'high
scientific attainments' leave their possessor with such humble
powers of observation?  But, to be sure, Dr. Carpenter does not tell
his readers that there were _three_ witnesses.  Dr. Carpenter says
that, if we believe Lord Crawford (and his friends), we can 'have no
reason for refusing credit to the historical evidence of the
demoniacal elevation of Simon Magus'.  Let us point out that we have
no contemporary evidence at all about Simon's feat, while for
Home's, we have the evidence of three living and honourable men,
whom Dr. Carpenter might have cross-examined.  The doings of Home
and of Simon were parallel, but nothing can be more different than
the nature of the evidence for what they are said to have done.
This, perhaps, might have been patent to a man like Dr. Carpenter of
'early scientific training'.  But he illustrated his own doctrine of
'the dominant idea'; he did not see that he was guilty of a fallacy,
because his 'idea' dominated him.  Stumbling into as deep a gulf,
Dr. Carpenter put Lord Crawford's evidence (he omitted that of his
friends) on a level with, or below, the depositions of witnesses as
to 'the aerial transport of witches to attend their demoniacal
festivities'.  But who ever swore that he _saw_ witches so
transported?  The evidence was not to witnessed facts, but only to a
current belief, backed by confessions under torture.  No testimony
could be less on a par with that of a living 'nobleman of high
scientific attainments,' to his own experience.

In three pages Dr. Carpenter has shown that 'early scientific
training' in physiology and pathology, does not necessarily enable
its possessor to state a case fully.  Nor does it prompt him to
discriminate between rumours coming, a hundred and fifty years after
the date of the alleged occurrences, from a remote, credulous, and
unscientific age:  and the statements of witnesses all living, all
honourable, and, in one case, of 'high scientific attainments.'

It is this solemn belief in his own infallibility as a judge of
evidence combined with his almost incredible ignorance of what
evidence is, that makes Dr. Carpenter such an amusing

If any piece of fact is to be proved, it is plain that the
concurrent testimony of three living and honourable men is worth
more than a bit of gossip, which, after filtering through a century
or two, is reported by an early Christian Father.  In matters wholly
marvellous, like Home's flight in the air, the evidence of three
living and honourable men need not, of course, convince us of the
fact.  But this evidence is in itself a fact to be considered--'Why
do these gentlemen tell this tale?' we ask; but Dr. Carpenter puts
the testimony on the level of patristic tattle many centuries old,
written down, on no authority, long after the event.  Yet the worthy
doctor calmly talks about 'want of scientific culture preventing
people from appreciating the force of scientific reasoning,' and
that after giving such examples of 'scientific reasoning' as we have
examined. {328}  It is in this way that Science makes herself
disliked.  By aid of ordinary intelligence, and of an ordinary
classical education, every one (however uncultivated in 'science')
can satisfy himself that Dr. Carpenter argued at random.  Yet we do
not assert that 'early scientific training' _prevents_ people from
understanding the nature of evidence.  Dr. Carpenter had the
training, but he was impetuous, and under a dominant idea, so he
blundered along.

Dr. Carpenter frequently invoked for the explanation of marvels, a
cause which is vera causa, expectancy.  'The expectation of a
certain result is often enough to produce it' (p. 12).  This he
proves by cases of hypnotised patients who did, or suffered, what
they expected to be ordered to suffer or do, though no such order
was really given to them.  Again (p. 40) he urges that imaginative
people, who sit for a couple of hours, 'especially if in the dark,'
believing or hoping to see a human body, or a table, rise in the
air, probably 'pass into a state which is neither sleeping nor
waking, but between the two, in which they see, hear, or feel by
touch, anything they have been led to expect will present itself.'

This is, indeed, highly probable.  But we must suppose that _all_
present fall into this ambiguous state, described of old by
Porphyry.  One waking spectator who sees nothing would make the
statements of the others even more worthless than usual.  And it is
certain that it is not even pretended that all, always, see the same

'One saw an arm, and one a hand, and one the waving of a gown,' in
that seance at Branxholme, where only William of Deloraine beheld

And knew, but how it mattered not,
It was the wizard, Michael Scott. {329}

Granting the ambiguous state, granting darkness, and expectancy,
anything may seem to happen.  But Dr. Carpenter wholly omits such
cases as that of Mr. Hamilton Aide, and of M. Alphonse Karr.  Both
were absolutely sceptical.  Both disliked Home very much, and
thought him an underbred Yankee quack and charlatan.  Both were in
the 'expectancy' of seeing no marvels, were under 'the dominant
idea' that nothing unusual would occur.  Both, in a brilliantly
lighted room of a villa near Nice, saw a chair make a rush from the
wall into the middle of the room, and saw a very large and heavy
table, untouched, rise majestically in the air.  M. Karr at once got
under the table, and hunted, vainly, for mechanical appliances.
Then he and Mr. Aide went home, disconcerted, and in very bad
humour.  How do 'expectancy' and the 'dominant idea' explain this
experience, which Mr. Aide has published in the Nineteenth Century?
The expectancy and dominant ideas of these gentlemen should have
made them see the table and chair sit tight, while believers
observed them in active motion.  Again, how could Mr. Crookes's lack
of 'a special training in the bodily and mental constitution,
abnormal as well as normal,' of 'mediums,' affect his power of
observing whether a plank of wood did, or did not, move to a certain
extent untouched, or slightly touched, and whether the difference of
position was, or was not, registered mechanically? (p. 70).  It was
a pure matter of skilled and trained observation in mechanics.  Dr.
Huggins was also present at this experiment in a mode of motion.
Him Dr. Carpenter gracefully discredited as an 'amateur,' without 'a
broad basis of _general_ scientific culture'.  He had devoted
himself 'to a branch of research which tasks the keenest powers of
_observation_'.  Now it was precisely powers of _observation_ that
were required.  'There are _moral_ sources of error,' of which a
mere observer like Dr. Huggins would be unaware.  And 'one of the
most potent of these is a proclivity to believe in the reality of
spiritual communications,' particularly dangerous in a case where
'spiritual communications,' were not in question!  The question was,
did an indicator move, or not, under a certain amount of pressure?
Indiscreetly enough, to be sure, the pressure was attributed to
'psychic force,' and perhaps that was what Dr. Carpenter had in his
mind, when he warned Dr. Huggins against 'the proclivity to believe
in the reality of spiritual communications'.

About a wilderness of other phenomena, attested by scores of sane
people, from Lord Crawford to Mr. S. C. Hall, Dr. Carpenter 'left
himself no time to speak' (p. 105).  This was convenient, but the
lack of time prevented Dr. Carpenter from removing our stumbling-
block, the one obstacle which keeps us from adopting, with no shadow
of doubt, the theory that explains all the marvels by the survival
and revival of savage delusions.  Dr. Carpenter's hypothesis of
expectancy, of a dominant idea, acting on believers, in an ambiguous
state, and in the dark, can do much, but it cannot account for the
experience of wide-awake sceptics, under the opposite dominant idea,
in a brilliant light.

Dr. Carpenter exposed and exploded a quantity of mesmeric
spiritualistic myths narrated by Dr. Gregory, by Miss Martineau, and
by less respectable if equally gullible authorities.  But, speaking
merely as perplexed and unconvinced students of argument and
evidence, we cannot say that he removed the difficulties which have
been illustrated and described.

Table-turning, after what is called a 'boom' in 1853-60, is now an
abandoned amusement.  It is deserted, like croquet, and it is even
less to be regretted.  But its existence enabled disputants to
illustrate the ordinary processes of reasoning; each making
assertions up to the limit of his personal experience; each
attacking, as 'superstitious,' all who had seen, or fancied they had
seen, more than himself, and each fighting gallantly for his own
explanatory hypothesis, which never did explain any phenomena beyond
those attested by his own senses.  The others were declared not to
exist, or to be the result of imposture and mal-observation,--and
perhaps they were.

The truly diverting thing is that Home did not believe in the other
'mediums,' nor in anything in the way of a marvel (such as matter
passing through matter) which he had not seen with his own eyes.
Whether Home's incredulity should be reckoned as a proof of his
belief in his own powers, might be argued either way.


Evolutionary Theory of the Origin of Religion.  Facts misunderstood
suggest ghosts, which develop into gods.  This process lies behind
history and experience.  Difficulties of the Theory.  The Theory of
Lucretius.  Objections Mr. Tyler's Theory.  The question of abnormal
facts not discussed by Mr. Tylor.  Possibility that such 'psychical'
facts are real, and are elements in development of savage religion.
The evidence for psychical phenomena compared with that which, in
other matters, satisfies anthropologists.  Examples.  Conclusion.

Among the many hypotheses as to the origin of religion, that which
we may call the evolutionary, or anthropological, is most congenial
to modern habits of thought.  The old belief in a sudden, miraculous
revelation is commonly rejected, though, in one sense, religion was
none the less 'revealed,' even if man was obliged to work his way to
the conception of deity by degrees.  To attain that conception was
the necessary result of man's reflection on the sum of his relations
to the universe.  The attainment, however, of the monotheistic idea
is not now generally regarded as immediate and instinctive.  A slow
advance, a prolonged evolution was required, whether we accept Mr.
Max Muller's theory of 'the sense of the Infinite,' or whether we
prefer the anthropological hypothesis.  The latter scheme, with
various modifications, is the scheme of Epicurus, Lucretius, Hume,
Mr. Tylor, and Mr. Herbert Spencer.  Man half consciously
transferred his implicit sense that he was a living and rational
being to nature in general, and recognised that earth, sky, wind,
clouds, trees, the lower animals, and so on, were persons like
himself, persons perhaps more powerful and awful than himself.  This
transference of personality can scarcely be called the result of a
conscious process of reasoning.  Man might recognise personality
everywhere, without much more thought or argument than a kitten
exerts when it takes a cork or a ball for a living playmate.   But
consciousness must have reached a more explicit stage, when man
began to ask himself what a _person_ is, what life is, and when he
arrived at the conclusion that life is a spirit.  To advance from
that conclusion; to explain all life as the manifestation of
indwelling spirits; then to withdraw the conception of life and
personality from inanimate things, to select from among spirits One
more powerful than the rest, to recognise that One as disembodied,
as superior, then as supreme, then as unique, and so to attain the
monotheistic conception, has been, according to the evolutionary
hypothesis, the tendency of human thought.

Unluckily we cannot study the process in its course of action.
Perhaps there is no savage race so lowly endowed, that it does not
possess, in addition to a world of 'spirits,' something that answers
to the conception of God.  Whether that is so, or not, is a question
of evidence.  We have often been told that this or the other people
'has no religious ideas at all'.  But later we hear that they do
possess a belief in spirits, and very often better information
proves that, in one stage or other of advance or degradation, the
theistic conception of a Maker and Judge of the world is also
present.  Meanwhile even civilised and monotheistic peoples also
admit the existence of a world of spirits of the dead, of 'demons'
(as in Platonism), of saints (as in Catholicism), of devils, of
angels, or of subordinate deities.  Thus the elements of religion
are universally distributed in all degrees of culture, though one
element is more conspicuous in one place or mood, another more
conspicuous in another.  In one mood the savage, or the civilised
man, may be called monotheistic, in another mood atheistic, in a
third, practically polytheistic.  Only a few men anywhere, and they
only when consciously engaged in speculation, assume a really
definite and exclusive mental attitude on the subject.  The orthodox
monotheistic Mussulman has his afreets, and djinns; the Jew, or the
Christian, has his angels, the Catholic has his saints; the
Platonist has his demons; Superstition has its ghosts.  The question
is whether all these spiritual beings are only ghosts raised to
higher powers:  or (in the case of deity), to the highest
conceivable power, while, even when this last process has been
accomplished, we ask whether other ghosts, on lower grades, continue
to be recognised.  Meanwhile the whole anthropological hypothesis,
whether valid or invalid, lies behind history, behind the experience
of even the most backward races at present extant.  If it be urged,
as by Hume, that the conception of a supreme deity is only a
reflection of kingship in human society, we must observe that some
monarchical races, like the Aztecs, seem to have possessed no
recognised monarchical Zeus; while something very like the
monotheistic conception is found among races so remote from the
monarchical state of society as to have no obvious distinctions of
rank, like the Australian blacks.  Moreover the evidence, on such
difficult points, is obscure, and fluctuating, and capable of
various interpretation.  Even among the most backward peoples, the
traceable shadow of a monotheistic idea often seems to bear marks of
degradation and disuse, rather than of nascent development.  There
is a God, but He is neglected, and tribal spirits receive prayer and
sacrifice.  Just as in art there is a point where we find it
difficult to decide whether an object is decadent, or archaic, so it
is in the study of religious conceptions.

These are a few among the inevitable difficulties and obscurities
which haunt the anthropological or evolutionary theory of the origin
of religion.  Other difficulties meet us at the very beginning.  The
theory regards gods as merely ghosts or spirits, raised to a higher,
or to the highest power.  Mankind, according to the system, was
inevitably led, by the action of reason upon apparent facts, to
endow all things, from humanity itself to earth, sky, rain, sea,
fire, with conscious personality, life, spirit; and these attributes
were as gradually withdrawn again, under stress of better knowledge,
till only man was left with a soul, and only the universe was left
with a God.  The last scientific step, then, it may be inferred, is
to deprive the universe of a God, and mankind of souls.

This step may be naturally taken by those who conceive that the
whole process of ghost and god-making is based on a mere set of
natural and inevitable fallacies, and who decline to recognise that
these progressive fallacies (if fallacies they are) may be steps on
a divinely appointed road towards truth; that He led us by a way
that we knew not, and a path we did not understand.  Yet, of course,
it is plain that a conclusion may be correct, although it was
reached by erroneous processes.  All scientific verities have been
attained in this manner, by a gradual modification and improvement
of inadequate working hypotheses, by the slow substitution of
correctness for error.  Thus monotheism and the doctrine of the soul
may be in no worse case than the Copernican theory, or the theory of
the circulation of the blood, or the Darwinian theory; itself the
successor of innumerable savage guesses, conjectures of Empedocles,
ideas of Cuvier, of the elder Darwin, of Lamarck, and of Chambers.

At present, of course, the theistic hypothesis, and the hypothesis
of a soul, do not admit of scientific verification.  The difficulty
is to demonstrate that 'mind' may exist, and work, apart from
'matter'.  But it may conceivably become verifiable that the
relations of 'mind' and 'matter' are, at all events, less obviously
and immediately interdependent, that will and judgment are less
closely and exclusively attached to physical organisms than modern
science has believed.  Now, according to the anthropological theory
of the origin of religion, it was precisely from the opposite of the
scientific belief,--it was from the belief that consciousness and
will may be exerted apart from, at a distance from, the physical
organism,--that the savage fallacies began, which ended, ex
hypothesi, in monotheism, and in the doctrine of the soul.  The
savage, it is said, started from normal facts, which he
misinterpreted.  But suppose he started, not from normal facts
alone, but also from abnormal facts,--from facts which science does
not yet recognise at all,--then it is possible that the conclusions
of the savage, though far too sweeping, and in parts undeniably
erroneous, are yet, to a certain extent, not mistaken.  He may have
had 'a sane spot in his mind,' and a sane impulse may have led him
into the right direction.  Man may have faculties which savages
recognise, and which physical science does not recognise.  Man may
be surrounded by agencies which savages exaggerate, and which
science disregards altogether, and these faculties and agencies may
point to an element of truth which is often cast aside as a survival
of superstition, as the 'after-image' of an illusion.

The lowest known stage, and, according to the evolutionary
hypothesis, the earliest stage in religion, is the belief in the
ghosts of the dead, and in no other spiritual entities.  Whether
this belief anywhere exists alone, and untempered by higher creeds,
is another question.  These ghosts are fed, propitiated, receive
worship, and, to put it briefly, the fittest ghosts survive, and
become gods.  Meanwhile the conception of ghosts of the dead is more
or less consciously extended, so that spirits who never were
incarnate as men become credible beings.  They may inform inanimate
objects, trees, rivers, fire, clouds, earth, sky, the great natural
departments, and thence polytheism results.  There are political
processes, the consolidation of a state, for example, which help to
blend these gods of various different origins into a divine
consistory.  One of these gods, it may be of sky, or air becomes
king, and reflection may gradually come to recognise him not only as
supreme, but as, theoretically, unique, and thus Zeus, from a very
limited monarchy, may rise to solitary all-fatherhood.  Yet Zeus
may, originally, have been only the ghost of a dead medicine-man who
was called 'Sky,' or he may have been the departmental spirit who
presided over the sky, or he may have been sky conceived of as a
personality, or these different elements may have been mingled in
Zeus.  But the whole conception of spirit, in any case, was derived,
it is argued, from the conception of ghosts, and that conception may
be traced to erroneous savage interpretations of natural and normal

If all this be valid, the idea of God is derived from a savage
fallacy, though, of course, it does not follow that an idea is
erroneous, _because_ it was attained by mistaken processes and from
false premises.  That, however, is the inference which many minds
are inclined to draw from the evolutionary hypothesis.  But if the
facts on which the savage reasoned are, some of them, rare,
abnormal, and not scientifically accepted; if, in short, they are
facts demonstrative of unrecognised human faculties, if these
faculties raise a presumption that will, mind, and organism are less
closely interdependent than science supposes, then the savage
reasoning may contain an important element of rejected truth.  It
may even seem, at least, conceivable that certain factors in the
conception of 'spirit' were not necessarily evolved as the
anthropological hypothesis conceives them to have been.

Science had scarcely begun her secular conflict with religion, when
she discovered that the battle must be fought on haunted ground, on
the field of the ghosts of the dead.  'There are no gods, or only
dei otiosi, careless, indolent deities.  There is nothing conscious
that survives death, no soul that can exist apart from the fleshly
body.'  Such were the doctrines of Epicurus and Lucretius, but to
these human nature opposed 'facts'; we see, people said, men long
dead in our dreams, or even when awake:  the Homeric Achilles,
beholding Patroclus in a dream, instantly infers that there verily
_is_ a shadow, an eidolon, a shadowy consciousness, shadowy
presence, which outlasts the death of the body.  To this Epicurus
and Lucretius reply, that the belief is caused by fallacious
inferences from facts, these facts, appearances beheld in sleep or
vision, these spectral faces of the long dead, are caused by 'films
peeled off from the surface of objects, which fly to and fro through
the air, and do likewise frighten our minds when they present
themselves to us _awake as well as in sleep_, what time we behold
strange shapes, and "idols" of the light-bereaved,' Lucretius
expressly advances this doctrine of 'films' (an application of the
Democritean theory of perception), 'that we may not believe that
souls break loose from Acheron, or that shades fly about among the
living, or that any part of us is left behind after death'. {341a}
Believers in ghosts must have replied that they do _not_ see, in
sleep or awake, 'films' representing a mouldering corpse, as they
ought to do on the Lucretian hypothesis, but the image, or idolon of
a living face.  Plutarch says that if philosophers may laugh, these
long enduring 'films,' from a body perhaps many ages deep in dust,
are laughable. {341b}  However Lucretius is so wedded to his 'films'
that he explains a purely fanciful being, like a centaur, by a
fortuitous combination of the film of a man with the film of a
horse.  A 'ghost' then, is, to the mind of Lucretius, merely a
casual persistent film of a dead man, composed of atoms very light
which can fly at inconceivable speed, and are not arrested by
material obstacles.  By parity of reasoning no doubt, if Pythagoras
is seen at the same moment in Thurii and Metapontum, only a film of
him is beheld at one of these two places.  The Democritean theory of
ordinary perception thus becomes the Lucretian theory of dreams and
ghosts.  Not that Lucretius denies the existence of a rational soul,
in living men, {341c} a portion of it may even leave the body during
sleep, and only a spark may be left in the embers of the physical
organism.  If even that spark withdraws, death follows, and the
soul, no longer warmly housed in the body, ceases to exist.  For the
'film' (ghost) is not the soul, and the soul is not the film,
whereas savage philosophy identifies the soul with the ghost.  Even
Lucretius retains the savage conception of the soul as a thing of
rarer matter, a thing partly separable from the body, but that thing
is resolved for ever into its elements on the death of the body.
His imaginary 'film,' on the other hand, may apparently endure for

The Lucretian theory had, for Lucretius, the advantages of being
physical, and of dealing a blow at the hated doctrine of a future
life.  For the public it had the disadvantages of being incapable of
proof, of not explaining the facts, as conceived to exist, and of
being highly ridiculous, as Plutarch observed.  Much later
philosophers explained all apparitions as impressions of sense,
recorded on the brain, and so actively revived that they seemed to
have an objective existence.  One or two stock cases (Nicolai's, and
Mrs. A.'s), in which people _in a morbid condition_, saw
hallucinations which they knew to be hallucinations, did, and do, a
great deal of duty.  Mr. Sully has them, as Hibbert and Brewster
have them, engaged as protagonists.  Collective hallucinations, and
the hallucinations of the sane which coincide with the death, or
other crisis in the experience of the person who seemed to be seen,
were set down to imagination, 'expectant attention,' imposture,
mistaken identity, and so forth.

Without dwelling on the causes, physical or psychological, which
have been said by Frazer of Tiree (1707), Ferrier, Hibbert, Scott,
and others, to account for the hallucinations of the sane, for
'ghosts,' Mr. Tylor has ably erected his theory of animism, or the
belief in spirits.  Thinking savages, he says, 'were deeply
impressed by two groups of biological phenomena,' by the facts of
living, dying, sleep, trance, waking and disease.  They asked:
'What is the difference between a living body and a dead one?'  They
wanted to know the causes of sleep, trance and death.  They were
also concerned to explain the appearances of dead or absent human
beings in dreams and waking visions.  Now it was plain that 'life'
could go away, as it does in death, or seems to do in dreamless
sleep.  Again, a phantasm of a living man can go away and appear to
waking or sleeping people at a distance.  The conclusion was reached
by savages that the phantasm which thus appears is identical with
the life which 'goes away' in sleep or trance.  Sometimes it
returns, when the man wakes, or escapes from his trance.  Sometimes
it stays away, he dies, his body corrupts, but the phantasm endures,
and is occasionally seen in sleeping or waking vision.  The general
result of savage thought is that man's life must be conceived as a
personal and rational entity, called his 'soul,' while it remains in
his body, his 'wraith,' when it is beheld at a distance during his
life, his 'ghost,' when it is observed after his death.  Many
circumstances confirmed or illustrated this savage hypothesis Breath
remains with the body during life, deserts it at death.  Hence the
words spiritus, 'spirit,' [Greek], anima, and, when the separable
nature of the shadow is noticed, hence come 'shade,' 'umbra,'
[Greek], with analogues in many languages.  The hypothesis was also
strengthened, by the great difficulty which savages feel in
discriminating between what occurs in dreams, and what occurs to men
awake.  Many civilised persons feel the same difficulty with regard
to hallucinations beheld by them when in bed, asleep or awake they
know not, on the dim border of existence.  Reflection on all these
experiences ended in the belief in spirits, in souls of the living,
in wraiths of the living, in ghosts of the dead, and, finally, in

This theory is most cogently presented by Mr. Tylor, and is
confirmed by examples chosen from his wide range of reading.  But,
among these normal and natural facts, as of sleep, dream, breath,
life, dying, Mr. Tylor includes (not as facts, but as examples of
applied animistic theory) cases of 'clairvoyance,' apparitions of
the dying seen by the living at a distance, second sight, ghostly
disturbances of knocking and rapping, movements of objects, and so
forth.  It is not a question for Mr. Tylor whether clairvoyance ever
occurs:  whether 'death-bed wraiths' have been seen to an extent not
explicable by the laws of chance, whether disturbances and movements
of objects not to be accounted for by human agency are matters of
universal and often well-attested report.  Into the question of
fact, Mr. Tylor explicitly declines to enter; these things only
concern him because they have been commonly explained by the
'animistic hypothesis,' that is, by the fancied action of spirits.
The animistic hypothesis, again, is the result, naturally
fallacious, of savage man's reasonings on life, death, sleep,
dreams, trance, breath, shadow and the other kindred biological
phenomena.  Thus clairvoyance (on the animistic hypothesis) is the
flight of the conscious 'spirit' of a living man across space or
time; the 'deathbed wraith' is the visible apparition of the newly-
emancipated 'spirit,' and 'spirits' cause the unexplained
disturbances and movements of objects.  In fact it is certain that
the animistic hypothesis (though a mere fallacy) does colligate a
great number of facts very neatly, and has persisted from times of
low savagery to the present age of reason.  So here is a case of the
savage origin and persistent 'survival' of a hypothesis,--the most
potent hypothesis in the history of humanity.

From Mr. Tylor's point of view, his concern with the subject ceases
here, it is not his business to ascertain whether the abnormal facts
are facts or fancies.  Yet, to other students, this question is very
important.  First, if clairvoyance, wraiths, and the other alleged
phenomena, really do occur, or have occurred, then savage man had
much better grounds for the animistic hypothesis than if no such
phenomena ever existed.  For instance, if a medicine-man not only
went into trances, but brought back from these expeditions knowledge
otherwise inaccessible, then there were better grounds for believing
in a consciousness exerted apart from the body than if there were no
evidence but that of non-veridical dreams.  If merely the dream-
coincidences which the laws of chance permit were observed, the
belief in the soul's dream-flight would win less favourable and
general acceptance than it would if clairvoyance, 'the sleep of the
shadow,' were a real if rare experience.  The very name given by the
Eskimos to the hypnotic state, 'the sleep of the shadow,' proves
that savages do make distinctions between normal and abnormal
conditions of slumber.

In the same way a few genuine wraiths, or ghosts, or 'veridical
hallucinations,' would be enough to start the animistic hypothesis,
or to confirm it notably, if it was already started.  As to
disturbances and movements of objects unexplained, these, in his own
experience, suggested, even to De Morgan, the hypothesis of a
conscious, active, and purposeful will, _not_ that of any human
being present.  Now such a will is hardly to be defined otherwise
than as 'spiritual'.  This order of phenomena, like those of
clairvoyance and wraiths, might either give rise to the savage
animistic hypothesis, or, at least, might confirm it greatly.  In
fact, if the sets of abnormal phenomena existed, or were held to
exist, savage man scarcely needed the normal phenomena for the basis
of his spiritual belief.  The normal phenomena lent him such terms
as 'spirit,' 'shadow,' but much of his theory might have been built
on the foundation of the abnormal phenomena alone.  A 'veridical
hallucination,' of the dying would give him a 'wraith'; a recognised
hallucination of the dead would give him a ghost:  the often
reported and unexplained movements and disturbances would give him a
vui, 'house spirit,' 'brownie,' 'domovoy,' follet, lar, or lutin.
Or these occurrences might suggest to the thinking savage that some
discontented influence survived from the recently dead.

Four thousand years have passed since houses were haunted in Egypt,
and have left some sane, educated, and methodical men to meet the
same annoyances as the ancient Egyptians did, by the same measures.
We do not pretend to discover, without examination, the causes of
the sounds and sights which baffle trained and not superstitious
investigators.  But we do say that similar occurrences, in a kraal
or an Eskimo hut, in a wigwam, in a cave, or under a gunyeh, would
greatly confirm the animistic hypothesis of savages.  The theory of
imposture (in some cases) does undeniably break down, for the people
who hold it cannot even suggest a modus operandi within the reach of
the human beings concerned, as in the case of the Wesleys.  The
theory of contagious hallucination of all the senses is the property
of Coleridge alone.  The hypothesis of a nervous force which sets up
centres of conscious action is confined to Hartmann, and to certain
Highland philosophers, cavalierly dismissed by the Rev. Robert Kirk
as 'men illiterate'.  Instead of making these guesses, the savage
thinkers merely applied the animistic hypothesis, which they had
found to work very well already, and, as De Morgan says, to
colligate the phenomena better than any other theory.  We cannot
easily conceive men who know neither sleep nor dreams, but if the
normal phenomena of sleep and dreams had not existed, the abnormal
phenomena already described, if they occurred, as they are
universally said to do, could have given rise, when speculated upon,
to the belief in spirits.

But, it may reasonably be urged, 'the natural familiar facts of
life, death, sleep, waking, dreams, breath, and shadows, are all
versae causae, do undeniably exist, and, without the aid of any of
your abnormal facts, afford basis enough for the animistic
hypothesis.  Moreover, after countless thousands of years, during
which superstition has muttered about your abnormal facts, official
science still declines to hear a word on the topic of clairvoyance
or telepathy.  You don't find the Royal Society investigating second
sight, or attending to legends about tables which rebel against the
law of gravitation.'

These are cogent remarks.  Normal facts, perhaps, may have suggested
the belief in spirits, the animistic hypothesis.  But we do not find
the hypothesis (among the backward races) where abnormal facts are
not alleged to be matters of comparatively frequent experience.
Consequently we do not _know_ that the normal facts, alone,
suggested the existence of spirits to early thinkers, we can only
make the statement on a priori grounds.  Like George Eliot's rural
sage we 'think it sounds a deal likelier'.  But that, after all,
though a taking, is not a powerful and conclusive syllogism.

Again, we certainly do not expect to see the Royal Society inquiring
into second sight, or clairvoyance, or thought transference.  When
the Royal Society was first founded several of its members, Pepys,
F.R.S.; Mr. Robert Boyle, F.R.S.; the Rev. Joseph Glanvill, F.R.S.,
went into these things a good deal.  But, in spite of their title,
they were only amateurs.  They had no professional dignity to keep
up.  They were well aware that they, unlike the late Mr. Faraday,
did not know, by inspiration or by common-sense, the limits of the
possible.  They tried all things, it was such a superstitious age.
Now men of science, or the majority of them, for there are some
exceptions, know what is, and what is not possible.  They know that
germs of life may possibly come down on meteorites from somewhere
else, and they produced an argument for the existence of a
bathybius.  But they also know that a man is not a bird to be in two
places at once, like Pythagoras, and that nobody can see through a
stone wall.  These, and similar allegations, they reckon impossible,
and, if the facts happen, so much the worse for the facts.  They can
only be due to imposture or mal-observation, and there is an end of
the matter.  This is the view of official science.  Unluckily, not
many years ago, official science was equally certain that the
ordinary phenomena of hypnotism were based on imposture and on mal-
observation.  These phenomena, too, were tabooed.  But so many
people could testify to them, and they could be so easily explained
by the suggestive force of suggestion, that they were reluctantly
admitted within the sacred citadel.  Many people, sane, not
superstitious, healthy, and even renowned as scientific specialists,
attest the existence of the still rarer phenomena which are said, in
certain cases, to accompany the now more familiar incidents of
hypnotism.  But these phenomena have never yet been explained by any
theory which science recognises, as she does recognise that
suggestion is suggestive.  Therefore these rarer phenomena
manifestly do not exist, and cannot be the subject of legitimate

These are unanswerable observations, and it is only the antiquarian
who can venture, in his humble way, to reply to them.  His answer
has a certain force ad hominem, that is, as addressed to
anthropologists.  They, too, have but recently been admitted within
the scientific fold; time was when their facts were regarded as mere
travellers' tales.  Mr. Max Muller is now, perhaps, almost alone in
his very low estimate of anthropological evidence, and, possibly,
even that sturdy champion is beginning to yield ground.  Defending
the validity of the testimony on which anthropologists reason about
the evolution of religion, custom, manners, mythology, law, Mr.
Tylor writes:--

'It is a matter worthy of consideration that the accounts of similar
phenomena of culture, recurring in different parts of the world,
actually supply incidental proof of their own authenticity. . . .
The test of recurrence comes in. . . .  The possibility of
intentional or unintentional mystification is often barred by such a
state of things as that a similar statement is made in two remote
lands by two witnesses, of whom A lived a century before B, and B
appears never to have heard of A.'

If for 'similar phenomena of culture' here, we substitute 'similar
abnormal phenomena' (such as clairvoyance, wraiths, unexplained
disturbances), Mr. Tylor's argument in favour of his evidence for
institutions applies equally well to our evidence for mysterious
'facts'.  'How distant are the countries,' he goes on, 'how wide
apart are the dates, how different the creeds and characters in the
catalogue of the facts of civilisation, needs no further showing'--
to the student of Mr. Tylor's erudite footnotes.  In place of 'facts
of civilisation' read 'psychical phenomena,' and Mr. Tylor's
argument applies to the evidence for these rejected and scouted

The countries from which 'ghosts' and 'wraiths' and 'clairvoyance'
are reported are 'distant'; the dates are 'wide apart'; the 'creeds
and characters of the observers' 'are 'different'; yet the evidence
is as uniform, and as recurrent, as it is in the case of
institutions, manners, customs.  Indeed the evidence for the
rejected and abnormal phenomena is even more 'recurrent' than the
evidence for customs and institutions.  Polyandry, totemism, human
sacrifice, the taboo, are only reported as existing in remote and
semi-civilised countries.  Clairvoyance, wraiths, ghosts, mysterious
disturbances and movements of objects are reported as existing, not
only in distant ages, but today; not only among savages or
barbarians, but in London, Paris, Milan.  No ages can be more wide
apart, few countries much more distant, than ancient Egypt and
modern England:  no characters look more different than that of an
old scribe under Pharaoh, and that of a distinguished soldier under
Queen Victoria.  Yet the scribe of Khemi and General Campbell suffer
from the same inexplicable annoyance, attribute it to the same very
abnormal agency, and attempt (not unsuccessfully) to communicate
with that agency, in precisely the same way.

This, though a striking, is an isolated and perhaps a casual example
of recurrence and uniformity in evidence.  Mr. Tylor's Primitive
Culture is itself a store-house of other examples, to which more may
easily be added.  For example, there is the old and savage belief in
a 'sending'.  The medicine-man, or medium, or witch, can despatch a
conscious, visible, and intelligent agent, non-normal, to do his
bidding at a distance.  This belief is often illustrated in the
Scandinavian sagas.  Rink testifies to it among the Eskimo, Grinnell
among the Pawnees:  Porphyry alleges that by some such 'telepathic
impact' Plotinus, from a distance, made a hostile magician named
Alexander 'double up like an empty bag,' and saw and reported this
agreeable circumstance. {352}  Hardly any abnormal phenomenon or
faculty sounds less plausible, and the 'spectral evidence' for the
presence of a witch's 'sending,' when the poor woman could establish
an alibi for her visible self, appeared dubious even to Cotton
Mather.  But, in their Phantasms of the Living, Messrs. Gurney and
Myers give cases in which a visible 'sending' was intentionally
emitted by Baron Schrenck Notzing, by a stock-broker, by a young
student of engineering, and by a French hospital nurse, to take no
other instances.  The person visited frequently by the 'sendings' in
the last cases was a French physician engaged in the hospital, who
reports and attests the facts.  All the cases are given at first
hand on the testimony of the senders and of the recipients of the
sendings.  Bulwer Lytton was familiar with the belief, and uses the
'shining shadow' in A Strange Story.  Now here is uniform recurrent
evidence from widely severed ages, from distant countries, from the
Polar North, the American prairie, Neoplatonic Egypt and Greece,
England and New England of the seventeenth century, and England and
Germany of today.  The 'creeds and characters of the observers' are
as 'different' as Neoplatonism, Shamanism, Christianity of divers
sects, and probably Agnosticism or indifference.  All these
conditions of unvarying testimony constitute good evidence for
institutions and customs; anthropologists, who eagerly accept such
testimony in their own studies, may decide as to whether they
deserve total neglect when adduced in another field of anthropology.

Turning from 'sendings,' or 'telepathy' voluntarily brought to bear
on one living person by another, we might examine 'death-bed
wraiths,' or the telepathic impact--'if that hypothesis of theirs be
sound'--produced by a dying on a living human being.  A savage
example, in which a Fuegian native on board an English ship saw his
father, who was expiring in Tierra del Fuego, has the respectable
authority of Mr. Darwin's Cruise of the Beagle.  Instances, on the
other hand, in which Australian blacks, or Fijians, see the
phantasms of dead kinsmen warning them of their decease (which
follows punctually) may be found in Messrs. Fison and Howitt's
Kamilaroi and Kurnai.

From New Zealand Mr. Tylor cites, with his authorities, the
following example:  {353} 'A party of Maoris (one of whom told the
story) were seated round a fire in the open air, when there
appeared, seen only by two of them, the figure of a relative left
ill at home.  They exclaimed, the figure vanished, and, on the
return of the party, it appeared that the sick man had died about
the time of the vision.'  A traveller in New Zealand illustrates the
native belief in the death-wraith by an amusing anecdote.  A
Rangatira, or native gentleman, had gone on the war-path.  One day
he walked into his wife's house, but after a few moments could not
be found.  The military expedition did not return, so the lady,
taking it for granted that her husband, the owner of the wraith, was
dead, married an admirer.  The hallucination, however, was _not_
'veridical'; the warrior came home, but he admitted that he had no
remedy and no feud against his successor.  The owner of a wraith
which has been seen may be assumed to be dead.  Such is Maori
belief.  The modern civilised examples of death-wraiths, attested
and recorded in Phantasms of the Living, are numerous; but
statistics prove that a lady who marries again on the strength of a
wraith may commit an error of judgment, and become liable to the
penalty of bigamy.  The Maoris, no statisticians, take a more
liberal and tolerant view.  These are comparatively scanty examples
from savage life, but then they are corroborated by the wealth of
recurrent and coincident evidence from civilised races, ancient and

On the point of clairvoyance, it is unnecessary to dwell.  The
second-sighted man, the seer of events remote in space or not yet
accomplished in time, is familiar everywhere, from the Hebrides to
the Coppermine River, from the Samoyed and Eskimo to the Zulu, from
the Euphrates to the Hague.  The noises heard in 'haunted houses,'
the knocking, routing, dragging of heavy bodies, is recorded, Mr.
Tylor says, by Dayaks, Singhalese, Siamese, and Esths; Dennys, in
his Folklore of China, notes the occurrences in the Celestial
Empire; Grimm, in his German Mythology, gives examples, starting
from the communicative knocks of a spirit near Bingen, in the
chronicle of Rudolf (856), and Suetonius tells a similar tale from
imperial Rome.  The physician of Catherine de Medicis, Ambroise
Pare, describes every one of the noises heard by the Wesleys, long
after his day, as familiar, and as caused by devils.  Recurrence and
conformity of evidence cannot be found in greater force.

The anthropological test of evidence for faith in the rejected
phenomena is thus amply satisfied.  Unless we say that these
phenomena are 'impossible,' whereas totemism, the couvade,
cannibalism, are possible, the testimony to belief in clairvoyance,
and the other peculiar occurrences, is as good in its way as the
evidence for the practice of wild customs and institutions.  There
remains a last and notable circumstance.  All the abnormal
phenomena, in the modern and mediaeval tales, occur most frequently
in the presence of convulsionaries, like the so-called victims of
witches, like the Hon. Master Sandilands, Lord Torphichen's son
(1720), like the grandson of William Morse in New England (1680),
and like Bovet's case of the demon of Spraiton. {355}

The 'mediums' of modern spiritualism, like Francis Fey, are, or
pretend to be, subject to fits, anaesthesia, jerks, convulsive
movements, and trance.  As Mr. Tylor says about his savage
jossakeeds, powwows, Birraarks, peaimen, everywhere 'these people
suffer from hysterical, convulsive, and epileptic affections'.  Thus
the physical condition, all the world over, of persons who exhibit
most freely the accepted phenomena, is identical.  All the world
over, too, the same persons are credited with the _rejected_
phenomena, clairvoyance, 'discerning of spirits,' powers of
voluntary 'telepathic 'and 'telekinetic' impact.  Thus we find that
uniform and recurrent evidence vouches for a mass of phenomena which
science scouts.  Science has now accepted a portion of the mass, but
still rejects the stranger occurrences.  Our argument is that their
invariably alleged presence, in attendance on the minor occurrences,
is, at least, a point worthy of examination.  The undesigned
coincidences of testimony represent a great deal of smoke, and
proverbial wisdom suggests a presumption in favour of a few sparks
of fire.  Now, if there are such sparks, the animistic hypothesis
may not, of course, be valid,--'spirits' may not exist,--but the
universal belief in their existence may have had its origin, not in
normal facts only, but in abnormal facts.  And these facts, at the
lowest estimate, must suggest that man may have faculties, and be
surrounded by agencies, which physical science does not take into
account in its theory of the universe and of human nature.

We have already argued that the doctrines of theism and of the soul
need not to be false, even if they were arrived at slowly, after a
succession of grosser opinions.  But if the doctrines were reached
by a process which started from real facts of human nature, observed
by savages, but not yet recognised by physical science, then there
may have been grains of truth even in the cruder and earlier ideas,
and these grains of gold may have been disengaged, and fashioned,
not without Divine aid, into the sacred things of spiritual

The stories which we have been considering are often trivial,
sometimes comic; but they are universally diffused, and as well
established as universally coincident testimony can establish
anything.  Now, if there be but one spark of real fire to all this
smoke, then the purely materialistic theories of life and of the
world must be reconsidered.  They seem very well established, but so
have many other theories seemed, that are long gone the way of all
things human.


{0a}  Fortnightly Review, February 1866, and in a lecture, 1895.

{0b}  This diary was edited for private circulation, by a son of Mr.
Proctor's, who remembers the disturbances.

{0c}  See essays here on Classical and Savage Spiritualism.

{0d}  This was merely a cheerful obiter dictum by the learned

{4}  Not the house agent.

{9}  Porphyry, Epistola xxi.  Iamblichus, De Myst., iii. 2.

{11}  The Port Glasgow story is in Report of the Dialectical
Society, p. 200.  The flooring was torn up; walls, ceilings,
cellars, were examined by the police, and attempts were made to
imitate the noises, without success.  In this case, as at Rerrick in
the end of the seventeenth century, and elsewhere, 'the appearance
of a hand moving up and down' was seen by the family, 'but we could
not catch it:  it quietly vanished, and we only felt cold air'.  The
house was occupied by a gardener, Hugh McCardle.  Names of
witnesses, a sergeant of police, and others, are appended.

{12}  Report of Dialectical Society, p. 86.

{17a}  For ourselves, we have never seen or heard a table give any
responses whatever, any more than we have seen the ghosts, heard the
raps, or viewed the flights of men in the air which we chronicle in
a later portion of this work.

{17b}  Report on Spiritualism, Longmans, London, 1871.

{18}  Report, p. 229.

{21}  Mr. Wallace may be credited with scoring a point in argument.
Dr. Edmunds had maintained that no amount of evidence would make him
believe in certain obvious absurdities, say the lions in Trafalgar
Square drinking out of the fountains.  Mr. Wallace replied:  'The
asserted fact is either possible or not possible.  If possible, such
evidence as we have been considering would prove it; if not
possible, such evidence could not exist.'  No such evidence exists
for the lions; for the phenomena of so-called spiritualism, we have
consentient testimony in every land, period and stage of culture.
That certainly makes a difference, whatever the weight and value of
the difference may be.

{26a}  This illustration is not Mr. Lecky's.

{26b}  We have here thrown together a crowd of odd experiences.  The
savages' examples are dealt with in the next essay; the Catholic
marvels in the essay on 'Comparative Psychical Research'.  For
Pascal, consult L'Amulette de Pascal, by M. Lelut; for Iamblichus,
see essay on 'Ancient Spiritualism'.  As to Welsh, the evidence for
the light in which he shone is printed in Dr. Hill Burton's Scot
Abroad (i. 289), from a Wodrow MS. in Glasgow University.  Mr. Welsh
was minister of Ayr.  He was meditating in his garden late at night.
One of his friends 'chanced to open a window towards the place where
he walked, and saw clearly a strange light surround him, and heard
him speak strange words about his spiritual joy'.  Hill Burton
thinks that this verges on the Popish superstition.  The truth is
that eminent ministers shared the privileges of Mediums and of some
saints.  Examples of miraculous cures by ministers, of clairvoyance
on their part, of spirit-raps attendant on them, and of prophecy,
are current on Presbyterian hagiology.  No ministers, to our
knowledge, were 'levitated,' but some _nearly_ flew out of their
pulpits.  Patrick Walker, in his Biographia Presbyteriana, vol. ii.
p. 21, mentions a supernatural light which floated round The Sweet
Singers, Meikle John Gibb and his friends, before they burned a
bible.  Mr. Gibb afterwards excelled as a pow-wow, or Medicine Man,
among the Red Indians.

{30}  Teutonic Mythology, English translation, vol. ii. p. 514.  He
cites Pertz, i. 372.

{31}  A very early turning table, of 1170, is quoted from Giraldus
Cambrensis by Dean Stanley in his Canterbury Memorials, p. 103.  The
table threw off the weapons of Becket's murderers.  This was at
South Malling.  See the original in Wharton's Anglia Sacra, ii. 425.

{35}  See Mr. Tylor's Primitive Culture, chap, xi., for the best
statement of the theory.

{38}  Petitot, Traditions Indiennes du Canada Nord-Ouest, p. 434.

{40}  Very possibly the whirring roar of the turndun, or [Greek], in
Greek, Zuni, Yoruba, Australian, Maori and South African mysteries
is connected with this belief in a whirring sound caused by spirits.
See Custom and Myth.

{41a}  Proc. S. P. R., xix. 180.

{41b}  Brough Smyth, i. 475.

{42}  Auckland, 1863, ch. x.

{45a}  [Greek].--Iamblichus.

{45b}  Kohl, Kitchi-Gami, p. 278.

{48}  Hind's Explorations in Labrador, ii. 102.

{50a}  Rowley, Universities' Mission to Central Africa, p. 217:
cited by Mr. Tylor.

{50b}  Quoted in La Table Parlante, a French serial, No. I, p. 6.

{51}  Colonel A. B. Ellis, in his work on the Yorubas (1894),
reports singular motions of a large wooden cylinder.  It is used in

{52}  The Natural and Morall History of the East and West Indies, p.
566, London, 1604.

{53}  February 9, 1872.  Quoted by Mr. Tylor, in Primitive Culture,
ii. 39, 1873.

{57}  Revue des Deux Mondes, 1856, tome i. p. 853.

{60}  Hallucinations, English translation, p. 182, London, 1859.

{62}  Laws, xi.

{63}  Records of the Past, iv. 134-136.

{65a}  The references are to Parthey's edition, Berlin, 1857.

{65b}  [Greek], 4, 3.

{65c}  All are, for Porphyry, 'phantasmogenetic agencies'.

{66a}  Jean Brehal, par P.P. Belon et Balme, Paris, s.a., p. 105.

{66b}  Proces de Condemnation, i. 75.

{67a}  Appended to Beaumont's work on Spirits, 1705.

{67b}  See Mr. Lillie's Modern Mystics, and, better, Mr. Myers, in
Proceedings S. P. R., Jan., 1894.

{68a}  Origen, or whoever wrote the Philosophoumena, gives a recipe
for producing a luminous figure on a wall.  For moving lights, he
suggests attaching lighted tow to a bird, and letting it loose.
Maury translates the passages in La Magie, pp. 58-59.
Spiritualists, of course, will allege that the world-wide theory of
spectral lights is based on fact, and that the hallucinations are
not begotten by subjective conditions, but by a genuine
'phantasmogenetic agency'.  Two men of science, Baron Schrenk-
Notzing, and Dr. Gibotteau, vouch for illusions of light
accompanying attempts by _living_ agents to transfer a hallucinatory
vision of themselves to persons at a distance (Journal S. P. R.,
iii. 307; Proceedings, viii. 467).  It will be asserted by
spiritualists that disembodied agencies produce the same effect in a
higher degree.

{68b}  [Greek].

{69}  [Greek].

{70a}  Damascius, ap. Photium.

{70b}  [Greek].

{71}  Life of Hugh Macleod (Noble, Inverness).  As an example of the
growth of myth, see the version of these facts in Fraser's Magazine
for 1856.  Even in a sermon preached immediately after the event, it
was said that the dreamer _found_ the pack by revelation of his

{72}  iii. 2.  [Greek].

{73}  Greek Papyri in the British Museum; edited by F. G. Kenyon,
M.A., London, 1893.

{74}  See notice in Classical Review, February, 1894.

{75a}  See oracles in Eusebius, Praep. Evang., v. 9. The medium was
tied up in some way, he had to be unloosed and raised from the
ground.  The inspiring agency, in a hurry to be gone, gave
directions for the unbinding.  [Greek].  The binding of the Highland
seer in a bull's hide is described by Scott in the Lady of the Lake.
A modern Highland seer has ensconced himself in a boiler!  The
purpose is to concentrate the 'force'.

{75b}  Praep. Evang., v. 8.

{75c}  Ibid., v. 15, 3.

{78a}  Dr. Hodgson, in Proceedings S. P. R., Jan., 1894, makes Mr.
Kellar's evidence as to Indian 'levitation' seem far from
convincing!  As a professional conjurer, and exposer of
spiritualistic imposture, Mr. Kellar has made statements about his
own experiences which are not easily to be harmonised.

{78b}  Proceedings S. P. R. Jan., 1894.

{86}  The Miraculous Conformist.  A letter to the Honourable Robert
Boyle, Esq.  Oxford:  University Press, 1666.

{88a}  Fourth edition, London, 1726.

{88b}  In Kirk's Secret Commonwealth, 1691.  London:  Nutt, 1893.

{90a}  In the Salem witch mania, a similar case of levitation was
reported by the Rev. Cotton Mather.  He produced a cloud of
witnesses, who could not hold the woman down.  She would fly up.
Mr. Mather sent the signed depositions to his opponent, Mr. Calef.
But Calef would not believe, for, said he, 'the age of miracles is
past'.  Which was just the question at issue!  See Beaumont's
Treatise of Spirits, p. 148, London, 1705.

{90b}  Miracles and Modern Spiritualism, p. 7.  London:  Burns,

{90c}  Popular Tales, iv. 340.

{94}  The anecdote is published by Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, in a
letter of Lauderdale's, affixed to Sharpe's edition of Law's

{95}  See Ghosts before the Law.

{96}  Proceedings S. P. R., xv. 33.

{100a}  See many examples in Li Fiorette de Misser Santo Francesco.

{100b}  Ch. cxviii.

{101}  D. D. Home; his Life and Mission, p. 307, London, 1888.

{102}  Sept. 18, vol. v., 1866.

{107a}  See Colonel Yule's Marco Polo.

{107b}  Quarterly Journal of Science, July, 1871.

{108a}  Proceedings S. P. R., xix. 146.

{108b}  North American Review, 1893.

{108c}  Proceedings S. P. R., x. 45-100; xix. 147.

{109a}  Incidents in my Life, i. 170.

{109b}  A Paris, chez la Veuve du Carroy, 1621.

{110a}  Folklore of China, 1876, p. 79.

{110b}  Op. cit., p. 74.

{110c}  Paris.  Quarto.  Black letter.  1528.  The original is
extremely rare.  We quote from a copy once in the Tellier
collection, reprinted in Recueil de Dissertations Anciennes et
Nouvelles sur les Apparitions.  Leloup:  Avignon, 1751, vol. ii. pp.

{112}  Proceedings S. P. R., xix. 186.  'C.' is a Miss Davis,
daughter of a gentleman occupying 'a responsible position as a
telegraphist'.  The date was 1888.

{114a}  Satan's Invisible World Discovered.  Edinburgh:  Reid, 1685.
Pp. 67-69.

{114b}  Manuscript 7170, A, de la Bibliotheque du Roi.
Dissertations, ut supra, vol. i. pp. 95-129.

{115}  Dufresnoy, op. cit., i. 95-129.

{117}  Compare Bastian, Mensch., ii. 393, cited by Mr. Tylor.

{118}  De Materia Daemon. Isagoge, p. 539.  Ap. Corn. Agripp., De
Occult.  Philosoph.  Lyons, 1600.

{122}  Aubrey gives a variant in his Miscellanies, on the authority
of the Vicar of Barnstaple.  He calls Fey 'Fry'.

{123a}  The Devonshire case, 'Story of a Something,' in Miss
O'Neill's Devonshire Idylls, is attested by a surviving witness.

{123b}  Trials of Isobell Young, 1629, and of Jonet Thomson, Feb. 7,
1643.  Darker Superstitions of Scotland, p. 593.

{124}  Witness Rev. E. T. Vaughan, King's Langley. 1884.

{125a}  Segraisiana, p. 213.

{125b}  Crookes's Notes of an Enquiry into the Phenomena usually
called Spiritual.  86.  London:  Burns (second edition).

{126a}  Satan's Invisible World Discovered, p. 75.

{126b}  A New Confutation of Sadducism, p. 5, writ by Mr. Alexander
Telfair, London, 1696.

{129}  Primitive Culture, vol. i. 368; ii. 304.

{130}  The reader may also consult Notes on the Spirit Basis of
Belief and Custom, a rough draft printed for the Indian Government.
While rich in curious facts, the draft contains very little about
'manifestations,' except in 'possession'.

{131a}  Gregory, Dialogues, iv. 39.

{131b}  De Rerum Varietate, xvi. cap. xciii.

{132}  De Praestigiis Daemon.

{133}  Si fallere possunt, ut quis videre se credat, cum videat
revera extra se nihil:  non poterunt fallere, ut credat quis se
audire sonos, quos revera non audit?  (p. 81).

{135}  Proceedings S. P. R., xv. 42.

{137}  There is one possible exception to this rule.

{139}  S. P. R., viii. 81.

{140a}  Geschichte des Neueren Occultismus, p. 451.

{140b}  Opera, 1605.

{142}  S. P. R., vi. 149.

{146}  Proc. S. P. R., viii. 133.

{147}  Proc. S. P. R., Nov., 1889, p. 269.

{149}  This is rather overstated; there were knocks, and raps, and
footsteps (Proc. S. P. R., Nov., 1889, p. 310).

{150}  Proc. S. P. R., April, 1885, p. 144.

{151}  To be frank, in a haunted house the writer did once see an
appearance, which was certainly either the ghost or one of the
maids; 'the Deil or else an outler quey,' as Burns says.

{153}  London, 1881, pp. 184-185.

{156}  S. P. R., xv. 64.

{158a}  Proceedings S. P. R., xvi. 332.

{158b}  Sights and Shadows, p. 60.

{165}  British Chronicle, January 18, 1762.

{166}  Annual Register.

{167}  Praep. Evang., v. ix. 4.

{170a}  Rudolfi Fuldensis, Annal., 858, in Pertz, i. 372.  See
Grimm's Teutonic Mythology, Engl. transl., p. 514.

{170b}  Pseudo-Clemens, Homil., ii. 32, 638.  In Mr. Myers's
Classical Essays, p. 66.

{178}  Avignon, 1751.

{183}  Compare the case of John Beaumont, F.R.S., in his Treatise of
Spirits (1705).

{186}  Proceedings S. P. R., viii. 151-189.

{189}  Mrs. Ricketts was a sister of Lord St. Vincent, who tried, in
vain, to discover the cause of the disturbances.  Scott says
(Demonology and Witchcraft, p. 360):  'Who has heard or seen an
authentic account from Lord St. Vincent?'  There is a full account
in the Journal of the S. P. R.  It appeared much too late for Sir
Walter Scott also complains of lack of details for the Wynyard
story.  They are now accessible.  People were, in his time, afraid
to make their experiences public.

{190}  The story is told by Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, in his
Introduction to Law's Memorialls, p. xci.  Sharpe cites no source of
the tradition.

{191}  We are not discussing Dreams, which are many, but waking
hallucinations, which are, relatively rare, and are remembered,
unlike Dreams, whether they are coincidental or not.

{192}  Gurney, op. cit., p. 187.

{193a}  The writer knows a case in which a gentleman, who had gone
to bed about eleven p.m., in Scotland, was roused by hearing his own
name loudly called.  He searched his room in vain.  His brother died
suddenly, at the hour when he heard the voice, in Canada.  But the
difference of time proves that the voice was heard several hours
_before_ the death.  Here, then, is a chance coincidence, which
looked very like a case of Telepathy.  Another will be found in Mr.
Dale Owen's Debatable Land, p. 364.  A gentleman died 'after
breakfast' in Rhenish Prussia, and appeared, before noon, in New
York.  Thus he appeared hours after he died.

{193b}  Polack, New Zealand, i. 269.

{194a}  Proceedings S. P. R., xv. 10.

{194b}  The writer has known a case in which a collector of these
statistics, disdained non-coincidental hallucinations as 'of no use'

{195}  Proceedings S. P. R., xv. 7.

{196}  Animal Magnetism, pp. 61-64, 1887.

{199}  The Psychical Society has published the writer's encounter
with Professor Conington, at Oxford, in 1869, when the professor was
lying within one or two days of his death at Boston, a circumstance
wholly unknown to the percipient.  But no jury would accept this as
anything but a case of mistaken identity, natural in a short-sighted
man's vague experiences.  Mr. Conington was not a man easily to be
mistaken for another, nor were many men likely to be mistaken for
Mr. Conington.  Yet this is what must have occurred.  There was no
conceivable reason why the professor should 'telepathically'
communicate with the percipient, who had never exchanged a word with
him, except in an examination.

{205}  Proceedings of Society for Psychical Research, viii. 111.

{206}  Proceedings of Society for Psychical Research, xiv. 442.

{207a}  Modern Spirit Manifestations.  By Adin Ballou.  Liverpool,

{207b}  Proceedings of Society for Psychical Research, xiv. 469.

{209}  Edinburgh, 1827, vol. i. p. xxxii.

{214}  In the author's case the hypnagogic phantasms seem to be
created out of the floating spots of light which remain when the
eyes are shut.  Some crystal-gazers find that similar points de
repere in the glass, are the starting-points of pictures in the
crystal.  Others cannot trace any such connection.

{215}  Compare Blackwood, August, 1831, in Noctes Ambrosianae.

{216a}  Paus., ii. 24, I.

{216b}  Bouche Leclercq, i. 339.

{223}  The accomplished scryer can see as well in a crystal
ringstone, or in a glass of water, as in a big crystal ball.  The
latter may really be dangerous, if left on a cloth in the sun it may
set the cloth on fire.

{224}  Animal Magnetism, second edition, p. 135.

{228}  Thus an educated gentleman, a Highlander, tells the author
that he once saw a light of this kind 'not a meteor,' passing in air
along a road where a funeral went soon afterwards.  His companions
could see nothing, but one of them said:  'It will be a death-
candle'.  It seems to have been hallucinatory, otherwise all would
have shared the experience.

{231a}  Darker Superstitions of Scotland, p. 481, Edinburgh, 1834.

{231b}  Op. cit., p. 473.

{232a}  Op. cit., p. 470

{232b}  It is, perhaps, needless to add that the unhappy patients
were executed.

{232c}  Miscellanies, 1857, p. 184.

{233a}  Wodrow, i. 44.

{233b}  Aulus Gellius, xv. 18.  Dio Cassius, lib. lxvii.  Crespet,
De la Hayne de Diable, cited by Dalyell.

{234}  Miscellanies, 177.

{235}  A copy presented by Scott to Sir Alexander Boswell of
Auchinleck is in the author's possession; it bears Scott's

{237}  Information from Mr. Mackay, Craigmonie.

{238}  2 Kings, v. 26.

{244}  i. 259.  Longmans, London, 1811.

{245}  Tylor, Primitive Culture, i. 143.

{246}  This belief is not confined to the Highlands.  Mr. Podmore
quotes Ghost 636 in the Psychical Society's collections:  'The
narrator's mother is said to have seen the figure of a man'.  The
father saw nothing till his wife laid her hand on his shoulder, when
he exclaimed, 'I see him now' (S. P. R., Nov., 1889, p. 247).

{250}  'Spectral evidence' was common in witch trials.  Wierus (b.
1515) mentions a woman who confessed that she had been at a witch's
covin, or 'sabbath,' when her body was in bed with her husband.  If
there was any confirmatory testimony, if any one chose to say that
he saw her at the 'sabbath,' that was 'spectral evidence'.  This
kind of testimony made it vain for a witch to take Mr. Weller's
advice, and plead 'a halibi,' but even Cotton Mather admits that
'spectral evidence' is inconclusive.

{253}  Papon.  Arrets., xx. 5, 9.  Charondas, Lib. viii.  Resp. 77.
Covarruvias, iv. 6.  Mornac, s. v., Habitations, 27 ff., Locat. and
Conduct.  Other doctors do not deny hauntings, but allege that a
brave man should disregard them, and that they do not fulfil he
legal condition, Metus cadens in constantem virim.  These doctors
may never have seen a ghost, or may have been unusually courageous.
They held that a man might get accustomed to the annoyances of
bogles, s'apprivoiser avec cette frayeur, like the Procter family at

{259}  Miscellanies, p. 94, London, 1857.

{262}  Hibbert, Philosophy of Apparitions, second edition, p. 224.
Hibbert finds Graime guilty, but only because he knew where the body

{263}  Notices Relative to the Bannatyne Club, 1836, p. 191.
Remarkable Trial in Maryland.

{267}  Paris, 1708.  Reprinted by Lenglet Dufresnoy, in his
Dissertations sur les Apparitions.  Avignon, 1751, vol. iii. p. 38.

{269}  Second edition, Buon, Paris, 1605.  First edition, Angers,

{273}  Dr. Lee, in Sights and Sounds (p. 43), quotes an Irish
lawsuit in 1890.  The tenants were anxious not to pay rent, but were
non-suited.  No reference to authorities is given.  There was also a
case at Dublin in 1885.  Waldron's house was disturbed, 'stones were
thrown at the windows and doors,' and Waldron accused his neighbour,
Kiernan, of these assaults.  He lost his case (Evening Standard,
February 23, 1885, is cited).

{275}  p. 195, London, 1860.

{276}  The account followed here is that of the narrator in La Table
Parlante, p. 130, who differs in some points from the Marquis de
Mirville in his Fragment d'un Ouvrage Inedit, Paris, 1852.

{277}  For bewitching by touch see Cotton Mather's Wonders of the
Invisible World, p. 150.  'Library of Old Authors,' London, 1862.

{279a}  Cotton Mather, op. cit., p. 131.

{279b}  Table Parlante, p. 151.  A somewhat different version is
given p. 145.  The narrator seems to say that Cheval himself deposed
to having witnessed this experiment.

{283a}  Gazette des Tribunaux, February 2, 1846, quoted in Table
Parlante, p. 306.

{283b}  Table Parlante, p. 174.

{300}  Hibbert, Apparitions, p. 211.

{303}  Mather's own account of the lost sermon (p. 298) is in his
Life, by Mr. Barrett Wendell, p. 118.  It is by no means so romantic
as Wodrow's version.

{307}  An account of the method by which the Miss Foxes rapped is
given, by a cousin of theirs, in Dr. Carpenter's Mesmerism (p. 150).

{312}  See Dr. Carpenter's brief and lucid statement about 'Latent
Thought' and 'Unconscious Cerebration,' in the Quarterly Review,
vol. cxxxi. pp. 316-319.

{317}  A learned priest has kindly looked for the alleged spiritus
percutiens in dedicatory and other ecclesiastical formulae.  He only
finds it in benedictions of bridal chambers, and thinks it refers to
the slaying spirit in the Book of Tobit.

{319a}  S. P. R., x. 81.

{319b}  London:  Longmans, Green, & Co., 1877.

{320}  Quoted by Dr. Carpenter, op. cit., p. vii.

{324}  Tom. ii. pp. 312, 435, edition of 1768.

{326}  In the Quarterly Review, vol. cxxxi. pp. 336-337, Dr.
Carpenter criticises an account given by Lord Crawford of this
performance.  He asks for the evidence of the other witnesses.  This
was supplied.  He detects a colloquial slovenliness in a phrase.
This was cleared up.  He complains that the light was moonlight.
'The moon was shining full into the room.'  A minute philosopher has
consulted the almanack and denies that there was any moon!

{327}  Lord Crawford's evidence is in the Report of the Dialectical
Society, p. 214

{328}  Quarterly Review, vol. cxxxi. p. 303.

{329}  Observe the caution of the Mosstrooper, even in that
agitating moment!  How good it is, and how wonderfully Sir Walter
forecasts a seance.

{341a}  Lucretius, iv. 26-75, Munro's translation.

{341b}  Def. Orac., 19.

{341c}  Ibid., iv. 193.

{352}  Porphyry, Vita Plotini.

{353}  Primitive Culture, i. 404.

{355}  In the Pandemonium, or Devil's Cloyster, of Richard Bovet,
Gent.  (1684).

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