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Title: Materialized Apparitions - If Not Beings from Another Life, What Are They
Author: Brackett, Edward Augustus, 1818-1908
Language: English
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Libraries.)



    Materialized Apparitions

    _If Not Beings from Another Life
    What Are They_

    BY

    EDWARD A. BRACKETT

    AUTHOR OF "THE WORLD WE LIVE IN",
    "MY HOUSE," ETC.

    [Illustration: ARTI et VERITATI]

    BOSTON
    RICHARD G. BADGER
    The Gorham Press
    1908



    _Copyright_ 1885, _by E. A. Brackett_

    _All Rights Reserved_


    _The Gorham Press, Boston, U. S. A._



    To abandon these spiritual phenomena to credulity, is to commit a
    treason against human reason. Nevertheless, we see them always
    rejected and always reappearing. They date not their advent from
    yesterday.
                                                    VICTOR HUGO.



PREFACE.


Written at intervals from the pressure of business, and at times that
should have been devoted to recreation, these pages make no claim to
artistic arrangement or literary merit. If they enable any one to arrive
at a clearer and better appreciation of the wonderful phenomena of which
they treat, they will have accomplished all that was intended.

    WINCHESTER, MASS.



CONTENTS


    INTRODUCTION,                                        PAGE 9


    Part I.

    MATERIALIZATION AND DEMATERIALIZATION OF FORMS AND OBJECTS.

    CHAPTER.                                              PAGE.

       I. MY FIRST SÉANCE, AND WHAT CAME OF IT               17

      II. PERSONIFICATION BY THE MEDIUM, OR MATERIALIZED
          FORMS                                              30

     III. MATERIALIZATION AND DEMATERIALIZATION OF
          OBJECTS                                            36

      IV. MATERIALIZATION AND DEMATERIALIZATION UNDER
          TEST CONDITIONS                                    51

       V. AN UNEXPECTED SÉANCE                               60

      VI. SÉANCE WITH MRS. CARRIE M. SAWYER                  68

     VII. SÉANCES WITH MRS. FAIRCHILD                        79

    VIII. SÉANCE WITH MISS HELEN BERRY AT ONSET              88

      IX. SÉANCE AT THE BERRY SISTERS' IN BOSTON             99

       X. MATERIALIZED FORMS--HOW SHALL WE MEET THEM?       109


    Part II.

    OPINIONS AND THEORIES.

       I. A GLANCE BEHIND THE CURTAIN                       123

      II. EXPOSURES OF MEDIUMS                              131

     III. PUBLIC SÉANCES                                    140

      IV. THE ATTITUDE OF SCIENTISTS                        146

       V. PUBLIC OPINION                                    153

      VI. CONCLUSION                                        164


    ILLUSTRATIONS.

    DIAGRAM OF MRS. FAY'S SÉANCE-ROOM                        29

    DIAGRAM OF THE MISSES BERRY'S SÉANCE-ROOM               100



INTRODUCTION.


In 1840 I became acquainted with Dr. Colyer, then lecturing on
Mesmerism, at Peel's Museum, New York, and fully believed, at that time,
that he was a humbug, and Mesmerism a fraud. Soon after this, while
visiting some friends, with Mr. Pendleton, formerly from Boston, this
subject was pretty thoroughly discussed,--Mr. Pendleton insisting that
there was truth in it, and that I was not treating it fairly; and he
proposed, as a matter of amusement, that I should try the experiment on
some one of the party present. Willing to turn the discussion into a
less serious form, I consented to take the part assigned me; and soon
found, to my astonishment, that I had before me a most excellent
clairvoyant subject. What had been started as amusement became a very
interesting entertainment, resulting in the meeting of the parties once
a week for the purpose of studying Mesmerism.

In the following spring I removed to Boston, where in my leisure hours I
continued my investigations, part of the time with Dr. William F.
Channing, the inventor of the Fire Alarm, and at the time a student with
Dr. Jackson. I was indebted to him for many interesting suggestions, and
especially for the use of a very delicate galvanometer, for the purpose
of detecting, if possible, any magnetic or electric currents passing
between the magnetizer and his subject. No such currents were
discovered, and when we found that our subject could be controlled and
thrown into a trance when more than a mile away, by the action of the
will alone, the idea of testing currents was abandoned. All that has
since been made public under the names of Mind-Reading and Telepathy,
and much more, was familiar to us.

When trance-mediumship became known, believing that it was only a form
of Mesmerism, I gave considerable attention to it. There were few
mediums of note that I did not have more or less sittings with, but the
most satisfactory communications I received came through a member of my
own family. While the evidence was such as would have convinced most
persons that these messages came from the other side of life, I was by
no means sure of it.

In this state of mind, in consequence of some statements made to me by
Mr. Thomas Appleton, of what he had seen in Europe, I decided to
investigate what is known as "Materialization," that is, the alleged
production of visible and tangible apparitions out of seeming
nothingness. I felt, whether right or wrong, that my experience in
Mesmerism, and the long training of my perceptive faculties as a
sculptor, which enabled me to detect the slightest differences between
objects, was as good a preparation as one could have for studying this
class of phenomena. I had no sectarian prejudices to overcome, and no
lack of courage in stating my convictions, no matter which way the
evidence might lead. That I prejudged the case in the beginning, I
freely admit, and, like thousands of others, formed an opinion without
giving to it that attention which is necessary in dealing fairly with
any subject.

I have a thorough abhorrence of fraud, whether in the séance-room or in
the pulpit, regarding any one who would trifle with the most sacred
feelings of our nature as deserving the severest punishment.

In briefly detailing some of the facts that have come under my own
observation, it is a matter of no consequence to me what may be said
about them, since it is impossible for any one to give the subject the
same careful study without arriving at similar results.



PART I.

MATERIALIZATION AND DEMATERIALIZATION OF FORMS AND OBJECTS.


Man is what he feels. He may dazzle the world for a while with the
splendor of his acquirements, but, like an iceberg that glistens in the
frosty air and disappears in a more genial clime, the pride of his
intellect is lost in the warmth of his affections.

What Swedenborg aptly terms his "loves," alone indicate man's true
character. They determine his relation to superior as well as to
inferior beings. There is no other way through which he can advance to a
higher life, or commune with those exalted spirits who are ever ready to
welcome him, than by the elevation of his affections. Through every
phase of his spiritual progress, whether in this or the other life,
forever arches over him in letters of gold the divine commandment, "That
ye love one another."



MATERIALIZED APPARITIONS.

CHAPTER I.

MY FIRST SÉANCE, AND WHAT CAME OF IT.


Not being acquainted with any "materializing medium," so termed, I
obtained from Mr. Luther Colby, of Boston, a letter of introduction to
Mrs. H. B. Fay, of that city, stating that I was desirous of visiting
her séances. I called upon the lady and presented the letter, but found
that she was out of health, and, for the present, had discontinued her
sittings. I, however, left my address, with the request that she would
inform me when she resumed her séances.

More than a year passed without hearing from her, and, finding that she
was giving sittings, I made free to call at the house and ask
admittance, which was granted. As she did not recognize me, I felt
confident that she had forgotten the circumstance of the letter, and, as
I preferred to remain as far as possible _incog._, I made no allusion to
it.

Curiosity led me to scan the audience. There were about thirty persons
present, and, as far as I could judge, they were of more than ordinary
intelligence. At the beginning of the séance, the light was lowered, but
not so low that we could not discern clearly the features of those
around us.

I do not propose now to deal with the experience of others, although I
have from the beginning made that a part of my study, but shall confine
myself to what came to me.

Near the close of the séance, the lady who sat next the cabinet said
there was a form present who gave the name of "Maggie Brackett." She
would not be certain about the first name, as the form was very weak and
spoke in a whisper. Here was a chance to come in contact with one of
these beings, supposed to belong to another life. Although I knew of no
one, in or out of my family, by that name, I assumed that it was for me,
and stepped up to the cabinet. As I did so, the curtain parted, and a
very beautiful female, apparently about sixteen years old, stood before
me. I looked at her very closely, but could trace no resemblance to the
medium, nor to any one I had known. I said, "I do not remember you; did
I ever see you before?" She shook her head, and tried to speak, but I
could not make out what she intended to say.

Finding that I did not understand, she held out her hand, about three
feet from the floor; but I did not know what that meant, and, seeing
that she was greatly disappointed, shook hands with her, saying, "Never
mind; we will find out about this some other time;" then bade her
Good-bye, and she stepped behind the curtain.

As I turned to my seat, a hoarse voice inside the cabinet somewhat
startled me by saying, "Your wife is here!" I answered, "Very well, I
shall be glad to see her."

If I was disappointed in the first form, I was doubly so in this. It was
a much smaller person than my deceased wife, and had a tired, careworn
expression, while the features strongly resembled the medium. She
greeted me warmly. Holding her at arms' length, in order to better study
her form, I said, "You are not tall or stout enough for my wife."
"Wait," she said; and, stepping behind the curtain, returned in a few
moments, fuller, and near a head taller. The height and general build of
the form were now very good, but the face was a medley. I saw, or
fancied, some resemblance to my wife, but still more to the medium.

She appeared overjoyed at meeting me; so much so that I felt it would be
heartless on my part to repel it. Laying her head upon my shoulder, she
talked freely with me, saying things that it seemed impossible that any
one but my wife could know. I knew what Mesmerism and clairvoyance
meant. Was this another phase of them? Was it mind-reading? If so, it
was a very clever performance. I could not realize that I had my wife
before me, and yet here was a being who had penetrated the inmost
secrets of my domestic life; had dragged from the past the well-worn
pages of memory and read them anew.

She remained out much longer than most of the forms had done, when I
noticed that she appeared to be growing weaker, and, in spite of her
efforts to sustain herself, was sinking downward. Bidding her
Good-night, I let go her hand. As I did so, she went down directly in
front of me, within a foot of where I stood, her head and shoulders
being the last part visible. On the carpet, where she disappeared, there
was a glow of phosphorescent light, which gradually faded away.

For the first and only time during my investigations, I was unduly
excited. It came so suddenly and unexpectedly upon me that I was
confused. I brushed my hand across my forehead and eyes to make sure of
my bearings, and slowly returned to my seat, fully conscious of the
importance of what had passed before me. If real,--if the form had thus
dematerialized,--then the reality of materialization followed as a
matter of course.

While turning these thoughts over in my mind, the séance closed; and as
I stepped out into the full light of the autumnal moon, everything
seemed changed. The sound of feet on the brick pavement grated harshly
on my ears; before me rose the tall spire of the stone church, throwing
its ghostly shadow across the way; behind me was the séance-room, and a
dreamy consciousness of the strange phenomena I had witnessed surged
through my brain. Was it possible that I had stood face to face and been
in communication with one from another life?

As I pondered over this, a reaction came, and before I reached my home
the probability, or the possibility even, that I had been deceived,
vexed and annoyed me, and aroused a determination to know whether or not
there was truth in materialization. I was not over-pleased with what I
had seen, and, but for this last incident, my investigations might have
ended here. Materialization was either a great truth or a stupendous
humbug. Thousands of intelligent persons believed in it, on what
appeared to me uncertain evidence. Was it not a disgrace to science that
this had been allowed to go on so long without any honest attempt to
investigate it? If I could only get the inside track, how easy it would
be to expose it! The whole thing lay in a nutshell: either the forms
appearing were confederates, or personations by the medium; perhaps
both. I would if possible adopt a system of investigation so thorough
that nothing should escape me.

To go to séances as an ordinary visitor was, to me, to throw time away.
If the manifestations were genuine, and my personal relations with the
medium not objectionable, I saw no reason why I should not obtain
privileges without which, to my skeptical mind, it would be useless to
pursue the subject.

I therefore continued my visits, having this object constantly in view.
Otherwise I remained perfectly passive, neither demanding nor asking
anything.

Several times I was surprised by finding thoughts to which I had given
no outward expression anticipated by what claimed to be "the control,"
that is, the spirit alleged to hold possession of the entranced medium.
I had not asked, although greatly desirous, to be taken into the cabinet
during the séance. While thinking this, "Auntie," Mrs. Fay's "control,"
said, "You shall come in."

The forms were coming quite freely to me, and one said, "You may go in
with me." As I entered, the control greeted me in a friendly way, saying
that she liked me; that I was a skeptic, but an honest one.

While talking with her, I had my left arm around the waist of the form
that took me into the cabinet. With my right hand I reached out and
satisfied myself that the medium was sitting in her chair, entranced.
There could be no mistake; there were four of us in the cabinet,--the
two forms that appeared to be materialized, the medium, and myself!

I know how two got in, but where did the other two come from?

Taking advantage of the expressions of kindness on the part of the
control, I sought an early opportunity to express to the medium what I
desired. To my surprise, she made no objections, saying that she was
entranced, and did not know what the forms were, nor was she conscious
of taking any part in what came before the audience; that she was simply
the instrument, not the operator. I thanked her, saying I trusted that
I should do nothing which would be distasteful to her or the control;
that the first step would be a thorough investigation of the cabinet.

On my first visit to Mrs. Fay's, the cabinet consisted simply of a
curtain drawn across the corner of the room. It was soon after changed
to a light, portable structure, which could be easily moved to any part
of the room.

I had this cabinet moved out, the floor, wall, and everything connected
with it thoroughly examined. There was no chance for confederates to be
used here. I have since assisted in moving it out for the satisfaction
of others, and have seen it placed in the opposite corner of the room,
where it remained for weeks without in the least affecting the
manifestations. Whatever may be the cause of these phenomena, they are
certainly not due to confederates.

I herewith submit a carefully drawn plan of the cabinet and its
surroundings, made by a competent architect, who has never seen any of
the manifestations, and consequently is not a believer in them.

There could be no doubt; it was impossible for any one to enter the
cabinet except through the door of the séance-room, in the presence of
the whole audience. To be perfectly sure on this point, I sought and
obtained permission to sit next the cabinet, which place I occupied for
more than forty sittings. I know that it is impossible to use a
confederate in this cabinet without its being instantly detected.

Having settled this so thoroughly that it could not come up as an
element of doubt in any future investigations I might make, the next
step seemed to be a plain one.

[Illustration: Diagram of Mrs. Fay's Séance-Room.]



CHAPTER II.

PERSONIFICATION BY THE MEDIUM, OR MATERIALIZED FORMS?


The forms that came from the cabinet were either personations by the
medium, or they were what they purported to be--materializations.

I had, during this time, allowed nothing to pass unnoticed. From forty
to sixty forms would often manifest at a séance, apparently of both
sexes, and of all ages and sizes, from a little child to extreme old
age, each form individualized and complete in itself.

What claimed to be my wife came to me quite often, and so many times
disappeared in the way heretofore described, that I was no longer
startled by the occurrence, for I had become so familiar with it that I
had come to regard it as a natural consequence of her appearance. She
not only grew stronger, but the likeness was much improved, and the
resemblance to the medium, at times, entirely disappeared.

In my first visits to these séances, I was led, like many others, to
attach great importance to the resemblance which these forms might bear
to what they claimed to have been when in earth-life. I was constantly
looking for it, and have seen many instances where the likeness was so
marked that it would have been impossible to mistake it; yet I have
learned not to regard it as positive evidence of identity. Whatever they
may be, whether from this or the other side of life, there can be no
question that they possess the wonderful power of changing their forms
at pleasure, as any one at all familiar with them can testify.

I have seen a tall young man, wearing a full beard, claiming to be a
brother of the lady with me, while standing before her, one hand on her
waist, the other in mine--upon her saying, "I have not seen you since
you were a lad; how do you suppose I should know you now?"--stoop, kiss
her on the cheek, and raise his roguish face without the beard; at the
same time diminishing in size until he was more nearly like the boy she
knew.

I have witnessed similar changes outside of the cabinet, in the presence
of the audience, quite often.

The mental and moral tone of the audience has more to do with the
character of the séance than the medium has. I have, several times, by
the action of a strong will, caused the forms to recede from the
position which they at first assumed.

Persons, without being fully aware of it, find themselves more or less
reflected in these séances. They reap what they sow. Their condition of
mind prevents the forms from approaching them.

I have known persons to visit séances many times without receiving any
attention; and, on the other hand, I have seen entire strangers, coming
from distant parts of the country, who had never before been in a
séance-room, receive the most tender demonstrations of affection and
recognition.

Sometimes these forms have treated me to little jokes, that illustrated
better than words the information I was seeking; enjoying heartily
anything that for a moment seemed to disconcert me.

What claimed to be my niece came to me in a very beautiful illuminated
dress. I asked her to appear to me at the next séance dressed in the
same way. I took a friend with me to that séance, expecting to astonish
him with the wonderful illumination. But, instead of keeping her
promise, she came out in a dark dress, such as I had never seen her
wear. As my friend had gone up to the cabinet with me, I was greatly
disappointed in the way she came, and said, "Bertha, why do you come in
this dress?" Placing her right elbow in the palm of her left hand and
her index finger on her lip, in a bashful, coquettish way, she said,
"I'm in mourning." I said, "For what?" She replied, "I expect I have
lost my friend." I said to my companion, "This is something new; I don't
understand it." While we were both looking at her, instantly the dark
dress disappeared, and she stood before us radiant in her beautiful
garments. With a girlish laugh she threw her arms around my neck, kissed
me and said, "It is all right now, uncle." The disappearance of the
dark dress was quite as marvellous to my friend as the illumination.

I have never been able to detect any fraud, or any indication of it, on
the part of Mrs. Fay at these séances; and in the absence of any
information which would lead to any other conclusion, I shall hereafter
call these forms spirits. That they are not beings belonging to this
side of life, I feel certain. What they are, each one must determine for
himself.



CHAPTER III.

MATERIALIZATION AND DEMATERIALIZATION OF OBJECTS.


The severest tests which I could apply to these manifestations convinced
me that not only the forms which surrounded these spirits, but the
garments which they wore were "materialized" (that is, made visible and
tangible out of previously invisible substances) inside of the cabinet.
How this is done we may not comprehend. Emerson says, "The whole world
is the flux of matter over the wires of thought to the points or poles
where it would build." We only know that here, as in Nature, there must
be a germ or starting-point around which the particles aggregate. This
is seen in the materialization of objects, which is important as being
the only materializations outside the cabinet, and the only ones that we
can study.

I have spoken of a beautiful spirit claiming to be my niece, Bertha,
that came to me at Mrs. Fay's. In all my attendance there she has never
failed to meet me. This did not arise from any understanding or
agreement, but seemed to grow up as a natural consequence of the
magnetic relations between us. Simple and childlike in her bearing, I
have found her remarkably conscientious, intelligent, and affectionate.
She comes freely, and in all my intercourse with her I have never found
her judgment at fault.

I do not care to discuss the question as to who or what Bertha is;
I know she is not the medium, nor a confederate, and that her
materialization of objects is genuine. In my long and delightful
association with her, extending over more than two years, I have never
been able to detect the slightest thing that would lead me to doubt that
she is what she claims to be.

No parent ever watched the unfolding of a young life with more interest
than I have studied the apparent growth or development of this
delightful spirit. It may be that what I have considered her progress
arises from the increasing strength gained through her long association
with me, enabling her to more freely express herself; for during my
acquaintance with her she has seemingly passed from a commonplace person
into a remarkable embodiment of intelligence and affection. If I have
refrained from expressing the many inspired thoughts and feelings which
in her exalted moments she has freely given forth, it is because they
are sacred to my own domestic circle. They belong to that centralization
of the affections without which life loses its force, and all
investigations or attempts to reach these beings are only time thrown
away.

As I never saw her before she passed to the other life, I have no means
of proving her identity except by what she has told me. Owing to the
fact that her family live many hundred miles away, and that I am very
forgetful of names, I did not recall, until reminded by others, the
existence of any one of that name. She came, at first, very weak, not
being able to come out from the cabinet, and spoke in a whisper. She
either gave a wrong name, or, what is quite as likely from the
difficulty she then had in expressing herself, was misunderstood. This,
with my limited experience, led me to regard her appearance, so far as
it related to me, a mistake, and I am quite conscious that I treated
her coldly. That she felt this indifference on my part was evinced more
than once by the expression of her face.

She, however, continued to come whenever I was present, growing stronger
each time, apparently demanding recognition, and showing plainly that
she did not mean to be put aside for any one. At length I said, "Will
you tell me who you are?" She replied, "I am Bertha; you are my uncle; I
am your niece;" at the same time holding out her hand about three feet
from the floor. As I did not understand this, she subsequently explained
it by coming out as a child about four years old, that being the age, as
I afterward learned, when she passed to the other life. As I was a
stranger to the medium and all present (except one, and that one knew
nothing of my relatives), it does not seem probable that the medium
could have known anything about her.

The individuality of Bertha is very striking, bearing little or no
resemblance to any other materialized form which I have seen. She never
comes shrouded in a profusion of drapery; on the contrary, she appears
scantily but richly dressed, wearing a short skirt and close-fitting
waist, with short sleeves, leaving her finely-rounded arms bare. She
never wears a head-dress; her long silken hair floats freely round her
shoulders. In form and feature she is the embodiment of girlhood, with a
playful disposition which leads her to make amusing remarks, at times,
about those who come within her mental atmosphere.

Her figure is compactly built, and well proportioned, with a remarkably
fine face, the expression of which, at times, surpasses anything I have
ever seen. She is much shorter than the medium, as the following
measurements will show:--

    Mrs. H. B. Fay, medium, height,             5 ft. 4  in.
    Bertha, materialized form, height,          4 ft. 9¼ in.
    Male form (to Mr. Tallman), height,         5 ft. 9¼ in.
    Difference between Mrs. Fay and Bertha,           6¾ in.
    Difference between Mrs. Fay and male form,        5¼ in.
    Difference between Bertha and male form,         12  in.

These measurements were taken by means of an upright staff with a cross
piece at right angles, and I was assisted by a gentleman who is a
thorough skeptic. Care was taken to have the forms stand perfectly
upright, so that there could be no mistake as to accuracy.

I have given this brief sketch of Bertha as I shall have occasion to
allude to her hereafter, for I am greatly indebted to her for much that
I have learned about materialization. She has taught me that the ability
to communicate intelligently depends upon the use these beings can make
of our aromal emanations, or magnetism; that frequent association with
us is necessary to enable them to gain control of material elements, and
that where the relations are harmonious they gather strength every time
they come in contact with us.

From a feeble and almost unintelligible whisper, Bertha now speaks in
clear tones, with little or none of the German accent of the medium, and
very often, no matter where I am placed, comes across the room, and
pulls me up with both hands; or, if there is a vacant chair beside me,
sits down and begins to talk, apparently not noticing those around her.

At a Thursday afternoon séance, held last spring, she came out very
lively; and after a cordial greeting I said, "You are feeling strong
to-day; can you not do something to interest us?" She hesitated a
moment; then leading me into the middle of the room, looked up
laughingly into my face and said, "I will show you how we dress the
forms in the cabinet."[A] Stretching out her bare arms, turning them
that every one could see that there was nothing in them, she brought the
palms of her hands together, rubbing them as if rolling something
between them. Very soon there descended from her hands a substance which
looked like very white lace.

    [A] The control had stated to me, only a few minutes before,
        that the forms were first materialized and then draped.

She continued this until several yards of it lay upon the carpet, and
then asked me to kneel down, saying I was too tall for her to work
easily. She then took the fabric and made a robe around me, which
appeared seamless. On being reminded that there were no sleeves, she
took each arm in turn and materialized sleeves. Putting her hand on my
head she said, "You have not hair enough," and, rubbing her hand over my
head, materialized a wig. This I could not see, but put my hand up and
felt of it, and those who were near me said it was in keeping with my
own hair and quite an improvement.

Removing the garment, she rolled it into a compact mass, manipulated it
a few moments, and it was gone! In materializing and dematerializing
this fabric, her arms, which were bare to the shoulders, were stretched
out at full length, precluding the possibility of any deception.

Thursday afternoon, Oct. 2, I visited Mrs. Fay's séance with some
friends from New Bedford and Cincinnati. When Bertha came out I
introduced her to my friends, and asked if she would be kind enough to
show them how to make lace. She stepped forward and asked for my
handkerchief, which she placed between her hands, manipulating it much
after the manner of starching fine fabrics. It was easy to see that the
material in her hands was rapidly increasing in volume, and soon the
lace began to descend; but instead of being only one piece, there were
two, one dark red, and one white, both falling at the same time, each
piece about three quarters of a yard wide.

When she had completed it, she held one end, while I took the other and
walked across the room, stretching it out to its full length, between
three and four yards, so that all could see it; and while it was so
held, the controlling spirit shut off the light, showing that the lace
was brilliantly illuminated. Bertha then gathered it in, rolled it up
and dematerialized it on my shoulder, the light remaining on my coat for
nearly a minute after the lace had entirely disappeared.

These things are not new; they are as old as the history of man, and are
of common occurrence in India at the present time. They have no possible
connection with what is known as sleight-of-hand, or legerdemain. Louis
Jacolliot, Chief Justice of Chandenagur, French East Indies, in his able
work on Occult Science in India, thus points out the difference:--

    "Every European has heard of the extraordinary skill of the
    Hindoo Fakirs, who are popularly designated under the name of
    Charmers or Jugglers. They claim to be invested with
    supernatural powers. Such is the belief of all Asiatic people.
    When our countrymen are told of their performances, they usually
    answer, 'Go to the regular magicians; they will show you the
    same things.'

    "To enable the reader to appreciate the grounds of this opinion,
    it seems necessary to show how the Fakirs operate. The following
    are facts which no traveller has ventured to  contradict:--

    "_First._--They never give public representations in places
    where the presence of several hundred persons makes it
    impossible to exercise the proper scrutiny.

    "_Second._--They are accompanied by no assistant, or
    confederate, as they are usually termed.

    "_Third._--They present themselves in the interior of the house,
    completely naked, except that they wear, for modesty's sake, a
    small piece of linen about as large as the hand.

    "_Fourth._--They are not acquainted with goblets, or magic bags,
    or double-bottomed boxes, or prepared tables, or any of the
    thousand and one things which our European conjurers find
    necessary.

    "_Fifth._--They have absolutely nothing in their possession save
    a small wand of seven knots of bamboo, as big as the handle of a
    pen-holder, which they hold in their right hand, and a small
    whistle, about three inches long, which they fasten to one of
    the locks of their long, straight hair; for, having no clothes,
    and consequently no pockets, they would otherwise be obliged to
    hold it constantly in the hand.

    "_Sixth._--They operate, as desired by the person whom they are
    visiting, either in a sitting or standing posture, or, as the
    case may require, upon the marble, granite, or stucco pavement
    of the veranda, or upon the bare ground in the garden.

    "_Seventh._--When they need a subject for the exhibition of
    magnetic or somnambulistic phenomena, they take any of your
    servants whom you may designate, no matter whom, and they act
    with the same facility upon a European in case he is willing to
    serve.

    "_Eighth._--If they need any article, such as a musical
    instrument, a cane, a piece of paper, a pencil, etc., they ask
    you to furnish it.

    "_Ninth._--They will repeat any experiments in your presence as
    many times as you require, and will submit to any test you may
    apply.

    "_Tenth._--They never ask any pay, merely accepting, as alms for
    the temple to which they are attached, whatever you choose to
    offer them.

    "I have travelled through India in every direction for many
    years, and I can truthfully state that I have never seen a
    single Fakir who was not willing to comply with any of these
    conditions.

    "It only remains for us to ask whether our more popular
    magicians would ever consent to dispense with any of their
    numerous accompaniments, and perform under the same conditions.
    There is no doubt what the answer would be."

Whether the forms or articles exhibited are considered as objects
invisibly brought into the room, or created from the atmosphere, they
are alike astonishing manifestations of an occult power. It does not
simplify or explain these singular phenomena to deny their relation to
beings of another life, and refer them to a supposed power in man, the
laws of which are unknown to us. We have to deal with them as we would
with any of the natural manifestations of life.

To assume that these things are not honest,--that these beings, who come
to us claiming to be our friends and relatives, are deceiving us,
playing on our credulity,--is to decide the question without evidence.



CHAPTER IV.

MATERIALIZATION AND DEMATERIALIZATION UNDER TEST CONDITIONS.


At Mrs. Fay's, on Thursday, Oct. 6, 1885, previous to the séance, Mrs.
Fay came into the room under the control of "Auntie," and requested that
four ladies should be selected by the audience to go with the medium to
her dressing-room. The request was complied with, and the ladies
returned with Mrs. Fay, still under control, and stated that they had
dressed her entirely in dark clothes; that there was not one particle of
white fabric about her, except the little collar around her neck. The
control then asked me to take a light into the cabinet, and all were
requested to examine it and see that there was no possible chance for a
confederate, or the concealment of drapery. This was done to the entire
satisfaction of all present.

Mrs. Fay was not allowed to leave the room, but, as soon as the audience
was seated, went directly into the cabinet. She had not time to take her
seat before a form, dressed in white, came out into the room. This was
followed by several others similarly dressed.

Then the light was lowered, and a tall female form came out, dressed in
brilliantly illuminated garments. A white handkerchief held against this
drapery had the appearance of a dark object. This figure walked about
the room for a few minutes, and vanished within three feet from where I
sat, and at least eight feet from the cabinet.

Then, in the middle of the room, on the carpet, appeared a small light,
not larger than the palm of my hand. It gradually grew larger, until it
assumed the tall, angular form of "Auntie," the control, who, in her
hoarse voice, greeted us with, "Good afternoon, all: I thought I would
see what I could do." She then addressed the audience in one of the most
forcible speeches I ever listened to, stating her reasons for putting
her medium under test conditions, ending by saying that she respected an
honest skeptic, but had no patience with those who accept anything
without good, substantial evidence.

She returned to the cabinet, and many forms came out and were
recognized. Bertha came, and, stretching out her arms at full length,
that all could see there was no chance for deception, she materialized
between her hands a piece of cambric, about three yards long and one
wide, brilliantly illuminated. After all who desired to do so had
examined it, she gathered it up, and, passing over to where the light
was the strongest, held it up, laughingly remarking that there was
enough to make a dress, proceeded to make it up, materializing sleeves,
and then put it on and walked round the room. Taking it off, she
dematerialized it in the presence of all.

Returning for a moment to the cabinet, she came back, and, kneeling on
the floor, with the fingers of the right hand made circular movements on
the carpet, with each of which it was plain to be seen that the light
was increasing. She continued this until she had materialized another
large piece of fabric. This gave great satisfaction to all, except
one visitor, who, from some cause, was a little disturbed, and had
the kindness to ask me if I had been in the habit of practising
sleight-of-hand. His intimate friend, who came with him, had the good
fortune to be close to Bertha, and had witnessed all that had occurred.
He rose, of his own free will, and stated to the audience that he had
been investigating the subject for thirty years, and that this was the
most wonderful and convincing thing he had ever seen.

On Thursday, Oct. 13, Mrs. Fay was again put under test conditions. The
audience was large, crowding the room and making it so warm as to
materially interfere with the manifestations, especially with those
spirits who had not been accustomed to materialize. The illuminated
forms and drapery were well shown. In the light séance, Bertha came and
pulled me up from my chair. She complained of the closeness of the room,
saying that she could not do much. She materialized a carnation in my
hand, and I called Mr. Whitlock to witness it, whereupon she took both
of his hands and made a flower in each.

Emma, one of the controls, soon came out, dressed in a rich white
figured satin dress, which all in the front row were allowed to inspect.
Mr. Whitlock obtained a pair of scissors, and, with Emma's consent, cut
quite a piece out of her dress. The damage seemed to be soon repaired.
Mr. Whitlock, in searching for the place where he had cut the piece out,
lifted the skirt, which gave Emma a chance to play the coquette, and
this created considerable amusement. Mr. Whitlock persevered, and I
think is able to state whether he succeeded in spoiling the dress.

A fine-looking form, claiming to be a German chemist, and the control of
Dr. Thomas, came out, and magnetized or medicated a tumbler of water,
sparks of light flashing freely from his fingers into the water, which
was then given to a lady from New Haven, Conn.,--with what effect I
cannot say, except that she complained that it tasted bitter. I saw
this manifestation for the first time several weeks before, and, I
confess, was rather amused with it. While speaking somewhat skeptically
of it to a friend who sat beside me, I was surprised when the form came
across the room and asked me to take the magnetized water. I had been
suffering for some weeks, and, to do the Doctor justice, I must say I
was almost entirely relieved.

Mr. Whitlock's father came to him,--a fine, robust form, with a strong
individuality that could not well be mistaken. Mr. Whitlock and his wife
testified to the likeness. This was followed by the appearance of Dr. J.
R. Newton, the widely-known healer, some time deceased. Mr. Whitlock and
I went up and greeted him. I shook hands with him, and had time to study
his face well: there could be no mistake; it was a wonderful likeness of
the Doctor.

The séance, although held under unfavorable circumstances, was full of
strong, convincing points. To the above statement, Mr. L. L. Whitlock,
Editor of _Facts_, appends the following:--

    "At the above-named séance, held on Nov. 13th, the
    following-named ladies were asked by Mrs. Fay to examine her
    clothing before she entered the cabinet, viz.:--Mrs. Joseph
    Harris, of Dorchester, Mass.; Mrs. A. Smith, of Lynn, Mass.;
    Mrs. J. D. Lillie, Boston; Mrs. M. A. Estee, East Boston; and
    Mrs. L. L. Whitlock, Providence, R. I.

    "They stated that she had nothing white about her person, except
    a piece of ruche around her neck, worn as a collar. The cabinet
    was also thoroughly examined by all who desired.

    "My father, Rev. Geo. C. Whitlock, LL.D., who passed to the
    spirit-life about twenty years ago, was very perfectly
    materialized, so much so that Mrs. Whitlock, who often sees him
    clairvoyantly, but never saw him in earth-life, recognized him
    before I saw him, my attention at the moment being attracted by
    conversation in another direction.

    "We will not attempt a description of this séance, as Mr.
    Brackett's report is substantially what we would have written.
    Our experience with the dress above mentioned was wonderful, and
    to us as incomprehensible as was our lace experience at Mrs.
    Fay's séance at Onset Bay last summer, a description of which we
    published in the September number of _Facts_.

    "One thing is certain: I had in my hand a piece of brocaded
    white satin, which I know I had cut from the dress of which Mr.
    Brackett speaks, and that, while I was kneeling before the form,
    the hole which I had made in the dress did disappear, and that I
    used my senses, of both sight and feeling, to convince myself of
    the facts.

    "Over sixty forms appeared, most of whom were recognized by
    friends."



CHAPTER V.

AN UNEXPECTED SÉANCE.


At an interview with Mr. W. C. Tallman, Mr. W. A. Hovey, and Rev. M. J.
Savage, the question of obtaining private séances, in the interest of
the Committee on Psychical Research, was discussed, and it was
considered desirable to make arrangements with Mrs. H. B. Fay for that
purpose. I was selected to consult with her, and, if possible, obtain
her consent.

As several gentlemen who intended to join us were not present, Mr.
Savage was requested to see and inform them of the conditions agreed
upon; the result of his interview to be forwarded to me by letter at
Mrs. Fay's, on Thursday, before the séance held on that day. These
conditions were very simple, and ought to have been satisfactory to any
reasonable person. They were the result of the long experience of Mr.
Tallman, Mr. Hovey, and myself, made heartily in the interest of the
Committee. There was no difference of opinion, Mr. Savage fully
endorsing them.

The letter was duly received, and, without stopping to read it, I
informed Mrs. Fay that I was ready to talk with her. She replied that
she should leave the matter entirely with her control, and if I would
lay the letter on the mantel, near the cabinet, Auntie, the control,
would probably speak about it. This letter was a long one,--some four
pages, written by a member of the Psychological Society, in reply to Mr.
Savage. I placed it under a heavy music-box, within a few inches of my
head, where I am certain it remained undisturbed until I took it away.
Its contents, which reversed the arrangements agreed upon, were not made
known to Mrs. Fay until after the decision of her control. As I did not
then know what it contained, and in my subsequent interview with Mrs. F.
made no allusion to it, Auntie's knowledge of it seemed very remarkable.

As the séance drew near the end, a spirit to whom I am greatly attached
called me up to the cabinet; and while I was conversing with her,
Auntie's voice broke in, saying, "Mr. Brackett?" I said, "What is it,
Auntie?" She replied, "I will see you to-morrow."

I called on Mrs. Fay the next day, and, after talking with her on other
matters, and finding that she did not seem disposed to allude to the
appointment, I reminded her that I came on business. She asked, "What
is it?" I replied that Auntie had requested me to meet her. She rose
without a moment's hesitation, saying, "We will go to the cabinet." This
was a surprise to me, for I fully expected that Auntie would take
control of her medium, and talk to me through her, as she had often done
before.

As Mrs. Fay stepped behind the curtain, Auntie came out, fully
materialized, greeting me cordially, shaking hands with me, and
expressing pleasure at meeting me; then, in a clear and forcible manner,
discussed the question of the proposed séance, going freely into detail,
showing conclusively that she understood both sides, and closed by
saying that she did not propose to submit her medium to such conditions
as were required by the letter, at the same time expressing a
willingness to do all she could for Mr. Savage personally. Bidding me
Good-bye, she dematerialized directly in front of me, so near that I
could have laid my hand upon her as she went down. The curtains were
apart, and I could see Mrs. Fay standing just beside the cabinet; but,
in order to make me more certain, if possible, of that fact, she reached
out her right hand, which I took in my left, preventing the curtains
from closing; and while thus standing, no less than six fully
materialized forms came out and greeted me.

During all this time Mrs. Fay may have been under partial control, but
was not entranced, and talked freely with me about the forms, often
describing them before they were visible to me.

These forms were substantial, varying in height and shape, and distinct
from each other. Most of them conversed freely, showing quite as much
individuality and intelligence as some of my acquaintances to whom
forms sometimes appear,--persons who think they are wise in treating
these forms with coldness and distrust, all of which is reflected back
to them.

It is easy to understand why such persons are disappointed in what comes
to them; but it is not easy to understand how any intelligent
investigator, who has given the subject any considerable attention,
should come to the conclusion that the forms are automatons, and that
our friends from the other side never take possession, or control them,
as they would a trance-medium; that they are merely effigies,[B] or lay
figures, built up to mock us, and play with the most sacred feelings of
our natures; and, what is more diabolical, that our spirit-friends are
near by, enjoying the base deception! If this view is correct, what a
fearful amount of lying there must be in every séance! Such a conclusion
would be impossible from what passed before me at this sitting.

    [B] In an essay written by "Shadows," intended to enlighten the
        public on this subject, he puts forth the theory of effigies.
        In the same article he relates a séance with the Berry Sisters,
        in which he says that "a young female spirit came to him." The
        word spirit must have been a slip of the pen; he should have
        said, a young female effigy. It was possibly in anticipation of
        his theory that the young effigy called him "father!"

As I gazed with delight upon this sudden and unexpected manifestation,
bathed in a mellow light which made all the surroundings perfectly
visible, I could not help feeling a regret that my Psychical friends had
shut themselves out from such evidence by requiring arrangements to
which no intelligent control would submit. Here, under strictly test
conditions, which precluded any possible doubt, was crowded into a small
space just the information which I am sure that some of them are
honestly endeavoring to obtain.

These things may be nothing but a mere phantasy of the mind; what is
claimed as exact science, a humbug; and life itself only a delusion; but
those whose lives are rounded into a full consciousness of an individual
existence may prefer to consider them in a different light. The same
perception which enables us to recognize one must be conceded to the
other.

If, in the search after facts relating to the more subtle forms of life,
the testimonies of thousands of honest and intelligent persons are to be
disregarded, we might as well abolish our courts. Judge, jury, and
witness become nothing but ridiculous actors in a farce played in the
name of Justice.



CHAPTER VI.

SÉANCE WITH MRS. CARRIE M. SAWYER.


Among the strong points in evidence of the genuineness of these
manifestations are the marked individuality and constant variations that
appear. The séances with the same medium will be found to differ widely;
no two of them are exactly alike. Sometimes they will be exceedingly
good, and at other times almost an entire failure. If they were in any
way due to confederates, or to personation by the medium, such
variations would not be likely to occur.

Again, the séances with one medium differ essentially from those with
another; so much so that each medium may be said to have a phase of
mediumship distinct in itself. The forms may appear quite different in
outward shape, when coming through one medium from what they do in
coming through another. The mental characteristics will, however, as I
have found, be retained in both instances. This has often led to
confusion and distrust with those who visit different séances. The
tendency is very strong to give precedence to mere outward appearance,
without reference to character.

In no case is the old adage, "A little learning is a dangerous thing,"
more applicable than to the study of this subject. The shallow
investigators, the touch-and-go people, will, in most cases, find
themselves left in bewilderment and doubt. These things are not to be
settled by witnessing one or two séances. Nor is the character of the
manifestations, as expressed through any medium, to be determined
without considerable experience.

From statements, and especially from the impression I received on my
first interview with Mrs. Sawyer, I was led to expect much from her
séance. My first séance with her was a disappointment, there being
nothing except the delightful interview with little Maud, one of the
"cabinet spirits,"[C] to attract the attention of any one familiar with
these things. It is due her to say, in explanation, that it was her
first séance in Boston, and held under unfavorable conditions.

    [C] This term is applied to spirits who appear to be constant
        attendants or assistants in the cabinets of mediums for
        materialization.

On the 11th of August, I again visited her séance, in company with Mrs.
Fay. The day was very hot, with a close, moist atmosphere, rendering the
séance-room very uncomfortable. The only wonder was that, under such
conditions, there could have been any manifestations whatever. I was
seated on one side of Mrs. Fay, and a friend of hers on the other. This
trio, so to speak, drew the fire of the whole séance; the only strong
and decided manifestations appearing on that side of the circle.

Auntie, Mrs. Fay's control, stood behind us, invisible to all except her
medium, occasionally making remarks in her hoarse, unmistakable voice.
Coming, as the voice did, out of space, with no organized being in sight
to produce it, the effect was at times startling.

A very sprightly spirit came briskly up to Mrs. Fay, extending her
hands, and leading her up to the cabinet, where they conversed for some
time. This was followed by what claimed to be Bertha. She came very
lively, greeting me cordially. The form was very like, and the
expression of character assuring, but, owing to the unusually poor
light and hasty interview, I prefer to withhold conclusions for the
present. More decided in its character was another spirit that followed
soon after. There was a centre-table between me and the cabinet. This
spirit, instead of coming into the middle of the room, passed to the
left, moving the table out, and coming directly to me. This brought her
more in the light, where I had a better opportunity of seeing her. Both
of these spirits appeared to be the exact counterparts of those who had
come to me so often at Mrs. Fay's, but who at other places exhibited a
great deal of variation. Was the close resemblance due to the fact that
Mrs. Fay was sitting by my side? The question is an interesting one,
suggesting further experience.

It may be well to state here that every opportunity was granted for
examining the cabinet, which I did to my entire satisfaction. I also
obtained from the builder a certified statement that it was constructed
of kiln-dried lumber, tongued and grooved, nailed, screwed, and glued
together in such a way as to render it impossible to remove the boards,
or for a confederate to enter it except through the door in the
audience-room, in the presence of the visitors. All were permitted to
inspect it before the medium took her seat. There could be no question
but that the cabinet and its surroundings were above suspicion. This
left me free to study the manifestations purely as materializations, or
personations by the medium. I know that the forms that came to me were
distinct individual beings, and in no instance was I able to discover
any indications that would lead me to suppose that the medium personated
any of the forms.

At the next séance which I visited, on Sept. 15, the weather was again
oppressive, so much so that the séance would have been abandoned had it
not been that some of the visitors, who had come from another State,
were unwilling to give it up. Notwithstanding the excessive heat, the
séance proved a very interesting one.

While little Maud was standing at the curtain talking, there was a
remarkable show of hands and arms above her head. Sometimes six of them
would be moving back and forth outside the curtain at once. About eight
feet from the cabinet, and directly in front of me, so near that I could
have touched it without moving from my seat, appeared a very delicate
little hand and arm. Like a bird that hovers around some object that it
dare not approach too closely, this hand and arm dallied and played
before me for several minutes, visible to all present. On the left side
of the room, more than six feet from the cabinet door, a form
materialized in full view, and came forward and shook hands with a lady
on my right.

While engrossed in these things, I had almost forgotten that my
principal object in being there was to study the form of Bertha as
compared with her appearance at other places. I was aroused from my
meditations by an involuntary shock that almost always warns me of what
is coming. Turning quickly around, I saw what appeared to be Bertha,
gliding from the cabinet. She passed rapidly to the left side of the
room, moving the centre-table and coming directly to me. Throwing her
arms around my neck, she greeted me with, "I love you," and then, with a
frightened expression and half hysterical laugh, she retreated to the
cabinet. This was totally unlike Bertha, who, in her perfectly confiding
and childlike bearing toward me, never felt it necessary to express her
feelings in any such bold declaration. Knowing that there are phantoms
that can take on almost any form they choose, the outward resemblance of
these beings has no weight with me, in the absence of mental
characteristics.

At a séance held by Mrs. Sawyer, Sept. 29, there were present
twenty-five persons, most of whom received more or less attention from
the spirits. Little Maud was very lively and full of witty, playful
remarks. Near the close of the séance, she asked me to come into the
cabinet and try to quiet the medium, who was exhausted in consequence of
having watched with a sick friend the previous night. On entering the
cabinet, I found that Mrs. Sawyer was not entranced, and took hold of
both her hands, endeavoring to give her all the mesmeric strength I
could.

While thus situated, conversing freely with the medium and little Maud
(who was evidently pleased to have me there), a spirit materialized and
went out among the audience. After it returned, another materialized,
and taking my left hand while Mrs. Sawyer held my right, we all three
walked out into the room, some distance from the cabinet, in full view
of all present. This was a new experience for me. To suppose that the
twenty-five honest, intelligent persons who witnessed this were
deceived, or that the appearance of the form was due to a confederate,
is simply absurd. I know it materialized in the cabinet, within reach of
where I sat.

What was claimed by the manager to be Bertha came out, and I gave her a
test to be used by her at another séance.

In following the rôle of strict investigation, and in honestly relating
what has come to me at these séances, I am forced to state that the
form that appeared on this occasion was not Bertha, and that there was,
as subsequent events proved, an attempt to deceive me. Mrs. Sawyer is a
gentlewoman and a strong medium, but she is surrounded by a coarse
magnetism, the baleful influence of which she seems powerless to
resist.



CHAPTER VII.

SÉANCES WITH MRS. FAIRCHILD.


The mediumship of Mrs. Fairchild differs from that of others inasmuch as
she stands outside of the cabinet, under the influence of one of her
controls, managing the séance with great skill and judgment, thus
eliminating from her séances all chance of transfiguration or
personation by the medium, forcing the skeptic or investigator to the
conclusion that the forms are either genuine materializations or
confederates.

The position of her cabinet, placed as it is between two rooms, is
certainly open to criticism. A thorough examination of it, however,
revealed no possible chance for the concealment of draperies or the
entrance of a confederate.

In order to meet the objections which have been made to this
arrangement, she has drawn a light curtain across the corner of the
room. Backed as it is by solid walls, the forms that come from this
temporary cabinet cannot be confederates, and the skeptic may answer as
best he can the question, What are they?

This cabinet, however, is only used occasionally, and the average
visitor sees only what comes from the main cabinet. If this temporary
arrangement is so successful, and I know it is, there is some force in
the objection made against using the other. Every medium is in justice
bound to give to visitors the best conditions possible. Mr. Whitlock
thus describes séances held with Mrs. Fairchild, Sept. 12 and 19:--

    "The medium was controlled in a few moments by 'Cadaleene,' a
    very interesting spirit, who managed the séance with perfect
    nonchalance, selecting with ease and correctness the persons
    whom the spirits desired to come to the cabinet, thereby
    fulfilling the double office, with Mrs. Fairchild, of medium and
    manager.

    "During this séance the medium was outside, and in view of the
    audience, except on one or two occasions, when she went into the
    cabinet for a moment; and at the last, when her control,
    Cadaleene, who had promised to materialize, came out so perfect
    in action and voice that I shall never forget her grateful
    attentions as she knelt at my side. Time after time more than
    one form was out of the cabinet at the same moment, and in one
    case five persons, including a child.

    "One of the most convincing proofs of materialization was the
    following: A lady, whom we understood to be a relative of Col.
    Bailey, called him up to the cabinet and kissed him; and while
    he was standing with both arms around her, talking, she
    dematerialized. This occurred fully three feet from the cabinet,
    in sight of the audience, a dozen of whom must have been within
    six feet of the form, and some of them as near the cabinet.

    "The following Saturday, Sept. 19, we again attended her
    afternoon séance. At this séance we found Mrs. Isabella Beecher
    Hooker, of Hartford, Conn.; Mr. Thomas Hazard, of Providence, R.
    I.; Mr. John Wetherbee, of Boston, and many other well known
    persons, were present.

    "What we have already written in reference to Cadaleene and her
    control of the medium, is equally applicable to this séance;
    also the expressions of confidence in reference to the cabinet.
    I had expressed to a friend, whom I met in the office of the
    _Banner of Light_, that while, to the best of my knowledge,
    after an examination, I believed Mrs. Fairchild's cabinet to be
    all right, still I would like to see the same results in a
    cabinet made by hanging a curtain across the corner of the room.
    Judge of my surprise when, after the séance had commenced,
    Cadaleene said, 'Mr. Facts-man, I heard what you told the brave,
    and you see we have the curtain across the corner, to show you
    what we can do.'

    "The séance continued in the regular cabinet, as usual, for
    about an hour and a half. The light was good, and many spirits
    manifested their presence, among which the following interesting
    experience occurred: A gentleman, who does not choose to have
    his name mentioned, had a communication the day before from a
    spirit-friend, in writing, through his own hand, promising to
    materialize at this séance. He told me that this spirit had not
    only fulfilled this promise, but had told him things that no
    other person knew but himself, and that he recognized her fully.

    "Then came the crowning glory of the séance. The control,
    Cadaleene, still holding the medium, directed that the gas be
    lit and the hall door opened. She then closed the sliding door
    in front of the cabinet, and fastened back the curtains which
    hung over it to form the front of the regular cabinet when in
    use, so that all might know if it was opened.

    "The audience was then seated facing the corner where the
    curtains had been hung for a temporary cabinet, some near and in
    front of the door just mentioned, which could be seen by all
    present. The medium, still under control, passed behind the
    curtain, but came out in a moment, followed almost immediately
    by a form dressed entirely in white. After this form returned to
    the cabinet, two others came out,--one a lady, the other a
    gentleman,--and it was said a third was seen in the cabinet.

    "All this time the medium was controlled by Cadaleene, who was
    finding the friends of the spirits with remarkable dexterity.
    Several others followed, and we might give names and personal
    experiences, but feel that our readers will appreciate most
    these special points of interest."

Mrs. Isabella Beecher Hooker, Mr. Thomas Hazard, and Mr. John Wetherbee
have given graphic descriptions of these séances.

On Tuesday, Oct. 13, in company with William D. Brewer, I attended a
private séance with Mrs. Fairchild. I examined the cabinet without being
able to discover anything that would lead me to suppose that there was
any chance for a confederate to be used. The séance lasted about two
hours, during which time scarcely a minute passed that there were not
forms out in the room, either to Mr. Brewer or myself; sometimes three
or four at once. More than half the time the extemporized cabinet in the
corner of the room was used. There appeared to be no difference between
the workings of the two; the manifestations came as freely from one as
from the other.

As I examined the walls and everything connected with the temporary
cabinet, I have no hesitation in saying that the forms that came from or
appeared in it were materialized beings. I was in this cabinet several
times during the séance, often with two forms at the same time. Once I
sat between them, an arm around each, satisfying myself of their
objective reality as well as if I had been walking with them outside in
the room. While thus holding them, the one encircled by my left arm,
and whose right arm was around my neck, instantly disappeared, without
the slightest indication of any movement;--she was there, and she was
not there. Still holding the one encircled by my right arm, I rose and
with my left hand drew the curtain aside, so that I could see everything
behind it. There was not the faintest trace of the beautiful being that,
a moment before, I had so firmly held, and with whom I had been talking.

Similar things have occurred to me in various ways, so often that they
produce no surprise, only an earnest desire to discover how or where the
forms go, or possibly gain some knowledge of the laws governing these
strange phenomena.

The force at Mrs. Fairchild's séances is mainly expended in
materialization, and for that reason they are valuable to skeptics; but
to the experienced investigator they offer nothing new. Many of the
forms come heavily veiled, and there is an absence of that social and
mental character which is ever the surest evidence of recognition.



CHAPTER VIII.

SÉANCE WITH MISS HELEN BEERY AT ONSET.

      "Spirits are never finely touched
    But to fine issues; nor Nature never lends
    The smallest scruple of her excellence,
    But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines
    Herself the glory of the creditor,
      Both thanks and use."


At one of Miss Helen Berry's séances at Onset in the summer of 1885,
there came a young female spirit, apparently about sixteen years old.
She took me by both hands and led me up to the cabinet, where she
greeted me very warmly. As she could bear more light than most of the
forms, I had no difficulty in studying her face and figure. She was a
little below the average height, lithe and graceful in all her
movements. A cloud of dark golden hair drifted around her neck and
shoulders, falling far below her waist. Her dress was pure white, of a
rich fabric, so thin that it revealed a form beautiful as the finest
Greek statue. She appeared more like a dream of ideal life, than a
creature who had ever walked the earth.

There are moments of exultation in the life of every artist, when his
soul reaches out to visions of great beauty. No canvas or marble can
record these visions. In his associations with the world, he may, at
times, catch glimpses that remind him of what he has seen, but nowhere
does he realize, as a whole, the perfection of those forms that have
allured him from his ordinary surroundings.

Was this charming creature one of those beings who had haunted my
dreams?--who, in the still hours of the night, had sometimes dispelled
the darkness by the glow of her presence?

If I hesitated a moment in recognizing her, it was because she had never
before appeared clothed in so beautiful a form, or if so I had failed to
appreciate it. Perhaps it was due, in part, to the negative condition I
was in, which allowed a freer and more perfect development, undisturbed
by any mental action on my part; and this idea is strengthened by the
fact that, in all my connection with these séances, what I most desired
to obtain seldom came until after I had become more or less indifferent
about it. As I stood beside this form, I passed my fingers through her
long silken tresses, and put my hand upon her finely formed head. As she
laid her face to mine, she said in the most earnest yet tender tones,
"You did not think I would come." This was true; tired with my journey
and the sultry heat, I was indifferent to taking an active part in the
séance. I was, however, in a listless way, interested in what came to
others, and had given up expecting that anything would come to me; and
yet, had I reflected for a moment, I should have known that at any true
séance, where I was present and the conditions favorable, it would have
been hardly possible for her to keep away. The consciousness of her
presence at other times than in the séance-room is no uncommon
occurrence with me.

In the séance-room, where she comes so strong and substantial, I have
often put forth little playful, but somewhat provocative remarks, in
order to draw out, as far as possible, an expression of her character.
Sometimes these things excited her, but never, except for the moment,
disturbed the harmony between us.

At this interview I was not in a condition of mind likely to attract
spirits, whether in or out of the flesh. In the course of conversation,
I dropped a remark that disturbed her. She grasped my hand nervously,
her chest rose and fell with increased respiration, and without making
any reply she retreated to the cabinet.

Thinking it possible that I might have displeased her, and that she
would not return, I went to my seat. A moment afterward, I was surprised
by her rushing out and kneeling down in front of me. Throwing her bare
arms around my neck and pulling my head down to her, that others might
not listen to what was said, she poured forth, in the most earnest and
impassioned strain, her thoughts; talking as only a woman can talk under
the highest inspiration.

I had long since abandoned all doubts of the existence of these beings,
and had been, in a quiet and affectionate way, studying the different
phases of character manifested by them. Like many others who have
investigated this subject, I had met with things which I could not
understand or harmonize with my experience. This was leading me to
conclusions that I intuitively felt were not true, and yet I could not
extricate myself from the network of apparent evidence that surrounded
me.

That she understood my mental condition, was evinced by the fact that
her whole force and energy were directed to this one subject. Her form
trembled and vibrated with emotion as she uttered sentence after
sentence in clear explanation of what had perplexed me. Raising her
head, and tossing back her long hair, she grasped both my hands, and,
with a face beaming with light, said:

"It seems strange to you, but what can I do? We are subject to
conditions; and if I come at all, it must be in harmony with them.
There are spheres and circles we cannot penetrate, if the controlling
influence is against us. We are still human, still yearning for
affection,--that love which is the silken cord that binds us all. What
would you not do to reach those dear to your heart? You understand me
now."

There was a remarkably childlike simplicity in the way she unburdened
her mind, giving free expression to her feelings, bearing me mentally
along with her, until I was lost to everything else. That is all. There
are thoughts and feelings which no language can express. Like the
silvery notes of a sweet song that echo in the distance, they revel in
their freedom from restraint, and forever elude our grasp.

    I know the breath that fans my cheek,
    The thoughts, the words I cannot speak,
      The arms that round me twine.
    What need of words when thoughts are told
    In light that gleams like burnished gold,
      With pulse that throbs to mine?

Never before had I listened to such eloquence. Every word, with its rich
intonation, is indelibly stamped upon my memory, and I regret that, for
personal reasons, it cannot be recorded here.

Exhausted by her long effort, as she rose and led me to the cabinet, I
noticed that her form was rapidly changing. Suddenly, like the
extinguishing of a light, she passed into that invisible space whence
she came.

There were no "test conditions" here; and there might have been a dozen
confederates, for aught I can prove. It is barely possible that this
delightful being belonged on this side of life; but whether on this side
or the other, in the fulness of my artistic nature, I thanked God that
such beauty could exist anywhere. The evidence of truthfulness in what
came to me at this séance rests on something stronger than barred
windows and locked doors;--it was in the complete embodiment of the
character, both mentally and physically.

The séance closed, and I returned to Glen Cove by the road that skirts
the shore. The south wind played with the blue waters of the bay,
throwing up myriads of little waves that danced in the moonlight. As I
stood gazing upon the sea, baring my feverish brow to the cooling
breeze, I felt that my whole nature was flowing out into a vast circle
of being. Thoughts, words, feelings, all blended with the mellow light
which flooded the scene. If I was not supremely happy, it was not from
lack of harmony with everything around me.

There is ever a tinge of sadness in the background of life. With the
beauty of the waves comes the low moan as they break upon the shore.
With the warmth of friendship, comes the pain of parting, and, sadder
still, that relentless fate that hurries us from those we love into the
dim, uncertain future. The sands of life are golden only where thought
diffuses itself without shadows, and the light that charms us flows from
the object of our affections.

It was late, and I retired for the night--closed my eyes, but not to
sleep. The walls of my room disappeared, and my vision swept over an
undefined and illimitable space. Before me like a mist, but perfectly
outlined, glided the beautiful being who only a few minutes before had
come so close to me. Soon she was joined by others, lightly drifting,
floating through the air.

    As round the mountain's craggy steep
    The trailing vapors curve and sweep,
    So, hand in hand and side by side,
    Through space unmeasured, soft they glide.
    Now there, now here--so far, so near--
      With outstretched arms they beckoned me,
      And, like the murmur of the sea,
    Their voices broke upon my ear.

As they passed near me, a hand was laid upon my face; I started, sprang
up, looked around; there was no one in the room. All was still save the
low surging of the tide that swept the beach below.



CHAPTER IX.

SÉANCE AT THE BERRY SISTERS' IN BOSTON.


In looking over my notes, my attention is strongly drawn to the many
remarkable things I have witnessed at the Berry Sisters'. As I have
given a drawing of Mrs. Fay's cabinet, and its surroundings, which I
know to be honest, I give a carefully drawn plan of the séance-room here
(see next page). It will be seen that this is one of the most simple and
truthful arrangements possible, and the thanks of every investigator are
due to the able manager and controls for placing the cabinet in a way
that every one can see at a glance that a confederate is out of the
question. I have attended several séances at this place since this
arrangement has been adopted; and, so far from injuring the
manifestations, they are, if anything, improved.

[Illustration: Diagram of the Misses Berry's Séance-Room.]

At these séances, when I have been present, Bertha has materialized
outside of the cabinet, more than three feet from it, and at least six
feet from the entrance, and on one occasion so close to me that she
brushed me with her garments as she rose.

On Saturday, Nov. 7, 1885, I attended in company with my wife and little
daughter--Mrs. A. E. Newton, of Arlington, also making one of the party.
Although the atmosphere was unfavorable, the manifestations were good,
there often being two forms out at once, talking with their friends. My
seat was on the right, facing the cabinet, and very near to it. Before
the séance commenced, by the request of Mr. Albro, the manager, I locked
the door at the farther end of the room; and when this was done, he
offered me the privilege of sitting beside it. I declined, preferring to
take part in the séance.

I will state, however, for the benefit of those who have any doubt about
this arrangement, that the seat I occupied commanded a full view of this
door, and that I unlocked it after the séance, and can state positively
that it was impossible for the door to have been opened without my
knowing it. Again, the cabinet is so constructed that if a confederate
had entered, he would have been obliged to go around to the front, in
full view of the audience, before he could have passed into the cabinet.
Those persons whose fertile brains are always leading them into absurd
conclusions, will have to seek for some other explanation than that of a
confederate here.

In the course of the séance, I had warning of Bertha's presence, and
requested Mrs. Newton, who sat beside me, to watch the left-hand
corner, near the cabinet. In a few minutes there appeared a soft light
on the carpet, near the wall, and almost instantly Bertha came up in
full view of all.

Springing forward and taking my little daughter by both hands, she came
briskly across the room to where I sat. After our usual greeting, I
introduced her to Mrs. Newton, who detained her for some time, my wife
coming forward and joining in the conversation. I have described this
beautiful spirit so fully in the preceding chapter that it is
unnecessary to repeat it here.

Many persons will find it desirable to make themselves familiar with the
different phases of materialization as expressed through different
mediums; but nowhere else will they find more strength combined with
delicacy and refinement, as shown both in the beauty of the forms and
their affectionate bearing. Neither in the controls, the forms, nor the
surroundings, is there anything here to offend the most fastidious
taste. These séances appear to have advanced beyond the mere fact of
materialization, offering to those whose magnetic relations are in
accord with conditions, a more attractive expression of social and
mental character than is frequently met with. As Mrs. Newton seemed
quite interested in Bertha, I felt desirous to know what impression was
made upon one so well prepared to form a just opinion on such matters.
To my expressed wish she kindly responded with the following
statement:--

                               "ARLINGTON, MASS., NOV. 11, 1885.

    "MY DEAR MR. BRACKETT,--

    "In accordance with your request that I would give you my
    observations and impressions in regard to the materialized
    apparition claiming to be your spirit-niece, Bertha, I will
    state that I think her the most intelligent and sprightly
    re-embodiment of a spirit that I ever saw,--and I have seen a
    great many within the last ten years. At all events, I am
    confident no one who sees her can imagine her to be either a
    made-up figure, a lifeless effigy, or the medium in disguise.

    "At Mrs. Fay's séance, where I first saw her, she showed, on
    meeting you, that spiritual illumination in the face which joy
    and gladness give to us when we meet those we love, after an
    absence. She had also those fine intonations of the voice that
    can spring only from the affections. Can it be, said I to
    myself, that this beautiful girl, so charming and graceful, so
    full of life and intelligence, is truly a spirit? Just as the
    thought had formed itself in my mind, she had turned toward the
    cabinet and vanished before the curtain. But hardly a minute had
    elapsed before she sprang out again from the cabinet, like a
    new-born seraph, and, opening her hands before all the company
    present, her arms being entirely bare to the shoulder, she
    extended them above her head, began to manipulate something
    apparently in the air, and soon handed me a most exquisite
    rose, with the moisture oozing from the stem where it had
    apparently been twisted off from the stock.

    "When at Miss Helen Berry's séance, a few days later, I had the
    assurance made doubly sure that she was not a being of earth, by
    seeing, about three feet from the cabinet, a small, white,
    cloud-like substance expand until it was four or five feet high,
    when suddenly from it the full, round, sylph-like form of Bertha
    stepped forward. Seeing her little cousin and namesake (Bertha
    Brackett, nine years old), she took both the child's hands in
    hers, drew her from her chair, and, after greeting her
    affectionately, led her playfully across the room to where we
    were sitting. There I studied every lineament of her face. Her
    hair had all the warmth and glossiness of that of a healthy girl
    of eighteen. She said to me, 'Don't you think I am very strong
    to-day?' and, putting both hands in mine, allowed me to caress
    and converse with her freely. 'Do you remember you materialized
    a rose for me last week?' I asked. 'Yes,' she replied, 'and you
    have it now at home.' This was true.

    "Mrs. Brackett called my attention to the length and beauty of
    Bertha's hair, and asked her if she could not make it longer if
    she wished to. 'Yes,' she laughingly replied; 'but it will grow
    shorter if I don't get to the cabinet soon!' and, with a
    graceful adieu, she tripped across the room, leading her little
    cousin into the cabinet with her, where she dematerialized in
    the child's presence.

    "Since witnessing the foregoing, I have re-read your account of
    the séance with Miss Berry at Onset, and I feel quite safe in
    saying your description of Bertha is not overdrawn. She
    certainly exhibits an individuality intensely human, and yet not
    of ordinary flesh-and-blood, as shown by her sudden appearance
    and disappearance. She proves beyond a doubt that, given the
    same conditions and opportunities to other spirits that you have
    afforded her, they may come with the same fulness of life and
    strength.

    "I cannot refrain from expressing the hope that some of the
    members of the Seybert Commission will come to Boston and study
    Bertha--see her materialize three feet from the cabinet, as we
    did--hear her converse intelligently--see the divinely moulded
    form--and then witness, as we did, her sudden change to another
    sphere of being, doubtless to engage in pleasant duties among
    that deathless throng who are ever learning, and who will unfold
    to us, if we will become receptive, the laws of entrancement and
    of materialization. It seems scarcely possible that these
    gentlemen would fail to be convinced that 'there are more things
    in heaven and earth than are dreamed of' in materialistic
    'philosophy.'
                                      "Very truly yours,
                                                 "S. J. NEWTON."



CHAPTER X.

MATERIALIZED FORMS--HOW SHALL WE MEET THEM?


Years ago I had a friend who was generous to a fault. He freely gave
wherever he thought there was need. With all his liberality, he was
singularly successful in business, and when he passed to the other life
left a large fortune, which was mainly distributed to charitable
institutions.

Walking with him one day, we passed some beggars sitting on the
sidewalk,--pitiful specimens of humanity, with large placards in front
of them, detailing the misfortunes that had befallen them. One, not over
thirty years old, had lost a leg in the battle of Waterloo; another had
lost his eyes by an eruption of Vesuvius which must have occurred
twenty years before he was born. The cards must have been heirlooms,
handed down at least one generation. These little discrepancies
apparently made no impression on my friend, who emptied his pockets of
his spare change, giving something to each of them. As we passed on, I
said to him, "Do you know that these poor fellows were up before the
police court a few days ago for being engaged in a drunken brawl?" I
shall never forget the expression of his face as he turned to me and
said, "It is my duty as well as my pleasure to give; the responsibility
of using it is theirs, not mine."

Many years had come and gone, and the memory of my friend had almost
faded from my mind. I was engaged in studying materialization. As my
custom is to take one thing at a time, I did not trouble myself about
the quality. I did not even propose to myself what I might do afterward;
but did propose, if there was any truth in it, to so clearly demonstrate
it that no doubts should come up as a disturbing element in any
subsequent investigations I might make.

When I had finished my investigations on this point, I found that I
stood on the shore of a boundless sea of speculation and uncertainty. I
could not help asking myself the question, "What are these forms that,
for a few minutes only, clothe themselves in objective reality, bearing
the semblance of my friends, blended with the likeness of the medium?
Are these my father, my mother, my wife, my brother? Is this the
rollicking boy who made the hills echo with his laughter, now whispering
in my ear so low that I can scarcely hear him?"

In the midst of this perplexity, this whirl of unanswered questions,
the voice of my old friend came to me: "Don't stare these sensitive
beings out of countenance, but give to them all that you can of your
better nature, and you shall have your reward. If there is a possibility
of mistake as to identity, if you are in any way deceived, the
responsibility is theirs, not yours. In all true séances, if the forms
are not what they are supposed to be, they are, at least, beings from
another life, seeking strength and comfort from association with you,
else they would not come. Let not a shadow of doubt or distrust bar
their approach. Have no awe, no reserve, no fear as to what they are,
and they will blend into your soul, become a part of your life. In the
true relations which you hold to them will be the fulness of what they
bring to you."

With a nature naturally skeptical, and a mind long trained to a close
comparison of objects, it was not easy to accept this advice. What,
then, was to be done? It was plain that I must move on, or abandon all
that I had so successfully demonstrated.

I could not launch out into the endless speculation of "psychical
research;" I had not time for that; so I decided to follow the course
which had been suggested to me. I would lay aside all reserve, and greet
these forms as dear departed friends, who had come from afar, and had
struggled hard to reach me.

From that moment the forms, which had seemed to lack vitality, became
animated with marvellous strength. They sprang forward to greet me;
tender arms were clasped around me; forms that had been almost dumb
during my investigations now talked freely; faces that had worn more the
character of a mask than of real life now glowed with beauty. What
claimed to be my niece, ever pleasant and earnest in aiding me to obtain
the knowledge I was seeking, overwhelmed me with demonstrations of
regard. Throwing her arms around me, and laying her head upon my
shoulder, she looked up and said, "Now we can all come so near you!" Her
wonderful spontaneity of character at once asserted itself, and has ever
since been the delight of all who have come in contact with her.

My association with these forms is of the most simple character; it is
that of children with each other: we realize the full force of the
Master's words, "Except ye become as little children, ye shall not enter
the kingdom of heaven." Science may wrangle over the supposed movements
of molecules and atoms, and the correlation of forces; may dissect the
bird to find its song; but love alone shall set the boundaries of
knowledge. The key that unlocks the glories of another life is pure
affection, simple and confiding as that which prompts the child to throw
its arms around its mother's neck.

To those who pride themselves upon their intellectual attainments, this
may seem to be a surrender of the exercise of what they call the higher
faculties. So far from this being the case, I can truly say that until I
adopted this course, sincerely and without reservation, I learned
nothing about these things. Instead of clouding my reason and judgment,
it opened my mind to a clearer and more intelligent perception of what
was passing before me. That spirit of gentleness, of loving kindness,
which, more than anything else, crowns with eternal beauty the teachings
of the Christ, should find its full expression in our association with
these beings.



PART II.

OPINIONS AND THEORIES.

    The credulous have their weak points, but the belief of
    unbelievers surpasses all credulity.

    There is no position a man can assume so weak as that of extreme
    skepticism in the face of fair evidence.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Heat, light, electricity, and force are common things. We accept
    them as matters of everyday life; our familiarity with them
    prevents surprise. In our attempts to discover or learn what
    they are we have utterly failed. All that we have found is how
    they act under certain conditions. They are the elements
    necessary to the existence of physical life, and by cultivating
    their acquaintance we have made friends with them. They walk
    beside us, lending a helping hand in everything; still they are
    our masters--we know them not. For the moment we comprehend a
    thing we are greater than the thing we comprehend: it is behind
    us, not in front.

    Those who are seeking to know how these spirit-forms are created
    will seek in vain, for there is no language by which the process
    can be conveyed to our understanding. When it is said that they
    come out of invisible space, and depart in the same way, all is
    said that can be in explanation of their advent among us.



OPINIONS AND THEORIES.

CHAPTER I.

A GLANCE BEHIND THE CURTAIN.


The nature of man is, to a certain extent, dual. The brain is divided
into two parts; there are two sets of nerves crossing each other, so
that an injury received on the left side of the brain affects the right
side of the body, and _vice versa_. While the duplicated organs are
capable of separate action, anatomically suggesting two distinct beings,
they are united so as to form a complete union of both. There is,
however, a preponderance of brain or will-force in the left side of the
head, giving a more complete control over the right side of the body,
and, in some instances, a manifestation of character, which would
indicate that each side of the brain might act in alternation, and
somewhat independently of the other.

The force which the brain exerts over its own organism and that of
others is not understood. Could it be explained, all the phenomena of
the material and spiritual would, probably, lie within reach. A person
with a strong will may possess a magnetic power enabling him to throw
another, of a peculiar temperament, into a trance, in which that person
is physically insensible to everything except what comes through the
sensibility of the magnetizer.

The material bodies are brought _en rapport_ with each other, or under
the law of individual control, and the magnetizer can direct the
physical movements of the other very much as he would his own, leaving
the spirit of the entranced person free to act, for the time being,
independently of its own body. If it has the strength or power to
control other sensitives, it may manifest itself in remote places,
either clairvoyantly or by materialization more or less tangible. It
can, however, do this much more perfectly in close proximity to its own
body. Such a materialization is a counterpart of the entranced person;
is, in fact, the spirit of that person clothed in a body not strictly
its own, but composed of material largely drawn from it. The existence
of this phenomenon has been more or less known through all ages, and is
probably the origin of that mythical story of the creation of woman,
where the Lord is said to have caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam.

Among all nations, traditions of what is known as "the double" exist.
Though often classed as a vulgar superstition, it nevertheless finds
expression in the works of some of the best intellects. It plays an
important part in the progress and development of all physical séances,
since it is the first indication of true materialization. Furthermore,
the substance composing this counterpart is, to a certain extent, the
nucleus around which all spirits materializing are developed or clothed.

The form appears to issue from the left side, but in reality it comes
from the whole circumference of the body, in a rapidly-moving luminous
vapor, which quickly consolidates into a separate individualized form,
complete in its organization, and capable, for the time, of physical and
mental action. Such manifestations are what is understood to be the
production of living forms by means of living matter given off from the
body of the medium. The process is more or less affected by the
surroundings, and is ever the result of more intelligent beings
coöperating with the spirit of the entranced person.

The spirit occupying this temporary body can, when proper relations have
been established with it, surrender it into the control of other
spirits, the same as it surrendered its other body into the control of
the magnetizer, and from its peculiar structure they can contract,
expand, or change it to suit his or her requirements. So long as it
remains in the possession of the spirit of the entranced person, the
likeness to it is maintained; but the moment it passes into the
possession of another, the resemblance will depend entirely upon the
strength of the control, and the knowledge the spirit has in shaping the
form like to that borne in earth-life. From these conditions
materialization may broaden into more complex forms, always depending
upon the currents of magnetic thought, and that central will-force that
sweeps into its vortex all atoms necessary to its use.

Until the spirits acquire more than ordinary strength by frequent
manifestations, or by favorable surroundings, this will probably be
found to be the usual way in which they make themselves visible to us.
These conditions necessitate more or less resemblance to the medium,
both in form and intonations of voice.

I have seen hundreds and thousands of materialized forms; have seen, in
a few instances, personation, where the medium was taken possession of,
brought out, and controlled as in trance-mediumship; I have seen what
appeared to be the double of the medium, so thoroughly like, that I
should have testified that it was the medium had I not seen it
dematerialize, or been taken into the cabinet by the form and found the
entranced medium there; but I have never seen a single instance of
transfiguration, unless the double of the medium be considered as such.
The fact that Mrs. Fairchild stands outside, by the cabinet, during the
séance, in full view of the audience; that at the Berry Sisters', and at
Mrs. Sawyer's, the spirits lead the medium out of the cabinet; that at
Mrs. Fay's the forms often take the visitors into the cabinet and show
them not only the medium but the materialized control,--are things which
the skeptic will find very hard to explain. If they are not evidence of
the existence of these phenomena, it is difficult to understand what
evidence is.

To a sensitive person, with even a limited experience, the character of
a séance is easily determined. There is always in the true materialized
forms a decided lack of some of the elements that make up the magnetism
of what we call real life; something not easily described, but readily
perceived by a person thus constituted. To such a one, neither a
confederate nor a personation by the medium can pass undetected.



CHAPTER II.

EXPOSURES OF MEDIUMS.


There have often been sensational reports circulated claiming to be
"exposures" of materialization, but when traced to their origin they
have generally been found to be unreliable, and never the result of
careful study or scientific investigation. The ungentlemanly and in some
instances brutal conduct of the parties engaged in the "exposures" has
been such as to discredit their statements, and in no case have they
produced evidence that would be considered valid in any court.

If it be true that the garments used to clothe the forms are
materialized and dematerialized in the cabinet, any sudden disturbance
of the magnetic conditions of the circle might arrest the process of
dematerialization, leaving the draperies intact. Persons not
understanding this would naturally charge fraud upon the medium, on
rushing into the cabinet and finding them there. This has led some
mediums to submit to a thorough examination of their clothes before
entering the cabinet, going so far, at times, as to allow themselves to
be dressed entirely in dark clothing, without a particle of white upon
them, and giving every opportunity to prove that there were no concealed
draperies in the room. These arrangements, while taking up valuable time
that otherwise would have been devoted to the séance, have never
interfered with the manifestations.

The most serious and perhaps the most generally believed charges made
against these séances is that confederates are used to personate the
forms. Passing by the many knotty questions which cannot possibly be
explained on the theory of confederates, and considering it in a
business point of view, there are difficulties connected with such an
arrangement that might in the end prove disastrous.

A employs B to personate, at one dollar a séance. B finds that A is
making money, and, being rascally enough to engage in such work, would
have no scruples in demanding, under threats of exposure, the lion's
share of the proceeds.

A is completely in his power, and has no alternative but to submit.
This, and the outside pressure which would be likely to be brought to
bear upon B to make public the fraud, would render it almost impossible
to carry on the deception for any great length of time.

Again, there are often from fifty to sixty distinct individual forms
appearing at each séance, requiring as many confederates to represent
them. As the circle is rarely composed of more than twenty-five persons,
would it pay to keep so many actors for so small an audience? If people
who listen to these accusations would reflect for a moment, they would
see that the theory of confederates is not a very plausible one, and it
might do much toward relieving mediums from the unjust suspicions to
which, through lack of understanding on the part of the public, they are
more or less obliged to submit.

All honest mediums will cheerfully do all they can to satisfy the public
that there is no deception, and that the cabinet and its surroundings
are such as to preclude the possibility of confederates. Any other
arrangements are unnecessary, and, to say the least, suspicious. These
things are new and strange to most people, and they very naturally
expect strong evidence; and they are right, provided their desire is
expressed in a kindly and gentlemanly manner.

Any one at all familiar with these séances cannot help seeing that there
are some mediums and their controls who are largely responsible for the
feeling of distrust more or less manifested toward the subject. When the
question of a confederate is fairly settled (and no one can be certain
of his position until it is done), and two forms appear at the same
time; or when you can be taken into the cabinet by a form, and shown the
entranced medium, it is self-evident that one of them is a materialized
form, and not a personation by the medium. It needs no argument to
settle this, no matter how much it may conflict with pre-conceived
notions.

I have quoted from Chief Justice Jacolliot's work on Occult Science in
India, to prove that there is no connection between these manifestations
and what is called sleight-of-hand.

There is, however, a more important fact conveyed in his statements,
corroborated by other writers upon this subject, showing the perfect
fairness with which these mediums, or Fakirs, submit to tests, courting
the most thorough and exhaustive investigation, even trusting
themselves, while in a trance, without any protection, to the honor and
good faith of those around them, repeating at request the experiments,
again and again, to satisfy that there is no deception about them.

This is strangely in contrast with our mediums, who as a rule shrink
from anything of the kind, and are disposed to regard any request of
that nature as a direct imputation upon their honesty.

If materialization means anything besides dollars and cents--if it has a
mission to perform--it is to enlighten and educate the people upon one
of the most important subjects that has ever engrossed the mind.

The lack of openness and confidence on the part of many of the mediums,
or their managers, creates a feeling of distrust which sometimes finds
an expression in rudeness on the part of skeptics, and leads those who
are confident of the genuineness of a part of the séance to be impressed
with the idea that there are things connected with it that are
dishonest.

There is no difficulty in tracing the source of this feeling. Everywhere
like begets like, and as long as this state of feeling exists there
will be a lack of harmony in the circle, with more or less disturbance.

It may be that these things are inseparable from the newness of the
manifestations among us, and will disappear when mediums are more freely
developed in our homes, and the séances assume less of a commercial
character.

While no apology should be made for fraud in these séances, we have no
right to make charges that cannot be sustained. Every medium is bound,
in justice to the audience, to see that the cabinet and its surroundings
are so arranged that the appearance of fraud is, as far as possible,
avoided.

Lack of experience, want of perception, or ignorance of a subject, gives
no authority to assume that it is a fraud. The eagerness with which the
press circulates reports of imposture finds its excuse, not in a manly
defence of the truth, but in a morbid disposition to cater to the whims
and caprices of the public. Those who accept such statements without
investigation may possibly become victims of a worse delusion than that
which they fancy they are condemning in others--a delusion born of
ignorance and self-conceit.



CHAPTER III.

PUBLIC SÉANCES.


No comparison can justly be made between different mediums. All are
excellent in their way. The preference that is given to one over others
is mainly due to personal feeling, to likes and dislikes, which must
always find an expression among individuals of different tastes.

In some séances the strength of the manifestations is largely exhausted
in the production of forms. In others, the social and affectionate
element predominates. Where there are from fifty to sixty materialized
forms appearing at a sitting, it is hardly to be expected that much time
can be given to the interchange of thought or the expression of
feeling. Such séances are, as a rule, mere touch-and-go occasions.

The strength of the circle is often exhausted in combating the ignorance
and prejudice of the audience, and the higher and more delicate phase of
materialization is lost sight of.

Many condemn public séances on account of the mixed audience and the
conflicting elements that surround the medium. These things are, at
present, a necessity, being the only means of educating the masses.

The time has not yet come when, through a more general acceptance of the
truth of materialization, it can be transferred to the domestic circle,
where it properly belongs, and where its best results will be obtained.
Not until the flush of excitement necessarily arising from the
strangeness of the phenomena has subsided, and the investigator has
settled in his mind the facts of materialization, is he capable of
forming an intelligent opinion on the subject.

Thousands of persons, through their experience, have reached that point.
Whether they advance beyond this will depend upon the character of the
séance, the strength of the manifestations, and the purely affectional
bearing toward these beings.

Séances should be classified: the first, for primary education, for
facts and evidence to convince skeptics; the second, for the more
advanced investigator. Into this latter class no skeptic should be
admitted. Such an arrangement could not interfere with the patronage of
mediums, but on the contrary would enhance it, for there comes a period
in the progress of the investigator when, finding that he cannot
advance, he will retreat or seek some other field for investigation. The
public séance, as now constituted, must, from the nature of its
surroundings, remain more or less stationary.

There are séances that are pitched on so low a key that when the
investigator passes from a state of doubt into a full knowledge of the
truth of materialization, he will instinctively leave them for a more
genial atmosphere; for it is in vain to expect that coarse, mercenary,
untruthful mediums can avoid impressing more or less of their natures
upon the spirits who come through their organisms, or that mainly
spirits like themselves will be attracted to them. The more intelligent
investigators are beginning to realize this, and those mediums who have
lost the sense of their high calling, and degraded the séance to a mere
show, will, under the inevitable law of progress, find themselves
supplanted by a better element. Mediums are being developed everywhere,
and in the near future there will be no lack of noble men and women who
will gladly come to the front with their divine gifts.

If we accept the idea that passing to the other life does not
essentially change the character of the man, that his peculiarities
remain the same, we can account for many things in the séance-room that
appear to be simply acting,--performances which have no other object
than to attract the audience, to show what power the spirits can acquire
under conditions which seem impossible to us.

Considering the state of feeling with which many persons enter the
séance-room, it is not singular that they are sometimes treated to what
seems to be deception. The spirits, perceiving the condition of the
minds around them, act very much as they would if they were still on
this side of life. Thoughts are things, which appear to them very much
as solid substances do to us. If, instead of attempting to remove them,
they can accomplish their object by going round them, they feel
themselves justified in doing so. They act very much, at times, as
children would under similar circumstances; and, until they obtain
complete control over the form that encases them, they cannot express
themselves with much force. They are as children learning to walk, to
think, and talk through a medium that is new to them.

A simple, childlike bearing, blended with the warmest affection, is the
only element that enables them to progress and meet us upon the highest
plane of thought.



CHAPTER IV.

THE ATTITUDE OF SCIENTISTS.


The world is indebted to scientists for their clear arrangement of and
deductions from what others have discovered; for, as a rule, they are
not inventive. Hasty in condemning everything new, their timidity and
lack of generous bearing toward what seems to conflict with their
materialistic theories are conspicuous.

Nothing can be more unscientific than the attitude of most of them
toward this subject. Obliged in the past to antagonize the despotism of
the old Theology, they have themselves become despotic. Condemning
dogmatism, they assume a dogmatic bearing toward everything that does
not square with their pre-conceived notions. Walking with faces toward
the ground, they refuse to look up, or admit the existence of anything
beyond matter; denying the possibility of spirit, and claiming that the
earth contains within itself the "promise and potency" of everything
that is or has been.

Against this sweeping claim may be opposed the fact that, in the light
of a purely scientific analysis, the earth gives no promise of the
living beings that cover its surface; that it creates nothing, furnishes
nothing except the environments or clothing of the beings that for the
time find their abiding-place here.

When scientists are confronted with materialization, they deny it
without investigation, or refuse to examine it unless they can dictate
their own conditions, and yet no class of men understand better than
they do the necessity of adhering closely to the laws governing any
operation in nature, if it is to be fairly studied. The course that has
been and is now being pursued by the two scientific bodies supposed to
be investigating this subject must necessarily lead to failure.
Individual members may be more or less impressed with the reality of the
phenomena, but no report worthy of the subject will ever be made by
either society. The ridiculous farce enacted by the French Academy of
Science in their report on Mesmerism, will probably be repeated here.

It has been charged upon me that I am not a scientist, and that my
methods are not scientific,--all of which, if their implied definition
of science is correct, I admit. I have had the fairness, notwithstanding
my skepticism, to lay aside my prejudices and study this subject purely
in relation to itself, and not in connection with pre-conceived ideas.
The facts which I have presented have been attested by competent
witnesses; and until scientists have made themselves familiar with them,
their allegations amount to nothing. The course which I have pursued in
studying this subject is far more sensible and scientific than a denial
without investigation.

The editor of one of the ablest scientific journals has well said,
"Science having no methods by which it can experimentally determine that
man has a spiritual nature distinct from the material, it follows that
it must be incompetent to throw light upon the nature of that which is
unrecognized or unknown."

The testimony of scientists in such matters cannot be considered of any
more value than that of any other careful investigator; and if we take
into consideration their materialistic views, it is dealing liberally
with them to concede that much.

Science accepts the theory of molecules and atoms, and declares matter
to be indestructible. These little molecules set in motion produce the
phenomena of life. When they get tired and refuse to climb one above
another, like acrobats in a circus, then there is death. It is all very
simple, and any one can understand it,--a little alkali thrown into some
acid,--a rapid effervescence,--the atoms are disturbed and seek to
hurriedly arrange themselves into a different position,--they have
performed the fantastical dance of life, and all is over!

Upon this theory scientists have endeavored to account for the creation
of everything. If they have found anything else they have not declared
it. The trinity of Molecules, Atoms, and Motion is the keystone of the
whole structure which for centuries they have been trying to build up.

As science takes nothing for granted, it would be interesting to learn
when and where they found these little atoms, which no microscope,
however powerful, has ever revealed. Before scientists insist upon the
denial of the existence of that spiritual force which organizes and
individualizes all forms of life, it might be as well for them to settle
the question, What is matter?

I do not assert positively that these beings are spirits; for it may be
said, in a scientific point of view, I have no right to do so; but I do
assert that the facts warrant beyond a question the conclusion that they
do not belong to what we call the earth-side of life,--that they are not
automatons, lay figures, or effigies, but are living, breathing,
intelligent beings, with thoughts, feelings, and passions strictly
human; that they come out of invisible space, and depart in the same
way. In the language of Professor Crookes, "Nothing is more certain than
the reality of these facts. I do not say that they are possible, but I
say that they _are_."



CHAPTER V.

PUBLIC OPINION.


When Mesmer appeared in Paris, exhibiting his claims to Magnetism, he
was ridiculed, and treated as a humbug. The French Academy of Science,
after due consideration, pronounced Mesmerism a fraud. This was the more
remarkable from the fact that many of the experiments in Mesmerism are
so simple that a child can demonstrate them to the entire satisfaction
of an unprejudiced person. Many years afterward, in 1831, the French
Academy of Medicine, through a report of its Committee, reversed this
decision.

So far as we know, these are the only efforts that have been made, until
within a few years, by any scientific association, to investigate this
class of phenomena. Both in Europe and this country it has been treated
with contempt, and for more than a hundred years condemned by
pseudo-Science as nothing more than a hallucination produced by a
diseased condition of body or mind.

I was present at the Massachusetts Hospital, many years ago, when the
elder Warren, knife in hand, made mock passes over his patient,
ridiculing to his students the idea that any one could be entranced or
rendered insensible to pain by what was called Mesmerism; and yet the
existence of the Mesmeric force or fluid is one of the most remarkable
discoveries ever made. It has been known for thousands of years, by the
Hindoo philosophers, as "the pure Agassa Fluid" that penetrates and
permeates all objects, whether animate or inanimate. It controls the
social relations; is the secret of that influence which one person
exerts over another; and is the connecting link between the seen and the
unseen worlds, enabling spirits, whether in or out of the flesh, to
produce all the phenomena known as "spirit-manifestations."

If we except the writings of Deleuze, Townshend, Gregory, Dr. Elliotson,
and a few lesser lights, Mesmerism has been kept before the public
mainly by a class of itinerant lecturers who, despairing of a more
considerate hearing, have, in order to retain their hold on their
audience, degraded it to a mere burlesque.

The history of Mesmerism forms no exception to all discoveries that have
marked the progress of man from a state of barbarism to the present
time. The old stubble chokes and prevents the new crop of grain, unless
it has been turned under. The acceptance of anything with which we are
not familiar depends more upon the mental condition produced by
pre-conceived ideas than upon any evidence necessary to sustain it. The
progress of public opinion is like the march of a great army; it camps
at night upon ground occupied by its videttes in the morning. When
Spiritualism began to attract attention, the opponents of Mesmerism, not
understanding its true character, abandoned their hostility to it, and
accepted it as an explanation of the new phenomena. Mind-reading,
Telepathy, everything possible, was brought forward to explain away this
supposed evidence of another life. And, in a somewhat different form,
the same thing is taking place in regard to Materialization.

If we eliminate from it the idea of spirits, and attribute to man alone
this wonderful power, we disarm scientific as well as sectarian
opposition, and the possibilities of man, the influence of mind over
matter, become a legitimate subject for study. But no matter how
exhaustive your investigations of Materialization may have been, the
moment you suggest that spirits may have something to do with it, it
becomes unscientific, and, in the judgment of certain persons who have
assumed the right to control public opinion, you are instantly
transformed from an honest student into a "crank"!

In view of the obstacles that Conservatism is always throwing in the way
of Progress, one may be pardoned for a certain kind of admiration for
cranks. They have, at least, the courage of their convictions, and in
this respect, if for nothing more, may become popular, for the crowd
always throw up their hats, whether right or wrong, to the plucky man.

Is courage, then, so rare a thing that we are forced to applaud it even
in the bulldog?

Public opinion is the despotism of a republic. It is astonishing what
cowards it makes of decent men; the fear of being laughed at is the
terror of society; the assertion of manhood, the expression of an honest
opinion, the love of truth,--everything goes down before it.

My ministerial neighbor throws theological brickbats at me because I
choose to study a subject which he has not the courage to face, and
which, if not a reality, he lied about in his last funeral sermon, when
he told the mourners that their "dear friend is not dead, but still
living and hovering around them."

Shall we allow these attacks, and not remind him that, if he knows
anything, he must know that the Christian religion is an outgrowth of
paganism; that there is not a cardinal point in his theology that is not
as old as the Hindoo Pagodas; that the idea of another life, imperfectly
outlined in the Bible, was taken from a religion founded upon occult
manifestations; that He whom he calls Lord and Master not only taught
healing by laying on of hands, but exemplified Materialization in the
transfiguration on the Mount, and in his bodily appearance to his
disciples, after his death, in a room with closed doors?

At every séance there are more or less clandestine visitors, who shrink
from letting their best friends know anything about it. At one, I met an
old acquaintance, who was surprised to find me there, and begged me not
to give him away. He had obtained a seat under an assumed name,
partially as a test, he said, but mainly on account of his position in
society; he did not care to be known to visit such places. In the course
of the séance, a beautiful female form came briskly out into the middle
of the room, and, stretching her arms toward him, said, "Father!" As he
did not respond, the controlling spirit, calling him by name, said,
"that lady is for you!" He stepped forward, and, to his astonishment,
found that it was his daughter. He said afterward that the recognition
was perfect. This was his first séance, and, unless Materialization
becomes popular, it may be his last. That he told his wife about it
there seems to be no doubt, as she has been a frequent visitor ever
since. I fancy him in his dressing-gown and slippers, reclining in his
armchair, smoking his cigarette, anxiously awaiting her return, that she
may relate to him the touching manifestations of affection she has
received.

Traces of these phenomena have always, in one form or another, been
present in the world. In India, for thousands of years, they have
furnished the foundation of a religious belief, which, like all other
religions, has been perverted and used as a means to blind and control
the common people.

The danger of its being accepted as authority through a blind reverence
for what is supposed to be supernatural, instead of affectionate and
intelligent companionship, is sufficient reason why its true import
should be thoroughly understood. Whether it be a power in man, the laws
of which are unknown, or a direct emanation from another life, it
requires the most serious consideration. Shall it receive the attention
it deserves, or shall we turn our backs on it, till, like a rising
tide, it overwhelms us with a flood of ignorance and superstition? It
will not do to ignore it; already its influence is sweeping far and
wide.

Scientists may sit supinely on the summit of their intellectual conceit,
insisting that it "will not be much of a shower;" still it swells and
rolls on, sapping and undermining the whole system of social and
religious thought. Sects and creeds crumble in its pathway. All hopes of
a scientific evidence of a life after death are centred in these
manifestations.

The issue is a plain one; there can be no middle ground. Either
Spiritualism or Materialism triumphs. Deal with it as you may; if it is
from the other side of life, it cannot be overthrown. In some form or
other it must be met.

Shall we not, in the interest of humanity and of what purports to be an
important truth, lay aside our pre-conceived notions and prejudices,
and treat this subject as we would any of the common things of life,
earnestly endeavoring to get at its true meaning?

Millions of honest people have witnessed these things in their own
homes, by their own firesides. Against what they have seen and know
there is no argument.

Time will show whether the public have sufficiently advanced to grapple
healthily with Materialization and its spiritual surroundings.



CHAPTER VI.

CONCLUSION.


It has been heretofore stated that everything known as Spiritualism is
due to pure Magnetism.

Magnetism may be classed under three heads: Terrestrial, Aerial, and
Ethereal or Spiritual Magnetism. These are only different modes or
grades of expression of the same thing; and may be compared, in their
order, to earth, air and ether;--heat, force, and light;--or root,
stock, and flower in plants.

Ethereal Magnetism is the medium of thought, as is clearly proved by
what is sometimes called telepathy, or mind-reading, and by well
attested facts of communication between persons widely separated. It is
also known to Mesmerizers that, when they have established magnetic
relations between themselves and their subjects, they can often control
them without reference to distance.

Outside of the domain of this subtle fluid, there can be no connection
between the seen and the unseen worlds, or between any of the individual
forms of life. More attenuated than Electricity, it holds the same
relation to life that Terrestrial Magnetism holds to the grosser
particles of matter. It enables what we call intellectual force to
command and control all forms.

Through it, Thought, which is the Principle of everything, builds and
unbuilds; clothing itself in material garments, and filling the earth
with countless millions of individual beings, made visible to our
outward senses.

The process by which this is accomplished is the same, whether done
instantaneously or extending through a series of years. Materialization,
then, is only the manifestation of a law everywhere acknowledged, with
this difference: the external forms, under a superior force and
intelligence, are more quickly wrought.

It is the question of time, more than anything else, that challenges our
skepticism. That which we call progress, or evolution, is only so many
steps by which mind exerts itself, with increasing force, over matter.
We are in the habit of regarding matter as a solid substance; whereas,
in its primitive state, it is invisible. It is only by different
combinations, in its aerial form, that it becomes solid. In a fluidic
state, it probably pervades all space. In this condition, spirits, it
would seem, have power to condense it and shape it at pleasure.

Existing as individual beings, complete in their organization, many of
them are able, under certain conditions, to draw from their surroundings
sufficient matter to clothe themselves in garments, for the time being,
as substantial as any forms in life.

I have witnessed the processes of materialization and of
dematerialization in the middle of the room, several feet from the
cabinet,--have taken hold of the hands of these beings, and gone down
with them to the floor, until the last things that disappeared were the
hands that were in mine.

I have been taken into the cabinet by one of these forms, and, with my
left arm around the form (to all appearance as solid as my own), have
put my right hand on the entranced medium, and while in this position
have seen a white, luminous cloud rise slowly from the side of the
medium until it reached the height of nearly six feet. I could have
passed my hand through it without resistance. In a few seconds it
condensed into a human form that cordially greeted and shook hands with
me, having a hand as substantial as my own. It was the form of "Auntie,"
the control, who greeted me with "How do you do? What do you think of
this?" At the same time, there were many hands patting me on the head
and shoulders.

All this occurred in a cabinet where a confederate was impossible. Was I
deceived,--laboring under a state of hallucination? Not if I now have or
ever had any knowledge of myself.

I have studied these things as quietly as I would have studied a statue
or a picture; have not been satisfied with witnessing them once, but
have had them repeated many times, that I might feel certain that I had
given them a thorough investigation. If I have been mistaken, those who
come after me will have small chance of better success. I have stated
some things positively, because I know that they are true, and can be
scientifically demonstrated.

We may discover and accept the conditions that best enable these beings
to reach and communicate with us, thereby extending our knowledge and
our association with them, but neither our observation nor what they may
tell us will enable us to comprehend what our experience has not fitted
us to understand.

At best we have only established our pickets on the other side of the
river. The problem of life still remains unsolved.

The erroneous ideas so generally entertained regarding beings of another
life render it important that we should fully understand that no one,
whether on this or the other side of life, can set aside the laws
necessary to our individual growth.

The assimilation of thought; the gestation of ideas, the mental
digestion which is analogous to the process of physical growth, must
ever remain the source of a healthy development. To abandon this to the
dictation of authority, whether real or supposed, or to accept anything
in violation of these laws, only leads to disorder and mental dyspepsia.

What we most desire does not always come; but in its place, often,
something unexpected and surprising. The power which operates suffers no
dictation or control; and, like the reflection of an object in water,
the phenomena become distorted the moment the magnetic currents are
disturbed.

Forced, by the accumulation of facts that cannot be set aside, to
acknowledge the existence of these beings, they are, nevertheless,
shrouded in mystery. That they are from the other life is more than
probable; no other theory will, in the long run, be found tenable.
Whether they are our departed friends and relatives must be determined
by the exercise of those faculties which enable us to settle the
relations of objects in this life. While they exhibit no feelings of
selfishness or jealousy in their associations with us, the same cannot
always be said of "the control." For some reason which we do not
understand, but which may be a necessity, the controlling spirit of the
séance exercises a more or less despotic power over the manifestations;
sometimes denying the privilege of manifestation, and forcing back
spirits who have been accustomed to appear at other séances. In other
words, there seems to be a good deal of human nature in their make-up,
and the likes and dislikes of the medium or manager, are often shared by
"the control."

While the theory is correct that the medium is nothing but the
instrument through which the spirits are evoked, there can be no
question that his or her mental and moral atmosphere affects the quality
of the manifestations.

Your personal relations with the medium are known to the controlling
spirit, and if the medium is prejudiced against you, you are, in most
cases, debarred from any satisfactory results. On the other hand, your
relations to these beings are known to "the control," but not
necessarily to the medium,--never unless the controlling spirit thinks
best to communicate them.

What you learn of the character of these beings depends upon your
personality,--the magnetic atmosphere that surrounds you. Many of them,
if they are able to penetrate your atmosphere, are so exhausted by the
effort that they cannot talk much with you; while others, overcoming
all obstacles, are able to throw themselves around you with all the
abandon of childhood, talking freely, and often so fast that it requires
the closest attention to follow them. In such cases, however strong the
resemblance may be to the medium in the outward form, the mental
characteristics are as different as it is possible to be between any two
individuals.

I have refrained from saying much about the quality of these
manifestations. It is a matter upon which there must always be a wide
difference of opinion. Every one will find _himself_ more or less
reflected in them. It is the inevitable law of association. "You are a
cheat and a scoundrel!" said an enraged man to my friend. "I know it,"
was the prompt reply; "it is the rascality and cussedness in you that
have called it out. I never was conscious of it until I met you."

No selfishness, deceit, or diplomacy avails with these beings; what you
truly think and feel, your moral atmosphere, makes or mars your
relations with them. Until you can learn to meet them in perfect
confidence, you can know nothing of the beauty which emanates from them.

Materialization is denounced by the learned and the ignorant, and in
both cases the denial springs from the same cause. It is a fair
illustration of high life with the bottom turned up; both classes meet
on the same plane. It is also bitterly condemned by a class of
Spiritualists whose brains are saturated with trance and inspirational
communications. In their conceit, the little they know is the whole
world to them.

As a rule, all nations and tribes hold in some form or another to a
belief in the continued existence of man after death. However desirable
such a belief may be, it is generally admitted that it rests entirely on
faith, there being no substantial evidence by which it can be
scientifically demonstrated. In both the Old and New Testaments are
records of occult manifestations similar to what has been related here,
but the materialistic tendency of science has long since caused them to
be regarded as Oriental fictions.

In the materializing séance come, for the time being, living, breathing,
intelligent, human forms, that are not confederates or personations by
the medium. If not beings from another life, what are they? The
probability, or even possibility, they offer of scientific evidence of
the existence of man after death, commends them to the serious
consideration of every intelligent person.

It is not a difficult task, nor one requiring a great amount of labor,
to determine that these forms are distinct embodiments. To settle this
is, however, only the A B C of the matter. To learn what these beings
are, and their relations to us, requires the most patient investigation
and the most delicate and far-reaching exercise of the mind. Facts, in
themselves, unless they suggest something higher, are of little
consequence. They derive their importance solely from their connection
with some general law around which they are grouped.

While I have stated positively that at Mrs. Fay's no confederates are
used, and that the forms that have come to me are not personations by
the medium, yet, in the _legal_ definition of the word, I do not _know_
who or what they are. I have my convictions, based upon what is
satisfactory evidence to me. I do not ask any one to accept my theories,
but upon what have been stated as facts there need be no controversy,
since any one who will give the matter the same attention can verify all
that has been said.

To deny the facts without an investigation, on the ground that they are
impossible, can have no weight, for it has been truly said by Arago that
"outside the domain of pure mathematics, the word impossible has no
meaning."

I have imperfectly related only a few of the many hundred strange things
that have come under my observation, selecting them at random without
any special regard to order. The same may be said of the thoughts
expressed; their value, if they have any, will be found in the closeness
with which I have pursued the investigation. My experience has extended
over more than a hundred séances, and to have given them in detail would
have exceeded my time.

These things are open to any who will approach them honestly. Let us
hope that some fair-minded specialist, whose brain is not lumbered with
the debris of old ideas, will yet be able to lift the veil that
surrounds them.

I feel confident that I have exhausted almost every conceivable test
necessary to establish the reality of these wonderful apparitions. Some
of these tests, in the light of a more extended experience, now seem
very absurd. Ridiculous as they must have appeared to these beings, they
were never vexed, nor showed any impatience with my ignorant and
unreasonable demands, but either met them squarely or playfully turned
them aside. My investigations have been confined mostly to Mrs. Fay's
séances, for the simple reason that here the cabinet and surroundings
were known to me to be above suspicion, and from the beginning greater
facilities for study were granted me than elsewhere. Such is the
skeptical nature of my mind that if I had been obliged to conform to the
rôle of an ordinary visitor, I should, in all probability, have never
been fully convinced of the truth of materialization.

In dealing with a subject so new to the mass of people, it is hardly to
be expected that it will be accepted on the testimony of any one. Facts,
however clearly stated, will have but little weight with those who have
had no practical experience. Fortunately, the rapid increase in the
number of mediums, both public and private, is bringing these things
within the reach of every one.

If what I have stated be true,--if the experience of others shall prove
that I have not been deceived,--then the whole system of ethics must
undergo a complete revolution. Man will no longer be regarded as an
animal, confined to earth, but a direct emanation from a superior
intelligence, holding in his nature a dual existence, connecting him at
one and the same time with both the seen and unseen worlds.

There is no estimating the influence which a realization of these
things, rightly understood, would have upon the moral and social
condition of society. What has been held in the past as a vague and
uncertain belief, would be supplanted by knowledge; and the skeptical
tendency of modern thought would be checked by a fuller sense of the
inspirational and spiritual nature of man.

The dread of death, throwing a gloom over the domestic circle, would
glide away as the darkness of night disappears before the coming morn.
The parting of friends and relatives would find its compensation in
renewed companionship and the perfect consciousness that there is no
real separation.

For the fullness and tenderness with which these beings have overwhelmed
me with demonstrations of regard, promptly responding to every
reasonable request, I am under the deepest obligations. As I go back in
my mind over the various séances which it has been my privilege to
enjoy, I linger fondly over the stately form and affectionate bearing of
what claimed to be my wife; the rich girlish nature of Bertha, with her
marvellous beauty of expression; and the tender pleadings of one who
must be nameless here, begging that I would bring those she loved nearer
to her.

All along the pathway of my investigations glow a thousand things never
to be forgotten. Who shall say the gates are not ajar, and that our
loved but not lost ones are not passing to and fro?

Poor in spirit and weak in affection must they be who can meet these
beings as I have met them, and not feel that there comes, from the
association with them, a richer and fuller life.



Transcriber's Note:

Punctuation has been standardised. Changes to the original have been
made as follows:

    Contents
    PERSONIFICATION BY THE MEDIUM OF MATERIALIZED FORMS _changed to_
    PERSONIFICATION BY THE MEDIUM, OR MATERIALIZED FORMs

    SÉANCE AT THE BERRY SISTERS IN BOSTON _changed to_
    SÉANCE AT THE BERRY SISTERS' IN BOSTON

    Page 98
    With outstreched arms they beckoned me _changed to_
    With outstretched arms they beckoned me

    Page 136
    may conflict with preconceived _changed to_
    may conflict with pre-conceived

    Page 170
    ever remain the source of a a healthy development _changed to_
    ever remain the source of a healthy development

    Page 171
    exercises a more or less depotic power _changed to_
    exercises a more or less despotic power

    Page 171
    the magnetic atmostphere that surrounds _changed to_
    the magnetic atmosphere that surrounds





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