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Title: The Death-Blow to Spiritualism - Being the True Story of the Fox Sisters
Author: Davenport, Reuben Briggs
Language: English
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  0807. THE DEATH BLOW TO SPIRITUALISM.

  Being the true story of the Fox sisters, as revealed by authority
  of Margaret Fox Kane and Catherine Fox Jencken. Written by R. B.
  Davenport. 147 pages. Deathblow to Spiritualism. R. B. Davenport    1.00

  OCT. 1897. ISSUED MONTHLY. $5.00 PER YEAR.
  ENTERED AT THE NEW YORK POST OFFICE AS SECOND-CLASS MATTER.



  THE DEATH-BLOW TO SPIRITUALISM:

  BEING THE TRUE STORY OF THE FOX SISTERS,
  AS REVEALED BY AUTHORITY OF MARGARET FOX
  KANE AND CATHERINE FOX JENCKEN.


  BY REUBEN BRIGGS DAVENPORT.


  NEW YORK:
  _G. W. Dillingham Co., Publishers._
  MDCCCXCVII.



  Copyright, 1888.
  BY REUBEN BRIGGS DAVENPORT.

  [_All Rights Reserved._]



  TO MRS. HESTER S. DWINELLE.


     "ALONSO. This is as strange a maze as ere men trod,
  And there is in this business more than nature
  Was ever conduct of: some oracle
  Must rectify our knowledge.

     "PROSPERO.     Sir, my liege,
  Do not infest your mind with beating on
  The strangeness of this business: at picked leisure,
  Which shall be shortly, single I'll resolve you
  (Which to you shall seem probable) of every
  These happen'd accidents: till when be cheerful,
  And think of each thing well.--Come hither, spirit;
  Set Caliban and his companions free:
  _Untie the spell._"
                                  SHAKESPEARE.--_The Tempest._



PREFACE.


This book has been written in extreme haste. It does not pretend to
literary style. But it pretends to absolute truthfulness and a reverent
regard for justice.

Its sole value is its character as a contribution to the real history of
Spiritualism. As such, it is unquestionably of great importance, greater
even than any work of the kind that has been published since the beginning
of modern Spiritualism.

It is, in fact, what its title sets forth--"THE DEATH-BLOW TO
SPIRITUALISM."

No one who does not love illusion for illusion's sake--better, in other
words, than he loves the truth--can, after reading this volume, remain a
follower of Spiritualism and its hypocritical apostles.

The full authorization of Mrs. MARGARET FOX KANE and Mrs. CATHERINE FOX
JENCKEN for the publication of this work will be found on the next to the
following page.

_29th October, 1888._



[Illustration: MARGARET FOX KANE IN HER 18TH YEAR.]

[Illustration: KATIE FOX JENCKEN]



We hereby approve of Mr. Reuben B. Davenport's design to write a true
account of the origin of Spiritualism and of our connection therewith, and
we authorize him to make proper use of all data and material that we
furnish him.

New York, 15th Oct., 1888.

  Margaret Fox Kane
  Catherine Fox Jencken



CONTENTS


  I. INTRODUCTION.

     Poetic Justice of the Exposure               13

  II. RENUNCIATION.

      Chapter.                                  Page

          I. "God Has Not Ordered It."            25
         II. The Discomfited Enemy.               39
        III. A Second Blow.                       53
         IV. The Hand of the Persecutor.          60
          V. Solemn Abjuration.                   65

  III. HISTORY.

         VI. Origin of the Fraud.                 81
        VII. Garbled and Distorted Testimony      94
       VIII. Development of the Fraud            102
         IX. The Mercenary Campaign.             121
          X. Spiritualistic Boomerangs.          131
         XI. The Supreme Audacity of Fraud.      150
        XII. A Scientific Jury.                  164
       XIII. The Unalterable Verdict.            201

  IV. REPENTANCE.

        XIV. The Heart Pleads for the Soul.      209
         XV. From Shadow to Light.               231

  INDEX.                                         241



I. INTRODUCTION.



INTRODUCTION.

POETIC JUSTICE OF THE EXPOSURE.


That the inventors of an infamous fraud should deal to it its death-blow,
is the poetic justice of fate.

Over the creature, the creator has power of life and death.

The creators of Spiritualism abjure its infamy.

They decree its death.

They condemn it to final destruction.

They fasten upon those who continue to practice it the obloquy of history,
and the scorn of mankind for all time to come.

Margaret and Catharine Fox, the youngest of three sisters, were the first
to produce "spiritualistic manifestations."

They are now the most earnest in denunciation of those impostures; the
most eager to dissipate the foolish belief of thousands in the flimsiest
system of deception that was ever cloaked with the hypocrisy of so-called
religion.

When, as by accident, they discovered a method of deceiving those around
them by means of mysterious noises, they were but little children,
innocent of the thought of wrong, ignorant of the world and the world's
guile, and imagining only that what they did was a clever lark, such as
the adult age easily pardons to exuberant and sprightly youth.

Not to them did the base suggestion come that this singular, this simple
discovery, should be the means of deluding the world, of exalting them in
the minds of the weakly credulous and of bringing them fame and splendor
and sumptuous pleasure.

No one who learns their true history can still believe them guilty of the
willful inception of this most grotesque, most transparent and corrupting
of superstitions.

The idea had its monstrous birth in older heads, heads that were seconded
by hearts lacking the very essence of truth and the fountain of honest
human sympathy.

The two children, who had at first delighted, as younglings will, in what
was but a laughable mystification, were dragged into a sordid, wicked and
loathsome speculation, built upon lying and fraud, as unforgivable as the
sin of Satan, and of which they were but the unthinking instruments, often
reluctant and remorseful, yet docile and compliant by nature.

Thus the "Rochester knockings," the example and prototype of all later
so-called spiritualistic "phenomena," began merely in a curious childish
freak, disguised without effort, and which, from the first, was encouraged
to partly formed understandings by the wonder and intense spirit of
inquiry it provoked.

The young operators were carried away by the undreamt-of current of
enthusiasm and awe in which they soon became involved. They felt the
natural need of maintaining with unabating dexterity, that false sense of
the miraculous which by chance they had called forth.

Thus they went from one stage to another of this queer illusion, and,
being compelled by a harder and more mature intelligence to repeat their
part over and over again, became the chief means of establishing that
injurious belief in communications from the spirits of the departed, of
which such great numbers have become the victims.

Many an older offender against common sense, reason and strict morality
persists through force of circumstance in the pathway he has chosen, and
does not turn backward, merely because he cannot do so without wearing the
face of shame.

From such slight and trivial beginning came the great movement--great
because of the number which it comprised and of the sensation which
attended its progress--that for more than forty years has alternately
surprised, puzzled, disgusted and amused the world.

From so little a plant has grown a gigantic weed of deceit, corruption and
fraud, nurtured upon the fattening lust of money, and of the flesh.

What has developed from it is not alone a system of so-called
communications through a puerile code of signals with an unseen world;
but, as Dante describes, in his incomparable epic, forms of monstrosity
which combine a hideous human semblance and a loathly animal foulness, so
this venomous evil has become conglomerate in its hateful phases of
delusion, and its petty sordidness and depravity.

Thus the Tuscan bard describes the spirit of fraud:

     "'Lo! the fell monster with the deadly sting!
  Who passes mountains, breaks through fenced walls
  And firm embattled spears, and with his filth
  Taints all the world! Thus me my guide addressed,
  And beckon'd him, that he should come to shore,
  Near to the stony causeway's utmost edge.
     "Forthwith that image vile of fraud appear'd,
  His head and upper part expos'd on land,
  But laid not on the shore his bestial train.
  His face the semblance of a just man's wore.
  So kind and gracious was its outward cheer;
  The rest was serpent all; two shaggy claws
  Reach'd to the armpits, and the back and breast,
  And either side, were painted o'er with nodes
  And orbits. Colors variegated more
  Nor Turks nor Tartars e'er on cloth of state
  With interchangeable embroidery wove,
  Nor spread Arachne o'er her curious loom.
  As ofttimes a light skiff, moor'd to the shore,
  Stands part in water, part upon the land;
  Or, as where dwells the greedy German boor,
  The beaver settles watching for his prey;
  So on the rim, that fenced the sand with rock,
  Sat perched the fiend of evil. In the void
  Glancing, his tail upturn'd its venomous fork,
  With sting like scorpion's armed."

The world has not seen in all its long procession of follies, vagaries,
and strange mania, one so utterly devoid of a reasonable foundation as
this.

Yet none has been more eagerly believed; and this very tendency has
evolved into so strong a desire to believe that thousands of those who
have professed to investigate it have done so only ostensibly, their eyes,
figuratively speaking, tightly bandaged, to shut out everything but the
artificial vision that they were most eager to see.

It is to be hoped that the world will now form its ultimate conclusion
upon this flagrant and audacious system of humbuggery:--that, regarded as
a superstition, it ranks even below voudooism and fetich-worship, and, as
an illusion, below the effects produced by the most ordinary magician at a
country fair.

Dragged into this life when infants, rescued from it for an interval by
two men[1] whose names are historical, the one as a hero and explorer, the
other as a journalist and daily philosopher; borne back to it again by the
tide of ill-fortune; used and controlled, by those whose heart's were "dry
as summer's dust," for their own hateful purposes; menaced when conscience
rebelled and suggested retraction and amends; driven to seek momentary
oblivion of their present degradation in a vice that was the result of
their enforced public career; finally, persecuted in a stealthy and
treacherous way by those who had profited most by the fraud that they had
set up, because it was feared that sooner or later they could no longer
keep silent and would betray its real origin; seeing their existence
slipping away from them with nothing but Dead Sea fruit remaining to their
bitter portion; feeling more and more the need of an atonement to
conscience and the opinion of the world--Margaret and Catherine Fox now
denounce and anathematize Spiritualism as absolutely and utterly false
from beginning to end; and they declare their solemn intention to devote
themselves henceforth to the noble task of undoing the great evil which
they have done, and of leaving no single stone of foundation behind them
for weak-minded future generations to base a futile faith upon.

In these pages will be found the full and truthful story of Spiritualism,
as it was and is, as gathered from the lips of both Margaret Fox Kane and
Catharine Fox Jencken, and verified by letters, documents and published
data. It is written with their full knowledge and earnest sanction.

The bold fabric of lies built up to sustain the claim that the "rappings"
in which all spiritualistic so-called phenomena originated were
unaccountable except on the supernatural hypothesis, can no longer be
cited to an intelligent mind. The elaborate narrative published by the
eldest sister, Mrs. Ann Leah Fox Underhill, who is now the only remaining
stay of spiritualistic deception, is proven to be false from title-page to
finis.

I have given in the following pages, the real lives of Mrs. Kane and Mrs.
Jencken, in so far as they bear in any important degree upon the
development of the fraud of Spiritualism.



II. RENUNCIATION.



CHAPTER I.

GOD HAS NOT ORDERED IT.


The world of "spiritualists" and non-spiritualists was startled on the
24th of September, 1888, by the publication in the New York _Herald_, of
an article with the following head-lines:

  "GOD HAS NOT ORDERED IT."

  A Celebrated Medium Says the
  Spirits Never Return.

  CAPTAIN KANE'S WIDOW.

  One of the Fox Sisters Promises an
  Interesting Exposure of Fraud.

To many, an article of this kind seemed in a degree sensational. Not to
those, however, who had previously had some inkling of the secret history
of Spiritualism, and who for years had looked for the day of its
inevitable confounding.

A sudden disclosure like this, by one of the "Mothers of Spiritualism," if
the term may be used, suggested a sort of reckless vagary, a species of
extravagance, due, as might have been fancied, to some abnormal condition
of the mind.

Yet to those who had had an intimate acquaintance with Maggie Fox Kane
this step had long been foreshadowed. As will appear later, no one could
have imagined the real intensity of moral pain that for years she had
endured.

In recent years, both she and her sister, Catharine Fox Jencken, had been
but poorly provided with this world's goods. Obliged to depend almost
wholly on themselves for support, they had dropped more and more out of
sight, till the public at last hardly recognized their names, if perchance
they appeared in print, as those of the principal instruments in the
founding of Spiritualism. For this, there was a reason. It was a
deep-seated and long increasing disgust with their fraudulent
profession--the fuller realization to their minds, as their knowledge of
the world grew broader, of the monstrous evil to which, innocently at
first, they had given birth. So at intervals they were filled with
despairing despondency and remorse. Their weaknesses, their
self-indulgence, their lack of providence for themselves, are largely
attributable to these causes. It could not be said of them that they were
ever remarkably selfish, or cold-hearted or calculating. Such a character,
however, has of right been coupled with the name of their elder sister,
who by reason of the ties of blood and of her older experience ought long
ago to have led them out of the by-ways of imposture, instead of
persistently seeking to shut off their escape from this horrible bondage,
and to plunge them deeper into the mire of guilt and infamy, so that the
chance of their rising above it, and denouncing it, might grow less and
less.

The impulse to set herself right on the record of the world, after years
of enslavement in the hateful gyves of charlatanism, must stand to Maggie
Fox's credit alone. It sprang from her own bosom, not from the
inspiration, suggestion or persuasion of any one else. Returning from
Europe in September, 1888, after a peculiar experience, which had
convinced her that those chiefs of spiritualistic fraud who feared her and
her sister, because they held the key of the whole of the artificial
mystery, were bent upon persecuting them into an abject silence, she at
once put in execution the resolution which had been so long in process of
growth, but until then had never been fully ripened.

This was to effect the unqualified exposure of the false system of
Spiritualism. She naturally chose as a medium for her repentant message to
the world, that great cosmopolitan journal, the _New York Herald_, which
is known in every corner of the earth, and is ever ready to perform an
important service to mankind. Before she started on her homeward voyage,
she committed herself once and for all to this courageous and worthy step.

The disclosures regarding the notorious Madam Diss De Barr had offended
Mrs. Kane more than anything which had occurred in Spiritualism in a long
time, for they presented the enforced association of her name and the
simple, childish origin of the "Rochester knockings," with the gross and
revolting frauds which had been their outgrowth. So imbued had she become,
by this time, with the idea that the developed system of Spiritualism was
something to be loathed, as Milton loathed the hideous creature who sat by
the inner portals of hell, that words could not express her utter scorn
and hatred of this common woman, who posed as an agent of sacred
communications between the living and the dead.

The New York _Herald_ of May 27, 1888, contained this letter, written by
Mrs. Margaret Fox Kane in London:

     THE CURSE OF SPIRITUALISM.

     GOWER STREET, BEDFORD SQUARE, W. C.,
     LONDON, MAY 14, 1888.

     TO THE EDITOR OF THE HERALD:

     I read in the _Herald_ of Saturday, May 5, an account of the sad
     misfortune that has befallen my dear sister Katie, Mrs. Kate Fox
     Jencken, and in the article it is stated that I am still a resident
     of New York, which is a mistake. I sailed for England on the 22d of
     March, and I presume my absence has added to my darling sister's
     depressed state of mind. The sad news has nearly killed me. My
     sister's two beautiful boys referred to are her idols.

     Spiritualism is a curse. God has set His seal against it! I call it a
     curse, for it is made use of as a covering for heartless persons like
     the Diss De Barrs, and the vilest miscreants make use of it to cloak
     their evil doings. Fanatics like Mr. Luther R. Marsh, Mr. John L.
     O'Sullivan, ex-Minister to Portugal, and hundreds equally as learned,
     ignore the "rappings" (which is the only part of the phenomena that
     is worthy of notice) and rush madly after the glaring humbugs that
     flood New York. But a harmless "message" that is given through the
     "rappings" is of little account to them; they want the "spirit" to
     come to them in full form, to walk before them, talk to them, to
     embrace them, and all such nonsense, and what is the result? Like old
     Judge Edmonds and Mr. Seybert, of Philadelphia, they become crazed,
     and at the direction of their fraud "mediums" they are induced to
     part with all their worldly possessions as well as their common
     sense, which God intended they should hold sacred. Mr. Marsh's
     experience is but another example of hundreds who have preceded him.

     No matter in what form Spiritualism may be presented, it is, has been
     and always will be a curse and a snare to all who meddle with it. No
     right minded man or woman can think otherwise.

     I have found that fanatics are as plentiful among "inferior men and
     women" as they are among the more learned. They are all alike. They
     cannot hold their fanaticism in check, and it increases as their
     years increase. All they will ever achieve for their foolish
     fanaticism will be loss of money, softening of the brain and a
     lingering death.

     MARGARET F. KANE.

This anathema dismayed those who had basely profited by Spiritualism, and
it brought a deeper shock to the hearts of many who were sincere
believers. The publication, however, in the _Herald_, three months later,
of an interview with Mrs. Kane on her arrival in this city, the striking
head-lines of which I have cited above, capped the climax of
consternation. This article is well worthy of reproduction.

     The eccentric circles wherein "isms" reign in discordant supremacy
     will be probably as deeply exercised over an approaching exposure of
     the tricks and illusions of Spiritualism, as they were over the rude
     logic of common sense and justice which drew aside the thin veil of
     fraud in the case of Madam Diss De Barr, and revealed the real nature
     of her flimsy system of deception in all its vulgar absurdity.

     I called yesterday at a modest little house in West Forty-fourth
     street, and was received by a small, magnetic woman of middle age,
     whose face bears the traces of much sorrow and of a world-wide
     experience. She was negligently dressed, and she was not in the
     calmest possible mood. But she knew what she was talking about when,
     in response to my questions, she told a story of as strange and
     fantastic a life as has ever been recorded, and declared over and
     over again her intention of balancing the account which the world of
     humbug-loving mortals held against her, by making a clean breast of
     all her former miracles and wonders. In intervals of her talk, when
     she had risen from her chair, and paced the room, or had covered her
     face with her hands and almost sobbed with emotion, she would seat
     herself suddenly at a piano and pour forth fitful floods of wild,
     incoherent melody, which coincided strangely with that reminiscent
     weirdness which, despite its cynical reality, still characterized the
     scene.

     This woman, albeit a notorious career has classed her with
     mountebanks and worse in the minds of reasonable beings, had yet by
     some element or other in her character retained a degree of public
     respect. Perhaps it is because months ago she abandoned the art of
     deception and has since to her intimate friends evinced no ordinary
     measure of contempt for all who still pursue it. She is known on both
     sides of the Atlantic, and when in London, is entertained by some of
     the best-to-do of the great and comprehensive middle class.

     Circumstances had brought me to this house, and I did not at first
     know her. I soon found, however, that this was the most famous of the
     celebrated trio of witches, the Fox sisters, among the earliest
     spiritualistic mediums in this country. She is also the widow of Dr.
     Elisha Kent Kane, the heroic Arctic explorer, who died of the effects
     of his exposure in searching for Sir John Franklin and his ill-fated
     party. Mrs. Margaret Fox Kane has lately returned from England for a
     brief visit here, and she purposes in a very short time to deliver
     just one lecture, and no more, which shall shame and dumfound all the
     spiritualistic frauds who have not yet repented into poverty or exile
     of their nebulous ways. She will reveal one after another of the
     methods by which willing believers have been so briskly duped and
     robbed, and will herself demonstrate how simple, natural and easy are
     most of those methods.

Brooding upon the troubles that had been brought upon her by Spiritualism
and on her personal guilt in connection with it, it is hardly strange that
Mrs. Kane, even when bent upon making a sweeping confession of the whole
imposture, should in intervals of nervous excitement have turned to the
thought of suicide.

"'My troubles weighed upon me,' she said, 'and when I was coming over on
the _Italy_, I do believe that I should have gone overboard but for the
Captain and the doctor and some of the sailors. They prevented me, and
when I landed, I could not express to them the gratitude I felt. I had
very little English money with me, but all of that I distributed to the
men.'"

As Mrs. Kane told of her impulse to commit suicide her manner became
tragic and she clutched her listener's arm. After a moment, however, she
reverted quietly enough to the original subject.

But she speedily became much excited again, as what follows will show. It
was but natural:

     "Since you now despise Spiritualism, how was it that you were engaged
     in it so long?" I asked.

     "Another sister of mine," and she coupled the name with an injurious
     adjective, "made me take up with it. She's my damnable enemy. I hate
     her. My God! I'd poison her! No, I wouldn't, but I'll lash her with
     my tongue. She was twenty-three years old the day I was born. I was
     an aunt seven years before I was born. Ha! ha!

     "Yes, I am going to expose Spiritualism from its very foundation. I
     have had the idea in my head for many a year, but I have never come
     to a determination before. I've thought of it day and night. I loath
     the thing I have been. As I used to say to those who wanted me to
     give a séance, 'You are driving me into hell.' Then the next day I
     would drown my remorse in wine. I was too honest to remain a
     'medium.' That's why I gave up my exhibitions.

     "When Spiritualism first began Kate and I were little children, and
     this old woman, my other sister, made us her tools. Mother was a
     silly woman. She was a fanatic. I call her that because she was
     honest. She believed in these things. Spiritualism started from just
     nothing. We were but innocent little children. What did we know? Ah,
     we grew to know too much! Our sister used us in her exhibitions and
     we made money for her. Now she turns upon us because she's the wife
     of a rich man, and she opposes us both wherever she can. Oh, I am
     after her! You can kill sometimes without using weapons, you know.

     "Dr. Kane found me when I was leading this life. [The woman's voice
     trembled just here and she nearly broke down.] I was only thirteen
     when he took me out of it and placed me at school. I was educated in
     Philadelphia. When I was sixteen years old he returned from the
     Arctic and we were married. Now comes the sad, sad tale. He was very
     ill. The physicians ordered him to London, but before he arrived he
     had a paralytic stroke of the heart. Then he was sent back from
     London and to Havana. Newsboys shouted in the streets of New York
     the news of his critical condition. Oh, my God! it was anguish to my
     ears! Mother and I were to have joined him in two weeks. He died
     before we arrived. Then I had brain fever. No one but God can know
     what sorrows I have had!

     "When I recovered I was driven again into Spiritualism, and I gave
     exhibitions with my sister Katie. I knew, of course, then, that every
     effect produced by us was absolute fraud. Why, I have explored the
     unknown as far as human will can. I have gone to the dead so that I
     might get from them some little token. Nothing ever came of
     it--nothing, nothing. I have been in graveyards at dead of night,
     having permission to enter from those in charge. I have sat alone on
     a gravestone, that the spirits of those who slept underneath might
     come to me. I have tried to obtain some sign. Not a thing! No, no,
     the dead shall not return, nor shall any that go down into hell. So
     says the Catholic Bible, and so say I. The spirits will not come
     back. God has not ordered it.

     "You want to know what are the points of my coming exposé? First the
     'rappings.'"

     Mrs. Kane paused here, and I heard first a rapping under the floor
     near my feet, then under the chair in which I was seated, and again
     under a table on which I was leaning. She led me to the door and I
     heard the same sound on the other side of it. Then, when she sat on
     the piano stool, the legs of the instrument reverberated more loudly,
     and the tap, tap, resounded throughout its hollow structure.

     "It is all a trick?"

     "Absolutely. Spirits, is he not easily fooled?"

     Rap, rap, rap!

     "I can always get an affirmative answer to that question," she
     remarked.

     Then I addressed certain suppositions to her. At last she said, "Yes,
     you have hit it. It is, as you say, the manner in which the joints of
     the foot can be used without lifting it from the floor. The power of
     doing this can only be acquired by practice begun in early youth. One
     must begin as early as twelve years. Thirteen is rather late. We
     children, when we were playing together, years ago, discovered it,
     and it was my eldest sister who first put the discovery to such an
     infamous use.

     "I call it infamous, for it was."



CHAPTER II.

THE DISCOMFITED ENEMY.


What has gone before is the whole story, in a sense.

The article in the _Herald_ either relates or suggests it. Indeed, no
refutation of it has been attempted. If there is one striking negative
feature in the circumstances surrounding this exposure of Spiritualism, it
is the entire absense of any reply from the great body of professional
spiritualists commensurate with the accusation made.

This confession of Mrs. Margaret Fox Kane was to them the handwriting on
the wall, the "_Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin_," of Spiritualism.

Leah Fox Fish-Brown-Underhill, who has published a book of the flimsiest
and most absurd narrative, intended to be accepted as a proof of
Spiritualism, is the one person in all the world who could be expected to
defend the system from this fatal attack, if any defense were possible.
Reporters of the daily press would have been but too glad to record
whatever she might say, were it even the veriest drivel, on an issue that
jeopardized the existence of the brazen and pretentious "ism" which, as by
an obscene spell, still enlists the curiosity of a great proportion of the
world.

But as Mrs. Underhill's book itself, which I shall notice more in detail
hereafter, shows to the critical mind how futile would be an attempted
refutation on her part, the public can very readily understand the reason
of this most careful silence. Blunderingly, however, prior to having
consulted her, Mr. Daniel Underhill, her husband, consented to talk upon
the subject. The statements hostile to Mrs. Kane, to be found in the
excerpt here given, were, of course, to be expected. Were they ever so
true, however, they could not in any way lesson the damning force of her
repentant avowals:--

     Mr. Daniel Underhill, president of a wealthy insurance company, whose
     office is in Wall street, and who is the husband of the eldest of the
     Fox sisters, whom Margaret declares to be her "damnable enemy," is a
     Spiritualist, but in a moderate sense. Mrs. Underhill's maiden name
     was Ann Leah Fox. She was twice married before she met her present
     husband, and she is twenty-three years older than Margaret.

     A large part of the public do not realize that Ann Leah, Margaret and
     Cathie Fox were the founders of what is specifically known as
     Spiritualism. The first so-called phenomena came to the two youngest
     girls in 1848, at Hydesville, in this State, while their sister Leah
     was residing elsewhere. When she heard of what had taken place and of
     the intense public excitement which it had created, she joined them,
     and then began the public history of Spiritualism. She took the
     incipient "ism" vigorously in hand, and for a series of years gave
     exhibitions in all the principal cities, which were attended by the
     most eminent men and the most brilliant women in the country.

     Of late years Mrs. Underhill has entirely withdrawn from public
     participation in spiritualistic exhibitions. She is still held,
     however, in high estimation by all who accept supernatural
     communications, and her reply to what her sister Margaret has said
     regarding the practice of fraud, would at this time be interesting.
     Unfortunately she is now in the country, and there is no person in
     the city to speak for her excepting her husband. I obtained an
     interview with him yesterday. He was reluctant to be brought into the
     controversy, but, while speaking in a most uncomplimentary manner of
     Margaret and denouncing her proposed new departure, did not evince
     any great amount of indignation.

     "I have for years," he began, "helped both Maggie and Katie, and my
     wife has done everything in the world for them. We have furnished
     apartments for Maggie twice. They might both do well if they would
     only keep sober. Maggie can be as nice as you please or as vicious as
     a devil. Several persons have undertaken to manage her, but all have
     failed. Nobody can do anything with her. The first I knew that she
     was back in the city was through the _Herald_.

     "I don't think she's in her right mind. I have done so much for her
     and she has behaved so badly in return that I have given her up now
     and will have nothing to do with her. She says she will lecture, does
     she? Well, I don't believe she ever will. She's incapable of it.

     "It's a great pity, though, that she should say such things about
     Spiritualism, because of the odium which will result from it. But it
     isn't the first time she has said that she would declare against
     Spiritualism. She has had such spells before. It is astonishing to me
     that people have stuck to her and Katie as they have. It is all bosh
     about revealing the manner of producing the raps. I don't believe she
     can do it. I don't believe she knows how they are produced, except
     that it is done by an occult agency. Of course, there are frauds in
     Spiritualism. Mme. Diss De Barr was one of them. I don't believe much
     in materialization, but I've seen some real manifestations. They were
     in my own house. Nearly all my spiritualistic experience has been in
     my own house, and these sisters were the mediums.

     "Of course Maggie's statement will be something of a shock to
     spiritualists the world over, because they regard her and her sisters
     as the founders of their belief. In my opinion she is not accountable
     for what she says."

Mrs. Underhill remained quietly in the country many weeks after the
exposé, safe from the keen inquisition of reporters.

The notorious "mediums" in New York who were approached on the subject,
were all excessively guarded in their comments upon the step taken by
Mrs. Kane, yet they admitted her personal importance as an originator of
Spiritualism. Mrs. E. A. Wells, whose fraudulent exhibitions have had a
certain success, expressed herself as much shocked at the determination of
Mrs. Kane; "'but,' she added to the reporter, with seeming naîveté, 'you
don't believe she will do it, do you?'"

The account from which I am quoting, continues as follows:

     "I sought the presence of Mrs. E. A. Wells, a medium of great
     celebrity, whose abode is not far from Adelphi Hall, where
     spiritualists congregate on Sunday." Mrs. Wells expressed herself as
     shocked at the determination of Mrs. Margaret Fox Kane, "but," she
     added, with seeming naîveté, "you don't believe she will do it, do
     you?"

     "How have you regarded Mrs. Kane heretofore, Mrs. Wells?"

     "Why, with a good deal of respect as one of the first to get messages
     from the unseen world. The Fox sisters have a great name. I have no
     idea, though, if she really intends to do what she says she will,
     that she's in her right senses."

Another "medium," who has a wealthy clientèle, and who gives only private
séances, whence all unfriendly influences are rigorously excluded, did not
desire to appear in print, as she told her visitor, since it would look
like "bad form" to those who came to her for supernatural enlightenment.

     She was asked, however, if she held the Fox sisters in much esteem as
     the pioneers of Spiritualism. She said she did, but personally knew
     nothing of them.

     When told about the threatened exposure she expressed very great
     surprise, and declared that it would be a deep mortification to
     believers in Spiritualism.

     "I don't believe she can expose any fraud. But if fraud exists, why,
     then, I say let it be exposed; the sooner the better. There's no
     fraud about me, that's very certain, and I've some of the very best
     people in New York to come here."

     "I'll tell you what! I have heard that the Fox sisters are dreadfully
     addicted to drink. I don't know how far it is true, but I wouldn't
     believe anything she might say in the way of exposure. May be she's
     out of money and thinks the spiritualists ought to do something for
     her. I shouldn't wonder."

     "Now, if you'll come up here some time, and if you'll give me a fair
     report, I shall be glad to show you how I can materialize."

     I thought there was a good deal of material about her already, and so
     I thanked her.

At their public gatherings in Adelphi Hall, New York, now most meagerly
attended, the spiritualists, just after the initial exposé in the
_Herald_, refrained very wisely from taking up the gauntlet of truth
thrown down by their chief apostle, Mrs. Margaret Fox Kane. In an
interview, however, which was had by a reporter with Mr. Henry J. Newton,
the President of the First Spiritual Society of New York, the latter
indulged in a number of emphatic statements regarding the "manifestations"
produced by the "Fox Sisters," all of which rested upon his own veracity
only. The spirit of what he said may be easily gleaned from this passage:

     "I had supposed all along," he said, "that Mrs. Kane was still in
     Europe, and that she would never return to this country. I even heard
     at the time when Katie, her sister, was sent abroad, that Maggie was
     in Rome, in company with a well known gentleman. I am very much
     surprised to know that she is in this city, and more surprised that
     she threatens to make such silly pretended revelations as you say she
     proposes. They can only be revelations in name. She cannot reveal
     anything that can injure the spiritualist cause or that will weaken
     in any one's mind the truth of what we teach.

     "I have been absent in the country and have not read all that the
     _Herald_ has published on this matter. I have read enough, however,
     to show me how utterly absurd and ridiculous her position is.

     "The idea of claiming that unseen 'rappings' can be produced with
     joints of the feet! If she says this, even with regard to her own
     manifestations, she lies! I and many other men of truth and position
     have witnessed the manifestations of herself and her sisters many
     times under circumstances in which it was absolutely impossible for
     there to have been the least fraud.

     "_Nothing that she could say in that regard would in the least change
     my opinion_, nor would it that of any one else who has become
     profoundly convinced that there is an occult influence connecting us
     with an invisible world, I have seen Margaret Fox Kane herself, when
     lying on a bed of sickness and unable to rise, produce 'rappings' in
     various parts of the room in which she was, and upon the ceilings,
     doors and windows several feet away from her. I have seen her produce
     the same effects when too drunk to realize what she was doing."

On the 25th of September, 1888, the following, which was published in the
New York _Herald_, expressed very tersely the situation among the
spiritualists, who had by that time partly recovered from the first effect
of the blow:

     Recrimination against the two younger Fox sisters, Margaret and
     Katie, has begun with characteristic violence, and many unlovely
     truths are betrayed which do not alter the essential significance of
     the former's denunciation of spiritualistic fraud. Several of the
     mediums said that they could hardly believe their eyes when they read
     of Mrs. Margaret Fox Kane's determination, and they declared almost
     unanimously that "she would not do it if she were in her senses."
     They accuse her of excessive indulgence in drink and hint that she is
     not responsible for what she says. It appears, however, that in
     private, on many occasions, but never before in public, she has
     stated that Spiritualism was a tissue of fraud, and that some day she
     would prove the charge to the world. She has during the last few
     mouths given many séances in London, but always disclaimed any
     personal supernatural connection in producing the effects at which
     others wondered. With a number of rich patrons, among them Mr. H.
     Wedgewood, of Cavendish Square, she proceeded to a certain point in
     the process of delusion and then frankly undeceived them, convincing
     them of the ease with which they could be practiced upon.

Prior to this, the following had been published:

     As Mrs. Kane's sincerity in making her proposed exposures is
     questioned by her enemies, the following brief note from a well known
     English spiritualist is of interest:

     "31 QUEEN ANNE STREET, CAVENDISH SQUARE,
     "LONDON, W., JULY 19, 1888.

     "DEAR MRS. KANE: I am not so much surprised as I might be at what you
     have revealed to me if I had not already been led to believe that
     many spiritualistic mediums practice upon the credulous.

     "The illusion, however, was perfect while it lasted.

     "You do well to expose these infamous frauds, and I thank you for
     having enlightened me.

     "Sincerely yours,
     "H. WEDGEWOOD."

And later Mrs. Kane, in outlining her proposed public lecture, said:

     "I am going to expose the very root of corruption in this
     spiritualistic ulcer. You talk about Mormonism! Do you know that
     there is something behind the shadowy mask of Spiritualism that the
     public can hardly guess at? I am stating now what I know, not because
     I actually participated in it, for I would never be a party to such
     promiscuous nastiness, but because I had plenty of opportunity, as
     you may imagine, of verifying it. Under the name of this dreadful,
     this horrible hypocrisy--Spiritualism--everything that is improper,
     bad and immoral is practiced. They go even so far as to have what
     they call 'spiritual children!' They pretend to something like the
     immaculate conception! Could anything be more blasphemous, more
     disgusting, more thinly deceptive than that? In London I went in
     disguise to a quiet séance at the house of a wealthy man, and I saw
     a so-called materialization. The effect was produced with the aid of
     luminous paper, the lustre of which was reflected upon the operator.
     The figure thus displayed was that of a woman--was virtually nude,
     being enveloped in transparent gauze, the face alone being concealed.
     This was one of those séances to which the privileged non-believing
     friends of believing spiritualists could have access. But there are
     other séances, where none but the most tried and trusted are
     admitted, and where there are shameless goings on that vie with the
     secret Saturnalia of the Romans. I could not describe these things to
     you, because I would not."

Thus, the only one of the "Fox Sisters" who still adhered to the imposture
practiced for over forty years, and the only spiritualist who could deny
the statements of Margaret Fox Kane with anything approaching to
authority, found her safest and most fitting defense in the kindly shelter
of silence.

This quasi-confession was not needed to complete the conviction in
intelligent minds that Spiritualism was, in its inception, and is now, a
fraud and a lie. But the significance of the negative circumstance is none
the less worthy of note.



CHAPTER III.

A SECOND BLOW.


Barely had the professional spiritualists a breathing-spell--after the
shock of Mrs. Kane's confession--when a new blow fell upon them.

Mrs. Catherine Fox Jencken arrived from Europe, and though ignorant until
landing, of the grave step her sister Margaret had taken, at once
announced her intention of joining and sustaining her in the complete
exposure of Spiritualism in all its phases of deception and hypocrisy.

This news staggered the spiritualistic world.

And now it but remains for the other of the three "Fox Sisters" to see the
hopeless folly of continued imposture, and to add her confession to the
historical record of the dissipation of this unholy fraud. That she will
ever do this, however, those who are aware that to her malevolent will
was due the first evil growth and the wide extension of Spiritualism,
cannot easily bring themselves to believe.

The following account of Mrs. Jencken's arrival in New York and of her
determination to add her testimony to that of her sister Margaret against
the fraud of Spiritualism, was published on the 10th of October, 1888, and
is of sufficient interest to excuse my quoting it here at large:

     AND KATY FOX NOW.

     The Youngest of the Mediumistic Pioneers
     Will "Give the Snap Away."

     SHE ARRIVES FROM EUROPE.

     Spiritualism a Humbug from Beginning
     to End--Alleged Immoralities.

     Katie Fox Jencken arrived yesterday from England on the _Persian
     Monarch_ and she intends to co-operate with her sister--Margaret Fox
     Kane--in her proposed exposé of the fraudulent methods of so-called
     Spiritualism.

     Mrs. Jencken's coming was unexpected to her sister, and it will
     surprise the enemies of both.

     The blow to Spiritualism which Maggie Fox struck not long ago, caused
     a good deal more of consternation than spiritualists generally have
     cared to confess. There is ample reason for stating that underneath a
     plausible surface of enforced calm there have been the hurried
     exchange of forbodings and doubtings, and many consultations and
     goings to and fro. It is known that an overture was made to Maggie
     Fox suggestive of a money consideration for her silence, and that she
     rejected it with much indignation.

     Mrs. Jencken walked into the parlor where Mrs. Kane was sitting about
     five o'clock yesterday, and the sisters at once fell on each other's
     necks, in an ecstasy of affection and delight at being together once
     again. Mrs. Kane had but just been talking to me about her projected
     lecture on "The Curse of Spiritualism," and Mrs. Jencken, who had
     heard nothing of the proposed exposé, except as it was casually
     rumored in her ear at the steamship dock, promptly gave her
     acquiescence to it as soon as she understood the situation.

     "I do not care a fig for Spiritualism," she said, "except so far as
     the good will of its adherents may affect the future of my boys. They
     are all I have in this life, and I live or die for them."

     Mrs. Jencken looks a far different person than she was when in deep
     trouble in this city and when she had to do with the rather
     unsympathetic measures of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty
     to Children. No matron could bear a more placid and comely
     expression, and she declares with heartfelt earnestness that she is
     done forever with her once-besetting vice.

     "Mrs. Jencken, are you willing to join with your sister in exposing
     the true modus operandi of Spiritualism?" I asked.

     "I care nothing for Spiritualism," was her reply. "So far as I am
     concerned I am done with it. I will say this, I regard it as one of
     the very greatest curses that the world has ever known. If I knew
     those powerful spiritualists who have done their utmost to harm me in
     the past could not do so in the future, I would not hesitate a moment
     to expose it. The worst of them all is my eldest sister, Leah, the
     wife of Daniel Underhill. I think she was the one who caused my
     arrest last spring, and the bringing of the preposterous charge
     against me that I was cruel to my children and neglectful of them. I
     don't know why it is, she has always been jealous of Maggie and me;
     I suppose because we could do things in Spiritualism that she
     couldn't."

     "Why don't you come squarely out, then, with the truth, and make the
     public your friends? You needn't fear any persecution if you do
     that."

     "Well, if my sister's health were only fully restored and I knew she
     was fully herself I would certainly join her in showing Spiritualism
     to be what it really is. I want to be sure of that, however. I want
     the thing done properly when it is done."

     "Then you will not deny that what she has said of Spiritualism is
     true?"

     "I will not deny it. Spiritualism is a humbug from beginning to end.
     It is the greatest humbug of the century. I don't know whether she
     has told you this, but Maggie and I started it as very little
     children, too young, too innocent, to know what we were doing. Our
     sister Leah was twenty-three years older than either of us. We got
     started in the way of deception, and being encouraged in it, we went
     on, of course. Others, old enough to have been ashamed of the infamy,
     took us out into the world. My sister Leah has published a book
     called 'The Missing Link of Spiritualism.' It professes to give the
     true history of this movement, so far as it originated with us. Now,
     there's nothing but falsehood in that book from beginning to end,
     excepting the fact that Horace Greeley educated me. The rest is
     nothing but a string of lies."

     "And about the manifestations at Hydesville in 1848 and the finding
     of bones in the cellar and so on?"

     "All humbuggery, every bit of it."

     "And yet Maggie and I are the founders of Spiritualism!" concluded
     Mrs. Jencken.

On the next day Mrs. Jencken made the statement which appears in the
following:

     Mrs. Jencken was asked about the alleged spirit manifestations which
     have taken place in Carlyle's old home at Chelsea, London, where she
     has lately resided. The English papers have been filled with stories,
     more or less sceptical, regarding these queer occurrences. Mrs.
     Jencken said: "All that took place there of that nature is utterly
     false. I haven't the slightest idea that the noises which we heard in
     the house had any connection with Carlyle's spirit. I certainly know
     that every so-called manifestation produced through me in London or
     anywhere else was a fraud. Many a time have I wept because when I was
     young and innocent I was brought into such a life. The time has now
     come for Maggie and I to set ourselves right before the world. Nobody
     knows at what moment either of us might be taken away. We ought not
     to leave this base fabric of deceit behind us unexposed."

As may be seen, nothing could be stronger than the language employed in
these interviews by both of the repentant sisters, in denouncing their
former adhesion to a system of humbug and hypocrisy.



CHAPTER IV.

THE HAND OF THE PERSECUTOR


The public had every reason to feel a deep sympathy with the two younger
Fox sisters in the courageous attitude which they had taken.

The deadliest hatred is always to be feared, by those who abandon a faith
or a system, from those who still adhere to it.

Think you, if Mahomet had turned about, forty years after the Hegira, and
had boldly anathematized the religion he had established, he might not
have been reviled and persecuted, even by those in whom he had first
inculcated his bastard faith?

Who can doubt this who knows human nature?

Even the lies of an impostor rebel against him, when, with a repentant
word, he would damn them again to all eternity.

Mrs. Jencken had ample reason to fear that the disclosures which had been
made by her and her sister would redouble the hostile zeal of those who
before had persecuted her. In the first account which had been published
of her return to this country, it was not stated that her two boys had
accompanied her. In fact, however, they had.

The pressure brought to bear to induce her to retract her denunciation of
Spiritualism, and the ground of her fear for the safety of her children,
are well set forth in the following, which appeared on October 11th,
1888:

     FEARING THEIR ENEMIES.

     THE JENCKEN BOYS WERE HERE, BUT ARE SENT AWAY.

     There are signs of gathering thunder all around the spiritualistic
     sky.

     A leading spiritualist, a lawyer, who had read the _Herald's_ recent
     articles on the subject, demanded of Mrs. Katy Fox Jencken,
     immediately upon her arrival in New York on Tuesday, that she refuse
     to support her sister Maggie in her exposé of mediumistic fraud, and,
     to use his own words, that she "throw herself upon the sympathy of
     the spiritualists."

     This proposition she emphatically rejected and declared that she had
     done forever with Spiritualism and spiritualists. She firmly believes
     that leading men and women among the latter, particularly her eldest
     sister Leah, are her secret persecutors, and that it was due to their
     animus that she was arrested last spring and deprived of her two
     boys, to whom she is immeasurably devoted.

     There is much to sustain this charge, and the inference that this
     mysterious persecution, of which, as she alleges, the Society for the
     Prevention of Cruelty to Children was only the instrument, was
     inspired by the fear that she and Mrs. Kane, having long been
     exploited for the financial benefit of others, might do the very
     thing they are doing now--betray the secrets of deception, which have
     from the beginning of the spiritualistic movement been so well
     guarded.

     As was said in the _Herald_ yesterday, Mrs. Jencken knew nothing of
     the course which her sister Maggie had taken until she landed on the
     wharf of the Monarch line company. The _Herald_ did not state
     yesterday that Mrs. Jencken was accompanied by her two boys, whom the
     Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children made such great
     efforts to keep apart from their mother in last May. As soon as she
     heard the news of Maggie's disclosures from a friend who met her at
     the steamer, she was overcome with fear lest, being now aware of the
     means that had been employed to secure their release and her own, the
     society would again attempt to deprive her of her children. She was
     advised by a lawyer who knew the real source of the hostility to her
     and the motives that prompted it, to send them back at once to
     England. The boys declared that they did not want to fall into the
     hands of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children again.
     Both of them are now strapping big fellows for their age, and are
     able and willing to earn their own living. One is fourteen years old
     and the other will be soon sixteen. But for a misunderstanding as to
     their ages on the part of the police justice last spring there would
     never have been any question of retaining them in the custody of Mr.
     Gerry's over-zealous myrmidons.

     Mrs. Jencken's apprehensions, however, were not to be quieted, and
     early in the morning she bundled off the two lads [and they are now
     safely beyond the jurisdiction of the dreaded society of which Mr. E.
     T. Gerry is the chief].[2]

     "This shows," said a gentleman yesterday, "how far certain wealthy
     spiritualists are powerful to inspire a kind of terrorism even in New
     York city among those who have left their ranks."

     "Now that my boys are out of danger," said Mrs. Jencken, "I will
     stand by my sister Maggie and go to the very fullest length of any
     exposure that she may make. We have been the tools and victims of
     others long enough. I approve and I affirm all that she has said
     about the immoral practices hidden under the ridiculous cloak of
     Spiritualism. The whole thing is damnable, and it should long ago
     have been trampled, out as one would trample out the life of a
     serpent."



CHAPTER V.

SOLEMN ABJURATION.


The news that Mrs. Margaret Fox Kane and Mrs. Catherine Fox Jencken had
renounced and exposed Spiritualism, flew from one end of the country to
the other, and caused excitement among spiritualists and
non-spiritualists. Every newspaper in every city of the United States, and
many in Europe, repeated the story published in New York.

The general opinion everywhere, where the wish was not the opposite, was
that Spiritualism as such had received its death-blow.

Letters began to pour in upon Mrs. Kane which were strongly significant of
the effect of her action. Many of them were written by persons who had
been believers from the very first of the public exhibitions of the
"rappings," and who had based their whole faith on the truth and veritable
inspiration of the "Fox Sisters." It was almost pitiable to witness the
honest-hearted distress of people of this sort, who now saw the fondest
illusion of their lives dissolve before their eyes; their dearest, assured
hope of an invisible world ruthlessly torn from them.

The anger of those who now anathematized the founders of the
spiritualistic faith, and declared that all that they could now say in way
of recantation was utterly false, while all that they had formerly said or
performed as miraculous proof, was, of course, as true as gospel, or as
the fact that the sun shines, was quite as ridiculous as the other
sentiment was worthy of sympathy.

It was natural that those who had fed their baser passions upon
Spiritualism--as the harpy upon carrion--should resort to the vilest
methods of attacking Mrs. Kane, and in doing so should shelter themselves
behind the cowardly refuge of anonymity.

A single communication from one of those who thus set the gauge for our
estimate of spiritualistic hypocrisy, will suffice to complete the
reader's impression regarding them. It was written on a postal card and
unsigned, and the italics and other literary peculiarities are wholly
those of the person who wrote it:

     "Mrs. Kane. Your anticipated action Thursday night reminds me _very
     forcibly_ of several lines of 'Beautiful snow' only your Course is
     even _more despicable_ and your rank in the history of the present
     day will be on a par with Benedict Arnold in 'Beautiful Snow' we find
     'Selling her soul to whoever would buy' &c. you are going to sell
     your soul to an ignorant public by _pretending to Expose_ what _you
     very well Know cannot be Exposed_ by any man, woman or child dwelling
     in the Mortal sphere of Life--shame on you, but you will soon meet
     your reward in other spheres and suffer for your wickedness."

It is hard to determine whether the above communication emanated from a
professional spiritualist of the mercenary type or from one who finds his
or her profit of self-gratification in the licentious tendencies and
opportunities of private spiritualistic intercourse. In any event, it
bears the stamp of ignorant selfishness and narrow vulgarity.

It is with a degree of pleasure that one may turn to letters which were
written by the sincere disciples of the "Fox Sisters," and which breathe a
deep anxiety for the fate of that fantastic creed in which they have so
much delighted.

The reader has but to think for an instant of the actual meaning of this
long-deferred exposé to these persons. They had greedily fed their souls
upon the delusion that they had held intercourse with the spirits of their
dear departed. The supposed messages which they had received seemed a sure
earnest of that union with those they loved on earth for which the true
heart most longs. In view of this expectation and in the light of this
exposure of its utter fallacy--so far as any material evidence is
concerned--it is most difficult to find adequate terms with which to
characterize the work of those who still persist in contributing to a
delusion which has numbered so many victims.

Here is a letter from a resident of Southern California, enclosing a
clipping from a newspaper containing Mrs. Kane's renunciation of
Spiritualism:

     "BUENA PARK, LOS ANGELES CO., CAL.,
     SEPT. 29, A. D. 1888.

     "MRS. MARGARET FOX KANE,

     "DEAR MADAM:

     "I have just read the enclosed item, taken from one of our Los
     Angeles city papers. Please let me know if the statements therein
     contained are true, and you will greatly oblige,

     "Yours for truth,
     "T. J. HOUSE."

The following was written by one of the best known early settlers of San
Francisco, a man whose example and absolute faith have influenced
hundreds, probably, to embrace Spiritualism:

     "SAN FRANCISCO, CAL., OCT. 2, 1888.

     "MRS. MARGARET FOX KANE,

     "DEAR MADAM:

     "I inclose a cutting from one of our local papers, purporting to be
     an interview with you in regard to the subject of Spiritualism. I
     have taken the liberty to inquire of you if the statements therein
     contained are true.

     "I have been a believer in the phenomena from its first inception
     through you and your sister, believing it to be true since that time.

     "I am now eighty-one years old and have but a short time, of course,
     to remain in this world, and I feel great anxiety to know through you
     if I have been deceived all this time in a matter of vital interest
     to us all.

     "Will you greatly oblige me with an answer?

     "Very respectfully yours,
     "E. F. BUNNELL.
     "No. 319 Kearny St."

And here is a communication which is signed by what is evidently only a
part of the writer's name, but which carries with it in every line the
absolute impress of truth and of a deep and pathetic earnestness:

     "BOSTON, MASS., OCT. 15, 1888.

     "MRS. MARGARET FOX KANE,

     "DEAR MADAM:

     "Hundreds of thousands have believed through you and you alone.
     Hundreds of thousands eagerly ask you whether all the glorious light
     that they fancied you have given them, was but the false flicker of a
     common dip-candle of fraud.

     "If, as you say, you were forced to pursue this imposture from
     childhood, I can forgive you, and I am sure that God will; for he
     turns not back the truly repentant. I will not upbraid you. I am sure
     you have suffered as much as any penalty, human or divine, could
     cause you to suffer. The disclosures that you make take from me all
     that I cherished most. There is nothing left for me now but to hope
     for the reality of that repose which death promises us.

     "It is perhaps better that the delusion should be at last swept away
     by one single word, and that word 'fraud.'

     "I know that the pursuit of this shadowy belief has wrought upon my
     brain and that I am no longer my old self. Money I have spent in
     thousands and thousands of dollars within a few short years to
     propitiate the 'mediumistic' intelligence. It is true that never once
     have I received a message or the token of a word that did not leave a
     still unsatisfied longing in my heart, a feeling that it was not
     really my loved one after all, who was speaking to me, or if it was
     my loved one, that he was changed, that I hardly knew him and that he
     hardly knew me. Oh! how I have hated the thought that used to come to
     me sometimes, in spite of myself, that it was not really he. But that
     must have been the true intuition. It is better that the delusion is
     past, after all, for had I kept on in that way, I am sure I should
     have gone mad. The constant seeking, the frequent pretended response,
     its unsatisfying meaning, the sense of distance and change between me
     and my loved one--oh! it has been horrible, horrible!

     "He who is dying of thirst and has the sweet cup ever snatched from
     his lips, just as the first drop touches them--he alone can know what
     in actual things is the similitude of this spiritualistic torture.

     "God bless you, for I think that you now speak the truth. You have my
     forgiveness at least, and I believe that thousands of others will
     forgive you, for the atonement made in season wipes out much of the
     stain of the early sin.

     "Yours sincerely,
     "ANNA SUZANNE."

To these letters and to hundreds of others which Mrs. Kane and her sister
Mrs. Jencken have received, this volume is their response.

But besides this, they have appeared in public on the platform, as an
earnest of their present sincerity, and will probably continue so to
appear in various parts of this country and Europe.

On the 21st of October, 1888, Mrs. Margaret Fox Kane first fulfilled her
intention of publicly denouncing, with her own lips, Spiritualism and its
attendant trickery. She appeared at the Academy of Music in New York
before a large and distinguished audience, and without reservation
demonstrated the falsity of all that she had done in the past in the guise
of spiritualistic "mediumship."

The ordeal was a severe one. The great nervous strain under which she had
labored rendered her mind highly excitable, and the large number of
spiritualists in the house tried to create a disturbance, or a traitorous
diversion which would break the force of her renunciation. In this they
utterly failed, however, thanks to the superior character of a majority of
her auditors.

The moral effect of the exposure could not have been greater.

Mrs. Kane stood before the footlights trembling with intense feeling, and
made the following most solemn abjuration of Spiritualism, while Mrs.
Catharine Fox Jencken sat in a neighboring box and gave assent by her
presence to all that she said:

"That I have been chiefly instrumental in perpetrating the fraud of
Spiritualism upon a too confiding public, most of you doubtless know.

"The greatest sorrow of my life has been that this is true, and though it
has come late in my day, I am now prepared to tell the truth, the whole
truth and nothing but the truth,--so help me God!

"There are probably many here who will scorn me for the deception I have
practiced, yet did they know the true history of my unhappy past, the
living agony and shame that it has been to me, they would pity, not
reproach.

"The imposition which I have so long maintained began in my early
childhood, when, with character and mind still unformed, I was unable to
distinguish between right and wrong.

"I repented it in my maturity. I have lived through years of silence,
through intimidation, scorn and bitter adversity, concealing as best I
might, the consciousness of my guilt. Now, thanks to God and my awakened
conscience, I am at last able to reveal the fatal truth, the exact truth
of this hideous fraud which has withered so many hearts and has blighted
so many hopeful lives.

"I am here to-night as one of the founders of Spiritualism, to denounce it
as an absolute falsehood from beginning to end, as the flimsiest of
superstitions, the most wicked blasphemy known to the world.

"I ask only your kind attention and forgiveness, and as I may prove myself
worthy by the step I am now taking, may you extend to me your helping
hands and sustain me in the better path I have chosen."

The demonstration of the method by which the "rappings" were produced was
a perfect success, as is best shown by the following succinct account,
which formed a part of the article on the subject published by the New
York _World_ on the following morning:

     A plain wooden stool or table, resting upon four short legs, and
     having the properties of a sounding board, was placed in front of
     her. Removing her shoe, she placed her right foot upon this table.
     The entire house became breathlessly still, and was rewarded by a
     number of little short, sharp raps--those mysterious sounds which
     have for more than forty years frightened and bewildered hundreds of
     thousands of people in this country and Europe. A committee,
     consisting of three physicians taken from the audience, then ascended
     to the stage, and having made an examination of her foot during the
     progress of the "rappings," unhesitatingly agreed that the sounds
     were made by the action of the first joint of her large toe.

     Only the most hopelessly prejudiced and bigoted fanatics of
     Spiritualism could withstand the irresistable force of this
     common-place explanation and exhibition of how "spirit rappings" are
     produced. The demonstration was perfect and complete, and if "spirit
     rappings" find any credence in this community hereafter, it would
     seem a wise precaution on the part of the authorities to begin the
     enlargement of the State's insane asylums without any delay.



III. HISTORY.



CHAPTER VI.

ORIGIN OF THE FRAUD.


There are spiritualists who pretend that so-called "spirit rappings"
originated long before the Hydesville disturbances took place. These
declarations, however, are of no value as actual evidence.

In any event, there is no claim that in their cause and general character
these manifestations, so-called, were very different from similar ones of
the present day.

The "rappings" produced by the "Fox Sisters" are certainly the first of
which there is an authentic account. They began in a little rustic cottage
at a place called Hydesville, in the town of Arcadia, near Newark, Wayne
County, New York. Here John D. Fox and his wife Margaret dwelt with their
two daughters, Margaret and Catherine. Two other children, Ann Leah and
David S., lived elsewhere. There was sometimes a fifth member of the
household, also a child. This was Elizabeth Fish, the daughter of Leah,
and therefore the niece of Margaret and Catherine. She was seven years
older than the elder of the two latter.

The elder Fox and his wife had not been always united since their
marriage. They were separated for a number of years. The three older
children, Ann Leah, Maria and David S., were conceived before this
separation took place, and Margaret and Catherine afterwards. The two
broods had distinctive characteristics. The father, in the interval, is
said to have become addicted to intemperate habits. The taint of heredity
may excuse much in the younger generation that sprang from a weakness of
will-power and made them the too easy victims of colder and more mercenary
natures. To many it is well known that they are still incapable of
guarding their interests in a business way, and that they have always been
too largely at the mercy of any one who could acquire an influence over
them.

Margaretta, or Margaret, Fox, as she always signs herself, was born in the
year 1840, and Catherine Fox a year and a half later. The eldest sister
Leah was born twenty-three years before the former. The little girls, one
eight years old and the other six and a half, had rarely seen this sister
prior to the beginning of the spiritualistic movement. She knew nothing of
it until the popular excitement over the "rappings" had almost reached its
climax. Very early in life she had married a man named Fish, who had
deserted her, and she was supporting herself at this time in the city of
Rochester by teaching the rudiments of music. David S. Fox, son of John
and Margaret Fox, lived about two miles from the home of his father in
Arcadia.

Maggie and Katie Fox were as full of petty devilment as any two children
of their age ever were. They delighted to tease their excellent old
mother, who by all who knew her is described as simple, gentle and
true-hearted. In their antics, they would resort to all sorts of ingenious
devices, and bed-time witnessed almost invariably the gayest of larks. One
of their frequent amusements was to plague their niece, Elizabeth, who
slept in the same bed with them, by kicking and tickling her, and by
frightening her at almost any hour of the night out of sound sleep.

Their riotous fancy soon hit upon the plan of bobbing apples up and down
on the floor in their bedchamber, as a means of scaring Elizabeth and of
puzzling their mother without much risk of detection. They tied strings to
the stems of the apples, and thus let them hang down beside the bed. The
noise of dropping them more or less quickly upon the floor resembled
almost anything that the imagination chose to liken it to, from raps on
the front door to slippered foot-falls on the narrow stairway. Whenever a
search was made for the cause of the noises, the apples were easily
hauled up into the bed and hidden in the bedclothes, where no one would
think of looking for them, at least at that stage of the investigation.

The plan had everything in it to charm a juvenile mischief-maker. It
succeeded admirably. It was not till the wonder which was caused by these
strange "knockings" had extended beyond the humble Fox household, that the
suggestion of any other means of affording to that growing feeling its
daily food of seeming evidence came to the roguish youngsters.

The family had moved into the house at Hydesville on December 11, 1847.
The mother began to hear strange sounds almost from that date--strange
because they occurred with great frequency and were oddly repeated. The
children slept in what was called the East Room; the parents in an
adjoining chamber. At all hours of the night, almost, the sounds were
heard; but it happened that they always occurred when one or both of the
children were wide awake. The mother, in a statement which has been
published as one of the so-called proofs of the genuineness of these
manifestations, says that the sounds could with difficulty be located.
"Sometimes it seemed as if the furniture was moved; but on examination we
found everything in order. The children had become so alarmed that I
thought best to have them sleep in the room with us. * * * On the night of
the first disturbance we all got up and lighted a candle and searched the
house, the noises continuing during the time, and being heard near the
same place."

How natural it was that little children, being averse to sleeping away
from their elders in a dark room in a lone country neighborhood, should
take advantage of a pretext such as this to get their bed placed nearer to
that of their parents! Such, indeed, was the immediate result.

The third night of the "rappings" was the 31st of March, 1848. Mrs. Fox
says:

"_The children who slept in the other bed in the room heard the rappings
and tried to make similar sounds with their fingers._

"Katie exclaimed:

"'Mr. Splitfoot,' (the imaginary person who was supposed to make the
noises), 'do as I do;' clapping her hands. The sound instantly followed
her with the same number of raps; when she stopped, the sound ceased for a
short time. Then Margaret said in sport: 'Now, do just as I do; count one,
two, three, four,' striking one hand against the other at the same time,
and the raps came as before. * * * I then thought I could put a test that
no one in the place could answer. I asked the noises to rap my children's
ages, successively. Instantly, each one of my children's ages was given
correctly, pausing between them sufficiently long to individualize them
until the seventh, at which a longer pause was made, and then three more
emphatic raps were given, corresponding to the age of the little one that
died, which was my youngest child. I then asked: 'Is this a human being
that answers my questions so correctly?' There was no rap. I asked: 'Is
it a spirit? If so, make two raps,' which were instantly given as soon as
the request was made. I then said: 'If it is an injured spirit, make two
raps,' which were instantly made, causing the house to tremble. I asked:
'Were you injured in this house?' The answer was given as before. 'Is the
person living that injured you?' Answer by raps in the same manner. I
ascertained by the same method that it was a man, aged thirty-one years;
that he had been murdered in this house; and his remains were buried in
the cellar; that his family consisted of a wife and five children, two
sons and three daughters, all living at the time of his death, but that
his wife had since died."

Then the supposed spirit was asked if it would continue to "rap" if the
neighbors were called in to listen. The answer was affirmative.

And so they were called in.

This caused the commencement of that great excitement which so soon spread
from neighborhood to village, from the village to the near-by city of
Rochester, and thence all over the country.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Margaret Fox Kane says at the present time:

"The apple-dropping trick appeared to us small children so simple and
innocent, that we could only wonder that any one attached so great an
importance to the sounds we produced. Only think of our ages at that time,
and then ask, if you will, how we could have even the shade of a
realization of the real meaning of this deception!

"This lying book of Mrs. Underhill's, notwithstanding its abominable
object, does give some slight inkling of the truth here and there.

"It is thus that the wicked confound themselves.

"She quotes, as you see here, what she says to be my mother's words: 'The
children who slept in the other bed in the room, heard the rapping and
tried to make similar sounds by snapping their fingers.'

"Now that is really just how we first got the idea of producing with the
joints similar sounds to those we had made by dropping apples with a
string. From trying it with our fingers we then tried it with our feet,
and it did not take long for us to find out that we could easily produce
very loud raps by the action of the toe-joints when in contact with any
substance which is a good conductor of sound. My sister Katie was the
first to discover that we could make such peculiar noises with our
fingers. We used to practice first with one foot and then the other, and
finally we got so we could do it with hardly an effort.

"Of course, I was so young then that many incidents have escaped my
memory. I assert positively, however, that much of the effect of the
'rappings' is greatly exaggerated in this statement which my mother was
made to write. I say that she was _made_ to write it, because the wording
of the statement, if not largely dictated by others in the first
place--men who desired to make public the details of the 'rappings' and to
make money by the sale of a pamphlet describing them--was afterwards
grossly garbled, that it might be used to suit the dishonest purposes of
professional spiritualists. I am not even certain that mother ever signed
the document, of which Mrs. Underhill makes such great parade. The same is
true regarding the other pieces of so-called evidence in her work. Utterly
futile as they are, when confronted with my living testimony, and when
judged by their own internal weakness, I should not regard them as in any
sense genuine unless I could see the original handwriting and could
recognize the signatures. I say to you now, that professional
spiritualists are capable of going to any lengths to bolster up their
impostures. No forgery, so long as there was the least chance of its
succeeding, as a furtherance to their object, would in the least repel
them. Some of the so-called statements in Leah's book I believe were
manufactured from beginning to end, though to tell you the truth I have
avoided reading the greater part of it because of the disgust I have felt
for a long time for that whole infamous system of pretense and falsehood.

"Well, we were led on unintentionally by my good mother in the
perpetration of this great wrong. She used to say when we were sitting in
a dark circle at home: 'Is this a disembodied spirit that has taken
possession of my dear children?' And then we would 'rap' just for the fun
of the thing, you know, and mother would declare that it was the spirits
that were speaking.

"Soon it went so far, and so many persons had heard the 'rappings' that we
could not confess the wrong without exciting very great anger on the part
of those we had deceived. So we went right on.

"It is wonderful, indeed, how two little children could have made this
discovery, and how, by simply obeying the natural thirst for the
marvelous, in others, and their inherent superstition, they should have
advanced step by step, in the fraud, deluding those who most ardently
wished to be deluded.

"Until first suggested to us by our mother, who was perfectly innocent in
her belief, the thought of 'spirits' had never entered our heads. We were
too young and too simple to imagine such a thing."



CHAPTER VII.

GARBLED AND DISTORTED TESTIMONY.


So the neighbors were called in at the Hydesville house and the "rappings"
were continued.

By diligent questioning on the part of the older persons in the Fox
household and of the neighbors, the mysterious noises were made to affirm
or to deny almost anything which was suggested to the "mediums," often in
accordance with knowledge that, it had been believed, was only possessed
by a few persons.

And so the wonder grew, day by day.

Pursuing the idea that a man had been murdered in the house, the whole of
a very horrible history was obtained, and the name even of the supposed
murderer was indicated by affirmative "raps" when mentioned together with
others in a tentative way. The occupation of the victim was said to be
that of a pedler. He had $500 in money and was buried in the creek which
ran past the house.

Mrs. Underhill admits that some of the neighbors were misled and went to
digging in the creek, called Ganargua, the water of which was then very
low. But they speedily recognized the absurdity of this undertaking, and
the girls, Maggie, Katie and Lizzie laughed at them for their pains. The
bones of an old horse were found there and nothing more.

By this time the two sisters had arrived at very great proficiency in
producing the raps. Such a crude and easily detected means as the bobbing
of apples on the floor was early discarded. Often in the morning, before
they dressed, and after the old folks had left their room, the sisters
would stand in their bare feet on the floor and vie with each other in the
laughable exercise of making the "strange" noises. It was impossible, of
course, that Lizzie should not know the whole truth, although being about
thirteen years old at this time, she was unabled to imitate the "raps"
very successfully. Indeed, it is said that she was too frank and outspoken
in disposition to engage long in any deception. When the children
persisted in deluding their mother, partly for their amusement and partly
because they were ashamed to retract what had already caused so much
excitement and had drawn so much attention to themselves, Lizzie used to
break out indignantly:

"_Now, Maggie, how can you say that it was done by spirits! You know
yourself that it's all a story. It's a great shame to pretend such
things._"

Many occurrences of this description I have gathered from Mrs. Kane.

But Mrs. Leah Underhill, in her jumbled up narrative, states that "_When
the raps broke out suddenly close to some of the family, or at the table,
one of the girls would accuse the other of having caused them, saying,
'Now you did that, etc., etc.'_"

Thanks to Mrs. Leah Underhill, such hints of the true explanation of
these "manifestations" are plentiful throughout her book, and one needs
only to bring some little intelligence to bear upon it to read between the
lines the whole story of the fraud.

And here let me quote a passage which only goes to show how very strong
was the love of deviltry in the children:

"Father had always been a regular Methodist in good standing, and was
invariable in his practice of morning prayers; and _when he would be
kneeling upon his chair, it would sometimes amuse the children to see him
open wide his eyes as knocks would sound and vibrate on his chair itself_.
He expressed it graphically to mother: 'When I am done praying that
jigging stops.'"

Mrs. Margaret Fox Kane distinctly remembers incidents like this one; only
she qualifies the narrative by saying that her father never opened his
eyes when these annoyances came while he was at prayer, but went devoutly
on to the end without heeding them.

How absurd for any one to suppose that if these sounds were produced by a
cause unknown to the children, they would laugh at them and regard them as
very great sport, instead of trembling and crying with affright!

"The sounds which were heard at those times," says Mrs. Kane in her
statement to the writer, "were all produced by Katie and myself, and by no
other being or spirit under the sun. Nor did we always do it with our
feet. Frequently in that early stage of the excitement about the
'rappings,' we would make the sounds with our fingers, provided it was
easy to do so without causing suspicion. In order to do it unknown to any
one, we would sit with one hand hidden by an elbow resting upon the table,
or the woodwork of a chair.

"Of course, our mother in her earnest belief, poor soul, excited us to do
a great deal more than otherwise we would had done. The mystery of the
sounds absorbed her entire being for the time. She became pale and
worn-looking and thought that great misfortunes were to happen, and
prayed often and fervently. I can well remember how my heart used to smite
me at times when I looked upon her and knew that Katie and I were the
cause of all her trouble. In later years, long after I had come to the age
of understanding, I had very bitter reasons for such pangs of remorse,
especially towards the last of mother's life, when, as I know, she was in
a great measure undeceived and feared for the perdition of the souls of
her children."

In Mrs. Underhill's book, (written for her by another,) there is an effort
to convey the impression that John D. Fox, her father, shared in the
belief which she sought to establish in the spiritual origin of the
"knockings." Such an implication Mrs. Kane declares to be utterly false.
He never manifested in any way a tendency toward such belief; on the
contrary, he always showed by his conduct and his manner of speech, the
utmost repugnance to it, and a perfect contempt for the weakness which
could lead one into it.

Margaret Fox, the mother, used to say to her husband:

"Now, John, don't you see that it's a wonderful thing?"

"No, I don't," he would answer. "Don't talk to me about it. I don't want
to hear a word about it!"

Mrs. Margaret Fox Kane says, further: "My father did not believe in
Spiritualism. The excitement which we caused annoyed him a great deal. He
signed a statement which merely amounted to his declaring that he did not
know how the noises originated. He was cajoled into doing this. He wanted
to get rid of the importunities of those who believed, or affected to
believe, in the 'rappings.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

Such is the story of the earliest "rappings" at Hydesville.

It is embellished by Mrs. Underhill with many transparent falsehoods. But
still further to bolster it up, it was thought necessary to discover
traditions, or to invent "hearsay" anecdotes, giving to the house in which
they lived a ghostly history. There are few country houses about which the
memory of the oldest neighboring inhabitant does not recall something or
other remarkable and strange, which was told him by some one or other
whose identity is very indefinite, in the dim, distant past. Thus it is
stated that odd noises had been heard in the Hydesville house during
several previous years by successive occupants. But it is confessed that
none of those persons (whose testimony no one pretends to give) had
obtained any intelligible messages from another world.

Mrs. Kane states that all of this alleged neighborhood gossip was totally
unknown to her at the time, and she believes that it had its chief--or
perhaps its only--origin, in the morbid imaginations of those who were the
first to set it going.



CHAPTER VIII.

DEVELOPMENT OF THE FRAUD.


Now we come to the moment when Ann Leah Fox Fish, the eldest sister,
thirty-one years of age at that time, appears upon the scene of the
wondrous and so-called supernatural commotion at the little rustic hamlet
of Hydesville.

No "mediumistic" suggestions or impulses had ever come to her. Not one,
though she had lived twenty-three years longer in the world than the
dark-eyed, fascinating little girl who produced the first mysterious
sounds in her mother's home.

The excitement had reached a great height, and a pamphlet was already in
the press detailing the whole of the wonderful performances at Hydesville,
when Leah first heard of them. She hastened thither at once. Some idea of
the profit which could be derived from awakened public interest in the
matter, seems to have come to her very promptly. She found that the family
had moved from the "haunted" house to that of her brother, David. She
investigated the source of the "raps." Mrs. Kane says that one of the
first things which she did upon her arrival at the house, was to take both
her and Katie apart and to cause them to undress and to show her the
manner of producing the mysterious noises. Never for a moment was the cold
and calculating brain of the eldest sister a dupe to the cunning pranks of
the little children. So interested was she in the matter, that she
insisted upon taking back with her to Rochester, at the end of a
fortnight, her daughter Lizzie, and Katie, her sister--Maggie not being
inclined to go with her. And, in the interval, she practised "rapping"
herself, with her toes, after the manner illustrated by the girls. She
found great difficulty in producing the same effect, however, as the
joints of her feet were no longer as pliable as in childhood. The effort
required was also much greater, and never during her whole lifetime did
she succeed in attaining to much proficiency in this method of deception.
The pronounced movement, necessary in her case to cause even a faint sound
to be heard, was easy to detect.

"Often," says Mrs. Kane, "when we were giving séances together, I have
been ashamed and mortified by the awkward manner in which she would do it.
People would observe the effort she made to produce even moderate
'rappings,' and then they would look at me in suspicion and surprise. It
required every bit of my skill and my best tact to prevent them from going
away convinced of the imposture."

On the way to Rochester by canal, the "rappings," according to Mrs.
Underhill, pursued her. The "Spirits became quite bold and rapped loudly"
at the dinner-table in the cabin; "and occasionally" she adds, "_one end
of the table would jump up and nearly spill the water out of our glasses;
but there was so much noise on the boat (going through the locks, etc.)
that only we, who recognized the sounds, knew of them_."

It would be easy, indeed--on this very thin reservation, to the effect
that "only we, who recognized the sounds, knew of them"--to denounce the
whole of this statement as the grossest falsehood. I have, however, the
personal assurance of Mrs. Catharine Fox Jencken that the "rappings" were
really heard, but that they were done by her with her feet. On the other
hand, she declares that the joggling or lifting of the table never took
place; nor did she ever hear of it till Mrs. Underhill's book was
published. It may be observed here that the latter carefully refrains from
informing us whether the passengers also failed to observe the singular
disturbance of the cabin table, at which they were dining.

At Rochester, Mrs. Fish seems to have devoted herself to developing and
elaborating the falsehood of Spiritualism. Singularly enough, to this
matron, who had never before evinced the least possession of so-called
"mediumistic" qualities, all sorts of grotesque and terrorizing wonders
now arrived. This is a fair specimen of her narrative, relating to the
period in question:

"In the evening, my friend, Jane Little, and two or three other friends,
called in to spend an hour or two with us. We sang and I played on the
piano; but even then, while the lamp was burning brightly(!), I felt the
deep throbbing of the dull accompaniment of the invisibles, keeping time
to the music as I played; but I did not wish to have my visitors know it,
and the spirits seemed kind enough not to make themselves heard (!) that
others would observe what was so apparent to me."

The book to which I am obliged to refer so constantly, and which is a good
example of the bulk of spiritualistic literature, is full of passages ten
times as absurd as this one, and having just as strongly the stamp of the
crudest and most clumsy invention. For the most part, the only appropriate
treatment for such absurdities is contemptuous silence. Occasionally,
however, I shall find it necessary, for the sake of completeness in this
exposition, to meet them with positive refutation, which in reality they
do not deserve.

Having thus got one of the clever and lively little girls under her own
control, Leah soon induced her mother to come to Rochester with the other.
Nothing could show more clearly that she had already formed the resolve to
reap a harvest of gain and renown from this auspicious beginning, than her
decisive course, instantly upon realizing the public wonder and curiosity
which the "rappings" had excited.

It was absolutely necessary to delude some people who were near, and who
should have been dear to her, as well as the careless and easily gullible
public. The good and simple-hearted old mother would never have been a
partner in conscious deception. The matter-of-fact, unspeculative father,
must be brought to a point where he would at least not deny the claims of
the so-called "mediums," his daughters. The honest and outspoken Lizzie
must be awed into discretion by the prospect of great prosperity, which
was opened before them, and the lesson that if she spoke too freely they
would surely be deprived of it. Some stalwart and docile sympathizers must
be enlisted outside of her own people who could be depended upon to stand
by them as against too strenuous inquiry, or hot-tempered public assault.

Immediately upon Margaret's arrival at the house in Rochester, in which
Mrs. Fish lived, and which adjoined a graveyard, the "manifestations"
redoubled. They were produced by the combined efforts of Leah, Margaret
and Katie. Mrs. Underhill narrates that one night, about this time, a
"spirit" walked about in their room, as if in his bare feet, when they
were all supposed to be in bed. She continues: "He answered my question by
stamping on the floor. I was amused--although afraid. He seemed so willing
to do my bidding that I could not resist the temptation of speaking to him
as he marched around my bed. I said, 'Flat Foot, can you dance the
Highland fling?' This seemed to delight him. I sang the music for him, and
he danced most admirably. This shocked mother and she said: 'O, Leah, how
can you encourage that fiend by singing for him to dance?' I soon found
that they took advantage of my familiarity, and gathered in strong force
around us. And here language utterly fails to describe the incidents that
occurred. Loud whispering, giggling, scuffling, groaning, death-struggles,
murder scenes of the most fearful character--I forbear to describe them.
Mother became so alarmed that she called to Calvin to come up stairs. He
came--angry at the spirits--and declared that 'he would conquer or die in
the attempt.' This seemed to amuse them. They went to his bed, raised it
up and let it down, and shook it violently. He was still determined not to
yield to them.

"Before Calvin came up stairs, and during a short lull in their
performances, we quickly removed our beds to the floor, hoping thereby to
prevent them from raising us up and letting us down with such violence.
Calvin said as he came up, that we were foolish to make our beds on the
floor, as it pleased the spirits to see how completely they had conquered
us. So he laid down on his bed, and quietly awaited developments. Mother
said, 'Calvin, I wish your bed was on the floor, too. We have not been
disturbed since we left the bedstead.' Calvin remarked, 'They are up to
some deviltry now. I hear them.' He no sooner uttered these words, than a
shower of slippers came flying at him as he lay in his bed. He bore this
without a murmur. The next instant he was struck violently with his cane.
He seized it and struck back, right and left, with all his strength,
without hitting anything; but received a palpable _bang_ in return for
every thrust he made. He sprang to his feet and fought with all his might.
Everything thrown at him he pitched back to them, until a brass
candlestick was thrown at him, cutting his lip. This quite enraged him. He
pronounced a solemn malediction and throwing himself on the bed, he vowed
he would have nothing more to do with 'fiendish spirits.'

"He was not long permitted to remain in quiet there. They commenced at his
bedstead and deliberately razed it to the floor, leaving the headboard in
one place, the footboard in another, the two sides at angles, and the
bedclothes scattered about the room. He was left lying on his mattress,
and for a moment there was silence; after which some slight movements were
heard in the 'green room.' I had stowed a large number of balls of carpet
rags in an old chest standing on the floor, with two trunks and several
other articles on the top of it. It seemed but the work of a moment for
them to get at the carpet balls, which came flying at us in every
direction, hitting us in the same place every time. They took us for their
target, and threw with the skill of an archer. Darkness made no difference
with them, and if either of us attempted to remonstrate against such
violence, they would instantly give _the remonstrant_ the benefit of a
ball."

Mrs. Kane remembers with tolerable distinctness the antics that
distinguished this sojourn of her mother, herself and her sisters in the
Rochester house. She and Katie did indulge in wild larks in the sleeping
rooms of the family at all hours of the night. The "whispering" and
"giggling," the "scuffling" and "groaning," and the tragic mimicry were
natural to childish daredevils like themselves, and one can well
understand how, with the attendant "rappings," the showers of slippers
hurled from the "green room," the shaking of Calvin's bed and the
"banging" of him on the head, these things may have made the desired
impression upon both him and the mother. Mrs. Kane says that this is the
true and only explanation of it all, and that in comparatively recent
years, at séances in Adelphi Hall, New York, she has done the most
audacious things, similar in character to these, under cover of
semi-darkness, and has not been detected, simply because nearly all of
those who were present were believers and were not too curious.

There is another "evidence" given by Ann Leah which is too pitiably
ridiculous to be considered, except as a subject of laughter.

"Often at meal-time," she says, "the table would be gradually agitated,
and Calvin in particular, [alas, poor Calvin!] would be more disturbed
than the rest of us. Once he arose from his chair and reached across the
table for a heavy pitcher of water, when _the chair was instantly removed
and he sat down on the floor, spilling the water all over himself_!"

Mrs. Kane's sole comment upon this is: "Of course, we slily did it, as we
did many other hoydenish tricks.

"We also used to twitch mother's cap off and gently jerk the comb out of
her hair, just to tease her. Leah says that these things were done by the
spirits! How silly to address such a puerile pretense to any one gifted
with common sense!"

As a companion picture to what has gone before, let the reader also
engrave this "miraculous" scene upon the retina of his imagination:

"We had stored our winter provisions in the cellar. Among them were
several barrels of apples, potatoes, turnips, etc. From this cellar came
the apples, potatoes and turnips flying across our room, hitting all in
precisely the same place every time. It will now be remembered that these
articles were in the cellar under the ground floor, and had to come from
the rear of the cellar, through the door, into the kitchen, up the stairs,
into the pantry on the second floor, through the pantry into the dining
room, up the second flight of stairs, into the large room in which we
slept, hitting us as we lay in our beds near the front window. * * *

"A cabinet shop was the next thing represented by the spirits. They seemed
to be possessed of all kinds of tools to work with. After sawing off
boards they would let them fall heavily on the floor, jarring everything
around them. Then, after planing, jointing, driving nails, and screwing
down the lid of a coffin, they would shove the hollow sounding article
about the room. (This we understood at a later day.) Often to our utter
amazement, pickets from the discarded lots in the cemetery came flying
through the room over our heads, on our beds, like debris in a tornado.
They came from the extreme west side of the burying-ground, through _that_
lot, and the distance of about two hundred feet through _our_ lot; an
entire distance of about four hundred feet. That they came by no visible
means, we knew; as no human power could have thrown them through the air
into our chamber window, hitting us in our beds, in the same place every
time."

In July, 1848, Leah, her sisters and mother, revisited the Hydesville
house, which was then unoccupied. David, the brother, had fallen by this
time into the plans of Leah, whether a dupe or an accomplice, Margaret,
even at this day, is unable to say. To him was due the very first
suggestion that the so-called spirits might communicate with the living by
means of the alphabet. And since then, this has been the chief stay of
spiritualism, literally the A B C of all its so-called science. It is a
singular commentary upon the consistency of the "spirits," or the good
faith of those who professed to interpret their messages, that the code of
communication at first employed in their circles was entirely different in
the meaning of the simple signals used from the one which finally was
adopted. Would the "spirits," think you, who are divorced from the
trammels of this world, have been guilty of this simple error and have
been obliged to correct it afterward, had they not been impostors?

The object of Mrs. Fish in going back to Hydesville is quite apparent.
There was yet an unworked mine of wonder and superstition, out of which
the dust of dross might be thrown into the eyes of the credulous, as the
pure gold of revelation.

In the first place, it was necessary to get from the so-called invisible
intelligence an injunction to seek for proofs of the foul murder which it
had been said had been committed in the house where the "rappings" were
originally heard.

Mind you, months had then elapsed since the digging had been first done in
the cellar and the Ganargua creek near by, and David S., who was now
wholly in sympathy with Leah in her view of the future importance of the
new superstition, had lived in the neighborhood ever since, while nobody
had remained in the "haunted" house to be cognizant of what might have
taken place there in the mean time.

By the new code system of obtaining answers to queries, a mandate to dig
up the cellar and to search for something or other there was obtained, and
obeyed, the work lasting two or three days. It is stated by Leah that some
fragments of an earthen bowl, a few bones, some teeth and some bunches of
hair were found. She says that doctors pronounced the bones to be human.

Of course, the names of these doctors are nowhere to be found in her
volume, nor does any one, unwarped by prejudice, really believe more than
a very small part of this story.

That there was digging is certain.

That there had been plenty of time to hide anything that David Fox had
desired to hide in the cellar, is certain.

Yet Mrs. Kane remembered absolutely nothing about anything having been
found in the cellar that bore the slightest semblance to any portion of
the human frame. If any bones (perchance, like those found in the creek,
the skeleton of a horse) were uncovered, she denies positively that any
doctor ever gave the opinion that they were the remains of a man.

She pronounces equally false, the statement of Leah that about the time
the digging was abandoned, on account of the angry interference of a mob,
the spades of the diggers struck upon a hollow-sounding, wooden substance,
which might or might not have been a box of ill-gotten plunder, or the
rough sepulchre of the slain pedler.

The indignation of the neighbors of the Foxes in Arcadia was not so much
due to the fact that the latter persisted in pretending to communicate
with ghosts and uncanny elfs, as it was to the totally unwarranted
suspicion which had been cast through the early "rappings" upon a man
named Bell, who had formerly lived in the house, which it was now
pretended was haunted. This, as well as other evidence of the public
feeling at that time, was cleverly employed for her own benefit by Leah,
who easily foresaw how anything that might bear the semblance of religious
persecution would promote her cause, false though it was, by bringing to
it both greater notoriety and widespread sympathy.

There is no doubt, too, that if there had not been a very strong vein of
superstition in the Fox family, the first "rappings" would never have
produced the deep impression that they did on the mother and her son
David. Many strange stories, which had been handed down from a grandfather
or a great-grandfather, a great uncle or a great aunt, were told at the
fireside with such embellishment as will inevitably come from recital and
repetition to a wonder-delighting audience. There were traditions of
prophecies fulfilled and of dumb cattle behaving queerly, all of which
Mrs. Underhill has very carefully set down and magnified in her own
peculiar manner to her own unholy purpose.



CHAPTER IX.

THE MERCENARY CAMPAIGN.


The public campaign of Spiritualism was now begun.

A sufficient hubbub had been made over it to induce attention from all
sorts and conditions of people.

The mother and her daughters went again to Rochester, and there placed
themselves in the hands of the first of many "committees of friends" who
were used as tools or confederates, according to their character, to
"humbug" the public more completely. The character and functions of these
committees may be judged from the following, which is found in Leah's
book: "The names of this committee were Isaac Post, R. D. Jones, Edward
Jones, John Kedzie and Andrew Clackner. _They were faithful friends, who
never permitted any one to visit us unattended by themselves or some
reliable person._"

The so-called spirits soon urged in laborious communications that it was
needful to make their demonstrations more public, and that an
"investigation" of the "rappings," ought therefore to be made by some
well-known men. The "spirits" were even so kind as to spell out by means
of the tentative alphabet, the names of those whom they wished to have
appointed to perform this part. The desire for advertisement, indeed, was
not likely to cause the rejection of the name of any available person,
whose prominence would increase the public interest in the movement. We
are not astonished, then, to find that Frederick Douglass was one of those
present at this earliest farce of investigation. It was the forerunner of
many others which were like unto it, and gradually, in their stations in
various cities, the "Fox Sisters" drew to their séances nearly all of the
conspicuous persons of the time, who regarded the effects exhibited to
them in as many different lights as their minds and characters were
different.

Naturally enough, after this compliance with their desires, the "spirits"
directed that a public exhibition should be given. The largest hall in
Rochester was hired for the purpose.

And here the infamy of bringing forward two little girls to do the work of
base and vulgar charlatanism, appears in all its revolting character. The
eldest of the children was then but nine years old. Had she been dressed
in accordance with her tender age, it would have taken only very slight
observation to detect the secret of the "rappings." Those persons now
living, who were present at this and at other public exhibitions of
Spiritualism at that time, will easily remember that Margaret and
Catherine Fox appeared on a platform in long gowns, as if they had been
full-grown women. The dresses were expressly prepared by order of Mrs. Ann
Leah Fox Fish, the evil genius of these unfortunate victims. Without
these robes nothing whatever could have been done in the way of "spirit
rappings," under the matter-of-fact scrutiny of the public.

To carry out the delusion to the utmost, every detail touching these
earliest exhibitions was directed through "spirit rappings," even to the
insertion of grandiloquent notices in the newspapers.

In all of the "investigations" of the "rappings," at this or at any other
time, the attentive student will find somewhere a loop-hole of escape from
observation, an unguarded avenue of detection. In some of the principal
séances, described at great length by Leah, the conditions favorable to
fraud and illusion were so very obvious that they ought to have excited
derision in the veriest child.

The following passage in the report of a so-called investigation, is
pointed to by professional spiritualists as one of the best "evidences" of
the genuineness of Spiritualism:

"One of the committee placed one of his hands on the feet of the ladies
and the other on the floor, and though the feet were not moved, there was
a distinct jar of the floor."

Here, then, there were three operators and one investigator. The latter
puts his hand on the feet of the ladies. How many feet, pray you? There
were six feet on the platform, as we know, all of which had been carefully
educated in the production of "raps." Could one man's hand cover them all?
And if it could not, does not this pretended "evidence" fall at once to
the ground?

All of the recitals made by spiritualistic writers concerning the doings
of the "Fox Sisters," contain this element of vagueness, the lack of
precision and completeness, which to persons unaccustomed to analysis may
possibly appear plausible enough, but to the experienced inquirer is
merely a more certain proof of weakness and prevarication.

Volumes might be written to meet the statements advanced in every case,
and to show how clumsily misleading they are. It is not worth while at
this late day, and in that direction, to do more than I have already
accomplished in this chapter.

Indeed, the actual demonstration of the fact that the far-famed "rappings"
are produced in the manner described at the beginning of this work, should
be quite sufficient to all logical minds, to condemn every claim that the
professional mediums have advanced as being the agents of any supernatural
manifestations.

The good old Latin maxim never applied with greater force than it does
here: _Falsus in unum, falsus in omnibus_.

The operations of the eldest sister all tended to the one end: fame and
money. In Rochester, fees for the first time were accepted by "mediums,"
and shortly afterward a tariff of prices for admission to the séances and
the "private circles" was adopted and made public. No jugglers ever drove
a more prosperous business than did the "Fox family" for a number of
years, when once fairly launched upon that sea of popular wonder, which
somebody has said is supplied by the inherent fondness of mankind for
being humbugged.

Mrs. Fish had actually the project of founding a new religion, and she
tried hard to convince her younger sisters and her own child that there
were really such things as spiritual communications, notwithstanding that
all of those that were produced in their séances they knew to be perfectly
false. She asserted that even before Maggie and Katie were born she had
received messages warning her that they were destined to do great things.

"In all of our séances, while we were under her charge," says Mrs. Kane,
"we knew just when to rap 'yes' and when to rap 'no' by signals that she
gave us, and which were unknown to any one but ourselves. Of course, we
were too young, then, to have been successful very long in deluding
people, had it not been for an arrangement such as this.

"Her own daughter, Lizzie, had no manner of patience with her transparent
pretence.

"'Ma,' she would exclaim, when Leah attempted to impress her with a belief
in some of the frauds which she perpetrated, 'how can you ever pretend
that that is done by the spirits? I am ashamed to know even that you do
such things--it's dreadfully wicked.'"

Some day it will be known that one other person beside Lizzie, who
afterwards occupied a filial relation to this woman, detested even more
strongly the atmosphere of hypocrisy and deceit with which the latter
surrounded herself, and hated, too, the rankling obligation under which an
unkind fate had placed her.

It is not so wonderful that men of learning and originality were drawn to
the mysterious séances of the Fox girls, when it is considered that they
became a sort of fashionable "fad," as the receptions of Mesmer did in the
last century in Paris. There were great opportunities there for studying
human nature, and the period was one of a notable awakening of scientific
and transcendental speculation. Such men as Greeley, Bancroft, Fenimore
Cooper, Bryant, N. P. Willis, Dr. Francis, John Bigelow, Ripley, Dr.
Griswold, Dr. Eliphalet Nott, Theodore Parker, William M. Thackeray, James
Freeman Clarke, Thomas M. Foote and Bayard Taylor, and women of the
intellectual strength of Alice Cary and Harriet Beecher Stowe became
deeply interested. But nearly all of these lost their interest in
Spiritualism in time, for they became morally, if not positively
convinced, that the effects produced were the mere result of fraud.

There was another attraction, however, in those early days. The younger
"mediums" were both very pretty and very young. Sympathy and
commiseration, as much as aught else, often drew visitors to them, and
caused such visitors to continue their friends. Thus, we find that Horace
Greeley and Dr. Elisha Kent Kane became important factors in the lives of
both of these interesting creatures, the former educating Katie, and the
latter striving to form Maggie's mind and to reform her character with
the express object of making her his wife.

Mrs. Kane, in commenting upon the life which she led at that time, says:

"When I look back, I can only say in defense of my depraved calling, that
I took not the slightest pleasure in it. The novelty and the excitement
that had half intoxicated me as a child were fast being dissipated. The
true conception of this infamous thing soon dawned upon me. The awakening
was full of anguish--the anguish of hope, as well as the anguish of grief.
I then first knew Dr. Kane, and with that acquaintance entered the new
light into my life."



CHAPTER X.

SPIRITUALISTIC BOOMERANGS.


In nearly all of the so-called investigations of the "rappings" produced
by the "Fox Sisters," there was an absolute absence of genuine scientific
inquiry. Only once in this critical stage of their career, did they submit
to experiment and examination by doctors of unquestioned repute and
learning. The result of this investigation has been held up by
professional spiritualists as a triumphant proof that the source of
"rappings" was beyond any mortal finding out. The fact is that the doctors
hit upon the right principle at the inception of the inquiry, but were
misled into a wrong application of it, an error which the "mediums," of
course, encouraged up to a certain point, so that they might gain prestige
afterwards by refuting it. Following out this policy, Mrs. Underhill has
incorporated in her book the testimony of the doctors, heedless of the law
of destiny, that truth must prevail finally.

I propose to take this same statement of the doctors, based as it is upon
an erroneous assumption and a correct theory, and show how strongly it
sustains and plainly corroborates the explanation of the "rappings" now
given by Mrs. Kane and Mrs. Jencken.

The gentlemen who made this notable investigation are usually spoken of as
the "Buffalo doctors." They were members of the faculty of the University
of Buffalo. Austin Flint, who afterward held the highest medical rank in
the metropolis, was the most prominent of the three. The other two were
Drs. Charles A. Lee and C. B. Coventry.

The theory that they advanced was that the mysterious noises were produced
by some one of the articulations of the body. Their assumption was that it
was the great joint of the knee which produced them. Had they worked upon
their theory alone, and left all assumption aside, until actual evidence
had led up to them; or, even had they investigated other joints of the
lower limbs, besides that of the knee, they must have inevitably arrived
at the correct conclusion. Unfortunately, however, the idea which so beset
them as to render their labor abortive, arose from the actual existence in
Buffalo of a woman whose knee-joints could be snapped audibly at will.

The closeness of the scrutiny applied by these gentlemen displeased the
eldest "medium," and her resentment finds characteristic expression in her
volume, printed thirty-seven years after the occurrence. She declares that
she found Dr. Lee to be "a wily, deceitful man."

If anything can circumvent cunning, it is certainly cunning itself, and in
this sense, it is entirely laudable when exerted in a proper cause. There
is no doubt that strategy had to be used to induce this woman, conscious
of her falsity, and schooled in subterfuges and evasions, to submit to a
coldly scientific test. The challenge, however, came under such
circumstances, public suspicion being so whetted by the fact that a woman
had been discovered whose knee-joints possessed the peculiar quality of
making sound, that it could not well be avoided, without it becoming
generally known that the declination was a tacit confession of fraud.

The doctors published very promptly the result of their preliminary
examination, which was made without any special faculties being afforded
them.

They said:

"Curiosity having led us to visit the rooms at the Phelps House, in which
two females from Rochester, Mrs. Fish and Miss Fox, profess to exhibit
striking manifestations from the spirit world, by means of which communion
may be had with deceased friends, etc.; and having arrived at a
physiological explanation of the phenomena, the correctness of which has
been demonstrated in an instance which has since fallen under our
observation, we have felt that a public statement is called for, which
may, perhaps, serve to prevent a further waste of time, money and
credulity (to say nothing of sentiment and philosophy) in connection with
this so long successful imposition.

"The explanation is reached almost by a logical necessity, on the
application of a method of reasoning much resorted to in the diagnosis of
diseases, namely, _the reasoning by exclusion_.

"It was reached by this method prior to the demonstration which has
subsequently occurred.

"It is to be assumed, first, that the manifestations are not to be
regarded as spiritual, provided they can be physically or physiologically
accounted for. Immaterial agencies are not to be invoked until material
agencies fail. We are thus to _exclude_ spiritual causation in this stage
of the investigation.

"Next, it is taken for granted that the 'rappings' are not produced by
artificial contrivances about the persons of the females, which may be
concealed by the dress. This hypothesis is excluded because it is
understood that the females have been repeatedly and carefully examined by
lady committees.

"It is obvious that the 'rappings' are not caused by machinery attached to
tables, doors, etc., for they are heard in different rooms, and in
different parts of the same room in which the females are present, _but
always near the spot where the females are stationed_. This mechanical
hypothesis is then to be excluded. So much for the negative evidence, and
now for what positively relates to the subject.

"_On carefully observing the countenances of the two females it is evident
that they involve an effort of the will. They evidently attempted to
conceal any indications of voluntary effort, but did not succeed. A
voluntary effort was manifested, and it was plain that it could not be
continued very long without fatigue._ Assuming, then, this _positive
fact_, the inquiry arises, how can the will be exerted to produce sounds
('rappings') without obvious movements of the body? The voluntary muscles
themselves are the only organs, save those which belong to the mind
itself, over which volition can exercise any direct control. But
contractions of the muscles do not, in the muscles themselves, occasion
obvious sounds. The muscles, therefore, to develop audible vibrations,
must act upon parts with which they are connected. Now, it was
sufficiently clear that the 'rappings' were not _vocal_ sounds; these
could not be produced without movements of the respiratory muscles, which
would at once lead to detection. Hence, excluding vocal sounds, _the only
possible source of the noises in question, produced as we have seen that
they must be, by voluntary muscular contraction, is in one or more of the
movable articulations of the skeleton_, from the anatomical construction
of the voluntary muscles. This explanation remains as _the only
alternative_.

"By an analysis prosecuted in this manner we arrive at the conviction that
the 'rappings,' assuming that they are not spiritual, _are produced by the
action of the will, through voluntary action on the joints_.

"Various facts may be cited to show that the motion of the joints, under
certain circumstances, is adequate to produce the phenomena of the
'rappings.' * * * By a curious coincidence, after arriving at the above
conclusion respecting the source of the sounds, _an instance has fallen
under our observation, which demonstrates the fact that noises precisely
identical with the spiritual 'rappings' may be produced in the
knee-joints_."

The doctors then describe how the sounds may be produced in certain
subjects by the partial dislocation of the knee joint; and they add:

"The visible vibrations of articles in the room, situated near the
operator, occur if the limb, or any portion of the body, is _in contact
with them_ at the time the sounds are produced. _The force of the
semi-dislocation of the bone is sufficient to occasion distinct jarring of
the doors, tables, etc., if in contact._ The intensity of the sound may be
varied in proportion to the force of the muscular contractions, and this
will render the apparent source of the 'rappings' more or less distinct."

I have italicized the portions of these extracts which apply in a measure
to the action of the toe-joints, as well as to that of the knee. No
especial comment upon them is needed. The reader may easily comprehend the
relation of these peculiar facts.

Knowing, from this brief of their supposed case, exactly what she had to
apprehend from them, and anxious to prove triumphantly that she and her
sisters did not make the "rappings" with their knees, Mrs. Fish rushed
into print, and challenged the doctors to a more public investigation, to
be made by three men and three women, the latter of whom were to disrobe
the "mediums," if they so desired. The doctors, of course, accepted.

In her account of this scene, Mrs. Fish speaks of herself and her sister
Maggie as "two young creatures thus baited as it were by cruel enemies."
It should be remembered at this point that her age at that time was about
thirty-four years, whilst that of Maggie was only eleven! So much for the
disingenuousness of the narrator.

She herself says that during the test, Maggie and she sat on a sofa
together a long time and no raps came. The watch was too close. Then a
zealous and indiscreet friend rapped on the back of her chair, and to
shield herself from seeming complicity, she rebuked him with great
ostentation. How kindly she felt toward fraud, however, is shown by the
excuses which she makes for his conduct.

"It was certainly a severe and cruel ordeal for us," she goes on, "as we
sat there under that accusation, surrounded by all these men, authorities,
some of them persecutors, _while the raps, usually so ready and familiar,
would not come to our relief. Some few and faint ones did indeed
come--some nine or ten. The doctors say in their account that it was while
they intermitted the holding of our feet_. Such was not my _impression_,
but _I_ attach _small importance_ to that."

There were several sittings of the investigators in company with the
"mediums," and Mrs. Underhill asserts that at times plentiful "rappings"
were heard, both when their feet and knees were held and when they were
not held. And then she introduces this weak and transparent piece of
hypocrisy so familiar to those who have ever had to do with so-called
"mediums":

"We are now familiar with the fact that spirits often refuse to act in the
presence of those who bring to the occasion, not a candid and fair spirit
of inquiry for the satisfaction of an honest skepticism, but a bitter and
offensive bigotry of prejudice and invincible hostility, which does not
really seek, but rather repels the truth, and but little deserves the
favor of its exhibition to them by the spirits."

The further report of the doctors contained these points:

"_The two females were seated upon two chairs placed near together, their
heels resting on cushions, their lower limbs extended, with the toes
elevated and the feet separated from each other._ The object of this
experiment was to secure a position in which the ligaments of the
knee-joint should be made tense, and no opportunity offered to make a
pressure with the foot. _We were pretty well satisfied that the
displacement of the bones requisite for the sounds could not be effected,
unless a fulcrum were obtained by resting one foot upon the other, or on
some resisting body. The company waited half an hour, but no sounds were
heard in this position._

"The position of the _younger_ sister was then changed to a sitting
posture, with the lower limbs extended on the sofa, _the elder sister
sitting in the customary way_, at the other extremity of the sofa. The
'Spirits' did not choose to signify their presence under these
circumstances, although repeatedly requested to do so. The latter
experiment went to confirm the belief that the _younger sister alone_
produced the 'rappings.' These experiments were continued until the
females themselves admitted that it was useless to continue any longer at
that time, with any expectation of manifestations being made.

"_In resuming the usual position on the sofa, the feet resting on the
floor, the knockings soon began to be heard._"

Then the doctors held the knees of the fair performers to ascertain if
there was any movement when the sounds were heard:

"The hands were kept in apposition for several minutes at a time, and the
experiments repeated frequently, for the space of half an hour and more,
with negative results; that is to say, _there were plenty of 'raps' when
the knees were not held, and none when the hands were applied, save once;
as the pressure was intentionally relaxed (Dr. Lee being the holder) two
or three faint single 'raps' were heard, and Dr. Lee immediately averred
that the motion of the bone was plainly perceptible to him. The experiment
of seizing the knees as quickly as possible, when the knockings first
commenced, was tried several times, but always with the effect of putting
an immediate quietus upon the demonstrations_."

No sensible person can doubt that the statements of facts within their
actual knowledge, made by these three eminent physicians, are absolutely
true. They say finally:

"_Had our experiments, which were first directed to this joint failed, we
should have proceeded to interrogate, experimentally, other articulations.
But the conclusions seemed clear that the 'Rochester knockings' emanate
from the knee-joint._"

What a pity they did _not_ "interrogate" other articulations!

The report, erroneous as it was in its conclusions, contained so much
significant truth that Mrs. Fish was at first staggered by its purport.
But in March, 1851, she wrote again to the press a lengthy letter, in
which she feebly attempted to counteract the effect of the doctor's
opinion, and incidentally made some grave admissions. Referring to the
fact that whenever the "mediums" were kept in constrained positions there
were no "manifestations," she made this remarkable admission:

"_It is true that when our feet were placed on cushions stuffed with
shavings, and resting on our heels, there were no sounds heard, and that
sounds were heard when our feet were resting on the floor_; and it is just
as true that if our friendly spirits retired when they witnessed such
harsh proceedings on the part of our persecutors, it was not in our power
to detain them."

Then she remarks that certain things happened _after the medical gentlemen
left_:

"Our feet were held from the floor by Dr. Gray and Mr. Clark, in presence
of the whole committee, on the evening of the investigation made by the
medical gentlemen (after they left); and the sounds were distinctly heard,
which was allowed by the committee to be a far more satisfactory test, as
they could distinctly hear the sounds under the feet, and feel the floor
_jar_ while our feet were held nearly or quite a foot from the floor."

About this time, a suspicion that the "raps" were made by use of the toes,
first found expression, but it never seems to have been followed up to
the point of verification. Indeed, the secret seems to have been kept
absolutely for forty years, and was only revealed by the lips of Mrs.
Margaret Fox Kane.

I cannot refrain from quoting in this place an incident from the record of
the common enemy, which further illustrates the imbecile audacity with
which they parade their abominable fraud before the eyes of sensible
persons. At a séance, in which wonderous things were done under a table,
around which the company including Mrs. Fish and one of her sisters were
closely seated, one, Mr. Stringham, apparently a doubter, asked:

"May I leave the table while the others remain, that I may look and see
the bells ringing?"

The "spirits" answered:

"What do you think we require you to sit close to the table for?"

And the veracious writer adds:

"_When spirits make these physical demonstrations, they are compelled to
assume shapes that human eyes must not look upon._"

     !     !     !     !     !     !     !     !     !     !     !

I should be guilty of an historical omission did I not also notice a
somewhat formal investigation made by a committee of Harvard Professors
and others, appointed to satisfy the exigencies of a newspaper controversy
in Boston in 1857, and which Mrs. Ann Leah Fox Brown and Miss Catherine
Fox attended. The results were wholly unsatisfactory and inconclusive from
a scientific standpoint, though the moral effect of this outcome was
strongly against the spiritualists, who were, of course, bound to prove
their positive side of the case, and failed ignominiously to do so. The
committee consisted of Professors Agassiz, Pierce and Horsford, Mr. George
Lunt, editor of the Boston _Courier_, Dr. A. B. Gould, Mr. Allen Putnam,
Dr. H. F. Gardner and Mr. G. W. Rains. The last three were pronounced
spiritualists.

Professor Agassiz, who in particular had studied mesmerism and so-called
clairvoyance most carefully, and who believed to some extent in the
former, declared with emphasis that there was an easy physiological
explanation of all the effects that the "Fox Sisters," or any other
"rappers," produced. The raps caused by the "Fox Sisters" on this occasion
were but feeble and uncertain. When other "mediums" were under
examination, the close watch kept upon them by the learned investigators
seemed greatly to disconcert them and prevented the possibility of any
pronounced "manifestations" taking place.

The _Courier_ had issued a challenge offering five hundred dollars to any
one who would "communicate a single word imparted to the 'spirits,'" by
its editor "in an adjoining room," who would "read a single word in
English, written inside a book or sheet of paper folded in such a manner
as we may suggest; who would answer with the aid of all the higher
intelligences he or she can invoke from the other world, _three questions_
* * *;" and it added:

"And we will not require Dr. Gardiner or the 'mediums' to risk a single
cent on the experiment. If one or all of them can do one of these things,
the five hundred dollars shall be paid on the spot. If they fail, they
shall pay nothing; not even the expense incident to trying the
experiment."

The Committee made a report which declared that nothing had been done
which entitled any one to receive the sum offered by the _Courier_.
Therefore no award was made.

A library might be written containing only accounts of private
investigations of "spiritual phenomena" by able and scientific observers,
all of which conduced to but one verdict, that every pretense of
Spiritualism is a fraud. I deem it more appropriate, however, and entirely
adequate to my purpose, to restrict my citations from such inquiries to
those which had an absolutely undeniable official or authoritative
character.



CHAPTER XI.

THE SUPREME AUDACITY OF FRAUD.


The multitude of forms that a certain kind of deception, when once it
obtains a foothold in the public mind, will assume, is often wonderful.

Spiritualism has resorted to all the trickery that for ages has been used
to delude and delight the populace.

Much of it could be traced back to the very first mountebanks who wandered
about the streets of the ancient cities, or squatted at the gates of
palaces or in market-places to catch the frequent obolus from the curious
passer-by.

In every country under the sun, the trade of deception has been turned to
the account of religious superstition. The Hindus, in particular, excel in
this branch of necromancy. The marvelous things that Aaron and the
Egyptian sorcerers did before Pharaoh, are really as nothing compared with
what the modern jugglers of India and China perform. All of the
developments of the art that have taken place in the West, seem but
trivial imitation beside these, and indeed they are little better.

No sooner had Spiritualism made many proselytes, than there was no limit
to its audacious pretensions. Its apostles imagined that they could go on
duping the world and even hoodwinking the scientists, and that by
appealing to the Federal government for a formal investigation of its
claims, which they could not have believed for a moment would be granted,
they could obtain a sort of quasi-official recognition of their so-called
new religion.

Accordingly, on the 17th of April, 1854, a petition was sent to Congress,
bearing fifteen thousand names, and was presented in executive session by
Senator Shields of Illinois. As a rather skillful contemporaneous
characterization of the matter, what he said on this occasion is of
historical interest. The following were his words:

     I beg leave to present to the Senate a petition, with some fifteen
     thousand names appended to it, upon a very singular and novel
     subject. The petitioners declare that certain physical and mental
     phenomena of mysterious import, have become so prevalent in this
     country and Europe, as to engross a large share of public attention.
     A partial analysis of these phenomena attest the existence, first, of
     an occult force which is exhibited in sliding, raising, arresting,
     holding, suspending, and otherwise disturbing ponderable bodies,
     apparently in direct opposition to the acknowledged laws of matter,
     and transcending the accredited power of the human mind. Secondly,
     lights of different degrees of intensity appear in dark rooms, where
     chemical action or phosphorescent illumination cannot be developed,
     and where there are no means of generating electricity, or of
     producing combustion. Thirdly, a variety of sounds, frequent in
     occurrence, and diversified in character, and of singular
     significance and importance, consisting of mysterious rapping,
     indicating the presence of invisible intelligence. Sounds are often
     heard like those produced by the prosecution of mechanical
     operations, like the hoarse murmer of the winds and waves, mingled
     with the harsh creaking of the masts and rigging of a ship laboring
     in a sea. Concussions also occur, resembling distant thunder,
     producing oscillatory movements of surrounding objects, and a
     tremulous motion of the premises upon which these phenomena occur.
     Harmonious sounds, as those of human voices, and other sounds
     resembling those of the fife, drum, trumpet, etc., have been produced
     without any visible agency. Fourthly, all the functions of the human
     body and mind are influenced in what appear to be certain abnormal
     states of the system, by causes not yet adequately understood or
     accounted for. The occult force, or invisible power, frequently
     interrupts the normal operations of the faculties, suspending
     sensation and voluntary motion of the body to a death-like coldness
     and rigidity, and diseases hitherto considered incurable, have been
     entirely eradicated by this mysterious agency. The petitioners
     proceed to state that two opinions prevail with respect to the origin
     of these phenomena. One ascribes them to the power and intelligence
     of departed spirits operating upon the elements which pervade all
     natural forms. The other rejects this conclusion, and contends that
     all these results may be accounted for in a rational and satisfactory
     manner.

     The memorialists, while thus disagreeing as to the cause, concur in
     the opinion as to the occurrence of the alleged phenomena; and in
     view of their origin, nature and bearing upon the interests of
     mankind, demand for them a patient, rigid, scientific investigation,
     and request the appointment of a scientific commission for that
     purpose.

     I have now given a faithful synopsis of this petition, which, however
     unprecedented in itself, has been prepared with singular ability,
     presenting the subject with great delicacy and moderation. I make it
     a rule to present any petition to the Senate, which is respectful in
     its terms; but having discharged this duty, I may be permitted to say
     that the prevalence of this delusion at this age of the world, among
     any considerable portion of our citizens, must originate, in my
     opinion, in a defective system of education, or in a partial
     derangement of the mental faculties, produced by a diseased condition
     of the physical organization. I cannot, therefore, believe that it
     prevails to the extent indicated in this petition.

     Different ages of the world have had their peculiar delusions.
     Alchemy occupied the attention of eminent men for several centuries;
     but there was something sublime in alchemy. The philosopher's stone,
     or the transmutation of base metals into gold, the _elixir vitæ_, or
     'water of life' which would preserve youth and beauty, and prevent
     old age, decay and death, were blessings which poor humanity ardently
     desired, and which alchemy sought to discover by perseverance and
     piety, Roger Bacon, one of the greatests alchemists and greatest men
     of the thirteenth century, while searching for the philosopher's
     stone, discovered the telescope, burning glasses, and gunpowder. The
     prosecution of that delusion led, therefore, to a number of useful
     discoveries. In the sixteenth century flourished Cornelius Agrippa,
     alchemist, astrologer, and magician, one of the greatest professors
     of hermetic philosophy that ever lived. He had all the spirits of the
     air and demons of the earth under his command. Paulus Jovious says
     that the devil, in the shape of a large black dog, attended Agrippa
     wherever he went. Thomas Nash says, at the request of Lord Surrey,
     Erasmus, and other learned men, Agrippa called up from the grave,
     several of the great philosophers of antiquity, among others, Sully,
     whom he caused to deliver his celebrated oration for Roscius, to
     please the emperor, Charles IV. He summoned David and King Solomon
     from the tomb, and the Emperor conversed with them long upon the
     science of government. This was a glorious exhibition of spiritual
     power, compared with the insignificant manifestations of the present
     day. I will pass over the celebrated Paracelsus, for the purpose of
     making allusion to an Englishman, with whose veracious history every
     one ought to make himself acquainted. In the sixteenth century, Dr.
     Dee made such progress in the talismanic mysteries, that he acquired
     ample power to hold familiar conversation with spirits and angels,
     and to learn from them all the secrets of the universe. On the
     occasion, the angel Uriel gave him a black crystal of a convex form,
     which he had only to gaze upon intently, and by a strange effort of
     the will, he could summon any spirit he wished, to reveal to him the
     secrets of futurity. Dee, in his veracious diary, says that one day
     while he was sitting with Alburtus Laski, a Polish nobleman, there
     seemed to come out of the oratory a spiritual creature, like a pretty
     girl of seven or nine years of age, with her hair rolled up before
     and hanging down behind, with a gown of silk, of changeable red and
     green, and with a train. She seemed to play up and down, and to go in
     and out behind the books, and as she seemed to get between them, the
     books displaced themselves and made way for her. This I call a
     spiritual manifestation of the most interesting and fascinating kind.
     Even the books felt the fascinating influence of this spiritual
     creature; for they displaced themselves and made way for her. Edward
     Kelly, an Irishman, who was present, and who witnessed this beautiful
     apparition, verifies the doctor's statement; therefore it would be
     unreasonable to doubt a story so well attested, particularly when the
     witness was an Irishman. Dr. D. was the distinguished favorite of
     kings and queens, a proof that spiritual science was in high repute
     in the good old age of Queen Elizabeth. But of all the professors of
     occult science, hermetic philosophy or Spiritualism, the Rosicrucians
     were the most exalted and refined. With them the possession of the
     philosopher's stone was to be the means of health and happiness, an
     instrument by which man could command the services of superior
     beings, control the elements, defy the abstractions of time and
     space, and acquire the most intimate knowledge of all the secrets of
     the universe. These were objects worth struggling for. The refined
     Rosicrucians were utterly disgusted with the coarse, gross, sensual
     spirits who had been in communication with man previous to their day;
     so they decreed the annihilation of them all, and substituted in
     their stead, a race of mild, beautiful and beneficent beings.

     The "spirits" of the olden time were a malignant race, and took
     especial delight in doing mischief; but the new generation is mild
     and benignant. These "spirits," as this petition attests, indulge in
     the most innocent amusements and harmless recreations, such as
     sliding, raising and tipping tables, producing pleasing sounds and
     variegated sights, and sometimes curing diseases which were
     previously considered incurable; and for the existence of this simple
     and benignant race our petitioners are indebted to the brethren of
     the rosy cross. Among the modern professors of Spiritualism,
     Cagliostro was the most justly celebrated. In Paris, his saloons
     were thronged with the rich and noble. To old ladies he sold
     immortality, and to the young ones he sold beauty that would endure
     for centuries, and his charming countess gained immense wealth, by
     granting attendant sylphs to such ladies as were rich enough to pay
     for their services. The "Biographies des Contemporains," a work which
     our present mediums ought to consult with care, says there was hardly
     a fine lady in Paris who would not sup with the shade of Lucretius in
     the apartments of Cagliostro. There was not a military officer who
     would not discuss the art with Alexander, Hannibal or Cæsar, or an
     advocate or counselor who would not argue legal points with the ghost
     of Cicero. These were spiritual manifestations worth paying for, and
     all our degenerate "mediums" would have to hide their diminished
     heads in the presence of Cagliostro.

     It would be a curious inquiry to follow this occult science through
     all its phases of mineral magnetism, animal mesmerism, etc., until we
     reach the present, latest and slowest phase of all spiritual
     manifestation; but I have said enough to show the truth of Burk's
     beautiful aphorism, "The credulity of dupes is as inexhaustible as
     the invention of knaves."

A writer of that time says:

"A pleasant debate followed. Mr. Petit proposed to refer the petition of
the Spiritualists to three thousand clergymen. Mr. Weller proposed to
refer it to the Committee on Foreign Relations, as it might be necessary
to inquire whether or not when Americans leave this world they lose their
citizenship. Mr. Mason proposed that it should be left to the Committee on
Military affairs. General Shields himself said he had thought of proposing
to refer the petition to the Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads,
because there may be a possibility of establishing a spiritual telegraph
between the material and spiritual worlds. The petition was finally, by a
decisive vote, laid upon the table. The table did not, as we learn, tip in
indignation at this summary disposal of Spiritualism in the Senate, by
which we must infer that the 'spirits,' if there were any in the Senate at
that time, endorsed its action and considered the same all right."

I might here enter into a description of the various forms of modern
spiritualistic representations. It would be a waste of time. I wish,
however, to allude more particularly just here to one of the "evidences"
which Mrs. Ann Leah Underhill apparently values most highly in connection
with the claim of inherent and hereditary "mediumistic" powers residing in
certain individuals and families. This is the somewhat noted so-called
exhibition of "mediumistic" ability by a child of Mrs. Kate Fox Jencken, a
babe, only about six weeks old at the time that it began. It is needless
to go into all the details of the wonders attributed to little "Ferdie"
Jencken, now a fine lad of fifteen, which rest wholly upon the testimony
of persons who were interested in magnifying them to the greatest extent.
Shadowy forms are said to have appeared to his nurse while she was
watching him. At three months he was said to have articulated "Mamma!" But
the cap of the climax is the feat he is said to have performed when not
six months old. As he was restless one day, his mother gave him a piece of
blotting paper and a pencil to play with. He made some marks on the paper
and dropped it. When his mother picked it up she exclaimed to Mrs.
Underhill, the only other person present:

"See here, he was written something."

It is pretended that on one side of the blotting paper was the message:

      "Grandma is here.
                "BOYSIE."

Later and up to the close of his first year, he was said to write other
messages, but all under like circumstances.

Mrs. Underhill lays great stress upon these "manifestations" in two
portions of her work.

The simple and only comment to be made upon them is, that Mrs. Catherine
Fox Jencken now declares that they were fraudulent. The messages were in
every case written upon the paper before it was placed in the baby's
hands, the mother knowing, of course, that a child a few months old would
not retain anything very long in its grasp, that those who chanced to be
present would not observe, unless previously warned, whether it was
wholly blank or not, and that the picking up of the paper from the floor
would give ample opportunity to turn undermost the side on which the child
may have really scratched some unmeaning marks.

So much for that and kindred marvels of infant "mediumship."

"Ferdie" Jencken, so far as is known, has never, since that early period
of his existence, exhibited any "mediumistic power."

The character of the communications purporting to come from the
"spirit-land" has always been such as to condemn them, even if nothing
else would, in the mind of any one gifted with a clear judgment. How many
have read with a bitter sneer those pretended words from "the great ones
of the earth," which would place them, if they had really written or
uttered them in the unseen life, on a mere level with the emptiest-headed
mortals whom we know in this!

"Alas!" exclaims Nathaniel Hawthorne in "The Blythedale Romance,"
"methinks we have fallen on an evil age! If these phenomena have not
humbug at the bottom, so much the worse for us. What can they indicate in
a spiritual way, except that the soul of man is descending to a lower
point that it has ever reached while incarnate? We are pursuing a downward
course in the eternal march, and thus bring ourselves into the same range
with beings whom death--in requital of their gross and evil lives--has
degraded below humanity. To hold intercourse with spirits of this order,
we must stoop and grovel in some elements more vile than earthly dust.
These goblins, if they exist at all, are but the shadows of past
mortality--mere refuse stuff, adjudged unworthy of the eternal world, and
as the most favorable supposition, dwindling gradually into nothingness.
The less we have to say to them, the better, lest we share their fate."



CHAPTER XII.

A SCIENTIFIC JURY.


At one period of her strange career, Mrs. Kane entered the service of Mr.
Henry Seybert, the famous and wealthy spiritualist of Philadelphia, who
proposed to found what he called a "Spiritual Mansion."

Mrs. Kane's salary and appointments were liberal, and her situation was
one which would have met the fondest wishes of many noted and ambitious
"mediums." She was the high priestess of this new temple of the unseen
entities, and as such she was honored and treated with most exalted
respect.

The conditions of the "Spiritual Mansion" were in all respects favorable
to the intercourse of dwellers in the flesh with those who inhabit the
realm of shadows, if such there had been.

The taking up of her abode in this singular institution was one of her
earliest steps, after the throwing off of her deep weeds of mourning, worn
in memory of the untimely termination of her dream of happiness. It was
then that she found that the professional life of a "medium" was the only
refuge left her from the cruel pursuit of poverty and want.

But her stay in the "Spiritual Mansion" was short. She had thought that
the quiet existence afforded her there would be preferable to the daily
and distasteful practice of public "mediumship," which she must have
resorted to at once, had she not accepted the proposition of Mr. Seybert.
But the hypocrisy unconsciously required of her by him, while of a more
fantastic description, was altogether too much for her to endure. Her
intense hatred of her profession as a "medium" appeared in a strong light
to those who were then in her confidence.

Mrs. Kane, at the "Spiritual Mansion," not only produced pretended
messages from the departed friends of her patron, but also from nearly
every martyr and saint in the Protestant calendar, and from the famous
sages and rulers of old. But her imposture stopped short of actual
sacrilege. Beyond that line she never has gone.

When it came to transmitting messages demanded by the living of the
apostles and fathers of the church, she revolted against this mania for
the supernatural and the impossible, and she refused to continue longer
the instrument of pure religious insanity.

She declined to produce "spirit rappings," as emanating from St. Paul, St.
Peter, Elijah and the angel Gabriel.

It has often been said that Henry Seybert had an undoubted vein of madness
in his brain. Mrs. Kane herself so declares. I believe the same is true of
every person (not a knave at heart) who persistently, after reason and
conscientious research have demonstrated the truth of the charges against
Spiritualism, still refuses to be convinced.

There was, however, a method in the madness of Seybert. Mrs. Kane has
always been most careful not to make any positive asseveration of the
claims of Spiritualism. Her guarded and, in some measure, candid course,
no doubt tended very far towards influencing him to desire an honest and
thorough investigation of the so-called spiritualistic phenomena, to be
conducted according to the most rigid scientific methods. In his will, he
left provision for the founding of a chair of philosophy in the University
of Pennsylvania, with the careful stipulation that a certain portion of
the income to be derived from the foundation should be devoted to the
investigation of "all systems of morals, religion or philosophy which
assume to represent the truth; and particularly of modern Spiritualism."

Thus this legacy gave birth to the celebrated "Seybert Commission," whose
labors have resulted in the most valuable exposé, prior to this present
publication, of the fraudulent methods of Spiritualism--"the tricks of the
trade," as it were--which has ever been made.

Even the investigation of the remarkable "rappings," produced by Mrs.
Kane, in which the Commission engaged--while less successful than any
other branch of their researches--went so far as fully to convince them
that these alleged manifestations were entirely fraudulent, and that they
were produced by physical action on the part of the "medium," probably by
or in the vicinity of her feet.

This they were unable to prove, however, by any use of their five senses,
which they were permitted to make. Mrs. Kane gave them no such chance of
examination, on this occasion, as had been vouchsafed to the Buffalo
doctors some thirty-six years before, almost with the result of throttling
Spiritualism in its infancy. No; she was much too clever for that. She
would greatly have preferred, to being ignominiously found out, to make a
public and unreserved confession.

The fact is that no other scientific committee ever enjoyed the facilities
of close observation of the production of the "raps" which were accorded
to the "Buffalo doctors," and that, up to this final day, when Mrs. Kane
herself tells the truth, there has been not one single positive exposure
of the primitive fraud of the "toe-knockings." Conjectures, it is true,
have groped in that direction, time and again--but they never have done
more than to grope.

The members of the "Seybert Commission" were extremely eager to obtain
sittings with Mrs. Kane, and were successful at an early stage of their
studies in doing so. Mr. Horace Howard Furness of Philadelphia was acting
chairman of the Commission a good part of the time, and as such he wrote
to Mrs. Kane in the following very urgent manner:

     "222 WEST WASHINGTON SQUARE.

     "DEAR MRS. KANE:

     "I wrote to you some ten days ago, but, since I have not heard from
     you, fear that my letter has miscarried, and will therefore repeat
     it.

     "I am anxious, very anxious, that the 'Seybert Commission,' of which
     I am the chairman, should have an opportunity of investigating the
     'Rappings.' Will you, therefore, appoint some day and hour, at your
     earliest convenience, when I can visit you in New York and make
     arrangements with you personally?

     "I sincerely trust that your summer has been healthful and peaceful,
     and beg to subscribe myself

     "Yours respectfully,
     "HORACE HOWARD FURNESS.

     "22nd October, 1884."

Mrs. Kane became the guest of Mr. Furness at his house, and there produced
the "rappings" at two séances which were full of important significance.

The first was on the 5th of November, 1884, in the evening. The company
consisted of Dr. William Pepper and his wife, Dr. Joseph Leidy, Dr. George
A. Koeing, Prof. Robert Ellis Thompson, Mr. Horace Howard Furness, Mr.
George S. Fullerton, Mr. Coleman Sellers, all, excepting the lady, members
of the Commission, and Mr. George S. Pepper, Miss Logan, and the
"medium." All seated themselves around an open dining-table, Mrs. Kane at
one end and Mr. Sellers at the other. The report of the Commission says:

"The medium sat with her feet partly under the table, and consequently
concealed from most of those present--her feet were hidden also by her
dress."

After the usual preliminaries of an introduction to denizens of the
"spirit land," the soul of Henry Seybert was announced. He declared
through the "medium" that he knew the names of the members of the
Commission, and particularly of the one who was addressing him. Mr.
Sellers, who happened to be this person, requested the spirit to spell his
name by the aid of a written alphabet, each letter of which was pointed to
in turn, the letter intended by the "spirit" being indicated by three
"raps." The result was that the name spelled out was the following:

  "CHARLES CERI!"

Without commenting upon this blunder of the "spirit," the Commission
encouraged Mrs. Kane to proceed. She took a station at some distance from
the table, her hands resting upon the back of a chair, and "raps" were
heard which seemed to come from a point very near or under her. Again,
when she stood close to a bookcase, "raps" were produced which she
declared to proceed from the glass door upon which Mr. Sellers rested his
hand. The latter felt not the slightest vibration of the glass. Mrs. Kane
then produced written messages, addressed to two persons present, whose
names she might have ascertained with very great ease. The writing was an
irregular scrawl, running from the left, and leaning backward, and could
only be read from the observe side by holding the paper up to the light.

The second séance in which Mrs. Kane acted as "medium" took place at the
same place on the 6th of November, 1884. Dr. Leidy, Mr. Furness, Dr.
Koeing, Mr. Fullerton and Mr. Sellers, members of the Commission, Mr.
George S. Pepper, Mrs. Kane and a stenographer were present. The
experiments of this evening were more lengthy and exhaustive than those of
the previous one. For convenience of narration I shall divide them into
two series: those made while the "medium" either stood upon the floor or
sat upon an ordinary seat in an ordinary position; those in which she was
separated from the floor, either by glass or by some object of
considerable height, upon which she stood; and those in which she produced
writing upon ordinary paper, said to have been dictated by the "spirits."
The experiments did not always take place in the consecutive order in
which I shall note them.

The report says: "The 'spirit rappings' during the evening, aside from
those heard during the test with glass tumblers, were apparently confined
to the floor space in the immediate vicinity of and directly beneath the
table around which the company were seated."

The stenographic report of this part of the investigation proceeds as
follows:

"MR. SELLERS. Is any spirit present now?

"Three raps--faint and partly distinct--are almost instantly audible. The
raps apparently emanate from the floor-space directly beneath, or in the
immediate vicinity of the table. This remark is applicable to all the
'rappings' during the séance at the pine table.

"The 'MEDIUM' (interpreting the sounds). That was 'yes.'

"MR. SELLERS (aside). They sounded like three.

"The raps are immediately repeated with more distinctness.

"MR. SELLERS (aside). There are three, and they are quite distinct. Is the
spirit the same that was present last night?

"Three raps, apparently identical with those last heard, are again
audible.

"MR. SELLERS (aside). It says it is the same spirit. I presume then, that
it is Henry Seybert? (No response.) Is it Henry Seybert?

"Three raps--distinct and positive.

"MR. SELLERS. You promised last evening to give a communication to Mr.
Pepper. Are you able to communicate with him now?

"Two raps--comparitively feeble.

"The 'MEDIUM' (interpreting). One, two: that means not now.

"MR. SELLERS (repeating). Not now?

"The 'MEDIUM' (reflectively). But probably before he leaves.

"Three raps--quickly, distinctly and instantly given.

"The 'MEDIUM.' He said 'Yes, before he leaves.' (To Mr. Sellers.) You
asked that question, I think?

"MR. SELLERS. Yes. Will you communicate with him before Mr. Pepper leaves
to-night?

"Three raps--instantaneous, quick and vigorous."

Afterwards, the experiment of standing near a table, the "medium" not
touching it, to see if sounds similar to those of the previous evening
could be produced, was repeated. The "medium" insisted, however, that
there should be no breaking of the circle formed about her by those who
were present.

"All of the gentlemen, and the 'medium,'" says the report, "rise and
remain standing. * * *

"The 'MEDIUM.' This is test, something I have not gone through since I was
a little child, almost.

"MR. SELLERS (after an interval of waiting). There seem to be no raps.
(Another short interval.) Now Mr. Seybert, cannot you produce some raps?

"Eighty seconds here elapse with no response, when the 'medium' made an
observation which was partly inaudible at the reporter's seat, the purport
of which was that the 'spirit communications' are sometimes retarded or
facilitated by a compliance by the listeners with certain conditions.
Another interval of probably two minutes elapsed, when the 'medium'
suggested to Dr. Leidy to place his hands upon the table. The suggestion
was complied with.

"Mr. Sellers inquires of the 'medium' whether a change in her position,
with regard to the table, would do any good.

"'MEDIUM.' I will change positions with you.

"The change was made accordingly, but without result, and another period
of waiting followed.

"The 'MEDIUM' (to Dr. Leidy). Suppose you ask some questions. You may have
some friend who will respond.

"DR. LEIDY. Is any spirit present whom I know, or who knows me?

"After a pause of ten seconds, three light raps are heard.

"DR. LEIDY. Who am I?

"The 'medium' explains that the responses by rappings are mainly
indicative only of affirmation or negation.

"DR. LEIDY. Will you repeat your taps to indicate that you are present
yet?

"Three taps are heard.

"MR. SELLERS. Those are very clearly heard.

"The 'MEDIUM' (to Dr. Leidy). Ask if that is Mr. Seybert.

"DR. LEIDY. Is Mr. Seybert present?

"Three raps--very feeble.

"DR. LEIDY (to Mr. Sellers). Was there an answer to that?

"MR. SELLERS. There was. The answer was three raps. (After an interval, in
which no response is received.) There seem to be no further
communications."

Later in the evening efforts to engage the defunct Mr. Seybert in
conversation were again made. The company were as before gathered about
the table. "Raps" were made by Mrs. Kane on the floor. The "spirit" was
asked if he knew the members of the Commission present, and to state their
number. When it came to the response to the latter part of the question
there were "seven slow, deliberate and distinct raps."

Alas! the "spirit" had mistaken the guest of the Commission, Mr. George S.
Pepper, and the stenographers for members!

The latter were seated at a separate table.

"MR. SELLERS. Are there seven members of the Committee present?

"Three raps.

"MR. SELLERS. Are they all seated around one table?

"No response. About forty seconds elapse.

"MR. SELLERS. Are they seated at two tables?

"Three raps--quite feeble.

"MR. SELLERS (to his associates). We still must go back to the one thing.
The information we receive through these responses is of little importance
to us compared with the information which we must obtain as to whether
these sounds are produced by a disembodied Spirit or by some living
person; that is, in deference to the 'Medium.' (To Mr. Furness.) Do you
not think so?

"Mr. Furness is understood to assent.

"MR. SELLERS. We have tried the glass tumblers. We have the sounds here. I
would ask Mrs. Kane if it is proper for us to look below the top of the
table at the time the sounds are being produced, and in such a way as to
see her feet.

"The 'MEDIUM.' Yes, of course, you could do that, but it is not well to
break, when you are standing, suddenly. As you know, you have to conform
to the rules, else you will get no rappings.

"MR. SELLERS. What are the rules?

"The 'MEDIUM' (disconnectedly.) The rules are--every test condition, that
I am perfectly willing to go through, and have gone through a thousand
times--at the same time, there are times when you can break the rules. So
slight a thing as the disjoining of hands may break the rules. I do not
think the standing on the glass has been fully tried.

"MR. SELLERS. We will try that later.

"MR. FURNESS (to the 'medium,' informally). This investigation is one of
great importance to us. There is no question about it--we have heard
these curious sounds. Now as to whether they come from 'spirits' or
not--that would seem to be the very next logical step in our inquiry. I
think you are entirely at one with us in every possible desire to have
this phenomenon investigated.

"The 'MEDIUM.' Oh, certainly. But I pledge myself to conform to nothing,
for--as I said in Europe--_I do not even say the sounds are from
'spirits_;' and, what is more, it is utterly beyond human power to detect
them. _I do not say they are the spirits of our departed friends, but I
leave others to judge for themselves._

"MR. FURNESS. Then you have come to the conclusion that they are entirely
independent of yourself.

"The 'MEDIUM.' No, _I do not know that they are entirely independent of
myself_.

"MR. FURNESS. Under what conditions can you influence them?

"The response, which was partly inaudible at the reporter's seat, was
understood to be: 'I cannot tell.'

"MR. FURNESS. You say that in the generality of cases they are beyond your
control?

"The 'MEDIUM.' Yes.

"MR. FURNESS. How in the world shall we test that?

"The 'MEDIUM.' Well, by--

"MR. FURNESS. By--what? Isolating you from the table?

"The 'MEDIUM.' Yes.

"MR. FURNESS (applying his right hand, by her permission, to the
'Medium's' head). Are you ever conscious of any vibration in your bones?

"The 'MEDIUM.' No; but sometimes it causes an exhaustion, that is, under
circumstances when the raps do not come freely.

"MR. FURNESS. The freer the raps come, the better for you?

"The 'MEDIUM.' Yes, the freer the better--the less exhaustion.

"MR. SELLERS. But do you feel now, to-night, any untoward influence
operating against you?

"The 'MEDIUM.' No, not to-night, for it takes quite a little while before
we feel these things.

"MR. FURNESS. Do these raps always have that vibratory
sound--tr-rut--tr-rut--tr-rut?

"The 'MEDIUM.' Sometimes they vary.

"MR. FURNESS. As a general rule I have heard them sound so.

"The 'MEDIUM.' Every rap has a different sound. For instance, when the
'spirit' of Mr. Seybert rapped, if the sound was a good one, you would
have noticed that his rap was different from that of another. Every one is
entirely different from another.

"MR. FURNESS. Do you suppose that the present conditions are such that you
can throw the raps to a part of the room other than that in which you are?

"The 'MEDIUM.' I do not pretend to do that, but I will try to do it.

"Mr. Furness and Dr. Leidy station themselves in the corner of the room,
diagonally, and most remote from the pine table, at which their
associates remain seated, with their hands upon the table, and 'their
minds intent on having the raps produced at the corner indicated,' as
requested by the 'medium,' who also remains at the table. The 'medium'
asks, '_Will the "Spirit" rap at the other side of the room?_' and, after
twelve seconds, and again after forty-three seconds, repeats the inquiry.
_No response is received._ The experiment is repeated with Mr. Furness and
Dr. Koenig at the corner, but with a like negative result."

Let us now turn to the experiments made while the "medium" was not in a
position in which her feet could touch the floor. The report says:

"Mr. Sellers made this inquiry:

"'It is proposed that the "medium" shall stand upon tumblers. Are we
likely to have any demonstration?'

"Three raps--promptly given, though feeble in delivery and but faintly
audible.

"The 'MEDIUM.' There were three--a kind of tardy assent.

"MR. SELLERS (to the 'Medium'). As if the 'Spirits' might or might not
communicate?

"The 'MEDIUM.' Well, that a trial might be made.

"Three raps are here again distinctly heard--the characteristics of the
sounds in this instance being rapidity and energy, or positiveness.

"The 'MEDIUM.' That is a quick answer.

"At this point, attention is directed to the first of a series of
experiments with four glass tumblers, which are placed together, with the
bottoms upward, on the carpeted floor, in the center of a vacant space.
The 'medium' stands directly upon these, the heels of her shoes resting
upon the rear tumblers and the soles upon the front tumblers. The
Committee co-operate with the 'medium,' and, in conformity with her
suggestions, all the men clasp hands and form a semi-circle in front of
the 'medium,' the hands of the latter being grasped by the gentlemen
nearest to her on either side.

"MR. SELLERS (after a notification from the medium to proceed). Is Mr.
Seybert still present?

"No response.

"The 'MEDIUM.' It may be a few minutes before you will hear any rapping
through these glasses.

"Ten seconds elapse.

"The 'MEDIUM.' This test is a very satisfactory one, if they do it. And
they have done it a hundred times.

"Five seconds elapse.

"The 'MEDIUM' (to Mr. Furness). The glasses are not placed over the
marble, are they?

"MR. FURNESS. No, the floor is of wood.

"MR. SELLERS (after another interval of waiting) informally remarked to
Mr. Furness: 'We will wait probably for another minute to see if anything
comes. As you know, the 'medium' claims that it is impossible for her to
control these things--that she is merely one who is operated through.'

"Another interval expires.

"The 'MEDIUM.' That was a very faint rap. Suppose we change the position
of the glasses.

"Note by the stenographer. No intimation is given that the rap here spoken
of was heard by any one other than the 'medium' herself. Pursuant to the
request just stated, the carpet is removed and the glass tumblers are
located on the bare floor at a point about five feet distant from the
place at which the test was first tried. The new location is in the center
of a passage-way, about three feet in width, between a side-board on one
side, and a wall projection on the other. Its selection is apparently,
though not specifically, dictated by the position and movements of the
'medium.' The 'medium' and the Committee resume their positions, the
former standing on the glasses and the gentlemen facing her in a group.

"The 'MEDIUM.' Now, Spirits, will you rap on the floor?

"Thirty seconds here elapsed with no response, when one glass was heard to
click against the other, and the 'medium' exclaimed 'Oh!'

"The 'MEDIUM' (repeating). Will you rap on the floor?

"Thirty seconds now elapse without any demonstration.

"The 'MEDIUM' (aside). It seems to be a failure. They have done it.

"Another click of the glasses which passes without comment.

"MR. SELLERS. We will have to set down the result of the experiment on
glass tumblers as negative. It may be well to try it later.

"The 'MEDIUM' (evidently reluctant to abandon the test). Suppose now, as
we have gone so far, we kind of form a chain.

"The company retained their positions with hands joined, and the 'Spirits'
were repeatedly requested to make their presence known. Mr. Pepper, at the
suggestion of the 'medium,' asking the 'Spirit' of his friend, Henry
Seybert, to manifest its presence by one rap--but all efforts to elicit
such response proved ineffectual.

"When the same experiments were resumed, the lady proceeded to the space
_between the side-board and the wall_, where the last preceding test had
been made, and there the tumblers were again arranged. The 'medium'
resumed her position upon them, with Drs. Leidy and Koeing, and Messrs.
Sellers and Furness facing her.

"The 'MEDIUM.' Will the Spirit rap here?

"Twenty-three seconds elapse.

"DR. LEIDY. Is any 'Spirit' present.

"An interval of thirty-nine seconds here followed, when the attention of
the Committee was momentarily diverted by an inquiry addressed to Mr.
Furness by Mr. Sellers, viz.: Whether a glass plate of sufficient strength
to bear the weight of the 'medium' was procurable. At this moment the
'medium' suddenly exclaimed: 'I hear a rap. You said, "Get a glass," and
there was a rap.'

"The 'MEDIUM' (repeating for the information of Mr. Furness). Somebody
proposed a glass and there were three raps.

"Dr. Koenig inquires of the 'medium' whether the meaning intended to be
conveyed by the sounds is that the 'spirits' desire to have the glass
plate produced.

"The 'MEDIUM.' I do not know. I know there were raps. (Turning to Mr.
Sellers, the 'medium' adds:) They may have been made by your heel on the
floor, but certainly there were sounds.

"MR. FULLERTON. Then it was not the regular triple rap?

"The 'MEDIUM.' I could not tell.

"Just before calling attention to the alleged rap or raps, the 'medium'
grasped with her right hand the wood-work of the side-board, as if for
support. It was then that she stated she heard the sounds. They were
apparently not heard by any one but the 'medium.'

"MR. SELLERS (addressing the 'spirit'). Will you repeat the raps we heard
just now, assuming that there were some?

"Ten minutes elapse without a response.

"The 'MEDIUM.' There is no use of my standing any longer, for when they
come at all, they come right away.

"MR. SELLERS (after scrutinizing the position of one of the feet of the
'medium'). The edge of the heel of the shoe rests on the back tumbler.
(Assuming a stooping posture for a more prolonged scrutiny.) We will see
whether the raps will be produced now.

"The 'medium' now proposes that all the members of the committee shall
stand up and join hands.

"Mr. Sellers and his associates accordingly stand, facing the 'medium,'
with hands joined. Changes in their positions were made by some of the
gentlemen from time to time, as suggested by the 'medium,' Mr. Pepper and
Dr. Koenig being the first to exchange places. This occurred after a
silence of thirty seconds, without any response.

"The 'MEDIUM.' Now, Mr. Seybert, if your 'spirit' is here, will you have
the kindness--I knew Mr. Seybert well in life--to rap?

"Fifteen seconds elapse.

"The 'MEDIUM.' No, he does not seem to respond.

"At the suggestion of Mr. Sellers, all of the gentlemen approach the
'medium' for the purpose of inducing some acknowledgment by the 'spirit,'
and inquiries similar to those already stated are repeated without result.

"The Commission temporarily abandon the test. When the tumblers are again
produced the 'medium' takes her position upon them, with Mr. Fullerton
standing next to her upon the right and Mr. Furness to the left. Mr.
Sellers remains for some moments kneeling on the floor to enable himself
better to hear any sounds that may be but faintly audible. The 'spirits'
are repeatedly importuned by the 'medium' to produce the 'rappings,' but
no response is heard until the company is about to abandon the experiment.
Three raps are then audible. The raps are very light, but very distinct.

"Mr. Fullerton states that he heard the raps.

"MR. SELLERS. I heard a sound then, but it seemed as if it was around
there. (Indicating the wall immediately in the rear of the 'medium.')

"The tumblers are here moved further away from the wall, and the 'medium'
resumes her position upon them.

"MR. SELLERS. Will the 'Spirit' rap again? (No response.)

"The 'MEDIUM.' Were any of you gentlemen acquainted with Mr. Seybert in
his lifetime?

"MR. FULLERTON. I saw him several times before his death. If he can give
an intimation now of anything he said at that time, it will indicate that
he remembers it.

"A very faint rap is heard.

"The 'MEDIUM.' There is a rap. It seems to be there again. (Indicating the
spot to which attention was previously called by Mr. Sellers.)

"The 'medium' again importunes, first, 'Mr. Seybert,' and next the
'spirits,' to rap; and the importunities are repeated. Three raps are
distinctly, but faintly heard.

"MR. SELLERS. I heard them. They sounded somewhat like the others, not
exactly.

"The 'MEDIUM.' I heard one rap, but it is nothing for me to hear them; I
want you gentlemen to hear them.

"MR. SELLERS. Probably we will hear them again.

"While Mr. Sellers and Mr. Furness are conversing, several raps are heard,
though less distinct than the preceding ones.

"The 'MEDIUM.' There they are, as though right under the glass. (After a
silence of forty seconds) Now I hear them again, very light--oh, very
light.

"Mr. Furness, with the permission of the 'medium,' _places his hand upon
one of her feet_.

"The 'MEDIUM.' There are raps now, strong--yes, I hear them.

"MR. FURNESS (to the 'medium'). This is the most wonderful thing of all,
Mrs. Kane; _I distinctly feel them in your foot_. There is not a particle
of motion in your foot, but there is an unusual pulsation.

"Mr. Sellers here made some inquiries of the 'medium,' concerning the
shoes now worn by her. The replies, which were not direct, are here given.

"MR. SELLERS. Are those the shoes which you usually wear?

"The 'MEDIUM.' I wear all kinds of shoes.

"MR. SELLERS. Are the sounds produced in your room when you have no shoes
on?

"The 'MEDIUM.' More or less. They are produced under all circumstances.

"Following the suggestion of the 'medium,' all present proceed through an
intervening apartment to the library, where the 'medium' selects various
positions--standing upon a lounge, then upon a cushioned chair, next upon
a step-ladder, and finally upon the side of a book-case--but all with a
like unsuccessful result, no response by 'rappings' being heard.

"In the midst of the experiments at the table Mrs. Kane exclaimed to Mr.
Sellers: Well, my hand does feel like writing. Will you give me a piece of
paper? and, maybe they will give me some directions.

"MR. FULLERTON (to the 'medium'). How does your hand feel when affected in
that way?

"The 'MEDIUM.' It is a peculiar feeling, like that from taking hold of
electrical instruments. I do not know but that you might possibly feel it
in my hand.

"The lady here extended her right hand upon the table toward Mr.
Fullerton. The latter placed his left hand upon the extended hand of the
'medium,' and subsequently remarked that the pulsation of her wrist was a
little above the ordinary rate.

"The 'medium,' ostensibly under 'spirit' influence, with lead-pencil in
hand, proceeded to write two communications from the 'spirit' of the late
Henry Seybert. The first of these covered two pages of paper of the size
of ordinary foolscap. The 'medium' wrote in large characters, with
remarkable rapidity, and in a direction from the right to the left, or the
reverse of ordinary handwriting. The writing, consequently, could be read
only from the reverse side of the paper, and by being held up so as to
permit the gaslight to shine through it.

"The communications, as deciphered by Mr. Sellers, with the aid of Mr.
Fullerton and the 'medium,' were as follows:

     "You must not expect that I can satisfy you beyond all doubt in so
     short a time as you have yet had. I want to give you all in my power,
     and will do so if you will give me a chance. You must commence right
     in the first place or you shall all be disappointed for a much longer
     time. _Princiipis Obsta Sereo Medicina Paratum._

          "HENRY SEYBERT.

          "Mend the fault in time or we will all be puzzled.

          "HENRY SEYBERT."

The fault in the Latin of the above quotation attracted the attention of
the Commission.

Mr. George S. Pepper, who had been well acquainted with Mr. Seybert in his
lifetime, declared that he had never known any Latin at all!

       *       *       *       *       *

The investigations of the "Seybert Commission" in other directions than
that of the "rappings," were far more fascinating and productive of
results. It would be impossible to give an adequate idea of them here. The
Commission employed the most celebrated "mediums" within their reach, and
paid them liberally to place them in communication with the "Spirit
world." They saw (and they show in their report that they did see) the
secret of every "wonderful" thing done by the "mediums," and found it in
most instances exceedingly simple, and generally rather clumsily
performed. Professional jugglers constantly outdo professional "mediums."
This, the latter cannot deny, and they seek--oh, monumental impudence!--to
make people believe that jugglers are nothing more nor less than
"mediums," and that "mediums" are never in any sense jugglers!

Thus the notorious Slade:

"MR. SELLERS. Do you know a man named Kellar, who is exhibiting in this
city?

"DR. SLADE. I do not. I never knew him.

"MR. SELLERS. You may, however, be able to explain to me a very remarkable
slate writing experiment which Kellar has performed. (Mr. Sellers here
describes at length Mr. Kellar's trick with the fastened slates.) How did
Mr. Kellar do that?

"DR. SLADE. He is a 'medium.' _He does that work precisely as I do it._

"MR. SELLERS. But can he not do it by trickery?

"DR. SLADE. No, it is impossible. He is a 'medium' and a powerful
'medium.'"

This is from a memorandum of Mr. Sellers. He says further:

"The inquiry was then addressed to Mr. Slade: Do you know a man named
Guernilla, who, with his wife, gave séances?

"MR. SLADE. Yes, I know him very well.

"MR. SELLERS. Well, how does he perform his wonderful exploits in
'rappings,' etc.?

"MR. SLADE. He is a 'medium,' a powerful 'medium.' I know him very well
indeed. I can assure you that all he does is done solely by means of his
mediumistic powers.

"I now state to the Committee that the Guernillas exhibited in
Philadelphia some years ago as exposers of Spiritualism. They did not
expose it, but they performed experiments which, prior to that time, were
said to have been accomplished by the aid of 'spirits.' Guernilla himself,
at my house, in my presence, in broad daylight, performed all the feats
and exhibited the phenomena that were produced at the dark and other
séances, and he repeated them until I myself became as expert as he in
performing them; for which I paid him a consideration. So much for the
mediumistic power."

Mr. Sellers explained with reference to Mr. Kellar:

"I pause here for the express purpose of having the fact noted that, being
thoroughly familiar with the details of the methods of those experiments,
I can positively assure the Committee that there is no mediumistic power
in Mr. Kellar, so far as his methods are concerned, that those methods are
as easy of solution as are any other physical problems."



CHAPTER XIII.

THE UNALTERABLE VERDICT.


The "Seybert Commission"[3] examined every known form of spiritualistic
manifestation to which they had access, and implicitly under conditions
imposed by the "mediums" themselves. These conditions are everything that
could be devised and plausibly used to prevent the hoped-for dupe from
detecting the fraud that is practised upon him.

The Commission put the indelible stamp of fraud upon all so-called
spiritualistic manifestations. Of the "spiritual rappings" they say:

"To the subject of 'spirit-rappings' we have devoted some time and
attention, but our investigations have not been sufficiently extensive to
warrant us at present in offering any positive conclusions. The difficulty
attending the investigation of this mode of spiritualistic manifestation
is increased by the fact, familiar to physiologists, that sounds of
varying intensity may be produced in almost any portion of the human body
by voluntary muscular action. To determine the exact location of this
muscular activity is at times a matter of delicacy.

"What we can say thus far, with assurance, is that, in the cases which
have come under our observation, the theory of the purely physiological
origin of the sounds has been sustained by the fact that the 'mediums'
were invariably, and confessedly, cognizant of the 'rappings' whenever
they occurred, and could at once detect any spurious 'rappings,' however
exact and indistinguishable to all other ears might be the imitation."

Mrs. Kane has expressed amusement over the manner in which she eluded the
inquisitions of the grave and conscientious Commission and left them
puzzled over the "rappings."

Even then, however, she cared so little for the preservation of the
secret, that when she declined to be further examined by the Commission,
she admitted to Mr. Furness that the gentlemen had ample ground for
looking upon the manifestations which she had given as unsatisfactory. Mr.
Furness says:

"I told her that the Commission had now had two séances with her, and that
_the conclusion to which they had come is that the so-called raps are
confined wholly to her person_, whether produced by her voluntarily or
involuntarily they had not attempted to decide; furthermore, that although
thus satisfied in their own minds they were anxious to treat her with all
possible deference and consideration, and accordingly had desired me to
say to her that if she thought another séance with her would or might
modify or reverse their conclusion, they held themselves ready to meet her
again this evening and renew the investigation of the manifestations; at
the same time I felt it my duty to add that in that case the examination
would necessarily be of the most searching description.

"Mrs. Kane replied that the manifestations at both séances had been of an
unsatisfactory nature, so unsatisfactory that _she could not really blame
the Commission for arriving at their conclusion_. In her present state of
health she _really_ doubted whether a third meeting would prove any better
than the two already held. It might even be more unsatisfactory, and
instead of removing the present belief of the Commission it might add
confirmation of it. In view of these considerations, she decided not to
hold another séance."

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Kane declares that with her muscles and the joints of her toes so
educated by long practice, and her ability to produce the noise of "raps"
with no perceptible movement, she could have gone on deceiving the world
indefinitely without being detected. She explains that the making of the
"raps," when she is stationed on glass tumblers, requires a far greater
effort than when her feet are in contact with the carpet or floor. The
shock must in that case be conveyed through a comparatively non-conducting
substance. For this reason, when the floor was especially hard or thick
and lacking in sonorousness, she sometimes failed in the expected effect.
In every instance, it was most difficult to produce the "raps" under those
circumstances.

       *       *       *       *       *

The verdict, however, is now complete. Spiritualism is guilty.

The court of mankind so declares it.



IV. REPENTANCE.



CHAPTER XIV.

THE HEART PLEADS FOR THE SOUL.


The most interesting feature, after all, of Margaret Fox's career, was
perhaps that sad and abortive romance of which Dr. Elisha Kent Kane, the
gallant Arctic explorer, was the hero. This history should be known to the
reader in order that the exact aspect of Spiritualism to her developed
conscience in after years may be understood.

Dr. Kane first saw Maggie Fox in the autumn of 1852, when she was staying
with her mother at a hotel in Philadelphia, being then engaged in
"spiritualistic manifestations." Dr. Kane, whose heart had never before
been touched, at once succumbed to the sweet charm of this erratic child,
and conceived the romantic idea of removing her from the life she then was
leading, educating her and marrying her. The project, when it became
known, awakened the bitter hostility of his friends, and from this
hostility, the unfortunate separation between them which it caused, and
Dr. Kane's untimely death, all of the sorrow that afterwards engulfed her
life and deprived her of the ambition for a nobler career, directly
sprang.

Margaret was but thirteen years old when Dr. Kane first saw her. A
friendly hand[4] has thus traced her portrait:

"Her beauty was of that delicate kind which grows on the heart, rather
than captivates the sense at a glance; she possessed in a high degree that
retiring modesty which shuns rather than seeks admiration. The position in
which she was placed imposed on her unusual reserve and self-control, and
an ordinary observer might not have seen in her aught to make a sudden
impression. But there was more than beauty in the charm about her
discerned by the penetrating eyes of her new acquaintance. The winning
grace of her modest demeanor, and the native refinement apparent in every
look and movement, word and tone, were evidences of a nature enriched with
all the qualities that dignify and adorn womanhood; of a soul far above
her present calling, and those who surrounded her. To appreciate her real
superiority, her age and the circumstances must be considered. She was yet
a little child--untutored, except in the elements of instruction to be
gained in country district schools, when it was discovered that she
possessed a mysterious power,[5] for which no science or theory could
account. This brought her at once into notoriety and gathered around her
those who had a fancy for the supernatural, and who loved to excite the
wonder of strangers. Most little girls would have been spoiled by that
kind of attention. The endurance of it without having her head turned,
argued rare delicacy, simplicity and firmness of character. After
exhibitions given in different cities, to find herself an object of public
attention, and of flattering notice from persons of distinction, would
naturally please the vanity of a beautiful young girl; and it would not be
surprising if a degree of self-conceit were engendered. But Margaret was
not vain, and could not be made self-conceited. If she had any
consciousness of her exquisite loveliness,--if it pleased her to possess
pretty dresses and ornaments--her delight was that of a happy child taking
pleasure in beautiful things, without reference to any effect they might
enable her to produce. Perhaps no young girl ever lived more free from the
least idea of coquetry or conquest. She heeded not the expressions of
admiration that reached her ear so frequently. She had seen enough of the
world at this time to be aware of the advantages of a superior education,
and it was the most ardent wish of her heart to make herself a
well-educated woman."

Margaret showed a disposition to devote herself with great industry to the
acquirement of knowledge. In fact, at her first meeting with Dr. Kane, he
found her conning over a French exercise in an interval of the public
receptions which were given by herself and her mother. Dr. Kane easily
enlisted her thoughts in a better and higher career. The deception which
was required of her already appeared in something of its true light to her
young mind, and she was restless under its abhorrent shackles. Dr. Kane's
interest in her was certainly pure and elevated, and it led him to gloomy
apprehensions of the fate of so fair, yet so misguided, a creature. He
wrote in verse a prophecy that she would "live and die forlorn." There
have been many times when the latter part of this warning seemed most
likely to come true; and that, doubtless, would have been her fate had she
not found in a final renunciation of her past, a solace to her heart for
the lack of that falsely won prosperity which had been hers during but
brief intervals.

Dr. Kane was but an indifferent versifier; but some of the trifles in
rhyme which he addressed to Margaret may well illustrate certain facts
that I shall state at length hereafter. One day, he sent her "Thoughts
that Ought to Be Those of Maggie Fox," the first refrain of which is as
follows:

  "Dreary, dreary, dreary,
    Passes life away,
  Dreary, dreary, dreary,
    The day
  Glides on, and _weary
    Is my hypocrisy_."

At the close of the second stanza were these lines:

  "Happy as the hopes
    Which filled my trusting heart,
  Before I knew a sinful wish
    Or learned a _sinful art_."

Again:

             "So long this secret have I kept
                I can't forswear it now.
              It festers in my bosom,
                It cankers in my heart,
  _Thrice cursed is the slave fast chained
              To a deceitful art_!"

And last:

  "Then the maiden knelt and prayed:
      'Father, my anguish see;
  Oh, give me but one trusting hope
    Whose heart will shelter me;
  One trusting love to share my griefs,
    To snatch me from a life forlorn;
  That I may never, never, never,
    Thus endlessly from night to morn,
        Say that _my life is dreary
        With its hypocrisy_!'"

Among the first words that Dr. Kane spoke to Margaret were these: "This is
no life for you, my child." As their reciprocal attraction grew stronger,
he bent all of his deep influence over her in one direction, to effect
once and for all her release from the fatal snare of deceit that fate had
cast about her. Only a few weeks later we find him writing her a note from
New York, in which he says:

"Look at the _Herald_ of this morning. There is an account of a suicide
which causes some excitement. Your sister's[6] name is mentioned in the
inquest of the coroner. Oh, how much I wish that you would quit _this life
of dreary sameness and unsuspected deceit_. We live in this world only for
the good and noble. How crushing it must be to occupy with them a position
of ambiguous respect!"

Dr. Kane, a short time afterwards, described Maggie as follows:

"But it is that strange mixture of child and woman, of simplicity and
cunning, of passionate impulse and extreme self-control, that has made you
a curious study. Maggie, you are very pretty, very childlike, very
deceitful, but to me as readable as my grandmother's Bible."

"And again he said: 'When I think of you, dear darling, _wasting your time
and youth and conscience for a few paltry dollars_, and think of the
crowds who come nightly to hear of the wild stories of the frigid North, I
sometimes feel that we are not so far removed after all. My brain and your
body are each the sources of attraction, and I confess that there is not
so much difference.'"

Never for an instant did the manly and robust intellect of Dr. Kane stoop
to the level of even a partial belief in the pretended wonders of
"Spiritualism." The allusions made to it in his letters, when not grave or
indignant, are full of a certain contemptuous playfulness, well calculated
to reprove the conscious deceitfulness practised by the childish Maggie,
while not offending the natural pride which was yet apart of her
imperfectly formed character. When the doctor was in Boston, he wrote to
her sister Katie:

"Well, now for talk. Boston is a funny place, and 'the spirits' have
friends here. You would be surprised if I told you what I have heard. * * *
There are some things that I have seen which I think would pain you.
Maggie would only laugh at them; but with me it gave cause for sadness. I
saw a young man with a fine forehead and expressive face, but a
countenance deeply tinged with melancholy, seize the hand of this
'medium,' whose name--as I never tell other's secrets--I cannot tell you.
He begged her to answer a question which I could not hear. Instantly she
rapped, and his face assumed a positive agony; the rapping continued; his
pain increased; I leaned forward, feeling an utter detestation for the
woman who could inflict such torment; but it was too late. A single rap
came and he fell senseless in a fit. This I saw with my own eyes.

"Now, Katie, although you and Maggie have never gone so far as this, yet
circumstances must occur where you have to lacerate the feelings of other
people. I know that you have a tender heart; but practice in anything
hardens us. You do things now which you would never have dreamed of doing
years ago; and there will come a time when you will be worse than Leah; a
hardened woman, gathering around you _the victims of a delusion_. * * *
The older you grow the more difficult it will be to liberate yourself from
this thing. And can you look forward to a life unblessed by the
affections, unsoothed by the consciousness of doing right! * * * _When
your mother leaves this scene, can you and * * * Maggie be content to live
that life of constant deceit?_"

To Maggie, Dr. Kane wrote from the sincerest depths of his heart,
recalling the first moment when he saw her, "a little Priestess, cunning
in the mysteries of her temple, and weak in everything but the power with
which she played her part. A sentiment almost of pity stole over his
wordly heart as he saw through the disguise."

And again: "Waddy[7] called on me to-day, as did Tallmadge;[8] I was kind
to both for your sake. Waddy talked much about you. He said that he
feared for you, and spoke long and well upon the dangers and temptations
of your present life. I said little to him other than my convictions of
your own and your sister's excellent character and '_pure simplicity_;'
for thus, Mag, I always talk of you. And it pained me to find that others
viewed your life as I did, and regarded you as occupying an ambiguous
position. Depend upon it, Maggie, no right-minded gentleman--whether he be
believer or sceptic--can regard your present life with approval. Let this,
dear sweet, make you think over the offer of the one friend who would
stretch out an arm to save you. Think wisely, dear darling, ere it be too
late. * * *

"Maggie, you cannot tell the sadness that comes over me when I think of
you. What will become of you? you, the one being that I regard even before
myself! * * *

"If you really can make up your mind to abjure the spirits, to study and
improve your mental and moral nature, it may be that a career of
brightness will be open to you; and upon this chance, slender as it is, I
offer, like a true friend, to guard and educate you. But, Mag, clouds, and
darkness rest upon the execution of your good resolves; and I sometimes
doubt whether you have the firmness of mind to carry them through."

The author of "The Love-Life of Dr. Kane," says of this period:

"Dr. Kane was very often in the habit of saying--as if with melancholy
presentiment--'What would become of you if I should die? What would you
do? I shudder at the thought of my death, on your account.'

"In the buoyant confidence of youth, the poor girl could not then
understand his fears. But _he_ knew that in separating her from
Spiritualism he was isolating her from all her friends and associates, and
depriving her of the only means she possessed of earning a livelihood. In
compensation for the sacrifices required of her, he was giving her a hope
only; a hope that might be blissfully realized, but might be sadly
disappointed; and in the event of losing him, what must be her destiny!"

Dr. Kane met with malignant opposition from Leah, Maggie's elder sister,
in his efforts to detach her from the damning career into which she had
been thrown. The "shekels" were then pouring in in great abundance at the
séances, and this explains sufficiently the hostile attitude of the one
person who was chiefly responsible for the ruin of her young life. Thus
the doctor wrote to Maggie in New York:

"Is the old house dreary to you? * * * Oh, Maggie, are you never tired of
_this weary, weary sameness of continual deceit_? Are you thus to spend
your days, doomed never to rise to better things?--you and that dear
little open-minded sister Kate (for she, too, is still unversed in
deception)--are you both to live on thus forever? You will never be happy
if you do; for you are not, like Leah, able to exult and take pleasure in
the simplicity of the poor, simple-hearted fools around you.

"Do, then, Maggie, keep to your last promise. Show this to Katie, and urge
her to keep to her resolution."[9]

By this time, Maggie had pledged herself to her lover to abandon the
"rappings" altogether; but they were both very cautious lest this
resolution should be known to her elder sister. Maggie appears to have
yielded to the influences around her, in spite of her respect and regard
for the doctor, and once or twice to have lapsed back into the ways that
he dreaded and abhorred. We find him then, writing from New York to
Washington:

"Don't rap for Mrs. Pierce.[10] Remember your promise to me. * * *

"Begin again, dearest Maggie, and keep your word. No 'rapping' for Mrs.
Pierce or ever more for any one. I, dear Mag, am your best, your truest,
your only friend. What are they to my wishes? Oh, regard and love me, and
listen to my words; and be very careful lest in an idle hour you lose my
regard and your own respect."

And later:

"All last night did this good friend of yours think about you and your
probable future.

"I can see that this is one of the turning points of your life, and upon
your own energy and decision now depend the success and happiness of your
future career. Dear Maggie, think it over well and _do not be turned aside
from what is right_ by the sincere but still misguided advice of others.
* * * But remember, Maggie, that all this will not last. * * * What will
it be when, looking back upon * * * misspent and dreary years, you feel
that there have been no acts really acceptable to your Maker, and that for
the years ahead, all will be sorrow, sameness and disgust! * * *

"Why, you know that sometimes, even now, when Leah is cross, or the
company coarse and vulgar, or the day tiresome, or yourself out of sorts,
that low spirits and disgust come over you and you long like a bird to
spread your wings and fly away from it all."

Very soon afterwards, Dr. Kane wrote:

"At present, you have nothing to look forward to, nothing to hope for.
Your life is one constant round of idle excitement. Can your mother, who
is an excellent woman, look upon you, a girl of thirteen, as doomed all
your life to live surrounded by such as now surround you, _deprived of all
the blessings of home and love and even self-respect_?"

Dr. Kane, looking upon Margaret as his future wife, was exceedingly
anxious that the true explanation of the "rappings," the fact that they
were entirely fraudulent, should never be discovered. He hoped that
Spiritualism would have but an ephemeral existence, and that when once it
had died out, the public would so far forget the persons who originated
it, that it would cease to associate with them the woman who would then
bear his name. So he wrote in this vein to Maggie:

"You know I am nervous about the 'rappings.' I believe the only thing I
ever was afraid of was this confounded thing being found out. I would not
know it myself for ten thousand dollars."

How both Margaret and Dr. Kane regarded the elder sister may be judged
from this sentence, written by the latter at this time: "Be careful not to
mention me before the Tigress."

At last the object dearest to Dr. Kane's heart seemed to be drawing near
to its accomplishment. He says: "Your kind promise 'solemnly never to rap
again' so pleases me, that I cannot help thanking you. Adhere to that, and
you will be a dear, good, happy girl." * * *

Maggie went to school at Crookville, near Chester, Pennsylvania, and was
in charge of Dr. Kane's aunt, Mrs. Leiper, who resided near the house
where Maggie lodged. Just prior to this, Dr. Kane wrote as follows:

"_Never do wrong any more; for if now 'the spirits move' it will be a
breach of faith._ From this moment, our compact begins."

After Dr. Kane had reached the Arctic seas, I find this passage at the end
of a long letter, full of solicitude and noble counsel about the education
of his future wife: "One final wish--the only thing like restraint that
your true friend can find it in his heart to utter: See little of Leah,
and never sleep within her house."

For a short time, on his return from his second Arctic voyage, Dr. Kane
allowed himself to be swayed by interest and the vehement efforts of his
relatives, so far as to require from Margaret a written declaration that
they had never been engaged, and that she had no claim whatever upon his
hand in matrimony. There was a quick reaction, however, and the old
relations were renewed. One who wrote of these facts said: "Amid all his
sorrow, one fear seemed to harass him perpetually--that Miss Fox might be
induced to return to the professional life she had abandoned years ago for
his sake. She was surrounded by spiritualists." * * *

In his letters to her, Dr. Kane still harped upon the one anxiety that
continually possessed him. He says: "_Do avoid 'spirits.' I cannot bear to
think of you as engaged in a course of wickedness and deception._ * * *
Pardon my saying so; but is it not deceit even to listen when others are
deceived? * * * In childhood it was a mere indiscretion; but what will it
be when hard age wears its wrinkles into you, and like Leah you grow old!
Dear Maggie, I could cry to think of it. * * * A time will come when you
will see the real ghost of memory--an awful specter!"

And again he wrote: "_Maggie, I have but one thought_, how to make you
happier; _how to withdraw you from deception; from a course of sin and
future punishment, the dark shadow of which hung over you like the wing of
a vampire_."

Then, as he claimed her more and more openly as his own, "he would not
permit her," says the writer already quoted, "even to witness any
spiritual manifestations, nor to remain in the room when the subject was
discussed. * * * 'You never shall be brought in contact with such things
again,' he would say."

The ending of this very sad tale of love, which throws a peculiar light
athwart the colder theme of this volume, was bitterly tragic. A secret
marriage under the common law was entered into, and Dr. Kane, whose health
was shattered never to be mended, went first to Europe and then to Cuba to
die. Margaret and her mother were to join him at Havana, but ere their
departure from New York he was already a corpse.

And so, a noble and generous, if sometimes faltering heart, ceased to
beat, and a gentle creature, who at last had learned to love as much as
she had honored him, was on the shores of that deep sea of infamy against
which, had he only lived, he would surely have shielded her.



CHAPTER XV.

FROM SHADOW TO LIGHT.


More than thirty years after this sorrowful event, Margaret Fox Kane, in
reviewing the past, attributes to the evil of Spiritualism all the
ill-fortune which afterwards befell her.

For fourteen years she wore the weeds of mourning for his sake; but when
at last they were torn from her by a friendly, though unwise hand, she
drifted again, through the various phases of a worldly and dissipated
life, to that very vocation of dreary mercenary deceit which he had
predicted would be her lot. She was never happy afterwards, however, and
he who possesses any true sensibility must at least pity, quite as much as
he may condemn her unfortunate destiny, when he reads the sad avowals
which are made in this volume.

Mrs. Kane says at the present day:

"From the very first of our intimate acquaintance, Dr. Kane knew that the
'rappings' which I practiced were fraudulent. Of course, he was too
keen-sighted intellectually, too sensible, ever to have believed them
genuine for a single instant; and I simply obeyed the impulse of my candid
regard for him, when the knowledge of his devotion grew upon me, and
confided to him the whole secret of the fraud, together with my increasing
repugnance to the life I was leading. He hated it, he despised it, he
abhorred it, and he taught me from the beginning the same sentiment. We
had to combat with the sordid interest of others. Whatever good he
accomplished for me, was done against the set purpose of Leah.

"I do not exaggerate in any way when I say that I have feared that woman
all my life. Remember, she is twenty-three years older than I am. Her
influence over both myself and my sister Kate began when we were infants.
Katie, even to this day, acknowledges some sinister influence about her
sister Leah, even if she but chance to meet her in the street. It is a
mixture of terrorism and cajolery.

"For years I have had the shame of this vile thing before me. All my life,
it has made me miserable. It is a load which I now throw off with a free
heart and a great and thrilling sense of relief.

"You must know that it was a dark and hateful influence that kept me aloof
from Dr. Kane so long, when he declared his true love for me, over and
over again, and desired to rescue me from the evil by which I was
surrounded. I gave him my whole heart in return, though at that time I did
not know how deep and how tender was my love for him.

"It is this same baleful influence which has been the nightmare of my
existence. Every morning of my life on awaking, I have had this horrid
thought before me. And even in those younger days I would brood and brood
over it, and Dr. Kane would often say to me:

"'Maggie, I see the vampire is hovering over you still.'

"Our whole family was at that time under bondage, as it were, to Ann Leah
Brown. She ruled over us as with a rod of iron.

"All through this dreadful life--from the time when I first realized its
enormity--I protested against it. Dr. Kane, after our marriage, would
never permit me to allude to my old career--he wanted me to forget it. He
hated its publicity.

"But when I was poor after his death, I was driven back to it. I have told
my sister Leah over and again: 'Now that you are rich, why don't you save
your soul?' But she would only fly into a passion. The truth is that
nothing can excuse the work she has done. She entered upon it at the age
of judgment and experience, fully aware of its falsity and evil effect.
She knows that the world cannot forgive her, and I have no hope that she
will ever confess her sin, or offer an atonement for it.

"What can I add to the revelations of those letters? They are proofs of
the mutual knowledge of Dr. Kane and myself that the 'spiritual' rappings
were fraud, and nothing but fraud. And even if he had not been told of the
fact by myself, his opportunities of observation in our household were
unequaled by any granted to others, and his verdict would have been in any
case, therefore, almost as authoritative.

"What fools are they who still pretend to believe against all this
evidence!

"It would hardly seem necessary that I should denounce Spiritualism after
all that others have said against it.

"I have never in my life professed to be a spiritualist, and I have never
believed in Spiritualism, although I have seen it in all its phases, some
of which I am unable to produce myself.

"Even when I was compelled to go back to the 'rappings' for a livelihood,
and when I charged the most exorbitant fees, so that as few people as
possible might be deceived, I had on my cards an emphatic disclaimer of
any occult inspiration."

Mrs. Kane at this point showed the following on the back of one of her
cards:

  MRS. KANE DOES NOT CLAIM
  ANY SPIRIT POWER; BUT PEOPLE
  MUST JUDGE FOR THEMSELVES.

"My poor father and mother," she continued, "both knew before their death
that all that we had practised for so many years was a fraud and a
deception. Mother was greatly troubled about it, and she turned to the
church for comfort. She used to say to us:

"'Oh, my dear children, I do hope that you will get out of this sort of
life soon.'

"Peace be unto her!"

       *       *       *       *       *

The evil effects of Spiritualism upon the moral and mental condition of
its followers is the deepest stain upon its history. The wrecks of
thousands of intellects are monuments to its heartless fraud and malign
influence.

Mrs. Kane has often said that if in her late years she had wholly
submitted herself to its foolish vagaries and its base temptations, she
would undoubtedly be now a raving maniac.

There are many who, if they would but speak truly, could declare that ruin
of conscience, brain and health, has resulted either from their willing
faith in flimsy illusions or their weak connivance in puerile deception.

I have touched but little upon the unclean side of Spiritualism. Thousands
upon thousands of virtuous men and women entertain its theory or hold to
its faith. But the manipulators of the supernatural machinery, the members
of the inner circle, the prestidigitateurs and clumsy magicians, who seek
to make simpletons of mankind, I now accuse of the grossest practices and
abominations, the loosest social ideas, the most utter absence of
principle that has been exhibited by any one set of people in the
nineteenth century.

They are wholly corrupt, and there is no good in them.

If Spiritualism in any form survives the blow now given it by Margaret and
Catherine Fox, who were its creators, it will only be because of the
veiled licentiousness introduced into it by those who have enlarged upon
its original plan.

This licentiousness, like the bruised serpent, will not down, but still
will lift its head, and lurk amid deepest shadows.

Spiritualism, however, cannot again deceive the world.

       *       *       *       *       *

And it is written:

"The dead shall not return; nor any that go down into Hell!"



INDEX.



INDEX.


  ABJURATION by Margaret Fox Kane of Spiritualism at the Academy of Music,
      New York, 65, 74.

  ADMISSIONS of Mrs. Leah Fox Fish regarding the results of the Buffalo
      medical investigation, 140, 144.

  AGASSIZ (Professor) investigates Spiritualism, 147.

  ANTICS of the Fox Children at Hydesville near Rochester, 83, 87, 89, 96.

  ATTRACTIONS of the younger Fox Sisters, 129.

  AUDACITY (Imbecile) of spiritualistic imposters, 146.
  --(Supreme) of fraud, 150.

  AUTHORIZATION of the publication of this work by Margaret Fox Kane and
      Catherine Fox Jencken, 7.


  "BABY mediumship"
  --How the trick was done with the child of Mrs. Catherine Fox Jencken,
      160.

  BELIEF in Spiritualism,
  --Mrs. Kane never pretended to any, 167, 181, 236.
  --John D. Fox never had any, 99.

  "BOBBING" of apples on the floor in the Hydesville house, 84, 90, 95.

  BOOMERANGS (Spiritualistic), 131.

  BROWN (Mrs. Ann Leah Fox),
  --Malignant opposition to Dr. Kane's efforts to detach her sister Maggie
      from Spiritualism, 222, 232.
  --Exulting in deception, 223.
  --Maggie warned against her by Dr. Kane, 227.
  --Sinister influence over her sisters, 232.

  "BUFFALO Doctors"
  --Their investigation of the "rappings," 131.
  --Their correct theory, but wrong hypothesis, 131.
  --How their investigation if further pursued, would have led to the
      truth, 133.


  "CHARLES Ceri"
  --The "spirit of Mr. Seybert" mistakes the name of Mr. Sellers, of the
      "Seybert Commission," 171.

  CLAIMS of Spiritualism as set forth in petition to Congress, 1854, 151,
      152.

  COMMITTEES of tools and accomplices, 121.

  CONDEMNATION of Spiritualism
  --The substantial effect of the report of Harvard professors on the
      tests in Boston, 1857, 149.

  CONCERTED signals used in the early séances, 127.

  CONSPICUOUS persons interested in the "Fox Sisters," 129.

  CONTACT of person while producing the "raps," 90, 138.

  CORRUPT practices in secret spiritualistic circles, 50, 64, 237.

  COVENTRY (Dr. C. B.), one of the Buffalo investigators, 132.

  CROOKVILLE, near Philadelphia--Maggie Fox goes to school there, 226.


  DEAD (The) do not return, 37, 238.

  DEATH of Dr. Kane, 37.

  DERANGEMENT of mental faculties the cause of the prevalence of the
      spiritualistic delusion, 154.
  --Resulting from Spiritualism, 166.

  DISGUST (Dr. Kane's) at spiritualistic circles, 225, 229.
  --(Mrs. Kane's) at the baser spiritualistic practices, 29, 30.

  DISS De Bar (Madam)
  --Mrs. Kane's abhorrence of her, 29.
  --Daniel Underhill pronounces her a fraud, 43.


  EARLY sorcery the prototype of modern Spiritualism, 150.

  EDUCATION (Defective) the cause of the prevalence of the spiritualistic
      delusion, 154.

  ELEVATION
  --Failure of Mrs. Kane to produce "rappings" when standing upon a
      lounge, a cushioned chair or a step-ladder, 195.

  EXPOSURE, Poetic justice of the, 13.
  --Mrs. Kane's first public intimation of intended, 29, 30.
  --Details of Mrs. Kane's, 32, 35, 37, 65, 77.
  --Of Spiritualism by the Guernillas, 199.


  FEAR of the Fox Sisters of their sister, Leah, 232.

  FISH (Ann Leah Fox) First to conceive the idea of profiting by the
      "rappings," 102.
  --Learns to "rap" from the little children, 103.
  --Using the little girls, Maggie and Katie, for her purposes, 123.
  --Challenges to the "Buffalo doctors," 139.

  FISH (Lizzie)
  --Protesting against her mother's hypocrisy and deception, 96, 128.

  FLINT (Dr. Austin), one of the Buffalo investigators, 132.

  FOOT (Movement of the) in producing "rappings," 38, 103, 143.
  --Detected by a member of the "Seybert Commission," 194.
  --"Rappings" not heard when held, but heard again when released, 143.

  FORGED testimony, 91.

  FOX (Catherine)
  --First to discover that "raps" could be produced with the joints, 90.

  FOX (David S.)
  --First to suggest use of the alphabet in the so-called "spirit
      messages," 115.
  --Dupe or accomplice of Leah, 115.

  FOX (John D.)
  --Never a believer in Spiritualism, 99.

  FOX (Mrs. Margaret)
  --An honest fanatic, deceived by her children, 36, 93.
  --Disabused at the last, 236.

  FOX (Maggie)
  --Her beauty at thirteen years, 210.
  --Petty devilment in childhood, 83.
  --Sent to school at Crookville, Pa., by Dr. Kane, 226.
  --Protests all through her earlier life against "spiritualistic"
      deception, 234.

  FOX (Maria), 82.

  FULCRUM, necessary for the limb in order to produce sound by the action
      of the joints, 142.

  FURNESS (Horace Howard), acting chairman of the "Seybert Commission"
  --Letter to Mrs. Kane, 169.
  --Explanation of her refusal to continue the séances with the
      Commission, 204.

  FRAUD.
  --Dante's image of, 17.
  --Origin of the, 81.
  --Development of the, 105.
  --Various forms of the, 201.

  FRAUDULENT
  --The "mediumship" of Mrs. Jencken's baby, "Ferdie," 160.


  GARBLED testimony, 90, 94.

  "GOD has not ordered it," 25, 37.

  GOWNS (Long) put on the younger Fox girls on their first public
      appearance, to conceal manner of producing "raps," 123.

  GREELEY (Horace)
  --Aids Katie, 19, 58, 129.
  --Influence upon her life, 129.

  GUERNILLAS (The)
  --Exposure of Spiritualism, 199.


  "HERALD" (The N. Y.), 25, 28, 29, 32, 39, 42, 46, 62.

  HISTORY of the "rappings," 79.

  HARVARD professors investigate Spiritualism, 147.

  HUMBUG (Spiritualism a,) according to Mrs. Kate Fox Jencken, 57.

  HYDESVILLE, N. Y.
  --When mysterious sounds were first heard in John D. Fox's house, 81.
  --Digging in the creek, 95.
  --Bones of a horse found, 118.
  --Digging in the cellar, 117.
  --Alleged finding of human bones, unconfirmed by any evidence, 117.
  --House said to be haunted--an afterthought, 101.
  --The "spirits" when asked tentatively say a murder was committed in the
      house and mention the name of the murderer, 119.

  HYPOCRISY of professional spiritualists, 165.
  --Dr. Kane characterizes, 214, 215.


  INQUISITIVENESS as to spiritualistic methods prevents the "spirits" from
      acting, 146.

  INSULATION
  --Experiments with Mrs. Kane while standing on glass tumblers, 185.
  --The results negative, 188.
  --Partial success when placed near a sideboard and wall, 189, 192.

  INVESTIGATION
  --First farcical. 122, 124.
  --By the "Buffalo doctors," 131, 134.
  --By "Buffalo doctors" again, 131.
  --By "Seybert Commission," 170.
  --By Harvard professors and others, 147.


  JENCKEN (Mrs. Catherine Fox) denounces Spiritualism, 62, 64.

  JOINTS of the fingers.
  --Children try to imitate sounds with them, 87.

  JOINT of the knee used in the production of "raps," 133.

  JOINTS of the toes used in producing the famous "rappings" of the Fox
      sisters, 139, 145.

  JUGGLERY
  --Spiritualists attribute it to "mediumship," 198.
  --Confess that "spiritualistic" effects are produced in the same way,
      199.
  --Older and more skillful than Spiritualism so-called, 150, 154.


  KANE (Dr. Elisha Kent)
  --First meeting with Maggie Fox, 209.
  --Influence upon her life, 129.
  --Effect of his death on her career, 230, 231.
  --Character of his interest in her, 213.
  --Gloomy foresight, 213.
  --Efforts to save her from a life of fraud, &c., 129, 228.
  --Characterizes the deceit and hypocrisy of "mediumship," 214, 215, 216,
      228.
  --Never believed in a single pretense of Spiritualism, 217, 232.
  --Knew from their first acquaintance that the "rappings" were
      fraudulent, 232.
  --Repeatedly exacts her promise not to have anything more to do with
      Spiritualism, 223, 226.
  --Solicitude lest she return to the practice of Spiritualism, 228.
  --Fear lest the source of the "rappings" be discovered, 226.
  --Places her at school, 226.
  --Engagement broken off and renewed, 227.
  --Secret marriage with her, 229.
  --Death at Havana, 229.

  KNEES
  --Seized by investigators to detect movement while "rappings" being
      produced, 143.
  --When so seized, sounds arrested, and when released, renewed, 143.


  LEE (Dr. Charles A.), one of the Buffalo investigators, 132.

  LETTER of Mrs. Kane first publicly denouncing Spiritualism, 30.

  LICENTIOUSNESS under the cloak of Spiritualism, 237, 238.


  "MEDIUMS" (Well-known)
  --How they received the exposé, 45, 46.

  "MEDIUMSHIP"
  --Mrs. Kane driven back to it, 37.

  MESSAGES (Written)
  --How produced by Mrs. Kane, 172, 196.

  MESSAGES ("Spirit")
  --Internal evidence sufficient to prove their falsity, 162.

  MERCENARY campaign
  --Begins in Rochester, 121, 126.
  --Tour of principal cities, 212, 222.

  MOVEMENT of knees of "medium" noted by Dr. Lee while "raps" were heard,
      143.


  ORIGIN of the fraud, 81, 83, 87, 92.


  PERSECUTION of Mrs. Catherine Fox Jencken and her children by
      spiritualistic enemies, 60.

  PROPHECY of Dr. Kane concerning the future of Maggie Fox, 213.

  PROMISES of Maggie Fox to Dr. Kane never to "rap" any more, 223, 226.

  PRESIDENT Pierce's wife and Maggie Fox, 223.

  PROFESSION of spiritualistic belief
  --Mrs. Kane expressly disclaims it, 181, 234.


  "RAPS"
  --Failure to "throw" them to different parts of a room, 184.
  --Always heard near the spot where "medium" is stationed, 136, 172, 173.
  --Effort of the will in producing them apparent, 136.
  --Muscular contractions their possible cause, 137.
  --Not produced while "mediums" in constrained position, 142.
  --Not produced while feet of "mediums" are prevented from touching
      sonorous substances, 185.
  --Vibrations in foot of Mrs. Kane, felt by Mr. Sellers of the "Seybert
      Commission," 194.
  --Their physiological origin, 202, 203.

  REPENTANCE
  --Mrs. Catherine Fox Jencken, 58, 59.
  --Mrs. Margaret Fox Kane, 233.

  REPORTS on investigations of "rappings," 134, 141, 149, 173.

  ROCHESTER
  --Outlandish doings told by Mrs. Underhill, 106, 113.
  --Mrs. Kane gives the true explanation of them, 112.
  --First public appearances of the Fox Sisters, 121.


  SENATE ridicules Spiritualism in debate, 159.

  SLADE (Henry) admits that certain magicians produce their effects in the
      same way that he does, 199.

  SEYBERT (Henry)
  --Crazed by Spiritualism, 166.
  --Mrs. Kane enters the "Spiritual Mansion," 164.
  --She draws the line at the Apostles and the Angel Gabriel, 166.
  --His legacy for the investigation of Spiritualism, 167.
  --His "spirit" mistakes the identity of a member of the "Seybert
      Commission" and calls him by a queer name, 171.
  --Though he knew no Latin in the flesh, his "spirit" is made to write
      Latin, 197.

  "SEYBERT Commission" (The)
  --Its origin and labors, 167.
  --Experiments with Mrs. Kane, 169.
  --Its conclusions regarding the "rappings," 168, 201.
  --On other phases of Spiritualism, 201.

  SPIRITUALISM
  --Mrs. Catherine Fox Jencken says it is the greatest curse the world has
      ever known, 56.

  SUPERSTITION
  --Traditions in the Fox family about queer happenings, 119.


  UNDERHILL (Ann Leah)
  --Her narrative proven false, 38.
  --Sinister influence over her younger sisters, 233.


  VERDICT (The unalterable), 201.

  VIBRATION of articles when "medium's" body is in contact with them while
      producing raps, 138, 145.


  WARNINGS of Dr. Kane to Maggie and Katie Fox against a life of
      deception, 216, 219, 222, 225, 228, 229.
  --Against intercourse with her sister, Leah, 227.


FINIS.



Footnotes:

[1] Dr. Kane and Horace Greeley.

[2] It was erroneously stated that the boys were immediately sent back to
Europe.

[3] "The Seybert Commission on Spiritualism," J. B. Lippincott Company,
Philadelphia, 1887. The author is under obligations to the publishers of
this volume, for material which he has taken from it.

[4] The author of "The Love-Life of Dr. Kane;" published by Carleton,
1865, New York.

[5] This form of expression was here used because the author of "The
Love-Life," while not a believer in Spiritualism, did not wish to imply in
a work that had Mrs. Kane's personal sanction, the slightest doubt of the
sincerity of her professions or of her claims as a "medium."

[6] Leah.

[7] General Waddy Thompson.

[8] Ex-Governor Tallmadge.

[9] Katie, as well as her sister, had promised to abjure the "spirits,"
and she had also said that she would go to live with Maggie on the
latter's marriage with Dr. Kane.

[10] The wife of the President of the United States.



Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

Punctuation has been corrected without note.

The following misprints have been corrected:
  "seances" standardized to "séances" (page 45)
  "intrument" corrected to "instrument" (page 62)
  "arnold In" corrected to "Arnold in" (page 67)
  "prepetrating" corrected to "perpetrating" (page 75)
  "affimative" corrected to "affirmative" (page 94)
  "siezing" corrected to "seizing" (page 143)
  "significent" corrected to "significant" (page 144)
  "herditary" corrected to "hereditary" (page 160)
  "seances" standardized to "séances" (page 170)
  "seance" standardized to "séance" (page 174)
  "Spirititualism" corrected to "Spiritualism" (page 217)

Other than the corrections listed above, inconsistencies in spelling and
hyphenation have been retained from the original.





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