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Title: Second Edition of A Discovery Concerning Ghosts - With a Rap at the "Spirit-Rappers"
Author: Cruikshank, George, 1792-1878
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Second Edition of A Discovery Concerning Ghosts - With a Rap at the "Spirit-Rappers"" ***

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SECOND EDITION

OF A

DISCOVERY CONCERNING GHOSTS:

WITH A RAP AT THE "SPIRIT-RAPPERS."


BY

GEORGE CRUIKSHANK.


Illustrated with Cuts.


TO WHICH IS ADDED

A FEW PARTING RAPS AT THE "RAPPERS,"

AND QUESTIONS, SUGGESTIONS, AND ADVICE

TO THE DAVENPORT BROTHERS.

DEDICATED TO THE "GHOST CLUB."


PRICE ONE SHILLING.

LONDON:

PUBLISHED BY ROUTLEDGE, WARNE, AND ROUTLEDGE,
AND SOLD BY ALL BOOKSELLERS.

1864.

HARRILD, PRINTER, LONDON.



I think it a duty to inform the Public that I have a Nephew whose
_Christian_ name is PERCY. He is employed by a person of the name of
"READ," a Publisher, of Johnson's Court, Fleet Street; who, in
Advertising any work executed by my _Nephew_, announces it as by
"_Cruikshank_," instead of (as it ought to be) _illustrated_ by "PERCY
CRUIKSHANK." And having been informed by numerous persons that they
have purchased these publications under the impression that they were
works executed by me, I hereby caution the Public against buying any
work as mine with the name of READ, of Johnson's Court, upon it as
Publisher. I never _did anything for that person_, and never shall; and
I beg the Public to understand that these observations are not directed
against my _Nephew_, to whom I wish every good, but that they are
against the said READ, who, by leaving out my Nephew's Christian name,
PERCY, deprives him of whatever credit he may deserve for his literary
and artistic productions, and thereby creating a confusion of persons,
which, if not done for the purpose of DECEIVING THE PUBLIC, appears to
be very much like it.



A DISCOVERY CONCERNING GHOSTS.

[Illustration: "Enter Ghost."]

    HAMLET.--"Thou com'st in such a _questionable_ shape."--

    SHAKESPEARE.


Questionable!--ay; so _very_ questionable, in my opinion, is the fact
of their coming at all, that I am now going to question whether they
ever _did_, or _can_ come. This opinion I know is opposed to a very
general, a long-established, and with some a deeply-rooted belief in
supernatural appearances, and is opposed to what may be _almost_
considered as well-authenticated _facts_, which neither the repeated
exposure of very many "ghost tricks," and clearly-proved imposture, nor
sound philosophical arguments, have been able to set aside altogether.
Most persons, therefore, will no doubt consider that the task of
"laying" all the ghosts that _have_ appeared, and putting a stop to any
others ever making an appearance, is a most difficult task. This is
granted; and although I do not believe, like Owen Glendower, that I can
"call the spirits from the vasty deep," but on the contrary agree in
this respect with Hotspur, if I did call that they would not come, I
nevertheless, although no conjuror, do conjure up for the occasion
hosts of ghosts which I see I have to contend against. Yes, I do see
before me, "in my mind's eye"--

    A vast army, composed of ghost, goblin, and sprite!
    With their eyes full of fire, all gleaming with spite!
    All lurking about in the "dead of the night"
    With their faces so pale and their shrouds all so white!
    Or hiding about in dark holes and corners,
    To fright grown-up folk, or little "Jack Horners."
    But though they all stand in this fierce grim array,
    Armed with pen and with pencil, "I'll drive them away."

It is not only, however, against these horrible and ghastly-looking
cloud of flimsy foes that one has to deal with in a question like this,
but there are numbers of respectable and respected authors, and highly
respectable witnesses, on the side of the ghosts; and it must be
admitted that it is no easy matter to put aside the testimony of all
these respectable persons. They may have thought, and some may still
think, that they have done, and are doing, _good_, by supporting this
belief; but I _know_ on the contrary that they have done, and are
doing, great _harm_; and I, therefore, stand forth in the hope of
"laying" _all_ the ghosts, and settling this long-disputed question for
ever.

The belief in ghost, or apparition, is of course of very early date,
originating in what are called the "dark ages," and _dark_ indeed those
ages were! as a reference to the early history of the world will show;
and although we have in these days a large diffusion of the blessed
light of intelligence, nevertheless there is still existing, even
amongst civilized people, a fearful amount of ignorance upon the
subject of Ghosts, Witchcraft, Fortune-telling, and "Ruling the Stars,"
besides a vast amount of this sort of imaginary and mischievous
nonsense. Now it will be as well here to inquire what good has ever
resulted from this belief in what is commonly understood to be a ghost?
None that I have ever heard of, and I have been familiar with all the
popular ghost stories from boyhood, and have of late waded through
almost all the works produced in support of this spiritual visiting
theory, but in _no one instance_ have I discovered where any beneficial
result has followed from the supernatural or rather unnatural supposed
appearances; whereas, on the other hand, we do find unfortunately a
large and serious amount of suffering and injury arising from this
belief in ghosts, and which I shall have occasion to refer to further
on; but I will now proceed to bring forward some of the evidences which
have been adduced from time to time, all pretty much in the same style,
in support of the probability and truth of the appearance of
ghosts--first, in fact, to call up the ghosts, in order that I may put
them down.

All the ghost story tellers, or writers upon this subject, seem to
consider that one most important point in the appearance of apparitions
is, that the ghost should be a MOST PERFECT AND EXACT RESEMBLANCE, IN
EVERY RESPECT, to the deceased person--the spirit of whom they are
supposed to be. Their faces appear the same, except in some cases where
it is described as being rather paler than when they were alive, and
the general expression is described as "more in sorrow than in anger,"
but this varies in some instances according to circumstances; but in
all these appearances the countenances are so precisely similar, so
minutely so, that in one case mentioned by Mrs. Crowe in her
"Night-side of Nature," the very "pock-pits" or "pock-marks" on the
face were _distinctly_ visible. The narrators also all agree that the
spirits appear in similar, or the same dresses which they were
accustomed to wear during their lifetime (please to observe that this
is very important), so exactly alike that the ghost-seer could not
possibly be mistaken as to the identity of the individual, in _face_,
_figure_, _manner_, and _dress_; and on the same authority in some
cases the _same spirit_ has appeared at the _same moment_ to _different
persons_ in _different places_, although perhaps 15,000 miles apart, in
_precisely_ the _same dress_.

In referring to the play of "Hamlet," it will be found that Shakespeare
has been _most particular_ in describing the general appearance of the
Ghost of Hamlet's father, who was

    "Doomed for a certain time to walk by night."

For instance, when Marcellus says to Horatio,

    "Is it not like the king?"

Horatio replies--

                "As thou art to thyself:
    Such was the very _armour_ he had on,
    When he the ambitious Norway combated;
    So _frown'd_ he once, when, in angry parle,
    He smote the sledded Polack on the ice."

Horatio also, in describing the Ghost to Hamlet, says--

          "A figure like your father,
    _Armed_ at all points, _exactly_, _cap-à-pé_."

And, in further explanation, it is stated that the Ghost was _armed_
"from top to toe," "from head to foot," that "he wore his beaver up,"
with "a countenance more in sorrow than in anger," and was "very pale."
Then, again, when Hamlet sees his father's spirit, he exclaims--

                  "What may this mean,
    That thou, dead corse, again, in _complete steel_,
    Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon."

So also in the play of "Macbeth," when the Ghost of Banquo rises, and
takes a seat at the table, Macbeth says to the apparition--

                "Never shake
    Thy _gory_ locks at me."

And further on he says--

    "Thou hast no speculation in those eyes
    Which thou dost glare with!"

Daniel de Foe also insists upon, and goes into the most _minute_
details as to the _person_ and _dress_ of a Ghost; and in a work which
he published upon apparitions,[1] we may see how careful and
circumstantial the author is in his descriptions of apparitions, whose
appearance he vouches for in his peculiar narrative and matter-of-fact
style. One of these ghost stories is of some robbers who broke into a
mansion in the country, and whilst ransacking one of the chambers, they
saw, sitting in a chair, "a grave, ancient man, with a long
full-bottomed wig and a rich brocaded gown," etc. One of the robbers
threatened to tear off his "rich brocaded gown;" another hit at him
with a fuzee, and was instantly alarmed at finding it passed through
air; and then the old gentleman "changed into the most horrible monster
that ever was seen, with eyes like two fiery daggers red hot." They
then rushed into another room, and found the same "grave, ancient man"
seated _there_! and so also in another chamber; and he was seen by
different robbers in _three different rooms at the same moment_! Just
at this time the servants, who were at the top of the house, threw some
"hand grenades" down the chimneys of these rooms. The result altogether
was that some of the thieves were badly wounded, the others driven
away, and the mansion saved from being plundered. What a capital thing
it would be surely, if the police could attach some of these spirits to
their force!

          [1] "An Essay on the History and Reality of Apparitions;
          being an account of what they are and what they are not, when
          they come and when they come not; as also how we may
          distinguish between Apparitions of Good and Evil Spirits, and
          how we ought to behave to them; with a variety of surprising
          and diverting examples never published before." London, 1727.

Another case, a clergyman (the Rev. Dr. Scot) was seated in his
library, _with the door closed_, when he suddenly saw "an ancient,
grave gentleman, in a black _velvet_ gown"--very particular, you
observe, as to the _material_--"and a long wig." This ghost was an
entire stranger to Dr. Scot, and came to ask the doctor to do him a
favour--asking a favour under such circumstances of course amounts to a
command--which was to go to another part of the country, to a house
where the ghost's son resided, and point out to the son the place where
an important family document was deposited. Dr. Scot complied with this
request, and the family property was secured to the son of the ghost in
the "black velvet gown and the long wig."

Now one naturally asks here, why did not this old ghost go and
point the place out to his son himself? And so also with the
_well-authenticated_ story of the ghost of Sir George Villars, who
wanted to give a warning to his son, the Duke of Buckingham; which
warning, if properly delivered and properly acted upon, _might_ have
saved the duke's life; but instead of warning his son himself (take
notice), he appeared to one of the duke's domestics, "_in the very
clothes he used to wear_," and commissioned him to deliver the message.
After all, this warning was of no use, so this ghost might have saved
himself the trouble of coming; but spirits are indeed strange things,
and of course act in strange ways.

About the year 1700, a translation from a French book was brought out
in London, entitled "Drelincourt on Death;" and after it had been
published for some time, Daniel Defoe, at the request of Mr. Midwinter,
the publisher, wrote a preface to the work, and therein introduced a
short story about the ghost of a lady appearing to her friend. It was
headed thus:--"A true Relation of the Apparition of Mrs. Veal, next day
after her death, to one Mrs. Bargrave, at Canterbury, on the 8th of
September, 1705; which Apparition recommends the perusal of
Drelincourt's book of Consolation against the Fears of Death.
(Thirteenth edition.)"

Mrs. Veal and Mrs. Bargrave, it appears, were intimate friends. One day
at twelve o'clock at noon, when Mrs. B. was sitting alone, Mrs. Veal
entered the room, dressed in a "riding habit," hat, etc., as if going a
journey. Mrs. Bargrave advanced to welcome her friend, and was going to
salute her, and their lips _almost touched_, but Mrs. V. held back her
head and passing her hand before her face, said, "I am not very well
to-day;" and avoided the salute. In the course of a long talk which
they had, _Mrs. Veal strongly recommends Drelincourt's Book on Death to
Mrs. Bargrave, and occasionally "claps her hand upon her knee, in great
earnestness."_ Mrs. Veal had been, subject to fits, and she asks if
Mrs. Bargrave does not think she is "mightily impaired by her fits?"
Mrs. B.'s reply was, "No! I think you look _as well as ever I knew
you_;" and during the conversation she _took hold of Mrs. Veal's gown
several times_, and commended it. Mrs. V. told her it was a "scoured
silk" and newly made up. Mrs. Veal at length took her departure, but
stood at the street door some short time, in the face of the beast
market; this was Saturday the market-day. She then went from Mrs. B.,
who saw her walk in her view, till a turning interrupted the sight of
her; this was three quarters after one o'clock. _Mrs. Veal had died
that very day at noon!!!_ at Dover, which is about twenty miles from
Canterbury.

Some surprise was expressed to Mrs. Bargrave, about the fact of her
_feeling_ the gown, but she said she was _quite sure_ that she felt the
gown. It was a striped silk, and Mrs. Veal had never been seen in such
a dress; but such a one was found in her wardrobe after her decease.

This story made a great sensation at the time it was published; and
"Drelincourt on Death," with the Preface and Defoe's tale, became
exceedingly popular.[2]

          [2] The introduction runs thus:--"This relation is a matter
          of fact, and attended with such circumstances as may induce
          any reasonable man to believe it. It was sent by a gentleman,
          a justice of peace, in MAIDSTONE in KENT, and a very
          intelligent person, to his friend in LONDON, as it is here
          worded; which discourse is attested by a sober and
          understanding gentlewoman, a kinswoman of the said
          gentleman's, who lives at CANTERBURY within a few doors of
          the house in which the within-named Mrs. Bargrave lives; who
          believes his kinswoman to be of so discerning a spirit as not
          to be put upon by fallacy, and who positively assured him
          that the whole matter as related and laid down is really
          true; and what she herself had in the same words (as near as
          may be) from Mrs. Bargrave's own mouth; who she knows had no
          reason to invent and publish such a story; or design to forge
          and tell a lie, being a woman of much honesty and virtue, and
          her whole life a course as it were of piety. The use which we
          ought to make of it is, that there is a life to come after
          this, and a just GOD, who will retribute to every one
          according to the deeds done in the body, and therefore to
          reflect upon our past course of life we have lead in the
          world--that our time is short and uncertain; if we would
          escape the punishment of the ungodly and receive the reward
          of the righteous, which is the laying hold of eternal life,
          we ought for the time to come to turn to GOD, by a speedy
          repentance, ceasing to do evil and learning to do well, to
          seek after GOD early, if haply he may be found of us, and
          lead such lives for the future as may be well pleasing in his
          sight."

The absurdities and impossibilities of the foregoing narrative of this
apparition of Mrs. Veal need not be pointed out; but the story is
introduced here for two reasons; one of which will be explained further
on, and the other is to show how the public have been imposed upon with
these short stories.

It has all along been known to the literary world that this "_true_
Relation" was a _falsehood_, and brought forward under the following
circumstances:--

Mr. Midwinter, who published the translation of "Drelincourt on Death,"
finding that the work did not sell, complained of this to Defoe, and
asked him if he could not write some preface or introduction to the
work for the purpose of calling the attention of the public to this
rather uninviting subject. Defoe undertook to do so, and produced this
story about the ghost of Mrs. Veal. The gullibility of the public was
much greater at that time than now, and they would then swallow
anything in the shape of a ghost; a great sensation was created, and
the publisher's purpose was answered, as the work had an extraordinary
sale; but one cannot help expressing a very deep regret that the author
of "Robinson Crusoe" should have so degraded his talent, by thus
deliberately foisting upon the public a gross and mischievous falsehood
as a veritable truth; and, worse than this, guilty of bringing in the
most sacred names upon one of the most solemn subjects which the mind
of man can contemplate, for the purpose of supporting and propagating a
falsehood for a mercenary purpose.

As the belief in ghosts has long been popular, and considered as an
established fact, it may be quite allowable for an author to introduce
a ghost into his romance; and it may be argued that authors have thus
been enabled "to point a moral" as well as to "adorn a tale," by using
this poetical license, or spiritual medium; but in these cases the
tales or poems were given out to the world as inventions of the author
to amuse the public, or to convey a moral lesson, and were accepted by
the public as such.

We find in these foregoing examples that apparitions do appear
sometimes to strangers, and sometimes in the dresses in which they had
not been seen when alive; but these dresses have been afterwards
discovered or accounted for, and it has also been discovered who these
_strange_ spirits represented. But it will be seen by the cases cited,
and others which are to follow, that this EXACT appearance, this
_Vraisemblance_ is _essential_, nay, INDISPENSABLE, in order that there
shall be "no mistake;" for should mistakes be made, it would, in some
cases, be perhaps a very serious matter. I fully assent to all this,
and to show that I wish to do battle in all fairness, that it shall be
a "fair fight and no favour," I am willing even to illustrate my
opponents' statements in these particulars, and to do this I here
introduce--don't start, reader! not a ghost, but a figure of Napoleon
the First, but without a head; not that I mean to imply thereby that
this military hero had no head. No, no! quite the contrary, but I have
omitted this head and the head of the ghost of Hamlet's father for an
especial purpose, as will be explained further on, when I shall have
occasion to touch upon these _heads_ again. But if this cut is held at
a distance, by any one at all familiar with the portraits or statues of
"Napoleon le Grand" in this costume, they will at once recognize who
the figure is intended to represent.

Let us now turn to "The Night-side of Nature," and through the dismal
gloom which surrounds these apparitions, call up some more spirits,
who, according to Mrs. Crowe, and, indeed, on the authority of all
other authors who support the ghost doctrine, "generally come in their
habits as they lived;" and it appears that there is no difference in
this respect between the beggar and the king, for they come

    "Some in rags, and some in jags, and some in silken gowns."

At page 289 of this exceedingly cleverly written but most ghastly
collection of ghost stories, it is related that the ghost of a
beggar-man appeared at the _same time in two different_ apartments (all
in his _dirty_ rags, of course), to a young man and a young woman who
had allowed this beggar to sleep in their master's barn (unbeknown to
their master), where he died in the night, but could not rest after his
death until some money of his was found by these young people, who had
both suffered in their health in consequence of these visits of the
beggar's ghost. They at length consulted and explained all this to a
priest, who advised them to distribute the money they had found under
the straw (where the beggar had slept and died) between _three_
churches, which advice was accordingly acted upon, and this settled the
business, for the _dirty_ ragged ghost never troubled them again.

In contrast to this we have the story of the ghost of a lady of title,
who had been in her lifetime Princess Anna of Saxony. She came decked
out in "silks and satins," gold lace, embroidery, and jewels, all so
grand, and appeared to one of the descendants of her family, Duke
Christian of Saxe Eisenburg, requesting him to be so kind as to try and
"make it up" between her and her ghost husband, who, it seems, was a
bad-tempered man, had quarrelled with her, and had died without being
reconciled.

Duke Christian consented to do this. She had walked into the duke's
presence, although all the doors were _shut_, and one day after their
first interview she brought her husband to their relative in the same
unceremonious manner. Her ghost husband, who had been the Duke Casimer,
appeared dressed in his royal robes. They each told their story (these,
you will observe were _talking_ ghosts as well as _stalking_ ghosts).
Duke Christian most gallantly decided in favour of the lady, and the
ghost duke very properly acquiesced in the justice of the decision.
Duke Christian then took the "icy cold hand" of the ghost-duke and
placed it in the hand of the ghost-wife, whose hand felt of a
"_natural_ heat." It appears to be the opinion of the advocates of
apparitions that _naughty_ ghosts have _cold_ hands. In this case the
husband was the offending party, and was very naughty, and therefore
his hands were very cold. It seems strange that his hands should have
been cold, for, being naughty, one would suppose he would come from the
same place that Hamlet's father did; and from what _he_ said we should
conclude that there was a roaring fire there, where the duke might have
_warmed_ his cold hands. It further appears that these parties all
"_prayed_ and _sung_ together!" after which the now happy ghosts
disappeared _sans ceremonie_, without troubling the servants to open
the doors, or allowing Duke Christian to "show them out." One
remarkable fact in connection with this story is, that, upon referring
to the portraits of these ghosts which hung in the castle, was, that
they had appeared in exactly the same dresses which they had on, when
these portraits were painted--one hundred years before this time.

Duke Christian died two years after the ghosts' visits, and by his own
orders was buried in "quicklime," to prevent, it is supposed, _his_
ghost from walking the earth! He must indeed have been a poor ignorant
creature, although a duke, to suppose that "quicklime," or "slow lime,"
or any other kind of lime, or anything else that would destroy the
_body_, could make any difference with respect to the appearance of the
_spirit_.

The next case, then, is of the ghost of a soldier's wife, who appeared
to a "Corporal Q----" who was lying ill in bed, and also to a comrade
who was an invalid lying in the next bed. This was in the night, but
the corporal could see that she was dressed in a "flannel gown, edged
with a black ribbon," _exactly_ like the grave-clothes which he had
helped to put on her twelve months before. It appears, however, that he
could _see through her_, _flannel gown_ and all. This female ghost came
to the bed-side of the sick man to ask him to write to her husband, who
was in Ireland, to communicate something to him which was to be kept a
"profound secret."

This is certainly a strange story, but is it not still more strange
that this ghost did not go to her husband and tell him the important
secret _herself_, instead of trusting a stranger to do so? It will be
observed that there are different classes of ghosts, as there are of
living people--the princely, the aristocratic, the genteel, and the
common. The vulgar classes delight to haunt in graveyards, dreary
lanes, ruins, and all sorts of dirty dark holes and corners, and in
cellars. Yes, dark cellars seem to be a favourite abode of these
_common_ ghosts. This fact raises the question whether the lower class
of spirits are obliged to keep to the _lower_ parts of the house--to
the "lower regions"--and are not allowed to go into the parlours or the
drawing-rooms, and not allowed to mix with the higher order of ghosts!
Can this be a law or regulation amongst the ghosts? If so, is it not
most extraordinary that these spirits should not be allowed to choose
their own place of residence, and take to the most comfortable
apartments, instead of grovelling amongst the rats and mice, the slugs,
the crickets, and the blackbeetles? 'Tis strange, 'tis passing strange;
but so it appears to be. By the by, some few of these poor spirits of
the humble class of ghosts do sometimes, it appears, mount up to the
bed-rooms, in the hope, I suppose, of getting occasionally now and then
a "_comfortable_ lodging" and a "good night's rest."

At page 310 of this same work we have an account of a haunted cellar in
a gentleman's house, out of town, in which were heard "loud knockings,"
"a voice crying," "heavy feet walking," etc. The old butler, with his
"acolytes," descended to the cellar (wine cellar) armed with sword,
blunderbuss, and other offensive weapons, but the ghosts put them all
to flight, and they "turned tail" in a fright. Yes, they all ran
up-stairs again, followed by the "_sound of feet_" and "a _visible
shadow_!" This, of course, is a _fact_; and it so happens that I know
another _fact_ about a haunted wine-cellar, which, however, had quite a
different result to the foregoing.

In a wine-cellar of a gentleman's house, somewhere near Blackheath, it
was found that strange noises were sometimes heard in the evenings and
in the night time, in this "wine vault," similar to those described
above, such as _knocking_, _groaning_, _footsteps_, etc., so that the
servants were afraid to go into the cellar, particularly at a late
hour. The master at length determined to "lay" this ghost, if possible,
and one evening when these noises had been heard, arming himself with a
sword, and the servants with a fowling-piece and a poker, they
cautiously descended into the cellar (with lighted candles, of course).
Nothing was to be seen there, and all was quiet except a strange,
smothered kind of sound, like the hard breathing of an animal,
something like snoring, that seemed to proceed out of the earth in one
of the dark corners of the vault, when, lo and behold! in turning their
lights in the direction from which the sounds came, and advancing
carefully, they discovered--what do you think? Don't be alarmed. Why,
the ghost lying on the ground, dead--DRUNK! Yes, the ghost had _laid_
himself, not with "Bell, Book, and Candle," but by swallowing the
SPIRIT of ALCOHOL, the spirit of wine, beer, and brandy. Most
disgraceful; in fact, this ghost had taken a "_drop too much_."

Upon looking a little closer, they found that this ghost was one Tom
Brown, an under-gardener; and it was discovered that he had _tunnelled_
a hole from the "tool-house" through the wall into the cellar. This
spirit was so over-charged _with spirit_, that he was unable to _walk_,
so was _doomed_ to be carried in a _cart_ to the "_cage_;" and all the
people living round about came next morning to look at the ghost that
had been haunting the squire's wine cellar. Oh! what a _fortune_ it
would be to any one who could catch a ghost--a real, right down,
"'arnest" ghost, and put him in a cage to show him round the country! I
wish I had one.[3] It would cost little or nothing to keep such a
thing; only the lodging, as he would require neither food, fire,
clothing, nor washing!

          [3] Some few years back, a ghost was said to have been seen
          frequently in the neighbourhood of some Roman Catholic
          institution near Leicester, and upon one occasion had nearly
          frightened a young woman to death. I was staying with a
          friend at Leicester at the time, and offered £100 reward to
          any one who would show me the ghost, as I wanted very much to
          make a sketch of it, but I could not get a sight of it for
          love nor money.

At page 118, we find an account of an apparition appearing to a
gentleman, who was staying at a friend's house at Sarratt, in
Hertfordshire, and was awoke in the middle of the night by a pressure
on his feet, and, looking up, saw, by the light that was burning in the
fire-place, a "well-dressed gentleman," in a "_blue_ coat and bright
gilt buttons," leaning on the foot of the bed, _without a head_! It
appears that this was reported to be the ghost of a poor gentleman of
that neighbourhood who had been murdered, and whose head had been cut
off! and could therefore only be recognized by his "_blue_ coat and
bright gilt buttons."

Under any _real_ circumstance this would indeed be _too horrible_ and
_too serious_ a subject to turn into ridicule; but in this case, such
an evident falsehood, it is surely allowable to "lay" such a ghost as
this, such a senseless ghost, in any possible way; in fact, to laugh
such a ghost out of countenance--

    I, therefore, with my rod of double H. blacklead,
    Hold up to scorn this well-dressed ghost without a head.

Any one looking at this figure will clearly see that he does not belong
to _this world_, and has therefore no business here; for, although
there may be some persons in _this world_ who, perhaps, go about with a
very small allowance of _brain_, yet every _body here_ must have some
sort of a _head_ upon his shoulders, no matter how handsome, or
queer-looking it may be. Now I am sorry to be rude to any "well-dressed
gentleman," or, indeed, to any _body_ or _soul_; but as it appears
(from the story) that this ghost had really no real _business_ upon
earth, what "on earth" does he come here for? Why, for no other object,
it appears, but to "show himself off;" so, in my opinion, the sooner he
"walks off" the better. By the by, perhaps we ought not to be too
severe upon the poor fellow, for, upon consideration, he is placed in
rather an awkward position, as his _head_ may be on the look out for
the _body_, and know where it is, but having no legs it cannot get to
the body. On the other hand, although the _body_ has legs and could
walk to the _head_, yet, having no eyes, cannot see where the _head_
is; so some excuse may be made upon this _head_, particularly if he is
not a _talking_ ghost.

There is a story, somewhere in the Roman Catholic chronicles, of a
martyr, who, after being beheaded, picked up his head, and walked away
with it under his arm; but our ghost here, in the "blue coat and bright
gilt buttons," is not allowed to do this sort of thing, and the
question naturally arises, what has become of, or where is the _spirit_
of this unfortunate gentleman's _head_? Can the believers in ghosts
tell us that? and surely we shall all feel obliged if they can inform
us whether the apparitions of _all decapitated persons appear without
their heads_; and, if not, what becomes of their heads? and, further,
whether the mutilation of the _body_ can in any way affect the
_spirit_--the _soul_?

I shall not in this case "pause for a reply," because I know I shall
have a very long time to wait for an answer; but in proceeding to bring
to the light of day some more facts about ghosts from the _dark_ side
of nature, I feel as if some inquisitive spirit was irresistibly
compelling me to put questions as I go on writing; and therefore, under
these circumstances, present my compliments to those persons who know
about ghosts, and the various authors who support this belief, and I
shall feel greatly obliged if they will answer my queries at their
earliest convenience.--N.B. Shall be glad to hear the replies from the
ghosts themselves, provided they pay the postage.

In the first place, then, from the authority quoted above, it appears
that a widow lady had, strange to say, married a second time! and that
the ghost of her first husband paid her "constant visits." Query, What
did the ghost come for, and was the second husband at all jealous of
his coming? With respect to a celebrated actor, who had married a
second wife, we find that the apparition of his first wife appeared to
him, and which appearance unfortunately threw him into a fit, and at
the same moment this ghost appeared to the second wife, although they
were several hundred miles apart at the time. I can understand why the
ghost of his first wife came to visit _him_ who once was hers, that is,
because he was such a great actor, and such a good fellow; but why did
it appear to the second wife? and how is it that the same spirit can
appear in _several places_ at _the same instant_? I should like to know
that. At page 274 we find a DOG frightened at the ghost of a soldier!
But this is not the only "unlucky dog" that has been terrified by
apparitions; several instances are given in different works. Query, How
do the "poor dogs" know a ghost is a ghost when they see one,
particularly as they appear in the same dresses which they had on when
"in the flesh;" and even, suppose they know that they are in the
presence of a ghost, what makes them "turn tail?" Yes, why should a
_dog_, especially if he is a _spirited_ dog, do so? for almost in the
same page we are told of a horse who recognized his old master, who
appeared in the same dress he wore when alive, a "sky-blue coat." This
horse did not "turn tail." No! but followed the phantom of his dear old
master, who was walking about the farm, and no doubt wanted to give him
a ride. Query, If a horse is not frightened at a ghost, why should dogs
be frightened at the sight of them? And also, if a _goose_ would be
frightened if it saw a ghost? _Asses_, we know, are sometimes
frightened at nothing, and as a ghost is "next to nothing," they must
of course be frightened at ghosts. At page 459 we are told of the ghost
of a "horse and cart," and also of the "ghosts of sheep." If this be
so, doubtless there must likewise be the ghosts of dogs (what "droll
dogs" they must be), also of puppies, and asses.

What an interesting subject of inquiry is this for the zoologist!

We find, as we dive into the dark mysteries of apparitions, that there
are ghosts of all sorts and sizes, and that there are even _lame_
ghosts, as is proved by the following true tale of the apparition of an
officer in India, as related by several of his brother officers, whose
words _dare not_ be doubted:--One Major R----, who was presumed to be
of about fifty or sixty years of age, was with some young officers,
proceeding up a river in a barge; and as they came to a considerable
bend in the river, the major and the other officers went ashore, in
order to cross the neck of land, taking their fowling-pieces and powder
and shot with them, in the hopes of meeting some game; and they also
took something to _refresh_ themselves on the road. At one part of
their journey they took their "tiffing," and after this they had to
jump across a ditch, which the young officers cleared, but the major
"jumped short." He told his companions to march on, and he would follow
after he had dried and put himself a little in marching order. They saw
him lay down his fowling-piece and his hat, and they moved on. After
marching some time, they came in sight of the barge, and were wondering
why the major did not follow, when, on a sudden, they were surprised to
see him (the major) at some distance from them making towards the
barge, "without his hat or gun," _limping_ hastily along in his _top
boots_, and he did not appear to observe them. When they arrived at the
barge, he was not there. They returned to the spot where they had left
him, and found his hat and his fowling-piece, and with the assistance
of some natives they discovered the body of the major in a pit dug for
trapping wild animals!

I defer asking any questions upon the foregoing for the present, for a
reason, but as the next case related is that of the ghost of a young
man who had been drowned, and the poor old mother saw her son "dripping
with water," we may surely inquire here if there is or can be such a
wonderful sight as an _apparition_ of "dripping water!" or ghosts of
_tears_! for we find at page 387 an account of a _weeping_ ghost, who
let his tears fall on the face of a female, who "_often felt the_ TEARS
_on her cheek; icy cold, but burn afterwards, and leave a blue mark!_"
And on the same authority we find that there is the ghost of DIRT, for
the ghost of the old beggar-man was "dirty." And then if the ghost of a
chimney-sweep were to appear--and why not the spirit of a sweep as well
as anybody else? But if he came, _he must_ also appear "in his habits
as he lived." In that case there must be the ghost of _soot_! Thus
there are not only the apparitions of _fluids_, and _dust_ and _dirt_,
but also of hard substances, as in the case of a ghost who was seen in
a garden with the ghost of a "_spade_ in his hand!"

And not only have we, then, ghosts of all these matters, but also a
ghost of the "_rustling of silk_," "_creaking of shoes_," and "_sounds
of footsteps_," many instances of which will be found in "FOOTFALLS ON
THE BOUNDARY OF ANOTHER WORLD," by ROBERT DALE OWEN, a work most
elaborately compiled, and sincerely do I wish that such talent and such
research had been engaged and directed to illustrate and assist with
_light_, instead of darkness, the present progressive state of society,
instead of striving and endeavouring, as it does, to drive us back into
the "outer darkness" of the ignorance of the "dark ages," to endeavour
to support and to bring back the mind of man to a belief in the visits
of ghosts, of necromancy, bewitching, and all the "black arts;" all of
which it was hoped, in the progress of time, would ultimately be swept
away from the face of the earth, by pure and sound Christian religion,
education and science, all of which go clearly to prove that "black
arts" are matters contrary to the natural laws of the creation and the
laws of GOD.

In one of the tales brought forward by this author is an account of the
haunting of an old manor-house near Leigh, in Kent, called Ramhurst,
where there was heard "knockings and sounds of footsteps," more
especially voices which could not be accounted for, usually in an
unoccupied room; "sometimes as if talking in a loud tone, sometimes as
if reading aloud, occasionally screaming." The servants never _saw_
anything, but the cook told her mistress that on one occasion, in broad
daylight, hearing the _rustling_ of a _silk dress_ behind her, and
which seemed to _touch_ her, she turned suddenly round, supposing it to
be her mistress, but to her great surprise and terror could not see
anybody.

Mr. Owen is so thoroughly master of this spirit subject that he must be
able to tell us all about this "rustling" of the "silk dresses" of
ghosts, and surely every one will be curious to learn the secret of
such a curious fact.

The lady of the house, a Mrs. R----, drove over one day to the railway
station at Tunbridge to fetch a young lady friend who was coming to
stay with her for some weeks. This was a Miss S----, who "had been in
the habit of seeing apparitions from early childhood," and when, upon
their return, they drove up to the entrance of the manor-house, Miss
S---- perceived on the threshold the appearance of two figures,
apparently an elderly couple, _habited in the costume of the time of
Queen Anne_. They appeared as if standing on the ground. Miss S---- saw
the same apparition several times after this, and held conversations
with them, and they told her that they were husband and wife, and that
their name was "Children;" and she informed the lady of the house, Mrs.
R----, of what she had seen and heard; and as Mrs. R---- was dressing
hurriedly one day for dinner, "and not _dreaming_ of anything
_spiritual_, as she hastily turned to leave her bed-chamber, there, in
the doorway, stood the same female figure Miss S---- had described!
identical in appearance and costume--even to the old 'point-lace' on
her 'brocaded silk dress'--while beside her, on the left, but less
distinctly visible, was the figure of the old squire, her husband; they
uttered no sound, but above the figure of the lady, as if written in
phosphoric light in the dusk atmosphere that surrounded her, were the
words, '_Dame Children_,' together with some other words intimating
that having never aspired beyond the joys and sorrows of this world,
she had remained '_earth bound_.' These last, however, Mrs. R----
scarcely paused to decipher, as her brother (who was very hungry)
called out to know if they were 'going to have any dinner that day?'"
There was no time for hesitation; "she closed her eyes, rushed through
the apparition and into the dining-room, throwing up her hands, and
exclaiming to Miss S----, 'Oh, my dear, I've walked through Mrs.
Children!'" Only think of that, "gentle reader!" Only think of Mrs.
R---- walking _right through_ "Dame Children"--"old point-lace,
brocaded silk dress," and all--and as old "Squire Children" was
standing by the side of his "dame," Mrs. R---- must either have upset
the old ghost or have walked through him also.

Although this story looks very much like as if it were intended as an
additional chapter to "Joe Miller's Jest-book," the reader will please
to observe that Mr. Owen does not relate this as a joke, but, on the
contrary, expects that it will be received as a solemn serious fact;
there was a cause for the haunting of this old manor-house, with the
talking, screaming, and rustling of silk, and the appearance of the
old-fashioned ghosts; there was a secret which these ghosts wished to
impart to the persons in the house at that time, and if the gentleman
reader will brace up his nerves, and the lady reader will get her
"smelling-bottle" ready, I'll let them into the secret. Now, pray, dear
madam, don't be terrified! Squire Children had formerly been proprietor
of the mansion, and he and his "dame" had taken great delight and
interest in the house--when alive--and they were very sorry to find
that the property had gone out of the family, and he and his dame had
come on purpose to let Mrs. R---- and her friend know all this! There
now, there's a secret for you--what do you think of that?

In the year 1854, a baron (of the rather funny name of _Gul_denstubbé)
was residing alone in apartments in the Rue St. Lazare, Paris, and one
night there appeared to him in his bed-room the ghost of a stout old
gentleman. It seems that he saw a column of "light grayish vapour," or
sort of "bluish light," out of which there gradually grew into sight,
within it, the figure of a "tall, portly old man, with a fresh colour,
_blue_ eyes,[4] snow white hair, thin white whiskers, but without beard
or moustache, and dressed with care. He seemed to wear a white cravat
and long white waistcoat, high stiff shirt collar, and long black frock
coat thrown back from his chest as is wont of corpulent people like him
in _hot_ weather. He appeared to lean on a _heavy white cane_." After
the baron had seen this _portly_ ghost, he went to bed and to sleep,
and in a dream the same figure appeared to him again, and he thought he
heard it say, "Hitherto you have not believed in the reality of
apparitions, considering them only as the recallings of memory; now,
since you have seen a _stranger_, you cannot consider it the
reproduction of former ideas."

          [4] The baron must have had _good_ eyes to have seen the
          precise colour of the ghost's eyes under such circumstances.

Every one will acknowledge that this was exceedingly kind on the part
of the ghost, as he had no doubt to come a long way for the express
purpose of setting the baron's mind right upon this point; and had also
come from a _very warm place_, as his frock coat "was thrown from his
chest, as is wont with corpulent people in hot weather."

This polite, good-natured, "blue"-eyed apparition, who was "dressed
with care," had been the proprietor of the maison--a Monsieur
Caron--who had dropped down in an apoplectic fit; and, oh, horror of
horrors, had actually "died in the very bed now occupied by the
baron!"...

When the daughter heard of the ghost of her papa, appearing thus upon
one or two occasions, "she caused masses to be said for the soul of her
father," and it is "alleged that the apparition has not been seen in
any of the apartments since;" or, to use a vulgarism, we might say
here, that this ghost had "cut his stick."

Mr. Robert Dale Owen had this narrative from the baron himself in
Paris, on the 11th of May, 1859, and he is of opinion that this "story
derives much of its value from the calm and dispassionate manner in
which the witness appears to have observed the succession of phenomena,
and the exact details which, in consequence, he has been enabled to
furnish. It is remarkable also, as well for the electrical influences
which preceded the appearance, as on account of the correspondence
between the apparition to the baron in his waking state, and that
subsequently seen in his dream; the first cognizable by one sense
only--that of sight--the second appealing (though in vision of the
sight only) to the hearing also. The coincidences as to personal
peculiarities and details of dress are too numerous and minutely exact
to be fortuitous, let us adopt what theory we may."

As this baron is no doubt a most respectable and well-conducted
gentleman, in every respect, I will not say--

    That Monsieur the Baron de Guldenstubbe
    Had taken too much out of a bottle or tub,

but this I will say, that his account seems to be nothing more or less
than a very _exact_ description of some "dissolving view" trick played
off upon the baron and others by some clever French neighbour; and as
to his _dream_, it is surely hardly worth while to notice such
nonsense, as dreams are now well understood to be only the imperfect
operations of the organs of thought, in a semi-dormant state, "half
asleep and half awake," and are the effect sometimes of agreeable
sensations or painful emotions, during the waking hours, and may be
produced to any disagreeable amount by eating a very hearty supper of
underdone "pork pies," and going to sleep on the back instead of
reclining on the side. We cannot dream of anything of which we have not
seen or had something of a similar kind before, nor can we form either
awake or in a dream any form whatever--animate or inanimate, which does
not partake or form some part of nature's general objects; and in fact
we cannot _invent_ an animal form without combining the parts of
existing animals either of man or beast. I trust that this _fact_ will
be a sufficient answer for Monsieur Caron. And then, as to the "laying"
of this ghost, it does seem to me to be extraordinary, that any person
possessed of common understanding in these days, let their religion be
what it may, should believe that the ALMIGHTY GOD would not let a
departed spirit _rest_, until "masses" had been said for the soul of
such person; until some _money had been paid_ to a priest to mumble
over a few set forms of prayer. _Paid_ for prayers--prayers at a
certain market price! Then, as to the "white cravat," "white
waistcoat," "high stiff shirt collar," and "black frock coat," and more
particularly the "heavy white cane," is it to be understood that these
said "masses" put all these materials to rest, as well as the soul or
spirit of the body? If not, where did they go to? Had they to return to
purgatory by themselves--had the heavy white walking-stick to walk off
without its owner?

In the frame of mind in which this _story_ is written, it is not at all
surprising that the author should have taken so much trouble to put
these _facts_ together, and that he should evidently be altogether so
satisfied with the conclusion which he arrives at. But ghost stories,
like many other matters, where a foundation is once laid and
established in falsehood or nonsense, such builders may go on, adding
any amount of the same materials, upon this false basis. They may go
on, _working in the dark_--piling up one _story_ upon another, until
the structure assumes the appearance in the dusk of a well-established
and substantial edifice, and looking as if it would stand firm for
ever; but undermine this apparently stronghold, with that which is
always considered as a great _bore_, when used in working under the
foundations of long-established error or prejudice, namely, TRUTH,
guided by TRUE RELIGION, and when thus armed and prepared, "spring the
mine" with a good "blow-up" of COMMON SENSE, to let in the light of
Heaven and Christian civilized intelligence, and the whole mass of
ignorance and superstition is blown and scattered to the winds, "like
the baseless fabric of a vision."

It may be said that the truth of this ghost _story_ rests mainly on a
_stick_--_leans_ upon a "heavy white cane." Take away the _cane_ and
down comes the ghost! "white waistcoat," "high stiff shirt collar,"
"black coat," "blue eyes," and all!

The author of "Footfalls on the Boundary of another World" is evidently
a religious man, and had he but thought as deeply upon these matters as
I have done, I am sure he would never have been guilty of the impiety
of bringing forward such questions as to the _spirituality_ of
walking-sticks. But I am well pleased that this "heavy white cane" has
been introduced here, because it affords me a handle to cane or to
knock down and drive away entirely these hideous and unnatural myths;
and also because it enables me to _stick_ to the text, and to introduce
here to the public an old friend, as another illustration bearing upon
the stick question. This is the apparition of one Tom Straitshank,
drawn, as you will see, by your humble servant.

[Illustration: George Cruikshank]

This was a jolly bold daring spirit, and was seen when on board the
_Victory_ at the battle of Trafalgar to emerge, like Monsieur Caron,
out of some light bluish vapour, very much like the smoke of gunpowder;
and in that battle it appears, like one of the heroes in "Chevy Chase,"
his "legs were smitten off!" but, unlike that warrior, he found that
_he_ could not fight "upon his stumps," so he had a pair of wooden legs
made, and having bought two stout walking-sticks, was thus enabled to
hobble about on his "timber toes." He almost always appeared in various
different parts of "Greenwich Hospital," and very often surrounded by,
and sometimes emerging from, a vapour very like the smoke of tobacco. I
feel here that I ought to have given Tom his pipe, but the drawing of
this tar was done many years since, and until I read Mrs. Crowe's book
lately, I was not aware that ghosts smoked their pipes, but it actually
appears that they do smoke, for at page 210 of "The Night-side of
Nature," a ghost is introduced with a "short pipe," and it was found
out that the reason of his "walking by night" was, that he owed "a
_small debt for tobacco_!"

    And when this little bacca-bill was paid,
    This ghost, with his little bacca-pipe, was "laid;"

and we may suppose the spirit _laid_ down his pipe. This ghost of a
tobacco-pipe raises the question of what these spiritual pipes are
made--of what clay, or if the Meer Schum are only _mere shams_; what
sort of tobacco-leaves their cigars are made of, and if there are any
spiritual "cabbage-leaves" mixed up with them.

    Yes, we'd just like to know, what weed 'tis they burns,
    Whether "Shortcut," "Shag," "Bird's eye," or "Returns."

As the gents _here_, light their pipes and cigars with a kind of
_Lucifer_ match, we may be pretty sure that they will continue to
do so _elsewhere_; but one would like to know also if ghosts chaw
tobacco, if they take a quid of "pig-tail," and if the smokers use
spittoons--faugh!--and further, as ghosts do smoke, if they take a
pinch of snuff, if there is such a thing as spiritual snuff, if there
be such things as the spirit of "Irish blaguard" and "Scotch rappee?"

Some of these "_sensation_" melodramas, or rather _farces_, might vie
in the number of nights in which the performances took place, with some
of the "sensation" or popular theatrical pieces of the present day.
Here is one entitled, "The Drummer of Tedworth" (what a capital heading
for a "play bill!"), in which the ghost or evil spirit of a drummer, or
the ghost of a drum (for it does not appear clearly which of the two it
was), performed the principal part in this drama, with slight
intervals, for "_two entire years_."

    Oh! this drummer, oh! this drummer,
      I'll tell you what he used to do,
    He used to beat upon his drum,
      The "_Old Gentleman's_ tattoo."

The "plot" runs thus:--In March, 1661, Mr. Mompesson, a magistrate,
caused a vagrant drummer to be arrested, who had been annoying the
country by noisy demands for charity, and had ordered his drum, "oh
that drum!" to be taken from him and left in the bailiff's hands. About
the middle of April following (that is in 1661), when Mr. Mompesson was
preparing for a journey to London, the bailiff sent the drum to his
house. Upon his return home he was informed that noises had been
_heard_, and then he heard the noises himself, which were a "thumping
and _drumming_" accompanied by "a strange noise and hollow sound." The
sign of it when it came, was like a hurling in the air, over the house,
and at its going off, the beating of a drum, like that at the "breaking
up of a guard."

"After a month's disturbance _outside_ the house ('which was most of it
of board') it came _into the room where the drum lay_." "For an hour
together it would beat 'Roundheads and cockolds,' the 'tattoo,' and
several other points of war, as well as any drummer." Upon one
occasion, "when many were present, a gentleman said, 'Satan, if the
drummer set thee to work, give _three_ knocks,' which it did very
distinctly and no more." And for further trial, he bid it for
confirmation, if it were the drummer, to give _five_ knocks and no more
that night, which it did, and left the house quiet all the night after.

    All this seems very strange, about this drummer and his drum,
    But for myself, I really think this drumming ghost was "all a hum."

But strange as it certainly was, is it not still more strange, that
educated gentlemen, and even clergymen, as in this case also, should
believe that the ALMIGHTY would suffer an evil spirit to disturb and
affright a whole innocent family, because the head of that family had,
in his capacity as magistrate, thought it his duty to take away a
_drum_, from no doubt a drunken drummer, who by his noisy conduct had
become a nuisance and an annoyance to the neighbourhood?

The next case of supposed spiritual antics was not the drumming of a
drum, but a tune upon a warming-pan, the "clatter" of "a warming-pan,"
and a vast variety of other _earthly_ sounds, which it was proved to
have been heard at the Rev. Samuel Wesley's, who was the father of the
celebrated John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, at a place called
Epworth, in Lincolnshire. These sounds consisted of "knockings," and
"groanings," of "footsteps," and "rustling of silk trailing along" (the
"rustling of silk" seems to be a favourite air with the ghosts),
"_clattering_" of the "_iron casement_," and "_clattering_" of the
"_warming-pan_," and then as if a "vessel full of silver was poured
upon Mrs. Wesley's breast and ran jingling down to her feet;" and all
sorts of frightful noises, not only enough to "frighten anybody," but
which frightened even a big dog!--a large mastiff, who used at first,
when he heard the noises, "to bark and leap and snap on one side and
the other, and that frequently before any person in the room heard the
noises at all; but after two or three days, he used to tremble and
creep away before the noise began. And by this, the family knew it was
at hand; nor did the observation ever fail." Poor bow woo! what cruel
ghosts to be sure, to go and frighten a poor dog in this way.

Mrs. Wesley at one time thought it was "_rats_, and sent for a _horn_
to _blow_ them away;" but blowing the horn did not blow the ghosts
away. No; for at first it only came at night, but after the horn was
blown it came in the daytime as well.

There were many opinions offered as to the cause of these disturbances,
by different persons at different times. Dr. Coleridge "considered it
to be a contagious nervous disease, the acme or intensest form of which
is catalepsy." Mr. Owen here asks if the mastiff was cataleptic also?
It is rather curious that a _cat_ is mentioned in this narrative. Now
supposing the _dog_ could not have been _cat_aleptic, the cat might
perhaps have been so.

Some of the Wesley family believed it to be supernatural hauntings, and
give the following reason for it:--It appears that at morning and
evening family prayers, "when the Rev. Samuel Wesley, the father,
commenced the prayer for the king, a knocking began all round the room,
and a thundering knock attended the _Amen_." Mr. Wesley observed that
his wife did not say _amen_ to the prayer for the king. She said she
could not, for she did not believe that the Prince of Orange was king.
Mr. Wesley vowed he could not live with her until she did. He took his
horse and rode away, and she heard nothing of him for a twelvemonth. He
then came back and lived with her, as before, and although he did so,
they add, that they fear this vow was not forgotten before GOD.

If any religious persons were asked whether they thought that any law,
natural or divine, could be suspended or set aside without the
permission or sanction of the CREATOR, their answer would be, nay,
_must_ be, _certainly not_. Yes, this would be their answer. Then is it
not extraordinary that the members of this pious clergyman's family,
and from whence sprang the founder of such a large and respectable
religious sect, should have such a mean idea of the SUPREME BEING, as
to suppose that HE would allow the regular laws of the universe to be
suspended or set aside, and whole families (including unoffending
innocent children) to be disturbed, terrified, and sometimes seriously
injured, for such contemptible, ridiculous, and senseless reasons, or
purposes, such as those assigned in the various cases already alluded
to. It is indeed to me surprising that any one possessing an atom of
sound Christian religion, can suppose and maintain for one moment that
these silly, supposed supernatural sounds and appearances can be, as
they say, "of GOD."

We may defy the supporters of this apparition doctrine to bring forward
one circumstance in connection with these ghosts, which corresponds in
any way with the real character of the CREATOR, where any real benefit
has been known to result from such sounds and such appearances--none,
none, none; whereas we know that there has been a large amount of human
suffering, illness, folly, and mischief, and in former times, we know,
to a large and serious extent, but even now, in this "age of
intellect," when we come to investigate the causes of some of the most
painful diseases amongst children and young persons, particularly young
females, we find, on the authority of the first medical men, that they
are occasioned by being frightened by mischievous, thoughtless, or
cruel persons, mainly in consequence of being _taught in their
childhood to believe in ghosts_. I know a young lady who, when a child,
was placed in a dark closet by her nurse, and so terrified in this way
that the poor little girl lost her speech, and has been dumb ever
since. Dr. Elliotson, in one of his reports of the Mesmeric Hospital,
cites several most distressing and painful cases of "chorea," or St.
Vitus's dance, and dreadful fits, brought on through fright; and Dr.
Wood, physician to St. Luke's Hospital (for lunatics), assures me that
many cases of insanity are produced by terror from these causes; but
even supposing that there are not very many cases of positive insanity
brought on in this way, still the unnatural excitement thus acting on
the brain, or the mind dwelling upon such matters, must have an
unhealthy tendency.

If all rational and religious persons will give this subject the
attention which it demands, they will, I feel confident, see, that this
belief in ghosts should not only be discountenanced, but put an end to
altogether, if possible, as such notions not only have an injurious
effect upon the health and comfort of many persons, particularly those
of tender age, but it also debases the proper ideas which man ought to
have of the CREATOR; and not only so, but it also interferes with and
trenches upon that mysterious and sacred question, _the immortality of
the soul_; that it disturbs that belief which, with a firm trust and
reliance upon the goodness and mercy of GOD, is the only consolation
the afflicted mind can have, when mourning for the loss of those they
have loved dearer than themselves.

These hauntings of drumming and knocking, and thumping and bumping,
with thundering noises, almost shaking the houses down, accompanied by
the _delicate_ rustlings of silk and _trailing_ of gowns, etc., were at
the time suspected of being _tricks_; and by the perusal of the
following cases the reader will see that such tricks _can_ and _have_
been played, and such imposture carried on so successfully as to
deceive clergymen and others; and but for the severe _natural_ tests
brought to bear upon the supposed supernatural actors, would no doubt
have been quoted by Mr. Owen and others as well-attested,
well-established, veritable spiritual performances.

At the corner of a street which runs from Snow Hill into Smithfield,
stands what _I_ consider a public nuisance, commonly called a
"public-house," the sign of "The Cock," and that which is now a street
was formerly a rustic lane, and took its name from the sign of that
house, and therefore called to this day "Cock Lane," which locality, in
about the years 1754 to 1756, became one of the most celebrated places
in London, in consequence, as it was believed, of one of the houses
therein being taken possession of by a female ghost, who was designated
"the Cock Lane ghost."

A man of the name of Parsons kept the house, and in which lodged a
gentleman and his wife of the name of Kempe. This lady died at this
house, and after her death it was given out by Parsons that his
daughter, then eleven years of age (who used to sleep with Mrs. Kempe
when her husband was out of town), was "possessed" with the spirit of
the deceased lady, and that the spirit had informed the little girl
that she had been murdered by her husband--that she had been
"poisoned!" A vast number of respectable ladies and gentlemen,
including clergymen, were "taken in"--but happily for themselves not
"done for"--by this ghost; and it is said that even the celebrated Dr.
Samuel Johnson was _convinced_ of the spirituality of the "knocks"
which the ghost gave in answer to questions, for it kept up
conversations in precisely the same manner--that is, by "knocks" or
"raps"--as the "spirit-rappers" do at the present day. The
"scratchings" and "knocks" were only heard when Parson's little
daughter was in bed.

After this sort of thing had gone on for a considerable time, and a
_post-mortem_ examination of the body of the supposed murdered lady,
which had been deposited in the vaults of St. John's, Clerkenwell
Close, Mr. Kempe found it necessary to take steps to defend his
character. The child was removed to the house of a highly-respectable
lady, where "not a sound was heard," no "scratchings" or "knocks," for
several nights; but the girl Parsons, who was now a year or two older,
upon going to bed one night informed the watchers that the ghost would
pay a visit the following morning; but the servants of the house
informed the watchers that the young lady had taken a bit of wood, six
inches long by four inches broad, into bed with her, which she had
concealed in her stays. This bit of wood was used to "stand the kettle
on." The imposture was discovered, and the poor girl confessed to the
wicked trickery which her _parents_ had taught her to practise!

Mr. Kempe indicted Parsons and others for conspiracy against his life
and character, the case was tried before Lord Mansfield at Guildhall,
July 10th, 1756, and all the parties convicted. The Rev. Mr. More and a
printer, with others, were heavily fined. Parsons was set in the
pillory three times in one month and imprisoned for two years, his wife
for one year, and Mary Eraser, the "Medium," for six months in
Bridewell, and kept to hard labour. It came out in the course of
investigation that Master Parsons had borrowed some money of Mr. Kempe,
and it was rather suspected that he did not want to pay it back again.

Another celebrated spiritual farce was enacted in 1810, entitled "_The
Sampford Ghost_." This is a village near Tiverton, in Devonshire, and
the following striking performances were "attested by _affidavit_ of
the Rev. C. Cotton," who, by the by, was of opinion that "a belief in
ghosts is favourable to virtue."

Imprimis, "stamping on the boards answered by similar sounds underneath
the flooring, and these sounds followed the persons through the upper
apartments and answered the stamping of the feet. The servant women
were beaten in bed 'with a fist,' a candlestick thrown at the master's
head but did not hit him, heard footsteps, no one could be seen walking
round, candles were alight but could see no one, but steps were heard
'like a man's foot in a slipper,' with rapping at the doors, etc. etc.
After this the servants were slapped, pushed, and buffeted. The bed was
more than once stuck full of pins, loud repeated knockings were heard
in all the upper rooms, the house shook, the windows rattled in their
casements, and all the horrors of the most horrible of romances were
accumulated in this devoted habitation." Amongst other things it was
_declared_ by a man, of the rather suspicious name of "Dodge," that the
prentice boy had seen "an old woman descend through the ceiling."

The house was tenanted by a man of the name of Chave, a huckster. The
landlord was a Mr. Tully, who determined to investigate this matter
himself, and went to sleep, or rather to pass the night, at the house
for this purpose. The account says that "he took with him a reasonable
degree of scepticism, a considerable share of common sense;" and I
believe a good thick stick, which is, in my opinion, a much more
powerful instrument in _laying_ these kinds of ghosts than the
old-fashioned remedy of "bell, book, and candle."

When Mr. Tully went to the house he saw "Dodge" speaking to Mrs. Chave
in the shop, and also saw him leave the house; but when he went up
stairs by himself who should he see but this same "Dodge," who had got
up stairs by a private entrance, but who could not _dodge_ out of Mr.
Tully's way. So Mr. Tully pounced upon him and locked him in the room,
where he also found a mopstick "battered at the end into splinters and
covered with whitewash," and this was the ghost that answered the
stamping on the floors. Mr. Tully went to bed, and as no ghosts thumped
he went to sleep and had a good night's rest; and upon examining the
house the next day, found the ceilings below in "a state of
mutilation," from the ghostly thumps it had received.

Tho cause of the house being _haunted_ was a conspiracy on the part of
Chave and his friends to get the house at a _very low rent_, as _he_
would not mind living on the promises, but other persons would not, of
course, be likely to take a "haunted house."

A drunken mob one day met and assaulted Chave after this trick was
exposed, and he took refuge in his "haunted house," from whence he
fired a pistol and shot one man dead. Another man was also killed at
the same time, thus two lives were sacrificed to this "Sampford ghost."
The Rev. C. Cotton died shortly after this ghost was discovered to be a
flam, or _sham_ ghost; it was supposed of chagrin and vexation at being
made a _butt_ of by the vulgar for his simplicity and credulity.

Another sensation farce was "The Stockwell Ghost," which performed its
tricks very cleverly and successfully at a farm-house in that place in
the year 1772. It broke nearly every bit of glass, china, and crockery
in the house, and no discovery was made at the time of the _how_, the
_why_, or the _wherefore_. But in "The Every Day Book," edited and
published by W. Hone, the whole matter is explained in the confession
of a woman who lived at the house as servant girl at the time, and who
played the part of the ghost so well, that she escaped detection, and
came off, only suspected by a few.

The inutility of attempting to do away entirely with this popular
belief in ghosts by _arguments_, however well founded on reason and
science, has already been hinted at; but it will be only fair that
_science_ should just put a word in, as it can do no harm and may do
good.

In "Sketches of the Philosophy of Apparition, or an Attempt to Trace
such Illusions to their Physical Causes, by Samuel Hibbert, M.D.,
F.R.S.E.," the author states his opinion to be that "Apparitions are
nothing more than ideas or recollected images of the mind, which have
been rendered more vivid than actual impressions," perhaps by morbid
affections. It is also pointed out that "in ghost stories of a supposed
supernatural character which by disease are rendered so unduly intense
as to induce spectral illusions, may be traced to such fantastical
objects of prior belief as are incorporated in the various systems of
superstition which for ages have possessed the minds of the vulgar."
"Spectral illusions arise from a highly excited state of the nervous
irritability acting generally upon the system, or from inflammation of
the brain."

"The effect induced on the brain by intoxication from ardent spirits,
which have a strong tendency to inflame this organ, is attended with
very remarkable effects. These have lately been described as symptoms
of 'delirium tremens.' Many cases are recorded which show the liability
of the patient to long-continued spectral impressions."

Sir David Brewster represents these phenomena as images projected on
the retina--from the brain, and seen with the eyes open or shut.

Of the many causes assigned for spectral illusions the following may be
enumerated:--Holy ecstasies, various diseases of the brain, diseases of
the eye, extreme sensibility or nervous excitement from fright, various
degrees of fever, effects of opium, delirium tremens, ignorance and
superstition, catalepsy, and confused, indistinct, or uncomprehended
natural causes. Now all persons who suppose they see ghosts are at
liberty to select any of the foregoing causes for their being so
deluded, for delusion it is, as I hope presently to prove; but they may
rest assured that these supposed spectres are always produced either by
disease or by over-excited imagination, which in some cases it may be
said amounts to disease.

However, to return to the ghosts. A very common, or rather _the_
common, idea of a ghost is generally a very _thin_ and _scraggy_
figure; but if there are such things there must be _fat_ ghosts as well
as _thin_ ghosts; fat or thin people are equally eligible "to put in an
appearance" of this sort if they can; and to carry out this idea and
make it quite clear, I here introduce an old acquaintance of the
public, Mr. Daniel Lambert, as he appeared to _my_ _un_-excited
imagination whilst engaged on this work. Now if Daniel came as an
apparition, he must, according to the authorities in these matters, not
only "come in his habits as he lived," that is, in the clothes he wore,
but must also come in his _fat_, or he would not be recognized as the
fattest man "and the heaviest man that ever lived," and although he
weighed "52 stone 11 pounds" (14 lb. to the stone) in the flesh, in the
spirit, he would, of course, be "as light as a feather," or rather an
"air bubble;" and as he could not dance and jump about when alive, I
thought if I brought him in as a ghost, I'd give him a bit of a treat,
and let him dance upon the "tight rope."

Most persons will remember a story told by "Pliny the younger" of the
apparition of "an old" man appearing to Athenadorous, a Greek scholar.
This ghost was "lean, haggard, and _dirty_," with "dishevelled hair
and a long beard." He had "chains on," and came "shaking his chains"
at the Greek scholar, who heeded him not, but went on with his
studies. The old ghost, however, "came close to him and shook his
chains over his head as he sat at the table," whereupon Athenadorous
arose and followed the dirty old man in his chains, who went into the
courtyard and "stamped his foot upon a stone about the centre of it,
and--disappeared." The Greek scholar marked the spot, and next day had
the place dug up, when, lo and behold, they found there the skeleton
of a human being.

Going back to the days of "Pliny the younger" is going back far enough
into early history for my purpose, which is to show that the notions
about apparitions which prevailed at that period are the same as those
of the present day, that is, of their _appearing in the dresses they
wore in their life-time, in every minute particular_, as to _form_,
_colour_, and _condition_, _new_ or _old_, as the case might be; but to
prevent any mistake upon this head, I will just add some few words from
that _reliable_ authority, Defoe, who, you will have already remarked,
is _exceedingly particular_ as to the exactness of every article of
dress; but in what follows he goes far beyond any other writer on this
subject, for instance he says, "We see them dressed in the very clothes
which we have _cut_ to _pieces_, and given away, some to one body, some
to another, or applied to this or that use, so that we can _give an
account of every rag of them_. We can hear them speaking with the same
voice and sound, though the organ which formed their former speech we
are sure is perished and gone."

From the various instances of the appearance of apparitions which have
been brought before the reader, it will, I presume, be admitted that
abundant and sufficient proof has been given that the writers about
ghosts, and all those who have professed to have seen ghosts, declare
that _they appear in the dresses which they wore in their lifetime_;
but from all I have been able to learn, it does not appear that from
the days of Pliny the younger down to the days of Shakespeare, and from
thence down to the present time, THAT ANY ONE HAS EVER THOUGHT OF THE
GROSS ABSURDITY, AND IMPOSSIBILITY, OF THERE BEING SUCH THINGS AS
GHOSTS OF WEARING APPAREL, IRON ARMOUR, WALKING STICKS, AND SHOVELS!
NO, NOT ONE, except myself, and this I claim as my DISCOVERY CONCERNING
GHOSTS, and that therefore it follows, as a matter of course, that as
ghosts _cannot_, _must not_, _dare not_, for decency's sake, appear
WITHOUT CLOTHES; and as there can be no such things AS GHOSTS OR
SPIRITS OF CLOTHES, why, then, it appears that GHOSTS NEVER DID APPEAR,
AND NEVER CAN APPEAR, at any rate not in the way in which they have
been hitherto supposed to _appear_.

And now let us glance at the _material_ question, or question of
_materialism_.

In the year 1828, a work was published, entitled "PAST FEELINGS
RENOVATED; or, IDEAS occasioned by the perusal of DR. HIBBERT'S
PHILOSOPHY of APPARITIONS," which the author says were "written with
the view of counteracting any sentiments approaching _materialism_,
which that work, however unintentional on the part of the author, may
have a tendency to produce." The author of "Past Feelings Renovated" is
a firm believer in apparitions, who generally "come in their _habits_
as they lived;" and in his preface he says, "The general tendency of
Dr. Hibbert's work, and evident fallacy of many of the arguments in
support of opinions too nearly approaching '_materialism_,' induced me
to give the subject that _serious consideration_ which it imperatively
demands."

This author, it will be perceived, is very much opposed to anything
like "_materialism_" in relation to this question, and is strongly in
favour of "_spiritualism_," but will he be so good as to tell us what
"A PAIR OF BUCKSKINS" are made of? and what A PAIR OF TOP-BOOTS are
made of? and whether these materials are _spiritualized_ by any
process, or whether THE CLOTHES WE WEAR ON OUR BODIES BECOME A PART AND
PARCEL OF OUR SOULS? And as it is clearly impossible for spirits to
wear dresses made of the _materials_ of the _earth_, we should like to
know if there are spiritual-outfitting shops for the clothing of ghosts
who pay visits on earth, and if empty, haunted houses are used for this
purpose, in the same way as the establishments, and after the manner of
"Moses and Son," or "Hyam Brothers," or such like houses of business,
or if so, then there must be also the _spirit_ of woollen cloth, the
_spirit_ of leather, the _spirit_ of a coat, the _spirit_ of boots and
shoes. There must also be the _spirit_ of trousers, _spirits_ of
gaiters, waistcoats, neckties, _spirits_ of buckles, for shoes and
knees; _spirit_ of buttons, "bright gilt buttons;" _spirits_ of hats,
caps, bonnets, gowns, and petticoats; _spirits_ of hoops and crinoline,
and _ghost's_ stockings. Yes; only think of the _ghosts_ of stockings,
but if the ghost of a lady had to make her appearance here, she could
not present herself before company without her shoes and stockings, so
_there must be_


GHOSTS OF STOCKINGS.

Most persons will surely feel some hesitation in accepting the
assertions made by Defoe, that ghosts appear in clothes that have been
cut up, or distributed in different places, or destroyed, or that they
come in the same garments that are being worn at the same moment by
living persons, or which are at the time of appearing, in wardrobes or
old clothes shops; or, perhaps, thousands of miles away from the spot
where the ghost pays his unwelcome visit, or worn or torn into rags,
and stuck upon a broomstick "to frighten away the crows." No, no, I
think we may rest assured that ghosts could not appear in these
dresses, or shreds and patches; in fact, that they could not show
themselves in any dress made of the materials of the earth as already
suggested; and, therefore, if they did wear any dresses they must have
been composed of a _spiritual material_, if it be possible to unite, in
any way, two such opposites. Then comes the question, from whence is
this spiritual material obtained, and also if there are spirit
manufactories, spirit weavers and spinners, and spirit tanners and "tan
pits?"

If this be so, then there must, of course, be ghost tailors, working
with ghosts of needles (how sharp _they_ must be!), and ghosts of
threads (and how fine _they_ must be!), and the ghost of a "sleeve
board," and the ghost of the iron, which the tailors use to flatten the
seams, called a "goose" (only think of the ghost of a tailor's
"goose!") Then there must be the ghost of a "bootmaker," with the ghost
of a "lapstone," and a "last," and the spirit of "cobbler's wax!" Ghost
of "button makers," "wig makers," and "hatters;" and, indeed, of every
trade necessary to fit out a ghost, either lady or gentleman, in order
to make it appear that they really did appear "in their habits as they
lived."

There are, I know, many respectable worthy persons even at the present
day who believe they sometimes see apparitions, and I would here take
the liberty to advise such persons to ponder a little upon the above
remarks relative to the clothing of spirits, and, when again they think
they see a GHOST, recollect that with the exception of the _face_ and a
little bit of the _neck_ perhaps, and also the _hands_, if without
gloves, that _all the other parts are_ CLOTHES. And I would also take
the liberty to suggest that he should ask the ghost these
questions:--"Who's your tailor?" and "Who's your hatter?"

Whatever the belief of the "Bard of Avon" might have been with respect
to ghosts, it is quite clear that in these cases he was merely
exercising his great poetical talent to work out the several points of
popular belief in apparitions, for the purpose of producing a striking
"stage effect;" but all that he brings forward, goes to prove the
long-established faith in these aërial beings, and the general and
almost universal requisites of character and costume. But it probably
never entered the great mind of this great poet that there could be no
such thing as a ghost of IRON, for if it had, he would, no doubt, have
dressed up the ghost of Hamlet's father in some sort of suit rather
more aërial than a suit of steel armour. There may be "more things
'twixt heaven and earth" than were dreamt of in Horatio's philosophy;
but the ghost of _Iron_ armour could not be one of these things, be
included in the list, and on reverting to this ghost, the reader will
observe that I have given no figure in that suit of armour, and no head
to the figure of Napoleon the First, and for this reason, the art of
drawing, you will please to observe, is a severe critical test in
matters of this sort. For suppose an artist is employed to make a
drawing of this ghost of Hamlet's father, he will begin, or ought to
begin, first to sketch out, very lightly, the size and attitude of the
figure required; then suppose he makes out the face; and then begins to
work on the helmet, but here he stops--why? because if he has any
thought, he will say this is not _spirit_, this is manufactured iron!
And so with the other parts of the figure, all except the face is
_material_; and then to my old enemy in one sense, and _friend_ in
another--Napoleon, for I volunteered, and armed myself to assist to
keep him from coming over here before I was twenty years of age; and as
a caricaturist, what by turning him, sometimes into ridicule, and
sometimes, in fact very often I may say, killing him with my sharp
etching needle, "little Boney" used very frequently to give me a good
solid bit of meat, and make my "pot boil." But with respect to this
headless figure, if the artist is requested to make a drawing of the
spirit of this great general, he would, after making out the face,
begin with the collar of the coat, and then stop--and why? Because the
coat is no part of a _spirit_, and if the whole of the figure were
finished with the face in, what would that be but the spirit of the
_face_ of Napoleon; all the rest would consist of a cocked-hat, with
tricolored cockade; a military coat, with buttons; a waistcoat, a sword
and sash, leather gloves, and leather pantaloons, jack-boots, and
spurs! Are, or can these things be _spiritual_? If the end of the
finger is placed over the space which is left for the face of Napoleon,
the figure will be recognized as _his without the head_; and so with
Hamlet's father, place the end of the finger in front of the helmet,
and the armour will pass for the ghost; and do the like with the figure
of Daniel Lambert, put the head out of sight, _all the rest_ is
neck-handkerchief, a bit of shirt, a coat, a waistcoat, a pair of
gloves, small clothes (not very _small_ by the by), an immense pair of
stockings, and the points of a pair of shoes; and as to the headless
ghost of the gentleman in the _blue_ coat and gilt buttons, that is
also NOTHING BUT A SUIT OF CLOTHES.

The reader will recollect that Daniel Defoe, Mrs. Crowe, and Mr. Owen,
and other authors have all introduced GHOSTS OF WIGS amongst their
facts, in support of spiritual apparitions, so if there are ghosts of
"wigs," there must also be GHOSTS OF "PIGTAILS," because they were
sometimes a part of a wig; and in taking leave of the reader, I take
the liberty of introducing a ghost of a wig and pigtail, who will make
a polite bow for the humble author and artist of this "DISCOVERY
CONCERNING GHOSTS."



ADDENDA.


Just as I depicted the ghost of the wig and pigtail to bow out all
the OLD-FASHIONED GHOSTS, methought I heard a voice say, "Well, sir,
suppose it _granted_ that you _have_ shown the UTTER IMPOSSIBILITY
of there being such things as GHOSTS of HATS, COATS, STICKS, and
UMBRELLAS; admitting that you really have "laid" all these ghosts of
the old style, what say you to the "spirit manifestations" of the
present day?"

Well, this does certainly seem to be putting rather a "_Home_
question"--a "Home thrust," if you please; but sharp as the question
may be, and difficult as it may seem to answer, I am not going to shirk
the question.

In the first place, this _inquiring_ spirit must please to recollect
that these "spirit-rappers" of the present day are almost an entirely
_new-fashioned_ spirit, a different sort of ghost altogether, or ghosts
in "piecemeal;" only _bits_ of spirits, who _never come of their own
accord_, and have to be _squeezed_ out of a table bit by bit, when they
do hold up a hand, or tap or touch people's legs under the table with
their hand, or a bit of one. But never having attended a "_séance_," I
cannot give the _inquiring_ spirit any information about these spirits
from my own personal knowledge. If the inquirer wishes to know "all
about" these spirits, he had better apply to Mr. D. D. Home, who is
quite "at home" with these spirits, upon the most "familiar" terms! in
fact, "hand and glove" with them; and they feel so much at home with
Mr. Home, that they are constantly putting their _hands_ and _arms_, if
not their _legs_, "under his mahogany." I therefore take the liberty of
referring "Inquirer" to this Home medium, or any other medium, Home or
foreign, for a "full, true, and particular account" of the character
and conduct of these new-fashioned, New-found-_land_ ghosts or
spiritual _gentlefolk_, for it does not appear that there are any of
the "working-class" amongst them.

It has been asserted by Mr. Home, that he has seen "full length"
ghosts. These I shall put to the _test_ a little further on.

As I intend putting a few _questions_ myself to these "mediums," or
through this medium, to the spirits, I have to hope that these
questions of mine will be taken by the _inquiring_ spirits who question
me as an answer to _their_ question upon what may be at present
considered upon the whole as almost, if not entirely, _unanswerable_,
at least with the ordinary natural organs of thought and judgment, and
therefore it must be left to these tabular spirits or their mediums to
explain (that is, if they can) that which, to the "outsiders," as the
affair stands at this moment, is an _inexplicable puzzle_.

In bringing forward my questions, I will take the liberty of making an
extract from the "Times," of the 9th of April last, where Mr. D. D.
Home's book of "Incidents in my Life," is reviewed with considerable
acumen and ability; and wherein the writer states that a Dr. Wilkinson
was desirous of obtaining some information and explanations respecting
the "ways and means" of these spirits. The Doctor asked Mr. Home why
the effects (that is, the manifestations) "took place _under_ the table
and not _upon_ it." Mr. Home said, that "in habituated circles the
results were easily obtained above board, visibly to all, but that at
the first sitting it was not so; that scepticism was almost universal
in men's intellects, and marred the forces at work; that the spirits
accomplish what they do through our _life sphere_, or _atmosphere_,
which was _permeated at our wills_, and if _the will_ was _contrary_,
the _sphere_ was unfit for being operated upon." Moreover, allowance
must be made for a certain indisposition on the part of the spirits (as
we infer a sort of spiritual bashfulness), "which deters them from
exhibiting their members in a state of imperfect formation." When some
had merely a _single finger_ put upon their knees, "Mr. Home said that
the presenting spirits could often make _one finger_ where they could
not _make two_, and two where they could not form an _entire hand_,
just as they could form a hand where they could not realize a whole
human figure" (for there seems never to have been life sphere at a
_séance_ adequate to the exhibition of an entire figure, "THOUGH MR.
HOME HAS FREQUENTLY SEEN SPIRITS IN THEIR FULL PROPORTIONS WHEN
ALONE").

And now for one of my questions, which question is not only _my_
question, but a public question, and one which Mr. Home is bound to
answer, if he can. I therefore publicly call upon that gentleman to
inform the public if these SPIRITS, which he saw in their "FULL
PROPORTIONS," were in a state of NUDITY, or if they had CLOTHES on? and
if CLOTHED, of what those CLOTHES WERE MADE? If he does not know these
particulars of his own knowledge, as he has the _ear_ of these spirits,
their _entire_ confidence, and as they have _his_ ear, let him call
upon them to let him into the secret of the manufacture of their
garments, or how the spirits procure them; and until Mr. Home explains
this satisfactorily to the public, we have a right to suspect that
either he has been himself deceived, or that he----Perhaps I had better
not finish the sentence.

The "_inquiring_ spirit" will see that the _clothes_ are the test, and
this test stands good here, as well as with the _old_ fashioned ghosts,
and this, I presume, will be allowed as rather a "Home question" to Mr.
Home; a Home thrust which he can only parry by giving the information
asked; which, if he does not, I will not say "Britons, _strike_ Home,"
but unless he or the spirits "rap" out a satisfactory answer, he may
rely upon it that he will feel the weight of public opinion, which will
weigh rather heavily upon him. But I give him a first-rate chance of
becoming exceedingly popular, for the mass, the millions, are ready to
believe anything in the _shape_ of a fact, and I am confident that the
whole world would be delighted to get hold of such a secret as this. It
would be, perhaps, extreme cruelty to put this gentleman _quite_ "out
of spirits;" but unless he tells us what the clothes of spirits are
made of, I should say that he will stand in rather an awkward position
before the bar of public opinion.

    Another question here I'll put, about this spirit "D D outfit,"
    Which I fear that the spirits won't answer, just as yet--
    It is a question, I grant, that looks _rather_ queer,
    Which is--are their "togs" made out of our _atmosphere_?
    If the cloth is made out of stuff "_permeated by our wills_"--
    And further, if these ghosts are honest, and pay their tailors' bills?

And then, as to the handy craft and crafty hands--

    Oh tell us if warm hands, and cold--
    So cold! so cold! oh dear!--
    Are made in any kind of mould,
    Or how they trick 'em out of our "life sphere?"

Now supposing, nay even admitting, that the _hands_ of spirits are
exhibited at these _séances_, does it not really seem to be impossible
to believe that they are made out of the air that surrounds the persons
who surround the table!!!

Making fingers and hands out of our "life-sphere" or "atmosphere!"
"permeated by our wills!" Well, I was going to say, "after that comes
in a horse to be shaved," but really I hardly know what to say; for
whilst reading the accounts of these spirits, I feel almost bewildered,
and as the mediums say that there is what they call "spirit-writing,"
and that spirits seize the person's wrist, and make them write just
what they wist, I suspect that the spirit of botheration has got hold
of my hand, and is making me write what it pleases; and I therefore
hope the "gentle reader" will excuse me if I write down here "Handy
pandy, Jack a dandy," or any other childish nonsense; for as this table
lifting and turning seems to alter and set aside altogether the law of
gravitation and all the universal laws of the universe, that used to be
thought by simple people as fixed and unalterable, so likewise these
"spirit hands" and "spirit rapping" seem to put reason and rationality
entirely out of the field. Therefore, as common sense cannot be used in
any sense on this question, as it is utterly useless in the present
state of affairs to attempt to "chop logic" with "raps," and their
mediums upon such tables as these, it will be here quite in place to
talk a little nonsense. The reader will therefore, I am sure, bear with
me if I make two or three silly suggestions upon this phenomena of
moving tables.

Under ordinary circumstances, when persons who are not "habituated"
have any natural substance to deal with--say, for instance, a _deal_
table--the mind naturally endeavours to account in a natural way for
such a piece of furniture moving or being moved without any assignable
natural cause. Common sense in this case being "put out of court," and
the scientific world having seemingly "given it up," there is no other
source left but to deal with the spirits or their mediums in this
matter; and I would here ask if these _tables_, heavy or light, are
moved by this "life-sphere" or "atmosphere" which is "permeated by our
wills;" or if the hands made out of this airy nothing move and lift the
furniture? As _they can_ give an answer to the query, we shall all
surely be very much obliged to them if they will do so; and whilst they
are preparing their answer, I will go on with a little more nonsense,
and make a most ridiculous suggestion upon the table lifting, quite as
ridiculous perhaps as anything that has emanated from the spirits or
their mediums. It may seem absurd to bring "Dame Nature" into this
"circle," but nevertheless it does seem true that animals who are
associated with man seem to partake, to a very large extent, of man's
intelligence. Dogs particularly so, cats pretty well, and even pigs
have been known, when domesticated, to be cleanly and polite, and of
course we have all heard of the "learned pig." Dear little birds, and
even asses and geese, have been known to share in this "life sphere" or
"atmosphere" of man's brain. I knew a man who was educating and
training a goose, to come out before the public as a performer as a
_learned_ goose, which intention was unfortunately not carried out, in
consequence of an accident which happened to the poor bird about
"Michaelmas" time. It appears that he got placed so near a large fire
that he was very soon "_done brown_," and upon a "post mortem"
examination it was discovered that he was stuffed full of _sage_ and
onion.

We are so accustomed to have intelligent animals about us, that we do
not look upon it as anything very extraordinary. Nevertheless, the
phenomena is not the less wonderful for all that. Now I lay this
question on the table, for the spirits to rap out an answer--viz., as
tables and chairs are associated with man (and woman, of course), can,
or is the vital spark, or life principle, conveyed from the body into
the wood, which is _porous_, and can it make these otherwise
_inanimate_ objects "all alive alive O?" The reader must excuse me for
asking such a silly question, and will please to recollect that I am
not putting the question to him, but to the silly spirits and their
mediums, for these _spirits_, it is stated, are sometimes quite as
silly as _any body_ can be. I therefore ask again whether the vital
principle or force is conveyed into the tables whilst the parties or
"circle" are pressing their hands upon it; and if not, please to tell
us what it is, for the "outer" world are very anxious and waiting to
know. It must be observed that the tables only move under this
_pressure_, and whilst the "circle" is thus acting and using its
_atmospheric_ influence, otherwise the tables might or would be always
jumping about the room; and if the tables are not thus moved by animal
heat, how would the animal man be able to get his meals? And it follows
as a natural--beg pardon, spiritual--consequence, that if this be not
the case, or the cause, then are the spirits a very thoughtful and
well-behaved society, to be thus careful not to rattle or roll the
table about and jump it up and down when the dinner is spread; or
perhaps these spirits partake of the "good things of this life," as
very poor French emigrants used to do, namely, by merely _smelling_ the
viands at a cook's shop--"sniff, sniff, ah! dat is nice a roast a
bef--sniff, sniff, ah! dat nice piece de veal--ah! sniff, sniff, dat a
nice piece a de pork--ah! ah! sniff, sniff"--but if they don't _eat_ it
appears they _drink_; for in an article by R. H. Hatton, in the
"Victoria Magazine,"[5] entitled "The Unspiritual World of Spirits," it
states that Mr. Howitt "believes in a modern German ghost that drank
beer," which called forth the words (with a horrible exclamation), "it
swallows!" and at a "_séance_" held at a cháteau near Paris, three
years back, a gentleman asked for some brandy and water, which when
brought was "snatched out of his hold by a spirit-hand which carried it
beneath the table," and "the glass came back _empty_." We are told that
the spirits have difficulty in making a finger; if so, they must have a
greater difficulty in "making mouths;" but suppose they do make a
mouth, and the spirits drink the beer and spirits, where is the liquid
to go to, if they have made no stomach out of the _atmosphere_ of the
_ladies_ and gentlemen forming the "circle" round the table? This does
not look as if it were "all fair and above board;" but, on the
contrary, very much as if there were some clever rascally little
_bodies_ playing their pranks and taking the "spirits" under the table;
however, if it be the _real_ spirits who drank the beer and spirits, I
as a teetotaler must express my disgust at such conduct, and, for one,
will have nothing to do with such spirits; indeed, I am quite shocked
to find, contrary to all former ideas of spiritual life, that even
these "_pure_ spirits" have still a taste for the spirit of alcohol. I
really begin to fear that these drinking, if not drunken spirits, do
haunt the "spirit-vaults." The _beer_ they drink is, I presume,
"_Home_-brewed."

          [5] Published by Emily Faithful. And I take this opportunity
          of wishing success to the "Victoria Magazine," as a part of
          the good work in which that lady is engaged.

But to turn again to the "table-turning." One way that I would suggest
this question, to test, as to whether it be the life principle that
gives a sort of life to these wooden _legs_, and _drawers_, and _body_,
and _flaps_, from which the spirits send out their "raps," would be, to
substitute an IRON TABLE, a good heavy iron table, and as it is said
they can lift any weight, let 'em lift that; and if not iron, then try
a good large MARBLE SLAB. If the iron will not "enter into _their_
soul," let them try if their _soul_ will enter into the iron, or if the
stone will be moved by the "atmosphere" of their flesh and their bone.

Wonders, it is said, will never cease, and most assuredly some of the
tales told of these "_séances_," and some of the reported spirit
exhibitions are so wonderful, so astounding, that one does not know
_how_ to believe them; and there are certain circumstances in some
parts of the performance that look so _like_ trickery, that it is
impossible to accept the _whole_ relation as fact, however much we
might feel disposed to receive a part thereof. Some of these
performances are performed in the dark, in the "pitch dark," so dark
that the company cannot see each other; and it is in this state of
"inner" and "utter" darkness that the spirits prefer to lift Mr. Home,
and _float him up to the ceiling_,[6] so that the spirits who lift him
are "_invisible_ spirits," and Mr. Home is _invisible_ also. And this
makes me think that these spirits are without clothing, and being so,
are ashamed to show themselves. I put this as a question to Mr. Home,
and also, as they only _make_ hands and _shake_ hands, if they are not
"ashamed to show their faces," _why_ don't they _make faces_? (I don't
mean grimaces). But I should not only like to know why they don't make
some "atmospheric" "life-sphere" faces, but should also very much like
to sketch their likenesses, or "take them off," as people say.

          [6] I should like to ask a question here--
              Is Home by spirits lifted, or by "atmosphere?"

Touching upon these faces reminds me that a new feature has been
introduced in this _new_ world, that is, taking up this new fashion of
the _old_ world by having "_carte de visites_." A Mr. _Mum_-ler, of
Boston, U.S., discovered that these spirits have a taste for art as
well as music, and that they have a little vanity like ourselves; and
it has since been discovered that _fraud_ has been _discovered_, of
photographers--"_palming off as spirit likeness_--_pictures of persons
now alive!_" But here comes the CLOTHES TEST again, these _spirited_
portraits have all got their _clothes on_. Apparitions of suits of
clothes, spirits of _coats_, _boots_, and _ladies' dresses_!!!

This _test_ of the _clothing_ is very severe, for without having
clothes the ghost can't appear; for even that extraordinary clever
invention of Professor Pepper's, the "patent" ghost, which he exhibited
at the Polytechnic Institution, and which is introduced into a piece
called "The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain," now performing at the
Adelphi Theatre, and which ghost, I am sorry to say, I have not yet had
time to see, but this "patent ghost," of course, has CLOTHES on. In
fact, apparitions cannot appear without clothes, and apparitions of
clothes cannot appear; and so--but really I had quite forgotten that I
had left Mr. Home sticking up against the ceiling, upon which it
appears he makes his _mark_--all in the dark--as a kind of "skylark."
"_Seeing_ is believing," but as his friends could not see him, he was
obliged to do some thing of this sort, suspecting, I suppose, that his
friends would not take _his word_. When a light was thrown upon this
scene, Mr. Home was discovered lying upon his back upon the table! It
may be rude to say that all this was all a trick, but pardonable,
perhaps, to say it looks very like trickery.

Talking of "skylarking," reminds me, that in conversation with a friend
of mine, who is a believer in Mr. Home, and expressing a doubt about
the possibility of Mr. H. kicking his heels up in the air in this way,
and asking if it were not imaginary, my friend assured me that it was
no "flight of fancy," that it was quite true, and that it was not at
all improbable but that some day, in daylight, we might "see Mr. Home
_floating across the metropolis_!" I suggested that Mr. H. had better
mind what he was about, as there was danger in such a flight, for some
short-sighted sports-man, or if not short-sighted, he might be in such
a state of _fuddle_ as not "to know a hawk from a hand saw," and might
mistake him for some gigantic, "monstrous blackbird," or some "_rara
avis_," and bring him down with his gun, though in this case he would
not want to "bag his game."

To prevent such a hit as this, or rather such a _mis_chance, I would
suggest that due notice should be given to the public when Mr. Home
intends appearing up above the chimney-pots; and that in addition to
his _floating_, that the spirits should run him along the "electric
telegraph" wires. That would be something worth seeing, and much better
than the stupid, silly, nonsensical tricks they now play either on the
table or under the table.

There used formerly, even in my time--I don't go back so far as the
reign of the Charles's, but to the days of the "charlies," as the old
watchmen were called, and before the "_new_ police" were introduced to
the public,--in those days ghost tricks were played in various parts of
London; one favourite spot was in front of St. Giles's churchyard, near
unto a "spirit vault." It used to be reported that there was a ghost
every night in this churchyard, but it was an invisible ghost, for it
never was seen, though there was a mob of people gaping and straining
their eyes to get a peep at it; but during this time, some low cunning
spirits used to creep out of the adjoining spirit vaults, mix amongst
the crowd, and having very _light fingers_, used, instead of _tapping_
the people on the knees, as the spirits do at the "_séances_" they
dipped their hands into the "atmosphere" of respectable people's
pockets, and "spirited away" their watches, handkerchiefs,
pocket-books, or anything else that came in their way, and then bolt
into the vaults again.

N.B.--These spirits could swallow _spirits_, like those described in
the preceding pages.

Spirits of the old style used to delight in the darkness of night, but
sometimes they'd show their pale faces by moonlight. A "_séance_" is
described that took place by moonlight. I don't mean to _assert_ that
it was _all_ "moonshine." A table was placed in front of a window
between the curtains; the "circle" round the table and the space
between the curtains was the _stage_ where the performance took place.
Query: How did the mediums know, when they placed this table, that the
spirits who "lent a hand" in the performance would act their play at
that part of the table? By the by, the _table_ plays an important part
in these spirited pieces; the spirits surely would not be able to get
on at all without a _table_! At each side of this stage, lit by the
moon, and close to the window curtains, which formed as it were the
"proscenium," stood a gentleman, one on each side, like two
"prompters," one of whom was Mr. Home; and when one particular hand was
thrust up above the rim of the table, and which _hand_ had a _glove
on_, Mr. H. cried out, "Oh! keep me from that hand! it is so cold; do
not let it touch me." Query: How did Mr. H. know that this hand _was so
cold_? and had it put the glove on because it felt itself so cold? And
out of whose "atmosphere," or "life sphere" had the spirit made this
hand? if it were _so_ cold, it must have got the stuff through some
very _cold-hearted_ "medium." Then comes my _clothes test_ again, where
did the _hand_ get the _glove_? Suppose it was a _spirit hand_, the
hand of a soul that once did live on earth, could it be the _spirit_ of
a _glove_? Whilst waiting for an answer to these queries, I would
suggest to these "mediums," that if they see this "hand and glove"
again, they should ask, "Who's your glover?" Yes, it would be important
to obtain the name and address of such a glover, as such gloves, we may
suppose, would not wear out, nor require cleaning.

An old and valued friend of mine attended a _séance_ in 1860, of which
he wrote a short account, and which he keeps (in manuscript) to lend to
his friends for their information and amusement, upon this subject; and
although he confesses that, as a novice, he was rather startled upon
one or two occasions during the evening, that the extraordinary
proceeding of the _séance_ had something of a _supernatural tinge_
about it; nevertheless, upon mature reflection he came to the
conclusion that the whole was a very cleverly-managed piece of trickery
and imposture. As I am permitted to quote from this manuscript, I will
here give a short extract to show the reader how an American medium--a
Dr. _Dash_--assisted by two other "mediums," also Americans, _managed_
the spirits upon that occasion. A party of eight were seated round a
table:--

"Shortly and anon, a change came o'er the spirit of the Doctor. He
jumped up and said, '_Hush! I hear a spirit_ rapping at the door.'

                 *       *       *       *       *

"The Doctor told us there was a spirit which wished to join our
_séance_, the door was opened, a chair was most politely placed at the
table, and there the spirit sat, but, like 'Banquo's' Ghost, _invisible
to the company_."

In the Waterloo Road there resided--next door to each other--some years
back, two paperhangers, who vied with each other in doing
"stencilling"--that is, rubbing colour on walls through a _cut out_
pattern; there was great opposition between them, and one of them (No.
1) wrote on the front of his house in _large_ letters, "THE ACME OF
STENCILLING," upon which No. 2, determined not to be outdone in this
style, wrote upon the front of his house in letters _double_ the size
of his neighbour's, "THE HEIGTH OF THE ACME OF STENCILLING." Now, I do
not know whether this pretended _introduction_ of an _invisible_
spirit, and putting a chair for this worse than nothing to sit in, when
he had nothing to sit down upon, may be considered as the _heigth_ of
the _acme_ of unprincipled, impudent imposture; but it goes far enough
to show that trickery _can be and is carried on_, and carried on even
as a trade or "calling" in this "spirit-rapping" business, for I have
seen a printed card where a _professional_ "medium" gives his name and
address, and has on it, "Circles for Spiritual Manifestation--hours
from 12 to 3 and 5 to 10 P.M.;" to which is added, "Private Parties and
_Families_ visited."

If such a card as this had been introduced in "The Broad Grin Jest
Book," some years back, it would have been quite in place, but to think
that such a card as this should be circulated in this "age of
intellect," as a _business_ card--the card of a "_Maître de
Ceremonie_," who undertakes to introduce _invisible spirits_, into
parties and _private families_, is something more than I ever expected
to see, on the outside of Bethlem, or in the list of impostures at a
police station.

As this Dr. _Dash_ pretended that spirits were "mixed up" with this
party--were indeed surrounding the "circle," and who had come into the
room _without knocking_, and were not _accommodated with chairs_, why
should this ghost of nothing knock at the door, and how did the Dr.
know that he wished to join the _séance_, and why should _this
invisible_ Mr. Nobody have a chair, and the other _spirits_ be obliged
to stand? And then was this spirit _dressed_ in his best? for as it was
an evening party, he ought to have been "dressed with care."

The calling up of one spirit seems to call up or raise another spirit,
and as Dr. _Dash_ introduced a dumb and invisible spirit who was
supposed to take his seat at a table, I take this opportunity of
introducing a spirit of a very different character--one of the old
fashioned spirits--one that could both be seen and heard, and who was
_seen_ to take his seat at the table, and enter into conversation with
his friends. An extract from the "Registry of Brisley Church in 1706,"
runs thus:--A Mr. Grose went to see a Mr. Shaw, and whilst these
gentlemen were quietly smoking their pipes, in comes (without
"rapping") the ghost of their friend Mr. Naylor. They asked him to sit
down, which he did, and they conversed together for about two hours; he
was asked how it fared with him, he replied, "Very well," and when he
seemed about to move, they asked him if he could not stay a little
longer, he replied that he "could not do so, for he had only three
days' leave of absence, and had other business to attend to."[7]

          [7] As, according to Mrs. Crowe, ghosts can smoke, and upon
          equally good authority, spirits can swallow _spirits_, no
          doubt this ghost of Mr. Naylor, who did not come without the
          help of his tailor, took a pipe with his friends, and took
          something to _drink_ with them also, for you may _rely_ upon
          it, that the ghost's friends were not smoking a "_dry_ pipe."

Now this is something like a ghost, whose visit you observe is recorded
in the registry of a parish church, and as the party I believe were all
clergymen, of course the Rev. Mr. Naylor came in his clerical "habits
as he lived," no doubt "dressed with care." Yes, this you see was a
respectable sort of ghost--one that you could see and listen to, not
such a poor "dummy" as Dr. _Dash's_ poor spiritless spirit, Mr. Nothing
Nobody, Esq.,

    Who could neither be seen nor heard,
    Which even to name, seems quite absurd.

The reason for thus suddenly pretending to introduce a _spirit_, was to
produce an _effect_--a _sensation_--upon the nerves of the party
assembled (particularly the novices), for it is only under excited
nervous feelings that anything like success can attend the operations
of such "mediums."

The CREATOR has so formed us that our nerves are more excitable in
darkness than in the light, and our senses thus excited, are for our
safety and protection, when moving about in the dark, either in-doors
or out, as we feel and know, that there is a chance of our being
seriously injured by running against or falling over something, or that
there might be evil spirits in the shape of robbers lurking about,
against whom it would be necessary to be ready to defend ourselves, or
to avoid. Our faculties being thus put on the "_qui vive_," is natural,
healthy, and proper; but when the mind has been imbued from childhood
with a belief in ghosts, and the individual should happen to be in a
dark and lonely place, and should hear or see indistinctly something
which the mind on the instant is not able to account for, _naturally_,
or _comprehend_ rationally, then under such circumstances, to use a
common expression, "we are not ourselves," and in giving way to
imaginary fears, under the impression of supernatural appearances, the
stoutest hearts and the strongest men, have been known "to quiver and
to quail," to be confused and to feel that thrilling sensation, that
cold trickling down the back from head to heel, which is produced from
fright, and nothing but the rallying of their mental and physical
forces, and rousing up a determined resolution, has enabled such men to
overcome this coward-like fear, and to discover that they have been
scared by some natural sound, or some imperfectly-seen natural object,
that it was all "a false alarm," or perhaps a made up ghost, by some
fool or rogue, or both, who was playing his "tricks upon travellers."

But with weak and nervous persons, who believe in supernatural
appearances, the effects of fright, under such circumstances, produce
the most painful feelings, total prostration of the faculties, and
sometimes fatal consequences. Here is an instance where all the
faculties were prostrated by fright in consequence of seeing a supposed
apparition, followed by the death of an innocent person:--

In the year 1804, the inhabitants of Hammersmith, a village situated on
the west side of the metropolis, but now forming part of it, were much
terrified by the appearance of, as it was said, a spectre clothed in a
winding sheet. This apparition made its appearance in the dark evenings
in the churchyard, and in several avenues about the place. I well
remember "the Hammersmith ghost," as it was called, being the "Town
Talk" of that day, and not only in Hammersmith, but even in town, many
persons were afraid to leave their homes after dusk. Besides a man of
the name of John Graham, who was detected, and I believe imprisoned,
there were several actors in this ghostly farce, which was however
brought to an end in a tragical manner--that is, by a young man of the
name of Thomas Millwood, a plasterer, being shot dead by one Francis
Smith, an exciseman, who at the time (as the narrator states) was
rather "warm over his liquor"--that is about half drunk; and in this
state he was allowed at the "White Hart" public house to load a gun
with shot, and go out for the purpose of discovering the ghost, and he
no sooner saw a figure in a light dress (which was the poor plasterer
in his _working dress_, on his road to fetch his wife home, who had
been at work all day at a house in the neighbourhood of "Black Lion
Lane," where this murder was committed) than he lost the use of his
faculties, and was in such a state of fright that, as he said in his
defence, he "did not know what he was about," and unfortunately, under
these circumstances, killed an innocent man, which he never would have
done had he not been a believer in apparitions and ghosts.

In p. 46, of the "Victoria Magazine," the writer, in speaking of an
interview which Mr. Home had with the spirit of the Count Cagliostro,
states that the said _spirit_ diffused and wafted over his friend Mr.
H. the most "delicious perfumes," and that they "appeared to have been
a part of the Count's personal resources;" and argues for various
reasons that these spirits are "sensitive to sweet smells," and that
the spirits are "adepts in perfumery," "are fond of it," and surround
themselves and their medium "with exquisite odours." And as Mr. Home is
such a great favourite with these "spirits," his "life sphere" and
"atmosphere" must be very highly scented and perfumed with smells, and
this accounts at once for the spirits playing "Home, _sweet_ Home" upon
the accordion, when he holds it under the table with one hand, and they
play upon it, I suppose, with "_their hands of atmosphere!_" Be this as
it may, however "sweet upon themselves" they may be, these spirits are
at this moment in _very_ "_bad_ odour" with a large body of the press,
as also with the large body of the public, and it therefore rests with
the "mediums" to bring these "spirits of darkness" into light, and that
these supposed spirits, their mediums, and their friends should _place_
themselves in a right position before the public. "Come out in the
road" (as the low folk say when they are going to fight). By the by,
there surely must be (as they are all _spirited_ fellows) some
"prizefighters" amongst these "rapping" spirits, and if so, I would
suggest that mediums, as "backers" and "bottle-holders" (provided they
don't have any "spirits" in their bottle), should get up a "prizefight"
as a public exhibition, between such spirits as Jem Belcher and Tom
Crib, or any of those celebrated deceased popular heroes; and there
would be this advantage in such contests, that the "sporting world"
would have all their favourite sport, and be able to bet upon their
favourites in these "sham-fights" without the attendant horrible and
disgusting brutalities of the _real_ fights; for although they would,
of course, "rap" each other, their _fists_ being only made of
"_atmosphere_," they could not hurt or disfigure each other as they do
in the _earthly_ boxing. And if these aërial boxers did "knock the wind
out" of each other, it would be of no consequence, for as they would be
surrounded with lots of their own kind of "life sphere," or
"atmosphere," they could soon "make themselves _up_" again, if even
they did not "make it up" with each other. But I see some difficulties
in carrying out these "sports," which did not occur to me at first; for
instance, if they cannot make their own thick heads out of the
"atmosphere" of the heads about them, having no heads then, how can
they be "set by the ears?" Besides, they could not hear when "time" was
called, and then, again, the patrons of the "Prize ring" would not be
satisfied unless they could see these spirited ghosts "knock each
other's heads half off."

If these spirits cannot "make head," and keep up with the intellectual
progress of the spirit of the times, and with the spirit of the world.
If they cannot be a "body politic," or a body of spirits, or any other
body, let the mediums set their _hands_ to work, "All _hands_, ahoy!"
Let them lend a hand to any "handiwork;" "hand-looms," or hand about
the tea and bread and butter at parties, or make themselves "handy" in
any way, even if they were made to use "hand-brooms." Yes; let them put
their hands to any honest calling rather than keep their hands in
idleness, for they should recollect what Dr. Watts asserts--

    "That _Satan_ finds some mischief still
    For _idle hands_ to do."

And if these "spirit hands" are too flimsy and delicate to _work_--to
do hard work--then let them _play_ musical instruments, get up popular
concerts, and as they can make perfumes, or are themselves perfumers,
they could thus whilst playing gratify their audiences with sweet
sounds and sweet scents at the same time.

However absurd this asserted _fact_ of tables being moved by spirits
may appear, and to many persons appearing not worth a "second thought,"
yet it is natural that we should endeavour to account for such a
movement in a natural way, one cause assigned is natural heat, the
other involuntary muscular action, etc., etc. In this state of
uncertainty a little "_guess_ work" about the table movement, may
perhaps be excused, even if it be as absurd as "table lifting" itself.
We know that the common air, dry or moist, affects all earthly
materials, and that

    The water and the air,
    Are everywhere,
    Changing, the flower and the stone,
    The flesh and the bone.

And we also know that wood, being a very _porous_ material, is
powerfully affected by the "broad and general casing air," that it
expands or contracts according to the condition of the atmosphere, and
thus we find when there is any considerable change in the temperature,
that all the book-cases, wardrobes, chests of drawers, clothes presses,
tables, or "what-nots," in different parts of the house, will indicate
this change by a _creaking_, cracking noise. I have in my studio an
oaken cabinet, which acts under the influence of the change of air,
like a talking thermometer, and with which I sometimes hold a sort of a
"_cabinet_ council" upon the subject of the change of weather. When
seated in my room, with doors, and windows, and shutters shut, if it
has been dry weather for any length of time, and my cabinet begins
creaking, I know by this sound from the wood, that the warm moist air,
which has been wafted with the warm gulf stream from the West Indies,
is diffusing itself around the room, and producing an effect upon me
and my furniture, even to the fire-irons and fender, and so, on the
contrary, after wet or moist weather, if the creaking is heard again, I
know pretty well "which way the wind blows," and that it is a dry wind,
without looking out at the weather vane. If it merely goes _creak,
creak, crack_, and stops there, the change will not be great, but when
it goes _cre-ak, cre-ak, creak, crack, crack, crack--rumble, rumble,
rumble, creak, crack_! then do I know, and find, that the _change_ will
be _considerable_, and can _spell_ out, change--rain--rain--rain, much
rain.

Many persons who have given any thought to this question, are of
opinion that electric currents passing from the human body is the cause
of this "table-moving," and I introduce my "weather wise" cabinet to
the public here to show, that if a _little damp air_, or a _little dry
air_ will _move_, and _make_ a _large heavy cabinet_ talk in this way,
how much more likely it is that a _table_ should be moved, and
particularly if these "electric currents" fly "like lightning" through
the passages or spiracles of this popular, but at present mysterious
piece of furniture.

No wonder then if the "life sphere" and "the atmosphere" of the
"light-headed," "light-heeled," who "_permeate their wills_" into this
otherwise inanimate object, should all of a sudden "set the table in a
roar," and "rap out their rappartees," and that "the _head_ of the
table" should bob up and down, so as to make the people stare, either
standing around or stuck in a chair, and that the legs all so clumsy,
should caper and dance and kick up in the air, to the tune of "Well did
_you_ ever!" and "Well _I_ declare!" _!!!_

This cabinet of mine is filled with the spirited works of departed
spirits, including some of my dear father's humorous works, also of the
great Hogarth, the great Gilray, and other masters, ancient and modern;
the mediums would, I suppose, say--

    That when this cabinet begins a "crack"[8] or creaking,
    It is these sprites of art, who thus to me are speaking.

          [8] Scotch for talking.

And as one of the panels was _split_ some years back, the mediums would
perhaps suggest that these "_droll_ spirits" made the cabinet "_split_
its sides with laughter," but _I_ know it was the _hot air_ of a hot
summer, and certainly not done by a drum or a drummer--that this
"splitting" or "flying," only shows the _force_ of the _common air_,
and I hope adds to the force of my argument in this respect, and
further, of this I feel assured, that if I were to "clear the decks for
action," bring this cabinet out into the middle of my studio, and could
induce some of the lady and gentlemen "mediums" to come and form a
"circle," and clap their hands on and around this piece of furniture,
that, although Monsieur Cabinet has no "light fantastic toe," that he
would nevertheless join in the merry dance, and cut some curious capers
on his castors, and even "beat time" perhaps with his curious creaks
and cracks. By the by, glass being a non-conductor, a table made of
_glass_, would at once settle this question, as to whether the tables
are moved by electric currents or not.

I am now about to suggest what I feel assured every one will admit to
be a GRAND IDEA, and which would be to make these spirits useful in a
way that would be highly appreciated and patronized by the public, and
put all the "fortune-tellers" and "rulers of the stars" out of the
field altogether, and perhaps even damage the "electric wires" a
little. It is to establish a company, to be entitled, "THE HUMAN
QUESTION AND SPIRIT ANSWER COMPANY!" The principal "_capital_" to work
upon, would be the overpowering principle of curiosity; in this case,
instead of having a "_chair_-man," they would, I suppose, have a
_table_-man; if so, then Homo would be the _man_, and of this company
it never could be said, that they had _not_ a _rap_ at their bankers.

"Limited," of course, but the _business_ would be UN-_limited_, with
profits, corresponding; branch question and answer offices, branching
out all over the globe, with "letter-boxes" and "chatter-boxes". If the
business of such offices were worked and carried out in a "_proper
spirit_," it would assuredly be "a success." I am supposing, of course,
that these spirits will be able to "tell us something we don't know,"
for up to the present time it does not appear that they have told
anything to us that we could not have told them, and in a more common
sense and grammatical style than most of the communications which they
have "rapped out," but if there are any _real_, great, and good spirits
amongst these gammocking table-turners, they must, one would suppose,
know all about everything and everybody, and everybody would be asking
questions, and if so, "Oh, my!" what a lot of funny questions there
would be! and what a lot of funny answers! (_all_ "_private_ and
_confidential_," of _course_) as nobody would be sure not to tell
nobody any secrets that nobody wanted anybody to know.

Under ordinary circumstances I am not at all what might be called a
_curious_ person, but although I should (like other people) like to
know how certain matters might turn out, and although I should never
think of asking a "fortune-teller" or of consulting the gentry who
profess to "rule the stars," yet if such a company as this were
started, I feel that I should be compelled to start off to the first
office I could get to, for the purpose of putting two or three
questions, to which I want immediate answers if it were possible, and
should not mind paying something extra for _favourable_ answers. I will
here just give a specimen of some of these questions.

Some literary gentleman and others belonging to the "Urban Club," and
also some members of the "Dramatic Authors'" Society, have formed
themselves in a committee (upon which they have done me the honour to
place my name), for the purpose of setting on foot and assisting to
raise a fund, if possible, to erect a monument in honour of William
Shakspeare, as the 23rd of April, 1864, will be the ter-centenary of
that poet's birthday. Another committee for the same purpose is also in
formation, and the two committees will either amalgamate or work
together. I have suggested to the first committee that in order to
assist the funds for the above-mentioned purpose, that a notice be sent
out to the public to this effect--that all persons having any works of
art, either paintings, drawings, or sculpture, should be invited and
respectfully requested to lend such works to a committee of artists, to
form a gallery or national collection illustrating this author's works,
to be called "The Shakspeare Exhibition," and in which designs for the
said monument could also be exhibited. The question, therefore, I would
put to the _spirits_ through the proper _medium_ would be this,
viz.--If such invitations were sent out, would the holders of such
works lend them for the purpose of thus being placed before the public?
And further--If the Government were applied to, would they "lend the
loan" of a proper and fitting building to exhibit the various works in?
And a little further, and "though last not least," would the nobility
and gentry, and the public at large, patronize such an exhibition
_largely_, and what the receipts would amount to? I should like to have
all this answered, and that at an early day. But as it may be a _long
day_, before such a company could get into working order, and as the
members of the public press are a good-natured, shrewd class of
spirits--if the idea is worth anything, they would most likely take it
up, and I should be as much pleased to get an answer through that
_medium_ as any other that I know of.

There are several other questions which I should put to this "_Spirit_
Answer Company" if it were started, and which I feel that I could not
well put to any one else, as I do not think that _any body_ would give
themselves the trouble to give me an answer; and it is not _every body_
who _could_ give me satisfactory answers, however much they might feel
disposed to do so. I enumerate two or three.

Firstly--After a dreadful railway accident which occurred the other
day, Lord Brougham in the House of Lords suggested, I believe, that an
act of Parliament should be passed compelling the _public_ to travel at
a rational speed; and as civil engineers declare that if the _public_
would be content to do so, that it would decrease the risk of life to
about 999 per cent., I want to know if the _public_ are ever likely to
adopt the moderate speed, or sort of safe and sure, mode of travelling
by rail, instead of _flying_ along at such a risk of life and limb as
they do now, occasionally coming to a _dreadful smash_, with an awful
unnecessary sacrifice of life, picking up the bodies or the pieces
thereof, crying out "All right, go a-head," and dashing off at the same
irrational speed with the probability of the like accidents again?

Secondly--If it is at all likely that "lovely woman" will ever leave
off wearing dresses which constantly expose her to the risk of being
burnt to death?

Upon looking, however, at some of the other questions, they appear so
frivolous and ridiculous, that I do not think I would put them even to
these spirits. For instance, one was, that supposing I took a part in
one of Shakspeare's plays, for the purpose of assisting this proposed
Shakspearian fund, and for some other purposes, if, as I can draw a
little, should I, under such circumstances, _draw_ a full house?

There is a common saying amongst schoolboys, that "IF all _ifs_ were
_hads_, and all _hads_ were _Shads_, we never should be in want of fish
for supper." Now the _if_, in this _spirit_ question, is an important
_if_, for IF _all be true_, that is asserted by the "mediums" of the
marvels which they publish, then are those marvels some of the most
marvellous and astounding wonders that have ever been known or heard of
in the _authentic_ history of the world. And from the extent to which
this belief has spread, and is still spreading, and also from the
injurious effects it has already produced, and is likely still further
to produce, on the mental and physical condition of a large number of
the people, it now becomes rather, indeed, I may say, a, _very_ serious
question. Some of the effects produced by attending the _soirées_ of
these "good, bad, and indifferent" spirits, will be seen from the
reasons stated by a staunch supporter of these supernatural pastimes
for giving up--in fact, being COMPELLED to give up--_séances_,
"because, in the first place (he states), it was _too exhausting_ to
the vital fluids of the medium." (They took too long a pull, or
swallowed too much of his "_atmosphere_.") And also "because the
necessity of keeping the mind elevated to a higher state of
contemplation, while we were repeating the alphabet and receiving
messages letter by letter, was too great a strain upon our faculties;
and because the undeveloped and earth-bound spirits throng about the
mediums, and struggle to enter into parley with them, apparently with
the purpose of getting possession of their natures, or exchanging
natures; and I have heard of sittings terminating from this cause in
cases of PARALYSIS or DEMONIACAL POSSESSION."

In such a state, no doubt the poor creatures imagine that they see
apparitions. I had an old friend who was affected with paralysis of the
brain, but not from this cause, as he was a total and _decided
disbeliever_ in apparitions; but from the diseased condition of his
brain he had the _appearance_ of a person or ghost constantly by his
side for a considerable time, at which he used to laugh, and which I
wanted him to introduce to me; but to me it was always invisible. One
day at dinner he stood up, and said to those present, "Don't you see
I'm going?" and fell down--dead!

Although there is much to laugh at with respect to these modern
spirits, although some of the scenes at the _séances_ are perfectly
ridiculous--and would have afforded capital subjects for the powerful
pen of my dear deceased friend, "Thomas Ingoldsby"--the "raps" rapped
out sometimes are positive nonsense and sometimes positive falsehood;
and "evil communications," which all who have been to school know,
"corrupt good manners," yet, on the other hand, there are serious
symptoms sometimes attended with serious consequences.

The mediums tell us that these spiritual manifestations are permitted
by the "OMNIPOTENT;" that JESUS CHRIST sanctions some of these
spiritual communications, and are indeed given us as if proceeding from
Himself; and yet we find that some persons who attend these "_séances_"
have their nervous system so shaken as to distort their limbs, in fact,
lose the use of their limbs altogether, or are "driven raving mad!"

In "The Light in the Valley," a work which I consider ought to be
entitled "_Darkness_ in the Valley," but which I must do the author the
justice to say is written and edited in what is evidently intended as a
profound, proper, and religions spirit, and with a good intent; but
however sincere and honest those pious feelings may be, they are
nevertheless _distorted_ religious opinions, containing symbolical
ideas as dark as any symbolical emanations ever given forth in the
darkest ages.

In this work specimens are given of "_spirit writing_" and "_spirit
drawing_." The "spirit writing" consists of unmeaning, unintelligible
scribbling scrawls, and very rarely containing any letters or words.
These productions are ascribed to a "spirit _hand_" seizing and guiding
the medium's _hand_, but which is nothing more than involuntary action
of the muscles under an excited and unnatural state of the nervous
system; and the spirit drawings are executed under similar conditions.
The drawings profess to be designed and conjointly executed in this
way, by _holy_ spirits or _angels_, and are given as _sacred_ guidances
to man. These are the medium's opinions and belief; but, unfortunately,
too many of these sort of drawings may be seen in certain asylums. But
if I know anything of religion, which I have been looking at carefully
and critically for half a century; also if I know anything of designing
and drawing, in which profession I have been working in my humble way
for more than that time, I pronounce these spirit drawings (in the
language of art) to be "out of drawing," and contrary to all healthy
emanations of thought as design and composition; and instead of
representing subjects or figures which would convey a proper and great
idea of Divine attributes, are, in fact, caricatures of such sacred
subjects.

I shall here give a few extracts from the communication of these false
spirits, and spiritual explanations of these spirit scrawls and
scratches; but some which I had intended to insert, upon reflection, I
refrain from giving, believing that they would not only be offensive to
sensible religious persons, but injurious to youthful minds. Some of
the illustrations given in this book are furnished by a "drawing
medium," under the titles of "Christ without Hands," "the Bearded
Christ," "Christ among the Sphere," "the Woman Crucified," etc., etc.
In the first of these something like a figure is scribbled in, and
surrounded with scratches, called spirit writing; the "Bearded Christ"
is merely a bust, very badly drawn, and produced in the same unnatural
way, and surrounded by the same sort of scribbling. The _shape_ of the
beard and the _atmosphere_ of the beard are, it appears, most important
matters; and the author, in speaking of this, says, in describing Him,
"In 'the Bearded Christ' the atmosphere of the beard, as well as the
beard itself, is represented; and I am acquainted with a '_seeing_
medium,' who has seen the beard-atmosphere, not only when the beard is
worn, but about the shaven chin, with sufficient precision to decide of
what shape the beard would be were it allowed to grow"!!! !!! !!! !!!
!!!

The subject professing to represent "Christ among the Spheres" is a
better and more finished drawing; but, according to all the laws and
rules of proportion, the figure of Christ, by the side of our globe,
would be 30,000 miles in height, and a lily which he holds in his hand
15,000 miles long! All these gross absurdities show, that the _real_
spirit has nothing whatever to do with such absurd doctrines or
productions. This "drawing medium" gives an account of the trials and
sufferings, bodily and mental, which she went through before she became
an accomplished and complete medium; and, according to her own
statement, she must have gone through a most fearful and horrible
schooling. In one part it is stated she went through "_several months
of most painful bewilderment and extreme distress of mind_;" and in
another part she says that the intensest antagonism between TRUTH and
FALSEHOOD, between LIGHT and DARKNESS, encounters the astounded and
unprepared pilgrim upon his first entrance into the realm of spirit. "I
felt frequently as if enveloped in an atmosphere which sent through my
whole frame warm streams of electricity in waving spirals from the
crown of my head to the soles of my feet; and occasionally, generally
at midnight, I was seized with twitchings and convulsive movements of
my whole body, which were distressing beyond words. All these symptoms
at length came to a crisis in a FRIGHTFUL TRANCE." And this _drawing
medium_ signs herself "COMFORT!" and further states that--

"Waking in the night, the _strange_ drawing process instantly
commenced, and I felt and saw within me the figure of an angel, whose
countenance resembled that of Christ, descending from a morning sky
towards me, and bearing upon his shoulders a large cross, whilst from
his lips proceeded these words--'Love, mercy, peace, but not till after
death.' Again my soul _trembled with anguish_, for that strange
portentous word, '_death_,' was ever written within me or without. This
peculiar stage of development soon produced a singular affection of my
throat, an affection of the mucous membrane, which caused several times
a day, and especially when rising in the morning, the _most distressing
sensations_. After suffering thus for several days, the mysterious
writing informed me that I must take a _certain quantity of port wine_
every day, and then the sensation would leave me." And she adds, "I
followed the spiritual direction, and found almost immediate relief."

The spirit doctor, in fact, after the dreadful suffering the scholar
had gone through, prescribed a "drop of comfort," a drop of the spirit
of Alcohol, which spirit is very much like these rapping spirits,
_deceitful_ and _dangerous_, and this, we may presume, is the reason
why the medicine adopted the name of "comfort." Well, some people will
say that some little _comfort_ was needed after so much _dis_comfort
and suffering--but _why_, all this suffering? Cannot these spirit
drawing-masters instruct their pupils in this poor, wretched, miserable
style of drawing, without all this misery and punishment? If not, I
should think that very few ladies or gentlemen would like to take
lessons in drawing, or, indeed, in any other art, under such painful
circumstances. A _spirit_ drawing-master's card would, I presume, be
something like the following:--

[Illustration: TOM PAIN,

Drawing Master.

    MEDIUM SPIRIT DRAWING TAUGHT, UNDER EXTREME TORTURE,
    IN TWENTY-FOUR LESSONS, AT SO MUCH ILL-HEALTH
    AND SUFFERING PER LESSON.

_N.B.--Private Residence_, UNDER _the Table_.

  * * All the Drawing and Writing _Materials_ to be provided by
   * the Pupils. The lashing supplied by the Spirit, and the Medical
  Advice Gratis; but the Pupils to find the "drop of _spirit_
  comfort" themselves.]

In taking one more extract from "Comfort," I hope that I am not giving
any discomfort to that "medium," who, from my _in_most heart I hope and
trust, is now enjoying that rational and natural comfort which all
well-wishers to their fellow-creatures wish strangers to feel, as well
as their friends. The medium proceeds to say:--"Ignorance of their real
nature and of their alternate purposes in the progress of civilization
and development of mind, has already caused _immense misery_ in many
directions, and will cause more and more, even infinitely worse, until
the time arrives that the medical world will follow the example of Dr.
Garth Wilkinson in his valuable pamphlet on the treatment of _lunacy_
through _spiritualism_, and calmly regard this growing development not
as insanity, but as a _key whereby to unlock insanity_"!!!

I have not the slightest notion of what this pamphlet contains, but
from the above very _un_comfortable opinion expressed by "Comfort" upon
this matter, it seems to me that a sufficient "_key_" is here given to
unlock, if not all, at all events, the greater part of the mysteries of
this _spirit drawing_ and _spirit writing_, and, indeed, the whole of
this spirit movement.

I would here call the attention of the medical world to the way in
which the spirits are acting towards that body. I presume that they are
the spirits of deceased members of the profession; and if so they are
acting in a most unbrotherly, underhanded manner, in fact, undermining
the profession altogether by "rapping" out prescriptions from _under
the table_, for which they do not take a "rap" as a fee. Yes, "advice
gratis" for nothing. I entreat medical men not to smile at my remarks,
for they may be assured that there is a dark conspiracy--I cannot say
"afoot," because spirits have no feet--but I may say in hand; and as
matters stand at present, it looks as if "THE D. _without_ the M., and
DR. FAUSTUS" had entered into a partnership to destroy all medical
doctors by introducing a system which they could not only not practise,
but, as far as I am able to judge, could never understand, and which,
though it is given in the "_Light_ in the Valley," "_read_" they may,
and "_mark_" they may, "_learn_" they cannot, and "inwardly DIGEST"
they never will.

In the concluding pages of the "Light in the Valley," a letter is
introduced, which is evidently written by a highly-educated person, in
support of "an occult law," and from all that is stated in this letter
the writer might as well have said at once, I believe in witchcraft, or
that craft which enables an ignorant old woman, who is called a
"witch," to make contracts with the Evil One, for the purpose of
torturing, or making miserable for life, or destroying unto death, her
neighbours, their children, or their cattle; and that an ignorant old
man, under the name of a "wizard," may do the same; also, in astrology,
or "ruling the stars," to predict coming events, or the future fate of
individuals born at particular periods of the year, according to the
position of the stars at that time; or in "fortune-telling," performed
either by "crossing the hand" with a piece of money, got out of some
simpleton's pocket for that purpose, but which never gets back there
again; or by bits of paper, called "cards;" to which also may be added,
as a matter of course, I believe in ghosts, hobgoblins, and in
everything of a supernatural character.

We can readily understand why the ignorant and uneducated believe in
all these matters; the cause is traced and known; but it seems almost
impossible to believe that educated persons, even with a small amount
of reflection, can put their faith in such superstitious delusions; and
if the question is put to such persons, as "show us any good" resulting
in the existence of an "occult law," we may safely defy any one to show
_one instance, where any good has ever resulted from such a belief_ in
what they term the deep "arcana of Nature's book," or rather unnatural
nonsense. Whereas, on the other hand, the amount of evil arising from
this source has been fearfully great, and the murders many; dragging
poor old creatures through ponds, and hanging them, and even torturing
them to death in a way too disgusting to describe. Our own records are,
unfortunately, too massive of such ignorant and savage atrocities; but
not only were such deeds enacted in this (at that time) so misnamed
Christian land, but also in other countries denominated Christian; but
which title their brutal acts gave them, like ourselves, no right to
assume; not only in Europe, but also in America. In that country, about
the year 1642, many poor old women were persecuted to death. One woman
was hung at Salem for bewitching four children, and the eldest daughter
afterwards confessed to the tricks that she and her sisters had played
in pretending to be "bewitched."

But in our own time we find that this belief in the power of
foretelling events leads to much mischief and misery, and from certain
facts we may be assured that there is a larger amount of evil from this
cause than is made known to the public. The "occult law" leads to many
breaches of the law of the land, and to serious crime; it opens the
door to gross imposture, swindling, and robbery, misleading the minds
of simple people, and turning their conduct and ways from their proper
and natural course, and the strange _unaccountable_ conduct of some
persons might be easily accounted for, when traced to this
"fortune-telling" foolery. The happiness of one family was destroyed
only the other day by a deaf and dumb "ruler of the stars," who is now
in penal servitude, and who would have been executed had the offence
been committed some years back. Several such "rulers of the stars," or
"fortune-tellers," have been hung for similar crimes, in my time, one I
remember was a black man, hung at the Old Bailey.

The _clothes test_ cannot be brought to bear upon the predicting of
events, but there is a _test_, which may be brought with equal force
upon this question, which is, that although these prophets profess to
tell what is going to happen to others, THEY CANNOT FORETELL WHAT IS
GOING TO HAPPEN TO THEMSELVES, for if they could, they would have, of
course, avoided the punishments which the law has, and is constantly
inflicting upon them for their offences. And Mr. "Zadkiel," for
instance, would not have brought his action against Admiral Sir Edward
Belcher, if he could have _foreseen_ the result; after which, no doubt,
he cried out, "Oh! my stars!--if I had known as much as I know now, I
never would have gone into court!"

A "Bow Street officer" (as a branch of the old police were styled) told
me that he had a warrant to take up a female fortune-teller, who was
plucking the geese to a large amount. Her principal dupes were females,
and he being a _gander_ had some difficulty in managing to get an
introduction (for this tribe of swindlers use as much caution as they
can). He however succeeded in getting the _wise_ woman to tell him his
fortune, for which he professed himself much obliged, and told her that
as he had a little faculty in that way himself, he would in return,
tell her, her fortune, which was, that she was that morning going
before the magistrate at Bow Street, who had some power in this way
also, and he would likewise tell her her fortune. She smiled at first
and would not believe in what he said, but he showed her the warrant,
and all came true that he had told her; but nothing came _true_ of what
she had told him.

From the high and pure character of many persons well known to me, who
are mixed up in these _séances_, it is _almost_ impossible not to
believe their statements of these wonders, the truth of which wonders
they so _positively_ assert. _If_ true, they are _indeed_ wonderful;
but _if tricks_, then do they surpass all other tricks, ever performed
by all the "sleight of hand" gentry put together, who ever bamboozled
poor credulous, simple creatures, or astonished and puzzled a delighted
audience. There can be but _two sides_ to a question, _true_ or
_false_; and, as already hinted, it remains for the mediums to prove
their case, and to place the matter in a better light than it stands at
present, which is indeed a very dim and uncertain sort of "night
light;" but as, up to this time, their assertions are at variance with
what has hitherto been considered as sound sense and understanding,
those outside the "circle" have not only a right, to be cautious of
stepping into such a circle, but, until some more reasonable reasons
are given--even putting aside the _cui bono_ for the present--unless
some rational natural cause can be assigned, they have a right to
suspect the whole, either as a _Delusion_ or a _Disease_.

But even if this party _prove_, that these "thing-em bobs" are _real_
spirits, they appear to be so dreadful and dangerous, and there really
is such a "_strong_ family likeness" between some of them, and a
certain "_Old Gentleman_," that I would say "the less they have to do
with them the better;" but even supposing they are not "so black as
they are painted" (by their mediums), if even they are a sort of
"half-and-half," nevertheless, I would say--

    "Rest, rest, perturbed spirits rest;"
    For if not for you, for us 'twill be the best.

There _may_ be, as already observed, more things _between_ heaven and
earth than were dreamt of in the philosophy of Horatio; but let the
"inquiring spirit" _rest_ assured that amongst these "things" there
could not be included the _Ghost_ of IRON ARMOUR; and though 'tis said
"there's nothing like leather," yet none of these said "things" could
have been the LEATHER of "TOP-BOOTS"--no, not even the LEATHER of the
"TOPS" nor the LEATHER of the "SOLES" thereof.

In concluding, I will just add to this Addenda, that,--

    Although I _have_ seen, (in the "mirage," in the sky)
      A ship "upside down," the great hull and big sails,
    No one, has ever yet seen, such things, as the _Ghosts_,
      Of HATS or WIGS, or of short, or long PIG-TAILS.

And this is the "long and the short" of my

    DISCOVERY CONCERNING GHOSTS,
    with
    A RAP AT THE RAPPERS.


THE END.


HABBILD, PRINTER, LONDON.



TO BE PUBLISHED BEFORE CHRISTMAS.


PUSS IN BOOTS,

TO FORM No. 4 OF

GEORGE CRUIKSHANKS FAIRY LIBRARY.

The other Numbers already Published being


    HOP O MY THUMB,

    JACK AND THE BEAN-STALK,

    AND

    CINDERELLA.


    ALSO, PREPARING FOR PUBLICATION,

    THE ADVENTURES OF MR. LAMBKIN;

    OR, THE BACHELOR'S OWN BOOK.


    NOW ON SALE,

    THE SHILLING EDITION OF

    THE BOTTLE.

                 *       *       *       *       *

    THE LOVING BALLAD OF LORD BATEMAN.
    COMIC ALPHABET.
    ILLUSTRATIONS OF SIR WALTER SCOTT'S DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.





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