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Title: Mysterious Psychic Forces - An Account of the Author's Investigations in Psychical - Research, Together with Those of Other European Savants
Author: Flammarion, Camille, 1842-1925
Language: English
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  _Director of Observatory of Jovisy,
  France. Author of "The Unknown,"
  "The Atmosphere," etc._


  _Copyright, 1907_,

  _All rights reserved._


_He who pronounces anything to be "impossible," outside of the field of
pure mathematics, is wanting in prudence._


_A learned pedant who laughs at the possible comes very near being an
idiot. To purposely shun a fact, and turn one's back upon it with a
supercilious smile, is to bankrupt Truth._


_Science is under bonds, by the eternal principles of honor, to look
fearlessly in the face every problem that is presented to her._



The subject treated in the following pages has made great progress in the
course of forty years. Now what we are concerned with in psychical studies
is always unknown forces, and these forces must belong to the natural
order, for nature embraces the entire universe, and everything is
therefore under the sway of her sceptre.

I do not conceal from myself, however, that the present work will excite
discussion and bring forth legimate objections, and will only satisfy
independent and unbiased investigators. But nothing is rarer upon our
planet than an independent and absolutely untrammelled mind, nor is
anything rarer than a true scientific spirit of inquiry, freed from all
personal interest. Most readers will say: "What is there in these studies,
anyway? The lifting of tables, the moving of various pieces of furniture,
the displacement of easy-chairs, the rising and falling of pianos, the
blowing about of curtains, mysterious rappings, responses to mental
questions, dictations of sentences in reverse order, apparitions of hands,
of heads, or of spectral figures,--these are only common place
trivialities or cheap hoaxes, unworthy to occupy the attention of a
scientist or scholar. And what would it all prove even if it were true?
That kind of thing does not interest us."

Well, there are people upon whose heads the sky might tumble without
causing them any unusual emotion.

But I reply: What! is it nothing to know, to prove, to see with one's own
eyes, that there are unknown forces around us? Is it nothing to study our
own proper nature and our own faculties? Are not the mysterious problems
of our being such as are worthy to be inscribed on the program of our
investigation, and of having devoted to them laborious nights and days? Of
course, the independent seeker gets no thanks from anybody for his toil.
But what of that? We work for the pleasure of working, of fathoming the
secrets of nature, and of instructing ourselves. When, in studying the
double stars at the Paris Observatory and cataloguing these celestial
twins, I established for the first time a natural classification of those
distant orbs; when I discovered stellar systems, composed of several
stars, swept onward through immensity by one common impulse; when I
studied the planet Mars and compared all the observations made during two
hundred years in order to obtain at once an analysis and a synthesis of
this next-door neighbor of ours among the planets; when, in examining the
effect of solar radiations I created the new branch of physics to which
has been given the name "radioculture" and caused variations of the most
radical and sweeping nature in the dimensions, the forms, and the colors
of certain plants; when I discovered that a grasshopper, eviscerated and
kept in straw did not die, and that these insects can live for a fortnight
after having had their heads cut off; when I planted in a conservatory of
the Museum of Natural History, in Paris, one of the ordinary oaks of our
woods (_quercus robur_), thinking that, if withdrawn from the changes of
seasons, it would always have green leaves (a thing which everybody can
prove),--when I was doing these things I was working for my own personal
pleasure; but that is no reason why these studies have not been useful in
the developing work of science, and no reason for their not being admitted
within the scope of the practical work of specialists.

It is the same with these psychical studies of ours; only there is a
little more passion and prejudice connected with them. On the one hand,
the sceptics cleave fast to their denials, convinced that they know all
the forces of nature, that all mediums are humbugs, and all experimenters
imbeciles. On the other hand, there are the credulous Spiritualists, who
imagine they always have spirits at their beck and call in a centre-table,
who evoke, with the utmost sang-froid, the spirits of Plato, Zoroaster,
Jesus Christ, St. Augustine, Charlemagne, Shakespeare, Newton, or
Napoleon, and who set about stoning me for the tenth or twentieth time,
affirming that I am sold to the Institute on account of a deep-seated and
obstinate ambition, and that I dare not declare myself in favor of the
identity of the spirits for fear of annoying my illustrious friends. The
individuals of this class refuse to be satisfied just as much as the first

So much the worse for them! I insist on only saying what I know; but I do
say this.

And if what I know is displeasing, so much the worse for the prejudices,
the general ignorance, and the good breeding of these distinguished
gentry, in whose eyes the maximum of happiness consists in an increase of
their fortune, the pursuit of lucrative places, sensual pleasures,
automobile-racing, a box at the Opéra, or five-o'clock teas at a
fashionable restaurant, and whose lives are frittered away along paths
that never cross those of the rapt idealist, and who never know the pure
satisfaction of his mind and heart, or the pleasures of thought and

As for me, a humble student of the prodigious problem of the universe, I
am only a seeker. What are we? We have scarcely shed a ray more of light
on this point than at the time when Socrates laid down, as a principle,
the maxim, _Know thyself_,--notwithstanding we have measured the distances
of the stars, analyzed the sun, and weighed the worlds of space. Does it
stand to reason that the knowledge of ourselves should interest us less
than that of the macrocosm, the external world? It is not credible. Let
us therefore study on, convinced that all sincere research will further
the progress of humanity.

_Juvisy Observatory, December, 1906._



  PREFACE                                                            v

  INTRODUCTION                                                    xiii


     I. On Certain Unknown Natural Forces                            1

    II. My First Séances In The Allen Kardec Group, And With
        The Mediums Of That Epoch                                   24

   III. My Experiments With Eusapia Paladino                        63

    IV. Other Séances With Eusapia Paladino                        135

     V. Frauds, Tricks, Deceptions, Impostures, Feats Of
        Legerdemain, Mystifications, Impediments                   194

    VI. The Experiments Of Count De Gasparin                       229

   VII. The Researches Of Professor Thury                          266

  VIII. The Experiments Of The Dialectical Society Of London       289

    IX. The Experiments Of Sir William Crookes                     306

     X. Sundry Experiments And Observations                        352

    XI. My General Inquiry Respecting Observations Of
        Unexplained Phenomena                                      376

   XII. Explanatory Hypotheses--Theories And Doctrines--
        Conclusions Of The Author                                  406

  INDEX                                                            455


  Plate I. Complete Levitation of a Table in Professor
  Flammarion's Salon through Mediumship of Eusapia
  Paladino                                               _Facing page_   8

  Plate II. House of Zoroastre of Jupiter from
  Somnambulistic Drawing by Victorien Sardou             _After page_   26

  Plate III. Animals' Quarters. House of Zoroastre
  of Jupiter from Somnambulistic Drawing by Victorien
  Sardou                                                 _After page_   26

  Figure 1. The Inclination of the System of Uranus      _Page_         54

  Figure 1_a_. Orbits of Satellites of Uranus as Seen
  from the Earth                                         _Page_         56

  Plate IV. Plaster Cast of Imprint Made in Putty
  without Contact by the Medium Eusapia Paladino         _After page_   76

  Plate V. Eusapia Paladino, Showing Resemblance to
  the Imprint in Putty                                   _After page_   76

  Plate VI. Photographs Taken by M. G. de Fontenay of
  an Experiment in Table Levitation                      _Facing page_  82

  Plate VII. Plaster Casts of Impressions in Clay
  Produced by an Unknown Force                           _Facing page_ 138

  Plate VIII. Drawing from Photograph, Showing Method
  of Control by Professors Lombroso and Richet of
  Eusapia. Table Completely Raised                       _Facing page_ 154

  Plate IX. Photographs of Levitation of Table
  Accompanying Colonel De Rochas' Report                 _Facing page_ 174

  Plate X. Scales Used in Professor Flammarion's
  Experiments                                            _Facing page_ 200

  Plate XI. Method Used by Eusapia to Surreptitiously
  Free her Hand                                          _Facing page_ 206

  Plate XII. Cage of Copper Wire, Electrically Charged,
  Used by Professor Crookes in the Home Accordion
  Experiment                                             _Facing page_ 308

  Figure 3. Board and Scale Experiment of Sir William
  Crookes                                                _Page_        312

  Figures 4 and 5. Instruments Used in Scale Experiment
  by Sir William Crookes                                 _Page_          5

  Figure 6. Glass Vessel Used by Home                    _Page_        318

  Figure 7. Automatically Registered Chart of Unknown
  Force Generated by Mr. Home                            _Page_        317

  Figures 8, 9, 10. Charts from Sir William Crookes
  Instruments Used in Experiments with Mr. Home          _Page_        321

  Figures 11 and 12. Third Instrument Devised by Sir
  William Crookes for Recording Automatically the
  Unknown Force Generated by Home                        _Page_        322

  Figure 13. Charts Made by Third Instrument             _Page_        323

  Figures 14 and 15. Charts Made by Third Instrument     _Page_        324

  Plate XIII. Instantaneous Photograph Taken by M. de
  Fontenay of Table Levitation Produced by the Medium
  Auguste Politi                                         _Facing page_ 368


As long ago as 1865 I published, under the title, _Unknown Natural
Forces_, a little monograph of a hundred and fifty pages which is still
occasionally found in the book-shops, but has not been reprinted. I
reprint here (pp. xiii-xxiii), what I wrote at that time in this critical
study "apropos of the phenomena produced by the Davenport brothers and
mediums in general." It was published by Didier & Co., book-sellers to the
Academy, who had already issued my first two works, _The Plurality of
Inhabited Worlds_ and _Imaginary Worlds and Real Worlds_.

"France has just been engaged in an exciting debate, where the sound of
voices was drowned in a great uproar, and out of which no conclusion has
emerged. A disputation more noisy than intelligent has been raging around
a whole group of unexplained facts, and so completely muddled the problem
that, in place of illuminating it, the debate has only served to shroud it
in deeper darkness.

"During the discussion a singular remark was frequently heard, to the
effect that those who shouted the loudest in this court of assize were the
very ones who were least informed on the subject. It was an amusing
spectacle to see these persons in a death-grapple with mere phantoms.
Panurge himself would have laughed at it.

"The result of the matter is that less is known to-day upon the subject in
dispute than at the opening of the debates.

"In the mean time, seated upon neighboring heights were certain excellent
old fellows who observed the writs of arrest issued against the more
violent combatants, but who remained for the most part grave and silent,
though they occasionally smiled, and withal did a deal of hard thinking.

"I am going to state what weight should be given to the opinions of those
of us who do not rashly affirm the impossibility of the facts now put
under the ban and who do not add their voices to the dominant note of

"I do not conceal from myself the consequences of such sincerity. It
requires a good deal of boldness to insist on affirming, _in the name of
positive science_, the POSSIBILITY of these phenomena (wrongly styled
supernatural), and to constitute one's self the champion of a cause
apparently ridiculous, absurd, and dangerous, knowing, at the same time,
that the avowed adherents of said cause have little standing in science,
and that even its eminent partisans only venture to speak of their
approval of it with bated breath. However, since the matter has just been
treated momentarily in fugitive writings by a group of journalists whose
exacting labors wholly forbid a study of the psychic and physical forces;
and since, of all this multitude of writers, the greater part have only
heaped error upon error, puerility upon extravagance; and since it appears
from every page they have written (I hope they will pardon me) that not
only are they ignorant of the very _a, b, c_ of the subject they have so
fantastically treated, but their opinions upon this class of facts rest
upon no basis whatever,--therefore I have thought it would serve a purpose
if I should leave, as a souvenir of the long wrangle, a piece of writing
better based and buttressed than the lucubrations of the above-mentioned
gentlemen. As a lover of truth, I am willing to face a thousand
reproaches. Be it distinctly understood that I do not for a moment deem my
judgment superior to that of my confrères, some of whom are in other
respects highly gifted. The simple fact is that they are not familiar with
this subject, but are straying in it at random, wandering through a
strange region. They misunderstand the very terminology, and imagine that
facts long ago well authenticated are impossible. By way of contrast, the
writer of these lines will state that for several years he has been
engaged in discussions and experiments upon the subject. (I am not
speaking of historical studies.)

"Moreover, although the old saw would have us believe that 'it is not
always desirable to state the truth,' yet, to speak frankly, I am so
indignant at the overweening presumption of certain polemical opponents,
and at the gall they have injected into the debate, that I do not hesitate
to rise and point out to the deceived public that, _without a single
exception_, all the arguments brought up by these writers, and upon which
they have boldly planted their banner of victory, prove absolutely
_nothing_, NOTHING, against the possible truth of the things which they,
in the fury of their denial, have so perverted. Such a snarl of opinions
must be analyzed. In brief, the true must be disentangled from the false.
_Veritas, veritas!_"

"I hasten to anticipate a criticism on the part of my readers by apprising
them, on the threshold of this plea, that I am not going to take the
Davenport brothers as my subject, but only as the ostensible motive or
pretext of the discussion,--as they have been, for that matter, of the
majority of the discussions. I shall deal in these pages with _the facts_
brought to the surface again by these two Americans,--facts inexplicable
(which they have put on the stage at Herz Hall here in Paris, but which
none the less existed before this _mise-en-scène_, and which none the less
will exist even should the Davenport brothers' representations prove to be
counterfeit),--things which others had already exhibited, and still
exhibit with as much facility and under much better conditions;
occurrences, in short, which constitute the domain of the unknown forces
to which have been given, one after another, five or six names explaining
nothing. These forces, mind you, are as real as the attraction of
gravitation, and as invisible as that. It is about facts that I here
concern myself. Let them be brought to the light by Peter or by Paul, it
concerns us little; let them be imitated by Sosie[1] or parodied by
Harlequin, still less does it concern us. The question is, Do these facts
exist, and do they enter into the category of known physical forces?

"It amazes me, every time I think of it, that the majority of men are so
densely ignorant of the psychic phenomena in question, considering the
fact that they have been known, studied, valued, and recorded for a good
long time now by all who have impartially followed the movement of thought
during the last few lustrums.

"I not only do not make common cause with the Davenport brothers, but I
ought furthermore to add that I consider them as placed in a very
compromising situation. In laying to the account of the supernatural
matters in occult natural philosophy which have a tolerable resemblance to
feats of prestidigitation, they appear to a curious public to add
imposture to insolence. In setting a financial value upon their talents,
they seem to the moralist, who is investigating still unexplained
phenomena, to place themselves on the level of mountebanks. Whatever way
you look at them, they are to blame. Accordingly, I condemn at once both
their grave error in assuming to be superior to the forces of which they
are only the instruments and the venal profit they draw from powers of
which they are not master and which it is no merit of theirs to possess.
In my opinion, it is a piece of exaggeration to draw conclusions from
these unhappy semblances of truth; and it is to abdicate one's right of
private judgment to make one's self but the echo of the vulgar herd who
hiss and shout themselves hoarse before the curtain rises. No, I am not
the advocate of the two brothers, nor of their personal claims. For me,
individual men do not exist. That which I defend is the superiority of
nature to us: that which I fight against is the conceited silliness of
certain persons.

"You satirical gentlemen will have the frankness, I hope, to confess with
me that the different reasons pleaded by you in explanation of these
problems are not so solid as they appear to be. Since you have discovered
nothing, let us admit, between ourselves, that your explanations explain

"I do not doubt that, at the point in the discussion which we have
actually reached, you would like to change rôles with me, and, stopping me
here, constitute yourselves in turn my questioners.

"But I hasten to anticipate your proposal. As for me, gentlemen, I am not
sufficiently well informed to explain these mysteries. I pass my life in a
retired garden belonging to one of the nine Muses, and my attachment to
this fair creature is such that I have scarcely ever quitted the
approaches to her temple. It is only at intervals, in moments of
relaxation or curiosity, that I have allowed my eyes to wander, from time
to time, over the landscapes which surround it. Therefore ask me nothing.
I am making a sincere confession. I know nothing of the cause of these

"You see how modest I am. All I wanted in undertaking this examination was
to have the opportunity of saying this:

"You know nothing about it.

"Neither do I.

"If you acknowledge this, we can shake hands. And, if you are tractable, I
will tell you a little secret.

"In the month of June, 1776 (few among us remember it), a young man
twenty-five years old, named Jouffroy, was making a trial trip on the
river Doubs of a new steamboat forty feet in length and six feet in
breadth. For two years he had been calling the attention of scientific
authorities to his invention; for two years he had been stoutly asserting
that there is a powerful latent energy in steam,--at that time a neglected
asset. All ears were deaf to his words. His only reward was to be
completely isolated and neglected. When he passed through the streets of
Baume-les-Dames, his appearance was the signal for jests innumerable. He
was dubbed 'Jouffroy, the Steam Man' ('_Jouffroy-la-Pompe_'). Ten years
later, having built a pyroscaphe [literally, fireboat] which had ascended
the Saône from Lyons to the island of Barbe, he presented a petition to
Calonne, the comptroller-general of finance, and to the Academy of
Sciences. They would not look at his invention!

"On August 9, 1803, Fulton went up the Seine in a new steamboat at the
rate of about four miles an hour. The members of the Academy of Sciences
as well as government officials were present on the occasion. The next day
they had forgotten all about it, and Fulton went to make the fortunes of

"In 1791 an Italian at Bologna, named Galvani, having hung on the iron
railing outside his window some skinned frogs which had been used in
making a bouillon for his wife, noted that they moved automatically,
although they had been killed since the evening before. The thing was
incredible, so everybody to whom he told it opposed his statement. Men of
sense would have thought it beneath their dignity to take the trouble to
verify the story, so convinced were they of its impossibility. But Galvani
had noted that the maximum of effect was attained when he joined the
lumbar nerves and the ends of the feet of a frog by a metallic arc of tin
and copper. The frog's muscles then jerked convulsively. He believed it
was due to a nervous fluid, and so lost the fruit of his investigations.
It was reserved for Volta to discover electricity.

"And to-day the globe is threaded with a network of trains drawn by
flame-breathing dragons. Distances have disappeared, annihilated by
improvements in the locomotive. The genius of man has contracted the
dimensions of the earth; the longest voyages are but excursions over
definite lines (the curved paths of the 'ocean lanes'); the most gigantic
tasks are accomplished by the tireless and powerful hand of this unknown
force. A telegraphic despatch flies in the twinkling of an eye from one
continent to another; a man can talk with a citizen of London or St.
Petersburg without getting out of his arm-chair. And these wonders attract
no special notice. We little think through what struggles, bitter
disappointments and persecutions they came into being! We forget that the
impossible of yesterday is the accomplished fact of to-day. So it comes to
pass that we still find men who come to us saying: 'Halt there, you little
fellows! We don't understand you, therefore you don't know what you're
talking about.'

"Very well, gentlemen. However narrow may be your opinions, there is no
reason for thinking that your myopia is to spread over the world. You are
hereby informed that, in spite of you and in spite of your obscurantism
and obstruction tactics, the car of human progress will roll on and
continue its triumphal march and conquest of new forces and powers. As in
the case of Galvani's frog, the laughable occurrences that you refuse to
believe reveal the existence of new unknown forces. There is no effect
without a cause. Man is the least known of all beings. We have learned
how to measure the sun, cross the deeps of space, analyze the light of the
stars, and yet have not dropped a plummet into our own souls. Man is
dual,--_homo duplex_; and this double nature remains a mystery to him. We
think: what is thought? No one can say. We walk: what is that organic act?
No one knows. My will is an immaterial force; all the faculties of my soul
are immaterial. Nevertheless, if I _will_ to move my arm, my will moves
matter. How does it act? What is the mediator between mind and muscle? As
yet no one can say. Tell me how the optic nerve transmits to the thinking
brain the perception of outward objects. Tell me how thought is born,
where it resides, what is the nature of cerebral action. Tell me--but no,
gentlemen: I could question you for ten years on a stretch, and the most
eminent of you could not answer the least of my interrogatories.

"We have here, as in the preceding cases, the unknown element in a
problem. I am far from claiming that the force that comes into play in
these phenomena can one day be financially exploited, as in the case of
electricity and steam. Such an idea has not the slightest interest for me.
But, though differing essentially from these forces, the mysterious
psychic force none the less exists.

"In the course of the long and laborious studies to which I have
consecrated many a night, as a relief or by-play in more important work, I
have always observed in these phenomena the action of a force the
properties of which are to us unknown. Sometimes it has seemed to me
analogous to that which puts to sleep the magnetized subject under the
will of the hypnotizer (a reality this, also slighted even by men of
science). Again, in other circumstances, it has seemed to me analogous to
the curious freaks of the lightning. Still, I believe I can affirm it to
be a force distinct from all that we know, and which more than any other
resembles intelligence.

"A certain savant with whom I am acquainted, M. Frémy, of the Institute,
has recently presented to the Academy of Science, apropos of spontaneous
generation, substances which he has called _semi-organic_. I believe I am
not perpetrating a neologism bolder than this when I say that the force of
which I am speaking has seemed to me to belong to the _semi-intellectual_

"Some years ago I gave these forces the name _psychic_. That name can be

"But words are nothing. They often resemble cuirasses, hiding the real
impression that ideas should produce in us. That is the reason why it is
perhaps better not to name a thing that we are not yet able to define. If
we did, we should find ourselves so shackled afterwards as not to have
perfect freedom in our conclusions. It has often been seen in history that
a premature hypothesis has arrested the progress of science, says Grove:
'When natural phenomena are observed for the first time, a tendency
immediately arises to relate them to something already known. The new
phenomenon may be quite remote from the ideas with which one would compare
it. It may belong to a different order of analogies. But this distinction
cannot be perceived, since the necessary data or co-ordinates are
lacking.' Now the theory originally announced is soon accepted by the
public; and when it happens that subsequent facts, different from the
preceding, fail to fit the mould, it is difficult to enlarge this without
breaking it, and people often prefer to abandon a theory now proved
erroneous, and silently ignore the intractable facts. As to the special
phenomena in question in this little volume, I find them implicitly
embodied in three words uttered nearly twenty centuries ago,--MENS AGITAT
MOLEM (mind acting on matter gives it life and motion); and I leave the
phenomena embedded in these words, like fire in the flint. I will not
strike with the steel, for the spark is still dangerous. '_Periculosum est
credere et non credere_' ('It is dangerous to believe and not to
believe'), says the ancient fabulist Phædrus. To deny facts _a priori_ is
mere conceit and idiocy. To accept them without investigation is weakness
and folly. Why seek to press on so eagerly and prematurely into regions to
which our poor powers cannot yet attain? The way is full of snares and
bottomless pits. The phenomena we are treating in these pages do not
perhaps throw new light upon the solution of the great problem of
immortality, but they invite us to remember that there are in man elements
to study, to determine, to analyze,--elements still unexplained, and which
belong to the psychic realm.

"There has been much talk about Spiritualism in connection with these
phenomena. Some of its defenders have thought to strengthen it by
supporting it on so weak a basis as that. The scoffers have thought they
could positively ruin the creed of the psychics, and, hurling it from its
base, bury it under a fallen wardrobe (_l'éboulement d'une armoire_).[2]
Now the first-named have rather compromised than assisted the cause: the
others have not overturned it after all. Even if it should be proved that
Spiritualism consists only of tricks of legerdemain, the belief in the
existence of souls separate from the body would not be affected in the
slightest degree. Besides, the deceptions of mediums do not prove that
they are always tricky. They only put us on our guard, and induce us to
keep a stern watch upon them.

"As to the psychological question of the soul and the analysis of
spiritual forces, we are just where chemistry was at the time of Albert
the Great: we don't know.

"Can we not then keep the golden mean between negation, which denies all,
and credulity, which accepts all? Is it rational to deny everything that
we cannot understand, or, on the contrary, to believe all the follies that
morbid imaginations give birth to, one after another? Can we not possess
at once the humility which becomes the weak and the dignity which becomes
the strong?

"I end this plea, as I began it, by declaring that it is not for the sake
of the brothers Davenport, nor of any sect, nor of any group, nor, in
short, of any person whatever, that I have entered the lists of
controversy, but solely for the sake of facts the reality of which I
ascertained several years ago, without having discovered their cause.
However, I have no reason to fear that those who do not know me will take
a fancy to misrepresent my thought; and I think that those who are
acquainted with me know that I am not accustomed to swing a censer in any
one's honor. I repeat for the last time: I am not concerned with
individuals. My mind seeks the truth, and recognizes it wherever it finds
it. '_Gallus escam quærens margaritam reperit._'"[3]

A certain number of my readers have been for some time kindly expressing a
wish for a new edition of this early book. But strictly speaking I could
not do this without considerably enlarging my original plan and composing
an entirely new work. The daily routine of my astronomical labors has
constantly hindered me from devoting myself to that task. The starry
heaven is a vast and absorbing field of work, and it is difficult to turn
aside (even for a relaxation in itself scientific) from the exacting
claims of a science which goes on developing unceasingly at a most
prodigious rate.

Still, the present work may be considered as, in a sense, an enlarged
edition of the earlier one. The foregoing citation of a little book
written for the purpose of proving the existence of unknown forces in
nature has seemed to me necessary here; useful in this new volume, brought
out for the same purpose after more than forty years of study, since it
may serve to show the continuity and consistent development of my thought
on the subject.




I purpose to show in this book what truth there is in the phenomena of
table-turnings, table-movings, and table-rappings, in the communications
received therefrom, in levitations that contradict the laws of gravity, in
the moving of objects without contact, in unexplained noises, in the
stories told of haunted houses,--all to be considered from the physical
and mechanical point of view. Under all the just mentioned heads we can
group material facts produced by causes still unknown to science, and it
is with these physical phenomena that we shall specially occupy ourselves
here; for the first point is to definitely prove, by sufficient
observations, their real existence. Hypotheses, theories, doctrines, will
come later.

In the country of Rabelais, of Montaigne, of Voltaire, we are inclined to
smile at everything that relates to the marvellous, to tales of
enchantment, the extravagances of occultism, the mysteries of magic. This
arises from a reasonable prudence. But it does not go far enough. To deny
and prejudge a phenomenon has never proved anything. The truth of almost
every fact which constitutes the sum of the positive sciences of our day
has been denied. What we ought to do is to admit no unverified statement,
to apply to every subject of study, no matter what, the experimental
method, without any preconceived idea whatever, either for or against.

We are dealing here with a great problem, which touches on that of the
survival of human consciousness. We may study it, in spite of smiles.

When we consecrate our lives to an idea, useful, noble, exalted, we should
not hesitate for a moment to sacrifice personalities; above all, our own
self, our interest, our self-esteem, our natural vanity. This sacrifice is
a criterion by which I have estimated a good many characters. How many
men, how many women, put their miserable little personality above
everything else!

If the forces of which we are to treat are real, they cannot but be
natural forces. We ought to admit, as an absolute principle, that
everything is in nature, even God himself, as I have shown in another
work. Before any attempt at theory, the first thing to do is to
scientifically establish the real existence of these forces.

Mediumistic experiences might form (and doubtless soon will form) a
chapter in physics. Only it is a kind of transcendental physics which
touches on life and thought, and the forces in play are pre-eminently
living forces, psychic forces.

I shall relate in the following chapter the experiments I made between the
years 1861 and 1865, previous to the penning of the protest, reprinted in
the long citation above given (in the Introduction). But, since in certain
respects they are summed up in those I have just had, in 1906, I will
begin by describing the latter in this first chapter.

In fact, I have recently renewed these investigations with a celebrated
medium,--Mme. Eusapia Paladino, of Naples, who has been several times in
Paris; namely, in 1898, 1905, and, very recently, in 1906. The things I am
going to speak of happened in the salon of my home in Paris,--the last
ones in full light without any preparation, very simply, as if during
after-dinner talks.

Let me add that this medium came to Paris during the first months of the
year, 1906, at the invitation of the Psychological Institute, several
members of which have been recently engaged in researches begun long ago.
Among these savants I will mention the name of the lamented Pierre Curie,
the eminent chemist, with whom I had a conversation a few days before his
unfortunate and terrible death. My mediumistic experiences with Mme.
Paladino formed for him a new chapter in the great book of nature, and he
also was convinced that there exist hidden forces to the investigation of
which it is not unscientific to consecrate one's self. His subtle and
penetrating genius would perhaps have quickly determined the character of
these forces.

Those who have given some little attention to these psychological studies
are acquainted with the powers of Mme. Paladino. The published works of
Count de Rochas, of Professor Richet, of Dr. Dariex, of M. G. de Fontenay,
and notably the _Annales des sciences psychiques_, have pointed them out
and described them in such detail that it would be superfluous to recur to
them at this point. Farther on we shall find a place for discussing them.

Running underneath all the observations of the above-mentioned writers,
one dominant idea can be read as if in palimpsest; namely, the imperious
necessity the experimenters are constantly under of suspecting tricks in
this medium (Mme. Paladino). But all mediums, men and women, have to be
watched. During a period of more than forty years I believe that I have
received at my home nearly all of them, men and women of divers
nationalities and from every quarter of the globe. One may lay it down as
a principle that all professional mediums cheat. But they do not always
cheat; and they possess real, undeniable psychic powers.

Their case is nearly that of the hysterical folk under observation at the
Salpêtrière or elsewhere. I have seen some of them outwit with their
profound craft not only Dr. Charcot, but especially Dr. Luys, and all the
physicians who were making a study of their case. But, because hysteriacs
deceive and simulate, it would be a gross error to conclude that hysteria
does not exist. And, because mediums frequently descend to the most
brazen-faced imposture, it would not be less absurd to conclude that
mediumship has no existence. Disreputable somnambulists do not forbid the
existence of magnetism, hypnotism, and genuine somnambulism.

This necessity of being constantly on our guard has discouraged more than
one investigator, as the illustrious astronomer Schiaparelli, director of
the Observatory of Milan, specially wrote me, in a letter which will
appear farther on.

Still, we have got to endure this evil.

The words "fraud" (_supercherie_) and "trickery" (_tricherie_) have in
this connection a sense a little different from their ordinary meaning.
Sometimes the mediums deceive purposely, knowing well what they are doing,
and enjoying the fun. But oftener they unconsciously deceive, impelled by
the desire to produce the phenomena that people are expecting.

They help on the success of the experiment when that success is slow in
its appearance. Mediums who deal with objective phenomena are gifted with
the power of causing objects at a distance to move, of lifting tables,
etc. But they usually appear to apply this power at the ends of their
fingers, and the objects to be moved have to be within reach of their
hands or feet, a very regrettable thing, and one which furnishes fine
sport for the prejudiced sceptics. Sometimes the mediums act like the
billiard player, who continues for an instant the gesture of hand and arm,
holding his cue pointed at the rolling ivory ball, and leaning forward as
if by his will he could push it to a carom. He knows very well that he has
no further power over the fate of the ball, which his initial stroke
alone impels; but he guides its course by his thought and his gesture.

It may not be superfluous to caution the reader that the word "medium" is
employed in these pages without any preconceived idea, and not in the
etymological sense in which it took its rise at the time of the first
Spiritualistic theories, which affirmed that the man or the woman endowed
with psychic powers is an inter_mediary_ between spirits and those who are
experimenting. The person who has the power of causing objects to move
contrary to the laws of gravity (even sometimes without touching them), of
causing sounds to be heard at a distance and without any exertion of
muscular force, and of bringing before the eyes various apparitions, has
not necessarily, on that account, any bond of union with disembodied minds
or souls. We shall keep this word "medium," however, now so long in use.
We are concerned here only with facts. I hope to convince the reader that
these things really exist, and are neither illusions nor farces, nor feats
of prestidigitation. My object is to prove their reality with absolute
certainty, to do for them what (in my volume _The Unknown and the Psychic
Problems_) I have done for telepathy, the apparitions of the dying,
premonitory dreams, and clairvoyance.

I shall begin, I repeat, with experiments which I have recently renewed;
namely, during four séances on March 29, April 5, May 30, and June 7, of

1. Take the case of the levitation of a round table. I have so often seen
a rather heavy table lifted to a height of eight, twelve, sixteen inches
from the floor, and I have taken such undeniably authentic photographs of
these; I have so often proved to myself that the suspension of this
article of furniture by the imposition _upon it_ of the hands of four or
five persons produces the effect of a floating in a tub full of water or
other elastic fluid, that, for me, the levitation of objects is no more
doubtful than that of a pair of scissors lifted by the aid of a magnet.
But one evening when I was almost alone with Eusapia, March 29, 1906
(there were four of us altogether), being desirous of examining at leisure
how the thing was done, I asked her to place her hands with mine upon the
table, the other persons remaining at a distance. The table very soon rose
to a height of fifteen or twenty inches _while we were both standing_. At
the moment of the production of the phenomenon the medium placed one of
her hands on one of mine, which she pressed energetically, our two other
hands resting side by side. Moreover, on her part, as on mine, there was
an act of will expressed in words of command addressed to "the spirit":
"Come now! Lift the table! Take courage! Come! Try now!" etc.

We ascertained at once that there were two elements or constituents
present. On the one hand, the experimenters address an invisible entity.
On the other hand, the medium experiences a nervous and muscular fatigue,
and her weight increases in proportion to that of the object lifted (but
not in exact proportion).

We are obliged to act as if there really were a being present who is
listening. This being appears to come into existence, and then become
non-existent as soon as the experiment is ended. It seems to be created by
the medium. Is it an auto-suggestion of hers or of the dynamic ensemble of
the experimenters that creates a special force? Is it a doubling of her
personality? Is it the condensation of a psychic _milieu_ in the midst of
which we live? If we seek to obtain proofs of actual and permanent
individuality, and above all of the identity of a particular soul called
up in our memory, we never obtain any satisfaction. There lies the

Conclusion: we have here an unknown force of the psychic class, a living
force, the life of a moment only.

May it not be possible that, in exerting ourselves, we give rise to a
detachment of forces which acts exteriorly to our body? But this is not
the place, in these first pages, to make hypotheses.

The experiment of which I have just spoken was repeated three times
running, _in the full light_ of a gas chandelier, and under the same
conditions of complete proof in each case. A round table weighing about
fourteen pounds is lifted by this unknown force. A table of twenty-five or
fifty pounds or more requires a greater number of persons. But they will
get no result if one at least among them is not gifted with the
mediumistic power.

And let me add, on the other hand, that there is in such an experiment so
great an expenditure of nervous and muscular energy that such an
extraordinary medium as Eusapia, for instance, can obtain scarcely any
results six hours, twelve hours, even twenty-four hours, after a séance in
which she has so lavishly expended her psychic energy.

I will add that quite often the table continues to rise even after the
experimenters have ceased to touch it. This is _movement without contact_.

This phenomenon of levitation is, to me, absolutely proved, although we
cannot explain it. It is like what would happen if one had his hands
gloved with loadstone, and, placing them on a table of iron, should lift
it from the ground. But the action is not so simple as that: it is a case
of psychic activity exterior to ourselves, momentarily in operation.[4]

Now how are these levitations and movements produced?

How is it that a stick of sealing-wax or a lamp-chimney, when rubbed,
attracts bits of paper or elder pith?

How is it that a particle of iron grips so firmly to the loadstone when
brought near it?

How is it that electricity accumulates in the vapor of water, in the
molecules of a cloud, until it gives rise to the thunder, the thunderbolt,
the lightning flash, and all their formidable results?

How is it that the thunderbolt strips the clothes from a man or a woman
with its characteristic nonchalance?

And (to take a simple instance), without departing from our common and
normal condition of life, how is it that we raise our arm?

2. Take now a specimen of another group of cases. The medium places one of
her hands upon that of some person, and with the other beats the air, with
one, two, three, or four strokes or raps. The raps are heard in the table,
and you feel the vibrations at the same time that you hear them,--sharp
blows which make you think of electric shocks. It is superfluous to state
that the feet of the medium do not touch those of the table, but are kept
at a distance from them.

The medium next places her hands with ours upon the table, and the taps
heard in the table are stronger than in the preceding case.


These taps audible in the table, this "typtology" well known to
Spiritualists, have been frequently attributed to some kind of trickery or
another, to a cracking muscle or to various actions of the medium. After
the comparative study I have made of these special occurrences I believe I
am right in affirming that this fact also is not less certain than the
first. Rappings, as is well known, are obtained in all kinds of rhythms,
and responses to all questions are obtained through simple conventions, by
which it is agreed, for instance, that three taps shall mean "yes" and two
mean "no," and that, while the letters of the alphabet are being read,
words can be dictated by taps made as each letter is named.

3. During our experiments, while we four persons are seated around a table
asking for a communication which does not arrive, an arm-chair, placed
about twenty-four inches from the medium's foot (upon which I have placed
my foot to make sure that she cannot use hers),--an arm-chair, I say,
begins to move, and comes sliding up to us. I push it back; it returns. It
is a stuffed affair (_pouf_), very heavy, but easily capable of gliding
over the floor. This thing happened on the 29th of last March, and again
on April 5th.

It could have been done by drawing the chair with a string or by the
medium putting her foot sufficiently far out. But it happened over and
over again (five or six times), automatically moving, and that so
violently that the chair jumped about the floor in a topsy-turvy fashion
and ended by falling bottom side up without anybody having touched it.

4. Here is a fourth case re-observed this year, after having been several
times verified by me, notably in 1898.

Curtains near the medium, but which it is impossible for her to touch,
either with the hand or the foot, swell out their whole length, as if
inflated by a gusty wind. I have several times seen them envelop the
heads of the spectators as if with cowls of Capuchin monks.

5. Here is a fifth instance, authenticated by me several times, and always
with the same care.

While I am holding one hand of Eusapia in mine, and one of my astronomical
friends, tutor at the Ecole Polytechnique, is holding the other, we are
touched, first one and then the other, upon the side and on the shoulders,
as if by an invisible hand.

The medium usually tries to get together her two hands, held separately by
each of us, and by a skilful substitution to make us believe we hold both
when she has succeeded in disengaging one. This fraud being well known by
us, we act the part of forewarned spectators, and are positive that we
have each succeeded in holding her hands apart. The touchings in this
experiment seem to proceed from an invisible entity and are rather
disagreeable. Those which take place in the immediate vicinity of the
medium _could_ be due to fraud; but to some of them this explanation is

This is the place to remark that, unfortunately, the extraordinary
character of the phenomena is in direct ratio with the absence of light,
and we are continually asked by the medium to turn down the gas, almost to
the vanishing point: "_Meno luce! meno luce!_" ("Less light, less light").
This, of course, is advantageous to all kinds of fraud. But it is a
condition no more obligatory than the others. There is in it no
implication of a threat.

We can get a large number of mediumistic phenomena with a light strong
enough for us to distinguish things with certainty. Still, it is a fact
that light is unfavorable to the production of phenomena.

This is annoying. Yet we have no right to impose the opposite condition.
We have no right to demand of nature conditions which happen to suit us.
It would be just as reasonable to try to get a photographic negative
without a dark room, or to draw electricity from a rotating machine in the
midst of an atmosphere saturated with moisture. Light is a natural agent
capable of producing certain effects and of opposing the production of

This aphorism calls to my mind an anecdote in the life of Daguerre,
related in the first edition of this book.

One evening this illustrious natural philosopher meets an elegant and
fashionable woman in the neighborhood of the Opera House, of which he was
at that time the decorator. Enthusiastic over his progress in natural
philosophy, he happens to speak of his photogenic studies. He tells her of
a marvellous discovery by which the features of the face can be fixed upon
a plate of silver. The lady, who is a person of plain common sense,
courteously laughs in his face. The savant goes on with his story, without
being disconcerted. He even adds that it is possible for the phenomenon to
take place instantaneously when the processes become perfected. But he has
his pains for his trouble. His charming companion is not credulous enough
to accept such an extravagance. Paint without colors and without a brush!
design without pen or crayon! as if a portrait could get painted all by
itself, etc. But the inventor is not discouraged, and, to convince her,
offers to make her portrait by this process. The lady is unwilling to be
thought a dupe and refuses. But the skilful artist pleads his cause so
well that he overcomes her objections. The blond daughter of Eve consents
to pose before the object-glass. But she makes one condition,--only one.

Her beauty is at its best in the evening, and she feels a little faded in
the garish light of day.

    "If you could take me in the evening--"

    "But, madame, it is impossible--"

    "Why? You say that your invention reproduces the face, feature by
    feature. I prefer my features of the evening over those of the

    "Madame, it is the light itself which pencils the image, and without
    it I can do nothing."

    "We will light a chandelier, a lamp, do anything to please you."

    "No, madame, the light of day is imperative."

    "Will you please tell me why?"

    "Because the light of the sun exhibits an intense activity, sufficient
    to decompose the iodide of silver. So far, I have not been able to
    take a photograph except in full sunlight."

Both remained obstinate, the lady maintaining that what could be done at
ten o'clock in the morning could also easily be done at ten o'clock in the
evening. The inventor affirmed the contrary.

So, then, all you have to do, gentlemen, is to forbid the light to blacken
iodine, or order it to blacken lime, and condemn the photographer to
develop his negative in full light. Ask Electricity why it will pass
instantaneously from one end to the other of an iron wire a thousand miles
long and why it refuses to traverse a thread of glass half an inch long.
Beg the night-blooming flowers to expand in the day, or those that only
bloom in the light not to close at dusk. Give me the explanation of the
respiration of plants, diurnal and nocturnal, and of the production of
chlorophyll and how plants develop a green color in the light; why they
breathe in oxygen and exhale carbonic acid gas during the night, and
reverse the process during the day. Change the equivalents of simple
substances in chemistry, and order combinations to be produced. Forbid
azotic acid to boil at the freezing temperature, and command water to boil
at zero. You have only to ask these accommodations and nature will obey
you, gentlemen, depend upon it.

A good many phenomena of nature only occur in obscurity. The germs of
plants, animals, man, in forming a new being, work their miracle only in
the dark.

Here, in a flask, is a mixture of hydrogen and chlorine in equal volumes.
If you wish to preserve the mixture, you must keep the flask in the dark,
whether you want to or not. Such is the law. As long as it remains in the
dark, it will retain its properties. But suppose you take a schoolboy
notion to expose the thing to the action of light. Instantly a violent
explosion is heard; the hydrogen and the chlorine disappear, and you find
in the flask a new substance,--chloridic acid. There is no use in your
finding fault: darkness respects the two substances, while light explodes

If we should hear a malignant sceptic of some clique or other say, "I will
only believe in jack-o'-lanterns when I see them in the light of day,"
what should we think of his sanity? About what we should think if he
should add that the stars are not certainties, since they are only seen at

In all the observations and experiments of physics there are conditions to
be observed. In those of which we are speaking a too strong light seems to
imperil the success of the experiment. But it goes without saying that
precautions against deception ought to increase in direct ratio with the
decrease of visibility and other means of verification.

Let us return to our experiments.

6. Taps are heard in the table, or it moves, rises, falls back, raps with
its leg. A kind of interior movement is produced in the wood, violent
enough, sometimes, to break it. The round table I made use of (with
others) in my home was dislocated and repaired more than once, and it was
by no means the pressure of the hands upon it that could have caused the
dislocations. No, there is something more than that in it: there is in
the actions of the table the intervention of mind, of which I have already

The table is questioned, by means of the conventional signs described a
few pages back, and it responds. Phrases are rapped out, usually banal and
without any literary, scientific, or philosophical value. But, at any
rate, words are rapped out, phrases are dictated. These phrases do not
come of their own accord, nor is it the medium who taps
them--consciously--either with her foot or her hand, or by the aid of a
snapping muscle, for we obtain them in séances held without professional
mediums and at scientific reunions where the existence of trickery would
be a thing of the greatest absurdity. The mind of the medium and that of
the experimenters most assuredly have something to do with the mystery.
The replies obtained generally tally the intellectual status of the
company, as if the intellectual faculties of the persons present were
exterior to their brains and were acting in the table wholly unknown to
the experimenters themselves. How can this thing be? How can we compose
and dictate phrases without knowing it. Sometimes the ideas broached seem
to come from a personality unknown to the company, and the hypothesis of
spirits quite naturally presents itself. A word is begun; some one thinks
he can divine its ending; to save time, he writes it down; the table
parries, is agitated, impatient. It is the wrong word; another was being
dictated. There is here, then, a psychic element which we are obliged to
recognize, whatever its nature may be when analyzed.

The success of experiments does not always depend on the will of the
medium. Of course that is the chief element in it; but certain conditions
independent of her are necessary. The psychical atmosphere created by the
persons present has an influence that cannot be neglected. So the state of
health of the medium is not without its influence. If he is fatigued,
although he may have the best will in the world, the value of the results
will be affected. I had a new proof of this thing, so often observed, at
my house, with Eusapia Paladino, on May 30, 1906. She had for more than a
month been suffering from a rather painful affection of the eyes; and
furthermore her legs were considerably swollen. We were seven, of whom two
lookers-on were sceptics. The results were almost nil; namely, the
lifting, during scarcely two seconds of time, of a round table weighing
about four pounds; the tipping up of one side of a four-legged table; and
a few rappings. Still, the medium seemed animated by a real wish to obtain
some result. She confessed to me, however, that what had chiefly paralyzed
her faculties was the sceptical and sarcastic spirit of one of the two
incredulous persons. I knew of the absolute scepticism of this man. It had
not been manifested in any way; but Eusapia had at once divined it.

The state of mind of the by-standers, sympathetic or antipathetic, has an
influence upon the production of the phenomena. This is an incontestable
matter of observation. I am not speaking here merely of a tricky medium
rendered powerless to act by a too close critical inspection, but also of
a hostile force which may more or less neutralize the sincerest volition.
Is it not the same, moreover, in assemblies, large or small, in
conferences, in salons, etc.? Do we not often see persons of baleful and
antipathetic spirit defeat at their very beginning the accomplishment of
the noblest purposes.

Here are the results of another sitting of the same medium held a few days

On the 7th of June, 1906, I had been informed by my friend Dr. Ostwalt,
the skilled oculist, who was at that time treating Eusapia, that she was
to be at his house that evening and that perhaps I would be able to try a
new experiment. I accepted with all the more readiness because the
mother-in-law of the doctor, Mme. Werner, to whom I had been attached by a
friendship of more than thirty years, had been dead a year, and had many a
time promised me, in the most formal manner, to appear after her death for
the purpose of giving completeness to my psychical researches by a
manifestation, if the thing was possible. We had so often conversed on
these subjects, and she was so deeply interested in them, that she had
renewed her promise very emphatically a few days before her death. And at
the same time she made a similar promise to her daughter and to her

Eusapia, also, on her part, grateful for the care she had received at the
doctor's hands and for the curing of her eye, wished to be agreeable to
him in any way she could.

The conditions, then, were in all respects excellent. I agreed with the
doctor that we had before us four possible hypotheses, and that we should
seek to fix on the most probable one.

_a._ What would take place might be due to fraud, conscious or

_b._ The phenomena might be produced by a physical force emanating from
the medium.

_c._ Or by one or several invisible entities making use of this force.

_d._ Or by Mme. Werner herself.

We had on that evening some movements of the table and a complete lifting
of the four feet to a height of about eight inches. Six of us sat around
the table,--Eusapia, Madame and Monsieur Ostwalt, their son Pierre,
sixteen years old, my wife and myself. Our hands placed above the table
scarcely touched it, and were almost wholly detached at the moment it rose
from the floor. No fraud possible. Full light.

The séance then continued in the dark. The two portières of a great
double-folding door, against which the medium was seated, her back to the
door, were blown about for nearly an hour, sometimes so violently as to
form something like a monk's hood on the head of the doctor and that of
his wife.

This great door was several times shaken violently, and tremendous blows
were struck upon it.

We tried to obtain words by means of the alphabet, but without success. (I
will remark in this connection that Eusapia knows neither how to read nor
to write.)

Pierre Ostwalt was able to write a word with the pencil. It seemed as if
an invisible force was guiding his hand. The word he pencilled down was
the first name of Mme. Werner, _well known to him_.

In spite of all our efforts, we were unable to obtain a single proof of
identity. Yet it would have been very easy for Mme. Werner to find one, as
she had so solemnly promised us to do.

In spite of the announcement by raps that an apparition would appear which
we would be permitted to see, we were only able to perceive a dim white
form, devoid of precise outline, even when we manipulated the light so as
to get almost complete darkness. From this new sitting the following
conclusions are deduced:

_a._ Fraud cannot explain the phenomena, especially the levitation of the
table, the violent blows and shakings given to the door, and the
projection of the curtain into the room.

_b._ These phenomena are certainly produced by a force emanating from the
medium, for they all occur in her immediate neighborhood.

_c._ This force is intelligent. But it is possible that this intelligence
which obeys our requests is only that of the medium.

_d._ Nothing proves that the spirit evoked had any influence.

These propositions, however, will be examined and developed one by one in
the pages that follow.

All the experiments described in this first chapter reveal to us unknown
forces in operation. It will be the same in the chapters that follow.

These phenomena are so unexplained, so inexplicable, so incredible, that
the simplest plan is to deny them, to attribute them all to fraud or to
hallucination, and to believe that all the participators are sand-blind.

Unfortunately for our opponents, this hypothesis is inadmissible.

Let me say here that there are very few men--and above all, women--whose
spirit is completely _free_; that is, in a condition capable of accepting,
without any preconceived idea, new or unexplained facts. In general,
people are disposed to admit only those facts or things for which they are
prepared by the ideas they have received, cherished, and maintained.
Perhaps there is not one human being in a hundred who is capable of making
a mental record of a new impression, simply, freely, exactly, with the
accuracy of a photographic camera. Absolute independence of judgment is a
rare thing among men.

A single fact accurately observed, even if it should contradict all
science, is worth more than all the hypotheses.

But only the independent minds, free from the classic leading-strings
which tie the dogmatists to their chairs, dare to study extra-scientific
facts or consider them possible.

I am acquainted with erudite men of genius, members of the Academy of
Sciences, professors at the university, masters in our great schools, who
reason in the following way: "Such and such phenomena are impossible
because they are in contradiction with the actual state of science. We
should only admit what we can explain."

They call that scientific reasoning!

Examples.--Frauenhofer discovers that the solar spectrum is crossed by
dark lines. These dark lines could not be explained in his time. Therefore
we ought not to believe in them.

Newton discovers that the stars move _as if_ they were governed by an
attractive force. This attraction could not be explained in his time. Nor
is it explained to-day. Newton himself takes the pains to declare that he
does not wish to explain it by an hypothesis. "_Hypotheses non fingo_" ("I
do not make hypotheses"). So, after the reasoning of our pseudo-logicians,
we ought not to admit universal gravitation. Oxygen combined with hydrogen
forms water. How? We don't know. Hence we ought not to admit the fact.

Stones sometimes fall from the sky. The Academy of Sciences of the
eighteenth century, not being able to divine where they came from, simply
denied the fact, which had been observed for thousands of years. They
denied also that fish and toads can fall from the clouds, because it had
not then been observed that waterspouts draw them up by suction and
transport them from one place to another. A medium places his hand upon a
table and seems actually to transmit to it independent life. It is
inexplicable, therefore it is false. Yet that is the predominant method of
reasoning of a great number of scholars. They are only willing to admit
what is known and explained. They declared that locomotives would not be
able to move, or, if they did succeed, railways would introduce no change
in social relations; that the transatlantic telegraph would never transmit
a despatch; that vaccine would not render immune; and at one time they
stoutly maintained (this was long ago) that the earth does not revolve.
It seems that they even condemned Galileo. _Everything_ has been denied.

Apropos of facts somewhat similar to those we are here studying,--I mean
the stigmata of Louise Lateau,--a very famous German scholar, Professor
Virchow, closed his report to the Berlin Academy with this dilemma: _Fraud
or Miracle_. This conclusion acquired a classic vogue. But it was an
error, for it is now known that stigmata are due neither to fraud nor

Another rather common objection is presented by certain persons apparently
scientific. Confounding experience with observation, they imagine that a
natural phenomenon, in order to be real, ought to be able to be produced
at will, as in a laboratory. After this manner of looking at things, an
eclipse of the sun would not be a real thing, nor a stroke of lightning
which sets fire to a house, nor an aërolite that falls from the sky. An
earthquake, a volcanic eruption, are phenomena of observation, not of
experiment. But they none the less exist, often to the great damage of the
human race. Now, in the order of facts that we are studying here, we can
almost never experiment, but only observe, and this reduces considerably
the range of the field of study. And, even when we do experiment, the
phenomena are not produced at will: certain elements, several of which we
have not yet been able to get hold of, intervene to cross, modify, and
thwart them, so that for the most part we can only play the rôle of
observers. The difference is analogous to that which separates chemistry
from astronomy. In chemistry we experiment: in astronomy we observe. But
this does not hinder astronomy from being the most exact of the sciences.

Mediumistic phenomena that come directly under the observation, notably
those I have described some pages back, have for me the stamp of absolute
certainty and incontestability, and amply suffice to prove that unknown
physical forces exist outside of the ordinary and established domain of
natural philosophy. As a principle, moreover, this is an unimpeachable

I could adduce still other instances, for example the following:

7. During séance experiments, phantoms often appear,--hands, arms, a head,
a bust, an entire human figure. I was a witness of this thing, especially
on July 27, 1897, at Montfort-l'Amaury (see Chapter III). M. de Fontenay
having declared that he perceived an image or spirit over the table,
between himself and me (we were sitting face to face, keeping watch over
Eusapia, he holding one of her hands, and I the other), and I seeing
nothing at all, I asked him to change places with me. And then I, too,
perceived this spirit-shadow, the head of a bearded man, rather vaguely
outlined, which was moving like a silhouette, advancing and retiring in
front of a red lantern placed on a piece of furniture. I had not been able
to see at first from where I sat, because the lantern was then behind me,
and the spectral appearance was formed between M. de Fontenay and me. As
this dark silhouette remained rather vague, I asked if I could not touch
its beard. The medium replied, "Stretch out your hand." I then felt upon
the back of my hand the brushing of a very soft beard.

This case did not have for me the same _absolute certainty_ as the
preceding. There are degrees in the feeling of security we have in
observations. In astronomy, even, there are stars at the limit of
visibility. And yet in the opinion of all the participators in the séance
there was no trick. Besides, on another occasion, at my own home, I saw
another figure, that of a young girl, as the reader will see in the third

8. That same day, at Montfort, in the course of the conversation, some one
recalled the circumstance that the "spirits" have sometimes impressed on
paraffin or putty or clay the print of their head or of their hands,--a
thing that seems in the last degree absurd. But we bought some putty at a
glazier's and fixed up in a wooden box a perfectly soft cake. At the end
of the séance there was the imprint of a head, of a face, in this putty.
In this case, no more than in the other, am I _absolutely certain_ there
was no trickery. We will speak of it farther on.

Other manifestations will be noted in subsequent pages of this book.
Stopping right here, for the present, at the special point of view of the
proved existence of unknown forces, I will confine myself to the six
preceding cases, regarding them as incontestable, in the judgment of any
man of good faith or of any observer. If I have considered these
particular cases so early in the work, it is in response to readers of my
works who have been begging me for a long time to give my _personal_

The simplest of these manifestations--that of raps, for example--is not a
negligible asset. There is no doubt that it is one or another of the
experimenters, or their dynamic resultant, that raps in the table without
knowing how. So, even if it should be a psychic entity unknown to the
mediums, it evidently makes use of them, of their physiological
properties. Such a fact is not without scientific interest. The denials of
scepticism prove nothing, unless it be that the deniers themselves have
not observed the phenomena.

I have no other aim in this first chapter than to give a preliminary
summary of the observed facts.

I do not desire to put forth in these first pages any explanatory
hypothesis. My readers will themselves form an opinion from the narratives
that follow, and the last chapter of the volume will be devoted to
theories. Yet I believe it will be useful to call attention at once to
the fact that matter is not, in reality, what it appears to be to our
vulgar senses,--to our sense of touch, to our vision,--but that it is
identical with energy, and is only a manifestation of the movement of
invisible and imponderable elements. The universe is a dynamism. Matter is
only an appearance. It will be useful for the reader to bear this truth in
mind, as it will help him to comprehend the studies we are about to make.

The mysterious forces we are here studying are themselves manifestations
of the universal dynamism with which our five senses put us very
imperfectly into relation.

These things belong to the psychical order as well as to the physical.
They prove that we are living in the midst of an unexplored world, in
which the psychic forces play a rôle as yet very imperfectly studied.

We have here a situation analogous to that in which Christopher Columbus
found himself on the evening of the day when he perceived the first hints
of land in the New World. We are pushing our prow through an absolutely
unknown sea.



One day in the month of November, 1861, under the Galeries de l'Odéon,[6]
I spied a book, the title of which struck me,--_Le Livre des Esprits_
("The Book of Spirits"), by Allan Kardec. I bought it and read it with
avidity, several chapters seeming to me to agree with the scientific bases
of the book I was then writing, _The Plurality of Inhabited Worlds_. I
hunted up the author, who proposed that I should enter, as a free
associated member, the Parisian Society for Spiritualistic Studies, which
he had founded, and of which he was president. I accepted, and by chance
have just found the green ticket signed by him on the fifteenth day of
November, 1861. This is the date of my début in psychic studies. I was
then nineteen, and for three years had been an astronomical pupil at the
Paris Observatory. At this time I was putting the last touches to the book
I just mentioned, the first edition of which was published some months
afterwards by the printer-publisher of the Observatory.

The members came together every Friday evening in the assembly room of the
society, in the little passageway of Sainte Anne, which was placed under
the protection of Saint Louis. The president opened the séance by an
"invocation to the good spirits." It was admitted, as a principle, that
invisible spirits were present there and revealed themselves. After this
invocation a certain number of persons, seated at a large table, were
besought to abandon themselves to their inspiration and to write. They
were called "writing mediums." Their dissertations were afterwards read
before an attentive audience. There were no physical experiments of
table-turning, or tables moving or speaking. The president, Allan Kardec,
said he attached no value to such things. It seemed to him that the
instructions communicated by the spirits ought to form the basis of a new
doctrine, of a sort of religion.

At the same period, but several years earlier, my illustrious friend
Victorien Sardou, who had been an occasional frequenter of the
Observatory, had written, as a medium, some curious pages on the
inhabitants of the planet Jupiter, and had produced picturesque and
surprising designs, having as their aim to represent men and things as
they appeared in this giant of worlds. He designed the dwellings of people
in Jupiter. One of his sketches showed us the house of Mozart, others the
houses of Zoroaster and of Bernard Palissy, who were country neighbors in
one of the landscapes of this immense planet. The dwellings are ethereal
and of an exquisite lightness. They may be judged of by the two figures
here reproduced (Pl. II and III). The first represents a residence of
Zoroaster, the second "the animals' quarters" belonging to the same. On
the grounds are flowers, hammocks, swings, flying creatures, and, below,
intelligent animals playing a special kind of ninepins where the fun is
not to knock down the pins, but to put a cap on them, as in the cup and
ball toy, etc.

These curious drawings prove indubitably that the signature "Bernard
Palissy, of Jupiter," is apocryphal and that the hand of Victorien Sardou
was not directed by a spirit from that planet. Nor was it the gifted
author himself who planned these sketches and executed them in accordance
with a definite plan. They were made while he was in the condition of
mediumship. A person is not magnetized, nor hypnotized, nor put to sleep
in any way while in that state. But the brain is not ignorant of what is
taking place: its cells perform their functions, and act (doubtless by a
reflex movement) upon the motor nerves. At that time we all thought
Jupiter was inhabited by a superior race of beings. The spiritistic
communications were the reflex of the general ideas in the air. To-day,
with our present knowledge of the planets, we should not imagine anything
of the kind about that globe. And, moreover, spiritualistic séances have
never taught us anything upon the subject of astronomy. Such results as
were attained fail utterly to prove the intervention of spirits. Have the
writing mediums given any more convincing proofs of it than these? This is
what we shall have to examine in as impartial a way as we can.

I myself tried to see if I, too, could not write. By collecting and
concentrating my powers and allowing my hand to be passive and
unresistant, I soon found that, after it had traced certain dashes, and
_o_'s, and sinuous lines more or less interlaced, very much as a
four-year-old child learning to write might do, it finally did actually
write words and phrases.

In these meetings of the Parisian Society for Spiritualistic Studies, I
wrote for my part, some pages on astronomical subjects signed "Galileo."
The communications remained in the possession of the society, and in 1867
Allan Kardec published them under the head _General Uranography_, in his
work entitled _Genesis_. (I have preserved one of the first copies, with
his dedication.) These astronomical pages taught me nothing. So I was not
slow in concluding that they were only the echo of what I already knew,
and that Galileo had no hand in them. When I wrote the pages, I was
in a kind of waking dream. Besides, my hand stopped writing when I began
to think of other subjects.



I may quote here what I said on this subject in my work, _The Worlds of
Space_ (_Les Terres du Ciel_), in the edition of 1884, p. 181:--

    The writing medium is not put to sleep, nor is he magnetized or
    hypnotized in any way. One is simply received into a circle of
    determinate ideas. The brain acts (by the mediation of the nervous
    system) a little differently from what it does in its normal state.
    The difference is not so great as one might suppose. The chief
    difference may be described as follows:

    In the normal state we think of what we are going to write _before_
    the act of writing begins. There is a direct action of the will in
    causing the pen, the hand, and the fore-arm to move over the paper. In
    the abnormal state, on the other hand, we do not think before writing;
    we do not move the hand, but let it remain inert, passive, free; we
    place it upon the paper, taking care merely that it shall meet with
    the least possible resistance; we think of a word, a figure, a stroke
    of the pen, and the hand of its own volition begins to write. But the
    writing medium must _think_ of what he is doing, not beforehand, but
    continuously; otherwise the hand stops. For example, try to write the
    word "ocean," not _voluntarily_ (the ordinary way), but by simply
    taking a lead-pencil, and letting the hand rest lightly and freely
    upon the paper, while you think of your word and observe carefully
    whether the hand will write. Very good; it does begin to move over the
    paper, writing first an _o_, then a _c_, and the rest. At least that
    was my experience when I was studying the new problems of spiritualism
    and magnetism.

    I have always thought that the circle of science is not a closed one,
    and that there are many things for us still to learn. In the
    mediumistic writing experiments it is very easy to deceive ourselves
    and to believe that the hand is under the influence of another mind
    than our own. The most probable conclusion regarding these experiences
    has been that the theory of the action of foreign spirits is not
    necessary for the explanation of such phenomena. But this is not the
    place to enter into details upon a subject which, up to the present
    time, has been only slightly examined by scientific criticism, having
    more often been exploited by speculators than studied by scientists.

So I wrote in 1884; and I will indorse every word I then wrote, just as it

In these first experiences with Spiritualists, of which I have just been
speaking, I soon had the entrée of the chief Parisian circles devoted to
these matters, and for a couple of years I even took the position of
honorary secretary of one of them. A natural or necessary result of this
was that I did not miss a single séance.

Three different methods were employed to receive communications: (1)
writing with the hand; (2) the use of the planchette to which a
lead-pencil was attached, and on which the hands were placed; and (3)
table-rapping (or table-moving), operated by the alphabetic code, these
raps or the movements of the table marking the desired letter as the
alphabet was read aloud by one of those present.

The first of these methods was the only one employed at the Society for
Spiritualistic Studies, of which Allan Kardec was president. It was the
one which permitted the margin for the most doubt. In fact, at the end of
two years of investigations of this kind, which I had varied as much as
possible, and which I had entered upon without any preconceived idea for
or against, and with the most ardent desire to arrive at the truth, I came
to the positive conclusion that not only are the signatures of these
papers not authentic, but that the intervention of another mind from the
spirit world is not proved at all, the fact being that we ourselves are
the more or less conscious authors of the communications by some cerebral
process which yet remains to be investigated. The explanation is not so
simple as it seems, and there are certain reservations to be made in the
general statement above.

When writing in the exalted and abnormal state of mind of the medium, we
do not, as I have just said, form our phrases as in the normal condition;
rather we wait for them to be produced. But all the same our own mind
mingles in the process. The subject treated follows the lines of our own
customary thoughts; the language employed is our native tongue, and, if we
are uncertain about the spelling of certain words, errors will appear.
Furthermore, so intimately are our own mental processes mingled with what
is being written that, if we allow our thoughts to wander to another
topic, the hand either stops writing or produces incoherent words and
scrawls. This is the mental state of the writing medium,--at least that
which I have observed in myself. It is a kind of auto-suggestion. I hasten
to add, however, that this opinion only binds me to the extent of my own
personal experiences. I am assured that there are mediums who act in an
absolutely mechanical way, knowing nothing of the nature of what they are
writing (see further on, pp. 58, 59), who treat subjects of which they are
ignorant, and also even write in foreign languages. Such cases would be
different from that of which I have just been speaking, and would indicate
either a special cerebral state or great keenness of intellect, or a
source of ideas exterior to the medium; _i.e._, if it were once proved
that our mind cannot divine that of which it is ignorant. But now the
transference of thought from one brain to another, from one mind to
another, is a fact proved by telepathy. We could conceive, then, that a
medium might write under the influence of some one near by--or even at a
distance. Several mediums have also composed (in successive séances)
genuine romances, such as The _History of Joan of Arc, Written by
Herself_, or certain voyages to other planets,--seeming to indicate that
there is a kind of doubling of the personality of the subject, a secondary
personality. But there is no authentication of this. There is also a
psychic _milieu_, of which I shall speak farther on. At present I must
concern myself only with the subject of this chapter, and say with Newton,
"_Hypotheses non fingo_."

Allan Kardec died on the 30th of March, 1869, and, when the Society of
Spiritualists came to ask me to deliver a funeral oration at his tomb, I
took occasion, during this discourse, to direct the attention of the
Spiritualists to the scientific character of investigations of this class
and to the manifest danger of allowing ourselves to be drawn into

I will reproduce at this point a few paragraphs taken from this address:

    I wish I could impress upon you who hear me, as well as upon the
    millions of men throughout Europe and in the New World who are
    studying the still mysterious problem of spiritualism, what a deep
    scientific interest and what a philosophic future there is in the
    study of these phenomena, to which, as you know, many of our most
    eminent living scholars have given their time and attention. I wish I
    could present to your imagination and theirs the new and vast horizons
    we shall see opening up before us in proportion as we broaden our
    scientific knowledge of the forces of nature at work around us; and I
    would that I could show both you and them that such conquests of the
    mind are the most efficacious antidote to the leprosy of atheism which
    seems to be particularly the malignant degenerative element in this
    our epoch of transition.

    What a salutary thing it would be could I but prove here, before this
    eloquent tomb, that the methodical examination of the phenomena
    erroneously called supernatural, far from calling back the spirit of
    superstition, and weakening the energy of the reason, serves, on the
    contrary, to banish the errors and illusions of ignorance, and assists
    the progress of truth much more than do the irrational negations of
    those who will not take the trouble to look at the facts.

    It is high time now that this complex subject of study should enter
    upon its scientific period. Enough stress has not been laid upon the
    physical side of the subject, which should be critically studied; for
    without rigid scientific experiment no proof is valid. This objective
    _a priori_ method of investigation, to which we owe the glory of
    modern progress and the marvels of electricity and steam, should take
    up the still unexplained and mysterious phenomena with which we are
    acquainted, to dissect them, measure them, and to define them.

    For, gentlemen, _spiritualism is not a religion, but a science_, a
    science of which we as yet scarcely know the _a, b, c_. The age of
    dogma is past. Nature includes the Universe; and God himself, who was
    in old times conceived of as a being of similar shape and form as man,
    cannot be considered by modern metaphysics as other than _Mind in

    The supernatural does not exist. The manifestations obtained by the
    agency of mediums, such as those of magnetism and somnambulism, belong
    to the order of nature and ought to be inexorably submitted to the
    test of experiment. There are no more miracles. We are witnessing the
    dawning of a new science. Who is there so bold as to predict whither
    the scientific study of the new psychology will lead, and what the
    results will be?

    The limitations of human vision are such that the eye only sees things
    between narrow bounds, and beyond these limits, on this side and on
    that, it sees nothing. The body may be compared to a harp of two
    chords,--the optic nerve and the auditory nerve. One kind of
    vibrations excites the first and another kind the second. That is the
    whole story of human sensation, which is even inferior to that of many
    of the lower animals; certain insects, for example, in whom the nerves
    of vision and of hearing are more delicate than in man.

    Now there are in nature, not two, but ten, a hundred, a thousand kinds
    of movement or vibration. We learn, then, from physical science, that
    we are living in the midst of a world invisible to us, and that it is
    not impossible that there may be living upon the earth a class of
    beings, also invisible to us, endowed with a wholly different kind of
    senses, so that there is no way by which they can make themselves
    known to us, unless they can manifest themselves in acts and ways that
    can come within the range of our own order of sensations.

    In the presence of such truths as these, which have as yet only been
    barely announced, how absurd and worthless seems mere blind denial!
    When we compare the little that we know and the narrow limits of our
    range of perception with the vast extent of the field of knowledge, we
    can scarcely refrain from the conclusion that we know nothing and that
    everything yet remains to be known. With what right do we pronounce
    the word "impossible" in the presence of facts which we prove to be
    genuine without yet being able to discover their causes?

    It is by the scientific study of effects that we arrive at the
    determination of causes. In the class of investigations which we group
    under the general head "Spiritualism," FACTS EXIST. But no one
    understands the method of their production. Their existence,
    nevertheless, is just as true as the phenomena of electricity.

    But, as for understanding them--why, gentlemen, nobody understands
    biology, physiology, psychology. What is the human body? What is the
    brain? What is the absolute action of the soul or mind? We do not
    know. And, neither do we know anything whatever of the essence of
    electricity or the essence of light. It is prudent, then, to observe
    with unbiased judgment all such matters as these, and to try to
    determine their causes, which are perhaps of different kinds and more
    numerous than has ever been supposed up to the present time.[7]

It will be seen that what I publicly uttered as I stood on the hillock
above the grave into which Allan Kardec's coffin had just been lowered
differs not at all from the purely scientific program of the present work.

I have just said that there were three methods employed in our spiritistic
experiments. I have given my opinion of the first (writing mediums),
basing it on my personal observations, and without desiring to weaken
other proofs, if there are any. As to the second (planchette), I became
familiar with it more especially by the séances of Mme. de Girardin, at
the home of Victor Hugo in the Isle of Jersey. It works more independently
than the first method; but it is still only a prolongation, as it were, of
the hand and the brain. The third method--table-rapping, or typtology; I
mean taps in the table--seems to me still more emphatically an extension
of the hand and brain, and some forty-five years ago I often made use of
this form of experiment.

Rappings made on the floor by one foot of the table, as letters are
spelled out, have no special value. The least pressure can produce these
see-saw movements. The chief experimenter himself makes the responses,
sometimes without suspecting it.

Several persons group themselves about a table, place their hands upon it,
and wait for something to happen. At the end of five, ten, fifteen, twenty
minutes, the time depending on the psychic atmosphere[8] and the faculties
of the experimenters, raps are heard in the table, or the sitters help in
the movements of the table, which seems possessed. Why choose a table?
Because it is the only article of furniture around which folks usually
sit. Sometimes the table is lifted on one or more of its feet and is
gently rocked to and fro. Sometimes it comes up as if glued to the hands
placed on it, remaining suspended in the air two, three, five, ten,
twenty seconds. Again, it is nailed to the floor with such force that it
seems to have double or triple its usual weight. At other times, and
usually on demand, it gives forth the sound of a saw, of a hatchet, of a
lead-pencil writing, etc. We have here material results coming under
direct observation, and they prove irrefragably the existence of an
unknown force.

This force is a material force in the psychic class. If we confined our
attention to blind senseless movements of one kind or another, in relation
only with the volitions of the experimenters, and not capable of being
explained by the mere imposition of their hands, we might see proof of the
existence of a new unknown force, explicable as a transformation of
nervous force, of organic electricity; and that would be much in itself.
But the raps made in the table, or by the feet of it, are made in reply to
questions asked. Since we know the table is only a piece of wood, when we
ask it questions, we are really addressing some mental agent who hears and
replies. It was in this class of phenomena that modern Spiritualism took
its rise; namely, in the United States, in 1848, when the Fox sisters
heard sounds in their chamber,--raps in the walls and in the furniture.
Their father, after several months of vexatious investigation, finally had
recourse to the traditional theory of ghosts, and, addressing his
questions to the wall, demanded some kind of an explanation from the
invisible _thing_ therein. This thing responded by conventional taps to
the questions asked, and declared that it was the spirit of the former
proprietor once assassinated in this his very home. The spirit asked for
prayers and the burial of its body. (From this time on the replies were so
arranged that one rap in response to a question signified _yes_, two meant
_no_ while three meant an emphatic _yes_.)

I hasten to remark at once that the tapped replies prove nothing, and
could have been made unconsciously by the Fox sisters themselves, whom we
can not consider to have been playing a little comedy since the raps
produced by them in the walls astounded and overwhelmed them more, indeed,
than they did any one else. The hypothesis of jugglery and mystification,
dear to certain critics, has not the least application to this case,
although I admit that rappings and movements are often produced as
practical jokes by waggish persons.

There is, of course, an unseen cause that originates these rappings. Is it
within us or outside of us? Is it possible that we might be capable of
doubling our personality in some way without knowing it, of acting by
mental suggestion, of answering our own questions without suspecting it,
of producing material results without being conscious of it? Or does there
exist, around and about us, an intelligent medium or atmosphere, a kind of
spiritual cosmos? Or, again, is it possible that we are surrounded by
invisible non-human beings,--gnomes, spirits, and hobgoblins (there may be
an unknown world about us)? Or, finally, is it possible that the spirits
of the dead may survive, and wander to and fro, and hold communication
with us? All these hypotheses present themselves to our minds, nor have we
the scientific absolute right to reject any one of them.

The lifting of a table, the displacement of an object, may be attributed
to an unknown force developed by our nervous system or otherwise. At least
these movements do not prove the existence of a mind extraneous to that of
the subject. But when some one is naming the letters of the alphabet or
pointing them out on a sheet of pasteboard, and the table, either by raps
in the wood or by levitations, puts together an intelligible sentence, we
are forced to attribute this intelligent effect to an intelligent cause.
This cause may be the medium himself; and the simplest way is, evidently,
to suppose that he himself raps out the letters. But experiments can be
arranged in such a way that he cannot possibly do this, even
unconsciously. Our first duty is, in reality, to make fraud impossible.

Those who have sufficiently studied the subject know that fraud does not
explain what they have observed. To be sure, in fashionable Spiritualistic
soirées people sometimes amuse themselves. Especially when the séances
take place in the dark, and the alternation of the sexes is provided for
so as to "reinforce the fluids," it is not altogether an unheard of thing
for the gentlemen to profit by the temptation to temporarily forget the
object of the meeting and break the established chain of hands in order to
begin another on their own account. The ladies and the young girls like
these changes in the program, and scarcely a complaint is heard. On the
other hand, apart from fashionable soirées, to which everybody is invited
for their amusement, the more serious reunions are frequently no safer;
for the medium, who is, in one way or another, an interested person, is
anxious to give the most he can--and something to boot.

Upon the leaf of an old note-book of mine which has just turned up, I
classed Spiritualistic soirées in the following order, which is doubtless
a slightly original one:--

1. Amorous caresses. (A similar reproach was made against the ancient
Christian love-feasts or _agapes_.)

2. Charlatanry of mediums, abusing the credulity of the sitters.

3. _Some_ serious inquirers.

At the time of which I was just now speaking (1861-63) I took part, as
secretary, in experiments conducted regularly once a week, in the salon of
a well-known medium,--Mlle. Huet, of Mont-Thabor Street. Mediumship was,
in a way, her trade, and she had more than once been flagrantly detected
in some most remarkable trickery. Accordingly, it may be imagined that
she would quite often give the raps herself by hitting the table-legs with
her feet. But quite often we also obtained noises of sawing, of planing,
of drum-beating, and torrents of rain, which it would have been impossible
for her to imitate. Neither could the holding fast of the table to the
floor be the work of fraud. As to the levitations of the table, I said
awhile ago that, when one of us showed an inclination to resist with his
hand the upward movement, he received an impression as if the table were
floating on a fluid. Now it is hard to see how the medium could produce
this result. Everything took place in broad daylight.

The communications received at the very many séances (several hundred) at
which I have been present, both at that time and since, have always shown
me that the results were in direct ratio with the cultivation of mind of
the participants. I naturally asked a great many questions on astronomy.
The replies never taught us anything new whatever; and, to be perfectly
loyal to the truth, I must say that if, in these experiments, there are
spirits, or beings independent of us in action, they know no more than we
do about the other worlds.

A distinguished poet, P. F. Mathieu, was usually present at the reunions
at the Mont-Thabor salon, and hence we sometimes obtained very pretty bits
of verse, which I am sure he did not himself consciously produce; for,
like all of us, he was there to learn. M. Joubert, vice-president of the
civil tribunal of Carcassonne, has published a work, entitled _Various
Fables and Poems, by a Spirit-rapper_, which bears on its face evidence
that it is but the reflex of his customary thoughts. We had Christian
philosophers with us at our reunions. Accordingly, the table dictated to
us fine thoughts signed "Pascal," "Fénelon," "Vincent de Paul," and
"Sainte Thérèse." One spirit, who signed himself "Balthasar Grimod de la
Reynière," dictated funny dissertations on the art of cooking. His
specialty was to make the heavy table dance about in all kinds of
contortions. Rabelais sometimes appeared, still loving the perfumes of
savory viands as of old. Some of the spirits took pleasure in making
_tours de force_ in cryptology (secret writing). The following are
specimens of these table-rapping communications. The first is from the
vulgate version of the Bible, the Gospel of John iii. 8:

    "Spiritus ubi vult spirat; et vocem ejus audis, sed nescis unde veniat
    aut quo vadat. Sic est omnis qui natus est ex spiritu." ("The wind
    bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but
    canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth. So is every one
    that is born of the Spirit.")

    "Dear little sister, I am here, and see that you are as good as ever.
    You are a medium. I will go to you with great happiness. Tell my
    mother her dear daughter loves her from this world.[9]


Some one asked one of the spirits if he could indicate by taps the words
engraved inside of her ring. The response was:

    "I love that one should love me as I love when I love."

A member of the company suspected that the table around which we were
sitting might conceal a piece of mechanism for producing the raps.
Accordingly, one of the sentences was dictated by raps made _in the air_.

Here is another series:

    "Je suis ung ioyeux compaignon qui vous esmarveilleray avecques mes
    discours, je ne suis pas ung Esperict matéologien, je vestiray non
    liripipion et je diray: Beuvez l'eaue de la cave, poy plus, poy moins,
    serez content.


    ("I am a jollie blade who will astonie you by my speech. I am not a
    vaine-babbling sperit. I will wear my graduate's hood and saie: Drinke
    ye water of ye cellar [wine],--no more, no less. Be content.


A rather lively discussion arose upon the subject of this unexpected
visit,--and of the language, which some erudite persons present thought
not to be pure Rabelaisian. Whereupon the table rapped:

    "Bons enfants estes de vous esgousiller à ceste besterie. Mieux vault
    que beuviez froid que parliez chaud."


    ("Ye're regular babies to bawle yourselves hoarse over this selynesse.
    It is bettaire to drinke cauld than to speak warme.)

    "Liesse et Noël! Monsieur Satan est défun, et de mâle mort. Bien
    marrys sont les moynes, moynillons, bigotz et cagotz, carmes chaulx et
    déchaulx, papelards et frocards, mitrez et encapuchonnez: les vécy
    sans couraige, les Esperictz les ont destrosnez. Plus ne serez roustiz
    et eschaubouillez ez marmites monachales et roustissoires diaboliques;
    foin de ces billevesées papales et cléricquales. Dieu est bon, iuste
    et plein de misérichorde; it dict à ses petits enfancts: aimez-vous
    les ungs les autres et it pardoint à la repentance. Le grand dyable
    d'enfer est mort; vive Dieu!"

    ("Hurrah for a merry life! Maister Satan is dead, dead as a door-nail.
    The monks and the poor-devil friars are married,--bigots and fanatics,
    Carmelites shod and unshod, the hypocrites and the cowled fellows,
    the mitres and the hoods. There they stand trembling in their tracks;
    the Spirits have dethroned them. Gone are the roastings and
    soup-makings in the Devil's Dutch ovens and in monastic kettles. A
    plague of these trashy tales of pope and priest! God is good, just,
    and full of pity. He says to his little children, 'Love one another';
    and he pardons the repentant. The great devil in hell is dead. Hurrah
    for God!")

Here is still another series:

    "Suov ruop erètsym nu sruojuot tnores emêm srueisulp; erdnerpmoc ed
    simrep erocne sap tse suov en li uq snoitseuq sed ridnoforppa ruop
    tirpse'l sap retnemruot suov en. Liesnoc nob nu zevius."

    "Suov imrap engèr en edrocsid ed tirpse'l siamaj euq."

    "Arevèlé suov ueid te serèrf sov imrap sreinred sel zeyos; évelé ares
    essiaba's iuq iulec éssiaba ares evèlé's iuq iulec."

These sentences must be read backwards, beginning at the end. Some one
asked, "Why have you dictated thus?" The reply was:

    "In order to give you new and unexpected proofs."

Read backwards, these Russian-like sentences are as follows:

    "Celui qui s'élève sera abaissé, celui qui s'abaisse sera élevé; soyez
    les derniers parmi vos frères et Dieu vous élèvera."

    "Que jamais l'esprit de discorde ne règne parmi vous."

    "Suivez un bon conseil. Ne vous tourmenter pas l'esprit pour
    approfondir des questions qu'il ne vous est pas encore permis de
    comprendre; plusieurs même seront toujours un mystère pour vous."

    ("Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth
    himself shall be exalted! Be the least among your brethren, and God
    will exalt you."

    "Never let the spirit of discord reign among you."

    "Follow good counsel. Do not torment your mind in attempting to fathom
    questions that it is not yet permitted you to comprehend: several of
    these will always be a mystery to you.")

Here is another of a different kind:



I asked the meaning of this bizarre and portentous conglomeration of
letters. The reply was:

    "To conquer your doubts, read by skipping every other letter."

This arrangement using the skipped letters in their turn for the second
and fourth lines gives the four following verses:

    "Amis, nous vous aimons bien tous,
    Car vous êtes bons et fidèles.
    Soyez unis en Dieu: sur vous
    L'Esprit-Saint étendra ses ailes."

    ("Friends, we love you all,
    For you are good and faithful.
    Be united in God: over you
    The Holy Spirit will spread his wings.")

This is innocent enough, surely and without any great poetic pretensions.
But it must be admitted that this method of dictating is rather

Some one spoke of human plans. The table dictated as follows:[12]

    "When the shining sun scatters the stars, know ye, O mortal men,
    whether ye will see the evening of that day? And, when the sombre
    curtains of night are let fall from the sky, can you tell whether you
    will see the dawn of another morn?"

Another person asked, "What is faith?"

    "Faith? 'Tis a blessed field that breeds a superb harvest, and every
    laborer may therein reap and garner to his heart's content, and carry
    home his sheaves."

Here are three prose dictations:

    "Science is a forest where some are laying out roads, where many lose
    their way, and where all see the bounds of the forest recede as fast
    as they go forward."

    "God does not illuminate the world with the lightning and the meteors.
    He guides peacefully in their courses the stars of the night, which
    fill the sky with their light. So the divine revelations succeed one
    another in order, reason, and harmony."

    "Religion and Friendship are twin companions, who aid us to traverse
    the painful path of life."

I cannot forego the pleasure of inserting here, at the close of this
chapter, a fable, dictated like the others by table-rappings, and sent to
me by M. Joubert, vice-president of the civil tribunal of Carcassonne.[13]
The sentiment of it may be queried by some; but is not the central
principle applicable to all epochs and to all governments: Do not the
"_arrivistes_"[14] belong to all times?


    A king who had profaned the public liberties, who for twenty years had
    slaked his thirst in the blood of heretics; awaiting the quiet peace
    of the hangman in his declining days; decrepit, surfeited with
    adulterous amours; this king, this haughty monster of whom they had
    made a great man,--Louis the Fourteenth, in short, if I must name
    him,--was one day airing under the leafy arches of his vast gardens
    his Scarron, his infamy and his troubles. The noble band of court
    flunkeys came along. Each one at once lost at least six inches of his
    height. Pages, counts, marquises, dukes, princes, marshals, ministers,
    bowed low before insulting rivals, the creatures of the king. Grave
    magistrates made their deep reverences, each humbler than a suitor
    asking for audience. 'Twas pleasant to see how the ribbons, crosses
    and decorations on their embroidered coats went ever backwards. Always
    and always that ignoble bowing and scraping and cringing. I should
    like to wake up some morning an emperor, that I might sting with my
    whip the backbone of a flatterer. But see! alone, confronting the
    despot, yet without abasing his head, forging along with slow steps on
    his own way, modest, clad in coarse homespun garments, comes one who
    seems a peasant, perhaps a philosopher, and passes by the groups of
    insolent courtiers. "Oh," cries the king, in great surprise, "why do
    you alone confront me without bending the knee?" "Sire," said the
    unknown, "must I be frank? It is because I alone here expect nothing
    from you."

If we stop to think how these sentences and phrases and different bits of
literature were produced, letter by letter, rap by rap, following the
alphabet as it was read out, we shall appreciate the difficulty of the
thing. The rappings are made either in the interior of the wood of the
table (the vibrations of which are perceptible) or in some other piece of
furniture, or even in the air. The table, as I have already said, is
alive, pregnant with a kind of momentary vitality. Melodies of well-known
airs, sounds of sawing and of the workshop, and the report of fusillades
can be drawn from it. Sometimes it becomes so light that it floats for a
moment in the air, then so heavy that two men can scarcely lift it from
the floor or budge it in any way. You must have a distinct picture in your
mind of all these manifestations,--often puerile, no doubt, sometimes
vulgar and grotesque, yet striking in their method of operation,--if you
would accurately understand the phenomena, and realize that you are in the
presence of an unknown element which jugglery and prestidigitation cannot

Some folks can move their toes separately and crack the joints. If we
should grant that the dictations, by combinations of letters (quoted
above), were arranged in advance, learned by heart, and thus rapped, the
matter would be simple enough. But this particular faculty is very rare,
and it does not explain the noises in the table, the vibrations of which
are felt by the hands. Again, one could fancy the medium tapping the
table-legs with his foot, and thus constructing such sentences as he
pleases. But it would require a wonderful memory in the medium to enable
him to remember the precise arrangement of letters (for he has no
memorandum before him), and, further, these curious dictations have been
secured just the same in select companies where no one would cheat.

As to the theory that the spirits of eminent men are in communication with
the experimenters the mere statement of the hypothesis shows its
absurdity. Imagine a table-rapper calling up from the vasty deep the
spirits of Paul or Saint Augustine, Archimedes or Newton, Pythagoras or
Copernicus, Leonardo da Vinci or William Herschel, and receiving their
dictations from the interior of a table!

We were speaking, a few pages back, of the séance drawings and
descriptions of Jupiter made by Victorien Sardou. This is the proper place
to insert a letter written by him to M. Jules Claretie, and published by
the latter in _Le Temps_ at the date when that learned Academician was
putting on the boards his drama _Spiritisme_. The letter is here appended:

    ... As to Spiritualism, I could better tell you verbally in three
    words what I think of it than I could write here in three pages. You
    are half right and half wrong. Pardon my freedom of speech. There are
    two things in Spiritualism,--(1) curious facts, inexplicable in the
    present state of our knowledge, and yet authenticated; and (2) the
    folks who explain them.

    The facts are real. Those who explain them belong to three categories:
    there are, first, Spiritualists who are imbecile, ignorant, or mad,
    the chaps who call up Epaminondas and whom you justly make fun of, or
    who believe in the intervention of the devil; those, in short, who end
    in the lunatic asylum in Charenton.

    _Secundo_, there are the charlatans, commencing with D.; impostors of
    all sorts, prophets, consulting mediums, such as A. K., and _tutti

    Finally, there are the scholars and scientists, who think they can
    explain everything by juggleries, hallucination, and unconscious
    movements, men like Chevreul and Faraday, who, while they are right
    about some of the phenomena described to them, and which really are
    jugglery or hallucination, are yet wrong about the whole series of
    original facts, which they will not take the trouble to look at,
    though they are highly important. These men are much to blame; for, by
    their plea-in-bar against earnest investigators (such as Gasparin, for
    example) and by their insufficient explanations, they have left
    Spiritualism to be exploited by charlatans of all kinds, and at the
    same time authorized serious amateurs to no longer waste their time
    over these studies.

    Last of all, there are observers like myself (there are not many of
    us) who are incredulous by nature, but who have been obliged to admit,
    in the long run, that Spiritualism concerns itself with facts which
    defy any _present_ scientific explication, but who do not despair of
    seeing them explained some day, and who therefore apply themselves to
    the study of the facts, and are trying to reduce them to some kind of
    classification which may later prove to be law. We of this persuasion
    hold ourselves aloof from every coterie, from every clique, from all
    the prophets, and, satisfied with the convictions to which we have
    already attained, are content to see in Spiritualism the dawn of a
    truth, as yet very obscure, which will some day find its Ampère, as
    did the magnetic currents, and who grieve to see this truth choked out
    of existence by a dual foe,--excess of credulous ignorance which
    believes everything and excess of incredulous science which believes

    We find in our conviction and our conscience the wherewithal to brave
    the petty martyrdom of ridicule inflicted upon us for the faith we
    profess, a faith exaggerated and caricatured by the mass of follies
    people never fail to attribute to us, nor do we deem that the myth in
    which they dress us up merits even the honor of a refutation.

    Similarly, I have never had any desire to prove to anybody whatever
    that the influence of either Molière or Beaumarchais cannot be
    detected in my plays. It seems to me that that is more than evident.

    Respecting the dwellings of the planet Jupiter, I must ask the good
    folks who suppose that I am convinced of the real existence of these
    things whether they are well persuaded that Gulliver believed in
    "Lilliput,"[15] Campanella in the "City of the Sun," and Sir Thomas
    More in his "Utopia."

    What is true, however, is that the design of which you speak [Pl.
    III.] was made in less than ten hours. As to its origin, I would not
    give a penny to know about that; but the fact of its production is
    another matter

    V. SARDOU.

Scarcely a year passes that mediums do not bring me drawings of plants and
animals in the Moon, in Mars, Venus, Jupiter, or certain of the stars.
These designs are more or less pretty, and more or less curious. But there
is nothing in them that leads us to admit their actual resemblance to
real things in other worlds. On the contrary, everything proves that they
are the products of imagination, essentially terrestrial, both in look and
shape, not even tallying what we know to be the vital possibilities of
those worlds. The designers of them are the dupes of illusion. These
plants and animal are metamorphoses (sometimes elegantly conceived and
drawn) of terrestrial organisms. Perhaps the most curious thing of all is
that they have a family resemblance in the manner of their execution, and
have stamped on them, in some way or other, the mediumistic hall-mark.

To return to my own experiences. When I took the rôle of writing-medium, I
generally produced astronomical or philosophical dissertations signed
"Galileo." I will quote but one of them as a sample. It is taken from my
notebooks of 1862.


    The human intellect holds in its powerful grasp the infinite universe
    of space and time; it has penetrated the inaccessible domain of the
    Past, sounded the mystery of the unfathomable heavens, and believes
    that it has explained the riddle of the universe. The objective world
    has unrolled before the eyes of science its splendid panorama and its
    magnificent wealth of forms. The studies of man have led him to a
    knowledge of truth; he has explored the universe, discovered the
    inexorable reign of law, and the application of the forces that
    sustain all things. If it has not been permitted to him to see the
    First Cause face to face, at least he has attained a true mathematical
    idea of the series of secondary causes.

    In this latest century, above all, the experimental _a priori_ method,
    the only really scientific one, has been put into practice in the
    natural sciences, and by its aid man has freed himself from the
    prejudices of the old school of thought, one by one, and from
    subjective or speculative theories, and confined himself to a careful
    and intelligent study of the field of observation.

    Yes, human science is firmly based and pregnant with possibility,
    worthy of our homage for its difficult and long-proved past, worthy of
    our sympathy for its future, big with the promise of useful and
    profitable discoveries. For nature is henceforth to be a book
    accessible to the bibliographical researches of the studious, a world
    open to the investigations of the thinker, a fertile region which the
    human mind has already visited, and in which we must needs advance
    boldly, holding in our hand experience as our compass....

    An old friend of my terrestrial life recently spoke to me as follows.
    One of our wanderings had brought us back to the Earth, and we were
    making a new moral study of this world. My companion remarked that man
    is to-day familiar with the most abstract laws of mechanics, physics,
    chemistry, ... that the applications of knowledge to industry are not
    less remarkable than the deductions of pure science, and that it seems
    as if the entire universe, wisely studied by man, was to be his royal
    appanage. As we pursued our journey beyond the bounds of this world, I
    answered him in the following terms:

    "A feeble atom, lost to sight in an imperceptible point of the
    infinite, man has believed he could embrace in the sweep of his vision
    the whole expanse of the universe, whereas he can scarcely pass beyond
    the region he inhabits; he has thought he could study the laws of all
    nature, and his investigations have scarcely reached the forces in
    action about him; he has thought he could determine the grandeur of
    the starry heaven, and he exhausted his powers in the study of a grain
    of dust. The field of his researches is so small that, once lost to
    view, the mind seeks in vain to recover it; the human heaven and earth
    are so small that scarcely has the soul in its flight had time to
    spread its wings before it has reached the last regions accessible to
    the observation of man; for the immeasurable Universe surrounds us on
    all sides, unfolding beyond the limits of our heavens its unknown
    riches, putting its inconceivable forces into play, and reaching
    forward into immensity in the splendor of its life.

    "And the mere flesh-worm, the miserable mite, blind and wingless,
    whose wretched existence is passed upon the leaf where it was born,
    would presume (because forsooth it has taken a few steps upon this
    leaf shaken in the wind) to have the right to speak of the immense
    tree to which it belongs, of the forest of which this tree forms a
    part, and to sagely descant upon the nature of the vegetation
    developed thereon, of the beings that inhabit it, of the distant sun
    whose rays bring to it movement and life? In very truth, man is
    strangely presumptuous to desire to measure infinite greatness by the
    foot-rule of his infinite littleness.

    "Therefore be this truth well impressed on his mind,--if the arid
    labors of past ages have acquired for him an elementary knowledge of
    things, if the progress of thought has placed him at the vestibule of
    knowledge, still he has not yet spelled out more than the first page
    of the Book, and, like a child, liable to be deceived by every word,
    far from claiming the right to authoritatively interpret the work, he
    ought to content himself with humbly studying it, page by page, line
    by line. Happy, however, those who are able to do this!"


These were my customary thoughts. They are the thoughts of a student of
nineteen or twenty who has acquired the habit of thinking. There can be no
doubt that they were wholly the product of my own intellect, and that the
illustrious Florentine astronomer had nothing whatever to do with them.
Besides, this would have been a collaboration to the last degree

It has been the same with all the communications of the astronomical
class: they have not led the science forward a single step. Nor has any
obscure, mysterious, or illusive point in history been cleared up by the
spirits. We only write that which we know, and even chance has given us
nothing. Still, certain unexplained thought-transferences are to be
discussed. But they belong to the psychological or human sphere.

In order to reply at once to objections that certain Spiritualists have
sent to me apropos of this result of my observations, I will take as an
example the case of the satellites of Uranus, since it is the chief one
always brought forward as a _proof_ of scientific discoveries imparted by
spirits. Furthermore, I received several years ago from divers sources a
pressing invitation to examine an article by General Drayson, published in
the journal named _Light_, in 1884, under the title of _The Solution of
Scientific Problems by Spirits_, in which it is asserted that the spirits
made known the true orbital movement of the satellites of Uranus. Pressing
engagements had always hindered me from making this examination; but the
case having been recently promulgated in several Spiritualistic works as
decisive, and I being so persistently importuned to discuss it, I believe
it will prove of some use if I now examine the case.

To my great regret there is an error in their communication, and the
spirits have taught us nothing. Here is one instance, wrongly selected as
a demonstration. The Russian writer Aksakof sets it forth in the following
terms (_Animism and Spiritualism_, p. 341):

    The case of which we are about to give an account seems to be of such
    a nature as to settle all objections. It was communicated by
    Major-General A. W. Drayson and published under the title _The
    Solution of Scientific Problems by Spirits_. I append a translation:

    "Having received from M. Georges Stock a letter asking me if I could
    mention, were it only as an instance, that, during the holding of a
    séance, a spirit had solved one of those scientific problems which
    have always embarrassed scientists, I have the honor to communicate to
    you the following circumstance, which I witnessed with my own eyes:

    "In 1781 William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus and its
    satellites. He observed that these satellites, contrary to all the
    other satellites of the solar system, traversed their orbits from east
    to west. Sir John Herschel says in his _Outlines of Astronomy_:

    "'The orbits of these satellites present peculiarities altogether
    unexpected and exceptional, contrary to the general laws which govern
    the other bodies of the solar system. The planes of their orbits are
    almost perpendicular to the ecliptic, making an angle of 70° 58',[16]
    and they travel with a retrograde movement; that is to say, their
    revolution about the centre of their planet takes place from east to
    west in place of following the inverse course.'

    "When Laplace broached his theory that the sun and all the planets
    were formed at the expense of a nebulous matter, these satellites were
    an enigma to him.

    "Admiral Smyth mentions in his _Celestial Cycle_ that the movement of
    these satellites, to the stupefaction of all astronomers, is
    retrograde, contrary to that of all the other bodies observed up to
    that time.

    "All the astronomical works published before 1860 contain the same
    reasoning on the subject of the satellites of Uranus. For my part, I
    did not find any explanation for this peculiarity: to me it was a
    mystery as much as for the writers whom I have cited.

    "In 1858 I had as a guest in my house a lady who was a medium, and we
    arranged daily séances. One evening she said to me that she saw at my
    side a spirit who claimed to have been an astronomer during his life
    on earth.

    "I asked this person if he was wiser at present than when he lived on
    the earth. 'Much wiser,' he said. I had the idea of asking this
    so-called spirit a question the object of which was to test his
    knowledge. 'Can you tell me,' I asked him, 'why the satellites of
    Uranus make their revolution from east to west and not from west to
    east?' I received at once the following reply:

    "'The satellites of Uranus do not move in their orbits from east to
    west: they circle about their planet from west to east, in the same
    way that the moon moves around the earth. The error comes from the
    fact that the south pole of Uranus was turned toward the earth at the
    moment of the discovery of this planet. In the same way that the sun,
    seen from our southern hemisphere, seems to run its daily course from
    right to left and not from left to right, so the satellites of Uranus
    were moving at that time from left to right, though this does not mean
    they were moving in their orbit from east to west.'

    "In reply to another question which I asked, my interlocutor added:
    'As long as the south pole of Uranus was turned toward the earth, in
    relation to a terrestrial observer, the satellites seemed to move from
    left to right, and it was erroneously concluded from this that they
    were going from east to west: this state of things lasted for about
    forty-two years. When the north pole of Uranus is turned toward the
    earth, his satellites run their course from right to left, but, in
    either case, always from the west to the east.'

    "I thereupon asked him how it happened that the error had not been
    detected forty-two years after William Herschel's discovery of Uranus.
    He replied, 'It is because people repeat that which the authorities
    who have preceded them have said. Dazzled by the results obtained by
    their predecessors, they do not take the trouble to think.'"

Such is the "revelation" of a spirit on the system of Uranus, published by
Drayson and presented by Aksakof and other authors as an undeniable proof
of the intervention of a spirit in the solution of this problem.

The following is the result of an impartial discussion of this very
interesting subject. The reasoning of the "spirit" is false. The system of
Uranus is almost perpendicular to the plane of its orbit. It is the direct
opposite of that of the satellites of Jupiter, which turn almost in the
plane of their orbit. The inclination of the plane of the satellites to
the ecliptic is 98°, and the planet ascends almost in the plane of the
ecliptic. This is a fundamental consideration in the picture which we
ought to make to ourselves of the aspect of this system seen from the

Let us, however, adopt for the method of movement of these satellites
around their planet the projection upon the plane of the ecliptic, as has
always been the custom. The author maintains that, "when the north pole of
Uranus is turned toward the earth, his satellites run their course from
right to left, that is to say from west to east"; he indorses the
communication of the spirit to the effect that the astronomers are in
error and that the satellites of Uranus really revolve around their planet
from west to east, in the same way that the moon revolves around the

In order to give ourselves an exact account of the position and of the
method of the movements of this system, let us construct a special
geometrical figure, clear and precise. Let us represent upon a plane the
appearance of the orbit of Uranus and of its satellites seen from the
northern hemisphere of the celestial sphere (Fig. A). The part of the
orbit of the satellites above the plane of the orbit of Uranus has been
drawn with heavy lines and hatching, the lower part in dotted lines only.

It is easily seen by the direction of the arrows that the revolution of
the satellites, projected upon the plane of the orbit, is entirely
retrograde. All dogmatic affirmations to the contrary are absolutely

These satellites turn like the hands of a watch,--from left to right,
looking at the upper part of the circles.

The error of General Drayson's medium comes from the fact that she
maintained that the south pole of Uranus was turned toward us at the date
of its discovery. Now, in 1781, the system of Uranus occupied relatively
to us almost the same situation as in 1862, since the time of its
revolution is eighty-four years. It is evident from the figure that, at
that moment, the planet presented to us the pole most elevated above the
ecliptic; that is, its north pole.

General Drayson allowed himself to be led into error when he adopted
without verification these paradoxical premises. As a matter of fact, if
Uranus had presented to us its south pole in 1781, the movement of the
satellites would have been direct. But the observations of the angle of
position of the orbits at the time of their passage of the nodes gives us
abundant evidence that it was really the north pole which was at that
moment turned toward the sun and the earth,--a fact which renders direct
movement impossible, retrograde movement certain.

[Illustration: Fig. 1--The inclination of the system of Uranus. Aspects
seen from the earth at the four extreme positions.]

For greater clearness, I have placed outside of the orbit, in Fig 1, the
aspect of the system of Uranus seen from the earth at the four principal
epochs of the revolution of this distant planet. It is evident that the
apparent method of the revolution was analogous to that of the hands of a
watch in 1781 and 1862, the opposite in 1818 and 1902. At these dates the
apparent orbits of the satellites are almost circles, while during the
passage of the nodes, in 1798, 1840, and 1882, they are reduced to
straight lines.

Figure 1a completes these data by presenting the aspect of the orbits and
the method of revolution for all the positions of the planet, even down to
our own epoch.

I have desired to completely elucidate this question, which is a little
technical. _To my great regret_, the spirits have taught us nothing, and
this example, to which so much importance is attached, is seen to be an

Aksakof cites, in this same chapter (p. 343), the discovery of the two
satellites of Mars, also made by Drayson through a medium, in 1859; that
is to say, 18 years before their discovery, in 1877. This discovery, not
having been published at the time, remains doubtful. Furthermore, after
Kepler had pointed out its probability, this subject of the two satellites
of Mars was several times discussed, notably by Swift and Voltaire (see my
_Popular Astronomy_, p. 501). This is not, then, to be set down as an
undeniable instance of a discovery made by the spirits.

The immediately foregoing instances are facts actually observed at
Spiritualistic séances. I will not treat them under a generalization
foreign to their proper setting. They do not prove that, in certain
circumstances, thinkers, poets, dreamers, investigators, may not be
inspired by influences emanating from others, from loved ones, from
departed friends. That is another question, a topic quite apart from
experiments which we are giving an account of in this book.

[Illustration: Fig. 1a.--Orbits of the satellites of Uranus as seen from
the earth at different dates since the time of their discovery (1781).]

The same author, otherwise generally very judicious, cites several
examples of foreign tongues spoken by mediums. I have not been able to
verify them, and I am asked not to say here anything but what I am
absolutely sure of.

According to my personal observations, these experiments bring us
constantly into the presence of ourselves, our own minds. I could cite a
thousand examples of this.

One day I received an "aërolite" discovered in a forest in the environs of
Etrepagny (Eure). Mme. J. L., who kindly sent it to me, added that she
consulted a spirit about its origin and that he replied to her that it
came from a star named Golda. Now in the first place there is no star of
this name; and, secondly, this is not an aërolite at all, but a piece of
slag from an old forge. (See Section 662 of my Inquiry of 1899. The first
of these sections, relating to telepathy, have been published in my work
_The Unknown_.)

A lady reader of mine wrote me from Montpellier:

    Your conclusions would perhaps diminish the prestige of Spiritualism
    in the eyes of certain persons. But, as prestige may produce
    superstition, it is well to clear up matters. For my part, that which
    you have observed agrees with what I have myself observed. This is the
    method which I have employed, aided by a friend:

    I took a book and, opening it, retained in my mind the number of the
    right-hand page. Suppose it was 132. I said to the table, which had
    been put in movement by the little manoeuvre ordinarily used, "Does a
    spirit desire to communicate?"


    Question--"Can you see the book which I have just been looking at?"


    "How many numbers are there on the page that I have been looking at?"


    "Indicate the number of hundreds."


    "Indicate the value of the tens."


    "Indicate the value of the units."


    The amounts indicated in these statements are of course 132. It was

    Then, taking the closed book and, without opening it, sliding the
    paper-knife between the pages, I resumed the conversation, and the
    result with this last method was always inexact.

    I frequently repeated this little experience (curious at any rate);
    and, every time, I had exact replies when I knew them, inexact when I
    was ignorant of them. (Section 657 of my Inquiry.)

These examples might be multiplied _ad infinitum_. Everything leads us to
think that it is we who are the actors in these experiments. But it is not
so simple as one might suppose, and there is something else in it as well
as ourselves. Certain unexplained things take place.

In his remarkable work, _Intelligence_, Taine explains Spiritualistic
communications by a sort of unconscious duplication of our mind, as I said

    The more singular a fact is [he writes[18]] the more instructive it
    is. In this respect, Spiritualistic manifestations themselves point
    the way to discoveries by showing us the coexistence at the same
    moment in the same individual of two thoughts, two wills, two distinct
    actions, the one conscious, the other unconscious; the latter he
    attributes to invisible beings. The brain is, then, a theatre on the
    stage of which several pieces are being played at once, upon several
    planes, of which only one is not subliminal. Nothing is more worthy of
    study than this plurality of the _me_. I have seen a person who, while
    speaking or singing, writes, without regard to the paper, consecutive
    sentences and even entire pages, without any knowledge of what she is
    writing. In my eyes her sincerity is perfect. Now she declares that at
    the end of a page she has no idea of what she has written on the
    paper. When she reads it, she is astonished, sometimes alarmed. The
    handwriting is different from her ordinary handwriting. The movement
    of the fingers and of the pencil is stiff and seems automatic. The
    writing always ends with a signature, that of a deceased person, and
    bears the mark of intimate thoughts, of a secret and inner reserve of
    ideas which the author would not like to divulge. Certainly there is
    proof here of a doubling of the _me_, the coexistence of two parallel
    and independent trains of thought, of two centres of action, or, if
    you wish, of two moral persons existing in the same brain, each one
    doing his work, and each one a different work, the one upon the stage
    and the other behind the scenes, the second as complete as the first,
    since, alone and unwitting of the other, it constructs consecutive
    ideas and fashions connected sentences in which the other has no part.

This hypothesis is admissible, in the light of numerous observations of
double consciousness.[19]

It is applicable to a great number of cases, but not in all. It explains
automatic writing. But, as it stands, it is necessary to stretch it
considerably to make it explain the rappings (for who raps?), and it does
not explain at all the levitations of the table, nor the displacement of
objects of which I have spoken in the first chapter, and I do not very
well see how it can even explain phrases rapped out backwards or by the
strange combinations described above. This hypothesis is admitted and
developed in a more unqualified way by Dr. Pierre Janet in his work
_Psychological Automatism_. This author is one of those who have created a
narrow circle of observation and study, and who not only never emerge from
it, but imagine that they have got the whole universe in their circle. In
going over this kind of reasoning, one thinks involuntarily of that old
quarrel of the two round eyes who saw everything round and of the two
square eyes who saw everything square, and of the history of the
Big-endians and of the Little-endians of _Gulliver's Travels_. An
hypothesis is worthy of attention when it explains something. Its value
does not increase by the attempt to generalize it and make it explain
everything: this is to overpass all reasonable limits.

We may admit that the sub-conscious acts of an abnormal personality,
temporarily grafted upon our normal personality, explain the greater part
of mediumistic writing communications. We can see in these also the
evident effects of auto-suggestion. But these psycho-physiological
hypotheses do not explain all observations. There is something else.

We all have a tendency to want to explain everything by the actual state
of our knowledge. In the face of certain circumstances, we say to-day: "It
is suggestion, it is hypnotism, it is this, it is that." Half a century
ago we would not have talked in this way, these theories not having yet
been invented. People will no longer talk in the same way half a century,
a century, hence, for new words will have been invented. But let us not be
put off with words; let us not be in such a hurry.

We must know how to explain in what way our thoughts--conscious,
unconscious, sub-conscious--can strike blows in a table, move it, lift it.
As this question is rather embarrassing, Dr. Pierre Janet treats it as
"secondary personality," and is obliged to have recourse to the movements
of the toes, to the snapping of the muscles of the fibular tendon, to
ventriloquism and the deceptions of unconscious accomplices.[20] This is
not a sufficient explanation.

As a matter of fact, we do not understand how our thought, or that of
another, can cause raps in a table, by which sentences are formed. But we
are obliged to admit it. Let us call it, if you please, "telekinetsis";
but does that get us any farther along?

There has been talk for some years about unconscious facts, about
sub-consciousness, subliminal consciousness, etc. I fear that in these
things also we are putting ourselves off with words which do not explain
things very much.

I intend some day, if the time is given me, to write a special book on
Spiritualism, studied from the theoretic and doctrinal point of view,
which will form a second volume of my work _The Unknown and Psychic
Problems_, and which has been in preparation since the publication of that
work in 1899. Mediumistic communications, dictations received (notably by
Victor Hugo, Mme. de Girardin, Eugène Nus, and the Phalansterians), will
be the subject of special chapters in this volume,--as well as the
problem, otherwise important, of the plurality of existences.

It is not my intention to enlarge in this place upon the aspects of the
general question. That which I restrict myself to establishing in this
book is that there are in us, about us, unknown forces capable of putting
matter in motion, just as our will does. I ought, therefore, to limit
myself to material phenomena. The range of that class of investigations is
already immense, and the "communications" of which I have just spoken are
really outside the limits of this range. But, as this subject and that of
psychological experiments are continually overlapping, it was necessary to
give a summary of it in this place. Let us return for the present to the
material phenomena produced by mediums and to that which I have myself
ascertained in my experiences with Eusapia Paladino, who unites them
nearly all in her own personality and experiences.



In the earlier pages of this volume some of my later experiments with the
Neapolitan medium, Eusapia Paladino, have been described. We shall now
revert to the earlier ones.

My first experimental séance with this remarkable medium took place on the
27th of July, 1897. In response to the invitation of an excellent and
honorable family,--that of Blech,--the name of which has for a long time
been happily associated with modern researches in theosophy, occultism,
and psychological studies, I betook myself to Montfort-l'Amaury, to make
the personal acquaintance of this medium, whose case had already been
studied in several particulars by MM. Lombroso, Charles Richet,
Ochorowicz, Aksakof, Schiaparelli, Myers, Lodge, A. De Rochas, Dariex, J.
Maxwell, Sabatier, De Watteville, and a great number of other scholars and
scientists of high standing. Mme. Paladino's gifts had even been made the
subject of a work by Count de Rochas upon _The Externalization of
Motivity_, as well as of innumerable articles in the special reviews.

The impression that results from the reading of all the official reports
is not altogether satisfactory, and besides leaves us with our curiosity
entirely ungratified. On the other hand, I can say, as I have already had
occasion to remark, that, during the last forty years, almost all the
celebrated mediums have been present at one time or another in my salon in
the avenue l'Observatoire in Paris, and that I have detected them nearly
all in trickery. Not that they always deceive: those who affirm this are
wrong. But, consciously or unconsciously, they bring with them an element
of trouble against which one is obliged to be constantly on guard, and
which places the experimenter in conditions diametrically opposed to those
of scientific observation.

Apropos of Eusapia I had received from my illustrious colleague, M.
Schiaparelli, director of the observatory at Milan, to whom science is
indebted for so many important discoveries, a long letter from which I
will quote a few passages:

    During the autumn of 1892 I was invited by M. Aksakof to be present at
    a certain number of Spiritualistic séances held under his direction
    and care, for the purpose of meeting the medium Eusapia Paladino, of
    Naples. I saw a number of very surprising things, a part of which, to
    tell the truth, could be explained by very ordinary means. But there
    are others the production of which I should not know how to explain by
    the known principles of natural philosophy. I add, without any
    hesitation, that, if it had been possible to entirely exclude all
    suspicion of deceit, one would have had to recognize in these facts
    the beginning of a new science pregnant with consequences of the
    highest importance. But it must be admitted that these experiments
    have been made in a manner little calculated to convince impartial
    judges of their sincerity. Conditions were always imposed that
    hindered the right comprehension of what was really taking place. When
    we proposed modifications in the program suited to give to the
    experiments the stamp of clearness and to furnish evidence that was
    lacking, the medium invariably declared that, if we did so, the
    success of the séance would thereby be made impossible. In fine, we
    did not _experiment_ in the true sense of the word: we were obliged to
    be content with _observing_ that which occurred under the unfavorable
    circumstances imposed by the medium. Even when mere observation was
    pushed a little too far, the phenomena were no longer produced or
    lost their intensity and their marvellous nature. Nothing is more
    offensive than these games of hide-and-seek to which we are obliged to

    All that kind of thing excites distrust. Having passed all my life in
    the study of nature, which is always sincere in its manifestations and
    logical in its processes, it is repugnant to me to turn my thoughts to
    the investigation of a class of truths, which it seems as if a
    malevolent and disloyal power was hiding from us with an obstinacy the
    motive of which we cannot comprehend. In such researches it is not
    sufficient to employ the ordinary methods of natural philosophy, which
    are infallible, but very limited in their action. We must have
    recourse to that other critical method, more subject to error, but
    more audacious and more powerful, of which police officers and
    examining magistrates make use when they are trying to bring out a
    truth in the midst of disagreeing witnesses, a part at least of whom
    have an interest in hiding that truth.

    In accordance with these reflections, I cannot say that I am convinced
    of the reality of the things which are comprised under the ill-chosen
    name of Spiritualism. But neither do I believe in our right to deny
    everything; for, in order to have a good basis for denial, it is not
    sufficient to _suspect_ fraud, it is necessary to _prove it_. These
    experiments, which I have found very unsatisfactory, other
    experimenters of great confidence and of established reputation have
    been able to make in more favorable circumstances. I have not enough
    presumption to oppose a dogmatic and unwarranted denial to proofs in
    which scientists of great critical ability, such as MM. Crookes,
    Wallace, Richet, Oliver Lodge, have found a solid basis of fact and
    one worthy their examination, to such an extent that they have given
    to it years of study. And we should deceive ourselves if we believed
    that men convinced of the truth of Spiritualism are all fanatics.
    During the experiments of 1892 I had the pleasure of knowing some of
    these men. I was obliged to admire their sincere desire to know the
    truth; and I found, in the case of several of them, philosophic ideas
    very sensible and very profound, joined to a moral character
    altogether worthy of esteem.

    That is the reason why it is impossible for me to declare that
    Spiritualism is a ridiculous absurdity. I ought, then, to abstain from
    pronouncing any opinion whatever: my mental state on this subject may
    be defined by the word "agnosticism."

    I have read with much attention all that the late Professor Zöllner
    has written on this subject. His explanation has a purely material
    basis,--that is to say, it is the hypothesis of the objective
    existence of a fourth dimension of space, an existence which cannot be
    comprised within the scope of our intuition, but the possibility of
    which cannot be denied on that ground alone. Once grant the reality of
    the experiments which he describes, and it is evident that his theory
    of these things is the most ingenious and probable that can be
    imagined. According to this theory, mediumistic phenomena would lose
    their mystic or mystifying character and would pass into the domain of
    ordinary physics and of physiology. They would lead to a very
    considerable extension of the sciences, an extension such that their
    author would deserve to be placed side by side with Galileo and
    Newton. Unfortunately, these experiences of Zöllner were made with a
    medium of poor reputation. It is not only the sceptics who doubt the
    good faith of M. Slade: it is the Spiritualists themselves. M.
    Aksakof, whose authority is very great in similar matters, told me
    himself that he had detected him in trickery. You see by this that
    these theories of Zöllner lose any support they might have derived
    from the exact demonstration of experiment, at the same time that they
    remain very beautiful, very ingenious, and quite possible.

    Yes, quite possible in spite of everything; in spite of the lack of
    success that I had when I tried to reproduce them with Eusapia. On the
    day when we shall be enabled to make, with absolute sincerity, _a
    single one_ of these experiments, the matter will have made great
    progress; from the hands of charlatans it will have passed into those
    of physicists and physiologists.

Such is the communication made to me by M. Schiaparelli. I found his
reasoning to be without defect, and it was in a state of mind entirely
analogous to his that I arrived at Monfort-l'Amaury (with all the more
interest because Slade was one of the mediums of whom I was just now

Eusapia Paladino was introduced to me. She is a woman of very ordinary
appearance, a brunette, her figure a little under the medium height. She
was forty-three years old, not at all neurotic, rather stout. She was born
on January 21, 1854, in a village of La Pouille; her mother died while
giving birth to the child; her father was assassinated eight years
afterward, in 1862, by brigands of southern Italy. Eusapia Paladino is her
maiden name. She was married at Naples to a merchant of modest means named
Raphael Delgaiz, a citizen of Naples. She manages the petty business of
the shop, is illiterate, does not know how to either read or write,
understands only a little French. I conversed with her, and soon perceived
that she has no theories and does not burden herself by trying to explain
the phenomena produced by her.

The salon in which we are going to conduct our experiments is a room on
the ground floor, rectangular, measuring twenty feet in length by nineteen
in breadth; there are four windows, an outside entrance door and another
in the vestibule.

Before the sitting, I make sure that the large doors and windows are
closely shut by window-blinds with hooks and by wooden blinds on the
inside. The door of the vestibule is simply locked with a key.

In an angle of the salon, at the left of the large entrance door, two
curtains of a light color have been stretched on a rod, joining in the
middle and forming thus a little cabinet. In this cabinet there is a sofa,
and leaning against this a guitar; on one side is a chair, on which have
been placed a music-box and a bell. In the recess of the window which is
included in the cabinet there is a music-rack, upon which has been placed
a plate containing a well-smoothed cake of glazier's putty, and under
which, on the floor, is a huge tray containing a large smoothed cake of
the same. We have prepared these plaques of putty because the annals of
Spiritualism have often shown the imprint of hands and of heads produced
by the unknown beings whom it is our business in this work to investigate.
The large tray weighs about nine pounds.

Why this dark cabinet? The medium declares it is necessary to the
production of the phenomena "that relate to the condensation of fluids."

I should prefer that there should be nothing of the kind. But the
conditions must be accepted, though we must have an exact understanding
about them. Behind the curtain the stillness of the aërial waves is at its
maximum, the light at its minimum. It is curious, strange, infinitely
regrettable that light prohibits certain effects. Undoubtedly, it would
not be either philosophic or scientific to oppose this condition. It is
possible that the radiations, the forces, which act may be the rays of the
invisible end of the spectrum, I have already had occasion to remark, in
the first chapter, that he who would seek to make photographs without a
dark chamber would cloud over his plate and obtain nothing. The man who
would deny the existence of electricity because he had been unable to
obtain a spark in a damp atmosphere would be in error. He who would not
believe in the existence of stars because we only see them at night would
not be very wise. Modern progress in natural philosophy has taught us that
the radiations that impinge on the retina represent only the smallest
fraction of the totality. We can then admit the existence of forces which
do not act in the full light of day. But, in accepting these conditions,
the essential point is not to be their dupe.

Hence, before the séance, I examined carefully the narrow corner of the
room before which the curtain was stretched, and I found nothing except
the objects mentioned above. Nowhere in the room was there any sign
whatever of concealed mechanism, no electric wires or batteries or
anything of the kind, either on the floor or in the walls. Moreover, the
perfect sincerity of M. and Mme. Blech is beyond all suspicion.

Before the séance, Eusapia was undressed and dressed before Mme. Zelma
Blech. Nothing suspicious was found.

The sitting was begun in full light, and I constantly laid stress upon
obtaining the largest number of phenomena we could in the full light of
day. It was only gradually, according as the "spirit" begged for it, that
the light was turned down. But I obtained the concession that the darkness
should never be absolute. At the last limit, when the light had to be
entirely extinguished, it was replaced by one of the red lanterns used by

The medium sits _before_ the curtain, turning her back to it. A table is
placed before her,--a kitchen table, made of spruce, weighing about
fifteen pounds. I examined this table and found nothing in it suspicious.
It could be moved about in every direction.

I sit at first on the left of Eusapia, then at her right side. I make sure
as far as possible of her hands, her legs, and her feet, by personal
control. Thus, for example, to begin with, in order to be sure that she
should not lift the table either by her hands or her legs, or her feet, I
take her left hand in my left hand, I place my right open hand upon her
knees, and I place my right foot upon her left foot. Facing me, M.
Guillaume de Fontenay, no more disposed than I to be duped, takes charge
of her right hand and her right foot.

There is full light,--a big kerosene lamp with a wide burner and a light
yellow shade, besides two lighted candles.

At the end of three minutes the table begins to move, balancing itself,
and rising sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left. A minute
afterwards it is _lifted entirely from the floor_, to a height of about
nine inches, and remains there two seconds.

In a second trial, I take the two hands of Eusapia in mine. A notable
levitation is produced, nearly under the same conditions.

We repeat the same experiments thrice, in such a way that five levitations
of the table take place in a quarter of an hour, and for several seconds
the four feet are completely lifted from the floor, to the height of about
nine inches. During one of the levitations the experimenters did not touch
the table at all, but formed the chain above it and in the air; and
Eusapia acted in the same way.

So then it seems that an object can be lifted, in opposition to the law of
gravity, without the contact of the hands which have just been acting upon
it. (Proof already given above, pp. 5-8, 16.)

A round centre table placed at my right comes forward without contact
towards the table, always in full light, be it understood, as if it would
like to climb up on it, and falls down. Nobody has moved aside or
approached the curtain, and no explanation of this movement can be given.
The medium has not yet entered into a trance and continues to take part in
the conversation.

Five raps in the table indicate, according to a convention arranged by the
medium, that the unknown cause asks for less light. This is always
annoying: I have already said what I think of this. The candles are blown
out, the lamp turned down, but the light is strong enough for us to see
very distinctly everything that takes place in the salon. The round table,
which I had lifted and set aside, approaches the table and tries several
times to climb up on it. I lean upon it in order to keep it down, but I
experience an elastic resistance and am unable to do so. The free edge of
the round table places itself on the edge of the rectangular table, but,
hindered by its triangular foot, it does not succeed in clearing itself
sufficiently to climb upon it. Since I am holding the medium, I ascertain
that she makes no effort of the kind that would be needed for this style
of performance.

The curtain swells out and approaches my face. It is at this moment that
the medium falls into a trance. She utters sighs and lamentations and only
speaks now in the third person, saying that she is John King, a psychic
personality who claims to have been her father in another existence and
who calls her "my daughter" (_mia figlia_). This is an auto-suggestion
proving nothing as to the identity of the force.

Five new taps ask for still _less light_, and the lamp is most completely
turned down, but not extinguished. The eyes, growing accustomed to the
clare-obscure, still distinguish pretty well what is taking place.

The curtain swells out again, and I feel that I am touched on the
shoulder, through the stuff of the curtain, as if by a closed fist. The
chair in the cabinet, upon which are placed the music-box and the bell, is
violently shaken, and the objects fall to the floor. The medium asks again
for _less light_, and a red photographic lantern is placed upon the piano,
the light of the lamp being extinguished. The control is rigorously kept
up, the medium agreeing to it with the greatest docility.

For about a minute the music-box plays intermittent airs behind the
curtain, as if it was turned by some hand.

The curtain moves forward again toward me, and a rather strong hand seizes
my arm. I immediately reach forward to seize the hand, but I grasp only
the empty air. I then press the two legs of the medium between mine and I
take her left hand in my right. On the other side, her right hand is
firmly held in the left hand of M. de Fontenay. Then Eusapia brings the
hand of the last named toward my cheek, and imitates upon the cheek, with
the finger of M. de Fontenay, the movement of a little revolving crank or
handle. The music-box, which has one of these handles, _plays at the same
time behind the curtain in perfect synchronism_. The instant that
Eusapia's hand stops, the music stops: all the movements correspond, just
as in the Morse telegraphic system. We all amused ourselves with this. The
thing was tried several times in succession, and every time the movement
of the finger tallied the playing of the music.

I feel several touches in the back and on the side. M. de Fontenay
receives a hard slap on the back that everybody hears. A hand passes
through my hair. The chair of M. de Fontenay is violently pulled, and a
few moments afterwards he cries, "I see the silhouette of a man passing
between M. Flammarion and me, above the table, shutting out the red

This thing is repeated several times. I do not myself succeed in seeing
this silhouette. I then propose to M. de Fontenay that I take his place,
for, in that case, I should be likely to see it also. I soon distinctly
perceive a dim silhouette passing before the red lantern, but I do not
recognize any precise form. It is only an opaque shadow (the profile of a
man) which advances as far as the light and retires.

In a moment, Eusapia says there is some one behind the curtain. After a
slight pause she adds:

"There is a man by my side, on the right: he has a great soft forked
beard." I ask if I may touch this beard. In fact, while lifting my hand,
I feel a rather soft beard brushing against it.

A block of paper is put on the table with a lead-pencil, with the hope of
getting writing. This pencil is flipped clear across the room. I then take
the block of paper and hold it in the air: it is snatched violently from
me, in spite of all my efforts to retain it. At this moment, M. de
Fontenay, with his back turned to the light, sees a hand (a white hand and
not a shadow), the arm showing as far as the elbow, holding the block of
paper; but all the others declare that they only see the paper shaking in
the air.

I did not see the hand snatch the packet of paper from me; but only a hand
could have been able to seize it with such violence, and this did not
appear to be the hand of the medium, for I held her right hand in my left,
and the paper with arm extended in my right hand, and M. de Fontenay
declared that he did not let go of her left hand.

I was struck several times in the side, touched on the head, and my ear
was smartly pinched. I declare that after several repetitions I had enough
of this ear pinching; but during the whole séance, in spite of my
protestations, somebody kept hitting me.

The little round table, placed outside of the cabinet, at the left of the
medium, approaches the table, climbs clear up on it and lies across it.
The guitar in the cabinet is heard moving about and giving out sounds. The
curtain is puffed out, and the guitar is brought upon the table, resting
upon the shoulder of M. de Fontenay. It is then laid upon the table, the
large end toward the medium. Then it rises and moves over the heads of the
company without touching them. It gives forth several sounds. The
phenomenon lasts about fifteen seconds. It can readily be seen that the
guitar is floating in the air, and the reflection of the red lamp glides
over its shining surface. A rather bright gleam, pear-shaped, is seen on
the ceiling in the other corner of the room.

The medium, who is tired, asks for rest. The candles are lighted. Mme.
Blech returns the objects to their places, ascertains that the cakes of
putty are intact, places the smallest upon the little round table and the
large one upon the chair in the cabinet, behind the medium. The sitting is
resumed by the feeble glimmer of the red lantern.

The medium, whose hands and feet are carefully controlled by M. de
Fontenay and myself, breathes heavily. Above her head the snapping of
fingers is heard. She still pants, groans, and sinks her fingers into my
hand. Three raps are heard. She cries, "It is done" ("_E fatto_"). M. de
Fontenay brings the little dish beneath the light of the red lantern and
discovers the impression of four fingers in the putty, in the position
which they had taken when she gripped my hand.

Seats are taken, the medium asks for rest, and a little light is turned

The sitting is soon resumed as before, by the extremely feeble light of
the red lantern. John is spoken of as if he existed, as if it was he whose
head we perceived in silhouette; he is asked to continue his
manifestations, and to show the impression of his head in the putty, as he
has already several times done. Eusapia replies that it is a difficult
thing and asks us not to think of it for a moment, but to go on speaking.
These suggestions of hers are always disquieting, and we redouble our
attention, though without speaking much. The medium pants, groans,
writhes. The chair in the cabinet on which the putty is placed is heard to
move. The chair comes forward and places itself by the side of the medium,
then it is lifted and placed upon the head of Mme. Z. Blech, while the
tray is lightly placed in the hands of M. Blech, at the other end of the
table. Eusapia cries that she sees before her a head and a bust, and
says, "_E fatto_" ("It is done"). We do not believe her, because M. Blech
has not felt any pressure on the dish. Three violent blows as of a mallet
are struck upon the table. The light is turned on, and a human profile is
found imprinted upon the putty.

Mme. Z. Blech kisses Eusapia upon both cheeks, for the purpose of finding
out whether her face has not some odor (glazier's putty having a very
strong odor of linseed oil which remains for some time upon the fingers).
She discovers nothing abnormal.

This discovery of a "spirit head" in the putty is so astonishing, so
impossible to admit without sufficient verification, that it is really
still more incredible than all the rest. It is not the head of the man
whose profile I perceived, and the beard I felt on my hand is not there.
The imprint has a resemblance to Eusapia's face. If we supposed she
produced it herself, that she was able to bury her nose up to the cheeks
and up to the eyes in that thick putty, we should still have to explain
how that large and heavy tray was transported from the other end of the
table and gently placed in the hands of M. Blech.

The resemblance of the imprint to Eusapia was undeniable. I reproduce both
the print and the portrait of the medium.[21] Every one can assure himself
of it. The simplest thing, evidently, is to suppose the Italian woman
imprinted her face in the putty.

But how?

We are in the dark as to this, or nearly so. I sit at the right hand of
Eusapia, _who rests her head upon my left shoulder_, and whose right hand
I am holding. M. de Fontenay is at her left, and has taken great care not
to let go of the other hand. The tray of putty, weighing nine pounds, has
been placed upon a chair, twenty inches behind the curtain, consequently
behind Eusapia. She cannot touch it without turning around, and we have
her entirely in our power, our feet on hers. Now the chair upon which was
the tray of putty has drawn aside the hangings, or portières, and moved
forward to a point above the head of the medium, who remained seated and
held down by us; moved itself also over our heads,--the chair to rest upon
the head of my neighbor, Mme. Blech, and the tray to rest softly in the
hands of M. Blech, who is sitting at the end of the table. At this moment
Eusapia rises, declaring that she sees upon the table another table and a
bust, and cries out, "_E fatto_" ("It is done"). It was not at this time,
surely, that she would have been able to place her face upon the cake, for
it was at the other end of the table. Nor was it before this, for it would
have been necessary to take the chair in one hand and the cake with the
other, and she did not stir from her place. The explanation, as can be
seen, is very difficult indeed.

Let us admit, however, that the fact is so extraordinary that a doubt
remains in our mind, because the medium rose from her chair almost at the
critical moment. And yet her face was immediately kissed by Mme. Blech,
who perceived no odor of the putty.



Dr. Ochorowicz writes as follows apropos of these prints of faces and of
the study which he made of them at Rome:[22]

    The imprint of this face was obtained in darkness, yet at a moment
    when I held the two hands of Eusapia, while my arms were entirely
    around her. Or, rather, it was she who clung to me in such a way that
    I had accurate knowledge of the position of all her limbs. Her head
    rested against mine, and even with violence. At the moment of the
    production of the phenomenon a convulsive trembling shook her whole
    body, and the pressure of her head on my temples was so intense that
    it hurt me.

    At the moment when the strongest convulsion took place, she cried,
    "_Ah, che dura!_" ("Oh, how severe!") We at once lighted a candle and
    found a print, rather poor in comparison with those which other
    experimenters have obtained,--a thing due, perhaps, to the bad quality
    of the clay which I used. This clay was placed about twenty inches to
    the right of the medium, while her head was inclined to the left. Her
    face was not at all soiled by the clay, which was yet so moist as to
    leave traces upon the fingers when touched. Moreover, the contact of
    her head with mine made me suffer so much that I am absolutely sure it
    was not intermitted for a single moment. Eusapia was very happy when
    she saw a verification made under conditions in which it was
    impossible to suspect her good faith.

    I then took the tray of clay, and we passed into the dining-room in
    order to better examine the imprint, which I placed on a large table
    near a big kerosene lamp. Eusapia, who had fallen into a trance,
    remained for some moments standing, her hands resting upon the table,
    motionless and as if unconscious. I did not lose sight of her, and she
    looked at me without seeing anything. Then, with an uncertain step,
    she moved backward toward the door and passed slowly into the chamber
    which we had just left. We followed her, observing her all the while,
    and leaving the clay behind upon the table. We had already got into
    the chamber when, leaning against one of the halves of the double
    door, she fixed her eyes upon the tray of clay which had been left
    upon the table. The medium was in a very good light: we were separated
    from her by a distance of from six to ten feet, and we perceived
    distinctly all the details. All of a sudden Eusapia stretched her hand
    out abruptly toward the clay, then sank down uttering a groan. We
    rushed precipitately towards the table and saw, side by side with the
    imprint of the head, a new imprint, very marked, of a hand which had
    been thus produced under the very light of the lamp, and which
    resembled the hand of Eusapia. I have, myself, obtained head prints a
    dozen times, but always rather poor, owing to the quality of the clay,
    and often broken while the experiment was going on.

The Chevalier Chiaia, of Naples, who first obtained these fantastic
pictures through the agency of Eusapia, wrote as follows, in this
connection, to Count de Rochas:

    I have imprints in boxes of clay weighing anywhere between fifty-five
    and sixty-five pounds. I mention the weight in order to let you see
    the impossibility of lifting and transporting _with one hand alone_ so
    heavy a tray, even upon the supposition that Eusapia might, unknown to
    us, free one of her hands. In almost every case, in fact, this tray,
    placed upon a chair _three feet behind the medium_, was brought
    forward and placed very gently upon the table about which we were
    seated. The transfer was made with such nicety that the persons who
    formed the chain and held firmly the hands of Eusapia did not hear the
    least noise, did not perceive the least rustling. We were forewarned
    of the arrival of the tray upon the table by seven taps, which,
    according to our conventional arrangement, John struck in the wall to
    inform us that we could turn on the light. I did so at once by turning
    the cock of the gas-fixture which was suspended above the table. (We
    had never completely extinguished it.) We then found the tray upon the
    table, and, upon the clay, the imprint which we supposed must have
    been made before its transfer, and while it was behind Eusapia, in the
    cabinet where John usually materializes and manifests himself.

The totality of these observations (which are very numerous) leads us to
the thought that, in spite of the improbability of the thing, these
imprints are produced at a distance by the medium.

However, some days after the séance at Montfort-l'Amaury I wrote as

    These different manifestations are not to me equally authentic. I am
    not sure of all of them, for the phenomena were not all produced
    under the same conditions of certainty. I should wish to class the
    facts in the following order of decreasing certainty:

    1. Levitations of the table.

    2. Movements of the round table without contact.

    3. Mallet blows.

    4. Movements of the curtain.

    5. Opaque silhouette passing before the red lamp.

    6. Sensation of a beard upon the back of the hand.

    7. Touchings.

    8. Snatching of the block of paper.

    9. Throwing of the lead-pencil.

    10. Transference of the round table to the top of the other table.

    11. Music from the little box.

    12. Transfer of the guitar to a point above the head.

    13. Imprints of a hand and of a face.

    The first four events, having taken place in full light, are
    incontestable. I should put almost in the same rank Nos. 5 and 6. No.
    7 may perhaps be due very often to fraud. The last in the list, having
    been produced toward the end of the séance, at a time when attention
    was necessarily relaxed, and being still more extraordinary than all
    the others, I confess that I cannot admit it with certainty, although
    I can not understand how it could have been due to fraud. The four
    others seem genuine; but I should like to observe them anew; a man
    could wager ninety-nine to one hundred that they are true. I was
    absolutely sure of them during the séance. But the vividness of the
    impressions grows weak, and we have a tendency to listen only to the
    voice of plain common sense,--the most reasonable and the most
    deceptive of our faculties.

The first impression we get upon the reading of these reports is that
these different manifestations are rather vulgar, altogether banal, and do
not tell us anything about the other world--or about other worlds. Surely
it does not seem probable that any _spiritual being_ would take part in
such performances. For these phenomena are of an absolutely material

On the other hand, however, it is impossible not to recognize the
existence of unknown forces. The simple fact, for example, of the
levitation of a table to a height of six and one-half, eight, sixteen
inches from the floor is not banal at all. It seems to me, speaking for
myself alone, so extraordinary that my opinion is very well expressed when
I say that I do not dare to admit it without having seen it myself, with
my own eyes: I mean that which is called seeing, in full light and under
such conditions that it would be impossible to suspect. While we are very
sure that we have proved it, we are at the same time sure that in such
experiments there emanates from the human body a force that may be
compared with the magnetism of the loadstone, able to act upon wood, upon
matter (somewhat as the loadstone acts upon iron), and counterbalancing
for some moments the action of gravity. From the scientific point of view,
that is a weighty fact in itself. I am absolutely certain that the medium
did not lift that weight of fifteen pounds either by her hands or by her
legs, or by her feet, and, furthermore, no one of the company was able to
do it. The table was lifted by its upper surface. We are, therefore,
certainly in the presence of an unknown force here which emanates from the
persons present, and above all from the medium.

A rather curious observation ought to be made here. Several times during
the course of this séance, and during the levitation of the table, I said,
"There is no spirit." Every time I said this two violent blows of
protestation were struck in the table. I have already remarked that,
generally, we are supposed to admit the Spiritualistic hypothesis and to
ask a spirit to exert himself in order that we may obtain the phenomena.
We have here a psychological matter not without importance. Still, it does
not seem to me, for all that, to prove the real existence of spirits, for
it might happen that this idea was necessary to the concentration of the
forces present and had a purely subjective value. Religious zealots who
believe in the efficacy of prayer are the dupes of their own imagination;
and yet no one can doubt that certain of these petitions appear to have
been granted by a beneficent deity. The Italian or Spanish girl who goes
to beg of the Virgin Mary that she will punish her lover for an infidelity
may be sincere, and never suspects the strangeness of her request. In
dreams we all converse every night with imaginary beings. But there is
something more here: the medium really duplicates herself.

I take the point of view solely of the physicist whose business is to
observe, and I say, whatever may be the explanatory hypothesis you may
adopt, there exists an invisible force derived from the organism of the
medium, and having the power to emerge from him and to act outside of him.

That is the fact: what is the best hypothesis to explain it? 1. Is it the
medium who herself acts, in an unconscious manner, by means of an
invisible force emanating from her? 2. Is it an intelligent cause apart
from her, a soul that has already lived upon this earth, who draws from
the medium a force which it needs in order to act? 3. Is it another kind
of invisible beings? Nothing authorizes us to affirm that there may not
exist, side by side with us, living, invisible forces. There you have
three very different hypotheses, none of which seems to me, as far as my
personal experience goes, to be as yet conclusively proved.

But there certainly emanates from the medium an invisible force; and the
participants, by forming the psychic chain and by uniting their
sympathetic wills, increase this force. This force is not immaterial. It
may be a substance, an agent emitting radiations of wave-lengths which
make no impression on our retina, and which are nevertheless very
powerful. In the absence of light rays it is able to condense itself,
take shape, affect even a certain resemblance to the human body, to act as
do our organs, to violently strike a table, or touch us.

It acts as if it were an independent being. But this independence does not
really exist; for this transitory being is intimately connected with the
organism of the medium, and its apparent existence ceases when the
conditions of its production themselves cease.

While writing these monstrous scientific heresies, I feel very deeply that
it is difficult to accept them. Still, after all, who can trace the limits
of science? We have all learned, especially during the last quarter of a
century, that our knowledge is not a very colossal affair, and that, apart
from astronomy, there is as yet no exact science founded upon absolute
principles. And then, when all is said, there are the _facts_ to be
explained. Doubtless it is easier to deny them. But it is not decent or
civil. He who has merely failed to find what satisfies him has no right to
deny. The best he can do is simply to say, "I know nothing about it."

The fact is that, as yet, we have not elementary data enough to enable us
to characterize these forces; but we ought not to lay the blame upon those
who study them.

To sum up, I believe that I am able to go a little farther than M.
Schiaparelli and affirm the certain existence of unknown forces capable of
moving matter and of counterbalancing the action of gravity. There is a
complex totality, as yet difficult to disentangle, of psychic and physical
forces. But such facts, however extravagant they may appear, are worthy of
coming within the sphere of scientific observation. It is even probable
that they tend powerfully to elucidate the problem (a matter of supreme
importance to us) of the nature of the human soul.

After the end of that séance of the 27th of July, 1897, as I desired to
see again the levitation of a table in full light, the chain was formed
_standing_, the hands lightly placed upon the table. The latter began to
oscillate, then rose up to a height of nine inches from the floor,
remained there several seconds (all the participators remaining on their
feet), and fell heavily back again.[23]

[Illustration: PLATE VI



M. G. de Fontenay succeeded in getting several photographs by the
magnesium light. I reproduce two of them here (Pl. VI.). There are five
experimenters who are, from left to right, M. Blech, Mme. Z. Blech,
Eusapia, myself, Mlle. Blech. In the first photograph the table rests upon
the floor. In the second it floats in air, coming up as high as the arms,
at a height of about ten inches on the left and eight inches on the right.
I hold my right foot resting upon Eusapia's feet and my right hand upon
her knees. With my left hand I hold her left hand. The hands of all the
others are upon the table. It is therefore altogether impossible for her
to employ any muscular action. This photographic record confirms that of
Pl. I., and it seems to me difficult not to recognize its undeniable
documentary value.[24]

After this séance my most ardent desire was to see the same experiments
reproduced at my own house. In spite of all the care I took with my
observations, several objections can be taken to the absolute certainty of
the phenomena. The most important arises from the existence of the little
dark cabinet. Personally, I was sure of the perfect probity of the
honorable Blech family, and I am unable to accept the idea of any trickery
whatever on the part of any of its members. But the opinion of readers of
the formal report may not be so well assured. It was not _impossible_
that, even unknown to the members of the family, some one, with the
connivance of the medium, glided into the room, favored by the dim light,
and produced the phenomena. An accomplice entirely clothed in black and
walking barefoot would have been able to hold the instruments up in the
air, put them in movement, make the touches, and cause the black mask to
move at the end of a rod, etc.

This objection could be verified or quashed by renewing the experiments at
my house, in a room of my own, where I should be absolutely certain that
no confederate could enter. I should myself arrange the curtain, I should
place the chairs, I should be certain that Eusapia would come alone to my
apartments, she would be asked to undress and dress in the presence of two
lady examiners, and every supposition of fraud alien to her proper
personality would thus be annihilated.

At this epoch (1898) I was preparing, for _l'Annales politiques et
litteraires_, some articles upon psychic phenomena, which, revised and
amplified, afterwards formed my work, _The Unknown_. The eminent and
sympathetic editor of the review showed himself assiduous in examining
with me the best means of realizing this scheme of personal experiences.
Upon our invitation, Eusapia came to Paris to pass the month of November,
1898, and to devote eight soirées especially to us--namely, the 10th,
12th, 14th, 16th, 19th, 21st, 25th, and 28th of November. We had invited
several friends to be present. Each one of these séances was the subject
of a formal report by several of those who were present, notably by MM.
Charles Richet, A. de Rochas, Victorien Sardou, Jules Claretie, Adolphe
Brisson, Réne Baschet, Arthur Lévy, Gustave Le Bon, Jules Bois, Gaston
Méry, G. Delanne, G. de Fontenay, G. Armelin, André Bloch, etc.

We met in my salon in the avenue de l'Observatoire, in Paris. There were
no special arrangements, except the stretching of two curtains in one
corner, before the angle of two walls, thus forming a kind of triangular
cabinet, the walls about which are there unbroken, without door or window.
The front of the cabinet was closed by these two curtains, reaching from
the ceiling to the floor and meeting in the middle.

It is before this kind of cabinet that the reader will please imagine the
medium to be seated, with a white wooden table (kitchen table) before her.

Behind the curtain, upon the plinth of the projection of a bookcase and
upon a table, we placed a guitar, also a violin, a tambourine, an
accordion, a music-box, cushions, and several small objects, which were to
be shaken, seized, thrown about by the unknown force.

The first result of these séances in Paris, at my house, was absolutely to
establish the fact that the hypothesis of a confederate is inadmissible
and ought to be entirely eliminated. Eusapia acts alone.

The fifth séance led me, moreover, to think that the phenomena take place
(at least a certain number) when the hands of Eusapia are closely held by
two controllers, that it is not generally with her hands that she acts, in
spite of certain possible trickeries; for it would be necessary to admit
(an abominable heresy!) that a third hand could be formed in organic
connection with her body!

Before every séance Eusapia was undressed and dressed again in the
presence of two ladies charged with seeing that she did not hide any
tricking apparatus under her clothes.

It would be a little long to go thoroughly into the details of these eight
sittings, and it would be partly to go over what has already been
described and commented upon in the first chapter, as well as in the
preceding pages. But it will not be uninteresting to give here the
estimate of several of the sitters, by reproducing some of the reports.

I will begin with that of M. Arthur Lévy, because he describes very fully
the installation, the impression produced upon him by a medium, and the
greater part of the facts observed.

    Report of M. Arthur Lévy

    (_Séance of November 16_)

    That which I am going to relate I saw yesterday at your house. I saw
    it with distrust, closely observing all that might have resembled
    trickery; and, after I had seen it, I found it so far beyond the
    things that we are accustomed to conceive that I still ask myself if I
    really saw it. Yet I must confess that I have not been dreaming.

    When I arrived at your salon, I found the furniture and all the other
    arrangements as usual. On entering, only a single change could be
    remarked at the left, where two thick curtains of gray and green rep
    concealed a little corner. Eusapia was to perform her wonders before
    this kind of alcove. This was the mysterious corner: I examined it
    very minutely. It had in it a little round uncovered table, a
    tambourine, a violin, an accordion, castanets, and one or two
    cushions. After this precautionary visit, I was certain that in this
    place at least there was no preparation, and that no communication
    with the outside was possible.

    I hasten to say that from this moment up to the end of the experiments
    we did not leave the room for a single minute, and that, so to speak,
    we had our eyes constantly fixed upon this corner, the curtains of
    which, however, were always partly open.

    Some moments after my examination of the cabinet Eusapia arrives,--the
    famous Eusapia. As almost always happens, she looks quite different
    from what I had anticipated. Where I had expected to see--I do not
    well know why, indeed--a tall thin woman with a fixed look, piercing
    eyes, with bony hands, and abrupt movements, agitated by nerves
    incessantly trembling under perpetual tension, I find a woman in the
    forties, rather plump, with a tranquil air, soft hand, simple in her
    manners, and slightly shrinking. Altogether, she has the air of an
    excellent woman of the people. Yet two things arrest the attention
    when you look at her. First, her large eyes, filled with strange fire,
    sparkle in their orbits, or, again, seem filled with swift gleams of
    phosphorescent fire, sometimes bluish, sometimes golden. If I did not
    fear that the metaphor was too easy when it concerns a Neapolitan
    woman, I should say that her eyes appear like the glowing lava fires
    of Vesuvius, seen from a distance in a dark night.

    The other peculiarity is a mouth with strange contours. We do not know
    whether it expresses amusement, suffering, or scorn. These
    peculiarities impress themselves on the mind almost simultaneously,
    without our knowing on which one to fix the attention. Perhaps we
    should find in these features of her face an indication of forces
    which are acting in her, and of which she is not altogether the

    She takes a seat, enters into all the commonplaces of the
    conversation, speaking in a gentle, melodious voice, like many women
    of her country. She uses a language difficult for herself and not less
    difficult for others, for it is neither French nor Italian. She makes
    painful efforts to make herself understood, and sometimes does this by
    mimicry (or sign-language) and by willing to obtain that which she
    wants. However, a persistent irritation of the throat, like a pressure
    of blood returning at short intervals, forces her to cough, to ask for
    water. I confess that these paroxysms, in which her face became deeply
    flushed, caused me great anxiety. Were we going to have the inevitable
    indisposition of the rare tenor, on the day when he was to be heard on
    the stage? Happily, nothing of the kind took place. It was rather a
    sign of the contrary, and seemed like a forerunner of the extreme
    excitement which was going to take possession of her on that evening.
    In fact, it is very remarkable that from the moment when she put
    herself--how shall I say it?--in condition for work, the cough, the
    irritation of the throat, completely disappeared.

    When her fingers were placed on black wool,--to be frank, upon the
    trousers cloth of one of the company,--Eusapia called our attention to
    the kind of diaphanous marks made upon them (the fingers), a
    distorted, elongated second contour. She tells us that that is a sign
    that she is going to be given great power to-day.

    While we are talking some one puts a letter-weigher on the table.
    Putting her hands down on each side of the letter-weigher, and at a
    distance of four inches, she causes the needle to move to No. 35
    engraved on the dial plate of the weigher. Eusapia herself asked us to
    convince ourselves, by inspection, that she did _not_ have a hair
    leading from one hand to the other, and with which she could
    fraudulently press upon the tray of the letter-weigher. This little
    by-play took place when all the lamps of the salon were fully lighted.
    Then commenced the main series of experiments.

    We sit around a rectangular table of white wood, the common kitchen
    table. There are six of us. Close to the curtains, at one of the
    narrow ends of the table, sits Eusapia; at her left, also near the
    curtains, is M. Georges Mathieu, an agricultural engineer at the
    observatory in Juvisy; next comes my wife; M. Flammarion is at the
    other end, facing Eusapia; then Mme. Flammarion; finally myself. I am
    thus placed at the right hand of Eusapia, and also against the
    curtain. M. Mathieu and myself each hold a hand of the medium resting
    upon his knee, and, furthermore, Eusapia places one of her feet upon
    ours. Consequently, no movements of her legs or arms can escape our
    attention. Note well, therefore, that this woman has the use only of
    her head and of her bust, which latter is of course without the use of
    the arms, and is in absolute contact with our shoulders.

    We rest our hands on the table. In a few moments it begins to
    oscillate, stands on one foot, strikes the floor, rears up, rises
    wholly into the air,--sometimes twelve inches, sometimes eight inches,
    from the ground. Eusapia utters a sharp cry, resembling a cry of joy,
    of deliverance; the curtain behind her swells out, and, all inflated
    as it is, comes forward upon the table. Other raps are heard in the
    table, and simultaneously in the floor at a distance of about ten feet
    from us. All this in full light.

    Already excited, Eusapia asks in a supplicating voice and broken words
    that we lessen the lights. She cannot endure the dazzling glare in her
    eyes. She affirms that she is tortured, wants us to hurry; "for," she
    adds, "you shall see fine things." After one of us has placed the lamp
    on the floor behind the piano, in the corner opposite the place where
    we are (at a distance of about twenty-three feet), Eusapia no longer
    sees the light and is satisfied; but we can distinguish faces and
    hands. Let it not be forgotten that M. Mathieu and I each have a foot
    of the medium on ours, and that we are holding her hands and knees,
    that we are pressing against her shoulders.

    The table is always shaking and makes sudden jolts. Eusapia calls to
    us to look. Above her head appears a hand. It is a small hand, like
    that of a little girl of fifteen years, the palm forward, the fingers
    joined, the thumb projecting. The color of this hand is livid; its
    form is not rigid, nor is it fluid; one would say rather that it is
    the hand of a big doll stuffed with bran.

    When the hand moves back from the brighter light, as it
    disappears,--is it an optical illusion?--it seems to lose its shape,
    as if the fingers were being broken, beginning with the thumb.

    M. Mathieu is violently pushed by a force acting from behind the
    curtain. A strong hand presses against him, he says. His chair is also
    pushed. Something pulls his hair. While he is complaining of the
    violence used upon him, we hear the sound of the tambourine, which is
    then quickly thrown upon the table. Next the violin arrives in the
    same manner, and we hear its strings sound. I seize the tambourine and
    ask the Invisible if he wishes to take it. I feel a hand grasping the
    instrument. I am not willing to let it go. A struggle now ensues
    between myself and a force which I judge to be considerable. In the
    tussle a violent effort pushes the tambourine into my hand, and the
    cymbals penetrate the flesh. I feel a sharp pang, and a good deal of
    blood flows. I let go of the handle. I just now ascertain, by the
    light, that I have a deep gash under the right thumb nearly an inch
    long. The table continues to shake, to strike the floor with redoubled
    strokes, and the accordion is thrown upon the table. I seize it by
    its lower half and ask the Invisible if he can pull it out by the
    other end so as to make it play. The curtain comes forward, and the
    bellows of the accordion is methodically moved back and forth, its
    keys are touched, and several different notes are heard.

    Eusapia utters repeated cries, a kind of rattling in the throat. She
    writhes nervously, and, as if she were calling for help, cries, "_La
    catena! la catena!_" ("The chain! the chain!"). We thereupon form the
    chain by taking hold of hands. Then, just as if she was defying some
    monster, she turns, with inflamed looks, toward an enormous divan,
    which thereupon _marches up to us_. She looks at it with a satanic
    smile. Finally she blows upon the divan, which goes immediately back
    to its place.

    Eusapia, faint and depressed, remains relatively calm. Yet she is
    dejected; her breast heaves violently; she lays her head on my

    M. Mathieu, tired of the blows which he is constantly receiving, asks
    to change places with some one. I agree to this. He changes with Mme.
    F., who then sits at the right of Eusapia, while I am at her left.
    Mme. F. and I never cease to hold the feet, hands, and knees of the
    medium. M. F. sets a water bottle and a glass in the middle of the
    table. The latter's brisk, jolting movements overturn the water
    bottle, and the water is spilled over its surface. The medium
    imperatively requires that the liquid be wiped up; the water upon the
    table blinds her, tortures, paralyzes her, she says. M. F. asks the
    Invisible if he can pour water into the glass. After some moments the
    curtain advances, the carafe is grasped, and the glass seems to be
    half full. That takes place several different times.

    Mme. F., being no longer able to endure the blows given her through
    the curtain, exchanges seats with her husband.

    I put my repeating watch upon the table. I ask the Invisible if he can
    sound the alarm. (The mechanism of the alarm is very difficult to
    understand, delicate to operate, even for me, doing it every day. It
    is formed by a little tube cut in two, one half of which glides
    smoothly over the other. In reality, there is only a projection of
    one-fiftieth of an inch of thickness of tube, upon which it is
    necessary to press with the finger-nail and give quite a push in order
    to start up the alarm.) In a moment the watch is taken by the
    "spirit." We hear the stem-winder turning. The watch comes back upon
    the table without having been sounded.

    Another request is made for the alarm to sound. The watch is again
    taken; the case is heard to open and shut. (Now I cannot open this
    case with my hands: I have to pry it open with a tool like a lever.)
    The watch comes back once more without having sounded.

    I confess that I experienced a disenchantment. I felt that I was going
    to doubt the extent of the occult power, which had, nevertheless,
    manifested itself very clearly. Why could it not sound the alarm of
    this watch? In making my request, had I overstepped the limits of its
    powers? Was I going to be the cause of all the well-proved phenomena
    of which we have had testimony losing the half of their value? I said

    "Am I to show how the alarm is operated?"

    "No, no!" Eusapia warmly replies, "it will do it."

    I will note here that at the moment when I proposed to point out the
    mechanism, there passed through my mind the method of pressing upon
    the little tube. Immediately the watch was brought back to the table;
    and, very distinctly, three separate times, we heard it sound a
    quarter to eleven.

    Eusapia was evidently very tired; her burning hands seemed to contract
    or shrivel; she gasped aloud with heaving breast, her foot kept
    quitting mine every moment, scraping the floor and tediously rubbing
    along it back and forth. She uttered hoarse panting cries, shrugging
    up her shoulders and sneering; the sofa came forward when she looked
    at it, then recoiled before her breath; all the instruments were
    thrown pell-mell upon the table; the tambourine rose almost to the
    height of the ceiling; the cushions took part in the sport,
    overturning everything on the table; M. M. was thrown from his chair.
    This chair--a heavy dining-room chair of black walnut, with stuffed
    seat--rose into the air, came up on the table with a great clatter,
    then was pushed off.

    Eusapia seems shrunken together and is very much affected. We pity
    her. We ask her to stop. "No, no!" she cries. She rises, we with her;
    the table leaves the floor, rises to a height of twenty-four inches,
    then comes clattering down.

    Eusapia sinks prostrated into a chair. We sit there troubled, amazed,
    in consternation, with a tense and constricted feeling in the head, as
    if the atmosphere were charged with electricity.

    With many precautions, M. F. succeeds in calming the agitation of
    Eusapia. After about a quarter of an hour she returns to herself. When
    the lamps are again lighted, she is seen to be very much changed, her
    eye dull, her face apparently diminished to half its usual size. In
    her trembling hands she feels the pricking of needles which she asks
    us to pull out. Little by little she completely recovers her senses.
    She appears to remember nothing, not to comprehend at all our
    expressions of wonder. All that is as foreign to her as if she had not
    been present at the sitting. She isn't interested in it. So far as she
    is concerned, it would seem as if we were speaking of things of which
    she had not the faintest idea.

    What have we seen? mystery of mysteries!

    We took every precaution not to be the dupes of complicity, of fraud.
    Superhuman forces acting near us, so near that we heard the very
    breathing of a living being,--if living being it were,--such are the
    things our eyes took cognizance of for two mortal hours.

    And when, on looking back, doubts begin to creep into the mind, we
    must conclude that, given the conditions in which we were, the
    chicanery necessary to produce such effects would be at least as
    phenomenal as the effects themselves.

    How shall we name the mystery?

So much for the report of M. Arthur Lévy. I have no commentary to make at
present upon these reports of my fellow-experimenters. The essential
thing, it seems to me, is to leave to every one his own exposition and his
personal judgment. I shall proceed in the same way with the other reports
which are to follow. I shall reproduce the principal ones. In spite of
some inevitable repetitions, they will surely be read with extreme
interest, especially when we take into consideration the high intellectual
standing of the observers.

    Report of M. Adolphe Brisson.

    (_Séance of November 10_)

    (There were present at this séance, besides the hosts of the occasion,
    M. Prof. Richet, M. and Mme. Ad. Brisson, Mme. Fourton, M. André
    Bloch, M. Georges Mathieu.)

    The following are occurrences which I personally observed with the
    greatest care. I did not once cease to hold in my right hand the left
    hand of Eusapia or fail to feel that we were in contact. The contact
    was only interrupted twice,--at the moment when Dr. Richet felt a
    pricking in his arm. Eusapia's hand, making violent movements, escaped
    from my grasp; but I seized it again after two or three seconds.

    1. After this sitting had begun,--that is, at the end of about ten
    minutes,--the table was lifted up away from Eusapia, two of its legs
    leaving the floor simultaneously.

    2. Five minutes later the curtain swelled out as if it had been
    inflated by a strong breeze. My hand, never letting go of that of
    Eusapia, pressed gently against the curtain, and I experienced a
    resistance, just as if I had pressed against the sail of a ship
    bellied out by the wind.


    3. Not only was the curtain puffed out, forming a big pocket, but the
    perpendicular edge of the curtain that touched the window moved
    automatically aside and drew back as if it were pushed by an invisible
    curtain holder, making nearly this kind of a movement.

    4. The curtain, inflated anew, took the form of a nose or of an
    eagle's beak, projecting above the table about eight or ten inches.
    This shape was visible for several seconds.

    5. We heard behind the curtain the noise of a chair rolling over the
    floor; by a first push it arrived as far as I was; a second push
    turned it upside down, its feet in the air, in the position shown. It
    was a heavy stuffed chair. Succeeding pushes moved it again, lifted it
    up, and made it turn somersaults; it finally came to a standstill
    almost in the place where it had fallen over.


    6. We heard the noise of two or three objects falling to the floor (I
    mean objects behind the curtain upon the centre-table). The curtain
    parted in the middle, and in the dim light the little violin appeared.
    Sustained in the air by an invisible hand, it came gently forward
    above our table, whence it settled down upon my hand and upon that of
    my neighbor on the left.[25]

    On two separate occasions the violin rose from the table and at once
    fell back again, making a vigorous leap, like a fish flopping upon the
    sand. Then it glided down to the floor, where it remained motionless
    until the end of the sitting.

    7. A new rolling noise was heard behind the curtain. This time it was
    the centre-table. A preliminary effort, quite vigorous, enabled it to
    rise half-way to the top of our table. By a second effort it got clear
    on top and rested upon my fore-arm.

    8. Several times I distinctly felt light blows upon my right side, as
    if made with the point of a sharp instrument. But the truth compels me
    to declare that these blows were no longer given after Eusapia's feet
    were held under the table by M. Bloch. I note this correlation of
    things without drawing from it any presumption against Eusapia's
    loyalty. I have so much the less reason to suspect her in that her
    left foot did not leave my right foot during the whole sitting.

    Report of M. Victorien Sardou

    (_Séance of November 19_)

    (There were present at this séance, besides the hosts of the evening,
    M. V. Sardou, M. and Mme. Brisson, M. A. de Rochas, M. Prof. Richet,
    M. G. de Fontenay, M. Gaston Méry, Mme. Fourton, M. and Mlle. des

    I shall only relate here phenomena controlled by myself personally in
    the séance of last Saturday. Consequently, I say nothing of the
    arrangement of the apartment, of the experimenters, nor of the events
    which were first produced in the dark and which all the participants
    were able to authenticate,--such as cracking sounds in the table,
    levitations, displacements of the table, raps, etc., as well as the
    blowing out of the curtain over the table, the bringing on of the
    violin, of the tambourine, and so forth.

    Eusapia having invited me to take the place at her side which had been
    vacated by M. Brisson, I sat down on her left, while you preserved
    your place on her right. I took her left hand in my right hand, while
    my left hand placed upon the table was in contact with that of my
    neighbor, the medium insisting on this several times in order that the
    chain might not be broken. Her left foot rested upon my right foot.
    All through the experiment I never let go her hand for a single
    second. She grasped my hand with a strong pressure, and it followed
    her through all her movements. In the same way her foot always kept in
    contact with mine. My foot always kept touch with hers in all her foot
    scrapings on the floor, her shiftings of place, shrinkings,
    twitchings, etc., which never had anything suspicious in them, nor
    were they of such a nature as to explain the events which took place
    at my side, behind me, around me, and upon me.

    In the first place, and in less than a minute after I had been placed
    on the left of the medium, the curtain nearest to me was puffed out
    and brushed against me, as if impelled by a gust of wind. Then three
    times I felt upon my right side a pressure which lasted but for a
    moment, yet was very marked. At that moment we were in a very dim
    light, yet enough to make the faces and the hands of all who were
    present distinctly visible. After Eusapia's violent nervous
    contractions, struggles, and energetic pushes (precisely like those
    which I had seen in similar cases elsewhere and which only astonish
    those who have slightly studied these phenomena), suddenly the curtain
    nearest to me was blown forward with an astonishing propulsive power
    between Eusapia and me, in the direction of the table, entirely
    concealing from me the face of the medium; and the violin, which, with
    the tambourine, had, before my introduction, been replaced in the dark
    chamber, was hurled to the middle of the table, as if by an invisible
    arm. To accomplish this, the arm must have lifted the curtain and
    drawn it along with it.

    After this the curtain returned to its first position, but not
    completely; for it still remained puffed out a little between Eusapia
    and me, one of its folds remaining upon the edge of the table at my

    Then you took the violin and held it out at such a distance from the
    two curtains that it was wholly visible to the company; and you
    invited the occult agent to take it.

    This was done, the mysterious agent taking it back with him into the
    dark closet, with as much good will as he had shown in bringing it on.

    The violin then fell upon the floor behind the curtains, or portières.
    One of these which was nearest to me resumed its vertical position,
    and for a time I heard upon my right upon the floor behind the
    curtains a kind of scrimmage between the violin and the tambourine,
    which were displaced, pulled about, and lifted, clashing and
    resounding at a great rate; and yet it was impossible to attribute any
    of these manifestations to Eusapia, whose foot never moved, but
    remained firmly pressed against my own.

    A little after, I felt against my right leg, behind the curtain, the
    rubbing of a hard body which was trying to climb upon me, and I
    thought it was the violin. And so it was, in fact; and, after an
    unsuccessful effort to climb higher than my knee, this apparently
    living creature fell with a bang upon the floor.

    Almost immediately I felt a new pressure upon my right hip, and
    mentioned the circumstance. You disengaged your left hand from the
    chain, and, turning toward me, twice made in the air the gesture of
    the director of an orchestra moving his bâton to and fro. And each
    time, with perfect precision, I felt upon my side the repercussion of
    a blow exactly tallying your gesture, which reached me after the delay
    of a second more or less, and which seemed to me to correspond exactly
    to the time necessary for the transference of a billiard ball or a
    tennis ball from you to me.

    Some one, Dr. Richet, I believe, having spoken at that time of strokes
    upon the shoulders of the sitters in which the action and shape of a
    human hand was very marked, I will mention as a proof of his remark
    that I received in succession three blows upon the left shoulder (that
    is to say, the one most distant from the curtain and from the medium),
    more violent than the preceding ones; and this time the heavy pressure
    of the five fingers was very evident. Then a last blow with the flat
    of the hand, applied in the small of the back, without hurting me at
    all, was strong enough to make me lean forward, in spite of myself,
    toward the table.

    Some moments after, my chair, moving under me, glided over the floor,
    and was shifted in such a way as to leave my back turned a little in
    the direction of the dark closet.

    I leave to other witnesses the task of telling the results of their
    personal observations,--how, for example, the violin, having been
    picked up by you from the floor and replaced upon the table, was held
    out by Mme. Brisson, as you had already done, and lifted up in the
    same way in the sight of all, while I held the left hand of Eusapia,
    you her right hand, and with the hand which remained free you pressed
    the wrist of her left hand.

    Nor do I say anything of a hand-pressure through the opening in the
    curtain, having seen nothing of this myself.

    But that which I did see very well indeed was the sudden appearance of
    three very vivid little lights between my neighbor and myself. They
    were promptly extinguished and seemed like a kind of will-o'-the-wisp,
    similar to electric sparks coming and going with great rapidity.

    In short, I can only repeat here what I have said during the course
    of these experiments, "If I had not been convinced forty years ago, I
    should be this evening."

    Report of M. Jules Claretie.

    (_Séance of November 25_)

    (There were present at this sitting, in addition to the hosts of the
    occasion, M. Jules Claretie and his son, M. Brisson, M. Louis Vignon,
    Mme. Fourton, Mme. Gagneur, M. G. Delanne, M. René Baschet, M. and
    Mme. Basilewska, M. Mairet, photographer.)

    I note only the impressions I received after the moment when Eusapia,
    who had taken my hand at the time when M. Brisson was still seated by
    her, asked me to replace him. I am certain that I did not let go of
    Eusapia's hand during all the experiments. Every moment I felt the
    pressure of her foot upon mine, the heel being especially perceptible.
    I do not believe that I relaxed my fingers for a moment, nor released
    the hand that I held. I was struck with the throbbing of the arteries
    at the end of Eusapia's fingers: the blood bounded feverishly through

    I sat next the curtain. It goes without saying that it was drawn from
    right to left or from left to right just as it happened. That which I
    can't understand is that it could swell out until it floated over the
    table like a sail inflated by the wind.

    I felt at first a little light blow on my right side. Then, _through
    the curtain_, two fingers seized me and pinched my cheek. The pressure
    of the two fingers was evident. A blow more violent than the first hit
    me on the right shoulder, as if it came from a hard, square body. My
    chair was twice moved and turned, first backward, then forward.

    Those two fingers which pinched my cheek I had already felt--before I
    took my place at Eusapia's side--when I was holding over against the
    curtain the little white book which M. Flammarion had given me. This
    book was seized by _two naked fingers_ (I say naked, because the folds
    of the curtain did not cover them) and then disappeared. I did not see
    these fingers: I touched them, or they touched me, if you will. My
    son held out and handed over also a leather cigar-holder, which was
    grabbed in the same way.

    One of the persons present saw a rather heavy little music-box
    disappear in the same way.

    With hardly a moment's delay the box was removed from our side with
    some violence; and I can speak with the more feeling of the force of
    the projection and of the weight of the object, because it struck me
    under the eye, and this morning I still have upon my face the only too
    visible mark of it, and feel the pain of it. I don't understand how a
    woman seated by my side could have the strength to throw with such
    force a box which, so to speak, should have come from quite a

    I observe, however, that all the phenomena are produced on the same
    side of the curtain; namely, behind it, or through it, if you will. I
    saw leafy branches fall upon the table, but they came from the side of
    the said curtain. Some persons assert that they saw a green twig come
    in through the open window which gives upon Cassini Street. But I did
    not see that.

    There was a little round table behind the curtain, very near me.
    Eusapia takes my hand and places it, held in hers, upon the round
    table. I feel this table shaking, moving. At a given moment I believe
    that I perceive two hands near by and upon mine. I am not deceived;
    but this second hand is that of M. Flammarion, who, on his side, is
    holding the hand of the medium. The round table bestirs itself. It
    leaves the floor, it rises. I have the feeling of this at once. Then,
    the curtain having lifted and, as it were, spread itself over the
    table, I can distinctly see what passes behind it. The round table
    moves; it rises; it falls.

    Suddenly tipping partly over, it rises and comes toward me, upon me.
    It is no longer vertical, but is caught between the table and me in a
    horizontal position. It comes with sufficient force to make me recoil,
    draw in my shoulders, and try to push back my chair to let this moving
    piece of furniture pass. It seems, like a living thing, to struggle
    between the table and me. Or, again, it seems like an animated being
    struggling against an obstacle, desiring to pass or move on and not
    being able to do so, being stopped by the table or by myself. At a
    given moment the round table is upon my knees, and it moves, it
    struggles (I repeat the word), without my being able to explain to
    myself what force is moving it.

    This force is a formidable one. The little table literally pushes me
    back, and in vain I throw myself backward to let it pass.

    Some of those present, M. Baschet among others, have said to me that
    at this moment it was upon two fingers. Two fingers of Eusapia push up
    the round table![26]

    But I, who had not lost my hold on her left hand nor her foot,--I, who
    had by me the little round table (quite visible in the semi-obscurity
    to which we had accustomed ourselves), saw nothing, nor did I perceive
    any effort on the part of Eusapia.

    I should like to have seen _luminous phenomena_ produced, visions of
    brilliant lights, of sudden gleams of fire. M. Flammarion hoped that
    we were going to see some of these. He asked for them. But Eusapia was
    evidently fatigued by this long and very interesting séance. She asked
    for "_un poco di luce_" ("a little light"). The lamps were relighted.
    Everything was finished.

    This morning I recall with a kind of anxious curiosity the least
    details of this very fascinating soirée. When we had returned to the
    observatory, on leaving our amiable hosts, I asked myself if I had
    been in a dream. But I said to myself, "We were present at the skilful
    performances of a woman prestidigitator; we witnessed only theatrical
    tricks." My son recalled to me the prodigies of skill of the brothers
    Isola. This morning, strange to say, reflection makes me at once more
    perplexed and less incredulous. We perhaps witnessed (we undoubtedly
    did witness) the manifestation of an unknown force which will
    hereafter be studied and perhaps one day utilized. I should no longer
    dare to deny the genuineness of Spiritualism. It isn't a question of
    animal magnetism: it is something else, I know not what; a _quid
    divinum_ (a divine something), although science will some day analyze
    it and catalogue it. That which perhaps astonished me the most was
    the curtain swelling out like a sail! Where did the puff of wind come
    from? A regular breeze would have been needed to put such life into it
    as that. However, I do not discuss: I give in my evidence. I have seen
    these things, observed them carefully. I shall think of them for a
    long time. I do not stop here. I shall seek an explanation. Possibly I
    shall find one. But this much is certain, that we ought to be modest
    in the presence of all that appears to us to be for the moment
    inexplicable, and that, before affirming or denying, we ought to wait,
    to reserve our judgment.

    In the mean time, while feeling of my right maxillary tooth, which is
    a little sore, I think of that line of Regnard and allow myself to
    mangle it a little while recalling that hard music-box,--

        "_Je vois que c'est un corps et non pas un esprit._"
        (I see that it is a body and not a spirit.)

    Report of Dr. Gustave Le Bon

    (_Séance of November 28_)

    (There were present at this séance, besides the hosts, M. and Mme.
    Brisson, MM. Gustave Le Bon, Baschet, de Sergines, Louis Vignon,
    Laurent, Ed. de Rothschild, Delanne, Bloch, Mathieu, Ephrussi, Mme. la
    Comtesse de Chevigné, Mmes. Gagneur, Syamour, Fourton, Basilewska,

    Eusapia is undoubtedly a marvellous subject. It struck me as something
    wonderful that, while I was holding her hand, she was playing on an
    imaginary tambourine to which the sounds of the tambourine that was
    behind the curtain accurately corresponded.

    I do not see how any trick is possible in such a case, any more than
    in the case of the table.

    My cigarette-holder was grasped by a very strong hand, which wrenched
    the object from me with a good deal of energy. I was on my guard and
    asked to see the experiment again. The phenomenon was so singular and
    so beyond all that we can comprehend that we must first try natural

    1. It is impossible that it could have been Eusapia. I was holding one
    of her hands and _was looking at the other arm_, and I placed my
    cigarette-holder in such a position that, _even with her two arms
    free_, she would not have been able to accomplish such a marvellous

    2. It is not probable that it could have been an accomplice; but is it
    not possible that the unconscious mind of Eusapia suggested to the
    unconscious mind of a person near the curtain to pass a hand behind it
    and operate there? Everybody would be acting in good faith and would
    have been deceived by the unconscious element. This important point
    ought to be verified, for no experiment would be so valuable if it
    were once _demonstrated_.

    Could not Eusapia's departure be put off? We shall not have a similar
    opportunity, and we surely ought to clear up that phenomenon of the

    It is very evident that the table was lifted; but that is a material
    phenomenon which one can readily grant. The hand which came to seize
    my cigarette-holder performed an act of the will implying an
    intelligence, but the other is nothing of the kind. Eusapia might lift
    a table to the height of three feet without my scientific conception
    of the world being changed by it; but to bring in the intervention of
    a spirit, that would be to prove the existence of spirits, and you see
    the consequences.

    As for the hand which seized the cigarette-case, it is absolutely
    certain that it was not that of Eusapia (you know that I am very
    sceptical and that I was looking about me); but close to the curtain,
    in the salon, there were a good many people, and several times you
    heard me ask people to stand aside from the curtain. If we two had
    been able to study Eusapia _absolutely alone_, in a room to which we
    had the key, the problem would soon be solved.

I have not been able to make this verification, the sitting at which Dr.
Le Bon was present having been the last which Eusapia had consented to
give at my house. But his objection is of no value. I am absolutely
certain that nobody glided behind the curtain, neither in this particular
case nor in any other. My wife, also, particularly occupied herself in
observing what took place in that part of the room and never was able to
discover anything suspicious. There is only one hypothesis; that is, that
Eusapia herself handled the objects. Since Dr. Le Bon declares that the
thing was impossible, he himself personally inspecting it, we are
compelled to admit the existence of an unknown psychic force.[27]

    Report of M. Armelin

    (_Séance of November 21_)

    (For this sitting I had asked three members of the Astronomical
    Society of France to exercise the severest control possible; namely,
    M. Antoniadi, my assistant astronomer at the observatory of Juvisy, M.
    Mathieu, agricultural engineer at the same observatory, and M.
    Armelin, secretary of the Astronomical Society. The last-named
    gentleman sent me the following report. There were also present M. and
    Mme. Brisson, M. Baschet, M. Jules Bois, Mme. Fourton, Mme. La
    Comtesse de Labadye.)

    At quarter of ten Eusapia takes her seat, her back to the place where
    the two curtains meet, her hands resting upon the table. At the
    invitation of M. Flammarion, M. Mathieu takes his seat at her right,
    charged with the duty of keeping constant watch upon her left hand,
    and M. Antoniadi is enjoined to do the same for her right hand. They
    also make themselves sure of her feet. At the right of M. Mathieu
    sits Mme. la Comtesse de Labadye; on the left of M. Antoniadi, Mme.
    Fourton. Facing Eusapia, between Mmes. de Labadye and Fourton, MM.
    Flammarion, Brisson, Baschet, and Jules Bois.

    The gas chandelier is lighted and the full light turned on. This
    chandelier is almost over the table. A little lamp with a shade is
    placed on the floor behind an easy-chair, near the opposite side of
    the room, in the direction of its greatest length, and to the left of
    the fireplace.

    At five minutes of ten the table is lifted from the side opposite to
    the medium and falls back with a bang.

    At ten o'clock it rises from the side of the medium, who withdraws her
    hands, the other persons holding their hands lifted up. The same
    effect is produced three times. The second time, while the table is in
    the air, M. Antoniadi declares that he is leaning on it with all his
    weight and is unable to lower it. The third time, M. Mathieu leans on
    it in the same way and experiences the same resistance. During this
    time, Eusapia holds her closed fist about four inches above the table,
    looking as if she were strongly grasping something. The action lasts
    several seconds. There is no doubt whatever about this levitation.
    When the table falls back, Eusapia experiences something like a
    relaxation after a great effort.

    At 10.03 the table is lifted clean off its four feet at once, at first
    on the side opposite to the medium, rising about eight inches; then it
    falls abruptly back. _While it is in the air, Eusapia calls her two
    neighbors to witness that they are closely holding her hands and her
    feet, and that she is not in contact with the table._

    Then light raps are heard in the table. Eusapia makes M. Antoniadi
    lift his hand about eight inches above the table and taps three times
    upon his hand with her fingers. The three taps are heard
    simultaneously in the table.

    To prove that she is not using either her hands or her feet, she sits
    down sidewise upon her chair on the left, stretches out her legs, and
    puts her feet on the edge of the chair of M. Antoniadi: she is in full
    view and her hands are held. At once the curtain is shaken in the
    direction of M. A.

    From 10.10 to 10.15, several times in succession, five raps are heard
    in the table. Each time the gas is turned down a little, and each time
    the table moves without contact.

    At 10.20 it balances itself, suspended in the air, and resting upon
    the two legs of the longer side. Then _it rises off of its four feet
    to a height of eight inches_.

    10.25. The curtain moves, and M. Flammarion says that there is some
    one behind it, that somebody is pressing his hand. He holds his hand
    out toward the curtain, at a distance of about four inches. The
    curtain is pushed out into something like a pocket made by a hand
    which is drawing near. The medium with nervous laugh cries, "Take it,
    take it." M. A. feels through the curtain the touch of a soft body,
    like a cushion. But the hand of M. F. is not taken. Objects are heard
    to move, including the bells of a tambourine.

    All of a sudden the medium, leaving M. Mathieu, stretches her hand
    above the table toward M. Jules Bois, who takes it. At this moment,
    behind the curtain, an object falls to the floor with a great noise.

    10.35. Eusapia, again freeing her right hand, lifts it up above her
    left shoulder, the fingers forward, at a distance of several inches
    from the curtain, and beats four or five strokes in the air which are
    heard to sound in the tambourine. Several persons think they see a
    will-o'-the-wisp through the gap between the curtains.

    Up to that point the gas has been gradually lowered. After the lapse
    of a full moment I find that I can no longer read, but I can
    distinguish very clearly the horizontal lines of my writing. I can see
    the hour perfectly by my watch, as well as the faces of those present,
    (that of Eusapia especially) turned toward the light. The gas is now
    completely extinguished.

    At 10.40, the gas being out, I can still read my watch, but with
    difficulty; I still see the lines of my writing, though without being
    able to read.

    Eusapia wants somebody to hold her head, which is done. Then she asks
    somebody to hold her feet. M. Baschet gets down on his knees under the
    table and holds them.

    M. Antoniadi cries, "I am touched!" and says that he has felt a hand.
    I have very distinctly seen the curtain puffing out. Mme. Flammarion,
    whom I see silhouetted on the bright glass of the window, her head
    leaning forward, goes behind the curtain in order to assure herself
    that the medium is not doing anything suspicious in the way of

    One of the persons present having changed places, Eusapia utters
    complaints: "_La catena! la catena!_" ("The chain! the chain!") The
    chain is re-established.

    At 10.45 the curtain is inflated again. A bump is heard. The round
    table touches the elbow of M. Antoniadi. Mme. Flammarion, who has kept
    looking behind the curtain, says that she sees the round table turned
    over. Its feet are in the air, and it is moving to and fro. She thinks
    she sees glimmers of light near the floor.

    M. Mathieu feels a hand and an arm pushing the curtain against him. M.
    Antoniadi says that he is touched by a cushion; his chair is pulled
    and turns under him as if on a pivot. He is touched again on the elbow
    by some object.

    It is ascertained that M. Jules Bois is holding Eusapia's right hand
    above the table; M. Antoniadi assures us that he is holding her left
    hand, and M. Mathieu her feet.

    The curtain is again shaken twice; M. Antoniadi is hit in the back
    very hard, he says, and a hand pulls his hair. The only light
    remaining is the little lamp with a shade, behind an easy-chair at the
    farther end of the salon. I continue to write, but my strokes take all
    kinds of shapes.

    Suddenly, M. Antoniadi exclaims that he is enveloped by the curtain,
    which rests upon his shoulders. Eusapia cries, "What is this that is
    passing over me?" The round table comes forth beneath the curtain.
    Mme. Flammarion, who is standing opposite the window, and has kept
    looking behind the curtain, says that she sees some very white object.
    At the same moment M. Flammarion, Mme. Fourton, and M. Jules Bois
    exclaim that they have just seen a white hand between the curtains,
    above Eusapia's head; and, at the same moment, M. Mathieu says that
    his hair is being pulled. The hand we saw seemed small, like that of a
    woman or of a child.

    "If there is a hand there," says M. Flammarion, "could it perhaps
    grasp an object?" M. Jules Bois holds a book out toward the middle of
    the right-hand curtain. The book is taken and held two seconds. Mme.
    Flammarion, whom I see always silhouetted upon the bright glass of the
    window, and who is looking behind the curtain, _cries that she has
    seen the book pass through_.

    M. F. proposes to light up and verify. But everybody agrees in
    thinking that the curtain may have already changed its position. A
    moment afterwards the curtain is again puffed out, and M. Antoniadi
    says that he is hit four or five times on the shoulder. Eusapia has
    asked him more than ten times whether he is quite "_seguro_" (sure)
    that he has hold of her hand and her foot.

    "Yes, yes," he replies, "_seguro, segurissimo_" ("sure, quite sure").

    Mme. Fourton says that for the second time she has seen a hand
    stretched out and that this time it touched the shoulder of M.
    Antoniadi. M. Jules Bois says that for the second time he has seen a
    hand stretched out at the end of a small arm, the fingers moving, the
    palm forward. (It is impossible to decide whether these two visions
    were simultaneous or not.)

    We are getting accustomed to the almost complete darkness; I can still
    read "11.15" by my watch. M. Antoniadi says his ear is pinched very
    hard. M. Mathieu says he is touched. M. Antoniadi feels his chair
    pulled: it falls to the floor. He lifts it again and seats himself on
    it, and is again hit very hard on the shoulder.

    About 11.20, at the request of Eusapia, M. Flammarion replaces M.
    Mathieu. He holds her two feet and one hand; M. Antoniadi holds the
    other hand. The lamp is lowered still more. The darkness is almost
    complete. M. Flammarion, having remarked that an unknown physical
    force is evidently present, but perhaps not an individual personality,
    feels his hand seized all of a sudden by some one (or some thing), and
    is interrupted. Then, a little after, he complains that his beard is
    being pulled (on the side opposite the medium, where I am. I did not
    perceive anything).

    At 11.30 the lamp is turned up. It is comparatively bright in the
    room. The curtain, after all these movements, is seen to be more and
    more pushed aside, enveloping the head of Eusapia. Suddenly, above her
    head, we all see the tambourine slowly appear and fall upon the table
    with a noise like that of sheep-bells. It seems to me brighter than
    the feeble glimmer of the concealed lamp would justify and as if
    accompanied by white phosphorescent gleams; but they are perhaps
    flashes of light from its gilded ornaments, which, however, ought to
    appear yellower.

    When the lamp is turned down, the noise of moving furniture is heard;
    the round table is fetched clear up onto the top of the large table.
    It is removed, and the tambourine executes a dance all alone with a
    peculiar sound like the ringing of bells. Mme. Fourton says that she
    has had her hand pressed and her fore-arm pinched.

    At 11.45 the window curtain is closed in its turn; and, after a
    moment, we all see in the direction in which the cleft in the corner
    curtain ought to be, above Eusapia's head, a large white star of the
    color of Vega, though larger and of a softer light, and which rests
    motionless for some seconds, then is extinguished. Shortly after, a
    zigzag glimmer of light, of the same white color, runs over the
    right-hand curtain, tracing two or three upright lines of several
    inches in length, like an N very much elongated.

    In spite of the fact that night has fallen, there is still sufficient
    light entering by the two uncurtained windows, and proceeding from the
    vague glimmer of the lamp behind the easy-chair, to enable each one
    of us to distinguish his neighbors. Our silhouettes are outlined in
    the large mirror near us and above the sofa. The white collars of the
    men are clearly seen, their faces a little less clearly. Yet on my
    left I see very plainly M. Baschet, on my right Mme. Brisson, standing
    and holding her hand up to her face to shield the eyes. I also
    distinguish Mme. Flammarion, who has come and seated herself near her.

    M. Flammarion feels an object gliding over his hair. He begs Mme. de
    Labadye to take hold of it; and a music-box falls into his hands,
    which, before the séance, was placed upon the ogee, in the corner
    concealed by the curtain. M. Brisson has taken the place at the table
    formerly occupied by M. Flammarion, facing Eusapia. A cushion hits him
    full in the face. As I am approaching the mirror, I see the reflection
    of this passing cushion by the comparatively bright light at the far
    end of the room.

    M. Baschet seizes the object and rests his elbow upon it. It is
    snatched from him, flies over our heads, hits the mirror, falls upon
    the sofa, and rolls upon my foot. All this without my being able to
    perceive any movement on the part of the medium.

    Midnight draws near. The séance is adjourned.

    MM. Antoniadi and Mathieu then declare that the control with which
    they were charged has not been successful, and that they are not sure
    that they have always had hold of the medium's hands.

    Report of M. Antoniadi

    (_The Same Séance_)

    I shall give you an exact account of the rôle I played, that I may
    gratify your desire to know the truth.

    I restricted myself to ascertaining whether there was _a single
    phenomenon_ which could not be explained in the most simple manner,
    and I arrived at the conclusion that there was not. I assure you, on
    my word of honor, that my watchful, silent attitude _convinced me,
    beyond all manner of doubt, that everything is fraudulent, from the
    beginning to the end_; that there is no doubt that Eusapia shifts her
    hands or her feet, and that the hand or the foot that one is thought
    to control is never held tight or very strongly pressed at the moment
    of the production of the phenomena. My certain conclusion is that
    _nothing_ is produced without the substitution of hands. I ought to
    add that, at first, I was very much astonished when I was hit hard in
    the back, from behind the curtain, while I was very clearly holding
    _two hands_ with my right hand. Happily, however, at this moment, Mme.
    Flammarion having given us a little light, I saw that I held the
    _right_ hand of Eusapia and--yours!

    The substitution is made by Eusapia with extraordinary dexterity. In
    order to ascertain it, I was obliged to concentrate my mind upon her
    very slightest movements with the severest attention. But it is the
    first step that costs; and, once familiarized with her artifices, I
    predicted with decision _all_ the phenomena by the sensation of touch

    Being a good observer, I am absolutely certain that I was not
    deceived. I was neither hypnotized, nor was I at all frightened during
    the "bringing in" of objects. And, as I am not a lunatic, I believe
    that a certain weight should be given to my affirmations.

    It is true that, during the séance, I was not sincere, disguising the
    truth of the efficacy of my control. I did that with the sole purpose
    of making Eusapia think that I was a convert to Spiritualism. I did
    this to _avoid scandal_. But, once the sitting was over, the Truth
    choked me, and I was most eager to communicate it to my great
    benefactor and official superior.

    It is not prudent to be too affirmative. It is for that reason that I
    have always been reserved in my interpretation of natural phenomena.
    Consequently, I am unable to be so terribly affirmative as to take
    oath to the absolute charlatanism of the manifestations of Eusapia,
    before, as Shakespeare says, I have "rendered assurance doubly sure."

    I have no personal ambition in the spiritistic line, and all the
    careful observations that I made during this séance of November 21 are
    only one stone the more contributed to the edifice of Truth.

    _It is not on account of prejudice_ that I do not believe in the
    reality of the manifestations, and I can assure you, if I were able to
    see _the least_ phenomenon that was really extraordinary or
    inexplicable, I should be the first to confess my error.

    The reading of several books has led me to admit the possible reality
    of these manifestations, but direct experience has convinced me of the

    My frankness in this report unhappily borders upon indiscretion. But
    frankness is here synonymous with devotion, for it would be to betray
    you if I were false for an instant to the sacred cause of Truth.

    Report of M. Mathieu.

    (_Séance of November 25_)

    The séance opens at 9.30. M. Brisson, controller on the left, puts his
    feet on Eusapia's feet; M. Flammarion, controller on the right, holds
    her knees. In a moment the table leans to the right, its two left feet
    are lifted and then it falls back; then follows the lifting of the two
    right feet, and finally the lifting of the whole table off of its four
    feet to a height of about seven inches above the floor (contact of
    feet certain and knees motionless). I take a photograph.

    At 9.37 a slight lifting on the left; then a lifting on the right, and
    a total levitation (photograph).

    During the levitations of the table the salon is lighted by a strong
    Auer burner. It is now extinguished and is replaced by a little lamp
    which is placed behind a fire-screen at the farther end of the room.
    Absolute control of the hands and of the feet made by MM. Brisson and

    M. Brisson is slightly touched on the right hip, and at this moment
    the two hands of Eusapia are plainly seen.

    At 9.48 the curtain shakes and then puffs out three times in
    succession. M. Brisson is again touched on the right hip; the curtain
    is drawn back as if by a curtain-band. M. Flammarion, who holds
    Eusapia's hand, makes three gestures and to each of his gestures
    corresponds a new divergence of the portière. Eusapia recommends that
    we "give attention to the temperature of the medium; it will be found
    to be changed after each phenomenon."

    At 9.57 the light is diminished and is henceforth very feeble. The
    curtain bellies out, and at the same moment M. Brisson is touched;
    then the curtain is flung forcefully over the table. At the request of
    Eusapia, M. Delanne lightly touches her head behind, and the curtain
    slightly trembles.

    Eusapia asks that a window be partly opened, the one in the middle of
    the salon, saying that we shall see something new. M. Flammarion holds
    with his left hand the knees of the medium, and with his right hand
    holds the wrist, the thumb, and the palm of her right hand before him
    at the height of the eyes. M. Brisson holds the left hand. Eusapia
    seems to call something from the direction of the window, making
    gestures, and saying, "I will catch it." Then a little branch of
    privet comes and touches M. Flammarion's hand, apparently arriving
    from somewhere near the window. M. F. takes this branch. A moment
    later two spindle-tree branches come from behind the curtain at the
    height of M. Brisson's head and past the edge of the curtain, which is
    pulled up and back. The branches fall on the table.

    M. Brisson, all this time at Eusapia's left, is next touched on the
    hip, _at a moment when the hand of the medium is at the height of M.
    Flammarion's beard_. Then the chair of M. Brisson is pulled and pushed
    about. We hear distinctly, behind the curtain, sounds from the shaking
    of the round table, upon which is the tambourine. Certain vibrations
    of the tambourine are produced, corresponding to the movements of the
    round table. At this moment M. Brisson mentions the fact that he has
    been out of touch with the foot of the medium for about half a second,
    but he is then holding her two thumbs about ten inches apart, and M.
    Flammarion has her right hand close to his breast. The right hand of
    M. Brisson, holding the left of Eusapia, passes behind the curtain,
    and M. Brisson says that he has the impression of something like a
    dress-skirt puffed out against his ankle.

    Thereupon ensues new jolting and bumping of the round table and the
    tambourine, with displacement of the round table. (Undoubted control
    by MM. Flammarion and Brisson.)

    10.30. Clattering noises of the round table in the cabinet are heard.
    M. Flammarion makes gestures with his hand, and synchronistic
    movements of the table and of the tambourine take place in the dark

    10.35. Eusapia asks for a few minutes' rest. The sitting is resumed at
    10.43. The violin and the bell are hurled with force through the cleft
    in the curtain (M. Brisson gives assurance that he holds Eusapia's
    left hand by the thumb, upon her knees, and M. Flammarion the entire
    right hand). At this moment a photograph is taken by flash-light.
    Cries and groans from Eusapia, blinded by the light.

    The sitting begins again some minutes afterward, and M. Jules
    Claretie, sitting at the left of M. Brisson, has his fingers twice
    touched by a hand. M. Baschet, who is standing away from the table,
    holds out a violin to the curtain: the violin is seized and thrown
    into the cabinet. He holds a book out to the curtain: this book is
    seized, but falls to the floor, _before the curtain_.

    M. Claretie presents a cigarette-holder and feels a hand which tries
    to seize it, but he resists and will not let it go. M. Flammarion asks
    him to let go of the object: the hand bears off the prize. A moment
    after, this object is thrown from the cleft between the two curtains
    against Mme. de Basilewska at the other end of the table. It had been
    both presented and removed at the middle of the curtain.

    At eleven o'clock Eusapia begs for a little more light. M. Claretie
    has become controller of the left in place of M. Brisson. He is
    touched on the left side. Then the round table is overturned while
    advancing toward the main table. M. Claretie perceives that his chair
    is moving backwards, as if pulled back; then he is hit on the shoulder
    and experiences a strong pressure under the arm-pit. The curtain
    suddenly approaches M. Claretie, brushes against him, and envelops
    both himself and the medium. M. Claretie is then pinched in the cheek.
    M. Flammarion presents to the curtain the hand of Mme. Fourton, and
    the two hands are pinched through the curtain.

    The music-box, which is in the dark cabinet, falls on the table; Mmes.
    Gagneur and Flammarion at the same moment make mention of a hand. M.
    Baschet presents the music-box to the curtain; a hand seizes it
    through the curtain, he resists, the hand pushes him away; he presents
    it again, the hand seizes it and throws it back, and the box thus
    thrown wounds M. Claretie, who is struck beneath the left eye. The
    tambourine is thrown forward upon the table after having remained
    suspended a moment above the head of the medium.

    At 11.15 a complete levitation of the table for seven or eight
    seconds. Absolute control by MM. Flammarion and Claretie. M.
    Flammarion has his knee pinched by a hand. Next the round table is
    transferred to the knees of M. Claretie and is forced upon him in
    spite of all his resistance. Levitations of the table take place in
    full light. Verification of the feet. The feet of one of the
    controllers are beneath, those of the other above, and those of the
    medium between the two.

    Report of M. Pallotti

    (_Séance of November 14_)

    (There are present at this séance, besides the hosts of the evening:
    M. and Mme. Brisson, M. and Mme. Pallotti, M. le Bocain, M. Boutigny,
    Mme. Fourton.)

    At the commencement of the sitting several levitations of the table
    took place, and, when I asked the spirit who was present if he could
    let me see my daughter Rosalie, I obtained an affirmative reply. I
    then made an agreement with the said spirit that a series of eight
    regular raps would indicate to me the moment when my dear daughter
    would be present. After some minutes of waiting, the number of raps
    agreed on was heard in the table. These raps were vigorous and made at
    fixed intervals.

    I found, at this time, that I was placed opposite to the medium,--that
    is to say, facing her,--at the other end of the table. When I asked
    the spirit to embrace me and caress me, I immediately felt an icy
    breath before my face, but yet without experiencing the least
    sensation of contact.

    When the medium announced the materialization of the spirit in these
    words, "_E venuta, e venuta_" ("She is here, she is here"), I
    distinguished over the middle of the table a spectral form, dim and
    confused, but which, little by little, grew brighter, and took the
    shape of the head of a young girl of the same stature as Rosalie.

    When objects, such as the music-box, violin, or the like, were
    unexpectedly brought before us, I saw very plainly the shape of a
    little hand emerging from the curtain that hung close by me, and which
    placed these different objects upon the table.

    I ought to declare that, during these inexplicable phenomena, the
    chain was not broken for a single moment: it would consequently have
    been materially impossible for one of us to have made use of his

    I will now describe the last phenomena in which I was for a little
    while both actor and spectator. These events closed the séance.

    One of the company, M. Boutigny, who was affianced to my daughter,
    having left the table to give his place to one of the spectators, I
    saw him approach the curtain of which I have spoken, which at once
    gaped open by his side. I ascertained this fact very precisely.

    M. Boutigny then announced to us aloud that he was being very
    affectionately caressed. The medium, who was at this moment in an
    extraordinary state of agitation, kept saying, "_Amore mio, amore
    mio!_" ("My love, my love!"), and, addressing herself to me, called to
    me several times in the following words, "_Adesso vieni tu! vieni
    tu!_" ("Come at once, come!")

    I hastened to take the place which M. Boutigny occupied near the
    curtain, and I was scarcely there when I felt myself kissed several
    times. I was able for an instant to touch the head which was kissing
    me, which, however, drew back from the contact of my hands.

    I ought to say that, while these events were taking place, my eyes
    were carefully observing the medium as well as the persons who were by
    my side. I can therefore, boldly certify that I was not the victim of
    any illusion or subterfuge, and that the head which I touched was the
    head of a real and unknown person. I felt myself afterwards gently
    stroked several times, upon the face and head, the neck and the
    breast, by a hand which came out from behind the curtain. At last I
    saw the portière move aside and a little hand, very moist, very soft,
    stretched out and placed on my right hand. Quick as thought, I reached
    my left hand to this place to seize it; but, after having held it
    closely pressed in mine for several seconds, it seemed to melt away
    between my fingers.

    Before closing, let me say, by way of additional authentication, that
    M. Flammarion had the extreme kindness to have this séance given for
    my family and myself, and it therefore took on a very markedly private

    The séance having lasted from 9.20 to 11.45 P.M., we several times
    asked the medium if she felt fatigued. Eusapia said no. It was only
    when the last experiment took place, when we (myself and my family)
    had been caressed and embraced, that the medium, feeling tired,
    decided to end the sitting.

    My wife is convinced, as I am, that she embraced her daughter,
    recognizing her hair and the general appearance of her person.

    Report of M. Le Bocain

    (_The Same Séance_)

    The following are some extraordinary phenomena which I observed during
    the course of this séance and of which I believe I can give a report
    as exact as it is impartial, having personally taken the most minute
    precautions to assure myself of the perfect fairness of the conditions
    under which these different wonders were produced.

    I only speak, be it understood, of circumstances or actions with which
    I myself was associated both as actor and as spectator.

    1. At the opening of the sitting and _during the time_ that the table
    was engaged in all sorts of noisy pranks, I clearly felt the pressure
    of a hand clasping me in a friendly way upon the right shoulder. In
    order to make the matters clear, I ought to depose that--

    a) I sat at the left of the medium and held her hand; that,
    furthermore, during the whole sitting her foot was placed on mine.

    b) That, with Eusapia's hand always tightly pressed in mine, I proved,
    by _suddenly_ placing it upon her knees, _at the very moment that the
    table was rising from beside us_, that her lower limbs were in a
    normal position and _absolutely motionless_.

    c) For these different reasons, it seems to me, in fact, _impossible_
    that Eusapia could have made any use whatever of these two limbs
    (which happened to be placed by me) to execute a movement, even
    unconscious, that could give rise to the least suspicion.

    2. At a certain point in the proceedings I felt on my right cheek the
    sensation of a fondling caress. I felt very distinctly that it was a
    real hand which was touching my skin, and nothing else. The hand in
    question seemed to me of small size, and the skin was soft and moist.

    3. Towards the end of the séance I felt upon my back a gust of cold
    air, and at the same time _I heard_ the curtain behind me slowly open.

    Then, when I turned around, very much puzzled, I perceived standing at
    the lower end of this kind of alcove a form,--indistinct, it is true,
    but not so much so that I could not recognize the silhouette of a
    young girl whose figure was slightly beneath the average. I ought to
    say here that my sister Rosalie was also of short stature. The head of
    this apparition was not very distinct. It seemed surrounded by a short
    of shaded aureole. The whole form of the statue, if I may so express
    myself, stood out very little from the dim obscurity from which it had
    emerged; that is to say, it was not very luminous.

    4. I addressed myself to the spirit in Arabic, in very nearly the
    following terms:

    "If it is really thou, Rosalie, who art in the midst of us, pull the
    hair on the back of my head three times in succession."

    About ten minutes later, and when I had almost completely forgotten
    my request, I felt my hair pulled three separate times, just as I had
    desired. I certify this fact, which, besides, formed for me a most
    convincing truth of the presence of a familiar spirit close about us.

    LE BOCAIN, _Illustrator_,
      _Rire, Pêle-Mêle, Chronique Amusante, etc._

I have restricted myself to presenting here these different reports,[28]
in spite of certain contradictions, and even because of them. The reports
mutually supplement each other and form a complete whole, through the
entire independence of each observer.

You see how complex the subject is, and how difficult it is to form a
radical conviction, an absolute scientific judgment. Some phenomena are
incontestably true: there are others which are doubtful and which we may
attribute to fraud, conscious or unconscious, and sometimes also to
illusions of the observers. The levitation of the table, for example, its
complete detachment from the floor under the action of an unknown force
acting in opposition to the law of gravity, is a fact which cannot
reasonably be contested.

I may remark, in this connection, that the table almost always rises
hesitatingly, after balancings and oscillations, while, on the contrary,
when it falls back it goes straight down at one swoop, alighting squarely
on its four feet.[29]

On the other hand, since the medium constantly seeks to release one hand
(generally her left hand) from the control designed to hinder her from
doing so, a certain number of the touches felt and of the displacements of
objects may be due to a substitution of hands. This behavior of hers will
be the subject of a special examination in the following chapter.

But it would be impossible by the whole force of the hand to produce the
violent movement of the curtain, which seems to be inflated by a
tempestuous wind, and projected to the very centre of the table, forming a
great hood around the heads of the sitters. To fling out the curtain with
such force, it would be necessary for the medium to rise and push on it as
hard as she could with her extended arms--not once merely, but again and
again. But how can she do this when she is all the while seated tranquilly
in her chair?

These experiments place us in a special environment or atmosphere, on the
different physical and psychical characters of which it is difficult to
form an opinion.

At the time of the last séance, during which M. and Mme. Pallotti are sure
of having seen, touched, and embraced their daughter, I saw nothing, at
that moment, of this spectral form, although it was only a few yards from
me, and although I had perceived, some moments before, the head of a young
girl. It is true that, out of respect for their emotion, I did not
approach their group. But I kept careful watch, and I perceived no one but
the living.

At the séance of November 10 the noise of a sonorous object notified us of
a displacement, a movement. We seem to hear the violin strings lightly
touched. It is, in fact, the little violin on the round table, which is
lifted to a height somewhat above that of the head of the medium, passes
into the opening between the two curtains, and appears before us with the
neck forward. The idea comes into my head to grasp this instrument during
its slow passage through the air; but I hesitate, because I wish to see
what will become of it. It comes as far as the middle of the table,
descends, then falls, partly upon the table, partly upon the left hand of
M. Brisson and the right hand of Mme. Fourton.

That was one of the most accurate observations that I made at this séance.
I did not let go of Eusapia's right hand for a single instant, and M.
Brisson did not for a moment let go of her left hand.

But in the face of phenomena so incomprehensible we always revert to
scepticism. In the séance of November 19 we had thoroughly resolved this
time not to leave any loophole for doubt as to the hands, to hinder every
attempt at substitution, and to have the most complete control of each
hand, without having our attention withdrawn from this object for a single
moment. Eusapia has only two hands. She belongs to the same zoological
species that we do, and is neither trimanous nor quadrumanous.

It was enough, then, that there were two of us; that each one took a hand
of the medium and kept hold of it between the thumb and the forefinger,
that no possible doubt might arise, drew in the elbows, and held the said
hand as far removed as possible from the axis of the medium's body and
pressed against our own person, so as to remove the objection about the
substitution of hands.

That was the essential object of this séance, as far as concerned M.
Brisson and me. He had charge of the left hand. I had charge of the
right. I need not add that I am as sure of the loyalty of M. Brisson as he
is sure of mine, and that, forewarned as we were, and holding this séance
for the express purpose of this control, we could neither of us be the
dupes of any attempt at fraud, so far as regards that occasion, at least.

The famous medium, Home, had several times spoken to me of a curious
experiment that he and Crookes made with an accordion held in one of his
hands and playing all by itself, without the lower end being held by
another hand. Crookes has represented this experiment by a sketch in his
memoir upon this subject. The medium is seen holding the accordion with
one hand in a kind of open-work cage, and the accordion is playing by
itself. I shall give the details of this matter farther on.

I tried the experiment in another way, by holding the accordion myself,
and not letting it be touched by the medium. The feats which we had just
witnessed, and which were performed while Eusapia had her hands securely
held, gave me the hope of succeeding, so much the more because we believed
that we had seen fluid hands in action.

I, therefore, take a little new accordion, bought that evening in a
bazaar, and, approaching the table and remaining in a standing position, I
hold the accordion by one side, resting two fingers upon two keys, in such
a way as to permit the air to pass in case the instrument should begin to

So held, it is vertically suspended by the stretching out of my right hand
to the height of my head, and above the head of the medium. We make sure
that her hands are all the time tightly held and that the chain is
unbroken. After a short wait of five or six seconds I feel the accordion
drawn by its free end, and the bellows is immediately pushed in several
times successively; and at the same time the music is heard. There is not
the least doubt that a hand, a pair of pincers, or what-not, has hold of
the lower end of the instrument. I perceive very well the resistance of
this prehensible organ. All possibility of fraud is eliminated; for the
instrument is well above Eusapia's head, her hands are firmly held, and I
distinctly see the distention of the curtain as far as the instrument. The
accordion continues to make itself heard, and is pulled on so strongly
that I say to the invisible power, "Well, since you have such a good hold
on it, keep it!" I withdraw my hand, and the instrument remains as if
glued to the curtain. It is no longer heard. What has become of it? I
propose to light a candle to hunt for it. But the general opinion is that,
since things are going so well, it is better to make no changes in the
environment. While we are talking, the accordion begins to play,--a slight
and rather insignificant air. In order to do that, it must be held by two
hands. At the end of fifteen or twenty seconds it is brought to the middle
of the table (playing all the while). The certainty that hands are playing
it is so complete that I say to the Unknown, "Since you hold the accordion
so well, you can doubtless take my hand itself." I reach out my arm at the
height of my head, rather a little higher. The curtain inflates, and
through the curtain I feel a hand (a pretty strong left hand); that is to
say, three fingers and the thumb, and these grasp the end of my right

Let us suppose for an instant that the accordion could have been pulled by
one of Eusapia's hands, which she had released, lifted up, and screened
behind the curtain. It is a very natural hypothesis. Let us say that the
two controllers on the right and on the left respectively were cheated by
the dexterity of the medium. That is not impossible. But, then, that the
instrument might play, our heroine would have had to release her two hands
and leave the two controllers at loggerheads with their own hands. It is
something not to be thought of.

Apropos of the existence of a third hand, a fluid hand, created on the
spur of the moment, with muscles and bones (an hypothesis so bold that one
hardly dares to express it), I relate here what we observed during the
sitting of November 19.

M. Guillaume de Fontenay, with whom the experiments at Montfort-l'Amaury
were made, in 1897, at the home of the Blech family, had come on purpose
from the centre of France, with a great profusion of apparatus and of new
processes, to try to get some photographs. The medium appeared to be
enchanted with them, and toward the middle of the soirée said to us, "You
are going to have, this evening, something that you did not expect,
something which has never been accomplished by any other medium, and which
can be photographed as an unimpeachable record." She then explains to us
that I am to lift my hand up, while firmly holding hers by the wrist; that
M. Sardou, while holding her left hand, will keep watch over it above the
table, and that then her third hand will appear in the photograph, her
fluidic hand, holding the violin near her head, at some distance from her
right hand, behind her, and against the curtain.

We wait pretty long before anything happens. At length, the medium
trembles, sighs, recommends that we breathe deeply and thus aid her, and
we feel, rather than see, the moving of the violin through the air, with a
slight vibrating noise of the strings. Eusapia cries, "It is time, take
the photograph, quick, don't wait, fire!" But the apparatus does not work:
the magnesium won't kindle. The medium grows impatient, still holds out,
but cries that she cannot hold out much longer. We all vehemently clamor
for the photograph. Nothing moves. In the darkness, which is needed in
order that the plate in the camera shall not have to be veiled, M. de
Fontenay does not succeed in lighting the magnesium, and the violin is
heard to fall to the floor.

The medium seems exhausted, groans, laments, and we all regret this check
to the proceedings; but Eusapia declares that she can begin again, and
asks us to get ready. In fact, at the end of five or six minutes the same
phenomena are produced. M. de Fontenay explodes a chlorate of potassium
pistol. The light is instantaneous, but feeble. It enables us to see
Eusapia's left hand being held upon the table by M. Sardou's right hand,
her right hand held in the air by my left hand, and at a distance of about
twelve inches in the rear, at the height of one's head, the violin,
resting vertically against the curtain. But the photograph gives no

Eusapia now asks for a little light ("_poco di luce_"). The small
hand-lamp is lighted again, and the illumination is sufficient for us to
see each other distinctly, including the arms, the head of the medium, the
curtain, etc. The chain is formed again. The curtain flares widely out,
and M. Sardou is several times touched by a hand which gives him a good
whack on the shoulder, making him bend his head forward toward the table.
In the presence of this manifestation and of these sensations we have
again the impression that there has been a hand there, a hand different
from those of the medium (which we continue carefully to hold),--and from
ours, because we are holding each other's hands in the chain. Moreover,
there is no one near the curtain, which is plainly visible. I thereupon
remark, "Since there is a hand there, let it take from me this violin, as
it did day before yesterday." I take the violin by the handle and hold it
out to the curtain. It is at once taken and lifted, then falls to the
floor. I do not for a moment let go the hand of the medium. Yet I grasp
this hand with my right hand, for a moment, in order to pick up with my
left the violin that has fallen near me. As I stoop down to the floor, I
feel an icy breath upon my hand, but nothing more. I take the violin and
put it on the table; then I take again with my left hand the hand of the
medium, and, seizing the violin with my right, I hold it out again to the
curtain. But Mme. Brisson, peculiarly incredulous, asks me to let her take
it herself. She does so, holds it out to the curtain, and the instrument
is snatched from her, in spite of all the efforts that she makes to retain
it. Everybody declares they saw very distinctly this time.

The hands of the medium have not been let go a single minute.

It seems as if this experiment, made under these conditions, in sufficient
light, ought to leave no doubt about the existence of a third hand of the
medium which acts in obedience to her will. And yet!--

During this same soirée of November 19 I ask that the violin, which has
fallen to the floor, be brought again upon the table. We keep holding
carefully the medium's hands, M. Sardou her left hand and I her right.
Eusapia, wishing to give still more security, more certainty, proposes
that I take her two hands, the right as I am holding it, and her left
wrist in my right hand, her left hand always being held by M.
Sardou,--_the whole show of hands taking place on the table_. A noise is
heard. The violin is brought on, passes above our hands, thus
criss-crossed, and is laid down, farther on, in the middle of the table. A
candle is lighted, and the position of our hands is ascertained. They have
not moved. Some time after this phenomena, in the dim light, we all saw
will-o'-the-wisps shining in the cabinet. They were visible through the
cleft in the curtains, which at that time was rather wide. For my part, I
saw three of them, the first very brilliant, the others less intense. They
were not tremulous, nor did they stir in the least, and remained in view
scarcely more than a second.

M. Antoniadi having remarked that he is not always sure of holding her
left hand, Eusapia says to me in a flush of passion, "Since he is not
sure, take my two hands yourself again." I already hold the right, and am
absolutely certain of it. I thereupon take her left wrist in my right
hand, M. A. declaring that he will take care of the fingers. In this
position, Eusapia's two hands being thus held above the table, a cushion,
which is at my right upon the table, having been forcibly thrown there
some moments before, is seized and thrown over the sofa, brushing my
forehead on the left. Those who sit at the table and form the chain affirm
that the hands of the chain have not lost touch with each other.

Here is another circumstance recorded in the notes of Mme. Flammarion:

    We were almost in complete darkness,--the lamp, removed as far as
    possible from Eusapia, having only the dim glow of a night-lamp.
    Eusapia was seated at the experiment table,--between MM. Brisson and
    Pallotti, who were holding her two hands,--and almost facing this

    Mme. Brisson and I were seated some yards distant from Eusapia, one of
    us on the side and the other in the middle of the salon, Eusapia
    facing us, while we had our backs turned to the light. This allowed us
    to distinguish well enough everything that passed before us.

    Up to the moment when the event that I am going to relate took place,
    Mme. Brisson had remained almost as incredulous as I, apropos of the
    phenomena, and she had just been expressing to me in a low tone her
    regret at not having yet seen anything herself, when, all of a sudden,
    the curtain behind Eusapia began to shake and move gracefully back, as
    if lifted by an invisible curtain band,--and what do I see? The little
    table on three feet, and leaping (apparently in high spirits) over the
    floor, at the height of about eight inches, while the gilded
    tambourine is in its turn leaping gayly at the same height above the
    table, and noisily tinkling its bells.

    Stupefied with wonder, quick as I can I pull Mme. Brisson to my side,
    and, pointing with my finger at what is taking place, "Look!" said I.

    And then the table and the tambourine begin their carpet-dance again
    in perfect unison, one of them falling forcibly upon the floor and the
    other upon the table. Mme. Brisson and I could not help bursting out
    into laughter; for, indeed, it was too funny! A sylph could not have
    been more amusing.

Eusapia had not turned around. She was seen seated; and her hands, placed
before her, were held by the two controllers. Even if she had been able to
free both her hands, she would not have been able to take hold of the
round table and tambourine, except by turning around; and the two ladies
saw them leaping about all alone.

I observe to Eusapia that she must be very tired, that the séance has
lasted over two hours and has yielded extraordinary results, and that it
is perhaps time to end it. She replies that she desires to continue still
a little longer, and that there will be new phenomena. We accept with
pleasure, and sit down and wait.

Then she lays her head on my shoulder, takes my entire right arm,
including the hand, and putting my leg between hers, and my feet between
her feet, she held me very tight. Then she begins to rub the carpet,
drawing my feet along with hers, and squeezing me tighter than before.
Then she cries, "_Spetta! spetta!_" ("Look! look!"); then, "_Vieni!
vieni!_" ("Come! come!") She invites M. Pallotti to take a place behind
his wife and see what will happen. I must add that both of them had been
earnestly asking, for some minutes, if they might see and embrace their
daughter, as they had done at Rome.

After a new nervous effort on the part of Eusapia, and a kind of
convulsion accompanied by groans, complaints, and cries, there was a great
movement of the curtain. Several times I see the head of a young girl
bowing before me, with high-arched forehead and with long hair.

She bows three times, and shows her dark profile against the window. A
moment after we hear sounds from M. and Mme. Pallotti. They are covering
with kisses the face of a being invisible to us, saying to her with
passionate affection, "Rosa, Rosa, my dear, my Rosalie," etc. They say
they felt between their hands the face and the hair of their daughter.

My impression was that there was really there a fluidic being. I did not
touch it. The grief of the parents, revived and consoled at the same time,
seemed to me so worthy of respect that I did not approach them. But, as to
the identity of the spectral being, I believed it to be a sentimental
illusion of theirs.

I come now to the strangest circumstances of all, the most
incomprehensible, the most incredible, of any that we experienced in our

On November 21 M. Jules Bois presents a book before the curtain at about
the height of a man standing upright. The salon is dimly lighted by a
little lamp with a shade, set pretty well to one side. Yet objects are
seen with distinctness.

An invisible hand behind the curtain seizes the book. Then all the
observers see it disappear as if it had passed through the curtain. It is
not seen to fall before the curtain. It is an octavo, rather slender,
bound in red, which I have just taken from my library.

Now Mme. Flammarion, almost as sceptical as M. Baschet about these
phenomena, had glided past the window to the rear of the curtain, in order
to observe carefully what was passing. She hoped to detect a movement of
the medium's arm, and to unmask her, in spite of the courtesy she owed her
as her hostess. She saw very plainly Eusapia's head, motionless before the
mirror which reflected the light.

Suddenly the book appears to her, it having passed through the
curtain,--upheld in the air, without hands or arms, for a space of one or
two seconds. Then she sees it fall down. She cries, "Oh! the book: it has
just passed through the curtain!" and, pale and stupefied with wonder, she
abruptly retires among the observers.

The entire hither side of the curtain was plainly visible, because the
left portion of the left-hand curtain had been loosened from its rod by
the weight of a person who had sat down on the sofa where the lower part
of the curtain had been accidentally placed; and because a large opening
had been made fronting the mirror which filled the entire wall of the
farther end of the salon,--a mirror that reflected the light of the little

If such an event had really taken place, we should be forced to admit that
the book went through the curtain without any opening, for the tissue of
the fabric is wholly intact; and we cannot suppose for a single moment
that it passed through at the side, the book having been held out about
the middle,--that is to say, about twenty-four inches from each side of
the curtain, the breadth of which is four feet.

Nevertheless, this book was seen by Mme. Flammarion, who was looking
behind the curtain; and it disappeared from the eyes of the persons who
were in front, notably M. Baschet, M. Brisson, M. J. Bois, Mme. Fourton
and myself. We were not expecting this miracle in any way; we were
stupefied by it; we asked what had become of the book, and it seemed as if
it had fallen behind the curtain.

Collective hallucination? But we were all in cool blood, entirely

If Eusapia had been able to adroitly slip her hand around and seize the
book through the portière, the bare outline of the book would not have
been seen, but a protuberance of the portière.

How great a value the sight of this thing passing through a portière would
have as a scientific datum, if one were only sure of the absolute honesty
of the medium,--if, indeed, this medium were a man of science, a
physicist, a chemist, an astronomer, whose scientific integrity would be
above suspicion! The mere fact of the possibility of fraud takes away
ninety-nine one-hundredths of the worth of the observation, and makes it
necessary for us to see it a hundred times before being sure. The
conditions of certainty ought to be understood by all investigators, and
it is curious to hear intelligent persons express surprise at our doubts,
and at the strict scientific obligation we are under to lay down these
conditions. In order to be sure of abnormalities like these levitations,
for example, we must make sure of them a hundred times over; not see them
once, but a hundred times.

It seems to us impossible that matter could pass through matter. You place
for example a stone upon a napkin. If one should tell you that he has
found it under the napkin, without any break in the continuity of the
tissue, you would not believe him. However, I take a piece of ice,
weighing say two pounds, and place it upon a napkin; I place both upon a
strainer, in the oven; the piece of ice melts, passes through the napkin,
and falls drop by drop into a basin. I put the whole thing into a freezing
machine, the melted water congeals again; the piece of ice weighing two
pounds has passed through the napkin.

It is very simple, you think. Yes, it is simple because we understand it.
But, of course, this is not the same case as that of the book. Yet, after
all, it is matter passing through matter, after a transformation of its
physical condition.

We might seek explanations, invoke the hypotheses of the fourth dimension,
or discuss the non-Euclidian geometry. It seems to me more simple,
however, to think that, on the one hand, these experiments are not yet
sufficient for us to make an absolute affirmation, and that, on the other
hand, our ignorance of everything is formidable and forbids us to deny

The phenomena of which I am speaking are so extraordinary that one is led
to doubt them, even when one feels assured that he has seen them. Thus,
for example, I noticed that M. René Baschet--my learned friend, present
editor of _Illustration_--affirmed before us all, during the séance and
afterward, that he saw with his own eyes, under the table, a head like
that of a young girl of about twelve years of age, together with the bust.
This head sank down vertically while he was looking at it and disappeared.
He made the affirmation on the 21st, repeated it on the 22d at a theatre
where we met, and on the 25th again at his home. Some time after, M.
Baschet was convinced that he had been deceived, that he had been the dupe
of an illusion. That is also possible. I was looking at the same time, as
well as other persons, and we did not see anything.

It is then very human, when we are thinking, some days later, of these
curious things, for us to suspect ourselves.

But there are prejudices less explicable. Thus, for example, at the séance
of November 28 a distinguished engineer, M. L., absolutely refused to
admit the levitation of the table, in spite of the evidence. Of this my
readers may judge for themselves. Here is a note which I extract from my

    M. L. tells me that the medium lifts the table _with her feet_, while
    resting her hands upon it. I ask Eusapia to draw back her feet under
    her chair. The table is lifted.

    After this second levitation, M. L. declares that he is not satisfied
    (although neither of the feet of the medium is under a foot of the
    table), and that we must begin the experiment again, without having
    _her legs_ touched at any point. The medium then proposes that her
    legs be fastened to those of M. L. A third levitation takes place,
    after the left leg (the incriminated one) of the medium has been bound
    to the left leg of M. L.

    This gentleman then declares that the hypotheses he has made, in order
    to explain the phenomenon, are null and void, but that there must be,
    all the same, a trick in the thing, because he does not believe in the

    Neither do I believe in the supernatural. And yet there is no trick.

This manner of reasoning, rather common, does not seem to me scientific.
It is to claim that we know the limits of the possible and of the

People who deny that the earth moves reason in just this way. That which
is contrary to common sense is not impossible. Common sense is the average
state of popular knowledge; that is to say, of general ignorance.

A man acquainted with the history of the sciences, and who reasons calmly,
cannot succeed in understanding the ostracism to which certain sceptics
subject unexplained phenomena. "It is impossible," they think. This famous
common sense on which they plume themselves is nothing after all, let me
say, but common opinion, which accepts habitual facts without
comprehending them, and which varies from time to time. What man of good
sense would formerly have admitted that we should one day be able to
photograph the skeleton of a living being, or store up the voice in a
phonograph, or determine the chemical composition of an inaccessible star?
What was science a hundred years ago, two hundred years, three hundred?
Look at astronomy five hundred years ago, and physiology, and medicine,
and natural philosophy, and chemistry. In five hundred years, in a
thousand years, in two thousand years, what will these sciences of ours
be? And in a hundred thousand years? Yes, in a hundred thousand years,
what will human intelligence be? Our actual condition will be to that what
the knowledge of a dog is to that of a cultivated man; that is to say,
there is no possible comparison.

We smile to-day at the science of learned men of the time of Copernicus or
Christopher Columbus or Ambroise Paré, and we forget that, in a few
centuries, savants will estimate us in the same fashion. There are
properties of matter which are completely hidden from us, and humanity is
endowed with faculties still unknown to us. We only advance very slowly in
the knowledge of things.

The critics do not always give proof that they possess a very compact
logical power. You speak to them of facts proved by centuries of
testimony. They challenge the value of popular testimony, and declare that
these uncultivated folks, these petty merchants, these manufacturers,
these laborers, these peasants, are incapable of observing with any

Some days after, you cite the savants, men whose competence has been
proved in the objective sciences of observation, which attest these very
facts, and you hear the sneerers answer that those savants are competent
witnesses in their special lines of study and work, but in nothing apart
from these.

So, after this fashion, all testimony is refused. They declare that the
thing, being impossible, cannot have been observed at all.

Of course there is room for a good deal of analysis in discussing the
claims of human testimony. But, if we suppress every piece of testimony,
what will there be left?--our native ignorance.

But, to tell the truth, there are some of these negative gentry who are
sure of everything, and who impose their aphorisms upon us with the
authority of a czar giving out his ukase or edict.

From these different experiments with Eusapia Paladino, including those
described in the first and second chapters, the impression is left that
the phenomena observed are, to a great extent, real and undeniable; that a
certain number may be produced by fraud; but that, in fact, the subject is
very complex. Again, certain movements simply belong to the material
order, while others belong at once to the physical order and the psychical
order. All this study is vastly more complicated than people in general
have any idea of. I am going to pass summarily in review other experiments
made by the same medium, and shall afterwards devote a special chapter to
the examination of frauds and mystifications.

Let us look, first, at other achievements of Eusapia, and select from them
whatever they also have to impart in the way of instruction or caution.



The medium, whose marvellous séance performances we have been describing
has been the subject of a long series of observations by eminent and
careful experimenters. Her endowments are indeed exceptional. When you
study with Eusapia, the comparison of her powers with those of ordinary
cases makes you think of the difference between a fine electrical machine
operated under good atmospheric conditions and a bad one operated on a
rainy day. You see more with her in one hour than in a host of faulty
trials with other mediums.

Our study of these unknown forces will progress rapidly if, in place of
limiting the results obtained to one or two groups, such as those which
precede, we examine the totality of the observations made in the séances
of this medium. My readers can then compare them with the preceding ones;
they can judge, they can make their own estimates.

The documents which I am now going to print are all borrowed from the
_Annales des sciences psychiques_ and from the valuable collection of M.
Albert de Rochas upon _The Externalization of Motivity_.

A few words, first, about the débuts of Eusapia in her mediumistic career.

Professor Chiaia, of Naples, to whom I owe it that I was able to receive
Eusapia at my house and obtain the experiments reported above, was the
first to bring her gifts into public notice. He first published on the 9th
of August, 1888, in a journal issued at Rome, the following letter
addressed to Professor Lombroso:

    _Dear Sir_,--In your article, _The Influence of Civilization upon
    Genius_ (which has incontestable beauties of style and of logic), I
    noticed a very happy paragraph. It seems to me to sum up the
    scientific movement (starting from the time when man first invented
    that head-breaking thing called an alphabet) down to our own day. This
    paragraph reads as follows:

    "Every generation is prematurely ready for discoveries which it never
    sees born, since it does not perceive its own incapacity and the means
    it lacks for making further discoveries. The repetition of any one
    manifestation, by impressing itself upon our brains, prepares our
    minds and renders them less and less incapable of discovering the laws
    to which this manifestation is amenable. Twenty or thirty years are
    enough to make the whole world admire a discovery which was treated as
    madness at the moment when it was made. Even at the present day
    academic bodies laugh at hypnotism and at homoeopathy. Who knows
    whether my friends and I, who laugh at Spiritualism, are not in error,
    just as hypnotized persons are? Thanks to the illusion which surrounds
    us, we may be incapable of seeing that we deceive ourselves; and, like
    many persons of unsound mind who stubbornly oppose the truth, we laugh
    at those who are not of our way of thinking."

    Struck by this keen thought, which by chance I find adapted to a
    certain matter with which I have been occupied for some time, I
    joyfully accept it, without abatement, without any comment which might
    change its sense; and, confining myself to the fine old rules of
    chivalry, I make use of it as a challenge. The consequences of this
    challenge will neither be dangerous nor bloody: we shall fight fairly;
    and, whatever may be the results of the encounter, whether I succumb
    or whether I make my opponent yield, it will always be in a friendly
    way. The result will tend to the improvement of one of the two
    adversaries and will be in every way useful to the great cause of

    There is much talk nowadays of a special malady which is found in the
    human organism. We notice it every day; but we are ignorant of its
    cause and know not what to call it. The cry is raised that it be
    subjected to the examination of contemporary science; but science, in
    reply, only meets the request with the mocking ironical smile of a
    Pyrrhus, for the precise reason (as you say) that the time is not yet

    But the author of the paragraph I have quoted above, of course did not
    write it merely for the pleasure of writing. It seems to me, on the
    contrary, that he would not smile disdainfully if he were invited to
    observe a special case that is worthy to attract the attention and to
    seriously occupy the mind of a Lombroso. The case I allude to is that
    of an invalid woman who belongs to the humblest class of society. She
    is nearly thirty years old and very ignorant; her look is neither
    fascinating nor endowed with the power which modern criminologists
    call irresistible; but, when she wishes, be it by day or by night, she
    can divert a curious group for an hour or so with the most surprising
    phenomena. Either bound to a seat or firmly held by the hands of the
    curious, she attracts to her the articles of furniture which surround
    her, lifts them up, holds them suspended in air like Mahomet's coffin,
    and makes them come down again with undulatory movements, as if they
    were obeying her will. She increases their weight or lessens it
    according to her pleasure. She raps or taps upon the walls, the
    ceiling, the floor, with fine rhythm and cadence. In response to the
    requests of the spectators, something like flashes of electricity
    shoot forth from her body, and envelop her or enwrap the spectators of
    these marvellous scenes. She draws upon cards that you hold out
    everything that you want--figures, signatures, numbers, sentences--by
    just stretching out her hand toward the indicated place. If you place
    in the corner of the room a vessel containing a layer of soft clay,
    you find after some moments the imprint in it of a small or a large
    hand, the image of a face (front view or profile), from which a
    plaster cast can be taken. In this way, portraits of a face taken at
    different angles have been preserved, and those who desire so to do
    can thus make serious and important studies.[30]

    This woman rises in the air, no matter what bands tie her down. She
    seems to lie upon the empty air as on a couch, contrary to all the
    laws of gravity; she plays on musical instruments--organs, bells,
    tambourines--as if they had been touched by her hands or moved by the
    breath of invisible gnomes.

    You will call that a particular case of hypnotism; you will say that
    this sick woman is a fakir in petticoats, that you would shut her up
    in a hospital. Let me beg of you, most eminent professor, not to shift
    the argument. As is well known, hypnotism only causes a momentary
    illusion; after the séance, everything takes its original form. But
    here the case is different. During the days which followed these
    marvellous scenes there remained traces and records worthy of

    What do you think of that?

    But allow me to continue. This woman, at times, can increase her
    stature by more than four inches. She is like an india-rubber doll,
    like an automaton of a new kind; she takes strange forms. How many
    legs and arms has she? We do not know. While her limbs are being held
    by incredulous spectators, we see other limbs coming into view,
    without knowing where they come from. Her shoes are too small to fit
    these witch-feet of her, and this particular circumstance gives rise
    to the suspicion of the intervention of mysterious power.

    Don't laugh when I say "_gives rise to the suspicion_." I affirm
    nothing; you will have time to laugh presently.

    When this woman is bound, a third arm is seen to appear, and nobody
    knows where it comes from. Then follows a long series of droll teasing
    tricks. She abstracts bonnets, watches, money, rings, pins, and
    produces them again with great adroitness and gayety; she takes coats
    and waistcoats, pulls off boots, brushes hats and puts them back upon
    the heads of those to whom they belong, curls and strokes mustaches,
    and occasionally hits you with a fist, for she also has fits of
    ill-temper. I said _a_ fist, because it is always a clumsy and callous
    hand that strikes the blow. It has been noticed that the hand of the
    sorceress is small. She has large finger-nails; has a moist skin, the
    temperature of which varies from the natural warmth of the body to the
    icy chill of a corpse the touch of which makes you shiver; she allows
    herself to be handled, pinched, observed; and ends by rising into the
    air, remaining suspended there with no visible means of support, like
    one of those plump wooden hands hung out over the sidewalk as a sign
    at the shops of the glove merchants.


    I swear to you that I emerge with a very calm spirit from the cave of
    this Circe. Freed from her enchantments, I pass all my impressions in
    review, and end in scepticism, although the testimony of my senses
    assures me that I have not been the sport of an error or of an

    All these extraordinary manoeuvres cannot be attributed to
    prestidigitation. We ought to be on our guard against every kind of
    trickery, and make a scrupulous investigation in order to forestall
    mendacity or fraud.

    But the test sometimes fails; the facts do not always meet the demands
    of the eager and restless spectators. This is one more mystery to
    explain, and proves that the individual herself who works these
    wonders is not their sole arbiter. Undoubtedly, she possesses the
    exclusive power of producing these portentous feats; but they cannot
    materialize except with the co-operation of an unknown agent, some
    _deus ex machina_.

    From all this two things result; namely, the great difficulty there is
    in examining the true inwardness of this stupefying piece of
    charlatanry, and the necessity of making a series of experiments in
    order to get together enough of them to illuminate the dark intellects
    of the dupes and to overcome the obstinacy of the wranglers.

    Now you see my challenge. If you have not written the paragraph cited
    above simply for the pleasure of writing it; if you have the true love
    of science; if you are without prejudices,--you, the first alienist in
    Italy,--please have the kindness to take the field, and persuade
    yourself that you are going to measure swords with a worthy adversary.

    When you can take a week's vacation, leave your beloved studies, and,
    instead of going into the country, show me a place where we can meet.
    Choose the time yourself.

    You are to have a room into which you will enter alone before the
    experiment; there you will arrange the furniture and other objects
    just as you wish; you will lock the door with a key. I believe it
    would be useless to present the lady to you in the costume worn in the
    Garden of Eden, because this new Eve is incapable of retaliating upon
    the serpent and of seducing you.

    Four gentlemen will be our seconds, as is fitting in all knightly
    encounters; you will choose two, and I will bring the other two.

    No easier conditions were ever drawn up by the Knights of the Round
    Table. It is evident that, if the experiment does not succeed, I shall
    be able to accuse only the harsh decrees of destiny; you will consider
    me but as a man suffering from hallucination, who longs to be cured of
    his extravagances. But, if success crowns our efforts, your loyalty
    will impose upon you the duty of writing an article, in which, without
    circumlocution, reticence, or error, you will attest the reality of
    the mysterious phenomena and promise to investigate their causes.

    If you decline this meeting, please explain to me your sentence, "The
    time is not yet ripe." Undoubtedly, that might apply to common
    intellects, but not to a Lombroso, to whom is addressed this advice of
    Dante: "Honor ought to close the lips of falsehood with truth."

    Yours very devotedly and respectfully,

M. Lombroso did not at once accept this eloquent and witty challenge.
However, we shall presently find that learned professor himself
experimenting. In the mean time read what M. de Rochas tells us of
Eusapia's youth:--

    Her first mediumistic manifestations began at the age of puberty, when
    she was about thirteen or fourteen years old. This coincidence is
    found in almost all the cases in which the singular power of
    producing movements at a distance has been observed.

    At this epoch of her life it was remarked that the Spiritualistic
    séances to which she was invited succeeded much better when she was
    seated at the table. But they tired and bored her, and she refrained
    from taking part in them for eight or nine years.

    It was only in her twenty-second or twenty-third year that the
    Spiritualistic education of Eusapia began. It was directed by an
    ardent Spiritualist, M. Damiani. It was then that the personality of
    _John King_ appeared, a spirit who took possession of her when she was
    in the trance state.[31]

    This John King is said to be the brother of Crookes's Katie King, and
    to have been Eusapia's father in another existence. It is John who
    speaks when Eusapia is in her trance; when he speaks of her, he calls
    her "my daughter," and gives advice about the care of her person and
    life. M. Ochorowicz thinks this John is a personality created in the
    spirit of Eusapia by the union of a certain number of impressions
    collected in the different psychic environments in which her life has
    been passed. This would be almost the identical explanation for the
    personalities suggested by the hypnotists, and for the variations of
    personality observed by MM. Azam, Bourru, and Burot, et al.

    Some have thought they noticed that Eusapia prepared herself,
    consciously or unconsciously, at the séance, by diminishing her
    respiration,--a very singular thing. At the same time, her pulse
    gradually rises from 88 to 120 pulsations a minute. Is this a practice
    analogous to that which the fakirs of India employ, or a simple effect
    of the emotion which, before every séance, Eusapia experiences?--a
    fact which has a strong tendency to convince the sitters, but is never
    sure of the production of the phenomena.

    Eusapia is not hypnotized; she enters of herself into the trance state
    when she becomes a link in the chain of hands.

    She begins to sigh deeply, then yawns and hiccoughs. A series of
    varied expressions passes over her face. Sometimes it takes on a
    demoniacal look, accompanied by a fitful laugh very much like that
    which Gounod gives to Mephistopheles in the opera of _Faust_, and
    which almost always precedes an important phenomenon. Sometimes her
    face flushes; the eyes become brilliant and liquid, and are opened
    wide. The smile and the motions are the mark of the erotic ecstasy.
    She says "_mio caro_" ("my dear"), leans her head upon the shoulder of
    her neighbor, and courts caresses when she believes that he is
    sympathetic. It is at this point that phenomena are produced, the
    success of which causes her agreeable and even voluptuous thrills.
    During this time her legs and her arms are in a state of marked
    tension, almost rigid, or even undergo convulsive contractions.
    Sometimes a tremor goes through her entire body.

    To these states of nervous super-activity succeeds a period of
    depression characterized by an almost corpse-like paleness of the face
    (which is frequently covered with perspiration) and the almost
    complete inertia of her limbs. If she lifts her hand, it falls back of
    its own weight.

    During the trance her eyes are turned up, and only the white is
    visible. Her presence of mind and her general consciousness are
    diminished or not at all in evidence. She gives no reply, or, if she
    does, her reply is retarded by questions. Eusapia has no recollection
    of what has taken place during the séances, except for states of mind
    bordering close on those of her normal state; and, consequently, they
    only relate, as a general thing, to phenomena of slight intensity.

    In order to aid in the manifestations, she frequently asks that her
    force be increased by putting one more person in the chain. It has
    frequently happened to her to address a sympathetic spectator, to take
    his fingers and press them as if to draw something out of them, then
    push them abruptly away, saying that she has enough force.

    In proportion as her trance increases, her sensibility to light
    increases. A sudden light causes difficulty in her breathing, rapid
    beatings of the heart, an hysterical feeling, general irritation of
    the nerves, pain in the head and eyes, and a trembling of the whole
    body, with convulsions,--except when she herself asks for light (a
    thing which frequently happens to her when there are interesting
    verifications to be made upon the subject of displaced objects), for
    then her attention is strongly called in other directions.

    She is in constant motion during the active period of the séances.
    These movements may be attributed to the hysterical crises which then
    agitate her; but they appear to be necessary to the production of the
    phenomena. Every time that a movement is being caused at a distance,
    she imitates it, either with her hands or with her feet, and by
    developing a much stronger force than would be necessary for producing
    the movement by contact.

    Here is what she herself says of her impressions when she wishes to
    produce a movement at a distance. _She suddenly experiences an ardent
    desire to produce the phenomena; then she has a feeling of numbness
    and the goose-flesh sensation in her fingers; these sensations keep
    increasing; at the same time she feels in the inferior portion of the
    vertebral column the flowing of a current which rapidly extends into
    her arm as far as her elbow, where it is gently arrested. It is at
    this point that the phenomenon takes place._

    During and after the levitations of the tables she has a feeling of
    pain in her knees; during and after other phenomena, in her elbows and
    all through her arms.

It was only in the end of February, 1891, that Professor Lombroso, whose
curiosity had finally been strongly excited, decided to come to Naples to
examine these curious manifestations about which everybody in Italy was
speaking. The following reports by M. Ciolfi were published apropos of
this visit.[32]

    _First Séance_

    A large room, selected on the first floor by these gentlemen, had been
    put at our disposal. M. Lombroso began by carefully examining the
    medium, after which we took places around a gaming table. Mme.
    Paladino sat at one end; at her left, MM. Lombroso and Gigli; I faced
    the medium, between MM. Gigli and Vizioli; then came MM. Ascensi and
    Tamburini, who closed the circle, the last named at the right of the
    medium and in contact with her.

    The room was lighted by candles placed upon a table behind Mme.
    Paladino. MM. Tamburini and Lombroso each held a hand of the medium.
    Their knees touched hers, at a certain distance from the feet of the
    table; and her feet were under theirs.

    After a rather long wait the table began to move, slowly at first,--a
    matter explained by the scepticism, not to say the positively hostile
    spirit, of those who were this night in a séance circle for the first
    time. Then, little by little, the movements increased in intensity. M.
    Lombroso proved the levitation of the table, and estimated at twelve
    or fifteen pounds the resistance to the pressure which he had to make
    with his hands in order to overcome that levitation.

    This phenomenon of a heavy body sustained in the air, off its centre
    of gravity and resisting a pressure of twelve or fifteen pounds, very
    much surprised and astonished the learned gentlemen, who attributed it
    to the action of an unknown magnetic force.

    At my request, taps and scratchings were heard in the table. This was
    new cause for astonishment, and led the gentlemen to themselves call
    for the putting out of the candles in order to ascertain whether the
    intensity of the noises would be increased, as had been stated. All
    remained seated and in contact.

    In a dim light which did not hinder the most careful surveillance,
    violent blows were first heard at the middle point of the table. Then
    a bell placed upon a round table, at the distance of a yard to the
    left of the medium (in such a way that she was placed behind and to
    the right of M. Lombroso), rose into the air, and went tinkling over
    the heads of the company, describing a circle around our table, where
    it finally came to rest.

    In the midst of the expressions of deep amazement which this
    unexpected phenomenon drew forth, M. Lombroso showed a strong desire
    to hear and to prove it again. Whereupon the little bell began to
    sound, and again made the tour of the table, redoubling its strokes
    upon it, to such a degree that M. Ascensi, divided between
    astonishment and the fear of having his fingers broken (the bell
    weighed fully ten ounces), hastened to rise and go and seat himself on
    a sofa behind me.

    I kept insisting that we had to do with an intelligent force,--a
    matter that he persistently denied,--and that consequently there was
    nothing to fear. But M. Ascensi refused, under any circumstances, to
    take his place again at the table.

    I called attention to the fact that the circle was broken, since one
    of the experimenters had left, and that, under penalty of no longer
    being able to observe the phenomena in a cool judicious spirit, it
    would be necessary that he should at least keep silent and motionless.
    M. Ascensi was very willing to pledge himself to that.

    The light was extinguished, and the experiments began again. While, in
    response to a unanimous wish, the little bell was beginning again its
    tinklings and its mysterious aërial circuits, M. Ascensi, taking his
    cue, unknown to us, from M. Tamburini, went (unperceived, owing to the
    darkness), and stood at the right of the medium, and at once with a
    single scratch lighted a match, so successfully, as he declared, that
    he could _see the little bell, while it was vibrating in the air_,
    suddenly fall upon a bed about six feet and a half behind Mme.

    I will not attempt to depict for you the amazement of the learned
    body, the most striking manifestation of which was a rapid exchange of
    questions and comments upon this strange occurrence.

    After some remarks I made about the intervention of M. Ascensi, who
    seemed likely to seriously trouble the psychic condition of the
    medium, the darkness was turned on again, so to speak, in order to
    continue the experiments.

    At first it was a little work-table, small, but heavy, that moved
    about. It was placed at the left of Mme. Eusapia, and it was upon it
    that the little bell was placed at the beginning of the séance. This
    small piece of furniture struck against the chair on which M. Lombroso
    was seated, and _tried to hoist itself up_ on our table.

    In the presence of this new phenomenon, M. Vizioli gave up his place
    at our table to M. Ascensi and went to stand between the work-table
    and Mme. Eusapia, to whom he turned his back. At least he said he did
    all this, for we could not see him on account of the darkness. He took
    the little table between his two hands and tried to hold it; but, _in
    spite of his efforts, it released itself_ and went rolling over the

    An important point to note is that, although MM. Lombroso and
    Tamburini had not for a moment let go of the hands of Mme. Paladino,
    Professor Vizioli announced that he felt a pinch in the back. General
    hilarity followed this declaration.

    M. Lombroso stated that he had felt his chair lifted up so that he was
    compelled to remain standing for some time, after which his chair had
    been so placed as to permit him to sit down again.

    He also experienced twitches upon his clothes. Then he and M.
    Tamburini felt the touches of an invisible hand upon their cheeks and

    M. Lombroso, especially struck with the two facts of the work-table
    and the little bell, judged them of sufficient importance for him to
    put off till Tuesday his departure from Naples, which had been first
    fixed for Monday.

    Upon his request I promised a new séance, on Monday, at the Hôtel de

    _Second Séance_

    At eight o'clock in the evening I arrived at the Hôtel de Genève,
    accompanied by the medium, Eusapia Paladino. We were received under
    the colonnade by MM. Lombroso, Tamburini, Ascensi, and several other
    persons whom they had invited; namely Professors Gigli, Limoncelli,
    Vizioli, and Bianchi (superintendent of the insane asylum at Sales),
    Dr. Penta, and a young nephew of M. Lombroso, who lives at Naples.

    After the customary introductions, we were asked to go up to the
    highest story in the house, where we were introduced into a very large
    room with an alcove. Curtains, or portières, were let down across the
    front of the alcove. Behind the curtains at a distance of about three
    feet and a half, measured by MM. Lombroso and Tamburini, there was
    placed, in this alcove, a round table, with a porcelain salver filled
    with flour, in the hope of obtaining face-imprints in it. The alcove
    also contained a tin trumpet, writing-paper, and a sealed envelope
    containing a sheet of white paper, to see if we could not get _direct
    writing_ on it.

    The gentlemen inspected the alcove with extreme care, in order to
    assure themselves that there was nothing there of a fixed-up,
    suspicious nature.

    Mme. Paladino sat down at the table, a little less than two feet from
    the alcove curtains, turning her back to them. Then, at her request,
    she had her body and her feet tied to her chair by means of cloth
    bands. This was effected by three members of the company, who left
    only her arms free. That done, places were taken at the table in the
    following order: on the left of Mme. Eusapia, M. Lombroso; then, in
    succession, M. Vizioli, myself, the nephew of M. Lombroso, MM. Gigli,
    Limoncelli, Tamburini; finally, Dr. Penta, who completed the circle
    and sat at the right of the medium.

    MM. Ascensi and Bianchi refused to form part of the circle, and
    remained standing behind MM. Tamburini and Penta. I paid little
    attention to these two, being certain that their action was a
    premeditated combination in order to redouble the vigilance. I simply
    recommended that, while they were observing with extreme care, each
    should remain quiet.

    The experiments began in candlelight strong enough to light up the
    whole room. After a long wait the table began to move, slowly at
    first, then more energetically. However, the movements remained
    intermittent, labored, and much less vigorous than at Saturday's

    The table volunteered a request by taps of its leg designating the
    letters of the alphabet, that MM. Limoncelli and Penta should exchange
    places. This exchange effected, the table called for the turning out
    of lights.

    A moment after, and with more force this time, the movements of the
    table began again. Suddenly, in the midst of these, violent blows were
    heard. The chair placed at M. Lombroso's right tried to climb up on
    the table, then hung suspended upon the arm of the learned professor.
    All of a sudden the curtains of the alcove were shaken, and swung
    forward over the table in such a way as to envelop M. Lombroso, who
    was very much moved by such a wonder, as he himself has declared.

    All these phenomena, happening at long intervals, in the darkness, and
    in the midst of noisy conversation, were not estimated at their true
    worth. It was thought that they were only the effects of chance or
    were jests of some member of the company.

    While we are all waiting and discussing the import of the phenomena
    and the greater or less value that should be set on them, the noise of
    the fall of an object is heard. When the room is lighted, there is
    found at our feet under the table the trumpet which had been placed on
    the round table in the alcove behind the curtains. This circumstance,
    which MM. Bianchi and Ascensi receive with a burst of laughter,
    surprises the experimenters, and has the effect of more completely
    fixing their attention.

    The room is darkened again, and, by urgent request some fugitive
    glimmers of light are seen to appear and disappear at long intervals.
    This phenomenon impressed MM. Bianchi and Ascensi, and put an end to
    their incessant railleries, so much so that they came and formed a
    part of the circle. At the moment of the appearance of the gleams, and
    even some time after they had ceased to show themselves, MM.
    Limoncelli and Tamburini, at the right of the medium, said that they
    were touched in several places by a hand. M. Lombroso's young nephew,
    absolutely sceptical, who had taken a seat by the side of M.
    Limoncelli, declared that he felt the touch of a flesh-and-blood hand,
    and asked with some impetuosity who did that. He forgot--being not
    only sceptical, but artless--that, like himself, all the persons
    present were helping to form the chain of hands and were in mutual

    It was getting late, and the lack of homogeneity in the circle was
    abridging the phenomena. Under these conditions I thought I ought to
    end the séance and cause the candles to be lighted.

    When MM. Limoncelli and Vizioli were taking leave, the medium being
    still seated and bound, and all of us were standing around the table
    conversing about the luminous phenomena, and comparing the scattered
    and feeble effects obtained in this soirée with those of the Saturday
    preceding, and seeking the reason for this difference, we heard noise
    in the alcove, and saw the portières which enclosed it vigorously
    shaken, and the round table which was behind them slowly advancing
    toward Mme. Paladino, still seated and bound.

    On seeing this strange, unexpected phenomena occur in full light, we
    were all stupefied with amazement. M. Bianchi and M. Lombroso's nephew
    dashed into the alcove, under the impression that some person
    concealed there was producing the movement of the portières and the
    round table. Their astonishment was unbounded when they ascertained
    that there was no one there, and that, under their very eyes, the
    table continued to glide over the floor in the direction of the
    medium. That is not all. Professor Lombroso observed that, while the
    table was in movement, the salver on it had been turned upside down
    without a single particle of the flour which it contained being
    spilled; and he added that no prestidigitator would have been able to
    accomplish such a feat. In the presence of these phenomena taking
    place as they did, after the breaking up of the circle, in such a way
    as to eliminate the hypothesis of a magnetic current, Professor
    Bianchi, in obedience to the love of truth, confessed that it was he
    who, for the sake of a joke, had contrived and brought about the fall
    of the tin trumpet, but that in the presence of such achievements as
    this he could no longer be sceptical, and was going to apply himself
    to the study of them in order to investigate their causes.

    Professor Lombroso complained of the trick, and said to M. Bianchi
    that, as between professors met in order to make scientific studies
    and researches in common, mystifying pranks like this could not but
    cast a slur upon the respect due to science.

    Professor Lombroso, who was a prey both to doubt and to ideas of his
    own which tormented his mind, made an engagement to be present at
    further meetings on his return to Naples in the following summer.

M. Ciolfi, having sent these two reports to M. Lombroso, the eminent
professor of Turin confirmed their accuracy in the following letter, dated
June 25, 1891:--

    _Dear Sir_,--The two reports that you have sent me are of the utmost
    accuracy. I add that, before we had seen the salver turned over, the
    medium had announced that she would sprinkle the faces of those who
    sat by her with flour; and everything leads to the belief that such
    was her intention, but that she was not able to realize it,--a new
    proof, to my mind, of her perfect honesty, especially considering her

    I am filled with confusion and regret that I combated with so much
    persistence the possibility of the facts called Spiritualistic. I say
    facts, because I am still opposed to the theory.

    Please give my greetings to M. E. Chiaia, and, if it is possible, get
    M. Albini to examine the visual field and the inner recesses of the
    eye of the medium, about which I desire to inform myself.

    Yours very truly,
      C. LOMBROSO.

M. Lombroso soon after published his experiences and reflections, in an
article in the _Annales des sciences psychiques_ (1892) which ends thus:

    None of these facts, (which we must admit, because no one can deny
    things which he has seen) is of such a nature as to lead us to form
    for their explanation an hypothesis of a world different from that
    admitted by the neuro-pathologists.

    Above all, we must not forget that Mme. Eusapia is a neuropath; that
    in her childhood she received a blow on the left parietal bone, which
    produced a hole so deep that you could put your finger in it; that she
    remained subject to attacks of epilepsy, catalepsy, and hysteria,
    which take place especially during the séance phenomena; and that,
    finally, she has a remarkable obtuseness of touch.

    Well, I do not see anything inadmissible in this,--that in the case of
    hypnotic and hysterical persons the excitation of certain centres,
    which become powerful by the paralysis of all the others and then
    provoke a transposition and a transmission of physical forces, may
    also produce a transformation in luminous force or in motive force.
    Thus we understand how the force in a medium which I shall call
    cortical or cerebral may, for example, lift the table, pull somebody's
    beard, hit him, caress him, etc.

    During the transposition of senses due to hypnotism,--when, for
    example, the nose and the chin _see_ (and that is a fact which I
    observed with my own eyes), and when for some moments all the other
    senses are paralyzed, the cortical centre of vision, which has its
    seat in the brain, acquires such an energy that it supersedes the eye.
    It is this which we have been able to prove, Ottolenghi and I, in the
    case of three hypnotized persons, by making use of the lens and of the

The phenomena observed would be explained, according to this theory, by a
_transformation_ of the powers of the medium. Let us continue our account
of the experiments.

Taking into consideration the testimony of Professor Lombroso, several
savants--including MM. Schiaparelli, director of the observatory at Milan;
Gerosa, professor of physics; Ermacora, doctor of natural philosophy;
Aksakof, councillor of state to the Emperor of Russia; Charles du Prel,
doctor of philosophy in Munich; Dr. Richet, of Paris, and Professor
Buffern--met in October, 1892, in the apartment of M. Finzi, at Milan, to
renew these experiments. M. Lombroso was present at several of the
soirées. There were seventeen in all.

The experimenters present signed the following long declaration:

    The results obtained did not always come up to our expectations. Not
    that we did not secure a large number of facts apparently or really
    important and marvellous; but, in the greater number of cases, we were
    not able to apply the rules of experimental science which, in other
    fields of observation, are regarded as indispensable in order to
    arrive at certain and incontestable results. The most important of
    these rules consists in changing, one after the other, the methods of
    experiment, in such a way as to bring out the true cause, or at least
    the true conditions of all the events. Now it is precisely from this
    point of view that our experiments seem to us still incomplete.

    It is very true that the medium, to prove her good faith, often
    voluntarily proposed to change some feature of one or the other
    experiment, and frequently herself took the initiative in these
    changes. But this applied only to things that were apparently
    indifferent, according to our way of seeing. On the contrary; the
    changes which seemed to us necessary to put the true character of the
    results beyond doubt, either were not accepted as possible or ended in
    uncertain results.

    We do not believe we have the right to explain these things by the aid
    of insulting assumptions, which many still find to be the simplest
    explanation, and of which some journals have made themselves
    champions. We think, on the contrary, that these experiments are
    concerned with phenomena of an unknown nature, and we confess that we
    do not know what the conditions are that are required to produce them.
    To desire to fix these conditions in our own right and out of our own
    head would be as extravagant as to presume to make the experiment of
    Torricelli's barometer with a tube closed at the bottom, or to make
    electrostatic experiments in an atmosphere saturated with humidity, or
    to take a photograph by exposing the sensitive plate in full light
    before placing it in the camera. However, it is a fact that the
    impossibility of varying the experiments in our own way has diminished
    the worth and the interest of the results obtained, by depriving them
    of that rigorous demonstration which we are right in demanding in
    cases of this kind, or, rather, to which we ought to aspire.

    The following are the principal phenomena observed.

    _Levitation of One Side of the Table_

    We agreed to have the medium sit alone at the table, in full light,
    her two hands placed on its upper surface and her sleeves drawn back
    to the elbows.

    We remained standing about her, and the space above and under the
    table was well lighted. Under these conditions the table rose at an
    angle of twenty to forty degrees, and so remained for some minutes,
    while the medium was holding her legs stretched out and striking her
    feet one against the other. When we pressed with the hand upon the
    lifted side of the table, we experienced a considerable elastic

    The table was suspended by one of its ends to a dynamometer which was
    coupled to a cord: this cord was tied to a small beam supported upon
    two wardrobes.

    Under these conditions, the end of the table having been lifted six
    and a half inches, the dynamometer showed seventy-seven pounds. The
    medium sat at the same narrow end of the table, with her hands
    _wholly_ on the table, to the right and the left of the point where
    the dynamometer was attached. Our hands formed the chain upon the
    table, without pressure: they would not have been able in any case to
    do more than _increase_ the pressure brought to bear on the table. On
    the contrary, the desire was expressed that the pressure should
    diminish, and soon the table began to rise on the side of the
    dynamometer. M. Gerosa, who was following the marks on the apparatus,
    announced this diminution, expressed by the successive figures 7-1/2,
    4-1/2, 2-1/2, 0 (pounds). At the last the levitation was such that the
    dynamometer rested horizontally on the table.

    Then we changed the conditions by putting our hands under the table.
    The medium, especially, put hers, not under the edge, where it might
    have touched the vertical border-board and exercised a push downwards,
    but _under the rail that unites the feet_, and touched this, not with
    the palm, but _with the back of the hand_. Thus all the hands together
    could only have diminished the traction upon the dynamometer. Upon the
    desire being expressed to see this traction augment, it increased from
    7-1/2 pounds to 13 pounds. During all these experiments each of the
    medium's feet rested under the foot of her nearest neighbor to right
    or left.

    _Complete Levitation of the Table._

    It was natural to conclude that if the table, in apparent
    contradiction to the law of gravity, was able to rise partly, it would
    be able to rise entirely from the floor. As a matter of fact, this is
    what happened. _This levitation, one of the most frequent phenomena
    that occur in the experiments with Eusapia, stood a most satisfactory

    The phenomenon always materialized under the following conditions: the
    persons seated about the table place their hands on it, and form the
    chain; each hand of the medium is held by the adjacent hand of her two
    neighbors; each of her feet remains under the feet of her neighbor,
    who also press her knees with theirs. She is seated, as usual, at one
    of the small ends of the table, _a position least favorable for a
    mechanical levitation_. At the end of several minutes the table makes
    a side movement, rises first to the right, then to the left, and
    finally mounts off of its four feet straight into the air, and lies
    there horizontally (as if it were floating on a liquid), ordinarily at
    a height of from 4 to 8 inches (in exceptional cases from 24 to 27
    inches); then falls back and rests on its four feet. It frequently
    remains in the air for several seconds, and while there also makes
    undulatory motions, during which the position of the feet under the
    table can be thoroughly examined. During the levitation the right hand
    of the medium often leaves the table, as well as that of her neighbor,
    and is held in the air above.

    In order the better to observe this thing, we removed one by one the
    persons placed at the table, recognizing the truth that the chain
    formed by several persons was neither necessary for this phenomenon
    nor for others. Finally, we left only a single person with the medium,
    seated at her left. This person placed her foot upon Eusapia's two
    feet and one hand upon her knees, and held with her other hand the
    left hand of the medium. Eusapia's right hand was on the table, in
    full view,--though sometimes she held it in the air during the


    As the table remained in the air for several seconds, it was possible
    to obtain several photographs of the performance. Three pieces of
    photographic apparatus were working together in different parts of the
    room, and the illumination was furnished by a magnesium light at the
    opportune moment. Twenty photographs were obtained, some of which are
    excellent. Upon one of them (Pl. VIII) we see Professor Richet, who
    holds one hand, the knees, and a foot of the medium. The other hand of
    the latter is held by Professor Lombroso. The table is shown
    horizontally lifted,--a fact proved by the interval between the
    extremity of each foot and the extremity of the corresponding
    projected shadow.

    In all the experiments which precede, we gave our attention
    principally to a careful inspection of the position of the hands and
    the feet of the medium; and, in this respect, _we believe we can say
    that they were safe from all criticism_. Still, a scrupulous sincerity
    compels us to mention the fact to which we did not begin to call
    attention before the evening of October 5, but which probably must
    have occurred also in the preceding experiments. It consists in this,
    that the four feet of the table could not be considered as perfectly
    isolated during the levitation, because one of them at least was in
    contact with the lower edge of the medium's dress.

    On this evening it was remarked that a little before the levitation,
    Eusapia's skirt was inflated on the left side until it touched the
    foot of the nearest table. One of us having been charged with the duty
    of hindering this contact, the table was unable to rise as before, and
    it only did rise when the observer intentionally permitted the contact
    to take place. This is shown in the photographs taken during this
    experiment, and also in those in which the table-foot in question is
    visible (after a fashion) at its lower extremity. The reader will see
    that at the same time the medium had her hand placed upon the upper
    surface of the table, and on the same side, in such a way that this
    table-foot was under her influence, as much in its lower portion, by
    means of the dress, as in the upper portion, by means of the hand.

    Now in what way is it possible for the contact of a light dress-stuff
    with the lower extremity of the foot of a table to assist in the
    levitation? That is something we do not know. The hypothesis that the
    dress may conceal a solid support, skilfully introduced, which may
    serve as a temporary support for the foot of the table, is a very poor

    In fact, to keep the whole table resting on this one foot through the
    influence that a single hand could produce upon the upper surface of
    the table would require that the hand exercise upon the table a very
    strong pressure, one that we cannot suppose Eusapia capable of, even
    during three or four seconds.

    We convinced ourselves of this by ourselves making proof of it with
    the same table.[33]

    _Movements of Objects at a Distance, without Contact with Any of the
    Persons Present_

    1. Spontaneous movements of objects.

    These phenomena were observed several times during our séances. It
    often happened that a chair, placed for this purpose not far from the
    table, between the medium and one of her neighbors, began to move
    about, and sometimes came up to the table. A remarkable instance
    occurred in the second séance, everything being _all the time in full
    light_. A heavy chair, weighing twenty-two pounds, which stood a yard
    from the table and behind the medium, came up to M. Schiaparelli, who
    was seated next the medium. He rose to put it back in its place; but
    scarcely was he seated when the chair advanced a second time toward

    2. Movement of the table without contact.

    It was desirable to obtain this phenomenon as a matter of experiment.
    For that purpose, the table being placed upon casters, the feet of the
    medium were watched, as has been said, and all of the sitters formed
    the chain with their hands, including those of the medium. When the
    table began to move, we all lifted our hands, without breaking the
    chain, and the table thus isolated made several movements. This
    experiment was several times renewed.

    _The Fetching of Different Objects, the Hands of the Medium Being tied
    to those of her Neighbors._

    In order to assure ourselves that we were not the victims of a trick,
    we tied the hands of the medium by a string to those of her two
    neighbors, in such a way that the movements of the four hands would
    reciprocally control each other. The length of the cord between the
    hands of the medium was from eight to twelve inches, and between each
    one of her hands and the hands of her neighbors four inches. This
    distance of space was purposely arranged in order that the hands of
    the neighboring persons might, in addition, readily hold those of the
    medium during the convulsive movements which usually agitate her.

    The tying was done in the following way: we took three turns of the
    string around each wrist of the medium, without leaving any slack, but
    drawn so tightly as almost to give her pain,[34] and then we tied two
    simple knots. This was done in order that, if by any artifice the
    hand was able to release itself from the string, the three turns would
    work against it and the hand could not get back again under the string
    as it was before.

    A little bell was placed upon a chair behind her. The chain was
    formed, and her hands as well as her feet were held as usual. The room
    was darkened in answer to the request that the little bell should at
    once sound, after which we were to untie the medium. _Immediately_ we
    heard the chair move, describe a curve upon the floor, approach the
    table, and presently place itself upon it. The bell rang, then was
    thrown upon the table. The light having been at once turned on, we
    ascertained that the knots of the string were in perfect order. It is
    clear that the fetching on of the chair was not produced by the action
    of the hands of the medium.

    _Impressions of Fingers obtained on Smoked Paper._

    In order to decide if we had to do with a human hand ... or with any
    other way of dealing, we fixed a sheet of paper, blackened with the
    smoke of a lamp, upon the table, on the side opposite that of the
    medium, and expressed a wish that the hand would leave an impression
    on it, that the hand of the medium should remain unsoiled, and that
    the lampblack be transferred to the hands of one of us. The hands of
    the medium were held by those of MM. Schiaparelli and Du Prel. The
    chain was made in the darkness, then we heard a hand lightly tap upon
    the table, and presently M. Du Prel announced that his left hand,
    which he held on the right hand of M. Finzi, had had the sensation of
    fingers rubbing it. As soon as the room was lighted, we found upon the
    paper several imprints of fingers, and the back of M. Du Prel's hand
    was covered with lampblack; _but the hands of the medium, examined
    then and there, had no trace of it_. This experience was repeated
    three times. When we insisted upon having a complete impression, we
    obtained five fingers upon a second sheet of paper, and upon a third
    the impression of almost an entire left hand. After that the back of
    M. Du Prel's hand was completely blackened, the hands of the medium
    remaining perfectly clean.

    _Apparition of Hands upon a Dimly Lighted Background_

    We placed upon the table a large cardboard covered with a
    phosphorescent substance (sulphide of calcium), and we placed other
    pieces of cardboard upon chairs in different parts of the chamber.
    Under such conditions we saw very plainly the outline of a hand
    imposed on the cardboard of the table. Upon the background formed by
    the other pieces we saw the shadow of the hand pass and repass around

    On the evening of September 21 one of us several times saw the image,
    not of one, but of _two hands at once_, thrown upon the glass panes of
    a feebly illuminated window (outside it was night, but the darkness
    was not complete). These hands exhibited a rapid tremulous motion, but
    not so rapid as to hinder us from seeing the outline clearly. They
    were wholly opaque and were thrown upon the window as absolutely black

    This simultaneous appearance of two hands is _very significant_, for
    they cannot be explained on the hypothesis of a trick of the medium,
    who would not have been able in any way to free more than one of her
    hands, owing to the surveillance of those who sat beside her. The same
    conclusion applies to the clapping of two hands, one against the
    other, which was several times heard in the air.

    _The Levitation of the Medium to the Top of the Table_

    We regard this levitation as among the most important and most
    significant of Spiritualistic achievements. It took place twice, on
    September 28 and October 3. The medium was seated at one end of the
    table, uttering deep groans, and was lifted up with her chair and
    placed upon the table, not moving from her position, those next her
    still holding her hands as she rose.

    On the evening of September 28, while her two hands were held by MM.
    Richet and Lombroso, the medium complained of their grasping her under
    the arm. Then, in a state of trance she said, with the changed voice
    which she usually has while in this state, "Now I bring up my medium
    upon the table." At the end of two or three seconds the chair, with
    the medium seated in it, was not thrown, but lifted with precaution
    and placed upon the table. MM. Richet and Lombroso are sure they did
    not assist her in this ascension. After she had spoken, being all the
    time in a state of trance, the medium announced her descent, and (M.
    Finzi being substituted for M. Lombroso) was placed upon the floor
    with care and precision, MM. Richet and Finzi following her movements
    without at all assisting them.

    Moreover, during the descent, both gentlemen felt a hand touching them
    lightly several times upon the head. On the evening of October 3 the
    same phenomenon was repeated in similar circumstances.


    Some of these merit particular notice, owing to a circumstance capable
    of giving us an interesting notion of their possible origin. Our first
    business is to describe the touchings which were felt by persons
    beyond the reach of the hands of the medium. Thus, on the evening of
    October 6, M. Gerosa, who was separated from the medium by three
    places (about four feet, the medium being a little to one side and M.
    Gerosa in one of the adjacent corners at the opposite short end of the
    table), having lifted his hand that it might be touched, felt a hand
    strike his own several times to make him lower it; and, as he
    persisted, he was hit with a trumpet, which an instant before had been
    making sounds in the air.

    In the second place, we must note touchings which constitute very
    delicate operations, and which cannot be made in the darkness with the
    precision which we have noted in them. Twice (on September 16 and 21)
    M. Schiaparelli had his spectacles removed from his nose and laid down
    on the table before another person. These glasses are fixed to the
    ears by means of two springs, and a certain amount of attention is
    necessary in order to remove them, even to one working in full light.
    Yet they were removed in complete darkness with so much delicacy and
    promptness that the said experimenter only perceived the loss of them
    when he no longer had the usual feeling of them on his nose, on his
    temples, and behind his ears, and he was obliged to feel with his
    hands in order to be sure that they were no longer in their usual

    Many other touchings produced similar effects, and were executed with
    extreme delicacy; for example, when one of the company felt his hair
    and beard stroked.

    In all of the innumerable manoeuvres executed by mysterious hands,
    there was never any awkward stumbling or collision to be noted, though
    ordinarily this is inevitable when one is working in the dark. I may
    add, in this connection, that bodies tolerably heavy and bulky, such
    as chairs and vessels full of clay, were deposited upon the table
    without having collided with any of the numerous hands resting upon
    the table,--a particularly difficult thing in the case of chairs
    which, owing to their dimensions, occupied a large part of the table.
    A chair was turned over on its face upon the table and lay there at
    full length without causing the least annoyance to anybody; and yet it
    covered almost the entire surface.

    _Contact with a Human Face_

    One of us having expressed the wish to be kissed, felt before his very
    mouth the peculiar quick sounds of a kiss, but not accompanied by any
    contact of lips. This happened twice. On three different occasions one
    of the experimenters felt the touch of a face with hair and beard. The
    feeling of the skin was exactly that of a living man. The hair was
    much coarser and more bristly than that of the medium, and the beard
    seemed very soft and delicate.

Such are the experiments made at Milan in 1892 by the group of savants
cited above.

How can we help admitting, after the reading of this new official report,
the following things?

1. The complete levitation of the tables.

2. The levitation of the medium.

3. The movement of objects without contact.

4. Accurate and delicate touches made by invisible organs.

5. The formation of hands and even of human figures.

These phenomena take their place in this book as things which were
observed with the most scrupulous care.

Let us note also the action of the little piece of furniture (chair or
round table), which tries to climb up on one of the company or upon the
large table,--a thing also observed by myself.

Although the savants of the Milan group regretted that they did not make
_experiments_, but only _observations_ (I said above (p. 20), what we
ought to think about this), the facts were none the less proved.

I will add that after the reading of this _procès-verbal_, the cautious
reserves of M. Schiaparelli seem exaggerated. If fraud has sometimes crept
in, still what has been accurately observed remains safe and sound and is
an acquisition to science.

Our medium, Eusapia, has been the subject of a fruitful series of
experiments. Let me also mention those of Naples in 1893, under the
direction of M. Wagner, Professor of Zoölogy at the University of St.
Petersburg; that of Rome in 1893-1894, under the direction of M. de
Siemiradski, correspondent of the Institute; those of Varsovie, from the
25th of November, 1893, to the 15th of January, 1894, at the house of Dr.
Ochorowicz; those of Carqueiranne and of l'île Roubaud, in 1894, at the
house of Professor Richet; those of Cambridge in August, 1895, at the
house of Mr. Myers; those of the villa de l'Agnellas, from the 20th to the
29th of September, 1895, at the house of Colonel de Rochas; those of
Auteuil, in September, 1896, at the house of M. Marcel Mangin, etc. It
would be entirely superfluous and an unconscionably long task to analyze
them all. Let us merely select some special characteristic instances.

In the report of M. de Siemiradski we read as follows:

    In the corner of the hall there was a piano, placed to the left of
    Ochorowicz and Eusapia, and a little in the rear. Some one desired to
    hear the keyboard touched. We at once hear the moving of the piano.
    Ochorowicz can even see the displacement, thanks to a ray of light
    which falls upon the polished surface of the instrument through the
    window shutters. The piano then opens noisily, and we hear the bass
    notes of the keyboard sounding. I utter aloud my desire to hear high
    notes and low notes touched at the same time, as a proof that the
    unknown force can act at the two ends of the keyboard. My wish is
    granted, and we hear bass notes and treble notes sounded at the same
    time, which seems to prove the action of two distinct hands. Then _the
    instrument advances toward us_. It presses against our group, and we
    are obliged to get up and move back with our experiment table, and we
    do not stop until we have thus moved back several yards.

    A glass half full of water, which stands on a buffet, out of reach of
    our hands, was carried by an unknown power to the lips of Ochorowicz,
    Eusapia, and another person, who all drank of it. This performance
    took place in complete darkness and with astonishing precision.

    We were able to prove the existence of a real hand not belonging to
    any one present. We did it by means of the plaster cast and mould, as

    Having placed a heavy basin filled with modelling-clay upon the large
    table in the middle of the dining-room, we sat down with Eusapia
    around the little experiment-table more than a yard distant. After
    some minutes of waiting, the basin came of itself and stood on our
    table! Eusapia groaned, writhed, and trembled in all her limbs; yet
    not for a moment did her hands quit ours. Then she cried, "_E fatto_"
    ("It is done"). The candle is lighted again, and we find an irregular
    hollowed place upon the surface of the clay. This hollow place,
    afterward filled with plaster, gives us a perfect cast of the
    contracted fingers of a hand.

    We placed upon the table a plate smeared with lampblack. The
    mysterious hand left there the print of the end of its fingers. The
    hands of the experimenters, including those of Eusapia, _remained
    white_. We next induced the medium to reproduce the impression of her
    own hand upon another lamp-smoked plate. She did so. The layer of soot
    removed by her fingers had deeply blackened them. A comparison of the
    two plates enabled us to prove a striking resemblance,--that is to say
    (to speak more accurately), the identity of the arrangement of the
    spiral circles in the epidermis of the two hands; and we know that the
    arrangement of these circles is unique in every individual. This is a
    particular which speaks eloquently in favor of the hypothesis of the
    double personality of the medium.

In order mechanically to control the movements of Eusapia's feet, Dr.
Ochorowicz employed the following piece of apparatus. Two deep and narrow
cigar-boxes were placed under the table, and Eusapia put her unshod feet
into them. The boxes had double bottoms and were provided with an
electrical arrangement of such a nature that she could move her feet
freely for some inches in every direction; but, if she wished to withdraw
them from the box, the electric bell tinkled before she had moved them
half way to the top, and only stopped when they were returned to their
place. Eusapia cannot remain utterly quiet during the séances. So she was
given a certain freedom of movement; but it was impossible for her to make
use of her legs for lifting the table. _Under these conditions the table,
weighing twenty-five pounds, rose up twice without the bell being heard._
During the second levitation the table was photographed underneath. (The
four feet of the table are seen in the photograph. The left is in contact
with Eusapia's dress, as is always the case when the light is strong; but
the boxes holding the feet of the medium are in their place.) Then the
experimenters verified the fact that the bell was heard, not only when
she removed her foot, but when she lifted it too high in the box.

After all these demonstrations, I will not do my readers the wrong of
thinking that the levitation of the table is not MORE THAN PROVED for all
of them.

Here, now, is a curious observation relative to the inflation of the
curtain: Ten persons were seated around the table. Eusapia had her back
turned to the curtain; she was controlled by General Starynkiewicz and Dr.

    I was seated (writes M. Glowacki-Prus) opposite Eusapia, near Mlle.
    X., a very nervous person and easily hypnotized. The séance had lasted
    for about an hour, with numerous and varied phenomena. Eusapia, as
    always, was in a semi-conscious state. Suddenly she awoke, and Mlle.
    X. uttered a cry. Knowing what this cry meant, I grasped her hand with
    great force and then put my arm about her; for this girl becomes very
    strong in certain states. The room was well lighted, and this is what
    we saw (something, be it noted, which I myself experienced by my
    hands). Every time that the muscles of Mlle. X. became more tense and
    rigid, the curtain which hung opposite her, at a distance of from
    seven to ten feet, made a movement. The following table indicates the
    details of this correlation:

      Feeble tension of the muscles   the curtain is set in motion.

      strong tension                  it bellies out like a sail.

      very strong tension, cries      it reaches as far as eusapia's
                                      controllers, and almost wholly
                                      covers them.

      repose                          repose.

      tension of the muscles          movement of the curtain.

      strong tension                  strong inflation of the curtain.

    This tabular view presents the striking proportion which I ascertained
    between the tension of the medium's muscles (who in this case was
    Mlle. X.) and the mechanical work of the curtain in movement.

This experiment is so much the more interesting since it was not Eusapia
who made it; and, if she had a trick for inflating the portières, it was
not employed in this case. We already know that she had none.

Here are the conclusions of M. Ochorowicz:

    1. I did not find any proofs in favor of the Spiritualistic
    hypothesis; that is to say, in favor of the intervention of an
    intelligence other than that of the medium. "John" is for me only a
    psychic double of the medium. Consequently, I am not a Spiritualist.

    2. Mediumistic phenomena are confirmatory of "magnetism" as opposed to
    "hypnotism"; that is to say, they imply the existence of a fluidic
    action apart from suggestion.

    3. Still, suggestion plays an important rôle in them, and the medium
    is only a mirror reflecting the forces and the ideas of those present.
    Moreover, she possesses the power of realizing her own somnambulistic
    visions or those suggested by the company, simply by the process of
    externalizing them.

    4. No purely physical force explains these phenomena, which are always
    of a psycho-physical nature, having a centre of action in the mind of
    the medium.

    5. The phenomena proved do not contradict either mechanics in general
    or the law of the conservation of forces in particular. The medium
    acts at the expense of her own proper powers and at the expense of
    those of the persons present.

    6. There exists a series of transitions between mediumship of an
    inferior kind (automatism, unconscious fraud) and mediumship of a
    superior kind or externalization of motivity (action at a distance
    without visible and palpable connecting link).

    7. The hypothesis of a "fluidic double" (astral body), which, under
    certain conditions, detaches itself and acts independently of the body
    of the medium, seems necessary for the explanation of the greater
    part of the phenomena. According to this conception, the moving of
    objects without contact would be produced by the fluidic limbs of the

Sir Oliver Lodge, an eminent English physicist, rector of the University
of Birmingham, says that, on the invitation of Dr. Richet, he went to
attend the experiments at Carqueiranne, thoroughly convinced that he
should not see there any instance of physical movement without contact but
that what he saw completely convinced him that phenomena of that kind can
have, under certain conditions, a real and objective existence. He vouches
for the following verified facts:

    1. Movements of a chair at a distance, seen by the light of the moon,
    and in circumstances which proved that there was no mechanical

    2. The inflation and the movement of a curtain in the absence of wind
    or of any other ostensible cause.

    3. The automatic winding up and moving about of a music-box.

    4. Sounds proceeding from a piano and from an accordion which had not
    been touched.

    5. A key turned in a lock, on the inside of the room where the séances
    were held, then placed upon the table, and again put back into the

    6. The overturning, by means of slow and correct evolutions, of a
    heavy moving table, which was afterwards found thus turned upside

    7. The levitation of a heavy table, under conditions in which it would
    have been impossible to lift it in ordinary circumstances.

    8. The appearance of blue marks upon a table previously spotless, and
    this done without the help of the ordinary methods of writing.

    9. The sensation of blows, as if some one were striking the head, the
    arms, or the back, while the head, the hands, and the feet of the
    medium were plainly in view or held apart from the portions of the
    body that were touched.

It is plain enough what part the above statements play in our argument.
They are throughout simply confirmations of the experiments described

At Cambridge, Eusapia was taken in the very act of deception; namely, the
substitution of hands. While the controllers believed that they were
holding her two hands, they were only holding one of them: the other was
free. So these experimenters at Cambridge unanimously declared that
"everything was fraud, from the beginning to the end," in Eusapia
Paladino's _twenty séances_.

In a paper sent to M. de Rochas, M. Ochorowicz contested this radical
conclusion, for several reasons. Eusapia is very susceptible to
suggestion, and, by indulging her inclination to fraud and not hindering
it, they incite her to it still more by a kind of tacit encouragement.
Moreover, her fraud is generally of an unconscious kind. I append here, as
a particular illustration of this, a rather typical story about her:

    One evening, at Varsovie (says M. Ochorowicz), Eusapia is sleeping in
    her chamber by the side of ours. I have not yet gone to sleep, when
    suddenly I hear her rising and moving about with bare feet in the
    drawing-room. Then she enters her chamber again and approaches our
    door. I make a sign to Mme. Ochorowicz, who has waked up, to be quiet
    and to observe carefully what is going to take place. A moment after,
    Eusapia gently opens the door, comes up to my wife's toilet-table,
    opens a drawer, shuts it, and goes away, carefully avoiding making any
    noise. I hastily dress myself and we enter her chamber. Eusapia is
    quietly sleeping. The light of our candle seems to wake her.

    "What were you hunting for in our sleeping-room?"

    "I? I haven't left this place."

    Seeing the uselessness of further questions, we go to bed again,
    advising her to sleep quietly.

    Next day I ask her the same question. She is very much astonished and
    even troubled (she blushes slightly).

    "How should I dare," said she, "to enter your chamber during the

    This accusation is very painful to her, and she tries to persuade us
    by all kinds of insufficient reasons that we are wrong. She denies the
    whole thing, and I am obliged to admit that she does not remember
    getting up or _even having conversed with us_ (it was just another
    somnambulistic state).

    I take a little table, and direct Eusapia to put her hands on it.

    "Very well," says she, "John will tell you that I don't lie."

    I then ask the following questions:

    "Is it you, John, who came into our sleeping chamber last night?"


    "Was it the chambermaid?" (I suggest this idea for the express purpose
    of testing John's veracity.)

    "No," says he.

    "Was it the medium herself?"

    "Yes," says the table.--"No, it is not true," exclaims Eusapia, seeing
    her hope banished--"Yes," replies the table, forcibly.

    "Was she in the trance state?"


    "In her normal state?"


    "In a spontaneous somnambulistic state?"


    "For what purpose?"

    "_She was hunting matches; for she was frightened in her sleep, and
    didn't want to sleep without light._"

    Sure enough, there were always matches in the drawer opened by
    Eusapia, except on this particular night. She therefore returned
    without getting any.

    While listening to the explanation of the table, Eusapia shrugged her
    shoulders, but protested no longer.

    Here, then, is a woman who, from time to time, has the power of
    passing from one psychical state to another. Is it just to accuse such
    a creature of premeditated fraud, without the slightest medical and
    psychological examination, without the least attempt at

M. Ochorowicz adds here that, so far as he is concerned, the phenomena are
not produced by a personality different from that of the medium, nor by a
new independent occult force; but it is a special psychic condition which
permits the vital _dynamism of the medium_ (the astral body of the
occultists) _to act at a distance_, under certain exceptional conditions.
It is the only hypothesis which seems _necessary in the actual state of
our knowledge_.

Why does the medium so often try to release her hand? So far as the
Cambridge experimenters are concerned, the cause is very simple and always
the same: she releases her hand in order to indulge in tricks. As a matter
of fact, the reasons why she frees her hand are many and complicated.

Dr. Ochorowicz's explanations are as follows:

    1. Let me observe, in the first place, that Eusapia frequently
    releases her hand for no other reason than to touch her head, which is
    in pain at the moment of the manifestations. It is a natural reflex
    movement; and, in her case, it is a fixed habit. Since, more often
    than not, she does not notice that she is doing it, or at least fails
    to give warning to her controller, the darkness justifies suspicions.

    2. Immediately before the mediumistic doubling of her personality, her
    hand is affected with hyperæsthesia and, consequently, the pressure of
    the hand of another makes her ill, especially in the dorsal quarter.
    She then most frequently places the hand which is to be
    mediumistically active _above_ and not below that of the controller,
    trying to touch it as little as possible. When the doubling of the
    personality is complete, and the dynamic hand more or less
    materialized, that of the medium contracts and rests heavily upon the
    controller, exactly at the moment that the phenomenon takes place. She
    is then almost insensible and all shrunken together. In very good
    mediumistic conditions the doubling is easy and the initial
    hyperæsthesia of short duration. In this case the medium allows her
    hand to be completely covered and the feet of the controllers to be
    _upon_ hers, as was always the case in our séances at Rome in 1893;
    but, since that time, she can no longer endure that position, and
    rather prefers to be held by hands under the table.

    3. In accordance with psychological laws, the hand always proceeds
    automatically in the direction of our thoughts (Cumberlandism). The
    medium acts by auto-suggestion, and the order to go as far as an
    indicated point is given by her brain simultaneously to the dynamic
    hand and the corporeal hand, since in the normal state they form only
    one. And since, immediately after the hyperæsthesia, the muscular
    sensation is excited and the hand grows benumbed, it sometimes happens
    (especially when the medium proceeds carelessly and does not properly
    govern her movements) that the dynamic hand remains in place, while
    her own hand goes in the indicated direction. The former, not being
    yet materialized, produces only a semblance of pressure; and another
    person, able to see a little in the darkness, will perceive nothing of
    it, and will even be able to ascertain by touch the absence of the
    medium's hand from that of the controller. At the same time the hand
    of the medium is going in the direction of the object; and _still it
    may happen that it does not really reach it, acting, as it does, at a
    distance, by a dynamic prolongation_.

    It is in this way that I explain the cases in which the hand, being
    released, has not yet been able to reach the point aimed at
    (physically inaccessible), as well as the numerous experiments made at
    Varsovie in full light, with a little bell hung in different ways,
    with compasses of different forms, with a very small table,
    etc.,--experiments in which Eusapia's fingers were quite near, but did
    not touch, the object. I proved that there was no electric force at
    work in these cases, but that things occurred as if the arms of the
    medium were lengthened and acted invisibly, but _mechanically_. At
    Varsovie, when one of my friends M. Glowacki, took it into his head
    "that it was necessary to give the medium free rein, in order to
    discover her method," we had an entirely fraudulent séance and lost
    our time to no purpose. On the contrary, in a poor séance at l'île
    Roubaud, we obtained some good phenomena after having frankly told the
    medium that she was cheating.

And here are the conclusions of the author upon "the Cambridge frauds":

    1. Not only was _conscious_ fraud not proved on Eusapia at Cambridge,
    but not the slightest effort was made to do so.

    2. _Unconscious_ fraud was proved in much larger proportions than in
    all the preceding experiments.

    3. This negative result is vindicated by a blundering method little in
    accordance with the nature of the phenomena.

Such is also the opinion of Dr. J. Maxwell, and of all who are competent
judges of the question.

To sum up, we see that the influence of preconceived ideas, opinions, and
sentiments, upon the production of phenomena, is certain. When all the
experimenters have nearly the same sympathetic inclination for this kind
of research, and when they have decided to exercise sufficient "control"
(that is, watchful oversight) not to be the dupe of any mystification, and
agree among themselves to accept the regrettable conditions of darkness
necessary to the activity of these unknown radiations, and not to trouble
in any way the apparent exigencies of the medium, then the resulting
phenomena attain an extraordinary degree of intensity.[36]

But if discord reigns, if one or more of the company persistently spy upon
the acts of the medium, with the conviction that he or she must be
cheating, the results are very much like the progress of a sailing vessel
impelled by several contrary winds. The medium simply marks time without
advancing; and little but sterile results are secured. _Psychic forces are
no less real than physical or chemical or mechanical forces._ In spite of
the desire that we may have to convince prejudiced sceptics, it is
advisable to invite only one of them at a time, and to place him next to
the medium, in order that he may be at once astonished, shaken, and
convinced. But in general this is not worth the trouble.

In the month of September, 1895, a new series of experiments was made at
l'Agnélas, in the residence of Colonel de Rochas, president of the
polytechnic school, with the assistance of Dr. Dariex, editor of the
_Annales des sciences psychiques_, Count de Gramont (doctor of science),
Dr. J. Maxwell, deputy of the attorney-general at the Court of Appeals in
Limoges, Professor Sabatier, of the faculty of sciences at Montpellier,
and Baron de Watteville, a licentiate in science. They confirmed all the
preceding details.[37]

A similar series was held in September, 1896, at Tremezzo, in the rooms of
the Blech family, then in summer residence at Lake Como; again at Auteuil,
at the home of M. Marcel Mangin, with MM. Sully-Prudhomme, Dr. Dariex,
Emile Desbeaux, A. Guerronnan, and Mme. Boisseaux also participating. Let
us stop for a moment to glance at this last séance.

I will first mention the photograph of the table suspended in the air, a
levitation which did not leave any doubt in the mind of the experimenters,
any more than it does in that of the observer who examines with attention
this photograph (Pl. IX). The table descended slowly and the succession of
images was registered by the photograph (same plate, Cut B). The following
is an extract from the report by M. de Rochas upon this séance and the
succeeding one:

    _September 21._--The table rises off its four feet. M. Guerronnan has
    time to take a photograph of it, but he fears that it may not be good.
    We beg Eusapia to begin again. She consents with good grace. The table
    is again lifted off its four feet. M. Mangin notifies M. Guerronnan
    who, from his post, could not see, and the table remains in the air
    until he has had time to take a picture of it (from three to four
    seconds at the most). The dazzling magnesium light enables us all to
    verify the reality of the phenomenon.

    The curtain, hung in the corner of the room, suddenly blows out and
    covers my head. Then I feel in succession three pressures of a hand
    upon my head, the pressures growing stronger and stronger. I feel
    fingers which press as those of M. Sully-Prudhomme, my neighbor on the
    right, might do. I hold his left hand as a part of the chain of hands.

    It is a hand, it is fingers, which have just pressed upon me so; but
    whose? I have continually had Eusapia's right hand upon my left hand,
    which she seized and tightly held at the moment of the production of
    the phenomenon....

    I throw back the curtain, which has remained upon my head, and we sit
    waiting. "_Meno luce_" ("less light") asks Eusapia. The lamp is turned
    down more, and the remaining light shut off by a screen.

    Facing me there is a window with closed outside shutters, but through
    which filters the light of the street. In the silence, my attention
    is caught by the appearance of a hand, the small hand of a woman. I
    can see it, owing to the feeble light coming from the window.

[Illustration: PLATE IX



    It is not the shadow of a hand: it is a hand of flesh (I do not add
    "and of bone," for I have the impression that it has no bones). This
    hand opens and closes three times, sufficiently long to permit me to

    "Whose hand is this?--yours, Monsieur Mangin?"


    "Then it is a materialization?"

    "Undoubtedly: if you hold the medium's right hand, I hold the other."

    I had the _right hand_ of Eusapia on my left hand, and _her fingers
    were interlaced with mine_.

    Now the hand which I saw was a _right hand_, stretched out and
    presented in profile. It remained for a moment motionless in the air,
    at about from twenty-four to twenty-eight inches above the table and
    thirty-six inches from Eusapia. As its immobility (I suppose) was the
    cause of my not seeing it, it therefore opened and closed: it was
    these movements which attracted my attention.

    My favorable position in respect to the window, unfortunately
    permitted me alone to see this mysterious hand; but M. Mangin saw, at
    two separate times, not a hand, but the shadow of a hand outlined in
    profile upon the opposite window.

    Eusapia turns her head in the direction of the curtain, behind which
    there is a leather-covered easy-chair, and, displacing the curtain,
    this chair comes and leans against me.

    She takes my left hand, lifts it above the table the whole length of
    her right arm, and makes the feint of rapping in the air: the echo of
    three blows is heard on the table.

    A little bell is placed before her. She stretches out her two hands to
    the right and the left of the bell at a distance of from three to four
    inches; then she draws back her hands toward her body, and, lo and
    behold! the bell comes gliding along over the table until it bumps
    against something and falls over. Eusapia repeats the experiment
    several times. You would think that her hands were invisibly
    prolonged; and that seems to me to justify the term "ectenic force,"
    which Professor Thury, of Geneva, gave in the year 1855 to this
    unknown energy.

    I was just asking if she did not perchance have some invisible thread
    between her fingers, when suddenly, an irresistible itching made her
    put her left hand to her nose; her right had remained upon the table
    near the bell; the two hands at this moment were about two feet apart.
    I observed carefully. Eusapia rested her left hand upon the table,
    some inches from the bell, and this was again set in motion.
    Considering the gesture made by her, it would have been necessary, in
    order to perform this feat, to have a wonderfully elastic thread,
    absolutely invisible; for our eyes were, so to speak, upon the bell,
    and the light was abundant. My eyes were only a foot distant from the
    bell, at the utmost.

    This was a certain and undeniable case, and Sully-Prudhomme returned
    to his home with me as thoroughly convinced as I am.

The poet of _Solitudes_ and of _Justice_, wrote on his part, as follows:

    After a rather long wait, an architect's stool came marching up all
    alone toward me. It grazed my left side, rose to the height of the
    table, and succeeded in placing itself upon it. As I lifted my hand, I
    felt it at once seized.

    "Why do you take my hand?" I asked of my neighbor.

    "It was not I," said he.

    While these phenomena were taking place, Eusapia seemed to be
    suffering. It seemed as if out of her own physiological fund or stock
    she were furnishing all the force required to put the objects in

    After the séance, while she was still very much prostrated, we saw an
    easy-chair which was behind the curtain come rolling up behind her, as
    if to say, "Hold on there! you've forgotten me!"

    My conviction is that I witnessed phenomena which I cannot relate to
    any ordinary physical law. My impression is that fraud, in any case,
    is more than improbable,--at least so far as concerns the displacement
    at a distance of heavy articles of furniture arranged by my
    companions and myself. That is all that I can say about it. For my
    part, I call "natural" that which is scientifically proved. So that
    the word "mysterious" means that which still astonishes us because it
    cannot be explained. I believe that the scientific spirit consists in
    verifying facts, in not denying _a priori_ any fact which is not in
    contradiction with known laws, and in accepting none which has not
    been determined by safe and verifiable conditions.

    _Séance of September 26._--A dark bust moves forward upon the table,
    coming from where Eusapia sits; then another, and still another. "They
    look like Chinese ghosts," says M. Mangin, with this difference, that
    I, who am better placed, owing to the light from the window, am able
    to perceive the dimensions of these singular images, and above all
    their _thickness_. All these black busts are busts of women, of life
    size; but, although vague, they do not look like Eusapia. The last of
    them, of fine shape, is that of a woman who seems young and pretty.
    These half-lengths, which seem to emanate from the medium, glide along
    between us; and, when they have gone as far as the middle of the table
    or two-thirds of its length, they sink down altogether (all of a
    piece, as it were), and vanish. This rigidity makes me think of the
    reproductions, or fac-similes, of a bust escaped from a sculptor's
    atelier, and I murmur, "One would think he was looking at busts
    moulded in papier-maché." Eusapia heard me. "No, not papier-maché,"
    she says indignantly. She does not give any other explanation, but
    says (this time in Italian), "In order to prove to you that it is not
    the body of the medium, I am going to show you a man with a beard.
    Attention!" I do not see anything, but Dr. Dariex feels his face
    rubbed against for quite a while by a beard.

New experiments made at Genoa in 1901, at which Eurico Morselli, professor
of psychology at the University of Genoa, was present, were reported by my
learned friend the astronomer Porro, successively director of the
observatories of Genoa and Turin, to-day director of the national
observatory of the Argentine Republic at La Plata. Here are some extracts
from this report:[38]

    Nearly ten years have passed since Eusapia Paladino made her first
    appearance in the memorable séances at Milan during the course of her
    mediumistic tours through Europe. The object of shrewd investigations
    on the part of experienced and learned observers; the butt of jokes,
    accusations, sarcasms; exalted by certain fanatics as a
    personification of supernatural powers and scoffed at by others as a
    mountebank,--the humble haberdasher of Naples has made so much stir in
    the world that she is herself bored and displeased by it.

    I had good proof of this when I took leave of her, after I had
    listened with much curiosity to the anecdotes which she related to me
    of her séances and of the well-known men with whom she has been
    associated,--Ch. Richet, Schiaparelli, Lombroso, Flammarion, Sardou,
    Aksakof, et al. She then very emphatically asked me not to speak in
    the journals of her presence at Genoa and of the experiments in which
    she should figure there. Happily, she has good reasons herself for not
    reading the journals.[39]

    Why was an astronomer chosen to give an account of the experiments at
    Genoa? Because astronomers are occupied with researches into the

    If a man absorbed in his own private studies and attached to an
    austere and laborious manner of life, such as my venerated master M.
    Schiaparelli, has not hesitated to defy the irreverent jests of the
    comic journals, it behooves us to conclude that the bond between the
    science of the heavens and that of the human soul is more intimate
    than appears. The following is the most probable explanation. We have
    to do in these studies with phenomena which are manifested under
    wholly special and still undetermined conditions, in conformity with
    laws almost unknown and, in any case, of such a character that the
    will of the experimenter has but little influence upon the unshackled,
    self-regulating, and often adverse volitions which betray themselves
    at every moment in the study of these psychical marvels. Nobody is
    better prepared to study these things than an astronomer, possessing,
    as he does, a scientific education precisely adapting him to the
    investigation of such conditions. In fact, by the systematic
    observation of the movements of the heavenly bodies, the astronomer
    contracts the habit of being a vigilant and patient spectator of
    phenomena, without attempting either to arrest or to accelerate their
    irresistible development. In other words, the study of the stars
    belongs to the science of _observation_ rather than to that of

Professor Porro then sets forth the actual state of the question relating
to mediumistic phenomena.

    The explanation that everything is fraud, conscious or unconscious
    [says he], is to-day almost entirely abandoned, as much so as that
    which supposes that all is hallucination. In fact, neither one nor the
    other of these hypotheses is sufficient to throw light upon the
    observed facts. The hypothesis of unconscious automatic action on the
    part of the medium has not obtained any better fate; for the most
    rigorous controls have only proved that the medium finds it impossible
    to excite a direct dynamic effect. Physio-psychology has therefore
    been obliged, in these latter years, to have recourse to a supreme
    hypothesis, by accepting the theories of M. de Rochas, against which
    they had heretofore directed the fire of their heaviest guns. It has
    become resigned to the admission that a medium whose limbs are held
    motionless by a rigorous control may, under certain conditions,
    project outside of herself, to a distance of several yards, a force
    sufficient to produce certain phenomena of movement in inanimate

    The boldest partisans of this hypothesis go so far as to accept the
    temporary creation of pseudo-human limbs,--arms, legs, heads,--in the
    formation of which the energies of other persons present probably
    co-operate with those of the medium. The theory is that as soon as the
    energizing power of the medium is withdrawn these phantom dynamic
    limbs at once dissolve and disappear.

    For all that, we do not yet go so far as to admit the existence of
    free and independent beings who would be able to exercise their powers
    only through the human organism; and still less do we admit the
    existence of spirits who once animated the forms of human beings....

M. Porro openly declares that, for his part, he is neither a materialist
nor a Spiritualist: He says that he is not ready to accept, _a priori_,
either the negations of psycho-physiology or the faith of Spiritualists.

He adds that the nine persons who were present with him at the séances
represented the greatest variety of opinions on the subject, from the most
firmly persuaded Spiritualists to the most incorrigible sceptics.
Moreover, his task was not that of writing an official report, approved by
all the experimenters, but solely that of faithfully relating his own

The following are the _most important_ of these, selected from his reports
on the different séances:

    I saw, and plainly saw, the rough deal table (a table a yard long and
    nearly two feet wide and resting on four feet) rise up several times
    from the floor and, without any contact with visible objects, remain
    suspended in the air, several inches above the floor, during the space
    of two, three, and even four seconds.

    This experiment was renewed _in full light_ without the hands of the
    medium and of the five persons who formed the chain about the table
    touching the latter in any way. Eusapia's hands were looked after by
    her neighbors, who controlled also her legs and her feet in such a way
    that no part of her body was able to exercise the least pressure for
    the lifting or maintaining in the air of the rather heavy article of
    furniture used in the experiments.

    It was under such absolutely trustworthy conditions as these that I
    was able to see inflated _a very thick piece of black cloth_ and the
    red curtains which were behind the medium, and which served to close
    the embrasure of the window. The casement was carefully closed, there
    was no current of air in the room, and it is absurd to suppose that
    persons were hidden in the embrasure of the window. I believe, then,
    that I can affirm with the utmost confidence that _a force_, analogous
    to that which had produced the levitation of the table, was manifested
    in the curtains, _inflated them, shook them, and pushed them_ out in
    such a way that they touched now one and now another of the company.

    During the sitting an event took place which deserves to be mentioned
    as a proof, or at least as an indication, of the _intelligent_
    character of the force in question.

    Being face to face with Mme. Paladino, at a point in the table the
    most removed from her, I complained that I had not been touched as had
    the four other persons who formed the company. No sooner had I said
    this than I saw the heavy curtain sweep out and come and hit me in the
    face with its lower edge, at the same time that I felt a light blow
    upon the knuckles of my fingers, as if from a very fragile and light
    piece of wood.

    Next a formidable blow, like the stroke of the fist of an athlete, is
    struck in the middle of the table. The person seated at the right of
    the medium feels that he is grasped in the side; the chair in which he
    was seated is taken away and placed upon the table, from which it then
    returns to its place without having been touched by anybody. The
    experimenter in question, who has remained standing, is able to take
    his seat in the chair again. The control of this phenomenon left
    nothing to desire.

    The blows are now redoubled, and are so terrific that it seems as if
    they would split the table. We begin to perceive hands lifting and
    inflating the curtains and advancing so far as to touch first one,
    then the other, of the company, caressing them, pressing their hands,
    daintily pulling their ears or clapping hands merrily in the air above
    their heads.

    It seems to me very singular and perhaps intentional,--this contrast
    between the touches (sometimes nervous and energetic, and again
    delicate and gentle, but always friendly) and the deafening, violent,
    brutal blows struck upon the table.

    A single one of these fist-blows, planted in the back, would suffice
    to break the vertebral column.

    The hands that perform these feats are the strong and brawny hands of
    a man, the daintier hands are those of a woman, the very small hands
    those of children.

    The darkness is rendered a little less dense, and at once the chair of
    No. 5 (Professor Morselli), which had already made a jump to one side,
    is slipped from under him, while a hand is placed on his back and on
    his shoulder. The chair gets up on the table, comes down again to the
    floor, and, after different horizontal and vertical oscillations,
    soars up and rests upon the head of the professor, who has remained
    standing. It remains there for some minutes in a state of very
    unstable equilibrium.

    The loud blows and the delicate touches of hands, large and small,
    succeed each other uninterruptedly in such a way that, without our
    being able mathematically to prove the simultaneousness of different
    phenomena, it is yet almost certain in several cases.

    While our opportunities for obtaining so valuable a subject of
    demonstration increase, the simultaneity which we ask for is at last
    granted; for the table raps, the bell sounds, and the tambourine is
    carried tinkling over our heads all about the room, rests for a moment
    on the table, and then resumes its flight in the air....

    A bouquet of flowers, placed in a carafe on the larger table, comes
    over onto ours, preceded by an agreeable perfume. Stems of flowers are
    placed in the mouth of No. 5; and No. 8 is hit by a rubber ball, which
    rebounds upon the table. The carafe comes over to join the flowers on
    our table; it is then immediately lifted and put to the mouth of the
    medium, and she is made to drink from it twice; between the two times
    it sinks down to the table and stands there for a moment right side
    up. We distinctly hear the swallowing of the water, after which Mme.
    Paladino asks some one to wipe her mouth with a handkerchief. Finally,
    the carafe returns to the large table.

    But a transfer of a totally different character is effected in the
    following way. I had complained several times that my position in the
    chain at a distance from the medium had hindered me from being touched
    during the séance. Suddenly, I hear a noise on the wall of the room,
    followed by the tinkling of the strings of the guitar, which vibrate
    as if some one were trying to take down the instrument from the wall
    on which it hung. At last the effort succeeds, and the guitar comes
    toward me in an oblique direction. I distinctly saw it come between me
    and No. 8, with a rapidity which rendered the impact of it rather
    unpleasant. Not being able at first to account to myself for this dim
    black object which was driving at me, I slipped to one side (No. 8 was
    seated at my left). Then the guitar, changing its route, struck
    forcibly with its handle three blows upon my forehead (which remained
    a little bruised for two or three days), after which it came to a rest
    with delicate precision upon the table. It did not remain there very
    long before it began to circle about the hall, with a rotation to the
    right, quite high above our heads, and at great speed.

    It is proper to remark that, in this rotation of the guitar, the
    vibration of its own strings was added to the sound of the tambourine
    struck sometimes on one side, sometimes on the other, in the air; and
    the guitar, bulky as it was, never once struck the central supporting
    electric-light rod, nor the three gas lamps fixed on the walls of the
    chamber. When we take into consideration the contracted dimensions of
    the room, we see that it was very difficult to avoid these obstacles,
    since the space remaining free was very limited.

    The guitar took its flight twice around the room, coming to a
    stand-still (between the two times) in the middle of the table, where
    finally it came to a rest. In a final supreme effort, Eusapia turns
    toward the left, where upon a table is a typewriting machine weighing
    fifteen pounds. During the effort the medium falls exhausted and
    nervous upon the floor; but the machine rises from its place and
    betakes itself to the middle of our table, near the guitar.

    In full light, Eusapia calls M. Morselli, and, controlled by the two
    persons next her, brings him with her toward the table, upon which is
    placed a mass of modelling-plaster. She takes his open hand and
    pushes it three times toward the plaster, as if to sink the hand into
    it and leave upon it an impression. M. Morselli's hand remains at a
    distance of more than four inches from the mass: nevertheless, at the
    end of the séance, the experimenters ascertain that the lump of
    plaster contains the impression of three fingers,--deeper prints than
    it is possible to obtain directly by means of voluntary pressure.

    The medium lifts her two hands, all the time clasped in mine and in
    those of No. 5 (Morselli), and uttering groans, cries, exhortations,
    _she rises with her chair_, so far as to place its two feet and the
    ends of its two front cross-bars upon the top of the table. It was a
    moment of great anxiety. The levitation was accomplished rapidly, but
    without any jarring or jolting or jerking. In other words, if, in an
    effort of extreme distrust you insisted on supposing that she employed
    some artifice to obtain the result, you would rather have to think of
    a pulling up, by means of a cord and pulley, rather than of a pushing
    from beneath.

    But neither of these hypotheses can stand the most elementary
    examination of the facts....

    There is more to follow. Eusapia was lifted up still farther with her
    chair, from the upper part of the table, in such a way that No. 11 on
    one side and I on the other were able to pass our hands under her feet
    and under those of the chair.

    Moreover, the fact that the posterior feet of the chair were entirely
    off of the table, without any visible support makes this levitation
    still more irreconcilable with the supposition that Eusapia could have
    made her body and the chair take an upward leap.

M. Porro judges that this phenomenon is one of those which are less easily
explained if we decline to have recourse to the Spiritualistic hypothesis.
It is a little like the man who fell into the water and thought he could
pull himself out by his own hair.

    Eusapia [adds M. Porro] descended without any jolting, little by
    little, No. 5 and I never letting go her hands. The chair, having
    risen up a little higher, turned over and placed itself on my head,
    whence it spontaneously returned to the floor.

    This thing was tried again. Eusapia and her chair were transported
    again to the top of the table, only, this time, the result of the
    fatigue undergone by her was such that the poor woman fell in a faint
    upon the table. We lifted her down with all due care.

    The experimenters desired to know whether these phenomena, the success
    of which depends in so great measure upon the conditions of light,
    could not have better success in the white and quiet light of the

    They were obliged to admit that there was no appreciable difference
    between the lunar light and other kinds. But the table around which
    they had formed the chain quitted the veranda where the sitting was
    being held, and, in spite of the strongly expressed wishes of the
    sitters and of the medium herself, betook itself into the neighboring
    room, where the sitting then continued.

    This room was a little salon crowded with elegant furniture and
    fragile objects, such as crystal chandeliers, porcelain vases,
    bric-à-brac, etc. The experimenters feared very much that these things
    would suffer damage in the bustle of the séance; but not the slightest
    object suffered any damage.

    Mme. Paladino, who was now herself again, took the hand of No. 11 and
    placed it gently upon the back of a chair, at the same time placing
    her own hand upon his. Then, as she lifted her hand and that of No.
    11, _the chair followed the same ascending movement_ several times in

    This thing was repeated in full light.

    No. 5, as well as other gentlemen, perceived, in a manner that
    admitted of no doubt, a vague, indistinct figure thrown upon the air
    in the doorway of an antechamber which was feebly illuminated. The
    figure consisted of changing and fugitive silhouettes, sometimes with
    the outline of a human head and body, sometimes like hands reaching
    out from the curtains. Their objective character was demonstrated by
    the agreement of impressions, which were controlled in their turn by
    means of continual inquiries. There was no possibility of their being
    shadows voluntarily or involuntarily projected by the bodies of the
    experimenters, since we were mutually watching each other.

The tenth séance (the last) was one of the best-attended, and was perhaps
the most interesting of all.

    Scarcely has the electric light been extinguished when we remark an
    automatic movement of the chair upon which a lump of plaster has been
    placed, while the hands and feet of Eusapia are watchfully controlled
    by me and by No. 3. However, as we wish to forestall the objection of
    critics that the phenomena take place in the dark, the table
    typtologically (that is, by taps) asks for light, and the
    experimenters light the electric lamp.

    Presently, _all the company see the chair_ on which the lump of
    plaster lies (not at all a light chair) _moving between myself and the
    medium_, without our being able to understand the determining cause of
    the movement.

    Mme. Paladino puts her outspread hand upon the back of the chair and
    her left above it. When our hands rise up, the chair rises also
    without contact, reaching a height of about six inches. This
    performance is several times repeated, with the addition of the
    intervention of the hand of No. 5, under conditions of light and of
    control which leave nothing to be desired.

    The room is again almost completely darkened.... A current of cold air
    upon the table precedes the arrival of a little branch with two green
    leaves. We know that there are no plants in the neighborhood of the
    company: it appears then that we have here a case of _bringing-in_
    from the outside.

    No. 3 is greatly exhausted with the heat. And, lo! a hand, which takes
    his handkerchief from his neck and with it dries the perspiration on
    his face. He tries to seize the handkerchief with his teeth, but it is
    snatched from him. A big hand lifts his left hand and makes him rap
    several strokes with it on the table.

    Gleams of light begin to appear, at first on the right hand of No. 5,
    then in different parts of the hall. They are perceived by everybody.

    The curtain is inflated, as if it were pushed against by a strong
    wind, and touches No. 11, who is seated in a small easy-chair a yard
    and a half from the medium. The same person is touched by a hand,
    while another hand pulls a fan from the inside pocket of his jacket,
    carries it to No. 5 and then to No. 11. The fan is soon returned to
    its owner, and is moved to and fro above our heads, to the great
    satisfaction of all of us. A tobacco pouch is taken from the pocket of
    No. 3: the Invisible empties it on the table, and then gives it to No.
    10. Various stems of plants drop upon the table.

    Transfers of the fan from one hand to another begin again. Then No. 11
    believes that he ought to announce that the fan had been offered to
    him by a young girl who had expressed the wish that it be transferred
    to No. 11, then given back to No. 5. Nobody knew about this except No.

    No. 5, who at present occupies the small arm-chair where formerly No.
    11 was seated, a yard and a half from the medium, feels the edge of
    the curtain touching him and then perceives the presence of the body
    of a woman whose hair rests on his head.

    The séance is adjourned about one o'clock.

    At the moment of parting, Eusapia sees a bell on the piano; she
    extends her hand; the bell glides along on the piano, turns over, and
    falls on the floor. The experiment is renewed, in full light as
    before, the hand of the medium remaining several inches from the

It is evident that these exploits are still more extraordinary than the
preceding ones, in certain respects. The following are the _conclusions_
of the report of Professor Porro.

    The phenomena are real. They cannot be explained either by fraud or by
    hallucination. Do they find their explanation in certain strata of the
    unconscious (the subliminal), in some latent faculty of the human
    soul, or indeed do they reveal the existence of other entities living
    under conditions wholly different from ours and normally inaccessible
    to our senses? In other words, will the _animistic_ hypothesis suffice
    to solve the problem and to do away with the _Spiritualistic_
    hypothesis? Or, rather, do not the phenomena serve here, as in the
    psychology of dreams, to complicate the problem by hiding the
    Spiritualistic solution within them? It is to this formidable query
    that I am going to attempt a reply.

    When, eleven years ago, Alexander Aksakof stated the dilemma between
    Animism and Spiritism, and in a masterly work clearly proved that
    purely animistic manifestations were inseparable from those which
    direct our thoughts to a belief in the existence of independent,
    intelligent, and active entities, no one could have expected that the
    first term of the dilemma would be disputed and criticised in a
    thousand ways, under a thousand varying forms, by persons who would be
    dismayed at the second term.

    In fact, what are all the hypotheses which for ten years now have been
    invented in order to reduce mediumistic phenomena to the simple
    manifestation of qualities latent in the human _psyche_ (or soul), if
    not different forms of the animistic hypothesis, so jeered at when it
    appeared in the work of Aksakof?

    From the idea of the unconscious muscular action of the spectators
    (put forth half a century ago by Faraday) to the projection of
    protoplasmic activity or to the temporary emanation from the body of
    the medium imagined by Lodge; from the psychiatric doctrine of
    Lombroso to the psycho-physiology of Ochorowicz; from the
    externalization admitted by Rochas to the eso-psychism of Morselli;
    from the automatism of Pierre Janet to the _duplication of
    personality_ of Alfred Binet,--there was a perfect flood of
    explanations, having for their end the elimination of an exterior

    The process was logical and in agreement with the principles of
    scientific philosophy, which instructs us to exhaust the possibilities
    of what is already known before having recourse to the unknown.

    But this principle, unassailable in theory, may lead to erroneous
    results when it is wilfully stretched too far into a given field of
    research. Vallati has cited, in this connection, a curious marginal
    note of Galileo, recently published in the third volume of the
    national edition of his works:

    "If we heat amber, the diamond, and certain other very dense
    substances by chafing them, they attract small light bodies, because,
    in cooling off, they attract the air, which draws these corpuscles
    along with it." Thus the desire to bring still unexplained material
    facts under the known physical laws of his day led an observer and
    thinker so prudent and practical as Galileo to formulate a false
    proposition. If anybody had said to him that in the attraction
    exercised by amber there was the germ of a new branch of science and
    the rudimentary manifestation of an energy (electricity) then unknown,
    he would have replied that it was useless to "have recourse to the aid
    of the unknown."

    But the analogy between the error committed by the great physicist and
    that which modern scholars commit can be pushed still farther.

    Galileo was familiar with a form of energy which the natural
    philosophy of our times investigates simultaneously with electric
    energy, with which it has close relations confirmed by all recent
    discoveries. If it had been perceived that the explanation which he
    gave of the phenomenon of amber had no foundation, he would have been
    able to give his attention to the analogies which the attraction
    exercised by amber rubbed over light bodies presents with the
    attraction exercised by the loadstone upon iron filings. When he had
    got so far, he would very probably have discarded his first hypothesis
    and would have admitted that the attractive power of amber is a
    _magnetic phenomenon_. He would have been deceived, however, for it is
    an _electric phenomenon_.

    In the same way might not those persons deceive themselves who, in
    order to escape at any cost the necessity of the hypothesis of
    spiritistic entities, should insist with a too persistent predilection
    upon the animistic hypothesis, even when this would be found
    insufficient to explain all mediumistic manifestations? Might it not
    be true that, like electric and magnetic phenomena, which are in close
    interchangeable connection, and frequently appear to us inseparable,
    animistic and spiritistic phenomena have a common bond? And let us
    well note that a single fact, inexplicable by the animistic hypothesis
    and explicable by the spiritistic hypothesis, would suffice to confer
    upon the latter that degree of scientific value which up to the
    present time has been so energetically denied to it, just as the
    discovery of a secondary phenomenon, that of the polarization of
    light, sufficed to make Fresnel reject the Newtonian theory of
    emission and admit that of undulation.

    Did we obtain, during the course of our ten séances with Eusapia, the
    one fact which is enough to make the spiritistic hypothesis
    necessarily take precedence of all others?

    It is impossible to reply categorically to this question because it is
    not possible, and never will be, to have a scientific proof of the
    identity of the beings who manifest themselves.

    The fact that I hear, that I see, that I touch a phantom; that I
    recognize in it the form and the attitude of persons whom I have known
    and whom the medium has neither known nor of whom she has even heard
    the names; that I have the most lively and affecting testimony to the
    presence of this ephemeral apparition,--all that will not be
    sufficient to constitute the scientific fact which none can refute,
    and which shall be worthy to remain in the annals of science along
    with the experiments of Torricelli, Archimedes and Galvani. It will
    always be possible to imagine an unknown mechanism by the aid of which
    elemental substance and power may be drawn from the medium and the
    sitters and combined in such a way as to produce the indicated
    effects. It will always be possible to find in the special aptitudes
    of the medium, in the thought of the sitters, and even in their
    attitude of expectant attention, the cause of the _human_ origin of
    the phenomena. It will always be possible to unearth from the arsenal
    of the attacks made upon these studies during the last fifty years,
    some generic or specific argument, either _ad rem_ or _ad hominem_,
    while ignoring or feigning to ignore the refutation of the argument
    which has already been made.

    The question, then, reduces itself at once to an individual study of
    cases either directly observed or obtained from some sure hand, in
    order on the one hand, to create a personal conviction capable of
    resisting the scathing ridicule of the sceptics, and, on the other
    hand, to prepare public opinion to admit the truth of cases observed
    by persons worthy of credence.

    With regard to the first of these, the illustrious experimenter
    Sidgwick, has already said that no fact or case exists capable of
    convincing everybody, but that each one, by patiently and calmly
    observing, may find such fact or case as will suffice to establish his
    own conviction. I may say that for myself such a case exists. I need
    only refer to the phenomena in which I have personally participated in
    the séances with Eusapia.

    With regard to the second point I could say much, but that would lead
    me beyond the subject matter and the limits of this study.

    On the one hand, we have the universal belief in the objective
    existence of a world unknown to us in our normal state; that faith
    (the basis of all religions) in a future life where the injustices of
    this one will be atoned for and where we shall be confronted with the
    good or evil deeds that we have done on earth; that uninterrupted
    tradition of systematic or spontaneous observances and rituals, thanks
    to which man is constantly kept in relation more or less with that
    unknown world.

    On the other hand, we have the sceptical and disheartening negation of
    systems of pessimistic philosophy and of atheism, a negation which
    takes its rise in the absence of positive proofs of the survival of
    the soul; the ever more and more marked tendency of science toward a
    monistic interpretation of the enigma of human life; and the belief
    that all the known phenomena of life appear only in connection with
    special organs.

    In order to decide in so abstruse a matter as this, mediumistic
    experiments do not suffice; everyone may draw from these as much of
    credence or of incredulity as he may need in order to resolve his
    doubts in one way or another; but he will never divest himself of the
    substratum of temperamental tendencies which the more or less
    scientific education of his mind or the more or less mystical
    inclinations of his nature shall have developed in him.

    One word more and I have done.

    While admitting it as the most probable hypothesis that the
    intelligent beings to whom we owe these psychical phenomena are
    pre-existing, independent entities, and that they only derive from us
    the conditions necessary for their manifestation in a physical plane
    accessible to our senses, ought we to admit also that they are really
    the spirits of the dead?

    To this question I will reply that I do not feel that I am as yet
    capable of giving a decisive answer.

    Still I should be inclined to admit it, if I did not see the
    possibility that these phenomena might form part of a scheme of things
    still more vast. In fact, nothing hinders us from believing in the
    existence of forms of life wholly different from those which we know,
    and of which the life of human beings before birth and after death
    forms only a special case, just as the organic life of man is a
    special case of animal life in general.

    But I am leaving the solid ground of facts to explore that of the most
    hazardous hypotheses. I have already spoken at too great length, and
    will therefore close the discussion of this particular topic.

I have considered the above subjects in several of my own works.[41]

We are surrounded by unknown forces and there is no proof that we are not
also surrounded by invisible beings. Our senses teach us nothing about
reality. But logically the discussion of theories ought to be reserved as
a complement to the ensemble or summary of our observations and
experiments; that is to say, for the last chapter. It behooves us before
everything else positively to ascertain that mediumistic phenomena exist.

It seems to me, that _this has been done_ for every impartial reader. This
will be overwhelmingly confirmed by the following chapters. But there is
one point on which we ought to dwell a moment. I mean the question of
fraud, conscious or unconscious, which it would be natural, but unfair,
to here ignore and cover up. Our judicial review would not be complete did
we not consecrate a special chapter to these mystifications, which
unhappily are too frequently employed by mediums.



Several times in the preceding chapters the question has come up of fraud
in the mediums. I am sorry to say that experimenters must be constantly on
their guard against them. It is this which has discouraged certain eminent
men and prevented them from continuing their researches, for their time is
too precious to waste. This may be especially noticed in the letter of M.
Schiaparelli above (p. 64) whom Spiritualists keep citing (wrongly) as
among the number of their partisans. But he absolutely refuses to be
identified with them. He accepts no theory; he is not even sure of the
actual existence of the facts, and has declined to give the time needed
for their authentication.

I shall take occasion in the second volume of _The Unknown_ to treat of
Spiritualism (properly so called), of the doctrine of the plurality of
worlds, of the plurality of existences, of re-incarnation, of
pre-existence, and of communications with the departed,--subjects
independent of the material phenomena to a discussion of which the present
work is devoted. To these subjects the physical manifestations only
contribute in an indirect manner. As we have already several times said in
the preceding pages, we are only concerned here to _prove the actual
existence of these extraordinary phenomena_. The establishing of the proof
depends above all upon the elimination of fraud.

In the case of Eusapia (the medium most thoroughly examined in the
present volume) fraud, unhappily, has been only too well established in
more than one instance.

But a very important remark must here be made. All physiologists know that
hysterical persons have a tendency to falsehood and simulation. They lie,
apparently without reason, and solely for the pleasure of lying. There are
hysterics among the women and young girls of the higher classes.

Does this characteristic defect prove that hysteria does not exist? It
proves just the contrary.

Consequently, those who think that the frauds of the mediums give the
death blow to mediumship are deceived. Mediumship exists, as well as
hysteria, as well as hypnotism, as well as somnambulism. Trickery also

I will not say, with certain theologians, "There are _false_ prophets,
_therefore_ there are _true_ ones," for that is a sophism of the worst
kind. The existence of the false does not hinder the existence of the

I knew a kleptomaniac, who got herself arrested more than once in the
great shops of Paris for stealing various articles. That does not prove
that she never bought anything, and only obtained by theft all the
articles she needed. On the contrary, the objects stolen must have
represented but a small part of the materials of her toilet. But the fact
that she stole is incontestable. In the experiments which we are
considering in these pages, deception is a co-efficient which cannot be

It is my duty to point out here some examples of this failing. Before
doing so, I ought to recall the fact that for a period of forty years I
have examined all the mediums whose achievements have had the widest
celebrity,--including Daniel D. Home, gifted with the most astounding
powers, who gave at the Tuileries, before the Emperor Napoleon III, his
family, and his friends, such extraordinary séances, and who was later
employed by William Crookes in the accurate scientific researches made by
that gentleman; Mme. Rodière, a remarkable typtologic medium; C. Brédif,
who produced strange apparitions; Eglington, with the enchanted slates;
Henry Slade, who made with the astronomer Zöllner those incredible
experiments from which geometry only saved itself by admitting the
possibility of a fourth dimension of space; Buguet whose photographic
plates caught and held the shadows of the dead, and who, having allowed me
to experiment with him, let me conduct my researches for five weeks before
I detected his fraudulent methods and mechanisms; Lacroix, to whom spirits
of all ages seemed to troop in crowds; and many others who inspire deep
interest in Spiritualists and scientific investigators by manifestations
more or less strange and marvelous.

I have quite often been absolutely deceived. When I took the precautions
that were necessary to put the medium beyond the possibility of trickery,
I obtained no result; if I pretended not to see anything I would perceive
out of the corner of my eye attempts at deceit. And, in general, the
phenomena which took place happened only in the moments of distraction in
which my attention was for an instant relaxed. While I was pushing my
investigation a little farther, I saw with my own eyes Buguet's prepared
negatives; saw with my own eyes Slade writing under the table upon a
concealed slate, and so forth. Apropos of this famous medium Slade, I may
recall the fact that after his experiments with Zöllner, director of the
observatory at Leipzig, he came to Paris, and for the purpose of
experimentation, placed himself at my disposal (and that of all the
astronomers at the Observatory to whom I should introduce him). He said he
got direct writings from the spirits by a bit of pencil placed between two
slates tied together, by oscillations of the magnetic needle,
displacements of furniture, the automatic throwing about of objects, and
the like. He was very willing to give me one séance a week, for six weeks
(on Monday at 11 o'clock A. M., at 21 Beaujon Street). But I obtained
nothing certain. In the cases that did succeed, there was a possible
substitution of slates. Tired of so much loss of time, I agreed with
Admiral Mouchez, director of the Observatory of Paris, to confide to Slade
a double slate prepared by ourselves, with the precautions which were
necessary in order that we should not be entrapped. The two slates were
sealed in such a way with paper of the Observatory that if he took them
apart he could not conceal the fraud. He accepted the conditions of the
experiment. I carried the slates to his apartment. They remained under the
influence of the medium, in this apartment, not a quarter of an hour, not
a half-hour or an hour, but ten consecutive days, and when he sent them
back to us there was not the least trace of writing inside; and yet
specimens of this were always furnished by him when he had the opportunity
of transposing slates prepared in advance.[42]

Without entering into other details, let it suffice me to say, that, too
frequently deceived by dishonest and mendacious mediums, I brought to my
experiments with Eusapia a mental reserve of scepticism, of doubt, and of

The conditions of experimenting are in general so crooked that it is easy
to be duped. And scientists and scholars are perhaps most easily duped of
all men, because scientific observation of experiments is always honest,
since we are not obliged to distrust nature,--when the question is of a
star or of a molecule,--and since we have the habit of describing facts as
they present themselves to our intelligence.

That granted, we may now look at certain curious doings of Eusapia.

We considered a little farther back (p. 173) Col. de Rochas's strange
experiment with the letter-weigher. This was considered by the
experimenters as absolutely conclusive. I was curious to verify it. Here
are my notes on the matter.


    November 12, 1898.--This afternoon we took a drive in a landau
    (Eusapia and I) in company with M. and Mme. Pallotti of Cairo, and,
    among other things, we visited the exhibition of chrysanthemums at the
    Tuileries. Eusapia is enchanted. We return about 6 o'clock. My wife
    seats herself at the piano, and Eusapia sings some Neapolitan airs and
    some little fragments of Italian operas. Afterwards we all three chat
    confidentially with each other.

    She is in a very happy state of mind, tells us how sometimes on stormy
    days she experiences electric cracklings and sparkling in her hair,
    especially on an old wound that she once received on the head. She
    also tells us that when she has been a long time without holding a
    séance she is in a state of irritation, and feels the need of freeing
    herself of the psychic fluid which saturates her. This avowal
    astonishes me, for, at the end of every séance, she seems rather to be
    listless and melancholy and seems to hold a sitting rather unwillingly
    than otherwise. She adds that she frequently has fluidic prolongations
    of the ends of her fingers, and, putting her two hands on my knees,
    the inside of the hand turned upward, at the same time spreading out
    the fingers and placing them opposite each other face to face, at a
    distance of several inches, and alternately bringing the hands
    together and withdrawing them, she tells us to observe from time to
    time the radiations which prolong the fingers by forming a sort of
    luminous aureole at their extremities. My wife thinks she perceives
    some of them. I am unable to see anything at all, in spite of all my
    efforts, although I change the light and shade in all sorts of ways.
    The salon is lighted at this time by two intense Auer burners. We go
    into the bedroom, lighted only by candles, and I cannot see them any
    better. I snuff out the candles, on the supposition that this is
    perhaps a case of phosphorescence; but I never perceive anything. We
    return to the salon. Eusapia spreads a black woollen shawl over her
    silk skirt and shows me the luminous effluence. But all the time I can
    see nothing, unless it be for a moment a kind of pale ray at the end
    of the index finger of her right-hand.

    The dinner hour approaches. It is seven o'clock. A letter-weigher (Pl.
    X), which I had bought to renew the curious experiment of M. de
    Rochas, is upon the table. I ask Eusapia if she remembers having made
    a piece of mechanism like this move downward on its spring by placing
    her hands on each side of it, at a distance, and making something like
    magnetic passes. She doesn't seem to remember anything about it and
    hums a little stanza from _Santa Lucia_. I beg that she will try it.
    She does so. Nothing moves. She asks me to place my hands on hers. We
    make the same passes, and, to my amazement (for I really was not
    expecting it at all) the little tray sinks down to the point where it
    touches the lever and produces the sharp sound of contact. This point
    is beyond the graduation of the scale, which stops at fifty grams, and
    may go to sixty, and represents seventy grams at the lowest. The tray
    immediately rises again. We begin a second time. Nothing. A third
    time: the same lowering and the same return to equilibrium. Then I beg
    her to try the experiment alone. She rubs her hands together and makes
    the same passes. The letter weigher goes down to the same maximum
    point. We are all standing close by her, in the full light of the Auer
    burners. The same performance is repeated, the tray remaining down for
    an interval of about five minutes. The movement does not take place at
    once; there are sometimes three or four trials without success, as if
    the force were exhausted by the result. The tray had already sunk down
    four times before our eyes, always as far as the maximum point, when
    the valet de chambre, passing by upon some matter of service, I tell
    him to stop and look. Eusapia begins again and does not succeed. She
    waits a moment, rubs her hands, begins again, and the same movement
    without contact is produced for the seventh time, before the three
    witnesses, each as much astonished as the other. Her hands are
    sensibly chilled. I think of the trick of the hair, pass my hands
    between both of hers and find nothing there; I did not see anything.
    Besides, she does not seem to have touched her head, and her hands
    have remained before us since the commencement of the experiment, free
    and untouched.

    On the supposition that there may be here some electric force in
    operation, I beg her to place her fingers upon an extremely sensitive
    compass. In whatever way she grasps this, it refuses to move.

    We sit down to the dinner-table. I ask her to lift a fork as she had
    done at Montfort. At the third trial she succeeds--and without the use
    of a hair, at least any that was apparent.


    November 16.--In order to entertain Eusapia, Adolphe Brisson yesterday
    evening offered her a box at the Folies-Bergère, where Loie Fuller was
    giving her magnificent spectacular exhibitions. We went there with
    her. She returned enchanted, is to-day very gay and very animated,
    speaks of her candid and loyal character and blames the comedies of
    fashionable life. During dinner she tells us a part of the story of
    her life.

    Nine o'clock.--M. and Mme. Levy and M. G. Mathieu have just arrived.

    We are conversing. Placing her hands on a leg of M. Mathieu in the
    darkness she shows him the radiations emanating from her fingers,
    which are however scarcely apparent to us.

    It was after having shown me these radiations, the other day, that the
    experiment of the letter-weigher took place. She associates the two
    phenomena, and undertakes to try the latter again.

    She asks me to give her a little water. I go to the dining-room in
    search of a carafe and a glass. During my absence, M. Mathieu remarks
    that, while my wife is talking with M. and Mme. Levy, Eusapia reaches
    her hand to her head and makes a little gesture as if she were pulling
    out a hair.

[Illustration: PLATE XI


    I return with a glass and a carafe and pour out for her as much as she
    wishes. She drinks a quarter of a glass of water. At my request, she
    moves her hands downward on each side of the letter-weigher in the
    same way as day before yesterday, and after two or three passes the
    tray sinks, not to its full length as day before yesterday, but to the
    mark of thirty-five or forty grams.

    The experiment was tried a second time and succeeded in the same way.

    Under pretext of going in search of a photographic camera M. Mathieu
    draws me into another room and shows me a long, very fine hair which
    fell into his hand after the experiment, at the moment when Eusapia
    was making a gesture as if she were going to shake his hand.

    This hair is of a rich chestnut tint (the color of Eusapia's hair) and
    measures fourteen inches in length. _I have preserved it._

    This took place at quarter past nine. The sitting begins at 9:30 and
    finishes at 11:30. After the sitting, Eusapia asks me for another
    glass of water, and shows me a little hair between her fingers.

    Just as she is going, at midnight, half laughingly, half seriously,
    she pulls a hair from the front part of her head and, taking the hand
    of my wife, puts this hair in it and closes the hand while looking her
    in the eye. She certainly noticed that we had perceived fraud.


    November 19.--Eusapia is a sly one. She is gifted with great sharpness
    of sight and has unusually sensitive ears. She is very intelligent and
    is a person of rare delicacy of feeling. She perceives and divines
    everything which concerns herself. Never reading, since she doesn't
    know how to read; never writing, since she doesn't know how to write;
    speaking little when here, since she rarely finds persons who
    understand and speak Italian, she remains always concentrated in
    herself and nothing turns her from permanent thought about her own
    personality. It would undoubtedly be impossible to discover a similar
    state of mind in the case of other persons; for we, as they, are
    generally occupied with a thousand things which scatter our attention
    over many different objects.

    I arrive, at 11:30, at the rooms of Dr. Richet in order to escort
    Eusapia to Mme. Fourton's, where we are to take luncheon. She is cold
    and constrained. I pretend not to notice it, and keep talking with the
    doctor. She goes to put on her hat and we descend the stairs. At the
    foot of the staircase she says, "What did M. Richet say to you? What
    were you speaking of?" A moment after, returning in thought to our
    last séance, she says, "Were you completely satisfied?" In the
    carriage I take her hand and converse with her in a friendly way.
    "Everything is going very well," I say to her "but some experiments
    will still be necessary in order to leave no room for doubt." Then I
    speak to her of other things.

    She becomes gradually sociable and her clouded brow seems to clear up.
    However, she evidently feels that in spite of my rather superficial
    amiability, I am not absolutely the same to her. During the luncheon
    she holds out her champagne glass to me and drinks my health. Mme.
    Fourton is convinced of Eusapia's genuineness, beyond all manner of
    doubt. During conversation, a little later, Eusapia says to her, "I am
    sure of you, I am sure of Mme. Blech, of M. Richet, of M. de Rochas;
    but I am not sure of M. Flammarion."

    "You are sure of Mme. Fourton," I replied. "Very well. But think for a
    moment of the several thousand persons who are waiting for my opinion
    in order to fix their own. M. Chiaia told you this at Naples, M. de
    Rochas repeated it to you in Paris. You see I have a very great
    responsibility and you yourself certainly see that I cannot affirm
    that of which I am not absolutely certain. You ought yourself loyally
    to aid me in obtaining that certainty."

    "Yes," she replied, "I understand the difference very well. However,
    if it had not been for you I should not have made the journey from
    Naples, for the climate of Paris does not agree with me very well. Oh,
    certainly; we must have you convinced beyond the possibility of

    She has now returned to her habitual intimacy. We took her to the
    Museum at the Louvre, which she had not visited, then to a meeting
    with M. Jules Bois who was making suggestion-experiments with Mme.
    Lina. Eusapia is very much interested in these. We speak of the jests
    and mimickings of the comedians.

    In the evening, at dinner, the brilliant conversation of Victorien
    Sardou, the repartees of Col. de Rochas, the questions (a little
    insidious) of Brisson, all interest her but it is evident that she
    never forgets herself. Thus, before dinner, she tells me that she has
    the headache, especially in the neighborhood of her wound, passes her
    hand through her hair ("which hurts her"), and asks me for a brush.
    "In order," she says, that "in case of a séance experiment, a stray
    hair shall not be found in the wrong place." And she carefully brushes
    her shoulders. I do not always appear to understand her. But there is
    no doubt that she understands that we have--found a hair!



    On Thursday, March 29, Eusapia, being in Paris, came to see me. I had
    not seen her since her séances at my house in November, 1898. We kept
    her to dinner, and after dinner I asked her to take part with me in
    some experiments.

    I first asked her to place her hands upon the piano, thinking that
    perhaps some of its strings would vibrate. But nothing happened.

    I then induced her to place her hands on the covered keyboard. She
    asked that it be slightly opened by means of a little block. I placed
    my hands upon it, by the side of hers. My object was, by keeping up
    contact, to keep her from slipping a finger over the keys. She kept
    trying to substitute one hand for the two that I held, in such a way
    as to leave one of them free, and a few notes sounded. Result of the
    experiment, _nil_. We left the piano and went over to a white-wood
    table. We got some insignificant balancings.

    "Is there a spirit there?"

    "Yes" (indicated by three raps.)

    "Does it wish to communicate?"


    I pronounce slowly and in their proper order the letters of the

    Reply, "_Tua matre_," ("thy mother.")

    This certainly means "Tua madre." (note once more that Eusapia does
    not know how to read or write.)

    Eusapia noticed that I was in mourning and I had told her that my
    mother had died on the first of last July. I then asked to be told her
    name. (Eusapia does not know it.)

    No reply.

    The movements of the table which were next asked for gave no results
    of any particular value.

    However, a stuffed arm-chair near by was several times shifted out of
    its place without contact, advancing of itself toward Eusapia. Since
    the chandelier was lighted, and there was no possibility of any string
    being used, and since I had my foot upon that one of Eusapia's which
    was nearest the arm-chair, the movement must evidently have been due
    to a force emanating from the medium.

    I pushed the easy chair back three times. Three times it returned. The
    same phenomenon was reproduced several days afterward.

    It is observable that if she had been able to detach her foot from
    mine, she would have been able to reach the chair (by some little
    twisting,) and the production of the phenomenon must have been within
    the range of her circle of activity (and of possible trickery). But,
    as the case was, deception was impossible.

    Since we could not obtain any levitation of the table, and since the
    psychical force of the four of us (Eusapia, myself, my wife, and
    Eusapia's companion, who had joined us for a moment, but, who at other
    times, always remained apart) was clearly insufficient, I went and
    secured a lighter round table. Then, with her hands placed _upon_ it
    in contact with mine, three of its feet were raised to a height of ten
    or twelve inches from the floor. We repeated the experiment three
    times, with gratifying success. Eusapia squeezed my hands violently in
    one of hers (the right hand) which rested on the table.

    The whole séance is thus seen to have been a web of intermingled truth
    and falsehood.

These notes remind us once more that there is almost always a mingling of
veritable fact and of fraudulent performance.

It is easy to admit that the medium, wishing to produce an effect, and
having at her disposal for this purpose two means,--the one easy and
demanding only skill and cunning, the other distressing, costly, and
painful,--is tempted to choose, consciously or _even unconsciously_, that
which costs her the least.

The following is her method of procedure for obtaining the substitution of
hands. The figures shown in Plate XI represent four successive positions
of the medium's hands and those of the sitters. They show how, owing to
the darkness and to a skilful combined series of movements, she can induce
the sitter on the right to believe that he still feels the right hand of
the medium on his own, while he really feels her left hand, which is
firmly held by the sitter on the left. This right hand of hers, being then
free, is able to produce such effects as are within its reach.

The substitution may be obtained in different ways. But, whichever method
is used, it is evident that the freed hand can only operate in a space
within its reach.

    Who of us is always master of his impressions and of his faculties?
    writes Dr. Dariex in this connection.[43] Who of us can at will put
    himself into such and such a physical condition and such and such a
    moral state? Is the composer of music master of his inspiration? Does
    a poet always write verses of equal worth? Is a man of genius always a
    man of genius? Now, what is there less normal, more impressionable,
    and more capricious than a sensitive, a medium, especially when she is
    away from home, thrown out of the routine of her daily life, and
    staying with those with whom she is unacquainted or knows very
    slightly, who are to be her judges and who expect from her the rare
    and abnormal phenomenon the production of which is not under the
    constant and complete control of her will?

    A sensitive placed in such a situation, will have a fatal propensity
    to feign the phenomenon which does not spontaneously materialize or to
    heighten by deceit the intensity of a partially successful experiment.

    This feigning is of course a very vexatious and regrettable thing. It
    throws suspicion upon the experiments, renders them much more
    difficult and less within the reach of the investigator. But this is
    only an impediment, and ought not to fetch us up short and lead us to
    give a premature decision. All of us who have experimented with and
    handled these sensitives know that at every step we run foul of fraud,
    conscious or unconscious, and that all mediums--or almost all--are
    used to the thing. We know that we must, unfortunately, take our
    share, for the moment, of this regrettable weakness, and be
    perspicacious enough to hinder, or at least to unearth the trickery,
    and to disentangle the true from the false.

    More than one of those who have engaged perseveringly in psychic
    experiments, can say that he has been sometimes enervated and
    irritated while waiting for a phenomenon which does not take place,
    and that he has felt something like a desire to put an end to this
    waiting by himself giving the extra twist or decisive touch.[44]

    Such experimenters can understand that if, in place of being
    conscientious workers, always masters of themselves, incapable of
    deceiving, and engaged solely in the search for scientific truth, they
    were, on the contrary, somewhat dreamy and impulsive persons who were
    susceptible to suggestion and whose _amour propre_ was active, and in
    whose minds scientific probity did not hold the first and pre-eminent
    place, they would undoubtedly engage, more or less involuntarily, in
    the artificial production of phenomena which refused to take place in
    smooth and natural order.

    As to Eusapia, if she does sometimes counterfeit, she does it only by
    eluding the watchful inspection of the experimenters and by escaping
    for a moment from their control; but she does it without any other
    artifice. Her experiments are not planned, and, contrary to the habit
    of prestidigitators, she does not carry any apparatus upon her person.
    It is easy to assure one's self of this, for she is very willing to
    completely undress before a lady charged with keeping watch of her.

    Furthermore, she exhibits her powers _ad libitum_ with the same
    persons, and repeats indefinitely the same experiments before them.
    Prestidigitators do not act in this way.


It is infinitely to be regretted that we cannot trust the loyalty of the
mediums. They almost all cheat. This is extremely discouraging to the
investigator, and the constant perplexity of mind we feel during our
investigations renders them altogether painful. When we have passed
several days in these inexplicable researches and then return to
scientific work,--to an observation or to an astromical calculation, for
example, or to the examination of a problem in pure science,--we
experience a sensation of freshness, calmness, relief, and serenity which
give us, by contrast, the most lively satisfaction. We feel that we are
walking on solid ground and that we have not got to distrust anybody.
Indeed, all the intrinsic interest of psychic problems is needed,
sometimes, to give us the courage to renounce the pleasure of scientific
study in order to give ourselves to investigations so laborious and

I believe that there is only one way to assure ourselves of the reality of
the phenomena, and that is to put the medium under conditions in which
trickery is impossible. To catch her in the very act of deceit would be
extremely easy. It would only be necessary to give her free rein. And then
one can very easily aid her to cheat and to get caught. All that is
necessary is that we be convinced of her dishonesty. Eusapia, especially,
very easily takes suggestion. While going one day in an open carriage to
dine at his residence, Colonel de Rochas said to her, in my presence,
"You can't lift your right hand any more. Try it!" She did try, but in
vain. "Non posso, non posso!" ("I can't do it, I can't do it!"). The mere
suggestion had been sufficient.

In the phenomena concerned with the movements of objects without contact
she always makes a gesture corresponding to the phenomenon. A force darts
forth from her and performs the deed. Thus, for example, she strikes with
her fist three or four strokes in the air at a distance of ten or twelve
inches from the table: the same strokes are heard in the table. And it is
positively in the wood of the table. It is not beneath it, nor upon the
floor. Her legs are held and she does not move them. She strikes five
strokes with the middle finger upon my hand in the air: the five strokes
are rapped upon the table (November 19).

Nay more, this force can be transmitted by another. I hold her legs with
my left hand spread out upon them; M. Sardou holds her left hand; she
takes my right wrist in her right hand and says to me, "Strike in the
direction of M. Sardou." I do so three or four times. M. Sardou feels upon
his body my blows tallying my gesture, with the difference of about a
second between my motion and his sensation. The experiment is tried again
with the same success.

That same evening, not only did we not let go for a single instant of
Eusapia's hands, separated from each other by the width of her body and
placed near our own, but we did not allow them to be moved from the side
of the objects to be displaced. It took considerable time to obtain
results. But, all the same, they were wholly successful.

She has a tendency to go and take hold of the objects; she must be stopped
in a good time. However, she herself does take hold of them, in fact,
through the prolongation of her muscular force, and she says so: "I am
grasping it, I have hold of it." It is our part to carefully retain her
normal hands in ours.

We sometimes have good reason to suspect that Eusapia seizes the objects
to be moved (such as musical instruments) with one of her hands which she
has freed. But there is plenty of proof that she does not always do so.
Here is a case, for example. The scene is Naples, 1902, at a séance with
Professor von Schrenck-Notzing:

[Illustration: FIG. 2.]

    The séance took place in a little room, by a feeble light, but one
    sufficient for us to distinguish the personages and their movements.
    Behind the medium, upon a chair, there was a harmonica, at the
    distance of about a yard.

    Now, at a certain moment, Eusapia took between her hands a hand of the
    professor and commenced to separate his fingers one from another and
    bring them together again, as may be seen in the accompanying cut. The
    harmonica was at that moment playing at a distance in tones that
    perfectly synchronized the movements made by Eusapia. The instrument
    was isolated in the room. We made sure that there were no threads
    connecting it with the medium. Still less could anybody fear
    accomplices, for the light would easily have betrayed their
    intervention. This performance was analogous to that which occurred in
    my presence on the 27th of July, 1897. (see above p. 72.)

The following is a typical example of "sympathetic" movements, taken from
a report by Dr. Dariex. The matter in hand was to make a key spring out
from a lock.

    The light was strong enough for us to perfectly distinguish Eusapia's
    every movement. All at once, the key of the chest is heard to rattle
    in its lock; but, caught in some unknown way, it refuses to budge.
    Eusapia grasps with her right hand the left of M. Sabatier, and, at
    the same time, curls the fingers of her other hand around his index
    finger. Then she begins to make alternate movements of rotation back
    and forth around his finger. We at once hear synchronous rattlings of
    the key which turns in its lock just as the fingers of the medium are

Let us suppose that the chest, instead of being at a distance from the
medium, had been within her reach; let us still further suppose that the
light, instead of being abundant, had been feeble and uncertain: the
sitters would not have failed to confound this kind of synchronous
automatism with conscious and impudent fraud on the part of Eusapia. And
they would have been deceived.

Without excusing fraud, which is abominable, shameful, and despicable in
each and every case, it can undoubtedly be explained in a very human way
by admitting the reality of the phenomena. In the first place the real
phenomena exhaust the medium, and only take place at the cost of an
enormous expenditure of vital force. She is frequently ill on the
following day, sometimes even on the second day following, and is
incapable of taking any nourishment without immediately vomiting. One can
readily conceive, then, that when she is able to perform certain wonders
without any expenditure of force and merely by a more or less skilful
piece of deception, she prefers the second procedure to the first. It does
not exhaust her at all, and may even amuse her.

Let me remark, in the next place, that, during these experiments, she is
generally in a half-awake condition which is somewhat similar to the
hypnotic or somnambulistic sleep. Her fixed idea is to produce phenomena;
and she produces them, no matter how.

It is, then, urgent, indispensable, to be constantly on the alert and to
control all her actions and gestures with the greatest care.

I could cite hundreds of analogous examples observed by myself in the
years gone by. Here is one taken from my notes.

    On the second of October, 1889, a spiritualistic séance had brought
    together certain investigators in the hospitable mansion of the
    Countess of Mouzay, at Rambouillet. We were told that we had the rare
    good fortune to have with us a veritable and excellent medium,--Mme.
    X., the wife of a very distinguished Paris physician, herself well
    educated and inspiring by her character the greatest confidence.

    We arranged ourselves, four in all, around a little table of light
    wood. Scarcely a minute has passed when the little table seems to be
    taken with trembling, and almost immediately it rises and then falls
    back. This vertical movement is repeated several times in the full
    light of the lamps of the salon.

    The next day the same levitation occurred in broad daylight, at noon,
    while we were waiting for a guest who was late to luncheon. This time
    the round table used was much heavier.

    "Is there a spirit there?" some one asks.


    "Is he willing to give his name?"


    Someone takes an alphabet, counts the letters, and receives, by taps
    made by one of the feet of the table, the name Léopoldine Hugo.

    "Have you something to say to us?"

    "Charles, my husband, would like to be reunited to me."

    "But where is he?"

    "Floating in space."

    "And you?"

    "In the presence of God."

    "All that is very vague. Could you give us a proof of identity to show
    us that you are really the daughter of Victor Hugo, the wife of
    Charles Vacquerie? Do you remember the place where you died?"

    "Yes, at Villequier."

    "Inasmuch as the accident of your shipwreck in the Seine is well
    known, and since the whole thing may be latent in our brains, could
    you please give us other facts? Do you remember the year of your


    "I do not think so," I replied, "for I have in my mind's eye a page of
    the _Contemplations_ where the date of September 4, 1843, is written.
    Has my memory played me false?"

    "Yes. It is 1849."

    "You astonish me very much, for in 1843, Victor Hugo returned from
    Spain on account of your death, while in 1849 he was a representative
    of the people in Paris. Moreover, you died six months after your
    marriage, which took place in February, 1843."

    At this point, the Countess of Mouzay remarked that she was very well
    acquainted with Victor Hugo and his family, that they were living then
    in the street of Latour-d'Auvergne, and that the date 1849 must be

    I maintain the contrary. The spirit sticks to its fact.

    "In what month did the event take place?"


    "No, it was in September. You are not Léopoldine Hugo. How old were
    you when you died?"

    "Eighteen years. They don't remember very often to decorate my tomb
    with flowers."


    "At Père-Lachaise."

    "You are wrong, it was at Villequier that you were buried, and I went
    myself to visit your tomb. Your husband, Charles Vacquerie is also
    there, with the two other victims of the catastrophe. You don't know
    what you are talking about."

    At this point our hostess declares that she was not thinking at all of
    Père-Lachaise, and that, in her opinion, Léopoldine Hugo and her
    husband remained at the bottom of the Seine.

    After luncheon we sit down again at the séance table. Various
    oscillations. Then a name is dictated.


    "The aeronaut?"


    "In what year did you die?"

    "1875." (Correct.)

    "What month?"

    "March." (It was April 15.)

    "From what point did your balloon start?"

    "La Villette." (Correct.)

    "Where did you fall?"

    "In the river Indre."

    All these "elements" were more or less known to us. I ask for a more
    special proof of identity.

    "Where did you know me?"

    "With Admiral Mouchez."

    "It is impossible. I first knew Admiral Mouchez at the time of his
    appointment to the directorship of the Paris Observatory. He succeeded
    Le Verrier in 1877, two years after your death."

    The table is agitated and dictates as follows:

    "Give your name."

    "Witold. Marchioness, I love you still."

    "Are you happy?"

    "No, I behaved badly to you."

    "You know very well that I pardon you, and that I preserve the
    happiest recollection of you."

    "You are too good."

    These thoughts were evidently in the mind of the lady; so there was
    here no more proof of identity than in the other case.

    All of a sudden the table begins to move vigorously, and another name
    is dictated, "Ravachol."[46]

    "Oh, what is he going to say to us?"

    I will set down here what he said, though not without shame, and with
    all due apologies to my lady readers. Here it is in all its crudity:

    "_Bougres de crétins, votre sale gueule est encore plaine des odeurs
    du festin._"

    ("Nasty blackguards and idiots, your dirty throat is still full of the
    odors of the feast.")

    "Monsieur Ravachol, this language of yours is exquisite! Have you
    nothing more refined than this to say to us?"

    "You be blowed!"

    Certainly no one of us was capable of consciously composing such a
    sentence as that. But everybody knows the words that were used.
    Perhaps our conscious or sub-conscious thoughts spoke in them? Did
    they emanate from Mme. X., the medium?

    In the uncertainty into which we were plunged by these two séances, we
    asked M. and Mme. X. to come and pass a Sunday at Juvisy and try some
    new studies and tests.

    They came, and on Sunday, October 8, we obtained some remarkable
    levitations. But there are some dregs of doubt yet in our minds, and
    we make engagements for another reunion that day fortnight.

    On Sunday, the 22d of October, 1899, in furtherance of my desire to
    exercise careful control over the investigators, I had four broad
    boards nailed together, forming a vertical frame in which I placed the
    little table to be used during the sitting. This framework made it
    impossible for the feet of the sitters to pass under the table; and
    if it rose in spite of this, then we should know that the levitation
    was due to an unknown force.

    The remarks of Mme. X., when she saw this device, made me think at
    once that no levitation was going to take place.

    "This power of ours," said she, "is capricious; on some days we get
    good results, on others none at all, and for no apparent reason."

    "But we shall perhaps have raps, at any rate?"

    "Certainly. We ought not to anticipate results. One can always try."

    Two hours after luncheon, Mme. X. agrees to try a sitting. _No
    levitation whatever occurred._

    I had some suspicions that this would be the case. I ardently desired
    the contrary, and we willed the levitation with all our might. I was
    expressly careful to have the same experimenters (Mme. X. and Mme.
    Cail, and myself) as a fortnight before, when everything succeeded so
    admirably,--same places, same chairs, same room, temperature, hour,

    Raps indicate that a spirit wishes to speak. I notice that the raps
    correspond to a muscular movement of Mme. X.'s leg.

    "Who are you?"

    "In the library of the master of the house my name will be found in a

    "How shall we find it?"

    "It is written on a piece of paper."

    "In what book?"


    "Of what date?"

    No reply.

    "Of what color?"






    "On what shelf?"


    "It impossible to go through thousands of volumes, and, besides, there
    is not such a book in the whole library."

    No reply.

    After a series of questions we learn that the book is on the sixth
    shelf of the main body of the library, to the right of the door. But
    first, we all went into the room to make sure it contained no such
    book as was described.

    "Then the volume is bound in boards?"

    "Yes, there are four _low_ volumes."

    We return to the room, and, sure enough, find in a volume entitled
    _Anatomia Celeste_, Venice, 1573, a piece of paper, upon which is
    pencilled the name "Krishna." We return to the séance table.

    "Is it really you, Krishna?"


    "In what epoch did you live?"

    "In the time of Jesus."

    "In what country?"

    "In the neighborhood of the Himalaya mountain system."

    "And how did you write your name on this piece of paper?"

    "By passing through the thought of my medium."

    Etc., etc.

    I thought it would be superfluous to persist any farther.

    Mme. X. not being able to raise the table had chosen the device of
    table rappings. The calling up of the Hindu prophet, however, I
    thought was a fine piece of audacity.

    The simplest hypothesis is that the woman went into my library and put
    the piece of paper in the book. In fact, she was seen there. But even
    had she not been, the conclusion would be no less certain. For the
    room was open, and Mme. X. had remained about an hour in the next
    room, detained by "a nervous headache."

This specimen of mediumistic trickery is, as I have said, one among
hundreds. Really, one must be endowed with the most unweariable
perseverance to enable him to devote to those studies hours which would be
much better employed even in doing nothing at all. However, when one has
the conviction that something real exists he always returns, in spite of
incessant trickery.

In the month of May, 1901, Princess Karadja introduced to me a
professional medium, Frau Anna Rothe, a German, whose specialty consisted
in her alleged ability to spirit flowers into a tightly closed room in
broad daylight.

I made arrangements for a séance with her at my apartments in Paris.
During its continuance, bouquets of flowers of all sizes, did, in truth,
make their appearance, but always from a quarter in the room the opposite
of that to which our attention was drawn by Frau Rothe and her manager,
Max Ientsch.

Being well nigh convinced that all was fraud, but not having the time to
devote to such sittings, I begged M. Cail to be present, as often as he
could, at the meetings which were to be held in different Parisian salons.
He gladly consented, and got invited to a séance at the Clément Marot
house. Having taken his station a little in the rear of the
flower-scattering medium, he saw her adroitly slip one hand beneath her
skirts and draw out branches which she tossed into the air.

He also saw her take oranges from her corsage, and ascertained that they
were warm.

The imposture was a glaring one, and he immediately unmasked her, to the
great scandal of the assistants, who heaped insults upon him. A final
séance had been planned, to be held in my salon on the following Tuesday.
But Frau Rothe and her two accomplices took the train at the Eastern
Railway station that very morning, and we saw them no more. In the
following year she was arrested in Berlin, after a fraudulent séance, and
sentenced to one year in jail for swindling.

In this class of things, cheatings and hoaxings are as numerous as
authenticated facts. Those who are curious in such things will not have
forgotten the scandalous hoax and misdemeanor of the celebrated Mrs.
Williams, an American woman who was received in full confidence, in 1894,
in Paris, by my excellent friend, the Duchess of Pomar. Already made
distrustful by the ingenious observations of the young duke, the sitters
were determined not to be the butt of her fooleries very long, and a
sitting was agreed on. The participators were MM. de Watteville, Dariex,
Mangin, Ribero, Wellemberg, Lebel, Wolf, Paul Leymarie (son of the editor
of _La Revue Spirite_), etc.

The specialty of Mrs. Williams (who was, by the way, quite a stout person)
was the showing of apparitions, or ghosts. Said apparitions proved to be
manikins, rather poorly got up; the lady spectators, as well as the
gentlemen, were quite disappointed at the absence of the rich and flowing
outlines of _form_ under the draperies of the wretched puppets. Thin and
limp, tatterdemalion things, they showed not the faintest resemblance to
the normal and classic contours of woman, the lines of which we should
have been able to glimpse at least to some extent under the light gauze
that enwrapped the figures. Several bright-witted, but rather irreverent,
ladies took no pains to conceal the fact that they should prefer
annihilation if it were necessary to be so ... "reduced," so "incomplete"
in the other world! The gentlemen added that they would certainly not be
alone in lamenting such a state of things!

There was no religious atmosphere at all about these sittings. The
imposture was discovered, or, one might rather say, seized, by M. Paul
Leymarie. He simply grasps Mme. Impostor around the waist (having slipped
behind the curtain for the purpose), and holds her fast for the inspection
of the audience. Lights are brought on, and, in the midst of the confused
uproar made by twenty-five duped sitters, the heroine of the entertainment
is compelled to show herself in flesh tights, while the whole apparatus of
her ghostly puppet-show is discovered in the cabinet!

Mrs. Williams had the effrontery to defend herself, a little later, in the
American Journal _Light_, bestowing the playful epithet of "bandits" upon
those who had unmasked her in Paris.

That was a case of high mystification, of jugglery worthy of a
street-corner mountebank. But, as we have already seen, matters do not
usually attain to such a height of audacity, and quite often fraud only
intervenes when the genuine powers have become enfeebled. This well
appeared in the accounts of the "girl torpedo-fish," Angelica Cottin, who
attained a good deal of notoriety.

On the 15th of January, 1846, in the village of Bouvigny, near Perrière
(Orne), a young girl thirteen years old, named Angelica Cottin, light and
robust, but extremely apathetic in physical temperament and in morals,
suddenly exhibited strange powers. Objects touched by her, or by her
clothing, were forcibly repelled. Sometimes, even on her mere approach,
people were thrown into commotion and excitement, and pieces of furniture
and household utensils were seen to move and vibrate. With some variations
in intensity, and with intermittences, sometimes, of two or three days,
this curious virtue held good for about a month, then disappeared as
unexpectedly as it had appeared. It was authenticated by a large number of
persons, some of whom submitted the little girl to genuine scientific
experiments, and embodied their observations in formal reports, which were
collected and published by Dr. Tanchou. This gentleman first saw Angelica
on February 12 (1846), in Paris, where she had been taken to be exhibited.
The manifestations (which had decreased from the day when the basis, or
usual course of her habits had been altered) were on the point of
disappearing altogether. Yet they were still distinct enough to enable the
investigator to draw up the following note, which was read to the Academy
of Science, on February 17, by Arago, an eye-witness of the facts.[47]

    I saw the young "electric" girl twice (says Dr. Tanchou).

    A chair which I was holding as hard as I could with my foot and both
    hands was forcibly wrenched from me the moment she sat down in it.

    A little slip of paper which I held poised on one finger was several
    times carried away as if by a gust of wind.

    A dining-table of moderate size, though rather heavy, was more than
    once displaced by the mere touch of her dress.

    A little paper wheel, placed vertically or horizontally upon its axis
    was put into rapid movement by the radiations which darted from this
    child's wrist and the bend of her arm.[48]

    A large and heavy sofa upon which I was seated was pushed with great
    force against the wall the moment the girl came to seat herself by me.

    A chair was held fast upon the floor by strong men and I was seated on
    it in such a way as to occupy only the half of the seat. It was
    forcibly wrenched away from under me as soon as the young girl sat
    down on the other half.

    One curious thing is that every time the chair is lifted it seems to
    cling to Angelica's dress. It follows her for an instant before it
    becomes detached.

    Two little elder-pith balls or feather-balls, suspended by a silken
    thread, are set in motion, attracted to each other and sometimes

    This girl's radiations of psychic force (_émanations_) are not
    permanently present during all the hours of the day. They are
    especially strong in the evening, from seven to nine o'clock,--which
    leads me to surmise that perhaps her last meal (taken at six o'clock)
    is not without its influence.

    The emanations are given forth only from the front part of the body,
    especially at the wrist and at the bend of the arm. They only occur on
    the left side, and the arm of this side is of a higher temperature
    than that of the other. It gives off a gentle heat, as from a part
    where a lively reaction is going on. The arm trembles and is
    continually disturbed by unusual contractions and quiverings which
    seem to be imparted to the hand that touches it.

    During the time I observed this subject, her pulse varied from 105 to
    120 pulsations a minute. It seemed to me frequently irregular.

    When she is isolated from the common reservoir of electric or magnetic
    power, either by being seated upon a chair without her feet touching
    the floor or when placing them upon the chair of a person in front of
    her, the phenomena do not take place. They also cease when she is made
    to sit down on her own hands. A waxed floor, a piece of oiled silk, a
    plate of glass under her feet or on the chair, all have the effect of
    antagonizing and destroying for the time the electro-dynamic property
    of her body.

    During the paroxysm she can touch scarcely anything with her left hand
    without throwing it from her as if it burned her. When her clothes
    touch the articles of furniture in a room she attracts them, displaces
    them, and overturns them.

    One will understand this more easily when it is realized that at every
    electric discharge she runs away to escape the pain. She says "it
    pricks" or "stings" her in the wrist or bend of the elbow. Once when I
    was feeling for her pulse in the temporal artery (not having been able
    to locate it in the left arm) my fingers chanced to touch the nape of
    the neck. She uttered a cry and drew back quickly from me. I several
    times assured myself of the fact that, near the cerebellum, at the
    place where the muscles of the upper part of the neck are joined to
    the cranium, there is a spot so sensitive that she allows no one to
    touch it. All the sensations she feels in her left arm are here echoed
    or repeated.

    The electric emanations of this child seem to move by waves,
    intermittently, and in succession through different parts of the
    anterior portion of the body. But be that as it may, _they are
    certainly accompanied by an aëriform current which gives the sensation
    of cold_. I plainly felt upon my hand a quick puff of air like that
    produced by the lips.

    Every time the mysterious force strikes through her frame and
    materializes in an act, terror and dismay fill the mind of this child,
    and she seeks refuge in flight. Every time she brings the end of her
    fingers near the north pole of a piece of magnetized iron, she
    receives a severe shock; the south pole produces no effect. If I
    manipulated the iron in such a way that I could not myself tell the
    north pole on it, _she_ could always tell it very well.

    She is thirteen years old and has not yet reached the age of puberty.
    I learned from her mother that nothing like menstruation has yet
    appeared. She is very strong and healthy, but her intellect is as yet
    little developed. She is a peasant cottager (_villageoise_) in every
    sense of the word; yet she knows how to read and write. Her occupation
    is the making of thread gloves for ladies. The first electric
    phenomena began a month ago.

It is desirable to add to the foregoing note extracts from other reports.
Here, for example, is a citation from M. Hébert:

    On the 17th of January,--that is to say, the second day of the
    appearance of the phenomena,--the scissors suspended from her waist by
    a cotton tape, flew from her without the cord being broken, and no one
    could imagine how it got untied. This circumstance, incredible from
    its resemblance to the pranks of lightning, makes one think at once
    that electricity must play an important rôle in the production of such
    astonishing effects. But this way of looking at the thing did not last
    long. For the miracle of the scissors only occurred twice, once in the
    presence of the curé of the village, who guaranteed to me upon his
    honor the truth of the statement. In the middle of the day almost no
    effects were obtained, but in the evening, at the usual hour, they
    redoubled in intensity. It was at that time that action without
    contact took place, and effects were produced in organic living
    bodies. These latter made their first appearance in the form of
    violent shocks felt in the ankles by one of the women laborers who
    happened at the time to be facing Angelica, the points of their sabots
    being about four inches apart.

Dr. Beaumont Chardon, a physician of Mortagne, also published similar
notes and observations,--among others the following:

    The repulsion and attraction, hopping about and displacement, of a
    rather solid table; of another table six feet by nine, mounted on
    casters; of another four-feet-and-a-half square oak table; of a very
    massive mahogany easy-chair,--_all these displacements took place
    through contact with the Cottin girl's clothes,--contact either
    involuntary or purposely brought about by experiments_.

    There was a sensation of violent prickings when a stick of sealing-wax
    or a glass tube suitably rubbed was placed in contact with a bend in
    the left arm or with the head, or simply when brought somewhat near
    there. When the sealing-wax or the tube had not been rubbed, or when
    they were being wiped dry or moistened, there was a cessation of
    effects. The hairs on one's arm, made to slope or lie flat by a little
    saliva, rose up again at the approach of the child's left arm.

I have already remarked that this young girl was brought to Paris as a
subject of scientific observation. Arago, at the Observatory, in the
presence of his colleagues MM. Mathieu, Laugier, and Goujon, established
the truth of the following phenomena:

When Angelica held out her hand toward a sheet of paper laid near the edge
of a table, the paper was strongly attracted by the hand. Approaching a
centre-table, she grazed it with her apron, and the table drew back from
her. When she sat down on a chair and put her feet on the floor, the chair
was thrown back violently against the wall, and she herself was thrown
forward to the other side of the room. This last experiment, repeated
several times, always succeeded. Neither Arago nor the astronomers of the
Observatory were able to hold the chair down. M. Goujon, who had sat down
in advance upon one half of the chair which was going to be used by
Angelica, was upset at the moment when she came to share the seat with

Following a favorable report of its illustrious perpetual secretary,[49]
the Academy of Science named a commission to examine Angelica Cottin. This
commission confined its efforts exclusively to the task of determining
whether or not the electrical force of the subject was similar to that of
the machines or that of the torpedo-fish. They could not come to any
conclusion, probably on account of the emotion excited in the girl at the
sight of the formidable apparatus of experimentation; and then her
peculiar powers were already on their decline. Thus the commission
hastened to declare all the communications on this subject made to the
Academy previous to this to be null and void.

Upon this topic my old master and friend Babinet, who was a member of the
commission, wrote as follows:

    The members of the commission were not able to verify any of the
    features announced. There was no report made, and Angelica's parents,
    worthy people of the most exemplary probity, returned with her from
    Paris to their own locality. The good faith of this couple and of a
    friend who accompanied them interested me very much, and I would have
    given anything in the world to find some reality in the wonders that
    had been proclaimed about the girl. The only remarkable thing she did
    was to rise from her chair in the most matter of fact way in the
    world and hurl it behind her with such force that often the chair was
    broken against the wall. But the supreme experiment,--that in which,
    according to her parents, the miracle was revealed of motion produced
    without contact,--was as follows: She was placed standing before a
    light centre-table covered with a thin silken stuff. Her apron also
    made of a very light and almost transparent silk, rested on the
    centre-table (though this last condition was not indispensable). Then,
    _when the electric force appeared_, the table was overturned, while
    "the electric girl" maintained her usual stupid impassivity. I had
    never personally seen any success attained in this particular feature
    of the girl's performances; nor had my colleagues of the commission of
    the Institute, nor the physicians, nor certain writers, who, with
    great assiduity, had attended all the séances appointed at the
    headquarters of the girl's parents in Paris. As for myself, I had
    already overstepped all the bounds of friendly complaisance, when, one
    evening the parents came to beseech me, in virtue of the interest I
    had shown in them, to attended one more séance, saying that the
    electric force was going to declare itself anew with great energy. I
    arrived about eight o'clock in the evening at the hotel where the
    Cottin family was staying. I was disagreeably surprised at finding a
    séance intended only for myself, and the friends whom I brought with
    me, overrun by a crowd of physicians and journalists who had been
    attracted by the announcement of the prodigies which were to begin
    again. After due excuses had been made I was introduced to a back room
    which served as dining-room, and there I found an immense kitchen
    table made of oak planks of an enormous thickness and weight. At the
    moment when dinner was being served the electric girl had, by an act
    of her will (it was said), overturned this massive table, and, as a
    necessary result, broken all the plates and bottles that were on it.
    But her excellent parents did not regret the loss, nor the poor dinner
    that resulted from it, on account of the hope that animated them that
    the marvellous qualities of the poor idiot were going to manifest
    themselves and receive the official stamp of authenticity. There was
    no possibility of doubting the veracity of these honest witnesses. An
    octogenarian who accompanied me (M. M.--, the most sceptical of men)
    believed their recital as I did; but, after entering with me the room
    full of people, this distrustful observer took his stand in the very
    entrance-door, alleging as a pretext the crowd in the room, and so
    placed himself as to have a side view of the electric girl with her
    centre-table before her. The crowd that faced the girl occupied the
    farther end and the sides of the room.

    After an hour of patient waiting, and all in vain, I withdrew,
    expressing my sympathy and my regrets. M. M. remained obstinately at
    his post. He _pointed_ the electric girl with his unwearied eye, as a
    crouching setter does a partridge. At last, at the end of another
    hour, when the attention of the company was distracted by innumerable
    preoccupations and several centres of conversation had been
    formed--suddenly the miracle occurred: the centre-table was
    overturned. Great amazement! great expectations! They were just
    beginning to cry "Bravo!" when M. M., advancing by warrant of age and
    the love of truth, declared that he had seen Angelica, by a convulsive
    movement of the knee, push the table that was placed before her. He
    drew the conclusion that the effort she must have made before dinner
    in the overturning of the heavy kitchen table would have occasioned a
    severe contusion above her knee,--a matter that was investigated and
    found to be true. Such was the end of this melancholy affair in which
    so many people had been duped by a poor idiot, who yet had enough
    crafty cunning to inspire illusion by her very calmness and
    impassivity. We have still to account for the singular facts observed
    near Rambouillet (see the _Reports_ of the Academy), at the house of a
    wealthy manufacturer, all whose vases and other vessels of
    pottery-ware burst into a thousand pieces at the moment when least
    expected. Kettles and other large vessels cast in metal also flew into
    fragments, to the great loss of the proprietor, whose troubles,
    however, ceased with the discharge of a servant, who had come to an
    understanding with a man who was to occupy the factory so that he
    might get it at a better bargain. Nevertheless, it is to be regretted
    that the matter ended before it was discovered what fulminating powder
    had been employed to produce such curious results, so new, and,
    apparently, so well proved.[50]

Babinet adds farther on in the same volume the following remarks on
Angelica Cottin:

    In the midst of wonders which she did _not_ perform there was seen a
    very natural effect of _the first relaxation of muscles_ which was
    curious in the highest degree. The girl, of slight figure and torpid
    physique, who was correctly styled the "torpedo-fish," being first
    seated on a chair and then rising very slowly (in the midst of the
    movement she was making in the act of rising) had the _power_ of
    throwing backward, with terrifying suddenness, the chair she was
    leaving, without anybody being able to perceive the slightest movement
    of the trunk of the body, and solely by the relaxation of the muscle
    which had been in contact with the chair. At one of the test-séances
    in the laboratory of physics at the Jardin des Plantes, several
    amphitheatre chairs of white wood were hurled against the walls in
    such a way as to break them. A second chair, which I had once taken
    the precaution to place behind that in which the electric girl was
    seated (for the purpose of protecting, if need were, two persons who
    were conversing at the back part of the room) was drawn along with the
    propelled chair and went with it to arouse from their
    absent-mindedness the two savants. I will add that several young
    employees at the Jardin des Plantes succeeded in performing--although
    in a less brilliant way--this pretty trick in bodily mechanics. In
    order to get a good idea of this play of the muscles by a similar
    effect, you have only to gently squeeze that part of the muscle of
    some one's arm that is most developed, at the same time that he makes
    the motion of opening and closing his fist several times. You will at
    once feel the swelling up of the muscles and divine the movement that
    would result from it were the change of shape made very rapid.

Such is the report of the learned physicist. It is thus that fraud once
more hindered the recognition of the reality of phenomena that had been
duly proved before. Accompanying this there was also a weakening of the
faculties of the performer. But it is absurd to conclude from this that
the observers of the earlier days in this case (including Arago and his
colleagues of the Observatory,--Mathieu, Laugier, and Goujon,--as well as
the examiner Hébert, Dr. Beaumont Chardon, and others) were poor
observers, and were deceived by movements of the foot of this child.

We may allow for the fraud, conscious and unconscious of mediums. We may
deplore it, for it throws an unpleasant gloom upon all the phenomena; but
let us render justice to incontestable facts, and continue to observe

_Quære et invenies!_ Seek and thou shalt find. _The Unknown_, the science
of to-morrow.



One of the most important series of experiments that has been made on the
subject of moving tables is that of Count Agénor de Gasparin at Valleyres,
Switzerland, in September, October, November, and December of the year
1853. The Count has published formal reports of these studies in two large
volumes.[51] These séances may be called purely scientific, for they were
conducted with the most scrupulous care and were under the severest
control. The table usually employed had a round oak top thirty-two inches
in diameter, which rested on a heavy three-footed central column, the feet
being about twenty-two inches apart. There were usually ten or twelve
experimenters, and they formed the chain on the table by touching each
other with their little fingers in such a way that the thumb of the left
hand of each operator touched that of his right hand, and the little
finger of the right hand touched that of the left hand of his neighbor. In
the opinion of the author, this chain is useful, but not absolutely
necessary. The rotation of the table usually began after a waiting of five
or ten minutes. Then it lifted one foot to a height that varied from time
to time, and fell back again. The levitation took place even when a very
heavy man was seated on the table. Rotations and levitations were obtained
without the contact of hands. But let us hear the author himself:

    It is a question of positive fact that I wish to solve. The theory
    will come later. To prove that the phenomenon of turning tables is
    real and of a purely physical nature; that it can neither be explained
    by the mechanical action of our muscles nor by the mysterious action
    of spirits,--such is my thesis. It is my wish to state it with
    precision and circumscribe its limits here at the very start. I
    confess I find some satisfaction in meeting with unanswerable proofs
    the sarcasms of people who find it easier to mock than to examine. I
    am well aware that we have got to put up with that. No new truth
    becomes evident without having been first ridiculed. But it is none
    the less agreeable to reach the moment when things assume their
    legitimate place, and when rôles cease to be inverted. This moment
    might have been long in coming. For a long time I feared that
    table-phenomena would not admit of a definite scientific
    demonstration; that, while they inspired absolute certainty in the
    minds of the operators and witnesses at first hand, they would not
    furnish irrefutable arguments to the public. In the presence of bare
    possibilities, each person would be free to cherish his own particular
    opinion; we should have had believers and sceptics. The classification
    would have taken place in virtue of tendencies rather than by reason
    of one's knowledge or ignorance of the facts. Some, in the agreeable
    sensation of their intellectual superiority, would have carried their
    head very high, and others would have abandoned themselves in despair
    to the current superstitions of the day. The truth incompletely
    demonstrated would have been treated as a lie, and, what is worse,
    would have ended by becoming such.

    But thank God! it will not be so now. Our meetings were real and
    formal séances, to which the best hours of the day were given. The
    results, verified with the most minute care, were embodied in formal
    and official declarations. I have these _procès-verbaux_ before me
    now, and it seems to me that I could not do better than to take up one
    after another and extract from each the interesting observations it
    may contain. I shall thus follow the method of certain historians, and
    relate the truth rather than systematize it. The reader will, as it
    were, follow us step by step. He will examine and check my various
    assertions by comparing them; he will form his own conviction, and
    will judge whether my proofs have that character of frequent
    occurrence, of persistency, of progressive development which false
    discoveries, based upon some fortuitous and poorly described
    coincidence, never have.

These are promising premises. We shall see whether the promises will be
kept. The report (or minutes) of the first meeting bears the date of
September 20, 1853. Numerous séances had been held before, but it had not
been thought necessary to write down the results. What those results were
will be seen by the following brief account:

    Only those have an invincible conviction (writes Count de Gasparin)
    who have participated in séance studies frequently and directly, who
    have felt under their very fingers the production of those peculiar
    movements which the action of our muscles cannot imitate. They know
    the limitations of their powers and where to stop. For they have seen
    the table refuse to rotate at all, in spite of the impatience of the
    investigators, and in spite of their clamorous appeals. Then again,
    they have been present when it started to move so gently, so softly
    and spontaneously started, it can be said, under fingers which hardly
    touched it. They have at times seen the legs of the table (riveted by
    some enchantment to the floor) refuse to budge on any terms, in spite
    of the incitement and coaxing of those who composed the chain. On
    other occasions they have seen the same table-legs perform levitations
    that were so free and energetic that they anticipated the hands, got
    the start of the orders, and executed the thoughts almost before they
    were conceived, and with an energy well-nigh terrifying. They have
    heard with their own ears stunning raps and gentle raps, the one
    threatening to break the table, the others of such incredible fineness
    and delicacy that one could scarcely catch the sounds, and none of us
    could in any degree imitate them. They have remarked that the force of
    the levitations is not diminished when the sitters are removed from
    the side of the table that is to form the fulcrum. They have
    themselves commanded the table to lift that one of its legs over
    which rest the only hands that compose that portion of the chain still
    remaining, and the leg has risen as often and as high as they wished.
    They have observed the table in its dances when it beats the measure
    with one foot or with two; when it reproduces exactly the rhythm of
    the music that has just been sung; when, yielding in the most comic
    way to the invitation to dance the minuet, it takes on grandmotherly
    airs, sedately makes a half turn, curtsies, and then comes forward
    turning the other side! The manner in which the events took place told
    the experimenters more than the events themselves. They were in
    contact with a reality which soon made itself understood.

    The persevering experiments we had made before the 20th of September
    had already given us proof of two principal things,--the levitation of
    a weight that the muscular action of the operators was powerless to
    move, and the reproduction of numbers by mind reading.

I shall now give the formal declarations or reports, by Count de Gasparin,
or at least the essential parts of them. I shall present them here as the
author has done, séance after séance. The reader will judge. He is urged
to read the reports with the greatest attention. They are scientific
documents of the highest value, and quite as important as the preceding

    _Séance of September 20_

    Some one proposed the experiment which consists in causing a table to
    rotate and give raps while it has on it a man weighing say a hundred
    and ninety pounds. We accordingly placed such a man on the table, and
    the twelve experimenters, in chain, applied their fingers to it.

    The success was complete: the table turned, and rapped several
    strokes. Then _it rose up entirely off the floor_ in such a way as to
    upset the person who was upon it. Let me be permitted here, in
    passing, to make a general remark. We had already had numerous
    meetings. Our experimenters, among whom were several young ladies of
    delicate physique, had worked with very unusual perseverance and
    energy. Their bodily fatigue at the end of each sitting was naturally
    very great. It seems as if we should therefore have expected some
    nervous collapses more or less grave, to show themselves among us. If
    explanations based upon involuntary acts performed in a state of
    extraordinary excitement had the least foundation in fact, we should
    have had trances, almost possessions, and, at any rate, nervous
    attacks. Now, in spite of the exciting and noisy character of our
    meetings, it did not happen, in five months time, that any one of us
    experienced a single moment of indisposition or sickness of any kind.
    We learned something more: when a person is in a state of nervous
    tension, he or she becomes positively unfit to act upon the table. It
    must be handled cheerfully, lightly, and deftly, with confidence and
    authority, but without passion. This is so true that the moment I took
    too much interest in things I ceased to obtain obedience. If, on
    account of public discussions in which I had been engaged, I chanced
    to desire success too ardently and to grow impatient over delay, I had
    no longer any control over the table; it remain inert.

    _Séance of September 24_

    We began pretty poorly, and were almost inclined to think that the net
    result of the day's experiments would be limited to the two following
    observations, which have their value, to tell the truth, and which our
    experience has always confirmed: First, there are days when nothing
    can be done, nothing prospers, although the sitters are as numerous,
    as strong, and as excited as ever,--which proves that the movements of
    the table are not obtained by fraud or by the involuntary pressure of
    the muscles. Second, there are persons (those among others who are
    sickly or fatigued) whose presence in the chain is not only of no use,
    but even detrimental. Destitute themselves of the fluidic force, they
    seem, besides, to hinder its circulation and transmission. Their good
    will, their faith in the table are of no avail; as long as they are
    there the rotations are feeble, the levitations spiritless, the drafts
    drawn on the table are not honored; that one of its feet facing them
    is especially struck with paralysis. Beg them to retire, and
    immediately the vitality appears again and everything succeeds as if
    by magic. Indeed, it was only after we had taken this course that we
    finally obtained the free and energetic movements to which we had been
    accustomed. We had become quite discouraged; but when the purging of
    which I have just spoken took place, lo, what a change! Nothing seems
    difficult to us. Even those who (like myself) ordinarily have only
    mediocre success, now think of numbers and make the table rap them out
    with complete success, or with the slight imperfection (that
    frequently occurs) of a tap too many, owing to the delay in giving the
    mental order to stop the taps.

    Seeing that everything was going according to our wish, and having
    decided to try the impossible, we next undertake an experiment which
    marks our entrance into a wholly new phase of the study and places our
    former experimental demonstrations under the guarantee of a positively
    irrefutable demonstration. We are going to leave probability behind
    and dwell with evidence. We are going to make the table move _without
    touching it_. And this is how we succeeded that first time:

    At the moment when the table was whirling with a powerful and
    irresistible rotation, at a given signal we all lifted our fingers.
    Then keeping our hands united by means of the little fingers, and
    continuing to form the chain at a height of say an eighth or a quarter
    of an inch above the table, we continued our circular movement. _To
    our great surprise the table did the same_; it made in this way three
    or four turns! We could scarcely believe our good fortune; the
    by-standers (witnesses) could not keep from clapping their hands. And
    the way in which the rotation took place was as remarkable as the
    rotation itself. Once or twice the table stopped following us because
    the little accidents and interruptions of our march had withdrawn our
    fingers from their regular distance from the top of the table. Once or
    twice the table had come to life again--if I may so express
    myself--when the turning chain had again got into the right relation
    with it. We all had the feeling that each hand had carried along in
    its course that portion of the table immediately beneath it.

    _Séance of September 29_

    We were naturally impatient to submit rotation without contact to a
    new test. In the confusion of the first success we forgot to renew and
    vary this decisive experiment. When we got to thinking about it
    afterwards we saw that it behooved us to do the thing over again with
    more care and in the presence of new witnesses; that it was, above
    all, important to produce the movement and not merely to continue it,
    and to produce it in the form of levitations instead of limiting it to
    rotations. Such was the program of our meeting of September 29. Never
    was program carried out with greater precision. As a preliminary, we
    repeated our successful feat of the 24th. While the table was rotating
    rapidly, the interlocked hands were lifted from it, though continuing
    to turn above it and form the chain. The table followed, making now
    one or two revolutions, and now a half or a quarter turn only. The
    success, more or less prolonged, was certain. We confirmed it several
    times. But some one might say that, the table being already in motion,
    the momentum carried it along mechanically while we imagined it was
    yielding to our fluidic force. The objection was absurd, and we would
    have challenged anybody to obtain a single quarter of a turn without
    forming the chain, however rapid might have been the rotation
    imparted. Above all, would we have challenged anyone to renew its
    motion when it had been for an instant suspended. However, it is well
    in such cases to forestall even absurd objections, however little of
    plausibility they may have. And this particular objection might seem
    plausible to the inattentive man. It was imperative, then, that we
    should produce rotation starting from a state of complete inertia.
    This we did. The table being as motionless as we were, the chain of
    hands parted from it and began to turn slowly at a height of about
    three-eighths of an inch above its edge. In a moment the table made a
    slight movement, and each of us striving to draw along by his will
    that part situated under his own fingers, we succeeded in drawing the
    disk in our train. The details that followed resembled those of the
    preceding case. There is such difficulty in maintaining the chain in
    the air without breaking it, in keeping it near the border of the
    table without going too quick and thus destroying the harmonious
    relation established, that it often happens that the rotation stops
    after a turn or a half-turn. Yet it is sometimes prolonged during
    three or even four revolutions. We expected to encounter still greater
    obstacles when we should undertake levitation without contact. But the
    matter turned out quite otherwise. This is easily explained when we
    remember that in this ease there is no circular movement and it is
    much easier to maintain the normal position of the hands above the
    table. The chain, then, being formed at a distance of an eighth of an
    inch or so above the round top of the table, we ordered one of its
    legs to lift itself up, and it did so.

    We were highly delighted, and repeated this pretty experiment many
    times. Without touching it in any way, we ordered the whole table to
    rise into the air, and to resist the witnesses, who had to put forth
    effort to bring it down to the floor. We commanded it to turn bottom
    side up, and it fell over with its feet in the air, although we never
    touched it with our fingers, but kept them in advance of it as it
    fell, at the distance agreed upon.

    Such were the essential results of this meeting. They are such that I
    hesitate to mention in the same connection incidents of secondary

    I will only say, in passing, that the séance was very discouraging at
    the start; for, not only was it found necessary to remove certain new
    operators, but several of the old ones did not bring to it their usual
    high spirits. The table responded poorly; raps were made faintly and
    as if with reluctance; the telepathic reading of numbers did not
    succeed. Then we took a resolution from which we derived much benefit:
    we persevered, and persevered gaily; we sang, we made the table dance;
    we gave up all thoughts of new experiments and persisted in easy and
    amusing ones. After a while conditions changed; the table fairly
    bounded, and hardly waited for our orders; we were now in condition to
    try more serious things.

    _Séance of October 7_

    A long meeting, and very fatiguing. It was principally devoted to the
    trial of various mechanical devices which had no success
    whatever,--such as metal rings; frameworks of canvas or of paper
    placed upon the table; plates on pivots and spring-keys. Whether the
    sight of all this gear hindered the radiation of the fluidic force
    from the operators, whether the contrivances themselves stopped its
    circulation in the table, or whether, in fine, the natural conditions
    of the phenomenon were disturbed in some other way, it is certain that
    the results amounted to nothing or were doubtful.

    One new experiment succeeded. A plate turning on a pivot held a tub. I
    filled this tub with water, and two of my collaborators and I plunged
    our hands into it. We formed the chain and began a circular walk,
    being careful not to touch the tub. This at once imitated our
    movement. We repeated the thing several times in succession.

    Since it might be supposed that the impulse given to the water would
    suffice to set in motion a tub resting on so delicately balanced a
    plate, we at once proceeded to prove the contrary. The water was given
    a circular whirl causing it to move with much greater rapidity than
    when we formed the chain; but the tub moved not a peg. Undoubtedly the
    point remains to be considered whether one of us three did not touch
    the inside of the tub and so determine its movement. To that I reply,
    first, that the way in which our hands were held in the water
    obviously proves that none of our fingers could really touch bottom;
    secondly, that, taking pains as we did to form the chain at the
    centre, it would have been scarcely less difficult for us to touch the
    vertical sides of the tub.

    And yet, the doubt being not wholly inadmissible, I class this
    experiment among those of which I do not purpose to make any use. I
    wish to show that I am hard to please in the matter of evidence.

    The proof which the rapping of numbers by mind-reading furnishes has
    always seemed to be one of the most convincing. In the sitting I am
    describing, it had this special feature, that each of the ten
    operators in turn received the communication of a number in writing,
    the others having their eyes shut. Now, in the whole ten, one alone
    failed to obtain perfect obedience from the table-leg which had been
    assigned to him by very suspicious witnesses, or by-standers. If my
    readers will reflect carefully they will see that the combinations of
    movements communicated and of cheating tricks which such a solid
    result as this would require passes far beyond the bounds of
    admissible things. To justify it the objector must invent a miracle
    much more astounding than ours.

    Let us turn again to the finest of all demonstrations, that of
    levitation without contact. We began by performing it three times.
    Then, since it was thought by some that the inspection of the
    witnesses could be carried on in a surer way in the case of a small
    table than in that of a large one, and with five operators more
    certainly than with ten, we had a plain deal centre-table brought
    which the chain, reduced by half, sufficed to put in rotation. Then
    the hands were lifted, and, _contact with the table being entirely
    broken, it rose seven times into the air at our command_.

    _Séance of October 8_

    Two circumstances occurred to confirm the results we had obtained in
    preceding séances. Among the numbers selected for the thought-test the
    roguery of one of the witnesses had placed a zero, and the leg
    selected by him to respond was at the left of the operator and beyond
    the reach of his muscular action. Now, the command having been given
    to the leg and no action resulting, we were all feeling disconsolate,
    being convinced that our weakness that day was so great that we were
    not going to obtain even simple levitations. I affirm most
    emphatically that if movement had ever been imparted by an
    experimenter to a table leg, it would have appeared at that moment.
    Our nerves were in an exalted state and our impatience was at its
    height. Yet no movement of the table took place, and we were
    consequently all the more solaced when we learned that the figure
    communicated had been a cipher.

    Movement without contact was accomplished twice.

    To our experiment of a table that gave raps while having a man upon
    it, it had been objected that this man might lend his aid to the
    movement, and even incite it in part. Determined to seek out the truth
    with the most anxious care, we had recognized a certain plausibility
    in this objection, and had decided to meet it fairly. The being who
    was living, intelligent, and consequently suspected must be replaced
    by an inert weight. Buckets filled with sand must be placed in the
    precise centre of the table, which should then be called on to exhibit
    its skill.

    But the day was badly chosen. After we had placed on the table two
    buckets, one upon the other, both weighing in all 143 pounds, it was
    discovered that we were unable to produce the levitation. It was
    necessary for us to content ourselves with continuing them in circular
    movement after they had been started. The buckets were removed, the
    table was set in motion, and the buckets replaced while the movement
    was at its height. They did not arrest it in the least, but were
    carried around with such force that the sand flew out on all sides.

    The remainder of the sitting was given up to an investigation of the
    subject of (alleged) divination, or guessing.

    When the table was asked to guess something known to one of the
    members of the chain, it pretty frequently and quite naturally
    happened that it guessed it. It is the case of thought-reading by
    numbers,--nothing more, nothing less.

    When it is asked to guess a thing known to a member of the company who
    does not form at the time a part of the chain, it happens sometimes
    that it guesses it. But the person in question must be endowed with
    great fluidic power and be able to exercise it at a distance. We did
    not ourselves obtain anything like this; but others have succeded, and
    their testimony seems too well established to be called in question.

    Up to the present moment, it is plain, there is not the least trace of
    divination. It is fluidic action, near-by or distant.

    If the tables divine, if they think, if there are spirits, we ought to
    get decisive responses in the case where no one knows the facts,
    either in the chain or out of the chain. The problem thus stated, the
    solution is not difficult.

    Take a book. Do not open it, but invite the table to read the first
    line of the page you will designate,--say page 162 or page 354. The
    table will not flinch: it will rap, and will compose words for you. It
    was thus, at least, that it always acted with us. At any rate, one
    thing is certain, that neither here nor elsewhere, has any spirit,
    however cunning, read, this simple line; nor will it be able in the
    future to do so. I recommend the experiment to the partisans of spirit

    As to the test of pieces of money in a purse, hours, playing-cards
    etc., the tables betake themselves to a strict calculation of
    probabilities; they guess just as much as you do, or as I do. Inasmuch
    as it is a question of small numbers of which one can form in advance
    an approximate idea, the range of possible combinations is not very
    extensive. The mind fixes upon a number which has a fairly good chance
    of being the true one, and the proportion between the failures of the
    table and its successes is in such a case just what it would be apart
    from all question of miraculous divination.

    _Séance of November 9_

    Before entering upon the description of this sitting,--a very
    remarkable one,--I will say that neither the thermometer nor the
    mariners' compass have furnished the slightest indication of anything
    interesting. I thought I ought to note this, in passing, to show to
    the reader that we did not neglect to employ instruments which seemed
    likely to put us in the way of obtaining a scientific explanation. In
    general, I pass by that phase of our work, as well as the different
    trials which remained merely trials, and did not lead to any positive

    Our first care was to renew the experiment of the levitation of an
    inert weight. It was agreed among us this time that we would always
    start from the state of absolute immobility in the object: we wanted
    to produce movement, not to continue it.

    The centre of the table, then, having been fixed with nice precision,
    a first tub of sand, weighing 46 pounds, was placed upon it. _The legs
    easily rose from the floor when they got the order._

    A second tub, weighing 42 pounds, was next placed in the middle of the
    other. _They were both lifted_--less easily, but very neatly and

    Then a third tub, smaller, and weighing 28-3/5 pounds, was placed on
    top of the two others. The levitations took place.

    We had still further got ready enormous stones weighing altogether
    48-1/2 pounds. They were placed on the third tub. After rather long
    hesitation, _the table lifted several times in succession each of its
    three legs_. It lifted them with a force, a decision, an élan, which
    surprised us. But its strength, already put to so many proofs, could
    not resist this last one. Bending under the powerful swaying motion
    imparted by the total mass of 165 pounds, _it suddenly broke down_,
    and its massive centre-post was split from top to bottom--to the great
    peril of the operators on the side of whom the entire load rolled off.

    I shall not stop to comment on such an experiment. It answers all
    demands. Our united muscular force would not have sufficed to
    determine the movements that took place. A mass of inert matter free
    from the suspicion of being obliging, had replaced the person whose
    complicity was held in suspicion. Finally, when the three legs had
    been lifted, each in turn, critics no longer had as a resource the
    insinuation that we had caused the weight to be laid more on one side
    than on the other.

    Inasmuch as our poor table had been wounded on the field of honor and
    could not be repaired on the spot, we got a new one which much
    resembled it. But it was a little larger and a little lighter.

    The interesting point was to be settled whether we were going to be
    obliged to wait for it to be charged with the psycho-physical fluid.
    The occasion was a famous one for solving this important problem:
    Where does the fluid reside?--in the operators or in the piece of
    furniture. The solution was as prompt as it was decisive. Scarcely had
    our hands, in chains, been placed upon this second table than it began
    to revolve with the most unexpected and the most comic rapidity!
    Evidently, the fluid was in us, and we were free to apply it in
    succession to different tables.

    We lost no time. In the mood in which we then were, movement without
    contact must succeed better than ever. Nor did we deceive ourselves in
    so thinking. We first developed rotations without contact to the
    number of five or six.

    As to levitations without contact, we discovered a method of
    proceeding that renders their success easier. The chain, formed a few
    millimetres above the top disk, is arranged so as to go in the
    direction in which the movement is to take place; the hands the
    nearest to the leg called on to rise are outside of and beyond the
    top; they draw near and pass gradually by, while the hands that are
    opposite, and which had at first advanced toward the same leg, move
    away from it while they attract it. It is during this progression of
    the chain, while all our wills are fixed upon a particular spot on the
    wood, and when the orders to levitate are forcibly given, that the
    foot quits the ground and the table-top follows the hands,--to the
    point of upsetting, if one did not keep hold of it.

    This levitation without contact was produced about thirty times. We
    produced it by each of the three legs in succession, in order to
    remove every pretext for criticism. Moreover, we watched the hands
    with scrupulous care. If the reader will please observe that this
    surveillance was exercised during thirty operations without detecting
    the slightest contact, I think it will be concluded that the reality
    is henceforth placed beyond all doubt.

    _Séance of November 21_

    The chief characteristic of this séance was the absence of that one of
    our number who exercised the greatest authority at the table.[52] In
    working without her we were put in a position to establish two things:
    first, that one cannot with impunity do without an extraordinary
    gifted experimenter; and, second, that one can, nevertheless, do
    without him or her, if it is absolutely necessary, and that success,
    although less brilliant in this case, is not impossible. I call
    special attention to this last point, as well as to the frequent
    modifications of our personnel, for the benefit of suspicious persons
    who, not knowing the mental worth of the persons in question, might be
    disposed to place to the account of their dexterity the results to
    which they essentially contribute. The psycho-physical working power
    of a "sensitive" table-turner is of a mixed nature: a resolute posture
    and a circular movement are not sufficient to give birth to it.
    Besides this, and above all, there is needed _the will_.

    Our will having at last asserted itself, and muscular pressure having
    yielded its place to the pressure of commands, the fluidic rotation
    arrives, after five or six minutes of concentration of our thoughts.
    We felt, indeed, keenly that some important person was lacking and
    that we did not possess our usual power. However, we were determined
    to succeed, even at the price of greater mental fatigue.

    So we took up boldly our most difficult feat; namely, movements
    without contact. Rotations without touch were obtained thrice. I
    should add that they were very incomplete,--a quarter of a turn, or a
    half-turn at most.

    As to levitations without touch our success was more decisive; but it
    was purchased at the price of a very considerable expenditure of
    force. After each levitation we had to rest, and, when we had reached
    No. 9 we were absolutely obliged to stop, overcome with fatigue. One
    must have had personal knowledge of such experiments to understand
    what drafts they make upon one's attention and energy, and at what
    point it is indispensible to will, and to will peremptorily, that such
    and such a knot of wood in the table shall follow the opened fingers
    that are alluring it at a distance.

    But be that as it may, our attempt was crowned with success, and we
    could end the sitting with less exhausting exercises.

    The idea came to us then and there to try our powers on a large table
    with four legs. It had often been claimed that three-legged
    centre-tables alone would respond to our manipulations. It was time to
    furnish undeniable proof to the contrary. So we took a table three
    feet five inches in diameter, a folding half of which (independent of
    the leg that supports it when it is raised) can be turned up at will.

    Scarcely were our fingers in place than the table began a rotation
    with noisy bustle, the sprightliness of which surprised us. It thus
    showed that tables with four legs were no more refractory than others.
    In addition to this, it furnished a new argument in favor of one of
    our former observations,--that the fluid is in the persons and not in
    the tables. In fact the movement of the large table took place almost
    immediately, and before it could be considered as charged with fluid.

    The next task before us was to make it give raps with its different
    legs. We began with those fastened to one half of the top, three in
    number. They rose from the floor two at a time with such force that at
    the end of a moment one of the casters flew to pieces.[53] Now it is
    difficult to form an idea of the intensity which a fraudulent action
    of the fingers must have acquired in order to exercise a leverage upon
    so heavy a table, and launch it into the air to such a height.

    There remained the leg of the table which was independent of the top.
    We thought it would obey as well as the others. But no! In vain did we
    pour out the most prodigal and pressing invitations: it was never
    willing to rise, either along with its right-hand neighbor or with its
    neighbor on the left. Our next thought was that this was due to the
    persons placed near it, and certain members of the chain changed
    seats. In vain! All combinations failed one after another.

    We drew great deductions from this circumstance. But since it was
    refuted later, when the contumacious leg yielded perfect obedience at
    another meeting, I will not take the public into our confidence by a
    display of our reasonings on the subject. I will only ask that two
    things be noted; first, the care we took to verify many times the
    phenomena before affirming them; and, second, that we have here once
    more a fine refutation of the critics who assert that muscular action
    can explain everything. If this were so, why did not muscular action
    lift the free leg as well as those fastened tight to the table? It
    could have done so just as easily; and yet for some _unknown reason_,
    but one evidently _foreign to the laws of mechanics_, only the
    attached legs consented to move.

    _Séance of November 27_

    We were in full muster; but two or three of the operators were
    slightly indisposed. On the whole, whatever was the cause, the
    occasion was scarcely remarkable for anything except the almost total
    absence of fluidic power. For a single moment we had a little of it. A
    half-hour of action and two hours and a half of inertia--this was our
    net result.

    Nothing was more lamentable, and at the same time more curious, than
    to see us about the different tables, passing from one to another,
    enjoining them to do the most elementary things, and only obtaining a
    weak and languid rotation, which soon stopped altogether.

    _Séance of December 2_

    I should have been vexed to have to close my recital with so dull and
    spiritless a record as the preceding one. By good fortune the last of
    our reports gives me the right to leave a totally different impression
    on the reader's mind.

    We were in fine temper. Perhaps the beautiful weather helped. It is
    not the first time I have noticed this. What is certain is that the
    very same persons who, on November 27, had only a half-hour of success
    and had passed the rest of the sitting in beseeching in vain for
    anything better than poor abortive rotations or faint raps, to-day
    governed the table with an authority, a quickness, and, if I may so
    put it, an elasticity of bearing that left nothing to be desired.

    The large table with four legs was set in motion. And this time, the
    ease with which the free leg lifted its share of the table proved that
    we were right in not drawing too definite conclusions from its former
    refusal. Every time that we tried to lift without contact that part of
    the table the farthest removed from myself I felt the table-leg
    nearest me gradually approach and press against my leg. Struck with
    this occurrence, which took place several times I drew the conclusion
    that the table _was gliding forward_, not having enough force to rise.
    We were, then, exercising a perceptible influence on this large table
    without touching it in any way.

    In order the better to assure myself of it, I left the chain and
    observed the movement of the feet of the table on the floor. It ranged
    from fractions of an inch to several inches. When we then tried to
    turn up without contact the folding leaf of a gaming-table covered
    with cloth, we obtained the same result: the folding leaf would not
    yield to our influence, but the entire table advanced in the direction
    of the prescribed movement. Now, I ought to add that the gliding was
    not at all easy, for the floor of our room was rough and uneven.

    It is interesting to note in this connection the moment when this
    gliding movement ordinarily begins. It occurs at precisely the same
    time that the levitation without contact takes place when that
    manifestation is in process. When the portion of the chain which is
    pushing on has just advanced beyond the side of the table-top, where
    it begins to turn, and when that portion of the chain that is pulling
    has just crossed the middle point in its recession, then the
    ascensional movement--or, in default of that, the _gliding
    motion_--manifests itself. Our fluidic power is then at its maximum,
    precisely at the instant when our mechanical power is at its minimum,
    when the hands that are pushing have ceased to act (supposing the case
    of fraud) and when the hands that pull are powerless to act.

    Let us now revert to our ordinary table. We tried to produce rotations
    and levitations without contact, and had complete success.

Such reports as the foregoing are of more value than all the
dissertations. They show the undeniable reality of the levitation not
total, but partial,--of the table which remained in an oblique position
poised on two legs only. They show also rotations and levitations _without
contact_, as well as glidings under the influence of a natural force
hitherto only slightly studied.

_Levitations of a heavy table, having on it a man weighing 191 pounds, or
of tubs of sand and stones weighing 165 pounds_,--no denial of these
occurrences can be admitted.

The same is true of the movements of the table dancing in accordance with
the rhythm of certain airs, of its over-turnings, of its obedience to the
orders given. These facts have been observed precisely as mechanical,
physical, chemical, meteorological, astronomical facts have been

To the above reports I will add here a supplementary experiment described
in the preface of Count de Gasparin's book:

    Certain distinguished savants to whom I had communicated the results
    we had secured, agreed in assuring me that levitations without contact
    would have the character of absolute certain proof if we succeeded in
    verifying them by the following practical device: "Sprinkle flour upon
    the table," they said, "at the instant your hands have just left it;
    then produce one or more levitations; finally assure yourselves that
    the layer of flour bears not the slightest sign of any touch, and all
    objectors will be dumb."

    Why, it is precisely this experiment that we have performed
    successfully several times. Let me give a few details:

    Our first trial had succeeded very badly. We used a coarse sieve which
    we had to move to and fro over the entire table. This produced the
    double inconvenience; first, of suspending too long, and so of
    nullifying the action of the operators; and, secondly, of spreading a
    layer of flour much too thick. The buoyant spring and impulse of the
    wills of the operators was abated, the fluidic action was thwarted,
    the table-top got chilled down, so to speak; nothing moved. The
    mischief went so far that the table not only refused us levitations
    and rotations without contact, but almost all the ordinary ones.

    Then a brilliant idea came to one of us. We possessed one of those
    bellows used in blowing sulphur upon vines attacked by the
    grape-mildew. In place of sulphur we put flour into it, and, so
    prepared, began the test.

    The conditions were most favorable. The weather was dry and warm, the
    table went leaping under our fingers, and, indeed, before the order to
    lift hands had been given, the greater part of the band of us had
    spontaneously ceased to touch the table-top. Then the command rings
    out; the whole chain lifts up from the table, and at the same instant
    the bellows covers its entire surface with a light dusting of flour.
    Not a second had been lost; the levitation without contact had
    already taken place. But to leave no doubt, the thing was repeated
    three or four times in succession.

    That done, the table was scrupulously examined; _no finger had touched
    it, or even grazed it in the slightest degree_.

    The fear of grazing it involuntarily had even been so great that the
    hands had acted fluidically from a height much greater than in
    previous sittings. Each one had thought he could not raise his hands
    too high, and the hands removed to such a distance from the top, had
    not had recourse to any of the manoeuvres or passes of which we had at
    other times made use. Keeping its place, above the table to be lifted,
    the chain had preserved its form intact; it had made hardly a
    perceptible motion in the direction of the movement it was producing
    at a distance from the table.

    I will add, finally that we did not content ourselves with a single
    experience. A careful inspection following each of several
    levitations, always showed that the dust-like layer of flour was
    absolutely untouched; and no portion of the table had escaped its
    tell-tale coat of white.

The author of these reports himself estimates as follows the results he
has recorded:

    The phenomena observed confirm and elucidate each other. Large
    four-legged tables compete with three-legged ones. Inert weights,
    placed on these, come forward as substitutes for persons suspected of
    giving a helping hand to the table charged with the task of lifting
    them. At last the great discovery arrives in its turn: we begin by
    continuing without contact movements already initiated, and we end by
    producing them; we succeed almost in creating the process, to such an
    extent that these extraordinary facts manifest themselves sometimes in
    an uninterrupted series of fifteen or thirty performances. The
    glidings round out the subject by throwing light on one phase of
    action at a distance: they reveal it as powerless (at times) to lift
    the table, but able to draw it along over the floor.

    Such is the rapidly sketched account of our progress. Taken just by
    itself alone, it constitutes a solid proof and I recommend a study of
    it to serious men. It is not thus that error proceeds. Illusions
    originating in accident, or chance, do not thus resist a long study,
    and do not pass unmasked through a long series of experiments that
    justify them more and more.

    The reading of numbers in others' minds, and the balance of forces,
    merit special consideration.

    When all the operators but one are ignorant of the number to be
    materialized by raps, the operation (unless it is fluidic) ought to
    proceed either from the person who knows the number and furnishes at
    once the movement and the arrest, or else it ought to proceed from a
    relation instinctively established between that person who furnishes
    the arrest and his vis-à-vis who furnishes the movement. Let us
    examine both hypotheses.

    The first is untenable; for, in the case where some one chooses a leg
    of the table upon which the operator who knows the number can exercise
    no muscular action, the leg thus designated none the less rises at his

    The second is untenable; for, in the case where some one indicates a
    zero, the movement which ought to take place does not do so. Nay more.
    If you place at loggerheads two persons placed on opposite sides of
    the table and enjoin each to make a different number triumph, the more
    powerful operator secures the execution of the chief number although
    his vis-à-vis is interested not only in not furnishing it to him, but
    in arresting it.

    I know that this matter of the divining of numbers thought of is in
    bad odor. It lacks a certain pedantic and scientific form. Yet I have
    not hesitated to insist on it; for there are few experiments in which
    is better manifested the _mixed character_ of the
    phenomenon,--physical power developed and applied outside of ourselves
    by the effect of our will. Just because it forms the great offense, or
    stumbling block, I am unwilling to be shame-faced about it. I
    maintain, besides that this is just as scientific as anything else.
    True science is not tied to the employment of such and such a process
    or such and such an instrument. That which a fluidometer would show
    would be no less scientifically demonstrated than what is seen with
    the eyes and estimated by the reason.

    Let us go on, however. We have not yet reached the end of our proofs.
    One of these has always especially struck me: I mean the proof derived
    from failures.

    It is claimed that the movements are produced by the action of our
    muscles, by involuntary pressure. Now here are the same operators who
    yesterday secured from the table the fulfilment of their most
    capricious desires; their muscles are as strong, their vivacity is as
    great, their desire to succeed is perhaps keener--and yet nothing!
    absolutely nothing! A whole hour will pass without the least rotation
    beginning; or, if there are rotations, levitations are impossible to
    procure; what little is done by the table is done feebly, dismally,
    and as if reluctantly. I repeat it again, the muscles have not
    changed; then why this sudden incapacity? The cause remaining
    identically the same, whence comes it that the effect varies to such a

    "Ah!" says an objector, "you are talking of involuntary pressure, and
    say nothing about voluntary pressure, of fraud, in short. Don't you
    see that the cheaters may be present at one sitting and not appear at
    another, that they may act one day and not give themselves the trouble
    on the next?"

    I will reply very simply, and by facts.

    "The cheaters are absent when we do not succeed!" But it has happened
    many a time that our personnel has not been changed in any way. The
    same persons, absolutely the same, have passed from a state of
    remarkable power to a state of comparative impotence. And that is not
    all. If there exists no operator whose presence has preserved us from
    failures, no more does any exist whose absence has rendered us
    incapable of success. With and without each one of the members of the
    chain we have succeeded in performing all the experiments,--all
    without exception.

    But 'the cheaters do not take so much pains every day!' The pains
    would be great indeed, and those who infer fraud little think what
    prodigies they are invoking. The accusation is an absurdity which
    verges on silliness, and its silliness removes its sting. One does not
    take offense at things like that. But come now, let us suppose for the
    moment that Valleyres were peopled with disciples of Bosco, that
    prestidigitation were generally practised there, and that it had been
    thrust under our very eyes for five months, and under the eyes of
    numerous and very suspicious witnesses without a single case of
    perfidy having been pointed out. We have so well concealed our game
    that we have invented a secret telegraphic code for the experiment of
    reading numbers, a particular turn of the finger for moving the most
    enormous masses, a method of gradually lifting tables that we do not
    seem to touch. We are all liars, all; for we have been mutually
    watching each other for a long time now, and do not denounce anybody.
    Nay, more, the contagion of our vices is so swift to take that, as
    soon as we admit a stranger, a hostile witness, into the chain, he
    becomes our accomplice; he voluntarily closes his eyes to the
    transmission of signals, to muscular efforts, to the repeated and
    prolonged suspicious actions of his next neighbors in the chain! Well
    and good; suppose we grant all that, we shall not have got farther
    along for that. It will still remain to be explained why our cheaters
    sometimes do nothing at the very moment when it would be to their
    interest to succeed. It has happened, indeed, that a certain sitting
    at which we had many witnesses and a great desire to convince turned
    out to be a mediocre one. Such and such another, under the same
    conditions, was, on the contrary, a brilliant success.

    There you have real and important inequalities, and they dare to talk
    to us of muscular action and of fraud.

    Fraud and muscular action! Here for instance is a fine opportunity to
    put them to the proof. We have just placed a weight on the table. This
    weight is inert and cannot be accessory to any device. Fraud is all
    around it perhaps, but it is not in the tubs of sand. This weight is
    equally divided among the three legs of the table, and they are going
    to prove it by each one rising in turn. The total load weighs 165
    pounds, and we scarcely dare to increase it, for, as it is, it was
    enough, one day, to break our very solid table. Very well; now let
    someone try to move this weight. Since muscular action and fraud must
    explain everything, it will be easy for them to put the mass in
    motion. Now they cannot do it. Their fingers contract and the knuckles
    whiten without their obtaining a single levitation, whereas, some
    moments later, levitations will take place at the touch of the same
    fingers, which gently graze the table's top and make no effort at all,
    as any one may easily convince himself.

    Certain very ingenious scientific rules of measurement, for the
    invention of which I cannot claim the credit, put us in the way of
    translating into figures the effort which the rotation or levitation
    of the table demands, when loaded in the way just described. With the
    above-mentioned weight of 165 pounds, rotation is secured by means of
    a lateral traction of about 17-1/2 pounds, while levitation is only
    obtained by a perpendicular pressure of 132 pounds at least (which I
    will reduce, however, to 110, in deference to the presumed wishes of
    the critic, and on the supposition that the pressure might not be
    absolutely vertical). Several deductions are to be drawn from these

    In the first place, muscular action may cause the table to turn, but
    it cannot lift it. As a matter of fact, the ten operators have one
    hundred fingers applied to its surface. Now, the vertical, or
    quasi-vertical, pressure of each finger cannot exceed twelve ounces on
    the average, the chain being composed as it is. They only develop,
    then, a total pressure of 66 pounds, which is quite insufficient to
    produce levitation.

    In the next place, this striking thing befalls, that the phenomenon
    which muscular action could easily produce is precisely the one that
    we most rarely and with the greatest difficulty obtain, and that the
    phenomenon which muscular action could not compass is the one the most
    habitually realized when the chain is formed. Why does not our
    involuntary impulse always make the table turn? Why should not our
    "fraud" always procure such a triumph? Why, as a general thing, do we
    only succeed in effecting that which is mechanically impossible?

    I advise people who like to make fun of table-turnings not to
    investigate them too closely, and to beware of giving too careful
    attention to our supreme demonstration,--that of movements without
    contact, for it will leave them not the slightest pretext for

    Thus the fact is established. Multiplied experiments, diverse and
    irrefutable proofs, which are, moreover, joined in the closest
    solidarity, give to the fluidic action the stamp of complete
    certainty. Those who have had the patience to follow me thus far will
    have felt their suspicions vanishing one after another, and their
    faith in the new phenomenon more and more strengthened. They will have
    made good what we ourselves have substantiated and made good; for no
    one has opposed more difficulties to table-turning than have we, no
    one has shown himself more inquisitorial and exacting respecting them.

    It is not our fault if the results have been conclusive (and more and
    more so), nor ours the blame if they have reciprocally confirmed each
    other, if they have ended by forming one body and taking on the
    character of perfect evidence. To study, to compare, to repeat and
    repeat again, and to finally exclude all that admits of doubt or
    question--this was our duty. Nor have we failed to perform it. I make
    no affirmations in these reports which I have not proved over and over

Such are the memorable experiments of the Count de Gasparin. Their worth
will be appreciated by all who read them. I have been anxious to reproduce
these careful reports; for they establish of themselves _the absolute and
undeniable reality of these movements that contradict the normal law of
gravitation_. Let us hear the Count's explanatory hypotheses.

    The reader will have noticed the care I have taken to confine myself
    to the verification of the facts, without hazarding any explanatory
    hypothesis. If I have employed the word "fluid," it was to avoid
    circumlocutions. Strict scientific precision would have demanded that
    I always write "the fluid, the force, or physical agent whatever it
    may be." I shall be pardoned for having been a little less exact than
    this in my language. It was enough that my thought was perfectly
    clear. That we have to do with a fluid, properly so called, in the
    phenomena of table turning and lifting I cannot absolutely affirm. I
    affirm that there is an agent, and that this agent _is not
    supernatural_, that it is _physical_, imparting to physical objects
    the movements which our will determines.

    Our will, I have said. And this is in fact the fundamental idea we
    have gathered out of this subject of a physical agent. It is this
    which characterizes it, and it is this also which compromises it in
    the eyes of a good many folks. They might, perhaps, be resigned to a
    new agent, if it were the necessary and exclusive product of the hands
    forming the chain, if only it were true that certain positions or
    certain acts insured its manifestation. But this is not the case with
    it: the mental and the physical must combine in order to give it
    birth. Here are hands that tire themselves out in forming the chain,
    and yet obtain no movement: the will has not been mingled in the act.
    Here is a will that commands in vain: the hands have not been placed
    in a suitable position.

    We have thrown light upon both these sides of the phenomenon, for they
    are both essential.

    Another fact has been noted by us, and ought to enter into a
    description of the physical agent in question: this agent inheres in
    the persons and not in the table. Let the operators, when they are in
    rapport, pass to a new table and encircle it: they will be able
    immediately to exercise all their authority over it; their will will
    continue to dispose of the physical agent and to make use of it for
    rapping numbers mentally selected by persons present or for producing
    movements without contact.

    Such are the facts. The explanation of them will come later. It is,
    however, very natural to want to find this at once, and to make
    hypotheses which may be regarded as possible, if not true. I have
    taken the risk of doing this, and I do not repent of it. Was it not
    imperative to prove to our opponents that they have not even the
    pretext of "a scientific impossibility"? Hypotheses have their
    legitimate place and their utility, even if they are incorrect. If
    they are admissible in themselves, that is sufficient, for that
    defends the facts to which they are applied from the accusation of
    monstrosity. The critic has no longer the right to demand the previous

    Seeing that it was asked for on all sides, I have risked the following

    You assert that our pretensions are false, for the simple reason that
    they _cannot be_ true! Very well. But, at all events, allow me to lay
    before you certain postulates. Suppose, in the first place, that you
    do not know everything, that the moral and even the material nature of
    man have obscurities which you have not been able to remove. Suppose
    that the smallest blade of grass springing up in the field, that the
    smallest grain reproducing its kind, that the finger of your hand in
    the act of executing the order you give it, enclose mysteries that
    surpass the powers of the learned doctors to fathom, and which they
    would declare absurd if they were not compelled to recognize them as
    real. Then, in the second place, suppose that certain men who will so
    to do, and whose hands are joined one to another in a certain way,
    give birth to a fluid or to a special kind of force. I do not ask you
    to admit that such force exists; you will only agree with me that it
    is possible. There is no natural law opposed to it that I know of.

    Now, let us take one more step. The will disposes of this fluid. It
    gives an impulse to external objects only when we will it, and in
    quarters selected by us. Would there be anything impossible in this?
    Is it an unheard-of thing that we transmit movement to matter that is
    outside of ourselves? Why, we do so every day, and every instant; our
    mechanical action is nothing more or less than this. The horrible
    thing in your eyes doubtless is that we do not act mechanically! But
    there is something besides mechanical action in this world. There are
    physical causes of movement that are something else than this. The
    caloric that penetrates a living body produces dilatation there; that
    is to say, universal movement. The loadstone placed in the
    neighborhood of a piece of iron attracts it, and makes it leap across
    the intervening space.

    "Yes," some one will exclaim, "we should make no objection, provided
    your pretended fluid did not obey one special direction in its
    progress. If it went straight on, as a blind force, well and good! It
    would then be like the caloric, that dilates everything it meets in
    its passage. It would be like the magnet which attracts
    indiscriminately toward a fixed point all the particles of iron in its
    vicinity. As for you, your invention of the theory of a rotative fluid
    calls vividly to mind the explanation of the dormitive properties of

    It is impossible to more completely misunderstand things. No one
    dreams of a "rotative fluid." All we maintain is, that, when the fluid
    is emitted and imparts either repulsion or lateral attraction to a
    piece of furniture resting on legs, a very simple mechanical law
    transforms the lateral action into rotation.

    I do not say, "The tables turn because my fluid is rotative." I say,
    "The tables turn, because, when they receive an impelling force or
    undergo an attraction, they cannot help turning." Stated in this way,
    it is a little less naïve. Consequently, I should be under no
    obligation to undertake the cause of the poor university scholar of
    the _Malade Imaginaire_, and defend his famous reply: "_Opium facit
    dormire quia est in eo virtus dormitiva_" ("opium puts people to sleep
    because it has the sleep-producing virtue or property"). Nevertheless,
    I can't help it, out it must come: I find the reply an excellent one.
    I doubt whether the savants have found a better one to this day, and I
    advise them to resign themselves sometimes to the following kind of
    reasoning: "Opium puts us to sleep because it puts us to sleep; things
    are because they are." In other words, I see the facts and do not know
    the causes. I do not know. "I do not know!" terrible words, which one
    finds difficulty in pronouncing! Now, I suspect very strongly that the
    sly roguishness of Molière is for the benefit of the doctors, who
    pretend to know everything, invent explanations which do not explain,
    and do not know how to accept the facts while waiting for more light.

    But there is more to come. The hypothesis of the fluid (a pure
    hypothesis, remember) must still prove that it is a hypothesis
    reconcilable with the different circumstances of the phenomenon. The
    table does not merely turn: it lifts its legs up, it raps numbers
    mentally indicated to it; in a word, it obeys the will, and obeys it
    so well that the removal of contact does not terminate its obedience.
    The impelling force or lateral attraction which account for rotations
    cannot account for levitations.

    But why? Because the will directs the fluid now into one leg of the
    table, now into another. Because the table identifies itself with us,
    after a fashion, becomes a limb of our own body, and produces
    movements thought of by us in the same manner as our arm produces
    them. Because we have no conscious knowledge of the direction imparted
    to the fluid, and govern the movements of the table without imagining
    that any kind of fluid or force whatever is in action.

    In all our acts, in all without exception, we have no consciousness of
    the direction imparted by our will. When you explain to me how I lift
    my hand, I will explain to you how I make the table-leg rise from the
    floor. I "willed to raise my hand." Yes, and I also willed to lift
    this table-leg. As for the executing of the mandates of the will, the
    putting into play of the muscles required to lift the hand, or of the
    fluid-power required to lift the table-leg, I have no knowledge of
    what passes in me apropos of this. Strange mystery, and one which
    ought to inspire in us a little modesty! There is in me an executive
    power, a power of such a nature that, when I have willed such or such
    an act, it addresses detailed orders to the different muscles and sets
    in motion a hundred complicated movements to bring about a final
    result which has been merely thought of, merely willed. That miracle
    goes on within me, and I understand it not at all, and never shall
    understand it. Do you not agree that the same executive power can give
    to the fluid the directions it gives to the muscles? I have willed to
    play a sonata on the piano, and, unknown to me, something within me
    has given orders to hundreds of thousands of muscular acts. I have
    willed that the leg of this table should be lifted up, and, unknown to
    me, something within me has directed the attractions and impulsions of
    the fluid to the designated place.

    The hypothesis of a fluid is, then, defensible. It accords with the
    nature of things and with the nature of man. I have no wish to go
    farther and furnish at once a definitive explanation. But I am not
    worrying. Let the facts once be admitted, and explanations will not
    be wanting. What seems impossible now will seem very simple then.
    About incontestable things no trouble is made. We are so constituted
    that, after we have asserted the impossibility of everything we do not
    comprehend, we declare comprehensible all that we have recognized as
    real. People are everywhere to be met with who shrug their shoulders
    when you speak to them of table-turnings and who make nothing of the
    Puck-like performance of the electric current in putting the girdle of
    its circuit around the earth in the fraction of a moment, and who find
    the miracle of the transmission of the mental and moral qualities of
    the fathers to the children a very simple thing to understand! The
    tables of the psychic experimenter cannot escape the common lot. Their
    phenomena, absurd to-day, are to-morrow self-evident.

These experiments of Count de Gasparin and his associates have been known
for over half a century, and it is really incomprehensible that even the
fact of the levitation of tables and of their movements has continued to
be denied. Verily, if the tables are sometimes light, it must be confessed
that the human race is a little heavy.

As to the theory, the hypothesis of the fluid,--_felix qui potuit rerum
cognoscere causas_ (Happy the man who can know the cause of things)--I
shall return to this matter in the chapter on explanatory theories. But it
is incontestable that, in such experiences, we act by means of an
invisible force emanating from us. One must be blind not to admit that.

After a series of experiments so admirably conducted we can understand
that the author might well be allowed to indulge in a little derision of
obstinately prejudiced unbelievers. In closing this chapter, I cannot
forego the pleasure of citing Count de Gasparin apropos of the learned
negations of Babinet and his emulators of the Institute.

    The savants are not the only ones to stand on their dignity. I also
    stand on mine, and I make bold to think that a certificate signed with
    my name would not be rated by anybody as a piece of imposture or
    frivolity. It is known that I am in the habit of weighing my words; it
    is known that I love the truth, and that I will not sacrifice it on
    any consideration; it is known that I prefer to admit an error rather
    than persist in it; and when, after a long-continued inquiry, I
    persist with a firmer and profounder conviction than ever, the import
    or scope of the declaration I make is not to be misapprehended.

    I can tell you, in the next place, that the testimony of the eyes has,
    in my opinion, a scientific value. Independently of instruments and
    figures, on which I set the highest values, I believe that the true
    _seeing_ of things may serve. I believe that this also is of itself an
    instrument. If a sufficient number of good pairs of eyes have
    ascertained and proved, ten, twenty, a hundred times, that a table is
    put in motion without contact; if, furthermore, the explanation of the
    fact by fraudulent or involuntary contacts passes the limits which
    must be assigned to incredulity, the conclusion is clear. Nobody is
    warranted in crying out: "You have neither fluidometer nor alembic;
    you do not give a specimen of your physical agent in a bottle; you do
    not describe how it acts upon a column of mercury or upon the dip of a
    needle. We don't believe you, for you have done nothing but see."

    "I do not believe you because you have done nothing but see!" "I do
    not believe you because I have not seen with my own eyes!" So many
    pedants, so many objections. They hardly take the trouble to agree
    among themselves; in a war waged against the tables any weapon is
    fair, nothing comes amiss.

    I do not wish to forget that scientists were still talking only of
    rotations at the moment when Faraday invented his disks.[54] In the
    presence of a phenomenon so inadequate, and, let us admit it, so
    suspicious, we can understand how the savants showed themselves
    sceptical and contented themselves with flimsy refutations. They
    proportioned the number and size of their weapons to the appearance of
    the enemy. The one among them who showed the most penetration, and who
    proposed the most plausible explanation, is most assuredly Chevreul.
    His theory of the tendency to movement is incontestably true. It
    explains how the objects we suspend from our finger finally take a
    vibratory movement in the direction indicated by our will. I am not
    astonished that some have thought this theory sufficient to explain
    how experimenters can, in the end, impart a rotation to the table and
    participate in the movement themselves. I need not say that our proved
    levitations of weights, and our movements without contact, will not
    henceforth permit anyone to take refuge in such an explanation. If all
    the tendencies to movement were united into one they would not be able
    to produce at a distance an impelling power, nor move a mass that
    mechanical action could not set in motion.

    Really, the learned doctors ought not to throw out to the public these
    explanations which do not explain. They ought rather to get to work
    and show us, in fact, how to set about the lifting directly and
    mechanically of a weight of 220 pounds without applying to the task a
    force of 220 pounds.

    But they prefer to use insulting expressions, and then proceed to
    invent some theory or other which has only one little fault--that it
    has no legs to walk with. The recent article of M. Babinet in the
    _Revue des Deux Mondes_ is a masterpiece in its way. If I needed to be
    convinced of the reality of the phenomena of table-turning, etc., I
    should most assuredly have been convinced by the reading of this
    refutation of it.

    In the opinion of M. Babinet, the phenomena of the tables offer no
    difficulty whatever! Happy science of physics, happy science of
    mechanics which has an answer ready for everything! We poor, ignorant
    fellows thought we had detected something extraordinary, and did not
    know we were merely obeying two extremely elementary laws,--the law of
    unconscious movements, and, above all, that of nascent movements,
    movements the power of which seems to surpass that of developed

    As far as regards unconscious movements, M. Babinet adds nothing to
    previous explanations--nothing but the story of that lord (an English
    lord, he says) whose horse was so admirably trained that it seemed as
    if it were only necessary for one to think the movement one wished to
    have him execute, and he instantly realized it. I am thoroughly
    convinced, as is M. Babinet, that the aforesaid lord gave an impulse
    to the bridle without suspecting it, and I am just as thoroughly
    convinced that the experimenters whose hands are touching a table may
    exert a pressure of which they are not conscious. Only--I think there
    should be some proportion between the cause and the effect. Suppose
    the movements are unconscious: they are none the less vigorous for all
    that. The burden is upon M. Babinet and his followers, to prove that
    the very same fingers that in vain clench themselves till they are
    stiff in the endeavor to lift a weight of eighty-eight pounds, will
    lift double this weight by simply being unconscious that they are
    making any effort.

    My honorable and learned opponent will not hear of movements obtained
    without contact. "Everything that has been said about action exercised
    at a distance ought to be banished to the realm of fiction." The
    judgment is curt and summary. Movements without contact are a
    fiction,--first because they are impossible; secondly because powdered
    soapstone has hindered the rotation of a table; and, finally, because
    perpetual movement is impossible.

    Movements at a distance are impossible! To be strictly logical, M.
    Babinet ought to have stopped there, remembering the reply made by
    Henry IV to the magistrates who had thus begun an address to him:

    "We did not give a salute of cannon on the approach of Your Majesty,
    and that for three good reasons. In the first place, because we had no

    "That reason is sufficient," said the king.

    We are fain to believe that M. Babinet himself has little doubt about
    his "impossibility." He has acted wisely in doing so; for this
    impossibility is based entirely on a vicious circle of reasoning. "Is
    there a single known example of movement produced without a force
    acting from the outside? No. Well, movement at a distance would very
    plainly take place by an active external force. Therefore movement at
    a distance is impossible." I feel very much disposed to say to M.
    Babinet, in the technical language of the schools, that his major
    premise is true and that his conclusion would be legitimate if his
    minor were not purely and simply a begging of the question. You claim
    that there is no active force exterior to the table which lifts it
    without the touch of the hands. But that is precisely the point at
    issue between us. A fluid is an external active force. It is handy for
    my critic, indeed, to begin by establishing this axiom. Now (he says),
    there is no fluid, or analogous physical agent, in the case of the
    tables; _therefore_ there is no effect produced.

    The learned gentlemen, Faraday, Babinet, and others, do not limit
    themselves to objections derived from nascent or unconscious
    movements, small causes producing great effects. They have still
    another method of proceeding. If an experiment has succeeded it has no
    longer any value. Oh, if one could succeed in performing such another
    experiment, well and good! But this would not hinder the new
    experiment from becoming insignificant in its turn and giving place to
    a new desideratum. The phrasing runs somewhat in this way:

    "You are doing such and such a thing. Very well; but now let us see
    you do a different thing. You are employing such or such a method; be
    pleased to be contented with those which we prescribe you. To succeed
    in your way is not enough; you must succeed in ours. Your way is not
    scientific; it runs contrary to the traditions. We shut the door in
    the face of facts if they do not come in the regulation claw-hammer
    coat of full dress. We shall pay no attention to your experiments if
    our experimental apparatus does not figure in them."

    Strange way of verifying and establishing the results of experiments!
    You begin by changing the conditions under which they are produced.
    You might as well say to the man who has seen the harvesting of barley
    in Upper Egypt in January, "I will believe it when I see it done
    before my eyes in Bourgogne." One can understand, of course, how an
    unreasonable and troublesome fastidiousness might be shown regarding
    travellers' tales. But scientific experiments are of another
    character. In the presence of facts so evident, it is almost
    incredible that they wish to impose upon us instruments, needles, and
    mechanical devices. The idea of introducing _becauses_ and
    _therefores_ into an investigation in which the real nature of the
    acting force is a mystery to all the world!

    Polemical essays are not scientific studies. In general, they are the
    direct opposite. When persons who have seen nothing, who have not
    devoted any considerable portion of their energy and time to
    experimentation, who have perhaps been present only at some ridiculous
    rotations of centre-tables, take their pen in hand for the purpose of
    exposing theories or giving lofty reprimands to experimenters, I do
    not look at them in the light of scientific students.

    I am convinced that a man never really studies that which he declares
    _a priori_ to have no sense in it. If attacks are studies, there is no
    lack of them, and (I may add) never will be. At the time when the
    Academy of Medicine buried the report of M. Husson and published what
    everybody in Europe persisted in calling a refusal to examine, there
    was issued every morning a paper against magnetism; every morning some
    new writer vociferated that the partisans of magnetism were imbeciles,
    and proposed an explanatory system of his own. If you call that making
    a study, then I grant that they have studied table-turnings, for there
    certainly has been no dearth of insults and of theories about these
    phenomena. They have received every attention, except that no one was
    willing to inspect, experiment, listen, and read.

    Twice, a month apart, the Institute has announced (without protest
    from anybody whatever) to the students of table-turnings that it was
    shelving papers relating to that topic; that it was not obliged to
    occupy itself with nonsense; that there was a place in its archives
    for lucubrations of that kind; namely, the place to which were
    consigned papers on perpetual motion.

    Oh, Molière! why are you not present with us? But, in reality, you are
    here. Your genius has limned with ineffaceable lines that everlasting
    disease of venerable big-wigs and mouldy specialists,--disdain of the
    laity, respect for their fellow-members, idolatry of the past. A most
    singular deformity, this! And it appears in all ages, in various
    disguises, in the midst of all branches of human activity, now in the
    name of religion, now in that of medicine, and again in the name of
    science or of art. Yes, even surviving the wreck of revolutions which
    spare nothing, appearing even within the walls of learned academies
    the members of which write for the furtherance of the great movements
    of modern progress, one thing remains,--the spirit of partisanship, of
    cliques, the spirit of tradition, the superstitious regard for forms.

    Really, it would seem as if people must be still taking Bible oaths
    like those in the baccalaureate ceremony at the end of Molière's
    _Malade Imaginaire_. M. Foucault is fond of this scene, and will
    therefore not take it ill if I recall to his mind a couple of stanzas:

            _Essere in omnibus
            Ancieni aviso,
              Aut bono,
            Aut mauvaiso._

            _De non jamais te servire
              De remediis alcunis
      Quam de ceux soulement doctæ facultatis,
              Maladus dut-il crevare,
              Et mori de suo malo._

    If you don't call that a refusal to examine, I don't know what the
    words mean in good French.

With such ingenious candor and with such authority did the Count Agénor de
Gasparin express himself in the year 1854. It seems to me that the
experiments made known in this volume furnish abundant evidence that he is

Yet I have still friends, at the Institute, who smile with the utmost
scorn when I ask their opinion on the phenomena of the levitation of
tables, the movement of objects without perceptible cause, unexplained
noises in haunted houses, communication of thought at a distance,
premonitory dreams, and apparitions of the dying. Although these
unexplained phenomena have undeniably been proved to be facts of
occurrence, those learned friends of mine remain convinced that "such
things as that are impossible."



The insufficient explanations of Chevreul and of Faraday, the scientific
negations of Babinet, the conscientious experiments of the Count de
Gasparin had led several scientists to study the question from the purely
scientific point of view. Among them was a highly-gifted savant whom I
visited at Geneva,--M. Marc Thury, professor of natural history and of
astronomy in the Academy of that city. We are indebted to him for a
remarkable and little known monograph,[56] which it is my duty to condense
for this volume.

    When we were in the presence of new phenomena (writes Thury) there was
    only one alternative:

    First, either to reject, in the name of common sense and of the
    results acquired by science, all the pretended phenomena of tables as
    so many childish sports unworthy of taking up the time of the true
    scientist or scholar, since, on the very face of it, their absurdity
    is evident; in short, to let the matter drop by refusing to give it
    serious attention.

    Or, second, to make a determined examination of it at whatever cost,
    to study the fact in its details in order to lay fully open all the
    sources of illusion by which the public is duped, separate the true
    from the false, and throw a strong light on all aspects of the
    phenomenon, physical, physiological, and psychological, in order that
    the matter may be so superabundantly clear and evident that no further
    excuse for doubt may remain.

Superfluous to say, the last method is the one adopted by Thury (as it was
by Gasparin). He considers it to be the only suitable, efficient, and
legitimate method.

Darkness saps the strength of science. Its strongest hold lies in bringing
everything out into the full light of day. Here, then, lies the question:
In these curious phenomena of the tables, is the explanation so clear that
you can lay a finger on the causes of illusion and clearly show that there
is in them no new and unknown element at work?

    I do not think (replies the Genevan professor) that we have attained
    to that degree of evidence. I wish only one proof, the explanation of
    what has already been attempted.

    If, then, it is well established that the common explanation is not
    self-evident, in the eyes of all intelligent and sensible men, there
    remains a task to do, a duty owed to science,--that of throwing full
    light upon the phenomenon in question; and this task cannot be
    exchanged for the easier one of treating with irony or disdain those
    who have gone astray in the path that Science refused to illuminate.

The savants are, however, excusable for not going too quick (let us admit
with Thury).

What! a perturbative force lurking, by the hypothesis, in the human
organism sufficiently powerful to lift tables, and which yet had never
produced the slightest derangement in the thousands of experiments that
physicists are daily making in their laboratories! Their balances,
responsive to the weight of a tenth of a milligram, their pendulums whose
oscillations take place with mathematical regularity, had never felt the
slightest disturbing effect of these forces, whose source is there present
wherever there is a man and a volition! Now, it is the ardent wish of the
physicist that the experiment shall always exactly tally the forecasts of
theory. Must he then admit an unknown disturbing force?

And, even without going outside of the limits of the human organism,
think, if the organism is unable to move the smallest part of itself when
the part is deprived of muscles and nerves, or, when a single hair of our
head is absolutely withdrawn from the influence of the will--think, I say,
how much less (and with how much stronger reason) that nervous organism of
ours would seem to be able to move inert bodies residing outside the
limits of our own frames!

But, if there is a profound improbability in the thing, still, we cannot
say that it is impossible. No one can show _a priori_ the impossibility of
the phenomena described, as they demonstrate the impossibility of
perpetual motion or the squaring of the circle. Consequently, no one has
the right to treat as absurd the evidences which tend to confirm the
experiments. Provided these evidences are furnished by judicious and
truthful men, then they are worth the trouble of examination. If this
logical course had been followed--the only true and equitable one,--the
work would now have been done, and the learned men would have the glory

Thury begins by examining the experiments of Count de Gasparin at

    The experiments of Valleyres (he writes) tend to establish the two
    following principles:

    1. The will, in a certain condition of the human organism, can act,
    from a distance, upon inert bodies, and by an agency different from
    that of muscular action.

    2. Under the same conditions, thought can be communicated directly,
    though unconsciously, from one individual to another.

    As long as we were ignorant of any other facts than those resulting
    from a movement effected by contact with the fingers of the hand, in a
    way in which the mechanical action of the fingers became possible, the
    results of the experiments upon the table were always of difficult and
    doubtful interpretation. These results had to be necessarily based
    upon an estimate of the mechanical force exerted by the hands
    compared with the strength of the resistance to be overcome. But the
    mechanical force of the hands is difficult to measure exactly, under
    the conditions necessary to produce the phenomena.

    Yet over and above that plan of work there remained two methods, of
    operation to employ.

    _a._ So to dispose the apparatus employed that the movement to be
    produced shall be one that the mechanical action of the fingers could
    not compass.

    _b._ To set up movements at a distance without any kind of contact.

    The following were our first experiments:

    A. _Mechanical action rendered impossible._ The first experiment
    attempted along this line gave wholly negative results. We suspended a
    table by a cord that passed over two pulleys fixed in the ceiling and
    had a counter-weight attached to the free end. It was easy, by
    regulating this counterpoise, to balance in the air either the total
    weight of the table or only a fraction, more or less great, thereof.

    As a matter of fact, the table hung almost in equilibrium with the
    weight, one only of its three legs touching the floor. The operators
    placed their hands upon the top surface. We acted at first in a
    circular direction, a disposition of the force the efficacy of which
    had been established by previous experiments. We then tried in vain to
    lift the table by detaching it from the floor. No positive result was

    We had already (during the previous year) had a table suspended to a
    dynamometer, and the efforts of four mesmerizers were powerless to
    relieve the dynamometer of an appreciable fraction of the weight of
    the table.

    But the conditions necessary for the production of the phenomena were
    still unknown to us, and, consequently, when the experiments tried led
    to negative results, we had to try others, without pressing too
    hastily for inferences and conclusions. It was thus that we secured
    the results which I am going to describe.

    _Experiment with the Swinging Table._--We needed a piece of apparatus
    of such a kind that the mechanical action of the fingers would be
    rendered impossible. For this purpose we had a table made with a top
    about 33 inches in diameter, and a central trifurcated leg
    underneath. This table bore a close resemblance to the one which had
    served our purposes up to that time, and could turn like its
    predecessor. Still, the new table was capable of being transformed in
    a moment into a mechanism such as I shall now describe.

    The summit of the tripod becomes the fulcrum of a lever of the first
    order which is able to balance freely in a vertical plane. This lever,
    whose two arms are equal to each other and to the radius of the table
    bears at one of its extremities the table-top, held by the edge, and,
    toward the other extremity, a counterpoise which just balances the
    weight of the table, but which can be modified at will. To the under
    side of the table-top is fastened a leg resting on the floor.

    After the necessary preliminary rotations, the table is harnessed up
    in its second form. Equilibrium is first secured, then 3-5 of a pound
    is taken from the counterpoise. The force required to lift the top by
    its centre is then 4 ounces, and previous experiments have proved that
    the adherence of the fingers of the operators (the top was polished,
    and not varnished), together with the possible effects of elasticity,
    form a total lower than that figure. Yet the top is lifted by the
    action of the fingers placed lightly on its upper surface, at a
    certain distance from the edge. Then the counterpoise is diminished;
    the mechanical difficulty of lifting is augmented, yet still it takes
    place. The weight is again diminished, and more and more, up to the
    limit of the apparatus. The force necessary to lift the top is then 8
    1-5 pounds, and the counterpoise has been relieved of 24 pounds; yet
    the levitation is easily accomplished. The number of the operators is
    gradually lessened from eleven to six. The difficulty goes on
    increasing, yet six operators still suffice; but five are not enough.
    Six operators lift 9 1-3 pounds,--an average for each man of about
    1-1/2 pounds.

    We now possess, in the apparatus just described, a gauge or instrument
    of measurement.

    B. The following movements were produced without contact:

    The table on which were made the trials I witnessed has a diameter of
    32 inches and weighs 31 pounds. An average tangential force of 4 2-5
    pounds, which may be raised to 6 3-5 pounds, according to the greater
    or less inequalities of the floor, applied to the edge of the table,
    is necessary to give to it a movement of rotation. Ten is usually the
    number of persons who operate about this table.

    In order to assure ourselves of the absence of all contact, we placed
    our eye on a level with the table in such a way as to see light
    between our fingers and the surface of the table, the fingers
    themselves remaining a little less than an inch above the top.
    Usually, two persons would be observing at once. For instance, M.
    Edmond Boissier was observing the legs of the table, while I was
    watching the top. Then we exchanged rôles. Sometimes two persons took
    places at the extremities of one and the same diameter, the one
    opposite the other, for the purpose of watching the top of the table.
    Several times we saw it move, although we could not detect the
    slightest touch by the fingers. According to my calculations, it would
    require the contact of at least 100 fingers, or the light pressure of
    thirty, acting voluntarily and fraudulently, to explain in terms of
    mechanics the movements we observed.

    Much more frequently still we obtained balancings without contact,
    balancings which sometimes went so far as to tip the table entirely
    over. To explain in terms of mechanical movement the effects we
    observed, we should have to admit the involuntary contact of 84
    fingers, or the light pressure of 25, or two hands acting with intent
    to deceive. But these suppositions, also, are not at all admissible.

    Nevertheless, we always felt that someone might present the objection
    that it was difficult to observe these operations with precision, and
    we were constantly urging M. Gasparin to convince the doubters and
    sceptics in the matter of the non-contact of the fingers by means of
    some mechanical device. Out of this arose the last experiment made at
    that time, and the most conclusive of all. A light film of flour was
    almost instantaneously spread over the table by means of a sulphur
    bellows such as is used in vineyards. The movement of the chain of
    hands above the table set it whirling. Then the film of flour was
    examined and found to be inviolate from the touch of hands. Several
    repetitions on different days always gave the same results.

Such are the principal facts which establish the reality of the
phenomenon. Thury next takes up the more difficult investigation of

    _The Seat of the Force._--It is possible that the force which produces
    the phenomena is a general telluric force which is merely transmitted
    by the operators or set in action by them; or, possibly, the force
    resides in the operators themselves.

    To decide this question, we had a large movable platform constructed
    which revolved on a perfectly vertical axis. Near the outer periphery
    of the platform stood four chairs, and there was a table at the
    centre. Four operators, experts in nervo-magnetic action, took their
    places on the chairs, and, placing their hands on the table in the
    centre, tried to give it circular movement by non-mechanical power. In
    fact, the table soon began to move. Then it was stopped and fastened
    to the platform by means of three screws. The effort exerted upon this
    table by the four magnetizers was such that, at the end of
    three-quarters of an hour of experimentation, the central supporting
    leg, was broken. Yet the movable platform did not turn. The tangential
    force required to mechanically move the empty platform was only a few
    grams; loaded with the four operators, 250 grams was necessary,
    applied about 28 inches from the centre. This figure would have been
    much less if it had been possible to distribute the weight of the
    operators uniformly.

    The result of this experiment (of June 4, 1853) showed that the force
    which tends to make the table turn is in the individuals and not in
    the ground. For the force exerted upon the table tends to draw along
    the platform with it. If, then, the platform remains motionless, it
    must be that an equal and contrary force is exerted by the operators.
    It is therefore in them that the base of the seat of the force
    resides. If, on the contrary, this force had emanated, wholly or in
    large part, from the ground, if it had been a force directly telluric,
    the platform would have turned, the effort which the table exerted
    upon it being no longer counterbalanced by an equal reaction
    proceeding from the individuals.

    _Conditions of the Production and Action of the Force._--I have said
    that the conditions for the production of the force are little known.
    In the absence of precise laws, I shall present what has been verified
    in a greater or less degree in the case of the three following points:

    _a._ Conditions of action relative to the operators.

    _b._ Conditions relative to the objects to be moved.

    _c._ Conditions relative to the mode of action of the operators upon
    the objects to be moved.

    THE WILL. The first and the most indispensable condition, according to
    M. Gasparin, is the will of the operator. "Without the will," he says,
    "we obtain nothing; we might sit there in chain twenty-four hours in
    succession without getting the slightest movement." Farther on, the
    author speaks, it is true, of unexpected movements different from
    those which the will prescribes; but it is evident that he is
    referring to a necessary combination of prescribed movements and
    external resistances, the effective movements being the _resultant_ of
    those that have been willed and of forces of resistance developed in
    external objects. In short, the will is always the prime mover and

    Nothing, it is true, in the experiments at Valleyres gave any
    authority for believing that it could be otherwise than this. But it
    is also certain that this purely negative result, or provisional
    generalization, deduced from a limited number of experiments,--cannot
    invalidate the results of experiments inconsistent with those, in case
    such should exist. In other words, the will may ordinarily be
    necessary, without always being so. Similarly, contact is ordinarily
    necessary, and _always_ has been so with a large number of operators,
    without, however, giving them the right to conclude that contact is
    the indispensable condition of the phenomenon, and that the different
    results obtained at Valleyres were only illusions or error.

    Since we are dealing here with a point of capital importance, I shall
    take the liberty of stating with some detail circumstances which seem
    opposed to the thesis maintained by M. Gasparin. These facts, or data,
    have as guarantee the testimony of a man whom I should like to be able
    to name, because his scientific culture and his character are known of
    all men. It was in his house and under his eyes that the events took
    place which I am going to relate.

    At the time when everyone was amusing himself with making tables turn
    and speak, or in directing the motions of lead-pencils, fixed in
    movable sockets, over sheets of paper, the children of the house
    amused themselves several times with this sport. At first, the
    responses obtained were such that you could see in them a reflex of
    the unconscious thought of the operators, a "dream of waking
    performers." Soon, however, the character of the replies seemed to
    change. It seemed as if what they revealed could hardly have emanated
    from the mind of the young interrogators. Finally, there was such an
    opposition to the commands given that M. N., uncertain as to the true
    nature of these manifestations in which a will different from the
    human will _seemed_ to appear, forbade their being called forth again.
    From that time forth, sockets and table rested undisturbed.

    A week had scarcely rolled by, after the events just narrated, when a
    child of the family, he who had formerly succeeded best in the table
    experiments, became the actor, or the instrument, in strange
    phenomena. The boy was receiving a piano-lesson, when a low noise
    sounded in the instrument, and it was shaken and displaced in such a
    way that pupil and teacher closed it in haste and left the room. On
    the next day, M. N., who had been informed of what had happened, was
    present at the lesson, given at the same time,--namely, when the dusk
    was coming on. At the end of five or ten minutes he heard a noise in
    the piano difficult to define, but which was certainly the kind of
    sound one would expect a musical instrument to produce. There was
    something about it musical and metallic. Soon after, the two front
    legs of the piano (which weighed over six hundred and sixty pounds)
    were lifted up a little from the floor. M. N. went to one end of the
    instrument and tried to lift it. At one time it had its ordinary
    weight, which was more than the strength of M. N. could manage; at
    another, it seemed as if it had no longer any weight at all, and
    opposed not the least resistance to his efforts. Since the interior
    noises were becoming more and more violent, the lesson was brought to
    a close, for fear the instrument might suffer some damage. The lesson
    was changed to the morning and given in another room situated on the
    ground floor. The same phenomena took place, and the piano, which was
    lighter than the one up-stairs, was lifted up much more; that is to
    say, to a height of several inches. M. N. and a young man nineteen
    years old tried leaning with all their might on the corners of the
    piano which were rising. Then one of two things happened: either their
    resistance was in vain, and the piano continued to rise, or else the
    music-stool on which the child sat moved rapidly back as if pushed or

    If occurrences like that had only taken place once we might think that
    the child or the persons present were laboring under some illusion.
    But they were repeated a great number of times, for a fortnight, in
    the presence of different witnesses. Then, one day, a violent
    manifestation took place, and thenceforth no unusual event occurred in
    the house. At first, it was in the morning and in the evening that
    these perturbations manifested themselves; then, invariably at any and
    all hours, they occurred every time the child took his seat at the
    piano, after five or ten minutes of playing. The phenomena happened
    only with this boy, although there were others present (musicians);
    and it made no difference which of the pianos in the house he used.

    I saw these instruments. The smaller, on the ground floor, is a
    rectangular horizontal piano. According to my calculations, a force of
    about 165 pounds applied to the edge of the case, beneath the
    key-board, is necessary to lift this piano as it was lifted by the
    unknown force. The instrument in the first story of the house is a
    heavy Erard piano, weighing, with the packing-box in which it was
    sent, 812 pounds, as stated in the way-bill, which I myself saw.
    According to my approximate calculations a pressure of 440 pounds is
    required to lift this piano, under the same conditions as the first
    was lifted.

    I do not think that anyone will be tempted to attribute to the direct
    muscular effort of a child eleven years old the lifting up a weight of
    440 pounds.[57] A lady who had attributed the effect produced to the
    action of the knees passed her own hand between the edge of the piano
    and the knees of the child, and was thus able to convince herself that
    her explanation had no foundation in fact. Even when the child got
    upon his knees upon the piano-stool to play, he did not find that the
    perturbations he dreaded ceased any the more.

These authenticated facts of Professor Thury are at once precise and
formidable. What! two pianos rise from the floor and jump about! What do
the physicists, the chemists, the learned pedants in office need, then, to
arouse them from their torpor and make them shake their ears and open
their eyes? What shall be done to remove their noble and pharisaical

But, happen what may, no one is occupying himself with the fascinating
problem as stated, except scattered investigators who are freed from the
fear of ridicule and are aware of the exact value of the human race, in
large and small, and the worth of its judgments.

M. Thury next discusses the explanation based on "the will."

    Did this boy (he says) _will_ what took place, as the theory of M. de
    Gasparin would require us to admit? According to the boy's testimony,
    which we believe to be wholly true, he did not will it; he seemed to
    be visibly annoyed by what occurred; it disturbed his custom of
    industriously practicing his lesson and offended his taste for
    regularity and order, a thing well known to his intimates. My personal
    conviction is that we positively cannot admit, in the case of this
    lad, a conscious will, a settled design, to produce these strange
    occurrences. But it is known that sometimes we have a double
    personality, and one of them converses with the other (as in dreams);
    that our nature then unconsciously desires what it does not will, and
    that between will and desire there is only a difference in degree
    rather than in kind. It would be necessary to have recourse to
    explanations of this kind,--too subtle, perhaps,--in order to square
    these piano-facts with the theory of M. Gasparin; and it would still
    be necessary to modify and enlarge the facts if you admit that _even
    unconscious desire_ suffices, in the absence of the expressed will.
    There is, then, reason for doubt on this essential point. That is the
    sole deduction that I wish to draw from the events I have related.

This levitation, equivalent to an effort exerted of 440 pounds, has its
scientific value. But how could the will, conscious or unconscious, lift a
piece of furniture of that weight? By an unknown force which we are
obliged to recognize.

    _Preliminary Action._--Power is developed by action. The rotations
    prepare for the tippings and the levitations. The rotations and the
    tippings, with contact, seem to develop the force necessary to produce
    the rotations and tippings without contact. In their turn, the
    rotations and the tippings without contact prepare for the production
    of true levitations, such as those of the swinging table; and the
    persons who have this latent force awaked in them are better fitted to
    appeal to it a second time.

    There is, then, a gradual preparation required, at least for the
    majority of operators. Does this preparation consist in a modification
    that takes place in the operator, or in the inert body on which he
    acts, or in both? In order to resolve this problem, experimenters who
    had been practicing at one table went over to another, operating on
    which they found their full power unabated. The preparation therefore
    consists in a modification that takes place in the individuals, and
    not in the inert body.[58] This modification occurring in individuals
    is dissipated rather rapidly, especially when the chain of
    experimenters is broken.

    _Inner Development of the Operators._--It is only after a certain
    period of waiting that the operators, who have not so far acted, cause
    even the easiest movement,--that of rotation with contact. It is
    during this time that the force, or the conditions determining the
    manifestation of the force, develop themselves. From that time on, the
    developed force has nothing to do but to increase. That which takes
    place, therefore, in this time of waiting, is a very important thing
    to be considered. We already know that it is the operators themselves
    who are modified. But what is it that takes place within them?

    It must be that a kind of activity is set up in the organism, an
    activity which ordinarily requires the intervention of the will. This
    activity, this work, is accompanied by a certain fatigue. The action
    is not aroused in all operators with equal ease and promptness. There
    are even persons (the author estimates their number at one in ten) in
    whom it appears that it cannot be produced at all.

    In the midst of this great diversity of natural aptitudes, it is
    observed that children "can secure obedience from the table just like
    grown folks." Nevertheless, children do not magnetize. Thus, although
    several facts seem to show that magnetizers (or mesmerizers) have
    frequently a strong power over the tables, yet one cannot admit the
    identity of magnetic power and power over the tables; the one is not
    the measure of the other. Only, the magnetic power would constitute
    (or presume) a favorable subjective condition.

    A will simple and strong, animation, high spirits, the concentration
    of the thought upon the work to do, good bodily health, perhaps the
    very physical act of turning around the table, and, finally,
    everything that can contribute to unity of will-power among the
    experimenters,--all these things help to make efficacious the commands
    addressed to the table with force and authority.

    The tables (says M. de Gasparin) "wish to be handled gaily, freely,
    with animation and confidence; they must be humored at the start with
    amusing and easy exercises." The first condition necessary for success
    with the table is good health and the second, confidence.

    Among unfavorable circumstances, on the other hand, must be reckoned a
    state of nervous tension; fatigue; a too passionate interest; a mind
    anxious, preoccupied or distracted.

    The tables--M. de Gasparin further says, in his metaphorical
    language--"detest folks who quarrel, either as their opponents or as
    their friends." "As soon as I took too deep an interest, I ceased to
    command obedience." "If it happened that I desired success too
    ardently, and showed impatience at delay, I no longer had any power of
    action on the table." "If the tables encounter preoccupied minds or
    nervous excitement, they go into a sulking mood." "If you are touchy,
    over-anxious ... you can't do anything of any value." "In the midst of
    distractions, chatterings, pleasantries, the operators infallibly lose
    all their power." Away with salon experiments!

    Must one have faith? It is not necessary; but confidence in the result
    predisposes to a larger endowment of power in the séance of the
    occasion. It does not suffice to have faith there are persons who have
    faith and good will, yet with whom power of action is altogether

    Muscular force or nervous susceptibility do not seem to play any rôle.

    Meteorological conditions have seemed to exercise some influence,
    probably by acting upon the physique and the spirits of the operators.
    Thus fine weather, dry and warm weather (but not a suffocating heat)
    act favorably.

    The especially efficacious influence of dry heat upon the surface of
    the table[59] will perhaps receive a different explanation.

    _Unconscious Muscular Action, produced during an especially Nervous
    Condition._--So long as only movements with contact were known, in
    which the movement observed was one of those which muscular action
    might produce, explanations based on the hypothesis of unconscious
    muscular action were certainly sufficient and much more probable than
    all the other explanations which had been up to that time proposed.

    From this point of view (entirely physiological) it is settled that we
    must distinguish between the effort which a muscle exerts and the
    consciousness we have of this effort. It will be remembered that there
    exist in the human organism a great number of muscles that habitually
    exert considerable effort without our being in the slightest degree
    aware of it. It has been pointed out that muscles exist whose
    contractions are perceptible by us in a certain state of the system
    and unperceived in another state. It is therefore conceivable that the
    muscles of our limbs might as an exceptional thing, exhibit the same
    phenomenon. The preparation for the movement of the table, the special
    kind of reaction that takes place at this interval of waiting, put the
    nervous system into a particular condition in which certain muscular
    movements may take place in an unconscious manner.

    But, evidently, this theory is not sufficient to account for movements
    without contact, nor those that take place in such a way that muscular
    action could not produce them. It is therefore these two classes of
    movements which must serve as the basis of new experiments and as the
    foundation of a new theory.

    How also explain the very peculiar and truly inconceivable character
    of the movements of the table?--this starting to move, so insensible,
    so gentle, so different from the abruptness characteristic of the
    impetus given by mechanical force; these levitations so spontaneous,
    so energetic, which leap up to meet the hands; these dances and
    imitations of music which you would in vain attempt to equal by means
    of the combined and voluntary action of the operators; these little
    raps succeeding the loud ones, when the command is given, the
    exquisite delicacy of which nothing can express. Several times when
    someone asked a so-called spirit his age, one of the legs of the
    centre-table lifted up and rapped 1, 2, 3, etc. Then the movement was
    accelerated. Finally, the three legs beat a kind of drum-roll so rapid
    that it was impossible to count, and which the most skilful could
    never succeed in imitating. On another occasion, under the contact of
    hands, the table was turning upon three legs, upon two, upon a single
    one; and, in this last position, changed feet, throwing its weight
    first upon one and then upon another with great ease, and with nothing
    abrupt or jerky in its motions. Neither the experimenters nor their
    most eminent opponents would ever be able to imitate mechanically this
    dance of the table, and, above all, the whirling pirouettes and
    changes of feet.

    _Electricity._--Many have tried to explain the movements of tables by
    electricity. Even supposing that they involve the very abundant
    production of this agent, no known effect of electricity would account
    for the movement of the tables. But, in fact, it is easy to show that
    there is no electricity produced; for, when a galvanometer was
    interposed in the chain, no deviation of the needle took place. The
    electrometer remains as indifferent to the solicitations of the tables
    as does the mariner's compass.

    _Nervo-magnetism._--There is certainly some analogy between several
    phenomena of nervo-magnetism and those of the tables. Those passes
    which seem to favor balancing without contact; the motion imparted by
    the chain to this man whom they cause to turn about (unless, indeed,
    there is in this some effect of the imagination); finally, the power
    that many mesmerizers exert over the tables--all this seems to
    indicate a kinship between the two orders of phenomena. But, since the
    laws of nervo-magnetism are little known, there is no conclusion to be
    drawn from this, and it seems to me preferable, for the present, to
    study separately the phenomena of tables, which are better adapted to
    the experiments of the physicist, and which, well studied, will render
    more service to nervo-magnetism than it could receive in a long time
    from this obscure branch of physiology.

Thury next touches upon M. de Gasparin's theory of fluidic action. Being
certain that he accurately understands this theory, he gives a résumé of
it in the following items:

    1. A fluid is produced by the brain, and flows along the nerves.

    2. This fluid can go beyond the limits of the body; it can be

    3. Under the influence of the will, it can move hither and thither.

    4. This fluid acts upon inert bodies; yet it shuns contact with
    certain substances, such as glass.

    5. It lifts the parts toward which it moves, or in which it

    6. It further acts upon inert bodies by attraction or by repulsion,
    with a tendency to either join or separate the inert body and the

    7. It can also determine interior movements in matter, and give rise
    to noises.

    8. This fluid is especially produced and developed by turning, and by
    the will, and by the joining of hands in a certain manner.

    9. It is communicated from one person to another by vicinage or by
    contact. Yet certain persons impede its communication.

    10. We have no knowledge of special movements of the fluid, which are
    determined by the will.

    11. This fluid is probably identical with the nervous fluid and with
    the nervo-magnetic fluid.

    _Application._--Rotation is a resultant of the action of the fluid and
    of the resistances of the wood.

    Tipping results from the accumulation of the fluid in the leg of the
    table which is lifted.

    The glass placed in the middle of the table stops the movement because
    it drives away the fluid.

    The glass placed on one side of the table makes the opposite side rise
    because the fluid, fleeing from the glass, accumulates there.

Thury does not attempt the discussion of this theory. But we may repeat
with Gasparin, "When you shall have explained to me how I lift my hand, I
will explain to you how I cause the leg of the table to rise."

The whole problem lies in that,--the action of mind on matter. We must not
dream that we can give a final solution of it at the present time. To
reduce the new facts to conformity with the old ones; that is to say, to
relate the action of mind upon inert bodies outside of us to the action of
mind upon the matter in our bodies--such is the only problem which the
science of to-day can reasonably propose to itself. Thury states it in
general terms as follows:

    _General Question of the Action of Mind upon Matter._--We shall seek
    to formulate the results of experiment up to the point where
    experiment abandons us. From there on we shall study all the
    alternatives offered to our mind, as simple possibilities, some of
    which will give place to hypotheses explanatory of the new phenomena.

    _First principle: In the ordinary state of the body, the will acts
    directly only in the sphere of the organism._--Matter belonging to the
    external world is modified _on contact with the organism_, and the
    modifications which it undergoes gradually produce others by
    contiguity. It is thus that we can act upon objects at a distance from
    us. Our action at a distance upon all that surrounds us is _mediate_
    and not immediate. We believe that this is true of the action of all
    physical forces, such as gravity, heat, electricity. Their effect is
    gradually communicated, and thus alone they put distance behind them
    and come into relation with man as a sentient being.

    _Second principle: In the organism itself there is a series of mediate
    acts._--Thus the will does not act directly upon the bones which
    receive the movement of the muscles; nor does the will modify any more
    directly the muscles, since, when deprived of nerves, they are
    incapable of movement. Does the will act directly upon the nerves? It
    is a mooted question whether it modifies them directly or indirectly.
    Thus the substance upon which the soul immediately acts is still
    undetermined. The substance may be solid, may be fluid; it may be a
    substance still unknown, or perhaps a particular state of known
    substances. In order to avoid a circumlocution, let me give it a name.
    I shall call it the _psychode_ ([Greek: psychê], soul, and [Greek:
    odos], way).

    _Third principle: The substance upon which the mind immediately
    acts--the psychode--is only susceptible of very simple modifications
    under the influence of the mind_, for, since the movements are to be
    somewhat varied, an extensive and complicated apparatus appears in the
    organism,--a whole system of muscles, vessels, nerves, etc., which are
    wanting in the inferior animals (among whom movements are very
    simple), and which would have been unnecessary had matter been
    directly susceptible of modifications equally varied under the
    influence of mind. When movements are intended to be very simple (as
    in the case of infusoria) the complicated apparatus is wanting and the
    life-spirit acts upon matter that is almost homogeneous.

    The following four hypotheses regarding the psychode may be formed:

    _a._ The psychode is a substance peculiar to the organism, and not
    capable of emerging from it. It acts only mediately upon everything
    outside of the visible organism.

    _b._ The psychode is a substance peculiar to the organism, capable of
    extending beyond the limits of the visible organism under certain
    special conditions. The modifications it receives necessarily act upon
    other inert bodies. The will acts upon the psychode, and thus
    mediately, upon the bodies that the sphere of this substance embraces.

    _c._ The psychode is a universal substance which is conditioned in its
    action on other inert bodies by the structure of living organisms, or
    by a certain state of inorganic bodies--a state determined by the
    influence of living organisms in certain special conditions.

    _d._ The psychode is a peculiar state of matter, a state habitually
    produced within the sphere of the organism, but which may also be
    produced beyond its limits under the influence of a certain state of
    the organism,--an influence comparable to that of magnets in the
    phenomena of diamagnetism.

Thury proposes the adjective _ecteneic_ (from [Greek: ekteneia],
extension) to describe that special state of the organism in which the
mind can, in some measure, extend the habitual limits of its action, and
he styles "ecteneic force" that which is developed in this state.

    The first hypothesis (he adds) would not be at all adapted to explain
    the phenomena with which we are concerned. But the three others give
    rise to three different explanations, in which (he assures us) the
    greater part of the phenomena investigated will be comprised.

    _Explanations based upon the Intervention of Spirits._--M. de Gasparin
    has shown the error of all these explanations:

    1. By theological considerations.

    2. By the very just remark that we should not resort to explanations
    which introduce spirits into the problem until other interpretations
    have been proved to be entirely insufficient.

    3. Finally, by physical considerations.

    Looking at the question here solely from the general physical point of
    view, I do not follow M. de Gasparin (says Thury) in his exploitation
    of theological explanations. As to the second, I will only call
    attention to the suggestion that the sufficiency of explanations
    purely physical should strictly apply only to the Valleyres
    experiments, where, in truth, nothing gives evidence of the
    intervention of wills other than the human will.

    The question of the intervention of spirits might be decided from the
    tenor or content of the revelations, in any case in which this content
    would be such as evidently could not have originated in the human
    mind. It is not my intention to discuss this point. The present study
    takes cognizance solely of movements of inert bodies, and we have only
    to consider, among the arguments of M. de Gasparin, those which are
    included in this field of view.

    Now, his arguments on this point seem to me to be all summed up in
    these slightly ironical lines: "Strange spirits! ... whose presence or
    absence could depend upon a rotation, depend upon cold or warmth, or
    health or disease, on high spirits or lassitude, on an unskilful
    company of unconscious magicians! I have the headache or the grip,
    therefore the daemonic beings will not be able to appear to-day."

    M. de Mirville, who believes in spirits who manifest themselves
    through the agency of the fluid, might reply to Gasparin that the
    conditions of the ostensible manifestation of spirits are perhaps the
    fluidic state itself; that if this is so, we might very well, in a
    séance phenomenon, have a fluidic manifestation without the
    intervention of spirits, but not the intervention of spirits without a
    preliminary fluidic manifestation, and that, thus, anyone will invite
    such manifestation only at his own risk and peril.

Thury next discusses how the question of spirits ought to be considered.

    The task of science (he writes) is to bear witness to the truth. It
    cannot do so if it borrows a part of its data from revelation or from
    tradition; to do this would be a begging of the question, and the
    testimony of science would become worthless.

    The facts of the natural order are connected with two categories of
    forces, the one that of _necessity_, the other that of _freedom_. To
    the first belong the general forces of gravitation, heat, light,
    electricity, and the vegetative force. It is possible that we may
    discover others some day; but at present they are the only ones we
    know. To the second category belong solely the mind of animals and
    that of man. These are truly _forces_, since they are the cause of
    _movements_ and of various phenomena in the physical world.

    Experience instructs us that these mental forces manifest themselves
    by the intermediary of special organisms, very complex in the case of
    man and the superior animals, but simple in that of the lowest, among
    which latter class mind has no need of muscles and nerves in order to
    manifest itself externally, but seems to act directly upon a
    homogeneous matter, the movements of which it determines (the amoeba
    of Ehrenberg). It is in these elementary organizations that the
    problem of the action of mind on matter is stated, after a fashion, in
    its simplest terms.

    When once we have admitted the existence of the will as distinct, at
    least in principle, from the material body, it becomes solely a
    question of experience to ascertain whether other wills than that of
    man and the animals play any rôle whatever, frequent or occasional, on
    the stage of life. If these wills exist, they will have some means or
    other of manifestation, with which _experience alone_ can make us
    acquainted. As a matter of fact, all that it is possible to affirm, _a
    priori_, is that, in order to appear, they _must_ manifest themselves
    through some one of the forms of the eternal substance we call matter.
    But, to say that this matter must necessarily have an organization of
    muscles, nerves, etc., would be to hold to a very narrow idea, and one
    already belied by observation of the animal kingdom in its lower
    types. As long as we do not know what the bond is that unites the mind
    to the matter in which it manifests itself, it would be perfectly
    illogical to lay down, _a priori_, particular conditions which matter
    must observe in this manifestation. These conditions are at present
    wholly undetermined. Thus we are at liberty to seek for signs of these
    manifestations in the cosmic ether or in ponderable matter; in the
    gases, the liquids, or the solids; in unorganized matter, or
    particularly in matter already organized, such as that of which man
    and the animals are built up. It would be poor logic to affirm that
    other wills than those of men and animals cannot be discovered, on the
    ground that, heretofore, nothing of the kind has been seen; for facts
    of this kind may have been observed, but not scientifically elucidated
    and authenticated. Furthermore these wills might appear only at long
    intervals, or what seem long to us; but the vast abysses of nature's
    epochs are not to be spanned by our little memories or measured by the
    momentary duration of our lives.

Such are the facts and the ideas set forth in this conscientious monograph
of Professor Thury. It is easily seen that, in his opinion (1) the
phenomena are positive facts; (2) that they are produced by an unknown
substance, to which he gives the name _psychode_, a something that, by the
hypothesis, exists in us and serves as the intermediary between the mind
and the body, between the will and the organs, and can project itself
beyond the limits of the body; (3) that the hypothesis of spirits is not
absurd, and that there may exist in this world other wills than those of
man and the animals, wills capable of acting on matter.

Professor Marc Thury died in 1905, having devoted his entire life to the
study of the exact sciences. His specialty was astronomy.



A well-known association of scholars and scientists, the Dialectical
Society of London, founded in 1867 under the presidency of Sir John
Lubbock, resolved, in the year 1869, to include within the sphere of its
observations, the physical phenomena which it is the object of this volume
to study. After a series of experiments the society published a report, to
which it added the attestations, upon the same subject, of a certain
number of scientists, among whom I had the honor of being included.[60]
This report was translated into French by Dr. Dusart and published[61] in
the series of psychic works so happily planned and directed by Count de
Rochas. To give a true idea here of the results reached by this society I
cannot do better than cite the salient and essential portions of this
purely scientific memoir.

Two or three paragraphs from the beginning of the report will show how and
at what time the society first took up psycho-physical studies:

    At a Meeting of the London Dialectical Society, held on Wednesday, the
    6th of January, 1869, Mr. J. H. Levy in the chair, it was resolved:--

    "That the Council be requested to appoint a Committee in conformity
    with Bye-law VII., to investigate the Phenomena alleged to be
    Spiritual Manifestations, and to report thereon."

This committee was formed on January 26 following. It was composed of
twenty-seven members. Among these we note Alfred Russel Wallace, the
learned naturalist and member of the Royal Society, of London. Professor
Huxley and George Henry Lewis were asked to collaborate with the
committee. They refused. Professor Huxley's letter is too characteristic
to be omitted:

    Sir,--I regret that I am unable to accept the invitation of the
    Council of the Dialectical Society to co-operate with a Committee for
    the investigation of "Spiritualism;" and for two reasons. In the first
    place, I have no time for such an inquiry, which would involve much
    trouble and (unless it were unlike all inquiries of that kind I have
    known) much annoyance. In the second place, I take no interest in the
    subject. The only case of "Spiritualism" I have had the opportunity of
    examining into for myself, was as gross an imposture as ever came
    under my notice. But supposing the phenomena to be genuine--they do
    not interest me. If any body would endow me with the faculty of
    listening to the chatter of old women and curates in the nearest
    cathedral town, I should decline the privilege, having better things
    to do.

    And if the folk in the spiritual world do not talk more wisely and
    sensibly than their friends report them to do, I put them in the same

    The only good that I can see in a demonstration of the truth of
    "Spiritualism" is to furnish an additional argument against suicide.
    Better live a crossing-sweeper than die and be made to talk twaddle by
    a "medium" hired at a guinea a séance.

    I am, sir, etc.,
      T. H. HUXLEY.

    29th January, 1869.

As if opposing a direct negative and rebuke to this radical scepticism,
based on a single séance of observation (!) the learned electrician,
Cromwell Fleetwood Varley, in 1867, who did so much to forward and
encourage the laying of the third (and finally successful) Atlantic cable
between Europe and America, hastened to identify himself with the
investigations, and by his aid materially furthered the progress of this
scientific examination.

The report, with its various pieces of testimony, was presented to the
Dialectical Society on the 20th of July, 1870. But, in order not to
compromise the society, it was decided not to publish it officially, under
the ægis of the association. Consequently the committee unanimously
resolved to publish the report on its own responsibility. It reads as

    Your Committee have held fifteen meetings, at which they received
    evidence from thirty-three persons, who described phenomena which,
    they stated, had occurred within their own personal experience.

    Your Committee have received written statements relating to the
    phenomena from thirty-one persons.

    Your Committee invited the attendance and requested the co-operation
    and advice of scientific men who had publicly expressed opinions,
    favourable or adverse, to the genuineness of the phenomena.

    Your Committee also specially invited the attendance of persons who
    had publicly ascribed the phenomena to imposture or delusion.

    As it appeared to your Committee to be of the greatest importance that
    they should investigate the phenomena in question by personal
    experiment and test, they resolved themselves into sub-committees as
    the best means of doing so.

    Six Sub-committees were accordingly formed.

    These reports, hereto subjoined, substantially corroborate each other,
    and would appear to establish the following propositions:--

    1. That sounds of a varied character, apparently proceeding from
    articles of furniture, the floor and walls of the room (the vibrations
    accompanying which sounds are often distinctly perceptible to the
    touch) occur, without being produced by muscular action or mechanical

    2. That movements of heavy bodies take place without mechanical
    contrivance of any kind or adequate exertion of muscular force by the
    persons present, and frequently without contact or connection with any

    3. That these sounds and movements often occur at the times and in the
    manner asked for by persons present, and, by means of a simple code of
    signals, answer questions and spell out coherent communications.

    4. That the answers and communications thus obtained are, for the most
    part, of a commonplace character; but facts are sometimes correctly
    given which are only known to one of the persons present.

    5. That the circumstances under which the phenomena occur are
    variable, the most prominent fact being that the presence of certain
    persons seem necessary to their occurrence, and that of others
    generally adverse. But this difference does not appear to depend upon
    any belief or disbelief concerning the phenomena.

    6. That, nevertheless, the occurrence of the phenomena is not insured
    by the presence or absence of such persons respectively.

    The oral and written evidence received by your Committee not only
    testifies to phenomena of the same nature as those witnessed by the
    sub-committees, but to others of a more varied and extraordinary

    This evidence may be briefly summarized as follows:--

    1. Thirteen witnesses state that they have seen heavy bodies--in some
    instances men--rise slowly in the air and remain there for some time
    without visible or tangible support.

    2. Fourteen witnesses testify to having seen hands or figures, not
    appertaining to any human being, but life-like in appearance and
    mobility, which they have sometimes touched or even grasped, and which
    they are therefore convinced were not the result of imposture or

    3. Five witnesses state that they have been touched, by some invisible
    agency, on various parts of the body, and often where requested, when
    the hands of all present were visible.

    4. Thirteen witnesses declare that they have heard musical pieces well
    played upon instruments not manipulated by any ascertainable agency.

    5. Five witnesses state that they have seen red-hot coals applied to
    the hands or heads of several persons without producing pain or
    scorching; and three witnesses state that they have had the same
    experiment made upon themselves with the like immunity.

    6. Eight witnesses state that they have received precise information
    through rappings, writings, and in other ways, the accuracy of which
    was unknown at the time to themselves or to any persons present, and
    which, on subsequent inquiry, was found to be correct.

    7. One witness declares that he has received a precise and detailed
    statement which, nevertheless, proved to be entirely erroneous.

    8. Three witnesses state that they have been present when drawings,
    both in pencil and colors, were produced in so short a time, and under
    such conditions, as to render human agency impossible.

    9. Six witnesses declare that they have received information of future
    events, and that in some cases the hour and minute of their occurrence
    have been accurately foretold, days and even weeks before.

    In addition to the above, evidence has been given of trance-speaking,
    of healing, of automatic writing, of the introduction of flowers and
    fruits into closed rooms, of voices in the air, of visions in crystals
    and glasses, and of the elongation of the human body.

Some extracts from the reports will give my readers a better idea of these
experiments and show their wholly scientific character:

    All of these meetings were held at the private residences of members
    of the Committee, purposely to preclude the possibility of prearranged
    mechanism or contrivance.

    The furniture of the room in which the experiments were conducted was
    on every occasion its accustomed furniture.

    The tables were in all cases heavy dining-tables, requiring a strong
    effort to move them. The smallest of them was 5ft. 9in. long by 4ft.
    wide, and the largest, 9ft. 3in. long and 4-1/2ft. wide, and of
    proportionate weight.

    The room, tables, and furniture generally were repeatedly subjected to
    careful examination before, during, and after the experiments, to
    ascertain that no concealed machinery, instrument or other
    contrivances existed by means of which the sounds or movements
    hereinafter mentioned could be caused.

    The experiments were conducted in the light of gas, except on the few
    occasions specially noted in the minutes.

    Your Committee have avoided the employment of professional or paid
    mediums, the mediumship being that of members of your Sub-committee,
    persons of good social position and of unimpeachable integrity, having
    no pecuniary object to serve, and nothing to gain by deception.

    Of the members of your Sub-committee about _four-fifths_ entered upon
    the investigation wholly sceptical as to the reality of the alleged
    phenomena, firmly believing them to be the result either of
    _imposture_ or of _delusion_, or of _involuntary muscular action_. It
    was only by irresistible evidence, under conditions that precluded the
    possibility of either of these solutions, and after trial and test
    many times repeated, that the most sceptical of your Sub-committee
    were slowly and reluctantly convinced that the phenomena exhibited in
    the course of their protracted inquiry were veritable facts.

    A description of one experiment, and the manner of conducting it, will
    best show the care and caution with which your Committee have pursued
    their investigations.

    So long as there was contact, or even the possibility of contact, by
    the hands or feet, or even by the clothes of any person in the room,
    with the substance moved or sounded, there could be no perfect
    assurance that the motions and sounds were not produced by the person
    so in contact. The following experiment was therefore tried:

    On an occasion when eleven members of your Sub-committee had been
    sitting round one of the dining-tables above described for forty
    minutes, and various motions and sounds had occurred, they, by way of
    test, turned the backs of their chairs to the table, at about nine
    inches from it. They all then knelt upon their chairs, placing their
    arms upon the backs thereof. In this position, their feet were of
    course turned away from the table, and by no possibility could be
    placed under it or touch the floor. The hands of each person were
    extended over the table at about four inches from the surface.
    Contact, therefore, with any part of the table could not take place
    without detection.

    In less than a minute the table, untouched, moved _four_ times; at
    first about _five_ inches to one side, then about _twelve_ inches to
    the opposite side, and then, in like manner, four inches and six
    inches respectively.

    The hands of all present were next placed on the backs of their
    chairs, and about a foot from the table, which again moved, as before,
    _five_ times, over spaces varying from four to six inches. Then all
    the chairs were removed twelve inches from the table, and each person
    knelt on his chair as before, this time however folding his hands
    behind his back, his body being thus about eighteen inches from the
    table, and having the back of the chair between himself and the table.
    The table again moved four times, in various directions. In the course
    of this conclusive experiment, and in less than half-an-hour, the
    table thus moved, without contact or possibility of contact with any
    person present, thirteen times, the movements being in different
    directions, and some of them according to the request of various
    members of your Sub-committee.

    The table was then carefully examined, turned upside down and taken to
    pieces, but nothing was discovered to account for the phenomena. The
    experiment was conducted throughout in the full light of gas above the

    Altogether, your Sub-committee have witnessed upwards of _fifty_
    similar motions without contact on _eight_ different evenings, in the
    houses of members of your Sub-committee, the most careful tests being
    applied on each occasion.

    In all similar experiments the possibility of mechanical or other
    contrivance was further negatived by the fact that the movements were
    in various directions, now to one side, then to the other; now up the
    room, now down the room--motions that would have required the
    co-operation of many hands or feet; and these, from the great size and
    weight of the tables, could not have been so used without the visible
    exercise of muscular force. Every hand and foot was plainly to be seen
    and could not have been moved without instant detection.

    The motions were witnessed simultaneously by all present. They were
    matters of measurement, and not of opinion or fancy. And they occurred
    so often, under so many and such various conditions, with such
    safeguards against error or deception, and with such invariable
    results, as to satisfy the members of your Sub-committee by whom the
    experiments were tried, wholly sceptical as most of them were when
    they entered upon the investigation, that _there is a force capable of
    moving heavy bodies without material contact, and which force is in
    some unknown manner dependent upon the presence of human beings_.

Such was the first verdict of science upon Spiritualistic doings in
England, a verdict rendered by physicists, chemists, astronomers and
naturalists, several of them members of the London Royal Society. The
investigations were under the especial care of Professor Morgan, president
of the Mathematical Society, of London; of Varley, chief electrical
engineer of the department of telegraphs, and Alfred Wallace, naturalist,
etc. Several members of the Dialectical Society refused to join in the
conclusions of the committee, and declared they ought to be verified by
another scientist; for example, by the chemist, Crookes. This gentleman
accepted the proposition, and in this way it was that he began his
experiments, of which more anon.

But, before presenting an account of the experiments of the eminent
chemist, I should like to place before my readers the chief points settled
by the Experimental Committee, of which I have just spoken.


    _March 9th._ Nine members present. Reunion at eight o'clock. The
    following phenomena were produced: 1. The members of the circle
    standing, rested the tips of their fingers only on the table. It made
    a considerable movement. 2. Holding their hands a few inches above the
    table, and no one in any way touching it, it moved a distance of more
    than a foot. 3. To render the experiment absolutely conclusive, all
    present stood clear away from the table, and stretching out their
    hands over it without touching it, it again moved as before, and about
    the same distance. During this time, one of the Committee was placed
    upon the floor to look carefully beneath the table, while others were
    placed outside to see that no person went near to the table. In this
    position it was frequently moved, without possibility of contact by
    any person present. 4. Whilst thus standing clear of the table, but
    with the tips of their fingers resting upon it, all at the same moment
    raised their hands at a given signal; and on several occasions the
    table jumped from the floor to an elevation varying from half an inch
    to an inch. 5. All held their hands close above the table, but not
    touching it, and then on a word of command raised them suddenly, and
    the table jumped as before. The member lying on the floor, and those
    placed outside the circle, were keenly watching as before, and all
    observed the phenomena as described.

    _April 15th._ Eight members present. Sitting at 8 p. m. Within five
    minutes tapping sounds were heard on the leaf of the table. Various
    questions, as to order of sitting, etc., were put, and answered by
    rappings. The alphabet was called for, and the word "laugh" was
    spelled out. It was asked if it was intended that we should laugh. An
    affirmative answer being given, the members laughed; upon which the
    table made a most vigorous sound and motion imitative of and
    responsive to the laughter, and so ludicrous as to cause a general
    peal of real laughter, to which the table shook, and the rapping kept
    time as an accompaniment. The following questions were then put and
    answered by the number of raps given:--"How many children has Mrs.
    M----?" "Four;" "Mrs. W----?" "Three;" "Mrs. D----?" No rap; "Mrs.
    E----?" "Five;" "Mrs. S----?" "Two." It was ascertained, upon inquiry
    that these replies were perfectly correct, except in the case of Mrs.
    E----, who has only four children living, but has lost one. Neither
    the medium nor any person present, was aware of all the above numbers,
    but each number was known to some of them. The inquiry for a written
    communication being responded to by three raps, some sheets of paper
    with a pencil were laid under the table, and at the end of the sitting
    examined, but no letter or mark was found on the paper. In order to
    test whether these sounds would continue under different conditions,
    all sat some distance from the table, holding hands in a circle round
    it. But instead of upon the table as before, loud rappings were heard
    to proceed from various parts of the floor, and from the chair on
    which the medium sat; while some came from the other side of the room,
    a distance of about fifteen feet from the nearest person. A desire
    having been expressed for a shower of raps, loud rapping came from
    every part of the table at once, producing an effect similar to that
    of a shower of hail falling upon it. The sounds throughout the evening
    were very sharp and distinct. It was observed that, although during
    the conversation the rappings are sometimes of a singularly lively
    character, yet when a question is put they cease instantly, and not
    one is heard until the response is given.

    _April 29th._ Nine members present. Medium and conditions as before.
    In about a quarter of an hour the table made sundry movements along
    the floor, with rappings. The sounds at first were very softly given,
    but subsequently became much stronger. They beat time to the airs
    played by a musical box, and came from any part of the table requested
    by the members. Some questions were put and followed by raps, but more
    frequently by tilting of the table at its sides, ends, or corners, the
    elevation being from one to four inches. An endeavour was made by
    those sitting near, to prevent the table from rising, but it resisted
    all their efforts. The chair on which the medium was seated was drawn
    several times over the floor. First it moved backward several feet;
    then it gave several twists and turns, and finally returned with the
    medium to nearly its original position. The chair had no casters, and
    moved quite noiselessly, the medium appearing perfectly still and
    holding her feet above the carpet; so that during the entire
    phenomenon no part of her person or of her dress touched the floor.
    There was bright gaslight, and the members had a clear opportunity to
    observe all that occurred; and all agreed that imposture was
    impossible. While this was going on, a rapping sound came continually
    from the floor beneath and around the chair. It was then suggested
    that trials should be made if the table would move without contact.
    All present, including the medium stood quite clear of the table,
    holding their hands from three to six inches above it, and without any
    way of touching it. Observers were placed under it to see that it was
    not touched there. The following were the observations:

    1. The table repeatedly moved along the floor in different directions,
    often taking that requested. Thus, in accordance with a desire
    expressed that it should move from the front to the back room, it took
    that direction, and, on approaching the folding doors and meeting with
    an obstruction, turned as if to avoid it.

    2. On a given signal all raised their hands suddenly, and the table
    immediately sprang or jerked up from the floor about one inch.

    Various members of the Committee volunteered by turns to keep watch
    below the table, whilst others standing round them carefully noted
    everything that took place; but no one could discover any visible
    agency in their production.

    _May 18th._ Music was played on the piano-forte, and one piece was
    accompanied by tapping sounds from all parts of the table, and another
    piece both by tapping sounds, vibrations, and slight vertical
    movements of the table at its sides, ends, and corners. The sounds and
    movements all kept time with the music. The same phenomena also
    occurred when a song was sang. During the _séance_ the sounds were
    very equally distributed, being seldom confined to one part of the

    _June 9th._ Eight members present. The most interesting fact this
    evening was, that though the tapping sounds proceeded from different
    parts of the table, but principally from that in front of the medium;
    yet, when she went into the hall to receive a message, they still
    continued to come from that part of the table.

    The alphabet being repeated in accordance with the signal, "Queer
    Pals" was spelt out. These words seemed to amuse and puzzle the
    meeting. However, it was suggested they might apply to the Christy
    Minstrels, whose nigger melodies, at St. George's Hall, were very
    clearly heard through the open window of the back room. At this
    suggestion the table gave three considerable tilts.

    _June 17th._ The medium held a sheet of note paper at arm's length
    over the table by one of its corners, and, at request, faint but
    distinct taps were heard upon it. The other corners of the paper were
    then held by members of the Committee, and the sounds were again heard
    by all at the table; while those who held the paper felt the impact of
    the invisible blows. One or more questions were answered in this way
    by three clear and distinctly audible taps, which had a sound similar
    in character to that produced by dropping water. This new and curious
    phenomenon occurred close under the eyes of all present, without any
    physical cause for it being detected.

    _June 21st. Movement of harmonican without contact._ On the medium and
    two other members holding their hands above the harmonican without in
    any way touching it, it moved almost entirely round, by successive
    jerks, on the table on which it was placed. The dining-table was
    strongly moved a distance of six feet, the hands of the members
    present resting lightly on it.

    _Oct. 18th._ A cylinder of canvas, three feet in height, and about two
    feet in diameter, was placed under a small table, the legs of which
    were contained within it. Inside the cylinder was a bell, resting on
    the floor. No sounds proceeded from the bell, but there were repeated
    rappings upon and jerkings of the table. This cylinder precluded the
    possibility of contact with the table by a foot of any of the persons
    present, during the entire continuance of the knockings and jerkings
    of the table.

    _Dec. 14th. Sounds from table without contact._--All sat away from the
    table, without in any manner touching it, and the sounds, although
    somewhat fainter, continued to proceed from it.

    _Dec. 28th. Movements without contact._--Question: "Would the table
    now be moved without contact?" Answer: "Yes," by three raps on the

    All chairs were then turned with their backs to the table, and nine
    inches away from it; and all present _knelt_ on the chairs, with their
    wrists resting on the backs, and their hands a few inches above the

    Under these conditions, the table (the heavy dining-room table
    previously described) moved four times, each time from four to six
    inches, and the second time nearly twelve inches.

    Then all hands were placed on the backs of the chairs, and nearly a
    foot from the table, when four movements occurred, one slow and
    continuous, for nearly a minute. Then all present placed their hands
    behind their backs, kneeling erect on their chairs, which were removed
    a foot clear away from the table; the gas also was turned up higher,
    so as to give abundance of light, and under these test conditions,
    distinct movements occurred, to the extent of several inches each
    time, and visible to every one present.

    The motions were in various directions, towards all parts of the
    room--some were abrupt, others steady. At the same time, and under the
    same conditions, distinct raps occurred, apparently both on the floor
    and on the table, in answer to requests for them. The above described
    movements were so unmistakable, that all present unhesitatingly
    declared their conviction, that no physical force, exerted by any one
    present, could possibly have produced them. And they declared,
    further, in writing, that a rigid examination of the table, showed it
    to be an ordinary dining-table, with no machinery or apparatus of any
    kind connected with it. The table was laid on the floor with its legs
    up, and taken to pieces as far as practicable.

_Special Observations._

These experiments are only a repetition and absolute confirmation of those
that have been described all through this volume, from its very first
pages. Yet they are enough in themselves alone to justify one's

This first sub-committee, the principal experiments of which we have been
giving, was studying only physical phenomena. Sub-committee No. 2 was more
especially occupied with intelligent communications and mediumistic
dictations. They need not detain us here, but will find their place in a
special work on Spiritualism.

The same committee published in its general report the following letter,
which it did me the honor of requesting:

    I must confess to you, in the first place, gentlemen, that, of those
    who call themselves "mediums" and "spiritists," a considerable number
    are persons of limited intelligence, incapable of bringing the
    experimental method to bear on the investigation of this order of
    phenomena, and consequently are often the dupes of their credulity or
    ignorance; while others, of whom the number is also considerable, are
    impostors whose moral sense has become so blunted by the habit of
    fraud that they seem to be incapable of appreciating the heinousness
    of their criminal abuse of the confidence of those who apply to them
    for instruction or for consolation.

    And even where the subject is being investigated seriously and in good
    faith, the force to which the production of these phenomena is due is
    so capricious in its action that much delay and disappointment is
    inevitable in the prosecution of any experimental inquiry in regard
    to them. It is, therefore, no easy matter to put aside the obstacles
    thus placed in the way of the serious inquirer, to eliminate these
    sources of error, and to get at genuine manifestations of the
    phenomena in question; carefully guarding one's own mind against all
    error, all self-deception in the methodical and scrupulous examination
    of the order of facts now under discussion. Nevertheless, I do not
    hesitate to affirm my conviction, based on personal examination of the
    subject, that any scientific man who declares the phenomena
    denominated "magnetic" "somnambulistic," "mediumistic," and others not
    yet explained by science, to be "impossible," is one _who speaks
    without knowing what he is talking about_; and also any man
    accustomed, by his professional avocations, to scientific
    observation--provided that his mind be not biased by preconceived
    opinions, nor his mental vision blinded by that opposite kind of
    illusion, unhappily too common in the learned world, which consists in
    imagining that the laws of Nature are already known to us, and that
    everything which appears to overstep the limit of our present formulas
    is impossible--may acquire a radical and absolute certainty of the
    reality of the facts alluded to.

    After an affirmation so categorical, it is hardly necessary for me to
    assure the members of the Dialectical Society that I have acquired,
    through my own observation, the absolute certainty of the reality of
    these phenomena....

    But although thus compelled, in the absence of conclusive data in
    regard to _the cause_ of the so-called "Spiritual Phenomena," to
    refrain from making any positive affirmation in regard to this part of
    the subject, I may add that while the general assertion of its
    spiritual nature, on the part of the occult force which, within the
    last quarter of a century, has thus manifested itself all over the
    globe, constitutes a feature of the case which, from its universality,
    merits the attention of the impartial investigator--the history of the
    human race, from the earliest ages, furnishes instances of
    coincidences, previsions and presentiments of warnings experienced in
    certain critical moments, of apparitions more or less distinctly seen,
    which are stated, on evidence as trustworthy as that which we possess
    with regard to any other branch of historical tradition, to have
    occurred, spontaneously, in the experience of all nations, and which
    may therefore be held to strengthen the presumption of the possibility
    of communication between incarnate and discarnate spirits.

    I may also add that my own investigations in the fields of philosophy
    and of modern astronomy have led me, as is well known, to adopt a
    personal and individual way of regarding the subject of space and
    time, the plurality of inhabited worlds, the eternity and ubiquity of
    the acting forces of the universe, and the indestructibility of souls,
    as well as of atoms.

    The everlastingness of intelligent life ought to be regarded as the
    result of the harmonious succession of sidereal incarnations.

    Our earth being one of the heavenly bodies, a province of planetary
    existence, and our present life being a phase of our eternal duration,
    it appears only natural (the _super_natural does not exist) that there
    should exist a permanent link between the spheres, the bodies, and the
    souls of the universe, and therefore altogether probable that the
    existence of this link will be demonstrated, in course of time, by the
    advance of scientific discovery.

    It would be difficult to over-rate the importance of the questions
    thus brought forward for consideration; and I have seen with lively
    satisfaction the noble initiative which, through the formation of your
    Committee of Inquiry, has been taken by a body of men so justly
    eminent as the members of the Dialectical Society, in the experimental
    investigation of these deeply interesting phenomena. I am most happy,
    therefore, to comply with the tenor of your letter, by sending you the
    humble tribute of my observations on the subject in question, and thus
    to have the opportunity of offering to your society the expression of
    my sincerest good wishes for the speedy elucidation of the mysteries
    of nature that have not yet been brought within the domain of positive

    I am, sir, yours faithfully,
        10, Rue des Moineaux (Palais Royal).

    Paris, May 8, 1870.

The foregoing résumé of the labors of the Dialectical Society of London
shows once more that mediumistic phenomena long ago entered upon the road
of scientific experiment. It would seem as if only the wilfully blind
could henceforth deny their allegiance.

The results of the studies described also form an answer to the question
frequently asked, whether one can undertake similar experiments without
knowing a true medium. I reply that, in any meeting of a dozen persons,
there will always be one or more mediums. This was proved by the séances
of the Count de Gasparin.

The English report also contains (May 25, 1869) a communication from the
electrician, Cromwell Varley, declaring that mediumistic phenomena could
not be discredited by any observer of good faith, and that, to him, the
hypothesis of disembodied spirits is the one that best explains them--just
plain, common spirits (as a general thing), like the majority of the
citizens of our planet.

The scientific experiments of the Dialectical Society's committee were
continued by the "Society for Psychical Research," founded in 1882, the
successive presidents of which were Professor Sidgwick, Professor Balfour
Stewart, Professor Sidgwick for a second time, Professor William James,
Sir William Crookes, Frederick Myers, Sir Oliver Lodge, Professor
Richet--all eminent in the departments of science and education. Let me
mention here the splendid work of Dr. Hodgson and of Professor Hyslop in
the American branch of this society.

The experiments were continued, in a masterly way, by the celebrated
chemist, Sir William Crookes, and yielded him the most wondrous results.
My readers will presently realize this.



The learned chemist, Sir William Crookes, member of the Royal Society of
London, the author of several discoveries of the first rank (among which
should be placed the discovery, in 1861, of the metal, thallium), and of
ingenious experiments on "radiant matter," published his first researches
on the subject we are here considering in a review of which he was the
editor--the _Quarterly Journal of Science_.

I had the honor of contributing certain astronomical papers to this
journal.[62] I will first lay before my readers an extract from Mr.
Crookes's article of the 1st of July, 1871, entitled "Experimental
Investigation of a New Force," in which he describes his studies with
Home. I also had occasion myself more than once to hold conversation with
this medium.[63]

    Twelve months ago in this journal, July 1, 1870, I wrote an article,
    in which, after expressing in the most emphatic manner my belief in
    the occurrence, under certain circumstances, of phenomena inexplicable
    by any known natural laws, I indicated several tests which men of
    science had a right to demand before giving credence to the
    genuineness of these phenomena. Among the tests pointed out were, that
    a "delicately poised balance should be moved under test conditions;"
    and that some exhibition of power equivalent to so many "foot-pounds"
    should be "manifested in his laboratory, where the experimentalists
    could weigh, measure, and submit it to proper tests." I said, too,
    that I could not promise to enter fully into this subject, owing to
    the difficulties of obtaining opportunities, and the numerous failures
    attending the enquiry; moreover, that "the persons in whose presence
    these phenomena take place are few in number, and opportunities for
    experimenting with previously arranged apparatus are rarer still."

    Opportunities having since offered for pursuing the investigation, I
    have gladly availed myself of them for applying to these phenomena
    careful scientific testing experiments, and I have thus arrived at
    certain definite results which I think it right should be published.
    These experiments appear conclusively to establish the existence of a
    new force, in some unknown manner connected with the human
    organization, which for convenience may be called the Psychic Force.

    Of all the persons endowed with a powerful development of this psychic
    force, and who have been termed "mediums" upon quite another theory of
    its origin, Mr. Daniel Dunglas Home is the most remarkable, and it is
    mainly owing to the many opportunities I have had of carrying on my
    investigation in his presence that I am enabled to affirm so
    conclusively the existence of this force. The experiments I have tried
    have been very numerous, but owing to our imperfect knowledge of the
    conditions which favor or oppose the manifestations of this force, to
    the apparently capricious manner in which it is exerted, and to the
    fact that Mr. Home himself is subject to unaccountable ebbs and flows
    of the force, it has but seldom happened that a result obtained on one
    occasion could be subsequently confirmed and tested with apparatus
    specially contrived for the purpose.

    Among the remarkable phenomena which occur under Mr. Home's influence,
    the most striking, as well as the most easily tested with scientific
    accuracy, are--(1) the alteration in the weight of bodies, and (2) the
    playing of tunes upon musical instruments (generally an accordion, for
    convenience of portability) without direct human intervention, under
    conditions rendering contact or connection with the keys impossible.
    Not until I had witnessed these facts some half-dozen times, and
    scrutinized them with all the critical acumen I possess, did I become
    convinced of their objective reality. Still, desiring to place the
    matter beyond the shadow of doubt, I invited Mr. Home on several
    occasions to come to my own house, where, in the presence of a few
    scientific enquirers, these phenomena could be submitted to crucial

    The meetings took place in the evening, in a large room lighted by
    gas. The apparatus prepared for the purpose of testing the movements
    of the accordion, consisted of a cage, formed of two wooden hoops,
    respectively 1 foot 10 inches and 2 feet diameter, connected together
    by 12 narrow laths, each 1 foot 10 inches long, so as to form a
    drum-shaped frame, open at the top and bottom; round this 50 yards of
    insulated copper wire were wound in 24 rounds, each being rather less
    than an inch from its neighbor. The horizontal strands of wire were
    then netted together firmly with string, so as to form meshes rather
    less than 2 inches long by 1 inch high. The height of this cage was
    such that it would just slip under my dining-table, but be too close
    to the top to allow of the hand being introduced into the interior, or
    to admit of a foot being pushed underneath it. In another room were
    two Grove's cells, wires being led from them into the dining-room for
    connection, if desirable, with the wire surrounding the cage.

    The accordion was a new one, having been purchased by myself for the
    purpose of these experiments at Wheatstone's, in Conduit Street. Mr.
    Home had neither handled nor seen the instrument before the
    commencement of the test experiments.

    In another part of the room an apparatus was fitted up for
    experimenting on the alteration in the weight of a body. It consisted
    of a mahogany board, 36 inches long by 9-1/2 inches wide and 1 inch
    thick. At each end a strip of mahogany 1-1/2 inches wide was screwed
    on, forming feet. One end of the board rested on a firm table, whilst
    the other end was supported by a spring balance hanging from a
    substantial tripod stand. The balance was fitted with a
    self-registering index, in such a manner that it would record the
    maximum weight indicated by the pointer. The apparatus was adjusted
    so that the mahogany board was horizontal, its foot resting flat on
    the support. In this position its weight was 3 lbs., as marked by the
    pointer of the balance.


    Before Mr. Home entered the room the apparatus had been arranged in
    position, and he had not even the object of some parts of it explained
    before sitting down. It may, perhaps, be worth while to add, for the
    purpose of anticipating some critical remarks which are likely to be
    made, that in the afternoon I called for Mr. Home at his apartments,
    and when there he suggested that, as he had to change his dress,
    perhaps I should not object to continue our conversation in his
    bedroom. I am, therefore, enabled to state positively, that no
    machinery, apparatus, or contrivance of any sort was secreted about
    his person.

    The investigators present on the test occasion were an eminent
    physicist, high in the ranks of the Royal Society,[64] a well-known
    Serjeant-at-Law;[65] my brother; and my chemical assistant.

    Mr. Home sat in a low easy-chair at the side of the table. In front of
    him under the table was the aforesaid cage, one of his legs being on
    each side of it. I sat close to him on his left, and another observer
    sat close to him on his right, the rest of the party being seated at
    convenient distances round the table.

    For the greater part of the evening, particularly when anything of
    importance was proceeding, the observers on each side of Mr. Home kept
    their feet respectively on his feet, so as to be able to detect his
    slightest movement.

    The temperature of the room varied from 68 degrees to 70 degrees F.

    Mr. Home took the accordion between the thumb and middle finger of one
    hand at the opposite end to the keys (see Pl. XII A) (to save
    repetition this will be subsequently called "in the usual manner").

    Having previously opened the bass key myself, and the cage being drawn
    from under the table so as just to allow the accordion to be pushed in
    with its keys downwards, it was pushed back as close as Mr. Home's
    arm would permit, but without hiding his hand from those next to him
    (Pl. XII, Cut B). Very soon the accordion was seen by those on each
    side to be waving about in a somewhat curious manner; then sounds came
    from it, and finally several notes were played in succession. Whilst
    this was going on, my assistant went under the table, and reported
    that the accordion was expanding and contracting; at the same time it
    was seen that the hand of Mr. Home by which it was held was quite
    still, his other hand resting on the table.

    Presently the accordion was seen by those on either side of Mr. Home
    to move about, oscillating and going round and round the cage, and
    playing at the same time. Dr. A. B. now looked under the table, and
    said that Mr. Home's hand appeared quite still whilst the accordion
    was moving about emitting distinct sounds.

    Mr. Home still holding the accordion in the usual manner in the cage,
    his feet being held by those next him, and his other hand resting on
    the table, we heard distinct and separate notes sounded in succession,
    and then a simple air was played. As such a result could only have
    been produced by the various keys of the instrument being acted upon
    in harmonious succession, this was considered by those present to be a
    crucial experiment.

    But the sequel was still more striking, for Mr. Home then removed his
    hand altogether from the accordion, taking it quite out of the cage,
    and placed it in the hand of the person next to him. The instrument
    then continued to play, no person touching it and no hand being near

    I was now desirous of trying what would be the effect of passing the
    battery current round the insulated wire of the cage, and my assistant
    accordingly made the connection with the wires from the two Grove's
    cells. Mr. Home again held the instrument inside the cage in the same
    manner as before, when it immediately sounded and moved about
    vigorously. But whether the electric current passing round the cage
    assisted the manifestation of force inside, it is impossible to say.

    After this experiment, the accordion, which he kept holding in one
    hand, then commenced to play, at first chords and runs, and
    afterwards a well-known sweet and plaintive melody, which was executed
    perfectly in a very beautiful manner. Whilst this tune was being
    played I grasped Mr. Home's arm, below the elbow, and gently slid my
    hand down it until I touched the top of the accordion. He was not
    moving a muscle. His other hand was on the table, visible to all, and
    his feet were under the feet of those next to him.

    Having met with such striking results in the experiments with the
    accordion in the cage, we turned to the balance apparatus already
    described. Mr. Home placed the tips of his fingers lightly on the
    extreme end of the mahogany board, which was resting on the support,
    whilst Dr. A. B. and myself sat, one on each side of it, watching for
    any effect which might be produced. Almost immediately the pointer of
    the balance was seen to descend. After a few seconds it rose again.
    This movement was repeated several times, as if by successive waves of
    the psychic force. The end of the board was observed to oscillate
    slowly up and down during the experiment.

    Mr. Home now of his own accord took a small hand-bell and a little
    card match-box, which happened to be near, and placed one under each
    hand, to satisfy us, as he said, that he was not producing the
    downward pressure (see Fig. 3). The very slow oscillation of the
    spring balance became more marked, and Dr. A. B., watching the index,
    said that he saw it descend to 6-1/2 lbs. The normal weight of the
    board as so suspended being 3 lbs., the additional downward pull was
    therefore 3-1/2 lbs. On looking immediately afterwards at the
    automatic register, we saw that the index had at one time descended as
    low as 9 lbs., showing a maximum pull of 6 lbs. upon a board whose
    normal weight was 3 lbs.

    In order to see whether it was possible to produce much effect on the
    spring balance by pressure at the place where Mr. Home's fingers had
    been, I stepped upon the table and stood on one foot at the end of the
    board. Dr. A. B., who was observing the index of the balance, said
    that the whole weight of my body (140 lbs.) so applied only sunk the
    index 1-1/2 lbs., or 2 lbs. when I shook it. Mr. Home had been sitting
    in a low easy-chair, and could not, therefore, had he tried his
    utmost, have exerted any material influence on these results. I need
    scarcely add that his feet as well as his hands were closely guarded
    by all in the room.

    This experiment appears to me more striking, if possible, than the one
    with the accordion. As will be seen on referring to the cut (Fig. 3),
    the board was arranged perfectly horizontally, and it was particularly
    noticed that Mr. Home's fingers were not at any time advanced more
    than 1-1/2 inches from the extreme end, as shown by a pencil-mark,
    which, with Dr. A. B.'s acquiescence, I made at the time. Now, the
    wooden foot being also 1-1/2 inches wide, and resting flat on the
    table, it is evident that no amount of pressure exerted within this
    space of 1-1/2 inches could produce any action on the balance. Again,
    it is also evident that when the end farthest from Mr. Home sank, the
    board would turn on the farther edge of this foot as on a fulcrum.

    [Illustration: FIG. 3.]

    The arrangement was consequently that of a see-saw, 36 inches in
    length, the fulcrum being 1-1/2 inches from one end; were he,
    therefore, to have exerted a downward pressure, it would have been in
    opposition to the force which was causing the other end of the board
    to move down.

    The slight downward pressure shown by the balance when I stood on the
    board was owing probably to my foot extending beyond this fulcrum.

    I have now given a plain, unvarnished statement of the facts from
    copious notes written at the time the occurrences were taking place,
    and copied out in full immediately after.

    Respecting the cause of these phenomena, the nature of the force to
    which, to avoid periphrasis, I have ventured to give the name of
    _Psychic_, and the correlation existing between that and the other
    forces of nature, it would be wrong to hazard the most vague
    hypothesis. Indeed, in inquiries connected so intimately with rare
    physiological and psychological conditions, it is the duty of the
    inquirer to abstain altogether from framing theories until he has
    accumulated a sufficient number of facts to form a substantial basis
    upon which to reason. In the presence of strange phenomena as yet
    unexplored and unexplained following each other in such rapid
    succession, I confess it is difficult to avoid clothing their record
    in language of a sensational character. But, to be successful, an
    inquiry of this kind must be undertaken by the philosopher without
    prejudice and without sentiment. Romantic and superstitious ideas
    should be entirely banished, and the steps of his investigation should
    be guided by intellect as cold and passionless as the instruments he

Apropos of this Mr. Cox wrote to Mr. Crooks:

    The results appear to me conclusively to establish the important fact,
    that there is a force proceeding from the nerve-system capable of
    imparting motion and weight to solid bodies within the sphere of its

    I noticed that the force was exhibited in tremulous pulsations, and
    not in the form of steady continuous pressure, the indicator rising
    and falling incessantly throughout the experiment. The fact seems to
    me of great significance, as tending to confirm the opinion that
    assigns its source to the nerve organization, and it goes far to
    establish Dr. Richardson's important discovery of a nerve atmosphere
    of various intensity enveloping the human structure.

    Your experiments completely confirm the conclusion at which the
    Investigation Committee of the Dialectical Society arrived, after more
    than forty meetings for trial and test.

    Allow me to add that I can find no evidence even tending to prove that
    this force is other than a force proceeding from, or directly
    dependent upon, the human organization, and therefore, like all other
    forces of nature, wholly within the province of that strictly
    scientific investigation to which you have been the first to subject

    Now that it is proved by mechanical tests to be a fact in nature (and
    if a fact, it is impossible to exaggerate its importance to physiology
    and the light it must throw upon the obscure laws of life, of mind and
    the science of medicine) it cannot fail to command the immediate and
    most earnest examination and discussion by physiologists and by all
    who take an interest in that knowledge of "man," which has been truly
    termed "the noblest study of mankind."

    To avoid the appearance of any foregone conclusion, I would recommend
    the adoption for it of some appropriate name, and I venture to suggest
    that the force be termed the Psychic Force; the persons in whom it is
    manifested in extraordinary power Psychics; and the science relating
    to it Psychism as, being a branch of psychology.

The preceding article was published separately by William Crookes in a
special brochure which lies before me,[66] and which contains, in
addition, the following study, not less curious from the human and
anecdotical point of view than from the point of view of the experimenter
in physics:

    When I first stated in this journal that I was about to investigate
    the phenomena of so-called Spiritualism, the announcement called forth
    universal expressions of approval. One said that my "statements
    deserved respectful consideration"; another expressed "profound
    satisfaction that the subject was about to be investigated by a man so
    thoroughly qualified as," etc.; a third was "gratified to learn that
    the matter is now receiving the attention of cool and clear-headed
    men of recognized position in science"; a fourth asserted that "no one
    could doubt Mr. Crookes's ability to conduct the investigation with
    rigid philosophical impartiality"; and a fifth was good enough to tell
    its readers that "if men like Mr. Crookes grapple with the subject,
    taking nothing for granted until it is proved, we shall soon know how
    much to believe."

    Those remarks, however, were written too hastily. It was taken for
    granted by the writers that the results of my experiments would be in
    accordance with their preconceptions. What they really desired was not
    _the truth_, but an additional witness in favor of their own foregone
    conclusion. When they found that the facts which that investigation
    established could not be made to fit those opinions, why--"so much the
    worse for the facts." They try to creep out of their own confident
    recommendations of the enquiry by declaring that "Mr. Home is a clever
    conjurer, who has duped us all." "Mr. Crookes might, with equal
    propriety, examine the performances of an Indian juggler." "Mr.
    Crookes must get better witnesses before he can be believed." "The
    thing is too absurd to be treated seriously." "It is impossible, and
    therefore can't be."[67] "The observers have all been biologized (!)
    and fancy they saw things occur which really never took place," etc.

    These remarks imply a curious oblivion of the very functions which the
    scientific enquirer has to fulfill. I am scarcely surprised when the
    objectors say that I have been deceived merely because they are
    unconvinced without personal investigation, since the same
    unscientific course of _a priori_ argument has been opposed to all
    great discoveries. When I am told that what I describe cannot be
    explained in accordance with preconceived ideas of the laws of nature,
    the objector really begs the very question at issue, and resorts to a
    mode of reasoning which brings science to a standstill. The argument
    runs in a vicious circle: we must not assert a fact till we know that
    it is in accordance with the laws of nature, while our only knowledge
    of the laws of nature must be based on an extensive observation of
    facts. If a new fact seems to oppose what is called a law of nature,
    it does not prove the asserted fact to be false, but only that we have
    not yet ascertained all the laws of nature, or not learned them

    In his opening address before the British Association at Edinburgh
    this year (1871), Sir William Thomson said, "Science is bound by the
    everlasting law of honor to face fearlessly every problem which can
    fairly be presented to it." My object in thus placing on record the
    results of a very remarkable series of experiments is to present such
    a problem, which, according to Sir William Thomson, "Science is bound
    by the everlasting law of honor to face fearlessly." It will not do
    merely to deny its existence, or try to sneer it down. Remember, I
    hazard no hypothesis or theory whatever; I merely vouch for certain
    facts, my only object being--the _truth_. Doubt, but do not deny;
    point out, by the severest criticism, what are considered fallacies in
    my experimental tests, and suggest more conclusive trials; but do not
    let us hastily call our senses lying witnesses merely because they
    testify against preconceptions. I say to my critics, Try the
    experiments; investigate with care and patience as I have done. If,
    having examined, you discover imposture or delusion, proclaim it and
    say how it was done. But, if you find it be a fact, avow it
    fearlessly, as "by the everlasting law of honor" you are bound to do.

In this part of his work Professor Crookes recalls the experiments of
Count de Gasparin and of Thury (detailed above) on the phenomenon of the
movement of bodies without contact, a thing proved and demonstrated. We
need not recur to that. He adds that the ecteneic force of Professor Thury
and psychical force are equivalent terms, and that the nervous atmosphere
or fluid of Dr. Benjamin Richardson also belongs here.

Professor Crookes sent his observations to the Royal Society, of which he
is a member. The society refused his communications. The evidence goes to
show that it had only approved of the gifted chemist's mixing in
heretical and occult researches on consideration of his demonstrating the
fallacy of all those prodigies.

[Illustration: FIG. 4.]

[Illustration: FIG. 5.]

Professor Stokes, the secretary, refused to consider the subject at all,
or to inscribe even the title of the papers in the society's
publications. It was an exact repetition of what took place at the Academy
of Science in Paris in 1853. Professor Crookes scorned these arbitrary and
anti-scientific judgments and denials and answered them by publishing the
detailed description of his experiments. The following are the essential
points of this description:

[Illustration: FIG. 6.]

    On trying these experiments for the first time, I thought that actual
    contact between Mr. Home's hands and the suspended body whose weight
    was to be altered was essential to the exhibition of the force; but I
    found afterwards that this was not a necessary condition, and I
    therefore arranged my apparatus in the following manner:

    The accompanying cuts (Figs. 4, 5, 6) explain the arrangement. Fig. 4
    is a general view, and Figs. 5 and 6 show the essential parts more in
    detail. The reference letters are the same in each illustration. A B
    is a mahogany board, 36 inches long by 9-1/2 inches wide and 1 inch
    thick. It is suspended at the end, B, by a spring balance, C,
    furnished with an automatic register, D. The balance is suspended
    from a very firm tripod support, E.

    The following piece of apparatus is not shown in the figures. To the
    moving index, O, of the spring balance, a fine steel point is
    soldered, projecting horizontally outwards. In front of the balance,
    and firmly fastened to it, is a grooved frame carrying a flat box
    similar to the dark box of a photographic camera. This box is made to
    travel by clock-work horizontally in front of the moving index, and it
    contains a sheet of plate-glass which has been smoked over a flame.
    The projecting steel point impresses a mark on this smoked surface.

    If the balance is at rest, and the clock set going, the result is a
    perfectly straight horizontal line. If the clock is stopped and
    weights are placed on the end, B, of the board, the result is a
    vertical line, whose length depends on the weight applied. If, whilst
    the clock draws the plate along, the weight of the board (or the
    tension on the balance) varies, the result is a curved line, from
    which the tension in grains at any moment during the continuance of
    the experiments can be calculated.

    The instrument was capable of registering a diminution of the force of
    gravitation as well as an increase; registrations of such a diminution
    were frequently obtained. To avoid complication, however, I will only
    here refer to results in which an increase of gravitation was

    The end, B, of the board being supported by the spring balance, the
    end, A, is supported on a wooden strip, F, screwed across its lower
    side and cut to a knife edge (see Fig. 6). This fulcrum rests on a
    firm and heavy wooden stand, G H. On the board, exactly over the
    fulcrum, is placed a large glass vessel filled with water, I. L is a
    massive iron stand, furnished with an arm and ring, M N, in which
    rests a hemispherical copper vessel perforated with several holes at
    the bottom.

    The iron stand is two inches from the board, A B, and the arm and
    copper vessel, M N, are so adjusted that the latter dips into the
    water 1-1/2 inches, being 5-1/2 inches from the bottom of I, and 2
    inches from its circumference. Shaking or striking the arm, M, or the
    vessel, N, produces no appreciable mechanical effect on the board, A
    B, capable of affecting the balance. Dipping the hand to the fullest
    extent into the water in N, does not produce the least appreciable
    action on the balance.

    As the mechanical transmission of power by Mr. Home is by this means
    entirely cut off between the copper vessel and the board, A B, it
    follows that the power of muscular control is thereby completely

    There was always ample light in the room where the experiments were
    conducted (my own dining-room) to see all that took place.
    Furthermore, I repeated the experiments, not only with Mr. Home, but
    also with another person possessing similar powers.

    [Illustration: FIG. 7.]

    _Experiment I._--The apparatus having been properly adjusted before
    Mr. Home entered the room, he was brought in, and asked to place his
    fingers in the water in the copper vessel, N. He stood up and dipped
    the tips of the fingers of his right hand in the water, his other hand
    and his feet being held. When he said he felt a power, force, or
    influence, proceeding from his hand, I set the clock going, and almost
    immediately the end, B, of the board was seen to descend slowly and
    remain down for about 10 seconds; it then descended a little farther,
    and afterwards rose to its normal height. It then descended again,
    rose suddenly, gradually sunk for 17 seconds, and finally rose to its
    normal height, where it remained till the experiment was concluded.
    The lowest point marked on the glass was equivalent to a direct pull
    of about 5,000 grains. The accompanying figure 7 is a copy of the
    curve traced on the glass.

    _Experiment II._--Contact through water having proved to be as
    effectual as actual mechanical contact, I wished to see if the power
    or force could affect the weight, either through other portions of the
    apparatus or through the air. The glass vessel and iron stand, etc.,
    were therefore removed, as an unnecessary complication, and Mr. Home's
    hands were placed on the stand of the apparatus at P (Fig. 4). A
    gentleman present put his hand on Mr. Home's hands, and his foot on
    both Mr. Home's feet, and I also watched him closely all the time. At
    the proper moment the clock was again set going; the board descended
    and rose in an irregular manner, the result being a curved tracing on
    the glass, of which Fig. 8 is a copy.

    [Illustration: FIG. 8.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 9.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 10.]

    _Experiment III._--Mr. Home was now placed 1 foot from the board, A B,
    on one side of it. His hands and feet were firmly grasped by a
    bystander, and another tracing, of which Fig. 9 is a copy, was taken
    on a moving glass plate.

    _Experiment IV._--(Tried on an occasion when the power was stronger
    than on the previous occasions.) Mr. Home was now placed three feet
    from the apparatus, his hands and feet being tightly held. The clock
    was set going when he gave the word, and the end, B, of the board
    soon descended, and again rose in an irregular manner, as shown in
    Fig. 10.

    The following series of experiments were tried with more delicate
    apparatus, and with another person, a lady, Mr. Home being absent. As
    the lady is non-professional, I do not mention her name. She has,
    however, consented to meet any scientific men whom I may introduce for
    purposes of investigation.

    [Illustration: FIG. 11.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 12.]

    A piece of thin parchment, A, Figs. 11 and 12, is stretched tightly
    across a circular hoop of wood. B C is a light lever turning on D. At
    the end, B, is a vertical needle-point touching the membrane, A, and
    at C is another needle-point, projecting horizontally and touching a
    smoked glass plate, E F. This glass plate is drawn along in the
    direction, H G, by clockwork, K. The end, B, of the lever is weighted
    so that it shall quickly follow the movements of the centre of the
    disc, A. These movements are transmitted and recorded on the glass
    plate, E F, by means of the lever and needle-point, C. Holes are cut
    in the side of the hoop to allow a free passage of air to the under
    side of the membrane. The apparatus was well tested beforehand by
    myself and others, to see that no shaking or jar on the table or
    support would interfere with the results. The line traced by the
    point, C, on the smoked glass was perfectly straight in spite of all
    our attempts to influence the lever by shaking the stand or stamping
    on the floor.

    [Illustration: FIG. 13.]

    _Experiment V._--Without having the object of the instrument explained
    to her, the lady was brought into the room and asked to place her
    fingers on the wooden stand at the points, L M, Fig. 11. I then placed
    my hands over hers to enable me to detect any conscious or unconscious
    movement on her part. Presently percussive noises were heard on the
    parchment, resembling the dropping of grains of sand on its surface.
    At each percussion a fragment of graphite which I had placed on the
    membrane was seen to be projected upwards about 1-50th of an inch, and
    the end, C, of the lever moved slightly up and down. Sometimes the
    sounds were as rapid as those from an induction-coil, whilst at others
    they were more than a second apart. Five or six tracings were taken,
    and in all cases a movement of the end, C, of the lever was seen to
    have occurred with each vibration of the membrane.

    In some cases the lady's hands were not so near the membrane as L M,
    but were at N O, Fig. 12.

    The accompanying figure 13 gives tracings taken from the plates used
    on these occasions.

    _Experiment VI._--Having met with these results in Mr. Home's absence,
    I was anxious to see what action would be produced on the instrument
    in his presence.

    Accordingly I asked him to try, but without explaining the instrument
    to him.

    [Illustration: FIG. 14.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 15.]

    I grasped Mr. Home's right arm above the wrist and held his hand over
    the membrane, about 10 inches from its surface, in the position shown
    at P, Fig. 12. His other hand was held by a friend. After remaining in
    this position for about half a minute, Mr. Home said he felt some
    influence passing. I then set the clock going, and we all saw the
    index, C, moving up and down. The movements were much slower than in
    the former case, and were almost entirely unaccompanied by the
    percussive vibrations then noticed.

    Figs. 14 and 15 show the curves produced on the glass on two of these

    Figs. 13, 14, 15 are magnified.

    These experiments _confirm beyond doubt_ the conclusion at which I
    arrived in my former paper; namely, the existence of a force
    associated, in some manner not yet explained, with the human
    organization, by which force increased weight is capable of being
    imparted to solid bodies without physical contact.

    Now, however, having seen more of Mr. Home, I think I perceive what it
    is that this psychic force uses up for its development. In employing
    the terms _vital force_, or _nervous energy_, I am aware that I am
    employing words which convey very different significations to many
    investigators; but after witnessing the painful state of nervous and
    bodily prostration in which some of these experiments have left Mr.
    Home--after seeing him lying in an almost fainting condition on the
    floor, pale and speechless--I could scarcely doubt that the evolution
    of psychic force is accompanied by a corresponding drain on vital

    To witness exhibitions of this force it is not necessary to have
    access to known psychics. The force itself is probably possessed by
    all human beings, although the individuals endowed with an
    extraordinary amount of it are doubtless few. Within the last twelve
    months I have met in private families five or six persons possessing a
    sufficiently vigorous development to make me feel confident that
    similar results might be produced through their means to those here
    recorded, though less intense.

These experiments continued to be the object of bitter and relentless
criticism on the part of the recognized authorities in science and
education in England. These persons absolutely refused to recognize their
value. Professor Crookes amused himself, at times, by replying to these
fantastic attacks, but, naturally, without convincing his uncompromising
opponents. It is unnecessary to reproduce these letters here; they can be
found in the French edition of Crookes's _Researches_. The learned chemist
did better still: he continued his researches into the domain of the
Unknown, and got still more remarkable results--still more extraordinary,
more inexplicable, more incomprehensible.

His notes continue as follows:

    Like a traveler exploring some distant country, the wonders of which
    have hitherto been known only through reports and rumors of a vague or
    distorted character, so for four years have I been occupied in pushing
    an inquiry into a territory of natural knowledge which offers almost
    virgin soil to a scientific man.

    As the traveller sees in the natural phenomena he may witness the
    action of forces governed by natural laws, where others see only the
    capricious intervention of offended gods, so have I endeavored to
    trace the operation of natural laws and forces, where others have seen
    only the agency of supernatural beings, owning no laws, and obeying no
    force but their own free will.

    The phenomena I am prepared to attest are so extraordinary and so
    directly oppose the most firmly rooted articles of scientific
    belief--amongst others, the ubiquity and invariable action of the
    force of gravitation--that, even now, on recalling the details of what
    I witnessed, there is an antagonism in my mind between _reason_, which
    pronounces it to be scientifically impossible, and the consciousness
    that my senses, both of touch and sight--and these corroborated, as
    they were, by the senses of all who were present,--are not lying
    witnesses when they testify against my preconceptions.

    But the supposition that there is a sort of mania or delusion which
    suddenly attacks a whole roomful of intelligent persons who are quite
    sane elsewhere, and that they all concur to the minutest particulars,
    in the details of the occurrences of which they suppose themselves to
    be witnesses, seems to my mind more incredible than even the facts
    they attest.

    The subject is far more difficult and extensive than it appears. Four
    years ago I intended only to devote a leisure month or two to
    ascertain whether certain marvellous occurrences I had heard about
    would stand the test of close scrutiny. Having, however, soon arrived
    at the same conclusion as, I may say, every impartial inquirer, that
    there was "something in it," I could not, as a student of nature's
    laws, refuse to follow the inquiry wheresoever the facts might lead.
    Thus a few months have grown into a few years, and, were my time at
    my own disposal it would probably extend still longer.

    My principal object will be to place on record a series of actual
    occurrences which have taken place in my own house, in the presence of
    trustworthy witnesses, and under as strict test conditions as I could
    devise. Every fact which I have observed is, moreover, corroborated by
    the records of independent observers at other times and places. It
    will be seen that the facts are of the most astounding character, and
    seem utterly irreconcilable with all known theories of modern science.
    Having satisfied myself of their _truth_, it would be moral cowardice
    to withhold my testimony because my previous publications were
    ridiculed by critics and others who knew nothing whatever of the
    subject, and who were too prejudiced to see and judge for themselves
    whether or not there was truth in the phenomena. I shall state simply
    what I have seen and proved by repeated experiment and test.

    Except where darkness has been a necessary condition, as with some of
    the phenomena of luminous appearances, and a few other instances,
    everything recorded has taken place _in the light_. In the few cases
    where the phenomena noted have occurred in darkness I have been very
    particular to mention the fact. Moreover, some special reason can be
    shown for the exclusion of light, or the results have been produced
    under such perfect test conditions that the suppression of one of the
    senses has not really weakened the evidence.

    I have said that darkness is not essential. It is, however, a
    well-ascertained fact that when the force is weak a bright light
    exerts an interfering action on some of the phenomena. The power
    possessed by Mr. Home is sufficiently strong to withstand this
    antagonistic influence; consequently, he always objects to darkness at
    his _séances_. Indeed, except on two occasions, when, for some
    particular experiments of my own, light was excluded, everything which
    I have witnessed with him has taken place in the light. I have had
    many opportunities of testing the action of light on different sources
    and colors,--such as sunlight, diffused daylight, moonlight, gas,
    lamp, and candle-light, electric light from a vacuum tube,
    homogeneous yellow light, etc. The interfering rays appear to be those
    at the extreme end of the spectrum.

Professor Crookes next proceeds to classify the phenomena observed by him,
going from the more simple to the more complex and giving in rapid review
under each head, a sketch of some of the facts. In the abridgment of his
report which follows I eliminate what has already been fully demonstrated
elsewhere in this book.

    FIRST CLASS: _The movement of Heavy Bodies with Contact, but without
    Mechanical Exertion._

    (This movement has been fully proved in this volume.)

    SECOND CLASS: _The Phenomena of Percussive and other Allied Sounds._

    An important question here forces itself upon the attention. _Are the
    movements and sounds governed by intelligence?_ At a very early stage
    of the inquiry, it was seen that the power producing the phenomena was
    not merely a blind force, but was associated with or governed by
    intelligence. Thus the sounds to which I have just alluded will be
    repeated a definite number of times. They will come loud or faint, and
    in different places at request; and by a pre-arranged code of signals,
    questions are answered, and messages given with more or less accuracy.

    The intelligence governing the phenomena is sometimes manifestly below
    that of the medium. It is frequently in direct opposition to the
    wishes of the medium. When a determination has been expressed to do
    something which might not be considered quite right, I have known
    urgent messages given to induce a reconsideration. The intelligence is
    sometimes of such a character as to lead to the belief that it does
    not emanate from any person present.

    THIRD CLASS: _The Alteration of Weights of Bodies._--(Experiments
    which have been already described.)

    FOURTH CLASS: _Movements of Heavy Substances when at a distance from
    the Medium._--The instances in which heavy bodies, such as tables,
    chairs, sofas, etc., have been moved, when the medium has not been
    touching them, are very numerous. I will briefly mention a few of the
    most striking. My own chair has been twisted partly round, whilst my
    feet were off the floor. A chair was seen by all present to move
    slowly up to the table from a far corner, when all were watching it.
    On another occasion an arm-chair moved to where we were sitting, and
    then moved slowly back again (a distance of about three feet) at my
    request. On three successive evenings a small table moved slowly
    across the room, under conditions which I had specially pre-arranged,
    so as to answer any objection which might be raised to the evidence. I
    have had several repetitions of the experiment considered by the
    Committee of the Dialectical Society to be conclusive, viz., the
    movement of a heavy table, in full light, the chairs turned with their
    backs to the table, about a foot off, and each person kneeling on his
    chair, with hands resting over the back of the chair, but not touching
    the table. On one occasion this took place when I was moving about so
    as to see how everyone was placed.

    FIFTH CLASS: _The Rising of Tables and Chairs off the Ground, without
    Contact with any Person._

    (We need not recur to these matters.)

    SIXTH CLASS: _The Levitation of Human Beings._--The most striking
    cases of levitation which I have witnessed have been with Mr. Home. On
    three separate occasions have I seen him raised completely from the
    floor of the room. Once sitting in an easy-chair, once kneeling on his
    chair, and once standing up. On each occasion I had full opportunity
    of watching the occurrence as it was taking place.

    There are at least a hundred recorded instances of Mr. Home's rising
    from the ground, in the presence of as many separate persons, and I
    have heard from the lips of the three witnesses to the most striking
    occurrence of this kind--the Earl of Dunraven, Lord Lindsay, and
    Captain C. Wynne--their own most minute accounts of what took place.
    To reject the recorded evidence on this subject is to reject all human
    testimony whatever; for no fact in sacred or profane history is
    supported by a stronger array of proofs.

    SEVENTH CLASS: _Movement of Various Small Articles without Contact
    with any Person._--(As in the case of the sixth class, this is well
    known to my readers.)

    EIGHTH CLASS: _Luminous Appearances._--These, being rather faint,
    generally require the room to be darkened. I need scarcely remind my
    readers again that, under these circumstances, I have taken proper
    precautions to avoid being imposed upon by phosphorized oil or other
    means. Moreover, many of these lights are such as I have tried to
    imitate artificially, but cannot.

    Under the strictest test conditions, I have seen a solid self-luminous
    body, the size and nearly the shape of a turkey's egg, float
    noiselessly about the room, at one time higher than any one present
    could reach standing on tiptoe, and then gently descend to the floor.
    It was visible for more than ten minutes, and before it faded away it
    struck the table three times with a sound like that of a hard solid

    During this time the medium was lying back, apparently insensible, in
    an easy-chair.

    I have seen luminous points of light darting about and settling on the
    heads of different persons; I have had questions answered by the
    flashing of a bright light a desired number of times in front of my
    face. I have seen sparks of light rising from the table to the
    ceiling, and again falling upon the table, striking it with an audible
    sound. I have had an alphabetic communication given by luminous
    flashes occurring before me in the air, whilst my hand was moving
    about amongst them. I have seen a luminous cloud floating upwards to a
    picture. Under the strictest test conditions, I have more than once
    had a solid, self-luminous, crystalline body placed in my hand by a
    hand which did not belong to any person in the room. _In the light_, I
    have seen a luminous cloud hover over a heliotrope on a side table,
    break a sprig off, and carry it to a lady; and on some occasions I
    have seen a similar luminous cloud visibly condense to the form of a
    hand and carry small objects about.

    NINTH CLASS: _The Appearance of Hands, either Self-Luminous or Visible
    by Ordinary Light._--During a séance in full light a
    beautifully-formed small hand rose up from an opening in a
    dining-table and gave me a flower; it appeared and then disappeared
    three times at intervals, affording me ample opportunity of satisfying
    myself that it was as real in appearance as my own. This occurred in
    the light in my own room, whilst I was holding the medium's hands and

    On another occasion, a small hand and arm, like a baby's, appeared
    playing about a lady who was sitting next to me. It then patted my arm
    and pulled my coat several times.

    At another time, a finger and thumb were seen to pick the petals from
    a flower in Mr. Home's button-hole, and lay them in front of several
    persons who were sitting near him.

    A hand has been repeatedly seen by myself and others playing the keys
    of an accordion, both of the medium's hands being visible at the same
    time, and sometimes being held by those near him.

    The hands and fingers do not always appear to me to be solid and
    life-like. Sometimes, indeed, they present more the appearance of a
    nebulous cloud partly condensed into the form of a hand. This is not
    equally visible to all present. For instance, a flower or other small
    object is seen to move; one person present will see a luminous cloud
    hovering over it, another will detect a nebulous-looking hand, whilst
    others will see nothing at all but the moving flower. I have more than
    once seen, first an object move, then a luminous cloud appear to form
    about it, and, lastly, the cloud condense into shape and become a
    perfectly-formed hand. At this stage the hand is visible to all
    present. It is not always a mere form, but sometimes appears perfectly
    life-like and graceful, the fingers moving, and the flesh apparently
    as human as that of any in the room. At the wrist, or arm, it becomes
    hazy, and fades off into a luminous cloud.

    To the touch, the hand sometimes appears icy-cold and dead, at other
    times, warm and life-like, grasping my own with the firm pressure of
    an old friend.

    I have retained one of these hands in my own, firmly resolved not to
    let it escape. There was no struggle or effort made to get loose, but
    it gradually seemed to resolve itself into vapor, and faded in that
    manner from my grasp.

    TENTH CLASS: _Direct Writing._--(The learned chemist cites some
    remarkable examples obtained by him. We need not speak of them in this

    ELEVENTH CLASS: _Phantom Forms and Faces._--These are the rarest of
    the phenomena I have witnessed. The conditions requisite for their
    appearance appear to be so delicate, and such trifles interfere with
    their production, that only on very few occasions have I witnessed
    them under satisfactory test conditions. I will mention two of these

    In the dusk of the evening, during a _séance_ with Mr. Home at my
    house, the curtains of a window about eight feet from Mr. Home were
    seen to move. A dark, shadowy, semi-transparent form, like that of a
    man, was then seen by all present standing near the window, waving the
    curtain with his hand. As we looked, the form faded away, and the
    curtains ceased to move.

    The following is a still more striking instance. As in the former
    case, Mr. Home was the medium. A phantom form came from a corner of
    the room, took an accordion in its hand, and then glided about the
    room playing the instrument. The form was visible to all present for
    many minutes, Mr. Home also being seen at the same time. Coming rather
    close to a lady who was sitting apart from the rest of the company,
    she gave a slight cry, upon which it vanished.

    TWELFTH CLASS: _Special Instances which seem to point to the Agency of
    an Exterior Intelligence._--It has already been shown that the
    phenomena are governed by an intelligence. It becomes a question of
    importance as to the source of that intelligence. Is it the
    intelligence of the medium, of any of the other persons in the room,
    or is it an exterior intelligence? Without wishing at present to speak
    positively on this point, I may say that whilst I have observed many
    circumstances which appear to show that the will and intelligence of
    the medium have much to do with the phenomena, I have observed some
    circumstances which seem conclusively to point to the agency of an
    outside intelligence, not belonging to any human being in the room.
    Space does not allow me to give here all the arguments which can be
    adduced to prove these points, but I will briefly mention one or two
    circumstances out of many.

    I have been present when several phenomena were going on at the same
    time, some being unknown to the medium. I have been with Miss Fox when
    she has been writing a message automatically to one person present,
    whilst a message to another person on another subject was being given
    alphabetically by means of "raps," and the whole time she was
    conversing freely with a third person on a subject totally different
    from either.

    Perhaps a more striking instance is the following:

    During a _séance_ with Mr. Home, a small lath, which I have before
    mentioned, moved across the table to me, in the light, and delivered a
    message to me by tapping my hand, I repeating the alphabet, and the
    lath tapping me at the right letters. The other end of the lath was
    resting on the table, some distance from Mr. Home's hands.

    The taps were so sharp and clear, and the lath was evidently so well
    under control of the invisible power which was governing its
    movements, that I said, "Can the intelligence governing the motion of
    this lath change the character of the movements, and give me a
    telegraphic message through the Morse alphabet by taps on my hand?" (I
    have every reason to believe that the Morse code was quite unknown to
    any other person present, and it was only imperfectly known to me.)
    Immediately I said this, the character of the taps changed, and the
    message was continued in the way I had requested. The letters were
    given too rapidly for me to do more than catch a word here and there,
    and consequently I lost the message; but I heard sufficient to
    convince me that there was a good Morse operator at the other end of
    the line, wherever that might be.

    Another instance. A lady was writing automatically by means of the
    planchette. I was trying to devise a means of proving that what she
    wrote was not due to "unconscious cerebration." The planchette, as it
    always does, insisted that, although it was moved by the hand and the
    arm of the lady, the _intelligence_ was that of an invisible being who
    was playing on her brain as on a musical instrument, and thus moving
    her muscles. I therefore said to this intelligence, "Can you see the
    contents of this room?" "Yes," wrote the planchette. "Can you see to
    read this newspaper?" said I, putting my finger on a copy of the
    _Times_, which was on a table behind me, but without looking at it.
    "Yes," was the reply of the planchette. "Well," I said, "if you can
    see that, write the word which is now covered by my finger, and I
    will believe you." The planchette commenced to move. Slowly and with
    great difficulty the word "however" was written. I turned round and
    saw that the word "however" was covered by the tip of my finger.

    I had purposely avoided looking at the newspaper when I tried this
    experiment, and it was impossible for the lady, had she tried, to have
    seen any of the printed words, for she was sitting at one table, and
    the paper was on another table behind, my body intervening.

    THIRTEENTH CLASS: _Miscellaneous Occurrences of a Complex Character._

    (Professor Crookes here cites two examples of the _transference of
    matter through matter_,--a bell passing from neighboring room into
    that in which the séance was being held, and a flower separating from
    a bouquet and _passing through the table_.)

The spare at my disposal will not permit me to give more details here; but
all my readers must appreciate, as I do, the importance of these
experiments of the eminent chemist. I will especially call attention to
the proofs they afford of the presence of a mind or intelligence, other
than that of the experimenters; to the formation of hands and
spirit-forms; and to the passage of matter through matter.

These experiments date from the years 1871 to 1873. During the last
mentioned year, a new medium, endowed with particularly remarkable powers,
appeared in London, namely, Miss Florence Cook, who was born in 1856, and
was, therefore, seventeen in 1873. Since the preceding year (1872), she
had often seen the apparition by her side of a young girl. This spectral
form had taken a liking to her, and told her she was called _Katie King_
in the other world, and had been a lady called Annie Morgan during one of
her lives on earth. Some observers told marvellous stories of these
apparitions, which they also saw,--among them being William Harrison,
Benjamin Coleman, Mr. Luxmore, Dr. Sexton, Dr. Gully, the Prince of Sayn
Wittgenstein, who have all published accounts of them which breathe an
air of sincere belief. Professor Crookes got in touch with this new medium
in December, 1873. In _The Spiritualist_--a journal edited by Mr.
Harrison, at whose home several sittings had taken place--there appeared
in the numbers for February and March, 1874, two letters from Professor
Crookes. A few extracts from these letters here follow:

    I have reason to know that the power at work in these phenomena, like
    Love, "laughs at locksmiths."

    The séance of which you speak and at which I was present, was held at
    the house of Mr. Luxmore, and the "cabinet" was a back drawing-room
    separated from the front room in which the company sat by a curtain.

    The usual formality of searching the room and examining the fastenings
    having been gone through, Miss Cook entered the cabinet.

    After a little time the form of Katie appeared at the side of the
    curtain, but soon retreated, saying her medium was not well, and could
    not be put into a sufficiently deep sleep to make it safe for her to
    be left.

    I was sitting within a few feet of the curtain close behind which Miss
    Cook was sitting, and I could frequently hear her moan and sob, as if
    in pain. This uneasiness continued at intervals nearly the whole
    duration of the _séance_, _and once, when the form of Katie was
    standing before me in the room, I distinctly heard a sobbing, moaning
    sound, identical with that which Miss Cook had been making at
    intervals the whole time of the séance, come from behind the curtain
    where the young lady was supposed to be sitting_.

    I admit that the figure was startlingly life-like and real, and, as
    far as I could see in the somewhat dim light, the features resembled
    those of Miss Cook; but still the positive evidence of one of my own
    senses that the moan came from Miss Cook in the cabinet, whilst the
    figure was outside, is too strong to be upset by a mere inference to
    the contrary, however well supported.

    Your readers, sir, know me, and will, I hope, believe that I will not
    come hastily to an opinion, or ask them to agree with me on
    insufficient evidence. It is perhaps expecting too much to think that
    the little incident I have mentioned will have the same weight with
    them that it had with me. But this I do beg of them--Let those who are
    inclined to judge Miss Cook harshly suspend their judgment until I
    bring forward positive evidence which I think will be sufficient to
    settle the question.

    Miss Cook is now devoting herself exclusively to a series of private
    séances with me and one or two friends. The séances will probably
    extend over some months, and I am promised that every desirable test
    shall be given to me. These séances have not been going on many weeks,
    but enough has taken place to thoroughly convince me of the perfect
    truth and honesty of Miss Cook, and to give me every reason to expect
    that the promises so freely made to me by Katie will be kept.


Here is the second letter from the cautious investigator:

    In a letter which I wrote to this journal early in February last,
    speaking of the phenomena of spirit-forms which have appeared through
    Miss Cook's mediumship, I said, "Let those who are inclined to judge
    Miss Cook harshly suspend their judgment until I bring forward
    positive evidence which I think will be sufficient to settle the

    In that letter I described an incident which, to my mind, went very
    far towards convincing me that Katie and Miss Cook were two separate
    material beings. When Katie was outside the cabinet, standing before
    me, I heard a moaning noise from Miss Cook in the cabinet. I am happy
    to say that I have at last obtained the "absolute proof" to which I
    referred in the above-quoted letter.

    On March 12th, during a séance here, after Katie had been walking
    amongst us and talking for some time, she retreated behind the curtain
    which separated my laboratory, where the company was sitting, from my
    library which did temporary duty as a cabinet. In a minute she came to
    the curtain and called me to her, saying, "Come into the room and lift
    my medium's head up, she has slipped down." Katie was then standing
    before me clothed in her usual white robes and turban head-dress. I
    immediately walked into the library up to Miss Cook, Katie stepping
    aside to allow me to pass. I found Miss Cook had slipped partially
    off the sofa, and her head was hanging in a very awkward position. I
    lifted her on to the sofa, and in so doing had satisfactory evidence,
    in spite of the darkness, that Miss Cook was not attired in the
    "Katie" costume, but had on her ordinary black velvet dress, and was
    in a deep trance. Not more than three seconds elapsed between my
    seeing the white-robed Katie standing before me and my raising Miss
    Cook onto the sofa from the position into which she had fallen.

    On returning to my post of observation by the curtain, Katie again
    appeared, and said she thought she would be able to show herself and
    her medium to me at the same time. The gas was then turned out and she
    asked for my phosphorus lamp. After exhibiting herself by it for some
    seconds, she handed it back to me, saying, "Now come in and see my
    medium." I closely followed her into the library, and by the light of
    my lamp saw Miss Cook lying on the sofa just as I had left her. I
    looked round for Katie, but she had disappeared. I called her, but
    there was no answer.

    On resuming my place, Katie soon reappeared, and told me that she had
    been standing close to Miss Cook all the time. She then asked if she
    might try an experiment herself, and taking the phosphorus lamp from
    me she passed behind the curtain, asking me not to look in for the
    present. In a few minutes she handed the lamp back to me, saying she
    could not succeed, as she had used up all the power, but would try
    again another time. My eldest son, a lad of fourteen, who was sitting
    opposite me, in such a position that he could see behind the curtain,
    tells me he distinctly saw the phosphorus lamp apparently floating
    about in space over Miss Cook, illuminating her as she lay motionless
    on the sofa, but he could not see anyone holding the lamp.

    I pass on to a séance held last night at Hackney. Katie never appeared
    to greater perfection, and for nearly two hours she walked about the
    room, conversing familiarly with those present. On several occasions
    she took my arm when walking, and the impression conveyed to my mind
    that it was a living woman by my side, instead of a visitor from the
    other world, was so strong that the temptation to repeat a recent
    celebrated experiment became almost irresistible.

    Feeling, however, that if I had not a spirit, I had at all events a
    _lady_ close to me, I asked her permission to clasp her in my arms, so
    as to be able to verify the interesting observations which a bold
    experimentalist has recently somewhat verbosely recorded. Permission
    was graciously given, and I accordingly did--well, as any gentleman
    would do under the circumstances. Mr. Volckman will be pleased to know
    that I can corroborate his statement that the "ghost" (not
    "struggling" however) was as material a being as Miss Cook herself.

    Katie now said she thought she would be able this time to show herself
    and Miss Cook together. I was to turn the gas out, and then come with
    my phosphorus lamp into the room now used as a cabinet. This I did,
    having previously asked a friend who was skillful at shorthand to take
    down any statement I might make when in the cabinet, knowing the
    importance attaching to first impressions, and not wishing to leave
    more to memory than necessary. His notes are now before me.

    I went cautiously into the room, it being dark, and felt about for
    Miss Cook. I found her crouching on the floor.

    Kneeling down, I let air enter the lamp, and by its light I saw the
    young lady dressed in black velvet, as she had been in the early part
    of the evening, and to all appearance perfectly senseless; she did not
    move when I took her hand and held the light quite close to her face,
    but continued quietly breathing.

    Raising the lamp, I looked around and saw Katie standing close behind
    Miss Cook. She was robed in flowing white drapery as we had seen her
    previously during the séance. Holding one of Miss Cook's hands in
    mine, and still kneeling, I passed the lamp up and down so as to
    illuminate Katie's whole figure, and satisfy myself thoroughly that I
    was really looking at the veritable Katie whom I had clasped in my
    arms a few minutes before, and not at the phantasm of a disordered
    brain. She did not speak, but moved her head and smiled in
    recognition. Three separate times did I carefully examine Miss Cook
    crouching before me, to be sure that the hand I held was that of a
    living woman, and three separate times did I turn the lamp to Katie
    and examine her with steadfast scrutiny, until I had no doubt whatever
    of her objective reality. At last Miss Cook moved slightly, and Katie
    instantly motioned me to go away. I went to another part of the
    cabinet, and then ceased to see Katie, but did not leave the room till
    Miss Cook woke up, and two of the visitors came in with a light.

    Before concluding this article I wish to give some of the points of
    difference which I have observed between Miss Cook and Katie. Katie's
    height varies; in my house I have seen her six inches taller than Miss
    Cook. Last night, with bare feet, and not "tiptoeing," she was
    four-and-a-half inches taller than Miss Cook. Katie's neck was bare
    last night; the skin was perfectly smooth both to touch and sight,
    whilst on Miss Cook's neck is a large blister, which under similar
    circumstances is distinctly visible and rough to the touch. Katie's
    ears are unpierced, whilst Miss Cook habitually wears earrings.
    Katie's complexion is very fair, while that of Miss Cook is very dark.
    Katie's fingers are much longer than Miss Cook's, and her face is also
    larger. In manners and ways of expression there are also many decided

After the observations summarized in these two letters Professor Crookes
continued his experiments at his own home, for a space of two months. The
result of all is embodied in the following statements made by Crookes

    During the week before Katie took her departure she gave séances at my
    house almost nightly, to enable me to photograph her by artificial
    light. Five complete sets of photographic apparatus were accordingly
    fitted up for the purpose, consisting of five cameras, one of the
    whole-plate size, one half-plate, one quarter-plate, and two binocular
    stereoscopic cameras, which were all brought to bear upon Katie at the
    same time on each occasion on which she stood for her portrait. Five
    sensitizing and five fixing baths were used, and plenty of plates were
    cleaned ready for use in advance, so that there might be no hitch or
    delay during the photographic operations, which were performed by
    myself, aided by one assistant.

    My library was used as a dark cabinet. It has folding doors opening
    into the laboratory; one of these doors was taken off its hinges, and
    a curtain suspended in its place to enable Katie to pass in and out
    easily. Those of our friends who were present were seated in the
    laboratory facing the curtain, and the cameras were placed a little
    behind them, ready to photograph Katie when she came outside, and to
    photograph anything also inside the cabinet, whenever the curtain was
    withdrawn for the purpose. Each evening there were three or four
    exposures of plates in the five cameras, giving at least fifteen
    separate pictures at each séance; some of these were spoilt in the
    developing, and some in regulating the amount of light. Altogether, I
    have forty-four negatives, some inferior, some indifferent, and some

    Katie instructed all the sitters but myself to keep their seats and to
    keep conditions; but for some time past she has given me permission to
    do what I liked--to touch her, and to enter and leave the cabinet
    almost whenever I pleased. I have frequently followed her into the
    cabinet, and have sometimes seen her and her medium together, but most
    generally I have found nobody but the entranced medium lying on the
    floor, Katie and her white robes having instantaneously disappeared.

    During the last six months Miss Cook has been a frequent visitor at my
    house, remaining sometimes a week at a time. She brings nothing with
    her but a little hand-bag, not locked. During the day she is
    constantly in the presence of Mrs. Crookes, myself, or some other
    member of my family, and, not sleeping by herself, there is absolutely
    no opportunity for any preparation even of a less elaborate character
    than would be required for enacting Katie King. I prepare and arrange
    my library myself as the dark cabinet, and usually, after Miss Cook
    has been dining and conversing with us, and scarcely out of our sight
    for a minute, she walks directly into the cabinet, and I, at her
    request, lock its second door, and keep possession of the key all
    through the séance. The gas is then turned out, and Miss Cook is left
    in darkness.

    On entering the cabinet, Miss Cook lies down upon the floor, with her
    head on a pillow, and is soon entranced. During the photographic
    séance, Katie muffled her medium's head up in a shawl to prevent the
    light falling upon her face. I frequently drew the curtain on one side
    when Katie was standing near, and it was a common thing for the seven
    or eight of us in the laboratory to see Miss Cook and Katie at the
    same time, under the full blaze of the electric light. We did not on
    these occasions actually see the face of the medium because of the
    shawl, but we saw her hands and feet; we saw her move uneasily under
    the influence of the intense light, and we heard her moan
    occasionally. I have one photograph of the two together, but Katie is
    seated in front of Miss Cook's head.

    During the time I took an active part in these séances Katie's
    confidence in me gradually grew, until she refused to give a séance
    unless I took charge of the arrangements. She said she always wanted
    me to keep close to her, and near the cabinet, and I found that after
    this confidence was established, and she was satisfied I would not
    break any promise I might make to her, the phenomena increased greatly
    in power, and tests were freely given that would have been
    unobtainable had I approached the subject in another manner. She often
    consulted me about persons present at the séances, and where they
    should be placed, for of late she had become very nervous, in
    consequence of certain ill-advised suggestions that force should be
    employed as an adjunct to more scientific modes of research.

    One of the most interesting of the pictures is one in which I am
    standing by the side of Katie; she has her bare foot upon a particular
    part of the floor. Afterwards I dressed Miss Cook like Katie, placed
    her and myself in exactly the same position, and we were photographed
    by the same cameras, placed exactly as in the other experiment, and
    illuminated by the same light. When these two pictures are placed over
    each other, the two photographs of myself coincide exactly as regards
    stature, etc., but Katie is half a head taller than Miss Cook, and
    looks a big woman in comparison with her. In the breadth of her face,
    in many of the pictures, she differs essentially in size from her
    medium, and the photographs show several other points of difference.

    But photography is as inadequate to depict the perfect beauty of
    Katie's face as words are powerless to describe her charms of manner.
    Photography may, indeed, give a map of her countenance; but how can it
    reproduce the brilliant purity of her complexion, or the ever-varying
    expression of her most mobile features, now overshadowed with sadness
    when relating some of the bitter experiences of her past life, now
    smiling with all the innocence of happy girlhood when she had
    collected my children round her and was amusing them by recounting
    anecdotes of her adventures in India?

      "Round her she made an atmosphere of life;
        The very air seemed lighter from her eyes,
      They were so soft and beautiful, and rife
        With all we can imagine of the skies;
      Her overpowering presence made you feel
        It would not be idolatry to kneel."

    Having seen so much of Katie lately, when she has been illuminated by
    the electric light, I am enabled to add to the points of difference
    between her and her medium which I mentioned in a former article. I
    have the most absolute certainty that Miss Cook and Katie are two
    separate individuals so far as their bodies are concerned. Several
    little marks on Miss Cook's face are absent on Katie's. Miss Cook's
    hair is so dark a brown as almost to appear black; a lock of Katie's,
    which is now before me, and which she allowed me to cut from her
    luxuriant tresses, having first traced it up to the scalp and
    satisfied myself that it actually grew there, is a rich golden auburn.

    One evening I timed Katie's pulse. It beat steadily at 75, whilst Miss
    Cook's pulse a little time after was going at its usual rate of 90. On
    applying my ear to Katie's chest I could hear a heart beating
    rhythmically inside, and pulsating even more steadily than did Miss
    Cook's heart when she allowed me to try a similar experiment after the
    séance. Tested in the same way, Katie's lungs were found to be sounder
    than her medium's, for at the time I tried my experiment Miss Cook was
    under medical treatment for a severe cough.

This mysterious being, this strange Katie King, had announced, from the
time of her first appearances, that she would be able to show herself in
this way for only three years. The end of this period was now approaching.

    When the time came for Katie to take her farewell I asked that she
    would let me see the last of her. Accordingly when she had called each
    of the company up to her and had spoken to them a few words in
    private, she gave some general directions for the future guidance and
    protection of Miss Cook. From these, which were taken down in
    shorthand, I quote the following: "Mr. Crookes has done very well
    throughout, and I leave Florrie with the greatest confidence in his
    hands, feeling perfectly sure he will not abuse the trust I place in
    him. He can act in any emergency better than I can myself, for he has
    more strength." Having concluded her directions Katie invited me into
    the cabinet with her, and allowed me to remain there to the end.

    After closing the curtain she conversed with me for some time, and
    then walked across the room to where Miss Cook was lying senseless on
    the floor. Stooping over her, Katie touched her, and said: "Wake up,
    Florrie, wake up! I must leave you now."

    Miss Cook then woke and tearfully entreated Katie to stay a little
    time longer. "My dear, I can't; my work is done. God bless you," Katie
    replied, and then continued speaking to Miss Cook. For several minutes
    the two were conversing with each other, till at last Miss Cook's
    tears prevented her speaking. Following Katie's instructions I then
    came forward to support Miss Cook, who was falling onto the floor,
    sobbing hysterically. I looked round, but the white-robed Katie had
    gone. As soon as Miss Cook was sufficiently calmed, a light was
    procured and I led her out of the cabinet.

One word more about this astonishing phenomenon. The medium Home,
employed, as we have seen, in the first experiments of Professor Crookes,
gave it to me as his personal opinion that Miss Cook was only a skilful
trickster, and had shamefully deceived the eminent scientist, and as for
mediums, why _there was only one absolutely trustworthy and that was
himself, Daniel Dunglas Home_! He even added that the fiancé of Miss Cook
had given striking proofs of her extreme cantankerousness!

He who has observed at close hand the rivalries of mediums--which are as
strongly marked as those of doctors, actors, musicians and women--will
not, it seems to me, find in this talk of Home any intrinsic value
whatever. But I must confess that this matter of Katie King is really so
extraordinary that I am forced to try every possible explanation before
admitting its truth. This is also the opinion of Mr. Crookes himself.

    In order to convince myself (says he) I was constantly on my guard,
    and Miss Cook readily assisted me in all my investigations. Every test
    that I have proposed she has at once agreed to submit to with the
    utmost willingness; she is open and straightforward in speech, and I
    have never seen anything approaching the slightest symptom of a wish
    to deceive. Indeed, I do not believe she could carry on a deception if
    she were to try, and if she did she would certainly be found out very
    quickly, for such a line of action is altogether foreign to her
    nature. And to imagine that an innocent school-girl of fifteen would
    be able to conceive and then successfully carry out for three years so
    gigantic an imposture as this, and in that time would submit to any
    test which might be imposed upon her, would bear the strictest
    scrutiny, would be willing to be searched at any time, either before
    or after a séance, and would meet with even better success in my own
    house than at that of her parents, knowing that she visited me with
    the express object of submitting to strict scientific tests--to
    imagine, I say, the Katie King of the last three years to be the
    result of imposture does more violence to one's reason and common
    sense than to believe her to be what she herself affirms.

It will perhaps not be superfluous to round out these accounts of William
Crookes by giving an extract from the journal _The Spiritualist_ of the
29th of May, 1874.

    From the beginning of the mediumship of Miss Cook, the spirit Katie
    King or Annie Morgan, who had produced the greater portion of the
    physical part of the manifestations, had announced that she would not
    be able to be with her medium longer than three years, and that after
    that time she would say good-bye to her forever.

    The end of that period came last Thursday; but before leaving her
    medium, she gave her friends three more séances.

    The last took place on Thursday, the 21st of May, 1874. Among the
    spectators was Prof. William Crookes.

    At 7.23 in the evening Professor Crookes led Miss Cook into the dark
    cabinet, where she lay down upon the floor, her head resting on a
    cushion. At 7.28 Katie spoke for the first time, and at 7.30 she
    showed herself outside of the curtain in her full form. She was
    dressed in white, short sleeves and bare neck. She had long light
    auburn hair of a rich tint, falling in curls on each side of her head
    and down her back to her waist. She wore a long white veil which was
    not drawn down over her face more than once or twice during the

    The medium wore a light blue merino robe. During almost the whole of
    the séance, Katie remained standing before us. The curtain of the
    cabinet was drawn aside and all could distinctly see the medium lying
    asleep, having her face covered with a red shawl, in order to shield
    it from the light. Katie spoke of her approaching departure and
    accepted a bouquet which Mr. Tapp had brought her, as well as a bunch
    of lilies offered by Mr. Crookes. She asked Mr. Tapp to untie the
    bouquet and to put the flowers before her on the floor. She then sat
    down in the Turkish style and asked all to sit around her in the same
    way. Then she divided the flowers and gave to each a little bouquet
    tied up with a blue ribbon.

    She then wrote letters to some of her friends, signing them "Annie
    Owen Morgan," saying that was her true name during her life on earth.
    She also wrote a letter to her medium, and chose for her a rosebud as
    a good-bye gift. Katie then took the scissors, cut off a lock of her
    hair and gave some of it to all of us. She then took Mr. Crookes' hand
    and made the tour of the room, pressing the hand of each of us in
    turn. She then sat down again and cut off several pieces of her robe
    and of her veil for remembrances. Seeing such holes in her robe (she
    being seated all this while between Mr. Crookes and Mr. Tapp), some
    one asked her if she could repair the damage, as she had done on
    previous occasions. She then held the cut part of the robe in the
    light, gave one rap upon it, and instantly that part was whole and
    unblemished as before. Those near her touched and examined the stuff,
    with her permission. They affirmed that there was neither hole nor
    scam, nor anything added at the very place where an instant before
    they had seen holes several inches in diameter.

    She next gave her last instructions to Mr. Crookes. Then, seeming
    fatigued, she added that her force was disappearing, and repeated her
    good-bye to everyone in the most affectionate manner. All present
    thanked her for the wonderful manifestations which she had given them.

    While she was directing toward her friends a last grave and pensive
    look, she let fall the curtain, and it hid her from our view. We heard
    her waking up the medium, who begged her with tears to remain a little
    longer. But Katie said, "It is impossible, my dear; my mission is
    accomplished; God bless you!" And we heard the sound of a kiss. The
    medium then came out among us wholly exhausted and in a state of deep

Such are the experiments of Sir William Crookes. I have restricted myself
to relating his own personal observations, as set forth by himself. The
story of Katie King is truly one of the most mysterious, the most
incredible, to be found in the whole history of Spiritualistic research,
and is at the same time, one of the cases that have been most scrupulously
studied by the experimental method, including photography.

The medium, Miss Florence Cook, married in 1874 Mr. Elgie Corner, and,
from that time on, her contributions to psychical research almost ceased.
I have several times been assured that she also had been caught in the
very act of cheating. (Always that feminine hysteria!) But the
investigations of Crookes were conducted with such care and competence,
that it is very difficult to refuse our credence. Besides, this scientist
was not the only one to study the mediumship of Florence Cook. Among other
works that may be consulted on this subject is one containing a large
number of proofs and testimonies, as well as several photographs (alluded
to above).[68]

These recorded cases, or testimonies, form a collection of records, the
study of which is most instructive. The study of the great chemist surpass
the rest, to be sure, but it does not diminish the intrinsic value of the
others. All the observations agree and mutually confirm each other.

As to the explanation of the phenomena, Crookes thinks that we cannot
discover it. Was this apparition what it claimed to be? There is nothing
to prove it.

Might it not be a _double_ of the medium, a product of her psychic force?

The learned chemist did not change his opinion (as has been claimed) about
the authenticity of the phenomena studied by him. In an address delivered
at a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science,
held at Bristol in 1898, and of which he was President, he expressed
himself as follows:

    No incident in my scientific career is more widely known than the part
    I took many years ago in certain psychic researches. Thirty years have
    passed since I published an account of experiments tending to show
    that outside our scientific knowledge there exists a Force exercised
    by intelligence differing from the ordinary intelligence common to
    mortals. This fact in my life is, of course, well understood by those
    who honored me with the invitation to become your President. Perhaps
    among my audience some may feel curious as to whether I shall speak
    out or be silent. I elect to speak, although briefly.

    To enter at length on a still debatable subject would be to insist on
    a topic which,--as Wallace, Lodge and Barrett have already
    shown,--though not unfitted for discussion at these meetings, does not
    yet enlist the interest of the majority of my scientific brethren. To
    ignore the subject would be an act of cowardice, an act of cowardice I
    feel no temptation to commit.

    To stop short in any research that bids fair to widen the gates of
    knowledge, to recoil from fear of difficulty or adverse criticism, is
    to bring reproach on science. There is nothing for the investigator to
    do but to go straight on, "to explore up and down, inch by inch, with
    the taper, his reason;" to follow the light wherever it may lead, even
    should it at times resemble a will-o'-the wisp.

    I have nothing to retract. I adhere to my already published
    statements. Indeed, I might add much thereto. I regret only a certain
    crudity in those early expositions, which, no doubt justly, militated
    against their acceptance by the scientific world. My own knowledge at
    that time scarcely extended beyond the fact that certain phenomena new
    to science had assuredly occurred, and were attested by my own sober
    senses, and, better still, by automatic record.

    I was like some two-dimensional being who might stand at the singular
    point of a Riemann's surface, and thus find himself in infinitesimal
    and inexplicable contact with a plane of existence not his own.

    I think I see a little farther now. I have glimpses of something like
    coherence among the strange elusive phenomena; of something like
    continuity between those unexplained forces and laws already known.
    This advance is largely due to the labors of another Association of
    which I have also this year the honor to be President--the Society for
    Psychical Research. And were I now introducing for the first time
    these inquiries to the world of science I should choose a starting
    point different from that of old. It would be well to begin with
    _telepathy_; with the fundamental law, as I believe it to be, that
    thoughts and images may be transferred from one mind to another
    without the agency of the recognized organs of sense, that knowledge
    may enter the human mind without being communicated in any hitherto
    known or recognized ways.

    Although the inquiry has elicited important facts with reference to
    the mind, it has not yet reached the scientific stage of certainty
    which would entitle it to be usefully brought before one of our
    sections. I will therefore confine myself to pointing out the
    direction in which scientific investigation can legitimately advance.

    If telepathy take place we have two physical facts--the physical
    change in the brain of A, the suggester, and the analogous physical
    change in the brain of B, the recipient of the suggestion. Between
    these two physical events there must exist a train of physical causes.
    Whenever the connecting sequence of intermediate causes begins to be
    revealed the inquiry will then come within the range of one of the
    sections of the British Association. Such a sequence can only occur
    through an intervening medium. All the phenomena of the universe are
    presumably in some way continous, and it is unscientific to call in
    the aid of mysterious agencies when with every fresh advance in
    knowledge it is shown that ether vibrations have powers and attributes
    abundantly equal to any demand--even to the transmission of thought.
    It is supposed by some physiologists that the essential cells of
    nerves do not actually touch, but are separated by a narrow gap which
    widens in sleep while it narrows almost to extinction during mental
    activity. This condition is so singuarly like that of a Branly or
    Lodge coherer as to suggest a further analogy.

    The structure of brain and nerve being similar, it is conceivable
    there may be present masses of such nerve coherers in the brain whose
    special function it may be to receive impulses brought from without
    through the connecting sequence of ether waves of appropriate order of
    magnitude. Röntgen has familiarized us with an order of vibrations of
    extreme minuteness compared with the smallest waves with which we
    have hitherto been acquainted, and of dimensions comparable with the
    distances between centers of the atoms of which the material universe
    is built up; and there is no reason to suppose that we have here
    reached the limit of frequency. It is known that the action of thought
    is accompanied by certain molecular movements in the brain, and here
    we have physical vibrations capable from their extreme minuteness of
    acting directly on individual molecules, while their rapidity
    approaches that of the internal and external movements of the atoms

    Confirmation of telepathic phenomena is afforded by many converging
    experiments, and by many spontaneous occurrences only thus
    intelligible. The most varied proof, perhaps, is drawn from analysis
    of the sub-conscious workings of the mind, when these, whether by
    accident or design, are brought into conscious survey. Evidence of a
    region below the threshold of consciousness has been presented, since
    its first inception, in the "Proceedings of the Society for Psychical
    Research;" and its various aspects are being interpreted and welded
    into a comprehensive whole by the pertinacious genius of F. W. H.

    A formidable range of phenomena must be scientifically sifted before
    we effectually grasp a faculty so strange, so bewildering, and for
    ages so inscrutable, as the direct action of mind on mind.

    An eminent predecessor in this chair declared that "by an intellectual
    necessity be crossed the boundary of experimental evidence, and
    discerned in that matter, which we, in our ignorance of its latent
    powers, and notwithstanding our professed reverence for its Creator,
    have hitherto covered with opprobrium, the potency and promise of all
    terrestrial life." I should prefer to reverse the apophthegm, and to
    say that in life I see the promise and potency of all forms of matter.

    In old Egyptian days a well-known inscription was carved over the
    portal of the temple of Isis: "I am whatever hath been, is, or ever
    will be; and my veil no man hath yet lifted." Not thus do modern
    seekers after truth confront Nature,--the word that stands for the
    baffling mysteries of the Universe. Steadily, unflinchingly, we
    strive to pierce the inmost heart of Nature, from what she is to
    re-construct what she has been, and to prophesy what she yet shall be.
    Veil after veil we have lifted, and her face grows more beautiful,
    august, and wonderful, with every barrier that is withdrawn.

It would be difficult to find truer thought better expressed. It is the
language of true science, and is also the expression of the highest



Abundant testimony as to the existence of a hitherto little explored
psychic realm has doubtless been given in the preceding pages. Mediumistic
phenomena proclaim the existence of unknown forces. It is almost
superfluous to heap up in this place a still greater number of recorded

However, these facts are so extraordinary, so incomprehensible, so hard to
believe, that a mere increase in the number of cases is not without value,
especially when they are furnished by men of incontestable skill and
learning. The old law proverb _Testis unus, testis nullus_ ("One witness
is no witness") is applicable here. We must not verify once, we must
verify a hundred times, such apparently scientific extravagances, in order
to make sure they are not delusions, but sober facts.

In short, the whole subject is so curious, so strange that the
investigator of these mysteries is never surfeited.

Hence, in addition to what has already been given, I shall select and
present in this place, out of the immense collection of observations which
I have for a long time been making, those which most strike the attention
and give added confirmation to what has preceded.

In addition to the experiments of Crookes, it is fitting to add in this
place those of the great English naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, also a
member of the Royal Society of London, President of the English
Anthropological Society, and well known as the scientist, who at the same
time with Darwin (June, 1858), gave to the world the theory of the
variation of species by natural selection.

He himself gives the following account[69] of his studies in this matter
of the mysterious psychic force:

    It was in the summer of 1865 that I first witnessed any of the
    phenomena of what is called Spiritualism, in the house of a friend,--a
    sceptic, a man of science, and a lawyer, with none but members of his
    own family present. Sitting at a good-sized round table, with our
    hands placed upon it, after a short time slight movements would
    commence--not often "turnings" or "tiltings" but a gentle intermittent
    movement, like steps, which after a time would bring the table quite
    across the room. Slight but distinct tapping sounds were also heard.
    The following notes made at the time were intended to describe exactly
    what took place:--

    "July 22nd, 1865.--Sat with my friend, his wife, and two daughters at
    a large loo table, by daylight. In about half an hour some faint
    motions were perceived, and some faint taps heard. They gradually
    increased; the taps became very distinct, and the table moved
    considerably, obliging us all to shift our chairs. Then a curious
    vibratory motion of the table commenced, almost like the shivering of
    a living animal. I could feel it up to my elbows. These phenomena were
    variously repeated for two hours. On trying afterwards, we found the
    table could not be voluntarily moved in the same manner without a
    great exertion of force, and we could discover no possible way of
    producing the taps while our hands were upon the table."

    On other occasions we tried the experiment of each person in
    succession leaving the table, and found that the phenomena continued
    the same as before, both taps and the table movement. Once I requested
    one after another to leave the table. The phenomena continued, but, as
    the number of sitters diminished, with decreasing vigor, and, just
    after the last person had drawn back, leaving me alone at the table,
    there were two dull taps or blows, as with a fist on the pillar or
    foot of the table, the vibration of which I could feel as well as

    Some time before these observations I had met a gentleman who had told
    me of most wonderful phenomena occurring in his own family,--among
    them the palpable motion of solid bodies when no person was touching
    them or near them; and he had recommended me to go to a public medium
    in London (Mrs. Marshall), where I might see things equally wonderful.
    Accordingly, in September, 1865, I began a series of visits to Mrs.
    Marshall, generally accompanied by a friend,--a good chemist and
    mechanic, and of a thoroughly sceptical mind.

    1. A small table, on which the hands of four persons were placed
    (including my own and Mrs. Marshall's), rose up vertically about a
    foot from the floor, and remained suspended for about twenty seconds,
    while my friend, who was sitting looking on, could see the lower part
    of the table with the feet freely suspended above the floor.

    2. While sitting at a large table, with Miss T. on my left and Mr. R.
    on my right, a guitar which had been played in Miss T's hand slid down
    onto the floor, passed over my feet, and came to Mr. R., against whose
    legs it raised itself up till it appeared above the table. I and Mr.
    R. were watching it carefully the whole time, and it behaved as if
    alive itself, or rather as if a small invisible child were by great
    exertions moving it and raising it up. These two phenomena were
    witnessed in bright gaslight.

    3. A chair, on which a relation of Mr. R's sat, was lifted up with her
    on it. Afterwards, when she returned to the table from the piano,
    where she had been playing, her chair moved away just as she was going
    to sit down. On drawing it up, it moved away again. After this had
    happened three times, it became apparently fixed to the floor, so that
    she could not raise it. Mr. R. then took hold of it, and found that it
    was only by a great exertion he could lift it off the floor. This
    sitting took place in broad daylight, on a bright day, and in a room
    on the first floor with two windows.

    However strange and unreal these few phenomena may seem to readers who
    have seen nothing of the kind, I positively affirm that they are
    facts which really happened just as I have narrated them, and that
    there was no room for any possible trick or deception. In each case,
    before we began, we turned up the tables and chairs, and saw that they
    were ordinary pieces of furniture, and that there was no connection
    between them and the floor, and we placed them where we pleased before
    we sat down. Several of the phenomena occurred entirely under our own
    hands, and quite disconnected from the "medium." They were as much
    realities as the motion of nails towards a magnet, and, it may be
    added, not in themselves more improbable or more incomprehensible.

    The mental phenomena which most frequently occur are the spelling out
    of the names of relatives of persons present, their ages, or any other
    particulars about them. They are especially uncertain in their
    manifestation, though when they do succeed they are very conclusive to
    the persons who witness them. The general opinion of sceptics as to
    these phenomena is, that they depend simply on the acuteness and
    talent of the medium in hitting on the letters which form the name, by
    the manner in which persons dwell upon or hurry over them,--the
    ordinary mode of receiving these communications being for the person
    interested to go over a printed alphabet, letter by letter, loud taps
    indicating the letters which form the required names. I am going to
    choose some of our experiments which show how impossible it is to
    accept this explanation.

    When I first received a communication myself I was particularly
    careful to avoid giving any indication, by going with steady
    regularity over the letters; yet there was spelt out correctly, first,
    the place where my brother died, Para; then his Christian name,
    Herbert; and lastly, at my request, the name of the mutual friend who
    last saw him, Henry Walter Bates. On this occasion our party of six
    visited Mrs. Marshall for the first time, and my name as well as those
    of the rest of the party, except one, were unknown to her. That one
    was my married sister, whose name was no clue to mine.

    On the same occasion a young lady, a connection of Mr. R.'s was told
    that a communication was to be made to her. She took the alphabet,
    and instead of pointing to the letters one by one, she moved the
    pencil smoothly over the lines with the greatest steadiness. I watched
    her, and wrote down the letters which the taps indicated. The name
    produced was an extraordinary one, the letters being Thomas Doe
    Thacker. I thought there must be an error in the latter part; but the
    names were Thomas Doe Thacker, the lady's father, every letter being
    correct. A number of other names, places, and dates were spelt out on
    this occasion with equal accuracy; but I give only these two, because
    in these I am _sure_ no clue was given by which the names could have
    been guessed by the most preternaturally acute intellect.

    On another occasion, I accompanied my sister and a lady who had never
    been there before to Mrs. Marshall's, and we had a very curious
    illustration of the absurdity of imputing the spelling of names to the
    receiver's hesitation and the medium's acuteness. She wished the name
    of a particular deceased relative to be spelled out to her, and
    pointed to the letters of the alphabet in the usual way, while I wrote
    down those indicated. The first three letters were y r n. "Oh!" said
    she, "that's nonsense; we had better begin again." Just then an e
    came, and, thinking I saw what it was, I said, "Please go on, I
    understand it." The whole was then spelt out thus: yrnehkcocffej. The
    lady even then did not see it, till I separated it thus: yrneh
    kcocffej, or Henry Jeffcock,--the name of the relative she had wanted,
    accurately spelt backwards.

    Another phenomenon, necessitating the exertion both of force and
    intellect, is the following: The table having been previously
    examined, a sheet of note paper was marked privately by me, and placed
    with a lead-pencil under the centre foot of the table, all present
    having their hands upon the table. After a few minutes, taps are
    heard, and, on taking up the paper, I find written on it, in a free
    hand, "William." On another occasion, a friend from the country--a
    total stranger to the medium, and whose name was never
    mentioned--accompanied me; and, after receiving what purported to be a
    communication from his son, a paper was put under the table, and in a
    few minutes there was found written on it "Charley T. Dodd." the
    correct name. In these cases it is certain there was no machinery
    under the table; and it simply remains to ask if it were possible for
    Mrs. Marshall to slip off her boots, seize the pencil and paper with
    her toes, and write on it a name she had to guess at, and again put on
    her boots without removing her hands from the table, or giving any
    indication whatever of her exertions.

    It was in November, 1866, that my sister discovered that a lady living
    with her had the power of inducing loud and distinct taps and other
    curious phenomena; and I now began a series of observations in my own
    house, the most important of which I shall briefly narrate.

    When we sat at a large loo table without a cloth, with all our hands
    upon it, the taps would generally commence in a few minutes. They
    sound as if made on the under side of the leaf of the table, in
    various parts of it. They change in tone and loudness, from a sound
    like that produced by tapping with a needle or a long finger-nail, to
    others like blows with a fist or slaps with the fingers of a hand.
    Sounds are produced also like scraping with a finger-nail, or like the
    rubbing of a damp finger pressed very hard on the table. The rapidity
    with which these sounds are produced and are changed is very
    remarkable. They will imitate, more or less exactly, sounds which we
    make with our fingers above the table; they will keep good time to a
    tune whistled by one of the party; they will sometimes, at request,
    play a very fair tune themselves, or will follow accurately a hand
    tapping a tune upon the table.

    Of course, the first impression is that some one's foot is lifting up
    the table. To answer this objection, I prepared the table before our
    second trial without telling any one, by stretching some thin tissue
    paper between the feet an inch or two from the bottom of the pillar,
    in such a manner that any attempt to insert the foot must crush or
    tear the paper. The table rose up as before, resisted pressure
    downwards, as if it was resting on the back of some animal, sunk to
    the floor, and in a short time rose again, and then dropped suddenly
    down. I now with some anxiety turned up the table, and, to the
    surprise of all present, showed them the delicate tissue stretched
    across altogether uninjured! Finding that this test was troublesome,
    as the paper or threads had to be renewed every time, and were liable
    to be broken accidentally before the experiment began, I constructed a
    cylinder of hoops and laths, covered with canvas. The table was placed
    within this as in a well, and, as it was about eighteen inches high,
    it kept the feet and dresses of the ladies away from the table. The
    latter rose without the least difficulty, the hands of all the group
    being held above it.

    A small centre-table suddenly moved up of its own accord to the table
    by the side of the medium, as if it had gradually got within the
    sphere of a strong attractive force. Afterwards, at our request, it
    was thrown down on the floor without any person touching it, and it
    then moved about in a strange life-like manner, as if seeking some
    means of getting up again, turning its claws first on one side and
    then on the other. On another occasion, a very large leather arm-chair
    which stood at least four or five feet from the medium, suddenly
    wheeled up to her, after a few slight preliminary movements. It is, of
    course, easy to say that what I relate is impossible. I maintain that
    it is accurately true; and that no man, whatever be his attainments,
    has such an exhaustive knowledge of the powers of nature as to justify
    him in using the word "impossible" with regard to facts which I and
    many others have repeatedly witnessed.

We evidently have here facts similar to those which I observed in my
experiments with Eusapia and with other mediums.

Alfred Russel Wallace continues his account by the citation of cases
analogous to those which have been described in this work; then sums up
the experiments of Crookes, of Varley, Morgan, and other English
scientists; does me the honor of citing my letter to the Dialectical
Society which I have printed above; passes in review the history of
Spiritualism, and declares that (1) _the facts are incontestable_, and
that (2), in his opinion, the best explanatory hypothesis is that of
_spirits_, or _the souls of the disembodied_--the theory of "the
unconscious" being _evidently inadequate_.

Such is also the opinion of the electrician Cromwell Varley. Neither he
nor Wallace believes that there is anything supernatural in the phenomena.
Discarnate spirits are in nature, as well as the incarnate. "The
triviality of the communications ought not to astonish us, if we consider
the myriads of trivial and fantastic human beings who every day become
ghosts and are the same beings the day after their death that they were
the day before."

Professor Morgan, the brilliant author of the _Budget of Paradoxes_ (an
excellent piece of work, and highly complimented by the London _Athenæum_,
in 1865), expresses the same opinion in his work on _Mind_ (1863). Not
only does he think that the facts are incontestable, but he also believes
that the hypothesis that explains the facts by intelligences exterior to
ourselves is the only satisfying one. He relates, among other things,
that, in one of the séances attended by him, a friend of his (a very
sceptical person), was making a little fun of the spirits, whereupon,
while they were all standing (a dozen experimenters of them) around the
dining room table, and forming the chain above it, _without contact_, the
heavy table began to move of its own accord, and, dragging along the whole
group, made a rush at the sceptic, and pinned him against the back of the
sofa, until he cried "Hold! enough!"

Still, does that constitute proof of an independent spirit? Was it not an
expression of the collective thought of the company? And, likewise, in the
experience which Wallace has just cited, were not the dictated names
latent in the brain of the questioner? And was not the little
centre-table, in its climbings acting under the physical and pyschical
influences of the medium?

Whatever may be the explanatory hypothesis, the FACTS are undeniable.

We have here, before all, a group of substantial English scientists of
the first rank, in whose opinion the denial of the phenomena is a sort of

French scientists are a little more belated than their neighbors.
Nevertheless, I have already called attention to some of them during the
course of this work. I should have taken pleasure in adding the names of
the lamented Pierre Curie and of Professor d'Arsonval, if they had
published the experiments they made with Eusapia during July, 1905, and
March and April, 1906, at the General Institute of Psychology.

Among the most judicious of experimenters in psychical phenomena I ought
also to mention M. J. Maxwell, a doctor of medicine and (a very different
function) advocate-general at the Court of Appeals in Bordeaux.

The reader may have already noticed (p. 173) the part which this
investigator, at once a magistrate and a scientist, took in the
experiments made at l'Agnélas in 1895. Eusapia is not the only medium with
whom he studied, and his acquaintance with our subject is supported by the
best of documentary evidence.

It is fitting that I present to the reader at this point the most
characteristic facts and the essential conclusions set forth in his

    The author has made a special examinations of _raps_.

    _Raps (coups frappés)._--The contact of hands is not necessary to
    obtain raps. With certain mediums I have very readily obtained them
    without contact.

    When one has succeeded in obtaining raps with contact, one of the
    surest means of continuing to thus obtain them, is to keep the hands
    resting on the table for a certain time, then to lift them _very
    slowly_, keeping the palms turned downward toward the table, the
    fingers loosely opened, but not held stiffly. It rarely happens under
    such circumstances, that the raps do not continue to make themselves
    heard, at least for some time. I need not add that the experimenters
    should not only avoid touching the table with their hands, but even
    with any other part of their bodies, or their clothes. The contact of
    garments with the table may be sufficient to produce raps which have
    in them nothing supernormal. It is necessary therefore to exercise
    great care that the dresses of ladies do not come in contact with the
    legs of the table. When the necessary precautions are used, the raps
    sound in a very convincing way.

    In the case of certain mediums, the energy set free is powerful enough
    to act at a distance. I once happened to hear raps upon a table which
    was almost six feet from the medium. We had had a very short sitting
    and had left the table. I was reclining in an easy-chair; the medium,
    standing, was conversing with me, when a series of raps was made upon
    the table which we had just left. It was broad daylight in midsummer,
    about five o'clock in the evening. The raps were forcible and lasted
    for several minutes.

    I have often observed facts of this kind. I happened once, while
    travelling, to meet an interesting medium. He did not allow me to use
    his name, but I may say that he is an honorable man, well informed,
    occupying an official position. I obtained with him lively raps in
    restaurants and in railway lunch counters. He did not suspect that he
    possessed this latent faculty before he had experimented with me. To
    have observed the raps produced under these conditions would have been
    sufficient to convince anyone of their authenticity. The unusual noise
    made by these raps attracted the attention of persons present and gave
    us much annoyance. The result surpassed our expectations. It is to be
    noted that the more we were confused with the noise made by our raps,
    the more frequent they became. One would have said that some waggish
    creature was producing them and amusing himself with our

    I also obtained fine raps upon the floors of museums before the
    pictures of the old masters. The most common are those made, with
    contact, upon the table or upon the floor; next, those made at a
    distance upon various articles of furniture.

    More rarely, I have heard them on the garments of the sitters or of
    the medium, or upon the coverings of pieces of furniture. I have heard
    them on sheets of paper laid on the experiment-table, in books, in
    walls, in tambourines, in small wooden objects, especially in a
    planchette used for automatic writing. I noticed very curious raps in
    the case of a writing-medium. When she had automatic writing, the raps
    were produced with extreme rapidity at the end of her pencil; but, the
    pencil itself did not tap the table. Several times and very carefully
    I put my hand on the end of the pencil opposite the point, without the
    latter leaving for a single moment the paper on the table: the raps
    sounded in the wood, not on the paper. In this case, of course, the
    medium held the pencil.

    The raps occur even when I place my finger on the upper end of the
    pencil and when I press its point against the paper. You feel the
    pencil vibrating, but it is not displaced. Inasmuch as these raps are
    very resonant, I calculated that it would be necessary to give a
    pretty strong blow in order to produce them artificially. The
    necessary movement requires a lifting of the point from two to five
    millimeters, according to the intensity of the raps. Now the point
    does not seem to be displaced. Furthermore, when the writing is going
    on, these raps take place with great rapidity, and the examination of
    the writing does not show any place where a stop occurred. The text is
    continuous, no trace of tapping is perceptible in it, no thickening of
    the strokes can be perceived. Observations made under such conditions
    seem to me to exclude the possibility of fraud.

    I have observed that these raps occur, without apparent cause, as far
    as nine feet from the medium. They manifest themselves as the
    expression of an activity and of a will distinct from those of the
    observers. Such is the _appearance_ of the phenomenon. A curious fact
    results from all this, that not only do the raps occur as the product
    of an intelligent action, but they also usually agree to perform as
    often as asked, and to produce definite rhythms, for example, certain
    airs. In like manner they imitate the raps made by the experimenters,
    upon demand of the latter.

    The different raps frequently respond to each other, and it is one of
    the prettiest experiments in which one can take part to hear these
    blows, now slight and muffled, now sharp and abrupt, or again soft and
    gentle, sounding simultaneously upon the table, the floor, and the
    frame-work and coverings of the furniture.

    I had the good fortune to be able to study these curious rappings at
    close range, and I believe I have reached certain conclusions. The
    first, and the best attested, is that the raps are closely connected
    with the muscular movements of the sitters. I will sum up my
    observations on this point as follows:

    1. Every muscular movement, even a feeble one, is generally followed
    by a rap.

    2. The intensity of the raps did not seem to me to be proportional to
    the muscular movement made.

    3. The intensity of the raps did not seem to me to vary in proportion
    to their distance from the medium.

    The following are the facts upon which my conclusions rest:

    I frequently observed that when we had raps that were feeble and
    occurred only at intervals, an excellent means of producing them was
    to form the chain upon the table, the hands resting upon it, and the
    observers putting their fingers in light contact. One of them, without
    breaking the chain (a feat he accomplished by holding in the same hand
    the right hand of his neighbor on the left and the left hand of his
    neighbor on the right) moved his released hand in circular sweeps or
    passes over the table, at the level of the circle formed by the opened
    hands of the observers. After having made this movement four or five
    times, always in the same direction,--that is to say, after having
    thus traced four or five circles over the table, the experimenter
    brought his hand over toward the centre at a variable height and moved
    it down towards the table. Then he abruptly arrested this movement at
    a distance of seven or eight inches from the top. The abrupt stoppage
    of his hand was tallied by a rap in the wood. It is an exceptional
    case when this process does not yield taps,--that is to say, when
    there is a medium in the circle capable, even feebly, of producing

    The same experiment can be made without touching the table, but
    forming around it a kind of closed chain. One of the operators then
    acts as in the preceding case.

    I have no need to recall to the minds of my readers that with certain
    mediums, raps are produced without any movement being made. Almost all
    mediums can obtain them in this way by keeping perfectly quiet and
    having patience. But one would say that the execution of the movement
    acts as a determining cause. It seems as if the accumulated energy
    received a kind of stimulus.

    _Levitations._--One day we improvised an experiment in the afternoon,
    and I remember that I observed a very interesting levitation made
    under these circumstances. It was about five o'clock in the evening
    (at any rate it was broad daylight), in the salon at l'Agnélas. We
    took our places about the table, _standing_. Eusapia took the hand of
    one of us and placed it on the corner of the table, at her right. The
    table thereupon rose up to the height of our foreheads; that is to
    say, the top of the table rose at least as high as five feet above the

    Such experiments were very convincing, for it was impossible for
    Eusapia, the circumstances being such as they were, to lift the table
    by a normal act. It is enough to suppose that she merely touched the
    corner of the table, to find out how heavy a weight she would have had
    to lift if she had made a muscular movement. Besides, she had not a
    sufficient grip on the table to lift it. Evidently, the conditions of
    the experiment being such, she could not make use of one of the
    fraudulent processes mentioned by her critics, such as straps or hooks
    of any kind. The phenomenon is undeniably authentic.

    The breathing seems to have a very great influence. In the way things
    take place, it seems as if the sitters released, by breathing, an
    amount of motor energy comparable to that which they release when
    rapidly moving their limbs. There is something in this very curious
    and difficult to explain.

    The more complete analysis of the facts allows us to think that the
    liberation of the energy employed depends upon the contraction of the
    muscles and not upon the movement made. The thing which reveals this
    peculiarity is easy to observe. When we are forming the chain about
    the table, we can set up a movement without contact by mutually
    pressing our hands together with a certain force, or by pressing the
    feet hard upon the floor. The first of these means is much the better
    of the two. The arms have only made an insignificant movement, and one
    can say that the muscular contraction is almost the only physiological
    phenomenon observable. Yet it suffices.

    All these authenticated experiments tend to show that the agent which
    determines movements without contact has some connection with our
    organism, and probably with our nervous system.

    _Conditions of the Experiments._--We must never lose out of our sight
    the relative importance of the moral and intellectual status of the
    group of experimenters. That is one of the most difficult things to
    seize and comprehend. But when the force is abundant, the simple
    manifestation of the will is sometimes able to determine the movement.
    For example, upon a desire to that affect being expressed by the
    sitters, the table moves in the way it is requested to do. The
    phenomena occur as if this force were guided by an Intelligence
    distinct from that of the experimenters. I hasten to say that I regard
    that only as a probability, and that I think I have observed a certain
    resemblance between these personifications and the secondary
    personalities of somnambulists.

    In this apparent bond between the _indirect_ will of the sitters and
    the phenomena there is a problem the solution of which has so far
    completely escaped me. I suspect that this bond has nothing
    supernatural about it and I realize that the Spiritualistic hypothesis
    is a poorer explanation and inadequate to meet the facts; but I cannot
    formulate any satisfactory explanation.

    Close observations of the relations existing between the phenomena and
    the will of the sitters brings out other discoveries also. I mean, in
    the first place, the bad affect which disagreement among the
    experimenters produces. It sometimes happens that one of them
    expresses the desire to perceive a certain phenomenon. If the thing is
    slow in taking place, the same experimenter, or another one, will ask
    for a different spectacle. Sometimes different sitters will ask for
    several contradictory things at the same time. The confusion which
    reigns in the collective thought manifests itself in the phenomena,
    which themselves become confused and vague.[71]

    However, things do not happen absolutely as if the phenomena were
    directed by a will which is only the shadow or the reflex of that of
    the sitters. It sometimes happens that they show great independence,
    and flatly refuse to yield to the desires expressed.

    _Forms and Phantoms._--At Bordeaux, in 1897, the room where we held
    our sittings was lighted by a very large window. The outside Venetian
    blinds of this window were closed; but when the gas was lighted in a
    little building which formed an adjunct to the kitchen, in the corner
    of the court near the garden, a feeble light penetrated the room and
    dimly illuminated the window panes. The window itself formed in this
    way a bright background upon which certain dark forms were perceived
    by a part of the experimenters. We all saw these forms, or rather this
    form, for it was always the same one that appeared,--a long bearded
    profile, with a very high arched nose. This apparition said it was
    head of John, a personification who always appears with Eusapia.[72]
    This is a very extraordinary phenomenon. The first idea which presents
    itself to the mind is that this is a case of collective hallucination.
    But the care with which we observed this curious phenomenon--and, it
    seems needless for me to add, the calmness with which we
    experimented--renders this hypothesis very unlikely.

    The supposition of fraud is still less admissible. The head, which we
    saw was of life size, measuring say sixteen inches from the forehead
    to the end of the beard. It is impossible to understand how Eusapia
    could have hidden in her pockets or under her clothes any kind of a
    cardboard profile. Nor can one understand any better how, unknown to
    us, she could have taken out this paper figure, mounted it upon a
    stick, or upon a wire, and so operated with it. Eusapia had not gone
    into a trance: she herself sometimes saw the profile which appeared,
    and, thoroughly awake and conscious, took pleasure in assisting in the
    phenomena which she was producing. The feeble light which the
    illumined window shed was sufficient to enable us to see her hands
    being carefully held by the controllers on the right and on the left.
    It would have been impossible for her to manipulate these objects. In
    fact, however, the profile observed seemed to form at the top of the
    cabinet, at the height of about three and a half feet above Eusapia's
    head. It descended rather slowly and so took its place above and in
    front of her. Then at the end of some seconds it disappeared, only to
    reappear some time afterwards in the same circumstances. Every time,
    we carefully assured ourselves of the relative immobility of the hand
    and arms of the medium. Hence I regard the prodigy which I am relating
    as one of the most certain I ever verified, so incompatible was the
    hypothesis of fraud with the conditions under which we observed.

    I am persuaded that these facts will one day (soon perhaps) receive
    the stamp of scientific approval as subjects of study. They will do
    this in spite of the obstacles which obstinate infatuation and the
    fear of ridicule pile in the way.

    The intolerance of certain beings matches that of certain dogmas.
    Catholicism, for example, considers psychic phenomena as the work of
    the Devil. Is it worth while at the present time to combat such a
    theory? I do not think it is.

    But this question is foreign to the psychic facts themselves. So far
    as my experience permits me to judge, these phenomena are entirely
    natural. The Devil does not show his claws in them. If the tables
    should announce that they were Satan himself, there would be nothing
    on the face of things which would lead us to believe they were
    speaking the truth. If called on to prove his power, this
    grandiloquent Satan would turn out, I fear, to be a sorry
    thaumaturgist. The religious prejudice which proscribes these
    experiments as supernatural is as little justified as the scientific
    prejudice which only sees in them fraud and imposture. Here again the
    old adage of Aristotle finds its application: Equity lies between the
    two extremes of opinion.

It is evident that these experiments of Dr. Maxwell are in accord with all
the preceding ones. The results ascertained mutually confirm each other.

Apropos of mediums who produce physical or material effects, I should also
like to mention here the one who was very specially examined at Paris, in
1902, by a group of men composed in large part of former pupils of the
Polytechnic School. They held a dozen séances in July and August. This
group was composed of MM. A. de Rochas, Taton, Lemerle, Baclé, de
Fontenay, and Dariex. The medium was Auguste Politi, of Rome. He was
forty-seven years old.

Several very remarkable table-levitations were observed and photographed
by these gentlemen during their sittings. I reproduce here (Pl. XIII) one
of these photographs, taken by M. de Fontenay which he kindly allows me to
use. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful that has been obtained,
and one of the most striking. All the hands that form the chain are
carefully held away from the table. It seems to me that not to recognize
the value of this photograph as a record would be to deny the evidence
itself. It was taken instantaneously by a flash of magnesium light. The
eyes of the medium had been bandaged, that the light might not give him a
nervous shock.

This same medium was studied at Rome, in February, 1904, by a group
composed of Professor Milési, of the University of Rome, M. Joseph
Squanquarillo, Mr. and Mrs. Franklin Simmons (American travellers passing
through Rome), and M. and Mme. Cartoni.


They declare that they heard scales very well executed upon the piano
(which was an upright one), at quite a distance from the sitters; yet none
of the sitters knew how to play on the piano, while Professor Milési's
deceased sister, who was called upon to manifest herself, was a very good

Another musical phenomenon was produced: A mandolin placed on the lid of
the piano, began of its own accord to play, balancing itself in the air
until it went and fell down (playing all the while) between the hands of
the experimenters who formed the chain.

Later, at intervals, the piano was lifted in its turn, falling back
noisily. It must be remarked that two men scarcely sufficed to lift this
piano, even by one of its sides. After the sitting, it was ascertained
that the instrument had been displaced about a foot and a half.

But here follows a résumé of the phenomena observed with this medium.

    In every séance, very vigorous raps were obtained in the table around
    which were grouped the experimenters and the medium (they together
    forming the chain), while the lamp with red light was on the table
    itself. "If we wished to produce raps so sharp and strong (says M. C.
    Caccia, the reporter of these séances), we had to rap with all our
    might on the table with some solid object, while the kind of raps
    which were produced in the séances with Politi seemed to issue from
    the interior of the table with loud sounds like explosions."

    But now the table begins to be shaken. The white curtain of the
    cabinet which was behind the medium, at a distance of twenty inches,
    swelled out and floated in every direction, as if a violent wind had
    inflated it from the other side. We heard a chair moving with a
    gliding motion over the floor. It had been placed there before the
    beginning of the sitting and was now thrown violently over. During the
    course of the fifth sitting it came clear out of the cabinet, in the
    presence of everybody, and did not stop until it got near the medium.

    These phenomena took place by the red light of a photographic lamp. In
    the complete darkness which attended the third séance an extraordinary
    thing occurred,--so much the more extraordinary because we had taken
    special measures to forestall any attempt at fraud. The medium was
    held by two sitters who, being very sceptical, had taken their places
    on his right and on his left, and were holding his hands and his feet.

    At a certain moment the medium ordered the operators to lift their
    hands from the table and not to hinder its movements; above all, not
    to break the chain. Whereupon a great uproar was heard in the cabinet.
    The medium calls for light, and, to the great amazement of all of us,
    we discover that the table, which was rectangular in form and did not
    weigh less than thirty-nine pounds, was found turned upside down upon
    the floor of the cabinet. The controllers declared that the medium had
    not stirred. It is to be remarked:

    1. That the table must have been lifted high enough to pass over the
    heads of the sitters.

    2. That it must have passed above the group forming the chain.

    3. That as the opening in the curtains of the cabinet only measured
    thirty-seven inches across, and the table, on its shortest side,
    thirty inches, there only remained free seven inches for passing
    through this opening.

    4. That the table must have come forward endwise, then moved around
    lengthwise (it was three feet long), and turned upside down, resting
    on the floor; that the whole of this difficult manoeuvre was executed
    in a few seconds in complete darkness and without any of the sitters
    having touched the table in the slightest degree.[73]

    Luminous phenomena were also obtained. Lights appeared and disappeared
    in the air. Some of them gave the outline of a curve. They did not
    show any radiation. In the fifth séance, everybody was able to testify
    to the appearance of two luminous crosses, about four inches in

    At the last séance, the tambourine fringed with bells, which had been
    rubbed with phosphorous, went circling around the whole room, and in
    such a way that all its movements could be followed.

    During almost all the sittings, mysterious touchings were
    noticed,--among others, those produced by an enormous hairy hand!

    In the first, fourth and fifth séances there were "materializations."
    Prof. Italo Palmarini believed that he recognized his daughter, who
    had been dead three years. He felt himself embraced; everybody heard
    the sound of a kiss. The same manifestation took place in the fifth
    séance. Professor Palmarini believed that he still recognized the
    person of his daughter.

    At the opening of each séance the medium was searched, and was then
    placed _in a kind of big sack_, made to order for this purpose, _and
    fastened at the neck, the wrists, and the feet_.

Another medium, the Russian Sambor, was the object of numerous experiments
at St. Petersburg during a period of six years. (1897-1902.) It will be
interesting also to give a summing up in this place of the report about
this man published by M. Petrovo Solovovo.[74]

    In the first séances a large folding screen placed behind the medium
    was observed to be vigorously shaken. The medium's feet and hands were
    carefully held. A table in a neighboring chamber moved of its own
    accord. In a metal cone placed on the table, enclosing a bit of paper
    and a lead-pencil, and then riveted up, there was found, when it was
    unriveted, a ribbon, and a phrase written on the paper in script that
    had to be read in a looking-glass (_écriture en miroir_). Other cases
    of the passage of matter through matter were tried, none of which
    succeeded. But further on the reports relate the following

    In the month of February, 1901, one of Sambor's séances took place at
    my house, in my study, against the windows of which I had hung
    curtains of black calico in such a way that the room was plunged in
    the deepest darkness. The medium occupied a place in the chain. Next
    to the medium were M. J. Lomatzsch, on his right, myself on his left.
    Sambor's hands and feet were faithfully held the whole time in a way
    that gave perfect satisfaction.

    The phenomena soon began to develop. I do not intend to take the time
    here to describe them, but I wish to mention a remarkable case of the
    passage of matter through matter.

    M. Lomatzsch, controller on the right, declares that someone is
    pulling his chair from under him. So, redoubling our attention, we
    continue to hold the medium. M. Lomatzsch's chair is soon positively
    lifted up, so that he is obliged to stand. Sometime after, he declares
    that someone is trying to hang the chair on the hand with which he is
    holding Sambor. Then the chair suddenly disappears from the arm of M.
    Lomatzsch, and at the same moment I feel a light pressure upon my left
    arm (I do not mean the one which was in contact with the medium, but
    with my neighbor on the left M. A. Weber); after which I feel that
    something heavy is hanging from my arm. When the candle was lighted,
    we all saw that _my left arm had been passed through the back of the
    chair_. In this way the chair was nicely balanced upon that one of my
    arms which was not in contact with Sambor, but with my neighbor on the
    left. I had not let go of the hands of my neighbors.

Such an observation as this needs no commentary (says the reporter of this
occurrence, M. Petrovo Solovovo). The fact is simply incomprehensible. I
give here some other phenomena which were observed in May, 1902:

    1. A cedar apple, an old copper coin which was found to be a Persian
    coin of 1723, and an amateur photographic portrait of a young woman in
    mourning unknown to anybody present were found (coming from nobody
    knew where, nor in what way), upon the table about which we were

    2. Several different objects in the room were transported to the table
    by the mysterious force; such, for example, as a thermometer, which
    had been hung on the wall behind the piano at a distance of from
    one-half to seven feet from the medium; a large lantern placed upon
    the piano somewhere between two and four feet behind the medium;
    several piles of music-books which had rested on the same piano; a
    framed portrait; and, finally, the candlesconce, the candle, and the
    different parts of a candlestick belonging to the piano.

    3. Several times a bronze bell placed on the table was lifted into the
    air by the mysterious force and noisily rung. On the request of the
    sitters it was once carried over to the piano (against which it struck
    a sounding blow), and from there again over to the table.

    4. Unoccupied chairs had been placed behind the medium. One of them
    was several times lifted and placed noisily on the table in the midst
    of the sitters, and without having run against any of them. When upon
    the table, this chair several times moved about, fell over, and picked
    itself up.

    5. One of these same chairs was found to be hung by the back upon the
    joined hands of the medium and M. de Poggenpohl. Before the beginning
    of that part of the séance which witnessed this phenomenon, a strip of
    cloth, slipped over the sleeves of the medium, had been several times
    tightly twisted around the wrists of M. de Poggenpohl.

    6. At the request of the sitters, the mysterious force several times
    stopped the playing of the music-box (it stood on the table around
    which we were seated), after which it began to play again.

    7. A sheet of paper and a lead pencil, placed on the table, were
    thrown on the floor, and everybody distinctly heard the pencil moving
    over the paper with a heavy pressure and, with a sharp tap, putting a
    period at the end of what had been written. After this the pencil was
    laid on the table.

    8. Five of the experimenters declared that they had been touched by
    some mysterious hand.

    9. Twice the mysterious force drew sounds from the piano. The first
    time, this took place when the lid of the piano was open. The second
    time, the sounds were heard after the lid had been _locked with a
    key_, the key remaining on the table in the midst of the circle of
    experimenters. At first the unknown force began to play a melody on
    the high notes, and two or three times produced trills. Then chords on
    the bass notes were heard at the same time with the melody, and, when
    the piano was playing, the music-box also began to play, both
    performances lasting several minutes.

    10. During all the phenomena which have just been described, the
    medium (Sambor), seemed sunk in a profound trance, and remained almost
    motionless. The phenomena were not accompanied by any bustle or
    confusion. His hands and his feet were all the time controlled by his
    neighbors. M. de Poggenpohl and Loris-Melikow several times saw
    something long, black, and slender detaching itself from him during
    the phenomena and moving toward the objects.

    I will add, in closing (says M. Petrovo Solovovo), that this medium
    was accused of cupidity and intemperance. These séances were the last
    he gave (he died a few months afterward). But, to tell the truth, I
    have a tender spot in my heart for the late M. Sambor. This
    Little-Russian, a former telegraph operator, polished and humanized by
    the six or seven winters that he had passed in St. Petersburg--can it
    be that blind Nature had chosen this man to be the intermediary
    between our world and the doubtful Beyond?--or, at least, another
    world of beings whose precise nature (begging the pardon of the
    spirits) would be an enigma to me, provided I positively believed in

    It is with that word "doubt" (alas! is not _doubt_ the most _certain_
    result of mediumistic experiments?) that I end this Report.

To this whole series of varied observations and experiments we could still
add many more. In 1905 MM. Charles Richet and Gabriel Delanne held some
famous séances in Algiers. But is not impossible that fraud may have crept
into their experiments, in spite of all the precautions taken by them.
(The photographs of the phantom Bien-Boa have an artificial look.) In
1906, the American medium, Miller, gave in Paris several séances in which
it really seems as if true apparitions were manifested. I cannot say
anything personally about it, not having been present. Among other
experimenters, there were two very competent ones, who studied this
medium; namely, MM. G. Delanne and G. Méry. The first concludes that the
apparitions were what they represented themselves to be (see _Revue
scientifique et morale du spiritisme_); that is to say, the spirits of the
departed. The second, on the other hand, declares in _L'Echo du
Merveilleux_, that, "until there is fuller information, we must be
satisfied with not comprehending."

It is not within the scope of my plan to discuss in this particular place,
"apparitions" or "materializations." We may ask ourselves whether the
fluid which certainly emanates from the medium may not produce a kind of
condensation able to furnish to the most interested observer of the
manifestation the elusive vision of an unreal personality which, besides,
only lasts, as a general thing, for a few seconds. Is it a melange or
combination of fluids? But it is not yet time to make hypotheses.



A certain number of my readers perhaps remember the general inquiry that I
instituted in the course of the year 1899 respecting observation of the
unexplained phenomena of telepathy, manifestations of the dying,
premonitory dreams, etc.--an inquiry published in part in my work
_L'Inconnu et les problémes psychiques_. I received 4280 replies composed
of 2456 _no_ and 1824 _yes_. Among the latter there are 1758 letters with
more or less of detail. A large number of these were not presented in such
a shape that their claims could be discussed. But I was able to use 786 of
the most important of them. They were classified, the essential matters
transcribed, and summed up in the work of which I have just spoken. The
most striking thing in all these accounts is the loyalty,
conscientiousness, the frankness, and the sensitive refinement of the
narrators, who are anxiously concerned to say only what they know, and as
they know it, without adding or subtracting anything. In doing this, each
becomes the servant of truth.

These 786 letters, transcribed, classified, and numbered, contained 1130
different facts or observations. My examination of the instances recorded
in the letters reveals several kinds of subjects which may be classified
as follows:

    Manifestations and Apparitions of the Dying.
    Manifestations of the Living (in Health).
    Manifestations and Apparitions of the Dead.
    Premonitory Dreams. Forecast of the Future.
    Dreams that give Information of the Dead.
    Meetings foreseen by Presentiment.
    Presentiments realized.
    Doubles of the Living.
    Communications of Thought at a Distance (Telepathy).
    Instinctive Presentiments of Animals.
    Calls heard at Great Distances.
    Movements of Objects without Apparent Cause.
    Bolted Doors Opening of Themselves.
    Haunted Houses.
    Spiritualistic Experiments.

Since my first publication of these documents, I have received many new
ones. More than one thousand are to-day crowded into my manuscript
library. They contain about fifteen hundred observations which seem to me
to be sincere and authentic. The doubtful ones have been eliminated. These
narratives emanate as a general thing from persons who are filled with
astonishment and are extremely desirous of receiving, if possible, an
explanation of these strange events (often very affecting). All the
narratives which I have been able to verify have been found to be
fundamentally accurate--sometimes modified afterwards, as respects their
mere form, by a memory more or less confused.

In _L'Inconnu_, I published a portion of these narratives. But I excluded
from that work[75] phenomena not properly included within the limits of
its main plan, which was to show the existence of unknown faculties of the

I excluded, I say, "movements of objects without apparent cause," "bolted
doors opening of themselves," "haunted houses," "Spiritualistic
experiments;" that is to say, the very cases studied in the present work,
in which I hoped to be able to publish them. But space fails me. In my
desire to offer to my readers a set of records as complete as possible,
for the purpose of giving them a firmly based opinion, I have been swamped
by the abundance of material, and, can only rescue a few of the most
interesting specimens of them for presentation here.

First of all, I select the following communication as having a certain
intrinsic value. It was sent me by my regretted friend Victorin Joncières,
the well-known composer of music.

    I was on a tour of inspection of the music-schools of the Provinces
    (he says), and happened to be in a city which I cannot name to you for
    the reasons which I gave. I was coming out of the branch establishment
    of our Conservatory, after having examined the piano-class there, when
    I was addressed by a lady who asked me what I thought of her daughter,
    and whether I judged that she ought to enter upon an artistic career.

    After a rather long conversation, in the course of which I promised to
    go to hear the young artist, I found myself engaged to go the same
    evening (for I was leaving the next day) to the house of one of their
    friends, a high official in the state service, to take part in a
    Spiritualistic séance.

    The master of the house received me with extreme cordialty, recalling
    the promise I had given him to keep secret his name and that of the
    city in which he lived. He presented his niece, _the medium_, to whom
    he attributes the phenomena which take place in his house. It was, in
    fact, after the young girl's mother had died, and she came to live
    with him, that the strange occurrences began to take place.

    They began with unusual noises in the walls, and in the floors, with
    the displacement of articles of furniture that moved without being
    touched, and with the warblings of birds. M. N. at first believed that
    it was a piece of foolery planned either by one of his own family or
    by one of his clerks. However, in spite of the most vigilant watching,
    he could not discover any trickery, and he finally came to the
    conclusion that the phenomena were produced, by invisible agents,
    with whom he believed he could communicate. He soon obtained raps,
    direct writing, the mysterious appearance of flowers, etc.

    After this account, he led me into a large room with bare walls, in
    which several persons had assembled, among whom were his wife and a
    professor of natural philosophy at the lyceum--altogether, a dozen of
    experimenters. In the middle of the room there was a big oak table,
    upon which were placed paper, a pencil, a small harmonica, a bell, and
    a lighted lamp.

    "The spirit announced to me a little while ago that he would come at
    ten o'clock," said the gentleman to me. "We have a good hour before
    us. I am going to utilize it by reading to you the minutes of our
    meetings for a year past." He laid on the table his watch, which
    showed five minutes to nine, and covered it with a handkerchief.

    For a whole hour he applied himself to reading what seemed to be very
    improbable stories; but I was longing to see some of the wonders.

    Suddenly a loud cracking sound was heard in the table. M. N. lifted
    the handkerchief which covered the watch. It was just ten o'clock.

    "Art thou there, spirit?" said he.

    Nobody was touching the table; and on his recommendation, we formed
    the chain about it, holding each other by the hand.

    A vigorous rap was heard.

    The young niece placed her two fingers against the edge of the table
    and asked us to imitate her. Thereupon this extremely heavy table rose
    up well _above our heads_, in such a way that we were obliged to stand
    on tip-toe in order to follow it in its ascent. It hung poised for
    some moments in the air and then slowly descended to the floor and
    came to a stop without noise.

    Then M. N. went to look up a large design for a church window. He put
    it on the table and placed beside it a glass of water, a box of
    colors, and a camel's hair brush. Then he put the lamp out. He lighted
    it again at the end of two or three minutes: the sketch (still damp)
    was painted in two colors, yellow and blue, and not a single brush
    mark had passed beyond the traced lines of the sketch.

    Even if we admit that some one of the sitters might have been able to
    play the rôle of spirit, how, in the darkness of the room, could he
    have so handled the brush as to precisely follow the lines of the
    design? I will add that the door was closely shut, and, that, during
    the very short space of time in which the performance took place, I
    heard nothing but the sound of the water splashing in the glass.

    Raps were next struck in the table, corresponding to the letters of
    the alphabet. The spirit announced that he was going to produce a
    special phenomenon in order to convince me personally.

    By his order the light was again extinguished. The harmonica then
    played a little sprightly _motif_, in six-eight. Scarcely had the last
    note sounded when M. X. lighted the lamp. Upon a sheet of music-paper
    which had been placed near the harmonica, the theme was written very
    correctly in pencil. It would have been impossible for any one of the
    company, in the complete darkness of the room, to write down these
    notes upon the ruled staff-lines.

    Thirteen freshly cut daisies lay scattered over the table.

    "Hello!" says M. X. "these are daisies from the flower-pot at the end
    of the passageway."

    As I said a moment ago, the door of the room where we were met had
    remained closed, and no one had stirred. We went into the passageway,
    and, on noticing the stems denuded of their flowers, we could see very
    plainly that the daisies came from the place indicated.

    Scarcely had we entered the room, when the bell on the table rose up
    to the very ceiling, ringing as it went, but fell abruptly back as
    soon as it touched it.

           *       *       *       *       *

    On the next day, before my departure, I went to pay a visit to M. X.
    He received me in his dining-hall. Through the large open window a
    beautiful June sun flooded the room with its brilliant light.

    While we were conversing in a desultory way, a piece of military music
    rang out in the distance. "If there is a spirit here," said I,
    smiling, "it ought by rights to accompany the music." At once
    rhythmic taps, in exact harmony with the double quick time, were heard
    in the table. The crackle of sounds in it died away little by little
    in a decrescendo very skilfully timed to the last vanishing blare of
    the bugles.

    "Give us a fine tattoo to finish," said I, when the sounds had
    completely ceased. The reply was a series of sounds like the heavy
    roll of drums, given with such force that the table trembled on its
    legs. I put my hand on it and very plainly felt the vibrations of the
    wood as it was struck by the invisible force.

    I asked if I might inspect the table. It was turned upside down in my
    presence, and I examined it, as well as the floor, very carefully. I
    discovered nothing. Besides, M. X. could not, you know, foresee, that,
    during my visit, a military band would pass by, and that I should ask
    the table to accompany it by imitating the drum.

    I afterwards returned to the city where these things occurred and was
    present at other very curious séances. I should be enchanted, my dear
    master and friend, as I have said to you, to be your guide there some
    day. But this "high functionary" absolutely insists on his incognito.

These remarkable observations by my friend Joncières evidently have their
value, and belong here, in the train of all the preceding ones.

I give a few others below which we owe to an attentive and sceptical
observer, M. Castex-Dégrange, sub-director of the National School Of Fine
Arts at Lyons, upon whose veracity and sincerity not the least shadow of
suspicion can rest, any more than in the preceding instances. I owe to his
kindness a large number of interesting letters, and I will ask his
permission to cite from them the most important passages.

The following is dated the 18th of April, 1899.

    For the second time, I affirm upon my honor that I will tell you
    nothing that is not strictly true, and usually easy to verify.

    In spite of the calling I follow, I am not at all gifted with
    imagination. I have lived much in the company of physicians, men from
    the nature of their profession little given to credulity; and, whether
    it is in consequence of my natural disposition, or by reason of the
    principles which I absorbed in this kind of company, I have always
    been very sceptical.

    This is, indeed, one of the reasons why I abandoned my psychical
    experiments. I reached the most stupifying results, and yet it was
    impossible for me to get to believe myself. I was thoroughly convinced
    that I was not seeking to deceive myself or to deceive others, and,
    not being able to surrender myself to the evidence, I was always
    seeking some other reason than the one given by the believers. That
    made me suffer, and I stopped.

    I here end this preamble, and am going to unfold to you the course of
    my observations.

           *       *       *       *       *

    I was acquainted with a company of people, who were occupied with
    Spiritualism and with turning-tables, and had made them the butt of my
    wit,[76] a little; for, although not bitter or severe, I never
    neglected to play a good practical joke on them when occasion served.

    It seemed to me that these worthy people, who were, moreover, very
    sincere, were all a little "cracked" (_maboules_), if I may be allowed
    so uncouth, or _fin de siècle_, an expression.

    One day I was visiting them. The drawing-room was lighted by two large
    windows. I began, as usual, by some pleasantries. Their reply was in
    the shape of an invitation to me to take part in the experiments.

    "But," said I, "if I take a seat at your table it will not turn any
    more, because I shall not push it."

    "Come all the same."

    Well, I declare upon my honor that, just for a joke, I tried it. I had
    scarcely put my hands on the table when it made a rush at me.

    I said to the person facing me, "Don't push so hard."

    "But, dear sir, I was not pushing."

    I put the centre-table back in its place, but the same thing occurred
    again, once, twice, thrice. I began to get impatient and said,

    "What you are doing is not very clever. If you want to convince me,
    don't push."

    He replied to me, "Nobody is pushing, only you probably have so much
    fluid in you that the table is attracted toward you. _Perhaps you
    could make it go, by yourself._"

    "Oh, if I myself could make it go, that would be different!"

    "Try it."

    They all moved back. I remained alone face to face with the table. I
    took hold of it, lifted it, thoroughly examined it. There was no trick
    about it. I made every body go behind me. I was facing the windows,
    and had my eyes open, I assure you. I stretched my arms out as far as
    possible, in order to have a good view, only placing the ends of my
    fingers on the table.

    In a little less than two minutes it began to rock to and fro. I
    confess that I felt a little foolish, not wishing to surrender--

    "Yes, perhaps it moves," said I. "It is possible that an unknown fluid
    is acting upon it; at any rate, it does not come toward me, and just
    now some one was pushing it."

    "No," said one of the sitters, "nobody was pushing it; but, although
    you are highly charged with fluid, the assistance of another person is
    needed for the production of the phenomenon: you are not enough by
    yourself. Will you allow one of us to put a hand _upon_ yours, without
    touching the table?"


    Someone put a hand on mine and _I watched_. The table at once began to
    move, and came and pressed against me. They all cried out, and claimed
    that they had caught a medium in me. I was not very much flattered
    with the title, which I considered as synonymous with "lunatic."

    "You ought to try to write," said some one to me.

    "What do you mean by that?"

    "Why, see here. You take paper and pen, let your arm lie passive, and
    have the wish in your mind that _some unknown person or force_ shall
    cause you to write."

    I tried it. At the end of five minutes, my arm felt as if it were
    wrapped in a woolen blanket. Then, in spite of myself, my hand began
    to trace at first mere strokes, then _o's_, _a's_, letters of all
    sorts, as a schoolboy learning to write would do. Then, all of a
    sudden, came the notorious word attributed to Cambronne at Waterloo! I
    assure you, my dear sir, that I am never in the habit of using this
    coarse and dirty term, and that there was no auto-suggestion, or
    unconscious act of my own, in the case. I was absolutely _stupefied_
    by the occurrence.

    I continued these experiments at my own home.

    1. One day, when I was seated at my writing-desk, I felt the weird
    seizure in my arm. I let my arm remain passive. The Unknown wrote:

    "Your friend Aroud is coming to see you. He is at this moment in such
    and such an omnibus-office in the suburbs. He is asking the price of
    tickets and the hour of departure."

    (This M. Aroud is chief of the bureau of police, prefecture of the
    Rhone.) In fact, a half-hour afterwards, Aroud made his appearance. I
    told him what had taken place.

    "It is a good thing for you that you are living in the nineteenth
    century," said he to me. "A few hundred years ago you would not have
    escaped death at the stake."

    2. On another occasion the phenomenon occurred again, and this time
    also I was at my writing desk:

    "Your friend Dolard is coming to see you."

    An hour afterward, sure enough he came. I told him how it happened
    that I was waiting for him. Although he was very incredulous by
    nature, yet, for all that, this fact set him to thinking. The next day
    saw his re-appearance.

    "Can you get a reply to a question I am going to ask you?" said he.

    "Don't ask," I replied, "think it. We will try."

    I must here tell you parenthetically that I had known of Dolard for
    thirty years. He was my comrade at the Beaux-Arts. I knew that he had
    lost an elder brother, that he had been married, and had had the
    misfortune to lose, one by one, all the members of his family. That
    was all I knew about them.

    I took the pen and the Invisible wrote, "The sufferings of your sister
    Sophia have just ended."

    Now Dolard had mentally asked what had become of the spirit of a
    sister named Sophia, whom he had lost forty-two years ago, and about
    whom I had never heard a word spoken.

    3. My principal at the School of Fine Arts in Lyons, a former
    architect of the city of Paris, was M. Hédin. This M. Hédin had an
    only daughter, who some years ago had married another architect, M.
    Forget, in Paris. The woman became enceinte.

    One day when I was thinking of anything but her, the same thing
    occurred as before. The Invisible wrote:

    "_Mme. Forget is going to die._"

    Mme. Forget was not at all ill, apart from her being in a delicate
    situation. The next day morning, M. Hédin said to me that his daughter
    was in her pains; and the same evening he told me that his wife had
    just set out for Paris to be with her. The next day I received
    instructions to assume his duties. Mme. Hédin had telegraphed to her
    husband to come to her. Her daughter was taken with puerperal fever.
    When the father got there he found only a corpse.

    4. I had a cousin named Poncet (since dead) who was formerly an
    apothecary, at Beaune (Côte-d' Or). I had never been at his
    apartments. One day he came to Lyons to see our aunt (she who had the
    vision about which I spoke to you). We conversed about these
    extraordinary psychical occurrences. He was incredulous.

    "Well then," said he, "try to find for me a thing which has no
    particular market value, but which I laid great store by, because it
    belonged to my deceased wife. I had a little packet of laces that she
    was very fond of, and I can't put my hand on it."

    The Unknown wrote, "_It is in the middle drawer of the secretary in
    the chamber, behind a package of visiting cards_."

    My cousin wrote to his servant at Beaune, _without giving her any hint
    of our experiment_, "Send by post a little packet which you will find
    in [such a place] behind a package of visiting cards."

    The laces arrived by return mail.

    You will notice, my dear sir, that, during the experiments, I was by
    no means asleep or in a state of trance, and that I was conversing in
    my usual manner.

    5. One of my childhood friends, M. Laloge, at the present time a
    dealer in coffees and chocolates at Saint-Etienne (Loire), had had as
    his professor, as well as I, an excellent man whom we most highly
    esteemed, and who was named Thollon.[77]

    M. Thollon, after having directed the education of the children of the
    Prince of Oldenburg, uncle of the present emperor of Russia, had
    returned to France and entered the Nice Observatory.

    We had the misfortune to lose him shortly after. Laloge had a
    photograph of him but had lost it. He came and begged me to try to
    find it. The Unknown wrote, "_The photograph is in the upper drawer of
    the secretary in the chamber_."

    Laloge had two rooms,--one which he called the "salon," and another
    called the "chamber."

    "There is some mistake," said he. "I have turned everything
    topsy-turvy in the place you mention and have found nothing."

    In the evening having to search for some object in the drawer, he saw
    in the middle of a package of letter-paper a little dark end of
    something sticking out. He pulled it forth: it was the photograph.

    6. Camille Bellon, No. 50 Avenue de Noailles, at Lyons, had three
    young children whose education he had intrusted to a young governess.
    This person left when the children entered college, and, sometime
    after, she married a very fine man, whose name I have unfortunately
    forgotten, but which I can easily find again if there is any need of

    This young woman came on her wedding trip to visit her old employer. I
    was invited to go and pass a day with them at the château of my friend
    Bellon. During the course of this visit, we talked of spiritualistic
    phenomena; and the newly married man, a highly educated veterinary
    doctor, joked me about my so-called mediumship. I, of course, laughed
    about it and we parted the best kind of friends.

    Some days afterward, I received a letter from my friend. He had
    himself received a letter from the young lady, who was in a great
    state of mind. She had lost her wedding ring, and was in despair. She
    begged my friend to ask me to recover it for her.

    The Mysterious Force wrote, "_The ring slipped from her finger while
    she was asleep. It is on one of the cleats which hold up the mattress
    of the bed_."

    I transmitted the _despatch_. The husband put his hands between the
    wood of the bed and the mattress. The wife did the same thing. Nothing
    was found. Some days afterwards, having decided to change the
    arrangement of their apartments, they moved their bed into another
    room. Of course they had to lift up the mattress, in order to get it
    into the other chamber. The ring was upon one of the cleats. They had
    not found it when they were hunting for it, because it had slipped
    _under_ the mattress, which did not adhere to the cleat in that
    particular place.

    7. One of my friends, named Boucaut, who lived at 15 quai de la
    Guillotière at Lyons, had lost a letter which he sadly wanted. He
    begged me to ask where it was.

    The Invisible replied in writing, "_He must remember that he has an
    oven in his garden_."

    Before showing it to him, I began to laugh, saying that it was a joke
    and had nothing to do with his request. As he insisted that it did, I
    read it to him.

    "Why yes," he said to me, "that agrees very well. My tenant-farmer had
    just had his bread baked. I had heaps of papers which I wanted to get
    rid of, to burn up. My letter must have been burned in the pile which
    I reduced to ashes."

    8. One evening, in an assembly composed of a score of persons, a lady
    dressed in black greeted my entrance with a little nervous laugh.
    After the customary introductions, this lady spoke to me as follows:

    "Sir, would it be possible to ask your spirits to reply to a question
    I am going to ask you?"

    "In the first place, madam, I have no spirits at my disposal; but I
    should be a lack-wit indeed if I said yes. You, of course, don't
    suppose that I am unintelligent enough not to find some kind of an
    answer; and, consequently, if any 'spirits,' as you so kindly call
    them should happen to respond, you would not be convinced, and you
    would be right. Write your request. Put it in an envelope there on the
    table and we will try. You see that I am not in a somnambulistic
    state, and you must believe that it is wholly impossible for me to
    know the contents of what you are going to enclose in it."

    So said, so done.

    At the end of five minutes I assure you I was very much embarrassed. I
    had written a reply, but it was such that I did not dare to
    communicate it. But here it is:

    "You are in a very bad way, and, if you persist, you will be severely
    punished. Marriage is something sacred, it should never be regarded as
    a question of money."

    After some oratorical precautions, I decided to read her this reply.
    The lady blushed up to the roots of her hair and stretched out her
    hands to seize her envelope.

    "Pardon me, madam," I replied, putting my hand upon it. "You began by
    making fun of me. You wished a reply. It is only just, since we are
    making an experiment, that we know what the request was."

    I tore open the envelope. Behold its contents:

    "Will the marriage take place that I am trying to bring about between
    M. X. and Mlle. Z? And, in that case, shall I get what I have been

    Notwithstanding this shameful exposure, the woman did not consider
    that she was beaten. She asked a second question under the same

    Reply: "Leave me alone! When I was living you abandoned me. Now don't
    bother me."

    Upon this, the lady got up and disappeared! I told you she was in
    mourning. This last request of hers was as follows: "What has become
    of the soul of my father?"

    Her father had been ill for six months. Persons who were present and
    who were stupefied at the results, told me that during his illness she
    had not paid him a single visit.

    9. One day, shortly after I had lost one of my good friends, I was
    seated at my writing-desk with my head resting on my hand, and I was
    thinking of what the hereafter might possibly be. If all the work that
    a man had done was to be irretrievably lost, and if the beyond
    existed, I was wondering what the life might be that one would lead
    there. All of a sudden, the phenomenon well known to me occurred (that
    weird seizure of the arm). Of course, I allowed my arm to remain
    passive, and here is what I read:

        "You wish to know what our occupations are? We organize matter, we
        ameliorate the condition of the spirits, and, above all, we adore
        the Creator of your souls and ours."


    In _all_ the communications which I have obtained, every time a word
    representing an idea of the Supreme Being--such as God, the
    All-Powerful, etc.--came under my pen, the writing doubled in size,
    but immediately after resumed the same dimensions as before.[78] It
    would be very easy for me to give you still more numerous examples of
    the strange things that happened to me, but those I have given seem to
    me quite remarkable. I shall be happy if this true account can give
    you any assistance in your important researches.

The letter which my readers have just perused contains a series of cases
of such great interest that I lost no time in entering into regular
correspondence with the author. And first I thought I ought to ask him
about the conclusions which he himself had been able to draw from his
personal experience. The following is an abstract of his replies:

    May 1st, 1899.

    You ask me, my dear sir, the following questions:

    1. Whether I have reached absolute conviction as to the existence of
    one or of several _spirits_?

    I am a person of absolute good faith. I examined myself as a surgeon
    would examine an invalid. I am a person of such good faith that I have
    long been seeking (without finding him) a skilful practitioner who
    would consent to study in my own person the phenomenon while it was
    taking place; to ascertain the state of my pulse, the warmth of the
    skin, etc.,--in a word, the apparent physical side. Furthermore, in my
    opinion there is no auto-suggestion in this thing; and the proof is
    that I was _absolutely ignorant_ of the things that I was writing
    _mechanically_,--so mechanically that, when, by chance, my attention
    was called away, whether by reading or by conversation, and I forgot
    to look where my hand was going, when it approached the edge of the
    paper the writing would continue backward across the sheet in
    _reversed letters and just as fast_, so that I was obliged to turn the
    paper over in order by holding it to the light to read what was
    written on it.

    So then, if there is neither auto-suggestion in it, nor a
    somnambulistic condition (I was completely awake and not at all
    hypnotized), then there must be external "forces" acting upon my
    senses, "intelligent forces." This is my fixed and unalterable

    Now are these forces spirits? Do they belong to beings like ourselves?
    It is evident that this hypothesis would explain many things, but
    leave quite a number obscure. Since I several times discovered a
    mental state of the lowest kind among these "beings," I have reached a
    conclusion that it is not absolutely necessary to think that they are

    We are told that there are stars which photography alone can reveal,
    and which, possessing a color imperceptible to our eye, are invisible
    to us. Then there are the gases through which a human body passes
    without experiencing resistence. Who will say then, that there are not
    around us invisible beings?

    And look at the instinct of the child, of the woman, of feeble beings
    in general. They fear darkness; isolation makes them afraid. This
    sentiment is instinctive, irrational. Is it not due to an intuitive
    perception of the presence of these invisible personages, or forces,
    against which they are helpless? That is pure hypothesis on my part,
    but after all it seems to me defensible. As to the number of the
    invisible beings, I believe they are legion.

    2. You ask me whether I have been able to establish their identity.

    I answer that they sign some name or other, choosing in preference
    names of illustrious persons, in whose mouths they sometimes put the
    most stupid sort of expressions.

    Furthermore the writing frequently ceases abruptly, as if an electric
    current has just been interrupted, and that without any appreciable
    reason. Then the writing changes, and sometimes sensible things end in
    absurdities, etc.

    How explain this tangle of contradictions? I was so chafed and fretted
    by these incoherent results that I had for a long time abandoned the
    study of psychic forces, when your alluring researches came to wake in
    me my old self.

    If the unconscious doubling of the personality of the individual (his
    externalization) can, in an extreme case, be sometimes admitted, it
    seems to me that there are cases in which this explanation becomes

    But I will explain. If, as respects the facts which happened to me
    personally, and _the authenticity of which I affirm to you upon my
    honor_, there are some in which this externalization could have been
    possible, there are others in which it seems to me impossible.

    Yes, strictly speaking, I might have been able, without suspecting it,
    to externalize myself, or, rather, unknown to myself, to be influenced
    by my friend Dolard when, in my own presence, he mentally asked me
    what had become of the soul of a deceased sister of whose name and
    very existence I was ignorant; yes, the same thing may, strictly
    speaking, explain the responses I made to the lady who questioned me
    on the subject of a marriage and her father, although it would in that
    case be necessary to suppose that she dictated to me the words that I
    was writing; yes, my friend Boucaud, who was hunting letters, might,
    at the moment when he was asking me about them, have thought of that
    oven, of the existence of which I was ignorant; yes, all of that is
    (in the last analysis) possible, although it would need a large amount
    of good will to admit it.

    Yes, once more I say--and always with much good will--a table may be
    under the unconscious domination of a musician present and dictate a
    musical phrase. But, as it stands, it is difficult to admit the same
    phenomenon in the case of Victor Hugo, whose curious séances you have
    just described to the public. Why, just look at this great poet who,
    when he is asked by the table to put one or more questions _in verse_,
    and, not feeling that he is man enough, in spite of his genius, to
    improvise something passable, asks for a breathing spell to prepare
    his questions, and brings them in next day!--and yet you would wish
    that, on this same next day, a part of himself should perform its
    functions, _unknown to himself_, and compose _illico_, without any
    preparation, verses at least as fine as those which he took an entire
    day to create!--verses of a pitiless logic and more profound than his

    Yet let us admit even that. You see, dear sir, that I have all the
    good will possible, and that I have the most profound respect for the
    scientific method. But can you explain by externalization the case of
    finding a lost object when one is even ignorant of the way in which
    the apartment is arranged where it has been lost? or the ability to
    know, two days in advance, of the death of a person about whom one was
    not thinking at all? A possible coincidence, you will tell me, but at
    least very strange.

    And those inverted dictations? and those in which we are obliged to
    skip every other letter?

           *       *       *       *       *

    No, I believe that we need not give ourselves so much trouble and rack
    our brains, for it seems to me that it is like looking for mid-day at
    two o'clock in the afternoon. It would require the labor of all the
    devils to explain how this phenomenon can take place in our nature
    without the knowledge of the proprietor. I do not like to see a part
    of my personality scampering away, and then housing itself again
    without my knowing anything about it.

    As to what concerns the production of this externalization in a way
    which I may call voluntary--when a person who feels himself dying
    thinks intensely about those whom he loves and whose absence he
    deplores, yes, it may be that his will, even unknown to himself,
    suggesting the absent person produces the phenomena of telepathy;
    but, in the phenomena of which we are speaking, that explanation seems
    to me more than doubtful.

    I find much more simple the explanation that the phenomena are caused
    by the presence and the action of an independent being,--a spirit,
    phantasm, or elemental.

    In fine what are we all seeking? The proof of the survival of the ego,
    of _the individuality_ after death. _To be or not to be_--it is all in
    that. For I frankly confess to you if I am going to dissolve away
    again into the great All, I should just as soon be annihilated. That
    is perhaps a weakness; but it cannot be helped. I hold above
    everything else to my individuality; not that I set a great value on
    it, but the feeling is instinctive and I believe that at bottom
    everybody is of this opinion. This then is the goal or end, which at
    all epochs has powerfully interested man and interests him still

    One of the weightiest proofs of the survival of the individual being
    that I have ever met with is, in my opinion, the vision which my aunt
    had _several days_ after the death of a friend of hers who, in order
    to give her a proof of the reality of her apparition, inspired in her
    by mental suggestion the power of seeing her in the dress she had on
    in her coffin, _a costume which my aunt had never seen_.

    This is one of the fine and rare arguments in favor of the survival of
    the soul, so far as my experience goes. Many things are explained by
    this survival,--above all, what is apparently the frightful injustice
    of this world.

To these important observations of M. Castex-Dégrange, I should like to
add those of a distinguished scientist, who has also for a long time now
devoted himself to the analysis and synthesis of these phenomena. I mean
M. Goupil. Some of his studies are yet in manuscript form, and I am
indebted to this savant for permission to use them. Others have been
reprinted in a curious brochure (_Pour et Contre_, Tours, 1893). But in
citing such a large number of instances and experiments, I am abusing the
kindness of my readers, even the most curious and the most eager for
knowledge. However, I will at least point out the conclusions drawn by M.
Goupil from his personal experiences. They are to be found in the work of
which I have just spoken, and are as follows:

    Table-turning séances yield very insignificant results, regarded as
    pure science obtained from the spirits; but they are not lacking in
    interest from the point of view of the analysis of the facts and of
    the science to be established in accordance with the causes and the
    laws which govern these phenomena.

    I believe that I can draw the conclusion from these phenomena that two
    theories (the _reflex_ and the _Spiritualistic_) may be drawn from the
    facts. It seems to me impossible to maintain that an intelligent agent
    other than that of the experimenters is not operative in them. What is
    this intelligence? I believe it is very hazardous to express a
    confident opinion on this point in view of the incongruity of all
    these communications.

    It is also undeniable that the intellects of the operators enter into
    the phenomena to a great extent, and that in many cases they alone
    seem to act.

    I should perhaps be sufficiently near the truth if I gave the
    following definition of the phenomenon:

    _Functions external to the animistic principle of the operators, and
    above all of the medium, and governed by their intellects, but
    sometimes associated with an intellect unknown and relatively
    independent of man._

    Experimenters have maintained that communications obtained from the
    so-called spirits through mediums never show more intellectual
    capacity than is possessed by the most intelligent person among the
    sitters. This assertion is generally justified, but it is not

    I will mention, in connection with this point, some séances which took
    place at my house. The medium was Mme. G., whose life I had been
    familiar with for twenty-seven years, day by day, and consequently had
    an intimate acquaintance with her character, her manners, temperament
    and education.

    The communications which were obtained through mediumistic writing in
    these séances extended over a period of more than fifteen months.

    Mme. G. had the sense of a kind of _mental_, rather than auricular,
    psychical rather than physical, audition which dictated to her what
    she had to write in bits of sentences one after another; and this
    impression was accompanied by a strong desire to write, somewhat like
    the intense longing that a woman with child experiences.

    If this medium gave her attention to the sense of the writing during
    the composition, the current of power was shut off, and everything
    resumed the state of ordinary composition. Her condition was that of a
    clerk writing unconcernedly and mechanically under the dictation of a
    superior. It resulted from this that the writings, executed at the
    maximum speed of the subject, and generally without retardation or
    stoppage after the questions, were in one long string, without
    punctuation or paragraphs, and full of mistakes in spelling, resulting
    from the fact that the medium was acquainted with the sense of the
    writing only when she had read it over, at least in the case of rather
    long communications.

    The gist or substance of the _writings_ seems very frequently to be
    drawn from our ideas, our conversation, our reading, or our thoughts;
    but there are certain plainly marked exceptions.

    While Mme. G. was writing, I applied myself to other
    occupations,--calculations, music, etc., or I walked up and down in
    the room; but I only examined the replies when she had stopped

    Nothing indicated that the physical and physiological condition of the
    medium during these writings was in any way different from that of her
    ordinary condition. Mme. G. could interrupt her writing at will and
    apply herself to other occupations or make responses about things
    unconnected with the séance, and it never happened that she found
    herself short of an answer.

    There is no parallelism between these writings and the mental
    endowments of Mme. G., either in promptness of repartee, in breadth of
    view, or in philosophic depth.

    In 1890 I bought Flammarion's _Uranie_, which Mme. G. did not read
    until 1891. I found in it doctrines absolutely similar to those which
    I had deduced from my experiments and from our communications. Any one
    who should compare these mediumistic writings with the philosophical
    works of the French astronomer would be led to believe that Mme. G.
    had previously read them.

    Psychic phenomena have this peculiarity, that identical assertions are
    made in far distant places through mediums who have never known each
    other,--a fact which would tend to demonstrate that, running through
    many declarations which apparently contradict each other, there is a
    certain uniformity of action on the part of the intelligent occult

    In 1890 I also read the work of Dr. Antoine Cros, _The Problem_, in
    which I also found astonishing agreements between the ideas of this
    author and those of our Unknown Inspirer,--among others this: that man
    himself creates his Paradises and becomes that to which he has

    We should always seek the simplest explanation of the facts, without
    desiring to find the occult in them, and above all without looking for
    spirits everywhere, but also without wishing, under any circumstances,
    to reject the intervention of unknown agents and deny the facts when
    they cannot be explained.

    It is rather curious to remark that if we compare the dictations given
    by the tables and the other so-called mediumistic phenomena with
    observations made in conditions of natural or hypnotic somnambulism,
    we find the same phases of incoherence, hesitation, error, lucidity
    and supernormal excitation of the faculties.

    On the other hand, the supernormal excitation of the faculties neither
    explains the cases of prediction nor the citation of unknown facts. In
    the case of many telepathic or other phenomena every explanation limps
    that excludes the intervention of external intelligences. But it is
    still impossible to formulate a theory. There exists a gap to be
    filled by new discoveries.[79]

I will add to these conclusions two short extracts from a letter which M.
Goupil wrote me on the 13th of April, 1899, and from another one on the
1st of June, in the same year.

    1. Replying to the request which you address to your readers, I will
    say that I have never observed telepathic cases, but that I have for a
    long time been experimenting with the phenomena _called_
    Spiritualistic, of which I was a simple analyst. I have come to no
    conclusions as to explanatory theories. However, I consider it
    _probable_ that there exists powerful intelligences other than human
    that intervene under certain circumstances. My opinion is based upon a
    large number of very curious personal occurrences. In my opinion, we
    have not in these phenomena the appearance of simple coincidences, but
    of circumstances willed, foreseen, and produced by an intelligent _x_.

    2. Of the ensemble--of all that I have seen--there is simultaneously
    the reflex action of the experimenters and an independent personality.
    This hypothesis seems to me true, while I should make at the same time
    this reservation, that the personality or spirit is not a finished
    being, with limitations of form, such as an invisible man would have,
    going, coming and executing commissions for human beings. I have
    glimpses of a grander and vaster system.

    Take a handful of the ocean, and you have _water_.

    Take a handful of the atmosphere, and you have _air_.

    Take a handful of space, and you have _mind_.

    That is the way I interpret it. That is why mind is always present,
    ready to respond when it finds in any place a stimulus that incites
    it, and an organism which permits it to manifest itself.

Let us confess that the problem is complex and that it is good to compare
all the hypotheses.[80]

From the numerous papers and documents laid out at this moment upon my
writing-desk, I can only select a small number for insertion here,
although they all have their special interest. One is overwhelmed by the
richness and vastness of the material. However, out of the material
acquired in the course of the Inquiry of which I spoke above, let me give
here one piece which I should regret not to be able to include within the
compass of the present work.

The former governess of the poet Alfred de Musset, Mme. Martelet, née
Adèle Colin,--who still lives in Paris and who has just been present (in
1906) at the unveiling of the statue of the poet (although his death dates
from the year 1857),--has given the following account, which may be added
here to that of movements without contact.

    An inexplicable occurrence which my sister, Mme. Charlot, and myself
    witnessed impressed us most deeply. It took place at the time of the
    last sickness of M. de Musset. I shall never forget the emotion we
    felt that evening, and I still have the minutest incidents of the
    strange occurrence stamped on my memory.

    My master, who had taken no rest during all the previous night, had
    toward the end of the day, fallen into a doze in a large easy-chair.
    My sister and I had entered the chamber on tip-toe, in order not to
    trouble this precious rest of his, and we sat quietly down in a corner
    where we were concealed by the curtains of the bed.

    The invalid could not perceive us, but we saw him very well, and I
    sorrowfully contemplated that suffering face which I knew I could not
    much longer look upon. And still, even now, when I recall the features
    of my master, I see them as they appeared to me on that evening,--the
    eyes closed, his finely shaped head resting upon the easy-chair, and
    his long, thin, pale hands (the paleness of the dead already upon
    them), crossed upon his knees in a contracted and shriveled way. We
    remained motionless and silent, and the chamber, lighted only by a
    feeble lamp, seemed wrapped in shadows and was filled with that
    peculiar mournful atmosphere that characterizes the chamber of the

    Suddenly we heard a deep sigh. The invalid had waked up and I saw his
    looks go toward the bell-cord that hung near the fireplace some steps
    from the easy-chair. He evidently wanted to ring, and I do not know
    what feeling it was that held me nailed to my place. Still I did not
    move, and my master, having a horror of solitude and believing that he
    was alone in his chamber, rose up, stretched out his arm with the
    evident intention of calling someone; but, already fatigued by this
    effort, he fell back into the chair without having taken a step. It
    was at this moment that we had an experience that terrified us. The
    bell, which the sick man had not touched, rang, and instinctively, at
    the same moment, my sister and I seized each other's hands, each
    anxiously interrogating the face of the other.

    "Did you hear?"--"Did you see?"--"He did not move from his chair!"

    At this moment the nurse entered and innocently asked, "Did you ring,

    This event put us into an extraordinary state of mind, and if I had
    not had my sister with me I should have believed that it was an
    hallucination. But both of us saw, and all three of us heard. It is a
    good many years now since all that took place, but I can still hear
    the ominous and mournful sound of that bell ringing in the silence of
    the chamber.

This account, also, seems not to be devoid of value. There are undoubtedly
several ways of explaining it. The first is that which occurs to

The Frenchman, born malign, says Boileau, does not mince matters, and,
apropos of this story of De Musset, simply exclaims in his language
(always flashy and devoid of literary distinction), "What a fine piece of
rot!" And that is all there is to it. A few may reflect for a moment more,
and not admit that there is necessarily any invention on the part of the
governess, and may think that she, as well as her sister, believed that De
Musset had not touched the bell cord, while in reality he touched it with
the ends of his fingers. But these ladies can answer that the distance
between the hand of the poet and the cord was too great, that the cord was
inaccessible in that position, _and that it was that very thing which
impressed them_, and without which there would have been no story to tell.
We may also suppose that the bell was rung by some external force
impinging on it, although the cord was not pulled. We may still further
suppose that, in the restlessness of these hours of distress, the
waiting-woman came in without having heard anything, and that the
coincidence of her arrival with the gesture of De Musset surprised the two
watchers, who afterward thought that they had heard the bell. However, to
sum up the whole thing, while we may regard the occurrence as
inexplicable, we may yet admit its truth as narrated. This seems to me the
most logical view, and the more so that the gentle poet had, several times
in his life, given other proofs of possessing faculties of this kind.

I will add here one more instance of the _movement of objects without
contact_ which is not without value. It was published by Dr. Coues in the
_Annales des sciences psychiques_, for the year 1893. The views stated are
also worthy of being summed up here. The observers, Dr. and Mrs. Elliott
Coues, speak out of their own personal experience.

    It is a principle of physics that a heavy body can only be put in
    motion by the direct application of a mechanical force sufficient to
    overcome its inertia, and orthodox science maintains that the idea of
    action at a distance is an erroneous idea.

    The authors of the present study assert, on the contrary, that heavy
    bodies may be, and frequently are, put in motion without any kind of
    direct application of mechanical force, and that action at a distance
    is a well-established fact in nature. We offer proofs of these
    propositions based on a series of experiments undertaken for this

    We often repeated these experiments, _during more than two years_,
    with results that were convincing not only to ourselves but to many
    other witnesses.

    We do not understand how the scientific world has been able to accept
    the idea that the expression "action at a distance" is a false one,
    unless those who see an error in the assertion attach to these words a
    special meaning of which we are ignorant.

    It is certain that the sun acts at a distance upon the earth and the
    other planets of the solar system. It is certain that a piece of
    anything thrown into the air falls back in consequence of the
    attraction of gravitation,--and that, too, at no matter what distance.
    The law of gravitation, so far as we know it, is universal, and it is
    not yet proved that there exists a ponderable, or otherwise palpable,
    medium which serves to transmit the force.[81]

    We go a little farther, even, and declare that, probably, all action
    of matter is an action at a distance, especially since (so far as our
    knowledge goes) there are not in the whole universe two particles of
    matter in absolute contact; and, consequently, if they act the one
    upon the other, it must be at some distance, this distance being
    infinitely small and entirely inappreciable to our senses.

    We therefore maintain that the law of movement at a distance is a
    universal mechanical law and that the idea that it does not exist is a
    kind of a paradox, simply a hair-splitting quibble.

The two authors of this study sometimes experimented together, sometimes
separately, more often with one or more additional experimenters,
sometimes with four, five, six, seven or eight. They witnessed at
different times, in full light, the vigorous and even violent movements of
a large table which nobody touched directly or indirectly. The persons
mentioned were all friends of theirs, living, like them, in the city of
Washington, and all sincerely desirous of knowing the truth of the matter.
There was no professional medium.

    The scene opens in a little parlor in our house (they write). In the
    centre of the room is a large heavy oak table in marquetry, which
    weighs about one hundred pounds. The top is oval and measures four
    feet and a half by three and a half. It has only a single support, in
    the middle, branching off into three legs, or feet, with casters.
    Above it is the chandelier, several burners of which are lighted and
    give sufficient light for the ladies to read and work by the table.
    Dr. Coues is seated in his easy-chair, in a corner of this large room,
    at a distance from the table, reading or writing by the light of two
    other burners.

    The ladies express the wish to see if the table "will do something,"
    as they say.

    The cloth is removed. Mrs. C., seated in a low rocking-chair, places
    her hands on the table. Mrs. A., also seated in a low easy-chair, does
    the same, facing her at the opposite side of the table. Their hands
    are opened and placed upon the upper surface of the table. In this
    position, they cannot lift the table by themselves with their hands:
    that is an entire impossibility. Neither can they push it by leaning
    on it in order to make it rise on the opposite side, except by
    muscular effort easily observed. Neither can they lift the table
    unaided with their knees, since these are at least a foot away from
    the top and since moreover their feet never leave the floor. Finally,
    they cannot lift the table by means of their toes slipped under a foot
    of the table, because the table is too heavy.

    Under these conditions, and beneath the full light of at least four
    gas jets, the table habitually began to crack or snap, and produced
    divers strange noises quite different from those which could be
    obtained by leaning upon it. These noises soon showed, if I may so
    say, some reason in their incoherence, and certain definite strokes or
    rappings came to represent "yes," and "no." According to an arranged
    code of signals, we were able to enter into a conversation with an
    unknown being. Then the table was generally polite enough to do what
    it was asked. One side or another of it tipped as we wished. It went
    from one side or the other according as we requested. Under these
    circumstances we made the following experiments:

    The two ladies removed their hands from the table and drew back their
    chairs, while still remaining seated in them at a distance of _one or
    two feet_. Dr. Coues from his arm chair saw distinctly above and
    beneath the table. The feet of the ladies were from twelve to
    thirty-six inches distant from the feet of the table. Their heads and
    their hands were still farther off. There was no contact with it. Even
    their dresses were not within a foot or two of it. Under these
    conditions, the table lifted one of its feet and let it fall heavily
    back. It lifted two feet to a height of from two to six inches, and,
    when they fell back, the blow was heavy enough to make the floor
    shake, and make the glass globes of the chandelier tinkle. Besides
    these energetic, even violent movements, the table displayed its power
    by means of raps or balancings.

    Its _yes's_ or its _no's_ were commonly rational, sometimes in
    agreement with the ideas of the one who put the question, sometimes in
    persistent opposition to those ideas. Sometimes the invisible agent
    affirmed that he was a certain person, and maintained that
    individuality during an entire séance. Or possibly this character was
    dropped, so to speak, or at least ceased to appear, and another
    person, or another being, took its place, with different ideas and
    opinions. Thereupon, the raps or the movements also differed. Finally
    the inanimate table, which was supposed to be inert, took on for the
    moment all the appearance of a living being possessing an intelligence
    as keen as that of an ordinary person. It expressed itself with as
    much will and individuality as our friends caused it to do by their
    voices and their gestures. And yet, during this whole time _no one of
    the three persons present touched the table_, the two ladies being at
    a distance of two or three feet, and Dr. Coues seven to ten feet, in a
    corner of the room, which was lighted by four gas jets. There was no
    other person present that one could see. If this was not a case of
    telekinesis, or movement of objects without contact, absolutely
    different from ordinary and normal mechanical movement, we can
    certainly no longer put trust in our senses.

These observations of Dr. and Mrs. Elliott Coues are all as positively
accurate and authentic as the occurrence of an earthquake, the falling of
a fire-ball from the sky, a chemical combination, an experiment with an
electrical machine. The sceptics who smile at them and say that everything
is fraud are persons in whom the sense of logic is wanting.

As to the explanation to be given of them, that is a different question
from that of the pure and simple authentication of the facts.

    Those to whom these descriptions of phenomena and experiments appeal
    (adds the narrator) must take particular notice that the authors of
    this study, although they have had occasion to speak of conversations
    held with the table and to mention special tones of voice, and
    intelligible messages imparted by pieces of inert wood, _categorically
    refuse to approach the question of the source or origin of the
    intelligence thus manifested_. That is an entirely different question,
    with which we do not meddle. The single, or at least the principal,
    object of the publication of this study is to establish the truth of
    movement without contact.

    But, having very plainly verified the fact and established it by
    proofs in our possession, it might perhaps be expected of us that we
    offer some explanation of the extraordinary things that we vouch for.
    We respectfully reply that we are both too old and perhaps too wise to
    claim to explain anything. When we were younger, and fancied that we
    knew everything, we could explain everything,--at least to our own
    satisfaction. Now that we have lived long enough, we have discovered
    that every explanation of a thing raises at least two new questions,
    and we do not feel any desire to stumble against new difficulties; for
    these multiply in geometrical ratio, in proportion to the extent and
    accuracy of our researches. We hold to this principle, that nothing is
    explained so long as there still remains an explanation to be sought.
    Under these conditions, we shall do better to recognize the
    inexplicability of these psychical mysteries, before, rather than
    after, futile theories about them.

There you have what is absolutely reasonable, whatever may be said of it.

And now, after these innumerable verifications of facts, and after all
these professions of faith, shall I myself, have the courage, the
pretension, the pride or the simplicity of mind, to start in search of the
much desired information?

Whether we find it or not, the facts nevertheless exist. It was the object
of this book to convince my readers of this,--readers who should give to
the subject their close attention, be possessed of unbiased judgment and
good faith, and have the eyes of the spirit wide open and free from all



It is quite in the fashion, as a general thing, to profess absolute
scepticism regarding the phenomena which form the subject of the present
work. In the opinion of three-quarters of the citizens of our planet all
unexplained noises in haunted houses; all displacements without contact of
bodies more or less heavy; all movements of tables, pianos, or other
objects produced in the experiments styled Spiritualistic; all
communications dictated by raps or by unconscious writing; all
apparitions, partial or total, of phantom forms--are illusions,
hallucinations, or hoaxes. No explanation is needed. The only rational
opinion is that all "mediums," professional or not, are imposters, and the
participators in a séance are imbeciles.

Sometimes one of these eminent judges consents, not to cease tipping the
wink and smiling in his royal competency, but to condescend to be present
at a séance. If, as only too frequently happens, no response to the
command of the will is obtained, the illustrious observer retires, firmly
convinced that, by his extraordinary penetration, he has discovered the
cheat and blocked everything by his clairvoyant intuition. He at once
writes to the journals, shows up the fraud, and sheds humanitarian
crocodile tears over the sad spectacle of men, apparently intelligent,
allowing themselves to be taken in by impostures, detected by him at the
first blush.

This first and easy explanation, that everything in the manifestations is
fraud, has been so often exposed, discussed, and refuted during the course
of this work that my readers probably consider it (at least I hope they
do) as entirely, absolutely, and definitely decided and thrown out of the

However, I advise you not to speak too freely of these things at table, or
in a drawing room if you do not like to have people making fun of you,
more or less discreetly. If you air your views in public, you will produce
the same effect as those eccentric fellows of the time of Ptolemy, who
dared to speak of the movement of the earth and excited such
inextinguishable laughter in respectable society that the echoes ring with
it still in Athens, Alexandria, and Rome. It is only a repetition of what
took place when Galileo spoke of the spots on the sun, Galvani of
electricity, Jenner of vaccine, Jouffroy and Fulton of the steamship,
Chappe of the telegraph, Lebon of gas-lighting, Stephenson of railways,
Daguerre of photography, Boucher de Perthes of the fossil man, Mayer of
thermodynamics, Wheatstone of the transatlantic cable, etc. If we could
gather up all the sarcasms launched at the heads of these "poor
crazy-wits," we should get a fine basket of venerable blunders, moldy as a
remainder biscuit after a voyage.

So let us not speak too much of our mysteries--unless it amuses us, in our
turn, to ask some questions of the prettiest dolls in the company. One of
them inquired in my presence, yesterday evening, what the man named
Lavoisier did, and whether he was dead. Another thought that Auguste Comte
was a writer of songs and asked if any one knew one of them which would
suit a mezzo-soprano voice. Another was astonished that Louis XIV had not
built one of the two railway stations of Versailles nearer the palace.

Moreover, on my balcony, a member of the Institute, who saw Jupiter
shining in the southern sky at the meridian point, over one of the cupolas
of the Observatory, obstinately maintained in my presence that this
luminary was the polar star. I did not dispute the point with him _too_

There are not a few people who believe at once in the value of universal
suffrage and in that of titles of nobility. Of course, we will not force
these Janus-faced wise men to vote upon the admissibility of psychic
phenomena into the sphere of science.

But we will henceforth consider this admissibility as something granted,
and, tossing back to the laughing sceptics, to the habitués of clubs and
cliques, the general opinion of the world, of which I have just spoken,
begin here our logical analysis.

We have had under consideration during the course of this work several
theories by scientific investigators which are worthy of attention. Let us
first of all sum these up.

    In the opinion of Gasparin, these unexplained movements are produced
    by a _fluid_, emanating from us under the action of our will.

    Professor Thury thinks that this fluid, which he calls _psychode_, is
    a substance which forms a link between the soul and the body; but
    there may also exist certain wills external to ourselves, and of
    unknown nature, working side by side with us.

    The chemist Crookes attributes the phenomena to psychic force, this
    being the agent by which the phenomena are produced; but he adds that
    this force may well be, in certain cases, seized upon and directed by
    some other intelligence. "The difference between the partisans of
    psychic force and those of Spiritualism," he writes, "consists in
    this: we maintain that it is not yet _proved_ that there exists a
    directing agent other than the intelligence of the medium and that
    presence and actions of the spirits of the dead are felt in the
    phenomena, while, on the contrary, the Spiritualists accept as an
    article of faith, without demanding more proofs thereof, that these
    spirits are the sole agents in the production of the observed facts."

    Albert de Rochas defines these phenomena as "_an externalization of
    motivity_," and considers them to be produced by the fluidic double,
    "the astral body" of the medium, a nerve-fluid able to act and
    perceive at a distance.

    Lombroso declares that the explanation must be sought simply in the
    nervous system of the medium, and that we have in the phenomena
    _transformation of forces_.

    Dr. Ochorowicz affirms that he has not found proofs in favor of the
    Spiritualistic hypothesis, any more than he has in favor of the
    intervention of external intelligences, and that the cause of the
    phenomena is a _fluidic double_ detaching itself from the organism of
    the medium.

    The astronomer Porro is inclined to admit the possible action of
    unknown spirits, of living forms different from our own, not
    necessarily the souls of the dead, but psychical entities to be
    studied. In a recent letter he wrote me that the theosophic doctrine
    appeared to him to approach the nearest to a solution.[82]

    Prof. Charles Richet thinks that the Spiritualistic hypothesis is far
    from being demonstrated, that the observed facts relate to an entirely
    different order of causes, as yet very difficult to disentangle and
    that in the present state of our knowledge no final conclusion can be
    agreed on.

    The naturalist Wallace, Professor Morgan, and the electrician Varley
    declare, on the other hand, that sufficient proof has been given them
    to warrant them in accepting without reserve the Spiritualistic
    doctrine of disembodied souls.

    Prof. James H. Hyslop, of the University of Columbia, who has made a
    special study of these phenomena, in the Proceedings of the London
    Society for Psychical Research, and in his works _Science and a Future
    Life_ and _Enigmas of Psychical Research_, thinks that there are not
    yet enough severely critical verifications to warrant any theory.

    Dr. Grasset, a disciple of Pierre Janet, does not admit displacement
    of objects, or levitation, or the greater part of the facts described
    in this book as proved, and thinks what is called Spiritualism is a
    question of medical biology, of "the physiopathology of the nervous
    centres," in which a celebrated cerebral polygon with a musical
    conductor named O, plays an automatic rôle of a very curious

    Dr. Maxwell concludes from his observations that the greater part of
    the phenomena, the reality of which cannot be doubted, are produced by
    a force existing in us, that this force is intelligent, and that the
    intelligence manifested comes from the experimenters. This would be a
    kind of collective consciousness.

    M. Marcel Mangin does not adopt this "collective consciousness," and
    declares that it is certain that the being, in the séances, who
    asserts that he is a manifestation is "the sub-consciousness of the

The foregoing are some of the principal opinions. It would take a whole
book to discuss in writing the proposed explanations, but that is not my
object. My aim was to focus the question on what concerns THE

However, now that this is done, we cannot but ask ourselves, what
conclusions may be drawn from all these observations.

If we wish to obtain, after this mass of verifications, a satisfactory
rational explanation, it seems to me we must proceed gradually, classify
the facts, analyze them, and only admit them in proportion to their
absolute and demonstrated certainty. We live in a very complex universe,
and the most singular confusion has arisen among phenomena which are very
distinct one from another.

As I said in 1869, at the tomb of Allan Kardec, "The causes in action are
of several kinds, and are more numerous than one would suppose."

Can we explain the observed phenomena, or at least any portion of it? It
is our duty to try. For this purpose I shall classify them in the order of
increasing difficulties. It is always advisable to begin with the

May I hope that the reader will have got a clear idea in his mind of the
experiments and observations set forth in the previous pages of this work?
It would be a little insipid to refer every time to the pages where the
phenomena have been described.

    1. ROTATION OF THE TABLE, _with contact of the hands of a certain
    number of operators_.

    This rotation can be explained by an unconscious impulse given to the
    table. All that is necessary is that each one push a little in the
    same way, and the movement will take place.

    2. MOVEMENT OF THE TABLE, _the hands of the experimenters resting upon

    The operators push and the table is led along without their knowing
    it, each one acting in a greater or less degree. They think they are
    following it, but they are really leading it along. We have in this
    only the result of muscular efforts, generally of a rather slight

    3. LIFTING OF THE TABLE _on the side opposite to that upon which the
    hands of the principal actor are placed_.

    Nothing is more simple. The pressure of the hands upon a centre-table
    with three legs suffices to produce the lifting of the leg the
    farthest removed, and thus to strike all the letters of the alphabet.
    The movement is less easy in the case of a table with four legs; but
    it can also be obtained.

    These three movements are the only ones, it seems to me, which can be
    explained without the least mystery. Still, the third is only
    explicable in case the table is not too heavy.


    Several experimenters being seated around the table, and forming the
    chain with the desire of seeing it rise, the waves of a kind of
    vibrations (light at first) are perceived to be passing through the
    wood. Then balancings are noticed, some of which may be due to
    muscular impulses. But already something more is now mingled in the
    process. The table seems to be set in motion of itself. Sometimes it
    rises, no longer as if moved by a lever, or by pressure on one side,
    but _under the hands_, as if it were sticking to them. This levitation
    is contrary to the law of gravitation. Hence we have here a discharge
    of force. This force emanates from our organism. There is no
    sufficient reason to seek for anything else. Nevertheless, what we
    have detected is a thing of prime importance.


    The table being in rapid rotation, we can remove our hands from it,
    and see it continue the movement. The velocity or momentum acquired
    may explain the momentary continuation of this movement and the
    explanation given in the case of No. 1 may suffice. But there is more
    in it than this. Rotation is obtained by holding the hands at a
    distance of some inches above the table, without any contact. A light
    layer of flour dusted over the table is found to be untouched by a
    single finger. Hence the force emitted by the operators must penetrate
    the table.

    The experiments prove that we have in us a force capable of acting at
    a distance upon matter, a natural force, generally latent, but
    developed in different degrees in different mediums. The action of the
    force is manifested under conditions as yet imperfectly determined.
    (See pp. 81, 248 _et seq._) We can act upon brute matter, upon living
    matter, upon the brain and upon the mind. This action of the will is
    shown in telepathy. It is shown more simply still by means of a
    well-known experiment: at the theatre, in church, when hearing music,
    a man accustomed to the exercise of will-power, and sitting several
    rows of seats behind a woman, say, compels her to turn around in less
    than a minute. A force emanates from us, from our spirit, acting
    undoubtedly by means of etherwaves, the point of departure of which is
    a cerebral movement.

    And there is nothing very mysterious in this. I bring my hand near a
    thermometer, and ascertain that something invisible is escaping from
    my hand, and, at a certain remove, making the column of mercury rise.
    This something else is heat; that is to say, aërial waves in movement.
    Then why might not other radiations emanate from our hands and from
    our whole being?

    But, nevertheless, there is a very important scientific fact to be

    This physical force is greater than that of the muscles, as I am going
    to prove.


    A table is loaded with sacks of sand and with stones weighing
    altogether from 165 to 176 pounds. The table lifts each of its three
    legs several times in succession. But it succumbs under the load and
    is broken. The operators ascertain that their muscular force would not
    have sufficed to produce the observed movements. The will acts by a
    dynamic prolongation.


    The hands forming the chain some inches above the side of the table
    which is to be lifted, and all wills being concentrated on the one
    idea, the lifting of each of the legs in succession takes place. The
    liftings are more readily obtained than rotations without contact. An
    energetic will seems to be indispensable. The unknown force passes
    from the experimenters to the table without any contact. If the table
    is dusted over with flour, as I said, not the slightest finger-touch
    is seen to be imprinted on it.

    The will of the sitters is in play. The table is ordered to make such
    and such a movement and it obeys. This will seems to be prolonged
    beyond the bodies of the operating experimenters in the shape of a
    force that is quite intense.

    This power is developed by action. The balancings prepare for the
    rising and the latter for complete levitation.


    A quadrangular table is suspended by one of its sides to a dynamometer
    attached to a cord which is held above by some kind of a hook. The
    needle of the dynamometer, which, in a state of rest, indicates 35
    kilograms, gradually descends to 3, 2, 1, 0 kilograms.

    A mahogany board is placed horizontally, and hung by one end to a
    spring balance. This balance (or scales), has a point which touches a
    pane of glass blackened by smoke. When this pane of glass is put in
    movement, the needle traces a horizontal line. During the experiments,
    this line is no longer straight, but marks reductions and increments
    of weight, produced without any contact of hands. In the experiments
    of Crookes we saw that the weight of a board increased almost 1-1/4

    The medium places his hands _upon_ the back of a chair and lifts the


    The dynamometric experiments that we have just recalled themselves go
    to show this augmentation.

    I have more than once seen, in other circumstances, a table become so
    heavy that it was absolutely impossible for two men to lift it from
    the floor. When they succeeded in doing so, in a measure, by means of
    quick jerks, it still seemed to stick to the floor as if held by glue
    or india rubber, which immediately pulled it back to the floor after
    it had been slightly displaced.

    In all these experiments, there is proof of the action of an unknown
    natural force emanating from the chief experimenter or from the
    collective powers of the group, an organic force under the influence
    of the will. It is not necessary to suppose the presence of superhuman


    As there may be confusion in applying the word "lifting" to a table
    which only rises on one side at a certain angle, while still touching
    the floor, it is expedient to apply the word "levitation" to the case
    in which it is completely separated from the floor.

    Generally, in levitation, it rises from six to eight inches from the
    floor, for some seconds only, and then falls back. It moves up in a
    balancing, undulating, hesitating way, with effort, and then falls
    straight down. While resting our hands upon it, we have the sensation
    of a fluid resistance, as of it were in water,--the kind of fluid
    sensation we experience when we bring a piece of iron into the field
    of force of a magnet.

    A table, a chair or other movable article sometimes rises, not merely
    a foot or so, but almost to the height of one's head, and even as high
    as the ceiling.

    The force brought into play is considerable.


    This case is of the same order as the preceding. The medium may be
    raised with his chair and placed upon the table, sometimes in unstable
    equilibrium. He may also be lifted alone (without the chair).[83]

    In this case the Unknown Force does not seem to be simply mechanical:
    intention is mingled with the act, and ideas of precaution, which,
    however may proceed from the mentality of the medium himself, aided
    perhaps by that of the sitters. This fact seems to us to contravene
    known scientific laws. It is the same case as that of the cat which
    knows how to turn of itself, without any outside support or leverage,
    when it falls from a roof, and always falls on its feet, a fact
    contrary to the principles of mechanics taught in every university in
    the world.


    A piano weighing more than 750 pounds rises up off of its two front
    legs, and it is ascertained that its weight varies. The force with
    which it is animated arises from the proximity of a child eleven years
    old, but it is not the conscious will of this child which acts.--A
    heavy oak dining-table may rise so high that its under side can be
    inspected during the levitation.


    A heavy easy-chair moves about of its own accord in the room. Heavy
    curtains reaching from the ceiling to the floor are forcibly swelled
    out as if by a gust of wind, and envelop as with a hood the heads of
    persons seated at a table, at a distance of three feet and more. A
    centre table persists in _the endeavor_ to climb upon the
    experiment-table--and gets there. While a sceptical spectator is
    bantering the "spirits," the table about which the experiments are
    taking place makes a move towards the incredulous person, drawing the
    sitters along with it, and pins him to the wall until he begs for

    As in the preceding cases, these movements may represent the
    expression of the will of the medium, and may not necessarily indicate
    the presence of a mind external to his own. Nevertheless--?


    In tables, in pianos, and other pieces of furniture, in the walls, in
    the air, raps are heard, and their vibrations perceived by the touch.
    They somewhat resemble the sounds obtainable by tapping against a
    piece of wood with the joint of the bent finger. The question arises,
    Whence come these noises? The question is asked aloud. They are
    repeated. The request is made that a certain number of strokes be
    rapped. The raps are heard. Well-known airs are accompanied by raps
    beaten in perfect time with them and identifiable as the counterpart
    of the airs. When bits of music are played, the accompaniment is
    rapped out. Things take place as if an invisible being were listening
    and acting. But how could a being without acoustic nerve and without a
    tympanum hear? The sonorous waves must strike something in order to be
    interpreted. Is this a mental transmission?

    These raps are made. Who makes them? And how? The mysterious force
    emits radiations of wave-lengths inaccessible to our retina, but
    powerful and rapid, without doubt more rapid than those of light, and
    situated beyond the ultraviolet. Besides, light impedes their action.

    In proportion as we advance in the examination of the phenomena, the
    psychic, intellectual, mental element is more and more mingled with
    the physical and mechanical element. In the case we are considering we
    are forced to admit the presence, the action, of a thought. Is this
    thought simply that of the medium, of the chief experimenter, or the
    resultant of the thoughts of all the sitters united?

    Since these raps or those made by the legs of the table, on being
    interrogated, dictate words and phrases and express ideas, there is
    something more in the matter than a simple mechanical action. The
    unknown force, the existence of which we have been obliged to admit in
    the preceding observations, is in this case at the service of an
    intelligence. The mystery grows complicated.

    It is owing to this intellectual element that I proposed (before 1865;
    see p. xix) to give the name "_psychic_" to this force, a name
    proposed anew by Crookes in 1871. We saw also that, as early as the
    year 1855, Thury had proposed the name "_psychode_" and "_ecteneic_"
    force. From this on, it would be impossible for us in our examination
    not to take into consideration this psychic force.

    Up to this point, Gasparin's fluid might suffice, just as unconscious
    muscular action sufficed for the first three classes of facts. But
    starting from this fourteenth class, the psychic order plainly
    manifests itself (and even in the preceding class we begin already to
    divine its presence).


    I have heard--as have all other experimenters--not only sharp light
    raps upon a table, like those of which I have just been speaking, but
    mallet-blows, or blows of the fist upon a door, capable of knocking
    down a man if he had received them. Generally, these tremendous blows
    are a protestation against a denial on the part of one of the sitters.
    There is in them an intention, a will, an intelligence. They may also
    be due to the medium, who is indignant, or who is amusing himself or
    herself. The action is not muscular; for the hands and feet of the
    medium are held, and the rapping may occur some distance away from him
    or her.

    16. TOUCHINGS.

    Fraud can explain those which take place within the reach of the
    medium's hands, for they only occur in the darkness. But they have
    been felt at a certain distance beyond this reach as if the hands of
    the medium were prolonged.


    An accordion in an open-work case, or cage, which keeps any other hand
    from touching it, is held in one hand by the end opposite the keys.
    Presently the instrument begins to lengthen and shorten of itself and
    plays various melodies. An invisible hand with fingers (or something
    like them), must therefore be acting. (Experiment of Crookes with
    Home.) As the reader has seen I repeated this experiment with Eusapia.

    Another time, a music-box, the handle of which was turned by an
    invisible hand, played in perfect time with the music movements that
    Eusapia was making upon my cheek.

    An invisible hand forcibly snatched from my hand a block of paper
    which I was holding out with extended arm at the height of my head.

    Invisible hands removed from M. Schiaparelli's head his spectacles
    (furnished with a spring), which were firmly fastened behind his ears,
    and that so nimbly and with such light touch that he did not perceive
    it until afterwards.


    The hands are not always invisible. Sometimes semi-luminous ones are
    seen to appear in the dim light,--hands of men, hands of women, hands
    of children. Sometimes they have clear-cut outlines. They are
    generally firm and moist to the touch, sometimes icy cold. At times
    they melt away in the hand. For my part I was never able to grasp one.
    It was always the mysterious hand that took mine,--often feeling
    through a curtain, or sometimes by nude contact, or pinching my ear,
    or running its fingers through my hair with great rapidity.


    For my part, I have only seen two: the bearded silhouette at
    Monfort-l'Amaury, and the head of a young girl with high-arched
    forehead, in my drawing-room. In the case of the first I had believed
    that there was a mask held at the end of a rod. But at my own home,
    there was no possibility of an accomplice, and at present I am not
    less sure of the first instance than of the other. Moreover, the
    testimony of other observers is so precise and so often given that it
    is imperative that it be classed with my own.

    20. PHANTOMS.

    I have never seen any of these nor photographed them, but it seems to
    me impossible to be sceptical about that of Katie King, observed for
    three consecutive years by Crookes and others who experimented with
    the medium Florence Cook. One can scarcely doubt, also, the reality of
    the phantoms seen by the committee of the Dialectical Society of
    London. We have seen that trickery plays a frequent rôle in this sort
    of apparitions; but, in the experiments just mentioned, the
    observations were really conducted with such perspicacity that they
    are safe from all objection, and have on them the stamp of a purely
    scientific character.

    These phantoms, like the heads and the hands mentioned, seem to be
    condensations of fluids produced by the powers of the medium, and do
    not prove the existence of independent spirits.

    When the hand is stretched out, the rubbing of a beard can be felt
    upon it. This happened to me, as well as to others. Did the beard
    really exist, or was it only a case of tactual and visual sensations?
    The case here immediately following pleads in favor of its reality.


    The heads and the hands formed are sufficiently dense to leave a mould
    of their features and shape imprinted in the putty or the clay.
    Perhaps the most curious thing is that it is not necessary that these
    weird formations, these forces, be visible in order to produce
    impressions. We have seen a vigorous gesture imprint itself at a
    distance in clay.


    A book has been seen passing through a curtain. A bell has passed from
    a library-room, locked with a key, into a drawing-room. A flower has
    been seen passing perpendicularly downward through a dining-room
    table. Some have thought they had ocular proof of the mysterious
    appearance of plants, of flowers, of fruits, and other objects, which
    (as the claim went) had passed through walls, ceilings, doors.

    The latter phenomenon took place several times in my presence. But I
    was never able to get certain proof of it under unimpeachable
    conditions; and I have ferreted out many a trick.

    The experiments of Zöllner (a wooden ring entering into another wooden
    ring, a string tied at the two ends making a knot, etc.) would, of
    course, be a thing of exceptional interest if the medium Slade had not
    the bad reputation of being just a skilful prestidigitator,--a
    reputation probably only too well merited. I should think that there
    is good reason to suppose that the experiments of Crookes are

    Has space only three dimensions? We will set this question aside.


    These have been already glimpsed in a certain number of the preceding
    cases. The forces in action here are of the psychical as well as the
    physical class. The question is to know whether the intellect of the
    medium and of the sitters is sufficient to explain everything.

    In all the cases I have previously mentioned, this intellect seem to
    suffice, but only by attributing to it occult faculties of prodigious

    In the present state of our knowledge, it is impossible for us to
    understand the way in which mind, conscious or unconscious, can lift a
    table, make raps in wood, form a hand or a head, stamp an imprint. The
    _modus operandi_ is absolutely unintelligible to us. Future science
    will perhaps discover it. But all these actions never overpass the
    limits of man's capacities, and let us admit, the capacity required is
    not an extraordinary one.

    The hypothesis of spirits of another order than that of living human
    beings does not seem to be necessary.

    The hypothesis of the doubling of the psychic personality of the
    medium is the most simple. Is it sufficient to entirely satisfy us?

    Hard blows on the table like those of a fist, contrasting with gentle
    taps, may have this origin, in spite of appearance.

    It is the same with apparitions of the hands, of heads, of spectral
    forms. We cannot declare this origin of the phenomena to be
    impossible; and it is more simple than to assume that they are due to
    wandering spirits.

    The conveying of objects over the heads of the experimenters in
    complete darkness, without touching either chandelier or heads, is
    scarcely comprehensible. But do we understand any better how a spirit
    can have hands? And if it did, might it not amuse itself thus?
    Spectacles are taken from a face without the act being perceived; a
    handkerchief is removed from the neck, then snatched from between the
    teeth that are holding it; a fan is transferred from one pocket to
    another. Do latent faculties of the human organism suffice to explain
    these intentional actions? It is right for us neither to affirm nor to

I have thus passed in review the whole series of phenomena to be
explained, at least all those within the limits of the plan of this work.

A first, and obviously safe, conclusion is that man has in himself a
fluidic and psychic force whose nature is still unknown, but which is
capable of acting at a distance upon matter and of moving the same.

This force is the expression of our will, of our desires; I mean as it
appears in the first ten cases of the preceding classifications. For the
other cases we must add the unconscious, the unforeseen, wills different
from our conscious wills.

The force is at once physical and psychical. If the medium puts forth a
force of twelve or fourteen pounds to lift a table, his weight undergoes a
corresponding increase. The hand which we see forming near him is able to
grasp an object. The hand really exists, and is then reabsorbed. Might we
not compare the force which brings it into existence with that
building-force of nature, which reproduces a claw for the lobster and a
tail for the lizard? The intervention of spirits is not all

In mediumistic experiments things happen as if an invisible being were
present, able to transport the different objects through the air, usually
without striking against the heads of the persons who are sitting in
various parts of the room in almost complete darkness; capable also of
acting upon a curtain like a strong wind, pushing it far out, able to
fling this curtain over your head, giving you a Capuchin hood or coiffure,
and pressing strongly against your body, as if with two nervous arms, and
touching you with a warm and living hand. I have perceived these hands in
the most unmistakble way. The invisible being can condense itself
sufficiently to become visible, and I have seen it passing in the air. To
suppose that I, as well as other experimenters, was the dupe of an
hallucination is an hypothesis which cannot be maintained for a single
moment and would simply show that those who entertained the idea were far
more likely to have an hallucination than we were, or else that they
entertained the most inexcusable prepossession and prejudice. We were in
the best possible condition for observing and analysizing any phenomena
whatever and no sceptic will make us believe anything different on this

There is certainly an invisible prolongation of the organism of the
medium. This prolongation may be compared to the radiation which leaps
from the loadstone to reach a bit of iron and put it into movement.

We can also compare it with the effluvium which emanates from electrified

I also compared it some pages back to calorific waves.

When a medium makes a gesture of striking the table with his closed fist,
but stops short at a distance of from eight to twelve inches, and when, at
every gesture, a sonorous stroke of the fist echoes in the table, we see
in that the proof of a dynamic prolongation of the arm of the medium.

When she pretends to imitate on my cheek the rotation of the crank of a
music-box, and when this box keeps time with the imitated movement, stops
when the fingers stop, plays the tune faster when the finger accelerates
its circular tracings, goes slower when it goes slower, etc., we have here
again proof of dynamic action at a distance.

When an accordion plays of its own will, when a bell begins to ring of
itself, when a lever indicates such and such a pressure, there is a real
force in action.

We must therefore admit, first of all, this prolongation of the muscular
and nervous force of the subject. I am keenly sensible of the fact that
this is a bold proposition, almost incredible, most strange and
extraordinary; but after all the facts are there, and whether the matter
irks us or not is a small matter.

This prolongation is real, and only extends to a certain distance from the
medium, a distance which can be measured, and which varies according to
circumstances. But is it sufficient to explain all the observed phenomena?

We are forced to admit that this prolongation, usually invisible, and
impalpable, may become visible and palpable; take, especially, the form of
an articulated hand, with flesh and muscles; and reveal the exact form of
a head or a body. The fact is incomprehensible; but after so many
different observations, it seems to me impossible to see in this curious
phenomenon only trickery or hallucination. Logic lays its laws upon us and
commands our respect.

A fluidic and condensable double has therefore the power of gliding
momentarily out from the body of the medium (for his presence is

How can this double, this fluidic body have the consistency of flesh and
of muscles? We do not understand it. But it would neither be wise nor
intelligent to admit only that which we can comprehend. It must be
remembered that, for the greater part of the time, we imagine we
comprehend things because we can give an explanation of them; that is all.
Now this explanation rarely has any intrinsic value. It is only a
framework of words tacked together. Thus you fancy you understand why an
apple falls from the top of the tree, because you say that the earth
attracts it. This is pure simple-mindedness. For in what does the
attraction of the earth consist? You know nothing about it; but you are
satisfied, because the fact is a common one.

When the curtain is inflated as if pushed out by a hand, and when you feel
you are pinched in the shoulder by a hand at the moment the curtain
touches you, you have the impression that you are the dupe of an
accomplice hidden behind the curtain. There is some one there who is
playing a practical joke on you. You draw aside the curtain. Nothing!

Since it is impossible for you to admit a trick of any kind, because you,
and you alone, hung that curtain between the two walls; and since you know
that there is no person behind it because you are close by it and have not
lost it out of your sight; and since the medium is seated near you with
his, or her, hands and legs held, you are forced to admit that a
temporarily materialized being has touched you.

It is certain that these facts may be denied and that they are denied.
Those who have not personally verified them are excusable. It is not a
question of ordinary events which take place every day and which everybody
can observe. It is evident, as a general proposition, that, if we admit
only what we have ourselves seen, we shall not get very far. We admit the
existence of the Philippine Islands without having been there, of
Charlemagne and of Julius Cæsar without having seen them, of total
eclipses of the sun, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, etc., as facts of
which we have not ourselves been eye-witnesses. The distance of a star,
the weight of a planet, the composition of one of the heavenly bodies, the
most marvelous discoveries of astronomy, do not excite scepticism, except
in the minds of wholly uncultivated persons, because people in general
appreciate the value of astronomic methods. But undoubtedly, in these
psychical matters, the phenomena are so extraordinary that one is
excusable for not believing them.

Nevertheless, if anyone will give himself the trouble to reason he will
positively be compelled to recognize that, in following on this trail, he
is inevitably brought to a stand in face of the following dilemma: either
the experimenters have been the dupes of the mediums, who have uniformly
cheated, or else these stupefying facts actually exist. Now since the
first hypothesis is eliminated, we are forced to admit the reality of the

A fluidic body is formed at the expense of the medium, emerges from his
organism, moves, acts. What is the intelligent force that directs this
fluidic body and makes it act in such or such a way? Either it is the mind
of the medium, or it is another mind that makes use of this same fluid.
There is no escape from this conclusion. I may remark that the
meteorological conditions, fine weather, agreeable temperature,
cheerfulness, high spirits, favor the phenomena; that the medium is never
wholly out of touch with the manifestations, and frequently knows what is
going to take place; that the cause escapes the mental grasp and is
fugitive and capricious; and that the apparitions fade away like a dream
as silently as they are formed.

Note also that, in important manifestations, the medium suffers,
complains, groans, loses an enormous amount of force, exhibits an
astonishing nervous energy, experiences hyperæsthesia, and at the apogee
of the manifestation, seems for an instant to be absolutely prostrated.
And, in truth, why should not his mind as well as his fluidic force be
haled out of his body and be exhausted in external work? The psychical
force of a living human being is able, then, to create "material"
phenomena--organs, spectral figures.

But what is matter?

My readers know that matter does not exist as it is perceived by our
senses. These only give us incomplete impressions of an _Unknown Reality_.
Analysis shows us that matter is only a form of energy.

In the work called _A Propos d'Eusapia Paladino_, which sums up his
experiments with this medium, M. Guillaume de Fontenay ingeniously tries
to explain the phenomena by the dynamic theory of matter. It is probable
that this explanation is one of those that make the nearest approach to
the truth.

According to this theory, the quality which seems to us characteristic of
matter--solidity, stability--is no more substantial than the light which
strikes our eyes, or the sound which enters our ears. We see; that is to
say, we receive upon the retina rays which affect it. But around and on
every side of the retina undulate countless other rays that leave no
impression upon it. It is the same with the other senses.

Matter, like light, like heat, like electricity, seems to be the result of
a species of movement. Movement of what? Of the primitive monistic
substance, quickened by manifold vibrations.

Most assuredly, matter is not that inert thing that we commonly suppose.

A comparison will aid in comprehending this. Take a carriage-wheel. Place
it horizontally on a pivot. While the wheel is motionless, let a rubber
ball fall between its spokes. This ball will almost always pass through
between the spokes. Now give a slight movement to the wheel. The ball will
be pretty often hit by the revolving spokes, and will rebound. If we
increase the rotation, the ball will now no longer pass through the wheel,
which will have become for it a wholly impenetrable disc.

We can try a similar experiment by arranging the wheel vertically and
shooting arrows through it. A bicycle-wheel will serve the purpose very
well, owing to the slenderness of its spokes. When not in movement, the
arrows will pass through it nine times out of ten. In movement, it will
produce in the arrows deviations more or less marked. With increase in the
speed, it would be made impenetrable, and all the arrows would be broken
as if against the steel plating of an armored ship.

These comparisons allow us to understand how matter is really only a mode
of motion, only an expression of force, a manifestation of energy. It will
disappear (it must be borne in mind) on analysis, which ends by taking
refuge in the intangible, invisible, imponderable, and almost immaterial
atom. The atom itself which was regarded as the basis of matter fifty
years ago, has now disappeared, or rather has been metamorphosed and
reappears as a hypothetical, impalpable vortex.

I will allow myself to repeat here what I have said a hundred times
elsewhere: _The universe is a dynamism_.

The difficulty we have in explaining to ourselves apparitions,
materializations, when we try to apply to them the ordinary conception of
matter, is considerably lessened the moment we conceive that matter is
only a mode of motion.

Life itself, from the most rudimentary cell up to the most complicated
organism, is a special kind of movement, a movement determined and
organized by a directing force. According to this theory, momentary
apparitions would be less difficult to accept and to comprehend. The vital
force of the medium might externalize itself and produce in a point of
space a vibratory system which should be the counterpart of itself, in a
more or less advanced degree of visibility and solidity. These phenomena
can with difficulty be reconciled with the old hypothesis of the
independent and intrinsic existence of matter: They better fit that of
matter as a mode of motion--in a word, simple movement, giving the
sensation of matter.

There is, of course, only one substance, the primitive substance, which
antedates the original nebula--the womb from which all bodies in the
universe have issued. The substances which the chemists take to be simple
bodies--oxygen, hydrogen, azote, iron, gold, silver, etc.--are mineral
elements which have been gradually formed and differentiated, just as,
later, the vegetable and animal species were differentiated. And not only
is the substance of the world one, but it also has the same origin as
energy, and these two forms are mutually interchangeable. Nothing is lost,
nothing is created, everything is transformed.[86]

The unique substance is immaterial and unknowable in its essence. We see
and touch only its condensations, its aggregations, its arrangements; that
is to say, forms produced by movement. Matter, force, life, thought, are
all one.

In reality, there is only one principle in the universe, and it is at once
intelligence, force, and matter, embracing all that is and all that
possibly can be. That which we call matter is only a form of motion. At
the basis of all is force, dynamism, and universal mind, or spirit.

Visible matter, which stands to us at the present moment for the universe,
and which certain classic doctrines consider as the origin of all
things--movement, life, thought--is only a word void of meaning. The
universe is a great organism controlled by a dynamism of the psychical
order. Mind gleams through its every atom.

The environment or atmosphere is psychic. There is mind in every thing,
not only in human and animal life, but in plants, in minerals, in space.

It is not the body which produces life: it is rather life which organizes
the body. Does not the will to live increase the viability of enfeebled
persons, just as the giving up of the wish to live may abridge life and
even extinguish it?

Your heart beats, night and day, whatever be the position of your body. It
is a well-mounted spring. Who or what adjusted this elastic spring?

The embryo is formed in the womb of the mother, in the egg of the bird.
There is neither heart nor brain. At a certain moment the heart beats for
the first time. Sublime moment! It will beat in the child, in the
adolescent, in the man, in the woman, at the rate of about 100,000
pulsations a day, of 36,500,000 a year, of 1,825,000,000 in fifty years.
This heart that has just been formed is going to beat a thousand millions
of pulsations, two thousand millions, three thousand millions, a number
determined by its inherent force; then it will stop and the body will fall
into ruins. Who or what wound up this watch once for all?

Dynamism, the vital energy.

What sustains the earth in space?

Dynamism, the velocity of its movement.

What is it in the bullet that kills?

Its velocity.

Everywhere energy, everywhere the invisible element. It is this same
dynamism that produces the phenomena we have been studying. The question
at present resolves itself into this: Does this dynamism belong wholly to
the experimenters? We have so little real knowledge of our mental nature
that it is impossible for us to know what this nature is capable of
producing, even in certain states of unconsciousness--in fact especially
in these. The directing intelligence is not always the personal, _normal_,
intelligence of the experimenters or of any one whatever among them. We
ask the entity what its name is, and it gives us a name which is not ours;
it replies to our questions, and usually claims to be a discarnate soul,
the spirit of a deceased person. But if we drive the question home, this
entity finally steals away without having given us sufficient proofs of
its identity. There results from this the impression that the "medium," or
principal subject of the experiment, has responded for himself, has
reflected himself, without knowing it.

Moreover, this entity, this personality, this spirit, has his individual
will, his caprices, his cantankerousness, and sometimes acts in opposition
to our own thoughts. He tells us absurd, foolish, brutal, insane things,
and amuses himself with fantastic combinations of letters, real
head-splitting puzzles. It astonishes and stupefies us.

What is this being?

Two inescapable hypotheses present themselves. Either it is we who produce
these phenomena or it is spirits. But mark this well: these spirits are
not necessarily the souls of the dead; for other kinds of spiritual beings
may exist, and space may be full of them without our ever knowing anything
about it, except under unusual circumstances. Do we not find in the
different ancient literatures, demons, angels, gnomes, goblins, sprites,
spectres, elementals, etc? Perhaps these legends are not without some
foundation in fact. Then we cannot but remark that, in our mediumistic
studies and experiments, in order to succeed we always address an
invisible being who is supposed to hear us. If this is an illusion, it
dates from the very origin of Spiritualism, from the raps produced
unconsciously by the Fox sisters in their chambers at Hydesville and at
Rochester in 1848. But once more, this personification may pertain to our
own being or it may represent a mind external to ourselves.

In order to admit the first hypothesis we must admit at the same time that
our mental nature is not simple, that there are in us several psychic
elements, and that one at least of these elements may act unknown to
ourselves, make raps in a table, move any piece of furniture, lift a
weight, touch us with a hand that seems real, play an instrument, create a
spectral figure, read hidden words, answer questions, act with a personal
will--and all this, I repeat, without our own knowledge.

This is tolerably complicated; but it is not impossible.

That there are in us psychic elements, obscure, unconscious, capable of
acting outside of the sphere of our normal consciousness, this is
something we can notice every night in our dreams; that is to say, during
a quarter, or a third part of our life. Scarcely has sleep closed our
eyes, our ears, all our senses, than our thoughts begin to work just the
same as during the day, though without rational direction, without logic,
under the most incoherent forms, freed from our customary conceptions of
space and time, in a world entirely different from the normal world. The
physiologists and psychologists have for centuries been trying to
determine the mechanism of the dream without having yet obtained any
satisfactory solution of the problem. But the proved fact that we see
sometimes, in our dreams, occurrences which take place at a distance,
proves that we have in us unknown powers.

Again, it is not rare for each of us to experience, sometimes (all our
faculties being on the alert), the play of an interior power, distinct
from our dominant reason. We are on the point of pronouncing words that
are not a part of our habitual vocabulary, and ideas suddenly traverse and
arrest the course of our thoughts. During the reading of a book which
seemed interesting to us, our soul spreads her wings and flies to other
realms, while our eyes continue in vain the mechanical act of reading. We
are discussing certain projects in our mind, as if we were so many judges;
and then, one would like to know in all simplicity, whence comes this

In his tireless researches, the great investigator of psychic phenomena,
Myers, to whom we owe synthetic studies upon the subliminal consciousness,
reached the conviction, with Ribot, that "the _me_ is a co-ordination."

    These supernormal phenomena (writes this competent and learned
    inquirer) are due not to the action of the spirits of deceased
    persons, as Wallace believes, but, for the most part, to the action of
    an incarnate spirit, either that of the subject himself or of some
    agent or other.[87]

    The word "subliminal" means what is beneath the threshold (_limen_) of
    the consciousness,--the sensations, the thoughts, the memories, which
    remain at the bottom, and seem to represent a kind of sleeping _me_. I
    do not pretend to affirm (adds the author) that there always exists in
    us two _me's_ correlative and parallel: I denote rather by the
    subliminal _me_ that part of the _me_ which ordinarily remains latent,
    and I admit that there may be not merely co-operation between these
    two quasi-independent currents of thoughts, but also changes of level
    and alternations of personality.[88] Medical observation (Félida,
    Alma) proves that there is in us a rudimentary supernormal faculty,
    something which is probably useless to us, but which indicates the
    existence, beneath the level of our consciousness, of a reserve of
    latent unsuspected faculties.[89]

What is it that is active in us in telepathic phenomena? We may recall
the case of Thomas Garrison (_Society for Psychical Research_, VIII, p.
125) who, while sitting with his wife at a religious service, suddenly
gets up in the middle of the sermon, goes out of the church, and, as if
impelled by an irresistible impulse, walks twenty miles afoot to go to see
his mother, whom he finds dead on his arrival, although he did not know
that she was ill and although she was relatively young (fifty-eight
years). I have a hundred observations similar to this in writing before
me. It is not our normal habitual nature that is in action in such a case
as this.

There is probably in us, more or less sentient, a sub-conscious nature,
and it is this which seems to be at work in mediumistic experiences. I am
pretty much of the opinion Myers expresses in the following paragraph:[90]

    Spiritualists attribute the movement and the dictations at their
    séances to the action of disembodied intelligences. But if a table
    execute movements without being touched, there is no reason to
    attribute these movements to the intervention of my deceased
    grandfather, rather than to my own proper intervention; for if I do
    not see how I could have done it myself, it is not clear to me how the
    effect could have been produced by the action of my grandfather. As
    for dictations, the most plausible explanation seems to me to be for
    us to admit that they do not come from the conscious _me_, but from
    that profound and hidden region where fragmentary and incoherent
    dreams are elaborated.

This explanatory hypothesis is held, with an important modification, by a
distinguished savant to whom also we owe long and patient researches into
the obscure phenomena of normal psychology; I mean Dr. Geley, who thus
sums up his own conclusions:

    A certain amount of the force, intelligence, and matter of the body
    may perform work outside of the organism,--act, perceive, organize,
    and think without the collaboration of muscles, organs, senses and
    brain. It is nothing less than the uplifted sub-conscious portion of
    our being. It constitutes, in truth, an externalizable sub-conscious
    nature, existing in the _me_ with the normal conscious nature.[91]

This sub-conscious nature does not seem to depend upon the organism. It is
probably anterior to it, and will survive it. It seems to be superior to
it, endowed with powers and acquirements very different from the powers
and acquirements of the normal, supernormal, and transcendent

Assuredly, there is in this view of the case more than one mystery still,
were it only the feat of performing a material act at a distance, and that
(not less strange) of apparently having nothing to do with that kind of an

The first rule of the scientific method is first to seek explanations in
the known before having recourse to the unknown, and we should never fail
to comply with this rule. But if this method of sailing does not bring us
to port, it is our duty to confess it.

I very much fear that that is what is the matter here. We are not
satisfied. The explanation is not clear, and is floating a little too much
at random in the waves--and the wavering uncertainty--of the hypothesis.

At the point at which we have now arrived in this chapter of explanations
we are precisely in the position of Alexander Aksakof when he wrote his
great work, _Animism and Spiritualism_, in reply to the book of Dr. von
Hartmann on _Spiritualism_. Hartman claimed to explain all of these
psychical phenomena by the following hypothesis.

    A nervous force producing, outside of the limits of the human body,
    mechanical and plastic effects.

    Duplicate hallucinations of this same nervous force, and producing
    also physical and plastic effects.

    A latent somnambulistic consciousness, capable (the subject being in
    his normal state) of reading in the intellectual background of another
    man, his present and his past, and being able to divine the future.

Akaskof tried to see if these hypotheses (the last of which is a pretty
bold one) are sufficient to explain everything, and he concludes that they
are not. That is also my opinion. There is something else. This something
else, this residue at the bottom of the crucible of experiment, is a
psychic element, the nature of which remains still wholly hidden from us.
I think that all the readers of this book will share my conviction.

Anthropomorphic hypotheses are far from explaining everything. Besides,
they are only hypotheses. We must not hide from ourselves that these
phenomena introduce us into another world, into an unknown world, one that
is still to be explored in its whole extent.

As to beings different from ourselves,--what may their nature be? Of this
we cannot form any idea. Souls of the dead? This is very far from being
demonstrated. The innumerable observations which I have collected during
more than forty years all prove to me the contrary. No satisfactory
identification has been made.[92]

The communications obtained have always seemed to proceed from the
mentality of the group, or, when they are heterogeneous, from spirits of
an incomprehensible nature. The being evoked soon vanishes when one
insists on pushing him to the wall and having the heart out of his
mystery. And then my greatest hope has been deceived, that hope of my
twentieth year, when I would so gladly have received celestial light upon
the doctrine of the plurality of worlds. The spirits have taught us

Nevertheless, the agents seem sometimes to be independent. Crookes
mentions having seen Miss Fox write automatically a communication for one
of her sitters while another communication upon another subject was given
to her for a _second_ person by means of the alphabet and by raps, and all
the while she was chatting with a _third_ person upon another subject
totally different from the other two. Does this remarkable fact prove with
certainty the action of a spirit other than that of the medium?

The same scientist mentions that, during one of his séances, a little rod
crossed the table, in full light, and came and rapped his hand, giving him
a communication by following the letters of the alphabet spelled out by
him. The other end of the rod rested on the table at a certain distance
from the hand of the medium Home.

This case seems to me, as well as to Crookes, more conclusively in favor
of an exterior spirit, so much the more since the experimenter having
asked that the raps be given by the Morse telegraphic code, another
message was thus rapped out. I also remember that the learned chemist
mentions that the word "however" hidden by his finger, upon a newspaper,
and unknown even to himself, was rapped out by a little rod.

Wallace also mentions a name written upon a piece of paper fastened by him
under the central leg of the experiment table; Joncières, a water-color
correctly painted in complete darkness, and a musical theme written with a
pencil; M. Castex Dégrange, the announcement of a death, and the place
where a lost object might be found. We have also seen sentences dictated
either backwards or in such a way that every other letter only must be
read to get the sense, or else by strange combinations showing the action
of an unknown intellect. We have a thousand examples of this kind.

But if the mind of the medium may liberate itself and appear in an
extra-normal state, why might it not be this mind which acts? Do we not
have several distinct personalities in our dreams? If they could
dynamically appear, would they not act somewhat in this way?

We ought not to lose sight of the fact that these phenomena are of a
_mixed_ character. They are at once physical and psychical, material and
intellectual, are not always produced by our conscious will, and are
rather the subject of _observation_ than _experiment_.

It is expedient to insist on this characteristic. I one day, (January 31,
1901) heard E. Duclaux, member of the Institute, director of the Pasteur
Institute, express the following confused idea (an idea held by so many
physicists and so many chemists), in a company which was yet quite
competent to discuss these phenomena: "There is no scientific fact except
a fact which can be reproduced at will."[93] What a singular reasoning!
The witnesses of the fall of a meteor bring us an aërolite which has just
fallen from the sky and been dug up, all hot, from the hole it had made in
the ground. "Error! illusion!" we ought to reply: "We shall only believe
when you repeat the experiment."

They bring to us the body of a man killed by a stroke of lightning,
stripped of his clothes, and shaved as if with a razor. "Impossible!" we
ought to reply; "pure invention of your deluded senses." A woman sees
appear before her, her husband, who has just died nearly two thousand
miles away. We are asked to believe that this is not so, and will not be
so until the apparition appears a second time.

This confusion between observation and experiment is a very strange thing
as coming from cultivated men.

In psychical phenomena there is a voluntary, capricious, incoherent,
intellectual element.

I repeat, we must learn to comprehend that everything cannot be explained
and resign ourselves to waiting for an extension of our knowledge. There
is intelligence, thought, psychism, mind, in these phenomena. There is
still more in certain communications. Can the observations be confirmed
and justified by assuming the mind of the living merely as the active
agents? Yes, perhaps, but only by attributing to us unknown and
supernormal faculties. Yet it must be remembered that this is only an
hypothesis. The Spiritualistic hypothesis of communication with the souls
of the dead remains also as a working hypothesis.

That souls survive the destruction of the body I have not the shadow of a
doubt. But that they manifest themselves by the processes employed in
séances the experimental method has not yet given us absolute proof. I add
that this hypothesis is not at all likely. If the souls of the dead are
about us, upon our planet, the invisible population would increase at the
rate of 100,000 a day, about 36 millions a year, 3 billions 620 millions a
century, 36 billions in ten centuries, etc.,--unless we admit
re-incarnations upon the earth itself.

How many times do apparitions, or manifestations occur? When illusions,
auto-suggestions, hallucinations, are eliminated, what remains? Scarcely
anything. Such an exceptional rarity as this pleads against the reality of

We may suppose, it is true, that all human beings do not survive their
death, and that, in general, their psychical entity is so insignificant,
so wavering, so ineffectual, that it almost disappears in the ether, in
the common reservoir, in the environment, like the souls of animals. But
thinking beings who have the consciousness of their psychical existence do
not lose their personality, but continue the cycle of their evolution. It
would seem natural therefore to see them manifest themselves under certain
circumstances. Persons condemned to death, in consequence of judicial
errors, and executed, should they not return to protest their innocence?
Would it not be reasonable to suppose that persons put to death in such a
way that violence was not suspected would return to accuse the assassins?
Knowing the characters of Robespierre, of Saint-Just, of
Fouquier-Tinville, I should like to have seen them revenge themselves a
little on those who triumphed over them. The victims of '93, should they
not have returned to disturb the sleep of the conquerors? Out of the
twenty thousand citizens shot by fusillades during the time of the Commune
of Paris I should like to have seen a dozen unceasingly harassing the Hon.
M. Theirs, who was really too puffed up and vain-glorious over his having
first permitted the organization of that insurrection and then punished

Why do not children whose death is lamented by their parents ever come to
console them? Why do our dearest attachments seem to disappear forever?
And how about last wills and testaments stolen away, and the last will of
the dead ignored and their intentions purposely misinterpreted?

"It is only the dead that do not return," says an old proverb. This
aphorism is not of absolute application, perhaps; but apparitions are
rare, very rare, and we do not understand their precise nature. Are they
actual apparitions of the dead? It is not yet demonstrated.

Up to this day, I have sought in vain for certain proof of personal
identity through mediumistic communications. And then one does not see why
spirits, if they exist around us, should have need of mediums at all, in
order to manifest themselves. They surely must form a part of nature, of
the universal nature which includes all things.

Nevertheless, it seems to me that the Spiritualistic hypothesis should be
preserved by the same right as those I have summed up in the immediately
preceding pages, for the discussions have not eliminated it.[94]

But why are there manifestations the result of the grouping of five or six
persons around the table? That this should be a _sine qua non_ is not a
very likely thing either.

It may be, it is true, that spirits exist around us, and that it is
normally impossible for them to make themselves visible, audible, or
tangible, not being able to reflect rays of light accessible to our
retina, or to produce sonorous waves, or to effect touches. Therefore,
certain conditions present in mediums might be necessary for their
manifestation. Nobody has the right to deny this. But why so many puzzling
incoherences and solecisms?

I have on a bookshelf before me several thousand communications dictated
by "spirits." In the last analysis, a dim obscurity remains hanging over
the causes. Unknown psychic forces: fugitive entities; vanishing figures;
nothing solid to grasp, even for the thought. These things do not yield us
the consistency of a definition of chemistry or of a theorem in geometry.
A molecule of hydrogen is a granite cliff in comparison.

The greater part of the phenomena observed,--noises, movement of tables,
confusions, disturbances, raps, replies to questions asked,--are really
childish, puerile, vulgar, often ridiculous, and rather resemble the
pranks of mischievous boys than serious bona-fide actions. It is
impossible not to notice this.

Why should the souls of the dead amuse themselves in this way? The
supposition seems almost absurd.

We know that an ordinary man does not change his intellectual or moral
value from day to day, and, if his spirit continues to exist after the
death of his body, we may expect to find it such as it was before. But why
so many oddities and incoherences?

However these things may be, it behooves us not to have any preconceived
idea, and our bounden duty is to seek to prove the facts as they present
themselves to us.

The unknown natural force brought into play for the lifting of a table is
not the exclusive property of mediums. In different degrees it forms a
part of all organisms, with different coefficients, 100 for organisms such
as those of Home, or Eusapia, 80 for others, 50 or 25 for less favored
individuals. But I should hold it as certain that it never drops in any
case to 0. The best proof of this is that, with patience, perseverance,
and the exercise of the will, almost all the groups of experimenters who
have seriously occupied themselves with these researches have succeeded in
obtaining, not merely movements, but also complete levitations, raps, and
other phenomena.

The word "medium" scarcely has any longer a reason for being, since the
existence of an intermediary between the spirits and us is not yet proved.
But still the word may be preserved, logic being the rarest of things in
grammar and in everything else that is human. The word "electricity" has
had no connection for a long time with amber ([Greek: êlektron]), nor the
word "veneration" with the genitive case of Venus (_Veneris_), nor the (at
first astrological) term "disaster" with _aster_ (star), nor the word
"tragedy" with _goat-song_ ([Greek: tragos ôdê]). But this does not hinder
these words from being understood in their habitual sense.[95]

As respects explanatory hypotheses, I repeat, the field is open to all. It
is to be noted that communications dictated are closely related to the
condition of mind, the ideas, the opinions, the beliefs, the knowledge,
and even the literary culture, of the experimenters. They are like a
reflection, or counterpart, of this ensemble of ideas and faculties.
Compare the communications noted down in the house of Victor Hugo in
Jersey, those of the Phalansterian Society of Eugéne Nus, those of
astronomical meetings, those of religious believers,--Catholics,
Protestants, etc.

If the hypothesis were not so bold as to seem unacceptable to us, I should
dare to think that the concentration of the thoughts of psychic
experimenters creates a momentary intellectual being who replies to the
questions asked and then vanishes.

_Reflection, reflex action?_ That is perhaps the true expression.
Everybody has seen his image reflected in a mirror, and nobody is
astonished by it. However, analyse the thing. The more you look at this
optical being moving there behind the mirror, the more remarkable the
image appears to you. Now suppose looking-glasses had not been invented.
If we had not knowledge of those immense mirrors which reflect whole
apartments and the visitors in them, if we had never seen anything of the
kind, and if someone should tell us that images and reflections of living
persons could thus manifest themselves and thus move, we should not
comprehend, and should not believe it.

Yes, the ephemeral personification created in Spiritualistic séances
sometimes recalls the image that we see in a mirror, which has nothing
real in itself, but which yet exists and reproduces the original. The
image fixed by the photograph is of the same kind, only durable. The
potential image formed at the focus of the mirror of a telescope,
invisible in itself, but which we can receive on a level mirror and study,
at the same time enlarging it by the microscope of the eye-piece, perhaps
approaches nearer to that which seems to be produced by the concentration
of the psychical energy of a group of persons. We create an imaginary
being, we speak to it, and in its replies it almost always reflects the
mentality of the experimenters. And just as with the aid of mirrors we can
concentrate light, heat, ether-waves, electric waves, in a focus, so, in
the same way, it seems sometimes as if the sitters added their psychic
forces to those of the medium, of the dynamogen, condensing the waves, and
helping to produce a sort of fugitive being more or less material.

The sub-conscious nature, the brain of the medium, or his astral body, the
fluidic mind, the unknown powers latent in sensitive organisms, might we
not consider these as the mirror which we have just imagined? And might
this mirror also not receive and reproduce impressions, or influence, from
a soul at a distance?

But we must not generalize partial conclusions which we have already had
much trouble in defining.

I do not say that spirits do not exist: on the contrary, I have reasons
for admitting their existence. Even certain sensations expressed by the
animals,--by dogs, by cats, by horses,--plead in favor of the unexpected
and impressive presence of invisible beings or agents. But, as a faithful
servant of the experimental method, I think that we ought to exhaust all
the simple, natural hypotheses, already known, before having recourse to

Unfortunately, a large number of Spiritualists prefer not to go to the
bottom of things, or analyse anything, but to be the dupes of nervous
impressions. They resemble certain worthy women who tell their beads while
believing that they have before them Saint Agnes or Saint Filomena. There
is no harm in that, says some one. But it is an illusion. Let us not be
its dupes.

If the elementals, the _élémentaires_, the spirits of the air, the gnomes,
the spectres of which Goethe speaks (following Paracelsus in this), exist,
they are natural and not supernatural. They are in nature, for nature
includes all things. The supernatural does not exist. It is then the duty
of science to study this question as it studies all others.

As I have already remarked, there are in these different phenomena several
causes in action. Among these causes the ones that supposes the action to
proceed from disembodied spirits, the souls of the dead, is a plausible
hypothesis which ought not to be rejected without examination. It seems
sometimes to be the most logical; but there are weighty objections to it,
and it is of the highest importance to be able to demonstrate it with
certainty. Its partisans _ought to be the first to approve the severity of
the scientific methods which we apply in our studies of the phenomena_,
for Spiritualism will receive thereby so much the more solid a foundation
and will have so much the more value. The illusions and the artless faith
of simple souls cannot give it any more solid and substantial basis. The
religion of the future will be the religion of science. There is only one
kind of truth.

Sometimes authors are made to say that which they have never said. For my
part, I have had frequent proof of this, notably in the case of
Spiritualism. I should not be surprised if certain interpretations of the
pages which precede should come to light, shaped into the opinion that I
do not believe in the existence of spirits. Yet it will be impossible to
find any affirmation of this kind in this work, or in any other published
by me. What I say is that the physical phenomena studied in these pages
_do not prove_ the existence of spirits, and may probably be explained
without them,--that is, by unknown forces emanating from the
experimenters, and especially from mediums. But these phenomena indicate,
at the same time, the existence of a psychical atmosphere or environment.

What is this environment? It is indeed very difficult to get a true idea
of it, since we are not able to apprehend it by any of our senses. It is
also very difficult not to admit it in view of the multitude of psychical
phenomena. If we admit the survival of individual souls, what becomes of
these souls? Where are they? It may be replied that the conditions of
space and of time in which our material senses exist do not represent the
real nature of space and time, that our estimates and our measures are
essentially relative, that the soul, the spirit, the thinking entity, does
not occupy space. Still, we may consider also that pure spirit does not
exist, that it is attached to a substance occupying a certain point. We
may also consider that all souls are not equal; that there is a superior
and inferior class; that certain human beings are scarcely conscious of
their existence; that superior souls, being self-conscious, as well after
death as during life, preserve their entire individuality, have the power
of continuing their evolution, of voyaging from world to world and adding
to their moral and intellectual growth by successive reincarnations. But
the others, the unconscious souls, are they more advanced the day after
death than the day before? Why should death bestow upon them any
perfection? Why should it make a genius out of an imbecile? How could it
make a good man out of a bad one? Why should it turn an ignoramus into a
wise man? How could it make a shining light out of an intellectual nobody?

These unconscious souls,--that is to say, the multitude,--do they not
disappear at death into the surrounding ether, and do they not constitute
a kind of psychic atmosphere, in which a subtle analysis can discover
spiritual as well as material elements? If the psychic force performs an
action in the existing order of things, it is as worthy of consideration
as the different forms of energy in operation in the ether.

Without, then, admitting the existence of spirits to be demonstrated by
the phenomena, we feel that these do not all belong to a simply material
order,--physiological, organic, cerebral,--but that there is _something
else_ involved, something else inexplicable in the actual state of our

But a something else of the psychical order. Perhaps we shall be able to
go a little farther, some day, in our independent impartial researches,
guided by the experimental scientific method, denying nothing in advance,
but admitting whatever is proved by sufficient observation.

       *       *       *       *       *

To sum up: _In the actual state of our knowledge it is impossible to give
a complete, total, absolute, final explanation of the observed phenomena_.
The Spiritualistic hypothesis ought not to be dismissed. Still, we may
admit the survival of the soul without necessarily admitting a physical
communication between the dead and the living. But then all the observed
facts leading up to the affirmation of this communication are worthy of
the most serious attention of the philosopher.

One of the chief difficulties in the way of these communications seems to
be the condition itself of the soul freed from bodily senses. It would
have other ways of perceiving. It would not see, hear, touch. How then can
it enter into relation with our senses?

There is a whole problem in that which is not to be neglected in the study
of any psychical manifestations whatever.

We take our ideas to be realities. This is a mistake. For example, to our
senses the air is not a solid body; we pass through it without effort,
while we cannot pass through an iron door. The converse is true of
electricity: it passes through iron, and finds the air to be a solid
impassible body. To the electrician, a wire is a canal leading electricity
across the solid rock of the air. Glass is opaque to electricity and
transparent to magnetism. The flesh is transparent to the X-rays, while
glass is opaque, etc.

We feel the need of explaining everything, and we are driven to admit only
the phenomena of which we have had an explanation; but that does not prove
that our explanations are valid. Thus for example, if some one had
affirmed the possibility of instantaneous communication between Paris and
London, before the invention of the telegraph, people would have regarded
the assertion as utopian. Later it would not have been admitted, except on
condition of the existence of a wire between the two stations, and any
communication without the medium of an electric wire would have been
declared impossible. Now that we have wireless telegraphy we can apply
this discovery to the explanation of the phenomena of telepathy. But it is
not yet proved that this explanation is the true one.

Why do we wish to explain these phenomena at all hazards? Because we
naïvely imagine that we are able to do so in the present state of our

The physiologists who claim to see daylight in this matter are like
Ptolemy persisting in accounting for the movements of the heavenly bodies
by holding to the idea of the immobility of the earth; or Galileo
explaining the attraction of amber by the rarefaction of the surrounding
air; or Lavoisier seeking (with the common people) the origin of aërolites
in thunder storms or denying their existence; or Galvani, who saw in his
frogs a _special_ organic electricity. I put my physiologists in good
company, surely, and they have nothing of which to complain. But who does
not feel that this natural propensity to explain everything is not
justified, that science progresses from age to age, that what is not known
to-day will be known later, and that we ought sometimes to know how to

The phenomena of which we are speaking are manifestations of the universal
dynamism, with which our five senses put us very imperfectly in relation.
We live in the midst of an unexplored world, in which the psychical forces
play a role still very insufficiently investigated.

These forces are of a class superior to the forces usually analyzed in
mechanics, in physics, in chemistry: they are of the psychical order, have
in them something vital and a kind of mentality. They confirm what we know
from other sources,--that the purely mechanical explanation of nature is
insufficient and that there is in the universe something else than
so-called matter. It is not matter that rules the world: it is a dynamic
and psychic element.

What light will the study of these still unexplained forces shed upon the
origin of the soul and upon the conditions of its survival? That is
something that the future has to teach us.

The truth that the soul is a spiritual entity distinct from the body is
proved by other arguments. These arguments are not made for the purpose of
injuring this doctrine; but while confirming it and while putting in clear
light the application of psychic forces, they still do not solve the great
problem by the material proofs that we should like to have.

However, if the study of these phenomena has not yet yielded all that is
claimed for it, nor all that it will in the future yield, we still cannot
help recognizing that it has considerably enlarged the sphere of
psychology, and that the knowledge of the nature of the soul and of its
faculties has been once for all expanded under grander and deeper skies
and wider horizons.

There is in nature, especially in the domain of life, in the manifestation
of instinct in vegetables and animals, in the general soul of things, in
humanity, in the cosmic universe, a psychic element which appears more and
more in modern studies, especially in researches in telepathy, and in the
observation of the unexplained phenomena which we have been studying in
this book. This element, this principle, is still unknown to contemporary
science. But, as in so many other cases, it was divined by the ancients.

Besides the four elements fire, water, air and earth, the ancients
admitted a fifth, belonging to the material order, which they named
_animus_, the soul of the world, the animating principle, ether.
"Aristotle" (writes Cicero, _Tuscul. Quaest._ I. 22), "after having
mentioned the four kinds of material elements, believes that we ought to
admit a fifth kind from which the soul proceeds; for, since the soul and
the intellectual faculties cannot reside in any of the material elements,
we must admit a fifth kind, which had not yet received a name and which he
styles _entelechy_; that is to say, eternal and continued movement." The
four material elements of the ancients have been dissected by modern
analysis. The fifth is perhaps more fundamental.

Citing the philosopher Zeno, the same orator adds that this wise man did
not admit this fifth principle, which might be compared to fire. But, from
all the evidence, fire and thought are two distinct things.

Virgil has written in the _Æneid_ (Book VI) these admirable verses which
are known to everybody:

  Principio coelum ac terras camposque liquentes
  Lucentemque globum Lunae Titaniaque astra
  Spiritus intus alit, totamque infusa per artus
  MENS AGITAT MOLEM, _et magno se corpore miscet_.

Martianus Capella, like all the authors of the first centuries of
Christianity, mentions this directive force, also calling it the fifth
element, and furthermore describes it under the name "ether."

A Roman emperor, well known to the Parisians, since it was in their city
(in the palace built by his grandfather near the present _Thermes_, or old
Roman baths) that he was proclaimed emperor in the year 360 (I mean
Julian, called the Apostate), celebrates this fifth principle in his
discourse in honor of the "The Sun, the Monarch,"[96] styling it sometimes
the solar principle, sometimes the soul of the world, or intellectual
principle, sometimes ether, or the soul of the physical world.

This psychical element is not confounded by the philosophers with God and
Providence. In their eyes, it is something which forms part of nature.

       *       *       *       *       *

One more word before closing. Human nature is endowed with faculties as
yet little explored, that the observations made with mediums, or
dynamogens, bring to light--such as human magnetism, hypnotism, telepathy,
clairvoyance, and premonition. These unknown psychic forces are worthy of
being embraced within the scope of scientific analysis. At present they
have been almost as little studied as in the time of Ptolemy, and have not
yet found their Kepler, and their Newton, yet fairly obtrude themselves
upon our notice, and cry out to be examined.

Many another unknown force will be revealed. The earth and the planets
were circling about the sun in their harmonious orbits while astronomical
theories saw in them only a complicated whirl of seventy-nine crystalline
shells. Magnetism was encircling the earth with its currents long before
the invention of the mariner's compass which reveals them to us. The waves
of wireless telegraphy existed long before they were arrested in their
flight. The sea was moaning along its shores ages before the ear of any
being had come to hear it. The stars were darting their rays through the
ether before any human eye had been raised to them.

The observations set forth in this work prove that the conscious will, or
desire, on the one hand, and the subliminal consciousness on the other
hand, exert an influence, or perform work, beyond the limits of our body.
The nature of the human soul is still a deep mystery to science and to

It seems rather remarkable that the conclusions drawn from my labors here
are the same as those of my work _The Unknown_, which were founded upon
the examination of the phenomena of telepathy, apparitions of the dying,
communications at a distance, premonitory dreams, etc. Indeed, the
following deductions were drawn at the close of that volume:

1. _The soul exists as a real entity independent of the body._

2. _It is endowed with faculties still unknown to science._

3. _It is able to act at a distance, without the intervention of the

The conclusions of the present work concord with those of the former, and
yet the subjects studied in this are entirely different from the
subject-matter of that.

I may sum up the whole matter with the single statement that there exists
in nature, in myriad activity, a _psychic element_ the essential nature
of which is still hidden from us. I shall be happy for my part, if I have
helped to establish by these two works the above important principle,
exclusively based upon the scientific verification of certain phenomena
studied by the experimental method.


  Academy of Sciences, its scepticism xvi, 19, investigates Angelica
      Cottin, 224 _et seq._

  Acoustic Mediumistic Phenomena,--Cases of, 71, 73, 89, 96, 112, 121,
      144, 163, 167, 183, 274, 292, 299, 369, 373, 374, 378, 380.

  Aksakof, Alexander, 63, 151, 178;
    cited, 55, 66, 188, 435;
    his account of alleged spirit communication regarding satellites of
      Uranus, 50-52.

  Albert the Great, xxi.

  Alcofribaz Nazier, anagram signature of Rabelais, _q.v._

  Alterations in weight of bodies in mediumistic phenomena (including
      variations in scales without contact), 88, 153, 173, 199, 354, 413,

  Animism vs. Spiritism, 187 _et seq._

  Antoniadi, M., report on E. Paladino, 109-111.

  Apparitions, 419.
    _See also_, Materializations.

  Apports (objects brought in from outside the séance room), 99, 112, 186,
      187, 292, 373, 378, 380.

  Arago, 178;
    investigates Angelica Cottin, 223;
    alleged spirit communication from, 389.

  Aristotle, quoted, 450.

  Armelin G., report on E. Paladino, 103-109.

  Ascensi M., 143.

  Astral body, 166.

  Astronomical discoveries, xvi.

  Automatic writing and drawing, theories of, 26-30, 58 _et seq._;--methods
      of, 28;
    by Victorien Sardou, 25, 46;--by Camille Flammarion, 26, 47-49;
    reflect the thoughts of the experimenter, 49 _et seq._;
    by children, 274;
    other cases, 384-387.

  Azam, Dr., 141;
    ---- Felida's case, 59.

  Babinet, M., 266;
    report on Angelica Cottin, 224-227;
    de Gasparin's criticisms of, 260-265.

  Baclé, Louis ("Louis Elbé"), 368.

  Baschet, Réné, 34, 98, 101, 103, 128;
    arms partial materialization, 131.

  Basilewska, M. and Mme., 98, 101.

  Bianchi, M., 147.

  Binet, Alfred, 188.

  Bisschofsheim, Mme., 101.

  Blech family, hold sittings with E. Paladino, 63-84, 173.

  Bloch, Andre, 84, 93, 101.

  Bois, Jules, 84, 103, 128, 203.

  Boisseaux, Mme., 173.

  Boissier, Edmond, 27.

  Bourrer, M., 141.

  Boutigny, M., 114.

  Brédif, C., medium, 196.

  Brisson, Adolphe, 95, 98, 101, 103, 114, 128, 200, 203;
    report on E. Paladino.

  Brisson, Mme. A., 93, 95, 101, 103, 114.

  Buffern, Prof., 151.

  Buguet, medium, 196.

  Burot, 141.

  Cactoni, M. and Mme., 368.

  Calonne, xvi.

  Castex-Dégrange, M., 437;
    reports of mediumistic phenomena, 381-393.

  Charcot, Dr., 4.

  Chardon, Dr. Beaumont, notes on Angelica Cottin, 223.

  Chevigny, Countess de, 101.

  Chevreul, M., 266.

  Chiaia, Prof. E., first obtains impressions in clay through Paladino, 78;
    challenges Lombroso to investigate Paladino, 136.

  Cicero, quoted, 450.

  Claretie, Jules, 45, 98;
    report on E. Paladino, 98-101.

  Coleman, Benjamin, 334.

  Cook, Florence, medium (afterwards Mrs. Elgie Corner), remarkable case
      of materialization, 334;
    investigated by Crookes, 335-347.

  Cottin, Angelica, the Electric Girl, 219;
    Dr. Tanchou's report of, 220-222;
    notes of M. Hebert, 222;
    Dr. Beaumont Chardon, 223;
    Academy of Sciences investigates, 224-227.

  Coues, Dr. and Mrs. Elliott; report on mediumistic phenomena, 401-405.

  Crookes, Sir William, 65, 121, 196, 297, 305, 358;
    his experiments in psychical research, 306-347;
    his mechanical contrivances for testing such phenomena, 308, 318, 319,
      322, 323;
    his views in 1898, 347-351;
    his theory regarding such phenomena, 408.

  Crystal vision, 292.

  Cumberlandism, 171.

  Curie, Pierre, 360.

  Daguerre, an anecdote of, 11.

  Dariex, Dr., 63, 173, 218, 368;
    cited, 3, 210;
    his opinion of fraud in mediums, 203-205.

  D'Arsouval, Prof., 360.

  Darkness as a factor in psychical phenomena, 10-13, 68, 89.

  Davenport Brothers, the, xi, xiii, xiv, xxi.

  Delanee, G., 84, 98, 101, 375.

  Delfour, Abbe, cited, 398.

  Delgaiz, Raphael, Husband of Eusapia Paladino, 67.

  Desbeaux, Emilie, 173.

  Dialectical Society of London, its organization, 289;
    its experiments in psychical research, 291-302;
    Huxley declines to join, 290;
    Flammarion's letter to, 302-304.

  Divination of Numbers, 240, 249 _et seq._

  Double Personality, an hypothesis for spiritistic communication, 58 _et
    Dr. Pierre Janet's studies in, 60.

  Drayson, Gen. A. W., on solution of scientific problems by Spirits, 50
      _et seq._;
    errors of, 53, 55.

  Duclaux, E., 438.

  Du Prel, Dr. Charles, 151.

  Dusart, Dr., 289.

  Dynamic theory of matter, 427.

  Eglington, medium, 196.

  Ephrussi, M., 101.

  Ermacora, Dr., 151.

  Faith not a necessity in psychic phenomena, 279.

  Faraday, 188, 259, 262, 266.

  Felida, case of double personality, 59.

  Finzi, M., 151.

  Flammarion, Camille, some scientific researches of, vi;
    early writings on _Unknown Natural Forces_, xi;
    experiments with Eusapia Paladino, 5-23, 63-134;
    acquaintance with Allan Kardec, 24 _et seq._;
    automatic writing by, 26;
    delivers funeral oration of Kardec, 30;
    experiments with Mme. Huet, 36 _et seq._;
    letter to London Dialectical Society, 302-304;
    his "General Inquiry" concerning unexplained phenomena, 376;
    some specimen cases, 377-405.

  Fluidic action, theories of, 166, 179, 253, 258, 282, 422, 427.

  Fluidic projection of limbs, etc. _See_ Materializations.

  Fontenay, Guillaume de, 3, 21, 84, 95, 368;
    participates in Paladino sittings, 69-83, 123;
    his dynamic theory of matter, 427-431.

  Foucault, M., 264.

  Fourth dimension, 420.

  Fourton, Mme., 93, 95, 98, 101, 103, 114, 128, 202.

  Fox sisters, case of the, 34.

  Fox, Miss, automatic communication by, 437.

  Fraud in mediums, 194, _et seq._

  Frauenhofer, cited, 19.

  Fremy, M., cited, xix.

  Fresnel, 190.

  Fulton's invention of steamboat, xvi.

  Gagneur, Mme., 98, 101.

  Galileo, alleged spiritistic communication from, 26, 47-49;
    his erroneous theory for frictional attraction, 188, 189.

  Galvani's experiments in electricity, xvi.

  Gasparin, Count Agenor de, 305;
    experiments with moving tables, 229-253;
    his hypotheses, 253-258, 408;
    his rejoinder to Babinet's negations, 258-265;
    Prof. Thury's comments on, 268, 273, 276, 279, 282 _et seq._

  Geley, Dr., his hypothesis of subliminal consciousness, 434.

  Gerosa, Prof., 151.

  Gigli, M., 143.

  Girardin, Mme. de, 61.

  Gramont, Count de, 173.

  Grasset, Dr., his opinion on pyschical phenomena, 409.

  Grove, quoted, xix.

  Guerronnan, A., 173.

  Gully, Dr., 334.

  Hallucination, collective, does not satisfactorily account for
      phenomena, 130, 179.

  Harrison, William, 334.

  Hartman, Dr. von, 435.

  Hebert, M., note on Angelica Cottin, 322.

  Herschel, William, 50.

  Herschel, Sir John, cites, 50.

  Hodgson, Dr. Richard, 305.

  Home, Daniel Dunglas, 195, 437;
    experiments with an accordion, 121;
    Crooke's investigation of, 307-322;
    declares Miss Cook an impostor, 343.

  Huet, Mme., mediumistic experiments with, 36 _et seq._

  Hugo, Leopoldine, alleged spirit communication of, 212, _et seq._

  Hugo, Victor, 61, 212, 443.

  Husson, M., 263.

  Huxley, T. H., his letter declining to join in psychical research, 290.

  Hyslop, Prof. James H., 305;
    his opinion on phenomena, 409.

  Impressions in plastic substances, 420;
    photographs of, 76, 138;
    cases of, 22, 74-78, 158, 163, 184.

  Institute, its disregard of papers on table-movements, 263.

  Invisible hands, action of, 418.
    _See also_, Acoustic phenomena, _and_ Materializations (tactile).

  Intelligence manifested in mediumistic phenomena, 421.

  James, Prof. William, 305.

  Janet, Dr. Pierre, 60, 188.

  Joncières, Victorin, 437;
    reports mediumistic phenomena, 378-381.

  Joubert, M., 37, 42.

  Jouffroy's invention of the steamboat, xvi.

  Julian the Apostate, cited, 451.

  Jupiter, Sardou's drawings of landscapes in, 25, 45.

  Kardec, Allan, his society for spiritualistic study, 24;
    death of, 30;
    his funeral oration by Flammarion, 30-32.

  Kepler, 55.

  King, John, alleged spirit control of E. Paladino, 71, 78, 141, 169;
    a psychic double of Paladino, 166.

  King, Katie, a materialized spirit, 141;
    appears to Florence Cook and others, 334;
    investigated by Crookes and other scientist, 335-346;
    Home's opinion of her, 343.

  Labadye, Countess de, 103.

  Lacroix, medium, 196.

  Laplace, 51.

  Lateau, Louise, stigmata of, 20.

  Laurent, M., 101.

  Lebel, M., 218.

  Le Bocain, M., 114;
    report on E. Paladino, 116-118.

  Le Bou, Dr. Gustave, report on E. Paladino, 101-103.

  Lemerle, M., 368.

  LeVerrier, 213.

  Leymarie, Paul, 218.

  Levitations, 5-8, 33, 79, 80, 118, 414-416;
    photographs of, 6, 83, 156, 368;
    denied by one sitter, 132;
    the flour test of 1. without contact, 247, 248;
    cases of, 6, 17, 70, 73, 74, 83, 88, 91, 93, 94, 96, 99, 104, 105,
      111, 113, 114, 144-147, 154-156, 160, 164, 167, 174, 180, 183-87,
      204, 229, 232, 236, 238, 239, 240-248, 292, 354, 357, 364, 368-370,
      373, 379, 380, 403.

  Lévy, Arthur, 200;
    report on E. Paladino, 86-92.

  Lévy, Mme. A., 200.

  Levy, J. H., 289.

  Lewes, George Henry, 290.

  Lifting of weights, etc., 413.
    _See also_, Levitation.

  Lamoncelli, M., 147.

  Lodge, Sir Oliver, 63, 65, 305;
    his opinion of Paladino's phenomena, 167.

  Lomatsch, J., 372.

  Lombroso, Cesare, 63, 151, 178, 188;
    Prof. Chiaia invites examination of Paladino, 136;
    investigates Paladino, 143-150;
    his theories regarding the phenomena, 150, 409.

  Louis XIV, a fable of, 43.

  Lubbock, Sir John, 289.

  Luminous mediumistic phenomena, cases of, 74, 97, 105, 108, 125, 148,
      186, 198, 371.

  Luxmore, Mr., 334, 335.

  Luys, Dr., 4.

  Mairet, M., 98.

  Mangin, Marcel, 162, 173, 218;
    his opinion on psychical phenomena, 410.

  Marcianus Capella, cited, 451.

  Marks produced at a distance, 167.

  Mars, discovery of satellites of, 55.

  Martelet, Adele, relates an incident of Alfred de Musset, 398.

  Materializations, theory of fluidic projection of limbs, etc., 121 _et
      seq._, 166, 198, 208.
    Cases of:
      (a) TACTILE:--of hands or arms, 71, 72, 89, 97, 98, 101, 106-108,
            111, 113, 116-118, 124, 146, 148, 160, 167, 174, 181, 186,
            292, 371, 374;
        of heads, 73, 89, 115, 161, 177, 187, 371.
      (b) VISIBLE:--of hands and arms, 10, 73, 116, 159, 175, 185, 292;
        of heads and busts, 21, 72, 115, 128, 177, 185, 366;
        of complete figure, "Katie King," 334-346.

  Mathieu, Georges, 93, 101, 200;
    report on E. Paladino, 111-114.

     "     P. F., 37.

  Matter passing through matter, _see_ Solid.

  Maxwell, Dr. Joseph, 63, 172, 173.
    Extracts from his investigations, 360-368;
    his opinions, 410.

  Mediums, cheating of professional, 3, 207;
    their conscious and unconscious deception, 4;
    use of the word, 5;
    their will and health as factors, 14;
    pecuniary temptations of, 157.
    _See also_, Brédif, Florence Cook, Angelica Cottin, Davenport
      brothers, Eglington, Fox sisters, Daniel D. Home, Mme. Huet, Allan
      Kardee, A. Politi, E. Paladino, Anna Rothe, Sambor, Slade, Mrs.
      Williams, Mme. X.

  Mediumistic Phenomena, a chapter in physics, 2;
    effects of antipathy of by slanders, 15;
    genuineness of, 21, 184;
    reflections upon those of Paladino, 118 _et seq._;
    experiments with an accordion, 121 _et seq._;
    confirmatory of magnetism rather than hypnotism, 166;
    always of psycho-physical nature, 166;
    hypothesis of fluidic double (astral body), 166, 179;
    fraud in, 194 _et seq._;
    agency is in the person, not in the object, 254;
    mechanical tests of, by Prof. Thury, 269 _et seq._;
    by Sir William Crookes, 306 _et seq._;
    unconscious muscular action considered, 280;
    no indications of electricity in, 281;
    experiments of London Dialectical Society, 291-303;
    Sir William Crookes' experiments, 306-347;
    his opinions of, 347-351;
    investigations of Alfred Russel Wallace, 353-359;
    of Dr. J. Maxwell, 359-368;
    of other scientists, 368-375;
    popular ignorance of, 406 _et seq._;
    recapitulation of scientist's theories regarding, 408;
    recapitulation of phenomena with Flammarion's comments, 411-423 _et
    subliminal consciousness as a factor in, 433 _et seq._;
    Dr. von Hartmann's hypothesis, 435;
    Aksakof's reply, 435;
    of mixed character, 438.
    _See also_, Acoustic phenomena, Alteration in weight, Apparitions,
      Apports, Automatic writing, Fluidic Action, Impressions, Invisible
      hands, Levitations, Luminous phenomena, Materializations, Movement
      of objects, Ordeals, Predictions, Raps, Solid passing through solid,
      Spirit communications, Spiritualism, Thermal radiations, Typtology,
      Touchings, Writing produced at a distance.

  Méry, Gaston, 84, 95, 375.

  Miller, American medium, 375.

  Milési, Prof., 368.

  Mind, action of, upon matter, 283 _et seq._, 365.

  Molière, xiv., quoted, 264, 265.

  Montaigne, 1.

  Morgan, Prof., 297-359;
    accepts Spiritistic theory, 409.

  Morselli, Prof. Enrico, 188;
    investigates E. Paladino, 177-192.

  Mouchez, Admiral, 197, 213.

  Mouzay, Countess de, 211.

  Movements of natural objects, in mediumistic phenomena, 411-416;
    cases of, 9, 17, 70-74, 88, 90, 91, 93, 95-99, 105, 106, 108, 109,
      111-114, 125, 126, 144, 147, 148, 156, 157, 163, 165, 167, 175, 176,
      181-183, 185, 187, 234, 237, 271, 274, 275, 293, 295, 297, 299-301,
      353, 354, 358, 359, 369, 370, 371, 373, 378, 382, 383, 398, 399, 403.

  Musset, Alfred de, 398.

  Myers, F. W. H., 63, 162, 305, 350;
    on Subliminal Consciousness, 433, 434.

  Newton, cited, 19.

  Nus, Eugène, 61, 443.

  Ochorowicz, Dr. Julien, 63, 162, 188;
    his studies of Eusapia Paladino, 76-78;
    his conclusions, 166, 409;
    condemns the rejection of Paladino by English scientists, 168;
    his explanation of her substitution of hands, 170.

  Ordeals, 292.

  Ostwald, Dr., arranges séance with E. Paladino, 15.

  Paladino, Eusapia (Mme. Raphael Delgaiz), 2, 3;
    her exhaustion after phenomena, 7;
    her fraud (conscious and unconscious), 10;
    influence of her health on experiments, 15;
    darkness demanded for best results, 10, 68, 89;
    her personality and history, 67, 86, 87, 140;
    Flammarion's estimate of the comparative authenticity of her
      phenomena, 70;
    unknown natural forces evidenced, 80, 152;
    investigated by Flammarion, 5-23, 63-134;
    by Lombroso, 143-150;
    by Enrico Morselli, and François Porro, 177-192;
    by other scientists, at Milan, 151 _et seq._;
    at other places, 162 _et seq._;
    M. Antoniadi considers her phenomena fraudulent, 109-111;
    unsuccessful attempt to photograph fluidic hand, 123;
    M. L---- denies levitations, 132;
    Professor Chiaia challenges Lombroso to investigate, 136;
    photographs of facial imprints, 76, 136;
    her spiritualistic education, 141;
    her symptoms during the production of phenomena, 142;
    her sensations, 143;
    Ochorowicz's apparatus to control feet, 164;
    results of sympathetic trance of a sitter, 165;
    detected in fraud at Cambridge, 168;
    an incident at Ochorowicz's home, 168 _et seq._;
    her deceptions, their reasons and their relevance to phenomena,
    Dr. Dariex's opinion of them, 206;
    her sensitiveness to suggestion, 207.
    Reports on her phenomena by Dr. Julien Ochorowicz, 76-78, 166;
    by Prof. Chiaia, 78, 136-140;
    by Arthur Lévy, 86-92;
    Adolph Brisson, 93, 94;
    Victorien Sardou, 95-98;
    Jules Claretie, 98-101;
    Gustave Le Bon, 101-103;
    G. Armelin, 103-109;
    M. Antoniadi, 109-111;
    M. Mathieu, 111-114;
    M. Palotti, 114-116;
    M. Le Bocain, 116-118;
    A. de Rochas, 140-143, 174-176;
    M. Ciolfi's account of Lombroso's séances, 143-150;
    the Milan scientists, 151-161;
    M. de Siemradski, 163, 164;
    Sir Oliver Lodge, 167;
    Sully-Prudhomme, 176;
    François Porro's reports of séances with Morselli, 177-192.

  Recorded cases of her phenomena.
    (a) Raps (including typtological communications), 8, 13, 17, 70, 75,
           80, 105, 114, 144, 145, 147, 175, 203.
    (b) Movements of natural objects (_see also_ (d) apports), 9, 17,
           70-74, 88, 90, 91, 93, 95-99, 105, 106, 108, 109, 111-114, 125,
           126, 144, 147, 148, 156, 157, 163, 167, 175, 176, 181-183, 185,
           187-203, 209, 210.
    (c) Levitations, 6, 16, 70, 73, 74, 83, 88, 91, 93, 94, 96, 99, 104,
           105, 111, 113, 114, 144-147, 154-156, 160, 164, 167, 174, 180,
           183-187, 204, 364.
    (d) Apports (objects brought in from outside the room), 99, 112, 186,
    (e) Alteration in weight of bodies and variation in weighing apparatus
           without contact, 88, 153, 173, 191.
    (f) Thermal radiations, 115, 117, 125, 186.
    (g) acoustic phenomena (sounds other than raps q.v.), 71, 73, 89, 96,
           112, 144, 163, 167, 183, 209, 210.
    (h) writing and marks produced at a distance, 167.
    (i) impressions in plastic substances, 22, 74-78, 158, 163, 184;
      photographs of, 76.
    (j) luminous phenomena, 74, 97, 105, 108, 125, 148, 186, 199.
    (k) trance speaking, 71, 160.
    (l) Materializations.
      (I) Tactile,--of hands and arms, 71, 72, 89, 97, 98, 101, 106-108,
           111, 113, 116-118, 124, 146, 148, 160, 167, 174, 181, 186;
        of heads, 73, 89, 115, 161, 177, 187.
      (II) visible,--of hands of arms, 10, 73, 116, 159, 175, 185;
        of heads and busts, 21, 72, 115, 128, 177, 185, 366.
    (m) a solid passing through a solid substance, 107, 128.
    (n) cases apparently produced by fraud, 200.

  Palotti, M., report on E. Paladino, 114-116.

  Palotti, Mme., 114.

  Pelletier, M., 220.

  Penta, Dr., 147.

  Phaedrus, quoted, xx.

  Phalansterians, the, 61, 443.

  Phantoms, 419, _see also_ Materializations.

  Plautus, xiv.

  Politi, Auguste, mediums, his phenomena, 368-371.

  Poggenpohl, M. de, 373, 374.

  Porro, François, report on E. Paladino, 177-192;
    his theories, 409.

  Predictions, 293, 384, 385.

  Psychical research, utility of, v, viii, 2, 30-32;
    the sceptic's attitude toward, vii;
    ignorance of critics of, xii, xv;
    scientists unwilling to recognize phenomena, 18-20;
    value of cumulative testimony in, 191;
    necessity of eliminating fraud in, 194;
    society for, 305.

  Psychological Institute invites E. Paladino to Paris, 3.

  Rabelais, 1;
    alleged spirit communications from, 38-40.

  Radioculture, vi.

  Raps (_see also_, Typtology), their connection with sitters, 22;
    hypotheses for, 35;
    Dr. J. Maxwell's Studies of, 360-364;
    recapitulation of, 416-418;
    cases of, 8, 13, 17, 75, 105, 144, 145, 147, 175, 232, 244, 292,
      297-301, 353, 357.

  Ravachol, alleged spirit communication from, 213.

  Regnard, quoted, 101.

  Ribero, M., 218.

  Richet, Dr. Charles, 3, 63, 65, 84, 93, 95, 151, 162, 178, 202, 305;
    his experiments in Algiers, 375;
    his theory, 409.

  Rochas, Count Albert de, 63, 84, 95, 162, 203, 289, 368;
    cited, 3, 135, 179, 188, 198;
    his theories, 409.

  Rodiere, Mme., medium, 196.

  Rothe, Anna, medium, 217.

  Rothschild, Ed. de, 101.

  Roure, Lucien, cited, 398.

  Sabatier, A., 63, 173.

  Sambor, Russian medium, his phenomena, 371-374.

  Sardou, Victorien, 178, 203, 208;
    early mediumistic experiences of, 25;
    letter to Jules Claretie, 45;
    report on E. Paladino, 95-98;
    participates in Paladino sittings, 123, 124.

  Sayn-Wittgenstein, Prince, 334.

  Schiaparelli, 4, 63, 82, 151, 178, 194;
    letter regarding E. Paladino, 64.

  Secondary personality, _see_ Double Personality.

  Sergines, M. de, 101.

  Sexton, Dr., 334.

  Sidgwick, Prof. Henry, 305.

  Siemiradski, M. de, 162;
    quoted, 163.

  Simmons, Mr. and Mrs. Franklin, 368.

  Sivel the aëronaut, alleged spirit communication from, 213.

  Slade, Henry, medium, 66, 420;
    his fraud, 196.

  Socrates, vii.

  Solid passing through a solid, cases of, 107, 128, 372;--a natural
      parallel, 130.

  Solovovo, Petrovo, describes Sambor's phenomena, 371-374.

  Soul, the, xx, 82, 178, 188, 439, 452.

  Spirit communications, 384-389;
    erroneous, 51, 52, 57;
    _see also_, Automatic writing, Raps, Trance-speaking.

  Spiritualism (spiritism), 194;
    its immateriality in psychical research, xx, 80;
    has never taught anything new, 26, 436;
    not proven by Paladino phenomena, 166;
    dilemma between animism and, 188, 435;
    Porro's opinion of its relation to Paladino, 190 _et seq._;
   de Gasparin's arguments against, 285;
    Thury's comments on, 285 _et seq._;
    spiritistic hypothesis accepted by Cromwell Varley, 305, 409, by
      Wallace, 409, by Prof. Morgan, 409;
    spirits not necessarily souls of dead, 431;
    still a working hypothesis, 439, 447;
    arguments against its probability, 439 _et seq._

  Squanquarillo, Joseph, 368.

  Stewart, Prof. Balfour, 305.

  Stock, Georges, 50.

  Subliminal consciousness, Myers on, 433, 434;
    Dr. Geeley's hypothesis, 434;
    does not depend upon organism, 435.

  Sully-Prudhomme, 173.

  Syamour, Mme., 101.

  Table movements, 411-413.
    _See also_, Levitation _and_ Movements of Natural Objects.

  Taine, quoted, 58.

  Tamburini, M., 144.

  Tanchou, Dr., report on Angelica Cottin, 219-222.

  Tapp, Mr., 345.

  Taton, M., 368.

  Telekinesis, 61.

  Thermal radiations (sensations of heat or cold in mediumistic
      phenomena), 115, 117, 125, 186.

  Thury, Marc, his researches into physical phenomena, 266-287;
    his experiments, 269-276;
    his theories, 276-287, 408.

  Touchings in mediumistic phenomena, 418.
    _See also_, Materializations (tactile).

  Trance speaking, cases of, 71, 160, 293.

  Typtology (intelligible communications by raps), code for, 8;
    results generally tally, knowledge of the experimenters, 14, 37, 57;
    apparently an extension of hand and brain, 33;
    received through Mme. Huet, 37 _et seq._;
    answers to unknown questions evidently guess-work, 240;
    specimens of, 38-43, 70, 80, 114, 147, 203, 212, 237, 292, 293,
      297-301, 355, 356, 380, 403, 437.
    _See also_, Raps.

  Unknown natural forces, v, xvii, 1-23, 2, 18;
    extracts from Flammarion's monograph on, xi-xxi;
    evinced in E. Paladino's phenomena, 80, 192;
    hypotheses regarding, 81, 406 _et seq._;
    danger of too great scepticism against recognition of, 188 _et seq._;
    not the exclusive property of mediums, 442.

  Uranus, the satellites of, spiritistic communications regarding, 50-57.

  Vacquerie, Charles, 213.

  Varennes, M. and Mlle. de, 95.

  Varley, Cromwell F., 291, 297, 359;
    accepts spiritistic hypothesis, 305, 409.

  Vignon, Louis, 98, 101.

  Virchow, cited, 20.

  Virgil, quoted, 451.

  Vizioli, M., 143.

  Voltaire, 1.

  Wagner, Prof., 162.

  Wallace Alfred Russel, 65, 290, 297, 437;
    accepts spiritistic theory, 409.

  Watteville, Baron de, 63, 173, 218;--his investigations of mediumistic
      phenomena, 353-359.

  Weber, A., 372.

  Wellemberg, M., 218.

  Will, the, its influence upon phenomena, 273 _et seq._, 365.

  Williams, Mrs., medium, 218, 219.

  Wolf, M., 218.

  Writing and marks produced at a distance, 167, 356, 371, 373, 379.

  X., Mme., mediumistic séance with, 211-216.

  Zeno, cited, 450.

  Zöllner, Prof., 66, 178, 196, 420.


[1] Sosie is a character in Plautus and Molière. Hermes takes Sosie's
form, and, when the latter sees his double, he almost doubts his own
identity. So the word came to mean a counterpart, a double, one's _alter

[2] This seems to be a reference to the wardrobe used by the early
Spiritualists as a cabinet in their demonstrations in public

[3] The cock scratching for grain finds a pearl.

[4] In order that I may at once place before the eyes of my readers
documentary evidence of these experiments, I reproduce here (Pl. I) a
photograph taken at my apartments on the 12th of November in 1898. Any one
can perceive by the horizontality of the arms, as well as by the distance
between the feet of the table and the floor, that the elevation is from
six to eight inches. The precise distance is marked on the figure
itself,--a measurement taken the next day by propping up the table, with
the aid of books, in the same position as it was. The medium has her two
feet wholly under my right foot, while at the same time her knees are
under my right hand. Her hands are upon the table grasped by my left hand
and by that of the other critical observer or "control" (_contrôleur_),
who has just placed a cushion before her to shield her very sensitive eyes
from the flash of the magnesium light, and thus save her from a
disagreeable nervous attack.

These photographs, taken rapidly by magnesium light, are not perfect, but
they are records.

[5] See _L'Inconnu_, pp. 20-29.

[6] Certain book-shops in Paris.--_Trans._

[7] Oration delivered at the grave of Allan Kardec, by Camille Flammarion,
Paris, Didier, 1869, pp. 4, 17, 22.

[8] The author means, of course, by this phrase (_milieu ambiant_), the
totality of psychic force present, the psychological atmosphere, the total
mind-energy radiated by the several more or less sensitive or mediumistic
members of the company.--_Trans._

[9] This communication is given in English by the author.--_Trans._

[10] Alcofribaz Nazier is well known as Rabelais' anagram, formed from his
own name. It was the signature under which he published his

[11] A piece of typtological dictation of the same kind has been recently
sent to me. Here it is:


Read successively, from top to bottom, one letter of each line, beginning
on the left, and the sense will appear as follows: "Je suis trop fatiguê
pour les obtenir." ("I am too tired to obtain them.")

[12] This and the next dictation are rhymed verse in the original

[13] In rhymed verses in the original.--_Trans._

[14] A word of recent origin, meaning ambitious or pretentious people who
want "to arrive," the _would-be's_. The word forms the title of a recent
French novel, _L'Arriviste_, and (translated) of an English one called
_The Climber_.--_Trans._

[15] So in the original. Possibly M. Sardou was under the mistaken
impression that Gulliver was a nom-de-plume for Dean Swift.--_Trans._

[16] This inclination is really 82°, reckoning from the south, or 98° (90
+ 8°), counting from the north (see Fig. A).

[17] I have just found in my library a book which was sent to me in 1888
by the author, Major-General Drayson, the title of which is _Thirty
Thousand Years of the Earth's Past History, Read by Aid of the Discovery
of the Second Rotation of the Earth_. This second rotation would take
place about an axis the pole of which would be 29° 25' 47" from the pole
of the daily rotation, about 270 right ascension, and would be
accomplished in 32,682 years. The author seeks to explain it by the
glacial periods and variations of climate. But his work is full of
confusions most strange and even unpardonable in a man versed in
astronomical studies. The truth is that this General Drayson (who died
several years ago) was not an astronomer.

[18] _Intelligence_, Vol. I., preface, p. 16, edition of 1897. The first
edition was published in 1868.

[19] All those who occupy themselves with these questions are acquainted,
among other cases, with that of Felida (studied by Dr. Azam). In the story
of this young girl she is shown as endowed with two distinct personalities
to such an extent that, in the second state, she becomes amorous ... and
enceinte, without knowing anything about it in her normal condition. These
states of double personalities have been methodically observed for thirty

[20] _Psychological Automatism_, p. 401-402.

[21] See Pl. IV. and V. I preserve with care a plaster cast of this

[22] A. de Rochas, _The Externalization of Motivity_, fourth edition,
1906, p. 406.

[23] The reports of the sittings at Montfort-l'Amaury form the subject of
a remarkable work by M. Guillaume de Fontenay, _Apropos of Eusapia
Paladino_, one vol., 8vo. illustrated, Paris, 1898.

[24] The respective places of the persons were not always those of the
photographs. Thus, at the time of the production of the imprint, M. G. de
Fontenay was at the right of Eusapia, and M. Blech at the same end of the

[25] In the following sitting, of November 12, M. Antoniadi writes (with
an excellent corroborative sketch): "Phenomenon observed with absolute
certainty; the violin was thrown upon the table, twenty inches above the
head of Eusapia."

[26] This is absolutely true, says my son, who is reading over these

[27] During the correction of the proofs of these sheets (Oct., 1906), I
received from Dr. Gustave Le Bon the following note:

"At the time of her last sojourn in Paris (1906), I was able to obtain
from Eusapia three séances at my house. I besought one of the keenest
observers that I know, M. Dastre,--a member of the Academy of Science and
professor of physiology at the Sorbonne,--to be kind enough to be present
at our experiments. There were present also my assistant, M. Michaux, and
the lady to whose kind offices I owe the presence of Eusapia.

"Besides the levitation of the table, we several times, and almost in full
light, saw a hand appear. At first it was about two inches and a half
above Eusapia's head, then at the side of the curtain which partly covered
her, about twenty inches from her shoulder.

"We then organized, for the second séance, our methods of control. They
were altogether decisive. Thanks to the possibility of producing behind
Eusapia an illumination which she did not suspect, we were able to see one
of her arms, very skilfully withdrawn from our control, move along
horizontally behind the curtain and touch the arm of M. Dastre, and
another time give me a slap on the hand.

"We concluded from our observations that the phenomena observed had
nothing supernatural about them.

"As to the levitation of the table,--an extremely light one, placed before
Eusapia, and which her hands scarcely left,--we have not been able to
formulate any decisive explanation. I will only observe that Eusapia
admitted that it was impossible for her to displace the slightest one of
the very light objects placed upon that table."

After writing this note, M. G. Le Bon said to me verbally that, in his
opinion, everything in these experiments is fraud.

[28] To these eight séances I might add a ninth, which took place on the
succeeding December 5, in the study of Prof. Richet. Nothing remarkable
occurred, unless it was the inflation, in full light, of a window curtain,
which was about twenty-four inches from Eusapia's foot, my foot and leg
being between it and her. The observation was absolutely accurate.

[29] To what cause may we attribute the levitation of the table? We have
undoubtedly not yet discovered the secret. The action of gravity may be
counterbalanced by movement.

You can amuse yourself, while at breakfast or dinner, by toying with a
knife. If you hold it vertically in your tightly closed hand, its weight
is counterbalanced by the pressure of the hand and it does not fall. Open
your hand, still holding the knife grasped by the thumb and index finger,
and it will slide as if it were in a too large tube. But move the hand by
a rapid see-saw movement, from left to right, from right to left: you will
thus create a centrifugal force which holds the object in vertical
suspension, and which may even toss it above your hand and project it into
the air, if the movement is rapid enough.

What, then, sustains the knife, annihilates its weight? Force. Might it
not be that the influence of the experimenters seated around the table
puts in special movement the molecules of the wood? They are already set
in vibration by variations of temperature. These molecules are particles
infinitely small which do not touch each other. Might not a molecular
movement counterbalance the effect of gravity? I do not present this as an
explanation, but as an illustrative suggestion (_comme une image_).

[30] M. Chiaia has sent me photographs of these prints. I reproduce some
of them here (Pl. VII).

[31] The word "trance" has been given to the peculiar state into which
mediums fall when they lose the consciousness of their environment. It is
a kind of somnambulistic sleep.

[32] _Annales des sciences psychiques_, 181, p. 326.

[33] However, some doubt may remain. In my photographs, also (Pl. I. and
VI.), the foot of the table at the left of the medium is concealed. As I
myself was at this very place, I am sure that the medium was unable to
lift the table with her foot, for _this foot was held under mine_, not by
a rod or by any support whatever; for I had a hand upon her legs, _which
did not move_. The objection is moreover refuted by the experiment which I
made on the 29th of March, 1906 (see p. 6), of a levitation, with Eusapia
standing,--an experiment which had been made before on the 27th of July,
1897, at Monfort-l'Amaury (see p. 82), the feet, very naturally, being
visible. Hence there can be no doubt whatever about the complete
levitation of the table floating in space. Aksakof obtained a levitation,
in the séances at Milan, after having tied Eusapia's feet with two
strings, the ends of which were short and had been sealed to the floor
very near each foot.

Farther on the reader will be given proof of other undeniable instances,
among others, at pp. 164, 165.

[34] I hear very often the following objection: "I shall only believe in
mediums who are not remunerated; all those who are paid are under
suspicion." Eusapia belongs to these last. Being without fortune, she
never visits a city unless her travelling and hotel expenses are paid. She
also loses her time, and is submitted to a not very agreeable inquisition.
For my part, I do not admit the above objection at all. The physical and
intellectual faculties have nothing in common with money-getting. It will
be said that the medium is interested in deceiving and tricking: it
increases her fees. But there are a good many other temptations in the
world. I have seen unpaid mediums, men and women of society, cheat without
any scruple, from pure vanity, or for a purpose still less fit to be
avowed,--for the mere pleasure of trapping some one. The séances of
Spiritualism have been made to serve useful and agreeable ends in
fashionable society--and more than one marriage has originated there.

We must be as sceptical about one class of mediums as about another.

[35] These reports were published in detail in the work of M. de Rochas on
_The Externalization of Motivity_, 4th edition, 1906, p. 170.

[36] I will add, for the benefit of those who wish to try some of these
psychic experiments, that the best conditions for success are to have a
homogeneous, impartial, and sincere group, free from every preconceived
idea, and not exceeding five or six persons in number. It is absurd to
object that, in order to obtain the phenomena, _one must have faith_. But,
while positive belief is not necessary, it is yet advisable not to
exercise any hostile influence during a séance.

[37] A very curious experiment made with a letter-weigher took place at
l'Agnélas. In response to an impromptu suggestion made by M. de Gramont,
Eusapia consented to try whether, by making vertical passes with her hands
on each side of the tray of the letter-weigher (going as high as fifty
grams), she could not lower it. She succeeded in doing so several times in
succession, in the presence of five observers placed about her, who
testified that she did not have in her fingers either thread or hair to
press upon the tray.

[38] Published by C. de Vesme in his _Revue des Études psychiques_, 1901.

[39] Eusapia, as has been said, is unable either to read or write.

[40] Arago, in 1846, with the "electric girl"; Flammarion, in 1861, with
Allan Kardec, then afterwards with different mediums; Zöllner, in 1882,
with Slade; Schiaparelli, in 1892 with Eusapia; Porro, in 1901, with the
same medium (_Revue des Études psychiques_).

[41] Notably in _Uranie_, in _Stella_, in _Lumen_, in _L'Inconnu_. See
also above, p. 30 in my _Oration at the Grave of Allen Kardec_.

[42] Slade was sentenced to three months of hard labor, in London, for
swindling. He died in a private hospital, in the State of Michigan, in
September, 1905.

[43] _Annales des sciences psychiques_, 1896, p. 66.

[44] We have already noticed (see p. 149) the practical joke of Professor
Bianchi in a meeting of the most serious investigators.

[45] See _Annales_, 1896. The report is very rich in records. The door of
the wardrobe opened and closed of itself, several times in succession, in
synchronism with the movements of the medium's hands, which were at about
a yard's distance. A toy piano weighing about two pounds was moved about,
and played several airs all alone, etc.

[46] A Parisian Anarchist executed for dynamiting the houses of the Judges
Benoit and Bulot. The popular chanson of the Anarchists called _La
Ravachole_ originated in this man's deeds and personality. See Alvan
Sanborn's _Paris and the Social Revolution_, Boston, 1905.--_Trans._

[47] See also _Enquête sur l'authenticité des phénomènes electriques
d'Angelique Cottin_. Paris, Germer Ballière, 1846. Also _L'Exteriorisation
de la motricité_, by Albert de Rochas.

[48] Lafontaine, who also studied Angelica's case, says that "when she
brought her left wrist near a lighted candle, the flame bent over
horizontally, as if continually blown upon." (_L'art de magnetiser_, p.

M. Pelletier observed the same thing in the case of some of his subjects,
when they brought the palm of the hand near a candle.

Specialists call these points "hypnogenic points," from which fluidic
streams radiate.

[49] Arago.--_Trans._

[50] _Études et lectures sur les sciences d'observations_, vol. II., 1856.

[51] _Des Tables tournantes, du Surnaturel en général, et des Esprits, par
le comte Agénor de Gasparin, Paris, Dentu, 1854._

[52] The lady who soon after was styled "the medium."

[53] This was the only table with casters that the operators made use of.

[54] The allusion is to Faraday's explanation of Arago's discovery in the
magnetism of rotation. Faraday showed that a rotating disk of non-magnetic
metal would draw after it in similar rotation a magnetic needle suspended
over it, and even a heavy magnet. See Professor Tyndall's _Faraday as a
Discoverer_, pp. 25, 26.--_Trans._

[55] The long scene from which this is taken in Molière is so full of
Italian, Old French, and dog Latin, that it has not been translated by Van
Laun. All but the last word (_juro_) of each stanza is spoken by the
big-wigs in this mock examination of a baccalaureate medical student; that
word is his:

"Do you swear that in all consultations you will be of the ancient
opinion, whether it be good or bad?"--"I swear it."--"To never make use of
any remedies except those of the learned faculty of medicine, even should
the patient burst and die of his disease?"--"I swear it."--_Trans._

[56] _"Les Tables tournantes," considérés au point de vue de la question
de physique générale qui s'y rattache. Genève, 1855._

[57] _The dynamic force_ necessary to produce this uplift, if we admit
that it was developed and accumulated during the five or ten minutes of
playing that preceded the phenomenon, would not, on the other hand, be
beyond the strength of the child; it would remain even much beneath the
limit of his powers. In general, the force expended, in these phenomena of
the tables, if one may judge by the degree of fatigue experienced by the
operators, much surpasses what would be required to produce the same
effects mechanically. There is, therefore, in this respect, no reason for
admitting the intervention of a force foreign to the boy's own

[58] In the first experiments of Thury, eight persons remained an hour and
a half standing, and then seated, around a table, without obtaining the
least resulting movement. Two or three days after, on their second trial,
the same persons, at the end of ten minutes, made a centre-table revolve.
Finally, on the 4th of May, 1853, at the third or fourth trial, the
heaviest tables began to move almost immediately.

[59] In the case of difficult tests, when they took place on cold days, a
warm spread was stretched over the table, and removed at the moment of the
experiment. The operators themselves, before acting, held their hands open
for a moment before a stove.

[60] Report on Spiritualism of the Committee of the London Dialectical
Society, London: 1871.

[61] In one vol. 8vo. Paris: Leymarie, 1900.

[62] See, for example, the January number, 1876: _Sidereal Astronomy_.

[63] Especially at Nice, in 1881 and 1884. Home died in 1886. He was born
in 1833, near Edinburgh.

[64] Sir William Huggins, an astronomer well known for his discoveries in
spectrum analysis.

[65] Edward William Cox.

[66] Experimental Investigation on Psychic Force, by William Crookes, F.
R. L., etc., London, Henry Gilman, 1871. The brochure was translated into
French by M. Alidel, Paris. Psychical Science Publishing House, 1897.

[67] The quotation occurs to me--"I never said it was possible, I only
said it was true."

[68] Katie King, _The Story of her Appearances_. Paris, Leymarie, 1899. I
thought I would not reproduce these photographs here, because they did not
seem to me to have come from Mr. Crookes himself. Florence Cook died in
London on the 2d of April, 1904.

[69] On Miracles and Modern Spiritualism, London, 1875, French
translation, Paris, 1889 (the English word _spiritualism_ is always used
here in the sense of _spiritism_).

[70] _Les Phénomènes psychiques._ One vol. 8vo. Paris, 1903.

[71] As I said on a previous page, psychic forces have as much reality as
physical and mechanical ones.

[72] This is the same thing that I observed at Monfort-l'Amaury. See p.

[73] The Italian journals reproduced a picturesque photograph of the table
lifted almost to the height of the ceiling, at the moment it had passed
over the heads of the sitters and was turning over (see A. de Rochas,
_Extériorisation de la motricité_, 4th ed.). I do not reproduce it,
because it does not seem to me to be authentic. Besides, the observers
declared that they did not verify this phenomenon until _after_ its pro

[74] _Annales des Sciences psychique_, 1902.

[75] Several observations published in that work are however, connected in
subject with the present one. For instance: a piano playing alone (p.
108), a door opening of itself (p. 112), curtains shaken (p. 125),
extravagant gambols of pieces of furniture (p. 133), raps (p. 146), bells
ringing (p. 168), and numerous examples of unexplained disturbing noises
coinciding with deaths.

[76] The word used here by M. Castex-Dégrange is _tête de Turc_, a thing
like the leather-covered bags in our gymnasiums, and used in fairs in
France, to be pummelled by those wishing to try their strength.--_Trans._

[77] I had considerable acquaintance with him at the Nice Observatory,
where, in 1884 and 1885, I made with him spectroscopic observations on the
rotation of the sun.--C. F.

[78] In the séances of which I spoke in the early part of this book
(second chapter), when the word "God" was dictated the table beat a
salute.--C. F.

[79] Goupil, _Pour et Contre_, p. 113.

[80] It has been my desire to give in this place the result of the
personal experience of a large number of men anxious to know the truth;
above all to reply to ignorant journalists who invite their readers to
indulge in supercilious scorn of these researches and experimenters. At
the very moment when I was correcting the proofs of these last pages I
received a journal, _Le Lyon républicain_, of the 25th of January, 1907,
which has for its leading article a quite preposterous diatribe against me
signed "Robert Estienne." The performance shows that the author does not
know what he is talking about nor the man of whom he is treating.

There is evidently no reason in the nature of things why the city of Lyons
should be more disposed to error than any other point on the globe. But
mark the coincidence: I received, at the same time, a number of
_L'Université catholique_, of Lyons, in which a certain Abbé Delfour
speaks of "supernatural contemporary facts" without understanding a word
of the subject.

No, the trouble is not with the city of Lyons merely. There are blind
people everywhere. You can read a dissertation _ejusdem farinæ_, signed by
the Jesuit Lucien Roure, in _Les Études religieuses_, published at Paris,
with critical judgments worthy of a traveling salesman.

In this connection, you can read in the _Nouveau Catèchisme du diocèse de
Nancy_: "Q. What must we think of the demonstrated facts of Spiritualism,
somnambulism, and magnetism?--A. We must attribute them to the devil, and
it would be a sin to take part in them in any way whatever."

[81] Newton, as is well known, declares, in his letter to Bentley, that he
can only explain gravitation by supposing the existence of a medium which
transmits it. Yet, to our senses, the ether would not be a material thing.
But, however that may be, celestial bodies do certainly act at a distance
one upon another.

[82] The initiated know that according to this doctrine the terrestrial
human being is composed of five entities: the physical body; the ethereal
double, a little less gross, surviving the first for some time; the astral
body, still more subtile; the mental body, or intelligence, surviving the
three preceding; and finally the Ego, or indestructible soul.

[83] These observations may be compared with a little social diversion
which is rather popular, and is particularly described in one of the first
works of Sir David Brewster (_Letters to Walter Scott upon Natural Magic_)
in the following terms:

"The heaviest person of the company lies down on two chairs, the shoulders
resting on one and the legs on the other. Four persons, one at each
shoulder and one at each foot, try to lift him, and at first find the
thing difficult to do. Then the subject of the experiments gives two
signals by clapping his hands twice. At the first signal, he and the four
others inhale deeply. When the five persons are full of air he gives the
second signal, which is for the lifting. This takes place without the
least difficulty, as if the person lifted were as light as a feather."

I have frequently performed the same experiment upon a man in a sitting
posture by placing two fingers under his legs and two under his arm-pits,
the operators inhaling all together uniformly.

This is undoubtedly a case of biological action. But what is the essential
nature of gravitation? Faraday regarded it as an "electro-magnetic" force.
Weber explains the movement of the planets around the sun by
"electro-dynamism." The tails of comets, always turned away from the sun,
indicate a solar repulsion coincident with the attraction. We know no more
to-day than in the time of Newton what gravitation really is.

[84] It is not indispensable, even in certain cases in which it seems to
be so. Let us take an example. At a séance in Genoa (1906), with Eusapia,
M. Youriévich, general secretary of the Psychological Institute of Paris,
besought the spirit of his father, who asserted that he was present before
him in ghostly form, to give him a proof of identity by producing in the
clay an impression of his hand, and above all of a finger the nail of
which was long and pointed. The request was made in Russian, which the
medium did not understand. Now this impression was sure enough obtained
several months after, with the mark of the nail referred to. Does this
fact prove that the soul of the father of the experimenter actually
performed the act with his hand? No. The medium received the mental
suggestion for producing the phenomenon, and did in fact produce it. The
Russian language did not make any difference. The suggestion was received.
Besides, the hand was much smaller than that of the man whose spirit was

The experimenter next asks his deceased father to give him his blessing,
and he perceives a hand which makes the sign of the cross before him (in
the Russian style, the three fingers together) upon the forehead, the
breast, and the two sides. The same explanation is applicable here.

It was a mistake to say that this ghost and his son conversed together in
the Russian tongue, as the published account said. M. Youriévich only
heard some unintelligible sounds. People always exaggerate, and these
exaggerations work the greatest possible harm to the truth. Why amplify?
Is there not enough of the unknown in these mysterious phenomena?

[85] In certain countries (Canada, Colorado), a gas-jet can be lighted by
holding out the finger toward it.

[86] See what I formerly wrote on this subject in _Lumen_, in _Uranie_, in
_Stella_, and in my _Discours sur l'unité de force et l'unité de
substance_, published in _l'Annuaire du Cosmos_, for 1865.

[87] _The Human Personality_, p. 11.

[88] _Id._, p. 23.

[89] _Id._, p. 63.

[90] _The Human Personality_, p. 313.

[91] _The Subconscious Nature_, p. 82.

[92] See my remarks in _The Unknown_, pp. 290-294.

[93] See _Bulletin of the Psychological Institute_, Vol. I. pp. 25-40.

[94] Quite recently I saw an account of some phenomena which rather plead
in its favor than otherwise (_Bulletin of the Society for Psychical
Studies of Nancy_, Nov.-Dec., 1906). Out of the eleven instances
mentioned, the first and the second may have been taken from a cyclopedia,
the third and the fourth from public journals; but, in the case of the
seven others, the admission of the identity of apparitions with the
originals they purported to represent is surely the best explanatory

[95] As a forestalling of judgment on what is yet to be demonstrated, the
word "medium" is a wholly improper term. It takes it for granted that the
person endowed with these supra-normal psychic faculties is an
intermediary between the spirits and the experimenters. Now while we may
admit that this is sometimes the case, it is certainly not always so. The
rotation of a table, its tipping, its levitation, the displacement of a
piece of furniture, the inflation of a curtain, noises heard--all are
caused by a force emanating from this protagonist of the company, or from
their collective powers. We cannot really suppose that there is always a
spirit present ready to respond to our fancies. And the hypothesis is so
much the less necessary since the pretended spirits do not impart any new
facts to us. For the greater part of the time, it is undoubtedly our own
psychic force that is acting. The chief personage and principal actor in
these experiments would be more accurately called a _dynamogen_, since he
(or she) creates force. It seems, to me that this would be the best term
to apply in this case. It expresses that which is proved by all the

I have known mediums very proud of their title, and sometimes found them a
bit jealous of their fellows. They were convinced that they had been
chosen by Saint Augustine, Saint Paul, and even Jesus Christ. They
believed in the grace of the Most High and claimed (not without reason
too) that, coming from other hands, these signatures were to be suspected.
There is no sense in these rivalries.

[96] See the _Complete Works of the Emperor Julian_, Paris, 1821. Vol. I.
p. 375.

Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

Footnote 73 is incomplete in the original text.

The original text includes Greek characters. For this text version these
letters have been replaced with transliterations.

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