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Title: A defence of modern spiritualism
Author: Wallace, Alfred Russel
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A defence of modern spiritualism" ***

                               A DEFENCE
                          MODERN SPIRITUALISM.


                       ALFRED R. WALLACE, F. R. S.,


                              WITH A PREFACE

                             BY EPES SARGENT.

                             SECOND THOUSAND.


                             COLBY AND RICH,

                           9 MONTGOMERY PLACE.



                  *       *       *       *       *

The signs are, that both the moral and the religious systems of the
future will be greatly modified by the advance of science. They will be
more and more conformed to the facts of nature; not only to the facts
which a diligent Materialism, working in a single direction, has brought
to light, but to the transcendent facts which Modern Spiritualism has
restored and proved. The one order of facts is incomplete without the
other; and Materialism is as surely doomed to be encircled and
transfigured by the wider horizon of Spiritualism, as the Ptolemaic
system of the universe was doomed to be superseded by the Copernican.

Unpopular facts often encounter an opposition quite as persistent as
that which follows unpopular theories; and so intelligent Spiritualists
are not disturbed by the antagonism which their facts have met with from
the Huxleys, Tyndalls, Carpenters, and Büchners of our day. All these
men, working as they are for science in their different ways, though
under the disadvantage of an ignorance of certain phenomena of vast
significance, are welcomed as fellow-laborers in the cause of truth by
Spiritualists; for the latter, relying on their facts, are confident
that genuine Science includes them all, and that every new discovery
must be in harmony with all that they hold as true. Opposition to the
phenomena, proceeding as it does from lack of knowledge, simply
indicates the magnitude and astonishing character of the facts
themselves, which could excite such incredulity in the face of such
overwhelming testimony.

Among the men of science who have either admitted the facts, or both the
facts and the theory, of Spiritualism, are Hare, chemist; Varley, F. R.
S., electrician; Flammarion, astronomer; Crookes, F. R. S., chemist;
Hoefle, author of the “History of Chemistry;” Nichols, chemist; Fichte,
philosopher; Liais, astronomer; Hermann Goldschmidt, astronomer, and the
discoverer of fourteen planets; Von Esenbach, the greatest modern German
botanist; Huggins, F. R. S., astronomer and spectroscopist; De Morgan,
mathematician; Dille, physicist; Elliotson, Ashburner, and Gray,
physicians and surgeons. To no one eminent man of science, however, has
Spiritualism been more indebted than to Alfred Russell Wallace, F. R.
S., distinguished for his researches in natural history, paleontology,
and anthropology. His “Defence of Spiritualism,” here presented,
appeared originally in the London Fortnightly Review for May and June,
1874. Containing as it does the latest facts, no better tract for
Spiritualists to offer as an answer to their opponents has yet appeared.

Mr. Wallace, though he arrived, simultaneously with Mr. Darwin, at
similar conclusions in regard to the origin of species, differs from him
on a most important point; for Mr. Wallace believes that “a superior
intelligence is necessary to account for man.” His acquaintance with the
phenomena of Spiritualism must always give him, in the sweep and
comprehensiveness of his anthropology, a great advantage over Mr.
Darwin. Besides his great work on the “Natural History of the Malay
Archipelago,” and an account of his “Explorations on the Amazon,” Mr.
Wallace is the author of “The Theory of Natural Selection,” and of many
valuable papers in scientific journals. Dr. Hooker, president of the
British Scientific Association, wrote, in 1868, “Of Mr. Wallace, and his
many contributions to philosophical biology, it is not easy to speak
without enthusiasm; for, putting aside their great merits, he,
throughout his many writings, with a modesty as rare as I believe it to
be in him unconscious, forgets his own unquestionable claims to the
honor of having originated, independently of Mr. Darwin, the theories
which he so ably defends.”

The testimony of such an investigator as Mr. Wallace in behalf of the
stupendous phenomena of Spiritualism is not to be lightly put aside or
ignored. What can be said in reply to such an array of facts as he

                                                                   E. S.

                               A DEFENCE
                          MODERN SPIRITUALISM.

                  *       *       *       *       *

It is with great diffidence, but under an imperative sense of duty, that
the present writer accepts the opportunity afforded him of submitting to
his readers some general account of a widespread movement, which, though
for the most part treated with ridicule or contempt, he believes to
embody truths of the most vital importance to human progress.[1] The
subject to be treated is of such vast extent, the evidence concerning it
is so varied and so extraordinary, the prejudices that surround it are
so inveterate, that it is not possible to do it justice without entering
into considerable detail. The reader who ventures on the perusal of the
succeeding pages may, therefore, have his patience tried; but if he is
able to throw aside his preconceived ideas of what is possible and what
is impossible, and in the acceptance or rejection of the evidence
submitted to him will carefully weigh and be solely guided by the nature
of the concurrent testimony, the writer ventures to believe that he will
not find his time and patience ill bestowed.

Footnote 1:

  The following are the more important works which have been used in the
  preparation of this article: Judge Edmonds’s “Spiritual Tracts,” New
  York, 1858–1860. Robert Dale Owen’s “Footfalls on the Boundary of
  Another World,” Trübner & Co., 1861. E. Hardinge’s “Modern American
  Spiritualism,” New York, 1870. Robert Dale Owen’s “Debatable Land
  between this World and the Next,” Trübner & Co., 1871. “Report on
  Spiritualism of the Committee of the London Dialectical Society,”
  Longmans & Co., 1871. “Year-Book of Spiritualism,” Boston and London,
  1871. Hudson Tuttle’s “Arcana of Spiritualism,” Boston, 1871. The
  Spiritual Magazine, 1861–1874. The Spiritualist Newspaper, 1872–1874.
  The Medium and Daybreak, 1869–1874.

Few men, in this busy age, have leisure to read massive volumes devoted
to special subjects. They gain much of their general knowledge, outside
the limits of their profession or of any peculiar study, by means of
periodical literature; and, as a rule, they are supplied with copious
and accurate, though general, information. Some of our best thinkers and
workers make known the results of their researches to the readers of
magazines and reviews; and it is seldom that a writer whose information
is meagre, or obtained at second-hand, is permitted to come before the
public in their pages as an authoritative teacher. But as regards the
subject we are now about to consider, this rule has not hitherto been
followed. Those who have devoted many years to an examination of its
phenomena have been, in most cases, refused a hearing; while men who
have bestowed on it no adequate attention, and are almost wholly
ignorant of the researches of others, have alone supplied the
information to which a large proportion of the public have had access.
In support of this statement it is necessary to refer, with brief
comments, to some of the more prominent articles in which the phenomena
and pretensions of Spiritualism have been recently discussed.

At the beginning of the present year the readers of this Review were
treated to “Experiences of Spiritualism,” by a writer of no mean
ability, and of thoroughly advanced views. He assures his readers that
he “conscientiously endeavored to qualify himself for speaking on this
subject” by attending five séances, the details of several of which he
narrates; and he comes to the conclusion that mediums are by no means
ingenious deceivers, but “jugglers of the most vulgar order;” that the
“spiritualistic mind falls a victim to the most patent frauds,” and
greedily “accepts jugglery as manifestations of spirits”; and, lastly,
that the mediums are as credulous as their dupes, and fall straightway
into any trap that is laid for them. Now, on the evidence before him,
and on the assumption that no more or better evidence would have been
forthcoming had he devoted fifty instead of five evenings to the
inquiry, the conclusions of Lord Amberley are perfectly logical; but, so
far from what he witnessed being a “specimen of the kind of
manifestations by which Spiritualists are convinced,” a very little
acquaintance with the literature of the subject would have shown him
that no Spiritualist of any mark was ever convinced by any quantity of
such evidence. In an article published since Lord Amberley’s—in London
Society for February—the author, a barrister and well-known literary
man, says:

  “It was difficult for me to give in to the idea that solid objects
  could be conveyed, invisibly, through closed doors, or that heavy
  furniture could be moved without the interposition of hands.
  Philosophers will say these things are absolutely impossible;
  nevertheless, it is absolutely certain that they do occur. I have met
  in the houses of private friends, as witnesses of these phenomena,
  persons whose testimony would go for a good deal in a court of
  justice. They have included peers, members of parliament, diplomatists
  of the highest rank, judges, barristers, physicians, clergymen,
  members of learned societies, chemists, engineers, journalists, and
  thinkers of all sorts and degrees. They have suggested and carried
  into effect tests of the most rigid and satisfactory character. The
  media (all non-professional) have been searched before and after
  séances. The precaution has even been taken of providing them
  unexpectedly with other apparel. They have been tied; they have been
  sealed; they have been secured in every cunning and dexterous manner
  that ingenuity could devise, but no deception has been discovered and
  no imposture brought to light. Neither was there any motive for
  imposture. No fee or reward of any kind depended upon the success or
  non-success of the manifestations.”

Now here we have a nice question of probabilities. We must either
believe that Lord Amberley is almost infinitely more acute than Mr.
Dunphy and his host of eminent friends—so that after five séances (most
of them failures) he has got to the bottom of a mystery in which they,
notwithstanding their utmost endeavors, still hopelessly flounder—or,
that the noble lord’s acuteness does not surpass the combined acuteness
of all these persons; in which case their much larger experience, and
their having witnessed many things Lord Amberley has not witnessed, must
be held to have the greater weight, and to show, at all events, that all
mediums are not “jugglers of the most vulgar order.”

In October last the New Quarterly Magazine, in its opening number, had
an article entitled “A Spiritualistic Séance;” but which proved to be an
account of certain ingenious contrivances by which some of the phenomena
usual at séances were imitated, and both Spiritualists and skeptics
deceived and confounded. This appears at first sight to be an exposure
of Spiritualism, but it is really very favorable to its pretensions; for
it goes on the assumption that the marvelous phenomena witnessed do
really occur, but are produced by various mechanical contrivances. In
this case the rooms above, below, and at the side of that in which the
séance was held had to be prepared with specially constructed machinery,
with assistants to work it. The apparatus, as described, would cost at
least £100, and would then only serve to produce a few fixed phenomena,
such as happen frequently in private houses and at the lodgings of
mediums who have not exclusive possession of any of the adjoining rooms,
or the means of obtaining expensive machinery and hired assistants. The
article bears internal evidence of being altogether a fictitious
narrative; but it helps to demonstrate, if any demonstration is
required, that the phenomena which occur under such protean forms and
varied conditions, and in private houses quite as often as at the
apartments of the mediums, are in no way produced by machinery.

Perhaps the most prominent recent attack on Spiritualism was that in the
Quarterly Review for October, 1871, which is known to have been written
by an eminent physiologist, and did much to blind the public to the real
nature of the movement. This article, after giving a light sketch of the
reported phenomena, entered into some details as to planchette-writing
and table-lifting—facts on which no Spiritualist depends as evidence to
a third party—and then proceeded to define its standpoint as follows:

  “Our position, then, is that the so-called spiritual communications
  come from _within_, not from without, the individuals who suppose
  themselves to be the recipients of them; that they belong to the class
  termed ‘subjective’ by physiologists and psychologists, and that the
  movements by which they are expressed, whether the tilting of tables
  or the writing of planchettes, are really produced by their own
  muscular action exerted independently of their own wills and quite
  unconsciously to themselves.”

Several pages are then devoted to accounts of séances which, like Lord
Amberley’s, were mostly failures; and to the experiences of a Bath
clergyman who believed that the communications came from devils; and,
generally, such weak and inconclusive phenomena only are adduced as can
be easily explained by the well-worn formulæ of “unconscious
cerebration,” “expectant attention,” and “unconscious muscular action.”
A few of the more startling physical phenomena are mentioned merely to
be discredited and the judgment of the witnesses impugned; but no
attempt is made to place before the reader any information as to the
amount or the weight of the testimony to such phenomena, or to the long
series of diverse phenomena which lead up to and confirm them. Some of
the experiments of Prof. Hare and Mr. Crookes are quoted and criticised
in the spirit of assuming that these experienced physicists were
ignorant of the simplest principles of mechanics, and failed to use the
most ordinary precautions. Of the numerous and varied cases on record,
of heavy bodies being moved without direct or indirect contact by any
human being, no notice is taken, except so far as quoting Mr. C. F.
Varley’s statement, that he had seen, in broad daylight, a small table
moved ten feet, with no one near it but himself, and not touched by
him—“as an example of the manner in which minds of this limited order
are apt to become the dupes of their own imaginings.”

This article, like the others here referred to, shows in the writer an
utter forgetfulness of the maxim, that an argument is not answered till
it is answered at its best. Amid the vast mass of recorded facts now
accumulated by Spiritualists, there is, of course, much that is weak and
inconclusive, much that is of no value as evidence, except to those who
have independent reasons for faith in them. From this undigested mass it
is the easiest thing in the world to pick out arguments that can be
refuted and facts that can be explained away; but what is that to the
purpose? It is not these that have convinced any one; but those
weightier, oft-repeated and oft-tested facts which the writers referred
to invariably ignore.

Prof. Tyndall has also given the world (in his “Fragments of Science,”
published in 1871) some account of his attempt to investigate these
phenomena. Again, we have a minute record of a séance which was a
failure, and in which the Professor, like Lord Amberley, easily imposed
on some too credulous Spiritualists by improvising a few manifestations
of his own. The article in question is dated as far back as 1864. We may
therefore conclude that the Professor has not seen much of the subject;
nor can he have made himself acquainted with what others have seen and
carefully verified, or he would hardly have thought his communication
worthy of the place it occupies among original researches and positive
additions to human knowledge. Both its facts and its reasonings have
been well replied to by Mr. Patrick Fraser Alexander, in his little work
entitled “Spiritualism; a Narrative and a Discussion,” which we
recommend to those who care to see how a very acute yet unprejudiced
mind looks at the phenomena, and how inconclusive, even from a
scientific standpoint, are the experiences adduced by Prof. Tyndall.

The discussion in the Pall Mall Gazette in 1868, and a considerable
private correspondence, indicates that scientific men almost invariably
assume that, in this inquiry, they should be permitted, at the very
outset, to impose conditions; and if, under such conditions, nothing
happens, they consider it a proof of imposture or delusion. But they
well know that, in all other branches of research, Nature, not they,
determines the essential conditions, without a compliance with which no
experiment will succeed. These conditions have to be learnt by a patient
questioning of Nature, and they are different for each branch of
science. How much more may they be expected to differ in an inquiry
which deals with subtle forces of the nature of which the physicist is
wholly and absolutely ignorant! To ask to be allowed to deal with these
unknown phenomena as he has hitherto dealt with known phenomena, is
practically to prejudge the question, since it assumes that both are
governed by the same laws.

From the sketch which has now been given of the recent treatment of the
subject by popular and scientific writers, we can summarize pretty
accurately their mental attitude in regard to it. They have seen very
little of the phenomena themselves, and they cannot believe that others
have seen much more. They have encountered people who are easily
deceived by a little unexpected trickery, and they conclude that the
convictions of Spiritualists generally are founded on phenomena
produced, either consciously or unconsciously, in a similar way. They
are so firmly convinced, on _a priori_ grounds, that the more remarkable
phenomena said to happen do not really happen, that they will back their
conviction against the direct testimony of any body of men, preferring
to believe that they are all the victims of some mysterious delusion
whenever imposture is out of the question. To influence persons in this
frame of mind, it is evident that _more_ personal testimony to isolated
facts is utterly useless. They have, to use the admirable expression of
Dr. Carpenter, “no place in the existing fabric of their thought into
which such facts can be fitted.” It is necessary, therefore, to modify
the “fabric of thought” itself; and it appears to the present writer
that this can best be done by a general historic sketch of the subject,
and by showing, by separate lines of inquiry, how wide and varied is the
evidence, and how remarkably these lines converge toward one uniform
conclusion. The endeavor will be made to indicate, by typical examples
of each class of evidence and without unnecessary detail, the cumulative
force of the argument.

                           HISTORICAL SKETCH.

Modern Spiritualism dates from March, 1848; it being then that, for the
first time, intelligent communications were held with the unknown cause
of the mysterious knockings and other sounds, similar to those which had
disturbed the Mompesson and Wesley families in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries. This discovery was made by Miss Kate Fox, a girl
of nine years old, and the first recognized example of an extensive
class now known as mediums. It is worthy of remark that this very first
“modern spiritual manifestation” was subjected to the test of unlimited
examination by all the inhabitants of the village of Hydesville, New
York. Though all were utter skeptics, no one could discover any cause
for the noises, which continued, though with less violence, when all the
children had left the house. Nothing is more common than the remark that
it is absurd and illogical to impute noises, of which we cannot discover
the cause, to the agency of spirits. So it undoubtedly is when the
noises are merely noises; but is it so illogical when these noises turn
out to be signals, and signals which spell out a fact, which fact,
though wholly unknown to all present, turns out to be true? Yet, on this
very first occasion, twenty-six years ago, the signals declared that a
murdered man was buried in the cellar of the house; it indicated the
exact spot in the cellar under which the body lay; and upon digging
there, at a depth of six or seven feet, considerable portions of a human
skeleton were found. Yet more: the name of the murdered man was given,
and it was ascertained that such a person had visited that very house
and had disappeared five years before, and had never been heard of
since. The signals further declared that he, the murdered man, was the
signaller; and as all the witnesses had satisfied themselves that the
signals were not made by any living person or by any assignable cause,
the logical conclusion from the facts was, that it _was_ the spirit[2]
of the murdered man; although such a conclusion might be to some in the
highest degree improbable, and to others in the highest degree absurd.

Footnote 2:

  It may be as well here to explain that the word “spirit,” which is
  often considered to be so objectionable by scientific men, is used
  throughout this article (or at all events in the earlier portions of
  it) merely to avoid circumlocution, in the sense of the “intelligent
  cause of the phenomena,” and not as implying “the spirits of the
  dead,” unless so expressly stated.

The Misses Fox now became involuntary mediums, and the family (which had
removed to the city of Rochester) were accused of imposture, and offered
to submit the children to examination by a committee of townsmen
appointed in public meeting. Three committees were successively
appointed; the last, composed of violent skeptics who had accused the
previous committees of stupidity or connivance. But all three, after
unlimited investigation, were forced to declare that the cause of the
phenomena was undiscoverable. The sounds occurred on the wall and floor
while the mediums, after being thoroughly searched by ladies, “stood on
pillows, barefooted, and with their clothes tied round their ankles.”
The last and most skeptical committee reported that, “They had heard
sounds, and failed utterly to discover their origin. They had proved
that neither machinery nor imposture had been used; and their questions,
_many of them being mental_, were answered correctly.” When we consider
that the mediums were two children under twelve years of age, and the
examiners utterly skeptical American citizens, thoroughly resolved to
detect imposture, and urged on by excited public meetings, it may
perhaps be considered that even at this early stage the question of
imposture or delusion was pretty well settled in the negative.

In a short time persons who sat with the Misses Fox found themselves to
have similar powers in a greater or less degree; and in two or three
years the movement had spread over a large part of the United States,
developing into a variety of strange forms, encountering the most
violent skepticism and the most rancorous hostility, yet always
progressing, and making converts even among the most enlightened and
best educated classes. In 1851, some of the most intelligent men in New
York—judges, senators, doctors, lawyers, merchants, clergymen and
authors—formed themselves into a society for investigation. Judge
Edmonds was one of these; and a sketch of the kind and amount of
evidence that was required to convince him will be given further on. In
1854 a second spiritual society was formed in New York. It had the names
of four judges and two physicians among its Vice-Presidents, showing
that the movement had by this time become respectable, and that men in
high social positions were not afraid of identifying themselves with it.
A little later Professor Mapes, an eminent agricultural chemist, was led
to undertake the investigation of Spiritualism. He formed a circle of
twelve friends, most of them men of talent, and skeptics, who bound
themselves to sit together weekly, with a medium, twenty times. For the
first eighteen evenings the phenomena were so trivial and unsatisfactory
that most of the party felt disgusted at the loss of time; but the last
two sittings produced phenomena of so startling a character that the
investigation was continued by the same circle _for four years, and all
became Spiritualists_.

By this time the movement had spread into every part of the Union, and,
notwithstanding that its adherents were abused as impostors or dupes,
that they were in several cases expelled from colleges and churches and
were confined as lunatics, and that the whole thing was “explained” over
and over again—it has continued to spread up to the present hour. The
secret of this appears to have been, that the explanations given never
applied to the phenomena continually occurring, and of which there were
numerous witnesses. A medium was raised in the air in a crowded room in
full daylight. (“Modern American Spiritualism,” p. 279.) A scientific
skeptic prepared a small portable apparatus, by which he could produce
an instantaneous illumination; and, taking it to a dark séance at which
numerous musical instruments were played, suddenly lighted up the room
while a large drum was being violently beaten, in the certain
expectation of revealing the impostor to the whole company. But what
they all saw was the drumstick itself beating the drum, with no human
being near it. It struck a few more blows, then rose into the air and
descended gently on to the shoulder of a lady. (Same work, p. 337.) At
Toronto, Canada, in a well-lighted room, an accompaniment to a song was
played on a closed and locked piano. (Same work, p. 463.) Communications
were given in raised letters on the arm of an ignorant servant girl, who
often could not read them. They sometimes appeared while she was at her
household work, and after being read by her master or mistress would
disappear. (Same work, p. 196.) Letters closed in any number of
envelopes, sealed up of even pasted together over the whole of the
written surface, were read and answered by certain mediums in whom this
special power was developed. It mattered not what language the letters
were written in; and it is upon record that letters in German, Greek,
Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, French, Welsh and Mexican, have been correctly
answered in the corresponding languages by a medium who knew none of
them. (Judge Edmonds’s “Letters on Spiritualism,” pp. 59–103, Appendix.)
Other mediums drew portraits of deceased persons whom they had never
known or heard of. Others healed diseases. But those who helped most to
spread the belief were, perhaps, the trance-speakers, who, in eloquent
and powerful language, developed the principles and the uses of
Spiritualism, answered objections, spread abroad a knowledge of the
phenomena, and thus induced skeptics to inquire into the facts; and
inquiry was almost invariably followed by conversion. Having repeatedly
listened to three of these speakers who have visited this country, I can
bear witness that they fully equal, and not unfrequently surpass our
best orators and preachers; whether in finished eloquence, in close and
logical argument, or in the readiness with which appropriate and
convincing replies are made to all objectors. They are also remarkable
for the perfect courtesy and suavity of their manner, and for the
extreme patience and gentleness with which they meet the most violent
opposition and the most unjust accusations.

Men of the highest rank and greatest ability became convinced by these
varied phenomena. No amount of education, of legal, medical or
scientific training, was proof against the overwhelming force of the
facts, whenever these facts were systematically and perseveringly
inquired into. The number of Spiritualists in the Union is, according to
those who have the best means of judging, from eight to eleven millions.
This is the estimate of Judge Edmonds, who has had extensive
correspondence on the subject with every part of the United States. The
Hon. R. D. Owen, who has also had great opportunities of knowing the
facts, considers it to be approximately correct; and it is affirmed by
the editors of the “Year-Book of Spiritualism” for 1871. These numbers
have been held to be absurdly exaggerated by persons having less
information, especially by strangers who have made superficial inquiries
in America; but it must be remembered that the Spiritualists are to a
very limited extent an organized body, and that the mass of them make no
public profession of their belief, but still remain members of some
denominational church—circumstances that would greatly deceive an
outsider. Nevertheless, the organization is of considerable extent.
There were in America, in 1870, 20 State Associations and 105 Societies
of Spiritualists, 207 lecturers, and about the same number of public

In other parts of the world the movement has progressed more or less
rapidly. Several of the more celebrated American mediums have visited
this country, and not only made converts in all classes of society, but
led to the formation of private circles and the discovery of mediumistic
power in hundreds of families. There is scarcely a city or a
considerable town in Continental Europe at the present moment where
Spiritualists are not reckoned by hundreds, if not by thousands. There
are said, on good authority, to be fifty thousand avowed Spiritualists
in Paris and ten thousand in Lyons; and the numbers in England may be
roughly estimated by the fact that there are four exclusively spiritual
periodicals, one of which has a circulation of five thousand weekly.


Before proceeding to a statement of the evidence which has convinced the
more educated and more skeptical converts, let us consider briefly the
bearing of the undoubted fact, that (to keep within bounds) many
thousands of well-informed men, belonging to all classes of society and
all professions, have, in each of the great civilized nations of the
world, acknowledged the objective reality of these phenomena; although,
almost without exception, they at first viewed them with dislike or
contempt, as impostures or delusions. There is nothing parallel to it in
the history of human thought; because there never before existed so
strong and apparently so well-founded a conviction that phenomena of
this kind never have happened and never can happen. It is often said,
that the number of adherents to a belief is no proof of its truth. This
remark justly applies to most religions whose arguments appeal to the
emotions and the intellect but not to the evidence of the senses. It is
equally just as applied to a great part of modern science. The almost
universal belief in gravitation, and in the undulatory theory of light,
does not render them in any degree more probable; because very few
indeed of the believers have tested the facts which most convincingly
demonstrate those theories, or are able to follow out the reasoning by
which they are demonstrated. It is for the most part a blind belief
accepted upon authority. But with these spiritual phenomena the case is
very different. They are to most men so new, so strange, so incredible,
so opposed to their whole habit of thought, so apparently opposed to the
pervading scientific spirit of the age, that they cannot and do not
accept them on second-hand evidence, as they do almost every other kind
of knowledge. The thousands or millions of Spiritualists, therefore,
represent to a very large extent men who have witnessed, examined, and
tested the evidence for themselves, over and over and over again, till
that which they had at first been unable to admit _could_ be true, they
have at last been compelled to acknowledge _is_ true. This accounts for
the utter failure of all the attempted “exposures” and “explanations” to
convince one solitary believer of his error. The exposers and explainers
have never got beyond those first difficulties which constitute the
_pons asinorum_ of Spiritualism, which every believer has to get over,
but at which early stage of investigation no converts are ever made. By
explaining table-turning, or table-tilting, or raps, you do not
influence a man who was never convinced by these, but who, in broad
daylight, sees objects move without contact, and behave as if guided by
intelligent beings; and who sees this in a variety of forms, in a
variety of places, and under such varied and stringent conditions, as to
make the fact to him just as real as the movement of iron to the magnet.
By explaining automatic writing (which itself convinces no one but the
writer, and not always even him), you do not affect the belief of the
man who has obtained writing when neither pencil nor paper was touched
by any one; or has seen a hand not attached to any human body take up a
pencil and write; or; as Mr. Andrew Leighton, of Liverpool, testifies,
has seen a pencil rise of itself on a table and write the words: “_And
is this world of strife to end in dust at last?_” Thus it is that there
are so few recantations or perverts in Spiritualism; so few, that it may
be truly said there are none. After much inquiry and reading I can find
no example of a man who, having acquired a good personal knowledge of
all the chief phases of the phenomena, has subsequently come to
disbelieve in their reality. If the “explanations” and “exposures” were
good for anything, or if it were an imposture to expose or a delusion to
explain, this could not be the case, because there are numbers of men
who have become convinced of the facts, but who have not accepted the
spiritual theory. These are, for the most part, in an uncomfortable and
unsettled frame of mind, and would gladly welcome an explanation which
really explained anything—but they find it not. As an eminent example of
this class, I may mention Dr. J. Lockhart Robertson, long one of the
editors of the Journal of Mental Science—a physician who, having made
mental disease his special study, would not be easily taken in by any
psychological delusions. The phenomena he witnessed fourteen years ago
were of a violent character; a very strong table being, at his own
request and in his own house, broken to pieces while he held the
medium’s hands. He afterwards himself tried to break a remaining leg of
the table, but failed to do so after exerting all his strength. Another
table was tilted over while all the party sat on it. He subsequently had
a sitting with Mr. Home, and witnessed the usual phenomena occurring
with that extraordinary medium—such as the accordion playing “most
wonderful music without any human agency,” “a shadow hand, not that of
any one present, which lifts a pencil and writes with it,” &c., &c.; and
he says that he can “no more doubt the physical manifestations of
(so-called) Spiritualism than he would any other fact—as, for example,
the fall of an apple to the ground of which his senses informed him.”
His record of these phenomena, with the confirmation by a friend who was
present, is published in the “Dialectical Society’s Report on
Spiritualism,” p. 247; and, at a meeting of Spiritualists in 1870, he
reasserted the facts, but denied their spiritual origin. To such a man
the Quarterly Reviewer’s explanations are worthless; yet it may be
safely said, that every advanced Spiritualist has seen more remarkable,
more varied, and even more inexplicable phenomena than those recorded by
Dr. Robertson, and is therefore still further out of reach of the
arguments referred to, which are indeed only calculated to convince
those who know little or nothing of the matter.

                         EVIDENCE OF THE FACTS.

The subject of the evidences of the objective phenomena of Spiritualism
is such a large one that it will be only possible here to give a few
typical examples, calculated to show how wide is their range, and how
conclusively they reach every objection that the most skeptical have
brought against them. This may perhaps be best done by giving, in the
first place, an outline of the career of two or three well-known
mediums; and, in the second, a sketch of the experiences and
investigations of a few of the more remarkable converts to Spiritualism.

_Career of Remarkable Mediums._—Miss Kate Fox, the little girl of nine
years old, who, as already stated, was the first “medium” in the modern
sense of the term, has continued to possess the same power for
twenty-six years. At the very earliest stages of the movement, skeptic
after skeptic, committee after committee endeavored to discover “the
trick;” but if it was a trick this little girl baffled them all, and the
proverbial acuteness of the Yankee was of no avail. In 1860, when Dr.
Robert Chambers visited America, he suggested to his friend, Robert Dale
Owen, the use of a balance to test the lifting power. They accordingly,
without preärrangement with the medium, took with them a powerful
steelyard, and suspended from it a dining-table weighing one hundred and
twenty-one pounds. Then, under a bright gas-light, the feet of the two
mediums (Miss Fox and her sister) being both touched by the feet of the
gentlemen, and the hands of all present being held over but not touching
the table, it was made lighter or heavier at request, so as to weigh at
one time only sixty, at another one hundred and thirty-four pounds. This
experiment, be it remembered, was identical with one proposed by Faraday
himself as being conclusive. Mr. Owen had many sittings with Miss Fox,
for the purpose of test, and the precautions he took were extraordinary.
He sat with her alone; he frequently changed the room without notice; he
examined every article of furniture; he locked the doors and fastened
them with strips of paper privately sealed; he held both the hands of
the medium. Under these conditions various phenomena occurred, the most
remarkable being the illumination of a piece of paper (which he had
brought himself, cut of a peculiar size, and privately marked,) showing
a dark hand writing on the floor. The paper afterwards rose up on to the
table with legible writing upon it, containing a promise which was
subsequently verified. (“Debatable Land,” p. 293.)

But Miss Fox’s powers were most remarkably shown in the séances with Mr.
Livermore, a well-known New York banker, and an entire skeptic before
commencing these experiments. These sittings were more than three
hundred in number, extending over five years. They took place in four
different houses (Mr. Livermore’s and the medium’s being both changed
during this period), under tests of the most rigid description. The
chief phenomenon was the appearance of a tangible, visible and audible
figure of Mr. Livermore’s deceased wife, sometimes accompanied by a male
figure, purporting to be Dr. Franklin. The former figure was often most
distinct and absolutely life-like. It moved various objects in the room.
It wrote messages on cards. It was sometimes formed out of a luminous
cloud, and again vanished before the eyes of the witnesses. It allowed a
portion of its dress to be cut off, which, though at first of strong and
apparently gauzy material texture, yet in a short time melted away and
became invisible. Flowers which melted away were also given. These
phenomena occurred best when Mr. L. and the medium were alone; but two
witnesses were occasionally admitted, who tested everything and
confirmed Mr. L.’s testimony. One of these was Mr. Livermore’s
physician, the other his brother-in-law; the latter previously a
skeptic. The details of these wonderful séances were published in the
Spiritual Magazine in 1862 and 1863; and the more remarkable are given
in Owen’s “Debatable Land,” from which work a good idea may be formed of
the great variety of the phenomena that occurred and the stringent
character of the tests employed.

Miss Fox recently came to England, and here also her powers have been
tested by a competent man of science, and found to be all that has been
stated. She is now married to an English barrister, and some of the
strange phenomena which have so long accompanied her attach themselves
to her infant child, even when its mother is away, to the great alarm of
the nurse. We have here, therefore, a career of twenty-six years of
mediumship of the most varied and remarkable character; mediumship which
has been scrutinized and tested from the first hour of its manifestation
down to this day, and with one invariable result—that no imposture or
attempt at imposture has ever been discovered, and no cause ever been
suggested that will account for the phenomena except that advanced by

Mr. Daniel D. Home is perhaps the best known medium in the world; and
his powers have been open to examination for at least twenty years.
Nineteen years ago Sir David Brewster and Lord Brougham had a sitting
with him—sufficiently acute and eminent observers, and both, of course
thorough skeptics. In the “Home Life of Sir David Brewster,” we have,
fortunately, his own record of this sitting made _at the time_, although
six months later, in a letter to the Morning Advertiser, he made the
contradictory statement: “I saw enough to satisfy myself they could all
be produced by human hands and feet.” He says: “The table actually rose
from the ground when no hand was upon it;” and “a small hand-bell was
laid down with its mouth on the carpet, and it actually rang when
nothing could have touched it. The bell was then placed on the other
side, still upon the carpet, and it came over to me and placed itself in
my hand. It did the same to Lord Brougham.” And he adds, speaking for
both, “We could give no explanation of them, and could not conjecture
how they could be produced by any kind of mechanism.” Coming from the
author of “Letters on Natural Magic,” this is pretty good testimony.

These and far more marvelous phenomena have been repeated from that day
to this many thousands of times, and almost always in private houses at
which Mr. Home visits. Everybody testifies to the fact that he offers
the most ample facilities for investigation; and to this I can myself
bear witness, having been invited by him to examine as closely as I
pleased an accordion, held by his one hand, keys downward, and in that
position playing very sweetly. But perhaps the best-attested and most
extraordinary phenomenon connected with Mr. Home’s mediumship is what is
called the fire-test. In a state of trance he takes a glowing coal from
the hottest part of a bright fire and carries it round the room, so that
every one may see and feel that it is a real one. This is testified by
Mr. H. D. Jencken, Lord Lindsay, Lord Adare, Miss Douglas, Mr. S. C.
Hall, and many others. But, more strange still, when in this state he
can detect the same power in other persons, or convey it to them. A lump
of red-hot coal was once placed on Mr. S. C. Hall’s head in the presence
of Lord Lindsay and four other persons. Mrs. Hall, in a communication to
the Earl of Dunraven (given in the Spiritual Magazine, 1870, p. 178),

  “Mr. Hall was seated nearly opposite to where I sat; and I saw Mr.
  Home, after standing about half a minute at the back of Mr. Hall’s
  chair, deliberately place the lump of burning coal on his head! I have
  often wondered that I was not frightened, but I was not; I had perfect
  faith that he would not be injured. Some one said, ‘Is it not hot?’
  Mr. Hall answered, ‘Warm, but not hot!’ Mr. Home had moved a little
  way, but returned, still in a trance; he smiled, and seemed quite
  pleased, and then proceeded to draw up Mr. Hall’s white hair over the
  red coal. The white hair had the appearance of silver thread over the
  red coal. Mr. Home drew the hair into a sort of pyramid, the coal,
  still red, showing beneath the hair.”

When taken off the head—which it had not in the slightest degree injured
or singed the hair—others attempted to touch it, and were burnt. Lord
Lindsay and Miss Douglas have also had hot coals placed in their hands,
and they describe them as feeling rather cold than hot; though at the
same time they burn any one else, and even scorch the face of the holder
if approached too closely. The same witnesses also testify that Mr. Home
has placed red-hot coals inside his waistcoat without scorching his
clothes, and has put his face into the middle of the fire, his hair
falling into the flames, yet not being the least singed. The same power
of resisting fire can be temporarily given to inanimate objects. Mr. H.
Nisbet, of Glasgow, states (“Human Nature,” Feb., 1870) that, in his own
house, in January, 1870, Mr. Home placed a red-hot coal in the hands of
a lady and gentleman, which they only felt warm; and then placed the
same piece on a folded newspaper, burning a hole through eight layers of
paper. He then took a fresh and blazing coal and laid it on the same
newspaper, carrying it about the room for three minutes, when the paper
was found, this time, not to have been the least burnt. Lord Lindsay
further declares—and as one of the few noblemen who do real scientific
work his evidence must be of some value—that on eight occasions he has
had red-hot coals placed on his own hand by Home without injury. Mr. W.
H. Harrison (“Spiritualist,” March 15th, 1870) saw him take a large
coal, which covered the palm of his hand, and stood six or seven inches
high. As he walked about the room it threw a ruddy glow on the walls,
and when he came to the table with it, the heat was felt in the faces of
all present. The coal was thus held for five minutes. These phenomena
have now happened scores of times in the presence of scores of
witnesses. They are facts, of the reality of which there can be no
doubt; and they are altogether inexplicable by the known laws of
physiology and heat.

The powers of Mr. Home have lately been independently tested by Serjeant
Cox and Mr. Crookes, and both these gentlemen emphatically proclaim that
he invites tests and courts examination. Serjeant Cox, in his own house,
has had a new accordion (purchased by himself that very day) play by
itself, in his own hand, while Mr. Home was playing the piano. Mr. Home
then took the accordion in his left hand, holding it with the keys
downwards while playing the piano with his right hand, “and it played
beautifully in accompaniment to the piano, for at least a quarter of an
hour.” (“What Am I?” Vol. II., p. 388.)

As to the possibility of these things being produced by trick, if
further evidence than their mere statement be required, we have the
following by Mr. T. Adolphus Trollope, who says, “I may also mention
that Bosco, one of the greatest professors of legerdemain ever known, in
a conversation with me upon the subject, utterly scouted the idea of the
possibility of such phenomena as I saw produced by Mr. Home being
performed by any of the resources of his art.”

Mr. Home’s life has been to a great extent a public one. He has spent
much of his time as a guest in the houses of people of rank and talent.
He numbers among his friends many who are eminent in science, art, and
literature—men certainly not inferior in perceptive or reasoning power
to those who, not having witnessed the phenomena, disbelieve in their
occurrence. For twenty years he has been exposed to the keen scrutiny
and never-ceasing suspicion of innumerable inquirers; yet no proof has
ever been given of trickery, no particle of machinery or apparatus ever
been detected. But the phenomena are so stupendous that, if impostures,
they could only be performed by machinery of the most elaborate, varied
and cumbrous nature, requiring the aid of several assistants and
confederates. The theory that they are delusions is equally untenable,
unless it is admitted that there is no possible means of distinguishing
delusion from reality.

The last medium to whose career I shall call attention is Mrs. Guppy
(formerly Miss Nichol), and in this case I can give some personal
testimony. I knew Miss Nichol before she had ever heard of Spiritualism,
table-rapping, or anything of the kind, and we first discovered her
powers on asking her to sit for experiment in my house. This was in
November, 1866, and for some months we had constant sittings, and I was
able to watch and test the progress of her development. I first
satisfied myself of the rising of a small table completely off the
floor, when three or four persons (including Miss N.) placed their hands
on it. I tested this by secretly attaching threads or thin strips of
paper underneath the claws, so that they must be broken if any one
attempted to raise the table with their feet, the only available means
of doing so. The table still rose a full foot off the floor in broad
daylight. In order to show this to friends with less trouble, I made a
cylinder of hoops and brown paper, in which I placed the table so as to
keep feet and dresses away from it while it rose, which it did as freely
as before. Perhaps more marvelous was the placing of Miss N. herself on
the table; for although this always happened in the dark, yet, under the
conditions to be named, deception was impossible. I will relate one
sitting of which I have notes. We sat in a friend’s house, round a
centre table, under a glass chandelier. A friend of mine, but a perfect
stranger to all the rest, sat next Miss Nichol and held both her hands.
Another person had matches ready to strike a light when required. What
occurred was as follows: First, Miss Nichol’s chair was drawn away from
under her, and she was obliged to stand up, my friend still holding both
her hands. In a minute or two more I heard a slight sound, such as might
be produced by a person placing a wine-glass on the table, and at the
same time a very slight rustling of clothes and tinkling of the glass
pendants of the chandelier. Immediately my friend said, “She is gone
from me.” A light was at once struck, and we found Miss N. quietly
seated in her chair on the centre of the table, her head just touching
the chandelier. My friend declared that Miss N. seemed to glide
noiselessly out of his hands. She was very stout and heavy, and to get
her chair on the table, to get upon it herself, in the dark,
noiselessly, and almost instantaneously, with five or six persons close
around her, appeared, and still appears to me, knowing her intimately,
to be physically impossible.

Another very curious and beautiful phenomenon was the production of
delicate musical sounds, without any object calculated to produce them
being in the room. On one occasion a German lady, who was a perfect
stranger to Miss Nichol, and had never been at a séance before, was
present. She sang several German songs, and most delicate music, like a
fairy musical-box, accompanied her throughout. She sang four or five
different songs of her own choice, and all were so accompanied. This was
in the dark, but hands were joined all the time.

The most remarkable feature of this lady’s mediumship is the production
of flowers and fruits in closed rooms. The first time this occurred was
at my own house at a very early stage of her development. All present
were my own friends. Miss Nichol had come early to tea, it being
mid-winter, and she had been with us in a very warm gas-lighted room
four hours before the flowers appeared. The essential fact is, that upon
a bare table in a small room closed and dark (the adjoining room and
passage being well lighted), a quantity of flowers appeared, which were
not there when we put out the gas a few minutes before. They consisted
of anemones, tulips, chrysanthemums, Chinese primroses, and several
ferns. All were absolutely fresh, as if just gathered from a
conservatory. They were covered with a fine, cold dew. Not a petal was
crumpled or broken, not the most delicate point or pinnule of the ferns
was out of place. I dried and preserved the whole, and have, attached to
them, the attestation of all present that they had no share, as far as
they knew, in bringing the flowers into the room. I believed at the
time, and still believe, that it was absolutely impossible for Miss N.
to have concealed them so long, to have kept them so perfect, and, above
all, to produce them covered throughout with a most beautiful coating of
dew, just like that which collects on the outside of a tumbler when
filled with very cold water on a hot day.

Similar phenomena have occurred hundreds of times since, in many houses
and under various conditions. Sometimes the flowers have been in vast
quantities, heaped upon the table. Often flowers or fruits asked for are
brought. A friend of mine asked for a sunflower, and one six feet high
fell upon the table, having a large mass of earth about its roots. One
of the most striking tests was at Florence, with Mr. T. Adolphus
Trollope, Mrs. Trollope, Miss Blagden, and Colonel Harvey. The room was
searched by the gentlemen; Mrs. Guppy was undressed and redressed by
Mrs. Trollope, every article of her clothing being examined. Mr. and
Mrs. Guppy were both firmly held while at the table. In about ten
minutes all the party exclaimed that they smelt flowers, and, on
lighting a candle, both Mrs. Guppy’s and Mr. Trollope’s arms were found
covered with jonquils, which filled the room with their odor. Mr. Guppy
and Mr. Trollope both relate this in substantially the same terms.
(“Dialectical Society’s Report on Spiritualism,” pp. 277 and 372.)

Surely these are phenomena about which there can be no mistake. What
theories have ever been proposed by our scientific teachers which even
attempt to account for them? Delusion it cannot be, for the flowers are
real and can be preserved, and imposture under the conditions described
is even less credible. If the gentlemen who came forward to enlighten
the public on the subject of “so-called spiritual manifestations” do not
know of the various classes of phenomena that have now been indicated,
and the weight of the testimony in support of them, they are palpably
unqualified for the task they have undertaken. That they do know of
them, but keep back their knowledge, while putting forward trivialities
easy to laugh at or expose, is a supposition I cannot for a moment
entertain. Before leaving this part of the subject, it is well to note
the fact of the marked individuality of each medium. They are not copies
of each other, but each one develops a characteristic set of phenomena—a
fact highly suggestive of some unconscious occult power in the
individual, and wholly opposed to the idea of either imposture or
delusion, both of which almost invariably copy preëxisting models.

_Investigations by some Notable Skeptics._—In giving some account of how
a few of the more important converts to Spiritualism became convinced,
we are of course limited to those who have given their experiences to
the public. I will first take the case of the eminent American lawyer,
the Hon. J. W. Edmonds, commonly called Judge Edmonds; and it may be as
well to let English skeptics know what he is thought of by his
countrymen. When he first became a Spiritualist he was greatly abused;
and it was even declared that he consulted the spirits on his judicial
decisions. To defend himself, he published an “Appeal to the Public,”
giving a full account of the inquiries which resulted in his conversion.
In noticing this, the New York Evening Mirror said: “John W. Edmonds,
the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of this District, is an able
lawyer, an industrious judge and a good citizen. For the last eight
years occupying without interruption the highest judicial stations,
whatever may be his faults no one can justly accuse him of a lack of
ability, industry, honesty or fearlessness. No one can doubt his general
saneness, or can believe for a moment that the ordinary operations of
his mind are not as rapid, accurate and reliable as ever. Both by the
practitioners and suitors at his bar he is recognized as the head, in
fact and in merit, of the Supreme Court for this District.” A few years
later he published a series of letters on Spiritualism in the New York
Tribune; and in the first of these he gives a compact summary of his
mode of investigation, from which the following passages are extracted.
It must be remembered that at the time he commenced the inquiry he was
in the prime and vigor of intellectual life, being fifty-two years of

  “It was in January, 1851, that I first began my investigations, and it
  was not until April, 1853, that I became a firm believer in the
  reality of spiritual intercourse. During twenty-three months of those
  twenty-seven, I witnessed several hundred manifestations in various
  forms. I kept very minute and careful records of many of them. My
  practice was, whenever I attended a circle, to keep in pencil a
  memorandum of all that took place, so far as I could, and, as soon as
  I returned home, to write out a full account of what I had witnessed.
  I did all this with as much minuteness and particularity as I had ever
  kept any record of a trial before me in court. In this way, during
  that period, I preserved the record of nearly two hundred interviews,
  running through some one thousand six hundred pages of manuscript. I
  had these interviews with many different mediums, and under an
  infinite variety of circumstances. No two interviews were alike. There
  was always something new, or something different from what had
  previously occurred; and it very seldom happened that only the same
  persons were present. The manifestations were of almost every known
  form, physical or mental; sometimes only one, and sometimes both

  “I resorted to every expedient I could devise to detect imposture and
  to guard against delusion. I felt in myself, and saw in others, how
  exciting was the idea that we were actually communing with the dead;
  and I labored to prevent any undue bias of my judgment. I was at times
  critical and captious to an unreasonable extreme; and when my belief
  was challenged, as it was over and over again, I refused to yield,
  except to evidence that would leave no possible room for cavil.

  “I was severely exacting in my demands, and this would frequently
  happen. I would go to a circle with some doubt on my mind as to the
  manifestations at the previous circle, and something would happen
  aimed directly at that doubt, and completely overthrowing it as it
  then seemed, so that I had no longer any reason to doubt. But I would
  go home and write out carefully my minutes of the evening, cogitate
  over them for several days, compare them with previous records, and
  finally find some loophole—some possibility that it might have been
  something else than spiritual influence, and I would go to the next
  circle with a new doubt, and a new set of queries.

  “I look back sometimes now, with a smile, at the ingenuity I wasted in
  devising ways and means to avoid the possibility of deception.

  “It was a remarkable feature of my investigations that every
  conceivable objection I could raise was, first or last, met and

The following extracts are from the “Appeal”:

  “I have seen a mahogany table, having a centre leg, and with a lamp
  burning upon it, lifted from the floor at least a foot, in spite of
  the efforts of those present, and shaken backward and forward as one
  would shake a goblet in his hand, and the lamp retain its place,
  though its glass pendants rang again.

  “I have known a mahogany chair thrown on its side and moved swiftly
  back and forth on the floor, no one touching it, through a room where
  there were at least a dozen people sitting, yet no one was touched;
  and it was repeatedly stopped within a few inches of me, when it was
  coming with a violence which, if not arrested, must have broken my

Having satisfied himself of the reality of the physical phenomena, he
came to the question of whence comes the intelligence that was so
remarkably connected with them. He says:

  “Preparatory to meeting a circle, I have sat down alone in my room,
  and carefully prepared a series of questions to be propounded, and I
  have been surprised to find my questions answered, and in the precise
  order in which I wrote them, without my even taking my memorandum out
  of my pocket, and when not a person present knew that I had prepared
  questions, much less what they were. My most secret thoughts, those
  which I have never uttered to mortal man or woman, have been freely
  spoken to as if I had uttered them; and I have been admonished that my
  every thought was known to, and could be disclosed by, the
  intelligence which was thus manifesting itself.

  “Still the question occurred, ‘May not all this have been, by some
  mysterious operation, the mere reflex of the mind of some one
  present?’ The answer was, that facts were communicated which were
  unknown then, but afterwards found to be true; like this, for
  instance: when I was absent last winter in Central America, my friends
  in town heard of my whereabouts and of the state of my health several
  times; and on my return, by comparing their information with the
  entries in my journal, it was found to be invariably correct. So
  thoughts have been uttered on subjects not then in my mind and utterly
  at variance with my own notions. This has often happened to me and to
  others, so as fully to establish the fact that it was not our minds
  that gave forth or affected the communication.”

These few extracts sufficiently show that the writer was aware of the
possible sources of error in such an inquiry; and the details given in
the letters prove that he was constantly on his guard against them. He
himself and his daughter became mediums; so that he afterwards obtained
personal confirmation of many of the phenomena by himself alone. But all
the phenomena referred to in the letters and “Appeal” occurred to him in
the presence of others, who testified to them as well, and thus removed
the possibility that the phenomena were subjective.

We have yet to add a notice of what will be perhaps, to many persons,
the most startling and convincing of all the Judge’s experiences. His
own daughter became a medium for speaking foreign languages of which she
was totally ignorant. He says: “She knows no language but her own, and a
little smattering of boarding-school French; yet she has spoken in nine
or ten different tongues, often for an hour at a time, with the ease and
fluency of a native. It is not unfrequent that foreigners converse with
their spirit-friends through her in their own language.” One of these
cases must be given:

  “One evening, when some twelve or fifteen persons were in my parlor,
  Mr. E. D. Green, an artist of this city, was shown in, accompanied by
  a gentleman whom he introduced as Mr. Evangelides, of Greece. Ere long
  a spirit spoke to him through Laura, in English, and said so many
  things to him that he identified him as a friend who had died at his
  house a few years before, but of whom none of us had ever heard.
  Occasionally, through Laura, the spirit would speak a word or a
  sentence in Greek, until Mr. E. inquired if he could be understood if
  he spoke Greek? The residue of the conversation for more than an hour
  was, on his part, entirely in Greek, and on hers sometimes in Greek
  and sometimes in English. At times Laura would not understand what was
  the idea conveyed either by her or him. At other times she would
  understand him, though he spoke in Greek, and herself while uttering
  Greek words.”

Several other cases are mentioned, and it is stated that this lady has
spoken Spanish, French, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Latin, Hungarian and
Indian; and other languages which were unknown to any person present.

This is by no means an isolated case, but it is given as being on most
unexceptionable authority. A man must know whether his own daughter has
learnt, so as to speak fluently, eight languages besides her own, or
not. Those who carry on the conversation must know whether the language
is spoken or not; and in several cases—as the Latin, Spanish, and
Indian—the Judge himself understood the language. And the phenomenon is
connected with Spiritualism by the speaking being in the name of, and
purporting to come from, some deceased person, and the subject matter
being characteristic of that person. Such a case as this, which has been
published sixteen years, ought to have been noticed and explained by
those who profess to enlighten the public on the subject of

Our next example is one of the most recent, but at the same time one of
the most useful, converts to the truths of Spiritualism. Dr. George
Sexton, M. D., M. A., L. L. D., was for many years the coadjutor of Mr.
Bradlaugh, and one of the most earnest and energetic of the secularist
teachers. The celebrated Robert Owen first called his attention to the
subject of Spiritualism about twenty years ago. He read books, he saw a
good deal of the ordinary physical manifestations, but he always
“suspected that the mediums played tricks, and that the whole affair was
nothing but clever conjuring by means of concealed machinery.” He gave
several lectures against Spiritualism in the usual style of
non-believers, dwelling much on the absurdity and triviality of the
phenomena, and ridiculing the idea that they were the work of spirits.
Then came another old friend and fellow-secularist, Mr. Turley, who,
after investigating the subject for the purpose of exposing it, became a
firm believer. Dr. Sexton laughed at this conversion, yet it made a deep
impression on his mind. Ten years passed away, and his next important
investigation was with the Davenport brothers; and it will be well for
those who sneer at these much-abused young men to take note of the
following account of Dr. Sexton’s proceedings with them, and especially
of the fact that they cheerfully submitted to every test the doctor
suggested. He tells us (in his lecture, “How I became a Spiritualist,”)
that he visited them again and again, trying in vain to find out the
trick. Then, he says—

  “My partner—Dr. Barker—and I invited the Brothers to our houses, and,
  in order to guard against anything like trickery, we requested them
  not to bring any ropes, instruments, or other apparatus; all these we
  ourselves had determined to supply. Moreover, as there were four of
  them, viz., the two Brothers Davenport, Mr. Fay, and Dr. Ferguson, we
  suspected that the two who were not tied might really do all that was
  done. We therefore requested only two to come. They unhesitatingly
  complied with all these requests.

  “We formed a circle, consisting entirely of members of our own
  families and a few private friends, with the one bare exception of
  Mrs. Fay. In the circle we all joined hands, and as Mrs. Fay sat at
  one end she had one of her hands free, while I had hold of the other.
  Thinking that she might be able to assist with the hand that was thus
  free, I asked, as a favor, that I might be allowed to hold both her
  hands—a proposition which she at once agreed to. Now, without entering
  here at all into what took place, suffice it to say that we bound the
  mediums with our own ropes, placed their feet upon sheets of writing
  paper, and drew lines around their boots, so that if they moved their
  feet it should be impossible for them to place them again in the same
  position; we laid pence on their toes, sealed the ropes, and in every
  way took precautions against their moving. On the occasion to which I
  now refer, Mr. Bradlaugh and Mr. Charles Watts were present; and when
  Mr. Fay’s coat had been taken off, the ropes still remaining on his
  hands, Mr. Bradlaugh requested that his coat might be placed on Mr.
  Fay, which was immediately done, the ropes still remaining fastened.
  We got, on this occasion, all the phenomena that usually occurred in
  the presence of these extraordinary men, particulars of which I shall
  probably give on another occasion. Dr. Barker became a believer in
  Spiritualism from the time that the Brothers visited at his house. I
  did not see that any proof had been given that disembodied spirits had
  any hand in producing the phenomena; but I was convinced that no
  tricks had been played, and that, therefore, these extraordinary
  physical manifestations were the result of some occult force in Nature
  which I had no means of explaining in the present state of my
  knowledge. All the physical phenomena that I had seen now became clear
  to me; they were not accomplished by trickery, as I had formerly
  supposed, but were the result of some undiscovered law of Nature,
  which it was the business of the man of science to use his utmost
  endeavors to discover.”

While he was maintaining this ground, Spiritualists often asked him how
he explained the intelligence that was manifested; and he invariably
replied that he had not yet seen proofs of any intelligence other than
what might be that of the medium or of some other persons present in the
circle, adding, that as soon as he did see proofs of such intelligence
he should become a Spiritualist. In this position he stood for many
years, till he naturally believed he should never see cause to change
his opinion. He continued the inquiry, however, and in 1865 began to
hold séances at home; but it was years before any mental phenomena
occurred which were absolutely conclusive, although they were often of
so startling a nature as would have satisfied any one less skeptical. At
length, after fifteen years of enlightened skepticism—a skepticism not
founded upon ignorance, but which refused to go one step beyond what the
facts so diligently pursued absolutely demonstrated—the needful evidence

  “The proofs that I did ultimately receive are, many of them, of a
  character that I cannot describe minutely to a public audience, nor
  indeed have I time to do so. Suffice it to say, that I got in my own
  house, in the absence of all mediums other than those members of my
  own family and intimate private friends in whom mediumistic powers
  became developed, evidence of an irresistible character that the
  communications came from deceased friends and relatives. Intelligence
  was again and again displayed which could not possibly have had any
  other origin than that which it professed to have. Facts were named
  known to no one in the circle, and left to be verified afterwards. The
  identity of the spirits communicating was proved in a hundred
  different ways. Our dear departed ones made themselves palpable both
  to feeling and to sight; and the doctrine of spirit-communion was
  proved beyond the shadow of a doubt. I soon found myself in the
  position of Dr. Fenwick in Lord Lytton’s ‘Strange Story.’ ‘Do you
  believe,’ asked the female attendant of Margrave, ‘in that which you
  seek?’ ‘I have no belief,’ was the answer. ‘True science has none;
  true science questions all things, and takes nothing on credit. It
  knows but three states of mind—denial, conviction, and the vast
  interval between the two, which is not belief, but the suspension of
  judgment.’ This describes exactly the phases through which my mind has

Since Dr. Sexton has become a Spiritualist he has been as energetic an
advocate for its truths as he had been before for the negations of
secularism. His experience and ability as a lecturer, with his long
schooling in every form of manifestation, render him one of the most
valuable promulgators of its teachings. He has also done excellent
service in exposing the pretensions of those conjurers who profess to
expose Spiritualism. This he does in the most practical way, not only by
explaining how the professed imitations of spiritual manifestations are
performed, but by actually performing them before his audience; and at
the same time pointing out the important differences between what these
people do and what occurs at good séances. Any one who wishes to
comprehend how Dr. Lynn, Messrs. Maskelyne and Cook, and Herr Dobler
perform some of their most curious feats have only to read his lecture,
entitled, “Spirit Mediums and Conjurers,” before going to witness their
entertainments. We can hardly believe that the man who does this, and
who during fifteen years of observation and experiment held out against
the spiritual theory, is one of those who, as Lord Amberley tells us,
“fall a victim to the most patent frauds, and are imposed upon by
jugglery of the most vulgar order”; or who, as viewed from Prof.
Tyndall’s high scientific standpoint, are in a frame of mind before
which science is utterly powerless—“dupes beyond the reach of proof, who
like to believe and do not like to be undeceived.” These be brave words;
but we leave our readers to judge whether they come with a very good
grace from men who have the most slender and inadequate knowledge of the
subject they are criticising, and no knowledge at all of the
long-continued and conscientious investigations of many who are included
in their wholesale animadversions.

Yet one more witness to these marvelous phenomena we must bring before
our readers—a trained and experienced physicist, who has experimented in
his own laboratory, and has applied tests and measurements of the most
rigid and conclusive character. When Mr. Crookes—the discoverer of the
metal thallium, and a Fellow of the Royal Society—first announced that
he was going to investigate so-called spiritual phenomena, many public
writers were all approval; for the complaint had long been that men of
science were not permitted by mediums to inquire too scrupulously into
the facts. One expressed “profound satisfaction that the subject was
about to be investigated by a man so well qualified”; another was
“gratified to learn that the matter is now receiving the attention of
cool and clear headed men of recognized position in science”; while a
third declared that “no one could doubt Mr. Crookes’s ability to conduct
the investigation with rigid philosophical impartiality.” But these
expressions were evidently insincere, and were only meant to apply in
case the result was in accordance with the writers’ notions of what it
ought to be. Of course, a “scientific investigation” would explode the
whole thing. Had not Faraday exploded table-turning? They hailed Mr.
Crookes as the Daniel come to judgment—as the prophet who would curse
their enemy, Spiritualism, by detecting imposture and illusion. But when
the judge, after a patient trial lasting several years, decided against
them, and their accepted prophet blessed the hated thing as an undoubted
truth, their tone changed; and they began to suspect the judge’s
ability, and to pick holes in the evidence on which he founded his

In Mr. Crookes’s latest paper, published in the Quarterly Journal of
Science for January last, we are informed that he has pursued the
inquiry for four years; and besides attending séances elsewhere, has had
the opportunity of making numerous experiments in his own house with the
two remarkable mediums already referred to, Mr. D. D. Home and Miss Kate
Fox. These experiments were almost exclusively made in the light, under
conditions of his own arranging, and with his own friends as witnesses.
Such phenomena as percussive sounds; alteration of the weight of bodies;
the rising of heavy bodies in the air without contact by any one; the
levitation of human beings; luminous appearances of various kinds; the
appearance of hands which lift small objects, yet are not the hands of
any one present; direct writing, by a luminous detached hand or by the
pencil alone; phantom forms and faces; and various mental phenomena—have
all been tested so variously and so repeatedly that Mr. Crookes is
thoroughly satisfied of their objective reality. These phenomena are
given in outline in the paper above referred to, and they will be
detailed in full in a volume now preparing. I will not, therefore, weary
my readers by repeating them here, but will remark, that these
experiments have a weight as evidence vastly greater than would be due
to them as resting on the testimony of any man of science, however
distinguished, because they are, in almost every case, confirmations of
what previous witnesses in immense numbers have testified to, in various
places, and under various conditions, during the last twenty years. In
every other experimental inquiry, without exception, confirmation of the
facts of an earlier observer is held to add so greatly to their value,
that no one treats them with the same incredulity with which he might
have received them the first time they were announced. And when the
confirmation has been repeated by three or four independent observers
under favorable conditions, and there is nothing but theory or negative
evidence against them, the facts are admitted—at least provisionally,
and until disproved by a greater weight of evidence or by discovering
the exact source of the fallacy of preceding observers.

But here, a totally different—a most unreasonable and a most
unphilosophical—course is pursued. Each fresh observation, confirming
previous evidence, is treated as though it were now put forth for the
_first_ time; and fresh confirmation is asked of it. And when this fresh
and independent confirmation comes, yet more confirmation is asked for,
and so on without end. This is a very clever way to ignore and stifle a
new truth; but the facts of Spiritualism are ubiquitous in their
occurrence and of so indisputable a nature, as to compel conviction in
every earnest inquirer. It thus happens that although every fresh
convert requires a large proportion of the series of demonstrative facts
to be reproduced before he will give his assent to them, the number of
such converts has gone on steadily increasing for a quarter of a
century. Clergymen of all sects, literary men and lawyers, physicians in
large numbers, men of science not a few, secularists, philosophical
skeptics, pure materialists, all have become converts through the
overwhelming logic of the phenomena which Spiritualism has brought
before them. And what have we _per contra_? Neither science nor
philosophy, neither skepticism nor religion, has ever yet in this
quarter of a century made one single convert from the ranks of
Spiritualism! This being the case, and fully appreciating the amount of
candor and fairness, and knowledge of the subject, that has been
exhibited by their opponents, is it to be wondered at that a large
proportion of Spiritualists are now profoundly indifferent to the
opinion of men of science, and would not go one step out of their way to
convince them? They say, that the movement is going on quite fast
enough; that it is spreading by its own inherent force of truth, and
slowly permeating all classes of society. It has thriven in spite of
abuse and persecution, ridicule and argument, and will continue to
thrive whether endorsed by great names or not. Men of science, like all
others, are welcome to enter its ranks; but they must satisfy themselves
by their own persevering researches, not expect to have its proofs laid
before them. Their rejection of its truths is their own loss, but cannot
in the slightest degree affect the progress of Spiritualism. The attacks
and criticisms of the press are borne good-humoredly, and seldom excite
other feelings than pity for the willful ignorance and contempt for the
overwhelming presumption of their writers. Such are the sentiments that
are continually expressed by Spiritualists; and it is as well, perhaps,
that the outer world, to whom the literature of the movement is as much
unknown as the Vedas, should be made acquainted with them.

_Investigation by the Dialectical Committee._—There are many other
investigators who ought to be noticed in any complete sketch of the
subject, but we have now only space to allude briefly to the “Report of
the Committee of the Dialectical Society.” Of this committee, consisting
of thirty-three acting members, only eight were, at the commencement,
believers in the reality of the phenomena, while not more than four
accepted the spiritual theory. During the course of the inquiry at least
twelve of the complete skeptics became convinced of the reality of many
of the physical phenomena through attending the experimental
sub-committees, and almost wholly by means of the mediumship of members
of the committee. At least three members who were previously skeptics
pursued their investigations outside the committee meetings, and in
consequence have become thorough Spiritualists. My own observation as a
member of the committee and of the largest and most active
sub-committee, enables me to state that the degree of conviction
produced in the minds of the various members was, allowing for marked
differences of character, approximately proportionate to the amount of
time and care bestowed on the investigation. This fact, which is what
occurs in all investigations into these phenomena, is a characteristic
result of the examination into any natural phenomena. The examination
into an imposture or delusion has, invariably, exactly opposite results:
those who have slender experience being deceived, while those who
perseveringly continue the inquiry inevitably find out the source of the
deception or the delusion. If this were not so, the discovery of truth
and the detection of error would be alike impossible. The result of this
inquiry on the members of the committee themselves is, therefore, of
more importance than the actual phenomena they witnessed, since these
were far less striking than many of the facts already mentioned. But
they are also of importance as confirming, by a body of intelligent and
unprejudiced men, the results obtained by previous individual inquirers.

Before leaving this report, I must call attention to the evidence it
furnishes of the state of opinion among men of education in France. M.
Camille Flammarion, the well-known astronomer, sent a communication to
the committee which deserves special consideration. Besides declaring
his own acceptance of the objective reality of the phenomena after ten
years of investigation, he makes the following statement:

  “My learned teacher and friend, M. Babinet, of the Institute, who has
  endeavored, with M. E. Liais (now Director of the Observatory of
  Brazil), and several others of my colleagues of the Observatory of
  Paris, to ascertain their nature and cause, is not fully convinced of
  the intervention of spirits in their production; though this
  hypothesis, by which alone certain categories of these phenomena would
  seem to be explicable, has been adopted by many of our most esteemed
  _savants_, among others by Dr. Hœffle, the learned author of the
  ‘History of Chemistry,’ and the ‘General Encyclopædia’; and by the
  diligent laborer in the field of astronomic discovery whose death we
  have recently had to deplore, M. Hermann Goldschmidt, the discoverer
  of fourteen planets.”

It thus appears that in France, as well as in America and in this
country, men of science of no mean rank have investigated these
phenomena and have found them to be realities; while some of the most
eminent hold the spiritual theory to be the only one that will explain

This seems the proper place to notice the astounding assertion of
certain writers, that there is not “a particle of evidence” to support
the spiritual theory; that those who accept it betray “hopeless
inability to discriminate between adequate and inadequate proof of
facts”; that the theory is “formed apart from facts”; and that those who
accept it are so unable to reason as to “jump to the conclusion” that it
must be spirits that move tables, merely because they do not know how
else they can be moved. The preceding account of how converts to
Spiritualism have been made is a sufficient answer to all this ignorant
assertion. The spiritual theory, as a rule, has only been adopted as a
last resource, when all other theories have hopelessly broken down; and
when fact after fact, phenomenon after phenomenon, has presented itself,
giving direct proof that the so-called dead are still alive. The
spiritual theory is the logical outcome of the whole of the facts. Those
who deny it, in every instance with which I am acquainted, either from
ignorance or disbelief, leave half the facts out of view. Take the one
case (out of many almost equally conclusive) of Mr. Livermore, who,
during five years, on hundreds of occasions, saw, felt and heard the
movements of the figure of his dead wife in absolute, unmistakable,
living form—a form which could move objects, and which repeatedly wrote
to him in her own handwriting and her own language, on cards which
remained after the figure had disappeared; a form which was equally
visible and tangible to two friends; which appeared in his own house, in
a room absolutely secured, with the presence of only a young girl, the
medium. Had these three men “not a particle of evidence” for the
spiritual theory? Is it, in fact, possible to conceive or suggest any
more complete proof? The facts must be got rid of before you can abolish
the theory; and simple denial or disbelief does not get rid of facts
testified during a space of five years by three witnesses, all men in
responsible positions, and carrying on their affairs during the whole
period in a manner to win the respect and confidence of their

Footnote 3:

  The objection will here inevitably be made: “These wonderful things
  always happen in America. When they occur in England it will be time
  enough to inquire into them.” Singularly enough, after this article
  was in the press the final test was obtained, which demonstrated the
  occurrence of similar phenomena in London. A short statement may,
  therefore, be interesting for those who cannot digest American
  evidence. For some years a young lady, Miss Florence Cook, has
  exhibited remarkable mediumship, which latterly culminated in the
  production of an entire female form purporting to be spiritual, and
  which appeared barefooted and in white flowing robes while she lay
  entranced, in dark clothing and securely bound, in a cabinet or
  adjacent room. Notwithstanding that tests of an apparently conclusive
  character were employed, many visitors, Spiritualists as well as
  skeptics, got the impression that all was not as it should be; owing,
  in part, to the resemblance of the supposed spirit to Miss Cook, and
  also to the fact that the two could not be seen at the same time. Some
  supposed that Miss C. was an impostor, who managed to conceal a white
  robe about her (although she was often searched), and who, although
  she was securely tied with tapes and sealed, was able to get out of
  her bonds, dress and undress herself, and get into them again, all in
  the dark, and in so complete and skillful a manner as to defy
  detection. Others thought that the spirit released her, provided her
  with a white dress, and sent her forth to personate a ghost. The
  belief that there was something wrong led one gentleman—an ardent
  Spiritualist—to seize the supposed spirit and endeavor to hold it, in
  the hope that some other person would open the cabinet-door and see if
  Miss Cook was really there. This was, unfortunately, not done; but the
  great resemblance of the being he seized to Miss Cook, its perfect
  solidity, and the vigorous struggles it made to escape from him,
  convinced this gentleman that it was Miss Cook herself, although the
  rest of the company, a few minutes afterwards, found her bound and
  sealed just as she had been left an hour before. To determine the
  question conclusively, experiments have been made within the last few
  weeks by two scientific men. Mr. C. F. Varley, F. R. S., the eminent
  electrician, made use of a galvanic battery and cable-testing
  apparatus, and passed a current through Miss Cook’s body (by fastening
  sovereigns soldered to wires to her arms). The apparatus was so
  delicate that any movement whatever was instantly indicated, while it
  was impossible for the young lady to dress and act as a ghost without
  breaking the circuit. Yet under these conditions the spirit-form did
  appear, exhibited its arms, spoke, wrote, and touched several persons;
  and this happened, be it remembered, not in the medium’s own house,
  but in that of a private gentleman in the West End of London. For
  nearly an hour the circuit was never broken, and at the conclusion
  Miss Cook was found in a deep trance. Since this remarkable experiment
  Mr. William Crookes, F.R.S., has obtained, if possible, still more
  satisfactory evidence. He contrived a phosphorus lamp, and, armed with
  this, was allowed to go into the dark room accompanied by the spirit,
  and there saw and felt Miss Cook, dressed in black velvet, lying in a
  trance on the floor, while the spirit-form, in white robes, stood
  close beside her. During the evening this spirit-form had been for
  nearly an hour walking and talking with the company; and Mr. Crookes,
  by permission, clasped the figure in his arms, and found it to be,
  apparently, a real living woman, just as the skeptical gentleman had
  done. Yet this figure is not that of Miss Cook, nor of any other human
  being, since it appeared and disappeared in Mr. Crookes’s own house as
  completely as in that of the medium herself. The full statements of
  Messrs. Varley and Crookes, with a mass of interesting detail on the
  subject, appeared in the “Spiritualist” newspaper in March and April
  last; and they serve to show that whatever marvels occur in America
  can be reproduced here, and that men of science are not precluded from
  investigating these phenomena with scientific instruments and by
  scientific methods. In the concluding part of this paper we shall be
  able to show that another class of manifestation which originated in
  America—that of the so-called spirit photographs—has been first
  critically examined and completely demonstrated in our own country.

                          SPIRIT PHOTOGRAPHS.

We now approach a subject which cannot be omitted in any impartial
sketch of the evidences of Spiritualism, since it is that which
furnishes perhaps the most unassailable demonstration it is possible to
obtain, of the objective reality of spiritual forms, and also of the
truthful nature of the evidence furnished by seers when they describe
figures visible to themselves alone. It has been already indicated—and
it is a fact, of which the records of Spiritualism furnish ample
proof—that different individuals possess the power of seeing such forms
and figures in very variable degrees. Thus, it often happens at a
séance, that some will see distinct lights of which they will describe
the form, appearance and position, while others see nothing at all. If
only one or two persons see the lights, the rest will naturally impute
it to their imagination; but there are cases in which only one or two of
those present are unable to see them. There are also cases in which all
see them, but in very different degrees of distinctness; yet that they
see the same objects is proved by their all agreeing as to the position
and the movement of the lights. Again, what some see as merely luminous
clouds, others will see as distinct human forms, either partial or
entire. In other cases all present see the form—whether hand, face, or
entire figure—with equal distinctness. Again, the objective reality of
these appearances is sometimes proved by their being touched, or by
their being seen to move objects—in some cases heard to speak, in others
seen to write, by several persons at one and the same time; the figure
seen or the writing produced being sometimes unmistakably recognizable
as that of some deceased friend. A volume could easily be filled with
records of this class of appearances, authenticated by place, date, and
names of witnesses; and a considerable selection is to be found in the
works of Mr. Robert Dale Owen.

Now, at this point, an inquirer, who had not pre-judged the question,
and who did not believe his own knowledge of the universe to be so
complete as to justify him in rejecting all evidence for facts which he
had hitherto considered to be in the highest degree improbable, might
fairly say, “Your evidence for the appearance of visible, tangible,
spiritual forms, is very strong; but I should like to have them
submitted to a crucial test, which would quite settle the question of
the possibility of their being due to a coincident delusion of several
senses of several persons at the same time; and, if satisfactory, would
demonstrate their objective reality in a way nothing else can do. If
they really reflect or emit light which makes them visible to human
eyes, _they can be photographed_. Photograph them, and you will have an
unanswerable proof that your human witnesses are trustworthy.” Two years
ago we could only have replied to this very proper suggestion, that we
believed it had been done and could be again done, but that we had no
satisfactory evidence to offer. Now, however, we are in a position to
state, not only that it has been frequently done, but that the evidence
is of such a nature as to satisfy any one who will take the trouble
carefully to examine it. This evidence we will now lay before our
readers, and we venture to think they will acknowledge it to be most

Before doing so it may be as well to clear away a popular misconception.
Mr. Lewes advised the Dialectical Committee to distinguish carefully
between “facts and inferences from facts.” This is especially necessary
in the case of what are called spirit photographs. The figures which
occur in these, when not produced by any human agency, may be of
“spiritual” origin, without being figures “of spirits.” There is much
evidence to show that they are, in some cases, forms produced by
invisible intelligences, but distinct from them. In other cases the
intelligence appears to clothe itself with matter capable of being
perceived by us; but even then it does not follow that the form produced
is the actual image of the spiritual form. It may be but a reproduction
of the former mortal form with its terrestrial accompaniments, _for
purposes of recognition_.

Most persons have heard of these “ghost-pictures,” and how easily they
can be made to order by any photographer, and are therefore disposed to
think they can be of no use as evidence. But a little consideration will
show them that the means by which sham ghosts can be manufactured being
so well known to all photographers, it becomes easy to apply tests or
arrange conditions so as to prevent imposition. The following are some
of the more obvious:

1. If a person with a knowledge of photography takes his own glass
plates, examines the camera used and all the accessories, and watches
the whole process of taking a picture, then, if any definite form
appears on the negative besides the sitter, it is a proof that some
object was present capable of reflecting or emitting the actinic rays,
although invisible to those present. 2. If an unmistakable likeness
appears of a deceased person totally unknown to the photographer. 3. If
figures appear on the negative having a definite relation to the figure
of the sitter, who chooses his own position, attitude and
accompaniments, it is a proof that invisible figures were really there.
4. If a figure appears draped in white, and partly behind the dark body
of the sitter without in the least showing through, it is a proof that
the white figure was there at the same time, because the dark parts of
the negative are transparent, and any white picture in any way
superposed would show through. 5. Even should none of these tests be
applied, yet if a medium, quite independent of the photographer, sees
and describes a figure during the sitting and an exactly corresponding
figure appears on the plate, it is a proof that such a figure was there.

Every one of these tests have now been successfully applied in our own
country, as the following outline of the facts will show:

The accounts of spirit-photography in several parts of the United States
caused many Spiritualists in this country to make experiments; but for a
long time without success. Mr. and Mrs. Guppy, who are both amateur
photographers, tried at their own house, and failed. In March, 1872,
they went one day to Mr. Hudson’s, a photographer living near them (not
a Spiritualist), to get some _cartes de visite_ of Mrs. Guppy. After the
sitting the idea suddenly struck Mr. Guppy that he would try for a
spirit-photograph. He sat down, told Mrs. G. to go behind the
background, and had a picture taken. There came out behind him a large,
indefinite, oval white patch, somewhat resembling the outline of a
draped figure. Mrs. Guppy, behind the background, was dressed in black.

This is the first spirit-photograph taken in England, and it’s perhaps
more satisfactory on account of the suddenness of the impulse under
which it was taken, and the great white patch which no impostor would
have attempted to produce, and which, taken by itself, utterly spoils
the picture. A few days afterwards, Mr. and Mrs. Guppy and their little
boy went without any notice. Mrs. Guppy sat on the ground holding the
boy on a stool. Her husband stood behind looking on. The picture thus
produced is most remarkable. A tall female figure, finely draped in
white, gauzy robes, stands directly behind and above the sitters,
looking down on them and holding its open hands over their heads, as if
giving a benediction. The face is somewhat Eastern, and, with the hands,
is beautifully defined. The white robes pass behind the sitters’ dark
figures without in the least showing through. A second picture was then
taken as soon as a plate could be prepared; and it was fortunate it was
so, for it resulted in a most remarkable test. Mrs. Guppy again knelt
with the boy; but this time she did not stoop so much, and her head was
higher. The same white figure comes out equally well defined, but _it
has changed its position in a manner exactly corresponding to the slight
change of Mrs. Guppy’s position_. The hands were before on a level; now
one is raised considerably higher than the other, so as to keep it about
the same distance from Mrs. Guppy’s head as it was before. The folds of
the drapery all correspondingly differ, and the head is slightly turned.
Here, then, one of two things is absolutely certain. Either there was a
living, intelligent, but invisible being present, or Mr. and Mrs. Guppy,
the photographer, and some fourth person, planned a wicked imposture,
and have maintained it ever since. Knowing Mr. and Mrs. Guppy so well as
I do, I feel an absolute conviction that they are as incapable of an
imposture of this kind as any earnest inquirer after truth in the
department of natural science.

The report of these pictures soon spread. Spiritualists in great numbers
came to try for similar results, with varying degrees of success; till
after a time rumor of imposture arose, and it is now firmly believed by
many, from suspicious appearances on the pictures and from other
circumstances, that a large number of shams have been produced. It is
certainly not to be wondered at if it be so. The photographer, remember,
was not a Spiritualist, and was utterly puzzled at the pictures above
described. Scores of persons came to him, and he saw that they were
satisfied if they got a second figure with themselves, and dissatisfied
if they did not. He _may_ have made arrangements by which to satisfy
everybody. One thing is clear: that if there has been imposture, it was
at once detected by Spiritualists themselves; if not, then Spiritualists
have been quick in noticing what appeared to indicate it. Those,
however, who most strongly assert imposture, allow that a large number
of genuine pictures have been taken. But, true or not, the cry of
imposture did good, since it showed the necessity for tests and for
independent confirmation of the facts.

The test of clearly recognizable likenesses of deceased friends has
often been obtained. Mr. William Howitt, who went without previous
notice, obtained likenesses of two sons, many years dead, and of the
very existence of one of which even the friend who accompanied Mr.
Howitt was ignorant. The likenesses were instantly recognized by Mrs.
Howitt; and Mr. Howitt declares them to be “perfect and unmistakable.”
(Spiritual Magazine, Oct., 1872.) Dr. Thomson, of Clifton, obtained a
photograph of himself, accompanied by that of a lady he did not know. He
sent it to his uncle in Scotland, simply asking if he recognized a
resemblance to any of the family deceased. The reply was that it was the
likeness of Dr. Thomson’s own mother, who died at his birth; and there
being no picture of her in existence, he had no idea what she was like.
The uncle very naturally remarked, that he “could not understand how it
was done.” (Spiritual Magazine, Oct., 1873.) Many other instances of
recognition have occurred, but I will only add my personal testimony. A
few weeks back I myself went to the same photographer’s for the first
time, and obtained a most unmistakable likeness of a deceased relative.
We will now pass to a better class of evidence, the private experiments
of amateurs.

Mr. Thomas Slater, an old-established optician in the Euston Road, and
an amateur photographer, took with him to Mr. Hudson’s a new camera of
his own manufacture and his own glasses, saw everything done, and
obtained a portrait with a second figure on it. He then began
experimenting in his own private house, and during last summer obtained
some remarkable results. The first of his successes contains two heads
by the side of a portrait of his sister. One of these heads is
unmistakably the late Lord Brougham’s; the other, much less distinct, is
recognized by Mr. Slater as that of Robert Owen, whom he knew intimately
up to the time of his death. He has since obtained several excellent
pictures of the same class. One in particular shows a female in black
and white flowing robes, standing by the side of Mr. Slater. In another
the head and bust appears, leaning over his shoulder. The faces of these
two are much alike, and other members of the family recognize them as
likenesses of Mr. Slater’s mother, who died when he was an infant. In
another a pretty child-figure, also draped, stands beside Mr. Slater’s
little boy. Now, whether these figures are correctly identified or not,
is not the essential point. The fact that _any_ figures, so clear and
unmistakably human in appearance as these, should appear on plates taken
in his own private studio by an experienced optician and amateur
photographer, who makes all his apparatus himself, and with no one
present but the members of his own family, is the real marvel. In one
case a second figure appeared on a plate with himself, taken by Mr.
Slater when he was absolutely alone—by the simple process of occupying
the sitter’s chair after uncapping the camera. He and his family being
themselves mediums, they require no extraneous assistance; and this may
perhaps be the reason why he has succeeded so well. One of the most
extraordinary pictures obtained by Mr. Slater is a full-length portrait
of his sister, in which there is no second figure, but the sitter
appears covered all over with a kind of transparent lace drapery, which
on examination is seen to be wholly made up of shaded circles of
different sizes, quite unlike any material fabric I have seen or heard

Mr. Slater has himself shown me all these pictures and explained the
conditions under which they were produced. That they are not impostures
is certain; and as the first independent confirmations of what had been
previously obtained only through professional photographers, their value
is inestimable.

A less successful but not perhaps on that account less satisfactory
confirmation has been obtained by another amateur, who, after eighteen
months of experiment, obtained a partial success. Mr. R. Williams, M.
A., Ph. D., of Hayward’s Heath, succeeded last summer in obtaining three
photographs, each with part of a human form besides the sitter, one
having the features distinctly marked. Subsequently another was
obtained, with a well-formed figure of a man standing at the side of the
sitter, but while being developed, this figure faded away entirely. Mr.
Williams assures me (in a letter) that in these experiments there was
“no room for trick or for the production of these figures by any known

The editor of the British Journal of Photography has made experiments at
Mr. Hudson’s studio, taking his own collodion and new plates, and doing
everything himself, yet there were “abnormal appearances” on the
pictures, although no distinct figures.

We now come to the valuable and conclusive experiments of Mr. John
Beattie, of Clifton, a retired photographer of twenty years’ experience,
and of whom the above-mentioned editor says: “Every one who knows Mr.
Beattie will give him credit for being a thoughtful, skillful, and
intelligent photographer, one of the last men in the world to be easily
deceived, at least in matters relating to photography, and one quite
incapable of deceiving others.”

Mr. Beattie has been assisted in his researches by Dr. Thomson, an
Edinburgh M. D., who has practiced photography, as an amateur, for
twenty-five years. They experimented at the studio of a friend, who was
not a Spiritualist (but who became a medium during the experiments), and
had the services of a tradesman—with whom they were well acquainted—as a
medium. The whole of the photographic work was done by Messrs. Beattie
and Thomson, the other two sitting at a small table. The pictures were
taken in series of three, within a few seconds of each other, and
several of these series were taken at each sitting. The figures produced
are, for the most part, not human, but variously-formed and shaded white
patches, which in successive pictures change their form, and develop, as
it were, into a more perfect or complete type. Thus, one set of five
begins with two white somewhat angular patches over the middle sitter,
and ends with a rude but unmistakable white female figure, covering the
larger part of the plate. The other three show intermediate states,
indicating a continuous change of form from the first figure to the
last. Another set (of four pictures) begins with a white vertical
cylinder over the body of the medium, and a shorter one on his head.
These change their form in the second and third, and in the last become
laterally spread out into luminous masses resembling nebulæ. Another set
of three is very curious. The first has an oblique flowing luminous
patch from the table to the ground; in the second, this has changed to a
white serpentine column, ending in a point above the medium’s head; in
the third, the column has become broader and somewhat double, with the
curve in an opposite direction, and with a head-like termination. The
change of the curvature may have some connection with a change in the
position of the sitters, which is seen to have taken place between the
second and the third of this set. There are two others, taken, like all
the preceding, in 1872, but which the medium described during the
exposure. The first, he said, was a thick white fog; and the picture
came out all shaded white, with not a trace of any of the sitters. The
other was described as a fog with a figure standing in it; and here a
white human figure is alone seen in the almost uniform foggy surface.
During the experiments made in 1873, the medium, _in every case_,
minutely and correctly described the appearances which afterwards came
out on the plate. In one there is a luminous-rayed star of large size,
with a human face faintly visible in the centre. This is the last of
three in which the star developed, and the whole were accurately
described by the medium. In another set of three, the medium first
described “a light behind him, coming from the floor.” The next, “a
light rising over another person’s arms, coming from his own boot.” The
third, “there is the same light, but now a column comes up through the
table, and it is hot to my hands.” Then he suddenly exclaimed, “What a
bright light up there! Can you not see it?” pointing to it with his
hand. All this most accurately describes the three pictures, and in the
last, the medium’s hand is seen pointing to a white patch which appears
overhead. There are other curious developments, the nature of which is
already sufficiently indicated; but one very startling single picture
must be mentioned. During the exposure one medium said he saw on the
background a black figure, the other medium saw a light figure by the
side of the black one. In the picture both these figures appear, the
light one very faintly, the black one much more distinctly, of a
gigantic size, with a massive coarse-featured face and long
hair.—(_Spiritual Magazine, January and August, 1873_; _Photographic
News, June 28th, 1872_.)

Mr. Beattie has been so good as to send me for examination a complete
set of these most extraordinary photographs, thirty-two in number, and
has furnished me with any particulars I desired. I have described them
as correctly as I am able; and Dr. Thomson has authorized me to use his
name as confirming Mr. Beattie’s account of the conditions under which
they appeared. These experiments were not made without labor and
perseverance. Sometimes twenty consecutive pictures produced absolutely
nothing unusual. Hundreds have been taken, and more than half have been
complete failures. But the successes have been well worth the labor.
They demonstrate the fact that what a medium or sensitive sees (even
where no one else sees anything) may often have an objective existence.
They teach us that perhaps the bookseller, Nicolai, of Berlin—whose case
has been quoted _ad nauseam_ as the type of a “spectral illusion”—saw
real beings after all; and that, had photography been then discovered
and properly applied, we might now have the portraits of the invisible
men and women who crowded his room. They give us hints of a process by
which the figures seen at séances may have to be gradually formed or
developed, and enable us better to understand the statements repeatedly
made by the communicating intelligences, that it is very difficult to
produce definite, visible and tangible forms, and that it can only be
done under a rare combination of favorable conditions.

We find, then, that three amateur photographers, working independently
in different parts of England, separately confirm the fact of
spirit-photography—already demonstrated to the satisfaction of many who
had tested it through professional photographers. The experiments of Mr.
Beattie and Dr. Thomson are alone absolutely conclusive; and, taken in
connection with those of Mr. Slater and Dr. Williams, and the test
photographs, like those of Mrs. Guppy, establish as a scientific fact
the objective existence of invisible human forms and definite invisible
actinic images. Before leaving the photographic phenomena we have to
notice two curious points in connection with them. The actinic action of
the spirit-forms is peculiar, and much more rapid than that of the light
reflected from ordinary material forms; for the figures start out the
moment the developing fluid touches them, while the figure of the sitter
appears much later. Mr. Beattie noticed this throughout his experiments,
and I was myself much struck with it when watching the development of
three pictures recently taken at Mr. Hudson’s. The second figure, though
by no means bright, always came out long before any other part of the
picture. The other singular thing is, the copious drapery in which these
forms are almost always enveloped, so as to show only just what is
necessary for recognition of the face and figure. The explanation given
of this is, that the human form is more difficult to materialize than
drapery. The conventional “white-sheeted ghost” was not then all fancy,
but had a foundation in fact—a fact, too, of deep significance,
dependent on the laws of a yet unknown chemistry.


As we have not been able to give an account of many curious facts which
occur with the various classes of mediums, the following catalogue of
the more important and well-characterized phenomena may be useful. They
may be grouped provisionally, as, Physical, or those in which material
objects are acted on, or apparently material bodies produced; and
Mental, or those which consist in the exhibition, by the medium, of
powers or faculties not possessed in the normal state.

The principal physical phenomena are the following:

1. _Simple Physical Phenomena._—Producing sounds of all kinds, from a
delicate tick to blows like those of a heavy sledge-hammer. Altering the
weight of bodies. Moving bodies without human agency. Raising bodies
into the air. Conveying bodies to a distance out of and into closed
rooms. Releasing mediums from every description of bonds, even from
welded iron rings, as has happened in America.

2. _Chemical._—Preserving from the effects of fire, as already detailed.

3. _Direct Writing and Drawing._—Producing writing or drawing on marked
papers, placed in such positions that no human hand (or foot) can touch
them. Sometimes, visibly to the spectators, a pencil rising up and
writing or drawing apparently by itself. Some of the drawings in many
colors have been produced on marked paper in from ten to twenty seconds,
and the colors found wet. (See Mr. Coleman’s evidence in “Dialectical
Report,” p. 143, confirmed by Lord Borthwick, p. 150.) Mr. Thomas
Slater, of 136 Euston Road, is now obtaining communication in the
following manner: A bit of slate pencil an eighth of an inch long is
laid on a table; a clean slate is laid over this, in a well-lighted
room; the sound of writing is then heard, and in a few minutes a
communication of considerable length is found distinctly written. At
other times the slate is held between himself and another person, their
other hands being joined. Some of these communications are philosophical
discussions on the nature of spirit and matter, supporting the usual
Spiritual theory on this subject.

4. _Musical Phenomena._—Musical instruments, of various kinds, played
without human agency, from a hand-bell to a closed piano. With some
mediums, and where the conditions are favorable, original musical
compositions of a very high character are produced. This occurs with Mr.

5. _Spiritual Forms._—These are either luminous appearances, sparks,
stars, globes of light, luminous clouds, &c.; or, hands, faces, or
entire human figures, usually covered with flowing drapery, except a
portion of the face and hands. The human forms are often capable of
moving solid objects, and are both visible and tangible to all present.
In other cases they are only visible to seers, but when this is the case
it sometimes happens that the seer describes the figure as lifting a
flower or a pen, and others present see the flower or the pen apparently
move by itself. In some cases they speak distinctly; in others the voice
is heard by all, the form only seen by the medium. The flowing robes of
these forms have in some cases been examined, and pieces cut off, which
have in a short time melted away. Flowers are also brought, some of
which fade away and vanish; others are real, and can be kept
indefinitely. It must not be concluded that any of these forms are
actual spirits; they are probably only temporary forms produced by
spirits for purposes of test, or of recognition by their friends. This
is the account invariably given of them by communications obtained in
various ways; so that the objection once thought to be so crushing—that
there can be no “ghosts” of clothes, armor, or walking-sticks—ceases to
have any weight.

6. _Spiritual Photographs._—These, as just detailed, demonstrate by a
purely physical experiment the trustworthiness of the preceding class of

We now come to the mental phenomena, of which the following are the

1. _Automatic Writing._—The medium writes involuntarily; often matter
which he is not thinking about, does not expect, and does not like.
Occasionally definite and correct information is given of facts of which
the medium has not, nor ever had, any knowledge. Sometimes future events
are accurately predicted. The writing takes place either by the hand or
through a planchette. Often the handwriting changes. Sometimes it is
written backwards; sometimes in languages the medium does not

2. _Seeing, or Clairvoyance and Clairaudience._—This is of various
kinds. Some mediums see the forms of deceased persons unknown to them,
and describe their peculiarities so minutely that their friends at once
recognize them. They often hear voices, through which they obtain names,
date, and place, connected with the individuals so described. Others
read sealed letters in any language, and write appropriate answers.

3. _Trance-Speaking._—The medium goes into a more or less unconscious
state, and then speaks, often on matters and in a style far beyond his
own capacities. Thus, Serjeant Cox—no mean judge on a matter of literary
style—says, “I have heard an uneducated bar-man, when in a state of
trance, maintain a dialogue with a party of philosophers on ‘Reason and
Foreknowledge, Will and Fate,’ and hold his own against them. I have put
to him the most difficult questions in psychology, and received answers,
always thoughtful, often full of wisdom, and invariably conveyed in
choice and elegant language. Nevertheless a quarter of an hour
afterwards, when released from the trance, he was unable to answer the
simplest query on a philosophical subject, and was even at a loss for
sufficient language to express a commonplace idea,” (“What am I?” Vol.
II., p. 242.) That this is not overstated I can myself testify, from
repeated observation of the same medium. And from other
trance-speakers—such as Mrs. Hardinge, Mrs. Tappan, and Mr. Peebles—I
have heard discourses which, for high and sustained eloquence, noble
thoughts, and high moral purpose, surpassed the best efforts of any
preacher or lecturer within my experience.

4. _Impersonation._—This occurs during trance. The medium seems taken
possession of by another being; speaks, looks and acts the character in
a most marvelous manner; in some cases speaks foreign languages never
even heard in the normal state; as in the case of Miss Edmonds, already
given. When the influence is violent or painful, the effects are such as
have been in all ages imputed to possession by evil spirits.

5. _Healing._—There are various forms of this. Sometimes by mere laying
on of hands, an exalted form of simple mesmeric healing. Sometimes, in
the trance state, the medium at once discovers the hidden malady, and
prescribes for it, often describing very exactly the morbid appearance
of internal organs.

The purely mental phenomena are generally of no use as evidence to
non-Spiritualists, except in those few cases where rigid tests can be
applied; but they are so intimately connected with the physical series,
and often so interwoven with them, that no one who has sufficient
experience to satisfy him of the reality of the former, fails to see
that the latter form part of the general system, and are dependent on
the same agencies.

With the physical series the case is very different. They form a
connected body of evidence, from the simplest to the most complex and
astounding, every single component fact of which can be and has been
repeatedly demonstrated by itself; while each gives weight and
confirmation to all the rest. They have all, or nearly all, been before
the world for twenty years; the theories and explanations of reviewers
and critics do not touch them, or in any way satisfy any sane man who
has repeatedly witnessed them; they have been tested and examined by
skeptics of every grade of incredulity, men in every way qualified to
detect imposture or to discover natural causes—trained physicists,
medical men, lawyers and men of business—but in every case the
investigators have either retired baffled, or become converts.

There have, it is true, been some impostors who have attempted to
imitate the phenomena; but such cases are few in number, and have been
discovered by tests far less severe than those to which the genuine
phenomena have been submitted over and over again; and a large
proportion of these phenomena have never been imitated, because they are
beyond successful imitation.

Now what do our leaders of public opinion say, when a scientific man of
proved ability again observes a large portion of the more extraordinary
phenomena, in his own house, under test conditions, and affirms their
objective reality; and this not after a hasty examination, but after
four years of research? Men “with heavy scientific appendages to their
names” refuse to examine them when invited; the eminent society of which
he is a fellow refuses to record them; and the press cries out that it
wants better witnesses than Mr. Crookes, and that such facts want
“confirmation” before they can be believed. But why more confirmation?
And when again “confirmed,” who is to confirm the confirmer? After the
whole range of the phenomena had been before the world ten years, and
had convinced skeptics by tens of thousands—skeptics, be it remembered,
of common sense and more than common acuteness, Americans of all
classes—they were _confirmed_ by the first chemist in America, Professor
Robert Hare. Two years later they were again confirmed by the elaborate
and persevering inquiries of one of the first American lawyers, Judge
Edmonds. Then by another good chemist, Professor Mapes. In France the
truth of the simpler physical phenomena was _confirmed_ by Count A. de
Gasparin, in 1854; and since then French astronomers, mathematicians and
chemists of high rank have _confirmed_ them. Professor Thury of Geneva
again _confirmed_ them, in 1855. In our own country such men as
Professor de Morgan, Dr. Lockhart Robertson, T. Adolphus Trollope, Dr.
Robert Chambers, Serjeant Cox, Mr. C. F. Yarley, as well as the
skeptical Dialectical Committee, have independently _confirmed_ large
portions of them; and lastly comes Mr. William Crookes, F.R.S., with
four years of research and unrestricted experiment with the two oldest
and most remarkable mediums in the world, and again _confirms_ almost
the whole series! But even this is not all. Through an independent set
of most competent observers we have the crucial test of photography; a
witness which cannot be deceived, which has no preconceived opinions,
which cannot register “subjective” impressions; a thoroughly scientific
witness, who is admitted into our law courts, and whose testimony is
good as against any number of recollections of what did happen or
opinions as to what ought to and must have happened. And what have the
other side brought against this overwhelming array of consistent and
unimpeachable evidence? They have merely made absurd and inadequate
suppositions, but have not disproved or explained away one weighty fact!

My position, therefore, is, that the phenomena of Spiritualism in their
entirety do _not_ require further confirmation. They are proved quite as
well as any facts are proved in other sciences; and it is not denial or
quibbling that can disprove any of them, but only fresh facts and
accurate deductions from those facts. When the opponents of Spiritualism
can give a record of their researches approaching in duration and
completeness to those of its advocates; and when they can discover and
show in detail, either how the phenomena are produced or how the many
sane and able men here referred to have been deluded into a coincident
belief that they have witnessed them: and when they can prove the
correctness of their theory by producing a like belief in a body of
equally sane and able unbelievers—then, and not till then, will it be
necessary for Spiritualists to produce fresh confirmation of facts which
are, and always have been, sufficiently real and indisputable to satisfy
any honest and persevering inquirer.

This being the state of the case as regards evidence and proof, we are
fully justified in taking the _facts_ of Modern Spiritualism (and with
them the spiritual theory as the only tenable one) as being fully
established. It only remains to give a brief account of the more
important uses and teachings of Spiritualism.


The lessons which Modern Spiritualism teaches may be classed under two
heads. In the first place, we find that it gives a rational account of
various phenomena in human history which physical science has been
unable to explain, and has therefore rejected or ignored; and, in the
second, we derive from it some definite information as to man’s nature
and destiny, and, founded on this, an ethical system of great practical
efficacy. The following are some of the more important phenomena of
history and of human nature which science cannot deal with, but which
Spiritualism explains:

1. It is no small thing that the Spiritualist finds himself able to
rehabilitate Socrates as a sane man, and his “demon” as an intelligent
spiritual being who accompanied him through life—in other words, a
guardian spirit. The non-Spiritualist is obliged to look upon one of the
greatest men in human history, not only as subject all his life to a
mental illusion, but as being so weak, foolish, or superstitious as
never to discover that it was an illusion. He is obliged to disbelieve
the fact asserted by contemporaries and by Socrates himself, that it
forewarned him truly of dangers; and to hold that this noble man, this
subtle reasoner, this religious skeptic, who was looked up to with
veneration and love by the great men who were his pupils, was imposed
upon by his own fancies, and never during a long life found out that
they were fancies, and that their supposed monitions were as often wrong
as right. It is a positive mental relief not to have to think thus of

2. Spiritualism allows us to believe that the oracles of antiquity were
not all impostures; that a whole people, perhaps the most intellectually
acute who ever existed, were not all dupes. In discussing the question,
“Why the Prophetess Pythia giveth no Answers now from the Oracle in
Verse,” Plutarch tells us that when kings and states consulted the
oracle on weighty matters that might do harm if made public, the replies
were couched in enigmatical language; but when private persons asked
about their own affairs they got direct answers in the plainest terms,
so that some people even complained of their simplicity and directness,
as being unworthy of a divine origin. And he adds this positive
testimony: “Her answers, though submitted to the severest scrutiny, have
never proved false or incorrect. On the contrary, the verification of
them has filled the temple with gifts from all parts of Greece and
foreign countries.” And again, “The answer of Pythoness proceeds to the
very truth, without any diversion, circuit, fraud, or ambiguity. It has
never yet, in a single instance, been convicted of falsehood.” Would
such statements be made by such a writer, if these oracles were all the
mere guesses of impostors? The fact that they declined and ultimately
failed, is wholly in their favor: for why should imposture cease as the
world became less enlightened and more superstitious? Neither does the
fact that the priests could sometimes be bribed to give out false
oracles prove anything, against such statements as that of Plutarch and
the belief during many generations, supported by ever-recurring
experiences, of the greatest men of antiquity. That belief could only
have been formed by demonstrative facts; and Modern Spiritualism enables
us to understand the nature of those facts.

3. Both the Old and New Testaments are full of Spiritualism, and
Spiritualists alone can read the record with an enlightened belief. The
hand that wrote upon the wall at Belshazzar’s feast, and the three men
unhurt in Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace, are for them actual facts
which they need not explain away. St. Paul’s language about “spiritual
gifts,” and “trying the spirits,” is to them intelligible language, and
the “gift of tongues” a simple fact. When Christ cast out “devils” or
evil spirits, he really did so—not merely startle a madman into
momentary quiescence; and the water changed into wine, as well as the
bread and fishes continually renewed till five thousand men were fed,
are credible as extreme manifestations of a power which is still daily
at work among us.

4. The miracles of the saints, when well attested, come into the same
category. Those of St. Bernard, for instance, were often performed in
broad day before thousands of spectators, and were recorded by
eye-witnesses. He was himself greatly troubled by them, wondering why
this power was bestowed upon him, and fearing lest it should make him
less humble. This was not the frame of mind, nor was St. Bernard’s the
character, of a deluded enthusiast. The Spiritualist need not believe
that all this never happened; or that St. Francis d’Assisi and St.
Theresa were not raised into the air, as eye-witnesses declared they

5. Witchcraft and witchcraft trials have a new interest for the
Spiritualist. He is able to detect hundreds of curious and minute
coincidences with phenomena he has himself witnessed; he is able to
separate the _facts_ from the absurd _inferences_ which people imbued
with the frightful superstition of diabolism drew from them, and from
which false inferences all the horrors of the witchcraft mania arose.
Spiritualism, and Spiritualism alone, gives a rational explanation of
witchcraft, and determines how much of it was objective fact, how much
subjective illusion.

6. Modern Roman Catholic miracles become intelligible facts. Spirits
whose affections and passions are strongly excited in favor of
Catholicism, produce those appearances of the Virgin and of saints which
they know will tend to increased religious fervor. The appearance itself
may be an objective reality; while it is only an inference that it is
the Virgin Mary—an inference which every intelligent Spiritualist would
repudiate as in the highest degree improbable.

7. Second-sight, and many of the so-called superstitions of savages, may
be realities. It is well known that mediumistic power is more frequent
and more energetic in mountainous countries; and as these are generally
inhabited by the less civilized races, the beliefs that are more
prevalent there may be due to facts which are more prevalent, and be
wrongly imputed to the coincident ignorance. It is known to
Spiritualists that the pure dry air of California led to more powerful
and more startling manifestations than in any other part of the United

8. The recently-discussed question of the efficacy of prayer receives a
perfect solution by Spiritualism. Prayer may be often answered, though
not directly, by the Deity. Nor does the answer depend wholly on the
morality or the religion of the petitioner; but as men who are both
moral and religious, and are firm believers in a divine response to
prayer, will pray more frequently, more earnestly and more
disinterestedly, they will attract toward them a number of spiritual
beings who sympathize with them, and who, when the necessary mediumistic
power is present, will be able, as they are often willing, to answer the
prayer. A striking case is that of George Müller, of Bristol, who has
now for forty-four years depended wholly for his own support, and that
of his wonderful charities, on answer to prayer. His “Narrative of Some
of the Lord’s Dealings with George Müller” (6th Ed., 1860), should have
been referred to in the late discussion, since it furnishes a better
demonstration that prayer is sometimes really answered, than the
hospital experiment proposed by Sir Henry Thomson could possibly have
done. In this work we have a precise yearly statement of his receipts
and expenditures for many years. He never asked any one or allowed any
one to be asked, directly or indirectly, for a penny. No subscriptions
or collections were ever made; yet from 1830 (when he married without
any income whatever) he has lived, brought up a family, and established
institutions which have steadily increased, till now four thousand
orphan children are educated and in part supported. It has happened
hundreds of times that there has been no food in his house and no money
to buy any, or no food or milk or sugar for the children; yet he never
took a loaf or any other article on credit even for a day; and during
the thirty years over which his narrative extends, neither he nor the
hundreds of children dependent upon him for their daily food have ever
been without a regular meal! They have lived, literally, from hand to
mouth; and his one and only resource has been secret prayer. Here is a
case which has been going on in the midst of us for forty years, and is
still going on; it has been published to the world for many years, yet a
warm discussion is carried on by eminent men as to the fact of whether
prayer is or is not answered, and not one of them exhibits the least
knowledge of this most pertinent and illustrative phenomenon! The
Spiritualist explains all this as a personal influence. The perfect
simplicity, faith, boundless charity and goodness of George Müller, have
enlisted in his cause beings of a like nature; and his mediumistic
powers have enabled them to work for him by influencing others to send
him money, food, clothes, &c., all arriving, as we should say, just in
the nick of time. The numerous letters he received with these gifts,
describing the sudden and uncontrollable impulse the donors felt to send
him a certain definite sum at a certain fixed time—such being the exact
sum he was in want of and had prayed for—strikingly illustrates the
nature of the power at work. All this might be explained away, if it
were partial and discontinuous; but when it continued to supply the
daily wants of a life of unexampled charity, _for which no provision in
advance was ever made_ (for that Müller considered would show want of
trust in God), no such explanation can cover the facts.

9. Spiritualism enables us to comprehend and find a place for that long
series of disturbances and occult phenomena of various kinds, which
occurred previous to what are termed the Modern Spiritual
Manifestations. Robert Dale Owen’s works give a rather full account of
this class of phenomena, which are most accurately recorded and
philosophically treated by him. This is not the place to refer to them
in detail; but one of them may be mentioned as showing how large an
amount of unexplained mystery there was, even in our own country, before
the world heard anything of Modern Spiritualism. In 1841, Major Edward
Moor, F. R. S., published a little book called “Bealings Bells,” giving
an account of mysterious bell-ringing in his house at Great Bealings,
Suffolk, and which continued for fifty-three days. Every attempt to
discover the cause, by himself, friends, and bell-hangers, were
fruitless; and by no efforts, however violent, could the same clamorous
and rapid ringing be produced. He wrote an account to the newspapers,
requesting information bearing on the subject, when, in addition to
certain wise suggestions—of rats or a monkey as efficient causes—he
received fourteen communications, all relating cases of mysterious bell
ringing in different parts of England, many of them lasting much longer
than Major Moor’s, and all remaining equally unexplained. One lasted
eighteen months; another was in Greenwich Hospital, where neither
clerk-of-the-works, bell-hanger, nor men of science could discover the
cause. One clergyman wrote of disturbances of a most serious kind
continued in his parsonage for _nine years_, and he was able to trace
back their existence in the same house for _sixty years_. Another case
had lasted _twenty years_, and could be traced back for a _century_.
Some of the details of these cases are most instructive. Trick is
absolutely the most incredible of all explanations. Spiritualism
furnishes the explanation by means of analogous facts occurring every
day, and forming part of the great system of phenomena which
demonstrates the spiritual theory. Major Moor’s book is very rare; but a
good abstract of it is given in Owen’s “Debatable Land,” pp. 239–258.


We have now to explain the Theory of Human Nature, which is the outcome
of the phenomena taken in their entirety, and is also more or less
explicitly taught by the communications which purport to come from
spirits. It may be briefly outlined as follows:

1. Man is a duality, consisting of an organized spiritual form, evolved
coincidently with and permeating the physical body, and having
corresponding organs and developments.

2. Death is the separation of this duality, and effects no change in the
spirit, morally or intellectually.

3. Progressive evolution of the intellectual and moral nature is the
destiny of individuals; the knowledge, attainments and experience of
earth-life forming the basis of spirit-life.

4. Spirits can communicate through properly-endowed mediums. They are
attracted to those they love or sympathize with, and strive to warn,
protect, and influence them for good, by mental impression when they
cannot effect any more direct communication; but, as follows from clause
(2), their communications will be fallible, and must be judged and
tested just as we do those of our fellow-men.

The foregoing outline propositions will suggest a number of questions
and difficulties, for the answers to which readers are referred to the
works of R. D. Owen, Hudson Tuttle, Professor Hare, and the records of
Spiritualism _passim_. Here I must pass on to explain with some amount
of detail, how the theory leads to a pure system of morality with
sanctions far more powerful and effective than any which either
religious systems or philosophy have put forth.

This part of the subject cannot perhaps be better introduced than by
referring to some remarks by Professor Huxley in a letter to the
Committee of the Dialectical Society. He says, “But supposing the
phenomena to be genuine—they do not interest me. If anybody would endow
me with the faculty of listening to the chatter of old women and curates
at 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 category.” This passage, written with the caustic
satire in which the kind hearted Professor occasionally indulges, can
hardly mean that if it were proved that men really continued to live
after the death of the body, that fact would not interest him, merely
because some of them talked twaddle? Many scientific men deny the
spiritual source of the manifestations, on the ground that real, genuine
spirits might reasonably be expected not to indulge in the commonplace
trivialities which do undoubtedly form the staple of ordinary spiritual
communications. But surely Professor Huxley, as a naturalist and
philosopher, would not admit this to be a reasonable expectation. Does
he not hold the doctrine that there can be no effect, mental or
physical, without an adequate cause? and that mental states, faculties,
and idiosyncrasies, that are the result of gradual development and
life-long—or even ancestral—habit, cannot be suddenly changed by any
known or imaginable cause? And if (as the Professor would probably
admit) a very large majority of those who daily depart this life are
persons addicted to twaddle, persons who spend much of their time in low
or trivial pursuits, persons whose pleasures are sensual rather than
intellectual—whence is to come the transforming power which is suddenly,
at the mere throwing off the physical body, to change these into beings
able to appreciate and delight in high and intellectual pursuits? The
thing would be a miracle, the greatest of miracles, and surely Professor
Huxley is the last man to contemplate innumerable miracles as part of
the order of nature; and all for what? Merely _to save these people from
the necessary consequences of their misspent lives_. For the essential
teaching of Spiritualism is, that we are, all of us, in every act and
thought, helping to build up a “mental fabric,” which will be and
constitute ourselves, more completely after the death of the body than
it does now. Just as this fabric is well or ill built, so will our
progress and happiness be aided or retarded. Just in proportion as we
have developed our higher intellectual and moral nature, or starved it
by disuse and by giving undue prominence to those faculties which secure
us mere physical or selfish enjoyment, shall we be well or ill fitted
for the new life we enter on. The noble teaching of Herbert Spencer,
that men are best educated by being left to suffer the natural
consequences of their actions, is the teaching of Spiritualism as
regards the transition to another phase of life. There will be no
imposed rewards or punishments; but every one will suffer the natural
and inevitable consequences of a well or ill-spent life. The well-spent
life is that in which those faculties which regard our personal physical
well-being are subordinated to those which regard our social and
intellectual well-being, and the well-being of others; and that inherent
feeling—which is so universal and so difficult to account for—that these
latter constitute our higher nature, seems also to point to the
conclusion that we are intended for a condition in which the former will
be almost wholly unnecessary, and will gradually become rudimentary
through disuse, while the latter will receive a corresponding

Although, therefore, the twaddle and triviality of so many of the
communications is not one whit more interesting to sensible
Spiritualists than it is to Prof. Huxley, and is never voluntarily
listened to, yet the fact that such poor stuff is talked (supposing it
to come from spirits) is both a fact that might have been anticipated
and a lesson of deep import. We must remember, too, the character of the
séances at which these commonplace communications are received. A
miscellaneous assemblance of believers of various grades and tastes, but
mostly in search of an evening’s amusement, and of skeptics who look
upon all the others as either fools or knaves, is not likely to attract
to itself the more elevated and refined denizens of the higher spheres,
who may well be supposed to feel too much interest in their own new and
grand intellectual existence to waste their energies on either class. If
the fact is proved, that people continue to talk after they are dead
with just as little sense as when alive, but that, being in a state in
which sense, both common and uncommon, is of far greater importance to
happiness than it is here (where fools pass very comfortable lives),
they suffer the penalty of having neglected to cultivate their minds;
and being so much out of their element in a world where all pleasures
are mental, they endeavor to recall old times by gossiping with their
former associates whenever they can find the means—Prof. Huxley will not
fail to see its vast importance as an incentive to that higher education
which he is never weary of advocating. He would assuredly be interested
in anything having a really practical bearing on the present as well as
on the future condition of men; and it is evident that even these low
and despised phenomena of Spiritualism, “if true,” have this bearing,
and, combined with its higher teachings, constitute a great moral agency
which may yet regenerate the world. For the Spiritualist who, by daily
experience, gets absolute knowledge of these facts regarding the future
state—who knows that, just in proportion as he indulges in passion, or
selfishness, or the exclusive pursuit of wealth, and neglects to
cultivate the affections and the varied powers of his mind, so does he
inevitably prepare for himself misery in a world in which there are no
physical wants to be provided for, no sensual enjoyments except those
directly associated with the affections and sympathies, no occupations
but those having for their object social and intellectual progress—is
impelled toward a pure, a sympathetic, and an intellectual life by
motives far stronger than any which either religion or philosophy can
supply. He dreads to give way to passion or to falsehood, to selfishness
or to a life of luxurious physical enjoyment, because he knows that the
natural and inevitable consequences of such habits are future misery,
necessitating a long and arduous struggle in order to develop anew the
faculties, whose exercise long disuse has rendered painful to him. He
will be deterred from crime by the knowledge that its unforeseen
consequences may cause him ages of remorse; while the bad passions which
it encourages will be a perpetual torment to himself in a state of being
in which mental emotions cannot be laid aside or forgotten amid the
fierce struggles and sensual pleasures of a physical existence. It must
be remembered that these beliefs (unlike those of theology) will have a
living efficacy, because they depend on _facts_ occurring again and
again in the family circle, constantly reiterating the same truths as
the result of personal knowledge, and thus bringing home to the mind,
even of the most obtuse, the absolute reality of that future existence
in which our degree of happiness or misery will be directly dependent on
the “mental fabric” we construct by our daily thoughts and words and
actions here.

Contrast this system of natural and inevitable reward and retribution,
dependent wholly on the proportionate development of our higher mental
and moral nature, with the arbitrary system of rewards and punishments
dependent on stated acts and beliefs only, as set forth by all dogmatic
religions, and who can fail to see that the former is in harmony with
the whole order of Nature—the latter opposed to it. Yet it is actually
said that Spiritualism is altogether either imposture or delusion, and
all its teachings but the product of “expectant attention” and
“unconscious cerebration”! If none of the long series of demonstrative
facts which have been here sketched out, existed, and its only product
were this theory of a future state, that alone would negative such a
supposition. And when it is considered that mediums of all grades,
whether intelligent or ignorant, and having communications given through
them in various direct and indirect ways, are absolutely in accord as to
the main features of this theory, what becomes of the gross misstatement
that nothing is given through mediums but what they know and believe
themselves? The mediums have, almost all, been brought up in some of the
usual Orthodox beliefs. How is it, then, that the usual Orthodox notions
of heaven are _never_ confirmed through them?

In the scores of volumes and pamphlets of spiritual literature I have
read, I have found no statement of a spirit describing “winged angels,”
or “golden harps,” or the “throne of God”—to which the humblest orthodox
Christian thinks he will be introduced if he goes to heaven at all.
There is no more startling and radical opposition to be found between
the most diverse religious creeds, than that between the beliefs in
which the majority of mediums have been brought up and the doctrines as
to a future life that are delivered through them; there is nothing more
marvelous in the history of the human mind than the fact that, whether
in the back-woods of America or in country towns in England, ignorant
men and women having almost all been brought up in the usual sectarian
notions of heaven and hell, should, the moment they become seized by the
strange power of mediumship, give forth teachings on this subject which
are philosophical rather than religious, and which differ wholly from
what had been so deeply ingrained into their minds. And this statement
is not affected by the fact that communications purport to come from
Catholic or Protestant, Mahometan or Hindoo spirits. Because, while such
communications maintain special _dogmas_ and _doctrines_, yet they
confirm the _very facts_ which really constitute the spiritual theory,
and which in themselves contradict the theory of the sectarian spirits.
The Roman Catholic spirit, for instance, does not describe himself as
being in either the orthodox purgatory, heaven, or hell; the Evangelical
Dissenter who died in the firm conviction that he should certainly “go
to Jesus,” never describes himself as being with Christ, or as ever
having seen him, and so on throughout. Nothing is more common than for
religious people at séances to ask questions about God and Christ. In
reply they never get more than opinions, or more frequently the
statement that they, the spirits, have no more actual knowledge of those
subjects than they had while on earth. So that the facts are all
harmonious; and the very circumstance of there being sectarian spirits
bears witness in two ways to the truth of the spiritual theory—it shows
that the mind, with its ingrained beliefs, is not suddenly changed at
death; and it shows that the communications are not the reflection of
the mind of the medium, who is often of the same religion as the
communicating spirit, and, because he does not get his own ideas
confirmed, is obliged to call in the aid of “Satanic influence” to
account for the anomaly.

The doctrine of a future state and of the proper preparation for it as
here developed, is to be found in the works of all Spiritualists, in the
utterances of all trance-speakers, in the communications through all
mediums; and this could be proved, did space permit, by copious
quotations. But it varies in form and detail in each; and just as the
historian arrives at the opinions or beliefs of any age or nation, by
collating the individual opinions of its best and most popular writers,
so do Spiritualists collate the various statements on the subject. They
know well that absolute dependence is to be placed on no individual
communications. They know that these are received by a complex physical
and mental process, both communicator and recipient influencing the
result; and they accept the teachings as to the future state of man only
so far as they are repeatedly confirmed in substance (though they may
differ in detail) by communications obtained under the most varied
circumstances, through mediums of the most different characters and
acquirements, at different times and in distant places. Fresh converts
are apt to think that, once satisfied the communications come from their
deceased friends, they may implicitly trust to them, and apply them
universally; as if the vast spiritual world was all molded to one
pattern, instead of being, as it almost certainly is, a thousand times
more varied than human society on the earth is, or ever has been. The
fact that the communications do not agree as to the condition,
occupations, pleasures, and capacities of individual spirits, so far
from being a difficulty, as has been absurdly supposed, is what ought to
have been expected; while the agreement on the essential features of
what we have stated to be the spiritual theory of a future state of
existence, is all the more striking, and tends to establish that theory
as a fundamental truth.

The assertion so often made, that Spiritualism is the survival or
revival of old superstitions, is so utterly unfounded as to be hardly
worth notice. A science of human nature which is founded on observed
facts; which appeals only to facts and experiment; which takes no
beliefs on trust; which inculcates investigation and self-reliance as
the first duties of intelligent beings; which teaches that happiness in
a future life can be secured by cultivating and developing to the utmost
the higher faculties of our intellectual and moral nature, _and by no
other method_—is and must be the natural enemy of all superstition.
Spiritualism is an experimental science, and affords the only sure
foundation for a true philosophy and a pure religion. It abolishes the
terms “supernatural” and “miracle” by an extension of the sphere of law
and the realm of nature; and in doing so it takes up and explains
whatever is true in the superstitions and so-called miracles of all
ages. It, and it alone, is able to harmonize conflicting creeds; and it
must ultimately lead to concord among mankind in the matter of religion,
which has for so many ages been the source of unceasing discord and
incalculable evil; and it will be able to do this because it appeals to
evidence instead of faith, and substitutes facts for opinions; and is
thus able to demonstrate the source of much of the teaching that men
have so often held to be divine.

It will thus be seen that those who can form no higher conception of the
uses of Spiritualism, “even if true,” than to detect crime or to name in
advance the winner of the Derby, not only prove their own ignorance of
the whole subject, but exhibit in a marked degree that partial mental
paralysis, the result of a century of materialistic thought, which
renders so many men unable seriously to conceive the possibility of a
natural continuation of human life after the death of the body. It will
be seen also that Spiritualism is no mere “physiological” curiosity, no
mere indication of some hitherto unknown “law of nature”; but that it is
a science of vast extent, having the widest, the most important, and the
most practical issues, and as such should enlist the sympathies alike of
moralists, philosophers and politicians, and of all who have at heart
the improvement of society and the permanent elevation of human nature.

In concluding this necessarily imperfect though somewhat lengthy account
of a subject about which so little is probably known to most of the
readers of the Fortnightly Review, I would earnestly beg them not to
satisfy themselves with a minute criticism of single facts, the evidence
for which, in my brief survey, may be imperfect; but to weigh carefully
the mass of evidence I have adduced, considering its wide range and
various bearings. I would ask them to look rather at the results
produced by the evidence than at the evidence itself as imperfectly
stated by me; to consider the long roll of men of ability who,
commencing the inquiry as skeptics, left it as believers, and to give
these men credit for not having overlooked, during years of patient
inquiry, difficulties which at once occur to themselves. I would ask
them to ponder well on the fact, that no earnest inquirer has ever come
to a conclusion adverse to the reality of the phenomena; and that no
Spiritualist has ever yet given them up as false. I would ask them,
finally, to dwell upon the long series of facts in human history that
Spiritualism explains, and on the noble and satisfying theory of a
future life that it unfolds. If they will do this, I feel confident that
the result I have alone aimed at will be attained; which is, to remove
the prejudices and misconceptions with which the whole subject has been
surrounded, and to incite to unbiased and persevering examination of the
facts. For the cardinal maxim of Spiritualism is, that every one must
find out the truth for himself. It makes no claim to be received on
hearsay evidence; but, on the other hand, it demands that it be not
rejected without patient, honest and fearless inquiry.


                           Modern Spiritualism.

                             By EPES SARGENT.


               Being a Full Account of Modern Spiritualism.

       16C. A New Edition, just issued by ROBERTS BROTHERS, Boston.

This volume should be properly called “A History of Modern
Spiritualism,” for it is a thorough and careful survey of the whole
subject of well-attested phenomena believed to be spiritual.

=Prof. WM. CROOKES, F. R. S.=, of London, the celebrated chemist, whose
scientific verifications of the spiritual phenomena are now creating
such a sensation, writes, under date of April 17, 1874,—

“_Planchette_ was the first book I read on Spiritualism, and it still
remains, in my opinion, the best work to place in the hands of the

=GEO. WM. CURTIS=, in HARPER’S WEEKLY, says of it,—

“It is a copious and popular but faithful summary of the phenomena and
theories. The ample knowledge and literary skill with which the subject
is treated make this volume an indispensable manual to all who are
attracted to this speculation, and it will be read with great interest
by the skeptic as well as by the believer.”

=The Rev. Dr. BELLOWS=, in the LIBERAL CHRISTIAN, says of it,—

“It sets forth many important considerations with regard to the
philosophy of the mind, while its historical notices of the development
of Spiritualism during the last twenty years give a more complete and
impartial view of the phenomena in question than has thus far been
presented to the public.”

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manifestations, which are beyond the bounds of credulity by any calm
thinking reader; and yet the asserted facts are given with such an
apparent truthfulness and distinctness of detail, and the learned and
distinguished names connected with the scenes described are of such
weight, that it is impossible to deny the conviction impressed upon the
mind that either Spiritualism is one of the greatest delusions of the
age, or that it is indeed a new manifestation of supernatural power,
deserving the investigations of our theologians and teachers. The work,
from its extreme interest, will amply repay a careful perusal.”

=The Boston Journal= says,—

“Mr. Sargent has here collected a vast amount of information, and
whoever wishes to have an intelligent epitome of the whole history of
modern Spiritualism will find it in this volume.”

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                         W. F. EVANS,
                         HUDSON TUTTLE,
                         A. B. CHILD,
                         P. B. RANDOLPH,
                         WARREN S. BARLOW,
                         Rev. T. B. TAYLOR,
                         J. O. BARRETT,
                         Rev. WM. MOUNTFORD.

                         Mrs. EMMA HARDINGE,
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                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

 1. Silently corrected obvious typographical errors and variations in
 2. Retained archaic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings as printed.
 3. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A defence of modern spiritualism" ***