(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Miracles and modern spiritualism"

MIRACLES AND 
MODERN SPIRITUALISM 



MIRACLES 



AND 



MODERN SPIRITUALISM 



BY 



ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE, 

D.C.L., LL.D., F.R.S. 



REVISED EDITION, WITH CHAPTERS ON 
APPARITIONS AND PHANTASMS 



LONDON 

GEORGE REDWAY 
1896 





UNIVERSITY (!. 

SAM A BARBARA 1 



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION 

(1874) 

THE Essays which form this volume were written at 
different times and for different purposes. The first in 
order (though not the earliest in date) was read before 
the Dialectical Society, with the intention of inducing 
sceptics to reconsider the fundamental question of the 
inherent credibility or incredibility of Miracles. The 
second was written in 1866 for the pages of a Secu- 
larist periodical, and a very limited number of copies 
printed, chiefly for private circulation. The third is the 
article which appeared in the Fortnightly Review of May 
and June 1874 All have been carefully revised, and con- 
siderable additions have been made of illustrative fact, 
argument, and personal experience, together with a few 
critical remarks on Dr. Carpenter's latest work. 

As the second and third Essays were each intended to 
give a general view of the same subject, there is neces- 
sarily some repetition in the matters treated of, and the 
same authorities are in many cases quoted ; but it is 
believed that no actual repetition of details will be 
found, care having been taken to introduce new facts 
and fresh illustrations, so that the one Essay will be 
found to supplement and support the other. 



VI PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION 

I must now say a few words on a somewhat personal 
matter. 

I am well aware that my scientific friends are some- 
what puzzled to account for what they consider to be my 
delusion, and believe that it has injuriously affected what- 
ever power I may have once possessed of dealing with 
the philosophy of Natural History. One of them Mr. 
Anton Dohrn has expressed this plainly. I am informed 
that, in an article entitled " Englische Kritiker und Anti- 
Kritiker des Darwinismus," published in 1861, he has put 
forth the opinion that Spiritualism and Natural Selection 
are incompatible, and that my divergence from the views 
of Mr. Darwin arises from my belief in Spiritualism. He 
also supposes that in accepting the spiritual doctrines I 
have been to some extent influenced by clerical and reli- 
gious prejudice. As Mr. Dohrn's views may be those of 
other scientific friends, I may perhaps be excused for 
entering into some personal details in reply. 

From the age of fourteen I lived with an elder brother, 
of advanced liberal and philosophical opinions, and I soon 
lost (and have never since regained) all capacity of being 
affected in my judgments either by clerical influence or 
religious prejudice. Up to the time when I first became 
acquainted with the facts of Spiritualism, I was a con- 
firmed philosophical sceptic, rejoicing in the works of 
Voltaire, Strauss, and Carl Vogt, and an ardent admirer 
(as I am still) of Herbert Spencer. I was so thorough 
and confirmed a materialist that I could not at that time 
find a place in my mind for the conception of spiritual 
existence, or for any other agencies in the universe than 



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION Vll 

matter and force. Facts, however, are stubborn things. 
My curiosity was at first excited by some slight but in- 
explicable phenomena occurring in a friend's family, and 
my desire for knowledge and love of truth forced me to 
continue the inquiry. The facts became more and more 
assured, more and more varied, more and more removed 
from anything that modern science taught or modern 
philosophy speculated on. The facts beat me. They 
compelled me to accept them as facts long before I could 
accept the spiritual explanation of them ; there was at 
that time " no place in my fabric of thought into which 
it could be fitted." By slow degrees a place was made ; 
but it was made, not by any preconceived or theoretical 
opinions, but by the continuous action of fact after fact, 
which could not be got rid of in any other way. So much 
for Mr. Anton Dohrn's theory of the causes which led me 
to accept Spiritualism. Let us now consider the state- 
ment as to its incompatibility with Natural Selection. 

Having, as above indicated, been led, by a strict induc- 
tion from facts, to a belief Istly, In the existence of a 
number of preterhuman intelligences of various grades 
and, 2ndly, That some of these intelligences, although 
usually invisible and intangible to us, can and do act on 
matter, and do influence our minds, I am surely follow- 
ing a strictly logical and scientific course in seeing how 
far this doctrine will enable us to account for some of 
those residual phenomena which Natural Selection alone 
will not explain. In the 10th chapter of my Contributions 
to the Theory of Natural Selection I have pointed out what 
I consider to be some of those residual phenomena ; and 



Vlll PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION 

I have suggested that they may be due to the action of 
some of the various intelligences above referred to. This 
view was, however, put forward with hesitation, and I 
myself suggested difficulties in the way of its acceptance ; 
but I maintained, and still maintain, that it is one which 
is logically tenable, and is in no way inconsistent with a 
thorough acceptance of the grand doctrine of Evolution, 
through Natural Selection, although implying (as indeed 
many of the chief supporters of that doctrine admit) that 
it is not the all-powerful, all-sufficient, and only cause of 
the development of organic forms. 



PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION 



ANOTHER edition of this little work being called for, I 
have carefully revised the text, inserted dates, and given 
a few additional facts either in the body of the work or 
in footnotes. 

I have also added two chapters on Apparitions and 
Phantasms, which appeared in the Boston Arena in 1891, 
and which constitute my latest contribution to the philo- 
sophy of Spiritualism. 

Having been more or less acquainted with psychical 
phenomena for half a century, it appears to my publisher 
that a few notes on the changes of opinion I have wit- 
nessed during that period may not be uninteresting to 
readers of my book. 

It was about the year 1843 that I first became in- 
terested in psychical phenomena, owing to the violent 
discussion then going on as to the reality of the painless 
surgical operations performed on patients in the mesmeric 
trance by Dr. Elliotson and other English surgeons. The 
greatest surgical and physiological authorities of the day 
declared that the patients were either impostors or per- 
sons naturally insensible to pain ; the operating surgeons 
were accused of bribing their patients ; and Dr. Elliotson 
was described as "polluting the temple of science." The 

lx 



X PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION 

Medico-Chirurgical Society opposed the reading of a 
paper describing an amputation during the magnetic 
trance, while Dr. Elliotson himself was ejected from his 
professorship in the University of London. It was at 
this time generally believed that all the now well-known 
phenomena of hypnotism were the result of imposture. 

It so happened that in the year 1844 I heard an able 
lecture on mesmerism by Mr. Spencer Hall, and the 
lecturer assured his audience that most healthy persons 
could mesmerise some of their friends and reproduce 
many of the phenomena he had shown on the platform. 
This led me to try for myself, and I soon found that I 
could mesmerise with varying degrees of success, and 
before long I succeeded in producing in my own room, 
either alone with my patient or in the presence of friends, 
most of the usual phenomena. Partial or complete cata- 
lepsy, paralysis of the motor nerves in certain directions, 
or of any special sense, every kind of delusion produced 
by suggestion, insensibility to pain, and community of 
sensation with myself when at a considerable distance 
from the patient, were all demonstrated, in such a number 
of patients and under such varied conditions, as to satisfy 
me of the genuineness of the phenomena. I thus learnt 
my first great lesson in the inquiry into these obscure 
fields of knowledge, never to accept the disbelief of great 
men, or their accusations of imposture or of imbecility, as 
of any weight when opposed to the repeated observation 
of facts by other men admittedly sane and honest. The 
whole history of science shows us that, whenever the 
educated and scientific men of any age have denied the 



PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION XI 

facts of other investigators on a priori grounds of absur- 
dity or impossibility, the deniers have always been wrong. 

A few years later, and all the more familiar facts of 
mesmerism were accepted by medical men, and explained, 
more or less satisfactorily to themselves, as not being 
essentially different from known diseases of the nervous 
system ; and of late years the more remarkable phe- 
nomena, including clairvoyance both as to facts known 
and those unknown to the mesmeriser, have been estab- 
lished as absolute realities. 

Next we come to the researches of Baron von Reichen- 
bach on the action of magnets and crystals upon sensi- 
tives. I well remember how these were scouted by the 
late Dr. W. B. Carpenter and Professor Tyndall, and how 
I was pitied for my credulity in accepting them. But 
many of his results have now been tested by French and 
English observers and have been found to be correct. 

Then we all remember how the phenomena of the 
stigmata, which have occurred at many epochs in the 
Catholic Church, were always looked upon by sceptics as 
gross imposture, and the believers in its reality as too far 
gone in credulity to be seriously reasoned with. Yet 
when the case of Louise Lateau was thoroughly investi- 
gated by sceptical physicians, and could be no longer 
doubted, the facts were admitted; and when, later on, 
somewhat similar appearances were produced in hypnotic 
patients by suggestion, the whole matter was held to be 
explained. 

Second -sight, crystal- seeing, automatic writing, and 
allied phenomena have been usually treated either as 



Xll PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION 

self-delusion or as imposture, but now that they have 
been carefully studied by Mr. Myers, Mr. Stead, and 
other inquirers, they have been found to be genuine 
facts; and it has been further proved that they often 
give information not known to any one present at the 
time, and even sometimes predict future events with 
accuracy. 

Trance mediums who give similar information to tha 
obtained through crystal-seeing or automatic writing, 
have long been held up to scorn as impostors of the 
grossest kind. They have been the butt of newspaper 
writers, and have been punished for obtaining money 
under false pretences; yet when one of these trance 
mediums, the well-known Mrs. Piper, was subjected to a 
stringent examination by some of the acutest members of 
the Society for Psychical Research, the unanimous testi- 
mony was that there was no imposture in the case, and 
that, however the knowledge exhibited was acquired, Mrs. 
Piper herself could never have acquired it through the 
medium of her ordinary senses. 

Nothing has been more constantly disbelieved and ridi- 
culed than the alleged appearance of phantasms of the 
living or of the recently dead, whether seen by one person 
alone or by several together. Imagination, disease, im- 
posture, or erroneous observation have been again and 
again put forth as sufficient explanation of these appear- 
ances. But when carefully examined they do not prove 
to be impostures, but stand out with greater distinctness 
as veridical and sometimes objective phenomena, as is 
sufficiently proved by the mass of well-attested and well- 



PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION Xlll 

sifted evidence published by the Society for Psychical 
Research. Still more subject to ridicule and contempt 
are ghosts and haunted houses. It has been said that 
these disappeared with the advent of gas ; but so far 
from this being the case, there is ample testimony at 
the present day to phenomena which come under these 
categories. 

In this connection also we have not merely appear- 
ances which may be explained away as collective halluci- 
nations, but actual physical phenomena of such a material 
character as stone-throwing, bell-ringing, movements of 
furniture, independent writing and drawing, and many 
other manifestations of force guided by intelligence which 
is yet not the force or the intelligence of those present. 
Records of such phenomena pervade history, and during 
the last century, and especially during the last half- 
century, they have been increasingly prevalent, and have 
been supported by the same kind and the same amount 
of cumulative testimony as all the preceding classes of 
phenomena. Some of these cases are now being in- 
vestigated, and there is no sign of their being traced to 
imposture. From personal knowledge and careful ex- 
periments I can testify that some of these physical 
phenomena are realities, and I cannot doubt that the 
fullest investigation will result, as in all the other cases, 
in their recognition as facts which any comprehensive 
theory must recognise and explain. 

What are termed spirit-photographs the appearance on 
a photographic plate of other figures besides those of the 
sitters, often those of deceased friends of the sitters have 



XIV PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION 

now been known for more than twenty years. Many com- 
petent observers have tried experiments successfully ; but 
the facts seemed too extraordinary to carry conviction to 
any but the experimenters themselves, and any allusion to 
the matter has usually been met with a smile of incredulity 
or a confident assertion of imposture. It mattered not that 
most of the witnesses were experienced photographers who 
took precautions which rendered it absolutely impossible 
that they were imposed upon. The most incredible sup- 
positions were put forth by those who had only ignorance 
and incredulity to qualify them as judges, in order to show 
that deception was possible. And now we have another 
competent witness, Mr. Traill Taylor, for many years 
editor of the British Journal of Photography, who, taking 
every precaution that his life-long experience could sug- 
gest, yet obtained on his plates figures which, so far as 
normal photography is concerned, ought not to have been 
there. 

Lastly, we come to consider the claim of the intel- 
ligences who are connected with most of these varied 
phenomena to be the spirits of deceased men and women; 
such claim being supported by tests of various kinds, 
especially by giving accurate information regarding them- 
selves as to facts totally unknown to the medium or to 
any person present. Records of such tests are numerous 
in spiritual literature as well as in the publications of the 
Society for Psychical Research, but at present they are re- 
garded as inconclusive, and various theories of a double or 
multiple personality, of a subconscious or second self, or 
of a lower stratum of consciousness, are called in to 



PREFACK TO THE THIRD EDITION XV 

explain them or to attempt to explain them. The stupen- 
dous difficulty that, if these phenomena and these tests 
are to be all attributed to the "second self" of living 
persons, then that second self is almost always a deceiv- 
ing and a lying self, however moral and truthful the 
visible and tangible first self may be, has, so far as I 
know, never been rationally explained ; yet this cum- 
brous and unintelligible hypothesis finds great favour 
with those who have always been accustomed to regard 
the belief in a spirit-world, and more particularly a belief 
that the spirits of our dead friends can and do sometimes 
communicate with us, as unscientific, unphilosophical, and 
superstitious. Why it should be unscientific, more than 
any other hypothesis which alone serves to explain intel- 
ligibly a great body of facts, has never been explained. 
The antagonism which it excites seems to be mainly due 
to the fact that it is, and has long been in some form or 
other, the belief of the religious world and of the ignorant 
and superstitious of all ages, while a total disbelief in spiri- 
tual existence has been the distinctive badge of modern 
scientific scepticism. The belief of the uneducated and 
unscientific multitude, however, rested on a broad basis of 
alleged facts which the scientific world scouted and scoffed 
at as absurd and impossible. But they are now discover- 
ing, as this brief sketch has shown, that the alleged facts, 
one after another, prove to be real facts, and strange to 
say, with little or no exaggeration, since almost every one 
of them, though implying abnormal powers in human 
beings or the agency of a spirit- world around us, has been 
strictly paralleled in the present day, and has been sub- 



XVI PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION 

jected to the close scrutiny of the scientific and sceptical 
with little or no modification of their essential nature. 
Since, then, the scientific world has been proved to have 
been totally wrong in its denial of the facts, as being con- 
trary to laws of nature and therefore incredible, it seems 
highly probable, a priori, it may have been equally wrong 
as to the spirit hypothesis, the dislike of which mainly led 
to their disbelief in the facts. For myself, I have never 
been able to see why any one hypothesis should be less 
scientific than another, except so far as one explains the 
whole of the facts and the other explains only a part of 
them. It was this alone that rendered the theory of 
gravitation more scientific than that of cycles and epi- 
cycles, the undulatory theory of light more scientific than 
the emission theory, and the theory of Darwin more scien- 
tific than that of Lamarck. It is often said that we must 
exhaust known causes before we call in unknown causes to 
explain phenomena. This may be admitted, but I cannot 
see how it applies to the present question. The "second" 
or "subconscious self," with its wide stores of knowledge, 
how gained no one knows, its distinct character, its low 
morality, its constant lies, is as purely a theoretical cause 
as is the spirit of a deceased person or any other spirit. 
It can in no sense be termed " a known cause." To call 
this hypothesis "scientific," and that of spirit agency 
" unscientific," is to beg the question at issue. That 
theory is most scientific which best explains the whole 
series of phenomena ; and I therefore claim that the 
spirit-hypothesis is the most scientific, since even those 
who oppose it most strenuously often admit that it does 



PREFACE TO THE THIKD EDITION XV11 

explain all the facts, which cannot be said of any other 
hypothesis. 

This very brief and very imperfect sketch of the pro- 
gress of opinion on the questions dealt with in the 
following pages leads us, I think, to some valuable and 
reassuring conclusions. We are taught first that human 
nature is not so wholly and utterly the slave of delu- 
sion as has sometimes been alleged, since almost every 
alleged superstition is now shown to have had a basis of 
fact. Secondly, those who believe, as I do, that spiritual 
beings can and do, subject to general laws and for cer- 
tain purposes, communicate with us, and even produce 
material effects in the world around us, must see in the 
steady advance of inquiry and of interest in these ques- 
tions the assurance that, so far as their beliefs are logical 
deductions from the phenomena they have witnessed, those 
beliefs will at no distant date be accepted by all truth- 
seekiog inquirers. 



October 3Qth, 1895. 



CONTENTS 



PAOK 

AN ANSWER TO THE ARGUMENTS OF HUME, LECKY, AND 

OTHERS AGAINST MIRACLES 1 

THE SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

I. INTRODUCTORY 33 

II. MIRACLES AND MODERN SCIENCE .... 37 

III. MODERN MIRACLES VIEWED AS NATURAL PHENO- 

MENA 46 

IV. OD-FORCE, ANIMAL MAGNETISM, AND CLAIRVOYANCE 54 
V. THE EVIDENCE OF THE REALITY OF APPARITIONS . 71 

VI. MODERN SPIRITUALISM : EVIDENCE OF MEN OF 

SCIENCE 82 

VII. EVIDENCE OF LITERARY AND PROFESSIONAL MEN TO 

THE FACTS OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM ... 93 

VIII. THE THEORY OF SPIRITUALISM .... 107 

IX. THE MORAL TEACHINGS OF SPIRITUALISM . .115 

X. NOTES OF PERSONAL EVIDENCE . . . . 126 

A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM .... 145 

ARE THERE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 231 

WHAT ARE PHANTASMS, AND WHY DO THEY APPEAR . 255 

APPENDIX TO "A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM" .. 279 

INDEX 287 



" A presumptuous scepticism that rejects facts without examination 
of their truth, is, in some respects, more injurious than unquestioning 
credulity. " HUMBOLDT. 

14 One good experiment is of more value than the ingenuity of a brain 
like Newton's. Facts are more useful when they contradict, than when 
they support, received theories." Sir HCMPHBY DAVY. 

" The perfect observer in any department of science will have his 
eyes, as it were, opened, that they may be struck at once by any 
occurrence which, according to received theories, ought not to happen, 
for these are the facts which serve as clues to new discoveries." Sir 
JOHN HBRSCHELL. 

" Before experience itself can be used with advantage, there is one 
preliminary step to make which depends wholly on ourselves ; it is the 
absolute dismissal and clearing the mind of all prejudice, and the deter- 
mination to stand or fall by the result of a direct appeal to facts in the 
first instance, and of strict logical deduction from them afterwards." 
Sir JOHN HKBSOHELL. 

" With regard to the miracle question, I can only say that the word 
' impossible ' is not, to my mind, applicable to matters of philosophy. 
That the possibilities of nature are infinite is an aphorism with which 
I am wont to worry my friends." Professor HUXLEY. 



MIRACLES 



AN ANSWER TO THE ARGUMENTS OF HUME, 
LECKY, AND OTHERS, AGAINST MIRACLES 

(A Paper read before the Dialectical Society in 1871.) 

IT is now generally admitted, that those opinions and 
beliefs in which men have been educated generation after 
generation, and which have thus come to form part of 
their mental nature, are especially liable to be erroneous, 
because they keep alive and perpetuate the ideas and 
prejudices of a bygone and less enlightened age. It is 
therefore in the interests of truth that every doctrine or 
belief, however well established or sacred they may appear 
to be, should at certain intervals be challenged to arm 
themselves with such facts and reasonings as they possess, 
to meet their opponents in the open field of controversy, 
and do battle for their right to live. Nor can any exemp- 
tion be claimed in favour of those beliefs which are the 
product of modern civilisation, and which have, for several 
generations, been held unquestioned by the great mass of 
the educated community ; for the prejudice in their favour 
will be proportionately great, and, as was the case with 
the doctrines of Aristotle and the dogmas of the school- 
men, they may live on by mere weight of authority and 

A 



2 ANSWER TO HUME, LECKY, AND OTHERS 

force of habit, long after they have been shown to be 
opposed alike to fact and to reason. There have been 
times when popular beliefs were defended by the terrors 
of the law, and when the sceptic could only attack them 
at the peril of his life. Now, we all admit that truth can 
take care of itself, and that only error needs protection. 
But there is another mode of defence which equally 
implies a claim to certain and absolute truth, and which 
is therefore equally unworthy and unphilosophical that 
of ridicule and misrepresentation of our opponents, or a 
contemptuous refusal to discuss the question at all. This 
method is used among us even now ; for there is one belief, 
or rather disbelief, whose advocates claim more than Papal 
infallibility, by refusing to examine the evidence brought 
against it, and by alleging general arguments which have 
been in use for two centuries to prove that it cannot be 
erroneous. The belief to which I allude is, that all alleged 
miracles are false ; that what is commonly understood by 
the term supernatural does not exist, or if it does, is in- 
capable of proof by any amount of human testimony ; that 
all the phenomena we can have cognisance of depend on 
ascertainable physical laws, and that no other intelligent 
beings than man and the inferior animals can or do act 
upon our material world. These views have been now 
held almost unquestioned for many generations ; they are 
inculcated as an essential part of a liberal education ; they 
are popular, and are held to be one of the indications of 
our intellectual advancement; and they have become so 
much a part of our mental nature that all facts and argu- 
ments brought against them are either ignored as un- 
worthy of serious consideration, or listened to with undis- 
guised contempt. Now this frame of mind is certainly 
not one favourable to the discovery of truth, and strik- 
ingly resembles that by which, in former ages, systems of 



HUME ON MIRACLES 3 

error have been fostered and maintained. The time has, 
therefore, come when it must be called upon to justify 
itself. 

This is the more necessary, because the doctrine, 
whether true or false, actually rests upon a most unsafe 
and rotten foundation ; for I propose to show that the 
best arguments hitherto relied upon to prove it are, one 
and all, fallacious, and prove nothing of the kind. But a 
theory or belief may be supported by very bad arguments, 
and yet be true ; while it may be supported by some good 
arguments, and yet be false. But there never was a true 
theory which had no good arguments to support it. If, 
therefore, all the arguments hitherto used against miracles 
in general can be shown to be bad, it will behove sceptics 
to discover good ones; and if they cannot do so, the 
evidence in favour of miracles must be fairly met and 
judged on its own merits, not ruled out of court as it is 
now. 

It will be perceived, therefore, that my present purpose 
is to clear the ground for the discussion of the great ques- 
tion of the so-called supernatural. I shall not attempt to 
bring arguments either for or against the main proposition, 
but shall confine myself to an examination of the allega- 
tions and the reasonings which have been supposed to 
settle the whole question on general grounds. 

One of the most remarkable works of the great Scotch 
philosopher, David Hume, is An Inquiry concerning Human 
Understanding, and the tenth chapter of this work is On 
Miracles, in which occur the arguments which are so often 
quoted to show that no evidence can prove a miracle. 
Hume himself had a very high opinion of this part of his 
work, for he says at the beginning of the chapter, "I 
flatter myself that I have discovered an argument which, 



4 ANSWER TO HUME, LECKY, AND OTHERS 

if just, will with the wise and learned be an everlasting 
check to all kinds of superstitious delusion, and conse- 
quently will be useful as long as the world endures ; 
for so long, I presume, will the accounts of miracles 
and prodigies be found in all history, sacred and pro- 
fane." 

DEFINITION OF THE TERM "MIRACLE." 

After a few general observations on the nature of evi- 
dence and the value of human testimony in different cases, 
he proceeds to define what he means by a miracle. And 
here at the very beginning of the subject we find that we 
have to take objection to Hume's definition of a miracle, 
which exhibits unfounded assumptions and false premises. 
He gives two definitions in different parts of his essay. 
The first is, "A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature." 
The second is, " A miracle is a transgression of a law of 
nature by a particular volition pf the Deity, or by the 
interposition of some invisible agent." Now both these 
definitions are bad or imperfect.; CThe first assumes that 
we know all the laws of nature"] that the particular effect 
could not be produced by some unknown law of nature 
overcoming the law we do know ; it assumes also, that if 
an invisible intelligent being held an apple suspended in 
the air, that act would violate the law of gravity. The 
second is not precise ; it should be " some invisible intelli- 
gent agent," otherwise the action of galvanism or elec- 
tricity, when these agents were first discovered, and before 
they were ascertained to form part of the order of nature, 
would answer accurately to this definition of a miracle 
The words " violation " and " transgression " are both im- 
properly used, and really beg the question by the defini- 
tion. How does Hume know that any particular miracle, 
is a violation of a law of nature ? He assumes this with- 



DEFINITION OF " MIRACLE 5 

out a shadow of proof, and on these words, as we shall 
see, rests his whole argument. 

Before proceeding further, it is necessary for us to con- 
sider what is the true definition of a miracle, or what 
is commonly meant by that word. A miracle, as distin- 
guished from a new and unheard-of natural phenomenon, 
supposes an intelligent superhuman agent, either visible 
or invisible. It is not necessary that what is done should 
be beyond the power of man to do. The simplest action, 
if performed independently of human or visible agency, 
such as a teacup lifted in the air at request as by an in- 
visible hand and without assignable cause, would be uni- 
versally admitted to be a miracle, as much so as the lifting 
of a house into the air, the instantaneous healing of a 
wound, or the instantaneous production of an elaborate 
drawing. It_ is true that miracles have been generally 
held to be, either directly or indirectly, due to the action 
of the Deity ; and some persons will not, perhaps, admit 
that any event not socaused deserves the name of miracle. 
But this is to advance an unprovable hypotheses, not to 
give a definition. It is not possible to prove that any 
supposed miraculousTevent is either the direct act of God 
or indirectly produced by Him to prove the divine mission 
of some individual, but it may be possible to prove that it 
is produced by the action of some invisible preterhuman 
intelligent being. The definition of a miracle I would 
propose is therefore as follows : " Any act or event neces- 
sarily implying the existence and agency of superhuman 
intelligences," considering the human soul or spirit, if 
manifested out of the body, as one of these superhuman 
intelligences. This definition is more complete than that 
of Hume, and defines more accurately the essence of that 
which is commonly termed a miracle. 



ANSWER TO HUME, LECKY, AND OTHERS 



THE EVIDENCE OF THE REALITY OF MIRACLES. 

We now have to consider Hume's arguments. The first 
is as follows : 

""A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; and as a firm and 
unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a 
miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argu- 
ment from experience can possibly be imagined. Why is it more 
than probable that all men must die ; that lead cannot of itself remain 
suspended in the air; that fire consumes wood, and is extinguished by 
water ; unless it be, that these events are found agreeable to the 
laws of nature, and there is required a violation of these laws, or, in 
other words, a miracle, to prevent them? Nothing is esteemed a 
miracle, if it ever happened in the common course of nature. It is 
no miracle that a man seemingly in good health should die on a 
sudden ; because such a kind of death, though more unusual than 
any other, has yet been frequently observed to happen. But it is a 
miracle that a dead man should come to life ; because that has never 
been observed in any age or country. \JThere must, therefore, be an 
uniform experience against every miraculous event, otherwise the 
event would not merit that appellation. And as an uniform expe- 
rience amounts to a proof, there is here a direct and full proof, 
from the nature of the fact, against the existence of any miracle ; nor 
can such a proof be destroyed, or the miracle rendered credible, but 
by an opposite proof which is superior." 

This argument is radically fallacious, because if it were 
sound, no perfectly new fact could ever be proved, since 
the first and each succeeding witness would be assumed to 
have universal experience against him. Such a simple fact 
as the existence of flying fish could never be proved, if 
Hume's argument is a good one ; for the first man who saw 
and described one would have the universal experience 
against him that fish do not fly, or make any approach to 
flying ; and his evidence being rejected, the same argument 
would apply to the second, and to every subsequent wit- 



NO UNIFORM EXPERIENCE AGAINST MIRACLES 7 

ness ; and thus no man at the present day who has not 
seen a flying fish alive, and actually flying, ought to believe 
that such things exist. 

Again, painless operations in a state produced by mere 
passes of the hand, were, in the first half of the present 
century, maintained to be contrary to the laws of nature, 
contrary to all human experience, and therefore incredible. 
On Hume's principles they were miracles, and no amount 
of testimony could ever prove them to be real. Yet these 
are now admitted to be genuine facts by most physiologists, 
who even attempt, not very successfully, to explain them. 
But miracles do not, as assumed, stand alone single facts 
opposed to uniform experience. Eeputed miracles abound 
in all periods of history ; every one has a host of others 
leading up to it ; and every one has strictly analogous 
facts testified to at the present day. The uniform op- 
posing experience, therefore, on which Hume lays so 
much stress, does not exist. What, for instance, can 
be a more striking miracle than the levitatiou or raising 
of the human body into the air without visible cause, 
yet this fact has been testified to during a long series of 
centuries. 

A few well-known examples are those of St. Francis 
d'Assisi, who was often seen by many persons to rise in 
the air, and the fact is testified by his secretary, who could 
only reach his feet. St. Theresa, a nun in a convent in 
Spain, was often raised into the air in the sight of all the 
sisterhood. Lord Orrery and Mr. Valentine Greatrak both' 
informed Dr. Henry More and Mr. Glanvil that at Lord 
Conway's house at Ilagley, in Ireland, a gentleman's butler, 
in their presence and in broad daylight, rose into the air 
and floated about the room above their heads. This is 
related by Glanvil in his Sadducismus Triumph atus. A. 
similar fact is related by eye-witnesses of Ignatius de 



8 ANSWER TO HUME, LEdtY, AND OTHERS 

Loyola ; and Mr. Madden, in his life of Savonarola, after 
narrating a similar circumstance of that saint, remarks, 
that similar phenomena are related in numerous instances, 
and that the evidence upon which some of the narratives 
rest is as reliable as any human testimony can be. Butler, 
in his Lives of the Saints, says that many such facts are 
related by persons of undoubted veracity,- who testify that 
they themselves were eye-witnesses of them. So we all 
know that at least fifty persons of high character may be 
found in London who will testify that they have seen the 
same thing happen to Mr. Home. I do not here adduce 
this testimony as proving that the circumstances related 
really took place ; I merely bring it forward now to show 
how utterly unfounded is Hume's argument, which rests 
upon the assumption of universal testimony on the one 
side, and no testimony on the other. 

THE CONTRADICTORY NATURE OF HUME'S STATEMENTS. 

I now have to show that in Hume's efforts to prove his 
point, he contradicts himself in a manner so gross and 
complete, as is, perhaps, not to be found in the works of 
any other eminent author. The first passage I will quote 
is as follows : 

" For, first, there is not to be found, in all history, any miracle 
attested by a sufficient number of men, of such unquestioned good 
sense, education, and learning, as to secure us against all delusion in 
themselves ; of such undoubted integrity, as to place them beyond 
all suspicion of any design to deceive others ; of such credit and 
reputation in the eyes of mankind, as to have a great deal to lose in 
case of their being detected in any falsehood ; and at the same time 
attesting facts performed in such a public manner, and in so celebrated 
a part of the world, as to render the detection unavoidable ; all which 
circumstances are requisite to give us a full assurance in the testi- 
mony of men." 



HUME'S CONTRADICTIONS 9 

A few pages farther on we find this passage : 

" There surely never was a greater number of miracles ascribed to 
one person than those which were lately said to have been wrought 
in France upon the tomb of Abbe Paris, the famous Jansenist, with 
whose sanctity the people were so long deluded. The curing of the 
sick, giving hearing to the deaf, and sight to the blind, were every- 
where talked of as the usual effects of that holy sepulchre. But 
what is more extraordinary, many of the miracles were immediately 
proved upon the spot, before judges of unquestioned integrity, attested 
by ivitnesses of credit and distinction, in a learned age, and on the most 
eminent theatre that is now in the world. Nor is this all. A relation 
of them was published and dispersed everywhere ; nor were the 
Jesuits, though a learned body, supported by the civil magistrate, 
and determined enemies to those opinions in whose favour the 
miracles were said to have been wrought, ever able distinctly to refute 
or detect them. Where shall we find such a number of circumstances 
agreeing to the corroboration of one fact ? And what have we to 
oppose to such a cloud of witnesses, but the absolute impossibility, or 
miraculous nature of the events which they relate ? And this, surely, 
in the eyes of all reasonable people, will alone be regarded as a 
sufficient refutation." 

In the second passage he affirms the existence of every 
single fact and quality which in the first passage he de- 
clared never existed (as shown by the italicised passages), 
and he entirely changes his ground of argument by appeal- 
ing to the inherent impossibility of the fact, and not at all 
to the insufficiency of the evidence. He even makes this 
contradiction still more remarkable by a note which he 
has himself given to this passage, a portion of which is as 
follows : 

" This book was writ by Mons. Montgeron, councillor or judge of 
the Parliament of Paris, a man of figure and character, who was 
also a martyr to the cause, and is now said to be somewhere in a 
dungeon on account of his book. . . . 

" Many of the miracles of Abbe Paris were proved immediately 
by witnesses before the officiality or bishop's court at Paris, under 



10 ANSWER TO HUME, LECKY, AND OTHERS 

the eye of Cardinal Noailles, whose character for integrity and 
capacity was never contested, even by his enemies. 

" His successor in the archbishopric was an enemy to the Jan- 
senists, and for that reason promoted to the see by the court. Yet, 
twenty-two rectors or cures of Paris, with infinite earnestness, 
press him to examine those miracles, which they assert to be known 
to the whole world, and indisputably certain ; but he wisely fore- 
bore. . . . 

" All who have been in France aboxit that time have heard of the 
reputation of Mons. Herault, the lieiitenant of police, whose vigi- 
lance, penetration, activity, and extensive intelligence have been 
much talked of. The magistrate, who, by the nature of his office, 
is almost absolute, was invested with full powers on purpose to sup- 
press or discredit these miracles ; and he frequently seized immedi- 
ately, and examined the witnesses and subjects to them ; but never 
could reach anything satisfactory against them. 

"In the case of Mademoiselle Thibaut he sent the famous De 
Sylva to examine her, whose evidence is very curious. The physician 
declares that it was impossible that she could have been so ill as 
was proved by witnesses, because it was impossible she could in so 
short a time have recovered so perfectly as he found her. He 
reasoned like a man of sense, from natural causes ; but the opposite 
party told him that the whole was a miracle, and that his evidence 
was the very best proof of it. ... 

" No less a man than the Due de Chatillon, a duke and peer of 
France, of the highest rank and family, gives evidence of a miracu- 
lous cure performed upon a servant of his, who had lived several 
years in his house with a visible and palpable infirmity. 

" I shall conclude with observing, that no clergy are more cele- 
brated for strictness of life and manners than the regular clergy of 
France, particularly the rectors or cures of Paris, who bear testi- 
mony to these impostures. 

" The learning, genius, and probity of the gentlemen, and the 
austerity of the nuns of Port-Royal, have been much celebrated all 
over Europe. Yet they all give evidence for a miracle wrought on 
the niece of the famous Pascal, whose sanctity of life, as well as 
extraordinary capacity, is well known. The famous Racine gives an 
account of this miracle in his famous history of Port- Royal, and 
fortifies it with all the proofs which a multitude of nuns, priests, 
physicians, and men of the world, all of them of undoubted credit, 



MIRACULOUS CURE 11 

could bestow Upon it. Several men of letters, particularly the 
Bishop of Tournay, thought this miracle so certain, as to employ it 
in the refutation of Atheists and Freethinkers. The Queen-regent 
of France, who was extremely prejudiced against the Port-Royal, sent 
her own physician to examine the miracle, who returned an absolute 
convert. In short, the supernatural cure was so incontestable, that 
it saved for a time that famous monastery from the ruin with which 
it was threatened by the Jesuits. Sad it been a cheat, it had cer- 
tainly been detected by such sagacious and powerful antagonists, and must 
have hastened the ruin of the contrivers." 

It seems almost incredible that this can have been 
written by the great sceptic David Hume, and written in 
the same work in which he has already affirmed that in 
all history no such evidence is to be found. In order to 
show how very remarkable is the evidence to which he 
alludes, I think it well to give one of the cases in greater 
detail, as recorded in the original work of Montgeron, 
and quoted in William Howitt's History of the Super- 
natural : 

" Mademoiselle Coirin was afflicted, amongst other ailments, with 
a cancer in the left breast, for twelve years. The breast was de- 
stroyed by it and came away in a mass ; the effluvia from the cancer 
was horrible, and the whole blood of the system was pronounced 
infected by it. Every physician pronounced the case utterly in- 
curable, yet, by a visit to the tomb, she was perfectly cured ; and, 
what was more astonishing, the breast and nipple were wholly re- 
stored, "with the skin pure and fresh, and free from any trace of scar. 
This case was known to the highest people in the realm. When the 
miracle was denied, Mademoiselle Coirin went to Paris, was examined 
by the royal physician, and made a formal deposition of her cure 
before a public notary. Mademoiselle Coirin was daughter of an 
officer of the royal household, and had two brothers in attendance 
on the person of the king. The testimonies of the doctors are of 
the most decisive kind. M. Gaulard, physician to the king, deposed 
officially, that, ' to restore a nipple actually destroyed, and separated 
from the breast, was an actual creation, because a nipple is not 
merely a continuity of the vessels of the breast, but a particular 



12 ANSWER TO HUME, LECKY, AND OTHERS 

body, which is of a distinct and peculiar organisation.' M. Souchay, 
surgeon to the Prince of Conti, not only pronounced the cancer in- 
curable, but, having examined the breast after the cure, went of himself 
to the public notary, and made a formal deposition ' that the cure 
was perfect ; that each breast had its nipple in its natural form and 
condition, with the colours and attributes proper to those parts.' 
Such also are the testimonies of Seguier, the surgeon of the hospital 
at Nanterre ; of M. Deshieres, surgeon to the Duchess of Berry ; of 
M. Hequet, one of the most celebrated surgeons in France ; and 
numbers of others, as well as of public officers and parties of the 
greatest reputation, universally known ; all of whose depositions are 
officially and fully given by Montgeron." 

This is only one out of a great number of cases equally 
marvellous, and equally well attested, and we therefore 
cannot be surprised at Hume's being obliged to give up 
the argument of the insufficiency of the evidence for 
miracles and of the uniform experience against them, the 
wonder being that he ever put forth an argument which 
he was himself able to refute so completely. 

We have now another argument which Hume brings 
forward, but which is, if possible, still weaker than the 
last. He says : 

" I may add, as a fourth reason, which diminishes the authority of 
prodigies, that there is no testimony for any, even those which have 
not been expressly detected, that is not opposed by an infinite num- 
ber of witnesses ; so that not only the miracle destroys the credit of 
testimony, but the testimony destroys itself. To make this the better 
understood, let us consider that, in matters of religion, whatever is 
different is contrary ; and that it is impossible the religions of ancient 
Rome, of Turkey, and Siam, and of China, should, all of them, be 
established on any solid foundation. Every miracle, therefore, pre- 
tended to have been wrought in any of these religions (and all of 
them abound in miracles), as its direct scope is to establish the par- 
ticular system to which it is attributed ; so has it the same force, 
though more indirectly, to overthrow every other system. In de- 
stroying a rival system, it likewise destroys the credit of those miracles 
on which that system was established ; so that all the prodigies of 



FALLACIES OF HUME 13 

different religions are to be regarded as contrary facts ; and the evi- 
dences of these prodigies, whether weak or strong, as opposite to 
each other. According to this method of reasoning, when we believe 
any miracle of Mahomet or his successors, we have for our warrant 
the testimony of a few barbarous Arabians. And, on the other hand, 
we are to regard the authority of Titus Livius, Plutarch, Tacitus, 
and, in short, of all the authors and witnesses, Grecian, Chinese, 
and Roman Catholic, who have related any miracle in their par- 
ticular religion ; I say, we are to regard their testimony in the same 
light as if they had mentioned that Mahometan miracle, and had in 
express terms contradicted it, with the same certainty as they have 
for the miracle they relate." 

Now this argument, if argument it can be called, rests 
upon the extraordinary assumption that a miracle, if real, 
can only come from God, and must therefore support only 
a true religion. It assumes also that religions cannot be 
true unless given by God. Mr. Hume assumes, therefore, 
to know that nothing which we term a miracle can possibly 
be performed by any of the probably infinite number of 
intelligent beings who may exist in the universe between 
ourselves and the Deity. He confounds the evidence for 
the fact with the theories to account for the fact, and 
most illogically and unphilosophically argues, that if the 
theories lead to contradictions, the facts themselves do 
not exist. 

I think, therefore, that I have now shown that 1. 
Hume gives a false definition of miracles, which begs the 
question of their possibility. 2. He states the fallacy that 
miracles are isolated facts, to which the entire course of 
human testimony is opposed. 3. He deliberately and 
absolutely contradicts himself as to the amount and 
quality of the testimony in favour of miracles. 4. He 
propounds the palpable fallacy as to miracles connected 
with opposing religions destroying each other. 



14 ANSWER TO HUME, LECKY, AND OTHERS 

MODERN OBJECTIONS TO MIRACLES. 

We will now proceed to some of the more modern argu- 
ments against miracles. One of the most popular modern 
objections consists of making what is supposed to be an 
impossible supposition, and drawing an inference from 
it which looks like a dilemma, but which is really none 
at all. 

This argument has been put in several forms. One is, 
" If a man tells me he came from York by the telegraph- 
wire, I do not believe him. If fifty men tell me they came 
from York by telegraph wires, I do not believe them. If 
any number of men tell me the same, I do not believe 
them. Therefore, Mr. Home did not float in the air, not- 
withstanding any amount of testimony you may bring to 
prove it." 

Another is, " If a man tells me that he saw the statue 
of Nelson descend from his column into Trafalgar 
Square and drink water from the fountains, I should 
not believe him. If fifty men, or any number of men, 
informed me of the same thing, I should still not believe 
them." 

Hence it is inferred that there are certain things so 
absurd and so incredible, that no amount of testimony 
could possibly make a sane man believe them. 

These illustrations look like arguments, and at first 
sight it is not easy to see the proper way to answer them ; 
but the fact is that they are utter fallacies, because their 
whole force depends upon an assumed proposition which 
has never been proved, and which I venture to assert never 
can be proved. The proposition is, that a large number 
of independent, honest, sane, and sensible witnesses, can 
separately and repeatedly testify to a plain matter of fact 
which never happened at all. 



FALLACIOUS ARGUMENT 15 

Now, no evidence has been adduced to show that this 
ever has occurred or ever could occur. But the assump- 
tion is rendered still more monstrous when we consider the 
circumstances attending such cases as those of the cures 
at the tomb of the Abbe Paris, and the cases of living 
scientific men being converted to a belief in the reality of 
the phenomena of modern Spiritualism ; for we must as- 
sume that, being fully warned that the alleged facts are 
held to be impossible and are therefore delusions, and 
having the source of the supposed delusion pointed out, and 
all the prejudices of the age and the whole tone of educated 
thought being against the reality of such facts, yet num- 
bers of educated men, including physicians and men of 
science, remain convinced of the reality of such facts after 
the most searching personal investigation. Yet the assump- 
tion that such an amount and quality of independent 
converging evidence can be all false, must be proved, if 
the argument is to have the slightest value, otherwise it is 
merely begging the question. It must be remembered that 
we have to consider, not absurd beliefs or false inferences, 
but plain matters of fact ; and it never has been proved, and 
cannot be proved, that any large amount of cumulative evi- 
dence of disinterested and sensible men was ever obtained 
for an absolute and entire delusion. To put the matter in 
a simple form, the asserted fact is either possible, or not 
possible. If possible, such evidence as we have been con- 
sidering would prove it; if not possible, such evidence could 
not exist. The argument is, therefore, an absolute fallacy, 
since its fundamental assumption cannot be proved. If it is 
intended merely to enunciate the proposition that the more 
strange and unusual a thing is the more and better evidence 
we require for it, that we all admit ; but I maintain that 
human testimony increases in value in such an enormous 
ratio with each additional independent and honest witness, 



16 ANSWER TO HUME, LECKY, AND OTHERS 

that no fact ought to be rejected when attested by such a 
body of evidence as exists for many of the events termed 
miraculous or supernatural, and which occur now daily 
among us. The burden of proof lies on those who main- 
tain that such evidence can possibly be fallacious ; let them 
point out one case in which such cumulative evidence 
existed, and which yet proved to be false. Let them give 
not supposition, but proof. And it must be remembered 
that no proof is complete which does not explain the exact 
source of the fallacy in all its details. It will not do, for 
instance, to say, that there was this cumulative evidence 
for witchcraft, and that witchcraft is absurd and impossible. 
That is begging the question. The diabolic theories of the 
witch mania may be absurd and false ; but the facts of 
witchcraft as proved, not by the tortured witches, but by 
independent witnesses, so far from being disproved, are 
supported by a whole body of analogous facts occurring 
at the present day. 

THE UNCERTAINTY OF THE ASSERTED PHENOMENA OF 
MODERN SPIRITUALISM. 

Another modern argument is used more especially 
against the reality of the so-called Spiritual phenomena. 
It is said, " These phenomena are so uncertain ; you have 
no control over them ; they follow no law. Prove to us 
that they follow definite laws like all other groups of 
natural phenomena, and we will believe them." This argu- 
ment appears to have weight with some persons, and yet 
it is really an absurdity. The essence of the alleged phe- 
nomena (whether they be true or not is of no importance) 
is, that they seem to be the result of the action of inde- 
pendent intelligences, and are therefore deemed to be 
Spiritual or superhuman. If they had been found to fol- 



MISTAKES OP SCIENTIFIC MEN 17 

low strict law and not independent will, no one would 
have ever supposed them to be spiritual. The argument, 
therefore, is merely the statement of a foregone conclusion, 
namely, "As long as your facts go to prove the existence 
of distinct intelligences, we will not believe them ; demon- 
strate that they follow fixed law, and not intelligence, and 
then we will believe them." This argument appears to 
me to be childish, and yet it is used by some persons who 
claim to be philosophical. 

THE NECESSITY OF SCIENTIFIC TESTIMONY. 

Another objection which I have heard stated in public, 
and received with applause, is, that it requires immense 
scientific knowledge to decide on the reality of any un- 
common or incredible facts, and that till scientific men 
investigate and prove them they are not worthy of credit. 
Now I venture to say that a greater fallacy than this was 
never put forth. The subject is very important, and the 
error is very common, but the fact is the exact opposite of 
what is stated ; for I assert, without fear of contradiction, 
that whenever the scientific men of any age have denied 
the facts of investigators on CL priori grounds, they have 
always been wrong. 

It is not necessary to do more than refer to the world- 
known names of Copernicus, Galileo, and Harvey. The 
great discoveries they made were, as we know, violently op- 
posed by all their scientific contemporaries, to whom they 
appeared absurd and incredible ; but we have equally strik- 
ing examples much nearer to our own day. When Ben- 
jamin Franklin brought the subject of lightning-conductors 
before the Royal Society, he was laughed at as a dreamer, 
and his paper was not admitted to the Philosophical Trans- 
actions. When Young put forth his wonderful proofs of 
the undulatory theory of light, he was equally hooted at 

B 



18 ANSWER TO HUME, LECKY, AND OTHERS 

as absurd by the popular scientific writers of the day. 1 
The Edinburgh Review called upon the public to put 
Thomas Gray into a strait jacket for maintaining the prac- 
ticability of railroads. Sir Humphrey Davy laughed at 
the idea of London ever being lighted with gas. When 
Stephenson proposed to use locomotives on the Liverpool 
and Manchester Railway, learned men gave evidence that 
it was impossible that they could go even twelve miles an 
hour. Another great scientific authority declared it to 
be equally impossible for ocean steamers ever to cross the 
Atlantic. The French Academy of Sciences ridiculed the 
great astronomer Arago when he wanted even to discuss 
the subject of the electric telegraph. Medical men ridi- 
culed the stethoscope when it was first discovered. Pain- 
less operations during the mesmeric coma were pronounced 
impossible, and therefore impostures. 

But one of the most striking, because one of the most 
recent cases of this opposition to, or rather disbelief in, facts 
opposed to the current belief of the day, among men who 
are generally charged with going too far in the other direc- 
tion, is that of the doctrine of the " Antiquity of Man." 
Boue, an experienced French geologist, in 1823 discovered 
a human skeleton eighty feet deep in the loess or hardened 
mud of the Rhine. It was sent to the great anatomist 
Cuvier, who so utterly discredited the fact that he threw 

1 The following are choice specimens from Edinburgh Review articles in 
1803 and 1804 : 

"Another Bakerian lecture, containing more fancies, more blunders, 
more unfounded hypotheses, more gratuitous fictions, all upon the same 
field, and from the fertile yet fruitless brain of the same eternal Dr. 
Young." 

And again 

" It teaches no truths, reconciles no contradictions, arranges no ano- 
malous facts, suggests no new experiments, and leads to no new inquiries. " 

One might almost suppose it to be a modern scientific writer hurling 
scorn at Spiritualism ! 



SCIENTIFIC MISTAKES 19 

aside this invaluable fossil as worthless, and it was lost. 
Sir 0. Lyell, from personal investigation on the spot, now 
believes that the statements of the original observer were 
quite accurate. So early as 1715 flint weapons were found 
with the skeleton of an elephant in an excavation in Gray's 
Inn Lane, in the presence of Mr. Conyers, who placed them 
in the British Museum, where they remained utterly un- 
noticed till quite recently. In 1800 Mr. Frere found 
flint weapons along with the remains of extinct animals 
at Hoxne, in Suffolk. From 1841 to 1846, the celebrated 
French geologist, Bouches de Perthes, discovered great 
quantities of flint weapons in the drift gravels of the 
North of France ; but for many years he could convince 
none of his fellow scientific men that they were works of 
art, or worthy of the slightest attention. At length, how- 
ever, in 1853, he began to make converts. In 1859-60, 
some of our own most eminent geologists visited the spot, 
and fully confirmed the truth of his observations and 
deductions. 

Another branch of the subject was, if possible, still worse 
treated. In 1825, Mr. McEnery, of Torquay, discovered 
worked flints along with the remains of extinct animals in 
the celebrated King's Hole Cavern ; but his account of his 
discoveries was simply laughed at. In 1840, one of our 
first geologists, the late Mr. Godwin Austen, brought this 
matter before the Geological Society, and Mr. Vivian, of 
Torquay, sent in a paper fully confirming Mr. McEnery's 
discoveries ; but it was thought too improbable to be pub- 
lished. Fourteen years later, the Torquay Natural History 
Society made further observations, entirely confirming the 
previous ones, and sent an account of them to the Geolo- 
gical Society of London ; but the paper was rejected as too 
improbable for publication. Now, however, the cave has 
been systematically explored under the superintendence 



20 ANSWER TO HUME, LECKY, AND OTHERS 

of a Committee of the British Association, and all the pre- 
vious reports for forty years have been confirmed, and have 
been shown to be even less wonderful than the reality. It 
may be said that " this was proper scientific caution." 
Perhaps it was ; but at all events, it proves this important 
fact that in this, as in every other case, the humble and 
often unknown observers have been right ; the men of 
science who rejected their observations have been wrong. 
Now, are the modern observers of some phenomena, 
usually termed supernatural and incredible, less worthy of 
attention than those already quoted ? Let us take, first, 
the reality of what is called clairvoyance. The men who 
have observed this phenomenon, who have carefully tested 
it through long years or through their whole lives, will 
rank in scientific knowledge and in intellectual ability as 
quite equal to the observers in any other branch of dis- 
covery. We have no less than seven competent medical 
men Drs. Elliotson, Gregory, Ashburner, Lee, Herbert 
Mayo, Esdaile, and Haddock, besides persons of such high 
ability as Miss Martineau, Mr. H. G. Atkinson, Mr. Charles 
Bray, and Baron Reichenbach. With the history of pre- 
vious discoverers before us, is it more likely that these 
eleven educated persons, knowing all the arguments 
against the facts, and investigating them carefully, should 
be all wrong, and those who say h priori that the thing is 
impossible should be all right, or the contrary ? If we are 
to learn anything by history and experience, then we may 
safely prognosticate that in this case, as in so many others, 
those who disbelieve other men's observations without 
inquiry will be found to be in the wrong. 

REVIEW OF MR. LECKY'S ASSERTIONS ABOUT MIRACLES. 

We now come to the modern philosophic objectors, most 
eminent among whom is Mr. Lecky, author of the History 



MR. LECKY ON MIRACLES 21 

of Rationalism and the History of Morals. In the latter 
work he has devoted some space to this question, and his 
clear and well-expressed views may be taken to represent 
the general opinions and feelings of the educated portion 
of modern society. He says : 

" The attitude of ordinary educated people towards miracles is 
not that of doubt, of hesitation, of discontent with the existing 
evidence, but rather of absolute, derisive, and even unexamining 
incredulity." 

He then goes on to explain why this is so : 

" In certain stages of society, and under the action of certain in- 
fluences, an accretion of miracles is invariably formed around every 
prominent person or institution. We can analyse the general causes 
that have impelled men towards the miraculous ; we can show that these 
causes have never failed to produce the effect ; and we can trace the 
gradual alteration of mental conditions invariably accompanying the 
decline of the belief. 

"When men are destitute of the critical spirit, when the notion 
of uniform law is yet unborn, and when their imaginations are still 
incapable of rising to abstract ideas, histories of miracles are always 
formed and always believed ; and they continue to flourish and to 
multiply until these conditions are altered. Miracles cease when 
men cease to believe and expect them. . . ." 

Again : 

"We do not say they are impossible, or even that they are not 
authenticated by as much evidence as many facts we believe. We 
only say that, in certain states of society, illusions of this kind in- 
evitably appear. . . ." 

" Sometimes we can discover the precise natural fact which the 
superstition has misread, but more frequently we can give only a 
general explanation, enabling us to assign these legends to their 
place, as the normal expression of a certain stage of knowledge or 
intellectual power ; and this explanation is their refutation." 

Now, in these statements and arguments of Mr. Lecky 
we find some fallacies hardly less striking than those of 
Hume. His assertion that in certain stages of society an 



22 ANSWER TO HUME, LECKY, AND OTHERS 

accretion of miracles is invariably formed round every 
prominent person or institution, appears to me to be 
absolutely contradicted by well-known historical facts. 

The Church of Rome has ever been the great theatre of 
miracles, whether ancient or modern. The most prominent 
person in the Church of Rome is the Pope ; the most 
prominent institution is the Papacy. We should expect, 
therefore, if Mr. Lecky's statement be correct, that the 
Popes would be pre-eminently miracle-workers. But the 
fact is, that, with the exception of one or two very early 
ones, no miracles whatever are recorded of the great 
majority of the Popes. On the contrary, it has been 
generally among the very humblest members of the 
Romish Church, whether clergy or laity, that the power 
of working miracles has appeared, and which has led to 
their being canonised as saints. 

Again, to take another instance, the most prominent 
person connected with the Reformed Churches is Luther. 
He himself believed in miracles ; the whole world in his 
day believed in miracles ; and miracles, though generally 
of a demoniac character, continued rife in all Protestant 
churches for many generations after his death ; yet there 
has been no accretion of miracles round this remarkable 
man. 

Nearer to our own day we have Irving, at the head of a 
church of miracle-workers ; and Joe Smith, the founder of 
the miracle-working Mormons ; yet there is not the slightest 
sign of any tendency to impute any miracles to either of 
these men, other than those which the latter individual 
claimed for himself before his sect was established. These 
very striking facts seem to me to prove that there must be 
some basis of truth in nearly every alleged miracle, and 
that the theory of any growth or accretion round pro- 
minent individuals is utterly without evidence to support 



MR. LBCKY'S FALLACIES 23 

it. It is one of those convenient general statements which 
sound very plausible and very philosophical, but for which 
no proof whatever is offered. 1 

Another of Mr. Lecky's statements is, that there is an 
alteration of mental conditions invariably accompanying 
the decline of belief. But this "invariable accompaniment " 
certainly cannot be proved, because the decline of the 
belief has only occurred once in the history of the world ; 
and, what is still more remarkable, while the mental con- 
ditions which accompanied that one decline have continued 
in force or have even increased in energy and are much 
more widely diffused, belief has now, for more than forty 
years, been growing up again. In the highest states of 
ancient civilisation, both among the Greeks and Romans, 
the belief existed in full force, and has been testified to 
by the highest and. most intellectual men of every age. 
The decline which in the last and present centuries has 
certainly taken place cannot, therefore, be imputed to any 
general law, since it is but an exceptional instance. 2 

1 Quite recently in a paper on "The Voices of Jeanne d'Arc," read 
before the Society for Psychical Research, after a careful examination of 
the whole literature of the subject, Mr. Andrew Lang says, " In the whole 
story I am struck by the comparative lack of miraculous undergrowth of 
legend." And after giving some illustrations of this fact he concludes : 
"Thus it seems that 'contagious enthusiasm in a credulous age,' even in 
the presence of one who was herself a miracle, does not always generate a 
rich undergrowth of legend." (Proceedings of the Society for Psychical 
Research, vol. xi. p. 211, July 1895.) 

2 The decline of the belief may, however, be due (as a friend has sug- 
gested to me) to a real decline in the occurrence of the phenomena which 
compelled the belief, due to a well-known natural law. It is certain that 
witches, and the persons subject to their influence, were what are now 
termed " mediums ; " that is, persons of the peculiar organisation required 
for the manifestation of modern spiritual phenomena. For several centuries 
all persons endowed in almost any degree with these peculiar powers were 
persecuted as witches, and burnt or destroyed by thousands all over the 
so-called civilised world. The mediums being destroyed, the production 



24 ANSWER TO HUME, LECKY, AND OTHERS 

Again, Mr. Lecky says that the belief in the super- 
natural only exists " when men are destitute of the critical 
spirit, and when the notion of uniform law is yet unborn." 
Mr. Lecky in this matter contradicts himself almost as 
much as Hume did. One of the greatest advocates for 
the reality of the so-called supernatural was Glanvil ; and 
this is what Mr. Lecky says of Glanvil : 

" The predominating characteristic of Glanvil's mind was an in- 
tense scepticism. He has even been termed by a modern critic the 
first English writer who has thrown scepticism into a definite form ; 
and if we regard this expression as simply implying a profound 
distrust of human faculties, the judgment can hardly be denied. 
And certainly it would be difficult to find a work displaying less 
of credulity and superstition than the treatise on ' The Vanity of 
Dogmatising,' afterwards published as Scepsis Scientifica, in which 
Glanvil expounded his philosophical views. . . . The Sadducismus 
Triumphatus is probably the ablest book ever published in defence 
of the reality of witchcraft. Dr. Henry Moore, the illustrious 
Boyle, and the scarcely less eminent Cudworth, warmly supported 
Glanvil ; and no writer comparable to these in ability or influence 
appeared on the other side ; yet the scepticism steadily increased." 

Again Mr. Lecky thus speaks of Glanvil : 

" It was between the writings of Bacon and Locke that that lati- 
tudinarian school was formed which was irradiated by the genius of 
Taylor, Glanvil, and Hales, and which became the very centre and 
seed-plot of religious liberty." 

of the phenomena became impossible ; added to which the persecution 
would lead to concealment of all incipient manifestations. Just at this 
time, too, physical science began to make those rapid strides which have 
changed the face of the world, and induced a frame of mind which led men 
to look with horror and loathing at the barbarities and absurdities of the 
witch -persecutors. A century of repose has allowed the human organism 
to regain its normal powers ; and the phenomena which were formerly im- 
puted to the direct agency of Satan are now looked upon by Spiritualists 
as, for the most part, the work of invisible intelligences very little better 
or worse than ourselves. 



GLANVIL ON WITCHCRAFT 25 

These are the men and these the mental conditions which 
are favourable to superstition and delusion! 1 

1 The Rev. Joseph Glanvil, who witnessed some of the extraordinary 
disturbances at Mr. Mompesson's, and has given a full account of them, 
and has also collected the evidence for many remarkable cases of supposed 
witchcraft, was not the credulous fool many who hear that he wrote in 
favour of the reality of witches will suppose him to have been, but a man 
of education, talent, and judgment. Mr. Lecky, in his " History of the 
Rise and Progress of Rationalism in Europe," says of him : " A divine 
who in his own day was very famous, and who I venture to think has been 
surpassed in genius by few of his successors. The works of Glanvil are 
far less known than they should be." I here give a few extracts from his 
" Introduction to the Proof of the Existence of Apparitions, Spirits, and 
Witches." 

"Section IV. What things the author concedes in this controversy 
about witches and witchcraft : " 

First : He grants that there are " witty and ingenious men " opposed to 

him in the matter. 

Secondly : He admits that some who deny witches are good Christians. 
Thirdly : He says, " I allow that the great body of mankind is very credu- 
lous, and in this[matter, so that they do believe vain impossible things 
in relation to it. That converse with the Devil and real transmutation 
of men and women into other creatures are such. That people are apt 
to impute the extraordinaries of art or nature to witchcraft, and that 
their credulity is often abused by subtle and designing knaves through 
these. That there are ten thousand silly, lying stories of witchcraft 
and apparitions among the vulgar." 

Fourthly : " I grant that melancholy and imagination have very great 
force and beget strange persuasions ; and that many stories of witches 
and apparitions have been but melancholy fancies." 
Fifthly : " I know and yield that there are many strange natural dis- 
eases that have odd symptoms, and produce wonderful and astonishing 
effects beyond the usual course of nature, and that such are sometimes 
falsely ascribed to witchcraft." 

Sixthly : " I own the Popish Inquisitors and other witch-finders have done 
much wrong, that they have destroyed innocent persons for witches, 
and that watching and torture have extorted extraordinary confessions 
from some that were not guilty. " 

Seventhly : He acknowledges that of the facts which he affirms to be real 
many are very strange, uncouth, and improbable, and that we cannot 
understand them or reconcile them with the commonly received 
notions of spirits and the future state, 



26 ANSWER TO HUME, LECKY, AND OTHERS 

The critical spirit and the notion of uniform law are cer- 
tainly powerful enough in the present day, yet in every 
country in the civilised world there are now hundreds and 
thousands of intelligent men who believe, on the testimony 
of their own senses, in phenomena which Mr. Lecky and 
others would term miraculous, and therefore incredible, 
but which the witnesses maintain to be part of the order of 
nature. Instead of being, as Mr. Lecky says, an indication 
of " certain states of society " " the normal expression of 
a certain stage of knowledge or intellectual power " this 

Having made these concessions to his adversaries he demands others 
in return. 

" Section V. The postulata which the author demands of his adver- 
saries as his just right are, viz. : 

First : That whether witches are or are not is a question of fact. 

Secondly : That matter of fact can only be proved by immediate sense or 
the testimony of others. To endeavour to demonstrate fact by abstract 
reasoning or speculation is as if a man should prove that Julius Caesar 
founded the Empire of Rome by algebra or metaphysics. 

Thirdly : That Scripture is not all allegory, but generally has a plain, 
literal, and obvious meaning. 

Fourthly : That some human testimonies are credible and certain, viz. : 
They may be so circumstantiated as to leave no reason of doubt ; for 
our senses sometimes report truth, and all mankind are not liars, 
cheats, and knaves at least they are not all liars when they have no 
interest to be so. 

Fifthly : That which is sufficiently and undeniably proved ought not to 
be denied because we know not how it can be, that is, because there are 
difficulties in the conceiving of it ; otherwise sense and knowledge is 
gone as well as faith. For the modus of most things is unknown, and 
the most obvious in nature have inextricable difficulties in the con- 
ceiving of them, as I have shown in my Scepsis Scientifica. 

Sixthly : We know scarcely anything of the nature of Spirits and the 

conditions of the future state. 

And he concludes : " These are my postulata or demands, which I 
suppose will be thought reasonable, and such as need no more 
proof." 

The evidence adduced by a man who thus philosophically lays down his 
basis of investigation cannot be despised ; and a perusal of Glanvil's works 
will well repay any one who takes an interest in this inquiry, 



MR. E. B. TYLOR'S VIEWS 27 

belief has existed in all states of society, and has accom- 
panied every stage of intellectual power. Socrates, Plu- 
tarch, and St. Augustine alike give personal testimony to 
supernatural facts ; this testimony never ceased through 
the Middle Ages ; the early reformers, Luther and Calvin, 
throng the ranks of witnesses ; all the philosophers, and 
all the judges of England, down to Sir Matthew Hale, 
admitted that the evidence for such facts was irrefutable. 
Many cases have been rigidly investigated by the police 
authorities of various countries ; and, as we have already 
seen, the miracles at the tomb of the Abbe* Paris, which 
occurred in the most sceptical period of French history, in 
the age of Voltaire and the Encyclopaedists, were proved 
by such an array of evidence, and were so open to investi- 
gation, that one of the noblemen of that court convinced 
of their reality after the closest scrutiny suffered the 
martyrdom of imprisonment in the Bastille for insisting 
upon making them public. And in our own day we have, 
at the lowest estimate, many millions of believers in modern 
Spiritualism in all classes of society ; so that the belief 
which Mr. Lecky imputes to a certain stage of intellectual 
culture only, appears, on the contrary, to have all the attri- 
butes of universality. 

IS THE BELIEF IN MIRACLES A SURVIVAL OF 
SAVAGE THOUGHT? 

The philosophical argument has been put in another form 
by Mr. E. B. Tylor, in a lecture at the Royal Institution, 
and in several passages in his other works. He maintains 
that all Spiritualistic and other beliefs in the supernatural 
are examples of the survival of savage thought among civi- 
lised people ; but he ignores the facts which compel the 
beliefs. The thoughts of those educated men who know, 
from the evidence of their own senses, and by repeated and 



28 ANSWER TO HUME, LECKY, AND OTHERS 

careful investigation, that things called supernatural are 
true and real facts, are as totally distinct from those of 
savages as are their thoughts respecting the sun, or thun- 
der, or disease, or any other natural phenomenon. As well 
might he maintain that the modern belief that the sun is 
a fiery mass is a survival of savage thought, because some 
savages believe so too ; or that our belief that certain 
diseases are contagious is a similar survival of the savage 
idea that a man can convey a disease to his enemy. The 
question is a question of facts, not of theories or thoughts, 
and I entirely deny the value or relevance of any general 
arguments, theories, or analogies, when we have to decide 
on matters of fact. 

Thousands of intelligent men now living know, from 
personal observation, that some of the strange phenomena 
which have been pronounced absurd and impossible by 
scientific men, are nevertheless true. It is no answer to 
these, and no explanation of the facts, to tell them that 
such beliefs only occur when men are destitute of the 
critical spirit, and when the notion of uniform law is yet 
unborn ; that in certain states of society illusions of this 
kind inevitably appear, that they are only the normal 
expression of certain stages of knowledge and of intellec- 
tual power, and. that they clearly prove the survival of 
savage modes of thought in the midst of modern civilisation. 

I believe that I have now shown 1. That Hume's argu- 
ments against miracles are full of unwarranted assumptions, 
fallacies, and contradictions, and have no logical force 
whatever. 2. That the modern argument of the telegraph- 
wire conveyance and drinking statue is positively no argu- 
ment at all, since it rests on false or unproved, premises. 
3. That the argument that dependence is to be placed upon 
the opinions of men of science rather than on the facts 



CONCLUSION 29 

observed by other men, is opposed to universal experience 
and the whole history of science. 4. That the philoso- 
phical argument, so well put by Mr. Lecky and Mr. Tylor, 
rests on false or unproved assumptions, and is therefore 
valueless. 

In conclusion, I must again emphatically point out that 
the question I have been here discussing is in no way, 
whether miracles are true or false, or whether modern 
Spiritualism rests upon a basis of fact or of delusion, 
but solely whether the arguments_that have hitherto been 
supposed fwynlnsiYft against them have any weighfr or 
value. If I have shown as I flatter myself I have done 

-^^^^^S^^- 

that the arguments which have been supposed to settle 
the general question so completely as to render it quite 
unnecessary to go into particular cases, are all utterly 
fallacious, then I shall have cleared the ground for the 
production of evidence ; and no honest man desirous of 
arriving at truth will be able to evade an inquiry into 
the nature and amount of that evidence by moving the 
previous question that miracles are unprovable by any 
amount of human testimony. It is time that the " derisive 
and un examining incredulity " which has hitherto existed 
should give way to a less dogmatic and more philosophical 
spirit, or history will again have to record the melancholy 
spectacle of men, who should have known better, assuming 
to limit the discovery of new powers and agencies in the 
universe, and deciding, without investigation, whether other 
men's observations are true or false. 



THE SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF 
THE SUPERNATURAL 



THE SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE 
SUPERNATURAL 



INTRODUCTORY 

IN the following pages I have brought together a few 
examples of the evidence for facts usually deemed miracu- 
lous or supernatural, and therefore incredible ; and I have 
prefixed to these some general considerations on the nature 
of miracle, and on the possibility that much which has 
been discredited as such is not really miraculous in the 
sense of implying any alteration of the laws of nature. In 
that sense I would repudiate miracles as entirely as the 
most thorough sceptic. It may be asked if I have myself 
seen any of the wonders narrated in the following pages. 
I answer that I have witnessed facts of a similar nature to 
some of them, and have satisfied myself of their genuine- 
ness ; and therefore feel that I have no right to reject the 
evidence of still more marvellous facts witnessed by others. 1 

1 In the late Dr. Carpenter's well-known work on " Mental Physiology " 
(p. 627) he refers to me, by name, as one of those who have "committed them- 
selves to the extraordinary proposition, that if we admit the reality of the 
lower phenomena" (Class I., denned as "those which are conformable to our 
previous knowledge," &c.), the testimony which we accept as'good for these 
ought to convince us of the higher (Classes II. and III., denned as " those 
which are in direct contrariety to our existing knowledge," &c.). As he 
must refer to the above passage and that eight lines farther on, my readers 

will have an opportunity of judging of the accuracy of Dr. C.'s unqualified 

33 



84 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

A single new and strange fact is, on its first announce- 
ment, often treated as a miracle, and not believed because 
it is contrary to the hitherto observed order of nature. 
Half-a-dozen such facts, however, constitute a little " order 
of nature " for themselves. They may not be a whit more 
understood than at first ; but they cease to be regarded as 
miracles. Thus it will be with the many thousands of 
facts of which I have culled a few examples here. If but 
one or two of them are proved to be real, the whole argu- 
ment against the rest of " impossibility " and " reversal of 
the laws of nature " falls to the ground. I would ask any 
man desirous of knowing the truth to read the following 
five works carefully through, and then say whether he can 
believe that the whole of the facts stated in them are to 
be explained by imposture or self-delusion. And let him 
remember that if but one or two of them are true, there 
ceases to be any strong presumption against the truth of 
the rest. These works are 

1. Keichenbach's Researches on Magnetism, Electricity, 
Heat, Light, &c., in their relations to the vital force. 
Translated by Dr. Gregory. 

2. Dr. Gregory's Letters on Animal Magnetism. 

3. R. Dale Owen's Footfalls on the Boundary of Another 
World. 

4. Hare's Experimental Investigation of the Spirit 
Manifestations. 

5. Home's Incidents of my Life. 

statement that I refer to different classes of facts, when my words are 
"facts of a similar nature." It will be seen farther on that I have 
witnessed numerous facts quite incredible to Dr. C., because "in direct 
contrariety to his existing knowledge," but that other observers, whom I 
quote, have witnessed much more remarkable facts of the same class, which 
/ therefore feel bound to accept on their testimony. This Dr. C. twists 
into an " extraordinary proposition 1 " 



INTRODUCTORY 35 

All these are easily obtained, except the 4th, which may, 
however, be found in most collections of occult literature. 
I subjoin a list of the persons whose names I have 
adduced in the following pages, as having been convinced 
of the truth and reality of most of these phenomena. I 
presume it will be admitted that they are honest men. If, 
then, these facts, which many of them declare they have 
repeatedly witnessed, never took place, I must leave my 
readers to account for the undoubted fact of their belief in 
them as best they can. I can only do so by supposing 
these well-known men to have been all fools or madmen, 
which is to me more difficult than believing they are sane 
men, capable of observing matters of fact, and of forming 
a sound judgment as to whether or no they could possibly 
have been deceived in them. A man of sense will not 
lightly declare, as many of these do, not only that he has 
witnessed what others deem absurd and incredible, but 
that he feels morally certain he was not deceived in what 
he saw. 

LIST. 

1. Professor A. DE MORGAN Mathematician and 
Logician. 

2. Professor OHALLIS Astronomer. 

3. Professor WM. GREGORY, M.D. Chemist. 

4. Professor EGBERT HARE, M.D. Chemist. 

5. ProfessorHERBERTMAYO,M.D.F.E.S. Physiologist. 

6. Mr. EUTTER Chemist. 

7. Dr. ELLIOTSON Physiologist. 

8. Dr. HADDOCK Physician. 

9. Dr. GULLY Physician. 

10. Judge EDMONDS Lawyer. 

11. Lord LYNDHURST Lawyer. 

12. CHARLES BRAY Philosophical Writer. 



36 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

13. Archbishop WHATELY Clergyman. 
14 Rev. W. KERR, M.A. Clergyman. 

15. Hon. Col. E. B. WILBRAHAM Military Man. 

16. Sir EICHARD BURTON Explorer, Linguist, and 
Author. 

17. NASSAU E. SENIOR Political Economist. 

18. W. M. THACKERAY Author. 

19. T. A. TROLLOPE Author. 

20. B. D. OWEN Author and Diplomatist. 

21. W. Ho WITT Author. 

22. S. C. HALL Author. 



MIRACLES AND MODERN SCIENCE 37 



II 

MIRACLES AND MODERN SCIENCE 

A miracle is generally defined to be a violation or suspen- 
sion of a law of nature, and as the laws of nature are the 
most complete expression of the accumulated experiences 
of the human race, Hume was of opinion that no amount 
of human testimony could prove a miracle. Strauss bases 
the whole argument of his elaborate work on the same 
ground, that no amount of testimony coming to us through 
the depth of eighteen centuries can prove that those laws 
were ever subverted, which the unanimous experience of 
men now shows to be invariable. Modern science has 
placed this argument on a wider basis, by showing the 
interdependence of all these laws, and by rendering it 
inconceivable that force and motion, any more than matter, 
can be absolutely originated or destroyed. Prof. Tyndall, 
in his paper on The Constitution of the Universe in the 
Fortniyhtly Review, says, "A miracle is strictly defined 
as an invasion of the law of the conservation of energy. 1 
To create or annihilate matter would be deemed on all 
hands a miracle; the creation or annihilation of energy 
would be equally a miracle to those who understand the 
principle of conservation." Mr. Lecky, in his great work 
on " Eationalism," shows us that during the last two or 
three centuries there has been a continually increasing 
disposition to adopt secular rather than theological views, 

1 This supposed definition of a miracle is a pure assumption. Miracles 
do not imply any " invasion of the law of the conservation of energy," but 
merely the existence of intelligent beings invisible to us, yet capable of 
acting on matter, as explained farther on. 



38 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

in history, politics, and science. The great physical dis- 
coveries of the last half century have pushed forward this 
movement with still greater rapidity, and have led to a firm 
conviction in the minds of most men of education that 
the universe is governed by wide and immutable laws, 
under which all phenomena whatever may be classed, and 
to which no fact in nature can ever be opposed. If, there- 
fore, we define miracle as a contravention of any one of 
these laws, it must be admitted that modern science has 
no place for it ; and we cannot be surprised at the many 
and varied attempts by writers of widely different opinions 
to account for or explain away all recorded facts in history 
or religion which they believe could only have happened 
on the supposition of miraculous or supernatural agency. 
This task has been by no means an easy one. The amount 
of direct testimony to miracles in all ages is very great. 
The belief in miracles has been, till comparatively recent 
times, almost universal, and it may safely be asserted that, of 
those who are, on general grounds, most firmly convinced of 
the impossibility of events deemed miraculous, few if any 
have thoroughly and honestly investigated the nature and 
amount of the evidence that those events really happened. 
On this subject, however, I do not now intend to enter. 
It appears to me that the very basis of the whole question 
has been to some extent misstated and misunderstood, and 
that in every well-authenticated case of supposed miracle 
a solution may be found which will remove many of our 
difficulties. 

One common fallacy appears to me to run through all 
the arguments against facts deemed miraculous, when it is 
asserted that they violate, or invade, or subvert the laws of 
nature. This is really assuming the very point to be 
decided, for if the disputed fact did happen, it could only 
be in accordance with the laws of nature, since the only 



MIRACLES AND MOfcEttN SCIENCE 30 

complete definition of the " laws of nature " is that they are 
the laws which regulate all phenomena. The very word 
" supernatural," as applied to a, fact, is an absurdity; and 
" miracle," if retained at all, requires a more accurate defi- 
nition than has yet been given of it. To refuse to admit, 
what in other cases would be absolutely conclusive evidence 
of a fact, because it cannot be explained by those laws of 
nature with which we are now acquainted, is really to 
maintain that we have complete knowledge of those laws, 
and can determine beforehand what is or is not possible. 
The whole history of the progress of human knowledge 
shows us that the disputed prodigy of one age becomes 
the accepted natural phenomenon of the next, and that 
many apparent miracles have been due to laws of nature 
subsequently discovered. 

Many phenomena of the simplest kind would appear 
supernatural to men having limited knowledge. Ice and 
snow might easily be made to appear so to inhabitants of 
the tropics. The ascent of a balloon would be supernatural 
to persons who knew nothing of the cause of its upward 
motion ; and we may well conceive that, if no gas lighter 
than atmospheric air had ever been discovered, and if in the 
minds of all (philosophers and chemists included), air had 
become indissolubly connected with the idea of the light- 
est form of terrestrial matter, the testimony of those who 
had seen a balloon ascend might be discredited, on the 
grounds that a law of nature must be suspended in order 
that anything could freely ascend through the atmosphere 
in direct contravention to the law of gravitation. 

A century ago, a telegram from three thousand miles' 
distance, or a photograph taken in a fraction of a second, 
would not have been believed possible, and would not have 
been credited on any testimony, except by the ignorant and 
superstitious who believed in miracles. Five centuries ago 



40 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

the effects produced by the modern telescope and micro- 
scope would have been deemed miraculous, and if related 
only by travellers as existing in China or Japan, would 
certainly have been disbelieved. The power of dipping 
the hand into melted metals unhurt is a remarkable case 
of an effect of natural laws appearing to contravene another 
natural law ; and it is one which certainly might have 
been, and probably has been, regarded as a miracle, and the 
fact believed or disbelieved, not according to the amount 
or quality of the testimony to it, but according to the cre- 
dulity or supposed superior knowledge of the recipient. 
About fifty years ago the fact that surgical operations 
could be performed on patients in the mesmeric trance 
without their being conscious of pain was strenuously 
denied by most scientific and medical men in this country, 
and the patients, and sometimes the operators, denounced 
as impostors ; the asserted phenomenon was believed to be 
contrary to the laws of nature. Now, probably every man 
of intelligence believes the facts, and it is seen that there 
must be some as yet unknown law of which they are a 
consequence. When Castellet informed Reaumur that he 
had reared perfect silkworms from the eggs laid by a virgin 
moth, the answer was Ex nihilo nihilfit, and the fact was 
disbelieved. It was contrary to one of the widest and best 
established laws of nature ; yet it is now universally 
admitted to be true, and the supposed law ceases to be 
universal. These few illustrations will enable us to under- 
stand how some reputed miracles may have been due to 
yet unknown laws of nature. We know so little of what 
nerve or life-force really is, how it acts or can act, and in 
what degree it is capable of transmission from one human 
being to another, that it would be indeed rash to affirm that 
under no exceptional conditions could phenomena, such as 
the apparently miraculous cure of many diseases, or per- 



MIRACLES AND MODERN SCIENCE 41 

ception through other channels than the ordinary senses, 
ever take place. 

To illustrate how gradually the natural glides into the 
miraculous, and how easily our beliefs are determined by 
preconceived ideas rather than by evidence, take the fol- 
lowing pair of cases : 

Forty or fifty years ago an account appeared in the London 
Medical Times of an experiment on four Eussians who had 
been condemned to death. They were made, without 
knowing it, to sleep in beds whereon persons had died of 
epidemic cholera, but not one of them caught the disease. 
Subsequently they were told that they must sleep in the 
beds of cholera patients, but were put into perfectly 
clean and wholesome beds, yet three of them now took 
the disease in its most malignant form, and died within 
four hours. 

About two hundred years ago Valentine Greatrak cured 
people of various diseases by stroking them with his hand. 
The Rev. Dr. B. Dean, writing an account from personal 
observation, says : " I was three weeks together with him 
at my Lord Conway's, and saw him lay his hands upon (I 
think) a thousand persons : and really there is something 
in it more than ordinary, but I am convinced 'tis not mira- 
culous. I have seen deafness cured by his touch, grievous 
sores of many months date in a few days healed, obstruc- 
tions and stoppings removed, and cancerous knots in the 
breast dissolved." The detailed evidence of eye-witnesses 
of high character and ability as to these extraordinary 
cures is overwhelming, but cannot here be given. 

Now, of these two cases the first will be generally be- 
lieved ; the second disbelieved. The first is supposed to be 
a natural effect of "imagination," the second is generally 
held to be of the nature of a miracle. Yet to impute any 
definite physical effect to imagination is merely to state 



42 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

the facts and to hide our complete ignorance of the causes 
or laws which govern them. And to hold that there can 
be no curative power in the repeated contact of a peculiarly 
constituted human being, when the analogy of the admitted 
facts of mesmerism proves how powerful and curious are 
the effects of human beings on each other, would seem to 
be a very great degree of presumption in our present almost 
complete ignorance of the relation of the mind to the body. 
But it will be objected that it is only the least important 
class of miracles that can possibly be explained in this 
manner. In many cases dead matter is said to have been 
endowed with force and motion, or to have been suddenly 
increased immensely in weight and bulk ; things altogether 
non-terrestrial are said to have appeared on earth, and the 
orderly progress of the great phenomena of nature is 
affirmed to have been suddenly interrupted. Now one 
characteristic of most of this class of reputed miracles is, 
that they seem to imply the action of another power and 
intelligence than that of the individual to whose miracu- 
lous power they are vulgarly imputed. One of the most 
common and best attested of these phenomena is the move- 
ment of various solid bodies in the presence of many wit- 
nesses, without any discoverable cause. In reading the 
accounts of these occurrences by eye-witnesses one little 
point of detail often recurs that an object appears to be 
thrown or to fall suddenly, and yet comes down gently 
and without noise. This curious point is to be found 
mentioned in old trials for witchcraft, as well as in the 
most^ modern phenomena of haunted houses or of spiri- 
tualism, and is strikingly suggestive of the objects being 
carried by an invisible agent. To render such things 
intelligible or possible from the point of view of modern 
science, we must, therefore, have recourse to the supposi- 
tion that intelligent beings may exist, capable of acting 



MIEACLES AND MODEEN SCIENCE 43 

on matter, though they themselves are uncognisable directly 
by our senses. 

That intelligent beings may exist around and among us, 
unperceived during our whole lives, and yet capable under 
certain conditions of making their presence known by 
acting on matter, will be inconceivable to some, and will 
be doubted by many more, but we venture to say that no 
man acquainted with the latest discoveries and the highest 
speculations of modern science will deny its possibility. 
The difficulty which this conception presents will be of 
quite a different nature from that which obstructs our 
belief in the possibility of miracle, when defined as a 
contravention of those great natural laws which the whole 
tendency of modern science declares to be absolute and 
immutable. The existence of sentient beings uncognisable 
by our senses would no more contravene these laws than 
did the discovery of the true nature of the Protozoa, those 
structureless gelatinous organisms which exhibit so many 
of the higher phenomena of animal life without any of that 
differentiation of parts or specialisation of organs which 
the necessary functions of animal life seem to require. 
The existence of such preter-human intelligences, if proved, 
would only add another and more striking illustration 
than any we have yet received of how small a portion of 
the great cosmos our senses give us cognisance. Even 
such sceptics on the subject of the supernatural as Hume 
or Strauss would probably not deny the validity of the 
conception of such intelligences, or the abstract possibility 
of their existence. They would perhaps say, "We have 
no sufficient proof of the fact ; the difficulty of conceiving 
their mode of existence is great ; most intelligent men pass 
their whole lives in total ignorance of any such unseen 
intelligences : it is amongst the ignorant and superstitious 
alone that the belief in them prevails. As philosophers, 



44 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

we cannot deny the possibility you postulate, but we must 
have the most clear and satisfactory proof before we can 
receive it as a fact." 

But it may be argued, even if such beings should exist, 
they could consist only of the most diffused and subtle 
forms of matter. How then could they act upon pon- 
derable bodies, how produce effects at all comparable to 
those which constitute so many reputed miracles ? These 
objectors may be reminded that all the most powerful and 
universal forces of nature are now referred to minute vibra- 
tions of an almost infinitely attenuated form of matter; 
and that, by the grandest generalisations of modern sci- 
ence, the most varied natural phenomena have been traced 
back to these recondite forces. Light, heat, electricity, 
magnetism, and probably vitality and gravitation, are 
believed to be but "modes of motion" of a space-filling 
ether ; and there is not a single manifestation of force or 
development of beauty but is derived from one or other of 
these. The whole surface of the globe has been modelled 
and remodelled, mountains have been cut down to plains, 
and plains have been grooved and furrowed into mountains 
and valleys, all by the power of ethereal heat vibrations 
set in motion by the sun. Metallic veins and glittering 
crystals buried deep down under miles of rock and moun- 
tain have been formed by a distinct set of forces developed 
by vibrations of the same ether. Every green blade and 
bright blossom that gladdens the surface of the earth owes 
its power of growth and life to those vibrations we call heat 
and light, while in animals and man the powers of that 
wondrous telegraph whose battery is the brain and whose 
wires are nerves, are probably due to the manifestation of 
a yet totally distinct " mode of motion " in the same all- 
pervading ether. In some cases we are able to perceive 
the effects of these recondite forces yet more directly. We 



MIRACLES AND MODERN SCIENCE 45 

see a magnet, without contact, or impact of any ponderable 
matter capable to our imagination of exerting force, yet 
overcoming gravity and inertia, raising and moving solid 
bodies. We behold electricity in the form of lightning 
riving the solid oak, throwing down lofty towers and 
steeples, or destroying man and beast, sometimes without 
a wound. And these manifestations of force are produced 
by a form of matter so impalpable, that only by its effects 
does it become known to us. With such phenomena 
everywhere around us, we must admit that if intelligences 
of what we may call an ethereal nature do exist, we have 
no reason to deny them the use of those ethereal forces 
which are the overflowing fountain from which all force, 
all motion, all life upon the earth originate. Our limited 
senses and intellects enable us to receive impressions from, 
and to trace some of the varied manifestations of ethereal 
motion under phases so distinct as light, heat, electricity, 
and gravity ; but no thinker will for a moment assert that 
there can be no other possible modes of action of this 
primal element. To a race of blind men, how utterly in- 
conceivable would be the faculty of vision, how absolutely 
unknowable the very existence of light and its myriad 
manifestations of form, colour, and beauty. Without this 
one sense, our knowledge of nature and of the universe 
could not be a thousandth part of what it is. By its absence 
our very intellect would have been dwarfed, we cannot say 
to what extent ; and we must almost believe that our moral 
nature could never have been fully developed without it, 
and that we could hardly have attained to the dignity and 
supremacy of man. Yet it is possible and even probable that 
there may be modes of sensation as superior to all ours as is 
sight to that of touch and hearing. In the next chapter we 
shall consider the bearings of this view of the subject on the 
more recent developments of so-called supernaturalism. 



46 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATUKAL 



III 



One very powerful argument against miracles with men 
of intelligence (and especially with such as are acquainted 
with the full scope of the revelations of modern science), 
is derived from the prevalent assumption that, if real, they 
are the direct acts of the Deity. The nature of these acts 
is often such, that no cultivated mind can for a moment 
impute them to an infinite and supreme being. Few, if 
any, reputed miracles seem to us at all worthy of God ; and 
it is the man of science who is best enabled to form a 
proper conception of the lofty and unapproachable nature 
of the attributes which must pertain to the supreme mind 
of the universe. Strange to say, however, he is in most 
cases illogical enough to consider the difficulties in the way 
of this assumption as a valid argument against the facts in 
question having ever occurred, instead of being merely an 
argument against the mode of interpreting them. He even 
carries this objection further, by the equally unfounded 
assumption that any beings who could possibly produce the 
asserted phenomena must be mentally of a high order, and 
therefore, if the phenomena do not accord with his ideas of 
the dignity of superior intelligences, he simply denies the 
facts without examination. Yet many of these objectors 
admit that the mind of man is probably not annihilated at 
death, and that therefore countless millions of beings are 
constantly passing into another mode of existence, who, 
unless a miracle of mental transformation takes place, must 
be very far inferior to himself. Any argument, therefore. 



MODERN MIRACLES VIEWED AS NATURAL PHENOMENA 47 

against certain phenomena having been produced by 
preter-human intelligences, on account of the trivial or 
apparently useless nature of such phenomena, has really 
no logical bearing whatever upon the question. The as- 
sumption that all preter-human intelligences are more 
intellectual than the average of mankind is as utterly 
gratuitous, and as powerless to disprove facts, as that of 
the opponents of Galileo when they asserted that the 
planets could not exceed the perfect number, seven, and 
that therefore the satellites of Jupiter could not exist. 
Let us now return to the consideration of the probable 
nature and powers of these preter-human intelligences, 
whose- possible existence only it is my object at present 
to maintain. 

I have in the first part of this paper given reasons for 
supposing that there might be, and probably are, other (and 
perhaps infinitely varied) forms of matter and modes of 
ethereal motion, than those which our senses enable us to 
recognise. We must therefore admit that there may be 
and probably are organisations adapted to act upon and to 
receive impressions from them. In the infinite universe 
there may be infinite possibilities of sensation, each one as 
distinct from all the rest as sight is from smell or hearing, 
and as capable of extending the sphere of the possessor's 
knowledge and the development of his intellect as would 
the sense of sight when first added to the other senses we 
possess. Beings of an ethereal order, if such exist, would 
probably possess some sense or senses of the nature above 
indicated, giving them increased insight into the constitu- 
tion of the universe, and proportionately increased intelli- 
gence to guide and direct for special ends those new modes 
of ethereal motion'with which they would in^ that case be 
able to deal. Their every faculty might be proportionate 
to the modes of action of the ether. They might have a 



48 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

power of motion as rapid as that of light or the electric 
current. They might have a power of vision as acute as 
that of our most powerful telescopes and microscopes. 
They might have a sense somewhat analogous to the powers 
of the last triumph of science, the spectroscope, and by it 
be enabled to perceive instantaneously, the intimate con- 
stitution of matter under every form, whether in organised 
beings or in stars and nebulas. Such existences, possessed 
of such, to us, inconceivable powers, would not be super- 
natural, except in a very limited and incorrect sense of 
the term. And if those powers were exerted in a manner 
to be perceived by us, the result would not be a miracle, in 
the sense in which the term is used by Hume or Tyndall. 
There would be no " violation of a law of nature ; " there 
would be no " invasion of the law of conservation of 
energy." Neither matter nor force would be created or 
annihilated, even though it might appear so to us. In an 
infinite universe the great reservoir of matter and force 
must be infinite ; and the fact that an ethereal being should 
be able to exert force, drawn perhaps from the boundless 
ether, perhaps from the vital energies of human beings, 
and make its effects visible to us as an apparent " creation," 
would be no more a real miracle than is the perpetual 
raising of millions of tons of water from the ocean, or the 
perpetual exertion of animal force upon the earth, both of 
which we have only recently traced immediately to the 
sun, and perhaps remotely to other and varied sources lost 
in the immensity of the universe. All would be still 
natural. The great laws of nature would still maintain 
their inviolable supremacy. We should simply have to 
confess with a modern man of science, that " our five senses 
are but clumsy instruments to investigate the imponder- 
ables," and might see a new and deeper meaning in the 
oft-quoted but little heeded words of the great poet, when 



MODERN MIRACLES VIEWED A3 NATURAL PHENOMENA 49 

he reminds us that " there are more things in heaven and 
earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy." 

It would appear, then, if my argument has any weight, 
that there is nothing self-contradictory, nothing absolutely 
inconceivable, in the idea of intelligences uncognisable 
directly by our senses, and yet capable of acting more or 
less powerfully on matter. There is only to some minds a 
high improbability, arising from the supposed absence of 
all proof that there are such beings. Let direct proof be 
forthcoming, and there seems no reason why the most scep- 
tical philosopher should refuse to accept it. It would be 
simply a matter to be investigated and tested like any 
other question of science. The evidence would have to be 
collected and examined. The results of the inquiries of 
different observers would have to be compared. The pre- 
vious character of the observers for knowledge, accuracy, 
and honesty would have to be weighed, and some, at 
least, of the facts relied on would have to be re-observed. 
In this manner only could all sources of error be elimi- 
nated, and a doctrine of such overwhelming importance be 
established as truth. I propose now to inquire whether 
such proof has been given, and whether the evidence is 
attainable by any one who may wish to investigate the 
subject in the only manner by which truth can be reached 
by direct observation and experiment. 

The first fact capable of proof is this : That during 
the last forty years, while physical science has been pro- 
gressing with rapid strides, and the growing spirit of 
rationalism has led to a very general questioning of all 
facts of a supposed miraculous or supernatural character, 
a continually increasing number of persons maintain their 
belief in the existence of beings of the nature of those 
we have hitherto postulated as a bare possibility. All 
these persons declare that they have received direct and 

D 



50 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

oft-repeated proofs of the existence of such beings. Most 
of them tell us they have been convinced against all their 
previous notions and prepossessions. Many of these per- 
sons have been materialists, not believing in the existence 
of any intelligences disconnected from a visible, tangible 
form, nor in the continued existence of the mind of man 
after death. At the present time there are probably 
three millions of persons in the United States of America 
who have received to them satisfactory proofs of the exist- 
ence of invisible intelligences ; and in this country there 
are many thousands who declare the same thing. A large 
number of these persons continually receive fresh proofs 
in the privacy of their own homes, and so much interest 
is felt in the subject that four periodicals are published in 
this country, several on the Continent, and a very large 
number in America, which are exclusively devoted to dis- 
seminating information relating to the existence of these 
invisible intelligences and the means of communicating 
with them. A little inquiry into the literature of the 
subject, which is already very extensive, reveals the 
startling fact that this revival of so-called supernaturalism 
is not confined to the ignorant or superstitious, or to the 
lower classes of society. On the contrary, it is rather 
among the middle and upper classes that the larger pro- 
portion of its adherents are to be found ; and among those 
who have declared themselves convinced of the reality of 
facts such as have been always classed as miracles, are 
numbers of literary, scientific, and professional men, who 
always have borne and still continue to bear high characters, 
are above the imputation either of falsehood or trickery, 
and have never manifested indications of insanity. Neither 
is the belief confined to any one religious sect or party. On 
the contrary, men of all religions and of no religion are alike 
to be found in the ranks of the believers ; and, as already 



MODERN MIRACLES VIEWED AS NATURAL PHENOMENA 51 

stated, many entire sceptics as to there being any super- 
human intelligences in the universe have declared that by 
the force of direct evidence they have been, however unwill- 
ingly, compelled to believe that such intelligences do exist. 
Here is certainly a phenomenon altogether unique in 
the history of the human mind. In examining the evi- 
dence of similar prodigies during past ages, we have to 
make much allowance for early education and the almost 
universal pre-existing belief in the possibility and frequent 
occurrence of miracles and supernatural appearances. In 
the present day it is a notorious fact that among the edu- 
cated classes, and especially among students of medicine 
and science, the scepticism on such subjects is almost uni- 
versal. But what seems the most extraordinary fact of all, 
and one that would appear to be absolutely inconsistent 
with any theory of fraud, imposture, or self-delusion, is, 
that during the forty-seven years which have elapsed since 
the revival of a belief in the supernatural in America, not 
one single individual has carefully investigated the subject 
without accepting the reality of the phenomena, and while 
thousands have been converted to the belief, not one adhe- 
rent has ever been converted back from it. While the 
peculiarly constituted individuals who are the media of 
the phenomena may be counted by thousands, not one 
has ever exploded the imposture, if imposture it be. And 
of the few who receive payment for giving up their time 
to those who wish to witness the manifestations, it is 
remarkable that no one has yet tried to be first in the 
market with a full history of the wonderfully ingenious 
apparatus and extraordinary dexterity that must have 
been requisite to make dupes of many millions of people, 
and to establish a new literature and a new religion. They 
must be very blind not to see that such a work would be 
a most profitable speculation. 



52 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

If there is any one thing which modern philosophy 
teaches more consistently than another, it is that we can 
have no a priori knowledge of natural phenomena or of 
natural laws. But to declare that any facts, testified to 
by several independent witnesses, are impossible, and to 
act upon this declaration so far as to refuse to examine 
these facts when opportunity offers, is to lay claim to this 
very a priori knowledge of nature which has been univer- 
sally given up. One of our most celebrated modern men 
of science fell into the same error when he made his un- 
fortunate statement that, " before we proceed to consider 
any question involving physical principles, we should set 
out with clear ideas of the naturally possible and impos- 
sible ; " for no man can be sure that, however " clear" his 
ideas may be in this matter, they will be equally true 
ones. It was very "clearly impossible" to the minds of 
the philosophers at Pisa that a great and a small weight 
could fall from the top of the heavy tower in the same 
time ; and if this principle is of any use, they were right 
in disbelieving the evidence of their senses, which assured 
them that they did; and Galileo, who accepted that 
evidence, was, to use the words of the same eminent 
authority, " not only ignorant as respects the education of 
the judgment, but ignorant of his ignorance." Men who 
repeatedly, and under conditions which render doubt im- 
possible to them, witness plain facts that their scientific 
teachers declare cannot be real, but yet decline to disprove 
by the only means possible, that of a full and impartial 
examination, may be excused for thinking that theirs is a 
parallel case to that of Galileo and his opponents. 

In order that my readers may judge for themselves 
whether delusion or deception will best account for these 
facts, or whether we have indeed made a discovery more 
important and more extraordinary than any that has yet 



MODERN MIRACLES VIEWED AS NATURAL PHENOMENA 53 

distinguished the nineteenth century, I propose to bring 
before them a few witnesses, whose evidence it will be 
well for them to hear before forming a hasty judgment. 
I shall call chiefly persons connected with science, art, or 
literature, and whose intelligence and truthfulness in nar- 
rating their own observations are above suspicion; and I 
would particularly insist that no objections of a general 
kind can have any weight against direct evidence to special 
facts, many of which are of such a nature that there is 
absolutely no choice between believing that they did occur, 
or imputing to all who declare they witnessed them wilful 
and purposeless falsehood. 



54 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 



IV 

OD. FORCE, ANIMAL MAGNETISM, AND 
CLAIRVOYANCE 

Before proceeding to adduce the evidence of those persons 
who have witnessed phenomena which, if real, can only be 
attributed to preter-human intelligences, it will be well to 
take note of a series of curious observations on human 
beings, which prove that certain individuals are gifted with 
unusual powers of perception, sometimes by the ordinary 
senses leading to the discovery of new forces in nature, 
sometimes in a manner which no abnormal power of the 
ordinary senses will account for, but which imply the 
existence of faculties in the human mind of a nature ana- 
logous to those which are generally termed supernatural, 
and are attributed to the action of unembodied intelli- 
gences. It will be seen that we are thus naturally led up 
to higher phenomena, and are enabled, to some extent, to 
bridge over the great gulf between the so-called natural 
and supernatural. 

I wish first to call my reader's attention to the researches 
of Baron Reichenbach, as detailed in Dr. Gregory's transla- 
tion of his elaborate work. He observed that persons in 
a peculiar nervous condition experienced well-marked and 
definite sensations on contact with magnets and crystals, 
and in total darkness saw luminous emanations from them. 
He afterwards found that numbers of persons in perfect 
health and of superior intellect could perceive the same 
phenomena. As an example, I may mention that among 
the numerous persons experimented on by Baron Reichen- 
bach were : 



OD-FORCE, ANIMAL MAGNETISM, AND CLAIRVOYANCE 55 

Dr. ENDLICHER, Professor of Botany and Director of the 

Botanic Garden of Vienna. 
Dr. NIED, a Physician at Vienna, in extensive practice, 

very active and healthy. 
M. WILHELM HOCHSTETTER, son of Professor Hochstetter 

of Esslingen. 

M. THEODORE KOTSCHY, a Clergyman, Botanist, and well- 
known traveller in Africa and Persia ; a powerful, 

vigorous, perfectly healthy man. 
Dr. Huss, Professor of Clinical Medicine, Stockholm, 

and Physician to the King of Sweden. 
Dr. RAGSKY, Professor of Chemistry in the Medical and 

Surgical Josephakademie in Vienna. 
M. CONSTANTIN DELHEZ, a French Philologist, residing 

in Vienna. 

M. ERNEST PAUER, Consistorial Councillor, Vienna. 
M. GUSTAV AUSCHNETZ, Artist, Vienna. 
BARON VON OBERLAENDER, Forest Superintendent in 

Moravia. 

All these saw the lights and flames on magnets, and 
described the various details of their comparative size, 
form, and colour, their relative magnitude on the positive 
and negative poles, and their appearance under various 
conditions, such as combinations of several magnets, 
images formed by lenses, &c. ; and their evidence exactly 
confirmed the descriptions already given by the " sensi- 
tive " patients of a lower class, whose testimony had been 
objected to, when the observations were first published. 

In addition to these, Dr. Diesing, Curator in the Imperial 
Academy of Natural History at Vienna, and the Chevalier 
Hubert von Rainer, Barrister of Klagenfurt, did not see 
the luminous phenomena, but were highly sensitive to the 
various sensations excited by magnets and crystals. About 



56 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

fifty other persons in all conditions of life, of all ages, and 
of both sexes, saw and felt the same phenomena. In an 
elaborate review of Reichenbach's work in the British and 
Foreign Medico-Chirurgical Review, the evidence of these 
twelve gentlemen, men of position and science, and three of 
them medical men, is completely ignored, and it is again and 
again asserted that the phenomena are subjective, or purely 
imaginary. The only particle of argument to support this 
view is, that a mesmeric patient was by suggestion made to 
see " lights " as well without as with a magnet. It appears 
to me that it would be as reasonable to tell Gordon Gum- 
ming or Dr. Livingstone that they had never seen a real 
lion, because, by suggestion, a score of mesmeric patients 
can be made to believe they see lions in a lecture-room. 
Unless it can be proved that Reichenbacli and these twelve 
gentlemen have none of them sense enough to apply simple 
tests (which, however, the details of the experiments show 
were again and again applied), I do not see how the general 
objections made in the above-mentioned article, that Reich- 
enbach is not a physiologist, and that he did not apply 
sufficient tests, can have the slightest weight against the 
mass of evidence he adduces. It is certainly not credit- 
able to modern science that these elaborate investigations 
should be rejected without a particle of disproof ; and we 
can only impute it to the distasteful character of some of 
the higher phenomena produced, and which it is still the 
fashion of professors of the physical sciences to ignore 
without examination. I have seen it stated also, that 
Reichenbach's theory has been disproved by the use of an 
electro-magnet, and that a patient could not tell whether 
the current was on or off. But there is the detail of this 
experiment published, and how often has it been confirmed, 
and under what conditions ? And if true in one case, how 
does it affect the question when similar tests were applied 



OD-FOECE, ANIMAL MAGNETISM, AND CLAIRVOYANCK 57 

to Reichenbach's patients, and how does it apply to facts 
like this, which Reichenbach gives literally by the hundred? 
" Prof. D. Endlicher saw on the poles of an electro-magnet 
flames forty inches high, unsteady, exhibiting a rich play 
of colours, and ending in a luminous smoke, which rose to 
the ceiling and illuminated it " (Gregory's Trans., p. 342). 
The least the deniers of the facts can do is to request 
these well-known individuals who gave their evidence 
to Reichenbach to repeat the experiments again under 
exactly similar conditions, as no doubt in the interests of 
science they would be willing to do. If then, by suggestion, 
they can all be led to describe equally well defined and 
varied appearances when only sham magnets are used, the 
odylic flames and other phenomena will have been fairly 
shown to be very doubtful. But as long as negative state- 
ments only are made, and the whole body of facts, testified 
to by men at least equal in scientific attainments to their 
opponents, are left untouched, no unprejudiced individual 
can fail to acknowledge that the researches of Reichenbach 
have established the existence of a vast and connected 
series of new and important natural phenomena. Doctors 
Gregory and Ashburner in England state that they have 
repeated several of Reichenbach's experiments under test 
conditions, and have found them quite accurate. 

The late Mr. Rutter, of Brighton, made, quite indepen- 
dently, a number of curious experiments, which he has de- 
tailed in his little work on Magnetised Currents and the 
Magnetoscope, and which were witnessed by hundreds of 
medical and scientific men. He showed that the various 
metals and other substances, the contact of a male or 
female hand, or even of a letter written by a male or 
female, each produced distinct effects on the magnetoscope. 
And a single drop of water from a glass in which a homoeo- 
pathic globule had been dissolved caused a characteristic 



58 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

motion of the instrument when dropped upon the hand of 
the operator, even when he did not know the substance 
employed. Dr. King corroborates these experiments, and 
states that he has seen a decillionth of a grain of silex and 
a billionth of a grain of quinine cause motion by means of 
this apparatus. Every caution was taken in conducting 
the experiments, which were equally successful when a 
third party was placed between Mr. E. and the magneto- 
scope. Magnets and crystals also produced powerful 
effects, as indicated by Reichenbach. Yet Mr. Rutter's 
experiments, like Reichenbach's, are ignored by our scien- 
tific men, although during several years he offered facility 
for their investigation. 1 

The case of Jacques Aymar, whose powers were imputed 
by himself and others to the divining-rod, but which were 
evidently personal, is one of the best attested on record, 
and one which indisputably proves the possession by him 

1 Dr. Carpenter (Mental Physiology, p. 287) states that Mr. Rutter's 
experiments were shown to be fallacies by Dr. Madden, who found that 
unless he knew the substance operated on, no definite indications were 
given. But this only proves that different operators have different 
degrees of power. And Dr. Carpenter very unfairly omits to notice three 
very important classes of test experiments made by Mr. Rutter. In one 
a crystal is placed on a stand altogether detached from the instrument 
or the table on which it stands. Yet when this is touched, it sets the 
pendulum in motion ; and the direction of the motion changes as the 
direction of the axis of the crystal is changed (Rutter's Human 
Electricity p. 151). Again, when the pendulum has acquired its full 
momentum, either rotary or oscillatory, it takes from 7 to 10 minutes to 
come to a state of rest. But if any piece of bone or other dead animal 
matter is placed in the operator's hand, the pendulum comes to a dead 
stop in from 5 to 20 seconds ; a feat which cannot be performed voluntarily 
or by any amount of "expectant attention" (op. cit., p. 147, and App. p. 
lv.). Again, knowledge of the substance operated on is not necessary with 
all operators, to produce definite and correct results (loc. cit. App. p. Ivi.). 
What are we to think of a writer who comes forward as a master to teach 
the public, and 'sets before them such a partial and one-sided account of 
the evidence as this ? 



OD-FORCE, ANIMAL MAGNETISM, AND CLAIRVOYANCE 59 

of a new sense in some degree resembling that of many 
other clairvoyants. Mr. Baring-Gould, in his Curious 
Myths of the Middle Ages, gives a full account of the case 
with a reference to the original authorities. These are, M. 
Chauvin, a doctor of medicine, who was an eye-witness, and 
who published his narrative ; the Sieur Pauthot, Dean of the 
College of Medicine at Lyons ; and the Proces- verbal of the 
Procureur du Eoi. The facts of the case are briefly as 
follows. On the 5th of July 1692, a wine-seller and his 
wife were murdered and the bodies found in their cellar in 
Lyons, their money having been carried off. A bloody 
hedging bill was found by the side of the bodies, but no 
trace of the murderers was discovered. The officers of 
justice were completely at fault, when they were told of a 
man named Jacques Aymar, who, four years before, had 
discovered a thief at Grenoble who was quite unsuspected 
of the crime. The man was sent for and taken to the 
cellar, where his divining-rod became violently agitated, 
and his pulse rose as though he were in a fever. He then 
went out of the house, and walked along the streets like 
a hound following a scent. He crossed the court of the 
Archbishop's palace and down to the gate of the Rhone, 
when, it being night, the quest was relinquished. The next 
day, accompanied by three officers, he followed the track 
down the bank of the river to a gardener's cottage. He 
had declared that so far he had followed three murderers, 
but here two only entered the cottage, where he declared, 
they had seated themselves at a table and had drunk wine 
from a particular bottle. The owner declared positively 
no one had been there, but Aymar, on testing each indi- 
vidual in the house, found two children who had been in 
contact with the murderers, and these reluctantly confessed 
that on Sunday morning when they were alone, two men 
had suddenly entered and had seated themselves and taken 



60 SCIENTIFIC ASPKCT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

wine from the very bottle which had been pointed out. 
He then followed them down the river and discovered the 
places where they slept, and the particular chairs or benches 
they had used. After a time he reached the military camp 
of Sablon, and ultimately reached Beaucaire, where the 
murderers had parted company, but he traced one of them 
into the prison, and among fourteen or fifteen prisoners 
pointed out a hunchback (who had only been an hour in 
the prison) as the murderer. He protested his innocence, 
but on being taken back along the road, was recognised 
in every house where Aymar had previously traced him. 
This so confounded him that he confessed, and was ulti- 
mately executed for the murder. 

During the process of this wonderful experiment, which 
occupied several days, Aymar was subjected to other tests 
by the Procurator-General. The hedging bill with which 
the murder was committed, with three others exactly like 
it, were secretly buried in different places in a garden. The 
diviner was then brought in ; and his rod indicated where 
the blood-stained weapon was buried, but showed no move- 
ment over the others. Again they were all exhumed and 
reinterred, and the Comptroller of the Province himself 
bandaged Aymar's eyes and led him into the garden, with 
the same result. The two other murderers were after- 
wards traced, but they had escaped out of France. Pierre 
Gamier, Physician of the Medical College of Montpelier, 
has also given an account of various tests to which Aymar 
was subjected by himself, the Lieutenant-General, and two 
other gentlemen, to detect imposture ; but they failed to 
discover any sign of deception, and he traced the course of a 
man who had robbed the Lieutenant-General some months 
before, pointing out the exact side of a bed on which he 
had slept with another man. 

Here is a case which one would think was demonstrated ; 



OD-FORCE, ANIMAL MAGNETISM, AND CLAIRVOYANCE 61 

the investigation having been carried on under the eyes of 
magistrates, officers, and physicians, and resulting in the 
discovery of a murder and the tracking out of his course 
with more minute accuracy than ever bloodhound tracked 
a fugitive slave ; yet Mr. Baring- Gould calls the man an 
" impostor," and speaks of his " expos6 and downfall." And 
what are the grounds on which these harsh terms are 
used ? Merely that at a later period, when brought to 
Paris to satisfy the curiosity of the great and learned, his 
power left him, and he seems to have either had totally 
false impressions or to have told lies to conceal his want of 
power. But how does this in the least affect the question ? 
The fact that he was so easily found out at Paris, or 
rather that he there possessed no extraordinary powers, 
would surely prove rather that there could not possibly 
have been any imposture in the former case when he stood 
every test, and instead of failing, succeeded. He can only 
be proved an impostor by proving all the witnesses to be 
also impostors, or by showing that no such crime was ever 
committed or ever discovered. This, however, neither Mr. 
Baring-Gould nor any one else has ever attempted to do ; 
and we must therefore conclude that the murder was 
really discovered by Jacques Aymar in the manner de- 
scribed, and that he undoubtedly possessed the equivalent 
of a new sense in many respects resembling the powers of 
some modern clairvoyants. 

The subject of Animal Magnetism is still so much a dis- 
puted one among scientific men, and many of its alleged 
phenomena so closely border on, if they do not actually 
reach, what is classed as supernatural, that I wish to give a 
few illustrations of the kind of facts by whichit is supported. 
I will first quote the evidence of Dr. William Gregory, late 
Professor of Chemistry in the University of Edinburgh, 
who for many years made continued personal investigations 



62 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

into this subject, and has recorded them in his Letters on 
Animal Magnetism, published in 1851. The simpler phe- 
nomena of what are usually termed " Hypnotism " and 
" Electro-Biology " are now universally admitted to be 
real ; though it must never be forgotten that they too had 
to fight their way through the same denials, accusations, 
and imputations that are now made against clairvoyance 
and phreno-mesmerism. The same men who advocated, 
tested, and established the truth of the more simple 
facts, claim that they have done the same for the higher 
phenomena ; the same class of scientific and medical men 
who once denied the former, now deny the latter. Let 
us see, then, if the evidence for the one is as good as it was 
for the other. 

Dr. Gregory defines several stages of clairvoyance, some- 
times existing in the same, sometimes in different patients. 
The chief division, however, is into 1. Sympathy or thought- 
reading, and 2. True clairvoyance. The evidence for the 
first is so overwhelming, it is to be met with almost every- 
where, and is so generally admitted, that I shall not occupy 
space by giving examples, although it is, I believe, still 
denied by the more materialistic physiologists. We will, 
therefore, confine our attention to the various phases of 
true clairvoyance. 

Dr. Haddock, residing at Bolton, had a very remarkable 
clairvoyante (E.) under his care. Dr. Gregory says, " After 
I returned to Edinburgh, I had very frequent communica- 
tion with Dr. H., and tried many experiments with this 
remarkable subject, sending specimens of writing, locks of 
hair, and other objects, the origin of which was perfectly 
unknown to Dr. H., and in every case, without exception, 
E. saw and described with accuracy the persons con- 
cerned " (p. 403). 

Sir Walter C. Trevelyan, Bart., received a letter from a 



OD-FORCE, ANIMAL MAGNETISM, AND CLAIRVOYANCE 63 

lady in London, in which the loss of a gold watch was 
mentioned. He sent the letter to Dr. H. to see if E. could 
trace the watch. She described the lady accurately, and 
her house and furniture minutely, and described the watch 
and chain, and described the person who had it, who, she 
said, was not a habitual thief, and said further that she could 
tell her handwriting. The lady, to whom these accounts 
were sent, acknowledged their perfect accuracy, but said 
the description of the thief applied to one of her maids 
whom she did not suspect, so she sent several pieces of 
handwriting, including that of both her maids. The clair- 
voyante immediately selected that of the one she had 
described, and said "she was thinking of restoring the 
watch, saying she had found it." Sir W. Trevelyan wrote 
with this information, but a letter from the lady crossed 
his, saying the girl mentioned before by the clairvoyante 
had restored the watch and said she had found it (p. 405). 

Sir W. Trevelyan communicated to Dr. Gregory another 
experiment he had made. He requested the Secretary of 
the Geographical Society to send him the writing of several 
persons abroad, not known to him, and without their names. 
Three were sent. E. discovered in each case where they 
were ; in two of them described their persons accurately ; 
described in all three cases the cities and countries in 
which they were, so that they could be easily recognised, 
and told the time by the clocks, which verified the place 
by difference of longitude (p. 407). 

Many other cases, equally well tested, are given in great 
detail by Dr. Gregory ; and numerous cases are given of 
tests of what may be called simple direct clairvoyance. 
For example, persons going to see the phenomena purchase 
in any shop they please a few dozens of printed mottoes 
enclosed in nutshells. These are placed in a bag, and the 
clairvoyante takes out a nutshell and reads the motto. 



64 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

The shell is then broken open and examined, and hundreds 
of mottoes have been thus read correctly. One motto thus 
read contained ninety-eight words. Numbers of other 
equally severe test cases are given by Dr. Gregory, devised 
and tried by himself and by other well-known persons. 

Now, will it be believed, that in the very elaborate 
article in the British and Foreign Medico -Chirurgical 
Jteview, already referred to, on Dr. Gregory's and other 
works of an allied nature, not one single experiment of this 
land is mentioned or alluded to ? There is a great deal of 
general objection to Dr. Gregory's views, because he was a 
chemist and not specially devoted to physiology (forgetting 
that Dr. Elliotson and Dr. Mayo, who testify to similar 
facts, were both specially devoted to physiology), and a few 
quotations of a general nature only are given ; so that no 
reader could imagine that the work criticised was the 
result of observation or experiment at all. The case is a 
complete illustration of judicial blindness. The opponents 
dare not impute wilful falsehood to Dr. Gregory, Dr. Mayo, 
Dr. Haddock, Sir Walter Trevelyan, Sir T. Willshire, and 
other gentlemen who vouch for these facts ; and yet the 
facts are of such an unmistakable nature, that without 
imputing wilful falsehood they cannot be explained away. 
They are therefore silently ignored, or more probably the 
records of them are never read. But the silence or con- 
tempt of our modern scientific men cannot blind the world 
any longer to those grand and mysterious phenomena of 
mind, the investigation of which can alone conduct us to 
a knowledge of what we really are. 

Dr. Herbert Mayo, F.RS., late Professor of Anatomy 
and Physiology in King's College, and of Comparative 
Anatomy in the Royal College of Surgeons, also gives his 
personal testimony to facts of a similar nature. In his 
Letters on the Truths contained in Popular Superstitions 



OD-FORCE, ANIMAL MAGNETISM, AND CLAIRVOYANCE 65 

(2nd edit., p. 178), he says : " From Boppard, where I was 
residing in the years 1845-46, I sent to an American 

gentleman in Paris a lock of hair, which Col. C , an 

invalid then under my care, had cut from his own head 
and wrapped in writing-paper from his own writing-desk. 

Col. C was unknown even by name to this American 

gentleman, who had no clue whatever whereby to identify 
the proprietor of the hair. And all that he did was to 
place the paper in the hands of a noted Parisian somnam- 
bulist. She stated, in the opinion she gave on the case, 

that Col. C had partial palsy of the hips and legs, and 

that for another complaint he was in the habit of using a 
surgical instrument. The patient laughed heartily at the 
idea of the distant somnambulist having so completely 
realised him." 

Dr. Mayo also announces his conversion to a belief in 
the truth of phrenology and phreno-mesmerism, and Dr. 
Gregory gives copious details of experiments in which 
special care has been taken to avoid all the supposed 
sources of fallacy in phreno-mesmerism ; yet, although Dr. 
Mayo's work is included in the criticism already referred 
to, none of the facts he himself testifies to, nor the latest 
opinions he puts forward, are so much as once mentioned. 

Dr. Joseph Haddock, the physician resident and prac- 
tising at Bolton who has been already mentioned, has 
published a work entitled Somnolism and Psycheism, in 
which he endeavours to classify the facts of mesmerism 
and clairvoyance, and to account for them on physiological 
and psychical principles. The work is well worth reading, 
but my purpose here is to bring forward one or two facts 
from those which he gives in an appendix to his work. 
Nothing is more common than for those who deny the 
reality of clairvoyance to ask contemptuously, "If it is 
true, why is not use made of it to discover lost property, or 

v. 



66 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

to get news from abroad ? " To such I commend the follow- 
ing statement, of which I can only give an abstract. 

On Wednesday evening, December the 20th, 1848, Mr. 
Wood, grocer, of Cheapside, Bolton, had his cash-box with 
its contents stolen from his counting-house. He applied 
to the police and could get no clue, though he suspected 
one individual. He then came to Dr. Haddock to see if 
the girl, Emma, could discover the thief or the property. 
When put in rapport with Emma, she was asked about the 
lost cash-box, and after a few moments she began to talk 
as if to some one not present, described where the box was, 
what were its contents, how the person took it, where he 
first hid it ; and then described the person, dress, associa- 
tions of the thief so vividly, that Mr. Wood recognised a 
person he had not the least suspected. Mr. Wood imme- 
diately sought out this person, and gave him the option of 
coming at once to Dr. Haddock's or to the police-office. 
He chose the former, and when he came into the room 
Emma started back, told him he was a bad man, and had 
not on the same clothes as when he took the box. He at 
first denied all knowledge of the robbery, but after a time 
acknowledged that he had taken it exactly in the manner 
described by Emma, and it was accordingly recovered. 

Now as the names, place, and date of this occurrence are 
given, and it is narrated by an English physician, it can 
hardly be denied without first making some inquiry at the 
place where it is said to have happened. The next instance 
is of clairvoyance at a much greater distance. A young 
man had sailed suddenly from Liverpool for New York. His 
parents immediately remitted him some money by the mail- 
steamer, but they heard, some time afterwards, that he had 
never applied for it. The mother came twenty miles to 
Bolton to see if, by Emma's means, she could learn any- 
thing of him. After a little time Emma found him, de- 



OD-FORCE, ANIMAL MAGNETISM, AND CLAIRVOYANCE 67 

scribed his appearance correctly, and entered into so many 
details as to induce his mother to rely upon her statements, 
and to request Dr. Haddock to make inquiries at intervals 
of about a fortnight. He did so, traced the young man by 
her means to several places, and the information thus ac- 
quired was sent to his parents. Shortly after, Dr. Haddock 
received information from the father that a letter had 
arrived from his son, and that "it was a most striking 
confirmation of Emma's testimony from first to last." 

Dr. Edwin Lee, in his work on Animal Magnetism, 
gives an account of fourteen stances at Brighton in private 
houses with Alexis Didier, the well-known clairvoyant. 
On every one of these occasions he played at cards blind- 
folded, often naming his adversary's cards as well as his 
own, read numbers of cards written by the visitors and 
enclosed in envelopes, read any line as^ed for in any book 
eight or ten pages farther on than the page opened, and 
described the contents of numbers of boxes, card-cases, and 
other envelopes. Dr. Lee also gives an account of the cele- 
brated Robert Houdin's interview with Alexis, when similar 
tests were applied by that great conjuror, who brought his 
own cards and dealt them himself, and yet Alexis immedi- 
ately told his every card in both the hands without turning 
them up. Houdin took a book from his pocket and open- 
ing it, asked Alexis to read a line at a particular level eight 
pages in advance. The clairvoyant stuck a pin in to mark 
the line and read four words which were found on the 
corresponding line at the ninth page forward. Houdin 
proclaimed it " stupefying," and the next day signed this 
declaration : "I cannot help stating that the facts above 
related are scrupulously exact, and the more I reflect upon 
them, the more impossible do I find it to class them among 
the tricks which are the object of my art." 

A fortnight later he sent a letter to M. de Mirville (by 



68 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

whom he had been introduced to Alexis) giving an account 
of a second stance, where the same results were repeated, 
and concluding : " I therefore came away from this stance 
as astonished as any one can be, and fully convinced that 
it would be quite impossible for any one to produce such 
surprising effects by mere skill." 

The late Mr. H. G. Atkinson, F.G.S., showed me one of 
the tests of clairvoyance by Adolphe Didier, brother of 
Alexis, which he saw produced himself at a private house in 
London. A well-known nobleman wrote a word at the 
bottom of a piece of paper which he folded over repeatedly, 
so that it was covered by five or six layers of paper. It 
was then given to Adolphe, who was surrounded by a 
circle of observers while he wrote with a pencil outside 
what had been written within. The curious point is that 
he made several trials and crossed them out again, but at 
length wrote the exact word, the others being approxima- 
tions to it. This is very curious, and indicates the exist- 
ence of a new sense, a kind of rudimentary perception, 
which can only get at the exact truth by degrees, and it 
corresponds remarkably with the manner in which clair- 
voyants generally describe objects. They do not say at 
once, " It is a medal," but " It is metal," " It is round and 
flat," " It has writing on it," and so on. 

Now, when we have the evidence of Dr. Gregory, 
Dr. Mayo, Dr. Lee, Dr. Haddock, and of hundreds of other 
equally honest if not equally capable men who have wit- 
nessed similar facts, is it a satisfactory solution of the 
difficulty that all of these persons in every case were the 
victims of imposture ? Medical men are not very easily 
imposed on, especially in a matter which they can observe 
and test repeatedly ; and when we find that such a cele- 
brated professor of legerdemain asHoudin not only detected 
no imposture, but declared the phenomena impossible to be 



OD-FORCE, ANIMAL MAGNETISM, AND CLAIRVOYANCE 69 

the effect of skill or trick, we have a complete answer to 
all who, without investigation, proclaim the whole a cheat. 
In this case it is clear that there is no room for self-decep- 
tion. Either every one of the cases of clairvoyance yet 
recorded (and they certainly number thousands) is the 
result of imposture, or we have ample proof that certain 
individuals possess a new sense of which it is probable we 
all have the rudiments, If ordinary vision were as rare 
as clairvoyance, it would be just as difficult to prove its 
reality as it is now to establish the reality of this won- 
derful power. The evidence in its favour is absolutely 
conclusive to any one who will examine it, and who is not 
deluded by that most unphilosophical dogma that he 
knows a priori what is possible and what is impossible. 

In a paper by Dr. T. Edwards Clark, of New York, on 
the Physiology of Trance, which appeared in the Quarterly 
Journal of Psychological Medicine, it is stated that a cata- 
leptic patient was under the care of M. Despine, late 
Inspector of the Mineral Waters of Aix, in Savoy, who 
says of her : " Not only could our patient hear by means 
of the palms of her hands, but we have seen her read 
without the assistance of the eyes, merely with the tips of 
the fingers, which she passed rapidly over the page that 
she wished to read. At other times we have seen her copy 
a letter word for word, reading it with her left elbow while 
she wrote with her right hand. During these proceedings 
a thick pasteboard completely intercepted any visual ray that 
might have reached her eyes. The same phenomenon was 
manifested at the soles of her feet, on the epigastrium, and 
other parts of the body." 

Dr. Clark adds : " There are many other cases equally 
as strange as these that have [been noted by different 
persons standing high in the medical profession." 

The above test of holding a pasteboard before the eyes 



70 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

is one which Dr. Carpenter informed me he considered 
inconclusive, as he found that supposed clairvoyants always 
failed to see through it. But it is evident that he had 
never met with a case of very perfect clairvoyance like 
that above described. 1 

We will now pass to the evidence for the facts of what 
is termed Modern Spiritualism. 

1 Not one of the important facts mentioned in this chapter, on the 
authority of medical men, nor any others of a like nature to be found 
in the works here quoted, are taken notice of by Dr. Carpenter in 
his elaborate work on Mental Physiology, in which he nevertheless 
boldly attempts to settle the whole question of the reality of such facts ! 
It is, we suppose, owing to his limited space that, in a work of over 
700 pages, none of the well-attested facts opposed to his views could be 
brought to the notice of his readers. 



THE EVIDENCE OP THE REALITY OF APPARITIONS 71 



V 

THE EVIDENCE OF THE REALITY OF APPARITIONS 

I now propose to give a few instances in which the 
evidence of the appearance of preter-humau or spiritual 
beings is as good and definite as it is possible for any 
evidence of any fact to be. For this purpose I shall use 
some of the remarkable cases collected and investigated 
by the late Eobert Dale Owen, formerly member of 
Congress and American Minister at Naples. Mr. Owen 
is the author of works of a varied character; JSssays, 
Moral Physiology, The Policy of Emancipation, and many 
others. He was, I believe, throughout his life a consistent 
and philosophical sceptic, and his writings show him to 
have been well educated, logical, and extremely cautious 
in accepting evidence. 

In 1855, during his official residence at Naples, his 
attention seems to have been first attracted to the sub- 
ject of the " supernatural " by witnessing the phenomena 
occurring in the presence of Mr. Home. He tells us that 
" sitting in his own well-lighted apartment, in company 
with three or four friends, all curious observers like him- 
self," a table and lamp weighing ninety-six pounds "rose 
eight or ten inches from the floor, and remained suspended 
in the air while one might .count six or seven, the hands 
of all present being laid upon the table." 

And on another occasion he states: "In the dining- 
room of a French nobleman, the Count d'Ourches, residing 
near Paris, I saw on the first day of October 1858, in 
broad daylight, at the close of a dejetiner a la fourchette, a 



72 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

dinner-table seating seven persons, with fruit and wine 
on it, rise and settle down as already described, while all 
the guests were standing around it, and not one of them 
touching it. All present saw the same thing." 

He then commenced collecting evidence of so-called 
supernatural phenomena, occurring unsought for, and has 
brought together, in his Footfalls on the Boundary of An- 
other World, one of the best arranged and best authenti- 
cated series of facts which have yet been given to the 
public on this subject. 

This work will certainly rank among the most philoso- 
phical that have yet appeared upon the subject of which 
it treats; and perhaps had it been entitled "A Critical 
Examination into the Evidence of the Supernatural," 
which it really is, it would have attracted more attention 
than it appears to have done. 

Nothing is more common than the assertion that all 
supposed apparitions, when not impostures, are hallucina- 
tions; because, it is said, there is no well-authenticated 
case of an apparition having been seen by two persons at 
once. It is therefore advisable to give an outline here of 
one case of this kind, which is given more fully at p. 278 
of Mr. Owen's book. 

Sir John Sherbroke and G eneral George Wynyard were 
Captain and Lieutenant in the 33rd Regiment, stationed 
in the year 1785 at Sydney, in the island of Cape Breton, 
Nova Scotia. On the 15th of October of that year, 
about nine in the morning, as they were sitting together 
at coffee in Wynyard's parlour, Sherbroke, happening to 
look up, saw the figure of a pale youth standing at a door 
leading into the passage. He called the attention of his 
companion to the stranger, who passed slowly through the 
room into the adjoining bed-chamber. Wynyard, on see- 
ing the figure, turned as pale as death, grasped his friend's 



THE EVIDENCE OF THE REALITY OF APPARITIONS 73 

arm, and, as soon as it had disappeared, exclaimed, " Great 
God ! iny brother ! " Sherbroke thinking there was some 
trick, had a search immediately made, but could find no 
one either in the bedroom or about the premises. A 
brother officer, Lieutenant Gore, coming in at the time, 
assisted in the search, and at his suggestion Sherbroke 
made a memorandum of the date, and all waited with 
anxiety for letters from England, where Wynyard's brother 
was. The expected letter came to Captain Sherbroke, 
asking him to break to his friends the news of his brother 
John's death, which had occurred on the day and hour 
when he had been seen by the two officers. In 1823 
Lieutenant-Colonel Gore gave his account in writing to 
Sir John Harvey, Adjutant-General of the Forces in 
Canada. He also stated that some years afterwards Sir 
John Sherbroke, who had never seen John Wynyard alive, 
recognised in England a brother of the deceased, who was 
remarkably like him, by the resemblance to the figure he 
had seen in Canada. Mr. Owen has obtained additional 
proof of the correctness of these details from Captain 
Henry Scott, R.N., who was told by General Paul Ander- 
son, C.B., that Sir John Sherbroke had, shortly before his 
death, related the story to him in almost exactly the same 
words as Mr. Owen has given it, and which was communi- 
cated in manuscript to Captain Scott. 

The evidence in this case of the fact of the appearance 
of the same apparition to two people (one of whom did 
not know the individual) is very complete ; and I cannot 
rest satisfied with any theory which requires me to reject 
such evidence without offering any intelligible explanation 
of what occurred. 

I will now give an abstract of a few more of Mr. Owen's 
cases, to illustrate their general character and the careful 
manner in which they have been authenticated and tested. 



74 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

The first is one which he calls "The Fourteenth of 
November." (Footfalls, p. 299.) 

On the night between the 14th and 15th November 
1857, the wife of Captain G. Wheatcroft, residing in Cam- 
bridge, dreamed that she saw her husband (then in India). 
She immediately awoke, and looking up, she perceived the 
same figure standing by her bedside. He appeared in his 
uniform, the hands pressed across the breast, the hair 
dishevelled, the face very pale. His large dark eyes were 
fixed full upon her; their expression was that of great 
excitement, and there was a peculiar contraction of the 
mouth, habitual to him when agitated. She saw him, 
even to each minute particular of his dress, as distinctly as 
she had ever done in her life. The figure seemed to bend 
forward as if in pain, and to make an effort to speak, but 
there was no sound. It remained visible, the wife thinks, 
as long as a minute, and then disappeared. She did not 
sleep again that night. Next morning she related all this 
to her mother, expressing her belief that Captain W. was 
either killed or wounded. In due course a telegram was 
received to the effect that Captain W. had been killed 
before Lucknow on the 15th of November. The widow 
informed the Captain's solicitor, Mr. Wilkinson, that she 
had been quite prepared for the fatal news, but she felt 
sure there was a mistake of a day in the date of his death. 
Mr. Wilkinson then obtained a certificate from the War 
Office, which was as follows : 

"9579. 

NO. . 

" WAR OFFICE, 30th January 1858. 

" These are to certify that it appears, by the records in this office, 
that Captain G. Wheatcroft, of the 6th Dragoon Guards, was killed 
in action on the 15th of November 1857. 

(Signed) " B. HAWES. 



THE EVIDENCE OF THE REALITY OF APPARITIONS 75 

A remarkable incident now occurred. Mr. Wilkinson 
was visiting a friend in London, whose wife has all her 
life had perception of apparitions, while her husband is a 
" medium." He related to them the vision of the Captain's 
widow, and described the figure as it appeared to her, when 
Mrs. N. instantly said, " That must be the very person I 
saw on the evening we were talking of India." In answer 
to Mr. Wilkinson's questions, she said they had obtained a 
communication from him through her husband, and he had 
said that he had been killed in India that afternoon by a 
wound in the breast. It was about nine o'clock in the 
evening : she did not recollect the date. On further in- 
quiry, she remembered that she had been interrupted by 
a tradesman, and had paid a bill that evening ; and on 
bringing it for Mr. Wilkinson's inspection, the receipt bore 
date the Fourteenth of November. In March 1858, the 
family of Captain Wheatcroft received a letter from Cap- 
tain G C , dated Lucknow, 19th of December 

1857, in which he said he had been close to Captain W. 
when he fell, and that it was on the fourteenth in the after- 
noon, and not on the 15th, as reported in Sir Colin Camp- 
bell's despatches. He was struck by a fragment of shell 
in the breast. He was buried at Dilkoosha, and on a wooden 
cross at the head of his grave are cut the initials G. W., 
and the date of his death, 14th of November. The War 
Office corrected their mistake. Mr. Wilkinson obtained 
another copy of the certificate in April 1859, and found 
it in the same words as that already given, only that the 
14th of November had been substituted for the 15th. 

Mr. Owen obtained the whole of these facts directly from 
the parties themselves. The widow of Captain Wheatcroft 
examined and corrected his MSS., and showed him a copy 
of Captain C.'s letter. Mr. Wilkinson did the same; and 
Mrs. N herself related to him the facts which occurred 



76 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

to her. Mrs. N had also related the circumstances to 

Mr. Howitt before Mr. Owen's investigations, as he cer- 
tifies in his History of the Supernatural, vol. ii. p. 225. 
Mr. Owen also states that he has in his possession both 
the War Office certificates, the first showing the erroneous, 
and the second the corrected date. 

Here we have the same apparition appearing to two 
ladies unknown to and remote from each other on the same 
night ; the communication obtained through a third person, 
declaring the time and mode of death ; and all coinciding 
exactly with the events happening many thousand miles 
away. We presume the facts thus attested will not be 
disputed ; and to attribute the whole to " coincidence" 
must surely be too great a stretch of credulity, even for 
the most incredulous. 

The next case is one of haunting, and is called 

THE OLD KENT MANOR HOUSE (p. 304). 

In October 1857, and for several months afterwards, 
Mrs. K., the wife of a field-officer of high rank, was resid- 
ing in Eamhurst Manor House, near Leigh, in Kent. From 
her first occupying it, every inmate of the house was more 
or less disturbed at night by knocking, and sounds as of 
footsteps, but more especially by voices, which could not 
be accounted for. Mrs. E.'s brother, a young officer, heard 
these voices at night, and tried every means to discover 
the source of them in vain. The servants were much 
frightened. On the second Saturday in October, Miss S., 
a young lady who had been in the habit of seeing appari- 
tions from her childhood, came to visit Mrs. R., who met 
her at the railway station. On arriving at the house, Miss 
S. saw on the threshold two figures, apparently an elderly 
couple, in old-fashioned dress. Not wishing to make her 
friend uneasy, she said nothing about them at the time. 



THE EVIDENCE OF THE REALITY OF APPARITIONS 77 

During the next ten days she saw the same figures several 
times in different parts of the house, always by daylight. 
They appeared surrounded by an atmosphere of a neutral 
tint. On the third occasion they spoke to her, and said 
that they had formerly possessed that house, and that their 
name was Children. They appeared sad and downcast, 
and said that they had idolised their property, and that 
it troubled them to know that it had passed away from 
their family, and was now in the hands of strangers. On 
Mrs. R asking Miss S. if she had heard or seen anything, 
she related this to her. Mrs. E. had herself heard the 
noises and voices continually, but had seen nothing, and 
after a month had given up all expectation of doing so, 
when one day, as she had just finished dressing for dinner, 
in a well-lighted room with a .fire in it, and was coming 
down hastily, having been repeatedly called by her brother 
who was impatiently waiting for her, she beheld the two 
figures standing in the doorway, dressed just as Miss S. 
had described them, but above the figure of the lady, 
written in the dusky atmosphere in letters of phosphoric 
light, the words "Dame Children," and some other words 
intimating that she was " earth-bound." At this moment 
her brother again called out to her that dinner was waiting, 
and, closing her eyes, she rushed through the figures. 
Inquiries were made by the ladies as to who had lived in 
the house formerly, and it was only after four months 
that they found out, through a very old woman, who 
remembered an old man, who had told her that he had in 
his boyhood assisted to keep the hounds for the Children 
family, who then lived at Eamhurst. All these particulars 
Mr. Owen received himself from the two ladies in Decem- 
ber 1858. Miss S. had had many conversations with the 
apparitions, and on Mr. Owen's inquiring for any details 
they had communicated, she told him that the husband 



78 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPKRNATURAL 

had said his name was Richard, and that he had died in 
1753. Mr. Owen now determined, if possible, to ascertain 
the accuracy of these facts, and after a long search among 
churchyards and antiquarian clergymen, he was directed 
to the " Hasted Papers " in the British Museum. From 
these he ascertained that " Richard Children settled him- 
self at Kamhurst," his family having previously resided at 
a house called " Childrens," in the parish of Tunbridge. It 
required further research to determine the date. This was 
found several months later in an old "History of Kent," 
by the same "Hasted," published in 1778, where it is 
stated that " Ramhurst passed by sale to Richard Children, 
Esq., who resided here, and died possessed of it in 1753, 
aged eighty-three years." In the " Hasted Papers " it was 
also stated that his son did not live at Ramhurst, and that 
the family seat after Richard's time was Ferox Hall, near 
Tunbridge. Since 1816 the mansion has been occupied 
as a farmhouse, having passed away entirely from the 
Children family. 

However much any one of these incidents might have 
been scouted as a delusion, what are we to say to the com- 
bination of them ? A whole household hear distinct and 
definite noises of persons walking and speaking. Two 
ladies see the same appearances, at different times, and 
under circumstances 'the least favourable for delusion. 
The name is given to one by voice, to the other by writing ; 
the date of death is communicated. An independent in- 
quirer, by much research, finds out that all these facts are 
true : that the Christian name of the only " Children " 
who occupied and died in the house was Richard, and 
that his death took place in the year given by the appari- 
tion, 1753. 

Mr. Owen's own full account of this case and the obser- 
vations on it should be read, but this imperfect abstract 



THE EVIDENCE OF THE REALITY OF APPARITIONS 79 

will serve to show that none of the ordinary modes of 
escaping from the difficulties of a "ghost story " are here 
applicable. 

DISTURBANCES AT CIDEVILLE IN FRANCE. 

At page 195 of Mr. Owen's volume we have a most 
interesting account of disturbances occurring at the par- 
sonage of Cideville, in the department of Seine Infe'rieure, 
France, in the winter of 1850-51. The circumstances 
gave rise to a trial, and the whole of the facts were 
brought out by the examination of a great number of 
witnesses. The Marquis de Mirville collected from the 
legal record all the documents connected with the trial, 
including the procbs verbal of the testimony. It is from 
these official documents Mr. Owen gives his details of the 
occurrences. 

The disturbances commenced from the time when two 
boys, aged 12 and 14, came to be educated by M. Tinel, 
the parish priest of Cideville, and continued two months 
and a half, until the children were removed from the par- 
sonage. They consisted of knockings as if with a hammer 
on the wainscot, scratchings, shakings of the house so 
that all the furniture rattled, a din as if every one in the 
house were beating the floor with mallets, the beatings 
forming tunes when asked, and answering questions by 
numbers agreed on. Besides these noises there were 
strange and unaccountable exhibitions of force. The 
tables and desks moved about without visible cause ; the 
fire-irons flew repeatedly into the middle of the room, 
windows were broken ; a hammer was thrown into the 
middle of the room, and yet fell without noise, as if put 
down by an invisible hand ; persons standing quite alone 
had their dresses pulled. On the Mayor of Cideville 
coming to examine into the matter, a table at which he 



80 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

sat with another person, moved away in spite of their 
endeavours to hold it back, while the children were 
standing in the middle of the room ; and many other 
facts of a similar nature were observed repeatedly by 
numerous persons of respectability and position, every 
one of whom, going with the intention of finding out a 
trick, were, after deliberate examination, convinced that 
the phenomena were not produced by any person present. 
The Marquis de Mirville was himself one of the witnesses. 
The interest of this case consists, first, in the evidence 
having been brought out before a legal tribunal ; and 
secondly, in the remarkable resemblance of the phenomena 
to those which had occurred a short time previously in 
America, but had not yet become much known in Europe. 
There is also the closest resemblance to what occurred at 
Epworth Parsonage in the family of Wesley's father, and 
which is almost equally well authenticated. 1 Now when 

1 In an article entitled " Spirit Rapping a Century Ago," in an early 
number of the Fortnightly Review, an account is given of the disturbances 
at Epworth Parsonage, the residence of the Wesley family, and it is 
attempted to account for them by the supposition that they were entirely 
produced by Hester Wesley, one of John Wesley's sisters ; yet the pheno- 
mena, even as related by this writer, are such as no human being could 
possibly have produced, while the moral difficulties of the case are admitted 
to be quite as great as the physical ones. Every reader of the article must 
have perceived how lame and impotent is the explanation suggested ; and 
one is almost forced to conclude that the writer did not believe in it him- 
self, so different is the tone of the first part of the article in which he 
details the facts, from the latter part in which he attempts to account for 
them. When taken in connection with other similar occurrences narrated 
by Mr. Owen, all equally well authenticated, and all thoroughly investi- 
gated at the time, it will be impossible to receive as an explanation that 
they were in every case mere childish tricks, since that will not account 
for more than a minute fraction of the established facts. If we are to 
reject all the facts this assumption will not explain, it will be much 
simpler and quite as satisfactory to deny that there are any facts that 
need explaining. 



81 

in three different countries, phenomena occur of an exactly 
similar nature and which are all open to the fullest exa- 
mination at the time, and when no trick or delusion is 
in either case found out, but every individual of many 
hundreds who go to see them become convinced of their 
reality, the fact of the similarity of the occurrences even 
in many details is of great weight, as indicating a similar 
natural origin. In such cases we cannot fairly accept 
the general explanation of "imposture," given by those 
who have not witnessed the phenomena, when none of 
those who did witness them could ever detect imposture. 
The examples I have quoted give a very imperfect idea 
of the variety and interest of Mr. Owen's work, but they 
will serve to indicate the nature of the evidence he has in 
every case adduced, and may lead some of my readers to 
examine the work itself. If they do so, they will see that 
similar phenomena to those which puzzled our forefathers 
at Epworth Parsonage, and at Mr. Mompesson's at Ted- 
worth, have recurred in our own time, and have been sub- 
jected to the most searching examination, without any 
discovery of trick or imposture ; and they may perhaps 
be led to conclude that, though often asserted, it is not yet 
quite proved that "ghosts have been everywhere banished 
by the introduction of gaslight." 



82 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF TBE SUPERNATURAL 



VI 

MODERN SPIRITUALISM: EVIDENCE OF MEN 
OF SCIENCE 

We have now come to the consideration of what is more 
especially termed " Modern Spiritualism," or those pheno- 
mena which occur only in the presence or through the 
influence of peculiarly constituted individuals, hence 
termed " mediums." The evidence is here so abundant, 
coming from various parts of the world, and from persons 
differing widely in education, tastes, and religion, that it is 
difficult to give any notion of its force and bearing by short 
extracts. I will first adduce that of three men of the 
highest eminence in their respective departments Pro- 
fessor De Morgan, Professor Hare, and Judge Edmonds. 

The late AUGUSTUS DE MORGAN, many years Professor 
of Mathematics and afterwards Dean of University Col- 
lege London, was educated at Cambridge, where he took 
his degree as fourth wrangler. He studied for the bar, 
and was a voluminous writer on mathematics, logic, and 
biography. He was for eighteen years Secretary to the 
Eoyal Astronomical Society, and was a strong advocate 
for a decimal coinage. In 1863 a work appeared entitled 
From Matter to Spirit, the Result of Ten Years' Experience 
in Spirit Manifestations, by C. D., with a preface by A. B. 
It is very generally known that A. B. is Professor De 
Morgan, and C. D. Mrs. De Morgan. The internal evi- 
dence of the preface is sufficient to all who know the 
Professor's style ; it has been frequently imputed to him 
in print without contradiction, and in the Athenceum for 
1865, in the " Budget of Paradoxes," he notices the work 



SPIRITUALISM : EVIDENCE OF MEN OF SCIENCE 83 

in such a manner as to show that he accepts the imputation 
of the authorship, and still holds the opinions therein ex- 
pressed. 1 From this preface, which is well worth reading 
for its vigorous and sarcastic style, I proceed to give a few 
extracts : 

" I am satisfied from the evidence of my own senses of 
some of the facts narrated (in the body of the work), of 
some others I have evidence as good as testimony can give. 
I am perfectly convinced that I have both seen and heard, 
in a manner that should make unbelief impossible, things 
called spiritual, which cannot be taken by a rational being 
to be capable of explanation by imposture, coincidence, or 
mistake. So far I feel the ground firm under me " (p. 1). 

" The Spiritualists, beyond a doubt, are in the track that 
has led to all advancement in physical science ; their oppo- 
nents are the representatives of those who have striven 
against progress." . . . 

"I have said that the deluded spirit-rappers are on the 
right track : they have the spirit and the method of the 
grand times when those paths were cut through the un- 
cleared forest in which it is now the daily routine to walk. 
What was that spirit? It was the spirit of universal 
examination wholly unchecked by fear of being detected 
in the investigation of nonsense. 

" But to those who know the truth of facts, and who do 
not know what can and what cannot be, it will appear on 
reflection that the most probable direction of inquiry the 
best chance of eliciting a satisfactory result, is that which 
is suggested by the spirit hypothesis. I mean the hypo- 
thesis that some intelligence which is not that of any 
human being clothed in flesh and blood, has a direct share 
in the phenomena. 

1 The work has been since advertised as by Professor and Mrs. De 
Moryan. 



84 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE StJPEfcNATtJRAL 

" Take the hypothesis on its own A priori probability, 
and compare it with that of attraction. Suppose a person 
wholly new to both subjects, wholly undrilled both in 
theology and physics. He is to choose between two asser- 
tions, one true and one false, and to lose his life if he 
choose the false one. The first assertion is that there are 
incorporeal intelligences in the universe, and that they 
sometimes communicate with men ; the second is that the 
particles of the stars in the Milky Way give infinitesimal 
permanent pulls to the particles of our earth. I suppose 
that most men among those who have all-existing pre- 
possessions would feel rather puzzled to know which 
they would have chosen had they been situated as above 
described." . . . 

"My state of mind, which refers the whole either to 
some unseen intelligence, or something which man has 
never had any conception of, proves me to be out of the 
pale of the Royal Society." . . . 

" Of the future state we are informed by some theolo- 
gians, but quite out of their own heads, that all wants will 
be supplied without effort, and all doubts resolved without 
thought. This a state ! not a bit of it ; a mere phase of 
non-existence ; annihilation with a consciousness of it. 
The rapping spirits know better than that ; their views, 
should they really be human impostures, are very, very 
singular. In spite of the inconsistencies, the eccentricities, 
and the puerilities which some of them have exhibited, 
there is a uniform vein of description running through their 
accounts, which, supposing it to be laid down by a combi- 
nation of impostors, is more than remarkable even mar- 
vellous. The agreement is one part of the wonder, it being 
remembered that the ' mediums ' are scattered through the 
world ; but the other and greater part of it is, that the 
impostors, if impostors they be, have combined to oppose 



SPIRITUALISM : EVIDENCE OF MEN OF SCIENCE 85 

all the current ideas of a future state, in order to gain 
belief in the genuineness of their pretensions ! " 

" Ten years ago Mrs. Hayden, the well-known American 
medium, came to my house alone. The sitting began im- 
mediately after her arrival. Eight or nine persons were 
present, of all ages and of all degrees of belief and unbelief 
in the whole thing being imposture. The raps began in the 
usual way. They were to my ear clear, clean, faint sounds 
such as would be said to ring had they lasted. I likened 
them at the time to the noise which the ends of knitting- 
needles would make if dropped from a small distance upon 
a marble slab, and instantly checked by a damper of some 
kind. . . . Mrs. Hayden was seated at some distance from 
the table, and her feet were watched. . . . On being 
asked to put a question to the first spirit, I begged that I 
might be allowed to put my question mentally that is, 
without speaking it, or writing it, or pointing it out to 
myself on an alphabet and that Mrs. Hayden might hold 
both arms extended while the answer was in progress. Both 
demands were instantly granted by a couple of raps. I put 
the question, and desired the answer might be in one word, 
which I assigned, all mentally. I then took the printed 
alphabet, put a book upright before it, and bending my 
eyes upon it, proceeded to point to the letters in the usual 
way. The word chess was given by a rap at each letter. I 
had now reasonable certainty of the following alternative : 
either some thought-reading of a character wholly inexpli- 
cable, or such superhuman acuteness on the part of Mrs. 
Hayden that she could detect the letter I wanted by my 
bearing, though she (seated six feet from the book which 
hid my alphabet) could see neither my hand nor my eye, 
nor at what rate I was going through the letters. I was 
fated to be driven out of the second alternative before the 
evening was done. 



86 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

" At a later period of the evening, when another spirit 
was under examination, I asked him whether he remem- 
bered a certain review which was published soon after his 
death, and whether he could give me the initials of an 
epithet (which happened to be in five words) therein 
applied to himself. Consent having been given, I began 
my way through the alphabet as above ; the only differ- 
ence of circumstances being that a bright table-lamp 
was now between me and the medium. I expected to be 
brought up at, say, the letter F; and when my pencil 
passed that letter without any signal, I was surprised, and 
by the time I came to K or thereabouts, I paused, intend- 
ing to announce a failure. But some one called out, ' You 
have passed it ; I heard a rap long ago.' I began again, 
and distinct raps came first at C, then at D. I was now 
satisfied that the spirit had failed ; but stopping to consider 
a little more, it flashed into my mind that C. D. were his 
own initials, and that he had chosen to commence the 
clause which contained the epithet. I then said nothing 
but ' I see what you are at ; pray go on,' and I then got T 
(for The), then the E I wanted of which not a word had 
been said and then the remaining four initials. I was 
now satisfied that the contents of my mind had been read, 
which could not have been detected by my method of 
pointing to the alphabet, even supposing that could have 
been seen. . . . The things which I have set down were 
the beginning of a long series of experiences, many as re- 
markable as what I have given." From Matter to Spirit, 
Preface, pp. xli., xlii. 

From the body of the same work I give one short ex- 
tract : " The most remarkable instance of table-moving 
with a purpose which ever came under my notice occurred 
at the house of a friend, whose family, like my own, were 
staying at the seaside. My friend's family consisted of six 



SPIRITUALISM : EVIDENCE OF MKN OF SCIENCE 87 

persons, and a gentleman, now the husband of one of the 
daughters, joined them, and I was accompanied by a young 
member of my own family. No paid person was present. 
A gentleman who had been expressing himself in a 
very sceptical manner, not only with reference to spirit 
manifestations, but on the subject of spiritual existence 
generally, sat on a sofa two or three feet from the dining- 
room table, round which we were placed. After sitting 
some time we were directed by the rapping to join hands 
and stand up round the table without touching it. All did 
so for a quarter of an hour ; wondering whether anything 
would happen, or whether we were hoaxed by the unseen 
power. Just as one or two of the party talked of sitting 
down, the old table, which was large enough for eight or 
ten persons, moved entirely by itself as we surrounded and 
followed it with our hands joined, went towards the gen- 
tleman out of the circle, and literally pushed him up to 
the back of the sofa till he called out ' Hold, enough.' " 
From Matter to Spirit, p. 26. 

J. W. EDMONDS, commonly called Judge EDMONDS, was a 
man of considerable eminence. He was elected a member 
of both branches of the State Legislature of New York, 
and was for some time President of the Senate. He was 
at one time Inspector of Prisons, and made great improve- 
ments in the penitentiary system. After passing through 
various lower offices, he was made a Judge of the Supreme 
Court of New York. This is the highest judicial office in 
the State ; he held it for six years, and then resigned, 
solely on account of the outcry raised against him on its 
being known that he had become convinced on the subject 
of Spiritualism. He then resumed his practice at the bar, 
and was elected to the important office of Kecorder of 
New York, which, however, he declined to accept. 

The Judge was first induced by some friends to visit a 



88 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

medium, and being astonished at what he saw, determined 
to investigate the matter, and discover and expose what 
he then believed to be a great imposture. The following 
are some of his experiences given in his work on Spirit 
Manifestations : " 

" On the 23rd April 1851, I was one of a party of nine 
who sat round a centre table, on which a lamp was burn- 
ing, and another lamp was burning on the mantelpiece. 
And then, in plain sight of us all, that table was lifted at 
least a foot from the floor, and shaken backwards and for- 
wards as easily as I could shake a goblet in my hand. 
Some of the party tried to stop it by the exercise of their 
strength, but in vain ; so we all drew back from the table, 
and by the light of those two burning lamps we saw the 
heavy mahogany table suspended in the air." 

At the next stance a variety of extraordinary phenomena 
occurred to him. " As I stood in a corner where no one 
could reach my pocket, I felt a hand thrust into it, and 
found afterwards that six knots had been tried in my 
handkerchief. A bass viol was put into my hand, and 
rested on my foot, and then played upon. My person was 
repeatedly touched, and a chair pulled from under me. I 
felt on one of my arms what seemed to be the grip of an 
iron hand. I felt distinctly the thumb and fingers, the 
palm of the hand, and the ball of the thumb, and it held 
me fast by a power which I struggled to escape from in 
vain. With my other hand I felt all round where the 
pressure was, and satisfied myself that it was no earthly 
hand that was thus holding me fast, nor indeed could it 
be, for I was as powerless in that grip as a fly would be 
in the grasp of my hand. It continued with me till I 
thoroughly felt how powerless I was, and had tried every 
means to get rid of it." Again, as instances of the intelli- 
gence and knowledge of the unseen power, he says that 



SPIRITUALISM : EVIDENCE OF MEN OF SCIENCE 89 

during his journey to Central America, his friends in New 
York were almost daily informed of his condition. On 
returning, he compared his own journal with their notes, 
and found that they had accurately known the day he 
landed, days on which he was unwell or well ; and on one 
occasion it was said he had a headache, and at the very 
hour he was confined to his bed by a sick headache 2000 
miles away. As another example he says, " My daughter 
had gone with her little son to visit some relatives 400 
miles from New York. During her absence, about four 
o'clock in the morning, I was told through this spiritual 
intercourse that the little fellow was very sick. I went 
after him, and found that at the very hour I received that 
intelligence he was very sick ; his mother and aunt were 
sitting up with him, and were alarmed for the result." 
. . . "This will give a general idea of what I was wit- 
nessing two or three times a week for more than a year. 
I was not a believer seeking confirmation of my own 
notions. I was struggling against conviction. I have not 
stopped to detail the precautions which I took to guard 
against deception, self or otherwise. Suffice it to say that 
in that respect I omitted nothing which my ingenuity 
could devise. There was no cavil too captious for me to 
resort to, no scrutiny too rigid or impertinent for me to 
institute, no inquiry too intrusive for me to make." 

In a letter published in the New York Herald, August 
6, 1853, after giving an abstract of his investigations, he 
says : "I went into the investigation originally thinking 
it a deception, and intending to make public my exposure 
of it. Having, from my researches, come to a different 
conclusion, I feel that the obligation to make known the 
result is just as strong. Therefore it is, mainly, that I 
give the result to the world. I say mainly, because there 
is another consideration which influences me, and that is, 



90 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

the desire to extend to others a knowledge which I am 
conscious cannot but make them happier and better." 

I would now ask whether it is possible that Judge 
Edmonds can have been deceived as to these facts, and 
not be insane. Yet he practised at the bar, and was 
in the highest repute as a lawyer till his death, about 
twenty years ago. 

ROBERT HARE, M.D., Emeritus Professor of Chemistry 
in the University of Pennsylvania, was one of the most 
eminent scientific men of America. He distinguished him- 
self by a number of important discoveries (among which 
may be mentioned the oxy-hydrogen blowpipe), and was 
the author of more than 150 papers on scientific subjects, 
besides others on political and moral questions. In 1853 
his attention was first directed to table-turning a~<l allied 
phenomena, and finding that the explanation of Faraday, 
which he had at first received as sufficient, would not 
account for the facts, he set himself to work to devise 
apparatus which would, as he expected, conclusively prove 
that no force was exerted but that of the persons at the 
table. The result was not as he expected, for however he 
varied his experiments, he was in every case only able to 
obtain results which proved that there was a power at 
work not that of any human being present. But in addi- 
tion to the power there was an intelligence, and he was 
thus compelled to believe that existences not human did 
communicate with him. 

It is often asserted by the disbelievers in these pheno- 
mena that no scientific man has fully investigated them. 
This is not true. No one who has not himself inquired 
into the facts has a right even to give an opinion on the 
subject till he knows what has been done by others in the 
investigation ; and to know this it will be necessary for 
him to read carefully, among other works, Hare's Exgeri- 



SPIRITUALISM : EVIDENCE OF MEN OF SCIENCE 91 

mental Investigations of the Spirit Manifestations, which 
has passed through five editions. It is a volume of 460 
closely-printed 8vo pages, and contains, besides the details 
of his experiments, numerous discussions on philosophical, 
moral, and theological questions, which manifest great ' 
acuteness and logical power. The experiments he made 
were all through private mediums, and his apparatus was 
so contrived that the medium could not possibly, under the 
test condition, either produce the motions or direct the 
communications that ensued. For example, the table by 
its movements caused an index to revolve over an alphabet 
on a disc; yet, when the medium could not see the disc, the 
index moved to such letters as to spell out intelligent and 
accurate communications. And when the medium's hands 
were placed upon a truly plane metal plate, supported on 
accurately turned metal balls, so that not the slightest im- 
pulse could be communicated by her to the table, yet the 
table still moved easily and intelligently. In another case 
a medium's hands were suspended in water, so as to have 
no connection with the board on which the water vessel was 
placed, and yet, at request, a force of 18 Ibs. was exerted 
on the boards, as indicated by a spring balance (see pages 
40 to 50). A considerable space is devoted to communi- 
cations received through the means of the above-named 
apparatus, describing the future life of human beings ; 
and, as far as my own judgment goes, these descriptions, 
taken as a whole, give us a far more exalted, and at the 
same time more rational and connected, view of spirit life 
than do the doctrines of any other religion or philosophy ; 
while they are certainly more conducive to morality, and 
inculcate most strongly the importance of cultivating to 
the uttermost every mental faculty with which we are en- 
dowed. Even if it be possible to prove that the supposed 
superhuman source of these communications is a delusion, 



92 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

I would still maintain that, standing on their own merits, 
they give us the best, the highest, the most rational, and 
the most acceptable ideas of a future state, and must prove 
the best incentive to intellectual and moral advancement ; 
and I would call upon every thinker to examine the work 
on this account alone before deciding against it. 

I shall next adduce, very briefly, the testimony of a 
number of well-known and intelligent Englishmen to facts 
of a similar nature witnessed by themselves. 



EVIDENCE OF LITERARY AND PROFESSIONAL MEN 93 



VII 

EVIDENCE OF LITERARY AND PROFESSIONAL MEN 
TO THE FACTS OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

T. ADOLPHUS TROLLOPE was educated at Oxford, and is 
the well-known author of numerous works of high excel- 
lence in the departments of travels, fiction, biography, 
and history. In 1855 he wrote a letter to Mr. Rymer, of 
Ealing, which was published in the Morning Advertiser, 
and is reproduced in Incidents of my Life, 2nd edit., p. 
252, in which he shows the inaccuracy and unfairness of 
Sir David Brewster's account of phenomena occurring in 
the presence of both at Mr. Rymer's house, and concludes 
with these words : "I should not, my dear sir, do all that 
duty, I think, requires of me, in this case, were I to con- 
clude without stating very solemnly that, after very many 
opportunities of witnessing and investigating the pheno- 
mena caused by, or happening to, Mr. Home, I am wholly 
convinced that, be what may their origin and cause and 
nature, they are not produced by any fraud, machinery, 
juggling, illusion, or trickery on his part." Again, in a 
letter to the Athenceum, eight years latter (dated Florence, 
March 21, 1863), he says, " I have been present at very 
many ' sittings ' of Mr. Home in England, many in my 
own house in Florence, some in the house of a friend in 
Florence. . . . My testimony then is this : 1 have seen 
and felt physical facts, wholly and utterly inexplicable, as 
I believe, by any known and generally received physical 
laws. I unhesitatingly reject the theory which considers 
such facts to be produced by means familiar to the best 
professors of legerdemain." 



94 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

An opinion so positive as this, from a man of such 
eminence, who during eight years has had repeated oppor- 
tunities of witnessing, examining, and reflecting on the 
phenomena, must surely be held as of far more value than 
the opposite opinion so frequently put forward by those 
who have either not witnessed them at all, or only on one 
or two occasions. 

JAMES M. GULLY, M.D., author of Neuropathy and 
Nervousness, Simple Treatment of Disease, The Water Cure 
in Chronic Diseases. Of the last work the Athenceum 
said : " Dr. Gully's book is evidently written by a 
well-educated medical man. This work is by far the 
most scientific that we have seen on Hydropathy." Dr. 
Gully was one of the persons present at the celebrated 
stance described in the Cornhill Magazine in 1860 under 
the title " Stranger than Fiction," and he wrote a letter 
to the Morning Star newspaper, confirming the entire 
truthfulness of that article. He says : "I can state 
with the greatest positiveness that the record made in 
the article ' Stranger than Fiction ' is in every particular 
correct ; that the phenomena therein related actually 
took place in the evening meeting ; and, moreover, that 
no trick, machinery, sleight-of-hand, or other artistic con- 
trivance produced what we heard and beheld. I am 
quite as convinced of this last as I am of the facts 
themselves." He then goes on to show the absurdity 
of all suggested explanations of such phenomena as 
Mr. Home's floating across the room, which he both saw 
and felt; and the playing of the accordion in several 
persons' hands, often three yards' distance from Mr. 
Home. But the most important fact is, that Dr. Gully 
became one of Mr. Home's most esteemed friends. He 
received Mr. Home frequently in his house, and had 
ample opportunities of testing the phenomena in private, 



EVIDENCE OF LITERARY AND PROFESSIONAL MEN 95 

and of certainly detecting the gigantic and complicated 
system of deception, if it be such. To most minds this 
will be stronger proof of the reality of the phenomena 
than any facts observed at a single stance, or than any 
unsupported assertion that the thing is impossible. 

WILLIAM HOWITT, the well-known author of Rural 
Life in England, of several historical works exhibiting 
great research, of many excellent works of fiction, and 
of a History of Discovery in Australia, had extensive 
opportunities of investigating the phenomena, and can 
hardly be supposed to be incapable of judging of such 
palpable facts as these : " Mrs. Howitt had a sprig of 
geranium handed to her by an invisible hand, which we 
have planted, and it is growing ; so that it is no delusion, 
no fairy money turned into dross or leaves. I saw a spirit 
hand as distinctly as I ever saw my own. I touched one 
several times, once when it was handing me a flower." 
..." A few evenings afterwards a lady desiring that 
the ' Last Rose of Summer ' might be played by a spirit 
on the accordion, the wish was complied with, but in so 
wretched a style that the company begged that it might 
be discontinued. This was done, but soon after, evidently 
by another spirit, the accordion was carried and suspended 
over the lady's head, and there, without any visible support 
or action on the instrument, the air was played through 
most admirably, in the view and hearing of all." Letter 
from William Howitt to Mr. Barkas, of Newcastle, printed 
in Home's Incidents of my Life, 2nd edit., p. 189. 

Here the fact of the spectators not receiving bad music 
for good, because they believed it to proceed from a super- 
human source, is decidedly in favour of their coolness and 
judgment, and the fact was one which the senses of ordi- 
nary mortals are quite capable of verifying. 

The HON. COLONEL WILBRAHAM sent the following 



96 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

letter to Mr. Home. I extract it from the Spiritual 
Magazine : 

"46 BROOK STREET, April 14, -1863. 

" MY DEAR MR. HOME, I have much pleasure in stating that I 
have attended several seances, in your presence, at the houses of two 
of my intimate friends and at my own, when I have witnessed phe- 
nomena similar to those described in your book, which I feel certain 
could not have been produced by any trick or collusion whatever. 
The rooms in which they occurred were always perfectly lighted ; 
and it was impossible for me to disbelieve the evidence of my own 
senses. Believe me, yours very truly, 

" E. B. WlLBRAHAM." 

S. C. HALL, F.S.A., Barrister-at-Law, for many years 
editor of the Art Journal, and well known in literary, 
artistic, and philanthropic circles, wrote the following 
letter to the editor of the Spiritual Magazine, (1863, 
p. 336) : 

" SIR, I follow the example of Colonel Wilbraham, and desire to 
record my belief in the statements put forth by Mr. D. D. Home 
(Incidents of my Life). I have myself seen nearly all the marvels 
he relates, some in his presence, some with other mediums, and 
some when there was no medium-aid (when Mrs. Hall and I sat 
alone). Not long ago I must have confessed to disbelief in all 
miracles ; I have seen so many that my faith as a Christian is now 
not merely outward profession, but entire and solemn conviction. 
For this incalculable good I am indebted to ' Spiritualism ; ' and it 
is my bounden duty to induce knowledge of its power to teach and 
to make happy. That duty may, for the present, be limited to a 
declaration of confidence in Mr. Home. Yours, &c., 

S. C. HALL." 

NASSAU WILLIAM SENIOR, late Master in Chancery, and 
twice Professor of Political Economy in the University of 
Oxford, was one who, it will astonish many persons to 
hear, had become convinced of the truth and reality of 
what they in their superior knowledge suppose to be a 



EVIDENCE OF LITERARY AND PROFESSIONAL MEN 97 

gross delusion. In his Historical and Philosophical Essays, 
vol. ii. pp. 256-266, he gives a careful summary of the 
amount and kind of evidence in favour of Phrenology, 
Homoeopathy, and Mesmerism, and concludes thus : " No 
one can doubt that phenomena like these deserve to be 
observed, recorded, and arranged ; and whether we call by 
the name of Mesmerism, or by any other name, the science 
which proposes to do this, is a mere question of nomen- 
clature. Among those who profess this science there 
may be careless observers, prejudiced recorders, and rash 
systematisers ; their errors and defects may impede the 
progress of knowledge, but they will not stop it. And we 
have no doubt that, before the end of this century, the 
wonders which now perplex almost equally those who 
accept and those who reject modern Mesmerism will be 
distributed into defined classes, and found subject to ascer- 
tained laws in other words, will become the subjects of 
a science." 

These views will prepare us for the following statement, 
made in the Spiritual Magazine, 1864, p. 336, and which 
can be, no doubt, authoritatively denied if incorrect: 
" We have only to add, as a further tribute to the attain- 
ments and honours of Mr. Senior, that he was by long 
inquiry and experience a firm believer in Spiritual power 
and manifestations. Mr. Home was his frequent guest, 
and Mr. Senior made no secret of his belief among his 
friends. He it was who recommended the publication of 
Mr. Home's recent work by Messrs. Longmans, and he 
authorised the publication, under initials, of one of the 
striking incidents there given, which happened to a near 
and dear member of his family." 

The Rev. WILLIAM KEUR, M.A., Incumbent of Tipton, 
in his work on Future Punishment, Immortality, and 
Modern Spiritualism, thus gives his testimony to the 

G 



98 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

facts : " The writer of these pages has, for a length of 
time, bestowed great attention upon the subject, and is in 
a position to affirm with all confidence, from his own ex- 
perience and repeated trials, that the alleged phenomena 
of Spiritualism are, for by far the most part, the products 
neither of imposture nor delusion. They are true, and that 
to the fullest extent. The marvels which he himself has 
witnessed, in the private retirement of his own home, with 
only a few select friends, and without having even so much 
as ever seen a public medium, are in many respects fully 
equal to any of the startling narratives that have appeared 
in print." 

THACKERAY, though a cool-headed man of the world and 
a close student of human nature, could not resist the evi- 
dence of his senses in this matter. Mr. Weld, in his Last 
Winter in Home, p. 180, states, that at a dinner shortly 
after the appearance in the Cornhill Magazine of the article 
entitled " Stranger than Fiction," Mr. Thackeray was re- 
proached with having permitted such a paper to appear. 
After quietly hearing all that could be said on the subject, 
Thackeray replied, "It is all very well for you, who have 
probably never seen any Spiritual manifestations, to talk 
as you do ; but had you seen what I have witnessed, you 
would hold a different opinion." He then proceeded to in- 
form Mr. Weld and the company that when in New York, 
at a dinner-party, he saw the large and heavy dinner table, 
covered with decanters, glasses, and a complete dessert, rise 
fully two feet from the ground, the modus operandi being, 
as he alleged, spiritual force. No possible jugglery, he 
declared, was or could have been employed on the occa- 
sion ; and he felt so convinced that the motive force was 
supernatural, that he then and there gave in his adhesion 
to the truth of Spiritualism, and consequently accepted 
the article on Mr. Home's se'ance. 



EVIDENCE OF LITERARY AND PROFESSIONAL MEN 99 

The late LORD CHANCELLOR LYNDHURST was another 
eminent convert to Spiritualism. In the Spiritual Maga- 
zine, 1863, p. 519, it is said, " He was a careful and scruti- 
nising observer of all facts which came under his notice, 
and had no predilections or prejudices against any, and 
during the repeated interviews which he has had with Mr. 
Home, he was entirely satisfied of the nearness of the 
spiritual world, and of the power of spirits to communicate 
with those still in the flesh. As to the truth of the mere 
physical phenomena, he had no difficulty in acknowledging 
them to the fullest extent, neither did he, like many, make 
any secret of his conviction, as his friends can testify." 

ARCHBISHOP WHATELY was a Spiritualist. Mr. Fitz- 
patrick in his Memoirs of Whately tells us that the 
Archbishop had been long a believer in Mesmerism, and 
latterly in clairvoyance and Spiritualism. " He went from 
one extreme to another, until he avowed an implicit belief 
in clairvoyance, induced a lady who possessed it to become 
an inmate of his house, and some of the last acts of his life 
were excited attempts at table-turning, and enthusiastic 
elicitations of spirit-rapping." This converted into plain 
language means, that the Archbishop examined into the 
facts before deciding against their possibility, and having 
satisfied himself by personal experiment of their reality, 
saw their immense importance, and pursued the investi- 
gation with ardour. 

Dr. ELLIOTSON, who for many years was one of the most 
determined opponents of Spiritualism, was at length con- 
vinced by the irresistible logic of facts. Mr. Coleman thus 
writes in the Spiritual Magazine, 1864, p. 216 : "'I am,' 
Dr. Elliotson said to me, and it is with his sanction that I 
make the announcement, ' now quite satisfied of the reality 
of the phenomena. I am not yet prepared to admit that 
they are produced by the agency of spirits. I do not deny 



100 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

this, as I am unable to satisfactorily account for what I 
have seen on any other hypothesis. The explanations 
which have been made to account for the phenomena do 
not satisfy me, but I desire to reserve my opinion on that 
point at present. I am free, however, to say that I regret 
the opportunity was not afforded me at an earlier period. 
What I have seen lately has made a deep impression on 
my mind, and the recognition of the reality of these mani- 
festations, from whatever cause, is tending to revolutionise 
my thoughts and feelings on almost every subject.' " 

The late SIR EICHARD BURTON was not a man to be 
taken in by a " gross deception," yet note what he says 
about the Davenport Brothers, who are supposed to have 
been so often exposed. In a letter to Dr. Ferguson, and 
published by him, Burton states that he has seen these 
manifestations under the most favourable circumstances, 
in private houses, when the spectators were all sceptics, 
the doors bolted, and the ropes, tape, and musical instru- 
ments provided by themselves. He goes on to say : " Mr. 
W. Fay's coat was removed while he was securely fastened 
hand and foot, and a lucifer match was struck at the same 
instant, showing us the two gentlemen fast bound, and the 
coat in the air on its way to the other side of the room. 
Under precisely similar circumstances, another gentle- 
man's coat was placed upon him." And he concludes 
thus : " I have spent a great part of my life in Oriental 
lands, and have seen there many magicians. Lately I have 
been permitted to see and be present at the performances 
of Messrs. Anderson and Tolmaque. The latter showed, 
as they profess, clever conjuring, but they do not even 
attempt what the Messrs. Davenport and Fay succeed in 
doing. Finally, I have read and listened to every expla- 
nation of the Davenport ' tricks ' hitherto placed before 
the English public, and, believe me, if anything would 



EVIDENCE OF LITEHARY AND PROFESSIONAL MEN 101 

make me take that tremendous leap 'from matter to 
spirit/ it is the utter and complete unreason of the reasons 
by which the manifestations are explained." 

Professor CHALLIS, the Plumierian Professor of Astro- 
nomy at Cambridge, is almost the only person who, as far 
I know, has stated his belief in some of these phenomena 
solely from the weight of testimony in favour of them. In 
a letter to the Clerical Journal of June (?) 1862, he says : 
" But although I have no grounds, from personal observa- 
tion, for giving credit to the asserted spontaneous move- 
ments of tables, I have been unable to resist the large 
amount of testimony to such facts, which has come from 
many independent sources, and from a vast number of 
witnesses. England, France, Germany, the United States 
of America, with most of the other nations of Christen- 
dom, contributed simultaneously their quota of evidence. 
. . . In short, the testimony has been so abundant and con- 
sentaneous, that either the facts must be admitted to be such 
as are reported, or the possibility of certifying facts by human 
testimony must be given up." 

MORE EECENT TESTIMONY. 

Since the publication of the first edition of this work 
a vast mass of additional testimony has become available, 
and a considerable number of eminent men have declared 
their conviction of the reality of the various classes of 
facts which have been here described or referred to. The 
best known and most weighty of these converts are, 
WILLIAM CROOKES, F.E.S., a chemist of world- wide re- 
putation ; Professor OLIVER LODGE, F.R.S. of University 
College, Liverpool ; the late Professor ZOLLNER of the 
University of Leipsic ; the EARL OF CRAWFORD AND BAL- 
CARRES, F.E.S., a past-President of the Eoyal Astronomical 



102 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

Society; Mr. F. W. H. MYERS, of Cambridge, a literary 
man of eminent ability and judgment ; Professor ELLIOTT 
COUES, of Washington, one of the most brilliant of 
American men of science; Professor W. F. BARRETT, of 
the Royal College of Science, Dublin ; the late Professor 
BALFOUR STEWART, F.R.S., of the Owens College, Man- 
chester; and the late HENSLEIGH WEDGWOOD, author of 
valuable works on philology. Besides these there are 
many who are less generally known, while in every 
country in Europe numbers of well-known medical men, 
as well as professors of various branches of science, have 
satisfied themselves of the reality and importance of the 
phenomena. 

Perhaps the most valuable body of new evidence has 
been obtained through Mr. WILLIAM STAINTON MOSES, for 
many years one of the Masters in University College 
School, and a man of exceptional ability as well as of the 
highest character. He was as remarkable a medium as 
D. D. Home, with the great advantage that he was a man 
of considerable literary power and methodical habits ; and 
that, during the last seventeen years of his life, he kept 
accurate and systematic records of all the phenomena that 
occurred through his own pyschic powers. He sat almost 
entirely with private friends, many of whom also kept 
notes of what occurred ; and after a full examination of 
all these independent records, Mr. Myers concludes that 
the various phenomena, many of which were of the most 
remarkable character, are thoroughly well established. The 
inquirer should read carefully Mr. Myers' article, The 
Experiences of W. Stainton Moses, in the Proceedings of 
the Society for Psychical Eesearch, vol. ix., and should also 
study Mr. Moses' own publications Spirit Identity, Psy- 
chography, and Spirit Teachings. 
Mr. WILLIAM CROOKES, F.R.S., investigated the phe- 



MORE RECENT TESTIMONY 103 

nomena of Spiritualism for nearly four years, through the 
aid of Mr. Home, Miss Kate Fox, Miss Florence Cook, 
and some other mediums. The experiments all took place 
in his own house and often in his laboratory, and various 
tests were applied by means of the electrical and other 
apparatus at his command. He found all the phenomena 
to be genuine, including the production of what are 
termed spirit-forms, which he succeeded in photographing. 
In 1874 he published a brief account of his experiments 
under the title Researches in the Phenomena of Spiritualism. 
Fifteen years later he contributed a paper to the Proceed- 
ings of the Society for Psychical Research, entitled, Notes 
of Stances with D. D, Home, of which he says " Their 
publication will, at any rate, show that I have not changed 
my mind ; that on dispassionate review of statements put 
forth by me nearly twenty years ago, I find nothing to 
retract or to alter. I have discovered no flaw in the 
experiments then made or in the reasoning I based upon 
them." 

Mr. OLIVER J. LODGE, F.R.S., Professor of Physics at 
Liverpool University College, published in 1890 an account 
of a series of twenty-two sittings, in his own house, with 
an American trance medium, Mrs. Piper. His conclusion 
is thus stated : " That there is more than can be explained 
by any amount of conscious or unconscious fraud, that the 
phenomenon is a genuine one however, it is to be explained, 
I now regard as absolutely certain ; and I make the fol- 
lowing two statements with the utmost confidence : (1) 
Mrs. Piper's attitude is not one of deception. (2) No 
conceivable amount of deception can explain the facts." 
The full details of these sittings, together with those of 
other persons with the same medium, are given in the 
Proc. of the Soc. for Psych. Research for December 1890. 

In 1894 Professor Lodge devoted three weeks to an 



104 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

investigation of physical phenomena occurring in the 
presence of Eusapia Palladino, an uneducated Neapolitan 
woman who had been tested by numbers of men of science 
Italian, German, and French all of whom became satis- 
fied of the genuineness of the manifestations. The sittings 
took place in private houses belonging to Professor Charles 
Kichet, a French physician who has made a special study 
of mental diseases and of hypnotism, and under test con- 
ditions usually under Professor Lodge's personal super- 
vision. The phenomena consisted of the motion of various 
objects at considerable distances from the medium, the 
appearance of hands and faces not those of any person 
present, musical sounds produced on an accordion and 
piano while no one was touching either instrument, a 
heavy table turned completely over while untouched by 
any one, various parts of the Professor's body touched or 
grasped as by invisible hands while the medium's hands 
were securely held, and lights like glowworms flitting 
about the room. His conclusion was that these various 
phenomena were not produced by the medium in any 
normal way, and that they were not explicable as the 
result of any known physical causes. The full description 
and discussion of these seances is to be found in the 
Journal of the Society for Psychical Research for December 
1894, with objections and further details in the issues 
for March, April, and May 1895. 

One more scientific investigator may be briefly referred 
to. The late JOHANN C. F. ZOLLNER, Professor of Phy- 
sical Astronomy at the University of Leipsic, had more 
than thirty sittings with the American medium Slade, in 
his own house at Leipsic, or in the houses of his friends, 
between November 1877 and May 1878, and witnessed 
some of the most remarkable physical phenomena that 
have been recorded ; all in the presence of one or more 



MORE RECENT TESTIMONY 105 

of his fellow-professors, especially of Professors Weber, 
Scheibner, and Fechner. Among these phenomena were 
the tying of knots in cords or strips of leather, the ends 
of which were tied together and sealed to a piece of card, 
these ends being held by Zollner upon the surface of the 
table, the looped ends hanging down on his knees ; and 
the removal of two solid wooden rings from a looped cat- 
gut, secured and held in the same manner, to the pillar 
of a small table from which they could not be removed 
without taking the table to pieces, and where they re- 
mained till Zollner's death. Equally remarkable was the 
removal of a coin from a box in which it was enclosed 
and firmly glued up, and the removal of two coins from 
another sealed-up box and their replacement by pieces 
of slate-pencil. Writing upon closed slates under rigid 
test conditions also occurred, as well as the appearance of 
human hands and of movable lights, and the motion of 
numerous small objects as if being carried about the 
room. All these phenomena are described in minute de- 
tail in Zollner's Transcendental Physics, translated from 
the German by Mr. 0. 0. Massey in 1880 ; and the more 
remarkable occurrences are clearly illustrated by cuts 
from photographs. 

The facts now briefly described are sufficient to prove, 
that at the present day, as in the earlier period of the 
inquiry nearly half a century ago, careful, long-continued, 
and painstaking experiment by the most eminent and 
capable men of science, always results in satisfying 
them of the reality of the phenomena; while those 
eminent men who have most loudly proclaimed that these 
phenomena are the result of imposture or delusion are 
unable to adduce more than two or three chance stances 
as the foundation for their conclusions. On the one hand, 
we have the careful and often-repeated observations under 



106 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OP THE SUPERNATURAL 

the most favourable conditions, of Crookes, Oliver, Lodge, 
and Zollner; on the other, the few and unsatisfactory 
stances on which Carpenter, Tyndall, and Lankester 
founded their adverse verdict. We see, then, that now, 
as during the whole course of the history of modern 
spiritualism, the fuller the knowledge, the more com- 
pletely the reality of the phenomena is established. 



THEORY OF SPIRITUALISM 107 



VIII 

THE THEORY OF SPIRITUALISM 

Many of my readers will, no doubt, feel oppressed by 
the strange and apparently supernatural phenomena here 
brought before their notice. They will demand that, if 
indeed they are to be accepted as facts, it must be shown 
that they form a part of the system of the universe, or at 
least range themselves under some plausible hypothesis. 

There is such an hypothesis old in its fundamental 
principle, new in many of its details which links together 
all these phenomena as a department of nature hitherto 
entirely ignored by science and but vaguely speculated on 
by philosophy ; and it does so without in any way conflict- 
ing with the most advanced science or the highest philo- 
sophy. According to this hypothesis, that which, for want 
of a better name, we shall term " spirit," is the essential 
part of all sensitive beings, whose bodies form but the ma- 
chinery and instruments by means of which they perceive 
and act upon other beings and on matter. It is " spirit " 
that alone feels, and perceives, and thinks that acquires 
knowledge, and reasons, and aspires though it can only 
do so by means of, and in exact proportion to, the organi- 
sation it is bound up with. It is the " spirit " of man that 
is man. Spirit is mind ; the brain and nerves are but the 
magnetic battery and telegraph by means of which spirit 
communicates with the outer world. 

Though the spirit is in general inseparable from the 
living body to which it gives animal and intellectual life 
(for the vegetative functions of the organism could per- 
haps go on without spirit), there not unfrequently occur 



108 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OP THE SUPERNATURAL 

individuals so constituted that the spirit can perceive inde- 
pendently of the corporeal organs of sense, or can perhaps 
wholly or partially quit the body for a time and return to 
it again. At death it quits the body for ever. The spirit 
like the body has its laws, and definite limits to its powers. 
It communicates with spirit easier than with matter, and 
in most cases can only perceive and act on matter through 
the medium of embodied spirit. The spirit which has 
lived and developed its powers clothed with a human 
body, will, when it leaves that body, still retain its former 
modes of thought, its former tastes, feelings, and affec- 
tions. The new state of existence is a natural continuation 
of the old one. There is no sudden acquisition of new 
mental proclivities, no revolution of the moral nature. 
Just what the embodied spirit had made itself, or had 
become that is the disembodied spirit when it begins its 
life under new conditions. It is the same in character 
as before, but it has acquired new physical and mental 
powers, new modes of manifesting the moral sentiments, 
wider capacity for acquiring physical and spiritual know- 
ledge. The great law of " continuity," so ably shown by 
Sir William Grove in his presidential address to the British 
Association at Nottingham, to pervade the whole realm 
of nature, is thus, according to the Spiritual theory, fully 
applicable to our passage into and progress through a 
more advanced state of existence, a view which should 
commend itself to men of science as being in itself pro- 
bable, and in striking contrast with the doctrines of theo- 
logians, which place a wide gulf between the mental and 
more nature of man in his present and in his future state 
of existence. 

Now this hypothesis, taken as a mere speculation, is as 
coherent and intelligible as any speculation on such a 
subject can be. But it claims to be more than a specu- 



THEORY OF SPIRITUALISM 109 

lation, since it serves to explain and interpret that vast 
accumulation of facts of which a few examples only have 
been here given, and to furnish a more intelligible, con- 
sistent, and harmonious theory of the future state of man 
than either religion or philosophy has yet put forth. 

And first as to the interpretation of facts. In the 
simplest phenomena of Animal Magnetism, when the 
muscles, the senses, and the ideas of the patient, are 
subject to the will of the operator, spirit acts upon spirit, 
through the intermediation of a peculiar relation between 
the magnetic or life power of the two organisms ; and thus 
the magnetiser is enabled by his will to affect both the 
mind and the body of the patient and to induce, in him 
for a time an ideal world. In the higher phenomenon of 
"simple clairvoyance," the spirit appears to be to some 
extent released from the trammels of body, and is enabled 
to perceive by some other processes than tho.se of the ordi- 
nary senses. In the still higher clairvoyant state termed 
"mental travelling" the spirit would appear to quit the 
body (still connected with it, however, by an ethereal link) 
and traverse the earth to any distance, communicating ' 
with persons in remote countries if it has any clue by 
which to distinguish them, and (perhaps through the 
mediation of their organisation) perceiving and describing 
events occurring around them. 1 

Under certain conditions disembodied spirit is able to 
form for itself a visible body out of the emanation from 
living bodies in a proper magnetic relation to itself ; and, 
under certain still more favourable conditions, this body 

1 It is possible that this appearance of the spirit leaving the body to 
obtain information of distant events is deceptive, and that what really 
occurs is the representation to the clairvoyant of mental pictures of such 
events by spiritual beings. This explanation of the facts has been given 
by spirit communications, and to the present writer now seems the more 
probable one. 



110 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

can be made tangible. Thus all the phenomena of 
" mediumship " take place. Gravity is overcome by a 
form of life-magnetism, induced between the spirit and 
the medium ; visible hands or visible bodies are produced, 
which sometimes write, or draw, or even speak. Thus 
departed friends come to communicate with those still 
living, or at the moment of death the spirit appears 
visibly, and sometimes tangibly, to the loved ones in a 
distant land. All these phenomena would take place far 
more frequently were the conditions that alone render 
communication possible more general or more cultivated. 
It appears, then, that all the strange facts, denied by so 
many because they suppose them " supernatural," may be 
due to the agency of beings of a like mental nature to our- 
selves who are, in fact, ourselves but one step advanced 
on the long journey through eternity. The trivial and 
fantastic nature of the acts of some of these disembodied 
spirits, is not to be wondered at, when we consider the 
myriads of trivial and fantastic human beings who are daily 
becoming spirits, and who retain, for a time at least, their 
human natures in their new condition. But the generally 
trivial nature of the acts and communications of spirits 
(admitting them to be such) may be totally denied. If 
we saw two or three persons making strange gestures in 
perfect silence, we might probably think they were idiots ; 
but if we found that two of them were deaf and dumb, and 
the three were conversing in the language of signs, we 
should become aware that the gesticulations of their bodies 
were no more intrinsically absurd than the movements of 
our lips and features during speech. So if we realise to 
ourselves the fact that spirits can in most cases only com- 
municate with us in certain very limited modes, we shall 
see that the true " trivality " consists in objecting to any 
mode of mental converse as being trivial or undignified. 



THEORY OF SPIRITUALISM 111 

Then, again, as to the matter of the communications, said 
to be generally " unworthy of a spirit ; " the real question 
is, are they generally such as would have been unworthy 
of the same spirit when in the body ? We should remem- 
ber, too, that in most cases the spirit has first to satisfy 
the inquirer of its existence, and in many cases to do so in 
the face of a strong prejudice against the very possibility 
of spirit communication, or even of the very existence of 
spirit. And the undoubted fact that hundreds and thou- 
sands of persons have been so convinced by the phenomena 
they have witnessed in the presence of mediums, shows 
that, trivial though they may be, these phenomena are well 
adapted to satisfy many minds, and thus lead them to 
receive and inquire into the higher phenomena, which they 
could otherwise never have been induced to examine. 

This hypothesis of the existence of spirit, both in man 
and out of man, and their possible and actual inter-com- 
munication, must be judged exactly in the same way as we 
judge any other hypothesis by the nature and variety of 
the facts it includes and accounts for, and by the absence 
of any other mode of explaining so wide a range of facts. 
The truth and reality of the facts, however, is one thing 
the goodness of the hypothesis is another, and to find a 
flaw in the hypothesis is not to disprove the facts. I 
maintain that the facts have now been proved, in the only 
way in which facts are capable of being proved viz., by 
the concurrent testimony of honest, impartial, and careful 
observers. Most of the facts are capable of being tested 
by any earnest inquirer. They have withstood the ordeal 
of ridicule and of rigid scrutiny for forty-six years, during 
which their adherents have year by year steadily increased, 
including men of every rank and station, of every class of 
mind, and of every degree of talent ; while not a single 
individualVho has earnestly devoted himself to a thorough 



112 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

examination of these facts has denied their reality. These 
are characteristics of a new truth, not of a delusion or 
imposture. The facts therefore are proved. 

Before proceeding to consider the nature of the doc- 
trine which Spiritualism unfolds, I would wish to say a 
few words on a work by an acute philosophic writer, in 
which the facts of Spiritualism are for the most part ad- 
mitted, but are accounted for by a different hypothesis 
from that which I have here briefly explained. Mr. 
Charles Bray, author of the Philosophy of Necessity ; Edu- 
cation of the Feelings, &c., has published a small volume 
whose title is On Force, its Mental and Moral Correlates ; 
and on that which is supposed to underlie all Phenomena; 
ivith Speculations on Spiritualism, and other Abnormal 
Conditions of Mind. The latter half of the work is en- 
tirely devoted to a consideration of the facts of modern 
Spiritualism, and to an attempt to account for them on 
philosophical principles. Mr. Bray tells us that he has 
himself witnessed but few of the phenomena, yet enough 
to satisfy him that they may be true. He seems to rely 
more on the overwhelming testimony to the facts by men 
of admitted intelligence, and to the facts themselves being 
often of such a nature that they cannot be explained away. 
He has doubtless been led to this less sceptical frame of 
mind than is usual in philosophic writers by his acquain- 
tance with cases of clairvoyance, of one of which he states 
his experience as follows: " I have heard a young girl in 
the mesmeric state minutely describe all that was seen by 
a person with whom she was en rapport, and in some cases 
more than was seen or could be seen, such as the initials 
in a watch which had not been opened, and also describe 
persons and scenes at a distance, which I afterwards dis- 
covered were correctly described, beyond a possibility of 
doubt" The italics in this sentence are his own. 



THEORY OF SPIRITUALISM 113 

Judging from the works mentioned in his book, Mr. 
Bray seems to have but a limited acquaintance with the 
literature of Spiritualism, which is the more to be regretted 
as he has so little personal experience of the phenomena, 
and is therefore hardly in a position to form a satisfactory 
hypothesis. He considers, however, that he has formed 
one which " will account for such facts as are genuine," 
although he admits that he has not made that searching 
examination which would alone entitle him to decide 
which facts were genuine, and which were due to fraud or 
self-delusion. The theory which he propounds is not at 
all easy to exhibit in a few words. He says that the 
force which produces the phenomena of Spiritualism "is 
an emanation from all brains, the medium increasing its 
density so as to allow others present to come into com- 
munion with it, and the intelligence new to every person 
present is that of some brain in the distance acting through 
this source upon the mind of the medium, or others of the 
circle " (p. 107). Again, he speaks of " a mental or thought 
atmosphere the result of cerebration, but devoid of con- 
sciousness till it becomes reflected in our own organisa- 
tions "(p. 98). It seems to me that this theory labours 
under the great objection of being unintelligible. How are 
we to understand an "emanation from all brains," a 
" thought atmosphere," producing force and motion, visible 
and tangible forms, intelligent communications by sounds 
or motions, and all the other varied phenomena imperfectly 
sketched in these pages ? How does this " unconscious 
thought atmosphere " form a visible, tangible, force-exert- 
ing hand, which can carry flowers, write or play complete 
tunes on an instrument? Does it even account for the 
simpler yet still marvellous phenomena of clairvoyance ? 
Let us take one of the best authenticated cases observed 
by Dr. Gregory. Mottoes enclosed in nutshells are pur- 

H 



114 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

chased at a shop, and the clairvoyant reads them accurately. 
Now we may safely assume that in this case no human 
mind knows the particular nutshell in which each motto 
is enclosed. How then does the theory of an " emanation 
from all brains," or that the clairvoyant is through this 
emanation acted on by "some mind in the distance," explain 
the reading of these mottoes ? If this " emanation " has 
the power of reading them itself, and communicates them 
to the clairvoyant, how can we deny it personality, and in 
what does it differ from that which we term spirit? If 
the theory of " spirit " is, as Professor De Morgan says, 
" ponderously difficult," is not this theory of " brain emana- 
tion" still more so ? I submit, therefore, that Mr. Bray's 
hypothesis is not tenable, and that nothing but the sup- 
position of personal minds, existing without as well as 
with a human body, and capable, under certain conditions 
only, of acting on us and on matter, is able to account for 
the whole range of the phenomena. And this supposition 
has, I maintain, the advantage of being both intelligible 
and philosophically probable. 

It is, however, very satisfactory to find a writer of 
Mr. Bray's standing recognising the subject at all, as one 
which possesses so much truth in it as to require an ela- 
borate theory to account for the phenomena. This alone is 
a proof of the convincing nature of the evidence for those 
facts which our men of science neglect to investigate as it, 
priori absurd and impossible. The appearance of Mr. 
Bray's book may perhaps indicate that a change was then 
taking place in public opinion on the subject of clairvoy- 
ance and Spiritualism ; and it may do good service in 
drawing the attention of thinkers to a class of phenomena 
which, above all others, seem calculated to lead to the 
partial solution of the most difficult of all problems the 
origin of consciousness and the nature of mind. 



MORAL TEACHINGS OF SPIRITUALISM 115 



IX 

THE MORAL TEACHINGS OF SPIRITUALISM 

We have now to consider whether this vast array of 
phenomena which claims to put us into communication 
with beings who have passed into another phase of exist- 
ence, teaches us anything which may make us wiser and 
better men. I myself believe that it does, and shall 
endeavour, as briefly as possible, to set forth what the 
doctrines of modern Spiritualism really are 

The hypothesis of Spiritualism not only accounts for all 
the facts (and is the only one that does so), but it is further 
remarkable as being associated with a theory of a future 
state of existence, which is the only one yet given to the 
world that can at all commend itself to the modern philo- 
sophical mind. There is a general agreement and tone of 
harmony in the mass of facts and communications termed 
" spiritual," which has led to the growth of a new litera- 
ture and to the establishment of a new religion. The main 
doctrines of this religion are : That after death man's spirit 
survives in an ethereal body, gifted with new powers, but 
mentally and morally the same individual as when clothed 
in flesh. That he commences from that moment a course 
of apparently endless progression, which is rapid just in 
proportion as his mental and moral faculties have been 
exercised and cultivated while on earth. That his com- 
parative happiness or misery will depend entirely on him- 
self. Just in proportion as his higher human faculties have 
taken part in all his pleasures here, will he find himself 
contented and happy in a state of existence in which they 
will have the fullest exercise ; while he who has depended 



116 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

more on the body than on the mind for his pleasures, will, 
when that body is no more, feel a grievous want, and must 
slowly and painfully develop his intellectual and moral 
nature till its exercise shall become easy and pleasurable. 
Neither punishments nor rewards are meted out by an 
external power, but each one's condition is the natural and 
inevitable sequence of his condition here. He starts again 
from the level of moral and intellectual development to 
which he had raised himself while on earth. 

Now here again we have a striking supplement to the 
doctrines of modern science. The organic world has been 
carried on to a high state of development, and has been 
ever kept in harmony with the forces of external nature, 
by the grand law of " survival of the fittest" acting upon 
ever-varying organisations. In the spiritual world, the 
law of the " progression of the fittest " takes its place, and 
carries on in unbroken continuity that development of the 
human mind which has been commenced here. 

The communion of spirit with spirit is said to be by 
thought-reading and sympathy, and to be perfect between 
those whose beings are in harmony with each other. Those 
who differ widely have little or no power of intercommunion 
and thus are constituted " spheres," which are divisions, 
not merely of space, but of social and moral sympathetic 
organisation. Spirits of the higher " spheres " can, and do 
sometimes communicate with those below ; but these latter 
cannot communicate at will with those above. But there 
is for all an eternal progress, a progress solely dependent 
on the power of will in the development of spirit nature. 
There are no evil spirits but the spirits of bad men, and 
even the worst are surely if slowly progressing. Life in the 
higher spheres has beauties and pleasures of which we have 
no conception. Ideas of beauty and power become realised 
by the will, and the infinite cosmos becomes a field where 



MOKAL TEACHINGS OF SPIRITUALISM 117 

the highest developments of intellect may range in the 
acquisition of boundless knowledge. 

It may be thought, perhaps, that I am here giving merely 
my own ideal of a future state, but it is not so. Every 
statement I have made is derived from those despised 
sources, the rapping table, the writing hand, or the en- 
tranced speaker. And to show that I have not done 
justice either to the ideas themselves, or to the manner in 
which they are often conveyed to us, I subjoin a few ex- 
tracts from the spoken addresses of one of the most gifted 
" trance-mediums," Mrs Emma Hardinge, now Mrs. Har- 
dinge Britten. 

In her address on " Hades," she sums up in this passage 
her account of our progress through the spheres : " Of the 
nature of those spheres and their inhabitants we have 
spoken from the knowledge of the spirits, dwellers still in 
Hades. Would you receive some immediate definition of 
your own condition, and learn how you shall dwell, and 
what your garments shall be, what your mansion, scenery, 
likeness, occupations ? Turn your eyes within, and ask 
what have you learned, and what you have done in this, 
the school-house for the spheres of spirit-land. There 
there is an aristocracy, and even royal rank and varying 
degree, but the aristocracy is one of merit, and the royalty 
of soul. It is only the truly wise who govern, and as the 
wisest soul is he that is best, as the truest wisdom is the 
highest love, so the royalty of soul is truth and love. And 
within the spirit-world all knowledge of this earth, all 
forms of science, all revelations of art, all mysteries of 
space must be understood. The exalted soul that is then 
fully ready for his departure to a higher state than Hades, 
must know all that earth can teach, and have practised all 
that Heaven requires. The spirit never quits the spheres 
of earth until he is fully possessed of all the life and 



118 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

knowledge of this planet and its spheres. And though the 
progress may be here commenced, and not one jot of what 
you learn, or think, or strive for here is lost, yet all 
achievements must be ultimated there, and no soul can 
wing its flight to that which you call, in view of its per- 
fection, Heaven, till you have passed through Earth and 
Hades, and stand ready in your fully completed pilgrimage 
to enter on the new and unspeakable glories of the celestial 
realms beyond." 

Could the philosopher or the man of science picture to 
himself a more perfect ideal of a future state than this ? 
Does it not commend itself to him as what he could wish, 
if he could by his wish form the future for himself ? Yet 
this is the teaching of that which he scouts as an impos- 
ture or a delusion as the trickery of knaves or the ravings 
of madmen modern Spiritualism. I quote another pas- 
sage from the same address, and I would ask my readers 
to compare the modesty of the first paragraph with the 
claims of infallibility usually put forward by the teachers 
of new creeds or new philosophies : " It is true that man 
is finite and imperfect ; hence his utterances are too fre- 
quently the dictation of his own narrow perceptions, and 
his views are limited by his own finite capacity. But as 
you judge him, so also ' ye shall judge the angels.' Spirits 
only present you with the testimony of those who have 
advanced one step beyond humanity, and ask for no cre- 
dence from man without the sanction of man's judgment 
and reason. Spirits, then, say that their world is as the 
soul or spiritual and sublimated essence of this human 
world of yours that, in locality, the spirit world extends 
around this planet, as all spirit spheres encircle in zones 
and belts all other planets, earths, and bodies in space, 
until the sphere of each impinges upon the other, and 
they form in connection one vast and harmonious 



MORAL TEACHINGS OF SPIRITUALISM 119 

system of natural and spiritual worlds throughout the 
universe." 

The effects of vice and ungoverned passions are thus de- 
picted : " Those spirits have engraved themselves with a 
fatal passion for vice, but, alas ! they dwell in a world 
where there is no means for its gratification. There is the 
gambler, who has burnt into his soul the fire of the love of 
gain ; he hovers around earth's gamblers, and, as an unseen 
tempter, seeks to repeat the now lost joys of the fatal game. 
The sensualist, the man of violence, the cruel and angry 
spirit ; all who have steeped themselves in crime, or painted 
their souls with those dark stain-spots which they vainly 
think are of the body only all these are there, no longer 
able to enact their lives of earthly vice, but retaining on 
their souls the deadly mark, and the fatal though ungrati- 
fied desire for habitual sin ; and so these imprisoned spirits, 
chained by their own fell passions in the slavery of hope- 
less criminal desires, hover round those who attract them 
as magnets draw the needle, by vicious inclinations similar 
to their own. But you say, the soul, by tempting others, 
must thus sink deeper into crime. Ay, but remember that 
another point of the spiritual doctrine is the universal 
teaching of eternal progress." And then she goes on to 
depict in glowing language how these spirits too, in time, 
lose their fierce passions, and learn how to begin the up- 
ward path of knowledge and virtue. But I must leave the 
subject, as I wish to give one extract from the address 
of the same gifted lady on the question, " What is 
Spirit ? " as an example of the high eloquence and moral 
beauty with which all her discourses are inspired: 
" Small, and to some of us even insignificant, as seems 
the witness of the spirit-circle, its phenomenal gleams are 
lights which reveal, in their aggregate, these solemn truths 
to us. There we behold foregleams of the powers of soul. 



120 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

which so vastly do transcend the laws of matter. That 
soul's continued existence and triumph over death; our 
own embodied spirit's power of communication with the 
invisible world around us, and its various occult forces. 
Clairvoyance, clairaudience, prophecy, trance, vision, psy- 
chometry, and magnetic healing ; how grand and wonder- 
ful appears the soul, invested even in its earthly prison 
house with all these gleams of powers so full of glorious 
promise of what we shall be, when the prison gates of 
matter open wide and set the spirit free ! Oh ! fair young 
girls, whose forms of supremest loveliness are nature's 
crowning gems, forget not, when the great Creator's 
bounteous hand adorned your blooming spring with the 
radiance of summer flowers, that He shrined within that 
casket of tinted beauty a soul whose glory shall survive 
the decay of all earthly things, and live in weal or woe as 
your generation stamps it with beauty or stains it with 
sinful ugliness, when springs shall no more return, nor 
summers melt in the vast and changeless evermore. Lift 
up your eyes from the beautiful dust of to-day, which 
to-morrow shall be foul in death's corruption, to the ever- 
living soul which you, not destiny, must adorn with im- 
mortal beauty. Remember you are spirits, and that the 
hours of your earthly life are only granted you to shape 
and form those spirits for eternity. Young men, who 
love to expand the muscles of mind, and wrestle in mental 
gladiatorial combats for the triumphant crowns of science, 
what are all these to the eternal conquests to be won in 
fields of illimitable science in the realms of immortality ? 
Press on through earth as a means, but only to attain to 
the nobler, higher colleges of the never-dying life, and 
use mortal aims as instruments to gild your souls with the 
splendour that never fades, but which yourselves must 
win here or hereafter, ere you are fit to pass as graduates 



MOKAL TEACHINGS OF SPIRITUALISM 121 

in the halls of eternal science. To understand that we 
are spirits, and that we live for immortality, to know and 
ensure its issues ; is not this, to Spiritualists, the noblest 
though last bright page which God has revealed to us ? Is 
not to read and comprehend this page the true mission of 
modern Spiritualism ? All else is but the phenomenal 
basis of the science which gives us the assurance that 
spirit lives. This is one great aim and purpose of modern 
Spiritualism, to know what the spirit is, and what it must 
do how best to live, so that it may most surely array 
itself in the pure white robes of an immortality which is 
purged of all mortal sin and earthly grossness." 

The teachings of Mrs. Hardinge agree in substance with 
those of all the more developed mediums, and I would ask 
whether it is probable that these teachings have been 
evolved from the conflicting dogmas of a set of impostors ? 
Neither does it seem a more probable solution that they 
have been produced " unconsciously " from the minds of 
self-deluded men and weak women, since it is palpable to 
every reader that these doctrines are essentially different 
in every detail from those taught and believed by any 
school of modern philosohers or any sect of modern 
Christians. 

This is well shown by their opposing statements as to 
the condition of mankind after death. In the accounts of 
a future state given by or through the best mediums, and 
in the visions of deceased persons by clairvoyants, spirits 
are uniformly represented in the form of human beings, 
and their occupations as analogous to those of earth. But 
in most religious descriptions or pictures of heaven they 
are represented as winged beings, as resting on or sur- 
rounded by clouds, and their occupations to be playing on 
golden harps, or perpetual singing, prayer, and adoration 
before the throne of God. How is it, if these visions and 



122 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

communications are but the remodelling of pre-existing 
or preconceived ideas by a diseased imagination, that the 
popular notions are never reproduced? How is it that, 
whether the medium be man, woman, or child, whether 
ignorant or educated, whether English, German, or Ameri- 
can, there should be one and the same consistent repre- 
sentation of these preterhuman beings, at variance with 
popular notions of them, but such as strikingly to accord 
with the modern scientific doctrine of " continuity " ? I 
submit that this little fact is of itself a strong corroborative 
argument that there is some objective truth in these com- 
munications. 

All popular religions, all received notions of a future 
state of existence, alike ignore one important side of human 
nature, and one which has a large share in the happiness of 
our present existence. Laughter, and the ideas that pro- 
duce it, are never contemplated as continuing to exist in 
the spirit world. Every form of jovial merriment, of 
sparkling wit, and of that humour which is often akin to 
pathos and many of the higher feelings of our nature, are 
alike banished from the Christian's Heaven. Yet if these 
and all the allied feelings vanish from our natures when 
we " shuffle off this mortal coil," how shall we know our- 
selves, how retain our identity ? A poet, writing on the 
death of Artemus Ward in the Spectator, well asks : 

" Is he gone to the land of no laughter, 

This man who made mirth for us all ? 
Proves death but a silence hereafter, 

From the sounds that delight and appal ? 
Once closed, have the lips no more duty, 

No more pleasure the exquisite ears, 
Has the heart done o'erflowing with beauty, 

As the eyes have with tears ? " 

Now it is noteworthy that the communications which the 



MORAL TEACHINGS OF SPIRITUALISM 1 23 

spiritualist believes to be verily the words of our departed 
friends give us full assurance that their individual charac- 
ters remain unchanged ; that mirth, and wit, and laughter, 
and every other human emotion and source of human plea- 
sure are still retained by them ; and that even those small 
incidents of the domestic circle which had become a source 
of innocent mirth when they were with us in the body are 
still capable of exciting pleasurable feelings. And this has 
been held by some to be an objection to the reality of these 
communications, instead of being, as it really is, a striking 
confirmation of them. Continuity has been pre-eminently 
the law of our mental development, and it rests with those 
who would abruptly sever this continuity to prove their 
case. They have never even attempted to show that it 
accords with the facts or with the analogies of nature. 

Equally at variance with each other are the popular and 
the spiritualistic doctrines as regards the Deity. Our 
modern religious teachers maintain that they know a great 
deal about God. They define minutely and critically His 
various attributes; they enter into His motives, His feelings, 
and His opinions ; they explain exactly what He has done, 
and why He has done it ; and they declare that after death 
we shall be with Him, and shall see and know Him. In 
the teaching of the " spirits " there is not a word of all this. 
They tell us that they commune with higher intelligences 
than themselves, but of God they really know no more than 
we do. They say that above these higher intelligences are 
others higher and higher in apparently endless gradation, 
but as far as they know, no absolute knowledge of the Deity 
Himself is claimed by any of them. Is it possible, if these 
" spiritual " communications are but the workings of the 
minds of weak, superstitious, or deluded human beings, 
that they should so completely contradict one of the 
strongest and most cherished beliefs both of the super- 



124 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

stitious and the religious, and should agree with that 
highest philosophy (of which most mediums have certainly 
never heard), which maintains that we can know nothing 
of the Almighty, the Eternal, the Infinite, the absolute 
Being, who must necessarily be not only unknown and un- 
knowable, but even unthinkable by infinite intelligences. 

It is often asked, " What has Spiritualism done what 
new facts, or what useful information have the supposed 
spirits ever given to man?" The true answer to this 
demand probably is, that it is no part of their mission to 
give knowledge to man which his faculties enable him to 
acquire for himself, and the very effort to acquire which is 
part of his education and preparation for the spiritual life. 
Direct information on matters of fact is however occasion- 
ally given, as the records of Spiritualism abundantly show. 
I prefer, however, to rest the claims of Spiritualism on its 
moral uses. I would point to the thousands it has con- 
vinced of the reality of another world, to the many it has 
led to devote their lives to works of philanthropy, to the 
eloquence and the poetry it has given us, and to the 
grand doctrine of an ever-progressive future state which 
it teaches. Those who will examine its literature will 
acknowledge these facts. Those who will not examine 
for themselves either the literature or the phenomena of 
Spiritualism, should at least refrain from passing judg- 
ment on a matter of which they are confessedly and will- 
fully ignorant. 

The subject, of which I have here endeavoured to sketch 
the outlines in a few pages which may perhaps be read 
when larger volumes would lie unopened, is far too wide 
and too important for this mode of treatment to do any 
justice to it. I have been obliged entirely to leave out all 
mention of the historical proofs of similar phenomena 
occurring in unbroken succession from the earliest ages 



MORAL TEACHINGS OF SPIRITUALISM 125 

to the present day. I could not allude to the spread of 
Spiritualism on the Continent with its numbers of eminent 
converts. I could not refer to the numbers of scientific 
and medical men who have been convinced of its truth, 
but have not made public their belief. But I claim to 
have shown cause for investigation ; to have proved that 
it is not a subject that can any longer be contemptuously 
sneered at as unworthy of a moment's inquiry. I feel 
myself so confident of the truth and objective reality of 
many of the facts here narrated, that I would stake the 
whole question on the opinion of any man of science desir- 
ous of arriving at the truth, if he would only devote two or 
three hours a week for a few months to an examination of 
the phenomena before pronouncing an opinion for, I again 
repeat, not a single individual that I have heard of has 
done this without becoming convinced of the reality of 
these phenomena. I maintain, therefore, finally that whe- 
ther we consider the vast number and the high character 
of its converts, the immense accumulation and the authen- 
ticity of its facts, or the noble doctrine of a future state 
which it has elaborated the so-called supernatural, as 
developed in the phenomena of animal magnetism, clair- 
voyance, and modern Spiritualism, is an experimental 
science, the study of which must add greatly to our know- 
ledge of man's true nature and highest interests. 



126 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 



NOTES OF PERSONAL EVIDENCE 

In the first edition of this Essay I did not introduce 
any of my own observations, because I had not then 
witnessed any such facts in a private house, and without 
the intervention of paid mediums, as would be likely to 
satisfy my readers. Having now had the opportunity of 
investigating the subject under more favourable condi- 
tions, I will give some account of my early personal 
experience, which many of my friends are so polite and 
illogical as to say will have more weight with them than 
all the other witnesses whose evidence I have adduced. 1 
will begin with what first led me to inquiries outside the 
pale of what is generally recognised as science. 

My earliest experiences on any of the matters treated 
of in this little work was in 1844, at which time I was 
teaching in a school in one of the Midland Counties. 
Mr. Spencer Hall was then lecturing on Mesmerism, and 
visited our town, and I and many of my pupils attended 
his lectures. We were all greatly interested. Some of 
the elder boys tried to mesmerise the younger ones, and 
succeeded ; and I myself found several who, under my 
influence, exhibited many of the most curious phenomena 
we had witnessed at the lectures. I was intensely inte- 
rested in the subject, and pursued it with ardour, carrying 
out a number of experiments to guard against deception 
and to test the nature of the influence. Many of the 
details of these experiments are now stamped as vividly 
on my memory as if they were events of yesterday ; and 
I will briefly give the substance of a few of the more 
remarkable. 



NOTES OF PERSONAL EVIDENCE 127 

1. Phenomena during the Mesmeric Trance. I produced 
the trance state in two or three boys, of twelve to sixteen 
years of age, with great ease, and could always be sure 
that it was genuine, first, by the turning of the eyeball in 
the orbit, so that the pupil was not visible when the eye- 
lid was raised ; secondly, by the characteristic change of 
countenance ; and, thirdly, by the readiness with which I 
could produce catalepsy and loss of sensation in any part 
of the body. The most remarkable observations during 
this state were on phreno-mesmerism and sympathetic 
sensation. By placing my finger on the part of the head 
corresponding to any given phrenological organ, the cor- 
responding faculty was manifested with wonderful and 
amusing perfection. For a long time I thought that the 
effects produced on the patient were caused by my wishing 
the particular manifestation ; but I found by accident that 
when, by ignorance of the position of the organs, I placed 
my finger on a wrong part, the manifestation which fol- 
lowed was not that which I expected, but that which was 
due to the position touched. I was particularly interested 
in phenomena of this kind, and by experiments made alone 
and silently, completely satisfied myself that the effects 
were not due to suggestion or to the influence of my own 
mind. I had to buy a little phrenological bust for my 
own use, and none of the boys had the least knowledge of 
or taste for phrenology ; yet, from the very first, almost 
all the organs touched, in however varied order and in 
perfect silence, were followed by manifestations too strik- 
ing to be mistaken, and presenting more wonderful repre- 
sentations of varied phases of human feeling than the 
greatest actors are able to exhibit. 

The sympathy of sensation between my patient and 
myself was to me the most mysterious phenomenon I had 
ever witnessed. I found that when I laid hold of his hand 



128 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

he felt, tasted, or smelt exactly the same as I did. I had 
already produced all the phenomena of suggestion, and 
could make him tipsy with a glass of water by calling it 
brandy, and cause him strip off all his clothes by telling 
him he was on fire ; but this was quite another thing. I 
formed a chain of several persons, at one end of which was 
the patient, at the other myself. And when, in perfect 
silence, I was pinched or pricked, he would immediately 
put his hand to the corresponding part of his own body, 
and complain of being pinched or pricked too. If I put a 
lump of sugar or salt in my mouth, he immediately went 
through the action of sucking, and soon showed by gestures 
and words of the most expressive nature what it was I 
was tasting. I have never to this day been satisfied with 
any of the explanations given of this fact by our physiolo- 
gists for they resolve themselves into this, that the boy 
neither felt nor tasted anything, but acquired a know- 
ledge of what I was feeling and tasting by a preternatural 
acuteness of hearing. That he had any such preternatural 
acuteness was, however, contrary to all my experience, 
and the experiment was tried so as expressly to prevent 
his gaining any knowledge of what I felt or touched by 
means of the ordinary senses. 

2. PJienomena during the Waking State. After I had 
induced the state of coma several times, some of the boys 
became very susceptible during their ordinary waking 
condition. I could induce catalepsy of any of the limbs 
with great ease ; and some curious little facts showed 
that it was real, not imaginary, rigidity that was produced. 
Once a boy was in my room in a state of complete rigidity 
when the dinner-bell rang. I hastily made passes to relax 
the body and limbs, and we went down together. When 
his plate was before him, however, he found that he could 
not bend one of his arms, and, not liking to say anything, 



NOTES OF PERSONAL EVIDENCE 129 

sat some time trying to catch my eye. I then had to go 
to him, and by two or three passes rendered him able to 
eat his dinner. This is a curious and important fact, 
because the boy went down thinking he was all right. 
The rigidity was therefore in no way caused by his " ex- 
pectation," since it existed in opposition to it. In this 
boy and another one I could readily produce the temporary 
loss of any of the senses, as hearing or smelling ; and 
could even so completely take away the memory that the 
patient could not tell his own name, greatly to his disgust 
and confusion, and this by nothing more than a simple 
pass across the face, and saying in an ordinary tone of 
voice, " Now, you can't tell me your name." And after 
he had remained utterly puzzled for some minutes, if I 
made a reverse pass, and said, " Now, you know your 
name again," his whole countenance would change a 
look of relief coming over it as the familiar words recurred 
suddenly to his memory. 

Such facts as these were at that period generally imputed 
to acting and trick on the part of the patients. Now, most 
of our physiologists admit them to be genuine mental 
phenomena, and attempt to explain them by " abstraction" 
and "suggestion" denying any specific action of the opera- 
tor on the patient. This appears to me to be really no 
explanation at all ; and I am confirmed in this view when 
I find that those who put it forward deny the reality of all 
facts that do not square with it. All such phenomena as 
phreno-mesmerism, and sympathetic sensation, and true 
clairvoyance, which have been elaborately examined and 
tested by a score of good observers, are nevertheless denied 
a place in the repertory of established scientific facts by 
those who profess to study all the phenomena of the organ- 
ism or of the mind of man. These personal experiences 
having enabled me to detect the more subtle indications 

i 



130 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

of the mesmeric coma, I have since taken every opportu- 
nity of witnessing the phenomena in public and private, 
and am quite satisfied that, in the more remarkable mani- 
festations, there is, or can be, very rarely any deception 
practised. 

As Dr. Carpenter and other men of science still main- 
tain the view that all the higher phenomena of Spiritualism 
which are not imposture are due to subjective impressions, 
analogous to those produced in his patients by the mes- 
meriser, I will here point out certain characteristic differ- 
ences between the two classes of facts, which I first adduced 
in reply to Mr. E. B. Tylor in a letter in Nature (1872, 
p. 364). 

1. The mesmerised patient never has doiibts of the 
reality of what he sees or hears. He is like a dreamer, to 
whom the most incongruous circumstances suggest no idea 
of incongruity, and he never inquires if what he thinks he 
perceives harmonises with his actual surroundings. He 
has, moreover, lost his memory of what and where he was 
a few moments before ; and can give no account, for in- 
stance, of how he managed to get from a lecture-room in 
London, to which he came as a spectator half-an-hour 
ago, on to an Atlantic steamer in a hurricane, or into the 
presence of a tiger in a tropical jungle. The assistants 
at the stances of Mr. Home or Mrs. Guppy are not in this 
state, as even our opponents will admit, and as the almost 
invariable suspicion of fraud with which the phenomena 
are at first regarded clearly demonstrates. They do not 
lose all memory of immediately preceding events ; they 
criticise ; they examine ; they take notes ; they suggest tests 
none of which things the mesmerised patient ever does. 

2. The mesmeriser has the power of acting on certain 
sensitive individuals (not on assemblies of people, as Mr. 
Tylor assumes), and all experience shows that those who 



NOTES OF PERSONAL EVIDENCE 131 

are thus sensitive to any one operator are but a small 
proportion of any body of people, and even these almost 
always require previous manipulation, with an almost pas- 
sive submission to the operator. The number who can be 
acted on without such previous manipulation is very small, 
probably less than one per cent. But there is no such 
limitation to the number of persons who simultaneously 
witness most of the mediumistic phenomena. The visitors 
to Mr. Home or Mrs. Guppy all see whatever occurs of a 
physical nature, as the records of hundreds of sittings, 
and even the evidence of sceptics, demonstrate. 

The two classes of phenomena, therefore, differ funda- 
mentally; yet there is a connection between them, but 
in an opposite direction to that suggested. It is the 
mediums, not the assistants, who are " sensitives." They 
are almost always persons who are subject to the mesmeric 
influence, and they often exhibit all the characteristic 
phenomena of coma, trance, rigidity, and abnormal sense- 
power. Conversely, the most sensitive mesmeric patients 
are almost always mediums. 

The differences now pointed out are so radical and so 
important that it does not say much for the logical clear- 
ness of those who persist in classing the two phenomena 
as identical. But the manner in which men of great emi- 
nence fail to see the bearing of facts when that bearing is 
against their pet theories will be further illustrated by a 
few examples in the appendix to this volume. 

3. Experiences and Tests of Modern Spiritual Pheno- 
mena. During twelve years of tropical wanderings be- 
tween the years 1848 and 1862, occupied in the study of 
natural history, I heard occasionally of the strange phe- 
nomena said to be occurring in America and Europe 
under the general names of "table-turning" and "spirit- 
rapping ; " and being aware, from my own knowledge of 



132 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

Mesmerism, that there were mysteries connected with 
the human mind which modern science ignored because 
it could not explain, I determined to seize the first 
opportunity on my return home to examine into these 
matters. It is true, perhaps, that I ought to state that for 
twenty-five years I had been an utter sceptic as to the 
existence of any preter-human or super-human intelli- 
gences, and that I never for a moment contemplated the 
possibility that the marvels related by Spiritualists could 
be literally true. If I have now changed my opinion, it 
is simply by the force of evidence. It is from no dread 
of annihilation that I have gone into this subject ; it is 
from no inordinate longing for eternal existence that I 
have come to believe in facts which render this highly 
probable, if they do not actually prove it. At least three 
times during my travels I have had to face death as im- 
minent or probable within a few hours, and what I felt 
on those occasions was at most a gentle melancholy at the 
thought of quitting this wonderful and beautiful earth to 
enter on a sleep which might know no waking. In a state 
of ordinary health I did not feel even this. I knew that 
the great problem of conscious existence was one beyond 
man's grasp, and this fact alone gave some hope that 
existence might be independent of the organised body. I 
came to the inquiry, therefore, utterly unbiassed by hopes 
or fears, because I knew that my belief could not affect the 
reality, and with an ingrained prejudice against even such 
a word as " spirit," which I have hardly yet overcome. 

It was in the summer of 1865 that I first witnessd any 
of the phenomena of what is called Spiritualism, in the 
house of a friend a sceptic, a man of science, and a lawyer, 
with none but members of his own family present. Sitting 
at a good-sized round table, with our hands placed upon 
it, after a short time slight movements would commence 



NOTES OF PERSONAL EVIDENCE 133 

not often " turnings or " tiltings," but a gentle intermittent 
movement, like steps, which after a time would bring the 
table quite across the room. Slight but distinct tapping 
sounds were also heard. The following notes made at the 
time were intended to describe exactly what took place : 
" July 22nd, 1865. Sat with my friend, his wife, and two 
daughters, at a large loo table, by daylight. In about half- 
an-hour some faint motions were perceived, and some faint 
taps heard. They gradually increased ; the taps became 
very distinct, and the table moved considerably, obliging 
us all to shift our chairs. Then a curious vibratory motion 
of the table commenced, almost like the shivering of a 
living animal. I could feel it up to my elbows. These 
phenomena were variously repeated for two hours. On 
trying afterwards, we found the table could not be volun- 
tarily moved in the same manner without a great exertion 
of force, and we could discover no possible way of produc- 
ing the taps when our hands were upon the table." 

On other occasions we tried the experiment of each 
person in succession leaving the table, and found that the 
phenomena continued -the same as before, both taps and 
the table movement. Once I requested one after another 
to leave the table ; the phenomena continued, but as the 
number of sitters diminished with decreasing vigour, and 
just after the last person had drawn back leaving me alone 
at the table, there were two dull taps or blows, as with 
a fist on the pillar or foot of the table, the vibration of 
which I could feel as well as hear. No one present but 
myself could have made these, and I certainly did not 
make them. These experiments clearly indicated that 
all were concerned in producing the sounds and move- 
ments, and that if there was any wilful deception the 
whole party were engaged in deceiving me. Another time 
we sat half-an-hour at the large table, but had no mani- 



131 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

festations whatever. We then removed to the small table, 
where taps immediately commenced and the table moved. 
After some time we returned to the large table, and after 
a few minutes the taps and movements took place as at 
the small one. 

The movement of the table was almost always in curves, 
as if turning on one of the claws, so as to give a progres- 
sive motion. This was frequently reversed, and sometimes 
regularly alternate, so that the table would travel across 
the room in a zigzag manner. This gives an idea of what 
took place with more or less regularity during more than a 
dozen sittings. Now there can be no doubt that the whole 
of the movements of the table could have been produced by 
any of the persons present if not counteracted by the others, 
but our experiments showed that this could not always be 
the case, and we have therefore no right to conclude that 
it was ever the case. The taps, on the other hand, we 
could not make at all. They were of about the quality 
that would be produced by a long finger-nail tapping un- 
derneath the leaf of the table. As all hands were on the 
table, and my eyes at least always open, I know they were 
not produced by the hands of any one present. They 
might possibly have been produced by the feet if properly 
armed with some small hard point to strike with ; but if so, 
the experiments already related show that all must have 
practised the deception. And the fact that we often sat 
half an hour in one position without a single sound, and 
that the phenomena never progressed further than I have 
related, weighs I think very strongly against the sup- 
position that a family of four highly intelligent and well- 
educated persons should occupy themselves for so many 
weary hours in carrying out what would be so poor and 
unmeaning a deception. The following remark occurs at 
the end of my notes made at the time : " These experi- 



NOTES OP PERSONAL EVIDENCE 135 

ments have satisfied me that there is an unknown power 
developed from the bodies of a number of persons placed 
in connection by sitting round a table with all their hands 
upon it." 

Some time before these observations I had met a gen- 
tleman who had told me of most wonderful phenomena 
occurring in his own family among them the palpable 
motion of solid bodies when no person was touching them 
or near them; and he had recommended me to go to a 
public medium in London (Mrs. Marshall), where I might 
see things equally wonderful. Accordingly, in September 
1865, I began a series of visits to Mrs. Marshall, generally 
accompanied by a friend a good chemist and mechanic, 
and of a thoroughly sceptical mind. What we witnessed 
may be divided into two classes of phenomena physical 
and mental. Both were very numerous and varied ; but I 
shall only select from each a few which are of a clear and 
definite nature. 

1st. A small table, on which the hands of four persons 
were placed (including my own and Mrs. Marshall's), rose 
up vertically about a foot from the floor, and remained 
suspended for about twenty seconds, while my friend, who 
was sitting looking on, could see the lower part of the 
table with the feet freely suspended above the floor. 

2nd. While sitting at a large table, with Miss T. on my 
left and Mr. R. on my right, a guitar which had been 
placed in Miss T.'s hand slid down on to the floor, passed 
over my feet, and came to Mr. R., against whose legs it 
raised itself up till it appeared above the table. I and 
Mr. R. were watching it carefully the whole time, and it 
behaved as if alive itself, or rather as if a small invisible 
child were by great exertions moving it and raising it up. 
These two phenomena were witnessed in bright gaslight. 

3rd. A chair, on which a relation of Mr. R.'s sat, was 



136 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

lifted up with her on it. Afterwards, when she returned 
to the table from the piano, where she had been playing, 
her chair moved away just as she was going to sit down ; 
on drawing it up, it moved away again. After this had 
happened three times, it became apparently fixed to the 
floor, so that she could not raise it. Mr. E. then took 
hold of it, and found that it was only by a great exertion 
he could lift it off the floor. This sitting took place in 
broad daylight, on a bright day, and in a room on the first 
floor with two windows. 

However strange and unreal these few phenomena may 
seem to readers who have seen nothing of the kind, I 
positively affirm that they are facts which really happened 
just as I have narrated them, and that there was no room 
for any possible trick or deception. In each case, before 
we began, we turned up the tables and chairs, and saw that 
they were ordinary pieces of furniture, and that there was 
no connection between them and the floor, and we placed 
them where we pleased before we sat down. Several of the 
phenomena occurred entirely under our own hands, and 
quite disconnected from the " medium." They were as 
much realities as the motion of nails towards a magnet, 
and, it may be added, not in themselves more improbable 
or more incomprehensible. 

The mental phenomena which most frequently occur 
are the spelling out of the names of relations of persons 
present, their ages, or any other particulars about them. 
They are especially uncertain in their manifestation, 
though when they do succeed they are very conclusive to 
the persons who witness them. The general opinion of 
sceptics as to these phenomena is, that they depend simply 
on the acuteness and talent of the medium in hitting on 
the letters which form the name, by the manner in which 
persons dwell upon or hurry over them the ordinary 



NOTES OF PERSONAL EVIDENCE 137 

mode of receiving these communications being for the 
person interested to go over a printed alphabet, letter by 
letter loud taps indicating the letters which form the 
required names. I shall select a few of our experiences, 
which will show how far this explanation is likely to be a 
true one. 

When I first received a communication myself, I was 
particularly careful to avoid giving any indication, by 
going with steady regularity over the letters; yet there 
was spelt out correctly, first, the place where my brother 
died, Para ; then his Christian name, Herbert ; and lastly, 
at my request, the name of the mutual friend who last 
saw him, Henry Walter Bates. On this occasion our party 
of six visited Mrs. Marshall for the first time, and my 
name, as well as those of the rest of the party, except one, 
were unknown to her. That one was my married sister, 
whose name was no clue to mine. 

On the same occasion a young lady, a connection of Mr. 
K.'s, was told that a communication was to be made to 
her. She took the alphabet, and instead of pointing to 
the letters one by one, she moved the pencil smoothly 
over the lines with the greatest steadiness. I watched 
her, and wrote down the letters which the taps indicated. 
The name produced was an extraordinary one, the letters 
making Thomas Doe Thacker. I thought there must be an 
error in the latter part ; but the names were really Thomas 
Doe Thacker, the lady's father, every letter being correct. 
A number of other names, places, and dates were spelt 
out on this occasion with equal accuracy ; but I give only 
these two, because in these I am sure that no clue was 
given by which the names could have been guessed by the 
most preternatu rally acute intellect. 

On another occasion, I accompanied my sister and a 
lady (who had never been there before) to Mrs. Marshall's, 



138 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

and we had a very curious illustration of the absurdity of 
imputing the spelling of names to the receiver's hesitation 
and the medium's acuteness. She wished the name of a 
particular deceased relation to be spelled out to her, and 
pointed to the letters of the alphabet in the usual way, 
while I wrote down those indicated. The first three 
letters were y r n. " Oh ! " said she, " that's nonsense ; 
we had better begin again." Just then an e came, and 
thinking I saw what it was, I said " Please go on, I 
understand it." The whole was then spelt out thus 
yrnehkcocffej. The lady even then did not see it, till I 
separated it thus yrneh kcocffej, or Henry Jeffcock, 
the name of the relation she had wanted accurately spelt 
backwards. 

Another phenomenon, necessitating the exertion both 
of force and intellect, is the following : The table having 
been previously examined, a sheet of note-paper was 
marked privately by me, and placed with a lead pencil 
under the centre foot of the table, all present having their 
hands upon the table. After a few minutes taps were 
heard, and on taking up the paper I found written on it 
in a free hand William. On another occasion, a friend 
from the country a total stranger to the medium, and 
whose name was never mentioned accompanied me ; and, 
after receiving what purported to be a communication 
from his son, a paper was put under the table, and in a 
few minutes there was found written on it Charley T. 
Dodd, the correct name. In these cases it is certain there 
was no machinery under the table ; and it simply remains 
to ask, if it were possible for Mrs. Marshall to slip off her 
boots, seize the pencil and paper with her toes, and write 
on it a name she had to guess at, and again put on her 
boots without removing her hands from the table, or 
giving any indication whatever of her exertions ? 



NOTES OF PERSONAL EVIDENCE 139 

I now for some months left off going to Mrs. Marshall's, 
and endeavoured to produce the phenomena at home. My 
friend Mr. K. soon found he had the power to produce 
slight movements of the table, but they were never of such 
a nature as to satisfy an observer that they were not pro- 
duced consciously or unconsciously by our own muscles. 
The style and character of the communications obtained 
through these movements were, however, such as to satisfy 
me that our own minds had no part in producing them. 

We tried among all our friends to find one who had 
power to produce distinct taps, a class of phenomena that 
appeared to us much more satisfactory, because we could 
not produce them ourselves, either consciously or uncon- 
sciously, under the same conditions. It was in November 
1866 that my sister discovered that a lady living with 
her had the power of inducing loud and distinct taps and 
other curious phenomena, and I now began a series of 
observations in my own house, the most important of 
which I shall briefly narrate. 

When we sat at a large loo table without a cloth, with 
all our hands upon it, the taps would generally commence 
in a few minutes. They sounded as if made on the under 
side of the leaf of the table, in various parts of it. They 
changed in tone and loudness, from a sound like that pro- 
duced by tapping with a needle or a long finger-nail, to 
others like blows with a fist or slaps with the fingers of a 
hand. Sounds were produced also like scraping with a 
finger-nail, or like the rubbing of a damp finger pressed 
very hard on the table. The rapidity with which these 
sounds are produced and are changed is very remarkable. 
They will imitate, more or less exactly, sounds which we 
make with our fingers above the table ; they will keep 
good time to a tune whistled by one of the party ; they 
will sometimes, at request, play a very fair tune them- 



140 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATUKAL 

selves, or will follow accurately a hand tapping a tune 
upon the table. When these sounds are heard repeatedly 
in one's own well-lighted room, upon one's own table, and 
with every hand in the room visible, the ordinary explana- 
tions given of them seem utterly untenable. Of course 
the first impression on hearing a few taps only is, that 
some one is making them with the feet. To set this 
doubt at rest, we have on several occasions all knelt down 
round the table, and yet the taps have continued, and 
have not only been heard as if on the leaf of the table, 
but have been felt vibrating through it. Another view is, 
that the sounds are produced by the slipping of tendons 
or the cracking of joints in some parts of the medium's 
body ; and this explanation is, I believe, the one most 
commonly accepted by scientific men. But surely, if this 
be so, some one case can be brought forward in which a 
person's bones or tendons can make sounds like tapping, 
rapping, thumping, slapping, scratching, and rubbing, and 
can repeat some of these so rapidly as to follow every tap 
of an observer's fingers, or to keep time to music ; and 
further, that all these sounds shall appear to every one 
present not to come from the individual's body, but from 
the table at which he is sitting, and "which shall often 
vibrate when the sounds are heard. Until such a case 
is produced I must be excused for marvelling at the 
credulity of those who accept so absurd and inadequate 
an explanation. 

A still more remarkable phenomenon, and one which I 
have observed with the greatest care and the most pro- 
found interest, is the exhibition of considerable force under 
conditions which preclude the muscular action of any of 
the party. We stood round a small work-table, whose 
leaf was about twenty inches across, placing our hands 
all close together near the centre. After a short time 



NOTES OF PERSONAL EVIDENCE 141 

the table would rock about from side to side, and then, 
appearing to steady itself, would rise vertically from six 
inches to a foot, and remain suspended often fifteen or 
twenty seconds. During this time any one or two of the 
party could strike it or press on it, as it resisted a very 
considerable force. Of course, the first impression is that 
some one's foot is lifting up the table. To answer this 
objection, I prepared the table before our second trial 
without telling any one, by stretching some thin tissue 
paper between the feet an inch or two from the bottom of 
the pillar, in such a manner that any attempt to insert the 
foot must crush and tear the paper. The table rose up as 
before, resisted pressure downwards, as if it were resting 
on the back of some animal, sunk to the floor, and in a 
short time rose again, and then dropped suddenly down. 
I now with some anxiety turned up the table, and, to the 
surprise of all present, showed them the delicate tissue 
stretched across altogether uninjured ! Finding that this 
kind of test was troublesome, as the paper or threads had 
to be renewed every time, and were liable to be broken 
accidentally before the experiment began, I constructed a 
cylinder of hoops and laths, covered with canvas. The 
table was placed within this as in a well, and, as it was 
about eighteen inches high, it effectually kept feet and 
ladies' dresses from the table. This apparatus in no way 
checked the table's upward motion, and as the hands of 
the medium were always close under the eyes of all 
present, and simply resting on the top of the table, it 
would appear that there was some new and unknown power 
here at work. These experiments have been many times 
repeated by me, and I am satisfied of the correctness of 
my statement of the facts. 

On two or three occasions only, when the conditions 
appear to have been unusually favourable, I have witnessed 



142 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

a still more marvellous phenomenon. While sitting at the 
large table in our usual manner, I placed the small table 
about four feet from it, on the side next the medium and 
my sister. After some time, while we were talking, we 
heard a slight sound from the table, and looking towards it, 
found that it moved slightly at short intervals, and after a 
little time it moved suddenly up to the table by the side of 
the medium, as if it had gradually got within the sphere 
of a strong attractive force. Afterwards, at our request, it 
was thrown down on the floor without any person touching 
it, and it then moved about in a strange life-like manner, 
as if seeking some means of getting up again, turning its 
claws first on one side and then on the other. On 
another occasion a very large leather arm-chair which 
stood at least four or five feet from the medium, suddenly 
wheeled up to her after a few slight preliminary move- 
ments. It is, of course, easy to say that what I relate is 
impossible. I maintain that it is accurately true ; and 
that no man, whatever be his attainments, has such an 
exhaustive knowledge of the powers of nature as to justify 
him in using the word impossible with regard to facts 
which I and many others have repeatedly witnessed. 

On Wednesday evening, February 27, 1867, some very 
remarkable phenomena occurred. The parties present 
were my sister and Miss Nichol (now Mrs. Volckman), her 
father, Mr. H. T. Humphreys, and two young friends of 
mine, Mr. and Miss M. My wife and her sister also sat in 
the room at some distance from the table looking on. There 
was no fire, and we lowered the gas so as to give a subdued 
light, which enabled everything to be seen. The moment 
we were all in our places, taps were heard indicating that 
the conditions were favourable. We now sent for a single 
wine-glass, which was placed on the floor between Miss 
Nichol and her father, and we requested it might be 



NOTES OF PERSONAL EVIDENCE 143 

struck. After a short time it was gently tapped, producing 
a clear ringing sound. This soon changed to a sound as if 
two glasses were gently struck together ; and now we were 
all astonished by hearing in succession almost every possible 
sound that could be produced by two glasses one inside 
the other, even to the clang of one dropped into another. 
They were in every respect identical with such sounds as 
we could produce with two glasses, and with two only, 
manipulated in a variety of ways, and yet I was quite sure 
that only one wine-glass was in the room, and every per- 
son's hands were distinctly visible on the table. 

We now took up the glass again and put it on the table, 
where it was held by both Miss N. and Mr. Humphreys, 
so as to prevent any vibration it might produce. After a 
short interval of silence an exquisitely delicate sound as of 
tapping a glass was heard, which increased to clear silvery 
notes like the tinkling of a glass bell. These continued in 
varying degrees for some minutes, and then became fainter 
and gradually died away. We afterwards placed a rude 
bamboo harp from the Malay Archipelago under the table, 
and, after several alterations of position, the strings were 
twanged as clearly and loudly as any of us could do it 
with our fingers. Having had such success with the glass, 
we asked if the harp could also be imitated, and having 
received permission to try, placed it also on the table. 
After a little time faint vibrating taps were heard, and 
these soon changed into very faint twangs which formed 
a distinct imitation of the harp strings, although by no 
means so successfully as in the case of the wine-glass. 

We were informed by taps in the ordinary way that it 
was through the peculiar influence of Mr. Nichol that this 
extraordinary production of imitative musical sounds with- 
out any material object was effected. I may add that the 
imitation of the sound produced by two glasses was so 



144 SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF THE SUPERNATURAL 

perfect that some of the party turned up the table imme- 
diately after we left it, under the impression that the 
unseen power had brought in a second glass, but none 
could be found. 

It has been objected that we too often use the expression 
that the phenomena we witness " could not possibly have 
been produced by any of the persons present." I maintain 
that in this instance they could not, and I shall continue 
in that conviction until they are produced under similar 
conditions and the modus operandi explained. 

I have since witnessed a great variety of phenomena, 
both in this country and in America, some of which are 
alluded to in other parts of this volume ; but I attach 
most importance to those which I have carefully and re- 
peatedly tested, and which give me a solid basis of fact 
by which to judge of what others relate or of what I have 
myself seen under less favourable conditions. 



A DEFENCE OF MODERN 
SPIRITUALISM. 1 

(Reprinted with Notes and Additions from the "Fortnightly JReiieio," 1874.) 

IT is with great diffidence, but under an imperative sense 
of duty, that the present writer accepts the opportunity 
afforded him of submitting to the readers of the Fort- 
nightly Review some general account of a wide-spread 
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. 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 pos- 

1 The following are the more important works which have been used in 
the preparation of this article ; Judge Edmond's Spiritual Tracts, New 
York, 1858-1860. Robert Dale Owen's Footfalls on the Boundary of 
Another World, Triibner & Co., 1861. E. Hardinge's Modern American 
Spiritualism, New York, 1870. Robert Dale Owen's Debateable Land 
between this World and the Next, Triibner & Co., 1871. Report on Spiri- 
tualism of the Committee of the London Dialectical Society, Longmans & 
Co., 1871. Year Book of Spiritualism, Boston and London, 1871. Hud- 
son Tuttle's Arcana of Spiritualism, Boston, 1871. The Spiritual Maga- 
zine, 1861-1874. The Spiritualist Newspaper, 1872-1874. The Medium 
and Daybreak, 1869-1874. 



146 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

sible and what is impossible, and in the acceptance or re- 
jection of what is submitted to him will carefully weigh 
and be solely guided by the nature of the concurrent testi- 
mony, the writer ventures to believe that he will not find 
his time and patience ill-bestowed. 

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 pro- 
fession 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 (1874) the readers 
of the Fortnightly Review were treated to " Experiences of 
Spiritualism " by a noble Lord of no mean ability and of 
thoroughly advanced views. He assures his readers that he 
" conscientiously endeavoured to qualify himself for speak- 
ing on this subject" by attending five seances, the details 
of several of which he narrates ; and he comes to the con- 



LORD AMBERLEY ON MEDIUMS 147 

elusion that mediums are by no means ingenious deceivers, 
but " jugglers of the most vulgar order ; " that the " spiri- 
tualistic 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 sixty 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 quan- 
tity of such evidence. In an article published since Lord 
Amberley's in London Society for February 1874 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. Philo- 
sophers will say these things are absolutely impossible ; neverthe- 
less 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 seances. The pre- 
caution 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 



148 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

imposture brought to light Neither was there any motive for im- 
posture. 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 stances (most of them failures) 
he has got to the bottom of a mystery in which they, not- 
withstanding their utmost endeavours, still hopelessly 
flounder or that the noble lord's acuteness does not sur- 
pass the combined acuteness of all these persons ; in which 
case their much larger experience, and their having wit- 
nessed 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 1873 the New Quarterly Magazine, in its 
opening number, had an article entitled " A Spiritualistic 
Stance," but which proved to be an account of certain 
ingenious contrivances by which some of the phenomena 
usual at seances were imitated, and both spiritualists and 
sceptics deceived and confounded. This appears at first 
sight to be an exposure of Spiritualism, but it is really 
very favourable to its pretensions ; for it goes on the 
assumption that the marvellous phenomena witnessed do 
really occur, but are produced by various mechanical con- 
trivances. In this case the rooms above, below, and at the 
side of that in which the stance was held had to be pre- 
pared 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 



THE QUARTERLY REVIEWER'S STAND-POINT 149 

means of obtaining expensive machinery and hired assist- 
ants. The article bears internal evidence of being alto- 
gether 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 Spiri- 
tualism was that in the Quarterly Review for October 1871, 
which is known to have been written by an eminent 
physiologist (the late Dr. W. B. Carpenter), 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-tilting, facts on which no spiritualist 
depends as evidence to a third party, and then proceeded 
to define its stand-point 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 stances 
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 formulae of 
"unconscious cerebration," "expectant attention," and 
" unconscious muscular action." A few of the more start- 
ling physical phenomena are mentioned merely to be 



150 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

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 testi- 
mony to such phenomena, or to the long series of diverse 
phenomena which lead up to and confirm them. Some of 
the experiments of Professor Hare and Mr. Crookes are 
quoted, and criticised in the spirit of assuming that these 
experienced physicists were ignorant of the simplest prin- 
ciples 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. 

The late Professor 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 stance which was a 



ATTITUDE OF MEN OF SCIENCE 151 

failure ; and in which the Professor, like Lord Amberley, 
easily imposed on some too credulous spiritualists by im- 
provising a few manifestations of his own. The article in 
question is dated as far back as 1864; we may therefore con- 
clude 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 Dis- 
cussion, which we recommend to those who care to see how 
a very acute yet unprejudiced mind looks at the pheno- 
mena, and how inconclusive, even from a scientific stand- 
point, are the experiences adduced by Professor Tyndall. 

The discussion in the Pall Mall Gazette in 1868, and a 
considerable private correspondence, indicates that scien- 
tific 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, with- 
out 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 pheno- 
mena 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. 



152 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

From the sketch which has now been given of the recent 
treatment of the subject by popular and scientific writers, 
we can summarise pretty accurately their mental attitude 
in regard to it. They have seen very little of the pheno- 
mena 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 con- 
vinced, on & 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 impos- 
ture 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 towards one uniform conclusion. The 
endeavour 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 



EA.RLY INTELLIGENT COMMUNICATIONS 153 

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, 1 and the 
first recognised 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 
sceptics, 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, forty-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 ascer- 
tained 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 

1 Miss K. Fox (now Mrs. Jencken) states that she was only five years 
old at this time. Her parents, however, appear to have given the age as 
nine to several inquirers. 



154 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

conclusion from the facts was, that it was the spirit 1 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. 

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 suc- 
cessively appointed ; the last, composed of violent sceptics 
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 scep- 
tical 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 sceptical 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 

1 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 through- 
out 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 pheno- 
mena," and not as implying " the spirits of the dead," unless so expressly 
stated. 



RAPID SPREAD OF THE MOVEMENT 155 

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 scepticism 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 investiga- 
tion. 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 farther 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 sceptics, who bound themselves to sit to- 
gether 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 pheno- 
mena 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, were 
confined as lunatics, and that the whole thing was " ex- 



156 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

plained " 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 Ameri- 
can Spiritualism, p. 279). A scientific sceptic prepared a 
small portable apparatus, by which he could produce an 
instantaneous illumination ; and, taking it to a dark stance 
at which numerous musical instruments were played, sud- 
denly 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 
or 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' Lettres on 
Spiritualism, pp. 59-103, Appendix). Other mediums 



ESTIMATED NUMBER OF SPIRITUALISTS 157 

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 per- 
haps the trance speakers, who, in eloquent and power- 
ful language, developed the principles and the uses of 
Spiritualism, answered objections, spread abroad a know- 
ledge of the phenomena, and thus induced sceptics 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, accord- 
ing to those who have the best means of judging, from 
eight to eleven millions. 1 This was the estimate of Judge 

1 Mr. Wm. Tebb has called my attention to his objections to the esti- 
mate of eight to eleven millions of Spiritualists in the United States, pub- 
lished. in Human Nature, November 1871. After a careful and extensive 
inquiry in America, he thinks about one-tenth of the amount nearer the 
truth. Judge Edmonds' letter on the subject (Spiritual Magazine, 1867, 
p. 327) enables us to some extent to understand how such divergent esti- 
mates could be made ; and although he may be too high, it seems probable 
that Mr. Tebb is very much too low. " Spiritualists " is such a vague 
term that no approach to accuracy can be expected. The confirmed and 



158 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

Edmonds, who carried on an extensive correspondence on 
the subject with every part of the United States. The Hon. 
R. D. Owen, who also had great opportunities of know- 
ing the facts, considered it to be approximately correct ; 
and it was 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 informa- 
tion, 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 organised 
body, and that the mass of them make no public profes- 
sion of their belief, but still remain members of some 
denominational church circumstances that would greatly 
deceive an outsider. Nevertheless the organisation 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 
mediums. 

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 medium- 
istic 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 

acknowledged spiritualists may be only about one million, while Judge 
Edmonds' estimate may include all who acknowledge that the phenomena 
are realities. Taken in this sense, several authorities I have consulted, 
including Mr. Epes Sargent, do not think Judge Edmonds' estimate to be 
much exaggerated. 



NATURE OF THE BELIEF 159 

this country may be roughly estimated by the fact that 
there are four exclusively spiritual periodicals, one of 
which has a circulation of five thousand weekly. 1 

DEDUCTIONS FROM THE PRECEDING SKETCH. 

Before proceeding to a statement of the evidence which 
has convinced the more educated and more sceptical con- 
verts, 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 civilised 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 con- 
viction 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 the evi- 
dence of the senses. It is equally just as applied to a 
great part of modern science. The almost universal belief 
in gravitation and 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 demon- 
strated. 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 

1 These estimates are approximately correct at the present day. 



160 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

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 spiri- 
tualists, 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 " expo- 
sures" 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 
were touched by any one, as in the case of Mr. Andrew 
Leighton of Liverpool, in whose presence the following 
pertinent sentence was written under strictly test condi- 
tions " And is this world of strife to end in dust at last ? " 
or has seen a hand not attached to a human body take 
up a pen and write, as many persons in London have 
seen in the presence of Mr. Home. Thus it is that there 



THE FACTS INCONTROVERTIBLE 161 

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 " ex- 
posures " 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 con- 
vinced 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 theyfind 
it not. As an eminent example of this class, I may men- 
tion 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 pheno- 
mena he witnessed thirty-four 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 exert- 
ing 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 

L 



162 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

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 explana- 
tions 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 are therefore still farther 
out of reach of the arguments referred to, which are in- 
deed 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 sceptical 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 re- 
markable 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, con- 
tinued to possess the same power in varying degrees till 
her death a few years ago. At the very earliest stages 
of the movement, sceptic after sceptic, committee after 
committee, endeavoured 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 



EXPERIMENTS WITH MISS FOX 163 

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, with- 
out pre-arrangement with the medium, took with them a 
powerful steelyard, and suspended from it a dining-table 
weighing 121 pounds. Then, under a bright gaslight, 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 60, at another 134 pounds. This experi- 
ment, 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 tests ; 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. (Debateable Land, p. 293.) 

But Miss Fox's powers were most remarkably shown in 
the stances at Mr. Livermore's, a well-known New York 
banker and an entire sceptic before commencing these ex- 
periments. 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 



161 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

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 like-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 material gauzy 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 sceptic. The details 
of these wonderful stances were published in the Spiritual 
Magazine in 1862 and 1863 ; and the more remarkable 
are given in Owen's Debateable Land, from which work a 
good idea may be formed of the great variety of the phe- 
nomena 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 married 
an English barrister, and some of the strange phenomena 
which so long accompanied her attached themselves to 
her infant child, even when its mother was away, to the 
great alarm of the nurse. We have here, therefore, a 
life-long career of mediumship of the most varied and 
remarkable character ; mediumship which has been scruti- 
nised and tested from the first hour of its manifestation, 
and with one invariable result that no imposture or 
attempt at imposture has ever been discovered, and no 



SIR DAVID BREWSTER'S EVIDENCE 165 

cause ever been suggested that will account for the phe- 
nomena except that advanced by spiritualists. 

Mr. Daniel D. Home was perhaps the best known 
medium in the world, and his powers were open to exami- 
nation for about thirty years. Thirty-nine years ago Sir 
David Brewster and Lord Brougham had a sitting with 
him sufficiently acute and eminent observers, and both, 
of course, thorough sceptics. In the Home Life of Sir 
David Brewster, we have, fortunately, his own record of 
this sitting, made at the time. 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 upon 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, although six months later, in a 
letter to the Morning Advertiser, he made the contradic- 
tory statement "I saw enough to satisfy myself they 
could all be produced by human hands and feet." 

These and far more marvellous phenomena have been 
since repeated many thousands of times, and almost 
always in private houses at which Mr. Home was a visitor. 
Everybody testifies to the fact that he offered 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 was 



166 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIKITUALISM 

what is called the fire-test. In a state of trance he took 
a glowing coal from the hottest part of a bright fire, and 
carried it round the room, so that every one might see and 
feel that it was 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 could 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) says : 

" 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, without in the slightest degree 
injuring it or singing the hair, others attempted to touch 
the coal and were burnt. Lord Lindsay and Miss Douglas 
have also had hot coals placed in their hands, and 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 



THE FIRE- TEST 167 

power of resisting fire can be temporarily given to inani- 
mate 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, carry- 
ing it about the room for three minutes, when the paper 
was found, this time, not to have been the least burnt. 
Lord Lindsay (the present Earl Crawford) 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 (Spiri- 
tualist, March 15, 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 were afterwards indepen- 
dently tested by Serjeant Cox and Mr. Crookes, and both 
these gentlemen emphatically proclaimed that he invited 
tests and courted 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 



168 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

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. Adolphus Trol- 
lope, 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 was to a great extent a public one. 
He spent much of his time as a guest in the houses of 
people of rank and talent. He numbered 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. During thirty years he 
was exposed to the keen scrutiny and never-ceasing sus- 
picion of innumerable inquirers; yet no proof has ever 
been given of trickery, no particle of machinery or ap- 
paratus ever been detected. But the phenomena are so 
stupendous that, if impostures, they could only be per- 
formed 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 



MISS NICHOL'S MEDIUMSHIP 169 

on asking her to sit for experiment in my house. This 
was in November I860, and for some months we had con- 
stant sittings, and I was able to watch and test the pro- 
gress 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 beneath 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 
fullToot 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 marvellous 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, the late Mr. 
Smith of Malton, sat next to 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 



170 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

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 stance before, 
was present. She sang several German songs, and most 
delicate music, like a fairy music-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 
was 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 N. 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, chrysanthe- 
mums, 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 



MR. TROT.LOPE'S EVIDENCE 171 

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. Some- 
times 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 cloth- 
ing 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 odour. 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 
come forward to enlighten the public on the subject of 



172 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

" so-called spiritual manifestations " do not know of the 
various classes of phenomena that have now been indi- 
cated, 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 pre-existing models. 

Investigations by some Notable Sceptics. 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 experience to the public. I 
will first take the case of the eminent American lawyer, 
the Honourable J. W. Edmonds, commonly called Judge 
Edmonds ; and it may be as well to let English sceptics 
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 as to 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, 



EXAMINATION BY JUDGE EDMONDS 173 

honesty or fearlessnes. 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 re- 
liable as ever. Both by the practitioners and suitors at his 
bar he is recognised 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 com- 
pact summary of his mode of investigation, from which 
the following passages are extracted. It must be remem- 
bered that at the time he commenced the inquiry he was 
in the prime and vigour of intellectual life, being fifty-two 
years of age. 

"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 combined. 

" 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 laboured to prevent any undue bias of my judgment. 
I was at times critical and captious to an unreasonable extreme ; and 



1 74 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

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 fre- 
quently 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 over- 
throwing 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 pos- 
sibility that it might have been something else than spiritual influ- 
ence, and I could 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 con- 
ceivable objection I could raise was, first or last, met and answered." 

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 
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 legs." 

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, 



EXPERIENCES OF JUDGE EDMONDS 1 75 

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 sacred 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 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 con- 
stantly 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 him- 
self 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, 



1 76 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

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 
parlour, Mr. E. D. Green, an artist of this city, was shown in accom- 
panied 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 1 ? The residue of the con- 
versation 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 lan- 
guages 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 



THE BROTHERS DAVENPORT 177 

case as this, which has been published thirty-six years, ought 
to have been noticed and explained by those who profess 
to enlighten the public on the subject of Spiritualism. 

Our next example is one of the most striking, and at 
the same time one of the most useful, converts to the 
truths of Spiritualism. Dr. George Sexton, M.D., M.A., 
LL.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 forty 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 ma- 
chinery." 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 investiga- 
tion 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 pro- 
ceedings with them, and especially of the fact that they 
cheerfully submitted to every test the Doctor suggested. 
He tells us (in his lecture " Plow 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 

M 



178 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

requested them not to bring any ropes, instruments, or other appa- 
ratus ; 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 dune. 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 favour 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 round 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. Brad- 
laugh 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 Spiritxtalism 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 extraordi- 
nary 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 endeavours to discover." 

While he was maintaining this ground, Spiritualists 



DR. SEXTON'S FINAL CONVERSION 

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 posi- 
tion he stood for many years, till he naturally believed he 
should never see cause to change his opinion. He con- 
tinued the inquiry, however, and in 1865 began to hold 
stances 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 sceptical. At length, after 
fifteen years of enlightened scepticism a scepticism not 
founded upon ignorance, but which refused to go one step 
beyond what the facts so diligently pursued absolutely 
demonstrated the needful evidence came : 

" 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 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. Fen wick 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 



180 A DEFENCE OP MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

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 passed." 

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 conjurors 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 
seances. Any one who wishes to comprehend how Dr. 
Lynn, Messrs. Maskelyne and Cook, and Herr Dobler per- 
form some of their most curious feats have only to read his 
lecture entitled, " Spirit Mediums and Conjurors," 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 Professor Tyndall's high scientific 
stand-point, 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- 



MR. CROOKES' RESEARCHES 181 

continued and conscientious investigations of many who 
are included in their wholesale animadversions. 

Yet one more witness to these marvellous phenomena 
we must bring before our readers a trained and experi- 
enced physicist, who has experimented in his own labora- 
tory, 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 recognised position in science ; " 
while a third declared that "no one could doubt Mr. 
Crookes' ability to conduct the investigation with rigid 
philosophical impartiality." But these expressions were 
evidently insincere 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 ex- 
ploded 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 un- 
doubted truth, their tone changed ; and they began to 
suspect the judge's ability, and to pick holes in the evi- 
dence on which he founded his judgment. 



182 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

In Mr. Crookes' paper published in the Quarterly 
Journal of Science for January 1874, we are informed that 
he had then pursued the inquiry for four years, and be- 
sides attending stances elsewhere, had had the opportu- 
nity 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 con- 
ditions of his own arranging, and with his own friends as 
witnesses. Such phenomena as percussive sounds ; altera- 
tions 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; phan- 
tom forms and faces ; and various mental phenomena, 
have all been tested so variously and so repeatedly that 
Mr. Crookes was thoroughly satisfied of their objective 
reality. 

These phenomena are given in outline in the paper above 
referred to, and are detailed in full in a volume subse- 
quently issued. I will not, therefore weary my readers 
by repeating them here, but will remark that these ex- 
periments have a weight as evidence vastly greater than 
would be due to them as resting on the testimony of any 
one man of science, however distinguished, because they 
are, in almost every case, confirmations of what previous 
witnesses in immense numbers had testified to, in various 
places and under various conditions, during the preced- 
ing 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 



UNSWERVING POSITION OF SPIRITUALISTS 183 

might have received them the first time they were an- 
nounced. And when the confirmation has been repeated 
by three or four independent observers under favourable 
conditions, and there is nothing but theory or negative 
evidence against them, the facts are admitted at least 
provisionally until disproved by a greater weight of evi- 
dence 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 for it. And when the 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. Clergy- 
men of all sects, literary men and lawyers, physicians 
in large numbers, men of science not a few, secularists, 
philosophical sceptics, pure materialists, all have become 
converts through the overwhelming logic of the pheno- 
mena which Spiritualism has brought before them. And 
what have we per contra ? Neither science nor philosophy, 
neither scepticism 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 candour and fairness, and knowledge of the 
subject that has been exhibited by their opponents, is it 



184 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

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 in- 
herent 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 truth 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- 
humouredly, and seldom excite other feelings than pity for 
the wilful 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 litera- 
ture 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 com- 
mencement, 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 sceptics became convinced of the reality of many 
of the physical phenomena through attending the experi- 
mental sub-committees, and almost wholly by means of 



THE DIALECTICAL COMMITTEE 185 

the mediumship of members of the committee. At least 
three members who were previously sceptics pursued their 
investigations outside the committee meetings, and in con- 
sequence 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 investigation into these phe- 
nomena, is a characteristic result of the examination into 
any natural phenomena. The examination into an impos- 
ture 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 indi- 
vidual 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 is well worth consideration. Besides declaring his 
own acceptance of the objective reality of the phenomena 
after ten years of investigation, he makes the following 
statement : 



186 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

" My learned teacher and friend, M. Babinet, of the Institute, who 
has endeavoured, 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 hypo- 
thesis, 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. Hoeffle, the learned author of 
the History of Chemistry and the General Encyclopaedia, and by the 
diligent labourer in the field of astronomic discovery whose death 
we have recently had to deplore, M. Hermann Goldschmidt, the dis- 
coverer 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 them. 1 

This seems the proper place to notice the astounding 
assertion of some writers, that there is not " a particle of 
evidence " to support the spiritual theory, that those who 
accept it betray "hopeless inability to discriminate be- 
tween 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 con- 

1 That the names we are able to quote of men who have publicly 
acknowledged their conviction of the reality of the phenomena of modern 
Spiritualism form only a small portion of those who are really convinced, 
but who, for social, religious, or other reasons do not make public their 
belief, every spiritualist knows. As an example of the latter class, we 
may refer to the late Dr. Robert Chambers, a man as remarkable for his 
powers of observation, scientific knowledge, and literary ability as for his 
caution in forming and expressing his opinions. I am glad to be now 
able to give the following extract from a letter received from him in 
February 1867 : " I have for many years known that these phenomena 
are real, as distinguished from impostures ; and it is not of yesterday that 
I concluded they were calculated to explain much that has been doubtful 
in the past ; and, when fully accepted, revolutionise the whole frame of 
human opinion on many important matters." 



THE SPIRITUAL THEORY 187 

elusion " 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 4 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, pheno- 
menon 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 re- 
mained 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 spiri- 
tual 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 fellow-citizens. 1 

1 The objection will here inevitably be made :" These wonderful 
thiugs always happen in America. When they occur in England, it will 



188 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

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 

be time enough to inquire into them." Fortunately for these objectors, 
after this article was in the press, the final test was obtained which de- 
monstrated 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, 
had exhibited remarkable mediumship, which latterly culminated in the 
production of an entire female form purporting to be of spiritual origin, 
and which appeared barefooted and in white flowing robes while she lay 
entranced, in dark clothing, and securely bound in a cabinet or adjoining 
room. Notwithstanding that tests of an apparently conclusive character 
were employed, many visitors, spiritualists as well as sceptics, got the 
impression that all was not as it should be, owing in part to the resem- 
blance 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 seals, 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 
skilful a manner as to defy detection. Others thought that the spirit 
released her, provided her with a white dress, and sent her forth to per- 
sonate a ghost. The belief that there was something wrong led one 
gentleman an ardent spiritualist, be it remembered to seize the supposed 
spirit and endeavour 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 that 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 were made 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 



SPIRIT-PHOTOGRAPHS 189 

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 Spiri- 
tualism furnish ample proof that different individuals 
possess the power of seeing such forms and figures in very 

indicated, while it was impossible for the young lady to dress and act the 
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, 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 of the experi- 
ment Miss Cook was found in a deep trance. Subsequently Mr. Crookes, 
F.R. S., obtained even more satisfactory evidence. He contrived a phos- 
phorus lamp, and, armed with this, was allowed to go into the dark room 
accompanied by the spirit, and there both 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, did what the sceptical gentleman had done without 
clasped the figure in his arms, and found it to be apparently that of a real 
living woman. Yet this figure is not that of Miss Cook nor of any other 
living human being, since it appeared and disappeared in closed and care- 
fully guarded rooms in Mr. Crookes' cwn house as readily and completely 
as in that of the medium herself. The full statements of Messrs. Crookes 
and Varley, with a mass of interesting details on the subject, appeared in 
the Spiritualist newspaper in March and April 1874 ; and they serve to 
show that whatever marvels occur in America can be reproduced here, and 
that men of science are not (as it is continually asserted they are) pre- 
cluded from investigating these phenomena with scientific instruments 
and by scientific methods. 

The preceding remarks formed a note to the article as it appeared in 
the Fortnifjhtly Review ; but since that article appeared the demonstra- 
tion has been carried still further. Miss Cook came to Mr. Crookes' house 
alone, with a small bag as her only luggage, and stayed there about a 
week. She slept with one of the ladies of the house, and was constantly 
under the observation of one or other of the family. Yet the spirit-form 
appeared constantly : Mr. Crookes both saw and felt it and Miss Cook at 
the same time ; and he obtained a series of photographs of the spirit-form, 
and a comparative series of Miss Cook, showing it to be that of a woman 
at least half a head taller, just as it appeared to be to all observers. The 
photographs (which I have had the opportunity of examining) are to all 



190 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

variable degrees. Thus, it often happens at a stance, that 
some will see distinct lights of which they will describe 
the form, appearance, and position, while others will see 
nothing at all. If only one or two persons see the lights, 
the rest will naturally impute it to their imagination ; but 

appearance those of a human being, whose features are like those of Miss 
Cook, as a sister might be like, but by no means identical ; dressed in 
flowing white robes, while Miss Cook was always dressed in ordinary dark 
clothes ; and by measurement, as well as by comparison with Mr. Crookes, 
who is photographed by the side of both, very much taller. This figure, 
after being seen, felt, conversed with, and photographed, absolutely dis- 
appeared from a small room, out of which there was no means of exit 
but through the adjoining room filled with spectators. We must also 
remember that the photographs are so clear and distinct, and the form 
and features of the spirit are so well known to a considerable number of 
people, that if it were a human being who, in different houses in various 
parts of London always manages to accompany Miss Cook and act the 
spirit, that person could hardly maintain a perpetual incognito, and for 
years avoid detection. But any such supposition is even more incredible 
than the fact of a " spiritual manifestation " when we consider that this 
unknown person would have had to obtain entrance, and to live for a 
week in a private house without once being seen, except in a room where 
concealment is impossible and which is carefully secured before each 
seance. During this week she must either live without food, or get in and 
out of the house continually without ever being perceived, and this in a 
house fully occupied by a rather large family ! Since these manifestations 
have ceased with Miss Cook, they have occurred with other mediums in 
Manchester, in Newcastle, in Melbourne, and especially in America, under 
conditions, if possible, still more stringent. Mr. Robert Dale Owen testi- 
fies'to having seen the spirit-form come out of an empty cabinet when 
the mediums were visible and sitting among the spectators. And on several 
occasions he and others have seen this apparently living, solid, moving, 
speaking form actually vanish before their eyes, and after a time be re- 
produced. The figure faded out from the head downwards. On another 
occasion, on a bare floor of polished boards, the form appeared rising out 
of the floor, first the head and shoulders, then the entire body, which 
afterwards walked out among the spectators. Yet another time, three 
distinct figures appeared from the cabinet, spoke to the witnesses, and 
were touched by them. Those who know nothing of the subject, of 
course, cannot believe this ; but to all who know that many spiritual 
phenomena are facts, the evidence must be conclusive. 



A CONCLUSIVE TEST SUGGESTED 191 

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 some- 
times 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 recognisable as that of some 
deceased friend. A volume could easily be filled with re- 
cords 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 prejudged 
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 de- 
monstrate 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 lie photographed. Photo- 
graph them, and you will have an unanswerable proof 



192 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

that your human witnesses are trustworthy." Two years 
ago we could only have replied to this very proper sug- 
gestion, 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 evi- 
dence 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 
remarkable. 

Before doing so, it may be as well to clear away a popu- 
lar misconception. Mr. G. H. Lewes advised the Dialec- 
tical 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 photo- 
grapher, and are therefore disposed to think they can be 
of no use as evidence. But a little consideration will 
show that the means by which sham ghosts can be manu- 
factured being so well known to all photographers, it 
becomes easy to apply tests or arrange conditions so as to 



SPIRIT PHOTOGRAPHS 193 

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 nega- 
tive 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 unmistak- 
able likeness appears of a deceased person totally unknown 
to the phographer. 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 super- 
posed would show through. 5. Even should none of 
these tests be applied, yet if a medium, quite inde- 
pendent 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 were 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 

N 



194 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

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, inde- 
finite, 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 is 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. Some days afterwards, 
Mr. and Mrs. Guppy and their little boy went without any 
notice. Mrs. G. sat on the ground holding the boy on a 
stool. Mr. Guppy 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 benedic- 
tion. 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. G. 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. G.'s position. The 
hands were before on a level ; now one is raised consider- 
ably higher than the other, so as to keep it about the same 
distance from Mrs. G.'s head as it was before. The folds 
of the drapery all correspondingly differ, and the head is 



RECOGNISED LIKENESSES 195 

slightly turned. Here, then, one of two things is abso- 
lutely certain. Either there was a living, intelligent, but 
invisible being present, or Mr. and Mrs. Guppy, the photo- 
grapher, and some fourth person, planned a wicked impos- 
ture, and have maintained it ever since. Knowing Mr. 
and Mrs. Guppy so well as I do, I feel an absolute con- 
viction that they are as incapable of an imposture of this 
kind as any earnest inquirer after truth in the department 
of natural science. 1 

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 rumours 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 were 
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 arrange- 
ments 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 

1 It is an important circumstance that the face of the spirit form is 
well defined, and as recognisable as the portrait of any living person. 
Had an imposture been attempted, this would have been carefully avoided, 
since it would almost certainly lead to the discovery of the person who 
was dressed up for the occasion. Yet no such person has been found, 
although, during the discussions that subsequently arose, many were eager 
to find proofs of imposture. 



196 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

the necessity for tests and for independent confirmation of 
the facts. 

The test of clearly recognisable 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 recognised 
by Mrs. Howitt, and Mr. H. 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 recognised 
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 since occurred, but I 
will only add my personal testimony. A few weeks back 
(in 1874) I myself went to the same photographer's for 
the first time, and obtained a most unmistakable likeness 
of a deceased relative. 1 We will now pass to a better 
class of evidence, the private experiments of amateurs. 

1 The particulars of this case are as follows. On March 14th, 1874, 
I went to Hudson's by appointment, for the first and only time, 
accompanied by Mrs. Guppy, as medium. I expected that if I got 
any spirit picture it would be that of my eldest brother, in whose name 
messages had frequently been received through Mrs. Guppy. Before 
going to Hudson's I sat with Mrs. G., and had a communication by 
raps to the effect that my mother would appear on the plate if she 
could. I sat three times, always choosing my own position. Each 
time a second figure appeared in the negative with me. The first was 
a male figure with a short sword ; the second a full-length figure, stand- 
ing apparently a few feet on one side and rather behind me, looking 



AUTHOR'S EXPERIENCES 197 

Mr. Thomas Slater, an old-established optician in the 
Euston Eoad, 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 por- 
trait with a second figure on it. He then began experi- 

down at me and holding a bunch of flowers. At the third sitting, after 
placing myself, and after the prepared plate was in the camera, I asked 
that the figure would come close to me. The third plate exhibited a 
female figure standing close in front of me, so that the drapery covers 
the lower part of my body. I saw all the plates developed, and in each 
case the additional figure started out the moment the developing fluid 
was poured on, while my portrait did not become visible till, perhaps, 
twenty seconds later. I recognised none of these figures in the nega- 
tives ; but the moment I got the proofs, the first glance showed me 
that the third plate contained an unmistakable portrait of my mother, 
like her both in features and expression ; not such a likeness as a 
portrait taken during life, but a somewhat pensive, idealised likeness 
yet still, to me, an unmistakable likeness. The second figure is much 
less distinct ; the face is looking down ; it has a different expression from 
the other, so that I at first concluded it was a different person. The 
male figure I know nothing of. On sending the two female portraits to 
my sister, she thought that the second was much more like my mother 
than the third, was, in fact, a good likeness, though indistinct, while 
the third seemed to her to be like in expression, but with something 
wrong about the mouth and chin. This was found to be due, in part, 
to the filling up of spots by the photographer ; for when the picture 
was washed it became thickly covered with whitish spots, but a letter 
likeness of my mother. Still I did not see the likeness in the second 
picture till a few weeks back, when I looked at it with a magnifying-glass, 
and I at once saw a remarkable special feature of my mother's natural 
face, an unusually projecting lower lip and jaw. This was most conspicuous 
some years ago, as latterly the mouth was somewhat contracted. A photo- 
graph taken twenty-two years before shows this peculiarity very strongly, 
and corresponds well with the second picture, in which the mouth is 
partly open and the lower lip projects greatly. This figure had always 
given me the impression of a younger person than that in the third 
picture, and it is remarkable that they correspond respectively with the 
character of the face as seen in photographs taken at intervals of about 
twelve years, yet without the least resemblance to these photographs 
either in attitude or expression. Both figures carry a bunch of flowers 
exactly in the same way ; and it is worthy of notice that, while I was 



198 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

menting in his own private house, and during last summer 
obtained some remarkable results. The first of his suc- 
cesses contained 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 recognised 
by Mr. Slater as that of Robert Owen, whom he knew 
intimately up to the time of his death. He afterwards ob- 
tained 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 

sitting for the second picture, the medium said, " I see some one, and it 
has flowers " intimating that she saw the flowers distinctly, the figure 
only very faintly. Here, then, are two different faces representing the 
aspect of a deceased person's countenance at two periods of her life ; yet 
both the figures are utterly unlike any photograph ever taken of her 
during her life. How these two figures, with these special peculiarities 
of a person totally unknown to Mr. Hudson could appear on his plates, 
I should be glad to have explained. Even if he had by some means 
obtained possession of all the photographs ever taken of my mother, they 
would not have been of the slightest use to him in the manufacture of 
these pictures. I see no escape from the conclusion that some spiritual 
being, acquainted with my mother's various aspects during life, produced 
these recognisable impressions on the plate. That she herself still lives 
and produced these figures may not be proved ; but it is a more simple 
and natural explanation to think that she did so, than to suppose that we 
are surrounded by beings who carry out an elaborate series of impostures 
for no other apparent purpose than to dupe us into a belief in a continued 
existence after death. While these sheets were passing through the press, 
I received a letter from my brother in California, to whom I had sent a 
proof of the third picture. He wrote " As soon as I opened the letter, 
I looked at the photograph attentively, and recognised your face, and 
remarked that the other one was something like Fanny (my sister). I 
then handed it across the table to Mrs. W., and she exclaimed at once, 
' Why, it's your mother ! ' We then compared it with a photograph of her 
we had here, and there could be no doubt of the general resemblance, but 
it has an appearance of sickness or weariness." Neither my brother nor 
his wife knew anything of Spiritualism, and both were prejudiced against 
it. We may therefore accept their testimony as to the resemblance to my 
mother in confirmation of myself and my sister, as conclusive. 



MR. BEATTIE'S EXPERIMENTS 199 

head and bust appear, leaning over his shoulder. The faces 
of these two are much alike, and other members of the 
family recognised 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 him- 
self, 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 them- 
selves 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 sister 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 of. 

Mr. Slater himself showed 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 experiments, 



200 A DEFENCE OF MODEllN SHUlTUALlSM 

obtained a partial success. Mr. R. Wiams, M.A., Ph.D., 
of Hayward's Heath, succeeded in obtaining three photo- 
graphs, each with part of a human form besides the 
sitter, one having the features distinctly marked. Sub- 
sequently 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 assured me (in a letter) that in these experi- 
ments there was " no room for trick or for the production 
of these figures by any known means." 

The editor of the British Journal of Photography 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 experi- 
ments of Mr. John Beattie of Clifton, a retired photo- 
grapher 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, skil- 
ful, and intelligent photographer, one of the last men in 
the world to be deceived, at least in matters relating to 
photography, and one quite incapable of deceiving others." 

Mr. Beattie was assisted in his researches by Dr. Thom- 
son, an Edinburgh M.D., who had practised 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 or four, within a few seconds of each other, 
and several of these series were taken at each sitting. 



MR. BEATTIE'S EXPERIMENTS 201 

The figures produced are for the most part not human, 
but white shaded patches, variously formed, and which in 
successive pictures are seen to change 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 unmis- 
takable white female figure, covering the larger part of 
the plate. The other three show intermediate states, indi- 
cating 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 nebulae. Another 
set of three is very curious. The first has an oblique flow- 
ing 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 



202 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

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 per- 
son'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 ex- 
claimed, " 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. Dur- 
ing the exposure one medium said he saw on the back- 
ground 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. 

Mr. Beattie was so good as to send me for examination 
a complete set of these most extraordinary photographs, 
thirty-two in number, and furnished me with any par- 
ticulars I desired. I have described them as correctly as 
I am able ; and Dr. Thomson authorised me to use his 
name as confirming Mr. Beattie's account of the conditions 
under which they appeared. These experiments were not 
made without labour 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 labour. They demonstrate the fact that what a medium 
or sensitive sees (even where no once else sees anything) 



MR. G. H. LEWES CRITICISED 203 

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 photo- 
graphy been then discovered and properly applied, we might 
now have the portraits of the invisible men and women 
who crowded his room. 1 They give us hints of a process 

1 The efforts men of science have to make in order to avoid recognising 
the possibility of such forms being actual beings, visible only during the 
peculiar state induced by disease or insanity, is well shown by the follow- 
ing curious passage from the work of Mr. G. H. Lewes, Problems of Life 
and Mind (vol. i. p. 255): "In the course of my observations in 
English and German asylums, I have been forcibly impressed with the 
fact, abundantly illustrated in the records of insanity, that patients be- 
longing to very different classes of society, and to different nations, have 
precisely similar hallucinations, which they express in terms so closely 
alike, that the one might have been a free translation of the other. The 
pauper lunatic in England will often have the same illusion as the insane 
German merchant ; and the insane soldier in Bohemia will seem to be 
repeating the absurdities of the insane farmer in Sussex. Not only does 
the fact of cerebral congestion determine hallucination in the Englishman 
as in the German, but determines the precise form which that hallucina- 
tion will take. Twenty different patients, of both sexes, and of different 
age, country, and states, will be found having similar morbid sensations ; 
and will all form a similar hypothesis to explain what they feel. Not 
only will they agree in attributing their distressing sensations to the 
malevolent action of invisible enemies ; but will also agree in describing 
how these enemies molest them ; even when such imaginary explanations 
take peculiar shapes for example, that the enemy blows poisonous vapours 
through the keyhole or chinks in the wall, strikes them with galvanic 
batteries hidden under the table, roars and threatens them from under- 
ground cellars, &c. To hear in Germany a narrative which one has 
already heard in England, gravely particularising the same preposterous 
details, almost as if the thoughts of the one were the echo of the thoughts 
of the other, has a startling effect. I do not refer simply to the well- 
known general types of hallucination, in which patients fancy themselves 
emperors, Christs, great actors, or great statesmen, or fancy themselves 
doomed to perdition, made of glass and liable to break in pieces if they 
move I refer to the singular resemblance noticeable in the expression of 
these forms, so that one patient has the same irrational conceptions 



204 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

by which the figures seen at stances may have to be 
gradually formed or developed, and enable us better to 
understand the statements repeatedly made by the com- 
municating 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 favourable conditions. 
We find, then, that three amateur photographers, working 
independently in different parts of England, separately con- 
firm the fact of spirit-photography, already demonstrated 
to the satisfaction of many who had tested it through pro- 
fessional 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 

as another. This identity of conception rests on identity of congestion. 
Remove the congestion and the hallucination vanishes." Now this explana- 
tion is so untenable, and so contrary to the laws of physiological pyscho- 
logy, that we venture to say Mr. Lewes' friend, Herbert Spencer, will not 
endorse it. For it asserts that the product of two factors can be con- 
stantly identical with the product of two other factors, one of which is 
widely different from the corresponding one. It asserts that race, nation, 
education, life-long habits and associations and ideas, being all different 
in two individuals, a similar or identical cerebral disease will produce an 
identical mental result, and that the radical differences in the most im- 
portant of the two factors go absolutely for nothing ! There could hardly 
be a more striking proof of the theory that so-called spectral illusions are 
often actual objective forms than the facts adduced by Mr. Lewes ; and if 
his explanation is satisfactory to himself, we can hardly have a stronger 
case of the blinding influence of preconceived ideas, even on the most 
powerful intellects. 



SUMMARY OF PHYSICAL PHENOMENA 205 

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 materialise [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. 



SUMMARY OF THE MORE IMPORTANT MANIFESTATIONS, 
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL. 

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-characterised 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. 



206 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

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 colours 
have been produced on marked paper in from ten to twenty 
seconds, and the colours 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, has obtained communications 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 philoso- 
phical 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 con- 
ditions are favourable, original musical compositions of a 
very high character are produced. This occurred with 
Mr. Home. 

5. Spiritual Forms. These are either luminous appear- 
ances, sparks, stars, globes of light, luminous clouds, &c. ; 
or, hands, faces, or entire human figures, generally covered 
with flowing drapery, except a portion of the face and 
hands. The human forms are often capable of moving 



SUMMARY OF MENTAL PHENOMENA 207 

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 images 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, armour, or walking-sticks 
ceases to have any weight. 

6. Spiritual Photographs, These, as just detailed, de- 
monstrate by a purely physical experiment the trust- 
worthiness of the preceding class of observations. 

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

1. Automatic Writing. The medium writes involun- 
tarily, sometimes in a state of trance, and often on sub- 
jects which he is not thinking about, does not expect, and 
does not like. Occasionally definite and correct informa- 
tion 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 
n languages which the medium does not understand, 



208 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

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 recognise them. 
They often hear voices, through which they obtain names, 
date, and place, connected with the individuals so de- 
scribed. 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, Ser- 
jeant Cox no mean judge on a matter of literary style 
says, " I have heard an uneducated barman, when in a state 
of trance, maintain a dialogue with a party of philosophers 
on ' Keason and Foreknowledge, Will and Fate,' and hold 
his own against them. I have put to him the most diffi- 
cult 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 marvellous 
manner ; in some cases speaks foreign languages never 



MENTAL AND PHYSICAL PHENOMENA 209 

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. Some- 
times 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 inti- 
mately 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 demon- 
strated by itself ; while each gives weight and confirmation 
to all the rest. They have all, or nearly all, been before 
the world for forty 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 sceptics 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 





210 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

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 propor- 
tion 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 ap- 
pendages to their names " refuse to examine them when 
invited ; the eminent society of which he is a fellow re- 
fuses 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 sceptics by tens of thousands sceptics, 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 elabo- 
rate 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, mathema- 
ticians, 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, 



FURTHER CONFIRMATION NOT REQUIRED 211 

Dr. Eobert Chambers, Serjeant Cox, Mr. C. F. Varley, as 
well as the sceptical Dialectical Committee, have indepen- 
dently confirmed large portions of them ; and lastly conies 
Mr. William Crookes, F.E.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 recol- 
lections 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 Spiri- 
tualism 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 approach- 
ing 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 coin- 
cident belief that they have witnessed them, and when 
they can prove the correctness of their theory by pro- 
ducing a like belief in a body of equally sane and able 
unbelievers then, and not till then, will it be necessary 



212 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

for spiritualists to produce fresh confirmation of facts which 
are, and always have been, sufficiently real and indisput- 
able 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 re- 
mains to give a brief account of the more important uses 
and teachings of Spiritualism. 



HISTORICAL 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 him- 
self able to rehabilitate Socrates as a sane man, and his 
"demon" as an intelligent spiritual being who accom- 
panied 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 contem- 
poraries and by Socrates himself, that it forewarned him 
truly of dangers, and to hold that this noble man, this 



THE ORACLES OF ANTIQUITY 213 

subtle reasoner, this religious sceptic, 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 Socrates. 

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 enig- 
matical 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 sim- 
plicity 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 verifica- 
tion of them has filled the temple with gifts from all 
parts of Greece and foreign countries." And again, " The 
answer of the 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 favour ; 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 



214 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

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 enthu- 
siast. The spiritualists need not believe that all this 
never happened, or that St. Francis d'Asisi and Sta. 
Theresa were not raised into the air, as eye-witnesses 
declared they were. 

5. Witchcraft and witchcraft trials have a new interest 



WITCHCRAFT 215 

for the spiritualist. He is able to detect hundreds of 
curious and minute coincidences with phenomena he has 
himself witnessed ; 1 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 witch- 
craft 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 Eomau Catholic miracles become intelligible 

1 At a trial for witchcraft at Cork in 1661, a young girl was believed 
to be bewitched. She had violent fits, and during these several wit- 
nesses declared that, while they were present, she was "removed 
strangely, in the twinkling of an eye, out of the bed, sometimes into the 
bottom of a chest with linen, under all the linen, and the linen not at all 
disordered, sometimes betwixt the two beds she lay on, sometimes under 
a parcel of wool ; and once she was laid on a small deal board, which lay 
on the top of the house between two sollar beams, where it was necessary 
to rear up ladders to have her fetched down." At the same trial it was 
declared that little stones were thrown at her wherever she went, and the 
witnesses saw great quantities of these come and hit her, and fall to the 
ground, and then vanish, so that none of them could be found. But once 
the girl caught one, and the witness another, and she tied them in her 
purse, but they vanished in a little time although the knot remained 
unopened. 

These facts are very analogous to some of the more powerful manifesta- 
tions of modern Spiritualism. Such occurrences as these are to be met 
with in the record of witchcraft trials by thousands, generally witnessed 
by numbers of persons, educated and uneducated ; and if any one will 
take the trouble to read the reports of these trials, they will see that the 
testimony of single witnesses to extraordinary phenomena was not ac- 
cepted unless corroborated by similar facts witnessed by several persons. 
It is generally the fashion to pass over these testimonies as not worthy of 
a moment's notice ; but this is surely not satisfactory ; and when we find 
that phenomena of an exactly similar nature are witnessed in our own 
day by men of talent and education, whose prepossessions are all against 
them, this concurrence of ancient and modern testimony must be held to 
prove that some, at least, of the facts witnessed were realities. 



216 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

facts. Spirits whose affections and passions are strongly 
excited in favour of Catholicism produce those appear- 
ances of the Virgin and of saints which they know will 
tend to increase religious fervour. 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 me- 
diumistic power is more frequent and more energetic in 
mountainous countries, and as these are generally inha- 
bited by the less civilised 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 
States. 

8. The often 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 towards them a 
number of spiritual beings who sympathise with them, 
and who, when the necessary mediumistic power is pre- 
sent, will be able, as they are often willing, to answer the 
prayer. A striking case is that of George Miiller, of 
Bristol, who for more than fifty 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 



EFFICACY OF PKAYER 217 

Dealings with George Mulltr (sixth edit., 1860), should 
have been referred to in this 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 Miiller's receipts 
and expenditure 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 bread or milk or sugar for the children ; yet 
he never bought 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 bread 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 more than fifty years, and is, I 
believe, still going on ; it has been published to the world 
many years ago, 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 pheno- 
menon ! The spiritualist explains all this as a personal 
influence. The perfect simplicity, faith, boundless cha- 
rity, and goodness of George Miiller have enlisted in his 
cause beings of a like nature ; and his mediumistic 
powers have enabled them to work for him by influencing 



218 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

others to send him money, food, clothes, &c., all arriv- 
ing, 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 discon- 
tinuous ; but when it continued to supply the daily wants 
of a long life of unexampled charity, for which no provision 
in advance was ever made (for that Miiller 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 pheno- 
mena of various kinds which occurred previous to what are 
termed the modern spiritual manifestations. Eobert Dale 
Owen's works give a rather full account of this class of 
phenomena, which are most accurately recorded and philo- 
sophically 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 any- 
thing of modern Spiritualism. In 1841 Major Edward 
Moor, F.R.S., published a little book called Healings 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 him- 
self, friends, and bell-hangers, was 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 com- 



SPIRITUALISM EXPLAINS ANTECEDEDENT PHENOMENA 219 

munications 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 un- 
explained. 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 form- 
ing part of the great system of phenomena which demon- 
strates the spiritual theory. Major Moor's book is very 
rare ; but a good abstract of it is given in Owen's Debate- 
able Land, pp. 239-258. 

1 10. Spiritualism, if true, furnishes such proofs of the 
existence of ethereal beings, and of their power to act upon 
matter, as must revolutionise philosophy. It demonstrates 
the actuality of forms of matter and modes of being before 
inconceivable ; it demonstrates mind without brain, and 
intelligencedisconnected from what we know as the material 
body ; and it thus cuts away all presumption against our 
continued existence after the physical body is disorganised 
and dissolved. Yet more, it demonstrates, as completely 
as the fact can be demonstrated, that the so-called dead 
are still alive ; that our friends are still with us, though 
unseen, and guide and strengthen us when, owing to 
absence of proper conditions, they cannot make their 

1 This paragraph did not appear in the article as published in the 
Fortnightly Review, but its omission was a great oversight, as it is 
essential to a complete sketch of the " teachings" of Spiritualism. 



220 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

presence known. It thus fnrnishes that proof of a future 
life which so many crave, and for want of which so many 
live and die in anxious doubt, so many in positive disbelief. 
How valuable is the certainty gained by spiritual com- 
munications may be gathered from what was said to a friend 
of mine by a clergyman who had witnessed the modern 
phenomena : " Death is a different thing to me now from 
what it ever has been ; from the greatest depression because 
of the death of my sons I am full of confidence and cheer- 
fulness; I am a changed man." This is the effect of 
modern Spiritualism on a man who had all that a belief 
in Christianity could give him before ; and this is the an- 
swer to those who ask, "What use is it? " It substitutes 
a definite, real, and practical conviction for a vague, theo- 
retical, and unsatisfying faith. It furnishes actual know- 
ledge on a matter of vital importance to all men, and as to 
which the wisest men and most advanced thinkers have 
held, and still hold, that no knowledge was attainable. 



MORAL TEACHINGS OF SPIRITUALISM. 

We have now to explain the Theory of Human Nature, 
which is the outcome of the phenomena taken in their 
entirety, and which 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 organised spiri- 
tual form, evolved coincidently with and permeating the 
physical body, and having corresponding organs and de- 
velopment. 

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, 



THE THEORY OF HUMAN NATURE 221 

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 sympa- 
thise 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 of the late 
Professor Huxley in a letter to the Committee of the Dia- 
lectical 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 occa- 
sionally indulged, can hardly mean, that if it were proved 
that men 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 mani- 



222 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

festations, on the ground that real genuine spirits might 
reasonably be expected not to indulge in the common- 
place 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. Did he not hold the 
doctrine that there can be no effect, mental or physical, 
without an adequate cause ; and that mental states, facul- 
ties, 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 have 
admitted) a very large majority of those who daily depart 
this life are persons addicted to twaddle, persons whose 
pleasures are sensual rather than intellectual whence is 
to come the transforming power which is suddenly, at the 
mere throwing off of the physical body, to change these 
into beings able to appreciate and delight in high and in- 
tellectual pursuits? The thing would be a miracle, the 
greatest of miracles, and surely Professor Huxley was 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 will 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 



ANSWER TO PROFESSOR HUXLEY'S REMARK 223 

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 im- 
posed 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 subordinate to those which regard our social and intel- 
lectual 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 development. 

Although, therefore, the twaddle and triviality of so 
many of the communications is not one whit more inter- 
esting to sensible spiritualists than it was to Professor 
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 seances at which these common-place 
communications are received. A miscellaneous assem- 
blage of believers of various grades and tastes, but mostly 
in search of an evening's amusement, and of sceptics 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 



224 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

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 endeavour to 
recall old times by gossiping with their former associates 
whenever they can Professor Huxley could not fail to 
see its vast importance as an incentive to that higher edu- 
cation which he is never weary of advocating. He would 
assuredly be interested in anything having a really prac- 
tical 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 abso- 
lute 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 sympa- 
thies, no occupations but those having for their object 
social and intellectual progress is impelled towards 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 false- 
hood, to selfishness or to a life of luxurious physical enjoy- 
ment, because he knows that the natural and inevitable 



PHILOSOPHY OF SPIRITUALISM 225 

consequences of such habits are future misery, necessitat- 
ing 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 remem- 
bered that these beliefs (unlike those of theology) will 
have a living efficacy, because they depend on facts oc- 
curring 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 exist- 
ence 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 depen- 
dent 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 teach- 
ings but the product of " expectant attention " and " un- 
conscious 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 

p 



226 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

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 con- 
firmed 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 marvellous 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 me- 
diumship, 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 com- 
munications purport to come from Catholic or Protestant, 
Mahomedan or Hindoo spirits. Because, while such com- 
munications 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, 



DOCTKINE OF A FUTUEE STATE 227 

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 through- 
out. Nothing is more common than for religious people 
at stances to ask questions about God and Christ. In 
reply they never get more than opinions, or more fre- 
quently the statement that they, the spirits, have no 
more direct 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 prepara- 
tion 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 
communications on this subject. They know well that 
absolute dependence is to be placed on no individual com- 
munications. They know that these are received by a 
complex physical and mental process, both communicator 
and recipient influencing the result ; and they accept the 



228 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

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 were 
all moulded 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, occupa- 
tions, 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 un- 
founded 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 intel- 
lectual 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 



CONCLUSION 229 

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 harmonise conflicting creeds ; 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 in- 
stead of faith, and substitutes facts for opinions ; and is 
thus able to demonstrate the source of much of the teach- 
ing 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 Spiritual- 
ism is no mere "psychological" 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 im- 
portant, 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 some- 
what lengthy, account of a subject about which so little is 
probably known to most of my readers, I would earnestly 
beg them not to satisfy themselves with a minute criti- 
cism of single facts, the evidence for which in my brief 
survey may be imperfect, but to weigh carefully the mass 



230 A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 

of evidence I have adduced, considering its wide range and 
various bearings. I would ask them to look rather at the 
great results produced by the evidence than at the evi- 
dence itself as imperfectly stated by me ; to consider the 
long roll of men of ability who, commencing the inquiry as 
sceptics, 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 and 
patient 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 pre- 
judices and misconceptions with which the whole subject 
has been surrounded, and to incite to unbiassed and per- 
severing 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. 



ARE THERE OBJECTIVE 
APPARITIONS? 

(Reprinted from " The Arena," January 1891.) 

EVERY one who feels an interest in whatever knowledge 
can be obtained bearing upon the nature and destiny of 
man and what intelligent person does not ? should be 
deeply grateful to those active members of the Society 
for Psychical Research in England and in America who 
have devoted themselves for many years to the collection 
of authentic cases of the various kinds of apparitions. 
These cases have been all personally investigated so far as 
was possible ; the evidence has been obtained either from 
the actual witnesses, or, where this was not possible, from 
those who received their personal testimony ; corroborative 
evidence, in contemporary records of whatever kind, has 
been sought for, often at great cost of time and labour ; 
and, finally, the whole body of facts thus accumulated has 
been systematically arranged, carefully discussed, and pub- 
lished for the information of all who may be interested in 
the inquiry. 1 If we add to this the evidence collected 
and recorded with equal care by the late Robert Dale 
Owen, by Dr. Eugene Crowell, and many other writers, 
we shall find ourselves in possession of a body of facts 
which ought to be sufficient to enable us to arrive at 

1 In Phantasms of the Living, 2 vols. 8vo, and the Proceedings of the 
Society from 1862 to 1890. 



231 



232 AHE THERE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 

some definite conclusions as to the nature, origin, and 
purport of those puzzling phenomena usually known as 
ghosts or apparitions, these terms being held to include 
auditory and tactile as well as visual impressions, the 
appearances termed " doubles " or phantasms of the living, 
as well as those purporting to represent or to emanate 
from the dead. 

Before proceeding further I wish to point out the in- 
estimable obligation we are under to the Psychical Re- 
search Society for having presented the evidence in such 
a way that the facts to be interpreted are now generally 
accepted as facts by all who have taken any trouble to 
inquire into the amount and character of the testimony 
for them the opinion of those who have not taken that 
trouble being altogether worthless. The change in edu- 
cated public opinion appears to be due to a combination 
of causes. The careful preliminary investigation into the 
phenomena of telepathy has seemed to furnish a scientific 
basis for an interpretation of many phantasms, and has 
thus removed one of the chief difficulties in the way of 
accepting them as facts the supposed impossibility of 
correlating them with any other phenomena. The num- 
ber of men eminent in literature, art, or science who have 
joined the Society and have contributed to its Proceed- 
ings, has given the objects of its inquiry a position 
and status they did not previously possess; while the 
earnestness, the thoroughness, the literary skill, and 
philosophic acumen with which the evidence has been 
presented to the world, has compelled assent to the pro- 
position that the several classes of apparitions known as 
doubles, phantasms of the living or the dead, spectral 
lights, voices, musical sounds, and the varied physical 
effects which occur in haunted houses, are real and not 
very uncommon phenomena, well worthy of earnest study, 



ARE THERE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 233 

and only doubtful as regards the interpretation to be put 
upon them. 

Some of the best workers in the Society, it is true, still 
urge that the evidence is very deficient, both in amount 
and in quality, and that much more must be obtained 
before it can be treated as really conclusive. This view, 
however, appears to me to be an altogether erroneous 
one. On looking through the evidence already published, 
I find that every one of the chief groups of phenomena 
already referred to is established by a considerable num- 
ber of cases in which the testimony is first-hand, the 
witnesses irreproachable, and in which the evidence of 
several independent witnesses agrees in all important par- 
ticulars. And, in addition to these unexceptionable cases, 
there is a whole host of others in which the evidence is 
not quite so complete individually, but which are so com- 
pletely corroborative in their general character, and which 
fall so little short of the very best kind of evidence, that 
the cumulative weight of the whole is exceedingly great. 
I shall, therefore, waste no time in discussing the value of 
the evidence itself, but shall devote my attention entirely 
to a consideration of what the facts teach as to the real 
nature of the phenomena. 

This is the more necessary because, up to the present 
time, the only explanation of the various classes of appari- 
tions suggested by the more prominent working members 
of the Society is, that they are hallucinations due to the 
telepathic action of one mind upon another. These writers 
have, as they state that they felt bound to do, strained the 
theory of telepathy to its utmost limits in order to account 
for the more important of the phenomena which they have 
themselves set forth ; and the chief difference of opinion 
now seems to be, whether all the facts can be explained 
as primarily due to telepathic impressions from a living 



234 ARE THERE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 

agent a view maintained by Mr. Podmore or whether 
the spirits of the dead are in some cases the agents, as 
Mr. Myers thinks may be the case ? But in order to give 
this telepathic theory even a show of probability, it is 
necessary to exclude or to explain away a number of the 
most interesting and suggestive facts collected by the 
Society, and also to leave out of consideration whole 
classes of phenomena which are altogether at variance 
with the hypothesis adopted. 1 It is to these latter cases 
that I now wish to call attention, because they lead us to 
quite different conclusions from the writers above referred 
to, both as to the nature of apparitions and as to the 
agents concerned in their production. 

The evidence which either distinctly suggests or affords 
direct proof of the objectivity of apparitions is of five 
different kinds : ( I ) Collective hallucinations, or the per- 
ception of the same phantasmal sights or sounds by two 
or more persons at once. (2) Phantasms seen to occupy 
different points in space, by different persons, correspond- 
ing to their apparent motion, or the persistence of the 
phantasm in one spot, notwithstanding the observer 
changes his position. (3) The effects of phantasms upon 
domestic animals. (4) The physical effects apparently 
produced by phantasms, or connected with their appear- 
ance. (5) The fact that phantasms, whether visible or 
invisible to persons present, can be and have been photo- 
graphed. Examples of each of these groups of cases will 

1 Phantasms of the Dead from Another Point of View, by F. Podmore, 
and A Defence of Phantasms of the Dead, by F. W. H. Myers, in Proceed- 
ings of the Society for Psychical Research, part xvi., 1890. In these 
papers the extreme telepathic theory is set forth by Mr. Podmore with 
admirable boldness and with full illustrations, and is forcibly combated 
by Mr. Myers, whose views as here expressed are, however, only a very 
little in advance of those of his fellow-worker. 



ARE THERE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 235 

now be given and their bearing on the question at issue 
briefly discussed. 

I. Collective hallucinations (so called). Cases of this 
kind are very numerous, and some of them perfectly 
attested. Let us first take that of the figure of a man 

seen repeatedly by Mrs. W , her son, a boy of nine, 

and her step-daughter. It was seen distinctly at the most 
unexpected times, as when playing the piano, when play- 
ing at cricket in the garden, and by two at once when 
playing at battledore and shuttlecock. A voice was also 
distinctly heard by both the ladies. The description of 
the figure by the two ladies agreed completely, and 
the appearance occurred in a house reported to be 
haunted. 1 

Such an appearance as this, occurring to two ladies not 
at all nervous, and who have never before or since had 
any similar experiences, and also to a boy when at play, 
seems almost necessarily to imply some real object of 

vision ; yet they both, as well as Surgeon-Major W , 

are positive that the form could not have been that of any 
living person. 

An equally remarkable case is that of the young woman, 
draped in white, which, at intervals during ten years, was 
seen by Mr. John D. Harry, his three daughters, their 
servant, and partially by the husband of one of the 
daughters. Mr. Harry saw it on seven or eight occasions 
in his bedroom and library. On one occasion it lifted the 
mosquito curtains of his bed (this all occurred in a house 
in the South of Europe), and looked closely into his face. 
It appeared to all three of the young ladies and their 
maid at one time, but apparently in a more shadowy form. 
Here again it seems impossible that so many persons 

1 Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, part viii. (May 
1885), pp. 102-106. 



236 ARE THERE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 

could have a similar or identical vision without any cor- 
responding reality. 1 

Of another type is the female figure in white which was 
seen on a summer afternoon floating over a hedge some 
ten feet above the ground by two girls of thirteen and a 
boy. They watched it for a couple of minutes passing 
over a field till they lost sight of it in a plantation. All 
were in good health, and had seen no apparition before or 
since. They were driving in a tax- cart at the time, and 
when the figure appeared, the horse stopped and shook 
with fright, so much so that they could not get it on. 
This last fact, which will be referred to under another 
head, renders it almost certain that the figure seen was 
visually objective. 2 

As a type of the auditory phenomena, we may take the 
disturbances in the house of a clergyman, which continued 
almost nightly for twenty years. The sounds were loud 
knockings or hammerings, often heard all over the house 
and by every inmate, and occurring usually from twelve 
to two in the morning. Sometimes a sound was heard 
like that produced by a cart heavily laden with iron bars 
passing close beneath the windows, yet on immediate 
search nothing was seen. Lady and gentlemen visitors 
heard these varied sounds as well as the residents in the 
house, and, notwithstanding long-continued search and 
watching, no natural cause for them was ever discovered. 
In such a case as this it is impossible to doubt that the 
sounds were real sounds. 3 

Equally remarkable is the case where a whole family 
and a visitor, in an isolated country-house, heard a loud 

1 Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, part viii. (May 
1885), pp. 111-113. 

2 Phantasms of the Living, vol. ii. p. 197. 

3 R. D. Owen's Debatable Land, pp. 251-255. 



ARE THEKE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 237 

and continuous noise at the front door, which seemed to 
shake in its frame, and to vibrate under some tremendous 
blows. The servants, who were asleep in the back part of 
the house sixty feet away, were awoke by the disturbance, 
and came running, half-dressed, to see what the terrific 
noise meant. Yet the house was enclosed within high 
railings and locked gates, and on an immediate search 
nothing could be found to account for the noise. The 
visitor, however, Mr. Garling, of Folkestone, who gives 
the account, had that afternoon seen a phantasm of a 
friend he had left four days previously with his family all 
in perfect health ; and at the time of the knocking, this 
friend's wife and two servants had died of cholera, and 
he himself was dying, and had been all day repeatedly 
begging that his friend Garling should be sent for. 1 Here 
we may well suppose that the (perhaps subjective) phan- 
tasm, having failed to bring the percipient to his dying 
friend, a violent objective sound was resorted to, which 
should compel attention by its being audible to a whole 
household. 

2. Phantasms whose objectivity is indicated by definite 
space-relations, We now pass to a group of phenomena 
which still more clearly point to the actual objectivity of 
phantasms, namely, their definite space-relations, as wit- 
nessed either by one or many percipients. Of this kind 
is the case, given in outline only, of a weeping lady which 
appeared to five persons, and on many occasions to two 
of them together. The interesting point is, however, that 
indicated in the following passage : " They went after it 
(the figure) together into the drawing-room ; it then came 
out and went down a passage leading to the kitchen, but 

was the next minute seen by another Miss D to 

come up the outside steps from the kitchen. On this 

1 Phantasms of the Living, vol. ii. pp. 149-151. 



238 ARE THERE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 

particular day, Captain D 's married daughter hap- 
pened to be at an upstairs window, and independently 
saw the figure continue its course across the lawn and 
into the orchard." 1 Here it is almost impossible to con- 
ceive that the several hallucinations of four persons 
should so exactly correspond and fit into each other. A 
something objective, even if unsubstantial, seems abso- 
lutely necessary to produce the observed effects. 

In the next case, a well-known English clergyman and 
author of Boston, Mass. the late Eev. W. Mountford 
was visiting some friends in the Norfolk fens, when a 
carriage containing his host's brother and sister-in-law, 
who lived near, was seen coming along the straight road 
between the two houses. The horse and carriage was 
recognised as well as the occupants, and was seen by the 
three persons looking on to pass in front of the house. 
But no knock was heard, and on going to the door nothing 
was to be seen. Five minutes afterwards a young lady, 
the daughter of the persons in the carriage, arrived and 
informed her uncle and aunt that her father and mother, 
in their chaise, had passed her on the road, and, greatly to 
her surprise, without speaking to her. Ten minutes after- 
wards the real persons arrived just as they had been seen 
a quarter of an hour previously, having come straight 
from their home. None of the four percipients had any 
doubt as to the reality of the phantom carriage and its 
occupants till the real carriage appeared. 2 We are not 
now concerned with the cause or nature of this extra- 
ordinary " double " or phantasm of the living, with their 
horse and chaise ; that will be discussed in another article. 
It is adduced here only in evidence of the objec- 
tivity of the appearance, showing that something capable 

1 Proc. Soc. Ps. Res., part viii. (May 1885), pp. 117, 146. 

2 Phantasms of the Living, vol. ii. pp. 97-99. 



ARE THERE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 239 

of being perceived by ordinary vision did pass along the 
road near the house in which Mr. Mountford was staying 
when the event occurred. 

3. Effects of phantasms on animals. We now come 
to a group of phenomena which, although frequently 
recorded in the publications of the Society for Psychical 
Research, have received no special attention as bearing 
on the theories put forth by members of the Society, but 
have either been ignored or have been attempted to be 
explained away by arbitrary assumptions of the most im- 
probable kind. It will, therefore, be necessary to refer to 
the evidence for these facts somewhat more fully than for 
those hitherto considered. 

I have already mentioned the case of the female figure 
in white, seen by three persons floating over a hedge ten 
feet above the ground, when the horse they were driving 
" suddenly stopped and shook with fright." In the re- 
marks upon this case in Phantasms of the Living, no 
reference is made to this fact, yet it is surely the crucial 
one, since we can hardly suppose that a wholly subjective 
apparition, seen by human beings, would also be seen by 
a horse. During the tremendous knocking recorded by 
Mr. Garling, and already quoted, it is stated that there 
was a large dog in a kennel near the front entrance, 
especially to warn off intruders, and a little terrier inside 
that barked at everybody ; yet, when the noise occurred 
that wakened the servants sixty feet away, "the dogs 
gave no tongue whatever ; the terrier, contrary to its 
nature, slunk shivering under the sofa, and would not 
stop even at the door, and nothing could induce him to go 
into the darkness." 

In the remarkable account of a haunted house during 
an occupation of twelve months by a well-known English 
Church dignitary, the very different behaviour of dogs in 



240 ARE THERE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 

the presence of real and of phantasmal disturbances is 
pointed out. When an attempt was made to rob the 
vicarage, the dogs gave prompt alarm and the clergy- 
man was aroused by their fierce barking. During the 
mysterious noises, however, though these were much 
louder and more disturbing, they never barked at all, 
but were always "found cowering in a state of pitiable 
terror." They are said to have been more perturbed 
than any other members of the establishment, and " if not 
shut up below, would make their way to our bedroom door 
and lie there, crouching and whining, as long as we would 
allow them." l 

In the account of haunting in a house at Hammersmith 
near London, which went on for five years, where steps 
and noises were heard and a phantom woman seen, "the 
dog whined incessantly " during the disturbances, and 
" the dog was evidently still afraid of the room when the 
morning came. I called to him to go into it with me, and 
he crouched down with his tail between his legs, and 
seemed to fear entering it." 2 

On the occasion of a " wailing cry " heard before a 
death in a rectory in Staffordshire, a house standing quite 
alone in open country, " we found a favourite bulldog, a 
very courageous animal, trembling with terror, with his 
nose thrust into some billets of firewood which were kept 
under the stairs." On another occasion, " an awful howl- 
ing followed by shriek upon shriek," with a sound like 
that caused by a strong wind was heard, although every- 
thing out of doors was quite still, and it is stated, " We 
had three dogs sleeping in my sisters' and my bedrooms, 
and they were all cowering down with affright, their 
bristles standing straight up ; one a bulldog was under 

1 Proc. Soc. Ps. Res., part vi. p. 151. 

2 Ibid., part viii. p. 116. 



ARE THERE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 241 

the bed, and refused to come out, and when removed was 
found to be trembling all over. 1 The remark of Mrs. 
Sidgwick on these and other cases of warning sounds is, 
that "if not real natural sounds, they must have been col- 
lective hallucinations." But it has not been shown that 
"real natural sounds" ever produce such effects upon 
dogs, and there is no suggestion that " collective halluci- 
nation " can be telepathetically transferred to these ani- 
mals. In one case, however, it is suggested that the dog 
might have " been suddenly taken ill ! " 

In the remarkable account by General Barter, C.B., of 
a phantasmal pony and rider with two native grooms seen 
in India, two dogs which immediately before were hunt- 
ing about in the brushwood jungle which covered the hill, 
came and crouched by the General's side, giving low, 
frightened whimpers ; and when he pursued the phantasm 
the dogs returned home, though on all other occasions 
they were his most faithful companions. 2 

These cases, given on the best authority by the Society 
for Psychical Eesearch, can be supplemented by a re- 
ference to older writers. During the disturbances at 
Mr. Mompesson's house at Tedworth, recorded by the 
Rev. Joseph Glanvil, from personal observation and in- 
quiry, in his work Sadducismus Triumphatus, "it was 
noted that when the noise was loudest, and came with 
the most sudden surprising violence, no dog about the 
house would move, though the knocking was oft so bois- 
terous and rude that it hath been heard to a considerable 
distance in the fields, and awakened the neighbours in the 
village, none of which live very near this." 

So in the disturbances at Epworth Parsonage, an 
account of which is given by the eminent John Wesley, 

1 Proc. Soc. Ps. Res., part xiii. pp. 307-308. 

2 Ibid., part xiv. pp. 469, 470. 



242 ARE THERE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 

after describing strange noises as of iron and glass 
thrown down, he continues : " Soon after our large 
mastiff dog came, and ran to shelter himself between 
them (Mr. and Mrs. Wesley). While the disturbances 
continued, he used to bark and leap, and snap on one 
side and the other, and that frequently before any person 
in the room heard any noise at all. But after two or 
three days he used to tremble, and creep away before the 
noise began. And by this the family knew it was at 
hand ; nor did the observation ever fail." l 

During the disturbances at the Cemetery of Ahrens- 
burg, in the island of Oesel, where coffins were overturned 
in locked vaults, and the case was investigated by an 
official commission, the horses of country people visiting 
the cemetery were often so alarmed and excited that they 
became covered with sweat and foam. Sometimes they 
threw themselves on the ground, where they struggled in 
apparent agony, and notwithstanding the immediate resort 
to remedial measures, several died within a day or two. 
In this case, as in so many others, although the commis- 
sion made a most rigid investigation, and applied the 
strictest tests, no natural cause for the disturbances was 
ever discovered. 2 

In Dr. Justinus Kerner's account of The Seeress of Pre- 
vorst, it is stated of an apparition that appeared to her 
during an entire year, that as often as a spirit appeared 
a black terrier that was kept in the house seemed to be 
sensible of its presence ; for no sooner was the figure per- 
ceptible to the Seeress than the dog ran, as if for protec- 

1 The account of these disturbances is given in Dr. Adam Clarke's Me- 
moirs of the Wesley Family ; in Southey's Life of Wesley ; and in many 
other works. 

1 R. D. Owen's Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World, pp. 186- 
192. 



AEE THERE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 243 

tion, to some one present, often howling loudly ; and after 
his first sight of it he would never remain alone of nights. 
In this case no one saw the figure but the Seeress, showing 
that this circumstance is not proof of the subjectivity of 
an apparition. 

In the terrible case of haunting given to Mr. R. Dale 
Owen by Mrs. S. 0. Hall, who was personally cognisant of 
the main facts, the haunted man had not been able to 
keep a dog for years. One which he brought home when 
Mrs. Hall became acquainted with him (he being the 
brother of her bosom friend) could not be induced to stay 
in his room day or night after the haunting began, and 
soon afterwards ran away and was lost. 1 

In the wonderful case of haunting in Pennsylvania 
given by Mr. Hodgson in The Arena of September 1890 
(p. 419), when the apparition of the white lady appeared 
to the informant's brother, we find it stated : " The 
third night he saw the dog crouch and stare, and then 
act as if driven round the room. Brother saw nothing, 
but heard a sort of rustle, and the poor dog howled and 
tried to hide, and never again would that dog go to that 
room." 

Now this series of cases of the effect of phantasms on 
animals is certainly remarkable, and worthy of deep con- 
sideration. The facts are such as, on the theories of 
telepathy and hallucination, ought not to happen, and 
they are especially trustworthy facts because they are 
almost invariably introduced into the narratives as if 
unexpected ; while that they were noticed and recorded 
shows that the observers were in no degree panicstruck 
with terror. They show us unmistakably that large 
numbers of phantasms, whether visual or auditory, and 
even when only perceptible to one of the persons present, 
* Footfalls from the Boundary of Another World, pp. 326-329. 



244 ARE THERE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 

are objective realities ; while the terror displayed by the 
animals that perceive them, and their behaviour, so unlike 
that in the presence of natural sights and sounds, no less 
clearly proves that, though objective, the phenomena are 
not normal, and are not to be explained as in any way 
due to trick or to misinterpreted natural sounds. Yet 
these crucial facts, which a true theory must take account 
of, have hitherto been treated as unimportant, and, except 
for a few casual remarks by Mr. Myers and Mrs. Sidg- 
wick, have been left out of consideration in all the serious 
attempts hitherto made to account for the phenomena of 
phantasms. . 

4. Physical effects produced try phantasms or occurring 
in connection with them. There can be no more convincing 
proof of the objective reality of a phantasm than the pro- 
duction of real motion or displacement of material objects. 
There is abundant evidence of such effects ; but, owing to 
the method hitherto adopted by the chief members of the 
Psychical Research Society of breaking up the phenomena 
into groups, and discussing each group separately as if 
it stood alone and had no relation with the rest of the 
phenomena, they have as yet received no attention. The 
curious circumstance that visual phantoms are often seen 
to open doors in order to enter a room, which doors are 
afterwards found to be locked and bolted, is supposed to 
throw doubt upon other cases in which doors really open ; 
but every one who pays close attention to these questions 
must be convinced that phantasms are of many kinds, 
ranging from mere images on the brain of a single person 
up to forms which are not only visible to all present, but 
are sometimes tangible also, and capable of acting with 
considerable effect on ordinary matter. Let us consider 
a few of these cases, taking first those recorded in the 
publications of the Society for Psychical Research. 



ARE THERE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 245 

The phantasm described by Dr. and Mrs. Gwynne was 
seen by them both to put its hand toward or over the 
nightlight on the mantelpiece, which was at once ex- 
tinguished. On being relighted it burned for the rest 
of the night. Of course it is possible to explain this as 
due to a sudden gust of wind down the chimney, but why 
the only gust during the night occurred at the moment 
the phantom was seen by two persons to place its hand 
toward or over the light is not explained. 1 

In the house at Hammersmith where a figure was seen 
and noises heard during five years, Mrs. R , who de- 
scribes them, says, that on one occasion the curtains of 
her bed were pulled back, and, she continues, "Frequently 
I had doors opened for me before entering a room, as if a 
hand had hastily turned the handle and thrown it open." 2 

In another case of a haunted house, Mr. K. Z., said to 
be a man of reputation, stated that " doors opened and 
shut in the house without apparent cause," and "bells 
were rung in the middle of the night, causing all the 
household to turn out and search for burglars." 3 Again, 
in a house where apparitions were seen by four persons, 
three persons sitting together in a room were attracted by 
the door creaking, " and we watched it slowly open about 
one-third, and it remained so." No such opening has 
been seen at any other time. 4 

Dr. Eugene Crowell relates that in a house in Brooklyn 
a relation of his own several times had his hat struck from 
his head while descending the stairs or passing through 
the hall, and under circumstances which rendered the 
agency of any living person impossible. 5 In the case 

1 Phantasms of the Living, vol. ii. p. 202. 

2 Proc. Soc. Ps. Res., part viii. p. 115. 

3 Ibid., part i. p. 107. 4 Ibid., part xiv. p. 443. 

5 Primitive Christianity and Modern Spiritualism, vol. i. p. 191. 



246 ARE THERE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 

already referred to, given by Mr. Hodgson in the Sep- 
tember Arena, doors frequently opened and shut, and 
pictures, clocks, and other articles were thrown down 
with a great crash in a room where there was no one at 
the time, while another picture fell in front of the lady as 
she was entering the room. 

But all these cases are insignificant as compared with 
the evidence afforded by the bell-ringing at Great Beal- 
ings, Suffolk, and at other places, an account of which 
was published in 1841 by Major Moor, a Fellow of the 
Royal Society, in whose house they occurred. The ring- 
ing, in a violent, clattering manner, went on almost daily 
for nearly two months, during which time every effort 
was made to discover any natural cause for the pheno- 
menon, but in vain. Major Moor states: "The bells 
rang scores of times when no one was in the passage, 
or back-building, or house, or grounds unseen. Neither 
I, nor the servants, nor any one, could or can work 
the wonderment that I and more than half a score of 
others saw." And he declares finally: "I am thor- 
oughly convinced that the ringing is by no human 
agency." 

The publication of his statement in the Ipswich Jo-urnal 
brought him accounts of no less than fourteen similar 
disturbances in various parts of England, every one of 
them equally unexplained. One of these was in Green- 
wich Hospital, and the account of this was given to 
Major Moor by Lieutenant Rivers, R.N., a comrade of 
Nelson. The bells in Lieutenant Rivers' apartments in 
the hospital rang for four days. The clerk of the works, 
his assistant, a bellhanger, and several scientific men tried 
to discover the cause, but all in vain. They made every 
one leave the house ; they watched the bells, the cranks, 
and the wires, but, just as in Major Moor's case, without 



ARE THEKE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 247 

becoming any the wiser. In another case, in a house 
near Chesterfield, long and repeated bell-ringings con- 
tinued for eighteen months. Bellhangers and other 
persons watched and experimented in vain. The wires 
were cut, but still the bells rang. Neither the owner, 
Mr. Ashwell, nor his friend, Mr. Felkins of Nottingham, 
afterwards mayor of that town, nor any other person was 
ever able to discover, or even to conjecture, any adequate 
cause for the phenomena. In many of these cases the 
ringing occurred in the daytime, and was repeated so 
often that ample opportunity was given for discovering 
the agency, if a human one. And the thing itself is so 
comparatively simple that there is no opportunity for a 
trick to be played without almost immediate discovery. 
Yet in none of these cases, nor, so far as I am aware, in 
any other at all similar to them, has any trick been 
discovered. They must, therefore, be classed as a form 
of haunting, comparable with the knockings and other 
disturbances so often connected with phantasmal ap- 
pearances, and thus affording very strong evidence of 
the powers of phantasms to act upon matter. 1 

5. Phantasms can be photographed, and are, therefore, 
objective realities. It is common to sneer at what are 
called "spirit photographs," because imitations of some 
of them can be so easily produced ; but a little con- 
sideration will show that this very facility of imitation 
renders it equally easy to guard against imposture, since 
the modes by which the imitation is effected are so well 
known. At all events, it will be admitted that an experi- 

1 An account of all these fourteen cases of bell-ringing and of other 
disturbances, with names and dates, is given in a small volume, now rare, 
entitled Healings Bells. A brief summary of them is given in R. Dale 
Owen's Debatable Land, and in William Howitt's History of the Super- 
natural, vol. ii. p. 446. 



248 ARE THERE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 

enced photographer who supplies the plates and sees the 
whole of the operations performed, or even performs 
them himself, cannot be so deceived. This test has been 
applied over and over again, and there is no possible 
escape from the conclusion that phantasms, whether 
visible or invisible to those present, can be and have 
been photographed. A brief statement of the evidence 
in support of this assertion will now be given. 

The first person through whom spirit photographs were 
obtained was a New York photographer named Mumler, 
who in 1869 was arrested and tried for obtaining money 
by trickery and imposture, but who, after a long trial, 
was acquitted because no proof of imposture or attempt 
at imposture was given ; but, on the other hand, evi- 
dence of extraordinary tests having been applied was 
given. A professional photographer, Mr. W. H. Slee, 
of Poughkeepsie, watched the whole process of taking 
the pictures, and though there was nothing unusual in 
Mumler's procedure, shadowy forms appeared on the 
plates. Mumler afterwards visited this witness's gallery, 
bringing with him no materials whatever, yet the same 
results were produced. Mr. J. Gurney, a New York 
photographer of twenty- eight years' experience, gave 
evidence that, after close examination, no trickery what- 
ever could be detected in Mumler's process. Yet a third 
photographer, Mr. W. W. Silver, of Brooklyn, gave evi- 
dence to the same effect. He frequently went through 
the whole process himself, using his own camera and 
materials, yet when Mumler was present, and simply 
placed his hand on the camera during the exposure, 
additional forms besides that of the sitter appeared upon 
the plates. Here we have the sworn testimony in a 
court of law of three experts, who had every possible 
means of detecting imposture if imposture there were ; 



ARE THERE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 249 

yet they all declared that there was and could be no 
imposture. 1 

It would be easy to give a score or more of cases in 
which persons of reputation have stated in print that they 
have obtained recognisable photographs of deceased friends 
when they themselves were quite unknown to the photo- 
grapher, and even when no photograph or picture of the 
deceased person existed. In all such cases, however, the 
objection is made that the figures are more or less shadowy, 
and that the supposed likeness may be imaginary. I there- 
fore prefer to give only the evidence of experts as to the 
appearance on photographic plates of other figures besides 
those of the visible sitters. Perhaps the most remark- 
able series of experiments ever made on this subject were 
those carried on during three years by the late Mr. John 
Beattie of Clifton, a retired photographer of twenty years' 
experience, and Doctor Thomson, M.D. (Edin.), a retired 
physician, who had practised photography as an amateur 
for twenty-five years. These two gentlemen performed 
all the photographic work themselves, sitting with a 
medium who was not a photographer. They took hun- 
dreds of pictures, in series of three, taken consecutively 
at intervals of a few seconds ; and the results are the 
more remarkable and the less open to any possible sus- 
picion, because there is not in the whole series what is 
commonly termed a spirit photograph, that is, the shadowy 
likeness of any deceased person, but all are more or less 
rudimental, exhibiting various patches of light undergoing 
definite changes of shape, sometimes culminating in unde- 
fined human forms, or medallion-like heads, or star-like 

1 A report of the trial appeared in the New York Times of April 22, 
1869, and in many other papers. An abstract of the evidence is given 
by Dr. Crowell in his Primitive Christianity and Modern Spiritualism, 
vol. i. pp. 478-482. 



250 ARE THERE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 

luminosities. In no case was there any known cause for 
the production of these figures. I possess a set of these 
remarkable photographs, thirty-two in number, given me 
by Mr. Beattie, and I was personally acquainted with 
Doctor Thomson, who confirmed Mr. Beattie's statements 
as to the conditions and circumstances under which they 
were taken. Here we have a thorough scientific investiga- 
tion undertaken by two well-trained experts, with no 
possibility of their being imposed upon ; and they demon- 
strate the fact that phantasmal figures and luminosities 
quite invisible to ordinary observers, can yet reflect or 
emit actinic rays so as to impress their forms and changes 
of form upon an ordinary photographic plate. An addi- 
tional proof of this extraordinary phenomenon is, that 
frequently, and in the later experiments always, the 
medium spontaneously described what he saw, and the 
picture taken at that moment always exhibited the same 
kind of figure. In one of the pictures the medium is 
shown among the sitters gazing intently and pointing 
with his hand. While doing so, he exclaimed, " What a 
bright light up there ! Can you not see it ? " And the 
picture shows the bright light in the place to which his 
gaze and pointing hand are directed. 1 

Very important, as confirming these results, are the 
experiments of the late Mr. Thomas Slater, the optician 
(of Euston Road, London), who obtained second figures 
on his plates when only his own family were present, and 
in one case when he was perfectly alone ; of Mr. R. 
Williams, MA., of Haywards Heath ; of Mr. Traill Taylor, 

1 A brief account of these experiments from notes furnished by Mr. 
Beattie and confirmed by Dr. Thomson, is given in the present volume, 
at page 200. Mr. Beattie published his own account in the Spiritual 
Mayazine, September 1872, January 1873, and in the British Journal of 
Photography of the same period. 



AEE THERE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 251 

the editor of the British Journal of Photography ; and of 
many other professional or amateur photographers, who 
all agree that, with everything under their own control, 
phantasmal figures, besides those of the sitter, appeared 
on the plates without any apparent or conceivable mecha- 
nical or chemical cause. 

In the cases hitherto given, the phantasms or figures 
photographed have been invisible to all present except the 
mediums, and sometimes even to them ; but we have also 
examples of the photographing of a visible form or appari- 
tion occurring in the presence of a medium. A very suc- 
cessful photograph of a spirit form which appeared under 
strict test conditions, with Miss Cook as the medium, was 
taken by Mr. Harrison, then editor of the Spiritualist 
newspaper. An engraving from this photograph appears 
as a frontispiece to Epes Sargent's Proof Palpable of Im- 
mortality, with an account of the conditions under which 
it was taken signed by the five persons present. Later 
on, Mr. Orookes obtained numerous photographs (more 
than forty in all) in his own laboratory, with the same 
medium ; and had every opportunity of ascertaining that 
the phantom which appeared and disappeared, under con- 
ditions which rendered doubt impossible, was no human 
being, and was very different in all physical characteristics 
from the medium. 1 

This long series of photographic experiments and tests, 
of which the briefest abstract only has been given, has 
been hitherto not even alluded to by the investigators 
of the Society for Psychical Research. But they cannot 

1 An account of these experiments, and of those which preceded them, 
is given in a small volume entitled Researches in the Phenomena of 
Spiritualism, by William Crookes, F.R.S., London, 1874 ; and they are 
summarised in Epes Sargent's Proof Palpable, of Immortality, pp. 
100-110. 



252 ARE THERE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 

much longer continue to ignore it, because they have 
entered on the task of collecting the whole of the evidence 
for psychical phenomena, and of fairly estimating the 
weight of each of the groups under which that evidence 
falls. Now I submit that this photographic evidence is 
superior in quality to any that they have hitherto collected, 
for two reasons. In the first place, it is experimental 
evidence, and experiment is rarely possible in the higher 
psychical phenomena ; in the second place, it is the 
evidence of experts in an operation the whole details of 
which are perfectly familiar to them. And, I further 
submit, this evidence can no longer be ignored, because it 
is evidence that goes to the very root of the whole inquiry, 
and affords the most complete and crucial test in the 
problem of subjectivity or objectivity of apparitions. 
What is the use of elaborate arguments to show that all 
the phenomena are to be explained by the various effects 
of telepathy, and that there is no evidence of the existence 
of objective apparitions occupying definite positions in 
space, when the camera and the sensitive plate have again 
and again proved that such objective phantasms do exist ? 
Such arguments, founded on a small portion only of the 
facts, remind one of that literary jeu d'esprit, Historic 
Doubts as to the Existence of Napoleon Bonaparte ; and, to 
those who are acquainted with the whole range of the 
phenomena to be explained, are about equally convincing. 
I have now very briefly summarised and discussed the 
various classes of evidence which demonstrate the objec- 
tivity of many apparitions. The several groups of facts, 
while strong in themselves, gain greatly in strength by 
the support they give to each other. On the theory of 
objective reality all are harmonious and consistent. On 
the theory of hallucination some require elaborate and 
unsupported theories for their explanation, while the 



ARE THERE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 253 

great bulk are totally inexplicable, and have, therefore, to 
be ignored, or set aside, or explained away. Collective 
hallucinations (so-called) are admitted to be frequent. 
That phantasms often behave like objective realities in 
relation to material objects and to different persons is also 
admitted. This is as it should be if they are objective, 
but is hardly explicable on the subjective or telepathic 
theory. The behaviour of animals in the presence of 
phantasms, the evidence for which is as good as that for 
their appearance to men and women, is what we might 
expect if they are abnormal realities, but involve enormous 
difficulties on any other theory. The physical effects 
produced by phantasms (visible or invisible) afford a 
crucial test of objectivity, and are far too numerous and 
too well attested to be ignored or explained away. And, 
finally, comes the test of objectivity afforded by the pho- 
tographic camera in the hands of experts and physicists 
of the first rank, rendering any escape from this conclusion 
simply impossible. 

I have confined this discussion strictly to the one 
question of objectivity, a term that does not necessarily 
imply materiality. We do not know whether the lumini- 
ferous ether is material, or whether electricity is material, 
but both are certainly objective. Some have used the 
term "non-molecular matter" for the hypothetical sub- 
stance of which visible phantoms are composed a sub- 
stance that seems to have the property under certain 
conditions of aggregating to itself molecular matter, so 
that tangible or force- exerting phantasms are produced. 
But this is all theoretical, and we do not yet possess 
sufficient knowledge to enable us to theorise on what may 
be termed the anatomy and physiology of phantoms. 
There is, however, a broader question to be discussed, one 
on which I think we have materials for arriving at some 



254 ARE THERE OBJECTIVE APPARITIONS 

interesting and useful conclusion. I refer to the general 
nature and origin of various classes of phantasmal 
appearances, from the " doubles " of living persons to 
those apparitions which bring us news of our departed 
friends, or are in some cases able to warn us of future 
events which more or less deeply affect us. This inquiry 
forms the subject of the following essay. 



WHAT ARE PHANTASMS, AND WHY 
DO THEY APPEAR? 

(Reprinted from " The Arena," February 1891.) 

THE theories which have been suggested by the more 
prominent members of the Society for Psychical Ee- 
search in order to explain the phenomena of phantasms 
or apparitions of various kinds, are all founded on tele- 
pathy or thought-transference, the facts of which have 
been demonstrated by a long series of experiments. It 
is found that many persons are more or less sensitive to 
the thoughts or will-power of others, and are able to 
reproduce, more or less closely, any definite mental 
images sought to be conveyed to them. It is urged that 
those who experience phantasmal sights or sounds are a 
kind of thought-readers, and are so powerfully affected 
by the thoughts of friends who are in certain excitable 
mental states or physical crises especially at periods of 
imminent danger or when at the point of death as to 
externalise those thoughts in visual or auditory hallucina- 
tions either in the waking state or as unusually vivid 
dreams. 

This telepathic theory is held to receive strong support, 
and in fact to be almost proved, by the curious pheno- 
mena of the doubles or phantasms of living persons seen 
by certain sensitive friends, when those persons strongly 
will that they shall be so seen. Such are the cases of a 

266 



256 WHAT ARE PHANTASMS 

friend appearing to Mr. Stainton Moses at a time when 
this friend had fixed his thoughts upon him before going 
to bed ; and those of Mr. B , who several times ap- 
peared in the night to two ladies, on occasions when he 
went to sleep with the express wish and intention of 
appearing to them. 1 There are, however, difficulties in 
these cases. The supposed agent does not usually decide 
exactly how he will appear or what he will do. In one 
case Mr. B appeared, not to the ladies he was think- 
ing of, but to a married sister, hardly known to him, who 
happened to be occupying their room. This lady saw the 
phantasm in the passage, going from one room to the 
other, at a time when the agent wished to be in the 
house ; and again, the same night, at a time when he 
wished to be in the front bedroom, and on this occasion 
the phantasm came to her bedside and took hold of her 
hair, and then of her hand, gazingly intently into it. 
Now it is an assumption hardly warranted by the facts, 
that the mere wish or determination to be in a certain 
part of a house at a certain time could cause a phantasm 
to appear to a person who happened unexpectedly to be 
there, and cause that phantasm to perform, or appear to 
perform, certain acts which do not appear to have been 
willed by the supposed agent. This is certainly not tele- 
pathy in the usually accepted sense ; it is not the trans- 
ference of a thought to an individual, but the production 
of what seems to be an objective phantasm in a. definite 
locality. It is altogether inconceivable that a mere 
wish could produce such a phantasm, unless, indeed, we 
suppose the spirit of the sleeper to leave the body in 
order to go to the desired place, and that it possesses the 
power to render itself visible to any one who happens to 
be there. Let us then see whether there are any other facts 

1 Phantasms of the Living, vol. i. pp. 103-108. 



AND WHY DO THEY APPEAR 257 

concerning doubles which may throw some light on this 
question. 

Mr. Fryer, of Bath, heard his name distinctly called in 
the voice of a brother who had been some days absent 
from home. At the same moment, as near as could 
be ascertained, the brother missed his footing and fell 
on a railway platform, calling out his brother's name 
as he fell. 1 Similar in character is the case of Mrs. 
Severn, who, while in bed one morning, felt a violent 
blow on her lip, so real that she put her handkerchief to 
it, expecting to find it bleeding. At the same time Mr. 
Severn, caught by a squall in a boat, received a violent 
blow on the same part of his mouth from the tiller. In 
the first case, Mr. Fryer's brother had no conscious wish 
to be heard by him ; and in the other case, Mr. Severn 
certainly did not wish his wife to feel the blow, but, on 
the contrary, was extremely anxious to conceal from her 
that he had had a blow at all. 2 In both these cases, if 
the supposed agents had anything to do with the actual 
production of the phantasmal voice and sensation, it was 
by some unconscious or automatic process. But the ex- 
perimental evidence for telepathy shows it to be produced 
by the conscious and active will-power of the agent or 
agents, and would therefore prove, if anything, that in 
both these cases there was some third party who was 
really the agent in willing and producing the telepathic 
effect. This is rendered still more probable by other 
cases of " doubles " and of warnings, of which the follow- 
ing is one of the most remarkable. 

Mr. Algernon Joy, an engineer employed on the Penarth 
Docks, at Cardiff, South Wales, was walking in a country 
lane near the town, absorbed in a calculation connected 

1 Proceedings of the Society for Psychical m Researeh, vol. i. p. 134. 
- Ibid., vol. vi. p. 128. 

R 



258 WHAT ARE PHANTASMS 

with the Docks, when he was attacked and knocked down 
by two young colliers. His thoughts were then imme- 
diately directed to the possible cause of the attack, to the 
possibility of identifying the men and to informing the 
police. He is positive that for about half an hour previous 
to the attack and for an hour or two after it, there was 
no connection whatever, direct or indirect, between his 
thoughts and a friend in London. Yet at almost the 
precise moment of the assault this friend recognised Mr. 
Joy's footstep in the street behind him, then turned and 
saw Mr. Joy "as distinctly as ever he saw him in his 
life," saw he looked distressed, asked what was the matter, 
and received the answer, " Go home, old fellow ; I've been 
hurt." All this was communicated in a letter from the 
friend which crossed one from Mr. Joy giving an account 
of the accident. 1 In this case, whether the " double " 
was an audible and visual veridical hallucination or an 
objective phantasm, it could not have been produced with- 
out some adequate cause. To assert that Mr. Joy was 
himself the unconscious cause cannot be looked upon as 
an explanation, or as in any way helping us to a compre- 
hension of how such things can happen. We imperatively 
need a producing agent, some intellectual being having 
both the will and the power to produce such a veridical 
phantasm. 

The next case still more clearly demands an agent 
other than that of any of the parties immediately con- 
cerned. Mr. F. Morgan, of Bristol, a young man who 
lived with his mother, was attending a lecture in which 
he was much interested. On entering the lecture-room 
he saw a friend, with whom he determined to walk home 
after the lecture. About the middle of the lecture he 
noticed a door at the side of the platform farthest from 

1 Phantasms of the Living, voL ii. p. 524. 



AND WHY DO THEY APPEAR 259 

the entrance to the hall, and he suddenly, without know- 
ing why, got up and walked half the length of the hall 
to see if the door would open. He turned the handle, 
entered, and closed the door behind him, finding himself 
in the dark under the platform. Noticing a glimmer of 
light, he went towards it, got into a passage which led 
again into the hall, the end of which he crossed to the 
entrance door, without any thought of the lecture, which 
was still going on, or of the friend with whom he had 
meant to return, and then walked home quietly, without 
any excitement or impression of any kind, and quite 
unconscious till long after that he had done anything 
unusual. When he got home, however, he found that 
the house next to his was on fire and his mother in great 
alarm. He instantly removed his mother to a place of 
safety, and then had two or three hours' struggle with 
the flames. The adjoining house was burnt down, and 
his own was in great danger, and was slightly damaged. 

Mr. Morgan states that his character is such that had 
he felt any impression that there was a fire, or that his 
mother was in danger, he should probably have shaken 
it off as mere fancy and refused to obey it. His mother 
simply wished for his presence, but exerted no will-power 
towards him. What agency, then, was it that acted upon 
his mental organisation, at first apparently through simple 
curiosity, in such a strange yet effectual way, bringing 
him home so promply, and yet without his feeling that he 
was in any way being influenced or guided in his actions, 
which seemed to himself to be perfectly voluntary and 
normal? We cannot avoid seeing in this case the con- 
tinuous exercise of some mental influence, guided by 
accurate knowledge of the character of the individual and 
of his special surroundings at the moment, and directed 
with such care and judgment as to avoid exciting in him 



260 WHAT ARE PHANTASMS 

that antagonism which would have been fatal to the 
object aimed at. We see then that, even confining our- 
selves to undoubted phantasms of the living, or to im- 
pressions not connected with death, the facts are totally 
inexplicable on any theory of telepathy between living 
persons, but clearly point to the agency of preter-human 
intelligences in other words, of spirits. The prejudice 
against such a conception is enormous, but the work of 
the Psychical Research Society has, it is to be hoped, 
somewhat undermined it. They have established, beyond 
further dispute for all who study the evidence, that veri- 
dical phantasms of the dead do exist ; and the evidence 
itself not ignorant or even scientific prejudice must 
decide whether these phantasms which, as we have seen 
in my last article, are often objective, are the work of 
men or of spirits. 

Before adducing further evidence on this point, it will 
be well to consider briefly the extraordinary theory of the 
"second self" or "unconscious ego" which is appealed to 
by many modern writers as a substitute for spirit agency 
when that of the normal human being is plainly in- 
adequate. This theory is founded on the phenomena of 
dreams, of clairvoyance, and of duplex personality, and 
has been elaborately expounded by Du Prel in two 
volumes 8vo, translated by Mr. C. C. Massey. As an 
example of the kind of facts this theory is held to 
explain, we may refer to the experiments of the Rev. 
P. H. Newnham and Mrs. Newnham with planchette. 
The experiments were conducted by Mrs. N. sitting at 
a low table with her hand on the planchette, while 
Mr. N. sat with his back towards her at another table 
eight feet distant. Mr. N. wrote questions on paper, 
and instantly, sometimes simultaneously, the planchette 
under Mrs. N.'s hand wrote the answers. Experiments 



AND WHY DO THEY APPEAR 261 

were carried on for eight months, during which time 
three hundred and nine questions and answers were 
recorded. All kinds of questions were asked, and the 
answers were always pertinent to the questions, though 
often evasions rather than direct answers. Great num- 
bers of the answers did not correspond with the 
opinions or expectations of either Mr. or Mrs. N., and 
were sometimes beyond their knowledge. To convince 
an incredulous visitor, Mr. N. went with him into the 
hall, where he, the visitor, wrote down the question, 
" What is the Christian name of my eldest sister ? " 
Mr. N. saw the question but did not know the name, 
yet on returning to the study they found the planchette 
had already written "Mina," the family abbreviation of 
Wilhelmina, which was the correct name. Mr. N. is a 
Freemason, and asked many questions as to the Masonic 
ritual, of which Mrs. N. knew nothing. The answers 
were partly correct and partly incorrect, sometimes quite 
original, as when a prayer used at the advancement of 
a Mark Master Mason was asked for, and a very admir- 
able prayer instantly written out, using Masonic terms, 
but, Mr. N. says, quite unlike the actual prayer he was 
thinking of, and also unlike any prayer used by Masons 
or known to Mr. N. It was, in fact, as Mr. N. says, 
"a formula composed by some intelligence totally distinct 
from the conscious intelligence of either of the persons 
engaged in the experiment." 

Now all this, and a great deal more equally remarkable, 
is imputed to the agency of Mrs. Newnham's "unconscious 
self," a second independent, intelligent personality of 
which Mrs. Newnham knows nothing except when it 
" emerges " under special conditions, such as those here 
described. In the same way Du Prel explains all the 
phenomena of clairvoyance, of premonitions, of apparent 



262 WHAT ARE PHANTASMS 

possession, and of the innumerable cases in which sensi- 
tives exhibit knowledge of facts which in their normal 
state they do not possess, and have had no possible means 
of acquiring. 

But is this so-called explanation any real explanation, 
or anything more than a juggle of words which creates 
more difficulties than it solves? The conception of such 
a double personality in each of us, a second-self, which in 
most cases remains unknown to us all our lives, which is 
said to live an independent mental life, to have means of 
acquiring knowledge our normal self does not possess, to 
exhibit all the characteristics of a distinct individuality 
with a different character from our own, is surely a con- 
ception more ponderously difficult, more truly super- 
natural than that of a spirit-world, composed of beings 
who have lived, and learned, and suffered on earth, and 
whose mental nature still subsists after its separation 
from the earthly body. We shall find, too, that this 
latter theory explains all the facts simply and directly, 
that it is in accordance with all the evidence, and that 
in an overwhelming majority of cases it is the explana- 
tion given by the communicating intelligences themselves. 
On the " second self " theory, we have to suppose that 
this recondite but worser half of ourselves, while possess- 
ing some knowledge we have not, does not know that it 
is part of us, or, if it knows, is a persistent liar, for in 
most cases it adopts a distinct name, and persists in 
speaking of us, its better half, in the third person. 

But there is yet another, and I think a more funda- 
mental objection to this view, in the impossibility of con- 
ceiving how or why this second-self was developed in us 
under the law of survival of the fittest. The theory is 
upheld to avoid recourse to any " spiritual " explanation 
of phenomena, " spirit " being the last thing our modern 



AND WHY DO THEY APPEAR 263 

men of science " will give in to." 1 But if so if there is 
no spiritual nature in man that survives the earthly body, 
if man is but a highly intellectual animal developed from 
a lower animal form under the law of the survival of the 
fittest, how did this " second-self," this " unconscious ego," 
come into existence ? Have the mollusk and the reptile, 
the dog and the ape "unconscious egos"? And if so, 
why ? And what use are they to these creatures, so that 
they might have been developed by means of the struggle 
for existence ? Darwin detected no sign of such " second- 
selves " either in animals or men ; and if they do not per- 
tain to animals but do pertain to men, then we are involved 
in the same difficulty that is so often urged against spiri- 
tualists, that we require some break in the law of continuous 
development, and some exertion of a higher power to create 
and bring into the human organism this strange and use- 
less " unconscious ego " useless except to puzzle us with 
insoluble problems, and make our whole nature and exist- 
ence seem more mysterious than ever. Of course, this 
unconscious ego is supposed to die with the conscious man, 
for if not, we are introduced to a new and gratuitous 
difficulty, of the relation of these two intelligences and 
characters, distinct, yet bound indissolubly together, in 
the after life. 

Finding, therefore, that the theory of duplex personality 
creates more difficulties than it solves, while the facts it 
proposes to explain can be dealt with far more thoroughly 
on the spiritual hypothesis, let us pass on to consider the 
further evidence we possess for the agency of the spirits 
of the dead, or of some other preter-human intelligences. 

We will first consider the case of Mrs. Menneer, who 
dreamed twice the same night that she saw her headless 

1 This was Sir David Brewster's expression after witnessing Home's 
phenomena. See Home's Incidents of my Life, Appendix, p. 245. 



264 WHAT ARE PHANTASMS 

brother standing at the foot of the bed with his head lying 
on a coffin by his side. She did not at the time know 
where her brother, Mr. Wellington, was, except that he 
was abroad, He was, however, at Sarawak, with Sir 
James Brooke, and was killed during the Chinese insur- 
rection there, in a brave attempt to defend Mrs. Middle- 
ton and her children. Being taken for the Rajah's son, 
his head was cut off and carried away in triumph, his body 
being burned with the Rajah's house. The date of the 
dream coincided approximately with that of the death. 1 
Now in this case it is almost certain that the head was 
cut off after death, since these Chinese were not trained 
soldiers, but gold-miners, who would strike, and stab, and 
cut with any weapons they possessed, but could certainly 
not kill a European on his defence by cutting off his head 
at a blow. The impression on the sister's brain must, 
therefore, have been made either by the dead brother, or 
by some other intelligence, probably the latter, as it was 
clearly a symbolic picture, the head resting on the coffin 
showing that the head alone was recovered and buried. 
In a published letter of Sir James Brooke's he says 
" Poor Wellington's remains were likewise consumed, his 
head borne off in triumph cdone attesting his previous 
murder." 

Another case, recorded in the same volume, is still more 
clear against the theory of telepathy between living per- 
sons. Mrs. Storie, of Edinburgh, living at the time in 
Hobart Town, Tasmania, one night dreamed a strange con- 
fused dream, like a series of dissolving views. She saw 
her twin brother sitting in the open air, in the moonlight, 
sideways, on a raised place. Then he lifted his arm say- 
ing, " The train, the train ! " Something struck him ; he 
fell down fainting; a large dark object came by with a 

1 Phantasms of the Living, vol. L p. 365. 



AND WHY DO THEY APPEAR 265 

swish. Then she saw a railway compartment, in which 
sat a gentleman she knew, the Rev. Mr. Johnstone. Then 
she saw her brother again. He put his right hand over 
his face as if in grief. Then a voice, not his voice, telling 
her he was going away. The same night her brother was 
killed by a train, having sat down to rest on the side of 
the track and fallen asleep. The details in the dream, of 
which the above is a bare abstract, were almost exactly as 
in the event, and the Mr. Johnstone of the dream was in 
the train that killed her brother. Now, this last-mentioned 
fact could not have been known to the dead man during 
life, and the dream-picture of the event must, therefore, 
have been due to the telepathic power of the dead man, 
or of some spirit-friend acquainted with the facts, and 
wishing to give a proof of spirit-life. 

Take next the case of the Glasgow manufacturer settled 
in London, who dreams that one of his workmen in Glas- 
gow, whom he had befriended as a lad, but with whom he 
had not had any direct relations for many years, comes 
to speak to him, begging. him not to believe what he is 
accused of doing. On being asked what it is, he repeats 
three times emphatically, " Ye'll sune ken." The dreamer 
also notices the man has a remarkable appearance, bluish 
pale with great drops of sweat on his face. On awaking, 
his wife brings him a letter from his manager in Glasgow, 
telling him that this man, Robert Mackenzie, has com- 
mitted suicide by drinking aquafortis. The symptoms of 
poisoning by aqua fortis are those observed in the dream 
figure. 1 Here the man had died two days before the 
dream, which was just in time to correct the false impres- 
sion of suicide that would have been produced by the 
letter. The whole of the features and details of the 
dream are such as could hardly have been due to any 

1 Proc. Soc. Ps. Res., part viii. pp. 95-98. 



266 WHAT ARE PHANTASMS 

other agent than the dead workman himself, who was 
anxious that a master who had been kind to him when 
a lad should not be led to credit the false accusation 
against him. 

Dreams giving the details of funerals at a distance are 
not uncommon. As an example we have one in which 
Mr. Stainton Moses was invited to the funeral of a friend 
in Lincolnshire, but could not go. About the time of the 
funeral, however, he fell into a trance, and appeared to be 
at the ceremony, and on again becoming conscious, wrote 
down all the details, describing the clergyman, who was 
not the one who had been expected to officiate, the 
churchyard, which was at a distance in Northamptonshire, 
with a particular tree near the grave. He then sent this 
description to a friend who had been present, and who 
wrote back in astonishment as to how he could have 
obtained the details. 1 This may be said to be mere clair- 
voyance ; but clairvoyance is a term that explains nothing, 
and is quite as mysterious and unintelligible if supposed 
to occur without the intervention of disembodied intelli- 
gences as if with their help. These cases also merge into 
others which are of a symbolical nature, and which clair- 
voyance of actual scenes at a distance cannot explain. A 
well-attested case of this kind is the following : 

Philip Weld, a student at a Catholic College, was 
drowned in the river at Ware, Hertfordshire, in the year 
1846. About the same hour as the accident, the young 
man's father and sister, while walking on the turnpike 
road near Southampton, saw him standing on the cause- 
way with another young man in a black robe. The sister 
said, "Look, papa, there is Philip." Mr. Weld replied, 
" It is Philip indeed, but he has the look of an angel." 
They went on to embrace him, but before reaching him a 

1 Harrison's Spirits before our Eyes, p. 148. 



AND WHY DO THEY APPEAR 267 

labouring man seemed to walk through the figures, and 
then with a smile both figures vanished. The President 
of the College, Dr. Cox, went immediately to Southamp- 
ton, to break the sad news to the father, but before he 
could speak, Mr. Weld told him what he had seen, and 
said he knew his son was dead. A few weeks afterwards, 
Mr. Weld visited the Jesuit College of Stonyhurst in 
Lancashire, and in the guest-room saw a picture of the 
very same young man he had seen with his son, similarly 
dressed, and in the same attitude, and beneath the picture 
was inscribed " St. Stanislaus Kotska," a saint of the 
Jesuit Order, who had been chosen by Philip for his[patron 
saint at his confirmation. 1 

Now, here is a case in which phantasms of the son and 
of another person appear to two relatives, and the pre- 
sence of the unknown person was eminently calculated, 
when his identity was discovered, to relieve the father's 
mind of all fear for his son's future happiness. It is 
hardly possible to have a clearer case of a true phantasm 
of the dead, not necessarily produced either by the dead 
son or the Jesuit saint, but most probably by them, or by 
some other spirit friend who had the power to produce 
such phantasms, and so relieve the anxiety of both father 
and sister. It is not conceivable that any living person's 
telepathic action could have produced such phantasms in 
two percipients, the only possible agent being the Presi- 
dent of the College, who did not recognise by Mr. Weld's 
description the dark-robed young man who appeared with 
his son. 

This introduces a feature rather common in phantasms 
of the dead some indication of happiness, something to 
take away any feeling of gloom or sorrow. Thus, a young 

1 Harrison's Spirits before our Eyes, p. 116, extracted from Glimpses of 
the Supernatural, by the Rev. F. G. Lee. 



268 WHAT ARE PHANTASMS 

man is drowned by the foundering of the La Plata tele- 
graphic ship in December 1874 ; and just before the news 
arrived, his brother in London dreamed that he was at a 
magnificent fete in a spacious garden, with illuminated 
fountains and groups of gentlemen and ladies, when he 
met his brother in evening dress, and " the very image of 
buoyant health." He was surprised, and said, " Hallo ! 

D , how are you here ? " His brother shook hands 

with him, and said, " Did you not know I have been 
wrecked again ? " The next morning the news of the 
loss of the ship was in the papers. 1 Here, whether the 
phantasm was caused by the dead man himself, or by 
some other being, it was apparently intended to show 
that the deceased was as cheerful and well off after death 
as during life. 

So when the voice of Miss Gambier Parry was heard 
twelve hours after her death by her former governess, 
Sister Bertha, at the House of Mercy, Bovey Tracey, 
Devonshire, it said, "in the brightest and most cheerful 
tone, ' I am here with you.' And on being asked, ' Who 
are you ? ' the voice replied, ' You mustn't know yet.' " 2 

And again, when a gentleman, going to the dining- 
room for an evening smoke, sees his sister-in-law, he 
says : "Maggie suddenly appeared dressed in white, with 
a most heavenly expression on her face. She fixed her 
eyes on me, walked round the room, and disappeared 
through the door that leads into the garden." 3 This 
was the day after her death. Yet one more instance : 
Mr. J. G. Keulemans, when in Paris, was awoke one 
morning by the voice of his favourite little son of five 
years old, whom he had left quite well in* London. He 

1 Proc. Soc. Ps. Res., part xiv. p. 456. 

2 Phantasms of the Living, vol. i. p. 522. 
8 Ibid., vol. ii. p. 702. 



AND WHY DO THEY APPEAR 269 

also saw his face in the centre of a bright opaque white 
mass, his eyes bright, his mouth smiling. The voice 
heard was that of extreme delight, such as only a happy 
child can utter. Yet the child had then just died. 1 
Whose telepathic influence caused this phantasm of a 
happy, smiling child to appear to the father? Surely 
no living person, but rather some spirit friend or 
guardian wishing to show that the joyousness of life 
still remained with the child, though its earthly body 
was cold and still. 

Another characteristic feature of many of these dreams 
or waking phantasms is that they often occur, not at the 
moment of death, but just before the news of the death 
reaches the percipient ; or there is some other characteristic 
feature that seems especially calculated to cause a deep 
impression, and give a lasting conviction of spiritual exis- 
tence. Several cases of this kind are given or referred 
to in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research 
(Pt. xv. pp. 30, 31). A most extraordinary example is 
that of Mr. F. G. of Boston, then of St. Louis, Mo., who, 
when in St. Joseph, Mo., fully occupied with business, 
saw a phantasm of his only sister, who had been dead nine 
years. It was at noonday while he was writing, and she 
appeared close to him and perfectly life-like, so that for a 
moment he thought it was really herself, and called her 
by her name. He saw every detail of her dress and appear- 
ance, and particularly noticed a bright red line or scratch 
on the right hand side of her face. The vision so impressed 
him that he took the next train home, and told what he 
had seen to his father and mother. His father was in- 
clined to ridicule him for his belief in its being anything 
supernatural ; but when he mentioned the scratch on 
the face his mother nearly fainted, and told them with 
1 Proc. Soc. Ps. Res., vol. i. p. 126. 



270 WHAT ARE PHANTASMS 

tears in her eyes, that she had herself made that scratch 
accidentally after her daughter's death, but had carefully 
hidden it with powder, and that no living person but 
herself knew of it. A few weeks after the mother died, 
happy in her belief that she would rejoin her daughter in 
a better world. 1 Here we can clearly see an important 
purpose in the appearance of the phantasm to give 
comfort to a mother about to die, in the assurance that 
her beloved daughter, though mourned as dead, was still 
alive. 

A case which illustrates both of the characteristics just 
alluded to is that of the Rev. C. C. Wambey of Salisbury, 
England, who one Sunday evening was walking on the 
downs, engaged in composing a congratulatory letter to a 
very dear friend, so that he might have it on his birthday, 
when he heard a voice saying, "What! write to a dead 
man ! " No one was near him, and he tried to think it 
was an illusion, and went on with his composition, when 
again he heard the voice saying more loudly than before, 
" What ! write to a dead man ; write to a dead man ! " 
He now understood the meaning of the voice, but, never- 
theless, sent the letter, and in reply received the expec- 
ted intelligence that his friend was dead. Surely in this 
case no living agent could have produced this auditory 
phantasm, which was strikingly calculated to impress the 
recipient with the idea that his friend was, though dead as 
regards the earthly life, in reality very much alive, while 
the spice of banter in the words would tend to show that 
death was by no means a melancholy event to the subject 
of it. 

In view of the examples now given of phantasms 
appearing for a very definite purpose, and being in most 
cases perfectly adapted to produce the desired effect 

1 Proc. Soc. Ps. Res., part xv. pp. 17, 18. 



AND WHY DO THEY APPEAR 271 

examples which could be very largely increased from the 
rich storehouse of the publications of the Society for 
Psychical Research the theory put forth by Mr. Myers 
that phantasms of the dead are so vague and purposeless 
as to suggest mere "dead men's dreams" telepathically 
communicated to the living, seems to me a most extra- 
ordinary one. No doubt the range of these phenomena 
is very great, and in some cases there may be no purpose 
in the appearance so far as the percipient is concerned. 
But these are certainly not typical or by any means the 
best attested or the most numerous ; and it seems to me 
to be a proof of the weakness of the telepathic theory 
that almost all the cases I have adduced, and many more 
of like import, have been passed by almost or quite un- 
noticed by those who support that view. 

We have one more class of evidence to notice that of 
premonitions. These are of all kinds, from those announc- 
ing very trivial events, to such as foretell accidents or 
death. They are not so frequent as other phantasms, 
but some of them are thoroughly well attested, and it is 
difficult to avoid the conclusion that they are realities, 
and that they are due, generally speaking, to the same 
agencies as objective veridical phantasms. One or two 
examples may be given. 

A striking case is that of Mrs. Morrison, who was living 
in the Province of Wellesley, Malay Peninsula, in 1878, 
and one morning, when awake, heard a voice distinctly 
say, " If there is darkness at the eleventh hour there will 
be death." On starting up in bed, the same words were 
slowly and deliberately repeated. A week afterwards her 
little girl was taken seriously ill, and some days later, 
after a week of cloudless weather, a storm came on a few 
minutes before eleven in the morning, and the sky became 
black with clouds. At one o'clock the same day the child 



272 WHAT ARE PHANTASMS 

died. 1 The unusual character of the warning renders 
this case a remarkable one. 

In another case Miss R. F. Curtis of London dreams 
that she sees a lady in black who passes her, and is then 
seen lying on the road with a crowd of people round her. 
Some think she is dead, some that she is not dead ; and 

on asking her name, the dreamer is told she is Mrs. C , 

a friend living on Clapham Common, who had not been 
heard of for some time. In the morning Miss Curtis tells 
her sister of her dream ; and about a week afterwards 

they hear that the day after the dream Mrs. C had 

stumbled over a high curbstone, and had fallen on the 
road very much hurt. 

Still more extraordinary is the case of the Yorkshire 
vicar, who, when a young man of nineteen, was at Inver- 
cargill, in New Zealand, and there met a man he knew as 
a sailor on the ship he had come out in, and agreed to go 
with him and several others on an excursion to the island 
of Ruapuke to stay a day or two for fishing and shooting. 
They were to start at four the next morning, in order to 
cross the bar with the high tide, and they agreed to call 
the vicar in time. He went to bed early with the fullest 
intention to go with them, and with no doubt or hesitation 
in his mind. The thing was settled. On his way up- 
stairs to bed he seemed to hear a voice saying, "Don't go 
with those men" There was no one near, but he asked, 
" Why not ? " The voice, which seemed inside him, said 
with emphasis, " You are not to go ; " and on further 
question these words were repeated. Then he asked, 
" How can I help it ? They will call me up." And, most 
distinctly and emphatically, the same voice said, " You 
must bolt your door" When he got to the room he found 
there was a strong bolt to the door, which he had not 

1 Proc. Soc. Pa. Res., part xiii. p. 305. 



AND WHY DO THEY APPEAR 273 

remembered. At first he determined he would go, as he 
was accustomed to take his own way at all hazards. But 
he felt staggered, and had a feeling of mysterious peril, 
and after much hesitation finally bolted the door and went 
to sleep. In the morning about three he was called, the 
door violently shaken and kicked, but though awake he 
did not speak, and finally the men went away cursing and 
shouting. About nine o'clock he went down to break- 
fast, and was at once asked if he had heard what had 
happened, and was then told that the boat with the party 
for Euapuke had been upset on the bar, and every one of 
them drowned. Some of the bodies were washed up on 
the beach that day, and the others a day or two later, and, 
he adds, " If I had been with them, I must have perished 
beyond a doubt." 

Now what are we to say of this determined warning 
voice that insisted on being heard and attended to? 
Who and what was the being that foresaw the catastrophe 
that was to happen, and saved the one that it could save ? 
Du Prel would say that it was the second-self, the un- 
conscious ego, that produced this inner voice ; but, as we 
have shown, this purely hypothetical explanation is both 
unintelligible and inconceivable, and explains nothing, 
since the suggested cause has not been proved to exist, 
nor can it be shown how the knowledge exhibited had 
been acquired. But phantasms of the dead, manifesting 
themselves in a way to prove their identity, or exhibiting 
knowledge which neither the percipient nor any conceiv- 
able living agent possesses, afford strong proof that the 
so-called dead still live, and are able in various ways to 
influence their friends in earth-life. We will, therefore, 
briefly summarise the evidence now adduced, and see 
how the spiritualistic theory gives a consistent and in- 
telligible explanation of it. 

S 



274 WHAT ARE PHANTASMS 

It is evident that any general theory of phantasms 
must deal also with the various cases of " doubles," or 
undoubted phantasms of the living. The few examples 
of apparent voluntary production of these by a living 
person have been supposed to prove the actual production 
by them, or by their unconscious egos ; but the difficulties 
in the way of this view have been already pointed out. 
In many cases there is no exercise of will, sometimes not 
even a thought directed to the place or person where, or 
to whom, the phantasm appears; and it is altogether 
irrational to ascribe the production of so marvellous an 
effect as, for example, a perfectly life-like phantasm of 
two persons, a carriage, and a horse, visible to three 
persons at different points of its progress through space 
(as described in my first article), to an agent who is 
totally unconscious of any agency in the matter. What 
is termed the agent, that is the person whose "double" 
is produced, may be a condition towards the production 
of the phantasm without being the cause. I write a 
telegram to a friend a thousand miles away, and that 
friend receives my message in an hour or two. But the 
possibility of sending the message does not reside in me, 
but in a whole series of contributory agencies from the 
earliest inventors of the telegraph down to the clerks 
who transmit and receive the message. 

The clue to a true explanation of these very puzzling 
" doubles," as of all the other varied phenomena of phan- 
tasms and hauntings, is, I believe, afforded by the follow- 
ing passage by one of the most thoughtful and experienced 
of modern spiritualists, Dr. Eugene Crowell : 

"I have frequently consulted my spirit friends upon 
this question, and have invariably been told by them that 
a spirit while in mortal form cannot for an instant leave 
it ; were it to do so, death would at once ensue ; and, 



AND WHY DO THEY APPEAR 275 

that the appearance of one's self at another place from 
that in which the body at the moment is, is simply a 
personation by another spirit, who thus often accom- 
plishes a purpose desired by his mortal friend, or some 
other useful purpose is accomplished by the personation. 
I am informed and believe, that in cases of trance, where 
the subjects have supposed that their spirits have left 
their bodies, and visited the spheres, their minds have 
been psychologically impressed with views representing 
spiritual scenes, objects, and sounds, and many times these 
impressions are so apparently real and truthful that the 
reality itself barely exceeds these representations of it, 
but these are all subjective impressions, not actual expe- 
riences." 1 

Accepting, then, as proved by the various classes of 
phantasms and the information conveyed by them, that 
the spirits of the so-called dead still live, and that some 
of them can, under special conditions, and in various 
ways, make their existence known to us, or influence us 
unconsciously to ourselves, let us see what reasonable 
explanation we can give of the cause and purpose of 
these phenomena. 

In every case that passes beyond simple transference 
of a thought from one living person to another, it seems 
probable that other intelligences co-operate. There is 
much evidence to show that the continued association of 
spirits with mortals is in many cases beneficial or plea- 
surable to the former, and if we remember the number 
of very commonplace people who are daily and yearly 
dying around us, we shall have a sufficient explanation 
of those trivial and commonplace yet veridical dreams 
and impressions which at first sight seem so unintel- 
ligible. The production of these dreams, impressions, 

1 Primitive Christianity and Modern Spiritualism, vol. ii. p. 109. 



276 WHAT ARE PHANTASMS 

and phantasms may be a pleasurable exercise of the 
lower spiritual faculties, as agreeable to some spirits as 
billiards, chemical experiments, or practical jokes are to 
some mortals. 

Many hauntings, on the other hand, seem to show one 
mode of the inevitable punishment of crime in the spirit 
world. The criminal is drawn by remorse or by some 
indefinable attraction to haunt the place of his crime, 
and to continually reproduce or act over some incidents 
connected with it. It is true that the victim appears 
in haunted houses as often as the criminal, but it does 
not at all follow that the victim is always there, unless 
he or she was a participator in the crime, or continued to 
indulge feelings of revenge against the actual criminal. 

Again, if there be a spiritual world, if those whose 
existence on earth has come to an end still live, what is 
more natural than that many spirits should be distressed 
at the disbelief, or doubt, or misconception that so widely 
prevail with respect to a future life, and should use 
whatever power they possess to convince us of our error ? 
What more natural than that they should wish, whenever 
possible, to give some message to their friends, if only 
to assure them that death is not the end, that they still 
live, and are not unhappy? Many facts seem to show 
us that the beautiful idea of guardian spirits is not a 
mere dream, but a frequent, perhaps universal reality. 
Thus will be explained the demon of Socrates, which 
always warned him against danger, and the various forms 
of advice, information, or premonition which so many 
persons receive. The numerous cases in which messages 
are given from those recently dead, in order to do some 
trivial act of justice or of kindness, are surely what we 
should expect ; while the fact that, although indications 
are frequently given of a crime having been committed, 



AND WHY DO THEY APPEAR 277 

it is but rarely that the criminal is denounced, indicates 
either that the feeling of revenge does not long persist, 
or that earthly modes of punishment are not approved of 
by the denizens of the spirit world. 

The powers of communication of spirits with us, and 
ours of receiving their communications, vary greatly. 
Some of us can only be influenced by ideas or im- 
pressions which we think are altogether the product of 
our own minds. Others can be so strongly acted on that 
they feel an inexplicable emotion, leading to action 
beneficial to themselves or to others. In some cases, 
warning or information can be given through dreams, 
in others by waking vision. Some spirits have the power 
of producing visual, others audible hallucinations to 
certain persons. More rarely, and needing more special 
conditions, they can produce phantasms, which are audible 
or visible to all who may be present real entities which 
give off light or sound waves, and thus act upon our 
senses like living beings or material objects. Still more 
rarely these phantasms are tangible as well as visual 
real though temporary living forms, capable of acting 
like human beings, and of exerting considerable force 
on ordinary matter. 

If we look upon these phenomena, not as anything 
supernatural but as the perfectly natural and orderly 
exercise of the faculties and powers of spiritual beings 
for the purpose of communicating with those still in the 
physical body, we shall find every objection answered 
and every difficulty disappear. Nothing is more common 
than objections to the triviality or the partiality of the 
communications alleged to be from spirits. But the most 
trivial message or act, if such that no living person could 
have given or performed it, may give proof of the exist- 
ence of other intelligences around us. And the partiality 



278 WHAT ARE PHANTASMS AND WHY DO THEY APPEAR 

often displayed, one person being warned and saved, 
while others are left to die, is but an indication of the 
limited power of spirits to act upon us, combined with 
the limited receptivity of spirit influence on our part. 
In conclusion, I submit that the brief review now given 
of the various classes of phantasms of the living and of 
the dead demonstrates the inadequacy of all the ex- 
planations in which telepathy between living persons 
or the agency of the unconscious ego are exclusively con- 
cerned, since these explanations are only capable of deal- 
ing with a small proportion of the cases that actually 
occur. Furthermore, I urge that nothing less funda- 
mental and far-reaching than the agency of disembodied 
intelligences, acting in co-operation with our own powers 
of thought-transference and spiritual insight, can afford 
a rational and intelligible explanation of the whole range 
of the phenomena. 



APPENDIX TO "A DEFENCE OF 
MODERN SPIRITUALISM" 



i. 

SINCE my article appeared in the Fortnightly Review, I have 
seen Dr. Carpenter's important work, Tlie Principles of Mental 
Physiology. One or two of the learned Doctor's statements have 
been noticed in foot-notes to this book, but there are a few others 
calling for remark, which I will now refer to. 

At p. 296 Dr. Carpenter says, that the only answer spiritualists 
give to Faraday's experiments is, that "Faraday's performers 
moved the tables with their hand*, whereas we know that we do 
not ; " and he then continues " Those who make this assertion 
are (of course) scientifically bound to demonstrate it, by showing 
that in their case the table does go round without any deflection of 
the index by lateral pressure, but they have uniformly refused 
to apply this test to their own performance, although repeatedly 
challenged to do so." But Dr. C. omits to tell us who are the 
spiritualists whose "only answer" is above given, and who are 
they who have been " repeatedly challenged " and have " uni- 
formly refused" to accept the challenge. On inquiry, it may be 
found that it is the men of science who have " uniformly refused " 
to witness the proof of what they say spiritualists are scientifically 
bound to demonstrate. 

In the spring of 1867, when I had obtained the proofs of force 
in lifting (not turning) a table (as detailed at p. 141), I invited 
Dr. Carpenter to attend some sittings with every probability of 
being able to show the phenomena. He came once. The sitting 
was not very successful, raps and taps of varying character being 
alone produced. Although strongly pressed to do so, he never 
came again. With Professor Tyndall exactly the same thing 
occurred. He came once, and declined to come again ; although 

informed of phenomena which had repeatedly occurred in my own 

279 



280 APPENDIX TO 

house, which he could not explain, and which I had every reason 
to believe would occur in his presence if he would only give three 
or four short sittings to these investigations. More recently Dr. 
Sharpey and Professor Stokes, Secretaries of the Royal Society, 
refused the invitation of one of their own Fellows, Mr. Crookes, 
to witness experiments which formed the subject of a paper offered 
to the Society. Where we are vaguely and generally accused of 
"uniformly refusing" to produce certain proofs, it is only right 
that the public should know how our scientific opponents receive 
our offers to exhibit even more conclusive proofs. We must also 
remember that Dr. Carpenter is acquainted with the evidence of 
the Dialectical Committee, of Serjeant Cox, of Mr. Crookes, of 
Mr. Varley, and of myself, as to the movement of heavy objects 
entirely without contact of the medium or any other person ; 
yet in 1874 he can adduce nothing but the utterly exploded and 
almost forgotten "table-turning" of the time of Faraday as 
worthy of notice ! 

The theory of " unconscious cerebration " is Dr. Carpenter's 
special hobby, yet in his application of it to explaining the phe- 
nomena of dreams we find a remarkable amount of contradiction 
and false reasoning. 

At p. 586, for example, he notices the " suspension of our power 
to form common-sense judgments," the "suspension of our moral 
sense," and the " entire want of coherence between the ideas that 
successively present themselves," as characteristics of dreams, 
and to be explained as the normal result of "unconscious cere- 
bration." But he imputes to the very same cause an exaltation of 
the imaginative and reasoning powers and their action in strict 
logical succession, so as to produce results which the whole work- 
ing powers of the mind were unable to achieve, and in many 
cases the committal of these results to paper without a single 
error. And all this is still to be accepted as explained by the 
magical words " unconscious cerebration." 

As an illustration of Dr. Carpenter's mode of reasoning we 
give the narrative of a student at an Amsterdam University, ad- 
duced by him as supporting his views. The Professor having to 
perform a laborious and difficult mathematical calculation, found 
that he could not get the correct result, owing to errors occurring 
in some of numerous figures employed. He therefore gave the 
problem to ten of his pupils. The narrator worked at it unsuc- 
cessfully for three evenings, but always without effect ; and after 



A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 281 

sitting up to one in the morning on the third trial, went to bed 
much disappointed at not having been able to do the work cor- 
rectly, as it was particularly required the next day. On getting 
up in the morning, he found to his astonishment, on his writing- 
table, the problem correctly solved in his own handwriting, not a 
single figure being wrong, But the important fact is, that the 
work was done by a shorter and better method than the student 
had attempted during his three evenings' work. The work he 
had already done, and with which his mind must have been 
imbued, was not done over again without error, but an altogether 
new and better class of work was performed ; and the Professor 
himself was astonished at it, and declared that he "had never 
once thought of a solution so simple and concise." 

Now here is evidently a case in which the ordinary rules of 
unconscious cerebration do not apply. For something is done in 
a way the doer had never thought of when awake. The student 
had been trying over and over again to find out the numerical 
error in his calculation, not to perform the calculation itself by 
any other method. When asleep, he does not find out this error 
which, if done, might have been imputed to the repetition of 
the former cerebral action, uninfluenced by the disturbing causes 
which had led to error but he begins de novo, in a way he 
had never attempted when awake, and solves the problem by a 
process which even his mathematical teacher had not thought of ! 
This is exactly analogous to those cases of trance mediums who 
do in trance what they cannot do when awake speak languages 
they have never learnt, for example ; and to impute such actions 
to "unconscious cerebration" is not to explain them, but merely 
to give a name, and, like a child or a savage, accept the name as 
a sufficient explanation. It is exactly an analogous case to that 
of Mr. Lewes (given at page 203), in which preconceived ideas 
completely shut out the plainest logical consequences of the facts 
adduced. 

II. 

I have been informed by some of my correspondents that, 
because I have not referred to any cases of new information of 
practical utility having been derived from spiritual communica- 
tions, I am supposed to admit that such do not exist. This is 
an error. There are many such instances, but as bearing on the 
question whether Spiritualism is a reality or a delusion, I did 
not think them of much importance, and they could not have 



282 APPENDIX TO 

been introduced, with the necessary evidence, without altering 
the plan and much increasing the length of my article. If 
Spiritualism is a delusion that is, if it is a product of known 
or unknown natural forces plus the minds of the assistants 
then no new information of the kind referred to can possibly be 
derived from it. If, on the other hand, it is a reality that is, 
if it proves that intelligent beings of another order of existence 
than our own can and do communicate with us (whether those 
beings are the spirits of deceased men or no) this fact alone is 
of such vast and overwhelming importance, and involves such 
tremendous issues, scientific, philosophical, and religious, that the 
question whether these beings can and will improve our tele- 
graphs or our steam-engines is an altogether subordinate one. 
Since the question of what is called practical results implies the 
truth and reality of the spiritual theory, it appears to me to 
be out of place to bring up that question while the primary 
question remains unsettled ; for I can no more imagine a rational 
man being influenced in his acceptance of Spiritualism by the 
probability of his getting out of it such practical results, than I 
can imagine an earnest inquirer after religious truth being influ- 
enced in his acceptance of Christianity by the probability of its 
ministers being able to affect the weather by their prayers. 
When once a man is satisfied of the reality of spiritual communi- 
cations, he will meet with abundant practical results. So long 
as he is not satisfied, such results, like all the other evidence, 
will be ignored or explained away. 



III. 

The Spectator, the Academy, and Pall Mall Gazette thought my 
paper in the Fortnightly Review worthy of more or less lengthy 
notice, but they all declined to discuss the nature and bear- 
ing of the evidence I have adduced and referred to for the 
reality of the phenomena, while they made various objections to 
the moral and historical teachings deduced therefrom. Here I 
must decline to join issue with them. I hold that spiritualists 
alone are as yet competent to decide what theory best explains 
the facts, and what are the teachings which arise out of them, 
for the sufficient reason that they alone know these facts in their 
wide range and countless details. I could only sketch generally 
the nature of the phenomena, and was obliged to omit all the 
infinitude of characteristic mental details which constitute their 



A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 283 

chief value. My critics also expressed their views as to the con- 
temptible and unsatisfactory nature of the phenomena and of the 
communications, even if true ; but here again they are evidently 
too ignorant of what they criticise to be enabled to form an opinion. 
I felt it my duty to give some idea of the teachings which are 
satisfying to most spiritualists, whatever may have been their 
previous opinions. Whether those teachings are agreeable to scep- 
tics is of little importance ; the facts of Spiritualism remain, and 
must be dealt with before the critics are in a position to give any 
opinion worth listening to as to the truth of the theory. 



IV. 

I here give a few extracts strikingly illustrative of our subject. 
In the following passage from Jamblichus on Divination, quoted 
in Maurice's Moral an I Metaphysical Philosophy, we find mention 
in a short space of a number of the most startling phenomena of 
modern Spiritualism : 

" Often at the moment of inspiration, or when the afflatus has 
subsided, a fiery appearance is seen the entering or departing 
power. Those who are skilled in this wisdom can tell by the 
character of this glory the rank of the divinity who has seized for 
the time the reins of the mystic's soul, and guides it as he will. 
Sometimes the body of the man is violently agitated, sometimes it 
is rigid and motionless. In some instances sweet music is heard, in 
others discordant and fearful sounds. The person of the subject 
has been known to dilate and tower to a superhuman height, in other 
cases it has been lifted into the air. Frequently not merely the 
ordinary exercise of reason, but sensation and animal life would 
appear to have been suspended ; and the subject of the afflatus has 
not felt the application of fire, has been pierced with spits, cut with 
knives, and not been sensible to pain." 

The next passage throws much light on what is so often a 
stumbling-block to sceptics the action of suspicion, or too rigid 
inquiry in checking the manifestations. Dr. Frederick L. H. 
Willis, Professor of Materia Medica in the New York Medical 
College, thus describes his experience with a musical medium 
(Spiritual Magazine, 1867, p. 209) : 

" One evening the medium went into the dark room alone, and 
took her seat at the piano. I was in the sitting-room adjoining 
(the door between was open), the light from which made every 



284 APPENDIX TO 

object in the circle-room distinctly visible. Scarcely had the 
medium struck the first note upon the piano, when the tambou- 
rine and the bells seemed to leap fioin the floor and join in uni- 
son. Carefully and noiselessly I stole into the room, ana for several 
seconds it was my privilege to witness a rare and wonderful 
sight. I saw the bells and tambourine in motion. I saw the 
bells lifted as by invisible hands and chimed, each in its turn, 
accurately and beautifully with the piano. I saw the tambourine 
dexterously and scientifically manipulated with no mortal hand 
near it. But suddenly, by a slight turn of the head, the medium 
became aware of my presence ; instantly, like the severing of the 
connection between a galvanic battery and its poles, everything 
ceased. Mark this ; so long as my presence in the room was 
known only to the invisibles, so long the manifestations continued 
in perfection ; the moment the medium became aware of it, every- 
thing stopped. A wave of mental emotion passed over her mind, 
which was in itself sufficient to stop the phenomena at once. The 
incident proved to my mind most clearly that, in most cases, it is 
the condition of the medium that renders it so difficult for spirits 
to perform these wonders in the light rather than any lack of 
power or disposition on their part." 

From the numerous cases referred to at pages 79 and 215, which 
have been investigated by the police authorities, I adduce the 
following taken from La Gazette des Tribunaux (the official organ 
of the French Police) of February 2, 1849, because in this case 
a friend of mine, a literary man, has verified the extract at the 
British Museum, and assures me that the translation is exact : 



"A fact most extraordinary, and which has been repeated every 
evening, every night, for the last three weeks, without the most 
active researches, the most extended and persevering surveil- 
lance having been able to discover the cause, has thrown into 
commotion all the populous quarter of La Montagne-Sainte- 
Genevieve, the Sorbonne, and Place Saint-Michel. This is what 
has taken place, in accordance with the public clamorous demand, 
and a double inquiry, judicial and administrative, which has been 
going on many days, without throwing any light on the mystery. 

"In the work of demolition going on to open a new street, 
which shall join the Sorbonne to the Pantheon and L'Ecole de 
Droit, in traversing the Rue de Gres up to the old church, they 
came to a wood and coal yard, with an inhabited house connected 
with it, of only one storey and an attic. This house, at some 
distance from the street, and separated from the houses in 
course of destruction by large excavations, has been assailed 
every evening, and through the whole night, by a hail of pro- 
jectiles, which, from their bulk, and the violence with which they 
have been thrown, have done such destruction, that it has been 



A DEFENCE OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM 285 

laid open to the day, and the woodwork of the doors and win- 
dows reduced to shivers, as if it had sustained a siege, aided by 
a catapult or grapeshot. 

" Whence came these projectiles, which are paving stones, frag- 
ments of the demolished walls near, and ashlar stones entire, 
which from their weight, and the distance they are hurled, are 
clearly from no mortal hand ? This is just what, up to this 
moment, it has been impossible to discover. In vain has a 
surveillance been exercised, day and night, under the personal 
direction of the Commissary of Police, and able assistants. In 
vain has the head of the Service of Safety been continually on 
the spot. In vain have they let loose every night watchdogs in 
the adjoining enclosures. Nothing has been able to explain the 
phenomena, which, in its credulity, the people has attributed to 
mysterious means. The projectiles have continued to rain down 
with great noise on the nouse, launched forth at a great height 
above the heads of those who have placed themselves in observa- 
tion on the roofs of the small surrounding houses, and, seeming 
to come from a great distance, reaching their aim with a pre- 
cision, as it were, mathematical, and without deviating from the 
parabolic evidently designed for them. 

"We shall not enter into the ample details of these facts, which 
will, without doubt, receive a speedy explanation ; thanks to 
the solicitude which they have awakened. Nevertheless, we will 
remark that, in circumstances somewhat analogous, and which 
equally excited a certain sensation in Paris, where, for example, 
a rain of pieces of small money drew together the loungers of 
Paris every evening in the Rue de Montesquieu, or when all the 
bells were rung in a house in the Rue de Malte by an invisible 
hand, it was found impossible to make any discovery, to find any 
papable cause for the phenomena. Let us hope that this time we 
shall arrive at a result more precise." 

My friend informs me that he found a later short notice saying 
that "the phenomena remain inexplicable," and then the matter 
seems to have been no further noticed ; so we may conclude that, 
as in the other cases referred to, " it was found impossible to make 
any discovery." 

The sneer of the writer at the people's " credulity," in attribut- 
ing the phenomena to "mysterious means," is quite amusing, in 
face of the statement just made that they "are clearly from no 
mortal hand," and the undoubted fact that they were " mysteries," 
since it was found "impossible" to discover them in a month's 
close examination by the police force of Paris. If we read the 
narrative carefully, giving due weight to all the facts that occurred 
and the completeness of the investigation into them, we shall 
be driven to the conclusion that had any human beings with the 



286 APPENDIX 

necessary machinery been engaged, tkey must have been discovered. It 
is a case strictly analogous to that of Healing's Bells (see p. 218) 
and others there referred to, and it by no means stands alone, for 
Mr. Howitt has published a remarkable collection of cases of 
"stone-throwing," most of them strictly investigated at the time, 
without any human agents being in any case discovered. 



INDEX 



AMBERLEY, LORD, on spiritual phe- 
nomena and the character of 
mediums, 146 

Animal magnetism, 61 

Animals terrified by disturbances 
and apparitions, 239 

Antiquity of man, evidence of, 
long denied or ignored, 1 8 

Apparitions, evidence of the reality 
of, 71 ; date of a War Office 
certificate shown to be erroneous 
by, 74 ; at the " Old Kent Manor 
House," 76 ; are they objective, 
231 ; seen by more than one per- 
son together, 235 ; objectivity 
indicated by their space rela- 
tions, 237 ; effects of, on animals, 
239 ; physical effects produced 
by, 244 ; can be photographed, 
247 ; objectivity of, does not 
imply materiality, 253 ; what are 
they, and why do they appear ? 
255 ; telepathic theory of, 255 ; 
often indicate the happiness of 
the dead, 267 ; foretelling events, 
271 ; giving a warning, 272 ; 
probable explanation of doubles 
and phantasms, 274 

Atkinson, H. G., clairvoyant ex- 
periment with Adolphe Didier, 68 

Aymar, Jaques, discovery of a 
murderer by, 58 

BARING GOULD on Jaques Aymar, 

59, 60 
Barter, General, sees phantasmal 

pony and rider, 241 



2 8 7 



Healings Bells, 218, 246 

Beattie, Mr. John, his experiments 
in spirit-photography, 200, 249 

Bell-ringing, cases of mysterious, 
246 

Bertha, Sister, sees a phantasm of 
Miss Gambier Parry twelve 
hours after her death, 268 

Bray, Charles, testimony to clair- 
voyance, 112; his theory of a 
" thought atmosphere " unin- 
telligible, 113 

Brewster, Sir David, his account of 
his sitting with Mr. Home, 165 

Bulldog trembles with terror at 
phantasmal noises, 240 

Burton, Captain, testimony as to 
the Davenport Brothers, 100 

CARPENTER, Dr., misstatement by, 
34 ; criticism on Mr. Rutter, 58 ; 
omission of facts opposed to his 
views in his "Mental Physi- 
ology," 70; on Faraday's explana- 
tion of table-turning, 279 ; invited 
by the author to witness pheno- 
mena, 279; ''unconscious cere- 
bration " misapplied, 280. 

Challis, Professor, on the conclusive- 
ness of the testimony, 101 

Chambers, Dr. Robert, experiment 
by, 163 ; extract from letter of, 
186 (note) 

Chesterfield,mysterious bell-ringing 
near, 247 

Cideville, disturbances at, legally 
attested, 79 



288 



INDEX 



Clairvoyance, tests of, 62, 63 

Clark, Dr. T. Edwards, on a medical 
case of clairvoyance, 69 

Converts from the ranks of Spiri- 
tualism never made, 183 

Cook, Miss Florence, tested by Mr. 
Varley and Mr. Crookes (in note), 
187 

Cox, Sergeant, on trance-speaking, 
208 

Criticism on the Fortnightly article 
replied to, 282 

Crookes, Mr., his investigation of 
the phenomena, 102, 181; his 
recent declarations, 103 ; his 
treatment by the press, 181 ; 
on materialisations through Miss 
Cook, 188 (note) ; photographs a 
spirit-form, 251 ; his treatment 
by the Secretaries of the Royal 
Society, 280 

Crowell, Dr. Eugene, on a curious 
physical phenomenon, 245 ; hU 
explanation of doubles, 274 

Curtis, Miss R. F., prevision in a 
dream of accident to a friend, 272 

D family, apparition seen by, 

237 

Davenport Brothers, tested by Sir 
R. Burton, 100 ; by Dr. Sexton, 
177 

Dean, Rev. Dr. R., a witness of 
cures by Valentine Greatrak, 41 

Decline of belief in the super- 
natural due to a natural law, 23 
(note) 

Deity, the popular and spiritualistic 
notions of, compared, 123 

De Morgan, Professor, on spiritual 
phenomena, 83 

Mrs., on table-moving with 

a purpose, 86 

Dialectical Committee, investiga- 
tion by, 184 

Diseases cured by Valentine Great- 
ark, 41 



Disturbances, unexplained, before 
rise of modern Spiritualism, 218 ; 
for twenty years in clergyman's 
house, 236 

Divining rod, 58 

Dogs frightened during the distur- 
bances at Tedworth, 241 ; at 
Ep worth parsonage, 241 

Door opening in a haunted house, 
245, 246 

Doubles supposed to be due to 
telepathy, 255 

Dunphy, Mr., versus Lord Am- 
berley, 147 

EDINBURGH REVIEW'S criticism on 

Young, 18 
Edmonds, Judge, investigation by, 

87-90 ; his character, 172 ; his 

mode of investigation, 173 ; his 

daughter speaking in languages 

unknown to her, 176 
Elliotson, Dr., his treatment by the 

medical profession, ix. ; a convert 

to spiritualism, 99 
Experiments and tests by the author, 

127-144 

F. G., of Boston, Mass., sees veri- 
dical phantasm of his sister, 269 

Fire test, 166 

Flammarion, M. Camille, evidence 
of, 185 

Fortnightly Review on the disturb- 
ances at the residence of the 
Wesley family, 80 

Fox, Miss Kate, the earliest medium, 
153 ; tested by committees, 154 ; 
by Dr. Robert Chambers and 
Mr. R. D. Owen, 163 ; stances 
with Mr. Livermore, 163 

Fryer, Mr., hears a phantasmal 
voice, 257 

Future life, proof of the great use 
of modern Spiritualism, 220 ; the 
spiritual theory of, not a product 
of the medium's own mind, 225 



INDEX 



289 



CABLING, Mr., sees an apparition of 
a dying friend, 237 

Glanvil, character of, 24 ; extracts 
from, 25, 241 

Greatrak, Valentine, cures by, 41 

Gregory, Dr. William, on clair- 
voyance, 61 ; criticism of, 64 

Gully, Dr., on the Cornhill article 
and Mr. Home, 94 

Guppy, Mrs., her career as a medium, 
168 ; production of flowers, 170 ; 
experiments in spirit - photo - 
graphy, 194 

Gwynne, Dr. and Mrs., see an ap- 
parition extinguish a night-light, 
245 

HADDOCK, Dr. Joseph, account of 
discovery of stolen property by a 
clairvoyant, 66 

Hall, S. C., his conversion from 
scepticism, 96 ; undergoes the fire 
test, 166 

Mrs. S. C., on a dog fright- 
ened by phantasms, 243 

Hardinge, Mrs. Emma, quotations 
from her addresses,^17, 119 

Hare, Professor Robert, experi- 
ments and tests by, 90 

Harrison, Mr., photographs a spirit- 
form, 251 

Harry, Mr. J., and family see an 
apparition, 235 

Hauntings often indicate a mode of 
punishment of crime, 276 

Historical teachings of Spiritualism, 
212 

Home, Mr. Daniel D. , experience 
of Sir David Brewster with, 165 ; 
the fire test, 166 ; experience of 
Sergeant Cox with, 167 ; ex- 
posed to twenty years of scrutiny, 
168 

Houdin, Robert, opinion of Alexis 
the clairvoyant, 67 

Howitt, William, on healing at the 
tomb of the Abbe" Paris, 11 ; testi- 



mony as to an accordion sus- 
pended in the air, 95 

Hume, David, on miracles, 3 ; de- 
finition of a miracle, 4 ; argu- 
ments against miracles, 6, 12 ; 
self-contradictions, 8 

Huxley, Professor, on the uninte- 
resting nature of the phenomena, 
221 

ILLUSTBATIVE extracts, 283 

Imagination, effects of, 41 

Invisible intelligent beings, exist- 
ence of, around us not impossible, 
43 ; their action on matter not an 
"invasion of the law of nature," 
48 

JACQUES AYMAR, remarkable powers 
of, 58 

Jamblicus on divination, remark- 
able correspondence with modern 
spiritualistic phenomena, 283 

Joy, Mr. Algernon, curious case of 
his double, 257 

KEENER, Dr. Justinus, on a dog's 
dread of an apparition, 242 

Kerr, Rev. William, M.A., testi- 
mony to phenomena occurring in 
private, 97 

Keulemans, Mr. J. G., sees in 
Paris the phantasm of his son at 
time of death in London, 268 

LANG, Mr. Andrew, on absence of 
growth of legend in the case of 
Jeanne d'Arc, 23 (footnote) 

Law of continuity applicable to 
Spiritualism, 108 

Lecky, assertions about miracles, 

20 ; fallacies in his arguments, 

21 ; account of Glanvil, 24 ; on 
growth of opinion as to incredi- 
bility of miracles, 37 

Lee, Dr. Edwin, on experiments 
with Alexis Didier, the clair- 
voyant, 67 

T 



290 



INDEX 



Lodge, Professor Oliver J., obser- 
vations of mental and physical 
phenomena, 103 

Lyndhurst, Lord Chancellor, belief 
in the spiritual phenomena, 99 

Levitation, examples of, 7, 8 

Lewes, Mr. G. H., views of, as to 
identical hallucinations criticised, 
203 (note) 

MACKENZIE, Robert, appears after 
death to his employer to defend 
his character, 265 

Mapes, Professor, inquiries into 
Spiritualism, 155 

Mayo, Dr. Herbert, F.R.S., on 
clairvoyance, 64 ; on phreno-mes- 
merisrn, 65 

Medical men, evidence of, for facts 
deemed incredible, 20 

Mediums, career of remarkable, 162 

Menneer, Mrs., sees a dream-appa- 
rition of her brother who was 
killed at Sarawak, 263 

Mental phenomena, summary of, 
206 

Mesmerism, personal experiences of, 
127 ; supposed to explain Spiri- 
tualism, 130 

Miracle, definitions of, 4, 37 ; at 
tomb of Abb^ Paris, 9 ; modern 
objections to, 14; illogical con- 
ceptions of, 46 

Miracles, are they a survival of 
savage thought, 27 

Mirville, Marquis de, a witness of 
the mysterious disturbances at 
Cideville, 80 

Montgeron, evidence of miracles at 
tomb of Abbe" Paris, 11 

Moor, Major, on mysterious bell- 
ringings, 218, 246 
Moral teachings of Spiritualism, 

115, 220 

Morgan, Mr. F., of Bristol, has 
a curiously indirect warning, 
258 



Morrison, Mrs., prevision of death 
by a voice, 271 

Moses, William Stainton, a remark- 
able medium, 102 

Mountford, Rev. \V., apparition of 
horse and carriage seen by him- 
self and others, 238 

Mumler's spirit-photographs, 248 

Murderer discovered by occult 
power, 58 

Musical phenomenon with Miss 
Nichol, ]70 

Muller, George, account of his life 
and dependence on prayer, 216 

Myers, Mr., on the experiences of 
W. Stain ton -Moses, 102 

NEWNHAM, Rev. P., and Mrs., re- 
ceive communications from sup- 
posed second self of Mrs. N., 260 

OLD KENT MANOR HOUSE, appari- 
tions seen in, 7(5 
Oracles not all impostures, 213 
Owen, Robert Dale, on supernatural 
phenomena occurring unsought, 
71 ; case *f apparition seen by 
two persons at once, 72 ; date 
of a War Office certificate shown 
to be erroneous by means of an 
apparition, 74 ; the Old Kent 
Manor House, 76 ; judicial record 
of disturbances at Cideville, 79 ; 
testimony as to spirit-forms, 190 
(note) 

PERSONAL evidence, 126 ; first ex- 
perience in table-turning, 132 ; 
with Mrs. Marshall, 135 

Photographs, a conclusive test, 188 ; 
conditions of a satisfactory test, 
191 ; Mrs. Guppy's remarkable 
spirit-photograph, 194 ; likenesses 
recognised by Mr. Howitt, 196 ; 
by Dr. Thompson, 196 ; by the 
author, 196 (note); Mr. Slater's 
experiments, 197; Dr. R. Wil- 



INDEX 



291 



Hams' experiments, 197 ; Mr. 

John Beattie's experiments, 200, 

250 

Physical effects produced by appa- 
ritions, 244 
Physical phenomena, summary of, 

205 
Psychical Research Society, its 

valuable work, 232 
Practical utility of Spiritualism, 

objections replied to, 281 
Prayer, efficacy of, 21t> 

QUARTERLY REVIEW on Spiritualism, 
149 

RAMHURST MANOR HOUSE, appari- 
tions seen in, 76 

Reichenbach, Baron von, his ex- 
periments derided, but since con- 
firmed, xi. ; his observations on 
magnets and crystals, 54 ; his 
witnesses, 55 ; review of his work, 
56 

Rivers, Lieut., R. N. , on mysterious 
bell-ringing in Greenwich Hos- 
pital, 246 

Robertson, Dr. J. Lockhart, tests 
the phenomena and accepts them 
as facts, 161 

Rutter on the magnetoscope, 57 

SCEPTICS, investigations by, 177 

Scientific men, denial of facts by, 
17; their mode of dealing with 
the subject, 149 ; refusal to in- 
vestigate, 279 

Second or subliminal self, e ormous 
difficulties of theory of, 262 

Severn, Mr. and Mrs., community 
of sensation at a distance, 257 

Senior, Nassau William, on mes- 
merism, and his belief in spiritual 
phenomena, 96 

Sexton, Dr. George, his mode of 
conversion, 177 



Sherbroke, Sir John, and General 
George Wynyard, see the appari- 
tion of Wynyard's brother, 72 

Slater, Mr. Thomas, his experiments 
in spirit-photography, 190, 250 

Socrates rehabilitated by Spiritual- 
ism, 212 

Spirit-hypothesis not unscientific, 
xv. 

Spirit-photographs proved to be 
realities, xiv. ; not necessarily 
photographs of spirits, 192 

Spiritualism, uncertainty of the 
alleged phenomena of, 16 ; scien- 
tific testimony demanded, 17 ; 
periodicals devoted to, 50 ; recent 
testimony to the facts of, 101 ; the 
theory of, 107 ; moral teachings 
of, 115; what it has done, 124 ; 
personal experiences, 131 ; New 
Quarterly Magazine on, 148 ; 
Quarterly Review on, 149 ; his- 
torical sketch of, 152 ; phenomena 
of, 156; nature of the belief in, 
159; no recantations in, 161; 
evidence of the facts of, 162 ; 
summary of phenomena, 205 ; 
phenomena repeatedly confirmed, 
210; historical teachings of, 212 ; 
moral teachings of, 220 ; a science 
of human nature, 221 ; practical 
results of, 282 

Stone-throwing, remarkable case of, 
in Paris, 284 

Stainton-Moses, Mr., a remarkable 
medium, 102 ; his double appears, 
256 ; dreams truly the details of 
a funeral at a distance, 266 

Stigmata first denied to be a fact, 
now admitted, xi. 

Storie, Mrs., dreams of accident to 
her brother, 264 

Supernatural phenomena so-called, 
works relating to, 34 ; authors 
who vouch for the facts, 35 

Suspicion, action of, illustrated, 283 

Sympathy of feeling, 127 



292 



INDEX 



TESTIMONY of modern men of 
science, 101 

Thackeray on phenomena witnessed 
in New York, 98 

Thomson, Dr., his experiments in 
spirit-photography, 249 

Trance-mediums, after stringent 
investigation, declared not to be 
impostors, xii. 

Triviality of the phenomena often 
apparent rather than real, 110 

Trollope, T. Adolphus, evidence of, 
93 ; as to the possibility of its 
being conjuring, 168 ; as to the 
production of flowers, 171 

Tylor, Mr. E. B., on miracles as a 
"survival of savage thought," 
27 ; his mesmeric theory of spiri- 
tual phenomena answered, 125 

Tyndall, Professor, definition of a 
miracle by, 37 ; on Spiritualism, 
150 ; reply to, by Mr. Patrick 
Fraser Alexander, 151 ; declines 
investigation of the facts, 279 

USES of Spiritualism, 124 

WAMBKY, Rev. 0. C., hears a phan- 
tom voice, 270 



War Office certificate of death cor- 
rected by apparition, 74 

Weld, Mr. W., and his daughter, see 
apparition of his son, 266 

Wesley family and the mysterious 
disturbances at Epworth, 80 

Whately, Archbishop, an inquirer 
into Spiritualism, 99 

Wheatcroft, Mrs., sees apparition 
of her husband at time of his 
death in India, 74 

Wilbraham, the Hon. Colonel, testi- 
mony to the genuineness of the 
phenomena occurring with Mr. 
Home, 95 

Williams, Dr. R., his experiments 
in spirit-photography, 200 

Willis, Dr. F. L. H., remarkable ex- 
perience with a musical medium, 
283 

Witchcraft, evidence for, 26 ; phe- 
nomena analogous to those of 
modern Spiritualism, 215 (note) 

YORKSHIRE vicar saved by a warning 
voice, 272 

ZOLLNER, Professor J. C. F., remark- 
able test by, 104 ; remarkable 
experiments of, 105 



THE END 



Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & Co. 
Edinburgh and London 



THE LIBRARY 
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 

Santa Barbara 




THIS BOOK IS DUE ON THE LAST DATE 
STAMPED BELOW. 





iY 2 6 1983 

MAY 1 

MAY 9 1988 
ROD MAY 9 

L 1 *^ ^^ 




MOV 

RETDNOV25 



Series 9482 



3 1205 00534 0144 




LIBRARY FACILITY 




A 001 062 286 8