PRICE, FIFTEEN CENTS.
A Startling and Instructive Psychological Study, and well
Authenticated Instance of Angelic
A NARRATIVE OK THE LEADING PHENOMENA OCCURRING IN THE CASE or
MARY LURANCY VENNUM,
BY E. W. STEVENS.
WITH COMMENTS RY JOSEPH RODES BUCHANAN, M.D., PROFESSOR OF PHYSIOLOGY,
ANTHROPOLOGY, AND PHYSIOLOGICAL INSTITUTES OF MEDICINES IN THE
ECLECTIC MEDICAL COLLEGE, NEW YORK; D. P. KAYNER, M.
D. ; S. B. BRITTAN, M. D., AND HUDSON TUTTLE.
REL1G10-PH1LOSOPHICAL PUBLISHING HOUSE.
Truth wears no mask, bows at no human elirine, seeks neither place nor applause: she only asks a hearing. 1 '
To members of the various learned professions we especially commend this narrative.
We believe the history of the case as herein told to be strictly true. The account is
given in a modest, unassuming way, with no attempt to exaggerate or enlarge; it could
have been made far more thrilling and yet have remained within the bounds of truth.
It will be observed there is no chance for the witnesses to have been honestly mistaken
and to have thought they heard and saw that which in fact they did not. Either the
account is in exact accordance with the facts or the author and witnesses have willfully
prevaricated. The evidence which we publish herewith as to the credibility of the Eoff
family, could not be stronger; and the reputation of E. W. Stevens is equally good;
the publisher has known him for years and has implicit confidence in his veracity.
The case of Lurancy Vennum is not by any means an isolated one, and there are
others which in some respects are even more remarkable. Yet on account of its recent
occurrence and the facilities for investigation, we believe this case deserves and de-
mands the careful, candid, unbiased consideration, not only of professional men, but of
all who are interested, either as advocates of a future existence or as disbelievers there-
in. The publisher will be glad to receive honest, intelligent criticisms, which may be
utilized in a future edition. We are all in search of truth, let us not be so blinded with
prejudice as to be disgusted with its wrappings and fail to find the fair treasure so
snugly ensconced within.
CHICAGO, September, 1878.
THE RELIGIO-PHILOSOPHICAL JOURNAL
is a fearless and independent newspaper, entirely free from all sectarian bias. While
the JOURNAL is always ready to take the affirmative side on all questions involving the
phenomena and philosophy of Spiritualism, yet it demands the most stringent accuracy
of observation and unhesitatingly rejects all phenomena which cannot bear the ordeal
of careful scrutiny.
All Spiritualists, and those who are investigating the subject of Spiritualism, will find
this paper invaluable as an assistant in their researches.
The opponents of Spiritualism, who desire to be familiar with its progress and devel-
opment, will find the JOURNAL a fair, candid and trustworthy channel of information.
We respectfully commend the paper to all classes. For further particulars see last page
MARY LURANCY VENNUM.
MARY LURANCY VENNUM.
THE WATSEKA WONDER.
A Startling and Instructive Chapter in the
History of Spiritualism.
BY E. W. STEVENS.
It was long ago and wisely said, that "God
had chosen the weak things of the world to
confound the wise," and that " out of the
mouths of babes and sucklings, He hath per-
The innocence of childhood is often the
sublimest argument in the establishment of
a great truth ; and the unpresuming sim-
plicity of youth sometimes may become the
channel of phenomena calculated to shake
the skepticism and prejudice of bigotry,
and to humble the conceit of the pompously
Such has been a fact of the last year, at
the city of Watseka, a town of humble pre-
tensions, on the Eastern Illinois, and Toledo,
Peoria and Warsaw Railroads, eighty-six
miles South of Chicago.on the Iroquois river.
Watseka is noted for its orthodox senti-
ments and bitter animosity against all in-
gress of Spiritual 'ideas. Its ruling classes
are aristocratic and respectable, noted for
their intelligence and literary attainments.
Its society organizations are earnest in re-
formatory measures, but the masses, like
the population in all low and malarial dis-
tricts, are inert in the investigation of ideas
and principles, and slow in the discovery
and application of truths hitherto unknown
This town has been swept by a tidal wave
of excitement, on account of the presumed
insanity of one Lurancy Vennum, a young
girl belonging to an unpretentious family in
the suburbs of the city. Her insanity, as
it was thought to be, dates from July llth,
A. D., 1877, and the remarkable phenome-
non continued until her perfect restoration
through the aid of friendly Spiritualists and
spirits, on the 21st of May, 1878.
Thus, for ten months and ten days, did
these phenomena continue to excite and ag-
itate the people. The following is a true
narrative, and as full as the facts collected
from the parents and relatives of the par-
ties named herein and observations made
by the writer, will warrant.
Thomas J. Vennum was born May 7th,
1832, in Washington Co., Penn.; Lurinda J.
Smith (his wife), was born October 14th,
1837, in St. Joseph Co., Ind. They were mar-
ried in Fayette Co., Iowa, Dec. 2d, 1855.
MARY LTJRANCY VENNUM,
daughter of the above named Thomas J.
and Lurinda J. Vennum, was born on the
16th day of April, 1864, inMilford township,
seven miles south of Watseka. The family
moved to Iowa, July, 12th, 1864, and return-
ed to the vicinity eight miles from Watseka,
in Oct., 1865. In August, 1866, they removed
to Milford, twelve miles south of Watseka,
and remained there till March 1st, 1870, then
moved out two and one-half miles from Mil-
ford until April 1st, 1871, when they moved
into Watseka, locating about forty rods
from the residence of A. B. Roff, the spirit
daughter of whom, according to all the facts
and representations every way tested, is the
principal character in this remarkable nar-
rative. The family remained at this place
during the summer. The only acquaintance
ever had between the two families during
the season, was simply one brief call of Mrs.
Roff, for a few minutes, on Mrs. Vennum,
which call was never returned ; and a form-
al speaking acquaintance between the two
gentlemen. Since 1871, the Vennum family
have lived entirely away from the vicinity
of Mr. Roff's, and never nearer than now,
on extreme opposite limits of the city.
"Rancy," as she is familiarly called, had
never been sick, save a light run of measles
in 1873. A few days before the following
incidents took place, she said to her family :
"There were persons ia my room last night,
and they called 'Rancy I Rancy I ' and I felt
their breath on my face." The very next
night she arose from her bed, saying that
she could not sleep, that every time she tried
to sleep, persons came and called "Rancy I
Rancy I " to her. Her mother went to bed
with her, after which she rested and slept
the rest of the night.
On the llth day of July, 1877, Lurancy had
been sewing carpet a part of the afternoon,
when, at about six o'clock she laid by her
work, as her mother said : "Lurancy, you
had better commence getting supper." The
THE RELIGIO-PHILOSOPHICAL JOURNAL TRACTS.
girl replied : "Ma, I feel bad; I feel so queer,' 1
and placirg her hand to her left breast, she
immediately went into what seemed like a
fit, falling heavily on the floor, lying appar-
ently dead, every muscle becoming sudden-
lv rigid. Thus she lay five hours. On return-
ing to consciousness she said she felt "very
strange and queer." The remainder of the
night she rested well. The next day the
rigid state returned, and passing beyond the
rigidity, her mind took cognizance of two
states of being at the same time. Lying as
if dead, she spoke freely, telling the family
what persons and spirits she could see, de-
scribing them and calling some of them by
name. Among those mentioned were her
sister and brother, for she exclaimed, "Oh,
mother! can't you see little Laura and Ber-
tie? They are so beautiful!" etc., etc. Ber-
tie died when Lurancy was but three years
She had many of these trances, describing
Heaven and the spirits, or the angels as she
called them. Sometime in September she
became free from them and seemed to the
family to be quite well again.
On the 27th day of November, 1877, she
was attacked with a most violent pain in
tier stomach, some five or six times a day ;
for two weeks she had the most excruciating
pains. In these painful paroxysms, she would
double herself back until her head and feet
actually touched. At the end of two weeks,
or about the llth of December, in these
distressed attacks, she became unconscious
and passed into a quiet trance, and, as at
former times, would describe Heaven and
.spirits, often calling them angels.
From this time on until the 1st of Febru-
ary, 1878, she would have these trances and
sometimes a seemingly real obsession, from
three to eight and sometimes as many as
twelve times a day, lasting from one to
eight hours, occasionally passing into that
tate of ecstasy, when, as Lurancy, she
claimed to be in heaven.
During the time recorded, up to about the
middle of January, 1878, she had been un-
der the care of Dr. L. N. Pitwood in the
summer and Dr. Jewett during the winter.
These M. D.'s are both eminent allopathic
practitioners, and residents of Watseka.
Mrs. Allison, Mrs. Jolly and other relatives
and friends believed her insane. The Eev.
B. M. Baker, the Methodist minister in
charge at Watseka, wrote to the insane
asylum to ascertain if the girl could be re-
ceived there. It seemed to be the general
feeling among all the friends, save the par-
ents and a few who were only sympathetic
observers and thinkers, that the girl should
fro to the asvlum.
There were in the city of Watseka at this
time, persons who had more humanity than
bigotry; persons who believe, in the lan-
guage of Bishop A. Beals, that " disease has
a dynamic or spiritual origin;" persons
claiming to understand something of the oc-
cult forces and phenomena of mind, and the
diseases incident to a false conception of , and
opposition to, its potencies; persons who be-
lieve, God being " no respecter of persons "
and "without variableness or shadow of
turning," that power exists to-day, as in the
days of the Nazarene, to cast out devils.
Among this class were Asa B. Roff and his
wife, who, with others, became thoroughly
aroused to the importance of arresting the
movement, to take a lovely child from the
bosprn of an affectionate family, to impris-
on her among maniacs, to be ruled and cared
for by ignorant and bigoted strangers, who
know less of catalepsy than a blind mater-
ialist does of immortality. These good peo-
ple ventured in the most gentle and Chris-
tian spirit, to counsel with the parents and
advise other treatment, different from any
that had been administered.
These earnest, self-sacrificing souls, im-
bued with the conviction that uncultivated
spirits had something to do with the case,
plead with the many friends of the child, to
withhold her from the asylum until it could
be better shown whether the girl was really
insane, or her unfortunate condition might
be attributable to foreign minds.
Mr. Roff, after much persuasion, obtained
the consent of the girl's father, to visit her
and bring with him Dr. E. W. Stevens, of
Janesville Wis., to investigate the case. Dr.
Stevens, who, for several months, at fre-
quent intervals, had been in the city and a
silent listener to the scoffs and scandals
thrown out toward the Spiritualists on ac-
count of their opinions regarding the case,
and the universal foment of mind in the city
MARY LURANCY VENNUM.
over it, was formally invited by Mr. Ven-
num, through Mr. Roff, to visit the family.
On the afternoon of January 31st, 1878,
the two gentlemen repaired to Mr. Ven-
num's residence, a little out of the city. Dr.
S tevens, an entire stranger to the family,
was introduced by Mr. Roff at four o'clock
p. M. ; no other persons present but the fam-
ily. The girl sat near the stove, in a com-
mon chair, her elbows on her knees, her
hands under her chin, feet curled up on the
chair, eyes staring, looking every way like
an "old hag." She sat for a time in silence,
untij Dr. Stevens moved his chair, when
she savagely warned him not to come ne r-
er. She appeared sullen and crabbed, call-
ing her father "Old Black Dick, and her
mother "Old Granny." She refused to be
touched, even to shake hands, and was
reticent and sullen with all save the doctor,
with whom she entered freely into conver-
sation, giving her reasons for doing so ; she
said he was a Spiritual doctor and would
When he asked her name she quickly re-
"How long ago ? "
"How did you come? "
"Through the air."
"How long will you stay f "
After this system of conversation had
proceeded for some time, she modified her
manners very much, appearing to be a little
penitent and confidential.and said she would
be honest and tell the doctor her real name.
She was not a woman; and her real name
was Willie. On being asked what was her
father's name, replied, " Peter Canning, and
her own name was Willie Canning, a young
man; ran away from home, got intodifficul
ty, changed his name several times and fin-
ally lost his life and was now here because
he wanted to be," etc. She wearied with
answering questions and giving details.
Then she turned unpn the doctor with a
perfect shower of questions, such as, "What
is your name ? Were do you live ? Are you
married? How many children? How many
boys ? How many girls ? What is your oc-
cupation ? What kind of a doctor ? What did
you come to Watseka for ? Have you ever
been at the South Pole ? North Pole ? Europe ?
Australia? Egypt? Ceylon? Benares ? Sand-
wich Islands ? " and by along series of ques-
tions evinced a knowledge of geography. She
next inquired after the doctor's habits and
morals by questions like the folio wing: "Do
you lie ? get drunk ? steal ? swear ? use tobac-
co? tea? coffee? Do you go to church?
pray ? " etc., etc. She then asked to have
the same questions put Mr. Roff. She de-
clined to ask them direct, herself, but
through the doctor. They must also be re-
peated through him to Mr. Vennum, making:
the while, some very unpleasant retorts.
When, at about half-past five o'clock,?. M.,.
the visitors arose to depart, she also arose,
flung up her hands and fell upon the 1 floor,
straight, stiff and rigid, as I have often seen>
sensitives fall with the " power" in Metho-
dist revival meetings, and believing it to be
of the same nature, the doctor took occasion
to prove it, as he has done on those smitten-
with the "power," by controlling body and
mind and restoring them to a normal and
rational state, despite the " power."
The visitors being again seated, he took
her hands as they were held straight up-
wards, like iron bars, and by magnetic ac-
tion soon had the body under perfect con-
trol, and through the laws of Spiritual sci-
ence, was soon in full and free communica-
tion with the sane and happy mind of Lu-
rancy Vennum herself, who conversed with,
the grace and sweetness of an angel, declar-
ing herself to be in heaven.
In this condition she answered the doctor's
questions with reference to herself , her seem-
ingly insane condition and the influences-
that controlled her, with great rationality
and understanding. She regretted to have
such evil controls about her. She said she
knew the evil spirit calling itself Katrina
and Willie and others. The doctor contin-
ued to suggest to her mind, things to pre-
pare the way for a change of influences, by
enlightening and instructing her no w while
her mind was clear and in this superior con-
dition, and then asked her, if she must be
THE RELIGIO-PHILOSOPHICAL JOURNAL TRACTS.
controlled, if it would not be better, if it
were possible, to have a higher, purer, hap-
pier, and more intelligent or rational con-
trol. She said she would rather, if it could
be so. Then on being advised, she looked
about and inquired of those she saw, and
described, and named, to find some one who
would prevent the cruel and insane ones
from returning to annoy her and the fami-
ly. She soon said: "There are a great many
spirits here who would be glad to come," and
she again proceeded to give names and de-
scriptions of persons long since deceased ;
some that she had never known, but were
known by older persons present. But, she
said, there is one the angels desire should
come, and she wants to come. On being
asked if she knew who it was, she said:
"Her name is Mary Roff.'' Mr. Kofi being
present, said: "That is my daughter ; Mary
Roff is my girl. Why, she has been in heaven
twelve years. Yes, let her come, we'll be
glad to have her come." Mr. Kofi assured
Lurancy that Mary was good and intelligent
and would help her all she could; stating
further that Mary used to be subject to con-
ditions like herself. Lurancy, after due de-
liberation and counsel with spirits, said that
Mary would take the place of the former
wild and unreasonable influence. Mr. Roff
said to her: "Have your mother bring you
to my house and Mary will be likely to come
along, and a mutual benefit may be derived
from our former experience with Mary."
Thus reaching the sane mind of the girl and
through her, the sane minds of a better
class of spirits, a contract or agreement was
made, to be kept sacred by the angels in
Heaven and Heaven's agents in the flesh, by
which a mortal body was to be restored to
health ; a spirit, unfortunate in earth life,
with twelve years' experience in spirit life,
to have an amended earthly experience, a
child to be spiritualized and moulded into
a fine medium, an unbelieving and scof-
fing city to be confounded, and the greatest
truth the world has ever sought, establish-
ed beyond doubt or cavil. How far the con-
tract has been kept by the spirits and their
faithful co-laborers here, the sequel will
The object of the visit now being attain-
ed. Dr. Stevens asked :
" How long do you want to stay in this
heaven ? "
"But you will come DacK for the sake of
your friends ? "
"When will you come back ? "
"At twelve o'clock."
"But the family will want rest. Can't you
come sooner ? "
"Yes, sir, I can."
"How soon can you come? "
"At nine o'clock, sir."
"Will you come at nine V "
And so she did.
After nearly three hours of careful in-
vestigation, conversation, and the applica-
tion of the laws of Spiritual science and har-
mony, Mr. Roff and the doctor retired, leav-
ing the family satisfied that a new fountain
of light and source of help had been reached.
A new beam of truth reached and touched
the hearts of the sorrowing family, and
to use the language of Mary Roff, "Dr. Stev-
ens opened the gate for her," and for the
inflowing of light where before was dark-
On the following morning,Friday, Feb. 1st,
Mr. Vennum called at the office of Mr. Roff
and informed him that the girl claimed to
be Mary Roff and wanted to go home. To
use Mr. Vennum's words : "She seems like
a child real home-sick, wanting to see her
pa and ma and her brothers."
It now becomes necessary in the relation
of this narrative to give a brief sketch of
the life of
The daughter of Asa B. and Ann Roff,
was born on the 8th day of October, 1846, in
Warren Co., Ind. The family moved in Nov.
of the same year to Williamsport, Ind.,
thence in September, 1847, to Middleport,
111., where they resided till June, 1857, when
they removed to Victoria, Texas, in search
of relief for a sick child. In March, 1858,
they returned to Gilman and remained there
and at Onarga, 111., till the building of the
Toledo, Peoria and Warsaw Railroad, when
they returned to Middleport, Nov . Sth, 1859
and built the first house in the new town of
MARY LURANCY VENNUM.
South Middleport, which is now a part of
the city of Watseka, where they still re-
In the spring of 1847, when about six months
old, Mary was taken sick and had a fit, in
which she remained several hours. After the
fit,she became conscious and lay several days
without the family having much hope of
her recovery. In two or three weeks she
seemed to have entirely recovered. A few
weeks later she acted, on one occasion, like
a child going into a fit. The pupils of her
eyes dilated, the muscles slightly twitched
but lasted but a few moments. From the
age of about six months, she had these spells
as described, once in from three to five
weeks apart, all the time increasing in
force and violence, until her tenth year,
when they proved to be real fits, having
from one to three and sometimes four or
five of them within a period of three or four
days, when they would cease, and she would
enjoy good health until the next period ap-
proached. At these times, she for few days
would seem sad and despondent, in which
mood she would sing and play the most
solemn music, (for with all the rest of her
studies, in which she was considered well
advanced, she had learned music,) and al-
most always would sing that beautiful song,
"We Are Coming Sister Mary," which was
a favorite song with her.
When she was fifteen years old, and the
violence of the fits had increased, the pa-
rents say they could see her mind was af-
fected during the melancholy periods prior
to the fits. Dr. Jesse Bennett, now residing
at Sparta, Wis., and Dr. Franklin Blades,
DOW Judge of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit
of Illinois, and resident of Watseka, were
employed to attend her. Dr.N. S. Davis, of
Chicago, Illinois, and several other promi-
nent physicians, had examined her. They
kept her in the water cure at Peoria, Illi-
nois, under the care of Dr. Nevins, for eight-
een months, but all to no purpose.
In the summer of 1864 she seemed to have
almost a mania for bleeding herself for the
relief, as she said, "of the lump of pain in
the head." Drs. Fowler, Secrest and Pit-
wood were called and applied leeches. She
would apply them herself to her temples,
and liked them, treating them like little
pets, until she seemed sound and well.
On Saturday morning, July 16th, 1864, in
one of her desponding moods, she secretly
took a knife with her to the back yard, and
cut her arm terribly, until bleeding excess-
ively, she fainted. This occurred about nine
o'clock A. M. She remained unconscious
till two o'clock P. M., when she became a
raving maniac of the most violent kind, in
which condition she remained five days and
nights, requiring almost constantly the ser-
vices of five of the most able bodied men
to hold her on the bed, although her weight
was only about one hundred pounds, and she
had lost nearly all her blood. When she ceas-
ed raving, she looked and acted quite nat-
ural and well, and could do everything she
desired as readily and properly as at any
time in her life. Yet she seemed to know no
one, and could not recognize the presence
of persons at all, although the' house was
nearly filled with people night and day.
She had no sense whatever of sight, feel-
ing or hearing in a natural way, as was
proved by every test that could be applied.
She could read blind-folded, and do every-
thing as readily as when in health by her
natural sight. She would dress, stand be-
before the glass, open and search drawers,
pick up loose pins, or do any and all things
readily, and without annoyance under heavy
Near the time, in 1864, when she cut her
arm while blindfolded, she took Dr. Trail's
encyclopedia, turned to the index, traced
the column till she came to the word
"blood," then turned to the page indicated
and read the subject through. On another
occasion she took a box of her letters re-
ceived from her friends, and sat down,
heavily blindfolded by critical, intelligent,
investigating gentlemen, examined and read
them without error or hesitancy. When
Rev. J. H. Ehea, Editor A. J. Smith, Mr.
Koff and others misplaced and promiscu-
ously arranged some of their own letters
with Mary s, she at once proceeded to cor-
rectly draw out the intruded letters and ex-
amine them. If wrong side up, she would
quickly turn them, and read aloud the ad-
dress thereon, and throw violently away
every letter not her own; and re-arranged
THE RELIGIO-PHILOSOPHICAL JOLRNAL TRACTS.
twenty or thirty letters in the order she de-
sired to have them. Rev.J. H. Rhea was the
Methodist minister in charge at that time ;
A. G. Smith was editor of the Iroquois
county Republican, now editor of the Dan-
ville (111.) Times. She was also investigated
by all the prominent citizens of Watseka at
With the physicians her peculiar state or
condition was called catalepsy. With the
clergy it was one of the mysteries of God's
providence, with which we should have lit-
tle to do. With editors, who are obliged to
be wise or silent, it was fits or some unac-
countable phenomenon. All, with untiring
effort, tried to solve the mystery, and learn
what it was that produced such strange
and wonderful manifestations. The editor
of the Danville Times, in a recent issue
"Now as to Mary Roff, it was our fortune
to know the sweet girl, who was herself a
cataleptic, and who died twelve years ago.
Disease dethroned her reason and maddened
her brain until she sought her own and oth-
ers' lives, and the modest young lady was
transformed into a screaming maniac. She
had periods of exemption from raving, and
thus her aberrant mind conceived fancies
of the queerest hue, creating the most im-
possible beings for associates, and convers-
ing with them, she maintained her own side
of the conversation in a usual tone of voice,
while imagination supplied her created asso-
ciates with language and intelligence. When
in this condition, her father and mother as-
serted the discovery that Mary could read a
book with its lids closed, and they desired i
us to test the correctness of what they
claimed. We therefore took from our side
pocket a letter inclosed in an envelope, and
holding it before her bandaged eyes, said to
her, 'Mary, read the signature to that letter.'
Immediately the proper name was pro-
After remaining in the clairvoyant state
above related for three or four days, she
came again to her normal condition and in
good health as she usually was, except the
fits. From this time she continued as she
had been prior to cutting her arm. Her fits
increased, and her parents were advised to
place her in the insane asylum.
On July 5th, 1865, while her parents were
at Peoria. 111., on a three days' visit, she ate
a hearty breakfast, and soon thereafter lay
down on her bed, and in her usual health
went to sleep. In a few minutes she was
heard to scream, as was usual on taking a
a fit. On approaching her bedside, they
found her in a fit, and in a few moments she
We now return and take up the original
narrative where we left it, dating Feb. 1st,
1878, when it was first seen that Mary Roff
had control of Lurancy's body, and teasing
to go home. Could it be possible the gulf of
death had been bridged I the gates of heav-
en left open ? Had Mary, like Moses and
Elias, returned to a transfiguration ? Or,
like the spirit of "one of the prophets," had
she come with revelation to the grotto of
darkness in this benighted Patmos ? Were
the unnumbered facts of scriptural ages re-
peating themselves now ? Can we say with
Job, "A spirit passed before my face?'' Eze-
kiel and Isaiah talked with the departed,
Saul conversed with Samuel, Paul and the
shepherds with spirits in the air, and can
we talk with Mary ? And the friends of the
family went up to see, aad answered, "Yes !"
From the wild, angry, ungovernable girl,
to be kept only by lock and key, or the more
distressing watch care of almost frantic pa-
rents; or the rigid, corpse-like cataleptic, as
believed, the girl has now become mild,
docile, polite and timid, knowing none of
the family, but constantly pleading to go
home. The best wisdom of the family was
used to convince her that she was at home,
and must remain. Weeping, she would not
be pacified, and only found contentment in
going back to heaven, as she said, for short
About a week after she took control of
the body, Mrs 1 . A. B. Roff and her daugh-
ter, Mrs. Minerva Alter, Mary's sister, hear-
ing of the remarkable change, went to see
the girl. As they came in sight, far down
the street) Mary, looking out the window,
exclaimed exultingly, "There comes my ma
and sister Nervie!" the name by which Ma-
ry used to call Mrs. Alter in girlhood. As
they came into the house, she caught them
around their necks, wept and cried for joy,
and seemed so hagpy to meet them. From
this time dn she seemed more homesick
than before. At times she seemed almost
frantic to go hcwie. Finally some friends of
the faffilly insisted on their sending her to
Mr. Roffs, which they reluctantly consented
MARY LURANCY VENNUM.
to do; reluctantly because the girl was so
much trouble and care as she had been al
winter; so much so that Mrs. Vennum was
nearly prostrated, and could not have sur
vived the care and anxiety many months
longer, under the same state of affairs, anc
they felt that it would be an imposition to
send the girl to be cared for by strangers
and especially so by Mrs. Roff, as she was
not able to take charge of and care for a
girl that made so much trouble as this one
had for Mrs. Vennum.
Mr. and Mrs. Roff, with their hearts ever
full of the milk of human kindness, more
ready to forgive than to censure, and brav-
ing the sneers and taunting innuendoes of
an uneducated bigotry, with no other mo-
tive but one of mercy and kindness, opened
their doors and hearts to receive the unfor-
tunate girl with her new control, having
no hope or desire for reward but in the
sense of a just sympathy for right and truth.
They remembered the precept, "Forget not
to entertain strangers, for thereby some
have entertained angels."
On the llth day of February, 1878, they
sent the girl to Mr. Roff's, where she met
her "pa and ma," and each member of the
family, with the most gratifying express-
ions of love and affection, by words and em-
braces. On being asked how long she would
stay, she said, "The angels will let me stay
till some time in May ;" and she made it her
home there till May 21st, three months and
ten days, a happy, contented daughter and
sister in a borrowed body.
After the girl was at Mr. Roff's, the Rev.
Mr. Baker said to Mr. Vennum, "I think
you will see the time when you will wish
you had sent her to the asylum." Mrs. Jolly
said if she ever came home she would be
more trouble than ever. Another relative,
more religious than humane, said, "I would
sooner follow a girl of mine to the grave
than have her go to Roff's and be made a
Spiritualist." Dr. Jewett called it catalepsy
No. 2, which is as definite and convenient
in explanation of this case as is "humbug"
in explanation of any newly discovered sci-
entific truth unacceptable to popular ignor-
ance. He said : "Humor her whims and she
will get well." Some prudent, two-faced
people would say, with a noncommittal air,
"What strange freaks!" Others, with an
exalted opinion of their wonderful percep-
tions, would say, "It is all put on," etc., etc.
Yet none of the persons expressing such
opinions have ever called to see the girl, or
derived any information from those in
charge of her.
The girl now in her new home, seemed
perfectly happy and content, knowing every
person and everything that Mary knew
when in her original body, twelve to twen-
ty-five years ago, recognizing and calling by
name those who were friends and neighbors
of the family from 1852 to 1865, when Mary
died, calling attention to scores, yes hun-
dreds, of incidents that transpired during
her natural life. During all the period of
her sojourn at Mr. Roff's she had no knowl-
edge of, and did not recognize any of Mr.
Vennum's family, their friends or neigh-
bors, yet Mr. and Mrs. Vennum and their
children visited her and Mr. Roff's people,
she being introduced to them as to any
strangers. After frequent visits, and hear-
ing them often and favorably spoken of,
she learned to love them as acquaintances,
and visited them with Mrs. Roff three times.
From day to day she appeared natural, easy,
affable and industrious, attending diligent-
ly and faithfully to her household duties, as-
sisting in the general work of the family as
a faithful, prudent daughter might be sup-
posed to do, singing, reading or conversing
as opportunity offered, upon all matters of
private or general interest to the family.
Three days after she came to Mr. Roff's,
while looking at him and seeming to have
been in a sort of retrospective revery, she
asked, "Pa, who was it that used to say 'con-
found it?'" and laughing very heartily
when she saw that he understood it to be
limself, that being a common expression of
his in the time of her girlhood, twelve to
,wenty years ago.
One day she met an old friend and neigh-
>or of Mr. Roff's, who was a widow when
Mary was a girl at home. Some years since
,he lady married a Mr. Wagoner with whom
he yet lives. But when she met Mrs. Wag-
>ner she clasped her around the neck, and
aid, "0 Mary Lord, you look so very natural,
and have changed the least of any one I have
een since I came back." Mrs. Lord was in
THE RELIGIO-PHILOSOPH1CAL JOURNAL TRACTS.
some way related to the Vennum family,
and lived close by them, but Mary could
only call her by the name by which she
knew her fifteen years ago, and could not
seem to realize that she was married. Mrs.
Lord lived just across the street from Mr.
Eoff s for several years, prior and up to
within a few months of Mary's death ; both
being members of the same Methodist
church, they were very intimate.
Some days after Mary was settled in her
new home, Mrs. Parker, who lived neigh-
bor to the Boff' s in Middleport in 1852, and
next door to them in Watseka in 1860, came
in with her daughter-in-law, Nellie Parker.
Mary immediately recognized both of the
ladies, calling Mrs. Parker "Auntie Park-
er," and the other "Nellie," as in the ac-
quaintance of eighteen years ago. In con-
versation with Mrs. Parker, Mary asked,
"Do you remember how Nervie and I used
to come to your house and sing?" Mrs.
Parker says that was the first allusion made
to that matter, nothing having been said by
any one on that subject, and says that Mary
and Minerva used to come to their house
and sit and sing, "Mary had a little lamb,"
etc. Mrs. Dr. Alter (Minerva) says she re-
members it welL This was when Mr Eoff
kept the postoflice, and could not have been
later than 1852, and twelve years before Lu-
rancy was born.
One evening in the latter part of March,
Mr. Eoff was sitting in the room waiting
for tea, and reading the paper, Mary being
out in the yard. He asked Mrs. Eoff if she
could find a certain velvet head-dress that
Mary used to wear the last year before she
died. If so, to lay it on the stand and say
nothing about it, to see if Mary would recog-
nize it. Mrs. Eoff readily found and laid it
on the stand. The girl soon came in, and im-
mediately exclaimed as she approached the
stand : "O, there is my head-dress I wore
when my hair was short !" She then asked,
"Ma, where is my box of letters ? Have you
got them yet?" Mrs. Eoff replied, "Yes, Ma-
ry, I have some of them." She at once
got the box with many letters in it. As Ma-
ry began to examine them she said, O, "Ma,
here is a collar I tatted! Ma, why, did you
not show to me my letters and things be-
fore?" The collar had been preserved |
among the relics of the lamented child as
one of the beautiful things her fingers had
wrought before Lurancy was born ; and so
Mary continually recognized every little
thing and remembered every little incident
of her girlhood.
It will be remembered that the family
moved to Texas in 1857. Mr. Eoff asked
Mary if she remembered moving to Texas
or anything about it. "Yes, pa, and I re-
member crossing Eed river and of seeing a
great many Indians, and I remember Mrs.
Eeeder's girls, who were in our company,'
and other incidents and facts. And thus
she from time to time made first mention of
things that transpired thirteen to twenty-
five years ago.
On the 19th of February Mr. Eoff address-
ed the writer as follows :
"You know how we took the poor, dear
girl Lurancy (Mary). Some appreciate our
motives, but the many, without investiga-
tion and without a knowledge of the facts,
cry out against us and against that angel
girl. Some say she pretends; others that
she is crazy; and we hear that some say it
is the devil. * * * Mary is perfectly
happy ; she recognizes everybody and every-
thing that she knew when in her body
twelve or more years ago. She knows no-
body nor anything whatever that is known
by Lurancv. * * * Mr. Vennum has
been to see her, and also her brother Henry,
at different times, but she don't know any-
thing about them. Mrs. Vennum is still un-
able to come and see her daughter. She has
been nothing but Mary since she has been
here, and knows nothing but what Mary
knew. She has entered the trance once ev-
ery other day for some days. She is per-
fectly happy. * * * You don't know
how much comfort we take with the dear
The child has often said she likes Dr
Stevens next to her pa, because he opened
the gate for her to come in, and because he
has done so much for her pa and ma, and
her brothers, and for Lurancy 's body, and
feeling that gratitude, she wrote him by
permission of the parents, on the 20th of
February, in which she said:
'I am yet here. * * Frank is better. *
Nervie is here for dinner ; Allie Alter is
going to stay all night; Mrs. Marsh was
here to-day and read a beautiful letter to
us. I wish you could spend the evening with
us. * * I would like to have your picture
to look at. * * Please write to pa when
you get time. * * We all send our love
MARY LURANCY VENNUM.
to you. * * I like it here very much, and
am going to stay all the time. * * * I
went to heaven and staid about an hour.
* It seerns a long time since I saw you.
* Forget me not. Good night.
She wrote the doctor again on February
31st, of which the following is an extract:
"I have just finished a letter to brother
Frank. He went back to his store feeling
quite well. The boys have gone put to play
for a dance. * * * In the evening I went
to heaven, and I saw some of the beautiful
things, and talked with the angels, * * *
and be sure 1 don't forget when I go to
heaven and come back. * * * Fear the
Lord and depart from evil' Prov. 3d : 7th.
It may here be said that it was fre-
quently the case that when Mary went to
heaven, as she called it, other spirits some-
times, by permission, would come and pre-
sent themselves, and speak freely their own
language and sentiments. Mr. Koff writes
under date of March, as follows, of a com-
munication through another young lady at
his house. The medium's name I reserve
because I have no license to use it :
"A lady came throtigh at our house,
who claimed to have lived and died in Ten-
nessee, and says she was afflicted from eight
years of age till twenty-five, when she died
with a similar disease, and in a similar way
that Mary- died. She says that Mary has
control or Lurancy Vennum, and will re-
tain control till she is restored to her nor-
mal condition, when Mary will leave. Mary
Is happy as a lark, and gives daily, almost
hourly, proofs of being Mary's intelligence.
She don't recognize Lurancy's family or
friends at all. She knows and recognizes
everything that our Mary used to know,
and nothing whatever of what the Vennum
girl knows. She now enters the trance with-
out any rigidity of the muscles whatever,
very gently, and at her own will, describes
heavenly scenes, etc., etc. \Ve think all
will be well, and Lurancy restored to her
orthodox friends yet. * * Some of the
relatives are yielding by Mary's calling
their attention to things of thirteen years
ago, that transpired between her and tnem.
It wakes them up. * * It is wonderful.
* * It wpuld take a volume to give the
important items that have occurred."
Mrs. Dr. Alter, under date of April 16th,
1S78, writes of Mary as follows:
"My angel sister says she is going away
from us again soon, but says she will be of-
ten with us. She says Lurancy is a beauti-
ful girl ; says she sees her nearly every day,
and we do know she is getting better every
day. Oh, the lessons that are being taught
us are worth treasures of rare diamonds ;
they are stamped upon the mind so firmly
that heaven and earth shall pass away be-
fore one jot or one tittle shall be forgotten.
* . * * I have learned so much that is
grand and beautiful, I cannot express it ; I
am dumb. * * A few days ago Mary was
caressing her father and mother, and they
became a little tired of it, and asked why
she hugged and kissed them. She sorrow-
fully looked at them, and said, 'Oh, pa and
ma! I want to kiss you while I have lips to
kiss you with, and hug you while I have
arms to hug you with, for I am going back
to heaven before long, and then I can only
be with you in spirit, and you will not al-
ways know when I come, and I cannot love
you as I can now. Oh, how much I love you
Mary writes to Dr. Stevens, in an envel-
ope with Mr. Koff, under date of May 7th,
as follows :
DEAR DOCTOR: I thought I would write
you. I am at Aunt Carrie's ; am going to
take dinner with her. * * Yesterday I
went and spent the day with Mrs. Vennum.
She had a dreadful headache and I rubbed it
away. Pa is quite busy in his office to-day.
Ma is feeling a good deal better. * * lam
feeling quite well,except my breast hurts me
some to-day. It commenced hurting me last
night. * * I treat ma in the morning and
Nervie at night for hard colds and cold feet.
"VVe all went to the Reform Club last Satur-
day. Aunt Carrie's essay was splendid, and
very affecting, * * We all read that let-
ter in the RELIGIO-PHILOSOPHICAL JOUR-
NAL from your daughter, and liked it very
much. MARY ROFF.
In the same letter Mr. Roff writes:
"I want to give you a little scene ; time,
Monday moraine:, May 6th; place, A. B.
Roff 's office, Watseka; present, A. B. Roff
at table writing; Frank Roff at the table
at the right or A. B. R. ; door behind A.
B., and a little to the left; enters unheard
the person of Lurancy Vennum ; places her
arm around the neck of A. B. Roff, kissing
him and saying, 'Pa I am going with Mrs.
Vennum to visit to-day ; ' A. B. Roff looks
around and discovers standing in the door
Mrs. Vennum, Lurancv 'smother, looking on
the scene. The girl then bade an affectionate
good-by to Frank ; A. B. R. asks : 'How long
will you stay ? ' She replies, 'Till two or
three or o'clock.' Mrs. Vennum then said to
Mr. Roff : 'If she does not get back at that
time, don't get alarmed, we will take care of
her.' Exit Mrs. V. and the girl. You don't
know how my heart aches for that poor mo-
ther, yet she is much happier than she was
last winter with Lurancy as she was." * *
On May 7th, the day of writing the last
letter, Mary called Mrs. Roff to a private
THE RELIGIO-PHILOSOPHICAL JOURNAL TRACTS.
room, and there in tears told her that Lu-
rancy Yennum was coming back. She seem-
ed very sad, and said she could not tell
whether she was coming to stay or not ; that
if she thought she was coming to stay, she
would want to see Nervie and Dr. Alter
and Allie, and bid them good-by. She sat
down, closed her eyes and in a few moments
the change took place, and Lurancy had
control of her own body. Looking wildly
around the room she anxiously asked :
"Where am I ? I was never here before."
Mrs. Roff replied.
"You are at Mr. Roff's, brought here by
Mary to cure your body."
She cried and said :
"I want to go home."
Mrs. Roff asked her if she could stay till
her folks were sent for.
She said :
She was then asked if she felt any pain in
her breast. (This was during the period that
Mary was suffering pain in the left breast ;
continually holding her hand, pressing it.)
She replied :
"No, but Mary did."
In about five minutes the change was
again made, and Mary came overjoyed to
find herself permitted to return, and called,
as she often had, for the singing of her pre-
vious girlhood's favorite song, "We are Com.
ing Sister Mary."
The child seemed possessed of all the nat-
ural affection for the family that a daught-
er and sister of fine feelings and cultivated
tastes might be supposed to possess, after
an absence of twelve years, and she often
took occasion to demonstrate that affection
by endearing names and kindly words.
When walking with Mrs. Alter, her sister
Nervie as she called her,she would say, "Ner-
vie,my only sister.put your arm around me."
Or, "Come Nervie, put your arm around me
and we will take a little walk in the garden
or the grove, for I cannot be with you much
longer and I want to be with you every min-
ute I can." When Mrs. Alter would ask her
when or where she was going, she would
say "The angels tell me I am going to heav-
en, but I don't know just when. O, how I
wish you could live here at home with us
as you used to when I was here before.'
She thought a great deal of Dr. Alter, the
tiusband of her sister, but could hardly seem
realize that Xervie was married and had
a family for eleven years. She said when
she got into this body she felt much as she
did when she was here twelve years ago
This body seemed as natural to her as
though she had been born with it, yet she
iould not do with it as she would like to.
She did not seem to realize at first, but this
was her own original, physical body, until
angels explained it to her. and she had
received information and instructions from
ler parents, sister,brother and friends about
it. So natural did it seem to her, after know-
ing all the facts, that she could hardly feel
it was not her original body born nearly
thirty years ago.
In conversation with the writer about her
former life, she spoke of cutting her arm
as heretofore stated, and asked if he ever
saw where she did it. On receiving a neg-
ative answer, she proceeded to slip up
her sleeve as if to exhibit the scar, but sud-
denly arrested the movement, as if by a sud-
den thought, and quickly said, "0, this is
not the arm ; that one is in the ground," and
proceeded to tell where it was buried, and
how she saw it done and who stood around,
how they felt, etc., but she did not feel bad.
1 heard her tell Mr. Roff and the friends
present, how she wrote to him a message
some years ago through the hand of a medi-
um, giving name, time and place. Also of
rapping and of spelling out a message 'by
another medium, giving time, name, place,
etc., etc., which the parents admitted to be
all true. I heard her relate a story of her
going into the country with the men, some
twenty odd years ago, after a load of hay,
naming incidents that occurred on the road,
which two of the gentlemen distinctly re-
In one of those beautiful trances which
rendered her entirely oblivious to all phys-
ical surroundings, appearing in a state of
happy ecstasy, and, so far as manners and
movements are concerned, perfectly normal
and graceful, with visions and senses fully
open, she went to heaven as she called it, in
company with another young lady in like
condition, whose name must be reserved
until the wonderful history she is making,
MARY LURANCY YENNUM.
shall be made public by the consent of all.
They saw and conversed about the beautiful
scenes before them, pointing out individu-
als, giving names, relationship, histories
facts, etc., describing places and things.
Mary pointed out and described some with
titles of Royalty, such as Mary Queen
of Scotts, Henry IV, King of France, and
others of equal note, showing a rich bio-
graphical and historical reading or experi-
ence and acquaintance in spirit-life. Then
bowing low, and kneeling with hands fold-
ed, and heads together, as if in the most
devout and solemn devotion remained in lis-
tening silence for some time, then rising,the
unnamed girl said :
"He came to bless, didn't he Mary? a
bright, beautiful, angel."
After talking of the different classes they
were observing, and the "lovely children"
attracting so much of their attention, Mary
seemed to take in her arms a very little,
tender infant and said: "This is Sister
Nervie's baby ; how sweet and beautiful it
is. Don't you think it is a sweet little an-
gel?" The other, in softest accents said,
"Yes, but it seems to me they are all too pure
to be touched by such as we," and after some
time the babe was carefully handed back to
the care of the angels. Mrs. Alter, who was
present, had recently lost by death, a beau-
tiful babe and had scarcely recovered from
her confinement. The whole scene was one
of uncommon interest, very affecting and
impressive beyond description.
For the discovery of facts unknown to
others, Mary seemed remarkably developed.
One afternoon, she, with much concern and
great anxiety, declared that her brother
Frank must be carefully watched the com-
ing night, for he would be taken very sick,
and would die if not properly cared for. At
the time of this announcement he was in
his usual health, and engaged with the Roff
Bros.' band of music up town. The same
evening, Dr. Stevens had been in to see the
family, and on leaving, was to go directly
to Mrs. Hawks, far off in the Old Town,
and the family so understood it. But at
about nine and a half o'clock the same even-
ing, Dr. Stevens returned unannounced to
Mr. Marsh's, Mr. Roff's next neighbor, for the
night. At two o'clock in the morning Frank
was attacked with something like a spasm
and congestive chill, which almost destroy-
ed his consciousness. Mary at once saw the
situation as predicted,and said, "Send to Mrs.
Marsh's for Dr. Stevens. "No, Dr. Stevens
is at Old Town," said the family. "No,"
said Mary, "he is at Mr. Marsh's ; go quick
for him, pa." Mr. Roff called, and the doc-
tor, as Mary said, was at Mr. Marsh's. On his
arrival at the sick bed, Mary had entire
control of the case. She had made Mrs.
Roff set down ; had provided hot water and
cloths and other necessaries, and was doing
all that could be done for Frank. The doc-
tor seconded her efforts and allowed her to
continue. She saved her brother, but never
made a move after the doctor's arrival, with
out his co-operation or advice.
Mary often spoke of seeing the children
of Dr. Stevens in heaven, who were about
her age and of longer residence there than
herself. She said she was with them much,
and went to his home with him. She correct-
ly described his home, the rooms, furniture,
gave names and ages of his children, and as
evidence of her truthf ulness, told of a re-
markable experience of Mrs. E. M. Wood,
one of the doctor's married daughters, which,
on account of its peculiar features, and the
faith of some of the relatives was not in-
tended for the public, yet was a beautiful
evidence of angel guardianship. She stated
the story minutely, saying that was where
and when she got Mrs. "Woods' name, for
she was present with others she named.
The doctor's daughter Emma Angelia, who
had been in spirit-life since March 10th,
1849, sought through Mary to take the body
she was controlling and go home with her
father to Wisconsin, to visit the family for
a week, and Mary was disposed to let her
do it ; she asked Mr. and Mrs. Roff if she
should let Emma Stevens have the body for
a week to go with her father to see and be
with her mother, sisters and brother, so
they could realize it was Emma ? But no
one thought it advisable.
To show the ease with which Mary con-
trols, or goes in and out, as it is said, and
the perfect medium the body of Lurancy
is, a single instance will suffice. On the 21st
day of April, in the parlors of Mrs. Roff, in
the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Roff, their
THE KELIGIO-PHIL03OPHICAL JOURNAL TRACTS.
hired woman Charlotte, Doctor Steel and
wife, Mrs. Twing, of Oregon, Mrs. Alter,
Mr. and Mrs. M , and the writer, mani-
festations of a very peculiar and happy char-
acter occurred. Mary being the last one to
join the company in the parlor, took the only
vacant seat, next a gentleman friend. Dr.
Steel became influenced by a brother of one
of the persons present, and made a very
striking address, with a good deal of energy
and pathos. On his becoming disentranced
and entering into the general conversation,
Mary voluntarily disembodied her controll-
ing power, and leaving the girl's form like
a corpse, with the head resting against the
shoulder of her friend, immediately took
control of Dr. Steel, and in every possible
way required proved it to be herself, she
then through that manly form, turned in a
jovial way and laughed at the position of
the seemingly untenanted body and its limp
condition, with a pleasant jest at the friend
who supported it. She soon, however, re-
turned to her own proper control and seem-
ed to enjoy the trick she had played, in the
control of the gentleman.
In a few moments she appeared peculiar,
and calling the hired woman to follow her,
they left the room. Soon she returned clad
in an old-fashioned way, with gown, cap,
cape and spectacles, etc., leaning on the arm
of Charlotte as if bowed down with many
years. Not one.trace of the girl could be seen
save in the youthful skin of the face. Tak-
ing a seat in the old arm chair, she began to
talk as an old lady of olden times might be
supposed to do, representing herself as the
grandmother of Charlotte, giving her name,
inquiring after all the relatives, old and
young, asking by name for those belong-
ing to families the girl could have known
nothing about. Said she died of cancer near
the right eye and temple ; called for tepid
water and soft cloth, which being furnished,
proceeded in the most natural manner to
bathe and dress the cancer. She called for
food and ate it, apparently without teeth,
smoked after it, as she used to do, because
her food always hurt her if she did not. She
asked for knitting work. It being furnished,
she found fault because the knitter did not
know how to knit. Raveling, out and taking
up again she knit, at the same time telling
Charlotte how to knit without looking at it.
She next asked for mending and other things
to do.looked at the fabric of the ladies'dress-
es, asking the prices, etc., etc. She looked
out at the windows, remarked how pleasant
a place it was, and so continued for a full
hour, never for a moment showing any sign
of deception, but a veritable, honest, exper-
ienced domestic old lady. Numerous other
personations might be related but this is
When inquired of as to form materializa-
tion she said it was a truth, though she
had never tried it because She did not know
how, but should learn how when she found
During her stay at Mr. EofFs her physi-
cal condition continually improved, being
under the care and treatment of her sup-
posed parents and the advice and help of her
physician. She was ever obedient to the
government and rules of thefamily, like a
careful and wise child, always keeping in
the company of some of the family, unless
to go into the nearest neighbors across the
street. She was often invited and went with
Mrs. Eoff to visit the first families of the
city, who soon became satisfied that the girl
was not crazy, but a fine, well-mannered
The manner in which she acted for a con-
siderable time after coming into Mr. Eoff's
family was very strange to many. Sitting
down to the tea-table on one occasion, Mrs.
"Now, Mary, what shall I help you to ? "
"O, nothing, I thank you, ma, I'll go to
heaven for my tea."
Suiting the action to the word, off she
went into a quiet trance or to heaven as she
termed it, and so remained till the family
had eaten, when she returned to her normal
state. Being again asked, she said she had
been to tea, and the question was put:
"Mary, what do you eat, and how do you
Her answer was :
"O ma, if I could tell, you could not un-
And thus for some time she only ate in
that way, except a very little occasionally,
to pacify the anxious family. As her system
MARY LURANCY VENNUM.
became in better condition, she ate more
freely, and for many weeks toward the last
she ate. drank and slept as a healthy person
As the time drew near for the restoration
of Lurancy to her parents and home, Mary
would sometimes seem to recede into the
memory and manner of Lurancy for a little
time, yet not enough to lose her identity or
permit the manifestation of Lurancy's mind,
but enough to show she was impressing her
presence upon her own body.
On being asked, "Where is Lurancy?" she
would say, "Gone out somewhere,' or, "She
is in heaven taking lessons, and I am here
taking lessons too."
On Sunday, May 19th, about half past four
o'clock, P. M., Mr. Koff and Mary were sit-
ting in the parlor, Henry Vennum, Luran-
cy's brother, being in the sitting room, an-
other room and hall between. Mary left con-
trol, and Lurancy took full possession of her
own body. Henry was called in and she
caught him around his neck, kissed and
wept over him, causing all present to weep.
At this juncture, Mr. Eoff was called and
asked Lurancy if she could stay till Henry
could go and bring her mother (she had ex-
pressed a desire to go and see her father and
mother) She said "No," but if Henry would
go and bring her, she would come again and
talk with her. She immediately left and
Mary came again. When Mary was asked
where she had been ? she replied, "I have
seen Doctor Stevens and he looks as good
as ever again."
Mrs. Vennum was brought within an hour,
and on her arrival, Lurancy came into full
control,when one of the most affecting scenes
ever witnessed took place. Mother and
daughter embraced and kissed each other,
and wept until all present shed tears of
sympathy ; it seemed the very gate of Heav-
On the morning of May 21st, Mr. Koff
writes as follows :
"Mary is to leave the body of Rancy to-
day, about eleven o'clock, so she says. She
is bidding neighbors and friends good-by,
Rancy to return home all right to-day. Ma-
ry came from her room up stairs where she
was sleeping with Lottie, at ten o'clock last
night, lay down by us, hugged and kissed
us, and cried because she must bid us good
by, telling us to give all her pictures, mar-
bles and cards, and twenty-five cents Mis.
Vennum had given her, to Rancy, and had
us promiseto visit Rancy often. She tells
me to write to Dr. Stevens as follows: 'Tell
him I am going to heaven, and Rancy is
coming home well. She says she will see
your dear children in spirit life; says she
saw you on Sunday last.' * * She said
last night, weeping, 'O pa, I am going to
heaven to-morrow at eleven o'clock, and
Rancy is coming back cured, and going
home all right.' She talked most lovingly
about the separation to take place, and
most beautiful was her talk about heaven
and her home.''
Mrs. Alter writes :
"When the day came, and the angels told
Mary that Lurancy was coming to take full
possession of her own body, it seemed to
make her feel very sad. She went to the
residences of Mr. L. C. Marsh and Mr. M.
Hoober, to say good-by, telling them the an-
gels had said the body was cured, and Lu-
rancy was coming to go home and live with
her parents again all well, yet she says, 'I
feel sad at parting with you all, for you
have treated me so kindly ; you have helped
by your sympathy to cure this body, and
Rancy can come and inhabit it.'"
This shows that the angels can help the
children of earth. Mr. M. Hoober being a
pious Christian gentleman, and loving Ma-
ry for her sweet influence in his family,
came into the room and asked if she would
like to sing with him and his good wife.
"Yes, I am so sad, but when I go to heav-
en all tears will be wiped away, and I will
After singing th'ey all knelt down, and
Mr. Hoober made a very affecting prayer,
saying, "If it can be that an angel is in our
midst, and about to leave us to go and join
her own in spirit-life, will God in his good-
ness allow her to bear a message of love to
my own angel father and loved ones, who
may, for all we can see, be hovering around
our household at this moment." He hoped
we would all be better and wiser, and when
Lurancy should come back to her normal
condition, would be better for the strange
and new lessons she has learned.
Mary had sent word to her sister Nervie
to come to her father's to stay an hour with
her. to say good-by, and when Rancy should
come back at eleven o'clock, to take her to
Mr. Roff's office, and he would c?o to Mr.
Vennum's with her. Mary said: "I will
THE RELIGIO-PHILO8OPH1CAL JOURNAL TRACTS.
come in spirit as close to you as I can, and
comfort you in sorrow, and you will feel me
near you sometimes."
When eleven o'clock came she seemed
loth to go or let Eancy come back. Mrs. Al-
ter started to go home and Mary started
with her. When in the yard, Mrs. A. said,
"Mary, you have always done as you said
you would, but as I don't understand these
things, will you please let Lurancy come
back just now, and then you can come
again if you want to." Mary said: "Yes, I
will," and she kissed mother and sister
A voice said, "Why, Mrs. Alter, where are
we going?" Then in a breath, "Oh, yes, 1
know, Mary told me I"
On the way they met Mrs. Marsh and Mrs.
Hoober, who were the nearest neighbors
and Mary's favorite friends ; Luraney did
not seem to know them, but remarked,
' Mary thinks so much of these neighbors."
Then turning to Mrs. Alter, with whom Lu-
rancy had been but slightly acquainted two
years ago, she said, "Mrs. Alter, Mary can
come and talk to you nearly all the way
home, if you want her to, and then I will
comeback." She spoke, and appeared like
one slightly acquainted. Mrs. Alter said
"I have trusted you in the past, and of
course I would love to talk with my sister."
The change was again made, and Mary
said, "I do love to be with you so much."
She talked lovingly, and gave good advice
about many things and f a*mily matters. The
final change now took place at the time
predicted, and Lurancy stated she felt
something as though she had been asleep,
yet she knew she had not. On reaching Mr.
Eoff' s office, she addressed him as Mr. Eoff,
and asked if he would take her home, which
May 22nd, Mr. Eoff writes me as follows:
"Thank God and the good angels, che dead
is alive and the lost is found. I mailed you
a letter yesterday at half past ten o'cock \.
M., stating that Mary had told us she would
go away, and Rancy return at eleven o'clock
the 21st of May. Now I write you that at
half past eleven o'clock A. M., Minerva call-
ed at my oflice with Eancy Yennum, and
wanted me to takd her home, which I did.
She called me Mr. Eoff, and talked with me
as a young girl would, not being acquaint-
ed. I asked her how things appeared to
her if they seemed natural. She said it
seemed like a dream to her. She met her pa-
reuts and brothers in a very affectionate
manner, hugging and kissing each one in
tears of gladness. She clasped her arms
around her father's neck a long time, fairly
smothering him with kisses. I saw her fa-
ther just now (eleven o'clock). He says she
has been perfectly natural, and seems en-
tirely well. You see my faith in writing
you yesterday morning instead of waiting
till she came."
The Watseka Republican says:
"The meeting with her parents at the
home was very affecting, and now she seems
to be a healthy, happy little girl, going
about noting things she saw before she was
stricken, and recognizes changes that have
since taken place. This is a remarkable
case, and the fact that we cannot under-
stand such things, does not do away with
the existence of these unaccountable mani-
The Danville (111.) limes, in speaking of
this case, says :
"Mr. and Mrs. Eoff are Spiritualists, and
stoutly maintain th?t their daughter's abil-
ity to penetrate closed books and letters in
the manner indicated, was imparted by the
inhabitants of an unseen world. We have
no fixed opinion as to whether Spiritualism
is false or true. Certain it is, that occur-
rences are upon record which are hard to
explain upon any natural hypothesis, but
attributable to spirits' aid. Let those say
who know, for we do not. In spite of all
opposition, Spiritualists have increased in
numbers, nor are they confined to the illit-
erate classes, but embrace poets, scholars
and statesmen. Let us hope the unharmful
truth will early assert a glorious reign, and
illuminate the darkened understanding of
The Iroquois county (111.) Times, under
the head of "Mesmeric Mysteries," and in
reference to Lurancy Vennum, says :
"Mr. and Mrs. Eoff kindly offered to take
charge of her until her mind would change,
and she would become well again. She
went there in February, and remained till
about three weeks ago. Since then she has
been Lurancy Vennum, and is healthy and
full of intelligence. * * It was hard for
even the most skeptical not to believe there
was something supernatural about her.
she was not prompted by the spirit of Mary
Eoff, how could she know so much about
the family, people with whom she was not
acquainted, and whom she had never visit-
ed V * * No stranger would have suspect-
ed her of being the victim of disease, though
her eyes were unusually bright. * " There
are yet numberless mysteries in this world,
though science has dissipated many won-
ders, and philosophy has made plain many
MARY LURANCY VENNUM.
marvels. There is much that is unaccount-
able in the action of spiritualistic mediums,
and they do many things that puzzle the
greatest philosophers. Skeptical and unbe-
lieving as we are, and slight as our experi-
ence has been, we have seen enough to con-
vince us that Spiritualism is not all hum-
bug. The case of Lurancy Vennum, a bright
young girl of fourteen years, has been the
subject of much discussion in Watseka dur-
ing the past year, and there is a good deal
in it beyond human comprehension. "
The subject of this article had become
familiar with the writer during the several
months she was under his advice and the
more kindly care and sympathy of Mr.
Rofi's family, speaking with him freely up-
on every subject necessary to her good and
the courtesies of association, always, how-
ever, in the presence of members of the
family. On Sunday, the second day of June,
he met her with her parents at the house of
a friend, who lived nearly two miles from
Mr. Yennum's. Lurancy was introduced to
him by Mr. Vennum. She seemed to be an
entire stranger, and for two hours remained
like a timid, unacquainted child. The next
day, June 3rd, without notice to any one, the
writer went to the house of a noted attorney,
and as he entered the gate,Lurancy came out
the door, stopped on the steps and said,"How
do you do, Doctor ? Mary Roff told me to
come here and meet you. Somehow she
makes me feel you have been a very kind
friend to me ;" and she would not let him in-
to the house till she had delivered a long
message from Mary. Since the last inter-
view he has seen her several times, and she
seems easy, affable, and as a young lady
On the 25th of June she wrote a beautiful
letter, by the consent of her friends saying
among other thines:
"Dear Doctor, I am feeling quite well to-
day. I was up to Mrs. Alter s to-day ; she is
very well at present. This afternoon I
called at Mr. Roff s office, and had quite a
long talk with him ; but of course it was
about the loving angels that you and I love
so well. Let them twine around your neck
their arms and press upon your brow their
kiss. * * Well, Doctor, you have many
dear friends in this city who love you much.
1 saw Mrs. M . She said she would have
died if it had not been for you, and you
know about Mrs. I . We know you saved
her life. * * Kiss your loving wife for
me, and tell her we shall all meet in heaven
if not on earth. * * I shall visit Mrs
Eoff to-morrow. * * I shall have my pic-
ture taken and send it to you in mv next
letter. I get up early and take the morning
air. I should like to have you write a line
to me. Your friend,
. This letter, written in pencil, is very dif-
ferent in its make-up and penmanship from
those written by the same hand, signed by
Mary Roff, and gives evidence of another
Since penning the foregoing article, the
writer has received the following letter from
the mother of Lurancy, through the polite-
ness of Mr. Roff:
WATSEKA, ILL., July 9th, 1878.
DEAR FRIEND: Mary L. Vennura is per-
fectly and entirely well, and perfectly nat-
ural. For two or three weeks after her re-
turn home, she seemed a little strange to
what she had been before she was taken
sick last summer, but only, perhaps, the
natural change that had taken place with
the girl, and except it seemed to her as
though she had been dreaming or sleeping,
etc. Lurancy has been smarter, more intel-
ligent, more industrious, more womanly and
more polite than before. We give the cred-
it of her complete cure and restoration to
her family, to Dr. E. W. Stevens and Mr.
and Mrs. Roff, by their obtaining her re-
moval to Mr. Roff' s, where her cure was
perfected. We firmly believe that had she
remained at home, she would have died, or
we would have been obliged to send her to
the insane asylum, and if so, that she would
have died there, and that further, that I
could not have lived but a short time with
the care and trouble devolving on me. Sev-
eral of the relatives of Mary Lurancy, in-
cluding ourselves, now believe she was
cured by spirit power, and that Mary Roff
controlled the girl.
MRS. LURTNDA VENNUM.
On the 10th of July Mr. Roff writes:
DEAR DOCTOR: Mr. Vennum is out of
town, but 1 have often talked with him,
and I know his opinion, often expressed,
that Lurancy and her mother would both
have died if we had not taken the girl ; he
gives all credit to yourself and us for it. He
believes it was spirit agency that did the
work. Lurancy is in perfect health, and
"much more womanly than before" (so her
mother says). She says she used to romp
and play with her brothers, and with the
horses, etc. Now she is steady; you can
hardly imagine how the dear girl loves
those who saved her. She sends you a let-
ter to-day, but thinks it a little strange you
have not answered her last letter.
A. B. ROFF.
THE RELIGIO-PHILOSOPHICAL JOURNAL TRACTS.
In the letter referred to above, the child
I am quite well, and much obliged that
you showed my letter to your dear wife. I
am sure there is nothing for me to be
ashamed of. * * I was down to Mr. M's
store, and he told me how you saved his
wife's life, and they appreciate it. Will you
want me to .give you my description of
heaven ? I will sometime, when there are
but few present. I can't write it, for I
make so many mistakes. I made a short
call at Mrs. Alter's. * * Please ask your
daughter to write to me. Can't you bring your
wife when you come ? Poor Mr. Wicker-
sham still lives. We should pity such mor-
tals. My aunt says I know all that has
transpired, but none know but the angels
and you. Your friend,
MARY L. VENNUM.
On the evening of the 16th of July, 1878,
in the parlors of Asa B. Roff and his wife,
we, the undersigned, met and listened to the
careful reading and consideration of the
foregoing narrative, and declare it to be en-
tirely true and correct in every respect ; and
further, that now after eight weeks of home
life, Lurancy Vennum remains well and
sound in body and mind.
ASA B. ROFF,
THOMAS J. VENNUM.
WATSEKA, Iroquois Co., 111.,
July 18th, 1878.
To THE READER: The writer has col-
lated the foregoing facts from a mass of
interesting incidents, which might be much
enlarged upon, but he is satisfied with the
few incidents that involve principles hith-
erto discussed by the philosophic world, and
sends them out to make a chapter in the
literature of Spiritualism. He has this day
seen the family, including the subject of the
narrative. Mrs. Vennum has gone to Indi-
ana for a two weeks' rest and visit, and left
Lurancy in charge of the family and house,
a healthy, happy, noble girl.
E. WINCHESTER STEVENS.
July 19th, 1878
MARY LURANCY VENNUM.
Views of Prominent Spiritualists in Refer-
ence to the Manifestations through her
Organism, as Detailed in the Foregoing
In reference to the case of nugelic incar-
nation (Mary Roff and Lurancy Vennum)
reported by Dr. Stevens, there is no reed of
indorsement or comment by Scientists, on
such facts so well reported. When the sun
shines we need no professor of optics to
teach us the fact.
One such example of angel visitations to
earth, would enlighten all the world, if it
were not for the stubborn hostility to truth
of the materialistic press and fossilized
church, which causes the systematic sup-
pression and concealment of such informa-
tion from the people, and imposes upon all
who are really enlightened the duty of aid-
ing in the diffusion of this narrative. I
think that every Spiritualist should pur-
chase as many copies of this remarkable
narrative as he can afford, and distribute
them among honest inquirers.
I would add a word in reference to the
marvelous fact of spirit exchange or trans-
fer of souls between two bodies. All spirit-
ualists are familiar with the trance medi-
umship in which one from the Spirit
world occupies a human body while the
spirit of that body is either resting quiet-
ly, or, as has happened in some cases, gone
out to obsess another body. Experience
shows that this is not a hazardous or un-
natural thing, but it is very strange to those
who have not learned the rudiments of
spiritual science. By way of explanation I
would say that spirit is far more easily
transferred than matter, and that the ex-
change of souls between Mary Roff and
Lurancy Vennum is no more marvelous to
those who understand it than the pouring
of a quart of water from a full pitcher into
one just emptied.
The spiritual potency of a dose of medi-
cine of any kind (morphine, quinine or any
other drug) held in the hands by any one
who is not of a hard temperament, will pass
up the arm and pervade the whole person.
It may also be arrested in its progress at
the arm and by a few dispersive passes
thrown out of the body entirely : or it may
be transferred by contact into the person of
another individual, thus relieving the one
who first felt it of the drug symptoms.
As the psycho-physiological effects are so
easily transferred, and as pains are often
transmitted from one who is suffering them
to a healing operator whose touch gives
relief psychic impressions are still more
easily transferred. The intense melancholy
MARY LUKAXCY VEXXUM.
or joy felt by one individual is often sud-
denly transferred to another even without
touch, at the first approach of a sympathet-
But personal presence is not necessary. A
letter held by a psychometer on the fore-
head will give the entire force of the emo-
tions of the writer and a consciousness of
, his whole character, which is vividly felt.
Sometimes the impression is so complete
that the psychometer becomes lost in the
character, and actually personates it; as
in Boston thirty-four years ago, an intellec-
tual lady, in describing Mr. Clay under the
influence of his autograph, at length lost
her identity and assuming the dignity of
Mr. Clay, declined to be catechised any
longer as to her impressions. Mr. Clay was
The extremely impressional or sensitive
individual, may thus take on any character
by merely coming into psychometric rap-
port with it, and for a time personate the
individual, giving a very good embodiment
of his character. Indeed a considerable por-
tion of that which has been considered spir-
itual obsession is of this sympathetic or
psychometric character, and is sometimes a
tolerable expression of the spirit's senti-
ments, although the spirit may have noth-
ing to do with it. The same sympathetic
sort of quasi-obsession may take place con-
cerning living individuals, and the psycho-
metric medium may personate and speak or
write for a living individual, as in the case
of a girl in Ohio, who at the same sitting
wrote a prescription from Dr. Hahnemann,
the founder of Homoepathy and another
from Dr. Hill, a living physician.
Thus a spiritual transfer of thought may
take place by receptivity, when the party
supposed to speak, is entirely passive. But
when that party is active his psysehic pow-
er and personality are transmitted far
more effectively even when the recipient is
not endeavoring to receive them. Dr. Brit-
tan tells of his own success in projecting
his spirit so as to be seen and recognized by
persons at a distance, and Dr. Jno. F. Gray
of this city, a distinguished physician, by
making the effort to look into the condition
of a patient whom he could not convenient-
ly visit, made so strong an impression on the
man (who was not expecting him, that he
firmly insisted that Dr. Gray did visit him
and stand by his bedside where he saw him)
and remarked on the strangeness of the
fact that Dr. Gray would come to see him
and walk off without saying anything.
Hundreds of such cases are reported in
spiritual literature, as well as similar cases
in which the party came out of himself
spiritually, has like Swedenborg visited
the Spirit-world and seen his friends, or has
seen and described others to the satisfaction
of their surviving friends.
It is quite a familiar old story for the last
hundred years that clairvoyants in mes-
meric somnambulism visit distant places
and describe them minutely ; and the Spirit
world has often been described by the som-
nambulists who have visited it.
There is nothing in this "Watseka wonder"
which is not illustrated by parallel facts
and experiments, although they are but lit-
tle known to the world. But in none other do
we find so satisfactory an array of public
and private events, combined with the pe-
culiar angelic beauty of sentiment which is
displayed and which is so honorable to all
concerned. A deeply interesting volume
might be made by compiling these authentic
So easy is the interchange between the
two contiguous worlds, that spirits have
often eaten of earthly food in their mate-
rialization, which has disappeared forever
as their new bodies vanished, and, on the
other hand, living women, like Mollie Fan-
cher, of Brooklyn, have been spiritually fed
while fasting for many months and been
thus sustained in health like Mary Roff. "I
have food which ye know not" is the lan-
guage that may often be used by spiritual ex-
This Watseka case is interesting as an il-
lustration of the elevated and beautiful na-
ture of spirit communion, and the gradual
elevation of mankind by its increasing fre-
quency and power. The "communion ot
saints' 1 which orthodoxy has failed to real-
ize is to become hereafter a grand factor in
human elevation, and, as the centuries roll
on, the still accumulating power of the
Spirit-world, organized for earthly labors ot
love and aided by the increasing spirituality
of mankind, will surround our lives with
sweet influences as if we were breathing
another atmosphere, and standing in the
presence of all that is holy.
No. 1 Livingston Place, New York.
Views of D. P. Kayner, M. D.
There gathers around the case given to
the public through the RELIGIO - PHILO-
SOPHICAL JOURNAL, under the above head-
ing, an unusual amount of interest. Being
personally well acquainted with Mr. A. B.
Roff and his family, and having some ac-
quaintance with Dr. Stevens, and knowing
they are not persons who would in any man-
ner lend themselves to a deception in this
matter, it assumes increased proportions in
its importance as a wonderful phenomenon
in which are displayed many principles re-
lating to the spiritual philosophy ; notably
among which are first, the effects of bodily
disease in favoring the influence of uncon-
genial or undeveloped controls; secondly,
the influence of cultivated and properly di-
rected mesmeric power in changing those
THE RELIGIO-PHILOSOPH1CAL JOURNAL TRACTS.
controls for more congenial ones; and, third,
while thus healing the physical body through
changing the controls, and apparently chang-
ing the individuality of the person controlled,
giving a spirit, who had through a similar
disease been deprived of a full earth experi-
ence, an opportunity to enter again into
those earthly relations and increase her ex-
perience amid earthly surroundings. Tak-
en all together, it is one of the best authen-
ticated illustrations of the phenomena and
philosophy of Spiritualism among the mill-
ions of phenomena which have been pre-
sented to the world, and the solution of the
complex problems of the philosophy of life,
embodied in the phases presented, will great-
ly tend to elucidate life s many mysteries.
That certain diseases, as epilepsy or cata-
lepsy, predispose to render the subject easy
of control by undeveloped spirits, seems to
have been settled by this case. The changed
polarity of the brain-magnets, deranges the
harmonious control of the individual spirit
over its body by temporarily suspending the
connection, and blending of the action of
the spirit body or soul with the physical
body, through which the manifestations of
mind are shown. In this condition another
spirit having sufficient knowledge of the
psychic laws may form a connection with
the external organs of the mind, either by
acting directly upon the brain itself, or seiz-
ing upon the spirit body of the individual
thus affected, and through that, by taking
possession of the brain and its organs, hold
control of the mind ; and, acting upon any
of the faculties at will, sway the thoughts,
words and actions of the individual, thus
said to be "obsessed" at their pleasure.
Another important lesson derived is. that
calm, cultivated and properly directed mes-
meric power is capable of changing the con-
trol and, in a manner, of influencing and di-
recting the operations of minds in the mun-
dane and supramundane spheres. In this
we can begin to see some of the philosophy
of "the gift of healing."
The spirit who has learned the law of
self-control, whose cultivated reason holds
the reins and guides the intellect, who
readily comprehends the necessities of the
hour and grasps them with the strong grip
of an educated Will, has that within him
which, when properly directed, is more ef-
fective in restoring a healthy polarity to a
diseased brain and correcting all mental de-
rangement than all other means combined.
And this applies with equal force to spirits
in the form or those who have departed this
life. The mental influences with which an
invalid is surrounded and the manner in
which his own mental machinery is set
in motion and made to operate thereby is,
when adapted to the necessities of the case,
more potent than drugs in effecting a cure.
The healing power which can be impart-
ed and aroused through the psychic forces
are multitudinous, and vast in their pro-
portions. Disease may be said to be any
derangement in the proper balancing of the
working forces of body or mind, and the ad-
justment of those forces, restoring the
equilibrium, will bring a return of health.
Changing the polarity of the brain-magnets
deranges the individual psychic control over
the bodily functions, and can only be re-
stored to a normal action through some ex-
ternal impression or control which influ-
ences the mental machinery to resume its
normal relations and assert its wonted ac-
tivities. This may perhaps be accomplished
through the influence of drugs ; but aside
from their specific action upon special or-
gans, they are, undoubtedly, more efficient in
their operation upon the mind, in some
way arousing the psychic forces which
wheel the unbalanced organs into harmoni-
ous relations by which the vigor of health is
regained, and the physician and his reme-
dies are applauded.
It will however be noticed in this con-
nection that the same medicine will act
differently in the hands of different physi-
cians and will act best in his hands who
imparts the most genial and positive psychic
But, perhaps, the most difficult problem
to solve, is involved in the question of
"obsession" of the spirit leaving its own
physical body and roaming at will while
another spirit takes possession of the phy-
sical habitation of that spirit and re-enacts
over again the scenes of its earth life and
renews its earthly experiences. From 'an-
alogy, and from the accumulated know-
ledge of clairvoyance, it seems clearly es-
tablished that a spirit cannot completely
sever its connections with the body and
again re-habilitate itself therewith. Now,
just how far all apparent obsession, is sub-
jective psychological spirit control acting
upon and directing the individual's own
spirit to produce the manifestation present-
ed , is difficult to determine. In this problem
lies the great mystery of the"Watseka won-
der," and its proper solution will do more to
unravel the tangled skein of the power of
mind on mind, of mind over matter, and of
the peculiarities of mediumship, than all
the sophistical arguments of the scholastic
The subject of obsession has engaged the
attention of some of the ablest minds in
the world. Andrew Jackson Davis from
the heights of clairv9yance, if we rightly
understand him, considers it an utter im-
possibility for one's spirit to leave his body
or be displaced by another spirit. While on
the contrary, a case so clearly verified as
the one under consideration will have
more weight in deciding this question than
all mere theories and assertions.
Again what are we to do with the case,
where on a vessel wrecked at sea, one of the
MARY LURANCY VENNUM.
famishing persons on the wreck became un-
conscious and lay almost as one dead for two
hours? On awakening he informed the
captain a vessel was steering to their relief.
During the time he was lying in the uncon-
scious state upon the wreck, he was seen by
the mate of the relieving vessel to enter the
Captain's state room and write upon his
slate, "Steer due North- west," and after the
rescue, when pointed out to the captain as
the mysterious person who had done the
writing, on being asked to write the above
sentence on the opposite side of the slate,
the correspondence was perfect.
The case of a medium in Connecticut
hunting up a sea captain for the captain's
wife, finding and conversing with him in
London, giving him his wife's message, and
being seen by the captain sufficiently to be
recognized by him on his return, while the
medium's body, in an apparently dead state,
was lying in the shade of an apple tree, is
worthy of consideration.
To what sublime heights may not man
soar, if he possesses the power to step out of
his mortal tenement at will, through a
knowledge and application of psychic law,
and leaving the body in charge of some
other spirit, enters upon the experience of
the life beyond to return and re-inhabit the
body again at the pleasure of the two spir-
its thus exchanging experiences? Which,
of the two propositions involved in this
question is the true one, calls for our most
devoted endeavors to discover. Taken all
in all this "Watseka Wonder" being so well
verified, forms one of the most interesting
and important chapters in the history of
Letter From Dr. S. B. Brittan.
To THE EDITOR ov THE RELIOIO-PHILOSOPHIOAL JOURNAL:
I have read the narrative of E. "W. Stev-
ens, published in late numbers of the JOUR-
NAL. The alleged facts are certainly ex-
traordinary, but they are compassed by
spiritual forces, and compatible with the
psycho-physiological laws. The internal
evidence that the statement accords with
the essential facts of the case, is such
as to secure a general acceptance of the
Doctor's testimony among those who may
have been familiar with similar phenome-
na, and all who are able to comprehend the
philosophy of their causation. In the at-
tempt to obtain credence for marvelous
statements which have no foundation in ei-
ther fact, law or reason, the narrator is al-
most sure to blunder by the introduction of
some alleged occurrence which involves an
impossibility. The man who knows little
or nothing of the essential forces and fun-
damental laws which govern spiritual phe-
nomena, has no certain means of determin-
ing what is, and what is not, within the
range of possibilities. A single illustration
will serve to elucidate my idea.
Many years ago, while the writer was ed-
iting the Spiritual Telegraph, a tricky fel-
low sent us a long account of remarkable
facts, said to have occurred at West Troy.
In his story of the wonders alleged to have
been performed by spiritual agency, he de-
clared that a table rose from the floor with-
out hands ; that it floated out-of one open
window, 'and after remaining suspended,
mid air, over the sidewalk for a little time,
it slowly returned through another open
window and resumed its former position.
Had the narrator stopped at this point in
his story, we could only have said, well, the
alleged facts are remarkable, but they are
altogether possible; and then our accept-
ance or rejection of the statement would
have been determined by our judgment of
the credibility of the witness. Instead of
pausing, however, in time to prevent an im-
peachment of his veracity, he went on to
say that he measured both the table and the
window, and found that the former was fif-
teen inches wider the narrowest way than
the latter. In other words, this Munchau-
sen story-teller made an inflexible object
one utterly incapable of the slightest com-
pressibilitypass through a space between
unyielding walls, fifteen inches less than it
was known to occupy, and without break-
ing either the frame or fiber of the table. It
required but little philosophy to decide that
such an assumed fact, if not altogether im-
possible, in the nature of things, was at
least highly improbable.
The same party sent us some half dozen
similar communications, every one in a new
chirography, and mailed at a different post-
office. But we spotted the author every
time; marked his papers "bogus," and thrust
them all into the same pigeon-hole. Some-
time after the writer received a brief note
from this pretended medium, dated and
postmarked at Brooklyn. The material por-
tions of the note were as follows :
SIR: I perceive that you are an old bird, and
not to be taken on chaff. I thought I could sell
you out, but you are too d d sharp for me." * *
Subsequently this same miserable trick-
ster ventured on a further trial of his ex-
periment by sending his villainous inven-
tions to the late Hon. Horace Greeley,
whose motto adopted with special and ex-
clusive reference to this subject was, "Give
us the facts; ve want no philosophy." The
editor of the Tribune published the state-
ments, with an implied editorial indorse-
ment, when a little philosophy would have
enabled him to detect the fraud and expose
My own investigation of the facts and
laws of mind and matter, as displayed in
the relations of spirits to the phenomena of
psycho-physiology, assures me that there is
nothing in the narrative of Dr. Stevens that
THE RELIGIO-PHILOSOPHiCAL JOURNAL TRACTS.
is intrinsically incredible ; and in all such
cases we have only to satisfy ourselves, and,
if possible, the public, of the intelligence,
discrimination and veracity of the witness-
es. It is quite natural for the average phy-
sician, who is usually a man of small faith
and a materialist in his philosophy, to refer
all such spiritual phenomena to physical
causes. The familiar diagnosis resolves all
spasmodic attacks, such as the Doctor has
described, into epilepsy, catalepsy and hys-
teria. It is safe to assume that these con-
ditions and various forms of disease may,
and often do, result from the operation of
both physical and spiritual causes. They
may be produced by any violent disturbance
of the subtile forces on which the vital
functions and voluntary motion are made
to depend. The abnormal action of the in-
dividual's own mind, and the violence of
his passions ; the presence and influence of
powerful magnetic forces emanating from
other persons, whose minds and lives are
disorderly ; and the direct agency of spirits
of another world, whose unfinished or oth-
erwise unsatisfactory lives prompt them to
come back in the hope of recovering what
was lost, and performing what was left un-
done, are chief among the causes and influ-
ences which derange the human body and
mind. The spirits of the class referred to
exist in great numbers along the border-
line between the two worlds, and it is not
strange that they raid across the frontiers
of our visible existence, in some cases to
It may assist the reader to form an intel-
ligent judgment of the facts comprehended
in the narrative of your correspondent, if I
briefly analyze the peculiar forms of dis-
ease to which such phenomena are usually
referred. Epilepsia, or epilepsy, is other-
wise known in common parlance as "the
falling sickness." The word is derived from
the Greek, and literally signifies to seize
upon. The application of the classical word
appears to have been determined by the
suddenness of the attack ; and the proprie-
ty of the familiar terms employed to repre-
sent the disease, must be evident to any one
who has ever witnessed the sudden manner
in which the patient falls to the ground in
an epileptic fit. The ancients regarded this
as "the sacred disease," for the reason that
it disordered the mind the noblest part of
our human nature and also because they
attributed its existence to spiritual causes.
The victim of this fearful malady some-
times has little or no warning of the attack ;
but in other cases, and more frequently, the
paroxysm is preceded by certain symptoms,
some of which are cognizable by the patient
and the qualified observer. The symptom
most frequent in the experience of the sub-
ject, is a feeling of coldness, as if occasion-
ed by a light current of air proceeding from
some part of the body, usually the lower
portion of the spinal column, or from the
region of the kidneys. This peculiar feel-
ing is known to the faculty as the aura epi-
leptica. Other symptoms are diminished
contractile power of the muscles, a feeling
of debility, flatulence, palpitation and stu-
por. As the cool, creeping sensation ap-
proaches the head, the subject becomes diz-
zy ; sensation, consciousness and voluntary
motion are suspended; the paroxysm fol-
lows, and may last from one minute to a
quarter of an hour or longer, during which
the muscles are powerfully convulsed, the
respiration difficult, the patient froths at
the mouth, the features are distorted and
the face flushed or otherwise discolored.
The attack is followed by a feeling of un-
usual lassitude and a disposition to sleep.
This disease no doubt results from a
great variety of physical causes and inci-
dental conditions occurring in the experi-
ence of the individual. Among these I may
mention organic defects and hereditary pre-
disposition ; want of a proper cerebral bal-
ance and a uniform distribution of the vital
motive power ; sudden fright, heavy blows
and violent shocks to the nervous system ;
the change that occurs at the age of puber-
ty and solitary vice. That it may also re-
sult from more subtile and psychological
causes, and the visitations of disorderly
spirits, I am equally well assured. The
most enlightened of the ancient nations en-
tertained this idea, and were disposed to as-
cribe all similar diseases to the invisible
sphere of spiritual causation. This is suffi-
ciently evident from the evangelical narra-
tives of similar cases, in which all the more
important phenomena of epilepsy are plain-
Before referring to several ancient exam-
ples, I will briefly define the nature of cata-
lepsis, or catalepsy. In this disease sensa-
tion and all the voluntary faculties and
functions of mind and body, are suddenly
arrested. The organs of involuntary mo-
tion usually continue their functions; the
heart and lungs moving in ordinary cases,
the former with an accelerated action and
diminished power. It is also characterized
by unusual rigidity of the muscles. The
body and limbs, though stiff and statue-
like, may be moved by the effort of another,
and they retain the posture in which they
are left, however unnatural and uneasy the
position. The particular expression on the
face, at the moment of the attack, is liable
to remain. The paroxysm varies in the de-
grees of intensity in different patients ; anrl
the time that may transpire before the res-
toration to the normal condition is alto-
gether uncertain. In profound states of
catalepsis all outward signs of life some-
times disappear; the processes of the ani-
mal chemistry cease, and the trance may
continue for weeks. In this state of sus-
pended animation many persons have been
MARY LURANCY VENNUM.
buried alive, or before the spirit had sever-
ed its connection with the body.
I have neither the time nor space to at-
tempt an exhaustive treatment of the sub-
ject, much as society needs a complete phi-
losophy of its material facts and essential
laws. My exposition of the causes and as-
pects of these forms of disease, must be gen-
eral. I do not propose a critical classification
of the symptomatic phenomena, whether
physical or psychological ; nor is it my pur-
pose to consider the means and methods to
be employed in the treatment of the same.
It is rather my present design to call atten-
tion to a profound but much neglected sub-
ject, which, however, most deeply concerns
the public welfare. Beyond this, I desire to
show that the abnormal conditions and
startling phenomena under consideration,
may and do result from causes resident in
both the material and spiritual worlds.
Even when an attack of either epilepsy or
catalepsy is precipitated by purely organic
conditions and physical causes, the subse-
quent state and its phenomenal aspects are
very likely to be complicated by the play
of psychological forces and the interposi-
tion of spiritual visitors.
It is natural that the spirits whose lives
on earth were cut short by either acts of
violence or the supervention of disease,
should have a desire to continue the career
that terminated prematurely. In like man-
ner, all who are conscious of haying neg-
lected their opportunities in this world,
must desire to finish up the incomplete
work of this rudimental life. Those who
have committed great wrongs on earth may
be forced back by a law of the moral con-
stitution or f rom an irresistible impulse
to undo the mischief of their hands to the
scenes of the ruin they have made. Such
spirits reviewing the records of their lives,
imperishable forever in the memory ear-
nestly seeking relief from ignorance and
unhappiness, may seize on any poor, help-
less mortal in the hope of deriving some
satisfaction from a temporary renewal of
the former relations. Filled with recollec-
tions of time wasted ; a life madly sacrificed,
or at best disorderly and profitless, they are
liable to derange the body and mind of any
delicate subject who may willingly or oth-
erwise yield to their iniluence. In all this
we are not, as a rule, authorized to infer
that the spirits are maliciously disposed. It
may suffice that they are ignorant and
clumsy to account for the disorderly re-
sults of their influence. Should a common
tinker attempt to manipulate a fine chro-
nometer, he would be sure to derange its
action. The man who has never handled
anything more delicate than chain cables,
could never tune my lady's harp. An ig-
norant magnetizer, with strong passions,
an unsuitable temperament and unbalanced
brain, might derange and upset the nervous
system of a sensitive girl, and so may an
ignorant spirit, who has not yet recovered
from the similar imperfections of the life
The careful reader of the New Testament
will have observed, not only that cases of vi-
tal and mental derangement corresponding
in all their essential features to the forego-
ing analyses of epilepsy and catalepsy were
of frequent occurrence ; but also, that they
were invariably ascribed to the agency of
demons or spirits. Among the Greeks a
demon was not always regarded as an evil
spirit. The word was not understood to
either express or imply anything in respect
to his moral qualities. The ancients be-
lieved in both good and evil demons or
spirits of men. When, therefore, we trans-
late the word into English, and call the de-
mon of the Greek Scriptures a devil, we
neither change his nature nor acquire a
right to defame his character. We can not
make a good spirit evil by giving him a bad
name. Those only who produced unhappy
effects were characterized as "unclean spir-
its ;" by which we may understand spirits
wanting intelligence and a high moral pur-
pose. It was an important part of the busi-
ness of the early Evangelical teachers, un-
der the apostolic commission, to cast out
the spirits whose influence was found to be
The fact can not be disputed, that the
different classes of demons referred to by
the early Greeks embraced "the disembodied
spirits of the dead, without respect to their
moral qualities," and they appear to have
been "the favorite -sources of information."
The distinction between two general classes
is clearly made in the following passage by
a learned author:
"There is also a second class of demons, namely:
the souls of those who having lived meritoriously
have departed from the body. Such a soul I find
called in the ancient Latin tongue Lemur. Of
these Lemures, he, who having obtained by lot
the guardianship of his posterity, presides over
the house with a quiet and placable superintend-
ence, is called the household Lar. But those,
who, on account of a vicious life, having obtained
no happy seats, are a sort of vagabonds, or are
punished by a kind of exile ; and who inflicts idle
terrors upon good men, but more real evils upon
the wicked. This kind is commonly called Larvae."
Apocatastasis, p. 89.
The narratives of the Evangelists contain
many references to the agency of spirits, in
the transfiguration of mortals, and in modi-
fying human feeling, thought and conduct.
For the time being, and as long as the spir-
it maintained the ascendancy over the me-
dium, the former often governed the voli-
tion and action of the latter. As I am
treating the subject in its relation to cer-
tain forms of disease, I shall make my cita-
tions from the Christian Scriptures with a
special view to the illustration of that rela-
THE RELIGIO-PHILOSOPHICAL JOURNAL TRACTS.
tion, and the power of Spirits to damage
the organic action of mind and body. I
will here introduce examples which will
exhibit their demeanor and show the man-
ner in which they handled their subjects.
It is related that while Jesus was teaching
in a synagogue in Capernaum, that there
was a man present who had "an unclean
spirit." The medium while under this in-
fluence was inclined to be noisy. He dis-
covered the name and character of the
Teacher, and in a declamatory style insisted
on Deing let alone.
"And Jesus rebuked him, saying, 'Hold thy
peace and come out of him.' And when the un-
clean spirit had torn him, and cried out in a loud
voice, he came out of him." (Mark, chap. I, 35-26.)
\Vhen Jesus was coming out of a ship in
which he had just crossed the sea of Gali-
"Immediately there met him out of the tombs
a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwell-
ing among the tombs; and no man could bind
him, no, not with chains. . . . He had been often
bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had
been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters
broken in pieces: neither could any man tame
him. And always, night and day, he was in the
mountains, and in the tombs, crying and cutting
himself with stones."
This spirit was rather boisterous in his
recognition of the man who was about to
exorcise him. While the man was under
the influence of this spirit, Jesus asked for
his name, whereupon the spirit "answered,
saying, 'My name is Legion; for we are
many.' " (Mark, Chap. v. 2-9.)
It is recorded that as Jesus descended from
the mountain, after his transfiguration, a
man brought his only child to him, whose
case is thus described:
"And, lo a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly
crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth
again; and bruising him, hardly departeth from
him. . . . And as he was yet coming the devil
threw him down, and tore him. And Jesus re-
buked the unclean spirit, and healed the child."
(Luke, chap. IX, 38-41.)
The following is a very accurate descrip-
tion of the general phenomena which ac-
company an attack of the disease known as
"And one of the multitude said, 'Master, I have
brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb
spirit; and wheresoever he taketh him he teareth
him, and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth,
and pineth away'.... And when he saw him,
straightway the spirit tore him; and he fell to the
ground and wallowed, foaming 'And oft-times
it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters
to destroy him' Jesus rebuked the foul spirit,
saying unto him, 'Dumb and deaf spirit, I charge
thee come out of him, and enter no more into him.'
And the spirit cried and rent him sore, and came
out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that
many said, 'He is dead! " (Mark, chap. IX, 17-26.)
It would seem from this description that
the paroxysm was followed by a state of
suspended animation. It is to be observed
that this is not usually the case in epilep-
sy. The convulsion is followed by great
general prostration clearly enough indi-
cated in the Evangelical description by the
words, "and pineth away.'' In all ordinary
cases the respiratory movement continues
and the process of the aeration of the blood
goes on with only partial interruption.
During the continuance of the paroxysm,
as a rule, the respiration is heavy and diffi-
cult, while the heart's action is quick and
strong, but never rhythmical; the systole
and diastole occurring at irregular inter-
It seems that Mary Koff was subject to
spasmodic attacks from early infancy,
.whether originally produced by physical
causes or spiritual agency, is quite uncer-
tain. The general description given does
not warrant the expression of a decisive
opinion on this point. There appear, how-
ever, to have been indications of spiritual
interference in her later experience. Her
melancholy periods ; the "mania for bleed-
ing herself; her inability to recognize her
friends, and indisposition to heed the pres-
ence of other persons; her lucid intervals,
in which she became highly clairvoyant;
the preternatural strength developed in her
delirium requiring the aid of so many
persons to restrain her and the manner of
her death are facts which may have de-
pended largely on the presence and agency
of Spirits. In such a case the ordinary pro-
fessional treatment for epileptic or catalep-
tic fits, would have been powerless to afford
relief; while the attempt to drown out the
spirits, by flooding the house they had
moved into, was if possible still more pre-
The case of Mary Lurancy Vennum is
less obscure in its origin. It was clearly a
case of spiritual entrancement in the begin-
ning. Had the Rev. B. M. Baker under-
stood the nature of his commission as a
preacher of the Gospel, and possessed the
requisite qualifications for his office, he
would never have thought of sending the
girl to a lunatic asylum. Some one has
said, "Satan loves to fish in troubled waters."
If this is true, the atmosphere of madness,
in and about an insane asylum, would fur-
nish just the place and the occasion for
disorderly spirits to assemble, and in which
we might expect the patient to suffer most
from their influence. I should as soon
think of ordering a file and saw as a sedative
for a nervous woman; orof prescribing a
small room and a large brass-band as a
soporific for babies.
If we accept the testimony of Dr. Stevens
and the other witnesses, the record of the
three months and ten days residence of
Mary Eoff in the body of Mary L. Vennum :
forms a curious and most significant chap-
ter in the history of Modern Spiritualism.
The sweet spirit of the gentle and loving
MARY LURANCY VENNUM.
Mary; the strong proofs of her identity;
how she occupied her time while a tenant
at will in the mortal tabernacle of another,
and the possible supramundane experiences
of the released spirit of Lurancy; these
are all matters of singular interest which
invite comment; but the unexpected length
of this letter admonishes me to leave the
further consideration of the subject to your-
self and your readers.
You will, however, indulge me in a few
concluding observations, which are not in-
tended to be so general as in no case to ad-
mit of a special application. The poor vic-
tims of physical disease and spiritual infes-
tation have little chance to recover their
equilibrium when the professional classes,
to which the interests of soul and body are
intrusted, know so little of the real evils
they attempt to combat. The doctors of
medicine, as a rule, can not distinguish epi-
lepsy, catalepsy, hysteria and nightmare
from the shades of departed saints and sin-
ners, who return whether for mischief or
"On errands of supernal grace"
to confirm the common faith in immortali-
ty. Cases have come under my observation
in which the diagnosis of the family physi-
cian converted a vision of the Spiritual
Heavens into a fit of hysteria. The mental
darkness of lunacy and the light from
another world are made to differ in terms,
but are presumed to be about the same
thing in fact. Our doctors of divinity can
not perceive the difference between aberra-
tion and inspiration. In their judgment a
man has no business to be inspired in these
degenerate days ; and if he is, they are sure
the devil is in him. The moral philosophy
of Spiritualism suggests that through the
medium of his own faculties and passions
every man must look at whatever is exter-
' nal to himself. While many members of
the profession are playing the devil in the
sheep-fold as we learn from the papers
and the courts a legitimate branch of their
appropriate business "casting out devils"
is entirely suspended. The clergy did
not succeed in this part of the apostolic
work. The concern was so run down, and
the proprietors so destitute of assets that
without the slightest consideration that
branch of the business was transferred to
the Spiritualists. If a spiritual wolf finds
his way into the fold, the shepherd permits
him to remain to frighten and worry the
lambs ; or, perhaps, he advises sending the
little innocents to bedlam for safety !
Nothing can more clearly illustrate the
materialistic ter.dencies of many people than
their disposition to ascribe all spiritual
phenomena, manifested through the human
organization, to a diseased condition and
action of the faculties. All persons who
have been visited by the angels, or other-
wise rendered susceptible of spiritual influ-
ence, for nearly eighteen centuries, are confi-
dently presumed to have been sick at the
;ime. But why not refer the remarkable
experiences of the Apostles themselves to
;he same source. They were men, subject
;o every form of physical disease, and had 1
*ime to analyze their cases it would appear
.hat they were very much like others in
all their essential features. Saul certainly
aad the "falling sickness," while on his way
to Damascus. He had been in a bad frame
of mind for some time, and doubtless was
bilious. He declared that he saw a great
light and heard a voice. It might have
been subjective thunder and lightening, oc-
casioned by a derangement of the electrical
polarities of his brain. And suddenly "he
cell to the earth." The attack so deranged
his nervous forces that for three days he
saw nothing, and had no appetite. Ananias,
a respectable citizen of Damascus, was im-
pressed to come in and magnetize him, and
his vision was speedily restored. The fall-
ing sickness proved to be a good thing in
this case. It took the devil out of the man,
and the patient was improved in body,
mind and character. (Acts, chap. IX.)
"When Peter was in Joppa, at the house of
one "Simon a tanner," he improved the oc-
casion by going "upon the house-top to pray,"
and there he had a sudden spasmodic attack
which doubtless presented many of the as-
pects of catalepsy. He thought he "s&w
heaven opened," and a great vessel resem-
bling an immeasurable "sheet let down to
the earth," containing in its enormous folds,
the major part of the animal kingdom,
(Acts x, 9-12.) When the Kevelator a man
of poetic temperament and many woman-
ly qualities was in Patmos, one of the
Grecian Islands, he one day fell into some-
thing like a cataleptic 1 ranee. To his great
astonishment the New Jerusalem, in all the
glory of a divine personality like "a bride
adorned for her husband" came after John,
and his soul was entranced while the grand
visions of the Apocalypse moved before him
in stately procession.
It is the favorite hypothesis of many
doctors, whose wisdom is chiefly conspicu-
ous in their diplomas, that all spiritual phe-
nomena, so-called, are the results of some
physical disorder. To what fathomless
depths of apostacy to what gross and infi-
del issues is the unbelieving world tending,
when its learned men ( ?) include the shades
of the departed and the physical maladies
of the living in the same category I
"Angels and ministers of grace defend us"
from the titled ignorance and licensed stu-
pidity which can not distinguish a vision
of heaven from an attack of epilepsy, hys-
teria or the nightmare. Let the clergy
anoint their eyes with finer clay and wash
in the spiritual Siloam, and they will see
something beyond the creed and the sal-
THE RELIGIO-PHILOSOPH1CAL JOURNAL TRACTS.
ary. This vulgar and profane idea, that all
psychical experiences are but the offspring
of disease, presumes that the perfection of
the individual, and his accord with Nature,
are best realized when he is most insensi-
ble of all impressions from super-terrestrial
sources. This monstrous assumption is
born of ignorance and sensuality ; it is fos-
tered by popular science, and dry-nursed by
the old theologies ; while the doctors of di-
vinity and medicine labor to obscure the in-
ward senses by "the foolishness of preach-
ing" and a species of medical exorcism.
Hoping that the time may come quickly,
when the passion for new sensations among
our people, will give way to a growing de-
sire for accurate knowledge,
I remain yours fraternally,
S. B. BBITTAN, M. D.
> > ^
The Views* of Hudson Tuttle.
Taking for granted the truthfulness of
the persons interested, of which there ap-
pears to be no doubt, the Watseka narra-
tive is not only among the most wonderful
but is replete with interest to the student
of spiritual science. It pours a flood of
light on some of the rn^st obscure questions
relating to the sensibility of the spirit and
its relations to the body. "We do not under-
stand it as supporting the theory of the dis-
placement of the spirit of the patient by
that of another, but the subjection of
the spirit to the will of another, as in a
trance produced by magnetism in this state
the spirit is passive and at rest, and the
physical body has opportunity to restore its
wasted energies, and further, the intimate
contact of the pure spirit, would react on
the body and thus hasten its restoration to
This is illustrated in our daily lives by
sleep, which is a lower state of rest, in
which the spirit reposes and leaves the phys
ical processes of restoration to go on with-
out waste of energy, and it is claimed by emi
nent authorities that this is so much more
rapid during sleep than in waking hours, thai
really the former is the only time that it oc
curs. It is also illustrated by the magnetic
state of trance, which restores by resting
the spirit, and reaction of another spirit on
the physical body of the subject.
This opens the vast field of investigation
the relation of the Spirit-world to the phy
sical, wherein the true laws of health and
disease remain to be discovered.
The return of Mary Roff to her earth life
at first presents some difficulties, for had
she advanced in her new life, as we suppos
she should, she would have been more ma
tured. The drift of facts recorded shov
that when the spirit comes in close contac
with earth through a medium, it takes on
more or less of the traits and stains of its
ormer earth-life. The disease which pro-
uced its severance from the body, and the
eculiarities of its character, are revived,
n this case, Mary Eoff, as a mature spirit,
vould not have been recognized by her Da-
en ts; but as a child-like daughter she filled
heir hearts with joy. If she came at all
n a satisfactory manner, she must come
n the form she presented herself, and this
was the easier for her to do, because of the
endency of the returning spirit to take on
ts previous earthly character on contact
with earthly scenes through the medium.
l?he cause of this need not here be explain-
ed, for the fact is sufficient.
Altogether the narrative is of exceeding
value, teaching us how readily our spirit
friends can come to us when the way is
opened, and with what eagerness they avail
hemselves of an opportunity. It also shad-
ows the great power of the spirit over the
body, and of the Spirit- world, when it comes
n contact with us. HUDSON TUTTLE.
Supplementary Statement by Mr. Asa B.
To THE EDITOE OF THE BELieio-PHiLosoPiiiCAL JOURNAL:
Being almost daily in receipt of letters
:rom readers of the JOURNAL, inquiring as
x) the truthfulness of the narrative entitled,
The Watseka Wonder," and not having
time to fully answer all their questions, I
am impelled to collect from them the promi-
nent points of inquiry and objection, and
briefly reply through the JOURNAL. Per-
sons hereafter writing me, who do not re-
ceive an answer to their letters, will seek
for the information desired in this article.
One writer inquires: "Is it a fact? or is
it a story made up to see how cunning a
tale one can tell?" Another asks: "Can-
the truthfulness of the narrative be sub-
stantiated outside of yourself and those im-
mediately interested? Can it be shown that
there was no collusion between the parties,
and no former acquaintance ?" A reader of
the JOURNAL suggests : "It is a pretty big
yarn, and there might be some arrangement
between the parties, or they themselves
deceived." Another after saying he has
read the narrative, remarks: "I confess
that I am not of your faith, and I am very
doubtful whether newspapers are always
embodiments of sacred truths, and I wish
that under your hand, as a gentlemen, you
might confirm to me and other doubting
friends, the strange, mysterious, and to me,
fanciful, statements in those two papers.
I write wholly to overcome a doubting feel-
ing that exists with myself and friends in
regard to that remarkable and wonderful
personation." A lady writes: "Is the ac-
count true in every particular? I hope
there is a life beyond this, but I have never
had any proof."
MAKY LUKANCY VENNUM.
I furnished Dr. Stevens with all the ma-
terial facts in the case, except such as were
within his own knowledge. The history of
the Vennum family (and Lurancy's condi-
tion up to the time he and I went to see
her J une 31st), I obtained from the mem-
bers thereof, and the neighbors intimately
acquainted with them. The narrative, as
written by Dr. Stevens, is substantially true
in every part and particular, yet the half has
not been told, and never can be ; it is im-
possible for pen to describe or language
portray the wonderful events that trans-
pired during that m emorable fourteen weeks
that the girl was at our house. The mater-
ial facts of the case can be substantiated by
disinterested witnesses, whose veracity can-
not be questioned, and whose evidence
would settle any case in a court of law. I
refer you to Robert Doyle, Chas. Sherman,
S. R. Hawks, Lile Marsh, J. M. Hoober, and
their wives, and to Mrs. Mary Wagner, for-
merly Mary Lord, all residents of Watseka.
As to "collusion," "arrangement," or "our-
selves being deceived," that is simply im-
possible, as you will see if you carefully
read the whole narrative over again. I, too,
doubt whether newspapers are always "em-
bodiments of sacred truths," but in this
case I assure the writer, the JOURNAL does
embody a very sacred truth, that of man's
The lady writes me : "I hope there is a
life beyond this, but I never have had the
proof. To her 1 would say "Carefully
read and study that narrative ; in that you
have the proof, for surely it is contained
there. That there is a life beyond this, or
rather that there is no death, you may rest
assured ; there is only a change simply a
removal of the real man or woman from
this temporary house of clay, to that house
not made with hands."
"There is no death. The stars go down
To rise upon some fairer shore,
And bright in heaven's jeweled crown
They shine forevermore.
"There is no death! The leaves may fall,
The flowers may fade and pass away,
They only wait through wintry hours
The coming of the May.
"And ever near us though unseen,
The dear immortal spirits tread,
For all the boundless Universe
Is life I there are no dead I"
Talking with Mary, we sometimes spoke of
her death. She would quickly reply : "I nev-
er died," or "I did not die." She never tired
of talking of the life beyond this. She
would at any time leave her play, her read-
ing or her jovial companions, to talk with
her "pa" and "ma" about heaven and the
angels, as she termed spirit-life, and spirits
that have left the body.
I have questioned Lurancy Vennum on
different occasions, as to whether she re-
membered anything that occurred during
the time that Mary had control of her or-
ganism, and she states that a very few
things occurring the last month that she
was controlled, she recollects, but that in
all cases the information was imparted by
In conclusion, let me say to those who
doubt or disbelieve the "strange, mysterious
and wonderful story," call to mind Luran-
cy's condition at her home last January,
surrounded with all the kind care of pa-
rents, friends and physicians, every thing
done to alleviate her suffering and perform
a cure that human minds and hands could
possibly do, yet growing continually worse
(if that were possible), given up by her phy-
sicians, her friends without a ray of hope,
the insane asylum ready to receive her, a
condition terrible to behold! Then view
her condition from May 21st until to-day,
over three months, a bright, beautiful, hap-
py, healthy girl, and then tell me what pro-
duced the change. The narrative furnishes
the facts ; account for them if you can, on
any other hypothesis, than power exercised
through or by the spirit of Mary Roff hav-
ing control of Lurancy's body.
I am now 60 years old ; have resided in
Iroquois county thirty years, and would not
now sacrifice what reputation I may have
by being a party to the publication of such
a narrative, if it was not perfectly true. If
any should desire testimonials of my stand-
ing, Col Bundy has some to use as he deems
Watseka, III., Aug. 23rd, 1878.
Asa B. Roff.
The name of this gentleman has lately be-
come of much interest to our readers in con-
nection with the case of Lurancy Vennum.
From a somewhat lengthy biographical
sketch of Mr. Roff, published last January in
the Iroquois County Times, a paper printed
at Watseka, we make the following extracts :
* * * a gentleman now in his 60th year,
though with a heart as voung and happy as
that of a child ; agreeable, generous and full
of sympathy, he is respected by all who know
him, while his more intimate friends love
and honor him for his personal worth. '
His present enviable standing anwng his
fellow-men is entirely owing to his indomi-
table energy and integrity of purpose. His
family is a most exemplary one; all who
know them love them; no family in our
community are more happy in their domes-
tic relations. May it ever be so with them.
THE RELIGIO-PHILOSOPH1CAL JOURNAL TRACTS.
The above extracts in connection with the
following letters, would seem to establish
Mr. Rolf 's reputation for truth and veracity
beyond all question:
WATSEKA, ILL., Aug. 22, 1878.
Editor Religio -Philosophical Journal.
Dear Sir. Many inquiries are made of me
as to the standing of Mr. Asa B. Roff . These
questions are .elicited through the publica-
tion in your journal of Dr. E. W. Stevens'
account of the Mary Eoff and Lurancy
Vennum phenomena. 1 wish to say to you
that no man in this community stands high-
er in the estimation of the people than Mr.
Eoff. He is a high-minded, honorable gen-
tleman who would spurn to give currency to
any thing not verified by facts. I don't be-
lieve Mr. Roff capable of a mean act. It is
not in his nature.
Very truly yours,
MATTHEW H. PETERS,
Mayor of Watseka and Editor Iroquois
I have been personally acquainted with
Asa B. Eoff since the year 1858, and take
pleasure in stating that his character and
reputation for truth and veracity is good.
CHAS. H. WOOD,
Ex-Judge 20th Circuit of Illinois.
122 LaSalle st, Chicago, Aug. 22, 1878.
We have also received letters speaking in
the highest terms of Mr .Eoff and family, from
the following gentlemen of Watseka: O. F.
McNeill, Ex-County Judge; O. C. Munhall,
Postmaster ; Eobert Doyle, Attorney at Law ;
John W. Eiggs, Circuit Clerk ; Henry But-
zow, County Clerk ; Thomas Vennum, f or-
mer Circuit Clerk; Franklin Blades, Judge
of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit; M. B.
Wright, County Judge.
A SYSTEM OF
Founded on Evolution and Continuity of
Man's Existence beyond the Grave.
By HUDSON TFTTLE,
" Arcana of Nature," " Antiquity of
Man," "Career of the God-Idea in
History," " Career of Religious
Ideas," " Arcana of Spirit-
THB FOLLOWING LIST COMPBI8B8 80MB OF/THS PBINCIPAL
SUBJECTS TBEATSD :
THE INDIVIDUAL; THE GENESIS AND EVOLUTION OF
SPIRIT; THE LAWS OF MORAL GOVERNMENT; AN-
ALYSIS OF MIND IN REFERENCE TO ETHICS; THE
APPETITE; THE PROPENSITIES; LOVE; WISDOM;
CONSIDERATION OF RIGHTS OF THE INDIVIDUAL,
OF SOCIETY ; CONSIDERATION OF DUTIES AND OBLI-
GATIONS; DUTIESOF THE INDIVIDUAL; TO GOD: OF
SELF-CULTURE; DUTIES OF SOCIETY; MARRIAGE,
ITS FOUNDATION AND RESPONSIBILITY.
The "Ethics of Spiritualism," while running In the columns
of the RELIGIO-PHILOSOPHIOAL JOURNAL, was widely no-
ticed and commended by the public and the press. From the
various published notices we quote a few, as follows:
"Contains matter of much Interest to liberal minds."
Pequabuck Valley Gazette.
"Hudson Turtle's Ethics of Spiritualism, now being pub
lished In the RELIGIO-PHILOSOPSICAL JOUBNAL, is alone
worth the subscription price to that journal. When Hudson
Tuttle writes he says something." Spiritual Scientist.
* * " We congratulate our brother of Chicago on his secur-
ing there valuable contributions. No one Is better qualified
to treat the subject intuitively and philosophically." * * *
Banner qf Light.
* * SuQh a work has long been needed and never more so
than at . this time, * To me the crowning glory of
Spiritualism is its ethical system, ite pure and perfect code of
morals. * I am profoundly grateful t6 Mr. Tuttle, that he
has undertaken the work. * * Wm. E. Coleman.
* * " This subject should have been thoroughly treated be-
fore now by some of our ablest minds, but it may be for the
best that it has been comparatively neglected, and the duty
left to him of presenting it in his unequalled way." * *
-Eugene Crowell, M. D., author of Primitive Christianity
and Modern Spiritualism.
"I have just read your announcement concerning the series
of articles you will soon begin to publish from the ever-active
and thoroughly honest oen of Brother Hudson Tuttle. He Is
a farmer, and knows how to plow and Bq w and reap ; a grape-
grower, and can discriminate between good and bad fruit.
He writes from the fulness of the spirit, and therefore he con-
stantly rises above the clouds of materialism. He is no sophist,
no hair-splitting apologist for the loose practices of mankind,
and so you may look for the highest and most philosophical
statement of the morality from his faithful pen ; and the com-
fort is great when one reflects and knows to a certainty that
Hudson Tuttle is no hypocrite, and hence is always person-
ally as good as his written word." Andrew Jackson Davis.
* * "Ihe questions he proposes to answer are important
and concern us all, and no writer is better qualified to enlight-
en the world on these topics. I congratulate you in being able
to secure the services of this Inspired philosopher." * *
WABBEN SUMNEB BAKLOW, author of The Voices.
The author has steadily aimed to bring his work within the
smallest possible compass, and has most admirably succeeded.
Though the subjects treated are of the highest importance,
Mr.Tuttle has restrained every disposition to dilate upon them
and has thus condensed the book Into one hundred and sixty
pages. The book Is well printed on heavy paper and altogether
is a work that every Spiritualist 'and Llberalist.should own.
12mo. Cloth, 160 pp, Price, in cloth, 60 cents.
Pamphlet, 40 Cents.
**For sale, wholesale and retail, by the Publishers. The
RELIGIO-PHILOSOPHICAL PUBLISHING HOUSE, Chicago.
The Principles of
LIGHT AND COLOR:
INCLUDING AMONG OTHER THINGS
The Harmonic Laws of the Universe, the
Etherio - Atomic Philosophy of Force,
Chromo Chemistry, Chromo Thera-
peutics, and the General Philoso-
phy of the Fine Forces, together
with Numerous Discoveries
and Practical Applications.
Illustrated by 204 exquisite Photo-Engravings.
besides four superb Colored Plates printed
on seven plates each.
BY EDWIN D. BABBITT.
This work which te already producing a sensation In scien-
tific and cultured circles, contains probably a greater number
of remarkable discoveries than any one volume of modern
times. The demonstration of the form and working of atoms,
of the basic principles of chemistry given for the first time, o
the marvelous Chemical and Healing power of Light and col-
or, crystallzed into a science, and the explanation and proof
through spectrum analysis and clairvoyance of a new and
higher world of Light, Color and Force, invisible to the ordi-
nary eye by means or which the wonderful phenomena of
Clairvoyance. Psychology, Statuvolence, Mental Action the
Interior Machinery of Life and many of the heretofore un-
known Forces of Nature, stand forth in clear light, and show
how imperfect human nature can be made over new by these
diviner processes of the Fine Forces. The wonders of vege-
table growth as aided by colors are also given and the human
eye and its diseases and methods are explained.
"A magnificent work. "New Tork World.
The most remarkable work. . . . Will eause a flutter among
scientists. . , . Ingenious, able and very interesting even to the
unscientific reader." American Jioolueller,
"This superb volume opens up a great field for orltrtnal re
search. Theeramnlesofcure by means oflight and color and
other fine natural forces which it gives are truly marvelous,
and a new world generally unknown to our medical men is
opened out" Truth. Seeker.
Clotb, 676 Royal Octavo pp. Price 84. Postage fre.
*For sale, wholesale and retail, by the RHLIGIO-PHILO-
BOPHICAL PUBLISHING HOUSE, Chicago.
CLOCK STRUCK ONE
THE REV. SAMUEL WATSON,
OF THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
Being a Synopsis of the Investigations of Spirit Inter-
course by an Episcopal Bishop, Three Ministers, Five
Doctors and others at Memphis, Tenn., In 1855: also,
the Opinion of many Eminent Divines, Living and
Dead, on the Subject and Communications Received
from a Number of Persons Recently.
TRUTH IS " MIGHTY AND WILL PREVAIL."
rpHE " CLOCK STEUCK ONE," is an intensely in-
*- teresting work in Itself, and derives great additional in-
terest from the high standing of its author in the Methodist
Episcopal Church, in which he has been a bright and shining
light for a quarter of a century, a man who Is personally
known to nearly all the clergy of the South and to a wide cir-
cle in the North and wherever known Is held In the highest
esteem. These circumstances cause the book to be eagerly
sought for. This anxiety is heightened by the action of the
Methodist Conference of which the author is a member In dis-
ciplining him for publishing the book, thus attracting the at-
tention of thousands of all sects who are anxious to read and
judge for themselves the " CLOCK STRUCK ONE.*
l%mo, Cloth, price 81.OO ; postage free.
*For sale, wholesale and retail, by the RELIGIO-PHILO-
tOFHlCAi PUBLI8HIN6 HOUSE, Chicago
THE , ,
OR, A DISCOURSE ON DIVINE MATTERS,
KRISHNA and AUJTJNA.
A SANSKRIT PHILOSOPHICAL POEM,
Translated, with Copious Notes, an Introduction o
Sanskrit Philosophy, and other Matter,
By J. COCKBURN THOMSON,
MEMBER OF THE ASIATIC SOCIETY OF FRANCE. AND OF THE
ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY OF NORMANDY.
The book is a 12mo., 278 pp., and the mechanical
?art is finished in a superior manner, being printed on
eavy-tinted paper and bound in extra heavy cloth
with richly illuminated back, borders and side title.
Price, 91.75. Gilt, W2.25 ; Postage Free.
.For sale, wholesale and retail, by the RELIGIO-PHILO-
SOFHICAL PUBLISHING HOUSE, Clucago.
NORA R A Y~
A Captivating Book.
This is a story of remarkable Spiritualistic power and beau-
ty, depicting iu glowing language the wonderful events in the
life of the child Nora, and the phases of mediumship which
Paper, 170 pages. Price 50 cents, postage free.
.For sale, wholesale and retail, by the RKLIGIO-PHILO-
SOPHICAL PUBLISHING HOUSE Chicago.
Clock Struck Three.
Embellished with a fine Steel Portrait of the
Being a Review of " CLOCK STRUCK ONE,"
and a Reply to it and Part Second, Show-
ing the Harmony between Christianity,
Science and Spiritualism.
BY REV. SAMUEL WATSON, D. D.
In the long list of distinguished divines connected with the
Methodist Episcopal Church, few have enjoyed so high a repu-
tation, and none have been more beloved by their constituents
than Dr. WATSON. In the early days of Modern Spiritualism
he honestly believed it to be one of the vilest of humbugs and
the work of the Devil. Nor did he ever Intend to give the sub-
ject any attention, but that about twenty years ago it forced
itself unbidden into his own family circl^r a deeply interesting
history of which he gave to the world in CLOCK STRUCK ONK,
which has already passed through several editions, creating a
decided sensation in the church and causing the author to be
cited for trial.
The CLOCK STRUCK THREE contains a very able review of
the first book by a master-mind and a reply to the same by
Dr. WATSON. Then follows eleven intensely Interesting chap-
ters, detailing the author's rich and varied experience and
giving the result as showing that in the author's opinion, there
exists a harmony between true Christianity, as he interprets
it. Science and Spiritualism.
Extract troin the Introduction.
* May it not be that the semi-infidel utterances of Spir-
itualism hitherto, have been the " foolish things " chosen to
confound the "mighty" Materialistic tendency of the nine-
teenth century, both in Europe and America. Science,
proud of her past achievements, has well nigh surrendered to
the stubborn facts of Spiritualism, which will not down at
their bidding, but submits cheerfully to the most exacting de-
mands of scientific criticism. This will be seen fully when the
reader reaches that part of the book devoted to this subject.
* * I also give communications received through a medium
In whom I have all the confidence I can havetn a'iy one. in
either world, to show that all of my teachings have been in
harmony with Christianity as I understand it. Believing, as I
do, that the time is not far distant when Christianity, properly
understood, and Spiritualism, disrobed of its excrescences,
will be confirmed by science, and all sweetly harmonizing in
hastening the millennial glory which is dawning upon the
frorld, when theTtfew Jerusalem shall descend to earth.
12mo., cloth, 352 pages, tinted paper.
.For sale, wholesale and retail, by the RELIGIO-PHILO-
SOPHIOAL PUBLISHING HOUSE, Chicago.
A very attractive work of this title has lately been issued-
Though profoundly philosophical, this book is of a very popu.
lar character ; and notwithstanding the grave truths it teaches,
its pages have been pronounced exciting as a romance be-
witching as a fairytale. Friends of the chief inspirer. RAN-
DOLPH, should, at least, seek to see and read it.
Cloth, with 'steel-plate engraving of Dr. Randolph, pricetl-50-
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A tf EW BOOK.
Andrew Jackson Davis.
This fresh volume is illustrated with diagrams of celestial
objecte.jand contains nearly three hundred pages. Itis areg
alar one dollar book, but being a sequel and companion to
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In cloth binding, 75 cents, postage 8 cents; in paper
covers, 50 cents, postage 6 cents.
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By JT. B. WOLFE, M. I>.
Embodies some of the most remarkable and wonderful facts,
ever published, and of the deepest interest to all. The truth^.
the history herein set forth in such graphic and absorbing style,
is clearly established by the most indubitable evidence. Among
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nd others equally well known. The book is a
Large 1'imo. 543 pp., bound In extra heavy
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PRICE, $2.00. POSTAGE, 14 CENTS.
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By SARA A. UNDERWOOD.
A record of the most daring heroines of Free Thought, being
sketches of a few central female figures in the history of Had-
P R E F A C E : Madame Roland .(Marie Jeaima
Mary \VoU*tonecraft Godwin. Mary W. Godwin
George Sa.iid. (A. Ii. Aurore Dudevant.) Harriet
Frances Wriglit D'Arusinoiit. Emina Martin.
-Uagaret Keynolds Chapplesmith. Ernestine L.
Frances Power Cobbe. George Eliot. (Marian
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Prof. W. Denton's Works.
RADICAL RHYMES. They are written in the samg bold and
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lECTUKES ON GEOLOGY, Tho Past and Future of our
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THE IRRECONCILABLE RECORDS; or. Genesis and Geolo-
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WHAT\ UGHT. Shows how we can tell right from wrong,
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COMMON SENSE THOUGHT ON THE BIBLE; for common
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CHRISTIAN IT i" NO FINALITY; or. Spiritualism superior to
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ORTHODOXY FALSE, SINCE SPIRITUALISM IS TRUE.
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THE SOUL OF THINGS ; or, Psychometric Researches and
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A NEW AUTI> RARE BOOK !
Poems of ti6 Life Beyonl and fitMtt
Voices from many lands and centuries saying, " Man, them
Bhalt never die."
Edited and Compiled by GILES B. STEBBINS.
" It begins with old Hindoo poems, and will be of interest,
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BY EUGENE CROWELL, M. D.,
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Summary of Facts Narrated.
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* * "I congratulate you on your management of your paper, it is much im-
proved. * * Go on in the good work ; God and the angels are helping you."
PROF. S. B. BBITTAN writes:
* * "lam pleased to witness the great improvement. * * I look uoon its
present as a resurrection stare to a higher life and enlarged usefulness."
" It is considered good authority on all matters relating to Spiritual Philoso-
phy." Lowell (Mass.) Morning Times.
" It is reliable and alwayson the side of humanity and healthful reform, and
eminently worthy the patronage of Spiritualists and those seeking after the
truth in these matters." Journal of Industry, Orange, Mass.
"It gives plain, proven, spiritualistic facts, and is worthy of having its legion
of friends multiplied." Shaker Manifesto.
" A fearless and consistent exponent of the Spiritual Philosophy." Haver-
hill CK.H.) Publisher,
" Always honest and fair. All who wish for correct information and honest
opinion in relation to the 'New Dispensation,' should secure a weekly visit
from the JOUItXAL." Buffalo (N. Y.) Index.
* * "The exponent of a very large majority of American Spiritualists. '--
Recorder, Janewille, Wi*.
" WP heartily endorse the JOURNAL " * and we say to Bro. Bundy here
is our hand." The Aledo (111.) Banner.
* * "That able, fearless and enterprising exponent of Western Spiritual-
ism." Free Thinker, Kirkaville, Mo.
" We wish this beacon-light of the cause in the West a prosperous future,
and feel sure that its conductors will ever (as in the past) be found working
fur human good and the advancementof liberal thought and spiritual unfold-
ment among the people." Banner of Light.
' Vigorous, sturdy and outspoken * * " has ably advocated Spiritualism
proper." Medium and Daybreak, London, Kng.
" The most sensible and enterprising Spiritualist paper." Time*, Jroquotx,
" The fairest exponent of Modern Spiritualism the country affords. "-Jo ur-
nal, Lacon, fllv.
TERMS $3. IS per annum in advance. Specimen Copy Free.
Address. JNO. C. HUNDY, KmroB, Chicago.