By Rev. A. Mahan. 1799-1889.
Boston, J. P. Jewett and company; New York, Sheldon, Lamport and Blakeman; 1855.
MODERN MYSTERIES, EXPLAINED AND EXPOSED.
IN FOUR PARTS. I. CLAIRVOYANT REVELATIONS OF A. J. DAVIS. II. PHENOMENA OF SPIRITUALISM EXPLAINED AND EXPOSED. III. EVIDENCE THAT THE BIBLE IS GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD, AS COMPARED WITH THE EVIDENCE THAT THESE MANIFESTATIONS ARE FROM THE SPIRITS OF MEN. IV. CLAIRVOYANT REVELATIONS OF EMANUEL SWEDENBORG. BY REV. A A MA A N, FIRST PRESIDENT OF CLEVELAND UNIVERSITY. "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamed of in your philosophy." FOURTH THOUSAND. BOSTON: PUBLISHED BY JOHIN P. JEWETT AND COMPANY. CLEVELAND, OHIO: JEWETT, PROCTOR AND WORTHINGTON. NEW YORK: SHELDON, LAMPORT AND BLAKEMAN. LONDON: TRUBNER AND CO. 1855.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855, by ASA MAHAN, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. CAMBRIDGE: ALLEN AND FARNHAM, STEREOTYPERS AND PRINTERS.
INTRODUCTION. PERHAPS we cannot better introduce the reader to the treatise before him, than by giving a short statement of the circumstances which led us to adopt the views therein developed in regard to Spiritualism. Since the year 1850, our residence has been in one of the grand centres of this movement, and where, consequently, the mysterious phenomena were continuously pressed upon our attention. Believing it to be our duty as a religious teacher, and an instructor of youth, sufficiently to acquaint ourself with any influences which are abroad in community, and are operating there with great power to give form and direction to the intellectual, moral, and religious sentiments of the public, to be able to speak intelligently in respect to the same, as occasion may require, we accordingly turned our thoughts more or less upon the mysterious phenomena under consideration. One of the circumstances which first impressed our mind was the utter incompatibility of the fundamental characteristics of these facts, as reported even by spiritualists themselves, with the supposition that they are the intended results of intelligent minds who are communicating with us from the heavenly or infernal world. By no laws of mind known to us could we account for the facts, by a reference to such an origin. When they were re(iii)
iv INTRODUCTION. ferred to good spirits, our reply was: good spirits cannot falsify as these do; for these falsify, when spirits, if present, cannot but know the truth; profess knowledge, when they must know themselves ignorant, and make positive affirmations, when they must know that they are only guessing. Good spirits cannot thus act. When they were referred to bad spirits, our reply was: these spirits do not lie like men in the flesh, nor as any spirits would do whose conduct is governed by any laws known to us. There is a certain " method " even in lying, wherever it appears, and here is lying which has no such method, nor any method at all which can properly be ascribed to spirits aiming at some intelligent end good or bad. When individuals told us, that they had had communications with their spirit friends, our reply was: the spirit here speaking says some things, that that of your mother, if present, might, and no doubt would say. Your mother, however, when alive and with you, never falsified as this spirit does, and would not thus falsify, if now present. We therefore rejected the ab extra spirit hypothesis, as wholly incompatible with the facts. We were first led to refer the facts to tricks of the mediums. Soon, however, we were confronted with phenomena wholly incompatible with such a supposition. We met, for example, with evidences which we could not resist and maintain our integrity, of the reality of physical manifestations of a very startling and impressive character. We ourselves personally witnessed such facts as we could account for, by no reference to conscious or unconscious muscular action. We also met with individuals of the first intelligence and integrity, and who utterly repudiate the spirit theory, who had themselves witnessed such phenomena. In the Congregational Society's Rooms in Boston, for example, an orthodox Congregational clergyman, of
INTRODUCTION. V unquestionable intelligence and integrity, affirmed to us, in the presence of several other clergymen, that on one occasion he saw a medium place her hands gently upon a marble-topped table, no other person being near; that after holding them there awhile, the object began to move after her around the room, that he himself got under the table, and taking hold of its legs, attempted to hold it still, and that he was, with the table, drawn quite a distance over the floor, all his efforts to the contrary notwithstanding. From many others we received precisely similar and equally credible statements. We found, then, that we had to admit the facts, or take the ground that no strange events can be established by testimony. How then could we ask the world to believe in Christian miracles? We found equally valid evidence for the reality of the facts of Spiritualism, as far as the intelligent communications are concerned. We found ourselves necessitated, therefore, in moral honesty, to admit the facts, and then to seek an explanation of them on some mundane hypothesis, as their character precluded any other supposition than their exclusively mundane origin. As we reflected upon the facts under consideration, we were forcibly struck with this suggestion, that they seemed evidently to imply the existence in nature of a polar force not yet distinctly recognized in philosophy, a force having, when developed, very strong attractive and repulsive power; a force, the direction of whose action, when certain conditions are fulfilled, accords with mental states, and is determined by the same; a force, finally, through which the mental states of one mind may be reproduced in others, and thus embodied, as in these communications. The existence of precisely such a force seemed demanded by the facts, whether we supposed it governed, in the production of these manifestations, by spirits in the body or A*
Vi INTRODUCTION. out of the body. We were also deeply impressed with the obvious correspondence of these manifestations, physical-and mental, with the phenomena of mesmerism and clairvoyance, on the one hand, and those of another class which from time to time have, in all ages, startled and troubled mankind, and which philosophers now refer to a power in nature denominated the Odylic Force, on the other. This led to a careful examination and classification of each of these classes of phenomena, and to an equally careful comparison of the results thus obtained with the spirit phenomena, physical and intellectual. The following are some of the conclusions to which we were thus conducted: 1. There is in nature a force having the identical properties above specified, and which we denominate the Odylic Force. 2. This force is identical with the cause of all the mesmeric and clairvoyant phenomena, on the one hand, and with the immediate cause of these manifestations, on the other. 3. By a reference to the properties and laws of this force as developed in the spirit circles, and to its relations to the minds constituting the same, we can account most fully for all the spirit phenomena, of every kind, without the supposition of the presence or agency of disembodied spirits. Consequently, the hypothesis of Spiritualism is wholly unsustained by any valid evidence whatever. 4. The entire real facts of Spiritualism demand the supposition, that this force in the production of these communications is controlled exclusively, for the most part unconsciously, by the minds in the circles, and not by disembodied spirits out of the same. 5. We finally found, what we did not at first expect, that we had developed facts and principles which gave an equally ready and satisfactory explanation of the phenomena of witchcraft, necromancy, fortune-telling, etc. etc., phenomena which from
INTRODUCTION. Vii time to time have been the wonder and terror of mankind in all ages. 6. Other consequences of equal and far greater importance seemed undeniably to follow from our facts and deductions. The results of our investigations, the reader will find embodied in the following treatise. Before putting our thoughts in type, however, we first, after fully satisfying our mind upon the subject, submitted our facts and arguments to a large number of the first thinkers, clergymen and laymen, in the country, and requested their careful inspection of, and candid judgment on the same. We are gratified to say, that we have yet to meet with the first individual who has thus heard, and with us, admits the facts of Spiritualism, that has not expressed the belief, that the mystery that has hitherto hung around these manifestations is now satisfactorily explained, and who has not expressed the earnest wish to have this work presented to the public. Thus assured and thus encouraged, we throw our thoughts abroad upon the public mind, that their merits and demerits may be adjudicated upon. As we have intended to produce a work which would stand the most rigid test of criticism, we have been exceeding careful in the induction of facts. We have rejected all that came before us, in the reliability of which we were not perfectly assured, that full confidence might be most reasonably reposed; and if we have, in a single instance, overdrawn a single feature of any fact adduced, it has been contrary to our honest intentions. The other topics discussed, are now so connected, in the public mind, with the spirit movement, that none will question, we think, the propriety of introducing them, as we have done, into the same treatise. With these suggestions, we leave the work with the public. THE AUTHOR. JULY, 1855.
CONTENTS. PART I. CLAIRVOYANT REVELATIONS OF A. J. DAVIS. Reasons for reviewing this Work. - Self-assumed Claims of the Author. -His Manner. - Common Argument for his Inspiration. - His Scientific Principles. - His Theory of Creation.- Fundamental Objections to the same. - His Claims viewed in the Light of his Reliability as a Relator of Facts of History. - Specimen of his Revelations in regard to " Things unseen." - His Moral Principles and Character. - Conclusions from the Previous Deductions,.... pages 1-32 PART II. PHENOMENA OF SPIRITUALISM EXPLAINED AND EXPOSED. General Introductory Observations. - Propositions to be discussed, 33-38 CHAPTER I. HAVE WE VALID EVIDENCE THAT DISEMBODIED SPIRITS HAVE ANY AGENCY IN THESE MANIFESTATIONS? Test Principles. -Facts adduced by Spiritualists classified and stated. - Positions which may be taken by those who deny the Spirit Theory. - Our Position stated and explained. First Two Propositions. From exclusively mundane causes precisely similar and analogous Facts do arise. (ix)
X CONTENTiS These Manifestations occur in circumstances in which such causes are known to exist and to act. Issue stated. - Admitted Facts,..... 38 -48 SECTION I. Electricity, Magnetism, and Animal Magnetism distinguished. -Effects of Animal Magnetism upon the Human System,.. 48-63 SECTION II. THE ODYLIC FORCE. Its Properties.- Illustrations.- Common Facts. -Angelique Cottin. - Case in New Hackensack, N. Y. - Case in Woodbridge, New Jersey. - Case in Stockwell, England. - The Molesworth Case in Edinburgh, Scotland. - Phenomena at the house of Dr. Phelps, Stamford, Conn. - Case in Albany, N. Y., stated by Rev. E. N. Kirk. - Drummer of Tedworth, England. -The Case of Frederica Hauffe. —Of Mademoiselle Ranfaing. - Remarks on this Case. - Cases in the Family of Cotton Mather.... 63- 99 The Odylic Force identical with the Immediate Cause of these Manifestations,...... 99-106 The Immediate Cause of these Manifestations identical with that from which result the Phenomena of Mesmerism and Clairvoyance, 106-109 SECTION III. Principles and Facts applied to the Elucidation of the so called Spirit Phenomena.- General Statements,...... 109- 112 The Physical Manifestations elucidated and explained,. 112-126 Intellectual Communications explained. - Three Classes of Mediums.Phenomena through these explained. - Concession of Spiritualists. - Consequences of the same. New Information obtained in these Circles,..... 126 - 152 SECTION IV. Third Proposition established, namely, that we have positive and conclusive Evidence, that these Manifestations are the exclusive Result of Mundane Causes, and not of the Agency of Disembodied Spirits. - Points of Agreement and Disagreement. Argumnent 1. The Principle of Sufficient Reason,... 153, 154 2. No new Truth found in these Communicationsj. 154-156 3. The peculiar Sentiments and Opinions comprised in these Mani
CONTENTS. xi festations uniformly take form from, and correspond with, the peculiar Sentiments of the Circles in which they originate, 157 - 160 4. Apparent Exceptions confirmatory of the above. —Fact which occurred in a Circle in Leroy, N. Y.,.. 160, 161 5. Communications purporting to come from particular Spirits compared with their Writings and Teachings when on Earth, 161 -163 6. General Character of these Communications considered in an intellectual point of view. -Examples of Spirit Prose and Poetry. -Every Peculiarity of the Inquirer's State of Mind always reflected in these Manifestations.-All Spirits in the same Circles have the same Style. - The same Spirits have a different Style in different Circles. -Bacon and Swedenborg in the Work of Judge Edmonds. - Webster, Clay, and Calhoun in a Spirit Circle in the City of New York. - Apparent Exception,.....163 -175 7. The same Evidence of real Presence, Identity, and Intelligence, can be obtained in reference to the affirmed Departed Spirits of Devils, of Men yet alive, or who never existed, -of Brutes, Shrubs, and Stones, as of any other Spirits,. 175-179 8. The same Evidence of Presence and Identity can be obtained in respect to Persons yet alive, and but supposed to be dead, as in any other Cases. - Example in an intelligent Christian Family. - Important Case in Cleveland,... 175-179 9. Similar Communications are obtained by Spiritualists themselves, in their own Circles. - Case occurring under our own Observation. - Notable Case connected with Judge Edmonds and Others. - Case witnessed by a Lady left a Widow by William Leggett, of New York,.... 179-183 10. The Results of Observations and Experiments made to determine the Location of the Cause of these Manifestations. - Clairvoyant and Spirit Fact. -Experiment made by a Gentleman at the head of a Literary Institution in Ohio, and Others.- Mesmeric and Spirit Experiments made by two Gentlemen in Cleveland. - Important Experiments and Observations made by another Gentleman in Cleveland. - Those of a Gentleman of strong Mesmeric Power in the State of New York, and also of a Professor of Ohio Medical College. - Results of Experi ments and Observations classified. - Facts which occurred at the House of Rev. Starr King, of Boston. - Important Facts furnished by Dr. Bell, of the McLean Lunatic Asylum. - Statements of Dr. Bell confirmed by kindred ones from N. I. Bowditch, Esq., of Boston. - Important Facts furnished by a New England Congregational Clergyman,.. 183-229
Xii CONTENTS. 11. Argument drawn from a Certain Class of False Answers often obtained in these Circles,..... 229 - 232 12. Argument drawn from Experiments made to determine the Ex. tent of Control which may be exercised over the Cause of these Manifestations. - Case in Hamilton, Ohio, 232 - 235 13. Argument drawn fiom the Experience'and Testimony of certain intelligent Mediums. - A Pupil of Ours. - Intelligent Medium in the City of New York. -Physician in Michigan.-Young Lady in Boston. - Intelligent Clergyman in Cleveland. -Another Clergyman. - Mrs. C- in Rhode Island,. 235 -241 14. Argument drawn from the Forms of Contradiction which appear in these Communications,..... 241 - 243 15. The False Communications which are continuously given forth in these Circles,... 243 - 248 CHAPTER II. TENDENCY OF SPIRITUALISM. SECTION I. Tendency to benefit or injure Mankind physically,.. 250- 256 SECTION II. Tendency of Spiritualism to benefit or injure Mankind intellectually, 257 -259 Spiritualism not a reliable Source of Information,.. 259 - 267 Spiritualism has not benefited the World as far as Science is concerned, 268-279 It has done nothing to improve Literature,... 280, 281 SECTION III. Moral Tendency of Spiritualism,... 281 -288 Summary Statement of its Tendencies,. 288- 290 CHAPTER III. MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS. SECTION I. Special Facts connected with Spiritualism. - Copying the Voice, Manner, and Handwriting of Individuals,.. 91 - 293 Tactual Impressions,... 293, 294 Seeing Spirits,.... 294 - 296
CONTENTS. Xiii Speaking and Writing in unknown Languages,... 296 - 300 Fact witnessed by J. G. Whittier, Esq.,.... 300 - 302 SECTION II. Special Facts which require explanation,.... 303 - 307 SECTION III. Phenomena of Dreaming,..... 307 - 311 Analogous Facts of Common Occurrence,... 312-315 Premonitions of Future Events,..... 315, 316 SECTION IV. Phenomena of Ghost-seeing and of Haunted Houses,. 316-319 SECTION V. Witchcraft,. 319 - 323 Bewitching Persons and Objects, 323 -327 Fortune-telling,..... 328 - 331 Manner in which Mysterious Events are commonly treated, 331, 332 SECTION VI. Spirit Manifestations, and Scripture Miracles,... 33 - 337 Bearing of our Previous Investigations upon the Doctrine of a General and Particular Providence,..... 337 - 343 Conclusion,.... 344 PART III. EVIDENCE THAT THE SCRIPTURES ARE GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OF TIlE SPIRIT OF GOD, AS CONTRASTED WITH THE EVIDENCE THAT THE SPIRIT MANIFESTATIONS ARE FROM THE SPIRITS OF MEN. CHAPTER I. ARGUMENT FROM EXTERNAL MIRACLES. MIRACLE DEFINED. SECTION I. Nature and bearing of Scripture Facts claimed as Miracles, supposing them to have occurred. -1. If admitted as real, they prove the Divine Origin of Christianity. —2. Original Witnesses could not have been deceived in regard to the Fact of their Occurrence or Non-occurrence. -3. Witnesses who testified to their Occurrence gross Deceivers, if they did not occur,..... 346-350 B
Xiv CONTENTS. SECTION II. Proof of the Actual Occurrence of these Events.-1. Antecedent Probability. -2. More reasonable to suppose their Occurrence than to affirm that Christ and the Sacred Writers were all Deceivers and Impostors. - 3. Amount of Testimony. - 4. Its Nature and Character. - 5. Widespread and rapid Extension of Christianity. - 6. Must admit the Occurrence of these Events, or repudiate all Evidence of a historical kind, 350 - 362 CHAPTER II. ARGUMENT FROM PROPHECY. Forms of Foresight possessed by Mankind. - Argument stated, 263, 264 SECTION I. Old Testament Prophecy. - 1. Uttered long before the Events predicted occurred. -2. Prophets had before them no Precedents from which to derive their Predictions. -3. Nations, etc., very numerous who were the Subjects of Prophecy. - 4. Harmony of Statement among the Prophets. -5. Were very particular in their Statements, and each Nation, etc., was to have a Destiny peculiar to itself.- 6. Greatest Antecedent Probabilities against the Occurrence of the Events predicted. - 7. Every Prophecy perfectly fulfilled,.. 365 - 374 SECTION II. New Testament Predictions.-Examples.-1. Prophecy pertaining to -the Church of Philadelphia, Rev. 3: 10.-2. Christ's Prophecy pertaining to Jerusalem, and Julian's Attempt to prove it false, 375- 379 CHAPTER III. ARGUMENT FROM INTERNAL EVIDENCE. Argument stated. - Examples.- 1. The Character of God as developed in the Scriptures.-2. That of Jesus Christ. —3. The System of Moral Duty developed in the Scriptures.- 4. Manner in which the Universal is blended in the Particular. - 5. Experimental Argument. -6. Undeniable Marks of Honesty and Integrity in the Sacred Writers,...... 380 -398 CHAPTER IV. OBJECTIONS ANSWERED. No Objections urged against the Christian Argument in any of the Forms above stated.-None to show how a Religion sustained by such Evidence can be false. -No Objections of Weight sufficient to overbalance such Evidence,... 399 - 403
CONTENTS. XV OBJECTIONS RELATIVE TO INTERNAL EVIDENCE. I Hume's Objection to Miracles. - 2. Assumption that all Events occur through Unchangeable Laws. —3. That Scripture Statements are mythical or fabulous. - Jesus Christ,. 403 - 409 OBJECTIONS BASED UPON WHAT IS FOUND IN THE BIBLE. 1. Doctrine of Retribution.-2. Of Atonement.-3. Destruction of the Inhabitants of Canaan. - 4. Standing still of the Sun and Moon. -5. Facts stated in regard to Balaam. - 6. Israelites permitted to give away diseased Meat.-Deut. 15: 21,.. 409-422 PART IV. CLAIRVOYANT REVELATION OF EMANUEL SWEDENBORG. Reasons for Reviewing these Revelations,..,. 423 - 428 Objections to their Validity. —1. Their Cause.-2. Argument from Sufficient Reason. —3. From the Character of God.-4. Subjective Character of these Revelations. - 5. Misstatements in regard to known Facts. - 6. Intrinsic Absurdity of his Interpretations of Scripture. - 7. Character of God, and Swedenborg's Teachings in regard to different Portions of the Scriptures. - 8. His Fundamental Ideas of a Future State cannot possibly be true. - 8. Iis Moral Teachings. - Reasons offered by Swedenborgians for his Inspiration.- Opinion of Swedenborg and A. J. Davis,..... 423 -466
MODERN MYSTERIES. PART I. CLAIRVOYANT REVELATIONS.* WHEN any new and very gross absurdity is commended to public regard, men of real science, theologians especially, pass it by, under the impression, that should they expose the imposition, they would appear to the public in the repulsive light of "answering a fool according to his folly." It is this fear, we think, rather than a prudent regard to the public welfare, which has shielded modern "spirit revelations" from that degree of scientific scrutiny requisite to unmask the imposture before the world. Whatever may be thought of the subject in general, the writings of the individual whose name stands at the head of this article seem to demand a critical examination. The volume to which we have referred, consisting of 782 octavo pages, purports to have gone through no less than eleven editions in this country. It has been reprinted " The Principles of Nature; her Divine Revelations, and a Voice to Mankind; by and through Andrew Jackson Davis, the Poughkeepsie Seer, and Clairvoyant. In three Parts," etc. 1
2 MODERN MYSTERIES. in London; and how many editions it has gone through in Great Britain we have not been informed. It has also laid the foundation for that " spirit " movement which now controls the religious, and, to a great extent, the scientific faith of vast multitudes in this country and in Europe. We shall therefore make no further apologies for an attempt at a somewhat critical examination of the philosophy and character of this great primal production of modern spiritualism. The self-asserted claims of our author are very wide sweeping, and very peculiar. In the state in which his revelations are given to the world, he claims to be possessed of a power hardly less than omniscient, in regard to the past, present, and, to a great extent, future history and condition of the universe.' His philosophy," says his scribe, " is only that which is involved in the laws and principles which control the universe and mankind unerringly, and his theology is only that which is written on the wide spread scroll of the heavens, in which every star is a word, and every constellation a sentence." " And uwhatever truths," says our seer, " have entered the minds of investigators, they will see the same reflected," (in these revelations,) " which will be a source of inward gratification. There will also be a consolation derived from the things contained in the revelation, consisting in the reflection that the dross and impurities of systems and theories have become purged off, or rather repulsed by the truth, which is positive and eternal." What the stern Mohammedan did with the celebrated Alexandrian library, the world, if our seer's claims be admitted, should now do with all the books of all investigators of truth, since the world began. "Whatever truths," (the italics are our author's,) "these works contain, is found in this revelation, and found
CLAIRVOYANT REVELATIONS. 3 here, as it is not found in those works, in a state of total freedom from all dross and impurities. What use is there then for any such works? Let them be given to the flames. Then these revelations contain not only the truth, but the whole truth. The revelation, our author affirms, "will progressively reveal every visible and invisible existence, until it arrives at the highest sphere of perfection, and then will retrace the links of development back to the original cause and foundation of all things." WThat investigator, from this time forth, will have the audacity to write another book, when all truth pertaining to the visible and the invisible, and that in its origin and progress, is here revealed in a state of total freedom from all admixture of error? The manner of our seer claims a passing remark in this connection. Everywhere he speaks " as one having authority, and not as the scribes." The only foundation that he lays for our faith in his revelations, is the fact, that in the state of clairvoyance in which these revelations are given forth, this Poughkeepsie seer has an impression that things are thus and so, and- is impressed to say it. Simply and exclusively because he is thus in2mpressed, in the state referred to, we are to believe that " the material universe is a vortex,' and " that the earth, when comprehended as an entire whole, is a stomach;" that the world had a beginning, and yet that it revolved around the sun from eternity; [after describing the process of the creation of this and all other planets, he tells us, page 430, that the modern philosopher, who discovered the fact, that the earth revolves around the sun, " discovezred the truth; but that the truth had existed the same from all eternity;"] that Jesus Christ was laid in a manger, not at his birth, as the sacred writer affirms, but at a subsequent period, and
4 MIODERN MYSTERIES. that he lay there not over forty minutes by the watch; that the Bible, instead of " bringing life and immortality to light," enshrouds this whole subject in clouds and darkness; that it does not " present any proper conception of the constitution, character, greatness, omnipotence, and majesty of the divine mind;" nor "teach that holy virtue, morality, and refinement which should receive the name of religion;" that, in short, it has been a source of injury rather than good to the world, possessing not even the humble merit of preparing the way for the sublime revelations of the Poughkeepsie seer, etc. Take a single example of his manner. " Previous to this journey, [the flight into Egypt,] a necessary circumstance compelled Mary to lay her child in a manger, in which place, I am distinctly impressed, he lay not more than forty minutes." Thus we are to throw away our SBibles, and believe any thing that may be commended to our regard, for one reason only, namely, - Andrew Jackson Davis, in a state of clairvoyance, has had an impression; he is "impressed to say;" is "distinctly impressed." Permit us here to invite special attention to the argument on which, exclusively as we understand, the high claims of our seer are by him and his associates based. In his natural state he appears, it is affirmed, as an uneducated young man; without learning, without science, without high ideas, or an unusual amount of language. In his clairvoyant state, he has the most wonderful visions, and naturally embodies these visions in the sublime language found in these Revelations. The inference based upon these asserted facts is, that these visions must be the pure embodiment of eternal and immutable truth; that his " philosophy is only that which is involved in the laws and principles which con
CLAIRVOYANT REVELATIONS. 5 trol the universe and mankind unerringly; and his theology is only that which is written upon the wide spread scroll of the heavens, in which every star is a word, and every constellation a sentence." Take away the facts above named, and all grounds for the conclusion that such is the character of the revelations of our seer, disappear at once, and that totally. Now, we say that a grosser non sequitur never danced in the brain of Enthusiasm, Superstition, or Fanaticism, than is involved in the above argument. Granting the facts in all their force, how do we know that these visions are the revelations of truth? How do we know that they are not the exclusive creations of an over-excited and disordered imagination? and therefore the embodiment of error, and not of truth? The fact that our seer has no such visions in his natural, and that he has them in his clairvoyant state, presents not the shadow of evidence that these visions are true; unless it can be shown that in a state of clairvoyance the mind sees nothing but truth. If it is not the exclusive character of the visions of universal mind in this state, how do we know that it is the character of those of our Poughkeepsie clairvoyant in the same state? Should it be said that the visions of our clairvoyant are of a higher order than those of others; does this, we ask, prove an infallible criterion of truth? To what degree of sublimity must the fallible rise to become infallible? The claims of our Seer are too shallow, we should think, did not painful experience evince the contrary, to command the faith even of children. The fact that so many quite sensible people have made shipwreck of a divine faith upon such a visible snag as this, evinces to our mind the melancholy truth, that much of the thinking of this age has little of sound reason or logic in it. I*
6 MODERN MYSTERIES. In the case of our seer, however, we have the opportunity to test his claims by an infallibly " sure word of prophecy." He professes to give us, with no intermixture of error, a knowledge of ",every visible and invisible existence." Suppose that we can convict him of the grossest conceivable absurdity and error in his philosophy, and statements in regard to the visible; his pretended revelations pertaining to the invisible, we shall have no occasion to investigate. We have here indicated the train of thought which we design to pursue. We have little to do with our author, as far as the invisible is concerned; but confine ourselves almost exclusively to what he is " distinctively impressed " in regard to the visible. Hence we shall pass over unnoticed the first part of these revelations, the part which relates to the principles of nature, and confine ourselves almost exclusively to the second part, in which he gives us his theory of creation, and a professed history of the progress of events from the beginning to the present time. In the progress of our remarks, we intend to show that the theory of creation set forth in these revelations, is self-contradictory and absurd, and its truth impossible, and that in his statements pertaining to known facts, our seer shows a degree of ignorance, recklessness, and error which has but few parallels. We shall then give our impressions in regard to the moral character of our revelator, from facts which have come to our knowledge. As a philosopher, our seer is an absolute materialist. In one place, he tells us, that " it is a law of Matter to produce its ultimate, Mind." In another, he says, that to him, "all ultimates are matter." Again, " I would, moreover," he says, " have all understand, that I consider (because I perceive) that all things, whether
CLAIRVOYANT REVELATIONS. 7 tangible or intangible, are material." Once more, "I use the terms'spiritual,''celestial,' and' heavenly,' as representing distinct degrees of material refinement.'" As a materialist, our seer is an equally absolute necessitarian, or fatalist. His sentiments on this point are fully set forth on pages 463, 464, where he affirms that " it is impossible for any rational mind to conceive of such a thing as' freewill.'" Consequently he holds to the existence of spirit and of God, in no other form than as an ultimate, a development of matter. On this point our seer has, throughout, the merit of self-consistency. He pretends to hold to no other form of spiritual existence, or manifestation, but that under consideration. In testing the validity of his theory of creation, we are to take matter as originally given in theory, and then, from the known laws of this substance, see if we can deduce from it, in accordance with the principles of that theory, the facts of the universe just as they are. In regard to the original condition of matter, we will let our seer speak for himself. " In the BEGINNING, the Univercclum was one boundless, undefinable, and unimaginable ocean of LIQUID FIRE! The most vigorous and ambitious imagination is not capable of forming an adequate conception of the height, and depth, and length, and breadth thereof. There was one vast expanse of liquid substance. It was without bounds inconceivable, - and with qualities and essences incomprehensible. This was the original condition of MATTER. It was without forms, for it was but one form. It had no motions; but was one eternity of motion. It was without parts; for it was a whole. Particles did not exist; but the whole was as one particle. There were not suns; but it was one
11 MODERN MYSTERIES. eternal sun. It had no beginning, and was without end. It had not length; for it was a vortex of one eternity." [H-e has just told us that it had length inconceivable. Strange logic that also; that because it is " a vortex of one' eternity," that it therefore has not length. 6' A vortex of one eternity!" How many other eternities are there? "A vortex of one eternity!" What a palpably intelligible idea.] " It had not circles; for it was one infinite circle. It had not disconnected power; but it was the very essence of all power. Its inconceivable magnitude and constitution were such as not to develop forces, but omnipotent power!"' Matter and power," he goes on to say, " were existing as a whole, inseparable. The matter contained the substance to produce all suns, all worlds, and systems of worlds, throughout the immensity of space. It contained qualities to produce all things that are existing upon each of these worlds. The power contained wisdom and goodness, -justice, mercy, and truth. It contained the original and essential principle that is displayed throughout immensity of space, controlling worlds and systems of worlds, and producing motion, life, sensation, and intelligence, to be impartially disseminated upon their surfaces as ultimates! "This great centre of worlds, - this great power of intelligence, - this great germ of existences - was one world! - corresponding to a globe visible; for it was bzut one, - containing the materials and power to produce all others. It had wisdom equal to matter to plan them and direct their infinite movements. It had goodness equal to the extent of its substance, to give perfect harmony and distributive usefulness to all parts of this infinitude. It had justice; but only to be manifested in proportion to developments of suitable mediums
CLAIRVOYANT REVELATIONS. 9 upon these subordinate spheres, or forms of the great sphere. It had mercy, lenity, and forbearance, to be developed as corresponding with like developments in sensitive and intelligent beings. It contained truth eternalized, like its own nature. So the whole of these principles were joined in one vast vortex of pure intelligence." " The great original mass," he tells us, " was a substance containing within itself the embryo of its own perfection. It became pregnated by virtue of its own laws, and was controlled, guided, and perfected, by virtue of its own omnipotent power." From eternity up to a given period, as he subsequently informs us, while it contained in itself the laws and principles of progression, it had not progressed. " It contained the power of progression, but had not progressed." Such, according to our seer, was the original condition of matter prior to creation; a condition in which that substance had, up to a certain period, continued from eternity. How were the worlds and the systems of worlds originated from this "mass of liquid fire? " Around this mass, he tells us, was an atmosphere extending infinitely in all directions. The mass itself, at length began to evaporize light, heat, and other materials adapted to the formation of suns and worlds. The substances thus evaporated were borne upward by the atmosphere referred to, and "became at length a nebulous zone [a zone, as we are informed in these revelations, corresponding to the rings of Saturn] surrounding the immensity of space!" Such is the language of our seer. A tolerably large zone that,-a zone which surrounds the immensity of space. " By constant action and development of the particles thus subjected to the motion of attraction, repulsion, and the
10 MODERN MYSTERIES. law of condensation; by a repelling of that which was averse to the process of condensation, and an attracting of that which was of like affinity, and suitable to become a part of the same mass, the formation of worlds was first instituted." Suns were first formed, and from these planets, etc. Thus one circle or ring of suns and worlds was commenced and perfected, - or in the language of our seer, " The first great ring of converging formations was thus commenced and completed." Subsequently," after an unimaginable length of time," by a process precisely similar to that above described, another nebulous zone, either within or without the first, and which, our seer has forgotten to inform us, was formed, and from it another circle of systems, of suns and worlds "was instituted." Thus five such circles have already been " instituted," and a sixth is now in process of being " instituted," but is not yet complete. We have thus given a full, and as all who have seen the original will admit, a fair and correct statement of our seer's theory of creation. The way is now prepared for some remarks upon this theory. 1. The first step, or great fact, in this process demanding our attention, is the formation of Deity. All spirit, as we are taught in these revelations, is an ultimate of matter. God, as a spirit, as given in the theory under consideration, is no exception to this principle. He is an ultimate of the original condition of matter, which was such as " to develop for us omnipotent power," "power containing wisdom and goodness - justice, mercy, and truth." The whole of these principles, joined "into one vast vortex of pure intelligence," constitute the God of these revelations. And how was this ultimate of matter, this " vortex of pure intelligence," this " omnipotent power," this " great positive mind" pro
CLAIRVOYANT REVELATIONS. 11 duced, or, in the language of our seer, developed? By a vast amount of matter in such a state of intense heat, as to constitute "one boundless, undefinable, and unimaginable ocean of liquid fire." Matter to a certain amount, and heated to a certain degree of intensity, being given, and, as the necessary result, we have developed a God, -" a great positive mind," possessed of " omnipotent power," and all possible perfections. If we had a smaller amount of matter heated to the same degree of intensity, we should have a God still, a lesser one to be sure, but still a real " positive mind." We should have just as many Gods, as we could have masses of matter thus heated. These are the necessary, undeniable consequences of the fundamental principles of this theory. This is the theology of " Andrew Jackson Davis, the Poughkeepsie seer and clairvoyant," the only theology we are told that is written upon " the wide spread scroll of the heavens, where every star is a word and every constellation a sentence." We, for ourselves, have endeavored to read this scroll; we have attentively looked at the stars, and the constellations too; but we have been able to find no such theology there. Before we should surrender our faith in " That dearest of books that excels every other, The old family Bible that lies on the stand," to embrace such a theology as this, we should ask considerable time for sober reflection. The theology of our seer has one merit, to say the least, that of entire originality, as far as our knowledge extends. The idea that matter, heated to a certain degree of intensity, will generate, or develop, mind, " positive mind," and that " one boundless," [not so boundless, but that it may still be surrounded by six, and an
12 MODERN MYSTERIES. infinite number of other circles of suns and worlds,] "undefinable, unimaginable ocean of liquid fire," would generate, or develop the great positive mind, namely, God, - such an idea never danced in our brain, till we met it in these " divine revelations." And what would become of this "great positive mind," should this " ocean'of liquid fire" once burn out? an effect, which, from the laws of matter, must occur, in the progress of the eternal future. This mass, however large, must be finite and limited, and in perpetually giving off from itself the materials for the formation of unnumbered suns and worlds, must, at length, totally burn out, and consequently wholly cease to give off such materials, or it must become totally evaporated. There is no escaping this conclusion. Where then will be our fire-begotten, or fire-developed, and consequently fire-sustained divinity? If this theology is true, the universe must soon be without a God, without any " great positive mind." 2. To our limited capacities, there is another fundamental error in the theology of our seer. No cause can generate or develop an effect greater than itself. This is a first truth of science. Now this " ocean of liquid fire," as a cause, must, as we have already seen, be in its nature limited, finite. It is so, according to the positive teachings of our seer; for he affirms, that this very ocean is already surrounded by six circles of suns and worlds. How then can such a cause develop "omnipotent power?" The idea is just as inconceivable and impossible as the supposition, that a globe two feet in diameter actually fills and occupies infinite space. Perhaps our seer is not a little extravagant in the use of language, and by " Omnipotent power" he means merely a very great, but yet finite and limited power.
CLAIRVOYANT REVELATIONS. 13 If so, we have only to reply, that his "great positive mind," in that case, is a being finite and imperfect like ourselves, and is not the deity to whom the intellectual and moral nature of universal mind is fundamentally and immutably correlated. A Deity of absolute infinity and perfection is the only " great positive mind" that responds to the nature of universal finite mind. According to this theology, the final ultimate of matter, rational mind, is fundamentally correlated to the unreal instead of the real, as far as God is concerned. The theology of our seer therefore breaks the harmony of nature, instead of filling out and perfecting it. 3. We now advance to the consideration of a difficulty fundamentally involved in our seer's theory of creation, a difficulty which demonstrably renders the validity of that theory an absolute impossibility. According to this theory, creation, or the formation of worlds, had a beginning, in time. This fact is distinctly affirmed by the author himself. The time was, he tells us, when the great central, primal mass was "one world," when it "contained the power of progression, but had not progressed." He not only represents the process of creation as having had a beginning in time, but as not being yet completed, - the sixth circle of suns and worlds being now in a process of unconsummated completion, the other five having had their origin, and having attained to their completion in time. According to our seer, also, the process of creation is progressive, and progressive in one direction exclusively, from the less to the more perfect. " Array no arguments, therefore," he says, " against the truthful and magnificent doctrine of progressive development." Now " progressive development," that is progress from the less in the direction of the more perfect, the doctrine every2
14 MODERN MYSTERIES. where proclaimed by our seer, implies a beginning in time; otherwise creation would now, the progress having been eternal, and consequently infinite, have already attained to infinity and perfection. It has not thus attained, even according to our seer himself. It therefore had a beginning in time. This will be universally admitted. From eternity up to a given period, this now central mass, this " ocean of liquid fire," pervaded by the "great positive mind," existed alone, not having evaporated or radiated any substances adapted to the formation of worlds. Had this evaporation been from eternity, so also must have been the formation of worlds, or, by the laws of matter, that formation never could have occurred at all. As by the law of necessity, which is fundamental in the philosophy of our author, what did not occur could not possibly have occurred, this mass, this " ocean of liquid fire," pervaded by the " great positive mind," had existed from eternity to the period named, without the possibility of producing any evaporations whatever suitable to the formation of suns and worlds. How shall we account for the conmencernent of evaporation from this " expanse of liquid substance," at the moment referred to? Would not the same reasons which rendered it impossible for this cause to produce this result from eternity to the moment referred to, have rendered it impossible for the same identical cause to produce that result to eternity? From eternity to the period named, according to this theory, this mass could, by no possibility, produce these evaporations. From that moment onward, it could not possibly but produce them. Yet the mass itself, with all the laws and causes, external and internal, operating upon it, remained all the while immutably the same. If a theory involving such contradictions can be true, then
CLAIRVOYANT REVELATIONS. 15 it is possible for the same thing, at the same time, to exist and not to exist. Evaporation, at the time, and from the cause assigned in this theory, is nothing else than an event without a cause. From the immutable laws of matter also, evaporation can take place but upon one condition, the impregnation of portions of matter with degrees of heat which they did not before possess, and thus changing them from a solid to a vaporous state. No such change could have occurred, at the moment referred to, in any portion of this " mass of liquid substance." The heat must have been equally diffused through all parts of it alike, and that from eternity. No new causes existed to generate new degrees of heat, in any portion of the mass, or in all combined. The evaporations then from which, according to our seer, the universe was formed, must have been an event without a cause, and by no possibility could have been any thing else. His theory is fundamentally self-contradictory and absurd, and its validity an absolute impossibility. 4. Another difficulty, equally fundamental, is found in our seer's " nebulous zones," formed around the central mass, as the material for the institution of his six circles of suns and worlds. If from a mass of liquid substance existing in empty space, evaporations should occur, they would be in all directions equally, and could not possibly be otherwise. If from these evaporations, nebulous formations should be constituted at any distance from the surface of the central mass, they would of necessity assume the form of hollow spheres, and not of zones, as our seer affirms. that is, worlds would be formed in all directions alike and equally around this mass, and not in circles, as asserted by our seer. The formation of such zones in the circumstances supposed,
16 MODERN MYSTERIES. is an absolute impossibility, and that from the known immutable laws of matter. Consequently, if systems of suns and worlds were constituted from these nebulous formations, they would be in the form of converging spheres, and not of circles. Here, then, the theory of our seer falls to pieces upon another self-evident principle of science. 5. But let us grant the formation of the nebulous zones referred to. The formation of systems of suns and worlds from them, would be an absolute impossibility. The central mass of liquid substance may be conceived of as surrounded or not surrounded with an atmosphere. In the latter case, all evaporations would be collected immediately around the central mass, and no nebulous zones or spheres could be formed. Should any portions of the matter thus evaporated become consolidated, they would thereby become heavier than the other portions of the evaporations around them, and would, by the laws of gravitation, fall back into the central mass from which they had been separated. If the mass referred to were surrounded with an atmosphere, the theory of our seer, the matter evaporated would be borne upward till its specific gravity, and that of the atmosphere sustaining it, became equal. There such matter would remain in the form of clouds, till portions of the same should become consolidated. Such portions, by that means, becoming heavier than the atmosphere which had previously sustained them, would then, as in the case above stated, fall back again into the central mass, and not remain as systems of suns and worlds. From the immutable laws of matter no other results could follow. This is demonstrably evident. The universe cannot have been constituted in accordance with the theory of our author, unless there has
CLAIRVOYANT REVELATIONS. 17 not only been an event without a cause, but in opposition to the immutable laws and constitution of universal nature. So much for our seer's theory pertaining to the " institution" of the system of suns and worlds now existing in the immensity of space; a theory which any schoolboy can perceive, on a moment's reflection, can by no possibility be true. We might specify additional contradictions and absurdities in this theory to' the burdening of our readers. The above are sufficient, however, to accomplish what we intended, when we took up our pen,- the demonstration of the fact, that its validity is an absolute impossibility. As a philosopher, our seer evinces the profoundest ignorance of the most palpable and generally known laws of matter, the only real substance, according to his "divine revelations." As a theorizer, he is a very poor copyist of Lamarck, and the author of the development theory a theory which any man of real science would now be ashamed to avow, which science has long since exploded, which has not a single decisive fact in the wide universe to sustain it, or render its truth even probable, and which is most absolutely contradicted by all the facts of geology and other sciences bearing upon the subject. Having shown, by a reference to his central principles, that as a teacher of science, he is nothing but a false light, we shall follow him no further in this department of inquiry, but will now advance to a consideration of his reliability as a narrator offacts, facts about which we have certain knowledge. We shall give but a few examples. These, however, will be of such a decisive and fundamental character as to enable our readers to form an unerring judgment upon our revelator's real merits. 2"
18 MODERN MYSTERIES. In his revelations pertaining to the book of Nehenmiah, page 449, we find the following sentence. "For a truthful understanding of the contents of some of the previous books, this [the book of Nehemiah] and following, ones, I would refer the reader to the theological writings of Swedenborg, the enlightened philosopher - especially to the valuable work entitled' Summaria Expositio Sensus Prophetici.'" In regard to the important statements referred to as in these works, we have the authority of Prof. Bush for saying,- 1. That in none of his writings has Swedenborg given any account or explanation of the book of Nehemiah. 2. That he has never written any work whatever under the title above named. 3. That the exclusive design of the only work which he did write in respect to the prophets, was to show, that the prophetic writings have a meaning which our seer affirms attaches to no parts of the Bible whatever. How safe to follow our author implicitly in professed revelations pertaining to the invisible, when we find him such a safe guide in respect to the visible! The next statement to which we refer is found on page 507, and is regarded by our seer as of very great importance, his design being nothing less than to do away with the evidence in favor of the divine origin and authority of Christianity, derived from miracles. "It is said," he remarks, " that Christ had a divine comminssion, to prove and establish which, he performed many incomprehensible miracles. How such an opinion can be derived from the literal teachings of the New Testament, it is impossible to conceive; for although Matthew and the apostles seriously believed in miracles, they have not, in all their writings, intimated that these are designed as a confirmation of Christ's mission, nor do they represent him as ever making any such declara
CLAIRVOYANT REVELATIONS. 19 tion." A more false and reckless statement, we think, can hardly be found in any author, ancient or modern; a statement indicating the grossest ignorance of what children ought to understand, or a very singular presumption in respect to the ignorance of his readers. In Matt. 9: 6, Christ is affirmed to have performed a miracle for the express and avowed purpose of confirming his divine mission. "Thiat ye may know, that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins," then having made this appeal, it is affirmed that he performed this miracle, the healing of the sick of the palsy. In Matt. 11: 4-6, Christ is recorded as having appealed to his own miracles in proof of the fact that he was the Messiah. In John 11: 15, Christ is recorded as affirming, that one object of the miracle which he was about to perform, the raising of Lazarus, was the confirmation of the faith of his disciples in his divine mission; " to the intent that ye may believe." At the grave, prior to the performance of this miracle, he makes a direct appeal to God, affirming that that appeal was made, not on his own account, but on that of the people around him, to induce them to believe in his divine mission. " Because of the people which stand by, I said it, that they may beiieve that thou hast sent me." To the same purpose are the words of Christ, as recorded John 10: 37, 38, " If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works; that ye may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in him." In John 15: 2, Christ also is recorded as saying, that, but for his miracles, no guilt would attach to the Jews for not believing in him; and that because of the same, they were without excuse. We need not multiply quotations and references, on a point so clear.
20 MODERN MYSTERIES. One visible existence our seer reveals, most incorrectly reveals, and that is the Scriptures of truth. On page 497, we find the following statement, affirming a fact which is entirely new to us. " Luke represents Jesus as being about thirty years of age when he began to preach, and that at that time, [the time when he began to preach,] Herod sought his life, while Matthew relates that Herod died before he returned from Egypt." Now every commonly taught Sabbath school child knows, that Luke nowhere affirms that any man bearing the name of Herod, at any time, sought the life of Christ, much less at " that time," the time when Christ began to preach. In chapter 13: 31, Luke affirms that certain Pharisees, after Christ had been for some years preaching the gospel, told him that if he remained in the place where he then was, that Herod would kill him. Christ gave them full leave to inform Herod of his whereabouts, at the same time asserting that no danger was to be apprehended from that quarter. Nor does Matthew anywhere affirm that this Herod had died before Christ left Egypt. We shall adduce but one other example of our seer's safety as a guide in history. We refer to various statements which he has put forth, in regard to the sacred canon, the New Testament especially. On pages 497, 498, he affirms of the books of Matthew and Luke, that "these manuscripts were uncollected and uncompiled for more than three hundred years after the birth and life of Christ." On pages 547, 548, we have the following: " Also remember, reader, that when you read the encyclopsedia of religious knowledge called the Bible, you are merely reading a book pronounced the word of God by three hundred exasperated bishops, and sealed by their
CLAIRVOYANT REVELATIONS. 21 Emperor Constantine. Moreover, reflect that nearly as many manuscripts as are now embodied in the Old Testament, suffered martyrdom. And why, or how, or by whose imperative command, shall we believe that those which are saved are the word of God, any more than those which were destroyed?" On page 644, he tells us, that the books of James and Jude, and the Revelation of John, "were not received into the New Testament as pure and canonical until nearly three hundred years after the Council of Nice." This council met in the year 325, at the command of the Emperor Constantine, and was, according to our seer, originally constituted of two thousand and forty-eight bishops, who were, as he further attests, assembled to settle the sacred canon. The following is his, (our seer's,) account of this council. On account of their violent and vociferous conduct, " Constantine," he says, " was obliged to disqualify seventeen hundred and thirty from having a voice in deciding which books were, and which were not the word of God; and only three hundred and eighteen were left. These decided that the books which composed the Bible, as subsequently known, were the word of God. Several books, however, have since that time, been rejected, but of fifty gospels then extant, they decided that those only of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, were worthy of being preserved; while they rejected entirely the books of James, Jude, and the Apocalypse. After this decision, Constantine solemnly declared that the same should be considered as sanctioned by the divine will, and that the books thus fixed upon should thereafter be implicitly believed as the word of God. Those manuscripts that were rejected, (among which were three well-written gospels,) were committed to the flames." Our seer has
22 MODERN MYSTERIES. said much more to the same purpose. But this must su ffice. Now what are the real facts of the case, relative to the above sweeping statements? Aside from the fact that the council referred to did assemble at the time designated, and at the call of the individual named, we think that we are quite safe in the affirmation that there is not, in the above extracts, a solitary statement that is true, that is not, in all respects, the total opposite of what is true. We will specify a few examples. 1. Two thousand and forty-eight bishops never assembled as members of this council. Nor were. seventeen hundred and thirty, nor any other number, forcibly excluded by Constantine. All but the three hundred and eighteen which did sit as members of the council were there as mere spectators, on account of the intense interest which was universally felt in the question of doctrine then to be acted upon, and this is a well-known fact in history. 2. The canon of Scripture was not, in any form, agitated, or voted upon in this council. Nor was there any disagreement among the different and opposite parties in the council on this subject. The object for which the council was called was altogether another and different affair, namely, the settlement of the Arian controversy, the Orthodox and Arians being as perfectly agreed in respect to the canon of Scripture, as the Orthodox and Unitarians now are. In the sentence passed upon Arius, in the letter sent forth by the council to the churches, in the famous creed then formed, and in the canons passed, there is not a solitary allusion to what. according to our seer, was the main subject of dispute in the council. Our seer might, with the same propriety, have made the same assertions pertaining to the
CLAIRVOYANT REVELATIONS. 23 sacred canon, in reference to any other council of the church, ancient or modern, as in regard to this. 3. No books whatever, claimed to be a part of the sacred canon, were directed to be committed to the flames by this council. The only books which suffered martyrdom, by its order, if any did, were the works of Arius, works which were perfectly at one with the Orthodox portion of the council on the subject of the sacred canon. 4. Instead of deciding, as our seer affirms they did, "that of fifty gospels then extant, only those of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were worthy of being preserved," they passed no resolutions on the subject, one way or the other. 5. Instead of " rejecting James, Jude, and the Apocalypse," they and all the other books of the New Testament were assumed as belonging to the sacred canon, just as much, and for precisely the same reasons, that they are thus assumed in all assemblies of the saints which are held in modern times. The question of the reception or rejection of these or any other books claimed to belong to the sacred canon was not moved or acted upon in the council in any form whatever. 6. This council had nothing to do with questions pertaining to the sacred canon, for the obvious reason that such questions had long previously been settled. In the writings of the Christian fathers prior to this council, we find formal catalogues perfectly agreeing with our own. We also find commentaries on the same. Origen, about a century previous, wrote a threefold commentary on the New Testament, and gave a catalogue of the books embraced in it, comprising all now contained in it, and none others. These books were, as they now are, most extensively quoted as of divine au
24 MODERN MYSTERIES. thority, and none others were ever thus quoted. Several years prior to this council, Athanasius the great leader of the Orthodox party, and Eusebius, one of the most influential members of the Arian, gave forth formal catalogues of the books of the New Testament. That of the former perfectly agrees with ours, and that of the latter with this exception. Eusebius affirms that all these books but James, Jude, 2 and 3 of John, and Revelation, had, from the first, been universally regarded, by the church, as of divine authority, and that these had been thus received by the majority. While the books now constituting the New Testament, were thus received by the church, none but these were received, as of divine authority, none others were included in the catalogues given by the Christian writers of the sacred books. None, as such, were made the subjects of commentary, or were thus cited in their writings. These are the simple facts of the case, facts as well known in history as any others can be. It is in the presence of such well-known and undeniable facts, that the broad, sweeping, bold, and impious assertions of our seer, pertaining to the sacred canon, are put forth. 7. Our seer affirms, that the gospels of Matthew and Luke were " uncollected and uncompiled for more than three hundred years after the birth and life of Jesus." At least, one hundred years prior to the period here named, one Christian writer published a harmony of these and the other two gospels; another attempted to reconcile the genealogies given in them, and another still, wrote commentaries upon them, and numbered them expressly among the books universally received in the churches, as belonging to the sacred canon. More than a century previous to the same period, another Christian writer, Irenmus, a disciple of Polycarp, who
CLAIRVOYANT REVELATIONS. 25 was a disciple of John, names the authors of the four Gospels? states the circumstances in which these books were written, and then affirms that no other gospels but these were received as of divine authority in the churches. Many other references equally to our purpose might be made. These, however, are sufficient. Such is the credibility of our divine revelator in the narration of facts of history. We have made our selections almost at random, and we leave the examples adduced to speak for themselves. Any one who would receive with confidence the professed revelations of a person in respect to things invisible, who has been convicted of such errors, misstatements, and falsehoods in regard to " things seen," would heed no remarks of ours upon the subject. In our judgment, our seer has hardly a parallel, as far as recklessness in statements pertaining to matters-of-fact is concerned. Before leaving this department of our subject, however, the relations of our seer to the visible, we will present a single example of his revelations in respect to things to us invisible. Of the inhabitants of Mars, we have the following description:" Sentiments arising upon their minds become instantly impressed upon their countenances;" [they have no hypocrites there who "steal the livery of heaven to serve the devil in; "] and they use their mouth and tongue for their specific offices, and not as agents of conversation. But that glowing radiation which illumes their face while conversing, is to us inconceivable. Their eyes are blue and of a soft expression," [" variety is not the spice of life' there,]' are very full and expressive, and are their most powerful agents in conversation. Where one conceives a thought and desires to express it, he casts his beaming eyes upon the 3
26 MIODERN MYSTERIES. eyes of another, and his sentiments instantly become known." On reading the above, we were powerfully "impressed" with a fact or two which occurred when we were crossing the ocean. On board the same vessel was a young man of respectable appearance, who had one very singular peculiarity. He would become almost distracted if he wanted any thing, and it was not instantly brought to him. One day he and ourself were sitting in opposite corners of " the smoke room," while the other passengers were taking their dinner, we being unable to partake from that form of sickness so common under such circumstances. While we were thus seated, one of the waiters passed by the door, at the corner of the room the most distant from the place where the young man was seated. As soon as the waiter appeared, the young man leaped up, and rushing forward, cried out at the top of his voice, and with a perfect wail of anguish, "Waiter! waiter! waiter! " We have seldom heard a louder cry, or one uttered with greater apparent anguish. "What do you want? " replied the waiter. "I want some rice pudding," was the deeply sorrowful reply. If we had only been inhabitants of the planet Mars then, the distracted young man would have just " cast his beaming eyes upon the eyes " of the waiter, and the latter would have instantly perceived the exact object desired, namely, " some rice pudding." During that voyage, we had also, at a particular period, a somewhat to us, singular experience. For several days previous we had hardly been able to partake of a particle of food, and it seemed to us that we should never desire to taste it again. At length one specific object which had never before been a favorite article with us, became, to the total exclusion of all
CLAIRVOYANT REVELATIONS. 27 others, an object of most intense desire, that of a cold boiled turnip. We finally, in the midst of our sufferings, forced our way to the kitchen, and asked the waiter if he could not furnish us with that one object. What was our suffering, when he told us, that there was no such article in readiness. 0, had we been crossing one of the oceans of Mars, at that time, all that we should need to have done, would have been to "cast our beaming [blue] eyes upon the eyes" of one of the waiters as he appeared, and he would instantly have perceived, with absolute distinctness and accuracy, the great thought that lay with such weight upon our heart, and the wish, too, that was the father of that thought, the idea of a cold boiled turnip. Such is the blissful condition of the inhabitants of Mars according the " divine revelations" of " Andrew Jackson Davis, the Poughkeepsie Seer," and " he is a heretic dog that but adds Betty Martyn" to what that divine seer has written. His other revelations in regard to things unseen, are just as credible as the above. We now advance to a consideration of the last topic of remark in this article, namely, the real moral character of this professedly divine revelator. There are but two points of light in which we can regard him - as a self-deceived enthusiast who honestly supposes himself uttering " truth eternalized," while he is giving expression to the merest errors, contradictions, and absurdities conceivable, -or, like the founder of Mormonism, a deliberate impostor. It is in the latter character exclusively that we are compelled to regard this individual, and we will give our reasons for thus regarding him. We have long been taught to estimate no man's moral character as being better than his deliberately formed and entertained moral principles; and we hold
28 MODERN MYSTERIES. the truth of such a maxim to be self-evident. We believe that no man is practically honest who entertains and propagates a system of belief, that in all respects gives the lie to the immutable dictates of his own moral nature. If there is any thing that is an immutable dictate of that nature, it is that there is an eternal and immutable distinction between actions as morally right or morally wrong; that the most sacred and inviolable obligation rests upon us to do the one and avoid the other; and that the desert of good or ill necessarily attaches to us, as we comply or refuse to comply with the behest of the law of duty. When an individual denies these distinctions, and cherishes the opposite sentiment, the bottom has dropped out of his moral character, and no foundation is left upon which to build a character for integrity, purity, and virtue. Now what are the principles of our seer on this subject? -principles to the propagation of which he has consecrated his life? lie has one merit here, that of self-consistency. He is an openly avowed materialist, and, as such, is throughout a consistent necessitarian. All the actions of all beings, man not excepted, he teaches, are subject to one immutable law. In the circumstances of their occurrence, they cannot be otherwise than they are. Man, therefore, cannot be under obligation to do differently from what he does, or incur, by any actions he may perform, the desert of moral good or ill. Moral obligation has no place in his system, and he does not profess to give it a place there. " Sin indeed," he says, " in the common acceptation of the term, does not really exist; but what is called sin is merely a mzisdir'ection of man's physical or spiritual powers which generates unhappy consequences." All effects, human conduct not excepted, are, according to our author, a
CLAIRVOYANT REVELATIONS. 29 necessary result of the immutable laws of nature, and cannot, by any possibility, be otherwise than they are. HowT then, can such results be a misdirection of such powers? It is with the moral principles of our seer, however, that we now have to do. In another place he tells us, that, " The nature of the mental and physical constitution of mankind is divine, perfect, and harmonious. This will never deceive. It is perfectly good, and represents the divineness of its origin and cause. Deception, however, exists in the world, and all description of dissimulation. But these do not flow from the interior of man's nature, but arise merely as a consequence of his unholy, imperfect, and vitiated situation in reference to his fellow beings. Unholy situations produce unholy effects. But the interior principle which is of divine origin, cannot be made evil, nor can it be contaminated. And all evil is of external and superficial origin, and is felt by all as external; and hence, in order to banish all evil from the earth, a change must occur in the social condition of the whole world." Again he says: " The innate divineness of the spirit of man prohibits the possibility of spiritual wickedness, or unrighteousness." In other words, the external actions may be wrong, in consequence of the wrong situation of man physically, but the existence of real moral depravity or wrong is an absolute impossibility. Man can no more sin, according to the proper signification of that term, that is, perform an act really and strictly morally wrong, than a steamengine! Such are the sentiments which our seer glories in propagating. Now we say that no man can hold and teach such sentiments, and yet retain his moral integrity and purity, any more than individuals can deliberately 3*
30 MODERN MYSTERIES. perpetrate acts of piracy, murder, arson, seduction, robbery, theft, and not perpetrate acts morally wrong. The moral sentiments can be corrupted only by internal moral depravity and corruption. We will not judge him, however, merely by his principles, but by his acts,- at least by one of them, which, in our judgment, is sufficiently decisive to mark his real character, indelibly. The past fall and winter, nearly one year ago, our seer performed a mission in some of the western States. When in the city of Cleveland, (we were there at the time,) and while delivering a public lecture, he suddenly stopped, and for some minutes seemed to be in one of his favorite states of abstraction, or spiritual revery. On coming to himself, he remarked that he was deeply, painfully impressed with woman's rights. " Will Horace Mann/" he exclaimed, 4 lecture in this city, this winter? He will. Will his subject be Woman? It will." Our seer then requested that portion of the audience who should hear Mr. Mann, to compare what he should now utter with what Mr. M. should utter on his arrival, and carefully mark the correspondence between them. He then delivered a very spirit-stirring paragraph, in which the audience was intensely interested. Ie professed to the audience that, during the revery referred to, he had had a vision of Mr. M.'s manuscript, and thus obtained the extract delivered. When our seer was through, a gentleman in the audience arose, and remarked that he also was impressed to say, that what the speaker had just uttered, as obtained through a vision of an unprinted manuscript, could be found, word for word, in a certain number of the New York Tiribune; and that, if desired, he would produce the paper and read the paragraph to the audience. Our seer, of course, was taken
CLAIRVOYANT REVELATIONS. 31 all aback by such an announcement, and remarking that he did not read the newspapers, went on with his lecture. We state facts as they were published in the daily papers of that city, while our seer was there; and to our knowledge they have never been contradicted or explained by him or his friends. An individual who boarded at the same house with our seer, while he was in that city, remarked to us that Mr. Davis was, while there, to his personal knowledge, a very diligent reader of the papers. On his arrival in that city, Mr. Mann remarked to us, that up to that time, he had regarded Mr. Davis as a sincere but self-deceived enthusiast; but that now he was compelled to regard him as a deliberate impostor; and that for the reason that not a single sentence contained in the extract could be found in his manuscript; that the former was a very condensed report of a lecture which he had previously delivered in the city of New York. Such a fact, in our judgment, speaks volumes, and it "tells us no lies," but places our seer in the same position as the Mormon prophet. Our remarks upon these "divine revelations," have been very concise, and were designed to be. Enough has been written, however, to characterize the whole work and its author. If the philosophy on which these revelations are based is intrinsically absurd and contradictory; if, in the statement of known facts of history, he is proved to be a gross deceiver; and if his moral principles are fundamentally subversive of all morality; his character as a " Hivine revelator" is a fixed fact, and no further examination of his orgies is demanded. We have said enough, we think, to establish, incontrovertibly, all these propositions. Aside from the de
32 MODERN MYSTERIES. sign of exposing the character of these revelations, we have had two ulterior designs in the preparation of this article. We have designed, in the first place, to indicate the fundamental objections which lie against the doctrine of materialism, in all the possible forms in which it may be developed. If the theory of our seer cannot be true, and we think we have shown that it cannot, then no form of materialism can be true; for precisely similar objections lie against every other form of that system as against this. The objection that lies against every form of the system that can be devised, may be thus stated: If materialism, in any form, is true, then creation cannot have had a beginning in time, but must have been from eternity. Creation had a beginning in time: therefore that system, in all its forms, must be false. This article was also designed as preparatory to another, an article on the character of modern " spirit revelations." In giving our readers some principles by which they could judge of the character of these revelations, we deemed it advisable to begin with the founder of this new religion, and especially to reveal the character of "the harmonial philosophy," which " the spirits " seem almost if not quite universally to have adopted. If " the spirits" are fundamentally wrong in their philosophy, and we think we have already shown them to be, they are most assuredly not worthy to be trusted in any of their revelations.
PART II. THE MISSION OF "THE SPIRITS," OR THE PHENOMENA OF SPIRITUALISM EXPLAINED, AND EXPOSED. THE tendency of human depravity, in all ages, has been to supplant the worship of " the incorruptible God" by that of " corruptible man, and birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things." "In these last days," this same principle is being carried out, by attempting to substitute for the revelations of the spirit of this " incorrviptible God," those of pretended spirits of corruptible men. No revelations which descend to us from this professed mission of "the spirits," lay claim to any higher origin. A revelation coming from the bosom and heart of infinity and perfection, absolutely adapted, in all respects, to meet perfectly the spiritual necessities of universal humanity, and revealing in its own nature and intrinsic adaptations, as well as in its external evidences, the clearest possible indications of its origin from no other cause than the spirit of God, is, if the mission of "the spirits" attains its end, to be supplanted by pretended revelations of the spirits of men, revelations as discordant in themselves as the jargon of Babel, having no adaptations to the necessities of humanity, in any form, physical, intellectual, or moral, and which are totally wanting, as we expect to show, in any positive claims to any connection whatever with any real spirits (33)
34 MODERN MYSTERIES. in " the spirit land," much less with those whose honest intention is to reveal nothing but the truth. We may be permitted, in the outset of our remarks, to recur to a fact noticed,. in our first article, on the general subject under consideration, a fact which throws a most "disastrous twilight" of worse than uncertainty over this mission of " the spirits;" the fact that, in almost no one point, do they so unanimously agree, as in affirming the truth of the " harmonial philosophy,"- a philosophy which, as we have already shown, can no more be true, than the proposition, that things equal to the same things are not equal to one another. Among the standard works issued from " the spirit press," we have, for example, a professed revelation from the spirit of Thomas Paine, pertaining to the original condition of matter, and the origin, progress, and consummation of the work of creation. In this production, which was commended to our high regard by a very intelligent man in most respects, a graduate of Yale College, as solving most completely the great mystery under consideration, the fact of matter as the only substance, its original condition, a condition in which up to a certain period it had remained inoperative for any creative effects, from eternity, as a mass of liquid fire, and the origin and cause of creation from the spontaneous activity of this mass at that moment, are given precisely as set forth in "the divine revelations" of our Poughkeepsie seer. Here the two revelations diverge a little. According to the latter, all'systems of suns and worlds were "instituted" from clouds of vapor spontaneously thrown off from the central mass. According to the former, from this same mass there was, at the moment referred to, spontaneously, from a law inherent in matter, thrown off masses of matter which passed away into the
THIE MISSION OF " TIHE SPIRITS." 35 depths of space, and then stopping in their flight at the proper points, took their places as suns and worlds, each spontaneously revolving around its own axis, worlds beginning, in the same manner, to move in proper orbits around their central suns, and satellites around their respective centres, and all together constituting one harmonious universe. The individual that would for a moment credit such an account of creation, that does not instantly perceive it to be as absurd, self-contradictory, and its truth as impossible, as the supposition, that creative power resides in empty space, is prepared to believe any thing but truth,- truth revealed in all her internal harmony and self-consistency, and attended with all possible external evidence of its reality. Truth is too insubstantial a substance to find a lodgement in such a mind. Yet such is the philosophy of the spirits in regard to creation, of which they profess a perfect knowledge. Whatever else they know, they are certainly very poor philosophers. Of the real laws of mind they know almost nothing; of those of matter quite as little, and of neither do they know any thing correctly. Equally absurd is their theory pertaining to the condition of the spirits in the invisible world, -their existence, we mean, in seven concentric circles or spheres. We have the authority of "the spirits" themselves, for discrediting any revelations even from them which do not accord with the great principles of matter and spirit already revealed to us, by experience and observation. Now what is there in the analogy of human experience, or in the laws of our physical, mental, or moral nature, to indicate a future existence in such kind of spheres? Absolutely nothing. Besides, if the law of human progression, which is to continue forever, demands seven such spheres, it would, for the same reason,
36 MODERN MYSTERIES. demand seventy thousand -indeed an infinite number. "' The spirits" are now, they affirm, distributed along through these different circles or spheres, from the first to the seventh, according to intellectual and moral attainments. Among those in the first six circles, there is a continuous advance towards the seventh, where they all finally meet, and to all eternity remain together upon one common level. Now, if the progress of those in the sixth circle, for example, demands an ultimate admission to the seventh, why should not the advancement of those in this last demand an admission to one still higher, and so on to all eternity? On what principle of classification, also, are " the spirits " all arranged into seven, with no intermediate circles? The same principles which would demand this number, would require just as many circles or spheres as there are individual spirits; for there are no two precisely alike. Besides, such a separation as the system under consideration presents, is the most unfavorable conceivable to the great ends for which the arrangement itself is made, to wit, universal intellectual and spiritual progression. The most wise and the most pure are separated at the greatest remove from those who most need the influence of their instruction and example. Jesus Christ, we are informed in the work connected with the name of Judge Edmonds, is so far advanced, that such spirits as those of Swedenborg and Bacon, though they have been one or two centuries in the spirit land, have never yet got even a sight of him. For ourselves, we think this must be true of the spirits lubricating in that work. But think of the idea of the state even of the virtuous dead, as shadowed forth in such an arrangement of spiritual existences, an arrangement in which those who most need the highest forms of illurina
THE MISSION OF "THE SPIRITS." 37 tion are placed at an unapproachable remove from it! Then the particular account given of these circles or spheres has but one characteristic which commends it to our regard, a perfect adaptation to secure the faith of credulous minds, namely, its perfect absurdity. That given by the spirit of Thomas Paine, we will notice as an illustration. All the circles or spheres for the inhabitants of this world, have the earth for their common centre. The first encircles the earth at about five thousand miles from its surface, if we rightly remember. A pretty solid pavement " the spirits " must have to walk upon there. What wonderful scenery they must have there in the presence of which "the spirits" may realize the great idea of endless progression; scenery consisting of luxurious prairies in endless perspective, " hills peeping o'er hills," and mountains, rivers, lakes, oceans of corresponding sublimity, orchards, vineyards, fields of waving grain, all beaming with immortal luxuriance, imperishable habitations, towns and cities with their alabaster foundations, gates of pearl, and streets of gold, looming up into untold magnificence, through their " cloud-capped towers, gorgeous palaces, and solemn temples." \We have the most positive revelation from "the spirits," that the soul on escaping its clayey tenement does not escape the curse of labor. The first thing it is called to do, on entering the spirit land, is to erect its own habitation, and make provisions for its own sustenance, by a careful cultivation of the soil there. We think the soil is rather light up there in empty space, five thousand miles from the surface of the earth. The next sphere, with a scenery of still greater beauty and sublimity, is located at a still greater distance from the earth's surface, and so unto the seventh, 4
38 MODERN MYSTERIES. which encircles the universe. To what depths must human credulity have descended, when it can resort to sources from which such revelations as these proceed, for reliable information pertaining to the soul's immortal destiny! We will now descend from the sphere of philosophy to a direct consideration of the claims of spiritualism to the high regard of which its advocates deem it so worthy. We wish to handle these pretended substantialities, "the spirits," and see if there is any thing really substantial about them. In discussing the subject before us, three, and only three, questions will occupy the attention of the reader, namely, whether we have any valid evidence that spirits out of the body have any agency in the production of these so called spirit manifestations? what is the tendency of this spirit movement? and, certain topics of a miscellaneous character, bearing upon the general subject before us. CHAPTER I. HAVE WE VALID EVIDENCE THAT DISEMBODIED SPIRITS HAVE ANY AGENCY IN THESE MIANIFESTATIONS? AT the outset of our investigations, in respect to this question, it will be necessary to any thing like a scientific procedure, to lay down definitely, certain fundamental principles, which we may apply, as decisive tests of truth, in reference to any conclusions which have been, or may be deduced from the facts which lie in
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 39 our way,- and then to specify the character of the facts on which spiritualists rely, as proof of the truth of their theory. As fundamental test principles which should guide our investigations, and determine our conclusions on this subject, we specify the following - TEST PRINCIPLES. 1. No facts occurring in the world around us, are to be referred to any supernatural, or ab extra spirit causes whatever, which facts can be adequately accounted for, by a reference to causes known to exist in this mundane sphere. 2. No facts are to be referred to any particular supernatural, or ab extra spirit cause, unless they are of such a nature, that they can be accounted for, upon no other supposition. 3. When particular causes are known to exist, all effects within and around us are to be attributed to such causes, effects resembling and analogous to those known to proceed from such causes, effects especially which occur in circumstances where such causes may be reasonably supposed to be present. 4. Even those facts for the occurrence of which no mundane causes, at present known, can be assigned, are not to be attributed to any ab extra causes whatever, or to the agency of disembodied spirits, when such facts are similar and analogous, in their essential characteristics, to other facts which once appeared equally mysterious and unaccountable on any mundane hypothesis, but for which science subsequently discovered actual mundane causes. Such facts manifestly lie in the track of scientific discovery, and we must suppose them to be the result of mundane causes, which are yet to be discovered, though at present unknown to us.
40 MODERN MYSTERIES. 5. To establish the claims of spiritualism, its advocates must show, (1.) that the facts which they adduce are wholly dissimilar and unanalogous, in their essential characteristics, to any facts resulting from any mundane causes, and (2.) that the occurrence and characteristics of these facts can be accounted for, but upon one exclusive hypothesis, the agency of disembodied spirits. If similar and analogous facts do arise from purely mundane causes, it is a violation of all the laws and principles of science and common sense, to attribute these phenomena to any ab extra cause whatever. The validity of these principles will be universally recognized as self-evident. Their applicability, as fundamental tests of truth, to our present inquiries, is equally manifest and undeniable. Their validity has been universally acknowledged by Christians, in reference to all miraculous attestations of the claims of Christianity to a divine origin and authority. FACTS ADDUCED TO SUSTAIN THE CLAIMIS OF SPIRITUALISIM. The facts on which the reality of the agency of spirits out of the body, in the production of these manifestations, is affirmed, are all, without exception, comprehended in the following classes, namely: — 1. Facts of a purely physical character, such as the moving of tables, chairs, etc., movements which sometimes accord with the thoughts and suggestions of inquirers. 2. Intelligent communications, by means of rapping sounds, speaking, and writing, phenomena which, in many instances, to say the least, occur wholly independently of the direct conscious agency of the mediums, *or any other persons present, on the occasion.
TIHE MISSION OF " TIE SPIRITS." 41 3. Communications pertaining to subjects of which the mediums are profoundly ignorant, and yet found to be correct. 4. Correct communications pertaining to facts believed to be known only to the inquirer himself, and the particular spirit with whom he is professedly communicating. 5. Similar communications containing correct responses to purely mental questions. 6. Communications conveying, in some instances, correct information, in respect to facts unknown to the inquirer, or any other person present. Facts falling under one or the other of the classes above named, are continuously occurring, it is claimed, il all parts of Christendom, and can be accounted for but upon one supposition, namely, that these communications proceed from disembodied spirits. Such is the argument of spiritualists, as stated by themselves, and stated as strongly as ever, to our knowledge, given forth by any writer or speaker, who advocates the spirit theory. Either of the following positions may be taken by those who deny this theory. 1. They may deny the facts put forward by spiritualists, and then meet the evidence adduced by them in favor of the actual occurrence of such facts. 2. Or they may admit the facts, and then meet the arguments based upon them. 3. Or, finally, they may deny both the facts and the conclusions based upon them, that is, they may take the ground, that the facts claimed by spiritualists are impositions, on the one hand, and that, if admitted as real, they do not sustain the claims of spiritualism, on the other. In each and every case alike, the burden of proof rests wholly upon the advocates of this new theory. All that its opponents have to do, unless they 4@
42 MODERN MYSTERIES. choose to proceed further, is to meet the facts and arguments adduced by its advocates to sustain its claims For ourselves, in conducting the argument, in the present treatise, we shall admit the facts claimed by spiritualists, and join issue with them simply and exclusively in regard to the conclusions which they deduce from them. We admit the facts for the all adequate reason, that after careful inquiry, we have been led to conclude that they are real. We think that no candid inquirer, who carefully investigates the subject, can come to any other conclusion. While we honestly believe, that there is more imposition connected with this movement, than with almost any other that can be named, yet we as fully believe, that a denial of the facts claimed by spiritualists, as comprehended under the classes above named, has its exclusive basis either in ignorance, or a state of prejudice which is blind to valid evidence. We have ourselves witnessed physical manifestations which, in our judgment, can be accounted for, by no reference to mere muscular action. A lady, for example, places her fingers gently upon a table or stand. Soon the object moves after her around the room, while yet no other person is in contact with the object, or in many feet of it, and her own fingers so lightly touch the smooth surface, or top of it, that the parts touching it are not perceptibly flattened in the least, on the one hand, nor the blood at all driven from under the finger nails, on the other. Who does not perceive, that the movements of such objects, under such circumstances, can be accounted for by no muscular pressure and action whatever? Yet we feel quite safe in vouching for the reality of just such facts, facts which are produced by individuals utterly repudiating spiritualism, in all its forms, facts utterly fatal, as we
THE MISSION OPF TIE SPIRITS." 43 shall hereafter see, to its claims, as far as physical manifestations are concerned. That intelligent communications are obtained in the spirit circles, communications undeniably indicating their origin from some intelligent cause, is now doubted by none, and admitted by all. Equally undeniable is the fact, that correct responses are often obtained to questions pertaining to subjects of which it is honestly believed, and no reasons exist for an opposite conclusion, that all present are profoundly ignorant, but the inquirer and the spirit with whom he is professedly communicating. A stranger, for example, from the most distant part of this, or from any foreign country, in passing through a place which he never visited before, and in consequence of an unexpected delay, goes immediately and unattended from the cars into some spirit circle, where no one could have expected him, and where he meets not a solitary countenance or form of which he has the most distant recollection. To all present, therefore, he has the best possible evidence that he is an utter stranger, whose visit no one anticipated. This individual, under these identical circumstances, may call for the spirit of some departed friend, and, on inquiry, obtain correct answers pertaining to the name of that spirit, his age at the time of his death, etc., the only condition required being, that the inquirer shall himself know what answers should be given, and, at the time, have those answers distinctly before his mind. That facts of this character have occurred, we have the most valid evidence, and any one can verify them, in his own experience, who will take the pains to do it. In the same circumstances, and on the same condition, individuals can obtain, in some instances, to say the least, correct answers to purely mental questions. A gentleman of
44 MODERN MYSTERIES. our acquaintance, for example, called upon the Misses Fish and the Foxes, when they were in Cleveland, Ohio, and to the supposed spirit of a departed sister, put mentally, and in succession, twelve questions, and to each received a perfectly correct answer, he knowing, in each instance, what the answer should be, and having his attention, at the time, definitely fixed upon it. This, and cases of a similar kind, which might, without number, be adduced, establish the reality of the class of facts under consideration. The gentleman above referred to, however, wrote out these same questions upon twelve blank cards, and putting them together, the sides containing the questions from him, and having shuffled them so that he could not know what question he might put down, in any instance, put each one successively upon the table, the question downward, and requested the same spirit to give an answer to the question laid down, while he should write that answer upon the blank side. Twelve answers were, accordingly, obtained, but one of which was, in any form, correct; the answers, in most instances, having no relations whatever to the question put. Such facts, which are continually occurring in spirit circles the world over, throw, in the judgment of all reflecting minds, more than suspicion over the truth of the whole spirit theory. The spirit of that sister, or any other truthful, or even lying spirit, a lying spirit who did not wish to bring this theory into universal discredit, would never attempt to answer questions under such circumstances; but would, at once, disavow ability to do it. There can be no doubt on this subject. Truthful spirits, we know certainly, would not give such responses; and lying ones would not, upon any laws of mind known to us, unless they desired, a case not credible, to shut
THE MISSION OF "THE SPIRITS." 45 themselves and all other spirits wholly out from all communication with minds in the body. As an example of facts coming under the class last named, we will state one which recently came to our knowledge, and for the occurrence of which we feel quite safe in vouching. A friend of ours who had been. since the summer of 1850, till September last, in Europe, and who, on his return, left two daughters there, one in London, and the other in France, Calais, if we rightly remember, called, not long after his return, upon a venerable Quaker family, in the State of Rhode Island. As the conversation, during the evening, turned upon the merits of spiritualism, the lady of the house proposed to call in, which was done, a friend of hers who was a medium, but never acted as such for remuneration. This medium, our friend had never before seen, and the character of the family precluded the idea of any form of imposition. When the required preparation was consummated, our friend inquired if any spirit was present who would communicate with him, and if so who? Elizabeth B-, was immediately rapped out. He had had a mother, sister, and wife, all now dead, of that same name. After specifying the two former, and receiving a negative answer, he was told that it was the spirit of the latter. To all questions pertaining to their family, such as names, ages, etc., correct answers were given. He then inquired about the present location of their daughters, and was told that each of them was in London. The eldest he supposed to be there, and the other in France. To every inquiry pertaining to the whereabouts of the latter, however, the answer was, London. The next steamer brought a letter from that daughter dated London, to which city she had come six days prior to the time
46 MODERN MYSTERIES. when that professedly spirit communication was received. The unbelief of our friend in spiritualism was very strongly shaken. In a subsequent interview with that spirit, after receiving all the evidence of identity which he had ever done, he asked the question, Where did you die, and where was your body buried? The reply was, Durham. After asking whether the place named was located in Ohio, Michigan, New York, or Massachusetts, and receiving to each inquiry a negative answer, the spirit was asked to name the State herself. Pennsylvania was rapped out. The wife of our friend died in Buffalo, N. Y., and her body was there interred. It is thus, that all reflecting minds who are inclined to place confidence in " the spirits," find their faith continually running upon snags by which it is, in a short period, utterly submerged. We leave such facts, for the present, to speak for themselves. Their full, and, as we hope, perfectly satisfactory explanation will be given hereafter. We might multiply authentic cases, in which correct statements are made relatively to facts unknown to all within the circles where such statements are given forth. One, however, when the reality of the facts is admitted, and all agree, in regard to the class to which they belong, is sufficient. That we may not be misunderstood, in our admissions, we would remark, that while we admit the actual occurrence of the class of facts last named, we also believe, from the best information which we have been able to obtain, that to inquiries pertaining to such subjects, excepting in cases where only a positive or negative answer is required, and one must be true, hardly one answer in a hundred is correct. We have a friend in Europe, for example; we ask the question of " the spirits," Is he dead or alive? Here we are, at any rate, as likely to obtain
THE MISSION OF " TIE SPIRITS." 47 a right as wrong answer. But suppose we ask, is he alive, and if so, where he is, and what is he now employed about? we having no means of forming even a probable conjecture of what is true on such subjects. In such cases correct answers are not, in our judgment, obtained in one case in a hundred, if in a thousand. Yet a sufficient number of such cases do occur to constitute the class above named, cases which need to be accounted for. We would further remark, that according to the best information that we have been able to obtain, incorrect answers are continuously, as in the case cited above, given forth to inquiries pertaining to subjects fully known both to the inquirers and the spirits professedly communicating, answers of such a character as to destroy all rational confidence in the claims of spiritualism. ISSUE STATED. Such, as we understand the subject, are the.facts before us, and such are the principles which should guide us in their investigation. To sustain the claims of spiritualism, it must be shown, that similar and analogous facts are produced by no mundane causes whatever, on the one hand, and that they can be produced by no other agencies than disembodied spirits, on the other. In opposition to the claims of this new system, we propose to show: 1. That from known mundane causes, precisely similar and analogous facts do arise. 2. That these so called spirit manifestations actually occur, in circumstances in which such causes are known to exist and to act, and that by a reference to such causes, all these manifestations can be accounted for.
48 MODERN MYSTERIES. 3. That from such causes, and not from the agency of disembodied spirits, these manifestations do proceed. When we shall have proved the first two propositions, we shall have totally annihilated the claims of spiritualism, and when we shall have established the third, we shall have proved that theory false. We shall attempt the accomplishment of both these objects. We will take up the first two propositions together, and having established their truth, will then proceed to argue the last. FIRST TWO PROPOSITIONS ESTABLISHED. Spiritualists, as well as their opponents, admit, that if spirits do produce these manifestations, they do it by controlling a certain force preexisting in nature. No one supposes that they make rapping sounds, guide the hands or tongues of mediums, or move tables, by themselves striking against physical objects, taking hold of the hands or tongues of mediums, or of tables and other objects, and thus controlling their motions. All is done through the medium, or instrumentality of some natural force or power. To proceed intelligently in our investigations, we must, first of all, determine the properties and laws of this mysterious power in nature. SECTION I. ELECTRICITY, MAGNETISM, AND ANIMAL MAGNETISM DISTINGUISHED In accomplishing the object immediately before us, we would remark, that philosophers have unitedly affirmed, and the public generally are now iully aware of the truth of that affirmation, the existence and action of the three
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 49 following distinct powers or forces in nature, namely, Electricity, XMagnetism, and Animal 3Magonetism. While they all have many characteristics in common, each is distinguished from the others by properties altogether special and peculiar. They all have in common polarity, and with it the power of strongly attracting and repelling certain bodies. The points of agreement and distinction between electricity and magnetism are thus set forth by Prof. Olmsted: " Electricity and magnetism agree in the following particulars. 1. Each consists of two species, the vitreous and resinous electricities, and the austral and boreal magnetisms. 2. In both cases, those of the same name repel, and those of opposite names attract each other. 3. The laws of induction in both are very analogous. 4. The force, in each, varies inversely as the square of the distance. 5. The power, in both cases, resides at the surface of bodies, and is independent of their mass. " But electricity and magnetism are as remarkably unlike in the following particulars. 1. Electricity is capable of being excited in all bodies, and of being imparted to all: magnetism resides almost exclusively in iron in its different forms, and with a few exceptions, cannot be excited in any but ferruginous bodies. 2. Electricity may be transferred from one body to another; magnetism is incapable of such transference; magnets communicate their properties merely by induction, a process in which no portion of fluid is withdrawn from the magnetizing body. 3. When a body of an elongated figure is electrified by induction, on being divided in the middie, the two parts possess respectively the kind of electricity only which each had before the separation; but when a bar of steel or a needle magnetized by induction is broken into any number of parts, each part has both 5
~50. MODERN MYSTERIES. polarities, and becomes a perfect magnet. 4. The directive properties and the various consequences that result from it, the declination, annual and diurnal variations, the dip, the different intensities in different parts of the earth, are all peculiar to the magnet, and do not appertain to electrified bodies." Animal magnetism has, in common with the two forces above named, as we have said, polarity, and consequently the property of attraction and repulsion. This statement is verified by an experiment with which all who have seen persons in a magnetic or mesmeric sleep are familiar. When the ends of the fingers of the magnetizer, for example, are brought near those of the magnetized, the latter being perfectly blindfolded, so as not at all to be aware of what is being done, the hand.of the person magnetized will instantly be attracted towards that of the magnetizer, and will follow it in any direction, just as the loadstone, and evidently for the same reason, draws after itself the needle, or any object in respect to which it has attractive power. Here stands revealed the polarity, and consequently the attractive force of this mysterious power in nature. Its essential dissimilarity from electricity, is equally manifest in the fact, that living, bodies can be charged with the former in circumstances in which they cannot be with the latter, that is, in the presence of electric conductors. The human body, for example, can be charged with the electric fluid, only by being placed upon glass, or some other non-conductor. In direct and immediate contact with such non-conductors, the same body may be most fully charged with animal magnetism. From magnetism it is distinguished with equal manifestness, by the fact, that it may be excited, in all its force, in anizal bodies, while the former is developed, in force, only in iron and
TIE MISSION O.F "THE SPIRITS." 51 kindred substances. We might refer to other characteristics, in which this substance, or force in nature, is distinguished from electricity on the one hand, and from magnetism on the other. The above, however, are sufficient for our present purpose. It remains to specify some of the peculiar characteristics of this power, as developed in animal bodies, the human body, we now refer to. Among these we would specify the following to which very special attention is invited, as they will hereafter be seen to have a fundamental bearing upon our present inquiries. EFFECTS OF ANIMAL MAGNETISM UPON TIE 1HUMAN SYSTEM. 1. It operates with immense power upon the muscular system, imparting to the limbs a rigidity and inflexibility which render any motion at the joints almost as impossible as at any other parts. We will give a single fact in illustration, a fact which occurred some years since in the city of Cleveland. The subject was a young woman who labored as a domestic in the family where the fact occurred. After putting the individual into a magnetic sleep, and while she was sitting in a chair, the magnetizer extended her right arm in a horizontal direction, and having made a few passes of his hand from the shoulder to the hand of the subject, he requested the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of that city, who was present by invitation, to bring that arm down from the position referred to. Taking hold of the hand and wrist of the subject, and pressing downwards with much weight, he expressed the fear that he should break the arm, should he add to the pressure. On being assured by the magnetizer, that he had no reason for apprehension on that subject, Dr. Aikin affirms,
52 MODERN MYSTERIES. that he laid out all the strength he could command, without being able to move the limb downward. It seemed to possess the inflexibility of a rod of steel. The above fact comes from a source- which will command universal belief, and is but one among numberless others of a similar nature that might be cited. With what astonishing power must this force act upon the muscular system to produce such results! 2. Such also is the effect of this substance, or force, upon the physical system generally, that the mind is thereby, in many instances, wholly insulated from any communication with the external world, through any of the senses, and, in instances not a few, rendered equally insensible to any effects produced upon the physical organization itself. A limb may be amputated, for example, and the subject experience no pain, noi any conscious sensation whatever, from the operation. The senses also are all locked up from any communications with the world around but through those with whom, and in respect to objects with which, they are in mesmeric communication. Facts falling under this class are too well authenticated to be denied, and too well known to need illustration, or explanation by the citation of particular examples. 3. In some instances, under the influence of this same substance, the perceptive faculties are greatly quickened, so that the mind perceives objects which lie wholly beyond, and at a great remove from, the reach of the ordinary senses, when the mental and physical powers are in a normal state. That perceptions of this character are to be numbered among real facts of clairvoyance there can rest upon no candid mind, which has made adequate investigations, any doubt whatever. " However astonishing," says Sir W. Hamilton, "it is now
THE MISSION OF "THE SPIRITS." 53 proved beyond all rational doubt, that in certain abnormal states of the nervous organism, perceptions are passible through other than the ordinary channels of the senses." " It has been, I believe," says Dr. Wayland, " proved beyond dispute, that persons under this influence have submitted to the most distressing operations without consciousness of pain; that other persons have cognized events at a great distance, and have related them correctly at the time; and that persons totally blind, when in a state of mesmeric consciousness, have enjoyed for the time the power of perceiving external objects." As we wish to have very special attention directed to this class of facts, on account of their bearings upon our subsequent inquiries, we will confirm the truth of the above statement of Dr. Wayland, by the following extract from a letter addressed to him by J. M. Brook, Esq. of the United States Navy, and contained in the work from which the above is taken, namely, " Wayland's Intellectual Philosophy."' WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 1851. SIR, - It affords me pleasure to comply with your request, made through my brother William., relative to some experiments performed on board the United States steamer Princeton, in the latter part of the year 1847; she being then on a cruise in the Mediterranean. Nathaniel Bishop, the subject of the experiments, was a mulatto, about twenty-six years of age, in good health, but of an excitable disposition. The first experiment was of the magnetic or mesmeric sleep, which overpowered him in thirty minutes from the commencement of the passes made in the ordinary way, accompanied with a steadfast gaze and effort of will that he should sleep. 5'
54 MODERN MYSTERIES. In this state he was insensible to all voices but mine, unless I'directed or willed him to hear others; he was also insensible to such amount of pain as one might inflict without injury, that is, what would have been pain to another. He would obey my directions to whistle, dance, or sing. When aroused from this sleep he had no recollection of what occurred while in it. That such an influence could be exerted, I was already aware, having previously witnessed satisfactory experiments. Of clairvoyance I had never been convinced; indeed, considered it nothing but a sort of dreaming produced by the will of the operator. I became aware of its truth rather through accident than design. "It happened, one day, that some of my brother officers asked a question which the others could not answer. Bishop, who had been a few moments before in a mesmeric sleep, gave the desired information, speaking with confidence and apparent accuracy. As the information related to something which it seemed almost impossible to know without seeing, we were very much surprised. It struck me that he might be clairvoyant; and I at once asked him to tell me the time by a watch kept in the binnacle, on the spar or upper deck, we being on the berth or lower deck. He answered correctly, as I found upon looking at the watch, allowing eight or nine seconds for time occupied in getting on deck. I then asked him many questions with regard to objects at a distance, which he answered, and, as far as I could ascertain, correctly. "For example, one evening, while at anchor in the port of Genoa, the captain was on shore. I asked Bishop, in the presence of several officers, where the captain then was. He replied,' At the opera with Mr. Lester, the consul.''What does he say?' I inquired.
THE MISSION OF' TIiE SPIRITS." 55 Bishop appeared to listen, and in a moment replied,'The captain tells Mr. Lester, that he was much pleased with the port of Xavia; that the authorities treated him. with much consideration.' Upon this, one of the officers laughed, and said that when the captain returned he would ask him. He did so; saying,' Captain, we have been listening to your conversation while on shore.'' Very well,' remarked the captain,' What did I say?' expecting some jest. Then the (;licer repeated what the captain had said of Xavia and its authorities.'Ah,' said the captain,'who was at the opera? I did not see any of the officers there.' The lieutenant then explained the matter. The captain confirmed its truth, and seemed much surprised, as there had been no other communication with the shore during the evening. I may remark that we touched at several ports between Xavia and Genoa. " On another occasion, an officer being on shore, I directed Bishop to examine his pockets; he made several motions with his hands, as if actually drawing something from the officer's pockets, saying,' Here is a handkerchief and a box; what a curious thing! full of little white sticks with blue ends. What are they, Mr. Brooks?' I replied,' Perhaps they are matches.'' So they are!' he exclaimed. My companion, expecting the officer mentioned, went on deck, and meeting him at the gangway, asked,' What have you in your pockets?''Nothing,' he replied.'But have you not a box of matches?''Oh! yes!' said he,'How did you know it? I bought them just before I came on board. The matches are peculiar, made of white wax with blue ends.''" The surgeons of the Princeton ridiculed these experiments, upon which I requested one of them (Farquhar
56 MODERN MYSTERIES. son), to test for himself, which he consented to do. With some care he placed Bishop and myself in one corner of the apartment, and then took a position some ten feet distant, concealing between his hands a watch, the long hand of which traversed the dial. He first asked for a description of the watch. To which Bishop replied,''Tis a funny watch, the second hand jumps.' " The doctor then asked him to tell the minute and second, which he did; directly afterwards exclaiming,'The second hand has stopped!' which was the case; Dr. Farquharson having stopped it.' Well,' said the doctor,'to what second does it point, and to what hour, and what minute is it now?' Bishop answered correctly, adding,''T is going again.' He then told twice in succession the minute and second. " The doctor was convinced, saying, that it was contrary to reason, but he must believe. I then proposed that the doctor should mark; and directed Bishop to look in his mother's house, in Lancaster, Pa., (where he had never been,) for a clock; he said there was one, and told the time by it; one of the officers calculated the difference in time for the longitudes of Lancaster and Genoa, and the clock was found to agree within five minutes of the watch time." 4. The relations existing between the magnetized, when in the magnetic state, and the magnetizer or other persons in mesmeric communication with the person magnetized, next claims our special attention. Among these relations the following may be specified as having a special bearing upon our present investigations. (1.) Any sensations induced by any cause in the magnetizer are instantly reproduced in the individual magnetized, and that when it is impossible to induce
THE MISSION OF " TIE SPIRITS.' 57 any such feelings by any effects directly produced upon the physical organization of the latter. If the magnetizer tastes, smells, or touches any particular object, the person magnetized instantly experiences the same sensations. Aly sensations unexpectedly induced in the former, by secretly twitching his hair, pinching his body, or pricking it with a needle or pin, and when this is done in a manner and form which preclude the possibility of any knowledge of what is done, on the part of the latter, any sensations, we say, even thus induced in the magnetizer, will be instantly reproduced in the person magnetized, each individual, in almost all instances being affected in the same part of the physical system. A gentleman of our acquaintance, to remove all doubt from his own mind in regard to the question of collusion, called a magnetizer aside, and while speaking to him, put a vial of hartshorn to his nose, the vial having just before been sent for from a distance: " Do take that from my nose," instantly exclaimed the subject who was in a magnetic state. The world is full of facts of a precisely similar nature wherever the mesineric phenomena have been witnessed. The law which obtains in these circumstances seems to be this. This mysterious power acts with such force upon the sensitivity of the individual under its influence, (the person magnetized,) that it can, for the time, be affected but through this one power. Any feeling or sensation induced in the magnetizer acts upon this power, and through it upon the sensitivity of the person magnetized, reproducing there the same feelings which had previously been induced in the magnetizer. (2.) In a similar manner, the thozughts of the magnetizer are reproduced in the mind of the individual magnetized, especially when the former wills it. This holds
58 MODERN MYSTERIES. true not only in regard to common conceptions, but equally of all acts of the imagination. A very intelligent and pious lady, a member of the Baptist church in Poughkeepsie, N. Y., while upon her death-bed, made the following statement to her pastor, from whom we received the same. When you come to investigate the facts of mesmerism, she remarked, you will find this to be true, that the clairvoyant when in mesmeric communication with you, can speak your thoughts. I was once present when A. J. Davis, then a lad, was in this state, and was requested to touch his forehead with my own. I did so, and found that he would instantly speak out any thought that came into my mind. A scientific gentleman from the interior of New England, while in the city of New York, some years ago, called upon, and was put into mesmeric communication with a clairvoyant whom he had never seen before. The latter mentally accompanied the former to his (the inquirer's) father's residence, describing the facts of the journey, the external and internal appearance of the house and the surrounding scenery just in accordance with his recollections and conceptions at the time. He then imagined a meeting-house standing before the front door of that residence, (no such object existing,) and asked the clairvoyant, "what do you see now?" A meetinghouse," was the answer. The object was then described in exact accordance with the image preexisting in the inquirer's mind, both in regard to location, form, sizes color, etc. The fact of the transfer of thought in the mesmeric relations is too well known and undeniable to require any further confirmation or elucidation. Many curious inquiries are often raised pertaining to the question, How are such effects produced? On this subject we will venture the expression of an opinion,
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 59 How is it, that by vocal utterance we reproduce our own thoughts in the minds of others? The action of our vocal organs induces a vibratory motion of the atmosphere, the ultimate result of which (not to specify particulars) is the production, in the mind of the hearer, of certain sensations with which those thoughts are associated. Through those sensations, thus induced, the thoughts referred to are reproduced in the mind of the hearer. Suppose that when a thought exists in the mind of the magnetizer, the feelings thereby induced in him act upon this force so as to induce, in the magnetized subject, the same or similar feelings or sensations that would be induced by the vocal utterance of that thought, when each was mentally and physically in a normal condition. That thought would be reproduced in one instance for the same reason precisely, and upon the same principle, that it is in the other, there being a difference merely in regard to the immediate cause of the sensation with which the idea is associated. This we believe to be the real relation between the individuals under consideration, and this the reason why the thoughts of the one are reproduced in the mind of the other. We have already shown that sensations are reproduced upon this one principle. Why should we not conclude, that upon the same principle thoughts are reproduced? The fact of the transfer of thought in the mesmeric relation will not be doubted, however, whatever may be thought of the above explanation. (3.) A control equally perfect can the magnetizer exercise over the muscular system of the individual in a magnetic state. By simply willing it, with no external motions whatever, the latter can render the whole body, or any given member of the same perfectly stiff and motionless, and hold it in any given position for any
60 MODERN MYSTERIES. given length of time. This power often continues for a period subsequent to the time when the subject has come out of a mesmeric state. Take as an illustration and confirmation of this statement, the following additional extract from the letter of J. M. Brooke, Esq.: " The power which I acquired by putting him to sleep remained after he woke, and was increased by its exercise. If not exerted for several days, it decreased, sometimes rendering it necessary to repeat the passes, and again put him to sleep. While awake, and under my influence, I made many experiments, such as arresting his arm when raising food to his mouth, or fixing him motionless in the attitude of drinking. On one occasion I willed that he should continue pouring tea into a cup already filled, which he did, notwithstanding the exclamations of those who were scalded in the operation. These influences were exerted without a word, or change of position on my part." (4.) Hence I remark, in the last place, that the entire mental and physical activity of the magnetized, is, in many instances, under the complete control of the magnetizer, while the mesmeric relation between- them continues, a relation which, as we have seen, often continues for a period longer or shorter, after the subject has come out of a mesmeric sleep. The wildest imaginings of the latter are thus reproduced in the mind of the former, the objects of those imaginings appearing as objects of real external perception. The magnetizer puts his handkerchief, for example, into the hands of his magnetic subject, and it becomes, to that subject, a flower of surpassing beauty, a kitten, lap-dog, an infant, or a serpent, just as the magnetizer secretly wills. Mr. Brook says still further of his subject: "He remembered or forgot what he saw when clairvoyant, as I willed, of
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 61 which I satisfied myself by experiment. All his senses were under control, so completely indeed, that had I willed him to stop breathing I believe that he would." A magnetizer agreed with a friend of ours, a gentleman of the most unquestionable veracity, to induce his magnetic subject to sing, she being a beautiful singer, and to stop the singing the instant our friend should raise his finger. As the singing proceeded, and while the singer was uttering a long note, our friend raised his finger, and the voice instantly ceased, with that note half finished. The magnetizer willed the singing to proceed again, and that note, a thing impossible to a person in a normal condition, was finished, and with it the remainder of the stanza. This was done, while the subject was deeply blindfolded, and the magnetizer stood several feet from her, with his eyes fixed intently upon our friend, waiting for the raising of his finger. No collusion therefore was possible. The following facts we adduce, with leave, on the authority of Mr. Covert, formerly president of Central College, Ohio, and now of the Female College on College Hill, near Cincinnati. The facts occurred in Columbus, in the presence of a select company of witnesses. After fully satisfying himself, by experiments about which there could be no mistake, that any sensations induced in the magnetizer were instantly reproduced in the magnetic subject, the latter uniformly experiencing the corresponding sensation in the very part of the body in which it was induced in the former, and after witnessing wonderful exhibitions of the absolute control which the magnetizer had, at will, over the magnetized individual, President Covert called the former into a separate room, the door being closed between them and the subject of the magnetic influence, and requested him, in a tone of voice that 6
62 MODERN MYSTERIES. could be heard by no one but themselves, to will that his subject should leave her seat, come into the room where they were, and seat herself in a particular chair which was designated, many others being in the room at the time. The magnetizer did as directed, and that without moving at all any part of his body. Immediately the magnetic subject opened the door, entered the room, and passing to the other side of it, sat down In the very chair referred to, her eyes all the while being perfectly closed, and the magnetizer, iv\\ repeat, giving not the least indication by word, look, or gesture, of what he willed her to do. He then, at President Covert's subsequent request, so uttered that none but the individual spoken to could have heard, willed her to leave that seat, and seating herself at the piano, entertain them with music and singing. This she did accordingly. Thus it is, that the magnetizer, at will, completely controls the mental and physical activity of his magnetic subject. Facts of the most authentic character, and bearing with equal force upon the same conclusion, might be multiplied to any extent. These, however, are abundantly sufficient. From all the facts above adduced, pertaining to the action of this mysterious power in nature, the following conclusions are undeniable:1. There is in nature a medium of communication between mind and mind, other than that by which communlications are had, through the ordinary channels of the senses. 2. Through this same force, one mind may, when the proper conditions are fulfilled, control the action of tlle mental and physical powers of another mind. 3. The action of this force upon the physical system, and through it upon the mind of the magnetized, is as the feelings, thoughts, and purposes of the magnetizer.
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS."7 63 4. Through this same power, the mind of the person magnetized, when he happens to be in mesmeric cornmunication (rapport) with any object however distant, and however removed from the reach of the senses, will have a direct and immediate cognition of the same. 5. The action of this force, when certain conditions are fulfilled, is determined, in many important particulars, by mental states and acts, and accords with the same, and here its nature and relations to mind stand revealed, a fact of fundamental importance, but which seems not hitherto, to have been distinctly and generally recognized by philosophers. Mesmeric facts have demonstrated the existence of this power in nature, and thereby laid the foundation for the explanation of many facts around us which have, to this time, appeared to be totally inexplicable. SECTION II. THE ODYLIC FORCE. To prepare the way still further for the full and distinct elucidation of the subject before us, we will now advance to a consideration of a peculiar force in nature, a force the existence, properties, and laws of which philosophers had developed and verified, by the most careful and decisive experiments, years prior to the appearance of these so called spirit manifestations, and which they had denominated the Odylic Force. This force, which indeed pervades all bodies in nature, has many properties in common with electricity and magnetism, polarity, and with it, the property of attrccting and repelling other bodies, for example. At the same time, it differs from these forces in particulars equally fundamental, being,
64 MODERN MYSTERIES. for example, undeniably transmissible through magnetic and electric non-conductors. The physical organisms of individuals of peculiar physical temperaments, become, in some instances, in certain localities, permanently and very strongly charged with this force. The following may be enumerated, as among the more important phenomena which characterize its developments under such circumstances. 1. It acts upon other objects, and is reacted upon by them, as a very strong attractive and repulsive power; objects, in many instances, even without visible contact, being drawn towards or driven from such individuals, and in other particulars acted upon in a very singular and unaccountable manner. 2. Upon the walls, floor, and ceiling of rooms occupied by such individuals, rapping sounds, very much like those produced by striking against such objects with the knuckles, or with a mallet, are not unfrequently heard; such phenomena being also occasionally attended with a sensible jarring of surrounding objects, and sometimes with rumbling sounds, resembling the roaring of distant thunder. 3. The physical systems of such individuals are very powerfully affected, so powerfully as, in many instances, to derange totally the action of the mental powers. 4. In the mental developments thus induced, we have, without exception, all the mesmeric and clairvoyant phenomena, as above presented. 5. This force, when developed in the human organism, has generally a special location in some of the nerve centres. When such centre is not immediately connected with the brain, then the action of this force, like that of magnetism, is simply that of a repulsive and attractive power, without the characteristics of intelli
THE MISSION OF THE SPIRITS." 65 gence. When that centre is the brain, then the direction of the action of this power bears, in many important particulars, the characteristics of intelligence, the action of the force, in such cases, being not only in accordance with, but evidently directed by, mental states. In illustration of the above statements, and in verification of the same, we will now present a few well authenticated facts. We cite only such facts as have a direct and immediate bearing upon our present inquiries. Those who would understand the science of the Odylic Force, are referred to the fundamental works upon the subject which are now before the public. With facts which really and truly indicate the existence and action of such a force in nature, so far especially as its attractive and repulsive properties are concerned, almost every one is, no doubt, familiar, though these facts, as generally witnessed, having nothing of a startling character about them, have, for the most part, escaped any special notice. Who has not witnessed, for example, in passing his hand over the head of another, the evidence of an attraction between the hand and the hair upon the head of such individual, an attraction sufficient to disarrange the hair, and cause the ends of it to rise from the head? Such facts clearly indicate the existence of the attractive force of which we are speaking. Some months since, as we called upon an aged clergyman who was just recovering from sickness, he related to us a somewhat interesting fact which had just occurred in his own experience. While engaged, a day or two previous, in adjusting some papers for the purpose of putting them on file, on withdrawing his hand from the paper which he had placed upon the top of others, that object followed his hand, being evidently a tracted by it. After repeated attempts, he 6*
66 MODERN MYSTERIES. found it impossible to adjust that paper, because it would follow his hand when he would withdraw it. His attention being thus attracted, he was led to make some special experiments. On placing the ends of his fingers upon the paper, and raising them up, the object adhered to them, and remained, for some time, suspended, just as a needle and other objects are raised and suspended by the magnet. On trial, he found that no such attraction existed, at the time, between his hand and any other paper before him for the obvious reason, that this attractive force, the presence of which is here undeniably evinced, was not thus relatively developed between his hand and any other paper, as between it and this one. We have only to suppose this same force developed between the organism of this individual and some heavy object, such as the table, and developed to a certain degree of strength and intensity, and for the same reason that this paper was attracted by his hand so as to be raised from the table, the table itself would be drawn after him all around the room, or thus driven from him, if the polarity of this force, as developed in his organism and the object were different or opposite from what we have supposed it to be. The table itself, also, attracted by the hand of the individual just as the paper referred to was, might, like that object, be lifted from the floor and for the same reason. Suppose further, that this force should happen to be developed at the same time, and in the same form, in the table and the floor beneath it. In that case, on the known principle, that, with all forces having polarity, opposite poles attract, while the same ones repel each other, the table would be spontaneously lifted from the floor, and, for a time, held, as by an invisible power, suspended in the atmosphere. If the same force was developed at the
THE MISSION- OF " THE SPIRITS." 67 time, in some object near, but with opposite polarity, then the table would be drawn towards such object, whirled over and thrown, it might be, with much violence upon the floor. Thus alternately attracted by some objects, and repelled by others, it would now be driven forcibly against some individuals, and fly from others with seeming terror, and tumbled strangely about the room, till all present were convinced that it must be bewitched, while all these terrifying phenomena are the exclusive result of the natural and necessary action of a peculiar force existing in nature all around us, a force which, like electricity in a thunderstorm, happens, at this time, to be developed with special power, in this particular locality, and in connection with the objects referred to, and when these now strange and unaccountable phenomena lose all their power to astonish and to terrify, as soon as the existence and properties of the force from which they result come to be recognized and understood. A lady attempts to spread out upon a table a silk dress, for the purpose of ironing it. The article adheres to her hand, winding all around it, so that she finds it very difficult or impossible to adjust the article so as to accomplish her object. We state a case which actually occurred in our own family, some months since. Another individual adjusts the same article without any difficulty, no such attraction appearing between her hands and the object referred to. In the case of the first individual, this force happened to be, at the time, developed in such relations between her hands and the object, the dress, as to occasion the singular phenomena under consideration. Such facts which are of almost every-day occurrence in the world around us, render manifest the existence, in the human organism, and in external nature, of
68 MODERN MYSTERIES. the force of which we are speaking, and when wisely considered, prepare us to look with scientific scrutiny, and with less wonder, incredulity, and scepticism upon authentic cases in which this same power is developed in the organism of individuals to such a degree, as produce the phenomena which astonish mankind. To a few of these cases, all of which, we believe, have all the marks of credibility that we can, with any show of reason, demand, very special attention is now invited. The first case that we adduce is that of Angelique Cottin, of which we have two well authenticated accounts, one of which is given by Catharine Crowe, in the " Night-side of Nature," and the other in the " Courier des Etats Unis,' of Paris. Both of these accounts are combined in the following extract from " Roger's Philosophy of Mysterious Rappings," to which we are indebted for other important facts hereafter to be cited. " Angelique Cottin was a native of La Perriere, aged fourteen, when, on the 15th of January, 1846, at eight o'clock in the evening, while weaving silk gloves at an oaken frame, in company with other girls, the frame began to jerk, and they could not by any efforts keep it steady. It seemed as if it were alive; and, becoming alarmed, they called in the neighbors, who would not believe them, but desired them to sit down and go on with their work. Being timid, they went one by one, and the frame remained still till Angelique approached, when it recommenced its movements, while she was also attracted by the frame; thinking she was bewitched or possessed, her parents took her to the presbytery, that the spirit might be exorcised. The curate, however, being a sensible man, refused to do it, but set himself, on the contrary, to observe the phenomenon; and, being perfectly satisfied of the fact, he bade them take her to a physician.
TIHE MISSION OF " TIHE SPIRITS.1" 69 " Meanwhile, the intensity of the influence, whatever it was, augmented; not only articles made of oak, but all sorts of things, were acted upon by it, and reacted upon her; while persons who were near her, even without contact, frequently felt electric (?) shocks. The effects, which were diminished when she was on a carpet or a waxed cloth, were most remarkable when she was on the bare earth. They sometimes entirely ceased for three days, and then recommenced. Metals were not affected. Any thing touching her apron or dress would fly off, although a person held it; and Monsieur Herbert, while seated on a heavy tub or trough, was raised up with it. In short, the only place she could repose on was a stone covered with cork; they also kept her still by isolating her. When she was fatigued, the effects diminished. A needle, suspended horizontally, oscillated rapidly with the motion of her arm, without contact; or remained fixed while deviating from the magnetic direction. Great numbers of enlightened medical and scientific men witnessed these phenomena, and investigated them with every precaution to prevent imposition. She was often hurt by the violent involuntary movements she was thrown into, and was evidently afflicted by chorea," * or St. Vitus' dance. The French paper mentions the circumstance that, while Angelique was at work in the factory, " the cylinder which was turning was suddenly thrown at a considerable distance without any visible cause; that this was repeated several times; that all the young girls in the factory, terrified, fled from the factory, ran to the curate to have him exorcise the young girl, believing she had a devil." After the priest had consigned her to the physi~ See Night-side of Nature, p. 380.
70 MODERN MYSTERIES. cian's care, the Courier des Etats Unis goes on to say. " The physician, with the father and mother, brought Angelique to Paris. M. Arago received her, and took her to the observatory, and in the presence of MM. Laugier and Goujon made the following observations, which were reported to the Paris Academy of Sciences. "1. It is the left side of the body which appears to acquire this sometimes attractive, but more frequently repulsive property. A sheet of paper, a pen, or any other light body, being placed upon a table, if the young girl approaches her left hand, even before she touches it, the object is driven to a distance, as by a gust of wind. The table itself is thrown the moment it is touched by her hand, or even by a thread which she may hold in it. " 2. This causes instantaneously a strong commotion in her side, which draws her toward the table; but it is in the region of the pelvis that this singular repulsive force appears to concentrate itself. " 3. As had been observed the first day, if she attempted to sit, the seat was thrown far from her, with such force that any person occupying it was carried away with it. "4. One day a chest, upon which three men were seated, was moved in the same manner. Another day, although the chair was held by two very strong men, it was broken between their hands. " 5. These phenomena are not produced in a continued manner. They manifest themselves in a greater or less degree, and from time to time during the day; but they show themselves in their intensity in the evening, from seven to nine o'clock. " 6. Then the girl is obliged to continue standing, and is in great agitation. "' 7. She can touch no object without breaking it or throwing it upon the ground.
THE MISSION OF "THE SPIRITS." 71 "8. All the articles of furniture which her garments touch are displaced and overthrown. "9. At that moment many persons have felt, by coming in contact with her, a true electrical shock. " 10. During the entire duration of the paroxysms, the left side of the body is warmer than the right side. "11. It is affected by jerks, unusual movements, and a kind of trembling, which seems to communicate itself to the hand which touches it. " 12. This young person presents, moreover, a peculiar sensibility to the action of the magnet. " When she approaches the north pole of the magnet she feels a violent shock, while the south pole produces no effect; so that if the experimenter changes the poles, but without her knowledge, she always discovers it by the difference of sensations which she experiences. " 13. M. Arago wished to see if the approach of this young girl would cause a deviation of the needle of the compass. The deviation which had been foretold was not produced. The general health of Angelique Cottin is very good. The extraordinary movements, however, and the paroxysms observed every evening, resemble what one observes in some nervous maladies. "The great fact demonstrated in this case, is, "That, under peculiar conditions, the human organism gives forth a physical power which, without visible instrumients, lifts heavy bodies, attracts or repels them, according to a law of polarity, -overturns them, and produces the phenomena of sound." For the following quite striking case, we are indebted to the Spiritual Telegraph, of New York city, a case which is given in that paper from another paper published in that city, and dated March 10, 1789.'Sir: - Were I to relate the many extraordinary,
72 MODERN MYSTERIES. though not less true accounts I have heard concerning that unfortunate girl at New Hackensack, your belief might, perhaps, be staggered, and patience tired. I shall, therefore, only inform you what I have been eyewitness to. Last Sunday afternoon my wife and myself went to Dr. Thorn's, and, after sitting for some time, we heard a knocking under the feet of a young woman that lives in the family. I asked the doctor what occasioned the noise; he could not tell, but replied that he, together with several others, had examined the house, but was unable to discover the cause. I then took a candle and went with the girl into the cellar; there the knocking also continued; but, as we were ascending the stairs to return, I heard a prodigious rapping on each side, which alarmed me very much. I stood still some time, looking around with amazement, when I beheld some lumber which lay at the head of the stairs shake considerably. About eight or ten days after, we visited the girl again. The knocking still continued, but was much louder. Our curiosity induced us to pay the third visit, when the phenomena were still more alarming. I then saw the chairs move; a large dining-table was thrown against mle, and a small stand, on which stood a candle, was tossed up and thrown in my wife's lap; after which we left the house, much surprised at what we had seen." The case which we next cite is so well authenticated, as to remove all reasonable doubt, to say the least, of its actual occurrence. The facts occurred in the family of Mr. Joseph Barron, of Woodbridge, New Jersey, in the year 1834. We give the account as published, at the time, in the Newark Daily Advertiser.'- The first sounds were those of a loud thumping, apparently against the side of the house, which corn
THE MISSION OF "-THE SPIRITS." 73 menced one evening when the family had retired, and continued at short intervals until daylight, when it ceased. " The next evening it commenced at nightfall, when it was ascertained to be mysteriously connected with the movements of a servant girl in the family, - a white girl, about fourteen years of age. While passing a window on the stairs, for example, a sudden jar, accompanied with an explosive sound, broke a pane of glass, the girl at the same time being seized with a violent spasm. This, of course, very much alarmed her; and the physician, Dr. Drake, was sent for; came, and bled her. The bleeding, however, produced no apparent effect. The noise still continued, as before, at intervals, wherever the girl went, each sound producing more or less of a spasm; and the physician, with all the family, remained up during the night. At daylight the thumping ceased again. In the evening the same thing was repeated, commencing a little earlier than before; and so every evening since, continuing each night until morning, and commencing each night a little earlier than before, until yesterday, when the thumping began about twelve o'clock at noon. The circumstances were soon generally spread through the neighborhood, and have produced so much excitement that the house has been filled and surrounded from sunrise to sunset for nearly a week. Every imaginable means have been resorted to, in order to unravel the phenomenon. At one time the girl would be removed from one apartment to another, but without effect. Wherever she was placed, at certain intervals the thumping noise would be heard in the room. She was taken to a neighboring house. The same result followed. When carried out of doors, however, no noise is heard. Dr. Drake, who 7
74 MODERN MYSTERIES. has been constant in his attendance during the whole period, occasionally aided by other scientific observers, was with us last evening for two hours, when we were politely allowed a variety of experiments with the girl, in addition to those heretofore tried, to satisfy ourselves that there is no imposition in the case, and, if possible, to discover the secret agent of the mystery. The girl was in an upper room, with a part of the family, when we reached the house. The noise then resembled that which would be produced by a person violently thumping the upper floor with the head of an axe, five or six times in succession, jarring the house, ceasing a few minutes and then resuming as before. We were soon introduced into the apartment, and permitted to observe for ourselves. The girl appeared to be in perfect health, cheerful and free from the spasms felt at first, and entirely relieved from every thing like the fear or apprehension which she manifested for some days. The invisible noise, however, continued to occur as before, though somewhat diminished in frequency, while we were in the room. In order to ascertain more satisfactorily that she did not produce it voluntarily, among other experiments we placed her on a chair on a blanket in the centre of the room, bandaged the chair with a cloth, fastening her feet on the front round, and confining her hands together on her lap. No change, however, was produced. The thumping continued as before, except that it was not quite so loud; the noise resembling that which would be produced by stamping on the floor with a heavy heel, yet she did not move a limb or muscle, that we could discover. She remained in this position long enough to satisfy all in the room that the girl exercised, voluntarily, no sort of agency in producing the noise. It was observed that the noise became greater,
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 75 the further she was removed from ally other person. We placed her in the doorway of a closet in the room, the door being ajar to allow her to stand in the passage. In less than one minute the door flew open as if violently struck with a mallet, accompanied by precisely such a noise as such a thump would produce. This was repeated several times, with the same effect. In short, in whatever position she was placed, whether in or out of the room, similar results, varied a little perhaps by circumstances, were produced. There is certainly no deception in the case.... The noise was heard at least one hundred yards from the house." In this case also, as well as in those previously cited, there is no ground for the least suspicion of the action of any other than an exclusively physical cause. The following somewhat lengthy extract from " Roger's Philosophy of Mysterious Rappings," presents two additional cases, of much interest and importance, in their bearings upon our present inquiries. The author will pardon us, for making, for the sake of science, such a free use of his facts and remarks. " The wonderful occurrences at Stockwell,* in England, in January, 1772, are of the same character as the above. We can barely give the most important parts of the phenomena here, and leave the reader to consult the work referred to in the note. No intelligence was manifest in this case. " On Monday, January 6th, 1772, about ten o'clock in the forenoon, as Mrs. Golding (the hostess) was in the parlor, she heard the china and glasses in the back kitchen tumble down and break; her maid came to her, and told her the stone plates were falling from the shelf; Mrs. Golding went into the kitchen, and saw * See Catherine Crowe's Night-side of Nature, page 370.
76 MODERN MYSTERIES. them broken. Presently after, a row of plates from the next shelf fell down likewise, while she was there, and nobody near them; this astonished her much, and while she was thinking about it, other things, in different places, began to tumble about, some of them breaking, attended with violent noises all over the house; a clock tumbled down, and the case broke. The destruction increased with the wonder and terror of Mrs. Golding. Wherever she went, accompanied by the servant girl, this dreadful waste of property followed. " Mrs. G., in her terror, fled to a neighbor's where she immediately fainted. A surgeon was called, and she was bled. The blood, which had hardly congealed, was. seen all at once to spring out of the basin upon the floor, and presently after the basin burst to pieces, and a bottle of rum that stood by it broke at the same time. " Mrs. G. went to a second neighbor's, as the valuables that were conveyed to the first were being destroyed. And while the maid remained at the first (Mr. Greshem's) the former was not disturbed, but while the latter was'putting up what few things remained unbroken of her mistress', in a back apartment, a jar of pickles that stood upon a table turned upside down;' and other things' were broken to pieces."' " Meantime the disturbances had ceased at Mrs. Golding's house, and but little occurred at the neighbors while Mrs. G. and her servant remained apart. But as soon as they came into each other's company the disturbance would begin again. "' At all these periods of action,' says the detail,'Mrs. Golding's servant was walking backward and forward, in either the kitchen or parlor, or wherever some of the family happened to be. Nor could they get her
TIHE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 77 to sit down five minutes together, except at one time, for about half an hour toward the morning, when the family were at prayers in the parlor; then all was quiet; but, in the midst of the greatest confusion, she was as much composed as at any other time, and, with uncommon coolness of temper, advised her mistress not to be alarmed or uneasy, as she said these things could not be helped. Thus she argued as if they were common occurrences, which must happen in every family.' "' About five o'clock on Tuesday morning, Mrs. Golding went to the chamber of her niece, and desired her to get up, as the noises and destruction were so great she could continue in the house no longer; at this time all the tables, chairs, drawers, etc., were tumbling about.' In consequence of this resolution, Mrs. Golding and maid went over the way, to Richard Fowler's. The latter left her mistress, and returned to Mrs. Pain's, to help this lady dress her children.' At this time all was quiet. They then went to Fowler's, and then.began the same scene as had happened at the other places. It must be remarked, all was quiet here, as elsewhere, till the maid returned.' " When they reached Mr. Fowler's, he began to light a fire in his back room. When done, he put the candlestick upon a table in the fore room. (This apartmnent Mrs. Golding, and her maid had just passed through.) This candlestick, and another with a tin lamp in it, that stood by it, were dashed together, and fell to the ground. A lantern, with which Mrs. Golding was lighted across the road, sprung from a hook to the ground. The last thing was, the basket of coals tumbled over, the coals rolling about the room. "Mrs. G. and her servant now returned home, when 7*
78 MODERN MYSTERIES. the same scene was repeated. Mr. Pain then desired Mrs. Golding to send her maid for his wife to come to them. When she was gone, all was quiet. Upon her return, she was immediately discharged, and no disturbances happened afterward. This was between six and seven o'clock on Tuesday morning. " The whole account contains the following important particulars: " 1. The phenomena commenced at ten o'clock, A. M. "2. They always depended upon the presence of the servant-maid. " 3. They occurred always with the greatest energy when the mistress was in the company of the maid. "4. When the maid passed through a room alone there would be little or no disturbance of its contents; but, if she was soon after followed by Mrs. Golding, various articles would begin to play the most singular pranks, as if Puck himself had come again. "'5. Very often one article would be attracted by another, or they would fly towards each other, and, striking together, fall upon the floor, as if both had been charged with some physical agent which made them act like opposite poles. Then, also, one would fly from another, as by repulsive forces. " 6. The phenomena were accompanied with violent concussive sounds about the house. "7. Every thing which Mrs. Golding had touched seems to have been in some way affected, so that afterward, on the approach of the maid, it would be frequently broken to atoms, sometimes without even her touch. Even the blood of Mrs. G. was highly susceptible under the same circumstances, and the bowl in which it was contained, and the glass ware standing by it, burst to pieces.
THE MISSION OF "THE SPIRITS." 79 In the year 1835, a suit was brought before the sheriff of Edinburgh, Scotland, for the recovery of damages suffered in a certain house owned by Mr. Webster. Captain Molesworth was the defendant at the trial.* The following facts were developed: Mr. Molesworth had seriously damaged the house, both as to substance and reputation, " 1. By sundry holes which he cut in the walls, tearing up of the floors, etc., to discover the cause of certain noises which tormented himself and family. "2. By the bad name he had given the house, stating that it was haunted. Witnesses for the defendant were sheriff's officers, justices of the peace, and officers of the regiment quartered near by; all of whom had been at the said house sundry times to aid Captain M. detect the invisible cause of so much disturbance. " The important facts bearing upon our subject were the following: - "1. The disturbance consisted in certain noises, such as knockings, pounding, scratching sounds, rustlings in different parts of a particular room, - sometimes, however, in other parts of the house. " 2. Certain boards of the floor would seem to be at times most infected with the noises. Then certain points in the walls (at which Mr. M. would discharge his gun, or cut into with an axe, all to no purpose, however). " 3. The bed whereon a young girl, aged thirteen years, had been confined by disease, would very often be raised above the floor, as if a sudden force was applied beneath it; which would greatly alarm her and the whole family, and cause the greatest perplexity. * See Night-side of Nature, page 400.
80 MODERN MYSTERIES. "4. This force was soon discovered to be in some strange way connected with this invalid. " 5. The concussions which it often produced on the walls would cause them visibly to tremble. " 6. Wherever the young invalid was moved, this force accompanied her." How perfectly similar the above occurrences are to those which happened in the family of Rev. Dr. Phelps, of Stamford, Ct., occurrences which consisted of rapping sounds, moving of tables, etc., and which commenced March 10, 1850. Of these singular events the Dr. makes, among many others, the following statements. " The phenomena consisted in the moving of articles of furniture in a manner that could not be accounted for. Knives, forks, spoons, nails, blocks of wood, etc., were thrown in different directions about the house. They were seen to move from places and in directions which made it certain that no visible power existed by which the motion could be produced. For days and weeks together, I watched these strange movements, with all the care, and caution, and close attention, which I could bestow. I witnessed them hundreds and hundreds of times, and I know that in hundreds of instances they took place when there was no visible power by which the motion could have been produced. Scores of persons, of the first standing in the community, whose education, general intelligence, candor, veracity, and sound judgment, none will question, were requested to witness the phenomena, and, if possible, help us to a solution of the mystery. But as yet no solution has been obtained. The idea that the whole was a trick of the children,' -an idea which some of the papers have endeavored, with great zeal, to promulgate, - is to every one who is acquainted with the facts as stupid as it is
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 81 false and injurious. The statement, too, which some of the papers have reiterated so often, that'the mystery was found out,' is, I regret to say, untrue. With the most thorough investigation which I have been able to bestow upon it, aided by gentlemen of the best talents, intelligence, and sound judgment, in this and in many neighboring towns, the cause of these strange phenomena remains yet undiscovered." A writer in the New Haven Journal and Courier relates the following facts, of which he was an eye-witness. "While we were there," says he, " the contents of the pantry were emptied into the kitchen, and bags of salt, tin ware, and heavier culinary articles, were thrown in a promiscuous heap upon the floor, with a loud and startling noise. Loaves of delicious cake were scattered about the house. The large knocker of the outside door would thunder its fearful tones through the loud-resounding hall, unmindful of the vain but rigid scrutiny to which it was subjected by incredulous and curious men. Chairs would deliberately move across the room, unimpelled by any visible agency. Heavy marble-top tables would poise themselves upon two legs, and then fall with their contents to the floor, no human being within six feet of them." According to the statements of Dr. Phelps, the following are some of the circumstances attending these manifestations. "1. They were most violent when the whole family were together," "less frequent and feebler when but one of the two children (belonging to Mrs. Phelps, she being the doctor's second wife,) were in the house," and " more frequent in connection with a lad (one of the above children) of about eleven" years of age. "2. These children had been frequently mesmer
82 MODERN MYSTERIES. ized into the trance and clairvoyant state by their father," and one was subject to "spontaneous trance, and was found, at one time, in the barn, in a cataleptic state." 3. " When these children, with their mother, removed to Pennsylvania, the phenomena did not follow them." No facts can more clearly indicate the presence and action of an invisible, but purely physical cause, a cause connected with the organism of particular individuals, than these. The following letter, which has been kindly furnished us by Rev. E. N. Kirk, will be read with interest, and the facts stated will not be doubted by our readers. REV. A. MAHAN:Dear Brother, - By your request, I commit to paper the following narrative: — In the course of my residence in Albany, as pastor of the Fourth Presbyterian Church, somewhere about the year 1834, (I have no means at present of recalling the precise year,) I was witness to phenomena, at that time totally beyond the sphere of all former experience; and, by me, utterly inexplicable. I had been preaching three times on a Sunday, and was lying on the sofa in my house, at about 10 o'clock, when a gentleman entered the parlor in a highly excited state of mind. He spoke very hurriedly, saying,' a young woman is possessed of the devil, and wishes you to come and pray with her." Without waiting for further explanations, I hastened to follow him. On entering the house I saw a girl of about twenty years of age, lying quietly on a large bed, surrounded by a few persons. They described her as seeing frightful spirits, who threatened to carry her off. And their approaches to her were always indicated to the spectators by a convul
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 83 sive action of her whole frame; an earnest entreaty to be saved from them; and a peculiarly sudden, sharp knocking. I at once suspected some collusion, and made as thorough an examination of the premises as I could; but nothing appeared which could furnish any explanation of the sounds they described. I then treated her as I would any other person in sickness calling for the counsel and prayers of a clergyman. At about midnight I concluded that my presence was no longer needed, and that my curiosity was not to be gratified by witnessing any thing marvellbus. I accordingly went to the bed and leaned upon the high footboard, (the bedstead being of the French pattern;) as I looked earnestly into her face, she suddenly started from her reclining posture, screaming and staring wildly; and, at the same instant, three distinct, sharp raps, as if made with the knuckles of the fist, upon the very board on which I was leaning, startled me. I examined if her feet were touching the board; or if any visible connection existed between the board and the floor, except that of the bedposts. Nothing of the kind was visible. I then requested her friends to lay the bed on the floor on the opposite side of the room, and furnish me a lamp, that I might go into the room beneath, and watch the floor, (for the room was directly over the cellar). After watching there for half an hour, the rappings were repeated, but with no visible cause. I then left the house. On the next day, as I was informed, President Nott of Union College went to see the girl; but no knockings occurred after I saw her. When this case occurred, I remember a gentleman stating that something similar had been witnessed in Poughkeepsie, many years ago, of which I now speak, only to put you on the track of-inquiry, if you wish to
84 MODERN MYSTERIES. accumulate evidence of these phenomena having occurred long before the present day. Wishing you divine guidance, and great success in rescuing our fellow men from hurtful delusions, I remain, cordially yours, EDW. N. KIRK. BOSTON, June 26, 1855. In the above cases which might be multiplied to any extent, we have all the physical phenomena connected with " the spirit manifestations," with the exception of those which present the characteristics of intelligence. We will now adduce a case belonging to this latter class. We give this case, also, as cited by Mr. Rogers in the valuable work above referred to. The facts are so well authenticated, that nothing but their strangeness can induce any one to discredit them. We must learn, however, the important lesson, that we cannot tell what powers exist in nature but through their manifestations, and that we cannot determine a priori what those manifestations shall be. The facts which we are about to present were recorded at the time of their occurrence, were then attested by multitudes of the most intelligent and credible witnesses, and an uninterrupted tradition, from that time to the present, has preserved among the people of the place and the surrounding country, an undoubted conviction of their occurrence. Such is the evidence. Without further remarks, we give the facts as condensed by the author referred to. " The singular case of the Drummer of Tedworth, in England, will throw still further light upon this mysterious subject. It seems that Mr. John Mompesson,* of Tedworth, in the county of Wilts, about the middle of * See Sadducismus Trizumphus, by J. Glanvil. London, 1726, p. 270.
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 85 March, in the year 1661, being in a neighboring town, and hearing a drum beat, inquired of the bailiff of the town, at whose house he was stopping, what it meant. The bailiff answered that they had for some days been troubled with an idle drummer, who demanded money of the constable by virtue of a pretended pass, which he thought was counterfeit. Upon this, Mr. Mompesson sent for the fellow, and asked him by what authority he went up and down the country in that manner with his drum. The drummer answered that he had good authority, and produced his pass, with a warrant under the hands of Sir William Cawley, and Colonel Ayliff, of Greatenham. The pass and warrant were both found, on examination, to be counterfeit. He was therefore conveyed by a constable to a justice of the peace, for trial. Whereupon he confessed, and begged earnestly to have his drum, which was promised him in case he was, as he had asserted himself to be, Colonel A.'s drummer. The drum was therefore left with the bailiff, and the drummer was released. In April the bailiff sent the drum to Mr. Mompesson's house, just as the latter was about leaving on a journey to London. Soon after leaving home, Mr. M.'s family began to be very much disturbed by sundry strange sounds about the house, as of persons trying to break in. This continued at intervals, until Mr. M. returned.'And he had not been home above three nights, when the same noise was heard. It consisted of poundings on his door, and on the sides of the house. Pistols in hand, he went about the house. Instantly, on going to one door, the sounds would be made at another. On going outside, nothing could be seen, but still the sounds would be heard. On returning to bed, it commenced on the top of the house, and resembled a 8
86 MODERN MYSTERIES. species of quick-pace drumming. After this, the sounds became very frequent, usually five nights together, and then they would intermit three. "' The noise constantly came as they were going to sleep, whether early or late. And, after a month's disturbance on the outside, it came into the room where the drum lay, four or five nights in seven, within half an hour after they were in bed, continuing almost two hours, beating on the drum and on the doors,' etc. The sign of it, just before it came, was, they heard a hurling, as if in the air, over the house; and, at its going off, there was the beating of a drum, like that at the breakingc up of a guard. It continued in this room for the space of two months, which time Mr. Mompesson himself lay there to observe it. In the fore part of the night it used to be very troublesome, but after two hours all would be quiet. " At one time there was a cessation for three weeks. After this, it returned in a ruder manner than before, and followed and vexed the young children, beating their bedsteads with that violence that all present expected when they would fall in pieces. In laying hands on them [the bedsteads] no blows would be felt, but they would be felt to shake exceedingly. For hours together there would be drummed out the tat-too, cuckolds, round-heads, and several other points of war, as well as any drummer could execute. Then there would be scratching sounds under the children's beds. The children would be lifted up in their beds. If they were taken into other rooms, the sounds would follow them there, and, for a while, haunted none particularly but them. A board in their room was moved backwards and forwards and up and down towards a servant, who requested it to move thus, which was observed by a
TIE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 87 whole room full of people, and during the daytime. At night the minister and many neighbors came to the house; and then, in sight of the company, the chairs walked about the room of themselves. The children's shoes also flew about, and every loose thing moved about the chamber. A bed-staff,' for instance, moved towards the minister, as if attracted, and there rested quiet, without moving further. " Mr. M., perceiving that it so much persecuted the children, lodged them out at a neighbor's house, taking his eldest daughter, ten years old, into his own chamber, where the sounds had not been for a month before. As soon as she was in bed, the disturbances commenced here again, continuing three weeks,- drumming and other sounds. "It was observed that it would exactly answer, in drumming, any thing that was beaten by persons present, or any tune called for. "Mr. M.'s servant was next seized with the infection. He was a stout fellow, and of a sober conversation. He had remained free until now, when all at once his bedclothes would unaccountably creep off the bed, and it required considerable skill to keep them on. His limbs would become paralyzed, or seized with rigid spasms; but if he could get hold of his sword, this spasm would leave him. " A little after this, the son of a gentleman for whom the drummer had worked came and told Mr. Mompesson what the drummer had said to him in the prison, which was the following: The drummer asked of several who came to see him, from Mr. M.'s neighborhood,' What news in Wilts?' To which they replied they knew none.'No?' says the drummer;'did you not hear of a gentleman's house that was troubled with the
88 MODERN MYSTERIES. beating of drums?' They told him again, if that were news, they heard enough of that.'Ay,' says the drummer,'it was because he took my drum from me; if he had not taken away my drum, that trouble had never befallen him; and he shall never have his quiet again, till I have my drum, or satisfaction from him.' * These words were not well taken by Mr. M., and as soon as they were in bed, the drum was beat upon very violently and loudly, giving the drummer's tunes. " Strange singing was also heard. And one night, about this time, lights were seen in the house. One of them came into Mr. Mompesson's chamber, which seemed blue and glimmering (see Reichenbach), and caused great stiffness in the eyes of those that saw it. The light was seen also four or five times in the children's chamber. The doors also were opened and shut without the contact of any mortal present. " During the time of the knocking, when many were present, a gentleman of the company said,'Satan, if the drummer set thee to work, give three knocks and no more;' which it did very distinctly, and stopped. Then the gentleman knocked, to see if it would answer him, as it was wont; but it did not. For further trial, he bid it for confirmation, if it were the drummer, to give five knocks and no more that night; which it did, and left the house quiet all the night after. This was done in the presence of Sir Thomas Chamberlain, of Oxfordshire, and divers others. At another time, it played four or five several tunes on one of the doors, and then seemingly went off in the air. At another time, when a blacksmith was stopping over night, they heard the imitations of a smith shoeing a horse. * See Mr. Mompesson's Letter to Mr. Collins. Preface to Second Part of Sadducismus Triumphatus, page 221.
THE MISSION OF "t THE SPIRITS."? 89 " Mr. Glenvil, who gives this case, visited the house, and by his own careful observations confirms what others had observed. He noticed one remarkable phenomenon, which many others had also witnessed, -that of a panting sound in the room where the children lay.'The motion caused by it was so strong,' says he,'that it shook the room and windows very sensibly.' " A little child, newly taken from the nurse, was now seized with spasms and fright; and the other children were also affected so that they had to be removed again. There was a purring sound in their bed, like a cat. The clothes were raised up, and' six men could not keep them down.' The children were affected with spasms in their legs, which were irresistibly beaten upon the bed-posts. Thus we have not only the epidemic character of this disorder, which is also represented in our present mania, but the same characteristic symptoms are exhibited in both. " The drummer, on account of saying what we have already mentioned, was tried as a witch, and condemned to transportation. By some means he escaped and returned. And it is observable, says our author, that during all the time of his restraint and absence the house was quiet, but as soon as ever he came back at liberty the disturbances returned.* So we have known it in our rappings." In the above and the cases previously cited, all the physical facts attending the spirit manifestations are perfectly paralleled. In addition to these, we notice also the accordance of those strange phenomena with the mental states of spectators who come into rapport * Ibid. p. 280. Baxter confirms the above story, having seen a number of the witnesses who were living in his days. See his Certainty of the World of Spirits, p. 19. 8*
90 MODERN MYSTERIES. with the mysterious power by which those phenomena were produced. The "drum would exactly answer, in drumming, any thing that was beaten by persons present, or any tune called for." So of the rapping sounds about the house. At one time three knocks. and at another five, were called for, and precisely these numbers were given and no more. A request was made, that after a certain number of these sounds were given, they should cease for the night, and that request was complied with. The singular accordance of these strange facts with the phenomena of the spirit Imanifestations on their first appearance in the family of Mr. Fox in Arcadia near Rochester, N. Y., will hereafter be noticed. This accordance will be seen to throw much light upon the question of the origin and cause of these manifestations, especially as far as the characteristics of intelligence are concerned. We now adduce the case of Mrs. Frederica Hauffe of Provost, a small village located in the mountainous districts of Germany. The facts of the case are given.by Dr. Kerner, her attendant physician, and given as recorded at the time of their occurrence. The facts, moreover, were witnessed by multitudes of scientific men, and others, of Germany, many of whom are now living. In these regions, as we are informed by her biographer, "a sort of St. Vitus's dance becomes epidemic, so that all the children of the place are seized with it at the same time,.' who, " like persons in a magnetic state, are aware of the precise moment that a fit will seize them." If they are in the fields when the paroxysm is approaching, they hasten home, and immediately fall into convulsions, when they soon rise upon their feet, and move for an hour or more with the most surprising regularity, keeping measure like an accomplished dancer.
THE MISSION OF "THE SPIRITS." 91 They then " awake as out of a magnetic sleep, without any recollection of what has happened." It was in such a locality that the individual above named became subject to a peculiar magnetic disease which finally terminated, in the year 1822, in a magnetic sleep which continued about seven years with occasional interruptions. The following may be enumerated as among the important facts of this case. We adduce only such as have a bearing upon our present inquiries. 1. The early developments of the disorder were characterized by "knockings on the walls, noises in the air, and other sounds which were heard by many different people," in her father's house. Many efforts were made to discover the cause of these noises, but all in vain. " However suddenly a person flew to the place to try to detect whence the noise proceeded, they could see nothing." " If they went outside, the knocking was immediately heard inside, and vice versa." Her father became so alarmed that he declared he could stay in the house no longer, the noises being " not only audible to everybody in it, but to passengers in the street, who stopped to listen to them as they passed." Whenever any one would sing or play on the piano, these sounds would commence on the walls. Articles of furniture, crockery, etc., were also moved about, when no cause for such movements were visible. 2. The progress of the disease was marked by great physical suffering and convulsions, so that when placed under the care of Dr. Kerner, "on the 25th of November, 1826," she appeared, "a picture of death -wasted to a skeleton, and unable to rise or lie down without assistance." 3. While under Dr. Kerner's care, it was found, that these rapping sounds not only continued in the room
92 MODERN MYSTERIES. and house where she was, but that she could regulate them at will, and even produce any number she chose in the neighboring houses of individuals who had previously been with her, and had thus come into rapport with the mysterious force with which her system was charged. The following is the statement of Dr. Kerner on this subject. "As I had been told by her parents, a year before her fathers death, that at the period of her early magnetic state she was able to make herself heard by her friends, as they lay in bed at night, in the same village, but in other houses, by a knocking- as is said of the dead — I asked her, in her sleep, whether she was able to do so now, and at what distance. She answered that she would sometimes do it. Some time after this, as we were going to bed —my children and servants being already asleep - we heard a knocking, as if in the air over our heads. There were six knocks, at intervals of half a minute. It was a hollow yet clear sound, soft but distinct. We were certain there was no one near us, nor over us, from whom it could proceed; and our house stands by itself. On the following evening, when she was asleep -when we had mentioned the knocking to nobody whatever - she asked me whether she should soon knock to us again; which, as she said it was hurtful to her, I declined." Other individuals had precisely similar experiences in their own habitations. She not only was enabled to produce these sounds, under such circumstances, but to cause her voice to be heard by such individuals, even when at a distance from her. 4. At times her perceptive powers were so quickened that she could perceive distant objects, objects located entirely beyond the reach of the senses.
THE MISSION OF " TIIE SPIRITS." 93 5. At other times her intellectual faculties were elevated, so that she would discourse on high themes in language of corresponding excellence. In some instances, for days in succession, all her thoughts were uttered in verse. 6. She could discern and repeat the thoughts, and tell the physical states of those who came into magnetic communication with her, precisely as mesmeric subjects can do in respect to those with whom they are in mesmeric communication. All the facts of mesmerism and clairvoyance, in their entireness, presented themselves in this case. 7. As in the case of Angelique Cottin, surrounding objects were attracted towards, or repelled from her. Sometimes objects, without any visible cause, would advance towards, or recede from her. At one time Dr. Kerner, on placing the ends of his fingers near those of hers, found that there was so powerful an attraction between them that, on raising his hand upward, her body was lifted entirely from the ground, and suspended in the air, just as the magnet suspends a piece of iron. This experiment was subsequently, at sundry times, repeated by himself and others, with the same results. We have here a perfect demonstration of the existence of a polar force, analogous, in all these respects, to magnetism. The case which we next adduce is cited from the work of Mr. Rogers, from which we have taken so many extracts, and we give it as cited by him. "Another singular case is that of Mademoiselle Elizabeth de Ranfaing,* of Lorraine, who, it was supposed, became possessed'with the devil, about the year 1620. * See Calmet on the " History and Philosophy of Spirits," etc., chap. xxvi. p. 123.
94 MODERN MYSTERIES. The facts were published, at Nancy, in the year 1622, by M. Pichard, a doctor of medicine, and physician-inordinary to their highnesses of Lorraine. This lady had been a very virtuous person, and had established a kind of order of Nuns of the Refuge, the principal object of which was to withdraw from profligacy the girls or women who had fallen into libertinism. Mademoiselle Ranfaing, having become a widow in 1617, was sought in marriage by a physician named Poviot. " As she would not listen to his addresses, he first of all gave her philters to make her love him, which occasioned strange derangement in her health. At last he gave her some magical medicaments. The physicians could not relieve her, and were quite at fault with her extraordinary maladies. " After having tried all sorts of remedies, they were obliged to have recourse to exorcisms. This treatment commenced 2d September, 1619, in the town of Remiremont, whence she was transferred to Nancy; there she was visited and interrogated by several clever physicians, who, as a final decision,'declared that the casualties they had remarked in her, had no relation at all with the ordinary course of known maladies, and could only be the rusult of diabolical possession.' [These were as wise doctors as some we have now.] The Bishop of Toul then ordered the nomination, for exorcists, of M. Viardin, a doctor of divinity, counsellor of State of the Duke of Lorraine, a Jesuit and Capuchin. A host of monks, and many of the highest dignitaries of both church and State, were present at the exorcisms, together with a large body of learned men. " The physical phenomena presented in this case were spasms and involuntary motions. Calmet, how
THE MISSION OP "THE SPIRITS." 95 ever, has not seen fit to say much about this class of symptoms; but he implies the fact of her being subject to them, in what he has given with regard to the devil throwing the woman upon the ground, etc. M. Pichard, however, has given them, in his account. The phenomena from cerebral irritation are very wonderful. " When she was exorcised in either Hebrew, Greek, or Latin, she always replied pertinently to them,she who could hardly read Latin. M. Nichols de Harley, very well skilled in Hebrew, exorcised her in this language, and he found her capable of answering him correctly merely from the movement of his lips, without his pronouncing a word. This was proof, to him, that she was really possessed of a devil. "' The questions and commands were therefore addressed, not to the woman, but to the supposed devil. All the replies, made involuntarily by the woman, were therefore taken for granted to be the replies of the demon.'" The Rev. Father Abbert, Capuchin, having observed that the demon (that is, the woman) wished to overturn the benitier, or basin of holy water, which was there, he ordered him (the woman) to take the holy water and not spill it, and he (she) obeyed. The Father cornmanded him (her) to give marks of possession; he (she) answered,'The possession is sufficiently known.' The Father added, in Gryeek, I command thee to carry some holy water to the governor of the town.' The woman replied:'It is not customary to exorcise in that tongue.' The Father answered, in Latin,' It is not for thee to impose laws on us, but the church has power to command thee in whatever language she may think proper.' Then the woman took the basin of holy water, and carried it to the keeper of the Capuchins, to the Duke Eric of Lorraine, and to other lords.
96 MODERN MYSTERIES. " IHe discovered secret thoughts, and heard words that were said in the ear of some persons which he was not possibly near enough to overhear, and declared that he had heard the mental prayer a good priest had made before the holy sacrament. "They proposed to him very difficult questions concerning the Trinity, the incarnation, the holy sacrament of the altar, the grace of God, freewill, the manner in which angels and demons knew the thoughts of men, etc., and he replied with much clearness and precision. She discovered things unknown to everybody; and revealed to certain persons, but secretly and in private, some sins of which they had been guilty. "The demon (the woman) did not obey the voice only of the exorcists; he obeyed even when they simply moved their lips, or held their hand, or a handkerchief, or a book, upon the mouth. A Calvinist having one day mingled secretly in the crowd, the exorcist, who was warned of it, commanded the demon (the woman) to go and kiss his feet; he (she) went immediately, rushing through the crowd. " An Englishman having come from curiosity to the exorcist, the woman told him several particulars relating to his country and religion. He was a Puritan; and the Englishman owned that every thing she had said was true. The same Englishman said to her, in his language,' As a proof of thy possession, tell me the name of my master who formerly taught me embroidery.' She replied,' William.' They commanded her to recite the Ave Maria..She said to a Huguenot gentleman who was present,' Do you say it, if you know it; for they don't say it amongst your people.' M. Pichard relates several unknown and hidden things which the woman revealed, and that she performed
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 97 several feats which it is not possible for any person, however agile and supple he may be, to achieve by natural strength or power." On the above case the following remarks are deemed of special importance. 1. The cause of these singular phenomena is too manifest to admit of a doubt in regard to its nature, and that cause was exclusively mundane and physical. 2. The entire mental and physical activity of this individual was controlled by those who came into magnetic rapport with her, precisely as those who are mesmerized are by their mesmerizers. The individual supposed herself possessed of the devil, simply and exclusively, because her self-assumed and selfdeceived exorcists supposed her thus possessed, just as the mesmeric subjects would suppose themselves subjects of similar possessions, did the mesmerizers entertain this opinion of them. Answers and communications were received as from the devil, just as they would come as from him from mesmeric subjects, if the same conditions were fulfilled. 3. We have, in this case, the same transference of thought, as in the mesmeric relations. Hence the singular revelations of secret thoughts, and secret acts, and answers to questions pertaining to subjects of which all were profoundly ignorant but the inquirers themselves, and all this in whatever language the individual was addressed. Similar facts occurred in the family of Cotton Mather, in the case of some children whom he had taken under his care, in consequence of their being supposed to have been bewitched. These children would repeat the secret thoughts of those who came into communication with them. Even when passages from the Hebrew or Greek scriptures were read to them, they would give the correct interpretation, that is, the meaning which the 9
98 MODERN MYSTERIES. reader attached to said passages. Where passages were read in the Indian language, however, a language of course not understood by the reader, the interpretation could not be given. Any thought in the inquirer's mind was instantly reproduced in that of the child, precisely in accordance with what occurs in the mesmeric relations. Cases of this kind were commonly accompanied with physical manifestations in accordance with those which we have above noticed. Our fathers were as familiar with the rapping sounds, the movement of articles of furniture, etc., as we are. They, in their ignorance, attributed these manifestations to satanic agency. We, in our wisdom, have attributed them to the interposition of departed spirits. However mysterious the facts above cited may appear, the following conclusions pertaining to them are too manifest to be denied, to wit: 1. The cause of these strange phenomena is exclusively mundane and physical. Nothing can be more unphilosophical than to attribute such phenomena to the interposition of disembodied spirits. 2. This power when developed in the human system, in connection with the brain, as its nerve centre, accords in its action, in certain respects, with the mental states of such individuals, and is determined in its action by such states. 3. When other individuals come into certain relations to such persons, the mental states of the former arc, in many instances, by means of this force, reproduced in the minds of the latter, and this precisely in accordance with what occurs in the mesmeric relations. 4. Individuals, under the influence of this same force, often present all the peculiar perceptions and other phenomena which characterize what is called independent clairvoyance. They have perceptions by other means than the organs of sense, and of objects located totally be
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 99 yond the reach of the senses. 5. With the terrible mental and physical effects induced in such individuals by this force, it operates in their physical systems as a very strong polar force, attracting and repelling other bodies, in accordance with the peculiar phenomena of Electricity and Magnetism. 6. Other bodies in contact with such persons, or in their immediate vicinity, often become charged with the same force, so as to be strongly attracted towards, or repelled from each other. The force which produces these effects is denominated the Odylic Force. Its properties have been most carefully investigated by such philosophers as Richenbach, Metteucci, Thelorier, Lafontaine, and Ashburner, in Europe, and the validity of their experiments has been indorsed by the highest scientific authority of both continents. THIE ODYLIC FORCE IDENTICAL WITH THAT WHICH IS THE 3IMMIEDIATE CAUSE OF TIIE SPIRIT MANIFESTATIONS. We now enter upon a very important department of our investigations. Spiritualists themselves admit, as we have already said, that spirits do not cause these manifestations directly, but mqediately, that is, through the instrumentality of a certain force of some kind preexisting in nature, a force which they have learned to control. The agency of the spirits is manifest, if at all, not in the existence, or properties of this force, but in the direction of its action. The mere fact that sounds are heard, and objects moved in these circles, no one has the folly to adduce, as proof of an ab extrac spirit interposition of any kind. Such interposition, on the other hand, is inferred from the accordance of these phenomena with intelligence, and other considerations of a
~100 MODERN MYSTERIES. kindred nature. This force, also, spiritualists, as well as others, admit to be exclusively physical in its nature. So far, no difference of opinion, as far as our knowledge extends, exists between them and their opponents. The question which here arises, and to which a specific answer is here demanded, is, what is the nature of this mundane, physical force, which is the immediate cause of these so called spirit manifestations? We answer, it is identical with the Odylic Force which we have above developed. This we argue from the following considerations - 1. The relation of these causes to certain specific localities, is a very decisive proof, in connection with other facts, of their absolute identity. In Boston, for example, the centre of the phenomena of witchcraft, and where the odylic phenomena have ever manifested themselves, mediums were developed as soon as the circles were constituted. In Philadelphia, on the other hand, where the odylic phenomena had hardly, if ever appeared, months elapsed before any of the so called spirit manifestations appeared, though the most careful and persevering efforts were made to induce them. It is also known, and published by spiritualists themselves, that individuals who were good mediums in one locality, have utterly lost the power, by simple change of locality. The origin of " the Rochester Rappings" should not be overlooked in this connection. All agree that these phenomena first made their appearance in a certain house occupied by Mr. Michael Weekman, of the village of Hydesville, in the town of Arcadia, Wayne county, New York. Of the facts which occurred when he was a resident of the house, we have the following account. "Mr. W. resided in this house for about eighteen
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 101 months, and left sometime in the year 1847.* Mr. Weekman makes the statement in substance as follows: That one evening, about the time of retiring, he heard a rapping on the outside door, and, what was rather unusual for him, instead of familiarly bidding them'come in,' stepped to the door and opened it. He had no doubt of finding some one who wished to come in, but, to his surprise, found no one there. He went back and proceeded to undress, when, just before getting into bed, he heard another rap at the door, loud and distinct. He stepped to the door quickly and opened it, but, as before, found no one there. He stepped out and looked around, supposing that some one was imposing upon him. He could discover no one, and went back into the house. After a short time he heard the rapping again, and he stepped (it being often repeated) and held on to the latch, so that he might ascertain if any one had taken that means to annoy him. The rapping was repeated, the door opened instantly, but no one was to be seen! He states that he could feel the jar of the door very plainly when the rapping was heard. As he opened the door, he sprung out and went around the house, but no one was in sight. His family were fearful to have him go out, lest some one intended to harm him. It always remained a mystery to him, and finally, as the rapping did not at that time continue, passed from his mind, except when something of the same nature occurred to revive it." The Weekman family, at length, left the house, and in December, 1847, the Fox family entered it. In the following March, the mysterious sounds were heard again. * See History of the Mysterious Communications with Spirits, by Capron and Barron, p. 10. 9*
102 MODERN MYSTERIES. " It seemed," they say, " to be in one of the bedrooms, and sounded to them as though some one was knocking on the floor, moving chairs, etc. Four or five members of the family were at home; and they all got up to ascertain the cause of the noise. Every part of the house was searched, yet nothing could be discovered. A perceptible jar was felt by putting the hand on the bedsteads and chairs; a jar was also experienced while standing on the floor. The noise was continued that night as long as any one was awake in the house. The following evening they were heard as before, and on the evening of the 31st of March the neighbors were called in for the first time." The following is Mrs. Fox's statement of these strange occurrences: — " On Friday night we concluded to go to bed early, and not let it disturb us;"'if it came, we thought we would not mind it, but try and get a good night's rest. My husband was here on all these occasions, heard the noise, and helped search. It was very early when we went to bed on this night,- hardly dark. We went to bed early, because we had been broken so much of our rest that I was almost sick. "My husband had not gone to bed when we first heard the noise on this evening. I had just lain down. It commenced as usual. I knew it from all other noises I had ever heard in the house. The girls, who slept in the other bed in the room, heard the noise, and tried to make a similar noise by snapping their fingers. The youngest girl is about twelve years old; she is the one who made her hand go. As fast as she made the noise with her hands or fingers, the sound was followed up in the room. It did not sound any different at that time, only it made the same number of noises that the
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 103 girl did. When she stopped, the sound itself stopped for a short time. " The other girl, who is in her fifteenth year, then spoke in sport, and said,' Now do just as I do. Count one, two, three, four,' etc., striking one hand in the other at the same time. The blows which she made were repeated as before. It appeared to answer her by repeating every blow that she made. She only did so once. She then began to be startled; and then I spoke, and said to the noise,'Count ten,' and it made ten strokes or noises. Then I asked the ages of my different children successively, and it gave a number of raps corresponding to the ages of my children. " I then asked if it was a human being that was making the noise; and, if it was, to manifest it by the same noise. There was no noise. I then asked if it was a spirit; and, if it was, to manifest it by two sounds. I heard two sounds as soon as the words were spoken." * " These' manifestations' caused great excitement in the village, and many persons called at the house of Mr. Fox to hear the noises. Many questions were asked and answered by raps correctly. Sounds were only made when an affirmative answer was the correct one to a question, or when numbers were to be designated. When the alphabet was called over, there was rapping at particular letters.t Soon the experiment was carried still further, and, by request, entire names and sentences of considerable length were spelled out. A signal for the alphabet was soon understood to be five raps in quick succession. * See Account by D. M. Dewey, Rochester, N. Y. Also, History of the same by Capron and Barron, p. 14. t See Account by E. E. Lewis, Canandaigua, N. Y.
104 MODERN MYSTERIES. "In a few months after the manifestations were first heard by the Fox family, several of the members removed from Hydesville to Rochester, and resided with a married sister, Mrs. Fish. The sounds were here heard in the presence of Margaretta Fox and Mrs. Fish. They were talked about, and elicited general attention, —got into the newspapers, and were immediately speculated upon in all parts of the Union. The third town in which the raps were heard was Auburn, N. Y. Catharine, the youngest daughter of Mr. Fox, visited this place, and the sounds were made at the houses she visited. In Rochester the raps have not been confined to the Fox family. Since the' manifestations' in Auburn, they have been communicated with in Greece, Monroe county, N. Y., in Sennett, Cayuga county, N. Y., in New York city, on Long Island, at Troy, N. Y., at Boston and Springfield, Mass., and a number of other towns and cities." Who can doubt, that the immediate cause of these phenomena was a physical one, a cause developed in the physical organisms of those individuals, in consequence of a residence in that particular locality? Equally manifest is the fact, that that cause is identical with the Odylic Force, as developed in the cases above cited. How perfectly do the facts above given correspond with those connected with Frederica Hauffe and others, and how manifest is the identity of causation in these cases. 2. The absolute identity of the physical phenomena of these two forces, as physical causes, presents, in their action upon surrounding objects, the most decisive proof of their identity. In both cases the rapping sounds have the same relations to the organism of individuals. The rapping and other sounds are precisely similar in
THE MISSION OF "THE SPIRITS." 105 their nature, and are frequently attended with the same jarring of surrounding objects, and each alike is occasionally attended with the same rumbling noises, as of the rolling of distant thunder. The same manifestations of an attractive and repulsive power between the physical organism and surrounding objects, appear in both cases. What facts can reveal an identity of causation, if these do not? We might, with the same propriety, affirm that each clap of thunder is occasioned by a new and before undeveloped force in nature, and that such phenomenon is proof of the fact, as to refer the two classes of phenomena under consideration to different and opposite causes. 3. A similar identity of effects upon the physical organism on the one hand, and upon the mental powers, on the other, argues, with equal absoluteness, the perfect identity of these two causes. " Catalepsy, trance, clairvoyance, and various involuntary muscular, nervous, and mental activity in mediums," are among the effects enumerated by Mr. Ballou, as accompanying the action of this force in connection with the so called spirit manifestations. Precisely similar phenomena mark the action of the Odylic Force, in all cases like those which we have enumerated. Every mental and physical phenomenon which characterizes the manifestations of the one power, is equally characteristic of those of the other. Is " speaking, writing, preaching, lecturing, philosophyzing, prophesying, etc.," attendant on the action of this force, in one instance? They are equally so in the other. The same holds equally true in all other instances. We have no right to reason at all, from phenomena to the nature of the substances to which they pertain, or to attempt to identify causes, by arguing their nature from their peculiar effects, if we may not infer the identity of the causes under consideration, from the phenomena which they everywhere exhibit.
106 MODERN MYSTERIES. 4. There is a peculiar effect which individuals often experience, on approaching mediums, on the one hand, and those who are under the influence of the Odylic Force, on the other, an effect which renders the identity of the two forces under consideration undeniable. Those who approached Angelique Cottin, for example, were often affected with what they denominated an electric shock. Spiritualists themselves, in their own writings, often speak of having experienced in themselves precisely similar effects, when approaching mediums, similar phenomena, also, occurring in the presence of those who are in a mesmeric state. It would be a violation of all the laws of science not to admit an identity of cause, in the presence of effects bearing such undeniable characteristics of absolute similarity. On this point we need not enlarge, as the proposition under consideration, we may safely assume, will not be disputed by intelligent spiritualists anywhere, it being, as far as our knowledge extends, admitted by them, that spirits produce these manifestations, if at all, by controlling this very force. THE IMMEDIATE CAUSE OF THESE MANIFESTATIONS IDENTICAL WITH THAT FROM WHICH RESULT ALL THE PHENOMENA OF M3ESMERISM AND CLAIRVOYANCE. We now advance to another very important proposition. It is this: The immediate cause of these manifestations is identical, not only with the Odylic Force, on the one hand, but with that from which the phenomena of mesmerism and clairvoyance result, on the other. The truth of this proposition is rendered undeniably evident from the following facts and considerations, the most if
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 107 not all of which are proclaimed by spiritualists themselves, in their own writings. 1. Mesmeric subjects, and those who had become clairvoyants through mesmeric influence, have, to a very great extent, become mediums, and of all other persons, most readily become such. This is a fact which no one will deny. 2. Mesmerizing and pathetizing are among the common means proclaimed by spiritualists, of developing mediums. When individuals desire to render some persons in their circles mediums, persons who have been accustomed to be pathetized are first put into a mesmeric state, and then, as the persons thus affected sit with others around the table, they become mediums, thus showing that the two states are the results of the same force developed in different degrees. 3. But a fact still more decisive of this question, is this: in these circles, as spiritualists themselves affirm, some individuals become mediums, while others, under precisely the same influence, not'unfrequently become clairvoyant. Under the same cause, and in the same circumstances, the mesmeric phenomena on the one hand, and the so called spirit manifestations on the other, appear, thus indicating that the immediate cause of these two classes of phenomena are, in all instances, one and the same. 4. Individuals who have had experience of the mesmeric force, recognize themselves at once as subject to the action of the same cause, when sitting in the "spirit" circles, the effects which they experience in both cases being so perfectly identical, that they feel that they cannot be mistaken in regard to the nature of the causes themselves. 5. In approaching mesmeric subjects on the one hand,
108 MODERN MYSTERIES. and mediums on the other, the same electric shocks are, as before observed, not unfrequently experienced, indicating that the two classes of individuals are charged with the same force. 6. The perfect identity of the conditions of entering these two states, and of the disturbing causes common to both, present a very strong evidence of the perfect identity of the immediate causes of the two classes of phenomena. To enter the mesmeric state, on the one hand, and to become mediums, on the other, one and the same condition is requisite in both instances, namely, a state of mental passivity. It is a fact also equally well known, that no mesmerizer can pathetize his subject, when a strong mesmerizer is by, who internally resolves that that effect shall not be induced. It is a fact equally notorious and undeniable, that the same class of individuals, when sitting in the spirit circles, can, by internally and strongly willing it, and that when no one is aware of their mental states, render it impossible for the circles to obtain any responses whatever. Who can doubt, in the presence of such facts, the absolute identity of the immediate causes of these two classes of phenomena? A very strong mesmerizer, for example, was once sitting in a spirit circle, by the side of an invalid, who was there for the purpose of being operated upon by the spirits, for the restoration of her health. None of the usual effects produced upon her appeared, till this gentleman took hold of her hand, when the desired results appeared, and appeared with much greater power, the spiritualists present remarked, than they had ever witnessed before. The gentleman left the circle, and all the supposed spirit phenomena instantly disappeared. The cause of the effects which then appeared cannot be doubted. They differed, however, only
THE MISSION OF "THE SPIRITS.^ 109 in degree from what had been witnessed on previous occasions, showing that the same cause had been operating in all instances alike. SECTION III. PRINCIPLES AND FACTS APPLIED TO TIIE ELUCIDATION OF THE SO CALLED SPIRIT PHENOMENA. We shall assume it, then, as an established and admitted fact, that the immediate cause of the so called spirit manifestations is identical with that which produces the phenomena of mesmerism and clairvoyance, and that this cause is none other than the Odylic Force. We believe that we are authorized to make this assumption, by evidence the validity of which will not be denied. We are now prepared to apply our facts and deductions to the elucidation of the mysterious phenomena, denominated the Spirit Manifestations. There are, among others that might be named, three conditions in which the Odylic Force is developed in the human organism, so as to induce certain abnormal physical and mental phenomena, - a residence for certain periods, on the part of individuals of a peculiar physical temperament, in certain localities, - by manipulations and the various forms of pathetizing, - and finally by circles of individuals sitting together around tables or similar objects. In the phenomena resulting from the action of this force in the first two relations, we have no evidence whatever of their occurrence through the interposition of disembodied spirits. On the other hand, we have the highest evidence, that these phenomena are the exclusive result of purely mundane physical causes. It is true that clairvoyants sometimes imagine themselves 10
110 MODERN MYSTERIES. to see and converse with spirits, and thereby to obtain revelations from them. We are not now discussing the question what clairvoyants see, but what is the cause of their perceptions? Undeniably the spirits do not cause the perceptions of which they are themselves the objects. Such a supposition would be presuming too far upon our credulity. We deny, that such individuals do see spirits at all, and shall speak on this topic in full, in its proper place. We are not now speaking, however, of what the clairvoyant sees, but of the cause of the peculiar phenomena connected with the action of the Odylic Force, in the circumstances named. There is not, and no well informed and candid mind will assert the contrary, the least evidence, we repeat, that any of these phenomena, physical or mental, are caused by the interposition of disembodied spirits. On the other hand, we have all the evidence that we can have, in any case whatever, that these phenomena are the exclusive result of purely mundane causes and of nothing else. What shall we conclude of the phenomena attending the action of this force, in the circumnstances last named? Do we here find unmistakable evidence, that these manifestations are determined, in their essential characteristics, by the interpositions of disembodied spirits? If so, it must be, because the facts occurring in those circumstances, are, in all their findamental characteristics, totally dissimilar and unanalogous to those connected with the action of the same force, in the other relations, and of such a nature, that they can be accounted for, but by a reference to one specific cause, the interposition of disembodied spirits. Are Spiritualists prepared to meet the issue here raised? Are they prepared to show, that the facts
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 11l which they adduce, are wholly dissimilar and unanalogous, in all their essential characteristics, to any facts which are the exclusive results of mundane causes, and of this one cause in the two classes of circumstances above named? We think not. As far as our knowledge extends, they have never looked at the subject in this, the only truly scientific, point of light. We affirm, without the fear of successful contradiction, that the entire circle of facts which they do adduce, or can in truth adduce, to sustain their theory, are, in all respects what we might suppose beforehand, from a careful induction of facts pertaining to the action of the Odylic Force, in circumstances where no ab extra spirit agency is supposable, they would be, if no such agency were concerned in their production. There is not a single valid fact which they do adduce which a philosopher, who had carefully investigated the properties of this force, might not have predicted, as resulting from it, in the spirit circles, were he informed, which is the fact, that, in those circles, this force should be strongly developed. If these very phenomena should not appear in these circles, supposing that no disembodied spirits at all do exist, their non-appearance would be an anomaly for which no account could be given. Develop this force where you will, in connection with the human organism, and these very phenomena must appear, and they must appear as coming from spirits, among all those who hold the spirit theory, just as the responses obtained through Mademoiselle Elizabeth de Ranfaing came as from the devil, while those whose thoughts were reproduced in her, thought her the subject of diabolical possessions. We may take all the so called spirit phenomena physical and mental, intelligent and unintelligent, and take them one by one, and we can present, in the first place,
112 MODERN MYSTERIES. facts precisely similar resulting from the action of this force, when undeniably and totally unconnected with any ab extra spirit agency whatever, and then show that this one fact, instead of being anomalous, or unaccountable in its nature, is just what might have been anticipated in these very circumstances, from the known and immutable properties of the cause itself. We will now proceed to elucidate and verify the above statements, by a reference to the so called physical spirit manifestations on the one hand, and to the intellectual on the other. PHYSICAL MANIFESTATIONS. As an example of the physical manifestations, we will adduce the following case, which is so well attested as to remove from all candid minds all rational doubt in regard to its actual occurrence. Among the signers of this document which originally appeared in the Springfield Republican, we have the names of such men as Prof. Wells of the Cambridge Laboratory, and other individuals of such character for intelligence and integrity, as to demand the credence of the public. The docunent is entitled, "l The modern wonder -a manifesto." " The undersigned, from a sense of justice to the parties referred to, very cordially bear testimony to the occurrence of the following facts, which we severally witnessed at the house of Rufus Elmer, in Springfield, on the evening of the fifth of April: — " 1. The table was moved in every possible direction, and with great force, when we could not perceive any cause of motion. " 2. It (the table) was forced against each one of us so powerfully as to remove us from our positions, to
THE MISSION OF TIIE SPIRITS." 113 gether with the chairs we occupied, -in all, several feet. "3. Mr. Wells and Mr. Edwards took hold of the table in such a manner as to exert their strength to the best advantage; but found the invisible power, exercised in the opposite direction, to be quite equal to their utmost efforts. "4. In two instances, at least, while the hands of all the members of the circle were placed on the top of the table, and while no visible power was employed to raise the table, or otherwise move it from its position, it was seen to rise clear of the floor, and to float in the atmosphere for several seconds, as if sustained by a denser medium than the air. " 5. Mr. Wells seated himself on the table, which was rocked to and fro with great violence; and at length it poised itself on two legs, and remained in this position for some thirty seconds, when no other person was in contact with the table. "6. Three persons, Messrs. Wells, Bliss, and Edwards, assumed positions on the table at the same time, and while thus seated the table was moved in various directions. "7. Occasionally we were made conscious of the occurrence of a powerful shock, which produced a vibratory motion of the floor of the apartment. It seemed like the motion occasioned by distant thunder, or the firing of ordnance far away, causing the tables, chairs, and other inanimate objects, and all of us, to tremble in such a manner that the effect was both seen and felt. " S. In the whole exhibition, which was far more diversified than the foregoing specification would indicate, we were constrained to admit that there was an almost 10t
114 MODERN MYSTERIES. constant manifestation of some intelligence which seemed, at least, to be independent of the circle. " 9. In conclusion, we may observe that D. D. Hume, the medium, frequently urged us to hold his hands and feet. During these occurrences the room was well lighted, the lamp was frequently placed on and under the table, and every possible opportunity was afforded us for the closest inspection, and we submit this one emphatic declaration: We know that we are not imposed upon nor deceived. DAVID A. WELLS, WM. BRYANT, B. K. BLISS, WM. EDWARDS." To present the whole subject at one view, we now adduce the following extract from " Rogers' Philosophy of the Mysterious Rappings." The authority by which the occurrence of the facts stated is verified, is of such a character as to place those facts out of the circle of rational doubt. " The following, also, were developed at the house of Rev. Dr. Griswold, New York. Among the persons present were Mr. J. F. Cooper, George Bancroft, Rev. Dr. Haws, Dr. J. W. Francis, Dr. Marcy, Mr. N. P. Willis, William Bryant, Mr. Bigelow of the Evening Post, Mr. R. B. Kimball, Mr. H. Tuckerman, and General Lyman. " The mediums present were the members of the Fox family. " Only Mr. Cooper, Dr. Francis, and Mr. Tuckerman, seemed to come into close rapport with the psychological and nerve-centres of the mediums. The others, according to the account, could develop few or no intelligent characteristics, and could obtain a development of the physical force alone. Thus giving us a plain hint of
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 115 the distinction we are to observe between the physical phenomena and the psychological characteristics which frequently accompany them. " The physical force stands alone as a physical force. It bears no characteristics in its action but that of itself, unless some other is made to impress its characteristics upon it, as the intelligent will do in the movement of the arm. But the physical force may move the arm without intelligence, as in spasms, etc. "The following peculiar physical phenomena were developed during the evening:- "' One little peculiarity, hitherto unremarked,* came to our notice. The questioner's seat (to give him access to paper and pencil) was on one side of the table; and, chancing to occupy the place between him and the ladies (mediums), we [Mr. Willis] had accidentally thrown our arm over the back of his chair. Whenever the knockings occurred, we observed that his chair was shaken, though our own intermediate chair and the two standing immediately behind were unmoved. We called attention to it, and it was corroborated by the other gentlemen. "' With such heavy weight in the chair as Mr. Cooper's or Dr. Francis', it would have taken a blow with a heavy hammer to have produced so much vibration.' The table was not moved, though requested. " An experiment was tried as to what would be the effect with one of the ladies alone, or with two without the third, or with a gentleman and one or two of the ladies.'The strongest knockings were on the floor beneath, when the widow and her two sisters stood anywhere together. With two of them the knockings were fainter. We placed ourself between the widow and one -' Taken from Willis' Home Journal.
116 MODERN MYSTERIES. of the young ladies,' says Mr. Willis,'and no sounds were produced as a consequence. With one of the mediums alone, there were no phenomena.' " These peculiar characteristics of the conditions are worthy of careful consideration. We have found several cases where no decided physical phenomena could be evolved without the presence of two persons, both in a palpable abnormal state, and we shall give one case, in a future chapter, where three clairvoyants were required. "All such conditions clearly indicate the physical agency to belong to the physical organism. These characteristics will be considered in a more fitting place. We would simply direct attention to them here. The most important phenomena of this character, however, have not been sufficiently observed to develop their laws. " But to return. An experiment was tried of another kind, in this circle at Dr. Griswold's. Three gentlemen placed themselves on the outside of the door, and three on the inside, and watched it closely, when suddenly it was knocked with great violence, without any visible instrument.'We witnessed this,' says Mr. Willis,' with one hand upon the panels; and what can it be but the exercise of a power beyond any thing of which we have hitherto known the laws? That it is subject to human control,' he continues,' seems probable, for it acts at present in a certain obedience to human orders [not of the medium, however], and is most obedient to those who have used it longest.' "Mr. Ripley, of the Tribune, in speaking of the same sitting says:' The ladies were at such a distance from the door as to lend no countenance to the idea that the sounds were produced by any direct communication
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 117 with them.'' Other sounds were made which caused sensible vibrations of the sofa, and apparently coming from a thick hearth-rug before the fireplace, as well as from other quarters of the room.' Rev. H. Snow, in his work entitled "( Spirit Intercourse," gives an apparently well-authenticated case, in which a medium was himself "raised entirely from the floor, and held in a suspended position by the same kind of invisible power." For ourselves, we have no disposition to question such a statement, knowing as we do, that cases perfectly similar and analogous are attested by evidence which we are compelled to regard as valid. That musical instruments have given forth musical sounds, in these circles, when no persons were touching such instruments, we also freely admit, and admit for the reason, that the facts of the case are affirmed by authority which we cannot, with the consciousness of moral integrity, call in question. A very intelligent Christian lady, an utter disbeliever in spiritualism, for example, told us, that in her presence, a guitar was once placed in the middle of the room, that when no one was within several feet of it, musical sounds proceeded from it; that when she extended her hand toward it, it was instantly raised up and attracted to her hand, just as the appropriate objects are drawn towards the magnet, when it is placed near them, and that when she laid hold of the instrument, it was, by a force which she could not control, wrested from her hand, just as objects charged with electricity are wrested from our hands when we grasp them. Facts affirmed by such testimony, we regard ourselves as bound to admit. Such are the valid, physical facts which lie at the basis of spiritualism, and sustain its claims to our high regard. On these facts, we remark:
118 MODERN MYSTERIES. 1. That we have the highest conceivable evidence, that the immediate cause of these phenomena, to say the least, is exclusively physical and mundane. This is undeniable, and will not, we are quite confident, be denied. 2. There is not among all these phenomena a single fact, or characteristic of such fact, which demands, as the condition of its explanation, the supposition of the interposition of disembodied spirits, or presents the least positive evidence of such interposition. The reason is obvious. The identical force from which all these phenomena result, undeniably produces precisely the same phenomena, when not controlled by spirits at all. Are physical objects "moved" in the spirit circles "in every possible direction, and sometimes thrown against individuals so powerfully as to move them from their positions?" The same phenomena attend the action of this same power, when undeniably uncontrolled by disembodied spirits. Are objects in the former relations raised from the floor, and suspended "in the atmosphere for several seconds, as if sustained by a denser medium than the air?" So they are in the latter. Are individuals, in these circles, " made conscious of the occurrence of a powerful shock, which produces a vibratory motion of the floor, and of the apartment," a vibratory motion like that "occasioned by distant thunder, and the firing of ordnance far away?" Precisely similar phenomena, as we have seen, attend the action of this same power in circumstances where it would be infinitely absurd to suppose, that the agency of disembodied spirits is at all concerned in their production. Do the facts which occur in these circles, the peculiar motions of bodies, the playing of tunes on musical instruments, when no person is touching them, etc., indicate the controlling influence of
THE MISSION OF " TIE SPIRITS." 119 " some intelligence which seems, at least, to be independent of the circles? The same holds equally true of the action of this very force, in relations where no disembodied spirits can, with any show of reason, be supposed to control such action. So undeniably in all other instances. How astonishing that even educated minds should infer the interposition of spirits from the mere fact that mediums, as well as other objects, are sometimes, from no visible cause, lifted from the floor in these circles, when it is well known that by the same power, uncontrolled by spirits, individuals have been raised up in a similar manner, together with the beds on which they were reposing. Nothing conceivable can be more unphilosophical and absurd than the reference, as the only condition of their explanation, of the physical phenomena occurring in their circles to the interposition of disembodied spirits. 3. In view of a careful induction and classification of all the phenomena resulting from the action of this force, in the two relations first named, the non-occurrence of the entire mass of valid facts reported by spiritualists, as occurring in the spirit circles, would be a matter of far greater wonder, than their actual occurrence, supposing no disembodied spirit had ever entered one of them. It would be far more necessary to suppose the agency of spirits to account for the absence, than for the presence of these facts in these circles. Wherever this force is strongly excited in connection with the human organism, and that in the presence of the mental states of those who constitute and visit these circles, it would be a miracle, if these or similar physical manifestations did not occur in them. A careful examination of the phenomena attending the action of this force in other circumstances, necessitates this conclusion.
120 MODERN MYSTERIES. 4. The wonderful things performed by mediums, are also performed by individuals who utterly repudiate the spirit theory, and are performed for the purpose of disproving that theory. Suppose that we put our hands uponi a table, and call upon some spirit, or upon the spirits in general, to move the object, and it is moved accordingly. We call upon the spirits to give to the object a specific motion, and this, also, is performed. We again place our hands upon the same object, and without invoking the spirits, simply will that precisely the same effects shall follow, and they do follow, as before. We then place our hands upon the table a third time, and having willed the occurrence of the same results, we defy all the spirits who have been supposed to produce said results, to prevent their occurrence, and yet they occur, as before. These experiments are repeated any number of times, with exactly the same results. How infinitely foolish and absurd would it be in us to argue from such facts, that they are the result of the agency of disembodied spirits. Yet precisely such facts as these are occurring continuously in this country. What is performed in the spirit circles, is performed in other circles in which the whole doctrine of Spiritualism is utterly repudiated. Such circles exist in the city of Cleveland, and as we are credibly informed, elsewhere. We ourselves have witnessed the phenomena of table moving in such circles. Among these unbelievers, " movements (of tables and other objects) occur as a response to a calling of the alphabet, for the purpose of spelling out messages from some invisible presence," the very case cited by spiritualists as the highest proof of their theory, and such messages are spelled out, and from their character, the absence of spirit agency, in their production, is inferred. We
THE MISSION OF "i THE SPIRITS." 121 know whereof we affirm, when we make these statements. We met, for example, but a few days since, a clergyman of the Episcopal church, resident in this city, (not a pastor,) an individual whose intelligence or veracity will not be impeached, who informed us, that just such facts as those above stated had, for a long period, been occurring in his family, that he himself, in connection with members of his family, could now produce them, and had produced them for the interest and entertainment of others, and that from the most careful observation and experiment, and that contrary to his original expectation, he had come to the full conviction that spirits have nothing whatever to do with these manifestations, that what of intelligence appears in them, is the exclusive result of the unconscious control exercised over this mysterious force, by the minds in the circle, and not by spirits out of it. Such undeniably is the state of facts on this subject. Nothing can be more contrary to all the laws of correct reasoning than to argue from such facts the truth of spiritualism. It has not in them the shadow of a foundation. A few weeks since, we met with a clergyman of the Methodist denomination, a clergyman stationed over one of the churches in Cleveland, who informed us, that having, a short time previous, occasion to spend an evening with a circle of friends, he found them, on his entrance, conversing upon the theory of spirit manifestations which we had just before presented to that community, and each was giving facts in illustration and confirmation of it. He then stated to the company, that if they all, with one voice, repudiated wholly the doctrine of Spiritualism, and adopted that under consideration, and wished, as a mere matter of science, to witness, with him, a practical illustration 11
122 MODERN MYSTERIES. of the truth of the theory they had all adopted, he would sit with them around a table, and they would see what manifestations could be obtained, without the presence of the spirits, unless they should intrude themselves unasked, and exert their power for the destruction of Spiritualism itself. The circle was formed accordingly, and shortly the table, one of considerable weight, began to move. It was soon found, that the direction of its motions was under the complete control of one or two individuals, who were manifestly more affected by the power developed than the rest. If they willed it to turn round, it would do so with great rapidity. At their bidding, it would stop, turn round in the opposite direction, stand upon one or two legs, and tip out, by the alphabet, intelligent answers to any questions put to it, the answers corresponding to the thoughts of individuals present. It was asked to give the age of t his clergyman. A certain number of motions up and down were made, and then they ceased. On inquiry, before the individual had answered the question, whether a right answer had been given, it was found, that the number designated was the precise number previously fixed upon, by one or more of the controlling minds present, though it was wrong by some eight or ten years. Such were the manifestations obtained for the very purpose of proving Spiritualism false. Who can believe that spirits would produce movements thus to disprove their own favorite system? We might adduce many other cases of a precisely similar character. We should be guilty of infinite folly, then, did we attribute such facts to the agency of disembodied spirits. 5. We remark, finally, that no additional light
TIHE MISSION OF THE SPIRITS." 123 whatever is thrown upon these mysterious occurrences, by referring them to the agency of spirits out of the body. The occurrence of these events is, in no sense, made more intelligible than it was before, by such reference. If the force by which these phenomena are produced has polarity, and consequently the power of attraction and repulsion, all the movements of tables, chairs, etc. - movements not indicating, by their direction, intelligent control - are accounted for, together with all the antics and strange motions which they exhibit. If this force has not this quality, spirits cannot impart said quality to it, and their assumed presence and agency throw no light whatever upon these facts. As far as these movements accord with intelligence, if spirits control the action of this force, so as to produce these intelligent movements, they must do it by their thoughts, feelings, or acts of will. It is just as reasonable, and far more so, to suppose that this power is thus controlled by the thoughts, feelings, and determinations of the minds in the organisms in which it is developed and energizing, as by the mental states of disembodied spirits who may happen to be present, and who sustain no relations known to us to any powers in nature around us. When, for example, one of the Fox girls said to the mysterious power which was rapping on the walls of the room where the family was assembled, " Now do just as I do. Count one, two, three, four, etc., striking one hand into the other at the same time," and that power " appeared to answer her by repeating every blow she made,' it is far more reasonable to suppose that her thoughts and mrntal acts determined the action of that power, in that case, than to suppose that the thoughts and mental acts of some disembodied spirit did it. That
124 MODERN MYSTERIES. this force was then developed in the organism of that individual, is undeniable, from the fact, that its presence was manifested, in connection with that organism, when she went abroad. It is a known property, as we have already seen, of this power, when in certain relations to mind, to be governed, in the direction of its activity, by the acts and states of that mind. How much more reasonable, then, to suppose, that the mental states of the individuals in whose organism this force is known to be developed, control and determine its action, when that action accords with intelligence, than to suppose that the same phenomena are produced by the mental states of spirits of whose locality we know nothing, and who, if present, sustain no relations, known to us, to this or any other power in nature around us. This power, if controlled by spirits, must possess the following characteristics: It must possess a very strong attractive and repulsive force, on the one hand, —and from its nature, such must be its relations to mind, on the other, that it is, when certain conditions are fulfilled, controlled in the direction of its activity, by mental states. Now, if this is the nature of this force, and for ourselves we believe that it is, then of all theories for accounting for mysterious facts, the so called spirit theory is the most unreasonable; it being infinitely more reasonable to suppose, that the mental states of the spirits in the organism in which this force is developed, control the direction of its activity, than that those of spirits out of those organisms do it. All the physical manifestations adduced by spiritualists to establish their theory, are undeniably accounted for, by a reference to known mandane causes. All their facts are paralleled by perfectly similar and analogous
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 125 facts resulting from such causes. From the very power in nature, also, by which all their facts are, as they will admit, immediately produced, effects do in fact result, effects in all respects similar to those adduced by them, and that when that power is manifestly uncontrolled, in its action, by spirits out of the body. So far, then, spiritualism fails utterly to be sustained by the least shadow of positive valid evidence. Before leaving this department of our investigations, we will allude to what appears to us, as a very strange want of strictly logical and scientific deduction, in the reasonings of the most intelligent spiritualists, from their facts to their conclusions. To us, nothing is more manifest than the total want of logical consecutiveness, or connection in such cases. We will take as an illustration, a single fact adduced by Rev. H. Snow in the work to which we have already alluded: " The most remarkable instance of this kind," he says, " within the limits of my own experience, was the following. With myself sitting in a common chair, my feet being entirely off the floor, a large-sized light stand in front of me, with the medium's hands resting lightly on the top, - the invisible power exerted was sufficient to shove me along some five or six feet, on a carpeted floor. This took place at the house of a friend, in the presence of several witnesses, among whom was a teacher of long established and excellent repute, who had never seen any thing of the kind before, and who expressed his astonishment in words like these, " Do you call that simple electricity? you might as well say, that a mouse bores the Hoosac tunnel!" Suppose we do not call it "simple electricity," or give it any particular name. In the name of reason and logic both, may we not ask, what evidence is there here of the presence and agency I1.I
1-26 MODERN MYSTERIES. of disembodied spirits? Had our friend familiarized himself with the authentic facts recorded of Angelique Cottin and others, he would have known, that there is in nature a purely mandane cause from which, when undeniably not controlled by spirits, precisely similar and far more startling facts do arise. Yet, by just such facts, spiritualists expect to convince the world of the truth of their theory, and are astonished that all the world are not already convinced. For ourselves, till far different and higher evidence is adduced, we shall remain among the stubborn unbelievers in that theory. Till other than purely mundane facts are adduced, we shall maintain our scientific and logical consistency, by denying the evidence of the presence and action of extra mundane causes. INTELLIGENT COMMUNICATIONS. We are now prepared for a consideration of those so called spirit manifestations on which, of course, the strongest reliance is placed, to establish the claims of spiritualism, to wit, intelligent communications, as from spirits, by means of rapping sounds, writing, speaking, etc. Before we can legitimately argue from such facts, the reality of which we freely grant, the truth of the spirit theory, or adduce them as presenting any form or degree of evidence even of its truth, it must be shown, as we have already said, and as none will deny, that such communications can, in fact, be obtained from no exclusively mundane causes, and from no other source but the specific one assigned, to wit, revelations from disembodied spirits. If precisely the same or similar communications can be obtained from minds in the body, and uncontrolled by spirits, then these same
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 127 revelations can never, without a flagrant violation of all the principles of rational and scientific deduction, be adduced, as having any decisive bearing whatever in favor of this theory. THE THREE CLASSES OF MEDIUMS. Before proceeding to argue this question, a few remarks are deemed requisite, pertaining to the manner in which these manifestations are produced, through the action of the force under consideration, as developed in different classes of mediums. In three important particulars, there is a perfect agreement between us and spiritualists, as we suppose, on this subject, namely, that these manifestations are produced, directly and immediately, through the instrumentality of this, or some kindred force existing in nature around us; that this force is directed, in the production of the class of phenomena under consideration, by some intelligent cause; and finally, that this controlling cause is the minds constituting the circles, or disembodied spirits out of the circles. So far, and that for the most obvious and conclusive reasons, no difference of opinion obtains. But how, it may be asked, can the thoughts, feelings, and mental determinations of the minds constituting these circles, unconsciously, as must be the case in most instances, control this force, so as to produce these manifestations, and that through rapping sounds, writing, and speaking? The mystery, it should be borne in mind, and here lies the grand mistake of spiritualists, is not at all removed, by supposing, that the same force is controlled, in the production of the same phenomena, by the thoughts, feelings, and mental determinations of disembodied spirits out of these circles, this being the only way in
128 MODERN MYSTERIES. which such spirits ever control the action of this power, if they do it at all. Suppose that a given thought exists in a mind in a circle, and in that of a disembodied spirit out of it. That thought becomes embodied in one of these so called spirit communications. We affirm that it is much more reasonable to suppose, that the thought lying in the mind in the organism in which this force is developed, guided its action, in the production of this phenomenon, than to suppose that the same idea existing in the mind of a disembodied spirit out of the circle, and sustaining no known relations to any mundane cause whatever, guided the action of the same force, in the production of the same phenomenon. This statement we hold to be self-evidently true. Still a mystery hangs around the question pertaining to the manner in which mental states, whether pertaining to minds in the body or out of it, act upon this force, in the production of these phenomena. In regard to this subject we would observe, that there are three distinct classes of mediums, through whom such communications are obtained-the rapping, writing, and speaking mediums. In the last two classes the action of this force is attended with convulsions, and very great agitation of the physical system. In the first, such phenomena very seldom, we believe, appear. The reason is obvious. In the first class, this force, owing to peculiarities of physical condition in the subject, passes off, when excited to a certain degree, to some odylic conductor, causing, when striking the object to which it passes, the rapping sounds under consideration. In the former cases, it remains in the physical organism as. a disturbing force, and thus causes the convulsions referred to. As the direction of the action of this force, in the organisms of such persons, and that from its nature and relations to mind, accords with, and
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 129 is controlled by, the mental states of minds in odylie rapport with such mediums, the direction of their hands, or vocal organs, will be determined by such states, just as the mental states of the mesmerizer are reproduced in the minds of mesmeric subjects. So far the facts themselves, and their manner of occurrence, perfectly accord with those which occur in the mesmeric relations, and no ab extra spirit agency is even apparently demanded, to account for the embodiment of any thought preexisting in these circles, in communications thus given forth. So obvious is this accordance, that to us it has been a matter of surprise, that such phenomena have been referred to spirits out of these circles. The case of rapping mediums is not so obvious, at first thought, to say the least. A moment's reflection, however, will show that this class of phenomena are equally explicable with the others. The physical systems of the individuals in these circles, may be compared to a galvanic battery which is continuously, but more especially on occasions of the least extra excitement, developing this force. As soon as it is developed to a certain degree, in the organism of the rapping medium, it passes off to some object near, a chair, table, the ceiling, or floor, as the case may be, and produces, in passing into the object, the raps which have astonished the world so much. The presence of a particular thought, in any mind, the putting of a question, any such occurrence is sufficient to occasion the excitement necessary to develop this force to the degree requisite to produce the raps, in the manner explained. An inquirer, for example, asks if a spirit is present that will communicate with him? The puttinig of the question excites him, and through him the medium, sufficiently to develop the force to that degree that
130 MODERN MYSTERIES. occasions the number of raps understood as implying an affirmative answer. Ile now asks the name of the spirit, his own mind being fixed upon some individual. As the letters of the alphabet are called, the moment the first letter of the name of that person is pronounced, the mind of the inquirer is sufficiently excited to occasion, in the manner described, a rap. So also as each subsequent letter of that name is pronounced, till the whole is given. On principles precisely similar, answers to questions proposed may be obtained. Suppose, on the other hand, that the inquirer has no particular name in his mind. When the first letter of the name of a certain individual is pronounced, the law of unconscious association may produce the excitement requisite to occasion the rap, and thus the name may be given. These suggestions, together with the fact most abundantly established, that this power acts in many important particulars in accordance with mental states, and is determined in the direction of its activity by the same, will, we think, satisfy the reader, as far as any inquiries may arise in his mind, in regard to the manner in which these rapping sounds are produced. We will now proceed to argue the question, whether we have evidence that disembodied spirits have any agency in the production of these intelligent communications. On this subject, we would invite very special attention to the following considerations: - 1. The identical communications which are obtained in these circles, can, without exception, be obtained in circumstances and relations in which there is the highest evidence of the total absence of all ab extra spirit interposition. We enter a spirit circle in which we are total strangers, and where our visit was wholly un
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 131 expected. We put our questions pertaining to every subject on which spirits are ever questioned there, and receive every form of answer which is ever reported, as coming from spirits. We then go into the presence of an individual rendered clairvoyant by mesmeric influences, an individual to whom we sustain the precise relations above specified. We here put the identical questions we did before, and receive in return, the identical communications which we then and there obtained. We then repeat the same experiment, with precisely the same results, in the presence of other individuals similarly related to us, -individuals rendered more permanently clairvoyant, by the influence of drugs, or a residence in certain localities, as in the case of Frederica Hauffe, or Mademoiselle Ranfaing. In the two instances last named, our communications are undeniably obtained in the total absence of the agency of disembodied spirits. If any individuals, to save the doctrine of spiritualism, should assert the contrary, he would not only be guilty of denying what the world know to be true, and he himself has hitherto admitted as self-evident, but would betray a degree of ignorance and moral obtuseness which would render him unworthy of being reasoned with at all. We may as reasonably affirm, that all our mental perceptions of every kind, are from spirits, and are caused exclusively by their interposition, as to affirm, that the mental perceptions of clairvoyants are thus induced. Yet we obtain, through these individuals, all the responses, with all their peculiar characteristics, which are obtained, or can be obtained, through spirit mediums. Do we obtain intelligent communications through the latter? So we do through the former. Do we obtain, through the latter, correct responses to questions pertaining to subjects
132 MODERN MYSTERIES. of which they are profoundly ignorant? So we do through the former. Do we obtain, through the latter, responses to purely mental questions? So we do through the former. De we, in some instances, through the latter, obtain correct responses to inquiries pertaining to subjects of which ourselves, and all present, are ignorant? So we do through the former. Do our communications, through the latter, come as from spirits-? So, by simply willing it, the same communications may come to us, through the former, as from spirits, the same spirits, too, invoked through the latter. There is not a single communication, or characteristic of any communication, which is obtained, or can be obtained, through the mediums, which are not, and may not be obtained, through clairvoyants, when under the exclusive influence of purely mundane causes, the identical causes by which all these so called spirit communications are immediately originated. How can the claims of spiritualism to be sustained, by an appeal to such communications, communications perfectly identical with those which proceed from exclusively mundane causes? The system falls to pieces upon its own fundamental facts. It has adduced, and can adduce not a solitary fact, physical or mental, whose occurrence and total characteristics may not be, and are not accounted for, by a reference to exclusively mundane causes. None but purely mundane facts are adduced. How can we argue from these, the presence and interposition of ab extra mundane causes? Nothing can be more illogical than any such deductions. 2. As we said of the physical manifestations, so we now affirm of those under consideration, nothing but precisely these or similar communications could have been anticipated, from a careful induction and classi
TIIE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 133 fication of all the facts pertaining to the action of this force in relations and circumstances, where no spirit agency is to be supposed, the very force through which these manifestations are immediately induced. We have, in these circles, the same power operating, and operating upon and through individuals, in precisely similar relations to each other, as in clairvoyance. The circles are to the mediums, what the magnetizers and others in magnetic communication with the magnetized, are to such individuals. If similar phenomena were not developed in the spirit circles to what now appear, supposing no disembodied spirits were ever present in them, such a fact would be an anomaly in the history of the action of this force, when developed in the human organism; a fact just as wonderful and unaccountable on any other supposition than some ab extra mundane agency to prevent their occurrence, as their occurrence now appears to those who are ignorant of the peculiar properties of this mysterious force in nature. Their non-occurrence in these circles would be a much higher proof of the presence and interposition of spirits, than is their actual occurrence. 3. The admissions of the most intelligent and influential spiritualists, indeed of the whole sect, as far as our knowledge extends, next claim our attention, and claim it too, as having a fundamental bearing upon our present investigations, the admissions, that all these communications are more or less determined, in their characteristics, by the mediums themselves, - and that many of them are wholly caused, not at all by disembodied spirits, but by the mediums or by individuals in the spirit circles. " The medium," says Mr. Ballou, and we have yet to hear of the first spiritualist who dissents from this view, "is a sort of amanuensis, a 12
134 MODERN MYSTERIES. translator or interpreter of the spirit's leading ideas. In this character media will exhibit, in various degrees, the defects of their own respective rhetoric." Again, he says, " It is amazing to see the unreasonableness and pertinacity of our opponents. They have taken the ground that none of these manifestations, none of these communications are from departe.d spirits. We have taken the position that some of them are from departed spirits, and others not." The italics are our author's. In another place still, we have the following very important statements: - " I am now to treat of cases under Class Second; i. e.'those in which some of the important demonstrations were probably caused or greatly affected, by undeparted spirits.' I mean by undeparted spirits, persons in the flesh who by their will or psychological power, control the agency which gives forth sounds, motions, etc. I refer not to impostors, playing off counterfeits. I am treating of phenomena caused by mental power alone, coacting with the mysterious agency under consideration. " I have cases such as the following:" 1. In which the bias, prejudice, predilection, or will of the medium evidently governed and characterized the demonstrations. In these cases the answers given to questions, the doctrines taught, and the peculiar leanings of communications spelled out, were so obviously fashioned by the medium's own mind, as to leave no doubt of the fact. "In absolute confirmation of this, questions have been written out and presented to the medium, with a request that the answers should, if possible, be given thus and so. And they were given by raps accordingly. I myself gave questions in this way to a certain me
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS.9 135 dium, and found that answers could be obtained in the affirmative or negative, or in flat contradiction to previous answers, if the medium would but agree to will it. At the same time, I made myself certain that this medium could not procure the rapping agency at will. It came, stayed, and went as it would; and in that respect was uncontrollable. But when it chanced to be present, it could be overruled, biased, and perverted more or less by the medium. " 2. In other cases there has been an overruling psychological influence exerted by some powerful mind or minds present in the room with the medium. In such cases this powerful influence, with or without the consciousness of the medium, has elicited answers just such as had been wished or willed by the managing mind. And these answers have alternately contradicted each other in the plainest manner, during the same half hour's demonstration. "In one instance a strong-willed man resolved to reverse certain disagreeable predictions frequently repeated through two tipping media who often sat in conjunction. The result was, he could overrule oze of them sitting alone, and get a response to suit himself. But both of them together overmatched his psychological powers. I might give names, places, and dates and details in this connection; but it is unnecessary. There can be no reasonable doubt of the facts just stated. It may be set down as certain that there are cases wherein some of the important demonstra — tions are caused or greatly affected by undeparted spirits. How far influences of this sort extend and characterize spirit manifestations, remains to be ascertained. We can positively identify them in many cases. "In some, they are known to the parties concerned and
1366 MODERN MYSTERIES. acknowledged to have been consciously and intentionally exerted. In others they may be justly suspected where no consciousness of them is felt by the medium, or by any dominant mind." I do not, of course, mean," says Rev. H. Snow, " that I believe in all the claims that have been advanced, of this character; on the contrary, I am of opinion that much which purports to come from unseen beings does in reality come, either partly or wholly, from minds in the body.": If the validity of the above admissions and statements were denied, undeniable facts affirming their validity are so multitudinous, and decisive in their bearing, as to induce the most unwavering conviction in all candid minds. So conscious do mediums become of the control which they can exercise over the action of this force, when developed, that they no doubt often direct its action for the purpose of deceiving the circles in which they are holding forth. We will give, in illustration, a fact which occurred some years since, when a medium was entertaining circles in Cleveland, at the house of the distinguished spiritualist, Joel Tiffany, Esq. We do not hold him responsible at all for the acts of the medium. The case was this. A gentleman, a member of the bar in that city, on his first introduction to the spirit circles, was strongly inclined, to say the least, to embrace, in full, the doctrine of Spiritualism, so inexplicable, on any other theory, did the undeniable facts presented appear. Subsequently, however, he became fully convinced, that while the rappings were a reality, and no imposition, the force which produced them was, sometimes consciously, but more generally unconsciously, controlled by spirits in and not out of the body. He, accordingly, having gained the confi
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 137 dence of the medium, one of the best that ever appeared among us, united with her in deceiving temporarily, for his own amusement, some of his friends, who visited these circles. On one occasion, he remarked to those present, that none of the tests which they had applied were, or ought to be, fully satisfactory; because that, in all instances, they had to depend upon the testimony of individuals, in regard to the question, whether their inquiries were or were not correctly answered. He would propose a test about which there could be no mistake, and of the character of which they could all alike judge for themselves. He would retire from the circle, and write down seven questions, and having returned, he would put them in succession mentally, no one, as they could all testify, seeing the paper but himself. The answers, as rapped out, they should take down, and when completed, he would read each question in order, and they should read the answer, and see for themselves how they corresponded, each to each. Seven questions were accordingly written out, and put as suggested, and seven answers were rapped out. When compared it was found, that each question had been specifically and correctly answered. We will give three of them as examples of the rest, namely, the first two, and the last." Question. How many days are there in a week? Ans. Seven. Ques. Who performs these wonders? (This was put in Latin.) Ans. The spirits. Ques. What do the spirits think of any in this circle who are not now convinced? Ans. If an angel from heaven should speak to them, they would not-believe." All who understood not the facts as they were, were astounded and convinced, of course. The gentleman subsequently informed his wondering friends, that he had, prior to that meeting, put all those answers in 12
138 MODERN MYSTERIES. writing into the hands of the medium, informing her, that corresponding questions would be put in the form stated, and that she must prepare herself accordingly. The answers, as he affirms, were given, word for word, as he wrote them. The spelling, however, was hers, she being a poor speller. Yet the rappings, he further adds, were no imposition, and remain to this day, to his mind, a deep mystery. The deception lay exclusively, in persuading the persons present, that spirits out of the circle, and not the minds in it, controlled the action of the force by which the answers were given forth. In this case, no one can doubt, that the cause of the manifestations, was exclusively mundane. The fact, then, that many of these communications are wholly from the minds in the circles, and in no form from spirits out of them, is not only admitted by spiritualists, but is too manifest to be doubted or denied, for a single moment. Now these facts and admissions are far more sweeping in their necessary consequences, than spiritualists appear to have ever imagined. All evidence of the truth of their theory, derived from all their several classes of facts but the last, the fact, that events are sometimes correctly reported in these circles, events of which all present were previously ignorant, is utterly annihilated. If one thought existing in these circles may become embodied in these communications, without the agency of disembodied spirits, any other and all others may be. If one question, whether put verbally or mentally, pertaining to any subject of which the' inquirer, or any one present is informed, may be correctly answered, without the interposition of spirits, any other such question may be thus answered, and all evidence of the truth of Spiritualism, derived from such communications, is utterly annihilated. Yet upon pre
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 1I39 cisely such facts, the claims of this theory have hitherto been mainly based. We obtain, in these circles, it is argued, intelligent communications, thus evincing the fact, that they originate from an intelligent cause. Responses are obtained to questions pertaining to subjects about which the mediums and all present, but the inquirers, were profoundly ignorant. Purely mental questions, also, are thus answered. All this is freely granted. We must bear in mind, however, that answers to precisely such questions, every class of them, are obtained, in the total absence of any control or agency of disembodied spirits; a fact so undeniable, that even spiritualists universally admit it. How can the truth of that theory, then, be argued from such communications? The entire evidence of its truth derived from any one of these classes of facts, or from all of them together, is utterly annihilated. All its claims, all the hopes of its abettors to sustain it, hang exclusively upon one solitary class, the simple fact, that in some instances, correct responses are obtained to inquiries, where the true answer was not previously known to any persons in the circles, at the time when the meeting commenced. When we shall have accounted satisfactorily for this one class of facts, we shall utterly have annihilated all the evidence of every friend of the truth of spiritualism. To a careful consideration of this class, we will now advance. All that we have to do, to gain our point, is to prove that there are existing and operating in these circles, purely mundane causes from which, without the interposition of disembodied spirits, this new information may have been brought into the circles, and thus have been embodied in the responses referred to. On this point, we have occasion to call attention merely to the following decisive considerations.
140 MODERN MYSTERIES. 1. There areknown to be present, and in active exercise, in these circles, three forms of mental activity, which are abundantly sufficient to account for this entire class of facts, on the supposition that disembodied spirits have no connection with them whatever, namely, the Imagination, the principle of Conjecture or Guessing, and Clairvoyance. A question is proposed in one of these circles. The attention of every one is consequently fixed upon it, with the curiosity of all intensely excited. Each individual, of course, forms in his own mind, through the action of the imagination, some conception of what the answer should be, and among the many possible answers which should be given, he will almost of necessity conjecture or guess that some specific one is true. This act of the imagination on the one hand, or the conjecture on the other, becomes embodied in the response rapped, written, or spoken out through the medium. In some instances, of course, and the case could not be otherwise, when the guessing principle and the imagination are continuously, in myriads of circles, occasioning responses of this kind, the answer given forth will be right, and the perfect coincidence between it and the state of facts a matter of surprise. Now suppose, which is true and notoriously so among spiritualists the world over, that all wrong answers are set aside as of no account, while every response which happens to be true is set down as certain proof of this theory. We should, in that case, find in the works with which the community is being flooded from the spirit presses the same wonderful facts adduced in favor of the claims of spiritualism that we now have. Now we record it as our solemn conviction, and we speak advisedly in what we utter, that there is not one in a hundred of the well authenticated cases of this
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 141 kind that has ever occurred in these circles that cannot be accounted for on the principles under consideration, and that would not be just what it is, supposing spirits to have no connection whatever with these communications. Then to account for the very few-facts which perhaps should not be referred to these principles, we need only refer to what is known and affirmed by spiritualists themselves to be true, the occasional occurrence of states of clairvoyance in these circles. Suppose that when a question is put, the medium, or some other individual, is in a state clairvoyance, and happens, at the instant, to come into rapport with the real facts inquired after. The perceptions thus obtained would, of course, be embodied in the response given forth, and thus, without the interposition of spirits, we should have the wonderful revelations which are now being spread before the world as coming from spirits, and as proof of their presence and interposition. All this might occur, and the clairvoyant not be distinctly conscious of what had happened, just as individuals, as spiritualists themselves admit, often produce responses when honestly supposing that spirits do it. Now, on the supposition that no disembodied spirit was ever present in any of these circles, we could not fail to have, from the action of the three causes under consideration, all the wonderful revelations, just as they occur, which spiritualists are holding before the public mind as proof of their theory. We have no occasion to refer to an ab extra spirit agency to account for any real revelation that has ever been given forth in any circle in the wide world, and consequently nothing can be more absurd than such reference. Facts which could not but occur, with all their peculiarities as they are, if no disembodied spirits were present, cannot, without a flagrant violation of all
142 MODERN MYSTERIES. the laws of scientific and common sense procedure, be adduced as proof of their presence and agency. No other facts ever have been or can be adduced in favor of the claims of spiritualism. 2. These revelations bear all possible characteristics of an origination from the very causes to which we have referred them, and none which they would bear, did they come from spirits, and especially from the spirits to whom they are referred. Did they originate from these three causes exclusively, then the responses pertaining to subjects of which all in the circles were ignorant, would be, in instances very " few and far between," right, and strikingly so, and in all others, wrong. Now this undeniably is the precise character of all these professed spirit revelations pertaining to such subjects. If, on the other hand, they came from intelligent spirits, good or bad, who did not wish to stand revealed to the world as superlative liars and deceivers, we should find, what we do not now find, that these responses are generally, to say the least, correct, and only in instances "few and far between," wrong. Spirits of common prudence, such as is possessed by men in the flesh, and not utterly reckless of their character for truth and veracity, would be exceedingly careful about the answers which they should give forth to such inquiries. On no other principle could they distinguish their responses from those originating from the causes above named, and thus give evidence of their own agency in these revelations. Yet these so called, par excellence, spirit revelations have none of the characteristics which they certainly would have, did they come from spirits, and all and none others, that they would have, did they originate from the causes to which we have assigned them. The validity of these statements cannot be shaken, and spiritualists, we think, will
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 143 not attempt to do it. Yet here lies an immovable rock, namely, facts which cannot be denied, upon which this system must fall to pieces. Their facts, the only facts on which they can rely, are just such as would not come from spirits good or bad, and just such as could not but originate from the very mundane causes to which we have assigned them. 3. The very principle on which the entire claims of spiritualism rest, would, if its validity were admitted, affirm with equal absoluteness, the most false and absurd claims of the grossest impostors that ever existed. A devoted spiritualist, for example, made an inquiry in a spirit circle, in reference to a subject of which he was ignorant, and wished to be informed, and accompanied the inquiry with this statement: " If the answer obtained turns out to be wrong, it will not shake my confidence in spiritualism itself, in the least." A very influential and devoted spiritualist, in conversation with us, some months since, referred to certain startling predictions which "the spirits " had just uttered in regard to the affairs of Europe, predictions which were to be fulfilled by the middle of February last, predictions not one of which has been verified, but all proved false. The reference was accompanied with this remark: If these predictions turn out to be true, very well, if not, they go for nothing. This is the precise principle everywhere assumed by spiritualists, in arguing for the truth of their theory, and in doing so, they sell themselves to be deceived. Take a case in illustration. A friend of ours, a clergyman, when on the way to visit a family belonging to his congregation, some time since, forecast in his own mind whom of the family, and whom of the neighbors, he should find in the parlor, on his arrival, and where each should be seated, etc. On his arrival, he
144 MODERN IMYSTERIES. found that these foreimaginings were, in almost every particular, correct. Suppose, now, that he had wished to impose himself upon his people as a divinely inspired prophet; that for this end, he should begin to give public utterance to numberless foreshadowings of a similar kind, one in a hundred or a thousand of which could not, of course, fail to be true; that he had also occasional revelations by means of clairvoyance, and that these should be mingled with the other professed revelations; and that his people should receive every prediction and utterance which happened to be fulfilled as a proof of his assumed claims, while, by universal consent, they should pass by all false ones as having no bearings, one way or the other, upon the subject. Who does not see, that such an individual, through such a principle, would soon stand revealed to the people as a divinely inspired and authorized prophet, with as high claims as Isaiah or Elijah, and with an authority as absolute as Jesus Christ, though he were one of the darkest impostors that ever existed? No other result could arise from such a principle of judging, and upon this very principle exclusively, the entire claims of spiritualism are based. Predictions and communications which happen to be true, are trumpeted through the world as demonstrating its claims, while the hundred or thousand false ones, to one that turns out to be true, are dropped, as having no bearing either way. Were they to present to the world a true record of the false responses continuously given forth, in their own circles, with the true ones standing here and there in their midst, solitary and alone, the world would turn in utter disgust from the spectacle, and spiritualists themselves would blush with shame, to intimate a spirit origin for such monstrosities. 4. The information not communicated, as contrasted
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 145 with what is, in these professed revelations, presents another undoubted indication of the non-spirit origin of these communications. According to the fundamental teachings of " the spirits," if such are the intelligences responding to our inquiries, in these communications, we are all continuously surrounded with guardian spirits, who deeply sympathize with us in our joys and sorrows, our pleasures and sufferings mental and physical, and who are able to communicate to us, as they choose, through these mediums, any information which they may possess, and which might alleviate our sorrows or increase our joys, by being communicated to us. Now, if these communications do proceed from this source, such, we may safely conclude would be their character, and we should find, by experience, that here is an available and reliable source of information, on such subjects. Now, this is the precise kind of information which cannot be obtained through " the spirits." As a source of information, it is not an. available one, on the one hand, nor a reliable one, on the other. Hundreds of thousands of families and individuals in England and France, for example, had their husbands, sons, brothers, and endeared relations in the Crimea, and were under the most agonizing apprehensions, of course, in regard to their condition, and that while all individual communications were for long periods suspended. In the greatest agony of apprehension, wives, parents, brothers, sisters, and " nearer and dearer ones," have rushed to the spirit circles, and entreated " the spirits" to relieve that agony, by giving the information desired. What an opportunity was here presented, in which " the spirits," in the presence of the world, could, by manifesting their sympathy with human suffering, and revealing themselves as reli13
146 MODERN MYSTERIES. able informants on subjects of vital importance, have established the claims of spiritualism immovably in the high regard of mankind. What an opportunity, also, to reveal themselves to the heart of grateful nations, as being really and truly what their apostles affirm them to be, the guardian spirits of humanity. But no. To all appeals made to their compassion by agonizing sufferers, they stood revealed, exclusively, as " dumb dogs," from whom no responses could be obtained. This ominous silence indicates a total ignorance of what guardian spirits ought to have known, or a most barbarous, if not fiendish indifference and callousness to human suffering. All the world are aware of the living death which Lady Franklin has been enduring these many years, and how deeply the great heart of England and of Christendom has sympathized with her mental agony. Why have not her guardian spirits sped to those northern regions and brought back the intelligence which would relieve that mind from that heart-sickness which arises from "hope deferred?" Why has not the spirit of the lost one, if alma lhx, the light of life, has departed, winged his way'to the sufferer at home, and revealed his fate to her? Why, to say the least, did not some of his, or of his associates' guardian spirits fly to her with the information which she so much desired? It would seem, that they must have got fast frozen up in some of those ice mountains, or that they must carry hearts of ice in their bosoms. Where was the spirit, or guardian spirits of Emma Moore, or those of her agonized friends,'that from nlone of them were tidings brought to those friends during the interval between the time of her disappearance and the discovery of her body, of her untimely end? When the fell seducer, as a stealthy boa con
THE MISSION OF "THE SPIRITS." 147 strictor, is following the footsteps of unsuspecting innocence, why do not these guardian spirits who can read even the secret thoughts and purposes of men, reveal to the intended victim the terrible perils which encircle her? Why have they not rendered themselves a " terror to evil-doers," by unmasking their dark designs, when they have had such myriads of avenues to the public mind? - avenues through which such information would be most gladly communicated? " The spirits" appear to have no hearts for such forms of well-doing as these. As informants of facts to us unknown, their revelations bear very different and opposite characteristics. Let us consider a few of them. An individual who has a husband in California, who has learned, by experience, that it is not only not good for man, but for woman also " to be alone," and who, in her loneliness, has come so far within the attractive influence of one who is not her husband, as to make " a local habitation and a name" with him an object of strong desire, enters a spirit circle, and is there accosted, very unexpectedly, it is affirmed, by the spirit of her husband, from whom she had failed to obtain information at the time expected. With the tenderest expressions of affection, he informs her that he is no longer in the body, but an inhabitant of the " spirit land." There was one thing, and only one, requisite to the completion of his happiness there - her i.mmlediate union, in marriage, with the individual above referred to. The ceremony must be performed the very next evening —we think that was the time-at such an hour, and in such a room, which was to be darkened, where he would be present, and himself as a rapping revelator, preside over and conduct the exercises. Of course the mourning widow was not " diso
148 MODERN MYSTERIES. bedient to the heavenly vision," and the desired union was consummated accordingly. After the lapse of a few weeks, however, a letter arrived from the California husband, bearing date some days subsequent to the ceremony in the dark room. So strong was the sympathy of " the spirits " for human woe, in this instance, that they were willing to become reckless liars for its relief. New but false information was here conveyed. Such are some of the credibly reported doings and new revelations of the spirits in the State of Ohio. In another instance, a husband went to California under the belief, as his friends affirm, of infidelity to him, on the part of his wife, who subsequently, in appearance, as they further affirm, drawn by a new attachment, was making efforts to obtain a divorce from " her liege lord." But while the law was " dragging its slow length along," behind the " hot haste" of human desire, the spirit of that husband addressed the wife, through a medium, in a spirit circle, and informed her, that she was now " loosed from the law of her husband," "and would not be an adulteress, though she should be married to another man." Subsequent intelligence confirmed, in this case, the revelation of the spirits, though there are yet among his friends doubters of the fact of the death of the individual referred to. This is one among the cases on which the claims of spiritualism are based. The spirit of a certain lad is affirmed to have told, some time after his death, where a pen-knife which he had lost, while living, might be found, and it was found accordingly. In two public debates held at Cleveland, at an interval of several years fiom each other, that fact was adduced by the same speaker, one of the leading spiritualists in the country, and introduced in both
TIHE MISSION OF " TITE SPIRITS." 149 instances as one of the main pillars of his " high argument." The following wondrous facts, we take from the Spiritual Telegraph, the leading organ of the sect in the city of New York. We give the statements as quoted from that paper, in the Evenzing, Post, with the introductory remarks of the editor of the latter paper. "The believers in rappings and communications from the'land of spirits' are increasing in this city. Private families, in circles of from six to a dozen persons, nightly indulge in the'grave amusement.' A regular organization meets every Sunday at Dodworth's Hall, in Broadway, next to Grace Church, where any one is allowed to give his views on the subject. " Conferences are also held during the day and evening each week at the head-quarters of the spiritualists in Broadway, near Prince street. At the assemblies many'tough yarns' are told. The Spiritual Telegraph, the organ of the'faith' in this city, gives us some samples of recent occurrence. It says: — "' A gentleman from New Haven related the following: A Mr. Fairfield, a medium, was some weeks ago sent from Springfield, Mass., to the house of a Mr. Barnes, another medium, in Fairhaven, (a village near New Haven,) Conn. lHe knew not the purpose of his mission, and when he got to the house of Mr. Barnes, found he had not money enough left in his purse to pay his fare home. On the evening of the same day he and Mr. Barnes were both simultaneously entranced, when they put on their overcoats and went out. Our informant, who was present, followed them. They went' up the road some distance and stopped, when Mr. Barnes began to scratch in the snow, which was about three inches deep, as if in search for something. 13'
130 MODERN MYSTERIES. "( Presently he grasped something in his hand, and they both returned to the house, where, on opening his hand to the light, it was found to contain two quarter eagles, which, in obedience to the spiritual impulse, were divided equally between the two mediums. They went out again, our informant following them as before; and when they came directly in front of a certain church, they began to grope in the snow again, and digging out a board which had been covered up, they threw it aside. They then commenced a search where the board had lain; as the hand of one of them was passing to a particular spot, the narrator distinctly saw a small object lying there, which on being picked up proved to be a silver coin - a quarter of a dollar, if we remember. "' They then went and scratched in the snow and dirt on the steps of the Odd Fellows' hall, and found another coin."' There is a medium in the State of Ohio, of whom it is affirmed, in illustration of the new things revealed by " the spirits," that at times, when under their inspiration, he will walk for miles with his eyes shut, passing, in the mean time, over fences and through forests, till he arrives at a particular place, when he will order, in the name of " the spirits," those who have accompanied him to dig down at a certain spot which he designates. They do so, and find at length, some dry bones, an Indian hatchet, and other pieces of old iron of equal value. A very intelligent spiritualist told us, that he had been present, and witnessed these very wonders. Such are " the spirits," as informants of facts which we do not know. We do not affirm, that no higher facts are ever revealed in these communications. These, however, are fair examples of what we do obtain, spirit
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 151 ualists themselves giving the record. If these revelations are from disembodied spirits, judging from what they do and what they do not reveal, we affirm, without fear of contradiction, that they are, almost without exception, beings of the most debased morality, and demented intelligence, and that to regard such communications as coming from the inhabitants of the immortal spheres, tends to produce nothing in us, but corresponding debasement and dementation. 5. Before closing our remarks on the class of facts now under consideration, we should make the following undeniable statement in regard to them, a statement which has a very important and decisive bearing upon the question of their origin. The statement is this. Most of the cases of this kind reported to the public have, and are found, on careful inquiry, to have either no foundation in fact, or to be characterized by very great exaggerations, while the well authenticated cases are very few, much fewer than we should expect from the myriads of sources from which these manifestations proceed, even supposing them not to be given forth by disembodied spirits at all. In listening to the popular lecturers on spiritualism, we find, as they approach this class of facts, that they uniformly begin, by telling their hearers that they could spend the whole night in relating cases which they themselves have witnessed personally, and then out will come the old pen knife story, and other hackneyed facts of a similar character. How few are the cases related by Mr. Ballou, and other great defenders of this new faith, and how far do they have to travel to collect even these. To us, after having investigated the nature of the power by which these manifestations are produced, there is but one matter of surprise, namely, that this class of manifestations are not,
152 MODERN MYSTERIES. in the spirit circles, of more frequent occurrence than they are. SECTION IV. THIRD PROPOSITION ESTABLISHED, NAMELY, THAT WE IAVE POSITIVE AND CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE THAT THESE MANIFESTATIONS ARE THE EXCLUSIVE RESULT OF MUNDANE CAUSES, AND NOT OF THE AGENCY OF DISEMBODIED SPIRITS. We believe that we have now fully established our first two' propositions, namely, that there are, in the world around us, purely mundane causes, from which phenomena, in all respects similar and analogous to those adduced by spiritualists, do arise, - and that these so called spirit manifestations occur in circumstances in which these very causes are known to be present and in efficient action, and that consequently we have no occasion to go beyond these causes to account for these manifestations, in their entireness. We have thus utterly annihilat\ed all positive evidence that from developments hitherto made, any thing can be adduced in favor of spiritualism As far as any claims to an ab extra spirit origin are concerned, it stands before us, as an " airy nothing," without a "local habitation or a name." Our third proposition yet remains to be established, namely, that from these exclusively mundane causes, and not from the agency of disembodied spirits, these manifestations do in fact proceed. When we shall have established this proposition, we shall have proved spiritualism to be exclusively, as far as its claims to a spirit origin are concerned, a system of error and delusion. This we now propose to do. It may be important in this con
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 153 nection to remind the reader of the precise points of agreement and difference between ourselves and spiritualists, on this subject. On all hands it is agreed, 1. That the immediate cause of these manifestations is some force, by whatever name it may be called, a force existing in the world around us; 2. That this force is controlled, in the production of these phenomena, by some intelligent cause or causes; and 3. That this controlling cause is the minds in the circles, or disembodied spirits out of the same. A difference of opinion obtains only in regard to the location of this controllin cause. We maintain that this force, in the production of these communications, is controlled either consciously or unconsciously,- for the most part, without doubt, unconsciously, by the minds constituting these circles. Spiritualists, on the other hand, maintain that it is controlled by disembodied spirits out of these circles. Here only do we differ, as far as the question at issue, in this department of our inquiries, is concerned. We will now proceed to adduce the evidence in favor of the former hypothesis and against the latter. The facts and arguments which we have to present, mnay be ranged together under the following classes: - I 1. All the laws of scientific deduction required us, in view of the propositions already established, to regard as true the hypothesis which we maintain, and the opposite one as false. Whenever any portion of a given class of facts are shown and admitted to result from a given cause, it is always assumed as positive proof, that the facts remaining are produced by the same cause, unless the most absolute evidence to the contrary is adduced. Especially is this the case, when it has been shown that by a reference to this one cause, all the facts alike can be readily and adequately accounted for.
154 MODERN MYSTERIES. In our preceding discussions, it has been proved, (1.) That some of these manifestations are produced exclusively by the minds in the circles, and not by spirits out of them, and (2.) that this one cause, in the circumstances supposed, is all that is requisite to account for all these manifestations. It would, therefore, be a violation of all the laws of scientific deduction, to attribute any of these phenomena to any other cause. This conclusion is undeniable. 2. The great fact that we next adduce is, in our udgnent,of the most absolutely decisive character conceivable, the undeniable *fact, that no new truths or principles are found in these communications.* They come to us as affirmed revelations from the highest minds, among others, in the immortal spheres. Yet they are, in fact, no revelations at all. They are, on the other hand, a mere chaos of truth and error, with which the world was familiar before. We hazard nothing in affirming, that amid all these manifestations there is not a-solitary new truth, or new fundamental principle pertaining to the universe of matter or spirit, although "the s/pirits." present themselves as most benevolent, self-sadrificing, and indispensably needed guides in reference tco both. They come to free men fiom error, and to " gaide them into all truth," and then they simply reaffirr all forms of mere humanz opinions in reference to this world and the next, and that without revealing to us a solitary new truth, or presenting us with a solitary new principle by which we can distinguish truth from error. They come to enlarge the sphere of human science and discovery, and then, as far as they assert We here distinguish, of course, between mere information pertaining to matters-of-fact, and important truths and principles. It is to the latter that we now refer.
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 155 any thing that is true, simply follow iniquis pacibus, in the track of human research and discovery. If there is any thing that we can know apriori of such minds as Francis Bacon, if they should, after dwelling for centuries amid the illuminations of eternity, descend to earth, as our guides and teachers, it is this, that they would not only impart to us new tiuths, but higher and more perfect forms of thinking than those with which all the world are perfectly familiar. Especially may we affirm, with absolute certainty, that such minds, instead of giving utterance to such truths and such thoughts, would not retail, as forms of the highest wisdom, the senseless gossip of every-day thinking among men. How selfevident is the truth of the saying of the forerunner of Christ: " he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometl from heaven is above all." Now we have, in the spirit manifestations, the professed teachings of the very class of heaven descended minds referred to; and what have we in these revelations? All possible characteristics of an origin purely and exclusively earthly and nothing else. We should, therefore, be guilty of the highest folly should we attribute them to any higher origin. Since the mission of " the spirits" commenced, great advance has been made in scientific research and discovery, in respect to very important principles and facts pertaining to the earth and the heavens, and that in reference to realities about which "the spirits" have largely discoursed, and about which it is absurd to suppose those who are affirmed to have come from heaven to teach us, were ignorant. Yet they never have anticipated the advance of human research and discovery, but have very tamely followed it. The Poughkeepsie Seer, after being reminded of the fact, that many new planets had been discovered,
156 MODERN MYSTERIES. since his " divine revelations " were given forth, revelations in which he affirmed himself about to reveal every "visible and invisible existence," was asked why it was that he had not anticipated the march of human discovery, by announcing beforehand the existence and location of these planets? The prophet was silent of course. We put the same question in reference to "the spirits." If they are from heaven, why have they not anticipated the march of scientific research and discovery, which they professedly come to perfect and hasten? The reason and the only reason is, that these revelations are mere human thoughts unconsciously reaffirmed by spirits in the body, and not what they are by some thought to be, revelations from spirits out of the body. The great and undeniable fact before us admits of no other explanation. It remains with spiritualists to deny the statements above made, and to prove them false, by adducing the truths and principles whose reality is denied, or to account for the facts affirmed and in that case admitted, consistently with the claims of their theory. The former we are quite sure they will not attempt to do; the latter we know absolutely is an impossibility. Whatever inexplicable facts may be connected with these manifestations, the total absence of any new truths or principles, and the undeniable presence in them of mere preexisting human opinions only, renders demonstrably evident their exclusively mundane origin. It is the height of folly to refer mere mundane facts to extramundane causes. A greater absurdity cannot be conceived of than to suppose that the great minds from the upper spheres have descended to earth, here to retail as new and eternal verities, old and hackneyed thoughts with which mankind have been familiar for ages.
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 157 3. Another fact equally decisive of the question of the origin of these manifestations, is this. The opinions and sentiments revealed in them, uniformly take form from, and correspond with, those peculiar to the particular circles in which they originate. In China, " the spirits" - for they have spirit circles there - are all followers of Confucius. In Siam, they are equally devoted Buddhists. In Hindostan, they are worshippers of Juggernaut. In Christendom, they are Catholic or Protestant, Christian or Infidel, Churchmen or Dissenters, Orthodox and Heterodox, of all opinions and no opinions, just according to the peculiar complexion of the circles in which they appear. This is true, not only of different classes of spirits, but equally of the same identical spirits. Take any spirit that can be named, and introduce him into each circle on earth in succession, and he will affirm, as only true, the peculiarities of opinion existing in each circle, and as positively deny every opposite opinion, though he has, for thousands of times, asserted its truth before. This he will do, with the most unblushing effrontery, boldly denying, in every circle, that he has ever, since he entered the spirit land, changed his opinions, or at any time, or in any place, contradicted his present teachings. There is not a solitary form or shade of human belief, the denial of the existence of spirits excepted- a form of belief held by Christian, Turk, or Infidel-which has not been absolutely affirmed and denied by the same authority. "The spirits," and the same individuals among them too, take all sides of every question, just as occasion requires, advocating, in succession, the peculiar doctrines of each circle that chances or chooses to call upon them. We have our orthodox circles, in which all the peculiarities of the evangelical 14
158 MODERN MYSTERIES. faith are solemnly affirmed, without contradiction, by every spirit that appears among them. There is one such circle, at the present time, in the city of Cleveland, and in this circle, we have all the physical and mental manifestations that can be obtained anywhere else. In the town of Madison, Geauga county, Ohio, during the progress of a revival of religion, the minister became a spiritualist. He found a medium of the same faith with himself. A perfectly orthodox circle was thus formed, into which the oldest and strongest Universalists and Infidels were introduced, and as from their own children, relatives, and friends, were assured, that their sentiments were all wrong, and that under their influence they were descending, with infallible certainty, to the gulf of eternal death. The spirit of a Deacon Branch, who, for many years, had lived in the place, and had died there in the esteem and confidence of all, appeared in the circle. Between him and these unbelievers, the most solemn communications, to the following import, passed:- Tell us, Deacon Branch, is what is affirmed in the Bible and by Christians, of heaven and hell, true? It is. Is hell as terrible a place as it is represented to be? Far more so. What must we do to escape it? You must "repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ." In that circle, " the spirits" affirmed absolutely, that all communications of an opposite character, which had ever been given forth in any spirit circles, were exclusively from "the father of lies" and his agents, and were given forth for the fell purpose of deceiving men to their eternal ruin. Yet in no circle in the wide world, has there ever been given more conclusive evidence of the presence and teachings of disembodied spirits. A friend of ours, for example, entered that circle in company
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 159 with his wife. They had buried two children, in different towns, in another State, and wxvee perfectly certain, that none present but themselves knew any thing of those children. Yet their names, one or both having double names, the places of their birth and burial, their ages, even to the specific number of years, months, weeks, and days, etc., were given forth with perfect correctness. At length "the spirits" found, in this place, another medium of different and opposite sentiments, and round her formed a circle of corresponding character. In this circle, they unitedly affirmed, the spirit of Deacon Branch among the rest, that no spirits at all had, at any time, made any communications whatever in the orthodox circle. Deacon Branch, however, immediately reappeared in the circle last named, and solemnly affirmed, in a communication to his own son, in whose house the sceptical circle was meeting at the time referred to, that he had had no connection at all with the communication whicn had thus been sent forth from the latter circle, as from him. Such is the state of facts the world over. In the infidel and kindred circles, the spirits of orthodox ministers appear, and with expressions of the deepest regret, abjure their earthly teachings and ministrations. In the few orthodox circles, and we could multiply them by thousands and tens of thousands, yes, we could fill the world with spirit voices if we chose,- Infidels and Universalists of every grade, as from the world of despair, affirm every article of the orthodox faith, and abjure their own earthly opinions, as being nothing else than' the doctrines of devils." Now what evidence can be conceived of more conclusive of the truth of any proposition, than is here presented of the exclusive mundane origin of these communications, in the two
160 MODERN MYSTERIES. undeniable facts before us, namely, that in these communications none but mundane opinions appear, and that the former vary as the latter vary? No questions pertaining to this world or the next can be settled, by any evidence whatever, if this question is not settled by the evidence before us. 4. We now present, as confirmatory of the views which, we hold on this subject, a class of aplparent exceptions to the facts above adduced. It is true, that the answers obtained do not always correspond with the sen, timents of those who make inquiry, nor with those oI the majority of, the persons present, on any given occasion, though this is generally the case. An individual, as stated in an extract given above from the work of Mr. Ballou, wished to have certain disagreeable communications which he had obtained, when two mediums were present, reversed. He could have his wish, when one of them was absent, but not when both were present. "He could," in the language of the author, "overrule one of them, sitting alone, and get a response to suit himself. But both of them together overmatched his psychological powers." As is the prevailing psychological power, for the moment, such will be the character of the responses obtained; and this power, at times, may be with the mass in the circle, in opposition to that exerted by individuals, as in the orthodox circle above referred to where sceptics were making inquiries; and in some occasional instances, owing to peculiar coincidences, it may be with individuals, in opposition to the sentiments of the majority. A medium, for example, on one occasion was, in a circle in Leroy, N. Y.,a circle which had met to obtain communications through her, and which was constituted almost, if not quite, exclusively of sceptics. As the so called spirit
THIE MISSION OF "TIHE SPIRITS." 1G6 influence came upon her, this solemn affirmation canme out, as from the spirits," Ye must be born again." All were astounded, and none more so than the medium. Yet during the entire evening, nothing could be obtained from "the spirits," whatever questions were asked, and many were, but this one sentence, " Ye must be born again." How shall this fact be accounted for? The answer is plain. The medium was of orthodox sentiments, and had just come from another meeting, in which this and kindred truths had been very deeply fixed in her thoughts. This would account for the expression of that truth, in the first instance. Then its sudden and unexpected appearance in the circle would fix all minds most intently upon it, so intently, that no other thought could find an expression during that sitting. Just such facts as these would occasionally occur in these circles, if our theory were true, and would not occur, if that of Spiritualism was true. Such exceptions therefore confirm instead of contradicting the conclusion deduced from the important facts included in the last two classes above presented. 5. There is still another characteristic of many of these revelations which renders demonstrably evident the fact, that they cannot come from the spirits to whom they are referred; and if they do not come from these, we are bound to suppose that they do not come from any spirits at all, and thus discredit the whole theory of spirit manifestations. We have professed revelations from minds such as Bacon, who have been progressing for centuries in light and knowledge, amid the revelations of eternity. We have also the recorded ideas of the same minds upon the same themes, while thley were in the body. We have then here a fair opportunity to compare their present and past mental condition and 14
162 MODERN MYSTERIES. capacities. What is the conclusion to which any intelligent and candid mind must come, as the result of such careful comparison? It is this and no otherthat if it is really and truly the author of the great Organon who is speaking in the work given forth as from him and other kindred spirits, by Judge Edmonds and his associates, that mind cannot but be in a state of absolute and hopeless idiocy, before it has been among "the spirits" for two centuries longer. We made this remark some time since to a very intelligent lawyer who had publicly defended, and that with great ability, the doctrine of the spirit manifestations, and who had read with much interest the work referred to. " I must admit," his reply was, " that you are right there; " and no intelligent man who is acquainted with the writings of Bacon, can come to any other conclusion. The posterity of that man, if any exist, ought to be able to obtain heavy damages in a suit for slander against these individuals, for attributing such thoughts to their great ancestor. We hazard little in affirming, that it is about as reasonable to suppose, that Michael the archangel is the author of the celebrated work entitled, " The house that Jack built," and that this is the highest production that he could originate, as to suppose that it is the spirit of the immortal Bacon that is conmmunicating in the senseless production referred to. So, in other instances, we have seen essays from the spirit of the great Franklin, on electricity, essays given forth through the best of mediums, and which have all the evidence that he is their author, that any of these revelations do that they come from any spirits at all; essays commencing very much like the composition of a certain tyro on perseverance, namely, "Perseverance is the best thing that ever happened to man," and bearing
THE MISSION OF "THE SPIRITS." 163 throughout marks of corresponding perfection of thought and style. One thing is undeniable to an intelligent and unprejudiced mind, in regard to these manifestations, that " the spirits " are not speaking in them at all, or that their progression is altogether towards idiocy, and nowhere else. For ourselves, we do not believe that this is the direction of progress with them. We therefore draw the only possible conclusion consistent with that belief, namely, that it is the spirits of the living and not of the dead that are here in reality speaking to us. 6. The general character of these communications, considered in a mere intellectual point of view, in comparison with the productions of minds in the body, precludes wholly the supposition, that they are from disembodied spirits. Communications coming from the high spheres above, we cannot but know, as we have already observed, would move upon a level altogether above the highest forms of thinking among men in the flesh. We cannot but be mentally and morally degraded ourselves, to entertain any other ideas of a future state. Suppose that we have masses and floods of communications professedly descending to us from those high spheres, communications which, while they contain nothing new, not only never rise above the higher forms of mundane thinking, but almost, if not quite, invariably fall incornparably below them, very seldom, indeed, rising above mere commonplace, and more frequently embodying the most senseless puerilities conceivable. What higher evidence can we have of an exclusively mundane origin, than is thus presented? WThen we will consent to receive such forms of thinking as from spirits, spirits, too, from the higher celestial spheres, as these are generally affirmed to come, we consent to our own mental and moral deg
164 MODERN MYSTERIES. radation, and voluntarily subject ourselves to influences of all others most efficient to produce that result. We will cite a few passages, as examples of " spirit wisdom." Our citations are exclusively from books advertised in the Spiritual Telegraph of New York, as among the standard spiritual productions which are kept for sale at that office, books embraced in the catalogue, to all of which the "reader's attention is particularly invited." In a communication of upwards of forty pages from George Washington, a communication contained in a book entitled, " Love and Wisdom from the Spirit World," we find the following important announcement. "If men were governed by love, truth, wisdom, and harmony, then they would be under one grand, universal government of peace and harmony." No one can fail, we think, to understand the important principle here affirmed by the father of our country, and it is certainly just as true as the momentous proposition, that an oyster is an oyster. Further on we are told, that in order that mankind may " become acquainted with the natural and spiritual laws which govern their own being," knowledge requisite to " enjoy peace, harmony, and happiness," "it is necessary that they obtain light on these important subjects." The meaning of the last part of the following sentence is not to us quite so plain as the foregoing. " These glorious realities," theblessings of one universal brotherhood among men, " cannot be enjoyed until there is a general reformation in all governments, laws, institutions, and modes of teaching the generation together with the present." At the head of the address, presenting throughout corresponding perfection of thought and style, we have a likeness of the author, a likeness at the bottom of which we find a scrap of poetry made by Washington himself, as we
THE MISSION OF " TIHE SPIRITS." 165 are given to understand, for the express purpose of accompanying that likeness. The poetry reads as follaws: - " When the likeness of this portrait you see, Remember that it is to represent the likeness of me, But the spirit in its brightness you cannot see, For that is far above the likeness of thee. G. WASHINGTON." The likeness of Franklin, which stands, in the book above named, at the head of a long essay from him on " Progression of the mineral, vegetable, animal, and spiritual kingdoms," is also accompanied by the following lines, composed by that great mind, in his " angel's home." " The likeness of this portrait is to represent The likeness of man when he dwelt here below, But the likeness of the spirit you would like to know, And this would be no more than I would like to show; But the mind is not prepared the likeness for to see Of the spirit in his angel's home as bright as we. B. FRANKLIN." 4" The elevated spirits" communicating in this book, affirn, we are told, that they "impressed every word and sentence" found in it upon the medium's mind before it was written. We have then here, it would seem, an infallible criterion by which we can judge of the progression of these minds in "love and wisdom" during their residence in the celestial spheres. From another work, entitled " Light from the Spirit World," we take the following specimens of spirit thinking and composition. An essay on Wisdom commences thus - " Wisdom is what is wise, and what is wise is wisdom. Wisdom is not folly, and folly is not wisdom.
166 MODERN MYSTERIES. Wisdom is not selfishness, and selfishness is not wisdom. Wisdom is not evil, and evil is not wisdom." Again, " Wisdom is wisdom. All is not wisdom. All is not folly." Further on we are told that if we would get wisdom, those of us who have it not, we must " get it where it is to be found." For ourselves, much as we value this priceless treasure, we feel very little inclined to resort to "the spirits" to get it, though we can obtain from them the great truth that, " Men are what they are," together with the momentous information that, " Change is alteration," and although they assure us, that they come to us, "in wisdom which is from heaven," "with glad tidings on their tongues, with the rainbow of promise over their heads, with the cup of salvation in their hands, with the wine of consolation to the mourner, and the balm of healing to the sorrow-stricken and the despondent." We must give one additional quotation. The essay " On Works" thus commences: "WVorks are the doings of a worker. Indolence is not work. Industry is work. Industry, accompanied with wisdom, works a wise work. Wisdom works wisely, and the works of wisdom are not works of vanity." The medium through whom these great thoughts are communicated to us, assures us, that " the spirits" express themselves, after reviewing what they have here communicated, well satisfied with their work. In a work entitled, "Discourses from the Spirit World, dictated by Steven Olin, through Rev. R. P. Wilson, writing medium," we have the following somewhat original definition of the phrase, " the kingdom of God: " - " By the phrase,' kingdom of God,' is meant, 1. The most internal essence, or the love, wisdom, and will principles. 2. The subordinate principles of expansion,
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 167 attraction, and circulation. 3. The agencies of heat, light, and electricity. These principles and agencies constitute the realm of this kingdom, vx4th reference to its internal nature and relations." So much for the theological lore of " the spirits," for their wondrous insight into the secrets of spiritual wisdom and knowledge. We shall not multiply quotations further. We contend, that what we have presented is not an unfair representation of the real wisdom of "the spirits." For ourselves, we have searched in vain among these communications, and we have examined the works commended to our regard, by the best informed spiritualists in the country, as among the fundamental and standard spirit productions; we have searched in vain, we say, among all these productions, for a new or a great thought. We have found, almost without exception, forms of thinking far below those which appear in the ordinary productions of men in the flesh, and which shock all our hallowed sentiments, and debase all our conceptions, in regard to immortality, when received as from spirits inhabiting the celestial spheres. A friend of ours, Hon. George Bradburn, as he has affirmed before the public, has read upwards of six thousand pages of these productions, and has turned from them with the identical impressions above stated. They have absolutely none of the characteristics which we cannot but know they would have, did they come to us from spirits standing amid the high revelations of eternity. On the other hand, they have all the marks, and none others, of an origin purely and exclusively mundane. For example: 1. None but nmundane thoughts are here embodied, thoughts which vary in their forms with the opinions of the circles in which they originate. 2. These communications present the precise kinds of
168 MODERN MYSTERIES. thinking which we know would proceed from the surface of minds in the very passive and unthinking state in which mediums affirm themselves to be, when they suppose themselves under the inspiration of the spirits, and which can proceed from no other source. We find just such thoughts as these in these communications, and little else. 3. All the peculiarities of style, and manner, which characterize the mediums, and those who are around them, when communicating, are embodied in these communications. No spirit, from any sphere, can spell correctly, speak grammatically, or utter any thing but senseless puerilities, when communicating through certain mediums. 4. We find all the peculiarities of sentiment, forms of expression, and mere ignorance of the mediums and spirit circles reflected in these productions. We find, for example, in a communication given forth as from the spirits, through Mrs. Fish,, when in Cleveland, such expressions as the following: " Go, sit under the teachings of that orthodox D.D., who says that all these rappings and other physical manifestations are humbugs," etc. Again: " This conclusion that all these spiritual manifestations are a humbug, because spirit cannot have power to make such manifestations, strikes their own pretended faith flat in the face." There is one fact which has struck our minds with peculiar interest, in reading these works. Whenever the inquirer asks questions of the spirits, pertaining to subjects which real spirits must be acquainted with, but of which he is ignorant, and about which he is perplexed, we always find, that the spirits here responding not only do not know any thing more than he does, but that his ignorance and perplexity are reflected in the responses which he obtains; thus indicating most decisively, that the inquirer, and he only,
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 169 is answering his own questions. The following we give, as examples, from Rev. H. Snow's work, entitled, Spirit Intercourse." "Can you give any idea of the manner in which spirits converse? " You had better not attempt to penetrate so deeply into our affairs, for it can be of no use to you. There is, however, with us a common and universal method of holding intercourse, but of which you can form no just idea until you are permitted to make use of it. "Are there any evil-disposed or mischievous spirits that have it in their power to approach and communicate with us? " You cannot fully understand what you wish to know upon this subject either. It is not in our power to enlighten you much in this respect. " Can it be explained, without implying deception on the part of spirits, how great men are said to be present, and to communicate, when what is communicated shows plainly that the great men are not present? "You must not think that we can give you all the satisfaction you wish on this point. It may be said, however, that it is not necessary to suppose deception, as there are other ways of accounting for such facts. You cannot understand the matter fully," etc. Thus it is, that every peculiarity in the state of the inquirer's mind, is perfectly reflected back upon him, in the responses which he obtains. If he understands, is ignorant of, or perplexed about the subject about which he inquires, his own knowledge, ignorance, or perplexity, and nothing else, will be presented in the answer obtained. 5. Finally, how great soever the number, and diverse the character and relations of spirits which communicate through one and the same medium, the style 15
170 MODERN MYSTERIES. of each will be one and the same, with that of all the others, thus showing that they are the product of one, and not of many minds. What perfect identity of style, for example, characterizes the various productions of different minds, professedly communicating their thoughts to the world, in the two volumes published by Judge Edmonds. We must repudiate all the laws of criticism, and ignore the entire dictates of common sense, before we can admit that different minds are here communicating. So, in regard to all of these works. The same spirits, communicating through different mediums, are wholly unlike themselves, in style and manner, and forms of thinking. All minds, on the other hand, communicating through the same channel, present a perfect unity, in these respects. There is an apparent exception to the above statements, an exception which, instead of contradicting, really and truly confirms the principle which we have assumed. When the medium, or some one present, knows the style of the individual whose spirit is professedly communicating, such style will sometimes be in some degree copied, though almost without exception, very imperfectly. So also when an imaginary character is communicating, such as a news-boy, forms of expression which that class of persons are known to use, will sometimes be embodied in the communications obtained. In all other cases, we believe, and we think we cannot be mistaken, the principle under consideration fully obtains. No one spirit has any thing like a fixed style by which he can be identified, as he appears in different circles and communicates through different mediums. All spirits, on the other hand, with the exceptions above named, when communicating in the same circles, and through the same mediums,
THE MISSION OF TTHE SPIRITS." 171 have a perfect identity of style; a style, too, which varies as the character of the circles and mediums varies. We noticed, for example, some weeks since, several communications purporting to have come from the spirits of Messrs. Webster, Calhoun, Clay, and others, communications obtained through one of the Miss Foxes in the city of New York, and in a circle constituted of such men as the Hon. J. R. Giddings. Mr. Calhoun is affirmed to have announced his own presence in an elliptical style peculiar to himself, namely, " I'm with you," and this was assumed as proof positive of his actual presence. It was forgotten that some persons present knew well what were his peculiarities in such forms of expression. As soon as he and the others began to make formal communications, however, all peculiarities of their earthly style and manner disappeared at once, and all adopted one and the same style, a style too utterly unlike, and infinitely beneath what was so peculiar to each when in the body. Now, if such facts as these do not prove the exclusively mundane origin of these communications, we may well ask, what can be established by evidence? We cannot have higher evidence, when standing before a mirror, that it is our own image that we see reflected there, and that our presence is the cause of that reflection, than we have, in such facts as these, that these communications are nothing but the reflections of the thoughts of the mediums, and of the persons constituting these circles, and are caused by those thoughts, and not by those of spirits out of the circles. The time is not distant when the only sentiment of mystery connected with these manifestations will be, that in this country, in the middle of the nineteenth century, the belief could have obtained among any intelligent portion of the commu
172 MODERN MYSTERIES. nity, that such productions, such forms of thought, could have descended to us, from spirits inhabiting the celestial spheres. If this is a true vision of immortality, we say, in all sincerity, give us annihilation. 7. We now refer to an important class of facts which have been developed by inquiries put by individuals for the specific purpose of satisfying their own minds on the question, whether spirits have, as a matter of fact, any connection with these mysterious phenomena. The inquiries to which we now refer have generally been made by individuals who had formed no particular theory upon the subject, and made simply for the purpose named. They have assumed, and for the best of reasons, that if spirits are really and truly responding here, individuals will, of course, get no answers, if they call for those who cannot be present, and that if they can get the same answers from such spirits that can be obtained from any others, and in all respects the same evidence of spirit presence and agency, then Spiritualism, whatever else may be true of these facts, must be false. These experiments have established undeniably the fact, that in all respects the same answers can be elicited, and the same evidence of an actual presence as the authors and cause of these communications, can be obtained from the following classes of spirits, as from any others that ever have been or can be evoked, namely, from the departed spirits of devils; from the departed spirits of individuals yet alive, or who never existed; from the departed spirits of the lowest orders of brute beasts, insects, and reptiles; and finally, from the departed spirits of shrubs and stones. All tests of identity, all indications of intelligence, of a knowledge of our secret thoughts, all forms of information, all kinds of manifestations, physical and mental,
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 173 that can be obtained from any spirits whatever, can be obtained from each and every class above named. " I do n't understand these mysterious occurrences," said the father of a certain medium, an honest and intelligent farmer; " but there is one thing that I do know about them, and that is, that we can obtain just as intelligent answers from the spirits of beasts, shrubs, and stones, as from any spirits that can be called upon. This I know absolutely; for I have made the experiment myself, till I am perfectly satisfied upon the subject." Mr. Ballou admits that facts of this kind do occur, and attributes their occurrence to a low order of spirits who are ready to appear in any characters that men desire. " This," he also says, "is the explanation given by truthful spirits." This explanation, however, is selfcontradictory and absurd; for this low order of spirits exhibit all the intelligence that any others do. They have the same power to respond to our secret thoughts, to answer test questions, and to convey information of facts unknown to us. They will discourse as profoundly upon all subjects that can be named as any others whatever. Now what more decisive evidence can we have of any truth than is here presented, that these responses do not come from spirits. The facts of the case could not be as they are, if invisible intelligent beings were really and truly communicating with us in these manifestations. They could not, on the other hand, but be as they are, if the spirits constituting the circles were unconsciously producing the answers which they obtain to their own inquiries. In this case, and in this alone, any spirit named, whether existing or not existing, would give the same responses as any other. The spiritualist, we know, has an answer ready for such facts. The individual putting such questions, he 15
174 MODERN MYSTERIES. says, is in a dishonest state of mind, and therefore by the law of spiritual communications, draws lying spirits to himself, and from these he obtains his answers. This answer, if admitted as valid, proves far more than the spiritualist intends. It renders demonstrably evident one fundamental fact pertaining to all these communications, the absolute impossibility of identifying at all any spirits which are communicating with us, if any are. If lying spirits can answer as correctly as any others, all test questions given to identify the spirits who are communicating with us, it is absolutely impossible for us, to determine whether the spirit communicating with us, on any given occasion, is not a lying spirit instead of the one we suppose. All ground of confidence, therefore, in the validity of any of these communications is taken away. It cannot be denied that all evidence of the reality or validity of all such communications is utterly annihilated by the facts before us, facts which cannot be denied. But the assumption that the putting of such inquiries implies dishonesty in the inquirer, is wholly unauthorized. The questions are put for the single and honest purpose of determining the fact, whether these responses do proceed from disembodied spirits or not. They are perfectly adapted to secure that result, and consequently may be, and no doubt often are, put with the most perfect integrity; a state of mind which, if the law of spirit communication referred to is real, would repel and not draw to itself lying spirits. Truth-telling spirits, and they only, would be drawn into communication with the inquirer to solve his honest doubts. The relation of the responses obtained under such circumstances to the state of the inquirer's mind, should not be overlooked in this connection. They are always
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 175 in the fixed relation of consequence to that state, as antecedent. As is the state, so are the responses. As the former changes and varies, so do the latter. This is the fixed law of their occurrence. Now if this fact does not reveal the state referred to as the cause, and the responses as the effects of the action of that cause, and therefore exclude the supposition of ab extra spirit interposition, what relations of antecedence and consequence can reveal that of cause and effect? None but those who are determined to be deceived can, as it seems to us, avoid the conclusion which we draw from these facts. 8. There is a class of facts which should not be overlooked in this connection, a class against which no objection, like that above alluded to, can be raised. We refer to responses which individuals obtain, when they, with the most honest desire for true information, call for the spirits of friends whom they sincerely suoppose to be dead, but who are yet alive. In all such cases, all the evidence of actual presence and identity is obtained that is ever obtained in any instances whatever, and inquirers are just as certain to get responses, when they call for the spirits of such persons, as in any other cases. We have two friends, for example, one of whom is alive, and the other dead, both of whom, however, we, with equal honesty, suppose to be in the spirit world. We are just as sure to get an answer, when we call for one of these spirits, as for the other, and we can obtain, in all respects, the same evidence of actual presence and identity in one case, that we can in the other. The facts cannot be denied. They would be as these are, if the responses originated within the circle. Could they be so, if they came from spirits out of those circles? But one answer can be given to such a question.
176 MODERN MYSTERIES. A child, for example, in an intelligent Christian family which we have known for nearly twenty years, recently became a table-moving, writing, and rapping medium. We have ourselves seen phenomena of the first class, and heard the raps connected with that child, and have fully satisfied ourselves that there is no intentional deception in the case. The evening after the child announced the fact that he was a medium, the family formed a circle by themselves, and when the rappings commenced, took the alphabet, and called for the name of the spirit present, if any was present, and was producing these mysterious sounds. The name of a young man, who had been, for a considerable period, a member of the family, and had left for New Orleans in the spring of 1854, and from whom, though he had promised to write, they had never heard since, was given. In answer to subsequent inquiries, the following statements were all rapped out, namely, that on the 24th of May, 1854, he had died in New Orleans, of the yellow fever. Since that occurrence, that young man has reappeared among us, and thereby established the fact, that he is not dead. In this case, every question was put with the utmost sincerity, and there was nothing whatever, to draw responses from lying spirits. Of this, however, the entire family are perfectly aware, that the answers obtained represented their own previous convictions of facts, and to those convictions they have sense enough to attribute the communication which they did obtain. A somewhat remarkable case of this kind recently occurred in Cleveland. A young man, some seven or eight months ago, went from that city to Chicago. From the latter city he wrote to his friends, that he was to leave that place for St. Louis. For upwards of
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 177 five months subsequent to the reception of this letter, no intelligence whatever was received of him, and it was supposed that he was dead. His mother, having accompanied a female friend, a devoted spiritualist, to the residence of a medium, and while listening to the communications which others were then receiving, felt something like a human hand grasp her own, as if for the purpose of an affectionate salutation. She asked the medium what that meant, and was told that it was an indication to her, that a spirit was present who desired to speak to her. To her inquiry, who the spirit was, the name of her son was given. She was then informed, as from him, that on his way down the Mississippi, the boat took fire, and he, in his fright, leaped overboard and was drowned. "You know, mother," said the spirit, "that while alive, I ridiculed spiritualism. I am exceedingly glad to find it true, as I can now communicate with you." The mother was then requested to call again, at a time named, when he would have other important communications to make to her. The medium in this case was a speaking one, and the mother, though she had never met the medium before, nor had ever heard of her, recognized a perfect likeness to her son's voice and manner. She called as directed and received other communications. She then called upon two other mediums, both total strangers to her, and through them also received substantially, as from her son, the same messages as before. To the question, how can I know that it is really and truly my son that is communicating with me, she was told in reply, that he would accompany her home, and remain with her there, till all doubts were removed from her mind. The disconsolate mother returned home with the most absolute conviction, that her son was dead, and that she had communed with his
178 MODERN MYSTERIES. spirit. On her arrival, however, she was met by that very son who had returned during her absence. He had written home, but none of his letters had arrived, and this was the cause of the apprehension that he was dead. Now this case, which we ourselves obtained directly from the family itself, this case, we say, and others of the same character, to any number desired, might be adduced, establishes most unquestionably the following facts. (1.) There was here the most perfect honesty and sincerity in the mind of the inquirer, and the consequent absence of all causes which, according to the principles of spiritualism, would draw lying spirits into rapport with her mind. (2.) All conceivable evidence, physical and mental, of the presence of the particular spirit supposed to be present was given, that is or can be given, in any other case. (3.) Nothing is requisite to obtain all the evidence of the actual presence of the disembodied spirits of individuals who are yet alive, that can be obtained in reference to that of any person who is dead, but an honest conviction, on the part of the inquirer, that the living individual, whose spirit is called for, is actually dead. (4.) To suppose that lying spirits can thus personate other minds, and none others, if any do, can respond, in such cases, is to annihilate all evidence, that any one can have, that he has ever communicated with any particular spirit, on any occasion whatever, on the one hand, and that all these communications, if from spirits at all, are not from "the father of lies," or his agents on the other. (5.) We need suppose no other cause for such responses, but the state of the inquirer's mind, in the circumstances actually existing, to account for all the facts which here present themselves. The recollection of her son would, of course, be very vivid
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 179 in the mother's mind, and this would give form to the words, voice, and manner of the medium. (6.) It would be the height of absurdity, consequently, to refer such communications to any ab extra or spirit cause. There is to our minds no escaping these conclusions. (7.) If such cases are not, and no one will pretend that they are, to be referred to the agency of spirits, it would be the height of absurdity to refer any other of these communications to such agency. (8.) No tactual impressions, no likeness in these communications to the voice, style, or manner of persons living or dead, can be any real proof of the truth of spiritualism. This, we think, is undeniable. 9. We now adduce a class of facts perfectly similar to those above named, and which occur under circumstances that entirely free them from all the objections that can be raised, even by spiritualists, against the conclusions undeniably deducible from them. We refer to responses obtained in these circles by devoted spiritualists themselves, answers purporting to come from individuals supposed and honestly supposed to be dead, but who are yet alive, or never existed at all. Here, of course, there is the most perfect integrity in the inquirer's state of mind, and the consequent total absence of all causes to induce the presence and action of lying spirits. In precisely such circumstances, just the same kind of communications are obtained, and all test questions put to identify " the spirits" communicating are answered with the same correctness, as in any other instances. A very striking case of this kind came under our own observation. A friend of ours was believed by herself, her physicians, and by all around her, to be in the very last stages of consumption, within one or two weeks, at the utmost, of death. At
180 MODERN MYSTERIES. this time she was visited by a number of relatives, who were most devoted spiritualists, and who took very great pains, but without success, to interest her in the subject. She was feasting on more substantial realities than " the spirits" revealed to her. These individuals took their final leave of our friend, and returned to their distant homes with the most undoubted conviction, that in a very few days she would be in eternity. A few weeks subsequent, the husband of our friend received from those individuals a letter containing a special and affectionate communication from the spirit of his departed wife, -a communication obtained from that identical spirit and none other, in the spirit circle which these individuals attended. In that circle they inquired if the spirit of that supposed to have been dying, and consequently then dead friend, was present. The answer was, yes. After all proofs of identity were given that are ever required, and all the circumstances of our friend's departure and her then happy state were given, a wish was expressed by her to send a communication of consolation, etc. to the bereaved husband that was left behind. This communication was then given and forwarded, as stated above. It so happened that that very disembodied spirit thus identified, and thus communicating with the living, was then with her husband in the body, and to the wonder of all around, is yet alive, with a prospect of seeing years to come. A very notable case of a similar character appeared in the public prints recently, as connected with Judge Edmonds and others. In a certain paper in the interests of Spiritualism, and published in California, a paper called The Pioneer, a professedly spirit communication appeared, as from the spirit of a Mr. Lane. This communication was subsequently indorsed by
THE MISSION OF " TIE SPIRITS." 181 " the spirits " in a spirit circle as a genuine spirit production. It was then forwarded to Judge Edmonds, who forwarded to The Pioneer a communication which he had obtained, in the city of New York, from the spirit of this same Mr. Lane. On the appearance of this last communication, an editor of another California paper published the fact that he was well informed about Mr. Lane and his communications, that no such person ever had existed, and that the communication which first appeared in The Pioneer was of an exclusively mundane origin. Yet this very spirit appeared to Judge Edmonds, with all the evidence of an actual presence and identity, that he ever had of that of Bacon or any other spirit. We recently met with a very intelligent Christian lady who utterly repudiates the claims of Spiritualism, a lady who was left a widow by the celebrated William Leggett of New York, and whose present husband is a devoted spiritualist. While a circle was being held in her own parlor, her husband being a member of it, and she sitting in another part of the room, and no one in the circle could obtain any communication at all, the question was asked, whether there was any spirit present that wished to communicate with Mrs. —Instantly a number of very loud raps were heard upon the top of the table. She was earnestly requested to enter the circle and receive communications. On her refusal to comply, individuals in the circle put questions themselves, and received ready answers to all their inquiries. The spirit responding purported to be that of a brother of Mrs. -, a brother who had sailed some twenty years ago as the commandant of a vessel, from the port of New York, and had never since been heard from, the vessel and all on board having, no 16
182 MODERN iMYSTERIES. doubt, been lost. All particulars of the loss of the vessel, and the subsequent death of all on board, the brother having languished for thirty-six days on a raft, before he died, were given to her, as she affirmed, with a disgusting and even shocking minuteness. She had another brother, Stephen, from whom no tidings had been received for upwards of two years. The elder brother, on being questioned on the subject, affirmed that Stephen was with him in the spirit land; that he had died on a steamboat, at a particular place and time named, on the Mississippi river; that he had six thousand five hundred dollars with him when he died; that this treasure was taken possession of by three individuals, one a female, who had since died, and with the greatest agony of mind, had confessed the wrong to the spirit of the brother named above, etc. Soon after she received a letter from a sister in New York, saying, " I have just received a letter from brother Stephen, and he will be with us in two or three weeks." The statements pertaining to the elder brother could not, of course, be tested. Those pertaining to the other, however, statements equally specific and worthy of credit, she happily had the means of informing herself about. But one explanation can be given of the communications obtained in this instance. The husband of this lady knew about the brothers, honestly supposed them both alike to have been dead, and hence the responses obtained. The fact is undeniable, that whenever there is an honest belief that an individual is dead, whether he is alive or never existed at all, even spiritualists can obtain all the evidence of the presence, identity, and agency of his spirit, that can be obtained in any other case whatever. Any persons, that in the presence of such
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 183 facts will attribute these manifestations to spirits, and especially to particular ones, hold their minds open to any delusions that may be sent to them from any source whatever. 10. We now invite very special attention to a class of facts of the most absolute and decisive bearing upon our present inquiries. We refer to certain observations and experiments which individuals have made, with this one specific purpose in view, namely, to determine the location of the cause of these manifestations, whether that cause pertains to the minds in the circles, or to disembodied spirits out of them. As the facts now to be adduced are perfectly fundamental in their bearing, we shall make a quite extensive selection from the great mass that lies around us, and which might be adduced, did our limits permit. We will begin with a fact connected with clairvoyance, and then parallel it with another connected with these manifestations. Some years since, Rev. J. H. S., then pastor of the Baptist church in Poughkeepsie, N. Y., met, on a certain occasion, several individuals at the house of a friend. Among the individuals present was a Mr. L., who first mesmerized A. J. Davis. Mr. L. expressed to Mr. S. much surprise that the latter should hold the doctrine of future retribution, when such palpable evidence to the contrary could be presented. Here, he says, is a young man now present whom I will introduce into a clairvoyant state, in which he will have a direct vision of the condition of the spirits of the dead. Let us see what report he will bring back of that state. This was done. As the young man was subjected to the actions of the odylic [mesmeric] force, his head, he being seated in a chair, was drawn between his knees, till his hair touched the floor. In this state
184 MODERN MYSTERIES. he remained for about two hours, without apparent injury or wearisomeness. During this time many very wonderful facts were developed which we have not space to detail. At length Mr. L. introduced his subject among the spirits of the dead, that is, willed, that he should have such visions, and asked him what he saw. Wvith the greatest delight conceivable, he testified that all, all were happy, very, very happy. What do you think of that, Mr. S., says the mesmerizer? How can you resist such evidence? Put me in communication with the young man, says Mr. S., and let us see what will then appear. This was done. Mr. S., without speaking at all, fixed his attention upon one of the most depraved characters that ever appeared in this country, an individual who had been executed in that place, a short time previous, for murder, and who died as he had lived. Soon the clairvoyant began to scream, with the greatest anguish and entreaty conceivable. "Do let me off! Do let me off! T can't endure it," he exclaimed. Mr. S. asked him what he saw. The individual referred to, and to whom no allusion had before been made, was named. Where is he? asked Mr. S. "In hell," was the reply. "I can't endure the sight of him," exclaimed the young man. "Do let me off." What do you think now, Mr. L.? said Mr. S. No one can doubt the cause of these diverse and opposite visions in this case. They simply represented the ideas of those in mesmeric communication with the clairvoyant. That is all. Had he been put in communication with individuals holding every variety of sentiment that exists on earth in reference to a future state, his visions would, in succession, have represented them all, just as they did those of the individuals referred to, and that for the same identical reason.
THE MISSION OF "THE SPIRITS." 185 We will now attend to a case of perfectly similar characteristics, connected with these manifestations. A gentleman of our acquaintance, now a member of the bar in Cleveland, held a discussion on this subject, some years since, in North Adams, Mass. That he might be prepared for the discussion, he called, in company with the leading physician of the place, upon a neighbor whose daughter was a medium, and requested the privilege of witnessing some of "the spirit" phenomena. The first evening was spent in witnessing physical manifestations. With these they were perfectly astonished and even confounded. The medium placing simply the ends of her fingers upon the top of a large table standing in the centre of the room, called upon the spirit of an individual who had previously died in the place to move the object referred to. It was moved accordingly. Our friend got under the table and attempted to hold it still. Yet the object, and himself with it, was drawn over the floor, his utmost efforts to the contrary notwithstanding. The physician placed a sheet of paper under the fingers of the medium, and drew it out while the table was being moved, and that without any sensible indications of pressure upon it. They consequently left, with the impression that they should be compelled to confess before the audience to the truth of Spiritualism. On the next day they agreed with three individuals, leading members of the three denominations of the place, one a Congregationalist, one a Baptist, and the other a Universalist, to meet them the evening following at the house referred to, neither being informed at all of the object to be obtained, nor of the fact that either of the others was to be there. When the circle was formed, the Congregationalist was introduced. 16
186 MODERN MYSTERIES. The same spirit was present that moved the table the evening before. In answer to inquiries put by the individual last referred to, the evangelical view of heaven, hell, and eternal retribution, was absolutely affirmed as immutably true. To the question what mode of baptism is correct, sprinkling was rapped out. With a pledge of secrecy, he was then dismissed, and the Baptist called in. In answer to inquiries made by the latter, the same view of eternity as before was given. To the question, what mode of baptism is right, immersion was rapped out. He being dismissed, the Universalist was introduced. The same spirit which had given the responses above stated, now denied the doctrine of retribution altogether, stoutly asserting the doctrine of universal salvation, and manifested a total indifference to the question of baptism, in any form. When the audience had assembled to listen to the discussion, these individuals were called upon to testify to the spirit communications which they had received, and did so with a result which we need not specify. In a similar manner, every sentiment held by every people or sect on earth, might have been absolutely affirmed and denied, by the spirit which responded in that circle, or by any other spirit which appeared there, or ever appeared in any other circle on earth, and that for the identical reason, that precisely similar answers can be obtained from the mesmeric subject. Who, in the presence of such facts, and this is the immutable character of these manifestations the world over, can doubt their origin? It would be an impeachment of the common sense of our readers, to argue the question. The above case, while it bears with the most decisive weight upon the question of the location of the real controlling cause of these manifestations, clearly evinces the
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 187 reality of an important fact, the honesty and sincerity of some mediums, of one, to say the least. Any person who was voluntarily, and by known but occult and deceptive means, producing these rapping sounds, would never, at the same sitting, rap out such contradictory communications. Many other facts, equally palpable and undeniable, evince to our minds most indubitable evidence, that many other mediums are not intentionally deceiving the public, but honestly suppose themselves organs of communication between the inhabitants of this and the spirit land. Let us now consider another case of a similar character to the one just adduced. A gentleman who was then at the head of one of the literary institutions of the State of Ohio, entered one of these circles, and inquired if the spirit of a dear friend, his mother, we believe, was present, and received an affirmative answer. Being perfectly assured that that spirit, if present, and no one in the circle but himself, did know his age, for the exclusive purpose of identification, he asked the spirit to reveal his age. To his surprise, precisely the right number was rapped out, namely, thirty or thirty-one years. To satisfy himself in respect to the cause of the answer, he fixed his attention distinctly upon another and different number, twenty-five, and asked the same spirit to give his age once more. The identical number upon which his attention was then fixed was given, and not the correct one given before. He asked if the doctrine of eternal retribution is true? He received an absolute affirmation that it is. He induced a voluntary doubt in his mind of the truth of that doctrine, and assumed that of the opposite one. To his questions now, his own mother stood revealed as an uncompromising TUniversalist. He asked, which denomination of Christians is
188 MODERN MYSTERIES. most nearly correct in doctrine and discipline, at the same time fixing his attention upon his own. That one sect was named. He fixed his attention upon another denomination, internally assumning that it was most nearly conformed to the Scriptures, and repeated the question just answered. This one sect was now designated. He thus went through the entire circle of denominations that occurred to his recollection, so putting his questions that the medium's mind was not disturbed, and found his own mother a Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Episcopalian, Universalist, Christian, Unitarian, and any thing, and every thing, just according to his own mere internal assumptions. He knew absolutely that such was not her character, and that upon no known or reasonably imagined laws of mind, could he account for such responses, as proceeding from any intelligent spirits, good or bad. On the other hand, he saw clearly, that just such communications would be obtained, if these manifestations are caused by the mental states of the individuals constituting the circles. He consequently left the circle, as any reasonable man would, with the undoubted conviction that the cause of these communications was within the circle, and not from disembodied spirits out of it. Just such answers may be obtained, and are obtained, in all these circles everywhere, in all cases where the inquirer acts with corresponding deliberation, and where the responses are not controlled by the influence of other minds present. Precisely similar and analogous experiments were made by Miss Catharine Beecher, with precisely similar results, experiments made in the most decisive forms, and so varied and repeated, that a mistake is hardly conceivable, and by no means supposable. With the same identical results, a gentleman made very extensive ex
TIIE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 189 periments in the various circles in Great Britain. At one time, for example, he imagined that a great fortune had just fallen to him by legacy, in a certain city. He immediately received from "the spirits' an important communication, corresponding, in all respects, to his own imaginings, and having no other foundation in fact. What higher evidence can we have that any facts are exclusively mundane in their origin, than is here presented in respect to the facts under consideration? Two gentlemen, partners in business in Cleveland, have given us the privilege of making use of the following facts of which they were both witnesses. On one occasion they witnessed the following facts in mesmerismn. We here repeat, on account of present bearings, a fact stated in another connection, adding some circumstances not then stated. The mesmerizer agreed to induce the subject, a lady who was perfectly blindfolded, to sing, and to stop the singing, the instant Mr. A. should raise his finger. When the singing commenced, the mesmerizer was standing some two or three feet from the subject, with his eyes fixed intently upon Mr. A. who was standing in a distant part of the room. When the singer had partly finished a very long note, Mr. A. raised his finger. The voice instantly stopped, with the note half finished. As the mesmerizer willed it, the singing was resumed, and that note, and the rest of the stanza were finished. After the lady was brought out of the magnetic state, Mr. A. saw her engaged in conversation with a friend, with the fingers of her hands interlocked together. Without uttering a word, or making a motion, he fixed his attention upon her hands, and willed that they should adhere together so firmly, that she should be unable to separate them. When the conversation was finished, she, to her perfect
190 MODERN MYSTERIES. surprise, found it impossible to draw her hands apart, till Mr. A., by an act of will, permitted it. These facts occurred in the presence of other most credible witnesses, who testify to their occurrence as here related. On a subsequent occasion, these gentlemen visited, in company, a spirit circle formed in this city by Mrs. Fish and the Fox girls. Mr. A., when it came his turn to inquire, fixed his thoughts distinctly upon his father who was then living, and with the same distinctness framed in his own mind the communications he should receive. Instantly the departed spirit of that father appeared, his name being rapped out in answer to the question, what spirit will communicate with me? that spirit, we say, appeared and took from his son's mind the thoughts preexisting there, just as the printed page is taken from the stereotype plate. He dismissed his father from his mind, and fixed his thoughts as distinctly as possible, upon five or six other individuals. Immediately a corresponding number of raps were heard upon the top of the table. " Five or six spirits now respond to you," says Mrs. Fish. Such was the correspondence between the thoughts of the inquirer, and the answers obtained, a correspondence which always obtains, when there is the same deliberation and distinctness of thought on the part of the inquirer, and when the action of the invisible force is not disturbed by the mental states of others in the circle. Myriads of undeniable facts confirm this statement. Mr. L., the other partner, now communicated with "the spirits." Every question, whether put to the departed spirits of individuals living or dead, and he communicated with each class, was answered in exact correspondence with his own preformed conceptions. At length, having put a question, he instantly, by an act of will, confused his
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 191 own mind, so that there was no thought in it to be represented. In a moment, the rappings stopped, just as the singing was interrupted in the instance above adduced. Thus he found that the action of this mysterious force, was under his absolute control. He could induce, suspend, and direct its action at will, just as he could that of his own hand or arm. The same holds true, in all cases, when the same conditions are fulfilled. Every one who has tried the experiment has found, that correct answers can be obtained, when the inquirer knows what the answer should be, and keeps his mind distinctly fixed upon it, and that every thing is confused, or that no answers at all can be obtained, when he asks a question, and then either confuses his thoughts, or turns them upon other subjects. If such facts do not reveal the relation of cause and effect between the mental states of individuals in these circles, and the communications there obtained, no such relation can, by any possibility, be established between any causes and facts in the universe around us. The case which we next cite is, if possible, more fundamental and decisive in its bearings than any others that we have yet adduced. A gentleman of the city of Cleveland made very extensive and careful experiments and observations, for the purpose of satisfying his own mind in regard to the origin of these manifestations. He entered upon the inquiry with the earnest hope of finding valid evidence, that these manifestations come from disembodied spirits. He was equally dissatisfied with the doctrine of eternal retributions, on the one hand, and with that of Universalismn, on the other. The general teachings of the spirits appeared to aflirm an intermediate view, which corresponded with what, to say the least, he wished to find
192 MODERN MYSTERIES. reliable evidence for believing. He accordingly put, and received answers to, upwards of one hundred questions, in the circles of Mrs. Fish and the Foxes, in this city. A large portion of these questions, probably more than one half, as he says, were asked mentally. The following are the most important facts developed. (1.) In every instance, without exception, the answer referred to the subject-matter inquired about. Here he found the immutable relation of antecedence and consequence, cause and effect. (2.) In every instance in which he knew what the answer should be, a perfectly correct one was obtained. (3.) When he was in doubt what the answer should be, those doubts were reflected, and nothing positive asserted. For example, a sister of his had died of a lingering disease, of the nature of which there was doubt among the physicians, and in his own mind, some five or six different diseases having been assigned, and none fixed upon wnith certainty. He inquired of the spirit of that sister, what was the disease of which she did die? All the diseases which he had heard suggested as the cause, and none others, were named, each designated with very feeble raps, and neither positively affirmed as the real cause. So in all other similar cases. (4.) When he was mistaken in regard to the facts about which he inquired, and when the spirits of whom he was inquiring did know, and could not have forgotten, the answers invariably corresponded with his mistaken apprehensions, and not with the real facts, as he subsequently became informed, and as they were known to the spirits professedly answering. For example, he inquired of the spirit of his own sister her age at the time of her death, he supposing, at the moment, that twenty-eight was the true answer, and that number was rapped out. On a sub
THE "MISSION OF THE SPIRITS." 193 sequent reference to the family records, he found that she was really aged at the time upwards of thirty years. A friend of his had lost his life in California, by drowning, and that,'as he had been informed, in a certain river, by accidentally slipping through a raft of logs. All the facts of the occurrence were given, professedly by the spirit of that friend, as he had supposed them to be. From four individuals present when the event occurred, he subsequently learned that his friend actually came to his end in another part of the State, in another river, and by a totally different accident. The answer corresponded with the supposed, and not with the real facts as known to the spirit professedly communicating. He put a question to another spirit, pertaining to a transaction about which, as he well knew, that spirit was perfectly informed, and he, as he subsequently learned, himself had been misinformed. The answer corresponded with his misinformation, and not with the real facts, as known to the spirit professedly responding. (5.) To every question, without exception, pertaining to subjects of which he was ignorant, a wrong answer was obtained. As the result of his experience, he drew the following inferences. (1.) That disembodied spirits can have no connection with these communications, and we envy not the candor or logical consistency of the individual who draws from such facts a different conclusion. (2.) That no information is ever communicated, in these circles, beyond what is previously known to the inquirer. We suppose that not one person in a thousand would draw any different conclusion from similar investigations in these circles, investigations conducted upon similar principles. The only exceptions that do occur are, as we suppose, some solitary revelations through clairvoyance, revelations 17
194 MODERN MYSTERIES. which no one has reason to expect, when he resorts to these circles, and certain answers corresponding to and evidently occasioned by acts of imagination and conjecture. Let us now look at another very important case. A gentleman in Boston, a devoted spiritualist, while siting in a spirit circle, was struck with the revelation to his mind of the fact, that the responses to the questions propounded by inquirers, so frequently corresponded with the conceptions previously formed in his own imagination. This led to more careful reflection and observation, and finally to important experiments in which he found, that he could determine beforehand what answers should be given to any questions propounded by any persons present, and that he had, in a similar manner, been unconsciously directing the action of this mysterious force, and that while he had been supposing that spirits out of the circles had been doing it. A totally new theory pertaining to these so called spirit manifestations now stood revealed to his mind. He saw that mere reflections of the thoughts of individuals, in the circles, had been mistaken for the voices of spirits out of the circles. A gentleman of very strong mesmeric power in the State of New York also found, after the most exten sive experiments, that he could enter any circle what eve>, and by simply willing it, could utterly silence "the spirits" so that no communications whatever could be obtained from them, that he could, in a similar manner, utterly confuse their responses, or determine beforehand, the answers which should be given to any questions proposed by any persons present. The bearing of such facts cannot be mistaken. Any person that in their presence will attribute these mani
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 195 festations to disembodied spirits, must be a spiritualist by mere dint of will, and because he is determined to be deceived. A professor of the Ohio Medical College, at the earnest solicitation of friends, visited on one occasion the spirit circle of Mrs. Fish and the Foxes in the city of Cleveland. All his questions, the first excepted, his mind not being in a collected state at the moment, were answered with perfect correctness, though they pertained to subjects with which he alone, of the members of the circle, was acquainted; all his questions, we say, were correctly answered, till the spirit communicating, that of a sister, was requested to specify the given name of their father. The moment he put the question, his thought recurred to his brother concerning whom he had just before been inquiring. The name of the brother instead of the father was immediately rapped out. The occurrence, he remarked, threw a flood of light upon his mind in regard to the origin and cause of these manifestations. The spirit professedly communicating understood the names of each of the individuals referred to as well as the professor himself, and would have corrected the mistake, had it been that person that was communicating. No such correction, however, was made. He concluded, therefore, that his own thought caused the answer, and not that of a spirit out of the circle. Who can doubt the correctness of his conclusion? Had it been an intelligent mind out of the circle, especially the mind professedly answering, it could have made no difference whatever to what subject the thoughts of the inquirer should turn, after asking his question. If, on the other hand, the action of this power in the production of the answer, was controlled by the mental states of the inquirer himself, then
196 MODERN MYSTERIES. the accidental diversion of attention, in this instance, would occasion the identical answer that was received. On no other principle can its occurrence be accounted for. This case also reveals the principle on which so many wrong answers are obtained in these circles to questions pertaining to subjects in respect to which both the inquirers and the spirits professedly answering are perfectly informed, and when such answers are not only unintentionally but unexpectedly obtained. It is by the accidental diversion of attention from the subject inquired about to some other subject. We shall have occasion to recur to this class of facts again, as they will be seen to have a very important bearing upon the question before us. All that is now required is to suggest the principle in accordance with which they occur. This case also suggests a class of facts of very conclusive and decisive bearing upon our present inquiries. It has been found, by careful observation and experiment, that the following relations, among others, exist between the mental states of the inquirer, and the answers obtained, when such responses are not disturbed and modified by the undeniable psychological influence of other minds. (1.) If the inquirer fully commands his thoughts, and keeps his attention fixed upon the subject inquired about, the responses, whether right or wrong, will invariably relate to that one subject. (2.) If he knows what the answers should be, they will be almost if not quite, invariably right, and if he does not know, and the spirit professedly communicating most manifestly does, the answer, excepting when a mere yes or no is required, and where, and on the principle of mere guessing, there is as much likelihood that the answer shall be right as wrong, the answer, we say, will be
THE MISSION OF " TIIE SPIRITS." 197 nearly as invariably wrong. (3.) When the inquirer is misinformed, and the true answer is known to the spirit professedly communicating, the answer will uniformly embody the misinformation of the inquirer, instead of the truth as known to the spirit, all the apparent exceptions admitting of a ready explanation, without supposing the interposition of spirits. (4.) When the true answer is known both to the inquirer and to the professedly answering spirit, if the attention of the former is either intentionally or accidentally diverted and fixed definitely upon something else, this new thought, and not the answer referred to, will be embodied in the response obtained. (5.) If, either by accident or design, the mind of the inquirer becomes so confused, that there is in it, no thought at all to be represented, no answer whatever will be obtained. (6.) If the inquirer is not able, or does not think, to command his attention, so as to prevent his thoughts becoming confused and wandering, the answers will perfectly accord with his mental states at the time, the answers being sometimes relevant and at others strikingly irrelevant, and, sometimes right, and at others wrong, and that when the true answer, in every instance, is perfectly known both to the inquirer and the spirit professedly communicating with him. (7.) Let an individual write out a series of questions, the true answers to all of which are perfectly known to him, and to the spirit of a deceased friend, let the former put those questions into the hands of an individual who knows nothing about the facts to which the questions pertain, and let this individual put these questions to that spirit, and the following will be the invariable result. If this individual puts the questions without forming in his own mind any imaginary answers, or fixing attention upon the subject at all, there will be either no responses 17
198 MODERN MYSTERIES. at all, or they will all have the undeniable characteristics of mere imaginings, on the part of individuals who know nothing about the subjects referred to. If, on the other hand, he frames in his own mind, a distinct and definite imaginary answer to each question, and keeps his thoughts distinctly fixed upon that answer when he puts the question, the response obtained will accord with his imaginings and not with the facts, as known to the individual who wrote the questions, and to the spirit professedly responding to them. Experiments of this kind have been tried in so many instances, and in such a diversity of forms, as to establish the truth of the above principle. If any still doubt, they can verify that principle, by making the experiments themselves. (8.) Any inquirer who can command his own thoughts, and think with entire deliberation under such circumstances, especially if he has considerable mesmeric power, can, at will, make any spirit that shall professedly answer his call,-and such individuals can call up any spirits they choose, - give any answer he pleases to any question he may choose to put. He can make such spirit affirm and deny successively any sentiment that can be named, and contradict himself any number of times he pleases, provided always, that the process is so conducted, as not to disturb the medium, or break the odylic harmony of the circle. Most of the above statements have been most fully verified by the facts already stated. Others will be in those which we are about to present, and all could be still further, by numberless undeniable additional facts which we might present. We affirm, without fear of contradiction, that these facts can be accounted for but upon the truth of the hypothesis which we maintain, namely, that these communications originate exclusively from the minds
THE MISSION OF "THE SPIRITS." 199 in these circles, and not from disembodied spirits out of the same. Tf such were their origin, they could not but have these identical characteristics, and they could not have these characteristics, if they did originate from intelligent minds, good or bad, out of these circles, minds governed by any mental laws known to us. We have made the above statements to prepare the way for the presentation of the following very interesting and important facts which we have obtained, since our visit to Boston, and while the preceding portions of this treatise were going through the press. Our convictions of the truth of our hypothesis have been greatly strengthened, by the perfect accordance which we have found to exist in the character and bearings of the fundamental facts developed by careful observers in this city, and those which we had previously collected and arranged by means of our own observations and inquiries. The individuals whose names and facts will now be presented, will please to accept of our grateful acknowledgments for their kindness in furnishing us with facts so important, and especially for permitting us to use their names in connection with these facts. FACTS WHICI OCCURRED AT THE HOUSE OF REV. STARR KING. The facts which we first adduce occurred at the house of Rev. Starr King, pastor of the Hollis Street Church, Boston. The circle was a select one, and the individual through whom the communications were obtained was the celebrated medium, Mrs. Hayden. The main questioner was an individual of great self-command, and of corresponding power of intellectual concentration. The circumstances then were as favorable, in all respects, as
200 MODERN MYSTERIES. we can well conceive, for eliciting important and decisive facts. The first object of the questioner was to ascertain distinctly and conclusively, whether the name of an individual of which he was thinking, and when no one present could have the least suspicion of what name he was thinking, could be spelled out, through the medium, by raps, and that when the medium could, by no possibility, have any knowledge of the movements of his hand when he should point at the requisite letters. He accordingly placed himself where the medium could not see him at all, nor any other person who could report his motions to her. The right name was thus given, and also the place where the individual bearing that name had died, namely, the Tremont House. He was, therefore, as he ought to have been, most fully satisfied, that there was present a power through which his most secret thoughts could be externally expressed, and this too, when he had given not the least indication to any one what those thoughts were. He then wished to know whether his own mind controlled the action of that power, in the production of such communications, or that of some spirit out of the circle, no other hypothesis being supposable in this case. To solve this one problem was the object of the questions subsequently put. He accordingly asked the spirit professedly communicating, how long a time it was since he died? " Twelve days," was the answer rapped out. You are wrong there, replied the questioner, addressing the spirit; it is only ten days since you died. I know absolutely that this is the fact, and you must be aware of it too. Please answer that question again. "Twelve days" were again given. Again and again he reasoned with the spirit on the subject, affirming absolutely to him, that ten days was
TILE MISSION OF " TIIE SPIRITS." 201 the only right answer. Again and again the same number as before was given. He then asked the spirit to designate the day of the week on which he died. Saturday was given. You are wrong again, says the inquirer, and you must be aware of the fact. You died on Monday. Please correct the mistake. Saturday was given, as before. Again and again the spirit was told that Monday was the true answer, and was expostulated with for not giving it. Again and again, when requested to correct his mistake, Saturday was given. The man did die on Monday, and had been just ten days dead. Iow were these singular answers obtained? When the inquirer asked the spirit to tell the time which had elapsed since, or the day of the week on which he died, the inquirer would internally, and wholly unknown to any one but himself, fix his thoughts and hold them fixed,.upon the number twelve, or Saturday, as the case might be. When he had reminded the spirit of his mistake, and asked him to correct it, he would then, while the response was being rapped out, fix his attention upon the wrong number or the wrong day, and the answer, in every instance, corresponded to that number or day, and not to the right one, as absolutely known both to the inquirer and the spirit professedly responding. Between the thought in his mind at the moment, and the answer obtained, there was, even in this case, the fixed and immutable relation of antecedence and consequence, a relation so immutable and fixed as to demonstrate the existence between them of that of cause and effect. The individual then called up other spirits, and went through precisely similar processes with them, and that with the same invariable results. A friend of his, for example, had died in the city of New York. After
202 MODERN MYSTERIES. obtaining the same evidence of presence and identity as before, the inquirer, secretly fixing his own attention upon Salem, then asked the spirit of that friend to name the place where he died. Salem was rapped out. He solemnly assured the spirit that he was wrong, affirming that New York was the right answer, and asked him to correct his error, the inquirer fixing his own attention, as soon as the request was made, upon Salem. This last name was given as before. So with many other spirits, with precisely similar results, no one present having the least suspicion of what the inquirer was doing, until he himself disclosed the fact, after he had finished questioning the spirits. In every experiment, he found it absolutely impossible to induce any spirit he could call up, - and he could, we repeat, call up any one he chose, - to give the true answer to any question he might propose, however absolutely that answer was known to himself and the spirit too, if his attention at the moment was only fixed upon some other answer, an answer known to himself and the spirit too, to be false, and when the spirit was entreated not to give that answer, but the true one. He always obtained a correct response when he would allow his attention to be fixed upon it, and a wrong one, when his attention, for the moment, was directed towards that, and in all instances, the answers perfectly accorded with the secret movements of his own mind. No person, we are free to say, will have the effrontery to assign any other controlling cause for these communications, than the mental states of this individual. From these most decisive facts, the following conclusions in regard to these communications are rendered undeniably evident: (1.) There is in nature a force, whose action, when certain conditions are fulfilled, corresponds with
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS.'" 203. our mental states, and is determined by the same, — a force through which our own thoughts may be reflected back upon us, as if they came from other minds, minds, to us invisible, and apparently from the spirit land,- a very important truth, unquestionably. (2.) There is also in this so called spirit movement a power by which, without any external motions or signs whatever on our part, our most secret thoughts may be revealed and expressed. (3.) This may be done in the total absence of all ab extra spirit agency, none being supposable in the facts before us. (4.) No such revelations can be adduced as presenting any evidence whatever of an ab extra spirit origin. (5.) We have no occasion to go beyond the force developed in these circles, and the mental states of the individuals constituting them, to account for any revelations embodied in these communications, those pertaining to secret thoughts being, of all others, in themselves the most wonderful and unaccountable, far more so than those which pertain to mere physical objects, however distant. (6.) We have the highest positive evidence of the exclusively subjective origin of these so called spirit manifestations. Any persons that, in the presence of such facts, can draw any other conclusion, is, in our honest judgment, far removed, in his reasonings from facts to conclusions, off from the true line of scientific or common sense deduction. The communications received by Mr. King himself, though not, in all respects, so decisive in their bearings, were yet very interesting and important. Being informed, by the appropriate raps, that a spirit was present who would communicate with him, he asked, first, for the initials of his (the spirit's) name, Mr. K. at the time fixing his attention upon a certain individual who had died some time before, an individual whom no one
204 MODERN MYSTERIES. present but himself was likely to think of. The initials of the very name that rose in his mind were given. He then called for the name in full, and it was given accordingly. Many important test questions were then asked, and all, without exception, which came within the recollection of Mr. K. himself, were answered with the most perfect accuracy. The spirit was asked to give the title of the work which he prepared for the press just before his death, Mr. K. knowing what it was. The entire title was given accordingly. " Now give," says Mr. K., " the first sentence of that work," the work being present, but Mr. K. having no recollection whatever what that sentence was. Several most abortive efforts were made to form a sentence; but nothing was expressed which at all corresponded to any part of the sentence referred to. Such facts leave no reasonable doubt upon the question of the origin of these manifestations. IMPORTANT FACTS FURNISIED BY DR. BELL. We now invite very special attention to some interest ing and important facts which have been kindly furnished us by Luther V. Bell, M. D., who is at the head of the McLean Lunatic Asylum of Somerville, near Boston. For the past two years, as Dr. B. informs us, he has, as far as his official duties permitted, carefully observed and studied the spirit phenomena, physical and intellectual, and that for two reasons - the interest which attaches to the phenomena themselves-but more especially from the fact, that not a few of the inmates of that institution were there through the influence of this one cause. The following may be stated, as among the more important results of his investigations. We make our citations from " two dissertations on what is
THE MISSION OF "THE SPIRITS." 205 termed the Spiritual Phenomena, read at the meetings of the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Insane Hospitals at Washington and Boston, in 1854 and 1855," dissertations, the manuscripts of which he has very kindly put into our hands, with the permission to make such extracts from them, as, in our judgment, the interests of science might seem to require. The following are the results of his observations, which were most carefully made through upwards of twenty sessions in the spirit circles. 1. They most fully sustain the claims of Spiritualism, as far as the mere fact of physical manifestations are concerned, namely, the movement of heavy bodies, both with and without physical contact, their movement, too, in accordance with intelligence. We will give a single case in illustration, a case related in the following extract from Dissertation II. " The following is the minute of one of the physical manifestations. Went to the house of Jonathan Brown, Jr., Esq., cashier of the Market Bank, with Mr. Homer Goodhue, just returned from the South. Mr. Goodhue for twenty years was the supervisor of our male department, and well known in character, at least, to many members of this association. He is a gentleman of orthodox faith, and not free from the prejudices of that denomination against this new thing as a religious element. He never before had been present, or seen any manifestations. In fact, he had never seen a' medium,' or attended a'circle.' Mrs. Brown and a young woman, Mr. Brown's niece, made up the list of the five persons present. This'medium' is exceedingly small, not weighing more than eighty to ninety pounds, and yet her gifts appear to be very great in effecting infractions of gravitation, but not certain or strong in the other 18
206 MODERN MYSTERIES. classes of powers. We sat in the double parlors joined with folding doors, or rather, doors sliding on trucks along an iron rod projecting one half to three quarters inch above the level of the carpet. We began the operations by opening the family dining-table, and inserting two or three leaves, elongating it from about six to perhaps nine or more feet. I state this, as it allowed an eye to be kept, as to wires, etc. It had six legs, and was of such a weight, that when the castors were all in a right line for motion, I could with both my hands, and as strong a pull as my strength of fingers would allow, just put it in motion. " After an evening's performance of all the usual responses, motions of the table with hands upon it, with the fingers' ends just touched, etc., which were satisfactory it was proposed, especially as the motions were unusually facile and free with contact, to make the trial without touch. I was master of ceremonies, and directed things to suit my own views. We stood on the sides of the table, three and two, and back from it from twelve to eighteen inches. Our hands were raised above it about the same distance. As the table was rather low and my height is unusual, I was able to see between the bodies of all present and the table. We spoke as if we were addressing persons in reality, and once in a while we received remarks from the'spirits' as is assumed, the medium being'impressed,' and writing on paper before her. " The table commenced its journey down the room, keeping midway, reached the iron crossing at the sliding doors, surmounted it and passed on. One of us ran and pushed away a centre-table in the middle of the other parlor, intending to allow as long a journey as possible. It moved on, sometimes slowly, then
THE MISSION OF " TIIE SPIRITS." 207 with a rapid slide, a foot or two at once. At length it reached the end of the second parlor, as near as the mirror made it safe to go. I expressed my thanks to the' spirits' for the completeness of the manifestation, and begged that they would gratify us by returning the table back to the point of beginning. It reversed its course. At a momentary halt, I suggested to tile company that we should all gradually remove from it our bodies and hands, to see how far the' influence' would extend. It was found that when we withdrew more than about eighteen or twenty inches, the motion ceased. And indeed on returning, the capacity of motion seemed to be lost for three or four minutes afterwards, as if a certain accumulation of power were in progress. When the fore legs of the table reached the iron bar, it came to a dead stand. We waited, and the table heaved and trembled and creaked, but could not rise above the obstacle. Presently the medium was impressed, and wrote, that if we would lift those two legs over the iron, they, that is'the spirits,' thought they could bring the other four along. We did not hesitate to afford the suggested aid. Whereupon the spirits succeeded in moving the whole on, without interruption, until the table was as high up in the room from which it started as it was at commencing, but about four feet over from the central line at one side. I expressed my gratification at their success, but said,' there is one thing more I wish you to do - move the table at right angles, so that these chairs will be right to sit in,'as they were at first.' The table immediately moved at right angles as desired, into the precise position designated. This evening's performance now closed, no person of us having the remotest doubt as to the fact of this considerable motion having taken place
.08 MODERN MYSTERIES. with no human power. The entire space passed over was about fifty feet." On this case we deem it important to make the following observations: - (1.) Every circumstance which surrounds this case combines with every other, to remove it from the most distant suspicion of trick or fraud. (2.) The fact of the movement of heavy bodies without visible contact is most fully established, and will not be questioned by any who have not fully made up their minds to blindly follow the maxim practically, at least, adopted by David Hume, that the occurrence of no strange event can be established by testimony. (3.) Equally manifest is the fact, that this movement was immediately caused by an attractive and repulsive physical force developed in the organisms of the individuals present, and the object before them. We bring an object called the magnet within a certain distance of another object, a piece of iron, for example, and the latter object is drawn towards and after the former. We remove the object to a somewhat greater distance, and the phenomena of attraction disappear. It is thus that the existence of magnetism, as a force in nature, is demonstrated. How was it in the case before us? The table moved, when and only when the hands of the individuals referred to were within a certain distance of it, and ceased to move, when they were removed to a greater distance. We have, then, in these movements, the same evidence of the presence and action of an attractive and repulsive physical force, that we have, or can have, of the existence of magnetism, as such a force. (4.) This force differs fundamentally from magnetism and electricity, and all other mere physical forces in nature, in this, that the direction of its action accords
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 209 with acts of intelligence and will, and is determined by the same. How perfectly were all those movements conformed to the mental states of the individuals constituting that circle, and how perfectly manifest is it, that these movements were determined by the thoughts and wills of some minds within that circle, or without it. We can have but little, if any more, evidence, that our physical organisms act in accordance with our own mental states, and are directed, in many important particulars, by the same, than we have that these movements were directed and controlled by the mental states and acts of some intelligences located somewhere, either in the circle or out of it. (5.) We have only to suppose the presence of a power having the very attractive, repulsive, and mentally directive qualities which we see that this must have, together with the known mental states of the individuals constituting this circle, to account most fully and satisfactorily for every fact that occurred there, and this without the supposition of any ab extra controlling cause whatever. When Dr. Bell said, let the spirits move the table so and so, the thoughts of every mind present were fixed intensely upon that one movement, and the unconscious, but really united and strong fiat of every will was, let that movement be made. Instead of its being a cause of wonder that the phenomena did appear under those circumstances, it would have been a miracle if they had not occurred. We have no more occasion to go out of the circle, and suppose the interposition of spirits to account for these facts, than we have to go out of our bodies, and suppose the interposition of spirits, to account for the movements of our own physical organisms. (6.) Not a solitary ray of light is thrown upon any of 18*
210 MODERN MYSTERIES. these facts, by referring them to the agency of disembodied spirits. If spirits did do it, it must have been, by simply willing the motions which the individuals constituting the circles wished to have made. Why should we suppose, that such power attaches to the mental states of the former, and not to those of the latter? If the mental states of spirits out of the circle have such power, much more must we suppose, that those of minds in the organisms in which this force is developed, would have the same efficiency. The supposition of the interposition of spirits, therefore, is the most uncalled for hypothesis conceivable, to account for these facts, an hypothesis which throws not a solitary ray of light upon one of them. (7.) Hence we remark, finally, that there is not in these facts, and if not in these, in none of the physical facts of Spiritualism, the least conceivable evidence of the controlling interposition and agency of spirits. The fact that the spirits were requested to move the table, and that it did move accordingly, as if in answer to such request, presents no such evidence at all; for the two following reasons, that, as we have seen in other cases, the same movements would have occurred, had the object been commanded to move, and no reference at all made to spirits, or if the same command had been given and the spirits challenged to prevent the movement. No, such interposition is demanded to account for any of the facts, and they are, in all respects, what we know they could not but be, from the nature of the force developed, and from the relations of the minds present to the same. 2. The facts developed by Dr. Bell fully sustain the claims of Spiritualism as far as concerns any questions pertaining to the real existence of a power to obtain,
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 211 through mediums, a revelation of our most secret thoughts, and to obtain also, as from spirits, correct answers to any questions pertaining to any subjects known to the inquirer and to the spirits professedly communicating with him, however remote such knowledge may be from the cognizance of the mediums, or of any other persons present. No candid person, we feel quite safe in making the affirmation, can read these dissertations, without having every doubt removed from his mind, on this subject. We will give two examples. The first is contained in the following extract from the first dissertation:"I asked,'Is any spirit friend of mine present?' Answer,' Yes.'' Who is it?' Answer,' Any one you may choose to question.' I certainly felt that this was a sufficiently broad latitude, and my mind instantly elected, as the object of my converse, a deceased brother, the late Dr. John Bell of New York city, because he was entirely unknown to anybody in the section where I resided, having been dead nearly five and twenty years, and never having been a resident of Massachusetts. In fact, he left New England about 1820. A gentleman at my elbow said to me,'You need not speak the name of any friend you may call upon. Put your question mentally.' I did so, and then said,' Is the spirit I have just thought of present?' Answer,' Yes.''Give me some proof by indicating the year of your decease.' I passed the pencil secretly over the numerals, and the figures 1-8-3-0 were successively indicated (1830). This was the year. I then remarked aloud,' Coincidences are not proofs,- Confirm the fact of your presence by stating the place at which you were, at your decease.' There was then rapped out on the alphabet the letters, t-h-i-b-a-u-d-e-a-u.
212 MODERN MYSTERIES. When it had proceeded thus far, the medium and all the others acquainted with the processes, exclaimed,'That is no word; it is a mere jumble of letters: Go back and recommence.''No,' said I,'let him go on, and see what he will make of it.' The rapping continued, - v-i-l-l-e, - forming the word Thibaudeauville, a small town in Louisiana, near which my brother lived on a plantation, and at which he received and sent his letters. The fact of his death at or near that place, could not have been known, probably, to any other person in Massachusetts except myself, and years had passed by since it had passed through my mind. The medium was an uneducated young girl, living in the city of Boston, unknown to me; and the other parties present were three eminent clergymen, and the two gentlemen I have before referred to." The next is taken from the second dissertation, and must stand for many other cases recorded, of equal pertinency. " Recurring again to my own experience, I entered upon a series of six weekly examinations with the same medium and associates, whose names would be recognized as among the distinguished in literature and theology of this vicinity. Having already received evidence as I felt, (as detailed last year,) that I had obtained correct replies to mental questions, and that many things not possibly within the knowledge of any person present had been correctly given to me, I arranged my plans, 1st. To verify this in full, and ascertain whether there was any thing known to me and a deceased person alone which could be reproduced. 2d. Whether a correct reply could be got to any thing known, ex necessitate rei, to the spirit invoked, but not known to the questioner, as subsequent inquiry should
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 213 demonstrate. I had, as I thought, a very complete test, to understand which I must go into a brief domestic narration. I had a brother, Dr. John Bell, (alluded to in my last year's experience,) who died in Louisiana in 1830. IHe was settled in New York city as a medical practitioner. He was seized with Heemoptysis in 1824, and as the celebrated Laennec, whose pupil he was, had some years previously diagnosed pulmonary disease, his case was regarded as highly critical. Abandoning at once the brightest prospects of professional success, he decided to go to the South on horseback. Mounting his animal, he first made a farewell visit to his friends in New England. I was at the time of his visit here, attending lectures at a country college, but learning that he would be in Boston about a certain date, I proceeded to that city. Arriving late at night, I could make no attempts to find him, but early the next morning, I set out to visit the various hotels, which were much crowded at that season, to meet with him. I succeeded in finding his name at what was known as the'City Hotel.' On inquiring, I found that he had just settled his bill, and probably would be found about starting. I passed into the shed connecting the hotel and its stables, and there found him arranging his horse's stirrups, etc., preparatory to mounting to take his departure. I there had what I, and probably he, felt to be our last interview, and which in fact so proved, although his health was partially recovered, and he lived several years afterwards. This interview had always been very clearly recollected, and as I never had communicated it to any person, I had often remarked to my'spiritual' friends, that if any medium could reproduce that occasion in its essentials, I would admit that the spirit of my brother was present; indeed I
214 MODERN MYSTERIES. must do so, because I could see no alternative. I may as well remark here, that I was too hasty in my logic, in proffering such admissions. At the first or second of the series of investigations, I was informed that the spirit of my brother would communicate. I took occasion to question him pretty thoroughly on such points as I thought none could know except myself or other immediate friends. I think the nature of the questions will leave no room for the suspicion that the medium, who was an entire stranger to us, and born since the events referred to, could have been' crammed' into an ability to answer correctly. I will give the questions and answers, observing that every one except the last, [given in another connection,] was perfectly correct and true. " Q. When you went to Paris, as a medical student, who was your fellow passenger? A. Wells. N. B. I had previously requested, as the communications were to be in the tedious alphabetical process, that he should reply in the briefest terms. A gentleman asked his Christian name. A. Johzn D. Q. The name of the vessel? A. Brig Caravan. Q. On that voyage to France, where did you land? A. OI_ Holland. N. B. At that date (1821) there was no direct French trade, and passengers were obliged to take circuitous passages. Q. You once obtained a medical prize: what was the subject? A. Smallpox. Q. Where was our last interview in life? A. In Boston. Q. Where in Boston? A. City Hotel. Q. What were you doing? A. Preparing to mount my horse for a journey. Q. A journey! where? A. To the South. Q. What part of the South? A. Natchez. Q. Who went with you? A. James Dinsmore and Stephen Minor. "This Stephen Minor was a young gentleman of Natchez who had been sent north for an education,
THE MISSION OF "THE SPIRITS." 215 had become insane, and had been a resident for some years at the late Dr. Chaplin's private insane retreat at Cambridgeport. His friends took the opportunity of their going to Natchez to procure his return home. Mr. Dinsmore was a cousin of my brother's who remained with him at the South as long as he lived. I might observe that I am not conscious of this young man, Stephen Minor, having been in my memory for five and twenty years!" We leave these cases to speak for themselves. Any persons, that in their presence, would deny the existence of the power under consideration, would not be convinced by any facts or arguments bearing upon this subject. 3. The facts adduced by Dr. Bell, while they most fully sustain his and our conclusion, that no valid evidence exists of a connection between the extraordinary facts of this new science and another world, or with departed spirits, the same facts as fully sustain the truth of our present proposition, the exclusively subjective and mundane origin of these manifestations. Two hypotheses are before us pertaining to the origin and controlling cause of these manifestations - the supposition that the action of this force is controlled, in their production, by the mental states of the minds in these circles - and that it is controlled by those of spirits out of the same. Suppose that we find these communications bounded wholly by the range and limits of the former, and not by those of the latter, being generally correct where the former is, erring where they err, even when the spirits cannot but know the truth; blundering where they blunder, varying as they vary, moving when and as they move, and stopping where and when they stop. In this case, all the laws and principles of science and
216 MODERN MYSTERIES. common sense require us to affirm the truth of the first hypothesis. If, on the other hand, we find these communications uniformly harmonizing with facts as they are when they are mutually known to the inquirer and the spirits professedly answering; that when he errs, they accord with the facts as known to the spirits, and that when he is wholly ignorant, and the spirits are known to be well informed, the real facts, and not incorrect answers, are uniformly given, then we should.be bound to adopt the latter hypothesis. We have already shown, that the phenomena of Spiritualism are just what they would be, were the former hypothesis true, and just what they could not be, if the latter was true. This conclusion is most fully sustained by the facts adduced by Dr. Bell. He affirms, in the first place, that during all his observations and experiments, neither himself, nor any individuals associated with him, were able to obtain, in a single instance, correct answers to any questions pertaining to subjects lying beyond the circle of their knowledge, and this when the questions pertained to facts of which the spirits manifestly answering, if any were, must have been fully informed, and could not have forgotten, or to subjects of which they might or might not, but positively affirmed themselves to have been well informed, and that in connection with cases where the most surprising accuracy was preserved in statements, where the truth was known to the inquirer. Take the following as an example. The spirit of an only sister of the Dr., who " had died and was buried in St. Augustine, East Florida, in 1830, and was a total stranger in this vicinity," responded on one occasion, and after having stated the place of her decease and burial, the following facts occurred.
THE MISSION OF " THIE SPIRITS." 2L7 "I then asked,'with whom did you board when at St. Augustine?' Mir. lWallen. True.' What physician attended you?' Dr. Samuel Anderson. The fact was, his name was Andrew.'Who performed your funeral services?' Mr. Nott.'What was his other name?' Handel. Now the fact was, that among the many visitors for health at that city, was a New England clergyman of that name, who actually performed these services. These facts could be known to no other person but myself. I thought of them at the time, as the questions were put. I may remark, however, that I knew Dr. Anderson's Christian name, as well as I did my own. These were but a few of the many questions of a domestic nature which I put, and which were all answered correctly, the responses being all known to me. ("I also made a series of inquiries, predicated on a previous arrangement with the family at home, by which every quarter of an hour they were to do some act, and I was simultaneously to ask what was doing. In every case, the spirit declared it saw distinctly what was doing, and gave a ready response. What was done, and what was said to be done, were acts of the same general nature, that is, putting the match in the bed, upsetting furniture, etc., but in no example was there any near coincidence." In cases also where a mistake existed in his mind, and the real facts were known to the spirit professedly answering, the answers, as in cases which we have already adduced, corresponded with the mistake of the inquirer, and not with the knowledge of the spirit. At the same time, while a spirit would be wholly unable to answer, while the facts remained unknown to the inquirer, a right answer would be given at once, as soon as he became informed. The following extract, the first 19
218 MODERN MYSTERIES. part of which contains the remainder of the long communication which Dr. B. held as with the spirit of his brother, and the other part other important facts developed in subsequent interviews, presents a full verification of each of the above statements. " Q. Who was with you at the time of your death? A. Dinsmoor, Sears, Whitney. " Now I knew the true replies to every one of these questions, except the last, and they were all truly given. I had, of course, some anxiety, as all the others had been answered truly, to ascertain how the unknown one would prove. Fortunately Mr. D. was still alive in Kentucky, and I wrote him. He replied that he was not present at the death, as I had always supposed he was, and mentioned the persons who were. Neither of them was of those named! " At another time, with another medium, this same brother appeared. As usual, he replied to all common questions I could frame, by any ingenuity, the replies of which were within my mind. After a while I said, 6 my brother, I have brought here two letters which, on leaving home, I slipped out of a file of old date, and put in my pocket without looking at them; Now as you have answered certain things here (alluding to a selection of certain rolled up pieces of paper) which show that if you really are present, you are capable of seeing clearly, I will unfold these letters behind me, and you will rap out alphabetically the names of the writers.' He replied that he could not do it. " I made trial again of this important test some weeks after, by holding letters open behind me, which I had drawn from my file unlooked at. I first asked the spirit if he saw me' clearly and distinctly,' as we saw each other, face to face. He replied that he did. I
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 219 then said,'of course you can see and read this letter, or its signature, which I hold open behind me.' Some reply was made, a mere subterfuge, not ad rem; something about things being afterwards clear to me. I then cast my eye upon the signature, and saw who wrote the letter, and then remarked that I was now sure that we should get the name correctly, because it was in my own mind. The result proved the truth of my surmise." On a particular occasion, -we now relate what was given to us verbally, - the spirit of a son of Dr. B., a son who had died some time before while a student in college, responded to a young man, a former associate and friend of the son. A very marked accuracy of memory, as far as related to things known to the inquirer, characterized the entire answers coming from this spirit, so much so, that the young man supposed that a mistake in regard to real presence and identity was hardly possible, and so presented the subject to Dr. B. The father then wrote out twelve questions pertaining to facts well known to himself and son, but wholly unknown to the young man, and requested the latter to take the questions with him to the circle, and when the spirit of the son should appear again, ask him to answer the same. This was done, and a prompt and unqualified response was given to each question. Not one of these answers was found to be correct, while the form of each was such as to render it certain, that it was a mere guess suggested by the question itself, thus evincing the truth of the principle above stated, that in all such cases, the answers will not only uniformly, if not invariably be wrong, but will accord with the imaginings and guesses of the person putting them, and not with the facts as known to the author of them, and to the spirit professedly responding.
220 MODERN MYSTERIES. Such are the principles which control these manifestations, the world over. The individuals who, in their presence, will still hold on to the belief, that their controlling cause is the mental states of spirits out of the circles, instead of the minds constituting them, we must "leave them alone in their glory.".THE STATEMENTS OF DR. BELL CONFIRMED BY KINDRED ONES FROM N. I. BOWDITCH, ESQ. In the manuscript volume containing the above-named dissertations, is a letter from N. I. Bowditch, Esq., addressed to Dr. Bell, on the subject discussed in those dissertations. From this letter we take, with leave, the following extract, containing very conclusive corroborations of the general and particular statements of Dr. B. The character and standing of Mr. Bowditch, together with his well-known relations to spiritualism, will add much interest and weight to his facts and statements. "I have found my most successful sessions to be those where I was alone with the medium, or attended only by one friend. During the whole two hours I have had often entirely accurate answers to a series of mental questions, some of them such that the answer could not be known to any other human being than myself. For instance, I wrote certain lines as from a young girl, lately dead, to her father, describing her reunion with her deceased mother, the love they both bore him, etc. The answers gave the character of the paper, the number of its lines, and, at my request, accurately repeated the last lines of the last stanza, namely, -'And while thy years of life shall last, Life's noblest ends still keep in view, By each dear memory of the past, To us, thyself, thy God, be true'
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 221 " I am satisfied, as you are, that the answers are according to our thougltt or belief, even if erroneous. On two different occasions, once when I was in communication, a spirit gave its own name as William instead of Thomas, because Ithought it was William. And, at another time, when a friend was in communication, a wife made the same mistake in her husband's name. My friend announced the mistake, as a gross failure. I suggested this disturbing influence, and shut up my eyes, while he tried the question again, and got the true name, Thomas. " A strong and determined will can also get answers known to be false. Dr. H. T. Bigelow went with me to Mrs. Heyden (while we used pencils). The letters touched by him would be negatived, (by single raps,) some of them five or six different times; but after knocking at a particular letter over and over again, three raps would at last come. Having once come, Dr. B. would say, Are you sure that this is the right letter? - three raps, or yes. In this way he compelled the spirit to say that its name was' Miserable Humbug' - that spirits lived on' Pork and Beans,' etc., through a series of absurdities. Had I never been present at any other session, I should unhesitatingly have arrived at his conclusion; namely, that the medium knew (by his loud and emphatic pointing and striking at particular letters) where the raps were wanted, and made them accordingly; and that it was all a delusion. " Like you I have failed, in a single case, to verify as true a fact stated which at the time was not in my own mind. On the contrary, time and time again, answers have been made, without any words of doubt or hesitation, which have proved to be false. Some19
222 MODERN MIYSTERIES. times, however, there has been a candid statement of inability to answer. I had asked mentally the number of my watch. It was given correctly, 5,763. Mr. S. G. Ward was present, and said aloud,' Can you give the number of my watch?' Neither of us knew it. I repeated the question, and got, No. I said,' Why?' The alphabet spelt out,' Icannot do it.' I said,' If W. shows it to me, can you then repeat it?' Yes.' Mr. W. opened his watch under the table and showed me the number, and I at once got the true answer. Excuses are sometimes made for palpable blunders. Thus the same young friend (dead only ten days before) gave Nathaniel Bowditch Mason instead of Alfred Mason, as the name of a young cousin who had died a few years before. Tle true name was known to me. I asked,' How could you make such a mistake of name?' It was a mental question. The answer was,' The fact is, I am so much absorbed in my new and beautiful home that I have almostforgotten my own name.'" We make but two remarks upon the important facts and statements here presented: — (1.) The particular conclusion which the friend of Mr. B. drew from the ludicrous facts which he witnessed, was occasioned by the assumption, on his part, that those responses were produced by spirits, or by imposition on the part of the medium. Had the third hypothesis been in his mind, he would undoubtedly, if well informed in regard to facts, have drawn the far more evident conclusion, that the action of this force was, in this case, governed by his own mental states, the supposition that such answers could come from spirits, good or bad, being out of the question. (2.) The fact that such men as Dr. Bell and Esq Bowditch, in all the widely extended investigations
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS:. 223 which they have made, have never "been able, in a single case, to verify as true a fact stated, which was not in their mind at the time," goes very far to justify the very common opinion, that no such revelations are ever obtained in these circles. For ourselves, we have yet, to our best recollections, to meet with the first individual, not a spiritualist, who has himself obtained any such communication, or witnessed its occurrence, on the part of others. We still think, however, that such communications have, in instances exceedingly rare, been obtained, and that for the following reasons: — (a.) The evidence presented in such facts as are now before us, only render the non-occurrence of such communications probable, and not certain. (b.) We think that adequate evidence of their real occurrence, in the form stated, is before the public. (c.) From the analogy of facts attending the action of this force, in other relations, there ought to occur just such facts as are authentically reported to occur, in these circles, supposing no agency of spirits is ever exerted in them, and they ought to have the identical characteristics, and none others, that they do possess. For ourselves, we are rather embarrassed in the development of our theory, with the infrequency of such occurrences, than with the real facts themselves, or with any of their characteristics. Mr. B. says, "I have found my most successful sessions to be those when I was alone with the medium, or attended only by one friend." The reason is obvious. There were, in such cases, no other minds present, minds whose mental states would disturb the action of the odylic force, and whose thoughts would be, consequently, unconsciously intermingled with those of the inquirer. This fact strikingly corroborates the
224 MODERN MYSTERIES. theory which we maintain. If spirits out of the body controlled the action of this force, it would make no difference how many living persons were in the circle. IMPORTANT FACTS FURNISHED BY A NEW ENGLAND CONGREGATIONAL CLERGYMAN. The last case which we cite was furnished us by a New England Congregational clergyman of unquestionable integrity and intelligence, (names are withheld by special request,) and presents so many interesting features bearing fundamentally upon our present inquiries, that we would invite very special attention to it. It presents a number of facts which he witnessed in a circle of which, by mere accident, he became a member, he having in the course of a walk for a totally different object, called at the house of a friend whose daughter was one of his former pupils in an academy of which he had been for several years the principal, and was, as he learned, after he entered the house, a medium. A spirit circle was accordingly formed, consisting of the teacher, the father, mother,and daughter, the gentlemen sitting on one side of the table, and the ladies on the other. The following are the prominent facts developed during this sitting which continued upwards of four hours - (1.) The same evidence of presence and identity, the same ability to read correctly our secret thoughts, to reveal names, and ages, and any events of the past as they one and all stood in the mind of the inquirer, was manifested by the spirit of brutes, and even of inanimate objects, as are, in any instances, manifested by the spirits of men. It was found, also, that the great central wonder of Spiritualism, one spirit going after an absent one
THE MISSION OF "TIIE SPIRITS." 225 and returning with him at a specified time agreed upon, could be perfectly paralleled by the spirit of the brute. The spirit of a certain animal, for example, was asked, if he could go and bring that of another that was named? and answered, yes. He was told to do it, and be back again in just one and a half minutes by the watch. The instant the hand of the watch came over the right second, there was a rap to indicate the arrival of the spirit sent for. After affirming his actual presence, he was asked, as proof of his identity, to give his age. The precise number, nineteen, existing in the mind of the inquirer, was promptly given by raps. It was subsequently found, that there was a mistake of several years in the answer given, thus most fully evincing the fact, that the spirit of the brute fails precisely where and as that of man does. (2.) This clergyman, by observations and experiments about which there could be no mistake, found that he could exercise an absolute control over the action of this power in the medium. When, for example, she would attempt to write, she being a writing as well as rapping medium, he could, by simply willing it, while no one had the least suspicion of what he was doing, stop her hand entirely, cause it to move up and down, so that the pencil should make nothing but dots on the paper, and then cause her to go on with the writing as before. (3.) He also obtained the most palpable and conclusive evidence, that the medium was in a mesmeric state, that the other persons present sustained the precise relations to her, that the mesmerizer does to the person mesmerized. For example, having occasion to reach his hand across the table to a letter of the alphabet, as his hand came near that of the medium, hers was instantly forcibly attracted towards his, so that the end of
226 MODERN MYSTERIES. the pencil in her hand struck his with such violence as to leave a mark there, and to occasion some pain at the time. Recollecting that this was the first rude act that he had ever witnessed in her, he was led to look into her eyes and immediately discovered, from her appearance, that she was in a magnetic state. To verify that thought, he said to her, " your hand is fastened to the top of the table, and you can't take it off." The medium made every possible effort to withdraw her hand, but found it impossible to move it. " Now," says the minister, " your left hand must come up and be fastened by the side of the other." The medium declared, with the intensest excitement, that it should not be so. The hand, however, gradually came up, and when it came over the top of the table, descended upon it, a's if suddenly drawn down by a resistless attractive force. By no effort could she move either hand, till, by an act of will, he released her. By subsequent experiments, he found that her entire powers, mental and physical, were under his absolute control. Without any external sign whatever, for example, he simply willed, that she should turn round, and fix her eyes upon a picture that hung upon the wall of the room. Instantly she turned round and fixed her eyes upon the object referred to. He then willed, that she should look steadfastly at an object in the hands of her mother, and her eyes were instantly fixed in that direction. When asked why she looked at those objects, her answer was, that, at that time, she wanted to do it. He then merely willed that she should leave her chair and seat herself upon the sofa, and she did so. At one time, he made her weep at the thought that she had disobeyed her mother, nothing of the kind having occurred, and at another, made her think, that her own father was a rude and vulgar boy which she
TIHE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 227 had before seen. As a last experiment, he wished to know, whether he could induce in her a mental perception of an object of which he had a remembrance, but which was unlike any thing of which she had any knowledge. He recollected having seen, in Virginia, years before, a cedar tree about twenty feet high, a tree the boughs of which were in a conical form, from near the ground to the top. The body of the tree was encircled by a trumpet vine, the blossoms of which, then in full bloom, completely covered it in all directions, just standing out in the midst of its foliage. All together it was the most beautiful object that he had ever seen in the vegetable kingdom before. He consequently stopped for some time to look at and admire it. The medium, as he well knew, had never in her life seen a cedar tree of that species, nor such a vine, and especially the two combined as in this instance. Nor had she ever heard of his having seen such an object. He wished to know whether he could induce in her, and that without uttering a syllable himself about the object in his own mind, a mental perception of that object. He accordingly put a book into her hand, requesting her to look into that mirror, and tell him what she saw. The book immediately became a mirror to her, and after looking into it a few moments, she exclaimed with the intensest delight; "; I never sawv so beautiful an object in my life. It is a tree; I never saw such a tree. It looks somewhat like a hemlock, and it is covered all over with beautiful flowers. They are shaped like a trumpet, and they are of an orange color. I never saw so beautiful an object in my life." Thus, he said, she described that before to her totally unknown and unheard of object, as distinctly as he could have done himself, so perfectly was his own purely'mental conception reproduced in her
228 MODERN MYSTERIES. mind, and that without a motion on his part to afford the remotest indication of the particular object of which he was thinking.' The reader will not be surprised to learn, that through these important and fundamental facts, the mysteries of Spiritualism stood distinctly revealed to the mind of this individual, and that from that time onward, he has had the most unwavering conviction, that the medium after all, is none other than a magnetic subject in whom the thoughts of those in the circles are, upon principles and laws purely natural, unconsciously reproduced, and for that reason, received as responses from spirits out of the circles. There is not a solitary phenomenon of Spiritualism which does not fall in with this view, and when rightly apprehended, does not affirm its truth. On the same principle, that the medium's hand was so powerfully attracted towards that of her teacher, the table itself, or any other object between which and her organism, the same force was developed in the same manner, would have followed her all round the room. Or, if it was developed between them, in different polarity, then it would have fled from her in apparent terror, running violently against certain objects, and from others. If the same force, as in some instances, was developed in still greater power, then there would have been a sensible jarring of surrounding objects, and rumbling sounds, as of distant thunder, or the far-off firing of ordnance. The medium was undeniably, at the same time that she was a writing and rapping medium, in a clairvoyant state. Suppose, that like the mesmeric * Since writing the above, we have read the same to the individual from whom the facts were derived, and he indorses the whole as unqualifiedly correct.
THE MISSION OP "THE SPIRITS.7 229 subject of J. M. Brook, Esq., she had also, as might have been the case, possessed the power of independent clairvoyance which that subject possessed. Then, while the thoughts of those who were present were reproduced in her, and embodied, as spirit voices in her communications, there would have been mingled with these the revelation of certain facts perceived by her, on purely natural principles, at the moment, facts unknown to any present, and all together presented, as from spirits. Thus we have the new informnation which is sometimes obtained in these circles, -revelations none of which present the least indication of the presence and agency of spirits, but all of which are perfectly explicable upon purely natural principles. A passing remark is deemed requisite, in this connection, upon a fact noticed by Dr. Bell and others, as peculiarizing these revelations, the fact, that the thought, and not the langu age of the inquirer is commonly embodied in them. In general it is, as in the mental perception of the tree above presented, the thought only that is reproduced in the medium's mind. Sometimes, but not generally, both the thought and language are reproduced. This accords with the statements of spiritualists themselves. They affirm, that as a general thing, it is only the thought of the spirit which is uttered, (they supposing the revelation to be from spirits), the language in which it is clothed being that of the medium. 11. We now call attention to a certain class of false answers which are continuously given forth in these circles. Of the false answers in general here obtained, we will speak in another place. We now refer to a particular class only, a class to which we have already alluded, namely, the continuous occurrence of false 20
230 MODERN MYSTERIES. answers to questions pertaining to subjects well known both to inquirers and to the spirits professedly communicating, and in respect to which a failure of memory, or inadvertent mistake on the part of spirits, is not supposable. The following statement of Dr. Bell, is but the embodiment of the constant experience and observation of every one, as far as our knowledge extends, who has had any considerable personal experience in the spirit circles: - " The' spirits' of your friends, while they announce to you many most extraordinary facts and truths, even in reply to unspoken questions, fail in many others, where you cannot yield them the charity of having forgotten, or being in ignorance. I do not now allude to the silly tests which many very sagacious persons have put, such as complex questions in mathematics, or in far-off dialects, as if spirits were presumed to be omniscient, or in relation to future events, as if they had the gift of foreknowledge! I mean that when you test your deceased relatives, while they are most free in expressing advice, etc., to you, - with such simple questions as involve a recognition of the most marked events of your mutual knowledge, they constantly fail." Now we affirm that such facts cannot be accounted for, in accordance with any laws of mind known to us, on the supposition that these communications proceed fiom intelligent beings, good or bad, who are holding intelligent communication with us, and who know whereof they affirm. Much less can they be accounted for, on the supposition, that they come from the particular class of departed spirits from whom they professedly proceed. No such facts characterize any forms of intercourse between any class of minds in the body. We know very well, that the worst liars on earth do not thus fal
TIE MISSION OF " THIE SPIRITS." 231 sify. Much less did our venerated parents, when with us in the flesh, as their assumed spirits now do, continuously falsify in regard to subjects well known to us and to them, and when they well knew that the falsehood must be at once detected. Never did such answers come to us from them, when they were with us. How then can we suppose, that such answers proceed from their spirits, when they come to visit and communicate with us, from their " angel's home? 1 It is impossible to account for such communications, even on the supposition that these communications generally are from fallen spirits. Devils even would not thus falsify. On the other hand, if these communications are the unconscious echoes of our own thoughts, they could not but have these very characteristics. We ask a question, for example, and then before the answer is given, turn our thoughts in some other direction. If the responses follow the current of our thinking at the moment, and are determined by the same, then a wrong answer will be obtained of course, and just the kind of answer that is obtained. It is upon this one supposition, only, that we can, by any possibility, account for the facts before us. A brother, as we have stated in another connection, asks the spirit of a sister to give the name of their father, which is John, for example, and before the answer comes, his thoughts happen, by the laws of association, to be turned upon that of their brother, which is Thomas. If the answer is determined by the thought in the inquirer's mind, at the moment, then Thomas, the name of the brother, and not John, that of the father, will be given, of course. This is the precise character of the false answers continuously given forth as by the spirits in these circles. We say that such
232 MODERN MYSTERIES. facts cannot be accounted for, but upon the supposition, that these communications proceed not from spirits, but that they are the unconscious product of the wandering thoughts of the inquirers themselves. We are perfectly certain, that spiritualists will never account for the facts before us, in accordance with their theory. 12. We now refer to a class of experiments which individuals have made for the purpose of determining, not only the location of this cause, but of ascertaining the kind and extent of control they could exercise over it. It is well known that no spirits, good or bad, will voluntarily render themselves the objects of the contempt and ridicule of those over whom they desire to retain a controlling influence, as the spirits undeniably do over the minds of men in this world. Yet we find, among these communications, numberless responses obtained for the express purpose of determin. ing, in the first instance, how far they can be controlled, and, in the next, of rendering the whole subject ridiculous. If spirits also respond to inquiries drawing forth such responses, they must do it with a perfect knowledge of the designs of the inquirers, and of the tendency of the answers given to their questions. By no laws of mind can we account for responses given to questions which are put for such a purpose, and when the answers must be known to be adapted, most perfectly so, to secure the intended result and none other. Let us consider a few facts of this class, examples of which are everywhere occurring in these circles. The case of the gentleman in Boston, to whom the spirit communicating revealed himself under the name, Miserable Humbug, and affirmed that spirits in the celestial spheres live on pork and beans, and all this in accordance with a previous determination in the inquirer's
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 233 mind, is already before our readers, and is a case now in point. Let us consider another case of a similar character. When Mrs. Fish was in the State of Ohio, she visited the village of Hamilton for the purpose of multiplying disciples, not to hint a pecuniary motive. Her success, for a time, was wonderful, all who entered the circles being convinced. At length, some ten individuals agreed together to determine, by an experiment, what answers could be obtained from the spirits. They accordingly framed their questions and answers beforehand, and agreed upon a mode of questioning, which would not awaken the suspicions of the medium. The departed spirit which responded to the first inquirer, gave his name as " the devil," affirmed himself to have been dead for two years, and to sustain to the inquirer the relation of uncle. The departed spirit which responded to the next inquirer, was that of our informant, who was then in the circle. This spirit had been dead for six months, and died of hydrophobia. By this time, some of the circle found it impossible to restrain their laughter, when Mrs. Fish remarked, that the spirits were probably lying to the inquirers. On being informed of what had transpired, the circle was broken up; and the next morning she left the place. Who can believe, that if intelligent minds stood behind this power, and directed its action, they would suffer themselves to be thus trifled with, and would lend their own voluntary agency to render themselves the objects of deserved contempt and ridicule? Yet "the spirits," in any circle on earth, will as readily respond to such questions as to any others, and will become, when the inquirer wills it, and has presence of mind and self-command sufficient to carry out his purposes, the agents of their own infamy or contempt. No 20
234 MODERN MYSTERIES. limits can be set to the extent to which this power can be used for such purposes. Now; we say, that depravity itself never assumes such forms, and by no laws of mind can we account for such communications coming from disembodied spirits, either good or bad. If, on the other hand, our theory is true, nothing else could be expected. Just such phenomena, in that case, would appear, and in the very form in which they now present themselves, and upon no other hypothesis can such facts which, in legion forms, everywhere present themselves in these circles, be explained. Since the child, in the family to which we have referred, became a medium, and since the communication from the spirit of a living person, supposed by them at the time to be dead, was obtained, the members of the family have been accustomed to amuse themselves by seeing what absurd communications they can obtain, as illustrations of the absolute control which they can exert over this mysterious power. The following may be stated as the results of their experiments and observations, and we have had an opportunity to converse with the family every week, since these phenomena appeared, which was at or near the commencement of the present year. (1.) Any spirits will answer that they choose to call up. (2.) Any answers can be obtained from any spirits, that they will mentally conceive of, and choose to have rapped or written out. (3.) They now obtain, as a general fact, absurd and ridiculous answers, answers indorsed by odd names, because they choose to have such and no others, the answers and names always according with their previous choice. (4.) Nothing is, or can be more manifest to their minds, than the fact, that they themselves, and not spirits out of the body, control this force, in all the answers which they obtain.
THE MISSION OF THE SPIRITS." 235 (5.) That control has remained just as absolute, since they came to this conviction, as before; since they have utterly repudiated the doctrine of Spiritualism, as when they were sincerely inquiring whether it was true or not. A daughter of ours, when present on one occasion, without having said any thing at all, while the force was being developed, willed secretly, for the very purpose of illustrating to her own mind the fact, that persons in the circles and not spirits out of it, are the real causes of these manifestations, that her own name should be written out by the medium. Her name came out accordingly, the moment his hand was moved. We repeat, that it is wholly unaccountable that spirits either good or bad should lend their own agency, not only to render themselves ridiculous, but to disprove their own agency, in phenomena which, if Spiritualism is true, they wish to have all the world understand, they alone can produce. 13. We now invite very special attention to the testimony and experience of intelligent persons who have themselves been mediums. Facts derived from this source must be regarded as most decisive in their bearings, because such persons have had the best opportunities for examination; and when they have come to the full conclusion, that phenomena presented through them, are produced by exclusively mundane causes, their opinions and statements must be deserving of the greatest consideration. Among the cases falling under this class, we notice the following:We are well acquainted with a very intelligent gentleman, for example, through whom, when the proper conditions are fulfilled, all the phenomena of the spirit rappings can at any time be obtained. He says that he has no conception, that these phenomena are connected
236 MODERN MYSTERIES. at all with any ab extra spirit agency, and that for this reason, that when it is known what answer should be given to any question proposed, the true answer will uniformly be given, and when this is not known, the answer will be right or wrong, just as it happens. These are the uniform characteristics of these communications everywhere. If the inquirer or medium knows what the answer should be, it will be generally right. In all other cases, it has the characteristics of the most uncertain guessing. What facts can with certainty identify any communications as being wholly earthly, and not at all ab extra spiritual in their origin, if these do not? We met recently a very intelligent lady who had been a medium, and who had presented such communications as to convince an aged atheist among others, of the reality of spiritual existences. To us she remarked, that when she first became subject to these influences, she had no doubt whatever of their ab extra spiritual origin, so unconscious was she of any agency of her own in their production. But when she narrowly watched her own mental operations, and marked the perfect and regular correspondence between these phenomena and her own prior mental states, she was led to doubt the whole system of Spiritualism altogether. If all mediums were thus self-reflective, and thus honest, they would all, we venture to affirm, come to the same conclusion. A scientific physician in the State of Michigan, who has, for a long period, been a writing medium, has, after similar observations and experiments, come to the same conclusion. There is a mystery about the subject, as he stated to our informant, President Fairfield of the Freewill Baptist College in that State, which he has never been able to explain. Yet the facts taken together, pre
THE MISSION OF " THE SPIRITS." 237 eluded wholly the idea of their spirit origin. They are too puerile, too self-contradictory, and lawless in their character to admit of any such supposition. The following case we cite from Rogers's Philosophy of Mysterious Rappings. On many accounts it possesses much interest:" Now take the following case, the like of which we have seen in several other instances: Jane A. D., daughter of a physician, had become a'writing and tipping medium,' and could obtain slight responses by the sounds. She believed herself to be a'medium' for communications from a deceased cousin, who, with herself, had been passionately fond of poetry. Jane carried on these communications by herself for some time, for her own satisfaction, but mostly as a writing medium. She had not, after some few of the first communications, the slightest doubt of the reality of all this being the work of a pure spirit, until the following circumstance took place. A communication was made of a beautiful stanza of poetry, from what purported to be the spirit of her young friend, and was declared as original. Jane was so much delighted with the remarkable circumstance, and with the perfect sweetness of the lines, that she took them to her father and related the circumstances. He saw that the style of handwriting was that of his daughter's late friend, and was greatly amazed at the mystery. The fact of the identity of the handwriting was not, indeed, to be questioned; and since he knew his daughter to be truthful every way, he determined to examine into the wonderful phenomena. The following evening was, therefore, spent in experiments and conversation upon the subject. Every thing was, however, to be kept profoundly secret in the family, as there was so much said
238 MODERN MYSTERIES. in derision of the'rappers.''That night,' says Jane,'while I was dwelling on those beautiful lines, and my heart was swelling with joy, that my own dear parents had become interested in the phenomena, it flashed across my mind that I had either heard or read the same lines before, somewhere. But I did not wish to think so, and yet I desired to know the truth. It, at last, appeared to me, fresh in my memory, the very place where and when, I had read it. It was while alone and lonely, just after the setting of a beautiful September sun, and the lines were from that sweet poem of Longfellow,'The Footsteps of Angels.' Uttered not, yet comprehended, Is the spirit's voiceless prayer, Soft rebuke, in blessings ended, Breathing from her lips of air."' No one can wonder, that the confidence of this medium and that of her friends, in the doctrine of Spiritualism, was utterly shaken by such an occurrence. This communication was, undeniably, exclusively mundane in its origin, and yet it bore upon its face, all the evidence of an exclusively spirit origin that any other does, or can do. It came as from a spirit. It was positively affirmed by that spirit whose integrity could not be doubted, to have been original, and it was given in the handwriting, not of the medium, but of the individual whose spirit professedly originated it, and directed the hand that wrote it. The medium, too, had no consciousness, at the time, that any thought preexisting in her own mind, had any thing to do with the subject. This single case, therefore, utterly annihilates the highest evidence ever adduced by spiritualists in proof of the spirit origin of these manifestations; for it
THE MISSION OF "THE SPIRITS." 239 embodies the most fundamental facts which they ever do adduce for this end. At the same time, it presents the most conclusive proof of the truth of the opposite theory, that which we maintain as the only true one. A few weeks since, we met with an intelligent clergyman, one to whom we have already referred in another connection, of the Episcopal Church, who has, for some years, had the phenomena of table-moving and other spirit manifestations in his own family, himself, wife, and daughter, together being mediums. When these phenomena first appeared in his family, he sincerely believed in their real spirit origin, and supposed that they could be reduced to scientific principles. After the most careful and extensive experiments and observations, however, he had come to precisely the opposite conclusion. In questioning any spirit, for example, some responses appear to indicate his actual presence. Others which arise in the same connection, however, utterly preclude such a supposition, the supposition, too, that they do or can come from any intelligent minds out of the body, the communications, from whatever minds apparently proceeding, being often so utterly puerile, self-contradictory, and lawless in their character. If there is in nature, he remarked, a nerve fluid whose action accords with our mental states, and commonly with the ordinary random thoughts which run off from the surface of the mind, and these manifestations are the result of such action, they would, in that case, be just what I have found them to be. Now we affirm, without fear of contradiction, that a more striking and accurate description of the character of these manifestations, can, by no possibility, be given, and this is most manifestly their real cause. The facts preclude any other supposition.