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    A MANIFESTATION OF POWER

    Spiritualism cannot be disposed of with a sneer. A toss of the head and a cry of “humbug,” will not suffice to meet its claims and the testimony of careful, conservative men who have studied thoroughly into the genuineness of its manifestations, and have sought for the secret of its power, and have become satisfied as to the one, and been wholly baffled as to the other. That there have been abundant instances of attempted fraud, deception, jugglery, and imposition, is not to be denied. But this does not by any means set aside the fact that there have been manifestations of more than human power, the evidence for which has never been impeached. The detection of a few sham mediums, who are trying to impose upon the credulity of the public, for money, may satisfy the careless and unthinking, that the whole affair is a humbug. Such will dismiss the matter from their minds, and depart, easier subjects to be captured by the movement when some manifestation appears for which they can find no explanation. But the more thoughtful and careful observers well know that the exposure of these mountebanks does not account for the numberless manifestations of power, and the steady current of phenomena, utterly inexplicable on any human hypothesis, which have attended the movement from the beginning.MOSP 10.1

    The Philadelphia North American, of July 31, 1885, published a communication from Thomas R. Hazard, in which he says:-MOSP 11.1

    But Spiritualism, whatever may be thought of is, must be recognized as a fact. It is one of the characteristic intellectual or emotional phenomena of the times, and as such, it is deserving of a more serious examination than it has yet received. There are those who say it is all humbug, and that everything outside of the ordinary course which takes pace at the so-called seances, is the direct result of fraudulent and deliberative imposture; in short, that every Spiritualist must be either a fool or a knave. The serious objection to this hypothesis is that the explanation is almost as difficult of belief, as the occurrences which it explains. There must certainly be some Spiritualists who are both honest and intelligent; and if the manifestations at the seances were altogether and invariably fraudulent, surely the whole thing must have collapsed long before this; and the Seybert Commission, which finds it necessary to extend its investigations over an indefinite period, which will certainly not be less than a year, would have been able to sweep the delusion away in short order.”MOSP 11.2

    The phenomena are so well known, that it is unnecessary to recount them here. Among them may be mentioned such achievements as these: Various articles have been transported from place to place, without human hands, but by the agency of so-called spirits only; beautiful music has been produced independently of human agency, with and without the aid of visible instruments; many well-attested cases of healing have been presented; persons have been carried through the air by the spirits in the presence of many witnesses; tables have been suspended in the air with several persons upon them; purported spirits have presented themselves in bodily form and talked with and audible voice; and all this not once or twice merely, but times without number, as may be gathered from the records of Spiritualism, all through its history.MOSP 11.3

    A few particular instances, as samples, it may be allowable to notice: Not many years since, Joseph Cook made his memorable tour around the world. In Europe he met the famous German philosopher, Professor Zollner. Mr. Zollner had been carefully investigating the phenomena of Spiritualism, and assured Mr. Cook of the following occurrences as facts, under his own observation: Knots had been found tied in the middle of cords, by some invisible agency, while both ends were made securely fast, so that they could not be tampered with; messages were written between doubly and trebly sealed slates; coin had passed through a table in a manner to illustrate the suspension of the laws of impenetrability of matter; straps of leather were knotted under his own hand; the impression of two feet was given on sooted paper pasted inside of two sealed slates; whole and uninjured wooden rings were placed around the standard of a card table, over either end of which they could by no possibility be slipped; and finally the table itself, a heavy beechen structure, wholly disappeared, and then fell from the top of the room where Professor Zollner and his friends were sitting.MOSP 12.1

    In further confirmation of the fact that real spiritualistic manifestations are no sleight-of-hand performances, we cite the case of Harry Kellar, a professional performer, as given in “Nineteenth Century Miracles,” p.213. The seance was held with the medium, Eglinton, in Calcutta, India, Jan. 25, 1882. He says:-MOSP 13.1

    “It is needless to say that I went as a skeptic; but I must own that I have come away utterly unable to explain by any natural means the phenomena that I witnessed on Tuesday evening.”MOSP 13.2

    He then describes the particulars of the seance. An intelligence, purporting to be the spirit of one Geary, gave a communication. Mr. Kellar did not recognize the name nor recall the man. The message was repeated, with the added circumstances of the time and particulars of a previous meeting, when Mr. kellar recalled the events, and, much to his surprise, the whole matter came clearly to his recollection. He then adds:-MOSP 13.3

    “I still remain a skeptic as regards Spiritualism, but I repeat my inability to explain or account for what must have been an intelligent force which produced the writing on the slate, which, if my senses are to be relied on, was in no way the result of trickery or sleight-of-hand.”MOSP 13.4

    Another instance from “Home Circle,” p.25, is that of Mr. Bellachini, also a professional conjuror, of Berlin, Germany. His interview was with the celebrated medium, Mr. Slade. From his testimony we quote the following:-MOSP 14.1

    “I have not, in the smallest degree, found anything to be produced by prestidigitative manifestations or mechanical apparatus; and any explanations which took place under the circumstances and conditions then obtaining, by any reference to prestidigitation, is absolutely impossible. I declare, moreover, the published opinions of laymen as to the “How” of this subject, to be premature, and according to my views and experience, false and one-sided. - Dated, Berlin, Dec. 6, 1877.MOSP 14.2

    When professional conjurors bear such testimony as this, while it does not prove Spiritualism to be what it claims to be, it does disprove the humbug theory.MOSP 14.3

    In addition to this, it appears that two propositions, one of $2000, and the other of $5000, have been offered to the one who claimed to be able to duplicate all the manifestations of Spiritualism, to duplicate two well-authenticated tests; but the challenge has never been accepted, nor the reward claimed. See Religio-Philosophical Journal, of Jan. 15, 1881, and January, 1883.MOSP 14.4

    A writer in the Spiritual Clarion, in an article on “The Millennium of Spiritualism,” bears the following testimony in regard to the power and strength of the movement:-MOSP 14.5

    “This revelation has been with a power, a might, that if divested of its almost universal benevolence, had been a terror to the very soul; the hair of the very bravest had stood on end, and his chilled blood had crept back upon his heart, at the sights and sounds of its inexplicable phenomena. It comes with foretokening and warning. It has been, from the very first, its own best prophet, and step by step, it has foretold the progress it would make. It comes, too, most triumphant. No faith before it ever took such a victorious stand in its very infancy. It has swept like a hurricane of fire through the land, compelling faith from the baffled scoffer, and the most determined doubter.”MOSP 14.6

    Dr. W.F. Barrett, Professor of Experimental Physics in the Royal College of Dublin, says:-MOSP 15.1

    “It is well known to those who have made the phenomena of Spiritualism the subject of prolonged and careful inquiry, in the spirit of exact and unimpassioned scientific research, that beneath a repellent mass of imposture and delusion there remain certain inexplicable and starting facts which science can neither explain away nor deny.” - “Automatic, or Spirit Writing,” p.11 (1896)MOSP 15.2

    In the Arena of November, 1892, p. 688, Mr. M.J. Savage, the noted Unitarian minister of Boston, says:-MOSP 15.3

    “Next comes what are ordinarily classed together as ‘mediumistic phenomena.’ The most important of these are psychometry, ‘vision’ of ‘spirit’ forms, claimed communications by means of rappings, table movements, automatic writing, independent writing, trance speaking, etc. With them also ought to be noted what are generally called physical phenomena, though in most cases, since they are intelligibly directed, the use of the word ‘physical,’ without this qualification, might be misleading. These physical phenomena include such facts as the movement of material objects by other than the ordinary muscular force, the making objects heavier or lighter when tested by the scales, the playing on musical instruments by some invisible power, etc... Now all of these referred to (with the exception of independent writing, and materialization) I know to be genuine. I do not at all mean by this that I know that the ‘spiritualistic’ interpretation of them is the true one. I mean only that they are genuine phenomena; that they have occurred; that they are not tricks or the result of fraud.”MOSP 15.4

    In the Forum of December, 1889, p. 455, the same writer describes his experience at the house of a friend with whom he had been acquainted eight or ten years. When about to depart, he thought he would try an experiment. He says:-MOSP 16.1

    “She and I stood at opposite ends of the table at which we had been sitting. Both of us having placed the tips of our fingers lightly on the top of the table, I spoke, as if addressing some unseen force connected with the table, and said: ‘Now I must go; will you not accompany me to the door?’ The door was ten or fifteen feet distant, and was closed. The table started. It had no casters, and in order to make it move as it did, we should have had to go behind and push it. As a matter of fact we led it, while it accompanied us all the way, and struck against the door with considerable force.”MOSP 16.2

    From the same article, p. 456, we quote again:-MOSP 16.3

    “I add one more experiment of my own. I sat one day in a heavy, stuffed armchair. The psychic sat beside me, and laying his hand on the back of the chair, gradually raised it. Immediately I felt and saw myself, chair and all, lifted into the air at least one foot from the floor. There was no uneven motion implying any sense of effort on the part of the lifting force; and I was gently lowered again to the carpet. This was in broad light, in a hotel parlor, and in presence of a keen-eyed lawyer friend. I could plainly watch the whole thing. No man living could have lifted me in such a position, and besides, I saw that the psychic made not the slightest apparent effort Nor was there any machinery or preparation of any kind. My companion, the lawyer, on going away, speaking in reference to the whole sitting, said: ‘I’ve seen enough evidence to hang every man in the State - enough to prove anything excepting this.’MOSP 16.4

    “Professor Crookes, of London, relates having seen and heard an accordion played on while it was enclosed in a wire net-work, and not touched by any visible hand. I have seen an approach to the same thing. In daylight I have seen a man hold an accordion in the air, not more than three feet away from me. He held it by one hand, grasping the side opposite to that on which the keys were fixed. In this position, it or something, played long tunes, the side containing the keys being pushed in and drawn out without any contact that I could see. I then said, ‘Will it not play for me?’ The reply was, ‘I don’t know: you can try it.’ I then took the accordion in my hands. There was no music; but what did occur was quite as inexplicable to me, and quite as convincing as a display of some kind of power. I know not how to express it, except by saying that the accordion was seized as if by some one trying to take it away from me. To test this power, I grasped the instrument with both hands. The struggle was as real as though my antagonist was another man. I succeeded in keeping it, but only by the most strenuous efforts.MOSP 17.1

    “On another occasion I was sitting with a ‘medium.’ I was too far away for him to reach me, even had he tried, which he did not do; for he sat perfectly quiet. My knees were not under the table, but were where I could see them plainly. Suddenly my right knee was grasped as by a hand. It was a firm grip. I could feel the print and pressure of all the fingers. I said not a word of the strange sensation, but quietly put my right hand down and clasped my knee in order to see if I could feel anything on my hand. At once I felt what seemed like the most delicate finger tips playing over my own fingers and gradually rising in their touches toward my wrist. When this was reached, I felt a series of clear, distinct, and definite pats, as though made by a hand of fleshy vigor. I made no motion to indicate what was going on, and said not a word until the sensation had passed. All this while I was carefully watching my hand for it was plain daylight, and it was in full view; but I saw nothing.”MOSP 17.2

    We need not multiply evidence on this point. A remark by T.J. Hudson (“Law of Psychic Phenomena,“ p. 206, Mc Clurg & Chicago, 1894) may fitly close this division of the subject. He says:-MOSP 17.3

    “I will not waste time, however, by attempting to prove by experiments of my own, or of other, that such phenomena do occur. It is too late for that. The facts are too well known to the civilized world to require proof at this time. The man who denies the phenomena of spiritism to-day is not entitled to be called skeptic, he is simply ignorant; and it would be a hopeless task to attempt to enlighten him.”MOSP 18.1

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