From "Miscellaneous Essays and Letters" - Thomas R. Hazard
Rematerialization of the Soul
Of all the discoveries or inventions, whether of men or the" spirits," that have transpired in the nineteenth century, that of the physical materialization of departed souls, so as to asks themselves tangible to physical sense is, perhaps, the most remarkable. For some years past, I have been repeatedly told by my spirit wife, that before my coming to join her and our children in the unseen world, she and they would be able to clothe their soul forms so perfectly with the habiliments of earth, that they would return and remain with me in the old home for hours together, and be as tangible to my senses as they were in earth-life.
Since I was first told this, what is called "Spirit Materialization" has had its commencement, and in many scores of instances my Spirit friends, have, under favorable conditions, shown themselves to me in their full forms, Sometimes as mere shadows, and at others with wonderful distinctness so that I could recognize their individuality beyond a doubt.
I think that the most remarkable instance of this kind that I ever witnessed occurred a short time since in the city of Boston, in the presence of a lady medium of a highly sensitive organization, who, on that account, taken in connection with the unrelenting war against the "Mediums" that are used by the angels for their beneficent purposes, prefers that her name should not be revealed to the public.
I called recently one evening on this lady and her husband, merely to pay a social visit. They were not citizens, and had but a day or two before taken the apartments in which they were located in a public building by the week. Partly in jest, I proposed that the husband and myself should sit outside, whilst the lady sat within a little closet that opened into the room and see what would be the result. My request was finally acceded to. A shawl was tacked and drawn across the open doorway of the closet, and the medium took her seat inside, whilst I sat immediately in front within two feet of the curtain. The moon was shining through the large windows, shielded by the gauze-like curtains, directly into the room to render, with a little gaslight, everything in it quite distinct.
As this was not the seance I have referred to as being so remarkable, I will not now dwell, but simply say that the form of my wife was first presented, looking almost as natural as when in earth-life. She opened the curtain several times, and whilst she held the fold back with her left hand, she patted and fondled my hands and head with the other, and finally stooped over and put her arms around my neck and kissed me, her dark, luxuriant hair hanging down in long ringlets beside her cheeks, just as she wore it in early womanhood. My wife remained with me several minutes and when she retired, my recently departed daughter, Gertrude, opened the curtain and saluted me tenderly. Her hair, complexion, form, and height responded with hers on earth, though her features were not so distinct and fully materialized as those of her mother. Before leaving, she put her arm around my neck and kissed me.
When Gertrude retired, her sister Fanny, who passed away last February, came next with all her distinctive attributes of hair, complexion, contour of face, height, person, etc., with surprising exactitude. She also patted me on the head, and fondled my face and hands, but did not acquire sufficient power to kiss me. When Fanny left, her sister Anna appeared, unlike all the others, with dark hair and clear brunette complexion, corresponding with her earth-form and accompaniment. She too fondled my face, hair and hands, but did not kiss me. When Anna retired, her sister Mary came next, who passed away in New York some thirty-five years ago, aged two years and three months. Mary was taller than either of her sisters. Her hair and complexion were both light, corresponding with their earth characteristics. She was remarkably erect and graceful in figure and has a most remarkable expression of countenance. She did not either kiss or touch me as the others had done.
During the time my wife and daughters were visible, I repeatedly observed the Medium in her seat; her garments were dark. Shortly before the close of the seance, two male spirits presented themselves, dressed in dark clothes (the others had all appeared in the purest white) who purported to be, the one a friend and the other a family connection of mine, as I have no doubt they were, although their features were not sufficiently distinct enough for my recognition. This seance proved so satisfactory that I arranged to come to the same place the next evening but one and repeat the experiment, knowing from long experience that spirit manifestations occur in apartments that become magnetized (so to speak) by a continued presence of the medium, through whose occult powers they proceed.
On this evening instead of sitting close to the curtain, the lady's husband and myself sat some four feet away. We had not been seated five minutes before my wife walked out of the closet in full form, clothed in a beautiful white robe, that entirely enveloped her feet and trailed on the floor. As on the previous evening, I took her hand in mine and found it, as is often the case with materialized hands to be of a velvet-like feeling and very cold. This I remarked to the spirit, and asked her if she could not make her hand as material and warm as when in earth-life. After retiring within the folds of the curtains several different times to obtain materializing power (as the spirit alleged) from the person of the Medium, and again reappearing, she at length rapped out by the alphabet these words: "sit sideways," the magnetism of our eyes when meeting hers being prejudicial, as most candid investigators of the phenomena soon learn by experience to be a general rule. After we had changed our positions to correspond with this request, it was again rapped out, "do not touch me." Hitherto, as my wife reached out her hand to me, I had generally taken it in mine. This I now forbore to do, and was amply repaid for my forbearance.
The conditions seemed to be now almost perfect, and there was not a ripple of doubt or suspicion in the minds of any present, to disturb the harmony. Those not acquainted with the wonderful phenomena of Spirit Materialization, can have but little conception of the extreme nicety and delicacy of the conditions through which alone it can be successfully conducted. The steady gaze of a doubting or over critical eye, upon a partly materialized spirit, may render all its efforts to fully materialize abortive; whilst a vindictive, malignant thought, cast by some vicious or ignorant individual present in the circle towards the helpless entranced Medium, may prove as fatal to the manifestations as would the kick of all infuriated jackass to the procedure of the nicest chemical experiment, if the blow of the brute was directed to the shattering, in a thousand pieces, the nicely arranged apparatus, or planted fully in the face of the operator, at the moment he was about to exhibit the wonders of his art. There were none of these depressing or malign influences present on this occasion, and my wife was able to draw sufficiently upon the vital elements of the Medium, to present herself almost exactly as she appeared when in earth-life. She came out of the closet during the evening no less than twenty-three different times; and moved about with almost the same ease she was accustomed to when in her earth home, passing to and fro in front and behind our seats so naturally, that a stranger to the phenomena could not have suspected her to be other than of mortal mould.
I was suffering at the time from the effects of a severe cold, on which account my wife manifested much solicitude, and repeatedly manipulated my head and chest with her hands, retiring ever and anon into the dark closet to recuperate her powers and gather the necessary healing elements to impart to me. More than once she threw her arms around my neck, and tenderly embracing me, pressed her lips to mine in a succession of kisses; her hung, dark hair hanging down the sides of her face in luxuriant curls, exactly as she used to wear it in early womanhood. From the very first, her lips and face had been of a natural temperature, whilst her hands, as before stated, being probably less fully materialized, were at first unnatural in their texture, and very cold. As the evening progressed, both of these peculiarities gradually subsided, so that for an hour or so before the close of the seance, her hands and fingers assumed, both to the eye and touch, a delicate appearance, whilst their temperature became of the natural warmth. The feeling imparted by their long manipulation of my hair, face, and chest, was soothing and delightful, and very perceptibly diminished the disagreeable sensations caused by my malady.
Once (and once only, until the close), during the evening, my wife's earth form was dematerialized for a short time. Whilst she held the curtain apart in one hand, her whole form was distinctly to be seen standing just within. It gradually sank downward, as if passing through the floor, until it disappeared, and the curtain closed for a short time, when it was again opened and my wife walked out and came to me as before. On one other occasion my wife remained passive within the closet, whilst a female Indian spirit (a familiar of the Medium) manifested. The Indian walked out in great strength, clothed in a picturesque costume of several colors. I asked her to let me look at her moccasin, when she lifted up one foot for me to examine it. The moccasin looked and felt like cloth, and I asked the spirit to make one for the occasion, of hair or such material as the Indians generally wore. She closed the curtain for a few moments, and again came out, and presented her foot, which was then covered only with a stocking, but as she manipulated it with her hand, it became gradually encased in a moccasin, made apparently of a material resembling both feathers and hair. The lady Medium remained entranced within the closet about two hours and a half, two-thirds of which time at least, my wife was fully materialized, and to be plainly seen by both myself and the gentleman who sat beside me.
At the close of the seance, the Medium's spiritual guide told me that the reason why my wife had occupied nearly the whole evening, was in consequence of the solicitude she felt on account of my indisposition, regretting that she had not the power to minister to my wants now, so fully as she used to when in earth-life.
Upon the whole, this "spirit seance" was, of all the hundreds I have been present at, one of the most entirely satisfactory. Nor can I, after witnessing what I there did, doubt but that our friends in the spheres above will soon perfect the science of materialization to the degree that will admit of their returning to earth (as promised) under the proper conditions (which must be awarded to them by their earth friends in order to insure success), and remain for hours together with congenial minds, as palpably and as really as they ever walked the earth in their society, before their departure from mortal life.
My wife seemed in every respect as real and life-like as I ever saw her on earth. To so fully materialize, she had, probably with the consent and assistance of the Spirit Guardians of the Medium, abstracted a full half or more of the elements of her life, and had the materialized spirit, when thus clothed upon, been recklessly seized upon by some ignorant man, with but little development of aught but the most brutal instincts, and resolutely held in his grasp, the Medium would, from necessity, have been found dead in her chair, or, with frenzied shrieks, striving to escape from his embrace, half dead with fright, and suffused in her own blood (by force of Spirit Law not understood by mortals).