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Monday, April 17, 2017

From the book There Is No Death of Florence Marryat CHAPTER XXIV III The Misses Berry

From the book There Is No Death  Florence Marryat                            

 The Misses Berry

No one introduced me to the Misses Berry. I saw their advertisement in the public papers and went incognita to their séance, as I had done to those of others. The first thing that struck me about them was the superior class of patrons whom they drew. In the ladies' cloak room, where they left their heavy wraps and umbrellas, the conversation that took place made this sufficiently evident. Helen and Gertrude Berry were pretty, unaffected, lady-like girls; and their conductor, Mr. Abrow, one of the most courteous gentlemen I have ever met. The sisters, both highly mediumistic, never sat together, but on alternate nights, but the one who did not sit always took a place in the audience, in order to prevent suspicion attaching to her absence. Gertrude Berry had been lately married to a Mr. Thompson, and on account of her health gave up her séances, soon after I made her acquaintance.

She was a tall, finely-formed young woman, with golden hair and a beautiful complexion. Her sister Helen was smaller, paler and more slightly built. She had been engaged to be married to a gentleman who died shortly before the time fixed for their wedding, and his spirit, whom she called Charley, was the principal control at her séances, though he never showed himself.
 I found the séance room, which was not very large, crammed with chairs which had all been engaged beforehand, so Mr. Abrow fetched one from downstairs and placed it next his own for me, which was the very position I should have chosen.
I asked him afterwards how he dared admit a stranger to such close proximity, and he replied that he was a medium himself and knew who he could and who he could not trust at a glance. As my professional  duties took me backwards and forwards to Boston, which was my central starting-point, sometimes giving me only a day's rest there, I was in the habit afterwards, when I found I should have a night off, of wiring to Mr. Abrow to keep me a seat, so difficult was it to secure one unless it were bespoken.

Altogether I sat five or six times with the Berry sisters, and wished I could have sat fifty or sixty times instead, for I never enjoyed any séances so much in my life before. The cabinet was formed of an inner room with a separate door, which had to undergo the process of being sealed up by a committee of strangers every evening. Strips of gummed paper were provided for them, on which they wrote their names before affixing them across the inside opening of the door. On the first night I inspected the cabinet also as a matter of principle, and gummed my paper with Mrs. Richardson written on it across the door. The cabinet contained only a sofa for Miss Helen Berry to recline upon. The floor was covered with a nailed-down carpet. The door which led into the cabinet was shaded by two dark curtains hung with rings upon a brass rod. The door of the séance room was situated at a right angle with that of the cabinet, both opening upon a square landing, and, to make assurance doubly sure, the door of the séance room was left open, so that the eyes of the sitters at that end commanded a view, during the entire sitting, of the outside of the locked and gummed-over cabinet door. To make this fully understood, I append a diagram of the two rooms. By the position of these doors, it will be seen how impossible it would have been for anybody to leave or enter the cabinet without being detected by the sitters, who had their faces turned towards the séance room door.

The first materialization that appeared that evening was a bride, dressed in her bridal costume; and a gentleman, who was occupying a chair in the front row, and holding a white flower in his hand, immediately rose, went up to her, embraced her, and whispered a few words, then gave her the white flower, which she fastened in the bosom of her dress, after which he bowed slightly to the company, and, instead of resuming his seat, left the room.
Mr. Abrow then said to me, If you like, madam, you can take that seat now, and as the scene had excited my curiosity I accepted his offer, hoping to find some one to tell me the meaning of it. I found myself next to a very sweetlooking lady, whom I afterwards knew personally as Mrs. Seymour. Can you tell me why that gentleman left so suddenly? I asked her in a whisper. He seldom stays through a séance; she replied; he is a business man, and has no time to spare, but he is here every night. The lady you saw him speak to is his wife. She died on her wedding day, eleven years ago, and he has never failed to meet her on every opportunity since. He brings her a white flower every time he comes. She appears always first, in order that he may be able to return to his work. This story struck me as very interesting, and I always watched for this gentleman afterwards, and never failed to see him waiting for his bride, with the white flower in his hand.

Do you expect to see any friends tonight? I said to my new acquaintance. O! yes! she replied. I have come to see my daughter 'Bell.' She died some years ago, and I am bringing up the two little children she left behind her. I never do anything for them without consulting their mother. Just now I have to change their nurse, and I have received several excellent characters of others, and I have brought them here this evening that 'Bell' may tell me which to write for. I have the pattern for the children's winter frocks, too, she continued, producing some squares of woolen cloths, and I always like to let 'Bell' choose which she likes best. This will give my readers some idea of how much more the American spiritualists regard their departed friends as still forming part of the home circle, and interested in their domestic affairs. Bell soon after made her appearance, and Mrs. Seymour brought her up to me. She was a young woman of about three or four and twenty, and looked very happy and smiling. She perused the servants' characters as practically as her mother might have done, but said she would have none of them, and Mrs. Seymour was to wait till she received some more. The right one had not come yet. She also looked at the patterns, and indicated the one she liked best. Then, as she was about to retire, she whispered to her mother, and Mrs. Seymour said, to my surprise (for it must be remembered I had not disclosed my name to her), Bell tells me she knows a daughter of yours in the spirit life, called 'Florence.' Is that the case? I answered I had a daughter of that name; and Mrs. Seymour added 'Bell' says she will be here this evening, that she is a very pure and very elevated spirit, and they are great friends.

Very shortly after this, Mr. Abrow remarked, There is a young girl in the cabinet now, who says that if her mother's name is 'Mrs. Richardson' she must have married for the third time since she saw her last, for she was 'Mrs. Lean' then. At this remark I laughed; and Mr. Abrow said, Is she come for you, madam? Does the cap fit? I was obliged to acknowledge then that I had given a false name in order to avoid recognition. But the mention of my married name attracted no attention to me, and was only a proof that it had not been given from any previous knowledge of Mr. Abrow's concerning myself I was known in the United States as Florence Marryat only, and to this day they believe me to be still Mrs. Ross-Church, that being the name under which my first novels were written.
So I recognized Florence at once in the trick that had been played me, and had risen to approach the curtain, when she came bounding out and ran into my arms. 
I don't think I had ever seen her look so charming and girlish before. She looked like an embodiment of sunshine. She was dressed in a low frock which seemed manufactured of lace and muslin, her hair fell loose down her back to her knees, and her hands were full of damask roses. This was in December, when hothouse roses were selling for a dollar a piece in Boston, and she held, perhaps, twenty. Their scent was delicious, and she kept thrusting them under my nose, saying, Smell my roses, Mother. Don't you wish you had my garden? We have fields of them in the Summer Land! O! how I wish you were there. Shan't I come soon, darling? I said. No! not yet, replied Florence. You have a lot of work to do still. But when you come, it will be all flowers for you and me. I asked her if she knew Bell, and she said, O! yes! We came together this evening. Then I asked her to come and speak to Bell's mother, and her manner changed at once. She became shy and timid, like a young girl, unused to strangers, and quite hung on my arm, as I took her up to Mrs. Seymour's side. When she had spoken a few words to her in a very low voice, she turned to me and said, I must go now, because we have a great surprise for you this evening—-a very great surprise. I told her I like great surprises, when they were pleasant ones, and Florence laughed, and went away. I found that her debut had created such a sensation amongst the sitters—it being so unusual for a materialized spirit to appear so strong and perfect on the first occasion of using a medium that I felt compelled to give them a little explanation on the subject. And when I told them how I had lost her as a tiny infant of ten days old—how she had returned to me through various media in England, and given such unmistakable proofs of her identity-and how I, being a stranger in their country, and only landed there a few weeks, had already met her through Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Hatch and Miss Berry—they said it was one of the most wonderful and perfect instances of materialization they had ever heard of. And when one considers how perfect the chain is, from the time when Florence first came back to me as a child, too weak to speak, or even to understand where she was, to the years through which she had grown and became strong almost beneath my eyes, till she could bound (as I have narrated) into my arms like a human being, and talk as distinctly as (and far more sensible than) I did myself, I think my readers will acknowledge also, that hers is no common story, and that I have some reason to believe in Spiritualism.

On Christmas Eve I happened to be in Boston, and disengaged, and as I found it was a custom of the American spiritualists to hold meetings on that anniversary for the purpose of seeing their spirit friends, I engaged a seat for the occasion. I arrived some time before the séance commenced, and next to me was seated a gentleman, rather roughly dressed, who was eyeing everything about him with the greatest attention. Presently he turned to me and said, rather sheepishly, Do you believe in this sort of thing? I do, I replied, and I have believed in it for the last fifteen years. Have you ever seen anybody whom you recognized? he continued. Plenty, I said. Then he edged a little nearer to me, and lowered his voice. Do you know, he commenced, that I have ridden on horseback forty miles through the snow today to be present at this meeting, because my old mother sent me a message that she would meet me here! I don't believe in it, you know. I've never been at a séance before, and I feel as if I was making a great fool of myself now, but I couldn't neglect my poor old mother's message, whatever came of it. Of course not, I answered, and I hope your trouble will be rewarded.

I had not much faith in my own words, though because I had seen people disappointed again and again over their first séance, from either the spirits of their friends being too weak to materialize, or from too many trying to draw power at once, and so neutralizing the effect on all. My bridegroom friend was all ready on that occasion with his white flowers in his hand and I ventured to address him and tell him how very beautiful I considered his wife's fidelity and his own. He seemed pleased at my notice, and began to talk quite freely about her. He told me she had returned to him before her body was buried, and had been with him ever since. She is so really and truly my wife, he said, as I received her at the altar, that I could no more marry again than I could if she were living in my house. When the séance commenced she appeared first as usual, and her husband brought her up to my side. This is Miss Florence Marryat, dear, he said (for by this time I had laid aside my incognita with the Berrys). You know her name, don't you? O! yes, she answered, as she gave me her hand, I know you quite well. I used to read your books. Her face was covered with her bridal veil, and her husband turned it back that I might see her. She was a very pretty girl of perhaps twenty—quite a gipsy, with large dark eyes and dark curling hair, and a brown complexion. She has not altered one bit since the day we were married, said her husband, looking fondly at her, whilst I have grown into an old man. She put up her hand and stroked his cheek. We shall be young together some day, she said. Then he asked her if she was not going to kiss me, and she held up her face to mine like a child, and he dropped the veil over her again and led her away.

 The very next spirit that appeared was my rough friend's mother, and his astonishment and emotion at seeing her were very unmistakable. When first he went up to the cabinet and saw her his head drooped, and his shoulders shook with the sobs he could not repress. After a while he became calmer, and talked to her, and then I saw him also bringing her up to me. I must bring my mother to you, he said, that you may see she has really come back to me. I rose, and the old lady shook hands with me. She must have been, at the least, seventy years old, and was a most perfect specimen of old age. Her face was like wax, and her hair like silver; but every wrinkle was distinct, and her hands were lined with blue veins. She had lost her teeth, and mumbled somewhat in speaking, and her son said, She is afraid you will not understand what she says; but she wants you to know that she will be quite happy if her return will make me believe in a future existence. And will it? I asked. He looked at his mother. I don't understand it, he replied. It seems too marvelous to be true; but how can I disbelieve it, when here she is? And his words were so much the echo of my own grounds for belief, that I quite sympathized with them.

John Powles, and Ted, and Florence, all came to see me that evening; and when I bid Florence good-bye she said, oh, it isn't 'good-bye' yet, Mother! I'm coming again, before you go. Presently something that was the very farthest thing from my mind—that had, indeed, never entered it—happened to me. I was told that a young lady wanted to speak to me, and on going up to the cabinet I recognized a girl whom I knew by sight, but had never spoken to—one of a large family of children, living in the same terrace in London as myself, and who had died of malignant scarlet fever about a year before. Mrs. Lean, she said, hurriedly, noting my surprise, don't you know me? I am May —. Yes, I do recognize you, my dear child, I replied; but what makes you come to me? Minnie and Katie are so unhappy about me, she said. They do not understand. They think I have gone away. They do not know what death is—that it is only like going into the next room, and shutting the door. And what can I do, May? I asked her. Tell them you have seen me, Mrs. Lean. Say I am alive—more alive than they are; that if they sit for me, I will come to them and tell them so much they know nothing of now. But where are your sisters? I said. She looked puzzled. I don't know. I can't say the place; but you will meet them soon, and you will tell them. If I meet them, I certainly will tell them, I said; but I had not the least idea at that moment where the other girls might be.
Four months later, however, when I was staying in London, Ontario, they burst unexpectedly into my hotel room, having driven over (I forget how many miles) to see me play. Naturally I kept my promise; but though they cried when May was alluded to, they evidently could not believe my story of having seen her, and so, I suppose, the poor little girl's wish remains ungratified. I think the worst purgatory in the next world must be to find how comfortably our friends get on without us in this.

 As a rule, I did not take much interest in the spirits that did not come for me; but there was one who appeared several times with the Berrys, and seemed quite like an old friend to me. This was John Brown, not her Majesty's John Brown, but the hero of the song    Hang John Brown on a sour apple tree,     But his soul goes touting around. Glory!glory!     Halleluia! For his soul goes touting around. when I used to hear this song sung with much shouting and some profanity in England, I imagined (and I fancy most people did) that it was a comic song in America. But it was no such thing. It was a patriotic song, and the motive is (however comically put) to give glory to God, that, although they may hang John Brown on a sour apple tree, his soul will yet go touting around.' So, rightly or wrongly, it was explained to me. John Brown is a patriotic hero in America, and when he appeared, the whole room crowded round to see him. He was a short man, with a singularly benevolent countenance, iron grey hair, mutton-chop whiskers and deep china blue eyes. A kind of man, as he appeared to me, made for deeds of love rather than heroism, but from all accounts he was both kind and heroic. A gentleman present on Christmas eve pushed forward eagerly to see the materialization, and called out, Aye! that's him— that's my old friend—that's John Brown—the best man that ever trod this earth.

Before this evening's séance was concluded Mr. Abrow said, There is a little lady in the cabinet at present who announces herself as a very high personage. She says she is the Princess Gertrude. What did you say, Mr. Abrow? I exclaimed, unable to believe my own ears. 'The Princess Gertie,' Mother,' said Florence, popping her head out of the curtains. You've met her before in England, you know.' I went up to the cabinet, the curtains divided, there stood my daughter Florence as usual, but holding in front of her a little child of about seven years old. I knelt down before this  spirit of my own creation. She was a fragile looking little creature, very fair and pale, with large grey eyes and brown hair lying over her forehead. She looked like a lily with her little white hands folded meekly in front of her. Are you my little Gertie, darling? I said. I am the Princess Gertie, she replied, and Florence says you are my mother. And are you glad to see me, Gertie? I asked. She looked up at her sister, who immediately prompted her. Say, 'Yes, Mother,' Gertie. Yes! Mother, repeated the little one like a parrot. Will you come to me, darling?'' I said. May I take you in my arms?'' Not this evening, Mother, whispered Florence, you couldn't. She is attached to me. We are tied together. You couldn't separate us. Next time, perhaps, the 'Princess' will be stronger, and able to talk more. I will take her back now. But where is 'Yonnie'? I asked, and Florence laughed. Couldn't manage two of them at once, she said. 'Yonnie' shall come another day, and I returned to my seat, more mystified than usual. I alluded to the Princess Gertie in my account of the mediumship of Bessie Fitzgerald, and said that my allusion would find its signification further on. At that time I had hardly believed it could be true that the infants who had been born prematurely and never breathed in this world should be living, sentient spirits to meet me in the next, and half thought some grown spirit must be tricking me for its own pleasure. But here, in this strange land, where my blighted babies had never been mentioned or thought of, to meet the Princess Gertie here, calling herself by her own name, and brought by her sister Florence, set the matter beyond a doubt. It recalled to my mind how once, long before, when Aimee (Mr. Arthur Colman's guide), on being questioned as to her occupation in the spirit spheres, had said she was a little nurse-maid, and that Florence was one too, my daughter had added, Yes! I'm Mamma's nurse-maid. I have enough to do to look after her babies.


From the book "There Is No Death" of Florence Marryat: the materialized Katie King

From the book There Is No Death  Florence Marryat
Her experiences with the materialized Katie King made famous by Sir William Crookes investigations


In writing of my own mediumship, or the mediumship of any other person, I wish it particularly to be understood that I do not intend my narrative to be, by any means, an account of all séances held under that control (for were I to include everything that I have seen and heard during my researches into Spiritualism, this volume would swell to unconscionable dimensions), but only of certain events which I believe to be remarkable, and not enjoyed by every one in like measure. Most people have read of the ordinary phenomena that take place at such meetings. My readers, therefore, will find no description here of marvels which-whether true or false-can be accounted for upon natural grounds. Miss Florence Cook, now Mrs. Elgie Comer, is one of the media who have been most talked of and written about. Mr. Alfred Crookes took an immense interest in her, and published a long account of his investigation of Spiritualism under her mediumship. Mr. Henry Dunphy, of the Morning Post, wrote a series of papers for London Society (of which magazine I was then the editor), describing her powers, and the proof she gave of them.

The first time I ever met Florence Cook was in his private house, when my little daughter appeared through her (vide The Story of my Spirit Child). On that occasion, as we were sitting at supper after the séances—a party of perhaps thirty people—the whole dinner table, with everything upon it, rose bodily in the air to a level with our knees, and the dishes and glasses swayed about in a perilous manner, without, however, coming to any permanent harm. 

I was so much astonished at, and interested by, what I saw that evening, that I became most anxious to make the personal acquaintance of Miss Cook. She was the medium for the celebrated spirit, Katie King, of whom so much has been believed and disbelieved, and the séances she gave at her parents house in Hackney for the purpose of seeing this figure alone used to be crowded by the cleverest and most scientific men of the day, Sergeants Cox and Ballantyne, Mr. S. C. Hall, Mr. Alfred Crookes, and many others, being on terms of the greatest intimacy with her. Mr. William Harrison, of the Spiritualist paper, was the one to procure me an introduction to the family and an entrance to the séances, for which I shall always feel grateful to him.

For the benefit of the initiated, let me begin by telling who Katie King was supposed to be. Her account of herself was that her name was Annie Owens Morgan ; that she was the daughter of Sir Henry Morgan, a famous buccaneer who lived about the time of the Commonwealth, and suffered death upon the high seas, being, in fact, a pirate; that she herself was about twelve years old when Charles the First was beheaded; that she married and had two little children; that she committed more crimes than we should like to hear of, having murdered men with her own hands, but yet died quite young, at about two or three and twenty. To all questions concerning the reason of her reappearance on earth, she returned but one answer, that it was part of the work given her to do to convince the world of the truth of Spiritualism. This was the information I received from her own lips.

She had appeared to the Cooks some years before I saw her, and had become so much one of the family as to walk about the house at all times without alarming the inmates. She often materialized and got into bed with her medium at night, much to Florrie's annoyance; and after Miss Cook's marriage to Captain Comer, he told me himself that he used to feel at first as if he had married two women, and was not quite sure which was his wife of the two. 

The order of these séances was always the same. Miss Cook retired to a back room, divided from the audience by a thin damask curtain, and presently the form of Katie King would appear dressed in white, and walk out amongst the sitters in gaslight, and talk like one of themselves. Florence Cook (as I mentioned before) is a very small, slight brunette, with dark eyes and dark curly hair and a delicate aquiline nose. Sometimes Katie resembled her exactly; at others, she was totally different. Sometimes, too, she measured the same height as her medium; at others, she was much taller. I have a large photograph of Katie taken under limelight. In it she appears as the double of Florrie Cook, yet Florrie was looking on whilst the picture was taken. I have sat for her several times with Mr. Crookes, and seen the tests applied which are mentioned in his book on the subject. I have seen Florrie's dark curls nailed down to the floor, outside the curtain, in view of the audience, whilst Katie walked about and talked with us. I have seen Florrie placed on the scale of a weighing machine constructed by Mr. Crookes for the purpose, behind the curtain, whilst the balance remained in sight. I have seen under these circumstances that the medium weighed eight stone in a normal condition, and that as soon as the materialized form was fully developed, the balance ran up to four stone. 

Moreover, I have seen both Florrie and Katie together on several occasions, so I can have no doubt on the subject that they were two separate creatures. Still, I can quite understand how difficult it must have been for strangers to compare the strong likeness that existed between the medium and the spirit, without suspecting they were one and the same person.

One evening Katie walked out and perched herself upon my knee. I could feel she was a much plumper and heavier woman than Miss Cook, but she wonderfully resembled her in features, and I told her so. Katie did not seem to consider it a compliment. She shrugged her shoulders, made a grimace, and said, I know I am; I can't help it, but I was much prettier than that in earth life. You shall see, some day-you shall see. After she had finally retired that evening, she put her head out at the curtain again and said, with the strong lisp she always had, I want Mrs. Ross-Church. I rose and went to her, when she pulled me inside the curtain, when I found it was so thin that the gas shining through it from the outer room made everything in the inner quite visible. Katie  pulled my dress impatiently and said, Sit down on the ground, which I did. She then seated herself in my lap, saying, And now, dear, we'll have a good confab like women do on earth. Florence Cook, meanwhile, was lying on a mattress on the ground close to us, wrapped in a deep trance. Katie  seemed very anxious I should ascertain beyond doubt that it was Florrie. Touch her,  she said, take her hand, pull her curls. Do you see that it is Florrie lying there? When I assured her I was quite satisfied there was no doubt of it, the spirit said, Then look round this way, and see what I was like in earth life. I turned to the form in my arms, and what was my amazement to see a woman fair as the day, with large grey or blue eyes, a white skin, and a profusion of golden red hair. Katie  enjoyed my surprise, and asked me, Ain't I prettier than Florrie now?

She then rose and procured a pair of scissors from the table, and cut off a lock of her own hair and a lock of the medium's, and gave them to me. I have them safe to this day. One is almost black, soft and silky; the other a coarse golden red. After she had made me this present, Katie  said, Go back now, but don't tell the others tonight, or they'll all want to see me.

On another very warm evening she sat on my lap amongst the audience, and I felt perspiration on her arm. This surprised me; and I asked her if, for the time being, she had the veins, nerves, and secretions of a human being; if blood ran through her body, and she had a heart and lungs. Her answer was, I have everything that Florrie has. On that occasion also she called me after her into the back room, and dropping her white garment, stood perfectly naked before me.

 Now, she said, you can see that I am a woman. Which indeed she was, and a most beautifully-made woman too; and I examined her well, whilst Miss Cook lay beside us on the floor. Instead of dismissing me this time, Katie  told me to sit down by the medium, and, having brought me a candle and matches, said I was to strike a light as soon as she gave three knocks, as Florrie would be hysterical on awaking, and need my assistance. She then knelt down and kissed me, and I saw she was still naked. Where is your dress, Katie? I asked. Oh, that's gone, she said; I've sent it on before me. As she spoke thus, kneeling beside me, she rapped three times on the floor. I struck the match almost simultaneously with the signal; but as it flared up, Katie King was gone like a flash of lightning, and Miss Cook, as she had predicted, awoke with a burst of frightened tears, and had to be soothed into tranquility again. 

On another occasion Katie King was asked at the beginning of the séance, by one of the company, to say why she could not appear in the light of more than one gas-burner. The question seemed to irritate her, and she replied, I have told you all, several times before, that I can't stay under a searching light. I don't know why; but I can't, and if you want to prove the truth of what I say, turn up all the gas and see what will happen to me. Only remember, if you do there will be no séance tonight, because I shan't be able to come back again, and you must take your choice. Upon this assertion it was put to the vote if the trial should be made or not, and all present (Mr. S. C. Hall was one of the party) decided we would prefer to witness the effect of a full glare of gas upon the materialized form than to have the usual sitting, as it would settle the vexed question of the necessity of gloom (if not darkness) for a materializing séance for ever. We accordingly told Katie of our choice, and she consented to stand the test, though she said afterwards we had put her to much pain.

She took up her station against the drawing-room wall, with her arms extended as if she were crucified. Then the gas-burners were turned on to their full extent in a room about sixteen feet square. The effect upon Katie King was marvelous. She looked like herself for the space of a second only, then she began gradually to melt away. I can compare the dematerialization of her form to nothing but a wax doll melting before a hot fire. First, the features became blurred and indistinct; they seemed to run into each other. The eyes sunk in the sockets, the nose disappeared, the frontal bone fell in. Next the limbs appeared to give way under her, and she sank lower and lower on the carpet like a crumbling edifice. At last there was nothing but her head left above the ground-then a heap of white drapery only, which disappeared with a whisk, as if a hand had pulled it after her- and we were left staring by the light of three gasburners at the spot on which Katie King had stood. 

She was always attired in white drapery, but it varied in quality. Sometimes it looked like long cloth; at others like mull muslin or jaconet; oftenest it was a species of thick cotton net. The sitters were much given to asking Katie for a piece of her dress to keep as a souvenir of their visit, and when they received it, would seal it up carefully in an envelope and convey it home; and were much surprised on examining their treasure to find it had totally disappeared. Katie used to say that nothing material about her could be made to last without taking away some of the medium's vitality, and weakening her in consequence. 

One evening, when she was cutting off pieces of her dress rather lavishly, I remarked that it would require a great deal of mending. She answered, I'll show you how we mend dresses in the Spirit World. She then doubled up the front breadth of her garment a dozen times, and cut two or three round holes in it. I am sure when she let it fall again there must have been thirty of forty holes, and Katie said, Isn't that a nice cullender? She then commenced, whilst we stood close to her, to shake her skirt gently about, and in a minute it was as perfect as before, without a hole to be seen. When we expressed our astonishment, she told me to take the scissors and cut off her hair. She had a profusion of ringlets falling to her waist that night. I obeyed religiously, hacking the hair wherever I could, whilst she kept on saying, Cut more! cut more! not for yourself, you know, because you can't take it away. So I cut off curl after curl, and as fast as they fell to the ground, the hair grew again upon her head. When I had finished, Katie asked me to examine her hair, to see if I could detect any place where I had used the scissors, and I did so without any effect. Neither was the severed hair to be found. It had vanished out of sight.

Katie was photographed many times, by limelight, by Mr. Alfred Crookes, but her portraits are all too much like her medium to be of any value in establishing her claim to a separate identity. She had always stated she should not appear on this earth after the month of May, 1874; and accordingly, on the 21st, she assembled her friends to say Good-bye to them, and I was one of the number. Katie had asked Miss Cook to provide her with a large basket of flowers and ribbons, and she sat on the floor and made up a bouquet for each of her friends to keep in remembrance of her. Mine, which consists of lilies of the valley and pink geranium, looks almost as fresh to-day, nearly seventeen years after, as it did when she gave it to me. It was accompanied by the following words, which Katie wrote on a sheet of paper in my presence: 

From Annie Owen de Morgan (alias 'Katie') to her friend Florence Marryat Ross-Church.
 With love.  Pensez a Moi. May 21st 1874.

The farewell scene was as pathetic as if we had been parting with a dear companion by death. Katie herself did not seem to know how to go. She returned again and again to have a last look, especially at Mr. Alfred Crookes, who was as attached to her as she was to him. Her prediction has been fulfilled, and from that day, Florence Cook never saw her again nor heard anything about her.

Her place was shortly filled by another influence, who called herself Marie and who danced and sung in a truly professional style, and certainly as Miss Cook never either danced or sung. I should not have mentioned the appearance of this spirit, whom I only saw once or twice, excepting for the following reason. On one occasion Miss Cook (then Mrs. Comer) was giving a public séance at the rooms of the National British Association of Spiritualists, at which a certain Sir George Sitwell, a very young man, was present, and at which he declared that the medium cheated, and that the spirit Marie was herself, dressed up to deceive the audience. Letters appeared in the newspapers about it, and the whole press came down upon Spiritualists, and declared them all to be either knaves or fools. 

These notices were published on the morning of a day on which Miss Cook was engaged to give another public séance, at which I was present. She was naturally very much cut up about them. Her reputation was at stake; her honour had been called into question, and being a proud girl, she resented it bitterly. Her present audience was chiefly composed of friends; but, before commencing, she put it to us whether, whilst under such a stigma, she had better not sit at all. We, who had all tested her and believed in her, were unanimous in repudiating the vile charges brought against her, and in begging the seance should proceed. Florrie refused, however, to sit unless some one remained in the cabinet with her, and she chose me for the purpose. I was therefore tied to her securely with a stout rope, and we remained thus fastened together for the whole of the evening. Under which conditions Marie appeared and sung and danced outside the cabinet, just as she had done to Sir George Sitwell whilst her medium remained tied to me. So much for men who decide a matter before they have sifted it to the bottom.

Mrs. Elgie Comer has long since given up mediumship either private or public, and lives deep down in the heart of Wales, where the babble and scandal of the city affect her no longer. But she told me, only last year, that she would not pass through the suffering she had endured on account of Spiritualism again for all the good this world could give her. 



From "Where Two Worlds Meet" - Arthur Findlay : Scientific Indifference

From "Where Two Worlds Meet" - Arthur Findlay

Scientific Indifference

We have now reached about half-way through this book, and I now wish to discuss a subject which some day will puzzle our descendants, namely the apathy of official science to all matters concerning psychic phenomena. Since the discovery in the 17th century that the Universe is governed by natural law, and not by the gods, science has become ever more materialistic in its outlook, to reach its climax in our own time when the British Broadcasting Corporation broadcast in 1950 a series of scientific talks which made man out to be a highly specialised robot, his thoughts and memory being no more than electrical impulses. 

This pitiful attempt to turn man into a machine, to which no Spiritualist was allowed to reply, and to which the Church was silent because of ignorance, had doubtless a depressing effect on the majority of listeners, who knew as little about man's psychic makeup as did the professors of anthropology and biology who gave these talks. This state of ignorance comes from science ignoring the basis on which it rests, namely observation and experience of all things in nature, and being turned aside from the search for truth by prejudice. Unfortunately the discovery of natural law, and the dethronement of the rule of the gods, ushered in the Materialistic Age, and the Universe has come to be looked upon as only a machine, and life as like a flame which is extinguished at death.

Materialism has an answer for everything. Nothing exists apart from physical matter which is all and in all, omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. Physical matter is the Universe, and nothing exists beyond what our senses can perceive. Ernest Haeckel, in the 19th century, pursued the task begun by Darwin, and propounded his conclusion that the whole cosmos could be expressed in one word: "Monism", and that man himself is no more than a material unit.

Consequently it is a delusion to believe that the soul in man is a separate entity which dwells for a time in the mortal frame, leaving it, and living on after death.
With this background we may not be astonished that the professors of Glasgow University, made famous throughout Europe in the 18th century by the brilliance of Professor Adam Smith, forgot the basis of observation and experience on which science rests, and maintained, without examination, their attitude that everything to do with psychic phenomena is unworthy of investigation. For fifty years they ignored the phenomena of the Sloan Circle which took place within a mile of their imposing edifice.

Consequently, only one professor was interested enough to attend a lecture I gave in the lecture-room of the Glasgow Philosophical Society in 1923, my subject being the phenomena that occurred at Sloan's séances. Only one became a member of the Glasgow Society for Psychical Research when I founded the society in 1923.

Moreover, when Sir William Barrett, F.R.S., a founder of the London Society for Psychical Research, came to Glasgow that year, at the request of the Glasgow Society for Psychical Research, to address a large audience in the St. Andrew's Hall, at which I presided, the University life of Glasgow was conspicuous by its absence, though all its leaders were invited.

The faculties of our other Universities have been likewise blameworthy, and my book, On the Edge of the Etheric, which has circulated amongst them, has been ignored. No chair of Psychic Science has come into being in any British University, and the British scientific journals, devoted to the different branches of science, seldom, if ever, mention the subject, it being taboo and not a matter for scientific discussion. Thousands of books, some by well known men, have been published on the subject over the past hundred years, millions of different séances have been held throughout the world, at which supernormal phenomena have occurred, and yet official science still maintains its indifference to a subject which upsets its materialistic conception of the Universe.

That once-enlightened body of opinion, the Society for Psychical Research, when founded in 1882, had an enthusiastic leadership, and its official publication contained a great quantity of first-class matter, the result of careful research. Unfortunately, its founders were not followed by men of the same calibre, and, when I became a member, some time about 1920, its Council had become static, the consequence being that the Society lost one of its greatest opportunities to further enlighten its members.

Mr. Sloan, early in 1925, came to London on a visit, and Sir William Barrett and I arranged a number of séances at which our friends attended. Sir William was highly pleased with what took place, and I made the proposal to him, to put before the Society for Psychical Research, that I would pay all Sloan's expenses in London if he would stay on and give the Society a series of sittings. Sloan agreed to do so, and Sir William went to the next Council meeting and put forward my offer.

Much to his disappointment the Council turned it down with neither an explanation nor an expression of thanks, and, when he told me of its decision not to investigate Sloan's mediumship, he was not only disappointed but angry. That ended the matter and nothing was ever done. My reaction was to resign my membership of the Society, and, since then, I have looked on, during these intervening years, with regret that its leaders have shown such a lack of enterprise, confining themselves too much to only one narrow branch of research, and are so far removed from the true scientific outlook which animated its founders.

What Spiritualism stands for will not come to the people by the enterprise of our Universities. Spiritualism some day will become generally accepted as true, not because of what official science discovers, but because the people, by their séances, and by their reading, are educating themselves in one of the world's greatest discoveries, namely, that we have found our dead, have talked to them and found them to be very much alive and like ourselves. Mediumship, and those who write books about it, are educating a wondering incredulous public, and Spiritualists are carrying their discovery throughout the world, far and wide, amongst their fellow men and women.

They only have adopted the true scientific attitude, to observe, to inquire and to investigate, without preconceived notions as to what should or should not be. They have laid down a firm foundation of scientific facts, but future historians, if they keep to what is true, will give no credit to official science. Instead, its obstructionist negative attitude towards this all embracing subject will be universally condemned.

The scientists' excuse is that Spiritualists are dealing with phenomena which cannot be repeated at will, that what they—the scientists—are interested in is something which they can prove does happen at any time of the day or night. That attitude is stupid as, to be truly scientific, we must take things as Nature gives them to us and adapt our experiments accordingly. What happened at the Sloan Circle, and has happened elsewhere on many occasions, can, however, be repeated. For fifty years Glasgow University could have had one or more representatives taking a verbatim record of what occurred at the Sloan Circle and making a careful check on everything said or done. They could have filled a hundred volumes as large as this book with their reports, and given to the world much scientific knowledge which the etheric scientists, including the doctors, would have been only too glad to give them.

That is what I advised our scientists to do thirty years ago, particularly the psychologists, the biologists and the anthropologists of Glasgow University, because they had one of the world's greatest Direct Voice mediums on their doorstep. It could all have been done free and for nothing, because Sloan never wished to earn money from his wonderful gift. They would have discovered ectoplasm, something that really exists but is unknown to official science which is as ignorant about this amazing stuff as a new-born baby. They could have taken hundreds of photographs of ectoplasm by infra-red light, and seen it billowing out of Sloan's mouth, and from his other orifices, like a squirming snake. They could have analysed it, besides doing many other things which would occur to intelligent people, but they did nothing and remained encamped on Gilmorehill, wilfully ignorant of the wonderful events which were taking place in a certain house in the valley below them.


"Voices of the Passed" - Major J.H. Webster , CHAPTER IX, THE DEAD SPEAK

From the book "Voices of the Passed" - Major J.H. Webster

WHAT is known among psychic phenomena as direct voice is, in my opinion, the most convincing. I will begin this chapter with an extract from an article of mine on the subject which was published in Light of March 18th, 1943:

I sit in my darkroom, which is not used for photographic purposes, but for the development of the voices of the "passed." With me are three other people; and one of them, my wife, is the medium. No special effort is required on her part beyond sitting in an ordinary chair in a normal state of consciousness and chatting (sometimes singing) with the other three occupants of the room.

Nevertheless, if she were not present, no phenomena would occur. So, whatever part she plays in producing the phenomena, it is one of which she is quite unconscious. Obviously, therefore; she is used in some way or other by forces or intelligences whose power to manifest is dependent on something she possesses which we do not. This is an important point to bear in mind when the phenomena are ascribed to the collective power of mind over matter on the part of the sitters.
An elongated megaphone, made of aluminium, stands upright on a table. On it are four spots of luminous paint which shine forth like cats' eyes in the dark. Vibrations constitute an important part of the conditions required. These have to be raised to a level above normal, and I have found an electric gramophone admirable for this purpose, as it usually embodies a handy means of controlling the volume of sound; and provided suitable records are available, the music furnishes a pleasant accompaniment to the periods of waiting for the voices. An extended volume control is attached to my chair. This is manipulated by my left, hand, while my right is available for recording what the voices say on a tear-off pad affixed to the lid of the gramophone. There is no hymn singing. If we do sing, we choose bright and cheerful tunes—the same cheerful spirit governing our choice of gramophone records.

Some few minutes after commencing the sitting the megaphone wobbles on the table, sometimes beating time to the music. We know then that our invisible collaborators are getting to work, and the megaphone soon rises from the table. Sometimes it drops to the floor once or twice, being replaced by the member of the circle nearest to it. Then it becomes more stabilised in its movements and floats round the circle, bowing, as it were, to each sitter in turn, and frequently touching us lightly, but unmistakably, on our hands, knees and faces.

All this time the music continues, dimmed or faded out altogether as required by means of the control on my chair (a variable resistance of 50,000 Ohms). Usually the first voice is that of Leslie, my son, who left this world in 1932 at the age of twenty-four. He performs the duties of master of ceremonies, so to speak, and supplies information as to the amount of power available.

Remember, there is complete darkness, except for the spots of luminous paint, which enable the sitters to follow the movements of the megaphone. The spots do not radiate sufficient light to render anything else in the room visible.

That we are seen by the unseen intelligences present cannot be doubted, for the touches of the megaphone are deliberate and exact; there is no fumbling, and the delicacy of the touches indicate the precision with which they are made. On one occasion recently the megaphone floated over to me direct from the table and touched my lips, while from it issued the sound of a kiss; and this was immediately followed by a message from my mother.

Imagine for a moment what might happen if the medium, or one of the other sitters, tried to bring about this effect fraudulently. Bear in mind that he or she would be unable to see me, let alone find my face and the exact location of my lips. The same applies to the touch of a materialised hand, which I have also experienced more than once. The little finger of my left hand has been gripped and pulled gently by what felt like a thumb and forefinger.

As to the voices—well, there they are; they come from the megaphone, and I know that they are not the voices of any of the four people present in the flesh. They are not loud, and sometimes it is difficult to catch the words; an exaggerated whisper is the nearest I can get to describing them—faint when the power is weak, but quite strong and easily audible when conditions are at their best. The messages vary in length, again according to the power available. The communicator's main difficulty seems to be to keep the megaphone up long enough to complete the message; and once the megaphone falls some little time is required to work up sufficient power for further speech.

And that brings me to a point where some difficulty usually arises. One can understand that the etheric larynx, lips, tongue, teeth, and so on, of the communicator can become partially "physicalised" by the use of ectoplasm drawn from the medium and the sitters, thus making articulation possible; and, of course, the articulation is amplified by the megaphone. But whence the voices? To whom do they belong?

As in the case of trance control, we still have to rely on the contents of the messages themselves for evidence of identity. The voice—at any rate, so far as my own experience goes—is not itself recognisable as belonging to any particular person.

Now the sceptic tells us that by some trick of that apparently artful, deceitful and extremely clever subconscious mind, either the medium and/or the sitters themselves unconsciously produce the voices and make them say what the sitters expect or want them to say. This explanation, if a true one, must also account for the lifting of the megaphone, together with its movements about the room, to say nothing of the touches and the pulling of my little finger.

A certain type of sceptic (usually a man with theological prejudices), having been floored from his standpoint of fraudulent mediumship, admits the spirit agency in these manifestations, but attributes them to the operations of evil spirits, or sub-human elementals, who, either for satanic purposes or for their own amusement, impersonate prominent personalities, and even departed relatives and friends.

In my opinion, this is a more feasible theory than the first, but it weakens, or even destroys its own hypothesis.
It must be admitted that we ourselves, and perhaps some of our relatives and friends who have passed on, are far from being saintly spirits. Death does not change ordinary mortals into angels of light. It must also be conceded that if evil spirits can indulge in such entertainment, they have not only survived death, but have some relaxation from eternal punishment. It also follows that if evil spirits can speak through a megaphone, so can good ones, should they wish to do so.

So where does the sceptic draw the line when it conies to speaking through a megaphone at a direct voice sitting? Personally, I am fully prepared to admit that seldom, if ever, is it likely that a saintly soul who has progressed to the higher spheres of the Beyond will manifest at such a sitting. We do not expect or wish him to do so; and he has probably been so long away from earth conditions that it would be impossible for him to participate in physical phenomena of this nature. The souls we desire to contact in this way are spirits like ourselves.

As for impersonation, maybe some mischievous playboys do sometimes pull our legs—and perhaps our little fingers. But the point is that if an evilly disposed person can speak from the Beyond in this way, so can one who is not so disposed. Whether or not they do speak to us can be, and is frequently, determined by the contents of the messages received. As in the case of other forms of communication, evidence of identity alone decides the issue.

I make no claim that evidence of identity, sufficiently watertight to constitute indubitable proof of survival, has yet been communicated at any of my sittings. But it may be reasonably argued that the messages not coming through the mouth of the medium, but through a megaphone, out of the larger end of which issues the spoken word, and at the smaller end of which there is nothing entirely physical, cannot be influenced by the mind of either medium or sitter. I do not say that it is not possible, for allowance must be made for the possibilities, however remote, of the unplumbed depths of the human mind. I merely assert that from what we know at present of our mental capacities such a possibility—or, to be more precise, probability—cannot be reasonably contended.

In this connection, however, I would refer the reader to the theory of divine limitations outlined in my article in Light of December 10th last; and ask him to bear in mind that my object is to establish the case, not for absolute and scientific proof, but for a reasonable belief in communication with the beyond. And I will conclude this article by giving a very simple example from the many communications received through the megaphone, establishing firm ground for such reasonable belief.

One member of the circle, whose name is Shirley, was addressed by a voice as Cissie. There was no need for the communicator to reveal her identity further than that, because the discarnate speaker was the only person who ever used that name for her friend, Shirley.
Now, if Shirley's own mind unconsciously projected that name into the megaphone, from which it was thrown back at her (an absurd notion, but one nevertheless seriously entertained by the sceptic), together with an intimate and characteristic message from the one person who ever addressed her as Cissie, or if an evil spirit had not only discovered by some unknown means this name, but so effectively simulated certain characteristics of the friend as to deceive Shirley, then human nature, human mentality, human or inhuman devilry and the whole bag of tricks of life, either here or hereafter, are so illogical and incomprehensible as to be unworthy of a single thought.

I have heard what claim to be the voices of my mother, my son, my brother, some of my wife's relatives, to mention only a few; I have heard issuing from the mouth of that megaphone voices speaking to many friends of mine who have avowed their conviction that the voices were what they purported to be, viz: utterances made by their friends and relatives who were dead and buried. The resurrection of the dead has been demonstrated to people assembled from time to time in a little upper room, of my house, which my wife, through whose instrumentality this "miracle" has happened, calls her sanctuary. Sanctuary indeed it has been to many sorrowing souls who are now comforted in the belief that their loved ones live, are happy, and are "preparing a place for them."

Have they been hoaxed? If so, by whom, by what? Is there some as yet unknown diabolical human agency through which such cruel deceit is possible?

These "dead" ones say they live. They still appear to possess the same characteristics as they evinced when in the flesh; and are only too ready, when the opportunity occurs, to demonstrate their sense of humour, despite the difficulties associated with communication from the Beyond. This is shown not only in the messages received, but in the peculiar behaviour of the megaphone itself, which frequently performs remarkable evolutions in mid air, dances on the table in time to the music, bows in salutation before each sitter, and indulges in such antics as passing beneath the table and round its legs without touching them.

On one occasion we were puzzled by seeing the megaphone turn round and round on its longer axis in a sort of rolling motion. Then it suddenly dawned on us that its movements were responding to the song being played on the gramophone at the time, "Let the Great Big World Keep Turning." As soon as we acknowledged the joke the rolling stopped.

When the megaphone drops to the floor, as it does sometimes on completion of the message (or in the middle of it, if the power momentarily fails), it has to be picked up and placed on the table. Once when doing this I found the table was rocking violently, and with such force that even by exerting all my strength in pressing the megaphone against the table-top I was unable to keep it still. This went on for several seconds, until I acquainted the other sitters with my difficulty, when the rocking ceased abruptly, the force opposing my efforts being switched off, as it were, immediately I explained what was happening.

Now there was, I think, a subtle intention behind this particular manifestation. If this phenomenon can be accounted for by the power of mind over matter, which in some unknown way was used by me and/or the other sitters, whence came the will and the power? My will and strength were opposing it; the other sitters were unaware of it until I told them. If it is attributable to the unconscious mind, surely the mind must be not only unconscious but insane, to bring about such an effect.
No, the phenomenon demands a much more sensible explanation; and that is supplied by the assumption of the operation of some unseen intelligence; and as the same intelligence produces a voice claiming to be that of a discarnate human being, whose utterances indicate evidence of identity, as they frequently do, then it is logical to believe that the owner of the voice has not only survived death but is able to manifest his presence in this and various other ways. And I maintain that this particular combination of table movement and voice production, with its attendant evidence of identity, constitutes one of the strongest reasons for belief in survival and communication. In short, I feel justified in regarding it as a fairly big piece of "gold in the dross."

The sanctuary is usually decorated with fresh flowers, two or three loose ones being placed on the table with the megaphone. During a sitting the latter are frequently placed in our laps or in our hands by our invisible visitors, who seem to delight in springing surprises upon us. I have had a tug-of-war with the long stem of a sweet pea, the flower end having been neatly and accurately placed between my finger and thumb (and this takes place in complete darkness, mark you), while someone or something at the other end has pulled against me. The switching on of the light at the conclusion of one sitting disclosed a sweet pea threaded through the medium's hair. But the most outstanding surprise with flowers was a demonstration displaying not only the ability to move objects about but to pay pretty and affectionate compliments.

When the sitting commenced two pink roses were on the table; on a pedestal in one corner of the room, well away from the table, stood a bowl of roses of various colours. Present at the sitting were three ladies (including the medium) and two men. At the end of the proceedings on this occasion it was found that one of the pink roses had been deposited on the lap of each of two female members of the circle, while the medium herself was not forgotten, for on her lap was found a red rose, taken from the bowl on the corner pedestal. But that was not all. The pink roses matched the dresses of the two ladies, while the medium's frock was red. So each was presented with a rose whose colour corresponded with her garment, the red rose having been deliberately (or was it chance?) selected from a bowl containing pink, white, red and yellow roses.

A noticeable feature of this pretty incident was that the one red rose was extracted from the bowl without leaving any trace of the remainder having been disturbed. If the sceptic is inclined to regard this feat as a fraudulent act, let him try it—in the dark! He must rise from his chair, locate the bowl, then the red rose, and, without fumbling or disturbing its fellows, take it out, return to his chair, which he cannot see, and place the flower in the medium's lap. He must do all this without his movements being made known to others present.


Materialization Mediumship

 From the book "Genuine Mediumship or The Invisible Powers" - Swami Bhakta Vishita
Materialization Mediumship

One of the rarest, and at the same time the most eagerly sought after phase of mediumship, is that known as "materialization mediumship." In this phase of mediumship the discarnate spirit is able to draw upon the vital forces of the medium, and those present at the seance, to such effect that it may clothe itself with a tenuous, subtle form of matter, and then exhibit itself to the sitters in the same form and appearance that it had previously presented in its earth life. Many of the most remarkable testimonies to the truth and validity of spiritualism have been obtained through this phase of mediumship, and it is the aim of all investigators to witness, and of most mediums to be the channel of the production of, this remarkable phase of mediumistic phenomena.
In almost all instances of materialization phenomena in the record of modern spiritualism we find that a cabinet was employed. There are two reasons advanced for the necessity of the cabinet in this phase of mediumistic phenomena. The first of said reasons is that in many cases darkness has been found necessary for the preliminary work of the materialization, although absolute darkness is not necessary in the general room in which the materialized spirit forms afterward appear. The second of, the said reasons is that there seems to be a psychic atmosphere created by the blending of the spirit forces with those of the medium, which atmosphere must be kept apart from and unmixed with the auras of the members of the outside circle or the general visitors at the seance.

Why the Cabinet Is Necessary

Just what is the technical reason for this necessity is a source of argument and dispute among the different authorities on the subject, and it may be said that the matter is not as yet definitely settled. But whatever may be such technical explanation, the fact remains that the seclusion of the medium has been found almost absolutely necessary for the production of the phenomena of spirit materialization. The few exceptions noted in the history of modern spiritualism only go to establish the general rule. For the purpose of a general study of the subject, it may be accepted as a general fact that the production of spirit materialization has as one of its necessary conditions the presence and use of a dark cabinet in which the medium is secluded from the circle or assemblage of persons attending the seance.

How to Make the Spirit Cabinet

One of the best kind of cabinets for this purpose is a small alcove room, or other small room adjoining the room in which the visitors sit at the seance. A large closet will also answer the purpose very well, in fact many mediums prefer the closet to any other form of cabinet. If neither small room or closet is available, then it becomes necessary to build or erect a cabinet for the medium. One of the simplest and least expensive methods of building or erecting a cabinet for the medium is as follows: Take a large piece of dark cloth, cotton or woolen, or else a large shawl, and fasten it by stout twine or cord across a corner of the room. It will be better if the curtain is made in two pieces, so as to allow it to part in the middle for the purpose of the entry and exit of the medium, and for the purpose of allowing the materialized spirit form to show itself to the circle. Its not necessary that all light be excluded from the cabinet, and therefore it need cause no worriment if a little light filters in over the top of the curtain; but the lights in the main room should be kept burning "dim and low," not only for the purpose of aiding in the actual work or materialization, but also in order to preserve the proper conditions when the materialized spirit presents itself between the opened curtains.

How to Use the Spirit Cabinet

When the cabinet is properly arranged the medium enters it and sits down on a chair provided for that purpose. He should not be disturbed thereafter, but should be encouraged and aided in his work by the maintenance of a quite, reverent mental attitude on the part of the members of the circle. It will be found helpful if a few hymns are sung while waiting for manifestations from the cabinet. The best way to encourage materialization at a regular circle is for gradual steps to be taken leading up to this high phase of phenomena. For example, the circle should sit in the ordinary way at its regular meetings, and devote itself to the production of the lesser forms of phenomena. Then, before adjournment, the medium may go into the cabinet while the circle sits for materialization phenomena. This practice may be made to form a regular part of the proceedings of the circle. But the circle must be very patient concerning the production of this class of phenomena, for the necessary conditions are very difficult to develop, even when aided by the most powerful spirits. Many sittings may be required before even the slightest sign of materialization is obtained—but the final result will repay much waiting and watching, much patience and much perseverance. But sooner or later the phenomena will come if the proper conditions are provided for them.

Spirit Phosphorescence

The first evidence of the presence and activity of the spirit forces striving to produce the phenomena and materialization will probably be the appearance of peculiar hazy phosphorescent lights playing in front of the curtain forming the front of the cabinet. These lights will consist of small globules or balls of phosphorescent light that will dance about like the familiar will-o'- the-wisp seen over swamps and in damp, woody places. These lights will flit here and there, will alternately appear and disappear. Sometimes they will appear as if a multitude of fire-flies were clustered in front of the curtain. When these fire balls appear the circle may know that it is well on the way to perfect materializations.

Appearance of Materialized Substance

As the power increases, and the conditions become stabilized and perfected, the manifestations will become more pronounced. It often happens that cloudy nebulous bodies of psychic substance are formed and float around in front of the cabinet, like clouds of steam or vapor illumined by a dim phosphorescent light. Sometimes attempts will seem to have been made to form these clouds into the semblance of the human body, and often these bodies are more or less incomplete, as for instance the arms may be missing, or else there may be dark holes where the eyes, nose, and mouth should be. It may be stated here that the sitters should not be frightened by these sights, nor should mental agitation be permitted to manifest too strongly, as such conditions act to retard further developments. Sometimes perfect hands and arms materialize, but apparently not attached to a body. These hands may float out over the circle, and may touch the members thereof. In rare cases these hands take articles handed them by members of the circle, which articles are then "dematerialized" and vanish from sight, afterward appearing in other parts of the house. Large articles of furniture have been known to be dematerialized in this way.

Materialized Spirit Forms

Later on, the nebulous spirit forms will take on more definite lines and form, and will become more plainly visible, and will also assume a far more "solid" appearance. When the phenomena reaches its highest phases, the materialized spirit forms can be plainly seen and actually recognized by their friends in earth life. In some cases they will actually leave the front of the curtain and will walk down among the sitters, shaking hands with them, touching them on the cheek, or even embracing some loved one. In rare cases these materialized forms are able to converse with the sitters in the circle, just as plainly as when in earth life.

Scientific Proof of Materialization

It is not the purpose of this book to prove the existence of mediumistic phenomena—rather it points out the means and methods whereby the student may obtain such proof for himself or herself. But it may be suggested here that the sceptic may find an abundance of proof of the genuineness of materialization phenomena in the records and reports made by eminent scientists, statesmen, and others. Particularly, the report of Sir William Crookes, the eminent English scientist, will furnish such proof to the inquirer who demands "scientific proof" before he will believe anything out of the usual. Sir William Crookes has given convincing evidence of the genuineness of spirit materialization, even going so far to offer records of the weight of materialized spirits, and their photographs taken by him—in some instances the photographs showing the forms of both medium and spirit materialization.

How to Conduct a Materializing Seance

In sitting for materialization, the circle should maintain the same general demeanor that it observes at other times. Silence or dignified conversation may be indulged in, but joking or levity should be forbidden. Hands should be held, and reverent singing indulged in. It should be remembered that this phase of mediumistic phenomena is not something apart and distinct from the lesser phases which have been described in detail in this book. On the contrary, it is simply a matter of degree, and the same general principles underlie all phases of mediumistic phenomena. Therefore, it is not necessary to repeat the instructions regarding the conduct of the circle, or the rules for the development of the medium, Read the earlier chapters for the same, which are equally applicable in this place as in the places in which they originally appeared.

Trumpet Mediumship

In what is known as "trumpet mediumship," the sound of the voice of the communicating spirit is increased in power by the use of a trumpet shaped arrangement of paper, card-board, tin, or aluminum. There is no particular virtue in the material used, and anyone may make a serviceable trumpet out of heavy paper or thin card-board. The principle of the use of the "spirit trumpet" is precisely that of the well-known megaphone, i. e., it magnifies the sound, and increases its carrying power. A spirit speaking in the faintest whisper through the trumpet is enabled to have its voice heard plainly by those present in the circle, where otherwise nothing would be heard. Often the spirit force is so strong that it will pick up the trumpet and carry it around the circle, tapping the various members thereof, and whispering through it into the ear of some particular members. Weak spirits, therefore, who are unable to make themselves heard in the ordinary way, often employ the trumpet with effect in seances. When the trumpet is used, it should be placed on the table, awaiting the use of the spirits.

Spirit Playing on Musical Instruments, Etc

The spirit forces also sometimes will see fit to play upon musical instruments placed in the cabinet with the medium, the guitar, mandolin, concertina, accordion, etc., being the instruments preferred in such cases. Of course the sceptics will claim that the medium may play the instruments himself or herself, and thus give ground for the claim of fraud; consequently in the case of public seances, and many private ones as well, the medium will insist upon having his or her hands tied, and other precautions taken to eliminate the possibility of fraud and deception. Such precautions are in no way a reflection upon the medium, and are, in fact, demanded by many mediums as a matter of self-respect, self-protection, and the cause of truth. In many cases in which the mediums were entirely lacking in musical education, knowledge, or training, the spirits have performed skilled selections of music upon the instruments in the cabinet.

Independent Slate Writing

What is generally known as "independent slate writing" is a very interesting phase of mediumship, and one of the peculiarities thereof is that such phenomena is sometimes produced through mediums who seem to possess little or no mediumistic powers in other directions. In independent slate writing there is no employment of the hands of the medium by the spirit to form the letters, words, and sentences of the communication. On the contrary, the writing is done directly by the spirit forces, independent of the organism of the medium. Of course the psychic power of the medium and his vital energy as will is drawn upon by the spirits in producing this form of manifestation, but the medium is sometimes seated out of reach of the slates and in no case actually, touches the pencil.

The State Writing Circle

Independent slate writing is performed as follows: The circle selects two common slates, or else one folding slate. A small bit of chalk, or a tiny piece of slate pencil is placed between the two slates, the latter being then placed tightly together, and then bound with thick, strong twine—in some cases the ends of the twine are fastened with sealing wax, This trying and sealing is for the purpose of eliminating the suspicion of fraud or deceit, and for the purpose of scientifically establishing the genuineness of the phenomena. The bound slates are then placed on the table in the middle of the circle. In some cases the medium rests his hands on the slate, and in other cases he keeps his hands entirely away from them—the phenomena itself evidently being produced with equal facility in either case. A written question may either be placed inside the slate on a small bit of paper, or else sealed and placed on top of the tied slates. In some cases the scratching sound of the pencil may be heard proceeding from the tied slates, while on others no sound is heard while the writing is being done. When the slates are opened, at the end of the seance, the slates will be found to contain writing—the answer to the question, or else a general message to the circle—the writing sometimes consisting of but a word or two, while in other cases both of the inside surfaces of the slate will be found to be covered with writing. It often requires quite a number of sittings before this phase of phenomena is secured; in many cases it is never actually secured in a satisfactory form.

Spirit Paintings

There are cases of record in which crayon drawings have been produced on the slates by enclosing small bits of various colored crayons therein when the slates are tied together. Again, oil paintings have been secured on the slates, after small dabs of oil paint of various colors have been placed on the inside surface of the slates, a little linseed oil being poured on each have been secured on the slates, after small dabs of oil paint of various colors have been placed on the inside surface of the slates, a little linseed oil being poured on each.

Fraudulent Slate Writing

Slate phenomena has been brought into some degree of discredit and disrepute during the past ten years or more, by reason of the fact that a number of unscrupulous "fakers," or bogus-mediums, employed a system where this class of phenomena was counterfeited by trick methods. But, as all careful investigators of mediumistic phenomena well know, some wonderful results are still obtained, quietly and without publicity or notoriety, in many family or private circles. In this case, and in many others, the very best mediumistic phenomena is often produced in those family or private circles, where mutual sympathy, harmony, and spiritual understanding prevail, and where there is an absence of the sceptical, cavilling, negative mental attitudes, which tend to interfere with the free flow of spirit power and the degree of manifestation. The tiny flame burning on the family altars and in the private shrines serve to keep alive the Light of the Spirit, which is too often dimmed by the public glare of counterfeit and sensational exhibitions of so-called spirit power.


Rematerialization of the Soul

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).