The Mediumship of the Eddy Broters
a few feet of my nose, she exhibited the whole process of materialising fabrics, and left me in a very pleased mood, as may be imagined.
Honto was followed by old Mrs. Pritchard, who was dressed, as usual, in her greyish frock and white apron and kerchief, and who had some pleasant words for her son.
Then appeared a charming young woman carrying a child; the woman was recognised by her sister as Mrs. Josephine Dow, late of Chittenden township. She died twenty-four years ago at the age of nineteen. Her robe was pure white and flowing, gathered in at the waist by a string, so that the folds of the upper part lay over it after a very classical fashion. Her auburn hair fell in a mass over her shoulders, and as she stood there petting the child, I thought I had never seen a prettier sight in all my visit. She stepped back into the cabinet, whereupon the voice of Mrs. Eaton said: “Mr. Olcott, this is the subject we have selected for the artist’s picture. The spirit will now return without the child, so that Mr. Kaffer may take a good look at her” — and back she came, alone, and stood to the right of the curtain with her right arm crossed over her waist, and her left hanging by her side, looking the artist full in the face. Mrs. Eaton said that the spirit came back alone because it took so much extra power to materialise the baby, that the spirit herself was made too weak to stop out long enough to give us a thorough view of her own form. Blake, the Irish painter, used to see spirits sitting to him for their portraits in his studio when he was alone, but did anyone ever hear before of a spirit coming for the purpose to an artist in the presence of a mixed company of fifteen persons?
After the “Madonna and Child,” as I felt like christening our models, we saw the spirit of William Packard, late of Albany, and grandson of old Mrs. Pritchard, who seemed so disposed to make friends with the artist that, at that gentleman’s request, he moved quite far along the wall to the right, where his figure was thrown into high relief by the light-coloured paper hangings. His face was round, and he wore a long black moustache. His costume comprised a dark sack-coat and dark pantaloons, a single-breasted vest, and white shirt with collar—quite different from William’s, who wore his ordinary checked gingham shirt, without collar or cuffs.
We were then delighted to see the mysterious Mrs. Eaton herself, whose shrill voice we had so often heard issue from the cabinet up stairs. She was a little old wrinkled woman, in an old-fashioned muslin mob-cap with a ribbon about the crown, a greyish dress, and a check woollen shoulder-shawl, with its points crossed over her bosom. She advanced two or three feet from the curtain, and, looking at me, said that she had seen our picture of “The Phantom Carriage,” and could suggest no improvement, as it was true to nature. I expressed my pleasure at seeing her in person, hearing her speak, and seeing her lips move, for it was now unquestionable that the voice up stairs was hers and not the medium’s. She said that it was for that very purpose she had materialised herself, and that the spirit band controlling these manifestations had desired the change for that evening to the lower room. She and they knew how anxious I was for such tests as would satisfy myself and the world of the genuineness of the phenomena, and desired to further my wishes; but they, like ourselves, were subject to the conditions around them, and where a circle was constantly changing and never the same two evenings in succession, they could not do all that either I demanded or they wished.
After her came out an old gentlemanly-looking man, with a fine, intellectual head. His silver locks were brushed from either ear towards his crest, as if to conceal his baldness. He was dressed in a well-cut black coat, buttoned up high, and pantaloons to match. He spoke in a low voice in answer to a question from his relative present, who afterwards informed me that he formerly lived at Davenport, N. Y., where he died thirty-nine years ago, at the advanced age of eighty-two years.
Our next visitor was Augusta ------, a child of fourteen, who was clothed in a white dress, and sweetly smiled and recognised her mother, who sat next to me.
The last form to appear was Jeremiah McCready, late of Cayuga County, N. Y., whose materialisation was very strong and satisfactory; and this brought to a close a most remarkable and satisfactory evening’s entertainment.
I can hardly express the relief I experienced at the result of this seance. Convinced as I had long been of the good faith of William Eddy; satisfied as my reason was that it was a physical impossibility for the man to simulate such a variety of forms, making himself at one moment a patriarch of eighty or a tottering grandmother, and the next a babe in arms or a toddling child of three or four years; now a giant Indian chief or a dancing squaw, and anon a roving spearsman of the plain of Ararat or a bronze-faced fellah from the foot of the Pyramids; twisting his inflexible tongue around the gutturals, nasals, and sibilants of numerous languages that certainly nobody outside of the Oriental Society or some occasional Dominie Sampson had mastered; convinced, I say, as I was upon all these points—that ventilating window, hollow platform, and seven-by-two cabinet forced themselves oftener than I liked between my mental vision and the bald facts—I confess to a feeling closely akin to astonishment when Honto, the selfsame copper-coloured squaw, the pipe-smoking, shawl-weaving, dancing, laughing Honto, stepped out and confronted me. It seemed that it would be next to impossible for enough of the spiritual matter-essence to filter through that plastered wall for these cunning electro-platers to make a covering withal for their filmy forms. But there she was, sure enough, in full form—with no detail of her dress lacking, no lock of her massive suit of hair gone; her figure as plump, her motions as supple, her attitudes as widely statuesque as ever before. When she had passed away from our sight, I awaited the coming of the next spirit with eager attention, for, even then it seemed to me that it could not be possible for another to materialise itself. Honto was the familiar spirit of the medium, or somehow attached to, and, as it were, enamelled upon the family, so that she could do impossibilities that no one else from the other world could. But, in the midst of my doubt and mistrust, there came the grey-white apparition of old Mrs. Pritchard, the very starch in her apron and cap seeming as if it were crisp from the laundry. Then, I think, the conviction formed itself that, no matter how many “sceptics” came battering against the granitic <... >