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vol. 1, p. 175
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 1 (1874-1876)


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< An Experiment (continued from page 1-174) >


The World.
Septber 14

A Visit a Corpse


The World. Sep. 20

The Unfortunate Arabs


Another Book on "Art Magic"

(To the Editor of Medium and Daybreak)

Dear Sir: —As I owe to your courtesy and kindness the occasional opportunity of noting the progress of Spiritualism in England, as reported through your columns, I have also similar opportunities, through the same source, of hearing news concerning Spiritualism in America, items of which not unfrequently strike me as very new indeed. Opinions and criticisms merely, I have neither time nor inclination to combat; but misstatements, however unintentionally they may originate, I deem it my duty to correct whenever they interfere with the interests of truth and refer to that which immediately concerns myself. In your issue of June 30th, a paragraph occurs in which I find three statements calculated to leave impressions so erroneous on the minds of those who peruse them, that I am disposed to trespass sufficiently on your space as to ask leave to tender the corrections they call for.

In a letter from our esteemed friend and co-laborer. Mr. Robert Cooper, purporting to give an account of “Spiritualism in America,” Mr. Cooper makes use of the following expressions: —

Occultism, which was so much discussed a little while ago, has pretty well subsided, and but little is heard of it now. Mr. Felt has not vet produced the “Elementaries by Chemical Appliances” that we were promised, and Mrs. Britten’s “Art Magic” is confined, for the most part, to the privileged 500. I have read the book, and deem it to be an able and excellent treatise on the subject of which it treats, and its publication will doubtless serve a good purpose. I can but think, however, that it would have been much better had the book been brought out in a legitimate and regular manner, and free from mystery and exclusiveness. Much of the prejudice that now exists against the work would then not have been engendered. As it is, I am afraid the publication of “Art Magic” will not add to the renown of the fair editress, or increase the estimation in which she is held by the great body of Spiritualists.

That the discussions concerning occultism may have ceased is quite possible; tor my part, I don’t know how they arose except from the strictures of a set of idle people who had nothing else to do, and not knowing anything about the subject, plunged into it in the hope that by abusing what they were ignorant of, they might perhaps learn more than they knew. Finding their labor in vain, they have directed their crusade of ignorance and bigotry elsewhere, hence occultism is heard but little about. But occultism does not depend for its existence on the voice of public rumor, nor are its real truths talked about or heard of in the market-places. It lives in the hearts and brains of those who devote themselves to study it; and there its hold has not diminished, nor ever will, to my thinking, so long as there is an occult side to human nature, and occultists in the world as indifferent to the voice of public rumor as your present correspondent. Occultism lives and flourishes in its appropriate sphere, —and that is not a newspaper article on the surface view of Spiritualism in America.

In statement No. 2, Mr. Cooper says, “Mr. Felt has not yet produced the ‘Elementaries by Chemical Appliances’ that we were promised,” etc. I am not aware that the production of the “Elementaries” under such circumstances was promised to any but the members of the “Theosophical Society," and since the president's published statement that such a promise had been made, the Society has become a secret order; hence what goes forward in its sessions cannot be known to Mr. Robert Cooper, unless, indeed, he were a Fellow of the Order. I do not feel sure that Mr. Cooper may not have joined the order, as I have no list of the Fellows by me; but even if he had, he could not report upon what does or does not take place at our sessions, without a dishonorable violation of his pledge of secrecy; hence his statements could not be held as reliable either way.

As to myself, I am at a loss to account for Mr. Cooper's fears concerning the permanence of my popularity among Spiritualists because I became the editor of “Art Magic.” When I undertook that onerous task, I did so in the conviction that the public would be made fully aware of the author’s conditions of publication They were all his own, and no one was obliged to accede to them unless they chose. No one was solicited to subscribe, no one was obliged to do so. Five hundred In America, and about one hundred in Europe, were permitted to receive that work, and assay hundreds have been refused, leaving the author a considerable loser by the under taking, and my, its editor, In a similar position. Still, if he was satisfied to tone money, and I to give time and service,

<... continues on page 1-176 >

Editor's notes

  1. A Visit a Corpse by unknown author, World, The
  2. The Unfortunate Arabs by unknown author, World, The
  3. Another Book on "Art Magic" by Britten, E. H., Spiritual Scientist, v. 5, No. 1, September 6, 1876, pp. 8-9. Reprinted from Medium and Daybreak