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vol. 1, p. 183
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 1 (1874-1876)


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The Trial of Messrs. Slade and Simmons at Bow Street Police Court

< The Credulity of Skeptics (continued from page 1-182) >

and religious, which never lose an opportunity of starring at the credulity of Spiritualists are nevertheless very credulous themselves when they see a story of an exposure of the phenomena of Spiritualism. Scientific men whose names are well-known throughout the world, even the president and other members of the Royal Society, have witnessed these manifestations, and pronounced a favorable judgment upon them. And yet the Boston Globe says: —

No person with the power of keen observation and ready judgment could ever find anything more in his performances than the production of writing on a concealed slate, with no particular meaning, and affording no evidence in itself that it was not produced by the medium. And always, though there was a scratching heard upon the slate when it was in a position which rendered writing on its Upper service an apparent impossibility, there was opportunity to produce the writing without being seen to do so before it was brought to that position. Everything attending the performance was suggestive of concealment of a trick, and when it was done it was not to be compared in startling characteristics with those of a skillful juggler.

Compare this statement with that made by Alfred Russell Wallace, president of the Royal Society, and the prejudice is manifest. He says, speaking of Dr. Slade: —

“Writing came upon the upper part of the slate, when I myself held it pressed close to the under side of the table, both Dr. Slade's hands being upon the table in contact with my other hand. The writing was audible while in progress. This one phenomenon is absolutely conclusive. It admits of no explanation or imitation by conjuring. Writing also came on the under-side of the slate while laid flat upon the table, Dr. Slade’s hand being laid flat on it, immediately under my eyes. A chair was moved, and held for several seconds with the sea up to the table at the farthest comer from Dr. Slade, while both his hands were clasped in mine, sad his body was quiescent. I was repeatedly lunched, and my clothes palled on the side tuned from Dr. Slade; my chair was rapped on the hack, and sharp ape came under the cane seat of my chair. While Dr. Slade was holding the cane in one hand, the other being clasped in mine, a distinct hand rose rapidly up and down between the table and my body; and, finally while Dr. Slade’s hands and mine were both in the centra of the table, the further tide twee up till it was nearly vertical, when the whole table rose and turned over on to my heed. These phenomena occurred in broad daylight, with the sun shining into the room, and with no one present but Dr. Slade and myself They may be witnessed with slight variations by any of our men of science, and it is to be hoped that those who do not take the trouble to see them will, at alt events, cease to speak disparagingly of the intellectual and perceptive powers of those who, having seen, declare them to be really ties. It is also Hot too much to ask that men who have previously denied the possibility of such phenomena, and have accused others of prepossession and self-delusion, should, after having seen Dr. Slade, make some public acknowledgement of their error.”

Items like these never find their way into journals controlled by skeptical editors. When some insignificant individual, however, ventures to assert that Dr. Slade is an impostor, it is the signal for one or two columns on the subject reflecting upon the credulity of Spiritualists, and intimating that if the most prominent medium in Spiritualism is an impostor the logical conclusion is that all the rest are also. We do not deny that there are charlatans in the ranks of Spiritualism, and the first application of simple tests will determine them to be so. We have no sympathy for these tricksters and will aid in the good work of exterminating them; but against those mediums, who have been often tried, proved gen-

<... continues on page 1-184 >

Editor's notes

  1. The Trial of Messrs. Slade and Simmons at Bow Street Police Court by Gregory, C.