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vol. 1, p. 195
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 1 (1874-1876)


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is not one who can say that in answer to such questions as "Is that for me, Mrs. Dennett?" "Is not that the spirit of my sister or brother?" that I ever said yes, that I ever said it was a spirit at all. I invariably answered I did not know, or liked them if they recognized It as theirs. And they would (here Mrs. Bennett's eyes twinkled merrily) always recognize it as theirs, and go into raptures over it.

Question—Did not Dr. Grover see spirits at your seances?

Mrs. Bennett—Ha! ha! ha! He said so! He used to describe them at the pails during the moulding seances. He must have seen a spirit when he said he met Sunflower, for he never saw her in his life, or else the lied. I’ll tell you about his power of seeing. He called on me one evening with Dr. Taylor of Baltimore. That was after I had returned from my vacation. He said, while sitting in his office, his control came to him, and said, "Your medium has returned." “What medium?” he asked. “Who else could be your medium but Mrs. Bennett?" Well, when they came, —it was of a Monday night— Dr. Taylor wanted to see the spirit of his wife, and, of course, she came out, and, of course, he recognized her. “That Is my Phemy!” he cried, in rapture, and when she advanced and put her hand on his head, he wept like a child. That was the time Dr. Grover said he came to detect my tricks. But it did not look like it when he cordially bid me good-by, after his wife kissed me, and invited me to call at his house. He never asked to go into the kitchen that night. He did some time after, and was refused. *

They all indorsed me, that is. all the mediums. Here are some of those who fully indorsed me, and I am as genuine a medium as any of them; Charles Foster, Dr. Storer, Dr. Grover, Mrs. Folsom, Mrs. Nelson, Mrs. Bagley, Thomas Nash, Mrs. Hardy, Mrs. Wildes. By the way, I will tell you a story of the latter medium. She came one evening, and Sunflower, who did not know her, said “Misse Wile.” “What does she mean? " they asked, and I know that Sunflower herself could not answer it. But Mrs. Wildes immediately spoke up and said the fully understood it, as it was given in response to a mental request for the spirit to call out her name. It was a most wonderful test.

Question—What induced you to give the seance at Mrs. Brigham’s.

Mrs. Bennett—I must tell you that I went these against my will, but was urged to go by Mrs. Hardy, who helped me out.

Question—Didn't you have Sunflower?

Mrs. Bennett—No, I did not. I’ll tell you how it came about. On the Thursday morning previous, Mrs. Hardy came to my house, and hugged and kissed me. She said "I was a dear, persecuted woman, and asked if their was no way of warding off the accusations against me. She said if I could only give a seance at Mrs. Brigham’s, and show the spirit forms, all would be right. I replied that I feared I could not do it. “O do go,” she pleaded. “Give that seance. It is going to save us. I wrote an eight-page letter to Mr. Perkins this morning, in which I told him I believed too were honest, and hoped you would vindicate yourself.” After she left me. I sat down and thought the whole matter over, but was puzzled what to do. 1 sent for Sunflower, and asked her how, under the circumstances, we could get through such a seance. She was at as great a loss to know as myself, but said she would like to go and assist me. She then thought she would go and see Mrs. Hardy, who did not know her After calling once and finding her engaged, she called again, and was admitted. Mrs. Hardy’ pretended to go into a trance (but this is all nonsense; she is as conscious all the time as I am now), and whether she shrewdly guessed it or not, said to Sunflower that she must help me out in the seance at Mrs. Brigham’s. Sunflower replied she would do so if she could only get in. “I will give you a note to Mrs. Brigham, introducing you as a lady from the West, and a Spiritualist, who had heard of Mrs. Bennet and was most anxious to see her wonderful performances." The note was accordingly written, and Sunflower departed.† This was the only time she ever visited Mrs. Hardy. When the Saturday night of the seance came, she started for Mrs. Brigham’s; but when she got into the horse-car she saw some one in the forward part of it she did not care to encounter, and immediately left the car, and did not go‡. When Mrs. Hardy arrived at Mrs. Brigham’s, she said to her, “A beautiful lady, a stranger, came to me yesterday, and said she had heard it whispered around that the seance was to be held, and begged me to let her in, she having heard of Mrs. Bennett, and wanted so to see her. The lady was very mediumistic, and I thought her womanly sympathy would be a great assistance to us in our seance, so I gave her a letter of introduction to you.” Mrs. Brigham replied: "This is too bad; I do to wish she had come." Mrs. Hardy made the remark that perhaps she would yet come. But she didn't. Was I ever guilty of such lying and duplicity? Never.

Question—So Sunflower could not help you? Who did?

Mrs. Dennett—Mrs. Hardy most of all.

Question—Were not figures shown?

Mrs. Bennett-Some thought they saw a figure or two; but [with a poculiar smile] only faces and hands showed. When the seance was going on, Mrs. Hardv wanted all to go up, so that the spirit could touch them. She went up, and said she felt the touch of Sunflower as tangibly as if it were in life, and while there grunted and uttered sounds to imitate Sun dower’s voice. Indeed she did all she could to prevent an utter failure of the seance, and 1 thanked her heartily after it was over for what she had done, as I considered she had helped me out of a tight place. And yet when I reflected upon it, I concluded that after all, if I was to be shown up, what would become of her wax moulds?

Question—So that, after all, the very name of Sunflower and Mrs. Hardy’s timely aid did the business for you that night?

Mrs. Bennett—It did. Sunflower was splendid, and if she had been there I would have been vindicated.

Question—Now, Mrs. Bennett, will you tell how it was you were induced to hold the final seance, on Thursday evening last, when Sunflower was caught?

Mrs. Bennett—I will tell you the truth of this whole affair. When I read in the Herald, of yesterday, about the treachery of that woman, Mrs. Hardy, it struck me to the heart, and I cried all night about it. I now see, too late, how I was betrayed into a trap to ruin me, and all because of jealousy, for I had a better show than they could get up; was making more money by it than they could by theirs, and they wanted to ruin me at the first opportunity, so that they could flourish; but if I am to go down, they will find they must go down, too; for if I am a humbug they are all humbugs, and many of them are worse. Well, to tell you how it happened—You must know that, on Saturday, last, Mrs. Hardy and Mrs. Brigham drove out to my house in a carriage, and while Mrs. Brigham waited below in the carriage, Mrs. Hardy came up and said Mrs. Brigham wanted me to hold a seance at the McLean street house. I replied that I did not see how I could get through with it in the way things were. She said here was Susie White making a fool of herself by telling Gordon that a woman cut the hole through the floor, that was discovered where the trap-door had been. Mrs. Hardy said: “Don’t the woman know better than to tell such a story as that? She also told Mrs. Brigham that Father Taylor promised, if another seance was held in the McLean street house, that he would walk out into the room.” She urged me to hold the seance, saying that if it could be done everything would be all right again, and if I was successful she knew of a number of wealthy gentlemen who would back me up with any amount of money, and I could have as nice a house as could be found in Boston, or as nice a one as would suit my wishes. She said she wouldn't have anything happen to Sunflower for the world. Said Mrs. Hardy; “She is a dear, good creature, and I love her.” She then said, “Is there no way you can get her in there?” I told her I did not know of any way of hiding her. I paused a moment, and thought the register might do if a place could be made there to stow her away. Mrs. Hardy then wanted to know if she could not be fixed in there so that even if they took up the register they could not find her. “For” continued Mrs. Hardy, “I would not have anything happen to her for the world.” She further said; “John (meaning her husband) don't know anything about this affair. He is too honest to trouble himself about it.§

Let me here tell you something. The Friday before the seance was held at Mrs. Brighams I was at Mrs. Hardy's house, and while there Mrs. Hardy told me that herself and sister had tried all one Sunday forenoon to make was moulds but could not get them more than half off their hands before they were spoiled. Mr. Hardy remarked that it was no matter whether they could or not: they had never seen a mould made in their life.

Question—You believed this, of course.

Mrs. Bennett—(with peculiar shrug of the shoulders)—Of course I did. I finally told Mrs. Hardy I did not know what would be done, but would ask Mr. Bennett, and see if anything of the kind could be accomplished. Mrs. Hardy remarked: “It has got to be done. That is just what is going to save you.” I said to her: “I do not want to do it. I think the seance given at Mrs. Brigham's ought to be sufficient to vindicate me.” But the said it would not, and that I had better see Sunflower and learn if she would not co-operate.

Mrs. Hardy also suggested that I should have a supply of stuffed figures with me, so that if Sunflower failed I could use them. In answer to this suggestion I asked her if it would not be a risk to carry such figures in case a search was demanded. Then she made up a story to tell Mrs. Brigham that I will not repeat. It was an excuse to prevent search.

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