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vol. 1, p. 196
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 1 (1874-1876)


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< Bogus Materialisations (continued from page 1-194) >

She even said that Sunflower could not come out alone unless we had some such contrivances to aid her.

She went off, and I consulted with Mr. Bennett and with Sunflower. Mr. Bennett went over to the house to make a survey. Sunflower was very averse to the undertaking, and only consented to take part by my most earnest solicitations.

Mr. Bennett came back and said he did not want to do the job; but I told him he must do it, as Mrs. Hardy had said it was going to save us all.

On Monday following both Mrs. Hardy and Mrs. Brigham again came over, and the latter came up, when I told her I would give the seance on Tuesday night—that was last Tuesday. On Tuesday afternoon Mr. Bennett went over and made the trap, and everything was in readiness for the evening seance, the result of which has been given in the Herald. You can see how I was ensnared by that woman under the guise of friendship. When she was last here, urging me on to my betrayal, she gave me a most loving kiss at parting. I would die before I would do such an act of perfidy! Whatever may be said of me it can never be Mid that I betrayed my friends, or, under pretense of friendship, led them, to their ruin. This is the whole truth of the story, and you will see that it differs very widely from that published in the Herald on Thursday. Well, you can see the reason. I was beating them all in the business, and they wanted to kill me. But I’m not dead yet, and they will find they have a harder job on their hands than they bargained for.

* Notes by the Editor of the Spiritual Scientist. The person refered to is T. B. Taylor. He was confidentially informed by Dr. Storer, to whom he had Mid that he was to attend a seance there, that he (Dr. Storer) suspected fraud and wished an opportunity to go there in Dr. Grover’s circle. Dr. Taylor was to see Dr. Grover, and arrange for Dr. Storer’s admission, but did not do so. Dr. Storer suspected fraud soon after the close of the seances in the summer and in company with several Spiritualists attempted an expose before the trapdoor was discovered; in justice to him it must be said that he was one of the first to move in the matter.

† Mrs. Hardy did write such a note upon the request of this woman, and admits it.

‡ That person was Mr. Gordon. The woman supposed he was going to Mrs. Brigham's also and therefore did not go.

§ “John” knew all about it the day of the seance, however, and was quite busy informing several gentlemen of it; among others the correspondent of the Herald and the gentleman who acted as counsel for Mr. Bennett until the first trap was discovered.

Francis Gerry Fairfield on Slade and Spiritualism

Francis Gerry Fairfield writing on the Spiritualistic phenomena says: I am impelled to give my results of an experiment of my own that will not be found in the work published by the Appletons on the Etiology of Certain Phenomena called Spiritual, because it was instituted after the proofs had already been corrected. I called on the medium as a stranger, not even giving my name. I had never met Dr. Slade, and could not, therefore, have been identified by him, as I did not call at the suggestion of any friend of his, but in consequence of a conversation between two persons who were strangers to me that I accidentally overheard. The room was a back parlor, fairly well lighted. A long table, an ordinary folding slate, and a pencil were all the implements used. These I examined thoroughly. Having done so, the medium broke off a small section of the pencil, placed it between the two slates, and laid them on the table folded. He sat not less than four feet from the slate and pencil, and moved neither hand nor foot during the seance. I was near him, but half interposed between him at the point where the slate was placed. A peculiar grating sound notified me that the pencil was moving, but as I did not once take my eyes off him, and as I was so seated as to command both the table and the medium in a single glance, I know by ocular observation that there was no physical relation between them. Under these circumstances a message was scribbled to me, bearing the signature of a man who had been dead for several years, and who during his whole life had scarcely ever traveled beyond the limits of his native county—a man who lived and died in obscurity in a small inland town in Connecticut, and who hated Spiritualism and all its belongings with an orthodox hatred. The signature was as undoubtedly his as my signature is undoubtedly my own. Moreover, he had a peculiar, old-fashioned way of forming his capitals that would have rendered it impossible for me to produce a successful imitation, many times as I have seen it. Was I hallucinated? In all my life, although of very nervous temperament, I have never been the victim of a single optical illusion. Moreover, in the ordinary acceptation of the term, I am the least excitable of men; my eye has been trained for years to accurate observation with the microscope, and you well know that such training necessarily involves an accurate and thoroughly practical acquaintance with the laws of optics. It was, in other words, almost absolutely impossible for Dr. Slade to practice any deception; even a suspicious movement would have been carefully observed, as I was there for that purpose.

The fact is, I was and still am thoroughly skeptical as to the phenomena of Spiritualism, except in cases where I have personally verified them. But that the seances of spiritual mediums occasionally involve sources of intelligence that cannot be explained by the ordinary laws of perception is a fact that it is folly to deny.

A Sound Basis of Belief

A New York correspondent says: “So far as the present position of Dr. Slade is concerned in reference to Spiritualism, or that of any other man on earth, I am greatly surprised that believers in Spiritualism should be disturbed by it. If their faith in Spiritualism rests alone on their seances with one medium they are very unfortunately situated. If they shrink with a kind of fear of the result when the integrity of any one medium is assailed it is high time they established themselves on a different basis of belief. For those who go still further and indignantly resent proffers of fair investigation and defend all mediums with blind zeal I have nothing but profound pity; in their anxiety to believe in the phenomena they believe most anything and hug to their breasts one part truth and nine parts fraud with the greatest infatuation.

Here comes Francis Gerry Fairfield, no believer in spirit communication, who considers it absurd to deny the Slade phenomena, and, with scores of others of equal intelligence, asserts positively that they are not an imposition. Precisely what they are in Dr. Fairfield's estimation I confess m; Self unable to make out, but consider that the royal road to truth is being made for us to follow when men of intelligence and brand views and who are not afraid pioneer the way. The Scientist and all its friends, skeptics, progressive religious people, all have one common goal—the truth. If the truth divests the giant of what we call Spiritualism of all its masks, faces, tricks and disguises of all sorts we shall by and by get down to a hard impregnable basis—impervious alike to ridicule or exposure. True Spiritualists will rejoice every time the integrity of any medium is honestly challenged. How ever it may be for the medium it is good for the truth.

The Slade Controversy in London


Editor's notes

  1. Francis Gerry Fairfield on Slade and Spiritualism by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 5, No. 7, October 19, 1876, p. 28
  2. A Sound Basis of Belief by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 5, No. 7, October 19, 1876, p. 28
  3. The Slade Controversy in London by Oxon, M. A.