The Scientific Relations of the Shotgun
lights have been turned on the supposed spirit performing tomfooleries, and it was instantly manifest whether they were genuine or not. In all these cases it was a touch and a go, and the truth declared itself beyond any man's cavil. Devices which were so simple, and yet "so sufficient, were surely scientific, and they indicate, and perhaps sufficiently describe, our notion of scientific investigation of one class of spiritual manifestations. But we add a few hints especially touching ihe investigation of materializations. Let the tests be applied directly, if possible, to the materialized spirit, with the intent to determine who or what it is. A dark lantern, or some other appliance for turning on light, is likely to be useful. A lasso would be very serviceable in the hands of cne skilled in its use; it is said the Mexicans can lasso anything that runs or stands. A little squirt-gun loaded with a few ounces of ink, or even the boy’s blow-gun charged with Scotch snuff, might be available in eliciting truth where more pretentious instruments would fail. If the investigator, from doubts of his skill or other reasons, prefers to discard all the apparatus and appliances of art, let him in the non-resisting spirit of a Quaker and in the name of Science, suddenly lay a strong and firm hand on the dress of the body of the spirit, and hang on like a Tarter, till the whole truth comes to relieve him.
We repeat: Our scientific plan is simple, direct, conclusive. We commend it to Mr. Crookes and Col. Olcott, and especially to all those who are in the road which leads to a faith which has lost its senses and is idiotic.
To us, the Eddy materializations are supremely puerile and silly; they cannot appear differently until a scientific demonstration has shown that they are not the chicane of the practised and disreputable Eddy family. But the peace of society is disturbed, and something must be done for quiet, or many good friends will get to Bedlam. We earnestly hope that a scientific investigation of materialization will be made speedily ; the investigator will receive our most cordial thanks.
There is a suggestion of brutality running through this article, which is wholly alien to true scientific investigation. Other methods, as conclusive without partaking of cruelty, can easily be essayed, as the investigations of Mr. Crookes and Col. Olcott clearly showed. But the Scientific American has been taken at its word, and the shot-gun test applied to a materialized spirit in St. Louis.
Do our readers suppose it will satisfy the little world represented by our scientific critic? They need not deceive themselves; he will crawl out of the auger-holes of Timkens’s bitt. Now that a spirit-face has been shot through he will demand the shooting of a full-length form. After we do that, and send a bullet through in the transverse direction, he will require us to present the forms of our Sartums or Hontos recumbent in mid-air, so that his minnie-ball may be shot through them longitudinally. This done, the next step will naturally be for us to put our solidified ghosts upon the operating tables of a medical clinic, to be carved into bits and served around on plates to the young Sawbones for microscopic analysis.
The fact is that it is idle to attempt to conciliate the scientific class. Our true policy is to defy them, and be quietly demonstrating the reality of our phenomena, and teaching the philosophy of their occurrence, lead the people out of the mire of old superstitions, and leave our insolent and conceited critics to flounder about as they choose and as long as they choose, and give their time to those petty questions, for the study of which alone they are fitted by predisposition and habit.
HSO. Spi[ritual]. Sci[entist].
The New York World on Spiritualism
Certain occurrences in Philadelphia of late have been triumphantly seized upon by the secular press with the greatest avidity, and with no evinced desire to hear the facts in the case, save as they bear upon that side of the argument which favors a theory contrary to the spiritual hypothesis. And taking these occurrences for a text, we find journals which have heretofore maintained a dignified, though reserved position concerning the reforms of the day, hastening to abandon their old-time reticence, and launching out, drawcansir-like, into columns of verbal abuse, far-fetched comparisons, and doubtful recommendations, which it would be well for their reputations as would-be astute observers of current events if they had never indulged in.
Among this class of empirics in the treatment of Spiritualism and its cognate phenomena and teachings, the New York World has seen fit to enroll its name. In a recent number of that journal we find a most ill conceived and poorly-managed attack, in which the editor claims that the spiritual phenomena are “opposed to known physical laws,” and demands that all mediums shall be taken in hand and dealt with according to such a standard as his liberal(?) mind would, no doubt, be pleased to dictate. But we submit that our neighbor is wide of the mark in the above assertion, as there is evidence in abundance to show. Scientists of the renown of Wallace and Crookes affirm unhesitatingly, after a long and patient investigation, that there is nothing in the spiritual phenomena that is opposed to physical laws. The scientist of The World says there is everything in the phenomena that is thus opposed. Were bald assumption as good as evidence obtained by the crucial tests of science, no paper or person would be so valuable in producing it to order as The World and its writer; but to attempt by such bare assertion to contradict the carefully-weighed and sifted testimony of such distinguished men as we have above cited, is indicative of the sheerest extreme of folly and presumption. The laws by which these phenomena are governed may be occult, but they are not the less operative, and are established by the same, power which ordained all physical regulations or laws.
Starting out with it baseless assumption of its own as a predicate, The World, of course, has no difficulty of arriving at a correspondingly baseless conclusion, though it may be one which squares with its prejudices. It feels “humiliated” to reflect on the “credulity” of so many people in the country, and is overcome by its feelings when it strives to express its sympathy toward the mothers who have lost children, whom it asserts to be “the hapless victims of a nefarious jugglery.” Either it means that millions of intelligent people are superstitious when they think themselves religious, or that they have not sufficient intelligence to keep themselves from being imposed upon by any one who chooses to make the experiment. Let it take its choice.
“Our civilization,” says this modest writer of The World, “should be justified by the summary suppression and condign punishment of the numerous swindlers whose dishonest practices assail men’s sanity as well as their pockets.” Of course all Spiritualist media, without reserve, are included in this sweeping denunciation by this worthy critic, who at the same time conveys by intimation the idea that the Spiritualist believers of America and all civilized lands are in league and sympathy with said “numerous swindlers” whom he would have “suppressed” and “visited with condign punishment.” But he shuts his eyes, in so doing, to the fact that the condition of mediumship is a proven verity, and that Spiritualists, as seekers after truth, have ever been, and ever will be, the keenest detectors and most bitter denunciators of any counterfeit article of this class. If such advice as his were only to be followed in all the affairs of life how simple a matter it would be to quell the widest differences of public opinion, and reduce everything to a forced dead level of uniformity The same malignant spirit that whipped, banished and hanged Quakers is to be seen in such a proposition.
But, in the light of the facts, The World’s summing up is peculiarly unfortunate. The day of sarcasm in regard to spiritual matters is past—the era of analysis has come, and those editors who in default of knowledge still prefer to use the hilt-worn weapon of ridicule, will not only be. easily overturned by the champions of the new dispensation, but even the friends of said journals will convict them of arrant ignorance by the prosecution of such line of operations, and will remand them to less important stations in the popular estimation. The leading minds of the churches—men like Dr. Bushnell—are insisting that all theology must be reconstructed, that a fresh inspiration is needed by man, that the heavens are very near to us, and that spiritual life must be re-awakened. Now it is Spiritualism that will most effectually break up the crust and let in the light of heaven again.