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vol. 1, p. 65
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 1 (1874-1876)


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< Test Conditions Demanded (continued from page 1-64) >

ness. If the new philosophy is true, its mission to the race is of a beneficent character, and it will not do for us to be indifferent as to results. I mean by this to say, that he is no friend of his fellow-man, who says he don’t care whether the teachings of Spiritualism are believed or not; that he does not desire to convince skeptics, for the mission of truth is, to help on the race to better things. And if Spiritualists allow themselves to be duped by charlatans, — if they encourage spurious mediums, and commend them as genuine, their ultimate exposure very naturally tends to the undoing and nullification of all that has been wrought out by genuine phenomena.

For my own part, I solemnly believe that natural law should be considered inviolable in its mode of operation until the contrary is fully proven. When one says, “I can reverse the order of nature, or cause it to be reversed,” we should give the Law of Nature, or what experience has taught us to be the Law of Nature, the benefit of the doubt. When one assures us that he can suspend the laws of gravity and cause chairs and tables to float in the atmosphere, we are under no obligation to believe him, no matter what his reputation for sound judgment and truth. Therefore I think Mr. Olcott is quite right when he assumes that every medium should be looked upon with suspicion until he proves conclusively his mediumship. The medium, be it understood, is not on trial, but natural law, which we are to believe uniform in its operations until it is proved otherwise. The law we hold to be uniform, that is to say, “innocent,” and the medium “guilty.” If there are invisible intelligences who can control material forces, and reverse the material order of things, the medium must be able to show that the phenomena are not produced by him, that he is simply what he pretends to be, the medium and nothing more.

After having given no inconsiderable amount of time and money to the solving of this great question of the spirit’s return, and being fully convinced that the new philosophy is true, I am fully persuaded that Spiritualism has everything to gain and nothing to lose by demanding that every professed medium shall be thoroughly and repeatedly tested. And I would go further and insist upon it, that where any genuine medium is delected in supplementing his mediumistic powers by a resort to legerdemain, or trickery, he should be at once exposed and all confidence withdrawn from him. If this course is pursued we shall soon have a class of mediums in whom we can place the fullest confidence, and through whom the Invisible powers will manifest themselves to the world at large in a most convincing manner.

Re-incarnation; Occultism

To the Editor of the Spiritual Scientist:

Dear Sir:—With all deference to the superior knowledge in detail, of persons who have given more attention to speculative questions than those who have to face the realities of life can afford, and not wishing unreservedly to denounce that which I may not understand, it may nevertheless be proper to submit some remarks on the subject of Re-incarnation and Occultism, as they appear to one, who has for a quarter of a century past, studied the facts and bearings of Spiritualism to the extent his opportunities permitted.

Re-incarnation is just as much a dogma as original sin, the Trinity, the Real Presence and other theological articles of faith. The only facts adduced in its proof that are well substantiated, as far as I know them, are perfectly explicable on psychometric principles. It is doubtless flattery to the vanity of some undistinguished individuals, to believe that, in former incarnations, they have been Socrates, Julius Caesar, Alexander, Demosthenes, Paul or Shakespeare; and were as accurate statistics attainable, it would probably be found that each of these celebrities is just now re-incarnated in ten to one thousand physical bodies, according to believers in this dogma. Yet the first definite, scientific fact in proof of this theory, if yet on record, has not yet been rendered generally accessible. And while in every village, evidence of Spiritualism, in its elementary forms, is needed to convince those who earnestly desire to be convinced, and while the philosophy based on such evidence urgently needs to be carried out into practical life by originating and supporting 'better methods of education, while these and a thousand other practical measures demand and should receive the most urgent and immediate attention on the part of Spiritualists, it is much to be regretted that they should allow their time, thought, means and energy, to be diverted to investigation for which there are and can be no definite facts on which to begin. If re-incarnation be true, it is incapable of proof, and its practical bearing is insignificant. When we get to where we need to know anything about it, it will not be diffcult to prove it. Meanwhile, as Toots says, “It’s of no consequence.”

Next in the fashion, or as a more recent fashion, comes “Occultism.” For those who cannot bend their minds to live questions, who are by nature antiquarians and have plenty of time and some means, it may be well enough to dig up all writers and unravel the enigmas in which their necessities compelled them to hide the truth from the many in order that it might reach the few competent to appreciate it. But it is folly in general to go five hundred miles through an almost pathless and tangible wilderness when fifty miles of a clear, level road will take you to the same place.

Occultism, considered as historical Spiritualism, as a means of filling up gaps, or as to prove the continuity and university of spiritual phenomena, and the repressive influence of priestcraft on the development of our nobler faculties, is doubtless valuable. And if those who profess to know its truths and to have mastered its mysteries, would, now that neither law nor public opinion hinder them, compile and I publish a synopsis, in cheap form, of the researches and discoveries made by magic, necromancers, etc., of the past, it would probably prove exceedingly valuable.* Practical Spiritualism should be popularized, and the few who have the data, should go to work at it, and not put others to the trouble, of travelling over the same ground for no additional benefit. One of the chief merits of Spiritualism is, that it can reach the hearts of the people with its divine light. No longer need we delve in musty tomes, in ancient tongues, year after year until we are old and mummified, in order to learn that we are said to be immortal; young and old can knew that we are, irrespective of language and libraries. But barely is this water of life reaching the millions, when in step our “Occultists” to dash it from their lips, by informing them that if they want to know much about it, they must spend years, which they cannot possibly spare, in the study of inaccessible books, † written purposely to disguise that which it is desired to reach; they must spend more money to go to Asia and elsewhere, than they can earn in a lifetime! And for what? To reach something apparently undefined, will-of-the-wispish, illusory, impractical. Ladies and gentlemen, if you have anything good, bring it along and let us see it Suppose we do laugh at it, your love of truth needs to be a little more rugged if it won’t stand ridicule. And if it be not inherently ridiculous, only fools will laugh; and they may as well laugh at that as anything else. If laughing amounted to much. Spiritualism would long ago have been laughed out of existence; but those only were thus repelled whose adherence would have brought discredit.

Let us have done with these moonshine, hide-and-seek esoteric theories, and bring all into the clear daylight of intuitive science. There is work to do; ‡ there are breakers ahead; and there is no time to fool away in the endeavor to know the unknowable.

“Mystery, the mother of all abominations.” Yes, priests have traded on mystery instead of teaching truths. Spiritualism resolves into these elements the old mysteries, replacing them by facts and truths. Spiritualists should be in better business than getting up new ones to befog investigators. Let them rather seek so to condense, clarify, define and popularize that “the wayfaring man, though he be a fool, shall not err therein.”

Alfred Cridge
(a rabed Spiritualist)

Riverside, Cal., Oct. 3, 1875.

* The Spiritual Scientist through its able correspondents on these questions aims to do this work; and many facts have already been published.

† No such doctrine has been taught in our columns, under the name of Occultism.

‡ And has been for or years.

<Untitled> (“Startling Facts in Modern Spiritualism” is the title)

“Startling Facts in Modern Spiritualism,” is the title of a book of 543 pages, handsomely bound, and containing an account of startling and significant phenomena which have occurred in the presence of the author, N. B. Wolfe, M. D. of Cincinnati. He deals with facts and arranges these facts for the critical inspection of the minds eye. The author expresses freely his personal opinions, shows where fraud may be perpetrated, advances and discusses theories and in general it may be said that the subject is handled in so masterly a manner that the book will always remain as it is at present, — A Standard Work on Modem Spiritualism For sale at the office, 18 Exchange St., Boston, Mass Price $ 2.00.

Editor's notes

  1. Re-incarnation; Occultism by Cridge, Alfred, Spiritual Scientist, v. 3, No. 7, October 21, 1875, p. 77
  2. “Startling Facts in Modern Spiritualism” is the title by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 3, No. 7, October 21, 1875, p. 77