< Another Eminent Convert (continued from page 2-17) >
offered us by Carpenter ; a theory that explains nothing at all.
Music, it appears, helps much towards bringing into rapport perfect harmony of disposition, the persons present with their medium. At the seances at which I was present, we usually had a small music-box. The manifestations never failed to grow stronger and more definite, when it played, and generally decreased in power when it stopped ; with the exception, of course, of those periodical ebbs and Hows to which they are subject. Very often we found that the raps followed, or kept time to the airs played by our box and once J witnessed how the table actually and literally jumped for some-moments, keeping time, as in a dance, to the sounds of a Khiva March. Very naturally, then, anything that will throw the harmonious relations of the circle into disorder, will arrest also the progress of the mediumistical phenomena.* Loud talking, quarrelling, some unexpected noise, or rapid, sharp, angular movements, all interfere with the phenomena or stop them altogether. I suppose it must be one of the reasons why nearly all spiritual seances are held in the evening, at which time all confusing outside noises die out.
The predisposition and state of mind of the persons forming the circle, have an enormous influence on its success, especially at the beginning of the seance, when the manifestations are in what might be termed a state of initiation or preparation. In such cases as I had the opportunity to observe, persons who are the most mediumistic should sit opposite each other, after which, those who are the more so must sit in turn opposite those who are most deficient in that power, thus establishing an equilibrium. I noted more than once how the manifestations were difficult to develop, or events produce themselves at all if the parties present were not carefully selected and placed each at his proper post. Spiritualists commonly leave the settlement of this question to the table itself, but at the beginning of a seance, its directions are frequently very ambiguous, and understood with difficulty.
Why is it that the table, this strange mediator of spiritual seances, is so necessary for the phenomena ! This question can be answered only hypothetically, like everything else connected with Spiritualism. Of course, the table cannot be an indispensible thing for such manifestations. It can be easily replaced, and, it seems to me, with more advantage, by some other apparatus with a level surface, on which might be laid the hands of the persons present. As far as I could learn, very few experiments have been made in this direction. Heat, or perhaps the electricity of the investigators sitting in the circle, must concentrate itself in the table, and gradually develop into motions. At the same time, of a little afterwards, the psychic force unites to assist the two other powers. By the “psychic force” I mean, that which forms itself out of all the other forces of our organism, the combination into one general something, of several separate forces, and capable when combined of manifesting itself, in degree, according to the individuality.
The mediumistical manifestations force us to the conclusion that this force, like all the other physical forces, can act at a distance: and that its effect, is not only able to detach itself from its original source, but can also act in its turn, as something which is in a certain sense independent. I will illustrate my words by an instance which may be easily understood. Heat coming out of some source gradually enters into other bodies, which are conductors of it. Once that the process is performed, this same heat can act in its turn in those bodies, independently of its original source, I do not see why we may not admit the possibility that the psychal force, which, according to all evidence, is but the combination, or a sort of mixture of different, general, physical forces, can emanate from a person as from its fountain and act to some extent at a distance. Until now we have had no instances of such phenomena, and such an hypothesis or juxtaposition rather of the general, physical forces to the psychal forces might have been considered perfect nonsense. But now the mediumistic faculty appears and in these phenomena we see the conclusive evidence of its existence.
I understand very well, that the above explanation is extremely insufficient, but I offer it as an attempt to describe <... continues on page 2-19 >
* The honorable and most learned Professor seems determined to award giving...the name of spiritual, and constantly supplies this word by... one of mediumistic. We will have to submit to it as to the rest.