Another Eminent Convert
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the manifestations that I have seen in psychological and physiological language. The fact is that the phenomena are all of so peculiar a character, so capricious, and so incongruous with any precedents within the domain of science, that any conjecture or discussion about this question seems at present premature ; our hypothesis must of necessity be totally unsatisfactory. One thing at least seems certain–all these phenomena present us the evidences of a psychic activity in the persons composing the spiritual circle, and especially of the medium himself.
I will turn now to a description of the phenomenal manifestations that I witnessed personally at spiritual seances, winch in our case were formed quite differently from what they usually are.
In London, as in America, Spiritualists have come to the conclusion that the mediumistic manifestations are more intense and far more successful in cases where the medium sits apart from the rest of the circle, in total darkness, behind some partition or curtain, and falls very soon into a magnetic sleep (a trance). We tested this with Brediff, our medium ; the idea having been suggested to us by some Spiritualists who had witnessed mediumistic manifestations under such, conditions at Paris and London.
I will here proceed to describe one of such seances that took place in the presence of the regular members of our circle of investigators, namely, Boutleroff, Aksakoft, his lady, Dr. A——, and myself. The seance, as usual, took place at the private house of M. Aksakoff. One of the doorways of his library, cut in the centre of a thick wall, and having a very deep recess, was selected as the place where our medium should sit. A heavy hanging of gray broadcloth on this door separated the recess from the rest of the library room, and formed a very dark “cabinet.” I must here remark that darkness is considered one of the best conditions for mediumistic manifestations, and for the phase I am now going to describe—materialization—this condition seems indispensible. At such seances we, used but one single wax-candle, which was placed in a comer, and sometimes screened.
As a preliminary performance, we had the usual light seance around the table. Most probable such a sitting is necessary, with a view to bring all the company into a congenial and harmonic state of mind. During this sitting we got the usual raps, jerks of the table, levitations, and so forth. Half an hour or so after, that we began preparing for the formation of the circle for a semi-dark seance. Having well examined the door with the dark cabinet, and carefully locked it up, I put the key in my pocket, and we proceeded at once to the secure tying of the medium, precluding by every possible caution, any means on his part to perform fraud.
<Untitled. The crisis was reached... (HPB illness crisis)>
The crisis was reached, in Madame Blavatsky’s illness, at midnight on Thursday last, and the patient is happily now convalescent. Her recovery is among the most remarkable. For several hours her attendants thought her dead, as she lay as cold, pulseless, and rigid as a corpse ; her injured limb had swollen to twice the natural size, and had turned black, as though mortification had already set in. Her physician gave her up as dead; but within a few hours the swelling had subsided, the symptoms of dissolution had passed off, and she revived. And so, thinks to the spirits, this noble life is squared to the cause which needs now, more than ever before, the aid of her wisdom, enthusiasm, devotion, and powers, <... continues on page 2-20 >