Another Eminent Convert
<continued from page 2-8>
seemed to How in waves, tidelike, and reaching their maximum came to a dead calm. Tippings, weak and hardly perceptible at first, audible only to Home and the initiated ones, became fully defined. Those raps seemed deafened, as if coming from a low, hollow place, but nevertheless, produced undoubtedly from certain places on the table and walls, the floor, and from under our feet. Once, as the table very strongly and in succession reclined on each of the four sides, every one of its motions was accompanied by a very loud, sharp rap, just as if someone had struck it with all his power with the fist from underneath, and right in the centre. Each time these successive raps took place, one of our circle, who had been investigating Spiritualism constantly, inquired, if the spirits wanted the alphabet; in answer to which we heard three raps, and the Spiritualist began to call the French alphabet slowly and systematically. Sometimes a letter would be indicated by a rap, and then it was put down on paper; but no word was formed at all. I confess here that this process of conversing with a table impressed me with a very disagreeable feeling; I had before that heard of suchlike, mysterious, childish communications with spirits, and I felt ashamed to find myself participating in some degree, in such a superstitious manoeuvre as that. I was glad that it resulted in a failure, but at the same time, I could not help thinking that it might have proved successful, and that in consequence of some extraordinary combination, the letters that had been pointed out might have formed some word to the intense pleasure of the Spiritualists present.
Soon after this unsuccessful table-talking, the cloth on the spot nearest to Home, began to stretch out as if some one were pulling it down. After that, between Home’s left hand and mine, but nearer to me, there appeared in the cloth a slight swelling, a sort of protuberance, that commenced moving about from one spot to another ; I rapidly covered it with my hand, and the protuberance disappeared. It appeared very soon again, nearly in the same spot, still nearer to me, and this time the shape of it was more clearly defined. It looked like a doubled fist or a folded-up hand. I grasped it again with my own hand, and it disappeared again as rapidly as before. Home then took the accordeon off the table lowered it with the keys down, and held it under the table, pressing it to the under side, near to where the general sat. The instrument began to move, swinging itself powerfully from side to side. A moment after Home removed his hand from it, and the accordeon remained suspended in space, as if it laid upon the air.
“Monsieur le general,” said Home, addressing the old general, “please to look under the table; the accordeon is held by some one.”
The general bent himself down, looked, and passed his hand several times between the floor and the accordeon. “There’s no one there,” answered he.
After several minutes of suspension it fell down. Home picked it up. Then we saw that the board with the keys on it had become unglued and brokened off.
“All right! I see now why it could not play,” remarked Home.
But for all that, how could the accordeon remain suspended in the air and with an unglued key board to it in the bargain.
After all the phenomena I witnessed, I carried out one clear, undeniable conviction : the motions of the table and the raps do exist and are a fact. These phenomena are purely real ; objective, and most certainly belong on the one hand to the realm of physics, and on the other—to psychology. But it seems to me there is another side to them in this question.
With the peculiar influence which must affect and overpower all the persons present, the medium especially included, — for he represents in this circle something like a tuning fork among instruments,—those phenomena become gradually subjective, invisibly bordering upon, and ebbing into hallucination, till they become the results of a purely psychological state. Thus, the reason why the element of mysticism assumes such a prominent part in those manifestations, and the strange explanations of the phenomena given, by fervent Spiritualists are easily accounted for.
While the second seance was taking place. Home had asked several times of the persons present, if they did not see something white standing between him and the table. But this something was visible to Home alone, or I may sooner say—existed only in his own imagination. Therefore there <... continues on page 2-10 >