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vol. 3, p. 106
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 3 (1875-1878)


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< Strange Powers of Spirits of Sleeping Mortals (continued from page 3-105) >

As a matter of fact, Mr. Gledstanes posed at 11.15 a.m. Paris time, which is 11.5 a.m. London time. On the first half of the plate then exposed is a faint image of me. The second half shows no trace of anything beside the sitter. The second exposure took place at 11.25 Paris, or 11.15 London time. The result is that on the first half of the plate appears a perfect likeness of myself, and on the second half the figure of an old man with clearly-marked features. My own face wears the appearance so hard to define, yet so familiar to all who have seen much of entranced persons. The eyes are closed, and the expression is that of a person in deep sleep. The figure is not, as is usually the case, close behind the sitter, but is apparently supported at some distance from him as though by a power external both to itself and to him. This is the exception in M. Buguet’s pictures. I have before me some sixty of them, and only in rare cases does the spirit stand away from the sitter. In almost all it extends its arm over the head of the sitter, as though it were drawing some influence or power from him, and generally the fluidic drapery covers the sitter’s head or some part of his body. In this case the figure is apart as though supported, as I learn was actually the case.

My own share in the business is soon described. I remained in bed in order to be at rest, and to be free from risk of disturbance. I woke shortly after 10.15 a.m., and lay in a dreamy state, half asleep and half awake, listening to the church bells ringing, until near eleven o’clock, when I became unconscious again. The bells were ringing as I lost note of what was passing, and the clock had not struck. I remember no more until 11.47 a.m., when I woke and looked at my watch. That three-quarters of an hour is an absolute blank, as is all the time during which I am entranced, if the trance-state is perfectly established. I remained in a condition of partial trance during the whole day. About 3.30 p.m. I went to Dr. Speer’s, and we had a sitting in the evening. My friends noticed, as soon as I went into the room, the peculiar expression which with me indicates partial entrancement. I did not lose that feeling until the following morning. The sitting was specially devoted to an address from a spirit who had not before controlled me, and nothing was said about the success of the photographic experiment until the next morning—Monday, about 6 a.m. When I woke I received at once a communication explaining what had been done, and telling me that at the last exposure a representation of myself appeared on one half of the plate, and on the other one of the spirits who had arranged and carried out the matter. He has communicated with me regularly for more than two years. He was on earth a sage who is historically known for his deep spiritual knowledge. Other points were noticed, with which I need not trouble your readers. Suffice it to say, that I elicited full particulars at 7 a.m. on Monday morning, and that each point was exactly corroborated by a letter which I received from Mr. Gledstanes from Paris, nine hours after, i.e. about 5 p.m.

The whole affair, sufficiently astonishing in its details and in the speculations to which it leads, I have recorded with literal exactness. There is no doubt whatever as to the fact that the spirit of a person whose body was lying asleep in London was photographed by M. Buguet in Paris. And there is no doubt that this is not a solitary instance. Nor do the communications which I have received respecting it from those who have never deceived me yet, leave any room for doubt that the spirit was actually present in the studio, and that the picture is not one of some image made up by the invisibles, as is sometimes the case.

I have only to add that a friend who frequently joins our seances, was so impressed with a sense of my presence about 11.25 a.m., on the Sunday, while sitting in his rooms near Bond-street, that he noted the fact, being impressed with it as curious because he was thinking of other matters. The communication which I received on Monday morning, detailed the attempts that had been made to impress a sense of my spiritual presence upon two friends, one of whom was the gentleman in question.

I have heard many cases of the trans-corporeal wanderings of spirit: and I have some in my own records. I hope one day to collect these, and by that time I hope that other photographic experiments may be successfully carried out. Meantime any of your readers who wish to see the photograph, or can favour me with records of experiences bearing upon it, are invited to communicate with me at Mr. Allen’s, your publisher.

M. A. (Oxon.)

February, 1875.

Ill-Fated Houses

Aubrey notes: The Kleece-tavern, in Covent-garden (in Yorkstreet), was very unfortunate for homicides. There have been several killed there in my time. It is now (1692) a private house. (From a note in a copy of Aubrey's Miscellanies, in the library of the Royal Society, we learn that Clifton, the master of the Fleece-tavern, hanged himself, having perjured himself).

At the sign of — over against Northumberland-house, Charing Cross, died the Lady Baynton, eldest daughter of Sir John Danvers of Dansey. Some years after, in the same house, died my Lady Hobbey, her sister, of the small-pox: and about twenty years after, died their nephew, Henry Danvers. Esq. of the small-pox, aged twenty-one, wanting two weeks.

English Notes

William H. Harrison, the editor of the London Spiritualist, has again been permitted to enter the cabinet with the materialized spirit “Lenore,” this time to touch, feel, and sec the human face. The materialisation stood by his left side; one of its hands rested on his shoulder, the other grasped his wrist and glided his hand twice over the human face. He says: 441 twice felt the nose, lips, and teeth of a warm living human face on that sofa, beyond all mistake whatever.”

Temporarily materialized spirits of this kind, robed in white drapery, and bearing some resemblance to their mediums, but differing from them in heighth and in other particulars- have been severely tested in the instance of Miss Cook’s mediumship, by the electrical and other experiments of Mr. Varley and Mr. Crookes, and have been authenticated by the testimony of several respectable people, including that of Mr, Crookes, who has seen the medium and the spirit together. In the case of the mediumship of Miss Showers: Mr. H. M. Dumphy, Mrs. Corner, Mrs. Ross-Church, editress of London Society, and others have given testimony that the medium and spirits possess separate materialized forms for the time being.

One very interesting feature of English Spiritualism is the associations which are formed in the various cities and towns for the purpose of investigation. “Association of Inquirers into Spiritualism” is the familiar title which often meets the eye in English Spiritual magazines; and in some of the reports of their meetings will be found news of the development of new mediums, or some remarkable phenomena. And then it gives the members an excellent opportunity to have a social gathering, at which readings, selections of music, &c., constitute a very pleasant entertainment for a winter’s evening.

A lecture on Sound was recently delivered at the Royal Institution, by Prof. Tyndall, and in several simple experiments he committed some very glaring errors. A scientific Spiritualist, who was present, comes out with a full statement, illustrated with diagram; showing the fallacy of certain deductions made by the Professor. The writer winds up by saying that the Royal Institution had better select a man educated in the severe and bracing school of Spiritualism to examine their experiments before they are submitted to the audiences.

A correspondent in The Medium is agitating the abolition of capital punishment in Great Britain, and urges the Spiritualists to be true to the belief and take up the subject with the determination to accomplish the result which he advocates.

Lottie Fowler, a prominent test clairvoyant medium of London, was present at one of the materialization seances given by Mrs. Showers. There were different voices of four spirits, and two materializations. She comments on the harmony necessary for the more perfect results, and says that under these conditions, for one hour the company had the privilege to talk and shake hands with the spirits who looked as like life as did the individuals sitting in the circle.

Unscientific Scientists

By Alfred Cridge.

“Those, who are unacquainted with the details of scientific investigations have no idea of the amount of labor expended in the determination of those numbers on which important calculations or interests depend.....There is a morality brought to bear upon such matters which, in point of severity, is probably without a parallel in any other domain of intellectual action. The desire for anything but the truth must be absolutely annihilated; and to attain perfect accuracy no labor must be shirked, no difficulty ignored. Thus, as regards the determination of the velocity of sound in air, hours might be filled with a single statement of the efforts' made to establish it with precision.”—Tyndall on Sound.

This is precisely the frame of mind applicable to the 1 investigation of any subject; and is, if possible, more necessary to the consideration of mental and spiritual, than of physical phenomena. Yet, has any noted man of science adverse to Spiritualism—have Tyndall, Huxley, Agassiz, Carpenter, or any lesser “lights” (“if the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness”) ever undertaken to investigate Spiritualism on the basis of a “morality without a parallel,” with the “desire for anything but the truth absolutely annihilated”? When they investigate it in this spirit, It is to be hoped they will be heard from. Meanwhile, their opinions as theories are valueless in comparison with those of un scientific people who “know that whereof they affirm.” The great trouble is that scientific men throw overboard all scientific methods the moment they undertake to investigate Spiritualism. They “shirk” the “labor” incidental to visiting a score or two of mediums, still more, that of developing mediums in their own families. They “ignore” the “difficult” conditions requisite to the phenomena, as well as the difficulties arising from the ignorance or the fraud of real or pretended mediums; and expect even thing connected with the subject to be at once made clear to them as the only alternative to an ex cathedra denunciation of the same as fraudulent and worthless.

“To the French and Dutch philosophers we owe the last refinements of experimental skill to the solution of the problem” of the velocity of sound in air. To what class, school, or nationality of “philosophers” have we to look for the “solution of the problems" appertaining to the relations of the spirit life with the present? We shall probably find it easier to make than to mend. Spiritualists should themselves become philosophers and scientists.

“In dealing with nature the mind must be on the alert to seize all her conditions; otherwise, we soon learn that our thoughts are not in accordance with her facts. — Tyndall on Sound.

This, again, is just where materialistic investigators miss it Their minds are not “on the alert to seize all her conditions.” They allege that Spiritualism will not stand scientific investigations, because the phenomena are not susceptible of reproduction when certain external conditions arc the same as those of other times and places where these phenomena are alleged to have transpired, ignoring the probable absence of other conditions, which may be mental or spiritual, as well as physical, a thought being as much a fact or a condition, as a thing.

Editor's notes

  1. Ill-Fated Houses by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 1, No. 25, February 25, 1875, p. 297
  2. English Notes by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 1, No. 23, February 11, 1875, p. 267
  3. Unscientific Scientists by Cridge, Alfred, Spiritual Scientist, v. 1, No. 23, February 11, 1875, p. 267