From Teopedia library
Jump to navigation Jump to search
vol. 3, p. 144
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 3 (1875-1878)


  • HPB note
  • HPB highlighted
  • HPB underlined
  • HPB crossed out
  • <Editors note>
  • <Archivist note>
  • Lost or unclear
  • Restored
<<     >>

< Our Rogues Gallery (continued from page 3-143) >

book that he nowhere endorses the moral character of the Holmeses, nor neglects one opportunity to show that his sole object was to discover if spirit-materialization occurred in his presence. Indeed, he distinctly says that he took it for granted that they had the disposition to cheat if they found it necessary; that they were clever enough to do it if they would; and that they might do it at any moment when his attention was relaxed. This is the attitude the Brooklyn people ought to have sustained.

Mrs. Holmes may say what she likes hereafter, and her effusive whitewashes may cover more columns with this thin but rosy Kalsomine wash. She cannot regain public confidence. The mere fact she went to Brooklyn with her prepared bag seems to indicate that her mediumship has left her, or at any rate, is so much impaired that she has no longer confidence in it.

This exposure warrants our stating the fact that the spirit John King, in a recent letter to an eminent literary gentleman of this State, repudiates all connection with the Holmeses. Can it be that his abandonment of them has made it necessary for her to resort to trickery?

Mrs. Guppy`s Flight

So much has been said about the alleged transportation of Mrs. Guppy by spirits, that it may be desirable to give here an authentic account of the circumstances under which it took place, especially as such examples of spirit power are not likely to be of frequent occurrence. If Philip was really carried away by spirits to Azotus (Acts viii. 39), the same laws of nature would permit of a similar manifestation of spirit-power in the present day. Nor is Mrs. Guppy's flight —though perhaps the most remarkable—by any means the only modern instance of the kind. Many professional mediums have been frequently carried from one room to another, and also longer distances. The following extract is from a letter which appeared in an English paper, the Echo, on the 8th of June, 1871, under the heading, “A Spiritual Draw.” The signature is “Hy,” but the editor, in a toot note, testifies that the writer is a “Manchester merchant of high respectability.” The account is from the pen of the gentleman who wrote the description of the foregoing seance. The writer informs us that the circle was held at the house of Messrs. Herne and Williams, professional mediums, and there were present three ladies and eight gentlemen, many of them strangers to Spiritualism. The room was darkened, and the doors locked: but the writer states that neither door nor window could have been opened without the admission of light from the outside being perceptible to the company present. After various phenomena, similar to those already described, some one asked “Katie” to bring something, whilst another observed in a joking sort of way, “I wish she would bring us Mrs. G.,” upon which another remarked, “Good gracious, I hope not; she is one of the biggest women in London.” The writer thus proceeds: —

“Katie’s voice at once said, ‘I will, I will, I will,’ and John King's rough voice shouted out. ‘You can't do it Katie,’ but she appeared to chuckle and repeat, ‘I will, I will.’ We were all laughing and joking at the absurdity of the idea, when John’s voice called out. ‘Keep still, can’t you? In an instant somebody called out, ‘Good God! there is something on my head,’ simultaneously with a heavy bump on the table and one or two screams. A match was instantly struck, and there was Mrs. G. standing on the centre of the table with the whole of us seated round the table, closely packed together, as we sat at the commencement. Both doors were still locked. Our attention was, however, directed to Mrs. G. who appeared to be in a trance and perfectly motionless. Great fears were entertained that the shock would be injurious to her, supposing it to be really Mrs. G., and not some phantom in her image; but John’s voice called out, ‘She will soon be all right.’ She had one arm over her eves, with a pen in her hand, and an account book in her other hand, which was hanging by her side. When she came round, she seemed very much affected, and began to cry. She told us that the last thing she could remember was that she was sitting at home, about three miles away, making up her week’s accounts of household expenditure, and that Miss N. was in the room with her reading the paper. The ink in the pen was wet, and the last word she had written, or rather began, to write, for it was one or two letters short of completion, was smeared and scarcely dry. From the joking remark about bringing Mrs. G. to the time that she was on the table, three minutes did not elapse. The possibility of her being concealed in the room ft as absurd as the idea of her acting in collusion with the media. After she had quite recovered, she sat with us, and the lights were extinguished. Heaps of dowers were strewn all over the table. Leaves from a horse chestnut tree, with moisture on them as though just sprinkled by a shower of rain, and apparently just wrenched from the tree, were also brought in large quantities.”

“After the seance was over, three of us offered to escort Mrs. G. home, so that enquiries might be made at her house before she would have time to say what had been done; although, as I have before said, the idea of collusion seemed preposterous. These inquiries were answered in a way to convince us that Mrs. G. was really sitting in the room with Miss N. at the time that one of us wished her to be brought. Mr. G. also bore testimony to the fact that Mrs. G. had been, shortly before her disappearance, up to the billiard room, where he was playing a game with a visitor, who also spoke to the circumstances.”

The foregoing are the unvarnished facts connected with the marvellous transportation of Mrs. Guppy. We could, if necessary, add testimony as to the truthfulness and respectability of the writer. That the events related took place, is beyond doubt. The reader must please himself how he explains the manner in which they were brought about.

Not all the Spirits from the Summer Land the testimony of old Jehrred himself came to see ... the above. Fraud, fraud and ...

The Sleeping Girl of Turville

Turville is a small village about ten miles from Wycombe, and not very far from Henley-on-Thames. It lies in a hollow between two chalk hills, and in summer we should say the situation would be extremely pleasant. Hut it is, after all, a veritable “Sleepy Hollow” in itself; and the wonder is, that there are not more cases of a similar kind to the one we are about to describe. The old ivy-grown parish church is a relic of the far distant past; the sign-board of the principal “public” has grown rusty, and does not now swing in the wind as it used to do; the blacksmith’s anvil, at the time of our visit, was silent, and instead of the flame of the forge and the roar of the bellows, a sleepy looking boy, and a dog in the arms of Morpheus, were all that met our view. Not another soul was visible—in fact everybody seemed to be, or perhaps was asleep. And yet the sun shone gloriously over all, and tinted the surrounding landscape with ever-varying shades of rural beauty. Indeed, but for the thrush in one of the old trees in the parish chnrchyard, that poured forth a perfect Hood of song, we should have fairly concluded that we had entered dreamland, or had found out the spot which Rip Van Winkle loved so well. By dint, however of questioning the half dormant youth aforesaid, we found out the abode of “the sleeping girl;” but in reply to our questions, and those of a medical friend whom we accompanied on our visit, the youth only pointed; he seemed too dull and sleepy to speak. And when asked to hold the horse, he did so mechanically, and still without a word; so that the first conviction that we had really reached “Sleepy Hollow” was rather deepened than otherwise.

On reaching the door of the cottage, the occupant, a Mrs. Frewen, came out, and politely asked our business. On being informed that we wished to see her daughter, she, —after ascertaining that the one was a medical gentleman, and the other was something else—led the way to the “humble cot,” where, as her mother solemnly averred, Ellen Sadler, the subject of the present notice, had lain asleep, “for four years, come March next.” Sure enough there lay a girl on the bed, apparently about sixteen years of age, and sound asleep. The breathing appeared perfectly natural, and the whole features and form were in a state of complete repose. She lies on her left side with her hand on the pillow below her head; and there is no motion of the body whatever, except what is caused by the apparent inhalation and exhalation of the breath. Apparent, we say—for it is a singular thing that you may put your ear as close as you can to the girl's mouth, and yet not the slightest sound of breathing is perceptible—as is always the case when a healthy person is asleep. The aspect of the features is quite pleasant—in fact very much so; and not at all like that of a person laboring under any form of disease. Calm and perfect repose sit enthroned, and the whole surroundings are in keeping. But after you have sat for a little time and gazed on the “death in life” so vividly stamped on the pale face before you, the mind at once begins to try the case pro and con; and then comes the, to us, extraordinary part of the whole story. Many medical men of eminence, from England, Scotland, Ireland, and also from America, have visited the cottage—have studied the case minutely—have sent experienced nurses to watch; and all have come away baffled, and not convinced one way or the other. Some have openly asserted that the whole thing is a hoax, kept up by the family, for the. purpose of extorting money. Others are satisfied that a mystery of some sort hangs over the case, which even the most learned cannot unravel. There the matter stands, and is likely to continue.

A few notes of the case, taken carefully from the statements; made by the mother of the girl, may not be without interest. Ellen Sadler, was born in March, 1859, and is the tenth of a family of twelve, the last, twins. Her father has been dead some years; and the mother has married again, which accounts for the difference in the names. When a very young child, her mother states that she was very thoughtful, and not inclined to join in the more boisterous sports of her yonthful companions. She would sit by the fireside for hours, apparently thinking. She was a good girl —attended and loved the Sunday School—and had a very great reverence for all things sacred—particularly the Bible. Her father was sometimes given to taking “a drop too much,” and when he would come home at night in this state, the little thing gave him lectures, and in fact spoke like “a good book” to him. When the subject of our sketch got a little on in years, like all the children of the laboring class, she was sent away to earn something. Her destination was Marlow, where she had the charge of two little children. After she had been there for some time, she complained of her head, and her mistress sent her home. The local medical man examined her, and it was found that an abscess was forming on the back of the head, near the nape of the neck. Under his advice, Ellen was sent to Reading Hospital, where she was treated for the disease' which, however, developed itself in another part of the head, and, if we remember rightly, in the arm. After being three weeks in hospital she was sent home, but in a poor state of health. Then commenced the development of the disease— if disease it is—from which she seems to be at present suffering. She became weary, listless, careless of everything, and, finally took to her bed. She was at first afflicted with hysterics, more or less violent and evanescent; and these returned with greater violence when the state of somnolency began to develope itself. While in bed she frequently spoke to her mother, and several times asked her if she did not hear sweet bells ringing! One afternoon in March, 1871, she was more than usually depressed—had, in fact slept much of the day; but towards afternoon she woke up and said, “Oh mother, dear, don’t you hear the sweet music? —listen!” Of course the mother replied that she did not hear anything. Thereupon Ellen repeated the question, adding, “It is the music of Heaven I" She then threw her arms over the bed-clothes, and calling out, “Oh mother, never leave me!” she fell asleep, and as the mother distinctly asserts, has never since awoke, or given any sign of life except breathing. And there she now lies, in general appearance and outward manifestations apparently bearing out the statement.

During all these long years a constant watch has been kept on the sleeping girl both day and night. The mother is by no means averse to any fair test being applied in order to ascertain whether her daughter is m a trance or not. She will not allow the girl to be pulled about in any way; but she has allowed the use of galvanism (without knowing what was being done,) but no visible effect has resulted from anything which has yet been tried. The pulse on the day of our visit was 108, very fast for either natural sleep or coma, or even a healthy person of her age. The pulse from 14 to 21 years is 75 to 85 per minute. The respirations were 20 per minute, which is about the normal standard for a girl of the age of Ellen Sadler. The temperature of the body as ascertained by the thermometer was 88-60, or 3 above that of a healthy person. The breathing, as we have already said, is perfectly visible, but inaudible, and the teeth are quite rigid. The body towards the lower part is very much emaciated, and the appearance of the feet and legs, more like that of a corpse than a living body. The hands have quite the natural color, but there is no flush on the cheek. The countenance is pale, but it is not the paleness of death. She Is, in bet, rather a pleasant looking girl, than otherwise. The manner in which she is fed is by pouring a little port wine, mixed with sugar, into the mouth at a broken tooth, on the left side of the head. A little milk is sometimes given when it is quite fresh, and occasionally a small quantity of tea. The head is raised by the mother from the pillow, lifted gently on one side, and the liquid given three times a day. About half a pint of wine per week is the quantity used, in addition to the milk and tea. No difference in this diet is ever made now; and no experiments are tried; the case has come to be regarded as chronic; and the meals of the sleeping girl are looked on as part of the daily household arrangements. Only once, at the instigation of a medical min, a change was made. A little brandy and water was poured down the orifice between the teeth, and the effect was almost instantly apparent; the face became flushed all over, and marked with pink spots; and from this and other symptoms—such as the vomiting up of a quantity of black, fetid stuff of very offensive smell—the experiment was not again resorted to. At this time the teeth had not become rigid, and the mouth could be opened; now all the symptoms are supposed to have settled down, and point to a permanent trance, only to be relieved by death; such, at least, is the opinion of those who look on the case as a bona fide trance, or long continued sleep. — The Wycombe (Eng.,) Telegraph, Feb., 5th.

Our French Martyr

Something That Every Freeman Will Read with Indignation

The following letter from M. Leymarie, of the Revue Spirite to M. Agramonte of New York, is the one promised last Week. It has been carefully translated for the Spiritual Scientist. Various fruitless attempts have been made in this country to imprison mediums, to placate the outraged feelings of our “Young Christians;’’ but in Paris, the boasted centre of civilization, they have written the word “Felon” upon the forehead of a gentleman of irreproachable character, whose only offense was, that he published a newspaper that menaced the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. — Editor Spiritual Scientist.

Paris, July 13, 1875.

To M. F. Agramonte, New York.

Friend and Brother: —You will receive in a few days pamphlets from 120 to 150 pages each, containing a full shorthand report of our trial. You will not find therein the falsehoods of interested newspapers and journals, all of which are more or less bought up and bribed by the Jesuits; neither are they written in the spirit of those materialistic periodicals which dread the truths of Spiritualism far more, if possible, than all the united bands of priests, magistrates and professors of the Universities and Academies.

Yes, Brother, you will find therein the truth; and I advise you to read the pamphlet attentively if you would fully understand the hatred which inspired the final decisions of the Court. In the appendix, which follows the description of the trial, notice particularly all the correspondence of Buguet there are upwards of two hundred affirmative testimonials about the photographs, coming from the most respectable persons. It will be found as edifying as it is curious, and our brothers of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and other places, will see that I have been incarcerated and kept in solitary confinement at the prison of Mazas, like a common thief, for a month, while Buguet passed but eight days in prison; furthermore, that they hardly gave me time to prepare for my defence by getting together the documents and testimony so necessary for such a serious trial.

No, they did not, for I was sentenced beforehand, as being at the head of the Journal of the Spiritual Society; they brought Buguet and Firman like two thieves, and I was placed between them as the Christ doomed, the same as he was, to a premeditated judgment.

P. G. Leymarie.

Editor's notes

  1. Mrs. Guppy`s Flight by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 24, August 19, 1875, p. 281
  2. The Sleeping Girl of Turville by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 1, No. 26, March 4, 1875, p. 309-10
  3. Our French Martyr by Leymarie, P. G., Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 22, August 5, 1875, p. 259