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vol. 3, p. 154
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 3 (1875-1878)
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< Strange Powers Manifested. – Physical Effects Produced by Spirit of a Mesmeric Sensitive (continued from page 3-153) >

powers are possessed by the spirits of mediums while their bodies are entranced, and what results may they not possibly produce under the influence of the wills of the observers, if not by their own volition, in the other state of consciousness? Scores of arguments both for and against the spirit theory may be founded upon the valuable mass of new facts which is coming in like a flood upon the students of psychology.


A Reincarnated Baby

Here is a curious experience which has occurred through the mediumship of my second son, aged three years. Some time before his birth, spirits announced to me that the child would be gifted with powerful medial faculties: and many very singular physical manifestations which have occurred in his presence, at different times, have confirmed me in the faith that I had in their word. I was given to understand that, several ages ago, this child was incarnated in England, where he gave himself up to the practice of necromancy, alchemy, and astrology, by means of which much evil accrued, and which at length brought upon him a miserable death. His present incarnation, I am assured, is accorded in order to give him an opportunity of repairing the evil which he committed long ago, by contributing to the building up the Spiritist temple at which we are working, by means of the medial powers which he has brought with him as a legacy from his last incarnation. All this is logical, and entirely in agreement with our notions respecting the object of reincarnation. Well then, some weeks back, the child was playing and prattling in my study, when I suddenly heard him talking about England, concerning which country nobody, to my knowledge, had ever spoken to him. This roused my attention, and I asked him if he knew what England meant? He answered me: “Oh yes: it is a country where I was a very, very long time ago.’’

Q. Were you a little boy then as you are now? —A. Oh no: I was tall, taller than you are, and I had a long beard!

Q. Were mamma and I with you then? —A. No; I had another papa and another mamma:

Q. And what were you doing? —A. I played a good deal with fire, and once I burnt myself so that I died.

I think you must acknowledge that if even all this is no other than a child’s reverie, yet that the coincidence is sufficiently strange to make one believe that reminiscences may come even to a child in his play.

Some weeks back, the same little boy went to his mother in the morning, telling her that hit grandmother, (whom he had only seen when a baby of some months old, therefore of whom he could have had no recollection) had come to her and that he had seen her well and had heard her. Now it so happened, that my wife had been dreaming much about her mother, who had died some months previously. What think you of this?

Emile de W***

Vevey, Dec., 1874.

Grace Greenwood

Her Opinion of Mediums and of Spiritualism

Writing to the New York Herald, Grace Greenwood says, “In a late Sunday's issue I noticed an ably written article on 'Modern Spiritualism,’ in which appears the following challenge: —

‘If Mr. Slade will permit me to take an ordinary double slate to his bouse, place a piece of pencil in it, and put it on the table—he may put his fingers on it for the sake of the magnetism, or do anything except put it under the table, where I can’t see it—and will then cause to be made thereon a single mark three inches long, or to be written a single word, I will take back every aspersion I have cast on him, and publicly acknowledge my error. So sure am I that this can't be done, that I will make him a present of $50 to accomplish such a result, and acknowledge that I have been mistaken in him.’

Now, I have no special interest in the matter in dispute, but I like to see justice done and Christian charity extended even to ministers and mediums, and so am moved to state that during a sitting at Dr. Slade's last Spring, I had this very test several times repeated. In fact, there was no writing for me “under the table.” All was done on the table, in broad daylight, under my eye, and under my hand. At one time I placed in the double slate two closely folded notes sent to me to be used as tests, of the contents of which I knew nothing; nor did I know the names of the persons or intelligences to whom they were addressed. These two notes were immediately and correctly answered on the slate with the right signatures, as I ascertained on unfolding and reading them. The medium, by the way, had not even touched these notes; his hand during the mysterious writing had rested lightly on the slate, which I grasped tightly while listening intently to the scratching of the tiny bit of pencil within.

As for the other famous mediums, Messrs. Foster and Mansfield, I will not say that they never cheat in their business, after the manner of business men, but I will say that they have not cheated me; perhaps because, though wary and watchful, I did not set out to cheat them. Test questions carefully prepared beforehand and not written on thin paper, and not unfolded, have been satisfactorily answered by or through them; and such facts are of more account to me, than the startling phenomena of raps, furniture moving, and the grasp of invisible hands. I do not pretend to be an investigator of Spiritualism. I have given to the matter very little time. Almost all the opportunities I have had for witnessing its strange manifestations have been accidental; but I know what I have seen, and heard and felt. I have here given a little of my own experience, and, as grand old Horace Greeley once said, “I propose to stand by it.”

In the desire which “Inquirer” expresses to believe in Spiritualism, he is, doubtless, honest, but he is perhaps unfortunate in a peculiar physical organization, which renders it impossible for him to obtain the results which he has sought, out despairs of, and so doubts that such things can be.”

Of a large household in this city only one member is so charged with electricity this severe weather, that he can light the gas with the tip of his finger. All the others have tried in vain, but they do not doubt his exceptional and “matchless’’ power of ignition. “Seeing is believing.” We must accept most of the marvels of science—countless geographical discoveries, the very vital truths of our religion, on the testimony of others. And in spite of your correspondent’s earnest assertion his “faith” is in a thousand matters founded on some “other man’s statement.”

A New Religion

Thomas L. Harris has established at Brocton, Chatauqua county, N. Y., a new society known as the Brotherhood of the New Life, at Salem-on-Erie. Mr. Harris is well known to every Spiritualist. For the information of others it may be said; that he is of English birth, now fifty odd years of age, was brought to this country in infancy, became a writer for the press while a boy, next a Universalist minister, then a public lecturer, and in 1857 a prominent trance speaker. His poems, “The Lyric of the Golden Age,” and “The Lyric of the Morning Land,” dictated while in a state of profound trance, are of absorbing interest. Mr. Harris has had a most strange experience with bad spirits and occult forces, being brought into severe temptations and spiritual conflicts with demons Through superior aid he has triumphed over them, and as a special result of this event he gained the power of internal respiration, so that he breathes “with equal ease and freedom the atmosphere of either of the three heavens, and is enabled to be present without the suspension of the natural degree of consciousness, with the angelic societies, whether of the ultimate, the spiritual or the celestial degree.” The new religion, for which Mr. Harris claims to have been personally selected by Jesus Chaist, has many doctrines and notions. Mystics and Spiritualists will find much that is familiar, although the latter will decidedly object to the supreme power, of this special representative of the Lord. The number of persons in the various counties who are attached to the Brotherhood of the New Life is about 2000.

Queen Victoria and the Spiritual Phenomena

The London Examiner contains a communication, from which it appears that Major General C. S. Showers, lately political agent at the Courts of Oodeypore and Gwalior, and brother of General St George D. Showers, whose career in India is a matter of history, wrote in 1873 to Queen Victoria, concerning the mediumship of his daughter. He spoke of some very extraordinary spiritualistic manifestations through her power, and suggested that it might interest Her Majesty to witness them. Sir Thomas Biddulph acknowledged the receipt of it by directions of the Queen. Subsequently Prince Albert of Solms Braunfell, a cousin of Her Majesty, testified that on entering the cabinet where Miss Showers was lying unconscious, he, in company with other guests, saw and felt two spirits by her side.

Editor's notes

  1. image by unknown author
  2. A Reincarnated Baby by unknown author (signed as W***, Emily de), Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 2, March 18, 1875, p. 22
  3. Grace Greenwood by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 2, March 18, 1875, p. 22
  4. A New Religion by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 5, No. 15, December 14, 1876, p. 165
  5. Queen Victoria and the Spiritual Phenomena by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 5, No. 15, December 14, 1876, p. 160