From Teopedia library
Jump to navigation Jump to search
vol. 3, p. 158
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 3 (1875-1878)
<<     >>

< The Facts and the Opposition (continued from page 3-157) >

occurred if I had been there,’ or he smiles and says, ‘Ah, indeed!’ and thinks you are a fool. If you press the point, and ask him to explain it, and tell him the details, and show him that his explanation does not accord with the facts, he assumes at once that you were incapable of investigation, that you were humbugged, or that you lie. Humbug is the great word he uses—a very expansive one. which means anything or nothing. If you reply, ‘How humbugged? Where is the humbug? Point it out—I desire to know it as much as you,’ he declines to particularize and prefers the generalization of—Humbug.”

From the Odd Fellows' Banner

Mistery of Dreams

It is related that a man fell asleep as the clock tolled the first stroke of twelve. He awakened ere the echo of the twelfth stroke had died away, having in the interval dreamed that he had committed a crime, was detected after five years, tried, and condemned; the shock of finding the halter about his neck aroused him to consciousness, when he discovered that all these events had happened in an infinitesimal fragment of time.

Mohammed wishing to illustrate the wonders of sleep (told how a certain man began a sheik, found himself, for his pride, made a poor fisherman; that he lived as one for sixty years, brought up a family and worked hard; and how, upon waking up from this long dream, so short a time had he been asleep that the narrow-necked gourd bottle filled with water, which he knew he overturned as he fell asleep, had not time in which to empty itself.

How fast the soul travels when the body is asleep! Often when we wake we shrink from going back into the dull routine of a sordid existence, regretting the pleasanter life of dreamland. How is it when we sometimes go to a strange place we fancy that we have seen it before? Is it possible that when one has been asleep the soul floated away, seen the place, and has that memory of it which so surprises us? In a word, how far dual is the life of man, how far not?

Divination Among the Natives of the Zambesi

The following extract from a letter recently tent home by a gentleman who has gone to South Africa for both health and sport.

“A very curious incident now occurred. I am half afraid to tell you about it, for you trill certainly ridicule me. I’m not exactly superstitious, and before I came up here I should have been the first to laugh at anything of the kind; but now— though I don’t say anything about my belief— I confess I 'm fairly puzzled. The case is this: —The natives about here have a system of “divining’ by throwing certain curiously marked pieces of ivory—three in number—shaped like key-labels, and about an inch and a half in length. These they rattle in their hands for some time, muttering probably some charm, and asking out loud, repeatedly, the question to which they want an answer. Then they throw the “bones’ down on the ground, and according to the manner in which they fall, so the professors of the art give their auguries. This, no doubt, sounds very ridiculous in your enlightened ears (excuse the bull about ears and light). But wait a bit. I have said that Robertson left Daeka on the 8th, intending, if he met with any sport, to stay six weeks or so, in the hill country, which begins thirty miles, or so, to the west of Daeka.

“On the 21st [Aug. 1874], Jim, the Mabiquer, who was so seriously wounded by an elephant during the river trip when I went down for corn, and who was a great professor with the bones – on the 21st, early in the morning, Jim went through his performances throwing his bones repeatedly. He then announced that Robertson was coming back to Daeka, that he would be back that afternoon about three o’clock, that he had shot elephants (no number specified), and that he was walking very fast, as though in a hurry. Jim had been right once or twice before, so I paid particular attention to this announcement At three o'clock Robertson returned! bringing with him the tusks of two elephants he had shot l No sooner was he in the house than he asked for something to eat, saying he felt done up, having started that morning before sunrise, and having walked steadily on to camp without even stopping to cook breakfast He had walked about five-and-twenty miles, and at the time Jim pronounced his augury Robertson was literally walking very fast as if in a great hurry. It seems that be had felt unwell whilst in the veldt and feared a relapse of the fever, from such a sharp attack of which he suffered when I was buying corn. He, therefore, returned to Daeka, not caring to risk an illness out in the bush.

“Now what do you think of Jim's remarkably precise divination? Remember he had no possible means of knowing what Robertson was doing—no strangers had been to the camp who could give him news about Robertson, and Robertson’s return was quite unexpected. I was fairly puzzled! Now you will probably say that this was merely a remarkable coincidence, or a very lucky guess on Jim's part. But listen to thin. There was another professor among our boys. I took notes of thirteen cases which came under my own personal observation. Jim threw five times, Tom eight times. Their auguries involved thirty distinct statements of which five were distinct unambiguous prophecies (one of which I mention below), and the only error in the whole thirty statements was this: Jim said on the 22d that John would be back on the following day early—pointing to where the sun would be at nine a. m. John came back next day, but did not reach camp till one o’clock. This was the only inaccuracy in the whole thirteen cases of divination.

“I can’t spare space to mention the particulars of all these auguries in a letter, but I mean to write a full account of them, and having stated the facts, leave others to form their own opinions.”

* * * * * * *

“Next day August went out on bis own account in one direction and I went another way. Tom threw the bones— “acuta” they call them—and prophesied that August would shoot first a cow [elephant], then a big bull, and then a smaller bull, and he added that in each case, if August were not very sharp, the Mabiquers, who had guns, would be too quick for him, and would put in the first shot. Now, by the hunter’s rules, the man who first wounds the elephant—no matter how slightly—is said to kill him, and claims the ivory. As the boys were hunting for me, it did not matter a straw who killed the elephants; but August naturally wanted to have the credit of doing so, and he had such faith in the prophecy that he asked me to give special orders to the Mabiquers not to fire before him. t did so. A week afterwards August joined me again at another skarm. He and his party had shot first a cow, then a big bull, (50 lbs one tusk), then a smaller bull; but in each case, in spite of my orders, the Mabiquers were too quick for him, and got the first shot! Was that merely a curious coincidence?”

* * * * * * *

“That night Tom threw the bones, and prophesied that next day I should shoot a bull elephant, and August would shoot another, and that this time August would get the first shot at his. Next morning we went out with nine Kaffirs and five guns. . . . [The prophecy was fulfilled.] I went back in triumph to the skarm, where I had left Tom, the prophet, in charge. He did not seem at all elated with the success of his prediction! but took it quite as a matter of course."

[A gun had been stolen, Samiland and two others had been sent to their Kraal—too miles away—to look after the thief. Robertson and Andries were off hunting.]

“On Sept. 13th Jim threw the bones, and announced that Robertson would return that afternoon, and that Andries would return on the third from that, both with ivory. Robertson and Andries came back, as foretold, and both with ivory! On the 18th Jim threw again. He said that Samiland had found the thief, had got the gun, and was coming back, but was not bringing the thief with him; he was far off, would sleep three nights more in the bush, and would be back on the fourth day. And he was perfectly correct! Now, on the 18th, Samiland was just leaving Wankie's Kraal, where he found the thief, and was therefore quite a hundred miles away. These are facts; let those account for them who may.”

I offer no comment on the foregoing statements; the writer is a gentleman of the highest integrity, not given to any superstitious belief, and his testimony to the existence and mode of divination in Africa, regarded simply as the record of a savage custom, is of singular interest No doubt odd coincidences account for a good deal of the success of the predictions, but it seems difficult to explain them all in this way. Is it possible that some sort of supersensuous perception was possessed by the diviner of which possibly we get occasional glimpses elsewhere? On this question I am anxions to seek for further evidence. Can any of your readers help me?

W. F. B.

Francis Gerry Fairfield on Electricity and Spiritualism

There are some facts that tend to the conclusion that electricity has some part in certain phenomena associated with Spiritualism. I will detail an experiment which is, I believe, original with me. How it would work in other cases I cannot say. Supplying myself with a stool high enough, so that I can rest my feet on the cross-piece without fatigue, I place a solid disc of glass, or saltcellar, under each leg, and thus in sulate myself. In the course of three minutes my face becomes suffused with blood, prickling sensations run along the arms, and a peculiar mental exaltation supervenes. After sitting ten minutes thus insulated, if I put my hand on a table the contact is followed by rappings, the finger or fingers in contact with the board tingling in a very peculiar manner. It would be very stupid, however, to assume from an experiment like this, which can be readily explained by electricity, that the physiology of table-tipping cap "be comprehensively explained in this way; so that our position as respects Spiritualism must for the present remain this, that certain extraordinary psychic states and certain extraordinary exhibitions of force are occasionally associated with the seances of mediums; that these psychic states and those exhibitions of force are constanly associated with extraordinary, and, I think, morbid states of the nervous centres; that mediums of highly cerebral temperament can only produce phenomena of the trance clast, while mediums of strong vital temperament are only susceptible of phenomena of the more startling type ; that the trance class are cerebral in their origin, and the tabletipping class spinal in their origin; that the existence of a neurotic tendency can invariably be verified in cases where the phenomena are genuine; but that, finally, the subject presents certain problems that cannot be explained by reference to any such experiments as Hammond describes, granting that his experiments are not as mythical as his pathology of hydrophobia appears to have been.

From the Boston Herald

A Haunted House

Excitement at Lynn – Mysterious Raps and Thumps – A Clergyman Called in

There is considerable excitement in Woodend, Lynn, over a “haunted house.” It is the property of Maurice Bresnahan, in Fayette court, and the people in the locality affirm that for several nights strange noises have been heard in the second story, which is not occupied. The noise, as of schuffling, heavy walking or dancing, and loud thumps, are heard all the way from eight to twelve o'clock at night, and for the past few evenings people have congregated about the house to listen to the strange manifestations, which can be distinctly heard. The lower story is occupied by a family by the name of Fitzgerald, and their indifference to the noises has awakened suspicion that all is not right with them, or in other words, that they are committing these manifestations with some end in view. Mr. Bresnahan has gone so far as to send for Rev. Foster Harrington, of St. Joseph's (Catholic) Church. The reverend gentleman expresses his opinion that the affair is connected in some way with the Fitzgerald family. He advised Mr Bresnahan to sprinkle sand on the floors and lock the doors, and this was tried, last evening, and nothing was heard, nor was there a foot track in the sand. Rev. Mr Harrington is of the opinion that the whole thing will be exposed in a few days. Crowds of people are watching every night to detect any irregularity.

Editor's notes

  1. Mistery of Dreams by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 5, No. 8, October 26, 1876, p. 91
  2. Divination Among the Natives of the Zambesi by unknown author (signed as W. F. B.), Spiritual Scientist, v. 5, No. 8, October 26, 1876, p. 92
  3. Francis Gerry Fairfield on Electricity and Spiritualism by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 5, No. 8, October 26, 1876, p. 94
  4. A Haunted House by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 5, No. 8, October 26, 1876, p. 94