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vol. 3, p. 169
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 3 (1875-1878)


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The past was but the preface to the story
In which the romance of our lives is wrought ;
The deeds that win imperishable glory
Live scarcely in our thought.

Photographing Invisible Objects

My Dear Monsieur Leymarie,—On the 15th of this month my familiar spirit begged me to go to Buguet's on Wednesday at eleven o’clock, desiring, so it asserted, to do something for me in broad daylight. At the hour fixed I arrived at Buguet’s with the medium, not knowing what was to take place. My idea was that it would be a materialization of my familiar spirit to give me her portrait I asked the spirit, “What are we to do?” The spirit replied through the medium, “Buguet will pose you as usual.” Before commencing, Buguet said to the spirit, “Have you anything to say to me?” Answer; “I shall be able to come very well to-day, and shall make a beautiful present to my good Julien, for I love him much; I am adorning my head, in order to look my best.” When all was ready, I sat. The operation terminated, Buguet and I went down to develop the negative. What was our astonishment at finding no appearance on the plate the size of which was very large indeed. Not only was there no spirit, but my portrait and the table on which I was leaning ought certainly to have made an appearanee. We asked through the medium the cause of this. Answer: “Because what we wished to offer our good Julien—Clarita and I —was not then sufficiently materialized, and I obstructed the light before the lens entirely so that nothing should appear. We are working at this moment to finish our present.” “Will the present be ready at the moment of my pose?” “Yes.”

The operation was finished, and at the moment that Buguet put on the cap, there fell from the roof of the glazed chamber, touching my head in its fall, a beautiful crown of exquisite flowers, fifty centimetres in diameter. The spirit had thrown it on me as soon as the sitting was over. On the development of the plate, I obtained a magnificent proof of the presence of my familiar spirit; her hair is floating and she carries her beautiful crown in her hand. I have had the model which she left me photographed. This is a very interesting case, in this sense;—1st. This beautiful crown was materialized by the spirit, was held near my head during the sitting, and yet was not seen by any one. 2nd. This crown, not being ready at my first sitting, the spirit shut out the light entirely, so has to hinder the reproduction of the objects placed in front of the lens; which fact, I imagine, can only be conceived to have taken place through the light being excluded by an opaque body.—While awaiting the time when they may please to enlighten us, let us be content to admire the power accorded by God to superior spirits.

I have since found that the present was this fine portrait of the spirit, she holding in her hand a beautiful crown of real flowers, which she left for me at parting, and which 1 shall always preserve.

Feeling sure that this fact will interest you, 1 hasten to impart it, leaving you the liberty of publishing it if you think fit.— Comte de Bullet, Paris, Feb. 19th, Hotel d’Athenee Rue Scribe.

A Curios Case

In The Bozeman (Montana Ter.) Times, appears the following report of a committee whose duties are fully set forth in its opening paragraph.

“The Committee which was requested by Mr. Mounts to visit his house and examine into the condition of his little boy, who was said to have swallowed a pin, and which,by spirit influence (x), was to make its appearance at a certain spot indicated by Mr. Mounts, within the period, of three weeks, did in the early part of the present month examine the child. It found the child to all appearances, healthy. Called again on Sunday. 14th inst., at the house of Mr. Perkins, where the child was; found some slight eruptions on the skin, and pressure on the place caused pain. Called again Wednesday, 17th, found the child still fretful and restless. The spot indicated as the exit place of the pin having at that time a red surface, about the size of the palm of the hand, such as might be produced by a mustard plaster; the child seemed to be in more pain than at former visits; did not see any indications of pin coming out. Early on the morning of the 19th, were called to witness the extraction of the pin, as we were informed it would come out between the hours of eight and nine A. M. At that time there was a slight opening at the place formerly indicated. The Committee have no personal knowledge of how the opening was made. At the time appointed for the pin to come out, the child was laid upon its back, and, on examination, something like the blunt point of a pin was seen. Its course could lie traced with the eye for about a quarter of an inch. The forceps or tweezers were applied, and a headless pin extracted, the large or blunt point being the one presented to the surface, and having an inward inclination. The pin was extracted without apparent pain to the child. Under all the circumstances, the Committee do not feel inclined, or deem it their duty to pass upon the merits of the case. They simply present the facts as they came under their observation, and to their knowledge, and in a matter where honest differences of opinion are so diverse, they prefer that each one may draw his or her inference from the facts presented. Nor is it possible for this Committee to discuss the Question and present every phase of it to the public as it developed itself to them. Of one thing the Committee are sure—that no fraud was perpetrated or attempted under their eyes. They were allowed the most unrestricted liberty in examining the child—had access to it at all times Were invited to be present and see oftener than we did, and were advised, when practicable, when there was any change in the condition of the child. That no obstacles were ever thrown in our way by the parties to a close and rigid examination. Regret that on the morning of the 19th there were so many others than the Committee present, as it seriously interfered with their duties.”

Signed by: S. W. Langhorne, Charles Rich, Walter Cooper, S. B. Bowen, Jas. D. Chesnut.

(x) ?!!

Minority Report

“Acting, by your request, as a Committee to examine into the condition of your little boy, who, it was said, had swallowed a pin, which would be extracted by spirit influence through the mediumship of your wife, do say: That we visited your child in the early part of this month, at which time you exhibited the child to us, and designated the spot where the pin was to make its appearance. We called in a body and examined the child several times between the 1st and 19th of the month, and on the 17th and afterwards the skin about the place designated was red and irritated. On the 19th we called in a body, at your request, and were informed that the pin would appear between the hours of eight and nine A. M. About nine o’clock the child was produced, and, on examination, something could be seen in a slight opening of the skin, which looked like the end of a pin. A pair of tweezers was produced, and the object, which was easily taken hold of, was drawn carefully out, and proved to be a headless pin, with perfect point. And your Committee do further say that there were no restrictions placed upon them or their visits and that they called and examined the child as often as they thought was necessity.

C. Edwards.

Alfred Russell Wallace on Immortality

In Miracles and Modem Spiritualism, we find the following, illustrative of the religious position of Mr. Wallace when he began to inquire into Spiritualism: —

“During twelve years of tropical wanderings, occupied in the study of natural history, I heard occasionally of the strange phenomena said to be occurring in America and Europe under the general names of “table-turning” and “spirit-rappings;” and being aware, from my own knowledge of mesmerism, that there were mysteries connected with the human mind which modern science ignored because it could not explain, I determined to seize the first opportunity on my return home to examine into these matters. It is true, perhaps, that I ought to state that for twenty-five years, I had been an utter skeptic as to the existence of any preter-human or superhuman intelligences, and that I never for a moment contemplated the possibility that the marvels related by Spiritualists, could be literally true. If I have now changed my opinion, it is simply by the force of evidence. It is from no dread of annihilation that I have gone into this subject; it is from no inordinate longing for eternal existence that I have come to believe in facts which render this highly probable, it they do not actually prove it. At least three times within the last twenty-five years. I have had to face death as imminent or probable within a few hours, and what I felt on those occasions, was at most a gentle melancholy at the thought of quitting this wonderful, and beautiful earth, to enter on a sleep which might know no waking. In a state of ordinary health. I did not feel even this. I knew that the great problem of conscious exigence was one beyond man s grasp, and this fact alone gave some hope, that existence might be independent of the organized body. I came to the inquiry, therefore, utterly unbiassed by hopes or fears, because I knew that my belief could not affect the reality, and with an ingrained prejudice against even such a word as “spirit,” which I have hardly yet overcome.”

Editor's notes

  1. poem by unknown author
  2. Photographing Invisible Objects by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 6, April 15, 1875, p. 63. From the "Revue Spirite", of March
  3. A Curios Case by Langhorne S.W.; Rich C.; Cooper W.; Bowen S.B.; Chesnut Jas.D., Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 6, April 15, 1875, p. 63
  4. Minority Report by Edwards, C., Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 6, April 15, 1875, p. 63
  5. Alfred Russell Wallace on Immortality by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 6, April 15, 1875, p. 63. After "Wallace" HPB added "F.T.S."