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vol. 3, p. 187
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 3 (1875-1878)


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< Spiritualism Put to Use (continued from page 3-186) >

believed that he had gone to Orange to visit with his mother. A week had elapsed since he had set out for Jersey City, and his parents in alarm telegraphed to Orange, but the message was returned that he had not been seen there. Then search was made through Jersey City and Brooklyn, and every means taken to trace his whereabouts, but no tidings could be obtained of him subsequent to his parting with Van Liew at the Hoboken car. His parents have advertised in the local and in the New York papers, and offered a reward for information of his whereabouts and for his safe return, but they believe that he has been led away and murdered. “He must be dead,” said the mother in conclusion, “for if he were not he would not stay away so long, he was so fond of his home and of me.”

A short time ago a relative of the family, a gentleman, called at the office of a noted spiritualist of New York, as a last hope of obtaining a clue to the fate of young Buckhout. The caller and the medium had not met before, and the latter was ignorant of the story of the disappearance. Before the gentleman could make known the purport of his call, the spiritualist said: “Sit down, sir, and write on a sheet of paper the question you wish to ask.” The caller complied, and wrote at the head of a large piece of paper the words: “Can you tell me what has become of Frank?” The question was directed to Mr. Isaac Birdsall, a quaker, the father of Mrs. Buckhout. He has been dead for several years.

The paper was folded in widths of half an inch or more, and then was tightly sealed with wax and handed to the medium. He laid it upon the table before him, and with closed eyes made several passes over it with his hands. Then seizing another sheet of rough white paper, he wrote rapidly the following words:

My Dear Nephew: Thee hast come asking the whereabouts of dear Frank. I know the concern and anxiety of his family for his safety and whereabouts, but tell them not to be concerned. Frank is yet alive, I am quite certain, and in good time will return home again. He cannot be a sprit. Was he, I should have met him here, it would seem. It appears to me, from tracing the magnetism, he is on the water. There is water connected with it, but feel not alarmed. We feel confident Frank is safe, and in proper time the dear ones will see him walking in again.

Thine affect.

Isaac Birdsall.

The gentleman again made application to the spirit land, but this time called on another deceased relative’ David Griffin who died recently. He folded the paper as before, in neither case mentioning the name of the spirit to be interviewed.

The medium went through the same pisses as before, and, closing his eyes again, wrote hurriedly. The reply came in a rather impatient style from Mr. Birdsall again. He said that he had met Mr. Griffin in his walks a few days before, but that he knew nothing at all about the fate of Frank. The writing concluded with the forcible words, “I tell you he is safe.” In the extreme corner of the page, and entirely removed fron the rest of the lines, was the word, “water,” doubly underscored. To make the communication the more wonderful, Mrs. Buckhout, who recollects her father's personalities perfectly, admits that in emphasizing his remarks, he was accustomed to lift his long, forefinger energetically and clinch an argument with the unanswerable “I tell thee.”

He also spoke with the use of the Ouaker "thee.” From these communications, out of which the bereaved mother seeks to extract a grain of hope and consolation, the family are cheered into solacing themselves with the possibility that the absent son has been induced to set out on a long whaling voyage.

Young Bucahout is about 21 years old, of medium height, with very dark hair, eyes, and mustache, and of slender physique. He had money in the savings bank in Sing Sing, but he left it untouched when he went away. It is not, therefore, believed that he set out on his own accord. A story is told in the village that a New York detective professes to have seen him working as a deck hand on a fall river steamer, the officer has not appeared to claim the reward, and the report is discredited.

The Unpardonable Sin

The Unpardonable Sin.—Mrs. H. Stevens, of Markesan, Wis., writes: —A few years ago a young Methodist minister told me there was one “unpardonable sin.” Late in the evening I fell into a deep sleep. After about an hour I awoke suddenly, when I heard a voice say, “Ask, and ye shall receive.” I believed it was possible, and immediately I began to ask. I finally heard a voice pronounce distinctly the word “outgrow.” I repeated the word several times, when I asked aloud, “Why, what can I make of this?” In a moment there was a glimmer before my eyes, when I saw a board raised up from off the green earth, after having laid there for some time. The grass beneath it was a pale, sickly colour. Then the spirit asked me, “Is God going to forgive that grass, and make it instantly green like the other?” “Why, no,” I replied, “but when the sun, the air, and the dew, its natural elements, fall upon it, it will ‘outgrow’ its sickly hue, and become green like that around it.” “Just so,” the spirit said, “it is in spirit-life. On earth we are weighed down by natural causes until we are pale, sickly, dwarfed, like the grass, but when we come out upon the broad plane of spirit-life, into the sunshine of God, and witness the fulness of the provisions he has made for all his children, we shall ‘outgrow’ these natural deformities, and become what we would find it for our happiness to be here.”—Religio-Philosophical Journal.


To break a looking-glass is accounted a very unlucky accident. Mirrors were formerly used by magicians in their diabolical operations; and there was an ancient kind of divination by the looking-glass; hence, it should seem, has been derived the present popular notion.

The breaking of a looking-glass betokens that its owner will lose his best friend. (See the Greek Scholia on the Clouds of Aristophanes). Potter, in his “Antiquities of Greece,” says, “When divination by water was performed with a looking-glass, it was called Catoptromancy,” sometime they dipped a looking-glass into the water, when they desired to know what was become of a sick person; for, as he looked well or ill in the glass, accordingly they presumed of his future condition. Sometimes fetuses were used without water.

Grose tells us, that “Breaking a looking-glass betokens a mortality in the family, commonly the master:” Bonaparte's (Napoleon I.) superstition upon this point is often recorded, “During one of his campaigns in Italy,” says M. de Constant, “he broke the glass over Josephine’s portrait. He never rested till the return of the courier he forthwith despatched to assure himself of her safety, so strong was the impression of her death upon his mind.”


Two Interesting Cases in Illustration. – A Theory in Explanation

In A paper on “Inherited Mediumship” read before the Dalston Association of Spiritualists by H. D. Jencken, he closes with the following: —

The facts now brought to light respecting doubles, which Swedenborg notices, may assist in forming some hypothesis as to the cause of these phenomena. The experiments of Mr. Wm. Crookes and Mr. Varley, on the well-known, medium. Mrs. Corner (late Florence Cook), the double produced in the presence of Miss Showers, have been, though in a different phase, confirmed by “M. A., (Oxon,)” whose double was photographed in Paris, on the 31st of January. Human Nature of March last contains several instances confirming the fact that the human form can appear, even during life, and leave a record of its presence on the sensitive plate. In my own experience these doubles have appeared again and again. I will instance two cases, which may perhaps interest you. In March, 1874, a gentleman called at my house, entered the drawing-room, the nurse present, and at once addressed Mrs. Jencken, stating the object of his visit As Mrs. Jencken knew nothing of the man, had never heard his name, she asked why he came to her. Alarmed, she left the drawing room; the gentleman followed, repeating the message he had to deliver, entered the nursery, and then suddenly disappeared.

The name, the description of the person, the matter he had spoken of, were all correctly stated. At the very time he appeared to my wife, I was in court with him engaged in an important trial. A few days later Maggie, the sister of Mrs. Zencken, entered the drawing-room, seated herself opposite to my wife, and in the presence of the nurse, kept up a conversation for nearly an hour, and then disappeared. “M. A. (Oxon)” experienced a similar fact in a railway carriage on his road to Bristol. D. D. Home mentioned to me that on the occasion of his visiting St. Petersburg, many years ago, his double had been seen by his sister-in-law and her friend two days before his arrival. A sister of mine, nearly twenty years ago, used to be seriously alarmed at seeing her double. On one occasion, as she entered her sitting-room, her double was seated in her arm-chair and her lap-dog asleep on the fold or skirt of the dress of the double. The second-sight of the Highlanders, what else is it but the appearance of the double to a living being? Indeed, I could go on multiplying facts upon facts, but I have said enough for my purpose.

What theory do I then venture to suggest, for I only suggest (I leave dogmatising to those who have had more experience than I have had), to explain this wondrous revelation we call spiritual? for it is a revelation of a new order of things.

It has occurred to me. that for the purpose of my theory, we may assume a law of evolution, a developing from one state or condition into another and further advanced state; m other words, that everything now existing has had a pee existence—I am borrowing from the great philosopher. Leibniz—and that all that is created enjoys an after existence Our present state rests thus between two worlds, is fee evermore battling to hold its own in opposition to these; central positive action enables it to effect this. Loosen the central hold, I mean without dissolution by death, and forthwith the <... continues on page 3-188 >

Editor's notes

  1. The Unpardonable Sin by unknown author, London Spiritualist, No. 218, October 27, 1876, p. 151
  2. Looking-Glass by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 11, May 20, 1875, p. 125
  3. Doubles by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 8, April 29, 1875, pp. 93-4