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vol. 3, p. 215
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 3 (1875-1878)


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< Another Eminent Convert (continued from page 3-213) >

We had ten seances, all of which took place in Mr. Aksakoff’s house, and with different tables. Generally we used a small, square table, with four legs but without any brace or cross-piece. The room was lighted with one wax. candle, but as it seems that the spiritual phenomena, with not very powerful mediums, succeed better in a partial darkness, we sometimes screened the candle, and sometimes remained in the dark; but in such cases we always held the medium's legs and hands. I usually placed myself at the mediums right side.

Generally about five minutes after the formation of the circle the manifestations began. The power and intensity of the latter depended on different reasons, in the majority of cases unknown, or very indefinite. Thus, the presence of certain persons outside the circle interfered a good deal with them, but what obstructed their power the most was the presence of individuals whose organization offered some strange antagonism to such manifestations and made it impossible for them to sit with us. The predisposition or qualities of the individuality evidently play here an important part, and the above is proved most undoubtedly by the existence of the medium class.

The movements of the table can be divided thus: trembling; its change of place, or its moving towards some of the circle; balancing, bending, tipping, and levitations. The tremblings or shakings of the table appear most frequently at the beginning of a seance. Sometimes they are so strong that the flame of the candle, placed on it, trembles and flickers very violently. I do not give a great importance to the above mentioned movements, as they can be easily simulated by rapid and clever contraction of the muscles of the hand. In short, I am obliged to confess here, that I never could have taken upon myself the responsibility of answering for the genuineness at all of such manifestations, had not I been thoroughly convinced of their reality, with the help and in company of a small circle of persons, all of whom were perfectly known to me, and every one of whom was as anxious as I was to convince himself of the truth of the phenomena. Our little seances went on at first without any recognized or paid medium, and the manifestations were undoubtedly produced through someone whose power, unbeknown to himself, compelled him to play the physiological part of a medium.

The balancing and moving of the table is one of the most common and ordinary manifestations. Generally it moves towards the medium, as if some mysterious, attractive power was inherent to him, and developing itself, communicated this movement to the table. But very often it shows no such partiality, but moves in every direction alike. These move ments, especially the balancing, nearly always are the forerunners, and precede some extraordinary manifestations. For instance, the levitation of the table with all its four legs in the air; this latter kind of movement belongs undoubtedly to the class of most extraordinary and conclusive proofs. First of all, the table begins violently balancing, and bending in every way, after which it rests on the floor but on one of its legs, and then suddenly redressing itself begins to rise slowly and deliberately in the air. I must here remind my reader of the fact that the hands of every person are at that moment on the table. If all the other movements of the table can have some chance of being explained—hypothetically of course—by an unconscious contraction of the muscles, which passes like a current from one person to another round the circle, such levitations as these cannot be covered by such a convenient hypothesis. The table rises first an inch high then several inches; sometimes it hangs in the air at a distance of half a yard from the floor, and then falls down as suddenly. But sometimes it will remain in such a position for several instants, and once it remained suspended in the air for the space of twelve seconds. Twice I saw it fly up completely to the ceiling. Both times these occurences took place the room was not totally dark, but partially lo; for it was lighted only through the opened door leading into the adjoining room. At such a levitation as that, very naturally every one had to rise from his place. The first time it happened Brediff, the medium, hastily put both his hands on my head, shouting, “There’s where my hands are!” naturally anxious, of course, to convince me that he had nothing to do with this manifestation. The second time it happened I rapidly passed my hand on that leg of the table which was nearest to Brediff; his hand was not near it, and besides the weight of the table was such that to lift it up, sad hold it by one leg in the air, even with the help of both hands was simply Impossible. The table weighed nine kilos.

<... continues on page 3-216 >

Editor's notes

  1. image by unknown author
  2. image by unknown author