44 THE SPIRITUALIST. Jan, 28, 1876
Mr. Redman.—How is she robed ? Mr. Martin.—She has a long white robe and a fair head of hair, abright face, and her hands seem to be under the robe; she does not seemto have any feet; she has blue eyes. Mr. Redman—Ask her her name. Mr. Martin—Will you tell me your name, Miss ? (Laughter.) Shesays her name is Sarah Godbold. Mr. Redman—Do you remember her ? Mr. Martin—Yes, but she is much prettier now. Mr. Harrison said—I have asked for the performance of this experi-ment, because some of the older mesmerists, including Mr. SerjeantCox, think that mediums are mesmeric sensitives in the same state asMr. Martin, and that the will, or expectation of the audience that theyshall see spirits, acts upon them in the same way that Mr. Redman’s ordersact upon the sensitive now before us. There may be a certain amountof truth in this, but it will not cover everything. Mr. Redman said that he intended to try some experiments in privatein order to solve many problems. Mr. Gray wrote a name upon a piece of paper, and asked Mr. Red-man to will the sensitive to utter it. Mr. Redman tried this, but without success. Mr. C. C. Massey asked whether the minds of the sensitives would goon working without Mr. Redman’s control, Mr. Redman—Yes, I have only to suggest a thing, and they take thatas a starting point, their minds working away in unexpected directions;sometimes they will be very witty. The mind seems to wander ineccentric tracks. Mr. Harrison asked whether, if these sensitives lived with Mr. Red-man, and he hiologised them every day at meal times, making thembelieve that they had plenty to eat, he could keep them alive for twomonths; because a Yankee gentleman thought of starting a boardinghouse upon that principle. Mr. Redman said that it could not he done, hut that if it were prac-ticable, it would pay very well. Dr. Gully then announced that a discussion upon the experimentswould take place in the rooms of the Association on Monday evening,the 7th of February next. Shortly afterwards the proceedings closed.
Correspondence. [Great freedom is given to correspondents, who sometimes express opinions diametrically opposedto those of this journal and its readers.]
Sir,—I read with great interest the article by Colonel Olcott concern-ing the American “Theosophical Society”; also your review of thesame, headed “ What is Magic”? and your last correspondent on thesubject, who signed himself or herself “An English member of theTheosophical Society.” With your permission I will briefly state myviews on the subject. As a Spiritualist I can receive no theory on sup-position, and would desire the “ Occultists ” to produce their facts beforepropounding a theory. I could hail with pleasure any new discoveryin the spiritual realm ; hut evidence must accompany it, as sound, asweighty, as unequivocal, and as clearly cognisable to our sensoryfaculties as those adduced to demonstrate the truth of spiritual com-munion. I would desire less reliance placed on ancient writings, andmore on hard matter-of-fact experiment. I would respectfully remindour Occultist friends that their less gifted brethren are still engaged inthe terribly up-hill battle of Spiritualistic propaganda, and will receivebut scanty support in their arduous mission by the premature announce-ment of a spirit-monkey theory. If true, by all means let us receive theknowledge ; the onus of proof lies with the promoters. I would not asa searcher after truth throw the slightest obstacle in their way, butthink it my duty to jealously guard the Spiritualistic domain, not per-mitting the smallest encroachment either by friend or foe until they havefairly earned the right to admission. If the Occultists are right intheir supposition, that elementary spirits exist, and produce many ofthe physical phenomena at spirit circles, and that their action may besubordinated to the human will, it were wise if they endeavoured toutilise the power of these spirits in the interest of humanity in amanner somewhat analogous to our employment of the inferior animalsin this mundane sphere. Perhaps Shakespeare was a prophet as wellas a poet when he endowed his masterly Prospero with the power ofcontrolling and commanding the spirits of the air to his advantage.Whatever we may think of this matter, it is certainly wise that everydepartment of human endeavour he left absolutely free and untram-melled, that Nature’s secrets may be explored from every intelligentstandpoint. Having made these comments, it may be well to state thesometimes forgotten fact that Spiritualists have fought and struggledthrough many weary years against the most intense public prejudiceand bigotry to establish the truth of the cause, and cannot therefore beexpected to lightly accept new theories based on somewhat doubtfulevidence, simply because a few from out their ranks, who claim to beadvanced, propound them.
If the members of the Theosophical Society deem their studies andexperiments of greater value to the human race than the promulgationof the mighty truths of Spiritualism, they possess a perfect right to thatview of the case, but they must not complain if the great body ofspiritual pioneers declines to follow their lead. Speaking for myself Iwould sincerely thank them (the Occultists) for any positive knowledgethey afford me relating to spirit—whether agreeable to my present con-victions or otherwise, but shall not yield an inch of ground until themost conclusive evidence is furnished me.
J. W. Mahoney.
1, Cambriau-place, Anglesej -street, Lozells, Birmingham.
Sir,—A belief in the existence of elementary spirits has been heldall along by the followers of Allan Kardec ; and the question seems tome to be, not so much whether they are “ spirits other than those ofhuman origin,” as laid down by the modern Occultists, according toyour correspondent, an English member of the Theosophical Society;hut whether they may not be in one of the phases of the origin ofhuman beings ? In other words, whether we may not have been, onceupon a time, elementary spirits ourselves. The three questions, 1st,That of men being “ sparks struck off from Deity itself,” as alleged in‘ Spirit Teachings/ and in other articles of The Spiritualist; 2nd,The question of elementary spirits; and 3rdly, That of the incarnationand reincarnation of spirits. These three questions have all croppedup lately in such quick succession, and in such intimate connectionwith each other as to give Spiritualists new sources for thought, andperhaps for guidance ; just as their perplexities were becoming almostequal to their knowledge and their progress; stupendous as, indeed,were some of the phenomena and scientific results attained by them.But what about these “ elementaries” who appear to be, some of them,as inconsequent and as selfish as can be well conceived, and what ismore, to all appearance, sometimes utterly unsympathetic, hard-hearted and treacherous towards their mediums; like the wolf, ofwhich the poet sings— Nor lodges pity in his shaggy breast. Like the infant, who, on his mother’s bosom, the medium through whomhe draws his substance and his strength, meets the suffering lie some-times causes her with a smile? What about these hut that we learn,by analogy, that life is an education, and that all must be ignorant,weak, foolish, and inconsequent, if not unfeeling and brutal, before theycan he wise, and that knowledge comes but rarely by intuition ? It appears, according to the spiritual law of progress, that all mustgain wisdom for themselves, however long they may he about it; sothat when perfect felicity comes with wisdom at length and for ever,they may feel that they have learned good from evil by the physicaland moral sweat of their own brows.
Accorded, for example’s sake, That every cure must find its ache. Should we not sufforing endure That every ache may find its euro ? By our own efforts we must rise To know the valuo of a prize, Learning the pleasure of obtaining By the up-hill work of gaining. And not, like senseless butterflies, In careless, gay, unthinking guise, Enjoy tlio sun we know not why, And flutter till we fall and die.
The second proposition of the Occultists, as quoted by your correspon-lent, which alleges that “ the human will has power to control certainlasses of these spirits,” shows the very close connection that exists be-ween Spiritualism and magic; for that a magician may control and)e assisted by spirits without his even believing in them, is more thanprobable, and that the movements of spirits are not confined to magic or;o Spiritualism, as we understand the latter, we may rest assured.
There is, however, one sensible difference between a magician and amedium, as spoken of in modern terms. Whatever may be the advan-tages of the medium over the magician in many respects, in one themagician is the superior. The magician controls his familiar spirits,while the medium proper is generally controlled, though it is quitepossible (since we find that certain conjurors have now turned mediums)that they were passive mediums all along, and were really the controlledwhen they were playing the part of the controllers, just as a servant ina comedy sometimes, by command of his master, takes his master’splace. That spirits, to be controlled at all, must be of a low order,none can doubt; but that some magic men, even of the present day,have strong wills, combined with medium power, which in conjunctionfit them for this work, we can hardly question.
M. Kardec says in Ciel et l’Enfer (Heaven and Hell), p. l8o:—•“ There is no method of compelling a spirit to come to you against hiswill so long as he is your equal or your superior in morality, for youhave then no authority whatever over him. If he is your inferior youcan compel him to come, if it be for his good; for in that case otherspirits give you their assistance.” May we not then hope that some ofthe conjurors may, by their superior moral attainments, greatly benefit,in a moral sense, those of their familiars whose talents they so fre-quently hold in requisition, in return for the very material help giventhem by the latter?
I once heard a conjuror ejaculate words which, being interpreted,meant, “ Infernal spirits obey.” He spoke these words in his ownlanguage on an English platform, and their result was the phenomenonof matter passing through matter, and this occurred whenever thesewords were pronounced in a well lighted room. For “ infernal ” let ussupplement the term “ elementary,” and perhaps we have gained thekey note of magic.
I once heard a conjuror, in the south of France, tell his audiencethat strange objects which they unexpectedly found in their pocketswere placed there by the spirit of his grandfather. This observationcaused much laughter, hut I put down that fact also on the tablets ofmy memory, for this last magic man was not contented with “ elementales,” he"went higher up the spiritual ladder than that, and many atruth is spoken in apparent jest. M. Kardec was quite in accord with the Occultists as regards the lackof reasoning qualities in elementary spirits. He called them ‘‘primitivespirits ”—esprits pnmitifs—and in his del et l’Enfer, p. 843, we findthe following:—“ An entirely primitive spirit would be but slightly ac-cessible to reason; but it is quite different in the case of those spirits