vol. 3, p. 211
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 3 (1875-1878)


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The Bamboula.
The River Bananas ... the Storm – St. Croix and Meala.
... Wreck.


Another Eminent Convert

The Report of Professor M. Wagner* of the Imperial University of St. Petersburg, Russia – The Results of Recent Seances
Translated from the Russian, for the Spiritual Scientist, by Mme. H. P. Blavatsky.


“There are more things in Heaven and earth, friend Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy!”

These well-known words of Shakespeare were repeated before a public audience, by the Secretary of the Academy of Sciences, V. S. Vesselowsky, while speaking upon the subject of the discovery I had made of a pedagenesis in insects, a discovery which for a long time the scientific world refused to believe in. I am now compelled to repeat the same words myself, in relation to certain facts about which I desire to tell you, and which facts, as a matter of course, will be likewise denied by the said scientific world and our skeptical public. Notwithstanding this I am decided to come out with them, excusing myself beforehand for the length of this letter, and begging you most earnestly to give it room in the columns of your Journal.

Four years ago, on my return home from abroad, I was very much surprised to hear that my friend Prof. Boutleroff, a man whom I have known for upwards of twenty years, and whose opinions I had ever held in high esteem, appreciating and believing in them thoroughly, was completely carried away by spiritualistic ideas. In several talks with him about Spiritualism, 1 was forced to believe and disbelieve at the same time in the existence of phenomena that he declared to have personally witnessed, and the latter all the more since quite recent experiments tried at the University in the presence of the medium D. Home[4], proves a perfect “fiasco,” Besides that, the opinions of our own press as well as of the foreign papers was decidedly against Home; therefore it was but natural that I should accept the invitation of Prof. Boutleroff to wit ness the seances with Home; who lived in his house, with the greatest mistrust and even aversion. Notwithstanding all that, one evening, in company with two of my good friends, I decided upon availing myself of the invitation. Home was sick, and I suggested that we should make an experiment without the medium,—a suggestion that was readily accepted by Prof. Boutlerotf. I myself chose a table that had never been used for spiritual experiments; it was of medium site, though solid and heavy, and stood upon four straight legs. We were five persons in all: myself, two of my friends, who had never yet witnessed a spiritual performance, Boutleroft, and one lady—an old and very respectable acquaintance of mine who has a noted terror of such manifestations as coming undeniably from the Devil himself. We sat and talked, with our hands on the table, for about twenty minutes; the table keeping motionless. Suddenly, the door opened, and in came Home himself, half wrapped up in a heavy plaid shawl.

“Aha,” said he, "that’s what you are about! allow me to join you.

“No, no!” answered we in chorus, “you are precisely the tone that we do not want here at all!”

“Allow me, just for one moment!” says he, placing himself beside me.

Five minutes after that the table began moving towards me.

“Do you push it?” inquired I of the lady opposite.

“Lay every one of you your hands on the table with the palms upwards,” says Home, doing the same. The table still kept on moving.

“Where are your feet?” inquired I of Home.

“There they are!” said he, laying both his feet, wrapped up in the plaid, on my knees, and looking at me fixedly. The table went on moving in the same direction, till it fairly squeezed me to my chair.

Such was my first acquaintance with Spiritualism. The result of the experiment was striking. I found myself in the position of a man before whose eyes was evidently produced a phenomena he was unable to clearly account for.

The table had moved on for a certain time: that was aa evident fact; it had moved without the participation of any of those that were present for none of them could or would have done such a thing with the sole object of mystifying me. The only exception to the rule was Home himself; but his hands and feet were under my control, and in full view.

I formed different conjectures, jumping away from one theory to another in order to explain the fact. But when there it nothing to catch at, the basis for any reasonable theory is lacking, and theory is impossible; on the other hand I could not help entertaining this suspicion: suppose it is all sleight of hand, and clever trickery or art, so perfected that it becomes impossible of detection. I confess that this idea prevailed in my mind and seemed the most probable. I could not get rid of it. It brought to my mind thousands of reports of the press on the subject of spiritualistic seances. It seemed to me that this constant display of the same con-<... continues on page 3-212 >

* The well-known name of the author, and the subject chosen by him—a subject that has for divers reasons so widely attracted the attention of the public here as well as abroad—compels us to comply with the desire of the honorable professor of Zoology, in the St. Petersburg University, N. P. Wagner, to publish for the benefit of our readers the present letter, addressed to us by him.— M. S., Editor of the Messenger of Europe.

Editor's notes

  1. The Bamboula. The River Bananas ... the Storm – St. Croix and Meala. ... Wreck by unknown author
  2. image by unknown author
  3. Another Eminent Convert by Wagner N.P., Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 13, June 3, 1875, pp. 145-7; v. 2, No. 14, June 10, 1875, pp. 157-9; v. 2, No. 15, June 17, 1875, pp. 169-71. Translated by HPB. Original: “Letter to the Editor about Spiritism”, Vestnik Evropi (Messenger of Europe), No. 52, 1875 pp. 855-875
  4. It should be read “Hume” (Russian “Юм”).