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vol. 3, p. 228
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 3 (1875-1878)


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The Revelations of a Mirror

Embracing a Series of Prophecies, Allegories, Scenes and Adventures

The following carious prognostications and descriptions were uttered by a seeress who gazed into the magic mirror described in a recent number of the Spiritual Scientist. For the information of such as may not have seen the article in question, we will state that the mirror consists of a con- cave dish, a substance resembling black onyx, very highly polished, framed in dark wood, and lying upon crimson velvet, in a morocco box. It was made by priests of the highest caste, in an Indian temple, and every stage of the work was accompanied with solemn ceremonies, which were intended to invoke to the guardianship of the mirror, spiritual influences of the most potent character. A person wishing to behold what is transpiring at the present time, what occurred in the past, or will happen in the future, places the “glass” in such a way that the rays of a single lamp shall fall upon it in one bright spot. He then seats himself directly before it, and gases, without effort, at the luminous point, remaining as passive as possible. If he possesses the seeing faculty, before long the brightness will disappear, and the whole surface of the mirror will seem as black as night. Presently a white mist gathers, clouds mass together, drift across, open, and a scene presents itself in minature to the vision of the seer. Perchance it may be a pastoral landscape, with grating Hocks and a solitary shepherd lying on a hillock in the foreground; or a battle rages; or the train of a hunt sweeps through woodland glades; or a ship tosses in midocean in a storm; or symbolical or allegorical representations are caused to come; or a single figure steps into the field of vision, and displays a scroll upon which letter after letter, sentence after sentence, or name after name appears, and then fades away as soon as read. Sometimes the observer sees the shades of the departed—friends of his own, or historical personages, or others unknown either to himself or fame—and they seem to tell of things past and things to come, premonish of good fortune, warn of impending fatality, or show the whereabouts of wandering voyagers, or fugitive criminals, or lost treasure. These magic mirrors have an antiquity reaching back to prehistoric epochs, and have been consulted by the wisest and greatest of men in all ages. Of recent sovereigns, Napoleon I. was conspicuous for the habit of invoking their aid, through the famous “Mme. Lenormand,” and two of her magical glasses are now owned in this country—one by a gentleman in New York City and the other by a person in Brooklyn.

We are neither prepared to explain the philosophy of the glass, or endorse all its revelations. But, on the other hand, we would esteem it the height of folly to deny the wonderful results which have sometimes followed the experiments of leers in different ages of the world. Whether the fixity of gate prescribed induces a state of “conscious clairvoyance,” or the magical incantations of the priests of Iris and Buddha do really attach special supernal influence to the mirror, we shall not undertake to say. It suffices for the moment to give our readers, as a matter of curious interest, some of the “revelations” which have been communicated to us by the owner of one of the Lenormand glasses, expressing no opinion whatever as to their trustworthiness.

Ed. Scientist.

After the clouds break, I see a high mountain, and on its peak the word “Alps.” It fades away, and then there comes forward a dark-complexioned gentleman, with dark hair and a long moustache. He is of medium height, and he given his name as Joseph Jerome Carlow. In his hand is a scroll, bearing these words: “Bonaparte will rule Europe in body and flesh, through the Prince Imperial, who was born 1856, March 15th, and will reign July 5, 1880.”

Question. “What does this mean?”

Answer. “The total overthrow of the Republic of France. Bonaparte will reign in every honest heart.”

These words then appear: “Eugenie Imperatrice; Eugene Branharnois; Montigo.

I am shown an old man clothed in splendidly embroidered vestments, and wearing a cap on his head. His name is given as Pope Pius IX. A young man steps forward, and I am told he is the Prince Imperial. He opens his vest, and shows the Pope his heart, from which great drops of blood are falling. He takes his sword, dips «t in his blood, and then lays it on the Pope’s head.

Then, I see Napoleon I. appear, dressed in military costume. He shows the word “Crucificial.” holds in his hand a branch of roses, takes his sword and cuts off the thorns, and then hands the branch to the young prince. Then he seats himself at a table, upon which he lays his hat and sword; takes up a large iron pen and writes, “Vive Bonaparte." “The pen of Destiny writes forever.” . . . Scene changes.

Then came a procession of kings and queens, one after the other, all of whom look at me and salute, and when I ask what this means 1 see the words “Do unto us as we shall do to you.” . . . Scene changes.

Then came a procession of kings and queens, one after the other, all of whom look at me and salute, and when I ask what this means I see the words “Do unto us as we shall do to you.” . . . Scene changes.

Then, I see a huge Masonic emblem—a pair of compasses, two keys, and a bible . . . Scene changes.

A very old person, evidently an Oriental, attired in a gorgeous costume, comes up, and I see the name, “Yan-gann: 3255.”

A dense pall overspreads the mirror and suddenly all is dark. . . . Seance ends.

To be continued next week.

The Unseen Universe

The above is the title of an anonymous work, which has been attributed (no doubt correctly), to Professors Balfour Stewart and Tait. Its title and style are rather ad captandum, and while it may be of some service among very bigoted theologians, it will neither interest nor gratify any whose minds are sufficiently expanded to recognize the facts of spiritual science.

The writers are quite familiar with the principles of dynamic science, of which they make a copious, and to some extent, irrelevant display, which, after all, throws little or no light upon the existence of the spirit world, and its relations to the visible Universe. Their object is to show that physical science does not exclude the belief in a Deity, and in a Christian religion; but their arguments are distinguished by learned amplitude rather than by simplicity or logical force.

As a contribution to philosophy, it disappoints the enlightened reader, and does not deserve an extended notice; for its reasoning is vague and inconsequential; nor is it even accurate in science, as it adopts the assertion, as a mechanical truth, that “No power, no energy is required to deflect a bullet from its path, provided the deflecting force acts always at right angles to that path;” nor is this the only specimen of its sciolism.

The writers decide that modern spiritual manifestations have “no objective reality,” because they “take place, as a rule, in insufficient light, if not in total darkness, and in the presence of those who are in a state of mental excitement!” There is a great deal of such flimsy philosophizing in the book, which it would be at least amusing to examine, if its importance would justify an elaborate criticism; nor can we commend the spirit and prevailing sentiment of the work, as illustrated in the very irrelevant outbreak against modern criminals, and the anticipation expressed that legislation will have to provide, as a punishment, tome terrible and “absolutely indescribable torture thrilling through every fibre of the frame of such miscreants.”

As an ad captandum plea for Christianity against Atheism, the book may be successful in the market; but so far from illustrating the “Unseen Universe,” it merely illustrates the writers inability to see or comprehend it. They very properly quote from Professor Stokes’ presidential address to the British association at Exeter, the admission that their science “can but enlighten us as to the depths of our ignorance, and lead us to look to a higher aid, for that which most nearly concerns our well-being.”

The main drift of the argument. Is to place the power of the Creator as far back as possible before the cosmic chaos of nebulous matter, so as to exclude special creations, and to recognize a creator of matter, and another creator of life. Upon the whole it is a hybrid combination of spencerism and orthodoxy.

Editor's notes

  1. The Revelations of a Mirror by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 16, June 24, 1875, p. 188
  2. The Unseen Universe by Buchanan, J. R., Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 16, June 24, 1875, p. 188