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is the way that sceptics dismiss that part of a puzzling subject. “You want," I said, to see the anti-gravitation feat performed by this inert piece of wood. Now, spirits, raise this table to the level of ‘my hand, and keep it firmly in that position !". My request was instantly complied with, the medium's fingers only touching lightly the surface of the table; and there the table stood a foot or more from the floor, remaining steadily poised without the slightest motion, whilst I deliberately counted one hundred. I then requested the medium to put her fingers upon
the surface of the table at her side, and my companion to place his under the table and lift it at his side, and with this arrangement the table rose up evenly as if hands supported it on both sides, and thus it remained for a few moments suspended. This experiment, for Mr. H—'s satisfaction, was repeated three several times. Other manifestations followed of a similar character, the table being made light or heavy in obedience to my request. I went from the table and wrote, “I wish you to go to the sofa, and lie upon it." The table, without my touching it shuffled away to the other end of the room, and approaching the sofa, made a spring from the medium's hands towards the sofa, and alighting on the edge of it, tumbled to the floor. To prove that the sounds were not made by the medium, I asked Mrs. Marshall to put her hands upon the piano, which was closed, and I requested the spirits to strike ten times upon the strings; which was done, the vibrations being heard, and felt by
This experiment was repeated twice. Át this point I paused and invited Mr. H-_'s consideration of the facts I had demonstrated. The table had exhibited “intelligence" and "force," and by some means, not mechanical, it had overcome the “law of gravitation;" all of which he candidly admitted. Whilst we were conversing, we were startled by the large table jumping up of its own accord, no one touching it, by which movement the tea cups were scattered about, and the
basin turned over and emptied of its contents. Fearing that some damage might be done, I removed the tray, and sending for Mr. Marshall to bring his violin, we three again sat down to the small table, and I requested the spirits to make the table dance to the music, which it did most gracefully, keeping exact time, by striking the floor with its legs, and afterwards at my request it went through the same movements in the air-not touching the floor, and occasionally striking out at one and the other of us with a force which was somewhat alarming, and caused Mr. H-to retreat for shelter behind the large table, where he was hardly safe from assault, for as the music went on in quicker time, the small table like an Irishman at Donnybrook Fair, frisked about in the wildest manner, and striking tho
all of us.
large table several times, seemed to invite it to join in the fun, and, nothing loath, it actually began to dance too; and thus for some time both tables were in active motion vis à vis, the medium being hardly able to keep her fingers upon the small table, whilst no one whatever touched the large table! With this exhibition of non-mechanical force, our very remarkable seánce ended. Mr. H--(who I am bound to say acted with great fairness throughout,) seemed overwhelmed with the extraordinary character of the manifestations; and somewhat excited, he proposed to go away
at once. I detained him, however, for the purpose of reviewing the performances of the evening.
I said, "Now I know how difficult it is for a man in your frame of mind to realise all you have just witnessed, and you may reason yourself out of your present convictions to-morrow; I therefore ask you before we leave this room, to fix upon any weak point, that I may if I can remove erroneous impressions. He replied very candidly, “I do not doubt the reality of what I have seen; everything has been done with perfect fairness; I do not understand it, it is all very curious and well worth investigation. I must think over it; but to talk of spirits having anything to do with it is absurd.” We went home together and on our way we talked of nothing else but of the strange scene we had witnessed, Mr. H— frequently ejaculating, Very curious certainly," "I cannot understand it," “ 1 must say that there is something there worth investigating.”
Some days elapsed before I heard from Mr. H- and judging from past experiences, I did him the injustice of suspecting that rather than yield, he had reverted to his first position, and would be prepared after all to ignore the evidence of his senses. He however relieved himself of that suspicion by calling upon me to talk over the occurrences of that remarkable evening, and at once proclaimed that he was “ entirely at sea without chart or compass, and saw no way of landing upon terra firma, since like Sir David Brewster, spirit was the last thing he would give in to," and in this condition he still remains.
* One of these experiences was with another Mr. H- who also resides in my neighbourhood, and whom I accompanied at his request some months since to witness similar manifestations. I was rewarded for my trouble by an accusation that I was a confederate to palm off a gross imposture. But the spirits have since then taken up my defence in a very practical way; they have made this sceptic a medium for the lowest and most unsatisfactory order of physical manifestations. He is I am told pulled about and made to go through some very undignified and unseemly antics, if he be not himself imposing upon the credulity of his friends ; he says he really cannot help it, and I believe him.
FURTHER MANIFESTATIONS THROUGH
The last number of Human Nature, contains an account of manifestations of more than ordinary interest. We believe the following to be
A NEW MANIFESTATION. “Rising from his seat at the hearth, Mr. Home stepped up quickly to Lord and placing Glanvill's book underneath his extended hand, made several passes over Lord —-'s hand; and, after balancing the book on one finger, gently withdrew his hand. The book, only just touching Lord 's outstretched hand, remained suspended in space for three minutes, and only fell to the ground upon Mrs. J passing her hand underneath the book and Lord —'s hand. My friend described his feeling as if a cushion of steam had held the book in its position. Fortunately the full clear light of the wax tapers on the mantelpiece enabled us to watch this phenomenon with the utmost precision, and enabled us to verify the truth of what we were witnessing by our own eyes. This manifestation was repeated twice.”
In the last volume of the Spiritual Magazine, in the article on" Preservation by Spiritual Agency from the Effects of Fire," at p. 217, is the letter of an eye-witness to this wonderful phenomenon. The writer of that letter furnishes in the account we are now quoting this
INSTANCE AND EXPLANATION OF THE FIRE TEST. " Mr. Home's address" (in the trance) “now became interrupted, saying, There are spirits present arguing with Dr. Elliotson and Dr. Jencken; they have brought many here to witness the manifestations, and they are dissatisfied with the result. They want to see the fire test—I will shew it them; they won't believe it possible.'
* Mr. Home then proceeded to the hearth, and, breaking up the back of burning coal with his hands, placed a lump, the size of a very large orange, on the palm of his hand, and then, still addressing the invisible guests, continued to explain what was going on. After carrying the coal about for three or four minutes on his hand, having allowed each of us to test the intense heat, he put it back on the grate, and, to further satisfy us, showed his hands, which were not even blackened, and, strange to say, emitted a perfume, to which he called attention. After a moment's pause, in which, evidently, a discussion was going on between the invisibles themselves, Mr. Home said,
put out his
“They still doubt the phenomenon; I must take another lump of burning coal; they say one side was black.' He then proceeded to the hearth, and selected the hottest incandescent lump of coal, not quite so large as the last, but burning hot; then turning round to us, said, 'Only imagine, they will not allow it possible.' He then thrust his head into the grate, holding his face over the burning coals, and receiving the flame points on his hair. To those who have never witnessed this there is something awfully solemn, I might all but say terrible, in this ordeal, the dread fire test, that stands on the highways of the past warning mankind of the horrors of the power of superstition. Withdrawing his face from the flaines, See,' he said, Daniel has not burnt a fibre of the hair of his head. I cannot conceal that I shuddered. But the fire test did not terminate here; walking slowly up to Lord who was seated next to me, he said, 'I will farther convince you of the truth of the phenomenon. Now, my lord, if you are not afraid, I will place the coal on your hand. I interrupted and proffered my hand, but was soon warned that my power could not shield me; though I only touched the burning coal on the dark side, and that for a moment I burnt my finger. With singular sang froid Lord hand, and received the burning coal upon his palm. I closely watched what was passing; the heat of the coal was intense, sufficient to have charred an inch plank right through. Mr. Home said, “Now, I will further convince them (meaning the invisible guests), and, taking the other hand of Lord pressed both hands firmly upon the glowing ember. The heat permeated through the back of the hands, which felt as if on fire; I could hardly bear it. After two minutes, the grasp was relaxed, and, on examining the hands of Lord not a trace of injury, or burn, or even blackness was visible. Fortunately we had a good clear light in the room, and those present, by their quiet and thorough investigation, aided to satisfy beyond doubt that the marvellous fire test applied to a guest who was not a medium was really being witnessed.
“Mr. Home then again addressed us, and said, I have convinced them now; their incredulity is pretty well conquered; but they want some other spirit to try, who does not understand how this is done. Well, let him, but they must not hurt Daniel ; but I do not think he (meaning the spirit) knows how to manage the experiment.' He then proceeded to the hearth, and, taking a small piece of coal, not thoroughly hot or glowing, said: 'Just see, Daniel has hurt his hand; the coal has blackened the handburnt his hand.' Mr. Home now stepped up to a side-table, upon which was placed a flower-stand, and, holding his hand about eighteen inches to two feet above the flowers, extracted the
moisture and perfume—the finger tips becoming bedewed with large drops of perfumed liquid. Again, speaking to the spirits, he said : 'You see this also can be done; we can extract the perfume from flowers, and carry fluids through space. "
“ He then appeared to be speaking to some of the invisibles, and, opening the door, made the usual parting salute; then, conversing with his spirit friends, he appeared to enjoy a laugh, and reiterated his satisfaction at the result, which had puzzled some of the spirits ; after which, he re-seated himself and addressed us :- Are you aware, do you realise that the phenomena you have seen to-day is what mankind call a miracle; that you have witnessed the fire test—the terrible, traditional fire test?
Yet what you have seen is no miracle—no suspending of the laws of nature, of the laws of God. This cannot be; we only passed currents of what you call electricity round the coal, and prevented the heat from attacking Daniel's hand. Mankind do not know their power—they, too, ought to be able to do this, their power over all materiality is boundless, only they do not know how to use their power. Faith is a potent force in nature ; how few of you understand this, and yet every page of the history of the past teaches this. We repeat, we performed no miracle, nothing supernatural; all we did was by arranging the electrical currents to shield the hand from injury. Look at the hand; no harm has been done, the epidermis is as uninjured as ever-not hardened nor covered by an artificial coating. From all we have told you, you will learn that it is a natural law that has produced these phenomena-one of the laws God has created :.. We made
passes over Lord 's hand; these shielded him from injury, whilst Mr. J. though he willingly proffered his hand, burnt it, and yet he only touched the embers for a moment with the point of his finger. In the first instance, preparatory measures had been taken, and all understood this, whilst those who had not been protected were certain to sustain injury by contact. The selfsame coal placed upon an inch plank would have burned a hole through it." Are you now satisfied ?!"
The phenomenon of the Elongation of the Body was also presented at this séance, but as this phenomenon has been fully described in the article New Spirit Manifestations in our last volume, p. 30, and is further attested by evidence in the same volume at pp. 321 and 424, we need only advert to this as a further instance of it.