« 上一頁繼續 »
als is that of David Duguid. A Glasgow cabinet
maker by trade, he discovered that he was a trance-medium, and purported to execute paintings under the control of the Dutch painters, Jacob Ruysdael and Jan Steen. Friends of mine sat with Duguid (who is now dead), and were inclined to believe in some supernormality; but the sittings being in the dark, it was difficult to decide. Moreover, substitution of paintings executed before and held in readiness, was not entirely excluded. On the other hand, a curious revelational romance received through him and published under the title, “Hafed, Prince of Persia,” certainly suggests the genuineness of the trance, without being at all convincing as to any agency beyond the medium's subconsciousness.
But the most striking phenomenon of the spiritualist repertory was that of "materialisation.” This had already been observed in America at sittings with the Fox girls, and in England to some extent with Home and others; but the most important evidence for this phase was obtained by Sir (then Mr.) William Crookes.? Sitting with Miss Florence Cook, often at his own house and with no discoverable confederate present, the form of “Katie King" appeared, in shining white robes and with golden hair, the medium be
* Hafed is said to have been a Persian prince who lived at the beginning of the Christian era. He was one of the Wise Men of the East who were guided to Judæa by the star; and later Jesus spent some years with him in Persia, travelling also in Judæa, Egypt, and Greece. So we are told, and we cannot disprove it. But we recognise that the gap in the history of Jesus' life between twelve and thirty is a tempting thing for the religious imagination to work on, and the revelations of Hafed may be of the same kind, fundamentally, as Mlle. Hélène Smith's revelations about the language and customs of the inhabitants of Mars, namely, subliminal creations, resembling dreams. 1“Researches in the Phenomena of Spiritualism," 1874.
ing dark-haired and dressed in black. Moreover, their pulse-rates were different, the medium's ears were pierced for ear-rings and Katie's were not, and Katie was much the taller of the two. Whatever the explanation, it was not the sceptic's ordinary one of the medium masquerading in white muslin. (Nor was it hallucination, for Katie was photographed over forty times.) It is difficult to believe that a confederate
. could have been present, or that she could have disappeared as Katie did. But it is also difficult to believe the spirit-theory. So there it remains. Sir William Crookes was convinced that Katie was not an ordinary incarnate human being, and he has frequently said that he has seen no reason to change his opinion.' And he has the best right to pronounce, for he was there and we were not.
Another famous physical medium of those days was William Eglinton, a young man who produced materialisation, slate-writing by alleged spirits without the use of a physical body (i.e. "direct" writing), and so forth. He was born in 1857, was entranced at a home sitting in 1874-his father, an agnostic, having been sufficiently impressed, by a debate on spiritualism, to try for table-movements—and took up professional mediumship in 1875. He travelled on the Continent, in America, South Africa, and India; sitting, e.g. with the General commanding the Indian Army. In 1876 he gave impressive sittings at Mrs. Macdougal Gregory's, where Sir Garnet (afterwards Lord) Wolseley, General Brewster, and other notable people were present. At Dr. Nichol's house in Malvern, in a fair light,
. * E.g. International Psychic Gazette, December, 1917, pp. 61-2.
the medium came out of the cabinet and was seen along with the spirit form. One slight, white-robed figure, with golden hair flowing over her shoulders, purported to be the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Nichol, who were fully convinced. Another form dematerialised in front of Dr. Nichol, "gradually shrinking from a good six feet high-a head taller than the medium—to a pigmy size, then melting into the air, leaving only a mass of gauzy drapery, which was held up and shaken before us to show that the form had vanished.” 1 Dr. Nichol describes also the tying of knots in a piece of string, the ends of which were knotted and sealed.
As described, these phenomena are indeed inexplicable. But it is difficult or impossible to feel sure that the description covers all that happened. In any ordinary conjuring trick the thing is impossible as the spectator describes it; the point is that he does not describe it fully-does not see all that is done. Eglinton, if fraudulent, was exceptionally skilful; but Mr. S. J. Davey, of the S.P.R., afterwards equalled his slatewriting performances, and, as to materialisation, it seems established that Archdeacon Colley found a false beard and some muslin in Eglinton's possession, both matching pieces which had been cut from the hair and robe of the "materialised spirit” Abdullah! After that, it hardly seems necessary to argue the point as to whether Eglinton had any gleams of genuineness.
And it is unquestionable that as the critical standard has risen, supposed "mediums” of this class have diminished in number. Many have been exposed, and at the present time there is, I think, only one professional in England. I have had accounts from friends who have certainly had curious and in some cases convincing experiences with him; but, on the whole, his phenomena cannot be considered to be established as beyond the range of trickery, helped out by vivid imagination excited by sitting in darkness and expectancy. We know little about the psychology of such conditions, and it is quite likely that sitters pass into a mental state not quite normal, and closely analogous to hypnosis. Thus far on the negative side; but it must be admitted that the question remains open, for modern science has taught us the unwisdom of declaring anything to be impossible. Materialisation may be a fact. But the evidence is not conclusive yet.
1u Twixt Two Worlds: a Narrative of the Life and Work of William Eglinton,” by John S. Farmer, p. 26. London: The Psychological Press, 1886.
WILLIAM STAINTON MOSES
ROBABLY everyone has some mediumistic
power in one or other direction, and the history of the subject is full of the minor phenomena of halfdeveloped mediums, as well as the performances of persons who were remarkable people if genuine, but whose genuineness was not sufficiently attested. It is therefore necessary, in a volume which cannot be exhaustive, to select the most outstanding cases, remarking, however, that they are only the highest summits, so to speak, and that their exceptionality is really perhaps less than would appear in a fuller history.
William Stainton Moses, whose life F. W. H. Myers has justly called one of the most extraordinary lives of the nineteenth century,' was born in Lincolnshire on November 5th, 1839, the son of a grammarschool headmaster. He showed ability, and the family moved to Bedford in 1852 in order that he might have the educational advantages of Bedford School, where he did well, gaining a scholarship at Exeter College, Oxford. There he showed himself hardworking, but not brilliant. At twenty-four he was ordained by Bishop Wilberforce, and took a curacy at Kirk Maug
“Human Personality," vol. ii., pp. 225-6.