ePub 版

found this script, and compared the handwriting with that of “Blanche Abercromby," whom he happened to have known. The resemblance was indubitable and was confirmed by others. There is no reason to suppose that Mr. Moses had ever seen any of “Blanche Abercromby's” handwriting. One detail at first seemed wrong, but afterwards turned out to be an added confirmation. The capital “A” was different from the “A” in the letters first found for comparison; but the communicator's son—an unwilling witness, not friendly to the subject—said that during the last year of his mother's life she had taken to making the “A” as it appeared in the script.

Many more such cases are on record, but the foregoing illustrations must suffice; students may consult “Proceedings,” S.P.R., vols. viii., ix. and xi., for further detail. As to explanations, a forgotten perception or telepathy from some living mind may account for some of the incidents; but an unprejudiced consideration of the whole mass of the evidence renders such explanation doubtfully acceptable. As to deliberate concoction with intent to deceive, plus the fraud theory of the physical phenomena, those who knew Mr. Moses are the best judges of his character. Mr. Myers knew him for eighteen years (1874-92), and this is what he says:

He responded to my unfeigned interest with a straightforward intimacy of conversation on the experiences of which I cared so much to learn. But there was no such close personal attraction as is likely to prompt me to partiality as a biographer; and, indeed, both Edmund Gurney and I were con

1 «Proceedings," S.P.R., vol. xi., pp. 96-8.

scious in him of something like the impatience of a schoolmaster towards slow students; natural enough in a man whose inborn gifts have carried him irresistibly to a conviction on the edge of which less favoured persons must needs pause and ponder long. I am bound to add that the study of his notebooks, by making him more intimately known to me as he was in his best days, has brought me nearer to the warm and even enthusiastic estimate implied in the letters of various more intimate friends of his which lie before me.

More important, however, than the precise degree of attractiveness, or of spiritual refinement, in Mr. Moses's personal demeanour are the fundamental questions of sanity and probity. On these points neither I myself, nor, so far as I know, any person acquainted with Mr. Moses, has ever entertained any doubt. “However perplexed for an explanation,” says Mr. Massey, "the crassest prejudice has recoiled from ever suggesting a doubt of the truth and honesty of Stainton Moses." "I believe that he was wholly incapable of deceit," writes Mr. H. J. Hood, barrister-at-law, who knew him for many years.?

[ocr errors]

On the question of sanity, Dr. Johnson, of Bedford, wrote to Mr. Myers as below:

March 24th, 1893. As the intimate friend and medical adviser of the late Stainton Moses I have had ample opportunities of thoroughly knowing his character and mental state.

He was a man even in temper, painstaking and methodical, of exceptional ability, and utterly free from any hallucination or anything to indicate other than a well-ordered brain.

He was a firm believer in all that he uttered or wrote about matters of a spiritual nature, and he impressed me—and, I believe, most others he came in contact with-with the genuineness of his convictions and a firm belief not only that he believed in the statements he had made and written, but that

*F. W. H. Myers on "The Experiences of W. Stainton Moses," “Proceedings," S.P.R., vol. ix., p. 247.

they were the outcome of a mind which had given itself up entirely to the study of a subject which he considered of essential value and importance to the welfare of his fellowmen.

I have attended him in several very severe illnesses, but never, in sickness or at other times, has his brain shown the slightest cloudiness or suffered from any delusion. I not only consider that he believed what he stated, but I think that those who knew him best would not for an instant doubt that all he stated were facts and words of truth.

Sincerely yours,


In another letter Dr. Johnson says:

He was a most lovable character; kind and generous in his every action; and with a fund of information on most subjects which made him a most welcome guest.?

And Dr. Eve, headmaster of University College School, wrote as follows to Professor Sidgwick:

Stainton Moses was an excellent colleague. He confined himself entirely to English; in that subject he took classes in all parts of the school, and his work was always well and methodically done. He taught essay-writing well, and was

. very skilful in appreciating the relative value of boys' essays, which is not easy. He was much looked up to by boys, and had considerable influence over them. On general points connected with the management of the school he was one of the colleagues to whom I most naturally turned for advice, and I have every reason to be grateful to him.

Yours very sincerely,

H. W. Eve.

2 "Proceedings,” S.P.R., vol. ix., p. 251. It is perhaps not irrelevant to note that Mr. Moses was normal in physical appearance; of middle height, strongly built, full features, with thick dark hair and beard. There is no reason to believe he was of Jewish descent; the name seems to have been altered from "Mostyn" by some ancestor. 'Ibid.


As to Dr. Speer, he was M.D. of Edinburgh, held various hospital posts with credit, and "was much valued as a practical physician at Cheltenham and in London.” 1 His cast of mind was strongly materialistic, and it is remarkable that his interest in Mr. Moses' phenomena was, from first to last, of a purely scientific, as contrasted with an emotional or a religious, nature.” 2

It is not possible to give more than the foregoing sketch here, but what has been said may be sufficient to indicate that the life of Stainton Moses furnishes a real problem which cannot safely be dismissed offhand. He was not a professional medium, took no fee, and sat only with intimate friends. If he found it amusing to delude them in such elaborate fashion over a period of twenty years, there must have been a queer mental twist in him; and there is no evidence of anything of the kind. Indeed, as Myers says,' the idea that Stainton Moses produced the phenomena fraudulently is both physically and morally incredible. Whether they were due to spirits is another question, not to be finally settled until we know the extent of the subliminal self's hidden powers; but it has to be admitted that the evidence is strong.

The student may be referred to Mr. Moses' books, “Spirit Teachings” (written automatically and embodying the Broad Church theology which the spirit group mainly came to inculcate), and "Higher Aspects of Spiritualism.” The former is impressive, though it has been urged that it is not beyond Mr. Moses' own powers, also that its stateliness approaches pomposity. Whatever its source, most people will agree that its matter is good. If the author was Mr. Moses' subliminal consciousness, that subliminal was ahead of his supraliminal in wisdom, if not in phrasing.

"Proceedings,” S.P.R., vol. ix., p. 248. 'Op. cit., p. 248.

8 "Human Personality,” vol. ii., p. 227.

« 上一頁繼續 »