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sent a most urgent request that his article should not be inserted. His request, however, was too late. Out came the Atlantic Monthly, and in it R. Dale Owen's contribution, which drew from the New York Tribune the following well-merited castigation : 'A man who is too strong-minded to believe in Christianity, and yet finds no difficulty in believing that spirits come out of a closet, and dance breakdowns on a platform, and spin mosquito curtains out of the air, is scarcely a promising subject for argument. To say that he disbelieves the Bible because he cannot understand it, but believes in Katie because he has seen her, simply shows that he is as vain of the feebleness of his understanding as he is of the blindness of his eyes.'
But the whole of the phenomena of spiritualism cannot be accounted for on the ground of wilful imposture; hence, we fear that many good, but mistaken, people have unconsciously aided the spiritualists by the fierce manner in which they have denounced the whole movement as a gross and intentional imposition upon the public, whereas the media were able to convince the majority of those who entered their circles of the reality of their leading facts. In 1869 the London Dialectical Society appointed a large committee to investigate the phenomena alleged to be spiritual manifestations. After careful investigation, the majority of the committee were thoroughly convinced of the genuineness of many of the manifestations; but the question of their spiritual origin they, of course, left entirely open. A Boston minister, * of unquestionable intelligence and integrity,' saw a medium place her hands gently upon a marble-topped table, no other person being near. In a short time the table began to move, and it followed the lady around the room. Seeing this, the minister got under the table, and, seizing its legs firmly, attempted to hold it still. The table continued to move, and the minister was drawn with it across the floor. But, as Dr. Mahan * vigorously puts it, Suppose that a human or other body should rise up before us, and we cannot tell the reason why. What infinite fools we should make of ourselves if we should leap to the conclusion that intangible, impalpable, and unearthly spirits laid hold of that object and lifted it up.'
However, we will examine some of these communications which profess to be from the spirit-world, in order that we may ascertain whether or not they afford internal evidence of genuineness. Some years ago many people in the United States were in painful suspense
The Phenomena of Spiritualism Scientifically Explained and Exposed by the Rev. Asa Mahan, D.Ď. London: Hodder and Stoughton—a work from which much of the matter for this article has been obtained.
respecting a certain ocean steamer (the Atlantic) which had been reported 'missing. A confirmed believer in the reality of spirit-manifestations consulted the spirits respecting this vessel, and was told that she had been destroyed by a terrible conflagration. Some weeks afterwards the missing vessel arrived safely in port. A friend of Dr. Mahan's once requested a medium, who professed to be then under the immediate control of spirits, to ask the spirits how many gas-lights were then burning in the room. “I do not know,' he added, “keep your own head down, so that you also will remain ignorant of the nurnber.' The medium did so, and the spirit rapped the number four. After being requested to decide with perfect deliberation, the number was repeated, four raps being given again. The real number was five. The medium had previously said that he had given up faith in the Scriptures to follow the higher light of spiritualism.' "There,' said Dr. M.'s friend, “you have rejected that blessed Book, which has been the light and consolation of the good in all ages, to follow spirits, who, when put to the test, are unable to count five. Indeed, evidence has been given to the effect that the spirits disagree on such simple questions as the location of Boston and New York, whether on the Atlantic or Pacific Coast. Spirit-communications are occasionally received, professedly from Bacon, Newton, Franklyn, &c. Now, we are all aware how these illustrious men toiled hard and long for the benefit of their fellows; for, as the result of their labours, some of the profoundest truths of physical science are now within the reach of the humblest schoolboy. If, therefore, they were able to instruct the world so efficiently while yet in the flesh, how much more so now after having enjoyed for ages the clearer light and superior powers of the spirit-world ? Alas ! How are the mighty fallen! The Bacons and Newtons of the spiritualists are incapable of uttering anything but the veriest common-place, or nonsense the most arrant. Indeed, it would be as reasonable to suppose that Michael, the archangel, is the author of the celebrated work entitled The House that Jack Built,' and that this is the highest production of which he is capable,' as to suppose that the spirits of these men actually communicate the senseless effusions which are sometimes given to the world in their name; and it has been naively suggested that the descendants of these worthies ought to be able to obtain heavy damages in a suit for slander against the spiritualists for attributing such thoughts to their great ancestors.' All who believe in the genuineness of such communications may well prize their present intellectual powers; for if our Bacons and Newtons have so seriously deteriorated in intellect since they have entered the spirit-world-far from being equal to the angels '--the bulk of our race may expect little short of drivelling idiocy.
But, it is argued, raps, otherwise inexplicable, have been, and are being, given, tables are moved, bodies float in the air, and correct answers, known to none other save the questioner, are frequently given. How can such phenomena be accounted for ?
When Mr. W. Crookes, F.R.S., discoverer of the metal thallium, and editor of the Quarterly Journal of Science, investigated some of the phenomena of spiritualism, he came to the conclusion that a hitherto undiscovered force must exist, and he proposed psychic force as a suitable designation for it; but it is said that he afterwards accepted the spirit-theory.
Since we commenced this article we called at the progressive library, London—the chief centre of the spiritualists—to purchase the latest and best pamphlet that had been written in exposition and defence of the movement. After some thought, the gentleman behind the counter recommended four pamphlets, with the following titles : “The Claims of Modern Spiritualism upon Public Attention,' • What Spiritualism has Taught,' «Spiritualism and the Gospel of Jesus,' and Spirit-mediums and Conjurers.' We bought the lot. But judge our surprise when we found that the pamphlets had been written in 1873-4, and that three of them were the productions of gentlemen who had within the last three years renounced spiritualism! If this is an illustration of the kind of progress usually made by spiritualists, we have no hesitation in bidding them God-speed. But, curiously enough, the gentlemen referred to above now declare that the phenomena of the spirit-circle are produced by Satanic agency-a short and easy method of accounting for the movement, certainly; but is it satisfactory? We think not.
• However astonishing,' says Sir William Hamilton, as quoted by Dr. Vahan, “it is now proved, beyond all rational doubt, that, in certain abnormal states of the nervous organism, perceptions are possible through other than the ordinary channels of the senses. “It has been proved beyond dispute,' says Dr. Wayland, “ that persons under this influence (animal magnetism) have submitted to the most distressing operations without consciousness of pain ; that other persons have cognised events at a great distance, and have related them correctly at the time; and
persons totally blind have, when in a state of mesmeric consciousness, enjoyed for the time the power of perceiving external objects. Still quoting from Dr. Wayland, our author gives an account of one
Nathaniel Bishop, who, being mesmerised on board the United States steamer, Princeton, was able to tell the time by a watch kept in the binnacle on the upper deck although he was at the time on the lower deck. One evening, while at anchor at the port of Genoa, the captain being ashore, Bishop (being in the clairvoyant state) was asked where the captain was. • At the opera,' he replied, 'with Mr. Lester, the Consul.' • What does he say?' inquired the gentleman who had mesmerised him. Bishop appeared to listen for a moment, then he said, “The captain tells Mr. Lester that he was much pleased with the port of Xavia, and that the authorities treated him with much consideration. At this one of the officers laughed, and said that he would ask the captain when he returned. He did so, and found that Bishop had been literally correct. On another occasion, an officer being ashore, Bishop was asked to examine his pockets. He made several movements with his hands as if actually drawing something out of a person's pockets, saying, as he did so, Here is a hankerchief, and here is a box—what a curious thing! the box is full of little white sticks with blue ends. When the officer returned it was found that he had in his pockets a handkerchief and a box of matches. Equally striking cases of clairvoyance have been witnessed in our own country. The writer bas heard the Revs. W. Rowe and E. Powell—the former of The Ladies' College, Clapham; and the latter of Pontypridd--relate instances that had come under their own observation, and which are quite as astounding as those related by Dr. Maban. But, instead of citing additional cases, let us take our author's undeniable inferences: (1) That there is in nature a medium of communication between mind and mind other than that through which communications are made through the ordinary channels of the senses. (2) Through this occult force, one mind may, when the necessary conditions are fulfilled, control the action of another mind.
mind. (3) Through this same force, the mind of the person magnetised, when he happens to be rapport (in mesmeric communication) with any object however distant, and however removed from the reach of the senses, will have a direct and immediate cognition of the same.
Akin to the mesmeric force is the odyllic, odic, or psychic force, which is said to pervade all bodies in nature, and to possess some properties in common with electricity and magnetism, although it differs fundamentally from these forces in being transmissable through electric and magnetic non-conductors. The physical organisms of individuals. of peculiar temperaments become, in some instances, in certain localities, powerfully eharged with this force; and when this is the
case, it acts upon other objects, and is re-acted upon by them, as an attractive or repulsive force, objects in many instances, even without visible contact, being drawn towards or driven from such individuals ; or, it may produce rapping sounds on the walls, floor, or ceiling of the rooms they occupy. At times, indeed, the physical system of such individuals is so powerfully affected as to produce total mental derangement.
Having given several cases in illustration and verification of the foregoing statements, Dr. Mahan proceeds to show that the immediate cause of the so-called spirit-manifestations is none other than that which produces the odyllic and mesmeric phenomena. An individual enters a circle and proposes a question to a spirit that is assumed to be presenta question pertaining to a subject about which all in the circle except himself are absolutely ignorant; but, as he is well aware, a subject about which himself and the spirit supposed to be present are perfectly informed. Now, it is assumed here that, if the correct answer is given, it must have been prompted by the spirit. But s it not more reasonable to suppose that the answer was determined by the mental state of the inquirer ? This is the position taken by the venerable Doctor, and, we think, not without sufficient evidence, as the following considerations will prove :
The so-called spirit-communications take specific form from the known sentiments of the particular circles in which they are given. During a time of great religious excitement in the town of Madison, Geauga, county Ohio, a certain minister, who had taken a prominent part in the revival, became a spiritualist. He soon found a medium of similar religious views, and thus a perfectly orthodox circle was formed.
Into this circle some of the oldest and most confirmed Universalists and Infidels were introduced, and-professedly by the spirits of their own deceased friends—were assured that their sentiments were wrong, and that the orthodox view of time and eternity, heaven and hell, was the only correct one. Among others the spirit of a Mr. Branch-a deacon, who, prior to his decease, had for many years enjoyed the esteem and confidence of his neighbours--appeared in the circle, and testified that what is affirmed in the Bible concerning Jesus Christ and future retribution is absolutely correct. A friend of Dr. Mahan's entered that rcle and received correct answers con cerning the names, ages, and death of her children, although none present but herself knew that she had had children. At length a medium of opposite sentiments was found, and a heterodox, if not decidedly infidel, circle was formed. Here again the spirits appeared