2010-01-27

Are There a Couple of Ghosts Peering Out of That Window at Me? | Authspot

I’m not really sure. It may just be an anomaly. But I think there is a ghost catching a glimpse at me and my lens.





It was a beautiful September afternoon roaming through the grounds on Daheim; enjoying my usual routine of snapping photos and looking for Blue Heron on the lake, a stone’s throw away from “The Big House”. Passing through the west side entrance I always made a point to take at least one or two snapshots of Dietrich’s main milieu. When I developed the film I noticed what looked to be a human like figure in the center window, on the plafond of the front veranda. I will display several more variations until you can see what I observe to be a few figures peering out at me with entitled curiosity...

Are There a Couple of Ghosts Peering Out of That Window at Me? | Authspot



2010-01-24

Unsettling Old Photos of the “Living” Dead

Quoting Ransom Riggs:

Some of you might remember a blog I did last year, Only the Creepiest Photos Ever Taken. It was a small collection of something I’d just discovered — Victorian mourning photography, in which the dead are posed as if they were “just sleeping” and photographed, creating an expensive memento mori that was often the only photograph a family would have of the deceased loved one.



Well, I just found something creepier. A lot creepier. It’s a sub-genre of the Victorian mourning portrait, in which photographers clamp and pose the dearly departed in such a way that they look fully awake — usually standing up, eyes either held open by some unknown mechanism (shudder) or with pupils painted over closed eyes, to very, very creepy effect. They’re too crazy and weird not to share with you guys, but I’ll do the nightmare-prone among you a favor and save the first image until after the jump. (There’s nothing lose-your-lunch gross about these — this ain’t rotten.com, after all — they’re just deeply unsettling.)

parents and child2

The girl’s rigid hands and painted-on pupils — not to mention the edge of a stand behind her left leg — give it away.

Full article:
Unsettling Old Photos of the “Living” Dead
by Ransom Riggs

2010-01-23

Safety Coffins: The Ultimate Protection Against Premature Burial



Premature burial was a serious danger in the days when doctors did not fully understand such conditions as comas and catalepsy, because it was not always possible to declare with certainty whether a person was truly dead or merely unconscious.


Image via Wikipedia


In 1906 Frederick J. Harvey, the 20-year-old son of a millionaire Kansas restaurateur, died suddenly after a short illness. When his fiancée, Lily Godfrey, visited the family tomb, she became convinced that Frederick was only sleeping and arranged for the body to be taken home. Four months later Fredrick emerged from his trance. He married the faithful Lily soon afterward.


Click on the title for the full article... or follow the link:

Safety Coffins: The Ultimate Protection Against Premature Burial

by Mr Ghaz  

2010-01-14

Tombstone Tales 012 - Sylvia Plath, reading "November Graveyard"

In this poem, the famous poetess Sylvia Plath talks about the cemetery in Heptonstall, where she was buried in 1963.





 

Flower forget-me-nots between the stones
Paving this grave ground. Here's honest rot
To unpick the heart, pare bone
Free of the fictive vein. When one stark skeleton
Bulks real, all saint's tongues fall quiet:
Flies watch no reserrections in the sun.


2010-01-10

019 - There Is No Death, by Florence Marryat: Defending Spiritualism Again






In this world, we mostly believe what we want to believe, and the thought of a future troubles us in proportion to the lives we lead here. It must often strike spiritualists (who mostly look forward to the day of their departure for another world, as a schoolboy looks forward to the commencement of the holidays) as a very strange thing, that people, as a rule, evince so little curiosity on the subject of Spiritualism. The idea of the spirits of the departed returning to this world to hold communication with their friends may be a new and startling one to them, but the very wonder of it would make one expect to see them evince a little interest in a matter which concerns us all.


Yet the generality of Carlyle's British millions either poohpooh the notion as too utterly ridiculous for their exalted minds to entertain, or inform you, with superior wisdom, that if Spiritualism is true, they cannot see the use of it, and have no craving for any further knowledge. If these same people expected to go to Canada or Australia in a few months' time, how eagerly they would ask questions concerning their future home, and procure the best information on what to do, whilst they remained in England, in order to fit themselves for the journey and the change.


But a journey to the other world – to the many worlds which perhaps await us –, a certain proof that we shall live again (or rather, that we shall never die but need only time and patience and well-living here to reunite us to the dear one gone before) – that is a subject not worthy of our trying to believe and of not sufficient importance for us to take the trouble of ascertaining. I pity from my soul the men and women who have no dead darling buried in their hearts whom they know they shall meet in a home of God's own choosing when this life ends.


The old, cold faiths have melted away beneath the sun of Progress. We can no longer be made to believe, like little children, in a shadowy indefinite Heaven where the saints sit on damp clouds with harps in their hands forever singing psalms and hymns and heavenly songs. That sort of existence could be a Heaven to none, and to most it would be a Hell. We do not accept it now, any more than we do the other place, with its typical fire and brimstone, and pitch-forking devils with horns and tails. But what has Religion given us instead? Those whose common-sense will not permit them to believe in the parson's Heaven and Hell generally believe (like Dr. H ) in nothing at all. But Spiritualism, earnestly and faithfully followed, leaves us in no doubt. Spiritualists know where they are going to. The spheres are almost as familiar to them as this earth – it is not too much to say that many live in them as much as they do here, and often they seem the more real, as they are the more lasting of the two.


Spiritualists are in no manner of doubt who their eyes will see when opening on another phase of life. They do not expect to be carried straight up into Abraham's bosom, and lie snugly there, whilst revengeful demons are torturing those who were, perhaps, nearest and dearest to them down below. They have a better and more substantial religion than that – a revelation that teaches them that the works we do in the flesh must bear their fruit in the spirit, and that no tardy deathbed repentance, no crying out for mercy because Justice is upon us, like an unruly child howling as soon as the stick is produced for chastisement, will avail to wipe off the sins we have indulged in upon earth. They know their expiation will be a bitter one, yet not without Hope, and that they will be helped, as well as help others, in the upward path that leads to ultimate perfection. The teaching of Spiritualism is such as largely to increase belief in our Divine Father's love, our Saviour's pity, and the angels' ministering help. But it does more than this, more than any religion has done before. It affords proof – the only proof we have ever received, and our finite natures can accept – of a future existence.


The majority of Christians hope and trust, and say they believe. It is the Spiritualist only that knows. 


I think that the marvellous indifference displayed by the crowd to ascertain these truths for themselves must be due, in a large number of instances, to the unnatural but universal fear which is entertained of Death and all things connected with it. The same people who loudly declaim again the possibility of seing a “ghost”, shudder at the idea of doing so. The creature whom they have adored and waited on with tenderest devotion passes away, and they are afraid to enter the room where his body lies. That which they clung to and wept over yesterday, they fear to look at or touch to-day, and the idea that he would return and speak to them would inspire them with horror. But why afraid of an impossibility? Their very fears should teach them that there is a cause. From numerous notes made on the subject I have invariably found that those who have had the opportunity of testing the reality of Spiritualism, and either rejected or denied it, have been selfish, worldly, and cold-hearted people who neither care, nor are cared for, by those who have passed on to another sphere.


Plenty of love is sure to bring you plenty of proof. The mourners, who have lost sight of what is dearest to them, and would give all they possess for one more look at the face they loved so much, or one more tone of the voice that was music to their ears, are only too eager and grateful to hear of a way by which their longings may be gratified, and would take any trouble and go to any expense to accomplish what they desire.


It is this intense yearning to speak again with those that have left us, on the part of the bereaved, that has led to chicanery on the part of media in order to gratify it. Wherever money is to be made, unfortunately cheating will step in; but because some tradesmen will sell you brass for gold is no reason to vote all jewellers thieves.


The account of the raising of Samuel by the witch of Endor is an instance that my argument is correct. The witch was evidently an impostor, for she had no expectation of seeing Samuel, and was frightened by the apparition she had evoked; but Spiritualism must be a truth, because it was Samuel himself who appeared and rebuked Saul for calling him back to this earth. What becomes, in the face of this story, of the impassable gulf between the earthly and spiritual spheres? That atheists who believe in nothing should not believe in Spiritualism is credible, natural, and consistent. But that Christians should reject the theory is tantamount to acknowledging that they found their hopes of salvation upon a lie. There is no way of getting out of it. If it be impossible that the spirits of the departed can communicate with men, the Bible must be simply a collection of fabulous statements; if it be wrong to speak with spirits, all the men whose histories are therein related were sinners, and the Almighty helped them to sin; and if all the spirits who have been heard and seen and touched in modern times are devils sent on earth to lure us to our destruction, how are we to distinguish between them and the Greatest Spirit of all, who walked with mortal Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden.


“Oh yes! I think I hear somebody cry…” But that was in the Bible… as if the Bible were a period or a place. And did it ever strike you that there is something else recorded in the Bible? “And He did not many miracles there because of their unbelief.” And yet Christ came to call “not the righteous but the sinners to repentance.”


Surely, then, the unbelieving required the conviction of the miracles more than those who knew Him to be God. Yet there He did them not, because of their unbelief, because their scepticism produced a condition in which miracles could not be wrought. And yet the nineteenth century is surprised because a sceptic, whose jarring element upsets all union and harmony, is not an acceptable addition to a spiritual meeting, and that the miracles of the present – gross and feeble, compared to those of the past, because worked by grosser material though grosser agents – ceased to be manifested when his unbelief intrudes itself upon them.


2010-01-09

Tombstone Tales 011 - The Madonna of Bachelor's Grove

Bachelors_grove_IR

 






There you are, as strange
as a woman emerged
from a grave and gone
looking for other corpses.



There you are, as beautiful
as the moon and chaste as a virgin
and never will you love
a mortal man again.






There you are, Snow
White and the bleakest flower
in this Black Forest,



but not melting anymore,
never ever melting away
in my hands.





 






The old burial ground of Bachelor’s Grove, Illinois has been the site of countless ghost stories. Headstones seem to move at will and at night, the spirits of the dead often materialize to walk the grounds. There are over 100 reports of strange phenomena, unexplained sights and sounds, even glowing balls of light.

The most famous of the apparitions is The Madonna of Bachelor's Grove, also known as The White Lady. The ghost of this young woman is always seen in a white dress, sometimes cradling a baby in her arms. The picture above was taken during an investigation of Bachelor's Grove cemetery by the Ghost Research Society, on August 10, 1991. Mari Huff was taking black and white photos with a high-speed infrared camera. When developed, this image emerged of a lonely-looking young woman dressed in white, sitting on a tombstone.



2010-01-08

Dark Places / VisionGhostPoet

The YouTube VisionGhostPoet Channel of this writer of  "creative verses" and producer of Non Visual & Visual Creative Literature video's, is really awesome...

You might take a start here, in these
 
Dark Places:


Much that was committed in time doth steer
Reaping the consciousness of abhorrent fear
That the air in silence speaks only in shadows
The dark shapes of a history in acrid hollows

An atrocity of nightmares upon flesh
Chains, chains, so much suffering thresh
Eyes water as the walls bleed their visions
Of the cruelty, the despair, savage excursions

Of hells embodiment within torment on skin
The spastic of minds for experimental sin
Cold in senses as the stillness prevails the hosts
The place of bedlam, this real place of ghosts



Read More & Watch the Video:


 

2010-01-05

018 - There Is No Death, by Florence Marryat: A Small Experiment in Spiritualism


 

I have a little story to tell here which powerfully illustrates the foregoing remarks. The lines

A woman convinced against her will
is of the same opinion still

might have been penned with as much truth of sceptics.




Men who are sceptical, i.e., so thoroughly wrapt up in conceit of their powers of judgment and determination that it becomes impossible for them to believe themselves mistaken, will deny the evidence of all their senses sooner than confess they may be in the wrong. Such man may be a clever scientist or a shrewd man of business, but he can never be a genius. For genius is invariably humble of its own powers, and, therefore, open to conviction. But the lesser minds, who are only equal to grasping such details as may have been drummed into them by sheer force of study, appear to have no capability of stretching beyond a certain limit. They are hedged in and cramped by the opinions in which they have been reared, or that they have built up for themselves out of the petty material their brain affords them, and have lost their powers of elasticity.


"Thus far shalt thou go and no further," seems to be the fiat pronounced on too many men’s reasoning faculties. Instead of believing the power of God and the resources of nature to be illimitable, they want to keep them within the little circle that encompasses their own brains.


“I can't see it, and therefore it cannot be.” There was a time when I used to take the trouble to try and convince such men, but I have long ceased to do so. It is quite indifferent to me what they believe or don't believe. And with such minds, even if they were convinced of its possibility, they would probably make no good use of spiritual intercourse. For there is no doubt it can be turned to evil uses as well as to good.





Some years ago I was on friendly terms with a man of this sort. He was a doctor, accounted clever in his profession, and I knew him to be an able arguist, and thought he had common sense enough not to eat his own words, but the sequel proved that I was mistaken. We had several conversations together on Spiritualism, and as Dr. H. was a complete disbeliever in the existence of a God and a future life, I was naturally not surprised to find that he did not place any credence in the account I gave him of my spiritualistic experiences. Many medical men attribute such experiences entirely to a diseased condition of mind or body.


But when I asked Dr. H. what he should think if he saw them with his own eyes, I confess I was startled to hear him answer that he should say his eyes deceived him.


“But if you heard them speak?” I continued.


“I should disbelieve my ears.”


“And if you touched and handled them?”


“I should mistrust my sense of feeling.”


“Then by what means,” I argued, “do you know that I am Florence Marryat? You can only see me and hear me and touch me! What is there to prevent your senses misleading you at the present moment?”


But to this argument Dr. H. only returned a pitying smile, professing to think me, on this point at least, too feeble-minded to be worthy of reply, but in reality not knowing what on earth to say. He often, however, recurred to the subject of Spiritualism, and on several occasions told me that if I could procure him the opportunity of submitting a test which he might himself suggest, he should be very much obliged to me.


It was about this time that a young medium named William Haxby, now passed away, went to live with Mr. and Mrs. Olive in Ainger Terrace, and we were invited to attend a seance given by him. Mrs. Olive, when giving the invitation, informed me that Mr. Haxby had been very successful in procuring direct writing in scaled boxes, and she asked me, if I wished to try the experiment, to take a secured box, with writing materials in it, to the seance, and see what would happen to it.


Here was, I thought, an excellent opportunity for Dr. H 's test, and I sent for him and told him what had been proposed. I urged him to prepare the test entirely by himself, and to accompany me to the seance and see what occurred – to all of which he readily consented. Indeed, he became quite excited on the subject, being certain it would prove a failure; and in my presence he made the following preparations:





I. Half a sheet of ordinary cream-laid note-paper and half a cedar-wood black lead pencil were placed in a jeweller's cardwood box.


II. The lid of the box was carefully glued down all round to the bottom part.


III. The box was wrapt in white writing paper, which was gummed over it.


IV. It was tied eight times with a peculiar kind of silk made for tying up arteries, and the eight knots were knots known to (as Dr. H. informed me) medical men only.


V. Each of the eight knots was sealed with sealing-wax, and impressed with Dr, H.'s crest seal, which he always wore on his watch-chain.


VI. The packet was again folded in brown paper, and sealed and tied to preserve the inside from injury.





When Dr. H. had finished it, he said to me: “If the spirits (or anybody) can write on that paper without cutting the silk, 1 will believe whatever you wish.”


“Are you quite sure that the packet could not be undone without your detecting it?" I asked.


“That silk is not to be procured except from a medical man; it is manufactured expressly for the tying of arteries; and the knots I have made are known only to medical men. They are the knots we use in tying arteries. The seal is my own crest, which never leaves my watch-chain, and I defy anyone to undo those knots without cutting them, or to tie them again, if cut. I repeat—if your friends can make, or cause to be made, the smallest mark on that paper, and return me the box in the condition it now is, I will believe anything you choose.”


And I confess I was very dubious of the result myself, and almost sorry that I had subjected the doctor's incredulity to so severe a test.





On the evening appointed we attended the seance, Dr. H. was taking the prepared packet with him. He was directed to place it under his chair, but he tied a string to it and put it under his foot, retaining the other end of the string in his hand. The meeting was not one for favorably impressing an unbeliever in Spiritualism. There were too many people present, and too many strangers. The ordinary manifestations, to my mind, are worse than useless, unless they have been preceded by extraordinary ones; so that the doctor returned home more sceptical than before, and I repented that I had taken him there.


One thing had occurred, however, that he could not account for. The packet which he had kept, as he thought, under his foot the whole time, was found, at the close of the meeting, to have disappeared. Another gentleman had brought a sealed box, with paper and pencil in it, to the seance; and at the close it was opened in the presence of all assembled, and found to contain a closely written letter from his deceased wife. But the doctor's box had evaporated, and was nowhere to be found. The door of the room had been locked all the time, and we searched the room thoroughly, but without success.


Dr. H. was naturally triumphant. “They couldn't undo my knots and my seals,” he said, exulting over me, “and so they wisely did not return the packet. Both packets were of course taken from the room during the sitting by some confederate of the medium. The other one was easily managed, and put back again – mine proved unmanageable, and so they have retained it. I knew it would be so!”


And he twinkled his eyes at me as much as to say: “I have shut you up. You will not venture to describe any of the marvels you have seen to me after this.”


Of course the failure did not discompose me, nor shake my belief. I never believed spiritual beings to be omnipotent, omnipresent, nor omniscient. They had failed before, and doubtless they would fail again. But if an acrobatic performer fails to turn a double somersault on to another man's head two or three times, it does not falsify the fact that he succeeds on the fourth occasion.


I was sorry that the test had been a failure, for Dr. H.'s sake, but I did not despair of seeing the box again. And at the end of a fortnight it was left at my house by Mr. Olive, with a note to say that it had been found that morning on the mantelpiece in Mr. Haxby's bedroom, and he lost no time in returning it to me. It was wrapt in the brown paper, tied and sealed, apparently just as we had carried it to the stance in Ainger Terrace; and I wrote at once to Dr. H. announcing its return, and asking him to come over and open it in my presence.


He came, took the packet in his hand, and having stripped off the outer wrapper, examined it carefully. There were four tests, it may be remembered, applied to the packet.





I. The arterial silk, procurable only from a medical man.


II. The knots to be tied only by medical men.


III. Dr. H.'s own crest, always kept on his watch chain, as a seal.


IV. The lid of the cardboard box, glued all round to the bottom part.





As the doctor scrutinized the silk, the knots, and the seals, I watched him narrowly.


“Are you quite sure,” I asked, “that it is the same paper in which you wrapt it?”


“I am quite sure.”


“And the same silk?”


“Quite sure.”


“Your knots have not been untied?”


“I am positive that they have not.”


“Nor your seal been tampered with?”


“Certainly not! It is just as I sealed it.”


“Be careful, Dr. H.,” I continued. “Remember I shall write down all you say.”


“I am willing to swear to it in a court of justice,” he replied.


“Then will you open the packet?”


Dr. H. took the scissors and cut the silk at each seal and knot, then tore off the gummed white writing paper (which was as fresh as when he had put it on), and tried to pull open the card-board box. But as he could not do this in consequence of the lid being glued down, he took out his penknife and cut it all round. As he did so, he looked at me and said: “Mark my words. There will be nothing written on the paper. It is impossible!”


He lifted the lid, and behold the box was empty! The half sheet of notepaper and the half cedar wood pencil had both entirely disappeared. Not a crumb of lead, nor a shred of paper remained behind. I looked at the doctor, and the doctor looked completely bewildered.


“Well?” I said, interrogatively.


He shifted about – grew red – and began to bluster.


“What do you make of it?” I asked. “How do you account for it?”


“In the easiest way in the world,” he replied, trying to brave it out. “It's the most transparent deception I ever saw. They've kept the thing a fortnight and had time to do anything with it. A child could see through this. Surely your bright wits can want no help to an explanation.”


“I am not so bright as you give me credit for,” I answered. “Will you explain your meaning to me?”


“With pleasure. They have evidently made an invisible slit in the joining of the box cover, and with a pair of fine forceps drawn the paper through it, bit by bit. For the pencil, they drew that by the same means to the slit and then pared it, little by little, with a lancet, till they could shake out the fragments.”


“That must have required very careful manipulation,” I observed.


“Naturally. But they've taken a fortnight to do it in.”


“But how about the arterial silk?” I said.


“They must have procured some from a surgeon.”


“And your famous knots?”


“They got some surgeon to tie them!”


“But your crest and seal?”


“Oh! They must have taken a facsimile of that in order to reproduce it. It is very cleverly done, but quite explicable!”


“But you told me before you opened the packet that you would take your oath in a court of justice it had not been tempered with.”


“I was evidently deceived.”


“And you really believe, then, that an uneducated lad like Mr. Haxby would take the trouble to take impressions of seals and to procure arterial silk and the services of a surgeon, in order, not to mystify or convert jou, but to gratify me, whose box he believes it to be.”


“I am sure he has done so!”


“But just now you were equally sure he had not done so. Why should you trust your senses in one case more than in the other? And if Mr. Haxby has played a trick on me, as you suppose, why did you not discover the slit when you examined the box, before opening?”


“Because my eyes misled me!”


“Then after all,” I concluded, “the best thing you can say of yourself is that you – a man of reputed science, skill, and sense, and with a strong belief in your own powers – are unable to devise a test in which you shall not be outwitted by a person so inferior to yourself in age, intellect and education as young Haxby. But I will give you another chance. Make up another packet in any way you like. Apply to it the severest tests which your ingenuity can devise, or other men of genius can suggest to you, and let me give it to Haxby and see if the contents can be extracted, or tampered with a second time.”


“It would be useless,” said Dr. H. “If they were extracted through the iron panels of a fireproof safe, I would not believe it was done by any but natural means.”


“Because you do not wish to believe,” I argued.


“You are right,” he confessed. “I do not wish to believe. If you convinced me of the truth of Spiritualism, you would upset all the theories I have held for the best part of my life. I don't believe in a God, nor a soul, nor a future existence, and I would rather not believe in them. We have quite enough trouble, in my opinion, in this life, without looking forward to another, and I would rather cling to my belief that when we die we have done with it once and for ever.”


So there ended my attempt to convince Dr. H., and I have often thought since that he was but a type of the genus sceptic. 



2010-01-04

Tombstone Tales 010: Salome / Something terrible might happen

#13 in color
Central Graveyard Vienna / onkel_wart






How beautiful she was –
like a woman rising
from a tomb, like
a dead woman looking
for me.


Like a little princess
with tiny white doves
for feet – one might fancy
she was dancing –
and wearing a yellow veil.


I never had seen her that pale,
as if she was a shadow
of  the shadow
of a white rose in a mirror
of silver.


I couldn’t keep from looking at her
while I knew it was dangerous
to look at dead people
in such way:


Something terrible might happen.





This poem was inspired by the first scene of Salome, the play written by Oscar Wilde.

2010-01-02

017: There Is No Death, by Florence Marryat: On Scepticism









There are two classes of people who have done more harm to the cause of Spiritualism than the testimony of all the scientists has done good, and those are the enthusiasts and the sceptics. The first believe everything they see or ear. Without giving themselves the trouble to obtain proofs of the genuineness of the manifestations, they rush impetuously from one acquaintance to the other, detailing their experience with so much exaggeration and such unbounded faith, that they make the absurdity of it patent to all. They are generally people of low intellect, credulous dispositions, and weak nerves. They bow down before the influences as if they were so many little gods descended from heaven, instead of being, as in the majority of instances, spirits a shade less holy than our own, who, for their very shortcomings, are unable to rise above the atmosphere that surrounds this gross and material world.
These are the sort of spiritualists whom Punch and other comic papers have very justly ridiculed. Who does not remember the picture of the afflicted widow, for whom the medium has just called up the departed Jones?
“Jones,” she falters, “are you happy?”
“Much happier than I was down here,” growls Jones.
“O! Then you must be in heaven!”
“On the contrary, quite the reverse,” is the reply.
Who also has not sat a seance where such people have not made themselves so ridiculous as to bring the cause they profess to adore into contempt and ignominy. Yet to allow the words and deeds of fools to affect one’s inward and private conviction of a matter would be tantamount to giving up the pursuit of everything in which one’s fellow creatures can take a part.
The second class to which I alluded – the sceptics – have not done so much injury to Spiritualism as the enthusiasts, because they are as a rule, so intensely bigoted, hardheaded and narrow-minded, that they overdo their protestations, and render them harmless. The sceptic refuses to believe anything, because he has found out one thing to be a fraud. If one medium deceives, all the mediums must deceive. If one seance is a failure, none can be successful. If he gains no satisfactory test of the presence of the spirits of the departed, no one has ever gained such a test. Now, such reason is neither just nor logical.
Again, a sceptic fully expects his testimony to be accepted and believed, yet he will never believe any truth on the testimony of another person. And if he is told that, given certain conditions, he can see this or hear the other, he says: “No! I will see it and hear it without any conditions, or else I will proclaim it all a fraud.”
In like manner, we might say to a savage, on showing him a watch: “If you will keep your eye on those hands, you will see them move round to tell the hours and minutes.” – And he should reply:  “I must put the watch into boiling water – those are my conditions – and if it won't go then, I will not believe it can go at all.”
I don't mind a man being a sceptic in Spiritualism. I don't see how he can help (considering the belief in which we are reared) being a sceptic, until he has proved so strange a matter for himself. But I do object to a man or a woman taking part in a séance with the sole intention of detecting deceit, not when it has happened, but before it has happened – of bringing an argumentative, disputatious mind, full of the idea that it is going to be tricked and humbugged into (perhaps) a private circle who are sitting (like Rosa Dartle) “simply for information”, and scattering all the harmony and good-will about him broadcast.
He couldn't do it to a human assembly without breaking up the party. Why should he expect to be more kindly welcomed by a spiritual one? I have seen an immense deal of courtesy shown under such circumstances to men whom I should have liked to see kicked downstairs.
I have seen them enter a lady's private drawing-room, by invitation, to witness manifestations which were never, under any circumstances, made a means of gain, and have heard them argue, and doubt, and contradict, until they have given their hostess and her friends the lie to their faces. And the world in general would be quite ready to side with these (so-called) gentlemen, not because their word or their wisdom was better worth than that of their fellow guests, but because they protested against the truth of a thing which it had made up its mind to be impossible.
I don't mind a sceptic myself, as I said before, but he must be unbiassed, which few sceptics are. As a rule, they have decided the question at issue for themselves before they commence to investigate it. I find that few people outside the pale of Spiritualism have heard of the Dialectical Society, which was a scientific society assembled a few years ago for the sole purpose of enquiring into the truth of the matter. It was composed of forty members – ten lawyers, ten scientists, ten clergymen, and ten chemists (I think that was the arrangement), and they held forty seances, and the published report at the close of them was, that not one of these men of learning and repute could find any natural cause for the wonders he had witnessed.
I know that there are a thousand obstacles in the way of belief. The extraordinarily contradictory manner in which Protestants are brought up, to believe in one and the same breath that spirits were common visitants to earth at the periods of which the Bible treats, but that it is impossible they can return to it now, although the Lord is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.
The conditions of darkness for the creation of materialized spirits, and the resemblance they sometimes bear to the medium, are two fearful stumbling-blocks. Yet one must know that all things are created in the dark, and that even a seed cannot sprout if you let the light in upon it, while as for the resemblance between the spirit and the medium, from whom it takes the material being that enables it to appear, if investigators would only persevere with their enquiries, they would find, as I have, that that is a disappointment which has its remedy in Time. When people call on me to explain such things, I can only say that I know no more how they come than they do, or that I know how I came, a living, sentient creature, into the world.
Besides (as I have said before), I write these pages to tell only what I have seen, and not to argue how it came to pass that I saw it.

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