Hours with the Ghosts or, Nineteenth Century Witchcraft / Illustrated Investigations into the Phenomena of Spiritualism and Theosophy

Hours with the Ghosts or, Nineteenth Century Witchcraft / Illustrated Investigations into the Phenomena of Spiritualism and Theosophy

Author:
Henry Ridgely Evans
Author:
Henry Ridgely Evans
Format:
epub
language:
English

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Author: Evans, Henry Ridgely, 1861-1949
Spiritualism
Blavatsky
H. P. (Helena Petrovna)
1831-1891
Theosophy
Hours with the Ghosts or, Nineteenth Century Witchcraft
Illustrated Investigations into the Phenomena of Spiritualism and Theosophy

HOURS WITH THE GHOSTS

 
 

LEE’S LIBRARY OF
OCCULT SCIENCE

HOURS WITH THE GHOSTS; Or XIX Century Witchcraft
By Henry R. Evans.
 
PRACTICAL PALMISTRY; Or Hand Reading Made Easy
By Comte C. de Saint-Germain.
 
HERRMANN THE MAGICIAN; His Life; His Secrets
By H. J. Burlingame.
 
All profusely illustrated. Bound in Holliston
cloth, burnished red top, uncut edges.
EACH, $1.00

 
 

SPIRIT PHOTOGRAPH.
[Taken by the Author.]
 
 
Hours With the Ghosts
OR
NINETEENTH CENTURY WITCHCRAFT
 
Illustrated Investigations
INTO THE
Phenomena of Spiritualism and Theosophy
 
BY
Henry Ridgely Evans
 
The first duty we owe to the world is Truth—all the
Truth—nothing but the Truth.—“Ancient Wisdom.
 
CHICAGO
LAIRD & LEE, PUBLISHERS
 
 
Entered according to act of Congress, in the year eighteen hundred and ninety-seven.
By WILLIAM H. LEE,
In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
 
 
TO MY WIFE
 
 

“It is no proof of wisdom to refuse to examine certain phenomena because we think it certain that they are impossible, as if our knowledge of the universe were already completed.”—Prof. Lodge.
“The most ardent Spiritist should welcome a searching inquiry into the potential faculties of spirits still in the flesh. Until we know more of these, those other phenomena to which he appeals must remain unintelligible because isolated, and are likely to be obstinately disbelieved because they are impossible to understand.”—F. W. H. Myers: “Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research,” Part XVIII, April, 1891.

 
 


TABLE OF CONTENTS.

Author’s Preface 11
INTRODUCTORY ARGUMENT 13
PART FIRST: Spiritualism 18
I. Divisions of the Subject 18
II. Subjective Phenomena 23
  1. Telepathy 23
  2. Table Tilting. Muscle Reading 40
III. Physical Phenomena 46
  1. Psychography or Slate-writing 46
  2. The Master of the Mediums: D. D. Home 93
  3. Rope Tying and Holding Mediums; Materializations 135
    The Davenport Brothers 135
    Annie Eva Fay 149
    Charles Slade 154
    Pierre L. O. A. Keeler 160
    Eusapia Paladino 175
    F. W. Tabor 182
  4. Spirit Photography 188
  5. Thought Photography 197
  6. Apparitions of the Dead 201
IV. Conclusions 207
PART SECOND: Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophists   213
I. The Priestess 213
II. What is Theosophy? 237
III. Madame Blavatsky’s Confession 250
IV. The Writings of Madame Blavatsky 265
V. The Life and Death of a Famous Theosophist 268
VI. The Mantle of Madame Blavatsky 272
VII. The Theosophical Temple 287
VIII. Conclusion 290
List of Authorities 298

 
 


ILLUSTRATIONS.

  PAGE.
Fig. 1. Spirit Photograph, by the author Frontispiece
Fig. 2. Portrait of Dr. Henry Slade 47
Fig. 3. The Holding of the Slate 51
Fig. 4. Slate No. 1 65
Fig. 5. Slate No. 2 71
Fig. 6. Slate No. 3 77
Fig. 7. Home at the Tuileries 97
Fig. 8. Crookes’ Apparatus No. 1 116
Fig. 9. Crookes’ Apparatus No. 1 119
Fig. 10. Crookes’ Apparatus No. 1 120
Fig. 11. Crookes’ Apparatus No. 1 121
Fig. 12, 13, 14, 15. Crookes’ Diagrams 124-125
Fig. 16. Crookes’ Apparatus No. 2 126
Fig. 17. Crookes’ Apparatus No. 2 127
Fig. 18, 19, 20. Crookes’ Diagrams 128-130
Fig. 21. Hammond’s Apparatus 133
Fig. 22. The Davenport’s in their Cabinet 139
Fig. 23. Trick Tie and in Cabinet Work 143
Fig. 24. Charles Slade’s Poster 158-159
Fig. 25. Pierre Keeler’s Cabinet Seance 162
Fig. 26. Pierre Keeler’s Cabinet Curtain 163
Fig. 27. Portrait of Eusapia Paladino 176
Fig. 28. Eusapia before the Scientists 177
Fig. 29. Spirit Photograph, by the author 191
Fig. 30. Spirit Photograph, by pretended medium 195
Fig. 31. Sigel’s Original Picture of Fig. 30 199
Fig. 32. Portrait of Madame Blavatsky 215
Fig. 33. Mahatma Letter 221
Fig. 34. Mahatma Envelope 225
Fig. 35. Portrait of Col. H. S. Olcott 233
Fig. 36. Oath of Secrecy of the Charter Members of the Theosophical Society 235
Fig. 37. Portrait of W. Q. Judge 241
Fig. 38. Portrait of Mrs. Annie Besant 273
Fig. 39. Portrait of Mrs. Tingley 285
Fig. 40. Autograph of Madame Blavatsky 293

 
 


PREFACE.

There are two great schools of thought in the world—materialistic and spiritualistic. With one, MATTER is all in all, the ultimate substratum; mind is merely the result of organized matter; everything is translated into terms of force, motion and the like. With the other, SPIRIT or mind is the ultimate substance—God; matter is the visible expression of this invisible and eternal Consciousness.
Materialism is a barren, dreary, comfortless belief, and, in the opinion of the author, is without philosophical foundation. This is an age of scientific materialism, although of late years that materialism has been rather on the wane among thinking men. In an age of such ultra materialism, therefore, it is not strange that there should come a great reaction on the part of spiritually minded people. This reaction takes the form of an increased vitality of dogmatic religion, or else culminates in the formation of Spiritualistic or Theosophic societies for the prosecution of occult phenomena. Spiritualists are now numbered by the million. Persons calling themselves mediums present certain phenomena, physical and psychical, and call public attention to them, as an evidence of life beyond the grave, and the possibility of spiritual communication between this world and the next.
The author has had sittings with many famous mediums of this country and Europe, but has seen little to convince him of the fact of spirit communication. The slate tests and so-called materializations have invariably been frauds. Some experiments along the line of automatic writing and psychometry, however, have demonstrated to the writer the truth of telepathy or thought-transference. The theory of telepathy explains many of the marvels ascribed to spirit intervention in things mundane.
In this work the author has endeavored to give an accurate account of the lives and adventures of celebrated mediums and occultists, which will prove of interest to the reader. The rise and growth of the Theosophical cult in this country and Europe is of historical interest. Theosophy pretends to a deeper metaphysics than Spiritualism, and numbers its adherents by the thousands; it is, therefore, intensely interesting to study it in its origin, its founder and its present leaders.
THE AUTHOR.
 
 


HOURS WITH THE GHOSTS.
 

INTRODUCTORY ARGUMENT.

“If a man die, shall he live again?”—this is the question of the ages, the Sphinx riddle that Humanity has been trying to solve since time began. The great minds of antiquity, Socrates, Pythagoras, Plato and Aristotle were firm in their belief in the immortality of the soul. The writings of Plato are luminous on the subject. The Mysteries of Isis and Osiris, as practiced in Egypt, and those of Eleusis, in Greece, taught the doctrine of the immortality of the individual being. The Divine Master of Arcane knowledge, Christ, proclaimed the same. In latter times, we have had such metaphysical and scientific thinkers as Leibnitz, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel and Schleiermacher advocating individual existence beyond the grave.
It is a strange fact that the more materialistic the age, the deeper the interest in spiritual questions. The vitality and persistence of the belief in the reality of the spiritual world is evidence of that hunger for the ideal, for God, of which the Psalmist speaks—“As the heart panteth after water brooks so panteth my soul after Thee, O God!” Through the passing centuries, we have come into a larger, nobler conception of the Universal Life, and our relations to that Life, in which we live, move, and have our being. Granting the existence of an “Eternal and Infinite Spirit, the Intellectual Organizer of the mathematical laws which the physical forces obey,” and conceiving ourselves as individualized points of life in the Greater Life, we are constrained to believe that we bear within us the undying spark of divinity and immortality. Evolution points to eternal life as the final goal of self-conscious spirit, else this mighty earth-travail, the long ages of struggle to produce man are utterly without meaning. Speaking of a future life, John Fiske, a leading American exponent of the doctrine of evolution, says (“The Destiny of Man”): “The doctrine of evolution does not allow us to take the atheistic view of the position of man. It is true that modern astronomy shows us giant balls of vapor condensing into fiery suns, cooling down into planets fit for the support of life, and at last growing cold and rigid in death, like the moon. And there are indications of a time when systems of dead planets shall fall in upon their central ember that was once a sun, and the whole lifeless mass, thus regaining heat, shall expand into a nebulous cloud like that with which we started, that the work of condensation and evolution may begin over again. These Titanic events must doubtless seem to our limited vision like an endless and aimless series of cosmical changes. From the first dawning of life we see all things working together toward one mighty goal, the evolution of the most exalted spiritual qualities which characterize Humanity. The body is cast aside and returns to the dust of which it was made. The earth, so marvelously wrought to man’s uses, will also be cast aside. So small is the value which Nature sets upon the perishable forms of matter! The question, then, is reduced to this: Are man’s highest spiritual qualities, into the production of which all this creative energy has gone, to disappear with the rest? Are we to regard the Creator’s work as like that of a child, who builds houses out of blocks, just for the pleasure of knocking them down? For aught that science can tell us, it may be so, but I can see no good reason for believing any such thing.”
A scientific demonstration of immortality is declared to be an impossibility. But why go to science for such a demonstration? The question belongs to the domain of philosophy and religion. Science deals with physical forces and their relations; collects and inventories facts. Its mission is not to establish a universal metaphysic of things; that is philosophy’s prerogative. All occult thinkers declare that life is from within, out. In other words life, or a spiritual principle, precedes organization. Science proceeds to investigate the phenomena of the universe in the opposite way from without, in; and pronounces life to be “a fortuitous collocation of atoms.” Still, science has been the torch-bearer of the ages and has stripped the fungi of superstition from the tree of life. It has revealed to us the great laws of nature, though it has not explained them. We know that light, heat, and electricity are modes of motion; more than that we know not. Science is largely responsible for the materialistic philosophy in vogue to-day—a philosophy that sees no reason in the universe. A powerful wave of spiritual thought has set in, as if to counteract the ultra rationalism of the age. In the vanguard of the new order of things are Spiritualism and Theosophy.
Spiritualism enters the list, and declares that the immortality of the soul is a demonstrable fact. It throws down the gauntlet of defiance to skepticism, saying: “Come, I will show you that there is an existence beyond the grave. Death is not a wall, but a door through which we pass into eternal life.” Theosophy, too, has its occult phenomena to prove the indestructibility of soul-force. Both Spiritualism and Theosophy contain germs of truth, but both are tinctured with superstition. I purpose, if possible, to sift the wheat from the chaff. In investigating the phenomena of Spiritualism and Theosophy I will use the scientific as well as the philosophic method. Each will act, I hope, as corrective of the other.
 
 


PART FIRST.
SPIRITUALISM.

 

I. DIVISIONS OF THE SUBJECT.

Belief in the evocation of the spirits of the dead is as old as Humanity. At one period of the world’s history it was called Thaumaturgy, at another Necromancy and Witchcraft, in these latter years, Spiritualism. It is new wine in old bottles. On March 31, 1847, at Hydeville, Wayne County, New York, occurred the celebrated “knockings,” the beginning of modern Spiritualism. The mediums were two little girls, Kate and Margaretta Fox, whose fame spread over three continents. It is claimed by impartial investigators that the rappings produced in the presence of the Fox sisters were occasioned by natural means. Voluntary disjointings of the muscles of the knee, or to use a medical term “the repeated displacement of the tendon of the peroneus longus muscle in the sheath in which it slides behind the outer malleolus” will produce certain extraordinary sounds, particularly when the knee is brought in contact with a table or chair. Snapping the toes in rapid succession will cause similar noises. The above was the explanation given of the “Hydeville and Rochester Knockings”, by Professors Flint, Lee and Coventry, of Buffalo, who subjected the Fox sisters to numerous examinations, and this explanation was confirmed many years after (in 1888) by the published confession of Mrs. Kane, nee Margaretta Fox. Spiritualism became the rage and professional mediums went about giving séances to large and interested audiences. This particular creed is still professed by a recognized semi-religious body in America and in Europe. The American mediums reaped a rich harvest in the Old World. The pioneer was Mrs. Hayden, a Boston medium, who went to England in 1852, and the table-turning mania spread like wild fire within a few months.
Broadly speaking, the phenomena of modern Spiritualism may be divided into two classes: (1) Physical, (2) Subjective. Of the first, the “Encyclopaedia Britannica”, in its brief but able review of the subject, says: “Those which, if correctly observed and due neither to conscious or unconscious trickery nor to hallucination on the part of the observers, exhibit a force hitherto unknown to science, acting in the physical world otherwise than through the brain or muscles of the medium.” The earliest of these phenomena were the mysterious rappings and movements of furniture without apparent physical cause. Following these came the ringing of bells, playing on musical instruments, strange lights seen hovering about the séance-room, materializations of hands, faces and forms, “direct writing and drawing” declared to be done without human intervention, spirit photography, levitation, unfastening of ropes and bandages, elongation of the medium’s body, handling fire with impunity, etc.
Of the second class, or Subjective Phenomena, we have “table-tilting and turning with contact; writing, drawing, etc., by means of the medium’s hand; entrancement, trance-speaking, and impersonation by the medium of deceased persons, seeing spirits and visions and hearing phantom voices.”
From a general scientific point of view there are three ways of accounting for the physical phenomena of spiritualism: (1) Hallucination on the part of the observers; (2) Conjuring; (3) A force latent in the human personality capable of moving heavy objects without muscular contact, and of causing “Percussive Sounds” on table-tops, and raps upon walls and floors.
Hallucination has unquestionably played a part in the séance-room, but here again the statement of the “E

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