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People From the Other World by Henry S. Olcott

 

CHAPTER XIX - GERMANS, KHOURDS, AND HUNGARIANS

WE had a dark-circle after William's materializing circle, in which the child "Mayflower" demonstrated her ability to see in the dark, as well as we do in the light. Little Lena Lenzberg had brought in her pocket a hair-switch which she wanted the spirit to braid. After the circle was formed and the light extinguished, she laid it in her lap, but had said nothing of her desire until suddenly Mayflower exclaimed: "Oh! Lena, what have you got there ? You want me to braid that hair; don't you? I will; but why didn't you bring the other two there are at home ? " She crossed the room, took the hair, braided it, and returned it to Lena's lap. She then called her to step out on the floor and see which was the taller of the two. Lena obeyed, and stood back to back with the spirit, with the following result

CHITTENDEN, October 19th, 1874 Mr. Olcott :

My name is Lena Lenzberg, and I am thirteen years old. I was at the dark-circle last night. Mayflower called me out on the floor and we measured heights. We were exactly the same. I felt her back and head against mine, and she kissed me after we measured. LENA LENZBERG.

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Lena is rather a short girl for her age, as will be inferred by reading the certificate of a dear little girl from Utica, two years younger, with whom Mayflower tried the same experiment

CHITTENDEN, October 21St, 1874. With my father's permission, I state that my name is Cora Cecilia Ehle, and I am almost eleven years old. Papa says I measure 4 feet 6 1-8 inches, Last night, Mayflower called me "Birdie," and asked me to measure my height with her. We stood with our backs together, and I was about two inches taller than her. This was in a dark-circle. CORA C. EHLE.

"George Dix," of whose whistling accomplishments I have previously spoken, gave us a splendid display this evening. He asked Mr. Lenzberg to play on his flute "The Mocking Bird" and " Home, Sweet Home " very softly, which that gentleman did; and Dix whistled a tremolo accompaniment that equaled anything of the kind I ever heard. It was quite as good as the bird-calls, runs, and trills of the old cigar-seller at Evans' Supper Rooms, in London, whom so many hundreds of American travelers must recollect.

The next day was cloudy and cold, and a storm was clearly brewing among the mountain ranges. It was what might be called a fair temperature for manifestations, and we had some good ones. Thirty-one persons attended the circle, and nine different spirits appeared. Honto was dressed in a white dress, with black or dark overskirt; and she seemed determined that we should see more than this, for at one time she came within two feet of Mr. Lenzberg, and lifting her skirt to her knees, displayed a good deal of a pair of white stockings. She had hand- some moccasins on her feet.

I noticed very closely, this evening, the vast difference

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between the size, height, bust, and appearance of the young lady spirit, Maggie Brown, and William Eddy. I do not know what called my attention to her so particularly, but I caught her figure and face in profile in a passably good light, and these details attracted my notice. When she held up her bouquet, as usual, for her brother to look at, her round, white, womanly arm was brought out into full view.

Abraham Alsbach's sister said to him: " Willst du uns zu haus besuchen ? " to which he replied so distinctly that I caught the sound of the words : " Ja ; ich gehe mit dir nach haus morgen"-which I undertake to say is more German than both of the brothers together can speak.

Horatio was in one of his ugly moods, this evening, which was, perhaps, attributable in part to a sound berating that old Mr. Brown, the talking spirit, gave him, and everybody in general, at the close of William's circle. I have read of " Katie King's " scolding visitors at the London sťances, but if anybody wants to hear the thing in perfection and pretty constantly, let him stop at Chittenden a fortnight, and hear this venerable party express his views and intentions !

I wanted Horatio to allow me to lay my hands lightly outside the shawl, over his hands, after they had been placed upon the bare arm of the gentleman-sitter at his left, but he would not do it, but called up a lady present to hold them there, saying that " one person's word was as good as another's." This was only one of many such rebuffs, so I let it pass, noting it as a suspicious circumstance, and waiting for the time when he should volunteer to give me this convincing proof of his good

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behavior. But the time never came. Perhaps, because I had not sufficiently shown my good-feeling and fairness; perhaps,-- well, who knows?

It is fair that I should say that the lady reported that he had not removed either hand from the gentleman's arm. Moreover, I must add that Mme. de Blavatsky, who sat at the gentleman's right, declared that she felt one hand on her right shoulder (the one farthest from the medium), at the same instant that the gentleman reported one on each of his shoulders. The guitar, two bells, and tambourine were played simultaneously, and hands of various sizes were shown. Among these, one was too peculiar to be passed over. It was a left hand, and upon the lower bone of the thumb a bony excrescence was growing, which Mme. de Blavatsky recognized, and said was caused by a gunshot wound in one of Garibaldi's battles. The hand grasped a broken sword that had been lying upon a table behind the shawl. It was the hand of a Hungarian officer, an old friend of the Madame's, named Dgiano Nallus, and a facsimile of his own signature, written by one of his hands upon a card, is here given.

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Another signature, written for the same lady. was that of her husband's brother, J. de Blavatsky, a facsimile of which is also given. She asked in the Georgian language if the spirits would not again play for her the Gouriel air, " Tiris ! Tiris ! Barbare ; " but instead, a famous Garibaldian march, called " Viva 'Italia " was played upon the guitar. This seemed to me a more satisfactory test than the compliance with her request would have afforded, for it was just barely possible that Horatio might have inferred that she was repeating her demand of the former light-circle, and, having caught the air, would have rendered it for her; whereas, in this case, entirely different music, connected with entirely different associations, but eminently appropriate to the appearance of Dgiano Nallus, the Garibaldian soldier, was unexpectedly rendered.

It is upon such tests as these, spontaneously given, that I have based my confidence in these Eddy boys. Granted that they may be able to tie and untie themselves, "float" instruments, ring bells, and fool intelligent persons into the belief that their hands are on their arms when, in fact, they are in quite a different place; admitting all this, I exclude from my case every individual phenomenon that can be explained upon the hypothesis of trickery, and still, as I conceive, have an abundance remaining to prove

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their mediumship. If the "grand expositor" had shown the public a theory broad enough to cover all the appearances in William's circle,--the talking children ; the wrinkled old men and women ; the young girls in the suppleness, freshness, and plumpness of youth, with their white, bare arms, shapely hands, and well-set heads; the diversities in height and bulk, so great as to be inexplicable to any frequenter of the coulisses upon the theory of personation ; the speaking of various languages, some the most unusually known in this country; the changing of complexions from white to copper, and black to white; the faces without a sign of beard, while the medium wears a black moustache all the while; these, and, further, the exceptional tests given in Horatio's light-circle, and the music-playing and other marvels of his dark-circle, I would have only to confess that my two months' labor had been wasted, and I was one more of the fools of the senses. This is just what I have waited for, and what I have not discovered. Until I do, I stand upon my story of phenomena observed, with the confidence of one whose house is built upon a sure foundation.

Mme. de Blavatsky and I, without pre-concert, applied the same test to one spirit that appeared one evening. He was a great, stout Indian chief, in a red hunting-shirt, leggins, and moccasins, and the lady mentally asked him to approach very near to where she sat, at the parlor organ, close against the railing. He did so, and gazing into her face, at not more than two or three feet distance, lifted up one of his feet and showed her the moccasin upon it. He retired into the cabinet, but I fixed my will intently upon him, and desired that he should return

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once more and show himself to me also. He raised the curtain the next instant, came out, folded his arms, looked at me, lifted his foot and placed it on top of the railing with a most defiant air, and then disappeared again from our view.

The last spirit to show himself on that evening, was one of the most impressive figures of the whole four hundred or so I have seen. In 1851 Mme. de Blavatsky was passing the summer at Daratschi-Tchag, an Armenian place of summer resort in the plain of Mount Arrarat. The name means "The Valley of Flowers." Her husband, being Vice-Governor of Erivan, had a body-guard of some fifty Khourd warriors, among whom one of the strongest and bravest, named Safar Ali Bek, Ibrahim Bek Ogli, (the son of Ibrahim) was detailed as the lady's personal escort. He rode after her everywhere on her daily equestrian excursions, and delighted to display his unusual skill as a cavalier. This very man walked out of William Eddy's cabinet in the form of a materialized spirit, dressed to the minutest detail, as when she last saw him in Asia. Madame was playing the parlor-organ that evening, and as the back of the instrument was close against the platform, it brought her to within three or four feet of each of the spirits as they stood outside of the cabinet. There could be no mistaking her old Khourdish "Nouker," and her recognition of him was immediate. He came out empty-handed; but just as I thought he was about to retire he bent forward, as if picking a handful of mould from the ground, made a gesture of scattering it, and pressed his hand to his bosom,-a

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gesture familiar only to the tribes of Kurdistan ; then, he suddenly held in his right hand the most curious- looking weapon I ever saw. It was a spear with a staff that might have been a dozen feet in length (perhaps more, for the butt seemed to extend into the cabinet,) and a long steel head of peculiar shape, the base of which was surrounded with a ring of ostrich plumes. This weapon, Mme. de B. tells me, is always carried by the Khourdish horsemen, who acquire a wonderful dexterity in handling it. One instant before, his hand was empty; the next, he grasps this spear, with its glittering steel barb and its wavy plumes! Whence came it ? From Chittenden township, master skeptic ? On the evening of the 10th, every one of the nine spirits appearing spoke to us; an unprecedented circum- stance in my experience at Chittenden. Mrs. Pritchard's voice was clearer than usual; Maggie Brown managed to whisper a little; Mrs. Eddy spoke in very loud and clear tones, and advancing to the venerable and excellent Mr. Ralph, of Utica, N. Y., who sat upon the platform, knelt to him, kissed his hands and thanked him for his friendliness to her children--the scene being quite pathetic ; old Mrs. Cleveland's mother, a very wrinkled, white- haired dame, came to her daughter for the first time; a little child of a Mr. Whittier, of Massachusetts, a girl of about four years, I should judge, said "Papa ! dear papa!" to him ; and all seemed to conspire to assist the colloquial powers of the visitors from beyond the dark river.

I never saw Honto in better spirits than upon that evening. It seemed as if she could not do enough to rid herself of her superabundant vitality. Laying a

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hand upon the banister-rail, she leaped clear over it to the room floor; and then resting a toe upon the platform edge, she leaped back again as lightly as an athlete. Running down the platform, and descending the steps, she caught Horatio by the hand and dragged him, unwilling, after her, up to the platform; then she caught at old Mrs. Cleveland, and placed her beside him ; and then, off she went to the other end, for the amiable Mr. Ralph, and pulled him towards the others; and then all four, with joined hands, had a merry dance together.

If any fancy that Honto's face is but a mask covering William's features, let them consult Mr. Ralph, who has had opportunity enough to scan it, dear knows ! Her affection for Aunty Cleveland seemed to overflow its bounds, for when the motherly old soul said how happy she felt to see her, the squaw threw her arms (this time materialized) about her and gave her a hearty hug. She materialized two of her shawls at once, pulling one after another out of the wall, and handing the two together to the unseen person within the cabinet. Then she made us a dozen more of all sizes; some of which appearing only as large as a towel, grew longer and wider as she walked back from Mrs. Cleveland, who held one end, until she had spun out of the air a fabric at least 16 feet in length and a yard and a half in width.

Old Mrs. Pritchard not only spoke to her son, but when that gentleman introduced her to Mr. Ralph, who sat beside him, she shook hands with him and addressed him some words of compliment. She did not even neglect Mrs. Cleveland, but called her over and greeted her also. With the three persons standing about her, she

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then turned to the audience, and told us that that was her son standing there, and she wanted us to know the fact. Mr. Ralph and Mrs. Cleveland, both of whom scrutinized her closely, told me that her face was that of an old lady, very much wrinkled, and that her son bears a strong resemblance to her.

They saw her lips move when she spoke, noticed the color of her eyes, the details of her dress and figure, and felt her hands bedewed with a cold sweat. These facts are noteworthy, inasmuch as William's moustache was well-grown at this time, and his face was rough with a week's beard stubble.

Old Mr. Brown came out strong that evening, and laid about him with his tongue in fine style, giving "reporters" in general, and myself, by innuendo, in particular, a famous dressing down. Mrs. Eaton, also, who had usually been suite friendly towards me, was viperish to a degree. I gave it up as a bad job, after that, concluding that it was useless to make any further attempts to put myself on good terms with the band directing these materializations, for the harder I tried to be kind to the mediums, and deferential and conciliatory to the spirits, the worse off I was. The Shaker Elder Evans seems to give a pretty clear idea of the situation, in his long communication to myself that will be found elsewhere. My influence must have stirred up the materializers, like a steamer's paddles the water.

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CHAPTER XX - THE DEAD ALIVE