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 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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
320 321-322 drawing
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
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
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
CHAPTER XX -
THE DEAD ALIVE