People From the Other World by Henry S. Olcott



At a session of the London Dialectical Society's committee, held on Tuesday, April 27th, 1869, Dr. Edmunds in the chair, among other witnesses examined was Mr. Burns, who described certain phenomena that had occurred in the presence of a medium named Mrs. Marshall.

When in London, in 1870 I desired to have a sitting with Mr. Home, but as that celebrated personage was not in the city, I was advised that this Mrs. Marshall was considered the next best medium in England. I visited the lady at her residence in Bennett street, St. James street, Piccadilly, and saw and heard such wonderful things, that I am prepared to give respectful attention to the statements of Mr. Burns and other witnesses. Mr. Burns said that, one night, a ripe peach was brought and placed in his wife's hand by an invisible power, and Mr. Thomas Sherratt exhibited a number of specimens of direct spirit writing, executed at Mrs. Marshall's house in a fully-lighted room. Mrs. Marshall told me herself that objects of various kinds were often brought into her circles by the spirits, and either laid upon the table or in the hands or laps of persons sitting in the circle. Once,


in a darkened room, at a sitting in mid-winter, a quantity of grapes and other hot-house fruit, estimated to weigh thirty or forty pounds, was piled up on the table; and once a spirit-hand opened one of hers and laid in her palm several jewels of fine water. As to flowers of every description, they were brought so often that she could not recall the separate instances.

At the same session of the same committee of the Dialectical Society, Miss Houghton produced some very interesting drawings done by spiritualistic agency, and stated, among other things, that, on the l0th of April, 1867 in the presence of Mrs. General Ramsay, Mrs. Gregory, Mrs. Cromwell Varley, Mrs. Pearson, Miss Nockolds, Miss Wallace, and Miss Nicholl (now the wife of Mr. Guppy), she suddenly felt something on her head, and upon striking a light discovered that she was crowned with" a lovely wreath of everlasting flowers."

On the 3rd of October, 1867, at a circle composed of eighteen ladies and gentlemen, among them several of distinction, fruit of various kinds was brought. Says the witness: "By raps the spirits desired me to wish for a fruit, and I chose a banana, which they promised me, and then said, `Now all may wish,' which they did, for various fruits, sometimes having their wishes negatived, but in most instances agreed to. The fruits were then brought in the order in which they had been wished for. One lady said, `Why do you not ask for vegetables; an onion, for instance ?' and even as she said it the onion came into her lap. I will give you a list of the things brought; a banana, two oranges, a bunch of white grapes, a bunch of black grapes, a cluster of filberts, three


walnuts, about a dozen damsons, a slice of candied pineapple, three figs, two apples, an onion, a peach, some almonds, four very large grapes, three dates, a potato, two large pears, a pomegranate, two crystallized green- gages, a pile of dried currants, a lemon, and a large bunch of raisins, which, as well as the figs and dates, were quite plump, as if they had never been packed, but had been brought straight from the drying ground."

Signor Damiami testified before the same committee that, at various sťances held in rooms with closed windows and locked doors, fresh flowers had been showered on the company. At Baron Guldenstubbe's house the flowers were so numerous that they "would have filled a large basket, and the fact they were perfectly fresh and besprinkled with dew * * * would have precluded any, the faintest suspicion of 'crinoline mystification' or sleight of hand." " I must not omit mentioning," continued the Signor, " that, on examining the flowers, some of which still remain in my possession [after a lapse of two years-H. S. O.], we perceived that the ends of the stems presented a blackened and burnt appearance. On our asking the reason of this, we were told that the electricity had been the potent `nipper' employed."

Mr. Samuel Guppy, at page 371 of the Society's report, describes a seance with the Spiritual Society of Florence (Italy), at which the question whether spirits could distinguish colors in the dark was effectually answered " A noise was heard on the table, and the light showed a heap of sugar-plums of all colors mixed together-about a handful. Light put out again; we heard a rattling, lighted the candle and found the sugar-plums all assorted


in little heaps of separate colors." At another seance of the same society some of the most eminent Florentine literati being present, the room was, at Mr. Guppy's request, made very warm by the spirits. First came a shower of fresh flowers which fell all about the table, while Mrs. Guppy's hands were held. The light was put out again, and in ten minutes an awful crash was heard on the table as if the chandelier had fallen down. On lighting the candle we found a large lump of ice, about a foot in length and one and a half inches thick, which had fallen on the table with such force that it was broken."

I might quote many similar instances, going to show that the transportation of material objects, sometimes from very remote places, is not an uncommon circum- stance in the experience of those who have investigated the phenomena of Spiritualism; but these will suffice.

From what has already been related of the Eddy mediums in my preceding chapters, it will occasion no surprise, when I state that on many occasions, if the testimony of eye-witnesses may be accepted, objects have been dropped on the Chittenden circle-room floor, or laid in the hands of persons in attendance. I have seen among other things, a large stone, weighing some sixty pounds, a cart-wheel, two large mother-of-pearl shells, an ear of Egyptian corn (said to have come from a mummy's tomb), a specimen of a rare mineral, a gold vest-chain, a heavy gold ring, two small spotted shells, a miniature ivory die for a watch " charm," a small quartz-crystal, and a cut white carnelian seal-stone-that were said to have been brought by invisible carriers. The crystal and carnelian were placed in my own hand at two different


dark-circles, but it happened in the dark and so I cannot vouch for their genuineness, any more than I can for that of either of the other articles.

Horatio Eddy tells me that he has been the frequent recipient of these ghostly attentions. Once "George Dix " put a spotted snake on his bed; once he brought him a $5 bill to give to one Riley Allen, a sick neighbor; once a bill of like amount for a Mr. Barker; once a sum of money to defray a child's funeral expenses; and once, for himself, a silver-mounted pistol, the seven barrels of which were all loaded except one, which the spirit discharged himself, frightening Horatio out of his wits with the idea that burglars were in the room.

One gentleman whom I met at the Eddy homestead, told me of an instance within his own knowledge, in which seven different communications were written, on an equal number of pieces of paper of as many different colors, and sewed, each with silk of a color to match the paper, upon a child's pocket-handkerchief. Strangest of all, upon each paper was stitched a lock of hair, purporting to be that of the spirit writing the communication, and which they alleged they brought from their own graves. As some of them had been dead many years, the latter assertion may be taken for what it is worth. Another gentleman visitor asserts that, last January, at his request, he had brought to him some new potatoes, which must have come from afar, as the snow lay deep over the whole of this northern country.

I am witness to the fact that one evening in October, at a dark-circle, a lady who had brought as a present for " Mayflower," a picture of a bunch of roses, painted upon


a Bristol board sheet of, say, 8x12 inches, had it taken from her hand, and after the circle it could not be found, although I searched the room thoroughly.

Citizens of Utica will recognize in the signature attached to the following document, the name of one of their most estimable fellow-townsmen, a man of high character for probity and truthfulness

CHITTENDEN, October 21st, 1874. DEAR SIR: Please add to what you have already published, the fact that, at a circle held in the lower sitting-room of the Eddy homestead, on the evening of August 27th, 1873, the doors and windows being closed and sealed, a stone weighing sixty-four pounds, was suddenly dropped at my feet. I had noticed the same stone lying outside the house during the day.

GEORGE RALPH, Utica, N. Y. But I doubt if any circle ever witnessed a more astonishing spiritual feat than that which I am about to relate. The evening of October 24th was as bright as day with the light of the moon, and, while there was a good deal of moisture in the air, the atmospheric conditions would, I suppose, have been regarded as favorable for manifestations. In the dark-circle, as soon as the light was extinguished, " George Dix," addressing Mme. de Blavatsky, said: " Madame, I am now about to give you a test of the genuineness of the manifestations in this circle, which I think will satisfy not only you, but a skeptical world beside. I shall place in your hands the buckle of a medal of honor worn in life by your brave father, and buried with his body in Russia. This has been brought to you by your uncle, whom you have seen materialized this evening." Presently I heard the lady utter an exclamation, and, a light being struck, we all saw Mme. de B.


holding in her hand a silver buckle of a most curious shape, which she regarded with speechless wonder. When she recovered herself a little, she announced that this buckle had, indeed, been worn by her father, with many other decorations, that she identified this particular article by the fact that the point of the pin had been carelessly broken off by herself many years ago; and that, according to universal custom, this, with all his other medals and crosses, must have been buried with her father's body. The medal to which this buckle belongs, was one granted by the late Czar to his officers, after the Turkish campaign of 1828. The medals were distributed at Bucharest, and a number of the officers had buckles similar to this made by the rude silversmiths of that city. Her father died July 15th, 1873, and she, being in this country, could not attend his obsequies. As to the authenticity of this present, so mysteriously received, she possessed ample proof, in a photographic copy of her father's oil portrait, in which this very buckle appears, attached to its own ribbon and medal.

It will be imagined that I felt a deep anxiety to see the picture in question, and later, my desire was gratified. In this chapter, I now am able to present to the reader sketches of the spirit's present, and the whole decoration ; the former copied from life, the latter from the photograph. Both are drawn larger than the natural size, and the inscription on the medal has been furnished by Mme. de B. herself. Was there ever a " manifestation" more wonderful than this? A token dug by unknown means from a father's grave and laid in his daughter's hand, five thousand miles away, across an

356  357-358 drawing

ocean! A jewel from the breast of a warrior sleeping his last sleep in Russian ground, sparkling in the candle- light in a gloomy apartment of a Vermont farm-house! A precious present from the tomb of her nearest and best beloved of kin, to be kept as a perpetual proof that death can neither extinguish the ties of blood nor long divide those who were once united and desire reunion with one another!

I kept a minute of the time in William's materializing circle that evening. It began at ten minutes of seven, p.m., and closed at five minutes of eight. In the intervening sixty-five minutes, eleven different spirit-forms appeared. Honto remained in sight five minutes, old Mr. Brown two and a half minutes, Chester Packard eighteen seconds, William-his brother-seventeen seconds. The intervals between the appearances of some of the forms, were respectively 4 minutes 45 seconds, 3:10 2:47 1:13 and 1 minute. Mrs. Eddy's spirit appeared and addressed us, saying some friendly words to me personally, from within the cabinet. Her last sentences grew fainter and fainter, as though she were receding from us farther and farther, until her voice was lost in the distance.

Among the most noticeable forms to present themselves, was one who seemed to be either a Hindoo coolie or an Arab athlete. He was dark-skinned, of short stature, a lean, wiry, active form, with no more superfluous fat on his frame than has a greyhound in working condition. The artist, writing to me of him, says: " He left a more vivid impression on my mind than any other spirit. I can see him now, perfectly-long, mere bone and sinew, with a cat-like suppleness. For dress, a closely-fitting


vest, seemingly cotton, drawers tucked into what might have been socks or gaiters, a sash about his loins, and upon his head a dark red handkerchief."

He came to visit Mme. de Blavatsky, and made her a profound obeisance : but she failed to recognize him. Nevertheless, she showed no such hesitancy about another of her visitors. The curtain was lifted, and out stepped a gentleman of so marked an appearance as to make it absurd to imagine that William Eddy could be attempting to personate a character in this instance. He was a portly personage, with an unmistakable air of high breeding, dressed in an evening suit of black cloth, with a frilled white shirt and frilled wristbands. About his neck he wore the Greek cross of St. Anne, attached to its appropriate ribbon. At first Mme. de B. thought that her father stood before her, but, as the figure advanced another step or two towards her, thus bringing himself to within five or six feet of where she sat the spirit greeted her in the Russian language, and said " Djadja" (uncle), She then recognized the familiar features of her father's brother, to whom he bore a very strong resemblance in life. This was M. Gustave H. Hahn, late President of the Criminal Court at Grodno, Russia, which dignified office he held for twelve years. This gentleman, who died in 1861, must not be confounded with his name- sake and cousin, Count Gustave Hahn, the Senator, who is living in St. Petersburg at the present moment.

360  361-362 drawing