Home

 

People From the Other World by Henry S. Olcott

 

PART II - THE KATIE KING AFFAIR

HAVE stated, in the Preface to this volume, the circumstances under which my investigation of the Katie King fiasco, in the city of Philadelphia, was undertaken. When I expressed the hope (see Page 385) that some unbiased person would investigate the case, under proper test conditions, it was farthest from my thoughts that I would be the one selected for the disagreeable task. I had neither set myself up as an inquirer into the general facts of Spiritualism, nor was it a part of my plan to embrace any comprehensive survey of the subject within the limits of this work. The Eddy manifestations were my theme, and such other matters as I might introduce were intended either to aid in arriving at a just opinion concerning their genuineness, or, at the most, to show how the phenomenon of materialization, was regarded by the leaders of opinion in this country.

But, when the Philadelphia journals heralded the fact that Katie King was no spirit, nor Nelson Holmes and his wife mediums, I was at once importuned, by--many respected correspondents, to institute such an inquiry into the facts as might reveal the exact truth to that great body of the public who had relied implicitly upon the reports of Mr. Owen and General Lippitt, and adopted a belief in the actuality of the so-called materializations.

These requests at last became so numerous and so

425


urgent that I could no longer doubt as to my duty in the premises. I was perfectly aware of the difficulty I should experience in sifting the truth out of the multitude of conflicting reports that had reached the public ear through the newspapers. I knew the thanklessness of the task-the certainty of abuse by one party or the other, whatever decision I might give--the misrepresentation of my motives-the challenging of my conclusions. I was only too well assured that a skeptical public would neither be grateful if I should prove the materializations fraudulent, nor friendly if my tests should have an opposite result. I knew all this, but, nevertheless, did not alter my determination, for several reasons. In the first place, I recollected the words of M. Bailly, the great Frenchman: "In every error there is a kernel of truth: let us seek to detach that kernel from the envelop that hides it from our eyes"; secondly, I had Mr. Owen's own authority for it that " when a man of honest motive, seeking only the truth, plainly and impartially narrates his experience, that which he says usually bears with it to the upright mind an internal warrant of sincerity" (see his Footfalls, p. 55) ; and, finally, none but moral cowards hesitate to perform their duty, because of possible personal consequences. So, on or about the 27th of December, 1874, I addressed a letter to the Hon. Robert Dale Owen, in which I stated that if Mr. and Mrs. Holmes were willing to submit their mediumship to the proof, and would agree to place themselves under such test conditions as I might prescribe, I would come to Philadelphia and make the investigation.

I received, by return mail, a letter from Mr. Owen, in which that most respected and honorable gentleman was good enough to express himself as follows :

"I am rejoiced at your proposal, and shall always hold myself your debtor for having made it. Accepted or rejected, proving or disproving the materializing powers of the mediums, it can eventuate only in good."

The letter covered the desired invitation from the mediums; which was in the following language

No. 825 Tenth Street, PHILADELPHIA, December 28th, 1874. DEAR SIR:

The undersigned, being willing to afford to intelligent and impartial investigators proofs of the reality of our mediumship, and,

426


especially, of the appearance of materialized spirit-forms through the same, and having confidence in your ability, and disposition to do equal justice, hereby invite you to attend our sťances, and agree to submit to such reasonable scientific test conditions as you may prescribe.

(Signed.) JENNIE HOLMES,

for self, and Mr. NELSON HOLMEs, absent. To Colonel H. S. OLCOTT.

Upon the 29th, I notified Mrs. Holmes that the invitation was accepted; and, upon the following Tuesday (January 5th), I was in Philadelphia, ready to begin. I found, however, that Mrs. Holmes was at her husband's place in Vineland, N. J., where he was lying very ill with a hemorrhage, and that she would not be in town until the following week. I concluded, therefore, to employ the interval of time in possessing myself of all the attainable facts of the case, and, to this end, sought interviews both with the principal parties through whose instrumentality the alleged expose had been made, and with those who still had confidence in the honest mediumship of the Holmeses.

I obtained from both sides such documents as might assist me in arriving at a correct judgment. Among them were original letters from Mr. Holmes to various correspondents; letters from the pseudo Katie King; notes written by the alleged spirit to Mr. Owen, to Dr. Adolph Fellger, and to Mrs. R. K. Stoddard, at various times during last Summer, and handed to them through the cabinet-window; the original manuscript of the communication supposed at the time to have been written to Mr. Owen by the detached spirit-hand of Frederick W. Robertson, but now alleged to be a fraud and deception ; and, finally, files of the Philadelphia newspapers, containing the details of the alleged expose. I tried to secure a personal interview with the woman who pretended to have personated Katie King and deceived the public, but was unsuccessful; it being asserted, falsely, as I afterward discovered, that she was not in town, nor was her whereabouts known.

That my readers may understand the nature of the problem presented to me for solution, it will be necessary for me to make a brief statement of facts.

" In May, 1874," according to a pamphlet issued by Dr. Henry T. Child, a Philadelphia Spiritualist, " a spirit

427


was materialized" at the sťances of Mr. Nelson Holmes and his wife, Mrs. Jennie Holmes, " and appeared at the aperture of the cabinet in which Mr. Holmes was sitting, who gave the name of 'Katie King.' Several other spirits appeared, some of whom were recognized." On the l0th of the same month, the author tells us, the spirit of John King, Katie's father, also made its appearance and was identified. Dr. Child saw him, and " conversed with him for some time." The spirit, moreover, expressed a wish that the Doctor would write out a correct account of his, (King's) earth-life, from his dictation. He informed him that he had known him (Dr. Child), for years "as a writer and worker," that his guides had been at first quite reluctant to have him, King), come, lest he should take the Doctor "out of the earth-form," but that no harm should result if the Doctor would only set to work to write out the ex-buccaneer's autobiography. The result of this colloquy was, as Dr. Child informs us in his Preface, that he gave an hour in private each day to John and Katie, and "received from them" the narratives embodied in the pamphlet in question.

It will be observed that our author unqualifiedly asserts two facts; (I) That the materialized spirits of the man John King, alias Sir Henry Morgan, and the girl Katie King appeared at the sťances of Mr. and Mrs. Holmes ; and (2) that the same spirits visited him an hour each day, and dictated the autobiographical narratives which compose the pamphlet to which allusion has been made.

Upon examination, these narratives prove to be very explicit and circumstantial accounts of the earthly experiences of the man and girl ; the manner of their deaths; their experiences and progress in the world of spirits; and their relations to the present spiritualistic movement upon our earth. They are mutually corroborative, and at the same time, indorse the reality of the spirit appearances in the Holmes cabinet. To make his certification of their genuineness and importance more emphatic, Dr. Child uses, in the concluding paragraph of his Preface, the following language :

"These narratives, and especially the concluding one, enter quite fully into an explanation of the spiritual manifestations. The statements are of a profound character, and the writer, as an amautensis, asks for them the most candid and deliberate consideration."

428


At page 35, he introduces the narrative of Katie King, (the same whom he tells us he saw so often at the Holmes sťances) with the assertion that " On the fifth of June 1874, Katie and her father came to me in my office, and after a brief conversation, she said, ' I am now ready to begin my narrative,' and I wrote the following:

"MY DEAR FRIEND AND BROTHER:

I should be very sorry if you inferred from the manner in which I appear and speak to you and other friends when I am materialized that that is a criterion of my present condition etc."

Here we have the positive assertion, by the Katie King dictating to Dr. Child, in his office, that the Katie King whom he had seen materialized at the Holmes' and who had addressed him rudely, was none other than herself; and the public was led by this assertion, as well as by interesting articles contributed by General F. J. Lippitt, to the Galaxy Magazine, of December, 1874, and by Mr. Owen, to the Atlantic Monthly, of January 1875, as well as by frequent contributions by the latter to the newspapers, to imagine that at least the Katie of the public sťances was really a visitor to us from the other world.

Such was the general belief until about the 5th of January 1875, when a card was published by Mr. Owen, to the effect that circumstantial evidence had come to his knowledge which made it necessary that he should withdraw his previous expressions of confidence in the Holmeses. A similar card was issued by Dr. Child, who gave notice that, from and after that date, he would have nothing more to do with the sťances of those mediums. On the 15th, Mr. Owen wrote me as follows :

"You may have seen in the Banner of Light, or quoted from it, a brief note of mine withdrawing the assurance hitherto given by me of confidence in the Holmeses. An explanatory article from me will appear in the Banner of December 19 (next Saturday).

I believe they have been latterly playing us false, which may be only supplementing the genuine with the spurious; but it does cast a doubt on last summers manifestations, so that I shall probably not use them in my next book on Spiritualism. It is a loss; but you and Mr. Crookes have amply made it up."

I quote the above because the same in substance has

429


been said by Mr. Owen in the public prints, and these paragraphs succinctly define his position at the time. The promised explanatory article made its appearance at the time designated, and set forth that the writer had some reason to fear that the spirit Katie King had been personated by a woman hired for the purpose by Mr. and Mrs. Holmes, and that there was more or less doubt if any of the apparent materializations had been genuine. A long letter from Dr. Child was also published, taking the same position. Of course the matter at once acquired very wide notoriety; the Philadelphia Inquirer, at various times gave free and detailed accounts of the manner in which the fraud had been perpetrated; and the patient and credulously skeptical public for the thousandth time thanked the gods that this spiritualistic humbug was finally, and forever exploded.

There was still alas! a flavor of aloes in the sugar pill. The real name of the woman claiming to have enacted the part of Katie, as well as that of the person, through whose instrumentality she had been detected and induced to expose the nefarious plot, were carefully concealed.

On the 9th and 11th of January, the Inquirer printed what purported to be an autobiographical sketch of "Katie King," duly attested by her oath, under her pseudonym, before William B. Hanna, Judge of the Orphans' Court, in the presence of William W. Harding, L. Clarke Davis, John G. Ford, A. C. Lambdin M. D., Joseph Robinson and John J McKenna. At this same interview: "the robes, coronet, etc. used by Katie King, by which name she must be known," were produced and identified, and in the Inquirer of the 9th, there appeared, in the editorial columns, the following certificate

"I hereby certify that I witnessed the signing of the above confession of KATIE KING, and that it was signed, declared and affirmed to be true by the person who appeared at the sťances of Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Holmes, No. 50 North Ninth Street, and No. 825 North Tenth Street, as the materialized spirit of KATIE KING.

HENRY T. CHILD M. D., No. 634 Race St. This certificate was given four days after I arrived in Philadelphia, and had announced to Dr. Child, in per- son, that I was about to make a thorough investigation into the facts, and into the mediumship of Mr. and

430


Mrs. Holmes, under strictly test conditions! It will be observed that its identification of the unknown woman as the supposed spirit Katie King is unqualified and precise; as much so, almost, as Dr. Child's previous certification of the identity of the spirit of the Holmes sťances, with the spirit who dictated her auto- biography to him, in his office, during the months of May and June, 1874.

Reading it in connection with the statements of the pamphlet, it is difficult to escape a conviction that a witness who could so place himself on both sides of a case would be turned out of court as incompetent. If Mr. Owen was deceived by tricksters into believing the cunning wench of the cabinets a materialized spirit, no graver charge could he against him than that of surrendering his caution too easily to his credulity; but with Dr. Child the case is far different. He was not, like Mr. Owen, obliged to depend alone upon his external senses for the formation of his convictions, for, as he informs us in his pamphlet, he" has long been subject to influences from the interior world, and having been accustomed to see and hear spirits, has learned, etc." This inner sense, this unerring instinct of the soul, it was that told him, in the privacy of his office, that the real John and real Katie were talking to him, both there and at the Holmes sťances, and his certification of the fact gave force to the public belief that the apparitions were real.

That a man so doubly sure, and a seer so doubly endowed could, at one moment, act as biographer for a girl spirit, whose identity was made an hundredfold more certain by weeks of familiar intercourse, and, at another, certify that the veiled woman exhibiting her tinsel robes and flummery coronets before a council of editors, was the self-same phantom, makes it absurd to place any weight upon his testimony, except as sup- ported by that of others, or by documents that have not been tampered with. This, of course, is said with no ill-feeling towards Dr. Child, and he himself must have already apprehended the position into which his precipitate action has forced him before the public. His friends, who know him best and feel assured of his personal integrity, may charge him only with a shocking lack of discretion; but the outside world, who are never nice (and alas! too often unjust) in their estimate

431


of motives, are quite as likely as not to find their explanation for this change of front in the promise or realization of personal advantage; which, for aught I can prove, may be the very opposite of the truth.

While this witness is upon the stand, one question must be asked: If the Katie autobiography was dictated by the same person who showed herself at Holmes' ; and the signer of the Hanna affidavit is the same woman who appeared as the materialized spirit of Katie King; and Eliza White was the one who swore to the affidavit, then it must have been Eliza White who dictated the Katie autobiography to Dr. Child; or, no autobiography was dictated ; or, the spirit-girl is a reality, and Eliza is a liar, and Child's later certificate does not convey the truth: which of these is true?

The voluminous document, so strongly certified by the worthy Doctor, demands a brief analysis at this point. It comprises a personal narrative, and numerous letters from Mr. Holmes and one from his wife to the pseudonymous Katie King.

The woman begins by stating that she writes "this narrative in the interest of truth, and for no other purpose than to expose the guilty; from no prospect of personal gain, and entirely without malice towards any one." She tells us that she "was born on the first day of January, 1851, in Massachusetts," that she pro- poses to be known by the public only as "Katie King," and adds: " Like all others, I have, of course, a real name (sic), but the public have no interest in knowing what it is. I was married (foolish girl) when I was between fourteen and fifteen years of age. I have one child eight years old. My husband died upward of two years ago, leaving me without any means of support, and through my own exertions I have provided for my child and my aged mother."

She was helped to a sum of money by a very near friend of her mother's, and with it set up as a lodging- house-keeper in the city of Philadelphia; in which capacity she received Mr. and Mrs. Holmes under her roof as tenants, in the month of March, 1874. These persons began to give "their pretended spiritual manifestations, but Katie King did not appear until some time afterward. A description of the "dark seance" of Mrs. Holmes follows, in which she asserts that the speaking of spirits in audible voices, and the physical

432


manifestations, are to be explained as trickery and deception. The dark seance is followed by one for materialization," in which faces purporting to be those of spirits are exhibited at the apertures, or windows of the cabinet, but which, our informant tells us, are only masks such as can be purchased in the shops for "ten cents apiece." "They are placed," says she, "in the hands of the medium and raised up to the aperture, and by him manipulated to suit surroundingcircumstances."

Shortly after they were settled in a new house, in Ninth street, the project of engaging this woman to personate Katie King was broached by Mrs. Holmes. Prefacing the confession with the remark that it is useless to repeat all the conversation that passed between them, although there might be two opinions upon that point, she says: " I made up my mind to play the part for a short time, hoping that something better would turn up in my interest: in the meantime I would be earning my expenses and doing no one any harm" Her debut occurred on the evening of May 12th her fair form being clad in a thin, white French muslin robe, fastened with a belt, a white veil thrown over her head, and her face and arms being whitened by a free application of cosmetic. The cabinet had been duly constructed with a view to this fraud, by being placed in front of a door communicating with an adjacent bed-room, and a false panel was made in its rear wall, through which the pseudo "spirit" could make her entrances and exits. The reader will please note this fact, for there will be occasion to refer to it again.

Everything worked to a charm. The face of our faix but frail one was shown at the aperture to an admiring circle, withdrawn, shown again, some words were whispered by her, and " Materialization " was a fixed fact. It became the talk of the town, crowds came to witness the lovely apparition, and money flowed into the coffers of the fortunate showman who, she gives us to understand was none other than Dr. Child himself.

We are let into the secret of Mr. Owen's appearance at the sťances, Dr. Child transmitting to him an invitation from " Katie" to come and see her; much thesame as I, myself, was, at a later day, invited to come.

433


He, like myself, was glad of the opportunity to see a spirit, so pure and gentle, face to face, and in due course moved to Philadelphia, and was at once addressed in terms of filial tenderness by the fair ghost, and reciprocated her affection. She wrote him notes, gave him a lock of her golden hair (cut from a wig), received presents of beads, and crosses, and flowers from him, and generally, used his established reputation and ripe scholarship as a means of profitable advertisement for her disgusting trickery. Things went on thus from bad to worse, dupes being made by hundreds, if not thousands, and the fame of the spirit spreading through- out the whole world, wherever books are read and newspapers taken.

Meanwhile, remorse entered the soul of the actress in this comedy of shame, and, in her pitiful story, she paints us a picture of herself as she tossed on her couch in the still watches of the night. " After the first two or three nights my whole nature" says she, "revolted at the idea of this gross deception * * *. The interest manifested by the people kept increasing, which only aggravated my sensitive nature (sic). I was often sick at heart; I felt that I was guilty of a great crime. Night after night was my pillow wet with tears; the heart would overflow with grief. I appeared to be surrounded with a cloud of sorrow from which there was no escape. Here was my helpless little boy, and frail, old mother looking to me for bread. In my troubled dreams I seemed to see their eyes riveted on me, saying, 'Our whole hope and dependence is on you."' But the theme is too painful ; let us draw the curtain upon this sacred sorrow of the conscience- stricken woman! Poor widow! Sweet boy! Helpless old mother!

Success naturally made both the mediums and their ally bolder, and many pranks were played from first to last. Among these she mentions the simulated fading away and reforming of her shape, by the help of black cloths; the appearance of an Indian-squaw spirit; the apparition of the late General Rawlings, by some scoundrelly confederate whose name is suppressed; the writing of a communication to Mr. Owen, by the detached hand of the spirit of that famous divine Frederick W. Robertson; and, finally, the taking of her photograph, in the character of Katie King, by daylight.

434


But Nemesis was on her track, and her day of detection came. A gentleman attendant at the sťances, whom she describes as having " a very mild, modest manner," and whose name, in spite of her attempts at concealment, has since been declared in sundry newspapers to be W. O. Leslie, a railroad contractor residing in Philadelphia, called at the house one day, while the Holmeses were taking their vacation in Blissfield, Michigan, (and she was in sole charge of the premises), and interrogated her. She saw that he suspected her identity with Katie, and she shuddered; as, indeed, one of so high-strung a temperament might be expected to do. But nevertheless she lied to him, and the mild, modest-mannered man took his leave. Then how "mean" she felt, for she had told a falsehood, and furthermore, the gentleman knew that she had. If any of our readers," she ingenuously remarks, "have ever occupied the humiliating position of having been caught in telling a fib, and experienced the mental suffering which follows, particularly to those who have a sensitive disposition, they will know something of the experience of the lady on this occasion."

But the gentleman did not press matters, and for a time she was safe.

The Holmeses left for the West in July, and our autobiographer says that by preconcert she followed them on the 8th of September, reaching Blissfield on the 12th, and appearing in her favorite character at a seance the same evening. Blissfield being a small village, she was confined to her room constantly for fear that she might be recognized, and a weary time it was to her. After a fortnight had elapsed a circle was held one evening to accommodate a party from Adrian, and an initial person named "Mr. B" caught her in his arms, and came near exposing the whole deception. But she escaped from him, through a clever ruse of Mr. and Mrs. Holmes, and this brought matters in that quarter to a close. She and Mrs. Holmes left for Cold Water, Mich., and gradually found their way back to Philadelphia, via Toledo.

Tired and disgusted with the whole affair, she now "called on Doctor Child," stated to him that she was penniless, asked him to help her recover some forty dollars the Holmeses owed her, and promised that "if he would comply with my request, I would tell him all

435


about the particulars of Katie King, that I was fully posted in the matter, and would tell him everything." But the Doctor turned a deaf ear to her, which excited her amazement; as well it might.

She encountered Mr. Holmes at the Doctor's house, and, a few days subsequently, entered into an arrangement with that person, to write a letter to the former retracting what she had said; for as she remarks "Necessity knows no law: I had just ten cents in my pocket." The letter was dictated to her by Holmes, and by her mailed to an acquaintance in Massachusetts, to be re-mailed thence to Doctor Child, and thus convey to him the impression that she was far away from Philadelphia.

She no longer lived under the same roof with the Holmes family, and one day was surprised by a visit from the "mild and modest" Mr. Leslie, who taxed her outright with having played the part of Katie, and offered her pecuniary assistance,-" substantial aid," she calls it; and adds that he put the question, "Now please state to me how much it will take to relieve you from your present embarrassment." This sort of argument proved as efficacious as it had before on various occasions, when advanced by Holmes; and, one by one, she produced the stock of crosses, beads, and jewelry, which she had accumulated in her character-part by the donations of admiring visitors at the sťances.

The concluding scene of the comedy was soon played. On the evening of the 5th of December, a mock seance was held, at which she enacted for Mr. Owen, Dr. Child, and two others, the "business " of her spirit role, and Mr. Owen's card was forthwith given to the public. It is safe to say that no document connected with this subject ever made a greater sensation. It was a staggering blow, not only to the great multitude of lukewarm investigators, but also to Mr. Owen's warmest personal friends. These latter could not forgive his making so unqualified a recantation of all his previous guarantees of the value of his experiments with these mediums, without, at least, devoting some time to putting their mediumship to the proof, and so discovering and separating the true manifestations from the false.

I have thus rapidly sketched the story of this woman, so as to compress within these few pages the substance

436


of a statement which occupies thirteen columns of solid type in the Inquirer. The salient points of her pretended revelation may be stated as follows:

(1) She says she was born on the first of January,1851.

(2) She has a real name, but the public have no interest in knowing it.

(3) She is a widow; her husband having died two years ago.

(4) The mediumship of Mr. and Mrs. Holmes is a gross misrepresentation in toto, not only the pretended " materializations" being fictitious, but also the phenomena which occur in their dark sťances.

(5) As early as May, 1874, she began to personate Katie King, in a trick walnut cabinet, provided with movable boards in the back, by which she entered it from an adjoining bed-chamber.

(6) The notes given by Katie to Mr. Owen and others were written by her.

(7) The locks of hair given by her to various persons were cut from a wig she wore.

(8) She was burdened by shame and grief at the deception she practiced, and the falsehoods she told.

(9) She played the parts of other spirits beside Katie, and a confederate of hers appeared as General Rawlings.

(10) The photograph sold by Dr. Child as that of Katie King, was in fact her own portrait.

(11) She joined the Holmeses in Michigan, and there played Katie to small but select audiences, and was once actually caught in the arms of a skeptical investigator.

(12) She offered to divulge the fraud to Dr. Child, if he would pay her, or cause the Holmeses to pay her, a sum of money.

(13) She resumed the criminal relations of conspiracy with Holmes, and in pursuance thereof wrote the letter to Child retracting her previous assertions to him.

(14) She finally was offered money by her Unknown to expose the swindle, accepted the proposition, and gave, on the evening of December 5th, a mock seance. It should be stated, further, that, both at this seance, and at an interview with Mr. Owen and others, the next day, she was so closely veiled that no one had a glimpse of her features. "Katie was so completely

437


disguised," says she, "no one would have recognized her as the same who had personated the spirit."

The italics are mine, and are designed to call attention to a performance wholly in keeping with her behavior throughout this affair. In the concealment of her name; the concealment of the name of the person designated in her autobiography as an "amateur detective, "since asserted to be Mr. Leslie; in the veiling of her face at the mock-seance and subsequent interview; worst of all, in the swearing to her affidavit under the cover of an alias, we have conduct that is calculated to make us view with the greatest suspicion both the veracity of her statements, and the motives actuating her to make them. When we add to this the alleged fact of her concealment in Philadelphia, while pretending to be elsewhere, at the time of my visit, and the failure of my attempt to get a sight of her, such confidence as might have been generously accorded to the story of a self-confessed swindler, liar and cheat is wholly destroyed.

A person paraded before the public in such a character as she assumes, must of course expect to be closely criticized, and have inquiry made into her antecedents; for her reputation for truth, and her moral character have a most important bearing upon the question whether her tale shall be believed. The word of states' witnesses is always taken with great caution, and few juries are disposed to deprive an accused person of liberty or life upon such testimony, when unsupported.

I am sorry to say that an investigation into the personal history of this woman discloses little to her credit, and much to the contrary. Her real name is Eliza Frances White, but she is said to have passed under a number of aliases, at various times. Her family name is Potter, and she was born in Lee, Massachusetts, apparently long before the date sworn to in her pretended autobiography. Her father, a stonecutter by trade, moved to Canton, Connecticut, and died there. Her mother and the rest of the family were then thrown upon the bounty of Wilson B. White, commonly called " Bub " White, and took up their abode in the town of Winsted. Eliza lived with White for some ten or twelve years, and bore him a son, but I have been unable to ascertain whether they were married.

438


At the outbreak of the war, he enlisted in the 19th Connecticut Volunteers, a Heavy Artillery regiment, as Drum Major, and Eliza joined him in the defenses of Washington City, where she cooked for an officers' mess, and worked so hard to support herself as to gain the commendation of her husband's superiors. After a lapse of a year and a half, the regiment was ordered to the front, and Eliza is reported to have abandoned herself to a life of immorality in Alexandria. Upon the return of the regiment, at the close of the war, White settled down in Winsted, and became the proprietor of a low drinking saloon called the" Rock House." He also traveled with a " side-show " of natural curiosities and clogdancers and ballad-singers, and Eliza took part in both dancing and singing.

The Winsted Press says of her :

It seems that Katie has been known here as the wife of Mr. Wilson B. White. She left him a while since, Winsted being too 'stoopid' and monotonous for her enterprising spirit, and, following the leadings of her own sweet will, tarried a while in Brooklyn, then in Manhattan and finally dropped down upon the city of brotherly love as a soft, white, spiritual thing, direct from that other city of love, Where saints and angels dwell."

The Waterbury American, another journal of the vicinity, enters more into details, thus "

" Katie King alias Mrs. White also had some experience in the variety show business. Some years ago her husband, familiarly known as "Bub" White, gave a sort of variety entertainment, under canvas, on the fair grounds in Litchfield, while the annual county cattle-show was in progress. The show consisted of a wild-cat 'as ferocious and untamable as a South American hyena,' a singing boy 'with a voice like the mocking-bird's,' and 'Bub,' who was a violin player, composed the orchestra. Katie King made her debut on that occasion as a serio-comic vocalist, and as she was endowed with a good share of personal charms, and appeared in a bewitching costume, she took immensely, and the country swains poured out their 'dime and a half like water."

Disagreement of a serious nature finally occurred between the pair, on account of White's enforced support of Eliza's family, and the interference of an intemperate son of his in the government of the household. The result was that, in or about January, 1874, she left

439


Winsted with her own child, a boy of nine or ten years, and has been shifting for herself in Philadelphia ever since. An uncle residing in Brooklyn advanced her some $6oo to set herself up in the lodging-house business, and her meeting with the Holmeses followed soon after.

Her sworn statement that she is a widow of two years' standing, is false. I have recently seen and conversed with White himself. I pressed him to inform me if he were ever married to Eliza, and he declined to answer, remarking that "a man was not obliged to say anything to criminate himself." Her statement that she is dependent upon her own exertions for support, for herself and son, he unhesitatingly contradicted ; for he says he is worth considerable property, and is ready to provide for her whenever she returns home and agrees to behave herself. In fact, as we walked together through the streets of the village, he pointed out several tenements which he said were his property. Other persons corroborated this statement, and I found that it was generally admitted that he was in comfortable circumstances. He has a poor opinion of the woman's dramatic talents, and does not regard her as competent to fill an engagement in a " variety theatre."

Upon inquiring of a number of respectable citizens of Winsted, I found that her reputation for morality was not good, but how much of this is due to prejudice I cannot say. Parties formerly connected with her husband's regiment agree in the statement that her conduct in Alexandria was not that of a virtuous woman.

That her reputed husband is not dead, as she alleges, the following certificate will show:

WINSTED, CONN., Feb. 5th, 1875.

I hereby certify that I am personally acquainted with a woman named Eliza White, whose maiden name was Potter; I also know Wilson B. White, commonly known as " Bob" White, the reputed husband of the said Eliza ; I am also acquainted with her sister who is the wife of James Adams, and also with her brother.

The said Wilson B. White is now and has been for many years a resident of this town, but the said Eliza is now in the city of Philadelphia, as I am informed; and is, or was at last accounts, living in the same house with a family of spiritual mediums, whose names I do not know.

STEPHEN W. SAGE, Chief of Police.

440


While in Philadelphia, I met a gentleman named Allen, said to be a justice of the Peace at Vineland, N. J., and, as I learn by inquiries made at Lee, Massachusetts, a trustworthy person, who gave me much information as to Eliza's early history, which, at my request, he put into the form of the following affidavit :

"City of Philadelphia, ss State of Pennsylvania.

" Hosea Allen of Landis Township, Cumberland County and State of New Jersey, a Justice of the Peace, being duly sworn according to law deposes and says, that he has read an article published in the Philadelphia Inquirer of January 9th and 11th 1875, entitled, "Katie King," "Her full history as related by herself," which article is supported by the affidavit of "Katie King," in which she states she was born on the first day of January, 1851, in the State of Massachusetts, and that she, in collusion with Mr. Nelson Holmes and his wife, Mrs. Jennie Holmes, did, at No. 50 North Ninth Street, Philadelphia, during the last Summer, fraudulently personate a spirit-form known as " Katie King," from the 12th of May, 1874, and other alleged spirit-forms which appeared after June 20, 1874, at the sťances given by Mr. and Mrs. Holmes, at that place. And deponent further says, that he lived at Lee, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, from 1838 until 1863, that from 1842 until 1857 he was superintendent of the Methodist Episcopal Sunday-School of that town, that about 1846, Eliza Potter, (since married to a man by the name of Wilson B. White,) became a pupil in that Sunday-School, that she was at that time apparently about six years old, and that he has every reason to believe she cannot be under thirty-five years, that she attended the school at irregular intervals for six or seven years, and continued to live in the town several years after she left the school; that during that time she was a very wayward girl, and caused her father a great deal of trouble ; that she was so untruthful that those to whom she spoke never knew when to believe her, and that her moral reputation in other respects, was as bad as it could be. Deponent further says that in June last, he visited Mr. and Mrs. Holmes at No. 5o North Ninth Street, Philadelphia; that on entering the sitting-room on that occasion, he saw and recognized Eliza White (formerly Eliza Potter), who at once recognized him and called him by name; that he remained at the house two days, during which time he saw and conversed with her frequently, and cannot be mistaken as to her identity. That on the same afternoon, Dr. Henry T. Child, assisted by a mechanic and himself, put up the black walnut cabinet which was afterwards used at the subsequent sťances, that they only completed the work a short time before the circle was

441


to meet on that evening; that he remembers distinctly that Dr. Child called his attention to the fact that the battens were being fastened with forty screws ; that as the cabinet was then constructed in his presence, it was impossible for any one to have entered it or left it by way of the adjoining room, or in any other manner, without being seen by all present. That just before the circle commenced that evening, he, deponent, left his room in the third story, and in passing the door of the front room, which is directly over the circle-room, he saw Mrs. White sitting in that room, that frequently while the circle continued, he heard Mrs. White distinctly humming tunes, the front windows of both rooms being open, and he also heard her walking about the room. That five or six different faces appeared at the apertures of the cabinet; also, several hands and arms were thrust out of the same apertures during the seance, among which "Katie King" appeared several times. That the latter spoke in an audible whisper from the cabinet several times; that while she was so talking, the singing of Mrs. White in the room above became so annoying as to cause remark by those in the circle, and interfered with the hearing of the voice from the cabinet, and that he cannot be mistaken about the voice humming or singing being that of Mrs. White. Deponent further says that it was impossible for Mrs. White on that occasion to have personated " Katie King ;" and he further says that he asked Mrs. White during his stay at the house, whether she had attended the sťances at that place, to which she replied, she had attended them but once, and that she thought them wonderful. "In Testimony whereof, I hereunto set my hand and affix the seal this 22d day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy-five.

HOSEA ALLEN, Esqr."

" Sworn and subscribed this 22d day of January, A. D. 1875. FRANCIS HOOD, [Seal] Alderman."

This witness, if unimpeached, convicts Eliza of more perjuries than one, for he not only challenges her age, but also shows that, upon at least one occasion, it must have been physically impossible for her to have been down stairs personating Katie King, when, up stairs, in the chamber overhead, she was making such a racket as to disturb the seance while Katie was out of the cabinet, among the spectators. I give this affidavit for what it is worth, and those who know judge Allen better than I can decide what credence to accord to his statements. I should add that Dr. Child's friends deny emphatically that he assisted in putting up the cabinet; and, on the

442


other hand, will say that judge Allen's story of Mrs. White's being up stairs upon the evening in question, has been corroborated to me by the statements of others who were present.

If the reader will now refer back to Eliza's statement that she began her personations of Katie King in a trick walnut cabinet in the Ninth Street house, I will venture a few remarks upon that head.

In her "Autobiography of Katie King," she describes the cabinet as being made of dark, or walnut boards across one corner of the room, and illustrates the same by a diagram, which it is not worth while to copy here. Now, it happens that in his article in the December Galaxy, General Lippitt (a gentleman of the most unimpeachable honor) describes the cabinet from which he saw Katie emerge, as quite a different affair. He says " The cabinet or sanctum in which spirits were said to clothe themselves in mortal forms, consisted of the following simple arrangement: The bedroom door was left open at an angle of 60 deg. ; on the opposite doorpost a second door was attached, which came out to meet it at the same angle; and when the two doors thus met, the recess formed was obviously an equilateral triangle, just large enough to comfortably contain the medium, Mr. Holmes, seated in a chair. Whenever this little sanctum was to be used, the light was excluded from above by a triangular piece of wood laid across the tops of the two doors. This cover was lined on the inside with black cloth, as were also the insides of the two doors. The air being thus shut out from the little closet, the necessity of the air holes through the wood partition was apparent. Through the one of these two doors which faced the spectators, at the height of some five feet from the floor, was a circular aperture or window, about ten inches in diameter, at. which the faces were to be seen. A black curtain hung on the inside of it, which was drawn aside just before a face presented itself.

The most searching examination of this sanctum, which was usually made by invitation just before the sitting commenced, both on the parlor and on the bedroom side of the board partition, failed to detect the slightest indication of any trap, wire. or other arrangement for the use of machinery or for deception. The first two or three evenings I attended, I made a careful examination myself, and on one occasion jointly with a professional magician, a pupil of Blitz, who told me he was perfectly satisfied that " there was no chance for any trick there."

443


General Lippitt, in a recent communication to the Banner of Light, says that the cabinet Eliza describes was not erected until the 5th of June, whereas his attendance at the sťances occurred in the early and middle part of May. It scarcely needs an enumeration of the wonderful phenomena witnessed by that gentleman- such as the melting out of Katie's eyes, when she had been too long exposed to the light ; the simultaneous appearance of numerous little and big hands at the aperture; and the identification of sundry spirits by their relatives-to satisfy us that Eliza's pretended revelations have no bearing upon his experiences.

I pass over, for the present, the remaining points made in the so-called Autobiography, because the best answer to them is to be found in the report of what occurred during my investigation of the Holmes mediumship.

I cannot too earnestly press upon my readers the attitude I am determined to maintain towards this whole spiritualistic question. What I am in search of is proof positive that the partial or complete materialization of spirit-forms has occurred, and can occur again under laws now occult. I have not, nor will I play the part of the mouchard, searching out the immorality of mediums or the trickeries they resort to, except in so far as it may be necessary, in the one case, to weigh their testimony, and, in the other, to learn how their roguery may be made impossible of repetition. It is nothing to the cause of Science that ninety-nine times mediums have tricked, but it is of prime importance to it to know that in one solitary case there has been an exhibition of genuine materialization. The one grain of wheat out values the whole bin-full of chaff, for that grain may, some day, lead to an abundant harvest, over the whole earth.

It will be found, therefore, that in this particular instance, as in that of the Chittenden manifestations, I will spend very little time in trying to discover whether the mediums cheated often or seldom, whether Eliza White glided out of the cabinet frequently in Katie's costume, and whether the correspondence of Nelson Holmes has been tampered with. I assume here, as I did in Vermont, that the mediums can cheat, that they will cheat if necessary, and that they are disposed to cheat if the investigator should relax his vigilance for a moment. And so presupposing, it would be the sheerest waste of time for me to search back through the whole

444


American and English career of the Holmeses, to discover how often, if ever, they played upon the public credulity.

But what I went to Philadelphia to discover, and what I mean to discuss, is whether Eliza White's charge that the mediumship of Mr. and Mrs. Holmes was a sham, and their materializations a wretched fraud upon the credulity of Mr. Owen and hundreds of other honorable and earnest persons.

Our case is now nearly disembarrassed of irrelevant features, Dr. Child's certificate to the identity of Eliza White and Katie King having been shown to be worthless, by reason of his previous self-committal to the contrary fact; and Eliza's own affidavit-narrative being inadmissible in evidence, by reason of her impeachment by good and sufficient witnesses. Both she and her endorser being turned out of Court, the whole question of the existence of Katie and John King is reopened, and we must fall back upon the facts, I have been enabled to collect, under my own test conditions, to ascertain whether Mr. Owen and General Lippitt ever saw a real spirit-form in the Holmes' circle-room.

If any further proof of the utter worthlessness of Eliza's statements concerning the part she pretended to have played in the Philadelphia comedy were required, it is more than supplied in the following document:

50 N. 9th St., PHILADELPHIA, PA., I8 August, 1874. MR. and Mrs. HOLMS

DEAR FRIENDS :-I will try and get your things shipped by next week. I could not see the furniture man today but will tomorrow. Doctor Childs comes in here with Dr. Paxson, Mrs. Buckwalter, Mr. Leslie, Mrs. Childs, and they hold sťances and go on just as though they owned the house. I don't think Childs is a friend of yours.

He don't act like it. All the time prying into everything and all he cares for you is to make money off of your mediumship. The man that called the other day has called again yesterday. His name is Leslie. Leslie said " Mrs. White are you a medium." I told him I was. He said I saw your advertisement in the Daily Item last June but I could today to ask you if you know anything about the Holmesses as everybody says that it is you that is playing Katie King. Now you are a poor woman and I can't see why you do it. You look a good deal like Katie King and if you know anything and will tell me all about it, several gentleman and myself well pay you $1000, and stand by you and guarantee to protect you, and we will

445


pay you the money in advance. We want to stop all this spiritual business that is going all over the country and we will put the Holmesses down if you will only tell me and my friends all you know about it. I told him I did not know anything about your affairs, that if you were not genuine mediums there was none. I did not see how it could be a humbug as the people had tested the matter in such a way and had published all over. He said yes I know all that, but we think you are the one that plays K. K. and if you will tell us we will pay you and stand by you. I told him I could not tell anything as I didn't know anything. Soon after a man called to see me about the same thing he does business 1210 Market street. I think his name is Roberts. He came one night to see your seance with a party of young men to tear the cabinet down and catch some body, but they had their trouble for there pains. He is the same one that tried to frighten you by sending a lawyer to get his money back. He talked a long time but acted very strange. I told him same as I did Leslie. Now what does all this mean I wish you would come back to this city. I think it would be best for you as I don't hear anything talked of but K. K. and the Holmesses. How funny that everybody should think that I am the spirit. How absurd. But all this causes me great trouble and I don't like it. I think I will try and keep the house a month. Mrs. Hannis, who lives at 262 Madison Street, will go in with me I will try my hand with her a month. Evans is at me all the time to know if I will take the house. That $50 you gave me to live on and to take care of your things and ship them is all gone, but I guess something will turn up to help me out. Your friend F.-anti. Your friend

Frank Stephens ELIZA WHITE.

State of Pennsylvania, City of Philadelphia. SS.

Nelson Holmes and Jennie Homes being duly sworn, severally depose and say that the above is a true copy of a letter received by them at Blissfield, Mich., in the month of August last, from Mrs. Eliza White, alias Frank Stephens ; that they have each of them seen the said White, alias Stephens, write, and that the original document of which the above is a copy, is in her handwriting, and the handwriting is identical with other letters received from the same person.

And deponents further say that after they returned from the West to Philadelphia the said White, alias Stephens, came to see them to complain that Dr. Henry T. Child had not paid her for the rent of the house No. 5o North 9th St., which deponents occupied before going West, but which the said White, alias Stephens, took for one

446


month upon her own responsibility, but with some expectation that the said Child would see the rent paid if deponents would return to the said house ; and the said White, failing to induce deponents to agree to refund the said rent, which indeed they were unable to do, significantly remarked that a number of gentlemen of wealth, including members of the Young Men's Christian Association, were ready to pay her a large sum of money, and she need not trouble them any more.

In testimony whereof the said deponents have hereunto signed their names this 25th day of January A. D. 1375.

NELSON HOLMES. JENNIE HOLMES. Sworn and Subscribed, this 25th day of January A. D. 1375. FRANCIS HOOD, Alderman. Here we have our frail Eliza asserting, in a very emphatic fashion, in confidential correspondence with her ex-lodgers: (1) That she has been tempted by Mr. Leslie in the sum of $1,000, and also by a Mr. Roberts to confess that she played Katie King; (2) That she denied to both of them unreservedly that she had ever done so, and asseverated the genuine medium- ship of the Holmeses, but nevertheless Mr. Leslie persisted in his suggestions and offers; (3) That she does not understand what this all means, and hopes the Holmeses will return to Philadelphia, and thus relieve her of all this importunity. When we compare this letter of the 18th of August with her letter from North Cambridge, Mass., to Dr. Child, repudiating all knowledge of fraud in the Katie King affair (which she now avers was written by Homes' dictation), we have very strong prima facie evidence that her whole story of having personated the spirit is false.

The Mr. Leslie she alludes to is no doubt the person of that name who finally engineered the expose of December 5th, for he was a constant attendant at the sťances, and no other Mr. Leslie has been mentioned in connection with this affair. Mr. Roberts is a nephew of Mr. J. M. Roberts, a wealthy gentleman of Burlington, N. J., and a staunch friend of the Holmeses from first to last. He informed me that his nephew had acknowledged to him that an officer of the Young Men's Christian Association of Philadelphia, called upon him several times last summer, and tried

447


to enlist his services to help break down spiritualism, in general and the Holmeses in particular, but that he had declined. Moreover, he has recently re-affirmed, in a letter to General Lippitt, his denial, and protested against his being included among the conspirators. I know no more of the facts of the case than appears in the documentary evidence, and leave it to the parties interested to fight it out among themselves. It certainly will strike the public as strange that Eliza White should so circumstantially describe the visit and importunity of Mr. Roberts, if no such things had ever occurred; and the only possible explanation of the mystery must be sought either in the personation of Mr. Roberts by some other individual, or a deliberate falsehood on the part of Eliza-a falsehood without apparent motive.

In the interest of good morals, it is to be hoped that Eliza's hints of the connection of her tempters with the Young Men's Christian Association have no warrant in fact; for it would be regarded as an infamous outrage in this day and country, for any religious body to resort to bribery and the subornation of perjury, for the purpose of crushing out any other religious faith.

There is still other evidence going to show that Eliza was not always, if ever, Katie King, for, on the very evening when she was exploding the whole humbug, by giving a mock-seance to Mr. Leslie, Mr. Owen, Doctor Child and another, the things happened that are related in the following affidavits: which, but for burdening my report with redundant testimony, I might have had corroborated by numerous other affidavits to the same effect.

State of Pennsylvania, City of Philadelphia. ss.

W. H. Westcott, being duly sworn, says that he resides in the city of Philadelphia, State of Pennsylvania; that on the night of the 5th of December, 1874, he in company with some fifteen or twenty persons was present at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Holmes, 825 North Tenth street, where a seance was being held; that between the hours of eight and ten o'clock on said night, while Mr. Holmes was in the cabinet, he saw issue from the cabinet the spirit-form of what is known to be "Katie King;" that she first came to the aperture, showed her face several times, spoke to the audience, was recognized by many of those present, who had seen her on several occasions at No. 50 North 9th Street, and afterwards

448


she opened the door and stepped out among the audience. This she repeated three times during the seance. And deponent says that the "Katie King" who appeared on the said evening was the identical spirit who had shown herself during the preceding two months at the same place through them mediumship of the said Mr. and Mrs. Holmes.

In testimony whereof the deponent has hereunto signed his name this 25th day of January, 1875.

WM. H. WESTCOTT.

Affirmed and subscribed, this 25th day of January, A. D. 1875. FRANCIS HOOD, Alderman. State of Pennsylvania,

City of Philadelphia. ss.

Adolphus Fellger, M.D., being sworn, says that he is a practicing physician in the city of Philadelphia and resides at Number 154 North 11th Street; that he has read the foregoing affidavit and knows the facts therein stated to be true, he having been present at the seance described. And deponent further says that he has seen the spirit known as "Katie King" in all perhaps eighty times, is perfectly familiar with her features, and cannot be mistaken as to the identity of the Katie King who appeared upon the evening of December 5th, for, while the said spirit scarcely ever appeared of exactly the same height or features two evenings in succession, her voice was always the same, and the expression of her eyes and the topics of her conversation enabled him to be still more certain of her being the same person.

AD FELLGER, M.D.

Sworn and subscribed before me this 25th day of January, 1875. WM. P. HIBBERD, Alderman. Doctor Adolf Fellger, who signs one of these affidavits, is well-known and widely respected as a physician in Philadelphia. He is beloved by all who have been so fortunate as to make his acquaintance. Mr. Owen describes him, in his letter to me of December 28th, as "a popular and highly esteemed German physician of this city," (Philadelphia), and his simple word would outweigh a score of affidavits of your Eliza Whites.

Again, I have before me sundry letters written by Mr. Holmes to Eliza White and Doctor Child from Michigan, which speak of Katie King's having appeared in their circles out there. On the 25th of August he writes to Dr. Child that they held a seance on the 21st,

449


at which "Katie came and showed herself splendid," while on the 28th he writes to Mrs. White instructions about packing and shipping his furniture from Philadelphia  Clearly Mrs. White could not be in the latter city occupying the house, and in Michigan playing the part of Katie King at one and the same time. On September 4th, he writes to Child, that "K. K. comes to us better than ever, but seems troubled about something that we can't find out. What does she tell you?" And Eliza does not pretend, in her affidavit to have gone West before the 12th of September. Who, then, was personating Katie before her arrival?

The occurrence of the phenomena in Blissfield, while Eliza was still in Philadelphia is, furthermore, attested by Doctor Child himself in a letter of July to the Religio-Philosophical Journal, of Chicago, and in this same letter he speaks of knowing the woman, and being able to declare that she was not Katie King.

It does seem as if there never was so tangled a skein as this to unravel.

In fact, when I review the whole of the evidence in this case-the assertions and counter assertions of Eliza; the contradictions of all her material statements by the Holmeses, and their plausible explanations of the suspicious sentences in Mr. Holmes' letters to her; the circumstantially minute descriptions given by Mr. Owen of things seen by him, which no theory of personation by Eliza, or any other mortal explains; the added testimony of General Lippitt; the recent confession of Mr. and Mrs. Holmes to General Lippitt, that Doctor Child procured Mrs. White to stand for the photograph of Katie sold by him; the fact that this picture bears no resemblance to a portrait of Eliza in my possession, which was taken after the "Katie photo- graph; " the rash certificate of Doctor Child as to the identity of Eliza and Katie, after the fatal statements in his pamphlet, and his astonishing self-contradictions in his newspaper contributions-when I consider all these, I confess that I am completely unable to decide whether there ever was such a thing as a false personation of the spirit at all. Like the Comte de Gabalis, I am tempted to say; "In short I could make neither head nor tail on't." Nothing but a full confession by the Holmeses to the fact, backed by corroborative proof, will throw light upon the foggy subject. Their

450  451 drawing


unsupported assertion would not alone suffice to convict them, for we have all seen enough of mediums and mediumship to know that "lying spirits" may just as well now, as in Bible times, (See I Kings XXII, 19 to 23) control mediums, perhaps even to the denying of crimes they have committed, and the confessing to others of which they are wholly innocent.

Look at this very matter of the photograph. General Lippitt tells us in the Banner of Light, of February 6th instant, that the Holmeses confessed to him, on the 31st of January, that Eliza stood for the Katie pictures. Well, let the reader judge for himself whether this is so or not. Here we have a copy of that photograph, and, beside it, one given to me as a portrait of Eliza, and alleged to have been taken since the other was published by Dr. Child.

Do they look alike? Is there any resemblance between the two faces in the breadth of jaw-bone, prominence of cheek-bone, shape and length of nose, curve of nostril, length of lower jaw, or shape of head-in a word, in either of those salient features of a head and face which emaciation does not alter? If I had been permitted to see the shrinking affiant, I might better judge of the fidelity of the two portraits, or either, to the original. As it is, I can only say that the one which the public will now see for the first time, was given to me by one who has the best of reasons for knowing whether it is good or not, and who assures me that it is the woman herself. It was also identified by the Chief of Police, Mr. Sage, and by other citizens of Winsted.

The best we can do, under the circumstances, is to put the whole batch of contradictory testimony about this entire case in a pigeon-hole, and escape out of this quagmire of doubt upon the solid ground of fact, as demonstrated by the experiments and investigations to which I will now ask the reader's attention.

I reached Philadelphia, as before observed, on the 4th of January, and called upon Mr. Leslie, Doctor Child, Mr. Owen, Dr. Fellger and others. I took rooms at the private hotel of Mrs. Martin, in Girard Street, where our friend Madame de Blavatsky, was also quartered. My acquaintance with Mme. de B., begun under such interesting circumstances at Chittenden, has continued, and recently become more intimate in consequence of her having accepted the offer of M. Aksakow the eminent St. Petersburgh publisher, former tutor to the Czarowitch,

452


to translate my Chittenden letters into the Russian language for republication in the capital of the Czar.

I gradually discovered that this lady, whose brilliant accomplishments and eminent virtues of character, no less than her exalted social position, entitle her to the highest respect, is one of the most remarkable mediums in the world. At the same time, her mediumship is totally different from that of any other person I ever met; for, instead of being controlled by spirits to do their will, it is she who seems to control them to do her bidding. Whatever may be the secret by which this power has been attained, I cannot say, but that she possesses it, I have had too many proofs to permit me to doubt the fact. Many years of her life have been passed in Oriental lands, where what we recognize as Spiritualism, has for years been regarded as the mere rudimental developments of a system which seems to have established such relations between mortals and the immortals as to enable certain of the former to have dominion over many of the latter. I pass by such of the mysteries of the Egyptian, Hindoo and other priestly orders, as may be ascribed to a knowledge of the natural sciences, and refer to those higher branches of that so-called White Magic, which has been practiced for countless centuries by the initiated.

Whether Mme. de B. has been admitted behind the veil or not can only be surmised, for she is very reticent upon the subject, but her startling gifts seem impossible of explanation upon any other hypothesis. She wears upon, her bosom the mystic jeweled emblem of an Eastern Brotherhood, and is probably the only representative in this country of this fraternity, "who, (as Bulwer remarks,) "in an earlier age boasted of secrets of which the Philosopher's Stone was but the least; who considered themselves the heirs of all that the Chaldeans, the Magi, the Gymnosophists, and the Platonists had taught; and who differed from all the darker sons of Magic in the virtue of their lives, the purity of their doctrines and their insisting, as the foundation of all wisdom, on the subjugation of the senses, and the intensity of Religious Faith."

After knowing this remarkable lady, and seeing the wonders that occur in her presence so constantly that they actually excited at length but a passing emotion of surprise, I am almost tempted to believe that the stories

453


of Eastern fables are but simple narratives of fact; and that this very American outbreak of spiritualistic phenomena is under the control of an Order, which while depending for its results upon unseen agents, has its existence upon Earth among men.

The occurrence of the phenomena I am about to describe is calculated to arouse the deepest interest in the mind of every student in Psychology. They rob the episode of the buckle brought from the Russian General's grave to his daughter in Chittenden of the greater part of its appearance of improbability; and, taken in connection with the Compton mysteries, described in their appropriate place in this PART II, indicate that we are doing no violence to our sagacity to expect that before long we may witness in our American "circles" phases of "manifestations" worthy to be classed with the ancient and modern mysteries of the countries of the Orient.

The first evening I spent in Philadelphia, I had a very long conversation through rappings with what purported to be the spirit who calls himself " John King." Whoever this person may be, whether he was the Buccaneer Morgan or Pontius Pilate, Columbus or Zoroaster, he has been the busiest and most powerful spirit, or what you please to call it, connected with this whole Modern Spiritualism. In this country and Europe we read of his physical feats, his audible speaking, his legerdemain, his direct writing, his materialization s. He was with the Koons family in Ohio, the Davenports in N. Y., the Williams in London. and the mediums in France and Germany. Mme. de B. encountered him fourteen years ago in Russia and Circass a, talked with and saw him in Egypt and India, I met him in London, in 1870, and he seems able to converse in any language with equal ease. I have talked with him in English, French, German, Spanish, and Latin, and have heard others do the same in Greek, Russian, Italian, Georgian, (Caucasus) and Turkish ; his replies being always pertinent and satisfactory. His rap is peculiar and easily recognizable from others- a loud, sharp, crackling report. He objects to the application of tests, but after refusing them, will, at the most unexpected times, give such as are much more startling and conclusive than the ones proposed. He has done this with me, not once merely but dozens of times; and, really it became the most difficult thing in

454


the world for me to hesitate a moment longer in giving up all reserve and acknowledging myself a Spiritualist pur sang.

I went to Philadelphia without a theory as to the Holmes imbroglio; the newspaper accounts had been so confusing that I dismissed the whole subject from my mind, and determined to start at the very bottom and build up my belief by degrees. But at my first interview with "John King," he rapped out the whole secret history of the affair, telling me the parties concerned in the pretended exposure, their names, the agents they employed, the sums of money subscribed, who carried the purse, who disbursed the funds, and who received the spoils. I was amazed beyond description, for the information given was the farthest possible from what seemed credible.

But each day's developments proved it more and more true, and if I could only have afforded to wait, I have little doubt but that documentary and parole evidence would have been forthcoming to substantiate the whole story! As it is, however, I will have to leave it only half told, for the bloody experience of 1692 stands as a warning for all time against relying wholly upon "spectre testimony."

It will be readily imagined that I early demanded of the supposed spirit some evidence of his supersensual existence. On the evening of the 6th, I said to him " If you are in reality a spirit, as you pretend, give me some exhibition of your power. Make for me, for example, a copy of the last note from Eliza White to Mr. that I have in the portfolio in my pocket." He made no reply, but rattled on about other matters, and did not recur to the subject that evening. On the evening of the 8th, however, as we were sitting by the table, Mme. de B. writing and I reading, John rapped loudly for the alphabet, and spelt out, " Hand me your dictionary, under the table, will you?" Mme. de B. did as requested.

"The mucilage." She handed the bottle down. "Your penknife." She passed that down also. All was quiet for a moment, when he rapped that we should look. We took up the dictionary and lo! upon a fly-leaf in the back part, we found an exact copy of the note I had referred to two evenings before. The portfolio in which I carried it, with other documents relating to the case, I had taken out of my pocket a half-hour before, and laid

455


upon the mantel-shelf. With this exception, it had not been out of my possession, and the whole time it lay on the mantel, it was under my eye and I sat within a few feet of it. It was impossible, therefore, for any trickster to have secretly transferred a duplicate to my friend's dictionary.

I crossed over, got the paper, and compared it, and here we have the two in facsimile.

By placing the one over the other, I found that the duplicate was not a tracing, for, while the two fitted in certain places, they would not in others, and there were just such differences in the formation of the letters as showed that the duplicate might have been written by the same person as the other, but at a different time.

The reader will observe the very quaint writing in the foot-note of the duplicate, signed " J. K." This is supposed to be John's own autograph, and another example of it will be found on the communication of Katie King to myself.

It will be imagined that I awaited the fulfillment of his promise the next evening with great interest, not to say anxiety, but I said nothing for fear His Worship might be induced to postpone the matter indefinitely. Mme. de. B. and I were alone this time, occupied as before, when suddenly at John's demand, expressed through rap- pings, she took a sheet of Bristol-board drawing-paper, and showing me that both sides were perfectly clean, threw it under the table. I glanced under the cloth to see that there was nothing there but the one piece of paper, which was easily recognizable by its size and shape. John rapped that I should look at my watch, and note how long it took him to perform the experiment. Madame de B. went on with her writing, and no sound was heard but the scratching of her pen and the ticking of my watch. When 30 seconds had elapsed John rapped "Done," and upon going beneath the table, and seeing the paper, I made an exclamation of disappointment, for the upper surface was blank. But as I lifted the sheet from the floor I saw, upon the face that had lain next to the carpet, a second copy of the same document.

The difference in the formation of the letters between the original and duplicate is not nearly so marked as those between this triplicate and the original. Mr. Betanelly came in at this moment and we compared

456 457 drawing


the writings with the greatest care, only to be more and more astounded at this fresh exhibition of the power of our invisible ally. Now let the reader turn to the story of the visit of the two Egyptian gentlemen to the old Sheikh, on page 44, and then to the facsimiles of the writings done for me by the spirits at Chittenden (which look so suspiciously like Horatio Eddy's autograph,) and decide whether the mere fact of such resemblances as all these, would be any proof positive that a medium had been committing fraud if he should give. us communications in handwriting very much like his own.

The portfolio containing Eliza White's Katie-King- note and John's first duplicate was this time in my coat-pocket, where it had been constantly since the preceding evening. John broke in upon our expressions of surprise by rapping out: " Do you folks want me to commit forgery for you? I can bring you here the blank check of any National Bank. and sign upon it the name of any President, Cashier or other official." I thanked His Invisible Highness kindly and declined the

458


favor, upon the sufficient ground that the Police did not believe in Spiritualism, and I did not care to risk the chance of convincing them in case the forged papers should be found in my possession.

I devoted an idle hour this same day to an interview with a very remarkable " impressible medium," named Miss Annie M. Bulwer, to whom I was recommended by Mr. Owen and Dr. Child. I went to her a perfect stranger, declined to give my name, and nevertheless, was more interested by what she told me than by anything I ever got in the same length of time from a person of her class. She told me my name, described the business upon which I had come to Philadelphia, spoke of the probable result (which, I may say, has been in great measure verified), and favored me with sundry prophecies, two of which I record as a matter of curiosity. Among other things she said that I would be invited to England before long, to act with Messrs. Wallace, Crookes, and Varley in an important matter connected with Spiritualism, to arise in the future ; and that my present book would be translated into Russian, German, Polish, and other languages. Part of her prediction is already in a fair way of being verified, for the Russian translation is almost finished, and I am informed that the work is to be republished in German, at Leipsic. I pray the reader's indulgence for this digression, but so few -prophecies from these mediums are placed upon record in advance, that I thought there would be no harm in breaking through the rule

Mrs. Holmes returned from Vineland on the 11th and that evening I attended for the first time a seance at her house. There were present fifteen persons. The first thing in order was a "dark seance," which I will not particularly dwell upon, as I afterwards had the opportunity of holding one in my own rooms, under test conditions, and will allude to it in its proper place.

I found the cabinet a triangular, bottomless box, standing in the corner of the room before a window, just as described in Eliza White's story in the papers; but I made no remark about it or any of the arrangements that evening, as I wished to see how things were done. Mrs. Holmes, of course, occupied the cabinet alone, her husband being in the country. She went in and sat upon a chair, closed and bolted the door from the inside, and somebody outside started a large music-box to playing.

459


In a few minutes the short, black curtain behind one of the apertures was drawn aside, and a man's head appeared, as if floating in the air. It was ghastly pale, a heavy black beard and moustache increasing the unnatural pallor by contrast. I went up to the aperture, leaned my arm upon the bracket-shelf beneath it, and gazed into the face, which was not twelve inches from me. A more dreadful sight I had never beheld. The lower portions, including the wavy silky beard, were perfectly formed, as, also was the brow; but the eyes were not materialized, and the cavities they should have filled were edged with ragged rims, as though the face had been made of wax and the eyes melted out by the application of a red-hot iron. To see the thing floating in the air as buoyantly as a cork in water, and then gaze at the orbless sockets, was calculated to test weak nerves to the fullest extent. " Well," I said to the head, " you are a handsome young man, and no mistake ! Do you think any damsel of taste would fall in love with such a face as that?" The lips smiled, and the head wagged from side to side to mark dissent. I asked many questions, and was answered by nods and shakes, to signify "Yes" and "No." A well-formed masculine hand, matching in color the ghastly face, came up and stroked the beard, and motioned to me to do likewise. I passed my hand inside, and felt the beard, and found it soft, silky, and as warm in temperature as my own. But I was not satisfied with the seance, for the medium was not under test conditions, and the cabinet stood where it did during the time when Eliza White's pretended comedy was being enacted, Moreover, I was not satisfied with the movements of the head--they were too stiff and constrained, and made me think I had possibly been looking at a cleverly made mask, or inflated rubber head, although I had never seen its like before.

The next morning I procured some stout unbleached sheeting, and had a capacious bag made with a draw- string at its mouth, It was large enough to take in Mrs. Holmes up to her neck, leaving her room. enough to be comfortable. I also went to the house, and myself moved the cabinet from its place in the corner to the other side of the room, against a dead-wall. Around its two sides mosquito netting was tacked to prevent any possible admission of a confederate, through

460


a movable panel. With a screwdriver I carefully tested every screw, and found that instead of any one or two being looser than the rest, (and so corroborating Eliza's story that she had screwed and unscrewed them at every seance) each was as solid in the wood as every other one. I found that Mrs. Holmes measured 5 feet 3 inches in height, while the lower edge of the aperture was 5 feet 5 inches from the floor. When she stood upon tip-toe, the top of her head was just visible from the outside, through the aperture.

Here we have a front-view and ground-plan of the cabinet. It is made of imitation black-walnut, ornamented in front with mouldings and panels. The two sides of the triangle are of matched pine boards, but the furnace heat has shrunken them so that in places the tongues have slipped out of the grooves, and light can be seen through the cracks. The sketch shows the mosquito-netting tacked around the sides:

Just as Mrs. Holmes was ready to enter the cabinet, I stopped her and said that as she had consented to submit to test conditions, I should now begin to apply them, with her permission. She assented; whereupon I produced the bag, and she got into it. I secured myself effectually I believed, against fraud by drawing

461


the mouth around her neck, just tight enough to admit of her breathing, without its choking her. I then sealed the string, close up, with sealing-wax, and stamped it with my ring. Finally, I removed the chair from the cabinet, and left her to stand up.

I pushed the door to, and it was immediately bolted on the inside, the light was made very dim, and we awaited results. In less than three minutes, a white hand appeared at one of the apertures. It had no rings upon the fingers; Mrs. Holmes had several on hers. Her hand moreover, is of a very peculiar shape, its outlines being full of curves, and the fingers long and bony, with the phalanges strongly defined. The hand shown was plump, well-shaped and large.

Then, after a few minutes there came into view a partially materialized female face, much worse to look upon than the male one of the preceding evening. I could not think of anything to compare it with except the face of a corpse, half eaten by rats or crabs. It was framed in a drapery of white muslin stuff, and, like the other, floated in the air, swimming towards the aperture

462


now from one side, and now from the other, or rising from below; then remaining stationary for a moment or so, it gazed at us in a stiff, blank way, with its eye-less sockets, and its half-formed features, until it was enough to make one's flesh creep to look at it. But I went up, stared at it and talked with it by means of its nods and shakes, until it was able to tell me that it was the head of Katie King, herself, badly materialized.

Its peculiarities, aside from the dreadful raggedness of its half made-up features, were a preternatural narrowness of chin and forehead, and a marked redness of lips, as though they were stained with vermilion. I doubt if ever a late supper conjured a worse vision out of the realm of dreams to affright the dyspeptic withal, than this one; but it was in a measure, more satisfactory than a perfect visage would have been, for, the medium being helplessly confined within the bag, and no possibility of confederacy existing, it seemed to show that the face was neither that of a human being, nor yet a mask, for such masks are never made. It came several times within sight, and then disappeared for the evening.

Upon entering Mme. de B.'s rooms this evening, I found several ladies and gentlemen waiting to be introduced to me, and they were amusing themselves with some "mind-reading" tests given by a boy medium named DeWitt C. Hough. One gentleman mentally requested that an affirmative answer to his mental question should be indicated, by the lad's leading him across the room and placing his, (the gentleman's) hand upon a portrait of John King, in a glazed frame, that hung upon the wall. This was done, when to our surprise it was found that the glass over the little picture had disappeared, although it had been noticed in its usual place the same day. This glass was not restored until nearly a week had elapsed, when, one evening, John rapped that he wanted a very small piece of white paper passed under the table, and presently said that he had brought the glass back again. Sure enough, there it was, with the small strip of paper gummed on it, and a line in John's handwriting to the effect that he had had it away with him.

In entering this circumstance in my notebook, I appended, by way of pleasantry, the slang expression

463


"Bully for John! " It will be seen further on how he returned the compliment.

The next morning, the 13th, Mr. Owen, Mr. Betanelly and I went to Mrs. Holmes' house without pre-announcement to hold a private seance. The windows were darkened, Mrs. Holmes was put into the bag, which was sealed as before, and the chair was removed. In 70 seconds from the time the door was closed, a hand was shown at the aperture. I approached the window, and laying my hand upon the sill, it was patted by a detached hand, which I found soft, plump, warm and moist. My hand was then gently pulled down inside the cabinet and pressed between two hands and caressed. I asked that I might be allowed to feel the two thumbs at once, and upon opening my hand the two thumbs were laid between my thumb and forefinger, and I pressed them. Mr. Owen's hand was then pressed and caressed. Passing my hand within again I felt and stroked the man's beard, as on the former occasion, and afterwards the turbaned top of a head was raised just up to the aperture, but the face was not shown. Finally, all three of us laid a hand each upon the sill, and each was patted by turns.

These were all of the materializations of the seance, but just before its close a whispering voice addressed me in German from within the cabinet, giving me the name " Katrina Gobe," and saying that she had died some years before, in Philadelphia. Mrs. Holmes is said to be unacquainted with any language but English.

John King showed himself very clearly at the evening seance, coming as many as twenty times in sight, and allowing a number of people to approach him and shake hands or stroke his beard. I stood at the aperture as long as I chose. His eyes were perfectly formed tonight, and moved about, and winked in a very natural manner. He smiled at me, shook hands, and talked quite at length. I requested him to float his head up so high that every one could see that it was not possible for Mrs. Holmes either to be wearing a mask, or holding one up; where-upon he rose to the extreme top of the window and thrust his head outside, at an elevation of 6 feet 7 inches from the floor.

One of the perplexing features of the Katie King affair was the supposed resemblance between the manuscript of Eliza White and that of the notes given by " Katie " to Mr. Robert Dale Owen, Dr. Fellger and others, at the

464


Holmes sťances. I determined to attempt at least the procurement of a communication to myself from Katie; and so, thinking the moment propitious, I asked if Katie would favor me. The answer came in a whisper: "I'll do it, Colonel, if I can get power enough." I then passed through the aperture a sheet of notepaper that I had purchased on my way from my lodgings, and that was marked in a way to effectually prevent their palming off upon me a prepared communication, upon another sheet, as Eliza White avers Mr. Owen was deceived in the matter of the Fred. W. Robertson writing. Whatever became of my paper, it disappeared, for, as soon as the seance was over, I searched thoroughly all about and no trace of it could be found.

The next day at 2.30 p. m., I had a seance at my own rooms. A cabinet was improvised out of the short square passage between the sitting and bed-room, and a curtain of black paper-muslin, with two windows cut in it, and short curtains hanging over them inside, so as to be raised or dropped at will, was tacked over the sitting- room door.

Those present upon this occasion were Mme. de Blavatsky, Hon. Robert Dale Owen, Dr. Fellger, Mr.Betanelly, the medium Mrs. Holmes, and myself. The rear door of the passage was sealed by Mr. Owen with strips of thin paper, after Mrs. Holmes had been sealed up in the bag. Mr. Owen also locked the bedroom door leading into the passage, and put the key into his pocket. We then darkened the room and took our places close to the curtain. In half a minute hands were shown, and, almost immediately  John King's face appeared and was thrust quite through the aperture. He was perfectly materialized, and came as near being a handsome man as he ever did, I presume, and that is quite near.

A voice, supposed to be Katie's, spoke to us, and calling up Mr. Owen and myself, she, or, at all events, a female hand patted our hands. I asked if she had written the communication to me yet, but she said she had not. I then requested that she would hand me the paper so that I might show it to Mr. Owen. In a moment it was thrust through the aperture, and Mr. Owen examining it by the light, found no writing except what I had written in French in the middle of the page. I passed the paper back, and it was taken from my hand.

John King allowed Mr. Owen to feel his hand and

465


beard, and, altogether, the manifestations were quite as satisfactory if not more so than any I had thus far seen at Mrs. Holmes' house. They proved beyond question the fact that, whatever they may be, they depend for their production neither upon false panels, nor trapdoors, nor wire machinery. The seance terminated about 5 o'clock.

The public seance was held at 825 North Tenth Street, at 8 P.M., as usual. A gentleman present suggested that I should tie Mrs. Holmes' hands together before putting her into the bag, and I did so; but, to tell the truth, I thought the precaution so unnecessary that the tying was a mere pretence. I considered it perfectly impossible for her to get her hands outside the bag to use any masks, even if she had such concealed about her.

John King appeared as usual and allowed six or seven persons, beside myself, to approach and converse with him or shake hands. As I saw his head floating free in the air within a few inches of my eyes, I recalled Eliza's assertion that the faces were ten-cent masks manipulated by the medium, and the idea occurred to ask permission to satisfy myself in the most conclusive way that I was not looking at a mechanical contrivance. John assenting, I then put my arm in, and swept the air in a semi-circle beneath his head, coming into contact with neither stick, nor wire, nor medium's arm. The drooping ends of his white turban dragged over my hand as I withdrew it. I then requested him to depress his head, and passed my arm in like manner as before, completely over his head, thus finding that it was not suspended from above by string or wire.

I handed John my signet-ring and asked him to hold it for a moment so that I might hereafter have it as a souvenir of the evening's parley. One of the ladies handed him her ring also, for the same purpose. He soon returned the second ring, but said he should keep

466


mine, which I must say I did not fancy, as it was an expensive intaglio, and I was not in the mood of making presents to detached heads and hands. Before releasing Mrs. Holmes from the bag at the close of the seance, I searched the cabinet in every part, but my ring was gone.

The voice of Katie called me up to the cabinet after I had resumed my seat, and a hand passed out to me the sheet of paper I had handled a few hours before. The previously blank surface was now covered with two communications to me, in a handwriting which seems to be identical with the Katie King notes of last summer, addressed to Dr. Fellger and Mr. Owen, here given. Let the reader judge for himself

467


Compare the handwriting of these with that of the paper received by me from " Katie," here given. That in the center square is my own.

Such of the persons present as witnessed the delivery of the paper to me then signed a certificate at my request, and the seance was brought to a close.

468


A fresh surprise was in store for me that night, for when I was about retiring, I turned down the pillow to put my watch beneath it, arid there lay my ring uninjured. Its weight is 7 1/2 pennyweights, and the distance it had been transported was perhaps three-fourths of a mile. On Monday evening, January 19th, I returned from a short visit to Hartford, and attended the seance at the usual place. Mr. Holmes and his wife were both present this evening, the former having recovered sufficiently from his hemorrhages to bear traveling. Mrs. Holmes went inside this evening, and her husband sat outside. I placed a guitar inside the cabinet. Instantly after I closed the door, a hand was shown at the aperture. The guitar was played upon, floated about, bumping against the sides and roof of the cabinet, and was violently thrust through the aperture. The face of John King was shown, but none other, and nothing unusual occurred, except a violent altercation between some visitors and the Holmeses, as to whether it was possible for the former to pass their hands through the neck of the bag.

I determined that there should be no longer any doubt upon this subject, so the next evening I took special care in sealing the bag. I closed the mouth very tight and sealed the strings with wax to a silver coin in such a wav that any attempt to open or loosen the mouth would break the wax. I had a friend present, an eminent inventor, who made a thorough examination of the bag and pronounced it impossible for any trickery to be resorted to. I also caused Mrs. Holmes to drop her arms by her side, and then pinned her sleeves to the bag in such a way that she could not raise her hands more than four inches from the perpendicular.

I had caused to be attached to the left-hand aperture, at the inside, a cage or basket of wire-cloth, with an arched crown and flat bottom; intending to have the faces or hands show themselves within it, if possible.

Before closing the cabinet-door I requested that the bolt should be thrown back instantly after being shot, so that I might see if Mrs. Holmes were moving from her position in the apex of the triangular box. This was done. I stood ready with hand upon the latch, and the moment the bolt was drawn I pulled the door open, and the medium was standing motionless in her bag.

469


Two guitars placed inside were now played upon simultaneously, and pushed out of the right-hand aperture. Within one minute a hand was shown at the same window. Then the curtain over the other aperture, and within the cage, was drawn aside. How? A hand was then shown there, so that all of the thirty persons present saw it.

Then John King appeared at the right window frequently, and sundry persons, including General Lippitt, (who was present for the first time to begin an investigation of the Holmes affair,) my friend the inventor, and others.

The wire-basket appearing to be too small to permit of the perfect formation of a head within it, I had the mechanics enlarge it the next day, by removing the flat bottom and carrying the sides down to the floor. I also had it permanently attached to the face of the cabinet by staples and wire ties that passed through the boards and were twisted and cut off on the front face. Here are the certificates of the workmen

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 19th, 1875 This is to certify that we have attached to the left-hand aperture of the cabinet in the parlor of 825 North Tenth Street, in this city, a wire basket with a flat bottom and curved sides and crown, the meshes of which are at a distance of 1-3 inch apart, or what is known in the trade as " No. 3 wire-cloth ; " that the said basket is permanently attached to the said cabinet by staples ; and that it would be impossible for any person to introduce a hand, face, or any other thing of greater diameter than one-third of an inch, within the said basket, without removing it by drawing the staples out of the wood. W. L. WILSON, WM. H. FENNELL, With J. P. FENNELL, Wire Worker, No. 36 N. 6th St. PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 20th, 1875. I hereby certify that the above described wire-cage was this day altered by removing the bottom sheet, and extending the sides continuously down to the floor, making the whole height 0f the cage from floor to crown 7 feet 9 inches. In my opinion it is impossible to introduce a hand or head within the said cage without taking it apart. The two edges of the wire-cloth sheets are now permanently attached to the inner front face of the cabinet by staples driven home, and tie-wires passing clear through the boards and tied on the outer face 0f the same. JAMES P. FENNELL,

Wire Worker, 36 N. 6th St., Phil.

470


The cut affords a very good idea of the form, dimensions, and penetrability of the cage.

We held a seance at 5 P.M., but it was very unsatisfactory to me, as, relying upon the cage, I put neither Mrs. Holmes nor her husband in the bag, and both were inside the cabinet at the same time. I fancied I heard them working at my wire cage as if trying to effect an opening, but they did not succeed, and beyond the drawing of the curtain aside, nothing occurred at that aperture. At the other John King showed himself, and also a female face, purporting to be Katie's, but not satisfactorily identified.

At the evening seance, a hand and arm appeared within the basket, and swept across the window and back John King's head also appeared there, rising from below and dropping again. It was not satisfactory, however, for I could not understand why, if it were genuine it might not stay as long and show itself as freely there as at the other window. I had a very clever juggler

with me this evening, one who is famous as a maker of mechanical tricks for jugglers. He was introduced to me by Mr. Coleman Sellers, the distinguished engineer, President of the Franklin Institute, and the correspondent mentioned by Mr. Crookes, in one of his pamphlets, as an ingrained skeptic. Mr. Harding, the amateur juggler, thought, upon examining the wirecage after the seance, that there was one spot sufficiently unconfined by the staples to permit of squeezing a hand through and manipulating a mask, so the next day I had this attended to.

At the seance in question two faces were shown at the right aperture-John King's and another. The former looked natural, and by drawing the curtain aside and peering in, I saw, at one and the same time, John's head high up to the left, behind the door, and Mr. Holmes sitting in the chair before me. John's head was, therefore, not a mask worn by Holmes.

On the 21st, I had a long consultation with another juggler of acknowledged skill and also a dealer in

471


jugglers' apparatus, Mr. Yost by name, who explained to me the manner in which he fancied that Mrs. Holmes got her hands out of the bag, to work artificial faces. It is to make a slight rip or cut in the hem covering the drawstring, and then draw enough slack string through inside to enable her to slip out either her hands, or her whole bust if she chooses. This plan requires that she shall have one hand free while the bag is being sealed, so that she can pull on the slack, and make me believe I am sealing up the mouth effectually and tightly. The explanation did not seem satisfactory, but I determined that no such trick should be played upon me from that time forward, at any rate.

We held a test seance at 4 o'clock that day, at which, among others, Mr. Owen and General Lippitt were present.

At my last interview with John King, at Mme. de B.'s rooms, I requested him to give me a private sign when I should next see him at Holmes', and he consented. He came to the aperture at this afternoon seance, and looking at me, he gave the sign by turning his head from left to right and back again twice in succession. He also gave to Mme. de B. a certain sign known only to themselves.

A detached hand was shown inside the cage, and then we tried a very interesting test. Premising by saying that Mr. Holmes, like his wife, is unacquainted with any foreign language, I fancy the reader will share my surprise, when I state that at the request of Mr. Owen, Doctor Fellger, Mme. de B., Mr. Betanelly and myself, expressed in Italian, German, Latin, Russian, Greek, Georgian, Turkish, French and Spanish, this hand within the wire-cage gave signal after signal, as many times in each instance as we severally indicated in these various languages. The hand purported to be that of John King, and hence I said in another place that he seemed to understand every language, a second Magliabecchi. We were as much astonished as Appollonius himself was in India, where, he tells us, the sages have the magical power of understanding and speaking the languages of those who come to them from the most distant countries.

John also addressing me in English, said he would look after one of my sons, whose name is an unusual

472


one, and one that certainly no person in the room had heard me mention.

Mr. Owen, General Lippitt and I very carefully scrutinized John's face as it appeared at the right window. It seemed perfectly natural, the eyes were thoroughly materialized, and were rolled about in every direction, by request.

Twenty-seven persons were present that evening at the public seance. I attended to the bag with unusual care, making Mrs. Holmes keep her hands by her 'side constantly; holding the mouth of the bag in such a way that there could be no slack; pinning her sleeves down further than usual; examining and testing the string in every way after that; and then calling up every person in the room by turns to see if it were possible for the captive medium to get a hand out to play tricks. I then closed the door, which as usual was bolted on the inside by somebody whose hands were not sealed up in a bag, and before I could turn down the gas, in the chandelier over my head, a detached hand was thrust out of the right aperture! John showed himself, and I had a long conversation with him in French, he replying correctly by movements of his head. Among other things, I asked him if it was his own voice that had spoken to me in English that after- noon about my son, and he answered affirmatively. He allowed a number to approach, and gallantly kissed his hand to several of the ladies. I saw the movement of his lips, and the sound of the osculation was so audible that all in the room could hear it. It was no mask. There was a rattling and scraping on the wire-cage, as though something hard were being drawn over the meshes, but nothing happened inside, except that the curtain was drawn aside.

Another face beside John's appeared, but it was not recognized. A number of hands were also shown, of different sizes, among them one fair, well-formed, plump hand of a woman, so peculiar in its shape that I examined Mrs. Holmes' hands after the seance, only to again observe the thin, long thumb, and peculiar sickle-shaped curve of the outer edge of the palm.

The London Spiritualist, of February 1st, 1873, contains a bit of prima-facie evidence in favor of Katie King's having actually appeared through the mediumship of the Holmeses. It is a report of a seance at Mrs. Makdougall Gregory's, 21 Green St., Grosvenor Square, London, and

473


the paper editorially certifies to the fact that  Katie King showed herself, and two old gentlemen, one with a white beard, and one old lady.

In a previous number of the same paper, Mr. J. C. Luxmoore avers that he saw at Mr. Holmes' rooms, at 1111 Old Quebec Street, the identical Katie King whom he had seen three times before at Hackney in the presence of Florence Cook.

Finally, in the paper called The Medium and Daybreak, a correspondent reports, in a card dated March 24th, 1873, that he attended a Holmes seance " at which many spirit- faces were shown, among them that of the elder Katie King, who spoke in her usual whispers, and was very palpable and distinct."

I had now been so long in Philadelphia without seeing the full form of Katie King that, despairing of her appearance, and having accomplished the main object of my experiments-to test the "materializing" powers of the mediums, I was growing impatient to depart. At an afternoon test seance, both mediums sat outside at my request for a time. There were rappings inside the cabinet, and some scrapings upon the wire-cage, but the experiment was a failure, and as no faces appeared, I sent Mr. Holmes inside, and sealed him up in a new bag I had had made, and pinned his sleeves to it. In five seconds a hand was shown at the right window: then two hands were shown together, and then John King appeared, showing me his full head and shoulders.

At the evening seance, the usual precautions were taken, and as usual hands were shown and John appeared and spoke to me. A woman's hand and arm were thrust quite out of the window, and after an intermission of a few minutes there came a face which struck me as soon as I saw it as the Katie King of the Holmes photograph. If it was not the identical face, it at any rate seemed to be, and this impression was made upon the mind of General Lippitt, also. I scrutinized it very closely. The face was not smooth and well rounded, but seemingly roughly finished. The eyebrows were straight and black; the contour of face oval, rather long and thin ; the dark hair lay smooth upon the brow. A gauzy white material, wrapped around it, framed the head, and made it look unnatural and ghastly.

Our test seance began at 4 P.M. the next day. John, and the Katie like the photograph appeared several

474


times. The latter borrowed General Lippitt's pocket- knife, and cut off and handed him a lock of her hair, which, upon subsequent comparison with locks in the possession of Mr. Owen and Dr. Fellger, was found to be identical in texture, and color-the latter, a peculiar glorious shade of golden brown.

While looking at this head I saw something inside the cabinet that I would like to have some one more capable than myself explain: I saw the Katie King head, with the mouth of a bag drawn tightly about her neck as the bag was drawn about the medium's, and a hand, which was attached to an arm that came from another direction, took hold of and fondled mine. Now, one thing is perfectly clear: this hand and arm did not belong to Mrs. Holmes' body, for the seal on the bag's mouth was found unbroken after the seance. And again, if Mrs. Holmes had managed to get her hand and arm out, what bag was that which I saw drawn tightly about the neck of the "Katie King" there? for the bag could not be both closed and open at once. I leave the Philadelphia Editors to display their preternatural shrewdness in explaining this riddle. I will help them so far as to say that the bag had no false lining nor slack string; there was no duplicate bag in the cabinet; no confederate could either have been in there before the seance or got in at any time while it was progressing; and I have not exaggerated or falsified the fact.

On the evening of the 24th, I had the circle at my own lodgings, a different suite of rooms from that in which the former seance was held. A cabinet was improvised in the same manner as before, the black muslin curtain with apertures, hanging over the front door, and the other door being sealed by General Lippitt to prevent the admission of any person or thing from behind.

Nine persons were present, including the two mediums. Mrs. Holmes was put into the bag, and Mr. Holmes sat outside the cabinet with us. I completed the sealing of the string, and then began to drive in a few tacks to bold the curtain to its place, but before I could drive the second tack, a detached hand was thrust into view from the upper aperture, quite a distance above the medium's head.

John King showed himself very distinctly, and calling up Mr. Betanelly communicated to him, in his own

475


language (the Georgian), a secret that he supposed none knew except himself. He kissed his hand several times, by request, and also saluted the cheek of a lady, who offered it for the purpose. I stood at the aperture and talked much with him, he addressing me in a voice audible to all, and I not a foot distant from his face. Katie, or what purported to be she, also showed herself, but badly materialized, --her eyes being not more than half- formed. With her permission, I thrust my arm through to feel the medium, and Katie, whom I saw at my right as a dim, indistinct shape, guided my hand to the place by taking me by the coat sleeve. This was necessary, as the aperture was so high that I had to stand upon tip-toe to get my arm through, and could not look in Mrs. Holmes' direction while my arm was inside. I repeated this experiment to make assurance doubly sure, and this time carefully felt the medium's head, neck, shoulders, and passed my hand down her arm, which was unmistakably inside the bag, the spirit-hand clutching my sleeve the whole time! Mrs. Holmes' eyes were tightly closed, her face was deathly cold, and her forehead covered with a clammy dew.

General Lippitt was permitted to do the same thing, and has published an account of the seance in the Banner of Light, of date February 6th, 1875. General L. noticed in Katie's accent this evening certain dialectic peculiarities which were associated in his memory with the Katie he had seen last May in the Holmes sťances.

After this satisfactory experiment, I requested Mr. and Mrs. Holmes to favor us with a "dark seance," and, this being agreed to, the nine persons in the company drew their chairs together and joined hands, Mr. and Mrs. Holmes being separated from each other. Under these circumstances, we were all touched by invisible hands, myself often and in various places, sometimes three or four of us were touched simultaneously, a pair of hands were laid upon my head, a bunch of plumes was swept across our faces, and then a cloth of some light fabric, and, finally, at Mme, de B.'s order, some beautiful lights danced in the air over her head and then disappeared. These phenomena were similar to what had occurred almost every evening in Mrs. Holmes' "dark-circles," but in this instance there was absolutely no possibility of trickery, and this account will suffice for all.

The next evening my last test seance was held, and it

476


was a very notable one. While my experiments had demonstrated beyond doubt the fact that many phenomena occur in the presence of the Holmeses, which are not due to trickery, yet I had seen neither Katie King nor any other spirit, in full form, and I was not entirely satisfied with the results of my labors. It was here that Mme. de B. brought her wonderful power to the test. Summoning John King, she intimated her will that Katie should step out of the cabinet that evening, and he wrote her with his own hand a message to the effect that her orders should "be obeyed." This communication is in my possession, and General Lippitt has seen it.

A select company of six persons, besides the two mediums, met at Mr. Holmes' residence at 8 o'clock, and after taking the usual precautions against fraud (including a strange exercise of Mme. de B.'s power, which threw Mrs. Holmes into a death-like trance, and so made her perfectly incapable of resorting to trickery), the light was dimmed, and we sat in silence waiting for the working of the mystic spell.

Phenomenal disturbances soon began - raps were heard all over the cabinet, various voices addressed us from within its recesses, and a detached hand, coming out of the right aperture, and gliding down the face of the cabinet, clutched a small hand-bell that stood upon a table, and, ringing it all the while, rose again to the aperture and disappeared with it, within.

This last manifestation was calculated to startle one out of all his preconceived notions of both anatomy and gravity, and it really gave to the seance a most uncanny aspect. But the crowning test was to come. We heard the bolt drawn inside, and in breathless silence watched the cabinet door swing slowly open. I sat within a few feet of the entrance, and plainly saw at the threshold a short, thin, girlish figure, clad in white from crown to sole. She stood there motionless for an instant, and then slowly stepped forward a pace or two. By the obscure light we could see that she was shorter and much more delicately built than the medium, and her dress with its trailing skirt, and the long veil that completely enveloped her form, were as crisp as though just from the hands of the modiste. Who she was or what she was, I do not know, but one thing I do know,-she was not Jennie Holmes, nor any puppet or confederate of

477


hers. And I know, further, that Mme. de B., who sat next to me, uttered one word in a strange tongue, and the spectre immediately withdrew as noiselessly as she had entered.

When the meeting broke up we found Mrs. Holmes in her bag, with its unbroken seals, and in so deep a catalepsy as to alarm Dr. Fellger at first. It was some minutes before she had either respiration or a pulse; and as she is recovering I leave her and the case with these conclusions:

(r). While it may be possible that either Eliza White or somebody else assisted the Holmeses to deceive the public, by personating Katie King, the evidence hitherto attainable does not enable us to designate any one of the phenomena observed and described by Mr. Owen or General Lippitt as probably fraudulent. The accuser of the Holmeses is apparently successfully impeached; and her endorser, Dr. Child, shown to be incompetent to testify.

The decision of the moot question being, therefore, of necessity made to depend upon the issue of my own course of experiments

(a). The real mediumship of both Nelson and Jennie Holmes, and " especially the appearance of materialized spirit-forms through the same," seem to be demonstrated.

(3) The Philadelphia experiments have a most important bearing upon those of Mr. Crookes, in London, and of myself, at Chittenden, Vt., and Havana, N. Y.

(4 ) The very grave question whether the visits and behavior of spirits are within human control, is forced upon our attention. Its examination, moreover, involves the verification or rejection, by modern scientific processes, of the Biblical, historical, and traditional accounts of intercourse between man and the angel world; the definition of the laws of so-called Magic and Sorcery; the formulae of evocation and exorcism; and the moral effects of this intercourse upon humanity.

We cannot afford that another day shall be lost. The Hour is come: let the Man step to the front.

478


THE COMPTON TRANSFIGURATION

I do not know of any author who has defined the position which the student of science occupies in our day, better than Professor Huxley himself. In a recent essay, he says:  "The only opinion he (the votary of science) need care about, if he care for any -- and he is all the wiser and better if he care for none-- is that of about a dozen men, two or three in these islands (Great Britain), as many in America, and half a dozen on the continent. If these think well of his work, his reputation is secure from all the attacks of all the able editors of all the " influential organs" put together."

With such encouraging words as these before me, I shall proceed to tell the story of my remarkable experience at Havana, N. Y., hoping at least to deserve the good opinion of their author, and the dozen colleagues whom he had in mind while penning the sentences above quoted. If Mr. Huxley is not now willing to follow the theory of Evolution to its legitimate conclusions, and discover to us man as he exists in the spirit-world, there is satisfaction in knowing that the time is not far distant when he will be compelled, by the accumulation of phenomena similar to those hereinafter described, to acknowledge that his immortality is a demonstrable scientific problem.

At one of my last interviews with the alleged spirit John King, in Philadelphia, he told me that if I would go to the village of Havana, Schuyler County, New York, I would see a phase of manifestation entirely new to this country, and the precursor of a whole

479


series of unprecedented interest and importance. In short, he gave me to understand that we were about to witness the advent of the psychological mysteries which, for many ages, have been confined to the temples and pagodas of Egypt and Hindostan.

Acting upon this information I found myself in the village designated, on the evening of the 29th of January, of the present year (1875). The medium I sought was a poor woman, named Elizabeth J. Compton, living with a second husband, and the mother of nine children, of whom five girls and one boy are alive.

Her maiden name was Houghtenning, and she was born August 16th, 1829. On September 3d, 1848, she was married to George W. Souls, in the town of Barrington, Yates County, N. Y.  Her husband, Souls, was for many years an invalid, and she supported the whole family by the hard labor of washing. Her rounded shoulders, angular frame, horny palm, and the fingers bent out of shape by constant immersion in the hot suds of the wash-tub, abundantly corroborate the story of her faithful exertions and honest toil.

480


Coming of laboring people, marrying in her own class, and having the cares of a large family so soon thrust upon her, she had no time to obtain an education, and she can neither read nor write.

Like the Eddys, she inherits mediumship, her paternal grandmother and an aunt having been known as "witches," and reported to possess the evil-eye. Her maternal grandmother, an Indian squaw, was brought up among the whites, but was not unfamiliar with the rude sorceries that prevailed among her people. Like the case of the Eddys, also, the medianic power descends to her children. I sat at a table alone with the youngest, a pretty little girl of five years, and with my hand laid upon her tiny little hands, the rappings occurred all over the table. This child is also said to be clairvoyant, as well as several of her sisters.

Mrs. Compton first saw a spirit when a child of nine years, and after that her lucidity was frequently demonstrated. The exceedingly limited space at my command forbids mention of many instances, related to me by herself, of visions, prophetic warnings, and encounters with spiritual beings that occurred in her experience. Suffice it to say that they were of a character similar to those which have been fully described in this book in connection with the psychological history of the members of the Eddy family.

Her mediumship for physical phenomena dates from March 1873, when a neighbor, calling in one evening, proposed that they should "form a circle" in the chamber where Mr. Souls was lying sick. She was so little familiar with Spiritualism that she sup- posed the circle meant was the "praying-circle" of the Methodists, and readily consented. A table was drawn up near the bed, and, taking their places at it, she says she was astonished to hear rappings under their hands, and still more so when a communication was spelled out, purporting to come from a young man named Melville Barton, who had been murdered a day or two before, and for whose body search was then being made. The spirit described the murder, and indicated where his body would be found; which information the next day proved to be true.

Sittings of a similar character were held frequently after this, and the rappings grew louder and louder. Mr. Souls finally died, and then he, too, began to

481


manifest his presence in the spirit, One night a slate belonging to Mr. Souls was lying upon a projecting timber in the room, and she heard the noise of the pencil moving over its surface, although no person was near it. Upon examination, it was discovered that a communication had been written upon the slate by an invisible hand; and after that this form of manifestation was repeated very frequently.

On the evening of the 12th of February 1874, her present husband, Mr. Compton, being at the house, it was proposed that they should try to get "materializations," and accordingly a blanket was tacked over a doorway for the experiment. Six spirit-hands were shown around the edges of the blanket, and the affair becoming known, the experiment was repeated in many houses in Havana and the adjacent village of Watkins, with uniformly satisfactory results. Before long, the figure of a spirit-child appeared, and then faces and busts of various persons were shown. In April, the spirits began to talk in their own voices, and flowers and other material objects were displayed.

On the 6th of September, a young girl, calling her-self Katie Brink, an Indian warrior of the Seneca tribe, and a squaw named "Starlight" stepped out of the improvised cabinet, in full form. Since the date mentioned, only six different spirits have walked out, viz: Katie Brink, the Seneca, Starlight, Katie Weaver, a Mrs. Rhodes and the Rev. Gardiner Crum. No more than three have appeared upon any one evening, and usually only two-Seneca and Katie Brink-are seen.

Such are the statements made to me by Mrs. Compton and corroborated by other persons. I repeat them without comment.

The sťances are now held in a second-story chamber, fifteen feet square, and devoted exclusively to this purpose. Across one corner, a plastered partition has been run, forming a triangular cupboard, or closet, just large enough to admit of a person sitting in the apex of the triangle. There is no window, trap or outlet, the walls being all solid, and the floor securely fastened down, with the boards running under the mop-board, except one which is badly matched; but this is nailed to the joists by a dozen nails, and cannot be pried up without breaking it into pieces. The angles of three rooms join directly underneath this

482


cabinet, and the ceilings of all are perfectly solid. The following sketch gives an idea of the external appearance of the cabinet.

It will be observed that there is no aperture in the wall, but an open space is left by sawing off the upper portion of the door; across this opening a curtain of black muslin stretches upon a wire inside the frame. My first seance with the medium was on the evening of January 30th. The spectators, numbering a halfdozen sat upon chairs in the room, about eight feet from the cabinet. Mrs. Compton took her seat on the chair inside, the lamp in the room was turned down very low, and for a long time nothing interesting occurred. Finally the door opened and the figure of an Indian appeared on the threshold, spoke to us, greeted me cordially, but did not emerge, as he said the medium was in too weak and prostrated a condition to afford him the power requisite.

The following evening, the girl Katie Brink showed herself, and walked about, touching various persons, patting their heads and cheeks. Clad in a flowing robe of crisp white muslin, her head covered with a bride-veil that fell down to her knees, gliding about with velvet

483


footsteps, speechless, and half-seen in the obscurity, she reminded me of Goethe's Bride of Corinth

" By the waning lamp's uncertain gleaming There he sees a youthful maiden stand, Robed in white, of still and gentle seeming, On her brow a black and golden band."

Passing from the other spectators, she came to me, sitting apart and with one hand laid against the cabinet wall, and first gently stroking my head, she sat upon my knee, and passing an arm over my shoulder kissed me upon my left cheek. Her weight seemed scarcely as much as that of a child of eight years, but her arm felt solid upon my shoulder, and the lips that caressed me were as natural as life. By pre-arrangement, I passed into the cabinet, while the girl was outside, and found no medium there, although I not only examined every nook, but, the better to assure myself that I was not `psycholo- gized,' felt the chair, the walls and all the space about.

There could be but one alternative here: Either the `spirit' was no spirit, but the medium, or, the medium had been transfigured, after the fashion of the Oriental thaumaturgists. I determined to settle that question conclusively before leaving town.

The next evening, having obtained Mrs. Compton's cheerful consent to submit to my tests, I removed her earrings, and seating her in the chair in the cabinet, fastened her in it by passing some "NO. 50" sewing- thread through the perforations in her ears, and sealing the ends to the back of the chair, with sealing-wax, which I stamped with my private signet. I then fastened the chair to the floor, with thread and wax in a secure manner.

Observe, in the sketch, how impossible it was for her to move an inch from her place: she could not have been more firmly fixed to her seat, if irons had been passed through her flesh, and riveted in the wood. A slight pull would suffice to snap the frail thread, and betray her attempt to cheat.

The persons present, beside myself and the medium, were John S. Smith, and J. H. Hardy, of Elmira, N. Y ; Mrs. Florence Beardsley, of London, Canada; Benjamin Wickes, of Havana, N. Y; David Lee, of Washington; Mrs. Margaret Compton, of Havana; William Anderson and friend, of Watkins; Mr. Peter Compton; and two of

484


the medium's little girls. All but myself sat upon chairs placed in a double row opposite the cabinet door; and I took my place near the railing of the stairway, not more than five feet from the same. In front of me stood a Fairbanks platform-scale, which, in hope of verifying the Chittenden weighing experiment, I had procured for the occasion.

The light being lowered, as is usual in these sťances, and the cabinet-door closed, we sang vigorously for some minutes, when across the aperture above the door floated a pair of hands, from left to right, and then disappeared. Then came another pair of larger size; and then a voice, (which, if not that of the late Daniel Webster, was its counterpart in depth, sonorousness, and fullness of tone as I recall it to memory), addressed me, giving me full instructions and cautions as to how I was to proceed. In entering the cabinet while the spirit was outside, I was at liberty to feel everywhere, and satisfy myself that the medium was not there, but I must be careful not to actually touch the chair. I might pass my hands as near it as I chose, but actual contact with its substance I was requested to avoid. Then, again, I was to lay upon the platform of the scale a covering of some kind so that the

485


spirit need not come into contact with the wood or metal. I promised compliance, and soon had the satisfaction to see the white-robed girl in the open doorway. She stepped out, moved around, touched several persons, and then approached the scale. I sat ready with one hand upon the poise and the other at the end of the beam, and as she stepped up, took her weight without the loss of a second. She then retired into the cabinet; whereupon, lighting a parlor-match, I read the figures. She weighed only seventy-seven lbs., although she had not the stature of a child. Can the reader imagine my feelings as I sat there in the gloom, not more than a foot-and-a-half from a speechless and veiled figure, a supposed visitor from the other world, who had gathered unto herself an evanescent corporeal body, of which my scales could now take cognizance, and the next moment would be dissipated into a vapor more unsubstantial than the electric fluid itself? This was, indeed, being face to face with the dead, or rather with the quick who had tasted death, and

486


passed on into an immortal life where death is known no more, and the grave is regarded as the birth-bed of the human race.

The spirit came out again, and then I entered the cabinet, looking carefully everywhere, and feeling cautiously but thoroughly all about, but, as before, finding no vestige of the medium. The chair was there, but no bodily presence sat in it.

I then asked the spirit-girl to make herself lighter if possible and she stepped again upon my scales. As rapidly as before, I got the beam at poise, and, she retiring as before, I read the figure--fifty-nine pounds.

She appeared yet again, and this time passed from one to another of the spectators, patting this one's head, the other's hand, sitting upon Mr. Hardy's knee, laying her hand gently upon my head, stroking my cheek, and then mounting the scale for me to make my final test. This time she weighed only fifty-two pounds, although from first to last there had been no apparent alteration in her dress or bulk.

The scientific reader will now recall the weighing of Honto by Mr. Pritchard, and be pleased to see the figures in comparison with those above :

SPIRIT HONTO

SPIRIT KATIE BRINK

1st weighing 88 lbs 1st weighing 77 lbs
2nd 58 lbs 2nd 59 lbs
3rd 58 lbs 3rd 52 lbs
4th 65 lbs    
Average 67 1/2 lbs Average 62 2/3 lbs

It is quite unnecessary to dwell upon the importance of these experiments as opening up a most remarkable field of scientific inquiry. It is to be regretted that I was prevented, (by the necessity of completing this volume to fulfill publishers' engagements), from pursuing the subject; but a beginning has, at least, been made. I should add that the ascertained stature of Honto is 5 feet 5 inches; while that of the Havana spirit, as by actual measurement, varied within ten minutes, from 5 feet 10 1/2 to 4 feet 8 3/4. These measurements were not taken upon the same evening as the weighing, but at the preceding seance. Upon this occasion I found Mrs. Compton's height to be 5 ft. 4 inches, and the Indian chiefs 5 ft. 5 7/8 inches.

After the weighing "Katie" appeared no more; but

487


after a few minutes had elapsed we were addressed in the guttural base of the Indian chief, and he showed himself at the door. A colloquy ensued in the Indian language between him and Mr. Hardy, who lived some years among the Western tribes, and who certified to the reality of the speech uttered by the spectre chief. The Seneca again could not come out because of alleged lack of power, but before retiring he gave a terrific war-whoop that made the rafters ring again, and then a peace-whoop as an adieu. This manifestation alone would seem to indicate that the poor, nervously fluttering medium had no part in the appearance of at least this one spectre.

After the brave's retirement, we had some more conversation with sundry spirit-voices, and then the light being turned up, various faces floated into sight above the door and faded away, and then the circle closed.

I went inside with a lamp, and found  the medium just as I left her at the beginning of the seance, with every thread unbroken and every seal undisturbed ! She sat there, with her head leaning against the wall, her flesh as pale and as cold as marble, her eyeballs turned up beneath the lids, her forehead covered with a death-like damp, no breath coming from her lungs, and no pulse at her wrist. When every person had examined the threads and seals, I cut the flimsy bonds with a pair of scissors, and, lifting the chair by its back and seat, carried the cataleptic woman out into the open air of the chamber.

She lay thus inanimate for eighteen minutes; life gradually coming back to her body, until respiration and pulse and the temperature of her skin became normal. . . I then put her upon the scale. . . . She weighed one hundred and twenty-one pounds!

End