The reminiscences contained in this
volume are given to the public from no desire to proselytise in the
cause of Spiritualism.
School privileges were denied me
through protracted illness in childhood, and home training did not prepare for
authorship; therefore, I beg the indulgence of my readers.
solicitations of friends that I should place on record the important
events in my experience as a
medium led me to complete these papers in which, if they have no other merit, are related facts
that can be verified by living witnesses. There may be some inaccuracy in dates, as the
more prominent events occurred many years ago; but the circumstances as
stated are correctly recorded.
Let it be distinctly understood that
no claim is made that all persons named in connection with my
mediumistic experiences in the White House at Washington, or elsewhere
in the several circles of that city, were Spiritualists. I never asked,
nor was told their views on the subject of Spiritualism. We met with
consideration and kindness wherever invited, and were offered the same
welcome and courteous attention extended to the other guests.
of the séances with the President are given, as a number took place with Mrs Lincoln alone as
witness. I was not told of the revelations then made, for when in a
trance state, I am unconscious and have no knowledge of what transpires or what I have said. But
those recorded demonstrate that this great and good man did not hesitate to receive and weigh any suggestions for guidance,
when given intelligently, however humble their apparent origin.
Some years ago, at
the request of that scholarly writer, the late Prof. S.B. Brittan, I
prepared a manuscript, which he had offered to edit for publication, but
his death following shortly the manuscript was lost and never recovered.
The present one has been
prepared at intervals during the past three years by the aid of an
Confined to bed by
rheumatism and given up to die by my physician, there have been comparatively few days in which I
could dictate these pages; therefore, under such disadvantages, this
work must necessarily be imperfect.
From the time that
the gift of Mediumship was developed and I became conscious of spirit
life, the messengers have never failed in guiding and guarding me under
all circumstances. They have advised and directed me in worldly as well
as spiritual matters, and in heeding their counsel it has always been
well with me.
Of the power,
beauty, and intelligence of these unseen guides, who led me, an
unlettered girl, from the quiet home circle to the jubilee platform as a
religious teacher, and thence through strange and varied experiences, to
become the honoured guest of the ruler of our great nation, during the
most memorable events in its history, I have given no adequate evidence in
Looking back over my life, it is a
source of undying joy to recall the scenes where I have been the
instrument in the hands of the spirit world to carry health to the sick
and peace to the sorrowing, and to kindle the light of hope where
reigned the darkness of despair. It brings me that peace that passeth
understanding, to remember that by the aid of this precious gift I have
brought comfort to the bedside of the dying, and more
than once have stayed the suicidal
hand; while many souls wandering in the paths of sinfulness have been
reclaimed and brought back to a life of virtue and honour. It is also
gratifying that the ties of friendship formed in may households,
twenty-five or thirty years ago, are still unbroken.
That the memory of my
work as a spirit medium is tenderly cherished, and is proven by the
letters of kind sympathy that I so frequently receive; but sweeter far
than all these memories is the ministry of angels to me in my helplessness
and suffering as I now lie upon a bed from which
I may not hope to rise in this life.
The spirit of my dear mother comes and goes before my spiritual vision as
plainly as she appeared to my mortal eyes when living. And I find strength
and comfort from the dear ones who wait unseen by my side until I can in
truth say, ‘Death’ has lost its ‘sting’ and ‘grave’ its ‘victory’.
I thank God that this spirit knowledge
is spreading broadcast through all lands; that mediums with more perfect
gifts than mine are developing each day, to carry to all who will receive
glad tidings of a
NETTIE COLBURN MAYNARD White Plains, New York, September, 1891.