Spirit Teachings thought The Mediumship of William Stainton Moses



Section IV reference is made to some extremely minute particulars which were written concerning the life of Arne, the musical composer. On Sept . 12th, 1873, a number of other facts and dates equally minute and accurate were given respecting other composers, Dr. Benjamin Cook, Pepusch, Wellesley Earl of Mornington, respecting whose very names I was ignorant. The details are absurdly minute, comprising just such a brief record as would be found in a Biographical Dictionary. They were described by DOCTOR, in whose writing they appear, as “worthless, save for your conviction. That is the end we have in view. Details of earth-life are of little interest to us now.”


On July 16th, 1874, being then confined to my room by illness, I received a further communication respecting these musical spirits who were so completely outside of my own personal interests, and yet so intimately connected with one with whom I was brought into daily contact. This time it was John Blow, described as “pupil of Christopher Gibbon, and the successor of Purcell in the Abbey, Westminster: a composer even as a boy.” Further inquiry elicited his date, 1648-1768. This was the result apparently of a chance visit to my room, when I was in a supersensitive condition, of the link between me and these spirits.


On October 5th, 1873, more personal evidence was brought. The same spirit who, in Section IV, was described as being able to write out an extract from a book, transcribed some particulars about ancient Chronicles, which in their broad outline would not be unfamiliar to my mind, since the subject came within the scope of my study. In the extremely minute and precise manner in which they were given, they are quite out of my mental scope: seeing that it is a peculiarity of my mind to be unable to retain and reproduce minute and precise facts, and especially dates. Both from natural inability to use such facts, and from a belief that wide views, and a general grasp of a subject in its broad bearings are most serviceable, I have always endeavoured to cultivate such a habit of mind.


It is a singular fact in this connection that almost all the communications written through my hand are distinguished by microscopic minuteness of detail, and by a general absence of breadth and diversity of view, except in the case of those proceeding directly from IMPERATOR.


At this same time twenty-six lines from the works of Norton, an old Alchymist, were written out in a curious archaic hand, quite different from any that had been used before. The extract I afterwards verified with difficulty, for the book is scarce, and little is known of Norton, his very date being involved in obscurity. It was said of him that he was an old student of the occult: a medium in his life, and so more able to return to earth. His poem was called “The Ordinal or Manual of Chemical Art,” and was written for his patron, Archbishop of York.


I might adduce other cases, but they would prove no more than those already adduced. I have selected almost at random a few cases out of a great number.


One more, however, I will quote, because of the remarkable manner in which the communication was verified. It seemed that the same power that gave the fact pointed to its method of verification, and it has the merit of being absolutely external to the knowledge of any person present. I quote from my records.


March 25th, 1874.—A spirit communicated through the table, name and particulars both unknown to any member of the circle. I inquired on the following day about the circumstance.]


— 167 —


The spirit said truly that she was named Charlotte Buckworth. She has no special connection with us, but was permitted to speak as she chanced to be present, and for evidence to you. The conditions were unfavourable for our work; we were not able to harmonise the conditions, which were disturbed. It is always so after such a day as you passed. The different influences of those with whom you were thrown would introduce elements of disturbance which we could not harmonise.


I had been with four persons all more or less mediumistic. I always am affected by being in the society of such.


You do not know how much you are sensitive to such influence. The spirit who came to you was one who has passed from among you now for more than a hundred years, having made a sudden and unprepared entrance into spirit-life in the year 1773. She passed away at the house of a friend in Jermyn Street, whither she had gone on a party of pleasure. She will probably be able to say more to you; but we have no control over her.


I asked that she should be fetched, but was told that the communicating spirit had no control over her. I then inquired if anything more were known about her.


Yes. She was very anxious to say more, but the power was exhausted. She has been occupied in her special sphere of work after awaking from a long sleep, and has not been brought within the atmosphere of earth until lately. She is attracted to circles where harmony prevails, being herself of a loving nature. Her departure from your earth was instantaneous; for she dropped down at a party of pleasure, and at once passed from the body.


I inquired the cause of death.


Weakness of the heart, increased by violent dancing. She was but a thoughtless girl, though of a gentle and loving disposition.


I asked, what house and where?


We cannot say. She will probably be able to say for herself.


[Other subjects were then written about, and no more was said of this. In the afternoon of the same day a brief communication was made. Though I resisted the impression to write, being busy and not at home, I was compelled to allow the message to be given.]


We have ascertained that it was at the house of one Doctor Baker that Lottie departed. The day was the fifth of December. We are not able to tell you more; but enough has been said.




[The verification of this statement was as unexpected as was the message itself. We had decided that no means of verification was open; and the matter passed from our minds. Some time after, Dr Speer had a friend at his house who was fond of old books. We three were talking in a room in which there were a number of books rarely used, arranged in shelves extending from floor to ceiling. Dr Speer’s friend, whom I will call Mr A——, mounted a chair to get at the topmost row, which was composed entirely of volumes of the Annual Register. He took one down amid a cloud of dust, and commented on it as a valuable record of events from year to year. Almost anything, he said, could be found in it. As he said this, the idea flashed into my mind at once most vividly that there was the place to verify the information that had been given about this death. It was one of these utterly


— 168 —


unaccountable impressions, or rather communications with which those who commune with spirits are familiar. It was as if a voice spoke to my inner sense. I hunted out the volume for 1773, and there I found, among the notable deaths, a record of this occurrence, which had apparently made a sensation as occuring at a festivity in a fashionable house. The volume was thickly covered with dust, and had lain undisturbed in its place since it had been put there some five years before. I remember the books being arranged, and they had never been disturbed since; nor, but for Mr A——’s antiquarian tastes, would it ever have occured to any of us to pull them down.


I may add in this connection, that on March 29th, 1874, a communication was written out in my book, of which at first I could make nothing. The handwriting was like none I had seen before, very shaky and tremulous, like that of an extremely old and feeble person. Though a name was apparently signed, I could not read it at all until it was deciphered for me by the spirit-amanuensis. The message was from a very old woman, of whom I had never before heard, who passed away at upwards of 90 years of age at a house not far from the place where our circle meets. For obvious reasons I am unable to print the name and address. I have neither authority nor wish to seek it from friends still living. But the name, place of residence, both in earlier years and at the time of death, age, and date of decease, were given with exact accuracy. The remarkable fact, for which (apparently) the message was given, was that the time of departure from earth was in the month of December, 1872, since which time, as was said, “the spirit being full of years in its earth-life, had rested from its earthly toil.” On awaking it had been attracted to its old home, and thence to the circle in the immediate neighbourhood.


I believe that in this, as in all cases of identity, the information was brought at the instance of IMPERATOR, and for the definite purpose of supplying to me evidence which I very much desired of spirit-identity or rather of individuality perpetuated after bodily death. The cases were apparently selected by design, and I have never been able to procure evidence suggested by myself, or to interfere successfully with this apparently pre-arranged plan.


Here the continuity of the messages is broken, and the series may well terminate. The power recurred at times, but never with the sustained vigour manifested in the mass of these Teachings. The end in view had been obtained, and though much was written afterwards, the periods of intermission became more frequent until, about the year 1879, this method of communication was practically abandoned for an easier and simpler one. It would be easy to select from my various books other striking teachings. Hereafter I may possibly do so. For the present, this series, complete in itself so far as it goes, may suffice as a specimen of a unique experience.


In concluding, I may venture to say that I propound these Teachings as specimens of influence brought powerfully to bear upon an independent mind from without. The opinions expressed may be dismissed or accepted by each reader according as they commend themselves to him. But he will miss the true significance of this volume if he does not recognise a sustained and successful effort of intelligence apart from a human brain to influence one who claims for himself no other merit than that of having honestly and very laboriously endeavoured to arrive at truth.