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Cock Lane and Common-Sense by Andrew Lang

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know the same kind of excuses in modern times.

Porphyry went on to ask questions about divination and clairvoyance.
We often ascertain the future, he says, in dreams, when our bodies
are lying still and peaceful: when we are in no convulsive ecstasy
such as diviners use. Many persons prophesy 'in enthusiastic and
divinely seized moments, awake, in a sense, yet not in their
habitual state of consciousness'. Music of certain kinds, the water
of certain holy wells, the vapours of Branchidae, produce such
ecstatic effects. Some 'take darkness for an ally' (dark seances),
some see visions in water, others on a wall, others in sun or moon.
As an example of ancient visions in water, we may take one from the
life of Isidorus, by Damascius. Isidorus, and his biographer, were
acquainted with women who beheld in pure water in a glass vessel the
phantasms of future events. {70a} This form of divination is still
practised, though crystal balls are more commonly used than
decanters of water. Ancient and modern superstition as in the
familiar case of Dr. Dee, attributes the phantasms to spiritual
agency

Is a divine being _compelled_, Porphyry asks, to aid in these
efforts, or is it only the soul of the seer, as some believe, which
hallucinates itself, by the aid of points de repere? {70b} Or is
there a blending of the soul's operations with the divine
inspiration? Or are demons in some way evolved out of something
abstracted from living bodies? He seems to hint at some such theory
of 'exuvious fumes' from the 'circle,' as more recent inquirers have
imagined. The young appear to be peculiarly sensitive to vapours,
invocations, and other magical methods, which affect the human
constitution, and the young are usually engaged as seers. Hence
visions are probably subjective. Ecstasy, madness, fasts and vigils
seem particularly favourable to divination. Or are there certain
mystic correspondences in the nature of things, which may be
detected? Thus stones and herbs are used in evocations; 'sacred
bonds' are tied (as in the Eskimo hypnotism and in Australia);
closed doors are opened, the heavenly bodies are observed. Some
suppose that there is a race of false and counterfeiting spirits,
which, indeed, Iamblichus admits. These act the parts of gods,
demons, and souls of the dead. Again, the conjurer plays on our
expectant attention. Omitting some remarks no longer appropriate,
Porphyry asks what use there is in chanting barbarous and
meaningless words. He is inclined to think that the demon, or
guardian spirit of each man is only part of his soul,--in fact his
'subliminal self'. And generally, he suspects that the whole affair
is 'a mere imaginative deceit, played off on itself by the soul'.

Replying as to divination, Iamblichus says that the right kind of
dreams are between sleeping and waking when we hear a voice giving
directions. A modern example occurred in the trial of the Assynt
murderer in 1831. One Kenneth Fraser, called 'the dreamer,' said in
the trial: 'I was at home when I had the dream. It was said to me
in my sleep by a voice like a man's voice, that the pack (of the
murdered pedlar) was lying in sight of the place. I got a sight of
the place just as if I had been awake. I never saw the place
before, but the voice said in Gaelic, "the pack of the merchant is
lying in a cairn of stones, in a hollow near to their house". The
voice did not name Macleod's house.' The pack was, however, not
found there, but in a place hard by, which Kenneth had _not_ seen in
his dream. Oddly enough, the murderer had originally hidden the
pack, or some of its contents, in a cairn of stones, but later
removed it. In the 'willing game,' as played by Mr. Stuart
Cumberland, the seeker usually goes first to the place where the
hider had thought of concealing the object, though later he changed
his mind. Macleod was hanged, he confessed his guilt. {71}

Iamblichus believed in dreams of this kind, and in voices heard by
men wide awake, as in the case of Joan of Arc. When an invisible
spirit is present, he makes a whirring noise, like the Cock Lane
Ghost! {72} Lights also are exhibited; the medium then by some
mystic sense knows what the spirit means. The soul has two lives,
one animal, one intellectual; in sleep the latter is more free, and
more clairvoyant. In trance, or somnambulism, many cannot feel pain
even if they are burned, the god within does not let fire harm them
(iii. 4). This, of course, suggests Home's experiments in handling
live coals, as Mr. Crookes and Lord Crawford describe them. Compare
the Berserk 'coal-biters' in the saga of Egil, and the Huron coal-
biter in the preceding essay. 'They do not then live an animal
life.' Sword points do not hurt them. Their actions are no longer
human. 'Inaccessible places are accessible to them, when thus borne
by the gods; and they tread on fire unharmed; they walk across
rivers. . . . They are not themselves, they live a diviner life,
with which they are inspired, and by which they are possessed.'
Some are convulsed in one way, some in another, some are still.
Harmonies are heard (as in Home's case and that of Mr. Stainton
Moses). Their bodies are elongated (like Home's), or broadened, or
float in mid-air, as in a hundred tales of mediums and saints.
Sometimes the medium sees a light when the spirit takes possession
of him, sometimes all present see it (iii. 6). Thus Wodrow says (as
we have already shown), that Mrs. Carlyle's ancestor, Mr. Welsh,
shone in a light as he meditated; and Patrick Walker tells the same
tale about two of the fanatics called 'Sweet Singers'.

From all this it follows, Iamblichus holds, that spiritual
possession is a genuine objective fact and that the mediums act
under real spiritual control. Omitting local oracles, and practices
apparently analogous to the use of planchette, Iamblichus regards
the heavenly _light_ as the great source of and evidence for the
_external_ and spiritual character and cause of divination (iii.
14). Iamblichus entirely rejects all Porphyry's psychological
theories of hallucinations, of the demon or 'genius' as 'subliminal
self,' and asserts the actual, objective, sensible action of
spirits, divine or daemonic. What effect Iamblichus produced on the
inquiring Porphyry is uncertain. In his De Abstinentia (ii. 39) he
gives in to the notion of deceitful spirits.

In addition to the evidence of Porphyry, Iamblichus, Eusebius and
other authors of the fourth century, some recently published papyri
of the same period throw a little light on the late Greek
thaumaturgy. {73} Thus Papyrus cxxv. verso (about the fifth
century) 'contains elaborate instructions for a magical process, the
effect of which is to evoke a goddess, to transform her into the
appearance of an old woman, and to bind to her the service of the
person using the spell. . . .'

Obviously we would much prefer a spell for turning an old woman into
a goddess. The document is headed, [Greek], 'the old serving woman
of Apollonius of Tyana,' and it ends, [Grrek], 'it is proved by
practice'.

You take the head of an ibis, and write certain characters on it in
the blood of a black ram, and go to a cross-road, or the sea-shore,
or a river-bank at midnight: there you recite gibberish and then
see a pretty lady riding a donkey, and she will put off her beauty
like a mask and assume the appearance of old age, and will promise
to obey you: and so forth.

Here is a 'constraint put on a god' as Porphyry complains. Reginald
Scot, in his Discovery of Witchcraft (1584), has a very similar
spell for alluring an airy sylph, and making her serve and be the
mistress of the wizard! There is another papyrus (xlvi.), of the
fourth century, with directions for divination by aid of a boy
looking into a bowl, says the editor (p. 64). There is a long
invocation full of 'barbarous words,' like the mediaeval nonsense
rhymes used in magic. There is a dubious reading, [Grrek] or
[Greek]; it is suggested that the boy is put into a pit, as it seems
was occasionally done. {74} It is clear that a spirit is supposed
to show the boy his visions. A spell follows for summoning a
visible deity. Then we have a recipe for making a ring which will
enable the owner to know the thoughts of men. The god is threatened
if he does not serve the magicians. All manner of fumigations,
plants, and stones are used in these idiotic ceremonies, and to
these Porphyry refers. The papyri do not illustrate the phenomena
described by Iamblichus, such as the 'light,' levitation, music of
unknown origin, the resistance of the medium to fire and sword
points, and all the rest of his list of prodigies. Iamblichus
probably looked down on the believers in these spells written on
papyri with extreme disdain. They are only interesting as folklore,
like the rhymes of incantation preserved in Reginald Scot's
Discovery of Witchcraft.

There were other analogies between modern, ancient, and savage
spiritualism. The medium was swathed, or tied up, like the
Davenport Brothers, like Eskimo and Australian conjurers, like the
Highland seer in the bull's hide. {75a} The medium was understood
to be a mere instrument like a flute, through which the 'control,'
the god or spirit, spoke. {75b} This is still the spiritualistic
explanation of automatic speech. Eusebius goes so far as to believe
that 'earthbound spirits' do speak through the medium, but a much
simpler theory is obvious. {75c} Indeed where automatic
performances of any sort--by writing, by the kind of 'Ouija' or
table pointing to letters, as described by Ammianus Marcellinus
(xxix. 29)--or by speaking, are concerned, we have the aid of
psychology, and the theory of 'unconscious cerebration' to help us.
But when we are told the old tales of whirring noises, of
'bilocation,' of 'levitation,' of a mystic light, we are in contact
with more difficult questions.

In brief, the problem of spiritualism in general presents itself to
us thus: in ancient, modern, and savage thaumaturgy there are
certain automatic phenomena. The conjurer, priest, or medium acts,
or pretends to act, in various ways beyond his normal consciousness.
Savages, ancient mystics, and spiritualists ascribe his automatic
behaviour to the control of spirits, gods or demons. No such
hypothesis is needed.

On the other side, however, are phenomena not automatic, 'spiritual'
lights, and sounds; interferences with natural laws, as when bodies
are lifted in the air, or are elongated, when fire does not fasten
on them, and so on. These phenomena, in ancient times, followed on
the performance of certain mystic rites. They are now said to occur
without the aid of any such rites. Gods and spirits are said to
cause them, but they are only attained in the presence of certain
exceptional persons, mediums, saints, priests, conjurers. Clearly
then, not the rites, but the peculiar constitution of these
individuals is the cause (setting imposture aside) of the phenomena,
of the hallucinations, of the impressions, or whatever they are to
be styled. That is to say, witnesses, in other matters credible,
aver that they receive these peculiar impressions in the society of
certain persons and not in that of people in general. Now these
impressions are, everywhere, in every age and stage of civilisation,
essentially identical. Is it stretching probability almost beyond
what it will bear, to allege that all the phenomena, in the Arctic
circle as in Australia, in ancient Alexandria as in modern London,
are, always, the result of an imposture modelled on savage ideas of
the supernatural?

If so we are reduced to the choice between actual objective facts of
unknown origin (frequently counterfeited of course), and the
theory,--which really comes to much the same thing,--of identical
and collective hallucinations in given conditions. On either
hypothesis the topic is certainly not without interest for the
student of human nature. Even if we could, at most, establish the
fact that people like Iamblichus, Mr. Crookes, Lord Crawford,
Jesuits in Canada, professional conjurers in Zululand, Spaniards in
early Peru, Australian blacks, Maoris, Eskimo, cardinals,
ambassadors, are similarly hallucinated, as they declare, in the
presence of priests, diviners, Home, Zulu magicians, Biraarks,
Jossakeeds, angakut, tohungas, and saints, and Mr. Stainton Moses,
still the identity of the false impressions is a topic for
psychological study. Or, if we disbelieve this cloud of witnesses,
if they voluntarily fabled, we ask, why do they all fable in exactly
the same fashion? Even setting aside the animistic hypothesis, the
subject is full of curious neglected problems.

Once more, if we admit the theory of intentional imposture by
saints, angakut, Zulu medicine-men, mediums, and the rest, we must
grant that a trick which takes in a professional conjurer, like Mr.
Kellar, is a trick well worthy of examination. How did his Zulu
learn the method of Home, of the Egyptian diviners, of St. Joseph of
Cupertino? {78a} Each solution has its difficulties, while
practical investigation is rarely possible. We have no Home with
us, at present, and the opportunity of studying his effects
carefully was neglected. It was equally desirable to study them
whether he caused collective hallucinations, or whether his effects
were merely those of ordinary, though skilful, conjuring. For Home,
whatever his moral character may have been, was a remarkable
survival of a class of men familiar to the mystic Iamblichus, to the
savage races of the past and present, and (as far as his marvels
went) to the biographers of the saints. 'I am one of those,' says
the Zulu medicine-man, in Mr. Rider Haggard's Allan's Wife, 'who can
make men see what they do not see.' The class of persons who are
said to have possessed this power appear, now and then, in all human
history, and have at least bequeathed to us a puzzle in
anthropology. This problem has recently been presented, in what may
be called an acute form, by the publication of the 'Experiences of
Mr. Stainton Moses'. {78b} Mr. Moses was a clergyman and
schoolmaster; in both capacities he appears to have been
industrious, conscientious, and honourable. He was not devoid of
literature, and had contributed, it is said, to periodicals as
remote from mysticism as Punch, and the Saturday Review. He was a
sportsman, at least he was a disciple of our father, Izaak Walton.
'Most anglers are quiet men, and followers of peace, so simply wise
as not to sell their consciences to buy riches, and with them
vexation, and a fear to die,' says Izaak.

In early middle age, about 1874, Mr. Moses began to read such books
as Dale Owen's, and to sit 'attentive of his trembling' table, by
way of experiment. He soon found that tables bounded in his
presence, untouched. Then he developed into a regular 'medium'.
Inanimate objects came to him through stone walls. Scent of all
sorts, and, as in the case of St. Joseph of Cupertino, of an unknown
sort, was scattered on people in his company. He floated in the
air. He wrote 'automatically'. Knocks resounded in his
neighbourhood, in the open air. 'Lights' of all varieties hovered
in his vicinity. He spoke 'automatically,' being the mouth-piece of
a 'spirit,' and very dull were the spirit's sermons. After a
struggle he believed in 'spirits,' who twanged musical notes out in
his presence. He became editor of a journal named Light; he joined
the Psychical Society, but left it when the society pushed
materialism so far as to demonstrate that certain professional
mediums were convicted swindlers.

The evidence for his marvels is the testimony of a family, perfectly
respectable, named Speer, and of a few other witnesses whom nobody
can suspect of conscious inaccuracy. There remain, as documents,
his books, his MS. notes, and other corroborative notes kept by his
friend Dr. Speer, a sceptic, and other observers.

It is admitted that Mr. Moses was not a cautious logician, his
inferences are problematic, his generalisations hasty. As to the
facts, it is equally difficult to believe in them, and to believe
that Mr. Moses was a conscious impostor, and his friends easy dupes.
He cannot have been an impostor _unconsciously_ in a hypnotic state,
in a 'trance,' because his effects could not have been improvised.
If they were done by jugglery, they required elaborate preparations
of all sorts, which must have been made in full ordinary
consciousness. If we fall back on collective hallucination, then
that hallucination is something of world-wide diffusion, ancient and
continuous, for the effects are those attributed by Iamblichus to
his mystics, by the Church to her saints, by witnesses to the
'possessed,' by savages to medicine-men, and by Mr. Crookes and Lord
Crawford to D. D. Home. Of course we may be told that all lookers-
on, from Eskimo to Neoplatonists and men of science, know what to
expect, and are hallucinated by their own expectant attention. But,
when they expect nothing, and are disappointed by having to witness
prodigies, the same old prodigies, what is the explanation?

The following tabular statement, altered from that given by Mr.
Myers in his publication of Mr. Moses and Dr. Speer's MS. notes,
will show the historical identity of the phenomena. Mr. Moses was
the agent in all; those exhibited by other ancient and modern agents
are marked with a cross.

Rev. D. D. Iamblichus St. Eskimo Australian
'Spontaneous

Stainton Home Joseph of
(Glanvil,

Moses Cupertino
Bovet,

Telfair,

Kirk)

1. X X ?
X
2. X X X X
X
3. X X X X X X
X
4. X
X
5. X
6. X X
7. X X
8. X X X
X
9. X X X
10. X X X X
X
11. X X
12. X X
X

1. 'Intelligent Raps.'
2. 'Movement of objects untouched.'
3. 'Levitation' (floating in air of seer).
4. Disappearance and Reappearance of objects. The 'object' being
the medium in some cases.
5. Passage of Matter through Matter.
6. Direct writing. That is, not by any detected human agency.
7. Sounds made on instruments supernormally.
8. Direct sounds. That is, by no detected human agency.
9. Scents.
10. Lights.
11. Objects 'materialised.'
12. Hands materialised, touched or seen.

There are here twelve miracles! Home and Iamblichus add to Mr.
Moses's repertoire the alteration of the medium's height or bulk.
This feat still leaves Mr. Moses 'one up,' as regards Home, in whose
presence objects did not disappear, nor did they pass through stone
walls. The questions are, to account for the continuity of
collective hallucinations, if we accept that hypothesis, and to
explain the procedure of Mr. Moses, if he were an impostor. He did
not exhibit before more than seven or eight private friends, and he
gained neither money nor dazzling social success by his
performances.

This page in the chapter of 'demoniac affections' is thus still in
the state of ebauche. Mr. Moses believed his experiences to be
'demoniac affections,' in the Neoplatonic sense. Could his
phenomena have been investigated by the Archbishop of Canterbury,
Dr. Parker, Messrs. Maskelyne and Cook, and Professor Huxley, the
public mind might have arrived at some conclusion on the subject.
But Mr. Moses's chief spirit, known in society as 'Imperator,'
declined to let strangers look on. He testified his indignation in
a manner so bruyant, he so banged on tables, that Mr. Moses and his
friends thought it wiser to avoid an altercation.

This exclusiveness of 'Imperator' certainly donne furieusement a
penser. If spirits are spirits they may just as well take it for
understood that performances 'done in a corner' are of no scientific
value. But we are still at a loss for a 'round' and satisfactory
hypothesis which will colligate all the alleged facts, and explain
their historical continuity. We merely state that continuity as a
historical fact. Marvels of savages, Neoplatonists, saints of
Church or Covenant, 'spontaneous' phenomena, Mediumistic phenomena,
all hang together in some ways. Of this the Church has her own
explanation.

COMPARATIVE PSYCHICAL RESEARCH

A Party at Ragley Castle. The Miraculous Conformist. The
Restoration and Scepticism. Experimental Proof of Spiritual
Existence. Glanvill. Boyle. More. The Gentleman's Butler.
'Levitation.' Witchcraft. Movements of Objects. The Drummer of
Tedworth. Haunted Houses. Rerrick. Glenluce. Ghosts. 'Spectral
Evidence.' Continuity and Uniformity of Stories. St. Joseph of
Cupertino, his Flights. Modern Instances. Theory of Induced
Hallucination. Ibn Batuta. Animated Furniture. From China to
Peru. Rapping Spirit at Lyons. The Imposture at Orleans. The
Stockwell Mystery. The Demon of Spraiton. Modern Instances. The
Wesleys. Theory of Imposture. Conclusion.

In the month of February, 1665, there was assembled at Ragley Castle
as curious a party as ever met in an English country-house. The
hostess was the Lady Conway, a woman of remarkable talent and
character, but wholly devoted to mystical speculations. In the end,
unrestrained by the arguments of her clerical allies, she joined the
Society of Friends, by the world called Quakers. Lady Conway at the
time when her guests gathered at Ragley, as through all her later
life, was suffering from violent chronic headache. The party at
Ragley was invited to meet her latest medical attendant, an
unlicensed practitioner, Mr. Valentine Greatrakes, or Greatorex; his
name is spelled in a variety of ways. Mr. Greatrakes was called
'The Irish Stroker' and 'The Miraculous Conformist' by his admirers,
for, while it was admitted that Dissenters might frequently possess,
or might claim, powers of miracle, the gift, or the pretension, was
rare among members of the Established Church. The person of Mr.
Greatrakes, if we may believe Dr. Henry Stubbe, physician at
Stratford-on-Avon, diffused a pleasing fragrance as of violets.
Lord Herbert of Cherbury, it will be remembered, tells the same
story about himself in his memoirs. Mr. Greatrakes 'is a man of
graceful personage and presence, and if my phantasy betrayed not my
judgement,' says Dr. Stubbe, 'I observed in his eyes and meene a
vivacitie and spritelinesse that is nothing common'.

This Miraculous Conformist was the younger son of an Irish squire,
and a person of some property. After the Restoration--_and not
before_--Greatrakes felt 'a strong and powerful impulse in him to
essay' the art of healing by touching, or stroking. He resisted the
impulse, till one of his hands having become 'dead' or numb, he
healed it by the strokes of the other hand. From that moment
Greatrakes practised, and became celebrated; he cured some diseased
persons, failed wholly with others, and had partial and temporary
success with a third class. The descriptions given by Stubbe, in
his letter to the celebrated Robert Boyle, and by Foxcroft, Fellow
of King's College, Cambridge, leave little doubt that 'The Irish
Stroker' was most successful with hypochondriacal and hysterical
patients. He used to chase the disease up and down their bodies, if
it did not 'fly out through the interstices of his fingers,' and if
he could drive it into an outlying part, and then forth into the
wide world, the patient recovered. So Dr. Stubbe reports the method
of Greatrakes. {86} He was brought over from Ireland, at a charge
of about 155 pounds, to cure Lady Conway's headaches. In this it is
confessed that he entirely failed; though he wrought a few miracles
of healing among rural invalids. To meet this fragrant and
miraculous Conformist, Lady Conway invited men worthy of the
privilege, such as the Rev. Joseph Glanvill, F.R.S., the author of
Sadducismus Triumphatus, his friend Dr. Henry More, the Cambridge
Platonist, and other persons interested in mystical studies. Thus
at Ragley there was convened the nucleus of an unofficial but active
Society for Psychical Research, as that study existed in the
seventeenth century.

The object of this chapter is to compare the motives, methods, and
results of Lady Conway's circle, with those of the modern Society
for Psychical Research. Both have investigated the reports of
abnormal phenomena. Both have collected and published narratives of
eye-witnesses. The moderns, however, are much more strict on points
of evidence than their predecessors. They are not content to watch,
but they introduce 'tests,' generally with the most disenchanting
results. The old researchers were animated by the desire to
establish the tottering faith of the Restoration, which was
endangered by the reaction against Puritanism. Among the fruits of
Puritanism, and of that frenzied state of mind which accompanied the
Civil War, was a furious persecution of 'witches'. In a rare little
book, Select Cases of Conscience, touching Witches and Witchcraft,
by John Gaule, 'preacher of the Word at Great Staughton in the
county of Huntington' (London, 1646), we find the author not denying
the existence of witchcraft, but pleading for calm, learned and
judicial investigation. To do this was to take his life in his
hand, for Matthew Hopkins, a fanatical miscreant, was ruling in a
Reign of Terror through the country. The clergy of the Church of
England, as Hutchinson proves in his Treatise of Witchcraft (second
edition, London, 1720), had been comparatively cautious in their
treatment of the subject. Their record is far from clean, but they
had exposed some impostures, chiefly, it is fair to say, where
Nonconformists, or Catholics, had detected the witch. With the
Restoration the general laxity went so far as to scoff at
witchcraft, to deny its existence, and even, in the works of
Wagstaff and Webster, to minimise the leading case of the Witch of
Endor. Against the 'drollery of Sadducism,' the Psychical
Researchers within the English Church, like Glanvill and Henry More,
or beyond its pale, like Richard Baxter and many Scotch divines,
defended witchcraft and apparitions as outworks of faith in general.
The modern Psychical Society, whatever the predisposition of some of
its members may be, explores abnormal phenomena, not in the
interests of faith, but of knowledge. Again, the old inquirers were
dominated by a belief in the devil. They saw witchcraft and
demoniacal possession, where the moderns see hysterics and hypnotic
conditions.

For us the topic is rather akin to mythology, and 'folk-psychology,'
as the Germans call it. We are interested, as will be shown, in a
most curious question of evidence, and the value of evidence. It
will again appear that the phenomena reported by Glanvill, More,
Sinclair, Kirk, Telfair, Bovet, are identical with those examined by
Messrs. Gurney, Myers, Kellar (the American professional conjurer),
and many others. The differences, though interesting, are rather
temporary and accidental than essential.

A few moments of attention to the table talk of the party assembled
at Ragley will enable us to understand the aims, the methods, and
the ideas of the old informal society. By a lucky accident,
fragments of the conversation may be collected from Glanvill's
Sadducismus Triumphatus, {88a} and from the correspondence of
Glanvill, Henry More, and Robert Boyle. Mr. Boyle, among more
tangible researches, devoted himself to collecting anecdotes, about
the second sight. These manuscripts are not published in the six
huge quarto volumes of Boyle's works; on the other hand, we possess
Lord Tarbet's answer to his questions. {88b} Boyle, as his letters
show, was a rather chary believer in witchcraft and possession. He
referred Glanvill to his kinsman, Lord Orrery, who had enjoyed an
experience not very familiar; he had seen a gentleman's butler float
in the air!

Now, by a great piece of good fortune, Mr. Greatrakes the fragrant
and miraculous, had also been an eye-witness of this miracle, and
was able to give Lady Conway and her guests the fullest information.
As commonly happened in the seventeenth century, though not in ours,
the marvel of the butler was mixed up with ordinary folklore. In
the records and researches of the existing Society for Psychical
Research, folklore and fairies hold no place. The Conformist,
however, had this tale to tell: the butler of a gentleman unnamed,
who lived near Lord Orrery's seat in Ireland, fell in, one day, with
the good people, or fairies, sitting at a feast. The fairies,
therefore, endeavoured to spirit him away, as later they carried off
Mr. Kirk, minister of Aberfoyle, in 1692. Lord Orrery, most kindly,
gave the butler the security of his castle, where the poor man was
kept, 'under police protection,' and watched, in a large room.
Among the spectators were Mr, Greatrakes himself, and two bishops,
one of whom may have been Jeremy Taylor, an active member of the
society. Late in the afternoon, the butler was 'perceived to rise
from the ground, whereupon Mr. Greatrix and another lusty man clapt
their hands over his shoulders, one of them before, and the other
behind, and weighed him down with all their strength, but he was
forcibly taken up from them; for a considerable time he was carried
in the air to and fro, over their heads, several of the company
still running under him, to prevent him receiving hurt if he should
fall;' so says Glanvill. Faithorne illustrates this pleasing
circumstance by a picture of the company standing out, ready to
'field the butler, whose features display great concern.' {90a}

Now we know that Mr. Greatrakes told this anecdote, at Ragley, first
to Mrs. Foxcroft, and then to the company at dinner. Mr. Alfred
Wallace, F.R.S., adduces Lord Orrery and Mr. Greatrakes as witnesses
of this event in private life. Mr. Wallace, however, forgets to
tell the world that the fairies, or good people, were, or were
believed to be, the agents. {90b} Fairies still cause levitation in
the Highlands. Campbell of Islay knew a doctor, one of whose
patients had in vain tried to hold down a friend who was seized and
carried to a distance of two miles by the sluagh, the fairy folk.
{90c} Glanvill admits that Lord Orrery assured Lady Roydon, one of
the party at Ragley, that the Irish tale was true: Henry More had
it direct from Mr. Greatrakes.

Here is a palpably absurd legend, but the reader is requested to
observe that the phenomenon is said to have occurred in all ages and
countries. We can adduce the testimony of modern Australian blacks,
of Greek philosophers, of Peruvians just after the conquest by
Pizarro, of the authors of Lives of the Saints, of learned New
England divines, of living observers in England, India, and America.
The phenomenon is technically styled 'levitation,' and in England
was regarded as a proof either of witchcraft or of 'possession'; in
Italy was a note of sanctity; in modern times is a peculiarity of
'mediumship'; in Australia is a token of magical power; in Zululand
of skill in the black art; and, in Ireland and the West Highlands,
was attributed to the guile of the fairies. Here are four or five
distinct hypotheses. Part of our business, therefore, is to examine
and compare the forms of a fable current in many lands, and reported
to the circle at Ragley by the Miraculous Conformist.

Mr. Greatrakes did not entertain Lady Conway and her friends with
this marvel alone. He had been present at a trial for witchcraft,
in Cork, on September 11, 1661. In this affair evidence was led to
prove a story as common as that of 'levitation'--namely, the
mysterious throwing or falling of stones in a haunted house, or
around the person of a patient bewitched. Cardan is expansive about
this manifestation. The patient was Mary Longdon, the witch was
Florence Newton of Youghal. Glanvill prints the trial from a
document which he regards as official, but he did not take the
trouble to trace Mr. Aston, the recorder or clerk (as Glanvill
surmises), who signed every page of the manuscript. Mr. Alfred
Wallace quotes the tale, without citing his authority. The
witnesses for the falling of stones round the bewitched girl were
the maid herself, and her master, John Pyne, who deposed that she
was 'much troubled with little stones that were thrown at her
wherever she went, and that, after they had hit her, would fall on
the ground, and then vanish, so that none of them could be found'.
This peculiarity beset Mr. Stainton Moses, when he was fishing, and
must have 'put down' the trout. Objects in the maid's presence,
such as Bibles, would 'fly from her,' and she was bewitched, and
carried off into odd places, like the butler at Lord Orrery's.
Nicholas Pyne gave identical evidence. At Ragley, Mr. Greatrakes
declared that he was present at the trial, and that an awl would not
penetrate the stool on which the unlucky enchantress was made to
stand: a clear proof of guilt.

Here, then, we have the second phenomenon which interested the
circle at Ragley; the flying about of stones, of Bibles, and other
movements of bodies. Though the whole affair may be called
hysterical imposture by Mary Longdon (who vomited pins, and so
forth, as was customary), we shall presently trace the reports of
similar events, among people of widely remote ages and countries,
'from China to Peru'.

Among the guests at Ragley, as we said, was Dr. Joseph Glanvill, who
could also tell strange tales at first hand, and from his own
experience. He had investigated the case of the disturbances in Mr.
Mompesson's house at Tedworth, which began in March, 1661. These
events, so famous among our ancestors, were precisely identical with
what is reported by modern newspapers, when there is a 'medium' in a
family. The troubles began with rappings on the walls of the house,
and on a drum taken by Mr. Mompesson from a vagrant musician. This
man seems to have been as much vexed as Parolles by the loss of his
drum, and the Psychical Society at Ragley believed him to be a
magician, who had bewitched the house of his oppressor. While Mrs.
Mompesson was adding an infant to her family the noise ceased, or
nearly ceased, just as, at Epworth, in the house of the Rev. Samuel
Wesley, it never vexed Mrs. Wesley at her devotions. Later, at
Tedworth, 'it followed and vexed the younger children, beating their
bedsteads with that violence, that all present expected when they
would fall in pieces'. . . . It would lift the children up in their
beds. Objects were moved: lights flitted around, and the Rev.
Joseph Glanvill could assure Lady Conway that he had been a witness
of some of these occurrences. He saw the 'little modest girls in
the bed, between seven and eight years old, as I guessed'. He saw
their hands outside the bed-clothes, and heard the scratchings above
their heads, and felt 'the room and windows shake very sensibly'.
When he tapped or scratched a certain number of times, the noise
answered, and stopped at the same number. Many more things of this
kind Glanvill tells. He denies the truth of a report that an
imposture was discovered, but admits that when Charles II. sent
gentlemen to stay in the house, nothing unusual occurred. But these
researchers stayed only for a single night. He denied that any
normal cause of the trouble was ever discovered. Glanvill told
similar tales about a house at Welton, near Daventry, in 1658.
Stones were thrown, and all the furniture joined in an irregular
corroboree. Too late for Lady Conway's party was the similar
disturbance at Gast's house of Little Burton June, 1677. Here the
careful student will note that 'they saw a hand holding a hammer,
which kept on knocking'. This _hand_ is as familiar to the research
of the seventeenth as to that of the nineteenth century. We find it
again in the celebrated Scotch cases of Rerrick (1695), and of
Glenluce, while 'the Rev. James Sharp' (later Archbishop of St.
Andrews), vouched for it, in 1659, in a tale told by him to
Lauderdale, and by Lauderdale to the Rev. Richard Baxter. {94}
Glanvill also contributes a narrative of the very same description
about the haunting of Mr. Paschal's house in Soper Lane, London:
the evidence is that of Mr. Andrew Paschal, Fellow of Queen's
College, Cambridge. In this case the trouble began with the arrival
and coincided with the stay of a gentlewoman, unnamed, 'who seemed
to be principally concerned'. As a rule, in these legends, it is
easy to find out who the 'medium' was. The phenomena here were
accompanied by 'a cold blast or puff of wind,' which blew on the
hand of the Fellow of Queen's College, just as it has often blown,
in similar circumstances, on the hands of Mr. Crookes, and of other
modern amateurs. It would be tedious to analyse all Glanvill's
tales of rappings, and of volatile furniture. We shall see that,
before his time, as after it, precisely similar narratives attracted
the notice of the curious. Glanvill generally tries to get his
stories at first hand and signed by eye-witnesses.

Lady Conway was not behind her guests in personal experiences. Her
ladyship was concerned with a good old-fashioned ghost. We say
'old-fashioned' of set purpose, because while modern tales of
'levitation' and flighty furniture, of flying stones, of rappings,
of spectral hands, of cold psychical winds, are exactly like the
tales of old, a change, an observed change, has come over the ghost
of the nineteenth century. Readers of the Proceedings of the
Psychical Society will see that the modern ghost is a purposeless
creature. He appears nobody knows why; he has no message to
deliver, no secret crime to reveal, no appointment to keep, no
treasure to disclose, no commissions to be executed, and, as an
almost invariable rule, he does not speak, even if you speak to him.
The recent inquirers, notably Mr. Myers, remark with some severity
on this vague and meaningless conduct of apparitions, and draw
speculative conclusions to the effect that the ghost, as the Scotch
say, 'is not all there'. But the ghosts of the seventeenth century
were positively garrulous. One remarkable specimen indeed behaved,
at Valogne, more like a ghost of our time than of his own. {95}
But, as a common rule, the ghosts in whom Lady Conway's friends were
interested had a purpose: some revealed the spot where a skeleton
lay; some urged the payment of a debt, or the performance of a
neglected duty. One modern spectre, reported by Mr. Myers, wandered
disconsolate till a debt of three shillings and tenpence was
defrayed. {96} This is, perhaps, the lowest figure cited as a
pretext for appearing. The ghost vouched for by Lady Conway was
disturbed about a larger sum, twenty-eight shillings. She, an
elderly woman, persecuted by her visits David Hunter, 'neat-herd at
the house of the Bishop of Down and Connor, at Portmore, in 1663'.
Mr. Hunter did not even know the ghost when she was alive; but she
made herself so much at home in his dwelling that 'his little dog
would follow her as well as his master'. The ghost, however, was
invisible to Mrs. Hunter. When Hunter had at last executed her
commission, she asked him to lift her up in his arms. She was not
substantial like fair Katie King, when embraced by Mr. Crookes, but
'felt just like a bag of feathers; so she vanished, and he heard
most delicate music as she went off over his head'. Lady Conway
cross-examined Hunter on the spot, and expressed her belief in his
narrative in a letter, dated Lisburn, April 29, 1663. It is true
that contemporary sceptics attributed the phenomena to potheen, but,
as Lady Conway asks, how could potheen tell Hunter about the ghost's
debt, and reveal that the money to discharge it was hidden under her
hearthstone?

The scope of the Ragley inquiries may now be understood. It must
not be forgotten that witchcraft was a topic of deep interest to
these students. They solemnly quote the records of trials in which
it is perfectly evident that girls and boys, either in a spirit of
wicked mischief, or suffering from hysterical illusions, make
grotesque charges against poor old women. The witches always prick,
pinch, and torment their victims, being present to them, though
invisible to the bystanders. This was called 'spectral evidence';
and the Mathers, during the fanatical outbreaks at Salem, admit that
this 'spectral evidence,' unsupported, is of no legal value.
Indeed, taken literally, Cotton Mather's cautions on the subject of
evidence may almost be called sane and sensible. But the Protestant
inquisitors always discovered evidence confirmatory. For example, a
girl is screaming out against an invisible witch; a man, to please
her, makes a snatch at the empty air where she points, and finds in
his hand a fragment of stuff, which again is proved to be torn from
the witch's dress. It is easy to see how this trick could be
played. Again, a possessed girl cries that a witch is tormenting
her with an iron spindle, grasps at the spindle (visible only to
her), and, lo, it is in her hand, and is the property of the witch.
Here is proof positive! Again, a girl at Stoke Trister, in
Somerset, is bewitched by Elizabeth Style, of Bayford, widow. The
rector of the parish, the Rev. William Parsons, deposes that the
girl, in a fit, pointed to different parts of her body, 'and where
she pointed, he perceived a red spot to arise, with a small black in
the midst of it, like a small thorn'; and other evidence was given
to the same effect. The phenomenon is akin to many which, according
to medical and scientific testimony, occur to patients in the
hypnotic state. The so-called stigmata of Louise Lateau, and of the
shepherd boy put up by the Archbishop of Reims as a substitute for
Joan of Arc, are cases in point. But Glanvill, who quotes the
record of the trial (January, 1664), holds that witchcraft is proved
by the coincidence of the witch's confession that she, the devil,
and others made an image of the girl and pierced it with thorns!
The confession is a piece of pure folklore: poor old Elizabeth
Style merely copies the statements of French and Scotch witches.
The devil appeared as a handsome man, and as a black dog! Glanvill
denies that she was tortured, or 'watched'--that is, kept awake till
her brain reeled. But his own account makes it plain that she was
'watched' after her confession at least, when the devil, under the
form of a butterfly, appeared in her cell.

This rampant and mischievous nonsense was dear to the psychical
inquirers of the Restoration; it was circulated by Glanvill, a
Fellow of the Royal Society; by Henry More; by Sinclair, a professor
in the University of Glasgow; by Richard Baxter, that glory of
Nonconformity, who revels in the burning of an 'old reading parson'--
that is, a clergyman who read the Homilies, under the Commonwealth.
This unlucky old parson was tortured into confession by being
'walked' and 'watched'--that is, kept from sleep till he was
delirious. Archbishop Spottiswoode treated Father Ogilvie, S. J.,
in the same abominable manner, till delirium supervened. Church,
Kirk, and Dissent have no right to throw the first stone at each
other.

Taking levitation, haunting, disturbances and apparitions, and
leaving 'telepathy' or second sight out of the list for the present,
he who compares psychical research in the seventeenth and nineteenth
centuries finds himself confronted by the problem which everywhere
meets the student of institutions and of mythology. The
anthropologist knows that, if he takes up a new book of travels in
the remotest lands, he will find mention of strange customs
perfectly familiar to him in other parts of the ancient and modern
world. The mythologist would be surprised if he encountered in
Papua or Central Africa, or Sakhalin, a perfectly _new_ myth. These
uniformities of myth and custom are explained by the identical
workings of the uncivilised intelligence on the same materials, and,
in some cases, by borrowing, transmission, imitation.

Now, some features in witchcraft admit of this explanation.
Highland crofters, even now, perforate the image of an enemy with
pins; broken bottle-ends or sharp stones are put, in Russia and in
Australia, in the footprints of a foe, for the purpose of laming
him; and there are dozens of such practices, all founded on the
theory of sympathy. Like affects like. What harms the effigy hurts
the person whose effigy is burned or pricked. All this is perfectly
intelligible. But, when we find savage 'birraarks' in Australia,
fakirs in India, saints in mediaeval Europe, a gentleman's butler in
Ireland, boys in Somerset and Midlothian, a young warrior in
Zululand, Miss Nancy Wesley at Epworth in 1716, and Mr. Daniel Home
in London in 1856-70, all triumphing over the law of gravitation,
all floating in the air, how are we to explain the uniformity of
stories palpably ridiculous?

The evidence, it must be observed, is not merely that of savages, or
of persons as uneducated and as superstitious as savages. The
Australian birraark, who flies away up the tree, we may leave out of
account. The saints, St. Francis and St. Theresa, are more
puzzling, but miracles were expected from saints. {100a} The
levitated boy was attested to in a court of justice, and is designed
by Faithorne in an illustration of Glanvill's book. He flew over a
garden! But witnesses in such trials were fanciful people. Lord
Orrery and Mr. Greatrakes may have seen the butler float in the air--
after dinner. The exploits of the Indian fakirs almost, or quite,
overcome the scepticism of Mr. Max Muller, in his Gifford Lectures
on Psychological Religion. Living and honourable white men aver
that they have seen the feat, examined the performers, and found no
explanation; no wires, no trace of imposture. (The writer is
acquainted with a well vouched for case, the witness an English
officer.) Mr. Kellar, an American professional conjurer, and
exposer of spiritualistic pretensions, bears witness, in the North
American Review, to a Zulu case of 'levitation,' which actually
surpasses the tale of the gentleman's butler in strangeness. Cieza
de Leon, in his Travels, translated by Mr. Markham for the Hakluyt
Society, brings a similar anecdote from early Peru, in 1549. {100b}
Miss Nancy Wesley's case is vouched for (she and the bed she sat on
both rose from the floor) by a letter from one of her family to her
brother Samuel, printed in Southey's Life of Wesley. Finally, Lord
Lindsay and Lord Adare published a statement that they saw Home
float out of one window and in at another, in Ashley Place, S.W., on
December 16, 1868. Captain Wynne, who was also there, 'wrote to the
Medium, to say I was present as a witness'. {101} We need not heap
up more examples, drawn from classic Greece, as in the instances of
Abaris and Iamblichus. We merely stand speechless in the presence
of the wildest of all fables, when it meets us, as identical myths
and customs do--not among savages alone, but everywhere, practically
speaking, and in connection with barbarous sorcery, with English
witchcraft, with the saintliest of mediaeval devotees, with African
warriors, with Hindoo fakirs, with a little English girl in a quiet
old country parsonage, and with an enigmatic American gentleman.
Many living witnesses, of good authority, sign statements about
Home's levitation. In one case, a large table, on which stood a man
of twelve stone weight rose from the floor, and an eye-witness, a
doctor, felt under the castors with his hands.

Of all persons subject to 'levitation,' Saint Joseph of Cupertino
(1603-1663) was the most notable. The evidence is partly derived
from testimonies collected with a view to his canonisation, within
two years after his death. There is a full account of his life and
adventures in Acta Sanctorum. {102} St. Joseph died, as we saw, in
1663, but the earliest biography of him, in Italian, was not
published till fifteen years later, in 1678. Unluckily the compiler
of his legend in the Acta Sanctorum was unable to procure this work,
by Nutius, which might contain a comparatively slight accretion of
myths. The next life is of 1722, and the author made use of the
facts collected for Joseph's beatification. There is another life
by Pastrovicchi, in 1753. He was canonised in that year, when all
the facts were remote by about a century.

Joseph's parents were pauperes sed honesti; his father was a
carpenter, his mother a woman of almost virulent virtue, who kept
her son in great order. From the age of eight he was subject to
cataleptic or epileptic fits and convulsions. After his novitiate
he suffered from severe attacks of melancholia. His 'miracles'
attracting attention, he was brought before the Inquisition at
Naples, as an impostor. He was sent to an obscure and remote
monastery, and thence to Assisi, where he was harshly treated, and
fell into Bunyan's Slough of Despond, having much conflict with
Apollyon.

He was next called to Rome, where cardinals testify that, on hearing
sacred names, he would give a yell, and fall into ecstasy.
Returning to Assisi he was held in high honour, and converted a
Hanoverian Prince. He healed many sick people, and, having fallen
into a river, came out quite dry. He could scarcely read, but was
inspired with wonderful theological acuteness. He always yelled
before falling into an ecstasy, afterwards, he was so much under the
dominion of anaesthesia that hot coals, if applied to his body,
produced no effect. Then he soared in air, now higher, now lower (a
cardinal vouches for six inches), and in aere pendulus haerebat,
like the gentleman's butler at Lord Orrery's.

Seventy separate flights, in-doors and out of doors, are recorded.
In fact it was well to abstain from good words in conversation with
St. Joseph of Cupertino, for he would give a shout, on hearing a
pious observation, and fly up, after which social intercourse was
out of the question. He was, indeed, prevented by his superiors
from appearing at certain sacred functions, because his flights
disturbed the proceedings, indeed everything was done by the Church
to discourage him, but in vain. He explained his preliminary shout
by saying that 'guns also make a noise when they go off,' so the
Cardinal de Laurea heard him remark. He was even more fragrant than
the Miraculous Conformist, or the late Mr. Stainton Moses, to whose
seances scent was marvellously borne by 'spirits'. It must be
remembered that contemporary witnesses attest these singular
circumstances in the evidence taken two years after his death, for
the beatification of Joseph. From Assisi he was sent to various
obscure convents, where his miracles were as remarkable as ever.
One Christmas Eve, hearing sacred music, he flew up like a bird,
from the middle of the church to the high altar, where he floated
for a quarter of an hour, yet upset none of the candles. An insane
nobleman was brought to him to be healed. Seizing the afflicted
prince by the hair of the head, he uttered a shout, and soared up
with the patient, who finally came down cured! Once he flew over a
pulpit, and once more than eighty yards to a crucifix. This is
probably 'a record'. When some men were elevating a cross for a
Calvary, and were oppressed by the weight, Joseph uttered a shriek,
flew to them, and lightly erected the cross with his own hand. The
flight was of about eighty yards. He flew up into a tree once, and
perched on a bough, which quivered no more than if he had been a
bird. A rather commonplace pious remark uttered in his presence was
the cause of this exhibition. Once in church, he flew from his
knees, caught a priest, lifted him up, and gyrated, laetissimo
raptu, in mid air. In the presence of the Spanish ambassador and
many others, he once flew over the heads of the congregation. Once
he asked a priest whether the holy elements were kept in a
particular place. 'Who knows?' said the priest, whereon Joseph
soared over his head, remained kneeling in mid air, and came down
only at the request of his ecclesiastical superior. Joseph was
clairvoyant, and beheld apparitions, but on the whole (apart from
his moral excellence) his flights were his most notable
accomplishment. On one occasion he 'casual remarked to a friend,'
'what an infernal smell' (infernails odor), and then nosed out a
number of witches and warlocks who were compounding drugs:
'standing at some considerable distance, standing, in fact, in quite
another street'.

Iamblichus, in the letter to Porphyry, describes such persons as St.
Joseph of Cupertino. 'They have been known to be lifted up into the
air. . . . The subject of the afflatus has not felt the application
of fire. . . . The more ignorant and mentally imbecile a youth may
be, the more freely will the divine power be made manifest.' Joseph
was ignorant, and 'enfeebled by vigil and fasts,' so Joseph was
'insensible of the application of fire,' and 'was lifted up into the
air'. Yet the cardinals, surgeons, and other witnesses were not
thinking of the pagan Iamblichus when they attested the
accomplishments of the saint. Whence, then, comes the uniformity of
evidence?

The sceptical Calef did not believe in these things, because they
are 'miracles,' that is, contrary to experience. But here is
experience enough to which they are not contrary.

There are dozens of such depositions, and here it is that the
student of testimony and of belief finds himself at a deadlock.
Believe the evidence we cannot, yet we cannot doubt the good faith,
the veracity of the attesting witnesses. Had we only savage, or
ancient and uneducated testimony, we might say that the uniformity
of myths of levitation is easily explained. The fancy wants a
marvel, it readily provides one by positing the infraction of the
most universally obvious law, that of gravitation. Men don't fly;
let us say that a man flew, like Abaris on his arrow! This is
rudimentary, but then witnesses whose combined testimony would prove
almost anything else, declare that they saw the feat performed.
Till we can find some explanation of these coincidences of
testimony, it is plain that a province in psychology, in the
relations between facts as presented to and as represented by
mankind, remains to be investigated. Of all persons who have been
levitated since St. Joseph, a medium named Eglinton was most subject
to this infirmity. In a work, named There is no Death, by Florence
Marryat, the author assures us that she has frequently observed the
phenomenon. But Mr. Eglinton, after being 'investigated' by the
Psychical Society, 'retired,' as Mr. Myers says, 'into private
life'. The tales told about him by spiritualists are of the kind
usually imparted to a gallant, but proverbially confiding, arm of
Her Majesty's service. As for Lord Orrery's butler, and the others,
there are the hypotheses that a cloud of honourable and sane
witnesses lied; that they were uniformly hallucinated, or
hypnotised, by a glamour as extraordinary as the actual miracle
would be; or again, that conjuring of an unexampled character could
be done, not only by Home, or Eglinton, in a room which may have
been prepared, but by Home, by a Zulu, by St. Joseph of Cupertino,
and by naked fakirs, in the open air. Of all these theories that of
glamour, of hypnotic illusion, is the most specious. Thus, when Ibn
Batuta, the old Arabian traveller, tells us that he saw the famous
rope-trick performed in India--men climbing a rope thrown into the
air, and cutting each other up, while the bodies revive and reunite--
he very candidly adds that his companion, standing by, saw nothing
out of the way, and declared that nothing occurred. {107a} This
clearly implies that Ibn Batuta was hypnotised, and that his
companion was not. But Dr. Carpenter's attempt to prove that one
witness saw nothing, while Lord Lindsay and Lord Adare saw Home
float out of one window, and in by another, turns out to be
erroneous. The third witness, Captain Wynne, confirmed the
statement of the other gentlemen.

We now approach the second class of marvels which regaled the circle
at Ragley, namely, 'Alleged movements of objects without contact,
occurring _not_ in the presence of a paid medium,' and with these we
shall examine rappings and mysterious noises. The topic began to
attract modern attention when table-turning was fashionable. But in
common table-turning there _was_ contact, and Faraday easily
demonstrated that there was conscious or unconscious pushing and
muscular exertion. In 1871 Mr. Crookes made laboratory experiments
with Home, using mechanical tests. {107b} He demonstrated, to his
own satisfaction, that in the presence of Home, even when he was not
in physical contact with the object, the object moved: e pur si
muove. He published a reply to Dr. Carpenter's criticism, and the
common-sense of ordinary readers, at least, sees no flaw in Mr.
Crookes's method and none in his argument. The experiments of the
modern Psychical Society, with paid mediums, produced results, in
Mr. Myers's opinion, 'not wholly unsatisfactory,' but far from
leading to an affirmative conclusion, if by 'satisfactory' Mr. Myers
means 'affirmative'. {108a} The investigations of Mrs. Sidgwick
were made under the mediumship of Miss Kate Fox (Mrs. Jencken).
This lady began the modern 'spiritualism' when scarcely older than
Mr. Mompesson's 'two modest little girls,' and was accompanied by
phenomena like those of Tedworth. But, in Mrs. Sidgwick's presence
the phenomena were of the most meagre; and the reasoning faculties
of the mind decline to accept them as other than perfectly normal.
The society tried Mr. Eglinton, who once was 'levitated' in the
presence of Mr. Kellar, the American conjurer, who has publicly
described feats like those of the gentleman's butler. {108b} But,
after his dealings with the society, Mr. Eglinton has left the
scene. {108c} The late Mr. Davey also produced results like Mr.
Eglinton's by confessed conjuring.

Mr. Myers concludes that 'it does not seem worth while, as a rule,
to examine the testimony to physical marvels occurring in the
presence of professional mediums'. He therefore collects evidence
in the article quoted, for physical marvels occurring where there is
no paid medium. Here, as in the business of levitation, the
interest of the anthropologist and mythologist lies in the
uniformity and identity of narratives from all countries, climates,
and ages. Among the earliest rappings with which we chance to be
familiar are those reported by Froissart in the case of the spirit
Orthon, in the fourteenth century. The tale had become almost a
fabliau, but any one who reads the amusing chapter will see that it
is based on a belief in disturbances like those familiar to Glanvill
and the Misses Fox. Cieza de Leon (1549) in the passage already
quoted, where he describes the levitated Cacique of Pirza in Popyan,
adds that 'the Christians saw stones falling from the air' (as in
the Greatrakes tale of the Youghal witch), and declares that, 'when
the chief was sitting with a glass of liquor before him, the
Christians saw the glass raised up in the air and put down empty,
and a short time afterwards the wine was again poured into the cup
from the air'. Mr. Home once equalled this marvel, {109a} and Ibn
Batuta reports similar occurrences, earlier, at the court of the
King of Delhi. There is another case in Histoire Prodigieuse d'une
jeune Fille agitee d'un Esprit fantastique et invisible. {109b} A
bourgeois of Bonneval was beset by a rapping rattle of a sprite.
'At dinner, when he would lay his hand on a trencher, it was carried
off elsewhere, and the wineglass, when he was about drinking, was
snatched from his hand.' So Mr. Wesley's trencher was set spinning
on the table, when nobody touched it! In such affairs we may have
the origin of the story of the Harpies at the court of Phineus.

In China, Mr. Dennys tells how 'food placed on the table vanished
mysteriously, and many of the curious phenomena attributed to
ghostly interference took place,' so that the householder was driven
from house to house, and finally into a temple, in 1874, and all
this after the death of a favourite but aggrieved monkey! {110a}
'Throwing down crockery, trampling on the floor, etc.--such pranks
as have attracted attention at home, are not unknown. . . . I must
confess that in China, as elsewhere, these occurrences leave a bona
fide impression of the marvellous which can neither be explained nor
rejected'. {110b}

We have now noted these alleged phenomena, literally 'from China to
Peru'. Let us next take an old French case of a noisy sprite in the
nunnery of St. Pierre de Lyon. The account is by Adrien de
Montalembert, almoner to Francis I. {110c} The Bibliography of this
very rare tract is curious and deserves attention. When Lenglet
Dufresnoy was compiling, in 1751, his Dissertations sur les
Apparitions he reprinted the tract from the Paris quarto of 1528, in
black letter. This example had been in the Tellier collection, and
Dufresnoy seems to have borrowed it from the Royal Convent of St.
Genevieve. Knowing that Cardinal Tencin had some acquaintance with
the subject, Dufresnoy wrote to him, and publishes (vol. i. cxli.)
his answer, dated October 18, 1751, Lyons. The cardinal replied
that, besides the Paris edition of 1528, there was a Rouen reprint,
of 1529, by Rolin Gautier, with engravings. Brunet says, that there
are engravings in the Paris edition of 1528, perhaps these were
absent from the Tellier example. That of Rouen, which Cardinal
Tencin collated, was in the Abbey of St. Peter, in Lyons. Some
leaves had been thumbed out of existence, and their place was
supplied in manuscript. The only difference was in chapter xxviii.
where the printed Rouen text may have varied. In the MS. at all
events, it is stated that on March 21, the spirit of Sister Alix de
Telieux struck thirty-three great strokes on the refectory of her
convent, 'mighty and marvellous,' implying that her thirty-three
years of purgatory were commuted into thirty-three days. A bright
light, scarcely endurable, then appeared, and remained for some
eight minutes. The nuns then went into chapel and sang a Te Deum.

At the end of the volume, a later hand added, in manuscript, that
the truth of the contemporary record was confirmed by the tradition
of the oldest sisters who had received it from eye-witnesses of the
earlier generation. The writer says that she had great difficulty
in finding the printed copy, but that when young, in 1630, she
received the tale from a nun, then aged ninety-four. This nun would
be born in 1536, ten years after these events. She got the story
from her aunt, a nun, Gabrielle de Beaudeduit, qui etoit de ce tems-
la. There is no doubt that the sisters firmly and piously believed
in the story, which has the contemporary evidence of Adrien de
Montalembert. Dufresnoy learned that a manuscript copy of the tract
was in the library of the Jesuits of Lyons. He was unaware of an
edition in 12mo of 1580, cited by Brunet.

To come to the story, one of our earliest examples of a 'medium,'
and of communications by raps. The nunnery was reformed in 1516. A
pretty sister, Alix de Telieux, fled with some of the jewels, lived
a 'gay' life, and died wretchedly in 1524. She it was, as is
believed, who haunted a sister named Anthoinette de Grolee, a girl
of eighteen. The disturbance began with a confused half-dream. The
girl fancied that the sign of the cross was made on her brow, and a
kiss impressed on her lips, as she wakened one night. She thought
this was mere illusion, but presently, when she got up, she heard,
'comme soubs ses pieds frapper aucuns petis coups,' 'rappings,' as
if at the depth of four inches underground. This was exactly what
occurred to Miss Hetty Wesley, at Epworth, in 1716, and at Rio de
Janeiro to a child named 'C.' in Professor Alexander's narrative.
{112} Montalembert says, in 1528, 'I have heard these rappings many
a time, and, in reply to my questions, so many strokes as I asked
for were given'. Montalembert received information (by way of raps)
from the 'spirit,' about matters of importance, qui ne pourroient
estre cogneus de mortelle creature. 'Certainly,' as he adds,
'people have the best right to believe these things who have seen
and heard them.'

The rites of the Church were conferred in the most handsome manner
on the body of Sister Alix, which was disinterred and buried in her
convent. Exorcisms and interrogations of the spirit were practised.
It merely answered questions by rapping 'Yes,' or 'No'. On one
occasion Sister Anthoinette was 'levitated'. Finally, the spirit
appeared bodily to her, said farewell, and disappeared after making
an extraordinary fracas at matins. Montalembert conducted the
religious ceremonies. One case of hysteria was developed; the
sufferer was a novice. Of course it was attributed to diabolical
possession The whole story in its pleasant old French, has an
agreeable air of good faith But what interests us is the remarkable
analogy between the Lyons rappings and those at Epworth, Tedworth,
and countless other cases, old or of yesterday. We can now
establish a catena of rappings and pour prendre date, can say that
communications were established, through raps, with a so-called
'spirit,' more than three hundred years before the 'Rochester
knockings' in America. Very probably wider research would discover
instances prior to that of Lyons; indeed, Wierus, in De Praestigiis
Daemonum, writes as if the custom was common.

It is usual to explain the raps by a theory that the 'medium'
produces them through cracking his, or her, knee-joints. It may
thus be argued that Sister Anthoinette discovered this trick, or was
taught the trick, and that the tradition of her performance, being
widely circulated in Montalembert's quarto, and by oral report,
inspired later rappers, such as Miss Kate Fox, Miss 'C.' Davis, Miss
Hetty Wesley, the gentlewoman at Mr. Paschal's, Mr. Mompesson's
'modest little girls,' Daniel Home, and Miss Margaret Wilson of
Galashiels. Miss Wilson's uncle came one day to Mr. Wilkie, the
minister, and told him the devil was at his house, for, said he,
'there is an odd knocking about the bed where my niece lies'.
Whereupon the minister went with him, and found it so. 'She, rising
from her bed, sat down to supper, and from below there was such a
knocking up as bred fear to all that were present. This knocking
was just under her chair, where it was not possible for any mortal
to knock up.' When Miss Wilson went to bed, and was in a deep
sleep, 'her body was so lifted up that many strong men were not able
to keep it down'. {114a} The explanation about cracking the knee-
joints hardly covers the levitations, or accounts for the tremendous
noise which surrounded Sister Anthoinette at matins, or for the
bright light, a common spiritualistic phenomenon. Margaret Wilson
was about twelve years of age. If it be alleged that little girls
have a traditional method of imposture, even that is a curious and
interesting fact in human nature.

As regards imposture, there exists a singular record of a legal
process in Paris, 1534. {114b}

It may have been observed that the Lyons affair was useful to the
Church, as against 'the damnable sect of Lutherans,' because Sister
Alix attested the existence of purgatory. No imposture was
detected, and no reader of Montalembert can doubt his good faith,
nor the sincerity of his kindness and piety. But such a set of
circumstances might provoke imitation. Of fraudulent imitation the
Franciscans of Orleans were accused, and for this crime they were
severely punished. We have the Arrest des Commissaires du Conseil
d'Etat du Roi, from MS. 7170, A. of the Bibliotheque du Roi. {115}
We have also allusions in the Franciscanus, a satire in Latin
hexameter by George Buchanan. Finally, we have versions in
Lavaterus, and in Wierus, De Curat. Laes. Maleficio (Amsterdam,
1660, p. 422). Wierus, born 1515, heard the story when with Sleidan
at Orleans, some years after the events. He gives the version of
Sleidan, a notably Protestant version. Wierus is famous for his
spirited and valuable defence of the poor women then so frequently
burned as witches. He either does, or pretends to believe in
devils, diabolical possession, and exorcism, but the exorcist, to be
respectable, must be Protestant. Probably Wierus was not so
credulous as he assumes to be, and a point of irony frequently peeps
out. The story as told by Sleidan differs from that in the official
record. In this document Adam Fumee counsellor of the king,
announces that the Franciscans of Orleans have informed the king
that they are vexed by a spirit, which gives itself out by signs
(rappings), as the wife of Francois de St. Mesmin, Provost of
Orleans. They ask the king to take cognisance of the matter. On
the other side, St. Mesmin declares that the Franciscans have
counterfeited the affair in hope of 'black-mailing' him. The king,
therefore, appoints Fumee to inquire into the case. Thirteen friars
are lying in prison in Paris, where they have long been 'in great
wretchedness and poverty, and perishing of hunger,' a pretty example
of the law's delay. A commission is to try the case (November,
1534). The trouble had begun on February 22, 1533 (old style), when
Father Pierre d'Arras at five a.m. was called into the dormitory of
'les enfans,'--novices,--with holy water and everything proper.
Knocking was going on, and by a system of knocks, the spirit said it
wanted its body to be taken out of holy ground, said it was Madame
St Mesmin, and was damned for Lutheranism and extravagance! The
experiment was repeated before churchmen and laymen, but the lay
observers rushed up to the place whence the knocks came where they
found nothing. They hid some one there, after which there was no
knocking. On a later day, the noises as in Cock Lane and elsewhere,
began by scratching. "M. l'Official," the bishop's vicar, 'ouit
gratter, qui etoit le commencement de ladite accoutummee tumulte
dudit Esprit'. But no replies were given to questions, which the
Franciscans attributed to the disturbance of the day before, and the
breaking into various places by the people. One Alicourt seems to
have been regarded as the 'medium,' and the sounds were heard as in
Cock Lane and at Tedworth when he was in bed. Later experiments
gave no results, and the friars were severely punished, and obliged
to recant their charges against Madame de Mesmin. The case,
scratches, raps, false accusations and all, is parallel to that of
the mendacious 'Scratching Fanny,' examined by Dr. Johnson and
Douglas, Bishop of Salisbury. In that affair the child was driven
by threats to make counterfeit noises, but, as to the method of
imposture at Orleans, nothing is said in the contemporary legal
document.

We now turn to the account by Sleidan, in Wierus. The provost's
wife had left directions for a cheap funeral in the Franciscan
Church. This economy irritated the Fathers, who only got six pieces
of gold, 'having expected much greater plunder'. 'Colimannus'
(Colimant), an exorcist named in the process, was the ringleader.
They stationed a lad in the roof of the church, who rapped with a
piece of wood, and made a great noise 'when they mumbled their
prayers at night'. St. Mesmin appealed to the king, the Fathers
were imprisoned, and the youth was kept in Fumee's house, and plied
with questions. He confessed the trick, and the friars were
punished. Of all this confession, and of the mode of imposture,
nothing is said in the legal process. From the whole affair came a
popular saying, c'est l'esprit d'Orleans, when any fable was told.
Buchanan talks of cauta parum pietas in fraude paranda.

The evidence, it may be seen, is not very coherent, and the
Franciscans may have been the deceived, not the deceivers. {117}
Wierus himself admits that he often heard a brownie in his father's
house, which frightened him not a little, and Georgius Pictorius
avers that a noisy spirit haunted his uncle's house for thirty
years, a very protracted practical joke, if it was a practical joke.
{118} This was a stone-throwing demon.

A large book might easily be filled with old stories of mysterious
flights of stones, and volatile chairs and tables. The ancient
mystics of the Levant were acquainted with the phenomena, as
Iamblichus shows. The Eskimo knew them well. Glanvill is rich in
examples, the objects flying about in presence of a solitary
spectator, who has called at a 'haunted house,' and sometimes the
events accompany the presence of a single individual, who may, or
may not be a convulsionary or epileptic. Sometimes they befall
where no individual is suspected of constitutional electricity or of
imposture.

We may select a laughable example from a rare tract. 'An authentic,
candid, and circumstantial narrative of the astonishing transactions
at Stockwell, in the county of Surrey, on Monday and Tuesday, the
6th and 7th of January, 1772. Published with the consent and
approbation of the family and other parties concerned, to
authenticate which, the original copy is signed by them. London,
1772, printed for J. Marks, bookseller, in St. Martin's Lane.'

The dramatis personae are old Mrs. Golding, of Stockwell parish, 'a
gentlewoman of unblemished honour and character'; Mrs. Pain, her
niece, a farmer's wife, 'respected in the parish'; Mary Martin, her
servant, previously with Mrs. Golding; Richard Fowler, a labourer,
living opposite Mrs. Pain; Sarah Fowler his wife--all these sign the
document,--and Ann Robinson, Mrs. Golding's maid, just entered on
her service. Ann does _not_ sign.

The trouble began at ten a.m. on January 6, when Mrs. Golding heard
a great smash of crockery, an event 'most incident to maids'. The
lady went into the kitchen, when plates began to fall from the
dresser 'while she was there and nobody near them'. Then a clock
tumbled down, so did a lantern, a pan of salt beef cracked, and a
carpenter, Rowlidge, suggested that a recent addition of a room
above had shaken the foundation of the house. Mrs. Golding rushed
into the house of Mr. Gresham, her next neighbour, and fainted.
Meanwhile Ann Robinson was 'mistress of herself, though china fall,'
and seemed in no hurry to leave the threatened dwelling. The niece
of Mrs. Golding, Mrs. Pain, was sent for to Mr. Gresham's, Mrs.
Golding was bled, when, lo, 'the blood sprang out of the basin upon
the floor, and the basin broke to pieces!' A bottle of rum, of
sympathetic character, also burst. Many of Mrs. Golding's more
fragile effects had been carried into Mr. Gresham's: the glasses
and china first danced, and then fell off the side-board and broke.
Mrs. Golding, 'her mind one confused chaos,' next sought refuge at
Mr. Mayling's for three-quarters of an hour. Here nothing unusual
occurred, but, at Mr. Gresham's (where Ann Robinson was packing the
remains of her mistress's portable property) a 'mahogany waiter,' a
quadrille box, a jar of pickles and a pot of raspberry jam shared
the common doom. 'Their end was pieces.' Mrs. Pain now hospitably
conveyed her aunt to her house at Rush Common, 'hoping all was
over'. This was about two in the afternoon.

At eight in the evening, the whole row of pewter dishes, bar one,
fell from a shelf, rolled about a little, and 'as soon as they were
quiet, turned upside down; they were then put upon the dresser, and
went through the same a second time'. Then of two eggs, one 'flew
off, crossed the kitchen, struck a cat on the head, and then burst
in pieces'. A pestle and a mortar presently 'jumped six feet from
the floor'. The glass and crockery were now put on the floor, 'he
that is down need fear no fall,' but the objects began to dance, and
tumble about, and then broke to pieces. A china bowl jumped eight
feet but was not broken. However it tried again, and succeeded.
Candlesticks, tea-kettles, a tumbler of rum and water, two hams, and
a flitch of bacon joined in the corroboree. 'Most of the genteel
families around were continually sending to inquire after them, and
whether all was over or not.' All this while, Ann was 'walking
backwards and forwards', nor could they get her to sit down, except
for half an hour, at prayers, 'then all was quiet'. She remarked,
with stoicism, 'these things could not be helped'. Fowler came in
at ten, but fled in a fright at one in the morning. By five, Mrs.
Golding summoned Mrs. Pain, who had gone to bed, 'all the tables,
chairs, drawers, etc., were tumbling about'.

They rushed across to Fowler's where, as soon as Ann arrived, the
old game went on. Fowler, therefore, like the landlord in the poem,
'did plainly say as how he wished they'd go away,' at the same time
asking Mrs. Golding 'whether or not, she had been guilty of some
atrocious crime, for which providence was determined to pursue her
on this side the grave,' and to break crockery till death put an end
to the stupendous Nemesis. 'Having hitherto been esteemed a most
deserving person,' Mrs. Golding replied, with some natural warmth,
that 'her conscience was quite clear, and she could as well wait the
will of providence in her own house as in any other place,' she and
the maid went to her abode, and there everything that had previously
escaped was broken. 'A nine-gallon cask of beer that was in the
cellar, the door being open and nobody near it, turned upside down';
'a pail of water boiled like a pot'. So Mrs. Golding discharged
Miss Ann Robinson and that is all.

At Mrs. Golding's they took up three, and at Mrs. Pain's two pails
of the fragments that were left. The signatures follow, appended on
January 11.

The tale has a sequel. In 1817 an old Mr. Braidley, who loved his
joke, told Hone that he knew Ann, and that she confessed to having
done the tricks by aid of horse-hairs, wires and other simple
appliances. We have not Mr. Braidley's attested statement, but
Ann's character as a Medium is under a cloud. Have all other
Mediums secret wires? (Every-day Book, i. 62.)

Ann Robinson, we have seen, was a tranquil and philosophical maiden.
Not so was another person who was equally active, ninety years
earlier.

Bovet, in his Pandaemonium (1684), gives an account of the Demon of
Spraiton, in 1682. His authorities were 'J. G., Esquire,' a near
neighbour to the place, the Rector of Barnstaple, and other
witnesses. The 'medium' was a young servant man, appropriately
named Francis Fey, and employed in the household of Sir Philip
Furze. Now, this young man was subject to 'a kind of trance, or
extatick fit,' and 'part of his body was, occasionally, somewhat
benumbed and seemingly deader than the other'. The nature of Fey's
case, physically, is clear. He was a convulsionary, and his head
would be found wedged into tight places whence it could hardly be
extracted. From such a person the long and highly laughable tale of
ghosts (a male ghost and a jealous female ghost) which he told does
not much win our acceptance. True, Mrs. Thomasin Gidley, Anne
Langdon, and a little child also saw the ghost in various forms.
But this was probably mere fancy, or the hallucinations of Fey were
infectious. But objects flew about in the young man's presence.
'One of his shoe-strings was observed (without the assistance of any
hand) to come of its own accord out of his shoe and fling itself to
the other side of the room; the other was crawling after it (!) but
a maid espying that, with her hand drew it out, and it clasp'd and
curl'd about her hand like a living eel or serpent. A barrel of
salt of considerable quantity hath been observed to march from room
to room without any human assistance,' and so forth. {122}

It is hardly necessary to add more modern instances. The 'electric
girl' Angelique Cottin, who was a rival of Ann Robinson, had her
powers well enough attested to arouse the curiosity of Arago. But,
when brought from the country to Paris, her power, or her artifice,
failed.

It is rather curious that tales of volatile furniture are by no
means very common in trials for witchcraft. The popular belief was,
and probably still is, that a witch or warlock could throw a spell
over an enemy so that his pots, and pans, tables and chairs, would
skip around. The disturbances of this variety, in the presbytery at
Cideville, in Seine Inferieure (1850), came under the eye of the
law, because a certain shepherd injudiciously boasted that he had
caused them by his magic art. {123a} The cure, who was the victim,
took him at his word, and the shepherd swain lost his situation. He
then brought an action for defamation of character, but was non-
suited, as it was proved that he had been the fanfaron of his own
vices. In Froissart's amusing story of Orthon, that noisy sprite
was hounded on by a priest. At Tedworth, the owner of the drum was
'wanted' on a charge of sorcery as the cause of the phenomena. The
Wesleys suspected that their house was bewitched. But examples in
witch trials are not usual. Mr. Graham Dalyell, however, gives one
case, 'the firlote rynning about with the stuff popling,' on the
floor of a barn, and one where 'the sive and the wecht dancit throw
the hous'. {123b}

A clasped knife opened in the pocket of Christina Shaw, and her
glove falling, it was lifted by a hand invisible to several persons
present. One is reminded of the nursery rhyme,--'the dish it ran
after the spoon'. In the presence of Home, even a bookcase is said
to have forgotten itself, and committed the most deplorable
excesses. In the article of Mr. Myers, already cited, we find a
table which jumps by the bedside of a dying man. {124} A handbag of
Miss Power's flies from an arm-chair, and hides under a table; raps
are heard; all this when Miss Power is alone. Mr. H. W. Gore Graham
sees a table move about. A heavy table of Mr. G. A. Armstrong's
rises high in the air. A tea-table 'runs after' Professor
Alexander, and 'attempts to hem me in,' this was at Rio de Janeiro,
in the Davis family, where raps 'ranged from hardly perceptible
ticks up to resounding blows, such as might be struck by a wooden
mallet'. A Mr. H. falls into convulsions, during which all sorts of
things fly about. All these stories closely correspond to the tales
in Increase Mather's Remarkable Providences in New England, in which
the phenomena sometimes occur in the presence of an epileptic and
convulsed boy, about 1680. To take one classic French case, Segrais
declares that a M. Patris was lodged in the Chateau d'Egmont. At
dinner-time, he went into the room of a friend, whom he found lost
in the utmost astonishment. A huge book, Cardan's De Subtilitate,
had flown at him across the room, and the leaves had turned, under
invisible fingers! There are plenty of bogles in that book. M.
Patris laughed at this tale, and went into the gallery, when a large
chair, so heavy that two men could scarcely lift it, shook itself
and came at him. He remonstrated, and the chair returned to its
usual position. 'This made a deep impression on M. Patris, and
contributed in no slight degree to make him a converted character'--
a le faire devenir devot. {125a}

Tales like this, with that odd uniformity of tone and detail which
makes them curious, might be collected from old literature to any
extent. Thus, among the sounds usually called 'rappings,' Mr.
Crookes mentions, as matter within his own experience, 'a cracking
like that heard when a frictional machine is at work'. Now, as may
be read in Southey's Life of Wesley and in Clarke's Memoirs of the
Wesleys, this was the very noise which usually heralded the arrival
of 'Jeffrey,' as they called the Epworth 'spirit'. {125b} It has
been alleged that the charming and ill-fated Hetty Wesley caused the
disturbances. If so (and Dr. Salmon, who supports this thesis, does
not even hazard a guess as to the modus operandi), Hetty must have
been familiar with almost the whole extent of psychical literature,
for she scarcely left a single phenomenon unrepresented. It does
not appear that she supplied visible 'hands'. We have seen Glanvill
lay stress on the apparition of a hand. In the case of the devil of
Glenluce, 'there appeared a naked hand, and an arm from the elbow
down, beating upon the floor till the house did shake again'. {126a}
At Rerrick, in 1695, 'it knocked upon the chests and boards, as
people do at a door'. 'And as I was at prayer,' says the Rev.
Alexander Telfair, 'leaning on the side of a bed, I felt something
thrusting my arm up, and casting my eyes thitherward, perceived a
little white hand, and an arm from the elbow down, but it vanished
presently.' {126b} The hands viewed, grasped, and examined by
Home's clientele, hands which melted away in their clutch, are
innumerable, and the phenomenon, with the 'cold breeze,' is among
the most common in modern narratives.

Our only conclusion is that the psychological conditions which begat
the ancient narratives produce the new legends. These surprise us
by the apparent good faith in marvel and myth of many otherwise
credible narrators, and by the coincidence, accidental or designed,
with old stories not generally familiar to the modern public. Do
impostors and credulous persons deliberately 'get up' the subject in
rare old books? Is there a method of imposture handed down by one
generation of bad little girls to another? Is there such a thing as
persistent identity of hallucination among the sane? This was
Coleridge's theory, but it is not without difficulties. These
questions are the present results of Comparative Psychological
Research.

HAUNTED HOUSES

Reginald Scot on Protestant expulsion of Ghosts. His boast
premature. Savage hauntings. Red Indian example. Classical cases.
Petrus Thyraeus on Haunted Houses. His examples from patristic
literature. Three species of haunting spirits. Demons in
disguises. Hallucinations, visual, auditory, and tactile. Are the
sounds in Haunted Houses real or hallucinatory? All present do not
always hear them. Interments in houses to stop hauntings. Modern
example. The Restoration and Scepticism. Exceptional position of
Dr. Johnson. Frequency of Haunted Houses in modern Folklore.
Researches of the S. P. R. Failure of the Society to see Ghosts.
Uncertain behaviour of Ghosts. The Society need a 'seer' or
'sensitive' comrade. The 'type' or normal kind of Haunted Houses.
Some natural explanations. Historical continuity of type. Case of
Sir Walter Scott. A haunted curacy. Modern instances. Miss
Morton's case: a dumb ghost. Ghost, as is believed, of a man of
letters. Mr. Harry's ghost raises his mosquito curtains. Columns
of light. Mr. Podmore's theory. Hallucinations begotten by natural
causes are 'telepathically' transferred, with variations, to
strangers at a distance. Example of this process. Incredulity of
Mr. Myers. The spontaneous phenomena reproduced at 'seances'. A
ghost who followed a young lady. Singular experience of the writer
in Haunted Houses. Experience negative. Theory of 'dreams of the
dead'. Difficulties of this theory; physical force exerted in
dreams. Theory of Mr. James Sully. His unscientific method and
carelessness as to evidence. Reflections.

Reginald Scot, the humane author who tried, in his Discovery of
Witchcraft, 1584 (xv. 39), to laugh witch trials away, has a
triumphant passage on the decline of superstition. 'Where are the
soules that swarmed in time past? where are the spirits? who heareth
their noises? who seeth their visions?' He decides that the spirits
who haunt places and houses, may have gone to Italy, because masses
are dear in England. Scot, as an ardent Protestant, conceived that
haunted houses were 'a lewd invention,' encouraged, if not
originated, by the priests, in support of the doctrine of purgatory.
As a matter of fact the belief in 'haunting,' dates from times of
savagery, when we may say that every bush has its bogle. The Church
had nothing to do with the rise of the belief, though, early in the
Reformation, some 'psychical phenomena' were claimed as experimental
proofs of the existence of purgatory. Reginald Scot decidedly made
his Protestant boast too soon. After 300 years of 'the Trewth,' as
Knox called it, the haunted houses are as much part of the popular
creed as ever. Houses stand empty, and are said to be 'haunted'.
Here not the fact of haunting, but only the existence of the
superstition is attested. Thus a house in Berkeley Square was long
unoccupied, for reasons perfectly commonplace and intelligible. But
the fact that it had no tenants needed to be explained, and was
explained by a myth,--there were ghosts in the house! On the other
hand, if Reginald Scot asked today, 'Who heareth the noises, who
seeth the visions?' we could answer, 'Protestant clergymen, officers
in the army, ladies, land-agents, solicitors, representatives of all
classes, except the Haunted House Committee of the Psychical
Society'.

Before examining the researches and the results of this learned
body, we may glance at some earlier industry of investigators. The
common savage beliefs are too well known to need recapitulation, and
have been treated by Mr. Tylor in his chapter on 'Animism,' {129}
and by Mr. Herbert Spencer in Principles of Psychology. The points
of difference between these authors need not detain us here. As a
rule the spirits which haunt the bush, or the forest, are but
vaguely conceived of by the Australian blacks, or Red Men: they may
be ghosts of the dead, or they may be casual spirits unattached. An
example analogous to European superstition is given by John Tanner
in his Narrative of a Captivity among the Red Indians, 1830. In
this case one man had slain his brother, or, at least, a man of his
own Totem, and was himself put to death by the kindred. The
spectres of both haunted a place which the Indians shunned, but
Tanner (whose Totem was the same as that of the dead) passed a night
on the scene. His dreams, if not his waking moments, for his
account is indistinct, were disturbed by the ghosts. It is
impossible to ascertain how far this particular superstition was
coloured by European influences. {130}

Over classical tales we need not linger. Pliny, Plutarch,
Suetonius, St. Augustine, Lucian, Plautus (in the Mostellaria),
describe, with more or less of seriousness, the apparitions and
noises which haunted houses, public baths, and other places.
Occasionally a slain man's phantom was anxious that his body should
be buried, and the reported phenomena were akin to those in modern
popular legends. Sometimes, in the middle ages, and later, the law
took cognisance of haunted houses, when the tenant wished to break
his lease. A collection of authorities is given elsewhere, in
Ghosts before the Law. It is to be noticed that Bouchel, in his
Bibliotheque du Droit Francais, chiefly cites classical, not modern,
instances.

Among the most careful and exhaustive post-mediaeval writers on
haunted houses we must cite Petrus Thyraeus of the Society of Jesus,
Doctor in Theology. His work, published at Cologne in 1598, is a
quarto of 352 pages, entitled, 'Loca Infesta; That is, Concerning
Places Haunted by Mischievous Spirits of Demons and of the Dead.
Thereto is added a Tract on Nocturnal Disturbances, which are wont
to bode the deaths of Men.' Thyraeus begins, 'That certain places
are haunted by spectres and spirits, is no matter of doubt,' wherein
a modern reader cannot confidently follow him.

When it comes to establishing his position Thyraeus most provokingly
says, 'we omit cases which are recent and of daily occurrence,' such
as he heard narrated, during his travels, in 'a certain haunted
castle'. A modern inquirer naturally prefers recent examples, which
may be inquired into, but the old scholars reposed more confidence
in what was written by respected authors, the more ancient the more
authoritative. However Thyraeus relies on the anthropological test
of evidence, and thinks that his belief is confirmed by the
coincident reports of hauntings, 'variis distinctissimisque locis et
temporibus,' in the most various times and places. There is
something to be said for this view, and the identity of the alleged
phenomena, in all lands and ages, does raise a presumption in favour
of some kind of abnormal occurrences, or of a common species of
hallucinations. Like most of the old authors Thyraeus quotes
Augustine's tale of a haunted house, and an exorcism in De Civitate
Dei (lib. xxii. ch. viii.). St. Gregory has also a story of one
Paschasius, a deacon, who haunted some baths, and was seen by a
bishop. {131a} There is a ghost who rode horses, and frightened the
religious in the Life of Gregory by Joannes Diaconus (iv. 89). In
the Life of Theodorus one Georgius, a disciple of his, mentions a
house haunted by stone-throwing sprites, a very common phenomenon in
the books of Glanvill, and Increase Mather, in witch trials, and in
rural disturbances. Omitting other examples Cardan {131b} is cited
for a house at Parma, in which during a hundred years the phantom of
an old woman was seen before the death of members of the family.
This is a rare case of an Italian Banshie. William of Paris, in
Bodin (iii. ch. vi.) tells of a stone-throwing fiend, very active in
1447. The bogey of Bingen, a rapping ghost of 856, is duly
chronicled; he also threw stones. The dormitory of some nuns was
haunted by a spectre who moaned, tramped noisily around, dragged the
sisters out of bed by the feet, and even tickled them nearly to
death! This annoyance lasted for three years, so Wierus says. {132}
Wodrow chronicles a similar affair at Mellantrae, in Annandale.
Thyraeus distinguishes three kinds of haunting sprites, devils,
damned souls, and souls in purgatory. Some are mites, mild and
sportive; some are truculenti ferocious. Brownies, or fauni, may
act in either character, as Secutores et joculatores. They rather
aim at teasing than at inflicting harm. They throw stones, lift
beds, and make a hubbub and crash with the furniture. Suicides,
murderers, and spirits of murdered people, are all apt to haunt
houses. The sprites occasionally appear in their proper form, but
just as often in disguise: a demon, too, can appear in human shape
if so disposed: demons being of their nature deceitful and fond of
travesty, as Porphyry teaches us and as Law (1680) illustrates.
Whether the spirits of the dead quite know what they are about when
they take to haunting, is, in the opinion of Thyraeus, a difficult
question. Thomas Aquinas, following St. Augustine, inclines to hold
that when there is an apparition of a dead man, the dead man is
unconscious of the circumstance. A spirit of one kind or another
may be acting in his semblance. Thyraeus rather fancies that the
dead man is aware of what is going on.

Hauntings may be visual, auditory, or confined to the sense of
touch. Auditory effects are produced by flutterings of air, noises
are caused, steps are heard, laughter, and moaning. Lares domestici
(brownies) mostly make a noise. Apparitions may be in tactile form
of men or animals, or monsters. As for effects, some ghosts push
the living and drive them along, as the Bride of Lammermoor, in
Law's Memorialls, was 'harled through the house,' by spirits. The
spirits of an amorous complexion seem no longer to be numerous, but
are objects of interest to Thyraeus as to Increase Mather. Thyraeus
now raises the difficult question: 'Are the sounds heard in haunted
houses real, or hallucinatory?' Omnis qui a spiritibus fit,
simulatus est, specie sui fallit. The spirits having no vocal
organs, can only produce _noise_. In a spiritual hurly-burly, some
of the mortals present _hear nothing_ (as we shall note in some
modern examples), but may they not be prevented from hearing by the
spirits? Or again, the sounds may be hallucinatory and only some
mortals may have the power of hearing them. If there are visual,
there may also be auditory hallucinations. {133} On the whole
Thyraeus thinks that the sounds may be real on some occasions, when
all present hear them, hallucinatory on others. But the sounds need
not be produced on the furniture, for example, when they seem to be
so produced. 'Often we think that the furniture has been all tossed
about, when it really has not been stirred.' The classical instance
of the disturbances which aroused Scott at Abbotsford, on the death
of his agent Bullock, is in point here. 'Often a hammer is heard
rapping, when there is no hammer in the house' (p. 82). These are
curious references to phenomena, however we explain them, which are
still frequently reported.

Thyraeus thinks that the air is agitated when sounds are heard, but
that is just the question to be solved.

As for visual phantasms, these Thyraeus regards as hallucinations
produced by spirits on the human senses, not as external objective
entities. He now asks why the sense of _touch_ is affected usually
as if by a cold body. Beyond assuming the influence of spirits over
the air, and, apparently, their power of using dead bodies as
vehicles for themselves, Thyraeus comes to no distinct conclusion.
He endeavours, at great length, to distinguish between haunters who
are ghosts of the dead, and haunters who are demons, or spirits
unattached. The former wail and moan, the latter are facetious. He
decides that to bury dead bodies below the hearth does not prevent
haunting, for 'the hearth has no such efficacy'. Such bodies are
not very unfrequently found in old English houses, the reason for
this strange interment is not obvious, but perhaps it is explained
by the superstition which Thyraeus mentions. One might imagine that
to bury people up and down a house would rather secure haunting than
prevent it. And, indeed, at Passenham Rectory, where the Rev. G. M.
Capell found seven skeletons in his dining-room, in 1874, Mrs.
Montague Crackanthrope and her nurse were 'obsessed' by 'a feeling
that some one was in the room,' when some one was _not_. {135}
Perhaps seven burials were not sufficient to prevent haunting. The
conclusion of the work of Thyraeus is devoted to exorcisms, and
orthodox methods of expelling spirits. The knockings which herald a
death are attributed to the Lares, a kind of petty mischievous
demons unattached. Such is the essence of the learned Jesuit's
work, and the strange thing is that, in an age of science, people
are still discussing his problems, and, stranger still, that the
reported phenomena remain the same.

That the Church in the case of Thyraeus, and many others; that
medical science, in the person of Wierus (b. 1515); that law, in the
book of Bouchel, should have gravely canvassed the topic of haunted
houses, was, of course, very natural in the dark ages before the
restoration of the Stuarts, and the founding of the Royal Society.
Common-sense, and 'drolling Sadduceeism,' came to their own, in
England, with the king, with Charles II. After May 29, 1660,
Webster and Wagstaffe mocked at bogles, if Glanvill and More took
them seriously.

Before the Restoration it was distinctly dangerous to laugh at
witchcraft, ghosts and hauntings. But the laughers came in with the
merry monarch, and less by argument than by ridicule, by inveighing
against the horror, too, of the hideous witch prosecutions, the
laughers gradually brought hauntings and apparitions into contempt.
Few educated people dared to admit that their philosophy might not
be wholly exhaustive. Even ladies sneered at Dr. Johnson because
he, having no dread of common-sense before his eyes, was inclined to
hold that there might be some element of truth in a world-old and
world-wide belief; and the romantic Anna Seward told, without
accepting it, Scott's tale of 'The Tapestried chamber'. That a
hundred years after the highday and triumph of common-sense, people
of education should be found gravely investigating all that common-
sense had exploded, is a comfortable thought to the believer in
Progress. The world does not stand still.

A hundred years after the blue stockings looked on Johnson as the
last survivor, the last of the Mohicans of superstition, the
Psychical Society can collect some 400 cases of haunted houses in
England.

Ten years ago, in 1884, the society sifted out nineteen stories as
in 'the first class,' and based on good first-hand evidence. Their
analysis of the reports led them to think that there is a certain
genuine _type_ of story, and, that when a tale 'differs widely from
the type, it proves to be incorrect, or unattainable from an
authentic source'. This is very much the conclusion to which the
writer is brought by historical examination of stories about
hauntings. With exceptions, to be indicated, these tales all
approximate to a type, and that is not the type of the magazine
story.

It may be well, in the first place, to make some negative statements
as to what the committee does _not_ discover. First, it has never
yet hired haunted house in which the sights and sounds continued
during the tenancy of the curious observers. {137} The most obvious
inference is that the earlier observers who saw and heard abnormal
things were unscientific, convivial, nervous, hysterical, or
addicted to practical joking. This, however, is not the only
possible explanation. As a celebrated prophet, by his own avowal
had been 'known to be steady for weeks at a time,' so, even in a
regular haunted house, the ghost often takes a holiday. A case is
well known to the writer in which a ghost began his manoeuvres soon
after a family entered the house. It made loud noises, it opened
doors, turning the handle as the lady of the house walked about, it
pulled her hair when she was in bed, plucked her dress, produced
lights, and finally appeared visibly, a hag dressed in grey, to
several persons. Then as if sated, the ghost struck work for years,
when it suddenly began again, was as noisy as ever, and appeared to
a person who had not seen it before, but who made a spirited if
unsuccessful attempt to run it to earth.

The truth is, that magazine stories and superstitious exaggerations
have spoiled us for ghosts. When we hear of a haunted house, we
imagine that the ghost is always on view, or that he has a benefit
night, at certain fixed dates, when you know where to have him.
These conceptions are erroneous, and a house _may_ be haunted,
though nothing desirable occurs in presence of the committee.
Moreover the committee, as far as the writer is aware, have
neglected to add a seer to their number. This mistake, if it has
been made, is really wanton. It is acknowledged that not every one
has 'a nose for a ghost,' as a character of George Eliot's says, or
eyes or ears for a ghost. It is thought very likely that, where
several people see an apparition simultaneously, the spiritual or
psychical or imaginative 'impact' is addressed to one, and by him,
or her (usually her) handed on to the rest of the society. Now, if
the committee do not provide themselves with a good 'sensitive'
comrade, what can they expect, but what they get, that is, nothing?
A witch in an old Scotch trial says, of her 'Covin,' or 'Circle,'
'We could do no great thing without our Maiden'. The committee
needs a Maiden, as a Covin needed one, and among the visionaries of
the Psychical Society, there must be some young lady who should be
on the House Committee. Yet one writer in the Society's Proceedings
who has a very keen scent for an impostor, if not for a ghost, avers
that, from the evidence, she believes that they are examining facts,
and not the origin of fables.

These facts, as was said, differ from the stories in 'Christmas
numbers'. The ghost in typical reports seldom or never _speaks_.
It has no message to convey, or, if it has a message, it does not
convey it. It does not unfold some tragedy of the past: in fact it
is very seldom capable of being connected with any definite known
dead person. The figure seen sometimes 'varies with the seer'.
{139} In other cases, however, different people attest having seen
the same phantasm. Finally a new house seems just as likely to be
haunted as an old house, and the committee appears to have no
special knowledge of very ancient family ghosts, such as Pearlin
Jean, the Luminous Boy of Corby, or the rather large company of
spectres popularly supposed to make themselves at home at Glamis
Castle.

What then is the type, the typical haunted house, from which, if
narratives vary much, they are apt to break down under cross-
examination?

The phenomena are usually phenomena of sight, or sound, or both. As
a rule the sounds are footsteps, rustling of dresses, knocks, raps,
heavy bangs, noises as of dragging heavy weights, and of
disarranging heavy furniture. These sometimes occur freely, where
nobody can testify to having _seen_ anything spectral. Next we have
phantasms, mostly of figures beheld for a moment with 'the tail of
the eye' or in going along a passage, or in entering a room where
nobody is found, or standing beside a bed, perhaps in a kind of
self-luminous condition. Sometimes these spectres are taken by
visitors for real people, but the real people cannot be found;
sometimes they are at once recognised as phantasms, because they are
semi-transparent, or look very malignant, or because they glide and
do not walk, or are luminous, or for some other excellent reason.
The combination, in due proportions, of pretty frequent inexplicable
noises, with occasional aimless apparitions, makes up the _type_ of
orthodox modern haunted house story. The difficulty of getting
evidence worth looking at (except for its uniformity) is obviously
great. Noises may be naturally caused in very many ways: by winds,
by rats, by boughs of trees, by water pipes, by birds. The writer
has known a very satisfactory series of footsteps in an historical
Scotch house, to be dispelled by a modification of the water pipes.
Again he has heard a person of distinction mimic the noises made by
_his_ family ghosts (which he preserved from tests as carefully as
Don Quixote did his helmet) and the performance was an admirable
imitation of the wind in a spout. There are noises, however, which
cannot be thus cheaply disposed of, and among them are thundering
whacks on the walls of rooms, which continue in spite of all efforts
to detect imposture. These phenomena, says Kiesewetter, were known
to the Acadians of old, a circumstance for which he quotes no
authority. {140a}

Paracelsus calls the knocks pulsatio mortuorum, in his fragment on
'Souls of the Dead,' and thinks that the sounds predict misfortune,
a very common belief. {140b} Lavaterus says, that such
disturbances, in unfinished houses are a token of good luck!

Again there is the noise made apparently by violent movement of
heavy furniture, which on immediate examination (as in Scott's case
at Abbotsford) is found not to have been moved. The writer is
acquainted with a dog, a collie, which was once shut up alone in a
room where this disturbance occurred. The dog was much alarmed and
howled fearfully, but it soon ceased to weigh on his spirits. When
phantasms are occasionally seen by respectable witnesses, where
these noises and movements occur, the haunted house is of a healthy,
orthodox, modern type. But the phenomena are nothing less than
modern, for Mather, Sinclair, Paracelsus, Wierus, Glanvill, Bovet,
Baxter and other old writers are full of precisely these
combinations of sounds and sights, while many cases occur in old
French literature, old Latin literature, and among races of the
lower barbaric and savage grades of culture. One or two curious
circumstances have rather escaped the notice of philosophers though
not of Thyraeus. First, the loudest of the unexplained sounds are
_occasionally_ not audible to all, so that (as when the noise seems
to be caused by furniture dragged about) we may conjecture with
Thyraeus, that there is no real movement of the atmosphere, that the
apparent crash is an auditory hallucination. The planks and heavy
objects at Abbotsford had _not_ been stirred, as the loud noises
overhead indicated, when Scott came to examine them.

In a dreadfully noisy curacy vouched for by 'a well-known Church
dignitary,' who occupied the place, there was usually a frightful
crash as of iron bars thrown down, at 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning.
All the boxes and heavy material in a locked set of attics, seemed
to be dancing about, but were never found to have been stirred. Yet
this clergyman discovered that 'the great Sunday crash might
manifest itself to some persons in the house without his wife or
himself being conscious of it. Knowing how overwhelming the sound
always appeared to me when I did hear it, I cannot but consider this
one of the most wonderful things in the whole business.' {142}

In this case, in a house standing hundreds of yards apart from any
neighbour, and occupied only by a parson, his wife, and one servant,
these phenomena lasted for a year, with great regularity. There
were the usual footsteps, the ordinary rappings were angry when
laughed at, and the clergyman when he left at the end of a year, was
as far as ever from having detected any cause. Indeed it is not
easy to do so. A friend of the writer's, an accomplished man of
law, was once actually consulted, in the interests of an enraged
squire, as to how he could bring a suit against _somebody_ for a
series of these inexplicable disturbances. But the law contained no
instrument for his remedy.

From the same report of the S. P. R. we take another typical case.
A lady, in an old house, saw, in 1873, a hideous hag watching her in
bed; she kept the tale to herself, but, a fortnight later, her
brother, a solicitor, was not a whit less alarmed by a similar and
similarly situated phenomenon. In this house dresses were plucked
at, heavy blows were struck, heavy footsteps went about, there were
raps at doors, and nobody was ever any the wiser as to the cause.
Here it may be observed that a ghost's power of making a noise, and
exerting what seems to be great physical energy, is often in inverse
ratio to his power of making himself generally visible, or, at all
events, to his inclination so to do. Thus there is a long record of
a haunted house, by the chief observer, Miss Morton, in P. S. P. R.,
pt. xxii. p. 311. A lady had died of habits too convivial, in 1878.
In April, 1882, Miss Morton's family entered, but nobody saw the
ghost till Miss Morton viewed it in June. The appearance was that
of a tall lady in widow's weeds, hiding her face with a
handkerchief. From 1882 to 1884, Miss Morton saw the spectre six
times, but did not name it to her family. Her sister saw the
appearance in 1882, a maid saw it in 1883, and two boys beheld it in
the same year. Miss Morton used to follow the appearance downstairs
and speak to it, but it merely gave a slight gasp, and seemed unable
to converse. By way of testing the spectre, Miss Morton stretched
threads at night from the railing of the stair to the wall, but the
ghost descended without disturbing them. Yet her footsteps sounded
on the stairs. This is, in fact, a crucial difficulty about ghosts.
They are material enough to make a noise as they walk, but _not_
material enough to brush away a thread! This ghost, whose visible
form was so much en evidence, could, or did, make no noise at all,
beyond light pushes at doors, and very light footsteps. In the
curacy already described, noises were made enough to waken a parish,
but no form was ever seen. Briefly, for this ghost there is a cloud
of witnesses, all solemnly signing their depositions. These two
examples are at the opposite poles between which ghostly
manifestations vary, in haunted houses.

A brief precis of 'cases' may show how these elements of noise, on
one side, and apparitions, on the other, are commonly blended. In a
detached villa, just outside 'the town of C.,' Mrs. W. remarks a
figure of a tall dark-haired man peeping round the corner of a
folding door. She does not mention the circumstance. Two months
later she sees the same sorrowful face in the drawing-room. This
time she tells her husband. Later in the same month, when playing
cricket with her children, she sees the face 'peeping round from the
kitchen door'. Rather later she heard a deep voice say in a
sorrowful tone, 'I can't find it'; something slaps her on the back.
Her step-daughter who had not heard of the phantasm, sees the same
pale dark-moustached face, 'peeping round the folding doors'. She
is then told Mrs W.'s story. Her little brother, later, sees the
figure simultaneously with herself. She also hears the voice say,
'I can't find it,' at the same moment as Mrs. W. hears it. A year
later, she sees the figure at the porch, _in a tall hat_! Neither
lady had enjoyed any other hallucination. Nothing is known of the
melancholy spectre, probably the ghost of a literary person,
searching, always searching, for a manuscript poem by some total
stranger who had worried him into his grave, and not left him at
peace even there. This is a very solemn and touching story, and
appeals tenderly and sadly to all persons of letters who suffer from
the unasked for manuscripts of the general public.

2. Some ladies and servants in a house in Hyde Park Place, see at
intervals a phantom housemaid: she is also seen by a Mr. Bird.
There is no story about a housemaid, and there are no noises. This
is _not_ an interesting tale.

3. A Hindoo native woman is seen to enter a locked bath-room, where
she is not found on inquiry. A woman had been murdered there some
years before. The percipient, General Sir Arthur Becher, had seen
other uncanny visions. A little boy, wakened out of sleep, said he
saw an ayah. Perhaps he did.

4. A Mr. Harry, in the South of Europe, saw a white female figure
glide through his library into his bedroom. Later, his daughters
beheld a similar phenomenon. Mr. Harry, a gentleman of sturdy
common-sense, 'dared his daughters to talk of any such nonsense as
ghosts, as they might be sure apparitions were only in the
imagination of nervous people'. He himself saw the phantasm seven
or eight times in his bedroom, and twice in the library. On one
occasion it lifted up the mosquito curtains and stared at Mr. Harry.
As in the case of meeting an avalanche, 'a weak-minded man would
pray, sir, would pray; a strong-minded man would swear, sir, would
swear'. Mr. Harry was a strong-minded man, and behaved 'in a
concatenation accordingly,' although Petrus Thyraeus says that there
is no use in swearing at ghosts. The phantasm seemed to be about
thirty-five, her features were described as 'rather handsome,' and
(unromantically) as 'oblong'. A hallucination, we need hardly say,
would not raise the mosquito curtains, this ghost had more heart in
it than most.

5. Various people see 'a column of light vaguely shaped like a
woman,' moving about in a room of a house in Sussex. One servant,
who slept in the room in hopes of a private view, saw 'a ball of
light with a sort of halo round it'. Again, in a very pretty story,
the man who looked after an orphan asylum saw a column of light
above the bed of one of the children. Next morning the little boy
declared that his mother had come to visit him, probably in a dream.

On this matter of lights {146} Mr. Podmore enters into argument with
Mr. Frederick Myers. Mr. Myers, on the whole, believes that the
phenomena of haunted houses are caused by influences of some sort
from the minds of the dead. Mr. Podmore, if we understand him holds
that some living person has had some empty hallucination, in a
house, and that this is 'telepathically' handed on, perhaps to the
next tenant, who may know nothing about either the person or the
vision. Thus, a Miss Morris, much vexed by ghostly experiences,
left a certain house in December, 1886. Nearly a year later, in
November, 1887, a Mrs. G. came in. Mrs. G. did not know Miss
Morris, nor had she heard of the disturbances. However sobs, and
moans, and heavy thumps, and noises of weighty objects thrown about,
and white faces, presently drove Mrs. G. to seek police protection.
This only roused the ghost's ambition, and he 'came' as a man with
freckles, also he walked about, shook beds, and exhibited lights. A
figure in black, with a white face, now displayed itself:
barristers and clergymen investigated, but to no purpose. They saw
figures, heard crashes, and the divine did a little Anglican
exorcism. The only story about the house showed that a woman had
hanged herself with a skipping rope in the 'top back bedroom,' in
1879. Here are plenty of phenomena, apparitions male and female.
But Miss Morris, in addition to hearing noises, only saw a pale
woman in black.

Mr. Podmore's theory comes in thus: 'the later experiences may have
been started by thought transference from Miss Morris, whose
thoughts, no doubt, occasionally turned to the house in which she
had suffered so much agitation and alarm'. Moreover 'real noises'
may have 'suggested' the visual hallucinations to Miss Morris. {147}
Mr. Podmore certainly cannot be accused of ordinary superstition.
There is a house, and there is a tenant. She hears footsteps
pounding up- and down-stairs, and all through her room, she says
nothing and gets used to it. Let it be granted that these noises
are caused by rats. After conquering her dislike to the sounds,
three weeks after her entry to the house, Miss Morris meets a total
stranger, deadly pale, in deep black, who vanishes. This phantasm
has gathered round the nucleus which the rats provided by stamping
up- and down-stairs, and through Miss Morris's room. It is natural
that a person who hears rats, or wind, or waterpipes, and makes up
her mind not to mind it, should then see a phantasm of a pale woman
in black; also should hear loud knocks at the door of her chamber.
Miss Morris goes away, a year later comes Mrs. G., and Mrs. G., her
children, her servants, a barrister and an exorcist, are all
disturbed by

Noises.

Knocks.

Sobs.

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