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Cock Lane and Common-Sense by Andrew Lang

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conceivably do something by no means beneficial. Again, science is
accustomed to deal with constant phenomena, which, given the
conditions, will always result. The phenomena of the marvellous are
not constant, or, rather, the conditions cannot be definitely
ascertained. When Mr. Crookes made certain experiments on Home's
power of causing a balance to move without contact he succeeded; in
the presence of some Russian savants a similar experiment failed.
Granting that Mr. Crookes's tests were accurate (and the lay mind,
at least, can see no flaw in them), we must suppose that the
personal conditions, in the Russian case, were not the same.

Now an electric current will inevitably do its work, if known and
ascertained conditions are present; a personal current, so to speak,
depends on personal conditions which are unascertainable. It is
inevitable that science, accustomed to the invariable, should turn
away from phenomena which, if they do occur, seem, so far, to have a
will of their own. That they have a will of their own is precisely
their attraction for another class of minds, which recognises in
them the action of unknown intelligences. There are also people who
so dislike our detention in the prison house of old unvarying laws,
that their bias is in favour of anything which may tend to prove
that science, in her contemporary mood, is not infallible. As the
Frenchman did not care what sort of scheme he invested money in,
'provided that it annoys the English,' so many persons do not care
what they invest belief in, provided that it irritates men of
science. Just as rationally, some men of science denounce all
investigation of the abnormal phenomena of which history and rumour
are so full, because the research may bring back distasteful
beliefs, and revive the 'ancestral tendency' to superstition. Yet
the question is not whether the results of research may be
dangerous, but whether the phenomena occur. The speculations of
Copernicus, of Galileo, of the geologists, of Mr. Darwin, were
'dangerous,' and it does not appear that they have added to the sum
of human delight. But men of science are still happiest when
denouncing the 'obscurantism' of those who opposed Copernicus, Mr.
Darwin, and the rest, in dread of the moral results. We owe the
strugforlifeur of M. Daudet to Mr. Darwin and Mr. Alfred Wallace,
and the strugforlifeur is as dangerous and disagreeable as the half-
crazy spiritualist. Science is only concerned with truth, not with
the mischievous inferences which people may draw from truth. And
yet certain friends of science, quite naturally and normally, fall
back on the attitude of the opponents of Copernicus: 'These
things,' they say, 'should not even be examined'.

Such are the hostile and distracting influences, the contending
currents, in the midst of which Reason has to operate as well as she
can. Meanwhile every one of us probably supposes himself to be a
model of pure reason, and if people would only listen to him, the
measure of the universe. This happy and universal frame of mind is
agreeably illustrated in a work by the late Comte Agenor de
Gasparin, Les Tables Tournantes (Deuxieme edition: Levy, Paris,
1888). The first edition is of 1854, and was published at a time of
general excitement about 'table-turning' and 'spirit-rapping,' an
excitement which only old people remember, and which it is amazing
to read about.

Modern spirit-rapping, of which table-turning is a branch, began, as
we know, in 1847-48. A family of Methodists named Fox, entered, in
1847, on the tenancy of a house in Hydesville, in the State of New
York. The previous occupants had been disturbed by 'knocking,' this
continued in the Fox regime, one of the little girls found that the
raps would answer (a discovery often made before) a system of
alphabetic communication was opened, and spiritualism was launched.
{307} In March, 1853, a packet of American newspapers reached
Bremen, and, as Dr. Andree wrote to the Gazette d'Augsbourg (March
30, 1853), all Bremen took to experiments in turning tables. The
practice spread like a new disease, even men of science and
academicians were puzzled, it is a fact that, at a breakfast party
in Macaulay's rooms in the Albany, a long and heavy table became
vivacious, to Macaulay's disgust, when the usual experiment was
tried. Men of science were, in some cases, puzzled, in others
believed that a new force must be recognised, in others talked of
unconscious pushing or of imposture. M. Babinet, a member of the
Institute, writing in the Revue des Deux Mondes (May, 1854),
explained the 'raps' or percussive noises, as the result of
ventriloquism! A similar explanation was urged, and withdrawn, in
the case of the Cock Lane ghost, and it does not appear that M.
Babinet produced a ventriloquist who could do the trick. Raps may
be counterfeited in many ways, but hardly by ventriloquism. The
raps were, in Europe, a later phenomenon than the table-turning, and
aroused far more interest. The higher clergy investigated the
matter, and the Bishop of Mans in a charge, set down the phenomena
to the agency of some kind of spirits, with whom Christian men
should have no commerce. Granting the facts, the bishop was
undeniably right.

There was published at that time a journal called La Table Parlante,
which contained recitals of phenomena, correspondence, and so forth.
Among the narratives, that of a M. Benezet was typical, and is
curious. In recent years, about 1872-80, the Rev. Mr. Stainton
Moses, a clergyman and scholar of the best moral reputation,
believed himself to be the centre of extraordinary, and practically
incredible, occurrences, a belief shared by observers among his
friends. M. Benezet's narrative is full of precisely parallel
details. M. Benezet lived at Toulouse, in 1853; and his experiences
had for their scene his own house, and that of his relations, M. and
Mme. L. The affair began in table-turning and table-tilting: the
tilts indicated the presence of 'spirits,' which answered questions,
right or wrong: under the hands of the L.'s the table became
vivacious, and chased a butterfly. Then the spirit said it could
appear as an old lady, who was viewed by one of the children. The
L.'s being alarmed, gave up making experiments, but one day, at
dinner, thumps were struck on the table. M. Benezet was called in,
and heard the noises with awe. He went away, but the knocks sounded
under the chair of Mme. L., she threw some holy water under the
chair, when _her thumb was bitten_, and marks of teeth were left on
it. Presently her shoulder was bitten, whether on a place which she
could reach with her teeth or not, we are not informed. Raps went
on, the L.'s fled to M. Benezet's house, which was instantly
disturbed in the same fashion. Objects were spirited away, and
reappeared as oddly as they had vanished. Packets of bonbons turned
up unbeknown, sailed about the room, and suddenly fell on the table
at dinner. The L.'s went back to their own house, where their hats
and boots contracted a habit of floating dreamily about in the air.
Things were hurled at them, practical jokes were played, and in
September these monstrous annoyances gradually ceased. The most
obvious explanation is that Mme. L. demoralised by turning tables,
took, consciously or unconsciously, to imitating the tricks of which
history and legend are full. Her modus, operandi, in some
phenomena, is difficult to conjecture.

While opinion was agitated by these violent events, and contending
hypotheses, while La Table Parlante took a Catholic view, and
Science a negative view, M. Agenor de Gasparin, a Protestant, chose
a via media.

M. de Gasparin, the husband of the well-known author of The Near and
the Heavenly Horizons, was a table-turner, without being a
spiritualist. His experiments were made in Switzerland, in 1853; he
published a book on them, as we said; M. Figuier attacked it in Les
Mysteres de la Science, after M. de Gasparin's death, and the widow
of the author replied by republishing part of the original work. M.
de Gasparin, in the early Empire, was a Liberal, an anti-Radical, an
opponent of negro slavery, a Christian, an energetic honest man,
absolu et ardent, as he confesses.

His purpose was to demonstrate that tables turn, that the phenomenon
is purely physical, that it cannot be explained by the mechanical
action of the muscles, nor by that of 'spirits'. His allies were
his personal friends, and it is pretty clear that two ladies were
the chief 'agents'. The process was conducted thus: a 'chain' of
eight or ten people surrounded a table, lightly resting their
fingers, all in contact, on its surface. It revolved, and, by
request, would raise one of its legs, and tap the floor. All this,
of course, can be explained either by cheating, or by the
_unconscious_ pushes administered. If any one will place his hands
on a light table, he will find that the mere come and go of pulse
and breath have a tendency to agitate the object. It moves a
little, accompanying it you unconsciously move it more. The
experiment is curious because, on some days, the table will not
budge, on others it instantly sets up a peculiar gliding movement,
in which it almost seems to escape from the superimposed hands,
while the most wakeful attention cannot detect any conscious action
of the muscles. If you try the opposite experiment, namely
conscious pushing of the most gradual kind, you find that the
exertion is very distinctly sensible. The author has made the
following simple experiment.

Two persons for whom the table would _not_ move laid their hands on
it firmly and flatly. Two others (for whom it danced) just touched
the hands of the former pair. Any pressure or push from the upper
hands would be felt, of course, by the under hands. No such
pressure was felt, yet the table began to rotate. In another
experiment with another subject, the pressure _was_ felt (indeed the
owner of the upper hands was conscious of pressing), yet the table
did _not_ move. These experiments are, physiologically, curious,
but, of course, they demonstrate nothing. Muscles can move the
table, muscles can apparently act without the consciousness of their
owner, therefore the movement is caused, or may be irrefutably said
to be caused, by unconscious muscular action.

M. de Gasparin, of course, was aware of all this; he therefore aimed
at producing movement _without_ contact. In his early experiments
the table was first set agoing by contact; all hands were then
lifted at a signal, to half an inch above the table, and still the
table revolved. Of course it will not do this, if it is set agoing
by conscious muscular action, as any one may prove by trying. As it
was possible that some one might still be touching the table, and
escaping in the crowd the notice of the observers outside the
circle, two ladies tried alone. The observer, Mr. Thury, saw the
daylight between their hands and the table, which revolved four or
five times. To make assurance doubly sure, a thin coating of flour
was scattered over the whole table, and still it moved, while the
flour was unmarked. M. de Gasparin was therefore convinced that the
phenomena of movement without mechanical agency were real. His
experiments got rid of Mr. Faraday's theory of unconscious pressure
and pushing, because you cannot push with your muscles what you do
not touch with any portion of your body, and De Gasparin had assured
himself that there was _no_ physical contact between his friends and
this table.

M. de Gasparin now turned upon Dr. Carpenter, to whom an article in
the Quarterly Review, dealing with the whole topic of abnormal
occurrences, was attributed. Dr. Carpenter, at this time, had
admitted the existence of the hypnotic state, and the amenability of
the hypnotised person to the wildest suggestions. He had also begun
to develop his doctrine of 'unconscious cerebration,' that is, the
existence of mental processes beneath, or apart from our
consciousness. {312} An 'ideational change' may take place in the
cerebrum. The sensorium is 'unreceptive,' so the idea does not
reach consciousness. Sometimes, however, the idea oozes out from
the fingers, through muscular action, also unconscious. This moves
the table to the appropriate tilts. These two ideas are capable, if
we admit them, of explaining many singular psychological facts, but
they certainly do not explain the movements of tables which nobody
is touching. In face of M. de Gasparin's evidence, which probably
was not before him, Dr. Carpenter could only have denied the facts,
or alleged that the witnesses, including observers outside the
chaine, or circle, were all self-hypnotised, all under the influence
of self-suggestion, and all honestly asserting the occurrence of
events which did not occur. His essay touched but lightly on this
particular marvel. He remarked that 'the turning of tables, and the
supposed communications of spirits through their agency' are due 'to
the mental state of the performers themselves'. Now M. de Gasparin,
in his via media, repudiated 'spirits' energetically. Dr. Carpenter
then explained witchcraft, and the vagaries of 'camp-meetings' by
the 'dominant idea'. But M. de Gasparin could reply that persons
whose 'dominant idea' was incredulity attested many singular
occurrences. At the end of his article, Dr. Carpenter decides that
table-turners push unconsciously, as they assuredly do, but they
cannot push when not in contact with the object. The doctor did not
allege that table-turners are 'biologised' as he calls it, and under
a glamour. But M. de Gasparin averred that no single example of
trance, rigidity, loss of ordinary consciousness, or other morbid
symptoms, had ever occurred in his experiments. There is thus, as
it were, no common ground on which he and Dr. Carpenter can meet and
fight. He dissected the doctor's rather inconsequent argument with
a good deal of acuteness and wit.

M. de Gasparin then exhibited some of the besetting sins of all who
indulge in argument. He accepted all his own private phenomena, but
none of those, such as 'raps' and so forth, for which other people
were vouching. Things must occur as he had seen them, and not
otherwise. What he had seen was a chaine of people surrounding a
table, all in contact with the table, and with each other. The
table had moved, and had answered questions by knocking the floor
with its foot. It had also moved, when the hands were held close to
it, but not in contact with it. Nothing beyond that was orthodox,
as nothing beyond hypnotism and unconscious cerebration was orthodox
with Dr. Carpenter. Moreover M. de Gasparin had his own physical
explanation of the phenomena. There is, in man's constitution, a
'fluid' which can be concentrated by his will, and which then, given
a table and a chaine, will produce M. de Gasparin's phenomena: but
no more. He knows that 'fluids' are going out of fashion in
science, and he is ready to call the 'fluid' the 'force' or
'agency,' or 'condition of matter' or what you please. 'Substances,
forces, vibrations, let it be what you choose, as long as it is
something.' The objection that the phenomena are 'of no use' was
made, and is still very common, but, of course, is in no case
scientifically valid. Electricity was 'of no use' once, and the
most useless phenomenon is none the less worthy of examination.

M. de Gasparin now examines another class of objections. First, the
phenomena were denied; next, they were said to be as old as history,
and familiar to the Greeks. We elsewhere show that this is quite
true, that the movement of objects without contact was as familiar
to the Greeks as to the Peruvians, the Thibetans, the Eskimo, and in
modern stories of haunted houses. But, as will presently appear,
these wilder facts would by no means coalesce with the hypothesis of
M. de Gasparin. To his mind, tables turn, but they turn by virtue
of the will of a 'circle,' consciously exerted, through the means of
some physical force, fluid, or what not, produced by the imposition
of hands. Now these processes do not characterise the phenomena
among Greeks, Thibetans, Eskimo, Peruvians, in haunted houses, or in
presence of the late Mr. Home,--granting the facts as alleged. In
these instances, nobody is 'circling' round a chair, a bed, or what
not, yet the chair or bed moves, as in the story of Monsieur S. at
St. Maur (1706), and in countless other examples. All this would
not, as we shall see, be convenient for the theory of M. de
Gasparin.

His line of argument is that the Greek and Latin texts are
misunderstood, but that, if the Greeks did turn tables, that is no
proof that tables do not turn, but rather the reverse. A favourite
text is taken from Ammianus Marcellinus, lib. xxix. ch. i. M. de
Gasparin does not appear to have read the passage carefully. About
371 A.D. one Hilarius was tortured on a charge of magical operations
against the Emperor Valens. He confessed. A little table, made of
Delphic laurel, was produced in court. 'We made it,' he said, 'that
confounded little table, under strange rites and imprecations, and
we set it in movement, thus: it was placed in a room charged with
perfumes, above a round plate fashioned of various metals. The edge
of the plate was marked with the letters of the alphabet separated
by certain spaces. A priest, linen clad, bowed himself over the
table, balancing a ring tied to a thin thread. The ring, bounding
from letter to letter, picks out letters forming hexameters, like
those of Delphi.' This is confusing. Probably the movements of the
table, communicated to the thread, caused the bounds of the ring,
otherwise there was no use in the table moving. At all events the
ring touched THEO (which is not a word that could begin a hexameter)
when they asked who was to succeed Valens. Some one called out
'Theodore' and they pursued the experiment no farther. A number of
Theodores and Theophiles were put to death, but when Theodosius was
joined with Gratian in the Empire, the believers held that the table
had been well inspired. Here there was no chaine, or circle, the
table is not said to lever le pied legerement, as the song advises,
therefore M. de Gasparin rules the case out of court. The object,
however, really was analogous to planchette, Ouija, and other modern
modes of automatic divination. The experiment of Hilarius with the
'confounded little table' led to a massacre of Neoplatonists,
martyrs of Psychical Research! In Hilarius's confession we omit a
set of ritual invocations; as unessential as the mystic rites used
by savages in making curari.

The spiritus percutiens, 'rapping spirit' (?) conjured away by old
Catholic formulae at the benediction of churches, was brought
forward by some of M. de Gasparin's critics. As _his_ tables did
not rap, he had nothing to do with the spiritus percutiens, who
proves, however, that the Church was acquainted with raps, and
explained them by the spiritualistic hypothesis. {317}

A text in Tertullian's Apologetic was also cited. Here tabulae and
capae, 'tables and she-goats,' are said to divine. What have she-
goats to do in the matter? De Morgan wished to read tabulae et
crepae, which he construes 'tables and raps,' but he only finds
crepae in Festus, who says, that goats are called crepae, quod
cruribus crepent, 'because they rattle with their legs'. De
Morgan's guess is ingenious, but lacks confirmation. We are not, so
far, aware of communication with spirits by raps before 856 A.D.

Finally, M. de Gasparin denies that his researches are
'superstitious'. Will can move my limbs, if it also moves my table,
what is there superstitious in that? It is a new fact, that is all.
'Tout est si materiel, si physique dans les experiences des tables.'
It was not so at Toulouse!

Meanwhile M. de Gasparin, firm in his 'Trewth,'--the need of a
chaine of persons, the physical origin of the phenomena, the entire
absence of spirits,--was so unlucky, when he dealt with 'spirits,'
as to drop into the very line of argument which he had been
denouncing. 'Spirits' are 'superstitious,'--well, his adversaries
had found superstition in his own experiments and beliefs. To
believe that spirits are engaged, is 'to reduce our relations with
the invisible world to the grossest definition'. But why not, as we
know nothing about our relations with the invisible world? The
theology of the spirits is 'contrary to Scripture'; very well, your
tales of tables moved without contact are contrary to science. 'No
spiritualistic story has ever been told which is not to be classed
among the phenomena of animal magnetism. . . . ' This, of course,
is a mere example of a statement made without examination, a sin
alleged by M. de Gasparin against his opponents. Vast numbers of
such stories, not explicable by the now rejected theory of 'animal
magnetism,' have certainly been _told_.

In another volume M. de Gasparin demolished the tales, but he was
only at the beginning of his subject. The historical and
anthropological evidence for the movement of objects without
contact, not under his conditions, is very vast in bulk. The modern
experiments are sometimes more scientific than his own, and the
evidence for the most startling events of all kinds is quite as good
as that on which he relies for his prodigies, themselves
sufficiently startling. His hypothesis, at all events, of will
directing a force or fluid, by no means explains phenomena quite as
well provided with evidence as his own. So M. de Gasparin disposes
of the rival miracles as the result of chance, imposture, or
hallucination, the very weapons of his scientific adversaries. His
own prodigies he has seen, and is satisfied. His opponents say:
'You cannot register your force sur l'inclinaison d'une aiguille'.
He could not, but Home could do so to the satisfaction of a
scientific expert, and probably M. de Gasparin would have believed
it, if he had seen it. M. de Gasparin is horrified at the idea of
'trespassing on the territory of acts beyond our power'. But, if it
were possible to do the miracles of Home, it would be possible
because it is _not_ beyond our power. 'The spiritualistic opinion
is opposed to the doctrine of the resurrection: it merely announces
the immortality of the soul.' But that has nothing to do with the
matter in hand.

The theology of spirits, of course, is neither here nor there. A
'spirit' will say anything or everything. But Mr. C. C. Massey when
he saw a chair move at a word (and even without one), in the
presence of such a double-dyed impostor as Slade, had as much right
to believe his own eyes as M. de Gasparin, and what he saw does not
square with M. de Gasparin's private 'Trewth'. The chair in Mr.
Massey's experience, was 'unattached' to a piece of string; it fell,
and, at request, jumped up again, and approached Mr. Massey, 'just
as if some one had picked it up in order to take a seat beside me'.
{319a}

Such were the idola specus, the private personal prepossessions of
M. de Gasparin, undeniably an honourable man. Now, in 1877, his old
adversary, Dr. Carpenter, C.B., M.D., LL.D, F.R.S., F.G.S.,
V.P.L.S., corresponding member of the Institute of France, tout ce
qu'il y a de plus officiel, de plus decore, returned to the charge.
He published a work on Mesmerism, Spiritualism, etc. {319b} Perhaps
the unscientific reader supposes that Dr. Carpenter replied to the
arguments of M. de Gasparin? This would have been sportsmanlike,
but no, Dr. Carpenter firmly ignored them! He devoted three pages
to table-turning (pp. 96, 97, 98). He exhibited Mr. Faraday's
little machine for detecting muscular pressure, a machine which
would also detect pressure which is _not_ muscular. He explained
answers given by tilts, answers not consciously known to the
operators, as the results of unconscious cerebration. People may
thus get answers which they do expect, or answers which they do not
expect, as may happen. But not one word did Dr. Carpenter say to a
popular audience at the London Institution about M. de Gasparin's
assertion, and the assertion of M. de Gasparin's witnesses, that
motion had been observed without any contact at all. He might, if
he pleased, have alleged that M. de Gasparin and the others fabled;
or that they were self-hypnotised, or were cheated, but he
absolutely ignored the evidence altogether. Now this behaviour, if
scientific, was hardly quite _sportsmanlike_, to use a simple
British phrase which does credit to our language and national
character. Mr. Alfred Wallace stated a similar conclusion as to Dr.
Carpenter's method of argument, in language of some strength. 'Dr.
Carpenter,' he said, 'habitually gives only one side of the
question, and completely ignores all facts which tell against his
theory.' {320} Without going so far as Mr. Wallace, and alleging
that what Dr. Carpenter did in the case of M. de Gasparin, he did
'habitually,' we may briefly examine some portions of his book
which, perhaps, leave something to be desired. It is written with
much acuteness, with considerable fairness, and is certainly
calculated to convince any reader who has not been perplexed by
circumstances on which Dr. Carpenter throws little light.

Our own chief perplexity is the continuity and uniformity of the
historical and anthropological evidence for certain marvels. We
have already shown the difficulty of attributing this harmony of
evidence, first to savage modes of thought, and then to their
survival and revival. The evidence, in full civilisation, ancient
and modern, of educated and even sceptical witnesses to phenomena,
which are usually grotesque, but are always the same everywhere, in
every age and land, and the constant attendance of these phenomena
on persons of a peculiar temperament, are our stumbling-blocks on
the path to absolute negation. Epilepsy, convulsions, hysterical
diseases are startling affairs, we admit. It was natural that
savages and the ignorant should attribute them to diabolical
possession, and then look out for, and invent, manifestations of the
diabolical energy outside the body of the patient, say in movements
of objects, knocks, and so forth. As in these maladies the patient
may be subject to hallucinations, it was natural that savages or
ignorant men, or polytheists, or ardent Catholics, or excitable
Covenanters, should regard these hallucinations as 'lucid' or
'clairvoyant'. A few lucky coincidences would establish this
opinion among such observers as we have indicated, while failures of
lucidity would not be counted. The professional epileptic medicine-
man, moreover, would strengthen his case by 'prophesying on velvet,'
like Norna of the Fitful Head, on private and early information.
Imposture would imitate the 'spiritual' feats of 'raps,' 'physical
movements of objects,' and 'luminous forms'. All this would
continue after savagery, after paganism, after 'Popery' among the
peasants who were for so long, and in superstition are even now, a
conservative class.

All that 'expectancy,' hysterics, 'the dominant idea' and rude
hypnotism, 'the sleep of the shadow,' could do, would be done, as
witch trials show. All these elements in folklore, magic and belief
would endure, in the peasant class, under the veneer of
civilisation. Now and again these elements of superstition would
break through the veneer, would come to the surface among the
educated classes, and would 'carry silly women captive,' and silly
men. They, too, though born in the educated class, would attest
impossible occurrences.

In all this, we might only see survival, wonderfully vivacious, and
revival astonishingly close to the ancient savage lines.

We are unable to state the case for survival and revival more
strenuously, and the hypothesis is most attractive. This hypothesis
appears to be Dr. Carpenter's, though he does not, in the limits of
popular lectures, unfold it at any length. After stating (p. 1)
that a continuous belief in 'occult agencies' has existed, he adds:--

'While this very continuity is maintained by some to be an evidence
of the real existence of such [occult] agencies, it will be my
purpose to show you that it proves nothing more than the wide-spread
diffusion, alike amongst minds of the highest and lowest culture, of
certain tendencies to thought, which have either created ideal
marvels possessing no foundation whatever in fact, or have, by
exaggeration and distortion, invested with a preternatural character
occurrences which are perfectly capable of a natural explanation'.

Here Dr. Carpenter does not attempt to show cause why the
'manifestations' are always the same, for example, why spirits rap
in the Australian Bush, among blacks not influenced by modern
spiritualism: why tables moved, untouched, in Thibet and India,
long before 'table-turning' was heard of in modern Europe. We have
filled up the lacuna in the doctor's argument, by suggesting that
the phenomena (which are not such as a civilised taste would desire)
were invented by savages, and handed on in an unbroken catena, a
chain of tradition.

But, in following Dr. Carpenter, we are brought up short at one of
our old obstacles, we trip on one of our old stumbling-blocks.
Granting that an epileptic patient made strange bounds and springs,
we can conceive savages going farther in fancy, and averring that he
flew, or was levitated, or miraculously transported through space.
Let this become matter of traditional belief, as a thing possible in
epilepsy, i.e., in 'diabolical,' or 'angelical possession'. Add the
honest but hallucinatory persuasion of the patient that he was so
levitated, and let him be a person of honour and of sanctity, say
St. Theresa, St. Francis, or St. Joseph of Cupertino. Granting the
survival of a savage exaggeration, granting the hallucinated saint,
we may, perhaps, explain the innumerable anecdotes about miraculous
levitation of which a few are repeated in our paper on 'Comparative
Psychical Research.' The witnesses in witch trials, and in
ecclesiastical inquiries, and Lord Orrery, and Mr. Greatrakes, and
the Cromwellian soldiery in Scotland, the Spanish in Peru, Cotton
Mather in New England, saw what they expected to see, what tradition
taught them to look for, in the case of a convulsionary, or a saint,
or a catechumen. The consensus in illusion was wonderful, but let
us grant, for the sake of argument, that it was possible. Let us
add another example, from Cochin China.

The witness and narrator is Delacourt, a French missionary. The
source is a letter of his of November 25, 1738, to Winslow the
anatomist, Membre de l'Academie des Sciences a Paris. It is printed
in the Institutiones Theologicae of Collet, who attests the probity
of the missionary. {324}

In May or June, 1733, Delacourt was asked to view a young native
Christian, said by his friends to be 'possessed'.

'Rather incredulous,' as he says, Delacourt went to the lad, who had
communicated, as he believed, unworthily, and was therefore a prey
to religious excitement, which, as Bishop Callaway found among his
Zulu converts, and as Wodrow attests among 'savoury Christians,'
begets precisely such hallucinations as annoyed the early hermits
like St. Anthony. Delacourt addressed the youth in Latin: he
replied, Ego nescio loqui Latine, a tag which he might easily have
picked up, let us say. Delacourt led him into church, where the
patient was violently convulsed. Delacourt then (remembering the
example set by the Bishop of Tilopolis) ordered the demon _in
Latin_, to carry the boy to the ceiling. 'His body became stiff, he
was dragged from the middle of the church to a pillar, and there,
his feet joined, his back fixed (colle) against the pillar, he was
transported in the twinkling of an eye to the ceiling, like a weight
rapidly drawn up, without any apparent action on his part. I kept
him in the air for half an hour, and then bade him drop without
hurting himself,' when he fell 'like a packet of dirty linen'.
While he was up aloft, Delacourt preached at him in Latin, and he
became, 'perhaps the best Christian in Cochin China'.

Dr. Carpenter's explanation must either be that Delacourt lied; or
that a tradition, surviving from savagery, and enforced by the
example of the Bishop of Tilopolis, made a missionary, un peu
incredule, as he says, believe that he saw, and watched for half an
hour, a phenomenon which he never saw at all. But then Dr.
Carpenter also dismisses, with none but the general theory already
quoted, the experience of 'a nobleman of high scientific
attainments,' who 'seriously assures us' that he saw Home 'sail in
the air, by moonlight, out of one window and in at another, at the
height of seventy feet from the ground.' {326}

Here is the stumbling-block. A nobleman of high scientific
attainment, in company with another nobleman, and a captain in the
army, all vouched for this performance of Home. Now could the
savage tradition, which attributes flight to convulsive and
entranced persons, exercise such an influence on these three
educated modern witnesses; could an old piece of folklore, in
company with 'expectancy,' so wildly delude them? Can 'high
scientific attainments' leave their possessor with such humble
powers of observation? But, to be sure, Dr. Carpenter does not tell
his readers that there were _three_ witnesses. Dr. Carpenter says
that, if we believe Lord Crawford (and his friends), we can 'have no
reason for refusing credit to the historical evidence of the
demoniacal elevation of Simon Magus'. Let us point out that we have
no contemporary evidence at all about Simon's feat, while for
Home's, we have the evidence of three living and honourable men,
whom Dr. Carpenter might have cross-examined. The doings of Home
and of Simon were parallel, but nothing can be more different than
the nature of the evidence for what they are said to have done.
This, perhaps, might have been patent to a man like Dr. Carpenter of
'early scientific training'. But he illustrated his own doctrine of
'the dominant idea'; he did not see that he was guilty of a fallacy,
because his 'idea' dominated him. Stumbling into as deep a gulf,
Dr. Carpenter put Lord Crawford's evidence (he omitted that of his
friends) on a level with, or below, the depositions of witnesses as
to 'the aerial transport of witches to attend their demoniacal
festivities'. But who ever swore that he _saw_ witches so
transported? The evidence was not to witnessed facts, but only to a
current belief, backed by confessions under torture. No testimony
could be less on a par with that of a living 'nobleman of high
scientific attainments,' to his own experience.

In three pages Dr. Carpenter has shown that 'early scientific
training' in physiology and pathology, does not necessarily enable
its possessor to state a case fully. Nor does it prompt him to
discriminate between rumours coming, a hundred and fifty years after
the date of the alleged occurrences, from a remote, credulous, and
unscientific age: and the statements of witnesses all living, all
honourable, and, in one case, of 'high scientific attainments.'
{327}

It is this solemn belief in his own infallibility as a judge of
evidence combined with his almost incredible ignorance of what
evidence is, that makes Dr. Carpenter such an amusing
controversialist.

If any piece of fact is to be proved, it is plain that the
concurrent testimony of three living and honourable men is worth
more than a bit of gossip, which, after filtering through a century
or two, is reported by an early Christian Father. In matters wholly
marvellous, like Home's flight in the air, the evidence of three
living and honourable men need not, of course, convince us of the
fact. But this evidence is in itself a fact to be considered--'Why
do these gentlemen tell this tale?' we ask; but Dr. Carpenter puts
the testimony on the level of patristic tattle many centuries old,
written down, on no authority, long after the event. Yet the worthy
doctor calmly talks about 'want of scientific culture preventing
people from appreciating the force of scientific reasoning,' and
that after giving such examples of 'scientific reasoning' as we have
examined. {328} It is in this way that Science makes herself
disliked. By aid of ordinary intelligence, and of an ordinary
classical education, every one (however uncultivated in 'science')
can satisfy himself that Dr. Carpenter argued at random. Yet we do
not assert that 'early scientific training' _prevents_ people from
understanding the nature of evidence. Dr. Carpenter had the
training, but he was impetuous, and under a dominant idea, so he
blundered along.

Dr. Carpenter frequently invoked for the explanation of marvels, a
cause which is vera causa, expectancy. 'The expectation of a
certain result is often enough to produce it' (p. 12). This he
proves by cases of hypnotised patients who did, or suffered, what
they expected to be ordered to suffer or do, though no such order
was really given to them. Again (p. 40) he urges that imaginative
people, who sit for a couple of hours, 'especially if in the dark,'
believing or hoping to see a human body, or a table, rise in the
air, probably 'pass into a state which is neither sleeping nor
waking, but between the two, in which they see, hear, or feel by
touch, anything they have been led to expect will present itself.'

This is, indeed, highly probable. But we must suppose that _all_
present fall into this ambiguous state, described of old by
Porphyry. One waking spectator who sees nothing would make the
statements of the others even more worthless than usual. And it is
certain that it is not even pretended that all, always, see the same
phenomena.

'One saw an arm, and one a hand, and one the waving of a gown,' in
that seance at Branxholme, where only William of Deloraine beheld
all,

And knew, but how it mattered not,
It was the wizard, Michael Scott. {329}

Granting the ambiguous state, granting darkness, and expectancy,
anything may seem to happen. But Dr. Carpenter wholly omits such
cases as that of Mr. Hamilton Aide, and of M. Alphonse Karr. Both
were absolutely sceptical. Both disliked Home very much, and
thought him an underbred Yankee quack and charlatan. Both were in
the 'expectancy' of seeing no marvels, were under 'the dominant
idea' that nothing unusual would occur. Both, in a brilliantly
lighted room of a villa near Nice, saw a chair make a rush from the
wall into the middle of the room, and saw a very large and heavy
table, untouched, rise majestically in the air. M. Karr at once got
under the table, and hunted, vainly, for mechanical appliances.
Then he and Mr. Aide went home, disconcerted, and in very bad
humour. How do 'expectancy' and the 'dominant idea' explain this
experience, which Mr. Aide has published in the Nineteenth Century?
The expectancy and dominant ideas of these gentlemen should have
made them see the table and chair sit tight, while believers
observed them in active motion. Again, how could Mr. Crookes's lack
of 'a special training in the bodily and mental constitution,
abnormal as well as normal,' of 'mediums,' affect his power of
observing whether a plank of wood did, or did not, move to a certain
extent untouched, or slightly touched, and whether the difference of
position was, or was not, registered mechanically? (p. 70). It was
a pure matter of skilled and trained observation in mechanics. Dr.
Huggins was also present at this experiment in a mode of motion.
Him Dr. Carpenter gracefully discredited as an 'amateur,' without 'a
broad basis of _general_ scientific culture'. He had devoted
himself 'to a branch of research which tasks the keenest powers of
_observation_'. Now it was precisely powers of _observation_ that
were required. 'There are _moral_ sources of error,' of which a
mere observer like Dr. Huggins would be unaware. And 'one of the
most potent of these is a proclivity to believe in the reality of
spiritual communications,' particularly dangerous in a case where
'spiritual communications,' were not in question! The question was,
did an indicator move, or not, under a certain amount of pressure?
Indiscreetly enough, to be sure, the pressure was attributed to
'psychic force,' and perhaps that was what Dr. Carpenter had in his
mind, when he warned Dr. Huggins against 'the proclivity to believe
in the reality of spiritual communications'.

About a wilderness of other phenomena, attested by scores of sane
people, from Lord Crawford to Mr. S. C. Hall, Dr. Carpenter 'left
himself no time to speak' (p. 105). This was convenient, but the
lack of time prevented Dr. Carpenter from removing our stumbling-
block, the one obstacle which keeps us from adopting, with no shadow
of doubt, the theory that explains all the marvels by the survival
and revival of savage delusions. Dr. Carpenter's hypothesis of
expectancy, of a dominant idea, acting on believers, in an ambiguous
state, and in the dark, can do much, but it cannot account for the
experience of wide-awake sceptics, under the opposite dominant idea,
in a brilliant light.

Dr. Carpenter exposed and exploded a quantity of mesmeric
spiritualistic myths narrated by Dr. Gregory, by Miss Martineau, and
by less respectable if equally gullible authorities. But, speaking
merely as perplexed and unconvinced students of argument and
evidence, we cannot say that he removed the difficulties which have
been illustrated and described.

Table-turning, after what is called a 'boom' in 1853-60, is now an
abandoned amusement. It is deserted, like croquet, and it is even
less to be regretted. But its existence enabled disputants to
illustrate the ordinary processes of reasoning; each making
assertions up to the limit of his personal experience; each
attacking, as 'superstitious,' all who had seen, or fancied they had
seen, more than himself, and each fighting gallantly for his own
explanatory hypothesis, which never did explain any phenomena beyond
those attested by his own senses. The others were declared not to
exist, or to be the result of imposture and mal-observation,--and
perhaps they were.

The truly diverting thing is that Home did not believe in the other
'mediums,' nor in anything in the way of a marvel (such as matter
passing through matter) which he had not seen with his own eyes.
Whether Home's incredulity should be reckoned as a proof of his
belief in his own powers, might be argued either way.

THE GHOST THEORY OF THE ORIGIN OF RELIGION

Evolutionary Theory of the Origin of Religion. Facts misunderstood
suggest ghosts, which develop into gods. This process lies behind
history and experience. Difficulties of the Theory. The Theory of
Lucretius. Objections Mr. Tyler's Theory. The question of abnormal
facts not discussed by Mr. Tylor. Possibility that such 'psychical'
facts are real, and are elements in development of savage religion.
The evidence for psychical phenomena compared with that which, in
other matters, satisfies anthropologists. Examples. Conclusion.

Among the many hypotheses as to the origin of religion, that which
we may call the evolutionary, or anthropological, is most congenial
to modern habits of thought. The old belief in a sudden, miraculous
revelation is commonly rejected, though, in one sense, religion was
none the less 'revealed,' even if man was obliged to work his way to
the conception of deity by degrees. To attain that conception was
the necessary result of man's reflection on the sum of his relations
to the universe. The attainment, however, of the monotheistic idea
is not now generally regarded as immediate and instinctive. A slow
advance, a prolonged evolution was required, whether we accept Mr.
Max Muller's theory of 'the sense of the Infinite,' or whether we
prefer the anthropological hypothesis. The latter scheme, with
various modifications, is the scheme of Epicurus, Lucretius, Hume,
Mr. Tylor, and Mr. Herbert Spencer. Man half consciously
transferred his implicit sense that he was a living and rational
being to nature in general, and recognised that earth, sky, wind,
clouds, trees, the lower animals, and so on, were persons like
himself, persons perhaps more powerful and awful than himself. This
transference of personality can scarcely be called the result of a
conscious process of reasoning. Man might recognise personality
everywhere, without much more thought or argument than a kitten
exerts when it takes a cork or a ball for a living playmate. But
consciousness must have reached a more explicit stage, when man
began to ask himself what a _person_ is, what life is, and when he
arrived at the conclusion that life is a spirit. To advance from
that conclusion; to explain all life as the manifestation of
indwelling spirits; then to withdraw the conception of life and
personality from inanimate things, to select from among spirits One
more powerful than the rest, to recognise that One as disembodied,
as superior, then as supreme, then as unique, and so to attain the
monotheistic conception, has been, according to the evolutionary
hypothesis, the tendency of human thought.

Unluckily we cannot study the process in its course of action.
Perhaps there is no savage race so lowly endowed, that it does not
possess, in addition to a world of 'spirits,' something that answers
to the conception of God. Whether that is so, or not, is a question
of evidence. We have often been told that this or the other people
'has no religious ideas at all'. But later we hear that they do
possess a belief in spirits, and very often better information
proves that, in one stage or other of advance or degradation, the
theistic conception of a Maker and Judge of the world is also
present. Meanwhile even civilised and monotheistic peoples also
admit the existence of a world of spirits of the dead, of 'demons'
(as in Platonism), of saints (as in Catholicism), of devils, of
angels, or of subordinate deities. Thus the elements of religion
are universally distributed in all degrees of culture, though one
element is more conspicuous in one place or mood, another more
conspicuous in another. In one mood the savage, or the civilised
man, may be called monotheistic, in another mood atheistic, in a
third, practically polytheistic. Only a few men anywhere, and they
only when consciously engaged in speculation, assume a really
definite and exclusive mental attitude on the subject. The orthodox
monotheistic Mussulman has his afreets, and djinns; the Jew, or the
Christian, has his angels, the Catholic has his saints; the
Platonist has his demons; Superstition has its ghosts. The question
is whether all these spiritual beings are only ghosts raised to
higher powers: or (in the case of deity), to the highest
conceivable power, while, even when this last process has been
accomplished, we ask whether other ghosts, on lower grades, continue
to be recognised. Meanwhile the whole anthropological hypothesis,
whether valid or invalid, lies behind history, behind the experience
of even the most backward races at present extant. If it be urged,
as by Hume, that the conception of a supreme deity is only a
reflection of kingship in human society, we must observe that some
monarchical races, like the Aztecs, seem to have possessed no
recognised monarchical Zeus; while something very like the
monotheistic conception is found among races so remote from the
monarchical state of society as to have no obvious distinctions of
rank, like the Australian blacks. Moreover the evidence, on such
difficult points, is obscure, and fluctuating, and capable of
various interpretation. Even among the most backward peoples, the
traceable shadow of a monotheistic idea often seems to bear marks of
degradation and disuse, rather than of nascent development. There
is a God, but He is neglected, and tribal spirits receive prayer and
sacrifice. Just as in art there is a point where we find it
difficult to decide whether an object is decadent, or archaic, so it
is in the study of religious conceptions.

These are a few among the inevitable difficulties and obscurities
which haunt the anthropological or evolutionary theory of the origin
of religion. Other difficulties meet us at the very beginning. The
theory regards gods as merely ghosts or spirits, raised to a higher,
or to the highest power. Mankind, according to the system, was
inevitably led, by the action of reason upon apparent facts, to
endow all things, from humanity itself to earth, sky, rain, sea,
fire, with conscious personality, life, spirit; and these attributes
were as gradually withdrawn again, under stress of better knowledge,
till only man was left with a soul, and only the universe was left
with a God. The last scientific step, then, it may be inferred, is
to deprive the universe of a God, and mankind of souls.

This step may be naturally taken by those who conceive that the
whole process of ghost and god-making is based on a mere set of
natural and inevitable fallacies, and who decline to recognise that
these progressive fallacies (if fallacies they are) may be steps on
a divinely appointed road towards truth; that He led us by a way
that we knew not, and a path we did not understand. Yet, of course,
it is plain that a conclusion may be correct, although it was
reached by erroneous processes. All scientific verities have been
attained in this manner, by a gradual modification and improvement
of inadequate working hypotheses, by the slow substitution of
correctness for error. Thus monotheism and the doctrine of the soul
may be in no worse case than the Copernican theory, or the theory of
the circulation of the blood, or the Darwinian theory; itself the
successor of innumerable savage guesses, conjectures of Empedocles,
ideas of Cuvier, of the elder Darwin, of Lamarck, and of Chambers.

At present, of course, the theistic hypothesis, and the hypothesis
of a soul, do not admit of scientific verification. The difficulty
is to demonstrate that 'mind' may exist, and work, apart from
'matter'. But it may conceivably become verifiable that the
relations of 'mind' and 'matter' are, at all events, less obviously
and immediately interdependent, that will and judgment are less
closely and exclusively attached to physical organisms than modern
science has believed. Now, according to the anthropological theory
of the origin of religion, it was precisely from the opposite of the
scientific belief,--it was from the belief that consciousness and
will may be exerted apart from, at a distance from, the physical
organism,--that the savage fallacies began, which ended, ex
hypothesi, in monotheism, and in the doctrine of the soul. The
savage, it is said, started from normal facts, which he
misinterpreted. But suppose he started, not from normal facts
alone, but also from abnormal facts,--from facts which science does
not yet recognise at all,--then it is possible that the conclusions
of the savage, though far too sweeping, and in parts undeniably
erroneous, are yet, to a certain extent, not mistaken. He may have
had 'a sane spot in his mind,' and a sane impulse may have led him
into the right direction. Man may have faculties which savages
recognise, and which physical science does not recognise. Man may
be surrounded by agencies which savages exaggerate, and which
science disregards altogether, and these faculties and agencies may
point to an element of truth which is often cast aside as a survival
of superstition, as the 'after-image' of an illusion.

The lowest known stage, and, according to the evolutionary
hypothesis, the earliest stage in religion, is the belief in the
ghosts of the dead, and in no other spiritual entities. Whether
this belief anywhere exists alone, and untempered by higher creeds,
is another question. These ghosts are fed, propitiated, receive
worship, and, to put it briefly, the fittest ghosts survive, and
become gods. Meanwhile the conception of ghosts of the dead is more
or less consciously extended, so that spirits who never were
incarnate as men become credible beings. They may inform inanimate
objects, trees, rivers, fire, clouds, earth, sky, the great natural
departments, and thence polytheism results. There are political
processes, the consolidation of a state, for example, which help to
blend these gods of various different origins into a divine
consistory. One of these gods, it may be of sky, or air becomes
king, and reflection may gradually come to recognise him not only as
supreme, but as, theoretically, unique, and thus Zeus, from a very
limited monarchy, may rise to solitary all-fatherhood. Yet Zeus
may, originally, have been only the ghost of a dead medicine-man who
was called 'Sky,' or he may have been the departmental spirit who
presided over the sky, or he may have been sky conceived of as a
personality, or these different elements may have been mingled in
Zeus. But the whole conception of spirit, in any case, was derived,
it is argued, from the conception of ghosts, and that conception may
be traced to erroneous savage interpretations of natural and normal
facts.

If all this be valid, the idea of God is derived from a savage
fallacy, though, of course, it does not follow that an idea is
erroneous, _because_ it was attained by mistaken processes and from
false premises. That, however, is the inference which many minds
are inclined to draw from the evolutionary hypothesis. But if the
facts on which the savage reasoned are, some of them, rare,
abnormal, and not scientifically accepted; if, in short, they are
facts demonstrative of unrecognised human faculties, if these
faculties raise a presumption that will, mind, and organism are less
closely interdependent than science supposes, then the savage
reasoning may contain an important element of rejected truth. It
may even seem, at least, conceivable that certain factors in the
conception of 'spirit' were not necessarily evolved as the
anthropological hypothesis conceives them to have been.

Science had scarcely begun her secular conflict with religion, when
she discovered that the battle must be fought on haunted ground, on
the field of the ghosts of the dead. 'There are no gods, or only
dei otiosi, careless, indolent deities. There is nothing conscious
that survives death, no soul that can exist apart from the fleshly
body.' Such were the doctrines of Epicurus and Lucretius, but to
these human nature opposed 'facts'; we see, people said, men long
dead in our dreams, or even when awake: the Homeric Achilles,
beholding Patroclus in a dream, instantly infers that there verily
_is_ a shadow, an eidolon, a shadowy consciousness, shadowy
presence, which outlasts the death of the body. To this Epicurus
and Lucretius reply, that the belief is caused by fallacious
inferences from facts, these facts, appearances beheld in sleep or
vision, these spectral faces of the long dead, are caused by 'films
peeled off from the surface of objects, which fly to and fro through
the air, and do likewise frighten our minds when they present
themselves to us _awake as well as in sleep_, what time we behold
strange shapes, and "idols" of the light-bereaved,' Lucretius
expressly advances this doctrine of 'films' (an application of the
Democritean theory of perception), 'that we may not believe that
souls break loose from Acheron, or that shades fly about among the
living, or that any part of us is left behind after death'. {341a}
Believers in ghosts must have replied that they do _not_ see, in
sleep or awake, 'films' representing a mouldering corpse, as they
ought to do on the Lucretian hypothesis, but the image, or idolon of
a living face. Plutarch says that if philosophers may laugh, these
long enduring 'films,' from a body perhaps many ages deep in dust,
are laughable. {341b} However Lucretius is so wedded to his 'films'
that he explains a purely fanciful being, like a centaur, by a
fortuitous combination of the film of a man with the film of a
horse. A 'ghost' then, is, to the mind of Lucretius, merely a
casual persistent film of a dead man, composed of atoms very light
which can fly at inconceivable speed, and are not arrested by
material obstacles. By parity of reasoning no doubt, if Pythagoras
is seen at the same moment in Thurii and Metapontum, only a film of
him is beheld at one of these two places. The Democritean theory of
ordinary perception thus becomes the Lucretian theory of dreams and
ghosts. Not that Lucretius denies the existence of a rational soul,
in living men, {341c} a portion of it may even leave the body during
sleep, and only a spark may be left in the embers of the physical
organism. If even that spark withdraws, death follows, and the
soul, no longer warmly housed in the body, ceases to exist. For the
'film' (ghost) is not the soul, and the soul is not the film,
whereas savage philosophy identifies the soul with the ghost. Even
Lucretius retains the savage conception of the soul as a thing of
rarer matter, a thing partly separable from the body, but that thing
is resolved for ever into its elements on the death of the body.
His imaginary 'film,' on the other hand, may apparently endure for
ages.

The Lucretian theory had, for Lucretius, the advantages of being
physical, and of dealing a blow at the hated doctrine of a future
life. For the public it had the disadvantages of being incapable of
proof, of not explaining the facts, as conceived to exist, and of
being highly ridiculous, as Plutarch observed. Much later
philosophers explained all apparitions as impressions of sense,
recorded on the brain, and so actively revived that they seemed to
have an objective existence. One or two stock cases (Nicolai's, and
Mrs. A.'s), in which people _in a morbid condition_, saw
hallucinations which they knew to be hallucinations, did, and do, a
great deal of duty. Mr. Sully has them, as Hibbert and Brewster
have them, engaged as protagonists. Collective hallucinations, and
the hallucinations of the sane which coincide with the death, or
other crisis in the experience of the person who seemed to be seen,
were set down to imagination, 'expectant attention,' imposture,
mistaken identity, and so forth.

Without dwelling on the causes, physical or psychological, which
have been said by Frazer of Tiree (1707), Ferrier, Hibbert, Scott,
and others, to account for the hallucinations of the sane, for
'ghosts,' Mr. Tylor has ably erected his theory of animism, or the
belief in spirits. Thinking savages, he says, 'were deeply
impressed by two groups of biological phenomena,' by the facts of
living, dying, sleep, trance, waking and disease. They asked:
'What is the difference between a living body and a dead one?' They
wanted to know the causes of sleep, trance and death. They were
also concerned to explain the appearances of dead or absent human
beings in dreams and waking visions. Now it was plain that 'life'
could go away, as it does in death, or seems to do in dreamless
sleep. Again, a phantasm of a living man can go away and appear to
waking or sleeping people at a distance. The conclusion was reached
by savages that the phantasm which thus appears is identical with
the life which 'goes away' in sleep or trance. Sometimes it
returns, when the man wakes, or escapes from his trance. Sometimes
it stays away, he dies, his body corrupts, but the phantasm endures,
and is occasionally seen in sleeping or waking vision. The general
result of savage thought is that man's life must be conceived as a
personal and rational entity, called his 'soul,' while it remains in
his body, his 'wraith,' when it is beheld at a distance during his
life, his 'ghost,' when it is observed after his death. Many
circumstances confirmed or illustrated this savage hypothesis Breath
remains with the body during life, deserts it at death. Hence the
words spiritus, 'spirit,' [Greek], anima, and, when the separable
nature of the shadow is noticed, hence come 'shade,' 'umbra,'
[Greek], with analogues in many languages. The hypothesis was also
strengthened, by the great difficulty which savages feel in
discriminating between what occurs in dreams, and what occurs to men
awake. Many civilised persons feel the same difficulty with regard
to hallucinations beheld by them when in bed, asleep or awake they
know not, on the dim border of existence. Reflection on all these
experiences ended in the belief in spirits, in souls of the living,
in wraiths of the living, in ghosts of the dead, and, finally, in
God.

This theory is most cogently presented by Mr. Tylor, and is
confirmed by examples chosen from his wide range of reading. But,
among these normal and natural facts, as of sleep, dream, breath,
life, dying, Mr. Tylor includes (not as facts, but as examples of
applied animistic theory) cases of 'clairvoyance,' apparitions of
the dying seen by the living at a distance, second sight, ghostly
disturbances of knocking and rapping, movements of objects, and so
forth. It is not a question for Mr. Tylor whether clairvoyance ever
occurs: whether 'death-bed wraiths' have been seen to an extent not
explicable by the laws of chance, whether disturbances and movements
of objects not to be accounted for by human agency are matters of
universal and often well-attested report. Into the question of
fact, Mr. Tylor explicitly declines to enter; these things only
concern him because they have been commonly explained by the
'animistic hypothesis,' that is, by the fancied action of spirits.
The animistic hypothesis, again, is the result, naturally
fallacious, of savage man's reasonings on life, death, sleep,
dreams, trance, breath, shadow and the other kindred biological
phenomena. Thus clairvoyance (on the animistic hypothesis) is the
flight of the conscious 'spirit' of a living man across space or
time; the 'deathbed wraith' is the visible apparition of the newly-
emancipated 'spirit,' and 'spirits' cause the unexplained
disturbances and movements of objects. In fact it is certain that
the animistic hypothesis (though a mere fallacy) does colligate a
great number of facts very neatly, and has persisted from times of
low savagery to the present age of reason. So here is a case of the
savage origin and persistent 'survival' of a hypothesis,--the most
potent hypothesis in the history of humanity.

From Mr. Tylor's point of view, his concern with the subject ceases
here, it is not his business to ascertain whether the abnormal facts
are facts or fancies. Yet, to other students, this question is very
important. First, if clairvoyance, wraiths, and the other alleged
phenomena, really do occur, or have occurred, then savage man had
much better grounds for the animistic hypothesis than if no such
phenomena ever existed. For instance, if a medicine-man not only
went into trances, but brought back from these expeditions knowledge
otherwise inaccessible, then there were better grounds for believing
in a consciousness exerted apart from the body than if there were no
evidence but that of non-veridical dreams. If merely the dream-
coincidences which the laws of chance permit were observed, the
belief in the soul's dream-flight would win less favourable and
general acceptance than it would if clairvoyance, 'the sleep of the
shadow,' were a real if rare experience. The very name given by the
Eskimos to the hypnotic state, 'the sleep of the shadow,' proves
that savages do make distinctions between normal and abnormal
conditions of slumber.

In the same way a few genuine wraiths, or ghosts, or 'veridical
hallucinations,' would be enough to start the animistic hypothesis,
or to confirm it notably, if it was already started. As to
disturbances and movements of objects unexplained, these, in his own
experience, suggested, even to De Morgan, the hypothesis of a
conscious, active, and purposeful will, _not_ that of any human
being present. Now such a will is hardly to be defined otherwise
than as 'spiritual'. This order of phenomena, like those of
clairvoyance and wraiths, might either give rise to the savage
animistic hypothesis, or, at least, might confirm it greatly. In
fact, if the sets of abnormal phenomena existed, or were held to
exist, savage man scarcely needed the normal phenomena for the basis
of his spiritual belief. The normal phenomena lent him such terms
as 'spirit,' 'shadow,' but much of his theory might have been built
on the foundation of the abnormal phenomena alone. A 'veridical
hallucination,' of the dying would give him a 'wraith'; a recognised
hallucination of the dead would give him a ghost: the often
reported and unexplained movements and disturbances would give him a
vui, 'house spirit,' 'brownie,' 'domovoy,' follet, lar, or lutin.
Or these occurrences might suggest to the thinking savage that some
discontented influence survived from the recently dead.

Four thousand years have passed since houses were haunted in Egypt,
and have left some sane, educated, and methodical men to meet the
same annoyances as the ancient Egyptians did, by the same measures.
We do not pretend to discover, without examination, the causes of
the sounds and sights which baffle trained and not superstitious
investigators. But we do say that similar occurrences, in a kraal
or an Eskimo hut, in a wigwam, in a cave, or under a gunyeh, would
greatly confirm the animistic hypothesis of savages. The theory of
imposture (in some cases) does undeniably break down, for the people
who hold it cannot even suggest a modus operandi within the reach of
the human beings concerned, as in the case of the Wesleys. The
theory of contagious hallucination of all the senses is the property
of Coleridge alone. The hypothesis of a nervous force which sets up
centres of conscious action is confined to Hartmann, and to certain
Highland philosophers, cavalierly dismissed by the Rev. Robert Kirk
as 'men illiterate'. Instead of making these guesses, the savage
thinkers merely applied the animistic hypothesis, which they had
found to work very well already, and, as De Morgan says, to
colligate the phenomena better than any other theory. We cannot
easily conceive men who know neither sleep nor dreams, but if the
normal phenomena of sleep and dreams had not existed, the abnormal
phenomena already described, if they occurred, as they are
universally said to do, could have given rise, when speculated upon,
to the belief in spirits.

But, it may reasonably be urged, 'the natural familiar facts of
life, death, sleep, waking, dreams, breath, and shadows, are all
versae causae, do undeniably exist, and, without the aid of any of
your abnormal facts, afford basis enough for the animistic
hypothesis. Moreover, after countless thousands of years, during
which superstition has muttered about your abnormal facts, official
science still declines to hear a word on the topic of clairvoyance
or telepathy. You don't find the Royal Society investigating second
sight, or attending to legends about tables which rebel against the
law of gravitation.'

These are cogent remarks. Normal facts, perhaps, may have suggested
the belief in spirits, the animistic hypothesis. But we do not find
the hypothesis (among the backward races) where abnormal facts are
not alleged to be matters of comparatively frequent experience.
Consequently we do not _know_ that the normal facts, alone,
suggested the existence of spirits to early thinkers, we can only
make the statement on a priori grounds. Like George Eliot's rural
sage we 'think it sounds a deal likelier'. But that, after all,
though a taking, is not a powerful and conclusive syllogism.

Again, we certainly do not expect to see the Royal Society inquiring
into second sight, or clairvoyance, or thought transference. When
the Royal Society was first founded several of its members, Pepys,
F.R.S.; Mr. Robert Boyle, F.R.S.; the Rev. Joseph Glanvill, F.R.S.,
went into these things a good deal. But, in spite of their title,
they were only amateurs. They had no professional dignity to keep
up. They were well aware that they, unlike the late Mr. Faraday,
did not know, by inspiration or by common-sense, the limits of the
possible. They tried all things, it was such a superstitious age.
Now men of science, or the majority of them, for there are some
exceptions, know what is, and what is not possible. They know that
germs of life may possibly come down on meteorites from somewhere
else, and they produced an argument for the existence of a
bathybius. But they also know that a man is not a bird to be in two
places at once, like Pythagoras, and that nobody can see through a
stone wall. These, and similar allegations, they reckon impossible,
and, if the facts happen, so much the worse for the facts. They can
only be due to imposture or mal-observation, and there is an end of
the matter. This is the view of official science. Unluckily, not
many years ago, official science was equally certain that the
ordinary phenomena of hypnotism were based on imposture and on mal-
observation. These phenomena, too, were tabooed. But so many
people could testify to them, and they could be so easily explained
by the suggestive force of suggestion, that they were reluctantly
admitted within the sacred citadel. Many people, sane, not
superstitious, healthy, and even renowned as scientific specialists,
attest the existence of the still rarer phenomena which are said, in
certain cases, to accompany the now more familiar incidents of
hypnotism. But these phenomena have never yet been explained by any
theory which science recognises, as she does recognise that
suggestion is suggestive. Therefore these rarer phenomena
manifestly do not exist, and cannot be the subject of legitimate
inquiry.

These are unanswerable observations, and it is only the antiquarian
who can venture, in his humble way, to reply to them. His answer
has a certain force ad hominem, that is, as addressed to
anthropologists. They, too, have but recently been admitted within
the scientific fold; time was when their facts were regarded as mere
travellers' tales. Mr. Max Muller is now, perhaps, almost alone in
his very low estimate of anthropological evidence, and, possibly,
even that sturdy champion is beginning to yield ground. Defending
the validity of the testimony on which anthropologists reason about
the evolution of religion, custom, manners, mythology, law, Mr.
Tylor writes:--

'It is a matter worthy of consideration that the accounts of similar
phenomena of culture, recurring in different parts of the world,
actually supply incidental proof of their own authenticity. . . .
The test of recurrence comes in. . . . The possibility of
intentional or unintentional mystification is often barred by such a
state of things as that a similar statement is made in two remote
lands by two witnesses, of whom A lived a century before B, and B
appears never to have heard of A.'

If for 'similar phenomena of culture' here, we substitute 'similar
abnormal phenomena' (such as clairvoyance, wraiths, unexplained
disturbances), Mr. Tylor's argument in favour of his evidence for
institutions applies equally well to our evidence for mysterious
'facts'. 'How distant are the countries,' he goes on, 'how wide
apart are the dates, how different the creeds and characters in the
catalogue of the facts of civilisation, needs no further showing'--
to the student of Mr. Tylor's erudite footnotes. In place of 'facts
of civilisation' read 'psychical phenomena,' and Mr. Tylor's
argument applies to the evidence for these rejected and scouted
beliefs.

The countries from which 'ghosts' and 'wraiths' and 'clairvoyance'
are reported are 'distant'; the dates are 'wide apart'; the 'creeds
and characters of the observers' 'are 'different'; yet the evidence
is as uniform, and as recurrent, as it is in the case of
institutions, manners, customs. Indeed the evidence for the
rejected and abnormal phenomena is even more 'recurrent' than the
evidence for customs and institutions. Polyandry, totemism, human
sacrifice, the taboo, are only reported as existing in remote and
semi-civilised countries. Clairvoyance, wraiths, ghosts, mysterious
disturbances and movements of objects are reported as existing, not
only in distant ages, but today; not only among savages or
barbarians, but in London, Paris, Milan. No ages can be more wide
apart, few countries much more distant, than ancient Egypt and
modern England: no characters look more different than that of an
old scribe under Pharaoh, and that of a distinguished soldier under
Queen Victoria. Yet the scribe of Khemi and General Campbell suffer
from the same inexplicable annoyance, attribute it to the same very
abnormal agency, and attempt (not unsuccessfully) to communicate
with that agency, in precisely the same way.

This, though a striking, is an isolated and perhaps a casual example
of recurrence and uniformity in evidence. Mr. Tylor's Primitive
Culture is itself a store-house of other examples, to which more may
easily be added. For example, there is the old and savage belief in
a 'sending'. The medicine-man, or medium, or witch, can despatch a
conscious, visible, and intelligent agent, non-normal, to do his
bidding at a distance. This belief is often illustrated in the
Scandinavian sagas. Rink testifies to it among the Eskimo, Grinnell
among the Pawnees: Porphyry alleges that by some such 'telepathic
impact' Plotinus, from a distance, made a hostile magician named
Alexander 'double up like an empty bag,' and saw and reported this
agreeable circumstance. {352} Hardly any abnormal phenomenon or
faculty sounds less plausible, and the 'spectral evidence' for the
presence of a witch's 'sending,' when the poor woman could establish
an alibi for her visible self, appeared dubious even to Cotton
Mather. But, in their Phantasms of the Living, Messrs. Gurney and
Myers give cases in which a visible 'sending' was intentionally
emitted by Baron Schrenck Notzing, by a stock-broker, by a young
student of engineering, and by a French hospital nurse, to take no
other instances. The person visited frequently by the 'sendings' in
the last cases was a French physician engaged in the hospital, who
reports and attests the facts. All the cases are given at first
hand on the testimony of the senders and of the recipients of the
sendings. Bulwer Lytton was familiar with the belief, and uses the
'shining shadow' in A Strange Story. Now here is uniform recurrent
evidence from widely severed ages, from distant countries, from the
Polar North, the American prairie, Neoplatonic Egypt and Greece,
England and New England of the seventeenth century, and England and
Germany of today. The 'creeds and characters of the observers' are
as 'different' as Neoplatonism, Shamanism, Christianity of divers
sects, and probably Agnosticism or indifference. All these
conditions of unvarying testimony constitute good evidence for
institutions and customs; anthropologists, who eagerly accept such
testimony in their own studies, may decide as to whether they
deserve total neglect when adduced in another field of anthropology.

Turning from 'sendings,' or 'telepathy' voluntarily brought to bear
on one living person by another, we might examine 'death-bed
wraiths,' or the telepathic impact--'if that hypothesis of theirs be
sound'--produced by a dying on a living human being. A savage
example, in which a Fuegian native on board an English ship saw his
father, who was expiring in Tierra del Fuego, has the respectable
authority of Mr. Darwin's Cruise of the Beagle. Instances, on the
other hand, in which Australian blacks, or Fijians, see the
phantasms of dead kinsmen warning them of their decease (which
follows punctually) may be found in Messrs. Fison and Howitt's
Kamilaroi and Kurnai.

From New Zealand Mr. Tylor cites, with his authorities, the
following example: {353} 'A party of Maoris (one of whom told the
story) were seated round a fire in the open air, when there
appeared, seen only by two of them, the figure of a relative left
ill at home. They exclaimed, the figure vanished, and, on the
return of the party, it appeared that the sick man had died about
the time of the vision.' A traveller in New Zealand illustrates the
native belief in the death-wraith by an amusing anecdote. A
Rangatira, or native gentleman, had gone on the war-path. One day
he walked into his wife's house, but after a few moments could not
be found. The military expedition did not return, so the lady,
taking it for granted that her husband, the owner of the wraith, was
dead, married an admirer. The hallucination, however, was _not_
'veridical'; the warrior came home, but he admitted that he had no
remedy and no feud against his successor. The owner of a wraith
which has been seen may be assumed to be dead. Such is Maori
belief. The modern civilised examples of death-wraiths, attested
and recorded in Phantasms of the Living, are numerous; but
statistics prove that a lady who marries again on the strength of a
wraith may commit an error of judgment, and become liable to the
penalty of bigamy. The Maoris, no statisticians, take a more
liberal and tolerant view. These are comparatively scanty examples
from savage life, but then they are corroborated by the wealth of
recurrent and coincident evidence from civilised races, ancient and
modern.

On the point of clairvoyance, it is unnecessary to dwell. The
second-sighted man, the seer of events remote in space or not yet
accomplished in time, is familiar everywhere, from the Hebrides to
the Coppermine River, from the Samoyed and Eskimo to the Zulu, from
the Euphrates to the Hague. The noises heard in 'haunted houses,'
the knocking, routing, dragging of heavy bodies, is recorded, Mr.
Tylor says, by Dayaks, Singhalese, Siamese, and Esths; Dennys, in
his Folklore of China, notes the occurrences in the Celestial
Empire; Grimm, in his German Mythology, gives examples, starting
from the communicative knocks of a spirit near Bingen, in the
chronicle of Rudolf (856), and Suetonius tells a similar tale from
imperial Rome. The physician of Catherine de Medicis, Ambroise
Pare, describes every one of the noises heard by the Wesleys, long
after his day, as familiar, and as caused by devils. Recurrence and
conformity of evidence cannot be found in greater force.

The anthropological test of evidence for faith in the rejected
phenomena is thus amply satisfied. Unless we say that these
phenomena are 'impossible,' whereas totemism, the couvade,
cannibalism, are possible, the testimony to belief in clairvoyance,
and the other peculiar occurrences, is as good in its way as the
evidence for the practice of wild customs and institutions. There
remains a last and notable circumstance. All the abnormal
phenomena, in the modern and mediaeval tales, occur most frequently
in the presence of convulsionaries, like the so-called victims of
witches, like the Hon. Master Sandilands, Lord Torphichen's son
(1720), like the grandson of William Morse in New England (1680),
and like Bovet's case of the demon of Spraiton. {355}

The 'mediums' of modern spiritualism, like Francis Fey, are, or
pretend to be, subject to fits, anaesthesia, jerks, convulsive
movements, and trance. As Mr. Tylor says about his savage
jossakeeds, powwows, Birraarks, peaimen, everywhere 'these people
suffer from hysterical, convulsive, and epileptic affections'. Thus
the physical condition, all the world over, of persons who exhibit
most freely the accepted phenomena, is identical. All the world
over, too, the same persons are credited with the _rejected_
phenomena, clairvoyance, 'discerning of spirits,' powers of
voluntary 'telepathic 'and 'telekinetic' impact. Thus we find that
uniform and recurrent evidence vouches for a mass of phenomena which
science scouts. Science has now accepted a portion of the mass, but
still rejects the stranger occurrences. Our argument is that their
invariably alleged presence, in attendance on the minor occurrences,
is, at least, a point worthy of examination. The undesigned
coincidences of testimony represent a great deal of smoke, and
proverbial wisdom suggests a presumption in favour of a few sparks
of fire. Now, if there are such sparks, the animistic hypothesis
may not, of course, be valid,--'spirits' may not exist,--but the
universal belief in their existence may have had its origin, not in
normal facts only, but in abnormal facts. And these facts, at the
lowest estimate, must suggest that man may have faculties, and be
surrounded by agencies, which physical science does not take into
account in its theory of the universe and of human nature.

We have already argued that the doctrines of theism and of the soul
need not to be false, even if they were arrived at slowly, after a
succession of grosser opinions. But if the doctrines were reached
by a process which started from real facts of human nature, observed
by savages, but not yet recognised by physical science, then there
may have been grains of truth even in the cruder and earlier ideas,
and these grains of gold may have been disengaged, and fashioned,
not without Divine aid, into the sacred things of spiritual
religion.

The stories which we have been considering are often trivial,
sometimes comic; but they are universally diffused, and as well
established as universally coincident testimony can establish
anything. Now, if there be but one spark of real fire to all this
smoke, then the purely materialistic theories of life and of the
world must be reconsidered. They seem very well established, but so
have many other theories seemed, that are long gone the way of all
things human.

Footnotes:

{0a} Fortnightly Review, February 1866, and in a lecture, 1895.

{0b} This diary was edited for private circulation, by a son of Mr.
Proctor's, who remembers the disturbances.

{0c} See essays here on Classical and Savage Spiritualism.

{0d} This was merely a cheerful obiter dictum by the learned
President.

{4} Not the house agent.

{9} Porphyry, Epistola xxi. Iamblichus, De Myst., iii. 2.

{11} The Port Glasgow story is in Report of the Dialectical
Society, p. 200. The flooring was torn up; walls, ceilings,
cellars, were examined by the police, and attempts were made to
imitate the noises, without success. In this case, as at Rerrick in
the end of the seventeenth century, and elsewhere, 'the appearance
of a hand moving up and down' was seen by the family, 'but we could
not catch it: it quietly vanished, and we only felt cold air'. The
house was occupied by a gardener, Hugh McCardle. Names of
witnesses, a sergeant of police, and others, are appended.

{12} Report of Dialectical Society, p. 86.

{17a} For ourselves, we have never seen or heard a table give any
responses whatever, any more than we have seen the ghosts, heard the
raps, or viewed the flights of men in the air which we chronicle in
a later portion of this work.

{17b} Report on Spiritualism, Longmans, London, 1871.

{18} Report, p. 229.

{21} Mr. Wallace may be credited with scoring a point in argument.
Dr. Edmunds had maintained that no amount of evidence would make him
believe in certain obvious absurdities, say the lions in Trafalgar
Square drinking out of the fountains. Mr. Wallace replied: 'The
asserted fact is either possible or not possible. If possible, such
evidence as we have been considering would prove it; if not
possible, such evidence could not exist.' No such evidence exists
for the lions; for the phenomena of so-called spiritualism, we have
consentient testimony in every land, period and stage of culture.
That certainly makes a difference, whatever the weight and value of
the difference may be.

{26a} This illustration is not Mr. Lecky's.

{26b} We have here thrown together a crowd of odd experiences. The
savages' examples are dealt with in the next essay; the Catholic
marvels in the essay on 'Comparative Psychical Research'. For
Pascal, consult L'Amulette de Pascal, by M. Lelut; for Iamblichus,
see essay on 'Ancient Spiritualism'. As to Welsh, the evidence for
the light in which he shone is printed in Dr. Hill Burton's Scot
Abroad (i. 289), from a Wodrow MS. in Glasgow University. Mr. Welsh
was minister of Ayr. He was meditating in his garden late at night.
One of his friends 'chanced to open a window towards the place where
he walked, and saw clearly a strange light surround him, and heard
him speak strange words about his spiritual joy'. Hill Burton
thinks that this verges on the Popish superstition. The truth is
that eminent ministers shared the privileges of Mediums and of some
saints. Examples of miraculous cures by ministers, of clairvoyance
on their part, of spirit-raps attendant on them, and of prophecy,
are current on Presbyterian hagiology. No ministers, to our
knowledge, were 'levitated,' but some _nearly_ flew out of their
pulpits. Patrick Walker, in his Biographia Presbyteriana, vol. ii.
p. 21, mentions a supernatural light which floated round The Sweet
Singers, Meikle John Gibb and his friends, before they burned a
bible. Mr. Gibb afterwards excelled as a pow-wow, or Medicine Man,
among the Red Indians.

{30} Teutonic Mythology, English translation, vol. ii. p. 514. He
cites Pertz, i. 372.

{31} A very early turning table, of 1170, is quoted from Giraldus
Cambrensis by Dean Stanley in his Canterbury Memorials, p. 103. The
table threw off the weapons of Becket's murderers. This was at
South Malling. See the original in Wharton's Anglia Sacra, ii. 425.

{35} See Mr. Tylor's Primitive Culture, chap, xi., for the best
statement of the theory.

{38} Petitot, Traditions Indiennes du Canada Nord-Ouest, p. 434.

{40} Very possibly the whirring roar of the turndun, or [Greek], in
Greek, Zuni, Yoruba, Australian, Maori and South African mysteries
is connected with this belief in a whirring sound caused by spirits.
See Custom and Myth.

{41a} Proc. S. P. R., xix. 180.

{41b} Brough Smyth, i. 475.

{42} Auckland, 1863, ch. x.

{45a} [Greek].--Iamblichus.

{45b} Kohl, Kitchi-Gami, p. 278.

{48} Hind's Explorations in Labrador, ii. 102.

{50a} Rowley, Universities' Mission to Central Africa, p. 217:
cited by Mr. Tylor.

{50b} Quoted in La Table Parlante, a French serial, No. I, p. 6.

{51} Colonel A. B. Ellis, in his work on the Yorubas (1894),
reports singular motions of a large wooden cylinder. It is used in
ordeals.

{52} The Natural and Morall History of the East and West Indies, p.
566, London, 1604.

{53} February 9, 1872. Quoted by Mr. Tylor, in Primitive Culture,
ii. 39, 1873.

{57} Revue des Deux Mondes, 1856, tome i. p. 853.

{60} Hallucinations, English translation, p. 182, London, 1859.

{62} Laws, xi.

{63} Records of the Past, iv. 134-136.

{65a} The references are to Parthey's edition, Berlin, 1857.

{65b} [Greek], 4, 3.

{65c} All are, for Porphyry, 'phantasmogenetic agencies'.

{66a} Jean Brehal, par P.P. Belon et Balme, Paris, s.a., p. 105.

{66b} Proces de Condemnation, i. 75.

{67a} Appended to Beaumont's work on Spirits, 1705.

{67b} See Mr. Lillie's Modern Mystics, and, better, Mr. Myers, in
Proceedings S. P. R., Jan., 1894.

{68a} Origen, or whoever wrote the Philosophoumena, gives a recipe
for producing a luminous figure on a wall. For moving lights, he
suggests attaching lighted tow to a bird, and letting it loose.
Maury translates the passages in La Magie, pp. 58-59.
Spiritualists, of course, will allege that the world-wide theory of
spectral lights is based on fact, and that the hallucinations are
not begotten by subjective conditions, but by a genuine
'phantasmogenetic agency'. Two men of science, Baron Schrenk-
Notzing, and Dr. Gibotteau, vouch for illusions of light
accompanying attempts by _living_ agents to transfer a hallucinatory
vision of themselves to persons at a distance (Journal S. P. R.,
iii. 307; Proceedings, viii. 467). It will be asserted by
spiritualists that disembodied agencies produce the same effect in a
higher degree.

{68b} [Greek].

{69} [Greek].

{70a} Damascius, ap. Photium.

{70b} [Greek].

{71} Life of Hugh Macleod (Noble, Inverness). As an example of the
growth of myth, see the version of these facts in Fraser's Magazine
for 1856. Even in a sermon preached immediately after the event, it
was said that the dreamer _found_ the pack by revelation of his
dream!

{72} iii. 2. [Greek].

{73} Greek Papyri in the British Museum; edited by F. G. Kenyon,
M.A., London, 1893.

{74} See notice in Classical Review, February, 1894.

{75a} See oracles in Eusebius, Praep. Evang., v. 9. The medium was
tied up in some way, he had to be unloosed and raised from the
ground. The inspiring agency, in a hurry to be gone, gave
directions for the unbinding. [Greek]. The binding of the Highland
seer in a bull's hide is described by Scott in the Lady of the Lake.
A modern Highland seer has ensconced himself in a boiler! The
purpose is to concentrate the 'force'.

{75b} Praep. Evang., v. 8.

{75c} Ibid., v. 15, 3.

{78a} Dr. Hodgson, in Proceedings S. P. R., Jan., 1894, makes Mr.
Kellar's evidence as to Indian 'levitation' seem far from
convincing! As a professional conjurer, and exposer of
spiritualistic imposture, Mr. Kellar has made statements about his
own experiences which are not easily to be harmonised.

{78b} Proceedings S. P. R. Jan., 1894.

{86} The Miraculous Conformist. A letter to the Honourable Robert
Boyle, Esq. Oxford: University Press, 1666.

{88a} Fourth edition, London, 1726.

{88b} In Kirk's Secret Commonwealth, 1691. London: Nutt, 1893.

{90a} In the Salem witch mania, a similar case of levitation was
reported by the Rev. Cotton Mather. He produced a cloud of
witnesses, who could not hold the woman down. She would fly up.
Mr. Mather sent the signed depositions to his opponent, Mr. Calef.
But Calef would not believe, for, said he, 'the age of miracles is
past'. Which was just the question at issue! See Beaumont's
Treatise of Spirits, p. 148, London, 1705.

{90b} Miracles and Modern Spiritualism, p. 7. London: Burns,
1875.

{90c} Popular Tales, iv. 340.

{94} The anecdote is published by Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, in a
letter of Lauderdale's, affixed to Sharpe's edition of Law's
Memorialls.

{95} See Ghosts before the Law.

{96} Proceedings S. P. R., xv. 33.

{100a} See many examples in Li Fiorette de Misser Santo Francesco.

{100b} Ch. cxviii.

{101} D. D. Home; his Life and Mission, p. 307, London, 1888.

{102} Sept. 18, vol. v., 1866.

{107a} See Colonel Yule's Marco Polo.

{107b} Quarterly Journal of Science, July, 1871.

{108a} Proceedings S. P. R., xix. 146.

{108b} North American Review, 1893.

{108c} Proceedings S. P. R., x. 45-100; xix. 147.

{109a} Incidents in my Life, i. 170.

{109b} A Paris, chez la Veuve du Carroy, 1621.

{110a} Folklore of China, 1876, p. 79.

{110b} Op. cit., p. 74.

{110c} Paris. Quarto. Black letter. 1528. The original is
extremely rare. We quote from a copy once in the Tellier
collection, reprinted in Recueil de Dissertations Anciennes et
Nouvelles sur les Apparitions. Leloup: Avignon, 1751, vol. ii. pp.
1-87.

{112} Proceedings S. P. R., xix. 186. 'C.' is a Miss Davis,
daughter of a gentleman occupying 'a responsible position as a
telegraphist'. The date was 1888.

{114a} Satan's Invisible World Discovered. Edinburgh: Reid, 1685.
Pp. 67-69.

{114b} Manuscript 7170, A, de la Bibliotheque du Roi.
Dissertations, ut supra, vol. i. pp. 95-129.

{115} Dufresnoy, op. cit., i. 95-129.

{117} Compare Bastian, Mensch., ii. 393, cited by Mr. Tylor.

{118} De Materia Daemon. Isagoge, p. 539. Ap. Corn. Agripp., De
Occult. Philosoph. Lyons, 1600.

{122} Aubrey gives a variant in his Miscellanies, on the authority
of the Vicar of Barnstaple. He calls Fey 'Fry'.

{123a} The Devonshire case, 'Story of a Something,' in Miss
O'Neill's Devonshire Idylls, is attested by a surviving witness.

{123b} Trials of Isobell Young, 1629, and of Jonet Thomson, Feb. 7,
1643. Darker Superstitions of Scotland, p. 593.

{124} Witness Rev. E. T. Vaughan, King's Langley. 1884.

{125a} Segraisiana, p. 213.

{125b} Crookes's Notes of an Enquiry into the Phenomena usually
called Spiritual. 86. London: Burns (second edition).

{126a} Satan's Invisible World Discovered, p. 75.

{126b} A New Confutation of Sadducism, p. 5, writ by Mr. Alexander
Telfair, London, 1696.

{129} Primitive Culture, vol. i. 368; ii. 304.

{130} The reader may also consult Notes on the Spirit Basis of
Belief and Custom, a rough draft printed for the Indian Government.
While rich in curious facts, the draft contains very little about
'manifestations,' except in 'possession'.

{131a} Gregory, Dialogues, iv. 39.

{131b} De Rerum Varietate, xvi. cap. xciii.

{132} De Praestigiis Daemon.

{133} Si fallere possunt, ut quis videre se credat, cum videat
revera extra se nihil: non poterunt fallere, ut credat quis se
audire sonos, quos revera non audit? (p. 81).

{135} Proceedings S. P. R., xv. 42.

{137} There is one possible exception to this rule.

{139} S. P. R., viii. 81.

{140a} Geschichte des Neueren Occultismus, p. 451.

{140b} Opera, 1605.

{142} S. P. R., vi. 149.

{146} Proc. S. P. R., viii. 133.

{147} Proc. S. P. R., Nov., 1889, p. 269.

{149} This is rather overstated; there were knocks, and raps, and
footsteps (Proc. S. P. R., Nov., 1889, p. 310).

{150} Proc. S. P. R., April, 1885, p. 144.

{151} To be frank, in a haunted house the writer did once see an
appearance, which was certainly either the ghost or one of the
maids; 'the Deil or else an outler quey,' as Burns says.

{153} London, 1881, pp. 184-185.

{156} S. P. R., xv. 64.

{158a} Proceedings S. P. R., xvi. 332.

{158b} Sights and Shadows, p. 60.

{165} British Chronicle, January 18, 1762.

{166} Annual Register.

{167} Praep. Evang., v. ix. 4.

{170a} Rudolfi Fuldensis, Annal., 858, in Pertz, i. 372. See
Grimm's Teutonic Mythology, Engl. transl., p. 514.

{170b} Pseudo-Clemens, Homil., ii. 32, 638. In Mr. Myers's
Classical Essays, p. 66.

{178} Avignon, 1751.

{183} Compare the case of John Beaumont, F.R.S., in his Treatise of
Spirits (1705).

{186} Proceedings S. P. R., viii. 151-189.

{189} Mrs. Ricketts was a sister of Lord St. Vincent, who tried, in
vain, to discover the cause of the disturbances. Scott says
(Demonology and Witchcraft, p. 360): 'Who has heard or seen an
authentic account from Lord St. Vincent?' There is a full account
in the Journal of the S. P. R. It appeared much too late for Sir
Walter Scott also complains of lack of details for the Wynyard
story. They are now accessible. People were, in his time, afraid
to make their experiences public.

{190} The story is told by Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, in his
Introduction to Law's Memorialls, p. xci. Sharpe cites no source of
the tradition.

{191} We are not discussing Dreams, which are many, but waking
hallucinations, which are, relatively rare, and are remembered,
unlike Dreams, whether they are coincidental or not.

{192} Gurney, op. cit., p. 187.

{193a} The writer knows a case in which a gentleman, who had gone
to bed about eleven p.m., in Scotland, was roused by hearing his own
name loudly called. He searched his room in vain. His brother died
suddenly, at the hour when he heard the voice, in Canada. But the
difference of time proves that the voice was heard several hours
_before_ the death. Here, then, is a chance coincidence, which
looked very like a case of Telepathy. Another will be found in Mr.
Dale Owen's Debatable Land, p. 364. A gentleman died 'after
breakfast' in Rhenish Prussia, and appeared, before noon, in New
York. Thus he appeared hours after he died.

{193b} Polack, New Zealand, i. 269.

{194a} Proceedings S. P. R., xv. 10.

{194b} The writer has known a case in which a collector of these
statistics, disdained non-coincidental hallucinations as 'of no use'

{195} Proceedings S. P. R., xv. 7.

{196} Animal Magnetism, pp. 61-64, 1887.

{199} The Psychical Society has published the writer's encounter
with Professor Conington, at Oxford, in 1869, when the professor was
lying within one or two days of his death at Boston, a circumstance
wholly unknown to the percipient. But no jury would accept this as
anything but a case of mistaken identity, natural in a short-sighted
man's vague experiences. Mr. Conington was not a man easily to be
mistaken for another, nor were many men likely to be mistaken for
Mr. Conington. Yet this is what must have occurred. There was no
conceivable reason why the professor should 'telepathically'
communicate with the percipient, who had never exchanged a word with
him, except in an examination.

{205} Proceedings of Society for Psychical Research, viii. 111.

{206} Proceedings of Society for Psychical Research, xiv. 442.

{207a} Modern Spirit Manifestations. By Adin Ballou. Liverpool,
1853.

{207b} Proceedings of Society for Psychical Research, xiv. 469.

{209} Edinburgh, 1827, vol. i. p. xxxii.

{214} In the author's case the hypnagogic phantasms seem to be
created out of the floating spots of light which remain when the
eyes are shut. Some crystal-gazers find that similar points de
repere in the glass, are the starting-points of pictures in the
crystal. Others cannot trace any such connection.

{215} Compare Blackwood, August, 1831, in Noctes Ambrosianae.

{216a} Paus., ii. 24, I.

{216b} Bouche Leclercq, i. 339.

{223} The accomplished scryer can see as well in a crystal
ringstone, or in a glass of water, as in a big crystal ball. The
latter may really be dangerous, if left on a cloth in the sun it may
set the cloth on fire.

{224} Animal Magnetism, second edition, p. 135.

{228} Thus an educated gentleman, a Highlander, tells the author
that he once saw a light of this kind 'not a meteor,' passing in air
along a road where a funeral went soon afterwards. His companions
could see nothing, but one of them said: 'It will be a death-
candle'. It seems to have been hallucinatory, otherwise all would
have shared the experience.

{231a} Darker Superstitions of Scotland, p. 481, Edinburgh, 1834.

{231b} Op. cit., p. 473.

{232a} Op. cit., p. 470

{232b} It is, perhaps, needless to add that the unhappy patients
were executed.

{232c} Miscellanies, 1857, p. 184.

{233a} Wodrow, i. 44.

{233b} Aulus Gellius, xv. 18. Dio Cassius, lib. lxvii. Crespet,
De la Hayne de Diable, cited by Dalyell.

{234} Miscellanies, 177.

{235} A copy presented by Scott to Sir Alexander Boswell of
Auchinleck is in the author's possession; it bears Scott's
autograph.

{237} Information from Mr. Mackay, Craigmonie.

{238} 2 Kings, v. 26.

{244} i. 259. Longmans, London, 1811.

{245} Tylor, Primitive Culture, i. 143.

{246} This belief is not confined to the Highlands. Mr. Podmore
quotes Ghost 636 in the Psychical Society's collections: 'The
narrator's mother is said to have seen the figure of a man'. The
father saw nothing till his wife laid her hand on his shoulder, when
he exclaimed, 'I see him now' (S. P. R., Nov., 1889, p. 247).

{250} 'Spectral evidence' was common in witch trials. Wierus (b.
1515) mentions a woman who confessed that she had been at a witch's
covin, or 'sabbath,' when her body was in bed with her husband. If
there was any confirmatory testimony, if any one chose to say that
he saw her at the 'sabbath,' that was 'spectral evidence'. This
kind of testimony made it vain for a witch to take Mr. Weller's
advice, and plead 'a halibi,' but even Cotton Mather admits that
'spectral evidence' is inconclusive.

{253} Papon. Arrets., xx. 5, 9. Charondas, Lib. viii. Resp. 77.
Covarruvias, iv. 6. Mornac, s. v., Habitations, 27 ff., Locat. and
Conduct. Other doctors do not deny hauntings, but allege that a
brave man should disregard them, and that they do not fulfil he
legal condition, Metus cadens in constantem virim. These doctors
may never have seen a ghost, or may have been unusually courageous.
They held that a man might get accustomed to the annoyances of
bogles, s'apprivoiser avec cette frayeur, like the Procter family at
Willington.

{259} Miscellanies, p. 94, London, 1857.

{262} Hibbert, Philosophy of Apparitions, second edition, p. 224.
Hibbert finds Graime guilty, but only because he knew where the body
lay.

{263} Notices Relative to the Bannatyne Club, 1836, p. 191.
Remarkable Trial in Maryland.

{267} Paris, 1708. Reprinted by Lenglet Dufresnoy, in his
Dissertations sur les Apparitions. Avignon, 1751, vol. iii. p. 38.

{269} Second edition, Buon, Paris, 1605. First edition, Angers,
1586.

{273} Dr. Lee, in Sights and Sounds (p. 43), quotes an Irish
lawsuit in 1890. The tenants were anxious not to pay rent, but were
non-suited. No reference to authorities is given. There was also a
case at Dublin in 1885. Waldron's house was disturbed, 'stones were
thrown at the windows and doors,' and Waldron accused his neighbour,
Kiernan, of these assaults. He lost his case (Evening Standard,
February 23, 1885, is cited).

{275} p. 195, London, 1860.

{276} The account followed here is that of the narrator in La Table
Parlante, p. 130, who differs in some points from the Marquis de
Mirville in his Fragment d'un Ouvrage Inedit, Paris, 1852.

{277} For bewitching by touch see Cotton Mather's Wonders of the
Invisible World, p. 150. 'Library of Old Authors,' London, 1862.

{279a} Cotton Mather, op. cit., p. 131.

{279b} Table Parlante, p. 151. A somewhat different version is
given p. 145. The narrator seems to say that Cheval himself deposed
to having witnessed this experiment.

{283a} Gazette des Tribunaux, February 2, 1846, quoted in Table
Parlante, p. 306.

{283b} Table Parlante, p. 174.

{300} Hibbert, Apparitions, p. 211.

{303} Mather's own account of the lost sermon (p. 298) is in his
Life, by Mr. Barrett Wendell, p. 118. It is by no means so romantic
as Wodrow's version.

{307} An account of the method by which the Miss Foxes rapped is
given, by a cousin of theirs, in Dr. Carpenter's Mesmerism (p. 150).

{312} See Dr. Carpenter's brief and lucid statement about 'Latent
Thought' and 'Unconscious Cerebration,' in the Quarterly Review,
vol. cxxxi. pp. 316-319.

{317} A learned priest has kindly looked for the alleged spiritus
percutiens in dedicatory and other ecclesiastical formulae. He only
finds it in benedictions of bridal chambers, and thinks it refers to
the slaying spirit in the Book of Tobit.

{319a} S. P. R., x. 81.

{319b} London: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1877.

{320} Quoted by Dr. Carpenter, op. cit., p. vii.

{324} Tom. ii. pp. 312, 435, edition of 1768.

{326} In the Quarterly Review, vol. cxxxi. pp. 336-337, Dr.
Carpenter criticises an account given by Lord Crawford of this
performance. He asks for the evidence of the other witnesses. This
was supplied. He detects a colloquial slovenliness in a phrase.
This was cleared up. He complains that the light was moonlight.
'The moon was shining full into the room.' A minute philosopher has
consulted the almanack and denies that there was any moon!

{327} Lord Crawford's evidence is in the Report of the Dialectical
Society, p. 214

{328} Quarterly Review, vol. cxxxi. p. 303.

{329} Observe the caution of the Mosstrooper, even in that
agitating moment! How good it is, and how wonderfully Sir Walter
forecasts a seance.

{341a} Lucretius, iv. 26-75, Munro's translation.

{341b} Def. Orac., 19.

{341c} Ibid., iv. 193.

{352} Porphyry, Vita Plotini.

{353} Primitive Culture, i. 404.

{355} In the Pandemonium, or Devil's Cloyster, of Richard Bovet,
Gent. (1684).

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