Preliminary Report of the Commission Appointed by the University
The Seybert Commission
Part 1 out of 4
Produced by Linda Cantoni, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
OF THE COMMISSION APPOINTED BY
THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REQUEST OF THE LATE HENRY SEYBERT
WITH A FOREWORD BY H.H. FURNESS, JR.
Now, at the present time, when the attention of the public is turning
towards questions of Psychology and Psychiatry, it is most appropriate
that a volume such as the present _Report_ be again placed in the hands
of the public. While it cannot be said that the conclusions reached by
the Seybert Commission were final, yet material for future investigation
was furnished and facts so clearly stated that the reader might form his
own conclusions. The purpose and intended scope of the Commission are
plainly set forth in the Preliminary sections, and therefore need not be
entered upon here.
Of the members composing that Commission but one is now surviving, Dr.
Calvin B. Knerr, who contributed an interesting report on the
slate-writing medium, Mrs. Patterson. The sections by the
Acting-Chairman, Dr. Horace Howard Furness, on Mediumistic Development,
Sealed Letters, and Materialization were the occasion of acrimonious and
violent attack on the whole work of the Commission by those periodicals
devoted to spiritualism and its propaganda. Age cannot wither the charm
of the good humoured satire with which the Acting-Chairman treated these
subjects; and it was largely the spirit in which they were thus
approached that inspired the intense hostility on the part of the
spiritual mediums and their many followers.
It has been epigrammatically said that, Superstition is, in many cases,
the cloak that keeps a man's religion from dying of cold; possibly the
same may be said of Spiritualism and Psychology.
H.H. FURNESS, JR.
The Seybert Commission for Investigating Modern Spiritualism.
_To the Trustees of The University of Pennsylvania:_
'The Seybert Commission for Investigating Modern Spiritualism'
respectfully present the following Preliminary Report, and request that
the Commission be continued, on the following grounds:
The Commission is composed of men whose days are already filled with
duties which cannot be laid aside, and who are able, therefore, to
devote but a small portion of their time to these investigations. They
are conscious that your honorable body look to them for a due
performance of their task, and the only assurance which they can offer
of their earnestness and zeal is in thus presenting to you, from time to
time, such fragmentary Reports as the following, whereby they trust that
successive steps in their progress may be marked. It is no small matter
to be able to record any progress in a subject of so wide and deep an
interest as the present. It is not too much to say that the farther our
investigations extend the more imperative appears the demand for these
investigations. The belief in so-called Spiritualism is certainly not
decreasing. It has from the first assumed a religious tone, and now
claims to be ranked among the denominational Faiths of the day.
From the outset your Commission have been deeply impressed with the
seriousness of their undertaking, and have fully recognized that men
eminent in intelligence and attainments yield to Spiritualism an entire
credence, and who can fail to stand aside in tender reverence when
crushed and bleeding hearts are seen to seek it for consolation and for
hope? They beg that nothing which they may say may be interpreted as
indicating indifference or levity. Wherever fraud in Spiritualism be
found, that it is, and not whatever of truth there may be therein, which
is denounced, and all Spiritualists who love the truth will join with us
in condemnation of it.
The admission of evidence concerning the so-called Spiritual
manifestations has been duly weighed. There is apparent force in the
argument that our national histories are founded, accepted and trusted
on evidence by no means as direct as that by which, it is claimed, the
proofs of Spiritual miracles are accompanied. But it must be remembered
that the facts of profane history are vouched for by evidence which is
in accord with our present experience; they are in harmony with all that
is now going on in the light of day (that history repeats itself has
grown into a commonplace), and we are justified in accepting them on
testimony, however indirect, which is nevertheless at one with the
ordinary course of events. But the phenomena of Spiritualism have no
such support; they are commonly regarded as in contravention of the
ordinary experience of mankind (in that they are abnormal and
extraordinary lies their very attractiveness to many people), and no
indirect testimony concerning them can be admitted without the most
thorough, the most searching scrutiny. We doubt if any thoughtful
Spiritualist could be found to maintain that we should unquestioningly
accept all the so-called 'facts' with which their annals teem. To sift
the evidence of merely half a dozen would require incalculable labor.
Wherefore we decided that, as we shall be held responsible for our
conclusions, we must form those conclusions solely on our own
observations; without at all imputing untrustworthiness to the testimony
of others we can really vouch only for facts which we have ourselves
The late Mr. Henry Seybert during his lifetime was known as an
enthusiastic believer in Modern Spiritualism, and shortly before his
death presented to The University of Pennsylvania a sum of money
sufficient to found a chair of Philosophy, and to the gift added a
condition that the University should appoint a Commission to investigate
'all systems of Morals, Religion, or Philosophy which assume to
represent the Truth, and particularly of Modern Spiritualism.'
A Commission was accordingly appointed, composed as follows: Dr. William
Pepper, Dr. Joseph Leidy, Dr. George A. Koenig, Professor Robert Ellis
Thompson, Professor George S. Fullerton and Dr. Horace Howard Furness;
to whom were afterwards added Mr. Coleman Sellers, Dr. James W. White,
Dr. Calvin B. Knerr and Dr. S. Weir Mitchell. Of this Commission Dr.
Pepper, as Provost of The University, was, _ex-officio_, Chairman, Dr.
Furness, Acting Chairman, and Professor Fullerton, Secretary.
As a befitting preliminary, at one of our earliest meetings each member
in turn expressed his entire freedom from all prejudices against the
subject to be investigated, and his readiness to accept any conclusion
warranted by facts; one of our number, the Acting Chairman, so far from
being unprejudiced confessed to a leaning in favor of the substantial
truth of Spiritualism.
We deemed ourselves fortunate at the outset in having as a counselor
the late Mr. Thos. R. Hazard, a personal friend of Mr. Seybert, and
widely known throughout the land as an uncompromising Spiritualist.
By the advice of Mr. Hazard we addressed ourselves first to the
investigation of Independent Slate Writing, and through his aid a seance
for this purpose was arranged with a noted Medium, Mrs. S.E. Patterson.
This mode of manifesting Spiritualistic power, as far as it has come
under our observation, is, concisely stated, the writing on the
concealed surface of a slate which is in contact with a Medium. In the
present instance, between two slates fastened together by a hinge on one
side and a screw on the other, there was placed a small fragment of
slate pencil; when this fragment is bitten off by the Medium, it
receives, so Mr. Hazard assured us, additional Spiritualistic power. As
soon as a Spirit has finished writing its communication with the pencil
on the inner surface of the slates, the completion of the task is made
known by the appearance of the slate pencil on the outside, upon the
slates. The slates are always held in concealment under the table, and
never has this remarkable passage of the pencil through the solid
substance of the slate been witnessed by any one, not even by the Medium
herself, in all the years during which this wonderful phenomenon has
been a matter of daily, almost hourly, experience.
Our first seance was held in the evening at the Medium's own home. The
slates were screwed together with the bit of slate pencil enclosed, and
held by the Medium between her open palms, in her lap, under the table.
After waiting an hour and a half without the least response on the
slates from the Spirits, the attempt was abandoned for that evening much
to the disappointment, not only of us all, but to the chagrin of Mr.
Hazard, who could not understand 'what the deuce was in it, seeing that
the Medium was one of the very best in the world, and on the preceding
evening, when he was all alone with her, the messages from the spirit of
Henry Seybert came thick and fast.'
No better success attended our second seance with this Medium, although
we waited patiently an hour and twenty minutes, while the slates were in
the Medium's lap.
By the advice of the Medium, in order to eliminate any possible
antagonism, we divided our numbers, and only one or two of us at a time
sat with her. On one occasion writing did appear on the slates, after
the slates had been held by both hands of the Medium for a long time in
concealment under the table, but to neither of the two sitters did the
screw appear to be by any means as tightly fastened after the writing as
before; nor did the writing of two or three illegible words seem beyond
the resources of very humble legerdemain; in fact, no legerdemain was
needed, after a surreptitious loosening of the screw which, considering
the state of the frame of the slate, could have been readily effected.
From some cause or other the atmosphere of Philadelphia is not favorable
to this mode of Spiritual manifestation. With the exception of the
Medium just alluded to, not a single Professional Independent Slate
Writing Medium was known to us at that time in this city, nor is there
one resident here even at this present writing, as far as we know.
We were, therefore, obliged to send for one to New York. With this
Medium, Dr. Henry Slade, we had a number of sittings, and, however
wonderful may have been the manifestations of his Mediumship in the
past, or elsewhere, we were forced to the conclusion that the character
of those which passed under our observation was fraudulent throughout.
There was really no need of any elaborate method of investigation; close
observation was all that was required.
At the risk of appearing inconsequent by mentioning that first which in
point of time came last, we must premise that in our investigations
with this Medium we early discovered the character of the writing to be
twofold, and the difference between the two styles to be striking. In
one case the communication written on the slate by the Spirits was
general in its tone, legible in its chirography, and usually covered
much of the surface of the slate, punctuation being attended to, the
_i's_ dotted, and the _t's_ crossed. In the second, when the
communication was in answer to a question addressed to a Spirit the
writing was clumsy, rude, scarcely legible, abrupt in terms, and
sometimes very vague in substance. In short, one bore the marks of
deliberation and the other of haste. This difference we found to be due
to the different conditions under which the communications were written.
The long messages are prepared by the Medium before the seance. The
short ones, answers to questions asked during the seance, are written
under the table with what skill practice can confer.
With this knowledge, it is clear that the investigator has to deal with
a simple question of legerdemain. The slate, with its message already
written, must in some way be substituted for one which the sitter knows
to be clean. The short answers must be written under trying
circumstances, out of sight, under the table, with all motions of the
arm or hand concealed. It is useless to attempt to limit the methods
whereby these two objects may be attained. All that we can do is to
describe the processes which we distinctly saw this Medium adopt.
In its simplest form (and one which any person can try with astonishing
results upon an artless, unsuspicious sitter), a slate, on which, before
the sitter's visit, a message has been written, is lying face downward
on the table when the seance begins. There are other slates on an
adjoining table within easy reach of the Medium. In order that the
Medium may be brought into Spiritual relationship with the sitters,
contact with the Medium is necessary, and the sitters are therefore
requested to place their hands, palms downward, in the middle of the
table; on these hands the Medium places his own and the seance begins.
Before long, the presence of Spiritual power becomes manifest by raps on
the table, or by vibratory movements of the table, more or less violent,
and by spasmodic jerkings or twitching of the Medium's arms or body.
When sufficient Spiritual power has been generated, the Medium takes up
the slate, and, still controlling with his left hand the hands of his
sitters, places on it a minute fragment of slate pencil. No offer is
made to show both sides (the prepared message is on the hidden side),
the side in full view is perfectly clean, and it is on that side that
the Spirits are to write with the slate pencil; there is no need of
showing the other side. With his right hand the Medium holds the slate
under the edge of the table, barely concealing it thereunder, and
drawing it forth every few seconds to see if any writing has appeared.
After waiting in vain for five or ten minutes, the Medium's patience
becomes exhausted, and he reaches for another slate from the table close
behind him, and, ostentatiously washing both sides of it, lays it on the
table in front of him (still controlling with his left hand the hands of
his sitters), and removes the pencil from the first slate to the second,
and on top of the second so places the first slate that the prepared
message is underneath, on the inside and next to the other slate. The
trick is done. All that now remains for the Medium to do is to hold the
two slates under the table for awhile, or rest them on the shoulder
close to the ear of the sitter on the Medium's right, and, by scratching
with the finger nail on the frame of the slate, to imitate the writing
by the Spirits with the enclosed pencil. When there are two or more
sitters it is only the one on the right of the Medium who is privileged
to hear the writing. To apply the slate to the ear of any other would
disclose the way in which the sound of the writing is counterfeited. To
him, therefore, who sits on the Medium's left, so that the Medium's
hand, while holding the slates on the shoulder of the sitter on the
right, is sharply outlined against the light, the motions of the
Medium's fingers while the sound of writing is imitated by him may be
By such elementary tricks of legerdemain as these are guileless, honest
Dr. Slade prefers to have only two sitters at a time, one on his right
and one opposite. The fourth side of the table he prefers to have
unoccupied; his manipulations of the slate can be from that side more
readily observed; moreover, strange Spiritual antics may be there
manifested, such as upsetting chairs which happen to be there, making
slates appear above the edge of the table, etc. These manifestations are
executed by the Medium's foot, which, on one occasion, was distinctly
seen before it had time to get back into its slipper by one of our
number, who stooped very quickly to pick up a slate which had
accidentally fallen to the floor while the Spirits were trying to put it
into the lap of one of the sitters.
At the first two seances an ordinary wooden table was used belonging to
the hotel where Dr. Slade lodged. At the third seance a similar but
larger table was used, somewhat the worse for wear, and the joints of
its leaves were far from fitting close. Every crack, however, and every
chink had been carefully filled up with paper to prevent, so the Medium
said, 'the electricity from flowing through.'
The method of producing the long message which opened the seance has
been described above. Whenever we received other long messages, written
with some care and more or less filling the side of the slate, the
agency employed was adroit substitution, generally effected when the
Medium supposed that the attention of his sitters was engrossed with an
answer just received to a question addressed to the Spirits. Prepared
slates resting against the leg of the table behind him were substituted
for those which but a moment before he had ostentatiously washed on
both sides and laid on the table in front of him. The handwriting of
these long messages bore an unmistakable similarity to the Medium's own.
When a question is written on the slate by a sitter, equal dexterity to
that used in substituting the prepared slate, or even greater, is
demanded of the Medium, in reading the question and in writing the
The question is written by the sitter out of sight of the Medium, to
whom the slate, face downward, is handed over and a piece of pencil
placed on it.
The task now before the Medium is first to secure the fragment of pencil
and to hold it while the slate is surreptitiously turned over and the
question read, then the slate is turned back again and the answer
Every step in the process we have distinctly seen. In order to seize the
fragment of pencil without awakening suspicion, while holding the slate
under the table, the slate is constantly brought out to see whether or
not the Spirits have written an answer. By this manoeuvre a double end
is attained: First, it creates an atmosphere of expectation, and the
sitters grow accustomed to a good deal of motion in the Medium's arm
that holds the slate; and secondly, by these repeated motions the pencil
(which, having been cut out from a slate pencil enclosed in wood, is
square, and does not roll about awkwardly), is moved by the successive
jerks toward the hand which holds the slate, and is gradually brought up
to within grasping distance. The forefinger is then passed over the
frame of the slate, and it and the thumb seize and hold the pencil, and
under cover of some violent convulsive spasms the slate is turned over
and the question read. At this point it is that the Medium shows his
nerve: it is the critical instant, the only one when his eyes are not
fastened on his visitors. On one occasion, when the question was written
somewhat illegibly in a back hand, with a very light stroke, and close
to the upper edge of the slate, the Medium had to look at it three
several times before he could make it out.
After reading the question, it may be noticed that Dr. Slade winks three
or four times rapidly; this may have been partly to veil from his
visitors the fact that he had been looking intently downward, and partly
through mental abstraction in devising an answer. He evidently breathes
freer when this crisis is past.
Convulsive spasms attend the reversing of the slate, which is then
generally held between his knees; only once did we note that he placed
it _on_ his knees, and once we believed that he supported it by pressing
it against the leg of the table. The answer is written without looking
at the slate, in a coarse, large, sprawling hand, at times scarcely
legible. While writing he keeps his eyes steadily fixed on his visitors,
and generally rests a minute or two after it is finished. Presently the
slate is held near the edge of the table and close up to it, and a
tremulous motion imparted to it suggests that Spiritual power is then at
work and that the writing is in progress.
Dr. Slade performed several little tricks which he imputed to Spiritual
agency, but which were almost puerile in the simplicity of their
legerdemain, and which have been repeated with perfect success by one of
our number; such as tossing a slate pencil on and sometimes over the
table from a slate held apparently under the table, or the playing of an
accordion when held with one hand under the table. This Medium's fingers
are unusually long and strong, and the accordion, being quite small and
with only four bellows folds, can be readily manipulated with but one
hand, and when under the table is held by the keys.
Two compasses, which we placed on the table during one seance, remained
unaffected by Dr. Slade's presence.
At our last seance with him we noticed two slates which were not with
the other slates on the small table behind him, but were on the floor
resting against the leg of that table, and within easy reach of his hand
as he sat at the larger table. As we had previously seen prepared slates
similarly placed we kept a sharp watch on these slates. Unfortunately,
it was too sharp. Dr. Slade caught the look that was directed at them.
That detected glance was sufficient to prevent the Spirits from sending
us the messages which they had so carefully prepared. The slates were
not produced during the seance, but when it was over one of our number
managed to strike them with his foot so as to displace them and reveal
the writing. None of us present that day will be likely to forget the
hurried way in which these slates were seized by the Medium and washed.
We think it worthy to be recorded that, in reply to a question, Dr.
Slade said that Professor Zoellner watched him closely only during the
first three or four sittings, but that afterwards Professor Zoellner let
him do just as he pleased, fully and unreservedly submitting to all the
conditions demanded by the Spirits.
We received from Dr. Slade a written expression of his satisfaction with
our treatment of him, which had been throughout, so he said, entirely
fair and courteous, and of his willingness at any time hereafter to sit
with us again, should we desire it and his engagements permit.
It is a source of regret that, in our investigations, we have received
no aid from unprofessional Mediums; and in dealing with professional
Mediums we have been continually distracted by the conflicting estimates
in which these Mediums are held among the Spiritualists themselves.
There are very, very few professional Mediums, as far as our experience
goes, who are accepted by all Spiritualists as free from the reproach of
fraud. Indeed one Medium with whom, by the advice of Mr. Hazard, we had
a seance, and for whom Mr. Hazard vouched as one of the best of his
class, we have seen denounced as a 'liar and a thief.' In the
earnestness of our zeal we advertised in the local secular press, and in
the leading Spiritualist Journals both East and West, for Independent
Slate Writing Mediums, and to this widespread appeal there came but
three replies, and of these, two were so remote that the promise of
performance held out by the respondents did not, in our opinion, justify
so large an outlay of money for traveling expenses as a journey across
the Continent involved. This noteworthy reluctance on the part of
Mediums to come before us cannot be due to any harsh or antagonistic
treatment received at our hands by any Medium. All Mediums have been
treated by us with uniform courtesy, and with every endeavor to
acquiesce in the 'conditions' imposed or suggested by the Spirits. And
yet a well-known Medium in New York, Mrs. Thayer, to whom the Acting
Chairman was unknown, and with whom he was at the time having a seance,
vehemently asserted that no member of the 'Seybert Commission' should
ever have a seance with her, that the whole Commission, one and all,
were 'old scoundrels and should never darken her doors,' etc., etc., and
confessed that the foundation of her belief was the warning (sent to her
by an eminent Medium whose seances the Commission had attended) that she
should have nothing to do with 'the Seybert men, that they would do her
no good.' Even in instances where Mediums have expressed their
willingness to appear before us, we have been embarrassed by demands for
compensation which we could not but deem extortionate and, practically,
prohibitory; as in the case of Mr. Keeler, the Spiritual Photographer,
whose terms will be found in the Appendix, and in that of Dr. Henry
Rogers, whose terms were five hundred dollars if he should be successful
before us, and the half of that sum if he failed.
Although the number of Mediums whose manifestations we have been able to
examine has been thus restricted, we feel ourselves justified in giving
as a result of our examination of Independent Slate Writing that,
whether the agency be Spiritual or Material, its mode of manifestation
almost wholly precludes any satisfactory investigation.
There are not wanting eminent expounders of the Spiritualistic Faith who
assert that this is as it should be, and that if in the attempt to apply
the laws of the material world to Spiritual manifestations we are
baffled, the fault lies in us, and not in the Mediums. If this be so, we
must accept our fate and enlarge the adage that 'poets are born, not
made,' and include Spiritualists.
Yet, as a rule, Mediums assert that they invite investigation. Our
experience has been, as we have just said, that as soon as an
investigation, worthy of the name, begins, all manifestations of
Spiritualist power cease.
The bare statement of the conditions whereunder the Mediums maintain
that the manifestations of Independent Slate Writing are alone possible,
involves the extreme difficulty, we might almost say the impossibility,
of any genuine or rational investigation. Even the very spirit of
investigation, or of incredulity, seems to exercise a chilling effect
and prevents a successful manifestation. Indeed Mr. Hazard once told us
that the true spirit in which to approach the study of Spiritualism is
'an entire willingness to be deceived.' In Independent Slate Writing, in
our experience, there is a period, of longer or shorter duration, when
the slate is concealed. During this period the investigator's eye must
not watch it. When the slate is held under the table, knees and feet
and clothing exert no deleterious effect, but the gaze of a human eye is
fatal to all Spiritual manifestation; although to one of our number, on
three occasions, a pocket mirror, carefully adjusted, unknown to the
Medium, gave back the reflection of fingers, which were clearly not
Spiritual, opening the slates and writing the answer.
There is really no step in the bare process of producing this writing,
as we have observed it, which might not be accomplished by trickery or
by legerdemain. Of course, therefore, we were sincerely anxious to
disprove in these experiments the presence of those discreditable
elements, not only for the credit of human nature, but for the sake of
the great scientific interest involved. We are perfectly ready to accept
any fact of Spiritual power; and so far from flinching from an open
avowal of our belief in this revelation of a novel force in Nature, we
would welcome it. But no one, not a Spiritualist, we should suppose, can
demand of us that we should accept profound mysteries with our eyes
tight shut, and our hands fast closed, and with every avenue to our
reasoning faculties insurmountably barred. Yet this is precisely what is
demanded of us by Mediums in regard to Independent Slate Writing. We
must sign a dispensation to forego the exercise of common sense, and
accept as 'fact' what they choose so to term. Few assertions by departed
Spirits are more hacknied than, 'This is a great truth,' and yet in an
honest endeavor to prove that it is a 'great truth;' and not a great
lie, the sincere and earnest seeker is at every turn baffled and
To eliminate from our investigations every element of distrust, or
hostility, or suspicion, or chilling antagonism, we entrusted to Mr.
Hazard's friend, Mrs. Patterson, vouched for by him as one of the very
best Mediums in the country, two carefully closed and sealed slates,
enclosing, of course, the required piece of slate-pencil, with the
earnest entreaty that the Spirits should write therein even if it were
but the merest mark, sign, or scratch, therewith we would be content,
and be ready to accept Independent Slate Writing with its train of
consequences. The Medium was fully impressed with the importance of the
trial, and with the fame which would thereby accrue from such a
wholesale conversion as that of the united Seybert Commission.
Every Medium, it would appear, is under the special tutelage of a
departed Spirit; this Spirit is termed the 'Medium's control.' In the
present case, when the slates were delivered to Mrs. Patterson, her
'control,' one 'Thomas Lister,' at once promised that Spirit hands
should shortly write within the sealed-up space. But no writing came
that day nor the next, nor the next, although the Medium protested that
every attention should be bestowed on the refractory slates. In vain was
the Medium again and again adjured to put forth every power. At the end
of six months the slates were received again, without any writing,
according to the confession of the Medium.
So anxious, however, was our Acting Chairman that the experiment should
prove successful, that, undeterred by this failure, he carefully sealed
up a second slate, and placed it in the hands of the same Medium, with
renewed adjurations to put forth all her Spiritualistic strength. At the
end of a fortnight or more, after redoubled exertions of Mediumistic
power, to which was added the combined Spiritualistic power of the
Medium's entire family circle, the exciting announcement was made to us
that the fragment of slate pencil within the slates could no longer be
heard to rattle, and that presumably the Spirits had written a message
Each Medium, generally, has some peculiar mode of manifesting
Spiritualistic power; it is a peculiarity of this Medium, as has been
before stated, that the completion of the Spirit message within the
slates is indicated not by raps, as is frequently the case with other
Mediums, but by the sudden and marvelous appearance on the top of the
slate of the little fragment of pencil, which had been securely fastened
up within. The fact, therefore, that the pencil was no longer inside of
our slates was presumptive evidence that the Medium's control had been
true to his word, and had written us a message. The slates were received
from the Medium most carefully, and a meeting of the Commission hastily
called. It is scarcely worth while to enter here at length on the
details of that session, of the careful scrutiny to which the slates
were subjected, of the unmutilated seals, of the untouched screws, etc.,
etc.; but it is worth while to record the feeling of grave
responsibility, almost akin to solemnity, with which we all approached
what, for aught we knew, might prove to be a revelation of a power as
wonderful as any with which, as yet, we had ever been brought into
acquaintance. Just before we opened the slates it was noticed that at
one corner, owing to the flexibility of the wooden frames, it was quite
possible to stretch the slates far enough apart to permit the insertion
of the blade of a knife, and an examination of the edges at this point
revealed only too plainly discolored abrasions. When the slates were
finally opened, not a stroke of writing nor a scratch was to be found,
but at the suspected corner were the discolored marks, visible to this
day, of the knife which had been inserted to extract the pencil, which,
in its enforced outward passage, had left behind, in its scratches on
the wood, a tell-tale trail of dust which the microscope revealed to be
of the same substance as the pencil. The Spirits had not taken even the
precaution to wipe the broad knife clean from rust or dirt. The slates
are preserved in our sad museum of specimens of misdirected ingenuity.
We are continually confronted with statements wherein the narrator
claims a Spiritual solution as the only possible one of the enigma
involved in the phenomena, as he observed them.
To all such statements we have, first, the plain and ready answer, that
we do not attempt to pass judgment on manifestations which we ourselves
have not observed. All that we can vouch for is the result of our own
observation. More cannot be demanded of us.
Secondly, experience has shown us that with every possible desire on the
part of Spiritualists to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing
but the truth, concerning marvelous phenomena, it is extremely difficult
to do so. Be it distinctly understood that we do not for an instant
impute wilful perversion of the truth. All that we mean is that, for two
reasons, it is likely that the marvels of Spiritualism will be, by
believers in them, incorrectly and insufficiently reported.
The first reason is to be found in the mental condition of the observer;
if he be excited or deeply moved his account cannot but be affected, and
essential details will surely be distorted.
For a second reason, note how hard it is to give a truthful account of
any common, everyday occurrence. The difficulty is increased a
hundred-fold, when what we would tell, partakes of the wonderful. Who
can truthfully describe a juggler's trick? Who would hesitate to affirm
that a watch, which never left the eye-sight for an instant, was broken
by the juggler on an anvil; or that a handkerchief was burned before our
eyes? We all know the juggler does not break the watch, and does not
burn the handkerchief. We watched most closely the juggler's right hand,
while the trick was done with his left. The one minute circumstance has
been omitted that would have converted the trick into no-trick. It is
likely to be the same in the accounts of most of the wonderful phenomena
For these two reasons, we laid down for ourselves at the start that in
cases demanding close observation we would endeavor to have as many
members as possible of the Commission present at every seance. In
dealing with phenomena, where all ordinary methods of investigation are
excluded, we perceived clearly that our best resource lay in having the
largest possible number of observers.
In dismissing this subject of Independent Slate Writing, we repeat, what
we think Spiritualists will generally grant, that this phenomenon can be
performed by legerdemain. The burden of proof that it is not so
performed rests with the Mediums. This proof the Mediums will neither
offer themselves, nor permit others to obtain. Investigators, therefore,
are forced to bring to bear their own powers of close observation,
sharpened and educated by experience. Be it remembered that what we have
here stated applies solely to the process whereby the communication is
written on the slate; with the substance of the communication, whether
pertinent answers to questions or dreary platitudes, we are not now
dealing. Whether these answers be ascribed to Spirits, or to what is
termed clairvoyance, they would be none the less true or false if
delivered orally by the Medium; all that we are sure of is that the
writing down of these communications, be their substance what it may, is
performed in a manner so closely resembling fraud as to be
indistinguishable from it. It would be a mere matter of opinion that all
Independent Slate Writing is fraudulent; what is not a matter of opinion
is the conviction, which we have unanimously reached as a Commission, of
its non-spiritual character in every instance that has come before us.
An eminent professional juggler performed, in the presence of three of
our Commission, some Independent Slate Writing far more remarkable than
any which we have witnessed with Mediums. In broad daylight, a slate
perfectly clean on both sides was, with a small fragment of slate
pencil, held under a leaf of a small ordinary table around which we were
seated; the fingers of the juggler's right hand pressed the slate tight
against the underside of the leaf, while the thumb completed the
pressure, and remained in full view while clasping the leaf of the
table. Our eyes never for a fraction of a second lost sight of that
thumb; it never moved; and yet in a few minutes the slate was produced,
covered on both sides with writing. Messages were there, and still are
there, for we preserved the slate, written in French, Spanish, Dutch,
Chinese, Japanese, Gujerati, and ending with 'Ich bin ein Geist, und
liebe mein Lagerbier.' We were utterly baffled. For one of our number
the juggler subsequently repeated the trick and revealed its every
We request your honorable body to note that this Report is preliminary
and that we do not consider our investigations in this department as
finally closed, but hold ourselves ready to continue them whenever
favorable circumstances arise.
To the subject of 'Spirit-rappings' we have devoted some time and
attention, but our investigations have not been sufficiently extensive
to warrant us at present in offering any positive conclusions. The
difficulty attending the investigation of this mode of Spiritualistic
manifestation is increased by the fact, familiar to physiologists, that
sounds of varying intensity may be produced in almost any portion of the
human body by voluntary muscular action. To determine the exact location
of this muscular activity is at times a matter of delicacy.
What we can say, thus far, with assurance is that, in the cases which
have come under our observation, the theory of the purely physiological
origin of the sounds has been sustained by the fact that the Mediums
were invariably, and confessedly, cognizant of the rappings whenever
they occurred, and could at once detect any spurious rappings, however
exact and indistinguishable to all other ears might be the imitation.
For the details of the investigation which guided us to this conclusion
we refer to the Appendix.
There are among Mediums certain Specialists, whose alleged Spiritual
manifestations we have endeavoured to investigate, not always
successfully, as, for instance, in the case of Mr. W.M. Keeler, through
whose Mediumship 'Spiritual Photographs' are produced. The 'conditions'
which this Medium demanded would have made any attempt at investigation
a mere waste of time, and his terms of remuneration were, in addition,
as we have before mentioned, prohibitory and suggestive of unwillingness
to come before the Commission. In these days of 'Composite Photography'
it is worse than childish to claim a Spiritual source for results which
can be obtained at any time by any tyro in the art. Mr. Keeler's letter
will be found in the Appendix.
We were more successful in procuring a seance with Mr. Keeler's brother,
whose Mediumship manifests itself by the materialization of a right hand
behind a low screen, in front of which the Medium sits, with his face
alone visible, his entire person being concealed by black muslin. The
screen is stretched across a corner of a room to about the height of the
back of the Medium's head, as he sits in front of it. The lights are
lowered, and in a few minutes various instruments, musical and
otherwise, which had been previously placed on a small table in the
corner enclosed by the screen, are heard to sound, a drum is beaten, a
guitar is played, etc. The music is interspersed with flashes of hand
darting and waving above the screen to the right of the Medium. The
hand, when shaken, was found to be a right one. As a proof that the hand
is Spiritual and not that of the Medium, the latter requests one of the
visitors at the seance to sit beside him on his right, and also to be
covered to the chin with the same black muslin under which all the
Medium, except his head, is concealed. This visitor's bare left forearm
is grasped by the Medium, as he says, with both his hands, and this
pressure of the Medium's two hands on the visitor's arm is never
relaxed, as the visitor readily testifies. The proof seems, therefore,
conclusive that the hand which plays the instruments behind the screen
is not the Medium's, and hence must be a materialized Spirit. The trick
is simple and highly deceptive, as any one can prove for himself by
requesting a blindfolded friend to bare the left arm to the elbow, then
let the experimenter grasp this bared arm, near the wrist, with the
third and fourth fingers of his left hand, closing them around it
tightly, and as he does so, asking the owner of the arm to note that
this is his left hand, then let the experimenter, without relaxing this
hold, stretch the remaining fingers and thumb up the arm as far as he
can, and while clasping it with his thumb and forefinger, remark that
this second pressure comes from his other hand. The conviction is
complete in the mind of the blindfolded friend that he feels the grasp
of two hands, whereas only the left hand of the experimenter has grasped
his arm, and the right hand is free to beat a drum or play a zither.
After this test, which is patent to all, we can dismiss the theory of a
Spiritual origin of the hand behind Mr. Keeler's screen. To forestall
the discovery by Mr. Keeler's companion of this trick, and to prevent
its detection by simply feeling with his free right hand after the
suppositious hands of the Medium, which are grasping his left forearm,
a second visitor is requested to share the discomfort of the muslin
envelope, and to sit on the right of the first visitor and to hold the
latter's truant right hand with his left hand, while his right is
exposed to view outside the curtain. Again we refer to the Appendix for
the minutes of our meeting.
We had a seance also with Messrs. Rothermel and Powell, of whom the
former is the Medium, the latter, acting mainly as a reservoir of
psychic force, guides and directs the seance. In this case the Medium's
Spiritual manifestations, as well as his material arrangements, are
similar to those of Mr. Keeler, except that instead of having a visitor
whose arm may be grasped, Mr. Rothermel's hands are fastened in his lap
by bands of tape passed around his legs and sewed to his clothes. After
the black curtain had hid the hands from our sight we were not again
allowed to examine them except in the most hurried and superficial way,
but, even in the brief inspection which was permitted, a glance was
sufficient to show that the tape had been tampered with. The close of
the seance was announced by the sound of clipping scissors, and by Mr.
Rothermel's exclamation, while still concealed, that the Spirits were
cutting him loose. We had no means of knowing whether the tape was cut
at the beginning of the seance or not. When the muslin envelope was
removed, Mr. Rothermel's hands were certainly free. The bands were cut,
and we had no difficulty in believing that the hands which were
dexterous enough to play the zither with very remarkable skill, under
such conditions, behind the curtain, were deft enough to sever the
Our seances with Mrs. Maud E. Lord were acknowledged by the Medium
herself to be altogether unsatisfactory. This is much to be regretted.
Mrs. Lord is one of the few professional Mediums whose excellence is
acknowledged by all Spiritualists alike, and who, in her attitude
towards the Commission, displayed every desire to aid a full and
complete investigation into the manifestations peculiar to her
Mediumship, and furthermore, without remuneration.
In conclusion, we beg to express our regret that thus far we have not
been cheered in our investigations by the discovery of a single novel
fact; but, undeterred by this discouragement, we trust with your
permission to continue them with what thoroughness our future
opportunities may allow, and with minds as sincerely and honestly open,
as heretofore, to conviction.
We desire to call especial attention to Professor Fullerton's Report in
the Appendix of his interviews with Professors Fechner, Scheibner and
Weber, the surviving colleagues of Professor Zoellner in his experiments
with Dr. Henry Slade.
And also to an investigation of the power of Mediums to answer the
questions contained in 'Sealed Envelopes.'
GEORGE A. KOENIG,
GEORGE S. FULLERTON,
ROBT. ELLIS THOMPSON,
HORACE HOWARD FURNESS,
JAMES W. WHITE,
CALVIN B. KNERR,
S. WEIR MITCHELL.
_University of Pennsylvania_,
Soon after the appointment of the Seybert Commission, I as Secretary,
was asked to make a collection of the best representative literature of
Spiritualism, and to prepare for the use of the Commission a sketch of
the rise, progress, present condition, doctrines and alleged phenomena
of this belief, as well as an account of previous investigations,
similar to the one contemplated by ourselves. For a number of months I
busied myself diligently with this work, and finally read my sketch
before the Commission, at a meeting at which Mr. Thomas R. Hazard, the
well-known Spiritualist, was present as our guest. I had at this time
seen scarcely anything of Spiritualism, but was much impressed with what
I had read, and certainly in a fully receptive attitude towards
phenomena supported by so much apparently strong testimony. Mr. Hazard
declared himself quite satisfied with the tone of the paper, saying that
he had come expecting to hear something very different, but that it was
fair and unbiased. I mention these facts to show that my present opinion
on the subject was not assumed at the outset, but has been arrived at
gradually, and is based upon my own observations.
I have been forced to the conclusion that Spiritualism, as far at least
as it has shown itself before me (and I give no opinion upon what has
not fallen within my observation), presents the melancholy spectacle of
gross fraud, perpetrated upon an uncritical portion of the community;
that the testimony of such persons as to what they see is almost
valueless, if they are habitually as inaccurate as they have been at the
seances at which I have been present with them; and that there is an
unwillingness on the part of Mediums to have their powers freely and
thoroughly investigated--a fact which makes any investigation of
Spiritualism difficult and expensive. My opinions are not based
exclusively upon what I have seen and recorded in my work with my
colleagues, but also upon observations made at various times in a
private capacity; and there is but one conclusion to be appended to them
all. I subjoin notes of seances, recorded by myself as Secretary of the
Commission. Their somewhat disjointed form arises from the fact that I
have not thought it desirable to make changes in my notes, except such
as were necessary in taking the Records, which are of value as evidence,
out of their contextual connection with records of business meetings and
matters of no interest to the public. Nothing which could be looked upon
as evidence has been purposely suppressed. I have intentionally left out
a description of several things which we have been unable to use, and
which would have merely swelled our Records; as, for example, the
account of our sealing slates for the experiments with Dr. Slade, he
afterwards having refused to have anything to do with slates sealed by
us. My notes were made during the seances, or as soon as possible after
them. They were arranged and copied in no case later than two days
after. Explanations and additions, which do not belong to the original
Records, but have been inserted later, are put in brackets.
For a justification of the opinion of Spiritualism expressed above, I
refer to the Records which follow.
GEO. S. FULLERTON.
* * * * *
March 13th, 1884.
On Thursday, March 13th, 1884, the Commission met at 508 S. 16th Street,
at 8 P.M., for the examination of Mrs. S.E. Patterson, Spiritualistic
For the first test, a small piece of slate pencil was placed within a
double slate, and the leaves fastened together with a screw, which
passed through one wooden rim into the other. The Spirit-writing upon
the slate should be indicated by the pencil appearing upon the outside
of the slate. The slate was laid upon the Medium's lap for one hour and
a-half without results.
Meanwhile the Medium wrote what purported to be messages from several
Spirits upon slips of paper, the handwriting varying with each message.
One message was signed Elias Hicks, another Lucretia Mott, another
signed H.S. was compared with a message from Mr. Henry Seybert to Mr.
T.R. Hazard the day before. The initials were somewhat different.
The Commission sat in a circle, the Medium at a small table with folding
One communication, signed E.H., declared that the person sitting
opposite Mr. Hazard (Mr. Furness) was endowed with great Mediumistic
The writing failing to appear on the slate it was opened, and Dr. Leidy,
having written upon a slip of paper a question, enclosed it in the
slate, which was again fastened.
After half an hour's waiting, no results being obtained, the Commission
addressed some questions to the Medium and then adjourned.
The Medium described her sensations during the automatic writing as a
constriction at the wrist.
She declared that she had no knowledge of what she wrote, was not
distracted by noises, etc.
(Mr. Furness and Mr. Fullerton, however, noticed that she, when
interrupted, glanced back over what she had previously written before
She could not go into the trance state. Just before adjournment the
Medium laid her hands upon the table and tried to produce "raps," but
did not succeed.
Has been a Spiritualist for nine or ten years, but has always been
possessed of unusual powers. As a child saw visions, etc.
Declares that she is most successful as a Slate Writer.
GEO. S. FULLERTON,
* * * * *
Wednesday, March 19th, 1884.
The Commission met at 508 S. 16th Street, at 8 P.M.
Present: Dr. Leidy, Professor Koenig, Mr. Furness, Mr. Fullerton and Mr.
Hazard. The Medium was Mrs. S.E. Patterson.
Mr. Furness brought two new double slates, which could be fastened by a
The Medium cut a small piece of slate pencil and enclosed it in a double
slate (one of those brought by Mr. Furness), into which was also put a
paper upon which Dr. Leidy had written a question. The slate was then
fastened with a screw.
Dr. Koenig also wrote a question, which was enclosed in the other slate,
the slate being screwed up by Mr. Furness.
The Medium then placed both slates upon her lap, and partially under the
table. A portion of the time the upper slate was between the palms of
her hands, the back of the lower hand resting on the lower slate. Then
one hand was placed upon each slate, the two being placed together.
No results having been obtained after waiting twenty minutes, one of the
new slates was laid aside, and the Medium's old slate, with a piece of
pencil in it, laid upon the remaining new slate in the Medium's lap.
The Medium held from time to time a lead pencil in one hand, but was not
moved to write.
The Medium declared that when writing appears upon the slate in her lap
she feels a shock, but no other sensation.
Two Spirit Photographs were exhibited by the Medium. In one the Spirit
was her own mother. The Spirit in each appeared as a white apparition
behind a person seated in the foreground.
The slates remained in the lap of the Medium one hour and twenty
minutes. No manifestations were produced during the evening.
The Commission adjourned to a room at the Social Art Club for
The above notes of the evening's session were read by the Secretary and
It was resolved to meet again on the evening of Wednesday, March 26th,
for the next session.
GEO. S. FULLERTON,
* * * * *
March 26th, 1884.
The Commission met on Wednesday, March 26th, at 7.30 P.M., at 1117
Present: Dr. Leidy, Mr. Furness, Mr. Fullerton and Mr. T.R. Hazard. The
Medium was Mr. Fred. Briggs.
The Medium gave the following answers to Dr. Leidy's questions:
1. Has been a Medium since seven years of age. Now 22 years old.
2. Before seven years of age could see visions, etc., but did not
communicate with Spirits.
3. Was born in Boston. Lived there when not on journeys.
4. His parents had no such powers.
5. His grandfather was a West India importer, his father had no
6. Educated in Middleboro and Bridgewater, Mass.
7. His family, Baptists.
8. He can communicate with Spirits best
_a._ At night, or in the evening.
_b._ In cold or snowy weather.
_c._ In dry weather.
_d._ When in a healthy condition.
9. When in communication with Spirits feels _nervous_, but cannot
describe the feeling.
The Medium had on the table two single slates which could be laid upon
each other. The table was about three and a-half feet square, and
covered with a cloth.
The light was kept rather dim.
(The Medium explained later in the evening that writing is best produced
in the dark, because dark is _negative_, light _positive_, and negative
conditions are most favorable to communication.)
Mr. Furness had brought two folding slates, which could be fastened with
Dr. Leidy and Mr. Furness and the Medium each held a double slate under
Mr. Fullerton asked a question as requested, but received no answer from
Some scratching was now heard under the table.
The Medium took the slate held by Mr. Furness (one not screwed or
fastened by hinges), and it was held under the table by Mr. Furness, Mr.
Hazard and Mr. Briggs.
The Medium seemed much excited, spoke rapidly, etc., and was so much
overcome that he dropped the slate (one brought by Mr. Furness) which he
was holding under the table with his left hand, and left it lying on the
floor under the table.
At 8 o'clock Dr. Koenig came in. The slate held by the Medium, Mr.
Furness and Mr. Hazard, was held in Mr. Hazard's lap, and some taps were
heard. (Mr. Furness afterwards produced taps precisely similar by
rubbing the side of his finger slowly along the side of the slate.)
No writing having been obtained, the Medium declared that he alone would
hold the slate, as the magnetism of Mr. Furness was injurious.
Again we were invited to ask questions. Dr. Leidy asked: 'When and where
did you die?' No answer.
The Medium asked Mr. Furness if his name were not Furness. (Mr. Hazard
had seen the Medium before, and informed him that the Commission was
Mr. Furness now put his hand under the table on the hand of the Medium,
which was pressing the double slate (not the screwed one) up against the
Mr. Furness declared that he heard a certain buzzing noise. The slate
being taken out, there was found written on the inside of the under
I will help
R. Dale Owen
and something that looked like "Henry Furness is here."
The slate on the floor being examined, there was found on the _outside_
(it was a screw-slate)
I am here with you
I will help you
R. Dale Owen.
Some other illegible marks were found on the slate.
Nothing was obtained on the inside of either screw-slate.
The handwriting on the two slates, purporting to be from R. Dale Owen,
was much alike.
The Medium now took hold of Mr. Hazard's hand, and went into trance,
personating Esther Hazard, a deceased daughter of Mr. Hazard. He (the
Medium) made convulsive motions, trembled, etc., and while in this state
predicted that Mr. Fullerton would receive a very pleasing letter on
Saturday next--said that he should come to the Medium for advice. [No
such letter was received on that date by Mr. Fullerton.]
He also declared that Dr. Koenig had brought with him a Spirit named
He declared Ponto, White-feather, Red Jacket and Thomas Paine to be
(The Medium called "White-feather" _he_, Mr. Hazard objecting that
White-feather was a woman.)
The light was then turned out, and all hands laid upon the table. Mr.
Furness laid one of his hands upon one of the Medium's and upon one of
Mr. Hazard's. (The Medium afterwards asserted that Mr. Furness had held
both his hands. But Mr. Furness was positive that he held only one.) Mr.
Hazard was touched several times about the face. Mr. Furness was touched
on the cheek and on his ear-trumpet and Mr. Fullerton was struck on the
head by a paper thrown from the other side of the table, and touched
once on the back of his left hand by what felt like human fingers.
There were no more manifestations.
The Committee adjourned to Dr. Leidy's house for conference. The above
notes were read and approved.
GEO. S. FULLERTON,
* * * * *
April 8th, 1884.
On Tuesday evening, April 8th, Dr. Leidy and Mr. Furness held another
seance with the Medium formerly examined, Mrs. Patterson. The slates
used belonged to the Medium, and were, as she told them, in daily,
almost hourly use; the frame of one of them was far from sound, and the
hole which admitted the screw was more than well worn. Within these
slates, after being held for a long while by both hands of the Medium
under the table, two or three barely legible words appeared. The screw
was, by no means, as tight after the writing as before. This fact,
together with the prolonged concealment, rendered it impossible to
attach any real importance to the attempt to write, as far as could be
made out, the name of Henry Seybert.
Under the same conditions our colleague, Mr. Sellers, produced writing
for us very satisfactorily.
GEO. S. FULLERTON,
* * * * *
April 17th, 1884.
On Thursday evening, April 17th, 1884, a sitting was held by Mrs.
Patterson with Dr. Koenig, Mr. Fullerton and Mr. Hazard. The Medium
declared herself unwell. No results were obtained. The session was in
Mrs. Patterson's room at No. 508 S. 16th Street.
GEO. S. FULLERTON,
* * * * *
May 31st, 1884.
On Saturday, May 31st, 1884, at 8 P.M., the Commission met at the house
of the Provost, 1811 Spruce Street, for the purpose of sealing a slate
to be left with the Medium, Mrs. Patterson, who was to try to procure
independent writing upon the inside surfaces. There were present Dr.
Pepper, Mr. Furness, Professor Thompson and Mr. Fullerton. Mr. Furness
brought the slate and seals. The slate was the double one used in our
former tests, hinged, and fastening with a screw. A small piece of
pencil was enclosed in the slate, which was perfectly clean, and the
slate was screwed up by Dr. Pepper. The direction of the cut in the
screw-head was marked by a scratch on the wood at the end of the slate.
It was nearly parallel with the long diameter of the slate. Mr. Furness
then tied the slate with red tape, passing the tape longitudinally and
transversely around the middle of the slates.
The first seal (red wax) was on the knot, which was over the under end
of the screw. The end of the screw projected a little through the wood,
but was covered by the seal. The second seal was over the ends of the
tape. The head of the screw was also covered by a seal, and three (3)
additional seals were affixed on the outside edges of the slates, where
they were crossed by the tape.
One of the three impressions at the edges of the slates was made by
Professor Thompson's right thumb. [A test was then proposed by Professor
Thompson, which the Commission does not feel at liberty to make public,
as it has not yet been carried out, and publicity may interfere with its
GEO. S. FULLERTON,
* * * * *
November 5th, 1884.
The Commission met at the house of Mr. Furness, 222 West Washington
Square, on November 5th, 1884, at 8 P.M. There were present Dr. Wm.
Pepper and Mrs. Pepper, Dr. Leidy, Dr. Koenig, Prof. Thompson, Mr.
Furness, Mr. George S. Pepper, Miss Logan, Mr. Fullerton, Mr. Coleman
Sellers, and the Medium, Mrs. Margaret Fox Kane, who was the guest of
Mr. Furness at the time.
Those present seated themselves around an oak dining table, some eight
feet by four and a-half feet and the usual height. Mrs. Kane was at one
end of the table and Mr. Sellers at the other. The Medium sat with her
feet partly under the table, and consequently concealed from most of
those present--her feet were hidden also by her dress.
Dr. Leidy asked the question: "Is any Spirit present?"
Ans. Three raps.
Dr. Leidy: "Will you confer with the man to left of the Medium?"
Ans. Two raps. (No.)
Dr. Leidy: "To the right?"
Ans. Three raps.
Professor Thompson (who was the person indicated): "Is the Spirit male?"
Ans. Three raps.
"Will it answer to the alphabet?"
Three raps. The alphabet was called and "Henry Seybert" spelled out.
Mr. Sellers: "Will Henry Seybert make the raps at this end of the
"Is he satisfied with the Commission?"
Five raps were given for the alphabet; Professor Thompson called it;
raps spelled out:
"I will be satisfied before the investigation is through."
Mr. Sellers: "Does Mr. Seybert know the names of the Commission?"
Ans. Three raps.
"Does he know who is now speaking?"
Mr. Sellers then pointed to the letters of the alphabet, which he had
written in order on a sheet of paper, and raps spelled out:
Mrs. Kane then tried standing at some distance from the table, with her
hands on the back of a chair; there were some raps seemingly near or
under the Medium.
Raps were produced as members of the Committee stood with the Medium
around the desk in the library, and close to a book-case. Raps were
produced according to the Medium on the glass door of a book-case, upon
which Mr. Sellers placed his hand. Mr. Sellers felt no vibration on the
glass, but raps were heard somewhere in the vicinity.
The Committee then returned to the dining-room and the Medium wrote upon
a sheet of paper the following:
"Friend Pepper: I am happy to meet you here to-night. I have not
forgotten my promise to you, Henry Seybert."
The paper had to be held to the light and read from the obverse side, as
the message was written from right to left.
Mr. Geo. Pepper: "Do you remember the year in which you made the
The answer given in same way was: "It was in the year in which my Spirit
left the body. H.S. Call the alphabet, H.S."
Dr. Pepper called the alphabet--the sentence "Let Friend Pepper call the
alphabet" was rapped out. Mr. Geo. Pepper called the alphabet: the
letters HAND were rapped out, and the communication ceased.
The Medium wrote then as before: "Friend Pepper, meet me again."
It was asked whether Mr. Seybert would meet us on the next evening?
Ans. Three raps.
The Committee adjourned at 9.30 o'clock to meet again at 8 o'clock on
the next evening at the same place.
GEO. S. FULLERTON.
The following stenographic report of the meeting of November 6th, 1884,
has been read and approved by the Commission before being entered upon
The few additions which were made when it was read, appear as foot
notes. The report was approved as excellent.
(A Record from the notes of the Stenographer--Mr. J.I. Gilbert.)
PHILADA., November 6th, 1884.
The Committee reconvened this day, at 8 o'clock P.M., at the residence
of Mr. H.H. Furness, when the investigation of the Spirit Rappings, in
the presence of Mrs. Margaret Fox Kane as Medium, was resumed.
The persons present were the following:
Of the Committee--Dr. Leidy, Mr. Furness, Dr. Koenig, Mr. Fullerton, Mr.
Coleman Sellers, and by invitation of the Committee, Mr. Geo. S. Pepper.
The Medium--Mrs. Kane.
The Stenographer--Mr. Gilbert.
The company promptly repaired to the dining-room, and there gathered
around a common pine-wood table, consisting solely of its supports and
top, which had been specially provided, in compliance with the direction
of the Medium. The dimensions of the table, approximately stated, are as
follows: height, three feet; length, four feet; width, two and a-half
The 'Spirit Rappings' during the evening, aside from those heard during
the test with the glass tumblers, were apparently confined to the
floor-space in the immediate vicinity of, and directly beneath the table
described--around which the company were seated in the order here
stated. Mr. Sellers (to whom had been deputed the duty of eliciting the
responses) occupied the chair at the end of the table more remote from
the Stenographer. Next, upon Mr. Sellers' right and at the side of the
table, sat Mr. Pepper, and Mr. Furness in the adjoining seat. The first
chair on the side of the table to the left of Mr. Sellers was occupied
by the Medium, and the remaining chair on the same side by Mr.
Fullerton. At the near end of the table, Dr. Leidy and Dr. Koenig were
seated. The Committee, with one exception, in accordance with a
requirement imposed by the Medium, rested their hands upon the table and
fixed their minds upon the subject of the rappings. The exception was
Dr. Koenig, who, being seated at a distance of three feet from the
table, could not conveniently comply with the requirement. After the
expiration of some twenty minutes, the Medium requested Dr. Koenig to
place his hands upon the table, and he promptly complied with the
request and moved his chair closer to that of Dr. Leidy, thus depriving
himself of any facilities of observation of the space beneath the table.
The Stenographer was at a table about four feet from the circle of the
The lengths of the intervals between the questions addressed to the
Spirits and the responses thereto, were computed by the audible
second-strokes of a clock in an adjoining apartment; the periods of
waiting being necessarily brief in view of the assurance of the Medium
(as set forth in its proper place in the Report) that "When the raps
come, they come right away."
The "Spirit Rappings" varied materially in quality and character, being
at times faintly, and at other times distinctly audible.
The record of the Investigation is as follows:
Mr. Sellers: Is any Spirit present now?
Three raps--faint and partly indistinct--are almost instantly audible.
The raps apparently emanate from the floor-space directly beneath, or in
the immediate vicinity of the table. This remark is applicable to all
the rappings during the seance at the pine table.
The Medium (interpreting the sounds): That was "Yes."
Mr. Sellers (aside): They sounded like three.
The raps are immediately repeated with more distinctness.
Mr. Sellers (aside): There are three, and they are quite distinct.
(Resuming): Is the Spirit the same one that was present last night?
Three raps, apparently identical with those last heard, are again
Mr. Sellers (aside): It says it is the same Spirit.
(Resuming): I presume then it is Henry Seybert?
(No response.) Is it Henry Seybert?
Three raps--distinct and positive.
Mr. Sellers: You promised last evening to give a communication to Mr.
Pepper. Are you able to communicate with him now?
Two raps--comparatively feeble.
The Medium (interpreting): One, two: that means "not now."
Mr. Sellers (repeating): "Not now."
The Medium (reflectively): But probably before he leaves.
Three raps--quickly, distinctly and instantly given.
The Medium: He said "Yes," "before he leaves." (To Mr. Sellers): You
asked that question, I think?
Mr. Sellers: Yes. (Resuming): Will you communicate with him before Mr.
Pepper leaves to-night?
Three raps--instantaneous, quick and vigorous. The sounds in this
instance are four times repeated, the repetitions being in quick
succession and apparently without variation in quality or character.
Mr. Sellers (addressing his associates): It has been very clearly shown
to-night that certain sounds of greater or less volume have been
produced. We have heard the sounds. We are conscious that they are raps.
It is exceedingly important, in deference to the Medium herself, that we
should prove that she has nothing to do with the production of the
sounds other than in a Spiritualistic capacity. I would like to ask her
if there is any test that she herself can propose which would be capable
of satisfying us that she does not produce the sounds.
The Medium: I could name a great many tests, but they might not be
satisfactory to you; for instance, the one of standing on glass
tumblers, where the raps are produced on the floor.
Mr. Sellers: Will the raps be produced under such circumstances?
The Medium: I cannot say that they will be, any more than I can say that
they will be produced through the use of the table. In fact, they are
not so readily produced sometimes.
Mr. Sellers: I understand your position. But you say that there are
cases in which, when the Medium is standing upon glass, the sounds are
The Medium: Oh, yes. I mention that--the producing through glass--as one
of the most difficult of tests.
Mr. Sellers: Then the sounds will be just beneath your feet, will they?
The Medium: Well, they will seem to be. They may be on the side.
After a brief interval, during which Mr. Furness absented himself to
procure glass tumblers, the colloquy with the Medium was resumed.
Mr. Sellers: While we are waiting for those tumblers, will you repeat
the experiment of last night, that of standing near the table and not
touching it, to see if the same character of sounds then produced can be
again heard? Last evening we had a very satisfactory exhibition of that.
The Medium: Yes. But we have to keep to a certain condition; that is,
you are not to break. For instance, if you will all stand up and stand
touching the table--all of us--until we get started, it will be some
All of the gentlemen and the Medium rise and remain standing with their
hands in contact with the table.
The Medium (continuing): This is a test, something that I have not gone
through with since I was a little child almost.
Mr. Sellers (after an interval of waiting): There seem to be no raps.
(Another short interval.) Now, Mr. Seybert, cannot you produce some
Eighty seconds here elapsed with no response, when the Medium made an
observation which was partly inaudible at the Reporter's seat, the
purport of which was that the Spirit communications are sometimes
retarded or facilitated by a compliance by the listeners with certain
conditions. Another interval of probably two minutes elapsed, when the
Medium suggested to Dr. Leidy to place his hands upon the table. The
suggestion was complied with.
Mr. Sellers inquires of the Medium whether a change in her position,
with regard to the table, would do any good.
The Medium: I will change positions with you.
The change was made accordingly, but without result, and another period
of waiting followed.
The Medium (to Dr. Leidy): Suppose you ask some questions. You may have
some friend who will respond.
Dr. Leidy: Is any Spirit present whom I know, or who knows me?
After a pause of ten seconds, three light raps are heard.
Dr. Leidy: Who am I?
The Medium explains that the responses by rappings are mainly indicative
only of affirmation or negation.
Dr. Leidy: Will you repeat your taps to indicate that you are present
Three taps are heard.
Mr. Sellers: Those are very clearly heard.
The Medium (to Dr. Leidy): Ask if that is Mr. Seybert?
Dr. Leidy: Is Mr. Seybert present?
Three raps--very feeble.
Dr. Leidy (to Mr. Sellers): Was there an answer to that?
Mr. Sellers: There was. The answer was three raps. (After an interval,
in which no response is received): There seem to be no further
communications. I suggest that the test with the glass tumblers be now
Upon the suggestion of the Medium, the test referred to was momentarily
deferred, and Mr. Sellers made this inquiry:
It is proposed that the Medium shall stand upon tumblers. Are we likely
to have any demonstration?
Three raps--promptly given, though feeble in delivery and but faintly
The Medium: There were three--a kind of tardy assent.
Mr. Sellers (to the Medium): As if the Spirits might or might not
The Medium: Well, that a trial might be made.
Three raps are here again instantly heard--the characteristics of the
sounds in this instance being rapidity and energy, or positiveness.
The Medium: That is a quick answer.
At this point attention is directed to the first of a series of
experiments with four glass tumblers, which are placed together, with
the bottoms upward, on the carpeted floor, in the centre of a vacant
space. The Medium stands directly upon these, the heels of her shoes
resting upon the rear tumblers and the soles upon the front tumblers.
The Committee co-operate with the Medium, and, in conformity with her
suggestions, all the men clasp hands and form a semi-circle in front of
the Medium, the hands of the latter being grasped by the gentlemen
nearest to her on either side.
Mr. Sellers (after a notification from the Medium to proceed): Is Mr.
Seybert still present?
The Medium: It may be a few minutes before you will hear any rapping
through these glasses.
Ten seconds elapse.
The Medium: This test is a very satisfactory one, if they do it. And
they have done it a hundred times.
Five seconds elapse.
The Medium (to Mr. Furness): The glasses are not placed over marble, are
Mr. Furness: No; the floor is of wood.
Mr. Sellers (after another interval of waiting) informally remarked to
Mr. Furness: We will wait probably for another minute to see if anything
comes. As you know, the Medium claims it is impossible for her to
control these things--that she is merely one who is operated through.
Another interval expires.
The Medium: That was a very faint rap. Suppose we change the position of
Note by the Stenographer.--No intimation is given that the rap here
spoken of was heard by any one other than the Medium herself. Pursuant
to the request just stated, the carpet is removed and the glass tumblers
are located on the bare floor at a point about five feet distant from
the place at which the first test was tried. The new location is in the
centre of a passage way, about three feet in width, between a side-board
on one side and a wall projection on the other. Its selection is
apparently, though not specifically, dictated by the position and
movements of the Medium. The Medium and the Committee resume their
positions, the former standing on the glasses and the gentlemen facing
her in a group.
The Medium: Now, Spirits, will you rap on the floor?
Thirty seconds here elapsed with no response, when one glass was heard
to click against another, and the Medium exclaimed, "Oh."
The Medium (repeating): Will you rap on the floor?
Thirty seconds now elapse without any demonstration.
The Medium (aside): It seems to be a failure. They have done it.
Another click of the glasses, which passes without comment.
Mr. Sellers: We will have to set down the result of the experiment on
glass tumblers as negative. It may be well to try it later.
The Medium (evidently reluctant to abandon the test): Suppose now, as we
have gone so far, we kind of form a chain.
The company retained their positions with hands joined, and the Spirits
were repeatedly requested to make their presence known--Mr. Pepper, at
the suggestion of the Medium, asking the Spirit of his friend, Henry
Seybert, to manifest its presence by one rap--but all efforts to elicit
such response proved ineffectual. The glasses were then removed and the
requests were again reiterated, but with a like negative result. The
Medium finally remarked that she had rarely known of failures with the
glass tumblers, but it had been a long time since she had tried them.
She suggested that this branch of the investigation might be deferred
The Committee acquiesced in the suggestion and returned to the pine
table, where, with the Medium, they resume their original positions. The
Stenographer is seated at the table in the rear of the company.
Mr. Sellers: Now we have returned to the table. Can you indicate on the
table your presence, Mr. Seybert?
An interval of sixty-four seconds here followed.
The Medium: Ask some questions that would interest him in life.
As Mr. Sellers was repeating to Mr. Pepper the suggestion made by the
Medium, three raps were heard.
Mr. Sellers: There is now a communication that he is present.
Mr. Pepper: Harry, would you like to know something about this
investigation of Spiritual manifestations, which you had so much at
heart while living?
Three raps--prompt and decided.
Mr. Sellers: Do you, Mr. Seybert, at the present time, see the persons
present? Are they visible before you?
Two raps--noticeably slow.
Mr. Sellers (aside): He says "No, they are not."
The Medium (interpreting): Well, that would be too--'partially.'
Dr. Koenig: What would that mean--that he only sees some of us, or that
he sees none of us entirely, but only partially?
The Medium: That he sees us, but not clearly.
Mr. Sellers: Will you please rap the number of the members of the
Committee who are present at this time?
Mr. Sellers: Now, say how many.
Mr. Sellers: Are there only three?
The Medium (to Mr. Sellers): That answer was 'Yes,' I think.
Mr. Sellers: Well, you say you can do it. Please count the number of the
members of the Committee who are present.
[A]Seven raps--very slow, deliberate and distinct.
[Footnote A: When, in answer to Mr. Sellers' question, the raps counted
the number of the Committee present, the number seven was indicated.
_This counted in Mr. George S. Pepper and the Stenographer._--G.S.F.]
Mr. Sellers: Are there seven members of the Committee present?
Mr. Sellers: Are they all seated around one table?
No response. About forty seconds elapse.
Mr. Sellers: Are they seated at two tables?
[B]Three raps--quite feeble.
[Footnote B: When the raps indicated that the members of the Commission
sat at _two_ tables, this expressly included in the number of the
Commission the Stenographer, who sat at a different table from that at
which the members of the Commission were seated at the time of asking
Mr. Sellers (to his associates): We still must go back to the one thing.
The information we receive through these responses is of little
importance to us compared with the information which we must obtain as
to whether these sounds are produced by a disembodied Spirit or by some
living person; that is, in deference to the Medium. (To Mr. Furness): Do
you not think so?
Mr. Furness is understood to assent.
Mr. Sellers (continuing): We have tried the glass tumblers. We have the
sounds here. I would ask Mrs. Kane if it is proper for us to look below
the top of the table at the time the sounds are being produced, and in
such a way as to see her feet.
The Medium: Yes, of course, you could do that, but it is not well to
break, when you are standing, suddenly. As you know, you have to conform
to the rules, else you will get no rappings.
Mr. Sellers: What are the rules?
The Medium (disconnectedly): The rules are--every test condition, that I
am perfectly willing to go through, and have gone through a thousand
times--at the same time, there are times when you can break the rules.
So slight a thing as the disjoining of hands may break the rules. I do
not think the standing on the glass has been fully tried.
Mr. Sellers: We will try that later.
Mr. Furness (to the Medium--informally): This investigation is one of
great importance to us. There is no question about it--we have heard
these curious sounds. Now, as to whether they come from Spirits or
not--that would seem to be the very next logical step in our inquiry. I
think you are entirely at one with us in every possible desire to have
this phenomenon investigated.
The Medium: Oh, certainly. But I pledge myself to conform to nothing,
for--as I said in Europe--I do not even say the sounds are from Spirits;
and, what is more, it is utterly beyond human power to detect them. I do
not say they are the Spirits of our departed friends, but I leave others
to judge for themselves.
Mr. Furness: Then you have come to the conclusion that they are entirely
independent of yourself.
The Medium: No, I do not know that they are entirely independent of
Mr. Furness: Under what conditions can you influence them?
The response, which was partly inaudible at the Reporter's seat, was
understood to be: "I cannot tell."
Mr. Furness: You say that, in the generality of cases, they are beyond
The Medium: Yes.
Mr. Furness: How in the world shall we test that?
The Medium: Well, by--
Mr. Furness: By--what? Isolating you from the table?
The Medium: Yes.
Mr. Furness (applying his right hand, by her permission, to the Medium's
head): Are you ever conscious of any vibration in your bones?
The Medium: No; but sometimes it causes an exhaustion, that is, under
circumstances when the raps do not come freely.
Mr. Furness: The freer the raps come, the better for you?
The Medium: Yes; the freer the better--the less exhaustion.
Mr. Sellers: But do you feel now, to-night, any untoward influence
operating against you?
The Medium: No, not to-night, for it takes quite a little while before
we feel those things.
Mr. Furness: Do these raps always have that vibratory
The Medium: Sometimes they vary.
Mr. Furness: As a general rule I have heard them sound so.
The Medium: Every rap has a different sound. For instance, when the
Spirit of Mr. Seybert rapped, if the sound was a good one, you would
have noticed that his rap was different from that of another. Every one
is entirely different from another.
Mr. Furness: Do you suppose that the present conditions are such that
you can throw the raps to a part of the room other than that in which
The Medium: I do not pretend to do that, but I will try to do it.
Mr. Furness and Dr. Leidy station themselves in the corner of the room,
diagonally, and most remote from the pine table, at which their
associates remain seated, with their hands upon the table, and 'their
minds intent on having the raps produced at the corner indicated,' as
requested by the Medium, who also remains at the table. The Medium asks,
'Will the Spirit rap at the other side of the room,' and, after twelve
seconds, and again after forty-three seconds, repeats the inquiry. No
response is received. The experiment is repeated with Mr. Furness and
Dr. Koenig at the corner, but with a like negative result.
At this point the attention of the Committee was again directed to the
attempted production of the rappings with the Medium standing upon the
glass tumblers. The lady proceeded to the space between the side-board
and the wall where the last preceding test had been made, and there the
tumblers were again arranged. The Medium resumed her position upon them,
with Doctors Leidy and Koenig, and Messrs. Sellers and Furness facing
The Medium: Will the Spirit rap here?
Twenty-three seconds elapse.
Dr. Leidy: Is any Spirit present?
An interval of thirty-nine seconds here followed, when the attention of
the Committee was momentarily diverted by an inquiry addressed to Mr.
Furness by Mr. Sellers, viz.: Whether a glass plate of sufficient
strength to bear the weight of the Medium was procurable. At this moment
the Medium suddenly exclaimed: 'I heard a rap. You said, "Get a glass,"
and there was a rap.'[A]
[Footnote A: No one but the Medium heard this rap.--G.S.F.]
The Medium (repeating for the information of Mr. Furness): Somebody
proposed a glass and there were three raps.
Dr. Koenig inquires of the Medium whether the meaning intended to be
conveyed by the sounds is that the Spirits desire to have the glass
The Medium: I do not know. I know there were raps. (Turning to Mr.
Sellers, the Medium adds): They may have been made by your heel on the
floor but certainly there were sounds.
Mr. Fullerton: Then it was not the regular triple rap?
The Medium: I could not tell.
Just before calling attention to the alleged rap or raps the Medium
grasped with her right hand the woodwork of the side-board as if for
support. It was then that she stated she heard the sounds. They were
apparently not heard by any one but the Medium.
Mr. Sellers (addressing the Spirit): Will you repeat the raps we heard
just now, assuming that there were some?
Ten minutes elapse without a response.
The Medium: There is no use of my standing longer, for when they come at
all they come right away.
Mr. Sellers (after scrutinizing the position of one of the feet of the
Medium, remarks): The edge of the heel of the shoe rests on the back
tumbler. (Assuming a stooping posture for a more prolonged scrutiny, he
adds): We will see whether the raps will be produced now.
The Medium now proposes that all members of the Committee shall stand up
and join hands.
Mr. Sellers and his associates accordingly stand, facing the Medium,
with hands joined. Changes in their positions were made by some of the
gentlemen from time to time, as suggested by the Medium, Mr. Pepper and
Dr. Koenig being the first to exchange places. This occurred after a
silence of thirty seconds without any response.
The Medium: Now, Mr. Seybert, if your Spirit is here, will you have the
kindness--I knew Mr. Seybert well in life--to rap?
Fifteen seconds elapse.
The Medium: No, he does not seem to respond.
At the suggestion of Mr. Sellers, all the gentlemen approach the Medium
for the purpose of inducing some acknowledgment by the Spirit, and
inquiries similar to those already stated are repeated without result.
The Committee then temporarily abandon this test.
All present (except the Stenographer) having been seated at the large
circular table in the centre of the room, Mr. Pepper addressed the
Spirit of Mr. Seybert, as follows: 'Harry, will you communicate with me
as you promised to do?'
(Three raps--given slowly and deliberately--are heard.)
Mr. Sellers: Will you communicate with Mr. Pepper by raps or by
writing? (No response.) Will you communicate by raps?
The Medium (to Mr. Sellers): Well, my hand does feel like writing. Will
you give me a piece of paper?--and maybe they will give me some
Mr. Fullerton (to the Medium): How does your hand feel when affected in
The Medium: It is a peculiar feeling, like that from taking hold of
electrical instruments. I do not know but that you might possibly feel
it in my hand.
The lady here extended her right hand upon the table toward Mr.
Fullerton. The latter placed his left hand upon the extended hand of the
Medium, and subsequently remarked that the pulsation of her wrist was a
little above the ordinary rate.
The Medium, ostensibly under Spirit influence, with lead pencil in hand
proceeded to write two communications from the Spirit of the late Henry
Seybert. The first of these covered two pages of paper of the size of
ordinary foolscap. The Medium wrote in large characters, with remarkable
rapidity, and in a direction from the right to the left, or the reverse
of ordinary handwriting. The writing, consequently, could be read only
from the reverse side of the paper and by being held up so as to permit
the gas-light to pass through it.
The communications, as deciphered by Mr. Sellers, with the aid of Mr.
Fullerton and the Medium, were as follows: "You must not expect that I
can satisfy you beyond all doubt in so short a time as you have yet had.
I want to give you all in my power, and will do so if you will give me a
chance. You must commence right in the first place or you shall all be
disappointed for a much longer time. _Princiipis Obsta Sero Medicina
"Mend the fault in time or we will all be puzzled.
The foregoing were understood to be directed to Mr. Pepper, in
accordance with the assurance given by the Spirit that it would
communicate with him.
Subsequently, when the trance condition had apparently disappeared, the
Medium complied with a request to write, as it would be read to her, the
Latin phrase at the end of the first communication. Using the pencil in
her right hand, she transcribed slowly and in the usual direction from
left to right. The style of her handwriting was small and comparatively
neat. Apparently in every particular her writing in this instance was
the exact opposite of that made by her while in the alleged trance
condition. She here stated that, ordinarily, she wrote in the same
manner in which people generally write, with her right hand and from
left to right. With respect to her inability to transcribe the Latin
words until these had been spelled for her, she explained that she was
not at all familiar with Latin.[A]
[Footnote A: Mr. George S. Pepper, who was present, said that Mr.
Seybert knew no Latin.--G.S.F.]
A member of the Committee, commenting upon a defect in the spelling of
the first of the Latin words in the Spirit communication, suggested that
the error might be accounted for on the hypothesis that Mr. Seybert, in
life, was accustomed to the use of poor Latin.
The Medium farther explained that her understanding of the second
communication was that it was a translation of the Latin contained in
The glass tumblers are here again produced and the Medium takes her
position upon them, with Mr. Fullerton standing next to her upon the
right and Mr. Furness to the left. Mr. Sellers remains for some moments
kneeling on the floor to enable himself better to hear any sounds that
may be but faintly audible. The Spirits are repeatedly importuned by the
Medium to produce the rappings, but no response is heard until the
company is about to abandon the experiment. Three raps are then audible.
The raps are very light but very distinct.
Mr. Fullerton states that he heard the raps.
Mr. Sellers: I heard a sound then, but it seemed as if it was around
there. (Indicating along the wall immediately in the rear of the
The tumblers are here moved further away from the wall and the Medium
resumes her position upon them.
Mr. Sellers: Will the Spirit rap again? (No response.)
The Medium: Were any of you gentlemen acquainted with Mr. Seybert in his
Mr. Fullerton: I saw him several times before his death. If he can give
an intimation now of anything he said at that time, it will indicate
that he remembers it.
A very faint rap is heard.
The Medium: There is a rap. It seems to be there again. (Indicating the
spot to which attention was previously called by Mr. Sellers.)
The Medium again importunes, first, 'Mr. Seybert' and next 'the Spirits'
'to rap;' and the importunities are repeated. Three raps are distinctly
but faintly heard.
Mr. Sellers: I heard them. They sounded somewhat like the others, not
The Medium: I heard one rap, but it is nothing for me to hear them; I
want you gentlemen to hear them.
Mr. Sellers: Probably we will hear them again.
While Mr. Sellers and Mr. Furness are conversing, several raps are
heard, though less distinct than the preceding ones.
The Medium: There they are as though right under the glass. (After a
silence of forty seconds): Now I hear them again very light--oh, very
Mr. Furness, with the permission of the Medium, places his hand upon one
of her feet.
The Medium: There are raps now, strong--yes, I hear them.
Mr. Furness (to the Medium): This is the most wonderful thing of all,
Mrs. Kane, I distinctly feel them in your foot. There is not a particle
of motion in your foot, but there is an unusual pulsation.
Mr. Sellers here made some inquiries of the Medium, concerning the shoes
now worn by her. The replies, which were not direct, are here given.
Mr. Sellers: Are those the shoes which you usually wear?
The Medium: I wear all kinds of shoes.
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