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Mr & Mrs Jonson Mediums of Toledo U.S.A
Mr. J. Ben. Jonson 1854
The Celebrated American Mediums of Toledo, Ohio, who later moved to Altadena, California. Jonson was a painter and decorator who, with his wife, sat for materialization and direct voice phenomena. He was born October 16, 1854, in Akron, Ohio. His father was said to be a lineal descendant of the British poet Ben Jonson and his great-grandmother a descendant of Thomas Paine. Both his parents were Spiritualists and held a seance on the evening before his birth. His own psychic talents developed at age seven, when, while playing with his sister, he ran right through a burly black-whiskered man on the steps of the house. His sister also saw the phantom. She died soon after the incident, but manifested at a seance with Jonson when he was only 18.
Beginning in 1876 Jonson sat regularly in a Home Circle with friends, and physical manifestations occurred, including materializations. He also became a trumpet medium. He married in 1901, and his wife was usually present at seances. Both usually sat outside the cabinet, and Jonson went into trance. His wife was reputed to be a good direct voice Medium.
Homer Taylor Yaryan, chief of the secret police under the Grant government, watched the Mediums carefully for years and assured Admiral Usborne Moore that they were genuine. The admiral himself, in his book Glimpses of the Next State (1911), reached the same conclusion. He saw 15 to 16 phantoms---in circumstances that apparently excluded confederacy---emerge from the cabinet in a single sitting. Some of them dematerialized into the floor and it was possible to follow their heads with the eye until the shoulders were level with the carpet; some came too far out into the light, doubled up and collapsed; some dissipated after falling over on one side.
Each phantom had a distinctive movement of the limbs and carriage by which, in successive seances, they were identified. They were mostly etherealizations; the faces and heads alone were tangible. The admiral put his arms around the waist of a phantom relative and found nothing.
A white-robed figure with a bright silver band on her forehead and bracelets and jewels on her arm gave her name as "Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt"; another form claimed to be "Josephine."
In 1923 the Jonsons were visited in California by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who was greatly impressed by their materialization phenomena, which he believed genuine. He describes the seance in his book Our Second American Adventure (1923).
Is this when their energy levels drop down? The Jonsons, however, did not live up to the favorable reputation that the experiments of Yaryan and Moore established for them. Considering the experiences of J. Hewat McKenzie in Toledo in 1917, those who accused them of fraud apparently had grounds for doing so. Writing in Psychic Science in April 1927, McKenzie notes: "I proved on this visit, that the daughter of the Jonsons' masqueraded as a Spirit, and would appear from the back room to dance as a materialised form in highly illuminated garments, the illumination for these being produced in an adjoining room with the help of magnesium wire used on clothing impregnated with phosphorescent paint. The smoke from the magnesium wire was seen by me in clouds in the room where she danced, and my sense of smell also recognized the well-known odour. Here we have a striking instance of what the abuse of Spirit intercourse may lead to."
Why do respectable Mediums sometimes resort to alledged fraud?
Why do respectable Mediums sometimes resort to alledged fraud?
Taken from with slight alterations Yaryan, Homer T. An Investigator's Experience of Materialization Phenomena. Psychic Science October 1926.
In a suburb of the city of Toledo, Ohio (632 Orchard street), there is
a two-storied house owned by Mr. Ben Jonson, a painter and paperhanger. The
seance room is a large apartment on the upper floor, and is approached by a
narrow staircase from the back sitting-room on the ground floor. The cabinet
is about seven yards from the top of the staircase, in one corner of the
room. The top of the staircase has no door. I do not know the reason of this
omission ; but I have been told by those who frequent Jonson’s seances that
one of the band of Spirits who habitually frequent.
In a suburb of the city of Toledo, Ohio (632 Orchard street), there is a two-storied house owned by Mr. Ben Jonson, a painter and paperhanger. The seance room is a large apartment on the upper floor, and is approached by a narrow staircase from the back sitting-room on the ground floor. The cabinet is about seven yards from the top of the staircase, in one corner of the room. The top of the staircase has no door. I do not know the reason of this omission ; but I have been told by those who frequent Jonson’s seances that one of the band of Spirits who habitually frequent.
the cabinet occasionally gathers sufficient power to glide down the stairs and bring up a lady’s muff or some other material article from the front sitting-room---a feat that could not be achieved in the form through a locked door. It is, however, practically impossible for confederates to come this way, for they would have to pass the sitters to enter the cabinet. As we shall see later on, confederates, and plenty of them, are the only explanation that the most rabid sceptic can put forward for what goes on in this room.Mr. and Mrs. Jonson offer every facility for the sitters to search the seance room, the cabinet, and the rooms underneath. They are dependent upon each other for the necessary psychic power, and a successful materialisation seance cannot take place unless both husband and wife are in good health. Mrs. Jonson sits in the cabinet occasionally without her husband, for one or two visitors. During these seances Etherialisations often takes place, and voices are heard through a trumpet. Vibrations are maintained during the materialisation seances by a rather inferior musical-box of the disc type ; at Mrs. Jonson’s cabinet séances, by a small music-box of the barrel kind.
Mr. J. B. Jonson is a powerful-looking man of fifty-five years of age, five feet eleven inches in height, well educated, and of sober habits ; he has a hearty laugh and a genial manner. He wears boots at the seances, and sometimes a light coat or dressing-gown that enables him to be clearly seen ; this, however, if meant as a precaution, is unnecessary, as the amount of light is always sufficient to admit of his being visible to all the Circle during the first part of a seance when he sits outside the cabinet. His wife is a stout, comely woman, rather younger. She walks about the room, generally in a white blouse, and is always in view. The light is regulated from within the cabinet, and is sufficient to allow a person with average sight to read a watch with a white face ; at times it is possible for a sitter with keen sight to read large print.
Before undertaking the investigation of the Jonsons, I conferred with my friend Mr. Homer Taylor Yaryan, who was chief of the secret police under the Grant Government. Those who are old enough to remember the scandal of the whisky frauds, traced by the secret police up to the very gates of the White House, will not fail to recognise the ability which contrived to defeat a well planned robbery of Federal funds. Mr. Yaryan is a detective of great skill, and the last man in America to allow himself to be bamboozled. The Jonson’s have given seances in his house, one of which (I possess a copy of the record) was as successful as those I am about to describe. He has watched these Mediums carefully for years, and assured me they were genuine. After sitting with them several times, always in the afternoon, I am certain he is right.
The first seance I had with the Jonsons was on January 4,1909. There were three other sitters---a Mr. and Mrs. Z. and a relative of theirs---who kindly allowed me to join their Private Circle. Mr. Z. and I carefully examined the cabinet, and found nothing in it to arouse suspicion. The atmospheric conditions were bad ; it was raining. The light was regulated from the cabinet, and was sufficient for us to see one another’s features at a distance of six feet, and to read a watch with a white face. The lower part of the curtains of the cabinet were drawn back to the side, and a cloth was secured across the lower half of the cabinet. In front of this, on three chairs, sat, from left to right, Mr. Z., the relative (whom I will here call Mrs. M.), and Jonson, holding hands.
When they had settled themselves, a sheet was tied over them up to their necks, so that their faces only were in view. Opposite to the three persons thus sitting on chairs, outside the cabinet, and at a distance of three feet from them, were three chairs occupied by Mrs. Z., myself, and Mrs. Jonson. Thus, Mrs. Z. was sitting directly opposite to Mr. Z., I was sitting opposite to Mrs. M., and Mrs. Jonson was facing her husband.
First a pair of hands of delicate shape appeared over the heads of Mr. Z. and Mrs. M. ; then, at various times, single hands appeared, one small and delicate, the other larger, and no less delicate ; the latter had a ring on one of the fingers. A hand manifested twenty times or more, several times over Mr. Z., and at least four times stroking the right side of his face (that is, the furthest possible point from the medium whose right hand was held by Mrs. M.).
I rose from my chair, and took both Jonson’s hands in my right hand ; stretching out my left hand, I was touched by a visible spirit hand that showed over the head of Mrs. M., Two notes were thrown out of the cabinet, one from a Spirit Guide of Mrs. Z. and one from a Spirit Child of Mrs. M. The two hands appeared simultaneously four or five times. A graphophone, the mouth
of which showed beyond the right side of the cabinet, played several times ; the starting-lever could not have been reached by the disengaged hand of the Medium.I threw my handkerchief into the cabinet, between Mr. Z. and Mrs. M. In a few seconds it was thrown out to me, with hard knots in three of the corners. This also happened to Mrs. Z. Mrs. Jonson was sitting by my side all the time, and had no part in the performance ; Jonson was in partial trance.
About an hour after we had sat down, this part of the seance came to an end ; the lights were lit, and the windows opened for ten minutes to let in some air to revive Jonson, who was somewhat distressed. We then formed a Circle in the middle of the room, with a trumpet in the centre. Jonson became fully controlled by "Greyfeather," an Indian, who spoke in a different voice from that of the Medium. Vibrations were maintained by a small musical-box under the control of Mrs. Jonson. During the sitting this box was carried round over the heads of all the sitters, playing meanwhile a definite tune. We sat now in darkness ; we did not touch hands.
Whispers were heard talking through the trumpet to the different sitters. One Spirit came to me, but I was not sure of the identity. After a conversation had been going on for a minute or a minute and a-half with a sitter, the trumpet would be dropped on the floor ; by the sound, I should judge it fell several times four or five feet. One spirit known as "Kitty" spoke in the direct voice, without the assistance of the trumpet.
The last manifestation was that of a spirit who had been in life a locomotive engineer, and who was drowned in Lake Superior. He spoke clearly through the trumpet, and announced his arrival and departure by making noises through it indicative of the first starting of an engine : Puff, puff---puff, puff, puff---and so on. When he left, the spirit imitated, not only the starting, but the sounds of an engine gathering speed and eventually disappearing in the distance. It was very effective.
Considering the atmospheric conditions, and that there was one perfect stranger in the Circle (myself), I thought the display of Spirit power on this evening was very successful. I will now proceed to describe other seances at which I attended when the Jonsons were the Mediums. They were all held in the room described above.
January 6,1909. Atmospheric conditions very good. The temperature of the air was about 10°, and it was dry and clear ; time, 2 to 4pm. The sitters were the same as on the previous occasion, with another relative of Mr. Z. added (whom I will here call Mrs. J.), making a Circle of three ladies and two men, all experienced investigators.
Mr. Z. and I examined the cabinet ; then we took our seats about four feet in front of it. The room was darkened for four or five minutes, during which time a Spirit Form within the cabinet called out : "How are you, Uncle Z., Ande Z., Ande M., Ande J., and uncle William Usborne Moore?" (The mediums knew my name was Moore, and may possibly have known it was William ; but they certainly had no means of finding out my second Christian name. In the hotel book I had signed W. Moore. I may here remark that W. Moore is a very common name in the United States, something like John Smith in this country.)
Jonson sat in a chair, one foot outside and in front of the left end of the cabinet. He was immediately controlled by "Greyfeather," the Indian. There was a shade over the small oil-lamp behind us ; this was drawn up a little, and the sEance commenced, the light in the room being sufficient for anyone with good sight to read the time by a white faced watch.
(57) Within two minutes the figure of a woman, below medium height, dressed in a white robe with girdle round the waist, sprang up from the floor very close to the Medium, holding out her hands in my direction. I got up and went up close to the Medium. From the building and proportions I was able to guess who this was. She tried to speak, but all I could catch was "Al" or "All"; but, unfortunately (owing to our mutual anxiety, I presume), she dematerialised into the carpet before I could clearly distinguish the features. This same materialisation and dematerialization occurred a second time with no more success. After a third abortive attempt she did not dematerialise into the floor, but simply faded away.
Not long after this two strong forms emerged from the opening of the cabinet on my right. I was almost touching the entranced Medium with my left arm ; within two feet of me, on my right,
was a woman as tall as Jonson, wearing a white robe, a bright silver or steel band on her forehead, and what appeared to be bracelets and jewels on her arms. After a few words of conversation she let me understand that she was Cleopatra, once Queen of Egypt. Standing a little behind her was a smaller form who gave the name of Josephine. In appearance neither of these was human in complexion or lines, but swarthy and dimpling, Josephine’s face rather red ; the general effect was not unpleasing, though it never occurred to me that either face was mortal. I asked Josephine who was the Spirit that first appeared, and she corroborated my first impression. It was Iola.Grayfeather suddenly exclaimed : "I like that squaw." I said : "How flattered Cleopatra would have been, in earth life, to hear that !
The Indian took this innocent remark in bad part, and called out angrily : "I say she nice squaw, I say it to her face, Grayfeather not got four tongues. No ! no !" Cleopatra then went up to Jonson and waved her arms over him, when peace was restored.
Once Grayfeather caused Jonson to stand up close alongside of two big Spirits. The three forms all close together, and in full sight of us all, were impressive. On another occasion Grayfeather (controlling Jonson) walked over to my chair, a distance of eight feet, and, put his Medium’s left hand into my two hands. He then proceeded to give me a little advice in a loud voice, being apparently under the impression that I had never attended a seance before. "When Spirit squaw come you no say, ‘Who are you?’ ‘What your name?’ You say, ‘How are you? Very glad to see you.’ Next time squaw come p'haps she give you her name." While he was thus talking the cabinet curtain opened, and a man went straight across to Mr. Z., who recognised him as his deceased brother and returned to the cabinet with him.
Including some repetitions, fifteen or sixteen materialised forms emerged from the cabinet and conversed with their friends while Jonson was out of it ; six or eight came after Grayfeather had taken him inside---all these in addition to the Familiar Spirits, the habitués of the cabinet. One of the visitors was a nun, who had a very spirituelle countenance and wore a bright silver cross about four inches long. She came specially for Mr. Z.: But, at the request of the latter lady, she walked well out into the light in order that I should be able to see her plainly. The effort was too much for her, and she doubled up, instead of gradually descending into the floor, which is the usual method of disappearance. Each member of the Circle was visited by at least two friends who were recognised. Two or three men came to me whom I was not able to identify properly, one making semaphore signs with his arms.
One curious incident occurred while Jonson was still in view. Grayfeather shouted out, "Go away, go back in box" (cabinet).
Q: "What is the matter Grayfeather?"
Grayfeather : " me tell him, No ! Go back to box and come out there. He want to come into Medium and turn me out."
Q: "Who is it?"
Grayfeather : "He come for Mr. Moore. He say his name John Nic-hol-son." I know one John Nicholson living and one who passed over some years ago. The former is a busy professional man who, I am sure, was not asleep in England at 9pm.; the latter was a gentle, courteous, old canon of a cathedral in the West of England, and the last person in this world or the next to try and dispossess the Indian of the organism of Jonson. The only surmise I could make was that this was the intrepid leader of the attack on Delhi, whose memory I, in common with thousands of Englishmen, have held in veneration since the days of the Mutiny. Our knowledge of his character does not exclude the idea that, if he wanted to communicate with one of his countrymen, he would not hesitate to turn anyone out of a body that appeared to him to suit his purpose. He had very often, though not recently, been in my thoughts.
After Jonson had been in the cabinet half-an-hour Grayfeather brought him out, and squatted him on the carpet tailor-fashion. While he was sitting thus a phantom slowly arose behind him, but soon faded away before it could be recognised.
January 14,1909. With the Jonsons 2:30 to 4pm. This seance was a failure, but some interesting incidents occurred. Atmospheric conditions not of the best ; it was thawing. Mrs. Jonson not at all well, Jonson in good form.About half-an-hour after the light was put out Jonson, who at first had been possessed by Grayfeather, came partly out of trance ; Grayfeather left, and an English bluejacket controlled the Medium. He used shocking language, I regret to say, and when asked to depart by Mrs. Jonson in a very civil way, refused, saying, "He had as much right to be there as we had." By-and-by, however, he was persuaded to get out of Jonson ; Grayfeather resumed control, and took the Medium inside the cabinet. From there he called to me, "the chief from across the big pond," to come and sit with him in the cabinet, saying : "I want to draw from him. I no draw from squaw Jonson, she is not well tonight." I accordingly took my chair inside, and the following dialogue took place :
(58) Grayfeather : "I see you yesterday in another wigwam. You not get much there." Admiral Moore : "Oh yes, we did, Grayfeather ! We had a good time ; and Viola, Kitty, and Tim came to speak to us from here."
Grayfeather : "Ugh ! Ugh ! I see you with two other chiefs."
Q: "Well who were they?"
A: "I think one was Hyslop. (Wrong.) I no want mention names. Chief Yaryan there. (Correct) You think I no see you. I see you in morning go into a wigwam---yes, big stone building---and get book, scratch paper."
Q: "Do you mean I wrote in a book?"
A: "Ugh ! No, you read book (Correct) Young Squaw come to you and ask for wampum (money). You say : ‘Wo ! Wo ! Wo ! ‘"
Admiral Moore : "That is a libel, Grayfeather. I made no difficult6y with the young woman."
Now, what happened was this. The previous morning I had occasion to go to the public library in Toledo to return a book, and at the same time borrowed another, from which I copied an extract (scratch paper). The clerk returned me two dollars paid as deposit the day before. The young woman said later, "I must ask you for twenty-five cents." "What for?" I enquired. Answer : "We always charge twenty-five cents in addition to the deposit, in case of the book sustaining any injury." I put down the "quarter" without demur ; but I felt mildly indignant, as I considered the two dollars deposit ought to cover all risks.
The seance with the other psychic the previous afternoon will be alluded to later in this chapter. Soon after the above conversation I was dismissed from the cabinet, and Grayfeather said "I came out." He tried sitting outside, with me beside him, but it was no good. He left Jonson with a violent jerk (always a bad sign), and the Medium came slowly to himself. Grayfeather remarked, before leaving Jonson : "I sick ; no power" (beating the Medium’s breast with heavy thumps) ; "no wampum for my Medium ; but no good talk any more, like a squaw." On my offering the usual fee, Jonson declined taking it saying, "We never accept anything when no forms appear."
The above incident is worthy of a few minutes’ consideration. Mr. Yaryan was with me on the previous day at the house of Mrs. Alexander, a new Medium ; but he had no intention of going ten minutes before we started. It was quite an afterthought ; he suddenly put off a business engagement to accompany me. He and I were unknown to the Medium we sat with, and that same Medium is unknown to Jonson. The name of my friend Dr. Hyslop had been mentioned before the Jonson seance commenced ; but, if Grayfeather knew anything at all about my thoughts of that gentleman, he would have known that, if no other investigator were available in the United States, I would not sit in his company at a seance (for reasons wholly impersonal). In all essentials the story of what happened in the public library is quite true ; not only did Grayfeather, apparently, see what took place, but could read my thoughts when the quarter-dollar was demanded. The following explanations may occur to those who read this :
(a)The Medium of the previous afternoon and the clerk at the library told the Jonsons of the various incidents. (b) Jonson dogged me all day.
(c) Grayfeather read my sub-conscious mind. (d) My guide was with me throughout, and told Grayfeather the facts, as a test, no other phenomena being available. (e) Grayfeather followed me about, and was aware of every action and thought.Replies : (a)This is so intrinsically improbable as to need no denial. (b) Had this been so surely I should have seen him in the room of the library ! In his normal state he could not read my thoughts. (c)If this were so, Grayfeather would have been more accurate in his statement about my companions. (d) I cannot be sure, but I think this is the most reasonable explanation. (e) Here, again is a striking improbability ; Grayfeather is well acquainted with the second gentleman, who did accompany me on the previous afternoon, and whom, in his talk, he misnamed Dr. Hyslop. The controls of Jonson’s cabinet do follow the sitters about the country and meet them at other seances, making themselves known by speech ; but we were not aware of Grayfeather’s presence at the other Medium’s house on the previous day. Had he been present, he would not have made the mistake in the names.
My guide, Iola, saw and heard everything at the seance of the previous afternoon ; she was much in evidence. She was most probably in the library with me in the morning, and, when she came to the Jonson’s, told Grayfeather all about it, to assist him to give a test, not having sufficient strength herself to use the direct voice. This particular materialisation seance at Jonson’s was a complete failure.
January 16,1909. With the Jonsons. 2:15 to 4:15pm. Circle composed of the same sitters as on the 14th. Atmospheric conditions not good ; it was snowing heavily most of the time, and there were six inches of snow on the pavements before we got to the house.
In some respects this seance was better than that of January 6, for more forms appeared ; but I did not like it so much, as the light allowed by the Spirits in the cabinet was much less (no doubt on account of the inferior conditions). About twenty-five separate personalities manifested ; counting the repetitions, there were over forty materialisation’s or Etherialisations. For my part, I only saw the faces of two clearly enough for recognition. These were Viola and Edna, the nun. Viola is a very lively girl of eighteen or nineteen, with long streaming hair ; she touched my hand with hers. Edna came out four or five times, and gave me opportunities to see her face, dress, and cross quite plainly ; Iola brought my father and mother. On one occasion I went to the entrance of the cabinet, and saw two forms together, which I soon discovered were my parents, and the small form of Iola behind them.
Cleopatra manifested. This afternoon she was about 5ft 9in in height, and not so big as on the first occasion. She clearly said that she was the Egyptian Queen, and was glad to come to me, and that she intended to accompany me "West." Around her forehead was the same silver band or crown, and she had the same majestic mein.
One word of explanation here. I consulted with my friends in this small private circle as to their interpretation of the term "identification." "Do you mean," I asked, "that you recognise your friends every time by their features?" The reply, in effect, was "No, we identify them by their general appearance ; we cannot always see the face distinctly enough to be able to say that it is our friend. We sometimes see the features, but not every time. Each spirit form has its own individual actions of arms and hands. Some put their hands above their heads ; some cross their arms ; others have a particular dress. Once assumed, those idiosyncrasies are exhibited on every occasion that they appear ; but the forms vary in height according to conditions." Mr. Yaryan, upon whose experience I place great value, though I never sat with him at the Jonsons, attached large importance to this. He said : "The forms that manifest to a sitter each have a particular gait and movement of the limbs. If the conditions are not good, you may not see features plainly enough to identify your friend by looking on his or her face ; but you know them by their distinctive movements, dress, and carriage. Is it conceivable that Jonson can produce enough
confederates to imitate these features at every seance? Hundreds of people sit with him in a year. Think what an organisation this would mean, even if he were cognisant of what is going on, which he is not ; he is in trance. Could he produce the appropriate dress or the appropriate action when neither he nor his wife know who are coming or where they may seat themselves? Putting on one side for the moment the precautions we take by searching the cabinet and the premises, how can we account for the unerring certainty with which the proper form, dress, and movements are manifested to each member of the Circle? To me, this is one of the chief proofs of the genuineness of the Jonsons. The expense, and the difficulty of finding the histrionic capacity in the neighbourhood, forbid such an explanation of the supernormal phenomena that take place at these seances. The expense alone would prohibit such an idea ; for it could be of no interest to the mediums if three-quarters of their takings were swallowed up in the payments of confederates and properties."I am entirely in agreement with what Mr. Yaryan says. Such deception would not pay. If an average of the whole year is taken, the Jonsons cannot be making more than ten dollars a week ; a confederate would expect at least half a dollar for a séance, and the dresses could not be obtained for any trifling sum. I have, below, given reasons for my belief that there are no confederates. (59) But to return to this particular séance. Jonson was outside the cabinet for at least half the time that the materialisation’s appeared. The gait and movement of the arms of Cleopatra were the same as on the previous occasion. "Jeanie," a Scotch girl, came out on both occasions, dressed in plaid. One of the most interesting incidents in the seance was the re-appearance, after many months, of "Martha," an old maid of the Yaryans’, in proper servants dress, apron, bib, and so forth. Mrs. Yaryan had told me about her the day before ; the girl admitted that this was what enabled her to manifest. One of the prettiest sights was to see a little Indian girl called "Oviola," below medium height, skip out into the Circle. Of course, I did not know her or Martha ; but they were both clearly recognised by the other members of the Circle. During this seance I saw several forms dematerialise, two or three outside the cabinet : one male form did it deliberately, to show me how it was accomplished, and Cleopatra dematerialised from feet upwards.
The next morning, Sunday, January 17, I went to Chicago, and returned to Toledo on January 24. On Monday January 25,1909. I sat with Mrs. Jonson alone in the cabinet, 2 to 2:45pm.. She was not well, having been up all night nursing a grandson who was dangerously ill. (60) There was one attempt at etherialisation by my father. Viola came first to talk to "Uncle Moore." All the Spirits used the trumpet, except "Crotcho" (or Crooked Stick), an Indian girl, who spoke through Mrs. Jonson. My Father and Mother spoke, and Iola. My Father said : "W., don’t worry about that question of identity. Proofs will come when you are least thinking of them." (This was an allusion to my attempting to identify Iola, at the Bangs sisters’, a few days before, by a series of twenty-three written questions, only some of which were answered. I was not thinking of this at the time.) Iola Said : "We shall get on better now that you have lost your doubts." (After seeing a certain picture precipitated at the Bangs. I had given up all doubt as to her identity.) When I asked Iola if my picture had started from Chicago, she said : "It is all right ; when you get it you will be pleased. I have prepared a surprise for you." (It had been settled at Chicago that one of my pictures should be sent to me at Toledo. It arrived on the Wednesday, January 27. When I examined it, I found an inscription in one corner. There was no writing on it when I left Chicago. This is a remarkable incident. Remember, I only left Chicago on Sunday, the day previous to the sitting with Mrs. Jonson.) Iola, who spoke without trumpet, also said : "Next Seance I will come first, when the power is strongest."
It was during this cabinet sitting that Hypatia first manifested to me. She had come to my friend Mr. H. C. Hodges, at Detroit, several times, and given her history, every detail of which was found to be correct. I presume that our conversation about her a fortnight before was the means of her making herself known to me.
Crotcho controlled Mrs. Jonson at the end of the sitting, and spoke for quite five minutes through her mouth. Edna the nun, spoke to me in the direct voice without using the trumpet. Viola, when she came a second time, said : Iola says that when the picture comes to you, watch the eye;
it will follow you about." (This is curious. It does happen in one full-face picture precipitated in the presence of the Bangs Sisters ; both eyes follow the observer all over the room. But the picture then expected to arrive at Toledo was a profile, and nothing of the sort takes place.) Mrs. Jonson held my hands most of the time (obviously to show she was not touching the trumpet), and sometimes put my hand to her mouth while spirits were talking (to show she had no part in the production of the voices).(61) The next time I visited the Jonsons was on January 29, 1:50 to 3:10pm. when I had a materialisation seance with them alone. It was an interesting experiment, and I was much surprised that it was so successful. Jonson passed into the trance state in about ten minutes. In less than five minutes later Iola rose slowly out of the floor in front of me, outside the cabinet, and passed in between the curtains, thus keeping her promise of January 25. I went to the opening with Mrs. Jonson, who invariably accompanies a sitter (to lend additional power to the manifestations), and asked the spirit, "Did you make that inscription on the picture?" A whisper came, "With the help of others." My guide then sank into the floor.
Viola appeared three times. She came close up to me, four feet outside the cabinet, twice, and I was able to see her fairly well, better than I did Iola. Towards the end of the seance, while Mrs. Jonson was trying to discover the name of a man who had appeared at the opening of the cabinet, Viola sprang out of the floor four feet behind her, and, gliding up to her silently, passed between her and the curtain into the cabinet.
Then came an etherialisation of a man in silver robes. (The room was darkened for this, the cover of the lamp being drawn down from within the cabinet, and the curtains drawn back.) Grayfeather, who had not previously not spoken much, said that this spirit had met me before on the other side of the "great pond." And that his name was Abdullah. I presume that this was the Abdullah of Craddock’s band. He salaamed several times, but did not speak.
The next materialisation was that of Cleopatra, who emerged from the cabinet with her accustomed crown and gestures, but only 5 ft. 3 in. or 5 ft. 4. In height. (I account for this by want of power, owing to my being the only sitter.) She said she would guard her picture (see Chapter VII.), and reappeared twice.
Cleopatra was followed by Hypatia, who came three times. She gave her name, and walked (or glided) up and down the room two feet outside the cabinet. Her face was that of a handsome woman, with much hair, and the movements of the figure were graceful. She could not talk much. I said: If I go to Chicago again, will you help to precipitate your portrait?" The answer was, "With great pleasure." There was nothing in the face (nor that of Cloepatra) that suggested a mortal being. I do not know why, but Mrs. Jonson was delighted at the appearance of Hypatia. Hypatia brought an old friend of mine on her third appearance. I thought I knew who it was by his general appearance (possibly telepathy was at work), and asked, "Are you an English naval officer?" The head was bowed, and he twice put his hand to his forehead, indicating the disease from which he passed out. (This brother officer died insane some six years before.) I asked, "Are you happy?" The head was bowed vehemently. Both figures were clearly seen together.
My father and mother materialised. In these there was no possibility of error. My father had a nose like the Iron Duke, and I saw him in good light three feet outside the cabinet ; his prominent feature was clearly distinguishable. Three men came out whom I did not know ; one was said to be Mr. Marshall Fields, A wealthy merchant of Chicago ; but, as I never knew him, nor heard of him before this evening, I cannot answer for his identity.
The poor little waif, "Kitty," who died some years ago in New York of cold and starvation, and who is often heard, but seldom seen, at Jonson’s séances, manifested on this occasion. She was more substantial-looking than any other figure, and came out twice to me where I sat in my chair, four feet from the cabinet. Once she went round behind Mrs. Jonson, who was sitting on my right, and stood behind the chairs, patting me on the hand several times. This girl had been known to Jonson’s sitters for some six years ; she always appears in the same dress and the same size, and invariably manifests the same characteristics. Flashlight photographs have been taken of her. I have one in my possession taken three years before, and I can affirm that it is the
same child I saw on this evening. So natural and human is this picture that I must confess I thought, when first it was lent to me in England, it was a fraud. Having seen the materialised form, I no longer have any doubt as to its genuineness. Kitty must now be, speaking in earthly terms, twenty or twenty-one years of age ; but she appears as a little girl of, say, thirteen, with short frock, stockings down at heel, and no shoes. Is it possible that she is allowed to manifest constantly at the age at which she died to prove the fidelity of these Mediums?Grayfeather took the Medium into the cabinet after Cleopatra had shown herself. While I was talking to Iola, Jonson stood up. I touched him with my left arm while I was facing the Spirit. The light was sufficient to read a white-faced watch, except during the appearance of Abdulle. The weather conditions were bad. Snow was falling, and melted as it fell ; it was damp and miserable. I was much impressed with the evidence of spirit power shown on this afternoon. The atmospheric conditions were detestable ; there was only one sitter ; only three human beings in the room ; and yet evidence was produced of such a kind that its genuineness was indisputable. It corroborated the evidence of the first materialisation seance, when there were five sitters, and it was not far inferior to that sitting in richness of phenomena.
(62) On January 30,1909, 2 to 3pm., I sat with Mrs. Jonson in the cabinet. Jonson asked me if he might also sit. He has never seen one of his wife’s séances, and would like to do so ; but if I had the slightest objection to investigating under such conditions he would rather not be there. I assented willingly. Directly we sat down he was entranced by Grayfeather, and remained in trance all the sitting, so the object of his coming was frustrated ; but his presence probably gave additional strength to the manifestations.
Viola came first, and talked without the aid of the trumpet. After this a brilliantly illuminated robe or shawl rose slowly from the floor. Grayfeather made Jonson put both his hands into mine while this manifestation was in progress ; Mrs. Jonson also joined her hands with ours. It was evident that neither Jonson nor his wife had anything to do with it. The robe, or shawl, was covered with flowers worked into it---roses, lilies, and I think lotuses and narcissi. It was over two feet from me, and I was unable to make out the design accurately. After remaining suspended in the air a minute or two it descended into the floor. I do not know what was the significance of this phenomenon. Tim, one of the habitues of the cabinet, who came to speak later, said he thought it was an effort on the part of Cleopatra to show part of a dress she had worn in earth-life.
Iola came strong, using the trumpet. We had a chat about the pictures precipitated at the Bangs Sisters, Chicago (see Chapter VII.). She said the head is represented in the pictures as it is now, but the dress is only to assist in identification. Before leaving she told me "we shall get on much better now your doubt is gone."
Both Iola and Cleopatra assured me two or three times that the pictures would be all right. It seemed to me extremely improbable that they would arrive at their destination in England unhurt. As a matter of fact, however, they did ; the frames of two were damaged and three glasses were broken, but not one of the six pictures sustained the smallest injury. During this sitting Iola assured me that she had put an inscription on one of the pictures then on its way to England. This also was true, as I found when I arrived at Southsea two months later. There was not a sign of writing on this portrait when I left it at Chicago.
Cleopatra spoke with the assistance of the trumpet, and Hypatia without it. The latter asked me to tell Mr. Hodges that I had seen her materialise. Viola came a second time, and said : "There were two people here trying to speak at the same time. I told them it was rude." Kitty spoke strongly and plainly. I said : "How do you like it over there Kitty?"
A: "I am as happy as the day is long."
Q: "Do you go to school?"
Q: "Who is your teacher?"
A: "Her name is Angelina. She is very, very pretty. We learn all that is learnt here and a lot besides."
Q: "Have you your father and mother with you?"
A: "I live with my mother. I don’t want my father ; I don’t know if he is over this side. He was bad to mother. When she was doing the washing he come home and take it away from her and he go and get drunk."Mrs. Jonson : "Now, Kitty, you must try and forget all that and reach out and help your father."
A: "Well I know nothing about my father, and don’t want to see him."
Kitty then went on talking like Viola, without the assistance of the trumpet, in the most natural way for some minutes ; when she used a slang expression Mrs. Jonson pulled her up. Once she quite aptly used the word "exclusive," for which she was duly praised. She said : "Uncle Moore, my age when I came here was thirteen fifty (thirteen and a half) : I am now over twenty ; and do you know when I come here I feel just as I was, thirteen fifty? Can you explain that. Admiral Moore : "No, I cannot, Kitty ; but why don’t you pull your stockings up?"
A: "Because I ain’t got no garters."
Q: "Don’t you wear shoes?"
A: "No, I don’t want to wear shoes ; but I must go now, as others want to come."
My mother spoke a little, and then came McBlin, the engineer, who announced himself by the snorts of the locomotive, admirably done through the trumpet. As soon as the engine had, so to speak, arrived, he said he was glad to see me, that he was an engineer who was drowned in Lake Superior some years ago.
Q: "What are you doing now?"
A: "Oh ! We have shops over there ; I am doing much the same sort of work."
Q: "But what shall I do when my time comes to pass over? I am a sailor. You have got no sea."
A: "Have you ever been over here?" I answered "No."
McBlin : "Well how do you know? I tell you, there is a replica (sic) of everything on earth." After a few more words, the engine started again, "Puff, puff……puff, puff, puff !" The snorts became fainter and fainter, conveying an excellent idea of increasing distance, and he was gone.
Before she finally left, Viola said : "Uncle Moore, when you come back on Monday you see I startle Ande Z." I said : "You must not do anything to frighten her."
A: "No I won’t hurt her ; but I make her jump." (I hope Mrs. Z. will forgive me for not telling her of this amiable project, but the temptation was too great to see what was going to happen.)
The musical-box was suspended in the air, and moved round over our heads playing a tune.
The Farewell Seance Monday, February 1, 1909. 2:40 to 4:20pm. Atmospheric conditions good. It was freezing ; dry, frozen underfoot. Sky very black to the west-ward, where it was probably snowing, but no snow at Toledo.
(63) The light was regulated as before by drawing up and down the shutter of the lamp in a corner of the room by strings which led into the cabinet. Jonson sat outside till after four materialised forms had appeared, when Grayfeather took him inside. It was given out in the course of the afternoon that this was my "Good-bye," and that the band were making exertions for me. The Circle was composed of the same kind friends as attended my first materialisation seance with the Jonsons.
Nineteen separate Spirits manifested. Some of them reappeared twice or three times, one four times. I estimated that over forty forms actually appeared during the seance. Including the repetitions, ten were for me. Iola came first. I saw her profile plainly ; the right eye was closed. She talked a little in whispers, saying she was "going with me." It was a good representation, the face a good likeness, and the height and dimensions of the figure were correct. She stopped at the
entrance of the cabinet rather too long, and dematerialised in an unnatural manner. During this seance I saw several Spirits dematerialise ; some descended in to the floor slowly and, so to speak, naturally ; it was possible to follow their heads with the eye until the shoulders were level with the carpet. Others doubled up before they dissipated, and a few fell over on one side.
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