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CHAPTER II
FIRST INVESTIGATION IN AMERICA

Materialisation’s with De Witt Hough---Appearance of Iola---The Roman lace worker---Sittings for Clairvoyance with Mrs. Conklin and Hough - The German suffering from kidney trouble diagnosed by Dr. Baker---Visit to Dr. S. H. - Year end seance with Maggie Gaule----I am accompanied by the spirit of the son of Dr. S.---Psychometry and clairvoyance by Maggie Gaule---Dor Hahn---Convincing evidence of the presence of Iola---The Herman's---New Year party at the house of Judge Dailey - May Pepper---Clairvoyance of Mrs. Dailey---Spirit return of the seaman Carey - Bright Eyes and the photograph test---Another interview with Maggie Gaule---Visit Boston---Mrs. Morgan, Mrs. Henderson and Mr. Porter---Iola manifests through Mrs. Henderson---Return to New York---Public seance of Mrs. Pepper---Private seance with Mrs. Pepper---Iola again---Return to England.

I landed at New York on Sunday, December 25th 1904 and attended a seance the same evening at the house of Mr. De Witt Hough. He then lived at 203 W. 38th Street with a partner, Mrs. Conklin, who is a good clairvoyante. I talked with Hough for half-an-hour before the seance commenced. He was in a stupid, dazed state, and very taciturn. It was impossible that he, or his partner, or any of his sitters, could have known anything about me.

There were seven sitters, besides Mrs. Conklin, who attended near the cabinet to find out the names of the various Spirits. We sat in a semi-circle on chairs and sofa's, comfortably at our ease. The sitter furthest away from the cabinet was about sixteen feet from it; the room was about twenty-two feet by fifteen feet, with a cabinet four feet square at one end. On a table outside of the latter were placed two bells, some writing paper, two harmonicas, and a paper tube. Before the gas was extinguished, Mrs. Conklin said to me "Have you a relative called Elizabeth? I do not know if she is alive or dead, but I see that name in connection with you." (I have two relatives of that name, one alive and one dead; the latter is a near relative of mine and of Iola). After the gas was put out, we sat for half-an-hour in the dark, during which time Dr. Baker, one of the controls, spoke in the direct voice. Phantoms were seen by one or two clairvoyants who were present, gliding about the room, one near me. I could see nothing, but I sensed a presence between me and my neighbour, and heard some sighs. Raps were heard in and about the cabinet, and tunes were well played on the harmonica, accompanied by bells. We sang, and at intervals called for tunes to be played by the Spirits in the cabinet, which were all renders as requested. The melody they got out of the ten-cent harmonicas was wonderful.

After half-an-hour of darkness, a little cripple control "Star-Eyes" who had been in evidence some minutes, talking and laughing in the cabinet, asked for a light to be lit. Mrs. Conklin lit an oil-lamp in a corner of the room opposite to the cabinet. It was shaded with a blue screen, and covered with a shutter which communicated by a string with the cabinet; this enabled the controls to regulate the light at will. The light throughout the seance was enough to allow of a white-faced watch being read, and it was possible to distinguish the spirit-forms of men from those of women. I could only make out the features of the male Spirits occasionally; the women were veiled, and their robes gathered at the waist.

(2) Fifteen or sixteen Spirits materialised full length, and were recognised either as friends or habitués of the cabinet. About half-way through, the cabinet curtains opened, and a small, slight form, below the medium height of females was seen. Mrs. Conklin called out the earth name of Iola. I rose in my seat, and the woman came out towards me for a distance of some ten feet, took my hands, and drew me back to the cabinet. She was in a state of intense vibration. I asked, "Have you any message?" "Yes!---Yes!" she said, "I will write". She took up a pencil, knelt down, and wrote upon the paper in the table. After writing a few words, she rose and went behind the curtain, apparently to gather strength; then came out again and finished the message. This she gave into my hands. She then came back with me to my seat, and said "Sit!---Sit!"---kneeled down by my side, and whispered "I am so glad you have come." At this time I had the form completely

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in my power, she holding both of my hands in hers. Presently she rose slowly and withdrew into the cabinet with a natural, easy gait. After saying "God bless you," she disappeared.

At the end of the seance I looked at the writing, and found it was a somewhat commonplace expression of pleasure at our meeting, signed with the proper Christian name, but not in the handwriting of Iola. The height and figure were quite correct; the arms (which were bare) those of a woman; the hands a little larger than was right, and rather brown; the feet very small, in keeping with the figure.

Hough is about five feet seven inches in height, broad-shouldered and somewhat stout. It would be impossible for him to simulate a form five feet on inches in height, and slight in build. Any attempt to diminish his height, and walk about on bended knees, would be detected at once. I sat with Hough for materialisation several times; once alone. Iola came three times. It was noticeable that if some common name was called out, such as "Mary," and the wrong person approached the cabinet to claim the phantom, it would disappear; none of those Spirits would take the hand of a stranger. The controls were alleged to be a Colonel Baker, who was killed in the War of Secession, Dr. Baker and a little spirit called Star-Eyes. Colonel Baker did not often materialise, but I have seen him in uniform. Star-Eyes kept up a running conversation throughout every seance, and generally materialised once or twice. If I went up to her, she would touch my hand softly; she had the appearance of a small cripple. There were many materialisation’s and dematerializations outside the cabinet.

Perhaps the most interesting feature in all the seances was the visit of a woman we used to call the "Roman lace-worker." She came sometimes from the cabinet, and at others from the floor outside it. She would borrow a handkerchief from me or some other sitter, and, shaking it out, evolve yards of drapery, which she would throw in turn over each individual member of the Circle. I have held it in my hands; it was of firm texture, and apparently as mundane as anything bought from a shop. She would then retire, laying it along the floor towards the cabinet; it would dematerialise from the latter outwards. When the sitter from whom the handkerchief had been borrowed naturally asked for his property to be returned, she would come out into the circle and pull it out from my back, or shirt-front, or the top of my head, and throw it to its owner. I have seen this spirit materialise a handkerchief from the carpet. She would bend down and scratch away until a small white substance appeared; this would get larger and larger, until it assumed the dimensions of a handkerchief.

Vibrations in the room were maintained by an ordinary musical box. Occasionally we sang. None of the forms that appeared were of a build resembling that of Hough except Dr. Baker and Colonel Baker; but in the case of these two habitues the faces were visible, and could not be mistaken for that of the medium. I was told that Hough was occasionally the victim of that most perplexing of phenomena, transfiguration ---when a Medium is brought out of the cabinet, and so to speak, built upon and made to resemble some departed friend of a sitter; but I must say that I never saw any form which reminded me of the Medium.

Since those sittings seven years ago I have heard that Hough has been detected in fraud during a materialisation seance. The allegations related to me are so circumstantial that I cannot disbelieve them. He adds another name to the long list of psychics who try to help out a waning power by cheating. I have taken this into consideration when drawing up the above account, and have omitted some details which might have possibly been due to trickery, and only related those which I believe fully were genuine manifestations.

(3) The morning after my first seance with Hough I had a sitting with Mrs. Conklin, the clairvoyant. Iola appeared to her soon after we had sat down. The description was good, and she answered correctly the following questions: "By what name did I call you?" "Where did you die?" (country only given) "What is the name of your sister?" "By what name did she call you?" "What is your relationship to me?" Then my father manifested to the clairvoyant, and gave his Christian names. Some details were added by Iola which effectually settled her identity as far as I was concerned.

(4) The next morning, December 27th, I sat with Hough and Mrs. Conklin. A card was before us, marked with the letters of the alphabet inconsecutively. Hough took my right hand in his and used his own forefinger to stamp the letters of the words which formed the replies to my

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spoken questions. I closed my eyes until I felt him dig at the square than contained the letter he desired to indicate. In this manner the following inquiries of Iola were answered with accuracy: "Give the names of those of your family you have met in Spirit life"; "Give the name of the last who passed over"; What was the name of your husband?" "Please give your full name" (two Christian names and the surname were given correctly. "Give my full name" (answer William Usborne Moore); "Give he name of the town where you died (given correctly, and it was a place which I am sure the medium had never heard of).

The delight of Hough when he found out that he had given the correct answers was immense. He uttered cries like those of a child, especially when my second Christian name and the name of the town came out. Having ascertained that my father was present, I wrote on a piece of paper which Hough did not see, "Where did my eldest brother die?" The reply was correct. Hough bellowed with delight.

Remember, up to this moment neither Hough his partner knew anything of me whatever except that I was and Englishman; this was known to Mrs. Conklin, as it came out the previous day. At the lowest estimate of this sitting it was an instance of excellent "thought reading". I am inclined to give it a far higher significance. It is rare that thoughts can be read so accurately, for the names were difficult to an American. I think it more probable that Iola and my father were present and directly impressed the Medium.

(5) On December 28th I visited Mrs. Conklin again, and obtained some good tests with a packet of photographs. Iola was asked the following question: "How many children have I got?" The reply was "I see a boy and two girls. One of the girls has the name Harriet. Your son has the same name as yourself, 'Usborne'. There are several Usbornes in the family. It is your name and your son’s name. Your children are not young and not old. One of the girls is about eighteen years old.I can only see three." (This is all correct. I had one son and two daughters at home at this time. My youngest daughter's name is Harriet and she was eighteen years of age; my son’s second name is that same as my own, and there are others of that name in the family).

On December 29 I sat again with Hough and his partner. Hough and I sat at two tables nine feet apart. I wrote a message and doubled it up so that he could not open it under my observation, then gave it to him. He put it to his forehead. Mrs. Conklin came and sat by my side after he had received the note. He wrote answers with feverish haste, which he gave to me. The answers were in general terms, but such as showed that he had in some way become acquainted with the contents of my messages. As evidence of identity they did not count for much. Here is one specimen: (Q) "Iola why would you not speak to me last night here?" (A). W., I did try to do so, but conditions were not just right for me; and then again to materialise is very difficult. I shall be with you, and shall help and aid you all I can---Iola." The handwriting was that of the medium. After a time we agreed to try the alphabet as on the previous occasion. Iola gave my wife’s working name correctly: and when my father was asked, "Of what disease did my eldest brother die?" The reply was "Diphtheria." I said, "Please repeat the last word and "diphtheria" was spelt out (this was correct).

(6) I will conclude my record of Hough with the account of an incident that much impressed me at the time. One of the members of the circle of the last seance I attended was a stalwart young German, over six feet in height, apparently in sound health. He was a perfect stranger to the Medium. When Dr. Baker came out from the cabinet, he advanced ten feet into the room and beckoned this gentleman to him, turned him round with his hands, and made several passes across his back at the waist. I happened to leave the house with this young man and asked him of Baker’s action had any significance. "Much," he replied; "I have been suffering from acute kidney trouble for three months."

(7) On December 30 I paid a visit to Dr. S., a famous Unitarian minister and ardent enquirer into psychical phenomena. He is the author of two or three books on the subject, and the conversation naturally turned to his latest work. One of the best of the instances of trance mediumship that he had adduced in that book was connected with a message which he had received from his son, what had passed over some three or four years. He took me up to one end of his room and showed me a portrait, saying: "That is my son, of whom we were talking just now." He then went to the other side of the room and described to me the portraits on the mantel-shelf,

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saying of one, "That is another picture of my son." We discussed Mrs. Piper, and he authorised me to use his name if it would be of any use to obtain a sitting. I, in my turn, showed him a certain photograph test which had been given to me by a medium the previous day. On leaving Dr. S I went back to my hotel and wrote a letter to Dr. H., at Boston, asking for an interview with Mrs. Piper. In the evening I started out to the house of a certain materialisation Medium, but, finding her out of town, proceeded to the house of Mrs. Margaret Gaule Reidinger, usually known as "Maggie Gaule," to make an appointment. To my surprise, when I entered the house I found the rooms full of people. I was met by Mr and Mrs. Reidinger, and explained to Mrs. Reidinger that I had been recommended to visit her by Dr. H of Boston and Dr. S. "How is Dr. S," she inquired "he has been unwell." I replied that I had seen him that morning, and he appeared very well.

"Did you know I had a special gathering this evening?" "No, madam: I came to make an appointment for a private sitting." Mr. Reidinger then showed me to a seat in the drawing room, where some forty or fifty well-dressed people were assembled. It was a double room, and in the place where folding doors would naturally be there was a small table, covered with closed letters and various articles, some packed in paper, some exposed to view. In a quarter of an hour Maggie Gaule came in, and standing by this table, gave an address on the objects of spiritualism and the various faculties of mediums. She denied that the power she exercised was that of telepathy. Her friends in that room brought their Spirits with them, and it was from these spirits that she obtained the information which she imparted; and more to the same effect. All she asked of her audience was that, if she gave a true reading, it should be admitted as correct by the person concerned.

She then took up a small closed parcel, and said: "This parcel brings me conditions of a little child who is reaching out to its mother. It contains a tiny shoe, and inside that shoe is some other article which belonged to the child. Who does this belong to?" To you, madam? Her name is so and so, and she says she would be very happy if she could only feel you had ceased to grieve for her. She says 'Tell Momma that I saw her when she was doing this or that yesterday morning. I wish her to know that I was with her.' More particulars are given. The lady addressed bows her head in assent, unable to speak. Turning to another article: "May I ask who brought this here? You, sir? Thank you. Am I right it contains so and so? It does? I thank you." (Approaching the owner): "I see behind you the Spirit of a man. He gives the name of Albert, and he says he is your father. He wishes me to tell you to have patience for one month longer, and you will find that the railway scheme will work out all right." Then turning round unexpectedly in another direction, without taking up either parcel or letter, she addresses an old lady opposite to me: "Ah! Madam, I see near you a little girl who is saying, ‘Momma, Carrie wishes me to tell you so and so.’ Have you a daughter in Spirit life called Carrie, and another so-and-so? You have? Thank you. Am I right in saying that you came this evening hoping to hear of them, and that you had a seance at your house on Tuesday last, when you were advised to visit me?" Further minute particulars are given. The old lady addressed bursts into tears, exclaiming, "It is all quite true."

Maggie Gaule then returns to the table, takes up a sealed letter, fingers it for a few minutes, and says: "Here is something which shows a most complicated situation. Who brought it?" The man sitting next to me holds up his hand. She walks towards him, but suddenly stops and faces another man: "You have something to do with this. I see a connection between you and this letter" (muses for a few seconds). "Are you a judge?" "No." "But you’re connected with the law; I know it" Was your father a judge?" "Yes." "Well, your father was not a believer in spiritualism in his earth life; but he had a fair and open mind, and if he knew you were here tonight he would say so-and-so." (The man assents.) "And now, sir" (turning to the man originally addressed), "about this letter of yours. You are in very considerable difficulties. It has seemed to you that your troubles never come to an end. No sooner does one cease than another begins. But a brighter time is coming. I must tell you what the Spirits tell me, not what it is most agreeable to you to hear. The words are sounding in my ear---'Better not have started litigation with those two sons.’ " Further particulars are given. After Maggie Gaule had turned away, my neighbour whispered to me: "Do you know why she mixed up that man with me? He is my attorney. His father was a judge."

Quite twenty minutes after Maggie Gaule turned round to him and said: "You think I mixed you up with somebody else; you are quite mistaken."

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To a young lady who owned to one of the sealed letters she said, walking towards her: "I can tell you that little love affair will come all right" (confusion of the girl and laughter in the room). "But you had better go on with your music." "Why," exclaimed the girl, "that was the very question I asked." "Well, your mother is standing here, and says you should continue your music." May I open this letter?" (Tears open the closed note, and reads aloud): "My dearest mother, is it worth while for me to continue my practice?" (Great delight on the part of the girl, and much applause from the audience).

During the evening Maggie Gaule sauntered up to me and said: "I see you are wearing a chain, and something hanging to it which belonged to someone very dear to you." (Takes watch and chain, and fingers watch.) "This was not given to you by one now in spirit life, but was the property at one time of a person who has passed over." (All correct). "You have come a long distance, and have traveled a great deal. You have brought across the ocean some photographs. (Here followed some private details which I recognised as correct, but which are unintelligible to those around.) "You are making investigations into the problems of spiritualism and the immortality of the soul. You are going to Boston presently. Do you know, it is a very curious thing, I have tried to bring Dr. S. into communication with his son, and have never succeeded in doing so. He is beside me now, and he wishes me to tell his father that he was with him in his study this morning when you called upon him. He says: 'My father pointed to a picture, and said, "That is my son." He afterwards showed you another portrait of him. He gave you a letter, or authorized you to use his name, to assist you to obtain an interview with Mrs. Piper. Let me tell you, you will not get that appointment yet, next week, nor the week after; but you will achieve your object before re-crossing the ocean. Will you convey the message to Dr. S from his son? You have written to Dr. H. today."

This was correct in all essentials. Beyond the few words I have already mentioned which passed between Mr and Mrs. Reidinger and myself in the hall on my arrival, the seer knew nothing or me, nor of my relations with Dr. S. and Dr. H. She did not know I had come across the sea (even if my lamentable "English accent" had betrayed me, I might be from Canada or the South). The photographs had only been mentioned to Dr. S. I had never set foot in that part of New York in my life, and was an absolute stranger to every person n the room. My thoughts were not concentrated on the events of the morning, and I subsequently ascertained from Dr. S. that he had not mentioned my visit to a single soul.

We have not the faintest evidence that the sub-conscious self can be tapped by a stranger on first meeting. To believe it can is to believe that a Medium can read the motives, character and innermost thoughts of every person he or she passes in the street. Is it not less difficult to accept the fact at once that Maggie Gaule received her information from spirits present---in this case from Dr. S.’s son, who had accompanied me to her house? He and I alone knew what had taken place. Dr. S. himself was not aware that I had written to Dr. H. on that evening.

One rather curious premonition was given to a businessman by Maggie Gaule. "You are in difficulties about a factory for tiles or bricks. More than once you have had to remove because the neighbors taken exception to what they consider the danger of your manufacture."

"Well, yes. We have been fired out of our location some."

M. G.: "I know. There is no real danger; but people around you think there is. Let me tell you, to use your own expression, you are going to be fired out again. Then you have had important dealings with a man whom you have reason to think is not as temperate as he ought to be. Excuse me mentioning these unpleasant details, but I am here to say what I see and what I am told to say."

"Well, I guess he drinks," was the reply.

I have only given the briefest sketch of what took place in Maggie Gaule’s drawing-room on this particular evening. Some fifteen or twenty closed letters and articles were "read". All the readings were admitted to be correct. I am not now holding a brief for American methods. English inquirers prefer to keep their sorrows private, and shrink from parading them before a room full of people, however sympathetic they may be. Be this as it may, there is no doubt that at least a dozen men and women left the house that night happier than when they entered it, and firmly convinced that hey had been brought into close touch with their loved ones who had gone before.

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(1) I may have to return to Maggie Gaule presently. In the meantime I will attempt to describe a visit which I paid the following day to Miss Dora Hahn, a trance Medium in New York. I was, of course, absolutely unknown to her. We sat in the dark, about four feet apart. She gave me a precise description of my state of health, and the precautions necessary, which I believe were correct, but would not interest my readers. She then accurately described certain Spirits around, some of whom I had not given a thought to for years, and she gave their names. She then went into trance, and was taken possession of by an Indian Spirit called "Lark" who, in a voice quite different that that of the Medium said, "Where do you wish me to go to?"

"Is the spirit of Iola present?"

 Lark: "Yes; she is here with me."

"Well, go to the house of my mother."

Lark: "I will go to the house of your mother. It is a long way, ever so far off, across the ocean; it is not in London but near it." (Then followed a description of the house and the members of the family attending upon my mother, which was correct.)

Lark: "Where shall I go now?"

"Go to my house at Southsea."

Lark: Where is Southsea? B---- Square, R---- Square? (London).

"Why do you say R----- Square?"

Lark: "Well, Iola says she lived there are one time, but the bog hotel on one side was not there then. Some buildings have been pulled down, and the hotel has been built in their place." (Correct).

"Now Lark, what is the Square like? You have squares here---Madison square and so on. Describe R---- Square."

Lark: "It is a sort of park."

"Any trees?"

Lark: "Oh yes! Plenty; and you have to open the gate with a key." There were further details all of which were correct.

"Now Lark, go to Southsea, near Portsmouth; you know, the naval town."

Lark: "All right; I see plenty of ships and soldier about. You have something to do with them. Golly! What a lot of cars! You are getting on in the old country. A good description of my house followed; also a good account of my son-in-law, my daughter and their children, who lived in a neighbouring street.

"All the information given in this interview" the sceptic might say, "was obtained from yourself. Dora Hahn told you nothing you did not know before you entered the room." This may possibly be true; but, remember, we were in the dark. But now to close the seance.

The light was lit. I laid a packet of fifteen photos on the table, and, taking care to get out of view of them, asked the medium to pick out the portraits of any spirits she had seen on this evening. While she was considering she handed me a photograph of my wife, saying: "Iola has just told me that this is your wife, and she says there is another one of her here". She then gave me a second picture of Mrs. Moore. I should like to know how any theory of telepathy can explain this away. Could the medium have obtained this information except from the source she claimed---that is to say, Iola?

The next day I visited Mr. and Mrs. Hermann, two psychics in a remote part of New York. They discovered my name pretty quickly. I tried the photograph test. Mrs. Hermann gave a convulsive movement, and shouted: "Who is the little girl? A spirit is saying in my ear 'Give him the little girl.' " There was only one little girl in the collection of photographs; it was the carte-devisite of my wife at the age of fifteen, in a short dress.

Good tests were given at this seance, but that just mentioned was one of the best. Knocks were going on all around the room, and vigorous taps on the table testified to any true piece of information. No person who had been present could have failed to recognise the activity of intelligence’s which do not belong to this state of existence.

On January 2 I lunched with Judge Dailey in Brooklyn. My hostess was clairvoyante; and the well known Rev. May Pepper, of the First Spiritualistic Church of Brooklyn, was one of the

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guests. It was one of those charming family gatherings for the celebration of the New Year which those only can appreciate who have experienced true American hospitality.

(8) In sat during the meal on the left of May Pepper. When about half-way through lunch, she said to me: "Your father has been in spirit life twelve years; your mother is still in earth life, but she has one foot, so to speak, in spirit life, and she is not long for this earth---she will never see another Christmas." These facts were correct---may father passed out twelve years before and my mother died at the age of ninety, on December 8 following this incident.

After lunch the hostess called me on one side, and said "Your father stood behind you at lunch, and a man who I am sure was your brother; his name commenced with the letter 'A'---Albert, or Alfred, or something of that sort. There was also a sister of yours, whose name is so-and-so." (The information as to the names was correct; they were Alldin and Catherine.)

I should have mentioned that when I was introduced for the first time to Mrs. Dailey, an hour before the above incident, she said: "A sailor has come here; he is dripping with water, and I feel that he was drowned while under your command. His name seems to be Leroy." I could not think who this was; but when I got back to England I hunted through my journals, and found that in June 1873, when I was a young lieutenant in a sloop in the Indian Ocean, an accident occurred. We were under sail alone---no steam available---and during the passage from Socotra to the Maldives experienced the usual gale, called the south-west monsoon. One evening we were taking in the third reef in the topsails when a young seaman called Carey fell from aloft, and, striking the rigging in his fall, plunged into the sea. The lifebuoy was let go. I jumped into a boat, and, with five volunteers, went to his assistance. The sea was high, but a keen-sighted man in my boat saw the buoy when we rose to the top of a wave. When we got up to it, we found Carey on the buoy dead. He had managed to swim to the buoy (how I cannot conceive), but this supreme effort had killed him; and there he was, with his arms around the upright standard of the buoy, drowned. We got on board again before dark, not without considerable difficulty; and I believe this was the young man who had returned from the other side in some feeling of gratitude for the efforts that had been made thirty-one years before to save his life. Everyone knows the difficulty psychics have in reading these names in what is called the 'astral light'. Observe: this lady could not read Alldin, but she said "Albert or Alfred, or some such name". The names Leroy and Carey have three letters in common; both ended with a 'y' there are the same number of letters in both, and 'r' is the centre letter of each word.

 When the party went into the drawing-room, after lunch, Mrs. Pepper, who before lunch had refused to give me a sitting that day, because she was tired after the Sunday evening services, she was suddenly controlled by an Indian spirit called "Bright-eyes" who seized my hands, and, in a voice totally different to that of Mrs. Pepper, said "You have brought a parcel with you; will you let me look at it?"

(9) In my breast-pocket was the packet of photographs (entirely out of sight) and two or three closed letters to Spirits. One of these was worded thus: "Please impress the Medium to pick out such-and-such portraits" (mentioning four of the collection). Not a soul in the house, nor in New York or Brooklyn, for that matter, knew that these photos were on my person, nor could any mortal have been aware of the contents of the closed letters.

I handed the packet to Mrs. Pepper (or perhaps I should say to "Bright-eyes"), who laid the photos faces downward on her lap. In this position I was entirely unable to distinguish one from another; to telepathy (the bogey of spiritualism) had not a chance to spoil sport. Within five minutes three out of the four portraits were handed to me.

At lunch I sat next to Mrs. Pepper, and it is possible that, with her marvelous intuition she had read my mind correctly as to the nature of the test I was most desirous to obtain; but I would like to know by what means she was able to select the portraits, unless it was through the agency of supramundane intelligence I had requested to intervene, and who was familiar with the photographs I required. On coming out of trance Mrs. Pepper was much vexed to have failed in discovering the fourth portrait.

I am writing now to give my own experiences of psychic phenomena, and not to relate the experiences of others; but I cannot properly bring before the reader, in sufficiently distinct light, the powers of the Rev. May Pepper without giving at least one instance of the exercise of her

24

gift that proved to be of great practical value, and which was told me that morning by the gentleman who had invoked her assistance.

(10) Mr. R. is the son of a couple who had been separated not many years after their marriage. He was brought up by his mother, who had never concealed the fact of his father being alive, but always evaded the question of where he was living. Mr. R. was nearly of age when his mother died, and he became more than ever desirous of finding his father. He was in the habit of attending Mrs. Pepper's Spiritualist Church; and it occurred to him one Sunday evening to out a closed letter on the rostrum asking his mother to give him the address of his father. Mrs. Pepper through the spirit’s guidance, gave the address of a firm in Liverpool, under which his father was employed. He wrote to him at this address and soon received a manly and affectionate reply. (Mr. R. read me the letter). The writer made no attempt to defend his share of the unhappy differences which had estranged him from his wife and son; and he could not visit America just then, but hoped to do so in a year or two; and expressed earnest good wishes for his son’s prosperity in life. It was fated, however, that they should not meet, for a few months after this letter was penned the writer was killed in a street accident.

(11) On the morning following the lunch at Brooklyn I went, by appointment, to "Maggie Gaule" for a private reading. She said: "Your father is here. He says he was with you yesterday at lunch in the house in Brooklyn." (The followed some details which satisfied me that this was not guess-work.) "I hear the words 'Captain' or 'Admiral'. Are you Admiral?" Then a message from my father was give, which was characteristic, and certain details about my immediate family that were correct. The Medium said: "I should like to see that packet in your pocket." (Takes from me the packet of photos). As she held them I could not tell one from another. She handed out one: "This one has an association" (correct). "I know there is some very strong interest in your life connected with this" (hands one of my wife). "I am strongly impressed by this" (hands one of the four photos what I have stated had a special interest for me). "Here is another lady who is intimately connected with you" (hands the second photo of my wife).

It is remarkable (a) that this lady should have known that I had any photo's in my pocket:(b) that she should select three out of the four in which I was especially interested; and (c) that she should corroborate the presence of my father at Brooklyn the previous day.

After various interviews with other New York mediums, who gave more or less correct information I went to Boston on 10th January. On the 11th I visited three mediums who could not have known anything whatever about me---neither my name, profession, present occupations, nationality nor train of thought. Their names were Mrs. Morgan, Mrs. Henderson and Mr. Porter. Mrs. Morgan, sitting in full light, commenced by announcing the presence of my father and of her medical guide. She described my physical condition correctly, and said: "I sense---following the sea. You or someone closely connected with you, is following the sea as a profession. Have you anything to do with wireless telegraphy?" (my son was about to be appointed in charge of the wireless telegraphy section of the Torpedo School at Portsmouth). Various other details followed which were correct. This medium refused to undertake the photograph test, but gave me some interesting private details.

(12) Mrs. Henderson, after a few minutes' conversation, went into trance, and was taken possession of by one of her guides,, "Sunflower", an Indian girl, who announced Iola as present, and said "You have something of hers with you."

"Yes, I have a photograph."

Sunflower: "Yes, there is one taken some time before she passed over, and one taken at a later stage." (Correct). I then gave the packet to Sunflower, which she laid on her lap photograph’s faces downwards, and proceeded to describe them. Sunflower: "This one makes me feel dreadful" (hands me the photo of a lady whose sister was murdered, under horrible circumstances, in New Zealand). "There is some interest connected with this" (hands a photo to which the remark would apply). "This seems to be a sister" (quite correct). "With this comes to me a laugh --a happy time" (hands a youthful portrait of Iola). "The Spirit condition predominated when this was taken" (hands an older portrait of above).

And so she went on, giving correct accounts of at least nine of the photographs. As I was completely ignorant which picture was which, I can account for Sunflower’s prescience only in

25

one way---viz., that Iola, who knew all the faces except one when she was in earth life, was directing the choice.

Other particulars were given concerning my family which cannot be repeated. They were correct, and my own Christian name was told to me.

Mr. Porter blindfolds his eyes. He gave me some good tests; but some of the people whom he described were uppermost in my mind that morning, and I fancy that, though blindfolded, he was able in some way to draw liberally on my own upper consciousness. There was, however, one very curious announcement towards the end of the interview: "This Spirit says he was with you in St. Louis. Have you been in St. Louis?" I replied: "No; but that was the name of the ship I came over in." The Spirit promised to make his identity known later. Mr. Porter had no knowledge of my name or nationality, but described minutely, my occupation.

(13) I returned to New York on 14th January. On the 17th I attended a public reading of sealed letters in the drawing-room of Mrs. Pepper. This time I had some closed letters of my own on the table addressed to different relatives. For instance, one was to my father asking him how many children he had in the Spirit World; another was to an aunt who died fifty years before, asking what was the cause of her death. The clairvoyance shown by Mrs. Pepper on this occasion was one of the most remarkable of my experiences. About forty people were present. I should think that the number of sealed letters read that afternoon amounted to twenty or twenty-five. Not a single mistake was made. All the persons who had their letters read, or spirits around them described, admitted the clairvoyant interpretation to be correct. The seer glided about the room with absolute confidence, describing the appearances, names and relationships to the audience of the entities present, not unfrequently giving an account of a spirit standing by some sitter who had not laid any letter on the table.

Once I thought Mrs. Pepper had made a mistake. She spoke to a fashionably dressed woman in the middle of the group: "Lady, I see near you a Spirit whose name is R." "I know no one of that name," was the frigid response. "Ah! I see it belongs to this gentleman in front of you. It is a little boy who has not long passed over. He was his father's darling. May I ask, Sir, have you lost a child lately called R.?" (The man assents, his wife sitting beside him with compressed lips, looking straight in front of her.) "You have? Let me tell you there is a barrier; your little son cannot show himself to his parents while there is this wall of gloom and despondence in your house. It shuts him out. The father and mother feel no hope; they look around and find nothing to soften their despair. This should not be so. You Sir, shall see your son. He will make you conscious of his presence within two months, as sure as I'm alive. Have you lately changed the position of a picture?"

"No we have not moved his picture."

Mrs. P.: "But (listens) he tells me he was with you when you altered the position of a picture. I did not say it was his picture." The man, who is now weeping quietly with his face eagerly scanning that of the seer, says: We did make a change in the position of a picture the other day." Mrs. P. "Yes, you did. I know it. Your little R. asks me to give you this as a proof that he has been with you in your home."

Mrs. Pepper then turns to another sealed letter, and says: "This envelope contains a letter which was not written by anyone in this room. Ah! I see. Who claims this envelope? You, lady? Thank you. Will you tell me if I am correct in supposing that in this envelope is a letter from an anonymous person trying to damage your husband in your estimation? (Lady assents). Well, take my advice and think nothing more about it. It is a slander designed to break up the peace of a home, and written from evil motives. That is my answer to what you wish to know. If you care to wait behind this afternoon, I will tell you more about this matter.

After she had dealt with seven or eight letters, she swung round to me and said: "A man, the spirit of your father walked across to you when I took up this envelope. Is it yours?" I answered in the affirmative. "Well, I will come back to you presently." Then, turning in the opposite direction, she took up a closed envelope, but a piece out of it, and mused for a time; then said: "This is a question from somebody present who wishes to know if it would be well for her sister to return to her husband. Who put it there? You, lady? Well, I am told that she had better stop as she is; the separation was not made without good reason, and they had better remain apart.

26

He is a miserly creature. He would skin a flint, this husband of hers, and when they lived together he grudged her the food she was obliged to eat to keep body and soul together. (The writer assents to this cheerful delineation of character.) Tell your sister it is better for her to remain independent, even if she has to work for her living. Perhaps I can tell you more if you remain behind this afternoon.

(14) Then to me: "Your father is laughing and saying 'They are wondering at home why you are going back earlier than you intended.' (Correct). He also says 'Does my son think I do not know how many children I have got?' (Then followed a correct answer to my question). Who is E? Your aunt? But I don’t understand. The E. who is here speaking to me (listens) says that you married into her family. (Correct. Eighteen years after my aunt's death I married her daughter (my cousin). She was ill for a long time before she passed over; her family did not know how bad she really was, and when the end came it was a great shock." (This was correct).

I have quoted her a few of the utterances of Mrs. Pepper. All of them were equally interesting and truthful, and there was not doubt in my mind at the time that this remarkable woman did clairvoyantly see spirit entities who had accompanied their friends into the house, and that through their agency she was able to read the contents of these sealed letters almost as well as if she had opened them and read them with her eyes.

(15) Once again, the evening before I sailed for England, I had an interview with her, this time alone. She had a few minutes before she returned from Philadelphia, where had addressed thirteen hundred people, and given readings of seventy-five letters (I understood that five hundred people were turned away from the door), and at that time she was much troubled by some domestic difficulties, so I hardly expected to benefit much by her clairvoyant faculty. In this I was quite mistaken. She gave me all sorts of information of a private and complicated nature, described the character and the manner of death of a distinguished officer (which was perfectly correct) and appeared generally as if she had had no fatigue and no worries. I can only relate one portion of our conversation. One letter I had written, closed, and addressed outside, was to the Spirit of a very amiable man who had died in the year 1868, and whom we will call here Major Jones. I knew him well when I was a boy, and had reasons for supposing that he would be present, and he was.

His only Christian name was Major; he was not a military man, and had never seen anything more formidable than a squib fired off during his life. He had passed over at the age of fifty-nine. Like many other people in the last century, before statistics had been collected on the subject, he entertained a rooted objection to consanguineous marriages, and believed that they were the work of the devil. Nine years after his death his youngest daughter married a cousin. Three other children had also married. His grandchildren totaled up to the number of eighteen, and the most successful of his children’s marriages from the physical and mental standpoint was that of his youngest daughter. The seer was instructed to ask him: "How many children have you in Spirit life, and how many in earth life? The answer was quite correct: "Two daughters in earth-life, two in spirit-life, two sons in Spirit-life, and there was a little boy who died shortly after he was born." (This latter detail was not in my consciousness, but I daresay I had heard of it at sometime or another.) He further went on to specify which of his daughters, both of whom he named, died first. Both of his wives were mentioned by name. He said; "I have a grandson in earth-life who is ill. He will have to be taken great care of."

"Do you approve of the marriage of your youngest daughter?"

A: "No. That grandson I spoke to you about is her son. (Correct, the man in question having been attacked by enteric fever in the previous August; at this time he was nearly well.) Now observe this reply. The illness of the grandson had nothing to do with the popular notion of consanguineous marriages; but Mr. Jones who had ample opportunity, we must suppose, of knowing this fact, still adhered to his original fixed idea. This view, I hinted to the clairvoyante, who was instructed to ask again; but she said: "I can’t help it sir ; but she shakes his head." Other details were given which proved the identity of the Spirit communicating and that of four or five other Spirits who were present.

I said to Mrs. Pepper: "I certainly thought you would be confused by supposing Major Jones to be a military man." The reply was: "No, he didn’t look like one."

27

It is impossible that this psychic could, by any possibility, have known beforehand of the existence of Major Jones, or any particulars of his family; nor do I see how mind-reading could assist her, as my attention was not concentrated on the replies; and they were, indeed, somewhat unexpected.

Iola was present during this interview and gave some interesting information. "Ask her," I said to the Medium. "if she ever materialised in New York." The answer came at once. "She says 'Yes, when you first arrived.' She is smiling, and saying something about a cane." (Listens). "She says she went with you to the seance room and that you took your cane up to the room to prevent anyone knowing who you were. Is this so?"

A: "No; what I did was to walk two or three blocks, in the snow, from the hotel, when I remembered that my stick had my name and address engraved upon it; so I returned and put the stick in my room."

M. P.: Yes; that was it. She gives you this as a test that she was with you on that evening." This was my last psychic experience during this visit to America. I left the country feeling that I had been amply repaid for the trouble of crossing the ocean. As regards clairvoyance and trance mediumship, I thought the phenomena of far better quality than anything that can be obtained in this country, probably on account of the purity of the atmosphere and superior electrical conditions.

I reached England in a frame of mind quite ready to receive the truths of spiritism if I could find evidences in any honest quarter.

28

 

 

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