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the horse, which, however, escaped and was taken charge of by soldiers of the
Lazarevskoe post; as for S., "he was carried away by the water into the sea,"
and his body never found, though carefully searched for.

The Rebus also gave a statement by M. Doubovik confirmatory of M.
Starck's account of his visit to him the day after the sitting : proces verbal of
Skrytnikoff 's death found, &c.

In reply to Mr. Solovovo's questions, M. Starck informed him that
his wife and daughter knew Skrytnikoff, having seen him several times ;
also that he himself did not touch the saucer during the communication.
Mme. and Mdlle. Starck also sent Mr. Solovovo statements which he
combined into one as follows :

January 12/24, 1899. SOTCHI.

We find M. Starck's account concerning a communication from the soldier
Skrytnikoff who was drowned, printed in Rebus, No. 48, 1898, to be correct.
During the incident described our eyes were bandaged and we positively could
not see the alphabet.

[Signed] j ENAi - DE STARCK.

870 A. The following account (taken from the Journal S.P.R., vol. ix.
p. 284) is translated and abridged from the Vessillo Spiritista for June
1900, where it appeared under the title of "A Good Proof of Spirit

NAPLES, January ZQth [1900].

On the evening of January I2th, 1900, during the usual weekly sitting, in
the presence of Sig. G. V. de Simone, his wife and two young daughters, C.


Orsini and the present writer, a good proof of identity which had been asked for
was received from the spirit of Arturo de Capua. It had been asked for under
conditions which excluded every possibility of voluntary or involuntary, con-
scious or unconscious suggestion, as it was impossible that what was unknown
and always had been unknown to all present should be suggested, and this
makes it of more value than a volunteered proof, which might have been
prepared beforehand by the medium.

This spirit of Arturo has given in many sittings many moral and intellectual
proofs of his personality which were recognised by his mother and brother Avo.
G. de Capua. The Neapolitan verses which he improvised (and I say impro-
vised, because the suggestion was made at the moment), written with extreme
rapidity through the medium Signorina O. de S., resemble closely in form and
matter those written by him during his life on earth.

Proofs of this sort, however, although perhaps convincing to those present
are of little value to strangers, who want records of facts which exclude any
such hypothesis as telepathy or self-suggestion on the part of the medium.
Therefore on this evening I asked the spirit of Arturo if he had any precise
recollections of his earthly existence, and if he could give me some fact, of his
own choice.

He answered me by automatic writing thus : " My dear Cavalli, I have,
it is true, advanced; but I recognise you, in a state of calm which I have
acquired, and which formerly I did not possess ; as for my remembrances,
know that not only does it give me great fatigue to recall them, but it also
causes me great pain; and it is for this reason that I rarely seek to revive

Then I replied that I did not wish to cause him pain, and would content
myself with asking him to give the names he remembered of his dearest

None of those present had known Arturo when living, much less the persons
or names of persons with whom he was acquainted. So this would be a good
proof. The spirit willingly assented. After a short time he wrote with his
accustomed rapidity : " Emilia, Paolo, Elena, Annina, and the lady who gave
me the cigarette, and whose name I cannot recall. Those are the people of
whom I was very fond, after my intimate friends, and who are still dear to me."
" So far good, but the best part is still wanting," I observed " the surnames.
Do you remember them ?" "Yes." " Can you and will you give them ?" "I
cannot." "At least tell me if the four names have different surnames." He
answered that the two first had different surnames, and the two last the same.
Immediately afterwards he expressed a desire to write again and wrote, " I
add to these Carlo Ricci, whom I still love so much ; do not be so exacting, do
you understand ? " The spirit insisted that all this was correct and expressed
anger when I doubted it.

As soon as I saw his brother, Guglielmo, I showed him the communica-
tions. They were all absolutely correct, the names given, and the lady of the
cigarette, but Carlo Ricci struck him above everything ! " He was Arturo's
dearest friend," his brother told me.

Although older than Arturo, Carlo Ricci and his father had always had the
greatest consideration for him, and Arturo was devoted to them both and pre-
ferred their company to any other.

Arturo's mother, whom I also questioned, confirmed everything that her
son Guglielmo had said. . . .

VOL. II. 2 H


But to return to the communication given by the spirit of Arturo on the
evening of the I2th, we can add another valuable particular. He gave the
names of four persons, as we have said ; among these was one Paolo. When
asked about him at a following sitting he answered by automatic writing:
" Paolo is the father of the lovely Nanninella." This was correct, and when
asked for some further particulars of the lady who gave him the cigarettes
amongst other things, whether there were dear friends of the lady's living in the
same place with her, he answered : " The lady has dear friends near her, and
they are of my family." Both these facts had been absolutely correct at the
time of his death. But the interesting point is this that when asked to name
friends living in the same place as the lady, he named his family. Those pre-
sent at the sitting, and all who knew Arturo's family, knew that for some months
they had changed their home. The spirit, however, apparently judging from
the past, did not think of their present changed habitation, and concluded that
they were still living near the lady. V. CAVALLI.

As witness of the facts narrated above, I affirm that they are perfectly
true. C. ORSINI.

Similar testimonies are given by Vincenzo de Simone and Guglielmo de

871 A. From Proceedings S.P.R., vol. ix. pp. 124-27, quoted from
The Holy Truth, by Hugh Junor Browne, pp. 63-71.

In this [automatic writing] we were unsuccessful, until it came to the turn
of my eldest daughter, a girl of eleven years of age, to take the pencil in hand.
Immediately on her doing so her hand was influenced to write, causing her to
be considerably alarmed. She called out, " Oh, mamma ! I am so frightened,
my hand is moving." We all pacified her as much as possible, and on taking
up the paper we found her hand had written on it quite legibly, though in
rather tremulous characters, quite different from her ordinary writing, the
following sentence : " Helen, Grace, Browne, I am come to see you. Your
beloved aunt. You will," &c., &c. The remainder of the writing was too faint
to decipher. The name written above is that of my second daughter, between
five and six years of age, who is called after two of her aunts, my sisters; one
of whom, the wife of an officer in the Indian army, passed away many years
ago, having died on her passage home from India, and whose spirit we after-
wards ascertained influenced the girl's hand to write this message to her little
niece and namesake. We had a number of communications through the same
source that evening from different spirit-friends, and since that time, except on
two occasions, when she said she felt no influence (a reason for which after-
wards was given), whenever my eldest girl sits down for the purpose of com-
municating with our spirit-friends, her hand is almost immediately influenced
to write. Her hand has written as many as forty pages of large notepaper
within half-an-hour, which in her ordinary handwriting would take her several
hours to copy.

My daughter is quite unaware of what she is writing and describes the
sensation of the influence as though electricity were running down her arm
from the shoulder. This is what is termed mechanical writing mediumship.
She often writes far beyond her own powers of comprehension on subjects of
which she has not the least conception, spelling words correctly which she does


not understand, and of which, when read over, she inquires the meaning such
words as clairvoyantly, physically, &c. At other times she spells small words
incorrectly which in her ordinary writing she would spell correctly. She has
written in French, of which language she knows but the rudiments ; she has
written in Chinese characters, and also in the Kaffir language, of neither of
which does she understand a word. She has written in blank verse, which,
though it would not stand the scrutiny of a critic, is decidedly beyond her
powers in this line, she being more of a romp than a student.

My daughter has frequently been influenced to write messages to strangers
from their spirit-friends, giving them particulars about things of which she
could not possibly know anything, and signing correctly the names of their
spirit-friends in spirit-life of whom she had never before heard. Her mother
and I have thought of a question to put to one of our spirit-friends when she
was not present, and calling her into the room have given her a pencil and
paper, and she has written a correct reply to the question mentally asked, and
signed the name of the spirit-friend of whom we thought. She can write either
looking away from or on to the paper. A difference can be seen in the writing
from each of our spirit-friends. If I see even the word "yes " written through
her, I can generally tell what spirit is influencing the medium's hand. I have
seen her write the letters upside down, backwards, left-handed, and in various
ways quite impossible for the child to do herself, and sometimes so fast you
can hardly see her hand join the letters, and at other times slow ; sometimes
in a very small hand, at others in bold text-writing.

On one occasion it was written through my daughter's hand that I was to
take a bottle of a specific I have for rheumatism to a Mr. Reed, directing me
to inquire at a shop in the hext street to where he used to live and I would be
directed to where he then resided. I had formerly given a man of this name
some of this mixture, which had relieved him of the pain, but had not seen or
heard of him for months, and I was not aware that he had removed from where
he then lived. On calling at his former residence I found he had removed,
and on calling as instructed at the shop indicated I was told where Reed then
lived. I found him confined to his bed, suffering acutely from rheumatism,
and gave him the specific.

I may mention another incident which occurred. One day when out walk-
ing with my wife I met a black man whom I had never seen before, but whom I
recognised as a Kaffir from large holes made in his ears peculiar to that race.
I accosted him in his native tongue, at which he seemed rather surprised, and
I gave him my address, telling him to call on me. This he did just as we
were sitting down to investigate this subject. I told the servant to show him
into the room, and on asking if any of his spirit-friends were present, my
daughter's hand wrote out several Kaffir names, which on my reading out to
him he recognised, and which evidently caused him great astonishment. On
asking if they had any message for him, a sentence was written in the Kaffir
language, some of the words of which were beyond my comprehension. On
my reading the message out to the Kaffir he understood every word of it except
one. This I pronounced in various ways to try to make him comprehend, but
all to no purpose, when my daughter's hand was influenced to write, " Click
with the mouth." This reminded me of a peculiar click which frequently ac-
companies the sounding of the letter " T " in the Kaffir language, and on my
pronouncing this word he understood the meaning of it at once. I may state


my daughter does not know a word of Kaffir, having been born several years
after I was last in that country. I inquired who influenced her hand to write,
as the art of writing is generally unknown to Kaffirs, and was informed my old
friend H. S., whose native name was " Nonquambeen," had written the
message at the request of the Kaffir's spirit-friends. I may add H. S. was a
well-educated man, whose memory I hold in regard, and who when in this life
could talk the Kaffir language fairly, having been an old settler in Natal. I
explained to my Kaffir visitor that the Insleseea, or souls of his friends, were
present, at which he seemed rather terrified. I assured him there were
numbers of my spirit-friends present also, and that my children frequently
described both the spirits of my friends and of some of his countrymen who
were in my employ, and others whom I knew many years ago. This only
seemed to increase his fear. I think I have referred to Chinese having been
written through my daughter's hand imperfectly, and on my remarking that I
did not think it was like the Chinese characters, I was informed by one of my
Anglican spirit-friends that it was the first time the Chinese spirit had in-
fluenced a medium to write, and that he would improve by practice. On show-
ing it to a Chinese (there were thirteen or fourteen pages of it) he could not
make out many of the characters, but here and there he said, " That means
sound," " That means twenty," and so on, and remarked, " This like little
China boy's writing, not know write good."

One day, while receiving communications through my daughter's hand, I
observed written, " Put down that balloon." I remarked to my wife, " What
on earth have they to do with balloons in spirit-life ?" She smiled, and told
me that our daughter had in her left hand one of those pink india-rubber toy
balloons, which she, childlike, had been trying to inflate with her breath
whilst her right hand was writing the communications. I was sitting on the
medium's right-hand side, and was so interested in the communications as
written that I had not taken notice what she was doing with her left hand,
on which side my wife sat. At another time, in reply to a query by me on
some deep theological matter, through my daughter's hand it was written,
"How can you expect an answer to such a question through a child's
organisation?" I have several reams of paper filled with communications
received through my daughter's hand.

The incident of the young child's writing is given in the same book
(p. 71), being then of quite recent date. I will, however, give here the
account, of course much later, but concordant, and in some points fuller,
which was given to me at the interview mentioned in section 871.

October yd, 1891.

When our daughter Nelly was nearly five years old, she had not learned
a single letter of her alphabet. She had certainly received no instruction
whatever. One day her elder sister was writing automatically. To please the
child, we put a pencil in her hand. Presently we observed that she had written
some words, and on looking we saw that the words were, "I am a mesmeric
medium." [Words " I am a " not present in earlier account.] She had been
under our eyes all the time. The words were written in a small angular lady's
handwriting. I then asked my elder daughter's "guide," the late Dr. Godfrey
Howitt, to explain this. Instead of the accustomed writing, a message came


in the writing of my elder sister, the late Mrs. Colonel Kelso, to the effect :
[here I give the correct wording as in earlier record] " She will be very
mediumistic, but is too young to be influenced; do not let her sit until she is
older, or you will injure her health." We did not let her write automatically
for some years afterwards ; then she did write for some little time, and then
the power left her. HUGH JUNOR BROWNE.


872 A. From Proceedings S.P.R., vol. ix. pp. 122-24.

The following case came to Dr. Hodgson from a group of persons who
may not be very critical, but who are plainly sincere. The phenomenon
alleged, however surprising, involves but a simple act of observation, and
should have been easy to note and remember.

FLUSHING, July igfA, 1890.

MR. RICHARD HODGSON, DEAR SIR, It affords me pleasure to respond
to your inquiry concerning the item of spirit writing through the hand of a
little child just four years of age who had no knowledge of its letters, unaided
and untaught.

My wife had a niece who passed to spirit-life twenty years ago, who was in
life strongly attached to her, and whenever we come in contact with a medium-
istic person she invariably makes her presence known to us. My daughter,
fifteen years of age, and another young lady of the same age, opened a school
for small children in a little room used for a Sunday School by the Baptist
society, where the event took place. It was approaching Easter, and to add to
the coming exercises, the little girl was especially invited to join them in re-
hearsing their pieces, as most all the pupils were members of the Mission
Sunday School. The first morning of her attendance a slate and pencil were
given her to keep her quiet ; she scribbled awhile, when it was noticed that she
had written very distinctly the name Emma. As it was known that the child
had never been inside of a school before, and that she knew no single letter of
the alphabet, it was a great surprise. The slate belonged to some of the pupils,
hence was not preserved by the young ladies. I regretted the loss of such a
rare test of spirit control, and urged them, should such a thing ever occur again,
to preserve it. The child attended the day following, and instead of slate a
leaf from a tablet and lead pencil were given her. After she had amused her-
self awhile she returned the paper, and it was seen that a number of attempts to
write the name Emma had been made. As she handed in the paper she said,
" Nozer," and another sheet was given, with an improvement ; the third was
given, when upon either side was written with bold running hand, " your aunt
Emma," quite as large and perfect as the above.

True, she was aunt to the little one whose little hand she was holding.
The pressure upon the paper of the first two sheets was uneven, and it
requires close attention to follow some portions of the first attempt, but in
the last she seems to have overcome all difficulties and accomplished her pur-
pose of giving us a fact of spirit control.

Little Etta has passed on to the higher life within a year of this event.

It is fair to say her parents were not Spiritualists. They took the child and
gave her paper and pencil, but failed to get satisfactory results.

That little circle of innocent children singing their songs had created an
atmosphere of harmony favourable for that sensitive little child to receive


the impress or control of a decarnate spirit. Those familiar with pheno-
mena of this kind will readily appreciate the difference in conditions. Yours
truly, A. E. HEMPSTEAD.

This is to certify that we were present and witnessed the writing of little
Etta, as described in the foregoing statement, and know that neither Etta nor
any other pupil present at the time could have written the messages of their
own abilities. [Signed] LAURA HEMPSTEAD.

L. A. K.

I am the mother of little Etta, and know she had not been taught the
alphabet, or how to hold her pencil. [Signed] MRS. B. W. TERRY.

In another letter Mr. Herapstead adds :

NEWTOWN, N.Y., October i6tA, 1890.

In reply to your last inquiry I will say Etta's message was written just
before Easter.

The messages we still have, although somewhat difficult to read, as they
were in pencil, and the uneven pressure upon the paper requires close atten-
tion. We did not ink it over, as we wished to preserve its purity. Remem-
ber she held the pencil between the middle fingers of her left hand, as she was
not taught the art of holding her pencil. I have written in ink upon their
margins in the order that she wrote them.

Will gladly loan them to you, trusting they will be duly returned.

NEWTOWN, November igfh, 1890.

DEAR SIR, By a strange grouping of circumstances your letter, little
Etta's mother, the young lady who witnessed the writing, all came into our
home here in Newtown together, bringing the mail with them, as if uncon-
sciously directed, so I am prepared to return your paper promptly. They all
read it, and without hesitation gave their signatures. In the case of Miss
K., she said she would rather not have her name mentioned publicly on account
of her connection with the church, &c., which you may readily understand.

The mother explained that the child was left-handed, and L. did not remem-
ber about the manner in which she (Etta) held the pencil. But my daughter is
positive, and one not likely to forget so novel a feature. Hoping the above will
suffice, I remain, very truly yours for humanity, A. E. HEMPSTEAD.

Dr. Hodgson adds :

October y>tk, 1890.

Mr. Hempstead has kindly sent me the writings by the little girl Etta for
my inspection. There are three small sheets of paper with several attempts at
writing on both sides of each sheet. There are indications of "Aunt" and
" Emma " on the first and second sheets ; Emma being written tolerably well
on the second sheet. The enclosed tracing is of the last attempt.

An account (seen by me and concordant with the above) had been sent
by Mr. Hempstead to the Banner of Light immediately after the incident,
and was printed May 4th, 1889. I have seen the tracing of the last- written
phrase, " your aunt Emma." It is a free scrawl, resembling the planchette-
writing of an adult rather than the first effort of a child.


873 A. The following experience of Mr. W.'s is quoted from Pro-
ceedings S.P.R., vol. xi. p. 463 :

October 2&A, 1894.

. . . The following is an account of an experience I had last April.

In the afternoon, I was riding eastward towards Schenectady, N.Y., on
the N.Y.C. and H.R. road. I intended to get off at Schenectady, and take
a train from there to Troy, and at Troy get a train on the Fitchburgh and
Hoosac Tunnel Road. I asked the conductor whether I would be able to
make good connections at Schenectady, also at Troy. He informed me that
I would at Schenectady, but at Troy I would not, for the reason that I would
not arrive in Troy until five minutes after the departure of the train on the
F. and H. T. He told me that I would not arrive in Troy until 5.5, and
my train departed at just five o'clock, and that it was the last one for the
week. This was Saturday. I asked him if he could suggest any way for
me to get my train or reach my desired place of destination, but he said he
could not. It seemed certain that I must lay off in Troy over Sunday.
The conductor passed on, and I meditated, but to no purpose. After some
time I took a pencil and paper, and thought, but did not write, " Well, I
think I shall not get through to-night, I am very sorry." Instantly the

pencil wrote, " You will reach to-night," naming the place I was bound

for. I replied, by thought, " Why, it's impossible, how can I ? the train
out of Troy leaves five minutes before my train arrives." The answer was,

" Yes, but you will get to to-night," again naming my place of destination.

Again I thought, " Pray, tell me how I am to do so." The answer was, " Oh,

never mind how, I tell you you will arrive in all right to-night." I urged

the impossibility of the matter, but that was stoutly denied. I pleaded for
an explanation, but it was written that I needed none, and that none would
be given me. I asked for instruction and it was written that they had none
to give. I insisted on the fact that I could not get the train, but this was not

On arriving at Schenectady I found my train for Troy, and as I boarded
it, I asked the trainman if we would arrive in Troy in time for me to get a
train on the Fitchburgh and Hoosac Tunnel Road. He replied, " No," very
promptly, and added, "it leaves five minutes before we arrive." I took my
seat. When the conductor came along I tried hard to appear innocent, and
asked him if I would get to Troy in time to get a train out on the Fitchburgh
and Hoosac Tunnel Road. I said I hoped to, for I was very anxious to

arrive at that night. His reply was, " We do not arrive in Troy until

five minutes after five, and the train on that road pulls out at just five, and

Online LibraryFrederic William Henry MyersHuman personality : and its survival of bodily death (Volume 2) → online text (page 65 of 89)