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THE
SHADOW WORLD



BY -.-/-.-..•-

HAMLIN GARLAND

»»
author of
"thx captain of thb gray-horsb troop **

**MOMXY magic" etc.




NEW YORK AND LONDON

HARPER Sr BROTHERS PUBLISHERS

M CMVI I I



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EDUC.
PSYCH.

ubraw



Copyright, 1908, by Hamun Garland.
Copyright, 1908, by Thb Ridgway Company.

All rights reserved.

Published September, 1908.



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FOREWORD

THIS book is a faithful record, so far as I can
make it, of the most marvellous phenomena
which have come under my observation during the
last sixteen or seventeen years. I have used my
notes (made immediately after the sittings) and
also my reports to the American Psychical Society
(of which I was at one time a director) as the basis
of my story. For literary purposes I have substi-
tuted fictitious names for real names, and imag-
inary characters for the actual individuals con-
cerned; but I have not allowed these necessary
expedients to interfere with the precise truth of the
account.

For example. Miller^ an imaginary chemist, has
been put in the place of a scientist much older than
thirty-five, in whose library the inexplicable "third
sitting" took place. Fowler y also, is not intended
to depict an individual. The man in whose shoes
he stands is one of the most widely read and deeply
experienced spiritists I have ever known, and I have
sincerely tried to present through Fowler the argu-
ment which his prototype might have used. Mrs.

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FOREWORD

Quiggy Miss Brushy Howardy the CameronSy and
most of the others, are purely imaginary. The
places in which the sittings took place are not in-
dicated, for the reason that I do not wish to in-
volve any unwilling witnesses.

In the case of the psychics, they are, of course,
delineated exactly as they appeared to me, although
I have concealed their real names and places of
residence. Mrs. Smileyy whose admirable patience
under investigation makes her an almost ideal sub-
ject, is the chief figure among my "mediums,"
and I have tried to give her attitude toward us and
toward her faith as she expressed it in our sittings,
although the conversation is necessarily a mixture
of imagination and memory. Mrs. Hartley is a
very real and vigorous character — a professional
psychic, it is true, but a woman of intelligence and
power. Those in private life I have guarded with
scrupulous care, and I am sure that none of them,
either private or professional, will feel that I have
wilfully misrepresented what took place. My aim
throughout has been to deal directly and simply
with the facts involved.

I have not attempted to be profound or mystical
or even scientific, but I have tried to present clear-
ly, simply, and as nearly without bias as possible,
an account of what I have seen and heard. The
weight of evidence seems, at the moment, to be on
the side of the biologists; but I am willing to re-

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FOREWORD

open the case at any time, although I am, above
all, a man of the open air, of the plains and the
mountains, and do not intend to identify myself
with any branch of metapsychical research. It is
probable, therefore, that this is my one and final
contribution to the study of the shadow world.

Hamlin Garland.
Chicago, July^ 1908.



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THE SHADOW WORLD



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THE SHADOW WORLD



I



A HUSH fell over the dinner -table, and every
ear was open and inclined as Cameron, the
host, continued: "No, I wouldn't say that. There
are some things that are pretty well established —
telepathy, for instance."

" I don't believe even in telepathy," asserted Mrs.
Quigg, a very positive journalist who sat at his right.
"I think even that is mere coincidence."

Several voices rose in a chorus of protest. " Oh
no! Telepathy is real. Why, Fve had experi-
ences — "

"There you go!" replied Mrs. Quigg, still in the
heat of her opposition. "You will all tell the same
story. Your friend was dying in Bombay or Vi-
enna, and his spirit appeared to you, a la Journal
of Psychic Research ^ with a message, at the exact
hour, computing difference in time (which no one
ever does), and so on. I know that kind of thing
— but that isn't telepathy."

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THE SHADOW WORLD

•! .' : :

•; :./ V : :/: : •

• . ".•W^at^ Is telfep^thy, then ?" asked little Miss
Sif^^ •wW, patetj, ininiatures.

" I can't describe a thing that doesn't exist," re-
plied Mrs. Quigg. "The word means feeling at a
distance, does it not, professor ?*'

Harris, a teacher of English, who seldom took a
serious view of anything, answered, " I should call
it a long-distance touch."

"Do you believe in hypnotism. Dr. Miller?"
asked Miss Brush, quietly addressing her neigh-
bor, a young scientist whose specialty was chem-
istry.

"No," replied he; "I don't believe in a single one
of these supernatural forces."

"You mean you don't believe in anything you
have not seen yourself," said I.

To this Miller slowly replied: "I believe in Vi-
enna, which I have never seen, but I don't believe
in a Vienna doctor who claims to be able to hyp-
notize a man so that he can smile while his leg is
being taken off."

"Oh, that's a fact," stated Brierly, the portrait-
painter; "that happens every day in our hospitals
here in New York City."

"Have you ever seen it done?" asked Miller,
bristling with opposition.

"No."

"Well," asserted Miller, "I wouldn't believe it
even if I saw the operation performed."

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THE SHADOW WORLD

"You don't believe in any mystery unless it is
familiar," said I, warming to the contest.

"I certainly do not believe in these childish mys-
teries," responded Miller, "and it is strange to me
that men like Sir Oliver Lodge and Sir William
Crookes should believe in slate-writing and levita-
tion and all the rest of that hocus-pocus."

"Nevertheless, hypnotism is a fact," insisted
Brierly. "You must have some faith in the big
books on the subject filled with proof. Think of
the tests — "

"I don't call it a test to stick pins into a person's
tongue," said Mrs. Quigg. "We newspaper people
all know that there are in the hypnotic business
what they call * horses' — ^that is to say, wretched
men and boys, women sometimes, who have trained
themselves so that they can hold hot pennies, eat
red pepper, and do other * stunts' — ^we've had their
confessions times enough."

"Yes, but their confessions are never quite com-
plete," retorted young Howard. "When I was in
college I had one of these 'horses' appeal to me for
help. He was out of a job, and I told him I'd blow
him to the supper of his life if he would render up
the secrets of his trade. He took my offer, but
jarred me by confessing that the professor really
could hypnotize him. He had to make believe
only part of the time. His * stunts' were mostly
real."



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THE SHADOW WORLD

"It's the same way with mediums/* said I. "I
have had a good deal of experience with them,
and Fve come to the conclusion that they all, even
the most untrustworthy of them, start with at least
some small basis of abnormal power. Is it not
rather suggestive that the number of practising
mediums does not materially increase ? If it were
a mere matter of deception, would there not be
thousands at the trade ? As a matter of fact, there
are not fifty advertising mediums in New York at
this moment, though of course the number is kept
down by the feeling that it is a bit disreputable to
have these powers."

"You're too easy on them," said Howard. "I
never saw one that wasn't a cheap skate."

Again I protested. "Don't be hasty. There
are nice ones. My own mother had this power
in her youth, so my father tells me. Her people
were living in Wisconsin at the time when this
psychic force developed in her, and the settlers
from many miles around came to see her * perform.'
An uncle, when a boy of four, did automatic writ-
ing, and one of my aunts recently wrote to me,
in relation to my book The Tyranny of the Darkj
that for two years (beginning when she was about
seventeen) these powers of darkness made her life
a hell. It won't do to be hasty in condemning the
mediums wholesale. There are many decent peo-
ple who are possessed by strange forces, but are

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THE SHADOW WORLD

shy of confessing their abnormalities. Ask- your
family physician. He will tell you that he always
has at least one patient who is troubled by occult
powers/'

"Medical men call it * hysteria/" said Har-
ris.

"Which doesn't explain anythmg,** I answered.
" Many apparently healthy people possess the more
elementary of these powers — often without know-
mgit."

"We are all telepathic in some degree,** declared
Brierly.

"Perhaps all the so-called messages from the
dead come from living minds/* I suggested — "I
mean the minds of those about us. Dr. Reed, a
friend of mine, once arranged to go with a patient
to have a test sitting with a very celebrated psychic
who claimed to be able to read sealed letters. Just
before the appointed day, Reed*s patient died sud-
denly of heart-disease, leaving a sealed letter on
his desk. The doctor, fully alive to the singular
opportunity, put the letter in his pocket and has-
tened to the medium. The magician took it in
his hand and pondered. At last he said: 'This
was written by a man now in the spirit world. I
cannot sense it. There isn*t a medium in the world
who can read it, but if you will send it to any per-
son anywhere on the planet and have it read and
resealed, I will tell you what is in it. I cannot get

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THE SHADOW WORLD

the words unless some mind in the earth-plane has
absorbed them/"

Harris spoke first. "That would seem to prove
a sort of universal mind reservoir, wouldn't it ?*'

"That is the way my friend figured it. But
isn't that a staggering hypothesis? I have never
had a sealed letter read, but the psychic research
people seem to have absolutely proved psychometry
to be a fact. After you read Myers you are ready
to believe anything — or nothing."

The hostess rose. "Suppose we go into the
library and have more ghost stories. Come, Mr.
Garland, we can't leave you men here to talk your-
selves out on these interesting subjects. You must
let us all hear what you have to say."

In more or less jocose mood the company trooped
out to the library, where a fire was glowing in the
grate and easy-chairs abounded. The younger
people, bringing cushions, placed themselves be-
side the hearth, while I took a seat near Mrs. Cam-
eron and Harris.

"There!" said Miss Brush, with a gurgle of de-
light. "This is more like the proper light and
surroundings for creepy tales. Please go on, Mr.
Garland. You said you'd had a good deal of ex-
perience — ^tell us all about it. I always think of
you as a trailer, a man of the plains. How did you
happen to get into this shadow world .?"

"It came about while I was living in Boston.

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THE SHADOW WORLD

It was in 1891, or possibly 1892. A friend, the
editor of the Arenay asked me to become a member
of the American Psychical Society, which he was
helping to form. He wished me to go on the Board
of Directors, because, as he said, I was * young,
a keen observer, and without emotional bias*
— by which he meant that I had not been be-
reaved/*

"Quite right; the loss of a child or a wife weakens
even the best of us illogical," commented Harris.
"No man who is mourning a relative has any busi-
ness to be calling himself an investigator of spirit-
ualism."

"Well, the upshot was, I joined the society,
became a member of the Executive Board, was made
a special committee on 'physical phenomena' — ^that
is to say, slate-writing, levitation, and the like — and
set to work: It was like entering a new, vague,
and mysterious world. The first case I investi-
gated brought out one of the most fundamental of
these facts, which is, that this shadow world lies
very close to the sunny, so-called normal day. The
secretary of the society had already begun to re-
ceive calls for help. A mechanic had written from
South Boston asking us to see his wife's automatic
writing, and a farmer had come down from Con-
cord to tell us of a haunted house and the mysteri-
ous rappings on its walls. Almost in a day I was
made aware of the illusory side of life/'

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THE SHADOW WORLD

"Why illusory ?" asked Briefly.

"Let us call it that for the present," I answered.
"Among those who wrote to us was a woman from
Lowell whose daughter had developed strange pow-
ers. Her account, so straightforward and so pre-
cise, determined us to investigate the case. There-
fore, our secretary (a young clergyman) and I took
the train for Lowell one autumn afternoon. We
found Mrs. Jones living in a small, old-fashioned
frame house standing hard against the sidewalk,
and through the parlor windows, while we awaited
the psychic, I watched an endless line of derby
hats as the town's mechanics plodded by — incessant
reminders of the practical, hard-headed world that
filled the street. This was, indeed, a typical case.
In half an hour we were all sitting about the table
in a dim light, while the sweet-voiced mother was
talking with * Charley,* her 'poltergeist* — *'

"What is that, please ?** asked Mrs. Quigg.

"The word means a rollicking spirit who throws
things about. I did not value what happened at
this sitting, for the conditions were all the psychic's
own. By-the-way, she was a large, blond, strap-
ping girl of twenty or so — one of the mill-hands —
not in the least the sickly, morbid creature I had
expected to see. As I say, the conditions were
such as to make w;hat took place of no scientific
value, and I turned in no report upon it; but it was
all very curious.**

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THE SHADOW WORLD

"What happened? Don't skip," bade Mrs.
Cameron.

"Oh, the table rapped and heaved and slid about.
A chair crawled to my lap and at last to the top of
the table, apparently of its own motion. A little
rocking-chair moved to and fro precisely as if some
one were sitting in it, and so on. It was all uncon-
vincing at the time, but as I look back upon it now,
after years of experience, I am inclined to think
part of it at least was genuine. And this brings
me to say to Mrs. Quigg, and to any other doubter,
that you have only to step aside into silence and
shadow and wait for a moment — and the bewilder-
ing will happen, or you will imagine it to happen.
I will agree to furnish from this company a medium
that will astonish even our materialistic friend
Miller."

There was a loud outcry: "What do you mean ? '
Explain yourself!"

" I am perfectly certain that if this company will
sit as I direct for twenty-one days at the same hour,
in the same room, under the same conditions,
phenomena will develop which will not merely
amaze but scare some of you; and as for you, Mrs.
Quigg, you who are so certain that nothing ever
happens, you will be the first to turn pale with
awe."

"Try me! I am wild to be Shown.*"

Harris was not so boastful. "You mean, of
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THE SHADOW WORLD

course, that some of these highly cultured ladies
would develop hysteria?'*

^^I am not naming the condition; I only say
that I have seen some very hard-headed and self-
contained people cut strange capers. The trance
and * impersonation' usually come first."

"Let's do it!" cried out Miss Brush. "It would
be such fun!"

"You'd be the first to 'go off/" said I, banter-
ingly.

Harris agreed. "She is neuropathic."

"I propose we start a psychic society here and

now," said Cameron. "I'll be president, Mrs.

Quigg secretary, and Garland can be the director

of the awful rites. Miss Brush, you shall be the

mejum.

"Oh no, no!" she cried, "please let some one else
be it."

This amused me, but I seized upon Cameron's
notion. "I accept the arrangement provided you
do not hold me responsible for any ill effects," I
said. "It's ticklish business. There are many
who hold the whole process diabolic."

"Is the house ready for the question?" asked
Cameron.

"Ay, ay!" shouted every one present.

"The society is formed," announced Cameron.
"As president, I suggest a sitting right now. How
^bout it. Garland?"



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THE SIHADOW WORLD

"Certainly!" I answered, "for I have an itching
in my thumbs that tells me something witching
this way comes."

The guests rose in a flutter of pleased excite-
ment.

" How do we go at it ?" asked Mrs. Cameron.

"The first requisite is a small table — "

"Why a table?" asked Mrs. Quigg.

"The theory is that it helps to concentrate the
minds of the sitters, and it will also furnish a
convenient place to rest our hands. Anyhow, all
the great investigators began this way," I replied,
pacifically. "We may also require a pencil and a
pad."

Miller was on his dignity. " I decline to sit at a
table in that foolish way. I shall look on in lonely
grandeur."

The others were eager to "sit in," as young
Howard called it, and soon nine of us were seated
about an oblong mahogany table. Brierly was
very serious, Miss Brush ecstatic, and Mrs. Harris
rather nervous.

I was careful to prepare them all for failure.
"This is only a trial sitting, you know, merely to
get our hands in," I warned.

"Must we keep still?"

"Oh no! You may talk, if you do so quietly.
Please touch fingers, so as to make a complete cir-
cuit. I don't think it really necessary, but it some-

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THE SHADOW WORLD

times helps to produce the proper mental state;
singing softly also tends to harmonize the * condi-
tions/ as the professionals say. Don't argue and
don't be too eager. Lean back and rest. Take a
passive attitude toward the whole problem. I find
the whole process very restful. Harris, will you
turn down the lights before — "

"There!" said Miller, **the hocus-pocus begins.
Why not perform in the light ?**

"Subdued light will bring the proper negative
and inward condition sooner/' I replied, taking a
malicious delight in his disgust. "Now will some
one sing * Annie Laurie,' or any other sweet, low
song? Let us get into genial, receptive mood.
Miller, you and your fellow-doubters please retire
to the far end of the room."

In a voice that trembled a little, Mrs. Harris
started the dear old melody, and all joined in, pro-
ducing a soft and lulling chorus.

At the end of the song I asked, matter-of-factly:
"Are the conditions right ? Are we sitting right ?"

Mrs. Quigg sharply queried, "Whom are you
talking to ?"

"The 'guides,'" I answered.

"The * guides '1" she exclaimed. "Do you be-
lieve in the guides ?"

"I believe in the belief of the guides," was my
cryptic rejoinder. " Sing again, please."

I really had no faith in the conditions of the
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THE SHADOW WORLD

circle, but for the joke of it I kept my sitters in
place for nearly an hour by dint of pretending to
hear creakings and to feel throbbings, until at last
little Miss Brush became very deeply concerned.
"I feel them, too," she declared. "Did some one
blow on my hands ? I felt a cold wave/*

Harris got up abruptly. " Fll join the doubters,"
said he. "This tomfoolery is too idiotic for me.'*

Cameron followed, and Mrs. Quigg also rose.
"rU go with you," she said, decidedly. I was
willing to quit, too, but Mrs. Harris and Miss
Brush pleaded with me to continue.

"Qose up the circle, then. Probably Harris
was the hoodoo. Things will happen now," I
said, briskly, though still without any faith in the
experiment.

Hardly had Harris left the table when a shudder
passed over Mrs. Harris, her head lifted, and her
eyes closed.

"What's the matter, Dolly.?" whispered Mrs.
Cameron. "Do you feel faint?"

"Don't be alarmed I Mrs. Harris is only pass-
ing into a sleep. Not a word, Harris!" I said,
wamingly. "Please move farther away."

In the dusky light the faces of all the women
looked suddenly blanched and strange as the en-
tranced woman seized upon the table with her hands,
shaking it hard from side to side* The table seemed
to wake to diabolic energy under her palms. This

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THE SHADOW WORLD

was an unexpected development, and I was almost
as much surprised as the others were.

"Sing again," I commanded, softly.

As they sang, Mrs. Harris withdrew her hands
from the table and sat rigidly erect, yet with a
peaceful look upon her face. "She does it well,'*
I thought. "I didn*t think it in the quiet little
lady." At length one hand lifted and dropped
limply upon the table. "It wants to write," said
I. "Where is the pad? I have a pencil."

As I put a pencil under the hand, it was seized
in a very singular way, and almost instantly Mrs.
Cameron gasped, "That's very strange!"

"Hush!" said I. "Wait!"

Holding the pencil clumsily as a crippled person
might do, the hand crept over the paper, and at
last, after writing several lines, stopped and lay
laxly open. I passed the pad to Brierly. " Read it
aloud," I said.

He took it to the light and read:

*^ Sara, be not sceptical. Believe and you will be


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Online LibraryWashington IrvingSix selections from Irving's sketch-book: with notes, questions, etc.; for ... → online text (page 1 of 17)