Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)
by Alfred R. Wallace (S126: 1867)
Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A letter printed in
the 1 February 1867 issue of The Spiritual Magazine, referring
to a seance sitting. Original pagination indicated within double brackets.
To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S126.htm
[[p. 51]] On Friday morning,
December 14th, my sister, Mrs. S., had a message, purporting to be from her deceased
brother William, to this effect: "Go into the dark at Alfred's this evening,
and I will shew that I am with you." On arriving in the evening with Miss
N., my sister told me of this message. When our other friends, four in
number, had arrived, we sat down as usual, but instead of having raps
on the table as on previous occasions, the room and the table shook violently;
and, finding we had no other manifestations, I mentioned the message that
had been received, and we all adjourned into the next room, and the doors
and windows being shut, sat down round a table, (which we had
[[p. 52]] previously cleared of books, &c.) holding
each other's hands. Raps soon began, and we were told to draw back from the table.
This we did, but thinking it better to see how we were placed before beginning
the séance, I rose up to turn on the gas, which was down
to a blue point, when just as my hand was reaching it, the medium who
was close to me cried out and started, saying something cold and wet was
thrown in her face. This caused her to tremble violently and I took her
hand to calm her, and it then struck me, this was done to prevent me lighting
the gas. We then sat still, and in a few moments several of the party
saw faintly that something was appearing on the table. The medium saw
a hand, others what seemed flowers. These became more distinct, and some
one put his hand on the table, and said: "There are flowers here!"
Obtaining a light, we were all thunderstruck to see the table half covered
with flowers and fern leaves, all fresh, cold, and damp with dew, as if
they had that moment been brought out of the night air. They were the
ordinary winter flowers, which are cultivated in hot houses, for table
decoration, the stems apparently cut off as if for a bouquet. They consisted
of 15 chrysanthemums, 6 variegated anemones, 4 tulips, 5 orange berried
solanums, 6 ferns, of two sorts, 1 Auricula sinensis, with 9
flowers--37 stalks in all.
All present had been engaged for some time in investigating
Spiritualism, and had no motive for deceiving the others, even if that were possible,
which all agreed it was not. If flowers had been brought in and concealed
by any of the party (who had all been in the warm room at least an hour),
they could not possibly have retained the perfect freshness, coldness,
and dewy moisture they possessed when we first discovered them. I may
mention that the door of the back drawing room (where this happened) into
the passage was locked inside, and that the only entrance was by the folding
doors into the lighted sitting room, and that the flowers appeared unaccompanied
by the slightest sound, while all present were gazing intently at the
table, just rendered visible by a very faint diffused light entering through
the blinds. As a testimony that all present are firmly convinced that
the flowers were not on the table when we sat down, and were not placed
there by any of those present, I am authorized to give the names and addresses
of the whole party.
Miss Nicholl, 76 ½, Westbourne Grove, W.
Mrs. Sims, 76 ½, Westbourne Grove, W.
H. T. Humphreys, 1, Clifford's Inn, E.C.
Dr. Wilmshurst, 22, Priory Road, Kilburn, W.
J. Marshman, 11, Goucester Crescent, N.W.
Mrs. Marshman, 11, Gloucester Crescent, N.W.
Alfred R. Wallace, 9, St. Mark's Crescent, N.W.
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