Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

 
 
Spiritualism (S266aa: 1876)1

 
Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A letter to the Editor printed on page 6 of the 28 December 1876 issue of The Daily News (London). To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S266AA.htm


     Mr. Alfred R. Wallace, with whose letter this discussion must conclude, writes to us as follows:--"I venture to hope you will allow me a few words of personal explanation. Dr. Carpenter's account of his séance at my house is substantially correct, but I most positively assert that I invited him as earnestly as I could both at the time and subsequently, to renew his visit, under the firm belief that had he done so two or three times, he would have witnessed the rising up of the protected table, which he admits would have been a remarkable phenomenon. My objection was, and is, that he conveyed the impression to his audience that the experiment referred to had not succeeded at all, when he knew of my positive statement that it had succeeded with me and many of my friends. Dr. Carpenter's failure to obtain this and similar tests does not arise from his 'atmosphere of incredulity,' but simply from his want of perseverance. He appears never to have continued a series of four or five sittings with any one medium and the same circle of friends, a condition which all inquirers know to be most essential to success. Would he do so even now (say, for example, with Dr. Slade), I feel convinced that the negative results of his whole life, so far as this inquiry is concerned, would give way before positive facts; and he would then perhaps admit that the conclusive tests as regards Alexis, quoted by me, cannot be discredited by the failure of Dr. Forbes to obtain similar results."


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Editor's Note

1. The people Wallace is discussing here are: Dr. William B. Carpenter, his frequent nemesis on the subject of spiritualism; Henry Slade, a slate-writing medium; Alexis Didier, a professional clairvoyant; and Sir John Forbes, a physician who investigated Didier's claims.

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