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

Test Materialisation Seance With Mr. W. Eglinton
(S282: 1877)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: Printed on page 272 of the 7 December 1877 number of The Spiritualist. To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S282.htm

    Although Mr. Eglinton's powers as a medium for materialisations have been so well proved by the appearance of a white-robed figure while he was present in the circle, as narrated by Dr. Nichols in last week's Spiritualist, we wish to place on record the remarkable manifestations which we witnessed on Thursday evening last, at the rooms of Mr. J. W. Fletcher, 2, Vernon-place, Bloomsbury-square. The following are the bare facts, to which we confine ourselves, in order to bring out clearly the exact nature of the phenomena, and the validity of the tests applied.

    1. The sitting took place in the first-floor front room. Across one corner of this room there was hung a curtain of black calico, which one of us (Mr. Tebb) helped to put up, while we all examined the enclosed corner, and found that it was absolutely free from any means of concealing anything. About twelve ladies and gentlemen were present, who sat in a curve opposite the curtain, and about eight or ten feet from it.

    2. We first partially searched Mr. Eglinton, by taking off his coat, examining the pockets, and feeling carefully over his whole body, so as to be satisfied that nothing bulky could be concealed about his person. He then took his seat on a chair behind the curtain. The doors of the room were shut and bolted by Mr. Wallace, who also took charge of the gas-light, lowering and raising it as directed by the controlling voice.

    3. After a few minutes an indistinct white form appeared at the opening of the curtain. After a further interval the medium, apparently entranced, came out and made mesmeric passes towards the circle, to harmonise it, as he said. He then went behind the curtain, and almost instantly (in one or two seconds) a tall, white form showed itself at the opening of the curtains, the medium being dressed in dark clothes.

    4. Shortly afterwards the fine figure of "Abdullah" appeared, and, after several entrances and exits, came out into the circle close up to where Mr. Wallace was sitting under the gas-light, turned down low, but sufficient to allow of the features being distinctly seen by him. The appearance was that of a tall man draped in pure white robes which trailed on the ground, and with a white turban, in the front of which sparkled a jewel like a diamond. His face was dark, with fine features and prominent nose, and an enormous black moustache mingling with a comparatively scanty beard gave it a striking individuality. He resembled some of the Mahomedans of Northern India. Mr. Fletcher, who is taller than the medium, stood by the side of "Abdullah," who was then seen to be nearly a head taller than Mr. Fletcher, a height which corresponded with that noted against the curtain by several of the observers.

    5. After "Abdullah" had retired, a female figure, also draped in white, came out, but was indistinctly seen.

    6. Then appeared another male figure, not so tall as "Abdullah." He was similarly dressed, but had no moustache, and his features were of a more European cast. Unlike "Abdullah," who glided about with a graceful noiseless motion, this figure came out suddenly with a loud stamping noise, yet the long robes, which flowed two or three feet on the ground about his feet, seemed never to impede his motion.

    7. Then "Joey," the medium's control, came out, and though not very clearly visible himself produced in our presence a quantity of a delicate white fabric like fine muslin, which he shook out of his hands, and which appeared to grow as we gazed at it. Finally he stood on a chair, and held out two or three yards of this material, which after a time seemed to vanish away again. Some remarkable slate-writing then occurred, "Joey" and Mr. Wallace holding the previously tied slates between them, but we confine this account to the materialisation phenomena.

    8. In less than a minute after "Joey" had finally retired, we turned on more light, and found the medium entranced in his chair, dressed as at first in dark clothes, and with no trace of either the figures or the masses of white drapery which we had seen pass behind the curtain a short time before.

    9. All present being much pleased with the séance, it was suggested, that to make it complete, the medium should be thoroughly searched, in order to demonstrate the absence of all concealed drapery, &c. Mr. Eglinton having consented, we took him into an adjoining room (one of us first satisfying himself that nothing whatever was left behind the curtain), and he proceeded at once to divest himself of his clothes. Coat, waistcoat, boots, stockings, collar, shirt, under-vest, and drawers, were successively removed, the pockets and lining of the coat were examined, the sleeves turned inside out as well as the legs of the trousers. Nothing was omitted that could make the search final and conclusive; yet nothing was found.

    The white drapery which covered Abdullah's tall figure from head to foot, and trailed amply on the floor, and which, from the way in which it hung and waved, must have been of stout and heavy material, together with his turban, and the quantity of fine material exhibited by "Joey," would have formed a parcel of considerable bulk, which a far less rigid search than ours could have easily detected. We may add that we examined the walls, which were well papered, the carpet which was securely nailed down, and the chair on which the medium sat, and are satisfied that nothing was or could be concealed in or about them.

    (Signed) Alfred R. Wallace, William Tebb, William Williams Clark.

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