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Full Online Book HomeNonfictionsThe Shadow World - Chapter 7
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The Shadow World - Chapter 7 Post by :maxfield Category :Nonfictions Author :Hamlin Garland Date :May 2012 Read :1883

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The Shadow World - Chapter 7

CHAPTER VII

Cameron's Amateur Psychic Club, which had so nearly disintegrated by reason of the long series of barren sittings, was drawn together again by the news of my startling success at Fowler's house. Cameron at once decided that the members should hear my report, and I was notified to be ready to relate my experiences in full. We met, as before, at Cameron's table, and even before the soup-plates were removed the interrogation began, and by the time the company was in full possession of the facts the coffee and cigars had appeared.

"Why didn't these wonders take place in our presence?" asked Mrs. Quigg, who had returned to something like her original truculence of doubt. "Why should you and Brierly be so favored?"

"In this business everything comes to him who waits," I replied, a tinge of malice in my voice. "You obtained a few results, Miller a few more; but Fowler and I, for our pains, reaped the rich reward. By remaining long on the watch-tower we saw the armies pass. Harmony and patience are essentials in the production of these marvels. With people yawning or shuffling about uneasily, results are necessarily unimportant."

Miller continued firm in his agnosticism. "Although puzzling, I cannot grant so much as even one of the phenomena. Belief in the smallest of those manifestations at my house would be uprooting to all established theories of matter--not to mention time and space."

"Were not the notions of Galileo and Darwin also subverting?" asked Fowler. "Is there anything sacred in error? If we are wrong in our theories about the universe, let's correct them. You do not stand out against wireless telegraphy or the Roentgen ray?"

Miller fired at this. "I'm not going to take instruction from a tipping table or a flying hair-brush!" he fiercely retorted.

"I'll take illumination from any source whatsoever," responded Fowler.

Here I interposed: "The only question that concerns me at this stage is: Does the table tip and the brush really fly? No physical fact is trivial, for it stands related to mountains and the clouds."

Fowler's eyes gleamed with contempt. "That's the way of you so-called scientists: you narrow the mighty fund of occult phenomena down to a floating feather. As a matter of fact, there is a sea of evidence accumulated by the investigations of men quite as scientific as Miller, testimony that is neither petty nor ignoble. It is because you and your associates are so trifling in methods that the tables and the chair play leading parts in your drama."

"Good for you!" cheered Brierly. "You're quite right. When these materialistic investigators get done with trying to prove that independent slate-writing exists, they'll begin to give some attention to the fundamental truths of the messages which the slates set forth. Going after small things, they get small things. If Miller and his like went forth seeking the essentials of the faith, they would find them instead of being amazed with foolish tricks of hand."

"Essentials such as what?" interrupted Harris, with snappy suddenness.

"Such as--as--direct spirit communication, a knowledge of the astral, the reincarnation of souls, and--and--faith in the upward progression of the self," stammered Brierly, much disturbed.

Here again I interposed a quieting word: "I confess that it begins to look as though the theosophist's theory of the astral (at which some of us have smiled) were in a fair way to be scientifically demonstrated. Since our last meeting I have been studying the bound volumes of _The Annals of Psychic Science_, and I have found them full of comfort. They sustain Mrs. Smiley at every point. To my mind, the most important event in the history of spiritism is the entrance of Eusapia Paladino into the clinical laboratory of Cesare Lombroso. Nothing since Crookes's experiments has had such value for the scientist."

"We have heard of Lombroso, but who is Paladino?" asked Mrs. Quigg. "Is she a psychic?"

"She is the most renowned now living. Though only an illiterate peasant woman, she has been able for more than twenty years to baffle every scientist who has studied her. Her organism remains the most potent mystery on this earth."

"Tell us about her! Who is she? Where does she live?"

"She was born at Minerva-murge, a mountain village near Bari, in Italy. According to Lombroso's daughter, who has written a sketch of her, she is about fifty-three years of age. Her parents were peasants. She is quite uneducated, but is intelligent and rather good-looking. Her hands are pretty and her feet small--facts which are of value when studying her manifestations, as you will see later on. Her mother died while Eusapia was a babe, and her father 'passed over' when she was twelve, leaving her at large in the world 'like a wild animal,' as she herself says. A native family of her village took her to Naples, and her own story is that she was adopted soon after by some foreigners 'who wished to make me an educated and learned girl. They wanted me to take a bath every day and comb my hair every day,' she explains, with some humor.

"She didn't like the life nor the people, and she soon ran away back to her friends, the Apulians, and it was while she was in their house and at the precise moment when they were planning to put her in a convent that her occult powers were discovered. Some friends came in to spend the evening, and, in default of anything better to do, formed a circle to make a table tip. No sooner were they all seated, as she herself relates, than 'the table began to rise, the chairs to dance, the curtains to swell, and the glasses and bottles to walk about, till everybody was scared.' After testing every other person present, the host came to the conclusion that the medium was his little ward, Eusapia. This put an end to her going into a convent. She was proclaimed a medium, much to her disgust, and made to sit whole evenings at the table. 'I only did it,' she says, 'because it was a way of recompensing my hosts, whose desire to keep me with them prevented their placing me in a convent. Finally I took up laundress work, thinking I might render myself independent and live as I liked without troubling about spiritualistic seances.'"

"It is remarkable how many of these women psychics begin their career when they are ten or twelve years old," said Miller. "Mrs. Smiley was about that age, wasn't she?"

"Yes, and so was Mrs. Hartley, another psychic of my acquaintance. Mrs. Smiley complained of the tedium of sitting. She tells me that her father kept her at it steadily, just as Eusapia was not permitted to escape her fate. One day an Englishwoman, wife of a certain Mr. Damiani, came to a seance, and was so impressed by what took place that she interested her husband in Eusapia's performances. Damiani then took up the young medium's development along the good old well-worn lines of American spiritualism, and she acquired all the tricks and all the 'patter.' Among other notions, she picked up the idea of an English 'control' known as 'John King,' who declared himself a brother of 'Kate King,' of Crookes fame, and from that day Eusapia has been a professional 'mejum.'"

"What does she do?" asked Cameron. "What is her 'phase,' as you call it?"

"It must be confessed that most of her phases are of the poltergeist variety, but they are astounding. She produces the movement of mandolins, chairs, sofas, and small tables without contact (at least, such is the consensus of opinion of nearly a score of the best-known scientists of France and Italy), and also materializes hands and arms. There is vastly more than the poltergeist in her, that is evident; for she has conquered every critic with her miracles. Take, for instance, Lombroso's conversion, a fairly typical case. He was not only sceptical of spirit phenomena, but up to 1888 was openly contemptuous of those who believed in them. However, in an article called 'The Influence of Civilization upon Genius,' published in 1888, he made this admission: '_Twenty or thirty years are enough to make the whole world admire a discovery which was treated as madness at the moment when it was made.... Who knows whether my friends and I who laugh at spiritualism are not in error, just like hypnotized persons, or like lunatics; being in the dark as regards the truth, we laugh at those who are not in the same condition._'"

"True enough," said Fowler. "The man who has made no study of these phenomena is like one color-blind: he has never seen a landscape."

"It was this candid statement by Lombroso that moved Professor Chiaia, a friend of Eusapia's, to write the great alienist a letter which was in effect a challenge. After recounting a score or two of the wonderful doings of Paladino, whom he had studied carefully, he ended in this amusing fashion: 'Now you see my challenge. If you have not written the paragraph cited above simply for the fun of writing it, if you have the true love for science, if you are without prejudices--you, the first alienist of Italy--please take the field. When you can afford a week's vacation, indicate a place where we can meet. Four gentlemen will be our seconds: you will choose two, and I will bring the other two.... If the experiment does not succeed, you will consider me but as a man suffering from hallucination, who longs to be cured of his extravagances.... If success crowns our efforts, your loyalty ... will attest the reality of these mysterious phenomena and promise to investigate their causes.'"

"I hope Lombroso was man enough to accept the challenge," said Cameron. "Nothing could be fairer than the spook-man's offer."

"He did not at once take up the gage. It was not, in fact, till February, 1891, that he was able to go to Naples to meet Eusapia, who had begun to interest some of his trusted scientific friends. He found the great psychic quite normal in appearance and rather attractive in manner. She was of medium size, with a broad and rather serious face lit with brilliant dark eyes. The most notable thing about her physical self was a depression in her skull caused by a fall in her infancy. This scar figures largely in nearly all the reports of her."

"Why?" asked Harris.

"Because they all agree that a singular sort of current of force, like a cool breeze, seems to come and go through this spot."

Harris groaned, and Howard said: "Oh, rubbish!"

"Rubbish or not, they all speak of this scar and its singular effects. At the time when Lombroso saw her first, Eusapia was just beginning to be known to scientists, but no one of special note had up to this time (1891) reported upon her. She was known as the wife of a small shop-keeper in Naples, and seemed a decent, matronly person, quite untouched by mysticism. Although not eager to sit for Lombroso and his party of scientists, she finally consented. Among those who took part in these celebrated experiments were Professor Tamburini, an eminent scientist; Dr. Bianchi, the superintendent of the Insane Asylum of Sales; and Dr. Penta, a young nephew of Lombroso, a resident of Naples. Lombroso had charge of the sittings, which were held in a room of his own choice and with the medium entirely under his control. He was astonished at the prompt response obtained. At the first sitting, while he and Professor Tamburini held the psychic's hands, a bell was carried tinkling through the air and a small table moved as if it were alive. Many other mysterious movements took place. Lombroso was very much disturbed by these inexplicable phenomena, and could not rest till he sat again. At the second seance spectral hands developed, profoundly mystifying every sitter, and Lombroso went away, promising to carry forward a study of spiritism. In a letter written the following June he manfully said: '_I am filled with confusion, and regret that I combated with so much persistence the possibilities of the facts called spiritualistic. I say facts, for I am opposed to the theory._'"

"Did Lombroso say that?" asked Harris.

"He wrote it, which is still more to the point, and it was his acceptance of the main _facts of Paladino's mediumship that led other groups of scientists to take up her case. Professor Schiaparelli, Director of the Observatory at Milan; Gerosa, Professor of Physics; Ermacora, Doctor of Natural Philosophy; Aksakof, Councilor of State to the Emperor of Russia; and Charles du Prel, Doctor of Philosophy in Munich, were in the next group, which met at Milan with intent to settle the claims of this bold charlatan.

"The sittings took place in the apartment of Monsieur Finzi at Milan, and were more rigid and searching than any Paladino had ever passed through, but she was again triumphant. She bewildered them all. Lombroso himself was present during some of the sittings. The results of the series of experiments were very notable and very far-reaching. For the first time, so far as I know, a table was photographed while floating in the air--"

"No!" shouted Howard.

"Yes; and certain other telekinetic happenings were proved, to the stupefaction of most of those in the group. One special experiment, the success of which confounded the shrewdest, was the attempt to secure on a smoke-blackened paper the print of one of the spectral hands."

"Did it succeed?"

"Yes. The impression was made while Paladino's hands were imprisoned beyond all question, and, what was most singular of all, the hand _that made the print smudged the wrists of one of the experimenters, and yet not a particle of black appeared on the fingers of the psychic_."

"That ought to have convinced them of her honesty," remarked Fowler, with a note of amusement in his voice, "but it didn't; these scientific folk are so difficult."

"No," I replied, "it didn't convince them, but it jarred them not a little. In their report they admitted this much. They said, 'We do not believe we have the right to explain these things by the aid of insulting assumptions.' (By this they meant to acquit the psychic of fraud.) 'We think, on the contrary, that _these experiments have to do with phenomena of an unknown nature_, and we confess that we do not know what the conditions are that are required to produce them.'"

"That seems to me like a very mild statement, but I suppose they considered it epoch-making," remarked Fowler.

"From this time forward learned men in Russia, France, and Italy successively sought Paladino out and tried to expose her to the world. Professor Wagner, of the Department of Zoology at the University of St. Petersburg, made a study of her in 1893, and found her powers real. A year later M. Siemeradski, correspondent of the Institute, experimented with her in Rome, obtaining, among other miracles, the plucking of the strings of a closed piano under strictly test conditions."

"You had that experience, did you not?" asked Mrs. Cameron.

"Yes, I've had that."

"How do you account for a thing of that sort?"

"I don't account for it--or if I did give my theory, you would laugh at me. Wait till I tell you what these Italians are doing. Among the most eminent and persuasive of all Eusapia's investigators was Professor Charles Richet, the French physiologist and author. Eusapia came to revere and trust him, and gave him many sittings. He, too, was bowled over. He tells the story of his conversion very charmingly. 'In my servile respect for classic tradition,' he writes, 'I laughed at Crookes and his experiments; but it must be remembered in my excuse that as a professional physiologist I moved habitually along a road quite other than mystical.' His attention, he goes on to say, was first drawn to spiritist phenomena by the word of a friend who had discovered a power that caused a table to move intelligently. He was trying to explain this and one or two other little things like telepathy and prophetic vision by the word 'somnambulism,' when his friend Aksakof, a great psychical expert, reproached him for not interesting himself more keenly in experiments with mediums. 'Well,' said Richet, 'if I were sure that a single true medium existed, I would willingly go to the ends of the world to meet him.'"

"That's the spirit!" exclaimed Fowler. "That is the way the scientist should feel. What then? Aksakof told him all he needed to do was to go round the corner, didn't he?"

"Not exactly. Two years later Aksakof wrote to him: 'You needn't come to the end of the world; Milan will do.' So Richet went to Milan, and took part in those very celebrated seances with Eusapia. 'When I left Milan,' Richet says, 'I was convinced that all was true; but no sooner was I back in my accustomed channels of work than my doubts returned. I persuaded myself that all had been fraud or illusion.'"

Here Harris interrupted: "Miller can testify to this inability to retain a conviction. He, too, has slumped into doubt. How about it, Miller?"

"I never professed to believe," declared Miller.

"You were pretty well convinced that night in your study, weren't you?" I asked.

"I was puzzled," he replied, guardedly.

There was a general smile of amusement at his manifest evasion, and I resumed: "Richet went to Rome, and together with Schrenk-Noetzing, the philosophic expert, and Siemeradski, the correspondent of the French Institute, made other and still more convincing experiments, and yet doubt persisted! 'I was not yet satisfied,' he says, further. '_I invited Eusapia to my house for three months. Alone with her and Ochorowicz, a man of penetrating perspicuity, I renewed my experiments in the best possible conditions of solitude and quiet reflection. We thus acquired a positive proof of the reality of the facts announced at Milan._'"

"By George, that's going it strong!" said young Howard. "You've got to believe that a man like Richet has seen something after three months' experiment in his own house."

Miller faced them all stubbornly: "And yet even Richet may have been deceived."

"Are _you the only one competent to study these facts?" asked Brierly, hotly. "The egotism of you professional physicists is a kind of insanity. The moment a man like Richet or Lombroso admits a knowledge of one of these occult facts, you who have no experience in the same phenomena jump on him like so many wolves. Such bigotry is unworthy a scientist."

"Would you have us accept the word of any one man when that word contradicts the experience of all mankind?" asked Miller.

"Listen to what Richet says in confession of _his perplexity," I called out, soothingly. "He writes: 'It took me twenty years to arrive at my present conviction--nay! to make one last confession. _I am not yet absolutely and irremediably convinced. In spite of the astounding phenomena which I have witnessed during my sixty experiments with Eusapia, I have still a trace of doubt. _Certainty does not follow on demonstration; it follows on habit._' So don't blame Miller or myself for inability to believe in these theories, for our minds are the kind that accept the mystical with sore struggle."

"Go on with Eusapia's career," said Harris. "I am interested in her. I want the story of the investigations."

"Her story broadens," I resumed. "Her fame spread throughout Europe, and squad after squad of militant scientists grappled with her, each one perfectly sure that he was the one to unmask her to the world. She was called before kings and emperors, and everywhere she triumphed--save in Cambridge, where she made a partial failure; but she redeemed herself later with both Lodge and Myers, so that it remains true to say that she has gone surely from one success to another and greater triumph."

"But there have been other such careers--Slade's and Home's, for instance--which ended in disaster."

"True, but nothing like her courage has ever been known. The crowning wonder of her career came when she consented to enter the special laboratories of the universities of Genoa and Naples. It is in the writings of Morselli, Professor of Psychology at Genoa, and in the reports of Bottazzi, head of the Department of Physics at Naples, that scepticism, such as my own, is met and conquered. I defy Miller or any man of open mind to read the detailed story of these marvellous experiments and deny the existence of the basic phenomena produced by Eusapia Paladino."

"You speak with warmth," said Harris.

"I do. I am at this moment fresh from a reading of the reports of Bottazzi's up-to-date experiments, and I am compelled to grant that he has not only sustained Crookes at every point, but has gone beyond him in his ingenuity of test and thoroughness of control. He adds the touch of certainty that we all needed to complete our own experience. He has given me courage to say what I believe Mrs. Smiley did for us."

"Won't you tell us all about it?" pleaded Mrs. Cameron. "Please do."

"It is too long and complicated. You must read it for yourself. It is too incredible to be told."

"Never mind, Garland; we'll take it as part of your fiction. Go ahead."

As I looked about me, I could detect in the faces of some of my friends an expression of apprehension. The coffee had grown cold. Our ice-cream had melted with neglect. Every eye was fixed upon me. It was plain that Harris and Miller considered me "on the high-road to spiritualism." Quite willing to gratify their wish to be startled, I proceeded:

"You will find the latest word on all these matters in a small but valuable review, published simultaneously in London and in Paris, called _The Annals of Psychic Science_. It is edited by Cesar de Vesme in France, and by Laura I. Finch in England, and is a mine of reliable psychic science. Its directors are Dr. Dariex and Professor Charles Richet. Its 'committee' is made up of Sir William Crookes, Camille Flammarion, Professor Lombroso, Marcel Mangin, Dr. Joseph Maxwell, Professor Enrico Morselli, of Genoa; Dr. Julien Ochorowicz, head of the General Psychologic Institute of Paris; Professor Porro, the astronomer; Colonel Albert de Rochas, author of _The Externalization of Motivity_, and others of like character."

"We don't want the review, we want your account," said Harris. "Don't spare us. Give us detail--lots of it."

"Thank you; you shall have it hot-shot, but I'll have to generalize the story for you. The most decisive of all the tests have been made during the last eighteen months, and the final and most convincing of all within the year, under the direction of Lombroso, Morselli, and Bottazzi. It is safe to say that with these experiments (and the reports which accompany them) a new era has dawned in biology. The facts of mediumship are in process of being scientifically observed by a score of the best-qualified men in Europe, and at last we are about to study mediumship apart from any question of religious tenets."

Fowler took issue with me here: "It is absurd to say that no one but these physicists has ever properly studied spiritualistic phenomena; spiritists themselves have put the screws on quite as effectively as ever Crookes or Richet has done. Some of the best investigators ever known have been spiritists."

"Even if that were true, their testimony would lack the convincing power that flames from Morselli's book or Bottazzi's report. The essential weakness of the spiritist's testimony lies in the fact that for the most part he assumes that the facts of mediumship are somehow, and necessarily, in opposition to somebody's religion. He finds it sustained (or opposed) by the Bible, or he fancies it mixed with deviltry or the black art. He trembles for fear it will affect the scheme of redemption or assist some theosophical system. Whereas, a man like Bottazzi is engaged merely with the facts; he lets the inferences fall where they may. He is not concerned with whether Eusapia's manifestations oppose Christian theology or not; he wants the phenomena. He is alert to note their effect on biologic science, but he does not shrink from any report of them. So far as I am concerned, my lot is cast with these men who put the clamps on the fact and wait for larger knowledge before constructing a system of religion on the half-discovered."

"I'm with you there," said Miller. "And if our university officials took the same view, we Americans would hold higher rank in the world's thought."

"Bottazzi himself says, with reference to his experiments: 'In spite of all the hundreds of those who have observed Eusapia, it still remained true to say that hitherto she had been free to throw things about as she pleased.' But all this took a sharp turn when she came into Bottazzi's laboratory."

"Just who is Bottazzi?" Harris asked.

"He's the head of the Physiological Institute of the University of Naples; of his age and general character I am not precisely informed, but he writes delightfully of his experiments. Morselli, who preceded him in his study of Eusapia, is the Professor of Psychology in the University of Genoa. Foa and Herlitzka are of the same university. Within the last two years Eusapia has also been rigorously studied in Lombroso's clinical laboratory at Turin. All honor to her for breaking away from the traditions of mediumship!"

Mrs. Quigg caught me up on this: "What do you mean by 'traditions of mediumship'?"

"I mean that for the most part investigators have nearly always been kept at arm's-length by the fiction that the 'guide' should control everything, that the seance is a religious rite, that the medium must not be touched nor exposed to the light, and so on, till the scientist was reduced to the feeble rank of an on-looker in the dark, so that no real test was possible. These Italians did not grant any of these traditions. They were scientists, not devotees at a new shrine."

"However, I am ready to grant that some of the good old rules were justified. As you have seen in my own experiments, I have proceeded cautiously, for if you suppose mediumship to be a psycho-dynamic adjustment of the organisms in the circle--a subtle physical relationship--there is all the more reason to be careful. I did not find it necessary to mistreat Mrs. Smiley in order to test her powers. But _Eusapia has set a new pace for mediums_. She has gone into the lion's den alone and unarmed--not once, but a hundred times. She entered Lombroso's study, a room previously unexplored by her, and there placed herself before a cabinet that she was not permitted to examine--a cabinet filled with machines for dividing the true from the false. In Morselli's presence she submitted to tests the like of which not even Crookes was permitted to apply, and all sacred rules and regulations, all ideas of religion or questions of morality, vanished when she entered the cold, clear air of Bottazzi's physiological laboratory."

"This begins to sound like the grapple of a cuttlefish and a mermaid. Was the woman crushed?"

"No; she more than sustained her great reputation. She conquered the remorseless scientist and performed the impossible."

I had the strained attention of my audience now. Time was forgotten, and cries of "Tell us!" "Tell us all!" arose.

"It is an exciting story, an incredible story--"

"So much the better!" exclaimed Miss Brush.

"I am full of enthusiasm for Bottazzi," I resumed. "His was the kind of investigation I should like to put through myself. It appeals to me as no spiritualistic performance has ever done. In a sense the facts he has demonstrated make all material tests inoperative. Matter is all we have to cling to when it comes to physical tests. A nail driven down through the sleeve of the medium's dress _seems to increase our control of her, and a metronome or a Morse telegraphic sounder does add value to our testimony, and yet Zoellner seems nearer right than Miller: matter seems only a condition of force, and subject to change at the will of the psychic.

"Up to the beginning of last year Bottazzi confesses that he had read little or nothing on the subject, and, like our friend Miller here, considered it beneath the dignity of a scientist to be present at spiritualist circles. It is highly instructive to note that Paladino, the most renowned medium of her time, was in Naples at his very door; but that doesn't matter--a scientist is blind to what he does not wish to see. In this case Bottazzi's eyes were opened by a young friend, Professor Charles Foa, of Turin, who sent him an account of what he and Dr. Herlitzka had witnessed in Eusapia's presence."

"They really seem to be taking the phenomena seriously over there," said Harris.

"These particular sittings at Turin made a great sensation in Italy. They were under the direction of Drs. Herlitzka, Foa, and Aggazzotti, assistants to Professor Mosso, of the University of Turin. Dr. Pio Foa, Professor of Pathologic Anatomy, was also present during one seance. The conditions were all of the experimenters' own contriving. They were young men and had been companion workers in science for many years, and were accustomed to laboratory work. They all came to this experiment perfectly sure that no mediumistic phenomena could endure the light of science. At the end of their three sittings they manfully said: '_Now that we are persuaded of the authenticity of the phenomena_, we feel it our duty to state the fact publicly in our turn, and to proclaim that the few pioneers in this branch of biology (destined to become one of the most important) generally saw and observed correctly.... We hope that our words may serve to stimulate some of these colleagues to study personally and attentively this group of interesting and obscure phenomena.' You will note they relate their tests, not to theology, but to unexplored biology."

"I like the ring of that declaration of theirs," said Harris. "Go on! Come to Hecuba!"

"Bottazzi was enormously impressed by this account, which detailed coldly, critically, the most amazing experiments. With ingenuity that would have seemed satanic to Paladino (had she known of it), Foa and Aggazzotti had laid their pipes and provided for every trick. They were confident that nothing genuine could occur, but, as a matter of record, weird performances began at once. Bells were rung, tables shifted, columns of mercury lifted, mandolins played, and small objects were transported quite in the same fashion as the books were handled during our own sittings at your house, Miller--in fact, the doings were much the same in character. A small stand was broken to pieces under the very eyes of the learned doctors, _and hands hit and teeth bit those whom the medium did not like_. Each of the machines for registering movement, though utterly out of reach of Paladino, was operated, and some of these movements were systematically recorded.

"It was this care, these scrupulous and cold-blooded tests, that so profoundly affected Bottazzi. These men were his friends. He knew their level-headed and remorseless accuracy. The fact that they considered the whole investigation biologic in character, and that the results of their experiments strengthened their theory of the physiological determinism of the phenomena, added to his eagerness to try for himself."

"Wait a moment," said Cameron. "What do you mean by 'physiological determinism'?"

"He means that the phenomena began and ended in the psychic's organism."

"Do you intend to convey that they considered the medium dishonest?"

"Oh no. Merely that they did not relate the phenomena to the intervention of the spirits of the dead."

"Oh!" gasped Mrs. Cameron.

"Merely!" exclaimed Harris. "'Merely' is good in that case."

"'After reading these articles with avidity,' Bottazzi's report begins: 'Professor Galeotti, my associate, and I looked at each other astounded, and the same thoughts in the same words came simultaneously to our lips: "We, too, must see, must touch with our hands--and at once--here in this laboratory where experiments of the phenomena of life are daily carried on, with the impartiality of men whose object is the discovery of scientific truth, here in this quiet place where sealed doors will be superfluous. Everything must be registered. Will the medium be able to impress a photographic plate? Will she be able to illuminate a screen treated with platino-cyanide of barium? Will she be able to discharge a gold-leaf electroscope without touching it?" And so we travelled on the wings of imagination, always having before us the plummet of the strictest scientific methods.'"

"Now you're getting into my horizon," said Miller. "That is the way I wished to proceed in Mrs. Smiley's case. Did Bottazzi get these things done?"

"You're as impatient as Miss Brush," I replied, highly amused at his eagerness. "First you must catch your medium. Bottazzi succeeded at last in getting Paladino's consent, but only through the good offices of Professor Richet, whom she deeply loves and reverences. Submissively she entered into this most crucial series of tests. She was no longer afraid of any scientist, but it was not precisely a joy to her. Bottazzi invited his friend Galeotti, Professor of General Pathology in the University of Naples; Dr. de Amicis, Professor of Dermatology; Dr. Oscar Scarpa, Professor of Electro-chemistry at the Polytechnic High School of Naples; Luigi Lombardi, Professor of Electro-technology at the same school; and Dr. Pansini, Professor Extraordinary of Medical Semiotics; and these gentlemen certainly made up a formidable platoon of investigation. The room in which the experiments took place was an isolated one, connected with the laboratory of experimental physiology, and belonged to that part of the university set aside for Bottazzi's exclusive use. Nothing could have been further from the ordinary stuffy back parlor of the 'materializing medium.' No women were present, and no outsider; as you see, conditions were as nearly perfect as the ingenuity of Bottazzi and his assistants could make them."

The members present nestled into their chairs with looks of satisfaction, and Mrs. Cameron said: "Don't leave anything out. Tell it all."

"It is hardly necessary to say that every precaution was taken. Photographs of the cabinet were made before the sittings and afterward, in order that all displacements might be recorded. Provision was made for registering the action of 'John King's' spectral hands. Some of these devices were concealed in an adjoining room and watched by other attendants. One little touch early in Bottazzi's account impressed me deeply. A little electric motor was used to furnish power for the lamps and other apparatus, and Bottazzi, in speaking of it, says: 'At the moment when the phenomena to be registered began to manifest, the circuit was closed, _and suddenly in the complete silence of the night the feeble murmur of the motor was heard_.' I thrill to the action of that faithful little material watch-dog. Ghosts and hobgoblins could not silence or affright it. After all, matter is both persistent and bold."

"But not sovereign," defiantly called out Brierly; "the psychic dominates it."

"We shall see. Bottazzi declares in italics that Paladino neither put her hand into the cabinet nor knew the contents of it. 'Rarely has she been surrounded by such an assembly of unprejudiced minds, by such strict and attentive intellects,' he declares. And when you consider the absence of women, the mystery of the machinery, together with the stern character of the sitters, the medium's courage becomes marvellous. Perfect honesty alone can sustain a medium in such an ordeal. I am ready to agree that a new era began for spiritism when Eusapia entered that room, April 17, 1907."

"Poor Paladino!" sighed Mrs. Cameron. "I tremble for her."

"Bottazzi grimly says: 'We began by restraining her inexhaustible mediumistic activity. We obliged her to do things she had never done before. We limited the field of her manifestations.... I was convinced that it was much easier for her to drag out of the cabinet a heavy table than to press an electric knob or displace the rod of a metronome.' And this theory he set himself to prove. It was beautiful to see the way he went about it."

Howard was also impressed. "I see Eusapia's finish. She won't do a thing. The influences will criss-cross. Bottazzi's cabinet is her Waterloo."

"Observe that Bottazzi was not perverse. He met the psychic half-way by forming the usual chain about the table, placing Eusapia before the curtains of the little cabinet, which was a recess in the wall. Bottazzi himself and his assistants had constructed this cabinet and placed everything in position before Eusapia entered the room at all, and throughout the sitting she was controlled by at least two of the investigators so that she could not so much as put a hand inside the curtains. She was very uneasy, as though finding the conditions hard. Nevertheless, _even at this first sitting, everything movable in the cabinet was thrown about_. The table was violently shaken and the metronome set going. Bottazzi ends his first report by saying: 'The seance yielded very small results, but this is always the case at first seances. Nevertheless, how many "_knowing people and _savans_" have formed a judgment on phenomena after seances such as this one?'"

"That's a slant at you, Miller," remarked Harris.

"Yes," I agreed, "it's a slant at all commissions and committees who think they can jump in and settle this spiritistic controversy in the course of half an hour. Bottazzi, like Lombroso and Richet, was aware that he had entered upon a long road. He knew that a tired or worried medium was helpless. He called the same circle together for the 20th, willing to try patiently for developments. All came but Lombardi, whose place was taken by M. Jona, an engineer. The second sitting was a wonder. Warned by his first experience, Bottazzi nailed or screwed every movable thing fast to the walls of the cabinet. He was resolute to force 'John,' the supposed 'guide,' to touch the electric button and press the ball of India-rubber that connected with a mercury manometer. He intended to teach the spirit hand to register its actions on a revolving cylinder of smoked tin. He wanted graven records, so that no wiseacre like Harris, here, could say: 'Oh, the thing never moved. You were all hypnotized!' In effect, he said: 'They tell us that a cold wind blows from the cabinet. I will put a self-registering thermometer in the cabinet and see. They say tables weighing forty pounds have been lifted. All I ask is that the bulb of a self-registering manometer be pressed. They say a Morse telegraphic key has been sounded by spirit hands. Very well; I will arrange a connection so that every pressure of the key will be registered on a sheet of smoked paper, so that the fact of the sound of the key shall be recorded by an infallible instrument.'"

"Did he get the records?" asked Harris.

"Wait and see!" commanded Cameron.

"These indicate the methods which Bottazzi and his assistants brought to bear on the medium. No more worship here, no awe, no hesitation, no superstition. Among other things, he put into the cabinet a small table weighing about fifteen pounds, and on top of it arranged a hair-brush, a hen's feather, a bottle full of water, and a very thick glass. These articles and the table were the only objects that could be moved. His aim was to limit the spirit hands to a few movables--to see whether they could not be taught to do what was required of them. Well, _that little table came out of the cabinet of its own accord in a light that made it perfectly visible_, at the precise time when three of the inexorable professors were rigidly clasping the psychic. But that is not the most remarkable thing. The psychic's feet were held by the engineer, and he observed that at _the exact moment when Paladino pushed against his knee the table moved_. 'Each advance of the table corresponded,' says Bottazzi, 'with the most perfect synchronism, to the push of Eusapia's legs against Jona's knees'; in other words, she really executed movements identical with those that she would have made had she been pushing the table out of the cabinet with her _visible limbs."

As I paused for effect, Fowler said: "You say that as if you considered it very significant."

"I do. In my judgment, it is the most valuable fact developed by these most searching experiments. Flammarion noted this same significant relation between the movements of the psychic and the spirit hands, and so did Maxwell. Maxwell proved it by experiments on his own person, and now Bottazzi is proving it in a larger way. 'A few moments later,' he says, 'a glass was flung from the cabinet by these invisible agencies, and this fling coincided exactly with a kick which Paladino gave to Jona, as if the same will governed both movements.'"

Miller was thinking very hard. "That certainly is very strange," he said, "but I observed nothing of it in Mrs. Smiley's case; on the contrary, it seemed to me that our strongest manifestations came when she was perfectly still."

"Hasten!" urged Fowler. "Come to the phantoms. I perceive his theory, but it will all be upset later by the materialized forms."

"On the contrary, Bottazzi declares the phantoms also conformed to this same law. He was determined upon educating 'John King,' and kept insisting that the invisible hands press the rubber ball, or lower the registry balance, or set the metronome going, and Eusapia repeatedly moaned: '_I can't find_,' '_I can't see_,' or '_I don't know how_.' Once she complained that the objects were _too far off--that she could not reach them!_--all of which sustained Bottazzi in his belief that these activities were absolutely under her psychic control, just as the synchronism of movements convinced him that she was 'the physiologic factor in the case.' All of this is very exciting to me, for I have had the same feeling with regard to the several mediums whose activities I have closely studied. Bottazzi says, with regard to the results of the first two sittings: 'These first seances show that Eusapia needed to learn how to make these movements with which her invisible hands were unfamiliar, just as she would have had to learn to make them with her visible hands. You will all observe that he did not permit awe or superstitious reverence for the medium or her phantoms to balk his experiments.' A convinced spiritist who attended one of the seances was scandalized by the tone and character of the tests. These professors were continually bobbing up to see what was going on, disturbing conditions, stirring things up as with a spoon to see how it was all going on. They broke the chain of hands whenever they wanted to see what 'the spirits' were doing. In other words, these scientists were students, not devotees. They were experimenting, not communing with the dead."

"Others have tried that," said Fowler. "But they succeeded in preventing any manifestations whatsoever."

"It didn't work out so in this instance. Bottazzi says that during the first seance Professor Scarpa irritated Eusapia greatly by his impertinent curiosity, but Bottazzi himself quieted her by saying: 'You see, dear Eusapia, we are not here only to admire the marvellous phenomena you are able to produce, but also, and chiefly, to observe and verify and criticise. We do not doubt you or suspect any fraud, but we want to see clearly, and to follow the development of the phenomena. That is why M. Scarpa surveys the cabinet between the curtains, illuminating it occasionally with an electric pocket-lamp. Which do you prefer, passive admiration, of which you must have had more than enough already, or the calm affirmation of physicists who are accustomed to extort from Nature secrets which she hides from physical eyes? 'In this way,' adds the master, 'Eusapia's irritation was softened; she rebelled no further, but yielded with docility to the sharp, attentive scrutiny of the observer, who finally declared himself beaten, not having been able to discover at any point a shadow of fraud.'"

"Hurrah for Eusapia!" shouted Howard. "She must be a wonder!"

"A spiritist would say that her guides were insisting on the most rigid test. The account goes on to say that the psychic, when entranced, was not satisfied with the grasp of two of the spies; she frequently asked, in a faint voice, for a third or even a fourth hand in order that there could be no question of her freedom from connection with the phenomena. As in the case of our own psychic, Mrs. Smiley co-operated to the utmost with us. She never refused to permit any test."

Miller here remarked: "I can't but think that our control of Mrs. Smiley was complete, and yet I could not (under the conditions) assert that she was not the author of the acts we witnessed in my library. I cannot bring myself to entertain, even for an instant, the spirit hypothesis, but in Bottazzi's theory I glimpse an alternative."

"Yes, Bottazzi plainly hints at his conclusions by saying: '_The invisible limbs of the psychic explored the cabinet.' He repeats, 'I am convinced that these _"mediumistic limbs" are capable of being taught unfamiliar duties_, like pressing an electric button of squeezing a rubber ball,' and this he proceeded patiently to exemplify. At the third sitting Madame Bottazzi was present (Lombardi and Jona being absent), and the 'force' was much greater and more active than before, probably because of the psychic's growing confidence. A small table floated in the air '_while we watched it in amazement_,' he says. One levitation lasted long enough to count fifty. 'We all had time to observe that the piece of furniture was quite isolated,' he adds. Furthermore, a big black hand came from the curtain and touched Madame Bottazzi on the cheek, and frightened her from her place beside the medium."

"I can understand that," said Mrs. Cameron. "Think of being touched by even one's own dead!"

"Professor de Amicis was not only touched on the arm but forcibly pulled, as if by an invisible hand. The curtain of the cabinet then enveloped him as if to embrace him, and he felt the contact of another face against his, and a mouth kissing him--"

The women cried out at the thought, but I hurried on to make Bottazzi's point: "_'At the same time Eusapia's lips moved as if to kiss, and she made the sound of kissing, which we all distinctly heard.' Here again, you see, is that astounding synchronism which Maxwell and Morselli observed between the movement of objects and the contraction of the muscles in the medium's arms and legs. Bottazzi pauses to generalize: 'Whatever may be the mediumistic phenomena produced, there is almost always at the same time movement of one or several parts of the medium's body.'"

"What does he mean? Does he mean that Eusapia performed all these movements with her 'astral hands'?" asked Mrs. Quigg.

"That is precisely his inference. 'Mysterious hands,' Bottazzi calls them."

"But how will he account for the difference in size between Eusapia's hands and the _large black hand that she saw and felt?" asked Fowler.

"Bottazzi himself remarks upon this discrepancy. 'To whom does this hand belong?' he asked--'this hand, a half a yard away from the medium's head, seen while her visible hands are rigorously controlled by her two neighbors? Is it the hand of a monstrous long arm which liberates itself from the medium's body, then dissolves, to afterward "materialize" afresh? Is it something analogous to the pteropod of an amoeba, which projects itself from the body, then retreats into it only to reappear in another place? Mystery!' But this is not the most grewsome sight; one of the professors, stealing a glance behind the medium, saw remnants of legs and arms lying about the cabinet."

"Horrible!" exclaimed Mrs. Cameron. "I'd rather believe in spirits. What does he mean to infer?"

"Apparently he would have us believe that materialization is a process due to the medium--or at least dependent on her will--and that these partially completed forms represent fragmentary impulses. But I'm not so much concerned just now with that as with the course of schooling through which he drove Eusapia. He stuck to his plan. He put into his cabinet each time certain sounders, markers, and lamps, which could be moved, ticked, or lighted only by hands in the cabinet, and he kept the same rigid control of his medium _outside the cabinet. For the most part she was in the light. By means of a series of lamps the seance-room could be lighted dimly or brightly at a touch, and, while many of the phenomena in the cabinet were being performed by 'John,' Eusapia's hands could be plainly seen in the grasp of her inquisitors. After seeing a mandolin move and play of itself, after having the metronome set in motion, stopped, and set going again, after having the registrations he most desired, Bottazzi concludes his third sitting by saying: 'An invisible hand or foot _must therefore have forced down the disk, _must have leaned on the membrane of the receiving-drum of my apparatus, because I assured myself next day that to obtain the highest lines registered the disk had to be pressed to the extreme point. This was no ordinary case of pushing or pulling. The mysterious hand had to push the disk, and push it in a certain way. _In short, the "spirit hand" was becoming educated to its task._'"

Miller asked: "Did these performances take place, as in the case of Mrs. Smiley, within the reach of her ordinary limbs?"

"Yes, many of them took place within a yard of her head; but some of them, and the most marvellous of them, not merely took place out of her reach, but under conditions of unexampled rigor. 'Eusapia's mediumistic limbs penetrated into the cabinet,' says Bottazzi. 'I begged my friends not to distract the medium's attention by requests for touches, apparitions, etc., but to concentrate their desires and their wills on the things I asked for....' What he wanted her to do was very simple, but conclusive. He wished 'the spirit hand' to press an electric button and light a red lamp within the cabinet. The coil and the switch had been dragged out of the cabinet and thrown on the table. Bottazzi begged them all not to touch it. No one but Scarpa, Galeotti, and Bottazzi knew what it was for. 'At a certain moment Eusapia took hold of the first finger of my right hand and squeezed it with her fingers. A ray of light from the interior of the cabinet lit up the room'--she had pressed the contact-breaker with her invisible fingers at the precise time when she had squeezed with her visible hand the forefinger of Bottazzi. She repeatedly did this. 'If one of us, be it observed, had lit the lamp, she would have screamed with pain and indignation.'"

"Was this the climax of his series? Is this _all he is willing to affirm?" queried Harris, with ironic inflection.

"Oh no, indeed. The greatest is yet to come. At the fourth sitting a new person, Professor Cardarelli, was introduced, and this new sitter disturbed conditions. Nevertheless, the inexplicable took place. Small twirling violet flames were seen to drift across the cabinet curtains, and hands and closed fists appeared over Paladino's head. These have been photographed, by-the-way. Some of them were of ordinary size, and others at least three times larger than the psychic's hand and fist. These flames interest me very much, for I have seen them on several occasions, but could not believe in them, even though Crookes spoke of handling them. I must admit their objective reality now. It is absurd to suppose they were fraudulently produced in this laboratory.

"A stethoscope was taken from Cardarelli's pocket and put together--a movement requiring the action of two hands. The noise of fingers running over the keys of a typewriter in the cabinet was plainly heard, although no writing came. At the fifth sitting the mandolin again moved as if alive (no one touching it), in a light that made all its movements observable; and as it did so _Eusapia's hand (tightly controlled by Bottazzi) _made little movements as if to help the instrument to move_. _Each movement, though it ended in the air, seemed to affect the mandolin. Bottazzi says: 'It would be necessary to have Paladino's fingers in the palm of one's hand, as I had that evening, in order to be convinced that the evolutions, twangings of the strings, etc., all synchronized with the very delicate movements of her fingers.... I cannot describe the sensation one experiences when seeing an inanimate object moved, not for a moment merely, but for many minutes in succession, by a mysterious force.'"

"We observed no such synchronism," repeated Fowler. "We not only controlled Mrs. Smiley's hands, but nailed her to her chair. In a way, our test was more rigid than those you are describing. Our results were not so dramatic, but they were produced under test conditions, and their significance is as great as that of Bottazzi's lamp-lighting."

"But we did not have as much light on the medium, and, by-the-way, Miller, the spectral hands that I saw in your study, each larger than Mrs. Smiley's hands, were as real to me as those Scarpa studied, and the books deposited on your table form as good a record, in their way, as the marks on his smoked-glass cylinder."

"Furthermore, we had writing," added Fowler. "All of which Bottazzi would explain by his theory of an 'astral arm.'"

"Yes, but he secured something still more marvellous. He obtained the print of human hands in clay and also on smoked glass. He demonstrated that the invisible limbs of the psychic cannot only move objects at a distance, _but that they can feel at a distance_. 'Eusapia's attitude was that of a blindfolded person exploring space with her hands to find a lost object!' he exclaims, at one point. 'Eusapia opened my right hand, stretched out my three middle fingers, and, bending them on the table, tips downward, said, in a whisper: "How hard it is! What is it?" I did not understand,' says Bottazzi. 'She continued: "There, on the chair." "It is the clay," I said, quickly; "will you make the impression of a face?" "No," she replied, "it is too hard; take it away.'" Some one broke the chain to carry out her desire. He looked at the desk and saw the imprint of three fingers."

"What I would like to know at this point," Harris quickly interposed, "is this: were the fingermarks lined like Bottazzi's or like the medium's?"

"He does not say in this case, but, as I recall it, they found in other instances that the lines on the impressions made by Eusapia's invisible fingers were precisely like those of her material fingers, and yet no mark of flour or lamp-black remained attaching to her hands. In one case a perfumed clay was used, and, although the impressions secured 'resembled Eusapia's face grown old,' no scent of the wax could be detected on her cheeks. Bottazzi gives much space to these 'mediumistic explorations of the cabinet.' He could follow these blind, mysterious gropings of the invisible Eusapia by closely controlling the real Eusapia. 'Presently she asked: "What is that round object? I feel something round."' This was, in fact, the rubber ball which connected with a tube--the tube, in its turn, passing through the wall into another room where it operated a manometer. She pressed this ball with her invisible limbs, and the column rose and registered the pressure. This was entirely satisfactory to Bottazzi, who then says: 'I desire again to affirm that with her invisible limbs Eusapia feels the forms of objects and their consistency, feels heat and cold, hardness and softness, dampness and dryness neither more nor less than if she were touching and feeling with the hands imprisoned in ours. She feels with other hands, but perceives with the same brain with which she uses to talk with us.'

"The most astonishing physical phenomena came when the contact-breaker was thrown on the table, and Eusapia called out: 'See how it moves!' '_We all directed our gaze toward the small object_,' says Bottazzi, '_and we saw that it oscillated and vibrated at an elevation of an inch or two above the surface of the table, as if seized with internal shivering--Eusapia's hands, held by M. Galeotti and myself, being more than a foot from the contact-breaker_.'"

My auditors were now in the thrall of Bottazzi's story, and the silence was eloquent. At last Cameron said: "It certainly seems like a clear case of 'astral.' I begin to believe in our first sitting with Mrs. Smiley. What do you want us to do--announce ourselves converted?"

"Certainly not," I replied. "We must not relax our vigilance, even though Bottazzi, Morselli, and their fellows seem to have proved the genuineness of the phenomena. At the same time, I admit it is a source of satisfaction to me to know that these Italian scientists, with conditions all their own, are willing to affirm that Eusapia '_feels with her invisible limbs_,' and explores a cabinet while sitting under rigid control more than a yard away from the objects moved. My experiences point to this. How else could the cone be handled with such precision as was shown at your house, Miller? Lombroso observed that chairs and vases moved as if guided by hands and eyes, and that the psychic could see as well behind her as in front. Mrs. Smiley has always been able to direct me _exactly to the point where the cone or pencil had been flung. How can letters within closed slates be formed so beautifully and so precisely without some form of seeing?"

Fowler was ready with an answer: "At the final analysis all perception is due to some form of vibration. To be clairaudient is simply to be able to lay hold upon a different set of pulsations in the ether, and to be clairvoyant is to perceive directly without the aid of the eye, which is only a little camera, after all."

"All this is merely a kind of prelude," I resumed, "for Bottazzi apparently proved that the invisible hand of Eusapia's invisible arm could not penetrate a cage of wire mesh that covered the telegraphic key in the cabinet. 'How, then, can we consider it to be a spirit hand--an immaterial hand--when a wire-netting can stop it?' he very pertinently inquires."

"That's what troubles me," said Miller. "If a phantom hand can bring a real book and thumb its leaves, or drum with a real pencil or write, why isn't it, for all practicable purposes, a real hand?"

"What _is a real hand?" retorted Fowler. "Isn't the latest word of science to the effect that matter like the human body is only a temporary condition of force?"

"Precisely so; and every advance along the line of these experiments goes to prove the power of mind to transform matter. It almost seems to me at times as though these psychic minds were able to reduce matter to its primal atom and reshape it. In Bottazzi's seventh sitting, under the same rigorous restraint of Eusapia, a vase of flowers was transported, a rose was set in a lady's hair, a small drum was seized and beaten rhythmically, an enormous black fist came out from behind the curtain, and an open hand seized Bottazzi gently by the neck. Now listen to his own words: 'Letting go my hold of Professor Poso's hand,' he says, 'I felt for this ghostly hand and clasped it. _It was a left hand, neither hot nor cold, with rough, bony fingers which dissolved under pressure. It did not retire by producing a sensation of withdrawal--it dissolved, "dematerialized," melted._'"

I paused to say: "Remember, this is not the tale of a perfervid spiritist. On the contrary, it is the scientific account of a laboratory experiment by a physiologist of high rank. The incident is not a part of a seance in the home of a medium in a dark parlor full of side-doors and trick windows. It is a registered phenomenon in the physiological department of a great university, occurring under scientific test conditions. I confess it gives verity to many a doubtful thing I have myself seen."

"It certainly staggers me," said Cameron. "How does the scientific gentleman explain it?"

"He goes on to say: 'Another time, later on, the same hand was placed on my right forearm--I saw a human hand, of natural color, and I felt with mine the back of a lukewarm hand, rough and nervous. _The hand dissolved (I saw it with my own eyes) and retreated as if into Madame Paladino's body, describing a curve. If all the observed phenomena of these seven seances were to disappear from my memory, this one I could never forget.'"

Fowler was smiling with calm disdain. "Let him go on with his psycho-dynamic theories. He will be confounded yet. These are only the first stages of the game."

"But all this happened while the hands of the psychic were merely held," protested Miller. "He says he controlled her hands rigorously. Why didn't he handcuff her, or nail her down? The facts he claims to have established are too subversive to accept on his word alone."

This amused me. "There you go again! Not satisfied with wonders, you want miracles. Happily, you may be satisfied. In the eighth sitting, which took place in the same room of the physiological laboratory, with Bottazzi, Madame Bottazzi, Professor Galeotti, Doctors Jappelli and d'Errico present, Eusapia submitted to the most rigorous restraint of her life. Two iron rings were fastened to the floor, and by means of strong cords, which were sealed with lead seals like those used in fastening a railway car, her wrists were rigidly confined. She was, in fact, bound like a criminal; and yet the spectral hands and fists came and went, jugs of water floated about, and as a final stupendous climax, while Galeotti was controlling Eusapia's right arm, which was also manacled, he _saw the duplications of her left arm. 'LOOK!' he exclaimed, 'I SEE TWO LEFT ARMS IDENTICAL IN APPEARANCE. ONE IS ON THE LITTLE TABLE. THE OTHER SEEMS TO COME OUT OF THE MEDIUM'S SHOULDER, TOUCH MADAME BOTTAZZI, AND THEN RETURN TO EUSAPIA'S BODY AGAIN. THIS IS NOT AN HALLUCINATION. I AM CONSCIOUS OF TWO SIMULTANEOUS VISUAL SENSATIONS WHEN MADAME BOTTAZZI SAYS SHE HAS BEEN TOUCHED.'"

For a moment the entire company sat in silence, as though stunned by the force of my blow. Then all turned to Miller as though to ask: "What do you think of that?"

He slowly replied: "To grant the possible putting forth of a supernumerary arm and hand would make physiological science foolish. It is easier to imagine these gentlemen suffering a collective hallucination."

"Ah! Bottazzi provided against all that. He called in the aid of self-registering contrivances. It won't do, Miller--he proved the objective reality of 'spirit phenomena.' He lifted the whole performance to the plane of the test-tube, the electric light, and the barometer. His experiments, his deductions, came as a splendid sequence to an almost equally searching series by Crookes, Zoellner, Wallace, Thury, Flammarion, Maxwell, Lombroso, Richet, Foa, and Morselli. His laboratory was the crucible wherein came the final touch of heat which fuses all the discordant facts into a solid ingot of truth."

"But, to me, he is misreading the facts," objected Fowler. "I maintain that he is as prejudiced in his way as the spiritist. He says: 'The mediumistic limbs explored the cabinet.' A spiritist would say: '_John King explored the cabinet.' The synchronism he speaks of might exist, and only be a proof of what the spiritist admits--that the presence and activity of the materializing spirit are closely circumscribed by the medium."

"Bottazzi proved the relationship to be something more intimate than that. He demonstrated that the movement of the hands in the cabinet and of those outside had a common origin--namely, the will and brain of Eusapia. He proved that these invisible hands were, after all, material, and limited in their powers. He proved that the 'spirits' shared all Eusapia's likes and dislikes, and knew no more of chloride of iron or ferro-cyanide of potassium than she herself possessed--in short, while admitting the mystery of the process, he reduces all these phenomena to human, terrestrial level, and relates them wholly and simply to the brain and will of the psychic. Perhaps his state of mind is best expressed at the close of his statement concerning the registration of the movements of 'the spirit hand.' He says, in effect: 'These tracings demonstrate irrefutably that the keys were repeatedly pressed with perfect synchronism, the outside key with Eusapia's left hand, the one inside the cabinet by another, which a convinced spiritist would call that of a "materialized spirit," and which I believe to be neither the one nor the other, although I am not able to explain what it was.'"

"Oh, lame and impotent conclusion!" exclaimed Brierly. "After that superb test, why didn't he frankly say the discarnate had been proved?"

"Because his proof, his knowledge, was not yet sufficient. Besides, it requires heroic courage to admit our ignorance. 'I don't know,' he says, and that is the attitude of Morselli. Dr. Foa believes the phenomena to come within the domain of natural law, and to result from a transmutation of energy accumulated in the medium. He calls this 'vital energy' or 'psychic energy,' and adds: 'If these phenomena appear strange by virtue of their comparative rarity, they are not really more marvellous than the biological phenomena which we witness every day.'"

"According to this theory, then," said Miller, "Mrs. Smiley has remained, as you believe, motionless in her chair, but has been able to 'energize' at a distance."

"More than that. She has been able to emit supernumerary etheric limbs, perhaps a complete material double of herself, which is able to move with lightning speed and perfect precision. It is this actual externalization of both matter and sense that makes darkness so essential to the medium. Vivid light forces this effluvia, this mysterious double, back into its originating body with disrupting haste. Witness the several times when Mrs. Smiley was convulsed merely by being touched at the wrong moment."

"There is a different interpretation to be put upon the psychic's hatred of light," remarked Howard.

"By-the-way, yet bearing on this very subject, I read in the _Annals of Psychic Science the account of a singular experiment in the matter of independent writing. A certain Dr. Encausse, in giving a lecture before the Society for Psychical Research at Nancy, said that in 1889, having heard that a professional magnetizer named Robert was able to put a subject into such a state of hypnosis that he could project lines of writing on paper without use of pen or pencil, he was curious to see the performance. Together with a colleague, Dr. Gibier, Encausse hastened to witness this marvel. One of the subjects was a girl of seventeen. The magnetizer put her to sleep, 'and during this seance,' says Dr. Encausse, 'we were able to obtain in full light on a sheet of paper signed by twenty witnesses, the precipitation of a whole page of written verses signed "Corneille." I examined under the microscope the substance that formed the writing, and I was led to the conclusion that it consisted of globules of human blood, some scattered as if calcined, others quite distinct. I thus verified the theory of the occultists of 1850 that the nervous energy as well as the physical force of a medium, the material of which he is constituted, such as his blood, could exteriorize itself and reconstruct itself at a distance.'"

"What a stunning experiment!" exclaimed Cameron.

"Important, if true," sneered Harris.

"What do you know about this learned doctor?" asked Miller.

"Nothing; but you will see that these later experiments of the Italian scientists are sustaining De Rochas and Aksakof in their claim that the medium is in a sense dematerialized to build up the phantasms. Dr. Encausse goes on to say: '_Moreover, the medium who had produced this phenomenon was preparing for the stage and had been studying Corneille during the whole of the preceding day. I was thus able to discover the origin of the substance of the materialization of the writing, and also its psychic origin.' In other words, he claims that the message was not from the shade of the great dramatist, but was a precipitation of the blood of the psychic and an exercise of her subconscious mind, all of which accords with Bottazzi's theory.

"Now, then," said I, in the tone of one about to conclude, "in the light of these experiments, my own sitting at Miller's, and especially those that I held at Fowler's house, take on the greatest significance. Miller, Mrs. Smiley's _visible limbs did not handle the books--of that I am positive--and yet I am equally certain that she governed every movement."

"But what about the voices?" asked Fowler. "Does this theory cover the whispering personalities we heard? What about 'Wilbur' and 'Maudie'?"

"That's easy," retorted Howard. "Once you explain the manipulation of the cone, the rest is merely clever ventriloquism."

"There is nothing 'easy' about any of these phenomena," I answered. "As Richet says, they are absurd, but they are observed facts. It would not be fair to the spiritists to end the account of these sittings without frankly stating that there were many other phenomena very difficult to explain by Bottazzi's theory. There came a time, as he admits, when 'a mysterious entity behind the curtain, among us, almost in contact with us, was felt all the time.' This entity was supposed to be 'John King,' the psychic's control. This being, invisible for the most part, gave roses to those he liked, conversed freely, and in one case threw a bunch of flowers in the face of one of the sitters to whom Eusapia had taken a dislike. A little later 'John' presented a small drum from behind the curtain, and, when Galeotti tried to take it, 'John' pulled it out of his hands. Again he offered it, and Galeotti seized it, and the two fought for its possession with such violence that the drum was nearly torn to pieces."

"Where was Paladino meanwhile?" asked Miller.

"Seated quietly in the grasp of Bottazzi and Madame Bottazzi. Galeotti then raised the drum in his hand, high above his head and against the curtain, and requested 'John' to beat it. 'John' pushed a hand against the drum and beat a muffled tattoo. All this was utterly out of the psychic's reach. The strife over the drum would seem to argue a complete and powerful figure behind the curtain."

"In other words, a spirit," said Brierly.

"Not so fast," put in Miller. "I am content to plod with these Italian scientists. Let us establish one supernormal fact and then reach for another. You fellows with your 'reincarnations,' and the spiritist with his foolish messages from Cleopatra, Raphael, and Shakespeare, have confused the situation. We must begin all over again. If all that Garland is detailing is true--I have not read these reports he speaks of--then it is our duty to take up the scrutiny of these facts as a part of biologic science."

Fowler clapped his hands. "Bravo! that is all we ask of you. To study frogs and mosquitoes, to peer close into the constitution of the blood or the brain of man, is useful; but, to my mind, the questions raised by these Continental experimentalists are the most vital now clamoring for answer."

"Bottazzi says, with regard to his eighth and final sitting: 'The results of this seance were very favorable, because they eliminated the slightest trace of suspicion or uncertainty relative to the genuineness of the phenomena. We obtained the same kind of assurance as that which we have concerning physical, chemical, or physiological phenomena. Henceforth sceptics can only deny the facts by accusing us of fraud and charlatanism. I should be very much surprised if any one were bold enough to bring the charge against us, but it would not disturb our minds in the least. From this time forward the medium who wishes to prove the truth of her phenomena will be obliged to permit the same kind of experimentation which Eusapia so adequately sustained.'"

"Well, now," said Cameron, "the practical question is this: are we to go on with our investigation?"

"I am ready," said Miller, promptly. "Garland, will you purvey another psychic and conduct the pursuit?"

"Yes, provided you all come in with spirits attuned, ready to wait patiently and observe silently. The law of these materializations seems to be this: the forces of the psychic are proportional to the harmoniousness of the circle and in inverse proportion to the light. Accepting this law as proved by our illustrious fellow-experimenters abroad, are you ready to try again along the lines they have marked out?"

As with one voice, all agreed.

"Very well," said I; "I will see what I can do for you in the way of a new psychic and new phenomena. We will now experiment with design to prove the identity of the reappearing dead. Of this I am fully persuaded. Men will be discovering new laws of nature ten thousand years from now, just as they are to-day. It is inconceivable that the secrets of the universe should ever be entirely made plain. The world of mystery retires before the dawn. Nothing is really explained--what we call familiar facts are at bottom inexplicable mysteries, and must ever remain so."

"Then why go on? Why not stop now and save ourselves the trouble of investigation?"

"Because there is joy in the pursuit--because it is in the nature of man to pursue this quest. Who knows but the conclusions of Venzano and Morselli, of Bottazzi and Foa, have opened new vistas in human nature? These 'supernormal powers' may chance to be of immense value to the race, quite aside from their bearing upon the problem of death. Furthermore, these reports come at a time when a hard-and-fast literalism of interpretation is the fashion among scientists like Miller. Perhaps they and the art of the day will alike be offered new inspiration by these mystifying enlargements of human faculty. I for one feel profoundly indebted to these brave and clear-brained Italian scientists. I should like to see the physicists of our own universities busying themselves with this most absorbing and vital problem."

"But they don't," retorted Fowler. "They will not even read Bottazzi's reports."

And I fear he is justified in his belief.


(As I am reading proof on this page a fat letter from a friend in Naples comes to my desk, filled with the several corroborative accounts of a special sitting with Paladino which Professor Bottazzi kindly arranged for them. My correspondent is a New York editor, and in his party of six was the associate professor of chemistry in a big Eastern college. After detailing the many marvellous phenomena which took place in his presence, Professor M---- says: "In view of the phenomena with which I am habitually concerned, I did not _want to believe in Paladino's supernormal powers, but I had to accept what I saw." These reports bring Bottazzi's experiments closer to the dead. I hope they will bring them a little nearer to my readers. "Bottazzi has no slightest doubt of the phenomena," is the concluding line of my friend's letter.)

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