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    A MANIFESTATION OF INTELLIGENCE

    From the testimony already given it is evident that there is connected with Spiritualism an agency that is able to manifest power and strength beyond anything that human beings, unaided, are able to exert. It is just as evident that the same agency possesses intelligence beyond the power of human minds. Indeed, this was the very feature that first brought it to the attention of the public. Spiritualism as the reader is doubtless aware, originated in the family of Mr. John D. Fox, in Hydesville, near Rochester, N.Y., in the spring of 1848. Robert Dale Owen, in his work called “Footfalls on the boundary of Another World,” p. 290, has given a full narration of the circumstances attending this remarkable event. The particulars, he states, he had from Mrs.Fox, and her two daughters, Margaret and Kate, and son, David. The attention of the family had been attracted by strange noises which finally assumed the form of raps, or muffled footfalls, and became very annoying. Chairs were sometimes moved from their places, and this was once also the case with the dining-room table. Heard occasionally during February, the disturbance so increased during the latter part of March, as seriously to break the nightly repose of the family. But as these annoyances occurred only in the night-time, all the family hoped that soon, by some means, the mystery would be cleared away. They did not abandon this hope till Friday, the 31st of March, 1848. Wearied by a succession of sleepless nights, the family retired early, hoping for a respite from the disturbances that had harassed them. In this they were doomed to especial disappointment. We can do no better than to let Mr. Owen continue the narrative, in his own words:-MOSP 18.2

    “The parents had removed the children’s beds into their bedroom, and strictly enjoined them not to talk of noises, even if they heard them. But scarcely had the mother seen them safely in bed, and was retiring to rest herself, when the children cried out, ‘Here they are again!’ The mother chided them, and lay down. Thereupon the noises became louder and more startling. The children sat up in bed. Mrs. Fox called her husband. The night being windy, it was suggested to him that it might be the rattling of the sashes. He tried several to see if they were loose. Kate, the younger girl, happened to remark that as often as her father shook a window-sash, the noises seemed to reply. Being a lively child, and in a measure accustomed to what was going on, she turned to where the noise was, snapped her fingers, and called out, ‘Here, old Splitfoot, do as I do!’ The knocking instantly responded.MOSP 19.1

    “That was the very commencement. Who can tell where the end will be?MOSP 19.2

    “I do not mean that it was Kate Fox, who thus, in childish jest, first discovered that these mysterious sounds seemed instinct with intelligence. Mr. Mompesson, two hundred years ago, had already observed a similar phenomenon. Glanvil had verified it. So had Wesley, and his children. So we have seen and others. But in all these cases the matter rested there and the observation was not prosecuted farther. As, previous to the invention of the steam engine, sundry observers had trodden the very threshold of the discovery and there stopped, so in this case, where the royal chaplain, disciple though he was of the inductive philosophy, and where the founder of Methodism, admitting,as he did, the probabilities of ultramundane interference, were both at fault, a Yankee girl, but nine years old, following up more in sport than in earnest, a chance observation, became the instigator of a movement which, whatever its true character, has had its influence throughout the civilized world. The spark had been ignited, - once at least two centuries ago; but it had died each time without effect. It kindled no flame till the middle of the nineteenth century.MOSP 19.3

    “And yet how trifling the step from the observation at Tedworth to the discovery at Hydesville! Mr. Mompesson, in bed with his little daughter (about Kate’s age), whom the sound seemed chiefly to follow, ‘observed that it would exactly answer, in drumming, anything that was beaten or called for.’ But his curiosity led him no further.MOSP 20.1

    “Not so Kate Fox. She tried, by silently bringing together her thumb and forefinger; whether she could obtain a response. Yes! It could see, then, as well as hear. She called her mother. ‘Only look, mother,’ she said, bringing together again her finger and thumb, as before. And as often as she repeated the noiseless motion, just as often responded the raps.MOSP 20.2

    “This at once arrested her mother’s attention. ‘Count ten,’ she said, addressing the noise. Ten strokes, distinctly given! ‘How old is my daughter Margaret?’ Twelve strokes. ‘And Kate?’ Nine. ‘What can all this mean?’ was Mrs. Fox’s thought. Who was answering her? Was it only some mysterious echo of her own thought? But the next question which she put seemed to refute the idea. ‘How many children have I?’ she asked aloud. Seven strokes. ‘Ah!’ she thought, ‘it can blunder sometimes.’ And then aloud, ‘Try again.’ Still the number of raps was seven. Of a sudden a thought crossed Mrs. Fox’s mind. ‘Are they alive?” she asked. Silence for answer. ‘How many are living?’ Six strokes. ‘How many are dead?’ A single stroke. She had lost a child.MOSP 20.3

    “Then she asked, ‘Are you a man?’ No answer. ‘Are you a spirit?’ It rapped. ‘May my neighbors hear, if I call them?’ It rapped again.MOSP 21.1

    “Thereupon she asked her husband to call her neighbor, a Mrs. Redfield, who came in laughing. But her cheer was soon changed. The answers to her inquiries were as prompt and pertinent, as they had been to those of Mrs. Fox. She was struck with awe; and when, in reply to a question about the number of her children, by rapping four, instead of three, as she expected, it reminded her of a little daughter, Mary, whom she had recently lost, the mother burst into tears.”MOSP 21.2

    We have introduced this narrative thus at length not only because it is interesting in itself, but because it is of special interest that all the particulars of the origin, or beginning, of such a movement as this, should be well understood. The following paragraph will explain how it came to be called “The Rochester Knockings,” under which name it first became widely known. It is from the “Report of the 37th Anniversary of Modern Spiritualism,” held in Brooklyn, N.Y., March 31, 1885, and reported in the Banner of Light, the 25th of the following month:-MOSP 21.3

    “After a song by J.T. Lillie, Mrs. Leah Fox Underhill, the elder of the three Fox sisters (who was on our platform), was requested to speak. Mrs. Underhill said that she was not a public speaker, but would answer any questions from the audience, and in response to these questions told in a graphic manner how the spirits came to their humble home in Hydesville, in 1818; how on the 31th March the first intelligent communication from the spirit world came through the raps; how the family had been annoyed by the manifestations, and by the notoriety that followed; how the younger sisters, Catherine and Margaret, were taken to Rochester, where she lived, by their mother, hoping that this great and apparent calamity might pass from them; how their father and mother prayed that this cup might be taken away, but the phenomena became more marked and violent; how in the morning they would find four coffins drawn with an artistic hand on the door of the dining-room of her home in Rochester, of different sizes, approximating to the ages and sizes of the family, and these were lined with a pink color, and they were told that unless they made this great fact known, they would all speedily die, and enter the spirit-world.MOSP 21.4

    “Gladly would they all have accepted this penalty for their disobedience in not making this truth known to the world. She told how thy were compelled to hire Corinthian Hall in Rochester; culminating in the selection of a committee of prominent infidels, who, after submitting the Fox children to the most severe tests, - they being disrobed in the presence of a committee of ladies, - reported in their favor. All the time she was on our platform, there was a continuous rapping by the spirits in response to what was being said by the several speakers, also in response to the singing, and all our exercises.”MOSP 22.1

    In the same volume of the Forum from which quotations have already been made, M.J. Savage states many fact which have a determinate bearing on the point now under consideration; namely, the intelligence manifested in the spiritual phenomena. From these we quote a few. He says (p. 452 and onward).MOSP 22.2

    “I am in possession of quite a large body of apparent facts that I do not know what to do with.... That certain things to me inexplicable have occurred, I believe. The negative opinion of some one with whom no such things have occurred, will not satisfy me.... I am ready to submit some specimens of those things that constitute my problem. They can be only specimens; for a detailed account of even half of those I have laid by, would to the limits of a book.MOSP 22.3

    “A merchant ship bound for New York was on her homeward voyage. She was in the Indian Ocean. The captain was engaged to be married to a lady living in New England. One day early the afternoon he came pale and excited to one of his mates and exclaimed, ‘Tom, Kate has just died! I have seen her die!’ The mate looked at him in amazement, not knowing what to make of such talk. But the captain went on and described the whole scene - the room, her appearance, how she died, and all the circumstances. So real was it to him, and such was the effect on him, of his grief, that for two or three weeks, he was carefully watched lest he should do violence to himself. It was more than one hundred and fifty days before the ship reached her harbor. During all this time no news was received from home. But when at last the ship arrived at New York, it was found that Kate did die at the time and under the circumstances seen and described by the captain off the coast of India. This is only one case out of hundreds. What does it mean? Coincidence? Just happened so? This might be said of one; but a hundred of such coincidences become inexplicable.”MOSP 23.1

    The following is another instance mentioned by the same writer:-MOSP 23.2

    “I went to the house of a woman in New York. She was not a professional. We had never seen each other before. We took seats in the parlor for a talk, I not looking for any manifestation. Raps began. I do not say whether they were really where they seemed to be or not; I know right well that the judgment is subject to illusion through the senses. But I was told a ‘spirit friend’ was present; and soon the name, time, and place of death, etc., were given me. It was the name of a friend I had once known intimately. But twenty years had passed since the old intimacy; she had lived in another State; I am certain that she and the psychic had never known or even heard of each other. She had died within a few months.”MOSP 23.3

    Mr Savage then gives examples where the power in question was exclusively mental:-MOSP 24.1

    “The first time I was ever in the presence of a particular psychic, she went into a trance. She had never seen, and, so far as I know, had never had any way of hearing of my father, who had died some years previously. when I was a boy, he always called me by a special name that was never used by any other member of the family. In later years he hardly ever used it. But the entranced psychic said: ‘An old gentleman is here,’ and she described certain very marked peculiarities. Then she added: ‘He says he is your father, and he calls you -,’ using the old childhood name of mine.”MOSP 24.2

    Again, same page:-MOSP 24.3

    “One case more, only, will I mention under this head. A most intimate friend of my youth had recently died. She had lived in another State, and the psychic did not know that such a person had ever existed. We were sitting alone when this old friend announced her presence. It was in this way: A letter of two pages was automatically written, addressed to me. I thought to myself as I read it - I did not speak - ‘Were it possible, I should feel sure she had written this.’ I then said, as though speaking to her, ‘Will you not give me your name?’ It was given, both maiden and married name. I then began a conversation lasting over an hour, which seemed as real as any I ever have with my friends. She told me of her children, of her sisters. We talked over the events of boyhood and girlhood. I asked her if she remembered a book we used to read together, and she gave me the author’s name. I asked again if she remembered the particular poem we were both specially fond of, and she named it at once. In the letter that was written, and in much of the conversation, there were apparent hints of identity, little touches and peculiarities that would mean much to an acquaintance, but nothing to a stranger. I could not but be much impressed. Now in this case, I know that the psychic never knew of this person’s existence, and of course not of our acquaintance.”MOSP 24.4

    Mr Savage then mentions cases which he calls still more inexplicable, because the information conveyed was not known either to the psychic (which seems to be the new name for medium) or to himself. He says:-MOSP 25.1

    “But one more case dare I take the space for, though the budget is only opened. This one did not happen to me, but it is so hedged about and checked off, that its evidential value in a scientific way is absolutely perfect. The names of some of the parties concerned would be recognized in two hemispheres. A lady and gentleman visited a psychic. The gentleman was the lady’s brother-in-law. The lady had an aunt who was ill in a city two or three hundred miles away. When the psychic had become entranced, the lady asked her if she had any impression as to the condition of her aunt. The reply was, ‘No.’ But before the sitting was over, the psychic exclaimed, ‘Why, your aunt is here! she has already passed away.’ ‘This cannot be true,’ said the lady; ‘there must be a mistake. If she had died, they would have telegraphed us immediately.’ ‘But,’ the psychic insisted, ‘she is here. And she explains that she died about two o’clock this morning. She also says that a telegram has been sent, and you will find it at the house on your return.’MOSP 25.2

    “Here seemed a clear case for a test. So while the lady started for her home, her brother-in-law called at the house of a friend and told the story. While there the husband came in. Having been away for some hours he had not heard of any telegram. But the friend seated himself at his desk and wrote out a careful account, which all three signed on the spot. When they reached home, - two or three miles away, - there was the telegram confirming the fact and the time of the aunt’s death, precisely as the psychic had told them.MOSP 25.3

    “Here are most wonderful facts. How shall they be accounted for? I have not trusted my memory for these things, but have made careful record at the time. I know many other records of a similar kind kept by others. They are kept private. Why? The late Rev. J.G. Wood, of England, the world-famous naturalist, once said to me: ‘I am glad to talk of these things to any one who has a right to know. But I used to call everybody a fool who had anything to do with them; and - with a smile - ‘I do not enjoy being called a fool.’MOSP 25.4

    “Psychic and other societies that advertise for strange phenomena, must learn that at least a respectful treatment is to be accorded, or people will not lay bare their secret souls. And then, in the very nature of the case, these experiments concern matter of the most personal nature. Many of the most striking cases people will not make public. In some of those above related, I have had so to veil facts, that they do not appear as remarkable as they really are. The whole cannot be told.”MOSP 26.1

    A quotation from this same writer (“Automatic Writing,” page 14), says:-MOSP 26.2

    “I am in possession of a respectable body of facts that I do not know how to explain except on the theory that I am dealing with some invisible intelligence. I hold that as the only tenable theory I am acquainted with.”MOSP 26.3

    In the same work (page 19), the author, Mrs. S.A. Underwood, as the result of her communications from spirits, says:-MOSP 26.4

    “Detailed statements of fact unknown to either of us [that is, herself and her “control”], but which weeks afterward were learned to be correct, have been written, and repeated again and again, when disbelieved and contradicted by us.”MOSP 26.5

    On this point, also, as on the preceding, testimony need not be multiplied. The facts are too well known and too generally admitted to warrant the devotion of further space to a presentation of the evidence. The question must soon be met, What is the source of the power and intelligence thus manifested? But this may properly be held in abeyance till we take a glance atMOSP 26.6

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