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FROM MATTER TO SPIRIT.

CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY

METHOD OF EXPERIMENTING.

THE

HE following narrative of experiences has been for

the most part taken from notes made at the time of the occurrences. For obvious reasons names are suppressed and initials changed, but I have neither exaggerated the marvellous features of any case, nor omitted to mention circumstances by which its marvellousness might seem to be lessened. For the truth and accuracy of all incidents given without names or with initials, I hold myself responsible. Where names or authorities are given at length, the evidence must be taken for what it is worth.

When a strange tale reached us, twelve years ago, of noises which had been heard in America, and attributed to spirits, everybody laughed. As the stories

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multiplied, a few persons in England began to think they must have some origin at least, and to wonder why, if spirits could rap in the United States, they did not do so in our own country. Then we began to hear of

mediums, people only in whose presence these seemingly fastidious spirits would make their appearance; and at length curiosity was still further excited by the appearance of a medium in London. Mrs. Hayden became the wonder of a day; but people fancied that they could detect imposture, and, though none was ever fairly proved, the interest flagged and the medium' returned to America, having sown the seed of a tree the extent of whose growth has yet to be measured. Since that time the experiments have been laughed at, talked of, and tried, with more or less of intelligence and belief; and, though the subject has not yet lived through the ridicule bestowed on every fact new to the world's experience, enough of interest prevails to justify a narrative of experiences, and some conjectures on the truths to be thence deduced.* One thing is certain ; if

1 these phenomena are not the result of imposture and delusion, the study of them involves questions worthy the deepest consideration of the theologian and the man of science. Whether they have any claim to be considered

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* Since this was written Mr. Home's book has appeared. The narratives it contains are far more wonderful than any I can offer here, but they are given with a different object, and are, I believe, perfectly trustworthy.

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