The following stenographic report of the meeting of November 6th, 1884, has been read and approved by the Commission before being entered upon this book.
The few additions which were made when it was read, appear as foot notes. The report was approved as excellent.
First Experiment with Tumblers
Return to Table
Second Experiment with Tumblers
Third Experiment with Tumblers
PHILADA., November 6th, 1884.
The Committee reconvened this day, at 8 o'clock P.M., at the residence of Mr. H. H. Furness, when the investigation of the Spirit Rappings, in the presence of Mrs. Margaret Fox Kane as Medium, was resumed.
The persons present were the following;
Of the Committee -- Dr. Leidy, Mr. Furness, Dr. Koenig, Mr. Fullerton, Mr. Coleman Sellers, and by invitation of the Committee, Mr. Geo. S. Pepper.
The Medium -- Mrs. Kane.
The Stenographer -- Mr. Gilbert.
The company promptly repaired to the dining-room, and there gathered around a common pine-wood table, consisting solely of its supports and top, which had been specially provided, in compliance with the direction of the Medium. The dimensions of the table, approximately stated, are as follows: height, three feet; length, four feet; width, two and a-half feet.
The 'Spirit Rappings' during the evening, aside from those heard during the test with the glass tumblers, were apparently confined to the floor-space in the immediate vicinity of, and directly beneath the table described -- around which the company were seated in the order here stated. Mr. Sellers (to whom had been deputed the duty of eliciting the responses) occupied the chair at the end of the table more remote from the Stenographer. Next, upon Mr. Sellers' right and at the side of the table, sat Mr. Pepper, and Mr. Furness in the adjoining seat. The first chair on the side of the table to the left of Mr. Sellers was occupied by the Medium, and the remaining chair on the same side by Mr. Fullerton. At the near end of the table, Dr. Leidy and Dr. Koenig were seated. The Committee, with one exception, in accordance with a requirement imposed by the Medium, rested their hands upon the table and fixed their minds upon the subject of the rappings. The exception was Dr. Koenig, who, being seated at a distance of three feet from the table, could not conveniently comply with
the requirement. After the expiration of some twenty minutes, the Medium requested Dr. Koenig to place his hands upon the table, and he promptly complied with the request and moved his chair closer to that of Dr. Leidy, thus depriving himself of any facilities of observation of the space beneath the table.
The Stenographer was at a table about four feet from the circle of the Committee.
The lengths of the intervals between the questions addressed to the Spirits and the responses thereto, were computed by the audible second-strokes of a clock in an adjoining apartment; the periods of waiting being necessarily brief in view of the assurance of the Medium (as set forth in its proper place in the Report) that "When the raps come, they come right away."
The "Spirit Rappings" varied materially in quality and character, being at times faintly, and at other times distinctly audible.
The record of the Investigation is as follows:
Mr. Sellers: Is any Spirit present now ?
Three raps -- faint and partly indistinct -- are almost instantly audible. The raps apparently emanate from the floor-space directly beneath, or in the immediate vicinity of the table. This remark is applicable to all the rappings during the seance at the pine table.
The Medium (interpreting the sounds): That was "Yes."
Mr. Sellers (aside): They sounded like three.
The raps are immediately repeated with more distinctness.
Mr. Sellers (aside): There are three, and they are quite distinct.
(Resuming): Is the Spirit the same one that was present last night?
Three raps, apparently identical with those last heard, are again audible.
Mr. Sellers (aside); It says it is the same Spirit.
(Resuming): I presume then it is Henry Seybert?
(No response.) Is it Henry Seybert?
Three raps-distinct and positive.
Mr. Sellers: You promised last evening to give a communication to Mr. Pepper. Are you able to communicate with him now?
Two raps -- comparatively feeble.
The Medium (interpreting): One, two: that means "not now,"
Mr. Sellers (repeating): "Not now."
The Medium (reflectively): But probably before he leaves.
Three raps -- quickly, distinctly and instantly given.
The Medium: He said "Yes," "before he leaves." (To Mr. Sellers): You asked that question, I think?
Mr. Sellers: Yes. (Resuming): Will you communicate with him before Mr. Pepper leaves to-night?
Three raps -- instantaneous, quick and vigorous. The sounds in this instance are four times repeated, the repetitions being in quick succession and apparently without variation in quality or character.
Mr. Sellers (addressing his associates): It has been very clearly shown to-night that certain sounds of greater or less volume have been produced. We have heard the sounds. We are conscious that they are raps. It is exceedingly important, in deference to the Medium herself, that we should prove that she has nothing to do with the production of the sounds other than in a Spiritualistic capacity. I would like to ask her if there is any test that she herself can propose which would be capable of satisfying us that she does not produce the sounds.
The Medium: I could name a great many tests, but they might not be satisfactory to you; for instance, the one of standing on glass tumblers, where the raps are produced on the floor.
Mr. Sellers: Will the raps be produced under such circumstances?
The Medium: I cannot say that they will be, any more than I can say that they will be produced through the use of the table. In fact, they are not so readily produced sometimes.
Mr. Sellers: I understand your position. But you say that there are cases in which, when the Medium is standing upon glass, the sounds are produced.
The Medium: Oh, yes. I mention that -- the producing through Glass -- as one of the most difficult of tests.
Mr. Sellers: Then the sounds will be just beneath your feet, will they?
The Medium: Well, they will seem to be. They may be on the side.
After a brief interval, during which Mr. Furness absented himself to procure glass tumblers, the colloquy with the Medium was resumed.
Mr. Sellers: While we are waiting for those tumblers, will you repeat the experiment of last night, that of standing near the table and not touching it, to see if the same character of sounds then produced can be again heard ? Last evening we had a very satisfactory exhibition of that.
The Medium: Yes. But we have to keep to a certain condition; that is, you are not to break. For instance, if you will all stand up and stand touching the table -- all of us -- until we get started, it will be some assistance.
All of the gentlemen and the Medium rise and remain standing with their hands in contact with the table.
The Medium (continuing): This is a test, something that I have not gone through with since I was a little child almost.
Mr. Sellers (after an interval of waiting): There seem to be no raps. (Another short interval.) Now, Mr. Seybert, cannot you produce some raps?
Eighty seconds here elapsed with no response, when the Medium made an observation which was partly inaudible at the Reporter's seat, the purport of which was that the Spirit communications are sometimes retarded or facilitated by a compliance by the listeners with certain conditions. Another interval of probably two minutes elapsed, when the Medium suggested to Dr. Leidy to place his hands upon the table. The suggestion was complied with.
Mr. Sellers inquires of the Medium whether a change in her position, with regard to the table, would do any good.
The Medium: I will change positions with you.
The change was made accordingly, but without result, and another period of waiting followed.
The Medium (to Dr. Leidy): Suppose you ask some questions. You may have some friend who will respond.
Dr. Leidy: Is any Spirit present whom I know, or who knows me?
After a pause of ten seconds, three light raps are heard.
Dr. Leidy: Who am I?
The Medium explains that the responses by rappings are mainly indicative only of affirmation or negation.
Dr. Leidy: Will you repeat your taps to indicate that you are present yet?
Three taps are heard.
Mr. Sellers: Those are very clearly heard.
The Medium (to Dr. Leidy): Ask if that is Mr. Seybert?
Dr. Leidy: Is Mr. Seybert present?
Three raps -- very feeble.
Dr. Leidy (to Mr. Sellers): Was there an answer to that?
Mr. Sellers: There was. The answer was three raps. (After an interval, in which no response is received): There seem to be no further communications. I suggest that the test with the glass tumblers be now tried.
Upon the suggestion of the Medium, the test referred to was momentarily deferred, and Mr. Sellers made this inquiry:
It is proposed that the Medium shall stand upon tumblers. Are we likely to have any demonstration?
Three raps -- promptly given, though feeble in delivery and but faintly audible.
The Medium: There were three -- a kind of tardy assent.
Mr. Sellers (to the Medium): As if the Spirits might or might not communicate?
The Medium: Well, that a trial might be made.
Three raps are here again instantly heard -- the characteristics of the sounds in this instance being rapidity and energy, or positiveness.
The Medium: That is a quick answer.
Mr. Sellers (after a notification from the Medium to proceed): Is Mr. Seybert still present?
The Medium: It may be a few minutes before you will hear any rapping through these glasses.
Ten seconds elapse.
The Medium: This test is a very satisfactory one, if they do it. And they have done it a hundred times.
Five seconds elapse.
The Medium (to Mr. Furness): The glasses are not placed over marble, are they?
Mr. Furness: No; the floor is of wood.
Mr. Sellers (after another interval of waiting) informally remarked to Mr. Furness: We will wait probably for another minute to see if anything comes. As you know, the Medium claims it is impossible for her to control these things -- that she is merely one who is operated through.
Another interval expires.
The Medium: That was a very faint rap. Suppose we change the position of the glasses.
Note by the Stenographer. -- No intimation is given that the rap here spoken of was heard by any one other than the Medium herself. Pursuant to the request just stated, the carpet is removed and the glass tumblers are located on the bare floor at a point about five feet distant from the place at which the first test was tried. The new location is
in the centre of a passage way, about three feet in width, between a side-board on one side and a wall projection on the other. Its selection is apparently, though not specifically, dictated by the position and movements of the Medium. The Medium and the Committee resume their positions, the former standing on the glasses and the gentlemen facing her in a group.
The Medium: Now, Spirits, will you rap on the floor?
Thirty seconds here elapsed with no response, when one glass was heard to click against another, and the Medium exclaimed, "Oh."
The Medium (repeating): Will you rap on the floor?
Thirty seconds now elapse without any demonstration.
The Medium (aside): It seems to be a failure. They have done it.
Another click of the glasses, which passes without comment.
Mr. Sellers: We will have to set down the result of the experiment on glass tumblers as negative. It may be well to try it later.
The Medium (evidently reluctant to abandon the test): Suppose now, as we have gone so far, we kind of form a chain.
The company retained their positions with hands joined, and the Spirits were repeatedly requested to make their presence known -- Mr. Pepper, at the suggestion of the Medium, asking the Spirit of his friend, Henry Seybert, to manifest its presence by one rap -- but all efforts to elicit such response proved ineffectual. The glasses were then removed and the requests were again reiterated, but with a like negative result. The Medium finally remarked that she had rarely known of failures with the glass tumblers, but it had been a long time since she had tried them. She suggested that this branch of the investigation might be deferred until later.
Mr. Sellers: Now we have returned to the table. Can you indicate on the table your presence, Mr. Seybert?
An interval of sixty-four seconds here followed.
The Medium: Ask some questions that would interest him in life.
As Mr. Sellers was repeating to Mr. Pepper the suggestion made by the Medium, three raps were heard.
Mr. Sellers: There is now a communication that he is present.
Mr. Pepper: Harry, would you like to know something about this investigation of Spiritual manifestations, which you had so much at heart while living?
Mr. Sellers: Do you, Mr. Seybert, at the present time, see the persons present? Are they visible before you?
Two raps -- noticeably slow.
Mr. Sellers (aside): He says "No, they are not,"
The Medium (interpreting): Well, that would be too - 'partially.'
Dr. Koenig: What would that mean -- that he only sees some of us, or that he sees none of us entirely, but only partially?
The Medium: That he sees us, but not clearly.
Mr. Sellers: Will you please rap the number of the members of the Committee who are present at this time?
Mr. Sellers: Now, say how many.
Mr. Sellers: Are there only three?
The Medium (to Mr. Sellers): That answer was 'Yes,' I think.
Mr. Sellers: Well, you say you can do it. Please count the number of the members of the Committee who are present.
*Seven raps-very slow, deliberate and distinct.
Mr. Sellers: Are there seven members of the Committee present?
Mr. Sellers: Are they all seated around one table?
No response. About forty seconds elapse.
Mr. Sellers: Are they seated at two tables ?
**Three raps-quite feeble.
Mr. Sellers (to his associates): We still must go back to the one thing. The information we receive through these responses is of little importance to us compared with the information which we must obtain as to whether these sounds are produced by a disembodied Spirit or by some living person; that is, in deference to the Medium. (To Mr. Furness): Do you not think so?
Mr. Furness is understood to assent.
Mr. Sellers (continuing): We have tried the glass tumblers. We have the sounds here. I would ask Mrs. Kane if it is proper for us to
* When, in answer to Mr. Sellers' question, the raps counted the number of the Committee present, the number seven was indicated. This counted in Mr. George S. Pepper and the Stenographer. -- G. S. F.
**When the raps indicated that the members of the Commission sat at two tables, this expressly included in the number of the Commission the Stenographer, who sat at a different table from that at which the members of the Commission were seated at the time of asking the question. -- G. S. F.
look below the top of the table at the time the sounds are being produced, and in such a way as to see her feet.
The Medium: Yes, of course, you could do that, but it is not well to break, when you are standing, suddenly. As you know, you have to conform to the rules, else you will get no rappings.
Mr. Sellers: What are the rules?
The Medium (disconnectedly): The rules are -- every test condition, that I am perfectly willing to go through, and have gone through a thousand times -- at the same time, there are times when you can break the rules. So slight a thing as the disjoining of hands may break the rules. I do not think the standing on the glass has been fully tried.
Mr. Sellers: We will try that later.
Mr. Furness (to the Medium -- informally): This investigation is one of great importance to us. There is no question about it -- we have heard these curious sounds. Now, as to whether they come from Spirits or not -- that would seem to be the very next logical step in our inquiry. I think you are entirely at one with us in every possible desire to have this phenomenon investigated.
The Medium: Oh, certainly. But I pledge myself to conform to nothing, for -- as I said in Europe -- I do not even say the sounds are from Spirits; and, what is more, it is utterly beyond human power to detect them. I do not say they are the Spirits of our departed friends, but I leave others to judge for themselves.
Mr. Furness: Then you have come to the conclusion that they are entirely independent of yourself.
The Medium: No, I do not know that they are entirely independent of myself.
Mr. Furness: Under what conditions can you influence them?
The response, which was partly inaudible at the Reporter's seat, was understood to be: "I cannot tell."
Mr. Furness: You say that, in the generality of cases, they are beyond your control?
The Medium: Yes.
Mr. Furness: How in the world shall we test that?
The Medium: Well, by --
Mr. Furness: By -- what? Isolating you from the table?
The Medium: Yes.
Mr. Furness (applying his right hand, by her permission, to the Medium's head): Are you ever conscious of any vibration in your bones?
The Medium: No; but sometimes it causes an exhaustion, that is, under circumstances when the raps do not come freely.
Mr. Furness: The freer the raps come, the better for you ?
The Medium: Yes; the freer the better -- the less exhaustion.
Mr. Sellers: But do you feel now, to-night, any untoward influence operating against you?
The Medium: No, not to-night, for it takes quite a little while before we feel those things.
Mr. Furness: Do these raps always have that vibratory sound -- tr-rut-tr-rut-tr-rut?
The Medium: Sometimes they vary.
Mr. Furness: As a general rule I have heard them sound so.
The Medium: Every rap has a different sound. For instance, when the Spirit of Mr. Seybert rapped, if the sound was a good one, you would have noticed that his rap was different from that of another. Every one is entirely different from another.
Mr. Furness: Do you suppose that the present conditions are such that you can throw the raps to a part of the room other than that in which you are?
The Medium: I do not pretend to do that, but I will try to do it.
Mr. Furness and Dr. Leidy station themselves in the corner of the room, diagonally, and most remote from the pine table, at which their associates remain seated, with their hands upon the table, and 'their minds intent on having the raps produced at the corner indicated,' as requested by the Medium, who also remains at the table. The Medium asks, 'Will the Spirit rap at the other side of the room,' and, after twelve seconds, and again after forty-three seconds, repeats the inquiry. No response is received. The experiment is repeated with Mr. Furness and Dr. Koenig at the corner, but with a like negative result.
The Medium: Will the Spirit rap here?
Twenty-three seconds elapse.
Dr. Leidy: Is any Spirit present?
An interval of thirty-nine seconds here followed, when the attention
of the Committee was momentarily diverted by an inquiry addressed to Mr.Furness by Mr. Sellers, viz.: Whether a glass plate of sufficient strength to bear the weight of the Medium was procurable. At this moment the Medium suddenly exclaimed: 'I heard a rap. You said, "Get a glass," and there was a rap.'*
The Medium (repeating for the information of Mr. Furness): Somebody proposed a glass and there were three raps.
Dr. Koenig inquires of the Medium whether the meaning intended to be conveyed by the sounds is that the Spirits desire to have the glass plate procured.
The Medium: I do not know. I know there were raps. (Turning to Mr. Sellers, the Medium adds): They may have been made by your heel on the floor but certainly there were sounds.
Mr. Fullerton: Then it was not the regular triple rap?
The Medium: I could not tell.
Just before calling attention to the alleged rap or raps the Medium grasped with her right hand the woodwork of the side-board as if for support. It was then that she stated she heard the sounds. They were apparently not heard by any one but the Medium.
Mr. Sellers (addressing the Spirit): Will you repeat the raps we heard just now, assuming that there were some?
Ten minutes elapse without a response.
The Medium: There is no use of my standing longer, for when they come at all they come right away.
Mr. Sellers (after scrutinizing the position of one of the feet of the Medium, remarks): The edge of the heel of the shoe rests on the back tumbler. (Assuming a stooping posture for a more prolonged scrutiny, he adds): We will see whether the raps will be produced now.
The Medium now proposes that all members of the Committee shall stand up and join hands.
Mr. Sellers and his associates accordingly stand, facing the Medium, with hands joined. Changes in their positions were made by some of the gentlemen from time to time, as suggested by the Medium, Mr. Pepper and Dr. Koenig being the first to exchange places. This occurred after a silence of thirty seconds without any response.
The Medium: Now, Mr. Seybert, if your Spirit is here, will you have the kindness -- I knew Mr. Seybert well in life -- to rap?
Fifteen seconds elapse.
The Medium: No, he does not seem to respond.
At the suggestion of Mr. Sellers, all the gentlemen approach the Medium for the purpose of inducing some acknowledgment, by the Spirit, and inquiries similar to those already stated are repeated without result. The Committee then temporarily abandon this test.
(Three raps-given slowly and deliberately -- are heard.)
Mr. Sellers: Will you communicate with Mr. Pepper by raps or by writing ? (No response.) Will you communicate by raps?
The Medium (to Mr. Sellers): Well, my hand does feel like writing. Will you give me a piece of paper? -- and maybe they will give me some directions.
Mr. Fullerton (to the Medium) : How does your hand feel when affected in that way?
The Medium : It is a peculiar feeling, like that from taking hold of electrical instruments. I do not know but that you might possibly feel it in my hand.
The lady here extended her right hand upon the table toward Mr. Fullerton. The latter placed his left hand upon the extended hand of the Medium, and subsequently remarked that the pulsation of her wrist was a little above the ordinary rate.
The Medium, ostensibly under Spirit influence, with lead pencil in hand proceeded to write two communications from the Spirit of the late Henry Seybert. The first of these covered two pages of paper of the size of ordinary foolscap. The Medium wrote in large characters, with remarkable rapidity, and in a direction from the right to the left, or the reverse of ordinary handwriting. The writing, consequently, could be read only from the reverse side of the paper and by being held up so as to permit the gas-light to pass through it.
The communications, as deciphered by Mr. Sellers, with the aid of Mr. Fullerton and the Medium, were as follows; "You must not expect that I can satisfy you beyond all doubt in so short a time as you have yet had. I want to give you all in my power, and will do so if you will give me a chance. You must commence right in the first place or you shall all be disappointed for a much longer time. Princiipis Obsta Sero Medicina Paratum.
"Mend the fault in time or we will all be puzzled.
The foregoing were understood to be directed to Mr. Pepper, in accordance with the assurance given by the Spirit that it would communicate with him.
Subsequently, when the trance condition had apparently disappeared, the Medium complied with a request to write, as it would be read to her, the Latin phrase at the end of the first communication. Using the pencil in her right hand, she transcribed slowly and in the usual direction from left to right. The style of her handwriting was small and comparatively neat. Apparently in every particular her writing in this instance was the exact opposite of that made by her while in the alleged trance condition. She here stated that, ordinarily, she wrote in the same manner in which people generally write, with her right hand and from left to right. With respect to her inability to transcribe the Latin words until these had been spelled for her, she explained that she was not at all familiar with Latin.*
A member of the Committee, commenting upon a defect in the spelling of the first of the Latin words in the Spirit communication, suggested that the error might be accounted for on the hypothesis that Mr. Seybert, in life, was accustomed to the use of poor Latin.
The Medium further explained that her understanding of the second communication was that it was a translation of the Latin contained in the first.
Mr. Fullerton states that he heard the raps.
Mr. Sellers: I heard a sound then, but it seemed as if it was around there. (Indicating along the wall immediately in the rear of the Medium.)
The tumblers are here moved further away from the wall and the Medium resumes her position upon them.
Mr. Sellers: Will the Spirit rap again? (No response.)
The Medium: Were any of you gentlemen acquainted with Mr. Seybert in his lifetime?
Mr. Fullerton: I saw him several times before his death. If he can give an intimation now of anything he said at that time, it will indicate that he remembers it.
A very faint rap is heard.
The Medium: There is a rap. It seems to be there again. (Indicating the spot to which attention was previously called by Mr. Sellers.)
The Medium again importunes, first, 'Mr. Seybert' and next 'the Spirits' 'to rap;' and the importunities are repeated. Three raps are distinctly but faintly heard.
Mr. Sellers: I heard them. They sounded somewhat like the others, not exactly.
The Medium: I heard one rap, but it is nothing for me to hear them; I want you gentlemen to hear them.
Mr. Sellers: Probably we will hear them again.
While Mr. Sellers and Mr. Furness are conversing, several raps are heard, though less distinct than the preceding ones.
The Medium: There they are as though right under the glass. (After a silence of forty seconds): Now I hear them again very light -- oh, very light.
Mr. Furness, with the permission of the Medium, places his hand upon one of her feet.
The Medium: There are raps now, strong -- yes, I hear them.
Mr Furness (to the Medium): This is the most wonderful thing of all, Mrs. Kane, I distinctly feel them in your foot. There is not a particle of motion in your foot, but there is an unusual pulsation.
Mr. Sellers here made some inquiries of the Medium, concerning the shoes now worn by her. The replies, which were not direct, are here given.
Mr. Sellers: Are those the shoes which you usually wear?
The Medium: I wear all kinds of shoes.
Mr. Sellers: Are the sounds sometimes produced in your room when you have no shoes on?
The Medium: More or less. They are produced under all circumstances.
Following the suggestion of the Medium, all present proceed through an intervening apartment to the library where the Medium selects various positions -- standing upon a lounge, then upon a cushioned chair, next upon a step-ladder and finally upon the side of a book-case -- but all with a like unsuccessful result, no response by rappings being heard.
Upon an intimation being given by a member of the Committee that
the Medium may be wearied, the further prosecution of the Investigation is temporarily deferred.
After the examination of Mrs. Kane, and after the Stenographer had left, the Commission held a conference, and commissioned Mr. Furness to lay before Mrs. Kane the question of continuing or closing the investigation, so far as she was concerned. If she were sanguine of more satisfactory results at another seance, the Commission was willing to prolong the investigation.