February 19 & 20, 1885: Mrs. Maud E. Lord

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February 19th, 1885.       

The Commission met on Thursday, February 19th, 1885, at 8 P.M., at the house of Mr. Furness, to attend a seance in the presence of Mrs. Maud E. Lord.

All of the Commission were present, and there were present also, at the request of the Medium, several friends of members of the Commission, both men and women.

There were in all eighteen persons present beside the Medium; these seated themselves, as directed by the Medium, in a circle, which was about six or seven feet in diameter; the Medium took her seat in the centre.

The lights having been put out, the Medium drew her chair to one side of the circle, placing her feet in contact with those of one of the persons in the circle. Those composing the circle linked hands, while the Medium had her hands free.

The Medium described a number of Spirit forms as coming to those Present -- to one a little child, to another an old man with white hair, etc. The descriptions were in general vague and indefinite, and might have applied to many persons. Nevertheless, they were in very many cases wide of the mark. Sometimes a father, a mother, or other relation was described as present. In some cases the death of such relations was acknowledged by the person to whom the Medium addressed herself, but in other cases the relation in question had not died, or, as in the case of a child or brother -- had not existed. To give an instance of the Medium's inaccuracy: Mr. Fullerton's grandfather was described as coming to him, and the Medium, describing the form, added that Mr. Fullerton was not familiar with it, as his grandfather had died while he was a young man, and had had but little intercourse with him. Both Mr. Fullerton's grandfathers died some years before he was born. Many other descriptions were quite as erroneous.


Sometimes a form was described as coming to one person in the circle and not being recognized by that one, was referred to the next; described as standing between them, etc. The number of successes, compared with the number of failures, was not striking.

Whispers were heard -- one at a time -- always at a point in the circle at a distance from that at which the Medium was (just after the whisper) heard to speak to some one in her natural voice. The whispers were never simultaneous with the remark afterward made by the Medium.

In the short interval between the whisper and the succeeding remark by the Medium, I distinctly heard, on many occasions, a rustle of clothing, and once or twice a slight creak of the chair, as though the Medium had moved her body from one side to the other, which she could easily have done without taking her feet away from those of the person she faced.

Upon one of those present inquiring why the whisper always sounded as if made by the same voice, the Medium stated that the whisper did always sound the same, and that she was sorry to have to add, that it always sounded as if made by the voice of the Medium.

Upon one occasion a light appeared and re-appeared two or three times in front of the Medium, passing from near her knee up for a foot or two. The light was indistinct, apparently phosphorescent, and passed so quickly that it could not be examined. It was described by the Medium, however, as a form of a child from the Spirit world.

Those present changed their seats during the seance, as suggested, but without producing more satisfactory results. The seance lasted about two hours.

At Mrs. Lord's own suggestion before the seance, two women present took the Medium into another room, and searched her clothes.


February 20th, 1885.       

The Commission met on Friday, February 20th, 1885, at 8 P.M., again at the house of Mr. Furness, to attend a second seance in the presence of Mrs. Lord.

On the part of the Commission were present Mr. Furness, Mr. Sellers and Mr. Fullerton. There were also present several women and men, some of whom had been present at the previous sitting. The circle, when formed, was about six feet in diameter.


A ring was given by the Medium to Mr. Sellers and another to Miss Logan to wear during the evening, with the expectation that they might be taken by the Spirits and passed to another person in the circle, in accordance with the unexpressed wish of the one holding the ring. This was not done during the evening.

A small musical-box was also given to one of the women to hold, and a zither placed upon the lap of a man. The former was, during the seance, taken from the woman holding it, and passed to another person in the circle. The Medium sat as before, with her hands free, while those in the circle clasped hands, as was done on the former evening, each one having his left wrist grasped by the right hand of his neighbor, or vice versa.

The zither was undisturbed during the evening.

Touches were felt here and there on the knees of those in the circle, and whispers were again heard from time to time.

The whispers were, as before, never simultaneous with the speeches of the Medium, which were heard just after in another part of the circle.

I distinctly noticed, on several occasions, the same rustle, as of a change of position on the part of the Medium, between the whisper and the remark by the Medium.

Many Spirit forms were described by the Medium as coming to those present, with about the same proportion of success as on the former evening.

At various times during the sitting, lights were seen, which appeared and disappeared rapidly. They were indistinct and phosphorescent -- such as can be produced in a dark room by rubbing a match-head, or by exhibiting an object rubbed with a match.

The lights -- at least all that were clearly seen by several persons -- were within the circle and about the Medium.

Occasionally the Medium spoke of lights as without the circle, and one or two of those present (not members of the Commission) assented. But, as on two such occasions, when those opposite myself described the light as above and behind me, I saw it above and in front of me, or between me and the Medium; there is no reason to believe that they were not deceived by the difficulty of judging of the distance of an indistinct and evanescent appearance in a quite dark place. The direction, but not the distance, can in such a case be readily known.

After a sitting of about two hours, the attempt to produce more striking phenomena was abandoned.


During both seances Mrs. Lord kept up an almost continuous clapping of hands -- the noise was not loud, but sufficient to aid in hiding any rustle of the Medium's dress, or creaking of a chair. The Medium also talked constantly.

At the suggestion of the Medium those present joined in singing on two occasions.

The whisper heard in the circle was uniformly hoarse.

A list of those present at these seances and the names of the ladies who searched the Medium, are appended:

Those present at Mrs. Lord's seance on Thursday were: Dr. and Mrs. Pepper, Professor and Mrs. Fullerton, Mr. and Mrs. Sellers, Professor and Mrs. Thompson, Geo. S. Pepper, Mr. Leonard, Miss M. M. Logan, Dr. Leidy, Mrs. A. L. Wister, Miss Agnes Irwin, Walter R. Furness, Dr. C. B. Knerr, Dr. Koenig, Dr. H. H. Furness.

Those present at Friday's seance were: Professor Fullerton, Miss Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Sellers, Dr. Leidy, Mr. Leonard, Mr. and Mrs. F. Furness, Mrs. A. L. Wister, Miss Irwin and Miss Sophie Irwin, Miss Logan, Mr. and Mrs. F. M. Dick, Mrs. J. E. Carpenter, H. H. Furness. Mrs. A. L. Wister, Mrs. Dr. Pepper, Women Searchers.


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