April 11, 1886: Mrs. Best

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April 11th, 1886.       

I attended a seance at the house of Colonel Kase, 1601 North 15th Street, Philadelphia, on April 11th, at 8.10 P.M. The Medium was Mrs. Best.

There were about a dozen persons present; at least two of them, besides Mrs. Best, claimed to be Mediums.

The seance was in Colonel Kase's sitting-room. The "Cabinet" was made by stretching a curtain, suspended to a curved rod, across one corner. It could hold a chair, and was perhaps four feet across, or more. The Medium, Mrs. Best, took her seat in the chair and drew the curtain. The room was made totally dark -- a cloth being used to cover the crack of the door. The spectators, who were arranged in a deep curve facing the cabinet, were asked to sing a hymn.

As we sang, a voice from the Cabinet, a deep contralto, joined in, loudly. Soon something resembling in outline a human form covered with drapery appeared at the Cabinet. It was indistinctly luminous. No face was visible; nor could the face of any other Spirit, which appeared during the evening, be discerned even in faintest outline. The light seemed to belong entirely to the drapery. The Spirit was declared to be Apollonius, and made a speech in a loud, harsh voice. Other similar forms appeared one after the other, and spoke in different Tones -- all the voices, however, with the exception of Apollonius's and that of another speaker, were more or less like hoarse whispers. When the Spirit of Mr. T. R. Hazard appeared, his voice was by no means natural, and sounded like a bad imitation.

A form calling itself "Lottie" appeared, kissed a Medium present, and at my request passed its hands over my head and face. Its hands were covered with luminous drapery which hung down perhaps a foot. I was allowed to touch it. It felt like soft tulle. A very strong odor of sandal-wood prevailed, and the smell of phosphorus, even if it had been used, could not easily, at a little distance, have been discerned. The luminous appearance of the drapery did not seem to be due to Phosphorus -- it did not fume. It seemed rather such as might have been produced by luminous paint -- a mixture luminous in the dark after exposure to the light. I noticed on the hand, or what, from position, I inferred to be the hand, of the form, a distinctly phosphorescent appearance; it was on this account I asked it to touch me. As it passed its hand over my face I distinctly smelt phosphorus.

At one time two forms appeared near each other and near the Cabinet. They might easily have been produced by holding up luminous drapery. Tall and then short forms then appeared one


at a time. If the drapery were raised or lowered the appearance could readily have been produced, and the person holding it would have been quite invisible.

The different voices that spoke never spoke simultaneously. A large rug on the floor in front of the Cabinet would have prevented steps from being heard, had the form been the Medium. On two occasions, when I suggested that I recognized the form by asking, " Is it ---- ?" the Spirit assented, and assumed the character. Both the persons I mentioned are still alive.

The seance began at 8.10 P.M., and lasted two hours and a-half. There was much singing.

The seance was regarded by several Spiritualists who were present as a very satisfactory one. I expressly asked for their opinion.

(Written out on April 13th, from notes made in the car, on my way home from the seance.)


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