On the evening of January 29th, 1887, in company with Dr. J. W, White, I called on Mrs. Thayer, at No. 1601 North 15th Street.
The lady seemed not to be pleased with our visit, and declared that we were no Spiritualists. She reluctantly agreed to give us a seance on the following Sunday, and on parting the gentleman of the house politely invited us to attend a flower seance to be held by the same lady on the following Thursday.
Calling on Sunday, Mrs. Thayer excused herself on account of indisposition.
The next Thursday we attended the flower seance, in which I felt much curiosity from the wonderful story that had been told to me by a Spiritualist friend, who had seen one by the same Medium several years before.
The seance was held in the second story of the back building, in a room which the proprietor of the house informed me he had devoted to the purpose of Spiritualist seances. About thirty persons were assembled, and, without any examination of the premises, they were seated around a long dining-table. In the company Dr. Koenig was the only other member of the Seybert Commission present. The seance was opened with an 'invocation' by a lady, and during the 'manifestations' the company sang popular airs, such as 'Sweet by-and-bye' etc. The doors and windows were all securely closed and the lights extinguished. Sounds were heard of objects dropping on the table, and from time to time matches were lit and exposed, strewed before the company, cut plants and flowers. There were all of the kind sold at this season by the florists, consisting of a pine bough, fronds of ferns, roses, pinks, tulips, lilies, callas (Richardia) and smilax (Myrsiphyllum). At one
time there fell on the table a heavy body, which proved to be a living terrapin; at another time there appeared a pigeon which flew about the room. The flower manifestation ceased, and the gas was re-lit. A lady then made some remarks on the wonderful phenomena exhibited in evidence of the truth of Spiritualism, and another followed with some sentimentalities on the subject. The proprietor of the house declared that the flowers and other objects brought to view in the seance were not previously in the room, and their appearance could not be explained unless through Spiritual agency. He said that in former years, at similar seances, flowers had appeared in much greater quantities. The Medium, Mrs. Thayer, said she had not before served in a flower seance for several years.
At the next act of the seance, as I understood it, a 'test' was called for. A young man, whose name I did not distinctly hear, now took the chair of the former Medium. He promptly announced the appearance of the Spirit of an Indian girl, and then personified her by assuming a silly address in broken English. In this manner he expressed himself as seeing various Spirits of friends and relatives of the company hovering among them. They were announced by the first name in a rather uncertain and expectant manner, and in a few instances they were supposed to be recognized by some of the company, but mostly did not accord with their knowledge. As an example, the Medium informed Dr. Koenig that a tall man named Charley was holding something over his head and encouraging him in some great enterprise. Dr. Koenig did not recognize the man, nor could he be made to comprehend anything of the subjects of which he was informed by the materialized Indian girl. During this second act of the seance, I could detect nothing that could be attributed to other than ordinary human agency. The Indian girl retired, and the seance closed.
NCAS Editor's Note: The date of this seance was determined by examining an 1887 calendar, to determine the date of the Thursday following January 29th of that year.