Saturday, March 26th, 1887.
I attended a seance at the house of Col. Kase, 1601 North 15th Street, on Thursday evening, March 24th, Mrs. Wells acting as Medium. There were about thirty persons present, of whom several seemed to be Mediums. The seance was held in the sitting-room in the second Story -- a room separated by double doors from a smaller room behind. The back room, used as a Cabinet, was shut off by portieres, and the persons were arranged in front of the curtains, in the form of a deep curve,
Dr. Leidy, Dr. Knerr and myself being put in the second row. Mrs. Thayer directed us where to sit. The room in which we sat was lighted by a single gas-jet, situated some distance behind the spectators; a piece of music was placed before this to prevent any direct light from falling on the curtains, and the gas was turned very low. Mrs. Wells entered the room used as a Cabinet, and took her seat in a chair opposite the curtains. Mrs. Thayer closed the curtains.
After some time Spirits began to show themselves one by one between the curtains, and to whisper. Mrs. Thayer stepped forward and interpreted for them, calling up persons in the circle to receive communications. The forms were very indistinct from the circle, and apparently not very distinct to those called up, as they expressed some dissatisfaction. One man called up to speak with his daughter (one of the better forms) remarked that he "saw her putty good, but not very." One or two of the forms stepped out in front of the curtains (one was dressed as a man, one purported to be Mary, Queen of Scots), but they did not advance to the circle, and the light was so dim that they could not be seen at all clearly. Only on one or two occasions two forms appeared at once, and then not in front of the curtains, but one on each side of one of the curtains -- this curtain being pulled together, as though some one were reaching around behind it. The appearance could very readily have been made by the Medium's appearing between the two curtains, and holding up a bit of drapery at the side of one of them.
The audience was evidently an uncritical one. When a Spirit called for her husband, Mrs. Thayer, the interpreter, asked, "Has anyone here a wife on the other side?" An old man present stated that his had died two years before. He asked if the Spirit's name were May. When he came back to his seat, I heard him remark to his neighbor that "that must have been her, but she had more flesh on than when I knew her." No examination was made before or after the seance of either room or Medium, and no tests of any sort were applied. The seance lasted about an hour and a-half.
(Copied and arranged from notes made in the car on the way home from this seance-Saturday evening, March 26th, 1887.)
N. B. -- I have neglected to state (though it is mentioned in my notes) that the seance was commenced by an "invocation" from Mrs. Coleman, who sat near the curtains. It was in no wise remarkable.
G. S. F.