The undersigned, a member of The Seybert Commission, appointed by the University, in company with one or more of the other members, at different times, from March, 1884, to April, 1887, attended twelve seances with reputed Spiritualist Mediums. Led to view Spiritualism with the respect due to its importance, based on the reflection that many of the most intelligent and honorable of the community had become convinced of its truth, I undertook the investigation of the subject free from conscious prejudice, and with a desire to observe with unbiased judgment the phenomena which might be presented to me in the seances of Spiritualist Mediums. Of the dozen seances attended in company with other members of the Commission, five were held with three Slate-writing Mediums, two with as many Rapping Mediums, and five with four Materializing Mediums. All the Mediums possessed more or less celebrity as such among the advocates of Spiritualism. I further attended, unaccompanied by members of the Commission, three seances, of which one was held with one of the former Materializing Mediums, and two with other Rapping Mediums.
The reputed phenomena or manifestations were carefully observed, as far as circumstances would permit, i. e., under the conditions ordinarily exacted by Mediums.
I have kept a record of my observations of the Spiritualist seances, but it is unnecessary to relate them here. As the result of my experience thus far, I must confess that I have witnessed no extraordinary manifestation, such as we ordinarily hear described as evidence of communication between this and the Spirit world. On the contrary, all the exhibitions I have seen have been complete failures in what was attempted or expected, or they have proved to be deceptions and tricks of jugglery. Sometimes accompanied by buffoonery, I never saw in them anything solemn or impressive, and never did they give the slightest positive information of interest. Having thus far failed to discover anything in evidence of the truth of Spiritualism, I yet remain ready to receive such evidence from an honest Medium.
One of the Slate-writing Mediums, with whom we held several seances, relieved the tedium of waiting for a slate-communication by writing in pencil on slips of paper, under Spirit control, as we were assured, communications from a succession of Spirits. The hand of these communications was good, and in each one different as it would appear from different individuals. There was, however, in all a similarity of expression and grammatical construction, which indicated a
want of entire Spirit control. One of these communications, in my possession, reads literally thus:
"People have thought my manner and habit very strange indeed regarding the Truth of Spirit control There has been many things practiced which I see now was wrong and foolish yet the Truth stills exist that we can come back and make ourselves felt you ask if I am pleased with what Thomas [probably Thomas R. Hazard, who was with us at the time] is doing I am in many respects though there are things best left undone and unsaid You are perfectly aware of my past feelings also of my desire to have the truth properly investigated which I feel it will be and the Truth and Truth only sought after by the Committee I am more conscious now than a time back. Henry Seybert"
Another communication in my possession, obtained by a friend from the same Medium, at another seance, is in an equally good and strikingly different hand from the former, and reads thus: "Yes both of those Spirits were there and were plainly seen There was others there that were imperceptable. Alice Gary"
As examples of communications, in irregular scrawls on slips of paper, in my possession, thrown from behind a screen by a Materialized Spirit, at a seance of Mr. Keeler, are the following: "Hello folks" "Oh I am a big slugger" "How is your nose Doc" "I am seeing the sad result of my work. H. Seibert" [sic]. The punctuation and spelling are carefully copied.