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Simmons handed the paper to her husband; he thought there was a slight resemblance, but would probably not have remarked it had the writing been casually presented to him. Had the signature been given him, he should at once have decided on the resemblance. He proposed, if the spirit of his son were indeed present, as alphabetical communications received through the sounds affirmed him to be, that he should, then and there, affix his signature to the suspicious document.
• In order to facilitate the operation, Mrs. Simmons placed the closed points of a pair of scissors in the hand of the medium and dropped her pencil through one of the rings or bows, the paper being placed beneath. The hand presently began to tremble, and it was with difficulty it could retain its hold of the scissors. Mr. Simmons then took the scissors into his own hand and dropped the pencil through the ring, It could not readily be sustained in this position. After a few moments, however, it stood as if firmly poised and perfectly still.
It then began slowly to move. Mr. Simmons saw the letters traced beneath his eyes, the words, James D. Simmons, were distinctly and deliberately written, and the hand-writing was a fac-simile of his son's signature.
But what Mr. Simmons regards as the most astonishing part of this seeming miracle is yet to be told. Bending down to scrutinize the writing more closely, he observed, just as the last word was finished, that the top of the pencil leaned to the right. He thought it was about to slide through the ring; but, to his infinite surprise, he saw the point slide slowly back along the word 'Simmons,' till it rested over the letter i, when it imprinted a dot. This was a puctilio utterly unthought of by him—he had not noticed the omission, and was therefore entirely unprepared for the amendment. He suggested the experiment, and he thinks it had kept pace only with his will or desire; but how will those who deny the agency of disembodied spirits in these marvels, ascribing all to the unassisted powers of the human will, or to the blind action of electricity-how will they dispose of this last significant and curious fact?
• The only peculiarity observable in the writing was that the lines seemed sometimes slightly broken, as if the pencil had been lifted, then set down again.
One other circumstance I am permitted to note, which is not readily to be accounted for on any other than spiritual agency. Mr. Simmons, who received no particulars of his son's death until several months after his decease, proposing to send for his remains, questioned the spirit as to the manner in which the body had been disposed of, and received a very minute and circumstantial account of the means which bad been resorted to for its preservation, it being at the time unburied. Improbable as some of these statements seemed, they were, after an interval of four months, confirmed as literally true by a gentleman then recently returned from California, who was with young Simmons at the period of his death. Intending soon to return to California, he called on Mr. Simmons to learn his wishes in relation to the final disposition
of his remains. The above particulars I took down in writing, by the permission of Mr. Simmons, during his relation of the facts.'
" This case we have given as a fair representative of a class of cases -as one among a thousand similar ones, which have been testified to by tens of thousands of witnesses whose candor, truthfulness and common sense touching a usual occurrence, would not be disputed for a moment. Then, we may be allowed to offer it as a particular subject for consideration, just as if it embraced the whole matter seeking discussion and decision. We think it better so than otherwise; because any one, more especially any one who is not much in the habit of arguing, can do his cause fuller justice while confining himself to particulars, than he can when going off into generalities—he is apt, in the latter way, to lose himself and his argument.
“ Well, what exactly is the pith of the cause before us? It is this: It in effect is affirmed by many thousand witnesses, who ordinarily would be reckoned trustworthy by any court in christendom, that a certain piece of information had been imparted to them in a certain way. There is not the shadow of a reason for supposing that they—the witnesses were not in full possession of their every-day senses at the time of the phenomena. They had broad day light and every other natural facility for those senses to be normally impressed. The communication was written by no visible hand-by the hand of no one of themselves present. The chirography is that of no one present; but it does bear a full fac-simile resemblance to that which they have been familiar with, of a person whom they knew at the time to be away from among them. There was no possibility for the substance of the communication through common means to be known to them at the time it was given. That substance was proved afterward, upon normal evidence, to be the actual substance, both in general and in detail, of an actual event. Then, here is shown, unmistakably, an act, committed by no discoverable natural instrument, and presided over by an intelligence, by mind, which is outside of, apart from, distant from anybody within the neighborhood of the committal.
“ And now comes the point which we desire to hold out to view, and upon which, as upon a pivot, all discussion touching the matter ought to turn. It is this: Where and what is that intelligence? Those tens of thousands of witnesses have been led, not hastily, but gradually, after careful sifting and weighing of evidence, to the conclusion that it is no other than the spirit which has dwelt heretofore in the body now departed. They find confirmation of their belief in their Bibles, which tell them distinctly of departed spirits not only, but of the returning of the same to earth. In that conclusion they are fixed firmly, rightly, according to sound law, until such time as their opponents shall array evidence equally strong to sustain their own contrary theory, whatever that may be. If they maintain that intelligence tó be, for example, electricity, they are bound to exhibit to the actual eyesight the producing battery and the conducting wires, and to reveal precisely how it
happened that the battery came into possession of just those materials out of which to brew electrieity, such as should be identical with the knowledge possessed by a particular body before it parted with its spirit. If they hold the intelligence to be mesmerism, it devolves upon them to point out the mesmerizer, to explain how he manages to throw from his own mind into that of another, information which never was in his mind, and how he handles the pencil. Hence the burden of the proof is upon the negative. Let her or him who will take the negative bring forth the proof.”
The Scientific American, a rightly named and widely circulated paper, writes editorially of the Pianchette :
“ You may hold a conversation with planchette, provided your own part in it consists in interrogation. Its replies, so far as we have seen, are sometimes true and sometimes false. So are the replies given by human respondents. It sometimes refuses to write at all, and plays the most fantastic tricks, in apparently wilful disregard of the feelings of those who are anxious that it should do its best.
These motions seem to those whose fingers rest upon the board to be entirely independent of their own wills, their only care being to avoid any resistance to its motions. The fact that it is impossible to suppose that the wills of two persons could be, by their own desire, mutually coincident, without previous agreement, forms one of the most puzzling features of the subject, as the nature of the question asked and answered precludes the possibility of collusion.”
“The spirit with which scientific men have looked upon these phenomena, (denominated Spiritualism) has been unfortunately such as has retarded their solution. Skepticisin as to their reality, although corroborated by evidence that would be convincing upon any other subject, refusal to investigate, except upon their own conditions, and ridicule not only of the phenomena themselves, but of those who believe in them, have marked their course ever since these manifestations have laid claim to public credence. Such a spirit savors of bigotry. The phenomena of table-tipping, spirit-rapping (so called), and the various manifestations which many have claimed to be the effect of other wills acting upon and through the medium of their persons, are exerting an immense influence, good or bad, throughout the civilized world. They should, therefore, be candidly examined, and if they are purely physical phenomena, as has been claimed, they should be referred to their true cause. This is due to truth, and the common duty which all owe to their fellow men. Nothing that affects the welfare of mankind should be considered beneath the notice of a true philosopher. What incalculable benefit might have resulted if the same amount of study had been given to the subject of witchcraft, at the time of its occurrence,
that has since been bestowed upon it. When such things become matters of history, there are always enough who do not think it derog. atory to their dignity to devote their time to speculation upon their
causes. How much wiser is it to throw aside prejudice, and to look at the facts themselves in a spirit of candor and earnest desire for truth."
The Herald and Review, a religious journal, writes editorially of the progress of the spiritual movement in this style:
“We often hear the remark, Spiritualism is dying out.' Whenever we hear one make such a statement, we are led to think at once, Did you know what it is doing, you would take back that saying, and stand aghast at its gigantic strides. He might as well have said, Popery was dying out in the thirteenth century, because very little noise was made about it. The reason was, there were scarcely any left to oppose, hence all was comparatively quiet. Spiritualism has already planted its sentiments so firmly, and generally, in church and state, that the victory is nearly complete. The opposition is now very feeble, like that of a dying man in his last moments.
"We do not say that the great body of the church and state are yet avowed Spiritualists; but that the sentiments of Spiritualists, more or less, are being adopted by the masses."
This, though perhaps an unwilling, is a true manly confession.
Thus are these literati, scientists and sectarists forced to concede to Spiritualism a wonderful destiny of use in every department of earth's government. When the ocean moves in unchainable tides, all the bays and coves fill up to overflowing. Every soul is moved by the inflowing tides of inspiration. All are pushed forward. Even opposition reacts into acceleration. “He maketh the wrath of man to praise Him."
“Out of the strong, came forth sweetness.”—Judg. 14 : 14.
“In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.”— Matt. 18 : 16.
“I give you the end of a golden string :
Only wind it into a ball,
That invitingly ope's for all.”
The ideal is the prophetic. It precedes, in orderly series, the objective actual. The finest human types, moulding the present, are but dwarfs of those promised men, yet to crown the ages with ineffable splendor. Out from the evolutions of a life divine and circular, are continually being born leaders and witnesses for the people. The good abounds everywhere. Progress is universal. The rock that one civilization fails to crush, crumbles into soil to nourish the roots of the succeeding. The bee extracts sweets from thistles and thorn-blossoms. At the tolling of church-bells on Sunday mornings, there stream from old barreled sermons many glittering truths. Piercing through the sophistries of speculation, the lifeless skepticism of science, and the corpseincrustations of creeds, there are living, regenerating forces at work in the most hidden avenues of society. Angels seek and minister to all conditions of mortality. The clergy, overshadowed by an inspiration that stirs the divinity within,