From the book People From The Other World Henry Steele Olcott
The apparition of a youngish woman holding a baby in her arms followed immediately after Honto's retirement, and caused an exhibition of tender pathos. In the semi-darkness of the room it is, as I have said before, generally but not always the case, that persons cannot recognize the spirits until attention has been specially drawn to them, when their individuality is settled by the general appearance of their form, weight, and motions, in case no words are spoken by them to their questioning friends. In this case the usual query, Is it for me ? was running along the line, when a woman's voice exclaimed in an agonizing tone, Is that my baby ? Is it my--; is it CHARLIE ? The spirit-woman nodded and smiled and held the baby forward for recognition. There was a sob, a wail, an outburst of maternal tenderness: My darling ! My angel! -and the poor mother could say no more, for sobs choked her utterance. This scene was followed by another of like character. A German Jewess of nervous temperament sat beside me on the front bench. The curtain was pushed aside, and there in the cabinets door stood her daughter of twelve years, in a white gown, and with her black hair brushed back from her temples. The mother, overcome with joy, poured forth a volley of questions in German, intermingled with ejaculations., which the happy child tried to answer by rapping assent or dissent with her knuckles upon the door-post, and disappeared as her mother was ready to fall into a swoon from excess of emotion themselves,
Two features of this occasion will arrest the attention of scientific minds, viz : the appearance and disappearance of the baby, and the instantaneous formation of Honto and shawl. There could be no mistake about the child--no questions of rag-wrapped legs or fondled pillows. The figure stood too near me and in too good a light to admit of such deceptions being practiced. It was a living, moving child, which, with its right thumb in its mouth, nestled its little head in the neck of its bearer, and passed its chubby left arm about her neck. For the instant it was as palpable and, no doubt, as material a being as any baby now lying in its mother's arms. Made from the imponderable atoms floating in the foul air of that chamber, it was resolved into nothing in an instant of time, leaving no trace of its evanescent existence behind. And the shawl! in what spirit-home, by what hearth, or under what vine-trellised porch (for Mayflower's rhymes teem with allusions to her house and garden, her pets and domestic companions) was its yarn spun, its knots tied, and its strands tinted? Whose busy fingers plied the needles, or whose hand guided the ghostly loom by which its meshes were formed? Mystery of mysteries! What Cedipus can solve the riddle? And how long must we wait for an answer?
The phenomena of the evening concluded with the incident which furnished the subject of the accompanying sketch of The Reunited Family. A German music teacher of Hartford, named Max Lenzberg, and a very worthy gentleman, to whom I am indebted for numerous acts of courtesy for which I desire to make acknowledgment, was at Chittenden with his wife and daughter. At Mr. Eddy's request he played on the flute during the sťance, and so occupied a chair in advance of the front row of spectators and within a few feet of the cabinet. After Mr. Brown's disappearance, the curtain was again drawn aside, and we saw standing at the threshold, two children. One was a baby of about one year, and the other a child of twelve or thirteen. Behind them, very indistinctly, could be observed the form of an old woman, who held up the curtain with her left hand and supported the baby with her right. Mrs. Lenzberg, with a mother's instinct, recognized her departed little ones, and with tender pathos, eagerly asked in German if they were not hers. Immediately there came several loud responsive raps, and the little Lena, as if drawn from her mother's side by an irresistible power, crept forward and peered at the forms that stood just at the edge of the black shadows of the cabinet. There was a moment's silence as she strained her eyes in the gaze, and then she said joyfully: Ja ! Ar seid meine Heine schwestern ! Nicht wahr ? There came again responsive raps, and the spirit-forms danced and waved their arms as if in glee at the reunion.
return to survival ebooks