From the book The Proof Palpable of Immortality Epes Sargent
ADDRESS BY JOHN KING
The news of the manifestations through Mrs. Andrews, at Moravia, N. Y., was received by Spiritualists in England with some incredulity, accompanied by a wish to ascertain if similar phenomena could be had through their own mediums. Accordingly, several of these began to sit for spirit forms. The faces appeared at the séances of Mrs. Guppy, and subsequently Messrs. Herne and Williams succeeded in obtaining these manifestations at dark circles, the spirits manufacturing a light of their own, which they held in their hands to show themselves by.
Certain phenomena in the presence of Miss Florence Eliza Cook, a young lady of fifteen, daughter of a member of the Dalston Association of Inquirers into Spiritualism, began to attract attention in England the latter part of the year 1871. The spirits producing these manifestations claimed to be John and Katie King, and their daughter Katie; but Morgan, they said, was their true earth-name; and Katie, on several occasions, would sign herself, Katie King, properly Annie Morgan.
At numerous séances in America, and at those of Herne and Williams, in England, spirits calling themselves John and Katie King have frequently manifested themselves. The name King would seem, for some reason, to be a favorite one among the class of spirits giving physical manifestations.
John King used to make himself audible, at an early period, at the sittings of the Davenport Brothers; and, subsequently, at those of Jonathan Koons, in Dover, Athens Co., Ohio, where he once made a long address, written by a spirit hand supposed to be his own, in which he calls himself, a servant and scholar of God, and says: We know that our work will be rejected by many, and condemned as the production of their King Devil, whom they profess to repudiate, but do so constantly serve by crucifying truth and rejecting all that is contrary to their own narrow pride and vain imaginings.
In manifesting himself through the English mediums, John King claimed to be identical with this spirit, and it cannot be denied that a certain unity of speech and character has distinguished him on these occasions. He asserted that his name on earth was Sir Henry Morgan, and that he was a contemporary of Sir Walter Raleigh.
The 20th of March, 1873, at a sitting in London, of which full particulars are given by the well-known publisher, Mr. James Burns, in Human Nature, for April, 1873, the spirit claiming to be John King manifested himself in a materialized form so successfully that a sketch was made of him by a skillful artist. The séance took place in the daylight, Charles E. Williams being the medium. This sitting was followed by another the next week (March 27th), when John King appeared visibly, as before, as solid and material as an ordinary human being, while the medium's hands were held by Mrs. Burns, and he sat entranced in his seat.
On this last occasion the spirit spoke aloud, saying: You won't doubt any more, will you? It is God's truth, is it not? It is a glorious truth. God bless you! It is. God bless you! Having more than satisfied the sitters, he withdrew inside the cabinet, but returned to the aperture to renew the colloquy. While Mrs. Burns dragged the medium's hands through the door of the cabinet into full view, John King also showed his at the window: the test was complete.
Of the sincerity and intelligence of Mrs. Burns, no one who has made her acquaintance, as I have, can doubt.
The genuineness of the mediumship of Mr. Williams has been tested by Prince Wittgenstein and others, who have satisfied themselves of the objective appearance of John King and his wonderful lamp. Even Serjeant Cox admits that he has found Mr. Williams most trustworthy. On the 14th of May, 1874, at a séance held at the house of Mr. Chinnery, in Paris, 52 Rue de Rome, when John King with his lamp was seen, a young man rushed forward to seize the spirit. The latter eluded his grasp, leaving behind only a small portion of the drapery which covered the form. A light was struck, and the medium was found entranced in his chair. He was searched, but nothing in the slightest degree suspicious was discovered. What had become of the drapery? The integrity of Mr. Williams was fully vindicated.
At some experiments at Mr. Cook's house, April 21st, 1872, of which Mr. W. H Harrison, editor of the London Spiritualist, has given an account, a dark séance for the voices was held, Miss Cook and Mr. Herne being the mediums. The following remarkable incident occurred: A tapping was heard upon one of the window panes; the bar of the shutter was unlocked and taken down, and the shutter opened, and John King's voice said: Cook, you must take that plug out of the gutter, if you don't want the foundations of your house sapped. The gutter is stopped up. On examination this proved to be true. It had been raining, and the area was full of water. Nobody inside the house knew of this until told in this remarkable way.
Strangely human all this! you will say; so strangely human, that we think there must have been a human personator of the spirit! But, as I shall have stranger things than this to relate by and by, I will only pause to remark that the incident is in full harmony with occurrences the confirmation of which, under test conditions, is ample.
We now approach the early manifestations through Miss Cook, in whose presence the phenomena eventually became so marked. On the 22d of April, 1872, a séance was held at which Mrs. Cook, the children, and the servant were witnesses. In the endeavor to abolish dark séances. Mr. Harrison had made experiments with different kinds of light. He had tried, at Mr. Cook's house, a phosphorescent light, made by coating the inside of a warm bottle with phosphorus dissolved in oil of cloves, and then letting in the air.
The oil was left at Mr. Cook's, as will be learnt by the following passage from a letter from Miss Cook herself to Mr. Harrison, under date of April 23d, 1872. I quote the passage because it is interesting as giving us some notion of the intellectual calibre of the writer, Miss Cook, who was soon to become so famous as a medium:
Yesterday afternoon Katie told us that if we liked to put up a cabinet of curtains for her, she would try to show us something, but as I was not developed enough for her to take enough phosphorus from me to show her face by, we were to give her some of your phosphoric oil. I was delighted, and at half-past eight yesterday evening all was ready. Mamma, auntie, the children, and the servant stood on the stairs. I was left alone (not in my glory, for I was very frightened) inside the breakfast-room. Katie began by giving mamma some fresh ivy leaves; none were in our house or garden of the size she brought. A hand and arm with a white sleeve came to the opening holding the bottle of oil; then, at the lower opening in the curtain, came a face, unveiled, the head covered with a quantity of pure white drapery. Katie held the bottle to her face so that all outside could see her plainly. She remained for quite two minutes. It was an oval face, straight nose, bright eyes, and a very pretty mouth. She again came to the opening, her lips moved, and at last she spoke. All outside could see her lips moving; she talked with mamma some few minutes. I could not see her face plainly, so asked her to turn and show me. She said,' Of course I will,' came to my chair and bent over me. She was materialized only to the bust. From there she went into a cloud, slightly luminous. She told mamma to look at her carefully, and made the observation that 'she knew she looked most unearthly.' It was indeed very startling. I was too frightened to move or call out when she came near me. She used no tubes for speaking. The last time she appeared she stayed quite five minutes, and directed mamma to send to you, asking you if you could come here one day this week.... Katie King finished her séance with 'God bless you all. I am so pleased to show myself.'
On the occasion here referred to by Miss Cook, the face of Katie King was described by Mrs. Cook, as looking white and deathlike, while her eyes were fixed and staring, as if made of glass.
At a séance at Mr. Cook's, April 25th, 1872, Katie made several efforts to materialize a form. Mr. V. H. Harrison was present. He has given a curious description of some of the performances. The medium, Miss Cook, sat in a dark room. A scraping noise was heard; Katie had some spirit drapery in her hand, which she rubbed down over the medium to collect some of the influence used by spirits in materialization.
A conversation, in low tones, varied with an occasional scraping noise, then took place between Florence Cook and the spirit:
Miss Cook—Go away, Katie; I don't like to be scraped.
Katie—Don't be stupid. Take that thing off your head and look at me. (Scrape, scrape.)
Miss Cook—I won't. Go away, Katie; I don't like you. You frighten me.
Katie—Don't be silly. (Scrape, scrape, scrape.)
Miss Cook —I won't sit for these manifestations. I don't like them. Go away.
Katie-You are only my medium, and a medium is nothing but a machine. (Scrape, scrape.)
Miss Cook—Well, if I am only a machine, I don't like to be frightened. Go away.
Katie—Don't be stupid.
Miss Cook, who as yet had not been entranced by the spirit, said that the spirit's head and shoulders were materialized; but below, her form melted into thin air. Katie would be sometimes high up and sometimes low down, so that the bust nearly touched the floor, in which position she looked most unearthly. It sometimes appeared as if a head were wandering about with no legs or body, visible or invisible.
At the next sitting Miss Cook was entranced by the spirit, and a little benzoline lamp was used for seeing the materialization. The spirit would cry out higher, or lower, as she wanted the light adjusted. Mr. Harrison gives the following interesting account of what occurred:
'Katie's face came out, all the rest of the head being bandaged round with white, 'in order,' she said, 'to keep the power by which she materialized herself from passing away too quickly.' She said that only her face and not all her head was materialized. This time all present had a good look at her, and saw her features. It was remarked that her eyes were closed. Each time the face came out for, perhaps, half a minute. Afterwards she said ,'Willie, see me smile,' and, again, 'see me talk,' suiting the action to the word. Then she said , Now, Cook, turn on the light.'
The light was turned fully up, sending a bright glare upon the face for an instant, and for the first time Katie King was clearly seen. She had a young, pretty, happy face, and sparkling eyes, with some little mischief in them. It was not ghastly, as when Mrs. Cook and family saw it, on April 22d, 'because,' said Katie,' I know now how to do it better.' When her face in its natural colors was seen in full light, nearly all the observers said,' We can see you all right now, Katie. 'Well, then,' said she ,'clap'
Accordingly, there was a shower of applause, in which Katie joined by thrusting out her arm and hand, holding a fan taken from the mantelpiece; with the fan she began to gleefully beat the wall outside the door, and to ring the bells hanging above the door.
During the interval of one hour for supper, Mr. Thomas Blyton came in, and he was present at the next sitting. Katie showed herself as before. Once she said, 'Put out the light, and strike a match when I call.' This was done, and at the moment of the striking of the match, her face was again seen for an instant in a full light. She showed her face a second time in the same way. Once she said, 'Cook, don't gaze at me too fixedly; it hurts me.' On another occasion she said, 'The light hurts me; it makes me feel tired.' All along she was very careful in adjusting the amount of light, and the distance of the sitters from the curtains. Now and then she said, 'Sing, sing, all of you.' Singing evidently helped her as much as at an ordinary séance.
She threw out about a yard of white fabric, but kept hold of it by the other end, saying, 'Look, this is spirit drapery.' I said, 'Drop it into the passage, Katie, and let us see it melt away; or let us cut a piece off.' She replied, 'I can't; but look-here!' She then drew back her hand, which was above the top of the curtain, and, as the spirit drapery touched the curtain, it passed right through, just as if there were no resistance whatever. She then threw it out again, and again the yard of drapery passed through the curtain. It was a clear case of something which looked like solid matter passing through solid matter, and we all saw it. I think that at first there was friction between the two fabrics, and that they rustled against each other; but that when she said 'Look here!' some quality which made the drapery common matter was withdrawn from it, and at once it passed through the common matter of the curtain, without experiencing any resistance.
Mr. Blyton, in a published communication, confirms all that is reported as occurring in his presence, by Mr. Harrison.' At times, when speaking, says Mr. Blyton, Katie's features were very natural and human. On our requesting to see a piece of the white drapery, the spirit held out a strip from the opening, resembling muslin in appearance. On her withdrawing her arm and hand, this white spirit drapery disappeared through the curtain. This passing of the drapery through the curtain was repeated several times.
As Miss Cook's mediumship grew in power, she was placed above the temptation of exercising it for gain. Mr. Charles Blackburn, of Manchester, with a wise liberality, and in the cause of science, supplied the means for this. For a long time only a feeble light was permitted at the manifestations of spirit forms. The face of the spirit would be covered with white drapery, the chief use of which was said to be to economize the power by enabling the spirit to leave part of the head unmaterialized.
As the developments went on, Katie began to exhibit not only the whole of her bare face, but her hands and arms, in a strong light. In these early stages, Miss Cook was almost always awake during the manifestations; but sometimes, when the weather was bad, or other conditions were unfavorable, Katie would entrance her, the purpose of which was simply to increase the power, and to prevent the mental activity of the medium from operating as an interference. After a time Katie never appeared without the medium being in a trance. Some sittings for recognizable faces were had in the presence of Miss Cook; but they began, as did Katie's manifestation, in a weak light, and were imperfect. They were abandoned, therefore, for the more marked phenomenon in which a certain success had been won. Two instances, however, in which recognizable faces were presented through Miss Cook's mediumship, occurred, and seem to have been well authenticated.
At a sitting at Hackney, Jan. 20th, 1873, Katie changed her face from white to black in a few seconds, several times; and to show that her hands were not mechanically moved, she sewed up a hole in the curtain. On the 12th of March, at Hackney, Miss Cook's hands being tied and sealed, Katie, with her hands perfectly free, walked out of the cabinet. A month or two later, several photographs were taken of Katie, under strictly test conditions, and by the magnesium light.*
*An account of these sittings, by Mr. J. C. Luxmoore. Justice of the Peace for the County of Devon, may be found in the London Spiritualist of May 15th, 1873
Thus it was not till after many imperfect trials and partial materializations, accompanied with very gradual developments of increasing force, that the spirit Katie, in the full human form, and habited in white, as represented in her photographs, came forth in the light from the cabinet, and walked about the room before a semi-circle of spectators. Dr. J. M. Gully, formerly of Great Malvern, England, a thoroughly experienced physician and a careful investigator, under date of July 20th, 1874, writes me as follows:
To the special question which you put regarding my experiences of the materialization of the spirit-form, with Miss Cook's mediumship, I must reply that, after two years' examination of the fact and numerous séances, I have not the smallest doubt, and have the strongest conviction, that such materialization takes place, and that not the slightest attempt at trick or deception is fairly attributable to any one who assisted at Miss Cook's séances.
That the power grows with use was curiously illustrated by the fact that, for some time, only a face was producible, with, occasionally, arms and hands; with no hair, and sometimes with no back to the skull at all—merely a mask, with movement, however, of eyes and mouth. Gradually the whole form appeared—after, perhaps, some five months of séances once or twice a week. This again became more and more rapidly formed, and changed, in hair, dress, and color of face, as we desired.
The voice came long before the whole form of the body, but was always husky, and as if there was a whispering catarrh; save when she joined us in singing, when she gave out a most lovely contralto.
The feel of the skin was quite natural, soft and warm; her movements were natural and graceful, except when she stooped to pick up anything from the floor, when it seemed as if her legs as well as her trunk bent backwards.
When that photograph* was taken, I held her hand for at least two minutes, three several times, for we sat three times for it on one and the same evening; but I was constrained to close my eyes by reason of the intense magnesium light which shone directly upon me; moreover she desired that none of us would gaze at her whilst the lens was directed upon her. I believe that much information might have been obtained from her concerning the outre-tombe, but the circle seemed always bent on talking chaff to her, complimenting her, and indulging in ordinary inconsequential conversation; for only on one or two occasions was I (who hate all the nonsense that was said to and by her) able to put a few questions on the subjects about which every thoughtful Spiritualist is naturally anxious.
*The well-known published photograph, in which Katie is represented standing with Dr. Gully sitting at her side and holding her hand.
It may be questioned whether these spirit beings can convey anything like an accurate idea of their state and powers; but I believe that, just as their power of physical manifestation augments with use, so would their power of mental communication increase were an intelligent curiosity always presented for their sympathetic reply. In fact, I believe that if less idle and more serious curiosity was felt by the circles, spirits of a higher and more powerful character would sympathetically come and teach by vocal words, written words, inspired words.
So soon as a man has convinced himself of the reality of the spirit-presence, and the absence of all deception, he should, I think, use all his will power to place his own spirit in a state of reception for spirit knowledge, and feel assured he will get it. Physical manifestations are the alphabet of the subject, and if Spiritualism went no further it would do but little for humanity.
But I quite believe in your suggestion, that, carried out to its consequences in thought and sympathy, it is destined to abolish a thick cloud of darkness which at present renders all religions more or less superstitious, and all philosophy a mere circle; and to substitute a light which will enable the mind in a body to hold communion with minds whose freedom enables them to see the workings of Great Cause and Great Effect, and so to bring forth a philosophic religion; whilst philosophy itself will be able to look ever onwards instead of going round and round, as it has done from Plato to Mill, tedious to study, and barren of result.
Similar materializations to those through Miss Cook had taken place not unfrequently in America, at séances where the light was very dim. Mr. Home, Mrs. Mary Hardy, Messrs. Bastian and Taylor, Mrs. Maud Lord, Mrs. Jennie Lord Webb, and others had, while sitting in the dark or in twilight, satisfied many of the presence of materialized spirits, who made themselves felt and heard, if they could not be distinctly seen. The materializations through Miss Kate Fox had satisfied Mr. Livermore, Dr. Gray, and Mr. Groute of the objective reality of the appearing forms.
But the bold and startling manifestations through Miss Cook, occurring in the light, and in the presence of a dozen or more spectators, were peculiarly impressive and satisfactory; and I give prominence to her case on this account. The manifestations, after the initiatory experiments had been made, were conducted under strict test conditions, and in the presence of persons of well-known character and intelligence, whose single object was the establishment of the truth; the apparition, being visible under the most powerful light, and solid to the touch, could be subjected to tests which were eventually supplied by scientific men and found satisfactory; and the medium, being exempted from all necessity of asking pay from the investigators, was comparatively independent and free in allowing the manifestations to take their course.
At a sitting at Mr. Luxmoore's, Nov. 18th, 1873, a witness, well known to me personally, Mr. Benjamin Coleman, was present, and from his account I have abridged the following:
The séance was given in the large drawing-room, in which an ordinary fire was kept burning throughout the evening. The small drawing-room, separated by sliding doors, was appropriated as a cabinet, and a dark curtain was hung between the open parts, by which all light was excluded. A lamp was placed on the table of the audience room, where there was a fire, and at no time was it dark. The fourteen ladies and gentlemen, who formed a horse-shoe circle in front of the cabinet, could see each other the whole evening.
A low chair was placed in the cabinet, upon which Miss Cook, the medium, was seated; and Mr. Coleman and Mr. Blackburn were invited by Mr. Luxmoore to see her secured. Her hands were tied together with tape, the ends of which were sewn and sealed with wax; and then the tape was passed around her waist, and tightly knotted and sewn, and sealed again. The tape was then passed through a staple in the floor, leaving a slack of about a foot, and there knotted again. Thus it was impossible for Miss Cook to move from her seat more than a few inches.
The ties were all found secure, and the line of tape undisturbed, after the séance; and even had this precaution not been taken, the fact that, the instant Katie disappeared, the medium was found tied and differently clad, and asleep in her chair, would have satisfied any reasonable person that there was no trick or attempt to deceive. Whatever the figure of Katie might be, it evidently was not Miss Cook.
The figure of Katie entered the room. She was clad in a loose white dress, tied in at the waist, having long sleeves terminating at the wrists, with a close hood on her head, long lappets hanging over her shoulders, and her hair closely banded. She at once saluted each of the company in turn, first asking the name of the only stranger unknown to the medium. Mr. Coleman asked Katie if she had shoes and stockings on. She said, No, and at once drew aside her dress, and showed that her feet were naked; and to satisfy all, she raised one foot on to the dress of Mrs. Corner, in the most natural manner, and said, Now you can all see that I have bare feet, can't you?
There were pencils and sheets of writing paper on the table, and Mr. Coleman asked her if she would be good enough to write something for him.
Yes, I will, she said, taking a chair and sitting down on it. What shall I write? Mr. Coleman said he was engaged in getting up a testimonial to Judge Edmonds, and perhaps she might have something to say to him.
Upon this Katie raised one knee, and commenced writing; but, finding the position uncomfortable, asked for something hard to rest the paper upon. This being supplied, she wrote off the following letter:
MY DEAR FRIEND -You have asked me to write a few words to you. I wish you every success with regard to Judge Edmonds's testimonial. He is a good man, and an earnest worker. Give him my affectionate greeting. I know him well, although he does not know me. My power is going, so with every good wish, I am your sincere friend, KATIE KING, Properly ANNIE MORGAN.
The letter was handed back to Mr. Coleman, who read it aloud, and then said to her, I see you have not addressed it; she took it back and deliberately folded it upon her knee, and wrote on the back, Mr! Coleman.
On his requesting her to let him feel the texture of her dress, she replied by coming round past the back of Mr. Luxmoore's chair sideways, as there was barely room to pass, and holding up the dress to Mr. C.; he took it with both hands, and pulled it, and it was to all appearance, in substance, as if it were made of strong white calico. She then passed round the circle and shook hands, by gently touching the hands of each. Both her hands and her face throughout the séance were of a perfectly natural color, the reverse of pallid; her cheeks were red, and hands decidedly so; in fact, her whole appearance was that of a gentle and graceful young woman. She stooped down to pick up two sheets of paper which were in her way whilst crossing the room, and stepped aside to lay them on the table.
This completed, writes Mr. Coleman, the impression, which all must have felt, that we had been for an hour and a half holding intercourse with an intelligent living woman, who glided, rather than walked about, and who showed by her constant watchfulness of the medium, that there was the tie to which she was bound. It was altogether a marvelous exhibition.
Prince Emile of Sayn Wittgenstein, who was present at a séance at Mr. Luxmoore's, December 16th, 1873, published in the Revue Spirite, of Paris, an account of it, which was translated by Dr. G. L. Ditson, from whose version I quote most of the following:
The gauze curtain of the cabinet was agitated, and a naked arm was thrust forth and made a sign. Then the right side of the hanging was opened, giving us a view of an apparition of ravishing beauty. She stood erect; the right arm was across her breast, the other fell at her side, holding the curtain. She seemed to review the persons present. It was the spirit of Katie, a thousand times more lovely than her photograph.
I had before me a young lady of an ideal beauty, supple, elegant, and clad in most graceful drapery, with chestnut locks visible through her white veil. Her robe, trailing like that of an antique statue, entirely covered her naked feet. Her arms, of surpassing beauty, delicate, white, were visible to the shoulders. Their attachment to the body was finely statuesque; and the hands, a little large, had long, tapering fingers, rosy to the ends.
Her face was pale and rather round than oval. Her mouth, smiling, showed beautiful teeth. Her nose was aquiline; her eyes were very large and blue, almond-shaped, shaded by long, heavy eyelashes, and having eyebrows delicately arched. And, to conclude, there was in this apparition the grace of a Psyche descended from her pedestal.
Yet this rare feminine embodiment, this faithful reproduction of one many years dead, was soon to evaporate and disappear like a breath! One might mistake her, seen from a distance, for Miss Cook; but the apparition was large, with slender waist, while Miss Cook, though pretty, is much smaller, and her hands are not as large as Katie's. There could be no mistake: they were two distinct personalities.
The apparition seemed to regard me with curiosity, and I saw in her something that reminded me of a spectre, and that was the eye. It was as beautiful as possible, yet it had a haggard, fixed, glassy expression; but in spite of that, with mouth smiling, with bosom heaving, she seemed to say, 'I am happy to be a moment among mortals.' She then remarked, in a sort of tremulous whisper, but with infinite grace, 'I cannot yet go far away from my medium, but soon I shall have more force.' When she was not fully understood, she repeated her words with infantile impatience.
I asked to be favored with a sight of her foot; she gracefully raised her robe to comply with my request, and, when being solicited to show more of it, the robe was lifted to the ankle, and I saw a delicate foot, like that of an antique statue, white, plump, lovely as a child's, high and arched, the toes finely attached, and of a purity of design irreproachable; but all this ensemble was as if of one piece, and the real life was wanting.
Katie King talked, laughed, chatted pleasantly with those present, calling each one by name with a roguish, infantile, defiant vivacity; gesticulating with her right hand as do the women of the Orient, with the movement of the fingers and curvature of the hand peculiar to that people; accenting her words with the most gracious movement of her head; often with gentle modesty gathering her veil about her neck; in a word, in everything, in her features, form, costume, gestures, giving an impression of the women of the Levant that could not be mistaken.
A man of little intelligence, who was present, having addressed some rude words to Katie, she crumpled some paper in her hand, and threw it at him with an expression of disdain.
As an evidence of the spirit's clairvoyant powers, Prince Wittsgenstein sends the following to the London Spiritualist of July 10th, 1874, in a letter from Nieder Walluf, on the Rhine:
A very striking fact, in direct writing, was recently obtained by Miss Cook, at my request, putting my sealed letter at night on her dressing table, with some pencils and sheets of paper near it. The letter, closely sealed by me, was further put into a second envelope by Mr. William Crookes, who also sealed it several times with his private signet.
When it was sent back to me with Katie's answer, his seals, as well as mine, were quite intact.
Katie copied the contents of my sealed letter to her, word for word, without a mistake or omission, on a separate sheet of paper. She also wrote an answer to me, with the following postscript:
I have given a copy of your letter, dear friend, to show you I have really read it. I must trust to your good nature to excuse any errors, as I have never done anything like this before. - A. Morgan, or Katie King.
Dr. George Sexton was for many years one of the most earnest of the secularist teachers, and an energetic lecturer against Spiritualism and all other forms of belief in a future life. After fifteen years of skepticism, during which, however, he did not disdain to investigate, the needful evidence came. In his own house, in the absence of all mediums other than those members of his own family and intimate private friends in whom mediumistic powers became developed, he got evidence of an irresistible character that the communications came from deceased friends and relatives.
Dr. Sexton's first attendance on the manifestation through Miss Cook, took place at Mr. Luxmoore's, Nov. 25th, 1873. The usual precautions for the satisfaction of skeptics were taken. Tied as she was, it seemed to him impossible for Miss Cook to remove from her seat more than a few inches. We quote the concluding portion of his testimony:
The séance commenced, as is usual, with singing. The lights were turned down, but not so low as to prevent our seeing each other most distinctly, and being eye-witnesses of all that was taking place in the room. The medium speedily became partially entranced, hands were shown at a small aperture at the top of the cabinet, and Katie gave indications of being present. Soon after, the curtain was moved aside, and the full form of the spirit, dressed in white, was distinctly seen by all present.
Katie requested me to ask her questions, which I did continually for at least half an hour. These questions were mostly of a semi-philosophic character, having reference mainly to the laws and conditions under which spirits assume materialized forms, and such, therefore, as it is very questionable whether a young lady like the medium would have been able to answer. They were all replied to so satisfactorily that more than one well-known and highly-educated Spiritualist present stated that they had obtained information which they had previously often wished for, but could not procure.
The spirit form came out of the cabinet several times during the evening, and walked about amongst the audience. She showed her feet, which were perfectly naked, and stamped them on the floor to prove that she was not standing on tiptoe, this latter fact being a very important one, seeing that she was at least four inches taller than Miss Cook. Her figure and complexion were almost totally unlike those of the medium. She came across the room to me, patted me on the head, and returned. I then asked her if she would kiss me. She replied she would try to do so. In a few minutes she again crossed over to me, and kissed me on the forehead three or four times. I may here remark that although the sound of the kisses were distinctly heard by all present, and the attitude of the figure seen, I felt no pressure of the lips whatever.
Toward the end of the séance the spirit requested me to examine the cabinet to see that the medium was still fastened in her chair. Mr. Luxmoore lifted the curtain, and said, 'She is still there, lying down in the corner.' The curtain was then dropped again, and I, being on the opposite side of the room, had, of course, not seen into the cabinet. The spirit immediately inquired,' Did Dr. Sexton see that?' I replied, 'No, I did not.' 'Then,' she said,' come and look; I want you to see.'
I at once crossed over to the cabinet, raised the curtain, and looked in. There I saw Miss Cook, sitting, or rather lying, in a trance on the chair in which she had been fastened, knots, seals, and all intact. The séance continued for something over an hour. I may remark that the spirit in the course of the evening wrote several short notes to persons present. The following was the substance of the one given to me:
'MY DEAR DR. SEXTON — I am pleased you have asked me questions. Yours, truly, ANNIE MORGAN.'
Thus ended one of the most marvelous séances at which it has ever been my good fortune to be present.
Dr. J. M. Gully, from whose letter to myself I have already given an extract, was for many years at the head of the well-known water-cure establishment at Great Malvern, England, and is known to thousands of Americans as a skillful and scientific physician and a thoroughly estimable gentleman. he satisfied himself of the genuineness of the manifestations through Mr. Home, several years ago. The 28th of November, 1873, he was present at Mr. Luxmoore's, at one of Miss Cook's séances, of which he gives the following account:
The spirit, Katie King, appeared this time dressed in a longer and more flowing white dress than usual, the sleeves reaching to the wrists and bound there, whilst over her head and face a beautifully transparent veil fell, giving to the whole figure an appearance of grace and purity which is not easily conveyed by words.
The spirit greeted every one in the circle by name; then retired into the dark room, where she was heard moving heavy furniture about, and talking to the medium who was sealed and bound as usual. She then brought a large bowl into the circle and gave it to the hands of a sitter. Afterwards she brought a low chair, or prie-dieu, out of the dark room, and placed it wholly in the circle, sat down upon it, and desired that the sitters should sing, but not loudly, as she would try to join them, which she did with the clear contralto voice which she has several times exhibited. It is impossible to convey the impression of that voice issuing from an inhabitant of the outre-tombe!
She then begged that all would join hands in order that she might get all the possible power for what she wished to do, and whilst we, the sitters, did so, she retired for a minute or two to get fresh power from her medium, returned, and then deliberately walked around the entire circle (composed of fourteen persons) and touched each one in turn, some of the ladies on the cheek, the men on the hands; one man she told to put out his hand and she would show him that she could press it, which she did. The circle occupied a great portion of a large-sized drawing-room. She then desired to be questioned, and something like this colloquy took place:
Is it possible for you to explain to us what are the powers or forces you employ in materializing and dissolving your form?''
No, it is not.
''Is it electricity, or does it bear any resemblance to it?
''No; it is all nonsense what they talk about electricity.''
But have you no name or mode of conveying it?
It is more like will-power than anything else; in fact, it is the will which is at the bottom of the power I exercise.
''When you disappear where is it to?''
Into the medium, giving her back all the vitality I took from her. When I have got very much power from her, if any one of you were to take her suddenly round the waist and try to carry her, you might kill her on the spot: she might suffocate. I can go in and out of her readily, but, understand, I am not her - not her double; they talk a deal of rubbish about doubles; l am myself all the time.''
When you dissolve, which part disappears the first, the body or the dress?
The body, of course; its material power goes back to her, and then the dress goes into its elements.
Do you think one in the flesh can ever appreciate the powers you use in manifesting?''
No; you never can.
You speak of being yourself, and not a double of the medium - who were you when in the flesh?''
I was Annie Morgan.
Were you married?''
Yes; but don't talk of that.
(At this she retired behind the curtain, apparently either hurt or grieved at the question, a state she has exhibited before when questioned about her married life.) She speedily returned, and was asked, Have you a husband now?''
Of course I have.
''Can you give us any idea under what reign you lived?'
I left the body when I was twenty-one years old, and I lived in the latter part of the reign of Charles I, during the Commonwealth, and to the early part of the reign of Charles II. I remember the high peaked hats of the Commonwealth and the broad hats of Charles I and II; the short hair of the men, but Cromwell's was not short.
At this point the time which had been agreed on as the utmost that could be given, having the health of the medium in regard, was reached, and, although the spirit expressed a desire to remain longer, she retired on Mr. Luxmoore's insisting on it, and the séance terminated.
It is not always, nor even often, that the spirit Katie is in the humor to give us information of her present and past history, such as the above, and it has occurred to me that she declines it because she has been accustomed—too much, in my opinion—to jokes, and what might be called 'chaffing' from the circle, and this probably is more to the taste of a spirit who, as she has herself stated, is not by any means in a highly spiritual sphere. But this may be mere speculation on my part.
Notwithstanding the confidence of these and many other intelligent parties in the genuineness of the manifestations through Miss Cook, the phenomena were so extraordinary that doubt, even among confirmed Spiritualists, would frequently be excited. That a spirit, palpably materialized or reincarnated, could come into the presence of mortals, that she should be undistinguishable in appearance from a human being, that she should allow herself to be touched, write letters before the spectators, converse fluently and audibly, and, in fact, show all the traits of an average and somewhat petulant young woman, and then disappear at once, on reentering the cabinet, naturally awakened an amazement akin to distrust.
Although the faces of Miss Cook and Katie were much alike, it was found, on close examination, that there were marked differences, varying in degree at different times. The hair of the two was decidedly unlike; that of Miss Cook being dark, and that of the spirit of a light auburn or brown. That the hair of the latter was not false was proved by tracing it back to the scalp. This was done by Prof. Crookes, and also by Mrs. Florence Marryat Ross-Church. Specimens of the spirit hair have been subjected to the microscope, and found to be genuine hair, though rather coarse for a woman. The spirit-form was repeatedly measured and found to be, in its bare feet, taller by from two to four inches than Miss Cook. Other points of difference were noticed; but it is unnecessary to dwell upon them here, inasmuch as the distinctive individuality of Miss Cook and Katie was subsequently proved by irresistible tests.
Mr. Coleman suggested the theory that Katie was the double, or, as the Germans' call it, the doppelganger, of the medium; but he was soon led by Professor Crookes's decisive experiments to abandon the idea.
While even among Spiritualists the element of skepticism was thus at work, an incident occurred at a séance at Mr. Luxmoore's, December 9th, 1874, which seemed to be, for the moment, a triumph of the skeptics. In violation of the conditions of the séance, Mr. Volckman rose from his seat and attempted to seize the supposed spirit. She glided from his grasp, however, and Miss Cook was soon afterwards found tied as she had been left.
This occurrence served only to confirm belief in the genuineness of the phenomena, for it drew forth testimonials from many in behalf of the reliability of the medium. Mr. Henry Dunphy, a barrister, and well known man of letters, who was present at the attempt, published in the February number of London Society (1874) an account, from which we quote the following:
I was seated between Lady Caithness and Mr. Blackburn, holding a hand of each. The apparition appeared several times and came out into the centre of the room. It was arrayed in a long white dress with a double skirt, had naked feet, and wore a veil over the head and falling down below the waist. Count de Poinar asked whether he might approach it; and, having obtained permission, left the circle and walked straight up to it. Katie held out her hand, which he took, and subsequently returned to his seat.
The apparition then advanced to the portion of the room farthest from the cabinet, when a person, who to me was a perfect stranger, jumped up, caught the figure round the waist, and held it, exclaiming 'It is the medium!' Two or three gentlemen present rushed forward and caught him, and a struggle ensued. I watched the result with considerable interest, and observed that the figure appeared to lose its feet and legs, and to elude the grasp, making for that purpose a movement somewhat similar to that of a seal in the water. Although the person who made the attempt was apparently well able to hold on to anything he might happen to clutch, the apparition glided out of his grip, leaving no trace of corporeal existence, or surroundings in the shape of clothing.
Mr. George Henry Tapp, of the Dalston Association of Inquirers, added his testimony to that of others on this occasion, and threw light on some mooted questions. He says that the points of difference between Katie and the medium were often remarkable, not only in regard to features, but as regards height, bulk, &c. The resemblance between the two was at times hardly perceptible. When he first saw the full form of Katie she stood five feet six inches high, with her naked feet fiat on the floor. She was stout and broad across the waist and shoulders, quite a contrast to her medium, who was much shorter and petite in person.
Katie has frequently stood by Mr. Tapp, and leaned against him at séances for several minutes together, permitting him to thoroughly scan her face and figure in a good light. Once she laid her right arm in his outstretched hands, and allowed him to examine it closely. It was plump and shapely, longer than that of the medium. The hands, too, were much larger, with beautifully shaped nails, unlike those of Miss Cook, who was in the bad habit of biting her nails.
Holding the arm of Katie lightly in one hand he passed his other hand along it from the shoulder. The skin, he says, was beautifully—I may say, unnaturally—smooth, like wax or marble; yet the temperature was that of the healthy human body. There was, however, no bone in the wrist, I lightly felt round the wrist again, and then told Katie that the bone was wanting. She laughed, and said, 'Wait a bit,' and after going about to the other sitters, came round and placed her arm in my hand as before.
This time Mr. Tapp was satisfied. Sure enough, the bone was there.
In two instances he saw Katie with long ringlets reaching to her waist, the hair being of a light brown color; while the medium's hair was cut short, and was not curled, its color being a very dark brown, almost black. Katie's eyes were sometimes a light blue color, sometimes dark brown; and this difference was frequently noticed.
On one occasion Katie, on coming out of the cabinet, held up her right arm, which was of a dusky black color. Letting it fall by her side, and raising it again almost instantaneously, it was the usual flesh color like the other arm. One evening Mr. Tapp made some jesting remark to Katie, when she suddenly struck him heavily in the chest with her clenched fist. He was startled, and, indeed, hurt by the unexpected blow; so much so, that he inadvertently caught hold of her right arm by the wrist.
Her wrist, he says, crumpled in my grasp like a piece of paper, or thin cardboard, my fingers meeting through it. I let go at once, and expressed my regret that I had forgotten the conditions, fearing that harm to the medium might ensue; but Katie reassured me, saying, that as my act was not intentional, she could avert any untoward result.
In conclusion Mr. Tapp bears the fullest testimony to the good faith and integrity of Miss Cook and her family.
That some abnormal power was at work in the manifestations through Miss Cook, no intelligent investigator seems to have denied. Katie would not be gone more than forty seconds at most from the circle, when the curtain of the cabinet would be drawn, and Miss Cook would be found waking from her trance. It was manifestly a physical impossibility for her to have changed her gown, put on her boots, dressed her hair and altered the color of it, and, in addition to all this, destroyed all trace of the spirit's flowing white robes, in less than a minute. The question, therefore, reduced itself to this: Does the mysterious force do all these things, after having thrust forth the entranced medium to play the part of a spirit? What remained now to do in this investigation, was to establish still more conclusively, and by scientific tests, the separate identity of the two forms.