From the book The Proof Palpable of Immortality Epes Sargent
The Development of Florence Cook and Katie King
From these abstruse though not irrelevant considerations, the course of our narrative leads us back to Miss Cook. She had begun to exhibit medial powers as early as 1870. In a letter to Mr. Harrison, dated May, 1872, she writes: I am sixteen years of age. From my childhood I could see spirits and hear voices, and was addicted to sitting by myself talking to what I declared to be living people. As no one else could see or hear anything, my parents tried to make me believe it was all imagination, but I would not alter my belief, so was looked upon as a very eccentric child. In the spring of 1870 I was invited to the house of a school-friend, whose name I am not at liberty to mention. She asked me if I had ever heard of spirit rapping, adding that her father, mother and self had sat at a table, and got movements, and that if I liked, they would try that evening.
Miss Cook, though at first somewhat horrified at the idea, got her mother's consent and sat with her friends. She soon found that the raps followed her. A message was given to her from what purported to be the spirit of her aunt; and then, she being left by herself at the table, it rose four feet. Miss Cook continues:
I went home astonished. Mamma and I went a few days after. We had some excellent tests of spirit identity given us; still we did not believe in spirits.* At last it was spelt out that if we would sit in the dark I should be carried round the room. I laughed, not thinking it would be done, and put out the light. The room was not perfectly dark, a light came in from the window. Soon I felt my chair taken from me. I was lifted up until I touched the ceiling. All in the room could see me. I felt too startled at my novel position to scream, and was carried over the heads of the sitters, and put gently on to a table at the other end of the room. Alamna asked if we could get manifestations at our own home. The table answered,'Yes,' and that I was a medium. The next evening we sat at home; a table and two chairs were smashed, and a great deal of mischief done. We said we could never sit again, but we were not left in peace. Books and other articles were thrown at me, chairs walked about in the light, the table tilted violently at meal-times, and great noises were sometimes made at night. At last we sat again; the table behaved better, and a communication was given to the effect that we were to go to 74, Navarino-road, and that there was an association of Spiritualists there. Out of curiosity mamma and I went, and found we had been told quite correctly. Mr. Thomas Blyton came to a séance at our house; he invited me to a séance at Mr. Wilkes's library, in Dailston-lane. There l met Mr. Harrison. He came to see the manifestations at my home. By this time we were convinced of the truth of spirit communion. About this time I was first entranced; a spirit spoke through me, telling papa that if I sat with Messrs. Herne and Williams l should get the direct voice. I had several sittings with them, and finally succeeded in getting the direct voice, direct writing, and spirit touches. The presiding spirit of my circles is Katie, John King's daughter.
* Here is a touch of Nature. similar to that which Shakespeare makes manifest in the character of Hamlet. Just after he has seen and conversed with the spirit of' his father, Hamlet talks of that journey from which no traveler ever returns.'' Just after Miss Cook has told us that she used to see spirits and hear voices,'' she says, still we did not believe in spirits. Perhaps, however, all that she here meant was that she did not believe they were active in this particular instance.
Of the subsequent developments, the sittings with Mr. Herne, and the final appearance of Katie in full form, I have already given an account.
Mr. Henry M. Dunphy relates that on one occasion, at a séance, Katie called for pencil and paper, saying she wanted to write a note. He produced a gold pencil-case with a double movement, one for producing the lead, and the other a pen. When handed to Katie, she unscrewed the little cap at the top, so as to scatter the leads on the carpet; she laughed, screwed on the top again, and then wrote the following message on a sheet of note-paper and threw it out: I am much pleased that you have all come tonight at my invitation. — Annie Morgan.
On another occasion Mr. Dunphy inquired whether Katie would put on a heavy gold ring which he took off his finger and offered to her. This she immediately took out of his hand and placed on her own wedding finger, saying naively, We are now engaged. On his subsequently reaching with his hand to receive the ring, Katie allowed him to touch hers, and afterwards told him to touch her lips, which he did with his hands, and she imprinted on them a kiss.
At another sitting, a passing remark having been made about lawyers, Katie asked whether her hearers knew what the Irish usher said when he was ordered to clear the court. No, was the reply. Well, then, said she, he shouted, 'Now, then, all you blackguards who are not lawyers, leave the court.'
Trivial and unspiritual as some of these acts and expressions may seem, I quote them as having a bearing on the question of the intellectual calibre of these materialized spirits. Miss Emily Kislingbury, who has given considerable study to Miss Cook's mediumship, in a description of a séance at which she was present, Feb. 22d, 1873, remarks: When Katie herself came and showed a fair-complexioned, large, massive face, and mouth set with brilliantly white teeth, I failed to see in it any resemblance to her medium; and my mother, who saw Katie for the first time, expressed her surprise that a comparison should ever have been made between them. I have, however, under more strict test conditions, seen in the spirit face a very striking resemblance to Miss Cook..
A slow tune was played with great expression inside the cabinet.... Katie asked me, to my astonishment, to sing the song beginning 'Du bist die Ruh', der Friede mild,' and she would follow me. 'But,' said I, 'Katie, you cannot sing the German words.'' 'Oh, can't I?' she said. 'My medium can't, but I am not so stupid; you try me.' I sang the song through, and the same clear, bell-like voice again followed mine, pronouncing the German perfectly.
In the spring of 1873 a series of sittings was held for the purpose of getting a photographic likeness of Katie. The photographing was done by Mr. Harrison whose close and intelligent study of this remarkable case of materialization seems to have aided largely in the right development of Miss Cook's extraordinary powers. On the 7th of May a successful sitting was had, and no less than four photographs were taken. It is from one of the best of these that the engraving, which forms the frontispiece of this volume, was copied.
In the photograph itself, says Mr. Harrison, the features are more detailed and beautiful, and there is an expression of dignity and ethereality in the face which is not fully represented in the engraving, which, however, has been executed as nearly as possible with scientific accuracy, by an artist of great professional skill.
In a statement signed by Amelia Corner, Caroline Corner, J. C. Luxmoore, G. R. Tapp, and V. H. Harrison, we have a clear and interesting account, which I here slightly abridge, of the process of getting a photograph of Katie by the magnesium light:
The cabinet doors were placed open, and shawls hung across. The séance commenced at six P. M., and lasted about two hours, with an interval of half an hour. The medium was entranced almost directly when she was placed in the cabinet, and in a few minutes Katie stepped out into the room. The sitters, in addition to the undersigned, were Mrs. Cook and her two children, whose delight at Katie's familiarity with them was most amusing.
Katie was dressed in pure white, except that her robe was cut low with short sleeves, allowing her beautiful neck and arms to be seen. Her head dress was occasionally pulled back so as to allow her hair, which was brown, to be visible. Her eyes were large and bright, of a dark blue or gray color. Her countenance was animated and lifelike, her cheeks and lips ruddy and clear.
Our expressions of pleasure at seeing her thus before us seemed to encourage her to redouble her efforts to give a good séance. By the light of a candle and a small lamp, during the intervals of photography, she stood or moved about, and chatted to us all, keeping up a lively conversation, in which she criticized the sitters, and the literary photographer and his arrangements very freely. By degrees she walked away from the cabinet, and came boldly out into the room.
Katie usually leaned on the shoulder of Mr. Luxmoore, and stood up to be focussed several times, on one occasion holding the lamp to illuminate her face. Once she looked at the sitters through Mr. Luxmoore's eye-glass. She patted his head, and pulled his hair, and allowed him and Mrs. Corner to pass their hands over her dress, in order that they might satisfy themselves that she wore only one robe.
As one of the plates was taken out of the room for development, she ran a few feet out of the cabinet after Mr. Harrison, saying she wished to see it; and on his return it was shown to her, he standing close to her and touching her at the time, While he was absent she walked up to the camera and inspected that 'queer machine,' as she called it.
Just before one of the plates was taken, as Katie was reposing herself outside the cabinet, a long, sturdy, masculine right arm, bare to the shoulder, and moving its fingers, was thrust out of the opening at the top of the cabinet. Katie turned round and upbraided the intruder, saying that it was a shame for another spirit to interpose while she stood for her likeness, and she bade him 'get out.'
Toward the close of the séance Katie said that her power was going, and that she was 'really melting away this time.' The power being weak, the admission of light into the cabinet seemed gradually to destroy the lower part of her figure, and she sank down until her neck touched the floor, the rest of her body having apparently vanished, her last words being that we must sing, and sit still for a few minutes, 'for it was a sad thing to have no legs to stand upon.' This was done, and Katie soon came out again, entire as at first, and one more photograph was successfully taken. Katie then shook hands with Mr. Luxmoore, went inside her cabinet, and rapped for us to take the medium out.
The séance had been given under strict test conditions. The only stipulation Katie made throughout was, that the sitters would not stare fixedly at her whilst she stood for her photograph.
Before commencing, Mrs. and Miss Corner took the medium to her bedroom, and, having taken off her clothes and thoroughly searched them, dressed her without a gown, but simply with a cloak of dark gray waterproof cloth over her underclothing, and at once led her to the séance room, where her wrists were tied tightly together with tape. the knots were examined by the sitters respectively, and sealed with a signet ring. She was then seated in the cabinet, which had been previously examined. The tape was passed through a brass bracket in the floor, brought under the shawl, and tied securely to a chair outside the cabinet, so that the slightest movement on the part of the medium would have been at once detected.
During the interval of half an hour, Mrs. Corner took charge of the medium, whilst she was out of the cabinet, and did not lose sight of her for one minute. The tying and sealing were repeated before the second part of the séance, and on each occasion of the medium leaving the cabinet, the knots and seals and tape were duly examined by all the sitters, and were found intact. the medium was tied and sealed by Mr. Luxmoore, whose signet ring was used. In a separate communication Mr. Luxmoore writes:
I carefully examined every part of the cabinet while Miss Cook was being searched by Mrs. and Miss Corner. Nothing could possibly have been concealed there without my discovering it. I should also mention, that soon after one of the photographs had been taken, Katie pulled back the curtain, or rather rug, which hangs in front, and requested us to look at her, when she appeared to have lost all her body. She had a most curious appearance; she seemed to be resting on nothing but her neck, her head being close to the floor. Her white robe was under her.
Phenomena like these, as Dr. Wm. Hitchman aptly remarks, present a question not to be settled at all by leading articles, but by positive experimental testimony. In this case such testimony has been given in abundance.
Previous to Prof. Crookes's taking the case in hand, Dr. Gully, Mr. Blackburn, Mr. Luxmoore, Mr. W. H. Harrison, and many other competent investigators had, at numerous séances, satisfied themselves fully that Katie and Miss Cook were distinct personalities.
All who attended these séances, says Dr. Gully, are aware with what anxious care arrangements were always made by which the smallest movements by the medium within were rendered detectable by the sitters outside, by means of tapes attached to the medium's body, and extended along the floor, and held by some one present; and, on one or two occasions, by the extension of the medium's own dark hair, not to mention the precise tying and sealing of the wrists... These tests have abundantly satisfied me that the form which appears is not Miss Cook, but has a totally separate existence.
Notwithstanding these well-founded convictions there was a natural wish among Spiritualists that assurance should be made doubly sure, and in this wish no one joined more readily than Dr. Gully.
To determine the question whether Miss Cook was lying at rest inside the cabinet while Katie in her flowing robes was outside, Mr. C. F. Varley, F. R. S., the electrician of the Atlantic Cable, noted for his skill in testing broken cables, conceived the idea of passing a weak electrical current through the body of the medium all the time the manifestations were going on. He did this by means of a galvanic battery and cable-testing apparatus, which was so delicate that any movement whatever, on the part of Miss Cook, would be instantly indicated, while it would be impossible for her to dress and play the part of the spirit without breaking the circuit and being instantly detected.
Yet under these conditions the spirit-form did appear as usual, exhibited its arms, spoke, wrote, and touched several persons; and this happened, be it remembered, not in the medium's own house, but in that of Mr. Luxmoore, at the West end of London. For nearly an hour the circuit was never broken, and at the conclusion Miss Cook was found in a trance. Thus it was clearly proved that Miss Cook was not only in the cabinet, but perfectly quiescent, while Katie was visible and moving about outside.
Similar tests were soon repeated by Mr. Crookes in his own house with equally satisfactory results. Early in March he reported: As far as the experiments go, they prove conclusively that Miss Cook is inside while Katie is outside the cabinet, and he further testified to Miss Cook's perfect honesty, truthfulness, and willingness to submit to the severest tests that he could approve of.
But the crowning proof was yet to come. On the 12th of March, 1874, during a séance at his own house, Katie came to the curtain, and called him to her, saying, Come into the room and lift my medium's head up; she has slipped down. Katie was then standing before him, clothed in her usual white robes and turban head-dress. He walked into the library up to Miss Cook, Katie stepping aside to allow him to pass. He found that Miss Cook had slipped partially off the sofa, and that her head was hanging in a very awkward position. He lifted her on to the sofa, and in so doing had satisfactory evidence, in spite of the darkness, that Miss Cook was not attired in the Katie costume, but had on her ordinary black velvet dress, and was in a deep trance.
On the 29th of March, at a séance at Hackney, Katie told Mr. Crookes that she thought she should be able to show herself and Miss Cook together. Turning the gas out, he entered the room used as a cabinet, bearing a phosphorus lamp. This consisted of a six or eight ounce bottle, containing a little phosphorized oil, and tightly corked.
It being dark, he felt about for Miss Cook. He found her crouching on the floor. Kneeling down, he let air enter the lamp, and by its light saw the young lady, dressed in black velvet, as she had been in the early part of the evening, and to all appearance senseless. She did not move when he took her hand and held the light close to her face, but continued quietly breathing. The remainder of the narrative I give in Mr. Crookes's own words:
Raising the lamp, I looked around and saw Katie standing close behind Miss Cook. She was robed in flowing white drapery, as we had seen her previously during the séance. Holding one of Miss Cook's hands in mine, and still kneeling, I passed the lamp up and down, so as to illuminate Katie's whole figure, and satisfy myself thoroughly that I was really looking at the veritable Katie, whom I had clasped in my arms a few moments before, and not at the phantasm of a disordered brain. She did not speak, but moved her head, and smiled in recognition. Three separate times did I carefully examine Miss Cook, crouching before me, to be sure that the hand I held was that of a living woman, and three separate times did I turn the lamp to Katie, and examine her with steadfast scrutiny, until I had no doubt whatever of her objective reality.
Of the points of difference between the two, Mr. Crookes says:
Katie's height varies; in my house I have seen her six inches taller than Miss Cook. Last night, with bare feet and not tip-toeing, she was four and a half inches taller than Miss Cook. Katie's neck was bare last night; the skin was perfectly smooth, both to touch and sight, whilst on Miss Cook's neck is a large blister, which under similar circumstances is distinctly visible, and rough to the touch. Katie's ears are unpierced, whilst Miss Cook habitually wears ear-rings. Katie's complexion is very fair, while that of Miss Cook is very dark. Katie's fingers are much longer than bliss Cook's, and her face is also larger. In manners and ways of expression there are also many decided differences.
The exceeding whiteness of the drapery with which Katie came clothed was always noticeable; reminding the Scriptural reader of that passage in Mark: His raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow, so as no fuller on earth can white them. The dress would vary in shape nearly every evening.
The fabric felt material enough. It did not melt away and disappear like the spirit fabrics felt by Mr. Livermore and Dr. Gray in the presence of Kate Fox. Miss Douglas took a specimen of the cloth to Messrs. Howell and James's, London, and asked them to match it; they said that they could not, and that they believed it to be of Chinese manufacture.
Whence came this white drapery? As we proceed in our narrative, it will be seen that Mr. Crookes satisfied himself thoroughly that it could not have been brought into his house and used by the medium.
Katie had announced, on several occasions, that her materializations through Miss Cook would cease the 21st of May, 1874. At one of her farewell séances, my friend, Mr. Coleman, whom I had some years before introduced to certain phenomena in Boston, was present. He took from his pocket a photograph; Katie received it from his hands, and exclaimed, This is Dr. Gully and my likeness. What do you want me to do with it? Write, said Mr. Coleman, your name, and any message you have to give me, on the back of it, that I may keep it in remembrance of this evening. Borrowing his pencil she wrote: Annie Morgan, usually known as Katie King. To her dear friend, Mr. Ben. May 9th, 1874. When it was read aloud some one said, That is too familiar, and she was reminded that there were others of the same name known to her; upon which she asked for the card to be returned, and wrote: Mr. Ben is B. Coleman, Esq.
During the evening, writes Mr. Coleman, she frequently went behind the curtain to look after her medium, and once whilst she was there, Mr. Crookes raised the curtain, and he and I, and four others who sat by me, saw, at one and the same time, the figure of Katie, clad in her white dress, bending over the sleeping form of the medium, whose dress was blue, with a red shawl over her head. This exhibition was then repeated, and Mr. Coleman was fully satisfied that he saw both the living form of Miss Cook, and the materialized spirit-form of Katie.
The following remarkable incident, which Mr. W. H. Harrison and Mrs. Ross-Church (Florence Marryat) both confirmed in subsequent narratives, indicates the thaumaturgic power that was at work:
Taking up her skirt in a double fold, Mr. Crookes having lent her his scissors, Katie cut two pieces out of the front part, leaving the holes visible, one about an inch and the other two or three inches in circumference, and then, as if by magic, but without the conjurer's double boxes, or any attempt at concealment, she held that portion of the dress in her closed hand for a minute or two, and showed that the holes had disappeared, and that the dress was again entire. The pieces, a portion of which I have, are apparently strong ordinary white calico. Of the repetition of this marvel at a subsequent séance, Mr. W. H. Harrison writes: After she had thus cut several great holes in her dress, as she sat between Mr. Crookes and Mr. Tapp, she was asked if she could mend it, as she had done on other occasions; she then held up the dilapidated portion in a good light, gave it one flap, and it was instantly as perfect as at first. Those near the door of the cabinet examined and handled it immediately, with her permission, and testified there was no hole, seam or joint of any kind, where a moment before had been large holes, several inches in diameter.
Mrs. Ross-Church (Florence Marryat), a daughter of my old acquaintance, Captain Marryat, author of Peter Simple, &c, was a witness of the same incident, and mentions it in an account of her experiences, which I shall soon quote.
The following is Mr. W. H. Harrison's account of the farewell séance, May 21st, 1874, in London, at which Katie appeared. There were present Mr. Crookes, Mrs. Corner, Mrs. Ross-Church, Mr. W. H. Harrison, Mr. G. R. Tapp, Mr. and Mrs. Cook and family, and the servant Mary:
Mr. Crookes, 7:25 P. M., conducted Miss Cook into the dark room used as a cabinet, where she laid herself down upon the floor, with her head resting on a pillow; at 7:28 Katie first spoke, and at 7:30 came outside the curtain in full form. She was dressed in pure white, with low neck and short sleeves. She had long hair, of a light auburn or golden color, which hung in ringlets down her back, and each side of her head, reaching nearly to her waist. She wore a long white veil, but this was only drawn over her face once or twice during the séance.
The medium was dressed in a high gown of light blue merino. During nearly the whole of the séance, while Katie was before us, the curtain was drawn back and all could clearly see the sleeping medium, who did not stir from her original position, but lay quite still, her face being covered with a red shawl to keep light from it. There was a good light during the entire séance.
Katie talked about her approaching departure, and accepted a bouquet which Mr. Tapp brought her, also some bunches of lilies from Mr. Crookes.
All the sitters in the circle clustered closely round her. Katie asked Mr. Tapp to take the bouquet to pieces, and lay the flowers out before her on the floor; she then sat down, Eastern fashion, and asked all to draw around her, which was done, most of those present sitting on the floor at her feet. She then divided the flowers into bunches for each, tying them up with blue ribbon. She also wrote parting notes to some of her friends, signed 'Annie Owen Morgan,' which she stated was her real name when in earth-life. She wrote a note for her medium, and selected a fine rosebud for her as a parting gift.
Katie then took a pair of scissors and cut off a quantity of her hair, giving everybody present a liberal portion. She then took the arm of Mr. Crookes and walked all round the room, slaking hands with each. She again sat down and distributed some of her hair; and also cut off and presented several pieces of her robe and veil..
She then appeared tired, and said reluctantly that she must go, as the power was failing, and bade farewell in the most affectionate way. The sitters all wished her God speed, and thanked her for the wonderful manifestations she had given. Looking once more earnestly at her friends she let the curtain fall and she was seen no more. She was heard to wake up the medium, who tearfully entreated her to stay a little longer, but Katie said, 'My dear, I can't. My work is done. God bless you,' and we heard the sound of her parting kiss. The medium then came out among us, looking much exhausted and deeply troubled.
Katie said that she should never be able to speak or show her face again; that she had had a weary and sad three years 'life working off her sins' in producing these physical manifestations, and that she was about to rise higher in spirit-life. At long intervals she might be able to communicate with her medium by writing, but at any time her medium might be enabled to see her clairvoyantly by being mesmerized.
Mrs. Ross-Church (Florence Marryat), who had been present at three of Katie's last séances, on the 9th, 13th and 21st of May, 1874, in a letter to the London Spiritualist, wrote as follows:
I will not recapitulate what so many have told of the appearance of the spirit 'Katie King,' nor of the means taken to prevent any imposition on the part of her medium. This has all been repeated again and again, and as often disbelieved. But I fined Serjeant Cox, in his late letter on the subject of Miss Showers's mediumship, saying that could such an end be attained as a simultaneous sight of the apparition outside the curtain and the medium within, 'the most wonderful fact the world has ever witnessed would be established beyond controversy.' Perhaps Serjeant Cox would consider a sight of both medium and spirit in the same room and at the same time as convincing a proof of stern truth. I have seen that sight.
On the evening of the 9th of May, Katie King led me, at my own request, into the room with her beyond the curtain, which was not so dark but that I could distinguish surrounding objects, and then made me kneel down by Miss Cook's prostrate form, and feel her hands and face and head of curls, whilst she (the spirit) held( my other hand in hers, and leaned against my shoulder, with one arm around my neck.
I have not the slightest doubt that upon that occasion there were present with me two living, breathing intelligences, perfectly distinct from each other, so far at least as their bodies were concerned. If my senses deceived me; if I was misled by imagination or mesmeric influence into believing that I touched and felt two bodies, instead of one; if 'Katie King,' who grasped, and embraced, and spoke to me, is a projection of thought only—a will-power —an instance of unknown force—then it will be no longer possible to know 'Who's who, in 1874,' and we shall hesitate to turn up the gas incautiously, lest half our friends should be but projections of thought, and melt away beneath its glare.
Whatever Katie King was on the evening of the 9th of May, she was not Miss Cook. To that fact I am ready to take my most solemn oath. She repeated the same experiment with me on the 13th, and on that occasion we had the benefit of mutual sight also, as the whole company were invited to crowd around the door whilst the curtain was withdrawn and the gas turned up to the full, in order that we might see the medium, in her blue dress and scarlet shawl, lying in a trance on the floor, whilst the white-robed spirit stood beside her.
On the 21st, however, the occasion of Katie's last appearance amongst us, she was good enough to give me what I consider a still more infallible proof (if one could be needed) of the distinction of her identity from that of her medium. When she summoned me in my turn to say a few words to her behind the curtain, I again saw and touched the warm, breathing body of Florence Cook lying on the floor, and then stood upright by the side of Katie, who desired me to place my hands inside the loose single garment which she wore, and feel her nude body. I did so, thoroughly.
I felt her heart beating rapidly beneath my hand; and passed my fingers through her long hair to satisfy myself that it grew from her head, and can testify that if she be 'of psychic force,' psychic force is very like a woman.
Katie was very busy that evening. To each of her friends assembled to say good-by, she gave a bouquet of flowers tied up with ribbon, a piece of her dress and veil, and a lock of her hair, and a note which she wrote with her pencil before us. Mine was as follows: 'From Annie Owen de Morgan (alias Katie King) to her friend, Florence Marryat Ross-Church, with love. Penseza noi. May21st, 1874.' I must not forget to relate what appeared to me to be one of the most convincing proofs of Katie's more than natural power, namely, that when she had cut, before our eyes, twelve or fifteen different pieces of cloth from the front of her white tunic, as souvenirs for her friends, there was not a hole to be seen in it, examine it which way you would. It was the same with her veil, and I have seen her do the same thing several times.
I think if in the face of all this testimony that has been brought before them, the faithless and unbelieving still credit Miss Cook with the superhuman agility required to leap from the spirit's dress into her own like a flash of lightning, they will hardly suppose her capable of re-weaving the material of her clothing in the same space of time. If they can believe that, they will not find the spiritualistic doctrine so hard a nut to crack afterwards. But I did not take, up my pen to argue this point, but simply to relate what occurred to myself.'
During the week before Katie took her departure, she gave séances at Mr. Crookes's house almost nightly, to enable him to photograph her by artificial light. In a letter dated July 21st, 1874, and enclosing two photographs, he writes me:
You may be interested in seeing one of my photographs of Katie, as she stood holding my arm; also one in which she is standing by herself. In the former of these the person of Katie, nearly to her ankles, dressed in her white robe, is taken; in the other, not quite so much of the figure is seen. In both photographs, the drapery is gracefully disposed; the countenance is placid, and the features finely formed though it might not require much imagination to discover in their general expression a spectral look; the figure has all the distinctness of a veritable human being, there being nothing shadowy in the outlines.
Taken in his own laboratory, and under conditions the most satisfactory and unquestionable, these and some forty other photographs which he took, some inferior, some indifferent, and some excellent, confirmed all the previous tests which Mr. Crookes had got of the genuineness of the phenomenon. Frequently, at his own house, he would follow Katie into the cabinet, and would sometimes see her and her medium together, though generally he would find nobody but the entranced medium lying on the floor, Katie and her white robes having instantaneously disappeared.
During a period of six months Miss Cook was a frequent visitor at Mr. Crookes's house, remaining there sometimes a week at a time. She would bring nothing but a little handbag, not locked. During the day she would be constantly in the presence of Mrs. or Mr. Crookes, or some other member of his family; and, not sleeping by herself, there was no conceivable opportunity for any fraudulent preparation.
It was a common thing, says Mr. Crookes, for the seven or eight of us in the laboratory to see Miss Cook and Katie at the same time under the full blaze of the electric light. We did not on these occasions actually see the face of the medium, because of the shawl (which had been thrown over to prevent the light from falling on the face ), but we saw her hands and feet, we saw her move uneasily under the influence of the intense light, and we heard her moan occasionally. I have one photograph of the two together, but Katie is seated in front of Miss Cook's head.
On one occasion Mr. Crookes was photographed with Katie, she having her bare foot on a particular part of the floor; their relative height was ascertained. Mr. Crookes was then photographed with Miss Cook under precisely similar conditions, and while the two photographs of himself coincide exactly in stature, etc., Miss Cook's figure is found to be half a head shorter than Katie's, and looks small in comparison.
Photography, adds Mr. Crookes, is as inadequate to depict the perfect beauty of Katie's face, as words are powerless to describe her charms of manner. Photography may, indeed, give a map of her countenance; but how can it reproduce the brilliant purity of her complexion, or the ever varying expression of her most mobile features, now overshadowed with sadness when relating some of the bitter experiences of her past life, now smiling with all the innocence of happy girlhood when she had collected my children around her, and was amusing them by recounting anecdotes of her adventures in India.
The following particulars given by Mr. Crookes, as to the differences between Katie and the medium, will be found of interest:
Having seen so much of Katie lately, when she has been illuminated by the electric light, I am enabled to add to the points of difference between her and her medium which I mentioned in a former article. I have the most absolute certainty that Miss Cook and Katie are two separate, individuals as far as their bodies are concerned. Several little marks on Miss Cook's face are absent on Katie's. Miss Cook's hair is so dark a brown as almost to appear black; a lock of Katie's which is now before me, which she allowed me to cut from her luxuriant tresses, having first traced it up to the scalp and satisfied myself that it actually grew there, is a rich golden auburn.
On one evening I timed Katie's pulse. It beat steadily at 75, while Miss Cook's pulse, a little time after, was going at its usual rate of 90. On applying my ear to Katie's chest I could hear a heart beating rhythmically inside, and pulsating even more steadily than did Miss Cook's heart when she allowed me to try a similar experiment after the séance. Tested in the same way, Katie's lungs were found to be sounder than her medium's, for at the time I tried my experiment Miss Cook was under medical treatment for a severe cough.
Of the final parting of Miss Cook and Katie, Mr. Crookes says:
Having concluded her directions, Katie invited me into the cabinet with her, and allowed me to remain there to the end. After closing the curtain she conversed with me for some time, and then walked across the room to where Miss Cook was lying senseless on the floor. Stooping over her, Katie touched her and said, 'Wake up, Florrie, wake up! I must leave you now.' Miss Cook then woke and tearfully entreated Katie to stay a little time longer.' My dear, I can't; my work is done. God bless you!' replied Katie, and then continued speaking to Miss Cook. For several minutes the two were conversing with each other, till at last Miss Cook's tears prevented her speaking. Following Katie's instructions, I then came forward to support Miss Cook, who was falling on to the floor, sobbing hysterically. I looked around, but the white-robed Katie had gone. As soon as Miss Cook was sufficiently calmed a light was procured and I led her out of the cabinet.
Thus ended this extraordinary series of séances, verifying the stupendous fact of the power of spirits to manifest themselves in a temporarily materialized human form. To Miss Cook's honesty and good faith Mr. Crookes bears witness in the strongest terms. Every test he proposed she readily submitted to; she was open and straightforward in speech, and never did he see in her conduct anything approaching the slightest symptom of a wish to deceive.
To imagine, he says, that a school-girl of fifteen should be able to conceive and then successfully carry out for three years so gigantic an imposture as this, and in that time should submit to any tests which might be imposed upon her, should bear the strictest scrutiny, should be willing to be searched at any time, either before or after a séance, and should meet with even better success in my own house than at that of her parents, knowing that she visited me with the express object of submitting to strict scientific tests—to imagine, I say, the' Katie King' of the last three years to be the result of imposture—does more violence to one's reason and common sense than to believe her to be what she herself affirms.
When to these considerations is added the fact that the phenomena through Miss Cook have been recently paralleled and even surpassed by numerous similar well-attested phenomena, not only in England, but in America, what escape is there from the conclusion that they are wholly inexplicable under any theory of imposture or delusion?