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New-York tribune. (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, July 05, 1908, Image 32

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1908-07-05/ed-1/seq-32/

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really becomes conspicuous. Hitherto, with the
exception of the Bryant-Wells investigation, which
could hardly be called scientific . his pretensions
had not been seriously tested, and, operating as he
did among avowed spiritualists, he had enjoyed un
limited opportunities for the perpetration of fraud.
But henceforth, skeptics as well as believers having
ready access to him. he found himself not infre
quently in a thoroughly hostile environment, and
subjected to the sharpest criticism and most un
restrained abuse. Nevertheless, he was able not
simply to maintain but to augment the fame of his
youth, and. after a mediumship of more than thirty
years, could claim the unique distinction of not
once having had a eh irge of trickery proved against
him.
Besides this, overcoming ith astounding ease
the handii aps of his humble birth and lack of educa
tion, Ins life was one continued round of social
triumphs of the highest order: for he speedily won
and retained to the day of his death the confidence
and friendship of leaders of society in every European
capital. With them, in castle, chateau, and man
sion, he made Ins home, always welcome and always
trusted; and in his days of greatest stress, day- of
ill health., vilification, and legal entanglements, they
rallied unfailingly to his aid. Add again that Kings
and Queens vied with one another in entertaining
and rewarding him, and it is possible to gain some
idea of the heights scaled by this erstwhile < onnecti
t ut o luntry boy.
He began modestly enough by taking rooms at a
quiet London hotel; where, his fame having spread
through the city, he soon had the pie isure of giving
a seance to two such distinguished personages as
Lord Brougham and Sir David Brewster. Both
retired thoroughly mystified, though the latter some
months later asserted that while he could "not a< -
count for all" he had witnessed, he had seen enough
to satisfy himself "that they could all be produced
by hand-- and feet." — a statement which, by the
way, was at variance with one he had made at the
time, and involved him in a most unpleasant con
troversy.
Basis of Lytton's "Zanoni"
AFTER Brougham and Brewster came a long
•**■ succession of other notables, including the
novelisi Sir Bulwer Lytton, to whom a most edify
ing experience was granted. Rapping away a^
usual, the table suddenly indicated that it had a
message for him, and. the alphabet being called
over in the customary spiritualistic style, it spelled
out:
"'I am the spirii who influenced you to
' Zam mi.' "
■• Indeed " [uoth Lytl >n, vith i kepi
"Suppose you give me a tangible prooi of your
presence. "
"Put your h ind under the table."
XT, sooner done, than the invisible being gave
him a heart}- handshake, and proceeded
"We wish you to believe in the — " It stopped.
"In what' In the medium?"
"No."
At that moment therej ime .. gentle t ipping on
his knee, and looking down he found on it a small
cardboard cross which had Keen lying on another
table. Lytton, the story goes, begged permission
to keep the cross as a souvenir, and promised that
he would remember the "spirit's" injunction.
For Home, of course, the incident was a splen li i
advertisement, as were the extravagant reports
spread broadcast by other visitors. Consequently,
when he moved to Italy in the autumn as the guest
of one of his English patrons, he gained instant
recognition, and vas enabled to enter th phern >m
enal ease upon his Continental crusade.
In order to reach the most striking manifesta
tions of his peculiar ability, we must pa.-s hurriedly
over the events of the next few years, though they
were perhaps the most picturesque of his career, in
cluding as they did seances with the third Napoleon
and his Empress, with the King of Prussia, and
with the Emperor of Russia. In Russia he was
married to the daughter of a noble Russian family,
and for groomsmen at his wedding had fount
Alexei Tolstoi, the famous poet, and Count Bob
rinski. one of the Emperors chamberlains This
was in 1858; and shortly afterward he returned \ .
England to repeat his spiritualistic triumphs of
1855, and increase the already large group of in
fluential and titled friends >vtio c loors were ever
AT THE ClßCUS— Silhouette Studies by Jessie Gillespie
SUNDAY MAGAZINE FOR JULY 5. 1908
open to him. Had it not been for their gener city,
it 1- difficult, indeed, to >cc how lie could have lived j
for his time was almost altogether devoted to the
practice of spiritualism, an I never known to
accept a fee for a seance. As it W3S, he lived very
well, now the of one. now of another, and the
frequent recipient of costly presents. From Engl in i
he fared back to the Continent, again travel
by leisurely stages. Thus nearly a decade passed
before the occurrence of the first of the several phe
nomena that have won Home an enduring |
among the greate t lighi ■: spirittj dism
The Triumph of Levitation
AT that time his English patrons md
Viscount Adare and the Master of Lands
have since become respectively the Eai
raven and the Earl of Crawford. They were >ittins
one evening (December 1". 1868) in an uppei
of a house in London with Home and a Captain
Wynne, when Home suddenly left the room
entered the adjoining chamber The opening
window was then heard, and the next momeni I
the amazement of all three, ti. :
form Boating in the dim moo:.:,, t outside 1
dow of the room in which they were seated
an instant it hovered there, at a 1 ' fully
seventy feet above the pavement, and then, smiling
and debonair, Home was with them again An
other marvel immediately followed. At H
request Lord Dunraven closed the window wrt or
which tiie medium was supposed to have beei
ried by tlie 'spirit.-," and on returning obsei
that the window had not been raised a foot, and he
did not see how a man could have managed I ■
squeeze through it.
"Come," said Home. ' I will -ho".- you." To
gether they went into the next room.
"He told me." Lord Dunraven reported, ' I •
open the window as it was before. 1 did so He
toll me to stand a little distance off. He thei
through the open space, head first, quite : ■
his body being nearly horizontal and appai
rigid He came in again feet foremost, and
turned to the other room. It was so dark I
not see clearly b>w he was supported tutside He
did not appear to grasp or rest upm the
but rather to be swung out and in."
To Lord Dunraven and Lord Crawi ■:■ 1
■ is given the boon of witnessing another of Home -
most sensational performances, and on more than
one occasion. This may best be described b
Crawford's own words, as related in his test.- . 1
to the London Dialectical Society's committee
- 1.) undertook an inquiry into the claii
spiritualism.
"I saw Mr. Home," declared Lord Crawford. ' elcn -
gated eleven in 1 trance. I measure 1 !■.:::'.
standing up against the v all. and marke I the]
Not being satisfied with that. 1 put him in the
middle of the room and placed a candle in front ■■•
him. so as to throw a shadow on the wall, •• I
also marked. When lie awoke I measured hi:::
again in his natural size, both directly and by the
shallow, and the results were equal. I 1 t::
that lie was not off the gr >und or standing ■ m I
as 1 had full view of ;■■.> feet, and moreover a
gentleman present had one of Ins feet placed over
Home's insteps. ... I once
horizontally on the ground. . . . Lord Adaz
present. Home seemed to grow .it both ends,
and pushed Adare an 1 •.-.■-■ -••'.:
A Famous Scientist's Tests
rPIIIIr PIIII publication of tins evidence and of tfa
•*• tails of the mid air excursion provoke 1 a
be imagined, a heated discussion, and doubtless
considerable influence in inducing the famous sci
entist. Sir William Crookes, to engage in the series
of experiments thai he earned out with Home
two years later. This was at once the most search
ing investigation to which Home was ever
jected, ami the most signal triumph of hi- career
Sir William's proposal was hailed with the greatest
satisfaction by the cntic> of spiritualism in general
and of Home m particular. Here, it was said, was .1
man fully qualified to expose the archimpostoi v. h •
had been so justly pilloried in Browning's "Mr
Sludge the Medium"; here was , t scientist, trained
to exact knowledge and < lose observation, who
would not be deceived by the artful tricks of ...
Hirer It wa> pleasant too to learn th. it. m order • .
circumvent any attempt- at sleight "i hand. Sir
William inter I using instruments specially de
signed for test purposes, which he was confides:
could not be operated fraudulently.
But Home, or the "spirits," proved too strong
for even Sir William Crookes and his '.r.strumenti.
In Sir William's presence, in fact, there was a Bffif
tiplicatioii of mysteries. The instruments registered
results that seemed inexplicable by any nafcsal
law: a lath, cast carelessly on a table, rose in the
air, nodded gravely to the astonished scientist, and
proceeded to tap out messages alleged to come froa
the world beyond; chairs moved in ghostly fashion
up and down the room; invisible beings lifted Hone
himself from the flour: "spirit" hurls were seen
and felt: an accordeon, held by Sir William, pfaraj
tunes apparently of its own volition, and afterward
floated about the room, still playing. And aUtla
according to the learned investigator, "in a private
room that almost up to the commencement of the
seance has been occupied as a living room, and sur
rounded by private friends of my own, who not only
will not countenance the slightest decepti >n. but who
are watching narrowly everything that takes place. '
In the end, so far from announcing that he had
convicted Home of fraud. Sir William pubEshectaa
elaborate account of his seances, and gave :t as his
solemn belief that with Home's assistance he had
succeeded in demonstrating the existence of a
hitherto unknown force, this was scarcely what
had been expected by the scientific world, which
had eagerly awaited his verdict, and loud '.vas the
tumult that followed. But Sir William << >od man
fully by his guns: and Home.— bland :::^ratable.
mysterious Home, — figuratively shrugging his shoui
ders at denunciations to which by this time he had
become perfectly accustomed, adde i aa rher lea:
to his spiritualistic crown of laurels, and betooi
himself anew to his friends on the Continent, '.vhere.
despite increasing ill health, he o >ntii -to prose
cute his "mission" for many prosperous years.
Only One Reverse
AS 2 matter of fact, throughout the period ot his
-**■ "mediumship." that is to say. :. ri ISSI w
1 886. the year of his death, he experien t I only one
serious reverse, and this did not mv >Ive any ex
posure of' the falsity of his claims. Bur it vraa seg
otts enough, in all conscience, and c;i'.!~ i >t mention
both because it emphasizes the contras: :>er.veea
his earlier and his later life, and because it «***?
a luminous sidelight on the methods 1 whica te
achieved his unparalleled success. Whi i te '.vas :2
London in 1863 he made the acquain: ince 01 as
elderly, impressionable Englishwoman ri: ::.ed Lyon.
who immediately conceived a warm at: =. ■'.-.T.cnz r-'r
him and stated her intention of adopting ':: ax as ser
son. Carrying out this plan, she sett..- 1
snug little fortune of one hundred and : ntj tr.ouj
sand dollars, which she subsequently ir. : >sei ur.tu
it amounted to no less than three hundre I thoos3Bß
dollars. Home at the time was a widower. - lß j*;"
was his belief, as he afterward stated in court, tffls
the woman desired him to marry her.
In any event, her affection c>>oled as rapidly a*
it had begun, and the next thing he kr.ev he wa»
being sued for the recovery of the throe baaa&*
thousand dollars. The trial was a celebrated^
in English law. Lord Dunraven. Lord Cra**°2
and other of Home's titled and influential Ir^l
hurried to his assistance, and many were the *™j~£
vits forthcoming to combat the contentioas or M^-
Lyon. who swore that she had !>een induenceaOP
adopt Home by communications allege ! to cos*
through him from her dead husband. H >taS WBS"
self denied that there were any manifestations what
ever relating to Mrs. Lyon; whose story, in fact, wai
so discredited on cr. >ss examination th.it the pre
siding judge, the vice chancellor, caustically *J
clared that her testimony was quite uirwptth? <*
belief. Notwithstanding this, he did n>t iies'-^ c
to give judgment in her favor, on the ground t-£
however worthless her evidence, it had not ttt^j
satisfactorily shown that her guts to Hotae •*
"acts of pure volition," the presumption being t-* 3 '
no reasonable man or woman would have pursue
the course she did unless under the pressure ot u 3 "
due influence by the party to be benefited.
Hypnotism the Explanation
TF for "undue influence" we read "hyp:! •twin. *^
■*■ shall have a sufficient, and what seems to be t- *
only satisfactory, explanation of the Lyon epi***

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