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New-York tribune. (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, July 05, 1908, Image 31

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Strange Career of a Queer Young Man of Connecticut Who
Puzzled Scientists and Amazed the People of Two Continents
SO you've brought the devil to my house, have
yon?" ,
"No, no, .•.:: iv, no ■ It's not my fault.
Ifitb an angry gesture!; the -woman, tall, large
boned, harsh visaged; pushed back her chair and
adtamoed threateningly toward the pale, anemic
tooting youth of seventeen!! who sat cowering at the
Jarendof the breakfast table. -t
•You know this is y« ur doing. Stop it at once!
lie ether gazed helplessly about him, while from
cmv side of the r ian came a volley .•! raps and
knock*. "It is n< tmy doing," he muttered. "I
cart help it."
"Begone then! ( *ut of my sight!"
Left to herself and to "silence. — for with her
MjSwr's departure the noise instantly ceased. —
she fell into gj<« my meditation. She was an ex
ceedingly ignorant," but a profoundly religious,
v.oman." She had beard much of the celebrated
Fox sisters, with tales of whose strange actions in
Jhe'soghboring State of New York the countryside
«as then ringing, and recognized, or imagined
she recognized, a s : rilring similarity between their
performances and the tumult of the last few min
ae& I: was her Srrn belief that the Fox girls were
rictsns of den* niac influence, and no ess surely
d:d she deem it ■ ■•■-> ible to attribute the recent
disturbance to human agency. Her nephew was
not given io"practi< „': jokes; there had been nothing
ansaal in his mai er; he had greeted her cheerily
as usual, and qui< t! , taken his seat. But with his
adroit, and she h'uddered at the remembrance,
the knocking? ' begun^ penetrating, frightful.
There could be < :.'v one explanation: the boy,
however mra-xtting! had placed '..-.•]: in the
power of the d<- . . \Vhat to do, however, she knew
sot. and famed ant fretted the entire morning, until
Hi his reappearuii c at noon the knockings broke
cot again.' Then r mind was quickly made up.
Called on the Ministers
T ( XjK you!" she to him. "We must rid you
of the evil J I . sin you . I shall have the minis
ters reason with • i and pray for you, and that at
True to her v rd. the despatched a messenger
to the three clef} en of the little Connecticut vil
l-?e in which f] made her home, and all three
promptly resjx :.■ i tci her request. But their visits
i-r<d their prayt proved ... Indeed, the
~j<re they pra"y< i el< uder the knocks became;
and presently, "to their astonishment and dismay,
tie very fornifure appeared bewitched, dancing
adkaping as - h alive. "Verily," said one to
Me irate aunt; ' the boy is possessed of the devil.
•io make xnattei worse, the neighbors^ hearing of
TO weird occum •-. besieged the house lay and
Eight, their ■ ■ . whetted by a report that, ex
a«33y as in thi -• ■'• ■: the F<>x sisters, oorhmunica
p'.'nsfrorn the <'.■ were IK.-ing received through the
raoddags. Inn ible as it seemed, this report
load Bpeedy c tion. Before the week ■■■•■'"
oatheladi tnt:
"■ Lt<t night | ! c came raps t< ■me sj x.-lling v. < >rds,
and they brouj . me .* message from the spirit of
J 3 ? mother."
[Jod-R-hat -. the message?"
Hvjaothei > spirit said :<• me, 'Daniel, fear n<>t,
child. G«d •. ith you. and who shall be against
Seek to <";.. good! Be truthful and truth lov
-■?■■ and you •■ : .; prosper, my child. Yours is a
EtaQoosmissicM . -■•■.: »-jll convince the infidel, cure
'•* sick, and ■ i i ■ v the weeping.*! 1
. A glorious :«•:.:" mocked the aunt, her
jr*&°e Wterly . schausted. "A glorious mission.
--**fcy3 and : eive, t<> plague and torment!
" '.?}• * I " %v ay. and darken my doors no :n<>r<--!"
..w° -• V)U s»«an this; aunty r"
•v., , rM "• pank-lr Never shall it be said of me
I gave „ ,; _. ,i cohort to Satan or child of
- Uomc'c Involuntary Start
I. cas-way ras Daniel Dunglas Home launched on
'>:,' d Gc ? €r thal was to prove one of the most mar
■ ." l -'' m(Kt '^'rvelous, in the annals of
■ ■
to'a^^f 011 But ;t the tiinc ' there was ho reason
tv*" 1 " s'^5 '^- lhe remarkable achievements that
-'' Z^ beW m store for him. He was fitted for
is Sir*- Ever sine* his aunt had adopted him
fxaer** 11 * Sootl^nd, - here he was born of obscure
fcDttwS! in IS iS-> be had led a life of complete
U Ci not "'^">'« ther cheerless^ but deadening
fcvkoiN^' and h<: '» terribly for the
'•asui mik;Ti^ h;^ ■■••••• in the world. His health
°« WS ; h V^ s"">^ts were empty; he was with
r>ji4j . jr*. up<»n .'r.s <.v.n resources tan<i<--r
iii'vrt.? vms ' «t seemed only t«^» probable that
Ivothw an tv - rl --' ' ] '- ;:til ••• <lU^ be his portion:
i& satiiwi" S <JI '' V vtTe :n his fav " r - Tbe fir£t ■•' as
ffite^. n;:n " t:<;: ' and optimism: the second,
f^jn^n'"' t r -"' : '"'' 1 b y published rej»orts of the
*^ wracn had ted to his expulsion from his
aunt's house Already, though only a few days
had i ■ nee the knockings were first heard,
the story great publicity,
greedily devoured by an
evenvidenii : ■ • willing to regard
su< h bapp, ■ - . dence o( the intervention o)
ad in the aiTaii ol I g. It was, H must
ered, an era ■ I ■ id* pread enthu lasm
„ d . the i.. -.].:■ peri< .1 oi spiritualism.
on, therefore, as ii became known that young
erty to i ten he would, invita
ered on
on < from the nearby town ol
nd thither Home journeyed in the
.... „, ,B s i. It was determined thai an
, aid i., madeto demonstrate hismedium
... c tilting proo then coming into
, result exceeded
„.. „.,,!„ , to an eye
. . • ■ , . • only mo •
I al contact, but on request turned iwlt up
ide i ■ : ercame a spectators effort to
pi ■ True, when this spectator
d held it with -.11 his strength
- . • , -did n < • ;..■ c so freely as before ,
and !!■ me'i fame mount* •! ■•] a< c.
. traveled, to Id ngseanc* ,at
■ •, • ■. : ... counts are to be believed,
. . . ■ . -l supernatural power fai and
other of the i ■ us mediums
. time springing up throughout the
•, ,i. „ , occasion • are told, tlit
. t«-(l : through him the where
about ■ ■••■:•• 'I to .. tr.i. t ..l land then
in litigation; on another, the) enabled him t«>
: an invalid foi whom no
•'1 ,iii<l time aftei i ime they
ed to thos« : eance room nu i •■- •
import 1- ide vou< hi afing to
physical" phen< unena of the greatest variety.
ibk was the lua t that the
1 1
Drawing by Joseph Clement Coll
young medium steadfastly refused to
accept payment for his services. "My
gift, he would solemnly say, "is free
to all, without money and without
price. 1 have a mission to fulfil, and
to its fulfilment I will cheerfully give
my life." Naturally this attitude of
itself made for converts to the spirit
ualistic beliefs of which he was such an
apt exponent, and its influence was
powerfully reinforced by the result of
an investigation conducted in the
spring of iS;2 by a committee headed
by the poet William Cullen Bryant
and the Harvard professor David G.
Wells. Briefly, these men declared in
their report that they had attended a
stance with Hume in a well lighted
room; had seen a table move in every
direction and with great force, "when
we could not perceive any cause of
motion," and even "rise clear of the
floor and float in the atmosphere for
several seconds"; had in vain tried to
inhibit its action by sitting on it; had
occasionally been made "conscious of
the occurrence of a powerful shock,
which produced a vibratory motion of
the floor of the apartment in which we
were seated"; and finally were abso
lutely certain that they had not been
"imposed Upon or deceived.".
A Tremendous Sensation
THE report, to be sure, did not specify
what, if any, means had been
taken to guard against fraud, its only
reference in this connection being a.
statement that "Mr. 1). I). Home fre
quently urged us to hold his hands and
feet." But it none the less created a
tremendous sensation, public attention
being focused on the fact that an
awkward, callow, country lad had suc
cessfully sustained the scnitiny of
!:..•; of "learning, intelligence, and high
repute. Xo longer, it would seem,
could there be doubt of the validity of
his claims, and greater demands than
ever were made on him. As before, he
willingly responded, adding to his re
pertoire, if the term is permissible,
new feats of the mosi startling char
acter. Thus, at a Stance in New York
a table on which a pencil, two candles,
a tumbler, and some papers had been placed, tipped
over at an angle of thirty degrees without disturbing
in the slightest the position of the movable objects
on its surface. Then ..t the mediums bidding the
pencil was dislodged, rolling to the floor while the
r, | remained motionless; and afterward the tum
\ little later occurred the first of Home's levita
tions, when, at the house oi a Mr. Cheney in South
Manchester, Connecticut, he is said to have been
lifted without visible means of support to the ceil
ing of the seance room. To quote from an eve
vntness' narrative: "Suddenly, and without any
expectation on the pari of the company, Mr Home
• iken up in the air. 1 had hold oi his feel .a
the time, and I and others felt his feet— they were
lifted a fc* t from the floor. . . . Again and again
taken from the floor, and the third tune he
arried to the lofty ceiling oi the apartment,
with which his hand and head came in gentle con
tact ' \ far cry, this, from the simple raps and
knocks that had ushered in his mediuinship.
Now hoy ever an event occurred which threatened
to'cut short alike his "mission" and his life. Never
, j n bust health, he fell seriously ill oi an affection
that developed into tuberculosis. The medical men
whom he consulted unanimously declared that his
onh hope lay in a change oi climate and taking
alarm his spiritualistic friends generously subscribed
a large sum to enable him to visit Europe. Inci
dentally, no doubt, they expected him to serve as
, nar) „i the new faith. And it may be said
at once that in this expectation they were not de
., „,j Mo one c. i labored more earnestl) and
, fuiij in behali of spiritualism than did
; Dunglas Horn. From the moment he set foot
„,, the ■ how oi England in April, 1855; and 1 ne
in all the history oi spiritualism achieved such in
dw idual renown, not in England alone but in almost
every countr) of the Contineni
It . from this point that the inyi tery oi his - ..n ■< r

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