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Modern Spiritualism

( Originally Published 1918 )[an error occurred while processing this directive]

"To the Editor of the MEDICAL PRESS AND CIRCULAR

"SIR,—The letter of `A Doctor's Wife' on `Spiritualism and Insanity' leads me to pen a short note to you on an allied subject. Spiritualism has for long been investigated by many and exploited by not a few. The medical profession as a body have looked on from afar, although many of its members have been ardent workers in the search after the truths of the subject. One would like to see a committee formed of leading members of the profession who would scientifically investigate the subject.

"Personally, I have been (note the past tense) a sceptic concerning spirits, ghosts, spiritualism, table rapping, etc.; 'but a series of unaccountable incidents in my own house has caused me to ask myself if there be not something which possesses a basis of reality and fact.

"In my own house a spectre of a female has been seen on eight occasions by seven individuals during the past ten years. Only one of these persons who saw it was aware of its existence prior to seeing it. Once it was seen by two persons at the same time, though neither was cognizant of the other seeing it until they mutually related the incident to me next morning. The last but one to see it was a sober-minded, level-headed nurse, who was on night duty during the illness of one of my children. She saw it standing at her side at 3.30 A.M., and, though much surprised, was neither alarmed nor perturbed. Noises occur in one room overhead in the early hours of the morning, which, by their very intensity, remove all ghostly fears and make one inclined to laugh.

The bells in the house I have seen violently ring, and for a long time attributed such to action of mice or rats, but investigation of the power required to put the bells in motion puts this explanation out of court.

"I have slept for weeks in the haunted room, but with no success, and have racked my poor brains to try and explain the phenomena. One is told by spiritualists that the spectre is an earth-bound spirit, but how can a spirit make the noises like moving of furniture or ring bells in the middle of the day? Perhaps the latter have no connexion with the former, but that the spectre exists one can scarcely deny when the evidence of so many impartial observers supports it.

"The greatest drawback one experiences is the futility of help which one receives from those who dub themselves spiritualists or mediums.

"Thanking you for allowing so much of your valuable space,

"I am, yours truly,

"THECLA W. ALBUM."

Now comes Dr. Album's full account as given to me previously to the writing of the

Medical Press letter.' As will be noted, there were further appearances between the two.

"I am a medical man, specialist, and in my house during the past seven or eight years a `ghost' (!), having the outline of a tall white female figure, has been seen on six occasions by five people.

"(1) By my sister-in-law, one evening when playing the piano in our upstairs drawing-room; this was the first occasion, and it happened about seven years ago.

"(2) Next by a lady nurse, who also saw it in the same room, and she had seen it about a year earlier preceding her upstairs to her bedroom one evening, and on this occasion she addressed it, saying, `Hullo! who's that?'

" (3) A man and his wife occupied the house during our absence, and when I called one day the wife said: `As I was going to bed last night I saw a 'tall white figure preceding me up the stairs.' As she said this, and before I could reply, her husband ejaculated: `Was that about 9.39 as we were going up-stairs to bed?' `Yes,' replied the wife, on which the husband added: `I saw it, too, but did not say anything to you for fear of frightening you.'

"(4) On October 19th this year (1916) we had a night nurse on duty with our youngest, and had turned the drawing-room into a sick bay; and at 4 A.M., the nurse, who was intently reading a book by the fire, was startled to find standing by her right hand a tall female figure in white, who suddenly vanished. I asked her next day if she were frightened. `Oh, no,' she replied, `only very much surprised and startled.'

"Now, none of these individuals—except the nurse—had ever heard from anyone of the existence of this ghost, as we make a particular point of never mentioning it to anyone, nor have we even mentioned it to our present domestics.

"There have been other occasions on which we fancy it has been seen: by a nurse attending at the birth of my boy, also a lady visitor staying alone except for the maids, who got a big fright one night, but will not say what it was.

"Again, when my boy was about two and a half to three years of age, he told us that `such a nice lady had kissed him' as he lay in his cot.

"Neither I nor my wife have seen this creature, though we should greatly like to.

"I personally believe I saw a `ghost' once, some years ago, when walking along a broad highroad one winter afternoon in Shropshire. I saw ahead of me what I took to be a man and woman dressed in black, and after I had over-taken them I turned round to have a look at them, only to find that they had vanished. I went back and examined the place where I had first seen them, over and over again, but could find nothing which could be construed to make up the appearance I had seen."

(Dr.) T. W. ALBUM.

The next case, though only one percipient was concerned, is exceptionally impressive because the percipient is an exceptionally good witness. I cannot dismiss his story as being untrue or imaginative. His experience was real, and in my opinion his own interpretation is reasonable.

"My mother died in Penzance at 9 o'clock on the night of Friday, November 4th, 1897. At that time I was living in Sydney, New South Wales. At 7 o'clock on the morning of Saturday, November 5th, 1897—an hour synchronizing with 9, P.M.. November 4th, English time--my mother entered my room, advanced towards my bed, stooped down and kissed me, and then slowly faded from sight.

"This was not a dream; I had been awake for an hour or so, thinking, not of my mother, but of a trip to New Zealand on which I had arranged to start that afternoon. I was aware my mother was seriously ill: she had been suffering from cancer for over three years; but I had received no communication from home to lead me to imagine her end was near, and the first intimation I had from my family came to hand five weeks later by mail. But I knew my mother was `dead' the moment she visited me. Since that memorable day I have often had communion with her. She is—not seems, but is—very near to me at times; I am conscious of her presence, though there is no spiritual or other manifestation of her form; I can always visualize her features whenever I wish, without external aid ; and her silent admonition, advice, guidance and sympathy have often been very helpful to me in periods of mental strain and doubt.

"I have never sought to command her presence; I never know when she will make it felt; and I am convinced that my consciousness in this respect is not influenced by imagination or emotionalism. On the subject of her present state and environment I have never presumed to question her, nor has my mother ever volunteered any communication. I am content to wait, in the full assurance that I shall meet my mother when I cross the borderline.

"There is so general a disposition to treat with levity the subject of spiritual communion that I do not care to discuss it even with my intimates; it is too sacred a matter to be exposed to possible ridicule; but I am heartily glad to find eminent scientists approaching it with a sympathetic mind."

J. A. STEPHEN ARNOLD.

I have been given the exact addresses and other reinforcing details, but must suppress them because identities would be revealed.



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