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De Morgan, Augustus - From Matter to Spirit - 02 Preface on the experiences of Mr De Morgan - raps



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

From Matter to Spirit - Preface written by Augustus De Morgan

Ten years ago, Mrs. Hayden, the well-known American medium, came to my house alone. The sitting began immediately after her arrival. Eight or nine persons were present, of all ages, and of all degrees of belief and unbelief in the whole thing being imposture.

The raps began in the usual way.

They were to my ear clean, clear, faint sounds, such as would be said to ring, had they lasted.  I likened them at the time to the noise which the ends of knitting-needles would make, if dropped from a small distance upon a marble slab, and instantly checked by a damper of some kind: and subsequent trial showed that my description was tolerably accurate.

I never had the good luck to hear those exploits of Latin muscles, and small kicking done on the leg of a table by machinery, which have been proposed as the causes of these raps: but the noises I did hear were such as I feel quite unable to impute to either source, even on the supposition of imposture.

Mrs. Hayden was seated at some distance from the table, and her feet were watched by their believers until faith in pedalism slowly evaporated.

At a late period in the evening, after nearly three hours of experiment, Mrs. Hayden having risen, and talking at another table while taking refreshment, a child suddenly called out, “Will all the spirits who have been here this evening rap together ?”

The words were no sooner uttered than a hailstorm of knitting needles was heard, crowded into certainly less than two seconds; the big needle sounds of the men, and the little ones of the women and children, being clearly distinguishable, but perfectly disorderly in their arrival.

For convenience I shall speak of these raps as proceeding from spirits-the reader may say that the spirit was Mrs. Hayden; the party addressed, a departed friend, the devil, or what not. Though satisfied that the sounds were made amosgepotically, I prefer the word spirit, as briefer than ‘amosgepotic influence.'

The source of the experience

De Morgan, Augustus

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps