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Observations placeholder

Edmonds, Judge John Worth - The Rochester knockings



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

From the website of the ‘First Spiritual Temple’

John W. Edmonds was one of the most influential early American Spiritualists. His interest in the Rochester knockings was aroused in early 1851, and the first account of his experiences was published on August 1, 1853, in the New York Courier, in an article "To the Public."

In this article, in order to meet the constant attacks against him by the Press, he confessed his complete conversion to Spiritualism and related his experiences. This bold step aroused a tremendous sensation, and a furious controversy arose.

In a letter published in the New York Herald, on August 6, 1853, he wrote:

"I went into the investigation originally thinking it a deception, and intending to make public my exposure of it. Having from my researches come to a different conclusion, I feel that the obligation to make known the result is just as strong. Therefore, it is, mainly, that I give the result to the world. I say mainly because there is another consideration which influences me, and that is, the desire to extend to others a knowledge which I am conscious cannot but make them happier and better."

His investigations into mediumship were logical, hard, and indicative of a man of the law. He was very shrewd, and, consistently, his conclusions were the same: spirit out of body can and does communicate with spirit in body. ……………

The account of his experiences with raps, as given in the New York Tribune, March 1859, is especially significant and informative:

"And finally after weeks of such trials, as if to dispel all idea in my mind as to its being done by others, or by machinery, the rappings came to me alone, when I was in bed, when no mortal but myself was in the room. I first heard them on the floor, as I lay reading.

"I said 'It's a mouse.' They instantly changed their location from one part of the room of another, with a rapidity that no mouse could equal. 'Still, it might be more than one mouse.' And then they came upon my person -- distinct, clear, unequivocal.

"I explained it to myself by calling it a twitching of the nerves, which at times I had experienced, and so I tried to see if it was so. It was on my thigh that they came. I sat up in bed, threw off all clothing from the limb, leaving it entirely bare. I had my left hand flat on the spot -- the raps would be then on my hand and cease on my leg. I laid my hand edgewise on the limb and the force, whatever it was, would pass across my hand and reach the leg, making itself as perceptible on each finger as on the leg. I held my hand two or three inches from my thigh and found that they instantly stopped and resumed their work, as soon as I withdrew my hand. But, I said to myself, this is some local affection which the magnetism of my hand can reach. Immediately they ran riot all over my limbs, touching me with a distinctness and rapidity that was marvelous, running up and down both limbs from the thighs to the end of the toes."

The source of the experience

Edmonds, Judge John Worth

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps