Foster, Charles H - Give my love to Frank
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The Salem Seer – George Bartlett
Northern Border, Bangor, Maine, September 13th 1873
We now sit down, after having given a sketch of the origin and histories of the two Spiritualisms, as presented in our last issue, to relate what experience we had with the great spiritual medium, Mr. Charles H. Foster; and this service we propose to do, whatever may have been or may now be our personal opinions, with judicial fairness.
Our friend first received the attention of the medium. He received many wonderful statements ; but we shall not relate them; for, as testimony through us, they would be second-hand; and we shall confine our report to those things that concern ourself.
When our turn came, the medium remarked that he was getting a wonderful manifestation — the initials of a spirit present stamped in characters of blood upon the posterior surface of his left hand ; and when he held the hand up where we could see it — it was before upon his lap — we could see certain lines running transversely to the direction of the veins, of a deep purple color, which the medium could not quite read. The letters were evidently three in number; they were about four inches in length ; and Mr. Foster thought them to be G. F. T.
"Perhaps," said we, "they are meant for G. V. T."
"Oh, yes," said Mr. Foster, "they are the initials of your own dear GEORGE! "
Mr. Foster then said that George was present; that another person was standing near us, professing to be our mother ; that still another, standing on the other side of us, was our father ; and that they were all glad of this opportunity of holding intercourse with us, and ready to answer any questions.
We asked, " Can you see them ? "
"Oh, yes," replied the medium, "very plainly."
"If you can see them," we resumed, "you will be so good as to describe our father."
"Certainly," said Mr. Foster. " He is a tall man — a little round- shouldered, as if he had been a student, but not at all disfigured ; has a very large head, with a high, broad, massive forehead; has a full, prominent, blue-gray eye — looks stern, even severe, and has a heavy prominent nose ; he is not severe, but only looks so — naturally given to mirth, when not seriously engaged; is very approachable if you have any business with him; stands holding out before him a very large book, like the Bible or a law-book; he must have been a minister, or a judge."
We then asked him if he could decide upon what his business was in life. "Oh, yes," said the medium. "He says if you will write down the names of a dozen occupations, he will point out his own."
We complied with this request. We wrote them with a pencil on a slip of paper. The medium seized the pencil as we dropped it — began to trace lines in a trembling rotary motion all about the paper — crossed off name after name as the pencil quivered along its tertuous and irregular course, till two names were left.
We said, as he dropped the pencil, "There are two names."
"Yes," said the medium, "and he had two occupations."
The words left upon the paper were Lawyer and Justice.
" How long," we asked, "was he a justice? "
Almost as soon as we could speak the words, the answer came from Mr. Foster's pencil — "30 years."
" What was our father's name? " we then inquired.
" He says I shall write it for him," replied Mr. Foster. Upon this he seized the pencil and wrote a name, which might have been deciphered Amor, or Amos, or Amon Teft.
"It cannot be our father," said we ; "for he knew exactly what his name was ; and he also knew how to spell it."
"Will our friend write his name more plainly and spell it right? " asked Foster.
Seizing again the pencil, he wrote very plainly, and this time resembling our father's real hand — Amon Tefft — the only man of his name, we believe, since this world began ; and no person in Maine or in New England, besides ourself, could have so readily stated it.
"But you say our mother is here also. Can you give us her maiden name in full? " we asked.
"She says she will write it," was the immediate answer of Mr. Foster.
Taking a slip of paper, about four inches square, and holding it under the table about ten seconds, he brought it up again, when we saw written on it what might have been read Hott, or Hatt, or Hett, so badly were the letters formed. We pointed out this ambiguity to Mr. Foster, and he at once said : "Will mother write her name so plainly that we can read it?" He then held another similar slip beneath the table, between ourself, and him, and in less time than before brought it up with the name written in a round, full, legible hand — Holt.
The moment the latter name was produced, Mr. Foster broke forth in a personal address to us, as if from our mother, full of kindness and affection, and promising us with constant love and guidance, which closed up with the words, " From your own dear mother, Rebecca Holt."
Only one person in New England, besides ourself, knew that name !
Mr. Foster then said that "George " wished us to write down such questions as we would like answered. We hesitated an instant.
" He says he will answer the questions you have in your pocket," interposed the medium. We had forgotten that we had brought any written questions. We felt in several pockets and could find none.
We remembered writing some, but thought we must have left or lost them. We so stated. Mr. Foster insisted that we had some with us.
We made a more thorough search and found them jammed down by a mass of letters into the bottom of our coat-pocket. Taking them out, and folding out the crumpled mass — the paper was soft printing-paper — we tore off half a dozen questions, in separate pieces, folded each one up several times over and over, then laid them down upon the table.
One was, " Is there any resurrection of the material body ? "
Mr. Foster picked it up, and at the same instant answered : "I do not know, father; but I think not. Why should there be, for I have now as good a body as I could wish ? "
Another question was: "Is there any intermediate state of the dead?"
The medium began making this answer the moment his fingers touched the paper: "No, father, when we leave the world, we go straight to heaven."
A third question was, ' ' Have you seen in your present state any of your relations ? ' '
The reply came as promptly as before : ' ' Yes, father, I am with them very often."
We then asked the medium if the one he called "George" would answer a test-question. He answered, " Yes, he says he will." We then asked in an audible voice, ' ' Will you state how many of your father's family are in this life, and how many there are in spirit- land?"
"He wishes to know," said Mr. Foster, " whether he is to include himself ? ' '
We answered, " Yes "; and then the medium said, " He will point out the numbers on the card."
We then picked up a card that had been lying on the table, which contained the alphabet and the numerals up to nine and the cipher.
We touched the figures all around at random, for quite a while, keeping clear of the true numbers. We at last touched the figure four ; and we heard the three raps, indicating, as they say, that that was right. We then repeated the process, and we again touched figure four, the same raps occurred. " How is that? " inquired the medium.
" Oh, I see," he said immediately, "he says there are four with you and four with him, himself included," which was the fact.
We then asked if he would answer another test-question. "Certainly," said Mr. Foster.
Speaking to the medium, we said, "Will you state our exact age? "
Mr. Foster's reply was, " He will point it out on the card."
We then, as before, carelessly struck the figures on the card, for some time keeping clear of the right ones. At last we touched figure six, when the three raps followed. We passed on, however, as if we did not hear them. Again, after a little skirmishing, we hit six again ; the three raps were repeated. We then ran all along the line of figures, touching every one of them, but not in serial order. We obtained no response till we reached the cipher ; and then came, not three raps, but a sort of confused knocking. The medium seemed puzzled for a moment. Soon, however, his face cleared up, and he said, "George is puzzled how to answer by the card ; for he says you will not be sixty years of age till the 20th of this month." It was then the 18th ; and the age was thus given to a day.
We then received what purported to be a voluntary communication from George. It was professedly dictated to, and certainly written out by, Mr. Foster. We have not the document with us as we write, but we can give the substance of it very readily. It was about as follows :
Dear Father — It is as great a satisfaction to me as it can be to you to have this meeting. Do not think of me as lying in the ground. All that was material has gone back to dust. But I am still living and very happy. I stand near you every day, and always will stand near you to guard and guide you. We shall meet again, and finally make an unbroken family in Heaven. George.
This communication was apparently the closing act of the seance ; for the medium rose and said that he could do no more. But it was not quite the closing act. "Oh," said Mr. Foster, as if a last word had been hastily added, "George says, 'Give my love to Frank ! '
Who is Frank? " said the medium. "Is there any one he used to call Frank ? ' '
"Yes," replied we, "he has a living brother of that name, a dentist in this city."
Such, reader, as perfectly as we can recall it, and with the most absolute fairness, by the help of a memory that scarcely ever fails us, was our seance, or sitting, with the celebrated medium, Mr. Charles H. Foster. Remember, however, it was our first seance. We went twice afterwards, each time with a friend, and a friend whose relatives were our relatives, whose loves are our loves, but in different degrees.
All the names they wrote — all the persons they called for — were no more familiar to them than to us ; as some things happened to them quite additional to our experience, we propose to write out what we saw and heard on these occasions, to be published in our next number.
It is due to all concerned now to say — which we do frankly — that, as to mere facts, without implying at this time any opinion, Mr. Foster made not one mistake, so far as we were concerned, in this whole sitting. The raps were real raps, quite audible, though not loud, and sensible to the feeling, when the hands were laid upon the table.
Again, the impression of the three large letters, upon the back of the medium's hand, was a visible impression, and not the mere swelling of the veins ; for the veins all run the other way ; and more than that, the letters faded away and vanished as we were looking at them.
Again, the description given of the writer's father was about as accurate as any one would conceive of him, had he been familiar with his appearance, as we were forty years ago ; his name was written correctly, very much as he used to write it, though not exactly ; his two occupations were stated rightly ; for, though a lawyer by profession, he held that office known under the old New York constitution as County Justice, now called County Judge ; and this position he held consecutively for thirty years., precisely as Mr. Foster stated ; for we well remember hearing him say, upon his being re-elected the last time, that he should not accept the office, as a man who had held the same position for thirty years had held it long enough. He therefore declined the honor, and never took it afterwards ; and no person living but ourself could have recalled this fact.
Again, our mother's maiden name was given correctly ; and yet we had not written her name or our father's for months and years. Nor was either name on any of the slips of paper that we had handed in.
Our mother's name was really written under the table — in about ten seconds — and not, as we believe, by Mr. Foster. He could not have done so without our seeing the operation ; for the paper and his hand were within a few inches of us. Then, who knew that her name was Rebecca but ourself?
Again, it was a fact we had written out a series of questions before going to see Mr. Foster, but had forgotten all about them, till reminded of the fact by his saying that we had such questions in our pocket.
Again, when Mr. Foster picked up the papers containing our queries, they were folded several times, close and tight. Nor did he look at them with his eyes. He began to make his answers the moment his hand touched the papers ; and he was generally looking somewhere else.
Again, it was and is a fact- a fact that could not have been known to Mr. Foster — that the writer's family of children are equally divided between the living and the departed, exactly as he stated.
Again, the written communication was somewhat after the manner of our son — so were all his answers — but we make no great account of this circumstance ; for any person might have composed the letter ; and the similarities of style may be imaginary or accidental. The last word, however — the message sent to our living son — was a very different thing. Frank was George's idol when they were both alive. They were nearly of an age. They were both brought up together ; and there were circumstances in their joint history, not necessary to be mentioned, which made the younger regard with marked tenderness his elder brother. It was strikingly natural — if he had time to send but a single message to the family — that he should in his hurry, or rather the medium's hurry, send it to his brother Frank. When, during the war, he was away in Europe, he always said that if his brother should be drafted, he would resign his office, go home and take his place. There was great devotion on his part through life.
This short message — "Give my love to Frank" — had, therefore, a meaning in it, which no one can feel as he does who here puts it to paper and to print.
We have felt very reluctant to give an exact report of this seance, as it enters so far into the domain of our personal and family affairs.
But such are the subjects in regard to which we could most accurately test this matter. We had also promised several of our friends, and the public, that we would publish, without fear or favor, exactly what we should see and hear. We have now redeemed our pledge, and we have at present nothing further to say upon the subject.