Madam Home - D D Home his life his mission – The Hartford Courant (March 6th, 1858), a séance with a member of the Board of Examiners of the national military school at West Point
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
February and March 1855, were passed by Home in paying farewell visits to his friends; they and he both thinking it was the last time they should meet on earth. In March he was at Hartford, Conn., and held one or two last seances there. Three years later a lengthy narrative of one of these seances was published in the Hartford Courant (March 6th, 1858), but as the writer only signs himself "D." I have been unable identify him. The editor of the Courant prefixed to "D.'s" narrative the following introductory remarks. Perhaps they may enable some American readers to identify the "D." to whom they refer:
"The gentleman who signs the subjoined communication was appointed by the Secretary of 'War a member of the Board of Examiners of the national military school at West Point last summer (1857). At West Point he was selected by the Board of Examiners from their number to deliver the parting address to the cadets. We mention these facts as significant of the mental calibre and culture of the writer."
The friend to whom I was indebted for an introduction to Home, being well acquainted with my scepticism upon these matters, arranged that the 'circle' should sit in my own house, that all suspicion of machinery or any other under-handed contrivance might be removed at the outset. It was also left for me to determine who should compose the circle.
I selected a party of ladies and gentlemen of whom it was presumed that two, from previous investigations with Mr. Home, admitted the reality of these phenomena, and were inclined to believe in the spiritualistic solution. The remaining eight scouted both the theory and the facts.
l could not help consoling Home when I saw him, a youth at the age of twenty, pale, emaciated, and suffering from consumption, confronted by such an array of mature, hard headed scoffers at his pretensions.
The seance was held in a room lighted by a gas chandelier with four burners; and the party sat at a large oval table, seven feet eight inches in length.
The table vibrated, loud raps were heard, and various phenomena succeeded, which "D." minutely describes. Among them, an accordion played in "D.'s" hand, he holding the instrument by the end farthest from the keys.
Home was seven feet eight inches from me and could not have reached me even if his entire body had been extended in my direction.
These spiritual phenomena had so repeatedly refused to appear in my presence and respond to my wooing, that in regard to them I was inclined to reject all testimony. One sitting with Mr. Home disabused me of this incredulity, and convinced me, not of the alleged spiritual agency, but that the marvels which attend him are genuine, and cannot be explained by jugglery, collusion, deception, or hallucination, but must be solved, if solved at all, by some law of nature or of mind as yet undiscovered.
I affirm this of no other medium but Home, for my attempts to extract miracles from other professors of this art have proved most signal failures.
Home spurns every inducement to invest his wonderful power in business, and engage in rapping as a trade. He is rather too wary of his rare gift, and displays it only on urgent solicitation, as a favour to those he likes, or as a grace to the psychological inquirer.
It is less preposterous to my mind, to adopt even the spiritual hypothesis than to believe that Home could accomplish all this by his feet, while twenty suspicious eyes were fastened upon him.