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Observations placeholder

Madam Home - D D Home his life his mission - The Testimony of Alexis Tolstoy 01



Type of Spiritual Experience


Madam Home - D D Home his life his mission

Alexis Tolstoy and Count Steinbock-Fermor, determined to go to him [Home]; and he had accordingly the pleasure of welcoming them to London about the middle of June, 1860. These accomplished gentlemen spoke English remarkably well; and were soon at home in English society. In the case of Tolstoy, his letters to Home are as often written in English as in French.

Mr. Home's weekly seance at Mrs. Milner Gibson's was often supplemented by others; and in June 1860, he was holding two, three, and sometimes four seances in the week at Hyde Park Place. The requests for invitations were more than numerous; and the eagerness of well-known personages in London society to be present was only equalled by the timidity with which they insisted on concealing their experiences from the world. Tolstoy's letters to his wife contain the description of two seances, both at Mrs. Milner Gibson's. The first was given to himself and Fermor, and to a third Russian, an entire sceptic, who had accompanied them to England; at the other the investigators present comprised Lord Dufferin and Lord Clarence Paget, neither of whom had previously seen anything of the phenomena.

The first seance was the more remarkable of the two; and Botkine, the materialist companion of Fermor and Tolstoy, who had come to it incredulous, went away convinced. I translate the interesting record of the evening preserved in Count Tolstoy's first letter from London to his wife.

A description of the experience

June 17th 1860.

It is two o’clock in the morning; I have just left Home; and in spite of the pain it gives me to be away from you I don't regret my journey to London, for this seance has been overwhelming.

Botkine, brother of the doctor, is converted; and wishes to shut himself up tomorrow and stay the whole day indoors, to meditate over what he has seen. Nicholas the donkey being rather unwell, did not choose to be present at the seance. There were myself, Botkine, Mrs. Home, Mrs. Milner Gibson (wife of the President of the Board of Trade), Count Alexander Steinbock-Fermor, and a dame de compagnie.

First there occurred all the manifestations you have witnessed; then, on the light being reduced, every article of furniture in the room took to moving of its own accord. A table placed itself on another table; a sofa moved into the middle of the room; a bell rose in the air and went all round the apartment, ringing as it floated.

Finally the remaining lights were put out, and we sat almost in darkness; there was only the faint light that came through the window from a gas-lamp outside. The piano played with no one near it; a bracelet unclasped itself from the arm of Mrs. Milner Gibson, and fell on the table, where it lay surrounded by a luminous appearance.

Home was raised from the ground; and I clasped his feet while he floated in the air above our heads.

Hands touched my knees and laid themselves in my hands; and when I sought to retain one it dissolved in my grasp.

There were paper and pencils on the table. A sheet of paper came thrusting itself into my hand, and through the alphabet I was told to give it to Home. There was written upon it, 'Love her always. N. Kroll.'

The writing exactly resembled that of the mother of Mrs. Home; we have compared it with that of her letters. A very faint voice was heard accompanying the piano while it played. Raps as loud as if made with a hammer were struck on the table under the hands of Botkine.

What would have, above all, convinced me, were I a sceptic, are the hands I have felt, which were placed in mine and melted when I tried to retain them. A cold wind passed round the circle very distinctly, and perfumes were wafted to us.

After the séance Home's hands were burning hot, and the tears were in his eyes.

His wife and he saw constantly a star on one of the chairs, but I did not see it. The curtains of the windows were drawn back, and hands were visible passing before the window faintly lit by the gas outside. Mrs. Milner Gibson made me promise to come tomorrow evening to a fresh seance, but unfortunately Botkine this time was not invited, as there will be so many without him.

The source of the experience

Home, D. D.

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