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Observations placeholder

Madam Home - D D Home his life his mission - The Testimony of Mr Howitt



Type of Spiritual Experience


Madam Home - D D Home his life his mission

Count Steinbock-Fermor must either have remained in London in 1860 after Tolstoy's departure, or have returned the following year; for I find him present at a seance in 1861, at 7, Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, the residence of a Mrs. Parkes, with whom Mr. and Mrs. Home were then staying. Besides Count Steinbock-Fermor, the circle included Mr. and Mrs. William Howitt (the well-known authors), and Mr. and Mrs. W M Wilkinson. The phenomena of this seance were described both by Mr. Howitt and Mr. Wilkinson.


William Howitt (18 December 1792 – 3 March 1879), was a prolific English writer on history and other subjects. William and his wife Mary also owned a school still used today; Howitt Primary School in Heanor, Derbyshire.

Howitt was born at Heanor, Derbyshire. His parents were Quakers, and he was educated at the Friends public school at Ackworth, Yorkshire. His younger brothers were Richard and Godrey whom he helped tutor. In 1814 he published a poem on the Influence of Nature and Poetry on National Spirit. He married, in 1821, Mary Botham, who like himself was a Quaker and a poet. William and Mary Howitt collaborated throughout a long literary career, the first of their joint productions being The Forest Minstrels and other Poems (1821).

In 1831, William Howitt produced a work resulting naturally from his habits of observation and his genuine love of nature. It was a history of the changes in the face of the outside world in the different months of the year, and was entitled The Book of the Seasons, or the Calendar of Nature (1831). His Popular History of Priestcraft (1833) won him the favour of active Liberals and the office of alderman in Nottingham, where the Howitts had made their home.

The Howitts had left the Society of Friends in 1847, and became interested in Spiritualism. In 1863 he published The History of the Supernatural in all Ages and Nations, and in all Churches, Christian and Pagan, demonstrating a Universal Faith. He added his own conclusions from a practical examination of the higher phenomena through a course of seven years.

The Howitts are remembered for their untiring efforts to provide wholesome and instructive literature. Their son, Alfred William Howitt, made a name for himself by his explorations in Australia. Anna Mary Howitt was both an artist and a poet, and married Alaric Alfred Watts. Mary Howitt's autobiography was edited by her daughter, Margaret Howitt, in 1889. William Howitt wrote some fifty books, and his wife's publications, inclusive of translations, number over a hundred.

A description of the experience

Seance in 1861, at 7, Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park – Testimonial Letter of Mr Howitt

Mr. Home now held the accordion in his right hand beside his chair, and it at once began to play. He held it by the bottom, the keys being on the top, and therefore out of his reach. It was impossible that he could touch them. I carefully examined the instrument, opening the slide beneath the keys, and I found it to be a common instrument with only the usual mechanism of the keys. There was nothing inside it. I looked steadily at it, and at the hand and fingers with which he held it.

There it was, being pulled up and down, and discoursing sweet sounds whilst his hand was stationary and his fingers motionless.

I could see above and beneath the instrument, but there was no visible cause for its motion, nor for the opening and shutting of the keys which caused the music.

When it ceased, my wife asked if it could not be played in her hand and immediately the instrument emitted three sounds, which we took to mean that it would have much pleasure in trying. It was accordingly given to her, and whilst in her right hand it began to play. She felt it distinctly lifted up and drawn forcibly down; and she did not and could not touch the keys, which however, must necessarily have been touched and opened to make the sounds. ...

I have once had an accordion play in my own hand, when I know that I did not do it. I also know that Lord Lyndhurst and many other public men whom I could name have had a similar experience.

There were, besides Mrs. Howitt and myself, a Russian, Count Steinbeck, and several others. We had beautiful music played on the accordion, when held in one hand by Mr. Home, who cannot play a note; and the same when held by a lady "(Mrs. W. M. Wilkinson). Flowers were taken from a bouquet on a chiffonier at a distance, and handed to each of us. I saw a spirit hand as distinctly as I ever saw my own. I touched one several times.

The source of the experience

Home, D. D.

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