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Observations placeholder

Madame d’Esperance - Shadow Land - 07 Second experiment in table tilting, the Lizzie Morton



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

SHADOW LAND OR  LIGHT FROM THE OTHER SIDE by Elisabeth d’Esperance(1897)

"Is it thy spirit that thou send'st from thee
So far from home into my deeds to pry,
To find out shames and idle hours in me?"


…. the following evening saw us assembled in my home, six persons in all, including myself, We decided that it would be better to use a plain unpainted kitchen table, as being more steady on its legs and less liable to be moved by any unconscious pressure of our hands than the small round three-legged one we had used the previous evening.

We seated ourselves around the uncovered table, two on each side, and one at each end. We placed our hands on its surface, joining our fingers to make a complete chain. It was not long, perhaps half an hour, before the same trembling and vibratory sensations were felt, at first apparently under our fingers, then communicating itself to the whole table, which began shortly to have a rocking or more correctly a waving, motion without actually moving from the floor………………..

We began to ask questions, using the same signals as Mr. F, and received answers by the rocking movements. Some one objecting that these movements were indistinct and easily misunderstood, the table to our surprise lifted itself on one side gently from the floor and rapped with one foot clearly and unmistakably.

We put innumerable questions of a more or less absurd character. One gentleman I remember made particular enquiries whether the table knew of any hidden treasure which it could help him to find. We asked our ages, date of birth, the hour of sunrise and sunset, price of corn, in fact anything which came uppermost. The answers were I believe generally unsatisfactory though some were correct. At length we had exhausted our stock of enquiries and asked each other: "What question shall we put to the table next?"

Suddenly I said:-Do you know where my father is this evening?" and the answer came promptly, by three distinct lifts of the table, "Yes."

Now, rather strange to say, none of us knew where my father was just at the time, and we were anxiously awaiting news of him.

My mother was suffering from an internal complaint and had journeyed from London to the City of Durham to consult a specialist. He had given it as his opinion that an operation was necessary, and my father had been informed of this and asked to come to her to consult as to the advisability of having the operation performed, as my mother felt nervous about deciding without his presence. To this letter there came no answer. A second, even a third, was sent off with the same result. The only conclusion we could come to was that he had been called away, after my mother had left home and had not received the letters.

In a note from her that morning she asked me to come to her the following day, as she was getting quite uneasy at not hearing from papa. Hence my question to the table and surprise at the answer.

"Where is he then?" was our next inquiry, but here a difficulty arose. Our signals only extended to "yes" or "no" and "don’t know" and this was a question that could not be answered by any of these words. Someone volunteered to repeat the alphabet and the table agreed to lift a foot at the letters which formed the name of the place it wished to mention. After a good many mistakes, repetitions, and hinderances, we got the word "Swansea."

"Do you mean that he is in the town of Swansea in Wales?" we asked.


"How long has he been there?" (Ten knocks.)-Does that mean ten days?"

“Yes "

"Impossible, that cannot be true. We know he was in London since that time."  (Ten knocks again.)'Are you quite sure it is ten days?"

“Yes "

"What is he doing there?"

"Don’t know."

"Is he at some hotel?"


"Visiting at some friends?"


"That is too stupid. If he is not at any house or hotel, he cannot be there."


"Where then?" Here some one suggested "ship."


“Do you mean he is on a ship?”


"What ship? What is its name?"

Here began again the repetition of the alphabet and after a while we got the name "Lizzie Morton."

"Do you mean that he is on board a vessel called ‘Lizzie Morton,'and that he has been in Swansea ten days?"


"It is a strange thing," observed some one of the circle. “Have you any idea that he can be there?"

"No," I replied; "he was in London and was intending to finish some small business matter and follow mamma to Durham but he has not come, nor has he answered her letters, but he is sure to have written if he had been called away anywhere. I believe it is all nonsense for a table to know."

"But" said one gentleman "they say it is a spirit which moves the table."

'Are you a spirit moving the table?"

“Yes "

'A man spirit?"


'A woman spirit."


"What is your name?"

"Mary E-,   That was my grandmother's name.' Are you my grandmother?”


"Have you seen my father in Swansea?"


'And he is there now?"


To say that we were surprised at the result of our table-turning experiment hardly expresses our feelings. For myself I felt quite bewildered, and not a little excited as well as puzzled, whether or not to tell my mother of what we had done. Next morning on the journey to Durham I was still wondering whether I should say anything to my mother on the subject and decided that I would not. The whole thing savoured too much of mystery, and I still had a clear recollection of the incredulous reception of my stories of my dream or shadow people, and shrunk from seeing the disbelief which, I felt, would be shown in her looks, even if she refrained from expressing it in words.

On reaching the house where my mother was staying I had scarcely spoken two sentences with her when she said. "I have had a letter from papa this morning he is in Swansea and has only just received my letters about the operation."

I felt myself turn hot and cold, and the room seemed to go round with me.

"What is the matter?" asked my mother; Are you not well?"

I hardly knew what I replied, but in the end I related the whole story of our two table-rapping experiments. Whatever my mother thought, she refrained from expressing any incredulity and proposed at once writing and asking if the other statements were true, which was done.

I do not know if the letter was ever answered but two days later my father arrived and I met him at the station. On our way to the house he asked me who had been to see, or had been writing to, mamma as to his speculations.

"I do not know. I don’t think any one has" I replied.

"Some one has" he said; "else how did she know about that vessel?"

"Have you really been doing anything with a vessel called the 'Lizzie Morton' then papa? And have you been in Swansea all this while?"

"Well yes; I have been there a few days about a little business connected with the 'Lizzie Morton,' but what is all the fuss about? I did not get my letters as I was moving about, until three or four days ago and have been very busy."

"Had you been there ten days when you wrote first to mamma from Swansea?"

"Ten days; oh no! I can't say exactly how many days, but not long."

"When did you leave London?"

"On the tenth."

'And you wrote mamma on the 20th: that is ten days."

"Well, yes, I suppose it is. Time goes so quickly when one is busily engaged."



The source of the experience

Madame d Esperance

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