Madame d’Esperance - Shadow Land - 10 Dancing tables
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
SHADOW LAND OR LIGHT FROM THE OTHER SIDE by Elisabeth d’Esperance(1897)
No matter if we were depressed or otherwise out of temper, half an hour's sitting at the table would restore good humour and make us merry and talkative. Sometimes one of the circle would play a tune on a concertina, the others forming a chain round the table with their hands placed flat on the top. In a very few minutes the vibratory and undulating motion invariably began gradually accomodating its movements to the tune which was being played.
If it were a soft sad melody, the movements were also soft and rhythmical with undulations in perfect time. If it were a lively tune, the movements were quick, lively and decided.
A march or national hymn seemed to excite corresponding feelings, if one can so express it. "Yankee Doodle", in particular, always produced a wonderful effect, and was generally reserved by us for the grand finale, because the movements of the table became almost uncontrollable and generally we were all obliged to rise from our seats to accompany the table, which seemed eager to follow the player.
There was no doubt whatever that the movements, vibrations, and undulations in the table while this tune was being played expressed pleasure and enthusiasm.
On the contrary if "God save the Queen" were played the table just as unmistakably expressed a certain sullen dissent, either by remaining perfectly quiescent, or by heavy thuds on its surface, or by lifting itself and heavily dropping to the floor.
A particular long-meter psalm tune seemed to be its pet aversion, and it was our great delight to get our musician to play it in as slow a fashion as possible. Then the table would writhe, twist, and turn itself almost upside down, varying the movements by short angry jumps, generally in the direction of the player, or by violent thumps on the floor that would have shattered a less substantial piece of furniture.
In fact, it was not long before the once heavy well made kitchen table had to pay a visit to a workshop to get its joints fastened and undergo general repairs after our experiments.
All this was very amusing and we enjoyed it immensely, though my patriotism always disapproved of the reception which our national hymn received, and, in spite of the fun, I felt a little shocked at the anger displayed when the "OId hundred" was droned out. It seemed to me that, however atrocious the music, the subject was a religious one and I objected in my heart to its being treated lightly; though at the same time no one enjoyed the fun more than I did.