Patrick Proctor Alexander - Spiritualism: A Narrative with a Discussion – 04 The table jibbed and bolted a little, and performed some nondescript antics
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
SPIRITUALISM: A NARRATIVE WITH A DISCUSSION. BY PATRICK PROCTOR ALEXANDER, M.A.,
And now, of a sudden, the table moved noiselessly over the carpet three-quarters of a foot or so, and back again. Asked by Mr. Home if I saw anything to account for this movement, I replied,
Nobody was in contact with the table beneath it, and Mr. Home's feet were, as before, quiet under his chair. Note, however, that the movement, as regards direction took place precisely as it must have done, if effected by a push from Mr. Home above.
Of this, meantime, the gentleman at watch above failed to detect any symptom. Shortly after, one of the feet of the table rose from the floor, I should say, about half a foot or so, — rose, and softly subsided ; and this again, and yet again. Asked once more by Mr. Home if I could see anything to account for this, once more I answered,
Mr. Home's feet were motionless under his chair, as previously ; and no one of the party was in contact with the table beneath it. Note again, however, that the foot of the table which rose was, as near as may be, opposite Mr. Home — that is, precisely where a very strong pressure applied by him might suffice to account for its rising; but also, again, that of such pressure applied by Mr. Home, the observer of his hands above failed to detect any evidence.
After this, the table jibbed and bolted a little, and performed some nondescript antics ; but, as before, it did so quite without efficient cause to be detected in anything to be seen above or under it Mr. Home then suggested that perhaps I might as well now resume my chair ; and I did so, perfectly convinced — and saying so — that, for anything I had been able to see whilst squatted under the table, with my eyes very keenly observant, the phenomena in question could not have been due to the physical agency at least of Mr. Home, or of any other member of the company.
Two outlying points of suspicion here. I have purposely reserved for discussion.
I noted above, that the table, in moving over the carpet (and back again), took the precise direction which a push supposed from the hands of Mr. Home must have given it. I have practically ascertained that such a push supposed must have been a somewhat strong one ; so strong as scarce, without detection, to be exerted under the nice eye of an observer in the least up to his business.
Further, it will be obvious to everyone that the push of the table over the floor being difficult for Mr. Home, its retractation would be much more so.
But I need not labour such a point, seeing that Mr. Home's hands were not strictly on the table, but on a loose table-cover over it. This, had Mr. Home tried to push the table, must inevitably have slid away under his fingers, at once leaving him no purchase on the table, and ensuring instant detection. (Any reader may readily test this for himself, if in possession of a table and table-cloth, as most readers may be presumed to be.)
It is thus, to my own mind, as certain as a demonstration, that however this movement of the table might be effected (as to which I am quite vague), it was not effected by any push at the hands of Mr. Home.
Again, as above noted, when the foot of the table rose, it was opposite Mr. Home that it did so; in the exact plane, therefore, which strong pressure on Mr. Home's part would suggest. I have ascertained, by careful trial, that a very strong pressure indeed on Mr. Home's part would have been needed in order to effect the rising of the table as described.
I shall not say it would have been impossible for Mr. Home to so effect it undetected ; but certainly it must have been difficult ; and the further difficulty of effecting the soft and silent subsidence of the table when raised, must plainly have been very much greater.