Patrick Proctor Alexander - Spiritualism: A Narrative with a Discussion – 05 The table rose exuberantly twice directly under my own hands
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
SPIRITUALISM: A NARRATIVE WITH A DISCUSSION. BY PATRICK PROCTOR ALEXANDER, M.A.,
But, as before, this discussion is needless. As thus — though, in the instance referred to, the table rose in the plane which pressure by Mr. Home would have suggested : that it really did not rise by such pressure, is certified by this, that subsequently, in course of the manifestations, it rose all round, or in nearly every other plane.
In particular, it rose exuberantly twice directly under my own hands ; and as I was sitting, as near as possible, at a right angle from Mr. Home (supposing the circle squared, so to speak), it is manifestly impossible that any pressure exerted by Mr. Home should account for its so rising. It is thus to my mind pretty certain that the foot of the table, when it rose, did not do so on pressure of Mr. Home opposite. How to account for its rising, I could not then guess in the least; and now I cannot.
One explanation oftentimes confidently tendered of these phenomena, is the use by the operator of a system of secret machinery; and I remember to have seen, in some magazine, elaborate sketches of the apparatus, with an account of the artist's manner of manipulating it.
Certain London machinists are, moreover, said to make no secret of their doing a good steady business in the production and sale of such articles.
This may be quite true ; in which case there are probably a race of tricksters who produce their so-called spiritual effects by vulgar methods of this kind. But of these Mr. Home is almost certainly not one. It is not quite easy to see how and where, on the occasion referred to, he could have his machinery secreted ; and if this is in itself not much, it may be more to the purpose to observe that, with all the machinery in the world at his disposal, he could by no possibility have made use of it, save by using his hands or his feet ; and his hands, while the phenomena were in progress, were at rest before him on the table, his feet quiescent under it. A juggler, as we know, can, by dexterous legerdemain effect much ; but his sleight-of-hand would avail him little — the severe condition imposed, that his hands should be glued to the table in front of him. The quiescence of Mr. Home's hands and feet, as testified to by Dr. Findlater and myself, disposes absolutely, in so far as our testimony is admitted, of the notion of his working by concealed apparatus.
It is just possible to conceive of the raps as the product of a subtle and refined ventriloquism on Mr. Home's part ; but the movements, etc. etc, remaining thus unaccounted for, it seems scarce worthwhile to suggest an explanation, in itself so precarious.
It is possible to conceive of the raps as so produced, I have said. As to the other question — as to the possibility of their actually being so produced — one should know more of ventriloquism than I do, in order to decide on it with confidence. My impression is, it is rather a painful and difficult operation, involving great concentration of effort ; and could scarce be kept up in company continuously throughout an evening by a person seemingly quite at his ease like Mr. Home, and joining freely in conversation the while.