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Observations placeholder

Patrick Proctor Alexander - Spiritualism: A Narrative with a Discussion – 11 The accordion was played by the deceased Mr. Colin Campbell who plays Auld Lang Syne



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience


Just then, another Spirit gave notice of its desire to communicate ; and what it communicated was this, ‘I am Colin Campbell, and you saw me ‘ (' whom you have seen and known in the flesh ' may be presumed to be what Colin meant ; but it would be absurd too closely to criticise the literary style of a Spirit, who might very well, by disuse, be supposed to have a little forgotten the niceties of a language which in life he perhaps but indifferently knew).

As I had very well known in time past a naval gentleman so named, of whom for years I had no tidings, instantly it occurred to me that perhaps he had come to grief in the great deep, and that this was veritably he come back to let me know. That my fears for my friend were needless, however, was immediately made plain by the exclamation of a gentleman present :

‘ Colin Campbell ! you saw me ! I wish I could see him now, poor man, for he was a man I liked very much !' And presently it appeared that this deceased Colin Campbell, a gentleman of Aberdeenshire, had been intimately known to two or three others of the party, of whom Mrs. D— was one. So much being made out, we had from Colin this further communication :

‘ I am not dead'- a proposition which might be held self-evident, if he was really alive enough to talk to us. Almost instantly after, the five raps were again heard ; ‘ He does not forget’ — was rapped out by the Spirit of the faithful though defunct Colin ; and presto— odd as it may seem — the accordion under the table, still held in Mr. Home's one hand, played distinctly ‘Auld langsyne’ — (the reader may laugh if he likes, as indeed to myself, had I not been present to witness it, such a thing must needs have seemed at once ludicrous and incredible). The tune was played distinctly, recognisably, and yet withal a little bunglingly; and then, as if Colin had suspected a certain deficiency in his own performance, it was played ever again, this time in tones of exquisite modulation, which moved the admiration of all present.

Mr. Home of course assured us that he himself could not play a note on the accordion, but as clearly Mr. Home, if an impostor, was bound to say no less, his assurance to this effect is plainly to be set aside as naught, or disposed of as assurance in the other sense. The mystery, however, remains, as to how Mr. Home, even if we suppose him to have lied in proclaiming his utter incapacity on the instrument, could be capable of playing a tune on it whilst holding it in one hand, its end furnished with keys being meantime dependent in air, and untouched by any living creature, — facts as to which, in regard of the sounds heard but a minute before. Dr. Findlater and myself are, if need be, prepared to testify on oath.

And this is, I rather think, a mystery, which only a science of the occult (as distinguished from the terribly exact) kind is likely to be able to elucidate for us. (I am ashamed to say that, on receipt of Mr. Home's assurance that he himself was incompetent on the instrument, it did not occur to me to inquire whether or no the deceased Mr. Campbell had in life performed on the accordion, or shown anything of a musical genius. I did think it well to ascertain, however, that this was his first appearance, as at no previous Seance had he given evidence of his existence.)

The source of the experience

Home, D. D.

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items


Activities and commonsteps



Being left handed
Inherited genes