Patrick Proctor Alexander - Spiritualism: A Narrative with a Discussion – 14 All at once, with a little feminine shriek, she cried out, ‘Oh! somebody's touching me under my clothes’
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
SPIRITUALISM: A NARRATIVE WITH A DISCUSSION. BY PATRICK PROCTOR ALEXANDER, M.A.,
Here my little narrative ends ; and though I might copiously supplement it from the experience of others more favoured than we (for the 'manifestations' of this evening were, by comparison, feeble, and not of a striking kind), I shall cite only one or two details from a mass of such given me by a friend, who was considerably more fortunate, as present the evening after. The earlier phenomena were pretty much as they have here been narrated; but the first proper indication of personal spiritual presence was, on this occasion, of somewhat a whimsical kind. My friend was seated next a young married lady; and all at once, with a little feminine shriek, she cried out,
‘Oh! somebody's touching me under my clothes!’
The announcement seemed slightly an awkward one ; but Mr. Home interposed explanation. ' The sensation was,’ he said, ‘peculiar; and when first felt it was apt at times to be startling,’
There was really no more in it than this. The point of curiosity — for which only, of course, it is that I select the instance — is this : — The sensation of being touched under one's clothes is sharply discriminated from that of being touched above, or through them. Any one may convince himself of this by touching with his finger, first his hand, and then his leg through his pantaloons; and I can scarce be wrong in surmising that, in virtue of the amplitude of the female garments, the point of contrast must be still more distinctly marked.
The question occurs — supposing Mr. Home able — with his foot, let us say, or by some other apparatus at his disposal — to effect these touches testified to by people all round the table : By what apparatus possible to be imagined could he touch people under their clothes ?
Is it surmised that the touch might in this sense be imaginary ? With precisely what reason might it be surmised that the touch was in toto imaginary ; that all the touches were imaginary ; also the raps, movements, etc. ; and that the whole complexus of facts — inclusive of Mr. Home himself, perhaps, and, for that matter, all the rest of us — resolved itself into a series of merely subjective phenomena.
As a severely philosophical view of the matter, I can suppose there may be minds to which such a speculation might commend itself; but not the less it seems an absurd one.
And the question recurs : By what conceivable means could Mr. Home, sitting at some distance from a lady at table, even if we allow him to have had means of touching her, effect in her the particular sensation of being touched under her clothes ?