Patrick Proctor Alexander - Spiritualism: A Narrative with a Discussion – 17 On the accusations of skeptics
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
SPIRITUALISM: A NARRATIVE WITH A DISCUSSION. BY PATRICK PROCTOR ALEXANDER, M.A.,
It has always been alleged as a point of suspicion against the Spirits, that to Scientific men, and Sceptics generally, they entertain an insuperable aversion, almost invariably striking work in sheer disgust at their presence. So thieves have been known at times to absent themselves from their accustomed haunts, when they were 'ware of a detective officer who ‘wanted’ them. And so far as this allegation is correct, it is no doubt damaging to the claims of the Spirits………….. unless somehow the Spirits can be coaxed to encounter the critical analysis of doubt, the knowledge of them must remain a form of wisdom…..
The above paragraph was included in a little paper on the subject, written some years since, when I had neither seen anything of the phenomena, nor considered them worth inquiring into. I give it as originally written, and should write it precisely so now, did the allegation on which it is founded seem now as correct as then I assumed it to be.
But since, and particularly of late, it does not appear that the Spirits have shown such a very decided aversion to Scientific men. The inference seems fair, that perhaps the aversion was always quite as much on the part of the Scientific men to the Spirits. …..
Mr. Home is one day pretty well, and the 'phenomena' succeed indifferently; the next he is tortured by a colic, or made wretched by an indigestion. It is really not scientific — in point of fact it is cruel — to denounce the poor man as an impostor because, under these altered conditions, the phenomena do not quite succeed as before.
A man is a man, and as such, in certain important respects, he is to be distinguished from an acid. You cannot make your experiment with him ; hermetically cork him in a bottle ; and produce him again the day after, certain that the effects will be the same. The acid is on any two days the same ; on no two days can the man by possibility be so. …………….
Of the power of Scientific preconception or prejudice to absolutely incapacitate the mind for the reception of a new truth, — to vitiate observation, and make dark the counsels of the wise in matters of the plainest evidence, — it is surely not needful to write.
The History of Science ! What is it, on its one side, but a mean record of the perfect rabies of unfairness thus induced ? The ‘struggle for existence’ of a new truth sent into the world, against the Scientific apostles of the old, with which it seems to be in conflict, is a thing to shock even Mr. Darwin. Indeed it does shock him very much ; for does he not with a certain mild pathos complain that, though the young fellows for the most part are well inclined to him, he meets hitherto with but cool reception from the old ones — the men of great and established reputation, whose recognition would, above all, be pleasant to him? And reason good: your old knight, who has won his spurs hard, likes to be allowed to wear them : if you try to hack them from his heels, be sure he will stick them into you.