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Observations placeholder

Viscount Adare - Experiences in Spiritualism with Mr D D Home - 02 No. 1 Seance. Malvern, November 1867



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience


No. 1 Seance.  Malvern, November 1867.

Yesterday, Mr. Earl, a total disbeliever in Spiritualism, Home and I, went to spend the evening with Mrs. Thayer, an American lady, a friend of Dr. Gully's. We were shown into the back parlour, a small room, the furniture consisting of a heavy round mahogany table, without any cover, with one leg in the centre, and of a piano and several ordinary chairs. The room was lighted by a fire, a large lamp standing on the piano, and two wax candles on the table.

After Mrs. Thayer came in we sat and talked for a few minutes by the fireside, until at Home's suggestion we sat round the table, which was in the middle of the room. Home was on my left, Mrs. Thayer opposite me, and Earl on my right. The room was perfectly light. After talking on ordinary subjects for perhaps ten minutes, raps were heard by us all in various parts of the room, on the table and on the floor and walls. Home requested the raps to be made in various places and it was done.

He asked that they would rap under my feet, and I not only heard the noise, but distinctly felt the jar while the raps were taking place. I repeatedly looked under the table, as did also Mr. Earl to satisfy ourselves that, however they were done, it was not by any movement on Home's part. It was quite impossible that Home could have made them, for while they were distinctly audible, I looked under the table and could have detected even the slightest movement of his legs or feet; Mr. Earl watched his hands and arms. Similar raps were occasionally heard during the whole seance.

At the commencement of the seance we all felt cold currents of air passing over our hands. The table began to vibrate with the greatest rapidity, and then was moved about and tilted up in various directions. Mrs. Thayer had previously to this placed pencil and writing paper on the table. The table was repeatedly tilted up, I should say greater than 45 degrees. The surface was smooth polished mahogany yet the candles, pager, and pencil, did not move. Home asked that the candles might slip (as they naturally would) and they did slide down the table until near the edge when at his request, they remained stationary.

While the table was tilted up very high, Home said to Earl, "Take a candle and look under the table." He took one of the candles on the table, and in lifting it said, good gracious, how heavy it is! I afterwards tried the same thing, and found that when the table was tilted up there was a difficulty in removing the candle from the surface that made it appear very heavy. The table was moved up against my chest, and as I pushed back my chair, it followed me up until the back of my chair was against the window, and I could go no further; the table was them pushed close up against me. I now felt cold currents of air passing across my face and hands, and a chair that was standing against the wall, at a distance of perhaps five yards, came suddenly and quickly out from the wall, and placed itself beside me at the table.

The effect was startling.

There was a lady's cloak on it, which was pulled off under the table.

Mrs. Thayer said, "She could see a shadowy form standing between Home and me." I saw nothing, but was touched lightly on the head, and distinctly as with a sharp tap of the finger on the knee. I do not think it possible that anybody at the table could have touched me. I could see all their hands, and had it been done by a foot I must have perceived the difference of touch, and have seen the motion.

Some time previously to this Mrs. Thayer had sent out the servant to ask a friend for an accordion, and it had been placed upon the table.

The alphabet was called for (by five raps) and the following words were spelled out ( I am not sure that I remember the exact words but they were to this effect):—

" I could not come the other night because of H——, Yours ever, Fred."

Mrs. Thayer understood the meaning of this message it had reference to a previous seance, the first one, I believe, at which she had been present. After a few minutes the alphabet was again called for, and the following words were spelled out:—

"My boy, I am near you."

I naturally referred this to my mother.

After this, the accordion was moved about on the table. Home took it, holding it by the lower part, with the keys hanging down over the edge of the table. It is manifestly impossible for a person so holding an accordion either to touch the keys, to inflate the bellows, or to expel the air from it.

Almost immediately the keys were touched in an uncertain manner, and then the accordion began to play. It played something resembling a voluntary on the organ: the melody was perfect, and the expression beautiful. I am sure that if I had heard it so played, anywhere, under any circumstances it would have occurred to me how like the music was to that I had often heard my mother play, when running over a few chords on the piano.

While the accordion was being played, I looked at it two or three times under the table. Home was on each occasion holding it as I have stated, and the instrument was pulled out horizontally from his hand. I could see the bellows drawn in and out, and the keys move. At one time it was pulled violently under the chair at my side towards me. Home asked me to name some air. I wished to think of one that might help me to identify whoever was playing the accordion, but I could not.

Earl asked for "The Last Rose of Summer." It was beautifully played: first, the air quite simply, then with chords and variations.

After this Mrs. Thayer took the accordion, and Mr. Earl also, but it did not play again.

During what I have narrated, the table was occasionally moved, and raps were now and then heard in different parts of the room. All manifestations ceased when the accordion stopped playing. My hands during the whole time were as cold as ice: when the manifestations ceased they became suddenly warm. I said:

"Dear me, my hands have become quite warm!"

Home said, "Oh, then I am afraid there will be nothing more."

We waited perhaps five minutes; and, finding there were no more manifestations, we got up and moved the table over to the fire. Home began reading, to us some poetry.

The last thing he read was descriptive of the passing away of a poor old widow; and, after a passage speaking of the love of Christ for her, strong raps of approval—that is, three raps in succession—were heard on the floor behind him. We then said Good night to Mrs. Thayer, and went back to Tudor House.

I turned into the dining room and sat down by the fire alone. A few minutes after, Home came in and sat down by me, and we talked about ordinary subjects. We heard a sound that I thought was the door creaking. He said it was not that, and asked that the sound should be repeated, and it was. He then asked that it should rap where I usually sat at dinner; and it did so right at the end of the table. We were both sitting with our backs to the table.

Then came a noise as if furniture was moving.

I turned but saw nothing move. Home looked and said a chair had moved up to the table. I looked again at the other side of the table, and saw that a chair was standing against it; all the others were against the wall. I did not see it move. We then heard a sort of whistling sound flying up and down the room ; then a sound as of something rushing up and down, and then, laughter, unmistakable but not pleasant sounding laughter. After this one of the servants came in, and nothing more occurred. When in the dining room, Home asked whether the spirit that was there in the room was one that loved me. It answered "Yes." By answered, I mean that three raps were given, which means "Yes," He asked if the spirit would like me to have another seance with him in London. "Yes," was answered.

The source of the experience

Home, D. D.

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Being left handed
Inherited genes