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Observations placeholder

Viscount Adare - Experiences in Spiritualism with Mr D D Home - 11 My pocket handkerchief dropped through the air into my lap, with my latch key that I had left in my trousers pocket, knotted into one corner of the handkerchief



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience


No. 11 Seance-July, 1868.

Having missed the last train to London I was very glad to accept Mr. Jones's kind offer to remain all night at his house. Home and, I carried a sofa upstairs to his (Home's) room for me to sleep on. I did not leave the room after bringing in the sofa. -My clothes I placed upon a small round table near the foot of the bed. On a chair by the sofa I placed a pocket handkerchief, two eye glasses, and a snuff box.

During the séance in the evening it was said that I should hear music without any instrument-that night. Home turned off the gas previous to going to bed. A certain amount of light entered the room from the street, so that it was not perfectly dark. I could easily distinguish Home when he sat up in bed; and could have seen anybody moving about the room.

We had not been in bed more than three minutes when both Home and myself simultaneously heard the music; it sounded like a harmonium; sometimes, as if played loudly at a great distance; at other times, as if very gently, close by. The music continued for some minutes, when Home got up to ask Mr. Jones if anyone was playing the accordion. Mr. Jones returned with him, and we all three then heard the music.

The usual phenomena of raps and vibrations of the floor, sofa, &c., occurred very frequently and with great power; the raps sounded all over the room; on the floor, walls, even on Home's bed; on, under, and in my sofa. My sofa occasionally vibrated very strongly; the bed clothes on Home's bed and on the sofa were frequently pulled and moved about. We both several times heard sounds such as would be caused by someone in a muslin dress moving about the room, although we could see nothing.

After a short time I heard the chair close to my sofa moving, and a finger touched one of my hands that was hanging over the side of the sofa, the next moment I felt the snuff box on the chair touch me, and found that the chair was moving, I said that I thought someone had touched me, but that probably I had been mistaken, and that it was only the box; the spirits said by the alphabet that I had been touched.

The chair then moved to the foot of the bed, and we heard the various articles upon it being stirred about. I was sitting upon the sofa, with one hand resting on the edge, suddenly I felt something brush across my hand; this was repeated, and I became aware of something swinging in the air.  I then heard some object brushing backwards and forwards against the back of the sofa, inside; on putting my hand to the spot, my eye glass was placed in it.

l took the glass, and in drawing it away, I felt by the resistance offered, that the cord was attached to something; while feeling the resistance a hand and arm holding the end of the cord became visible. This I saw distinctly for a second or two, it then disappeared.

I now heard a sound near the foot of the bed as if my double glasses were being opened and shut, and I distinctly saw a figure, apparently draped, standing over the foot of the bed; it held something, I believe the double glasses, and I could see the hand and arm waving backwards and forwards; I could hear the eyeglass swinging in the air but could not see it; the figure stooped down towards Mr. Jones, and disappeared. A message was then given : “The figure is not the same as the one that touched you."

About half a minute after, I distinctly heard something moving along the side of the sofa, and immediately my double eye-glass was placed upon the back of my hand; I felt the hand that held it put it on, and then stroke and pat my fingers; I took three fingers of the hand in mine, and held them for some seconds; as I increased the pressure upon them, they appeared to withdraw themselves from me; I was again touched, and my hand stroked and patted, the fingers were like a delicately formed human hand, the skin feeling perfectly natural to the touch.

A message was now given: “We place it there to shew you that we do not wish you to contract a habit, pernicious, and, that can be of no possible use to you".

While wondering what this could mean, my snuff box came right across the room through the air, falling against my leg, where it remained.

Home saw it pass through the air in front of him. I asked who had thrown it; and was told “Grandfather Goold."

Mr. Jones asked if the snuff had been taken out, “ No" was immediately rapped, in various parts of the room.

Mr. Jones wished that something might be done for him, and he was slightly touched. He asked also that the chair might be moved round to him. The chair began again to move, but there was not room for it to pass between the foot of the bed and the round table. The table was raised off the floor and moved out of the way, the top becoming slightly luminous.

While moving, it suddenly fell to the floor and rolled over. My clothes tumbled off, the money in the pockets rolling about the room. I said, “I wonder how it happened; it is so unusual for them to let anything fall." They answered, " It happened, by mistake." I observed, “How kind it is of them to answer questions like this." They answered, “Would you not do the same .for us." Mr. Jones said that he supposed the spirits in the room were friends of mine. They answered. .”Yes." I asked how many of my own family were present. They answered “ Six." I asked if they had not come to welcome me home from abroad. They answered “Yes" by rapping three times all over the room.

A message was now given: ”We wish to give you the-“

Here it broke off: and though Home repeated the alphabet three or four times, nothing more would come. While we were wondering at this unfinished sentence my pocket handkerchief dropped through the air into my lap. I took it up and found there was something hard in it. It turned out to be my latch key that I had left in my trousers pocket, knotted into one corner of the handkerchief. The remainder of the unfinished message was then spelled out:

”Key to the mystery,” making altogether, “We wish to give you the key to the mystery.”

Mr. Jones had been telling me that the spirits were anxious to prove to me that there was an actual intelligence at work and that the phenomena were not the result of mere animal magnetism.

After this “Good night” was spelled out.

The last sound I heard was that of the jingling of the money while being picked up about the room. l put my eye-glass, handkerchief, and snuff box on the floor. Mr. Jones left the room, and I very soon went to sleep. In the morning I found the things on the floor in the same position that I had left them in, the keys being still knotted to the handkerchief. The chair was near the foot of the bed, a blanket that I had thrown off my sofa entangled round it.

The table was lying on the ground--my-clothes on the floor. AII my silver I found in the pocket I had left it in; the gold, consisting of four pieces, I found on Home's counterpane.

These phenomena could not have been caused by any Mechanical contrivances. In order to produce the violent vibrations and the raps on the sofa, it would have been necessary to attach some complicated machinery to it; that was impossible, .as I assisted to carry it up from the drawing room, never left the room after we had brought it up, and was lying down upon it within three or four minutes after we had placed it in the room.

It would have been also necessary to attach machinery to the chair and table. Articles were taken from the chair, and conveyed to me without any human agency, for I must have seen anyone moving in the room, and the chair was too far removed from Mr Jones and Home to have been reached by them by any means.


The source of the experience

Home, D. D.

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items


Activities and commonsteps



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Inherited genes