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Observations placeholder

Viscount Adare - Experiences in Spiritualism with Mr D D Home - 14 Adah Isaaks Menken [deceased] possesses Home



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience


No. 15.-Seance, 5, Buckingham Gate, August, 1868.

My dear Father-While staying at Dunraven the other day I saw announced in the paper the death of Adah Menken the American actress with  whom both Home and I were slightly acquainted. On the following morning I got a letter from Home, saying that she had been to visit him, that she appeared very restless, and that she was very anxious to come when he and I were together. On returning to London Home, at my request, came to stay at No. 5.

All this evening he complained of being very nervous and in an unpleasant state, which he attributed a great deal to her influence. I felt just the same, but put it down to having been out at two fires and not home till six o'clock the previous morning.

Almost immediately after we had gone to bed and put the lights out, we both heard music much the same as at Norwood but more powerful and distinct. Home said that the music formed words; that, in fact, it was a voice speaking and not instrumental music.

I could hear nothing but the chords like an organ or harmonium played at a distance. Home became quite excited because I could not distinguish the words, thinking that if I could not hear them, it must have been his imagination. He asked the spirits if possible to make the words sufficiently clear for me also to hear them.

They said “Yes" (by raps); and the music became louder and louder until I distinctly heard the words, “Halleluiah, praise the Lord; praise the Lord God Almighty."

It was no imagination, or the result of anxiety on my part to hear the same as Home did. Every now and. then I could not distinguish words, although he said he could; but I repeatedly heard the words above mentioned as plainly as possible. I cannot in the least explain to you how the voices articulated: the words were not separately spoken, neither did it resemble a human voice. The sounds were slightly reedy and metallic, not very unlike-the Vox humana on an organ. If you can imagine an organ pipe of some rather reedy stop speaking to you. It will be as near it as anything I can describe.

Home said he heard the words, “Adah Isaaks Menken " pronounced; I did not.

The music or voice gradually died away. We asked if it was Menken's voice, and they said not hers alone. There were loud raps at different times upon the floor and walls, and some article of furniture was moved: I heard the movement, but could not see what it was.

The room was dark, the blind being nearly down over the window. We both saw as it were a luminous cloud about the middle of the room over the table, and another luminous cloud-like body floating in the air. Occasionally, I saw a luminous form standing at the foot of Home's bed which he did not see, and he at one time saw a similar appearance at the foot of mine which I failed to perceive; we distinctly heard the rustling of a silk dress moving about the room.

Home and I had called on Menken at her hotel one day last year, and she then had on a very heavy silk dress, it appeared as though she caused the rustling of this dress to be heard by us. At one time I heard someone moving, and on looking over towards Home's bed, I saw her quite plain (as did also Home) as a white slightly luminous body. I could clearly see the folds of the drapery.

In passing between him and the window, Home said she obstructed the light. She moved up from near the foot of his bed where I first saw her, making as loud a rustling noise as a living woman in a heavy silk drees would do, to the head of his bed, bent over, put her hands upon his head, and disappeared.

Presently Home said that she was slightly taking possession of him, and I heard his hands moving about on the bed clothes in the curious way that they do under those circumstances. He then sat up in bed involuntarily, and said she was taking possession of him, and asked me not to be frightened at anything he might do. I felt rather nervous at this; and asked him, if possible, to tell me before he did anything. He said nothing, but lay down in bed again. In about a minute, he said in quite an altered voice, “ I am coming over to you now," and I saw him get out of bed.

I did not feel sure whether he was asleep or awake, and I said, “ Can you see your way ?” He said, “Ah, I want no light to guide my steps.”

I then perceived that he was in a trance, and that Menken was speaking through him. He walked slowly over to my bed, knelt down beside it took both my hands in his, and began speaking.

I shall never forget the awfully thrilling way in which she spoke; the desolation of the picture she drew of her feelings at first.

The words I do not recollect - the effect of them l shall always remember. She went on to speak of the wonderful mercy and goodness of God ; of the hope ; state she was then in ; of the very little we know of the next world, saying that she had thought she knew something of it. She spoke a great deal about Home, of his character, &c, &c., and a good deal about herself and mentioned a curious fact. She said that at the time Home and I called upon her together, she felt then what she was.

“Yes," she said, “what was I but an animal? Yet I felt and knew that I ought to aspire to higher things, and I longed sometimes for it." It appears as if but having called together upon her, had some curious effect, as she said she could not well say what she wanted, till we were together again. She spoke of the intense desire of the spirit sometimes to communicate with, and do good to, those on earth. She spoke in such an humble yet happy manner, of her having been permitted to come that night into a house where so many pure and holy beings had been. She spoke with the greatest pleasure of having been allowed to go into my mother's boudoir, and said that her greatest happiness, since she passed away, had been that evening - in being permitted to make her voice audible to us in praising God. She went on to say, how much she wished to be sometimes near me and near Home to watch over us ; and assured me again and again that she would do me no harm or hurt.

She then kissed my hand and said, “I must go now; I must not make too much use of Dan.”

Home then got up and walked slowly away, turning round twice, and raising his hands above his head in an attitude of prayer or of blessing. As he went away from me his-clothes became slightly luminous.

He got into bed and I could hear him breathing regularly as in ordinary sleep ; in about five minutes he awoke and asked me if I was asleep, he said he had been asleep and wanted to know whether we had been hearing beautiful music, or whether we had been dreaming. I told him nothing about his having been in a trance until next day. Home said he felt remarkably happy and calm, probably some reflection of the more calm and soothed condition of Menken when she left us. I was in a queer state, my fingers and feet tingled as if I had pins and needles. Every time I dropped off to sleep I heard, or fancied I heard, the same strains of music. However I slept very soundly.

Now all this is to me far more wonderful than what took place at Norwood. I was, to all intents and purposes, actually conversing with the dead;. listening, talking, answering, and receiving answers from Menken. Home's individuality was quite gone: he spoke as Menken, and we both spoke of him as a third person at a distance from us. Menken said something (what I cannot remember) about her having been a Jewess, and that events were tending gradually towards a greater unity of different creeds.

The source of the experience

Home, D. D.

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps