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Observations placeholder

Viscount Adare - Experiences in Spiritualism with Mr D D Home – 22 He placed his face right among the burning coals, moving it about as though bathing it in water



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience


Home sat for some time on the hearth, and then got up and walked about a little while, and taking up from the other table Glanvill's book on Witchcraft, he appeared distressed. He brought the book to me, and placed my right hand flat upon the cover supporting it himself underneath; raps came upon the book. He gradually withdrew his hand until the book was supported by one finger only; lastly, he withdrew that also, and the book was suspended in the air, or rather adhered to my open hand.

My fingers were not near the edges, my hand was extended flat upon the cover; I could not have grasped and retained the book in any way: it simply adhered to my hand. Home seemed pleased at this, and laughed, and turned round to the (to us) invisible spectators, as much as to say, “Do you see that?”

He repeated this experiment, making me place my left hand upon his, which he placed underneath the book, in order, as he said, that I might feel that his hand left the book. When he withdrew his hand, there was a space between it and the book of, I should say three inches. The book felt to me as though supported from beneath by a cushion or column of air. He then placed Glanvill on Witchcraft on the table, and, leaving the room, brought back with him a large volume on  Mythology, which he had taken from a perfectly dark library; he also brought his own book, Reminiscences in My Life, and laid them both upon the table.

He then walked about the room and appeared to be expostulating with the spirits, then sitting down he placed the three books before him, in the form of a cross and began speaking about them.

“This," he said, placing his hand on the mythological book, “is pure Materialism;”

“This," touching Glanvill," Religion materialized; and this,” taking his own book,

“Materialism spiritualized. The first, blood to appease a God; the second, blood to appease mankind; the third, the blood of the soul to appease mankind. Though you boast of your civilization, and though there are no longer persecutions of fire and blood: yet is there a moral persecution, and, in many respects, your age is as dark as any.  Who will dispel this darkness ? Who is bold enough to take the broom and clear away the cobwebs ? It must come from the material side - from your side - we cannot do it.”

He spoke for a long time, more than half an hour I should think. He likened different men's ideas of God to the different attempts we would all make to delineate the highest peak of the Himalayas. “None of you," he said, “have seen it; you would all draw a different form and none of you would be right."

He was very sarcastic about the wise men of the day, who he said, were afraid to investigate for fear of discovering something beyond their own philosophy, and which they could not account for; and yet, not one of them could tell you why one man's hair is light and another’s dark.

“You are much puzzled," he said, “about many things, Know that the highest angels also are lost in wonder and awe at many things."

While talking, he appeared to become uneasy and getting up, said, “There is a spirit here that will go on arguing with Dr. Elliotson, so that he cannot attend to anything: I must really interfere,” and he walked to the other end of the room, where he seemed to expostulate with someone. Coming back he said, “Dr. Elliotson and Dr. Jencken have invited a number of spirits here, they did not know the nature of manifestations, and were anxious to see them. Owing to circumstances not being favourable at first we failed to do what we wished and they are not satisfied, we will try again now."

He went to the fire, poked up the coals, and putting his hand in, drew out a hot burning ember, about twice the size of an orange ; this he carried about the room, as if to shew it to the spirits, and then brought it to us ; we all examined it.

He then put it back in the fire and showed us his hands; they were not in the least blackened or scorched, neither did they smell of fire, but on the contrary of a sweet scent which he threw off from his fingers at us across the table. Having apparently spoken to some spirit, he went back to the fire, and with his hand stirred the embers into a flame ; then kneeling down, he placed his face right among the burning coals, moving it about as though bathing it in water. Then, getting up, he held his finger for some time in the flame of the candle.

Presently, he took the same lump of coal he had previously handled and came over to us, blowing upon it to make it brighter. He then walked slowly round the table, and said, “I want to see which of you will be the best subject. Ah! Adare will be the easiest, because he has been most with Dan."

Mr. Jencken held out his hand, saying, “Put it in mine, " Home said, “No, no, touch it and see," he touched it with the tip of his finger and burnt himself. Home then held it within four or five inches of Mr. Saal's and Mr. Hurt's hands, and they could not endure the heat. He came to me and said, “ Now if you are not afraid, hold out your hand; "

I did so, and having made two rapid passes over my hand, he placed the coal in it.

I must have held it for half a minute, long enough to have burned my hand fearfully; the coal felt scarcely warm. Home then took it away, laughed, and seemed much pleased. As he was going back to the fire-place, he suddenly turned round and said, “Why, just fancy, some of them think that only one side of the ember was hot”

He told me to make a hollow of both my hands; I did so, and he placed the coal in them, and then put both his on the top of the coal, so that it was completely covered by our four hands, and we held it there for some time.

Upon this occasion scarcely any heat at all could be perceived. After having replaced the coal in the fire, he went and held his hand - the fingers being extended downwards - about nine inches above a vase of flowers,

“You will see,” he said, “That I can withdraw the moisture and scent from the flowers. ”

He came over to me and rubbed my hands, imparting the odour of the flowers to them ; his fingers were quite moist as with dew; he also flipped the moisture, and with it the scent from his fingers to each person. He now appeared quite satisfied, and after speaking a little to the spirits in the room opened the door and bowed them out, and then resumed his seat.

“Now," he said, “Do you all realise that you have seen what is called a miracle, yet in reality it is no such thing. All these phenomena only shew our superior acquaintance with natural laws, and our power over material substances. Mankind ought to have the same power over the material world in which he lives; you little know the power that is in you; had you faith you could do things you little dream of" .

He spoke some time in this strain, and then said, “Dan is going to awake now, do not tell him what has occurred, but let him wash his hands.”

When he awoke, he was much exhausted, but after washing appeared quite refreshed. We examined him closely; there was no sign not even the smell of fire about him, neither was a hair of his head singed.

The source of the experience

Home, D. D.

Concepts, symbols and science items

Activities and commonsteps



Being left handed
Inherited genes