Logansport Pharos-Tribune from Logansport, Indiana on April 11, 1891 · Page 2
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Logansport Pharos-Tribune from Logansport, Indiana · Page 2

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Logansport, Indiana
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Saturday, April 11, 1891
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1. CONJTJKING SPIRITS. A Leal from Julian Ha-wthorne'a Supernatural Autobiography. Bomo True Stories of Strnngo Events, to I Be Followed by More of tho Same \ -Type—The Mysterious Little Table on Wheels. [COPYRIGHT, 1S91.1 S LOKG Offo as 1S7C, a story -was published in " The Galaxy-" magazine, called "Ant Diabohi, ant niliil." About two years ago, a somewhat en- larg-ed version of the Eamo talc, •with the same title A appeared in "Black- •roood's" magazine, in London. Whether the second version was a clean steal, or •whether the author of the first himself Tewrote and republished it, I don't know; atiiny rate it was an uncommonly good story, The gist of it was, that a company of young men of birth and education, in Paris, were in the habit of assembling-' periodically for a certain mysterious pin-pose. An outsider having secretly obtained admission, saw, from his place 'of concealment behind a curtain, a handsome square room, with 'a bare-polished floor, and without furniture, "brilliantly lighted by g-as jets along the cornices. The company of young men, in evening dress, stood round the room in a circle, with hands joined, and chanted some sort ol incantation. As it proceeded, a specias of excitement •was infused into them—an electric sympathy of will and definite purpose. -The chant grew more intense; at length, they ''prostrated themselves, and, bending forward, kissed the polished floor simultaneously. Whereupon the onlooker became aware that another. fig- Tire was standing 1 in the .center of the circle. He was very tali, of , stately figure, clad like the 'rest of the com- .pany in full dress; his hair_..was black and crisp, and his countenance refined, polished and haughty. He glanced •down at his worshipers with ajr expression of condescension, of scorn, of sataii'c composure, such as could belong only :'to 'his .Diabolic majesty,-himself;' until the : profound, fastidious •wickedness of the whole performance •drew an involuntary exclamation from the observer; the'lights .went out; in the pitchy-darkness he felt himself seized .and hurried away, and by a fortunate ;accident he lived to tell the tale. This, I say, is an excellent story; but it might conceivably be true. The conjuring up of spirits is an ancient practice. Let a number of persons, animated by a consensus of purpose and Desire, meet together, arrange them- iselves in symbolic order-and attitude, «nd stimulate and intensify their common object by harmonizing words and [gestures—and they will presently work themselves and one another up to a pitch of expectant attention, the effect whereof upon their minds and' senses it '"would not be easy to exaggerate. The apparition' evoked by the young Pari- ,sians was nothing less than-the essence of their combined conception of the-Bni Principled • The figure resembled them much as the "composite photographs" lately in vogue unite • the prevailing traits of the contributing individuals. into a derivative of them all; it would have been strange if an objective result iha&not been obtained. We may say, of course, that the result, while seeming-to be objective, was in fact subjective; but what, after all, is a spirit? ... Confident' anticipation and concerted ^action are all that is necessaryto raise the Idevil or any other specter. To the same rorder of phenomena belong the ' 'man- lipulation" of Spiritualism.: In Spirit- fualistic circles, the table becomes the ; medium of sympathy or magnetic com- imunion between, the persons who sit ^around it. I have been amused by O. STATELY FieUSE APKffiAES IX THEES JITDST. 4he efforts of sceptical persons to prove -that "table-tipping" is ' the _ result of. jprank or of unconscious muscular ac- ition on the part of the sitters. "I believe in God Almighty," said one g-entle- anan to me, quite seriously, '"and' I Jcnow .He wouldn't come .down here to •work any 'such 'nonsense!" Neither, I -suppose, would He, through the medium of ruffians, murder innocent people; or cause any other iniquitous or ridiculous/ act; nevertheless, the world is full of iolly and iniquity. The gentleman's statement had no application to-the matter'in hand." The table is.'raove'd^,of . -courser but-'nbt'"by the pushirig or 'pulling of hands and feet. The alternative -to physical hands and feet is not, how•ever, necessarily spirits. -For my own part, though 1 have no particular objection to the spirit theory, it seems to mo gratuitous. If the' force must have a name, the old one of animal magnetism: suits me asSyell as any. • I don't know. •what it' means; but it seems - to point" to living human beings as the source of the phenomena, and that is satisfactory as far as it goes. -. • - - ' : - ,' . J' ':• ••' Who the genius 'was who 'invented •the little table on wheels, with a pencil -on it, I have never heard. He deserves •the thanks of-the people.who have been: entertained by; the little .instrument. ;A: snail of -'air-inventive'' turn might doubt-' less greatly improve upon; it... I .first nearcl ol piancnette about thirty years ago. but the first one I possessed was made by my own hand out of the bit of a cigar box, in ISS-l. Summer visitors v were staying with us, and there were half a dozen children always on hand, I expected to amuse them for an evening or two, but the fun lasted three or four months and was even renewed the following year. The grand initial march is, that plan- chette will move. When you first sit down to it," the .idea seems so palpably absurd that it is with difficulty you compel yourself to remain in position. After ten minutes of silence and immobility, you . are tempted to give the thing a second jerk on your own account, and you are morbidly suspicious of your partner in the transaction. All of a sudden, planchette, with a faint preliminary crash, starts off and makes a long, swinging- side-long movement, marked by the pencil with a straight dash. It takes you by surprise, and you know you are innocent in the matter; but you arc convinced you partner is guilty. He meets your glance, and yon see in his eyes his own corresponding conviction regarding you. No; you are both alike blameless. But then, what made planchette move? I confess, this question interests me more than any ghost story I ever heard. A more curious sensation than this movement beneath your hand of a thing which is not alive, and which you are not yourself propelling, is seldom experienced by mortal man. We see iron filings move about the poles of a magnet, or bits of paper nutter to a piece of nibbed sealing wax, but this is different, for planchette moves in no fixed direction towards a certain objective point, but in all directions impartially; and moreover, it moves intelligently. It .writes, draws and does other things •whichj-shall presently describe. Barring certain habits that it falls into, its manifestations certainly contradict expectation; it does not do' what some think it is going to do. In vain you ask it a question which seems to necessitate a particular answer: planchette replies from quite another standpoint and current of thought, and its reply is a surprise. In pursuance of the theory of "unconscious centration," you ex- "plofe your mind and memory for the source of planchette's remarks, with no very., satisfactory results. Besides, admitting that the contents "of your memory, and the springs of your character, lie open to planchette, to make therefrom snch selections and combinations as it chooses—how does it do it? How do the contents of your mind get into the piece of tobacco box, and how does it contrive to write them out? I have spoken of the attraction of a magnet. If you hold a small piece of iron close to a strong- magnet you feel a slight pull. The pull the planchette gives to your fingers -when it proceeds on its perigrinations is very similar to this. But in writing out 'a word it pulls in a dozen different directions within the space of a few seconds. The effect is not like that of a machine, however complex, or of a body obeying fixed and inevitable laws, but. of an independent personality, endowed with intelligence, purpose and memory. For it remembers what it has said and done in the past, and knows what it is about to do.. Our planchette, in answer to questions suggested by its own answers, related •to us, in daily • installments extending over three weeks, a long story comprising upwards of ten thousand words. It was so good a story that it was afterwards accepted and published by a leading periodical, word for word as it was originally written down, and from beginning to end there was no t an in consistency. Nor was it all written through the mediumship of one pair of people; a dozen different couples at different tunes sat down to the work, and the tale proceeded uninterruptedly. In short, the complete story must have been stored up" in planchette's "mind" before it began to write it. After we have become • accustomed to the thing and familiar with-, its ways many queer peculiarities are noticed. Planchette has no morality and no regard for truth. If we ask it a question as to a matter of fact, or about something in the future, its reply is always ready and generally very explicit, but never true save by accident. By far the best method is to let it take the lead in the conversation. "Will yon write, plan- chette?" "Yes." "Well, who is writing?" . "John Smith?' (or any other jm- • aginary person). .-You' now proceed to question John Smith on any'imaginary 1 detail : of his person, his life, death, : oc- 'cupation, -"desires, recollections,' purposes and 'sentiments. 'By and hy "John becomes a human and recognizable individual to you; and yon are even able to tell, by the preliminary sensation in' .the 'nerves, whether it is John or some one else who: is : about;to write the next sentence. Planchette never confesses its' own dramatis personae. Sometimes three or four different persons ; : (to - : call , them -.that) will each write a sentence one after another; but the sentences are all characteristic in style and conception. Occasionally I have seen two communicants contend forthepossessiori v of planchette, jerking it away from each other, tripping up each other's writing, fighting, in a word, like two angry childre_n, and .in one. instance" breaking the-;- pencil'" f-iri '.their struggle".' "Planchette" often"" betrays faults of temper, vanity, mirth, cynicism, scorn—all manner of human foibles. ."Tell -Mary," it once suddenly wrote, breaking in upon some yarn it was spinning, "that she had better shut up." Now Mary did not have her hands • on planchette, but she, was : sitting at the table,-.distracting;our attention by making- frivolous remarks."•' Planchette" always wants the whole attention of everybody in sight, and is apt to grow sulky or abusive'if - this is not accorded. ... Having, thus in some measure prepared the way, I shall relate, next time, an experience of my own with planchette •which is, so far. as I- know, unprecedented... -.;'• .Jm,X^ HAWTHORNE.': ""The'man who is not afraid of little sins is the. man the devil gets. PERPETUAL LIGHTNING, Natural Phenomena in a Venezuelan JTorctt. The United States consul at Maracaibo, Venezuela, has described some singular natural phenomena of an uninhabited forest region, rich in asphalt and petroleum, between the 'rivers Santa Ana and Zulia and the mountains of the Colombian frontier. One of these, says the New York Journal, near the Ei'o Oro, is a horizontal cave constantly ejecting thick bitumen in large globules, which explode with considerable noise and fall into a large deposit at the water's edge. At another spot, some miles from tho confluence of the Tara and Sardinete, is what the few who have seen it call the "Inferno." It is a sand mound twenty- fiye to thirty feet high, with an area . oi eight thousand square feet, from which innumerable streams of petroleum and hot water are constantly being forced with the noise of the blowing-ofE of several steam boilers. .One stream is said to have yielded four gallons of excellent petroleum id one minute. The inflammable gases from this region may give rise to the appearance of constant lightning, without thunden) which has long'been witnessed from the entrance to Lake Maracaibo. Too Iffhcii "Bawl." Twenty years ago the energetic Prof. Schwarz was conducting a musical society in a New Jersey city. They 'were studying Mendelssohn's "Elijah," and had reached the chorus, "Hear us, Baal; hear, Mighty God." The men's voices were "booming 1 out sonorously, when the conductor cried out: "No! No! dc dreadful vowel '.Don't say 'Bal-a,' soften a leetle—give ' de more musical sound, 'SaF —" Whereupon the chorus took up the strain again: "Hear us Bawl —hear us Bawl," but they quickly realized the peculiar fitness of tho sentiment, and broke down in laughter, to the great amazement of the 'little German, who never saw the joke, but who reluctantly consented to the old pronunciation.— Youth's Companion. Nearly Frantic. Has it ever been your misfortune to be brought into frequent contact with. a person excessively nervous. If so, you must be aware that trival causes, •unnoticed by the vigorous, drive a nervous invalid to the verge of distraction. It is as 'unnecessary,to particularize these as it -. impossible to guard ag-ainst them. The root of the. evil is usually imperfect .indigestion, and assimilation. 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