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antagonisms created by the excesses of mate- vestigated, because to be told of the appearrialistic and infidel opinions, which denied the ance of a ghost excited no more surprise than truth of the miracles recorded in the Christian to be informed of a storm at sea, or of an exScriptures. John Wesley says, “ It is true that traordinary flash of lightning. In Greece and the English in general, and indeed most of Rome such narratives furnish the materials of the men in Europe, have given up all accounts poetry, and for ages after the hold of the marof witches and apparitions as mere old wife's velous upon ordinary writers was broken the fables.” He expresses great sorrow at this and impression of primeval superstitions was so says, “ If but one account of the intercourse strong that the questions which science now of men with superior spirits be admitted, their asks—nay, more, the questions which practical whole castle in the air (deism, atheism, mate- men now ask were not propounded. rialism) falls to the ground.”
To believe in such cases what antiquity The discussion of Mr. Wesley's views of the believed, because antiquity believed it, is but relation of witchcraft to true Christianity is not to tighten the swaddling-clothes of the infant in place here. His testimony as to the opin- about the grown man and force him back into ions of men of his time is the best of which the cradle. the case admits, and the assertion quoted The testimony of a single witness to an apconcerning the value of proof of that kind in parition can be of little value, because whatthe then pending conflicts with the free- ever he thinks he sees may be a spectral illusion thinkers justifies the use made of it by Dr. or an hallucination. The state of mind of a
perHibbert in his “Philosophy of Apparitions," son who thinks that he sees an apparition is published not more than forty years after entirely unfavorable to calm observation; and Wesley's death.
after he has seen it he has nothing but his Two subjects which have a bearing upon recollection of what he saw, unsupported by any theory of apparitions, telepathy and mod- analogies or memoranda taken during the ern spiritualism, are also postponed. Telepa- vision. To say that immediately after he witthy does not bear directly upon apparitions nessed such a thing he made a note of it, is at in the sense of the direct manifestations of the best to say only that he wrote down what he dead only so far as it is connected with alleged could remember at that time. perceptions of persons just dead or dying. At The identification of the dead must be a the close of the second part of “A Theory matter of very great difficulty to a living perof Apparitions,” published by the Society of son, particularly as in many of the ghost stories Psychical Research, the writer says, “Of ap- the deceased has not been seen for twenty or paritions after death we say nothing here,” and twenty-five years, or perhaps was never seen makes use of telepathy merely for the purpose by the person to whom he is alleged to appear. of analogy. Modern spiritualism has so many In view of the mental excitement, not to say phases, and its alleged and real phenomena trepidation, induced by the belief that he sees are many of them so dissimilar in matter and a spontaneous and unexpected apparition, the manner to the spontaneous apparitions referred one who fancies that he sees the dead must be to by Lord Byron in
the least competent to determine whether it be I merely mean to say what Johnson said,
a subjective vision or an actual object. That in the course of some six thousand years, putable that if two persons see a vision at the
It has frequently been laid down as indisAll nations have believed that from the dead A visitant at intervals appears,
same time its objective and authentic charac
ter is conclusively demonstrated. This by no as to make it necessary to consider it separately. means follows; on the contrary, a hundred
What I design is to show that when the evi- persons may be confident that they see an dence is rigorously though fairly examined, the apparition, and the proof that they do not Scotch verdict of “Not proven" must be ren- may be conclusive. In the Middle Ages thoudered concerning the reality of apparitions; sands believed in Vampyrism. Less than two and that the presumptions of their natural ori- hundred years ago in Hungary, Moravia, gin are so strong as to leave little doubt in Silesia, and Lorraine it was prevalent. “Some minds not intoxicated by a love of the mar- dreamed that these malicious specters took velous, or who do not desire to find by sensu- them by the throat, and, having strangled ous evidence an “Elysian road which will them, sucked their blood.” Others believed conduct man undoubtingly to such beliefs as that they actually saw them. At times when his heart most craves."
the imagination is greatly excited, and a belief The belief in apparitions was universal be- in ghosts exists, they can be manufactured by fore the development of the scientific spirit. the thousand, and thousands can see them. Scarce an instance can be given from antiquity The colored people in the South have no of a tale of supernatural events carefully in- trouble on this point. It is a common occur
rence for the ghosts of persons hanged to Saints would be established, the surrounding appear to the prisoners in the jail, and though Mormons thought they beheld it, and nothing
, the officers may look at midnight, or whenever could shake their conviction of its reality. the ghost is said to appear, and can see noth- Mistaken identity accounts for many appaing, scores of the prisoners are certain that ritions. Resemblances between persons in no they see the dreadful vision, and great revivals way related are much more numerous and occur among them. An instance of this kind striking than is generally supposed. Many inhas occurred within a few years, resulting in stances of this were given in an article in this the permanent reformation of several persons. series entitled, “ Astrology, Divination, and
Sailors, naturally superstitious, have great Coincidences.” Lord Byron, who was superpowers as seers of ghosts. A vessel that sailed stitious, in speaking of ghosts said: from Newcastle-upon-Tyne had on board a cook one of whose legs was shorter than the is that, whatever bar the reason rears
And what is strangest upon this strange head other, so that he walked in that way which in 'Gainst such belief, there's something stronger still the vulgar idiom is called “ with an up and in its behalf, let those deny who will. a down." He died on the trip and was buried at sea. A few nights afterwards the captain Yet he occasionally laughed at ghosts. In was told by the mate that the cook was walk- 1811, writing to Mr. Murray, he says, “ My ing before the ship, and that all hands were old school and form fellow Peel, the Irish Secon deck to see him. Angry at being awakened, retary, told me he saw me in St. James street; the captain told the mate to let the cook alone I was then in Turkey. A day or two afterand race with him to see whether the ship or wards he pointed out to his brother a person he would get first to Newcastle. But being across the way and said, “ There is the man further importuned the captain finally turned I took for Byron.' His brother answered, out. I will now quote the words of Mr. Ellis Why, it is Byron, and no one else. I was at (who published “ Brand's Popular Antiqui- this time seen to write my name in the Palace ties") as they were received from the captain:
book. I was then ill of a malaria fever. If I
had died, here would have been a ghost story.” He honestly confessed that he had like to have According to the telepathic theory, Byron's caught the contagion, and on seeing something move self might have left his body in Turkey where in a way so similar to that which an old friend used,
he was sick and made an excursion to London. and withal having a cap on so like that which he was wont to wear, verily thought there was more in the It would be interesting to have an account of report than he was at first willing to believe. A the state of his body on that day; whether general panic diffused itself. He ordered the ship to much agitated, or enjoying a calm and rebe steered towards the object, but not a man would freshing sleep in the absence of the permove the helm. Compelled to do this himself, he turbed spirit of the poet, who must have been found on a nearer approach that the ridiculous cause
an uneasy tenant at the best of times. But of all their terror was part of a maintop, the remains these details were omitted, and the natural exof some wreck, floating before them.
planation would be "mistaken identity." If he had really caught the contagion the A whole city was excited by the appearance evidence would have been complete; the So- of a person known to be dead-a silent man, ciety for Psychical Research might make much who entered a hotel, registered his name, and of it
, and it would be declared to be a con- looked wistfully about, speaking to no one, vincing proof of a future state.
and not willing to explain his business. Terror Dr. Tuke gives an instance of a general seized upon the people. Every person who misapprehension of vision. At the conflagra- looked at him affirmed that he was the dead tion in the Crystal Palace, in the winter of man. He was compelled after a few days to 1866–67, when the animals were destroyed account for himself, and had no difficulty in by fire, it was supposed that the chimpanzee proving, not only that he was a living man, but had succeeded in escaping from his cage. Men that he had never seen the man whom he so saw the unhappy animal holding on to the strongly resembled. A remarkable fact about roof and writhing in agony while trying to get this case was, that both the dead man and his hold of one of the iron ribs. They watched double had three moles on the left cheek. its struggles with sickening dread - but there Jugglery and intentional deception, subsewas no animal there. “It was a tattered piece quently confessed, have explained many cases of blind, so torn as to resemble, to the eye of of apparition which within a short period prefancy, the body, arms, and legs of an ape!" vious to the exposure had been generally be
When Brigham Young asserted that he saw lieved real in the communities where they were the angel of the Lord from Ensign Point, reported. One of the most common sources making signs that that was the place where of supposed supernatural interference with orthe great city and tabernacle of the Latter Day dinary laws is unexplained noises, especially
Vol. XXXVIII.- 61.
, . those that appear to respond to questions. more so, as I have shown abundantly, than Many of these have been subsequently ex- many coincidences in trifles, and many other plained by chemical conditions; others by the circumstances absolutely disconnected, and wind shrieking through bottles, down chimneys, many subjective impressions without any coand occasionally by pendulum motions caused incidences. Mr. Lang, in the article referred by gravitation, shakings, or motions by the to, has written like one who has crammed with movements of distant bodies; one famous case the literature of the subject without being at by changes that had taken place, the result of the pains to reason closely upon the alleged mining operations beneath the ground upon facts. He refers to the superstitious horror which the house stood. The ringing of bells shown by a dog at the moment of a supposed when it was obvious no one was pulling the apparition to his master. That the dog exwires — occasionally the result of electricity, at hibited horror when his owner thought he saw other times of cats — has terrified some ordina- an apparition may be readily believed. And rily intelligent persons almost out of their senses. one familiar with dogs knows that nothing will The disturbances produced by dogs, cats, and terrify them more than a great appearance of even rats, magnified by large rooms, immense alarm on the part of their masters without any fireplaces, and the transformation of innocent visible cause. Of the same nature is the remark objects in nights when the moon is at the full, concerning the mysterious disturbances at the and the deep shadows produced by the move- house of the Wesleys: “ The mastiff was more ments of the limbs of trees reflected in mir- afraid than any of the children.” The volatile rors, have all contributed to the production of imaginations of children have never shown awful impressions.
any great horror of mysteries; they were susIn a certain rectory within forty miles of the tained, too, by confidence in their parents. city of New York stood an old-fashioned can- But the dog heard mysterious noises which dlestick surrounded by prisms of glass which naturally greatly agitated him. were pendent from the top. On several occa- Mr. Lang closes his remarks on this part of sions the family were awakened by the ringing the subject by naïvely saying, “The case of of these in the night, the effect of which was Baalam's ass is sufficiently well known.” This to terrify the servants and all the inmates of case is not pertinent. Balaam's ass, according the house, except the wife of the rector, who to the record, not only saw a supernatural apdetermined to solve the mystery. For a long pearance, but engaged in a process of reasontime the sounds were not produced except ing in which his past life as an ass was called in total darkness, but by gradually introduc- up to vindicate him from abuse, and further ing the practice of burning a light at night engaged in a conversation with his master in the ringing was finally heard one night when the latter's vernacular. Indeed, according to there was a light in the room. The lady the record, he exhibited a cogency of reasonof the house then went quietly down to the ing which applied to most of the tales attested dining-room and saw a large rat with every to prove the reality of apparitions would efexpression of pleasure leaping forward and fectually “lay” the ghosts. with his forelegs striking the prisms so as to Many persons fancy that mysterious noises make them ring, and evidently taking the keen- which will appear to respond to questions, est delight in the sound thus produced. to make raps or answer raps, conclusively
In an article on Apparitions written by prove that they are directed by intelligence. Andrew Lang, in the second volume of the Sometimes they may, and the intelligence is “Encyclopædia Britannica," ninth edition, he quite likely to be of human origin; but noises says:
of atmospheric, chemical, or electrical origin The writer once met, as he believed, a well- may furnish astonishing coincidences, just as known and learned member of an English univer- the fissures in the rocks are extremely difficult sity who was really dying at a place more than a
to be distinguished from hieroglyphics. Some hundred miles distant from that in which he was years ago an alphabet based on the spiritualseen. Supposing, for the sake of argument, that the istic alphabet was applied to the successive writer did not mistake some other individual for the gusts of wind of a stormy autumn day, and extremely noticeable person whom he seemed to see, the coincidences were astonishing. Whole the coincidence between the subjective impression and the death of the learned professor is, to say the sentences of a very significant character at least, curious.
times appeared to respond to the arbitrary
standard. And in any case the conclusion that To determine whether or not it was a case of a noise the cause of which is not yet undermistaken identity is very important, but no op- stood must be supernatural is a process of portunity is given in the passage quoted. If it reasoning ab ignorantia. was a subjective impression, the coincidence That ghosts do not come to those most interwould be curious and nothing else; and not ested in them, and seldom or never to any who
long for them, has been a matter of note from bequeathed them, the loneliness and despair the earliest times. Wordsworth's words, often that fill human hearts, and the gloomy doubts quoted, state the conclusion drawn from this in of the reality of a future existence,- all of which language natural and almost convincing : would be rendered impossible if actual appari'T is falsely said
tions took place,—the conclusion that neither in That there was ever intercourse
the manner of the alleged comings nor in the Betwixt the living and the dead,
objects for which they come is there any For surely then I should have sight evidence to be found of their reality gathers Of him I wait for day and night
almost irresistible force. With love and longings infinite.
If it be assumed that the testimony of one perThe ceremonies practiced by the Christian son or of one hundred persons to a supernatural Church in the Middle Ages in the successful ex- event is not sufficient to prove that it occurred, orcising of ghosts are not less striking than the the question, “ What becomes of the testimony sort of evidence on which the ghosts were ac- of the Apostles and the five hundred brethren to cepted. Two or three clergymen are necessary the resurrection of Christ, and of Stephen to and the ceremony must be performed in Latin, his seeing the heavens open," comes up again. “the language which strikes the most audacious It admits of but one answer. If they had ghost with terror.” According to history and nothing to give us but the fact that they saw tradition the ghost may be laid for any term a person alive who had been dead, it would less than a hundred years, “ in any place or be necessary to reject it on the ground that it is body, filled or empty." But what a ghost hates far more probable that they were deceived than most is the Red Sea. It is related on the most that such a thing occurred. But that is not indisputable authority that the ghosts have the case. They present to us the whole body earnestly besought exorcists not to confine them of Christian doctrine, declaring that it was in that place; nor is any instance given of their received from that person who predicted that escaping before the time !
he would rise from the dead, and whom they When we consider the horrible injustice believed themselves to see, and with whom on inflicted upon orphans whose estates are various occasions they conversed after his squandered by trustees, the concealment or resurrection. If the body of Christian doctrine destruction of wills, the ingratitude to destitute in its relation to the moral nature of the thinker benefactors, the diverting of trust funds for be- does not convince him of the divine origin and nevolent purposes to objects abhorrent to those consequent truth of the record, we know of no who with painful toil accumulated them and means of doing so. with confidence in the stability of human laws
J. M. Buckley. In THE CENTURY for July, 1888, in an article of this series entitled “ Dreams, Nightmare, and Somnam. bulism,” a quotation concerning Laura Bridgman, taken from an article by Joseph Jastrow, was erroneously attributed to the “ Presbyterian Review" instead of to the “ New Princeton Review," and the language to Prof. G. Stanley Hall. The facts were derived by Mr. Jastrow from an unpublished manuscript of Professor Hall, but the language quoted was his own.- J. M. B.
Nothing!” And, while he wrote the senseless word,
The tocsin rang in Paris; the human flood
Poured onward raging till it came where stood
How prone it lay. Behold his aimless wit:
John W. Chadwick.
ITcomprobable that there were centennialisme a sethie
TOPICS OF THE TIME.
It may be or may not be that the exercise of the simple civic virtues in the present is a preparation for
some future Bunker Hill; but he must be strangely coinage of such a word be permissible, which set in blind who cannot see the approach of enemies as fatal about 1875, is now at an end for a long time to come. to the Republic and as easily visible as the long line The successive events of the American Revolution, of of red-coats which landed at Charlestown on that the period of confusion which followed it, and of the June morning of 1775. Here is the professional polifinal establishment of sound national government, have tician, who buys votes and corrupts citizenship at its all had their days of remembrance, concluded fittingly fountain-head; the venal politician, to whom office is by the great celebration of last April in New York valuable only for its opportunities of marketing his City; and it is not easy to see any near occasion for own vote; the “ring”-leader, who exploits the taxingrenewing the series. There have been events in our power and leaves behind him a broad track of pecula. history for which remembrance might be suggested tion and debt; the demagogue, who makes political during the next twenty years; but they are those in and personal profit out of religious and race differwhich the United States can claim no peculiar property, ences; the machine politician, who appropriates his such as the discovery of America, or events in the share of the civil service while he cants about the peospecial history of the individual States, which can ple's right to the offices; the man who thinks it an hardly excite general interest, or such as the voyages act of tyranny to impose limits or checks upon his of the Cabots, which, however important, are some. right to tempt his neighbors to drink; the corporate what too academic to enlist any genuine popular tyranny which insists on having only helpless work. enthusiasm. It is most probable, then, that we are to men to deal with, or the “labor ”tyranny which hounds, have no recurrence of " centennial " anniversaries this cripples, or murders the helpless individual - every side of the naval victories of 1812 at least, and that grade of civic offenders, from the petty larcenist up patriotism must content itself for that length of time or down, to the imported scoundrel who prepares dynwith the simple and less heroic interests of the present, amite bombs for the police. More terrible than an army relying no longer for inspiration upon the great occa- with banners, more insidious and aggressive than the sions of the past.
assaulting line at Bunker Hill, these modern foes of It should not be believed that the occasions of the the Republic are to be met and overcome, not by present lose in real dignity by comparison with those "centennial” celebrations, but by just those civic of the past, any more than that the fathers of the Re- virtues which gave possibility to the great events of public would have been better engaged in holding the past. "centennial” celebrations themselves than in doing The power of the Republic in the present is great, the duty which lay nearest to them. It is not by great but it is an error to believe that it was not fully fore. occasions, or by the spasmodic energies of a desperate seen a hundred years since. Franklin and others patriotism, that the rank of a people in history is to be amused their leisure with mathematical calculations of measured. Such events are like the stamp of the die the increase of population, which time has shown to upon the coin; it may be impressed on bullion or on have been singularly correct. President Stiles of base metal. Spain had her Zaragoza, as we had our Yale College, who, in a sermon of 1760, on the conBunker Hill; but when King Ferdinand resumed his quest of Canada, had predicted the development of “a throne he found no tools of his tyranny more sub- Provincial Confederacy,” and perhaps the growth of servient than the rural population, such as had de. an “imperial dominion ” out of the Confederacy, went fended Zaragoza. The true metal, to which alone the further into the future in his election sermon of 1783. stamp can give permanent currency, is that courage “It is probable that within a century from our indewhich is the representative of long years of the assid- pendence the sun will shine on fifty millions of inhabituous practice of the homelier virtues of good citizen- ants in the United States. This will be a great, a very ship. If Bunker Hill had represented only brute great nation, near) equal to half Europe. And if the courage, or “ war to the knife,” the British Ministry present rate of increase should be rather diminished might have found it a real victory, or some American in some of the other settlements, yet an accelerated usurper might have made it a stepping-stone to a multiplication will attend our general propagation, and despotism : the secret of the battle was in the fact that overspread the whole territory westward for ages.” Miles Standish, and the Winthrops, and Thomas But the preacher saw the attendant dangers with equal Hooker, and all the host of unnamed worthies of New clearness. He warned posterity, as well as his hearers, England history for a hundred and fifty years, stood that there was need of " vigilance against corruption behind the breastworks, and made certain of permanent in purchasing elections and in designations to office in results in spite of temporary defeat. The interest of the legislatures and Congress, instituting such efficasuch an event is not in the mere pugilist's wonder that cious provisions against corruption as shall preclude embattled farmers should withstand regular soldiers, the possibility of its rising to any great height before but in the struggle of good citizenship, with its inevi. it shall be controlled and corrected. Although, in every table results, against the prizes and incentives offered political administration, the appointment to office will by a privileged class.
ever be considerably influenced by the sinister, private,