The Mediumship of Effie Moss
By Dr John King
The reader, while perusing the narration of the facts herein recorded, will have his or her own theory or hypothesis to account for the phenomena in individual cases. Whatever hypothesis may be adopted, it would seem that it must be one, which, while impervious to the shafts of criticism, will account for the existence of some natural law, not fully comprehended, though possibly conjectured. The phenomena continue to present here and there, and intelligent inquiring minds will continue to desire to solve the problem, which will account for them, and lay bare the truth.
After all who wished to do so had examined the window, ceiling, floor, walls, and curtains constituting the improvised cabinet without contents, except one plain wooden chair for the medium, they assumed a position in the horseshoe circle, as already explained in detail.
The medium, who was dressed in a plain dark dress, without anything superfluous on the outside, next raised from a seat in the circle, adjoining the cabinet space, where she had been constantly under the close scrutiny of every sitter from the first opportunity she gave them, until she stepped inside the cabinet which I have described in detail, and took her seat on the plain wooden chair, at the north end of the cabinet space.
All being seated, the conductor pulled down the curtains, and took his seat in the circle. Those present then joined in singing familiar hymns, and shortly after the manifestations began. It is not my purpose to refer to all the manifestations, but to such only as made a marked impression on my mind.
A few apparently human forms appeared, one at a time at the opening of the curtains, and were presently recognized by one or another of the sitters, as purporting to be that of near relatives or friends; and would engage in conversation in some instances in a whisper, in others audible to all present. Some of these advanced either alone, or by the hand of someone from the circle, out in the room and up to individual sitters, myself among the number.
(1) In one instance what appeared to be a brisk young girl, who came out of the cabinet, called one of the little girl sitters from the circle, and standing adjacent to where I sat, asked me to examine the little girl’s hair and face, which I did. The former (the girl from the cabinet) then asked me to take her own hand, in mine, which I likewise did, after which she placed my hand upon her head and asked me to examine the hair, which I found to be long, black, coarse in fibre and the quantity abundant.
This apparition, materialized form, or actual human girl, whichever she was, claimed to be the spirit of an Indian girl. She next permitted me to feel her feet, which were encased in a pair of moccasins; and while I was observing her stature, features, eyes and mouth, she chatted pleasantly; and gave all present an evidence of her agility, by running and jumping upon the floor, finishing by asking me if I thought the big medium could make herself up like a little Indian girl, with small hands and feet like those I felt. I had to admit my disbelief in the possibility of the large and heavy medium diminishing her size and weight in that manner, or to such a degree. This form disappeared by way of the cabinet.
(2) Another manifestation or apparition was that of a little girl dressed in white, at the opening of the curtains, who wanted to know if the sitters thought she was the medium, when almost immediately the medium appeared at her side, having the same appearance she had when first entering the cabinet, and the two stood side by side before the curtains, the medium being apparently in a trance state. This little girl in white retired into the cabinet, as did the medium also. We were informed that the medium claimed that this was Lily, one of her band of spirits that helped to build up the so-called materialized forms.
This same little cabinet spirit Lily, pretty as a Christmas doll, said to me in the presence and hearing of all the sitters in that séance: ‘Dr. King, when Mrs. Moss passes over to spirit side of life, then I’ll come and join your band.’
(3)Another manifestation of peculiar interest was the appearance of a form, which was recognized by sitters as a perfect duplication in physique and manner of speech, of a well-known citizen, who had passed out of the body after having been for some time an editor of a farmers’ paper published in the same city of London, Ontario.
I was invited to approach the cabinet, but I did not recognize the form or features, for I had never seen or known the said editor in the physical life; and consequently would not recognize this materialized representation of him; but he claimed brotherhood and designated my status in the brotherhood. I had not made myself known fraternally to any one present, nor had I any insignia or symbols, or anything about me to indicate that I was a fraternity man or brother.
In response to his invitation I entered with him into the cabinet, and to my astonishment he did certainly prove himself a brother. I may add that while this testing and proving was in process in the cabinet with curtains closed, I could see the medium seated on the chair, her eyes closed, and apparently in a deep trance state, as was her usual condition during a séance. The form, which proved itself to be a brother, was surrounded by a certain degree of illumination, which made the cabinet as well as the form of the medium, distinctly visible to me. Coming to the outside of the cabinet again with me, this form’s grip was strong, substantial, and real, yet seemed to melt away while still I held it, and after first taking three irregular steps from the cabinet, gradually dissolved from view as white or greyish smoke or vapour, entering the carpet at that point.
(4) Another manifestation alleged to be that of a minister, having a portly and easily recognized form, was claimed by several of those who knew him in the physical form, to be a preacher who formerly preached in South London Methodist church. The form appeared in the black clothing, as was the custom of the minister in the physical form, and addressed those present in a manner familiar to those who had listened to his pulpit utterances; but added that had he known what he now knew he would have been enabled to teach and preach with a much clearer knowledge of the truth. I was privileged to take the ghost’s hand and look well into his countenance, and witness the movement of his lips and of his eyes, and hear the breath movements of his speech. He disappeared by way of the cabinet from which he came.
(5) Another of the many manifestations at this séance was that of an alleged actress, suitably clad in garments of a creamy white colour, who claimed to have passed out of the physical form in Brooklyn one hour after completing her part in an act or play at the theatre. Her stature was taller than that of the medium and much more spare. Her voice was strong and sweet. She addressed those present for several minutes, exhorting them to a proper life and good deeds for humanity.
After concluding her address she favoured the company by singing in a magnificent manner a song that would have required great natural capability, and much culture for so fine a rendition, on the part of a human singer. Had the window been open, the singing could have been heard easily a block away. I was also permitted to approach this manifestation, and shake hands with it, and saw its features most distinctly. This form disappeared into the cabinet from which it had made its first appearance.
(6) During one portion of the séance, when all was quiet, the room hitherto dimly lit suddenly became darker. Almost immediately after, within the circle of the sitters, and about one yard from my chair, I noticed a light upon the carpet, phosphorescent in appearance, about the size of a 25-cent piece or English shilling, which soon became more extensive, and apparently rose as a vapour from which evolved curling flame like white and purple light, until suddenly it took on tangible form, and developed what all the sitters agreed upon, as being beyond doubt a beautiful young woman, clad in draperies of creamy white, bearing supported or suspended above her head a purple ball of light, which, however, seemed physically separate from any connection with the head; and which illumined the entire room, and simultaneously the air was impregnated with door of a most delicate and agreeable perfume, resembling nothing I had ever before inhaled. All over the draperies and coverings of this apparition were small star-spangles as if they were most brilliant electric starlights. This manifestation differed in appearance from the others preceding, inasmuch as they had a substantial, everyday, solid, lifelike physical body and raiment, such as we are accustomed to look upon in our everyday experience; while this female materialization, perfect in physical form, seemed attired in vestures and draperies most unusual, but in themselves beautiful and well adapted in their application, giving an angelic cast to the entire figure.
She took my hand as if for salutation, held it firmly as if for support, for perhaps half a minute, and apparently until fully materialized, and explained that she had the power to appropriate material from the medium, and from my own and other sitters’ composition, to form a body to occupy; and by aid of other spirits likewise formed the vestures, and draperies worn, of thought creation from particles of matter in textures in the room, and also from the air. The hand appeared natural to the sight, and the touch or grip revealed feeling, solidity, and motion. Her stay was brief, and her departure was as if she had dissolved into mist or white smoke, and was drawn downwards and absorbed into the carpet. This particular form, materialization, or apparition neither entered nor approached the cabinet. Some of the more experienced sitters explained that this form was that of an advanced spirit, and one long since passed to spirit life; but none there were who claimed to have ever seen her before; nor did she give any indication at this sitting as to her human personality or her angelic home. (This was Egyptia, my alleged guardian spirit, as I subsequently learned from her.)
I may here remark that I shook hands and conversed with the majority of the forms appearing at this séance, listened to the messages conveyed to individual friends in the room, or to the more general exhortations and advice regarding the real objects and purposes of life. All this to me was passing strange, and unaccountable on ordinary or natural lines of investigation, as I shall attempt to show in discussing the various hypotheses.
PHENOMENA EVIDENTIAL IN CHARACTER TO ME
(7) The event in this séance and in a subsequent one, of the deepest personal interest to me, as affording not only more support, but in my judgment the strongest evidential support of the spiritual hypothesis, as contrasted with any other hypothesis that I have considered or that can be offered, I shall now describe. I have said this case engaged my deepest interest; but I may add that the most conclusively convincing tests possible were presented to my judgment, as I shall presently show.
Among the forms to appear at the parting of the curtains of the improvised cabinet, was that of an apparently old lady, above medium height, build and weight, slightly bent forward, whose hair was silvery white, whose face was directed towards myself, to whom she seemed to beckon, but in no single particular resembling the medium. Several remarked to me, ‘You are wanted, Doctor’, and I arose and advanced close to the form, my face being within a few inches of the face presented, which appeared illuminated so clearly and distinctly that I could see individual hairs hanging across the temple.
I beheld the form and features, the perfect physical resemblance, and physiognomy of my own mother, who passed out of the physical life, as the result of an accident in my own and her own home, some nine years previously. So natural, so human and life-like was the apparition that it formed a perfect duplicate of my mother—as perfect a view as her mirrored reflection in life, while it possessed tangibility, solidity, weight, moved the eyes as if looking into mine, grasped my hand as really as ever it was grasped, and used the mouth to speak and I heard her breathe. I stood a few moments to test myself, as to whether I was awake or dreaming, or in a hypnotized state.
Up to this point, though I had recognized what I have stated, I had said nothing. I then spoke aloud in the hearing of all present and said ‘Who is this?’ The form then stepped forward from the cabinet and in a similar characteristic and affectionate manner to that of my mother when in my home said, so that all present could hear what she said, ‘My dear boy, do you recognize me?’ I replied by asking, ‘Is this the one I am thinking of?’
The apparition before me said: ‘Yes, I am still alive, and am pleased to see you here, and I bring you proof of my existence.’ The form patted me on my cheek, kissed me, and said, ‘Your Pa is here with me. He only recently came to me out of the body, and was extremely weak.’
The form then explained that he, the father, was not yet able to gather the forces necessary to manifest himself, but would do so at another séance if I would remain. All this was heard by the others present, as all assented when asked if they heard distinctly.
I, at this point, explained to the sitters in this séance, that my mother passed out of the physical between eight and nine years previously, while my father had only passed out about two months anterior to this occasion; and as I was a stranger to them all, as well as to the medium, with the single exception of the gentleman in whose house we were meeting—that of Mr MacRoberts (and I had only twice before met him, many miles from my home)—and, therefore, all were ignorant of the dates of death of my mother and father, and of any other data concerning them.
The materialized manifestation claiming to be that of my mother, also spoke to me in a whisper, and the utterances were those peculiarly characteristic of my mother, and such as no other human being could imitate or know and use them. She took my hand, stepped out into the circle, and was seen and heard by all therein, and spoken with by several. As one or two among the many evidential tests of personal physical identity, or duplication thereof, I give the following:
My mother had for many years carried the evidence of rheumatic arthritis in the lower two rows of the joints of her fingers on both hands, they being, as she used to term them, hickory-nut joints, and her habit was, when not specially using her hands, or when she had company or went out, to wear thin silk gloves or mitts over them, a size or two larger than would otherwise be necessary, on account of large joints, to prevent their being noticeable by others. My mother was also accustomed to wear about the shoulders a light comforter or shawl of old-fashioned pattern and size, to prevent chills from the draughts, she claimed.
On this occasion, exact duplications of the old-fashioned silk gloves and shawl were worn by this manifestation, apparently as real as I had ever seen them, and further, and even yet more conclusively convincing, myself and others looked for the hickory-nut jointed fingers, and sure enough the evidence was convincing, tested by sight and touch of more than one-half of the sitters present. Corroborative inspection likewise demonstrated the existence in the eye of a brown spot on the white of the globe of the left eye; and a cluster or cord of silvery hair hanging over the left temple to the left ear, from the upper part of the forehead of the demonstrating apparition, which stood before us and talked with us. Both of these latter features were distinctly noticeable, and had in my mother’s life-time been examined and commented upon, by those who knew her, and to myself they were in this instance a perfect duplication or reflection in the animated apparition which I am now describing.
As the manifestation was about to go it gave me a parting kiss, and said ‘Goodbye’ in a precisely similar manner to that which my mother always adopted, when we parted with each other during her physical existence.