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Author of
"The Captain of the Gray-Horse Troop"
"Money Magic" etc.

New York and London
Harper & Brothers Publishers

Copyright, 1908, by Hamlin Garland.
Copyright, 1908, by the Ridgway Company.
All rights reserved.

Published September, 1908.


This book is a faithful record, so far as I can make it, of the most
marvellous phenomena which have come under my observation during the
last sixteen or seventeen years. I have used my notes (made immediately
after the sittings) and also my reports to the American Psychical
Society (of which I was at one time a director) as the basis of my
story. For literary purposes I have substituted fictitious names for
real names, and imaginary characters for the actual individuals
concerned; but I have not allowed these necessary expedients to
interfere with the precise truth of the account.

For example, _Miller_, an imaginary chemist, has been put in the place
of a scientist much older than thirty-five, in whose library the
inexplicable "third sitting" took place. _Fowler_, also, is not intended
to depict an individual. The man in whose shoes he stands is one of the
most widely read and deeply experienced spiritists I have ever known,
and I have sincerely tried to present through _Fowler_ the argument
which his prototype might have used. _Mrs. Quigg_, _Miss Brush_,
_Howard_, the _Camerons_, and most of the others, are purely imaginary.
The places in which the sittings took place are not indicated, for the
reason that I do not wish to involve any unwilling witnesses.

In the case of the psychics, they are, of course, delineated exactly as
they appeared to me, although I have concealed their real names and
places of residence. _Mrs. Smiley_, whose admirable patience under
investigation makes her an almost ideal subject, is the chief figure
among my "mediums," and I have tried to give her attitude toward us and
toward her faith as she expressed it in our sittings, although the
conversation is necessarily a mixture of imagination and memory. _Mrs.
Hartley_ is a very real and vigorous character--a professional psychic,
it is true, but a woman of intelligence and power. Those in private life
I have guarded with scrupulous care, and I am sure that none of them,
either private or professional, will feel that I have wilfully
misrepresented what took place. My aim throughout has been to deal
directly and simply with the facts involved.

I have not attempted to be profound or mystical or even scientific, but
I have tried to present clearly, simply, and as nearly without bias as
possible, an account of what I have seen and heard. The weight of
evidence seems, at the moment, to be on the side of the biologists; but
I am willing to reopen the case at any time, although I am, above all,
a man of the open air, of the plains and the mountains, and do not
intend to identify myself with any branch of metapsychical research. It
is probable, therefore, that this is my one and final contribution to
the study of _the shadow world_.

CHICAGO, _July, 1908_.



A hush fell over the dinner-table, and every ear was open and inclined
as Cameron, the host, continued: "No, I wouldn't say that. There are
some things that are pretty well established--telepathy, for instance."

"I don't believe even in telepathy," asserted Mrs. Quigg, a very
positive journalist who sat at his right. "I think even _that_ is mere

Several voices rose in a chorus of protest. "Oh no! Telepathy is real.
Why, I've had experiences--"

"There you go!" replied Mrs. Quigg, still in the heat of her opposition.
"You will all tell the same story. Your friend was dying in Bombay or
Vienna, and his spirit appeared to you, _ la Journal of Psychic
Research_, with a message, at the exact hour, computing difference in
time (which no one ever does), and so on. I know that kind of thing--but
that isn't telepathy."

"What is telepathy, then?" asked little Miss Brush, who paints

"I can't describe a thing that doesn't exist," replied Mrs. Quigg. "The
word means feeling at a distance, does it not, professor?"

Harris, a teacher of English, who seldom took a serious view of
anything, answered, "I should call it a long-distance touch."

"Do you believe in hypnotism, Dr. Miller?" asked Miss Brush, quietly
addressing her neighbor, a young scientist whose specialty was

"No," replied he; "I don't believe in a single one of these supernatural

"You mean you don't believe in anything you have not seen yourself,"
said I.

To this Miller slowly replied: "I believe in Vienna, which I have never
seen, but I don't believe in a Vienna doctor who claims to be able to
hypnotize a man so that he can smile while his leg is being taken off."

"Oh, that's a fact," stated Brierly, the portrait-painter; "that happens
every day in our hospitals here in New York City."

"Have you ever seen it done?" asked Miller, bristling with opposition.


"Well," asserted Miller, "I wouldn't believe it even if I saw the
operation performed."

"You don't believe in any mystery unless it is familiar," said I,
warming to the contest.

"I certainly do not believe in these childish mysteries," responded
Miller, "and it is strange to me that men like Sir Oliver Lodge and Sir
William Crookes should believe in slate-writing and levitation and all
the rest of that hocus-pocus."

"Nevertheless, hypnotism is a fact," insisted Brierly. "You must have
some faith in the big books on the subject filled with proof. Think of
the tests--"

"I don't call it a test to stick pins into a person's tongue," said Mrs.
Quigg. "We newspaper people all know that there are in the hypnotic
business what they call 'horses'--that is to say, wretched men and boys,
women sometimes, who have trained themselves so that they can hold hot
pennies, eat red pepper, and do other 'stunts'--we've had their
confessions times enough."

"Yes, but their confessions are never quite complete," retorted young
Howard. "When I was in college I had one of these 'horses' appeal to me
for help. He was out of a job, and I told him I'd blow him to the supper
of his life if he would render up the secrets of his trade. He took my
offer, but jarred me by confessing that the professor really could
hypnotize him. He had to make believe only part of the time. His
'stunts' were mostly real."

"It's the same way with mediums," said I. "I have had a good deal of
experience with them, and I've come to the conclusion that they all,
even the most untrustworthy of them, start with at least some small
basis of abnormal power. Is it not rather suggestive that the number of
practising mediums does not materially increase? If it were a mere
matter of deception, would there not be thousands at the trade? As a
matter of fact, there are not fifty advertising mediums in New York at
this moment, though of course the number is kept down by the feeling
that it is a bit disreputable to have these powers."

"You're too easy on them," said Howard. "I never saw one that wasn't a
cheap skate."

Again I protested. "Don't be hasty. There are nice ones. My own mother
had this power in her youth, so my father tells me. Her people were
living in Wisconsin at the time when this psychic force developed in
her, and the settlers from many miles around came to see her 'perform.'
An uncle, when a boy of four, did automatic writing, and one of my aunts
recently wrote to me, in relation to my book _The Tyranny of the Dark_,
that for two years (beginning when she was about seventeen) these powers
of darkness made her life a hell. It won't do to be hasty in condemning
the mediums wholesale. There are many decent people who are possessed by
strange forces, but are shy of confessing their abnormalities. Ask your
family physician. He will tell you that he always has at least one
patient who is troubled by occult powers."

"Medical men call it 'hysteria,'" said Harris.

"Which doesn't explain anything," I answered. "Many apparently healthy
people possess the more elementary of these powers--often without
knowing it."

"We are all telepathic in some degree," declared Brierly.

"Perhaps all the so-called messages from the dead come from living
minds," I suggested--"I mean the minds of those about us. Dr. Reed, a
friend of mine, once arranged to go with a patient to have a test
sitting with a very celebrated psychic who claimed to be able to read
sealed letters. Just before the appointed day, Reed's patient died
suddenly of heart-disease, leaving a sealed letter on his desk. The
doctor, fully alive to the singular opportunity, put the letter in his
pocket and hastened to the medium. The magician took it in his hand and
pondered. At last he said: 'This was written by a man now in the spirit
world. I cannot sense it. There isn't a medium in the world who can read
it, but if you will send it to any person anywhere on the planet and
have it read and resealed, I will tell you what is in it. I cannot get
the words unless some mind in the earth-plane has absorbed them.'"

Harris spoke first. "That would seem to prove a sort of universal mind
reservoir, wouldn't it?"

"That is the way my friend figured it. But isn't that a staggering
hypothesis? I have never had a sealed letter read, but the psychic
research people seem to have absolutely proved psychometry to be a fact.
After you read Myers you are ready to believe anything--or nothing."

The hostess rose. "Suppose we go into the library and have more ghost
stories. Come, Mr. Garland, we can't leave you men here to talk
yourselves out on these interesting subjects. You must let us all hear
what you have to say."

In more or less jocose mood the company trooped out to the library,
where a fire was glowing in the grate and easy-chairs abounded.

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