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CHAPTER VI

 

THE AMPLIFICATION

 

            IN this and the following chapter will be given an account of experiences more varied in scope, and received in connexion with circles including persons additional to those already indicated. In all cases, however, the experiences are those obtained by myself and private friends, under circumstances in which nothing was wanting to produce the fullest conviction of their genuineness. With regard to the character of those utterances which bear upon the “new revelation,” it will be seen that, brief and fragmentary as they mostly are, they are wholly harmonious, both with each other and with all that had been set forth in England and Islam. For they illustrate the truth of the doctrine that the object of revelation is always one and the same – namely, the redemption of the world from the dominion of the lower planes of sense, by means of a new demonstration of the soul’s reality and existence; by a fresh exhibition of its nature; and by instruction regarding the means of its culture. If it be true, as is prognosticated, that

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the world is about to be ushered into a new epoch in the development of its consciousness by means of a spiritual outpouring such as has ever accompanied the corresponding crises of the past, it would seem that nothing can be more probable than that it should be heralded and introduced as here shown, – namely, by the arrival and apparition of individual unembodied souls and spirits, in numbers exceeding any previous experience.

 

            The appeal is not merely to the eye or ear, or any special sense. In every communication recorded or received, whatever the manner of its delivery or mode in which the medium was used, was invariably presented the phenomenon, which will be recognised by all who are familiar with the subject, known as the afflatus, or passage over the hands as of a cool and gentle air, followed by a palpable withdrawing of force from the sitters. Without this nothing could occur, no matter how long we sat or how strong our desire for intercourse. The fanning of the hands, the shiver passing through the whole frame, and the sensible subtraction from the system of the vital energy in order to be converted by the influences operating into the forces necessary for the production of the phenomena, and the rapid exhaustion of the sitters, and incapacity for exertion until the waste has been repaired, were, for us,

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evidences impossible to be withstood, apart from the actual results, of the distinctness and reality of the agents.

 

            It is mainly owing to the exhausting nature of the process that the communications we received are so brief and fragmentary. So few persons follow the mode of life necessary to enable them to hold converse with spirits of the order we mostly cared to entertain, that our circles were necessarily restricted to a very small number, and the amount of force contributed by each was as necessarily too great for the process to be long sustained without serious injury. Whether or not the force in question was taken from me in larger proportions than is usual, I cannot say. But of this I assert positively, that having all my life been accustomed to exertion, intellectual and physical, of the most exhausting kind, I know of nothing, from the pulling in a boat-race, the working of a fire-engine, or the digging in a gold-field under a tropical sun, to reading against time for a degree, or writing against time for the press, that is comparable to it. For it is not fatigue merely, but actual withdrawal, as palpably as by bleeding, of the essential vital energy of the system, called in the nomenclature of Occultism the Astral Fluid, on the hypothesis that it is the universal medium of force. Not alone to the individual suffering such nervous

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exhaustion are the fact and symptoms apparent, but the spirits themselves are wont to observe it, and to counsel moderation; and this occurred to me more than once. “You must renounce mediumship for six months. We take material particles from your brain,” was the remark of a spirit with whom I conversed through a “trance-medium,” wife of my friend Dr. K–––, by whose kindness I have been permitted to have such evidences of the reality of the phenomena of spiritual obsession as has enabled me fully to recognise the truthfulness of the Bible narratives in that respect. And the diagnosis was confirmed by my own Seeress in an access of somnambulic clairvoyance, as well as by my own sensations and convictions.

 

            For this reason, and through the pressure of other occupations, it is that, although the intercourse I am now describing extended over a period of three months, the results are not more complete and continuous, but resemble rather the droppings of a shower ere long, we hope, to descend in fuller volume.

 

            On Feb. 18th it was announced through the planchette: – “The worst of the Turkish crisis is “yet to come.’’

 

            Also the following, which had a peculiar interest for the Seeress: –

 

            “We are going to try to help the spirits of

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the animals to come to her whom you call Mary. Wait for it.” This was given in the country.

 

            A few days afterwards, in London, while sitting at the planchette, instead of moving evenly and smoothly, as was its wont, over the paper, it commenced to tilt and rock in a singular manner, and we sought in vain for the cause. Instead, moreover, of writing, it travelled all over the sheet, making unmeaning marks. Not caring for this, we ceased awhile. On resuming our sitting the writing came as usual, and this was given, in reference to what had just occurred: –

 

            “Do not wonder. It is the spirit of a dog trying to write; the first that has ever tried.” We were talking about this message, still keeping our hands in contact with the instrument, when it again wrote –

 

            “He says he not a dog; but we know he is;” thus making the animal express itself as might a child, –– “Me not a baby!”

 

            Here I made a remark to the effect that it may be in that world, as it so often is in this, that people are not aware to how low a grade they really belong; when my remark was confirmed by the instrument writing, “Just so.” “Mary’s” delight at receiving such assurance that the animals she loved so dearly survived this life,

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and could be compensated hereafter for the cruelties inflicted on them here, was intense. It at once removed one half the load that life had ever been to her, through her sense of the injustice involved in the infliction of suffering upon the unoffending without compensation. It had been in a very great measure to her championship of the animals that the present vigorous opposition to the barbarous practice of vivisection was due. The view that the tormentors of the animals suffer loss by their selfish infliction of pain, and that their victims gain in like proportion by its ministry, was one that seemed to us satisfactorily to meet the demands of justice. The recognition of her in the spirit world as par excellence the representative of the animals, was soon after this evinced in a most remarkable manner. I will relate it in its place; for I am giving our experiences as nearly as possible chronologically.

 

            In reply to the question whether the spirits of the animals are the same in kind with those of men, the answer was in the affirmative; and to a question respecting the method of creation generally, the following was written: –

 

            “Divinity is diffused at first. It is individualised in forms, gradually growing stronger, as nebulous light is concentrated in consolidated orbs.”

 

                One of our party being in uncertainty respecting

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some advice that had been given her urging her to convert into a mercenary scheme a project she had intended to be purely beneficent, received a dream in which she beheld a tomb-stone surrounded by an army of rats, the name on the stone being that of Charles Bravo.

 

                She did not associate the dream with the matter on her mind, but happening in the course of the following day to call on a friend who was in pain, she made some mesmeric passes over her; where upon the patient, who in her waking state knew nothing of what was in the other mind, went into a trance and exclaimed with fervour, “Be firm, and do not let yourself be persuaded to do anything in a mercenary spirit; it will spoil your good works.”

 

                In the evening we held a sitting, when in answer to an inquiry respecting the meaning of the dream, the planchette wrote –

 

                “Rats are greed; they belong to dead men. You are alive and in the light. Mr. Bravo represents suicide. Beware of greed and of death – moral suicide.”

 

                This lady also was, as might have been expected of her, an exquisite “medium.” The spirits readily responded to her thoughts, as the following shows: – She was near us, but not taking part in the sitting, while a communication was being given to me promising to give me directions for

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my future work, when the message to me was broken off and the words written –

 

            “We will fetch a friend of yours to advise you.”

 

            As this did not fit in with what had preceded, I expressed my wonder as to its meaning, for we never had anything incoherent or meaningless in our communications. At this the by-sitter smiled, and said she had just asked mentally for some advice for herself respecting a dream she had on the previous night; a dream extraordinary in itself, and the more so as she was not in the habit of dreaming. It was to the effect that a man called to tell her that her bankers were in danger of failing, and that she ought to withdraw her money. Having perfect faith in the firm in question, she had withstood her visitor, who was a strange to her. At this he had become exceedingly angry, and even violent, and had gone away declaring that he did not think the bank could last over five days. The advice she had invited was concerning the course she ought to take, when the answer above stated was given, without the knowledge of those who were sitting at the planchette as to what it referred.

 

            For the first four of the five days indicated we sought information through the planchette, as well as out of doors, respecting the solvency of the firm in question, but without avail. On the

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evening of the fifth day, on sitting with “Mary,” I asked with some degree of urgency, for the time was expiring, for the needed light in the matter, when the instrument wrote –

 

            “We cannot speak to L–– without her hand,” indicating her by her Christian name.

 

            Hereupon we at once summoned her to place her hand on the planchette with ours, when it was written –

 

            “Do not be afraid about – (naming the banker in question) – he is all right, but he has been unsteady. It would be wise to open account at a stock company bank. I will try to come in a dream to-night.”

 

            The latter remark was given in answer to a question asking who the adviser was. The dream did not occur, but a few days later, the lady in question not having made the change recommended, it was written without any anticipation of further direction –

 

            “Tell L–– that she must really do as I have said.”

 

            The following is an account of an incident by which “Mary” was seriously affected, and our communications interrupted for several days. After being exposed one morning out of doors to an occurrence which overwhelmed her with indignation and distress, she returned home; hut instead of relieving her feelings by mentioning

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the circumstance, she sat brooding over it, though endeavouring the while to pursue her studies. In the evening, while thus engaged, and alone, she became conscious of a presence other than her own in the room, and, raising her eyes, beheld passing slowly along the wall towards the door the figure of a man, apparently a foreigner, wearing a morning robe, and having a countenance at once highly intellectual and evil. His eyes, which were deep-set, were intently fixed on her, almost paralysing her by their gaze. She gathered straight, however, to summon aid, and the figure departed, leaving her in a state of great terror, – so great, that she determined to quit her studies for that evening, and to accompany a friend to a sitting at which a remarkable “trance-medium” was to exhibit his faculty. Even here, though intensely interested in the performance, she was not exempt from the malign influence by which she had just been alarmed at home. The same figure presented itself to her again, and she was forced to retire to another room in charge of some of the party. Of these one was herself a sensitive, and liable to trance lucidity; and on the apparition presenting itself a third time this lady saw it also. She described it exactly as “Mary” had done, agreeing that it somewhat resembled Napoleon Bonaparte, and declared that it was the spirit of some powerful and ambitious

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man, who had been a poisoner and a sorcerer, and who now, wishing to take possession of some good sensitive to use as a medium for his own evil purposes, no doubt had designs on “Mary.” The experiences of the evening were of a very remarkable kind, and made a strong impression upon all who witnessed them. None of the witnesses could doubt the objective character of the apparition. Had the matter, however, rested on their report, I should not have given it a place here. It is on account of the confirmation of that report received by myself that I record it, as constituting a strong evidence for the reality of at least some recorded apparitions. The figure had been seen and minutely described in exactly the same manner by two persons, and a third was so distinctly conscious of its presence as to be able to look at once in the direction in which the others saw it, and to follow its movements. A week passed before any further communication was received, all our attempts to obtain answers failing, “Mary” being the while like one who had taken poison. At length we received the following. The name in the first instance was written so ill that we asked for a repetition, when it was written with perfect plainness –

 

                “Our chain has been broken by Cæsar Borgia. We can do nothing against him. He has passed;

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we have seen nothing of him for days. We are building walls. He has poisoned her; he poisons us. Use carbonate of soda.”

 

            On referring to the history of the character named, we were struck with the perfect resemblance between it and the description given of the apparition. We presume that the “walls” reared by our spiritual protectors were efficacious, for nothing more was suffered from the quarter in question.

 

            We learnt by subsequent communication that the spirits who exercise guardianship over us are largely dependent upon ourselves for their power to render aid. It is necessary for the affections to be actively disposed towards them, so that they may feel themselves heartily welcome, and even beloved. I conversed, through a trance-medium already named (Mrs. K–––), with one who had been so long dead as to have lost the perception of matter. On being interrogated respecting the earth and planets, he said he did not know what I meant by earth and planets. All he saw was groups of spirits round various magnetic centres. This spirit, on being further questioned respecting the nature of God, said we had no terms in which it could be adequately described. The nearest was our word Desire. God was that in and of which all things consist; and those spirits were the highest who most nearly resembled him

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morally. So it was with our “genii.” It had been through a lack of sufficient affectionate desire towards them, and through the too great prevalence of a disposition of independence of their aid, that the visitation which had produced so much distress had been rendered possible. Man, they told us, is free. He must wish for aid ere it can be rendered.

 

 

            Had we retained any doubt of the possibility of a visible apparition from the dead, the experiences I am about to record would have put it entirely to flight. The incidents were spread over some weeks; but I will narrate them continuously so as to form them into a connected narrative.

 

            One morning I found “Mary” engaged in deciphering a message which had that instant been written through her, and together we read it. It was in an entirely new hand, and had been written, she said, with extraordinary speed and firmness. It was as follows: –

 

            “Be prepared. This placarding is destined to set the country on fire. There will be protests from many of the profession in the public journals charging you with publishing libels. A great storm is about to burst. You are warned.” Then followed a signature which we took for C. W. S.

 

            To make the import of this intelligible, I

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must state that we were at that very time preparing to carry out a suggestion of “Mary’s” to rouse the country against the atrocities of vivisection, by exhibiting in the streets placards containing addresses and representations setting forth the horrors of the practice. We had already done much in the cause, and were determined to leave no effort untried that might serve to redeem civilisation, humanity, and science itself from so foul a reproach as that involved in the recent legalisation of the practice of torturing our weak and defenceless dumb fellow-creatures for our own benefit. We knew, moreover, by long and careful research, the worse than uselessness of it for any purpose connected with therapeutics; and having our sympathies in a state of healthy activity, the knowledge that such deeds were being perpetrated in our midst went far to make life intolerable for us. What but a hell already was the place where, on pretence of finding out how they were made, the strong spirits dissected and burnt alive the weak ones? Such a hell had “science” made the earth. Regarding the message just received as a caution to accept an offer from the Societies to carry out the suggestion on their own responsibility, and delighted to have such a proof of the recognition of our work from such a quarter, we set to work to unravel the mystery of the signature.

 

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            Placing our hands on the planchette, we requested the writer to repeat the initials. This he at once did, writing them in such a way as to indicate that what we had taken for a C was but an accidental flourish from the last letter. This letter, after several repetitions, clearly appeared to be an F. I then asked if it was one of our genii. When the word “No” was written. “Is it quite a new spirit?” “Yes.” Then came six or seven times, in quick succession, the letters W. F., when, remembering the opposition to vivisection shown by the great surgeon, lately dead, who bore those initials, I inquired –

 

                “Is it the spirit of Sir William Fergusson?” In answer to which the word “Yes” was written rapidly and plainly. The writing, we were assured by one who was familiar with his hand, bore a strong resemblance to that of Sir William, but we have not had an opportunity of making the comparison. Neither did it strike us as a matter of consequence, as it is scarcely possible with such an instrument to preserve the ordinary characteristics of a handwriting.

 

                Having thus established a mode of communication through us with the world he had so lately quitted, Sir William was not backward to avail himself of it. The following is the first of his subsequent messages: –

 

            “She must see Gladstone. I must leave ways

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and means to you. Only it is necessary to see him.”

 

            On our inquiring why he still concerned himself in the matter, he wrote –

 

                “It will help me to help with this subject.” He then moved the planchette to a separate part of the paper so as to have a clear space, and wrote –

 

                “I have something very grave and solemn to tell you. It is this: That we must rise by doing some good work; and this is mine. If I refused it, I should be lowered. I left undone much that I might have done on earth in this respect.”

 

                On March 7th he came again, charged us to “strive for total abolition,” and insisted on “Mary” seeing Mr. Gladstone. He evidently considered the sufferings of British animals, the degradation of British science, and the extinction of British humanity, to be matters which ought to be nearest the hearts of true British statesmen; and had carried with him to the other world an unabated confidence both in the universality of Mr. Gladstone’s sympathies, and the omnipotency of his advocacy.

 

                So great was his urgency on this point, that I at length seriously turned the matter over in my mind, and bethinking me of some mutual acquaintance who might serve as mediator, I asked mentally whether I should seek an introduction

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at the hands of the person I was thinking of. We frequently used tests of the kind, and always, successfully. On this occasion the answer was –

 

            “Yes; try and get an introduction in St. James Square,” the residence of the friend I was thinking of.

 

            “Shall I mention this message of yours?”

 

            “Judge as you find her. I advise not. She may know his hours. I am tired. l have not quite recovered from my illness.”

 

            “What!” we all exclaimed, “do the effects of disease survive the body?”

 

            To this for some moments there was no reply. Then a totally different hand wrote –

 

            “He has gone to rest.” And having written so indistinctly that we were doubtful as to its meaning, the same hand re-wrote the message legibly. An attempt was made to procure the interview so earnestly desired, but it came to nothing.

 

            On the 28th of the same month I was in the chair at a conference between two of the anti-vivisection societies, convened for the purpose of considering the propriety of holding a public meeting; when the selection of a fitting chairman proving difficult, I yielded to a sudden impulse, and expressed to my neighbour, the Rev. Dr. L––, a wish that the spirit of Sir William

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Fergusson could materialise itself, and take the chair for us. I had not mentioned this incident; but on the same evening, when a few hours later we sat down to the planchette, he came and wrote –

 

            “I was at your conference this afternoon. For God’s sake do your utmost to put down vivisection. It is peopling our side with fiends. Of all the trees in the garden of death, this is the one which bears the deadliest fruit. In my heart I believe it is the last attempt of the powers of evil to abolish God. Pray let this letter of mine be published.

– WM. FERGUSSON.”

 

            In reply to our questions regarding this very unexpected communication, he added –

 

            “I cannot describe to you what takes place here. We have monsters among us loathsome to see. Oh, my friends, hell and devils are realities; but the world mistakes their origin. If you do not put this down, the holiest among you will have no heaven to come to. All will be one vast hell, and God will be blotted out for evermore.”

 

            “Will you help us,” I asked, “to make the best use of the time before Mary goes abroad?”

 

            This was answered in a different hand, that of his “guardian,” saying –

 

            “He says yes, but can talk no more. He is tired.”

 

            “And will you influence Mr. Gladstone as he wishes?”

 

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            “I will try, but be has a very strong will.”

 

                “Are you also disembodied spirits?”

 

                “We are flames; not souls.”

 

                “Do the spirits of the dead, then, have human forms while you resemble tongues of fire?”

 

                “Yes.”

 

                “How long do you stay by us?”

 

                “We follow you through all changes.”

 

                “Have we been incarnate before?”

 

            “Yes.”

 

                “In animals?”

 

                “Yes; and herbs and trees.”

 

                “And do evil livers descend into tigers, wolves and pigs?” Here the spirit of Sir William Fergusson’s came back. He had evidently been listening to our conversation with his guardian. In answer to my last question, be wrote impatiently –

 

            “There are worse things than pigs. I have told you that devils are realities.”

 

            We were three in number, and we all felt the troubled presence of Sir William Fergusson’s spirit very sensibly. An indescribable solemnity seemed to pervade the room while he was writing the messages above given. “Mary,” who was in a highly sensitive state, expressed her fear that she would receive a visit from him in person – so conscious was she of his spiritual presence – and she was half afraid to be alone. The spirits

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themselves, of whom there seemed to have been several present, noticed her illness, and one of them, evidently an inexperienced one, wrote hastily, and scarcely legibly –

 

            “We shall soon see Mary.” Upon this another hand, which we thought to be that of the experienced and considerate surgeon who had been speaking with us, came to the planchette and wrote, evidently with the desire to soften the I announcement so abruptly made –

 

            “Some of us think Mary would be more useful here than with you. They hope to see her soon.”

 

            Her anticipations of a disturbed night proved true. After a short sleep she woke, and observed on the wall opposite the fire a shadow as of some one sitting in her armchair. On looking towards the chair, she found it occupied by the figure of an old man, whose face she instantly recognised as that of Sir William Fergusson. His picture was in the shops, and she was familiar with it. He was looking thin and haggard, and seemed distressed. For when be spoke it was in a somewhat querulous tone. His conversation was all of vivisection, principally urging more active measures. One phrase which he used frequently struck her as very singular. He kept saying, “Why don’t you do a little something? I wish you would try to do a littlie something;” – a remark which, considering that she was doing all in her power,

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seemed to her to be uncalled for. Being much exhausted, she fell asleep, and slept for some time. But on waking, he was still there, though not quite so palpable. The fire had burnt down, and there was no shadow visible. She confessed to having been very uncomfortable at finding a strange man in her room, until she recollected that he had been a doctor.

 

            We pondered much the advisability of complying with Sir William’s request, and making his letter public. The circumstances were sure, we considered, not to gain sufficient credit to exert the influence desired. And prejudiced as the public, in its ignorance of the subject, is against anything appertaining or allied to “spiritualism,” we considered the advice to be of doubtful wisdom. At the same time a message from the dead, and one given under so much solemnity and with so much urgency, was a thing not lightly to be ignored. We resolved, therefore, to consult some one of larger experience in such matters, and were fortunate in finding one well qualified. The judgment of our adviser – a scholar of no mean order, and holding the degree of LL.D. – was that, in the first place, we should injure our cause by mixing it up at that critical moment of its appearance before Parliament with a story of the kind, unsupported by more than the bare statement of

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enthusiasts in the cause. And in the second place, that Sir William himself would not have made the request, had he been at the time in a condition to judge calmly. “Young spirits,” he said, “are apt to be eager to raise themselves by doing some good work. They are allowed to have an insight into the nature of the existence on which they have just entered, which rouses their indignation against evil, and makes them enthusiastic for good. We must not suppose that the description given in the message respecting the ‘other side’ fairly represents the condition of things there. He was evidently shown something that exists, in consequence of practices prevailing here. But the notion that evil is so rampant as might be inferred from his account, is altogether inconsistent with all other testimony, as well as with the moral possibilities of the case. No doubt he had been allowed to have a glimpse into one of the ‘Hells’ which men make for themselves, by their deliberate hardening of their natures, and suppression of their intuitions of right; and in his horror and amazement he has magnified the proportions of the part he has seen.”

 

            We acted on this advice, but endeavoured to fulfil the injunction to “do a little something” by working yet harder in the cause. A few days afterwards we saw in the papers a memoir of Sir

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William, stating that his favourite phrase, when about to make any unusual effort in any cause he had at heart, was that he should “try to do a little something” in the matter. It was a colloquialism of his; and “Mary” was delighted to receive what to her was an absolute confirmation of the “objective reality” of her apparition.

 

            The account thus given us of the after condition of the torturers of their animal brethren, received the following confirmation from an independent source. I related our experiences to a clergyman whom I had always known, a man of large humanity, high intelligence, and no ordinary sobriety of judgment, a fellow of his college, moreover, and a hard-working parish minister. And I learnt from him in return that he had himself conversed through a trance-medium, with whom he was well acquainted, with a spirit purporting to be that of a deceased vivisector; and who had declared that he was in horrible agony on account of his deeds in the flesh; but that so far from repenting, his only wish was to inflict fresh tortures, and to make others like himself. He hated coming, he said, to make this confession, but was compelled to do so. It was part of his punishment, and he could not refuse.

 

            “Mary’s” interest in this cause had some two or three years before manifested itself in a vision

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which she recounted to me at the time of its occurrence, but to which, as we had not then been enlightened respecting the spiritual nature of existence, we did not attach any peculiar significance. It was as follows. I will entitle it

 

The Vision of the City of Blood.

 

            “I found myself in a narrow street of vast length, upon either hand an unbroken line of high straight houses, the walls and doors of which resembled those of a prison. The atmosphere around me was darkened and dense, and the time seemed to be that of twilight; in the narrow slit of sky visible far overhead between the two lines of roofs, I could discern neither sunlight nor moon, nor colour of any kind. Under foot, between the paving-stones of the street, the grass was springing. Nowhere was the least sign of human life; the place seemed utterly deserted. I stood alone in the midst of a great desolation and silence. Silence? No! As I listened there came to my ears from all sides a sound of moaning, now and then, rising to a shriek of unmistakable agony, then sinking again into a feeble wail. Some of these cries were human, some were those of animals, but all were expressive of the intensest physical suffering. Looking steadfastly towards one of the houses from which the most heartrending

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of these terrible sounds came, I perceived a stream of blood slowly oozing out beneath the door and trickling down into the street, staining the tufts of grass red as it wound its way towards me. I glanced up, and saw that the glass in the closed and barred windows of the house was splashed and obscured with the same horrible dye. ‘They are murdering some one here!’ I cried, and flew towards the door. Then for the first time I perceived that the door had no lock nor handle on the outside, but could be opened only from within. It had, indeed, the form and appearance of a door, but in every other respect it was as solid and impassable as the walls themselves. In vain I searched for bell or knocker, or some means of making my entrance into the house. I found only a scroll fastened over the porch with nails, upon which I read the words, – ‘This is the Laboratory of a Vivisector.’ As I read, the cries and wailing burst forth again with redoubled vigour, as though some new victim, had been added to the rest, and a sound as of struggling made itself audible within. I beat madly against the door with my hands, and screamed for help; but in vain. My dress was reddened with the blood upon the doorstep. I looked down at it with horror, and turned and fled. As I passed on, fresh cries and a sound of sobbing caused me to arrest my steps. Again I looked up at the houses, and perceived that upon

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the door of every one was attached a scroll similar to that I had already seen. Upon one was inscribed the words, – ‘Here is a husband murdering his wife;’ upon another, ‘Here is a mother beating her baby to death;’ upon a third, ‘This is a slaughter-house.’ Every door was impassable; every window was barred; and interference from without was impossible. In vain I lifted up my voice and cried for help. The street was silent and desolate as a graveyard; the only thing that moved about me was the oozing blood that came creeping out from beneath the doors of these awful dwellings. Wild with horror, I fled along the street, seeking some outlet, the cries and moans pursuing me as I ran. At length the street abruptly ended in a high dead wall, the top of which was not discernible; it seemed to be limitless in height. Upon this wall was written in great black letters, – ‘There is no way out.’ Overwhelmed with despair and anguish, I fell upon the stones of the street, repeating aloud, – ‘There is no way out!’ ”

 

            I was profoundly impressed by the relation of this vision, and not long afterwards an extension of it was given to myself. It was as follows: –

 

            It seemed to me that, at the moment when the despair of the Seeress culminated, I joined her; and seeing with her that there was neither chance of rescue for our fellows nor of escape for ourselves by any ordinary method, I pointed upward, and

(p. 202)

cried, “We will ascend to heaven, and save ourselves first, and perchance afterwards we may save these poor wretches. Come, then, take fast hold of me, and together we will scale the heavens. There is no blood there!”

 

            “No blood there!” was the agonised response. “Only look, and you will see that the very skies are incarnadined with the blood shed by priests in honour of the sanguinary deity there enthroned! Oh, folly! folly! to think to escape the deluge of blood by quitting earth for heaven! No, no; there is no hope. God and man are made in the same image. Both alike are carnivorous, and for both alike is blood the daintiest food.”

 

            So I looked, and seeing that what she said was true, was about to desist from my attempt, and settle down in blank despair; but ere I had done so a luminous gleam from the gory panoply overhead flashed upon me. “There must be light! It cannot be all blood where that came from,” I cried; and I cast another and more piercing glance at the sky. Then to my delight I saw that what we had taken for the substance of the firmament was not the heavens themselves, but a veil drawn over them; and not only was its fabric thin, but there were rents in it, which even as I gazed became larger, and disclosed through their openings patches of clearest blue gleams of purest white. “See! see!” I cried,

(p. 203)

“the heavens are not all blood. What of blood we see above us has been placed there by man. We have but to insist on rising, and we shall force our way through, and behold the whole sky beyond clear and pure, and find as we near the throne that God is no carnivorous monster, but the source of all justice and mercy. Come, let us ascend to where he sits enthroned, and there seek the means to rescue our poor mother earth from this deluge of blood.”

 

            As I spoke, we passed the veil of blood, and found that as we passed, it vanished, rolled up like a scroll, and was no more seen. And the vision departed, leaving us mounting higher and higher in the clear blue of the empyrean.

 

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Note. – While sitting in St. James’s Park this afternoon, August 17th, and correcting these sheets, I was made vividly conscious that l was not alone in my perusal. On coming to the passage containing my reasons for deferring the publication of Sir W. F.’s letter, it occurred to me to desire some token of his approbation. At that instant it seemed to me that the presence of which I had been conscious, suddenly flung itself upon me, and covered me with an embrace that enveloped and suffused my whole being. Its substance was sufficiently dense to obscure the objects before me, and to induce me to turn towards a person sitting near me to ascertain whether he also perceived it, though knowing that could not be unless he were likewise sensitive. The contact lasted sufficiently long to impress on my mind the conviction that my visitant was no other than Sir W. F. himself, together with these words, – “You have done the best. Mr. Hugo” [the late rector of West Hackney] “is with me. The idea of the placards was his. Prevented by death from carrying it out, he inspired Mary with it.”

 

 

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