The most important lessons to carry from this text are that human beings will get deeply involved in deception even as many get caught.  Risking yourself does not make you truthful or sincere.  Wanting to believe in lies is the real power behind materialisation miracles.  The psychology of those who said Jesus rose matters more than anything else.  It makes us wonder.  Those witnesses were nobody special.  They are you and they are me.  The worse the evidence for a miracle claim is and the more distant you are from the witness the more prone you are to fooling yourself.  The gospels asking for deep belief and commitment are disgraceful.

When people are told Jesus rose from the dead they make a picture of it.  They imagine his corpse turning into a glorious eternal supernatural man who is no longer able to suffer or die and passing out through the tomb ceiling.  So the tomb then was only opened to show it was empty!  Even the New Testament does not way why it was open.  Cynics would say it was because Jesus had no way out maybe?  But the faith picture is deceiving because nobody can make the true picture.  If he rose, then we do not know how Jesus rose from the dead.  Did somebody break in and give him a magic potion?  Was some kind of necromancy involved?  Who knows?

People do not want to be fooled by mediums using actors to pose as their dead loved ones and yet it happens.  They do not seem to spot crude tricks and swear that they saw their loved one in the seance venue.  This shows how careful we need to be about reports such as those surrounding Jesus.

What nobody talks about is that nobody was praying about Jesus or at the spot when he supposedly rose.  Loads of prayers accompany seance trickery and God does nothing to protect the victims from themselves or the fake mediums.  If Jesus' truly rose by the power of God where are the protections afforded by prayer?  Where are the people praying at the cross even when he died?  For a miracle and for prayer being THE absolute core of Christian religion or Jewish practice it is curiously absent.  Catholic doctrine dismisses even impressive visions from "Heaven" if they do not invite a context of prayer.  Jesus never once led worship after he supposedly rose.


I HAVE referred elsewhere in this work to the above subject. I will here give a little additional information in regard to it.

Where the medium works alone he generally uses the luminous costumes previously described : but when he has confederates who impersonate the spirits, this is unnecessary, as is also such complete darkness.

Let us suppose that the medium works from a cabinet. He first allows strangers to erect and at the same time to thoroughly examine it. Next he is taken into the cabinet and thoroughly disrobed by a committee, and his clothing is examined. Then the committee retires. The medium has a gentleman assistant who stays with the spectators during the seance. This gentleman now steps in front of the cabinet and makes a short talk to the spectators in regard to the conditions to be maintained during the seance. While he is talking, he is standing directly in front of the closed cabinet curtains, and close to them.

Under the tail of his coat, behind, is a small load of luminous silk forms, faces, hands, costumes, and two pencil reaching-rods. The medium slips his hands secretly through the curtains and removes this load, taking it into the cabinet. The assistant now has the lights put out. and seats himself in the front row with the ardent believers who help to see that conditions are not disturbed.  The lights being out, the medium can emerge with a luminous costume on his person, and with two other forms supported by the extended reaching-rods ; so that in the darkness there appear to be three persons who come out of the cabinet. These the medium can move about at his pleasure and two of them float up into the air on the ends of the invisible rods. The medium can then retire into the cabinet, and push out a number of hands and faces on the ends of the rods. After the manifestations, there is always considerable time taken up in waiting for more manifestations, before the believers conclude that all is over for the night. This gives the medium time to conceal the costumes, which go into a very small space, and he can also telescope the rods and conceal them. As he has been previously disrobed, he would not think of submitting to the humiliation of a second examination after the seance.

In case the medium be a lady, she has these costumes and rods in a hollow belt which is worn around the waist next to the skin. The ladies are invited into the cabinet to disrobe her and dress her in their own clothing. Now for "modesty's sake" the medium retains a black underskirt on her person until she is dressed in the committee's clothes. Then she reaches under her skirts and loosens the black under-skirt and removes it. She then lifts the other skirts as high as possible, showing the committee the bare skin and that she wears no other clothing. In this manner the hollow belt escapes detection. The usual method, where this means is not resorted to, is for a secret confederate to slip the load to the medium after the lights are lowered and before the medium enters the cabinet. In some cases the medium submits to being tied in a chair in the cabinet after the disrobing process, and the ends of the rope are passed out to a committee that hold them. The feet are roped and tacked to the floor.

I will not describe the means by which the medium escapes from these ties as there are so many books published explaining the various rope ties. However, it is very easy for an artist in this line to escape and perform the usual manifestations. In some instances the medium is placed in a large wire cage and the same is screwed to the floor. No cabinet is used in such cases. After the lights are put out the medium pushes the hands, faces, and forms on a reaching-tube through the cage. Some of them are made of fine rubber and are blown up through this tube. Where a hall is used, sometimes the instant the lights are put out a spirit appears on the stage and then vanishes. In this case there is a tube under the floor ; and the rubber form is blown up out of this tube, with a bellows, and then sucked back. The lights are turned on instantly and the hall stage is seen to be vacant. Many mediums prefer to use the various traps and sliding panels for admitting confederates, who impersonate the spirits. The best trap is the one in the ceiling described elsewhere in this work.

I know of a medium who took rooms, and materialized simply by having the spirits enter through a door. The cabinet was erected in front of this door, and his various "spooks" came in through the door into the cabinet, and then out of the cabinet into the room where were the believers. This was in Omaha and it did very well for a few nights ; but many grew suspicious. The landlady now went away for a short visit, leaving the medium in charge of her home. The medium then decided that as she was gone, he would take advantage of her absence and cut a trap in the baseboard of the room. He hired a cabinet maker and did the work in the daytime. Now, during the materializing, the believers all usually sang loudly, such old hymns as ''Shall We Gather at the River." This was supposed to aid the ''dear departed" in materializing. One quite prominent young man of this city had been playing "spook'' for the medium, and he happened along as the trap was being cut. He was quite portly built, so the medium had him creep through the opening to see if it were large enough. It was almost too small, and he got fastened in rather tightly, and could not of himself get out. Just at this moment another comical young man appeared, who had also been impersonating for the medium. He looked down and saw his portly friend half-materialized through the trap and "stuck" there. He did not say a word but simply began singing, "Shall We Gather at the River."

Mediums and their confederates have many a joke at the expense of the believers whose money they are enjoying. Detective Clifton R. Cooldridge of the Chicago Police Department, in a published report, speaking of a materializing seance which he attended, says: 'T attended a seance and seized a 'spirit.' When I grasped the ghost I felt the rotund form of a woman who squirmed like an eel. When the lights were put up I found that my prisoner was dressed like a man. Her face was smeared with white paint. "Attached to a pole in front of her was a paper head around which was a white shroud four feet in length. Those in attendance believed this image to be the spirit of a believer's dead relative.

The 'mediums' had  images of men, women and children and could produce them as circumstances demanded. The light was turned up and the contemptible imposition on credulity' was exposed to twenty-six dupes, who had been paying one dollar apiece for the privilege of attending meetings of the spook grafters for years. It was the greatest expose of 'spooks' that has been made in many years. A wagon-load of masks, wigs, false whiskers, tin horns, gowns with safety pins in them, skulls and skeletons with cross bones to match were seized.''  

There was a medium who gave some very successful seances in Omaha a few years ago, as a "Materializing Medium." The audience could examine his cabinet and himself thoroughly, then lock the only door to the room and keep the key themselves, besides bolting the door on the inside. The sitters would now form a circle about the room, holding hands and guarding the door. Nevertheless, as soon as the lights were lowered, the medium came from his cabinet, leading numerous spirits. Parents recognized their children ; and one fond parent still has a withered flower which money cannot buy, given by the spirit of a dead child. The medium took the town by storm, carrying three thousand dollars away with him in a short time ; yet his spirits were produced in the simplest manner. He had trained children in costumes in an adjoining room. There was a trap in the base board running along the wall of the room. This trap was behind the curtains of his cabinet. Through this the children entered and retired at the proper time. As they hooked the movable part of the base board with strong hooks to the studding from the room where they were concealed, and as there were dummy nails in this board apparently holding it in place, the audience could not discover but that it was perfectly solid. In the room where the children were concealed, the base board was held in place by door knockers which were screwed through it into the studding. When time came to perform, the children unscrewed the base board on their side, letting it down : now unhooking the other board, they entered through the opening into the medium's cabinet. After the experiment the children hooked the base board in place and screwed the second board in place on their side of the wall : then with their make-up material they made their escape to other apartments, leaving the door open in a natural manner. During this time the spectators were examining the medium, his cabinet and the room again, and telling each other of the "dear one" they had recognized, while the medium sat, exhausted, recovering from the weakening effects of his recent "trance."

Probably the greatest swindle ever perpetrated in the name of spiritualism, was recently brought to light in Stockton, California. The medium and his confederates materialized everything from frogs and small fish to a huge boulder of gold quartz weighing several hundred pounds. This latter had to be brought from the mountains with a mule team. The materializing was done through sliding panels in the walls, while the believers sat holding hands about the opposite side of a table, and loudly singing sacred hymns. They had the only door to the room  locked and sealed, and never dreamt that the spirits who brought the quartz from the mine were mules. Thousands of dollars were invested in this "spirit mine," the believers stacking their money on the quartz as it lay on the table at a dark seance, and receiving deeds in return for their money, which the spirits dematerialized. The medium established, or had his spirits establish, a "Treasury of Heaven" for the faithful to deposit their money in, and on which they were to receive fifty per cent, interest. This interest the believers continued to receive at dark seances from the spirits for a time. Each sitter's interest was found on the table stacked in front of him when the lights were lighted. When the spirit bank became insolvent and the chief medium disappeared, the believers were out about thirty-five thousand dollars. No less a personage than a millionaire of Tacoma, Washington, is said to have contributed largely to this spirit fund. I had known of this case for some time before the exposure (conducted by a performer engaged for the purpose), and knew that certain interested persons were contemplating bringing it about, in order to rescue certain estimable persons from the clutches of these mediums. This was successful ; and the confederates of the medium signed written confessions in the presence of one of the most devout of the believers, and a gentleman who is otherwise very intelligent. Upon this the gentleman was greatly crestfallen, but he still insists that there are certain mediums who are not impostors ; and that certain mediums in Chicago who produce spirit portraits are genuine.

A full and very interesting account of this exposure  is given in the San Francisco Examiner of March 3 and 4, 1907. I could report enough cases of materialization to fill a volume. These I know of, from various sources, and in every case they were invariably fraudulent. I will give a short account of a materialization which a very expert medium, who is on friendly terms with me, witnessed. The gentleman was originally a minister, and afterwards began investigating spiritualism, as he was a believer in it. He hoped to become a medium ; and at one time paid two lady mediums of some renown, who reside in Chicago, three dollars a sitting for three sittings a week. These sittings were conducted for the purpose of developing this gentleman in mediumship. He continued this for a long time, but was no nearer to being a medium than he was in the beginning.

At one time he detected one of the sisters passing a slate to the other, and substituting another in its place. He saw the edge of one of the slates protruding from behind the dress of one of the sisters. They never knew they were discovered as he said nothing, but this "opened his eyes." After this he investigated everywhere, and at every opportunity, and grew to be a very expert medium himself.

Recently, when in Los Angeles, he visited a seance conducted by a medium who claimed to be a Buddhist priest. This medium was known under the name of ''The Reverend Swami Mazzininanda." He had an altar in his home, constructed something like those in Roman Catholic churches. He had various candles and images on this altar. Including an image of Buddha, and also a number of mystical figures. It was a  great mixture of "fake" Buddhism, Roman Catholicism, and modern spiritualism. The medium also wore the costume of a Buddhist priest at his seances. This 'priest" held services here for the faithful. He conducted all in Hindoostani, his native tongue. He chanted, prayed to Buddha, etc., all in a queersounding "gibberish."

Certain evenings of the week were devoted to "soul-travel," and certain evenings after the religious services a "Black Chapter" was held. The gentleman whom I have mentioned attended one of these dark seances. He sat with other spectators around the room in perfect darkness. The spectators were not required to hold hands, so great was their faith.

Finally, in the darkness, a queer-looking, vapory, luminous form floated around in the air and paused in front of the spectators. My friend slipped down quietly on his knees, and gradually worked closer and closer to the luminous form, until he could detect that the vapor was a kind of luminous "cheese cloth." He did not desire to expose this "priest," but he desired to have the "priest" know that some one had discovered him. My friend accordingly took hold of the gauze and gave it a very slight downward jerk. He then immediately returned quietly to his seat. There was an immediate pause in the discourse of the "priest," who had really been floating this form on the end of a stick. Every one knew that something had happened, but no one but my friend knew what it was. The "priest" then said in his slow, peculiar, eccentric and measured tones, "I have received a very great shock ; and I will be unable to continue further this evening." The next day, when in conversation with some of the "faithful," this "priest" stated in his peculiar manner of speaking, and with intense earnestness, that which follows : "Last night I received a very great shock. I was just in the middle of the 'Dark Chapter' and the spirit of the Master, Krishna, was out. Having spent the greater portion of my life on the Himalayas, my right eye has become injured by the snows." Then pointing to his right eye, he added, "My right eye has a defect in it which you can not see ; but on account of that, I can only see in the dark with it. I immediately turned my right eye downward and I looked ! I distinctly saw a lady's hand reached out towards my robe in the darkness, and this hand took hold of it and jerked it lightly just like this." The "Reverend Swami" here illustrated, by slightly jerking his coat downward. It was very amusing to hear him, in great seriousness, relate this in his low and measured accents to his faithful followers. Shortly after this, when the Los Angeles Herald was conducting a crusade against the numerous mediums of that city, and when it had an exhibit in its windows of the confiscated material of some of them, this "Buddhist priest" was arrested and imprisoned for some of his practices.


No Copyright