and sentimental gush - more truth and sound common sense.
The world does not want this,
but whatever it wants, its greatest need is the possession of
those realities - realities which will lift it to a higher plane
far above the sordid squalor of much of its present life.
What has been said of the world
at large can be truly said with regard to the smaller Spiritualistic
One of the greatest existing
difficulties is that of lifting the ideals of the people, and
of giving them a dignified view of the Cause which they have espoused.
Over and over again we have felt compelled to return to the discussion
of this subject; for to us the realisation has come that unless
the movement of Spiritualism be placed upon the highest possible
plane, it can never achieve success.
First and foremost, above all
other things, the phenomena of the movement need to be lifted
from the almost degrading level to which they have sunk to a plane,
the elevation of which will command the respect and esteem of
the intelligent onlooker.
When we speak of phenomena as
pre-eminent we do so realising that the very foundation stone
of Spiritualism is that phenomena which is often most derided
by its so-called demonstrators. What often passes for 'clairvoyance'
or 'psychometry' on public platforms appears to us to be on a
level with an ordinary guessing competition, with a pinch of sentiment
and a spice of religion thrown in.
Is it necessary that a series
of 'descriptions' should be heralded by a fervid, but often meaningless
petition to the Deity, in which the Father of All is instructed
in His duty towards His children, and implored to send blessings
which in His infinite wisdom He has seen fit to withhold? Yet
this is what often happens.
Some have suggested that the
invocation is a fifteen or twenty minute's padding to help out
the service. We do not believe this. The bulk of platform workers
are in our opinion perfectly honest in this matter, but they have
failed to grasp the great needs of the public, and respond rather
to the call of the sentimental, which is so easily stirred in
the bulk of human hearts, rather than to the force of intelligence,
which often lies farther from the surface.
The great question of what are
and what are not tests rarely troubles a large proportion of Spiritualists.
The sifting process of the Psychical Research Society is looked
upon as enmity towards the spirit world. The investigator who
wants to know, is often told - if not in so many words, yet plainly
by the action of the other sitters - that he must believe.
To doubt that a spirit (who appears
through some well-known medium and calls himself John King) is
the person he claims to be is the rankest heresy; and to suggest
that the trance may in some cases be the result of auto-suggestion,
is to be told, in some quarters, that you are not a Spiritualist.
To suggest that clairvoyance
is often but the outcome of the development of psychometric powers,
is to be looked upon as a recusant; and to ask that mediums shall
be some-what developed ere they stand upon the public rostrum,
is to be howled at as 'an enemy of mediums.
We will say at once that we put
the movement before the public display of so-called mediumship.
We feel that, whether these public demonstrations go on or not
the movement will go on. Mediumship is not confined to the public
professional or amateur; the angel message is not delivered alone
through their instrumentality. In the quite of the home, by the
fireside, away from the jar and discord of public elements, the
spirit forms still appear, the spirit voice is heard. Here the
rational mind is free to sift and winnow the phenomena, to probe
and test without fear of the wrath of the medium, and his or her
The Spiritualist platform is
being rendered weak, and its work futile, by the often lamentable
displays of so-called mediumship which are made. The world needs
truth, and an appeal to the reason, especially from a movement
which claims to be a scientific one; and the displays of gush
and sentiment which often fail to cover the breakdown of clairvoyant
power upon the platform not only fail to satisfy, but actually
disgust the beholder.