Punch,  39 (1860), 101–02.

'Is There any Sperrits Present?'

Audi Alteram Partem


Letter, Spoof


Spiritualism, Charlatanry, Steamships, Progress, Belief

    Draws attention to the abuse which Mr Punch has received in the Spiritual Magazine for 'deriding and denying the wonderful facts of Spiritualism!'. Notes that the conflict between the 'Spiritualist and the Scoffer' was anticipated in the nursery rhyme, 'High diddle diddle'. Insists that the rhyme is a 'covert' attack on spiritualism: for example, it interprets 'The Cat and the Fiddle, / The Cow jumped over the Moon' as 'ribaldry' meaning: 'the alleged fact of spirit-fiddling is as improbable as the legendary relation that a certain ruminant quadruped overleapt the satellite of this planet'. Concludes by assuring Mr Punch that he 'will live to believe in Spiritualism [...] as Dr. Lardner lived to see the Atlantic crossed by steamers'. (101)

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