Singular if True (An Extract from the Note-book of a Spiritualist Enthusiast)
Spiritualism, Miracle, Cultural Geography, Progress, Belief
James E Tennent
Opens by anticipating ridicule for the 'fearfully appalling facts' which the author is about to describe, facts which 'sceptics will regard as merely optical delusions' and therefore as inconsequential. Attacks scepticism as 'the common characteristic of the English people' and those 'too lazy to submit to be converted' by 'savans and philosophers' whom the public regard as 'charlatans and quacks' but who have detected 'novel wonders'. Confesses to believing in 'all the mysteries of spirit-rapping' and the 'science' of table-turning, and that, since coming to 'years of gin-discretion', he has had 'almost daily acquaintance with spirits'. Proceeds to relate an account of his 'last spiritual intercourse' in which he described how a dead bloater that he was about to eat, suddenly wagged its tail under the apparent influence of spirits. Having asked his friend to act as his medium with the fish, the fish raised itself up on its tail, told its life story, and then sang. Ends by denying his friend's accusation that he was suffering from an earlier debauch and from hallucination. The illustration shows a man starting at a dinner plate, above which floats a speaking fish.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <http://www.sciper.org> [accessed ]