A Rap for the Spirits
Spiritualism, Psychology, Mental Illness, Imposture, Charlatanry, Methodology, Force
Begins by recalling his introduction to 'the Spiritual school' as a child when he 'cowered' in dread from 'Old Boguey', but then describes the change in the fashion for ghosts, with 'Old Boguey' being 'promoted / From nursery to first floor' and spirits being 'employed' to provide 'fools'-caps' rather than 'night-caps'. Describes the dubious feats of Daniel D Home, Charles H Foster and their gullible audiences. Turns to William H H Davenport and Ira E Davenport, stressing the ways in which they 'draw fools in' with their ropes, and profit from 'wriggling' themselves loose, much like 'many a politician'. Describes the support given to spiritualism by Dion Boucicault and concludes by pointing out how 'humbug follows science, / As shadow waits on light', and how truth has to fight, and proposes a toast to to '"the great asinine mystery"—/ That oldest "od-force"—folly'.
© 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 ]