Punch,  47 (1864), 188, 191.

The Naggletons on Spiritualism



Regular Feature, Drama, Drollery


Spiritualism, Gender, Imposture, Methodology

    Consists of a long dialogue between Mr and Mrs Naggleton on the former's visit to a séance. Mrs Naggleton is very surprised at her husband's actions and reveals her scepticism towards the 'manifestations' that he claims to have seen. She insists that he has been witnessing a 'wicked folly' that has made him nervous and, despite her constant refusals to hear what he saw, she allows him to relate his experiences. He later describes the séance circle during which participants allegedly 'heard some scratchings and knockings, and then music began to play in different parts of the room, the instruments moving about'. Mrs Naggleton remains sceptical, suggesting mechanical explanations for these spiritualistic manifestations: for example, she thinks the 'strong and mysterious wind' felt by her husband was not produced by 'spirits' wings' but by a 'Pair of bellows'. Mr Naggleton later shows his wife a 'spirit hand' that she believes to be fraudulent, but then reveals that the spirit hand confirmed his suspicions about the séance but that he did not articulate such doubts during the séance. Mrs Naggleton subsequently tells him that she is glad he 'had sense enough not to be deceived by the jugglers'.

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