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that little light that burned far away across the tumbling seas in his little cabin.
But the spell of the temptation was broken for Hamberton. He sat very still and said no more, not even when the boat had touched the side of the pier and both sprang ashore.
But now, like an oft-expelled and conquered disease, that comes back with greater fury, and gathers fresh strength at each return, the terrible idea recurred more frequently, until it became an obsession. The great question now was: “How to accomplish the evil design, and make the world believe it was an accident.” He knew he could count on Father Cosgrove's silence. He turned over many means in his mind of meeting death; but there was always some difficulty. He had quite abandoned the thought of a sea death, as he said it would certainly compromise either Ned Galway or any other boatman; and, if he went out alone to his death, it would be a manifest suicide.
At length, the occasion rose up with the temptation. For one evening, as he walked slowly along the edge of the sand cliff that fronted, and was gradually fretted away by, the sea in the vicinity of the village, he saw far down beneath him some children playing. There were a few grown girls, and two or three little ones, amongst whom he recognized one for whom he had a curious affection, because her mother was an outcast from the society of men. As he passed the child shouted up to him to come down and play with them; and the invitation from the child woke a strange, dead chord in his soul, and a certain spirit of tenderness seemed to possess him. He waved back his hand, and shouted down :
“ All right. I shall be down soon !”
And he went on, musing on the possibility of falling gently from the cliff, and meeting an easy death beneath. All would say it was an unhappy accident. But, clearly, he dare not throw himself among those innocent children, whose lives he would thus imperil.
He walked along, thinking over the dread thought, until suddenly he heard a shout from a fishing boat in the bay, and looking around saw the men, who were far out, wildly gesticulating. He ran back, and watched where their fingers pointed. Then, when he came quite opposite to where the children were, he saw the danger. They were nearly surrounded by the incoming tide, for here the shore dipped sudddenly, and the frothing waves came up with a hiss and a rush. The elder girls had run away, and were screaming at a safe distance; and the two little ones, one of whom was his favorite, were standing paralyzed with terror. For here there was a hollow in the cliff, and two barriers of rock hemmed in the sands. He looked, and saw the children vainly trying to mount the jagged stones, and follow their companions. He saw them run backward screaming, while the angry waves leaped in and swept around their feet. Forgetting death, and now wooed by the desire of saving life, Hamberton stepped forward, and trod a narrow boat-path that ran down the side of the cliff. But the screams of the children be. came more importunate. He left the path, and leaped forward to a ledge of rock that seemed to slope down to the chasm where the children were imprisoned. But the impetus of the fall was too great, and he felt himself driven forward by his own weight. In that perilous moment he could not help thinking :
“I have had what I desired. Yea, there is a God!" and the next moment he was huddled up on the sands, having barely escaped involving in his own ruin that of the children he had bravely determined to save.
(TO BE CONTINUED.)
THE RECENT RESULTS OF PSYCHICAL RESEARCH.
BY GEORGE M. SEARLE, C.S.P.
T seems unnecessary to adduce further evidence in
support of the demonic or diabolic theory of the phenomena and communications obtained in the practice of spiritism. We cannot undertake to ab.
solutely demonstrate it, least of all to those who are determined not to admit the existence of the fallen angels; and it is, of course, difficult to convince those of it who have never had any instruction as to their existence, and may insist on some independent proof that there are such spirits. But Catholics, if well instructed and sound in faith, can have no doubt on this point, and Catholic theologians have, we think, always adopted this theory of spiritism, so far as its phenomena appeared to them to be genuine. And the Church itself, in its official action, has, in uniformly condemning and prohibiting necromancy (which is only another name for spiritism), made the same judgment of the matter. In so doing, it has simply followed the precepts of the Scriptural and Divine law, as promulgated by Moses.
The only reason why Catholics, whether well instructed or not, have not been unanimous in this judgment, seems to be that they have been inclined to regard the phenomena as due to fraud or trickery of some sort. Occasionally, even now, some one comes out in the newspapers, explaining tricks practised by mediums, and many still think that everything can be explained in this way. They would find, however, on looking into the matter more thoroughly, that spiritists themselves freely confess the existence of such frauds; that they are practised is perfectly well known. But this in no way impairs the evidence of such genuine phenomena as we have described in the experiences of Mr. Stainton Moses, or as observed by Sir William Crookes and other eminent scientific men. Indeed that frauds would be practised might be confidently predicted. For it is plain, whether we hold the demonic theory or not, that the genuine phenomenon is not producible by the medium whenever he may so will. In the private practice of spiritism, this is recognized, of course; and if the phenomena cannot be obtained, one has to go without them, and simply wait for some more favorable occasion. But the professional, public, or advertising medium is evidently likely to substitute something else for them when they are not forthcoming, as for him it is a matter of business, or of making his living. It would be surprising if he did not. Explanations of these frauds are, therefore, quite superfluous. It is on private experiences such as those mentioned above, which are immensely abundant, that the case rests; and we think must be confessed to rest with abso. lute security. No one, we believe, who has examined the subject thoroughly, has expressed any doubt as to this.
It is, or should be, plain enough to every one that in spiritism we are encountering an agency, and a very powerful one, exercised by beings outside of ourselves, and over whom we have no control. And it should also be plain enough to any one that the matter is a dangerous one to handle. And to Catholics, and even to other Christians, warned by the Scripture of the existence of devils, the danger of it should be very much more evident. Furthermore, with regard to the great truth of our survival after bodily death, of which others, not having our faith, are so anxious to be assured, spiritism can give us Catholics no information. We know by faith all that God vouchsales that we should know in general on this point. We may, by spontaneous apparitions, or in some other way, learn something as to individual cases of persons in whom we are interested; but by endeavoring to force such information by spiritistic practices, we can obtain none that is reliable, and, moreover, incur most serious peril. There is, therefore, no whatever for our joining in such practices, even if we do not feel sure, as we should, of the formal condemnation of them by the Church.
But it still remains a matter of interest, in a scientific way, to discover the properties of material substance, and the laws of nature generally, of which the spirit agencies in this particular matter, and human agencies—even our own, perhaps—in others, in the general field of modern psychical research, avail themselves, consciously or unconsciously, to produce the very remarkable effects which, from time to time, appear. And keep
ing within prudent limits, and avoiding of course anything like the invocation of the dead by spiritistic practices, it may be safe enough to investigate these interesting questions; to observe and study the phenomena which occur in our own perience. And it is certainly safe to examine those which have occurred to others.
In studying some of them, personally at any rate, great care is, however, needed. Particularly is this true in the matter of hypnotism. We have not treated of that in these papers, for the subject is so extensive that it would require very much greater space, and, moreover, it is one that cannot be treated properly except by experts in it. But, though good results may often come from it, the subjection of one's own will and interior mental operations to those of another is obviously attended by great danger, so that great caution is needed in having anything, personally, to do with it, at any rate in the passive way of subjecting ourselves to it. We need say no more, especially as attention has often been called to this danger, and it is so very evident.
Clairvoyance is another matter which needs and has received very extended consideration and treatment. It is, in its actual occurrence, evidently much mixed up with telepathy. For instance, in the case of Mr. Wilmot, which we have given, to whom an apparition of his wife occurred in a dream while at sea, being visible also to his room-mate, who was awake at the time, the apparition can be referred to telepathy, as the lady had her thoughts concentrated on him at the time. His precise location at sea was, of course, unknown to her, but in telepathy, as in wireless telegraphy (the similarity forces itself on our attention), such knowledge seems unnecessary.
But she also perceived his surroundings; the location and appearance of his room, and of the steamer generally, and also saw his room-mate, unknown to her. As Mr. W— was not consciously fixing his mind on her, or anxious about her in any way, her impression seems hardly to be telepathic, but one of simple clairvoyance. The same remark holds for the first case which we gave of telepathy at a distance, that of the San Francisco doctor; and the cases, indeed, of this phenomenon are innumerable. In these cases, in a word, there seems to be a percipient, but no agent; which is precisely the idea of clairvoyance.