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itself is much improved ; and as it will skip the third stage-for who will venture to question the good of a sea-serpent?—it is liable now any morning “ to wake and find itself famous," and to be received even at Lincoln's Inn Fields, where its remains may commemoratively be ticketed the Ex-Great-Seal.
PostSCRIPT, (1850.)—It may save trouble to some future experimenter to narrate my own exploits with the divining rod.
In the spring of 1847, being then at Weilbach in Nassau, a region teeming with underground sources of water, I requested the son of the proprietor of the bathing establishment-a tall, thin, pale, white-haired youth, by name Edward Seebold—to walk in my presence up and down a promising spot of ground, holding a divining fork of hazel, with the accessories recommended by M. de Tristan to beginners—that is to say, he held in his right hand three pieces of silver, besides one handle of the rod, while the handle which he held in his left hand was covered with a thin silk.
The lad had not made five steps when the point of the divining fork began to ascend. He laughed with astonishment at the event, which was totally unexpected by him; and he said that he experienced a tickling or thrilling sensation in his hands. He continued to walk up and down before me. The fork had soon described a complete circle ; then it described another; and so it continued to do as long as he walked thus, and as often as, after stopping, he resumed his walk. The experiment was repeated by him in my presence, with like success, several times during the ensuing month. Then the lad fell into ill health, and I rarely saw him. However, one day I sent for him, and begged him to do me the favour of making another trial with the divining fork. He did so, but the instrument moved slowly and sluggishly; and
when, having completed a semicircle, it pointed backwards towards the pit of his stomach, it stopped, and would go no farther. At the same time the lad said he felt an uneasy sensation, which quickly increased to pain, at the pit of the stomach, and he became alarmed, when I bade him quit hold of one handle of the divining rod, and the pain ceased. Ten minutes afterwards I induced him to make another trial : the results were the same. A few days later, when the lad seemed still more out of health, I induced him to repeat the experiment. Now, however, the divining fork would not move at all.
I entertain little doubt that the above performances of Edward Seebold were genuine. I thought the same of the performances of three English gentlemen, and of a German, in whose hands, however, the divining rod never moved through an entire circle. In the hands of one of them its motion was retrograde, or abnormal: that is to say, it began by descending.
But I met with other cases, which were less satisfactory, though not uninstructive. I should observe that, in the hands of several who tried to use it in my presence, the divining fork would not move an inch. But there were two younger brothers of Edward Seebold, and a bath-maid, and my own man, in whose hands the rod played new pranks. When these parties walked forwards, the instrument ascended, or moved normally ; but when, by my desire, they walked backwards, the instrument immediately went the other way. I should observe that, in the hands of Edward Seebold, the instrument moved in the same direction whether he walked forwards or backwards; and I have mentioned that at first it described in his hands a complete circle. But with the four parties I have just been speaking of, the motion of the fork was always limited in extent. When it moved normally at starting, it stopped after describing an arc of about 225o; in the same way when it moved abnormally at starting, it would stop after describing an arc of about 135° ; that is to say, there was one spot the same for the two cases, beyond which it could not get. Then, I found that, in the hands of my man, the divining rod would move even when he was standing still, although with a less lively action; still it stopped as before, nearly at the same point. Sometimes it ascended, sometimes descended. Then I tried some experiments, touching the point with a magnetic needle. I found, in the course of them, that when my man knew which way I expected the fork to move, it invariably answered my expectations; but when I had the man blindfolded, the results were uncertain and contradictory. The end of all this was, that I became certain that several of those in whose hands the divining rod moves, set it in motion and direct its motion by the pressure of their fingers, and by carrying their hands nearer to, or farther apart. In walking forwards, the hands are unconsciously borne towards each other; in walking backwards, the reverse is the case.
Therefore, I recommend no one to prosecute these experiments unless he can execute them himself, and unless the divining rod describes a complete circle in his hands ; and even then he should be on his guard against self-deception.
POSTSCRIPT II.-I am now (May 1851) again residing at the bathing establishment of Weilbach, near Mayence; and it was with some interest and curiosity that the other day I requested Mr Edward Seebold, now a well-grown young man, in full health, to try his hand again with the divining rod. He readily assented to my request; and he this time knew exactly what result I expected. But the experiment entirely failed. The point of the divining rod rose, as he walked, not more
than two or three inches; but this it does with every one who presses the two handles towards each other during the experiment. Afterwards the implement remained perfectly stationary. I think I am not at liberty to withhold this result from the reader, whom it may lead to question, though it cannot induce myself to doubt, the genuineness of the former performances of Mr E. S.
VAMPYRISM—Tale exemplifying the superstition - The Vampyr state
of the body in the grave-Various instances of death-trance—The risk of premature interment considered— The Vampyr visit.
In acknowledging my former letter, you express an eager desire to learn, as you phrase it, “ all about Vampyrs, if there ever were such things.” I will not delay satisfying your curiosity, although by so doing I interrupt the logical order of my communications. It is, perhaps, all the better. The proper place of this subject falls in the midst of a philosophical disquisition ; and it would have been a pity not to present it to you in its pristine colouring. But how came your late tutor, Mr H., to leave you in ignorance upon a point on which, in my time, schoolboys much your juniors entertained decided opinions ?
Were there ever such things as Vampyrs ? Tantamne rem tam negligenter! I turn to the learned pages of Horst for a luminous and precise definition of the destructive and mysterious beings whose existence you have ventured to consider problematical.
"A Vampyr is a dead body which continues to live in the grave; which it leaves, however, by night, for the purpose of sucking the blood of the living, whereby it is nourished and preserved in good condition, instead of becoming decomposed like other dead bodies.”