A Dangerous Delusion
SPIRITISM is one of the most dangerous delusions that has
ever been introduced to the human family. In fact, the writer knows of
no delusion more dangerous than Spiritism. As already shown, the Book of
God contains many warnings and denunciations against it, and the results
of its acceptance have abundantly proved that every one of those
inspired warnings was needed. It was specifically pointed out to the
Israelites when they entered Canaan, that the inhabitants of that land
were dispossessed and evicted because of their practice of the very
things that Spiritism practises today. Said Jehovah:
"When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God
giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of
those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh
his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth
divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a
charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a
necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the
Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive
them out from before thee." Deut. 18: 9-12.
What the Bible denominates "a consulter with familiar
spirits," we now call a spirit medium, a psychic. A necromancer is
one who pretends to hold converse with the dead. Wizards and witches are
those who have dealings with evil spirits -- sorcerers. An enchanter is
also one who pretends to use some supernatural or secret powers to work
a spell upon another. All those things the ancient Palestinians did, and
all those things are done today -- most of them in the ordinary practice
of Spiritism. In short, that is what Spiritism is.
To such an extent had those inhabitants of Canaan carried Spiritism,
and so dishonoring to God had their practices become, that their
eviction, and in' some cases their extinction, was commanded. Because of
the execution of that judgment, infidels have railed against God in
indignation for many decades. And yet God had waited with infinite
patience through centuries for those wicked peoples to depart from their
debasing and God-dishonoring practices. In fact, He held Israel back
because "the iniquity of the Amorites" was " not
yet full." Gen. 15:16. When they had filled up the cup of their
iniquity, God finished with them. In Leviticus 18: 25 He says:
"The land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity
thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her
The practice of Spiritism, as previously shown, was one of the things
that defiled the land. God bore with it till there was no remedy or
hope, and faithfully warned those whom He gave possession in place of
the defilers of His land, that they must not follow the evil ways of the
evicted inhabitants. Today Spiritism is filling the earth, not a portion
only; and the work which God did in ridding the land of Palestine of
Spiritism and its fruits He is preparing now to do for the whole world.
God has borne long and patiently with earth's inhabitants; but the
majority of them have spurned His warnings and despised and even
persecuted those whom He used in making those warnings known.
Against the possibility of swift and certain judgment for these
things the multitude scoff, and against its justice infidelity will
vehemently contend; but God has declared His purpose, and scoffings and
railings will not avail. The apostle Peter has left this inspired
"Be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy
prophets, and of the commandments of us the apostles of the Lord and
Saviour: knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days
scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the
promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things
continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this
they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens
were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water,
perished: but the heavens and the earth, which' are now, by the same
word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment
and perdition of ungodly men.
"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day
is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count
slackness; but is long-suffering to usward, not willing that any
should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in
the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the
elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works
that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things
shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy
conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of
the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved,
and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?" 2 Peter 3: 2-12.
God destroyed the inhabitants of the earth once for their wickedness;
the cities of the plain of Sodom perished in fire for the iniquity of
their ways; He drove out or destroyed the inhabitants of Palestine, and
put another people in their place for the same reason; but now, in the
end of His controversy with sin, He tells earth's inhabitants that he
will bring an all-consuming and universal judgment upon the world. And
the reason for this destruction is the same reason that led Him to
punish the world, or cities, or peoples, in the past. Their cities or
nations were defiled; but today, as before the flood, the whole world is
undergoing defilement; and one of the defiling agencies leading to that
catastrophic climax is the very same thing that caused Jehovah to drive
out the Palestinians before the armies of Israel -- Spiritism.
That seductive delusion, which would drive God out of His universe,
dispense with Jesus Christ as the Saviour of men, and make a race of
gods out of a race of sinful, selfish, dying human beings, is
establishing its soul-withering propaganda in all the nations of earth.
We are not surprised at that; for Inspiration nearly two thousand years
ago warned the world that thus it would be in the last days. Says the
"I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth
of the dragon [Satan], and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of
the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils,
working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of
the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God
Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and
keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And
he [" they." R. V.] gathered them together into a place
called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." Rev. 16: 13-16.
The prophet saw those unclean spirits -- the same spirits that God
warned His people against in the days of Israel, the same spirits that
had caused the heathen peoples of Canaan to defile the land -- going out
into all parts of the earth to work with all manner of lying wonders and
all deceivableness of unrighteousness (2 Thess. 2: 9, 10), for the
purpose of nullifying the gospel work and stamping out all true
religion. Says the revelator in another place:
"Rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the
inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down
unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a
short time." Rev. 12: 12.
Spiritism, which is one of the most pronounced workings of Satan in
these days, is the most dangerous delusion with which humanity now has
to deal. It is not a new delusion. Satan has propagated it through all
the generations of the past; but he has given it a dress in our day that
captivates the minds of millions, even the minds of great scientists,
and these he uses to make his snare of ruin the more inviting. To those
who are captivated by Spiritism and surrendered to it, the gospel of
Jesus Christ, which alone can save men, seems a superfluity and has no
charms. Then when probation closes, when the curtain falls on the last
act in the blood-red tragedy of sin, such captivated souls, having
spurned the only way to eternal life, find themselves in that company
that must go down into eternal death. It is Satan's purpose to carry
down with him into everlasting ruin as many of earth's inhabitants as he
can sweep into his net; and Spiritism has proved his most effective
means to that end.
But men do not reach such a dangerous climax at one bound. Prof.
Frederic W. H. Myers tells us, in speaking of telepathy:
"If we have once got a man's thought operating apart
from his body, . . . there is no obvious halting place on his
side till we come to 'possession' by a departed spirit, and there is
no obvious halting place on my side till we come to 'traveling
clairvoyance,' with a corresponding visibility of my own phantasm to
other persons in the scenes which I spiritually visit."--" Human
Personality," Vol. I, p. 250, ed. 1920.
This scientist sees clearly the issue involved in that first step
toward Spiritism, which men term telepathy. He states the issue clearly.
The practice of telepathy leads on into "possession" by a
"departed spirit." Those dishuman intelligences who
represent themselves as "departed spirits" are demons and
nothing else. The ones whom they claim to represent are quietly sleeping
in their dusty beds, awaiting "the voice of the Archangel and the
trump of God" to wake them from their long sleep. If, then, demon
possession is the goal toward which the first step in Spiritism leads,
how important it is that we avoid that first step!
Mesmerism (or hypnotism) and telepathy are both branches of
Spiritism. The dangers involved in the practice of hypnotism are only
too well known, and those who are adepts in telepathy have demonstrated
their ability to bring about hypnosis by the exercise of their
telepathic powers. In the experiment which follows, the subject, a
woman, was completely brought under the control of the experimenter,
though at a considerable distance from his home, and brought to him
through the exercise of telepathic hypnosis:
"The subject of these experiments . . . was Prof. Pierre
Janet's well-known subject, Madam B. The first experiments were
carried out with her at Havre, by Professor Janet and Dr. Gibert, a
leading physician there. . . .
"In the evening (22d) we all dined at M. Gibert's, and in the
evening M. Gibert made another attempt to put her to sleep at a
distance from his house in the Rue Séry,-- she being at the PavilIon,
Rue de la Ferme,-- and to bring her to his house by an effort of will.
At 8: 55 he retired to his study, and MM. Ochorowicz, Marillier,
Janet, and A. T. Myers went to the PavilIon, and waited outside in the
street, out of sight of the house.
"At 9:22 Dr. Myers observed Madam B. coming halfway out of the
garden gate, and again retreating. Those who saw her more closely
observed that she was plainly in the somnambulic state, and was
wandering about and muttering. At 9: 25 she came out (with eyes
persistently closed, so far as could be seen), walked quickly past MM.
Janet and Marillier without noticing them, and made for M. Gibert's
house, though not by the usual or shortest route. . . . She avoided
lamp-posts, vehicles, etc., but crossed and recrossed the street
repeatedly. No one went in front of her or spoke to her. After eight
or ten minutes she grew much more uncertain in gait, and paused as
though she would fall. Dr. Myers noted the moment in the Rue Faure; it
was 9:35. At about 9:40 she grew bolder, and at 9:45 reached the
street in front of M. Gibert's house. There she met him, but did not
notice him, and walked into his house, where she rushed hurriedly from
room to room on the ground floor. M. Gibert had to take her hand
before she recognized him. She then grew calm.
"M. Gibert said that from 8:55 to 9:20 he thought intently
about her; from 9:20 to 9:35 he thought more feebly; at 9:35 he gave
the experiment up, and began to play billiards; but in a few minutes
began to will her again. It appeared that his visit to the billiard
room had coincided with her hesitation and stumbling in the
street."-- Id., pp. 525-527.
The person who submits to such experiments as this deliberately
places himself in mental subjection to the will of another. That other
is practising one of the branches of Spiritism, and the goal at which
that practice aims is "possession" by some spirit representing
himself to be the spirit of one who is dead. Such "possession"
leads the "possessed" one a captive at the chariot wheels of
Satan. God holds each individual accountable to Himself direct, and he
who surrenders his soul to the dictation and direction of another, sins
against his own soul, and puts another person in the place of his God.
It is an insult to our Creator thus to play fast and loose with our duty
and responsibility to Him. There is no more dangerous course for a human
being to adopt.
The question arises in many minds, What really happens when a person
becomes a spirit medium? That question is answered in the following
"Let us suppose we are 'spirits,' whatever that means, in a
future existence, wherever that may be, and try to imagine what we
"In the first place, we assume that we would want to
communicate, if possible, with those we left behind on earth.
"But how should we communicate? . . . Speaking necessitates
material organs of speech; writing involves a bodily hand to grasp a
pencil. The spirit is immaterial; has no body; needs none to
communicate in its own world.
"Immediately comes the answer: The spirit may temporarily use
some living person's body! Exactly: and that is just what it seems to
do. Really, when you think about it, is not that the natural and
simple thing for a disembodied spirit to do? Myers says he considers
the main objection usually raised to mediumistic communications really
a confirmatory point. He says [National Review for 1898, p.
232]: 'I should have expected knowledge of a future world to come, if
at all, through some use made by disembodied spirits of living
organisms.' --"Are the Dead Alive?" by Fremont Rider, pp.
This is "spirit possession," and "spirit possession is
in reality "demon possession," the very condition from which
Jesus released certain persons when He was here. It can thus be seen how
different was the attitude of Jesus toward such a course from the
attitude of those who in this day invite such "possession."
Jesus said, "Come out of him, and enter no more into him."
Mark 9: 25. But Spiritists invite the very demons whom Jesus cast out of
men and women, to come to them and enter into them and take possession.
They are reversing His work, and surrendering their souls to ruin. And
all this is involved when one sets out upon the path of Spiritism. Those
who have done so, and then sought for freedom from satanic control, have
found their path a thorny and difficult one.
I will give the experience of one woman who had been a spirit medium,
and who, upon learning what Spiritism really is, determined to cut loose
from it, and give herself entirely to God. Pastor E. S. Butz, of
Cooranbong, N. S. W., knowing personally of the experience of this
person in breaking away from Spiritism, interviewed her, and the
following is a verbatim report of the interview:
"Question.-- Will you please tell me how this began?
"Answer.-- It began in the bush, hundreds of miles
away. My children, who were all dead, came and sang most heavenly
songs to me. My first experience as a fortune teller was for church
benefits -- English and Methodist. The first night I cleared £25.
This led me to the conclusion that I could as easily make money for
myself as any one else, and hence I began to practise in Tasmania,
Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.
"Ques.-- What were the spirits that controlled you?
"Ans.-- There were two: one, the spirit (purported) of
a departed clergyman, and under the spell of this spirit my sermons
were wonderful, so they tell me, my mind being vacant; the other, an
evil spirit, of a departed red Indian.
"Ques.-- How were you affected on entering our meeting?
"Ans.-- The spirits clutched at my throat and made it
quite sore, and tried to drag me out. Since then they have tried to
drown me many times.
"Ques.-- Will you relate your experience on your
journey from Cairns to Brisbane?
"Ans.-- Yes. Several times I was violently thrown out
of my berth, the result being internal hemorrhage, causing me to vomit
large clots of blood. I had given my heart to God, and determined that
I would pray and study my Bible, and on one occasion they snatched the
Bible three times out of my hands, throwing it upon the floor; but I
determined to have the victory, and appealed to 'God for help.
"Ques.-- How long did these things continue?
"Ans.-- Right up to the hour of my baptism.
"Ques.-- Please give a description of the happenings.
"Ans.-- At four o'clock in the morning the spirits took
me by the right arm and threw me out of bed onto the floor between the
bed and the wall. [I was called into her room, and helped to lay her
on the bed, and prayed for her at this time. E. S. BUTZ.]
"Ques.-- Is that what made the deep bruise on the
muscle of your right arm?
"Ans.-- Yes. It is very painful, the size of a large
hen's egg. I was surrounded by many demons, who clamored for my life,
saying, 'She is no more use to us; let us kill her.' The darkness that
enveloped me was very dense, and I asked God to help me; and as soon
as I cried to Him for help, Jesus was by my side, and I was rescued
from their power. My only hope I knew was in Jesus. Since my baptism
the spell of the spirits over me has been broken, and I am very
grateful to God for His goodness and mercy to me.
"Signed in the presence of two witnesses,
Many another has had equally terrifying experiences in trying to
break away from such demon possession. Mrs. Whirland did not understand
that, when she began telling fortunes for money, she was entering upon
Satan's ground, that she was taking the first step toward the goal of
spirit, or demon, possession. When that innocent-appearing trap was
sprung, the victim found that she was dealing with forces against which,
in her own strength, she was powerless to contend successfully. How true
it is that in such contests "we wrestle not against flesh and
blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of
the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high
places." Eph. 6:12. It is dangerous, therefore, even to dabble in
Spiritist leaders themselves are conscious of the dangers involved in
the practice of Spiritism. The editor of the Spiritist journal Light,
published in London, has himself thought it necessary to issue a warning
in this connection, and that warning was republished in the Harbinger
of Light (Spiritist), of Melbourne, Australia, in its issue of
December, 1921. The article was entitled, "Exploring the
Borderland; Some Needed Cautions," and was based on an extract from
what is known as "The Dowding Script." The writer of this
article (W. T. P.) says, among other things:
"I would hazard the guess that fully seventy per cent of what
are believed to be messages from disembodied human souls now being
received, are nothing of the kind. Let it be stated at once that I am
expressing my own belief, based upon careful research extending over
many years, but that my opinion carries no special authority with it.
It is natural that the war should have enormously stimulated interest
in the possibility of communicating with the wider world. Because of
this very fact, I think that the warning quoted at the heading of this
article is timely, and should be heeded. . . . The actual source of
the ideas received is not to be fathomed easily. . . .
"There are good reasons for believing that large numbers of
untrained people are 'tearing at the veils' from Borderland in the
attempt to reach our world. For this reason the need for warning at
this juncture is, in my opinion, far greater than is realized even by
the leaders of the Spiritualistic movement.
"Forces are being unchained at the present time about which we
know very little. It is dangerous to a degree for untrained people to
attempt to harness or to become channels for these forces. Advanced
students themselves are only dimly aware of their origin, use,
potency, and characteristics. The amateur who attempts to pierce the
veil taps such forces unconsciously, and has no conception of what he
is doing. If I stress this point, it is because I believe that the
dangers are too little understood at present."
It is very evident that the woman whose experience we have referred
to tapped forces that she did not understand -- until she sought release
from them. Then their uncanny, cruel, and satanic nature was revealed.
Mr. W. T. P. does not trust the forces that are "tearing at the
veil;" and if he, a confirmed Spiritist, cannot and dare not trust
them, why should any one else?
But the question arises, How is one to become a past master in that
cult without practising it? One must go into the water in order to learn
to swim. If Spiritism is dangerous for "amateurs," no one can
ever become a Spiritist without subjecting himself to that danger. True
it is, as W. T. P. declares, "the dangers are too little
understood." No one who believes that any of the messages coming
from "spirits" are from the spirits of the dead, understands
the forces he is dealing with. He may have been a Spiritist for a
generation; but if he believes the spirits are what they represent
themselves to be, he has stepped into the devil's trap and sprung it
with himself inside.
W. T. P. is an experienced Spiritist, having carefully investigated
the cult for many years, and yet he has no definite statement to make
regarding Spiritism, except to warn amateurs to beware of it. He hazards
a "guess" that seventy per cent of Spiritist messages are
fraudulent. He does not seem to be sure that any of them are what they
purport to be -- and this after many years' investigation.
The writer is very certain that none of them are what they
purport to be. They purport to be messages from the spirits of the dead;
and we know, from the most dependable and trustworthy source in the
world, that the dead are in no position to communicate with the living,
and have neither the permission nor the power to do so. Whenever the
temptation comes to one to "seek to the dead" through one who
has "a familiar spirit," let that temptation be met with the
unshakable and ever-constant word of God: "The dead know not
anything;" "their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is
now perished;" "in that very day his thoughts perish."
That is a shield that will quench all the fiery darts of the satanic
forces that are filling the earth today with the doctrines and the
practices of Spiritism.
The perils attendant upon accepting the cult of Spiritism were well
set forth recently by the Rev. A. V. Magee, son of the late Archbishop
Magee, in a sermon in St. Mary's, Soho (Charing Cross Road). He said, inter
"There is the peril of the fraud. All Spiritualists would
agree that the spirits beyond had the power of personating various
personalities. With their knowledge and low moral cunning and cruelty,
they had the power of infinite fraud, for they could represent
themselves to be some one else. They not only represented themselves
to be superior intelligences, but to be the departed friends of those
who sought the aid of spirits. When people thought they were getting
messages from one of their loved ones in the Unseen, they were getting
a message from an immoral personality. That was the tragedy and the
cruelty of the whole thing.
"Not only insanity, but immoral influences were associated
with Spiritism. He had received statements which he could implicitly
trust concerning undergraduates who had originally done brilliantly in
the colleges. His friend, who related the circumstance, told him of an
undergraduate, whom he knew intimately, rushing one night into his
room at college, and asking in great distress for brandy. He
ministered it to him, and got his story. This young man and two
friends had been playing with the planchette, and in the course of the
process he had felt a force pressing himself against the wall. He
looked afterward into a saucer on the table, and saw the reflection of
a most horrible face, and fled in terror from the room. That young
man, who had previously done so brilliantly, took only a third class,
and fell later into dissipated habits."-- The Wellington (New
Zealand) Dominion, Dec. 31, 1919.
The forces which that young man tapped succeeded in ruining his
career and destroying his soul -- unless some day he shall come to
himself, understand what the power is that enthralls him, and through
complete surrender to God, lay hold upon the only power that can bring
him deliverance. Surely the warning issued by W. T. P. is a warning
which ought not to fall upon deaf ears.
Here is another case attended by most distressing results. I give the
incident just as published in the Melbourne Argus, of April 10,
1922, and dated London, April 9:
"M. Coué. of Nancy. who is described as an authority on
autosuggestion, is on a visit to London. where he has held a
remarkable series of séances, in which apparently a number of cures
have been effected. Lady Beatty, who had benefited by autosuggestion,
induced M. Coué to visit the Tooting Neurological Hospital, where
soldiers suffering from shell shock are under treatment. One hundred
patients attended a demonstration. After half an hour a soldier
suffering from bodily tremors went on the platform. M. Coué made
passes, and suggested to the patient that the tremors were
unreasonable. Suddenly the soldier gave a piercing shriek, contorted
his face and body, and writhed on the floor. The effect of this frenzy
upon the spectators was horrible. Man after man shrieked and flung
himself on the floor in uncontrollable hysteria. The doctors and
nursing sisters were unable to calm them. Lady Beatty ran out of the
hall in distress, and M. Coué abruptly terminated the
The restorative work of months was undone in a moment, because M. Coué
had tapped forces he did not understand and could not control; and it
cannot be charged against him that he was an amateur, for he was
advertised as an authority on autosuggestion, and had been conducting a
remarkable series of séances. M. Coué could not protect even these
pitiable victims of shell shock from the merciless forces he professed
to be able to bring to their help.
It is recognized that when one yields himself unreservedly to the
control of a friend whom he has long known, he is placing himself in a
very dangerous position. But when he yields himself to forces and
personalities concerning which even experienced Spiritists are doubtful
and wary, his position is all the more dangerous. It is the very acme of
folly so to do. But that is exactly what one does when he yields himself
to Spiritism. This is admitted in the following paragraph:
"In the light trance, which is the typical condition for
communication, the medium may either speak or write the messages which
come to her. In the more common examples she merely repeats messages
given her by persons 'on the other side.' In its most developed form,
however--that is motor automatism (as in Mrs. Piper's
case)--the spirit claims to take entire control of the medium's body
(in other words, to be an example of 'possession,' like the 'Watseka
Wonder' already noticed). The medium then speaks, not in her own
voice, but in the voice -- so far as she can do so -- of the alleged
spirit; her handwriting is not her own, but changes with that of each
spirit who uses her body; her gestures are not her normal ones, but
may be characteristic of the discarnate spirit who claims to be
present. In other words, the medium speaks and acts in every way as
the spirit who claims to be in control of her body would do. 'The
influence of the subject's mind,' says Dr. Hyslop, 'conscious and
unconscious, is completely suppressed, and the nervous system becomes
a delicate machine for the intromission of messages from without,
affecting it as an automatic piece of machinery.' "-- "Are
the Dead Alive?" pp. 268, 269.
Concerning this same matter Prof. Frederic Myers says:
"In 'possession' the automatist's [the medium's] own
personality does for the time altogether disappear, while there is a
more or less complete substitution of personality. . . .
These phenomena of 'possession are now the most amply attested, as
well as intrinsically the most advanced, in our whole repertory. . . .
It [the person's spirit] so far ceases to occupy the organism as to
leave room for an invading spirit to use it in somewhat the same
fashion as its owner is accustomed to use it.
"The brain being thus left temporarily and partially
uncontrolled, a disembodied spirit sometimes, but not always, succeeds
in occupying it, and occupies it with varying degrees of
control."--" Human Personality," Vol. II, pp. 189,
When one thus consents to abdicate the throne of his being, he
virtually tempts the devil to come in and rule his being for him.
Against such "possession" our Saviour, whom Spiritists profess
to honor as a great teacher, warned His followers in these striking
"When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh
through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I
will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come,
he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh
with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they
enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than
the first." Matt. 12: 43-45.
That is what one does who, having become converted from the evil of
his ways and been cleansed from his sin, but refusing to take advantage
of the fullness of the Christian life, leaves his soul empty as an
invitation to demon possession. Jesus declared, "The last state of
that man is worse than the first."
But even with this warning before them, there are some -- yea, many
-- who deliberately invite, or tempt, these wicked spirits to come in
and sit upon the throne of their being. Who can expect, under such
conditions, to escape the unhappy end which our Saviour's words imply?
An illustration of the advantage taken of persons who thus
deliberately yield their being to the control of another, is given by
Rev. Prof. G. Henslow, M. A.:
"I have seen a letter sent by a lady to Mr. Stead's office
when he was issuing Borderland; as far as I know it was never
published, but she stated that as regarding her own musical powers
they were of a quite ordinary character, but when at the piano she
seemed to be obsessed by some great musician, who was intolerably
exigeant [exacting], making her play marvelous pieces of music
till she was practically exhausted."-- "The Proofs of the
Truths of Spiritualism," p. 177.
She had lost the control of her own person, and was being performed
upon by another, intolerably exacting. She was no longer a free moral
agent; but some other personality -- and in no sense a beneficent one --
was using her as he pleased, and not as she pleased.
In the report of a lecture given by Archdeacon Colley (Spiritist) at
Weymouth, England, Oct. 6, 1903, we are given a view of the physical and
mental condition of one who had surrendered himself up to the work of a
spirit medium. The lecturer had been outlining the process whereby
spirit forms were materialized through the person of the medium, and
incidentally mentioned this striking peculiarity:
"Cautiously, therefore, had they to awaken him [from his
trance state], for he was rather of a nervous sort. Often when I have
been sleeping in the same bedroom with him, for the near observation
of casual phenomena during the night, and especially when he was
naturally asleep, for conversation with the direct voices that came
through the dark, I, on such occasions, would hold my hand over his
mouth, and he would now and again be startled into wakefulness not
unmixed with fear. For he could see the phantoms which I could not
when I had quietly put out the night light -- for he would not sleep
in the dark, which made him apprehensive of phenomena, physically
powerful to an extraordinary degree."
Here is a full-grown man who is afraid to sleep in the dark -- the
very best time for sleeping -- and must have a light to sleep by. He
sees phantasms, "physically powerful to an extraordinary
degree." How had he learned of their extraordinary power? Evidently
he had been made aware of it in some such manner as had the lady
previously referred to in this chapter. If Spiritism is good,
beneficent, healing, strengthening, elevating, health-producing, truly
spiritual, and life-giving, why is one at least of its most submissive
exponents and practitioners afraid to sleep in the dark, annoyed by
phantasms that rob him of his rest in sleep? Let Spiritists answer. Of
our Lord it is said: "He giveth His beloved sleep." Ps. 127:
2. Nowhere is it declared of Him that He annoys His beloved with
phantasms or frightens them with terrifying dreams. What God gives to
mankind as a boon and blessing these spirits of evil seek to rob them
Mr. Coulson Kernahan, who has given much painstaking study to the
doctrines and phenomena of Spiritism, has published a book entitled,
"Black Objects," which is a very distinct and very emphatic
warning against Spiritism. The title of the book was suggested by the
"nondescript black objects" which issued from the cabinet at
the séances of Eusapia Palladino. In all his experience Mr. Kernahan
can recall no séance "where anything which threw spiritual light
upon the things of eternity, or imparted teaching, or even information
of worth, was said." He declares that the present aim of Spiritism
is, by hint, by implication, by innuendo, and even by outward
"annexation," to destroy Christianity; to "destroy belief
in the atonement, and to show our Lord as a psychic, not as a
Redeemer." It seems to him as "another and new world for a
form of necromancy." In pointing out the dangers of Spiritism, he
especially urges all to keep the foul hand of so-called experiment off
Mr. Frederick C. Spurr, who has had some experience in dealing with
spirit mediums, sounds this note of warning:
"Some are likely to lose their sanity unless they are very
careful. A well-known doctor told me the other day that quite a number
of men and women -- more women than men -- of his acquaintance are
betraying signs of cerebral excitement due to 'spiritual'
investigations. Two mediums known to me are certainly degenerates as a
result of their dabbling with the occult. The extraordinary appearance
of their eyes suggests incipient madness. . . . The mediums have given
us little enough, thus far, to satisfy our curiosity. They have given
us much to awaken suspicion."-- Southern Cross (Melbourne,
Australia), July 18, 1919.
The writer has noticed the same striking peculiarity in one at least
who practised as a spirit medium.
While Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is advising women generally to try their
powers of automatic writing and thus begin to dabble in the dangerous
delusion of Spiritism, others have uttered urgent warnings against it.
The late Dr. Alfred Russel Wallace strongly deprecated such attempts by
amateurs. In private conversation he used to tell of a man who, having
practised automatic writing, became absolutely incapable of writing the
simplest note without his hand's being used by other agencies. He was
not able to hinder this by his own will, and in order to effect a cure,
he was obliged to abstain for years from using a pencil at all. Sir W.
F. Barrett, in a very grave passage, discourages "young persons and
those who have little to interest their time and thoughts," from
"making any experiments in this perplexing region." Dr.
Wallace had "a strong belief in the existence and activity of
malignant low-grade spirits who seek to gain control over men."
While Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has never known "a blasphemous, an
unkind, or an obscene message" to be transmitted' from the other
side, Sir W. F. Barrett has been less fortunate in his experience. This
great authority writes:
"It not infrequently happens, as some friends of mine found,
that after some interesting and veridical messages and answers to
questions had been given, mischievous and deceptive communications
took place, interspersed with profane and occasionally obscene
language. The sitters threw up the whole matter in disgust."-- Southern
Cross, July 10, 1919.
It may be well to give here, in her own words, the experience of a
young woman who, well on her way to becoming a spirit medium, prayed for
light concerning the mysterious communications she was receiving, and
had revealed to her, through the spirits themselves, their true
identity. The lady is well known to the editor of the African
Sentinel, and her experience was published in the issue of that
magazine for September, 1921. She is now an earnest Christian and a
member of an evangelical church. What she passed through as a result of
dabbling in Spiritism should serve as a warning to any one who is now
leaning toward Spiritism or is even tempted to accept its teachings.
Would it be too much to hop e that those already ensnared in its cruel
meshes might take this warning seriously? Some will not, we know; but
for those who do there is still hope. The lady does not wish her name
disclosed; but we can vouch for the authenticity of the report she has
given of her experience. This is the account:
"Early in the year 1906, while we were living in San
Francisco, Calif., my husband was stricken with rheumatism. He was
still in bed when the great earthquake came in April. We had one
child, a daughter, then only four years old.
"Just a few days before the quake, I wanted to find out if my
husband would get well, and I went for a private sitting to a Dr.
Howland, a noted medium, known as the singing evangelist. I do not
know what he said about him, but I remember as if it were yesterday
that he said to me, 'You will have your eyes and ears opened.' I asked
him what he meant, and he said that I would find out about the first
of July. I thought so little of this then that when I went home I told
the folks about it, and we laughed about it, thinking it a great joke.
"At that time I was acquainted with some of the phenomena of
Spiritualism, but did not take it seriously. We used to sit about a
table and talk to the spirits, who would tip the table for us, and
knock. In that way we would amuse ourselves, and thought we were
having a good time.
"Then the great quake came, followed by the fire. I found
myself without a home, with a sick husband to care for, and a
four-year-old child. As soon as we could, we went across the Bay to
Fruitvale, where we found temporary quarters in a refugee camp. While
there, I met a little French woman, who seemed to think that I could
tell fortunes, and she begged me to tell hers. She was a total
stranger to me, so far as her past was concerned, but by some
mysterious influence I was led to tell her that her father had killed
himself, and how he did it. I described the man correctly, and told
her that he was standing right by her. She was frightened, and asked
if he was in the tent. She said that all I had told her was absolutely
"Not long after this we left the camp, and took a large house'
that was given over to refugees of the fire. My husband was still on
crutches, but able to get about. One morning, he and the baby were
downstairs. I was doing the little work of cleaning up the room, when
suddenly an unseen power that I could not resist pushed me over to the
table. Something said to me, 'Get paper and pencil.' This I did, and
sat down at the table. Immediately my hand began to move, and I
received a long message, purporting to be from my father. The
handwriting was just like his. I called my husband upstairs to read
it, and he shared my astonishment. Then I remembered what Dr. Howland
had said about getting my eyes opened about the first of July. This
was early in that month.
"From that day on, it seemed that I possessed some wonderful
power. I would hear knocks, and frequently at night was disturbed by
something pulling at my pillow and blowing out the lights.
"I was in the habit of keeping the light burning all night.
One night I left the lamp burning on a chair near the bed. In the
morning I found it out, but thought that the wind must have
extinguished it. That forenoon a lady friend of mine came and asked me
for a sitting. I took a pencil in my hand, and this is what it wrote
on a piece of paper:
"'Anna, you must not go to sleep with the lamp burning. If you
must have a light, take a candle and put it in a can. There was
another big quake last night, and I came and put out your lamp.'
"I laughed, for I did not believe the message . Suddenly a
hand seemed to grip my arm, as though in terrible anger, and I cried
out with the pain of it. The spirit wrote again, 'Get up, and look at
the lamp. And next time, do not laugh.' Then we all looked closely at
the lamp, and to our astonishment saw that the wick was turned down as
far as it could be.
"At first I seemed frozen with horror. And then the thought
came to me that it must be that some of our departed friends were
watching in a loving and tender way; for at that time I believed that
at death one went immediately either to heaven or hell.
"My occult powers were developing rapidly, and at the
suggestion of a friend I went to Oakland and consulted a Mr. Earl, a
noted medium, whom I had seen do some wonderful things, and asked his
counsel about my qualifying for independent slate writing. When I told
him my experience, he looked at me in astonishment, and said, 'You
have accomplished in a few weeks what many have been able to
accomplish only in months or even years of patient sitting in a dark
room day after day for an hour at a time.' He told me to come back,
and for $20 offered to 'develop' me. This seemed promising, but where
could I get $20? My friend generously offered to lend it to me. I
thanked her, and told her I would let her know when I might be ready
"It was then, while considering whether or not to go back to
this medium, that I remembered my early training. I had been brought
up a strict Methodist. I began earnestly to pray. I asked God that if
this power was good, to help me to use it to His glory, but if not, to
show me clearly that it was evil.
"One morning I was alone, sitting at the table, waiting for a
message, when a very peculiar feeling came over me. I could hardly get
my breath. I felt cold and clammy, and thought that I might be dying.
Suddenly I realized that I was being thrown into a trance. I was
horribly afraid, and struggled with all the strength I had against the
influence, sometimes mentioning the name of the Lord. When it seemed
that I was just about gone, my little girl came in the door, and
rushed up to me crying, 'Mother! Mother!' That seemed to bring me to.
I cannot describe this feeling; only those who have passed through
similar experiences know what it is like.
"After a few weeks, I decided that I would not go to Mr. Earl
to be developed, for I thought I could do it myself. I am no artist,
but while under the influence of the spirits, I could draw almost
anything, mostly flowers. In addition to my writing powers, I became
able to answer sealed questions. Every morning I would go into a room,
pull down the blinds, and sit and wait, trying to develop independent
slate writing. And yet I was praying all the time, too. It meant much
to me, for I knew that as a medium I could make an easy living, even
though my husband might not get well.
"One day I was sitting at the table, pencil in hand, when it
began to draw instead of write. When the picture was finished, it
looked like nothing I had ever seen. I looked at it for some time
before I spoke, then I asked what it was. My hand moved again, and
this is in substance what it wrote:
"'This represents the devil. I am not one of your departed
friends, as you have thought. You are praying for light. If you stick
to this, you will become a wonderful medium, one of the world's best.
If you give it up and stick to the Bible and serve God, you will have
misery untold. You will get along nicely for a time, then you will
begin to go down, until everything you have is taken from you. Then if
you still persist, your little girl will be taken from you. But if you
will give up prayer and your Bible, you may become a noted medium, and
will have wonderful power and great wealth.'
"You cannot appreciate my feelings as I sat there that morning
facing these ominous words, the spirit still holding my wrist in a
viselike grip, as though awaiting my decision. I do not know how long
I sat thus, without speaking a word. Then I laughed as I thought, 'How
foolish! How could that be the devil? Why should he thus reveal
himself?' The spirit gave my arm such an awful twist that I soon
stopped laughing, and this is what I was led to write:
I have told you the truth. Now is the time for you to decide. You
must choose either to worship God, or to become a medium. And you had
better not laugh. You will see in time that what I have said is true.'
"I was horrified, as it began to dawn on me what I had been
doing. I realized then that I must make up my mind right there, one
way or the other. As I hesitated, I saw on the one hand only hardship
and an awful struggle, not knowing what was in store for me. But I
could not thus boldly deny my God, and I said, 'If I must choose, I
will choose God; He will take care of me.'
"When my husband came in, I showed him the drawing and what
was written. He looked rather curious, and asked me what reply I had
made. He was glad when I told him, but said that he did not believe a
word of it anyway. I continued to pray earnestly for light and
"About two weeks after this a new family moved in next door. I
became very friendly with the lady, and her son used to come over
frequently and visit my husband. I soon found out that they were
Spiritualists. She was a woman of culture and education, and there was
something about her that was very congenial. The son had hypnotic
powers, and told me that he was trying to hypnotize me. I told him
that I would not let him, but he said he would get me off my guard
some day. Those were fearful, trying days. I had seen the evils of
Spiritualism by this time, and was diligently studying the Bible for
all the light I could get. This son would try to get my mind confused
regarding the Bible.
"One evening, after I had put my little one to bed, my husband
was reading the newspaper and I the Bible, when suddenly the Bible,
slipped from my hands. I became cold, and could not speak above a
whisper. My husband saw me and put down his paper and asked me what
was the matter. I put 'my hand over my heart, pointing to the bed, and
whispered that I wanted him to read to me from the Bible. He did what
he could, but he saw I was going fast, so he went for the doctor. It
was late at night when the doctor came, and then I could answer his
questions only by shaking my head. He gave me a sleeping powder and
"The next morning I went to see the doctor, and he said that I
seemed in perfect condition, and he could not tell what was the
matter. That evening the young man from next door came over and said
to my husband, 'It's too bad that you did not let your wife go last
night, she was going into a trance. We should have heard some
wonderful things.' Then I realized that he had kept his word, and had
taken me off my guard.
"As soon as I could I moved away from the influence of this
family, and I have never seen them since. Soon my mind cleared up, and
I felt natural again. I felt to praise the Lord for deliverance from
what I now saw to be from the great enemy of souls.
"Two or three years after this, I was relating my experience
to a Christian lady. She was inclined to doubt, and begged me to sit
at the table with her and see if I could get some writing. I was
reluctant at first, but at length consented, and took the pencil. I
had to wait quite a little time, but finally my hand began to move. I
told my friend to ask a question to herself. This she did, and it was
answered correctly. Then the spirit wrote and said, 'You have been
warned. You had better have nothing to do with this.'
"I had a similar experience some time later in Napa, when a
Mrs. Burton persuaded me to give a demonstration of writing. I was
again warned in a similar way.
"In conclusion, I will say that I have gone through hell
itself. You cannot imagine the horrible things that I have gone
through, much of which I must keep to myself. All I know is that every
word that I have put down is true. If some do not believe it, I cannot
help it. But as God, whom I must one day meet, is my judge, I have
written down everything faithfully."-- African Sentinal,
Dr. Bernard Bosanquet, formerly professor of moral philosophy in the
University of St. Andrews, makes this positive declaration in reference
"The present 'psychical renewal' seems to me a dangerous and
wholly irreligious craze."-- Quoted in the World's News, Sept.
And General Booth, of the Salvation Army, says:
The present psychic revival is bad and dangerous."--Ibid.
In the work entitled, "China's Millions," Miss Harrison, of
Sisiang, Shensi, China, warns those who are dabbling in Spiritist
practices that missionary experience in China justifies a darker
interpretation of these phenomena than is commonly prevalent. She states
in that work that if Christians who know the power of the cross would go
and challenge the mediums, or rather the power speaking through the
mediums, commanding them in the name of the Lord to declare themselves,
they would confess, though much against their will, that they are
demons. Then she gives a typical case from her own experience, which
recalls the accounts of Dr. Nevious, which made so profound an
impression upon the late Prof. William James. She says:
"We have recently been helping a young woman, who for many
years has been tormented by demons, to fight through to freedom. When
it began speaking through her, attempting to deceive us into thinking
it was the young woman herself speaking, we demanded of it an answer
to the question, 'Who are you?' It tried evasion; but held to it,
replied, 'I am, I am,' several times, and then changed to, 'We are, we
are,' and finally, 'We are demons.' Asked, 'How many?' we got the
Many of the cases of spirit, or demon, possession spoken of in the
Bible have their duplicates in our day, especially in China and Korea.
It is a cause of no little wonderment that with such examples before us,
there are still so many in civilized lands who will play with this
satanic device for soul ruin. Many, no doubt, do not understand that in
practising mesmerism (hypnotism), or submitting to it when practised by
another, they are really dabbling in Spiritism, but such is the case.
Says the Rev. A. Mahan:
"Mesmeric subjects, and those who have become clairvoyants
through mesmeric influence, have, to a very great extent, become
mediums, and of all other persons, most readily become such. This is a
fact which no one will deny.
"Mesmerizing and pathetizing are among the common means
proclaimed by Spiritualists of developing mediums. . . . To
enter the mesmeric state, on the one hand, and to become mediums, on
the other, one and the same condition is requisite in both instances,
namely, a state of mental passivity."-- " Modern
Mysteries," pp. 107, 108.
That is the crux of the matter. God will not permit Satan to take
possession of any soul that is determined to serve God and be His and
His only. This state of mental passivity is a deliberate invitation to
the wandering hosts of fallen angels to take possession of the abdicated
throne of the individual, and reign there. And such reigning sets the
feet of the one who accepts it always on the broad highway to eternal
ruin. The prince of ruin and the Prince of the Restoration meet at the
sanctuary door of every soul, and every individual must decide for
himself which of these shall enter his holy of holies to dwell there as
God. If the deceiver is welcomed, then the One who is the way, the
truth, and the life must turn in sorrow away, and that life which means
so much to him who possesses it, is blighted in its morning and withers
when the night of sin's doom shuts down.
But to him who accepts the Lord Jesus Christ to rule in the sanctuary
of his soul, the eternal years are granted, in life undimmed by thought
of death, in joy unsullied by hint of parting, in health untouched by
the blight and mildew of disease, in happiness that is never dulled by
the thought of another's sorrow,-- a life, in short, where tears shall
never fall, where hatred or envy or distrust or evil-surmising will find
no soil and no fruitage, and the happiness of that fair land's
inhabitants will increase in the glad thought that the joy of others is
equal to their own.
There have been shown in this chapter some of the dangers that lurk
in the pathway of those who, believing that the dead still live, permit
themselves to dabble in any degree in any of the branches or practices
of Spiritism. The dangers have not been overdrawn. They are very real,
and he who disregards them does so at a cost in eternal consequences
which it is impossible to compute.
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