THE NEW GHOST-LOBE. * THOME unoonvinced. by- Mr. Owen's reasoning, we
look upon. an lnglish edition of his book as a welcome appearance, and greet. it in:the:spirit:of the Spanish proverb,. Dios Ele, de contiende- con view me entiende. If we must engage in controversy with the modem spiritualists, let ns by all-means- have to do withthe moat intelligent, well-informed, and candid disputant amongst them; We use the wont " spiritualists." for want: of: a. better,: to desig- nate-. those who believe that this earth is still tenanted by the irits of the dead, which can make themselves visible- to- the , converse with theta by speech or by means of audible . It and manifest their preseacebyi other physical tokens, &e. • but thnidefinition, incomplete as itia, includes -much more than. what commonly goes by the name-of spiritualism, namely, spirit- rapping -and table-turning. Mr. Owen-. has much to. say of the former of- these two, Mt little of the latter. His object being to set forth facts in. evidence of the reality of spiritual intervention in human. affairs, he has sought to avoid: all suspicion. of being yielding to the misleading effects of epidemic. excitement, by re- stricting the inquiry to alleged phenomena which are in their character spontaneous, not evoked, anttwhich exist,: if they exist at all, as independently of humanugeney as the rainbow or the aurora borealis. He discusses dreams, wraiths, ghosts,- .secend- si,gitt, lia.untedhauses and other subjects,. which occupy y large parties: of what Mrs. browe has called... "-The. Night Side -of alte, ture,"" and if not anceessfal in his efforts to-prove-the-truth of his doctrine, at least he -does not faiLto interest and amuse his readers by. the well chosen and welltold. examples he adduces in support ofit. But his book is: not merely curious and amusing:; its utility-may be recognized_ eVenly th.ose who dissent most strongly from.the author's. conclusions,: because-it may be regarded as an • Footfalls on Me Boundary of another World. With Narrative Illustrations. By Robert Dale Owen. From the tenth-American Edition, with emendations and additions by the author. Published by Triibner and-CO. accredited exposition of several classes of alleged facts which- ought either to be brought within the domain of science- or to-be clearly convicted of falsehood. Alchemy gave birth to chemietry; the pseudoseienee of mesmerism has enrichedphysiology with novel facts of great moment ; and- •who can tell what precious germs of truth may lie hidden under some of the delusions of modern spiritualism ? The subject-of dreams might seem to be out of the proper range of our author's inqiry, but he brings it within_ his province by means of the hypotheses that some dreams may be suggested to the sleeper's mind by. guardian spirits. Such he thinks must have been the origin of a remarkable warning dream related by Dr. Abererombie, who declares that he is " enabled to give it as per- fectly authentic." The dnotor's statement is contained in thb first paragraph of the following extract; the rest is added by Mr. Owen- " vas NEGRO SERVANT, " A lady dreamed that an aged female relative had been murdered by a black servant ; and' the dream occurred more than once. She was then so much impressed by it that she went to the house of the lady to whom it re- lated, and prevailed upon a gentleman to-watch in an adjoining room dn. ring the following, night. About three o'clock in the morning, the gentle- man, hearing footsteps on the stairs, left his place of concealment, and met the servant carrying up a quantity of coals. Being questioned as to where he was going, he replied, in a confused and hurried manner, that he was going to mend his mistress's fire ; which, at three o'clock in the morning, in the middle of summer, was evidently impossible; and, on further inves- tigation a strong knife was found concealed beneath the coals. This narrative, remarkable as it is, is not given in sufficient detail. It does not intimate whether the lady who dreamed knew or not, at the time, that her aged relative had ahegro servant. Nor does it say anything of the subsequent conduct and fate of that servant. Nor does it furnish the names of the parties. I am, fortunately; enabled to supply these deficiencies. " While in Edinburgh, in October 1858, I had occasion to submit this chapter to a lady—the daughter of a distinguished statesman, and herself well known by numerous and successful works—who, in returning it to ,me, kindly appended to the above narrative the following note= This lady was Mrs. Rutherford, of Egerton, grand-aunt of Sir Walter Scott ; and I have myself heard the story from the family. The lady who dreamed was thh daughter of. Mr. Rutherford, then absent from home. On her return she was astonished, on entering her mother's house, to meet the very black: ser- vant whom she seen in her dream, as he had been engaged during her. ab- sence. This man was, long afterwards, hung for murder; and, before his execution, he confessed that he had intended to assassinate Mrs. Ruther- ford.'
"The story, with this attesting voucher—giving the names• of the per- sons referred to, and supplying particulars which greatly add to-the value. of the illustration, is, I think, the very strongest example of prevision in dream I ever met with."
The following remarkable example of far sight in dreams is
" THE TWO FIELD-MICE.
" In the winter of 1835-36, a schooner was frozen up in the upper part of the Bay of Fundy, close to Dorchester, which is nine miles from the river redeudiae. During the time of her detention,. she was-intrusted to the care of a gentleman of the name of Clarke, who. is at this time captain of the schooner, Julia }knock, trading between New York and St. Sago de Cuba. " Captain Clarke's paternal grandmother, Mrs. Ann Dawe Clarke, to whom he was much attached, was at that time living, and, so fax as he knew, well. She was residing at Lyme-Regis, in the county of Dorset, England.
On the night of the 17th of February 1836,. Captain Clarke then on board the schooner referred to, had a dream. of so vivid a character that it pro,. duck a great impressidn upon him. lie dreamed that, being at Lyme- Regis, he saw pass before him the funeral of his grandmother. Re took note of the chief persons who composed the-- procession observed' who were the pall-bearers, who were the mourners, and in what order they walked; and distinguished who. was the officiating pastor. Re joined the procession as it approached the churchyard gate, and.proceeded with it to the grave. He thought (in his dream) that the weather was stormy, and the ground Wet, as after a heavy rain ; and he noticed that the wind, being high, blhw the pall partly off the coffin. The graveyard which they entered, the old'FM- testant one, in the centre of the town, was the same in which, as Captain Clarke knew, their family burying-place was. He perfectly remembered its situation ; but, to his surprise, the funeral procession did not proceed thither, but to another part of the churchyard, at some distance. There
(still in-his dream) he saw the overt grave, partially filled with water' et from the rain ; and, looking into it, he particularly noticed floating in the water two drowned field-mice. Afterwards, as he thought, he conversed with. his mother ; and Jibe told him that the morning had been so tea" pestuous that the funeral, originally appointed for ten o'clock, had been deferred till four. He remarked,, in reply, that it waa a fortunate circum- stance ; for, as he had just arrived in time to join the procession, had the funeral taken place in the fbrenoon he could hot have attended it at all. "This dream made so deep an impression on Captain Clarke, that in the morning he noted the date of it. Some time afterwards there came the news of his grandmother's death, with the additional particular that she was buried on the same day on which he, being in North America, had dreamed of her funeral. "When, four years afterward's, Captain Clarke visited Lyme-Regis, he found that every particular of his dream minutely corresponded with the reality. The pastor, the pall-bearers, the mourners, were the same persons he had seen. Yet this, we may suppose,- he might naturally have anticir pated. But the funeral had been appointed for ten o'clock in the morning, and, in consequence of the tempestuous weather and the heavy rain that Was falling, it had been delayed until four in the afternoon. rfis mother, who-attended thexfuneral, distinctly recollected that the high wind blew the pal partially off the ooffin. In consequence of a wish expressed by the old lady shortly- before her death, she wasburied, not in the burying-place of the family, but at another spot, selected by herself ; and to this spot Captain Clarke, without, any indication from the family or otherwise, proceeded at once, as directly as if he had been present at the burial. Finally,. on coni• paring notes with the old sexton, it appeared that the heavy nun of the morning had partially filled the grave, and thatthere were actually foundin ittwnfield-mica, drowned. "This last incident, even if there were no other, might suffice to pre? dude all idea of accidental coincidence.
" The above was narrated to me by Captain Clarke himself, with per- mission to use hie -name in attestation of its truth."
The following is one of three examples of dreams of which Mr. Owen asserts that they involve, " unless the narrators directly
lie, . . . . phenomena and laws connected with dreaming; which have never yet been explained, and have scarcely been investi- gated." It was communicated by the daughter of a gentleman well, known in the literary circles of Great Britain, and he gives it in her own, words.
" ONE DREW- THE COTNTRRPART OF ANOTHER.
" We had a friend, 8—, who some years ago was in a delicate state of health, believed to be consumptive. He lived several hundred miles from us; and, although our family were intimately acquainted with himself, we knewneither his home nor any of his family; our intercourse being chiefly by letters, received at intervals., ' One night, when there was no special cause for my mind reverting to our friend or-to his state of health, I dreamed that I had to go to-the town where he resided. In my dream I seemed to arrive at a particular house, into-wbioh I entered, and went straight up-stairs into a darkened chamber. There, on his bed, I saw 8—, lying as if about to die. I walked up to hhn - and, not mournfully, but as if I filled with hopeful assurance, I took his hand and said, ' No, you are not going to die. Be comforted :you will live.' Even as I spoke I seemed to hear an exquisite strain of music sound-
through the room
a awaking, so visa& were the impressions vemaining, that, unabk to shake them off even the next day, I communicated them to my mother, and then. wrote to S—,.. inquiring after. his health, but giving him no clue to the cause of pry anxiety.
, " His reply informed us that ho had been very illindeed, supposed to be at the point of death—and that my letter, which for several days he had been too ilk to read, had been a great_happiness to him.
" It was. three-years after this thatiny mother and I met 8— in Lon- don; and, the conversation turned an dreams, I said, ' By the way, I had a singular dream about three years ago, when you were so ill : ' and I related it. As I proceeded, I observed a remarkable expression spread over his face ; and when. I concluded he said, with much emotion, ' This is singular indeed.; for L too, had a. night or two before your letter arrived, a dream the very counterpart. of yours. I seemed to myself on the point of death, and was taking final leave of my, brother. " Is there anything," he said, "I can do for you before you die ?" "Yee," I replied in my dream ; " two things. Send for my friend A. 31. H—; I must see her before I depart. Impossible," said my brother-, "it would be an unheard-of thing ; she-would never come." "She ' She would," I insisted, in my dream, and added, "I would also hear my favourite sonata by Beethoven, ere I die." "But these are trifles," exclaimed my brother,. almost sternly. "Have you no desires more earnest at so solemn an hour? " " No ; to see my friend A. 31. and to hear that sonata, that ie all I wish." And even as I spoke, in my dream, I saw you enter. You walked up to the bed with a cheerful air ; and, while the music I had longed for filled the room, you spokato me encouragingly, saying I should not die."
"Knowing Knowing the writer well, I can vouch for this narration ; embodying, as it does, that rare and remarkable phenomenon, two concurring and syn- chronous dreams."
Mr. Owen's volume is rich in examples of "Disturbances popu-
larly termed Hauntings." The oldest case it cites is that which is narrated by Glanvil as having occurred at Mr. Mompesson's house at Tedworth, and continued. for two entire years, namely, from. April, 1061, unjil April, 1663. The disturbances in this in- stance consisted mainly in a continual noise of drumming, the origin- of which was never discovered, but it was connected in Mr. Mompesson's mind with the fact that, as a magistrate, he had committed to prison &vagrant drummer who had been annoying the country by noisy demands for charity. The next case quoted at length ia•that-of the noises which for two months harassed the inmates of the parsonage at Epworth in 1716 and 1717, during the incumbency of the Reverend Samuel Wesley, the father of the founder of Methodism. Many other instances are given of haunted houses, more recent, and some of them still more curious than those we-have mentioned ; but these were only prolusions to the famous
knockings at Hydesville in Western. New York, in 1848„ from which dates the discovery that "these mysterious sounds are in- stinct with intelligence," and that disembodied spirits„ though capable of articulate speech, prefer to hold converse with mortals br rapping, and. willingly respond to questions through that me- dium.. In Mr. Mompesson's.ease, suspicion pointed strongly to one living person as the contriver of the disturbances, and in the Hy- desville case there is glaring evidence of malicious human agency. The Fox family, the tenants of the haunted house,. were informed by the knocking-ghost that his name was Charles B. Rosma, and that he had been murdered and buried in the cellar by a Mr. Bell, who had formerly occupied the house. The story was backed up by the manifestly collusive evidence of a servant-who had lived with Bell, and by the discovery, 'after the lapse of some, months, of a few human bones under the floor of the cellar, where the ghost declared his body had been buried whole. These bones 's on au examination by a medical man skilled in anatomy, proved to be portions [only] of a human skeleton, including two bones of the hand and' certain parts of the skull ; but no connected skull visa found." Mr. Bell, the, alleged murderer, on hearing of these transactions, gave the strongest proof of conscious innocence by immediately returning to the neighbourhood-of his former dwell- ing, and, challenging inquiry ; whilst, on the other hand, all in- quiry failed to discover that such a. person. as Charles B. Rosma had ever existed.
The Hydesville knockings. were quickly followed by those of Rochester, in the same State, in which an officious spirit announ- ced-that a missin man had been murdered and thrown into the ilta canal, and the e • litened.public opinion of Rochester gave ready Mellows to the e ; but, some .months afterwards, the " mur- dezedman?' reappeared in the flesh: he had departed: secretly to Oanada-to,a,void his creditors.
Such are the first two instances on which was- based the whole theory of spirit-rapping ; and, in our humble opinion, it could hardly rest on, a. more rotten foundation. But.lir. Owen is too resolute a. believer to be rebuttedtby difficulties which to us insurmountable. See what. hesaye- a( the Kochester ghost'slittle bit of sportive fiction— ,,
"-If we concede- the reality of the spirit-rep,,,eud,it wemesuine to judge of ultra-mundane- intentions, we- may imagine Uic pUrpose was, by so early and so marked a lesson,, to warn men, even from the commencement, against putting implicit faith in epiritual-communkations."