Volume 1 Page 56
THE PHILADELPHIA “FIASCO,” OR WHO IS WHO?
[Banner of Light. Boston, Vol. XXXVI, January 30, 1875. pp. 2-3]
A few weeks ago, in a letter, extracts from which have appeared in the Spiritual Scientist of December 3rd, I alluded to the deplorable lack of accord between American Spiritualists, and the consequences of the same. At that
time I had just fought out my useless battle with a foe who, though beneath my own personal notice, had insulted all the Spiritualists of this country, as a body, in a caricature of a so-called scientific exposé. In dealing with him I dealt but with one of the numerous “bravos” enlisted in the army of the bitter opponents of our belief, and my task was, comparatively speaking, an easy one, if we take it for granted that falsehood can hardly withstand truth, as the latter will ever speak for itself. Since that day the scales have turned; prompted now as then, by the same love of justice and fair play, I feel compelled to throw [down] my glove once more in our defence, seeing that so few of the adherents to our cause are bold enough to accept that duty, and so many of them show the white feather of pusillanimity
I indicated in my letter that such a state of things, such a complete lack of harmony, and such cowardice, I may add, among our ranks, subjected the Spiritualists and the cause to constant attacks from a compact, aggressive public opinion, based upon ignorance and wicked prejudice, intolerant, remorseless and thoroughly dishonest in the employment of its methods. As a vast army, amply equipped, may be cut to pieces by an inferior force well trained and handled, so Spiritualism, numbering its hosts by millions, and able to vanquish every reactionary theology by a little directed effort, is constantly harassed, weakened, impeded by the convergent attacks of pulpit and press, and by the treachery and cowardice of its trusted leaders. It is one of these professed leaders that I propose to question today, as closely as my rights, not only as a widely known Spiritualist, but a resident of the United States, will allow me. When I see the numbers of believers in this country, the broad basis of their belief, the impregnability of their position, and the talent that is embraced within their ranks, I am disgusted at the spectacle that they manifest at this very moment, after the Katie King—how shall we say—fraud? By no means, since the last word of this sensational comedy is far from being spoken.
There is not a country on the face of our planet, with a
jury attached to its courts of justice, but gives the benefit of the doubt to every criminal brought within the law, and a chance to be heard and tell his story.
Is such the case between the pretended “spirit-performer,” the alleged bogus Katie King, and the Holmes mediums? I answer most decidedly no, and mean to prove it, if no one else does.
I deny the right of any man or woman to wrench from our hands all possible means of finding out the truth. I deny the right of any editor of a daily newspaper to accuse and publish accusations, refusing at the same time to hear one word of justification from the defendants, and so, instead of helping people to clear up the matter, leaving them more than ever to grope their way in the dark.
The biography of “Katie King” has come out at last; a sworn certificate, if you please, equally endorsed (under oath?) by Dr. Child,* who throughout the whole of this “burlesque” epilogue has ever appeared in it, like some inevitable deus ex machina. The whole of this made-up elegy (by whom? evidently not by Mrs. White) is redolent with the perfume of erring innocence, of Magdalene-like tales of woe and sorrow, and tardy repentance and the like, giving us the abnormal idea of a pickpocket in the act of robbing our soul of its most precious, thrilling sensations; the carefully-prepared explanations on some points that appear now and then as so many stumbling-blocks in the way of a seemingly fair exposé, do not preclude, nevertheless, through the whole of it, the possibility of doubt, for many awkward semblances of truth, partly taken from the confessions of that fallen angel, Mrs. White, and partly—most of them we should say—copied from the private notebook of her “amanuensis,” give you a fair idea of the veracity of this sworn certificate. For instance, according
* [In her Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 19, where the cutting of this article is pasted, H.P.B. added the following remark in pen and ink:
Child was a confederate. He took money . . . . . 1mes’ séance. He is a ra . . .l.
The last word may be rascal.—Compiler.]
to her own statement and the evidence furnished by the habitués of the Holmeses, Mrs. White having never been present at any of the dark circles (her alleged acting as Katie King excluding all possibility, on her part, of such a public exhibition of flesh and bones), how comes she to know so well, in every particular, about the tricks of the mediums, the programme of their performances, etc.? Then, again, Mrs. White, who remembers so well—by rote we may say every word exchanged between Katie King and Mr. Owen, the spirit and Dr. Child, has evidently forgotten all that was ever said by her in her bogus personation to Dr. Fellger;* she does not even remember a very important secret communicated by her to the latter gentleman! What an extraordinary combination of memory and absence of mind at the same time! May not a certain memorandum book, with its carefully noted contents, account for it, perhaps? The document is signed, under oath, with the name of a non-existing spirit, Katie King. . . . Very clever!
All protestations of innocence or explanations sent in by Mr. or Mrs. Holmes, written or verbal, are peremptorily refused publication by the press. No respectable paper dares take upon itself the responsibility of such an unpopular cause.
The public feels triumphant; the clergy, forgetting, in the excitement of their victory, the Brooklyn scandal, rub their hands and chuckle; a certain exposer of materialized spirits and mind-reading, like some monstrous anti-spiritual mitrailleuse, shoots forth a volley of missiles, and sends a condoling letter to Mr. Owen; Spiritualists, crestfallen, ridiculed and defeated, feel crushed for ever under the pretended exposure and that overwhelming, pseudonymous evidence. . . . The day of Waterloo has come for us, and sweeping [away] the last remnants of the defeated army, it remains for us to ring our own death-knell. . . . Spirits, beware! Henceforth, if you lack prudence, your materialized forms
* [A well-known and highly respected Philadelphia physician—Dr. Adolphus Fellger.—Compiler.]
will have to stop at the cabinet doors, and in perfect tremor melt away from sight, singing in chorus Poe’s Nevermore!
One would really suppose that the whole belief of us Spiritualists hung at the girdles of the Holmeses, and that in case they should be unmasked as tricksters, we might as well vote our immortality an old woman’s delusion.
Is the scraping off of a barnacle the destruction of a ship? But, moreover, we are not sufficiently furnished with any plausible proofs at all.
Colonel Olcott is here, and has begun investigations. His first tests with Mrs. Holmes alone, for Mr. Holmes is lying sick at Vineland, have proved satisfactory enough in his eyes, to induce Mr. Owen to return to the spot of his first love, namely, the Holmes’ cabinet. He began by tying Mrs. Holmes up in a bag, the string drawn tightly round her neck, knotted and sealed in the presence of Mr. Owen, Col. Olcott and a third gentleman. After that the medium was placed in the empty cabinet, which was rolled away into the middle of the room, and it was made a perfect impossibility for her to use her hands. The door being closed, hands appeared in the aperture, then the outlines of a face came, which gradually formed into the classical head of John King, turban, beard and all. He kindly allowed the investigators to stroke his beard, touch his warm face, and patted their hands with his. After the séance was over, Mrs. Holmes, with many tears of gratitude, in the presence of the three gentlemen, assured Mr. Owen most solemnly that she had spoken many a time to Dr. Child about “Katie” leaving her presents in the house and dropping them about the place, and that she—Mrs. Holmes—wanted Mr. Owen to know it; but that the Doctor had given her most peremptory orders to the contrary, forbidding her to let the former know it, his precise words being; “Don’t do it; it’s useless; he must not know it!” I leave the question of Mrs. Holmes’ veracity as to this fact for Dr. Child to settle with her.
On the other hand, we have the woman, Eliza White, exposer and accuser of the Holmeses, who remains up to the present day a riddle and an Egyptian mystery to every
man and woman of this city, except to the clever and equally invisible party—a sort of protecting deity—who took the team in hand, and drove the whole concern of “Katie’s” materialization to destruction, and at what he considered such a first-rate way. She is not to be met, or seen, or interviewed, or even spoken to by anyone, least of all by the ex-admirers of “Katie King” herself, so anxious to get a peep at the modest, blushing beauty who deemed herself worthy of personating the fair spirit. Maybe it’s rather dangerous to allow them the chance of comparing for themselves the features of both? But the most perplexing fact of this most perplexing imbroglio is that Mr. R. D. Owen, by his own confession to me, has never, not even on the day of the exposure, seen Mrs. White, or talked to her, or had otherwise the least chance to scan her features close enough for him to identify her. He caught a glimpse of her general outline but once, viz., at the mock séance of the 5th of December, referred to in her biography, when she appeared to half a dozen witnesses (invited to testify and identify the fraud) emerging de novo from the cabinet, with her face closely covered with a double veil (!), after which the sweet vision vanished and appeared no more! Mr. Owen adds that he is not prepared to swear to the identity of Mrs. White and Katie King.
May I be allowed to inquire as to the necessity of such a profound mystery, after the promise of a public exposure of all the fraud? It seems to me that the said exposure would have been far more satisfactory if conducted otherwise. Why not give the fairest chance to R. D. Owen, the party who has suffered the most on account of this disgusting swindle—if swindle there is—to compare Mrs. White with his Katie? May I suggest again that it is perhaps because the spirit’s features are but too well impressed on his memory, poor, noble, confiding gentleman! Gauze dresses and moonshine, coronets and stars can possibly be counterfeited, in a half-darkened room, while features, answering line for line to the “spirit Katie’s” face, are not so easily made up; the latter require very clever
preparations A lie may be easy enough for a smooth tongue, but no pug nose can lie itself into a classical one.
A very honorable gentleman of my acquaintance, a fervent admirer of the “spirit Katie’s” beauty, who has seen and addressed her at two feet distance about fifty times, tells me that on a certain evening, when Dr. Child begged the spirit to let him see her tongue (did the honourable doctor want to compare it with Mrs. White’s tongue—the lady having been his patient?), she did so, and upon her opening her mouth, the gentleman in question assures me that he plainly saw, what in his admiring phraseology he terms “the most beautiful set of teeth—two rows of pearls.” He remarked* most particularly those teeth. Now there are some wicked, slandering gossips, who happen to have cultivated most intimately Mrs. White’s acquaintance in the happy days of her innocence, before her fall and subsequent exposé, and they tell us very bluntly (we beg the penitent angel’s pardon, we repeat but a hearsay), that this lady can hardly number among her other natural charms, the rare beauty of pearly teeth, or a perfect, most beautifully formed hand and arm. Why not show her teeth at once to the said admirer, and so shame the slanders? Why shun “Katie’s” best friends? If we were so anxious as she seems to be to prove “who is who,” we would surely submit with pleasure to the operation of showing our teeth, yea, even in a court of justice. The above fact, trifling as it may seem at first sight, would be considered as a very important one by any intelligent juryman in a question of personal identification.
Mr. Owen’s statement to us is corroborated by “Katie King” herself in her biography, a sworn document, remember, in the following words: “She consented to have an interview with some gentlemen who had seen her personating the spirit, on condition that she would be allowed
* [H.P.B. uses on many occasions the word “remarked” when she actually means “noticed.” It is an unconscious translation of the French word “remarquer” which means “to notice.”—Compiler.]
to keep a veil over her face all the time she was conversing with them.”*
Now pray why should these “too credulous, weak-minded gentlemen,” as the immortal Dr. Beard would say, be subjected again to such an extra strain on their blind faith? We should say that that was just the proper time to come out and prove to them what was the nature of the mental aberration they were labouring under for so many months. Well, if they do swallow this new veiled proof they are welcome to it. Vulgus vult decipi—decipiatur! But I expect something more substantial before submitting in guilty silence to be laughed at. As it is, the case stands thus:
According to the same biography (same column) the mock séance was prepared and carried out—to everyone’s heart’s content—through the endeavours of the amateur detective, who by the way, if any one wants to know, is a Mr. W. O. Leslie, a contractor or agent for the Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York Railroad, residing in this city. If the Press, and several of the most celebrated victims of the fraud, are under bond of secrecy with him, I am not, and mean to say what I know. And so the said séance took place on the 5th of December last, which fact appearing in a sworn evidence, implies that Mr. Leslie had wrested from Mrs. White the confession of her guilt at least several days previous to that date, though the precise day of the “amateur’s” triumph is very cleverly withheld in the sworn certificate. Now comes a new conundrum.
On the evening of the 2nd and 3rd of December, at two séances held at the Holmeses’, I, myself, in the presence of Robert Dale Owen and Dr. Child (chief manager of those performances, from whom I got on the same morning an admission card), together with twenty more witnesses, saw the spirit of Katie step out of the cabinet twice, in full form and beauty; and I can swear in any court of justice that she did not bear the least resemblance to Mrs. White’s portrait.
* Philadelphia Inquirer, January 11, 1875, 4th column, “Katie King’s Biography.”
As I am unwilling to base my argument upon any other testimony than my own, I will not dwell upon the alleged apparition of Katie King at the Holmeses’ on the 5th of December, to Mr. Roberts and fifteen others, among whom was Mr. W. H. Clarke, a reporter for The Daily Graphic, for I happened to be out of town, though, if this fact is demonstrated, it will go far against Mrs. White, for on that precise evening, and at the same hour, she was exhibiting herself as the bogus Katie at the mock séance. Something still more worthy of consideration is found in the most positive assertion of a gentleman, a Mr. Westcott, who on that evening of the 5th, on his way home from the real séance, met in the car Mr. Owen, Dr. Child and his wife, all three returning from the mock séance. Now it so happened that this gentleman mentioned to them about having just seen the spirit Katie come out of the cabinet, adding “he thought she never looked better”; upon hearing which Mr. Robert Dale Owen stared at him in amazement, and all the three looked greatly perplexed.
And so I here but insist on the apparition of the spirit at the medium’s house on the evenings [of] the 2nd and 3rd of December, when I witnessed the phenomenon, together with Robert Dale Owen and other parties. It would be worse than useless to offer or accept the poor excuse that the confession of the woman White, her exposure of the fraud, the delivery to Mr. Leslie of all her dresses and presents received by her in the name of Katie King, the disclosure of the sad news by this devoted gentleman to Mr. Owen, and the preparation of the mock séance cabinet and other important matters, had all of them taken place on the 4th; the more so, as we are furnished with most positive proofs that Dr. Child at least, if not Mr. Owen knew all about Mr. Leslie’s success with Mrs. White several days beforehand. Knowing then of the fraud, how could Mr. Leslie allow it to be still carried on, as the fact of Katie’s apparition at the Holmeses’ on the 2nd and 3rd of December proves it to have been the case? Any gentleman, even with a very moderate degree of honour about him, would never allow the public to be fooled and
THE EDDY HOMESTEAD, CHITTENDEN, VERMONT
Here H.P.B. and Col. H.S. Olcott met each other, October 14, 1874.
(From Col. H. S. Olcott’s People from the Other World, Hartford, Conn., 1875.)
GENERAL FRANCIS J. LIPPITT
(From his Reminiscences, Providence, R.I., 1902. Consult the
Bio-Bibliographical Index for biographical data.)
defrauded any longer, unless he had the firm resolution of catching the bogus spirit on the spot and proving the imposition. But no such thing occurred; quite the contrary; for Dr. Child, who had constituted himself from the first not only chief superintendent of the séances, cabinet and materialization business, but also cashier and ticket-holder (paying the mediums at first ten dollars per séance, as he did, and subsequently fifteen dollars, and pocketing the rest of the proceeds), on that same evening of the 3rd took the admission money from every visitor as quietly as he ever did. I will add furthermore, that I, in propria persona, handed him on that very night a five-dollar bill, and that he (Dr. Child) kept the whole of it, remarking that the balance could be made good to us by future séances.
Will Dr. Child presume to say that getting ready, as he then was, in company with Mr. Leslie, to produce the bogus Katie King on the 5th of December, he knew nothing, as yet, of the fraud on the 3rd?
Further; in the same biography (Chapter viii, Column the 1st), it is stated that, immediately upon Mrs. White’s return from Blissfield, Mich., she called on Dr. Child, and offered to expose the whole humbug she had been engaged in, but that he would not listen to her. Upon that occasion she was not veiled, as indeed there was no necessity for her to be, since by Dr. Child’s own admission she had been a patient of his, and under his medical treatment. In a letter from Holmes to Dr. Child, dated Blissfield, August 28th, 1874, the former writes:
“Mrs. White says you and the friends were very rude, ‘wanted to look into all our boxes and trunks, and break open locks. What were you looking for, or expecting to find?’”
All these several circumstances show in the clearest possible manner that Dr. Child and Mrs. White were on terms much more intimate then than that of casual acquaintance, and it is the height of absurdity to assert that if Mrs. White and Katie King were identical, the fraud was not perfectly well known to the “Father Confessor” [see narrative of John and Katie King, p. 45]. But a
sidelight is thrown upon this comedy from the pretended biography of John King and his daughter Katie, written at their dictation in his own office by Dr. Child himself. This book was given out to the world as an authentic revelation from these two spirits. It tells us that they stepped in and stepped out of his office, day after day, as any mortal being might, and after holding brief conversations, followed by long narratives, they fully endorsed the genuineness of their own apparitions in the Holmes’ cabinet. Moreover, the spirits appearing at the public séances, corroborated the statements which they made to their amanuensis in his office; the two dovetailing together, and making a consistent story. Now, if the Holmes’ Kings were Mrs. White, who were the spirits visiting the Doctor’s office? and if the spirits visiting him were genuine, who were those that appeared at the public séances? In which particular has the “Father Confessor” defrauded the public? In selling a book containing false biographies or exposing bogus spirits at the Holmeses? Which or both? Let the Doctor choose.
If his conscience is so tender as to force him into print with his certificate and affidavits, why does it not sink deep enough to reach his pocket, and compel him to refund to us the money obtained by him under false pretenses? According to his own confession, the Holmeses received from him, up to the time they left town, about $1,200, for four months of daily séances. That he admitted every night as many visitors as he could possibly find room for—sometimes as many as thirty-five—is a fact that will be corroborated by every person who has seen the phenomena more than once. Furthermore, some six or seven reliable witnesses have told us that the modest fee of $1 was only for the habitués; too curious or over-anxious visitors having to pay sometimes as much as $5, and in one instance $10. This last fact I give under all reserve, not having had to pay so much as that myself.
Now let an impartial investigator of this Philadelphia imbroglio take a pencil and cast up the profit left after paying the mediums in this nightly spirit speculation lasting
many months. The result would be to show that the business of a spirit “Father Confessor” is, on the whole, a very lucrative one.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the spiritual belief, methinks we are all of us between the horns of a very wonderful dilemma. If you happen to find your position comfortable, I do not, and so will try to extricate myself.
Let it be perfectly understood, though, that I do not intend in the least to undertake at present the defense of the Holmeses. They may be the greatest frauds for what I know or care. My only purpose is to know for a certainty to whom I am indebted for my share of ridicule—small as it may be, luckily for me. If we Spiritualists are to be laughed at, and scoffed, and ridiculed, and sneered at, we ought to know at least the reason why. Either there was a fraud or there was none. If the fraud is a sad reality, and Dr. Child by some mysterious combination of his personal cruel fate has fallen the first victim to it, after having proved himself so anxious for the sake of his honour and character to stop at once the further progress of such a deceit on a public that had hitherto looked on him alone as the party responsible for the perfect integrity and genuineness of a phenomenon so fully endorsed by him, in all particulars, why does not the Doctor come out the first and help us to the clue of all this mystery? Well aware of the fact that the swindled and defrauded parties can at any day assert their rights to the restitution of moneys laid out by them solely on the ground of their entire faith in him they had trusted, why does he not sue the Holmeses, and so prove his own innocence? He cannot but admit, that in the eyes of some initiated parties, his case looks far more ugly as it now stands, than the accusation under which the Holmeses vainly struggle. Or, if there was no fraud, or if it is not fully proved, as it cannot well be on the shallow testimony of a nameless woman, signing documents with pseudonyms, why then all this comedy on the part of the principal partner in the “Katie materialization” business? Was not Dr. Child the institutor, the promulgator, and we may say the creator of what proves to have been
but a bogus phenomenon, after all? Was not he the advertising agent of this incarnated humbug—the Barnum of this spiritual show? And now, that he has helped to fool not only Spiritualists but the world at large, whether as a confederate himself or one of the weak-minded fools—no matter, as long as it is demonstrated that it was he that helped us to this scrape—he imagines that by helping to accuse the mediums, and expose the fraud, by fortifying with his endorsement all manner of bogus affidavits and illegal certificates from non-existing parties, he hopes to find himself henceforth perfectly clear of responsibility to the persons he has dragged after him into this infamous swamp!
We must demand a legal investigation. We have the right to insist upon it, for we Spiritualists have bought this right at a dear price: with the lifelong reputation of Mr. Owen as an able and reliable writer and trustworthy witness of the phenomena, who may henceforth become a doubted and ever-ridiculed visionary by skeptical wiseacres. We have bought this right with the prospect that all of us, whom Dr. Child has unwillingly or otherwise (time will prove it) fooled into belief in his Katie King, will become for a time the butts for endless raillery, satires and jokes from the press and ignorant masses. We regret to feel obliged to contradict on this point such an authority in all matters as The Daily Graphic, but if orthodox laymen rather decline to see this fraud thoroughly investigated in a court of justice, for fear of the Holmeses becoming entitled to the crown of martyrs, we have no such fear as that, and repeat with Mr. Hudson Tuttle that “better perish the cause with the impostors, than live such a life of eternal ostracism, with no chance for justice or redress.”
Why in the name of all that is wonderful, should Dr. Child have all the laurels of this unfought battle, in which the attacked army seems forever doomed to be defeated without so much as a struggle? Why should he have all the material benefit of this materialized humbug, and R. D. Owen, an honest Spiritualist, whose name is universally respected, have all the kicks and thumps of the skeptical press?
Is this fair and just? How long shall we Spiritualists be turned over like so many scapegoats to the unbelievers, by cheating mediums and speculating prophets? Like some modern shepherd Paris, Mr. Owen fell a victim to the snares of this pernicious, newly materialized Helen; and on him falls heaviest the present reaction that threatens to produce a new Trojan war. But the Homer of the Philadelphia Iliad—the one who has appeared in the past as the elegiac poet and biographer of that same Helen, and who appears in the present kindling up the spark of doubt against the Holmeses, till, if not speedily quenched, it might become a roaring ocean of flames—he that plays at this present hour the unparalleled part of a chief justice presiding at his own trial and deciding in his own case—Dr. Child, we say, turning back on the spirit-daughter of his own creation, and backing the mortal, illegitimate offspring furnished by somebody, is left unmolested! Only fancy, while R. D. Owen is fairly crushed under the ridicule of the exposure, Dr. Child, who has endorsed false spirits, now turns state’s evidence and endorses as fervently spirit-certificates, swearing to the same in a Court of Justice!
If ever I may hope to get a chance of having my advice accepted by some one anxious to clear up all this sickening story, I would insist that the whole matter be forced into a real Court of Justice and unriddled before a jury. If Dr. Child is, after all, an honest man whose trusting nature was imposed upon, he must be the first to offer us all the chances that lay in his power of getting at the bottom of all these endless “whys” and “hows.” “ If he does not, in such a case, we will try for ourselves to solve the following mysteries:
First. Judge Allen, of Vineland, now in Philadelphia, testifies to the fact that when the cabinet, made up under the direct supervision and instructions of Dr. Child, was brought home to the Holmeses, the doctor worked at it himself unaided, one whole day, and with his own tools, Judge Allen being at the time at the medium’s, whom he was visiting. If there was a trapdoor or “two cut boards” connected with it, who did the work? Who can doubt that such a
clever machinery, filed in a way and so as to baffle frequent and close examinations on the part of the sceptics, requires an experienced mechanic, of more than ordinary ability? Further, unless well paid, he could hardly be bound to secrecy Who paid him? Is it Holmes out of his ten-dollar nightly fee? We ought to ascertain it.
Second. If it is true — as two persons are ready to swear — that the party, calling herself Eliza White, alias “Frank,” alias Katie King, and so forth, is no widow at all, having a well-materialized husband, who is living, and who keeps a drinking saloon in a Connecticut town; for in such case the fair widow has perjured herself and Dr. Child has endorsed the perjury. We regret that he should endorse the statements of the former as rashly as he accepted the fact of her materialization.
Third. Affidavits and witnesses (five in all) are ready to prove that on a certain night, when Mrs. White was visibly in her living body, refreshing her penitent stomach in company with impenitent associates in a lager beer saloon, having no claims to patrician “patronage,” Katie King, in her spirit-form, was as visibly seen at the door of her cabinet.
Fourth. On one occasion, when Dr. Child ( in consequence of some prophetic vision, maybe) invited Mrs. White to his own house, where he locked her up with the inmates, who entertained her the whole of the evening, for the sole purpose of convincing (he always seems anxious to convince somebody of something) some doubting skeptics of the reality of the spirit-form, the latter appeared in the séance-room and talked with R. D. Owen in the presence of all the company. The Spiritualists were jubilant that night, and the Doctor the most triumphant of them all. Many are the witnesses ready to testify to the fact, but Dr. Child, when questioned, seems to have entirely forgotten this important occurrence.
Fifth. Who is the party whom she claims to have engaged to personate General Rawlins? Let him come out
and swear to it, so that we will all see his great resemblance to the defunct warrior.
Sixth. Let her name the friends from whom she borrowed the costumes to personate “Sauntee” and “Richard.” They must prove it under oath. Let them produce the dresses. Can she tell us where she got the shining robes of the second and third spheres?
Seventh. Only some portions of Holmes’ letters to “Frank” are published in the biography: some of them for the purpose of proving their co-partnership in the fraud at Blissfield. Can she name the house and parties with whom she lodged and boarded at Blissfield, Michigan?
When all of the above questions are answered and demonstrated to our satisfaction, then, and only then, shall we believe that the Holmeses are the only guilty parties to a fraud, which, for its consummate rascality and brazenness, is unprecedented in the annals of Spiritualism.
I have read some of Mr. Holmes’ letters, whether original or forged, no matter; and blessed as I am with good memory, I well remember certain sentences that have been, very luckily for the poetic creature, suppressed by the blushing editor as being too vile for publication. One of the most modest of the paragraphs runs thus:
“Now, my advice to you, Frank, don’t crook your elbow too often; no use doubling up and squaring your fists again,” etc., etc. Oh, Katie King!
Remember, the above is addressed to the woman who pretends to have personated the spirit of whom R. D. Owen wrote thus: “I particularly noticed this evening the ease and harmony of her motions. In Naples, during five years, I frequented a circle famed for courtly demeanour; but never in the best-bred lady of rank accosting her visitors, have I seen Katie out-rivalled.” And further: “A well-known artist of Philadelphia, after examining Katie, said to me that he had seldom seen features exhibiting more classic beauty. ‘Her movements and bearing,’ he added, ‘are the very ideal of grace!’“
Compare for one moment this admiring description with
the quotation from Holmes’ letter. Fancy an ideal of classic beauty and grace crooking her elbow in a lager beer saloon, and—judge for yourselves!
1111 Girard Street, Philadelphia.