Volume 2 Page 509


[The Theosophist, Vol. II, No. 3, December, 1880, p. 54.]

[The following introductory note by H. P. B. was appended to a ghost story which she quotes from the Cincinnati Enquirer.]

By “laymen,” in this case, we mean that class of society and humanity in general, who are not “orthodox spiritualists”; neither are they prepared to declare themselves as believers in the “New Dispensation” theory. We include among this number all ordinary mortals—Christians, sceptics, and “half and halfs”—if we may be pardoned this unusual expression. Whenever, therefore, we hear of well-authenticated phenomena, alleged to be produced by some invisible agency—the “souls of the departed” as the spiritualists have it, and outside their temples of orthodoxy—the “circle rooms” where mediums as high priests and priestesses lead the service—we give them far more consideration than we would otherwise. Such weird phenomena cannot be easily doubted, nor, if the personal experience and the testimony of millions of people from the remotest ages is worth anything, can they be as little disproved as accounted for. No; not even by the most rabid freethinkers of Bradlaugh’s school, unless they are determined to be illogical and go against the very spirit of their own teaching—“Believe but in that which your own eyes see, your own ears hear, and your own hands touch,” and whatever the agency sceptics may attribute such phenomena to. In regard to spiritualists, we would only remind them, that in all such strange events


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showing a malicious, wicked intelligence underlying them, our theory of the elementaries, or earth-bound incarnated thoughts of evil men who have passed away, holds as good as ever. Such phenomena pin all believers in the “angel world” more firmly than ever between the horns of a very disagreeable dilemma. They have either to admit with the Christians the existence of the devil, or with the Kabalists that of the “elementaries.” To speak frankly, and in all sincerity, we fail to perceive any substantial difference between a Christian devil—originally a “fallen angel”—and a bad, wicked “spirit”—or a departed soul—each of which the spiritualists hold as being of angelic divine origin.