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When the U. S. Senate Jested Over Spirits

Posted on 05 December 2022, 8:53

In April 1854, a petition by some 15,000 people calling themselves “memorialists”  requested the United States Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives to appoint a scientific commission to conduct an investigation into the strange “occult force” that had been witnessed by so many of them and others in recent years. The petition was spearheaded by Nathaniel P. Tallmadge, who had served the State of New York in the U.S. Senate for 10 years and then the Territory of Wisconsin as its governor before his retirement from public office.


As Tallmadge saw it, the petition involved the most serious subject facing humans – whether or not consciousness survives death in a larger reality. What can me more serious a subject than that? Not even the question of God’s existence can be more serious, as a God without that “larger reality” adds little to life’s meaning.  And, yet, the United States Senate rejected the petition with vainglorious jest.

The occult force was, according to the petition, “exhibited in sliding, raising, arresting, holding, suspending, and otherwise disturbing numerous ponderable bodies, apparently in direct opposition to the acknowledged laws of matter, and altogether transcending the accredited powers of the human mind.”  It had been “manifested to thousands of intelligent and discriminating persons, while the human senses have hitherto failed to detect, to the satisfaction of the public, either the primary or proximate causes of these phenomena.”

The petition further mentioned a variety of sounds, including mysterious rappings which appear to indicate the presence of an invisible intelligence, along with harmonic sounds, as of human voices, but more frequently resembling the tones of various musical instruments, and other strange phenomena.

The petitioners admitted that there were two schools of thought among them relative to the phenomena. “The one ascribes them to the power and intelligence of departed spirits, operating on and through the subtle and imponderable elements which pervade and permeate all material forms; and this, it should be observed, accords with the ostensible claims and pretensions of the manifestations themselves.” Other petitioners rejected this hypothesis and “entertain the opinion that the acknowledged principles of physics and metaphysics will enable scientific inquirers to account for all the facts in a rational and satisfactory manner.” 

In spite of the disagreement relative to cause, both sides concurred in the opinion that “the alleged phenomena do really occur, and that their mysterious origin, peculiar nature and important bearing on the interests of mankind, demand from them a patient, thorough, and scientific investigation.”

Tallmadge was clearly among those subscribing to the spirit hypothesis. He had become interested in the subject after hearing Judge John Edmonds’s report of his investigations of various phenomena. Soon thereafter, his 13-year-old daughter began displaying mediumistic abilities, including playing the piano like an experienced pianist. “She knows nothing of notes or music, and never played the piano before in her life,” he wrote in a letter to Edmonds, whom he had known during his political career. “The first time she played was Beethoven’s Grand Waltz, and then several others with which we were familiar.  After that, she played many we had never heard before, and improvised words suited to the airs, beautiful, and of the highest tone of religious and moral sentiment.”

Beginning sometime in 1852, Tallmadge sat with a number of mediums.  “I have seen rapping mediums, writing mediums, and speaking mediums, and have received communications through all of them,” he wrote.  “I have witnessed physical manifestations, such as the movement of tables, without any visible agency.  These physical manifestations are more satisfactory to the mass of mankind, because they appeal directly to the senses.  I am better pleased myself with the moral, if I may so call them, than the physical manifestations.”

Tallmadge concluded that the “intelligence” behind the phenomena did not come from the objects involved but from a spiritual source.  “I have frequently received such communications of an elevated character, and far above the capacity of the medium,” he further reported. “I conclude, therefore, they do not come from the medium, nor from the mind of the interrogator.”

Tallmadge claimed hearing from several distinguished friends in the spirit world, including John C. Calhoun, (below) former Vice-President of the United States, Daniel Webster, a former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, and Henry Clay, a former U. S. Senator from Kentucky, all of whom he had known while serving in the Senate. “These communications, too, are perfectly characteristic of the individuals from whom they purport to come,” he stated, mentioning that the style and language of the communication purportedly coming from Webster was “perfectly ‘Websterian,’ from the pure Saxon English which runs throughout the whole of it.”


In a letter dated September 12, 1852, Tallmadge informed Edmonds of communication coming from Calhoun, who had died March 31, 1850, through a medium referred to as “Mrs. S.”  Calhoun informed the circle that because of his inexperience on that side of the veil, he was limited in his ability to communicate.  “I deeply feel the barrenness of my soul, the lack of wisdom, the dread of ridicule, the loss of friends, the thought of enemies which debarred me from participating, from being experienced, from a want of knowledge of this holy privilege,” Calhoun communicated, going on to say, “How very dim life on earth seems to me now!  I look upon it as a troubled dream, wherein were indeed some bright spots, some kind feelings shed around my path to make it brighter.  I was but the germ placed in a casket of clay, whose inner unfoldings, whose heaven-sent aspirations, should have begun to develop themselves sooner while placed there.”

Calhoun continued to communicate with Tallmadge in succeeding months, and then in April of 1853 he asked Calhoun the purpose of the communications.  The question was put to Calhoun mentally so that the medium would not know the question (unless, of course, she could read his mind).  “My friend,” Calhoun replied, “the question is often put to you, ‘What good can result from these manifestations?’  I will answer it:  It is to draw mankind together in harmony, and convince skeptics of the immortality of the soul.”

Tallmadge explained that these communications from Calhoun came through a large, heavy, round table, one at which 10-12 people could sit, by the tilting method (the alphabet recited by the sitters and the table would tilt at the correct letter). He observed the table move as much as three to four feet with nobody near it. During all these movements no person touched it, nor was any one near it,” Tallmadge explained.

In one sitting, Calhoun is said to have taken control of a pencil and wrote, “I’m with you still.”  Tallmadge later showed the paper to a number of Calhoun’s friends, as well as Calhoun’s son, and all found it to be a perfect facsimile of the Calhoun’s writing.  Moreover, they took special note of the contraction “I’m,” which apparently was very unusual at that time, nearly everyone else writing “I am.”  It was pointed out by several of the friends that Calhoun was in the habit of writing “I’m” for “I am.”  (More detail on the communication from Calhoun, Webster, and Clay is offered in my 2011 book, The Afterlife Explorers)

While preferring to avoid public observation, Tallmadge said that he found it necessary to speak out in his defense and in the defense of others who had the moral courage to make their investigations known.  “It seems that when this monomania seizes any of these anti-spiritual denouncers, it is accompanied by a sort of proclivity for slander from which their sanity on other subjects is exempt,” he wrote. “I do not, therefore, incline to hold the gentleman responsible for this retailed slander on Judge Edmonds, or his libelous charge of ‘rank blasphemy’ on me…I can make great allowances for these monomaniacs, and would advise them, in their lucid intervals, to argue this question without denouncing those who investigate it.”

Tallmadge asked Senator James Shields of Illinois to present the petition to the Senate. Shields agreed and began his April 1854 presentation on a serious note; however, he ended it by criticizing it, clearly in self-defense. “I make it a rule to present any petition to the Senate which is respectful in its terms, but, having discharged this duty, I may be permitted to say, that the prevalence of this delusion at this age of the world, among any considerable portion of our citizens, must originate, in my opinion, in a defective system of education, or in a partial derangement of mental faculties, produced by a diseased condition of the physical organization.,” he began his defense. “I cannot, therefore, believe that it prevails to the extent indicated in this petition. Different ages of the world have had their peculiar delusions…” The speech continued with examples from earlier ages and was frequently interrupted by laughter. 

Other senators then asked questions.  Senator Weller asked what Shields proposes to do with the petition. Senator Pettit opined that it should be referred to three-thousand clergymen, to which there was much laughter. Senator Weller then suggested it be referred to the committee on foreign relations, to which there was more laughter. Senator Weller added that it would have to be determined whether the spirits were Americans when they left this world. Senator Mason jested that it would be better handled by the committee on military affairs, of which he was chairman. Clearly, the reception was a waggish one and it was finally moved by Senator Mason that it be tabled, which was agreed to.

Tallmadge was furious and responded with a letter in the National Intelligencer on the 18th of April, writing, in part:  “General Shields has given a very good synopsis of this memorial; and had he stopped there, I should not have felt myself called upon for any remarks. But, contrary to my expectations, the general has attempted to ridicule a subject which appealed to his better judgment, and which, according to my understanding, was to receive a very different treatment at his hands.”  Tallmadge further stated that Shields treated it with great courtesy and initially explained to him and agreed that it was worthy of investigation. Shields responded the following day by saying he was never a believer and that Tallmadge misunderstood him. 

In a lengthy letter of April 20, Tallmadge stressed that the understanding was that Shields would refer it to a select committee as there was no standing committee prepared to consider it. “The honorable gentleman, therefore, must be laboring under some strange hallucination on this subject; more strange, indeed, than the ‘delusion’ under which he, with so much delicacy and self-complacency, supposed these memorialists were laboring, because they had come to a conclusion different from his own on a subject which, from thorough investigation, they were presumed to understand, and which, for want of investigation, he was presumed to know nothing about!”

Now, some 168 years later, nothing has really changed.  How sad!

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife, and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.
His latest book, No One Really Dies: 25 Reasons to Believe in an Afterlife is published by White Crow books.

Next blog post: December 19      


Dear Michael,
This is not for publication I am writing just to tell you how much I love your publications, all of them. All a person needs is you , Rev. G Vale Owen and Anthony Borgia .
          My Best,  Larry Baum

Larry Baum, Wed 21 Dec, 17:12

Dear Newton,

Thank you again. I totally agree that spiritualism must be a matter of godly consciousness, or be ultimately worthless. Fortunately, it can indeed be exactly that, and no-one seems more aware of that than Keith Ward, Don Porteous, and yourself, and innumerable others who do not come to notice so often - like the sand of the seashore for multitude.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Fri 16 Dec, 18:35

Didn’t think you needed to hear what Dr. Ward had to say, Eric, but thought you (and others) might enjoy it, as I enjoyed reading “The Subtle Energy Body,” which you kindly brought to our attention. I mentioned you by name because you, like me, have expressed a theological interest in Spiritualism, an interest which once was prominent but now seems marginal at best.

Newton Finn, Fri 16 Dec, 17:48

Dear Newton,

Thank you for the url for Keith Ward’s talk, which you gave us a couple of days ago. I am very grateful for the information, and have found the time, this morning, to listen to him. I am not sure whether I ever met Keith Ward, probably not, though I often heard him mentioned when Dr Lockhart and I were active around the University of Wales at Lampeter. The interesting thing is not that Keith is a very wonderful lecturer, (I recommend all to watch the video you point us to, Newton) but that my own view corresponds every point by every point with his, and has done so for well over a decade and a half. You will find this view, expressed for the intelligent layman, in Maureen Lockhart’s book ‘The Subtle Energy Body’ of 2010 (now available free online). It is in chapter 15, one of the parts of the book that I, self-taught and unqualified, wrote for Dr Lockhart because science was beyond her own expertise, but needed adequate treatment in a book which Inner Traditions insisted should be called a “complete guide” to the notion of the subtle energy body (or immortal soul if you wish). Dr Lockhart and I were offended by the title ITI gave our book, but were not allowed to protest that something more modest would be much more appropriate.

But one question does intrigue me. Why do people, including some of you who comment after Mike’s excellent blogs, think I need to learn what Prof Ward teaches in his excellent lecture, instead of recognising that I wrote a version of the very same view as Keith Ward’s in a book that has had worldwide sales for the past 12 years? I find that very odd, and feel forced to say so, just as Paul felt forced to say things he would rather not have said, in II Corinthians.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Fri 16 Dec, 13:38

Dear S Kidd,

Thank you for the information about the PDF with missing pages, a common human error in the repetitive and very tedious operation of compiling a book PDF page by PDF page. I have read the whole book, except those few missing pages, and this has given me the overall impression I wanted to form, namely that what we know as the Hydesville phenomena were almost nation-wide, not just the isolated-village strange happenings that many books suggest; so I may not need the missing pages, crucial though one or two were. But I thank you sincerely for your information, and hope reading the book is useful to you too. Important for me are the moral implications imposed on us by our own knowledge. The more we know and the more we judge others (like those jeering politicians) the greater our responsibility for our behaviour, and the more severely we shall ourselves be judged.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Thu 15 Dec, 11:36

Eric,  Just a quick note regarding missing pages.  I’ve downloaded the book and none of the pages you mentioned are missing.  You might need to do it again as there might have been a problem with the initial download.

S. Kidd, Thu 15 Dec, 07:37

Dear Don, and all,

I believe you are quite right about Kohlberg. My own use of his name is simply a means of IDENTIFYING very briefly and as certainly as possible the nature of the self-generated ethic I live by. Absolutely nothing more. Just a signpost, a label. I clearly remember an incident at the age of FOUR (1945) when I first showed that ethic after I had grabbed the half of a small strawberry that my father cut for my older brother, the other half for me, when he found that single small strawberry in a jar of so-called strawberry jam during the 1939-1945 war. I remember clearly that I was filled with remorse, and not only so, but also with compassion for the brother I had robbed without thinking. My regard for others has ALWAYS (nearly 82 years so far) been feminine and compassionate - and it has OFTEN cost me very dearly indeed. I had better not give details of the costs it has caused me over the decades.

I must then add that MY OWN ethic is based ABSOLUTELY on love, not on justice. Love often moves one to waive one’s “right” to justice.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Tue 13 Dec, 09:05

You’ve done it again Michael. Excellent bit of history that has generated more comments and recommendations of further reading that is almost impossible to follow up or comprehend. Anyway it did motivate me to search for some info. on Marcello Bacci who demonstrated via itc in front of crowded attendances, live contact with deceased relatives including children in his laboratory in Italy. Unfortunately I didn’t realize he died in 2019 at the age of 92. For those who don’t know his story it’s very compelling and evidential tho’ once again you won’t convince those who don’t want to believe because there’s never enough to convince the die hard skeptic.I tried to get the youtube version but it wasn’t available.Thanks again Mike to you and all who have contributed .Andrew Simpson

andrew simpson, Tue 13 Dec, 01:58


Re: Kohlberg—I had never heard of him, but most interesting. You make a reference to a hypothetical Kohlberg “level 7.” This might tie in with some criticism of the Kohlberg theory which I read online while looking into your reference. Specifically: K’s results apparently all came from MALES—and, not surprisingly, represented a typical male focus on “justice”—as opposed to a more female-oriented focus on “caring.” Everything that we’ve heard from the spirit-side, from Imperator and Mary on down,  unambiguously indicates that the “caring” element (“love,” in another word) is the single most important determinant of our ultimately progressing. If there is indeed a “next-stage” to be added to K’s scenario, I would suggest that the missing “caring” element would be the logical candidate…

Don Porteous, Mon 12 Dec, 21:49

Eric, the pages in my reprint by Kessinger are all there but do not match up to the missing pages you have indicated, so I can’t help there, at least without spending a lot of time trying to match things up.

Michael Tymn, Mon 12 Dec, 19:59

For Eric and others interested, here’s a nice overview of liberal Christian theology from a more traditional perspective than that of spiritualism. Note how closely this traditional liberal theology dovetails with the spiraling message of “Spirit Teachings.”

Newton Finn, Mon 12 Dec, 18:12

Dear all,

A rather crucial page (311) and some other pages are missing from the PDF of Capron’s book. As page 311 evidently gives the main arguments of some learned sceptics this is a great pity.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Mon 12 Dec, 15:15

Dear all,

Apologies; I forgot to paste in what was to follow my introductory words, but no matter. Look up the narrative on the pages of Capron’s book that I mentioned, 271 and following. A very sobering story of religious bigotism, in this case Roman Catholic. But that church has no monopoly of bigotism. It is stating the obvious to say that there are many similarly bigoted religious zealots today, all of whom think their opinions substantial enough to justify killing fellow humans.

Eric Franklin, Mon 12 Dec, 14:53

Dear all,

I have just come upon the following (please download CAPRON’s book and read the context for yourselves, Page 271 and 272) which illustrates my point about people (in this case zealots for a debased understanding even of religion (a legalistic and doctrinaire level 4 perhaps?), not yet spirituality (level 6?)) failing to see the higher thinking of those they do not agree with (and in this case wish to physically attack).

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Mon 12 Dec, 10:45

Dear Newton,

I agree with you totally. An endless circle of trying to confirm the basic facts spiritual life and their correct interpretation is analogous to the grasping at siddhis instead of developing the inner trust in the Deity (however one forms one’s own conception of the Great All) which is the true change-of-heart Yahshua taught. But I do feel that Allison is not made a good advocate by having this changed heart himself. Sometimes, we have to use tools of argument more nearly like those habitually used by those we wish to influence because the gap between their usual thinking and the thinking we wish them to embrace is too wide for them to bridge. Good teachers always start at the level the pupil already understands. Kohlberg found precisely this in advocating his levels of ethical thinking. He said that most people were able to understand the reasoning of the next higher level, but not to grasp the next higher level still. I am very glad that when my son (a graduate in psychology) introduced me to Kohlberg’s understanding, I scored level six immediately, without taking on any new thinking. I said that if I could get no better resolution of the difficulty described in the questionnaire, I would accept the answer which satisfied level five, but my own REAL answer was another resolution, which exemplified level six. My son was somewhat astonished, and responded not a word.
I suspect there is a Kohlbergian level seven, and dimly “see” it, but may not be able to describe it in words.

Eric (Franklin)
Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Mon 12 Dec, 10:25

Dear Eric: So long as advocates of spiritualism continue to be caught in the endless, self-feeding (yet never satisfying) loop of seeking out “circular” phenomena rather than focusing on “spiraling” spiritualist teachings (a tendency/trap repeatedly warned against by Imperator), the best that can be hoped for those outside the spiritualist fold is that they come to something like the position of Stephen Braude: that supernormal phenomena do in fact occur but may be explainable purely in this-worldly terms.

For thoughtful Christians like Dr. Allison, about the serious business of seeking God, supernormal phenomena, apart from the naked fact of their existence, are of little importance unless it can be shown that God is there, revealing Himself in them. In my own case, were it not for the explicit theology of “Spirit Teachings” and the more implicit theology of Patience Worth, I would have noted communications with the departed and similar
wonders as further confirmations of the spiritual realm I already believed in, and then moved on.

Newton Finn, Sun 11 Dec, 18:27

Dear all,

I have said that Capron’s book is revelatory for me in various ways. I find increasingly that it is indeed useful. Immediately following the missing page 109 of the PDF the last part of chapter 5 shows direct relevance to the matter of my own misled upbringing by second-adventist parents, members of a sect who believe in the literal, physically-embodied return of Yahshua Christos to rule the Earth like any human ruler, though more powerfully, and for a millennium. Would anyone prefer the humanly-thought-out ideas on eschatology of the promulgator of such beliefs (one J Thomas, born 1805) preferable to the astounding inexplicable evidences of spiritualism’s truth that we see here on Michael’s Blog? A spiritualist version of Christianity, such as we now have, despite some details still to be revealed by the process of gradual revelation shown in Stainton Moses’ ‘Spirit Teachings’, is surely preferable.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Sat 10 Dec, 13:00

Dear all,

Please note that page 109 of CAPRON’S book is missing from the pdf from Cornell University Library.

In my experience, this often occurs in large works put on public reference, and, indeed, in my own former professional experience as one who dealt with print and publication. We are all human. The immense value of the book to which Keith Parsons gave us all the online address is not diminished by a human error or two in preparing the document for pdf presentation. We should all be hugely grateful. Please, do read the book with as much feeling of joy and comfort as I am experiencing in doing so.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Sat 10 Dec, 12:25

Dear Newton,

I believe you are quite right to ask us to take more notice of NT scholars such as the evidently very well-meaning Allison, but my own serious reservation about the way he speaks is that he is very woolly, not stating his reasons or conclusions clearly, not at all scientific in the way he discusses the matters we talk about here following Michael’s blogs. To perceive clearly what I mean, just imagine how Allison’s manner of discourse would seem in a court of law (not that I respect human courts of law - I definitely don’t; they are dens of liars). I’m afraid I turned off the interview you gave us the address for, in exasperation. (I had problems enough to solve and solve immediately, that day). Allison accepts the right stance, I believe, but he is not a good advocate for it. You would be a very good advocate yourself, Newton, but as your life is burdened at the moment (and I hope it is somewhat, more than somewhat, relieved of tribulation now) do you know of another advocate? I wonder if David Bentley Hart might be a good NT scholar/advocate for spiritualism’s truth). Does anyone know? His recent translation of the NT, which I have read more than once, seems very good, but I cannot check.

I prefer the way of scientific thought from first principles, and of logical NECESSITY, which prove the existence of BEING, of a transcendent all-inclusive Being, and of our own minute Being-there, ie consciousness, within that GREAT Being.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Sat 10 Dec, 10:33

Dear all,

The joy given me by Capron’s book, with its huge expansion of what most of us know of Hydesville and Rochester, its online address given us all by Keith, is now even more gratifying (which is itself a joy after a day of tribulations overcome by evening as I write). As I continue to read I have just finished chapter 3. The final pages of that chapter recount how a very distant relative of my own gave evidences of his afterlife reality.

Do read this book. Whether my all-but-certain distant relative helps your own belief does not matter (why should anyone be impressed?—though to be filled with joy by what one read is far more valuable) reading this book will help most of us.
Please download it for yourselves. Keith has shown us all how to get for free.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Fri 9 Dec, 19:37

Dear Mike and all,

You refer to Flammarion as giving so much more information than Allison. I would like to say that Capron, writing about the Hydesville phenomena in the book for which Keith gave us the online address for a free download, (Thank you Keith) also gives vastly more information than any other book I have read, and that his account of the phenomena, which extended in both time and space far beyond the immediate vicinity of the Fox house in Hydesville, a fact unknown to me until I downloaded the book, is very reassuring to wavering believers. We who waver should help ourselves by acknowledging that there is not ANY thing that is outside of “God”. He includes all scientific investigation, He includes all knowledge, He includes all human consciences and consciousnesses, all Beings at all lower levels than Him/Herself, even any “devil” your mind finds itself inventing. We are safe. Including safe from the likes of Allison.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Fri 9 Dec, 17:08


Thanks for the link. I know nothing about Allison or Licona, but they both come across as knowing little or next to nothing about all the phenomena discussed at this blog.  Allison knows about a couple of fairly recent “supernatural” events, but does not even hint at knowing anything about all the research done the pioneers of psychical research.  It seems that way, too, with many modern parapsychologists.  I was just reading a book review by Michael Prescott in the SPR Journal.  It is of the book, “Dark Cognition: Evidence for Psi and its Implications for Consciousness.” by David Vernon Routledge.  Prescott notes that Routledge gives almost no attention to the research before Joseph B. Rhine, i.e., before 1930. 

As I have often stated, that is the primary purpose of this blog—to give attention to the pre-1930 research.  I’m currently reading “Mysterious Psychic Forces,” a 1909 book by the renowned French astronomer Camille Flammarion. I bought the book about 18 years ago, but never got around to reading it until now.  I have read other books by Flammarion, but this one has much more about his research with Eusapia Paladino.  He includes detailed reports given by other scholars and scientists who studied her with him. He frequently mentions all the controls taken to rule out fraud and gives a detailed account of many of the sittings with Eusapia. The book offers so much more than what Professor Allison had to say and I suspect that Allison knows nothing about Flammarion’s research. People like Allison seem to be trying to reinvent the wheel all over again, from scratch.

Michael Tymn, Thu 8 Dec, 22:20

When one of today’s leading New Testament scholars, employing the tools of skeptical historical criticism, nevertheless affirms the existence of supernormal phenomena similar to those we talk about here, shouldn’t we take notice and be pleasantly surprised?

Newton Finn, Thu 8 Dec, 19:35

And the “gradual reception of the mighty changes” in the human mind caused by developing scientific and spiritual conceptions alike also coincides totally with IMPERATOR’S explanations of gradual revelation that Stainton Moses first thought irrational, but later realised was the TRUTH.

How fortunate for each of us that “God” (whatever word we use) is so full of pity for our ignorance and slowness to learn, and so compassionate when we think we have reason to rebel.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Wed 7 Dec, 15:27

Dear all,

With thanks to Mike Tymn himself, to Jon Beecher, and to Keith Parsons, who has just given us the necessary online address to find E W CAPRON’S book, in Cornell’s library, let me quote what I have already found in it.


I place too high an estimate on the perfect workings of the laws of nature, as set in motion by the ” Great Spirit ” which pervades, encompasses and governs all things, to attribute the beautiful and fast-spreading facts, proving a direct influx of spiritual influences into the world, to anything more or less than another link in the great chain of nature’s law which is but just developing itself to man. The why of its appearance just at this time, or the reason why it has not become more extensively known before, it would be as impossible to tell as it would be to tell why all the great discoveries in science were not made known to man at once, instead of waiting the slow development of the intellect, and thus preparing him for the gradual reception
of the mighty changes which have taken place from the early stages of human development to the present time.

End of quotation from Capron

I cannot apologise for the fact, obvious to me at least, that Capron’s view of the Great Being’s wholeness of conscious Being-in and coinciding with what we now call the multiverse, exactly matches my own conception of it and its CONSCIOUSNESS, the Being most of us call God.

As an interesting coincidence let me add that on the way by National Health Service transport to the nearest hospital, for an examination common for old men, I was yesterday accompanied by a YOUNG girl from nearby Lampeter who had been a dancer, but had suffered a haemorrhagic stroke much worse than the ischaemic cerebellar strokes I have suffered myself. I, she, and the NHS ambulance car driver conversed as we travelled. Very soon, the cheerful young former dancer revealed that her conception also coincided. She views, she said, the Universe as what many term God, but did not like to use that traditional term. I have often boringly repeated how useless and lacking in firm definition words are, and now, as an incidental fact, from yesterday’s in-car conversation, I have a demonstration of that. I dedicate this comment to that young lady of immeasurable courage and positivity. May the Force (correct that!!!) May the Multiversal Great Being Who is all and contains all continue to help her live in Her/Him, and soon walk again without a stick.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Wed 7 Dec, 13:45

Dear Keith Parsons,

Many thanks for sending us all the online address for a free copy of Capron’s book (of which I had known nothing until Mike (thank you, Mike) told us about it. I was in the very process of unsuccessfully searching for it online when your own notification of where to find it came through, and then it downloaded immediately, and, I expect, successfully.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Wed 7 Dec, 12:25

Thanks for providing the references to your piece, Michael.  For anyone interested in a free copy of ‘Facts and Fanaticisms’ there’s a pdf - here:
The bad news is that if you want to print off the whole book you will need 450 sheets of paper !

Keith P, Wed 7 Dec, 10:31

Thanks to all for the comments so far. I might add that the reference for this story is “Modern Spiritualism: Its Facts and Fanaticisms,Its Consistencies and Contradictions,” by E. W. Capron, published in 1855, the year after the petition was presented to the U.S. Senate. Reprints of that book are still available on line.  There is much about Tallmadge in the Appendices of Judge John Edmonds’s book, co-authored with Dr. George T. Dexter, “Spiritualism.”

Michael Tymn, Tue 6 Dec, 23:50

Dear Mike,

As Karen says, it was indeed VERY helpful to know what the politicians’ reactions were, so relatively early in the history of the spiritualistic intercommunications/interactions of one universe (ie one dwelling place within the Great Being) with another contiguous but normally totally out of contact. Note that the balanced information showed just the same human stupidity, arrogance and cynicism as the other apparent anomalies we all have to acknowledge with regret. It is always worth having the WHOLE picture, including the cynical view. In the end it shows the same thing every time - the sceptics’ stupidity and the wisdom of believing.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Tue 6 Dec, 09:18

Michael I’m going to include this in my webinars as an article they can chose to read if they would like Wonderful - shows how the times were back then which I don’t think many people understand.
blessings as always to you and your work Karen

Karen E Herrick PhD, Mon 5 Dec, 16:33

Great piece of the history of spiritualism, Michael.  My guess is that you were the only person in the whole world who knew anything about it.  Now, thanks to your blog, many more people have been informed. Thanks again!- AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 5 Dec, 14:19

Another splendid and informative piece, Michael. I have read all your books, but the years pass by and unfortunately I forget what I have read. So thank you for this reminder of the quality of your work. Tallmadge wrote a book on ‘Spiritualism’ which I looked up on Bookfinder, a global book-search website. It costs a minimum of $41 (or £34) & often much more. So it is very helpful that you are able to offer us these erudite summaries of really worthwhile early material.

Keith P in England., Mon 5 Dec, 12:58

Dear all,

I well know, after nearly 82 years of Earth-life, the feelings Tallmadge must have endured, after ridicule by those who ought to have investigated what they thought they knew without investigation.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Mon 5 Dec, 10:19

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Fallen Soldier Convinces His Famous Father of Life After Death – On September 14, 1915, Second Lieutenant Raymond Lodge, the youngest of six sons of Sir Oliver Lodge, a distinguished British physicist and pioneer in electricity and radio, as well as the former president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, was killed in WWI action in Flanders. Read here
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