The sixth letter, however, was framed for the express purpose of testing the knowledge possessed by the intelligence which moved the pencil. The question, "Whom did you desire to have appointed administrator of your estate?" was asked because the sitter did not know the correct answer, and he knew that the medium could not know. The knowledge was possessed by the deceased per son exclusively; and it is reasonable to suppose that if he was present, as the medium declared that he was, he would have given the desired information. The intelligence which wrote the replies was in full possession of the contents of all the letters, all the names addressed, and all the signatures, including those of the sixth letter. The answers to five of them were pertinent and intelligent, no specific knowledge being required. But when the sixth was reached, the spirit "could not communicate to-day." Why? Simply because the specific knowledge required to answer the question was not in the possession of any one present, and it could not, therefore, be obtained telepathically, as the knowledge of the contents of the other letters was obtained.
This is the rock upon which all so-called spirit intercourse splits. Everything goes along swimmingly as long as the medium knows what to reply, or can obtain information by means of his telepathic or clairvoyant powers. But the moment he is confronted by a question requiring knowl edge not obtainable in that way, he fails dismally.
The circumstances of this seance have been detailed for the reason that it was a typical seance. It displayed all the essential characteristics of modern spirit intercourse, so-called. The medium displayed all the essential powers and attributes of good mediumship. The physical phenomena were produced to perfection, and under the most perfect test-conditions. The telepathic powers displayed were of the most extraordinary character, and the conditions under which they were produced were also such as to preclude the possibility of fraud or legerdemain. The results were also perfect in their character, showing, as they did, both the powers of the medium and his limitations. The dual character of the human mind was also clearly manifested, and the perfect amenability of the subjective entity to control by the power of suggestion was demonstrated.
It would be interesting to pursue the subject of physical manifestations further, and to examine all their multiform characteristics; but that would be foreign to the purposes of this book. The examination of the mental characteristics of the intelligence which controls the different manifestations is our only purpose, and we have shown that the same laws prevail in all. It is believed that enough has been said to enable the conscientious investigator, who wishes to test the correctness of our hypothesis, to apply its fundamental propositions to all psychic phenomena. It is also believed that whoever so applies those propositions will arrive at the same conclusions to which I have come; namely, that there is no valid evidence, in any of the phenomena of so-called spiritism, that the spirits of the dead have any part in their production. On the contrary, as it seems to me, the evidence all points in the opposite direction. I refer, of course, solely to those phenomena which are produced through so-called spirit mediums. If there is any communication to be had with the denizens of the other shore, it is certainly not through them. I have reluctantly arrived at this conclusion.
It would be pleasant to believe otherwise, but I have sought in vain for evidence which would warrant me in doing so.
In abandoning all hope of obtaining valid evidence of the ability of disembodied spirits to hold intercourse with the living through the intervention of spirit mediums, I do not for a moment yield my hope, or my convictions, of a life beyond the grave. On the contrary, the very powers which are evoked in the production of the phenomena constitute one of the strongest links in the chain of evidence going to show that man possesses within himself an entity which does not depend for its existence upon the continued life of the body. We see that this entity possesses powers which far transcend those of our physical frame; that the mental powers of the subjective mind or entity are exercised independently of our objective senses; that they grow stronger as the body grows weaker, and are strongest in the hour of death. Have we not a logical right to infer that when it is entirely freed from physical trammels, it will have reached a condition of independent existence ? What that existence is, it is not for objective man to know. It is possible that if spirits could communicate as familiarly with the living as we commune with one another, they would have no language which could bring to our comprehension their true condition.
It would be like teaching an infant the principles of the differential calculus. How can the caterpillar, crawling upon the ground, hold intelligent communion with the airy butterfly, or the butterfly reveal to the caterpillar the mysteries of her winged life?
The fact remains that mankind has ever hoped, and will ever hope, for a continued existence of some kind; and all the old arguments in its favor, and all the promises of the Master, still hold good. Moreover, every new development in psychic science adds strength to the arguments, and fresh proofs of his wisdom.