mediately the original harmony was renewed. It now occurred to me that the gas must produce some vibratory effect upon the strings of the piano and therefore was the cause of these extraordinary sounds. In support of this the sounds were heard only in the evening, which gave the whole affair an additional strangeness.
This proved to be the key that unlocked the whole mystery. I soon found the piano had nothing to do with it, notwithstanding myself and friends had repeatedly listened at the piano when the cover was both open and shut, and it seemed to proceed direct from the instrument. On further investigation the sounds were traced to the gas-meter which was in the cellar, nearly under the piano. The sound, though diffused somewhat, had seemed to be in the piano.
After a short time my family became tired of these sounds, and I had the gas meter changed for another, and have never heard them since.
I could have made a great sensation of this matter, but did not. I have no doubt that many mysterious things have taken place which have been ascribed to some supernatural cause, when persistent intelligent investigation would have solved the whole affair in a rational way.Truly,
|Woburn, Massachusetts, July 15, 1879.|
WE print a translation of Professor Wundt's letter to Ulrici, which has attracted a good deal of attention in Germany, and is quite as applicable here as there. The view taken is one that needs enforcing, and it is satisfactory to find that it completely agrees with what has been repeatedly urged upon the subject in our pages.
We print also a communication from Dr. Child, of Nebraska, complaining of our partisanship in publishing upon only one side of this subject. He asks that we give audience to the spiritualists because it is our habit to accord "a fair hearing to all views, pro or con, on any subject of general scientific interest." But he here overlooks a very important distinction. We give the pros and cons only of subjects that are within the legitimate sphere of science. We give the pros and cons of discussion only where imperfect knowledge leads to diverse views, and where both sides recognize the canons of evidence by which all science has been created. But, though admitting of controversy under this limitation, our journal is devoted to the interests of science, and it can not be denied that we are partisans—partisans of the multiplication-table, partisans of the law of gravity, partisans of science generally. Our magazine was started expressly to represent this side of things, and we have no right to publish the other side—that is, anti-scientific papers; it would be a breach of contract with subscribers.
Our correspondent offers as a reason why we should open our columns to spiritualism, the fact that millions of people are becoming affected by its teachings, while it is spreading with unsuspected rapidity. That is a reason which might be addressed to ambitious politicians, who are always powerfully impressed by numbers, or to sectarian adventurers looking out for recruits; but it can not weigh in the court of science, where there is but one interest, the establishment of scientific truth. To the scientific mind, spiritualism is much the same whatever its magnitude. Science is satisfied to operate on small quantities, so they are fair samples, and for its purposes, one roomful of mediums is as good as a hundred. The believers in the power of ghosts and spirits have always been in the majority, and will no doubt long continue to be so. Does not our correspondent see that this rapid extension of spiritualism links it on to popular ignorance and credulity, and cuts it off from intelligence? Does he not see that he is