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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/95

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slightest belief nor the smallest amount of consideration. This assertion does not deserve the latter, simply because it concerns an "event viewed unequally" (for there are many events in this category which deserve the highest esteem), but because the admissible part of Crookes's statement is in itself worthy of no notice, and because not the slightest proof is furnished that the motions only proceeded from the so-called medium, and that they could partake of no heretofore well-known natural cause!

Had such a proof been undertaken in an exact manner, Crookes's assertions would probably have deserved some notice, which would have led to a repetition of his experiment, in order to test more thoroughly his "event viewed unequally;" if this proof had been strictly enforced, Crookes would have discovered one of the most remarkable known events, and his assertions would have at once commanded the utmost respect and consideration from all natural investigators; as, perhaps, with Volta, when he built his pile, which presented no less incredible appearances! But, as the events stand, Crookes's statements, as with hundreds and thousands of "events viewed unequally," concerning moving tables, flying guitars, self-playing pianos, etc., have been regarded with exactly the same claim to science as the best and most astonishing sleight-of-hand performances, which no one can admit to be real natural investigations, although in a psychological respect the real cause of the deception may be very interesting.

Little as it may affect a reasonable man, not to be able to investigate some pretty and striking conjuring trick, so also no one ought to disquiet himself on account of events which hundreds of people have testified to, even when the slightest proof is unproduced, so that every thought relating to the possibility of such an interesting natural phenomenon is removed.

Only through the idea that the phenomena are not visible do these latter present a most remarkable significance in the eyes of the unlearned. But, in this significance, they make no difference between it and conjuring, which is often much more interesting and not less inexplicable. But do they make a distinction in any other respect? As to that we will ask, at first, a little information from the "spiritualists," "natural investigators," and "savants" such as Varley, Wallace, Crookes, Butterow, and others, before we allow them the right to make the slightest reproof concerning science, and the dependence of these things upon it.

These gentlemen have not the shadow of a right to complain of any thing save their own incapability, nor have they the right to make a reproach to any one except themselves, that they did not succeed in establishing their "spiritual manifestations."

I will expressly emphasize the fact that I did not say that one must regard all phenomena, which occur daily, and which are of the greatest significance and importance, as mere conjuring-tricks, al-